Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 7 Episode 23

Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Aired Friday 10:00 PM May 21, 1999 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
32 votes

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Episode Summary

Forgive Us Our Trespasses
Sheppard and Bayliss await the trial of Luke Ryland, the Internet killer. A number of delays keep the hearing from being held; the last time it is because Danvers can't make it due to being held up in another trial. Because of a technicality in the law, Ryland is set free. Bayliss is outraged and winds up pushing Danvers, who later threatens to put Bayliss up on charges. Gee's daughter Teresa arrives, to help with the celebration of her father's promotion. Gee asks Bayliss to apologize to Danvers and Bayliss declines. Lewis and Falsone look into the murder of a drug addict whose husband looks like the most probable suspect. The victim's mother-in-law isn't very cooperative and her sister is a nun who thinks her brother-in-law is an architect. Gee worries about whether or not he will be able to perform in his new role as Captain of the property crimes division, later he turns down the promotion. Bayliss and Lewis have words about the way each other handle their memories of the past. Munch and Billie Lou get married, with Gee and Ballard as the witnesses; however, Munch's six weeks of celibacy result in a "premature" end to the wedding night activities. The drug addict's husband is found, questioned and charged; the nun asks to see her brother-in-law, so that she may forgive him for his actions. Lewis reconsiders his position on Sheppard, when his comment about the nun's ability for forgiveness and Falsone's response gets him thinking. Bayliss warns Luke Ryland that he'll be watching him. Ryland says he is leaving town, but Bayliss can always find him on the Internet. Bayliss talks with Munch about Gordon Pratt (the man who shot Bolander, Howard and Felton) and confesses to Munch that he once suspected that Munch might have been the one to kill Pratt. Bayliss also goes to visit Danvers and apologizes. Lewis asks Sheppard to partner with him on a case. Bayliss packs up his things and quietly leaves the Homicide unit. The body found is Luke Ryland's.moreless

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  • If I could just find this one thing I can go home.

    Homicide was the best damn show on television. This episode is one of the reasons.

    They can pump us with all the bull they want about how the cancellation was a sudden surprise, but this episode (aired only two weeks after the announcement of the cancellation) was meant to be this show's swan song. They knew they were not returning.

    Yes, there was always a question whether or not they'd get another season (with the exception of season 5 I think.) But this goes beyond that, they knew.

    And that is a gift that a lot of televisions series don't get. An unceremonious cancellation this was not. The show went out on top with an episode that put one of it's best characters in a position to completely turn against everything he wanted to be and everything he became.

    Bayliss was absolutely tanscendant. Allowing him the moment to completely echo of the first episode was a brilliant stroke.

    Getting a chance to finally (finally?) put to rest the Gordon Pratt murder...(Yeah, I've always thought it was Munch as well...) that was a masterstroke.

    One of the greatest joys of this series was always the connections with minor events and moments that had come before. Thie episode was no exception. It just builds on everything it was and takes it all full circle.

    For a show that prided itself on not giving complete closure, this was surprising close to closing the case on an excellent show.

    The Movie in my mind will always be a gift. The series ends here, and that was a wonderful ending.moreless
  • A Decent Bookend to the series.

    I do agree with FrakkingFrakker to a certain degree.

    The mirroring of the beginning gave a sense of closure to the series - similarly to that of Hill Street Blues where Buntz has to turn in his badge.

    The problem I had with the episode and subsequent movie, where the contradictions stemmed from the storylines - The Pratt killing at the time was viewed as justified by most of the squad. Bayliss was ostracised for interrogating fellow squad-members (particularly Munch), and Pembleton's pious defence of such retribution - "We're the good guys" went missing by the time the movie came around.

    That said, this also gave closure to one of the better episodes of the season. The relationship stuff between Ballard and Falzone was pure drivel - and reported with so much disdain at the time the Homicide BBS renamed the characters Ballast and Calzone (the latter in honour of Charles Durning's assessment in an episode of season 6).

    The FBI Liaison officer role of Mike Gee only worked a couple of times (why couldn't he have just been a detective?), and Stivers almost usurped Ballard and Falzone to become the most annoying squad-member of the entire series.

    The episodes that undoubtedly made the season watchable were the Kellerman PI double bill, Homicide.com and the closure of that story arc in this episode.

    Paraphrasing the opening lines was also a nice touch - just a pity we had Jon Polito indirectly replaced with Michael Michele - who Tom Fontana suggested was brought in to add sex appeal. Did he not see Melissa Leo in season 1?

    Essentially, and to offer a better conclusion than my rambling, this was the right conclusion to the season.

    The Movie, despite a flimsy storyline supporting a myriad of cameos and not enough time to give them all meaningful stuff to do, gave us closure to the series.moreless
Jessica Hecht

Jessica Hecht

Sister Mary Catherine

Guest Star

Audra McDonald

Audra McDonald


Guest Star

Benjamin Busch

Benjamin Busch

Luke Ryland

Guest Star

Sagan Lewis

Sagan Lewis

Judge Susan Aandahl

Recurring Role

Ellen McElduff

Ellen McElduff

Billie Lou Hatfield

Recurring Role

Zeljko Ivanek

Zeljko Ivanek

ASA Ed Danvers

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Goof: Raising Children Catholic
      Munch says that he must sign an agreement to raise any children he and Billie Lou might have in the Catholic faith. The requirement for this agreement in a mixed marriage was taken out of Catholic canon law in 1983.

    • Using Ryland was a mistake. The 180 days statute meant that Ryland, arrested around January based on the season's timeline, would have not been an issue until July, clearly not the case when the detectives still have their coats on as shown.

      The purpose was to have Sheppard and Bayliss be involved. But they worked on a prior case, "Red Red Wine," which the timeline would've worked out perfectly for. And by editing a couple of words by Lewis the show would've been unaffected.

      Even better, the moral dilemma would be heightened. Wally Flynn, the Wine killer, would be near death at the time. Was it wrong for Bayliss to kill a man who's near death? That's the type of question Homicide delivered best, and would've been a better payoff in the Homicide movie when he questions Pembleton about it.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Danvers: What do you want?
      Bayliss: To tell you that I'm sorry. I'm truly sorry for what I've done. [shakes hand]
      Danvers: Apologies accepted.
      Bayliss: Great.
      Danvers: We'll get Luke Ryland, Tim.
      Bayliss: Yeah, I know. These things they just take time, patience. Course being the murder police I've learned an inescapable truth. Justice is a bitch. See ya.

    • Bayliss: It's a grand old building isn't she, John?
      Munch: Yeah it's grand. If you like a leaky roof, and a men's room with a backed up toilet.
      Bayliss: Think of all the men and women who've walked in and out of this building over the last 85 years. Not just cops but everybody in some sort of crime. Robbery, fraud, missing persons, homicide. Criminals, victims.
      Munch: I'm gettin' a chill.
      Bayliss: You know who I started thinking about today. Gordon Pratt.
      Munch: Gordon Pratt. That little weasel who shot Bolander, Felton and Howard?
      Bayliss: Yeah.
      Munch: What the hell are you thinking about that little scum wad for?
      Bayliss: Well when he got released Pratt was found shot to death and I was put in charge of the investigation.
      Munch: Nice an all job you did too.
      Bayliss: I never really closed that case, John.
      Munch: That's what I mean. Somebody shoots three of our own they deserve to have an unavenged death.
      Bayliss: You really believe that?
      Munch: Yes.
      Bayliss: You believe that he deserves to die?
      Munch: Yes.
      Bayliss: And that his murderer should go free?
      Munch: Yes.
      Bayliss: You know when I got shot my whole perception of the universe just completely changed. But when I shot that, that homeless guy, that Larry Moss suddenly I knew what it was like to take another persons life. Suddenly I was just like the person who killed Adena Watson. See Frank said that I would never be a good homicide detective because I didn't have the killers instinct. Frank was wrong. You know I always suspected you.
      Munch: Of what?
      Bayliss: Killing Gordon Pratt.
      Munch: Why in God's name after all this time do you dredge up Gordon Pratt out of the muck.
      Bayliss: I don't know, just came to my mind. Goodnight Johnboy.

    • Lewis: Sheppard almost got me killed. Now that's an ugly fact, plain and clean. And I got a right to my feelings about that but you on the other hand, you been around this dump for several years and you still ain't learnt the key to good murder police, which is this. 'Whatever you see. Whoever's around you, you keep them away. You keep them at a distance.' But not you, you come up on a crime scene and the first thing you want to do is put a chalk outline around yourself. You comin'?

    • Sheppard: Did I say something funny?
      Bayliss: You sounded like Frank.
      Sheppard: The almighty Pembleton.
      Bayliss: Yeah, yeah, you can't believe how many times Frank and I chewed over a case, spat it out, tried to get that nasty taste out of our mouths, but we'd weigh the value of every life lost. Try to figure out what it all really means you know, this whole life thing.
      Sheppard: He was your partner.
      Bayliss: Yeah.
      Sheppard: He was your best friend.
      Bayliss: No. Frank didn't have best friends. I worked with him for six years. We spoke maybe two times since he left here, that's it. You know he quit here once before. He got on his high horse and he rode on out of here. So I thought, you know, he'd come back this time too, but er, he's gone for good now.
      Sheppard: And you need his advice?
      Bayliss: Yeah.
      Sheppard: Give him a call.
      Bayliss: Yeah maybe I'll call.
      Sheppard: I'm sorry I'm not Frank. I'm sorry I'm not someone you can talk to.
      Bayliss: What you talking about, I can talk to you.
      Sheppard: Yeah, I know but it's different. I mean you loved him didn't you?
      Bayliss: Yeah, I did. I loved him. [pause] So you said it was a slam dunk, huh?
      Sheppard: Yeah.
      Bayliss: Good, good. I could use a little righteous justice about this time. I'll drive. Frank hated when I drove.

    • Lt. Giardello: I remember another rookie. Stumbled into my squad room full of innocence, full of himself.
      Bayliss: Yep.
      Lt. Giardello: I watched you grow from a boy into a man, Bayliss. I watched you do excellent work. Arh, there was some mistakes.
      Bayliss: I don't know what you're talking about.
      Lt. Giardello: Ed Danvers.
      Bayliss: Oh.
      Lt. Giardello: He's threatening to take you before the department trial board.
      Bayliss: Oh screw him. Little midget.
      Lt. Giardello: No, Bayliss. No. On this day I'm being elevated to Captain, it's a day I've worked hard for. It's a day I've waited for with great anticipation. I don't want anything to happen to spoil this day with unpleasantness. So I'm gonna ask you to apologize to Ed. Now I'm gonna put it to you in the form of a request in the hopes that you'll do me this favour in honour of my promotion.
      Bayliss: I can't.
      Lt. Giardello: Bayliss.
      Bayliss: I can't, sir.
      Lt. Giardello: Then I have to withdraw my request and put it to you in the form of an order.
      Bayliss: I refuse.
      Lt. Giardello: My order?
      Bayliss: Yes.
      Lt. Giardello: Haha. I'm gonna give you till this evening to reconsider. After that the fury's will be unleashed. Ciao.
      Bayliss: You know. Seven years ago I walked in here with a file box and a lot of idealism. I had a clear vision of justice, of morality and no matter what has happened to me, whatever happens around me, I still have that.
      Lt.Giardello: Maybe. But on this job I've seen people change and sometimes for the worst and those that change the most are the ones that don't admit it.

  • NOTES (8)

    • The final dialogue, too, mirrors the opening conversation of Lewis and Crosetti in the series pilot. The show comes full circle, then ends.

    • This episode ends the same way the series began: with Det. Lewis looking for a bullet and saying "If I can just find this thing, I can go home."

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

    • At the end of the summer and throughout the fall rumors were abound about a wrap-up TVM (that would perhaps air during the February 2000 ratings period). Then in November after Andre Braugher and others had signed contracts, work began on this movie, which was at one time slated for March, but instead was completed and ready to air in February, right after the NBA All-Star game.

    • This has consistently been the best show I've ever seen on commercial network television and I will miss it.

    • CourtTV reshowed the first episode of the series, following the completion of this episode's airing.

    • Music in this episode: Beck "Sissyneck" alb: Odelay.

    • In September of 1999, Richard Belzer would reprise his role as Detective John Munch, this time on "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit".