Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 6 Episode 3

Blood Ties (3)

1
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Oct 31, 1997 on NBC
8.7
out of 10
User Rating
24 votes
1

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Blood Ties (3)
AIRED:
The Wilsons go on television to offer a reward. The newspapers are making the Homicide unit look bad and Barnfather wants quick resolution to the case. The man (and his wife) who gave up Junior Bunk are murdered; Falsone and Lewis investigate. The only survivor, their young son, is brought in to find out what he remembers. His memories-- and a recorded phone message-- lead Stivers to believe a former member of the Narcotics unit is involved. The officer cops to a deal that implicates Georgia Rae Mahoney, though Giardella doesn't want to pursue that yet. Falsone's questioning of the Mahoney shooting leads Cox to doubt her actions at the time of the investigation. Incriminating evidence leads the detectives to Hal Wilson being their prime suspect. Frank goes to interview Felix and Hal Wilson; son and father confront some long-standing issues. Hal's confession is inadmissible in court, the Wilsons leave the Baltimore area, and the case remains officially open.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Endings familiar though it plays to its own drummer

    8.4
    And so the ‘Blood Ties’ storyline comes to an end with a solution that some of us probably saw coming. The investigation into Melia Brierre’s murder has only taken three days, according to the show’s calendar, but it seems that took a bit of work to get to where we are now.



    Maybe it’s because Frank has been unusually obstinate in his belief that the Wilson family was not responsible for Melia’s death. It’s clear that he has been blindsided by the accomplishments of the Wilson’s and doesn’t want to believe they’re guilty. This is very human behavior, which probably surprised fans who had come to view Pembleton as a ‘supercop’. But Frank is enough of a person so that when he realizes his error, he is willing to pursue the truth to the end and damn the cost.



    So when a search of the Wilson household reveals a cache of love-letters by Hal to Melia, he moves in, albeit in a more subtle fashion then what he normally get from Frank. (Felix Wilson allows him to question Hal by saying that they will answer questions only if he doesn’t read them their Miranda rights. This seems more of a plot device than we usually get, but we forgive the writers because of the scene which follows). The truth comes out—Hal was in love with Melia, and three days ago he returned home to see her walking out of her father’s room. Angry, he threatened to reveal the affair to his mother. The night of the benefit Melia came to the hotel to beg him not to and in a fury he slammed her head against the wall.



    Essentially what we have is a variation on an old story. The major variable is that the Wilson’s are black. But even learning of his sons actions Felix Wilson goes to extreme lengths to protect his son. He doesn’t even have to try that hard. There is no physical evidence, the love letters aren’t damaging enough, and the confession is inadmissible. Hal Wilson walks away, literally. The next day the Wilson’s begin the process of leaving Baltimore, their good work for the city forgotten, the family in shambles. Like many Homicides (especially the multi-part arcs) we get a resolution but there is no justice.



    What remains is the characters reaction and we get a good measure of that. Braugher shows that he can still bring home the bacon even when he underplays thins as he does here. We also get something even rarer. When the case is finished, Ballard makes an effort to make peace with Frank for all the head-butting they did over the case. Frank concedes that Ballard’s instincts were correct while his were not, an action akin to the Vatican admitting the infallibility of the Pope. We also see some fine work by Yaphet Kotto. For Giardello, this case is a lot harder as he watches a life-long friendship disintegrate and we can see the pain. But in the end, he shows he’s pure police. When Regina Wilson confides she should have asked for help, he admits that he would have been wrong to give it to her. The Wilson have perpetuated a miscarriage of justice; this supersedes all the good work they have done in the past.



    Past actions also come back to haunt another investigation. Wilkie Collins, the drug supplier who gave up Junior Bunk to Falsone and Lewis two days ago, is murdered along with his wife. The killer left someone behind, though--- the Collins’ son. Again the spotlight shifts to Falsone, as he gently tries to learn what the child saw--- or more appropriately, what he heard. And it’s a honey. The killer is a former narcotics detective (one we met very briefly in ‘The Damage Done’ two seasons ago) who has been on the Mahoney payroll for years. Again we see the reach of the Mahoney family. Georgia Rae has been in pre-trial lock up for the past few days, yet somehow managed to call in a hit from jail. Unfortunately, despite Gee’s assurance that Georgia isn’t going any where, she hasn’t yet begun to work her poison on the squad.



    The Mahoney shooting continues to have ripples. Now Luther’s autopsy is troubling Cox as she thinks she was influenced by the fact that she was sleeping with Kellerman at the time. When she floats this question by her ex, he gets incredibly nasty and its clearly unnerving for her.



    This is a good but not brilliant conclusion to the story arc. For one thing, the ending of the Brierre investigation is rather weak. For another, the writers continue to focus more on some characters than others. Though Gharty and Bayliss are investigating the Wilson’s, they barely make an impression and except for one scene we don’t see Munch and Kellerman at all. The problem with balance continues to manifest itself.



    Because of the fine performances by Braugher and Seda, as well as some excellent turns by James Earl Jones and Jeffrey Wright, ‘Blood Ties, Part Three’ is a good episode. The acting is good enough to get past the fact that this we’ve seen this kind of story done on other police dramas (though not with this particular angle). It was a good arc, but considering how Homicide handled to other three-part storylines we’ve come to expect a bit more from them.

    My score: 8.4

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Andre Braugher

Andre Braugher

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

Kyle Secor

Kyle Secor

Tim Bayliss

Richard Belzer

Richard Belzer

Det. John Munch

Michelle Forbes

Michelle Forbes

Dr. Julianna Cox, CME (1996-1998)

Reed Diamond

Reed Diamond

Det. Mike Kellerman (seasons 4-6)

Peter Gerety

Peter Gerety

Stu Gharty (Seasons 6-7, recurring previously, TVM)

James Earl Jones

James Earl Jones

Felix Wilson

Guest Star

Lynne Thigpen

Lynne Thigpen

Regina Wilson

Guest Star

Ellen Bethea

Ellen Bethea

Thea Wilson

Guest Star

Zeljko Ivanek

Zeljko Ivanek

ASA Ed Danvers

Recurring Role

Toni Lewis

Toni Lewis

Terri Stivers

Recurring Role

Ami Brabson

Ami Brabson

Mary Pembleton

Recurring Role

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