Tony Denison, G.W. Bailey
I was supposed to post some afterthoughts about "All In," last Tuesday or Wednesday and, instead, I am late with my entry about this week's new episode, (which was directed by Jon Tenney, better known to our fan base as Special Agent Fritz Howard). It just goes to show you that our best intentions can suddenly be overwhelmed by the unforeseen. In my case, the surprise was sinusitis and a prescription for some fierce, energy-sapping antibiotics that have forced me to adjust my professional plans. While physically irritating, it has made me even more sympathetic to the detectives in Major Crimes, all of whom find themselves dealing with the unexpected when their holiday vacation gets derailed by a shopping trip to Venice Beach.
We begin with Flynn and Provenza ambling through one of the kookiest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, a recipe for comic disaster if ever there was one. But though the script by Michael Alaimo takes off like one of our lighter episodes, in keeping with our theme, it quickly turns darker, twisting and turning past a movable crime scene, a dumpster diving thief, an exhibition baseball game for local youth teams and the angry dad of a prospective major league player. And Dr. Joe returns to finish the evaluation of our material witness, Rusty Beck.
Curve balls abound, some of them hurled by a switch pitcher (a boy who can throw with both arms), but others tossed into the mix by Bill Brochtrup, who makes his second appearance as Rusty's largely unflappable therapist. And, for the first time, Sharon attempts to get around the rules, not in her work as a police officer, but in her role as guardian to a troubled teenager. Seeing the faint hint of displeasure that finally flies across Bill Brochtrup's face as, first, Captain Raydor, and then, Rusty Beck, attempt to peek around the curtain of therapeutic technique was, for me, pretty priceless. Yes, curve balls for everyone.
But I'm almost sure Dr. Joe would tell us that how we react to the obstacles we encounter on our path through life says a lot about our character. And nothing changes the perspective of the detectives in Major Crimes like a holiday murder.
Next week, Jon Tenney returns to the other side of the screen, resuming his portrayal of Special Agent Fritz Howard, who finds himself in a tough squeeze between a member of the House of Representatives and a joint FBI-LAPD task force. And Rusty Beck opens a window into the personal lives of all our detectives, as Buzz prods the younger brother he never wanted into thinking just a tiny bit more about all the people the boy takes for granted. Meanwhile, another unusual witness gets rolled up in a gang investigation, and Sharon must sort through a stadium filled with suspects, hunting for a murderer with nothing to lose.
Until then — James Duff