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S1x03: Night of the Dead Living

March 20, 2010

Lewis, Pembleton and Munch

AIRDATE: 3/31/1993 (yay!)
DIRECTED BY: Michael Lehmann
WRITTEN BY: Tom Fontana & Frank Pugliese

I’m pretty sure this episode is an homage to any number of Barney Miller eps where circumstances kept the entire cast trapped in the squad. The episode involves exploring emotional relationships of each character. It’s one of the best of the nine season one episodes. The squad is doing its night shift rotation and of course it’s a terribly hot night and there is no AC. In fact heat is blowing out of the vents. And best part – Santa comes to town early! Bayliss thinks he’s shut down the WATSON case bringing in a suspect who’s an adorable geeky kid who just happened to have checked out the same book found near WATSON’s body. Santa is brought into the squad room after having his own personal shirtless “COPS” moment and Gee finds an abandoned baby in a cage in the basement when he goes to manually restore the AC. Gee barks orders for milk, cooing and other baby stuffs while trying to get someone from Social Services on the phone. Crosetti and Howard (who doesn’t have kids) take turns cuddling the cutie while chatting to their fellow detectives.

FELTON AND HOWARD
Felton takes phone calls from his tedious wife Beth who torments him with questions from ladymags. Howard tries to console her sister and then rants against the hell that is the ignoring of cancers affecting women. And they somehow manage to drag Santa in for questioning. Felton spends a lot of time preoccupied with the mysterious candle which is constantly lit, but nobody is ever spotted lighting it. Shades of the “lunch bandit”,

CROSETTI AND LEWIS
Lewis mainly serves as the “amen” chorus to various members of the squad room who take their turns ranting about various things, most having nothing to do with anything approximating police work. When the Santa suspect vanishes it is Lewis who deadpans, “Check the chimney.”

BOLANDER AND MUNCH
Bolander is baby crazy and processing his feelings for M.E. Blythe. When it’s determined the baby belongs to the cleaning woman who keeps the baby in the cage because she’s afraid of rats biting her kid, Bolander storms out to bring the baby back to his mom, moments after the snarky social worker snatches him out of Bolander’s arms. Munch gets dumped by another one of his off screen girlfriends and then holds the rest of the squad hostage ranting about the cruelties of love.

BAYLISS AND PEMBLETON
Pembleton pwns Bayliss when he brings in the kid “suspect”. Bayliss tattles on Pembleton and Gee says, “So you want me to ask Frank to change his personality?” and then kicks him out of the office. Bayliss hits on the cleaning lady and gets pwned again. Pembleton keeps answering the phones cause Howard says, “I’m not a secretary!” and he quips, “Santa’s on the loose.”

GEE
Gee gives what I believe is his first BUDGET CUTS rant and demands that Pembleton ditch the tie because just looking at it makes him hot. He gets the best moment at the end when he invites the overheated detectives on the roof for a game I call, “Strip down to your chonies and get hosed down by your boss.”

I’m not revealing the candle lighter because the revelation is the most beautiful scene in the episode, coming from the most unlikely person.

RELATED POSTS
S1x01: Gone for Goode
S1x02: Ghost of a Chance

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 20, 2010 8:22 am

    I’ve got to watch this episode, it sounds like a hoot, that’s what it sounds like.

    I like this format, following the various story arcs by teams.

  2. March 20, 2010 9:15 am

    Yes, this one’s really great. It’s a nice break from the intensity without being filler. The writer did an excellent job with the dialog.

    I think this format works better too. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. It lends itself to meaty critiques.

  3. March 20, 2010 11:10 am

    Wow, I forgot this episode was so early in the show’s run. Y’know, I’m going to have to get the whole darn series on DVD because of this. I used to have it all on VHS, assiduously recorded from the syndicated airings, but my VHS player bit the dust ages ago….

    Such a great, great series.

    (P.S. How do you keep getting cooler?? Every time I turn around lately, I’m all, “Whoa! What a cool-ass thing! Oh and look, it’s from Snarky. Again.” grin.)

  4. March 20, 2010 11:34 am

    @Thornacious – Thanks for the kind words! It has been a really wonderful thing for the H:LOTS fans to repackage the series at an affordable price point (on amazon, stay away from the stores). For a little under 70 bucks you’ve got the whole story.

    Definitely stick around. I am seriously committed to blogging every episode. I’ve already finished Season 1 and 2 and am working on Season 3 right not. Of course, they’re not posted yet. I’m taking a cue from show runners 😉

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