Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 3 Episode 10

Cradle to Grave

2
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Jan 13, 1995 on NBC
8.9
out of 10
User Rating
34 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
Cradle to Grave
AIRED:
The deputy commissioner invites Pembleton to lunch and gets him to investigate a case involving a congressman. Beau hires a private detective to find Beth and the kids when his clue that they are in Wilmington falls through. Howard and Felton investigate a case of a dead homeless man. Their job is made more difficult when they can't find the body. Lewis and Munch investigate the death of a motorcycle gang member. Pembleton finds out the truth, participates in the cover-up and then resigns when the media gets hold of the real story and the deputy commissioner doesn't back him up.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Lewis and Munch investigate the death of a motorcycle gang member. Felton and Howard investigate the rather odd death of a man found near a tree and get no help from a rookie officer. Pembleton gets a special assignment from the deputy commissioner.moreless

    8.8
    "Cradle to the grave" is a shocker, for first time someone in Gee's crew turns in his badge. Not surprising to me that its Pembleton, Pembleton feels betrayed and for good reason, but the strong Pembleton shows he always has the upper hand and fights for what he believes in, quitting after he gets suspended.



    This episode does a good job showing Pembleton's life away from the job for the first time. Pembleton tells Bayliss that he is looking forward to being at home, although trying his best Pembleton shows his inexperience in the kitchen.



    Gee is in somewhat of a bind, because Pembleton didn't tell him about the specifics of the Deputy commissioners request, Gee wants to keep his job, but at the same time wants his best detective back.moreless
  • Not perfect but I'll stand by it

    9.3
    Given the enormous power of the last episode, one would think that the next episode would be a major disappointment. But while ‘From Cradle to Grave’ isn’t as brilliant as the last episode, it is also a very effective episode. This is due partially by the fact that it has a flavor of the first season episodes habit of having more than one central story. Indeed, there are two extremely effective, very detailed cases served with a comic one.



    The first one involves the murder of Monk Whetherly, a member of a biker gang known as the Deacons. From the beginning there is something very off about the gang’s attitude towards his death. They are upset that they have lost one of their own, but they seem to feel that it was inevitable (though they shy away from claiming responsibility) Meldrick Lewis working with Munch (he is in the process of going through nearly every detective in search of a new partner) is stonewalled by one of the gangs leaders. He gets into a ‘whose -is-bigger” (a fight that he seems to lose) with him bringing him into the station house. Preacher (who is a prep school graduate and is certified as a bishop) gives a cryptic hint that Monk died because he loved his little girl.



    Meldrick makes an attempt to understand bikers in general, their codes of honor. When he learns that Monk’s wife was the source of an FBI enquiry, it makes sense: Monk died for his wife’s sins, so his child could have a mother. Under their code, no Deacon will touch her but she still must go into hiding. This leads to a great moment at Monk’s funeral in which the detective, a trenchcoat among a sea of black leather, walks though the bikers to put a picture of Monk’s daughter on the casket while ‘Stand By You’ by The Pretenders plays on the soundtrack. Another moment of quiet dignity and understatement by Clark Johnson demonstrates his own value to the show.



    While Meldrick’s case is unfolding, another high-profile investigation is surrounding Pembleton. In a case taken from Simon’s book, a superior officer, Deputy Commissioner Harris, asks Frank to investigate an alleged kidnapping of a Congressman. He doesn’t state it directly, but there are clearly big things in store for him. Frank soon finds that he has put his hand in a hornet nest. The Congressman never was kidnapped but he reported it as such in an attempt to cover his own indiscretions and the fact that he is a homosexual. All of which would be all right if the congressman if had not filed a false police report, a misdemeanor. The Deputy Commissioner seems to give Pembeton permission to bring an end to the investigation and assures the man that this will not be pursued.



    Unfortunately, the media does get hold of the story and the Commissioner deserts Frank leaving him to take the heat alone. For once Gee cannot help him due to Frank’s decision not to bring his lieutenant in on what was happening. Filled with indignation that he let himself be used in such a matter, he resigns from the department. Though it will turn out to be mostly for show, we’re not certain how this entire mess will turn out.

    (We find out in the next episode.)



    The situation with Pembleton leads to a remarkable scene in the fourth act. After the story breaks, Pembleton has to explain to Giardello and Colonel Barnfather his actions, while Harris leaves him to twist in the wind. Dramatc but not exceptional--- until you realize that all four actors are black. In a police drama, or for that matter almost any other show, when all of the actors are of the same race, they are usually talking about prejudice or discrimination. At the very least someone would mention it but Homicide treats it as if it were nothing special (and in the Baltimore PD this probably does happen).



    Making the drama of the two stories stand out is a mostly amusing case. Felton and Howard are called into investigate the murder of a homeless man only to find that the rookie officer on scene let the hospital attendants take the body away in an ambulance. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the paramedics return the body to the crime scene and attempt to reposition it, much to the exasperation of the detectives. (This, too, is described in Simon’s book) Never the most vigilant detective, and preoccupied with finally finding his kids, Felton commits an act of fraud by replacing his John Doe on the board with another John Doe that had been closed. Nothing is ever made of this (it’s fixed by the next episode) but you wonder if its ever been tried before. (Why the squad is till on the 1994 board in 1995 is another mystery never solved) This is forgotten in Felton’s reunion with his kids is about to occur



    ‘From Cradle to Grave’ isn’t a perfect episode but it is definitely an example of old-school Homicide. We have great cases with the characters being true to form, we have some humor and some real, poignancy This is the show in stride.



    My score: 9.25

    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)

Al Freeman Jr.

Al Freeman Jr.

Deputy Commissioner James Harris

Guest Star

Dick Stilwell

Dick Stilwell

Congressman Wade

Guest Star

Christopher Glenn Wilson

Christopher Glenn Wilson

Timothy Draper

Guest Star

Clayton LeBouef

Clayton LeBouef

Capt. Barnfather

Recurring Role

Kristin Rohde

Kristin Rohde

Sally Rogers

Recurring Role

Herb Levinson

Herb Levinson

Lausanne

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Felton: (to Howard) Remember when you were inexperienced?
      Howard: (looks at cop by tree) I was never that inexperienced.

    • Lewis: Hey, look, are you capable of giving us a straight answer, or do we need to drag your narrow behind downtown, and you can finish your lunch at the stationhouse.
      Preacher: You got Natty Bo on tap at your office, I'm in.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Isabella Hofmann does not appear in this episode. Ned Beatty only appears for a fraction of a second during a whip pan across the squad room.

    • Music in this episode: Jean Fisher "Twin Souls"; Liquor Bike "Swallow Me" alb: Lowborne; Monkeyspank "Hero"; The Pretenders "I'll Stand by You" alb: Last of the Independents.

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

    • When Howard and Felton visit a hopital, we can clearly hear a "Dr. Ehrlich" being paged over the intercom. Dr. Victor Ehrlich was a character played by Ed Begley, Jr. on Tom Fontana's previous series, St. Elsewhere. Begley would later actually appear briefly as Dr. Ehrlich in "Homicide: The Movie".

    • Preacher: You got Natty Bo on tap at your office, I'm in.

      Natty Boh (or Natty Bo) refers to Bawlmer favorite (and once locally brewed) National Bohemian Beer.

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