Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 3 Episode 8

All Through the House

2
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Dec 16, 1994 on NBC
8.4
out of 10
User Rating
33 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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All Through the House
AIRED:
Munch spreads his usual Christmas cheer. Russert, who misses detective work, joins Meldrick on an investigation into the murder of a material witness, when she discovers she knows something about the victim's case. Munch and Bolander investigate the death of a man in a Santa Claus suit and Munch spends the evening with whom they believe is the victim's son. Beau buys Christmas presents for the kids, although he still doesn't know where Beth and the kids are. Bayliss searches the station in search of a game of hearts.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Bolander and Munch investigate the death of a Salvation Army Santa. Bayliss tries to hustle his fellow detectives in a game of hearts. Lewis pairs up with Russert to investigate the death of a key witness in a drug trial.moreless

    8.7
    This episode is well done and the Christmas spirit can be felt, even when investigating murders. Lewis says Merry Christmas to just about everyone he sees and Munch answers the phone "Ho Ho Homicide".



    The relationship between Munch and the Salvation Army Santa's son, Fidel is great. Munch seemingly becomes the boys dad for a night and can even be seen taking some rather embarrassing swings in a batting cage . You can see alot of Munch in this kid, who criticizes Munch and even tells him he has the face of a bad guy, as Munch checks himself out in a mirror.



    This is one of the few episodes where Bolander is on top of the world, hanging ornaments and humming Christmas carols.moreless
  • Christmas, ho-ho-Homicide style

    9.0
    Christmas themed episodes are most commonly done on sitcoms. Drama’s rarely do it because the holiday feelings of good cheer conflict with the serious stories that they are trying to tell. Occasionally, we will see Christmas decorations around the office (like at NYPD Blue or The Practice) but that’s all that we get. There are some exceptions (‘ER’ and ‘The West Wing’ have done excellent holiday themed episodes without compromising the integrity of the drama) but mostly it doesn’t quite mesh.



    ‘Homicide’ didn’t get a chance to do its first Christmas-themed show until its third season (not surprising, because both season began in January))Though the show would run four more years, they would only do one more Christmas episode. It is hard to figure out why because ‘All Through The House’ features some truly brilliant and entertaining moments that merge the holidays with the subject of the show.



    The squad has the night shift on Christmas Eve, so understandably nobody is particularly happy. Some have more reason to be upset than others (Felton is the most obvious example) while others are just upset for being upset. Munch is particularly depressed about the holiday (though the obvious reason why is never mentioned) but its hard to tell this kind of maudlin from the other fits. It is therefore somewhat fitting that he and Bolander get one of the nights more problematic calls.



    A Salvation Army Santa is found dead and the two detectives have the responsibility of finding his son and telling him the news. Getting in the house is hard enough (he demands to see a badges, driver’s license and a major credit card) but breaking the news is for Munch unusually difficult. It doesn’t help matters that Bolander disappears supposedly to get Family Services, leaving the detective alone.. It is rare to see Munch unsettled and nervous, and rarer still for him to meet someone who seems able to flummox him. Munch slowly begins to get the picture of the boys father, a disappointing drunk who has never been able to rise very high. Fidel, like most boys, has a hero worship for his father even though he knows his flaws very well. This may be part of the reason that Munch has such a great deal of problem giving him the news even letting Fidel take him to a bar/amusement center that his father hangs out at. This leads to a very funny scene in which we see Munch’s pathetic attempts to hit a baseball. But it also leads to a moment when we see that the detectives has very serious issues with his self-esteem when he lets Fidel’s comments on this get to him.



    The sequence with the equivalent of a Christmas miracle when we learn that the boys father is still alive. He got drunk, fell asleep and a local bully took the Santa suit in order to make money, which resulted in the bully getting killed. Not a happy story, but as close to a good thing that you will find on the job.



    This is pretty funny stuff, but not every Christmas can be as bright. Meldrick Lewis (assisted by Lieutenant Russert, who tags a long because the case is related to a murder on her shift) catches the burning death of a young woman who was involved in drugs and was witness in the murder case of a drug dealer. It therefore comes as something of a shock when we find out that she came from money and a higher social caste. When we see the lodgings and servants that her mother has, we wonder how could things have gone so wrong. Part of this is because MRs. Freeman is a very restrained person; when she learns of her daughters death, she hides it by discussing the Christmas decorations. She can not seem to muster up the reserves to mourn. It is not until she breaks some of the Christmas decorations that she manages a release, though we do not see her break down. In two scenes, Nancy Marchand does a brilliant job making this woman come alive.



    There are even more ironies to come. It turns out that it was not any associate of the drug dealer who murdered Whitney Freeman, it was his girlfriend . She did it because she needed the father of her children to be home. When we visit the poorer family’s house we get a nice contrast with Freeman’s. One is rich and grand; the other is poor and crowded. One is highbrow and emotionally sterile; the other is poor but cheerful. But despite the homes differences, both homes have their holidays ruined.



    We get some insight into Lewis and Russert and their lives. We see that Lewis is still reeling from Crosetti’s suicide, noticing problems that were present in their friendship that he didn’t see. But we also get some rare insight into Russert. Her husband, a very boring accountant, died around this time of year, and the presence of his well-meaning parents means she can not escape her memories. This insight into her character makes up for the fact that this is not the kind of thing that a shift commander who would do and seems more of a plot device.



    In a world where these grim things happen, you need to seize on to whatever light that you can. Felton wraps presents for his kids even though he has no idea where they are. Pembleton holds a lecture on the history of the Christmas tree. Gee’s cleans out his desk and tries to figre out whose watch he has found in IT Bayliss tries to liven up the squad by engaging someone in a game of Hearts. Eventually, he chooses Gee to try and separate him from his money. What he doesn’t know (and finds out too late) is that Gee is a card shark of the highest order and manages to scheme the squad out of their money. That’s one way to spend the time.



    This is a fairly audacious show. There are some elements of ‘All Through The House’ that is Christmas-themed but almost all of the themes are downbeat and blood tinged. We do not generally spend holidays in the project homes or crackhouses. Even the morally upright seem not to be having a good time (as is evidence by Ed Danvers’ rather pathetic Christmas)

    This is quirky, unsettling and more than a little depressing. It is also ‘Homicide in its glory.

    My score:9

    moreless
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)

Nancy Marchand

Nancy Marchand

Lorraine Freeman

Guest Star

Ryan Todd

Ryan Todd

Fidel MacGaffin

Guest Star

Kevin Cameron

Kevin Cameron

Desmond

Guest Star

Zeljko Ivanek

Zeljko Ivanek

ASA Ed Danvers

Recurring Role

Beau James

Beau James

Det. Willard Higby

Recurring Role

Harlee McBride

Harlee McBride

Dr. Alyssa Dyer

Recurring Role

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