Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 5 Episode 18

Double Blind

0
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Apr 11, 1997 on NBC
8.6
out of 10
User Rating
26 votes
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Episode Summary

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Double Blind
AIRED:
A girl complains to the desk sergeant about her father's abuse of her mother. Meldrick spends the night remembering Crosetti with the Chris and Eva Thormann. Chris reflects on his own memories of the shooting incident that blinded him, the shooter is now up for parole. Bayliss with Pembleton investigate the homicide of a man shot to death in his own house. The shooter, the murdered man's wife will testify, is their daughter. The case triggers a painful memory for Tim who goes to visit his Uncle George.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Looking back in anger and moving on

    8.8
    It is rare that any television revisits any story that happened more than a few weeks ago, yet Homicide would do it more than once. What is even rarer, however, is for the event to involve a character who is not even a regular on the show. And rounding it out, to have the major character involved with the story gone is all-but nonexistent. Yet that is what the writers of ‘Double Blind’ do as they look back at Chris Thorman, the patrolmen who was blinded in a shooting four years ago, when in the act of arresting a known felon named Charlie Flavin, he got into a struggle and was shot in the head with his own gun.



    Four years have passed and things have changed for everyone. A few months ago, there was a riot in the facility where Flavin was imprisoned. During that riot, he rescued a guard, got him to an infirmary and than went back to negotiate the release of the other guards. For his heroism, he has earned a very early shot for parole (four years after shooting a cop seems very slim, even by today’s standards) Understandably Chris is upset about this--- almost to the point of wanting to leave Baltimore when he first heard the news. He knows instinctually that this is irrational but it still bothers him.



    The recipient of Thormann’s troubles is Meldrick Lewis, who has been remained part of Chris’s life because of his link to his old partner Steve Crosetti. He is not just pissed for personal reasons – as the detective who arrested Flavin in the first place and as someone who doesn’t like it when a cop shooter goes free, he is angry. However, there is little that he can do but offer support to Chris when the parole board is called into session. It is up to Chris to plead his case--- and he does so very eloquently and as compassionately as he can.



    Lee Tergesen gives a very memorable performance as the shattered former patrolman. We not only see his fear and anger throughout the episode but also his longing. As his wife points out (and he admits near the episodes ends) despite everything that’s happened to him he still misses being a police. Even a bullet in the brain can’t get rid of it.



    While Meldrick is back in the past, so are Bayliss and Pembleton—after a fashion. The two detectives decide to re-partner after when they are called in on a messy murder. A chef who brutalized and beat his wife for years has been killed by his own daughter. What is more, it is apparent that at one point she shut her father when he was on his knees, presumably begging for his life. When the detectives visit his wife in the hospital, she tells them all this – as well as that she will testify against her daughter.



    In another of those big surprises Tim and Frank have completely reversed their roles. Pembleton wants to look the other way and offer the daughter manslaughter for what she has done, while Bayliss (who we would think would be on the other side considering everything that we know about him) is showing a ruthless dedication to duty. He demonstrates a lot of compassion to the wife but not to the murderer. This becomes crystal clear when, after the detectives bring the killer in to talk with Danvers, Frank tries to lead her down a path where she can plead to a lesser charge while Tim insists that the third bullet --- the one that was fired when the victim was on his knees--- means they have to go the distance. It should be noted that nobody else on the case--- not Howard, not Gee, not even Danvers—really wants to offer the full punishment but considering the daughters attitude (she keeps repeating over and over that she had to kill him) they are bound by the law.



    This case, with its intimations to subjects that are very clear to Tim’s heart, rattles him. So much so that in the episode’s final scene he goes to visit his uncle George, the man who molested him when he was a boy. He finds a decrepit, wasted, almost senile old man which leads him to ask himself another very difficult question--- “Where do I put my hate?” He will spend the rest of the season figuring that out.



    There are no easy solutions for anything in this episode. Charlie Flavin’s parole is denied, but even as Thormann celebrates this, he knows in his guts someday Flavin will go free and what will happen then no one knows. The viictim’s wife recants her statement in order to protect her daughter, so what happens to that case is also up for grabs. ‘Double Blind’ much like last seasons ‘Requiem for Adena’ revisits old stories that have never been resolved and asks hard questions that still have no good answers even after a long time has passed. The ‘jazz’ (Eva Thormann’s reference to the power of being a cop) doesn’t offer answers and questions remain undiminished by the passage of time.

    M score:8.8

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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)

Lee Tergesen

Lee Tergesen

Chris Thormann

Guest Star

Robert Bornarth

Robert Bornarth

George Bayliss

Guest Star

Ray Felton

Ray Felton

Rinaldi

Guest Star

Edie Falco

Edie Falco

Eva Thormann

Recurring Role

Zeljko Ivanek

Zeljko Ivanek

ASA Ed Danvers

Recurring Role

Jay Spadaro

Jay Spadaro

Salerno

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Bayliss: That poor woman. Daughter murders her husband now she's got nothing left. Yeah, I'd lie for Billie too.
      Pembleton: What is it with you?
      Bayliss: What do you mean?
      Pembleton: You got all the sympathy in the world for Lucille Rader yet not for her daughter.
      Bayliss: Lucille Rader didn't kill anyone Frank.
      Pembleton: Right, I see.
      Bayliss: What? You see what?
      Pembleton: Lucille took it. Lucille suffered. She didn't cry out or rebel or fight back. She took every beating as if it were her due. Billie on the other hand she took on the power and for one moment at least she won. Listen to me. Please, please listen to me. The daughter fought and the mother didn't, so what? When it finally comes down they're the same, they're different but the same. They were abused no matter what they did or did not do, the sin is not their own.
      Bayliss: Yeah.
      Pembleton: The sin is not your own.

    • Lt. Giardello: If the mother back's up, fine. But what she's left us with is straight up murder.
      Bayliss: Right, which is what it is. Now that girl in there she had the power of life and death over another human being Frank and guess what she chose death.
      Pembleton: A human being.
      Bayliss: Yeah, yeah that's right. A bona fide wife beating, gun walking member of the tribe. Now you want to call that first bullet self defense, fine. First ones on the house. Second bullet you want to say that that was shot in fear, that's great, that's no problem. Because you know we're gonna give her a two bullet handicap. But the third shot Frank, the one where he is down on the floor he is of no threat do anyone at all Frank. Come on.

    • Captain: I gotta get to the airport.
      Bayliss: Frank lets go to the hospital that's where the daughter took the wife.
      Pembleton: Ok. Don't leave town captain.
      Captain: What?
      Pembleton: I'm kidding.
      Bayliss: Don't leave town.
      Pembleton: I've always wanted to say that.

    • Cox: What we have are three entrances in the upper chest. One exit wound in the back of the right thigh. Suggesting a severe angle of entry.
      Bayliss: Yeah, downwards?
      Cox: Yeah, either your shooter plays low post for an NBA franchise or.
      Brodie: The victim was on his knees.
      Bayliss: That's very good, Brodie.
      Brodie: Elementary my dear Bayliss.

  • NOTES (1)

    • Music in this episode: The Nighthawks "Inaugural Freez" alb: Hard Living; Miles Davis "Concierto DeAragoez" alb: Sketches of Spain.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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