Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 4 Episode 9

Sniper (2)

0
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Jan 12, 1996 on NBC
8.7
out of 10
User Rating
27 votes
2

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Episode Summary

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Sniper (2)
AIRED:
The sniper continues the shootings and everyone returns to duty lacking sleep. The media starts to make their presence felt. Munch begins to worry about Howard's safety, fearing she'll be wounded again. Frank makes his wife wear a bulletproof vest. Gee asks for Russert's help even though Barnfather had ordered her to stand down during the rest of this investigation. A man at the scene of both of the day's shootings is put into the box for questioning. Russert has a talk with the suspect with the subject being keeping people's attention and respect.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • The detectives, fearful for the lives of those close to them, try to figure out who is behind yet another wave of shootings. The detectives soon suspect a "copycat" killer and get suspicious when a man is seen jogging near two separate scenes.moreless

    8.5
    The second part of this twofer provides for even more excitement but in the end doesn't deliver.



    Just when we think that Mariner (the first sniper) had an accomplice or a friend in which he was playing hangman with, the idea of a copycat killer is introduced.



    There is no closure on the games of hangman and both Mariner's and Robey's captures seemed too easy, falling into the laps of the detectives. It is becoming all too common that suspects turn themselves in or seemingly want to be caught. The handwriting expert finding a match is like finding a needle in a haystack.



    This episode does a good job of showing the fear and paranoia of the citizens of Baltimore when a sniper is on the loose again. Pembleton delivering a bulletproof vest to his wife who is in an office is maybe a little too extreme, even after some victims are found in a bus, revealing a little different pattern.moreless
  • Good stuff but ultimaely something of a misfire

    6.6
    Initially I thought that the second part of the sniper shootings was a brilliant continuation of what had taken place during the first part. I thought it was cinematically magnificent, tensely written with some brilliant work done by Braugher, Yaphet Kotto and Hoffman. Reviewing it seven years later, however, one sees some very intense moments and solid work but it’s a lot shakier than the show at its best or even some of the better moments of this season.



    The parts that work best is seeing all of the detectives worn pretty much to a frazzle which isn’t that surprising considering they’ve all been up twenty-four hours straight and now they are forced to investigate a crime that they thought was closed. Gee is showing the most strain. He gets ultra pissed at everybody--- the public relations woman (by now the story has gone national), Lieutenant Jasper of QRT, the idiots who are flying helicopters over the crime scenes. The only ones he doesn’t get mad at are (not surprisingly) his own detectives. Despite all the pressure that the squad (particularly Pembleton, now the primary) is under for the continuation of these shootings he knows pushing them will not make the investigation go faster. Even when they finally have a suspect in custody, Gee practically orders Frank and Tim to go home and get some sleep. (They refuse, of course) Furthermore, now that Russert has been double demoted, he’s now feeling most of the heat from the bosses—which is SOP for him. Giardello isn’t the typical commander and this episode is a prime example as to why.



    The detectives are worn to the nub too--- for different reasons. Bayliss is still reeling from the first sniper’s suicide, as well as the fact that he has to be the one to go to the widow’s house and ask if her husband had any accomplices. Kellerman, still getting his sea legs is getting used to interviewing the families of the deceased. Munch is finally beginning to show some of the stress of the memories of his being in a police-involved shooting last year. Even Pembleton is more afraid than he lets on. Halfway through his shift, he goes to his pregnant wife’s office and tries to get her to leave work. However, this is one of the few people on earth that he can’t intimidate—and at work she stays.



    Because the detectives suspect, not surprisingly, that this sniper is an accomplice of the first they spend eight hours following this lead. Almost in typical ‘Homicide’ fashion the sniper then practically falls into their lap—he is present at both crime scenes and practically walks into the police station offering to help. Alex Robey, the shooter, is no master criminal--- he seems a modest, unassuming, almost dull young man. When Tim and Frank interrogate him there is very little electricity. He is so bland. It takes a more modest, gentle leaning from the now-Detective Megan Russert to finally get this almost nobody to break.



    All of this is entertaining and intense at times. Yet it all seems unreal for a cop show--- fourteen murders, all linked to one case solved by the most popular detective team on the show, with an assist from an on-the-money interrogation by a detective on her first day back on the job Furthermore, the alleged copycat of the killer could never have amassed all the information that he got on the first shooting which took place yesterday—certainly not from the newspapers and magazine which don’t publish that fast even now.



    Even for television this is hard to believe.

    What you admire most about the show is Hoffman’s work. For the first time in nearly two years she gets a real chance to show her acting chops in a way her role as a superior never allowed her too. Plus we have the memorable scene after the case is put down in which Russert exchanges a cold look at Colonel Barnfather who didn’t even want her back in the office. One she’s definitely earned. Braugher and Kotto do fine work too, but at this stage that’s par for the course.

    Perhaps the most bizarre elements of ‘Sniper, Part 2’ is the final sequence in which Pembleton delivers a grumbling rant at the overall lack of originality in our society. This is meant to be some kind of humorous link in re the case of Alex Robey but it could just as easily serve as a complaint about the now almost-formulaic plots of Homicide. At this point even the cast was beginning to complain about them. However--- partially because of the fallout from Russert’s demotion--- there are some better moments and improved stories ahead of us. The detectives struggles with the brass are about to get tougher and this will be one of the reasons why.



    My score:6.5

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David Eigenberg

David Eigenberg

Alex Robey

Guest Star

J. Smith-Cameron

J. Smith-Cameron

Avis Griffin

Guest Star

Carolyn McCormick

Carolyn McCormick

Linda Mariner

Guest Star

Max Perlich

Max Perlich

J.H. Brodie

Recurring Role

Ami Brabson

Ami Brabson

Mary Pembleton

Recurring Role

Gary D'Addario

Gary D'Addario

Lt. Jasper

Recurring Role

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