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Major Crimes

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Oh, how I miss the organization of the old forum, and wish it had been left intact (I had no hope of that when the reorganization was announced, but after The West Wing, The X-Files and one or two other old, but large and semi-active forums I participate in were retained, I started thinking "maybe"), but at least it was vaulted rather than condensed into a giant mess. 

Episodes three and four, Medical Causes and The Ecstasy and The Agony were on in syndication tonight; I only watched in breaks during the game/after the Rams sent the Cowboys packing, so I didn't have any "hey, I never noticed this before" moments, but I reiterated my love for a couple of things:

I appreciate so much that they don't hit us over the head with the parallel between Sharon and Rusty when he says he doesn't cry in front of people, so when he started to cry (because his mom didn't show up at the bus station) he left.  We can easily deduce, just based on The Closer and the few episodes of this show, that Sharon doesn't cry in front of others, either.  And, in fact, in the episode (later in season one) when Rusty accuses her of wanting to get rid of him, we see quite clearly that Sharon will, in fact, get the hell out of Dodge before anyone sees her cry.  But they just let it play; there is no line in either episode making sure the audience understands this is a sentiment of Rusty's to which Sharon wholly relates.  Too many shows would make sure we knew, and cheapen the moment(s) by doing so.

I also appreciate the continuity from Rusty's introduction in The Closer that he's a combination of the toughness of someone who's had to survive on the streets (and the usual sarcasm/selfishness of a teenager under any circumstances) and the fragility of a kid who was abused and abandoned.  Sharon deals with that balance well, and I think by the end of episode four, she - while not yet loving him and certainly not yet thinking of him as a son - is already in a place where she'd keep fostering him through high school graduation even if he somehow was no longer a material witness.

Both cases are good, too; two very solid episodes.  Fritz's reaction to "unmitified" is wonderful.  I also love Provenza in the background using his fingers to calculate how much 15 minutes of the life coach's time would cost him based on the hourly rate.  This show always did little touches like those particularly well.

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1 hour ago, Bastet said:

I appreciate so much that they don't hit us over the head with the parallel between Sharon and Rusty when he says he doesn't cry in front of people, so when he started to cry (because his mom didn't show up at the bus station) he left.  We can easily deduce, just based on The Closer and the few episodes of this show, that Sharon doesn't cry in front of others, either.  And, in fact, in the episode (later in season one) when Rusty accuses her of wanting to get rid of him, we see quite clearly that Sharon will, in fact, get the hell out of Dodge before anyone sees her cry.  But they just let it play; there is no line in either episode making sure the audience understands this is a sentiment of Rusty's to which Sharon wholly relates.  Too many shows would make sure we knew, and cheapen the moment(s) by doing so.

I never made the connection. Probably because Rusty is a teenager and a guy and many teenagers and guys especially have this weird way of thinking that they shouldn't cry in front of others whereas Sharon was in a professional environment. It's completely understandable that she doesn't want her subordinates to see her get emotional/cry, for several reasons. One is that it could be considered inappropriate/unprofessional since it concerns a personal matter. I doubt that Provenza would have held it against her, still. She also clearly showed enough emotion for Provenza to understand that she was deeply hurt whereas Rusty hid his completely.

Would Sharon cry in front of others in a more personal/private setting? We don't know, do we? (Genuine question, I don't recall that we ever saw a situation that would tell us but maybe I forgot. It's been a while since I watched due to final season circumstances ;-))

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11 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

Would Sharon cry in front of others in a more personal/private setting? We don't know, do we?

She continues to beat-feet it out of there upon anything beyond tearing up in front of anyone until near the end <sob> when she full-out cries telling Andy it might have been better for everyone had she died in the ambulance rather than scaring them all into rearranging their lives to nurse her towards an uncertain future.

She goes through some shit, personally and professionally, and increasingly lets those closest to her in on her reactions to it, but still keeps private her most-emotional breakdowns.  Which is so refreshing for women on TV, who don't often reflect those of us in real life who generally keep our worst emotions to ourselves; it's nice that it wasn't presented as a character flaw.

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17 hours ago, Bastet said:

Oh, how I miss the organization of the old forum

A tiny Bandaid for that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Major_Crimes_episodes

17 hours ago, Bastet said:

Episodes three and four, Medical Causes and The Ecstasy and The Agony were on in syndication tonight;

They just aired here. I really enjoyed re-watching them, barely recalling how the bits fit into the whole of the reveal of the crime--much like I enjoy re-watching The Closer episodes.

If I was one of those who really wished Rusty would go away when they first aired, I take it back now. His running away from the bus depot and to "home" at Sharon's made my heart grow a few sizes, heh.

Michael Weatherly did some great comedy in "The Ecstasy and The Agony" as philandering new-age life coach Thorn Woodson. I enjoyed that they said he had been a former hand model and then he did a lot of physical comedy with his hands.
And maybe I shouldn't be so amused, but I thought it was pretty funny that the writers got TNT to let the script include the word "prick" at least twice in reference to Weatherly's character just because it was immediately followed other characters correcting the non-native-English speaker with "Thorn," as if he was confusing the words "prick" and "thorn" when obviously he was calling him the p word because that is what he was.

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On 1/13/2019 at 2:38 PM, shapeshifter said:

If I was one of those who really wished Rusty would go away when they first aired, I take it back now. His running away from the bus depot and to "home" at Sharon's made my heart grow a few sizes, heh.

Giving Rusty more personal stories than any other secondary character, and even more than Sharon, was the cause of much annoyance for me in seasons four through six, but I always loved him with Sharon, and I enjoy him on his own in seasons one through three (and sometimes in four through six).  I find the story arc of he and Sharon going from guardian/ward to roommates to mother and son just beautiful, and I like his slow arc towards coming to terms with the fact "what he did" while living on the streets was actually "what was done to him" (a big part of this is therapy always being offered but never forced on him, and that great conversation about emotional injury being a good reason to seek help; it is not limited to those dealing with mental illness).  I also like the pace of him coming out.  And having him as an ongoing character showed what life can be like for material witnesses in a way crime dramas/police procedurals do not normally do.

On 1/13/2019 at 2:38 PM, shapeshifter said:

And maybe I shouldn't be so amused, but I thought it was pretty funny that the writers got TNT to let the script include the word "prick" at least twice in reference to Weatherly's character just because it was immediately followed other characters correcting the non-native-English speaker with "Thorn," as if he was confusing the words "prick" and "thorn" when obviously he was calling him the p word because that is what he was.

They say "asshole" and "shit" a lot, so I don't know that TNT would have raised a fuss over "prick" even if it wasn't in the context of a non-native speaker mixing up two words, but it makes me laugh, too.  (And making it a malaprop means the line stands in network syndication, unlike "asshole" and "shit.")  The first time he said it, I thought he said, "Brick," and thus there was no joke.  The second time, I finally heard it right, and I laughed - and still laugh each time I watch the episode.  That guy cracks me up altogether - "What business is it of a wife to know what her husband is feeling?"  The whole family is cartoonish, but the actors do it so well.  Roma's reaction to being the McDougals in Tulsa is hilarious, and when she pesters her son into having some water - and then that's enough water - she amuses me even more.

Weatherly, on the other hand, is hard to find amusement in now knowing what we know about him, but I was always more entertained by people's reactions to Thorn than Thorn himself, so I still love the episode.

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There's an episode in which Amy Sykes stops a fleeing perp with a garbage can lid, right? 
I was just watching a rerun of Law & Order's 1.06 "Everybody's Favorite Bagman" (which is actually the pilot shot in 1988) and Mike Logan (Chris Noth) puts away his gun and picks up a garbage can lid and stops a fleeing suspect.

Is this a trope or police tactic? Or are these two the only times it was done?

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4 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

There's an episode in which Amy Sykes stops a fleeing perp with a garbage can lid, right?

Almost - it's the lid to a charcoal grill.  That's Snitch, the season four episode where she's determined to protect the young witness.  Mike tells her since he and Julio have fired their weapons recently, it's her turn to shoot someone if it comes to that.  In season two, Cooper said the reason she left SIS is she'd have shot too many people to make the top brass if she'd stayed.  When she, positioned in the backyard, learns the suspect is heading her way, she grabs the lid, and uses it to take him out at the knees when he runs out the back door.

Speaking of that episode, I have some issues with the grandma's parenting.  That girl is only eleven, and first she's left alone late at night (when Amy finds the gun, it is after enough time has passed for the party to break up, the victims to be shot, and Major Crimes to be on scene) - and not because Grandma is working a second job, mind you; she's at some church thing - and then in the end scene, when Amy texts her, it's around 11:30 on a school night and she's up doing her homework, so either Grandma left her alone again or is home but doesn't enforce a reasonable bedtime.  Methinks Amira kind of raises herself; I hope she holds onto Amy's number.

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5 minutes ago, Bastet said:

Almost - it's the lid to a charcoal grill.  That's Snitch, the season four episode where she's determined to protect the young witness.  Mike tells her since he and Julio have fired their weapons recently, it's her turn to shoot someone if it comes to that.  In season two, Cooper said the reason she left SIS is she'd have shot too many people to make the top brass if she'd stayed.  When she, positioned in the backyard, learns the suspect is heading her way, she grabs the lid, and uses it to take him out at the knees when he runs out the back door.

Speaking of that episode, I have some issues with the grandma's parenting.  That girl is only eleven, and first she's left alone late at night (when Amy finds the gun, it is after enough time has passed for the party to break up, the victims to be shot, and Major Crimes to be on scene) - and not because Grandma is working a second job, mind you; she's at some church thing - and then in the end scene, when Amy texts her, it's around 11:30 on a school night and she's up doing her homework, so either Grandma left her alone again or is home but doesn't enforce a reasonable bedtime.  Methinks Amira kind of raises herself; I hope she holds onto Amy's number.

Right! Grill lid. Thanks, @Bastet

Good points on Amira being home alone too late at night. I remember having the impression that while Grandma was a decent person, her parenting skills weren't the best--perhaps a realistic choice to explain why Amira's parent who was Grandma's child wasn't around to rear her? 
They could have otherwise had Grandma home asleep but with her hearing aids out. 

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6 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Good points on Amira being home alone too late at night. I remember having the impression that while Grandma was a decent person, her parenting skills weren't the best--perhaps a realistic choice to explain why Amira's parent who was Grandma's child wasn't around to rear her?

Yeah, I think Amira's grandma is a fairly typical representation of a woman who wound up raising her kid's kid for whatever reasons, and is keeping her safe in a bad neighborhood, but isn't a stellar guardian.  Because of that, it's kind of nice that there's no attention drawn to the late nights and lack of supervision; it's there for the audience to notice, but not harped on.

Shifting gears, I’m not sure how much it matters now that all the original discussion is vaulted and we’re in a new thread, but I’ll try to confine my comments to specifics not brought up in the old threads the last couple of times these season one episodes popped up in syndication.

Citizen’s Arrest:

I find it quite telling that Mrs. Barlow volunteers at a battered women’s shelter, since her husband exhibits several hallmarks of emotional abuse.  This is a high-stress situation, yes, but the asshole monitors his wife’s time in the bathroom and rails against the idea of her talking to someone after he’d ordered her not to.  The most they do is label him a “control freak,” but dude is on the abuse spectrum.

They missed comedic potential – and no, this is very much not a lighthearted episode, but a single moment would not have been out of place; it’s in fact common to the franchise – when Sharon gives Mrs. Barlow her phone and borrows Provenza’s phone to communicate with her.  When Mrs. Barlow calls that phone, which registers it as “Captain Raydor” calling, he should have had Ding, Dong, The Witch is Dead as his ringtone, a snarky nickname as her screen name instead, or something like that, and Sharon would have just raised an eyebrow, had the necessary conversation with Mrs. Barlow, and then made some delicious comment.  I can only write that off as Provenza not being tech savvy enough to bother customizing, because it’s a seriously missed opportunity.

I find it very disturbing that Andrea is down with, since Sharon isn’t there, the idea of letting Julio beat cooperation out of Gerald Hall, and I’m glad that characterization of her was dropped as the show went on.  Also that they dropped the stupidity of a lawyer saying she’s not sure a biological father who apparently never knew he had a kid, never mind didn’t terminate his parental rights, has any legal standing.

I know I mentioned this before, but I must reiterate how much I like this episode as the beginning of Provenza’s thaw towards both Sharon and Amy – he not just knows but outright says that Sharon is right and Andy is wrong about not telling the Barlows their son is dead, and he suggests Amy taking point on a couple of aspects of the investigation because of her SIS experience.  I also like that Provenza is already the lone hold-out just five episodes into season one; they all learned their lesson underestimating Brenda and being so resistant to change, so they’re generally going with the flow at this point, and it’s just Provenza’s personal frustration about having that brief glimpse of a command position taken away from him still causing any significant friction – much better than dragging out the squad-wide tension.

Out of Bounds:

This nicely follows on from the last, in terms of changing attitudes toward Sharon and Amy.  I don’t like that Amy has to take a beating to be accepted (and, jeez, watching it is painful, as is watching Scary Sanchez kicking Lamar), but putting her physical self on the line is mirrored by Sharon putting her job on the line (when Taylor says if her Plan B doesn’t work - if Lamar isn’t persuaded by Julio - it’s her job, not Julio’s, she just doubles down), and I do like the respect for both those things – Amy may be an eager beaver, but she has a particular set of skills and every bit as much dedication as anyone else, and Sharon may be new to “regular” homicide investigations (as opposed to determining whether a use of force that resulted in death was a homicide), but she is good at strategy, particularly as it involves putting full faith in each squad member’s particular strengths, and stands behind it and them.

Similarly, I like that Rusty volunteers to go with Sharon to check on Amy rather than being dropped off at home; the previous episode showed him starting to understand the difficulty of the squad’s work, so it’s nice that in this one he’s affected when Buzz tells him Amy got hurt and then wants to go to the hospital.

I know it’s just that they don’t want the scene interrupted with Sharon having to grab shoes and a blazer, but it’s distracting that as she and Rusty are cleaning up after dinner she’s still fully dressed so that she can just walk out the door upon being called to a crime scene.  But I love that Rusty acts like she’s going out clubbing every night or something now that he’s no longer under emergency care, she shuts his nonsense down, and the next morning he’s all solicitous, making her breakfast and offering to do it every morning.  His back-and-forth attitude towards her and his situation in general at this point is quite well done.  I love them at the end, with him saying if she doesn’t mind him hanging around, he’s happy where he is and doesn’t want to know about his biological dad.

I like the continuity of Mike mentioning his son Kevin is new behind the wheel, when we saw in season seven of The Closer that Mike finally relented and let him try for his driver’s license.  We don’t need to know that – he’s just commenting on how the combination of teenage drivers and LA’s particular brand of rain-induced hysteria among drivers could lead to road rage – but for those who do, it adds a nice layer of familiarity.

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15 hours ago, Bastet said:

Citizen’s Arrest:

. . . I find it very disturbing that Andrea is down with, since Sharon isn’t there, the idea of letting Julio beat cooperation out of Gerald Hall, and I’m glad that characterization of her was dropped as the show went on . . . .

What stood out to me was that Julio didn't hit or otherwise physically harm the kidnapper/killer--in contrast to other shows, like Elliot Stabler on L&O SVU. He just threatened and scared him. 

It was weird to me that the kidnapped teenage daughter was named Emily since that is Sharon's daughter's name.
Sharon doesn't even mention her daughter by name until Season 3, and this is Season 1.
I guess the writers forgot there was a victim Emily 2 years prior, or didn't think of it mattering when fans watched reruns or DVDs.

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56 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

It was weird to me that the kidnapped teenage daughter was named Emily since that is Sharon's daughter's name.
Sharon doesn't even mention her daughter by name until Season 3, and this is Season 1.
I guess the writers forgot there was a victim Emily 2 years prior, or didn't think of it mattering when fans watched reruns or DVDs.

Oh, I love how often they reused common names on this franchise; just one of the many realistic touches.  So even if someone had remembered there had been a victim named Emily, there wouldn't have been a "well, then we can't use that as Sharon's daughter's name" objection, and I appreciate that.  They even had two Sharons (actually, three, counting one of Provenza's many ex-wives, but she was only referred to once IIRC). 

They used Perry as a last name often enough I feel like it must be an homage to someone, but I haven't noticed a Perry in the credits, so it's either a friend/relative of one of the writers or someone just really likes it.

They also used the last name Chaidez twice, and that's not a common name, so I wonder about that one's significance, too. 

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1.7 "The Shame Game" and 1.8 "Dismissed With Prejudice" re-aired this afternoon, in which the B plot is Rusty meeting his biological father.
I never noticed before how the eventual end of Rusty's relationship with his bio-dad was paralleled/foreshadowed by the relationship of the father and daughter in "Dismissed With Prejudice." In both stories, I never liked that they made the villains so uber-villainous. No shades of gray.

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I wasn't home last night to watch those two and see if I noticed anything new, but The Shame Game is my least-favorite case of season one.  I hate the distorted sound they do when the killer realizes they're onto him, and I just don't connect to the case as strongly as I should to a story of sex trafficking.  At least they somewhat acknowledge the lack of logic in the "we'll take the death penalty off the table if you confess" carrot that cop shows, including this one, hang their hat on, with the killer scoffing that California basically doesn't execute people anymore.

But, oh my stars, I love the Sharon and Rusty story.  When he works himself into a lather over Cynthia bringing Daniel Dunn to the station, accusing Sharon of wanting to get rid of him, and Provenza steps in, the actors absolutely nail the scene.  Especially Mary McDonnell; when Rusty calms down and asks Sharon what she thought of Daniel upon meeting him, and Sharon says she can't say she liked him but she can't be objective, with her voice breaking there, and then forces out a comment that him showing up and waiting all day has to be considered while walking away, desperate to get out of there before she can no longer keep the tears at bay, and waving off Rusty's apology with an "I know" of forced nonchalance -- incredible.

I don't love the case in Dismissed With Prejudice, either, because it creates the impression it's a hell of a lot easier to overturn a conviction than it actually is, but I love what it gives Mike to do.  I like his interaction with Lydia, especially the horrifying moment when her dad tells her he wishes he'd killed her too and Mike pulls her shocked form into his arms.  That poor girl; she didn't exactly luck out in the mother department, either, because there's no passport for Lydia, so no indication Elaine was planning to take her with them when she ran off with Zapata.

And I like the continued exploration of how witnesses are treated in the criminal justice system, this time with the "blink and you'll miss it" fact the DA didn't even know where Lydia went to live -- once they testify and serve their purpose, the witnesses are usually non-entities to the police and prosecutors.

The continuing "What's this guy's angle and how do we handle the fact he has rights?" exploration of Daniel Dunn is good, and I like him teasing Rusty about wearing a suit to dinner.  And it's cute that picking out a suit (and a really ugly shirt and tie combo that probably had Sharon cringing in the store) was what Rusty took as a bribe for agreeing to go to dinner, because he'd never had a suit before.  It's not the sort of thing I'd have pictured Rusty being excited about, but it's sweetly innocent that he is, asking if it makes him look more mature.  Plus, it leads to him asking Provenza if he knows how to knot a tie and Andy - dressed dapper as always - standing next to Provenza - dressed, well, like Provenza as always - asking, "You're seriously asking this guy for advice about a tie?"  ("Yeah, why not - he's been wearing them for 100 years."  Ha!)

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On 1/27/2019 at 7:03 PM, Bastet said:

I love what it gives Mike to do.  I like his interaction with Lydia, especially the horrifying moment when her dad tells her he wishes he'd killed her too and Mike pulls her shocked form into his arms.  That poor girl; she didn't exactly luck out in the mother department, either, because there's no passport for Lydia, so no indication Elaine was planning to take her with him when she ran off with Zapata.

I totally missed the point that the mother was abandoning her little girl. I hope the grandparents were decent. 

Michael Paul Chan did make the most of his scenes, but I still hate the bit where--after Tau tries to spin the father being reformed since he didn't make her testify against him at trial--Tau then arranges for the daughter to say goodbye to the father, only to have the father get in her face and tell the daughter his only regret was not killing her. To me this was an unsatisfying resolution because it put Tau in the place of having "failed" to protect the daughter from the father. I wish they hadn't written it that way, but I guess the idea was to leave the viewers sure that the father wouldn't try to fool her again.

 

On 1/27/2019 at 7:03 PM, Bastet said:

But, oh my stars, I love the Sharon and Rusty story.  When he works himself into a lather over Cynthia bringing Daniel Dunn to the station, accusing Sharon of wanting to get rid of him, and Provenza steps in, the actors absolutely nail the scene.  Especially Mary McDonnell; when Rusty calms down and asks Sharon what she thought of Daniel upon meeting him, and Sharon says she can't say she liked him but she can't be objective, with her voice breaking there, and then forces out a comment that him showing up and waiting all day has to be considered while walking away, desperate to get out of there before she can no longer keep the tears at bay, and waving off Rusty's apology with an "I know" of forced nonchalance -- incredible.

This should have had at least an Emmy nomination.
Likewise the closing scene when Rusty and Mr. Dunn go to get burgers and Sharon closes the door and leans on it with a look of dread on her face.

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23 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

This should have had at least an Emmy nomination.

And this was back when TNT supported the show; they probably did submit her for nomination.  Stupid Emmy voters.  That scene alone should have garnered a nomination for season one, and the showdown with Ricky in Sweet Revenge should have gotten her all the awards for season three.  Alas.

23 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Michael Paul Chan did make the most of his scenes, but I still hate the bit where--after Tau tries to spin the father being reformed since he didn't make her testify against him at trial--Tau then arranges for the daughter to say goodbye to the father, only to have the father get in her face and tell the daughter his only regret was not killing her. To me this was an unsatisfying resolution because it put Tau in the place of having "failed" to protect the daughter from the father. I wish they hadn't written it that way, but I guess the idea was to leave the viewers sure that the father wouldn't try to fool her again.

Tao wasn't spinning him as reformed, though, just saying, well, give him this one thing -- he accepted a plea rather than making you testify again (her testifying, recanting, then recanting her recant would make cross examination brutal) or even just sit through another trial in which the details of her mother's murder were dragged out.  I don't regard the fact the father turned out to be even more awful than he'd thought as any failure with respect to Lydia; his success was in always believing her, and putting away - twice now - the man who'd killed her mother.  He protected Lydia from her father in that he supported her along the path of trusting her original memory, letting her learn she'd been right and did not, in fact, as a scared, mixed-up little kid send her innocent dad to prison.

23 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

I totally missed the point that the mother was abandoning her little girl. I hope the grandparents were decent. 

They obviously made clear how much they hated her dad, and normally bad-mouthing a child's parent to the child is poor form, but he killed their daughter, so I'm not writing them off for that.  They did raise someone who grew up to be an all-around cheat (from philandering to helping embezzle money) and who was going to abandon her child.  (And who drugged her kid with sleeping pills so she could sneak her boyfriend into the house for sex.)  But Elaine could have turned out like that in spite of good parenting, and Lydia seems a decent young woman despite emotionally-traumatizing circumstances, so hopefully they did indeed give her a good home.  Because that girl has been through some shit.

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1 hour ago, Bastet said:

drugged her kid with sleeping pills so she could sneak her boyfriend into the house for sex.

Oy. And I missed that too. Lydia's Mom was right on par with Rusty's.

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The timing of Cheaters Never Prosper always confuses me; working backwards from when Sharon says it’s Saturday, Daniel Dunn was originally supposed to pick Rusty up "for the weekend" on Thursday night.  First, Rusty is in school (and Daniel is an expensive cab ride away [and I love that Sharon gave him $100 just in case]), so why is he off Friday?  Granted – and, yes, I confess I looked this up - the day this aired (10/8/12) was a holiday, the odious Columbus Day, but within the show the day Dunn turned up a day late was a Friday.  I’ve never heard of getting the Friday before Columbus Day off even at institutions that close for the Monday holiday.  (And his school recently did the faculty retreat thing to explain a Friday off, so I doubt they’d have another one so soon).  But, regardless, starting Thursday night would have been a really long weekend for a first overnight visit, so it bugs. 

But I’ll let it go because of how much I love Sharon and Rusty’s first hug.  She’s held herself back from touching him so many times out of respect for his reticence, but if she’s going to send him off to Daniel she’s going to do it with a hug.  And the way Rusty slowly melts into it makes me ponder when the last time he got a proper hug probably was, and it’s heartbreaking.  And then she adds on that extra squeeze before letting go.  And starts to tell him to be careful, but changes to telling him to have a good time before awkwardly walking away.  It’s a beautiful scene. 

I also love the “Miss you” at the end of Rusty's text saying he got there okay.  My favorite part of that scene, though, is the smile I get from thinking of the blooper reel, when Mary McDonnell’s conclusion to the narrated email is, “You sign it Captain Sharon Fucking Raydor, and we go home.”  Must have been a late night filming.  (This episode looms large in the season one blooper reel; G.W. Bailey getting increasingly goofy with the “What?” reaction to “Vegas has a lot of scams” and the rest of the cast increasingly losing it in response is tremendous fun.)

Sharon’s “We’re past the apology phase of our relationship with Mr. Dunn and have moved into the ‘Don’t let me drive over to his house and shoot him in the head’ phase” is fabulous.  I also love that this is how Rusty finally tells the whole story of how he got left at the zoo, that he finally hit Gary back and the next day they ditched him.

I have an issue with the resolution of the case, though.  Sharon, especially, and Andy ride the partner, Connor, hard on brushing stalking off as “pursuing” and are appropriately disgusted by Adams’s behavior, but when dealing with this specific victim of it they seem to lose sight of that somewhat.  I completely understand that Laura Elkins was more motivated by keeping her husband from finding out than anything else and that she jumped to (pre-meditated) murder without trying anything other than telling Adams directly to get lost, but they seem to gloss over the obstacles to a woman reporting a cop for this sort of thing, especially since that asshole had ignored a good thirty refusals, turned up in her home, etc.  He’s a nutter, but he’s a cop and she had previously slept with him voluntarily; please acknowledge how far behind the eight ball she’d have been had she instead chosen to do things right.  And then there’s some shaming with never having slept with the guy to begin with being listed as one of her options to avoid all this.  It has all never sat quite right with me.

The identity theft part is fun, though, for Amy’s reaction to Dr. Blowhard/Dr. Goofball, especially “You have the right to remain silent – and I can’t wait for that.”  And Provenza rattling off all his identities and asking, “Are you sure none of you want an attorney?” and calling him Dr. John Jacob Jingleheimerschmitt.

It’s always interesting to me (and I assume this started with The Closer, but I didn’t check the last time I saw it in syndication) that when the squad is just working in the office (as opposed to interviewing someone, or being out in the field), in addition to usually having their jackets off, Julio and Mike have their top shirt buttons undone and ties slightly loosened, Provenza has his top two buttons undone and tie totally loosened, while Andy has his perfectly done up.  It's such a great character touch.  In this one, I noticed for the first time tonight that when Sharon calls the office late Friday night, Andy has his tie just slightly loosened.  Now it will be a viewing game to see if that ever happens again.

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I love the way Long Shot is edited, as it weaves in past events with the current investigation very well.  But two things bug me: that it takes them as long as it does to figure out the judge may have been the target all along and, most of all, the fuckery with the assassin’s car.

Why does he leave the mirror behind?  Having it missing confirms his story when he later asks the beat cops for help with his "some kid hit my car" story, sure, but it also in the immediate aftermath of what will inevitably be a high-stakes investigation makes his car the one to look at among those leaving the garage shortly after the shooting (and thus a distinguishing characteristic when they put out a BOLO, which they inexplicably do not do).  He’d have been better off busting it off later, or at least not leaving it behind.  And WTF? with how the ATM footage can be, with pixel magic, cleaned up to capture Angel’s license plate, but they never even try to find the assassin’s plate?!  It’s the same angle.  But they just zoom in on the missing mirror and never even mention the plate.  They should have been much closer to identifying the car, with some shenanigans (he is a “ghost” after all) explaining why identifying the car didn’t mean identifying him, and then the exact same pace could have played out.

I can’t decide if it’s annoying or refreshing that this “ghost” misses Angel twice; Angel is moving both times, so it’s nice that he can’t easily be taken out, but it’s so at odds from what we usually see of high-paid hit men on a cartel’s payroll.

I also don’t understand why the ghost comes up out of the manhole to stake out Angel once Angel’s car is moved to the alley; it’s a dark alley, can’t he just hide out there like a normal person?  I guess avoiding cameras, since he can come up right by the car rather than walking in from one end or the other, but he had to get into the drain system somewhere and if someone happened to see that, they'd report it.  Plus, if he's avoiding possible cameras, that goes back to the stupidity of leaving the mirror behind making his car so obvious on the even more inevitable camera footage (downtown corner vs. back alley).  I guess this is a “you can’t have it both ways” thing for me.

But I love Rusty becoming, with an admittedly strange sense of happiness, a ward of the state.  (“You’re not an orphan; you may not have a mom and dad, but you are family.”)  Set up by Sharon’s perfectly ignoring Daniel’s calls so she can capture something usable once he inevitably shows up on his own and establishing a situation in which signing away his parental rights and suffering the fallout with his fiancée is preferable to the arrest he so richly deserves.  And her “Honey, I do this for a living” to Rusty is fun, and lovely in that she ultimately leaves it up to him; she can still arrest Daniel if he really wants, because he was the victim of a crime.

And I like the case on the whole; I love Sharon easily handing the case off to the FBI (so starkly contrasted with Brenda’s many fits over federal jurisdiction), doing the “of course, we still have a legal obligation to determine the identity of our witness and we don’t want to send the FBI down the wrong path until we confirm” routine to her team to nevertheless keep investigating something they do have jurisdiction over, but then indeed cluing in the FBI upon that confirmation to launch a joint effort, much to Provenza’s distress (“it’s like working for a hall monitor, every day").  Taking Provenza’s arm as they walk into the restaurant undercover never fails to make me laugh.

And, as I noted shortly before the original forum was vaulted, I recently noticed that in the call she takes from Mike while in the car with Provenza, just before that amusing scene of taking his arm, Mike calls her “captain” during the course of it, but in saying goodbye calls her “chief.”  Also, as a new bit of trivia, as she takes that call, the radio station she’s listening to is The Wave (a “smooth adult contemporary” station [having transitioned from “smooth jazz” to soft-rock, -pop, and -R&B], which is one of my presets, too.

Mr. Reyes really gets to me.  They contrast him with Daniel, what good fathers are willing to do and how bad ones fall short, but I get wrapped up in his story more than I think they even intended.  He had a career he was proud of in Juarez, but, as a legit cop in a corrupt system, he saw his wife and all but one child killed, so he gave it all up to work as basically a maintenance man, undocumented, losing virtually all respect and living in constant fear of deportation, to keep his remaining son safe.  It looks like what he's ironing when the killer comes calling are Angel's work clothes.  And then he’s killed.  It hits me hard.  I like the touch that Angel is able to give such a good description, because of his dad’s influence; the way they all smile as he does so is bittersweet, knowing they still have to tell him about his dad.

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Regarding "Long Shot"

On 2/2/2019 at 11:27 PM, Bastet said:

And her “Honey, I do this for a living” to Rusty is 

I wonder if this is the first time Sharon addresses Rusty as "Honey." I know the textual context of "Honey" could make it a prelude to a joke, but Sharon is not that kind of kidder, and it's not a joking matter.

 

On 2/2/2019 at 11:27 PM, Bastet said:

“You’re not an orphan; you may not have a mom and dad, but you are family.”

Although right after this statement by Sharon to Rusty the camera pans the squad as seen through Rusty's eyes, to me it  is demonstrated even more clearly earlier in the episode when Rusty's bio-dad (who the squad knows to be responsible for Rusty's injuries) walks past the squad, and, as he glances over his shoulder, the camera shows us convincingly realistic hate-filled looks on both Provenza's and Buzz's faces. 

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Ugh; Rios.  She’s such a dark cloud over what is nevertheless one of my favorite seasons; at least I can take great recurring joy in how much Sharon hates her and how often she dismisses her.  “One of the nice things about me, DDA Rios, is that when I’m really unhappy about something, people never have to ask.”  Hee.

Yep, season two started in syndication tonight, and I love what an asshole the director is in Final Cut; he’s awful, and those poor kids of his are painful to contemplate, but on the whole it’s entertaining to watch because they’re having such fun presenting a horrible character entertainment industry character, and I love when they do that.  Like when they give him the press release to review and he holds his hand out for Julio to give him a pen without so much as glancing in Julio's direction.  I also find it hilarious that not only does he have an obvious physical type, his wives/mistresses all have names like Brittany, Gretchen, and Ashley.  Sharon’s reactions to him throughout are great, and I especially like “You’re their father?” when he asks what his kids are doing there after their mom was booked for killing their stepmom.

My complaint with the case is the deal they make; Ashley killed the first wife, too, but they easily trade that away for a confession to the murder of the pregnant third wife, because that gets them a (first-degree) double homicide they can use as leverage to get her to plead to two second-degree charges and be done.  So they prioritized a fetus over a person and, in so doing, kept a homicide on the books as a suicide, leaving the victim's family to continue believing she killed herself.  And Brittany was pregnant at the time, too, but they have less evidence, so they just let it slide.  It has always irked me.

But I like the episode otherwise.  In addition to Sharon’s smirking, snippy, snotty attitude towards Rios (an aspect of Sharon we don’t see as much of in this show as we did The Closer since the squad and Rusty both came to accept her about halfway through season one), there’s great humor in Andy's attempts to get healthy in a hurry for his upcoming physical – not to mention Provenza's reactions to his shenanigans.  Plus my irrational affection for Sharon poking Julio in the chest with the clipboard; she does stuff like that, and I love it every time.  I also get a good smile out of her look of pride when Amy comes up with Celebrity Threat Division on the fly.

Plus we get the introduction of Provenza's printer change jar.  I love that this random little thing at the beginning of season two continues for the rest of the series – from this point on, we see the gang depositing their coins, often quite amusingly in the background.  It’s a wonderful little touch, and so very Provenza, that he'd use the money from something he hates - the trophy proclaiming him the last person from his academy class still on the job - to buy something for the squad, but turn around and implement his "pension enhancement fund" by charging for the wireless password and per page (with a friends and family discount for the latter, which we later see not only the FBI, but Taylor, is ineligible for, heh).

On the flip side emotionally, Sharon has to get Rusty to change his tune in 24 hours, but knows she can’t tell him if he doesn’t he’ll be kicked back to DCFS and placed elsewhere because threatening his stability would lead to the worst outcome, and she navigates that Rios/Taylor/Rusty minefield like the master she is so that Rusty agrees to sit down with Emma without ever knowing his home was on the line.  Also, her "pleading the Fifth" conversation with Rusty is probably the best example of a recurring theme revealed over the first couple of seasons by numerous little things showing that Rusty is simultaneously smart and under-educated; he learns quickly, but he’s behind kids of his age and intelligence because his mom moved him around so much (resulting in him attending numerous different schools), didn’t provide any education at home, and ultimately abandoned him to fend for himself on the streets.

And Rusty not wanting Sharon or Provenza to be there when he answers Rios’s questions is heartbreakingly sweet; they know the gist, and no details could change how they feel about him because he was a victim, but he’s afraid it will and doesn't want them hearing it.

It’s similarly touching in False Pretenses that he’s upset about being under something close to house arrest because of the threatening letter, but instead of flying into a petulant rage like he would have done just a short time ago, he accepts it, because it means he gets to stay with Sharon.  Their relationship is so sweet (and entertaining, like when he says it sounds like he has a choice and she responds, “That would be misleading”), and I love that it also continues to give her a great professional argument to keep Taylor on her side when Emma wants him out of Sharon’s house – keeping Rusty with Sharon ensures he’ll be around to testify, while putting him back into the system likely means he’ll bolt, and then what of the Stroh case.  And I really love, “He doesn’t need to understand; he needs to stay safe.”

There’s some funny stuff in this one, too – Andy’s continued attempts to cram for his physical (“ginkgo balboa” and the fact he got suckered into this cleanse by a “cute girl at the health food store”), the gossip site guy, Mike choosing Mr. Clean as his Dude Ranch username and running his hand over his bald head as he announces it, Amy looking to Sharon for approval on her “maybe [victim] forgot his safe word” joke, Taylor’s “buh-bye” to Emma straight out of the SNL flight attendant skit, Mike and Andy’s faces when the gossip site guy shows them the bare chest photo from Dude Ranch, and Taylor’s reaction when he realizes Sharon manipulated him into issuing a false press release.

Of course, we also get more Emma, including the expansion of her squeamish reaction to crime scene photos in her first episode with the beginning of her ridiculous “comes to the crime scene and freaks out” routine and the introduction of Julio’s crush on her.  Blech; but, as always, everyone else’s reactions to her are fun. 

And the case is good.  I love Amy’s reaction to Janet’s abusive husband, including at the end when Provenza says he cried his eyes out upon learning his wife is dead and she has absolutely no shits to give about that guy.  (And I like that, in the interrogation scene, they maintain continuity that there is water on both him and the table as the scene goes on after Provenza tosses water in his face.)  And I like the unveiling of the killer’s story, that his robbery routine started completely due to circumstances, taking a watch from a sleeping guy who probably to this day doesn’t know it’s missing.  But then he started pinning and handcuffing guys while he stole their stuff (and how did they all get uncuffed, or dial the phone to summon a friend to help them?), and ultimately he kills two people, staging that double homicide to look like a murder/suicide.  I think this case is also is the introduction to the curly-haired PD Jennings, and I like him.

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Great recaps, @Bastet.
This is the first time I am watching the episodes on a normal sized screen with captioning and consecutively. All of that combined with your recaps being posted from the day before (you get them Saturdays; I get them Sundays) gives me a chance to notice (and often appreciate) things I missed previously.

17 hours ago, Bastet said:

Ugh; Rios.  She’s such a dark cloud

17 hours ago, Bastet said:

we also get more Emma, including the expansion of her squeamish reaction to crime scene photos

I now have a theory that the character of DDA Rios was written to give then-mid-30s Nadine Velazquez an opportunity to show off her acting skills as a villain or a comedian, rather than just using her as just an exceptionally well proportioned female plot point.
Still, it's all a little OTT, whereas the other characters' turns of wrath or humor feel more anchored in the story.
Kearran Giovanni (Amy Sykes) is just as gorgeous, and is also a late comer to the show (not from The Closer), and I think it's good that they quickly toned down her bits of blurting out information in front of the wrong people at the wrong time and just let her have a few fun comebacks and some moments of anger at perps.
In "False Pretenses" I thought it would be revealed that she was yelling at the person of interest in the interview room to get him to show his violent side rather than just because he was a wife beater, but they didn't go there. They never seemed to give her character much nuance.

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9 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

I now have a theory that the character of DDA Rios was written to give then-mid-30s Nadine Velazquez an opportunity to show off her acting skills as a villain or a comedian, rather than just using her as just an exceptionally well proportioned female plot point.

I'm still curious as to whether she was a network suggestion or an idea of James Duff's, because she's so out of step with the franchise.  It features people old enough to have accumulated the experience necessary to be in charge of the big cases, who dress professionally, and who aren't ogled by the camera/other characters.  Then Rios comes along like something out of another show, a typical DA Barbie in inappropriate clothing and who would never, ever have been assigned the Stroh case or even half the Major Crimes cases she handles yet inexplicably is suddenly attached to their cases.  It's not the sort of thing Duff or the TNT executives at the time were prone to, so I have no idea why she exists as she does.  That there's an antagonist, I understand, because Pope isn't in this series and Taylor became far less underhanded once he got the Asst. Chief position.  But why she's dressed like the stereotypical hot young thing and written to flail about in the morgue, at crime scenes, and even when looking at crime scene photos like a melodramatic teenager instead of a DDA when this franchise is usually so much better with female characters has always baffled me.

From interviews with producers, it sounds like the audience hated her a little more than they intended (but what the hell did they expect when she introduces herself by calling Rusty a "whorephan" and goes on to be disrespectful to everyone, especially Sanchez?!), and that's why the writing for her changed.  Too little, too late for me; she doesn't even begin to ruin the show for me, but I never like her, and I'm very happy Andrea Hobbs became the go-to prosecutor.

17 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

In "False Pretenses" I thought it would be revealed that she was yelling at the person of interest in the interview room to get him to show his violent side rather than just because he was a wife beater, but they didn't go there.

Oh, it seems to me to be both - she's disgusted with him on general principle because he's an abuser (Sharon and Amy are both written as having no time for such jerks), and she uses his issues with women standing up to him to rile him up into showing his true colors.  The "guys like you" needling she employs is similar to Sharon goading the abuser in season five's Heart Failure into coming at her so they have something - assaulting a police officer - to hold him on and buy them some time.

Quote

This is the first time I am watching the episodes on a normal sized screen with captioning and consecutively. All of that combined with your recaps being posted from the day before (you get them Saturdays; I get them Sundays) gives me a chance to notice (and often appreciate) things I missed previously.

I've watched all the episodes maybe half a dozen times by now (well, all of them in seasons one through five; season six, only twice in its entirety -- yep, still bitter, probably eternally), and this time around I'm still noticing something new every few episodes!  That's a sure indication of a good show; the actors are so great, there are so many layers, including all sort of little things going on in the background it takes me a while to notice, and the writing is so sharp that I get caught up in the big picture and don't notice little inconsistencies until I'm a few viewings in.

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DDA Rios was such an out of place, and awkward character that I almost stopped watching the show.   I was so glad to see Andrea Hobbs back.   However, I still think they could have done something else with Sharon's character besides kill her off.  

Maybe leave her in the hospital before and after transplant, and then she would retire.    

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On 2/12/2019 at 8:38 AM, CrazyInAlabama said:

Maybe leave her in the hospital before and after transplant, and then she would retire. 

I'm forever bitter at Sharon's death, but while I wish Duff had skipped the health crisis altogether, once he gave her the world's most rapidly progressing case of cardiomyopathy I'd rather a sudden death doing what she loved than languishing in a reduced life on forced medical retirement.  I wanted her healthy and in charge when the show ended. 

Speaking of medical conditions, send in the folks in white coats, because I’m actually mourning the loss of the archived forum for this show (the entire M Vault went poof in the server switch, and is not coming back); over 5,000 posts about one of my favorites gone for good (the Wayback Machine’s offering is quite limited), and when episodes come up in syndication, I liked looking back and seeing what we all said at the time.  And the thread for the episode in which Sharon dies was like an online support group, although at least that one is available via the Wayback Machine.

Sigh.  But getting back to the syndication schedule …

Under the Influence is the introduction of Badge of Justice, and it’s described as being about a unit fighting crime and corruption inside the LAPD.  That seems to have been dropped/forgotten as the show went on, because every time we hear about a Badge storyline, it sounds like a “regular” investigation, not an internal one.  It also begs the question why Mike, not someone in Professional Standards, was who Pope recommended as a consultant.

I get a good laugh out of Rusty being excited upon learning Jason is a TV writer, and then losing all interest when the answer to what show is “it’s not on yet.”

Sharon’s annoyed reactions to the writer amuse me throughout, and I particularly love her little “you deal with this” whimper and facial expression to Andy when Jason objects that it’s a civil rights violation to listen to the suspect’s conversation with his lawyer.  But I loathe the PATRIOT Act with the heat of a nova, so this is not at all a favored investigation.  And they overstate the defense of property affirmative defense; most cop shows are wrong about the law all over the place, but this one is usually impressively realistic, so even that difference of degree bugs.  They’re also flirting with a Johnson Rule violation with Mrs. Vega.

I do like this exchange, though:

If Julio is right-
I am.
And our suspect is cartel-
He is.

And the chase scene is fun.  I crack up at Jason asking why Julio isn’t buckled up, hearing it’s so Julio doesn’t get killed if someone starts shooting and he can’t get out, starting to unbuckle his own seatbelt, and being told he can’t because he signed a liability release; if he gets shot, they’re covered, but if he gets injured in a wreck, then the LAPD is on the hook.

Plus, Hobbs, not Rios, is the DA, so that’s a relief. 

And I absolutely love every single thing about Rusty’s practice college essay.  First he bursts into the Murder Room declaring he’s in the midst of a crisis – causing Sharon to worry he’s received another threatening letter – and it turns out it’s because his teacher rejected his essay.  Then Sharon says that does not sound like a crisis, but Buzz replies she hasn’t read it yet; Sharon says she doesn’t have time, but moments later when she complains they’re stuck doing nothing, Rusty jumps right back in and she gives him a great “talk to the hand” dismissal.  Shortly after that, everyone’s reaction to the first line ensues and that’s followed by Sharon telling him she’ll take his phone and laptop away if he doesn’t re-write it (“Those are MY things, and using them is dependent on making mature decisions”) and Jason asking, “Are you sure she’s not your mom?”  Later we get Sharon knowing he didn’t write the version that’s about her and telling him to re-write it yet again, and close with Rusty’s version about the lessons his mom taught him.  I love it all.

I, Witness, I love almost every frame of.  I am oddly distracted, this many viewings later, that when they drop Lloyd off at the motel, they park on the street rather than the lot (and it’s not like they look and see it’s full [and there is an open spot – and some nicer cars than one would expect at that kind of place]).  And I might otherwise object to Sharon needing to be the one to point out Lloyd being discredited rather than killed is so he can't testify AND his preliminary hearing testimony (which was cross-examined, which is constitutionally key) will be excluded, but a) Sharon – who wanted to be a lawyer, and who undoubtedly helped Jack study in law school/for the bar – consistently thinks like a lawyer and b) Rios is a fucking twit, so I’m fine with it.

My only true issue is not with this episode, but with the subsequent handling of something raised in this episode:  Sharon picking up on Rusty telling Kris he’s had “threats” (plural) gets dropped, and she doesn’t find out until Kris tells Emma about the letters, and that just doesn’t work for me; Sharon would continue honing in on that potential discrepancy, despite Provenza’s dismissal, and work it into conversation with Rusty on a fishing expedition.

So I essentially have not even a quibble with the episode itself; it’s such a good caper.  Lloyd stays just this side of too cartoonish to be accepted and is thus incredibly amusing.  Even Shampagne is used just enough to make a caricature delightful to watch.  “She is honest, dependable, and absolutely not a prostitute … Her name is Shampagne, with an S.  And she has a website.”  (“The three Xs make it classy, ma’am” – at which Rios takes Amy’s usual role in joining Sharon in her "men, amirite?" reaction.)

I love that Flynn and Provenza think they’ve got it made when Sharon sticks up for them with Rios and snottily dismisses her, but then she delivers a perfect “Eh-eh” as they’re about to escape her office, pointing to her chairs and ordering, “Sit.”  Heh.

And there’s such good stuff from Andy and Provenza (and I love that they’re much more caught up in circumstances than bumbling into a blunder and making it worse like they so often were on The Closer; those episodes were quite funny individually, and I laughed my ass off at Brenda's and Pope's reactions to the duo, but as a pattern they were troubling):

“One minute I’m arguing with my ex-wife, the next I’m waking up in an ambulance with some guy asking me who the president is.  And, by the way, if you don’t want the full work-up, don’t say Jimmy Carter.”

“The side effects could make me moody, irritable, quick to anger …”
“Good to know the difference.”

“For God’s sake, Flynn, I take twenty pills a day, with three glasses of wine.  And look how healthy I am.”

It’s also incredibly sweet that in the midst of all the joshing, Provenza really does devote himself to running interference in an attempt to reduce Andy’s stress.   

Mike gets some particularly funny stuff in this one, too:

“I’m missing all the clients who depend on me for conversation.”
“Oh, don’t worry, I’m sure those guys are just talking to themselves.

“Let me see if I can fix it.  [Techy jazz hands upon her skepticism]  It’s made in China.”

I love Sharon spying on Rusty and Kris throughout, providing several delightful little moments of body language, and her saying it without saying it reaction to Provenza thinking Rusty is going to ask Kris out is great – which has nothing on her adorkable dash out of Electronics to stare at an empty file folder when Buzz points out Rusty is on his way to talk to her.  It’s obviously terrific that she gives Rusty all the freedom in the world to come out on his own terms, and it also leaves room for some funny stuff along the way, and this is the start of it.

And their exchange about why Kris is in summer school is classic parent/teen, with Rusty’s sarcastic answer and Sharon’s ha-ha, now tell me the truth response.  “Do you need to know absolutely everything?/Yes, actually” is a great conclusion to it.  (But here’s my other distraction – we’ve just established it’s summer, and we can see through the condo windows that it’s typical L.A. summer weather.  So why is Sharon putting on a coat over her blazer, an item not even needed for much of winter here?) 

It’s a little thing, but I am tickled by Judge Richwood also doing the earlobe thing to reduce his blood pressure during the request for a continuance.

Julio’s crush on Rios is sort of a transition period for him, moving a step away from the gross creeper he’d been in The Closer.  I like him pausing in the midst of checking on Andy to flirt with her.  And his, and everyone’s, reaction to “Detective Lopez” is good.

Random note: I appreciate the touch that when Sharon asks, “Please, somebody shut that door!” when Lloyd is hollering out that Shampagne isn’t a prostitute, they included the sound of a door shutting.

Also, Kris’s mom dressed her up “like a doll” in her outfit for the political fundraiser, fine, but looking under the table at the shoes - which I finally did after several viewings - she dressed her teenage daughter in some seriously high and pointy heels.  She’s got a dress and necklace that would fit right in, and then super-sexy shoes.  WTF, Mrs. Slater? 

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2 hours ago, Bastet said:

Speaking of medical conditions, send in the folks in white coats, because I’m actually mourning the loss of the archived forum for this show (the entire M Vault went poof in the server switch, and is not coming back); over 5,000 posts about one of my favorites gone for good (the Wayback Machine’s offering is quite limited), and when episodes come up in syndication, I liked looking back and seeing what we all said at the time.  And the thread for the episode in which Sharon dies was like an online support group.

Sigh.

I may be of some small use here, @Bastet.
It seems that 6.9 was actually included in the thread titled, "S06.E08: CONSPIRACY THEORY PARTS THREE AND FOUR" (even though it only has "S06.E08" in the title).

Here are the 4 pages' links from the Internet Archive/Wayback Machine for
"S06.E08: CONSPIRACY THEORY PARTS THREE AND FOUR":

  1. page 1
  2. page 2
  3. page 3
  4. page 4

And, here are . . .
S06.E10: BY ANY MEANS PARTS ONE AND TWO" (which includes 6.11):

  1. page 1
  2. page 2
  3. page 3

S06.E12: By Any Means Part Three

  1. page 1
  2. page 2
  3. page 3

S06.E13: By Any Means Part Four

  1. page 1
  2. page 2
  3. page 3
  4. page 4 (Google cache only)
    page 4 (saved to shapeshifter's daughter's site)
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Oh, yeah, season six episode threads, the media thread, character threads, the old "past seasons" thread, etc. are archived because that main section was captured in 2018, so you can see that stuff via the Wayback Machine.  But individual episode threads within the Past Seasons (1-5) subsections are sporadic. 

The M Vault was not captured by Internet Archive in the short time it existed, so the best option is the most-recent version of the MC forum that was archived before it was vaulted, and that was back in July.   Back then, there was a Past Seasons subsection, and episode threads within those five past seasons subheadings are harder to come by, especially for the earlier seasons - a lot of those individual threads were never archived so the Wayback gives an error message (plus, it thinks those pages are available on the web, I guess because the site itself is still active).  So, a lot was lost.  <sniff>

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17 hours ago, Bastet said:

Under the Influence . . .
Shortly after that, everyone’s reaction to the first line ensues and that’s followed by Sharon telling him she’ll take his phone and laptop away if he doesn’t re-write it (“Those are MY things, and using them is dependent on making mature decisions”) and Jason asking, “Are you sure she’s not your mom?” 

I adored the character of Jason. Sadly, it was his only appearance on the show, but good for actor Ben Feldman, he was very busy with other projects.

18 hours ago, Bastet said:

I, Witness . . .
Also, Kris’s mom dressed her up “like a doll” in her outfit for the political fundraiser, fine, but looking under the table at the shoes - which I finally did after several viewings - she dressed her teenage daughter in some seriously high and pointy heels.  She’s got a dress and necklace that would fit right in, and then super-sexy shoes.  WTF, Mrs. Slater? 

During this re-watch I concluded that we were supposed to think Kris was lying about her Mom having dressed her up, just like Rusty later lied about Sharon having refused to let him take Kris to the movies -- that Kris was dressing to look attractive to Rusty--certainly not slutty, but clearly a member of the opposite sex. Unfortunately (or not), for Kris, she might have had better luck with a more androgynous style.

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1 minute ago, shapeshifter said:

During this re-watch I concluded that we were supposed to think Kris was lying about her Mom having dressed her up, just like Rusty later lied about Sharon having refused to let him take Kris to the movies -- that Kris was dressing to look attractive to Rusty--certainly not slutty, but clearly a member of the opposite sex.

She doesn't play that way to me; her tone and body language when she says her mom picked out the whole outfit, it's not something she'd choose on her own, and "sometimes she treats me like a doll" seems completely genuine in her "ugh, parents" and "ha ha, red carpet, I know" teenage frustration, and the few other times we see her in something other than her school uniform, she's in a less flashy style.  And her jewelry, hair, and make-up when she's in her school uniform also suggest she is indeed not one to doll herself up in that particular way. 

It's kind of funny how many people who Rusty encounters are attracted to him, though -- Kris plus every gay guy he encounters other than Jeff, the A.D. on Badge of Justice.  The friend from chess club wanted to be more than friends, the friend of Lina's made eyes at him in Do Not Disturb, and then there was T.J. and eventually Gus (who, I learned recently by coming across an old interview with Rene Rosado, was just supposed to be Marianna's brother, but then James Duff decided to bring him back with the hots for Rusty, so that explains why Gus having feelings for him when he returns to L.A. for the trial makes no sense based on what we saw of him initially).

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D.O.A. and Boys Will Be Boys aired in syndication tonight, the first two of the original three-episode Jack Raydor arc, which I love.  On a show that does a rather cursory job of personal stories – except Rusty’s – they do an impressive job of cluing us in to both why Sharon married him, and why they’ve long only been married on paper (with the extra step of being legally separated).  That’s in large part due to the acting - Mary McDonnell and Tom Berenger (who played a married couple on stage many, many moons ago) give off a believable chemistry as long-estranged spouses with a complicated history - but there are nice tidbits in the writing, too.  We see them when she has his number and is almost always in control of her myriad feelings for him, but we also see the remnants of all that came before.  I eat up every moment of the two of them together for what it shows us about Sharon.

Starting with when she realizes it’s him, not an intruder, in the kitchen – yet still pulls her gun on him, heh.   And when she tells Rusty Jack can see his cards in those “ridiculous glasses.”  Counters his “like old times” with “really, really old times – Elizabethan.”  Calls him on his epic parenting fail every other time he tries to wax nostalgic.  Sing-songs “I am not done” in explaining the terms of his stay being extended.  And waves a fork at him to shut him up, heh - a personal favorite.  Speaking of that last one, the “who only eats one pancake?”/”your wife” exchange is simply enjoyable on its face, but it also speaks to the larger issue – back when Jack was readily familiar with Sharon’s eating habits, she had the metabolism to look great while eating a stack of pancakes; he's her husband, but a lot of time has passed since he was a regular part of her life.

In addition to that example, there’s plenty more weaving the funny with the touching, like when we see her in her office while everyone else is in the Murder Room enjoying Jack’s storytelling; even Rusty is caught up in it and telling her to wait when she tries to get his attention.  And Rusty wants to play poker with Jack, be picked up from school by Jack, etc. rather than the routine they’ve settled into.  Jack has, as Taylor said, lots of natural charm, and Sharon is the one who knows the limitations of that; imagine how long she’s been isolated in her full experience of Jack’s numerous fresh starts (even compared to her kids, whom she has tried to shield, and worked to facilitate a relationship between them and Jack if he’ll just put in the effort), while everyone else mostly sees the surface.  He’s the fun one, which made her be the serious one; there are kids to raise and bills to pay. 

But the Jack she married – before his addictions got bigger than him, before he adopted an MO of running when life got tough – isn’t completely subsumed by the Jack who exists today, and she remembers when it was good.  If the Rules of Engagement parts of him hadn’t reared their ugly head when they did, who knows what the D.O.A. and Boys Will Be Boys parts of him would have led to, temporarily.  I love the layers.

I’m amused by the undercover op at the assisted living facility in D.O.A. – everyone else is dressed up as staff, but Provenza as a resident (nice payback for his “hey, I found the lead – the plan is your job” to Sharon).  And by Taylor not qualifying for Provenza’s friends and family rate for the printer (and refusing to pay at all; we also never in the entire series see Sharon pay for printed pages, because she can just tell squad members what records to pull [and print], and then Provenza makes them pay – her, he never even tries).

The case in Boys Will Be Boys is heartbreaking, and one of the best fictional treatments of the issues faced by transgender teens I have ever seen; it's a highlight of the season, and in fact the series.  The only thing missed is any of the characters’ various conversations about gender dysphoria countering the mother’s objections to starting hormone therapy this early; some of the concerns she raises are valid (she’s a shit parent in every other way, but there are drawbacks to be considered), but so are those – physical and psychological - created by a child going through the wrong gender’s puberty (and I think those generally are the greater risk).  But they weave a lot in, and stay true to character on who uses the right name/pronoun and who misgenders Michelle – and the differing motivations behind those in the latter group; some are malicious, some are just thoughtless.  And Provenza is a wonderfully realistic stand-in for a huge segment of the audience that is compassionate but hasn’t really wrapped their minds around gender dysphoria; his one instance of misgendering the victim is in the context of blasting Rios for her “they’ll put the victim on trial” hesitation, when he says he’s just as at sea as her jurors would be; he doesn’t understand “boys who think they’re girls,” but he knows “when a kid has had his head bashed in.”

The actor playing Michelle’s dad does a terrific job in the scene where he realizes his son was the killer; his horror is palpable ("You chased your little sister down and beat her to death with a bat?" is perfectly delivered like he's about to throw up with the overwhelming magnitude of what his son did and that his wife tried to cover it up).  He does a nice job throughout; he’s great during the death notification and in the morgue, and he plays the modern-day support of his daughter – especially as it must navigate his wife’s resistance - well while being equally believable when he relates their bewilderment and denial back when they realized “Michael” was a girl.  One of the strongest of a consistently-solid run of guest appearances on this show; I’d have to look up his name, and I haven’t spotted him in anything else, but this performance sticks with me.

I love Morales’s “And then buried herself?” when Rios suggests suicide. 

And Sharon wiping her eyes when she sees Jack and the kids approaching; more of the "I don't cry in front of other people" connection with Rusty established so subtly early on.

A bit of trivia from a local: many probably know the Hollywood Forever Cemetery movie screenings are a real thing, but, FYI, the studio at which this show was filmed is practically across the street from it.

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7 minutes ago, Bastet said:

D.O.A. and Boys Will Be Boys aired in syndication tonight, the first two of the original three-episode Jack Raydor arc, which I love.  On a show that does a rather cursory job of personal stories – except Rusty’s – they do an impressive job of cluing us in to both why Sharon married him, and why they’ve long only been married on paper (with the extra step of being legally separated).  That’s in large part due to the acting - Mary McDonnell and Tom Berenger (who played a married couple on stage many, many moons ago) give off a believable chemistry as long-estranged spouses with a complicated history - but there are nice tidbits in the writing, too.  We see them when she has his number and is almost always in control of her myriad feelings for him, but we also see the remnants of all that came before.  I eat up every moment of the two of them together for what it shows us about Sharon.

I love them together as well and in those early episodes, I was actually finding myself thinking that I wouldn't mind if Jack really had gotten his act together and they were going to let them make amends. That changed later on, of course, but these episodes are some of my favorites.

7 minutes ago, Bastet said:

And by Taylor not qualifying for Provenza’s friends and family rate for the printer (and refusing to pay at all; we also never in the entire series see Sharon pay for printed pages, because she can just tell squad members what records to pull [and print], and then Provenza makes them pay – her, he never even tries).

I don't know why but I always thought that was a mixture of Provenza accepting/respecting that she's the boss and even Provenza not daring to ask her to pay.

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47 minutes ago, CheshireCat said:

I don't know why but I always thought that was a mixture of Provenza accepting/respecting that she's the boss and even Provenza not daring to ask her to pay.

Yeah, it was one of those things in the background never made a point of, but noticeable.  Taylor is his boss's boss, so there's a thought process by which Provenza would be even less likely to (try to) charge him than her, but Provenza has a familiarity with Taylor he doesn't with Raydor even at the point the printer jar becomes a thing.  And he has levels of resentment mixed into his relationship with him that are stronger than his with her at this point, so he's more likely to get in Taylor's face than hers about something silly like this given the chain of command. 

As time goes on, Provenza respects - and then likes - Sharon, and throughout she's an effective buffer between the squad and Taylor.  So of course he won't ask her for printer change at any point along the way, regardless of personal feelings at the time, because of her position -- meaning she won't be the person to hit "print" on her computer in the first place much of the time because of how she delegates, and even when she is (which we never specifically see, which I love), he'll accept it as a departmental "she's the boss" thing he just won't pursue.  Taylor has his own printer - which they were sending documents to during their downtime - so Provenza will just give him shit all around, even when he's sent something MC-specific (e.g. Boston PD's report on Gilmer).

It's part and parcel of this seemingly random thing - the department printer not working, Provenza being conflicted about his "last person standing" award from his Academy class, and the resulting "I bought us a gift but you have to pay to use it" scenario - happening in one episode, and then carrying through, subtly and amusingly, to the end. 

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I love Sharon dealing with Rusty’s “illness” in Rules of Engagement – her first reaction is concern, but this is also her third rodeo, so she quickly knows not only that he’s faking but exactly why he’s doing it – and tonight I also noticed how funny Jack’s facial expressions are through the whole thing.

I like Jack and Rusty’s plotting, and that even though Jack knows he’s going to pull his usual disappearing act, and on yet another kid this time, he still reins himself in – he doesn’t snap, “Dude, just tell her you’re gay,” he gives Rusty another way to get out of this thing with Kris, and pretends like he’ll see him at home.  Tom Berenger nails that pause and forced joviality when Rusty says he’ll see him later.  For how much this show loves looking at how every.fucking.thing that happens to anyone affects Rusty, I’m surprised they completely skipped over addressing how Rusty, who ignored Sharon’s warning not to get attached because Jack only stays long enough to get what he wants, feels about Jack taking off.

Sharon’s reaction to Jack’s enthusiasm and gratitude when she brings him in as a court-appointed attorney is touching.  Her getting door-slamming frustrated with him in the interview is affecting, too (before that, I love her face when Jack says they can’t ask about donuts).  And I never fail to laugh out loud when Emma asks Sharon if she’s sleeping with him and Sharon responds, “Of course not.  He’s my husband.”  (Of course, in reality, Jack and Emma would have exchanged info and she’d have known his last name, but I let it go.)  It’s a nice bit of humor in the midst of this latest implosion of their relationship.  When Sharon snaps at Jack that he’s the one who takes this relationship for granted is great, but Mary McDonnell absolutely kills it when Sharon comes home and finds that note.  Her face when she turns on the light and sees Jack’s stuff gone, her deep breath when she picks up the note, and then the several emotions in evidence when she rips it up unread – it all tells us it says what it always says, because he’s done this before.  Probably apologizing, and then listing the things that if she’d just do differently, be different, he wouldn’t have to leave.

As I’ve said before, I love this initial Jack arc – all his appearances, but especially this pre-divorce run of episodes – for what it shows us about Sharon.

I also like RoE for Julio telling Rios off – “… and you stop talking to me like I’m your waiter” - but as much as I hate her, I still roll my eyes at Buzz piling on.  Because, you know, Buzz.  (I also love Julio’s snark about Morro Bay being a popular weekend getaway destination for gang members and their families.)  I have to give Emma her first the material witness in one case is your foster son, and now another one is  represented by your husband?! frustration, though.

I also enjoy Provenza’s reliable irritation with Speedy’s Jesus talk; being on the same wavelength, his reactions to all things church never fail to entertain me.  (I love Sharon’s eye roll when Amy reports that Speedy’s parole officer says he found Jesus in jail; I miss this version of Sharon come season five and six, when Duff decides to make her only slightly less Catholic than the Pope, but even that Sharon manipulates her relationship with her priest to conduct an interrogation in the confessional booth, so I can’t complain too much.)  And the “How Stupid Do You Think I Am?” game is funny; my favorite part is Taylor offering to keep track of coincidences and Sharon – on the phone the whole time – handing him a pen to physically do so.

It’s also another one where Amy openly hates an abusive man; I always love that about her, and Sharon – when they have to deal with one of these guys, they only hide their disdain if they have to, strategically; otherwise, it’s on.

The opening sequence is telling on more than one level, for how people raise their kids not to look at "those guys" just in case, but that the woman pumping gas wasn’t, as Provenza lamented, collateral damage in a gang hit – it was a purely personal beef dressed up to look like a gang-on-gang drive-by precisely because the police would bite, hard, on that assumption, but she and the gang members are victims of an entitled white guy.

The Deep End is a heartbreaking case.  When Mr. Torres hears the coach’s name and realizes the confrontation that resulted in his son’s death was inadvertently prompted by him, because he lashed out and told Mateo the truth about being taken off the team, is one thing, but when he realizes the son he thought was an aimless slacker was actually the traumatized victim of sexual abuse, it’s palpable horror, grief, and regret.  And then to find out Frey will suffer zero consequences specific to Matty?  It’s a situation in which it’s not right, of course, but understandable given human nature that he goes vigilante, and that just compounds the tragedy; in a horrible mindset, he makes a choice that only ruins more lives.  His poor wife; she basically loses her son and husband at once.  And Frey’s victims are spared testifying, but they also don’t get to see him officially declared guilty of molestation.  It's all so ugly.

And the other victims coming forward following the deliberate misdirection press release, but being past the statute of limitations – the actors all play the squad’s reaction to their inability to do anything for these victims of a horrible pattern wonderfully.  When they see the guy, obviously young enough to pursue a claim, hesitating in the doorway, and Sharon says not to go get him, he has to choose to do it himself – so good.  His interview is even better.  And Matty’s video?  This episode is a gut punch.

The case also yields another sad moment between Sharon and Rusty, when she again offers therapy and he again resists because of his misconception of who needs it and who doesn’t.  The “thirteen is really young for all that/fifteen is, too” talk is painful, and it's quite telling that in addition to the various perpetrators Rusty rattles off as needing a doctor, he includes Matty, a victim currently on everyone's mind - but not himself.  He still hasn’t grasped the fact the “choices” he made in soliciting to survive were not actual choices; he was an abandoned child, unable to consent, and he’s just as much a victim as someone like Matty, where no money changed hands.

And I like the progress that Rusty lashes out with his “You’re still married to a guy you haven’t lived with for 20 years and you’re giving me break-up advice?” defense, but also immediately recognizes what he’s doing and apologizes without Sharon having to do anything but stare at him.  Sharon telling him the only thing he needs to do beyond applying himself as a student is to be safe and be kind is beautiful.  (And I love that they continue the thread, that she always calls him on when he’s not being kind - both before this, and after, sometimes explicitly referencing this talk.)

Help me, I have to give it up to Rios for a moment in this one, too – her childish antics are annoying 99% of the time, but when she sticks her fingers in her ears and assures “I’m not listening” when Andy realizes she’s following along with his tale of Nicole’s wedding, I laugh.  And I really have to sympathize with her frustration with Provenza figuratively sticking his fingers in his ears, refusing to deal with how the racial angle of this case will inevitably be discussed.  All his “I’m just trying to solve a case” bluster bugs me; if he’s irked by the fact a rich white dude killing an unarmed Latino young man in “defense” will raise some eyebrows, take it up with his fellow boys in blue who declare open season on people of color/excuse the civilians who do the same, not the DDA trying to deal with the fallout of that national reality.

I love that when Sharon learns that Andy is being an ass about his daughter’s wedding, she makes him join her for the rest of the case whenever they have to deal with the victim’s parents – she subtly gives him the perspective check he needs.  And then once he pulls his head out on his own, she offers to go with him as a buffer.  “I like weddings.”  Hee.

There isn’t much else humorous, but I do love Provenza trying to get his suave on with Mrs. Slater before he realizes who she is, and, especially, his hand signals to Buzz to cover the Murder Board and to Rusty to stay out of sight; those gestures are SO Sharon, and I love imagining his reaction would it be pointed out he’s picked up some of her mannerisms.

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I have to agree with you re Tom Berenger's reactions. I think he's a rather underrated actor. I always pay attention to him because my aunt worked with him briefly before he became a "name" actor. 

But the second of the episodes, I won't see until tomorrow evening. I guess METV in your area runs the episodes on the same day, here, it's one on Saturday and one on Sunday. When I read your recaps, I pay more attention to the Sunday episode to see what you saw. I would have like to pay more attention to tonight's episode, but my great nephew was having phone/internet problems and kept bugging me and wanting me to search this or that nonsense or check to see if his email came through. Sorry, I'm still annoyed and venting.

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1 hour ago, Bastet said:

And I never fail to laugh out loud when Emma asks Sharon if she’s sleeping with him and Sharon responds, “Of course not.  He’s my husband.” 

Thanks for the reminder. Even reading about it made me laugh! One of the best lines of the entire show.

1 hour ago, Bastet said:

(Of course, in reality, Jack and Emma would have exchanged info and she’d have known his last name, but I let it go.) 

Maybe Rios figured it's just a coincidence? ;-)

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Rules of Engagement and The Deep End just ran back-to-back here.
Both are intense, and I kind of wish they did run them on different days here.
I wanted to rush to read and comment about the first one, but then the second one kind of wiped out thoughts of everything else.

I rarely cry, but tears streamed down my face during Mateo's YouTube video, and again when his father shot the coach (which I wish he hadn't--but I respect Duff's choice to go there).

Anyway, great recaps, @Bastet
I can only contribute a few other tidbits, so thanks for saving me the time.

In The Deep End, I'm guessing the coach did not consider the media blitz that would follow a white-on-brown shooting, am I right? 
Also, that's what brought it to the doorstep of Major Crimes, right? 
  

18 hours ago, Bastet said:

Sharon telling him the only thing he needs to do beyond applying himself as a student is to be safe and be kind is beautiful. 

I didn't have any parenting classes when I had my kids (beyond real life experiences), but I wish I had just been taught this^^, that you just need to encourage your child to be a good student, be safe, and be kind. Those 3 directives should be printed on appointment cards at obstetricians' offices.
Reading aloud to them doesn't hurt either, and can often impart these three things, fortunately for my 3 now-adult kids.
  

18 hours ago, Bastet said:

[Provenza's] hand signals to Buzz to cover the Murder Board and to Rusty to stay out of sight; those gestures are SO Sharon, and I love imagining his reaction would it be pointed out he’s picked up some of her mannerisms.

Now I'm wondering if this was the director's doing exclusively, or if G. W. Bailey chose to incorporate Mary McDonnell/Sharon's gestures.

Provenza may be my all time favorite character on any show because of his range of subtle emotions and his ever-present trait of not taking anything too seriously--which is what keeps him "safe."

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12 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

In The Deep End, I'm guessing the coach did not consider the media blitz that would follow a white-on-brown shooting, am I right? 
Also, that's what brought it to the doorstep of Major Crimes, right? 

That and him being somewhat famous; remember in The Closer when Brenda admitted to that annoying reporter that Pope determined what was a major crime largely by what cases were going to garner media scrutiny?  Taylor is cut from the same cloth.  Really, it happening in the Palisades would be all they need, kind of like in the "Hanging Chad" episode when Andy said what made it a major crime was being west of the 405 -- in both cases, rich areas -- but the inevitable media blitz upped the ante and had Taylor and Emma so anxious to get out in front of it.

Anyway, Frey wouldn't have had time to consider the media coverage, or much of anything, and he was always going to be in the clear for the shooting because Matty had broken in.  He just had no idea the video existed, so didn't know Matty's accusations would come forward even after his death. 

If Matty hadn't made that video, the squad - who knew something was off with his "I barely remember him" bullshit, but not what - probably never would have found out about the molestation, because Matty never told anyone.  So without knowing that about him (and knowing these predators rarely only do it to one kid), they wouldn't have done their press release routine, meaning it's highly unlikely any other victims would have come forward with only the news of the shooting to prompt them.  Like they said, Matty was a hero.

23 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

Now I'm wondering if this was the director's doing exclusively, or if G. W. Bailey chose to incorporate Mary McDonnell/Sharon's gestures.

Those types of things generally come much more from the actors than the writers or directors; there will be a vague "gesturing" notation in the script and then the actor takes it from there, possibly with input from the director (usually in the form of a "what about ..." suggestion of an alternate way after the first take).

18 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

Maybe Rios figured it's just a coincidence? 😉

Heh.  We actually have to suspend disbelief even beyond the whole "well, Emma and Jack would have exchanged information" thing, because Jack would have disclosed the marriage to his client.  But just like the pesky reality of Emma knowing Jack's name (and inevitably doing the "any relation?" follow-up) would have meant no hilarious "Of course not, he's my husband" scene, Jack disclosing to Speedy when he was just a witness with parole violations would have meant no "we're now holding you on suspicion of murder, and, btw, you should know your attorney is my husband" revelation.  Since I love both scenes, I'm willing to play along.

18 hours ago, friendperidot said:

I have to agree with you re Tom Berenger's reactions. I think he's a rather underrated actor. I always pay attention to him because my aunt worked with him briefly before he became a "name" actor. 

I hadn't really thought about him being underrated, but now that you bring it up I bet a lot of people who mostly think about Jake Taylor from Major League and those action/thriller movies he did wouldn't peg him for someone who studied acting and started out on stage.  (He did get an Oscar nomination for Platoon, but I think that's a bit forgotten.)  I think the movie itself is just okay, but I really liked his performance in Shattered.

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30 minutes ago, Bastet said:

Heh.  We actually have to suspend disbelief even beyond the whole "well, Emma and Jack would have exchanged information" thing, because Jack would have disclosed the marriage to his client

Well, a proper lawyer would have. But this is Jack we're talking about. I find it easy to believe he neglected to do that.

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On 3/3/2019 at 5:27 PM, CheshireCat said:

Well, a proper lawyer would have. But this is Jack we're talking about. I find it easy to believe he neglected to do that.

I don't know.  One of the things I like about the characterization is that Jack is clearly a good attorney, he just keeps blowing up his life by choosing to chase the next big win at a poker table instead.  Like Rusty told him in Internal Affairs, he already had the jackpot - great wife, great kids, successful career.  It just wasn't ever enough for him; I suspect he had this idea in his head that the gambling wasn't actually a problem the way the drinking had been, that one day he'd win really big, and then he wouldn't feel this wanderlust anymore, and finally be ready to settle into "regular" life - with the wife and kids he deluded himself into believing would still be waiting around for him.

Where he trips himself up professionally is where he sees a big prize on the horizon - something like a damages award in a wrongful imprisonment case is equal to a big win at the card table to him - and loses sight in trying to get to it.  Court-appointed representation of witness with parole violations is just a means to an end for him - no high stakes, so no reason to cut corners.  Once he knows Speedy killed Melissa for Browning, and they'll need Speedy's testimony to nail Browning, now the stakes are higher and he can come away having negotiated a great deal for a guy facing murder-for-hire charges.  So it's then that he gets sloppy, with the "you don't even have the missing girl's body yet" slip.

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2 hours ago, Bastet said:

Court-appointed representation of witness with parole violations is just a means to an end for him - no high stakes, so no reason to cut corners. 

But wouldn't he have risked that the client would have requested a new attorney had he revealed that piece of information? And wouldn't that have put him out of a job again?

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1 hour ago, CheshireCat said:

But wouldn't he have risked that the client would have requested a new attorney had he revealed that piece of information?

Technically, but it wasn't much of a risk.  It wasn't a conflict of interest that precluded Jack from undertaking the representation, it was just something that needed to be disclosed so the client was fully informed, and, under the circumstances, it wasn't something likely to give Speedy pause.  Speedy was only a witness at that point, and they just needed to trade away his parole violations for info on what he saw -- low stakes for him, which leads to an easily-waved-away disclosure on Jack's side.  Sure, they're married, but only technically, so since he's not a suspect and this is all a formality, it's far better to go with a court-appointed attorney willing to do it - since no PDs were available - than wait around for another one.  Once he became a suspect (in Melissa's death), that's when things changed.

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46 minutes ago, Bastet said:

Sure, they're married, but only technically, so since he's not a suspect and this is all a formality, it's far better to go with a court-appointed attorney willing to do it - since no PDs were available - than wait around for another one. 

Thanks, that was very informative. But couldn't this also work as an argument for why Jack didn't do it? He didn't expect it to become an issue and expected the case to be over with quickly.

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13 minutes ago, CheshireCat said:

Thanks, that was very informative. But couldn't this also work as an argument for why Jack didn't do it? He didn't expect it to become an issue and expected the case to be over with quickly.

Sure, it's possible, but he's going to introduce himself to his client as Jack Raydor and have Sharon walk in and introduce herself as Captain Raydor, so the easiest thing to do - since this is largely a non-issue to begin with - is say, "I'm Jack Raydor, and I've been assigned as your court-appointed attorney.  You need to know the investigator in charge of this case is my estranged wife, but she just wants to question you as a witness and she has the DA's office willing to overlook your parole violations if you answer a list of questions I've reviewed and approved.  The judge has no issue with my representing you; do you?"  If Speedy does have any hesitations, then he can explain the delay that will ensue.  Whether one step or two, he is almost certain to get his client's consent to proceed, so it's a routine procedure he has no reason to skip -- from a standard logistical standpoint, or from a character-specific standpoint of when Jack cuts corners/otherwise trips himself up and when he doesn't.

So, like I said, in real life, Speedy would have already known.  But then we couldn't have had that scene where Sharon outs him, knowing that will leave Speedy unrepresented, step one in her plan to coax him to revoke his right to counsel and tell her what she needs to know.  And, just like in real life Rios would have known before she did but following that would have meant losing the fabulous "are you sleeping with this man?/of course not, he's my husband" scene, I am totally fine with overlooking reality in this case.

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If the current schedule of 2 per week continues, close to the weekend of May 11-12, 3.8 "Cutting Loose" should air, guest starring Luke Perry.
All of the countless in memoriam comments I have read about him in the last few hours since his death indicate that he was a kind and generous human being--nothing like the character he played in the "Cutting Loose" episode--which makes sense given how much he seemed to enjoy making the egotistical character look silly.

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3 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

All of the countless in memoriam comments I have read about him in the last few hours since his death indicate that he was a kind and generous human being--nothing like the character he played in the "Cutting Loose" episode--which makes sense given how much he seemed to enjoy making the egotistical character look silly.

Mary McDonnell tweeted her "tremendous sadness and shock," saying Perry was one of a kind and they loved him on Major Crimes

I rave about that episode every time it's on, because it's hilarious; a big part of that is the obvious fun Perry has with his character.  (Also that Kiki is a spot on representation of the celebrity assistant.)  And I love that Jon Worth is not a buffoon; he's in his bubble of fame and fortune, but he's a nice guy who treats people with respect.  Perry plays the character perfectly, and is clearly having a blast doing it.  It all comes together very well.  And, knowing Perry's nice "normal" guy reputation, I always thought Mike's comment to Rusty about how Jonny - such a big hit with many of the adults, yet completely unknown to Rusty - was a big star when he was young, kept working, and now he's doing a cop show, because he loves the work, meant they cast the perfect person in the role.

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This NY Times "pick" comment (by someone who worked with Luke Perry when he was on Major Crimes) might not display from the provided link if you are on some devices, so I'll just paste the text below [nyti.ms/2XHl80X#permid=30911415 ]:

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I saw the first episode of 90210 on a Sunday afternoon in my native Switzerland while home sick. I was probably around 14 or something back in the early 90's when it aired on the national Swiss station. I became hooked right away. I would collect magazine clippings of the show's actors, I too would tape the show on VHS like you did and rewatch my favorite ones over and over. To me there was this unatainalbe dream of America and California. I had no idea that a quarter of a century later, I would end up in Hollywood, working in television and meet Mr Perry when he guest starred on an episode of Major Crimes. He was a wonderful human being and will be greatly missed.

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I was out last night, but didn't want to get out of bed this "morning" (late night + time change means it's still morning in my book), so watched the syndicated episodes on DVD:

It’s not as sad as watching “Cutting Loose” will be, since Luke Perry’s death is recent and he died too young, but it’s a bit sad watching “There’s No Place Like Home” now, with Doris Roberts and Ron Glass both dead and Tim Conway in such horrible condition he’d be better off that way. 

As I complain every time this airs, the fundamental premise – that the Prognosis Homicide gang inherit the complex upon the evil landlord’s death – is just plain wrong.  The original owner, their friend Norman Dagby, left it to them in his will, but that will was successfully challenged by the nephew, Ed Dagby.  Norman wanted the tenants to inherit his property, yes, but he didn’t draft his will properly and Ed was able to successfully contest it (whether he’d have actually succeeded is another matter, but the fact is the probate court within the show ruled in his favor).  That is a long-done deal at the time the episode opens, and Ed’s death means the property now passes to his heir (either by will or the laws of intestate succession).  The Lost Horizons/La Shangra-La residents have the separately-contracted life tenancy rights they always had (why Ed was trying to make them all miserable enough to leave, since he couldn’t evict them), but that’s it; they have no ownership rights.  

Yet even though in one breath the squad and Andrea properly talk about it as who would have inherited the property upon Norman’s death had the will not been invalidated (and even say the nephew got the property upon challenging the will based on its wording), in the next few breaths they talk about it as who does inherit the property now upon Ed’s death.  Which is completely wrong, and bugs the shit out of me.  Not enough to ruin the episode, mind you, because it’s bloody hilarious, but enough to make me channel that lady in the commercial and holler, “That’s not how it works.  That’s not how any of this works!” at the TV.

My only other gripe is a minor one, that if Vera’s vision is so awful she can’t tell the difference between Julio and Andy without her glasses, and Provenza’s is good enough that he only needs glasses to shoot, her prescription would be way too strong for him and he wouldn’t be able to see out of her glasses.  But, I’ll let it go, because the sight of him at the firing range with those bedazzled glasses – complete with evidence tag (not that they’d have been booked into Evidence to begin with) – is not to be missed. 

Actually, there’s another minor quibble – they can’t just volunteer to be judges for the Emmy awards.  They have to qualify to be members of the Television Academy, and the qualifying work has to have occurred fairly recently (five years or so); theirs was all probably well before that.

Oh, I do have one more, but this one is a really minor nitpick – they use a take in which Mary McDonnell screws up and says “Immigrations and Custom Enforcement” (instead of the S being on Customs, not Immigration) and it distracts me every time. 

But, despite those things, I find it delightful.  Morales is extra fun in this episode, with his fig leaf drawing covering the victim’s private parts, his subtitled American TV in Uruguay memories (I love even more Andrea calling him Señor Quincy), and his delight when he’s the one who uncovers the prior 911 call, proving the residents knew about his nut allergy.  That last one is particularly fun in hindsight, knowing how he's led his dad to believe he's very much a part of - in fact, largely in charge of - the detectives.

And, of course, there are everyone’s reactions to the karaoke (I love Sharon’s “Noooo,” but her fluttering hands telling Buzz to turn it off are even better – I love when she gets flustered like that, because she usually keeps it together for the big things and it’s occasionally the unexpected little things that she doesn’t bother trying to control her reaction to, and those awkward turtle reactions are the definition of "adorkable"), and to the group of suspects, first in the precinct and then in the courtroom (especially Andrea’s and Judge Richwood’s).  Also Andrea’s reaction to the knock-off designer bags; I think they’re ugly as hell, but watching her drool over them is fun.  And everything Paul McCrane does as Agent Evans/Scarface; he plays clueless slimeball so well.  Plus the firing range guy’s “he must have had a good, long career” when Provenza says the recently-retired Jerry had been scoring his targets since he made lieutenant.  There are far too many funny moments to list.

“Backfire” is probably the episode in which Rusty’s ongoing presence in the Murder Room annoys me the most.  Rulebook Raydor allowing him to be the squad mascot is something I mostly overlook (lest I be ticked off every episode), but I can’t in this one.  He is there during a classified briefing by the FBI – and later shares information from that briefing with Kris!

I also don’t particularly care for the Rios/Judge Grove stuff in this one, but I love that we are introduced to Judge Grove.  I love how cranky he is.  His perpetual irritation with Rusty, despite being friends with Sharon, is something I absolutely love when we get to the vlog storyline.

And this episode includes one of my favorite scenes, when Taylor says, “Chief Johnson could have found a way around this.”  I love that, initially, everyone other than Sharon just looks awkward - and away - but then Andy literally takes position at Sharon’s back and says, “She would have, but then we would be back defending ourselves in court.”  At this point Provenza – who was just moments ago irritated by Sharon’s “Look, either the rules work or they don’t” stance – chimes in, because he’s far more disgruntled with Taylor than her.  And then Sharon has her say, which is when I really get giddy (as does Julio; I love his smirk at this).  I love her calmly saying that Brenda never would have reported to Taylor and, oh, by the way, she has a plan.

Sharon’s handling of Taylor is great throughout, as is how she deals with the FBI agent; I especially love when he first walks in and she shakes his hand, then holds onto him to turn him around like he’s in front of the class, asking, “Does anyone here have any questions for Special Agent Shaw?”  And I love the ruse they pull with the phone and car keys to get Goss to spill his guts in exchange for a deal far worse than the one they initially offered; this is very good episode for showing Sharon’s leadership and the squad’s teamwork (even though it's also a big anvil of "This is just like Rusty, get it?  GET IT?!  Really, you must get it, so if not, here's some more").

I also like when Mike agrees with Sharon (about their not yet having probable cause re. Cory Stark), which irritates Provenza, so Mike just turns on classical music in the car and ignores him.  (And, of course, I love, Sharon’s “Mike’s right, and because I know you hate hearing me go on about the rules, I’m hanging up.”)  When she does, indeed, find a way to get the information about Cory and the car in a usable way and calls Provenza to tell him it’s now a go, he answers his phone with “Joe’s Pizza.”  Ha!

While Morales is always enjoyable as the guy with a dry sense of humor, I really like that in this one he’s quite affronted by the victim’s body scan, feeling like Sharon is challenging his autopsy findings.  It’s a natural reaction, and one he discards the second the tracking device shows up, so it’s nice to see that different dynamic at play.

Sharon’s “If you hang out with criminals, you are eventually going to become a witness, a suspect, or a victim” is spot on, and a lesson many people (including some professional athletes who get themselves into trouble by maintaining old ties) would do well to learn.

Edited by Bastet

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There's No Place Like Home:

16 hours ago, Bastet said:

it’s a bit sad watching “There’s No Place Like Home” now, with Doris Roberts and Ron Glass both dead and Tim Conway in such horrible condition he’d be better off that way. 

I didn't know about Tim Conway's state; my mom's is different but at least as bad.
Anyway, I loved seeing Ron Glass in this role, being able to play a most likely gay character, and just being his always charming self.
  
  

16 hours ago, Bastet said:

if Vera’s vision is so awful she can’t tell the difference between Julio and Andy without her glasses, and Provenza’s is good enough that he only needs glasses to shoot, her prescription would be way too strong for him and he wouldn’t be able to see out of her glasses. 

I had totally missed the problems with the inheritance part of the plot, but the eyeglass prescription problem jumped out at me both times I saw this, but for different reasons than what you thought. My problem was that both Vera and Provenza needed the glasses to see distance clearly, but almost always focus problems that occur later in life are with near distance, not far—so Provenza would not have developed nearsightedness recently. It wouldn't bother me that Vera's prescription was too strong for Provenza, but that is based only on personal experience. 
  
  

16 hours ago, Bastet said:

[Morales'] subtitled American TV in Uruguay memories (I love even more Andrea calling him Señor Quincy),

Yes, loved this and the karaoke. 
  
  

Backfire:
This episode is polar opposite in tone to the previous one, in that this one is very dark. 
There's an interesting parallel between the young FBI agent who was seemingly smitten by the young prostitute/victim, and then there's Kris, who is smitten with Rusty. 
I actually shed a tear at the end, although I found the actress who played Kris to be barely adequate, and was surprised to see that she has garnered multi-episode arcs in other shows since then. I haven't seen any of those performances, so I don't know if she improves.

Anyway, I think my emotional reaction was more due to other real life situations than any great writing or acting in this episode.
I agree that the better parts are Sharon's handling of the young FBI agent and Taylor.

Edited by shapeshifter

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On 3/10/2019 at 10:27 PM, shapeshifter said:

although I found the actress who played Kris to be barely adequate

Heh.  I found her quite passable until that episode called on her to summon up the emotion of Rusty telling her about the threatening letters and saying they have to stay away from each other, at which point her tearful retreat was pretty bad.

It's kind of cute that she and Graham Patrick Martin both come from Louisiana - I don't use social media, but a friend once forwarded me a picture one of them had posted of the characters, tagged to the other, captioned something like, "Two swamp kids on an L.A. cop show."

Switching to the episodes in syndication tonight, I love “Poster Boy” for opening with a killer taking a break from cutting off his victim’s head to gab on the phone with his grandma and closing with Sharon telling Rusty she loves him for the first time.  Such things existing within the same episode is one of the show’s strengths.

The facial expressions going on when Sharon holds out the handful of letters and Rusty realizes what’s at stake are every bit as powerful as the, “Whatever happens next, know I love you” line.  That they may lose each other is devastatingly conveyed, and that’s just as big a development in their story as her giving voice to her feelings.

The case is a good one, too.  I won’t go so far as to say this makes all of Emma’s childish crime scene antics worth it, but her realization she’s been sitting on a couch containing a dead body and Amy’s “Do not. Scream” admonishment in response is a wonderful moment.

Brandon's sweet relationship with his grandma is interesting juxtaposed with his twisted brutality; he is not taking advantage of her – he talks to her all the time because he loves her and she’s the only one interested in his life, not to get stuff out of her, because while she gave him things to make his journey west, he also tells her not to when she wants to send him money.  It seems to all be of her own volition.  I like his “Hey, Grandma, when did you learn to use FaceTime?” and immediately worrying that something happened to her for the police to have her phone.

His remorse at killing Raquel is another one.  And, speaking of poor Raquel, her friend brings out my inner old lady, because if she'd called Raquel to say, “FYI, that guy you’re in bed with is a serial killer,” instead of communicating that electronically, Raquel might be alive (he didn’t intend to kill her, just steal her stuff). 

It always amuses me that Julio has apparently memorized the entire Bible, because whenever they come across a reference to Bible verse – or what they think refers to a Bible verse – he can rattle off what that verse says.

It also, as owner of a flip phone, amuses me that Caitlyn has one.  There’s no cell reception at her apartment, so she has a landline, and for when she needs/wants a phone while out and about, she just uses a basic cell phone.  And she’s young.  It tickles me.

My favorite moment in “Pick Your Poison” is when Sharon, Amy, and Emma turn in unison towards Dr. Morales and he asks, “What is this, Charlie’s Angels?”  I love the way they look down at themselves and each other to recognize the pose they’re in.  I also like that the next time he summons them into the room, he does so by calling, “Angels?”  Hee.  I love Morales.  (And they turn in unison again; it’s a great sight gag.)

But I don’t, well, buy that he, working so closely with the LAPD, wouldn’t know they call their narcs “buy guys.”  The confusion works with Rusty, but not with him.

And, speaking of the buy guy, this is another example of their appreciated (by me, anyway) habit of re-using common names like in real life, but usually avoided on TV -- the narc is Officer Cooper, and we will soon meet Lieutenant Cooper.

The little background touches add up in good shows, and I like that when Amy starts to leave and the teacher calls her back to tell her about the fight between the younger brother and the obnoxious drug dealer, we can see a bunch of students walking by in the background as Amy opens the classroom door – the bell had just rung less than a minute before, so kids would be heading from one class to another.

Also that Rusty’s protective detail is consistently seen in the background during his scenes.

The episode manages to makes me laugh in the midst of realizing this poor kid was a sexual victim of his teacher, when Mike is doing his usual over-explanation, this time of the position that would lead to the placement of the teacher’s fingerprints on the student’s headboard.  I love when Sharon cuts him off with, “I get the picture,” just as he really gets into demonstrating.

I also chuckle at the obnoxious drug dealer saying they like to party at Grandma Pushkin’s house because she’s “like, deaf – and asleep after Jeopardy! [which airs at 7:00 here in L.A.].”

Sharon slipping up and referring to herself as Rusty’s mother is wonderful, especially for how she catches herself and how Taylor responds, because we don’t often see the fact he's a dad, but that’s how he responds here – as another parent.  My favorite part of the Sharon/Rusty storyline in this episode is how she calls his bluff when he threatens to go to boarding school if she won’t let him see the new letters, but a very close second is when she makes being evaluated by a therapist a condition of Option Three and Rusty responds, “What is it with you and the mental health industry?”  And I love that she’s still not forcing therapy on him; this is just an evaluation.

I also like when Rusty tells Taylor and Provenza “You already know my decision” when they give him Options One and Two and tell him to think on them and answer tomorrow – he’s been a right royal shit about the protective detail in the month between last episode and this, and he’ll continue to hate living as a prisoner until trial even though he’s the witness, not the criminal, but he’s not leaving Sharon.

And, of course, Rusty reciprocating Sharon’s “I love you.”  It seems it took him this whole month to say it, and I like that for its realistic characterization.

Edited by Bastet
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And, speaking of the buy guy, this is another example of their appreciated (by me, anyway) habit of re-using common names like in real life, but usually avoided on TV -- the narc is Officer Cooper, and we will soon meet Lieutenant Cooper.

that's one of the things I like about NYPD Blue, there were at least 4 Johns, Kelly, Irwin and Clarks, Sr. and Jr. And 3 of them were on the show at the same time. It happens in real life all the time, in my early working days, my first name was the second most popular female name in the agency, Mary was the first by a big lead. No one seems to name baby girls Mary any more. 

I was distracted tonight and didn't pay as much attention to the first episode you recapped, maybe when the second one airs tomorrow night I won't be as distracted. But, I thought I remembered that Rusty is the one that wrote the letters or am I remembering wrong and he was only suspected of writing the letters. It's been a while since I've seen these episodes. But I do love when he finally starts seeing Dr. Joe, who was John Irwin on NYPD Blue, my favorite character on that show.

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