Alynda Wheat's Beat Cop: In which Wentworth Miller, Cromartie, and Benjamin Button crash our sets
Come on, people, you never leave the perp with Wentworth Miller! That’s Article 96, Section 242, Clause 3 of the Procedural Code! Wait, wait. Before we get too shouty about last night’s Law & Order: SVU, let’s call the meeting to order and go over some Beat Cop business.
At our last meeting, commenter Judy Woodruff (let’s just assume that’s an alias, and the PBS anchor is way busy with actual news) asked if we’re going to loop Southland (tonight at 9 on NBC) into our discussions. This brings up an excellent point, Coppers: What counts as a procedural? The matter is open to a vote, but these are the general guidelines we’ll work under:
The series is typically one hour long.
The series is on a nationally recognized TV network (e.g., ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, The CW).
The series typically concludes with the resolution of a mystery (crime, court case, medical diagnosis, etc.).
The series is primarily focused on said mystery, rather than the personal lives of those involved.
The series is ghost-free.
What does that mean? That Southland totally counts, because it’s all about catching bad guys, just more cinematically. That Medium, Ghost Whisperer, and Supernatural all solve mysteries, but bite it on the ghost clause. That House weasels its way in because the show treats sick people more like Sudoku than soap opera. (So suck it, Grey’s Anatomy!) And that we’re going to talk about Castle, even though it’s arguably weighted as much on the charm and talents of one Nathan Fillion as it is on dead people, because Fillion is one of our many imaginary boyfriends. (Though apparently, we’ve got competition for his affection.)
Now that our Cop business is concluded, let’s get to it!
Law & Order: SVU
We begin with another man in our imaginary boyfriend stable, Wentworth Miller, late of Prison Break. I dug the episode, but here’s the quibble: You saw (nearly) all that coming, right? Once I got past the idea that there actually was someone employed by the NYPD that was ragier, jerkier, and more unstable than Stabler (Chris Meloni—and don’t you roll your eyes at me, you know it’s true!), Miller’s backstory unfolded like origami. He’s a jackass, but a tragic one! He’s terrible to women, but wonderful to kids! He believes in the law, but God forbid if you’re too stupid to realize he shouldn’t be taking a confessed rapist/murderer to the john. I admit, I thought it was going to be a “You know what? He totally slipped and smashed his head into the porcelain sink…twice,” kind of thing. But they got me on the defenestration. I imagine they got all of us on that sick little legal twist that keeps the innocent dude in prison. And will somebody please get Diane Neal’s Casey Novak back here before we do something unspeakably hinky to vicious new ADA Christine Lahti? It is SVU—we can get creative.
Is it weird that all I can think after that episode is, “I seriously hope that doctor didn’t just transfer some icky disease by putting his bloody hands into Reid’s (Matthew Gray Gubler) wound?” I mean, sure, the episode was solid, and C. Thomas Howell is terrific as the Reaper—you gotta love a good comeback and he’s doing it right, with low-key, quality work. But still, the doc looked at his hands a beat too long for me to feel like it wasn’t foreshadowing. And poor Reid has suffered so—the crazy momma, the daddy issues, that one time he was a junkie—it would be so unfair if he ended up with Hep. C. because in an episode about the choices doctors make, the guy made a bad one.
The CSI Trifecta: CSI, CSI: NY, and CSI: Miami
The mothership clearly had the strongest opening, with that stellar freeze-frame shot that traveled all through the lab, water droplets floating in the air, bullets rippling by. It was visually arresting, almost like a comic book come to life. So some actress died. The sad thing about being a procedural fan is that there are so many things you’re hip to, that you shouldn’t be—like the fact that they wouldn’t cast Cromatie (Garret Dillahunt) from Sarah Conner unless he was doing some dirty. I’m curious, though: How do people feel about Sara (Jorja Fox) becoming Mrs. Grissom? I dig it, I just wish Jorja would figure out whether she’s coming or going. All of this on-off mess is too much for a relationship. They either need to bring her back on as a regular, or cut the tie. This is getting a little silly.
NY was only interesting for two reasons. First, Stella (Melina Kanakaredes) did the Humpty Dance with Adam (A.J. Buckley). Not only is that random, but I can’t look at the dude without singing “Ghostfacers!” Second, Danny’s in a wheelchair, and he’s only got a 10% chance of ever walking again. Of course, in TVLandia that’s 17% more than necessary, so I say give it till winter sweeps before he’s ambulatory again. Heck, November if they get greedy.
But oh, let us talk about Miami. Apparently, in the olden days—say, 1997, which looks more like 1977 based on that Friday Night Lights’ dude’s haircut—forensic science was dismissed as hoodoo, and Horatio Caine (David Caruso) was the only hope for a future with DNA testing, computerized fingerprint analysis, and labs with nifty neon lights. Did you strain your eyes rolling them so hard? That’s right, we spent a good chunk of the hour back in the days of Horatio building his team, and thanks to the magic of the Stupendous Fantastical Benjamin Button Age-Erasing Machine, he even looked 12 years younger. Or maybe just blurrier. But really, everyone around him was stuck in old policework or just had their head up their own ass? Everyone but Horatio and that spunky newbie Calleigh Duquesne (Emily Procter)? Ugh, is it too much to ask that they stop trying to shove him down our throats as a superhero among us? Apparently so. Oh, and Delko (Adam Rodriguez) lived. Eh.
So what do you think, Beatniks? Am I too hard on CSI: Miami? Did you totally see that SVU window exit coming? And for the 20 million of you who caught NCIS, can you believe that Tony (Michael Wetherly) told Ziva (Cote de Pablo) he was under truth serum, and she didn’t ask whether he loved her? I’d have been all over that—yes, even with a gun to my head. Check out tonight’s Law & Order and Southland (8-10 pm on NBC), and the season premiere of Numb3rs (10 pm, CBS—look, no scheduling conflicts!), and we’ll chat on Monday.
That’s all for now, Coppers. And hey—be careful out there.
Photo Credit: Will Hart/NBC