Thursday, October 04, 2007
Revisiting ‘Case’: Saving Patrick Bubley (3x6)
PTR Staff Writer
When has Detective Lilly Rush ever checked out on a case?
Fully admitted that she didn’t care about it?
This is sort of like Brenda Leigh Johnson giving up chocolate.
Just. Doesn’t. Happen.
Or does it?
Cold Case’s third season, whilst generally not the most popular, did deliver some excellent episodes.
“Saving Patrick Bubley” was one of them (and of which re-aired this past week as part of TNT’s Tuesday night Cold Case Marathon).
We love to remember this episode for many reasons, but none the least of which was the brilliant contrast of what we’ll call “early season” Lilly – passionate, tough, no-nonsense, hard-charging – against what she was like when she first became a homicide detective – timid, unsure, unnerved by the nature of her very first NHI (No Humans Involved) case, and partnered with a detective who had long since stopped caring about any NHI job.
We also remember this episode as being one of the only times we saw Lilly take on a job as just a j-o-b. Highly unusual for the woman we had come to know as throwing herself into her work as the crusader for the victims, who lived and breathed a case in order to solve it even when everyone else might have thought it a lost cause.
No, this time, on this case, she had to do a bit of soul-searching.
Was she turning into her old partner?
Had she checked out?
Did she even really care about the Bubleys?
How could she?
The odds were certainly not in favor: three sons already murdered by gang violence but of which none had been solved; a crack-head mother who had lost all faith in the Philadelphia Police Department, including Lilly, and offered little or no help to getting the case solved whilst simultaneously holding a grudge against PPD for not solving any of the murders; a fourth son now on the verge of heading down the same path as his brothers. True, this seemed a case even Lil’ couldn’t – or didn’t – want to find a reason to solve.
But then there was Web D.
And the scooter.
And what was thought to have just been another endless cycle of gang-on-gang crime over drugs, or territory, or skin color turned out to be a poignant and truly tragic set of murders centered around one of the great African American activist and writers, W.E.B. Du Bois, and a seemingly innocent toy won by young Patrick Bubley for winning the W.E.B. Du Bois essay contest at his school.
Which was stolen by a drug dealer.
When little Patrick rode it down the wrong alley.
And big brother Bubley went to get it back.
So began the cycle of revenge for Web D.
These are what the best episodes are made of.
Twists you don’t see coming.
Backstory that is so rich and layered.
Lilly being beautifully flawed whilst still managing to do the right thing – even if it is for everyone other than herself (but alas, we’ll hopefully work on doing something good for her in Season 5).
That scooter represented more than metal and two wheels to the Bubleys.
And it was that connection that made this episode just perfect by most accounts.
That is where Lilly fought against her own demons for the better part of saving young Patrick Bubley from that empty spot down in the box room along side his three brothers.
Still a crusader.
Still all about the victims.
Still all about the job.
Still Detective Lilly Rush.
New episodes of Cold Case air Sundays at 9 p.m. on CBS. Mini-marathons of older episodes air Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on TNT. You can also check your local listings of your CBS affiliate for additional late night weekend airings.