Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 6 Episode 13

Something Sacred (2)

0
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Jan 30, 1998 on NBC
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
24 votes
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Episode Summary

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Something Sacred (2)
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With the addition of the latest murder, the "red ball" investigation continues full force. The detectives and the returning Bayliss pose as priests in an attempt to flush out any leads. Munch's cover attracts two young thugs, but they prove to be nothing. Gee is called upstairs, where his performance doesn't sit well with Barnfather. Lewis turns up and seeks some help from Falsone. Pembleton receives a call that the two missing boys have been found. Pembleton and Stivers travel to collect them. Meanwhile, Gharty and Ballard find the pawnbroker who had accepted a stolen chalice. Cox and Bayliss prevent a drunken Kellerman from driving home. Ballard and Gharty use the pawn-receipt false address to track down the corner kid with whom they'd previously had a run-in. They bring him into the box and Gharty loses his cool. The kid is tough to crack, but Pembleton has an idea involving the morgue and a trip to the shore. While stumbling home, a drunken Kellerman decides he doesn't like the look of someone, so he cuffs him and leaves him for the uniforms that arrive on the scene. Falsone provides Lewis with the info he wants. Kellerman spots Lewis, who takes off. Pembleton's ploy works as the corner kid gives up the perps.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A satisfying conclusion

    8.5
    In the second part of this double episode, we get to see how the police answer challenges like the murders of two priests--- they play decoy. We see Pembleton, Falsone, Munch (there’s one that needs imagination) and Bayliss (who has just returned from his vacation) dressing up as priest trying to attract the murderous felons. This works about as well as you’d expected--- there are six robberies but none of them the type they’re looking for.



    By now it is clear that both of murders were committed in the course of robberies--- when the second priest, a monsignor, was murdered, his parish was ransack and a chalice was stolen. The evidence also seems to point even more strongly towards the two Guatemalan refugees who have fled the scene. Eventually, the highway patrol catches up to them in Frederick--- with money in their possession. Their attorney---- a nun who was responsible for the refugee’s passage into this country---- finds them and insists that they are not the ones responsible for the murders. There is blind faith, and then there is stupidity and it seems absurd for anyone to have this kind of belief.



    As it turns out, however, the sister’s faith is justified. Ballard and Gharty track the chalice to a pawnshop and find what seems to be no help--- whoever pawned used ‘Whitney Houston’ as a name and left a burned-out building as the place of residence. However, using some local geography, Ballard tracks down another lead--- our friend Roc Roc, last seen making a suspicious phone call near a rectory. Now Roc Roc is a tough young man--- he’s already had some juvenile arrests and when we next seem he’s selling vials to a woman in a car--- but Ballard doesn’t think that he had anything to do with the murder. She does think, however, that he knows who did.



    Up until this point, the main focus on the religious aspect of these killers has been Gharty. We see him clearly affected seeing the body of the monsignor in the morgue, confessing his doubts about the case to Falsone, and paying tribute to both priests in an honorarium where they lie in state. But after they catch up with Roc Roc Gharty’s fury about the case leads to him attacking and assaulting the callous man, leaving Ballard no choice but to throw him out. The interrogation therefore is conducted by Ballard and Pembleton, the other primary on the murder.



    For four hours they drill the young man using the idea of the preciousness of life, something that a drug peddler on the corner knows is false. So Frank tries another approach, shoving Lamar (his real name) into a morgue freezer filled with young black men. Then he and Ballard drive him out to the Chesapeake (which Lamar calls ‘the ocean’) and shows him something no corner boy normally sees. He then confronts Lamar with the simple truth--- he’s going to die young and alone. So the question is, when Lamar was alive, did he really live? Under other circumstances this might come off as corny, but Braugher has the delivery to pull it off. The killers turn out to be two corner boys Roc Roc hung with--- one of whom is cousin. He also confirms that he was outside the first church a few weeks ago but he didn’t have the spirit to go any further.



    Admittedly, it is someone disappointing to follow Gharty for most of two episodes and then have him disappear off-stage for the final twenty minutes. Still it is Gerety’s work that remains with you for both episodes, that of the cop who everyday sees evil in the world and yet takes his family to church every Sunday. IN many ways this is Gerety’s most complex performance, though this ground wasn’t covered again.



    While most of the second hour focuses on the investigation we do follow one of the stories from the previous hour--- the location of Meldrick. Lewis pops up behind the headquarters, looking even scruffier than usual. He reveals himself only to Falsone, and has no urge to see any of his fellow detectives, particularly Kellerman. He asks his partner for background and rap sheets on three felons--- all of whom, it turns out, are players in the Mahoney organization. We have no idea what Lewis is up to, only his vague remark that he is going to ‘take the offensive’ against Georgia Rae. The ramifications of this will not be revealed for several episodes.



    Even more obvious is the continued deterioration of Kellerman. Mike gets positively hammered at the Waterfront, insults Dr. Cox, and throws his car keys in the river. Stumbling home, he accidentally runs into a dealer who looks at him funny and who his drunken imagination identifies as Luther, which leads him to pistol whip him and leave him unconscious in the street. He also berates Meldrick for not coming to see him when he saw Falsone. The rift between Mike and the squad is rapidly becoming a fissure.



    The overall effect of both parts of ‘Something Sacred’ is a well crafted, multi-layered story. Though its not as well crafted as some of the other multipart story, the greater realism of the story, the good performances from Thorne, Gerety and Braugher, combined with the fine guest work of Avery Waddell as Roc Roc and Leslie Silva as Sister Diane, lead to a well written and well done episode. Combined with some well chosen blues music as background and you’ve got some good TV. It’s a shame that no more ‘mini-movies’ would be made in Homicide’s remaining year and half or that even future two-parters would not be as well written and de-sensationalized as this was. That would have been something to believe in.

    My score: 8.6

    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)

Leslie Silva

Leslie Silva

Sister Dyanne Attwood

Guest Star

Victor Anthony

Victor Anthony

Pedro Velez

Guest Star

Michael Pena

Michael Pena

Luis Carranza

Guest Star

Zeljko Ivanek

Zeljko Ivanek

ASA Ed Danvers

Recurring Role

Toni Lewis

Toni Lewis

Terri Stivers

Recurring Role

Clayton LeBouef

Clayton LeBouef

Col. Barnfather

Recurring Role

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