Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 4 Episode 21

The Wedding

Aired Friday 10:00 PM May 10, 1996 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
28 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The Wedding
A trash-talking radio talk-show host makes a proposal to his listening audience. Lewis announces to Kellerman that he is getting married today, then he throws up. He motivates the rest of the squad to help him with the final details as he is getting married "tonight after the shift ends." Kay brings her sister with her to the station. Since the whole squad is busy with Lewis' wedding, Gee takes Howard out to work the homicide of the radio talk-show host. One of his listeners took him up on his proposal. Munch is skeptical about the Lewis wedding; he thinks it's an elaborate practical joke. Bayliss and Kellerman vie for the attention of Kay's sister. Gee shoots and kills a potential suspect, but the suspect was in jail at the time of the talk show host's murder. The guy who fingered him admits that he did it as a joke. The wedding is no hoax. During the festivities Pembleton's wife goes into labor.moreless

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  • We're turning a little melodramatic, aren't we?

    All throughout the fourth season Homicde has been on several occasions sensationalizing the aspects of the police work they do—onscreen murders, nude scenes, etc . This has been tolerable because the character aspects of the show have been basically left intact. Unfortunately, the penultimate episode of the season takes that sensationalizing aspect to the characters themselves. Thus ‘The Wedding’ inflates for an effect almost perversely comical. The only reason that the episode works at all is because writer Henry Bromell manages to twist the situation into something bizarre.

    For starters Lewis is getting married. To someone we’ve never met. The only reason the audience isn’t pissed by this out-of-left-field development is because the squad is as astonished by this turn of events as we are. Mainly because we know less about Lewis off the job than any of the other detectives. We’ve learned about his insane brother and his childhood growing up in the Lafayette Courts but this is the first time that we have heard of Meldrick being interested in anyone romantically since Emma Zoole over a year and a half ago.

    Now, on the spur of the moment, he rents the ballroom in a hotel, asks his associates at the squad to help get the flowers and food together and gets Kellerman to be his best man.

    Almost to a man, they believe that this is some gargantuan put-on, particularly Kellerman who is irked that he’s been partnered with someone all year and this is the first he’s hearing about it. Indeed it’s not until Meldrick shows up at the hotel with his bride-to-be in hand that the detectives are sure its for real. (Even then the ultra-paranoid Munch still thinks that its some kind of joke. )Eventually it will come out that Meldrick hid the details of this because he didn’t want to jinx its success. Unfortunately, this marriage is doomed almost from day one as we will learn in the very next episode.

    We also get some insight into a couple of other detectives on the squad, particularly Howard. Her sister Carrie, visiting from Florence (where she’s been living since Season 1) drops in on the squad. She then proves herself a very aggressive flirt, pitting Bayliss against Kellerman in machismo that verges on being cavemanlike. Kay tries to warn both detectives off, saying that Carrie believes in a fun-loving attitude that is nearly the complete antithesis of her sister. This is an unusual performance, particularly when one learns that the actress playing Carrie is none other than Melissa Leo herself! The disjointed editing and the chameleon-like abilities of Leo keep the viewer from realizing this. I’ve seen the episode a half-dozen times, and its still hard to believe that Leo is both women. Its rather astonishing.

    In the midst of all this murder keeps coming. With the entire squad burdened by arranging Meldrick’s wedding Gee finds himself going out on a call. It turns out to be a stone-cold whodunit involving a controversial Baltimore shock-jock. In the course of the episode Gee and Howard only get one lead but when they track down the suspect Giardello ends up shooting and killing him. The shooting is clean, but we learn immediately afterwards that the suspect could not have been the killer and that the only reason he was fingered for the murder in the first place was because of a practical joke by one of his friends. This is an old cliché and the only reason that it manages to come off is because of the brilliant work by Yaphet Kotto. His portrayal of a man who has come face to face with his own fallability is one of the most memorable work he would do. Again we get really insight into how truly lonely the commander really is. The doubts raised by this shooting will stay with him for quite some time, and not until the middle of the next season (when he goes out on another case) will he be able to get past this.

    In all the fuss and fury, Mary Pembleton, eight months pregnant goes into labor during the reception. This is the final straw for this episode, redeemed only when Frank yells out for a doctor--- and ME Scheiner offers to help. The look of alarm on Frank’s face is priceless.

    Otherwise, this nearly turns this bloated episode into a near soap opera.

    There are some good parts to ‘The Wedding’ but for much of it the characters look foolish and out of place. There is some good work being done by Leo and Kotto, of course, but otherwise this seems more like the season finale of a show like Melrose Place than Homicide. Only one thing saves the episode from mediocrity--- this isn’t the season finale. Now that we’ve got all of the showy stuff out of the way, Bromell and Fontana have cleared the decks for the real season ender--- and it will be so remarkable that one can almost forgive everything that has come before.

    My score:7.5

Karen Williams

Karen Williams

Barbara Shivers

Guest Star

Kevin Grantz

Kevin Grantz

Paul Lupkis

Guest Star

Chuck Paris

Chuck Paris


Guest Star

Max Perlich

Max Perlich

J.H. Brodie

Recurring Role

Ami Brabson

Ami Brabson

Mary Pembleton

Recurring Role

Ralph Tabakin

Ralph Tabakin

Dr. Scheiner

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Having the episode on DVD enabled me to run those few seconds back and forth very specifically to determine if a "body double" could have been substituted but masked for editing continuity. Such an edit DOES occur as Kay and Carrie walk with their backs to the camera and someone crosses the screen from viewer left to right, masking the edit when the double was likely put in place. Of course, by watching those few seconds only once, the "effect" is almost (not quite) subliminal.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Pembleton: Okay, here's the deal. I'm going to take Mary home right now. Then, I'm going to find Lewis. And when I find him, I'm going to kill him. I'm a very clever detective and I will kill him in such a way that I will not be caught. He will simply disappear. And like all sphincters before him, he will not be missed.

    • Munch: How could anybody be too old for 101 DALMATIONS? It's universal; It's like Homer: a great journey of the heart disguised as an adventure story.
      Brodie: With dogs.

  • NOTES (4)

    • The Carrie Howard in question is, presumably, the same Carrie referred to in S2's "Night of the Living Dead" when Kay told the cleaning woman (who asked why Kay was crying) that she was crying because her sister, Carrie, had a tumor in her breast told by her husband that he was having an affair. There was no mention of their living in Italy.

    • Karen Williams, Lewis' on-screen wife, was the maid of honor at Heather Salmon's wedding to Clark Johnson in November of 1994.

    • After some debate on the Internet in the alt.tv.homicide newsgroup, it was decided and later it was confirmed by another cast member that Melissa Leo did, in fact, play her sister. Some evidence to this fact is that Kay and her sister never seemed to appear in the same shot, except a viewer noted to me that it happened twice. Once when Kay introduced her sister to Gee and another when Kay broke up an argument between Tim and Mike.

    • Music in this episode: Lazy Boy "Curb Urchin", "Latin Quarter", "The Mole" & "Junction City". Since the airing of this episode, Lazy Boy has changed their name to Big Lazy. The music from this episode can be found on their album "Amnesia".