Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 1 Episode 3

Son of a Gun

1
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Feb 10, 1993 on NBC
8.8
out of 10
User Rating
43 votes
2

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Episode Summary

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Son of a Gun
AIRED:
Crosetti lays out more theories on his Lincoln assassination conspiracy theory. Then Gee comes in with news that Crosetti's friend Chris Thormann has been shot. After they follow up on a new lead in the case that takes them nowhere, frustration begins to set in for Bayliss. Bolander meets his neighbor, a man who works with wood. One of his projects is a coffin. Together, they drink Stan's beer and discuss life, love, and etc.. Kay and Beau's suspect in a murder hired a hit man to kill a man she disagreed with about a bust of Spiro Agnew. Their case leads to a solution for Meldrick's case involving the "black widow." Crosetti demands that he get the case to solve Chris' shooting. Stan meets Carol for their first date; however, they get interrupted when his neighbor is found dead. Gee talks with Bayliss about his frustration. Chris is going to survive, but what level he will recover to is yet to be determined.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Crosetti's best friend, Officer Thorman is shot and is in critical condition. Bayliss, Pembleton and company continue to work the Watson case with no progress being made. Bolander makes two new friends and later investigates the death of one of them.moreless

    9.4
    Like the episode before it, "Son of a gun" is the perfect example of what "Homicide" life on the street" is about. Not everything is always peachy and that is clear in this episode. Bayliss and company still haven't found anything useful in the Watson case. Lewis gets nothing out of a stubborn elderly woman, suspected of murdering her husbands and collecting their insurance money. Crosetti's best friend is shot and clings to his life. Bolander investigates the death of his neighbor, who he spent time talking and drinking with earlier. Yes, nothing is going right for the detectives in this episode and there isn't much comic relief either. You know what ? thats fine. This is realistic, and shows why "Homicide: life on the street" differs from other "cop" shows, where murders are seemingly solved as soon as they happen.



    Over the course of a series you can throw in an episode like this or two (where there is not much comic relief), and this one is done nicely.moreless
  • An absolutely wrenching journey into the nightmare

    8.8
    Jon Polito got a raw deal from the writers of Homicide. No doubt the veteran character actor thought that appearing in a critically acclaimed network drama would help provide a boost to his career. Instead, he got the fuzzy end of the lollipop. Of all the detectives who would work in Homicide during the shows seven-year run, Steve Crosetti would never get to work a murder as a primary. Crosetti and Lewis would investigate four cases during the shows first two seasons, but the names always got written under Lewis’s name. Therefore, we never really saw how he worked as a detective. Adding insult to injury, the writers would dump Polito under the demands of NBC executives who found this overweight, bald man unappealing. And though his death would lead to one of the most memorable images in the series, he never got a chance to sign off on it or even make an appearance in his last episode. (The final touch came when the episode was aired out of sequence, undercutting the revelation of his death)



    Therefore, the only chance that Polito would be able to demonstrate his dramatic range as Crosetti in the sequence of episodes surrounding the Chris Thorman’s shooting. It is a great pity because in this episode and the next one, Polito would demonstrate a great deal of the range and emotion that he could have demonstrated.



    Like most of the events in the shows first two seasons, the shooting of officer Chris Thorman was pulled from from Simon’s book. Based on the events surrounding the shooting of patrolman Gene Cassidy and the action of Sergeant Terry McLarney (on whom Crosetti gets some of his character) we bare witness to something that the writers of Homicide would do rather frequently; expose the detectives on the show to the same kind of pain and anguish that they see happen to others frequently on the job. In the book, McLarney and Cassidy were acquaintances; in the TV series, Thormann is an old friend of Crosetti. Because of this catching the man who shot him takes on a deeper significance than had it been another cop. But even if the relationship between Crosetti and Thormann had not been established, this incident would retain dramatic power nevertheless. The viewer met Chris Thormann a week earlier and the fact that someone we have seen alive is now on the brink of death, is fairly shocking. It is not uncommon from a television show to kill off a minor character early in its run, but we don’t normally see it in such a fashion. We never actually see Thormann’s shooting , only the aftermath.



    Furthermore, on most police dramas the shooting of a policeman would be the main business. But just as in ‘Ghost of a Chance’, we find the squad dealing with business as usual. The Adena Watson investigation takes on a new angle (though it would turn out that it wasn’t as new as we thought) and the other detectives are work on even older cases with Felton and Howard eventually dealing with an investigation started in the Pilot involving an old woman and her unlikely string of murders. The episode also continues to balance the fine line between tragedy and comedy. The first humor comes when we learn why Lawrence Hepner died (over an argument involving Spiro Agnew, of all things) and then we meet the unlikely ’black widow’ that seems to have cast a spell of stupidity around those who she would try to wed and murder. This, too, has it origins in reality which makes it more amusing.

    We also get more insight into the characters of the detectives. Bayliss and Pembleton’s relationship becomes more involved. Pembleton continues to disdain Bayliss’ efforts only now he does it to his face. In one of the more memorable bones of contention, Frank tells Bayliss that Tim will never make a good murder police because he doesn’t have a killers mind--- something that will stick in Bayliss’ craw for a long time. Bayliss only seems marginally more in the game in this episode then the last one. He still seems aimless and it Is very clear that the sight of Adena’s body still haunts him. But he remains determined to close this case--- which is ironic considering what we will find out in a few more episodes.



    Bolander continues to change as a character. For the first time we get a sense of the fog of depression that seems to surround him. Part of this is the job, part of it is the state of his marriage, and part of it his own neuroses. He gets several good lines, including one in which he sees murder suspects everywhere and his own fear of death--- which is no doubt amplified by the fact that his next door neighbor turns up dead in a coffin that he built. He is looking for love (in his pursuit of Dr. Blythe) but we wonder if it is likely given his job and his attitude. Ned Beatty does a great job of realizing the complexities of Bolander.



    But it is Crosetti who we see in the greatest detail. In addition to his anger in the shooting we see two of his greatest passions---- his Catholicism and his love of jazz. The former is a pillar to him when he I at his lowest point in the investigation; the latter helps him get through sitting at Thormann’s bedside. We see the things that, like his belief in uncovering the truth about the Lincoln assassination, sustain him. (This is especially ironic considering what his ultimate fate is). There is also a certain degree of irony in that the break in the case seems to come from above, when in actuality it is a version of fraud.



    James Yoshimura would bring some of the most searing and difficult images that Homicide would ever produce. In his first script for the show, he doesn’t quite bring out any memorable images, but he does a fine job creating some memorable characters. The most notable is Lorenzo (or Larry), a woodworker who seems perfectly content and calm when we see him--- but who appears to commit suicide at the episodes end. This is the first time we get a sense of the fragility of the average life in Homicide. This won’t be a recurring theme but it will matter nevertheless.

    Also notable is the first time that music is used to give some kind of background. In this case it is the jazz of Miles Davis that Crosetti and Thorman know so well. Though not as elaborate as some of the music that the show would use later, it still provides a feeling of synchrony with some of the problems of the job



    ‘Son of a Gun’ fits in so well with what we have seen that it is jarring to learn that while it was the third episode aired, it was the fourth episode shot.. This would lead to some errors in continuity especially since that episode would not be seen until the season end. There would be several occasions that the powers that be would pull this kind of stunt. However this would be one of the few occasions where one doesn’t really miss what happened in the previous episode. The episode isn’t as excellent as the first two, but it does give several actors in the cast a chance to really shine

    My score: 8.75

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Luis Guzman

Luis Guzman

Larry Madera

Guest Star

Mary Jefferson

Mary Jefferson

Calpurnia Church

Guest Star

Paul Schulze

Paul Schulze

Miles Stradinger

Guest Star

Edie Falco

Edie Falco

Eva Thormann

Recurring Role

Wendy Hughes

Wendy Hughes

Dr. Carol Blythe

Recurring Role

Lee Tergesen

Lee Tergesen

Off. Chris Thormann

Recurring Role

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