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S4x16 – Stakeout

June 13, 2010

Kate Walsh guest stars in this wonderful episode of H:LOTS. All the action takes places inside the home of the Buxtons, who happen to live next door a man suspected of killing multiple teenage boys and burying them in the park. The squad is running continuous shifts, being overly confessional with each other and bearing witness to the deteriorating Buxton marriage. Despite being a couple of means, these Buxtons do not appear to be connected to Buxton, maker of fine leatherette wallets, luggage tags, computer bags, totes and briefcases. The Buxtons’ struggles mirror the struggles going on between the various sets of partners. Something about the Buxtons’ residence makes people want to engage in intensive discussions, which result in clenched jawed verbal boxing matches. These homeowners ought buy a stick of sage or contact a priest.

    Gee: You’ve been yelling a lot lately. At the drop of a hat, you start screaming.
    Pembleton: Why would I yell if someone dropped their hat?

When Gee’s daughter Charisse visited during the Thrill of the Kill episode, she mentioned her upcoming nuptials to a man Gee had never heard of or met. The writers didn’t just toss in this bit of back story as filler. Charisse’s nuptials figure prominently in this episode and are used to further explore Gee’s complicated relationship to his children – Al Jr. will join the show in season seven – and also the dedication to his career, which has often come at the detriment of his family life. Since his wife’s death, Gee has had an estranged relationship with his children and throughout season three and four, one gets the sense this status of his relationship with his kids is a bit of a surprise to him. In this episode his denial starts to erode and we get a glimpse into the kind of parent Gee might have been and the impact it had on his familial relationships. Hint: he is finding excuses NOT to fly to San Francisco to attend the wedding.

    Bayliss: Those guys are like a family. I have never, ever felt that in Homicide. We may be the best, the elite, but we are not a family.
    Pembleton: Yes we are. But we’re like a real family. Opinionated, argumentative, holding grudges, challenging each other. We push each other to be better than we are. That kind of thing doesn’t happen at barbecues or ball games. It happens on the job where it’s supposed to. Putting down a murder. The work itself is the most important thing. What we do is important. We speak for those who can no longer speak for themselves and you’re not gonna ever find anything like that anywhere, not in LA, or patrolling the grounds at Disneyland.

Bayliss wants out of the department. He abruptly makes this confession to Howard who somehow ends up having a conversation about it with Lewis who is miffed Bayliss didn’t come to him with his departmental frustrations and career crisis of conscience. Building on her speech to Munch in the previous episode, Howard has a lot to say about secrets, privacy and hidden aspects of self, but none of it seems connected to Bayliss’ revelation or Lewis’ response to it. Lewis then has an amusing exchange with Russert who provides her own analysis of secrets, echoing my own experience with total strangers who want to tell you their life stories or where the bodies are hidden. Lewis, apparently, doesn’t have these kinds of issues.

To be clear, this is not an episode about police work.


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