Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 4 Episode 14

Justice (2)

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Feb 23, 1996 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
28 votes

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Episode Summary

Justice (2)
Jake Rodzinski has trouble dealing with the verdict of the trial and takes justice into his own hands. Kellerman is back from a family wedding in Wisconsin picks up the case of the murder of Kenny Damon. Lewis is not allowed to know all the details of Kellerman's investigation, because of his past relationship with Rodzinski, their chief suspect. Bayliss is at odds with Pembleton over the disposition of a grilled cheese sandwich.moreless

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  • All the evidence points to fellow officer and grieving son Jake Rodzinski when Kenny Damon's body is found, Kellerman seeks out information from Rodzinski much to the disappointment of Lewis. Bayliss and Pembleton bicker over a grilled cheese sandwich.moreless

    Part two of this twofer delivers in typical "Homicide: Life on the street" fashion. The detectives ,as usual, continue to follow leads wherever the evidence takes them, even if it hits close to home.

    "Max" the dog continues to bark loudly, this is annoying at times, but you get the impression that the canine is trying to tell us something. The barking is silenced when a paranoid Jake Rodzinski shoots his deceased fathers dog. This scene is well done, when Jake tells his wife to take the kids downstairs we hear a gun go off, we don't know who took the bullet until a little while later. Jake eventually becomes paranoid and filled with guilt when his partner is taken in for questioning. Jake continues to drink and chain smoke cigarettes, knowing his time has come and it is only a matter of time before his partner gives him up. Later when Lewis comes to make the arrest, Jake, feeling guilt and maybe even success after avenging his fathers death says that he shouldn't have involved his partner in the murder of Damon, we see yet another classic example of the "blue wall" or cops sticking up for one another.

    The story Gee tells at the waterfront to end this episode is great, recalling a case of police brutality and another example of how police officers become a family (famiglia is another thing close to Gee and a reoccurring theme in this series). Gee who looks out for his detectives all day can be seen handing them beers. The story Gee tells about a cop telling a suspect , there is no Justice, here its Just us is the perfect ending to this two part episode "Justice", it also leaves Gee concerned about the state of police today.moreless
  • Not as good as typical but still has interesting points

    Nothing new is talked about in ‘Justice, Part Two’ Indeed, stripped to its essential the episode is a bit of a cliché. After the father of a detective is killed and his murderer acquitted the cop killer is himself dispatched, as it turns out, by the victims son. What makes the show work, as is usually the case, the attention to detail in character.

    The center of the story comes down to a contrast between the old-school police (such as Jake Rodzinski) ad the new order (represented by Mike Kellerman) After Jake’s arrest, Giardello recalls an incident of the old days in which the police meted out vigilante style justice on those who killed cops and another detective who did not share those feelings. It is not a particularly pretty story (Gee seems ambivalent about it) but is it any worse than today when the police are burdened by rules that favor the cop killer? Had Jake killed Kenny Damon twenty years earlier, no one would have raised an objection. Does this make Jake’s decision and actions wrong?

    Depends on who you ask. Liutenant Giardello, as you will recall in ‘Black and Blue” took great offense at the idea of investigating cops as if they were common criminals. However, he seems alright with having Kellerman investigate Jake and his partner and keeping Lewis (Jake’s friend) out of the loop. Meldrick doesn’t like the idea of investigating Jake and isn’t above using his discretion to let killers walk but fundamentally he believes in doing the right thing. And of course, Pembleton (a very minor player in this whole story) sees a murder as a murder no matter who the victim or the killer is. (AS we will eventually see in two years, this gusto will lead to his estrangement and resignation from the force)

    But at the center of the episode is Kellerman. Out of state when the investigation into Edgar Rodzinski’s murder took place and with no relationship with Jake in any way he still doesn’t relish the idea of going after other cops. He knows that he could probably let Jake walk after a preliminary investigation but he is too good a cop to just let this slide. He doesn’t feel good about doing it (it makes him feel like taking a shower) but he is still young enough to believe it should be done. Of particular note is Kellerman’s reaction when Jake’s partner agrees to testify against him. Though this is exactly what he wanted to have happen he is still very angry that the man would give up his partner so easily. Kellerman believes deeply in loyalty to ones fellow officers which is why, next season when he is accused taking bribes he will be enraged that his fellow cops will do the same thing to him.

    (But more on that later)

    Strangely enough Jake Rodzinski himself in much less of a figure than he was in the previous episode. At first like he can’t adjust to Damon’s acquittal. Then he seems a little to close to normal when he comes back to work. His anger seems to reach the point of fury when after weeks of taking care of his fathers dog (who has not stopped barking since his master was killed) he gets really pissed and shoots him. Strangely he seems to reach a catharsis after this; when Melrdrick and Munch come to arrest him he doesn’t even bother to put up resistance. In his own way he is reached his kind of peace.

    If you’ve been wondering where Bayliss

    and Pembleton are in the middle of this, they are almost completely absent from the investigation. Rather they are involved in a private and rather amusing war which begins when Frank gets lunch for the squad but neglects to buy Tim a grilled-cheese sandwich. Tim bristles at what he thinks is a personal snub and retaliates by theatrically bringing pastries to everyone except Frank. His attitude gets more and more ridiculous until Frank brings a peace offering--- dozens of grilled-cheese sandwiched scattered liberally throughout Tim’s workspace. Perhaps the funniest thing is watching Frank’s reaction --- which is a complete and absolute blank. No smile, no wink, he just smokes a cigarette.

    ALL things considered this is an impressive return by David Simon to Homicide as a staff writer. He plays attention to details that others would overlook (including general lack of knowledge of ballistics on the part of police who work in check fraud) and in his reference to the old school- police and the new breed.’ Justice, Part Two’ is far from a perfect episode (it has trouble getting past most of the clichés that seem more characteristic of NYPD Blue) but it is above average and a fitting conclusion to the first episode. Plus it shows that the series can function without its central figures which doesn’t happen much more often.

    My score:8.25

Bruce Campbell

Bruce Campbell

Jake Rodzinsky

Guest Star

Donald Neal

Donald Neal

Augie Distel

Guest Star

John Haynes Walker

John Haynes Walker

Pez McCadden

Guest Star

Max Perlich

Max Perlich

J.H. Brodie

Recurring Role

Harlee McBride

Harlee McBride

Dr. Alyssa Dyer

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions