Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 6 Episode 6

Saigon Rose

1
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Nov 21, 1997 on NBC
8.6
out of 10
User Rating
22 votes
1

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Episode Summary

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Saigon Rose
AIRED:
Two Vietnamese teenagers witness the shooting of their parents and some friends. One of the friends was a cop and one of the shooters they say was another cop. That cop, they discover, failed her psych evaluation but may have possibly gotten her job due to Affirmative Action; although strings pulled by her father proved to be her ticket into law enforcement. After they are able to implicate the cop in the shooting, as a bonus they discover the body of her string-pulling father. Ballard suffers from an allergic reaction to crabmeat. Falsone finds out that the case against Georgia Rae Mahoney is going to be dropped because of a lack of evidence. He suspects that the whole Mahoney thing is going to blow up in the department's face, because he knows the Mahoney shooting didn't go down the way Stivers, Kellerman and Lewis reported it. Kellerman debates with Cox about what he should do about the Mahoney situation.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • This ones good enough to take out

    8.1
    It is rare for Homicide to draw its news from the real world, a la Law & Order. Indeed, two of the times they did do something like this were in the crossovers they had done with Law & Order As for real cases I know of only two regular Homicides that are based on real news stories not in Simon’s book are season 3 ‘Colors’ (which was based on the 1992 murder of a Japanese exchange students) and ‘Saigon Rose’ which is based on an incident in New Orleans a few months earlier. Rather than deal with racism, as ‘Colors’ did, this one deals with dark look inside the ugliness of a very disturbed soul.



    The episode deal with a multiple homicide at a Vietnamese restaurant. Four members of the Nguyen family are killed while sitting down to dinner at the family restaurant. Also killed is Officer Larry Jones, a policeman who moonlighted as a security guard for the family to earn some extra cash. The motive is fairly obvious--- it was a very well-planned robbery. The reason that it breaks is because there are two surviving witnesses, two surviving children—they are spared only because they are in the kitchen when the bullets start flying. They can identify the voice of the killer--- a beat cop from the neighborhood named Toinette Perry. And the reason they recognize her is because the cop, like Jones (who was his partner), moonlighted as a security guard for them.



    Since there is little mystery as to what happened, the drama of the episode occurs as we realize the nature of Perry. When we first meet her, she drives up to help Pembleton and Lewis identify the victims and offer her assistance in catching the killer. We slowly learn (first from Mrs. Jones and then from the officers own jacket) that she is a lousy cop, sloppy in her police work, with extreme paranoid tendencies and a borderline personality. In fact, the only reason that she made the force in the first place is because of Affirmative Action as well as the fact that her father was a councilman, who got the board to overlook her bad psych exam.



    The same qualities that make Perry a lousy cop make her a lousy criminal. Frank and Meldrick easily poke holes in her story, she can not give a reasonable answer to any question and she easily gets flustered. But we don’t realize the true nature of her evil until we talk with her accomplice--- her cousin, a paroled felon. He was supposed to rob the place cleanly and later Toinette would show up and screw around with the evidence and witnesses so that he never got caught. Then Toinette came in and without any pretense or reason began shooting everyone in sight. Nor is this even her first murder--- we learn near the end of the episode that she killed her own father a year ago. What makes all of this even more unsettling is that Perry feels absolutely no remorse for what has happened--- even when she lays the murders on her cousins, its clear she’s more concerned with herself than with the lives that were lost. Camille McMcurty Ali is very unsettling in her portrait of a woman who clearly has no morality or scruples.



    The murder is so unsettling that the normally unflappable Dr. Cox is clearly unsettled by the viciousness of the slaughter. Indeed, she is so upset by this particular crime that she openly talks with Mike Kellerman about leaving the M.E.’s office.. Ironically, at this point Kellerman is seriously considering a career change also. (Perhaps this is a foreshadowing of sorts; by the time the season is over both Cox and Kellerman will be gone from the series) But let’s back up.



    Georgia Rae Mahoney, who was released on bail a few weeks ago, has now been set free completely, the chargers against her for both the detective shootings and the Collins’ murders dropped. One wonders, given the preponderance of evidence how this was even possible; later we will learn that more corruption was involved in her release. Furthermore, Georgia Rae has no intention of leaving Baltimore and, as she made clear in ‘Birthday’ the previous episode, she has every intention of blackmailing and breaking Kellerman about his involvement in the death of Luther.



    With Georgia Rae hounding him off the job, and Falsone still hounding him on it (in a slightly unrealistic sequence the two detectives get into a scuffle and end up holding their guns on each other) Mike realizes the enormity of the trouble he is in. He finally confesses the truth to Juliana, who tells him that he can’t carry this alone; he has to tell Meldrick and Stivers about the videotape Georgia Rae has. He’ll need some time to get there, but when he does neither will be thrilled. Unfortunately, things are continuing to spiral out of control



    For the first time since the ‘Blood Ties’ three-parter, Ballard and Gharty get a story of their own. Unfortunately, compared to Kellerman, it’s a pretty lightweight one. After dining on the local delicacies of Baltimore--- crabcakes--- Laura suffers anaphylactic shock brought on by an allergic reaction to shellfish. This was something of an in-joke because actress Callie Thorne suffered from food allergies. The writers probably would have done better to give her some policework (to their credit she’d get a case the following episode)



    We also meet one last demi-regular--- Billie Lou, the new bartender at he Waterfront who has a very unique act with a double bass. We’ll be seeing her around a bit more later on.

    ‘Saigon Rose’ is a pretty disturbing episode in its portrait of a woman with no scruples whatsoever. We have no idea what’s wrong with Toinette Perry and her actions are truly senseless. This is how Homicide works and even though its not as brilliant as ‘Every Mother’s Son’ or the Mahoney saga, it’s pretty tense anyway.

    My score: 8.1

    moreless
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)

Peter Gerety

Peter Gerety

Stu Gharty (Seasons 6-7, recurring previously, TVM)

Camille McCurty Ali

Camille McCurty Ali

Off. Antoinette Perry

Guest Star

Vanessa Brown

Vanessa Brown

Lucy Nguyen

Guest Star

John Tran

John Tran

Tom Nguyen

Guest Star

Ellen McElduff

Ellen McElduff

Billie Lou Hatfield

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Bayliss: Frank.
      Pembleton: Yeah.
      Bayliss: Where you been?
      Pembleton: On a call. Where'd you go?
      Bayliss: I went to an all night drugstore looking for some liquid pink relief.
      Pembleton: So you think it's stomach cancer or an ulcer.
      Bayliss: I think it's my working environment especially my colleagues.

  • NOTES (2)

    • This story was based on a case that occurred in New Orleans, only the children involved were much younger and the disappearance of the crazy cop's father is still under investigation.

    • Music in this episode: Charley Miller "Lullaby Peace Dreams" alb: Peace Horn; The Subdudes "All the Time in the World" alb: Primative Streak.

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • Character Name: Officer Antoinette Perry

      (Mary) Antoinette Perry (June 27, 1888 – June 28, 1946), was an actress and director, founder of the American Theater Wing which operated the Stage Door Canteens, venues for entertaining soldiers stationed stateside during World War II. The Tony Awards, given for achievement in stage acting since 1947, were created in her honor and named after her. They are formally known as the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre.

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