Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 3 Episode 4

A Model Citizen

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Nov 11, 1994 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
34 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

A Model Citizen
A young man comes into the squad room and after getting their attention, tells the detectives that his brother has been shot. Pembleton is sued by the multiple personality serial killer, who states he violated her civil rights during interrogation; he is discouraged when the city agrees to settle out of court. Munch must attend an alcohol awareness seminar to meet a requirement for the bar. Lewis experiences "love at first sight" with a woman from the State Attorney's office who makes models of crime scenes, (for both professional and artistic purposes) but she has "love at first sight" when she sees Bayliss and he sees her. Later, they attend an art exhibition and have an unusual sexual encounter in her "bed." All is not well at the Felton household, when he returns home to a cleaned out house.moreless

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  • Bayliss goes on a date with a women Lewis is obsessed with, causing tension. Felton's wife appears to have left him for good. Pembleton is upset when he finds his new lawyer has settled with the serial killer, Wilgis, agreeing to pay her $200,000.moreless

    This episode has perhaps the greatest ending i have ever seen. All the detectives, (with the exception of Bayliss, Bolander and Howard) feel defeated, and are at possibly their lowest points of the series so far.

    Pembleton, who feels manipulated by a serial killer, is seen in a Church, a scene becoming much more common in the life of Pembleton.

    Lewis, already at rock bottom after hearing Bayliss slept with his "Goddess", receives even more bad news from Munch. Munch tells him he was banned from the alcohol awareness seminar. Lewis pulls out of the partnership, saying he wont be associated with Bayliss anymore.

    Munch got banned from the seminar after interrupting the instructor repeatedly, trying to impress a woman. Munch is left without the woman or his dream of owning a bar, when Lewis backs out.

    What seals the deal for one of the finest endings in Tv history is, the song "Hurt" by "Nine inch Nails" playing in the background when Felton enters his house. When Felton goes inside he finds his wife, kids and furniture gone. The only things left are his clothes and message written in lipstick on the bathroom mirror, reading "Good-bye". This message suits this sometimes freaky, emotional episode perfectly.

    * In this episode references to Crosetti's death are made, if this is true "Homicide: life on the street" may continue to be quality, but it will be forever changed, R.I.P Crosetti*moreless
  • The episode that changed my life

    This still remains the best television episode I have ever seen in my life. I can remember the first time I saw it, sometime around December 1993 and I remember sitting glued to my television through all of the reruns.

    I can't put it into words. I guess I discovered for the first time the absolute power music could have on the small screen (Hurt - NIN) and I fell absolutely into Felton's world as his world fell apart around him.

    If I had to choose the one pivotal television episode in my life, the one episode that pushed me towards a love of television (often to the detriment of my beloved books, music and films) then this would be it.

    This would be the television episode that changed my life.moreless
  • Didn't quite come off this time

    As part of ‘Homicide’s return to the airwaves, NBC insisted on sexier storylines and more life-affirming events. They got the sex that they anted in ‘A Model Citizen’ but the pleas for more life-affirming stories was something that they would not give. In fact, one can consider the Emma Zoole episodes as perhaps a tongue-in-cheek response to this. The story is racier, but it is filled with morbid humor.

    For my own part I never much cared for the character of Emma Zoole. She never seemed like a real character to me. Rather she seemed a caricature of what the NBC executives want. Not only that, it is hard for me to see what exactly Bayliss and Lewis saw in her. Yes, she was attractive but she was also grim, ill-tempered and had fetishes that I don’t think anyone really has. Indeed it is almost impossible to believe that Bayliss with his repressed personality would be attracted to someone so dark. Her visits to a museum where the art of killers is displayed seems like exactly the kind of thing that he would avoid. And I cannot imagine anyone being so hormone driven that they would willingly have sex in a coffin.

    Also rather uncharacteristic was Lewis’ unrequited love, but I have never been able to understand why he considered Bayliss a traitor for sleeping with Emma. If they had been going out, that would have been one thing but Emma turned him down. Bayliss wasn’t cheating on him no matter what he wants to believe. It’s even harder to believe that Lewis would be so upset over what happened that he would pull out of buying the Waterfront rather than be partners with him. I can believe Bayliss doing it out of guilt but not Meldrick.

    Though the story tends to focus on this triangle, the other characters are going through more interesting endeavor. When a non-existent complaint about a gun is lodged, Munch is annoyed and seems more focused on attending a seminar dealing with how to sell liquor responsibly. However, he and Howard eventually follow up add learn that a young man accidentally shooting his brother. This stirs some anger in the usually calm detective but neither attitude that he takes helps him. The detectives never get the gun out of the house, mainly because the family doesn’t seem to care.

    This leads to a moment of introspection for both detectives when they consider Crosetti’s suicide and the possibility of getting shot (which is eerily prescient of what will happen to Howard before the end of the season) In a rare act of symmetry we see a similar unsuccessful attempt by reporter-activist Sam Thorne who tries to get the detectives to help him with a Toys for Guns swap. Gee tries to tell Thorne that the detectives are already overworked but Thorne is not impressed, saying that they can do more. Thorne has problems with the cops and crime, both of which will lead to his death in the next episode.

    Simultaneously, Pembleton is going through even more problems. Annabella Wilgis has decided to sue the city for the supposed violations of her civil rights in the interrogation room. This would strike almost anyone as unmitigated gall to sue someone for that. But the department and the city walk on eggshells a lot of the time. It doesn’t help matters that one of the people subpoenaed is Megan Ruseert (on the hook because she was in command at the time) If Giardello had been called, he would have doubtless stood behind Frank but Russert blinks, saying that she thinks Pembleton went to far.

    When the city settles rather than deal with it, Pembleton, understandably pissed already, is angered and then depressed how his reputation would be effected he thought that he had done what he needed to get the truth. He is equally upset at how Wilgis manipulated him and how he has lost faith. He even tries to go back to church but his faith has been shattered.

    But by far the man who will be dealing with something wit ramifications that will last long past this episode is Beau Felton. Though he had vowed to try and work out his marriage whatever tightness Beth had has now snapped. Felton returns to his home to find it is literally gone.His wife has not just taken his family but also his furniture and possessions leaving empty rooms. Her only word on the subject is a message written on the mirror in lipstick ‘Goodbye’. (The scene where Felton breaks own while Nine Inch Nails plays ‘Hurt’ is one of Daniel Baldwin’s finest moments on the series) For the next third of the season, he will spend almost all his free time and some work trying to find his family. Simultaneously, he will begin a downward spiral that will have almost completely destroyed him by the end of the season.

    In many ways, ‘A Model Citizen’ is a raspberry to NBC demands for a different Homicide. True, there are no murders involved and one of the stories features a certain amount of sex, but the show has not really changed. It’s still dealing with deep emotional issues and problems that can’t be solved in a single episode. Even Tim s affair with Emma gets ridiculed by the squad (the result of Bayliss confessing his indiscretion to Felton). It’s not great TV and it does tend to wear on you after a few viewings but its not that bad.

    My score: 6.8

Andre Braugher

Andre Braugher

Det. Frank Pembleton (seasons 1-6, TVM)

Kyle Secor

Kyle Secor

Tim Bayliss

Richard Belzer

Richard Belzer

Det. John Munch

Ned Beatty

Ned Beatty

Stan Bolander (Seasons 1-3)

Daniel Baldwin

Daniel Baldwin

Beau Felton (Seasons 1-3, recurring subsequently, TVM)

Isabella Hofmann

Isabella Hofmann

Megan Russert (Seasons 3-4, recurring otherwise)

Joe Morton

Joe Morton

Sam Thorne

Guest Star

Laurie Kennedy

Laurie Kennedy

Felicity Weaver

Guest Star

Lauren Tom

Lauren Tom

Emma Zoole

Guest Star

Michael Willis

Michael Willis

Darin Russom

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • I don't believe that last goof was a goof. Gee says that he feels that Pembleton is worth the $100,000 the city payed for him. I'm sure that the total cost was $200,000, but the suit was filed against Pembleton AND Megan Russert. I believe Gee assumes that the city payed $100,000 for Pembleton and $100,000 for Russert. So it would make sense why he only includes half the settlement when he talks to Frank in the Box.

    • After the preliminary hearing, Weaver says that the city will settle Wilgis' lawsuit for $200,000. However, later in the squadroom, Gee tells Pembleton that the city feels it is worth $100,000 to clear up the suit and keep him on the job.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Lennox Young: "My brother got shot."
      Munch: "But all you heard was a bang?"
      Lennox: "I got ears like a dog."
      Munch: "And you've been using us like fire hydrants."

  • NOTES (2)

    • Crosetti is said to have died, the cause not mentioned. However, production code (pc:) #304 "Crosetti" was shown at a later date.

    • Music in this episode: Philip Keveren "Introspection" alb: Introspection; Nine Inch Nails "Hurt" alb: The Downward Spiral; The Lounge Lizards' "Bob the Bob" alb: Voice of Chunk.