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S3x09: Nothing Personal

April 8, 2010

  • AIR DATE: 4/21/1995
  • STORY BY: Tom Fontana & James Yoshimura
  • TELEPLAY BY: Bonnie Marks
  • DIRECTED BY Tim Van Patten

Hey, hey Tim “Salami” Van Patten is in the the house, y’all. The White Shadow alum makes his first appearance helming an episode of H:LOTS. Since then he’s cracked the whip on some of the finest shows including The Wire, The Sopranos, Ed and the final two episodes of Sex and the City. There is lots to unpack in this episode, ranging from privilege, colorism and what Lewis would term a “Stone Cold Who Done It”.


  • Felton is floundering. Despite being on top of his work responsibilities and getting news from his estranged wife and kids, his coworkers notice his sloppy appearance and his perpetual crepuscular sobriety. When he loses key evidence, Howard finally decides to confront him about his appearance and his drinking. Y’all he is in the Bell Jar. Meanwhile Howard is assigned one of Crosetti and Lewis’s most infamous cases – the CHILTON case, which threatens to ruin Howard’s 100% clearance rate. It doesn’t help that the normally omnipresent Pembleton is barely seen in the episode with the exception of taunting Howard about the CHILTON case and what it might mean if she is unable to solve it.


  • Gee and Howard trade war stories regarding their painfully under staffed units and decide to have lunch, which proves to be spicy, falling off the bone fail. Russert introduces Gee to her college pal Amanda – an well education black woman – whom she thinks would be wonderful for Gee. Despite the appearance of nice meal there are subtle clues things are not what they appear. Amanda rebuffs – yes, that’s the word I mean – Gee’s attempt to pay for lunch and is avoidant later when Russert asks Amanda if she likes him likes him. She of course says he’s a “nice guy” and not ready for a relationship. Russert knows what that means in terms of girl speak, but the rest of us browner folks KNOW exactly what Amanda meant. Gee, when reintroduced to his old friend Mr. Colorism, loses his shit in the squad room after one of those awful talks with a white ally – Russert – which results in a lot of “oh it’s not like that” and other classics from Derailing for Dummies. Gee learns the hard way there is no such thing as an oppression free lunch. The issue of colorism is handed with nuance and thoughtfulness. No party involved is presented as monster nor victim. It’s excellently portrayed and does leave you uncomfortable with not only the issue itself but the way in which a white female frames her blues as analogous to a black male’s.


  • Big Man senses Gee’s distress and the two share a meal in Gee’s office and discuss the realities of wanting women in their lives, while having the jobs they have. Bolander quips, “I mean you meet a lot of widows, but somehow the timing isn’t right.”


  • If there was policing to be done, these would not be the men for the job. With the exception of Lewis who has a lot to say about how Gee ought to redistribute Crosetti’s cases. Naturally Gee could give two hot chocolate fucks what Lewis thinks of his case delegation skills. In the meantime Munch, Bayliss and Lewis continue to finalize their purchase of the cop bar, only to discover at every turn various palms wishing to be crossed with silver.
11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 8, 2010 11:14 am

    “I mean you meet a lot of widows, but somehow the timing isn’t right.”

    LOL. I love the dark humor in this show.

  2. April 8, 2010 2:05 pm

    Ned Beatty constantly had some great moments of comedic brilliance. He really knows how to sell a line!

  3. Claire permalink
    April 8, 2010 5:38 pm

    Oh, Bolander. One of the characters/performances I never appreciated as a teenager (too caught up in the hot of Pembleton/Braugher to notice anyone else) but have dug more and more on each viewing.

    I’ve let my watching along at home slide. I’ll be catching up this weekend though, now that you’re heading toward ‘City That Bleeds’ and the aftermath. Margie Bolander! Steve Buscemi as the weaseliest weasely bastard ever! stuck in the box with Pembleton!

  4. April 8, 2010 5:51 pm

    Claire, I am so excited about the City that Bleeds and such. I started getting giddy when I wrote up Every Mother’s Son and I can clearly see TCTB on the horizon.

  5. Hsofia permalink
    April 8, 2010 10:29 pm

    Is this the episode where Gee talks to Russert up on the roof about colorism? I don’t remember the squad room convo, but the rooftop scene was very emotional for me. I couldn’t believe they “went there.” No one on ever talks about it.

  6. April 9, 2010 12:20 am

    @Hsofia, yup. He has the convo with Russert and then bangs around the squad room slamming doors and smashing things against his desk. It’s a painful, but beautifully executed scene. I couldn’t believe they went there either!

  7. hsofia permalink
    April 9, 2010 3:08 am

    Dammit, I wish HLotS was on Netflix streaming; I would be re-watching some of these episodes, today!

  8. April 9, 2010 4:32 am

    Put disc four in your queue, because you’ll want to be watching the sweeps trilogy of The City That Bleeds, End Game and whatever the other one is called.

  9. hsofia permalink
    April 9, 2010 5:00 am

    Done! (And Disc 5, too.) Not that you’re the boss of me or anything. 😉

  10. April 9, 2010 8:49 am

    I’m really excited that you’ll be following along. When are they expected to get there? I can push back episode recaps until you get your disc!

  11. Hsofia permalink
    April 9, 2010 10:52 am

    No worries – won’t get them till Monday earliest – but I’ll catch up!

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