Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 6 Episode 9

Closet Cases

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Aired Friday 10:00 PM Jan 02, 1998 on NBC
8.8
out of 10
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27 votes
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Episode Summary

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Closet Cases
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The semi-nude body of a man is found in a dumpster outside of a restaurant. Bayliss returns Cox a pair of her earrings that she'd left at his place the night before. Disturbed by him doing that in public and while at a crime scene, she suggests they take some time off, instead they decide to break it off. The owners of the restaurant thinks that this murder might be tied to another murder (one that Munch is working). Lewis confronts Kellerman about the Mahoney videotape and the need to let Stivers know that she is also "in the soup." Lewis tells Stivers about the videotape, so she demands a meeting with Kellerman. Falsone confronts his ex-wife about getting to see his son more often; however, they argue and he plans to pursue getting joint custody. Kellerman decides that he will try to force Georgia Rae's hand, since he doesn't plan on doing anything corrupt for her anyway. Kellerman tells Georgia Rae that she can do whatever she wants with the videotape, he doesn't care. Bayliss decides he is going to take Chris up on his dinner invitation. Georgia Rae sends Kellerman a videotape, wherein she tells him that there was no security videotape; she was testing him to discover if he did murder her brother. Now that she is convinced he did, she promises retribution.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A crossroads for Bayliss and the series

    7.9
    The lives of the characters on Homicide took all kinds of twists and turns over the series seven-year run. But the one that caused the biggest uproar began with the central story in ‘Closet Cases’. The reason that it invoked the uproar was not only because of the controversy of the subject but because it involved Homicide’s erstwhile center, Tim Bayliss.



    The story begins with the severe beating of a homosexual man in the dumpster behind a gay bar. Bayliss and Pembleton are called in. This isn’t the first gay-bashing episode the series has explored--- recall Season 4’s ‘Hate Crimes’, in which Bayliss seemed almost homophobic in his attitude towards the victim. Now we know Bayliss has explored his sexuality in strange ways--- his visiting strip clubs in a black leather jacket in ‘A Many Splendored Thing’ and his relationship with the morbid Emma Zoole--- but none of this brought him anything that could be considered happiness. In addition, by the end of the teaser, he has just ended his three-week relationship with Julianna Cox. This kind of thing would cause any man to start reflecting on his life.



    Then Bayliss meets Chris Rawls, the owner of the nightclub where the body was found. Rawls is the antithesis of the typical television portrayal of homosexuals (at least pre-1997). He is literate, subdued, witty and compassionate, most of which we don’t see in a lot of portrayals of gays. When the save is resolved Bayliss decided to have dinner with Rawls, something which is not unprecedented given Tim’s history. Frank, however, is floored by this. He has noted that Bayliss has improved in regard to homosexuality in the past couple of years, but that doesn’t mean he expected Tim to take a walk on the wild side. (Tim must sense that his partner is vaguely uncomfortable with this; though he will continue exploring his sexuality over the last two seasons of Homicide, he will do most of it when Frank is no longer around.)



    Most shows would be content to have one character make a potentially life-changing decision in an episode. But lest we forget Georgia Raw Mahoney is still out on the street and she appears to have Kellerman by the short hairs. Stivers learns about the possibility of a tape from Meldrick, and needless to say, she is incredibly angry. Stivers has been the most conscience stricken of the three detectives and she pushes for a meeting between the three detectives that’s about four episodes overdue. The meeting between them is very unpleasant but when it ends the three of them stand united--- they will not be blackmailed by Luther’s sister. This is the high point in their union, relationship between all three detectives are about to plummet.



    Kellerman confronts Georgia Rae and in a move that borders on suicidal, calls her bluff, saying that killing her brother is worth his badge. Georgia Rae ponders this, then near the episode sends Mike her response--- via videotape. (Hot in here, or is it just me?) On the tape, she admits that the existence of the videotape was a bluff but that she is now certainly that she killed Luther with malice of forethought and that she has every intention of wreaking revenge on him. And her revenge will not be as simple as a bullet between the eyes. It’s going to be one that will shake the squad to its foundation.



    If all this angst isn’t enough we have Falsone trying to negotiate a better custody agreement of his son with his ex-wife. Unfortunately, Janine is as determined to make sure that he does not change his custody arrangement, making it clear that there will be a long bitter fight.



    All this personal tension going on, you’d almost forget that there had actually been a murder. The beating of Alan Costello leads Bayliss and Pembleton into the gay sections of Baltimore, investigating both the nightclubs and the male hustlers that populate the city. It is eventually revealed that the killer was a gay prostitute that Costello had tried to ‘help’ and was repaid by being bludgeoned to death. This prostitute killed him as an apparent denial of his own homosexuality, and he shows disdain not only of his victim but of Bayliss as well. We see both sides of the homosexual fence--- the civilized, only slightly ostentatious atmosphere of the gay clubs as well as the anger and frustration of the community, and the general disdain of law enforcement for homosexuals. The murderer was the suspect of a similar killing in San Francisco but when he was flagged by a Baltimore cop, California refused to extradite him. More telling is the attitude of Missing Persons (in the form of the woefully inadequate Detective Higby, on another rotation from Homicide) when they learn that the man he’s helping look for is a ‘corn muffin ‘. NBC had a lot of problems with this episode, obstensibly because of the relationship between Bayliss and Rawls. However, it seems equally likely that the network was afraid of isolating viewers by showing cops with such homophobic attitudes. This is a controversial issue and Homicide doesn’t run from them.



    ‘Closet Cases’ is an interesting episode for many reasons, yet it doesn’t register as one of the better episodes of Homicide. (Though it must have inspired more fanfiction then any other episode of the series.) Mainly its because it tries to do much and therefore seems a little overloaded. There’s good acting by Secor and Diamond and fine work by Peter Gallagher as Chris Rawls but ultimately the episode seems somewhat less than the sum of its parts. It’s good, but we’ve come to expect more from Homicide, a lot more.

    My score: 8

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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)

Peter Gallagher

Peter Gallagher

Chris Rawls

Guest Star

Hazelle Goodman

Hazelle Goodman

Georgia Rae Mahoney

Guest Star

Brian Van Holt

Brian Van Holt

Peter Fields

Guest Star

Toni Lewis

Toni Lewis

Terri Stivers

Recurring Role

Monica Trombetta

Monica Trombetta

Janine

Recurring Role

William Cote

William Cote

Frank Keane

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Pembleton: Ok, let me get this straight. As of yesterday you're sleeping with Julianna Cox and now all of a sudden today you're going on dates with a gay man, is that it?
      Bayliss: I'm not gay if that's what you're asking.
      Pembleton: Then what you doing?
      Bayliss: I don't know. I mean, I don't know. I'm just trying to figure it all out. I don't know if you've noticed this Frank but I haven't really been happy for a long time. So, I'm going to have dinner with Chris Rawls. Who I find intelligent and funny and we're gonna drink some wine and we're gonna laugh, talk, enjoy ourselves. Be happy. Is there something wrong with that, huh?
      Pembleton: No.
      Bayliss: I don't think so either.

    • Bayliss: Alan and Sam were together for twelve years, that's longer than most marriages I know.
      Pembleton: Marriage is not a guarantee, if anything, longevity, happiness.
      Bayliss: Twelve years. I never even dated anybody half that long.
      Pembleton: You haven't met the right woman.
      Bayliss: You know what, sometimes I think that these guys have got an interesting take on the whole relationship thing.
      Pembleton: These guys? Gay guys?
      Bayliss: I mean right off the bat, two guys they got a lot in common. They know what it's like to wake up in the morning as a guy. They got the same anatomy, same hormones, they take a leak, they shower, they wash the same body. Now I can imagine waking up with a woman but I can't imagine waking up as a woman.
      Pembleton: Well isn't that the point?
      Bayliss: Same with the conversations see. They'd be easier, they'd be more direct, just like you and me right now.
      Pembleton: Just like you and me what?
      Bayliss: Just like the conversation that you and me we're having right here, and we're talking about, we're sharing with each other, we're, we're sharing our thoughts with each other Frank. Now with a woman you're gonna have to censor yourself, you gotta censor yourself, all the time your worrying about that no matter what you say she's going to be taking it all the wrong way.
      Pembleton: Hang, hang on. Mary and I talk about what's on our minds all the time. See it's the individuals, not gender.
      Bayliss: Yeah, but can you and Mary borrow each others clothes? Two men living together you can borrow that other guys clothes.
      Pembleton: So you're done right, you're done?
      Bayliss: I'm just speaking my mind here, Frank. I can do that with you, because you are a man.
      Pembleton: Well pretend I'm a woman that way you can keep your thoughts to yourself, ok?

  • NOTES (2)

    • A building that Howard in Baltimore lives in was also used for this episode. This time instead of hauling all the equipment up to the third floor, like they did for "I've Got a Secret," the production team turned a hallway in a nice respectable building into a sleazy dive.

    • Music in this episode: Patti Labelle "New Attitude" alb: Patti Labelle.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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