Memphis Beat Episodes

2010, TV Show

Memphis Beat Episode: "It's Alright Mama (Pilot)"

Season 1, Episode 1
Episode Synopsis: A crime drama focusing on offbeat Memphis detective Dwight Hendricks (Jason Lee), a Southern charmer with a passion for his city and blues music. In the series opener, Dwight investigates the abuse of an elderly female disc jockey, but his loose crime-fighting manner irritates his disciplined boss (Alfre Woodard). Meanwhile, Dwight's spirited mother woos a neighbor. George Clooney serves as an executive producer.
Original Air Date: Jun 22, 2010

Memphis Beat Episode Recap: It's Alright Mama" Season 1, Episode 1

On the season premiere of Memphis Beat, we receive quite a welcome into the bluesy city of Memphis! From an Elvis impersonator (next office party anyone?), to a bloody Slurpee mess (eww!), to a boob lamp (where can I get one of these?) we know we may not get the expected. What we do know is the good ol' boy detectives seem to have the run of their precinct, but change is coming in the form of a new lieutenant.

The opening scenes set the stage for Memphis Beat's main character: Detective Dwight Hendricks (Jason Lee) as a Memphis cop by day, Elvis impersonator by night. Dwight arrives at a liquor store crime scene where we meet Davey Sutton (DJ Qualls), a clueless young cop who really looks up to Dwight (as do many of the fellas). Upon entering the store, we see blood pooling across the grimy floor slowly mixing with the blue slush oozing out of the Slurpee machine. Ok people, there's a lot of blood on TV with other cop shows and all the vampire mania, but I have to admit I was impressed and grossed out by this visual! No 7-11 runs for me in the near future...

Anyway, we quickly learn that Davey is a sweet, but incompetent cop (tracking your footprints across the crime scene, really??), but that Dwight is more than capable of cleaning up Davey's mess as he quickly locates the perp hiding out in a stainless steel prep-cook station. Crawling out of his hiding place, the perp accidentally drops his pants leaving the bumbling Davey to search him. I found it mildly annoying that a semi-gruesome death was quickly turned into a joke, but what did you think? Did that bother you or do I need to chill?

Having solved that crime, Dwight heads over to his Mama's house and finding her MIA, he mistakenly attacks a new male neighbor who's simply having a drink with his Mama. We quickly learn that Dwight is a Mama's boy and perhaps that's not such a bad thing because Mama ain't the sharpest tool in the shed and could use someone looking out for her.

The next day, Dwight heads into the precinct and pulls a boob lamp out of the garbage where it's been placed courtesy of the new Lt. Tanya Rice (Alfre Woodard). That's not the only thing she'll be shaking up around here and she puts Dwight and his partner Charlie "Whitehead" White (Sam Hennings) on a menial 1015 which I assume is a Missing Persons job. Dwight quickly realizes this missing elderly woman who won't (or can't?) speak is a Memphis legend, "the First Lady of the airwaves," Dotty Collins. She introduced Dwight to his first Elvis song on the air which changed his life. This missing persons case quickly blows up into more as horrific bruises are found on Dotty's body.

Dwight investigates Dotty's house and discovers she's been tortured and kept prisoner — but by who? Lt. Rice shows up and my favorite line of the show was when she schooled him for not checking in with her. He claimed not to need a babysitter and she coolly replied, "I ain't the babysitter, Dwight. Mama's home. Act right." Go Lt. Rice! I look forward to seeing the dynamic fleshed out between these two, especially since we later learn they're both divorced and alone and can probably relate to each other in a way we didn't expect.

Back to the search... Dwight learns of Dotty's caretaker, Sabine and her recovering addict ex. Almost as soon as he locates her, she's hit by a red car and dies, but not before mumbling that she let Dotty go and a man is going to kill her.

Meanwhile Whitehead locates Dotty's son, Patrick Collins (anyone else recognize him as Betty's suitor on Mad Men? Loved it, he was so creepy here.) and Dwight gives him hell for not watching over his Mama better. Patrick picks up his Mama from Dwight's Mama's house where she was staying.

Dwight checks in with an eyewitness who lives across from Dotty. She is an eight-year-old girl (what a credible source!) and in what was my favorite scene of the night, he shows her a picture of Sabine's ex. She won't tell him if that's the bad man she's seen at Miss Dotty's house so Dwight craftily (and sweetly) comes down to her level and role-plays with her Barbies to elicit information from her. He learns that the bad man she saw was Dotty's son! She saw him loving up Sabine and hiding the hit-and-run red car. Because of this big reveal, Dwight and Whitehead aggressively interrogate Patrick until Lt. Rice scolds him for a lack of evidence and orders Dwight home for the weekend.

Dwight, instead, stakes out Dotty's place in his eight-year-old source's tree house. As soon as Patrick leaves, Dwight creeps in the house and finds a body in the basement fridge with a tattoo saying "'Til We Meet Again," a classic Dotty line from her broadcast days. We find out it's her dead son and the man we thought was her son is really Ray Pruitt. Dwight nabs Ray as he tries to make off with Dotty and saves the day.

Lt. Rice calls Dwight in early the next day and thinking he's about to be canned, is humbled and gracious with his words. Lt. Rice cuts him off, with a "good job" and a motherly/son pat on his arm. He, in turn, invites her to see his Elvis set that night, and his performance is last scene of the premiere.

What did you think of Memphis Beat? Are you going to keep watching?

Does Dwight seem an awful lot like a man named Earl? Was anyone else a little distracted by that?

Great music throughout, though I don't claim to know half of it. What was your favorite song?

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On the season premiere of Memphis Beat, we receive quite a welcome into the bluesy city of Memphis! From an Elvis impersonator (next office party anyone?), to a bloody Slurpee mess (eww!), to a boob lamp (where can I get one of these?) we know we may not get the expected. What we do know is the good ol' boy detectives seem to have the run of their precinct, but change is coming in the form of a new lieutenant.

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Premiered: June 22, 2010, on TNT
Rating: None
User Rating: (398 ratings)
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Premise: A crime drama focusing on an offbeat Memphis detective with a passion for his city and blues music. But this Southern charmer's loose crime-fighting manner clashes with his boss's disciplined style. Spinning around the detective's life are his spirited mother, his overly sensitive partner and a fellow sleuth struggling with financial problems. George Clooney serves as an executive producer.

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