Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 5 Episode 9

Control

0
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Dec 06, 1996 on NBC
8.5
out of 10
User Rating
26 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Control
AIRED:
Pembleton waits with anticipation for the phone to ring. It does and with Bayliss as the primary, they proceed to investigate the triple murder of a divorced woman and her children. Kellerman asks Brodie not to return to the boat. Lewis and Munch get a homicide that they can track back to Luther Mahoney. Bayliss and Pembleton disagree on who the primary suspect is in the murder. Mahoney's nephew wants to remain "monogamous" in implicating his uncle. Kellerman gets his summons to appear before the grand jury. Frank and Tim must work out the finer points of working in the box together again. Mahoney's hand reaches out from jail and silences his nephew; the case is a bust. Lewis lays down the law to Luther Mahoney in the Waterfront Bar. Cox finds Kellerman and his predicament intriguing and offers him some company, the night of his summons.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Finally, we see the full development of Bayliss from an in-over-his-head rookie to pure murder police. Rewarding on so many levels for those fans waiting for Bayliss to become Frank's equal.moreless

    8.0
    In the series' very first episode, Gee snatches Bayliss' textbook away from him, sternly telling him, "You can't find your answers in a book. You have to use your gut."



    After four seasons, that message finally comes full circle. After years of uncertainty and with the majority of the evidence and his revered (if brain-damaged) partner telling him to go in the other direction, Bayliss decides to trust his instincts and brings a conviction home after one of the series' best and most telling scenes in the box. Frank finally goes back out into the field: while still obviously at less than full strength, he's just as abrasive and bull-headed. Still, in a scene reminsicient of "Three Men and Adena," Frank overcomes his skepticism of Tim; spotting all of the cues of a guilty suspect during the interrogation, he changes course and helps Bayliss get a confession.



    Even though they worked together to close the case, this episode highlights the building tension between the series' two alpha dogs as Bayliss begins to come into his own during Frank's convalescence. This tension, of course, would come to the surface in the following episodes.moreless
  • He's ba--ack!

    8.0
    No doubt there was a huge outpouring of relief when this episode first aired as fans finally got what they had wanted, to see Frank Pembleton back on the street. Later, some critics would wonder whether or not Frank’s return—both working cases and in attitude--- had been rushed a bit by Fontana and company. To this I would say how many shows would dare put their star actor on the bench for more than a third of the season. Furthermore, close observance of Braugher over the rest of season five would show that many of the habits and behaviors we have seen throughout the first third of the season--- stumbling over words, faulty memory, slowed speech--- would remain largely present for the remainder of the year.



    This is particularly clear in ‘Control’ where Frank needs to continuously dictate into a tape recorder to protect his untrustworthy memory. He also misspeaks on more than one occasion, and gets on verbal sidetracks repeatedly. However, the one who clearly doesn’t think Frank has recovered is Bayliss. Acting as primary, and no doubt somewhat buoyed up about working solo the past few months, Tim repeatedly challenges Frank throughout the investigation of a triple murder. A woman and her two children have been killed—the woman stabbed over twenty times, the children dispatched with a bullet in the head for each of them. Frank wants to pursue her boyfriend, a bartender with a record for assault and a tendency to get angry with the wife. Tim, however, wants to pursue her ex-husband, a naval commander in Annapolis who seems very calm and unemotional--- almost too unemotional.



    It seems that Frank is more anxious to interrogate the boyfriend because he’s here and he wants to get back in the box to prove he’s still a good cop. Bayliss, however, seems a little more determined to pursue the other leads, probably because he doesn’t want to be witness to another stroke by his partner. He has no problem abandoning Frank and butts heads with him more than usual. At one point he complains that the two of them don’t have a rhythm any more, even though the interrogation of the ex-husband has the two of them working at optimum strength. It is clear that Tim has some kind of problem with his partner beyond his understandable fear. Their disputes, which have always been a part of their relationship, will get louder and more frequent until they hit a breaking point



    While Frank and Tim are getting their groove back (so to speak) Lewis Is

    handling a ghost of his own. Called in on the shooting of a low level drug dealer, he finds that the slinger worked for Luther Mahoney. Working again with Terri Stivers, he learns the slinger worked for Junior Bunk, Mahoney’s nephew and, as we will see, one of the most cowardly criminals to work the street. (When Meldrick comes to arrest him, he bursts into tears after being charged.)

    Bunk is more than willing to testify ’monogamously’ that his uncle called in a hit man to kill the slinger in question. We learn a lot about Luther when we hear that he paid this hitman $5000 in heroin to kill someone for cheating him out of $300 of heroin. This is how a man like him operates and we will see how far he takes his code.



    For once the case seems to be proceeding swimmingly. The detectives get the gun that killed the man, they get the hit man, and they have a man more than willing to testify to conspiracy charges against Mahoney. However, Luther remains as calm and controlled as ever. It is here that things get a little unreal. Supposedly Junior Bunk is in custody, out of reach of Luther. Nevertheless, he manages to get a message to Luther forcing Junior to reverse himself. It seems unlikely that any man would have this kind of reach, but as we will learn in years to come Mahoney does have friends in the department.



    Luther’s gall is such that he has the nerve to got to the Waterfront after being cleared and buys a drink for the house. He wisely clears out when Meldrick gets in his face but it is here that Luther that probably goes over the line with Lewis. He’s gone too far and Meldrick will not forget it



    Things are getting worse for Kellerman as the grand jury officially subpoenas him. But in another way things are getting better as Juliana Cox makes a couple of visits to him in the squad before spending the night on his boat. This relationship will be a life raft to Mike, but it will eventually become self-destructive to both of them.



    ‘Control’, much like the previous episode ‘The True Test’ isn’t a bad episode of Homicide. The stories are good, there are good performances by Mekhi Phifer as Junior and Erik Todd Dellums as Luther and it is a critical episode for Lewis, Pembleton and Bayliss. It just doesn’t seem quite up to the high standards that Fontana and company have established this season. Still, there’s little wrong with this episode and it really does feature some good moments, particular in Frank’s final conversation with the ex-husband in lock-up and Meldrick’s talk with Luther. Fans were probably happy and in truth there isn’t a huge amount to complain about.



    My score:8

    moreless
Max Perlich

Max Perlich

J.H. Brodie (season 5, TVM, recurring previously)

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)

Mekhi Phifer

Mekhi Phifer

Junior Bunk

Guest Star

Michael Gaston

Michael Gaston

Alex Clifton

Guest Star

Andrew David DeAngelo

Andrew David DeAngelo

Jimmy Sutter

Guest Star

Zeljko Ivanek

Zeljko Ivanek

ASA Ed Danvers

Recurring Role

Toni Lewis

Toni Lewis

Terri Stivers

Recurring Role

Erik Todd Dellums

Erik Todd Dellums

Luther Mahoney

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Lewis: Vics name is Peggy Copeland.
      Munch: There are tracks on his arms. Large caliber wound the proximity to a heroin market. I'd say it was a heated dispute about the symbolism of red and blue in 18th century French romantic poetry.
      Shiner: That or a drugs murder.
      Lewis: Yeah, well. Ok, show of hands who here saw what happened and wants to step forward and co-operate fully with the police officers investigating this crime. That's it, our work here is done.

    • Lewis: All right let me guess. Since me and Mikey went to breakfast the phone ain't jingled once. See, not a single murder this week, this ain't the Baltimore I know and love.
      Bayliss: Baltimore homicide. I got it Frank. Go ahead. Ah-ha we'll be there. Triple murder, Bolton Hill. Keys.
      Pembleton: I got 'em.
      Bayliss: Yeah, yeah I'm gonna drive. I'm driving.
      Phone rings
      Lewis: Homicide, Lewis. Gotcha. All right we got another one Exeter and Pratt. That's four murders in two minutes. People starting to remember what town they came from.

    • Brodie: Hey Lieutenant, you live alone, don't you?
      Giardello: I do.
      Brodie: Do you ever miss coming through your front door and seeing somenone is happy to see you?
      Giardello: Yes, I do.
      Brodie: I was hoping you'd say that.
      Giardello: Why?
      Brodie: 'cause I need a place to stay a couple…
      Giardello: Absolutely not!
      Brodie: You said if I ever needed…
      Giardello: The day I ever get that lonely, Brodie, I get a dog! Find some place else to live and don't you sleep in the squad room anymore, you're stinking up the place!
      Brodie: I don't sleep in here…

    • "I remember when I was first coming up as a patrolman...and my sergeant told me that sometimes, you're going to have to clear the corner. No big thing. Just invite everybody to move on. And for most people, that's enough, you know? The police tell you to move along, that's what you're gonna do. You're gonna move along. 'Cept every once in awhile, he told me, there's gonna be some knucklehead fool... that's gonna want to stand there on your corner... talkin' trash. And then he told me, he said, don't you ever, ever... let no knucklehead stand there. Because the minute you do that, the minute you let somebody shame you, you're finished as a beat cop. And what he suggested that I do... is that I take my night stick... and I pop him upside the head so hard that everybody who hears it knows who had the last word. ... You're on my corner." -- Meldrick Lewis to Luther Mahoney in The Waterfront

  • NOTES (1)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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