Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 1 Episode 6

A Dog and Pony Show

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Mar 10, 1993 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
35 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

A Dog and Pony Show
Gee must help an old friend get used to his retirement. In their first case following the unsolved Adena Watson case, Bayliss and Pembleton check out the death of a police dog. Howard and Felton track down a drug dealer that is wanted for a torture / murder. Crosetti continues to help Chris deal with his recovery and finds out his wife is pregnant. Bolander meets Carol's son who later accompanies him to a crime scene.moreless

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  • Giardello and Scinta try to get used to Scinta's retirement. Pembleton and Bayliss investigate the death of a police dog. Howard and Felton investigate a shooting / stabbing, involving drugs. Bolander shows the son of his lady friend a crime scene.moreless

    " A Dog and Pony show" wont be remembered as one of the best "Homicide:life on the street" episodes, but it is well done none the less.

    In this episode we see a more relaxed Giardello, as a calming voice for his longtime friend, Scinta. In helping Scinta get used to his recent retirement, he shares memories as well as drinks with his pal of many years.

    The role of Dr.Blythe's son is well done and it brings out some of the best of the Bolander character, it also gives him more reason to hide from Blythe.. if he wants to. Munch, although not seen much in this episode is also great, he takes a liking to Blythe's son who seems to grill Bolander. Blythe's son asks Bolander some of the same questions you would expect Munch to ask, and Munch can be seen laughing when Bolander is put on the spot.moreless
  • This one is no dog

    After the draining and harrowing experience of the last episode, Homicide could only become lighter and this episode features some of the funniest moments that the show would ever do. However, this episode would be difficult if not impossible to appreciate if this was the first one that you had seen. Indeed, a new viewer would be lost in all of the stories that the episode deals with. Bayliss is still getting past the Adena Watson case (or at least being able to work around it), Stanley Bolander is still carrying on with his awkward relationship with Medical Examiner Carol Blythe, the retirement of the second shift lieutenant will not be resolved until the third season, and Chris Thorman is still recovering from the shooting. Yet all of these stories add to the richness of what would make the episode unique.

    In addition to all this, we get a great deal of insight into many of the characters. Coming to the forefront is Al Giardello. We get a sense of his friendship with Jim Scinta, a man who was probably forced into retirement by the bosses. During their interactions, we get are first real insights into Giardello’s heritage (Italian-American and African-American) as well as the neighborhood where he grew up. He seems to be really close with Sciunta, but as the former shift commander notes, this relationship will not last now that he has retired (though the picture of the two men together will remain on Gee’s desk for the run of the series).

    We also get a sense that even though a character’s arc may have ended, that doesn’t end the characters story. Even though Chris Thormanns shooter was apprehended, Crosetti has not forgotten his friend. Thormann is out of the hospital but still recoverin. In a very effective scene, Crosetti helps clean up his friend after he has an accident in his bed. We also get a good look at how Thormann feels about being shot, and about how his wife is a dapting-=- along with the bittersweet miracle of Eva Thormann’s pregnancy. Lee Tergesen and Edie Falco were relative unkowns at the time of the series, but we can see the potential in both actors for greatness. (Tergesen would play a lead role on Tom Fontana’s next series, Oz and Edie Falco was catapulted to superstardom for her role as Carmela on The Sopranos). And Fontana would not forget these characters coming back to visit them in the shows third and fifth seasons.

    This episode also shows how the characters get back into the rotation after back-to-back red balls. Pembleton and Bayliss have the most fun when their case turns out to be a dog, literally. A police dog named Jake has been found dead and according to municipal code, it is entitled to the same investigation as any other human cop. Both detectives know that this case is absurd (the scene where they question the dog’s trainer about whether Jake had enemies is hysterical) but eventually the two of them throw themselves into the effort and do find out who killed the dog. Like many human murders, this is a case of mistaken identity; an animal control employee accidentally gassed the dog thinking that it was a stray. This also leads to a very amusing sequence when the two detectives spar over the merits of various breeds of dogs (which eventually leads to a poignant moment)

    Of course, a murder doesn’t have to be absurd to have humorous elements. Howard and Felton are called into investigate the murder of Ida Mae Keene, a woman drug dealers who was tortured and killed with strange bullets. This murder is later linked to a crime that Detective Lewis is investigating. (Like many of the first seasons crimes, it has its origins in Simon’s book)The main suspect is Pony Johnson, a Baltimore ‘kingpin’ who lives a complex lifestyle. (He proudly admits to Howard that he has a wife, a mistress and a girlfriend--- all the while flirting with her.) We then meet his girlfriend and his alibi, Latonya a woman trying to pose as upper class while clearly being a pretender.

    This is all very amusing but it also features some very serious themes. One of them is our first insight into the war on drugs. Pony owns up to being a drug dealer, claiming that it is because of the state of the economy and everything else, he isn’t scared of jail. We will get more insight into the drug underworld (some of it subtle; some not so ) but this is our first real look at how bad things can be in Baltimore.

    Also very clear is the levels of pain and grief that comes to those who suffer a loss. When Clarice Keene learns of her mother’s death, we witness a very rare explosion of grief as she witnesses her mother being zipped into a body bag. This is in contrast to the reaction of William Lyness whe he finally admits his culpability in the death of his mother (a crime in which he gave the killer the bullets, drove him to his house, and waited outside while he tortured and killed her). Eventually we get to see his anguish and pain over what he has done, but we feel less sympathy for him considering his role in the crime.) As Howard says before exiting the interrogation room, we don’t think that he is entitled to his tears.

    Family matters of another kind are witnessed when Dr. Blythe’s son goes on a ridealong with Bolander and Munch. From the start its pretty clear that Danny Blythe is a troublemaker. He seems to be stoned throughout the meeting, he takes a very cavalier attitude towards murder (though perhaps considering his parents that’s too be expected) and he wants to hear all the details of Bolander and his mother’s sex life (something Munch is curious about as well.) This is a very funny sequence. We are also introduced to another manifestation of Munch’s humor when he reads stories about a nun winning the lottery and a man riding a horse who was arrested under Kentucky’s drunk driving laws--- slices of Americana that will be grist for Munch’s mill.

    ‘A Dog and Pony Show’ is too insular an episode with too many continuing storylines to be considered brilliant. But it features some of the funniest moments of the season along with some very fine dramatic work (particularly by Melissa Leo and Jon Poltito) The show is beginning to run smoothly though not in ac onvential way.

    My score: 8.5

Michael Constantine

Michael Constantine

Jim Scinta

Guest Star

Stivi Paskoski

Stivi Paskoski

Danny Blythe

Guest Star

Joy Ehrlich

Joy Ehrlich

Penny Babcock

Guest Star

Edie Falco

Edie Falco

Eva Thormann

Recurring Role

Wendy Hughes

Wendy Hughes

Dr. Carol Blythe

Recurring Role

Lee Tergesen

Lee Tergesen

Off. Chris Thormann

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Munch: How many times did you say he was hit?
      Bolander: Twice. Once in the head, once in the back. So far.
      Munch: There's a good possibility, a very good possibility that both wounds were caused by a single bullet.
      Danny: Nice try Munch.
      Munch: It worked for the Warren Commission.

    • Pembleton: Jake, Jake what kind of name is that for a dog, especially a police dog.
      Bayliss: No, Jake is a good name. It's basic, solid, easy name for a dog to respond to.
      Pembleton: No, no, no a dog should be named Rex.
      Bayliss: Rex, oh that's original. You know I had an Irish setter one time her name was Molly.
      Pembleton: Haha, what a stupid dog. Irish setter.
      Bayliss: Molly was a beautiful dog.
      Pembleton: No, no don't get me wrong Irish setters are nice to look at but psycho. They're very flighty. Nothing but red head screwballs. The I Luv Lucy of the dog world.
      Bayliss: What would you know about my dog Molly. What are you, you're from New York City so you're an expert on everything and anything.
      Pembleton: I know my dogs, Irish setters are not smart dogs, to much inbredding. Brains the size of a kidney bean.
      Bayliss: Let me guess what kind of a dog you had, you has a pit bull, right? Yeah, you like millions of other original thinking New Yorkers. Pit bulls, that's the best choice for you all, yeah. They're a bunch of over weight, phirannals with bad hairdos. That is New York in a nutshell innit?
      Pembleton: I owned a Commondore. You with that Molly, you wouldn't have a clue would you.
      Bayliss: You had a Commondore. One of them foul smelling sheep dogs from Hungary. You want me to be impressed?
      Pembleton: Well compaired with an Irish setter my dog is a genius, an Enstein.
      Bayliss: Genius, and this geniuses name was Rex.
      Pembleton: Rex enjoyed city living very much. Of course when he bit the postman my parents put him to sleep.

    • Pembleton: Life would be perfect, if it was just kids and dogs.

  • NOTES (0)