Here’s my fundamental problem with Stephanie Dunn as the killer in “Hindsight”: Why did she kill Tamika with The Uzi, so that the old case would be brought back up, rather than with a gun that has no bodies attached to it? Yes, because Jeremiah was killed, too, it became a major crime and the connection to the Reese murders effectively distracted them for a while. But Stephanie didn’t know she was going to need a smokescreen; she didn’t think Jeremiah would be in the car that late. If she had “just” killed a black drug dealer in that neighborhood, which is what she thought she was doing, it would have been largely ignored by the LAPD, just like all the other homicides of its kind, and she’d have gotten away with it. Even once she killed Emile, too, because Tamika’s connection to him/the Reese murder was unknown.
So Tamika’s murder would have gone unsolved, considered just another drug/gang killing in a bad neighborhood, Emile’s would have been accepted as an accidental OD or suicide, and Stephanie - having eliminated the two people who could say hey, the murders of her husband and Rachel Grey weren't actually part of the Reese murder - would be set for life.
But I like the way they set her up – I like Little Weezy not knowing the phrase “hook, line, and sinker” and really like that we can see Julio going over to Steph’s desk and then coming back and putting something in his. It’s subtle, and I didn’t notice it on first viewing, but whenever I watch it knowing that he switched her gun, I'm tickled that we can see him doing something, we just don’t know what until after the fact. And I love Sharon telling Taylor, no, that’s not why men follow the women who break up with them.
My first time watching, I didn’t figure out Stephanie was the killer until Julio realized there was corn starch on the gloves. In subsequent viewings, I can see I should have been onto her once they started laying out their case against Hickman; if it wasn’t him, it had to be someone with all the same access – we can rule out Mike, so that leaves Stephanie Dunn and Sherry Hickman, and Dunn is the one who is also privy to all the present-day information and works in Narcotics.
Or maybe I should have suspected her from the moment Julio was interested in her, heh. Poor Julio, for his first foray back into actual dating to end in such disaster, but “as first dates go, it was pretty bad” makes me laugh.
I think my favorite part of this episode is the scene at the condo, with Sharon gathering her stuff for work while Rusty goes on about his other mom, and Gus walks into the middle of it to get ignored by Rusty and welcomed by Sharon. I love the sorry about him look she gives Gus when Rusty is short with him, and that she gives him a hug good-bye after giving Rusty a kiss; it’s such a sweet, natural moment indicating Gus’s growing integration into their routine that I almost like Gus and Sharon’s relationship better than his and Rusty’s, ha. (But it contains one of my few irritations with product placement on this show: Sharon Raydor would not drink Maxwell House coffee.)
And I like Sharon prompting Rusty into setting Gary up to confessing his way into a mandatory life sentence, and Rusty’s glance at the camera and parting line when he gets it done. In the midst of all that, though, it’s sad that Rusty fixates so much on who hit him and whose idea it was to leave him at the zoo; his mom had the far greater obligation to him than Gary did, so there isn’t a lot of difference between what she did and what she went along with/allowed, but he’s always looking to lessen her actions.
I’ve really liked Sherry Hickman throughout this arc, the various ways they show that, because she used to be a cop, she knows all of “our” people. I like Andrea noting people tend to forget she was a good cop. And I love her saying in this episode that Mike and everyone else who decided to keep Mark’s secret took sides; they were both fellow officers, so screw this “it was personal, I didn’t want to get involved” stuff – both Sherry and Mark were these people’s friends and co-workers, and everyone decided to let her come into work every day looking like a fool.
The wedding is nice, and I really do think Patrice will be the last Mrs. Provenza. I like the mayor’s reaction to how they met, the cute little moment between Provenza and Andy when Provenza hands him his hat to hold and Andy shakes his hand, Morales noting the minorities feel safer clumping together, and Mike being left with his hand hanging in the air when the mayor doesn’t know who he is.
“Present Tense” isn’t great; I find season five takes several episodes to really get going. I hate the Ponds, so the various reactions to them are my favorite parts of the episode. Given her history with Rusty, Sharon’s reaction to learning they stopped the adoption process of Tucker – the child they’d had for years, loved, and who called them Mom and Dad - ¾ of the way through is obviously terrific, but Mike is just as horrified, because it’s just that horrifying. We don’t even need to add on them calling homeless people “vagrants” and theorizing their daughter helped them just to irritate her parents to say these people seriously suck.
I’m also quite irritated with the head of Care First, with all her complaining about the lack of attention paid to Amanda’s disappearance and lumping it in with the LAPD’s overall lack of concern over what happens on Skid Row. Because it’s bullshit. This is a young white girl. The only reason Missing Persons initially sticks to policy is that she has a recent runaway history, with the same boyfriend she’s presumed to be with now. Once doubt is cast on that scenario, they in fact ignore policy and investigate before the usual window has passed, going so far as bringing in Major Crimes.
There’s also TV’s usual presentation of the homeless population. Sharon’s interaction with “the Admiral” is amusing, but overall – and especially including the deleted scene with the men living at the Pond’s other home – it’s just a lesser version of the usual crap.
The timing not matching up is also a niggling irritation to me; Amanda went missing Friday night, but there are several conflicting indications of whether we’re joining the story on Saturday or Sunday; it should be Sunday, and sometimes it plays that way, but sometimes it plays like Saturday.
But Julio’s discovery of Amanda’s body, and brief refusal to accept it is a body, is well done.
And, while Tucker’s confession is incomplete (they wouldn’t let him skip over how “things got out of hand”), I like how it highlights the plight of kids who age out of the foster care system, and the specific circumstances of how what is quite naturally annoying to a privileged kid like Amanda is a home someone like Tucker can’t imagine being unwanted.
And I like Sharon’s exasperation with the youngsters’ means of communication, and suggesting Rusty write Gus a note (and that it works). And Rusty shutting down Gus’s contention that because Andy spends the night all the time, he should be able to, by saying she’s the one who pays the mortgage and he’s not going to wake her up to ask. (But it’s really funny that Gus doesn’t specify Andy, instead saying, “She has overnight company a lot” like Sharon has a revolving door of men spending the night.)
I’ve always been amused by Patrice labeling Provenza’s lunch container with “Louie”, thinking in terms of their refrigerator at home – who else’s lunch would it be, since she doesn’t have to pack a lunch for herself, being retired – and tonight it finally dawned on my dense brain that it’s for the refrigerator at work, to distinguish his meal from that of any of his coworker’s.
Andy responding to Sharon acknowledging they’ve been taking things slow by saying “any slower and we’d come to a complete stop” coupled with some “finally” comments of Provenza’s to come do still puzzle me, though; I don’t think their trajectory is unusually slow. They’ve both gone a long time between serious relationships and there’s a lot at stake, so I don’t think they’re overdue for moving in together. (And I love the deleted scene that is a different take of the final scene, with Sharon's WTF am I getting myself into? reaction being more overt; I find it more true to the character [as did Mary McDonnell].)