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S4x08 – Sniper (Pt 1)

May 16, 2010



Fans of police procedurals, you are not imagining things. Jean de Segonzac is a familiar name to you, particularly if you’ve watched any show from the Law & Order family. I used to confuse him with Jan de Bont, another cinematographer turned director, though I’d have to say much prefer the works of de Segonzac over de Bont. It seems H:LOTS is where he cut his teeth as a director, if his IMDB page is up to date and reflects a shred of accuracy. In addition to directing the generally unsatisfying H:LOTS movie – Life Everlasting – de Segonzac directed one of my favorite episodes of LOCI (Law & Order: Criminal Intent) – No Exit.

I have a feeling he directed – I’ll check in a minute – the episode of L&O introducing Det. Ed Green to world – the one featuring another terrible crime wave affecting Hudson University, astutely described by MCM as “the most dangerous college campus on earth!”. There is a frenetic similarity in the camera work I vividly recall in that episode, which reminds me of the camera work on Sniper (Pt 1 & 2). Okay, the episode – Gunshow was actually directed by Ed Sherin (another L&O director I LOVE). Maybe that’s why the conflation happened! Now, we’re getting it. Sherin directed some H:LOTS crossovers (“Baby, it’s you Pt 2″, Sideshow, For God and Country”)

Anyway, de Segonzac provided excellent direction for this tense episode centering around a DC/Baltimore sniper – predating the real life sniper dramedy by six years – and the terrible career destruction left in its wake. Exceptional acting by Isabella Hoffman (Russert) who does her best to keep the city from imploding while desperately trying to nail the sonofabitch terrorizing the citizens of Charm City.

This episode also boasts a cameo by Jay Leno – playing himself – who scores an actual laugh track free (unsweeten) genuine gut buster in the cold open with Munch and Bayliss.

Bayliss and Howard

    Bayliss catches the first in a series of what appears to be unrelated shootings – though all 3 victims were shot at the same time – and is quickly designated the primary. He rejoices that one victim is still alive – noting a corollary to Homicide investigation rule 6:

  • When a suspect is immediately identified in an assault case, the victim is sure to live. When no suspect has been identified, the victim will surely die.
  • Then the vic in question has the cheek to up and die on the operating table. Howard and Bayliss chase down leads on the first victims, while Howard coordinates the other officers’ investigation efforts. Unfortunately, the arrival of Gee and Russert on the scene of a second shooting location means, “Congrats, it’s a bouncing baby red ball!” (Munch)

    Bayliss’s back is tripping again and now he’s got drugs and a referral to see a great physician in the Fontanaverse – Dr. Victor Ehrlich. Let’s not even entertain the kind of holes this pokes in the Tommy Westphall Theory.

Lewis

    Lewis speaks for all of us eye-rolling POCs when he astutely observes how what started out with three black folks killed was merely “drug related” quickly turns into a red ball once some nice white folks are also shot and killed. I ain’t mad at you, Lewis. Naturally, his comments were quickly dismissed and he was redirected toward the case at hand and not the racial dynamics of the case.

Russert, Gee and The BRASS

    Russert calls a press conference, only to have nothing to offer the press except they don’t have anything yet. Barnfather quickly tells the bank of microphones the department is mere seconds away from apprehending a suspect, despite the reality, which is they haven’t even figured out what – if any – connects all the victims. It’s also clear to see exactly what’s happening to Russert – via the Brass. They are clearly throwing her out into the street in preparation for an oncoming bus, which has an ETA of about 1/2 an episode. Gee – who sees the Brass coming – smartly does his best to “look busy”. It’s odd the sniper favors the childhood game of hangman, since it’s really Russert who’s getting rope – from her own ambition and the brass – to hang herself/career.
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One Comment leave one →
  1. hsofia permalink
    July 20, 2010 7:23 pm

    It was almost painful to watch Bayliss and Munch make such a wrong decision about how to interact with Jay Leno. Good episode, and I couldn’t recall whether it predated the DC Sniper or was “ripped from the headlines.” Thanks for the reminder.

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