Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 4 Episode 11

I've Got a Secret

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Feb 02, 1996 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
27 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

I've Got a Secret
Lewis and Kellerman try to subdue a large man who's gone on a rampage. The large man is finally subdued and they find him digging up his mother. This case brings out some information about Meldrick's family, and he tries to see his brother, who doesn't want to see him. Kay tries to keep the identity of her new boyfriend a secret, mainly from John, which drives him crazy. Pembleton and Bayliss investigate the death of a man whose body is found in a car. Scheiner says he died from internal bleeding, not the gunshot wound to the groin he was treated for at an emergency room earlier that day. They discover that the doctor may have had a motive for doing a less than adequate job treating her patient.moreless

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  • Lewis and Kellerman continue to experience trouble reeling in suspects. Munch tries to find out information, when Howard is seen kissing someone. Pembleton and Bayliss investigate a bizarre shooting death, questioning the staff at a hospital.moreless

    "I've got a secret" is a decent episode that brings up reoccurring themes in this series.

    Lewis and Kellerman continue to have trouble catching suspects, looking like part of the "three stooges" in the process. Lewis is starting to look like the grim reaper Munch had eluded to in a previous episode, bringing a curse to any case he is involved in.

    Munch continues to be his nosy old self, prying into Howard's personal life when he catches her kissing someone. Howard jokingly asks if Munch is sure it was a man he saw kissing her, this is interesting as i thought it was a woman kissing her at first, as the person in question had long dark hair, in what appeared to be a ponytail.

    Finally, Pembleton continues to investigate where others would normally not tread, this time at a hospital. We see Bayliss amazed by the work of the hospital staff, while Pembleton in true form, just goes where the evidence takes him.moreless
  • Everybody's got something to hide

    After the recent string of high profile murders, Homicide returns to its root in one of the more entertaining—and character driven--- episodes of the season. In an all too rare occasion we get insights into almost every major character in their attitudes towards life, love and justice.

    The first secret relates to Kay Howard. When Munch gets an eyeful of his sergeant in a major lip-lock with an unknown man, he becomes obsessed with finding out who this man is to the point of searching Kay’s desk. Kay is bothered by this but she is equally determined that the squad not know who he his. She does a very good job of that, the man is never identified. In another show Munch’s actions could be read as some kind of secret jealousy. But Homicide is too good for that. This is who John Munch is, he has to know everything.

    The other secrets are more case related and far less trivial. Lewis and Kellerman spend half the episode trying to track down Peter Wolsky, a gigantic he-man who has killed his father. In there first two attempts to capture him, they get knocked around severely It is not until the third time that we realize the true nature of Wolsky, a violent schizophrenic who has lost everything. But the real shocker comes when Meldrick reveals to Mike that he sympathizes with Wolsky because his brother suffered from a similar disease and had to be institutionalized after a suicide attempt. As we learn, Lewis was in the room when that attempt was made. This development explains his pain and anger when Crosetti committed suicide two years ago and his attitude towards suicide in general. The kicker comes, however, when Meldrick decides to visit his brother only to be turned away. Though he hides it, his pain is considerable.

    The main story of the hour centers of Bayliss and Pembleton, investigating the death of a hardened criminal who got shot but did not die from those injuries. Tim and Frank ignore this at first to try and track down his shooter. The deceased is a truly reprehensible criminal, arrested five times before his death and who regularly whaled on his girlfriend. It is revealed that his partner, a white collar crook nicknamed Mister Clean, accidentally shot him. However, he then proceeded to drive him to the hospital where he got stitched up well enough to pick a fight with an orderly. It is the belief of his mother that her son was killed because the hospital did not provide adequate care. Bayliss and Pembleton try to check the emergency room’s culpability.

    The show then does a glorious sequence in which Bayliss rhapsodizes over the skills of the ER doctors. The more realistic Pembleton says their job is more important but they get less credit for it. As he puts it: “You want glory? Go work at ER. Homicide’s fine by me. This is delightful not merely because it satirizes the difference between NBC’s far more successful hospital drama and this show, but also because it spot on reflects NBC’s attitude towards the two shows. (Homicide, remember, had ER’s time slot for a while.) This is illustrated with a non-chronological overlapping of past and present that the more conventional ER wouldn’t even try.

    However the show then turns to a more serious subject. At first, the detectives center their attention on Nurse Sherman, an arrogant, caustic man who got into a fight with the deceased and who clearly doesn’t mind that he’s dead. It is then, however, revealed that his physician may have done shoddy work. Part of this is due to an attack on her husband that nearly blinded him. But part of it comes from the frustration that almost every ER doc must feel when they have to treat the stream of criminals that pass through their doors on a regular basis. In an expression more out of frustration then guilt, the doctor confesses to negligence. As is always the case Frank says that every lie has value and she took the victims. Tim, however, is more emotional. She has saved hundreds of lives could probably save hundreds more and the victim was little more than a thug. This is a difficult conflict to resolve—so the writers don’t, letting the show fade out. We never get a clear answer to what happened. The murder is written up but it is never revealed who was tried and for what.

    ‘I’ve Got a Secret’ mixes low comedy and thorny drama, shocking character development and a perhaps unsolvable problem. This episode is closer to the old kind of ‘Homicide’ than the new one but no matter what you’re comparing it to, it’s damn fine television.

    My score:9.25

Mimi Kennedy

Mimi Kennedy

Dr. Kate Wystan

Guest Star

Gabriel Casseus

Gabriel Casseus

Nurse Derek Sherman

Guest Star

Joseph Durika

Joseph Durika

Peter Wolsky

Guest Star

Robert Carlson

Robert Carlson

Officer Byron Denys

Recurring Role

Ralph Tabakin

Ralph Tabakin

Dr. Scheiner

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Pembleton: "Why do people choose cloth seats? Look how they absorb stains. Leather's the way to go for precisely this reason."

  • NOTES (3)

    • Viewer, Howard in Baltimore wrote me that the 2nd floor apartment in this episode was acutally filmed on the third floor of his building. His building is used again for "Closet Cases."

    • Harriet Heggins as Midian Lewis was listed in TV Guide as being in this episode, but was not listed on any of the on-screen credits. Since she also didn't appear in the episode, I can only assume she wound up on the cutting room floor. A shame, because this character may have enhanced what we started to learn about Meldrick in this episode.

    • Music in this episode: Mike Dugan "No Talking" alb: Blues from the Rust Belt.