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S4x01 – Fire (1 & 2)

May 1, 2010

New season and fresh new batch of recaps. Some housekeeping items:

  • On the right sidebar there are links to the first three seasons! Recaps a go go.
  • From this point on comments will be off for the posts, but you are welcome to click the contact tab and shoot me feedback there.
  • Two parters/X-overs will be posted in one big entry instead of two. Season Four has three two parters!

Out with the old – Bolander and Felton – and in with the new – Kellerman. Reed Diamond makes his first appearance as Arson Detective Mike Kellerman. Amusing banter between Howard and Munch, which serves as snarky meta explanation of the departure of Ned Beatty and Daniel Baldwin – suspension for 22 weeks, which is the approximate length of a television season. Munch quips, “Who comes up with these suspension terms?”

Pembleton, Bayliss and Kellerman

    Bayliss: Man, I hate arson fires. There’s never any evidence, no witnesses, nothing.
    Pembleton: Well, look at the upside.
    Bayliss: I don’t see an upside.
    Pembleton: I’m the primary on this case. If we don’t close it, Gee will cast his long, doleful, accusing glance in my direction, not yours.
  • Pembleton and Bayliss catch a case of a murder victim discovered in a warehouse fire. Unfortunately, there is a jurisdictional pissing contest with a cocky arson detective named Kellerman who keeps getting the jump on the dream team in the race to uncover the arsonist, hopefully before he gets the urge to flame broil again. Reed Diamond’s Kellerman is immediately positioned as a polarizing figure and some would suggest this makes the events of his story arc easier to stomach. Personally, I don’t find Kellerman any more arrogant than Bayliss, Lewis or Felton. It should also be noted, this is the second to the last time a major cast member is added to the show (Stivers is the other) without facing ire of the show’s purists (of which I happen to be one of them). Bayliss teams up with Kellerman to interview a wealthy industrialist who has a history of burning out his poorer tenants in order to speed up the gentrification process. Pembleton rescues Lewis from an overheated company car with theatrics and a whole lot of chow chow.We also see the advent of Timmy’s back issues. Oh yeah Pembleton delivers some surprising news to his partner.

Howard and Munch

  • Howard and Munch share a witty cold open and then recede into the background for much of the episode. They find some commonality as they both suffer the effects of losing their partners. Howard decides to take the Sgt’s exam thus igniting Munch’s competitive spirit, so he too decides he’ll be taking that exam as well.

Another day. Another arson homicide. Another crime scene with Kellerman serving as the welcome wagon – albeit more subdued, given Gee and Russert are along for the ride. This is the episode where you can the first glimmers of that hot head charm of Kellerman. As always Munch delivers the hilarity. After giving what he believes is some “helpful” information to Bayliss whose back is becoming a bit of a character on its own:

    Munch: Who lobbies for nothing?
    Bayliss:You do, Munch. Every day, in every way, you lobby for nothing.

Pembleton, Kellerman and Bayliss

  • Bayliss gives his embarrassingly naive “Shows reflect our times.” and naturally Pembleton smacks him down. This is merely chow chow to avoid having to tell yet another family that their loved one is not coming home (arson homicide victim). On their car ride to the victim’s family’s home they count up the number of times they’ve had to deliver the shitty news to a family. I love these kind of darkly comedic H:LOTS moments. Finding it amusing makes you feel like a horrible person, but that’s the point of the show. These are the ways folks in the murder solving business get through the day. Bayliss’ back goes out again and leaving Pembleton and Kellerman to pair up and solve the case.

Lewis, Howard and Munch

  • Howard busies herself with the Sgt’s exam, which has Lewis taking wagers as to which one – Munch or Howard – is going to get the best score. Everyone went in on the action and definitely bet against Munch, which makes sense given he’s remembered for being a) the cop who had his privates splashed all over the Living section of the paper b) he got kicked out his alcohol awareness training because he wouldn’t shut up and used the excuse “an elephant stepped on his mother” to skip out on the first training. Though in fairness to him he actually was on his way there when Howard decided to follow up on leads.
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