Common Law: The Dating Game

Common Law S01E03: “Soul Mates”

The perils of online dating provided the backdrop for Common Law’s third episode and rather than subject viewers to a lecture about the internet’s magical ability to make people appear more desirable in the dating game than they may actually be, “Soul Mates” was actually fairly reasonable and realistic about the whole thing. Online dating isn’t just for socially awkward geeks and creepy dudes who live in their moms’ basement and I know that for a fact. One of my absolute besties turned to dating sites for a little while when the traditional avenues didn’t work and you know what? She had relationshipswith some cool guys. Relationships—sometimes lasting years. No wham-bam-thank-you-ma’ams. And no dead-in-a-ditches either. Those relationships ran their courses and fizzled out, just like any other. The only difference between her reject pile and mine was the origin of our potential soul mates.

Of course, there IS a certain element of danger to meeting up with a stranger from the untamed wilderness of the internet, and that’s where detectives Marks and Mitchell came in when the well-dressed corpse of Miss Darby Jetson turned up near a tennis court after one of her dates.

Running parallel to the case of Darby’s murder, Wes struggled to distance himself from his ex-wife, Alex. For a divorced couple, they seemed to get along swimmingly, which was great and all, except that their generally positive relationship made it hard for Wes to fully grasp the concept that they were no longer an item. He still owned half of the house. He came over to tend the lawn, chase raccoons out of the garage, and deal with the carnage left behind. And of course, Alex regularly reminded him that there was a nice lawyering gig waiting for him at his old firm and if she’d totally consider getting back with him...if he quit the force.

Travis knocked Wes in therapy for doting on his ex like the poor delusional sap that he is. I love that everyone picks on the tough guy during their group sessions and I love that we see the partners working with the same couples week in and week out. Though they don’t have names (yet) they certainly have personalities. I think I’m growing rather attached to those anonymous and hilarious background couples...especially when Travis eggs them on in tormenting Wes.

And yet, for all the picking that Travis does and the entire premise of the series (that these two can’t stand one another) Travis was quick to hide Alex’s Dating Salon profile from Wes when they scanned the site for clues to Darby’s killer. See! Successful lawyer types use online dating services too! However, the existence of Alex’s profile, and her admission that she had gone on previous dates with guys from the site, was quite a blow to Wes’s carefully guarded hope that they would eventually work out their issues. It was telling to see Travis try to protect Wes from that potential disappointment and it makes me eager to find out exactly what happened to drive these two apart. They must have been close at one time for Travis to know his partner so well, and it leads me to think that whatever happened, it affected Wes more. Travis always seems to be more open to working on their relationship, and despite their tumultuous partnership, he has consistently had Wes’s back, both professionally and privately.

Over the course of the investigation, Travis and Wes learned that Darby dated three men from Dating Salon before her murder. There were some amusing moments as we learned that Darby’s three suitors weren’t exactly everything their profiles claimed they were—one guy used a photograph from a decade earlier on his profile and another one only had the profile because his mom set it up for him, complete with a profile picture of a supremely hot male model stolen from Google Images. And yet, it was the one who was the least honest in his profile, Paul the Pot Dealer, who hit it off the best with Darby and who, actually, didn’t kill her. It was the suave race-car driver, Ted, who decided to keep Kendall quiet when he learned that she did background checks on all of her potential soul mates and knew about his past exploits as a professional getaway car driver. Nice car chase.

After Darby’s case was wrapped, Travis tried to help a bro out by setting Wes up with a Dating Salon profile of his own. Wes had scoffed at the idea of online dating for pretty much the entire episode, and put up some obligatory grumping at Travis’s “gift,” but after his partner left, Wes shrugged and clicked on the profiles that the site had deemed most compatible with his.

A few names down from the top of the page was Alex’s “LawGal” handle.

Case Notes and Follow-Up Questions

– Travis found himself lovestruck by Kendall, a new forensics geek and hardcore online gamer. Girl Gamers FTW! She totally kicked his ass on Apocalypse Moon, too. Man, this episode was all about poking at internet stereotypes. I liked it. And I liked Kendall. Hopefully Travis won’t tick her off too soon. I give them two episodes of blissful, drama-free dating. Maybe three?

– There was a really tender, quiet moment between Captain Mike and Elise, the therapist. He went to her for guidance, suspecting that his wife was cheating on him based purely on a receipt he found in their car. Their conversation didn’t give us a definite answer, but heavily implied that Helen was probably faithful and Mike was projecting his own lack of self-worth on her. Aww. Captain Mike is like a big angry teddy bear. Who wants to see more Mike? I sure do.

– Wes stalked one of Alex’s Dating Salon candidates, partially out of fear based on the circumstances of Darby’s murder, but mostly because of his own unresolved issues with their relationship. Poor Tango Phil, getting busted by the “Dating Salon Police” like that. Who knew online dating sites had their own police forces?

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