By Thom Geier
October 18, 2007 at 05:58 PM EDT

The rich are not like you and me. They send their lawyers on huge private jets to pick up a bottle of wine. From Italy. At least that’s how Tripp dispatches Nick on the younger man’s who-really-killed-my-father safari.

Tripp brings along his wife, the put-upon Lisa, who’s reeling from the fact that Karen, her hubby’s long-long-ago ex, sent her a pair of $1,200 shoes so lush they could be “made out of George Clooney.” Imagine her consternation when Karen (and Karen’s doormat of a fiancée, who never seems to actually compete in a golf tournament) shows up unannounced to hitch a ride on the jet. Or appears in Nick and Lisa’s bedroom early one morning to tell them: “You look freshly laid.” Or crashes a romantic lunch and reveals that Nick had once proposed to her when they were both 19 and had consumed many a bottle of vino. Even Mr. Doormat pipes up at that point: “God, you are a bitch sometimes.” “I know — it’s a problem,” Karen deadpans.

Deadpan delivery of wickedly vicious lines. That’s what makes Dirty Sexy Money so delicioso…when it actually is. (Lisa’s later, perfunctory hands-off-my-man confrontation with Karen played rather flat, perhaps because so far Lisa has been little more than a bland wifey.) But as much as I enjoy watching Peter Krause and Donald Sutherland nosh on the Upper East Side scenery, the clandestine hunt for the real killer of Nick’s dad, Dutch, real killer is rather a snooze. In this episode, Nick chases down a P.I./former spy (Erick Avari, best known for playing Mohinder‘s late father, Chandra Suresh, on Heroes) and learns that Dutch was gathering info on Tripp as well as Simon Elder (whom Nick finally meets in Elder’s limo at the bitter end). This one-crumb-at-a-time exposition is maddening, but I guess thats the way the biscotti crumbles in soap land.

Meanwhile, back in New York, Tripp is on a tear trying to find out if all of the Darlingkids are really his. (Guess he’d been fibbing when he claimed to know aboutTish’s affair with Dutch all those many years.) Juliet finally catchestwin brother Jeremy canoodling with her arch-rival Natalie — and Jeremy, in a bit ofa surprise, decides to tell off his sister and declare his love forNatalie, whose episode-long episodes of sickness led to an inevitablediagnosis of pregnancy. (Gosh, that was fast — unless, of course, the kidisn’t Jeremy’s. Anyone want to offer odds?)

The award for Most Improved Plotline That’s Still Dragging On TooLong goes, of course, to the Rev. Brian and his illegitimate son “Gustav.” Yes, it’s creepy to watch a grown man continually berate a6-year-old boy. The main problem with this story has been the fact thatthe kid has been little more than a prop, an object to be yelled at, asopposed to character in his own right — unlike most of the kids in, say, Desperate Housewives. In this episode at least, Gustav is finding hisvoice (as well as the pepper shaker). When Brian urges him to beassertive in handling the school bully, he actually blackmails Daddy tobail him out. It’s the first step in making him a character, ratherthan a victim, though the reverend’s wife really needs to get a clue,pronto.

So, PopWatchers, did anyone else miss our favorite senator-to-be inthis episode? Any guesses on which of the Darling kids might not beTripp’s? (Perhaps none of them?) Can anyone really imagine Nick havingan actual affair with Karen — or are we going to see some trompe l’oeilstunts with her setting up scenarios that look suspiciously like an affair to outsiders? And,finally, can anyone tell me if one really should serve a Chiavannescaslightly chilled?