Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 4 Episode 16

Requiem for Adena

0
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Mar 29, 1996 on NBC
8.9
out of 10
User Rating
29 votes
1

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Episode Summary

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Requiem for Adena
AIRED:
A young girl is murdered, in a style similar to Adena Watson's murder. Frank demands to work the case alone as Bayliss begins to think that the two crimes might be related. Bayliss' obsession with trying to get this case solved and linked to Adena's murder causes the two of them to clash. Howard learns that Brodie has a crush on her and tells him she doesn't like the joke that's being pulled-- only problem there is that it's the truth.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Going back to where it all began

    9.8
    Having managed to improve Homicide’s ratings over the season, the heads of NBC gave Tom Fontana and the shows writers room to experiment with the format or in this case revisit an old story. Or to be truthful, the old story.



    The murder of Adena Watson was at the center of Homicide first season and was central in shaping Tim Bayliss. Time has gone by (the show says four years, the calendar says three) but, as we saw in ‘Stakeout’ Tim hasn’t forgotten it. So when Janelle Parsons, a twelve year old is found stabbed and sexually assaulted in an alley Bayliss, perhaps seeing things that he wants to see, thinks that there may be a connection to Adena’s murder. However, there is one critical difference to this case: Pembleton is the primary. And he knows how badly the Watson case was botched by the bosses and the media and, yes, his partner and he doesn’t want those mistakes to be repeated . So he insists to Gee that the case NOT be designated a red ball and that he be allowed to work this case solo.



    This may seem very unlikely for an investigation of this nature to be handled. In fact, the Parsons case is modeled after a similar child killing that occurred the same year in Simon’s book. Pushing the parallel further Harry Edgerton (on whom Pembleton is modeled) worked the case in exactly the same way Frank does here and it was solved without any links to Latonya Wallace’s murder earlier in the year.



    However, as in the case in this episode, the passage of time has done little to heal the emotional scars that Bayliss received during the course of his first investigation. Old wounds are reopened for the detective and the show, much like real life, does not offer the benefit of any answers. It also reopens some of the old problems that Tim and Frank have always had during their partnership, especially when Frank goes ballistic when Tim leaks word of the investigation to the press. (On a side note, Giardello cautions Pembleton not to get so pissed that he burst a blood vessel. Did Gee have any idea what was coming?) But, in point of fact, Frank is absolutely right about what Tim is doing. He knows that Bayliss’ attitude has nothing to do with Adena Watson any more than it has to do with Janelle Parsons. It is all about Tim trying to correct the mistakes of the past--- and despite Bayliss’ best efforts he can’t.



    Andre Braugher gives a great performance, as he almost always does. His instincts are as sharp as they have been and he is as smooth a detective as he usually. In this episode he proves that a ‘one-man red ball’ can sometimes do far more than a troop of police. But at the center of this episode is Kyle Secor who continues to demonstrate why he is the guts of Homicide . He wears his heart on his sleeve in this show (much like the carnation on his lapel) and he demonstrates that he is still in nine kinds of pains over Adena Watson’s death—so much so that he tells Gee that he isn’t sleeping well and if he knows how to let a case go. Gee offers some comfort but there isn’t a lot that he can give. Tim manages to put Adena’s ghost to rest after a fashion, discarding the picture of the murdered child that has adorned his desk for three years. But ghosts don’t go away because of symbolic gestures and it will soon become clear that this case will never go away. (We won’t learn the reason why for another year)



    The episode is dark and painful but there are some amusing aspects to it. For one thing, there is Janelle Parsons’ killer Carver Dooley portrayed memorably by comedian Chris Rock. Dooley is an incredibly dim bulb, so much so that even when Frank interrogates him he becomes half- convinced that Dooley didn’t kill him. The mixture of genuine stupidity plus the horror of the crime makes a very disturbing portrayal. Then there is the other subplot involving Brodie’s crush on Kay Howard—who he calls hot, an adjective that seriously disturbs Munch when he hears it. Howard eventually hears about the crush but comes to believe that it is a put-on by her male colleagues, leaving poor Brodie crushed. (This, however, is true to Howard’s overall character.)



    But, even with the comic elements, ‘Requiem For Adena’ remains a wrenching, conflicted and unnerving episode of Homicide. To revisit old wounds as painful as these is something that few television shows would have the guts to do but Homicide did regularly. I would have been willing to sit through ‘Thrill of the Kill’ and ‘Map of the Heart’ in order to get an episode like this and, as is almost always the case, the show delivers when it does.

    My score:9.75

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Chris Rock

Chris Rock

Carvey Dooley

Guest Star

Nurit Koppel

Nurit Koppel

Susannah Chase

Guest Star

Gwendolyn Briley-Strand

Gwendolyn Briley-Strand

Mrs. Watson

Guest Star

Max Perlich

Max Perlich

J.H. Brodie

Recurring Role

Ami Brabson

Ami Brabson

Mary Pembleton

Recurring Role

Clayton LeBouef

Clayton LeBouef

Col. Barnfather

Recurring Role

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