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H:LOTS – S04E21 – Scene of the Crime

September 7, 2010

In addition to being a superb actor, Kathy Bates is a phenomenal director. Her helming credits include NYPD Blue, Oz (another star in the Fontanaverse) and several episodes of Six Feet Under, notably, one of my favorite episodes “Out, Out, Brief Candle” from season two. “Scene of the Crime” is only her second directing credit and she skillfully handles the racially charged conflict at the center of the episode with surprising mastery, thanks in no small part to the strong script written by Treme’s David Simon and – wait for it – Miss Anya Epstein!!!

“Scene of the Crime” is also the first introduction to a patrolman named Stuart Gharty, played by Peter Gerety! He will later be reintroduced to audiences as Detective Gharty at the end of season five! As a patrolman, Gharty demonstrates the kind of racism tinged incompetence usually reserved for Captain Gaffney, another bigoted officer with more bigotry than common sense, who inexplicably is promoted rather than booted off the force. While Gharty is a kinder version of Gaffney, he’s by no means more tolerant. He’s my least favorite character – despise the character (not the actor, who is a cherished star in the Fontanaverse) even more than Ballard, Sheppard, and Falsone combined. Many people forget about Gharty’s appearance in this episode and the season five two partner where he’s a part of the rat squad and looking to settle some scores with Russert, who in this episode strongly encourages him to apply his meager talents elsewhere.

We have one episode left in season four and it’s a doozy! Saving up my energy, because the season finale is OOC (out of control) with opportunities to examine the way in which H:LOTS frames disability and illness as it relates to argubly the most beloved character on the series. There will be lots of examine, unpack and deconstruct, which will inform much of how I choose to explore the batch of episodes.

If you’re like, “What about the main story of this episode???” well, it’s a biggie and it’s also a spoiler, so I’d rather skirt around it, but I will say, I was left both uncomfortable (in a good way) at the way the myth of brown solidarity was explored and also debunked without resorting to the sort of watered down tropery, which seeks to demonstrate commonality by flattening the lived the experiences of folks whose oppression has some connecting elements, but definitely do not express itself the same. More importantly, the episode did an adequate job of demonstrating the concept of intersectionality, while also showing the way folks who are oppressive often are unwilling to examine the privilege they do enjoy and how that can create opportunities for some world class bigotry.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. hsofia permalink
    September 7, 2010 10:57 pm

    Damn, I forgot about Ballard.

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