Monday, January 26, 2009

'Cold Case' Goes Door to Door

You know that moment when you were a child and you realized your parents were just as human as anyone else and not some sort of superhero capable of answering any question, healing any boo-boo and helping with any homework problem?  I feel kinda stuck in the aftermath of that moment with Cold Case.  I used to think that it was, hands-down, the best show on television, but then I discovered Veronica Mars and Friday Night Lights and now Damages.  So OK, it wasn't the best show on TV anymore, but it was certainly the best crime drama.  Except, then I discovered The Closer and Dexter and CC began to pale in comparison.  That was OK, though, because despite its slide from best quality show to best quality crime show to 3rd best crime show, I still considered it to be my favorite show on TV.  Now, quite frankly, I don't.  It's like all those other shows showed me CC's shortcomings.  The problem with this is, I'm not sure how to write about CC anymore.  It just isn't the show it used to be (back when it could hold its own with those better shows on a good week and fight for the top quality spot on an excellent week), but I do still enjoy it.  I watch it differently now, but I tend to be a little too critical because I'm used to a different style of storytelling.  Take this week's episode (which, had it not been for my DVR, I would have missed because I didn't realize that the show was on, which, BTW, should be an indicator right there because I used to always know when CC was on):  it was good, it was, but it wasn't great.  I enjoyed it, but I wasn't riveted like I used to be with this show.

I think my biggest problem with the story was the fact that a brush salesman who spent his afternoons going door-to-door in this perfectly manicured neighborhood got himself completely wrapped up in the personal lives of his customers.  So caught up, it cost him his life.  I had a hard time swallowing this plot point and without it, there was no motive, so you had to be onboard with the character and his connection to the families in order to be onboard with the episode.  Yup, this is where I went wrong.  As usual with this show, though, I enjoyed the jaunt through history and all of the sets, costumes, hair, lingo, etc. was done perfectly (again, as usual).  It was a visual feast for the eyes if nothing else.

I also enjoyed the continuation of Lilly's story.  Her scene with her father in the car is further proof that if given the right material, Kathryn Morris really shines.  They haven't done much with her character this season (other than this daddy story line and a brief romance with guest star Bobby Cannavale).  I'd like to see them write some cases that affect her emotionally like they used to during the show's first and second seasons.  CC is missing these sorts of scenes and it's hurting my connection to the character and thus, the show.  So, Cold Case may have lost its magical luster over the past few seasons, but it's still strong enough to keep me watching.  This episode gets a solid "good," so CC moves to 13-0-1 on the season.

Screencaps courtesy RichE


RichE said...

One of the better ones this season I thought.

The brush man started as an unknown. Was he just acting nice so he could take advantage (financially and the other way) of the bored housewives? Or was he genuinely a good bloke? Turns out he was willing to stand up for the oppressed. He even paid the price, twice in fact. Once with his liberty and ultimately with his life. I can't say I'd worked out the 'doer' too early, though recognising actor playing the 1967 version of Glenn did make him a prime candidate.

Kathryn did a good job in the scene with Lilly's father, but I'm always torn over the detective's personal stories. On the one hand it has always been a strength of the show that it concentrates on the story of the victim, putting aside all the science and action of other shows. However, there does need to be some personal stuff from the squad to keep many viewers watching week-to-week. Perhaps the flashbacks and multiple suspects don't leave enough time for it, so we only get brief sections each episode. One week it's Scotty/Frankie, the next it's Lilly/her father, maybe next time it's Vera/Toni. Sometimes I wish for more, but only if it is done well.

I hate to say it but perhaps we are getting to a point where the show needs brought to a close. However, I am going to require assurances that I can get a regular Kathryn fix elsewhere before such a drastic step is taken :-)


RichE said...

The next episode is on Feb 15th!?!?!?!?


RichE said...



Anonymous said...

I liked the Lilly/ Dad storyline; if anyone is going to help her through this is going to be him.

The show needs to improve, but it was number ten on the Nielsons this week. The case was weak, actually the last three were also. I do miss the older seasons; but still hope this season they can improve.

The character Norm, was like Boo Radley in " To Kill A mockingbird", how he was a recluse but wasn't a bad person at heart; just misunderstood.