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S1x02: Ghost of a Chance

March 19, 2010

Belzer and Beatty

AIRDATE: 2/03/1993
DIRECTED BY: Martin Campbell
WRITTEN BY: Tom Fontana

All of this can be traced to Howard (Leo) who said in eppy one, “You wanna take the call?” And so begins the ADENA WATSON case that comes to define rookie Bayliss like food poisoning defines Arby’s. The word gritty – when applied to TV – is often over used, nevertheless it’s an apt description. H:LOTS does not feel like a show, but a docu-drama and no detail is left to chance. Even the crackiest of baseheads – if one reads the credits – will turn out to be an actor who studied drama at Yale. From time to time I’ll make sure to list notable guest stars since there are couple of biggies right off the bat. Edie Falco shows up in an ep or two. Robin Williams and Jacob Gyllenhaal star in the season 2 show stopper BOP GUN. I think I like Attanasio’s writing a bit better, but Fontana is certainly no hack. Actually, I’m kind of waiting for James Yoshimura and Henry Bromell, who show up in a writing capacity later in the season. The directors are definitely FOTs (Friends of Tom) with names familiar to you: Stephen Gyllenhaal, who coincidentally happens to direct a kid actor with the same last name. The late, masterful TV director Bruce Paltrow, Tim “Salami” Van Patten, Ted “Who’s the Man” Demme and Alan Taylor who I recognize along with Salami as frequent directors of HBO shows, particularly SATC and The Sopranos. Taylor might have done a few SFU, but I would need to check on that. Unlike THE WIRE there has barely been a mention of David Simon (writer/producer/patron saint) whose Edgar Award Winning book HOMICIDE: A YEAR ON THE KILLING STREET is the basis of the show. I think he rolls into town by season two, which believe or not is merely a week away!

Howard (Leo) and Felton (Baldwin), in addition to working the ADENA WATSON redball with the other detectives, are trying to get solid evidence in support of their hunch, since DA Ed Danvers – Zeljko Ivanek in his first appearance – has been ‘ounding (and eventually pounding) Howard about various cases, including the infamous CHILTON case.

Crosetti (Polito) and Lewis (Johnson) spend much of this episode either chow chowing about the Lincoln assassination – well it’s mostly Crosetti – and giving limited assistance to Bayliss (Secor) who is clearly over his head as rookie and the primary on the ADENA WATSON case. They still have no evidence to prove CALPURNIA CHURCH is killing all her husbands for insurance money.

I’m not exactly sure what the hell they’re doing other than trying to antagonize both Danvers and M.E. Carol Blythe, whom Bolander apparently fancies. I guess they’re doing a bit of light policing, but other than wisecracks and slumber party chat fests, they aren’t heavily featured doing much in service of the case.

Since this is a red ball, Captain Barnfather (LeBouef) and Col. Granger are of course sniffing around and questioning Giardello’s – or Gee as he is generally known – judgment in allowing Bayliss to remain the primary of the case when the press is putting the department in the hot seat. To his credit, Gee (Kotto) defends Bayliss, but it’s really a mistake. Bayliss is not really equipped or ready to deal with the case or his own feelings (we’ll get to that in a second). But for the most part, Gee seems to be effectively balancing both being a stern coach and a cheerleader at the same time, doling out rah rahs and dramatic lectures in equal measures.

Woo boy, this is not the Timmy and Frank that most people unfamiliar with the show are always hearing about. The bromance has not yet blossomed and they are at each other’s throats over control of the WATSON case. Frank really should have been the primary and Gee’s decision to support Bayliss rather than turn the investigation over to Frank provokes his ire and insubordination, which I believe inadvertently torpedoes the case and unknowingly alters the course of their lives quite tragically (though not for years and years and years). As for Bayliss, he’s all jacked up and his emotional involvement with the case is seriously hampering his ability to effectively manage the investigation.

S1x01 Gone for Goode

2 Comments leave one →
  1. hsofia permalink
    March 19, 2010 7:04 pm

    I need to rewatch this episode. I didn’t start watching H:LOTS until the very end of its 2nd season, and then I caught up on earlier episodes via reruns on cable … but the timeline was always very screwy for me.

  2. March 19, 2010 7:19 pm

    Yeah, what’s nice about the set is the shows are arranged by production date so they make much more sense. Yay, I’m so glad you’re into this series! It makes me happy for you to be an early adopter!

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