Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 5 Episode 19

Deception

1
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Apr 25, 1997 on NBC
9.4
out of 10
User Rating
29 votes
1

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Deception
AIRED:
A man transporting 72 condoms filled with heroin bound for Luther Mahoney is found dead in hotel. The department takes this opportunity to set up "Operation Get Luther." The operation almost goes off as planned, except Luther Mahoney gets Lewis' gun and is holding it on him as Kellerman and Stivers enter. Frank and Tim agree to become partners again. Tim stops by to see his uncle. Munch takes a call from a convict who was looking to talk to Bolander. He has information on an old murder case that should be a done deal. That involves the digging up of section C of the parking lot at a racetrack. Munch discovers that the supposed victim is alive; however, he isn't that way for long.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • The episode that changes everything

    9.0
    In the real world, drug dealers like Luther Mahoney probably do exist. And in real life, they do get away with murder again and again and again without ever setting foot in jail. However, in the world of television, the bad guys are not allowed to perpetually triumph. We get enough depressing news in the paper and on CNN; once a while the good guys got to win. That is probably why in ‘Deception’ (which probably not by chance, coincided with the May sweeps) the Professor Moriarty of Homicide faces justice. However, Fontana and associates are not going to let this go smoothly, nor are there going to be no consequences.



    For two years, we have watched Kellerman and Lewis go after the slippery Mahoney with absolutely no success. Now an opportunity literally falls into their labs when a Nigerian drug mule dies in a third-rate motel when the condoms containing Mahoney’s latest shipment of heroin bursts in his stomach. The department, headed by Stivers and aided by the FBI (including a customs agent named Borders) cease upon this opportunity to put a sting on the drug dealer. In a move that shows how ruthless cops can be they substitute baking soda for the heroin and send an agent disguised as another courier with the faux shipment. Twelve hours later, hell break loose as the dope fiends of Baltimore find that the crap they’re snorting isn’t anywhere near genuine.

    When the crap reaches Mahoney, he loses the cool that he has possessed in every previous encounter with him and begins to blow up, mainly at the lieutenant in his organization that received the heroin.

    Convinced that either he or the Nigerians that serve as his suppliers have double crossed him, Mahoney arranges a daylight meeting in Druitt Hill Park. Here the detectives hope to swoop up the guts of the organization. This being Homicide, it doesn’t work out that way.



    Pissed beyond belief at his supposed betrayal Mahoney kills the lieutenant he thinks is responsible (as well as a passerby who gets in the way of a bullet) and flees the scene before the cops can nab him. Enraged at how the sting goes Meldrick grabs a squad car and chases Mahoney back to his apartment, where Luther is preparing to flee. Luther immediately surrenders but that’s not good enough for the detective who has had to clean up after a dozen homicides related to him. He delivers a serious beat-down on Luther but in the course of it Mahoney gets his hands on Meldrick’s gun. A few seconds later Kellerman and Stivers burst in, telling Mahoney to surrender. In a fifteen second sequence that is repeated ad infinitum throughout season six, Mahoney puts his gun down in apparent surrender. Kellerman tells him he has the right to remain silent, and then bang! He shoots Luther in the chest.



    Why did Mike, a basically good cop, commit this kind of shooting? Psychoanalysis is not part of these reviews, but it’s probably a combination of frustration with Mahoney’s ability to manipulate the system combined with how Mike’s own experience being investigated for bribes last year. He has come through the system one side and come out the other. Gone is the apparent righteousness that he showed earlier. When Gee asks him about the shooting, he has no problem lying to his boss as to the exact circumstances of the murder. Meldrick willingly backs him up and, more reluctantly, so does Stivers. Both detectives will begin to draw away from Mike in the months to come--- Meldrick will stop partnering with him; Stivers won’t want to work with him, period and slowly Kellerman will become more isolate from the squad in general. In the space of a year, everything he has worked for will have deteriorated into nothing.



    Even with all this going on, the show still has time to have a secondary story. Munch receives a call on an old case of Bolander’s from a paroled gangster wannabe named ‘Punchy’ DeLeon, out after doing a ten-year stretch for murder. He gives the location of a man who was murdered ten years earlier who is supposedly buried under the parking lot at Pimloco race track. Only when Munch has the lot dug up, no body is to be found. Munch then begins a search for the dead man only to find him very much alive in a home in Baltimore. Unfortunately, he isn’t alive for long --- Punchy has followed Munch and tracked him down. After the lot has been repaved Munch catches up to Punchy. The dead man killed the man Punchy just got out of prison for killing, and this was his version of payback. This case is very funny and also surprisingly poignant, mostly from the restrained performance of Lewis Black as Punchy. Those who recognize him from his weekly rants on The Daily Show will barely recognize the comedian who has done his time for a murder he didn’t commit and now has to go back for doing a justifiable one.



    There is even a brief recap back to Bayliss and Pembleton, who have patched up their feud and are back to working together. But the issue that separated them has resurfaced--- Tim goes out to see and care for his Uncle George. This issue will still cause strife between Tim and Frank for what remains of season 5.



    So much happens in ‘Deception’ that we almost feel cheated when Mike and Meldrick are seen writing up their reports for the Mahoney shooting—all this excitement for so little. What neither of them know is that Luther will end up haunting everybody--- especially Kellerman and Lewis--- for the next year until the squad is literally torn apart. Maybe the executives at NBC thought this was there kind of positive resolution to a popular character’s storyline. They forgot that on Homicide nothing goes away and problems are not resolved by enough bullets.

    My score:9

    Ranking by fans: 11th

    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)

Lewis Black

Lewis Black

Lazlo "Punchy" DeLeon

Guest Star

John Louis Fischer

John Louis Fischer

Special Agent Ray Borders

Guest Star

Christopher Mann

Christopher Mann

Antonio Brookdale

Guest Star

Toni Lewis

Toni Lewis

Terri Stivers

Recurring Role

Rebecca Boyd

Rebecca Boyd

Gail Ingram

Recurring Role

Clayton LeBouef

Clayton LeBouef

Col. Barnfather

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Munch: Leon and Pugliese aren't mobsters, they're wannabe's. I ask about them the Feds will laugh in my face.
      Howard: Doesn't everybody.
      Munch: Hey, you think I'm some kind of clown? You saying I'm funny, I'm here to amuse you. I make you laugh, huh? Huh?

    • Ray Borders: Seems Mr. Vogvouya here swallowed half a kilo of latex wrapped heroin in Amsterdam that's before catching a plane to Baltimore.
      Lewis: Then what?
      Cox: Then a condom broke is what
      Shiner: I hate it when that happens.
      Kellerman: I hear ya.

    • Kellerman: (to Luther) Before you die, there's something I think you should know. We switched your stuff.

    • LEWIS: I've been a cop for a long time. And drugs out there, we're never gonna win that. There's a hundred open-air drug markets in this city and fifty thousand drug fiends out there. And we are taking on human desires with lawyers, and jailhouses, and lockups, and you and I both know human desire is kicking us in the ass.

  • NOTES (3)

    • A transcript of this episode can be found at http.//www.windowseat.org/homicide/scripts/

    • A sharp-eyed viewer notes that Lewis' gun is actually in a state where it wasn't capable of being fired. The slide was back, indicating the magazine was empty or jammed. When Mahoney disarms Lewis, the slide is back in firing position.

    • Music in this episode: Faith No More "Evidence" alb: King for a Day...Fool for a Lifetime.

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • NunBun: During the overnight wiretap surveillance on Luther Mahoney, Kellerman and another detective return with food to find Lewis and Stivers resting on each others' shoulders, napping.

      Kellerman (Opening a box of baked goods): Cupcake?

      Stivers:: What? Oh, no, thank you.

      Kellerman: Cupcake? (To Lewis): Honey Bun?

      Lewis Not unless you got one with the face of Mother Theresa on it.

      Kellerman: The face of Mother Theresa?

      Lewis: Yeah, that coffee shop in ahh...what, Tennessee. What, you never watch the news, Kellerman?

      Meldrick is referring to the NunBun, a cinnamon roll baked at the Bongo Java coffee shop in Nashville, Tennessee. On 15 October 1996, the store manager discovered a roll with contours that resembled the face of Mother Theresa. The store put the bun on display and sold mugs and t-shirts with photos of the bun. However, Mother Theresa's lawyer sent Bongo Java a letter asking that the sales be stopped; the store agreed, halting souvenir sales. According to the lawyer, Mother Theresa was amused by the bun itself, but objected to profiteering from her image. Bongo Java kept the bun on display in a glass case, and in deference to Mother Theresa's wishes, placed a jar nearby for collecting charitable donations.

      On Christmas Day 2005, the bun was stolen during a break-in (the donation jar, however, was left untouched). A US $5,000.00 reward has been offered for its return. Photographs of the bun have been sent to the Nashville Tennesseean newspaper from someone identifying himself as Hu Dunet. As of January 2007, it has not been returned.

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