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13 hours ago, friendperidot said:

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.

No, Wade Weller wrote the letters, at Stroh's blackmailing behest (because Stroh knew what Weller had done to about half a dozen young victims), as is revealed in the two-part Return to Sender that ends season two.  Emma, after the first letter, asked Rusty to provide a print and cursive writing sample, so as to rule him out in advance of any defense objection, but that's the only reference to the (false) idea of Rusty writing them himself. 

The only thing Rusty does wrong re. the letters is fail to disclose the receipt of subsequent notes, which are increasingly threatening.

And once on the stand in the preliminary hearing in the Stroh trial - a hearing precipitated by these threats on Rusty's life (a defendant has the right to confront her/his accuser, so Rusty's statements/depositions would be inadmissible if he croaked before trial, without proving he'd been killed as a witness to prevent him testifying; his testimony being cross-examined in a preliminary hearing will mean it's admissible no matter what happens) - Rusty nails Linda Rothman (Stroh's attorney) to the wall at her own game, a fabulous scene to which even she reacts with "well played" facial expression.  So the letters wind up coming to a great conclusion.

Edited by Bastet

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thank you, I said I might be misremembering, and even as I said that about Rusty writing the letters, there was something twinging in the back of my mind, but it's been a couple of years and I'm getting older. Was this Weller person the one who worked at the boys group home and had killed a couple and a sofa cover was involved? I'm fuzzy on this too, so I guess it's a good thing that the stories are coming around again, because it's almost like watching for the first time. lol.

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3 hours ago, friendperidot said:

Was this Weller person the one who worked at the boys group home and had killed a couple and a sofa cover was involved? I'm fuzzy on this too, so I guess it's a good thing that the stories are coming around again, because it's almost like watching for the first time. lol.

Aging is fun, isn't it?  Yes, your memory is correct on who Weller is (and that there were sofa covers involved - it's what he wrapped the bodies in).  There are five more episodes to go before the two-episode season finale with Weller.  (Which means they may not air in my market; sometimes where a two-part episode would be split over two weekends like that, the station just skips both of them and goes on to the next one.)

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Rewatching “Pick Your Poison” I noticed in the first scene with the young teacher that her skirt is way too short for a woman working in a high school. Heck, I work with undergraduate college students and, even though I'm now their grandmas' age, I make sure the shape of my boobs is not discernible. Young men do not need any distractions when they are supposed to be absorbing often boring course work.

16 hours ago, friendperidot said:

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.

Rusty may have been suspected of writing the letters
(I don't recall; it might have just been posters who suspected rather than characters in the show, but if any characters suspected, my first guess is Rios),
but no, Rusty did NOT write the letters.

17 hours ago, Bastet said:

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.

I missed the previous episode this time, so, for purposes of watching random reruns, it might have been more effective to have the "I love you" in the same episode.
Nevertheless, they pulled it off believably and touchingly, mostly because of Mary M's emoting and good camera work and editing and directing (seeing her expressions through the office window as she looks in Rusty's departing direction).   

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Andy yelling, “Hey, guys, we’ve got a body!” at the beginning of “Jailbait” always cracks me up, because that’s a crowded area and it’s generally not a good idea to call attention to an unsecured crime scene like that.

That case exposes interesting family dynamics, with the mother in denial about Eric Riley and the father so far on the other end he kills his own son rather than alerting the authorities Eric violated his parole and is on the brink of re-offending!  (And then the sister is in the middle, calling Eric what he is and pissed at the ways his crimes affect her life, but horrified by the notion their dad killed him.)

The case also showcases how much the squad has come to think like Sharon, with them anticipating defense objections and behaving accordingly.

My favorite part of the episode, though, is the introduction of Dr. Joe.  I used to watch NYPD Blue for several seasons because other people in my house had it on, but I never liked it – except for “Gay John,” Bill Brochtrup’s character.  Him, I loved.  So I was excited to see him turn up as Dr. Joe, and went on to indeed love that character too (and get a kick out of Sharon thinking Rusty was going to ask for a gay therapist, finding out he wanted a chess player, and winding up picking one who’s both).

Tied into his introduction is the way Sharon gets Rusty more comfortable with the very notion of a therapist, even just in terms of an evaluation, by talking about how those who are “emotionally injured,” not just those who are mentally ill, can be helped by a doctor; it's a brilliant first step.  In fact, one of the best of her many great moves with him. 

A very close second-favorite aspect is tipsy Dr. Morales; he’s a hoot, with his “nah, I’ll just repeat the tests tomorrow” hand-waving of Sharon’s concern.

I also love Julio’s “Oh, yeah, because all us L.A. Latinos know each other, right, Flynn?” response to Andy asking if he knows Manny Diaz - it's perfectly delivered - but why does Andy ask if he knows him; I know it turns out Julio does, but being married to his sister’s best friend from high school doesn’t seem like something that would be indicated by anything on the personnel page Andy was looking at.  I guess, since Julio still lives in his old neighborhood, Diaz and the sister’s best friend could have settled there, too, and Andy recognizes the home address as being near Julio’s.

It took me a couple of viewings to notice Buzz and Mike running into each other while trying to get Sharon’s attention about the license plate captures, and ever since I can’t see anything else in that scene and it makes me laugh.

As does Provenza gesturing for Andrea to get off his desk (I believe Sharon is the only one who ever got away with it), putting those wind-up chattering teeth in her vacated spot, and getting A Look from Sharon.

“All In” is a good Andy episode; it’s great to learn he’s going to therapy to aid his ongoing relationship rebuilding with his family.  We can look back on his cleanses and crazy exercises and realize that would have coincided with the time they’d started planning Nicole’s wedding, and see there’s an overall internal push to finally grow up in general beginning then.  It seems finding out his “little girl” was about to have a family of her own made him keenly aware of the passage of time and made him get serious about his life outside of his job; getting sober wasn't enough of a change.  It’s playing out at a nice pace.

Andy hoping to be invited to spend Christmas, rather than just come by after dinner, is particularly poignant remembering the “Living Proof” two-part episode of The Closer, where he’d finally been asked to be part of the family’s Christmas again, and then had to cancel because of work.  So he's been in a bit of stasis.

And his growth continues to provide Provenza with an opportunity to be supportive – in the midst of being annoyed and sarcastic.  I love him answering, “No, he’s depressing” when Sharon asks “What’s wrong with Andy, is he depressed?”  (I also love Andy answering, “I don’t know, force of habit?” when Provenza asks him why he lied to his ex-wife.)  I adore their friendship.

Rusty full-body flopping onto the couch and, with his face buried in the pillow, complaining about the psych evaluation is absolutely hilarious in its typical teenage tantrum.  Which is why I love Sharon’s attitude throughout the whole thing – she reassures him about the confidentiality, but she also keeps her eyes on her computer almost the whole time and scoffs at him for his dramatics.  She even rolls her eyes, and Sharon does the best eye rolls.  I have to give Rusty points for answering whether he’s thought about what he wants to be when he grows up with, “A witness, obviously, because this trial is going to last the rest of my life.”  The wheels of justice turn quickly on TV, and I like that the Stroh case keeps to a realistic timeline and shows what that is like for a material witness.  But the rest of the scene is all Sharon for the win.

It used to bug me that there are only six dwarf names, but I’ve decided that Provenza declaring Doc to be Grumpy Doc after dealing with him fulfills the seventh slot.  (Of course, there’s the whole “not Techy, Scammy” thing which would also bring us to seven, or eight altogether, but I like Provenza’s route better; either way, I withdraw my peeve.)

I didn’t notice until tonight that as they enter Limpy’s home, Provenza realizes he doesn’t have his glasses – the ones he’s newly aware he needs to wear when he may need to shoot – on and quickly fumbles for them.  Great touch that I’m embarrassed to have let slip by me for so long. 

This one only took me a couple of viewings:  I absolutely love Mike’s facial expressions when Techy explains his various apps; he’s positively giddy about the mutual fund one.

Last random note: I don’t know how much Greg LaVoi (wardrobe supervisor) planned this, but he’s very deliberate, so it may have indeed become a thing; at any rate, it’s amusing to me that Sharon is wearing the same blazer – completely different outfit each time, but same blazer – when she offers to go to Nicole’s wedding with Andy, when in this episode he asks her to go to The Nutcracker with him and she agrees even knowing there is something else going on he doesn’t want to disclose, and when he asks her out for their first date in season four.

Edited by Bastet
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Re Jailbait:

15 hours ago, Bastet said:

It took me a couple of viewings to notice Buzz and Mike running into each other while trying to get Sharon’s attention about the license plate captures, and ever since I can’t see anything else in that scene and it makes me laugh.

Crap. I missed that. I guess I'll have to be sure to watch this when it airs again. 😉
--especially for, as you mentioned, @Bastet, the great scenes between Sharon and Rusty and between Dr. Joe and Rusty.

But what really distracted me during this viewing was that I now recognized the girl in the email picture as the female lead (Janine Mason) of the newly reimangined series Roswell, New Mexico.  
I always thought the line when we first see her picture that she looked "so young" was really not true--that they should have cast a younger looking actress. 
Both Janine Mason and 
Graham Patrick Martin were in their early 20s when this episode was filmed, but when GPM sits opposite Bill Brochtrup (Dr. Joe), GPM really does look like a vulnerable teen. 

This was the first time I really appreciated the last scene with Deputy Manny Diaz (Esai Morales) when he said he actually might welcome a trial for attempted murder because it would "let people judge whether Eric Riley was a victim or not." 

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7 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

But what really distracted me during this viewing was that I now recognized the girl in the email picture as the female lead (Janine Mason) of the newly reimangined series Roswell, New Mexico
I always thought the line when we first see her picture that she looked "so young" was really not true--that they should have cast a younger looking actress.  

A little while back, I saw a commercial for some show (which must be that one), recognized one of the actors, and after thinking a few moments, said, "Oh, that's the girl from the Esai Morales episode of Major Crimes." 

I think she looks young enough (for TV) in her regular scenes, and in that picture she looks to me like a young woman badly attempting to look older and sexier.  So I don't have a problem with the casting, but I do agree the "She looks so young" line is odd.  Maybe just in comparison to Eric Riley?

Did Manny have her pose for that picture and take it himself?  If so, it's kind of creepy imagining him directing her what to wear and how to pose. 

7 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Both Janine Mason and Graham Patrick Martin were in their early 20s when this episode was filmed, but when GPM sits opposite Bill Brochtrup (Dr. Joe), GPM really does look like a vulnerable teen. 

Graham Patrick Martin looking younger than his age, and in fact younger than Rusty's age, leads to some pretty funny lines as the series goes on.  Especially in season four, when he's running around proclaiming himself a journalist, and people keep raising an eyebrow and asking how old he is.  And in season five, when he says he doesn't look his age, and maybe he should grow a goatee (I think; some sort of facial hair) -- Andy asks him how long that would take, and Rusty says probably two years if he started now.

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On 3/24/2019 at 12:04 AM, Bastet said:

And his growth continues to provide Provenza with an opportunity to be supportive – in the midst of being annoyed and sarcastic.  I love him answering, “No, he’s depressing” when Sharon asks “What’s wrong with Andy, is he depressed?”  (I also love Andy answering, “I don’t know, force of habit?” when Provenza asks him why he lied to his ex-wife.)  I adore their friendship.

Rusty full-body flopping onto the couch and, with his face buried in the pillow, complaining about the psych evaluation is absolutely hilarious in its typical teenage tantrum.  Which is why I love Sharon’s attitude throughout the whole thing – she reassures him about the confidentiality, but she also keeps her eyes on her computer almost the whole time and scoffs at him for his dramatics.  She even rolls her eyes, and Sharon does the best eye rolls.  I have to give Rusty points for answering whether he’s thought about what he wants to be when he grows up with, “A witness, obviously, because this trial is going to last the rest of my life.”  The wheels of justice turn quickly on TV, and I like that the Stroh case keeps to a realistic timeline and shows what that is like for a material witness.  But the rest of the scene is all Sharon for the win.

Provenza and Flynn are always comedy gold. Love them so much.

And I know there's always been a lot of Rusty hate, but him flopping on the couch is why I love him. When the series was new, Rusty and my own offspring were about the same age, and I lived with teenage tantrums for years. The doorslamming, the flopping on couch, the whining, the everything's about me attitude, and Rusty was just as irritating so I found it very realistic lol. 

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3 hours ago, mammaM said:

Provenza and Flynn are always comedy gold. Love them so much.

I love them as the old married couple of the group (who, as Tony Denison said, love each other dearly but are always on each other's nerves) because the bickering his hilarious, and even though, as Provenza told Sykes, they have not stayed friends all these years by talking about their feelings, they do support each other.  When Andy won't take hypertension medication and is focused on natural methods, primarily reducing his stress, in order to control his blood pressure, Provenza gives him all manner of shit about the cleanses and walking like a clown, but also runs interference to try to reduce his stress.  When Provenza is concerned about dating Patrice, he uses it as an opportunity to further needle Andy about "dating" Sharon, but also to ask for advice, and Andy tells him it's apples to oranges, but then, even though he's snapping at him as he does it, he counsels that you don't deny a relationship that's going well its future because you've screwed up in the past.

3 hours ago, mammaM said:

The doorslamming, the flopping on couch, the whining, the everything's about me attitude, and Rusty was just as irritating so I found it very realistic lol. 

I love the end of the first episode when Sharon takes Rusty home, and tells him that he's not the only adolescent to have graced her with his presence, and, having raised two teenagers herself, she has tremendous capacity for ingratitude.  Ha!  She'd already done the terrible teen thing twice, so she was a lot of fun dealing with those typical aspects of him, and then she was also incredibly touching dealing with his atypical circumstances and resulting issues.

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Heads up for anyone else who watches the syndicated episodes in Los Angeles - because ch. 13 is airing tonight's Angels game, the episodes will air at 3:00 and 4:00 this afternoon instead.  I'm glad I checked! 

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I remember watching “Curve Ball” for the first time.  When it opened with jaunty Christmas music and a Venice Beach Christmas tree, I got giddy, and when I realized Provenza had dragged Andy to a head shop, I practically drooled – Christmas episodes and Flynn-Provenza capers are two of my favorite things in the franchise, so add them together and … bliss.

I love that, while Provenza is the reason they were there in the first place, the reason they wind up with jurisdiction over a murder is that Andy can’t just do the “I’m off-duty, let patrol handle it” routine, he has to check to make sure no one is hurt.  We see it again with the return of Dick Tracy – Andy refuses Provenza’s order to drive away, because there may actually be something wrong.

Sharon smacking Andy on the arm with the folder is right up there with her poking Julio with the clipboard at the beginning of the season.  I love when she does stuff like that when she's annoyed.

Even better is when she tries to get information out of Dr. Joe; her face when it doesn’t work is fabulous – that forced smile that falls as soon as he’s out the door.  And I love her little it might work shrug as she heads into her office in the first place.  And of course I love Dr. Joe shutting her down so perfectly. 

Rusty’s conflicting feelings at this stage regarding the two Sharons in his life are quite touching, and I’m glad he has Dr. Joe to give him food for thought.  He still misses his mom, and feels guilty enjoying his life with Sharon, but he’s confronting just how bad it was with his mom for years, not just at the end with Gary, and he no longer knows what he’d do if she came back for him.

Mike being suspicious because Hunt arrived in town the morning after his father’s murder is rather misplaced, given the timing – plenty of people’s family members (including Amy's) just arrived, for, duh, Christmas.  But I love his reaction when Hunt says helping his dad set up his Cloudsaver account was a 40-minute conversation.

Hunt is a good character, and well performed.  Especially when he realizes the last thing his dad was watching was home movies of Christmases past.  I like the little pat of comfort Sharon gives him when he’s relieved she suggests pulling up the most-recently-created file instead.  I also really like how the actor plays Hunt’s reaction to the fact Cassie and Rory will be reunited; his dad made this happen, but he died for it, and that’s telegraphed so clearly.

Rory is a sympathetic character, too – his head is going to be messed up for quite some time to come – and I like that he’s also a typical snotty teenager.

The only thing that bugs me about this episode is casting the kid version of Rory with a straight-haired actor and the teen version with a curly-haired actor.  Natural curl is noticeable (so it’s not as he perms his hair as part of looking different in his new identity), so it’s distracting for him to have fine stick-straight hair as a kid and a thick head of curls as a teen.

I have a hard time watching the asshole congressperson in “Risk Assessment,” because I have never hated a non-rapist/non-murderer character more on this show (and I’ve liked quite a few of the killers a hell of a lot better than him).  I like everyone’s reactions to him – like in Electronics when he does his “those people” routine and then opens up his Racist’s Handbook to quote the “I’m sorry if I was misunderstood” apology when called on it – but, holy crap, I find myself filled with rage whenever he’s on the screen.

I mean, I love Sharon trying to get the pissing contest going on in Taylor’s office redirected; it's an interesting dynamic with just one woman in the room, especially one whose leadership style combines "feminine" and "masculine" traits.  And Taylor saying, “You want to make this about race?  Here we have two white guys who withheld vital information from a black supervisor.” But then Congressman Asshole walks in and opens his mouth, and my blood pressure spikes about 60 seconds later.  Which is what continues to happen throughout the episode.

But it has another funny Christmas opening – I love one of the rug dudes telling the other the police will think they killed this guy because their DNA is on it, and we cut to Julio asking, “So why did you kill this guy?”  And then Provenza telling them bah humbug, they have to get drunk somewhere else, when they protest that their Christmas party is tonight.

My best laugh comes courtesy of the smirk on Julio’s face when the gang member in the interview room asks, “Do you think I’m stupid?” and Julio responds, “We are sitting here, aren’t we?”

And, while I don’t like Buzz, I do laugh – and maybe cheer - when he says Rusty expects them to be fascinated by his life, but doesn’t take any interest in other people.  I excuse the obvious set-up for exposition, because I love learning everyone's backstory on becoming a cop.  They’re all perfectly suited to the characters, especially Sharon’s (she would have made a great lawyer, and why she didn’t wind up becoming one is a familiar story to women, especially women of her generation), Julio’s (I love the avenging his cat’s death addition to the usual grew up in gang territory and wanted to make it better story), and Andy’s (troublemaker deciding it would be more fun to put people in jail than wind up there absolutely works for young Flynn -- and I love that Provenza has obviously heard this story many times).

The other big thing I love about this episode is how Robert Keller’s actions in the community are treated – he had good intentions, but zero understanding of the reality he was inserting himself into, and his White Savior attempts only made things worse.  He effectively got Tyler killed, which is why Mrs. Rhodes turned around and killed him.  She nicely articulates the balance the moms had to strike, raising their kids to be tough but not hard, teaching them to be aware of the rules they had to live by to survive in that neighborhood without taking away all sense of hope, and how that “crazy fool” - who thought he could transform gang neighborhoods into “enriched habitats” one garden at a time and who paid kids to paint over gang graffiti, putting targets on their backs – came in and undid everything because he thought they needed saving.  

It’s admirable that Robert was willing to be a witness (and protected the cousin by not telling police the Rounders had him with them when they killed Tyler), and of course he didn’t deserve to die, but I really appreciate that the show acknowledges (explicitly, in fact, in a deleted scene near the end) he was no hero and gives Mrs. Rhodes her say, including about the difference in police response to her son’s murder and the rich white guy’s.

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Rusty’s driving lesson in “Year End Blowout” is one of my favorite things in the series.  Every frame of it - Mary McDonnell can act just about anything well, but this is also clearly someone who's seen two kids through teenage driving - but especially a) signaling in L.A. is just asking people behind you to speed up (yep), b) “The way you drive is a life and death situation,” and c) the way Sharon says “It’s not” when Sykes says taking over sounds like fun.  There’s a continuity error in editing, in that they use a take of Sharon putting her purse in the back as she prepares to get out of the car, a take of her with purse in hand as she gets out, and then a take of her without her purse when she’s out, so maybe not literally every frame, but I love it.

The math on what percentage of the business Little Ted has is a little wonky, too (what his mom and uncle would have logically had to leave to him versus what he’d logically have wound up with based on the share his wife is said to wind up with upon divorce), but I love the episode.  He’s a horribly unsympathetic victim, but his father’s grief – and regret at how the man he raised turned out – grounds it, yet they still make fun of the used car business, there are several other fun moments, and Rusty’s foray into an SIS operation is compelling.

Sharon’s conflicting emotions over her decision to let Rusty participate are brilliantly played.  She maintains an upbeat attitude with him when he’s assuring her he can handle it (and I love his “…or bleed out, whatever’s first” in recapping what to do if he hears gunfire), and then the moment Rusty walks away she tears up.  And the combination of pride and fear on her face and in her voice when she helps him suit up for his first day is perfect.

Sharon’s look of commiseration with Little Ted’s wife at knowing you’re done with a marriage, but part of you still wishing it would work out, is also well played, as I can see the genuine yep, been there connection to what Olivia is saying underneath the yes, keep talking stance.

Little things:

-Tony Denison says “Judge Ridgewood” rather than “Richwood,” which my ear always catches after reading the Richwood actor say McDonnell hates his character’s name precisely because she always wants to say Ridgewood instead and it trips her up.

-Mike translating the Bomb Squad guy for everyone else is entertaining, even though at least half of what he says is something they should all understand.  I also love his excitement at detonating the second bomb.

-I like Provenza’s “But we don’t love it” when Ray Winters is relieved by Sharon’s assurance it’s not a crime to lie to the police.

As predicted, my station skipped the “Return to Sender” episodes because they’d be split over two weeks (even though that’s how they aired originally, but I know syndicators hate multi-part episodes), so I was taken right to “Flight Risk.”  Same for everyone else who’d been on the same syndication schedule?

I cannot figure out the timeline of Cynthia Logan and her cousin-lovin’.  Sometimes it sounds like they fooled around as teens, stopped, and then had a one-off that resulted in her pregnancy, and sometimes it sounds like it was intermittently happening all along until a few years ago.  That latter scenario is particularly interesting because Ellie (the kid he fathered four years prior) is her second child.  Either way, she slept with him well after she married her husband, because the son is six.

Showing only the camera footage and the detectives’ reactions is the perfect way of revealing the kids’ bodies stuffed into suitcases.  This show has done several restrained shots like that, and I always appreciate it so much more than the shock value employed on other shows.  The actors nail it every time.

The trust her/don’t trust her elements of Cynthia Logan, and her frustration with their questions and their frustration with her answers, play out very well.  Does she really think all that cash her husband got from flying drugs was tips from high rollers?  Is she hiding her infidelity to protect herself or because she genuinely believes it’s irrelevant?  It’s ambiguous; they’re right to be suspicious of her, but she’s not a flat-out villain.  It all nicely sets up Sharon’s insistence at doing the notification herself, due to the trajectory those suspicions caused the investigation to take.  And Andy’s offer to do it for her, given how much she’s helped him with his family, and then saying he'll wait in case he needs her afterward, is a sweet moment in their friendship and a nice way of showing us that has developed during the hiatus.

As is Provenza backing off from telling Rusty he needs to tell Sharon about the other Sharon’s reappearance; he knows she needs to know, but can’t hear it right now, and his handling shows the respect he's long had for her as his commanding officer and Rusty's guardian has developed - in spite of himself, heh - into a genuine like.

As set-up for, like the return of Sharon Beck, another storyline that plays out from here, I like that Julio’s freak-out on the killer, his initial ignoring of Sharon’s “That’s enough” admonishment, and Taylor talking to him about professionalism after the confession, sets the stage for finally dealing with his anger management issues over this season.  It’s the first of many times Sharon yells at him, and I find it very interesting how it all unfolds.

In that same vein, Provenza’s dear gods, please don’t tell me you’re gay attitude is perfectly in character, and makes even better his “just don’t come in here looking like The Village People” acceptance all the better when it comes; that's another arc that plays out well.

Random thoughts:

-Sykes in her date dress with combat boots is an amusing sight, but we’ve seen numerous examples of her going from work clothes to street clothes when called upon to roll out with her old crew from SIS; it’s unrealistic that she – like everyone – doesn’t have something to change into once she gets back to the station.  But it's also fun to see her in something like that, since her work and street wardrobe is normally so basic; I like seeing a female character who dresses up when called for, but is otherwise simple (I’m dressier outside the house – though not at all a fashionista – but I like the representation and think the overall "look at what I do, not what I'm wearing" vibe works very well for her character).

-I laugh at the husband sending the kids to a day camp when Cynthia leaves town for a short time because he’s nervous having them by himself.  Typical.

-The casting is amusing, since Cynthia is so much taller than her mom and sister (and cousin).

-All this time, and tonight was the first time I noticed Andy’s grumble face at Buzz moving someone’s coffee away from his “No Beverages” station in Electronics.

-Everyone springing into action – reading the card, calling the florist, etc. – when Sykes gets flowers is disturbingly hilarious; Cooper should have known not to send them to the office.

-The shirt Sharon changes into for day two is ugly, and I’m glad she never wears it again.

Edited by Bastet
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20 hours ago, Bastet said:

As predicted, my station skipped the “Return to Sender” episodes because they’d be split over two weeks (even though that’s how they aired originally, but I know syndicators hate multi-part episodes), so I was taken right to “Flight Risk.”  Same for everyone else who’d been on the same syndication schedule?

Same here on WCIU (aka "The U") broadcast over the air out of Chicago.

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Bastet, I always appreciate your recaps and your comments. You've changed the way I watch this show and that I've learned to appreciate those little moments that make shows great. I've become a big fan of NYPD Blue in the past couple of years - didn't watch until I started watching on H&I a couple of years ago. It is full of those little moments too. I don't know of any connections between the shows, other than Bill Bochtrup who plays Dr. Joe on this show and John Irwin on NYPD Blue. But the directors and producers of this show certainly did learn some lessons from NYPD Blue.

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3.2 "Personal Day" and 3.3 "Frozen Assets" aired today, but with an April blizzard dropping clumps of heavy, wet snow, my over-the-air reception was barely watchable.

Nevertheless, I have to wonder how badly the writers wanted to title 3.3 "Maltese Falcon" (but perhaps could not get copyright permissions?),
and I did love Provenza's line:

  • [TAYLOR] Why did you unplug Marcella Brewster's head? Now we're being sued by this Eternal Meadows place.
  • [SHARON RAYDOR] Marcella Brewster is legally deceased, and I have every right to examine her head.
  • [TAYLOR] But Eternal Meadows says now that Ms. Brewster's been thawed out, she can never be refrozen.
  • [PROVENZA] It's the same with chicken or fish.
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2 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Nevertheless, I have to wonder how badly the writers wanted to title 3.3 "Maltese Falcon" (but perhaps could not get copyright permissions?),

I think "Frozen Assets" is better, and the type of play on words they like to do (especially for comedic episodes), so I doubt it.  (And titles are generally not able to be copyrighted, so no issue there.)

I watched those two today, too.  It took me until my first time re-watching “Personal Day” while also re-watching ER in syndication a couple of years ago for me to realize the woman on the parole board is played by the actor who played Chuny on that show.  Now whenever I first hear her character speak, I think, “Duh, of course that’s Chuny.”

I wish they’d followed up with Julio re-opening the murders of Ms. Gomez’s two sons, just some brief reference in a future episode, like Julio being out of the office or not at a crime scene, and Provenza says he’s talking to Mrs. Gomez, the DA, testifying, whatever and the brief detail he gives lets those of us who remember know what it refers to and those who don’t just take it as reference to a random old case.  Because I really like her, and their interaction.

I like his interaction with Ana’s brothers, too; this is a good Julio episode.  And it’s the second case in a row where Sharon yells at him about his temper; as I said last week, it’s such a relief for it to finally be addressed, and I like the way it plays out over this season.

Provenza’s “for what you’re about to hear, I apologize” reaction to Sharon about to be blindsided with the news of the other Sharon’s return to Rusty’s life is great, but even better are his various oh, I am so screwed reactions to the looks she gives him and her “And thank you, Lieutenant, for all your help with this” parting line at the elevator.  It’s not as funny as all the shade she threw at him, and all the bumbling he did in response, when he told Rusty there was an “option three” in dealing with the threatening letters, but it’s good.

I like the meeting of the two Sharons, especially how awkward Rusty is about it all.  I like that Sharon (Raydor), despite all her misgivings, assures Rusty that what matters is not how his mom wound up in rehab, but that she’s there, so let’s just see what she does with it.  She really does want Sharon Beck to succeed in her recovery, for Rusty’s sake.  I love the talk she has with Rusty the next morning – “do you know what enabling means?/”oh, yeah” is hilarious – and when they’re on their way to see Sharon Beck again, about what role to play in her recovery process.

And I like what starts in “Frozen Assets” and continues throughout, Rusty also asking Andy’s advice in addition to Sharon’s about dealing with his mom now; I like he’s hearing the same things about how to support without enabling an addict in recovery and if, when, and how to end your relationship with one, from one person who is an addict and one person who’s loved and lived with one.

But, of course, what I like best about this episode is the humor.  My absolute favorite bit is the commercial for Eternal Meadows, especially “freezing may cause numbness, dizziness, and shortness of breath,” “some memory loss may occur,” and “see our ad in Golf Lover’s Magazine.”

I also love Andy’s guesses for Provenza’s first job – cabin boy on The Mayflower, dish washer at The Last Supper – and his shared laugh with Rusty over it, but there is hilarious stuff throughout:

-Marcella Brewster’s various video wills and everyone’s reactions to them
-“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if we’re going to prove poisoning, I need a search warrant for Marcella Brewster’s frozen head,” Taylor’s freak-out when Sharon does, indeed, have the head seized (not to mention Provenza and Andy bickering while doing it), and, like shapeshifter said, the exchange about the thawed head unable to be refrozen
-Sharon’s horror at the bad wig
-“Our electricity bill is through the roof”
-Sharon undercover as the niece
-“It’s a Dog!” under "Victim" on the Murder Board
-Sharon and Amy’s reaction when their game of hot or cold with Baird is successful
-Brewster’s millions, “Arsenic?  Well, where’s the old lace?” and, of course, folks feeling compelled to say “Falcon” every time the Maltese is referenced
-Sharon learning Baird wrote the LAPD report on for the previous case
-Julio’s reaction to a chain of vegan taco restaurants

And it’s another one where they wind up in a situation because Andy won’t just ignore a problem like Provenza wants; "Dick Tracy" may be the nutjob who caused them all kinds of problems in the past, but there may really be something wrong, so he has to check.  I could not stand “Dick Tracy” in his episode of The Closer, but he’s toned down a bit in this one now that he’s being treated, and they handle his illness a lot better in this one, too, so I’m far more entertained.

The only thing that bugs me about it is that not only do they say there’s no way to test the cremated remains for arsenic, it’s Mike, specifically, who says it -- when he was the one who looked up how to do it when this issue was raised in an episode of The Closer.  They could have still gone down the “we need her frozen head” avenue the plot requires simply by saying that, because her cancer treatment contained arsenic, only a tissue sample would be able to detect not just the presence of arsenic but establish its level in her system at the time of death, so they needed a sample to establish poisoning by showing she'd ingested more arsenic than that contained in her chemo.

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It’s painful watching Sharon Beck once again attempt to manipulate Rusty in “Letting it Go,” and then when she attacks him, blaming her actions on his sexual orientation – double ouch.  It’s sad hearing him say she was a good mom until he was eleven, when we know things started going haywire when he was six; it’s sad what he accepts as normal.

I like that to Andy the forged prescription is an easy ticket to tossing Sharon Beck in jail, but that’s not what Sharon is after.  Sharon’s face when Rusty hands it to her and she realizes his mom is not actually any better is so touching even at a distance through the window.  And the conversations she and Rusty have, first when Sharon confirms the prescription is fake and then at the end when his mom calls drunk asking for a ride, are great as always.  I love how Sharon never says things like, “When I went through this with Jack,” she just talks to him and lets the fact she speaks from experience be understood; I consistently appreciate that about the writing.  I also consistently appreciate the wonderful reacting Mary McDonnell does when the focus is on another character, and that’s also on display in the final scene – as Rusty’s side of the conversation with his mom makes clear what is happening, that realization is written all over her.

I have major issues with the DA in this one, so I like Provenza’s “Sorry, it was either let him in or shoot him,” when he barges into Sharon’s office.  I very much take his point about Jackie being the ideal testifying victim, but phrasing it as “she did absolutely everything right” is so offensive, and even dangerous, since she fought back and that is not always the “right” thing to do.  All he prosecutes is sex crimes, and I appreciate his passion for the victim in addition to his win-loss ratio, but he should know better. 

It’s very in character that when Jackie confesses, and says after she killed him she slept through the night for the first time in months, Julio’s response is “Good for you.”

The interaction between Amy and the veteran is great.  And I like when the guys are excited when Laura confesses again, but Amy and Sharon both know she’s lying – they understand why someone in her circumstances might do that. I love that Amy reiterates what Laura said, that in the wake of Cross’s death is the first time anyone listens to her about the rape.  It’s heartbreaking when she breaks down crying, and begging Amy to help her stop crying, after saying she’ll never know if killing him would have been the one thing that would help her move forward, because nothing else does.

This episode has one of my favorite lines of the series, since I can’t stand Buzz: “Can’t you just fire him?  Any idiot can hit record.”

I also love Sharon’s “Why, because I’m a woman?” when Taylor wants her at the press conference, and that he gives it right back to her, talking about how many times he got put before a camera to talk about race and homicide.

The only thing that bugs me is a tiny thing, that they don’t have a seating chart of the restaurant to compare to when they’re looking for social media posts tagged with the restaurant Jackie uses as an alibi – they’re not going to know the table number from those posts.

Season four is when I get really irritated with the focus on Rusty, but “Do Not Disturb” is a bit of a precursor to that; I remember watching it the first time and thinking, “Okay, we just had Rusty and his mom, now we have Rusty and his therapist?”  I really like Dr. Joe, though, so I go with it – even though the parallels between Lina and Rusty get eye-rolling-ly heavy.  And there’s much potential for clunkiness when you frame an episode this way, with one character narrating events to another, but it works.

And we get one of the few times Sharon and Fritz are at odds, so I really appreciate seeing how they work together under those circumstances – they work together very well, so it’s nice to get a look at how that dynamic changes or doesn’t when they’re in conflict.  I like when she yells at him, heh, and I also like when they arrive at the friend’s beach house and Fritz tells the squad, “A couple of times there, it felt like you boys were trying to lose me.”  Also how Andy gets pissed because Fritz keeps grabbing pictures back off the Murder Board when Andy pins them up as suspects.  And Andy’s face when Sharon offers to let Fritz join him in interviewing Lina’s friends.  And Sharon casually telling Fritz, “If you want to see how [I will keep my promise to respect diplomatic immunity], come with me.”

But my favorite part is everything around Rusty coming out to the squad.  First, the scene where he asks Sharon to do it for him, because of the line delivery on “You want me to tell Buzz that you’re gay?”  And then Sharon slipping and starting to say everyone already knows.  Wrapping up with, “I can’t be honest about you for you.  Good luck.”  And then when he finally does it.  Julio’s laugh at Andy's "I think once we get over the initial shock" is the best reaction, but they’re all great.  And then they move right on to using it to goad Amy into admitting she’s dating Cooper.  Rusty’s confusion that it’s really a non-issue is cute, and it’s perfect that he tracks Provenza down to make sure things really are the same between them.  The Village People exchange is priceless, especially Rusty looking them up and just having a “huh” reaction.

Second favorite is Amy slamming on the brakes to cause the accident and telling Cooper, “Sorry, I know regulations say I’m supposed to give a heads-up, but you wouldn’t stop talking.”

I also like how irritated Sharon is by the friend, feeling “over-exposed” to typical teenage behavior and wasting no time threatening to get her Harvard acceptance revoked to get her to talk.

I have a rather odd reaction to part of this episode: I cannot picture Lina and Josh as a couple.  And that makes no sense, because we never see them together, but there is something about him that I just can’t see her being so into him.  And when he talks about her, I just don’t feel it. 

Totally random note: Last week, I came across an old article about Meryl Streep’s daughter, and it mentioned her fiancé, Mehar Sethi – my immediate thought was of this episode.

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3 hours ago, Bastet said:

It’s painful watching Sharon Beck once again attempt to manipulate Rusty in “Letting it Go,” and then when she attacks him, blaming her actions on his sexual orientation – double ouch. . . .

3 hours ago, Bastet said:

“Do Not Disturb” . . . I remember watching it the first time and thinking, “Okay, we just had Rusty and his mom, now we have Rusty and his therapist?”  I really like Dr. Joe, though, so I go with it – even though the parallels between Lina and Rusty get eye-rolling-ly heavy.  And there’s much potential for clunkiness when you frame an episode this way, with one character narrating events to another, but it works. . . .

I might have been more weepy than you, @Bastet, over both of these during my rewatch, but basically I agree with your reviews. 

One other thing struck me this time (knowing where they are going WRT Rusty's coming out of the closet): I wish either they had an openly gay actor portraying Rusty, or that Graham Patrick Martin had been directed to act a little more stereotypically gay -- but I guess that could come off as really wrong (offensive) if they weren't careful.

In "Do Not Disturb," WRT:

3 hours ago, Bastet said:

I have a rather odd reaction to part of this episode: I cannot picture Lina and Josh as a couple.  And that makes no sense, because we never see them together, but there is something about him that I just can’t see her being so into him.  And when he talks about her, I just don’t feel it.

I remember thinking this too after Lina kind of threw Josh under the bus at the end, so this time I was watching for signs that all was not well in their teen romance paradise, and I found myself wondering if Lina had maybe given into Josh's teenage desires in part because she had been reared to accept the control of male figures -- that maybe she wasn't that into him, but he was the lesser of two evils, so to speak.
IDK.

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Watching “Jane Doe #38” is a little different in hindsight, because it ultimately leads to the Identity vlog storyline - in which Rusty is insufferable - and Gus - who is annoying, then great, then infuriating - but if I cast myself back in time and receive it on its own, I love it.  It’s so poignant to me that “Alice” died protecting the belongings of a woman who never even bothered to learn her last name, but also that for the myriad ways Joanna Cass is a typically-detached rich snot, she did buy Alice that professional hair-cutting kit after a short time because she knew Alice was working to save for cosmetology school. 

And it’s very touching that Alice and Rusty were in the same position, and Alice made the smarter choices of the two, yet in the end Rusty lucked into a great life and Alice wound up dead.  For all that the vlog storyline annoys me, I do appreciate how Rusty mulls all that over and talks with Sharon about it.  Even just in this episode, there’s some good insight into the plight and typical fates of homeless teens, via Rusty, Alice, Bug, and even Slider.  And especially all those pictures on the board – that those are just the girls matching Alice’s description who were reported missing, and there are a countless more when you add in boys, girls who don’t match the description, and then the untold numbers on whom a missing person report is never filed.

I like that Andy is even more affected than the rest; even when he was an asshole, he was particularly sensitive to young victims, and that probably ties into his flaws as a father.  It’s a nice bit of continuity, and especially for it to be even more intense now that he’s rebuilding those relationships.  It’s a cute touch when Sharon shoulder bumps him at the service he arranges for Alice, to get him out of his head a bit.  (And I love that they all, including Dr. Morales and Andrea, not only attend, but dress in funeral clothes for it.)

Speaking of Sharon and Andy’s friendship, it’s also a nice touch to see Andy’s attitude towards Jack so different than it used to be; now that he’s come to know Sharon, and she’s probably confided in him some of how that marriage went, Andy no longer sees him as “good ol’ Jack Raydor.”

I love Sharon’s handling of Jack in this (as I always do), and learning that the main of the many reasons she’s been content with legal separation and not bothered to file for divorce until now is pragmatic.  It’s sure a blow to Jack’s ego, and of course he thinks there must be another man involved.  (I love Sharon’s “Oh, me too” when Rusty says her dating someone would be news to him.)

It’s so sweet that – unlike Jack who naturally says “our real children” in referring to Ricky and Emily – Rusty asks what her “other kids” think about the adoption idea; he hasn't thought about this the way she has, but in his heart he's already her son.  It’s a great talk between Rusty and Sharon, about how she’s legally just his roommate now, and that fact – as much as the way she loves him as a son – is why she’s looking into adopting him as an adult.  And again at the end, when they talk about not needing to share a last name, just the idea of family.  The Sharon/Rusty relationship remains a highlight, and something not often seen on TV.

“Two Options” always makes me wonder where they intended to go with the SOB spin-off (that thankfully never happened, because I wouldn’t have wanted to watch it and would have missed Fritz on this show).  Obviously Fritz would be the focus, and Brenda’s absence explained via the D.C. job, but they seemed to be setting up some sort of something with him and Ann McGinnis.  If this was a “regular” drama, having a long-distance relationship with someone who doesn’t want kids would become an issue, with him working alongside a smart, kick-ass woman who’d lost her husband and daughter to an accident.  I don’t think Duff would have risked the wrath of Brenda fans by splitting them up or having Fritz cheat on her (of course, this is a man who sure didn’t care about upsetting Sharon’s fans by killing her off, but he never cared about Sharon the way he did Brenda, since a lot of Brenda was based on him), but they’re just too obvious, especially with her watching him with the little girl after the rescue, for there not to have been some sort of tension considered and I'd love to know where he was planning to go.

It’s not a favorite episode, for all the time spent on new characters, the technology and shoot ‘em up focus, the ridiculous idea of the LAPD’s FBI liaison being recruited as Deputy Chief of SOB being forced because it’s Fritz, and because Gloria Lim is a horrible and horribly-written character (and offensive that the two such characters they’ve introduced so far on this show are both women of color), but it is better than most back-door pilots, and I always enjoy seeing the helicopter guys, so I don’t dislike it.

And I have an entire backstory in my head about Sharon and Ann – with Sharon having been (maybe still is, but they never mention it again and I can imagine her not having time once she took on Major Crimes and Rusty) the LAPD’s Women’s Coordinator, dedicated to helping her sister officers overcome the sexist barriers to advancement, and Ann a commander at her age, I like to picture Ann as grateful to Sharon making things easier for those who came along behind her, and for whatever specific help/mentoring she gave along the way; I think my head canon on this really took off after “Zoo Story,” when Ann continued to be almost deferential to Sharon, despite out-ranking her, even in the midst of her frustration at one of her officers being taken.  There’s something about their interaction that lends itself to Ann being one of those Sharon helped.

I also like that it’s another one where Sharon and Fritz work well together, and in opposition to Taylor.  And, of course, Julio is fucking hilarious with his ice cream truck idea.  Sharon never breaking stride when Rusty accosts her with the community service form to sign, just asking “When did you do that?” and continuing on to the Murder Room before giving him another assignment.  Andy giving Amy a hard time about Coop being smooth with the ladies.  Sharon insisting on her full 20 minutes from Taylor.  Hospitalized Julio being upset not by the pain of being shot, but because his mom drives him nuts.  Sharon asking Rusty if he’s sure about the adoption, because she doesn’t want to pressure him, and guaranteeing she’d find him if he ever went missing.  “Sounds like a marital argument to me” when Sharon recounts the list of dead/kidnapped.  Taylor telling Fritz a long-distance relationship shouldn’t be a problem at their age – and “with her.”  Provenza yet again knowing when Sharon could use a pep talk from her second in command.  There’s a lot of good stuff.

Something that always bugs me about this episode, though: Why does Princess the cat stink?  Cats don’t smell funky unless they’re living a rough life on the streets (and usually not even then) or sick; she’s not the former, so I worry about the latter.  At least the daughter/wife survived, and will presumably take her in, because that cat - old, black, an escape artist, and suffering whatever the hell is wrong with her - would have very low adoption prospects in a shelter.  Yeah, yeah, I know – I am a proud crazy cat lady. 

I also would like to know why Princess has two chips; normally, the owners would just change the address with the microchip company, and even if we were going to say they, being in the witness protection program, were cautious enough to avoid any link between their old and new identity, they’d have had the original removed and replaced, not just added a second one.  So it’s a convenient-for-the-plot tidbit that mildly annoys me.

Also, that poor little girl’s hearing would be so fucked up from all that gunfire going off right next to her, but ignoring that impact is something that happens across television.

A bit of Princess trivia to close: Graham Patrick Martin is afraid of cats, so Rusty having to remove the cat from her cage and hold her was not his favorite day on set. 

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16 hours ago, Bastet said:

Alice and Rusty were in the same position, and Alice made the smarter choices of the two, yet in the end Rusty lucked into a great life and Alice wound up dead. 

Interesting point that I hadn't noticed.

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When a friend asked me what night I wanted to go to dinner this weekend, I started to answer “Saturday” since Friday nights I’m tired from the work week, but then I realized “Cutting Loose” and “Sweet Revenge” would be airing tonight, and changed my mind.  These are two of my favorite episodes.

As we discussed that it would be, it’s sad watching “Cutting Loose” now that Luke Perry is dead.  He was a good man, and his loved ones lost him far too young.  This is actually one of the few performances of his I’ve ever seen, and I think it’s great.  As I mentioned before, I appreciate that the character isn’t written as a buffoon.  He’s long lived in the special bubble of fame and fortune, and that means he’s out of touch in some ways, but he’s not an idiot.  And he’s not a jerk in his fame; he treats people with respect.  And, having learned what a humble, “normal” guy Perry was, I appreciate even more the way he honored that balance in the writing – and the fun he clearly had with the outlandish parts of Jon that were not at all part of himself.

I love the grand reception they set up for Jon.  There are so many good moments in just that scene – Sharon’s eye rolls (three in one scene!), Sharon making her way through the throng of people clamoring for Jon’s autograph, Provenza’s reactions to Jon grabbing the DMV printout as if it was a headshot and personalizing it “I am your biggest fan,” Jon’s reaction to making the Board, and young Rusty not having any idea who he is despite his long career (nicely mirrored later when the young woman at the storage facility just knows he looks familiar).

There’s great stuff throughout -- Sharon’s reaction to Zelda’s fanfic (and, oh my gods, I once paused my DVD and read the story; it’s perfectly, hilariously, bad!), all the Jonny memorabilia - particularly Amy carrying in the life-sized cutout and placing it so that when the squad is standing in a group talking, it looks like Jon is standing behind them – the storage facility employee responding with a repetition of “it was cute, and old, and red, and a convertible” when they ask her for more detail on the car, Jon magically having a change of clothes, the beginning of Andy’s total annoyance with all things Badge of Justice (when he finds out Pope recommended Mike for the gig), Jon calling Taylor “Russ” by day two, and even the way the husband recounts, “ … so I decided to kill her.”

And, of course, Sharon’s “I am just surrounded by people with no sense of occasion.”  (Only because of the line delivery on that is Taylor’s reading of “frowny face” not the best of the episode.)  Not to mention her actually hugging Julio.  And her “It is exhausting, but not really, no,” when Rusty asks her if she gets tired of always being right. 

Last but certainly not least is what a pitch perfect representation of the celebrity assistant Kiki is.  How she’s always on her phone, pays attention to everything that goes on yet fades into the background, rolls with things like last-minute meetings in Mexico (not to mention being picked up by the federales), always has a Sharpie at the ready for when Jon's asked for an autograph, knows all the logistical details about his life he doesn’t bother with, etc.

“Sweet Revenge” is one of the episodes most retroactively affected for me by Sharon’s death <sob>.  I love every single second of her confrontation with Ricky, but now whenever I watch him say he and Emily are both going to have kids some day and does she really want her grandkids calling that guy “Uncle Rusty,” I have to force myself to stay in the moment for her fantastic “That is a whole lot better than what I’m thinking of calling you right now” and full-naming of him before she knocks all the wind out of his sails by saying she’s so disappointed in him she doesn’t even know what to say.  Because, now, my automatic reaction to the grandkids question is despair that she doesn’t live to see any of that happen.

The only problem with the episode is that Rusty having never met Ricky while Provenza and Andy have (in fact, enough that Ricky calls Andy by his first name) doesn’t make sense.  They wrote themselves into a corner with this, because to establish that Sharon has a good relationship with her kids (which I appreciate, since career women on TV are often given resentful adult children) he needs to have been visiting, but in order to tell their story of Ricky being suspicious of Rusty based on the little he knows and what he’s heard from Jack, he needs to not have been.

But I go with it in order to enjoy Sharon’s handling of the situation.  First, I greatly appreciate that she adores her kids and loves getting some Mom time when one visits, but when work interferes with some of that time, she’s bummed and apologetic, but not guilty.  Second, I love that she’s not blinded by her love for Ricky; on so many shows, she wouldn’t see what Rusty was talking about until some big moment, but here she listens to Rusty (I love “they’re always three” when Rusty objects this isn’t the same as Emily not wanting a little brother), notices Ricky’s little jabs, gives him some leeway, and then nails him when he tries to mansplain her own life to her.  Third, as I said, I love that conversation turned confrontation.  Every frame of it, but highlights include deducing he’s repeating Jack’s words, mocking the notion of her “ever-so-lonely heart,” reminding him of the advantages he took for granted every day, and then laying one of the best guilt trips in the history of mothering.

I also love the teasing in the scene between the three of them at the end – about Ricky’s hair, and Ricky mocking Sharon’s snort laugh – and especially the sweetness of the definition of family. 

It’s a good case, too.  Scott Ward’s gross sense of entitlement is frustratingly realistic, that he would create this odious website as revenge against the “offense” of women breaking up with men.  I love that the surviving website guys get nailed for their hacking and extortion.  And Conner’s guilt at what he said to his mom when the pictures made their way around school, believing he contributed to her suicide as much as Travis Hall did, and the way he tries to take the fall for his dad as a result, is heart-wrenching (and I love how Sharon tries to reassure him mothers know when their sons are just being temporary idiots).

Random notes:

- I love that Mike’s phone is programmed to bring up a photo of Provenza in his white hat
- Sharon’s reaction to Fritz’s reference to Brenda probably taking the job in D.C. indicates this is not news to her, so I wonder if she’s already heard about it from him or from her

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On 3/4/2019 at 4:51 PM, shapeshifter said:

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.

And here we are watching "Cutting Loose" guest starring the late Luke Perry.

Amy being a near-speechless fan was cute and seemed possibly genuine. Kearran Giovanni would have been 10-20 years old during Luke Perry's time on Beverly Hills, 90210, so maybe? 
DDA Andrea Hobbs' fangirling seemed more over-the-top. Hmmm. Maybe Kathe Mazur was a closet 90210 fan. 😉
But. OMG. The end. *sniff* When Amy is taking a picture of Rusty and a few others with "Jon" Luke Perry with the fade out. So sad knowing this is a real life fade out.

I sense from some of Jon's/Luke's lines (like: "Premeditation. That's horrible. Ooh. Sushi?") and direction (he primps his hair in the reflection of the badges of fallen officers) that the character was initially supposed to be an ass, but that they decided to let some of Luke's natural Mr. Nice Guy show through--although LP certainly played tough guy with the murder victim's husband when his character, Jon, was "acting."

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On 5/5/2019 at 1:51 PM, shapeshifter said:

DDA Andrea Hobbs' fangirling seemed more over-the-top. Hmmm. Maybe Kathe Mazur was a closet 90210 fan. 😉

Andrea didn't come off like a fan to me; her reaction to him was of the Wow, that guy is attractive variety rather than OMG, it's Jon Worth.  She's initially as low-key as Sharon, simply noting that he looks great in the interview room in spite of the horrible lighting.  She later doesn't even react when he's standing right next to her in Electronics, because she's focused on the fact the husband hasn't said what they need him to say in order to nail him.  She doesn't get giddy until Sharon sends Jon in to deliver that great performance and he indeed goads the husband into giving up the car's location.  It's after Jon returns to Electronics that she gets caught by Sharon just gazing at him, and then she tries to explain-walk her way out of the room until Buzz calls her out.  By the time Jonny makes his fawning comment about Mike ("I knew he was a badass, but had no idea he could be so smooth") she's back to joining everyone else in their WTH? reaction (I love Provenza's fake vomit in response).  So I like that her one moment of OTT attraction is rooted as much in him helping them make their case as it is in his physical appearance (and he's a lot cuter than those ugly-ass designer bags she fawned over in "There's No Place Like Home," so her standards for drool-worthy are improving).

On 5/5/2019 at 1:51 PM, shapeshifter said:

I sense from some of Jon's/Luke's lines (like: "Premeditation. That's horrible. Ooh. Sushi?") and direction (he primps his hair in the reflection of the badges of fallen officers) that the character was initially supposed to be an ass, but that they decided to let some of Luke's natural Mr. Nice Guy show through

I think both those things, and so many more, showing the balance between oblivious (but not mean-spirited) star and nice guy mean that was how the character was always intended - as someone to laugh at, but also like.  Fundamentally: He's there because he wants to help, but his concept of helping is, "Anything I can do, just let me know and I'll have Kiki do it."  That's the character in a nutshell, and then the whole episode is examples of how he's both those things. 

Like the primping -- his initial response to the badges of the "fallen" is somber, and he muses that it's not just a job.  But then when they just leave him standing there because they're stalling for time, he catches his reflection in the glass and fixes his hair.  And how he's genuinely happy to sign autographs and meet the squad, so he can put faces to the stories he's heard from Mike, but when Provenza prints out his DMV photo, he just treats it like another headshot to sign and finds it fun to make the board.  Or, your other example, talking about how the circumstances mean this was a premeditated murder, and that's horrible, and then getting distracted by sushi.  He's always like that, and I really like the balance. 

Shifting gears, I somehow - surprising, given how much I love the spot-on characterization of Kiki - didn't notice until this last viewing that she spends the entire time at Rusty's party over by the kitchen bar on her phone.  Ha - another perfect touch.  Jon invites himself to this random kid's HS graduation party, so she has to go, but she spends the time "backstage" as always, working away on her phone.

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“Zoo Story” is another episode that leaves me wondering where they were going with the SOB spinoff, this time re. Fritz’s heart attack.  There is no way the LAPD would let him out in the field at this stage, so is he hiding it from Taylor the way he’s hiding it from Brenda?  And was that a planned storyline, the repercussions when it comes out?  I just can’t figure out what they were intending.  (But I like Fritz grumbling he has an electric blanket strapped to his chest.)

The other thing that makes me roll my eyes about this episode is Officer Sherman – a blonde white woman who looks about 18 – working gang intel.

My main beef is with the fact Amy is not only with them, but armed, when they pull over the truck to rescue Officer Sherman and arrest the smugglers.  Um, no.  She shot a suspect, so she has to remain at the scene to be interviewed by FID.  They will take her gun and, after the interview, send her back to the office.  She will not be in the field, armed, until the investigation is complete (which will be up to 72 hours).

But that’s a small price to pay for the Showdown of the Sharons, so I like the episode.  As I said before, the first time I saw the screen fade to black after Sharon sat down across from Rusty’s mom at County, I sat up in bed and told my cat, “This is going to be epic.”  Sharon plays it so perfectly; she just lays out how it’s going to be, and how very much worse it will be with any little slip.  And then closes with the fact Sharon Beck is the one in a blue jumpsuit surrounded by guards while Sharon Raydor is the one getting up to go home – and leaves the “to your son” unstated.  And this all happens on the same day; Sharon doesn’t take the night to decompress after solving a cop’s kidnapping/young woman’s murder and being confronted with Rusty’s horrible experience, no, she heads over to County and gives Sharon Beck her deal and threatens her with six years upstate. It’s pitch perfect in its balance of venom and restraint.

The scene precipitating it also hits all the right notes, when the guys show Sharon the tape of Rusty’s visit with his mom.  Provenza stands back with his hand on his face and his eyes closed, and Andy never takes his eyes off Sharon; as she watches this horrifying display unfold, he watches her face, and when her heart breaks for Rusty his breaks for her.  It’s a lovely moment.  And there’s something extra revolting about the fact asking her son to prostitute himself is Sharon Beck’s first suggestion.  It wouldn’t be any better if she suggested it after he vetoed her other idea, but it's still somehow worse that it’s her go-to idea for raising some quick cash.  As Rusty said when she threw his hustling in his face in "Do Not Disturb": “And where do you think I learned that from?”

I like the touch that this, being a missing LAPD officer, is one of the times Sharon goes to the crime scene, joins in the field arrest, etc.  I also like the touch that Officer Sherman is strategic and physical, but she’s also not some super-human match for two people with horse tranquilizer; she fights but goes down.

And, as I said about “Two Options,” I like the interaction between Sharon and McGinnis (in light of Sharon’s history as the LAPD’s Women’s Coordinator), especially here where McGinnis is so stressed and frustrated – she’s still very respectful of and even somewhat deferential to Sharon, despite outranking her and disagreeing with her.  We’ve seen her backtalk Taylor, and I think if it was someone other than Sharon the case was being handed to, she’d put up more of a fight. 

The actor playing the club manager does a great job conveying his terror at being threatened with deportation (which will mean death for him and his family).  He’s kind of an interesting character, too – he’s a fucking perv who has bathroom cameras, but he also follows drunk women to make sure they’re not about to be raped.

It’s nice watching “Down the Drain” right after, to quickly go from Rusty having his mom ask him to subject himself to prostitution in one episode to having Sharon officially made his new mom in the next.  I love him saying he’ll get time off to “change mothers,” and Sharon’s bewildered sadness that he still doesn’t understand why she considers herself lucky to have him in her life.  Yes, she quite possibly saved his life, and she certainly changed it in a significant way that was highly unlikely to happen had she not taken him in.  She was just fine before he came along, while he was in dire straits – he’s a bonus to her, while she’s a lifesaver to him.  But she’s so thankful for that bonus.  He can’t wrap his mind around it, though.  It’s very touching.

Their faces after Judge Richwood declares them officially family are beautiful, especially that - after all the conflicting emotions about his other mom and his perceived unworthiness - Rusty is all smiles.  And Ever Carradine is also great in this episode, balancing the ways in which Sharon Beck is reactionary and defensive whether drunk/high or sober with the ways she’s nicer and less manipulative when she’s sober.

I always get a kick out of Andy’s irritation at all things Badge of Justice, so I like the way his happy smile at Sharon’s news the adoption can be finalized this week immediately changes to “He’s just a consultant!” annoyance when Sharon calls it “Mike’s show.”  I’m also always tickled by how terrible Morales finds the show (which gives me a laugh in season five's "Dead Drop," when it turns out his dad the detective is a big fan).

Amy ribbing Provenza about not being able to pronounce “episiotomy” is fun.  As is joking about “the Hollywood glamour machine” via Rusty’s PA job.  And Judge Richwood having a bottle of antacids on his desk.  Plus Taylor’s desperation to get the baby out of his office, which pales in comparison to how funny Provenza and Andy are arguing over how to entertain the baby.  And I like that Sharon is pleasantly surprised by how good with babies Andy is, but that’s it – she doesn’t swoon over it or anything, and she never even touches the baby.  So many shows have women – whether mothers or not – stop everything in the face of a baby, and lose their minds over men who are good with them.

I also appreciate the way the three couples are presented, because TV is littered with desperate, baby-crazed people who’d literally kill to have one.  These folks, though, sit around and have a reasonable discussion (I think the TX couple bows out as much because they want a biological connection as because they have the resources to start over, and their desire for that connection isn't the same as the gay couple's need for it, but still - whatever everyone's reasons are, they all sit and hash them out to decide who should raise this child).  Not so much with how the surrogate is presented, because TV is also littered with surrogate as scam artist to desperate infertile folks stories when the reality of the surrogacy system is these women are highly vulnerable to exploitation.

Andrea's resistance to their interview strategy is oddly overblown (she kind of takes Taylor's usual role as the dunce in this one), but that's my only quibble. 

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19 hours ago, Bastet said:

“Zoo Story” is another episode that leaves me wondering where they were going with the SOB spinoff, this time re. Fritz’s heart attack

Statistically it seems odd to me that there are 3 regular characters (Fritz, Andy, and Sharon) with potentially fatal heart conditions and not one cancer case in this series. I guess it's because heart conditions are easier to write around.

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10 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Statistically it seems odd to me that there are 3 regular characters (Fritz, Andy, and Sharon) with potentially fatal heart conditions and not one cancer case in this series. I guess it's because heart conditions are easier to write around.

Or perhaps it's just another one of Duff's personal interests? The same way we had multiple characters as foster parents?

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2 hours ago, wknt3 said:

Or perhaps it's just another one of Duff's personal interests? The same way we had multiple characters as foster parents?

Maybe both: Personal interest and ease of integrating into a larger story.
In The Closer, Brenda's father dealt with cancer, but we never had to see the results of chemo, radiation, or surgery since he was living 3,000 miles away.
He also had a heart attack while leaving Brenda's office. 
Heart attacks are easier to stage on screen.
Strokes are too, but then the character is typically changed.

Anyway, it just bugs me in rewatch that there are the ratio of heart attacks is disproportionate to cancer as compared to real life in which nearly every family has an immediate member touched by some form of cancer. They do mention Julio's wife having died of cancer, but that's it.

OTOH, I don't need to see cancer on TV. Maybe just fewer heart attacks. Like Sharon's.

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Actually, Julio's wife was pregnant with their first child, stopped taking her seizure medicine, had a seizure and a car wreck, and died a few days later.     I had to look it up, because I really didn't remember either.    He finally goes to see the doctor he blamed for taking the wife off of her medication, and he found out the doctor didn't want her to do it, but she stopped anyway.  

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On 5/13/2019 at 9:57 AM, CrazyInAlabama said:

Actually, Julio's wife was pregnant with their first child, stopped taking her seizure medicine, had a seizure and a car wreck, and died a few days later.     I had to look it up, because I really didn't remember either.    He finally goes to see the doctor he blamed for taking the wife off of her medication, and he found out the doctor didn't want her to do it, but she stopped anyway.  

Right.  It's the basis of him finally getting his shit together.  When he gets suspended for five months, the extensive therapy he has to undergo makes him realize the root of his anger is his pregnant wife's death, specifically his belief the doctor caused it by telling her she could stop taking her medication while pregnant.  When he feels confident he can confront the doctor without beating the crap out of him, he does, and learns that she made the decision against medical advice (she even signed a form to that effect) and just made it sound to Julio like the doctor had said it was okay.

Finally coming to terms with that tragedy at the root of his anger issues is what puts him in the place where he's ready to foster a child, and eventually become Mark's guardian.  Which is why I think if he'd been able tell Sharon about the job transfer, he'd have expressed his thanks for setting in motion and holding him to the process that led him to this new phase of his life. 

She was the one who finally cracked down on his inappropriate behavior with suspects; she brokered the compromise that allowed him to remain on active duty in exchange for undergoing regular, frequent (I think it was twice weekly, but if not it was weekly) anger management sessions for a year and told him the deal would be off, period, if he didn't stick with the program.  When, a very short time into that, he beat the shit out of Burning Man and jeopardized not only their case against him but possibly their ability to learn the escaped Stroh's whereabouts/plans, she oversaw that five-month unpaid suspension.  Satisfied, via Behavioral Science's evaluation and her own ongoing meetings with him, that Julio had changed, she took him back over Taylor's objections and - also over Taylor's objections, but not against a direct order, because this is Sharon - insisted on putting him right back out in the field, because she knew he was struggling to feel like he still belonged there. 

Then when it became clear he was grappling with feelings about his wife's death that had risen to the surface, she arranged for him to talk to a witness whose wife died in a similar fashion and for Provenza to be there to talk with Julio afterward, knowing he needed to confront and express those feelings.

Julio did the work, but she insisted on and then facilitated each big step along the way.  And Julio would never say anything until he was on his way out the door, and he'd keep it quiet and simple, but he would say something.  So I think, in the wake of her death, he's left a slight bit relieved he didn't get the chance to tell her he was leaving (she died thinking the team was intact), but mostly disappointed he didn't get to acknowledge her role in him having been ready for and granted this child he was now taking a transfer to better be able to raise. 

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“Party Foul” is my least-favorite episode – well, at least among those in which Sharon is alive <sob> – because I’m disgusted by just about everyone’s behavior.  Especially Patrice; it is astounding that I wind up liking her as the show goes on, because I’m appalled by her introduction.  “I know a troubled kid when I see one.”  Oh, really?  Then why did you never get any help for the one down the hall, whom you’ve been raising since she was eight?  Patrice is happy to lure Wesley into being arrested for a murder she knows damn well her granddaughter committed because "he’s a crazy boy who couldn’t take no for an answer.”  Oh, you mean like your granddaughter?  You know, that chick notorious for her uncontrolled temper who stabbed a young man to death because he kindly and respectfully broke up with her.

Because the script plays fast and loose with whether Keisha really is mentally ill to the point of diminished capacity, I’m also annoyed with everyone else; because if she is, they’re horrible to make her believe she’s dying to elicit a confession, and if she isn’t, they’re horrible to let her avoid prison (just imagine what Toby’s family feels about all this).

I do like Sharon’s handling of Rusty’s crush on Jeff, though.  His history makes crushing on an older guy even more problematic than normal, and he’s going so far as to talk about delaying college so he can keep working with this guy.  She’d have earned a maternal freak-out, but instead she speaks logic, trusts Mike’s assertion Jeff is a good guy, and waits to see if he’ll do the right thing when he learns how Rusty has interpreted his comments on work versus college.  Her restraint pays off, and it all works out. 

It also gives us the perfect line delivery on her “How much?” query when she wants to know just how much Jeff "really likes" Rusty.  And another cute scene with Rusty at the end, when she acknowledges, “oh, well, yeah, that too” she’s happy Rusty is doing what she wants as they go over his class registration.

“Acting Out” is a nice palate cleanser, because I love it – mostly.  I’m a bit annoyed with Rusty (the world’s worst buffer) in the end, because he not only knows how private Sharon is but feels that way himself.  It’s not cute to gang up with Nicole and do the whole “But they’re definitely not dating, as far as you know”/”Or as far as they know” routine.

It’s also problematic that Andy – who, up until this point, was only guilty of not correcting his family’s misinterpretation of his relationship with Sharon – apparently, in the previous night’s phone call with Nicole, did indeed refer to them as a couple.  (It’s either that or he’s been lying to Provenza all along, which doesn’t seem likely.)  It seems he gave one last-ditch effort at avoiding the whole thing by explicitly confirming Nicole's impression and offering to take the boys to get ready (which would've allowed him to avoid the dinner Sharon arranged to set things straight).  Sharon values trust and honesty even more than the average person, probably partially due to her history with Jack, so it’s also not cute to use her as a prop.

What is cute, however, is every one of Sharon’s reactions after Nicole asks her how she goes out with Andy at night and then bosses him around during the day:  Her “not at all” when Mike apologizes for interrupting and then inventing a time crunch to hustle Nicole out of the office.  The way she reclassifies “as a family” to “as a group” in response to Nicole’s Nutcracker invitation.  How she inches away from Andy in Electronics and then practically jumps away when she sees him come up behind her in the storage container’s mirror.  “Yes, a little relationship clarity could do us all some good.”  The way she stands up when Andy starts to take a seat in front of her desk.  “Don’t worry; I’ll help you” when Andy acknowledges he needs to set Nicole straight but says he doesn’t want to.  I spend so much time laughing at her antics.

At Andy’s, too.  First when he, because his daughter is sitting there, tries to contain his amusement at J-ME having provided a urine sample by taking a whizz on the director’s car.  Then at his “why do you need to talk to Sharon?” nervousness and hovering behind Mike trying to look into Sharon’s office to see her and Nicole.  And then I laugh hardest when the show employs one of my very favorite of its numerous wonderful cut to the audio of the next scene while staying on the video of the current scene transitions – Buzz saying (of the footage of J-ME on Skid Row), “The first part is just watching the guy wandering around aimlessly” as Andy does just that before heading towards Electronics.  I also love his “Occupational hazard?” when Nicole asks how he could mislead her.

And then there’s Provenza’s ballet move, teasing Andy.  J-ME’s manager and everyone’s reactions to him – every minute with him is gold.  Everyone’s faces when Buzz spills the beans that J-ME is dead.  Sharon humming the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy to entice Rusty to attend the ballet; him asking if that’s how they perform it and her, “No, it’s an orchestra” response is great.  All the gofer/PA stuff. 

(Minor quibble:  there’s a continuity error with the ballet program; they’re mostly consistent with when Nicole hands it to Sharon, but there’s one shot where Nicole still has it when Sharon should.)

While I love the episode for its personal stuff, this is another one – like “There’s No Place Like Home” – where I am annoyed by a fundamental flaw in the premise of the crime.  Ana would never have let J-ME go on so long with his off-script story before calling cut, period, let alone one she’d recognize as something that could get her killed.  Him going off script had been a recurring issue, to the point she was hoping to ditch him, and she’d have cut him off right away. 

It especially annoys me because the plot doesn’t strictly require that the entire "me and Little Maria" story be on film.  She could have cut him off a little later than she logically would but still far earlier than she did, and they later discovered the whole story via his script notes, not the dailies.  So their “Hey, that’s just like the Mateo Perez murder” realization, necessary to resolve the case, could have still happened without requiring me to suspend disbelief.  I know that eliminates the OMG, this is on film motive for the murder, but there’s still the fact that when Simms told him how dangerous it could be to share that story, J-ME just brushed it off because he was a big, clueless user of people; it still works as an explanation for beating him into silence.

But it has Justina Machado, and I really like her.  When I saw her in this, I immediately recognized her from a guest shot in an episode of Cold Case, in which she gave a memorable performance.  And she was terrific in the One Day at a Time reboot.

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“Trial by Fire” instilled in me the bad habit of saying, “I mean, seriously” at the end of a grumble.  But it’s a very honest case in its sadness – Claudia is successfully scared off from testifying, which results in her going to prison as an accessory to murder while the actual murderer walks.  My heart breaks for her when Sharon asks if “shot to death waiting for a bus” is the kind of world she wants her daughter growing up in and Claudia rightly wails, “No, but it’s the world we live in; we don’t have any other world.”  Testifying is the right thing to do, but it’s not going to change that, and she’d rather live to see her daughter during prison visits than never at all.

I like Sharon’s “If we want the justice system to work, we have to stand beside it when it doesn’t go our way” fundamental belief in the midst of how unfortunate she finds this whole mess.

And I love, madly, all the Beck'n and Mom stuff.  Sharon not registering that the calling for “Mom” behind her is Rusty trying to get her attention starts it off great, and then the way she keeps teasing him with it (and he always picks the thread right up) is even better.  (I also love everyone’s reaction to Jeff saying Rusty’s positive attitude makes him a joy to work with.) 

Sharon continues to handle Rusty’s crush so well; she could easily tell him Jeff is too old for him and just got out of a relationship, so forget about him, but she knows her warning Rusty off him will only make Jeff more attractive and extend this thing, and that – even with the age difference being more of a concern than normal considering Rusty’s history – it’s actually a healthy sign for Rusty to have a normal, overblown yet harmless crush.  So she encourages him to put himself out there and ask him out, and (figuring Jeff will do the right thing again and Rusty can move on from this little obsession) assures him he’s getting ready to start college and there will be life after Badge of Justice.

That whole conversation in the living room is an adorable time between them, especially when she says she was hunting down an anonymous 911 caller who reported a murder and he smiles, “That’s how we met.”

Provenza’s that’s the spirit reaction to Andy essentially saying the job is the only thing he has, because it’s cost him everything else, so he has to stick with it as the only place he fits in anymore, is so Provenza.

Jack cracks me the hell up with “Ah, Rusty Beck – the LAPD’s very own Oliver Twist,” I love his Amazing Kreskin impression when he realizes Ed Winslow is their supposed witness, and I also get an irrational kick out of the way he says Sharon’s name when he wants to irritate her.  It’s cute how Andy and Provenza try to keep her from having to deal with him, and she just turns around and handles him perfectly like always.  I love watching them spar.

“Chain Reaction” is a fabulous Christmas episode, although I am a little baffled by the Provenza and Patrice thing.  As I said, I hated her in “Party Foul” and thought the two of them going out to eat after that whole mess was weird.  Now they’re going to spend Christmas together, rather than each spending it with their families, even though they’re not dating.  Um, why? 

Of course, at this point – which changes later – Patrice is written as if she’s estranged from her family; there’s no one with her when Keisha is in the hospital (they even make a point of it, via Provenza saying it to Sharon) and now apparently there’s no one who cares that she’s spending Christmas with some random cranky dude instead of them.  And, while we learn in season five that Christmas is one of the few times Provenza sees his kids, there have always been indications he knows no one is going to take care of him when he can’t live alone anymore, so I guess I shouldn’t take it as so odd at this point that he wouldn’t be with his family at Christmas.  But I do still find it out of the blue that they decide to spend it together, platonically (two rooms, no romance; they start dating after the holiday at home goes well).

Oh, well; I love when Andy asks him who this friend he’s spending Christmas with is and Provenza sighs, “At this rate, you” and the way Sharon gestures – and in Buzz’s case, physically removes – everyone out of the Murder Room to give Provenza and Patrice some privacy, so it’s worth it.

I’m so glad we finally meet Emily, and wish we’d seen more of her in the series.  It makes sense, given where they each live, that Ricky visits more often, but I always wanted to see more of Sharon with the women in her life – more with her daughter, some bits with Andrea outside of work, a little more explicit of the mentor-like boss she is to Amy, etc.  Alas.  Ricky is funny, with his “after a certain age, Christmas is for our parents” spiel undercut by his grief over Sharon throwing out his elves (pine cones with hats, which he named) and forgetting the Christmas village.  I love how excited Sharon is to have all three kids together, but also that she – and they – accept that work keeps interrupting.  None of them love it, but it’s okay.

It’s also nice to see all the kids together, as they continue to figure out this new family.  The looks Emily and Ricky share about Rusty planning to visit his other mom in jail to cheer her up and being worried about his inexperience decorating a Christmas tree are great, and the way Rusty disagrees with them yet agrees to act in sibling solidarity by not telling Sharon about Jack’s drinking is interesting.

And, of course, I love the case – a Santa flash mob (or flash dance, as Provenza would say), an illustration of why the “good guy with a gun” idea is rubbish, and a body stuffed in a kid’s cello case leading Provenza to say, “Thank God he doesn’t play the triangle”?  Yes, please.  I can do without Buzz pouting - for the second time in the franchise – that the murder of Santa Claus is per se a major crime, as if Santa is real.  But at least the dumbass winds up with green dye on his face for days.  And Faith’s credit report means she’d have never been hired at a bank, but I let that slide.

My only real annoyance, and it’s still minor, is that they cut the scene of Andy giving Sharon a gift (an angel ornament or figurine); she finds the box in the Christmas Village.  And didn’t even include it on the DVD as a deleted scene, leaving me so thoroughly confused as to where that opened gift box Sharon was holding came from I had to go sleuthing on the internet and find fan references to a Duff social media comment.  Beyond that confusion, deleting the gift makes it seem like her reaction to him is just for his unknown role in the surprise office party, and the full picture makes much more sense.

I love the special opening credits for this one, with snow falling in the background and Santa hats on the actors’ names while the situation seems to be jaunty fun, the Santa hat in the next credit screen tipping over when it turns out to be a bank robbery, the snow gone and the hat falling down entirely in the screen after one of the Santas gets shot, and then regular credit screens after that.  Perfect!

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17 hours ago, Bastet said:

“Chain Reaction” is a fabulous Christmas episode . . .

. . . love the special opening credits for this one, with snow falling in the background and Santa hats on the actors’ names while the situation seems to be jaunty fun, the Santa hat in the next credit screen tipping over when it turns out to be a bank robbery, the snow gone and the hat falling down entirely in the screen after one of the Santas gets shot, and then regular credit screens after that.  Perfect!

Yes, this was the first time I really focused on both the Christmasy opening credits and the dancing Santas. 
The choreographer posted it on YouTube:

I'm guessing James Duff is a fan of Christmas, based on all of The Closer and Major Crimes winter holiday timed episodes.

Mary Anne McGarry was totally believable as the wife of the dead Santa from ND. 

Having recently watched Patrice's granddaughter having been sent to a psychiatric facility rather than prison because she was crazy, I thought Mel should have joined her there.

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8 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

Mary Anne McGarry was totally believable as the wife of the dead Santa from ND. 

The first time I watched this, I didn't recognize her from anything else (although a subsequent check of her credits showed me I'd seen her in a few other one-shot roles) and she oddly reminded me of Audra Lindley - I knew she didn't actually look or sound like her, but somehow in this role she reminded me of Lindley, specifically Lindley as Cybill's mom on Cybill.  

Anyway, I liked the way they dealt with Mrs. O'Connor -- she was a mildly racist, gun-loving snob, but she was also an older woman who just lost her husband right before Christmas, and Mike and Julio responded to each aspect of her as appropriate.

19 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

Having recently watched Patrice's granddaughter having been sent to a psychiatric facility rather than prison because she was crazy, I thought Mel should have joined her there.

I'm still not convinced Keisha fit the criteria for diminished capacity, and Mel certainly didn't, so with three murders (the choreographer plus the two felony murder counts for the Santas), she was off to prison.  I always like her public defender, the curly-haired guy, and in this one I like when she finishes her "what I did, I did for my son, and what I did for my son, I did for the world" explanation and he just closes his notebook and asks, "So, you said life?"  Also when he responds to her "and you're on my side?" annoyance at his endorsement of the deal by saying he's trying to come up with another explanation for a body being stuffed in a cello case under her bed and it's not coming to him.  He wouldn't actually say that in front of the cops, but I let it go because it's a Christmas episode and I'm already laughing so much.

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Maybe I'm in the wrong forum but is anyone going to be watching Family Man, Family Murderer on I.D. channel this week? It's the story of Chris Watts murdering his pregnant wife and 2 young daughters. 

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1 hour ago, chenoa333 said:

Maybe I'm in the wrong forum but is anyone going to be watching Family Man, Family Murderer on I.D. channel this week? It's the story of Chris Watts murdering his pregnant wife and 2 young daughters. 

This thread is for posts about the Major Crimes TV show, a spinoff of The Closer that aired from 2012-2018; it's not for discussion of major crimes in general, if that's what you thought.

I'm not 100% sure, but maybe you could start a thread for it here: https://forums.primetimer.com/forum/937-specials-tv-movies-other-one-offs/

Maybe message a moderator first to ask.

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I love the opening scene in “Leap of Faith” as an illustration of the Provenza/Andy friendship; they’re bickering and goading each other as always, but they’re on the phone to begin with because Provenza called Andy for dating advice as he’s catching feelings he doesn’t know what to do with.  That’s cute.

It’s a good Andy episode overall; Tony Denison always does a nice job with the trait that Andy truly wants to help people.  Yes, one of the main reasons he’s a cop is simply finding it fun to lock “dirtbags” up, he has a simplistic view of the world, and he’s prone to foot-in-mouth disease, but when someone innocent is in trouble, he jumps in with both compassion and skill. 

I also like the actor playing Bill; I’ve seen him in a few things and liked each performance.  He’s particularly adept at bringing out the sympathetic aspects of a character that isn’t all that good, and here he perfectly expresses the near-fatal resignation that comes with Bill’s difficulties, as a sex offender registrant, securing housing and employment and enduring harassment from neighbors. 

Paula Marshall is even bearable in this one; I normally can’t stand her, and she bugs me here in her usual ways, but she does a great job with the character's realization of why her husband won’t participate in a line-up.

My favorite thing is the way Bill’s girlfriend is presented; nine times out of ten, that character would be written as a desperate idiot, denying what’s right in front of her face and endangering her daughter in favor of keeping a man.  But on this show, Bill hasn't done anything for her to ignore, and when Tori learns about his criminal history her reaction is shock but not denial, and pure concern for Kayla.

I want to smack Chris, the killer stepfather.  I freely grant him that life with Annie, and the knowledge it will never get any better, sounds utterly, miserably, unbearable.  So leave!  He’d rather kill a teenager he’s regarded as his own child and frame an innocent man for murder than, what, endure the scorn of being the second husband/father to say “I can’t handle this” and bounce?!  Fuck that guy.

The stuff about Rusty’s victim impact statement is just exposition for the upcoming escapades with Stroh in “Special Master,” but it’s necessary and decently spread out, and I love it for Sharon telling Rusty he was never the guy in the park; he was there because of circumstances not because of who he is, and what happened to him was by definition criminal because of his age.  It’s so important that she reiterates that whenever it comes up, because even with her love and Dr. Joe’s help, while he knows that, he still only feels it as “mostly true.”

Random note I used to fixate on:  Provenza tells Dr. Joe that Patrice is “very close to my own age.”  At the time this aired, G.W. Bailey was 70 and Dawnn Lewis was 53.  Actors’ ages are only a guideline to characters’, but the season five episode with Mary Conrad – who was the same Academy class as Provenza – indicates that’s an accurate age for him, at least within a year or two (not to mention all the old fart jokes about Provenza).  And there’s only so much older Lewis can realistically be assumed to be playing, so at the bounds of credulity the age gap is still at least a dozen years.  After several viewings, I decided this doesn’t bother me, because to Provenza – who’d previously only dated women in their 30s (40 if he’s drinking) – that IS “very close” to his age. 

I love “Internal Affairs” for finally explicitly addressing Julio’s inappropriate behavior as a problem that cannot be tolerated, but I have to laugh at his reactions to his mom being evidence of his anger management problem.  Ramona Sanchez would drive anyone to yell!   Her nattering on and ordering him around at the end while he prays for patience is funny, though.  I also giggle at Mrs. Sanchez’s listing of Tino’s many faults being immediately followed by “poor boy” when she finds out he’s dead.

It’s a chilling lead-in to commercial break to see Sharon reading Julio his rights.  Sharon, like Brenda before her, doesn’t often give the Miranda warning; she usually has one of her detectives do it.  But of course she’d be the one to do it here, and it enhances the scene.

It’s also a great character touch that Julio automatically gets up as a sign of respect when his captain and lieutenant enter the interview room, despite his disgruntlement at having been read his rights. 

In that same vein, I find it important that Mike is the one person other than Sharon who isn’t in Electronics when Provenza tells Buzz to turn off the camera, because I don’t think he’d have joined in on that (nor would he have agreed to leave the interview room if he knew what Provenza had done); he’s been just as adamant as Sharon from the beginning that they need to let procedure protect Julio, rather than trying to subvert it.  It works with the many years of his character.  Fundamentally, it was pointless for Provenza to do, because nothing he says to Julio would hurt his defense if it was recorded – in fact, it would be further evidence they did not give him special treatment – while a gap in the tape could.  (Which is the tipping point in why I’m iffy on Amy – a former MP – encouraging it.)

My favorite part is the Sharon and Jack stuff, though (of course).  I laugh at her whacking him with a pillow and yelling at him to wake up, but it gets so touching from there.  The bewildered look on her face when he says he came over to share his big winnings with her, and then that look when he asks, “Well, who would come here sober?” and grumbles about that “awful tone” she’s using on him – she’s simultaneously angry, hurt, and disappointed, and you just know she heard this so many times back in the day, that if she wasn’t always nagging him about his responsibilities, he’d spend more time at home than at a bar/card table.

And then her guilt that Rusty is having to deal with this in the home that was supposed to take him away from this shit.  She worked so hard to shield her other kids from the effects of Jack’s drinking, and she didn’t know she needed to shield this one, too.  It’s of no comfort to her that with his other mom Rusty had to deal with far worse.  It’s a great scene between them, with Rusty assuring her he can handle it and Sharon making him walk her through the specifics before she’ll agree (and as a continuation from him bursting into Electronics but then realizing he should not blurt this out in front of everyone; little by little, Rusty is growing up).

And I love beyond measure the scene with Jack at the end, when he delivers a sincere apology and Sharon just talks about Ricky and Emily needing him to be sober, tears up a little, and walks away slowly shaking her head.  She’s heard this before, too, and him meaning the apology has never stopped him - and, to her renewed distress, may never stop him - from repeating the behavior he needs to apologize for.  Rusty was right; Jack had the jackpot, but he just had to go chasing after more.  He loses the most, and he knows that (but rarely faces it), but the damage to the others is ongoing.

Random note: I am highly entertained by the audio coming from the mic in Mendoza’s shoes and the video coming from a hidden camera in the parking garage meaning the footage they watch of uncle and nephew is out of sync like a badly-dubbed Kung-Fu movie.

(I also like that using the shoe mic to get a confession was Andy’s idea – he’s not often the strategizer, so it’s a nice touch that with Julio’s career on the line Andy gets inspired.)

VERY random note I just noticed: When Rusty comes home and finds Jack, there is something on the wall above and to the right of the condo’s front door (a few feet above the art that’s always there).  I can’t figure out what it is, it has never been there before, and it’s never there again (even in the other condo scene in this same episode).  What is it?!

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16 hours ago, Bastet said:

The stuff about Rusty’s victim impact statement is just exposition for the upcoming escapades with Stroh in “Special Master,” . . . 

Coincidentally, I recently saw the early The Closer episode in which Andy wants to get a Special Master to look at a dead mental health professional's records; Andy is thwarted  (rightly, as it turns out) by Brenda, so it's unintentionally (I guess?) fulfilling and sort of vindicates Andy's instincts when a Special Master becomes a good idea years later -- although this later Special Master idea goes south too -- but at least it's not Andy's idea.

I really appreciate your entire post, @Bastet; the writing in these episodes is so tight!

I have a ton of other thoughts, but have a deadline, so maybe later.
  

16 hours ago, Bastet said:

VERY random note I just noticed: When Rusty comes home and finds Jack, there is something on the wall above and to the right of the condo’s front door (a few feet above the art that’s always there).  I can’t figure out what it is, it has never been there before, and it’s never there again (even in the other condo scene in this same episode).  What is it?!

Do you mean the square lamp fixture hanging by the door?

major-crimes.jpg

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25 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

Do you mean the square lamp fixture hanging by the door? 

Is that a light fixture at the upper right of the door?  Whatever it is, it's not normally there.  Even in the other condo scene in this very episode.  It's not like it's a leftover Christmas decoration or something, so why is it randomly there?  It's weird.

Oh, wait - I think I see what you're saying; is that just a particularly weird angle on the overhead light in the foyer that is only visible when the camera is placed at certain positions?  Not something new on the wall, just the usual light on the ceiling that we can't see most of the time?  Ah, that would make sense!

25 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

Coincidentally, I recently saw the early The Closer episode in which Andy wants to get a Special Master to look at a dead mental health professional's records; Andy is thwarted  (rightly, as it turns out) by Brenda, so it's unintentionally (I guess?) fulfilling and sort of vindicates Andy's instincts when a Special Master becomes a good idea years later -- although this later Special Master idea goes south too -- but at least it's not Andy's idea.

There's also a special master in the episode where Brenda, freaking out over her dad's cancer diagnosis, tries to get an oncologist whose clinic partner was murdered (by the drug rep peddling fake chemotherapy, who was going to be outed by the partner) to turn over their patient records; Sharon instigates the paperwork for a special master to not only get the info needed without violating patient privacy rights, but to keep the DAs office too busy to be involved with the early stages of the police investigation (this is near the end of the series, when Pope wants a DDA brought in from the beginning of cases [after Brenda provokes a mistrial due to her Stroh obsession] and Brenda is, of course, resistant).

There's no relation between previous uses (or non-uses) of one in the series and what happens with Stroh and Judge Schaefer in the two-part Special Master, though; a special master is simply a role within the judicial system, used for a tremendous variety of tasks.

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On 6/2/2019 at 4:35 PM, Bastet said:

is that just a particularly weird angle on the overhead light in the foyer that is only visible when the camera is placed at certain positions? 

Nope! You were correct the first time. Look. It's gone in the next scene in her condo!

majorcrimes2.jpg

"Now ya see it; now ya don't!"
Hah!
So, we're not going crazy. 
Er. Ah. That is . . .
At least we're not hallucinating!

ETA: The angle is slightly different, but it should be visible, right?

Maybe it was a fake lamp fixture used to cover a microphone boom.

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On 6/2/2019 at 10:04 PM, shapeshifter said:

Look. It's gone in the next scene in her condo!

I know, that was always my big hang-up with its presence in that one scene, but once you said "light fixture" it clicked for me; looking at the pattern of the shade, that does indeed seem to be an odd angle showing the light that hangs down from the center of the foyer ceiling (and, because of its height, is only visible in certain shots - most of the time, we don't see it) but making it look like it's on the wall at the upper right of the door.  Nothing else makes sense.

This many rounds into syndication, my market has taken to skipping two-part arcs entirely, even where both episodes would air together like tonight, so no “Special Master” episodes for me - right on to season four.

The first time I watched “A Rose is a Rose,” I thought the actor playing Ashley was a rare casting misstep for the show, finding her quite bad, but once Ashley was revealed as the one responsible for the murders, I realized she was lying in every scene, so in subsequent viewings I've given the actor the benefit of the doubt she's playing this young girl with her whacked-out plan as a bad liar.  (I think I’m being generous.)

This is not a favorite episode, because I only take a break from muttering “Shut up, Rusty” to switch to grumbling “Shut up, Buzz.”  I hate the Rusty Beck, Super Journalist storyline that starts here.  If Rusty really did write ten times better than anyone else in his school, then he wouldn’t have been rejected by the community college paper, would he?  So shut up, Rusty, and shut up, Buzz, about how the internet means anyone can be a journalist.  No, it means anyone with access can publish their thoughts, and that indeed creates an important avenue for voices left out of corporate media, but it also lets a kid who’s had five minutes of instruction on the practices and ethics of journalism decide he knows it all and is ready to go without any oversight. 

But I do like bringing back the music from "Jane Doe #38" when Rusty gets inspired by Alice's picture in light of Buzz’s words, and continuing that in future episodes with scenes about the hunt for Alice's identity; reinforcing the tie between this season’s episodes picking the case back up and the one that started it all last season via the score is a nice touch.

And the opening scene cracks me up, when Provenza is being his usual cranky self about Nacho the victim's dog, and Nacho – until now perfectly happy in Andy’s arms - growls at Provenza when he tells Andy to hand him off and get to work.

Mostly, I love the way Mary McDonnell plays Sharon, months into sleep-deprived nights worrying about both Stroh and not telling Rusty he has a protection detail.  Because it’s not fresh, Sharon’s behavior shouldn’t be significantly on edge like she is in the thick of situations like “Return to Sender” or “Special Master” and it’s not; she plays it perfectly subtle, with Sharon just a bit curt and impatient in situations she’s normally unaffected by – and just plain out of fucks to give with Taylor, which is delightful - and vaguely fatigued.

I laugh my ass off at Rusty telling the brother no, his mother doesn’t tell him what to do being immediately followed by Sharon striding in, ordering Rusty out, confiscating his phone, physically moving him towards the door, and finally snapping, “Out!  I said out,” when he lingers.

I like Sharon calmly but clearly shutting down Andy’s attempts at protecting her (it seems he joins Provenza in knowing how far out on a limb she’s gone with Taylor in insisting Julio return to Major Crimes), telling him she has been looking out for her own best interests a long time and doesn’t need him for that. 

For me, this is the end of the Stroh storyline, and I didn’t need that damn showdown in season six (granted, I’d be much more open to it had Sharon not needed to be dead for it to play out as Duff wanted); here, like Rusty does in “Special Master”, Sharon decides to get life back to normal rather than letting Stroh keep them held hostage while he’s off free.  Bye, Stroh, you’re INTERPOL’s problem now.

“Sorry I Missed You” has a bugaboo that I didn’t notice at first:  In the opening scene, they make a point of how the TV footage they’re watching of the chase is delayed, while the police radio audio they’re listening to is live, and at first that’s how it plays out (which is why Rusty asks in the first place, because the radio references something they haven’t seen on screen), but then when the body flies out of the trunk on air, the police audio is concurrent with that, instead of having happened ten seconds earlier.

This isn’t an error, but the attorney/father/killer has me shaking my head (in the midst of feeling sorry for him) when he’s on about how his daughter was fine until she took the anti-depressants her psychiatrist prescribed.  Yes, suicidal thoughts/suicide are horrible potential side effects in young people on some of those medications, but he acts like she went from zero to sixty, when she could not have been at zero – otherwise, why would they have had her seeing a psychiatrist twice a week in the first place?

My favorite moment: Sharon blindly holding out her hand for the note Morales is talking about while she looks at the wedding ring, only to snatch it back when he reveals he removed it from the victim’s stomach, is outmatched in its fabulousness only by the little circular gesture she makes when he asks if she wants it as-is or photocopied.

I get a good snarky laugh out of “I guess she has a type” when the psychiatrist’s widow – who’d been his patient when she was 12 and then married him (20+ years her senior) at 24 – reveals the man she’s having an affair with is the doctor who conducted their marriage counseling and can't lose his license over this because he's so brilliant.

Mike and Buzz looking at each other and mouthing “Sharon?” when Andy accidentally calls her by name instead of rank and then corrects himself is also funny, as is Sharon’s face through it all.

The actor playing Janice Ward does a good job throughout; she’s very natural in the character’s frustration at being asked the same questions the next day and having her house searched, her combination of “I knew it when he didn’t come home” resignation and fresh grief at being notified of her husband’s death, her confusion at the murder-for-hire stuff, and her utter bafflement at (seemingly) being arrested for hiring her own husband to kill some doctor she’s never heard of.

There’s also good stuff in this one with Julio’s reintegration after a five-month suspension, during which Oderno fit in well and did a good job (and is still being called upon).  I like his conflicted feelings, and I like that Sharon continues to stand firm, not only on having him back, but in sending him out in the field right away – which even Provenza is reluctant to do in the face of Taylor’s “preference” to the contrary.

And, of course, learning the full story at the root of his anger – his belief his pregnant wife’s death was something that could have been prevented had her doctor not approved her going off her meds.  It’s a nice midpoint in the extensive arc of his getting his shit together storyline.

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“Open Line” is another Rusty is annoying me episode, which is a recurring source of disgruntlement this season and beyond.  It wouldn't be so bad if he was being presented as the typical I know it all now college kid he’s being, but he’s not – the show wants us to believe he’s such a wunderkind in the making that even Sharon and Judge Grove are just bowled over by what a great job he’s doing with his vlog.  (I know part of her reaction is relief this story keeps him spending a good bit of time at the PAB, but still.)  This show, like all cop shows, has consistently presented professional reporters as nuisances or even with outright disdain, but now Rusty is The Greatest. 

And, yes, the work he winds up doing to identify “Alice” is great, and his heart is always in the right place.  But the mistakes he makes because he has no idea what he’s doing are smiled upon.  Because it’s Rusty.  And Duff is firmly wedged up his ass at this point, and just continues to lose sight of the field as the show goes on.

Anyway, I do like how Sharon’s attitude in front of Taylor and Andrea changes when she realizes this idiot her son not only interviewed Slider about Alice without telling her, he talked to him about the case. I still wanted her to snap that it’s her phone, snatch it out of his hand, and give it to Andrea, but I grant it’s more realistic for her to handle it as she does.

I like the continuation from the previous episode, where Sharon is still sending Julio out into the field over Provenza’s nervousness about Taylor’s objection; there’s a deleted scene that makes explicit how important this is, in which Julio tells Provenza he’s good, and if he can’t do the whole job, he doesn’t belong here anymore. 

As a Battlestar Galactica fan, I like the reunion of “Laura Roslin” and “Captain Apollo,” especially with such a different dynamic since Jamie Bamber is playing a total asshole (not to mention using his natural accent, which was so jarring to me when he first opened his mouth).  Sharon’s smirk when Malcolm realizes he’s in real trouble is terrific.

Mike mocking “the Facebook, the Twitter” is great.  As is “Can’t Undo?!”  But everyone “shutting down” their computers by simply closing their laptops makes me roll my eyes so hard.

I get a kick out of Provenza being as irritated by Buzz’s references to his reserve officer training as Andy is by any and all references to Badge of Justice.

“Turn Down” is so hilarious, I don’t even mind that Buzz is shoehorned into one of Provenza and Andy’s misadventures.  There are so many things that make me laugh:

- Provenza being in a worse seat in the “Batmobile” every time the opening credit sequence changes – first he’s driving, then he’s the passenger, and ultimately he’s in the back because he keeps screwing up the car
- All the names Buzz gets called based on what he’s saying: Mr. Boy Scout, Barney Fife, Don Ho, Sherlock Holmes
- The return of the privacy sign (and the casual way the groom reveals he, too, slept with Danny “once or twice or six times”)
- Everyone’s reactions to Danny's musical performance during the rehearsal, the bride’s hysterical voice mail messages, and to Provenza revealing he’s going to take his uniform to Patrice’s for sexy times
- Andrea’s reaction to Andy saying he agrees there should be no secrets in marriage
- Sharon’s reaction to the groom saying the bride hasn’t eaten anything but breath mints in three days in order to fit into her dress, and to the bride killing that sandwich (I also love the bride saying “no, I may pick a little” when Mike asks if she wants him to clear away any of her smorgasbord)
- Sharon’s giddiness when she gets her idea about unlocking the victim’s phone, Dr. Morales demanding “Okay, but nobody tweet about this” when he agrees to shock the corpse, and Mike's "holy crap" when it works
- Frank Fontana the father of the bride screaming like he’s discovered a mutilated body part when he opens the mini bar to find it’s empty and his bill just got even higher, his confession – “glub, glub, glub” – and Sharon offering him a deal like she’s officiating a wedding ceremony
- The sister’s laundry list of anti-anxiety medications including Valium three times
- Buzz being so relieved by Sharon saying she’s glad he spoke up, because they wouldn’t be able to enjoy the game if a murderer got away with it, only to have her give him a look and pointedly say, “Of course, it would be nice to go” – I love the way he bumps into chairs as he scurries off to get back to work
- Amy asking Sharon to hold on while she moves away from “the argument … against marriage” in order to continue the call, and Sharon asking Amy if the tranquilizer darts are for the suspects or Provenza

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17 hours ago, Bastet said:

Amy asking Sharon to hold on while she moves away from “the argument … against marriage” in order to continue the call, and Sharon asking Amy if the tranquilizer darts are for the suspects or Provenza

So many great punch lines in the "Turn Down" episode--especially these from Amy!

I tried to see via IMDb if there was a particular writer that does the comedic ones with the witticisms, but IMDb doesn't seem to differentiate. Maybe the rolling credits do, but that would still be hard to determine.


  
  
  

17 hours ago, Bastet said:

another Rusty is annoying me episode, which is a recurring source of disgruntlement this season and beyond.  It wouldn't be so bad if he was being presented as the typical I know it all now college kid he’s being, but he’s not – the show wants us to believe he’s such a wunderkind in the making that even Sharon and Judge Grove are just bowled over by what a great job he’s doing with his vlog.  (I know part of her reaction is relief this story keeps him spending a good bit of time at the PAB, but still.)

I really resented Rusty when these episodes first aired, but this time I realized that at least Rusty, unlike my middle daughter at his age, only briefly expresses his objections with regards to violations of "freedom of the press" and his rights to privacy, search & seizure (WRT his cell phone) etc., before calmly surrendering and even being apologetic. 

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21 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

I tried to see via IMDb if there was a particular writer that does the comedic ones with the witticisms, but IMDb doesn't seem to differentiate. Maybe the rolling credits do, but that would still be hard to determine.

"Turn Down" was written by Adam Belanoff, who had written for a few sitcoms (among other things), and, while he also wrote "regular" episodes and didn't write all the comedic ones, he did pen the majority of them: The Agony and the Ecstasy, I, Witness, Frozen Assets, Acting Out, Hostage of Fortune, and Skin Deep.

He wrote many of the comedic episodes of The Closer (where he also wrote "regular" episodes), too, including To Protect & To Serve, Dial M for Provenza, Layover, and To Serve With Love.

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While procrastinating, I got to wondering who wrote the comedic episodes not written by Belanoff, and it turns out Duppy Demetrius wrote most of the rest of them:  "There's No Place Like Home" and "Cutting Loose" (and "Under the Influence," which has numerous comedic elements).  He wrote a couple of The Closer's comedic episodes, too.

The remaining few comedic/comedy-heavy episodes are scattered among different writers, so the vast majority of comedic episodes across both shows were written by those two.

As I mentioned, Belanoff came into the franchise with several sitcoms under his belt, including Murphy Brown - so he learned how to write intelligent comedy for a workplace ensemble early on.  Demetrius had only done crime dramas, so he learned how to do to comedy on the job; it's a great writers room to learn it in, since even the "regular" episodes weave in funny moments and lines brilliantly.

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As I’ve said before, Amira’s grandma in “Snitch” really ticks me off, yet I love the realism of her situation – she’s raising her kid’s kid for one of the reasons that happens, and she loves her and is keeping her reasonably safe in a sketchy neighborhood, but she’s not actually a very good guardian; Amira is consistently unsupervised, up way too late and/or left home alone (and not because Grandma has to work two jobs or the swing shift to support the kid; Granny is off at church).  But it’s just there for the audience to notice, yet not harped on, that Amira somewhat raises herself; it’s just a straightforward presentation of a reality.

I like Amy standing firm with Andrea and Taylor in protecting Amira, and Sharon backing her play to try to avoid needing the witness’s testimony – yet making sure Amy does not share that witness’s name with her, saying if that happens she’ll skip over all this jazz and stick her in protective custody.  And the way they lure Twizz and Big Hazard into indeed snitching on each other, without actually putting either one in danger of lethal retaliation, is great, too.

I’m also tickled by the touch Amira doesn’t know how to use a pay phone.  And that Twizz’s fellow Monsters misspelled “snitch.”  And Julio going all Scary Sanchez in the interview room, making everyone nervous he hasn’t changed a bit, only to have him nod at the camera to indicate it’s an act. 

And while I can’t with the narrative attitude towards Rusty starting this season, where we’re no longer invited to roll our eyes at his myopic antics via other characters’ reactions to him but are instead via those same characters now asked to find him the greatest thing since sliced bread – not to mention the increased focus on the various aspects of his life while not exploring the same thing in the other characters' lives - I still like Rusty himself, with all his immature, conflicting impulses ultimately coming out on the right side of things.  Him telling Sharon she’s more important to him than any story he’ll ever tell is beautiful.  And telling Dr. Joe Alice was killed by Slider, but also died of complications of apathy and neglect, and he knows that’s his story without Sharon – good stuff.

I love Provenza’s “all of the above, and I’m glad you haven’t over-thought it” reaction to Andy declaring his intention to ask Sharon out on a real date (and find it adorable Andy runs it by him in the first place).  I hate – in fact, resent – the fact they wrote this relationship yet failed to do a damn thing with it (implying they couldn’t just leave Sharon happily single, heaven forbid, because she’s a woman, but also couldn’t bother exploring the relationship, because she’s old), but there’s some funny stuff as it gets going: Provenza’s reaction here and, especially, the deleted scene at the end of “Personal Effects” where Rusty is utterly disgusted by learning Andy will be spending the night sometimes in the future.  For all his specific issues resulting from the men and things to which he was exposed via his other mom, he’s also just a typical teenage guy disgusted by the fact his mom has sex, and it’s amusing.

“Personal Effects” also makes me laugh quite hard at Sharon’s reaction to Provenza’s junk filling her condo.  The way she studies those duck lamps (all the mocking of them throughout, knowing they belong to James Duff, is amusing – I loved Mary McDonnell saying “Poor Phillip” when Duff revealed he was taking those back home with him when the show was over) and her “Well, it can’t stay here until he figures all that out!” is all even better than her hilarious initial reaction when she’s snapped right out of her “he seems like a nice young man” fishing for info about T.J. when she gets a look at her living room and has one of her rare little freakouts.  Great scene.

As is Provenza telling Andy, “Please tell me you have a murder” when Andy calls while Patrice is marking so much of Provenza's stuff for give-away.  I know they need to replace a good bit of his stuff with hers so it’s their place, not his in which she crashes, but her just announcing her friend will be redecorating – for which Provenza will foot half the bill – is a bit pushy.  And it’s odd she’s moving into his place, given that when their Christmas in Laguna plans got waylaid by a case she said they could just stay in and cook at home – not at his place, of course, but hers.  If her place is so much better, why aren’t they living there instead?  (And I wonder what kind of place she was living in, because she sent Keisha to a prep school attended by rich kids like Wesley, with his BMW, and Chip, whose parents had that huge house we saw in “Party Foul,” yet she was a retired nurse who also had her late husband’s police pension – suggesting quite comfortable, but not rich.)

I also get a little laugh out of Buzz noting Linda Rothman made her client cry and Provenza saying, “She probably showed her a bill.”

The case is good for showing attitudes – good and bad - about rape; the DA calls it sex – Sharon has to correct him – and is fixated on the fact Mallory didn’t report (gee, I wonder why not), the rapist’s brother had multiple “complaints” about him at work but didn’t do anything about it because he didn’t want to upset his parents, the first victim remembers a detail she didn’t recount the first time because they don’t always all come out at once (and that doesn’t mean her recollection is suspect, thankyouverymuch), Andy says if a rapist stops drinking, what you have is a sober rapist (the booze isn’t why he did it), etc.

And it’s a nice touch with Andy talking to another alcoholic with decades of sobriety under his belt, and finding out he slipped after all that time despite thinking he knew all his triggers.  It’s the type of thing Sharon and Andy would talk about, given her experience with Jack, in considering getting involved, but, like virtually everything, we have to assume it happened off-screen.

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I was able to watch this week's 2 reruns . . . .

4.5 "Snitch" (which we discussed a little on the previous page):

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Sykes makes her best efforts to protect the identity of a witness of a violent gang-related homicide; Rusty visits his therapist to talk about the Alice case; Flynn musters up the courage to ask Raydor out on a formal date.

I have seen this episode more than once previously, but this time when it started I remembered that unless I watched it closely, I would miss stuff. There's a lot crammed into the episode (a complicated COTW with a lot of unspoken dialog (i.e., exchanged looks),* Rusty plot, Flynn/Rador plot), and not one line is fluff. I'm glad I finally got to pay attention uninterruptedly--which it really needs and deserves. 

The one thing that bothers me is that we're led to believe that the little girl likely does grow up safe, and I'm not only not so sure of that because of her gang-infested neighborhood, but because I'm not convinced that Big Hazard wouldn't eventually find out what happened.
  
  
I agree with everything @Bastet just posted, except maybe regarding:

5 minutes ago, Bastet said:

And while I can’t with the narrative attitude towards Rusty starting this season, where we’re no longer invited to roll our eyes at his myopic antics via other characters’ reactions to him but are instead via those same characters now asked to find him the greatest thing since sliced bread

I think Dr. Joe's smiles to the camera behind Rusty's back are supposed to countermand any idea that Rusty is a superhero. 
  
  


 

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. . . and 4.6 "Personal Effects" in which:

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The squad discovers a body belonging to a sociopath who had a plethora of enemies, which makes it difficult to narrow the list of potential suspects; Rusty gets help from a friend as he continues his investigation of Alice.

This one has the unusual ending of letting the perp go free--which, IIRC, Flynn, Provenza, and and Julio have all advocated for in past cases where a "dirt bag" was the victim. Both Sharon Raydor and Brenda on The Closer have always responded with something like "we don't get to choose our victims." I wonder how this typically plays out IRL situations. While watching this episode I couldn't stop thinking about the first episode of When They See Us, which I watched over the past 24 hours (really intense) in which a kind of opposite occurs, with the perp going free while innocents (especially POCs) are prosecuted--which I know was par for the course in Chicago for decades. 

Since we only got to know the "dirt bag" of "Personal Effects" during this one episode, it wasn't quite as satisfying to see his killer/victim go free as if it had been someone like Stroh who was murdered. But, wow. By the end of the episode the guy really didn't seem to have a single socially redeemable bone fragment to his body. I was even a little sorry that the brother who allowed his crime sprees to continue didn't meet a similar end.

The parallel of Provenza and Patrice keeping secrets working out seems to suggest that the murderer/victim will live happily ever after with her family, even if someday the son send in a 23andMe kit.

Regarding the duck lamps, I love the look on Provenza's face when he hears Sharon musing, "I always wonder, what kind of life did someone lead that their personal effects end up in our murder room?"
  
  

44 minutes ago, Bastet said:

And it’s odd she’s moving into his place, given that when their Christmas in Laguna plans got waylaid by a case she said they could just stay in and cook at home – not at his place, of course, but hers.  If her place is so much better, why aren’t they living there instead?  (And I wonder what kind of place she was living in, because she sent Keisha to a prep school attended by rich kids like Wesley, with his BMW, and Chip, whose parents had that huge house we saw in “Party Foul,” yet she was a retired nurse who also had her late husband’s police pension – suggesting quite comfortable, but not rich.)

My fanwank would be that Patrice might not own her place (my daughter moved into her fiance's place for this reason--their homes were otherwise equal).

Provenza being older might have purchased when it was more feasible in SoCal. 
Oops. Now I'm thinking of Provenza's 4 ex-wives and this doesn't quite work. 

I was a librarian at a very expensive college prep high school in California for four years ($50K+/yr. tuition plus uniforms etc. in the 1990s); I would assume/fanwank Keisha was at least partially on scholarship
--or maybe she wasn't and Patrice has loans to pay off.
Patrice might have thought the investment was her best bet to secure a good future for her volatile granddaughter.
And, if this was the case, Patrice's house might have been mortgaged to the hilt. 

Edited by shapeshifter

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1 minute ago, shapeshifter said:

I would assume/fanwank Keisha was at least partially on scholarship

They generally note that when it's the case, as victims' and suspects' financials are always part of the investigation when looking for motive, like with Lina's secret boyfriend being the financial scholarship kid among the teens' group in "Do Not Disturb," Bri's boyfriend living large on her ill-gotten gain because he's a scholarship student without any real money of his own in "Family Law," etc.

Here, the only thing noted was that Keisha was at Santa Monica City College, which could be because Patrice had less money than Wes and Chip's parents, but could also be because of Keisha's lack of academic prowess -- after all, Chip was at San Diego State (before getting kicked out for dealing drugs).

19 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

I think Dr. Joe's smiles to the camera behind Rusty's back are supposed to countermand any idea that Rusty is a superhero. 

Nah, his attitude has shifted along with everyone else's.  There are still some pointed remarks from Sharon, Dr. Joe, Provenza, Judge Grove, etc., but there's a subtle (it did take several viewings of the whole series before it stood out to me) but steady creeping in of those characters accepting or even praising things they would not have previously received that way.  I think only Andrea stays consistent.  But, as I said, at least Rusty himself continues to recognize - eventually - his faults.

13 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

This one has the unusual ending of letting the perp go free--which, IIRC, Flynn, Provenza, and and Julio have all advocated for in past cases where a "dirt bag" was the victim. Both Sharon Raydor and Brenda on The Closer have always responded with something like "we don't get to choose our victims."

Actually, Andy evolved to speaking out against the idea of letting vigilantes get "justice" when the system can't.  But, yes, Julio especially is generally down for it - especially in the cases of women whose rapists got away with it later killing said rapists, even where it's not self defense.  It's an interesting aspect of his personality, as he was long such a contradiction of grossly sexist attitudes sprinkled with moments of non-patronizing chivalry, and especially because this is the era of the show in which he is moving far away from objectifying behavior.

Anyway, I like that in this one no one is advocating for her to get away with a crime in circumvention of what the law intended, simply acknowledging that they absolutely do not have the evidence to make a case against her as the law requires - as Linda Rothman lays out, they can't even establish the cause of death as homicide rather than suicide - and admitting, yeah, her getting away with what they regard as manslaughter (given the state of mind she was put into via his actions upon finding out he'd fathered her son, not just the years-ago rape) is not the outcome they want, but they're not going to lose too much sleep over it, either.

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First I’d like to thank those that are posting. I look forward to reading the posts and just don’t respond. ☺️

I am watching The Closer reruns as well.  Question.  How did Commander Taylor go from being depicted as he was in The Closer to how he is portrayed in Major Crimes?

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51 minutes ago, Ellee said:

First I’d like to thank those that are posting. I look forward to reading the posts and just don’t respond. ☺️

I am watching The Closer reruns as well.  Question.  How did Commander Taylor go from being depicted as he was in The Closer to how he is portrayed in Major Crimes?

As the show begin Chief Johnson was a political hire. Since LAPD does not take transfers from other departments, you either start off as a "boot" and go through the academy and a probationary year on patrol or get hired as a Chief like the post Rodney King Riots LAPD Chief Willie Williams who was not an actual POST approved police officer in California. Presumably Chief Johnson got POST (state of California)  certified, just not through the LAPD Police Academy off screen.

So to start a special section, the Priority Homicide Division, what should have been Lieutenant Johnson as a part of then Captain Taylor's Robbery Homicide Division, Brenda Lee was hired by the city as a Chief. With the rest of the department under the impression that although she was called "Chief" she was actually just a Lieutenant in power.  But it didn't take long for Chief Johnson to weld the power of a chief with push back from others like a Traffic Division Captain when she got into an accident or a narcotics detective who acted as if he was just dealing with an equal unit for his big case when Chief Johnson keep pulling her rank on him, since the murder versus big drug dealer case didn't.  And to cut off a disciplinary action against her early, before the city administration found out Chief Pope swung a deal and got Captain Taylor promoted to Commander.

After Chief Pope's ex wife publicly outed the affair that he had with Chief Johnson the department lead by Commander Taylor closed ranks around Chief Johnson and he became more ally than antagonist until the selection of the next police chief.  Captains, Commanders and the three different Chief ranks are all command staff and can be moved around politically. When Chief Delk took over before his quick death he was going to promote Commander Taylor to Chief Pope's office and move Chief Pope back down to a Captain's billet.

As Chief Pope was named interim Chief of Police he did promote Chief Taylor to his old position. Where Chief Taylor was when Chief Johnson was forced into retirement and Captain Raydor was transferred from Force Investigations to command Major Crimes.

I guess that I should add that when murders come down they are either handled by the local detectives A division or bureau, say Hollywood like Detective Bosch on his show,  The Robbery Homicide Division or assigned to the Major Case squad inside of the Robbery Homicide Division in real life, but it its own thing on this franchise

Edited by Raja · Reason: Homicide divsion hieracy.

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