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Major Crimes

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7 hours ago, Ellee said:

How did Commander Taylor go from being depicted as he was in The Closer to how he is portrayed in Major Crimes?

Taylor's entire career was about playing the game to get ahead.  It paid off when, as The Closer neared its end, Pope had to start making concessions in order to keep Major Crimes (his big accomplishment), with or without Brenda.  Part of that was making Taylor Assistant Chief (despite the promotions freeze).  So, Taylor had achieved his goal; with that position achieved, he became much less snake-like, because he wasn't angling for anything anymore - that's why Asst. Chief Taylor is different than Captain and then Commander Taylor.  (Actually, it started before the promotion was official; once he knew he was going to get it (in the final episodes of The Closer), he actually started joining Sharon in running interference for Brenda.

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In discussing this show with a friend, I mentioned what I'd recently discovered following discussion here, the fact that two of the show's writers were responsible for the bulk of the comedic episodes, and she said it seemed like Paul McCrane directed a lot of them.  We looked it up; it was only three, but he is the director with the most comedic episodes to his credit -- "Frozen Assets", "Turn Down", and "Hostage of Fortune".  (And, of course, his guest star appearance was in another of the comedies, "There's No Place Like Home".)

Three other directors (including Stacey K. Black, one of the few female directors on either series [and who was the hair stylist on both shows, until she resigned to devote herself to directing full-time]) helmed two comedic/comedy-heavy episodes each, but the rest were spread out.  It makes sense, as it's more common to specialize in comedy vs. drama in writing than in directing.

Your trivia for the day. 🙂

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I can’t believe I never thought of this in previous viewings, but what happens with Emmy in “Targets of Opportunity”?  Rico and his parents enter Witness Protection - which means no contact with anyone else from their real lives - but Emmy is pregnant by Rico and there’s no mention of her.  So she gets left behind – unable to make rent or keep the car running – to raise a kid by herself?

I always roll my eyes at Taylor’s “In the past year, have police departments become more or less popular?” (gee, I wonder why it's the latter) he cites as the reason for his “safe zone” nonsense - and at cops’ murders being elevated above those of folks like poor Mr. Peppers (whose body they don’t even bother with for a while and who remains an afterthought) - but the opening sequence is beautifully shot and the ritual involved in removing the officers' bodies powerfully conveys the characters’ reactions to cops being killed in the line of duty.  There’s an error in editing, as we see Mike remove his hat twice, but it still comes out great. 

Does anyone familiar with this paramilitary protocol know why some salute the fallen officers and some put their hands over their hearts?  I thought maybe it related to rank, but on subsequent viewings it became clear that wasn’t it.  Is it plain clothes (hand) versus in uniform (salute)?

My problem with this episode is the whole background check thing.  First, what Rusty abuses his position to find out about Gus is public record, so he didn’t even need to go there in the first place.  Good going, Mr. Super Journalist; you can’t even hit Google as a first step in your research?  (But I love the way he feels like utter shit for doing it after Sharon and Provenza both thank him for pitching in – he’s a good person, he just [as is typical of his age] acts without thinking.)  Second, the cops doing background checks on people calling in tips is a really good way to get people NOT to call in tips.  I guess it’s legal, falling within the “in furtherance of a criminal investigation” requirement, but it’s not wise.

My favorite part of the episode is the transformation of Sharon from needy civilian to badass cop with a gun pointed at Baldy’s head; it’s a five-second master class in acting.  Plus, it was delightful having Sharon at the crime scene and working in the field in this one; I like the realism of her being in the office so much, but it’s also important to have her out there in situations that call for it and I always enjoy those scenes.

I also love Sharon’s reaction when it starts to look like this was cops on cops; Mary McDonnell plays the dawning, horrified reaction and the mind spinning as Sharon decides how to proceed so well.

I adore Sharon’s “We’re not pausing to define ‘fake’ for you, Paco” when he objects that’s not even his name on the fake passport card bearing his face.  Amy’s “Sorry, I’m just a girl, and this 3D printer is heavy” and Andy picking up the thread is perfect to make Echo twitchy (how'd that guy wind up working for MS13?!), and I like “Father Provenza” – there are some nice humorous moments in this very serious episode.

And I love Rico at the end, calling bullshit on having been deported to a country he doesn’t even know (since he was a toddler when his parents brought him to the U.S.) and it only now being okay for him to stay because he happened to witness a murder.  And his parents have to risk their lives spilling what little they know about his uncle’s gang in order to stay.  His frustration is a nice way to close the episode, and I like that Sharon, Taylor, and Fritz are aware the best they can do for him isn’t all that great.  I still want to know the story behind “Moosescrapple” (the name of the U.S. Marshal seen on the signature line), though – inside joke, or just the prop department having fun?  (We never figured it out in the original thread.)

Random note: It’s interesting that Provenza mistakenly says INS rather than ICE – he’s horribly out of date about many things, but he’s always referred to Immigration correctly before, so it plays as a nice touch indicating how on edge this case has made him.

One more: They never explain how the fake cops got not only their uniforms, but a Charger complete with police lights.

“Hostage of Fortune” is a nice palate cleanser after such a heavy episode.  And, speaking of the previous episode, I love the callback in HoF that whenever we see someone in uniform, they still have the black band over their shields.

Agent Shea is entertaining and, as usual, the squad’s reactions to this buffoon are the best; such great looks from everyone throughout, and especially the “The Captain asked you a question” rallying around their leader when Sharon tells him if he wants to stick around he must do things her way and Sharon’s faux-innocent little shrug when Shea insists on arresting the Clarks (when she knows it’s the buddies who did it, not the parents).

I’m also entertained by the joy Sharon takes in annoying Andy by bringing him along to the Badge of Justice set and complimenting Mike about ruling the roost there (and love the meta commentary via the cop show having fancier technology than the actual cops).  And Provenza’s pronunciation of “Guy Lafontaine”.

It’s also pretty funny to listen to Kevin’s friends continue to try to squeal on each other in exchange for a deal as they’re being placed under arrest; the main audio is from Electronics, so you have to pay attention to what they're hearing via the monitors.

This is another episode showing us Julio knows every strip joint in a 30-mile radius, but his evolving characterization with respect to women has taken that from just gross to sometimes amusing.  And it’s funny when Sharon shuts down his desire to go to Sultry Dolls alone and sends Amy with him.

Rusty is, once again, in over his head, and he absolutely should have given Sharon a heads-up on the pending notification (and I love how the difference in Andy’s reaction from everyone else's to Rusty having uncovered Alice’s identity reflects that), but it’s great that for all his “I’m a journalist” (and I love Gus being the latest example of a for what, The Kindergarten Times? reaction) bravado he, once this comes to a head, knows he needs to step back and take Gus to the police.  I love Rusty’s OMG, I really did it reaction when he learns Alice’s real name and his I am so out of my depth right now reaction when Gus asks to see his sister.

The T.J. stuff is a little weird, because while it’s a nice illustration that Rusty is myopic and will, despite no ill intentions, fall back into his learned habit of using people and then cutting them off when he doesn’t need anything from them (something they explicitly revisit when he does the same thing to Gus), so good on T.J. for hanging out until it’s clear the meeting with Gus is safe and then peacing out, T.J. is also a stage five clinger; they have only been friends a little over a month, and he flips his lid over going four days without a call or text – dude, chill. 

As a side note, as we say good-bye to T.J. – he’s not out to his family, with whom he both lives and works.  So, his parents and brothers:  Possessing the worst gaydar in the world, in serious denial, or sitting around wondering when this guy is going to go ahead and tell them what they already know?

Edited by Bastet

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21 minutes ago, Bastet said:

I can’t believe I never thought of this in previous viewings, but what happens with Emmy in “Targets of Opportunity”?  Rico and his parents enter Witness Protection - which means no contact with anyone else from their real lives - but Emmy is pregnant by Rico and there’s no mention of her.  So she gets left behind – unable to make rent or keep the car running – to raise a kid by herself?

Having recently done a re-watch of In Plain Sight, the law agency making a case doesn't make that call  the WITSEC Inspector does, she would have the decision to join Rico or not.  If a judgement comes down against Rico for child support the US Marshal will garnish wages after the witness relocation stipend runs out.

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13 hours ago, Raja said:

Having recently done a re-watch of In Plain Sight, the law agency making a case doesn't make that call  the WITSEC Inspector does, she would have the decision to join Rico or not. 

It bothers me that she's not even mentioned in the discussion.  The LAPD, U.S. Marshals Service, and ICE have all - more quickly than is reasonable, but that's TV - agreed on the offer, yet when they present Rico with that offer it's not just that they don't mention Emmy, he doesn't either.  Them, fine, but he's presented as a good guy, so surely he would ask "What about my girlfriend; she's getting ready to have our baby?"  So it seems like the writers forgot about Emmy and her fetus when drafting the witness protection discussion (and, for several rounds of viewing, I forgot about her, too).

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19 hours ago, Bastet said:

what happens with Emmy in “Targets of Opportunity”?  Rico and his parents enter Witness Protection - which means no contact with anyone else from their real lives - but Emmy is pregnant by Rico and there’s no mention of her

The closed captioning script reads:

Quote

In the meantime, we put you and Emmy in Witness Protection, straighten out yours and your parents' immigration status, and hopefully put you back in college.

Did the actual line read not include Emmy?

I love "Father Provenza" but I so dislike Agent Shea that I can't enjoy him as comic relief like I did Dick Tracy.

Which of the two friends from the fake kidnapping shot the victims? The young lawyer or the roadie?

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5 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

Did the actual line read not include Emmy?

I didn't hear it last night, but I just popped in the DVD and it's there, so it was my ears, not a writing error.  And that also explains why I never had the "Wait, what about Emmy?" thought during previous viewings - because I heard it properly then.  Thank you for checking that; it was seriously bugging me!

6 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

Which of the two friends from the fake kidnapping shot the victims? The young lawyer or the roadie?

That's part of what they're arguing about as they both rush to do the "I'm going to cooperate, give me a deal" thing.  They say the drug dealer killed Kevin, and each point the finger at the other for shooting the drug dealer.  But the gun was found in the law student's house, I believe.  Sharon pawns the case off on the FBI (or hands it back to them, really), so they don't need to know the specifics; it's up to the feds to sort out.

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I never get fully invested in the case in “Wish You Were Here”, because Brenda’s evil little sister Gretchen is an unexplained villain.  She attacks one victim while she's married, and then all the others occur over four years later (starting over a year after her divorce).  I get why she killed the ex - because, when the spousal support order expired, he threatened to turn her in over the previous victims - but I never understand why she killed the others.  I mean, I understand it was precipitated by them not telling her they loved her, I just don’t understand why that was a thing for her – she’s just “nuts” (in the colloquial sense, not as a slur for mental illness) with no reason, and that happens, but usually there’s a little more explored when it comes to motivation.

My other nitpick is not something I’m going to stab myself with one of my Phillips head screwdrivers to find out, but I’m pretty sure the resulting wound wouldn’t have such a clearly-delineated shape.

This episode kicks off my complicated and ever-changing reaction to Gus.  I join those who sympathize with him having been hit with a lot at once; his guilt at leaving his sisters in the abusive home he escaped being magnified by learning one was killed after running away from him and the other is out there someplace unknown is strong, and it’s touching when he sees Marianna’s body and says, “she’s older – almost grown” - a lot happened in his absence.  But I also join Andrea in having no time for his entitlement.  He won’t answer her questions – which are to ensure Marianna running away from him in Vegas doesn’t help create reasonable doubt that Slider is the one who killed her – unless they pay for a funeral for Marianna.  Priorities, dude. 

I like the way Andy gets him to finally cooperate – and I like Sharon’s prompting Rusty with “Thank you, Andy” when Andy offers to take Gus home with him for a meal and a decent sleep, and that Rusty changes it to “Thanks, Lieutenant” - and I like even more that when Rusty snots off with his warning to him, Andy doesn’t even bother reassuring him about his new role in his life, just says yes, he will find Paloma and don’t anyone come crying to him when it doesn’t work out like they want. 

Provenza watching cat videos on “the YouTube” is delightful (“mew mew”).  I also like that the register at the no-tell motel includes not just Smiths and Joneses, but a Don Juan, a Casanova, and two Jack Bauers.

And I really like Amy’s “here come the excuses” when the living victim says, “I’m not making excuses…” in explaining why he had an affair with Gretchen.

I love “Fifth Dynasty”, which is saying something given it rests on a fundamental flaw (come to think of it, I like most of the episodes where the cases are based on a big ball of that’s not how this works, which is a testament to how great this show is) – Judge Ryan would never have been able to sign off on the settlement agreements regarding her son.  And that’s bad enough on a legal show, period, but in this very episode, recusals and forced removals due to conflicts of interest are a plot point!

But Patricia Wettig plays the many facets of the character beautifully, and the scenes between her and Mary McDonnell – two actors who got their degrees in drama and trained on the stage – are case studies in “acting is reacting.”  That notification scene in Sharon’s office is a fantastic piece of work I never tire of watching, and all subsequent scenes between them are great, too. 

Fundamentally, I love the nuance of Sharon and Judge Ryan’s relationship – they clearly know each other outside the courtroom, but the professional remains their primary association; they’re not going out for drinks, but maybe Chandler and Ricky played on a team together or something like that.  They’re women of the same age, in the same general male-dominated profession, and there’s a degree of personal on top of that bond.

The reason I like that backdrop is it doesn’t stop Sharon for a moment when she realizes what Chandler did – and that his mom knew.  I love when Judge Ryan closes the file about the Suarez case and Sharon reopens it and slides it right back in front of her, shortly progressing to a firm “Stop!” in the face of Ginny’s extortion version of events, and later telling her she’s either in extreme denial or concealed evidence, and if it’s the latter she will nail her for it.

And Wettig perfectly plays the transition from Judge Ryan’s continued denial when it’s the squad alleging Chandler had molested his nephew, to horrified acceptance when she listens to Sean reluctantly confirm it (“I didn’t think Aunt Ginny would believe me” is powerful).  She stands on the other side of the courtroom and pleads for mercy in her nephew’s killing of her own son, but if she’d taken off her maternal blinders years ago she could have saved at least three other victims (the other two settlement agreement kids plus the younger nephew).  The conflicting aspects of her are well done.

Marianna’s funeral is also nicely done, even though Rene Rosado is still relying a bit too much on the smelled a fart style of non-verbal acting at this stage.  It has been a long road for everyone, and the effect of this sad bit of closure is conveyed beautifully.  I especially like Sharon and Andy being comfortable supporting each other via subtle but open physical affection (it goes with what Amy told Cooper about them being deliberate with how they manage themselves at work, since this sort of is and sort of isn’t work) and Sharon assuring Rusty he did a great thing to help, even though it wasn’t possible to tie things up ideally for the Wallace siblings.

The lead-up to that is good, too, with Sharon getting it through Rusty’s head that Gus will not get custody of Paloma, and is in no position to even if that was possible.  Gus takes longer to grasp the big picture, and that makes sense; it’s natural that he’s a bit bewildered and bitter about everything, and - even though I have a fleeting desire to smack him upside the head - I prefer that to stories where a character in a position like his immediately sees the light.

I also love that the emotional reality of Amy, Cooper, and Julio having to deal with these assholes is presented honestly (and get a great kick out of Cooper knocking that one Nazi right off his bike).

Sharon’s “charming” in response to learning the bikers call their girlfriends “back-warmers” is great.  As is when she tells Henry she's happy to see him safe, and can he please tell her where on Earth he has been.

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19 hours ago, Bastet said:

My other nitpick is not something I’m going to stab myself with one of my Phillips head screwdrivers to find out, but I’m pretty sure the resulting wound wouldn’t have such a clearly-delineated shape.

Thank you! I was thinking the same thing!
  

19 hours ago, Bastet said:

I also like that the register at the no-tell motel includes not just Smiths and Joneses, but a Don Juan, a Casanova, and two Jack Bauers.

Yes. This holds up surprisingly well.
  
  

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“Four of a Kind” has me grumbling at Rusty to cry me a river – so he’s not fired up about the rise of digital textbooks.  Rookie reporters aren’t enthused about city council meetings, either, but they pay their dues, hone their craft, pitch story ideas, and work their way up to being able to report on things they’re passionate about.  But is he told to suck it up, buttercup?  Nope, he’s given an inside track to UCLA, because his vlog is just so damn genius the cranky judge who’s otherwise perpetually irritated with him has to show it to his wife, and she – a bigwig in its Communications department – simply must have him among her students. 

And typical Rusty, using the fact Judge Grove didn’t have an appointment available right away as justification to surprise him in the hallway.  Initiative, in its best light, but then Mr. Super Journalist asks his mommy to bring his idea to Andrea.  He’s this amusing – and annoying – combination of kid and adult.  But I love when Judge Grove asks if he has any idea how complicated a death penalty case is, Rusty starts to say “I think I have a good—“ and Judge Grove cuts him off with “You don’t.”  And Rusty agreeing to mow Andrea’s lawn for eight years in exchange for her signing off on the Slider interviews makes me laugh out loud every time.  I would have loved a throwaway reference to that in a subsequent episode.

But I like the case, because we see Provenza run!  It’s not at top speed, but Andy getting thrown from the car gets him to break his rule (like when Julio got shot in The Closer).  I also like it because their suspects are fun in the way they obliterate that suspicion by pointing out they’d have had much smarter ways to rob the game if they wanted to.

The way Mike recreates the crime scene in the break room – complete with faux pools of blood - is great, and I love Provenza’s “too late” when he says, “to make this interesting …”  But how were there no fingerprints on the wrapper to the deck of cards? 

Also great is Sharon heading towards the evidence retrieved from the dumpster, only to stop in her tracks when Buzz warns it really stinks.  And Sharon using the doctor’s instructions to get around their “you’re only the boss at work” agreement and tell Andy what to do.  Hee.

It’s unrealistic Julio and the victim's daughter would've come back to the station – a detective stays at the hospital until the victim regains consciousness (for questioning) or dies, so he wouldn’t have left while Howard Prager was still alive.  He did – and brought Anna with him – solely for plot, so she could be there to recognize Noah.  I roll with it, but I also have to roll my eyes just once before I do.

One other little thing, and one I just noticed this time around: Before they learn there was a fifth player, they learn each player put $100,000 into the pot.  Sharon deduces that was the motive – robbing the players of “half a million.”  I can hand-wave it as her rounding up, but, really, it’s a minor writing error -- believing there were four players, realistically she’d have said either $400,000 or “nearly half a million”.

“Blackout” had some stuff cut for time, and I wish they’d left in Sharon and Jack at the courthouse elevators in the opening scene – it’s some brief verbal sparring (which I never tire of watching them do) and part of that is him, referring to her dating Andy, telling her he’d have thought she’d want to trade up, and it ends with her calmly telling him to go to hell just as the doors close. 

And I really wish they’d included the scene at the end where Sharon and Provenza talk to Ken.  He says he thought Mrs. Lowe loved Lisa more than anything, and Sharon says, “Oh, I think what happened is when you slapped your infant daughter in the face, your mother-in-law snapped.  And your wife paid the price.”  I like that final reminder that while this guy was innocent of homicide and it’s great he was not unjustly convicted, he was still an abusive dick to his wife and daughter. 

What they did include was good, though.  I like everything with the dummy at the crime scene, including the brief moment of Mike demonstrating healthy breathing after Provenza instructs Andy to stay downstairs and take deep breaths – this show is so good at little touches like that.

And I love the bartender saying his UCLA patrons are “just a bunch of Ashleys and Morgans,” especially when we later hear the woman who submitted the footage say “My friend Morgan …”  Also that the refillable-on-your-birthday fish bowl of a drink is a take on the offering of a longstanding local chain frequented by people that age; it’s a bonus for L.A. viewers.

I get a kick out of Jack’s “I gloated too early” admission; he follows that up with outing Andy’s condition in petty revenge, because he’s Jack, but it’s also interesting how often he readily admits when he’s been outplayed by Sharon; that's Jack, too.  He’s an interesting character.  As such, I love Sharon’s little smirk earlier when he does his routine upon giving them the video – she’s irritated with him, but this tiny part of her is entertained by his shenanigans.

I also laugh at the scene at Sharon’s where she asks Rusty to give Andy a ride to work, because of the blooper reel where Mary McDonnell instead asks him to give “Jack” a ride and they all stop, then Graham Patrick Martin says, “Oh, that’s awkward.”

Mrs. Lowe being able to, with both hands full, hike up her leg and kick Lisa over that high railing, is not so realistic.  But I like the way Sharon and Amy lead her into establishing she didn’t intend to kill Lisa upstairs, but decided to upon leaving her downstairs; the way Mary McDonnell delivers that part is particularly great, in tone and gesture.

I also question - again, not until many airings in - Rusty’s interview with Slider.  Rusty has his cell phone between the jail phone and his ear.  So Slider’s words are obstructed by the cell phone, yet he can hear them, and on the flip side the cell phone can record them, despite them being directed into his ear, not the jail phone on the other side of the cell phone.

And how quickly they locate which local bar licensed the fight, has a karaoke machine, and hosts trivia tournaments on Thursdays is utterly ridiculous, but that’s just TV.  Plus, I love Provenza asking for the address so he can make sure not to wander in by mistake.

But I still can’t really wrap my mind around Sharon Raydor being with someone who’s confounded by the word “coagulation.”  Andy’s not dumb, but he’s not a natural fit for her, and they never bothered to explore why these two decided to develop a relationship despite the various obstacles.  I swear it’s just because, as a woman, they thought Sharon had to be with someone, and then, as an older woman, they didn’t want to actually write a real relationship.  And it perpetually bugs me, more and more with each viewing.

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17 hours ago, Bastet said:

“Blackout” had some stuff cut for time, and I wish they’d left in Sharon and Jack at the courthouse elevators in the opening scene – it’s some brief verbal sparring (which I never tire of watching them do) and part of that is him, referring to her dating Andy, telling her he’d have thought she’d want to trade up, and it ends with her calmly telling him to go to hell just as the doors close. 

And I really wish they’d included the scene at the end where Sharon and Provenza talk to Ken.  He says he thought Mrs. Lowe loved Lisa more than anything, and Sharon says, “Oh, I think what happened is when you slapped your infant daughter in the face, your mother-in-law snapped.  And your wife paid the price.”  I like that final reminder that while this guy was innocent of homicide and it’s great he was not unjustly convicted, he was still an abusive dick to his wife and daughter. 

Ooo, reading this^ and, even moreso, this:

17 hours ago, Bastet said:

I also laugh at the scene at Sharon’s where she asks Rusty to give Andy a ride to work, because of the blooper reel where Mary McDonnell instead asks him to give “Jack” a ride and they all stop, then Graham Patrick Martin says, “Oh, that’s awkward.”

--made me call a neighboring library to determine which hoops I'd have to jump through to check out the DVDs. 
I'm chuckling just imagining it.

But:  

17 hours ago, Bastet said:

And I really wish they’d included the scene at the end where Sharon and Provenza talk to Ken.  He says he thought Mrs. Lowe loved Lisa more than anything, and Sharon says, “Oh, I think what happened is when you slapped your infant daughter in the face, your mother-in-law snapped.  And your wife paid the price.”  I like that final reminder that while this guy was innocent of homicide and it’s great he was not unjustly convicted, he was still an abusive dick to his wife and daughter. 

So, what happens to the baby???
With the grandmother in prison and the mother dead,
does the baby go to the abusive father?
Or to the aunt who was having an affair with the abusive father?

😞


  
  

The acting, camera work, directing, and writing of this series was never appreciated (IMO) the way it should have been: At least on par with The Closer.
I guess it's because Kyra Sedgwick was better able to shoulder the ambiguously moral character of the show than Graham Patrick Martin was
--or maybe it's just that in TC, the ambiguously moral character was the main character, rather than an annoying secondary character (Rusty).
And Rusty isn't so much ambiguously moral as he is just not yet emotionally and psychologically mature.

Regardless, this show holds up well in re-viewing.
  
  

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2 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

So, what happens to the baby???
With the grandmother in prison and the mother dead,
does the baby go to the abusive father?
Or to the aunt who was having an affair with the abusive father?

As Andrea told Mary (the sister who was banging the husband), Ken will have his parental rights restored -- presumably what happened was Mrs. Lowe got temporary custody pending the outcome of the trial -- so Mia will be with him.

He claims (in that same deleted scene where they remind him that him abusing his wife and child set this tragedy in motion) that he's changed now that he isn't drinking, but it is never that simple.  His parents were there in court (and still owned the house Ken and Lisa had lived in), so Mia will have extended family, but imagine that kid a few years down the road asking someone, "What happened to my mommy?" 

Well, dear, Grandma Lowe killed her; the reason you've only ever had letters from her rather than meeting is because she's in prison for killing your mom.  But first we all - including Daddy - thought Daddy did it, because he was blackout drunk and didn't remember what happened after their initial fight.  But it turned out to have been Grandma - because your mom wouldn't leave your dad over him hitting you two, so she at least wanted to get you the hell out of there.  So she kicked her own daughter down onto the first floor, left her there to slowly die, and then let a man stand trial for a crime he didn't commit.  Oh, and Daddy and Aunt Mary were having an affair.  Now, run along or you'll be late for school.

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I apparently didn't hit "submit" last night, heh.

I love “Reality Check” so much; as always, they have a lot of fun mocking the entertainment industry, and anything that skewers reality television specifically is right up my alley -- the Cochrans/Cockroaches are “awful, hateful people with no redeeming qualities whatsoever” but they make Scavenger Hunt the network’s highest-rated show.  Yep.  (And I adore “they love that show in prison”.)

The creator/host cracks me up, especially that he sold a pilot about an autistic kid who solves murders and that he told the contestants goat testicles were tater tots.  I love that he wants to go to trial, believing if he introduces show footage into evidence, the jury will understand why he did it.  I like Sharon saying, “Cut. Print. Moving on.” when he confesses again for camera.

I also like her dismissing the PA and walking right into the shot at the hospital.  And how deadpan she and Julio are when they see the husband running out of the hospital in his gown and undies.  And two small, symmetrical moments of hers: turning Buzz back towards the monitors when he starts to respond to Provenza’s “Justin Who?” about Justin Bieber, and later putting a hand on Provenza’s arm to keep him from responding to Buzz’s mocking of “the Twitter, the Instagram”.

My favorite line may be Julio telling the publicist/sister (who is as wonderfully awful as her brother and sister-in-law) “the world wants a break” when she objects he can’t cut her off from the world by taking her phone.  But I’m also quite fond of all the jokes about a married couple in a car with two steering wheels being a recipe for disaster.  And the good cop/good cop questioning of the husband. 

Andy makes me laugh a lot in this one, too, from calling Provenza to tease him about how he looks from behind on the news to getting yelling at the TV level of caught up in the reality show he was initially annoyed at having to watch (and I love that Sharon makes him do the watching, since he begged her for something to do).  I love the way “Dickerhoof” sounds in his accent, and then it gets 20 times better when Provenza suggests that when he refers to them as a couple, it should be “Dickerhooves” – and Andy pauses to contemplate that.

Sharon’s reaction to Colleen Dickerhoof calling Provenza a silver fox – and to learning Chip urinated on the other couple’s wood to keep them from lighting a fire - is fantastic.

As is Slider’s lawyer telling Rusty he’s well up to debating the death penalty with him.  (Not to mention him asking Rusty if he’s 14.)  The bee Rusty has in his bonnet over the fact the lawyer’s practice is solely dedicated to death penalty cases makes no sense to me; trying to save people from being killed by the government is a cause, yes.  But Rusty does a good job of identifying just the right angle to get the lawyer to help him interview Slider.

This is the first time we hear Rusty call Sharon “Mom” for real; they did the “Beckon”/”Mom” thing first, and I like that the non-reaction suggests they eased into him saying it genuinely along the way (and that, for a while, he goes back and forth between “Mom” and “Sharon”). 

And, of course, “Everyone here knows was a spin-off is.”

I like the twist on the we’re reluctant to throw the book at a victim who kills her abuser storyline in “Taking the Fall”, where they really want her to say something that lets them plead it way down, but instead she’s defiant about having planned it for financial gain.  I love her spot on response to the typical (and annoying and, quite frankly, a bit out of character for Sharon) “Why didn’t you report him and leave?” question – why should she have to leave him in that gorgeous house while she's crammed into some shelter when he’s the one doing wrong?  She’s a more multi-faceted take on the abused woman than we normally see on TV, and I like that, and that everyone’s reactions to her are largely in character (including Julio being all in for her actions, regardless of motive).

I like the victim’s co-worker, too; “the nature of our disagreement is that he’s the biggest bully and asshole” is great, and I’m entertained by how she splits hairs when asked if she has a boyfriend or husband.

Everything around Andy’s accident is nicely done – especially everyone’s reactions to Rusty’s call to Provenza (and I like that what he does in this one is exactly what Sharon told him to do last episode if something happened to Andy, call 911 first and then call her) and Sharon getting freaked out by Andy’s blood on Rusty’s clothes but then regrouping to comfort Rusty, ask the relevant questions, and make the necessary phone calls, but with the undercurrent of worry remaining clear.  And, of course, Provenza exercising his medical power of attorney – hilarious from beginning to end!  My favorite parts are “I’ve already missed most of Jeopardy.  Let’s not have this spill over into the Wheel” and making Andy write out his love for Sharon as a confession, but I love the whole thing.

Everyone – including Taylor, a nice touch given their history – coming to the hospital after their own Thanksgiving celebrations is sweet, and I try to let that keep me from getting irritated that NO ONE knows Andy shouldn’t be eating when they’re planning to take him into surgery as soon as the vitamin K adequately counteracts the blood thinner.  Morales, who never can successfully pretend things are better than they are (I like that typical take on someone who spends their life in the morgue), awkwardly saying, “Good luck with that” when he learns how the clot has moved is so very Morales, and I always like seeing him outside of the morgue.

I also like that Rusty and Andy have been playing chess; he’s been such a pill about Sharon and Andy’s relationship, and he’s not magically transformed, but taking care of Andy has visibly changed his attitude.

And Provenza has an ugly Thanksgiving tie to go with his collection of ugly Christmas ties.

Plus, the hand clasp between Sharon and Andrea as Andy is wheeled into surgery is the first confirmation of my longstanding head canon that those two are friends outside of work, so I have a real soft spot for it.

Before the hospitalization, there’s a cute little moment where Sharon briefly touches the back of Andy’s empty chair as she walks from the Murder Board back to her office.

Also back at that stage of things, I love the way Sharon handles Provenza asking if Julio wrote down any of the offensive jokes the victim told at work; humiliating him – by saying “Don’t lose your ham, Lieutenant” and causing everyone to laugh at him as he has to slink off to run his errand – is more effective than a lecture.

Something I just noticed tonight: Provenza brings Sharon her coat and phone, but not her purse.  He says he has a patrol car and driver to take her to the hospital if she needs, but when she arrives she doesn’t have her coat.  So she couldn’t have driven, as she didn’t have keys or license (unless they were in her coat pockets, but that’s unlikely), so I guess she was driven and left her coat in the car -- and the car dropped her off somewhere other than in front of the ER doors, because there's no sign of it. 

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Samir in “The Jumping Off Point” breaks my heart, so I appreciate how wonderful Amy is with him and how bothered Sharon is by the fact they’re not prosecuting the killer for his rape as well.  “Is that rape if you do it to someone like me?” and “I didn’t even think I counted like that” stab me, and of course the similarities with Rusty’s long process of understanding what was done to him during his hustling days make it all the more poignant.

That’s especially true when Sharon listens to Kyle’s mom talk about how Kyle didn’t want to need her.  The actor playing the mom does a great job with her character’s recounting how she arranged a meeting with “WildKyle95” in order to see her son, and her realization that was her last hug. 

And she and the actor playing the estranged husband do a great job of portraying the couple’s absolute disdain for each other -- no wonder Kyle wanted out of that house.  But, Dude, when you charge thousands of dollars of electronics on your dad’s credit card while you’re lounging around refusing to get a job because you’re too busy smoking pot with your friends, yeah, you’re going to get yelled at!  I like that Kyle was both things; him being an overgrown brat who didn’t want to work a real job or live by basic rules like don’t steal from me doesn’t mean he’s not a victim of “Jason” any more than Samir’s prostitution made him fair game for rape.

I also like Sharon luring “Jason” into a false sense of just here to answer a few more innocent questions about other people security upon his arrival at the station, where she’s planted sitting at a desk, like just another detective, before she strategically rises and introduces herself as a captain, freaking him out with the obvious seriousness indicated by her rank.  Great little strategy I didn’t initially notice.

On the flip side of a particularly sad case, I crack up at Andy’s physical therapist; I like how Andy’s annoyance just rolls off his back, and love Sharon getting Andy to take the wheelchair he offers by pointing out that if Andy falls and breaks something, he’ll be in hospital longer.

Andy calling Provenza to worry that his hair is falling out also makes me laugh, as does his diagnosing himself online with an impending stroke, and his reaction when he spills the beans to Patrice about the upcoming proposal.  Patrice’s “Who filled out these DNR forms for you, someone trying to kill you?” and response when she finds out it was Provenza is great, too.

I also like Andy wondering if this is what his life has come to, that being able to turn in a circle without falling is cause for celebration.  It’s realistic in the midst of the funny, just like him not wanting to keep being a patient Sharon has to take care of.  That dynamic happened early in their romantic relationship, and has an inevitable effect, but of course it’s one of the many aspects of it not explored.

One bugaboo: When Sharon tells Buzz to turn off the mic when Kyle’s chat session automatically launches, she goes on to explain why (in case the killer is present, they don’t want him knowing they’re onto the death as a murder) before he has a chance to do so; if the killer was there, he’d have heard.  But I like that scene for the touch that Rusty knows what the session launching means, and immediately moves out of frame; I always appreciate that thread, no matter how I come to get annoyed with Rusty as the seasons go on.

A final tidbit: the gag reel for this season ends with a shot of “cut” being called on Provenza looking down over the parking structure, holding onto the railing, followed by G.W. Bailey stepping back saying, “My hands are in bird shit!”

Gus and Rusty’s interaction in “Thick as Thieves” annoyed me in the past, because there is nothing in their interaction the first time around that explains this hint of Gus having the hots for Rusty in the interim.  I subsequently learned that’s because Gus was originally written just to be Marianna’s brother, and then James Duff decided to bring him back as Rusty’s boyfriend.  So now that I have an explanation, I can let the WTF? nature of things slide.  And I love how irritated Sharon is that Rusty, despite his areas of growth, continues to do this – ignore people after they’re no longer useful to him/when he doesn’t want to have a difficult conversation with them.  Yet she still places a comforting hand on him when he’s subpoenaed for the penalty phase and gets blasted by Gus; he brought this on himself, but innocently, so she doesn’t intervene with Gus, but she offers emotional support to Rusty.

What does still irk me is the reference to Bug having testified that Slider held Marianna under the water for over a minute.  No she didn’t, because she never saw Slider actually kill her; Bug ran inside after he rolled “Alice” into the pool after she tripped and fell, and then was with him afterward, when he put her in the trunk and dumped her, but she didn’t see the actual drowning.  It’s one of the reasons Andrea was initially willing to plead him down.

Not to mention the utter lunacy that this death penalty trial (ridiculous for any, but death penalty?!) takes just two days.  I can’t with this shit, but on the other hand I have to let it go because such timing is just TV.  I'm glad this show doesn’t often do courtroom scenes, because I quickly get tired of swallowing the TV version of trials, but it's frustrating here because the timeline of Slider’s case otherwise (from arrest to trial) played out naturally.

But I like the episode despite those fundamental grumbles.  Sharon and Rusty scheming for him to accompany Andy to the courthouse is cute, as is Andy letting it go because he appreciates the care they gave him when he did need it.  And Andy demonstrating how long even a fraction of a minute is works so effectively I’ll again let it slide that Andrea would have asked Dr. Morales, not Andy, if that much time underwater was enough to cause death (and that her asking Andy would result in an objection, which would be sustained).

I have major issues with the American bail system, and while bondspeople being “borderline thugs” is down that list of reasons why, I enjoy Provenza’s grumbling about them, and the way they nail Carmen.    

I appreciate the continuity that Andy’s near-healed forehead injury from the fall is still visible; good job, make-up department.

I like Sharon combining the first names of all the con artist’s aliases to refer to him as “Marvin Richard Scott”.  Also her calling him “Missing Marvin”. 

And Dolly’s recitation of her history with the con artist is entertaining from beginning to end, especially all her repetitions of “stupid”.  It’s a nice take on the typical female dupe seen on TV; she did a dumb thing, and knows it, but she's not an idiot in general.  Selma is a similarly-good twist on a typical female character; her trust in the con artist is strong, but when it looks like he killed her son, she joins in suspecting him and despairs that she got her son killed.  This series is far from perfect in its presentation of women, but it does often subvert stereotypes.

And I love when everyone delights in how the con artist thinks he’s got it made because he’s talking to two women; little does he know what he’s in for when those two women are Sharon and Amy.

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17 hours ago, Bastet said:

Andy demonstrating how long even a fraction of a minute is works so effectively I’ll again let it slide that Andrea would have asked Dr. Morales, not Andy, if that much time underwater was enough to cause death (and that her asking Andy would result in an objection, which would be sustained)

I, OTOH, didn't notice during previous viewings that it should have been ME Morales and not Andy who gave the explanation  on the witness stand about death by drowning, whereas this time it seemed all wrong to me (even though it was still an awesomely effective bit). In the past I was caught up in wondering if Andy was having a stroke on the stand (as were other posters).
So. IRL would a detective have given a medical opinion like that on the witness stand? I mean, WRT:

17 hours ago, Bastet said:

(and that her asking Andy would result in an objection, which would be sustained).

would a detective ever even be asked to answer a medical question like that? I suppose Tao (he had gone to medical school, right?) might, but a "regular" detective like Andy??

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1 minute ago, shapeshifter said:

So. IRL would a detective have given a medical opinion like that on the witness stand?

No.  The prosecutor wouldn't ask in the first place, but if she did, the defense attorney would object and the judge would sustain the objection, so the detective would never give an answer. 

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“#FindKaylaWebber” is another terrific example of how well the actors play these characters’ reactions to the horrors and frustrations of their job – realizing Kayla’s body is in the refrigerator (this show always does revelations of kids’ bodies powerfully, without ever being gratuitous) and later realizing her death was not a murder are expertly played.

My favorite scene showing everyone’s frayed nerves is at the morgue, with Sharon shutting down the pissing contest between Taylor, Morales, and Andy – especially via an “Okay, guys, could we?”

And Mike pulling a Julio by punching the suspect through the screen door certainly speaks to state of mind!

The first time I watched this, I loved ticked-off Sharon at the courthouse - saying she doesn’t care if it works, serve the manslaughter warrant and see what happens - and thought that would be the last we’d hear of the case for the episode, that Slider’s sentence would be the end.  But then they went to arrest her, Jim opened the door with blood on his shirt indicating torn stitches, and I knew Lori was dead.  “Now it’s a murder” is a haunting closing line.

Jim Webber is an interesting character, a fiercely loving but somewhat-absent father, with serious rage always simmering beneath the surface (not just his reaction when he thinks Ike gave Kayla cocaine, but also his attitude towards Curtis, his friend/bodyguard, with whom he has no real reason to be angry at the time).  I love that it maintains the shock of the ending, while making it so logical in hindsight.  And the actor really earns his check with his “this arm is worth over 100 million dollars, and I’d let you cut it off right now if it meant getting back my little girl” performance.

It’s a fundamentally chilling case, with fatally horrible parenting not being a murder, yet ultimately leading to one.

It’s a little thing in the midst of that, but I like the commentary via Taylor complaining that he wanted the SIS operation to be discreet; Amy reminds him discretion is no match for the ubiquitous nature of cell phone video and its dissemination on social media.

On the personal front, I find it cute that Andy walked Rusty over to the courthouse.  He’s not there to testify and has to get back to work, but he knows the kid is nervous about being called, so he talks him through the process and delivers him to Dr. Joe. 

The lack of foundation for Gus’s attraction to Rusty (because he was not intended to be a love interest during his initial arc) is still a bit distracting despite my best efforts to quit wondering why on earth Gus likes him, but I really like his hey, no problem; my feelings are just that, and I’ll deal with them attitude.

In closing, “the Instagram” (Provenza saying it, and Mike or Buzz mocking it) never gets old.  But tonight I noticed for the first time there’s a goof:  Mike references a username and email, supposedly reading them off his monitor, but what it shows is the username (that is actually the email address, not the username) and a password.

“Penalty Phase” is a rather outlandish case, and I grow easily tired of entitled white guy villains, but it’s put together well with the intermittent switching back to footage of his big film project.  Except for the error, which it took me a few viewings to notice and is now all I can see, that what happens between Brad and the real estate agent after he pulls his gun on her is not the same on the video the squad views and the flashback we see of the professor watching it (and it’s not as if it can be two different cuts of raw footage; what they watch is what they pulled off the professor’s hard drive, knowing it’s what he was watching when he was killed).  And I think it may be even slightly more different in the footage Brad filmed of the professor watching it (that we see when he shows it to his brother). 

The climax is particularly well done, with the way they get the sister-in-law – who, like many women on this show but too few women on TV in general, is not a dip when in danger - out.  And it keeps up the visual theme, this time switching between what’s happening at the house and the body cam footage of it Sharon and Andy are seeing. 

Brad’s snarky description of every Hollywood hack’s "gross" mansion is fabulously funny, particularly “no evidence of the drought here”.  As is his “my phone!” freakout.

And the “duct tape, never a good sign” line also made me laugh; they’ve commented on it in The Closer, too, and, indeed, duct tape always leads to something bad on TV; I knew there was going to be a Mrs. Bates-style body behind that door.

I also like “Sorry, this is what happens when you put off seeing a pathologist for a few months”.  But I noticed for the first time tonight that Jonathan Del Arco says “matestetic” rather than “metastatic” breast cancer.

My biggest laugh comes from the look Sharon and Andy share when the college student witness defines old as “maybe 30”.

Sharon waking Rusty up when he sleeps through his alarm is a cute moment, and I like that Rusty’s subconscious is wrestling with his tendency to use people.

All of this adds up to me being willing to ignore the timing and duration of the brother’s marriage/divorce meaning it makes no sense the judge would order the car swap that allows them to track Ryan; they’ve rested pivotal moments on far worse, and still have a better track record than most shows, so I’ll go with it.

And I like seeing everyone at the office party at the end – especially the return of Julio’s elf hat*; Sharon’s reaction to it in The Closer (“Living Proof”) remains one of my favorite of her numerous fantastic reactions – even though I can definitely do without Provenza making kissy faces into the phone.  And, knowing what’s coming in season five, I groan at the mention of Sharon Beck.  But, on its own, I like it - Sharon refusing to worry about her until/unless she gives her a reason to, and Provenza pulling the report back out of the trash.

I also like how happy Sharon is for Rusty in that scene; this is the first time he has successfully asked anyone out, and he’s having one of his - increasingly frequent but still missing at significant times - thoughtful moments when he doesn’t want Gus to be alone in a strange town on Christmas.  What I truly love is Gus’s “We’ll live” response when Rusty wonders what happens if they date and it doesn’t work out.  (If only they’d maintained that attitude, but, again – in a vacuum, shutting off what I know of what’s ahead, it’s good.)

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16 hours ago, Bastet said:

“Penalty Phase” is a rather outlandish case . . .

the way they get the sister-in-law – who, like many women on this show but too few women on TV in general, is not a dip when in danger . . .

Yes, I like to think I'd be a cool as the sister-in-law, heh.
It's especially great because she's a civilian who is not used to dealing with scary criminal situations.
And I like Sharon's questions.
Especially this exchange:

[SHARON]: Does he appear to be carrying a gun?

[SISTER-IN-LAW]: I couldn't say. Why? Is everything okay? It's my sous-chef, wanting to know when I'll be back at the kitchen. 


  

A couple of questions:
When the brother drives away from the gas station, are his hands still tied?
Because, if, so, he did a great job there getting out of gas station and onto the road, 
especially if: 
Doesn't he still have the sunglasses on (with duct tape on the insides)?
Seems like he should've knocked them off.
 

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On 8/4/2019 at 3:02 PM, shapeshifter said:

When the brother drives away from the gas station, are his hands still tied?
Because, if, so, he did a great job there getting out of gas station and onto the road, 
especially if: 
Doesn't he still have the sunglasses on (with duct tape on the insides)?
Seems like he should've knocked them off.

Yes, his hands are still tied, and he still has the sunglasses on (but they're slid down his nose enough that he can at least somewhat look out over the top of them) -- and has his right leg still over on the passenger side, so driving with his left foot is as much the cause of his erratic driving as those two things.

(I had to check the DVD - I remembered the hands and leg, and was 99% sure about the glasses, but couldn't actually call that image up in my mind to confirm.)  

Even with the adrenaline rush of fight or flight mode, maneuvering most of his body into the driver's seat without being able to use his hands to push off and having limited ability to use them to grab onto the steering wheel to pull himself over would have taken so much out of him that I suspect - not knowing how close Ryan was to getting back in the car - as soon as he accomplished it, he took one jittery swipe at his glasses and then just took off despite the limited visibility.

I mean, realistically, it's to cause the dramatic driving shot and the "what the hell?" reveal when the cops open the car door.  But it does also work for what a panicked person with unknown time to work with would do.

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8 hours ago, Bastet said:

I had to check the DVD - 

Thank you! 

8 hours ago, Bastet said:

I mean, realistically, it's to cause the dramatic driving shot and the "what the hell?" reveal when the cops open the car door.  But it does also work for what a panicked person with unknown time to work with would do.

Several other shows running right now would not be able to figure out how to do anything this complex.

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Color me surprised to find “Hindsight” starting tonight, since syndicators hate to be continued when it won’t wrap up the same night; my station aired this arc during the first round of syndication, but has skipped it ever since until tonight.  It’s a pleasant surprise, because while I don’t love this arc – I think it would have been great as a three-episode story, but drags a bit with five, and I resent that in using five episodes to unfold the case, so much of the personal storyline time still goes to Rusty – I still like it, and I haven’t seen it in a long time.

My primary issue with it is the relationship between Sykes and Mark Hickman.  I understand she’s the only one he doesn’t know, but making the black woman the one who gets tangled up with the sexist, racist, lying asshole and thinks he’s not as bad as his reputation is highly problematic!  She handles him well, but she’s still advocating for his insight, and I take issue with that:  So what, he had a “third guy” theory of the crime he never got to fully investigate?  Mike and Stephanie shared it (DDA Grey shut them down, because it would muddle the case against Price), so there’s no need to rely on Hickman like he’s this great detective who was just too un-PC for his time and the only one who can revisit that theory.  I know they don’t fully embrace that characterization of him, but it’s still too close for my comfort.

My other big problem was that “Congratulations, Captain, you just solved the biggest outstanding case in LAPD history” did not result in Sharon finally being promoted to commander, but since she finally got her stars a year later, I’m not as irked when watching now.

It also irritates me how often they say officers never would have checked the car seat for drugs if they’d pulled Tamika over.  Excuse me?  She’s a black woman in gang territory.  Get real.

And, try as I might, I cannot forget how very much I hate the Sharon Beck and Her Stupid Fetus storyline of the first half of season five to avoid being retroactively irritated by the Rusty/Gary/Sharon stuff in this arc.  I can appreciate moments still, but I can’t shut off the overall eye rolls.

But, even though I don’t like what she talks Amy into doing, I like this introduction to Firearms Francine – and that when Amy gets called out she immediately steps forward - and enjoy her few subsequent appearances/references to her (and especially that she is, indeed, in Sharon’s phone as “Firearms Francine”).

And, despite my complaints, it’s an interesting case that weaves together past and present and does a good job with shades of grey in several of its villains.

Onto the specifics of the first two parts:

I like the balance they strike from the beginning, that they know Rev. Cop Killer got away with murder, but also know that ship has sailed and right now they need to stifle a gang war.  And Daniel Price is an interesting character already; it’s clear he indeed killed Officer Reese, and anyone who “found Jesus” is inherently suspicious, but he has an alibi for the modern murder and there are signs he’s changed overall.

Hickman is a whole bag of dicks, and any amusement I’m supposed to take from his characterization of the squad members (e.g. “Captain Mary Poppins”) is evaporated by that fact – perjury is enough, but there’s so much more.  Mike refusing Sharon’s order to stand down when Hickman shows back up pisses me off (although I like the form his apology and her acceptance of it takes in the next episode), but I like Julio being the one to march right off behind her when she rejects Provenza’s suggestion she just give the former partners five seconds to have it out (and instead goes after them before Provenza has even counted to two, heh).

It’s ridiculous “Why take the drugs and leave the gun?” doesn’t come up at this stage; that should be the first question they ask themselves.

Sharon and Julio’s reactions to Taylor’s admission he delayed response times because he’s obsessed with excessive force issues getting national media attention are spot on.  I mean, come on!  You already ignore these folks, and then your way of keeping trigger-happy cops from exacerbating hot situations in their neighborhoods is not to stifle that excess but to make sure the cops don’t get there until the suspects have fled?!

I love the way Provenza mocks “Oh, Guuusss” when Rusty says the reason he’s suddenly interested in Sharon Beck’s status is that Gus was asking about her; he doesn’t know Rusty is lying, so the “If Gus wants you to do something, far be it from me to interfere” taken at face value cracks me up with its crankiness at the obnoxiousness of young love. 

I also like Provenza’s and Buzz’s reactions to learning the true story, and Rusty’s to being discovered as a well-intentioned liar yet again.  And Sharon confronting him on that front, and the stuff about the job offer.  It’s a bit weird, though, because the NFL job offer is just this throwaway thing – I, of course, love that Andy supports the idea of her taking the job if she wants it, but why he’s so strongly in favor of it in the face of her hesitation isn’t clear since, of course, we just hear about it through Rusty.  (I, as someone who loves football as much as Mary McDonnell does, appreciate giving Sharon the same devotion, though - it's a nice little tidbit of character detail for Sharon, with a meta bonus if you know it's a nod to Mary's favorite sport.)

The way Provenza phrases the wedding budget conversation makes it sound like he’s paying for it, not that he and Patrice are splitting it.  I hope it’s just inexact writing, and I do generally like her and their relationship, but with some sketchy stuff leading up to this, I don’t like even the possible implication.

“Smoking for asthma, that makes sense” is a great Julio line; the actors all deliver dry humor so well.  (I also like his “People keep saying that” when Buddha, too, says he has a medical marijuana card.)  And “Flip through the Fortune 500 sometime; white guys aren’t exactly extinct” is a great one from Amy.  Sharon’s “Are you afraid he’ll have a flashback?” when they show Daniel Price the gun is another highlight.  Even Peter Goldman gets good ones, with “What, was there a guacamole stain on her dress, too?” and “Racist dogs”.

I appreciate Sharon’s “Within limits” when Provenza is extolling the virtue of siccing Scary Sanchez on witnesses they can’t hold; I like that they don't drop the thread just because Julio has learned to control his temper and rejoined the team.

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Funny bit of set decoration/scene transition:

Right after younger brother/youth pastor Dennis reveals that chop shop owner "Buddha" is the roomate of recently released Emile of the cop killer case and they say that's enough for a warrant, the scene instead first switches to Rusty's bith mom's last known address where we see -------- a Buddha:

image.png

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The beginning of part three of “Hindsight” always makes me twitch; it picks up right where part two left off, but Sharon was not at Buddha’s house with them when they entered and found Emile’s body (at the end of that episode) yet she’s there now (as this one opens).  There is no way she got all the way to Fontana and Buzz was no further along in his recording; there’s no gap in time, yet she’s magically there.  It’s such a minor thing, but it bugs me to kick off the episode. Thankfully, it’s balanced by my being tickled by the way Sharon says Buddha’s name when she wonders if he, not prison, was the source of Emile’s fear.

The only other thing that bugs me in these next two episodes in the arc is Sharon asking if Jeremiah could be Emile’s son (when they’re trying to figure out the “To my pretty boy” card on the flowers he sent to the funeral).  Come on, writers, she’s not dumb enough to fail at math that way.  It would have been far better to have her, or anyone, say, “Well, that can’t mean he’s Jeremiah’s father, because he was in prison the past 12 years and the kid was only two” if they wanted that theory being raised and immediately dismissed as part of the brainstorming session.  She’s the one who figures out Tamika was Pretty Boy, and the third “guy” in the robbery, but it’s tainted by that stupid question.  (I’d write it off as her being exhausted if she gave herself a good eye roll when it being impossible was pointed out.)

But there’s so much more I enjoy in these two.  First and foremost is how irritated Sharon is with everyone who didn’t tell her about Hickman’s affair with DDA Gray (and that Hickman’s wife confronted Gray over it) back when she was investigating his professional conduct.  Even Andrea, and she hardly ever gets testy with her.  Sharon’s ire hitting its peak upon realizing Hickman was stalking Gray and no one bothered to pursue that is one of the many reasons I love her.

As I mentioned last week, while I’m annoyed Mike didn’t heed her order to stand down when Hickman was baiting them, I appreciate that it’s virtually unheard of for Mike and the special circumstances of having Hickman and this case back in his face motivate it, and like both his apology and her easy acceptance of his assurance it won’t happen again.  The whole thing is very true to both characters.

My second-favorite thing occurs in the beginning of that scene:  When Sharon tells Rusty she needs to get back to work, but if he goes to County they may be processing his mother during visiting hours, and Rusty says, “You’re my mom” and gives her a hug.  Aw.  I remain such a sucker for their relationship.

I also love Sharon calling Rusty on “this is what you always say” when he tries to justify not telling her about Gary because he doesn’t want to upset her, be a problem, etc.  And that he says, “You’re right, this is the end of every argument we ever have; I won’t do it again.”  He really does mean well, and readily admits when she exposes his good intentions as bad ideas.

Next on my favorites list is Goldman telling Taylor the cameras are over there when Taylor does his spiel about why he’s attending Tamika Weaver’s funeral.  They give Fritz the last word with him coming right back with “Leave it to you, Peter, to always know where the reporters are,” and I love Fritz, but Goldman wins that interaction with his delivery. 

(Speaking of the funeral, I love Sharon’s “Take him at his word” instruction to use Goldman’s “confession” he has Jimmy Hoffa in his trunk as probable cause for a search of the car - ha!)

After that is also at the funeral, Taylor not wanting Provenza to sit next to him in the church; “I smell brimstone”/”It’s my cologne” cracks me up. 

Just behind that is Stephanie Dunn having no patience for the person kneeling there praying instead of trying to actually help the gunshot victim when Barnes does his revenge drive-by.  “Stop praying and get out of the way” gets a big amen from me.

I also like the way they expose Dennis Price and Goldman having kept the drug trafficking through the church from Daniel Price, especially that Rev. Price doesn’t immediately embrace the people who’ve had it out for him for over a decade, saying, okay, now he doesn’t trust Goldman, but he doesn’t trust them either, so how can he know this is true.  It sets a good stage for both sides to team up and set up the trap for Dennis as the episode ends.

And the payoff of Julio finally confronting his wife’s doctor, only to find out she’s the one who chose – against medical advice – to stop taking her anti-seizure medication is a long time coming, a huge development in his anger issues that have been so methodically dealt with for over a season now.  Finding out the root of his anger at the world, and possibly his refusal to engage with women as people (instead treating them merely as objects, unless they were his commanding officers), was fundamentally different than he thought – that if he really wants to blame someone rather than accept it as a tragic accident, it’s his wife he has to pin it on – is a big test, and I like where it leads him.

Little bits I also like:

- Julio casting a pointed look at Andrea when Sharon asks him to keep the latest info between the two of them because Hickman is getting information he shouldn’t have is great, and Andrea’s “my lips are sealed” in response to that look is even better

- Cooper’s “Well, as a gentleman, I wouldn’t remember” when Amy calls him on remembering that no-tell motel as a high school hook-up spot is cute, as is the pointed way she looks at him and says “Secret Garden Motel” in calling for back-up; I like their relationship

- Also, Cooper knowing Sharon will want to address the SIS team and thus putting the walkie-talkie up to her mouth and pushing the button is an incredibly minor touch that stands out to me as great

- The awkward exposition of Provenza and Buzz recapping everyone’s various names is saved by Patrice walking in and saying, “Louie, those better be names on your guest list.”  (But her “I said ... ‘don’t spend lots of money’” is another indication he’s paying for this wedding alone, which is so wrong – I think a good 80% of the reason I ever like Patrice is Dawnn Lewis, because the writing for her is not great.)

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I wish Lifetime or someone else would start showing this.    My local channel that shows it only shows every other episode, for example Hindsight part 3 is tonight, and Part 5 is next Sunday.    No point in even trying to watch it.  

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Here’s my fundamental problem with Stephanie Dunn as the killer in “Hindsight”: Why did she kill Tamika with The Uzi, so that the old case would be brought back up, rather than with a gun that has no bodies attached to it?  Yes, because Jeremiah was killed, too, it became a major crime and the connection to the Reese murders effectively distracted them for a while.  But Stephanie didn’t know she was going to need a smokescreen; she didn’t think Jeremiah would be in the car that late.  If she had “just” killed a black drug dealer in that neighborhood, which is what she thought she was doing, it would have been largely ignored by the LAPD, just like all the other homicides of its kind, and she’d have gotten away with it.  Even once she killed Emile, too, because Tamika’s connection to him/the Reese murder was unknown. 

So Tamika’s murder would have gone unsolved, considered just another drug/gang killing in a bad neighborhood, Emile’s would have been accepted as an accidental OD or suicide, and Stephanie - having eliminated the two people who could say hey, the murders of her husband and Rachel Grey weren't actually part of the Reese murder - would be set for life. 

But I like the way they set her up – I like Little Weezy not knowing the phrase “hook, line, and sinker” and really like that we can see Julio going over to Steph’s desk and then coming back and putting something in his.  It’s subtle, and I didn’t notice it on first viewing, but whenever I watch it knowing that he switched her gun, I'm tickled that we can see him doing something, we just don’t know what until after the fact.  And I love Sharon telling Taylor, no, that’s not why men follow the women who break up with them.

My first time watching, I didn’t figure out Stephanie was the killer until Julio realized there was corn starch on the gloves.  In subsequent viewings, I can see I should have been onto her once they started laying out their case against Hickman; if it wasn’t him, it had to be someone with all the same access – we can rule out Mike, so that leaves Stephanie Dunn and Sherry Hickman, and Dunn is the one who is also privy to all the present-day information and works in Narcotics.

Or maybe I should have suspected her from the moment Julio was interested in her, heh.  Poor Julio, for his first foray back into actual dating to end in such disaster, but “as first dates go, it was pretty bad” makes me laugh.

I think my favorite part of this episode is the scene at the condo, with Sharon gathering her stuff for work while Rusty goes on about his other mom, and Gus walks into the middle of it to get ignored by Rusty and welcomed by Sharon.  I love the sorry about him look she gives Gus when Rusty is short with him, and that she gives him a hug good-bye after giving Rusty a kiss; it’s such a sweet, natural moment indicating Gus’s growing integration into their routine that I almost like Gus and Sharon’s relationship better than his and Rusty’s, ha.  (But it contains one of my few irritations with product placement on this show: Sharon Raydor would not drink Maxwell House coffee.)

And I like Sharon prompting Rusty into setting Gary up to confessing his way into a mandatory life sentence, and Rusty’s glance at the camera and parting line when he gets it done.  In the midst of all that, though, it’s sad that Rusty fixates so much on who hit him and whose idea it was to leave him at the zoo; his mom had the far greater obligation to him than Gary did, so there isn’t a lot of difference between what she did and what she went along with, but he’s always looking to lessen her actions.

I’ve really liked Sherry Hickman throughout this arc, the various ways they show that, because she used to be a cop, she knows all of “our” people.  I like Andrea noting people tend to forget she was a good cop.  And I love her saying in this episode that Mike and everyone else who decided to keep Mark’s secret took sides; they were both fellow officers, so screw this “it was personal, I didn’t want to get involved” stuff – both Sherry and Mark were these people’s friends and co-workers, and everyone decided to let her come into work every day looking like a fool.

The wedding is nice, and I really do think Patrice will be the last Mrs. Provenza.  I like the mayor’s reaction to how they met, the cute little moment between Provenza and Andy when Provenza hands him his hat to hold and Andy shakes his hand, Morales noting the minorities feel safer clumping together, and Mike being left with his hand hanging in the air when the mayor doesn’t know who he is.

“Present Tense” isn’t great; I find season five takes several episodes to really get going.  I hate the Ponds, so the various reactions to them are my favorite parts of the episode.  Given her history with Rusty, Sharon’s reaction to learning they stopped the adoption process of Tucker – the child they’d had for years, loved, and who called them Mom and Dad - ¾ of the way through is obviously terrific, but Mike is just as horrified, because it’s just that horrifying.  We don’t even need to add on them calling homeless people “vagrants” and theorizing their daughter helped them just to irritate her parents to say these people seriously suck.

I’m also quite irritated with the head of Care First, with all her complaining about the lack of attention paid to Amanda’s disappearance and lumping it in with the LAPD’s overall lack of concern over what happens on Skid Row.   Because it’s bullshit.  This is a young white girl.  The only reason Missing Persons initially sticks to policy is that she has a recent runaway history, with the same boyfriend she’s presumed to be with now.  Once doubt is cast on that scenario, they in fact ignore policy and investigate before the usual window has passed, going so far as bringing in Major Crimes. 

There’s also TV’s usual presentation of the homeless population.  Sharon’s interaction with “the Admiral” is amusing, but overall – and especially including the deleted scene with the men living at the Pond’s other home – it’s just a lesser version of the usual crap.

The timing not matching up is also a niggling irritation to me; Amanda went missing Friday night, but there are several conflicting indications of whether we’re joining the story on Saturday or Sunday; it should be Sunday, and sometimes it plays that way, but sometimes it plays like Saturday.

But Julio’s discovery of Amanda’s body, and brief refusal to accept it is a body, is well done.

And, while Tucker’s confession is incomplete (they wouldn’t let him skip over how “things got out of hand”), I like how it highlights the plight of kids who age out of the foster care system, and the specific circumstances of how what is quite naturally annoying to a privileged kid like Amanda is a home someone like Tucker can’t imagine being unwanted.

And I like Sharon’s exasperation with the youngsters’ means of communication, suggesting Rusty write Gus a note (and that it works).  And Rusty shutting down Gus’s contention that because Andy spends the night all the time, he should be able to, by saying she’s the one who pays the mortgage and he’s not going to wake her up to ask.  (But it’s really funny that Gus doesn’t specify Andy, instead saying, “She has overnight company a lot” like Sharon has a revolving door of men spending the night.)

I’ve always been amused by Patrice labeling Provenza’s lunch container with “Louie”, thinking in terms of their refrigerator at home – who else’s lunch would it be, since she doesn’t have to pack a lunch for herself, being retired – and tonight it finally dawned on my dense brain that it’s for the refrigerator at work, to distinguish his meal from that of any of his coworkers.

Andy responding to Sharon acknowledging they’ve been taking things slow by saying “any slower and we’d come to a complete stop” coupled with some “finally” comments of Provenza’s to come do still puzzle me, though; I don’t think their trajectory is unusually slow.  They’ve both gone a long time between serious relationships and there’s a lot at stake, so I don’t think they’re overdue for moving in together.  (And I love the deleted scene that is a different take of the final scene, with Sharon's WTF am I getting myself into? reaction being more overt; I find it more true to the character [as did Mary McDonnell].)

Edited by Bastet

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17 hours ago, Bastet said:

Here’s my fundamental problem with Stephanie Dunn as the killer in “Hindsight”: Why did she kill Tamika with The Uzi, so that the old case would be brought back up, rather than with a gun that has no bodies attached to it?

I guess Stephanie used the Uzi because she was sure she would not be connected to it, and it would serve to implicate others. But the whole case was always too complicated for me; I prefer to have my red herrings glow a little more brightly so the real clues stand out more in comparison, even if they are in the background. 

The reveal of the cornstarch on the gloves was nice and obvious, but I would have preferred a little exploration of who besides Stephanie uses such gloves. 
  
  
  

Favorite line from “Present Tense” is Provenza's, upon seeing the multiple screens on the wall of the tech room scanning surveillance camera footage for Amanda's face, "I feel like one of the dinosaurs watching the meteor from afar."
  
  

The wedding would have been a great series ender.
  
  
  

I really appreciated Rusty's haircut. This was the first time I heard Sharon quietly revealing that Rusty did not like it. I wonder what GPM thought.

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38 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

I guess Stephanie used the Uzi because she was sure she would not be connected to it, and it would serve to implicate others.

But that's why it bothers me, because she didn't know she needed to implicate others.  The only reason the neighborhood got up in arms in the middle of the night, leading to SWAT being called and Major Crimes being assigned the case, was because Jeremiah was killed.  If it had only been Tamika (who nobody but Stephanie, Emile Fisher, and the Price brothers knew had been "the third guy" during the Reese murder), which is what Stephanie thought at the time, there would have been no need to send the cops on a wild goose chase, because they wouldn't have given a shit -- just another drug/gang killing, no witnesses, mark it unsolved, and move on.  So to use a gun that's going to resurrect three murders, including two she committed, is really stupid under the circumstances she believed existed.

38 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

The wedding would have been a great series ender.
  

I'd have been really bummed if it had ended then, but season five's finale - which was written to serve as a series finale as well, should they not get renewed - would have worked for me as a series ending, with Sharon having finally been made a commander, Julio being appointed guardian of Mark, and Rusty doing the most mature thing he'd ever done in telling Gus to take the Napa job, despite knowing a long-distance relationship was going to fall apart.

38 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

I really appreciated Rusty's haircut. This was the first time I heard Sharon quietly revealing that Rusty did not like it. I wonder what GPM thought. 

I love her line delivery there.  I also like Andy's little what, I was just trying to be nice shrug when Rusty groans and walks off.  As I understand it, GPM indeed didn't like it, so they wrote it in. 

38 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

The reveal of the cornstarch on the gloves was nice and obvious, but I would have preferred a little exploration of who besides Stephanie uses such gloves. 

Pretty much everyone, because for some reason Major Crimes gets the special black gloves and the other departments use the regular gloves (something that no doubt annoys Winnie Davis, heh).

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Sharon Beck referring to Rusty as “our son” to Sharon is my favorite part of “N.S.F.W.” – but Amy telling Provenza to tell Patrice she’s doing a good job with his sensitivity training is a close second.  I missed a few chunks of this episode to watch football, but I think I caught everything I like most.

Like Provenza being excited they get to see how Julio dresses for a date (and that it’s the same as for work).  But can you imagine if his date had shown up?  She’d have found a man wearing a wedding ring and filling out an application to be a foster parent – and run right back out the door.  I love his “can’t be any worse than my last date,” referring to Stephanie Dunn.

How does Julio deduce the guy at the bar was on the job?  I guess his spidey sense lets him detect a fellow cop, because I didn’t see anything in the guy’s dress or demeanor in those, what, three seconds? that gave Det. Hudson away.

Another little thing that bugs me is something I only noticed because I first watched this on DVD and thus paused it to check the prop: When Provenza signs in, the log realistically includes patrol officers and LAFD EMTs, but does not include any other members of Major Crimes – yet Provenza is the last to arrive.

I never noticed this until tonight’s viewing, but the part of Bo’s tie that goes around his neck sticks out beneath his collar, because the collar is oddly short.  Was this a fashion trend at the time (a precursor to suits cut to look a size too small?) I just never noticed?

The looks Sharon and Amy share about idiotic/gross men are always great, and Bo certainly gives them plenty to commiserate about.  I particularly like Amy’s "ugh" as she reads his website name of “finallyfreegame.com”.  And Sharon’s “’As we all know’, really?” and door-flinging entrance into the interview room.  And, of course, Sharon – making sure to bring Amy with her - stopping him at the elevator to point out he admitted, twice now, to having sex with women who could not consent.  “You’re under arrest for I don’t know how many counts of rape.”

Taylor’s increasing freak-out was entertaining, as he realizes he doesn’t have a drug-dealing cop to explain, but one who used a minor as a CI, tossed her into the cesspool of the porn world, and ultimately got her killed.  “Could you panic more quietly, please?” is great.

“Foreign Affairs” I only saw in bits and pieces as I was watching football, which was a mild bummer because it’s the first episode of this season I feel fires on all cylinders; the first two are a bit weak (for the show, not for TV in general).

I missed my favorite moment, when Rusty responds to Sharon’s theory that the other Sharon may see this baby as a motivation to stay sober by saying, well, good luck to this kid then, because it’s more than he could ever do.  Heartbreaking.

But I did catch the cute moment when Amy, after a moment, reacts with "I feel so special” upon learning of the alert to all current and former military personnel and Sharon and Andy – standing next to each other but looking ahead - have pretty much the same facial reaction.  They’ve always woven Amy’s military service into any situation it’s relevant, and I love her “You signed up, you swore an oath” refutation of the surviving guys justifying stealing the money. 

I also got to see Dr. Morales tossing the FBI out of his morgue.  It’s one of my favorites of his scenes.  But it raises a question:  It’s a scene in which we see the DMV photo of Nick.  This is one of the rare episodes in which that’s all we see of the victim – there’s no body on the table (since he’s decapitated) and we see no video footage or flashbacks of him.  So there’s no credited actor, just someone’s headshot (horrible pun unintended).  The photo looks similar, but not exact - different hairstyle and facial hair - to the actor who plays the boyfriend who turns out to be the father of the dead realtor’s kid (the skin care sales rep) in the next episode, “Skin Deep”, and I’ve always wondered if it’s the same actor and they just borrowed (with permission) his photo for this. 

Because they wouldn’t bother paying just to use an actor’s likeness in a headshot – it would either be a friend of the show (a fun little in-joke, where a writer/producer/whatever’s cousin’s photo is used as decapitated guy) or someone they were also going to use in a substantive way.  Given the likeness, I suspect it’s the “Skin Deep” actor, but I’m not sure, because the photo is not definitive.

I thankfully missed the scene where Gus draws a false equivalency between Sharon Beck’s fetus that will develop into Rusty’s sibling, which Rusty doesn’t want to hang with once it does, with Gus’s existing sibling he lived with for years and would love to see again.  Rusty has been a noodle about the pregnancy, yes, (I love Sharon telling him “That is your mother’s choice, young man, not yours” when he says Sharon Beck shouldn’t have this baby), but he has the right to decide what relationship he’ll have with the kid once it exists.  I like Sharon and Gus’s conversation about patience with Rusty paying off, but not Gus’s comparison part of that scene.

There is another, this time little thing that oddly bugs me: Agent Soto repeatedly referring to the victim’s death as a “decapitation” when “beheading” – used by one or two other characters – is much more common.  She’s not wrong – both describe the act of cutting off a head – but I’m used to “decapitation” referring to what happens to the victim, with “beheading” used when talking about a killer having decapitated the victim; basically, the killer beheads, the victim is decapitated.

My only other little quibble with it is always making me want to hop in my time machine and travel to the writer’s room, because they missed an obvious opportunity for a great line.  When the friends are hesitant to reveal where they went out drinking with Nick in front of the one’s fiancée (“It’s where he wanted to go, honey”), so Provenza sends the fiancée out of the room, once she’s gone Amy asks again for the name of “the bar”.  But, based on the guys’ squirming in front of the fiancée, by now Amy of all people would know they were at some sort of titty bar.  So her question after the woman left should have been “So, the name of this strip club is?” and they still could have segued to all the great stuff about no, no, it’s just a bikini bar, and it’s perfectly fine, but, no, the waitresses couldn’t possibly have boyfriends/husbands because no man would want his woman walking around like that.

(And, of course, yet again, Julio knows the place, heh.)

The only thing I truly dislike about the episode is the (admittedly, frustratingly realistic) way in which they regard the bar owner’s son for being wise enough to demand a warrant (in general, and especially in light of profiling).

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21 hours ago, Bastet said:

How does Julio deduce the guy at the bar was on the job?  I guess his spidey sense lets him detect a fellow cop, because I didn’t see anything in the guy’s dress or demeanor in those, what, three seconds? that gave Det. Hudson away.

I wonder if they cut (for time) a line in which Julio mentions that he knew the detective --like maybe he met him during a joint narco-gang task force thing back when Julio was in the Gangs department of the LAPD.
  
  

21 hours ago, Bastet said:

Sharon Beck referring to Rusty as “our son” to Sharon is my favorite part of “N.S.F.W.”

Every word out of Sharon Beck always irritates me, but I do appreciate how Ever Carradine always stayed true to the character, no matter how petty and self-centered she was written. I noticed EC doesn't have any awards listed on IMDb. I wonder if that's because she takes on the annoying villains instead of the Evil Queen types.

I really loathed her when she said to Rusty (especially the bolded words):

Quote

I won't hold anything that you just said against you, Rusty. Because I know I've done terrible things and Gary did terrible things. But I I can't do this all on my own. So, if you can't support me even a little bit then I might have to let someone else have my baby. 

Rusty may be annoying, and maybe they wrote his bio-mom to be even more annoying just to make Rusty more sympathetic to the audience, but, if so, mission accomplished. 

One thing I noticed for the first time --because I knew we would find out she's pregnant and going to give birth to the baby-- is how Ever Carradine's acting, in combination with the makeup, directing, camera work, etc. made her look like she was definitely clean from drugs.

And, speaking of supporting characters who manage to make Rusty likable in comparison, there's Gus with this in "Foreign Affairs":

Quote

You see, that's just another way we're different.
I'd do anything to talk with my little sister again.
You you'd do anything not to have one.
My sister's just a few miles away from here, and I have to keep my distance.
Yours Yours isn't even born yet, and you're trying to get the baby as far away from you as possible.

I guess they were already priming the audience to be relieved that Gus and Rusty didn't ride off into the sunset together in the end. 
Er.
At least I don't think they did.
Not in my head-version, anyway.

But I was also irritated when Sharon (Rador) chimed in with:

Quote

[RUSTY] The baby should be put up for adoption. I am not wrong here. I'm not.
[SHARON R] Not being wrong doesn't make you right.

BTW, Does anyone know why both of Rusty's moms were named Sharon. 
I mean, did Duff plan on having both Sharons around for so many seasons?

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6 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

I wonder if they cut (for time) a line in which Julio mentions that he knew the detective --like maybe he met him during a joint narco-gang task force thing back when Julio was in the Gangs department of the LAPD.

There's nothing like that in the deleted scenes, and I don't think they know each other because Hudson doesn't act as if he recognizes Julio (I know it would be his job not to let that recognition show if it was the case, but he'd have a moment at least in his eyes before schooling his features; instead, there's not the slightest flash of recognition) and Julio's reaction is played as realizing this is an undercover cop, not as recognizing a specific one (plus, his behavior at the crime scene the next morning does not suggest any connection beyond having seen him on the job at the bar [a plot point, since the guy's investigation was unofficial]) -- I just don't know what it is that is supposed to have tipped Julio off, because to me he's just a dude sitting at a bar.

6 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

BTW, Does anyone know why both of Rusty's moms were named Sharon. 

As the way to reveal to Rusty that Sharon Raydor wasn't actually looking for Sharon Beck (which was the deal Brenda had made with him; cooperate as a witness and we'll find your mom) -- she hadn't even looked at the file (since she was busy taking over an elite squad filled with uncooperative people who resent her), so she didn't know they had the same first name.

6 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

I mean, did Duff plan on having both Sharons around for so many seasons?

That, though, I don't know.  Duff was obsessed with his Mini Me, so I'd assume he planned on going back to that well, but I've never seen it confirmed.

6 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

One thing I noticed for the first time --because I knew we would find out she's pregnant and going to give birth to the baby-- is how Ever Carradine's acting, in combination with the makeup, directing, camera work, etc. made her look like she was definitely clean from drugs.

Carradine always did a great job with the ways in which Sharon Beck is the same whether sober or using, and the ways in which she's different when she's sober.  I got really sick of the Sharon Beck and Her Stupid Fetus storyline - that and Buzz's quest to find his dad and uncle's killer are recurring blights on the first half of this season for me, and Rusty is central to both of them, so that also exacerbates the annoyance part of my many reactions to him in this run of episodes - but also always appreciated the performance.

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4 hours ago, Bastet said:

 . . . that and Buzz's quest to find his dad and uncle's killer are recurring blights on the first half of this season for me . . . but also always appreciated the performance.

Yes, although the story bits surrounding the physical video tape make it worthy of a PrimeTimer Best Inanimate Object Award. Like, of course, Provenza still owns a VCR machine and of course he is still frustrated with it. And of course Sharon knows legitimate reasons and means to get the FBI to clean up the tape.
  
  
  

4 hours ago, Bastet said:

. . . Julio'sreaction is played as realizing this is anundercover cop, not as recognizing a specific one (plus, his behavior at the crime scene the next morning does not suggest any connection beyond having seen him on the job at the bar [a plot point, since the guy's investigation was unofficial]) -- I just don't know what it is that is supposed to have tipped Julio off, because to me he's just a dude sitting at a bar. . . .

Maybe there was a direction note (that was cut/not filmed) for Julio to see the undercover cop's ankle-piece? Otherwise we are just left with it being Julio's spidey sense.

Edited by shapeshifter

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5 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Yes, although the story bits surrounding the physical video tape make it worthy of a PrimeTimer Best Inanimate Object Award. Like, of course, Provenza still owns a VCR machine and of course he is still frustrated with it. And of course Sharon knows legitimate reasons and means to get the FBI to clean up the tape.
  
  
  

Maybe there was a direction note (that was cut/not filmed) for Julio to see the undercover cop's ankle-piece? Otherwise we are just left with it being Julio's spidey sense.

I thought it wasn't a matter of legitimate but who would pay for a piece of a cold case evidence. That it was paid out of a current FBI major case file and not LAPD cold case file. Thus it was easier to get forgiveness than permission.

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3 hours ago, Raja said:

I thought it wasn't a matter of legitimate but who would pay for a piece of a cold case evidence. That it was paid out of a current FBI major case file and not LAPD cold case file. Thus it was easier to get forgiveness than permission.

The primary reason to get the fibbies to repair/enhance/defrag the videotape was because the FBI had equipment that the LAPD did not. Still, "if push came to shove" when the fibbies realized Buzz's tape was not related to the current case, Sharon was prepared to do more than just ask for forgiveness:

Quote

[SHARON]: We're unable to see clearly what's on this video, and I know that the FBI can do wonders.
[FBI LADY]: When we're trusted to do our jobs, yes, we can.
…[fibbies exit]…
[BUZZ]: Uh, Captain Thank you.
[SHARON]: Don't thank me, Buzz. The FBI has jurisdiction over bank robberies.
[PROVENZA (Chuckling)]: Right.

 But she doesn't explicitly say that later (although I wish she had, for clarity for the audience):

Quote

[FBI LADY]: And before I go a clear DVD of what was on your video which, by the way, was completely unrelated to this case.
[SHARON]: Long-range

It seems like Sharon should have replied something more like: "Not short-term, but long-range, yes."

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I wound up watching football during breaks in “Skin Deep” rather than watching “Skin Deep” during breaks in football, because the episode cracks me up (high praise; not much tears me away from football).  Provenza is hilarious, with all the ways he answers Heather’s phone and the stuff he does to scare off buyers (especially “We’re going to remove and test everything from this doomed dwelling”), and it’s really sweet that he’s up to all these shenanigans because he knows how much Andy wants the house.

There’s also some sweet stuff about Rusty’s insecurity, that he got moved around so much the condo is the first place that has ever felt like home, and his biological mom never gave him the emotional stability, either, that lets you know “home” is something more than a particular physical dwelling.  Plus, she ignored him in favor of boyfriends and twice outright abandoned him for Gary, so he’s all-around conditioned to have some anxiety about what Sharon and Andy living together will mean for him.

But it’s mostly about the funny.  I love the little moment in the beginning, where Andy does his “ta-da” gesture by the For Sale sign to kick off filming, and Provenza is in the background mocking him with the same gesture.

Everyone gets great moments in this one.  I love Sharon’s “About 15 minutes ago” when the dentist boyfriend asks if he needs a lawyer; it’s the perfect cap to how she and Provenza led him right down the path (I love their miming along as they describe how he swung the grill press).  She’s funny in the morgue with Amy, marveling at all the work the victim had done, and I love the look they share when Andy unsuccessfully tries to dig himself out of a hole talking about fake breasts being firmer; it’s one of my favorites of their shared looks when someone is being a dumb guy, because Amy isn’t even in Sharon’s eye line at first – Sharon has to deliberately turn to connect with her.  I also love that Sharon is the only person who can pronounce “realtor” correctly; all the “real-a-tor” going on drives me batty.

Mike answering “I no understand; what is problem?” with “You’re practicing medicine without a license, and I find your accent really offensive” is pure gold, and I like the patient’s “duh” reaction when they tell her he isn’t a real doctor.  “I’m lying face down in some immigrant’s garage.”  I love her being wheeled out to the ambulance, ass up, in the background when the detectives are in the “doctor’s” office.

Really, everything at the fake doctor’s house is funny, from Reserve Officer Watson being assigned to chase down the nurse (another great background shot, with her saying she knows karate and him tackling her) to Yu trying to bribe Andy and Provenza with cosmetic surgery (and the nurse saying she doesn’t think they have enough Botox in stock for the two of them).  The Paula Poundstone cameo is random (there has to be some connection to someone on the show, but I’ve never come up with it), but “What do you think, I maintain myself with yoga?” is funny.

Rusty’s Negative Nancy routine when he and Sharon are looking at the video footage of the house tour is great; “It attracts dead people” when she praises the pool is absolutely perfect.  (There’s an editing goof in that scene, though; when the realtor hollered to call the police, Andy said, “We’re here, you idiot.”  But in what is supposed to be Buzz's recording of it, they used a take where he says, “We are the police, you idiot.”)

I even laugh at Heather’s name being Heather S. Lutz.  Cuz she’s a slut, get it?  It’s completely juvenile humor I only accept in certain situations, and this episode is one.

There is a funny moment from this episode on the blooper reel; when Morales brings in the implants, during one take Jonathan Del Arco picks up the wrong ones, and Raymond Cruz points it out.  Mary McDonnell smiles, does a mini eye roll and says, “Ray knows his implants” as Cruz says, “I know my implants.”  It’s funny on its own, and especially because Julio noticing the difference and Sharon rolling her eyes in response could absolutely have happened in character.

I noticed something tonight: Amy telling the cosmetic sales boyfriend she owns some stock in the company (but can’t afford the product, which is a great touch) ties back to the moment in “Taking the Fall” when she knows what an acronym means because she reads The Wall Street Journal.  I really like seeing a black woman as an investor, since – as Dr. Blowhard pointed out in “Cheaters Never Prosper” when Amy was undercover with an extensive portfolio – her demographic is underrepresented in the market.

“Cashed Out” I missed most of in favor of football, but I caught Amy telling Cynthia, “I don’t want kids at all - mine, other people’s, or yours.”  Amen, sister.  We need more main female characters on television who don’t want kids, but I’ll take what I can get with secondary characters where her decision is presented positively and as something she sticks with.

I also saw Provenza’s amusing “How many more kids are you going to dump on us?” to Cynthia.

I missed my favorite scene with Cynthia – and favorite scene, period - though, when she asks Julio what he was thinking when the killer took a hostage and he replies, “I don’t know, something like ‘Oh shit’.”  Oh well, it would have been edited, anyway.

(I like Cynthia, and, on a completely shallow note, love her hair.)

In the opening crime scene, it always strikes me that they have the “You might have to lie a little/I can lie a lot, I’m not sure about a little” conversation while Buzz is filming.  Sure, it’s about something personal, not professional, and a joke, but it’s not something they want captured for a potential jury.

And I always want to tinker with the script at the end, because I think Rusty’s arguments in support of Julio being a foster parent should be flipped; his closing line about Julio’s shelter, shower, and food being better than the streets applies to anyone, but his observation that most foster kids enter the system with a tremendous amount of anger and no idea how to let go of it, and Julio is someone who understands all that, is specific to Julio and the actual good point Cynthia should have responded to.

“Lieutenant Provenza thinks everyone’s crazy except him.”  Heh.

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Nit pick: At the beginning of “Cashed Out” they find a skull with most of the teeth intact. I'm guessing that was a prop error since there  was no discussion of using dental records to identify the victim.

19 hours ago, Bastet said:

Amy telling Cynthia, “I don’t want kids at all - mine, other people’s, or yours.” 

I had missed Amy's declaration
--or at least not recalled since it was tangential to the plot,
--but now that I caught it, I appreciate it, because it was refreshingly not a retcon, as I realize we have never seen any hint of Amy being concerned with having a kid
--in contrast to Julio in this episode (and other episodes).

Great writing WRT how they kept me assuming the issue with Julio's behavior "last week" was likely that he beat up a perp, or many even shot a perp,  when in fact Julio had done the opposite, and that he was not so much "under review" as he was up for a heroism reward.

Then, a very tear-jerking moment (for me) when, Rusty stops Cynthia to tell her why Julio should be a foster dad
--which we were prepared to agree with after seeing the previous scene.

Of course, in real life, Julio's temper probably would not make him a good candidate to foster kids, but this is just a show. 

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18 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Of course, in real life, Julio's temper probably would not make him a good candidate to foster kids, but this is just a show. 

Actually, him having learned how to control his temper is one of the things that would make him a good one.  Like Rusty said, Julio understands both the anger and how hard it is to let go of it.  That he has successfully gone through the extensive anger management process himself puts him in a good position to foster kids who are angry about their life circumstances and have no idea what to do with that anger other than lash out at others.

18 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Nit pick: At the beginning of “Cashed Out” they find a skull with most of the teeth intact. I'm guessing that was a prop error since there  was no discussion of using dental records to identify the victim.

Hmm.  Well, it's not like there's a database of dental records to tap into; they have to know whose dental records to compare the teeth to, and they had no earthly idea who the victim was at first, so no point in talking about it then.  Once they suspected it was the poker player, I think they already had something else from the remains - fingerprint? DNA? (I can't remember since I didn't watch most of it this time) - to use for confirmation, so it may be that at that point there simply wasn't any need to mention teeth/dental records.

18 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

I had missed Amy's declaration
--or at least not recalled since it was tangential to the plot,
--but now that I caught it, I appreciate it, because it was refreshingly not a retcon, as I realize we have never seen any hint of Amy being concerned with having a kid
--in contrast to Julio in this episode (and other episodes).

They expand on in the next episode, when we learn that Cooper recently brought up having kids again and she's irritated with him because she had told him it's not happening.  "If the baby thing is that important to you, find somebody else, otherwise stop talking about it" is what she says then.  And even though we don't see him again after the "White Lies" arc at the end of the first half of season five, they're still together as of "Quid Pro Quo" in the second half, and there's no indication they're not still together at the end of the series.  So it seems he indeed accepted it.

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“Tourist Trap” is one of the few episodes I don’t really like.  I don’t hate it by any means, and I don’t have issues with it like I do “Party Foul”, but the actor playing the victim’s wife is stupefyingly awful, and I have no idea how that happened since the casting on this show is so great (her English accent is horrible – I looked her up, and she’s from Kansas – and she might come off better if she wasn’t trying so hard at that, but she can't cry convincingly either).  The hit man is such a collection of stereotypes I am surprised they didn’t just go ahead and dress him in a Manchester United jersey (his accent is one of the many things overdone - the actor is Irish - but it’s better than hers).  The journalist borders on caricature, too, so the best I can say is the actor is actually English.

The gun-owning grandma is another ridiculous cartoon - “now that I’ve learned how to use the clicker” is a lowlight - and in another episode I’d let it slide for the funny reactions to her.  My favorite moment involves her, though, when she walks into the Murder Room, sees Sharon, Taylor, and Provenza standing together, and assumes the white guy is the one in charge.  That sort of thing happens all the time across professions, but you don’t often see it acknowledged on TV.

In addition to the characterization, the underlying premise of the episode is flawed -- a rash of unarmed purse snatchings in Venice made the news in England, giving the wife the idea to make her husband's death look like an escalated incident.  Please; low-level street crime in Venice isn’t news in Los Angeles, let alone London.

And Rusty basically whines that no one has time to play with him.

But the dive team finding multiple weapons in the Venice canal is so sadly realistic it is indeed funny.  I’m also amused by Amy’s quip “This is a formal investigation” when the reporter asks tuxedo-clad Mike if he always dresses like that for work.  Mike getting out of the limo at the crime scene is inadvertently funny, too, because Cathy isn’t with him and the people from the show are all young women, so it looks like he’s been out partying with Badge of Justice groupies.

I like the little touch that when the reporter is recording his conversation with Sharon, his phone really is recording.  And that, as always, they show an actual crappy picture-in-picture when showing a video chat.  Realistic props make me happy.

I also like Andy giving in to something Sharon clearly gets on him about after hours – a touch I love every time they allude to it – and seemingly getting over his Badge of Justice issue to invite Mike to celebrate the win at work, but stabbing the cake when no one is looking.  I also love that the category of the fourth-string award Mike won was basically Best Cop Show With a Three-Word Title On Cable TV.

And, as I said last week, I love Amy shutting down Cooper’s badgering about having kids.  It gives context to how irritated she got with Cynthia in the last episode, and it’s terrific to see a woman on TV tell her boyfriend if he must have kids he needs to find someone else (rather than capitulating on something enormous in order to keep him).

“Moral Hazard” I like, in spite of my boredom with white guys convinced the system is out to get them villains.  My favorite part is a little thing: Provenza wondering how the killer made his getaway from the tow yard – “the Uber”?  It just never gets old.

I have three nitpicks.  First, where is Downey’s body and why did Chase bother to hide it somewhere when he’d just left everyone else behind where he killed them?  (And killed people on camera; he's not trying to get away with anything, just stay ahead of them long enough to execute his plan at the conference.)  It’s not in the gas station bathroom trash can (where Chase changes clothes and ditches his bloody ones), it’s not in his bags, it’s not in the trunk of Downey’s car; Chase went somewhere specifically to hide it, and that’s such an unresolved departure from his MO, I get distracted by it (when I’d probably forget all about it if Sharon and Taylor didn’t mention at the end that they still haven’t found it).

Second, the water company boss’s bedroom is one of the few crime scenes where they don’t don booties, which becomes particularly noticeable when Sharon walks right onto the bloodstained rug.

Sharon’s feet bring me to number three; she has her office heels on when she gets out of the car at the hotel, but when we next see her there, she has on the ankle boots she always wears in the field when she might need to spring into action. She’d have changed in the car and thus should’ve had them on when she got out.

My only real irritation with the episode is Patrice.  As I’ve said before, Dawnn Lewis is the reason I like the character, because she’s frequently not written well.  Here, she is one of those characters who knowingly marries someone with a dangerous but beloved job and then complains about it (see, e.g., Fritz Howard).  Unless Provenza lied to her and said he’d like to retire but the only reason he won’t is because of his pension agreement with Liz, she is out of line haranguing him; he wants to die at his desk, period.  She comes around nicely in the end, but it’s behavior I just cannot abide.  (And like with Fritz’s attitude towards the danger of Brenda’s job being especially ridiculous because he has the same damn job, Patrice is extra lame in her fit because this is her second married to a homicide detective rodeo.)

Also, who the hell who’s so much as met him for five minutes brings Louie Provenza beets and goat cheese as a treat?

But I love Gus’s frustration with Rusty’s Identity obsession, and that he won’t waste his own time on it – he just walks away and Rusty can either follow him or skip the movie.

I also love Taylor’s “Good luck with that” about Sharon and Andy moving in together and that his attitude just amuses them.

And Sharon’s “I gather from the hushed tone of this conversation that Buzz already told you” when Rusty hopes to get a different answer out of her to the question of using the partial print, and that she never looks away from what she’s marking on the map to pay attention to his meddling until then.

I like that when Sharon, Amy, and Buzz see Chase hit the courtyard after jumping, Buzz has the strongest reaction; he’s used to filming the aftermath of violent crimes, but doesn’t have as much experience as they do seeing awful things happen in real time; excellent restraint by Mary McDonnell and Kearran Giovanni.  (And the scene of Chase falling amidst the bills is nicely shot, and the aftermath of his going splat not quite as gruesome as it would actually be but I appreciate the restraint; realistic would have felt gratuitous.)

Edited by Bastet
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I love “Off the Wagon” - Julio’s repeated insistence on “Very Vanilla” and his “finally” when Provenza said it right make me laugh every time, and I always enjoy when they mock the entertainment industry.  I like Rusty’s “Wow, so believable” upon recapping the premise of Gold Storm, the wife having a fat freezing appointment, and every word out of the killer agent’s mouth.  And it’s great for Andy’s annoyance with all things Badge of Justice; I love his “I asked for this” resignation when Mike talks about his agent and entertainment lawyer lasting for barely 30 seconds before he’s grumbling about Mike saying “as we say in the business.”  And reining himself in when Sharon gives him That Look.  And his balloon being popped when he finds out Mike gets paid per episode and thus rakes in a very nice chunk of change.  Lots of good stuff.

“Old people drop likes flies in this heat.  So, stay cool, you guys.”  Never change, Dr. Morales.

Amy is fantastically funny undercover as Gia, the new starlet getting pills from Progressive Flo Dr. Deb (and I like that Gia’s work history is pretty much Kearran Giovanni’s).  And I love her interaction with Tina Walker in the interrogation leading up to that undercover op.  Also her hatred of the phrase “pee dirty”. 

I also get a good laugh from Chris’s mom saying to parents, their child is special; “nature makes you feel that way, so you don’t start beating the shit out of them when they turn sixteen.”  It’s not as good edited.

Jared is funny, too, especially his “the police treated me like I was some kind of drama queen” meltdown and complaining that his mom is one of these people who constantly digresses, promptly followed by going off on a tangent about mariachi bands at baby showers.  But he’s not just comic relief, and I really like the scene between him and Andy at the end.

Andy’s talk with Rusty about addiction and trusting an addict with another chance was nice, too.

And we finally say goodbye to Sharon Beck and her stupid fetus.  This storyline has made her, Rusty, and Gus all annoying to me on a weekly basis; she’s laying it on thick with the “I’m doing what you want so you won’t put more distance between us” guilt trip, Rusty badgers her regularly to place the baby for adoption and then complains about the way she’s going to do it, and Gus drives me batty with his Paloma false equivalency and passive aggressive “I’m out of this discussion, I’m just cooking” crap (I like Sharon warning him off when he starts to butt in again).  It’s weird that we never so much as heard about her or Rusty’s half-sister again after wasting spending all this time on it, but I’ll take weird here.

Even though I’m happy to send Sharon Beck on her way, her final scene bugs me.  First, Rusty getting ready to merely take a two-hour drive to drop off his mom was done with a tone like someone was going off to war or something; the first time I watched it, I half expected the car to be t-boned as soon as he pulled out of the driveway.  Second, it continually bothers me that the physical intimacy is so restrained, not to mention rare, on this show compared to The Closer, and that discrepancy is a problem when the three couples are two older couples, one of which is also interracial, and a gay couple.  The kiss between Rusty and Gus after their first “I love you” is another example of that - very vanilla.

Somewhere between the last time I watched “Family Law” and tonight, I learned the actor playing Brie is Graham Patrick Martin’s girlfriend (or at least was then; I have no idea about now).  She had been for a couple of years at the time, so presumably knew the cast some.  So, tonight I was fixated on how odd it would be to be on your boyfriend’s show, getting half naked and acting sexy times with one of his co-stars. 

This didn’t distract me from my primary reaction, which is always how utterly gross Brie and the victim were.  The girls grew up together, spending oodles of time at each other’s houses, and the two families are friends.  But when he unknowingly hired her for sex, they were embarrassed for a few minutes, but then laughed and figured, “Eh, what the hell, let’s do it.”  Eww.

I feel sorry for the victim’s daughter; the actor didn’t have a single line, but I felt the character’s shock and grief about her dad’s death, and it’s sad to ponder everything she’s about to find out: her dad was a serial cheater with an extensive roster of prostitutes, her best friend who’s pretty much dumped her since they started college - because she’s not worldly and sophisticated enough to understand something like getting rich off transactional sex - has been fucking him for money, and this whole mess led a man she’s known her whole life to kill her father.  Good thing her mom is a therapist, and can recommend a colleague.

Nick Chinlund did a great job with the scene where Brie’s dad realizes he’d misread the situation – Brie wasn’t groomed and preyed upon by his friend – and I like Jessica Tuck’s portrayal of the wife’s matter-of-factness and protection of the father/daughter relationship despite her deserved anger with her husband.  The actor playing Joey Bowie made a shitbag of a character very funny to watch, between the definition of “local” food, how he named his restaurant, and his “I thought this was going to be awful when you called me in here, but, shit, this is fantastic!” reaction when they told him the victim was dead.  The guy at the Greek Theatre is a hoot, too; I particularly love his “Shit” when they find out the victim was a lawyer.  I truly missed both “shit”s in this edited version, because they were perfectly delivered.

I love Buzz pointing out that in addition to phone numbers, Provenza has a few cat videos on his phone – good callback to when Buzz showed him how to access YouTube on his phone via a cat video and Provenza laughed delightedly, saying “mew mew.”

I like the way the squad disabuses Brie and her boyfriend of the notion what they’re engaged in is harmless, especially that they let the seen-it-all college student spend the night in a holding cell with women living the typical reality of sex work, which is decidedly less lucrative and more dangerous than hers.

Rusty telling Mark, “You know [Spongebob] isn’t white, don’t you?” cracked me up.  But I was a little surprised Julio made the “whatever he does, don’t drop him off at the zoo” remark; they’re not close enough for him to go there, because he wouldn’t know Rusty would roll with it as easily as he did.

Speaking of Little Adolf, Julio relating his nightmare evening with Mark was well delivered, and I like Amy thanking him for helping her wavering on the idea of kids.  It’s unrealistic Cynthia wouldn’t have told Julio Mark’s “behavioral problems” were rooted in being raised as a white supremacist, though.

Sharon shutting down Rusty’s stupid idea and berating him for not stopping filming when Buzz told him to is a great scene, from “That is one of the worst ideas I have ever heard” to “Let’s talk about what you don’t know, or have forgotten” to “I said right now” when he protests her command to delete the video.

One little thing:  Mike says he used to work Vice; I know that’s the first time in this show we’ve ever heard that, but was it ever mentioned in The Closer?  I only recall learning he came from SID.  I suspect it was something just thrown in for this storyline.

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On 9/23/2019 at 7:04 PM, shapeshifter said:

Andy Flynn/Tony Denison just showed up at the end of the Pilot for CBS's All Rise as "Mark's Dad," some kind of Mafioso.

Wearing a jacket that would make Andy cringe, was my first thought.  It's kind of sad to see him in such a stereotypical Italian role at this point, but it's a recurring role and may improve (I'm not sure I'll be watching, as the show is completely unrealistic, but it was rerun last night and I figured I'd check it out).

The Dish/FOX pissing contest means I didn't see Major Crimes last night (thus watching the All Rise repeat), but - since I can't watch the Rams game, either, thanks a lot, assholes - I just watched "Dead Zone" on DVD.  I'll wait and watch the three-part "White Lies" continuation together, although hopefully the station will be back on by next weekend.

It's a disturbing case to watch, but it's good to show that neo-Nazis indeed still exist, even in places like Los Angeles.  James Duff said that when the actor playing Dwight did "Sieg Heil" at the table read, Mary McDonnell gasped, because he did it so chillingly.  And, indeed, it plays that way.  When the DDA hears the addresses of the homes involved in the real estate fraud and realizes the Zyclon Brotherhood lured these people in to be killed by Dwight is another moment that sends a chill down my spine - and a tingle at realizing this is the evidence he needs to get a continuance to develop the conspiracy claim he's previously been unable to prove.

I love Taylor's "I already am" when Dwight says by the time they figure the case out, the black guy will be in charge, and that's the moment I'm always reminded they're getting ready to kill him off.  (I may have previously mentioned that, at the time White Lies aired, Duff said there would be no more main characters killed off ["this isn't Game of Thrones"].  Lying sack of shit.  Yep, still bitter.)

My only quibble is something I only noticed on second viewing -- that the squad twice indicates Mark in front of "Uncle Henry," meaning Henry should have known who led the cops to him rather than buying their story that Dwight talked.  The first one, when Julio says, "I guess this is the back bedroom Mark said his uncle kept people out of," while explicit, can be written off, as Henry was in the meth basement; we don't know how close to the hidden door he was, so we can assume he was far enough down the stairs not to hear.  But the second, when Amy says, "I guess we found Uncle Henry," is as they're cuffing him.  It's not as explicit a reference, but even if people in addition to Mark refer to him that way, Dwight Darnell certainly doesn't, so at the very least "Uncle Henry" would have known they got info from someone who does.  It's particularly egregious, because the elder Mr. Colson brings Mark up. 

I was initially also annoyed that the contacts list on Sharon's phone makes no sense, but then I decided it must not have been her actual phone, but one Mike fixed up specifically for Henry to be lured into using, and crossed that off my list.

Oh, wait, there is a second one: When Pa Colson, who is driving the truck, is shot and killed, his dead body somehow manages to bring the truck to an abrupt stop and keep it that way. 

Wardrobe has been putting Sharon and Andy in matching colors more often than any other characters (across both shows, Greg LaVoi always used matching/coordinating colors to signify who was in sync on cases) since well before they got together, but this episode always makes me laugh for being the first time they match on a morning we know for certain they got dressed in the same home.  So I giggle a bit to myself wondering if Andy got dressed while Sharon was in the shower and, upon getting out, she just coincidentally put on a blouse the same color as his tie and they didn't notice, or whether they knew they were going to match.  I hope it's the former, because the latter is lame, but it makes me laugh.  (As does the set decorating, in that Rusty chooses the one of Sharon's many sets of mugs that is the same teal color.)

Also Sharon and Andy's little flirting across the table while Rusty is attempting to bribe her with breakfast; we see so little of them as a couple, even little hints the actors throw in are nice.  And I love their reaction to Rusty's "remember how uncooperative I was when I first got here" and idea that they lie to a little kid about finding his dead mother to move their case forward.

Provenza guessing Mein Kampf when Mike says there was a book of Mark's in the car never fails to make me laugh.  As does "his little game of Pop Goes the Nazi".

I love the subtle but clear way Sharon shuts Julio down when he's trying to dictate what they will and won't do with respect to questioning Little Adolf as a witness -- "If possible, Detective, we will hold off notifying Mark ..." is a great way of reminding him she's in charge, not him, without outright humiliating him in front of the squad.  And I like that she gives Provenza the school idea to get the address, but makes clear if that doesn't work, Mark's info is going on the warrant so they can search the Colson house.

I also enjoy Sharon sending Provenza and Andy in to take first crack at Henry, doing the we're bigots too routine; it's a nice touch to listen to them weave their "we're the only white guys left and our boss is a woman" tale of woe while the female captain and detectives of color look on in Electronics.  And then sending Amy and Julio in to switch to the "remember us, the black chick and Latino guy who kicked your ass" dynamic - wonderful.

Andy advising Rusty not to bug Sharon, to just stand nearby and look sad in order to nudge her into letting him observe Buzz's interview makes me laugh, as does the fact I'm so frequently irritated with Rusty this season, no matter how many times I've seen this, when Andy replies to Rusty's "but I gave you guys the idea about Mark, where's my reward" pout with, "You see, this is why nobody likes the press," I always half expect him to say, "See, this is why nobody likes you."  I like Sharon's face when Rusty's sad face works, and how it transforms as she warns him to just stand there and be quiet.

That we get this big Buzz vs. his father's killers storyline despite the fact Phillip P. Keene can't act but happens to be married to the executive producer really bugged me at first, but I try harder each time to let that go and just enjoy it for what it is.  I'm only somewhat successful.

I like the final scene of Sharon and Rusty watching Dr. Joe and Julio prepare to tell Mark about his mom's death; Rusty saying Mark is going to need a lot of professional help reiterates how far he's come with Dr. Joe, and Sharon adding he will also need a lot of love is a nice reminder of how far he's come with her.

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5.10 "Dead Zone" and 5.11 "White Lies Part 1" aired today on the "new"est CW here in Chicagoland, which is the same "place on the dial" as the previous CBS-affiliate that aired the Major Crimes reruns.

I'm guessing @Bastet was watching sports. 😉
Oops. Nope. Just posted^.

I thought maybe this was the first time I had watched either episode, and wasn't too sure about last week's pair either, but according to this page from the Internet Archive, I did. At the time I was on chemo and possibly still on post-surgery meds, so it's as if I am watching new episodes of Major Crimes, heh. I totally didn't recall Taylor getting shot. I recall a little of them faking Dr. Joe's death, but maybe that's from parts 2 or 3 of "White Lies."

After all the vile Nazi-spewing tirades from the bad guy, specifically (from "Dead Zone" but I watched these 2 back-to-back):

16 minutes ago, Bastet said:

James Duff said that when the actor playing Dwight did "Sieg Heil" at the table read, Mary McDonnell gasped, because he did it so chillingly.  And, indeed, it plays that way. 

I really appreciated this writing for Sharon in "White Lies, Part 1" (after she was the one to put an end to the Nazi shooting up the courtroom):

Quote

[Provenza]: You had to shoot the guy.

[Sharon]: That's not the problem, Lieutenant. What I am finding difficult is that I took a human life today, and I still can't locate a single part of me that feels bad about it.


  
  

Good catch, @Bastet, on Amy dropping "Uncle Henry" in earshot of the bad guy, but maybe we're supposed to assume it was out-of-earshot? You know, like they do in so many lesser shows.

And I have never been aware of this (although maybe I did read it here before?):

23 minutes ago, Bastet said:

Wardrobe has been putting Sharon and Andy in matching colors more often than any other characters (LaVoi always used matching/coordinating colors to signify who who was in sync on cases) . . .

and re:

37 minutes ago, Bastet said:

 the final scene of Sharon and Rusty watching Dr. Joe and Julio prepare to tell Mark about his mom's death; Rusty saying Mark is going to need a lot of professional help reiterates how far he's come with Dr. Joe, and Sharon adding he will also need a lot of love is a nice reminder of how far he's come with her.

I like to think Rusty is also speaking for himself in that he feels he still needs a lot more from Dr. Joe, and is likely still concerned for Dr. Joe's survival of the shooting, and that Rusty has also been reminded that life is not limitless. 

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2 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

I like to think Rusty is also speaking for himself in that he feels he still needs a lot more from Dr. Joe, and is likely still concerned for Dr. Joe's survival of the shooting, and that Rusty has also been reminded that life is not limitless. 

That happens in "Dead Zone," and Dr. Joe is not shot until the first episode of "White Lies".

2 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

Good catch, @Bastet, on Amy dropping "Uncle Henry" in earshot of the bad guy, but maybe we're supposed to assume it was out-of-earshot? You know, like they do in so many lesser shows.

He'd have to be deaf; he's right there.  In the adrenaline rush of shooting at cops, getting his ass kicked, and being cuffed, I could write it off as him just not registering what he heard, but not that his dad's talk about needing to deal with Mark so he doesn't talk like his mother did doesn't remind him of it.  Then again, he is not a particularly bright person.  But the flip side is Amy saying it in the first place, knowing that they got the warrant the way they did expressly to keep Colson from knowing Mark spoke to them.  She's not dumb, so what's her excuse?  It was just a bad line.  (Which only stands out because this show is so good; I wouldn't even think about it on many shows, because I wouldn't expect any better attention to detail.)

7 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

I recall a little of them faking Dr. Joe's death, but maybe that's from parts 2 or 3 of "White Lies."

It's from part one, that they decide to do it, but it carries through the arc; it's not until the case is solved at the end of part three that Amy asks to announce that Dr. Joe is alive, so his family no longer has to refrain from visiting him at the hospital (this is interrupted by Andy's heart attack).

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Now that I have my FOX affiliate back, I can join back in when season 5B starts tomorrow night, so I just watched the “White Lies” arc on DVD to be freshly caught up.

I have fond memories of how shocking it was when I realized Taylor was the one in the body bag after the courthouse shooting.  And when Dwight Darnell asked Dr. Joe to predict what he was about to do in the next 10 seconds, I scooted to the edge of my seat, realizing the gun in the evidence bag was loaded and he was about to shoot somebody.  Very gripping opening sequence that I still enjoy to this day.

The little touches are terrific on this show.  I like that as the squad reenters the courtroom one by one, each of them silently check in with Sharon to make sure she’s okay; there are all these little nonverbal exchanges going on as other characters are talking, and it enhances the scene immensely.  I also like that Sharon has one little drop of Dwight’s blood on her face, rather than having been splattered with it.

And that Sharon’s demeanor vacillates a little bit in the aftermath of the shooting; the first few days, she’s sometimes a little brittle, sometimes a little distant, and sometimes her emotions rise a little closer to the surface than she normally allows in front of others.  There is no one thing that’s terribly obvious, but she’s clearly a little off, as Rusty says.  It’s very well done in its subtlety; continued kudos to the highly-emotional Mary McDonnell for her restraint in presenting Sharon’s feelings. 

I enjoy the arc as a whole (enough that I will overlook the ridiculously-accelerated condemnation process of Nazi World, and Fritz being appointed acting Asst. Chief).  The acting is particularly strong; G.W. Bailey in part one and Mary McDonnell in part two turn in performances even better than their usual greatness.  The case – the conspiracy, and the difference between all Borja was doing to bring the Z-Brotherhood to an end and how Graff was using it to further his agenda - was hard for me to wrap my mind around the first time, though, so I actually enjoy it more in subsequent viewings.  

It’s probably the best illustration in the series of the community that exists among the police, district attorneys, and the coroner’s office (a tight-knit association that is a problem within the justice system, but it’s the nice part that’s on display here).

And it’s appropriately hard listening to Dwight spout his lies and hatred in the evaluation sessions with Dr. Joe, and the scene where Graff walks out and all the Nazis assembled in the hallway come to attention and start stomping in unison was absolutely chilling the first time I saw it (it still sends a wave through me).   

I like the full circle of the two shooting scenes, Sharon shooting Dwight at the beginning of part one and Wildred shooting Borja at the end of part three – Sharon shoots Dwight three times in the chest to take him down, then stands over him but doesn’t take an additional shot to finish him off, while Wildred takes Martin down the same way, then stands over him - but puts a bullet in his head to make sure he dies.

The interaction between Sharon and Wildred is captivating throughout, and I love that Sharon has no shits to give about killing Dwight, and worries what that, and the fact she’s having trouble even feeling sympathy for Wildred because she can’t help wondering what role she played in creating the monster that was Dwight, says about her.  Sharon doubting everything that’s so fundamental in her – her sense of right and wrong, her belief in the justice system, her religious faith – is quite powerful.  When she tells her priest, “If I can take another life, and not feel anything at all, then I don’t know who I am anymore,” it hits me every time.  The concept of Wildred being the one from whom Sharon needs absolution is interesting and plays out well; the scene in part two when Wildred tells Sharon she understands Sharon had to shoot Dwight is particularly compelling, and I love Sharon’s smile in part three when she lures Wildred into confirming Martin Borja is Dwight’s father.

The evolution of Julio’s relationship with Mark makes their goodbye sweet and sad, but I still can’t decide if Mark’s transformation from Little Adolf to apologetic paragon of acceptance is unrealistically fast.  I know he was just a little parrot, as Mrs. Sanchez’s friend said, but he was steeped in that ideology his entire life; it seems like a couple of weeks would not be enough time to deprogram him.

Speaking of accelerated timelines, here’s one that took me numerous viewings to notice: Andy selling his house.  He accepts the offer in “Family Law”.  “Dead Zone” picks up right where that one left off.  “White Lies Part 1” begins a week later, and the whole arc covers maybe a week’s time.  But he moved in sometime between now and Sharon’s previous confession three weeks earlier.  His house shouldn’t even be through escrow yet.  At any rate, I love Sharon’s “Your rules, Father, not mine,” when living with him is something she has to confess.  I’m not sure a priest would actually wave it off like that, but it’s a nice fantasy.  And it’s adorable that Sharon knows how many lies she’s told in three weeks.

It bugs me that Provenza resists for so long the idea that Deputy Simms was involved in the conspiracy.  No, he wouldn’t have signed on for getting killed – hard to enjoy all that offshore loot from the grave – but the evidence against him is so strong, it’s obvious he was part of the plan but somehow double-crossed by his co-conspirators.

This is miniscule, but it also bugs me that Richwood’s clerk says the evidence safe arrived in 2004; that’s an oddly specific fact to have right at the front of your brain.  The important part of her answer is that the combination never changed, so I would have written it as “We got that safe at least ten years ago …” which sounds much more natural.

I’m not invested in Buzz’s storyline, because I can’t stand Buzz (largely because I cannot stand Keene’s lack of acting ability), but I appreciate the way taking a father away from kids that remind him of him and his sister is a huge cloud over finally closing the case.  When Bill Jones asks to say goodbye to his kids and Buzz initially nails him with, “Did you give Jay Watson a chance to say goodbye to his kids before you shot him to death?” but then goes and ahead and does it, even I like Buzz in that moment.  And Rusty’s encouragement of and pride in him is nice.

I have no earthly idea why they gave Andy a heart attack when by the time the second half of the season started, he was six months into recovery and they barely touched on how the experience had affected him or Sharon – it comes off like a cliffhanger just to have a cliffhanger, and that’s not this show’s MO.  But Tony Denison plays it perfectly, from all the little physical movements in the days leading up to it to the fear on his face when he realizes this is a heart attack, not a pinched nerve.

(If only Andy had had been the last character to collapse in that building of a heart-related crisis.  Yep, still bitter.)

As always, there are some terrifically funny lines in the midst of an incredibly serious case.  My favorites both come from Provenza:  Following “Birds of a feather” with “Should flock off” and “Your Junior Klan member will just have to wait” when Julio complains about working late because he wants to get home to Mark.

I also greatly enjoy Sharon telling Rusty, after he gets Bill Jones’s fingerprints, “Okay, we can use this.  But that is the end of Rusty Beck, Junior Detective.”

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“Heart Failure” gets season 5B off to a good start.  I love Sharon goading the entitled, jealous, abusive ass of a killer (and, wow, do they paint his personality perfectly [I particularly love him showing up at PSB and demanding to speak to the Chief], and I like how Sharon recognizes the type) into coming at her so they could hold him – and like even more everyone’s reactions to that. 

First and foremost, Sharon: a little shocked that he sucker punched her, but focused in the adrenaline rush on making sure her ploy worked, and then just admitting “Oww” once she has that squared away and is heading for some ice because, as TV is loath to acknowledge, getting hit in the face hurts.  Then Andy, who comes flying out of Electronics into the interview room, ready to pulverize this guy for hitting his girlfriend, but when his captain orders him to stand down, he does; it’s the best illustration of their success in separating personal from professional.  Rusty, who tries to join the others in barrelling out of Electronics but is stopped by Buzz, staring at Sharon’s reddening cheek the entire time she talks to Andrea, and then calming down to muse, “Wow, my mom’s a badass.”  And that Julio cuffed the guy rather than beating the shit out of him, and Provenza checked on Sharon as his immediate response.  It’s a tremendous display of characterization in just a couple of minutes.

I wish they’d left out Winnie Davis saying to Sharon, “Go ahead, your boyfriend’s calling you,” because it seemed – based on forum postings and even my own reaction at the time – to overshadow, to varying degrees, the root of her issues with Major Crimes and create speculation there was some sort of personal vendetta and/or she was just obstructionist for no real reason.  It’s all there in the rest of her dialogue and in subsequent episodes, and I’m sadly sure Camryn Manheim’s appearance means the “fat bitch” slurs would have been hurled at the character regardless, but I wish they'd saved a line like that for a later episode rather than our introduction to her.

But, Sharon’s face when Winnie says it comes very close to making it worthwhile; to this day, I laugh out loud when I see it.  And I love the way Sharon deals with her in general; it’s terrific on its own and a fun callback to the early Brenda/Sharon interaction.

“When you’re killed in active shooter training, you are not allowed to order anyone”/“That wasn’t an order, those were my dying words” followed by Sharon telling Provenza she already knows what really happened (plus an eye roll) makes for a great opening, and I like Andy’s help me out here look to Julio when he’s trying to talk Sharon into fighting for the Asst. Chief job. 

And I adore Amy’s “Gosh, that must have felt embarrassing” when the big-time PI gets told by his killer client to stop interfering with the professionals and wait until he gets back.  I also love her annoyance with drivers failing to signal an intended turn, heh.

Rusty wanting to be a lawyer, rather than a journalist, isn’t an uncommon transition, given the overlap in motivation and skills (in fact, it’s one I made, with a significant stop-off in the let me just have fun for now music industry), but it happens in the six-month hiatus and, without context, feels out of left field.

It’s always cute that he comes to Sharon with his relationship problems, but WTF with Gus visiting his mom in Vegas?  Really, the mom who married an abuser and abandoned her daughters, so that Gus never even bothered contacting her to say one is dead and the other in foster care about to be adopted?  It sounds like the stepfather is gone, which would explain possibly rekindling the relationship, but it’s another thing for which no foundation is laid even by a line of exposition.

But, even with those quibbles, I really like the episode.  And the next one; Provenza calling Atwater Village “the Mayberry of L.A.” and Amy correcting his antiquated "meter maids” terminology are great lines, and the opening of “Cleared History” gets even better when he spots the security company sign and commences muttering and making obscene gestures; it’s another episode that starts great and stays that way.

The case turns incredibly disturbing, with the child porn ring, and it’s another terrific example of this series “showing” horrific images via the characters’ reactions to them.  I also like Sharon and Andy explaining to Rusty why just trading in it is a crime, even though this is a time when the parallel between the case and Rusty’s experience is hammered home a bit too hard, with the “emotionally similar” situations point being over-emphasized (but better than under, so I’m here for it).  But HELLO, GUS, could you please buy a clue about how your boyfriend would be even more uncomfortable than the average person living off a partner? (And, holy balls, I cannot with the idea that a line cook in Los Angeles - who lives with a roommate and has no car - would claim to be able to financially support someone).

Andrea snapping her fingers at Rusty to hand her a file is objectively rude, but in the context of the relationship, I laugh at it.  (Similarly, the squad’s that’s so bizarre reaction to wearing a wig is overdone, but calling the roommate Wigged Out amuses me, so I let it slide.)  I also love Andrea saying the roommate’s attorney will claim Wigged Out assumes, like the rest of the world, people are interested in the minutiae of his life, so his social media posts weren’t to establish an alibi, just the usual crap people post for no reason.

I like that Rusty clearly talks to Sharon at every stage of considering Gus’s ridiculous proposal to move in together, and that she never tells him “That’s nuts!” but, as always, guides him through his own feelings – and that she tells him it not feeling right is enough, period, but for his own sake he needs to explore the reasons behind that instinct.

(And, aw, the two framed pictures on Rusty’s dresser are of him and Sharon and him and Provenza.)

Mike finding the cash in the victim’s desktop tower does not seem adequate reason for everyone to spend the night working, since everything is still encrypted, and the owner of the one stolen laptop they can ID isn’t coming in until the next morning, so that’s a quibble.

But Sharon hitting Andy in the arm without even turning her head to look at him when he grumbles about Mike explaining unscripted=reality television is the kind of little moment that greatly outweigh the little things that bug me.

I also like the round robin of all the burglary victims being interviewed – it’s perfectly edited like a slideshow, and bless the writers for “conflict-free diamonds are a myth” - and Sharon responding to the alarm company’s “there must be a compromise” by saying sure, they give her the information she wants or she’ll bury them under an avalanche of subpoenas and media stories.   

Andy’s refusal to accept what caused his heart attack is so in character, and something I’ve seen in more than one real person (including one grousing “What stress?!” in his ER bed).  I like that we were finally getting a glimpse of the effect it's had on them, and her getting annoyed with him, and then of course it had to be cut short to deal with Rusty's storyline.

Mike’s “Holy crap!” when he finds all the electronics submerged in soapy water is fun.  As is Morales’s crush on Nolan (reminiscent of his crush on Gabriel).  And Provenza’s “Burned-up Man” for Burning Man never fails to make me laugh.  They do such a great job of including amusing moments in episodes with particularly heavy cases.

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21 hours ago, Bastet said:

with the “emotionally similar” situations point being over-emphasized (but better than under, so I’m here for it).  But HELLO, GUS, could you please buy a clue about how your boyfriend would be even more uncomfortable than the average person living off a partner?

I think this is the best PSA-type message I have seen on a show. Very subtle and yet well-explained and demonstrated. So I guess we needed clueless Gus to demonstrate it.

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I didn’t see much of “Quid Pro Quo” tonight because I was watching football, but that’s okay because it’s a bit of a frustrating episode for me.  I like that it’s Amy-centric, but her relationship with Hickman has always been problematic to me and I want to shake her in this one when she doesn’t just tell him if the defense wants to examine evidence, Rothman is well aware of the procedure for doing so, and walk away.  So I like seeing more of Amy, but dislike some of her characterization.

There are also several things for me to nitpick in the trial (starting with the fact a death penalty case went to trial this quickly; realistically, it would have been quite difficult for Rothman to pull off her rush this to trial before they find the hit man strategy).  And the fulcrum of the killer chancing nothing doesn’t jibe with his non-strategy to just say his son and the restaurant manager were both mistaken about the phone call.  It's a flawed case; not horrible, and still with a better foundation than many crime dramas, but requiring suspension of disbelief on major prongs.

It also drives me disproportionately nuts that Rusty is changing his major because he now intends to go to law school.  Change it to what?  Communications is a good – and common – degree for law school applicants.  And it continues to bug me that the work they have him doing with Andrea is stuff she’d have a law school, not undergrad, intern for.

But I like meeting Mason (I love the actor’s voice), and it never fails to amuse me how many people are running screaming from a huge promotion.  Head of FID Sharon would have been all over the Asst. Chief opportunity (and she’d be good at the job), for herself and for the impact of having a woman in that position, so I like that she’s so happy where she is now that she'd rather close out her career in Major Crimes at a lower rank. 

And this episode changed how I re-watched all the episodes prior to it, in hindsight forever noticing when one of them used their phone to document a crime scene; it happened a lot.  Most of their cases settle before discovery even occurs, but it’s food for thought.  And it's a great touch that it did indeed decrease in subsequent cases after Amy getting slapped in court brought it to their attention; it wasn't just a one-episode plot point that had no lasting impact (in fact, I can't immediately call to mind a time when it happens again after this).

I got to see one of my favorite moments of the episode, Sharon’s little grin when Julio says, “Or maybe we’re screwed.”  I love that Mary McDonnell always has great reactions even when the camera isn’t focused on her; she really embodies her characters and listens to and responds appropriately to what’s going on around them.

And I got to see the one and only time Linda Rothman dons sleeves to go into court; her courtroom wardrobe is so ridiculous.  I did not, unfortunately, catch the scene where Rusty flips her off; I love that scene for how Sharon’s Mom Sense tells her he did something, and Rusty’s guilty nothing! look when she turns around.  (Of course, it would be edited in syndication.)

I saw more, but not all of “Dead Drop,” an episode I love. So much that I wish I hadn’t learned the original plan – thwarted by scheduling conflicts - was for Edward James Olmos (Mary McDonnell’s close friend and Battlestar Galactica co-star) to play Morales’s father; the actor who wound up with the role does a great job, but I can’t help thinking how the episode would have been even more wonderful with Olmos.

I love that we get a Dr. Morales episode; I always like seeing him outside the morgue, and the whole ruse to fool his father just cracks me up – particularly him up in the tree and his obsession with the killer’s shoe (I love Sharon’s reaction to his big reveal).  I love everyone – even Andrea - going along with it, as it creates countless funny moments, and like when his dad asks Sharon and Provenza not to tell Fernando that he’s always known the truth (I mean, of course he has, but it’s really sweet.)

I also love Eduardo being a fan of Badge of Justice, which Dr. Morales can’t stand; and that Morales still poses with Mike so his dad can take pictures.

There’s funny stuff from everyone in this; I love how Sharon has no shits to give about dealing with Winnie Davis, all but laughing in her face at one point, and this exchange gives me life:

“If Major Crimes insists on special treatment, of course, you’ll get it.  I’ll just tell everyone they have to wait until you’re done.  Is that what you want me to do?”
“Yes, if you could, thank you.”

Do the “thank you” with a southern accent and it could have instead been an early exchange between Sharon and Brenda.  And Sharon relying yet again on “Let’s ask Chief Howard” also reminds me of Sharon asking Brenda – who always abused her connection to Pope – if she often invoked the name of a higher-ranked man to get what she wanted.  (“Of course; don’t you?”)

Eduardo as Provenza’s brother from another mother is also entertaining (“el Facebook, el Instagram” and “it is always the ex-wife) and, oh my gods, when the ex-wife says they can have the pot, because it’s too strong for her – “half a puff, and I tried mopping the floor with my cat” – I nearly hurt myself laughing upon first viewing, and it still cracks me up.

As does the “I don’t think that’s German” dude.  In Smokey and the Bandit, someone tells Sheriff Justice a fact is not germane to the situation and Jackie Gleason’s delivery on “The goddamned Germans got nothing to do with it!” is so funny my family quotes it whenever we hear “germane” used.

The way Julio recites “hashtag gratitude” from the witness’s Instagram post is almost as good as the way Taylor said “frowny face” when reading Jon Worth’s in “Cutting Loose”.  (And the witness’s social media trajectory – what platform she used and what she presented herself as on each of them – is delicious commentary.)  I love the way Amy asks, “Uh, ‘grass’?” when Morales referred to the marijuana that way (I also like Provenza’s “Thank you, Serpico” to him).  Particularly great line deliveries throughout, including the dumb flying brother’s attempts at sounding innocent.

The relationship between Andy and Rusty has been noticeably stronger in season 5B, and I like the idea that the aftermath of Andy’s heart attack made Rusty get over the last of his issues with Sharon being in the relationship.  I love his reaction when Andy hugs him.  And I can accept Rusty being necessary to remind Andy Sharon does not enjoy surprises, being whisked away, or public proposals; while annoying, it fits for Andy to be one of those guys who gets so caught up in wanting to “make it perfect” that he forgets the woman he knows and loves is not a character in a movie - she does not want the grand gesture fiction presents as being a universal fantasy. 

I’m with Mary McDonnell in thinking Sharon would not want to get married again, but since they were determined to go down the traditional road, I’m glad Sharon at least got an appropriate proposal in the end.  (I also like the touch that Andy refers to their dinner at Serve as their first real date, and Sharon as their first date; that hazy period right before friendship morphed into romance was a bit problematic, and the two lines accurately reflect their differing perceptions of it.)

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Regarding 5.16 "Quid Pro Quo," while watching this afternoon, it seemed that this episode's parallel plot bits were supposed to be vis a vis Mark Hickman's behavior and the actions of the rich entrepreneur who hired his brother as a hitman
--which seems fitting enough, 
--but then,
in the last scene between Amy and Hickman (also the last time we see Hickman in the series) they seemed to imply some sort of future relationship thaw between them. 
No?

***********************

16 hours ago, Bastet said:

I saw more, but not all of “Dead Drop,” an episode I love. So much that I wish I hadn’t learned the original plan – thwarted by scheduling conflicts - was for Edward James Olmos (Mary McDonnell’s close friend and Battlestar Galactica co-star) to play Morales’s father; the actor who wound up with the role does a great job, but I can’t help thinking how the episode would have been even more wonderful with Olmos.

My first reaction to the idea of having Edward James Olmos play Morales' visiting father in 5.17 "Dead Drop" was negative because I was an obsessive fan of the Battlestar Galactica reimagined series, and it seems have EJO and Marry McDonnell together in different roles would be distracting. 
But then I realized that since "Dead Drop" is a comedic episode, there could have been a few "Easter egg" inside jokes. I would love to know if they got as far as concocting any, and what they were.
For example, did they plan to have Andy mistakenly think Morales' father and Sharon were flirting -- maybe because Sharon and Mr. Morales were conversing in Spanish?
Or, even better, maybe a little exchange between them about the victim in the tree possibly being a visitor from another planet?
Robots. There would have to be an exchange between them about robots. Preferably killer robots.

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5 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

But then I realized that since "Dead Drop" is a comedic episode, there could have been a few "Easter egg" inside jokes. I would love to know if they got as far as concocting any, and what they were.

Not that I know of; it became clear very early in the process that Olmos would not be able to do it after all, so I doubt they had time to contemplate it.  They didn't do any in jokes when Jamie Bamber guest starred, but it would be more tempting to insert one with "Roslin and Adama" sharing the screen again.

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On 9/14/2019 at 11:03 PM, Bastet said:

Also, who the hell who’s so much as met him for five minutes brings Louie Provenza beets and goat cheese as a treat?

oh, that makes me laugh, because who indeed?

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If anyone here owns a Roku device (as I do), I got the usual "What's New" weekly Roku e-mail, and both Major Crimes and Cold Case are streaming for free on The Roku Channel.

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