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Poster Boy was unique in that we saw the killer going about his routine and all before the squad knew who he was - it worked for the most part and the episode was still compelling. I liked the investigation a lot with each team member contributing - it was one reason why I liked this show better than The Closer because each team member got to contribute in every episode whereas in The Closer it was almost all Brenda. 

I liked the scene with Taylor and Sharon and Flynn discussing what to do, I sided with Taylor as I think it was the right idea to get his picture out to the public but I understood where everyone was coming from.

And I liked Provenza’s line to Carlo at the end about getting rid of the worst houseguest ever. 

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On 5/4/2020 at 9:10 PM, Xeliou66 said:

And I liked Provenza’s line to Carlo at the end about getting rid of the worst houseguest ever. 

I like it, too, because it's just so Provenza, and what I like most about it is my belief he wouldn't have said it if Sharon was still there.  She leaves the van clearly shaken by Brandon having killed himself while on the phone with her, and is out of earshot by the time Provenza answers Carlo's question about what's going on with that dry quip. 

At this point in their relationship, Sharon is used to his Provenza-esque responses to things, and either smiles, smirks, ignores him, rolls her eyes, shoots something right back at him, or smacks him on the arm, depending on the situation.  And the flip side is he'll squelch his particular brand of humor under the few circumstances when she's just not up for doing any of the above. 

As a random aside, I've recently been re-watching Any Day Now for the first time since it aired, and after a good half dozen episodes of wondering where on earth I recognized the actor playing Johnny from I finally looked him up -- it's the actor who played Daniel Dunn, just 15 years younger.  So it's a little funny, looking at "Daniel" as he'd have been around the time Rusty was conceived.

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The Charlie’s Angels sight gag in “Pick Your Poison” is perfectly done, because it’s not overplayed – they have no idea they’ve turned in unison, so that when Dr. Morales makes the joke, Sharon, Amy, and Emma all look at themselves and each other, confused, until they recognize the pose they’ve inadvertently struck.  (And then when he calls “Angels?” to summon them into the autopsy bay, they turn in unison again.  Ha!)

Another thing that always makes me laugh in this one is when the obnoxious teenage drug dealer says they like to party at Grandma Pushkin’s house because she’s “like, deaf – and in bed after Jeopardy! [which, in L.A., means she goes to bed at 7:30]”.

I also get a good laugh, in the midst of the horrifying realization one brother was victimized by his teacher, when Mike gets really into his visual demonstration of how the teacher’s fingerprints would have gotten onto the headboard in that pattern and Sharon has to cut him off.

And Rusty’s deadpan, “Well, hanging around with dead people isn’t as fun as it sounds ...” when Sharon asks him if he wants to wait in the morgue to go with her or go to PAB now with his security detail is funny, too.

As is Andy’s reaction when the narc – or buy guy, in LAPD parlance (which I don’t, well, buy, that Morales has never heard) – says the kids call ecstasy “slut dust”. 

And Provenza’s oh shit face every time Sharon reminds him that, when she has time, he’s going to get it about mentioning option three.

And Julio calling Sharon to ask if he can arrest the lawyer for annoying him.

There are a lot of little funny moments in an episode that is not at all comedic.

I like the serious moments, too.  I love how much Amy hates the teacher.  And how disgusted the lawyer is with his brother; that asshole killed two teenage boys in order to get revenge on his wife by framing her for it!

Most of all, as usual, I love the Sharon and Rusty stuff.  That he, a month later, returns the “I love you” sentiment is wonderfully played, as is her reaction when she says, yes, she knows – she did, but hearing him say it is a big deal and that's written all over her face as she watches him walk away.  Another perfect beat is Rusty, given a day to think about his two options, telling Taylor and Provenza, “You guys already know my decision”.  

And I love Sharon slipping and referring to herself as Rusty’s mother; for the obvious reason, and for how Taylor and Provenza – both fathers - react.  Provenza went so far as to enlist Taylor, with whom he spends as little time as possible, to help him talk Sharon into option three, and he’s getting riled up at her about it, but he completely softens when he realizes why she’s being so obstinate about letting Rusty do something that could put him in danger.

I also love her calling Rusty’s bluff when he says he’ll go to boarding school if she doesn’t let him see the new letters, and him asking, “What is it with you and the mental health industry?” when she makes being evaluated by a therapist a requirement for participating in a police action.  And her reaction when she thinks he’s going to come out.  (Also, I absolutely love that, thinking he’s going to ask to be evaluated by a therapist who’s gay only to find out he wants one who’s a chess player, she runs out and gets one who’s both.)

Something that struck me tonight for the first time:  Between “In my ongoing attempt to be less annoying …” and “Given that she had sex with a minor, I think it might be easier for you, Captain, if I dealt with her” the writers are now pretty much waving the white flag at the audience over Emma. 

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15 hours ago, Bastet said:

Most of all, as usual, I love the Sharon and Rusty stuff.  That he, a month later, returns the “I love you” sentiment is wonderfully played, as is her reaction when she says, yes, she knows – she did, but hearing him say it is a big deal and that's written all over her face as she watches him walk away. 

I’m just now realizing the whole episode was written to get to Rusty’s line to Sharon of: You know I’m only doing this [agreeing to therapy] because I love you  
{ironically watching it on Mothers Day during the pandemic because that’s when it airs here in Chicagoland}. 
Otherwise —in real life (at least in my mind)— Rusty would have taken the opportunity to go to a private boarding school “in Portland” *plus* a fricken full ride to college. 
But then, I have to admit that none of my 3 daughters took full advantage of similar opportunities offered them. They mostly did well in the end —almost as well as Rusty on his ultimate path to law school— but very few teens (even worldly wise teens) seem to grasp the extent of such opportunities. 

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28 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

Otherwise —in real life (at least in my mind)— Rusty would have taken the opportunity to go to a private boarding school “in Portland” *plus* a fricken full ride to college. 

Oh, I don't think so for a moment.  He has never had stability in his life until now.  He could never make friends, since his mother moved him around so much and, more importantly, he never knew who he'd be coming home to (and bringing friends home to) - in terms of her own personality, and the guy she might have with her - depending on whether she was high.  He got knocked around, "love" was always conditional, and then he finally got outright abandoned, necessitating selling his body to have money to eat.

Now he has the first place that has ever felt like home, because he has the sense of security that comes from knowing you're loved, respected, and safe.  Sharon transformed his life, and possibly quite literally saved it (given the number of street kids who wind up dead), and Provenza is also an important influence.  He needs these people.  Thus him saying he doesn't need any time to think it over, they know his decision - as much as he hates the restrictions that come with being under police protection, he'll take that in a heartbeat in order to remain with the people who've become the family he never had.  The typical level of autonomy he could have under another identity isn't remotely worth the trade-off of having zero contact with that family until after the trial.

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I like Pick Your Poison for the case and some of the moments between the team members, but the Rusty stuff was heavier than normal and I didn’t enjoy his whining, that being said I did like the scenes where Provenza and Taylor discussed    Rusty’s options first with him then with Sharon, those scenes were well done and Provenza was good as always in talking Taylor then Sharon into offering the third option. I also noticed how Provenza called Raydor “Sharon” in that scene, I think that was the first time he called her by her first name, everyone usually called her “captain”. 

The case was good albeit somewhat predictable, it was fairly obvious who did it IMO. There were some nice moments, such as the lawyer-brother’s disgust at what his brother had done, the Morales “angels” scene, Provenza and company rushing out of the house when Kendall said there might be poison in there and Tao’s demonstration of the fingerprints on the headboard. 

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24 minutes ago, Xeliou66 said:

I also noticed how Provenza called Raydor “Sharon” in that scene, I think that was the first time he called her by her first name, everyone usually called her “captain”. 

No, the first time he did it was in "Out of Bounds", when Amy got the shit beat out of her -- it was the "Sharon puts her job on the line, and Amy puts her physical self on the line, both earning Provenza's respect" episode of season one (with the dead high school football player, where the victim's brother goes after the other QB but it's actually that other QB's father who did it): 

When Provenza returns from the hospital to report on Amy's injuries, Sharon readily acquiesces to his experience as compared to hers and asks in front of everyone what went wrong with her plan.  Just a short time prior, this would have resulted in a condescending tirade about how he knows more about homicide investigations than she has time to learn, but instead it yielded an honest response that she did everything right but shit can still happen, and he calls her Sharon in a way that is a means of connection and support, not at all disrespectful.  It's a turning point episode on many fronts.

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On 5/12/2020 at 1:17 AM, Bastet said:

No, the first time he did it was in "Out of Bounds", when Amy got the shit beat out of her -- it was the "Sharon puts her job on the line, and Amy puts her physical self on the line, both earning Provenza's respect" episode of season one (with the dead high school football player, where the victim's brother goes after the other QB but it's actually that other QB's father who did it): 

When Provenza returns from the hospital to report on Amy's injuries, Sharon readily acquiesces to his experience as compared to hers and asks in front of everyone what went wrong with her plan.  Just a short time prior, this would have resulted in a condescending tirade about how he knows more about homicide investigations than she has time to learn, but instead it yielded an honest response that she did everything right but shit can still happen, and he calls her Sharon in a way that is a means of connection and support, not at all disrespectful.  It's a turning point episode on many fronts.

Yeah I forgot about that episode, that was a good episode. I liked the Provenza/Sharon relationship a lot - how it went from being frosty at first with Provenza resenting her but they came to respect each other fairly quickly. I remember Sharon was the only main character in the franchise to ever call Provenza by his first name, which was noteworthy, it was never explained why Provenza disliked people calling him by his first name, it wasn’t like he had an unusual name, but only Sharon called him “Louie” once, I remember Brenda still called him “Lieutenant” when she was speaking to the squad one last time before her departure.  

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1 hour ago, Xeliou66 said:

but only Sharon called him “Louie” once,

I love that scene!  By Provenza's own rule - "unless you outrank me or I divorced you, my first name is Lieutenant" - she was always entitled to call him by his first name, and with the rest of the squad she started early on alternating between their names and ranks.  But she respected his weird little name hang-up, and didn't do it, until the perfect moment to pull out "Louie" arrived, when she was refusing to let him even mention the possibility of retiring in "Intersection".

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36 minutes ago, Bastet said:

I love that scene!  By Provenza's own rule - "unless you outrank me or I divorced you, my first name is Lieutenant" - she was always entitled to call him by his first name, and with the rest of the squad she started early on alternating between their names and ranks.  But she respected his weird little name hang-up, and didn't do it, until the perfect moment to pull out "Louie" arrived, when she was refusing to let him even mention the possibility of retiring in "Intersection".

Yeah I loved that scene as well. I just wonder why Provenza so strongly disliked his first name, we didn’t even learn it until season 5 of The Closer, and no one ever used it except for Sharon that one time. It was unusual how Provenza hated his first name and I wonder if there was an explanation for it. 

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12 minutes ago, Xeliou66 said:

I just wonder why Provenza so strongly disliked his first name, we didn’t even learn it until season 5 of The Closer, and no one ever used it except for Sharon that one time. It was unusual how Provenza hated his first name and I wonder if there was an explanation for it.

I suspect it's not about the name itself - meaning whatever his first name was, he'd want everyone other than his wife calling him by his rank instead - but about how his entire identity is wrapped up in his job. 

Even once he no longer has to split his pension with Liz, he still wants to die at his desk with his stapler in his hand.  He is never happier than at that job.  He lives for it.  He loves his kids and his grandkids (who also call him Lieutenant, heh), but he's really not involved with them - he only sees them on holidays, and isn't a meaningful source of advice or emotional support to them (which makes his relationship with Rusty particularly touching).

He knows he's no great example of a husband or father; throughout both shows, we see several times his resignation that if he ever needs to be taken care of, it will be in a facility, not by his family.  But being the lieutenant - that's where he shines, and where he's dependable and respected.

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“Jailbait” shows how Sharon has influenced the way the squad operates; I love seeing them anticipate defense objections and conduct the investigation in a way that will avoid them.  And I enjoy how pleased she is by their initiative.

It also includes what has to be near the top of the long list of things Sharon has done right with Rusty: getting him more comfortable with talking to Dr. Joe by saying those who are “emotionally injured” can benefit from seeing a doctor about that pain.  That conversation when she distinguishes mental illness and emotional injury is wonderful, and one that can possibly help a therapy-resistant viewer or two.

Sharon has played the therapy thing perfectly all along; she knows Rusty would greatly benefit from it, but also knows it will be ineffective if forced.  So she offers it repeatedly, but always accepts when he refuses.  Then the opportunity comes along to require a psychological evaluation; with the opening she needs finally at hand, she takes it, but still makes clear he doesn’t have to go into therapy, he just has to undergo this evaluation, and now shares an experience with him that gives Mr. “I don’t need a shrink, I’m not crazy” a better perspective on what a therapist can offer to a wide variety of people.

I like Rusty hovering in the background when Dr. Joe shows up at the station, and how Dr. Joe handles him.  “I’m performing a psychological evaluation of your personality, and so far that evaluation reads uncommunicative, uncooperative, and easily irritated” is perfect, but it’s also important that Rusty hears someone other than Sharon say the “choices” he made as an abandoned teenager actually amounted to being raped.  And it works – not as a magical fix, as both Dr. Joe and Sharon have to remind him of that at times, but when Rusty (in imagining Dr. Joe's "hypothetical" scenario) references having to do some bad things, he stops and corrects himself to bad things happening to him. 

I’ve always found Esai Morales a handsome man, so it’s too bad he spends the episode in an ugly uniform.  He plays Manny Diaz well, the never-ending guilt of not realizing how traumatized by the rape his daughter was until he heard a gun go off in her bathroom.  His actions were inappropriate, especially when you look at how far he seemed prepared to go if he couldn’t lure Eric Riley back into jail, but we understand his state of mind.

The murdering father’s state of mind is an interesting one; I can only imagine his frustration with his wife’s refusal to see “her boy” for what he is, and the way he feels knowing it is just a matter of time before Eric rapes another girl, but to jump right to killing your own son rather than even trying to have him re-incarcerated on a parole violation?

As usual, there are some nice comedic moments in the midst of a dramatic episode, and my favorite is tipsy Dr. Morales (“just don’t expect my usual genius”).  I also like Buzz and Mike running into each other like the Keystone Cops when they’re both trying to get Sharon’s attention, and Provenza shooing Andrea off her perch on the edge of his desk then putting the chattering teeth in her vacated spot so she can’t sit back down (earning him a great little look from Sharon).  And, of course, Sharon's “Let me reassure you, Deputy Diaz, I’m not the kind of person who likes to get bogged down in all the rules” and the reactions to that.

I never noticed until tonight that when Amy hands Provenza the picture of Eric Riley in the opening scene, he uses it to fan himself (since it’s 85 degrees in December).

I also found myself wondering if the positioning of Eric Riley’s body was created by clever camera angles or if they hired a contortionist.

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15 hours ago, Bastet said:

The murdering father’s state of mind is an interesting one; I can only imagine his frustration with his wife’s refusal to see “her boy” for what he is, and the way he feels knowing it is just a matter of time before Eric rapes another girl, but to jump right to killing your own son rather than even trying to have him re-incarcerated on a parole violation?

I wonder if they cut some of the “A” plot with the current crime to expand on Rusty and Dr. Joe so that Rusty and Dr. Joe became the real A plot of the episode.
There’s always a parallel between the A and B plots. At the end when the father who killed his son yelled about not having a choice, it was a weird parallel to Rusty not having a choice to making money by selling himself. But Dr. Joe points out that Rusty was a 15-year-old child, which makes it rape.
The father who killed his son was likely at least in part motivated by the way having a rapist son in his home would impact his medical practice. But ultimately the father and the mother illustrated that the son came from parents who could also lose control of their own actions. 
 

16 hours ago, Bastet said:

I’ve always found Esai Morales a handsome man

Yes

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Jailbait is a very good episode, I liked the case a lot and how the squad got to the bottom of it, figuring out that the father was lying about a girl being in the victim’s room, and I liked everyone’s role in the investigation and how it played out from start to finish. Everyone got some nice moments in this episode. 

While I was never a big fan of Rusty and his stuff, I did like Dr Joe and thought he was a good addition, and his scenes with Rusty were good, so the Rusty scenes were more compelling when he was around. 

My favorite funny moment is when Flynn asks Sanchez if he knows Diaz, and Sanchez is annoyed at Flynn assuming they know each other just because they are both Latino and then Sanchez realizing he does know Diaz - both Julio’s initial reaction and body language and then Flynn’s facial expression afterwards are funny. 

I liked Hobbs having a role in that episode and I liked how she chewed out Diaz after he whined about his career being destroyed. I didn’t feel much sympathy for Diaz because I don’t have much sympathy for cops who cross the lines he crossed. 

Morales tipsy in the morgue was funny as well, Morales had a lot of personality and frequently added in some humor in his scenes. 

I had mixed feelings about the murderer-father, he understood his frustration at his wife refusing to see how dangerous their son was, but I wonder how much of the murder was for his own selfish reasons. The one I had complete sympathy for was the daughter/sister, whose life had been completely turned upside down by her brother and then her father going to prison. 

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45 minutes ago, Xeliou66 said:

My favorite funny moment is when Flynn asks Sanchez if he knows Diaz, and Sanchez is annoyed at Flynn assuming they know each other just because they are both Latino and then Sanchez realizing he does know Diaz - both Julio’s initial reaction and body language and then Flynn’s facial expression afterwards are funny. 

I'm still trying to figure out why Andy asks him that in the first place; his look when Julio says, "Oh, I do know him" indicates he wasn't being a racist moron, there was a reason he asked, but I'm not sure what it is.  Maybe Diaz lives in Julio's neighborhood.  He married the woman who'd been Julio's sister's best friend in high school, so maybe they settled in her 'hood and Andy recognized the address as being in Julio's territory (since TV cops immediately know where every address is).  Julio's sister seems to have moved away, so Julio wouldn't have reason to see or even hear about the Diaz family anymore, so it could work with Julio not having known about the daughter's rape and suicide.

Anyway, yes, Julio's street walk over to Andy as he says, "Oh yeah, because all us L.A. Latinos know each other, right, Flynn?" is hilarious.

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1 hour ago, Bastet said:

I'm still trying to figure out why Andy asks him that in the first place; his look when Julio says, "Oh, I do know him" indicates he wasn't being a racist moron, there was a reason he asked, but I'm not sure what it is.  Maybe Diaz lives in Julio's neighborhood.  He married the woman who'd been Julio's sister's best friend in high school, so maybe they settled in her 'hood and Andy recognized the address as being in Julio's territory (since TV cops immediately know where every address is).  Julio's sister seems to have moved away, so Julio wouldn't have reason to see or even hear about the Diaz family anymore, so it could work with Julio not having known about the daughter's rape and suicide.

Anyway, yes, Julio's street walk over to Andy as he says, "Oh yeah, because all us L.A. Latinos know each other, right, Flynn?" is hilarious.

Yeah I’m not sure why Flynn asked but Julio’s response and Flynn’s reaction were both hilarious. It’s the interactions between the squad members that this show did so well and were really enjoyable to watch. 

Julio’s family was always interesting to me - He had the younger brother that was killed in season 4 of The Closer, he had a sister that apparently moved away, and I took it that he had a rather large family but we never really saw any of them other than his mother. I didn’t like how they had Julio’s mother die offscreen, it was really unnecessary and if they were going to kill off Julio’s mom I would’ve preferred it to be a subplot to an episode, and then possibly we would’ve gotten to see or hear about more of Julio’s family and get a reaction from Julio about it, we didn’t even see him deal with his grief. 

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On 5/18/2020 at 7:49 PM, Xeliou66 said:

Julio’s family was always interesting to me - He had the younger brother that was killed in season 4 of The Closer, he had a sister that apparently moved away, and I took it that he had a rather large family but we never really saw any of them other than his mother.

I think there are "only" the four kids - the older brother who's in prison, the younger brother who was killed, the sister, and Julio.

At least we know he has siblings; it will never stop bugging me how few details about Sharon's life James Duff could be bothered with.  (I've never tallied tidbits, but I'm pretty sure we learned more about Phillip Fucking Stroh's background than Sharon Raydor's.)  She's Irish Catholic, which usually means a big family, but we never hear about siblings.  Mary McDonnell said Sharon reads like an only child, and I agree, so I'll fanwank that there were complications with her birth and her mom couldn't have any more kids. 

We don't even know if her parents are still alive; they were as of season six of The Closer (in "Living Proof", everyone's Christmas plans get ruined, and Sharon's were to meet up with her parents and kids for skiing in Park City), but we never hear a word about them in all six seasons of this show.  We don't have to see them like we did Brenda's parents, but if they're alive Rusty could, in his early, awkward days with her, tell Sharon there's a message on the machine from her mom, or later Ricky could say something to Rusty like "wait until you meet Grandpa in person; his jokes are even worse than over the phone."  If Sharon lost them both between "Living Proof" and taking Rusty in, that's a big deal; have Ricky and Emily - when they're talking in "Chain Reaction" about how adult children have to exaggerate their love of Christmas to please their parents - tell Rusty Christmas is hard for Mom after losing her parents, and that's why she goes crazy decorating, to force herself into the mood, and reveal a lot of her gazillion angel ornaments were Grandma's.

It's a crime drama, I know - the cases are the focus.  But not everything learned about the characters has to come through their handling of and reaction to those cases.  With one line of dialogue (10-15 seconds out of 42 minutes of story time), you can reveal something meaningful about a character.  Over the years, that'll add up to characters who feel just as developed as the ones on "regular" dramas.  But Duff only gave it any real effort with Brenda and Rusty.  (The two characters he wrote based on his own personality traits.  Coincidence?  I think not.)

On 5/18/2020 at 7:49 PM, Xeliou66 said:

I didn’t like how they had Julio’s mother die offscreen,

I assume that was because Raymond Cruz wasn't available for two episodes (because he was shooting something else); making Julio's absence due to his mom's ill health and resulting death sets the stage for him transferring to another division to have more stable hours in order to raise Little Adolf Mark now that he doesn't have her help, so I understand why they killed off Ramona Sanchez.  But, yeah, Cruz not being available meant it happening completely off-screen gave the episodes a sense of "oh yeah, bummer, Julio's mom died - say, did those financial reports come in?"  Heaven forbid we take a little time away from Rusty, and Phillip Stroh, to give the impact of Julio's loss its due.

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"All In" contains one of my favorite scenes showing this is Sharon's third time at the teenage tantrum rodeo, with Rusty’s full-body flop onto the couch and protracted complaining.  She does pause to smile – as do I – when he pops back up in response to her asking if he’s thought about what he’s going to be when he grows up to give the perfect reply: “A witness, obviously, because this trial is going to last the rest of my life.”  And she addresses his confidentiality concern, but otherwise she’s just focused on her computer, scoffing at his dramatics. 

I also love it as an Andy episode; his personal growth has been playing out at a nice pace, and brought us to where it’s as believable as it is touching that Andy Flynn is voluntarily involved in family therapy.  But, of course, being Andy Flynn, he has managed to get swept up in his family’s enthusiasm for the playboy having brought a woman like Sharon to the wedding and thus failed to correct their assumption about their relationship, too happy with the way they look at him because of it.  So when here he is, hoping for his first Christmas invitation since “Living Proof” (which was his first in many years, but he missed it because of a case), he’s in a tizzy trying to figure out how to keep it from blowing up in his face.

So, of course, he enlists Provenza’s help; I love that Provenza is so annoyed and sarcastic, but also sympathetic because he understands how and why Andy got himself into this mess.  So, after a barrage of (hilariously) sarcastic remarks, ultimately Provenza offers to go with him and make up a story that doesn’t give Andy away.  I love their friendship.

I also like Sharon’s slight sense of bewilderment throughout, in response to Andy’s odd behavior, and that she always looks over at Provenza to gauge his reaction to it.  And I get a little laugh when she finally asks Provenza what’s wrong with Andy, wondering if he’s depressed, and Provenza responds, “No, he’s depressing.”

But I always get a little sad when Andy decides to go ahead with asking Sharon to come with him, without telling her what’s really going on.  I know she gives him that option, saying she’ll go with him either way, but her willingness to help him when it involves his family is obviously rooted in the fact he’s doing what she’s always wanted Jack to do, and for her of all people – someone who’s been in the shoes of Andy’s ex-wife and watched her own kids suffer through what Andy’s did – to think he’s worthy of his family’s trust is a big deal.  It’s a specific, meaningful thing going on with these favors, so it doesn’t sit well to see her used in any way, put in a position to be blindsided and uncomfortable (as she is when all this eventually catches up with Andy the next Christmas).

I like that, while the case most obviously serves to mirror Andy’s and the victim’s well-intentioned mistakes, it also provides us with an entertaining cast of characters – which yields some fantastic reactions from the squad.  I love Sharon taking in Limpy’s reenactment of his confrontation with Scammy/Techy, Julio and Amy taking perfect advantage of Roomie’s gullibility, and Mike delighting in Scammy/Techy’s descriptions of his various apps.

Tonight I noticed for the first time how fantastic the set dressing in the Dietz home is; these folks have money, but are very much the basic McMansion sort - the décor, especially the artwork, is almost comically generic.  Great touch.

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About "All In," two things I noticed for the first time while watching yesterday:

  1. Both Rusty and Emma have temper tantrums.
    Emma always seemed like a placeholder and not a real person, but maybe there was some thought to her having a backstory.
     
  2. There's a Hanukkah menorah in the background at the station.

 

 

On 5/23/2020 at 11:14 PM, Bastet said:

an entertaining cast of characters

Whenever I see this episode I recall that I was happy to see Joe Flanigan as Rick (or "Roomy") who I hadn't seen since he had the lead in the Stargate Atlantis spin-off series, in which I always thought he had really charismatic screen presence. According to IMDb, he has had a recurring role on a soap opera for several years now, so I will stop worrying about his well being for now. 

 

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On 5/25/2020 at 4:11 AM, shapeshifter said:

There's a Hanukkah menorah in the background at the station.

They do that most years, along with plenty of "Happy Holidays" and snowflakes.  It's still far more Christmas-centric than any office, let alone a government office, should be, but I've always appreciated that the décor is more inclusive than average.

On 5/25/2020 at 4:11 AM, shapeshifter said:

Both Rusty and Emma have temper tantrums.

I like that Sharon waves Provenza off, letting Rusty have his say against Emma after she gets into the this SIS operation could be dangerous to my material witness (and I'd lose his testimony, tanking my case) crux of her snit fit about the psych evaluation, and like that what Rusty tells Emma is if her "concern" for him was genuine, she wouldn't be trying to prevent him from seeing a doctor, as that's really messed up.  It shows Sharon's talk about being "emotionally injured" and thus able to benefit from a doctor's care stuck with him. 

And Sharon concluding the scene by telling Emma she legally has all the rights and responsibilities of a mother and doesn't need anyone's permission to seek "medical attention" for her son is a wonderful reiteration of the fact mental health care is just health care, like treating any other part of the body in need of help.

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I love “Curve Ball” – with Provenza selecting a Venice head shop as the place to buy kites, how could I not? – but it drives me nuts every time that they didn’t cast a kid with curly hair to play Rory in the flashback.  That stick straight hair is all I can see! 

But I like the way Rory/Reed is written, because the psychological trauma his kidnapper inflicted on him, and the unimaginable difficulty he's going to have trying to transition back into an identity he was so deliberately conditioned out of, makes him incredibly sympathetic, but he’s also an obnoxious teenager.  (I love Sanchez’s “You’re welcome” about the chips.)

The victim’s son is another sympathetic character, and very well acted.  When he realizes his dad had been watching old home movies shortly before he was killed – ouch.  I love Garrett’s palpable relief when Sharon redirects Buzz to another file, and the little comforting pat on the back she gives him.  He’s also very touching when he watches mother and son reunited, knowing his dad died for it, but it would never have happened if not for him.

And he’s funny when he says helping his dad set up his cloudsaver account was a 40-minute phone call; I like Mike’s sympathetic smile and nod over trying to explain technology to people.

The Rusty/Rory similarities are a bit too heavy-handed (the cuts back and forth are blatant), but Rusty’s overlapping emotions about his mom and Sharon are poignant.  Dr. Joe is making him confront just how bad life with his mom was, but he still loves and misses her, so he feels guilty being happier with Sharon.  For the longest time, all he wanted was to be with his mom again; he’d have answered Dr. Joe’s question about whether he’d go with her if she came back or stay with Sharon with a definitive “go”.  By the time Sharon Beck does return, it’s a firm “stay” – he tells Sharon he wants to support his mom in her recovery, but doesn’t ever want to live with her again.  Right now, though, his answer is “I don’t know”.

The scene after Dr. Joe finishes their session is lovely; I like Rusty genuinely thanking him (and offering a handshake like an adult, looking like the awkward kid he is in doing it [he’s probably never shaken anyone’s hand in his life]) and Sharon giving the card Dr. Joe had given her to Rusty – all she required was the evaluation, she’s still not going to force therapy, and she wants him to be able to call Dr. Joe should he ever want to, without having to go through her.

I also love the scene in Sharon’s office where she’s trying to get information out of Dr. Joe.  I like her little it might work shrug as she heads in, and the absolute best is the look on her face when it doesn’t – the way that forced smile morphs into a scowl as soon as he leaves makes me laugh every time.

Provenza’s ties were one of my favorite Christmas traditions.  I miss them.

And I love all the “Christmas just got even more depressing” stuff.  Notoriously tight-fisted Provenza asking Mike to use his credit card buy a train set like the one the broke guy who found the victim’s credit card tried to buy so his kids would have a gift to open is sweet.

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I briefly thought of skipping “Risk Assessment”, since that asshole congressperson sends me into twitches of rage, but I so love Jada Rhodes being given her say, I really wanted to hear it again, especially tonight.

And, indeed, it gives me a lot to say in response (yes, again).  Because we need more of this on mainstream TV, especially cop shows.

I love her contrasting the police response to her son’s death and to Robert Keller’s in the same damn spot – a working class black teenager gets killed, the community gets two squad cars and some flares for the night, with no follow-up.  A rich white guy gets killed, and there remain so many cops you can’t get the mail without running into one, and here she is being interviewed by Major Crimes.  They didn’t do shit about Tyler’s murder until Robert Keller’s tied into it, at which point they filled a stadium with potential suspects.

And she speaks so powerfully about the balance moms in that neighborhood have to strike, instilling situational common sense without taking away hope and teaching them to be tough, but not hard.  And about how that “crazy fool” (sure, dude, you’re going to transform gang neighborhoods into “enriched habitats” one garden at a time) came in with his white savior complex, messed all that up, and in fact put a target on kids' backs by paying them to paint over gang graffiti.  He got Tyler killed, and was about to get Darryl killed as well – while he didn’t tell the cops the Rounders had him in the car, he was encouraging Darryl to talk to the cops on his own. 

I wish they hadn’t deleted the scene where Sharon and Taylor react with total disgust to congressasshole’s press conference praising his son’s efforts towards making “his ideal of urban America a reality” and vowing to continue them.  The episode is clear enough as-is that Robert was a well-intentioned young man who didn’t know a damn thing about the reality he was inserting himself into, and whose white privilege led him to dismiss that reality when explicitly laid out for him by one of the black women living it, and that refusal to see got a teenage boy killed.  No one disputes the truth when Jada speaks it.  But I like the explicit confirmation Robert was no hero that existed in that scene (the original lead-in to the closing conversation about the letters and Rusty's participation in an SIS operation).

I also love this episode for giving everyone’s backstories, as they’re all well suited to the characters, especially Sharon’s (specifics aside, her trajectory resonates with so many women, especially of her generation) and Andy’s (heh, of course he was a little hooligan who decided it would be more fun to lock bad guys up).  I love the twist on the usual I became a cop to avenge a loved one’s death storyline with Julio, that it was his cat!  I would have liked more detail on Mike’s though; I understand why he loved the science of medicine but realized he wouldn’t like the practice of it, but they don’t fully explore how was drawn toward policing among all his other options.

Until Rep. Racist Asshole shows up and spikes my blood pressure, I love the meeting in Taylor’s office, because it’s a great illustration of the dynamic of one woman in a room full of men engaged in a dick-slinging contest.  Sharon tries to diffuse tensions and redirect the conversation to how to proceed, injecting a different – traditionally feminine - leadership style into the group, but the men are more interested in continuing their pissing contest over what’s already done.  It’s so realistic (in the writing, and especially as realized by Mary McDonnell’s performance and Stacey K. Black’s direction).

There are some great humorous moments as always, but I am mostly taken by the honest storytelling in this episode.

Something that never dawned on me until tonight’s airing:  They never explain why Major Crimes is assigned this case to begin with.  At the time they’re rolled out, it’s not known who the victim is – the LAPD does not know he’s a witness in an open case and a congressperson’s son.  If they had known either one, let alone both, it would have been deemed a major crime from the beginning, but because they didn’t, it wouldn’t have been reassigned to them until Rampart found that out.  The writers get away with cases that wouldn’t normally be assigned to Major Crimes by setting them around the winter holidays and saying they’re covering for another division’s holiday break, so that works here based on timing, but I never noticed until tonight that, unlike in other such episodes, there is no “What makes this a major crime?”/”We’re covering [other division’s] cases” conversation between the characters.

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15 hours ago, Bastet said:

Rep. Racist Asshole

who thought he could bully Major Crimes, the FBI, and another LAPD officer into solving his son's murder --which he sort of did (but only because Sharon had an epiphany about motive in Rep. Racist Asshole's misdirected rage) but in the end, solving the murder of the son of Rep. Racist Asshole publicly revealed that his son was a fool.

Every week, 2 discontinuous (but continuous from each of the previous week's time slots') episodes of Major Crimes air here on Sunday afternoons on The CW. Even though I'm sure it's coincidental, there is always a common thread between the Sunday afternoon episode pairs. This week, 2.16, "Risk Assessment," was followed by 4.23, "Hindsight - Part 5," in which Sharon also has a epiphany from one case that leads to the solve of another. This week, in the season 4 episode, when Gary (Rusty's mother's "dirt bag" ex-boyfriend) accuses Rusty's mother of not only leaving himself holding the legal bag for their most recent robbery, but claims she is a serial (metaphorical) back-stabber of boyfriends --which causes Sharon to have one of those light-bulb-going-on looks as she rightly figures that the murdered Rachel Gray likely left a lot of resentment in her wake of dropped lovers.

 

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1 hour ago, shapeshifter said:

Sharon also has a epiphany from one case that leads to the solve of another.

She did that all the time, as did Brenda.  I love the difference that when someone said something unrelated to Brenda that gave her an "a-ha!" moment about her case, she'd just dart off in the middle of that conversation, while Sharon would quickly wrap up the conversation and then go solve the case.  The different methods really suited the two characters.

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3 hours ago, Bastet said:

She did that all the time, as did Brenda.  I love the difference that when someone said something unrelated to Brenda that gave her an "a-ha!" moment about her case, she'd just dart off in the middle of that conversation, while Sharon would quickly wrap up the conversation and then go solve the case.  The different methods really suited the two characters.

Yes, but in both of these the epiphany about the A case was triggered by someone from the B case revealing a personal motive of revenge on someone who had not just hurt the person seeking revenge, but having also hurt others in the same way. 

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Sharon’s conflicting emotions as Rusty’s participation in the SIS operation gets underway never fail to get to me in the midst of all the humor in “Year End Blowout”.  Despite telling him “that’s not funny” when he makes me laugh (sorry, Sharon, it was in fact funny) by concluding his recap of what to do in the event of gunfire with “or bleed out, whatever’s first”, Sharon maintains an upbeat attitude to match Rusty’s “I can handle this” enthusiasm, and then the moment he walks away to meet with Cooper she tears up and takes a big breath.

And then, holy cow, the combination of fear and pride as she helps him suit up for his first day is so evident in her voice and on her face. Re-fastening his vest, making him breathe with her, telling him she appreciates him taking it seriously, giving him a packed lunch – and pepper spray.  And then staring at Cooper in the doorway like I will have your badge and your balls if this goes wrong.  The whole scene is perfect.

And Rusty’s driving lesson never fails to make me laugh.  Living in Los Angeles, Rusty saying signaling before changing lanes here is like asking the people behind you to speed up may be my favorite, but Sharon’s reactions throughout, especially “the way you drive is a life and death situation” and her ack, sorry! gesture to another driver, are hilarious.  I also love her emphatic “It’s not” when Amy says taking over his training sounds like fun -- and the way Amy deflates a little at that, having been so excited to be asked to help.

I also never tire of Mike’s excitement over detonating the second car bomb, or his translating the Bomb Squad guy’s briefings for everyone (even though most of what he says is stuff they’d easily understand).

It’s interesting – and heartening – to watch Provenza and Andy interview Darren.  For so many years on The Closer, they were utterly awful about gay men, but here Andy is only annoyed that the assumed boy toy seems delusional about his role in Little Ted’s life, and Provenza is totally patient with Darren’s emotional display.

I like the scene with Olivia and her attorney when the squad realizes it wasn’t her and start down the path of this being about the business, not the personal, implications of the divorce.  And I like them laying out their case against the comptroller, especially refuting his attempt to say the mystery account must be a slush fund Little Ted set up for Darren by pointing out it was opened over 30 years ago – “when Little Ted was really little”. 

Rusty falling for the “do what I say or your mom dies” trick was incredibly predictable, but it’s interesting to see how that scare does and does not get through to him when the events of “Return to Sender” unfold.  I like Amy’s interaction with him in this one, since it draws heavily on her SIS experience and she’s the only woman other than Sharon he has regular interaction with, but we don’t often see them one-on-one.  Amy has no time for his immaturity, and I am here for that.

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Re-watching 2.17 "Year-End-Blow-Out" I found myself thinking that it might be the best-written episode of all of Major Crimes and The Closer, so I looked up the writers and discovered that it seems to be the only episode in which credits go to all 3 of these members of the stable of Major Crimes and The Closer writers: Leo Geter & Ralph Gifford & Carson Moore (wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Major_Crimes_episodes#Season_2_(2013–14), wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Closer_episodes).

 

17 hours ago, Bastet said:

Rusty falling for the “do what I say or your mom dies” trick

Re-watching, and knowing what happens (which Rusty does not), as soon as the undercover not-bad-guy flipped the page to the scrawled words of "Turn your wire off" I rubbed "the back of my head three times with my left hand" before he got to the next page of "or your mother dies," LOL, which is an example of how well-written episodes wear well over multiple viewings, which, IMO, The Closer and Major Crimes do very well. 

 

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I’m so glad “Return to Sender” finally aired again; they’ve skipped it (since syndicators hate multi-part episodes) the last few rounds.  Watching the first half tonight, it was great to remember how strong season two’s ending was.

I like that we see the beginning of Sharon’s difficulty staying in control.  The little touch of her yelling at Reyes when he’s stalling in Spanish (over the course of the series, the few times she yells at uncooperative witnesses, she’s really frustrated or there’s a heightened emotional state coming in- she’s probably also rather pissed at being called a stupid whore, heh) is great, and I love her admitting her focus is split and Provenza reacting by giving her arm a comforting squeeze as he heads in to interview the victim’s girlfriend for her.  Captain Raydor is admitting to Lieutenant Provenza she’s not up to the job right now.  And he’s nothing but supportive.  This is huge; they have come a long way.

The way the pieces start to come together is paced very well, culminating in figuring out the latest victim lived downstairs from Sharon – her running barefoot down eight flights of stairs to burst in and save Rusty remains one of my favorite things in the series.  (I also like that scene for Rusty hitting the deck as soon as he heard gunfire, like he was taught to do.)

I love the scene between Sharon and Rusty when she gets home at the end.  (And I never noticed until tonight she’s wearing no lipstick, reflecting the fact it has worn off after a very long day in which she’d have never cared to reapply it because of her stress.  Great touch!)  Sharon apologizing to him for letting herself get talked into consenting to his participation while he’s desperately trying to apologize to her for not following orders is sweet, as is that sniffling hug he gives her in thanks for saving him, but the real fist to the heart is what his promise to do whatever she says because it’s for his own good means -- when she starts packing a suitcase for him, the looks on both their faces just kill me.

I like Amy, as a former member of that team, being visibly annoyed this guy slipped by SIS during the debrief in Taylor's office.

I do get a tiny bit frustrated with the suspension of disbelief required for the entire basis of the plot, though; it’s not bad for TV, but it’s atypical for this show.  Rusty, right on the heels of falling for the do as I say or your mom dies trick, falls for the don’t tell my boss I broke cover trick.  He's consistently reluctant to get people into trouble, so it’s not unbelievable he wouldn’t tell on “Bill”, but a) he’s had the do not deviate in the slightest from procedure lecture drilled into his head – once at gunpoint – how many times now? and b) Cooper sends someone to swap out Rusty’s chess pieces (to check prints), so that’s two guys in a row blowing cover, and he still doesn’t think to check in with Cooper to make sure everything was legit since procedure dictates he'll never have any indication who the SIS folks are? 

Setting aside Rusty, who’s an amateur, what about Cooper?  He, unable to hear what was said, didn’t ask Rusty, “Hey, there’s one guy I didn’t have audio on – what did that guy who played music talk about?”

Also, it’s quite convenient (and an offensive stereotype) the killer was able to, upon learning where Rusty lived, quickly identify an age-appropriate gay dude within the building and successfully flirt him into cheating on his boyfriend.

On a smaller scale, Graham Patrick Martin isn’t actually wearing a vest in the chess-playing scene and I'd let that slide if not for the fact they're specifically discussing Rusty's vest.

There's also a continuity error in that the route Rusty takes to the park in this episode is not the route Amy laid out during his briefing last episode, but only Los Angelenos would notice that (and only obsessive viewers in Los Angeles at that, heh).

Also, the “Previously, on Major Crimes” recap reminded me of an earlier continuity error I forgot to mention (probably because I was once again so enraged at Rep. Racist Asshole):  In “Risk Assessment”, Sharon tells Fritz there are 27 threatening letters to date, five to her the rest to Rusty.  But back in “Pick Your Poison”, there were already 29.

Lastly – and I know this list makes it seem like I dislike this episode, but I don’t at all; these are just things I’ve noticed over the years and we haven’t discussed this episode in a long time – there is something I never noticed until tonight:  In the killer’s lair, he has a photo of what seems to be the intercom system at Sharon’s building.  But no one has ever buzzed up to come into the condo – there’s no intercom unit near the door, nor have Sharon or Rusty ever taken a phone call from downstairs.

Not a ton of funny moments in this one, but I enjoy the few that exist, like “Is this your Gram’s house, homes?” about the plastic couch cover, Sharon’s fake yeah, funny smile when Reyes gestures to his cuffed arms when saying he can't go anywhere, and Provenza’s enjoyment at being proved right about passing notes in the prison’s law books.

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19 hours ago, Bastet said:

Also, it’s quite convenient (and an offensive stereotype) the killer was able to, upon learning where Rusty lived, quickly identify an age-appropriate gay dude within the building and successfully flirt him into cheating on his boyfriend.

I may be able to explain this one. Just before the recently released felon gets knifed on the plastic-covered "grandma" couch, he tells Stroh's serial killer that Stroh wants him to kill either Rusty or "the Mom," which made it seem to me that Serial Killer had been stalking both Rusty and Sharon for some time and was well aware of where they lived and was prepared to do a plastic-covered couch stabbing in the building --especially since when he invited the bartender up to his own apartment, they first had a back-and-forth about how the Serial Killer guy had been teasing the bartender for a while.

 

Speaking of murders-by-knife, right after this episode, my local station aired 5.2 "N.S.F.W" which opens with a body that has been stabbed multiple times. I'm sure it's purely coincidental, but when these smooth transitions happen, I like to pretend they planned it that way.

 

 

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4 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Just before the recently released felon gets knifed on the plastic-covered "grandma" couch, he tells Stroh's serial killer that Stroh wants him to kill either Rusty or "the Mom," which made it seem to me that Serial Killer had been stalking both Rusty and Sharon for some time and was well aware of where they lived

He says "the woman", not the "mom", but the salient point is that for a long time the letters were coming to DCFS because Stroh didn't know where Rusty was living (that's one of the reasons Sharon was able to keep Emma from putting him in witness protection).  It's only recently that Sharon's involvement was figured out and letters to her started coming to the LAPD, and more recent than that her address was discovered.  It's a TV-convenient timeline for him to have had time to case the building's comings and goings to somehow spot an age-appropriate gay man and track him to his work, and an offensive stereotype that he's able to quickly entice the guy to cheat on his live-in boyfriend so he can kill him in order to access the secured building/garage.

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8 hours ago, Bastet said:

He says "the woman", not the "mom", but the salient point is that for a long time the letters were coming to DCFS because Stroh didn't know where Rusty was living (that's one of the reasons Sharon was able to keep Emma from putting him in witness protection).  It's only recently that Sharon's involvement was figured out and letters to her started coming to the LAPD, and more recent than that her address was discovered.  It's a TV-convenient timeline for him to have had time to case the building's comings and goings to somehow spot an age-appropriate gay man and track him to his work, and an offensive stereotype that he's able to quickly entice the guy to cheat on his live-in boyfriend so he can kill him in order to access the secured building/garage.

Maybe Serial Killer Guy had scouted out the bartender as a means to off Sharon ("the woman") and then just decided to use that resource when he learned that Rusty was staying with her. This would fit with a sort of "theme" of what happened being not just one person's "fault." In my mind, Rusty really should have known better at that point than to go off-script with a rogue SIS guy (as you mentioned up thread), but they made a point of having Sharon say she should have gone with her "gut" feeling of Rusty not being ready, and Cooper blew it too (as you also detailed), so for Serial Killer it was just serendipity that Rusty was staying with Sharon. I guess they decided it would be too "on the nose" to have Provenza or Amy or someone point out that even though all of these mistakes added up to the likely killing of Rusty, the alertness of Rusty and Sharon's quick thinking and actions were even more important. Or was there such a line? I don't recall.

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I think the second part of “Return to Sender” is even better than the first; the increasing emotion and tension is perfectly done. It’s a solid resolution of the threatening letters, and to Sharon’s insistence that Rusty be allowed to address his sexual orientation entirely at his own pace.

The sequence where they shut down the streets to force Wade Weller to leave Tyler behind and make a run for it must have cost a pretty penny, and they trimmed and looped quite a bit of earlier stuff to make room for it, but it was worth it; the tension is terrific, and it just plain looks good.  Since not everyone has the DVDs to have ever seen those numerous cut scenes, I’ll try to remember at least the most significant ones to weave into my thoughts of what remains.

Sharon’s tenuous grasp on her control really amps up as this goes on – she is more openly anxious than she’s ever been in front of others – but it’s never over the top.  When she can’t keep the emotion out of her voice as she tells Rothman if Linda knows the identity of who tried to kill “my material witness” she better cough it up is wonderful, as is how she regroups to be right back to Darth Raydor with her mere minutes later. 

There was originally a scene, while they were waiting to interview the mom identified by DNA as a familial match in the hopes of getting her to give up her son’s identity, where a weary Sharon appreciates Provenza’s attempt at "this'll work" optimism, but lays out that if they don’t find the letter writer, Rusty will have to go into Witness Protection, and if Mom doesn’t get them there, they can’t be blackmailed into offering Stroh the leniency he seeks in exchange for the guy’s identity.  It provided even deeper emotional context to her being “Oh my god, this has to work” desperate for the vehicle containment operation to succeed, while always adamant that Tyler’s safety is more important than capturing Weller; she takes all of her responsibilities very seriously.

Those poor kids at the homeless shelter are tremendously sad to contemplate:  Fundamentally, the guy running the program refers to “another hopeless kid” who is “more trouble than he’s worth” and claims they don’t abandon these kids, the kids do the abandoning.  And then the one in charge of their “safe spaces” is actually a serial killer using it as a hunting ground!  The actor playing Wade Weller does a great job, because he’s utterly creepy in the moments when Wade drops his façade, yet completely believable when Wade is playing his good guy role (look, especially, at the genuine concern he seems to have for Tyler right up until he puts his handy knife and couch cover in his bag as they head off).  It’s easy to see how none of those poor teens in his photo collection ever saw him coming.

The story of what Wade was put through as a teenager was also horrifying; his mom sexually trafficked her 13-year-old son in exchange for drugs and housing, and then sold him outright to that predator for a big wad of cash.

When it comes to Wade’s demise, I don’t cheer shootings, especially by cops, or flippant remarks like “That created some distance” about even justified killings, but eagle-eyed bespectacled Provenza taking one of those shots that only exists on TV was totally palatable.  Especially because, originally, when the squad was in Weller’s basement looking at his photo collections, Provenza quietly told Julio, “When we find this guy, you know how I expect you to handle it.”  (And, of course, Julio had earlier assured Rusty, “Don’t worry about that guy; I’m going to kill that guy.")  Yes, please, with a shot necessary to save a victim’s life rather than a planned extrajudicial execution.

The courthouse stuff was great (other than nitpicks like Rothman’s inappropriate outfit and Rios asking Rusty leading questions on direct examination [you can only do that on cross]).  There’s a little bit trimmed from the scene of Provenza advising Rusty before he’s called in: Morales comes out from his turn on the stand and, not seeing Rusty behind him, starts telling Provenza how brutal being questioned by Linda Rothman is ("now I know what an autopsy feels like from the other side").  When he spots a horrified Rusty, he mouths “Oops” to Provenza, gives Rusty a fake smile and says, “You’ll do great; love your tie” and takes off.

The best, of course, is Rusty realizing the opportunity to get the excluded letters admitted after all.  Judge Grove’s “To your own question?!” when Rothman objects is hilarious.  Rusty’s proud smile, Emma’s gleeful smirk, and Rothman’s I just got played by a teenager; reluctant props face are all very satisfying.

It’s also nice that Taylor went to the courthouse in order to personally assure Sharon, who couldn’t be there, that Rusty was holding up.  It’s largely to keep her focused, but there’s a little smidgen of Taylor the father in there, too.

Rusty coming out to Sharon starts off so sad – his experiences leading him to equate gay men more with those guys who picked him up on the street than with men like Dr. Morales and Dr. Joe and thus thinking Sharon won’t want him around once she knows (“I’m just like them, and I can’t fix it”) – and winds up so beautiful - “Rusty, what you are is who I love, and all of you is coming home”.  Who is chopping onions in here?  It’s also a terrific bookend to Rusty’s nightmare (which always reminds me of A Nightmare on Elm Street) that opened the episode in which he saw Weller as himself.

It always strikes me that Rusty is sleeping on the couch at Provenza’s, even though there’s a guest room, because it reminds me of when Sharon first took him in and he refused to move from the couch to the spare room.  Now, like then, he wants this to be temporary, and refusing to settle in and get comfortable helps him believe that.

Another deleted scene had Emma in their best attempt at her this is why she does what she does before she was largely, thank goodness, shuffled off the show.  After the hearing and Weller’s death, she and Linda Rothman were in the Murder Room, and Rothman, the squad, and Fritz were trying to get her to make a life sentence deal with Stroh (Rusty's performance on the stand providing leverage to force him into a better-for-them deal than he'd originally wanted), and finish this all off for good.  Rothman responded to her “It’s not my call” dithering by saying whenever she hears stuff like that from DDAs, she thinks she should quit her crappy job and run to be their boss; she suggests Emma borrow some imagination and get it done.  After Rothman leaves, there’s an honest moment of understanding where Emma looks at Sharon, Sharon says, “I can’t be objective,” Emma responds, “And I have to be,” and Sharon gives her a nod of acknowledgment before going into her office (where the scene with Sharon, Rusty, and Provenza kicks in).

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17 hours ago, Bastet said:

 

 I think the second part of “Return to Sender” is even better than the first . . .
The courthouse stuff was great . . .

Yes, great episode, especially the court drama. 
Right before Rusty goes into the courtroom, we hear Provenza tell Rusty: "If Rios can introduce all the threatening letters against you as evidence and you do a good job Then, yeah, you can maybe go home."
This was the first time I noticed that when Rios and Rothman are "cross-talking" about the threatening letters, Rusty has several of those light-bulb-in-brain looks like Sharon (and Brenda) always get when they figure something out, hinting that he's figuring out how to get the letters introduced. 
Later he has his chance when Rothman is trying to get him to admit that he is psychologically unstable, which gives Rusty an opening to (rightfully) blame his stress on the threatening letters. 

G.W. Bailey is wonderful as always. I don't know why he did get Emmys. 

 

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I was at my parents’ house last weekend (for a rip-roaring 4th of July barbecue consisting of just the three of us isolated folks), so I missed “Flight Risk”; that case is a little weird (I can never quite figure out the timeline of the cousin lovin’), but I love the start of the long arc of Julio finally being made to deal with his anger that so easily turns violent.

It continues in “Personal Day”, the second case in row in which Sharon has to yell at Julio to settle down when her usual knock it off look and calming hand isn’t enough.  Tonight I finally took proper notice of the fact Andy also waves him off and later physically restrains him; in exploring Julio’s anger issue this season, we also see the professional growth in Andy’s own form of hotheadedness.

It’s a good Julio episode overall, especially his relationship with Ana’s brothers, I like the combination of him being the cop who (seemingly) put away their teenage sister's killer and the cop who's interrogating them on suspicion of murder, because he wants to solve this murder, too, no matter how he felt about the victim.  It makes his eventual, posthumous realization Dante was indeed innocent particularly moving.

As I said last time, I wish they’d followed up on Julio's reopening the homicide cases of Mrs. Gomez’s two sons (just something like a line in a later episode indicating he’d solved one of them).  He’s great with her, even when he still thinks Dante had killed Ana; so much of his life and career is rooted in hating gangs, but he understands how she feels as a Latinx ignored by the police (I love her having no time for Sharon’s platitudes), and – presumably because his own gangsta brother is in prison while their mom makes excuses – that she loved and mourns her sons even though they’d got caught up in the life and been crappy people.

Dante’s story is poignant (while atypical, attributing to incarceration a rehabilitation element that simply has not existed, especially for people of color); confessing to a murder he didn’t commit actually wound up being the thing that saved his life – he survived prison for a span of time in which all his homies wound up dead or three strikes and locked up for life (as Amy said, 17 years is a century in gangland), and actually thrived, getting an education and coming out better than he came in.  He was really trying; he wanted his grandma to die with the peace that he not only was never a murderer, he was also no longer the aimless criminal he used to be.  Him taking care of her and going out in search of someone willing to hire a felon with no experience makes his murder by that coward Cesar all the more awful.  

Hector Zamora’s trajectory is another simplistic but moving commentary on the hardship, futility, and inevitability of gang life.  When Hector says “What a wasted life” upon learning of Dante’s death and laments that "the only real friend I ever had" saving him from a third strike lasted a whole seven months, it gets me.

It’s also a good Provenza and Sharon episode; their connection via Rusty is always nice.  I like his “For what you’re about to hear, I apologize” when she’s about to get blindsided with the news of Sharon Beck’s return, and I love his I’m screwed reaction to her “thanks” for his “help” in this situation.

Rusty’s awkwardness during the meeting of the two Sharons is spot on.  As is Sharon Raydor’s fundamental attitude about all this; she has grave doubts about Sharon Beck’s willingness to get serious about her recovery, and thus a very real fear of Rusty being devastated again when he’s just stabilizing, but she truly wants her to succeed for Rusty's sake.  That this desire is even more keen because her other kids have been on this same roller coaster makes it quite powerful.

I like her assuring Rusty (after her wonderful “Ah [I knew it]” reaction to eliciting that rehab was court ordered) that how his mom got there isn’t as important as what she does with it.  I also like their conversations about what role Rusty can/should play in his mom’s recovery, including that Sharon doesn’t explicitly draw comparisons to her/her kids' experiences with Jack – in this early, emotionally-fraught stage for Rusty, she can just be the voice of reason and support without shifting any focus by getting into how that comes from experience.  (Although, I would have quite liked hearing a few stories over time about Sharon’s logistical struggles as a single parent trying to balance the emotional amalgamation of addiction is a disease, I want you kids to have a relationship with your father, and I am so blindingly angry at that asshole for perpetually choosing a bottle and then a card table over us; eternally fuck James Duff’s utter failure at properly developing his main character). 

I especially enjoy, “Do you know what enabling means?”/ “Oh, yeah” and “There has got to be something in all of this for you, too.”/“There is.”  Sharon and Rusty are so lovely together.

Lastly, it never fails to impress me how good, physically, the casting of Ever Carradine as Rusty’s mom is; the similar nose and eyes really work as mother and son.

On a lighter note, I think this episode contains Sharon’s only Andrea-induced eye roll; it’s not about Andrea, just the circumstances, but I enjoy any and all of Sharon’s eye rolls.  I also adore this snark from Andrea to Provenza:  When he protests the liquor store robbery footage doesn’t prove anything by saying, “A shadowy figure that’s 5’10” could be anyone, me,” she responds, “If you were 5’10.”

Edited by Bastet
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A question here .... during Dante’s talk with Julio where he was insisting he was innocent, Dante asked who the eye witness was.  Response was that the eye witness was confidential and Dante agreed to it.  Can that be done?  Keeping an eye witness confidential like that I mean.  For some reason I wouldn’t think so.  
 

I wish they would have followed up on this episode with Julio investigating the two murders.  
 

I enjoyed the Major Crime series.  

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On 7/14/2020 at 1:15 AM, Ellee said:

A question here .... during Dante’s talk with Julio where he was insisting he was innocent, Dante asked who the eye witness was.  Response was that the eye witness was confidential and Dante agreed to it.  Can that be done?  Keeping an eye witness confidential like that I mean.

Under a plea agreement, yes.  At trial, a criminal defendant has the right (under the Sixth Amendment's confrontation clause) to confront her/his accusers.  This is why witness statements that have not been cross-examined (e.g. depositions) are not admitted as evidence, nor are preliminary hearing transcripts even though the witness was cross-examined*; the witness must instead come testify at trial -- take the oath, be cross-examined, and have her/his comportment observed by the jury.

But under a plea bargain, the parties skip discovery (which is usually when previously-confidential witnesses are identified, unless it's a witness protection situation), let alone trial.

*The unavailability exception to this - where prior testimony can be admitted at trial when the witness cannot testify - is the foundation of "Return to Sender", where Emma is able to arrange a preliminary hearing in the Stroh case, so that Rusty's under-oath, cross-examined testimony will exist and be admissible at trial should he be unavailable (meaning, dead) by that time.  (The exception was also referenced in "I, Witness", where the fence framed Lloyd for murder rather than just offing him -- Lloyd had testified at a preliminary hearing, so if he was killed, that testimony could be admitted at trial.  But if he was a murderer, his credibility would be shot to hell.)

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I like “Frozen Assets” a good deal more than the Dick Tracy episode of The Closer; there’s a bit less of him (or, quite probably, it just seems that way because there’s less of him being so damn loud, and his one yelling scene at the Murder Board dismantling their theory against him is hilarious) and this one does a far better job of handling his mental illness. 

I also like that it’s another situation (like “Curve Ball”) in which Major Crimes winds up having a case because Andy refused to ignore a potential problem Provenza wanted to dismiss/hand off; Andy has many flaws, as a person and a cop, but he’s moved past a lot of them, and he can’t walk away without making sure no one needs help. 

It also introduces a new aspect, that continues throughout the series, to Rusty’s relationship with him, with Rusty seeking Andy’s insight on addiction and recovery.  I think it’s helpful for Rusty to hear Sharon’s advice on how to support an addict in recovery without enabling them echoed by an addict who’s been in recovery for a long time.

Otherwise, this episode is all about the humor, and I can’t even begin to pick a funniest moment.  I have a particular fondness for the Eternal Meadows commercial; it's an utterly perfect parody with the scenery and all the disclaimers (especially culminating in “See our ad in Golf Lover’s magazine”).  I also love the Eternal Meadows sales rep saying “Our electricity bill is through the roof”.

Sharon’s horrified response to Marcella Brewster’s wig is just as hilarious, as is her reaction to learning Baird wrote the police report in “Dick Tracy’s” original case.  And when she realizes Eternal Meadows freezes heads, and later stands indignantly firm in the face of Taylor’s objection to this bizarre situation.  (The best part of that scene in the morgue is Provenza responding to Taylor’s worry that Ms. Brewster can never be refrozen now that she’s been thawed out: “It’s the same with chicken or fish”.)

The potential heirs are so fantastically outlandish (I have to say I oddly like “Mr. Cowabunga”, as dumb as he is, because he actually did help Marcella and, while he'd have happily spent her money, he'd have done so while taking proper care of her beloved dog), Sharon posing as an outrageously out-of-touch niece is perfect.

All the characters are entertaining in this one, such as everyone’s reactions to Marcella’s changing video wills; Amy’s face when the “aimless chicken shit” great-nephew gets replaced by the “idiot” great-niece because the former voted for a black president is gold.

All the Maltese Falcon, Brewster’s Millions, Arsenic/Old Lace references are funny even though they're obvious.

Same with Provenza’s reaction to Andy saying "the Catholic church is a religion, not a company, and the Pope doesn’t play dress-up” and the two of them bickering at Eternal Meadows as they go looking for the head (starting with Provenza grumbling about "two grown men going to apprehend a frozen head").

And Julio’s reaction to a chain of vegan taco restaurants is even better than his face when Baird randomly emphasizes his ethnicity in refuting the squad's accusations.

I also like Andy's guesses for Provenza's first job - cabin boy on the Mayflower, or dish washer at the Last Supper.

As I’ve said before, the only thing that bugs me about this episode is a continuity error that could have been so easily avoided if the writers remembered their own show.  In an episode of The Closer, the squad was confronted with cremated remains they wanted to test for arsenic, and Mike (of course) researched the way to successfully do that.  Yet in this episode, Mike is the one who says it can’t be done!  They didn't need to contradict themselves in order to facilitate the we need the frozen head plot around which the script revolves – just say that because Marcella's cancer treatment contained arsenic, merely establishing the presence of it (which testing the cremains would do) would not prove poisoning, to do that they'll need to establish a specific level of arsenic, and only a tissue sample will provide that.

Random bit of trivia: This is another episode in which Sharon gets away with sitting on Provenza’s desk (he's not seated at it, but is right there to see it). 

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I'm a little confused about the neighbor's motive in "Frozen Assets." It was about property values, right? So his plan was to kill the owner so he could buy the house and redecorate the grounds? Or did he just assume the grounds would get redecorated once she was gone, regardless? And then he found out the house was left to the dog, so he stole the dog's food (was it venison?) assuming "Falcon" would get fed poison crab cakes? I guess the doctor's line about Marcella Brewster talking about her medical condition to anyone and everyone justifies the neighbor knowing she was getting arsenic in her chemotherapy. 

I'm not complaining about the complexity of the murder motive. It's the reason I enjoy rewatching both The Closer and Major Crimes episodes. 
 

I guess the killer and the victim and “Captain” Baird were equally “crazy.”

One more question:
With the Maltese (Falcon) dead, who inherits the house and the millions?

 

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3 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

I'm a little confused about the neighbor's motive in "Frozen Assets." It was about property values, right? So his plan was to kill the owner so he could buy the house and redecorate the grounds? Or did he just assume the grounds would get redecorated once she was gone, regardless? And then he found out the house was left to the dog, so he stole the dog's food (was it venison?) assuming "Falcon" would get fed poison crab cakes? I guess the doctor's line about Marcella Brewster talking about her medical condition to anyone and everyone justifies the neighbor knowing she was getting arsenic in her chemotherapy. 

Right.  Despite a large overall uptick in the housing market, her outlandish decor had driven property values in the immediate area down significantly (to an unrealistic extent in that area of L.A., but we'll go with it).  So if she died, he could buy it from the heirs, fix it up quite cheaply by simply getting rid of her crap, and sell it for a big profit, so he hastened her death by poisoning the crab cakes (which he knew about, and he had the security gate code as he used to take care of Falcon when she was gone) with arsenic (knowing about the arsenic element of her cancer treatment from her talking about it with anyone and everyone).

This, of course, assumes the heirs would sell at the lower value, just wanting their hands on money, rather than fix it up themselves. 

But then it turned out the dog, not a family member, was the heir, and with Baird and Falcon continuing to live there, the decor wouldn't change and it wouldn't be up for sale.  Knowing snagging the venison Falcon usually ate would cause Baird to feed him a crab cake instead (because of course he doesn't eat dog food), he stole the venison.

Quote

One more question:
With the Maltese (Falcon) dead, who inherits the house and the millions?

This is a bit of a suspension of disbelief thing (after going along with her decorating reducing surrounding property values by 30% in a wealthy Los Angeles neighborhood, and the neighbor assuming her heirs would sell as-is) -- the trust was already being challenged, as any will or trust will be (and that challenge will be upheld) when someone leaves money to a pet; pets are property under the law, and you can't leave one piece of property to another.  So he could have just waited for probate court to grant the house and the dollar sum left for Falcon to the grand-niece and -nephew (via intestate succession); killing Falcon just sped up that process.  It is generally a lengthy one, though, so it's not out of bounds that after murdering a person Kleiner would have no issue also murdering a dog to avoid the delay (especially as he'd have had no reason to believe Baird would manage to get the police interested in the death of a dog).

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9 hours ago, Bastet said:

This is a bit of a suspension of disbelief thing (after going along with her decorating reducing surrounding property values by 30% in a wealthy Los Angeles neighborhood, and the neighbor assuming her heirs would sell as-is) -- the trust was already being challenged, as any will or trust will be (and that challenge will be upheld) when someone leaves money to a pet; pets are property under the law, and you can't leave one piece of property to another.  So he could have just waited for probate court to grant the house and the dollar sum left for Falcon to the grand-niece and -nephew (via intestate succession); killing Falcon just sped up that process.  It is generally a lengthy one, though, so it's not out of bounds that after murdering a person Kleiner would have no issue also murdering a dog to avoid the delay (especially as he'd have had no reason to believe Baird would manage to get the police interested in the death of a dog).

This is helpful, especially the bolded part.

 

 
I think Tau is speaking while hold up the map of the properties in the neighborhood:

Quote

The Brewster home and surrounding estates have fallen 30% in value over the past five years,even though the rest of the housing market has gone back up.
Now, neighbors say it's because of the unconventional way Marcella has decorated the grounds...

This bit of dialog leads me to conclude that the murdering neighbor (Kleiner) reached the conclusion that his own property values were not going to recover from the crash of 2008-9 and that he had to do something. Murder seems pretty high risk, but this is a show includes a lot of murder cases in which the killer made a really bad and risky choice (i.e., not killing in a kill-or-someone-will-be-killed situation).

It would not be a stretch for Kleiner to have been "upside down" on his own mortgage at this time, but the episode already had so much to explain (Captain Baird's mental illness, the victim's idiosyncrasies, etc.) that I guess they chose not to develop Kleiner's backstory lest the plot become beyond muddled.

Still, enough humor to make up for the confusion.

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3 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

It would not be a stretch for Kleiner to have been "upside down" on his own mortgage at this time,

Well, he's "Grey Poupon" rich (Marcella was worth something like $80 million, so the neighbor was probably also in the tens of millions bracket) and had enough available money to offer to buy Marcella's house directly from her "niece".  If he buys it as is and ditches all her crap, he can sell it at a large profit AND his own property value goes back up.  They've made reference to mortgage troubles when they've been relevant to the motive (e.g. in The Closer's "Dead Man's Hand") and here they only included his offer to buy, so I take it at face value.

Any of it is a horrible reason for killing someone (and a dog), because all he did was accelerate what would have happened naturally, but he's the "I'm rich" type of selfish, so if I do dig deeper I can easily imagine him regarding a dying bitter old woman and her annoying dog as disposable and feeling confident he'd get away with it - because he gets away with everything, being that rich, and because he was going to use arsenic, which wouldn't raise suspicion because of her treatment (and, indeed, he would have gotten away with all of this if not for Baird being obsessed with police work and thus using his connection to get the LAPD involved - or even if he'd been smart enough to sneak back in and remove the evidence).

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I'm watching The Closer episode 6.9 "Last Woman Standing" in which:

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Brenda's interview with the Mayor for the Chief position is scheduled for the next day and she is having serious doubts about whether she really wants the job. When a murder comes along, she tries to use it as an excuse to postpone the interview, but those around her have other things in mind. As for the murder, the victim is Judy Lynn, a D-list celebrity who has made a name for herself through her video blog where she documents her daily life. Her last entry was that she was going out on a date - her first in two years - with someone she hooked up with on an Internet dating site. They quickly track down the man. All the evidence points to him as the culprit, but the solution lies elsewhere

There are 2 out-of-character moments with regards to later Major Crimes character development: 

  1. At one point Sharon addresses Brenda as "Honey" --which Sharon would never use to address anyone in 7 seasons of Major Crimes, right?
     
  2. A bigger OOC moment is when Tau and Buzz are stumped because there are no emails from the dating site suspect and it is *Provenza* (!) who explains how it works:
    Quote

    [TAU] I have "Dreamweaver"'s profile from the website.
    No photo and no passwords to either his or Judy's account....
    She'd still want a picture before going out with him, Chief.

    [BRENDA?] Yeah, Judy said he was cute, so he must have sent her one.

    [BUZZ?] There's no photo in her e-mail. Nothing about a date.

    [PROVENZA] That's not how it's done, Tao.

    [TAO] What?

    [PROVENZA] I've tried it. The only way to exchange info is through your account on the website.

     

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I like giving Amy something to do that doesn’t involve Mark Hickman (which is among the many things that doesn't have enough), so I love her interaction with the veteran who was raped in “Letting it Go”; their yeah, I know what it feels like to be surrounded by a bunch of horny, lonely men in a foreign country 24 hours/day understanding sets a powerful stage.  I love when Amy tells the “Why is she lying?” guys that Laura didn’t lie about being raped while serving this country, and it got swept under the rug (“like a lot of other ugly truths”); the only reason she confessed is because someone was finally listening to her (because her rapist got killed; validating Laura’s frustration no one cared until then).

It’s a gut-wrenching scene when Laura tells Amy the flip side of her relief and gratitude Jackie killed the rapist: in fantasizing daily about doing that same thing, she’d wondered if it might be the elusive action that would be the one thing to help her, and now she’ll never know.  Amy physically comforting her as Laura begs “help me stop crying and I’ll tell the truth” is brutal.

The rapist’s MO is well presented, in the details, but fundamentally that he’s a charming guy in the periphery, a gentleman on the first date once he asks his victims out, then a rapist on the second date if she doesn’t go along with his immediately-escalated physical advance.  (Most TV rapists are evil from date one.) 

Joining this case in its ugliness is the latest in Sharon Beck’s history of emotionally manipulating Rusty, especially when the usual attempt fails and she turns vicious, equating him being gay – and having “sold himself on the street to guys” (a behavior he learned as a survival method in the first place from her, and thus employed when she abandoned him with no other options) - as something for which she has magnanimously “forgiven” him with the myriad offenses for which he’s taking her to task.  He’d been so cautious when she came back, but was starting to get comfortable with the possibility of her being different this time around, and then here we go again. 

The scene afterward, with Sharon and Rusty at home when Sharon Beck calls asking him for a ride, is equal parts painful and lovely – it’s horrible what his mom keeps doing to him, but he’s getting better at dealing with it because he has this wonderful woman sitting there telling him exactly what he needs to hear, because she’s been down this same road.  (And, oh my, the way Sharon’s realization of what’s being said on the other side of that phone call is written so clearly on Mary McDonnell’s face.)

I have two fundamental grumbles about this episode:

- I call bullshit on all the “technicality”/“what, did she end a sentence with a preposition?” talk – an expert witness with fraudulent credentials having his testimony excluded and the statement of a drunk person who had not been Mirandized not being a valid confession are not pesky little twists of bad luck, they’re the intended just results of our legal system.

- In making a valid point about Jackie being the ideal testifying victim from a prosecutor’s point of view, the DDA refers to how she “did absolutely everything right” and emphasizes her fighting back as an example of that.  There is no “right” way to respond to being raped!  And fighting back may risk further violence, the victim may be too stunned and frightened, it may not be physically possible, etc. so to further shame rape survivors who did not physically fight in the way Jackie did is inappropriate.

It’s a dark episode, but it contains one of my favorite lines of the series (since I can’t stand Buzz), when Provenza asks, “Can’t you just fire him?  Any idiot can hit record.”

I also laugh at Provenza complaining the music has made his brain turn to soup and spill out his ears; he’s one of the few cranky old men who entertain me.

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14 hours ago, Bastet said:

“Letting it Go”...
...a gut-wrenching scene when Laura tells Amy the flip side of her relief and gratitude Jackie killed the rapist: in fantasizing daily about doing that same thing, she’d wondered if it might be the elusive action that would be the one thing to help her, and now she’ll never know.  Amy physically comforting her as Laura begs “help me stop crying and I’ll tell the truth” is brutal.

I couldn't help wondering if some of that was adlibbed; it seemed so real. I Googled the actress who played Corporal Laura Day (Nikki Deloach) and found that she has had a lot of emotionally stressful family illnesses to deal with IRL, and that she frequently does Hallmark, soaps, and other emo roles, so I guess it was at least all in the script (see, for example:  thechristophersblog.org/2019/12/17/actress-nikki-deloach-on-being-a-wounded-healer-after-dealing-with-her-dads-dementia-and-sons-heart-defects).

 

 

 

15 hours ago, Bastet said:

...ugliness is the latest in Sharon Beck’s history of emotionally manipulating Rusty, especially when the usual attempt fails and she turns vicious, equating him being gay – and having “sold himself on the street to guys” (a behavior he learned as a survival method in the first place from her, and thus employed when she abandoned him with no other options) - as something for which she has magnanimously “forgiven” him with the myriad offenses for which he’s taking her to task. 

As horrible as Sharon Beck's diatribe was, I had more trouble with Rusty's earlier line in which he told her that she was a "terrific" mom for his first 11 years. People do behave badly when under the influence of drugs and addiction, but Sharon Beck was pretty irresponsible to begin with, right?

 

 

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On 7/21/2020 at 6:08 PM, shapeshifter said:

At one point Sharon addresses Brenda as "Honey" --which Sharon would never use to address anyone in 7 seasons of Major Crimes, right?

Actually, I took this comment as being wonderfully sarcastic and designed to take Brenda down a peg...and it worked for me.

 

My biggest problem with the show is Brenda's unending defense of Will,  No matter how many times he betrays her, she defends him and often begins to act against her own self interest in favor of his.

There is nothing in Will's character that I can see that should result in that kind of loyalty, no matter how tone deaf Brenda is at times.

Especially when she has a husband at home, who she supposedly loves,  who is telling her the truth.

'Tis a puzzlement - for me anyway.

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3 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

As horrible as Sharon Beck's diatribe was, I had more trouble with Rusty's earlier line in which he told her that she was a "terrific" mom for his first 11 years. People do behave badly when under the influence of drugs and addiction, but Sharon Beck was pretty irresponsible to begin with, right?

It's such a poignant commentary on how skewed Rusty's understanding of what was and was not acceptable remains:  She was likely never a "terrific" mom, and we know things started going off the rails when he was six, yet he doesn't think she did anything wrong for another five years.

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I saw Letting It Go over the weekend as well, and I like how Sykes got an episode where she was more at the forefront, all too often she was underused and this was a good episode for her. But there was way too much stuff with Rusty and his worthless excuse for a mother, I had forgotten just how nasty and manipulative Rusty’s mom was. 

I really disliked DDA Lee and I liked how everyone on the squad was annoyed with his bullshit. 

Overall not one of my favorite episodes because of all the stuff with Rusty and his mom, but the investigation was good and I liked how Sykes got a nice role. It was one of the more emotionally heavy episodes of Major Crimes, but the lines between Provenza and Buzz were very funny. 

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I’m always impressed with how well the storytelling device of Rusty recapping a recent case to Dr. Joe works in “Do Not Disturb”.  It’s usually a clunky way of framing, but it works here. 

This is the point in the series I start thinking Enough! about how much focus Rusty gets (it doesn’t get bad until season four, but this is when it kicks in), but I love him coming out to the squad.  I laugh every time at the way Sharon informs him, no, she will not do the coming out for him, and almost slips up and says everyone already knows.  I like that he takes her words to heart, about it not being specifically about him being gay, just about him feeling comfortable being open about himself with those who care about him.  So that what he ultimately does is ask them if anyone would feel differently about him if they knew he was gay, and indeed it’s a non-issue for everyone – including Provenza who was previously uncomfortable with the idea of addressing it – and they quickly get back to razzing Amy about dating Cooper. 

I share Rusty’s reactions to dollhouses and arranged marriages, so he amuses me in this one.  His similarities with Lina are extremely heavy-handed, but it’s poignant when he knew by the way she held herself that her injuries were the result of a parental beating, and the blatant parallel did yield the great line, “Am I really that self-centered that the things I feel bad about for other people are really just about me?” 

Provenza also entertains me with his response to the concierge having claimed it’s not “that kind of a hotel”:  It’s a room with a bed, isn’t it?

What I really like about this case is the Sharon and Fritz interaction, because it’s one of the few times they’re at odds; she even yells at him, but mostly perfectly appeases him all while doing exactly what she wants to do.  I love the look Andy, ticked off because Fritz keeps removing the Madhavan pictures he’s pinning to the murder board, gets on his face when Sharon offers to let Fritz join Andy for his interview with Lina’s friends.  I also like the LAPD jokingly trying to lose Fritz on their way to the friend’s beach house, and all the shit Provenza gives Fritz throughout.

I also like the Amy and Cooper scene, when he’s mansplaining about the futility of keeping their relationship private, and she slams on the brakes as planned, telling him, “Sorry, I know regulations say I’m supposed to give a heads-up, but you wouldn’t stop talking.”

And I like the subtle, realistic touch that the Indian diplomat is supercilious with everyone, due to his immunity, but is also dismissive of Sharon in a way he isn't with Fritz, rarely meeting her eyes (because she’s a woman).

As I’ve mentioned before, I know this is an odd complaint since we never see them together, but I just do not buy Lina and Josh as a couple.  Tonight I tried to figure out whether I don’t buy Lina’s feelings for him or I don’t buy his for her (as played by the actors, since they’re just talking about each other, not interacting with each other), and I think it’s a bit the latter and just generally about Josh himself – as written and played.  He’s so thoroughly bland, while she – even though we don’t actually know her much more than we do him – is interesting (even in her naiveté, because I think that’s rooted in living in two very different cultures simultaneously, living in an old-school Indian family while attending an international school in America).

I like that Lina, at her age and given her terror at the idea of being forced into this hideous marriage, holds Mehar very present in her list of regrets over how this all played out; she didn’t want to be sold to the dude, but knows he didn’t deserve to be murdered and is horrified this extreme, irrevocable act is how Josh chose to ignore her plea not to interfere.

Random thing I noticed tonight: I think this is the only episode in which Sharon wears the grey and black striped skirt.  (Unlike most TV characters, but like most actual people, she repeats clothing; over time, I notice the items that only appear once.)

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