Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 5 Episode 21

Partners and Other Strangers (1)

1
Aired Friday 10:00 PM May 09, 1997 on NBC
9.2
out of 10
User Rating
26 votes
1

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Episode Summary

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Partners and Other Strangers (1)
AIRED:
Bayliss has disappeared again as Pembleton and Brodie make their way to the scene of a shotgun suicide. The victim appears to be Beau Felton. Gee's letter, including information gained in the "Burundi" case, begins to make an impact at the highest levels of the department. Frank returns to the department with the news about his case. Lewis goes off, wondering who is going to be next. Det. Falsone comes to the squad with news about why he thinks Beau Felton killed himself. Lewis and Stivers discuss the Mahoney shooting. Cox finds something interesting about the Felton case; she digs in deeper and the results change the case to a murder. Bayliss turns up the next day and disappears again to his Uncle George's place. Pembleton and Howard try to work with Falsone to find Beau's killer. Gee finds out that Beau had been working undercover for the past six months on the Cantwell auto-theft ring. Megan Russert returns from France.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A headless body in a near-flawless show

    9.0
    Homicide was never really about being easy to follow for the casual viewer. With its interconnected storylines and characters, combined with the long memory that this show has it requires more than a little thinking. Put in the thought, though, and the rewards were great.



    This is made very clear in part-one of the fifth season finale ‘Partners and Other Strangers’ Not only do all kinds of issues from the past season come into play but we find ourselves revisiting characters and storylines from years past. It’s complicated, but it’s worth the effort.

    Pembleton goes out on what appears to be a straight-up shotgun suicide but quickly becomes more complicated. First, there is the identity of the victim: Beau Felton, who no one in the squad has seen since he resigned from the department.

    The death sends shocks into the unit, particularly for Howard who can’t believe her partner has died. Everyone else is depressed, but Lewis is particularly angry when he learns that another cop on his shift has killed himself. He is so upset that even makes a cruel allusion to Mike’s attempt a few months ago. (But then it’s clear he’s still feeling shock over the Mahoney shooting two weeks ago)



    Then the revelations start coming. First off comes Paul Falsone of the Auto Squad. He tells Howard and Gee that he believes after being ousted from the force, joined forces with a car-theft ring that he had been investigating, possibly gave the boss tips on police raids, and then killed himself out of guilt. Howard gets very pissed when she hears this but later admits she almost believed it.



    Then Dr. Cox’s autopsy reveals that Felton was murdered. (She has to find out the hard way, though, literally taping together all the pieces of Felton’s skull.) The investigation than begins with the reluctant assistance of Falsone who begins to take them inside the world of car theft. The investigation has hardly begun, however, when Gee is called away to find out the final revelation from the Internal Investigation Unit (IID).



    Here we run into another familiar face--- Stu Gharty, last seen as foot-patrolmen in ‘Scene of the Crime’. He has since been promoted to Detective and was in charge of a case investigation the car-theft ring. After Felton came off his suspension, he announced that he didn’t want to return to Homicide, and Gharty assigned him as an undercover operative in the auto-theft ring. Felton did excellent work and was close to finding the leak before he was murdered. Now, in order to see whether or not Felton was compromised Homicide and IID must work together.



    A lot of familiar faces are around in this episode. Daniel Baldwin is present, but only in flashback as the other detectives on the squad remember their fallen comrade. Harlee McBride returns as M.E. Alyssa Dyer, who helps Cox put together Felton’s skull (She also reveals that she has broken up with Munch and is now dating a stand-up comic, an in-joke to the fact that she is Mrs. Richard Belzer.) We also see again Megan Russert after she returns from Paris to help with the investigation. In addition, we meet two other detectives who will end up working at Homicide—Paul Falsone, played by Jon Seda and Stuart Gharty, played again by Peter Gerety.



    Falsone was hated by a large constituency of fans of the show. I have never understood why as he struck me as interesting character--- not a natural detective like Bayliss or Pembleton, but one who needs to work hard to prove he was a real police. I actually had more problems with Gharty’s character--- he did not impress me as being the kind of man who should be carrying a detective shield. (I actually think he got assigned to IID to get as far from the street as he could) Both, however, were interesting characters and would be a strength to the show in its last two seasons.



    This episode is most notable for giving Melissa Leo, who has had almost nothing to do this season, a chance to show again what a good actress she is. Watching her pain as she sees what has befallen her former partner is very effective and makes us wish that the writers would have remembered how to use her properly.



    However, a lot of this season’s storylines are played to a conclusion while other doors are opened. Giardello had followed through with his threat and has sent a letter to the Mayor on Deputy Commissioner Harris’ wrongdoing. It appears his career is over. Frank finds out that Tim has been leaving the squad room to care for his infirm uncle. Bayliss admits he has been trying to understand what made his uncle do what eh did but admits that the man who molested him is gone beyond his vengeance. Stivers is still upset over the Mahoney shooting but manages to put it aside, even though the problem won’t go away. And most notably, we see the beginning of Kellerman’s descent into oblivion. First, he is pissed at Mahoney being admired by certain community leaders. Then, after pursuing Juliana for most of the year, he seems to be laying the groundwork to wreck that relationship. Finally, we begin to see Mike is falling into the same snare that got Felton: the bottle. (A brilliant use of camera work is demonstrated when we cut from Mike drinking and smoking at the Waterfront to a flashback of Beau getting drunk in an anonymous bar.)



    There’s a lot going on in ‘Partners and Other Strangers’, and its tough enough to puzzle even the most hardcore fan of Homicide. But the actors are good enough and the story is interesting enough to engage us. The casual viewer might be isolated, but few viewers of this show would call themselves ‘casual’

    My score:9

    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)

Jon Seda

Jon Seda

Det. Paul Falsone

Guest Star

Peter Gerety

Peter Gerety

Stu Gharty

Guest Star

Isabella Hofmann

Isabella Hofmann

Megan Russert

Guest Star

Toni Lewis

Toni Lewis

Terri Stivers

Recurring Role

Harlee McBride

Harlee McBride

Dr. Alyssa Dyer

Recurring Role

Clayton LeBouef

Clayton LeBouef

Col. Barnfather

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Pembleton: You don't have to work this case.
      Bayliss: I want to Frank.
      Pembleton: I know why you haven't been around and I know that you've been spending time with your uncle.
      Bayliss: You followed me?
      Pembleton: Yeah, I followed you, all the way to the house. I know that a Mr. George Bayliss lives there.
      Bayliss: Jeez, Frank.
      Pembleton: Sorry. I'm a detective, it's what I do.
      Bayliss: You know when I first went out there to that house, I hated him. I just wanted revenge. I wanted to take away from him what he took away from me.
      Pembleton: And now?
      Bayliss: Well can't take from his anything he hasn't already lost. He's gone Frank, gone. Whole sick twisted thing. He destroyed himself. He needed me. You know when I first went over there to his house I thought that by seeing him by talking to him that I would understand why he did what he did to me. But it didn't make any difference, I still don't understand things any better now. But what I do know is that I gotta forgive him, gotta forgive my father before anything can change.
      Pembleton: Have you done that. Have you forgiven him?

  • NOTES (3)

    • this is Melissa Leo and Isabella Hoffman's last episode. Hoffman quit after season 4, but came back for this 2 parter.

    • Although Daniel Baldwin is credited for this 2 parter; his only "appearances" are via archive footage from previous episodes. His presence in the episode is acknowledged by a special thanks card before the end credits.

    • Music in this episode: Love Riot "Sometimes a Feeling" alb: Maybe She Will.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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