Homicide: Life on the Street

Season 4 Episode 4

Thrill of the Kill

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Nov 10, 1995 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
30 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Thrill of the Kill
The squad returns to the station. The FBI joins with the detectives to stop a "thrill killer" who's working his way north on I-95. Gee tries to reconcile with his daughter. The killer smells a rat at a roadblock so he bails out of his pickup. Everyone mobilizes to find him and when they do, the suspect in custody, while identical to the killer, claims he is innocent.moreless

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  • A troubled serial killer is on his way, up I95 heading to Baltimore. Pembleton and Bayliss are on the case and work together with the FBI. Once the suspected killer is eventually tracked down, he is not who he seems to be.moreless

    "Thrill of the kill" is clearly an underrated episode, and delivers, taking the viewer into the mind of a twisted serial killer and ending with an interesting twist.

    The character of Kellerman has been successfully introduced, and is not seen so often in this episode, sadly neither are Bolander and Felton. Pembleton and Bayliss are the focal point once again and this combo is perfect along with the FBI.

    I realize this episode has some minor flaws, such as the FBI's role in this investigation, the FBI would normally take a much bigger stranglehold and run the show. Pembleton who's booming voice is perfect for the megaphone in reality wouldn't be the one using it. In the end, despite the minor flaws this episode is well done.moreless
  • Like Frank's marksmenship, not up to par.

    This episode is not what I expect from such a great show. Silly narration ("putting your lips over a man's mouth and sucking out his last breath...") and artsy-coloured shots fail at trying to get an unnerving quality when I just think that Zamacona, Bromell, and Fontana have recently watched Natural Born Killers. These three writers are usually superb but this episode is a folly.

    The case is neither innovative or realistic, which I expect from Homicide. But instead follows a paint-by-numbers spree killer road movie with a few inexcusable cliches thrown in 1. Detectives investigating in a strip club with the camera lingering too long on the dancers 2, He's in the back of your car! 3. It was his evil twin!

    The sub-plot of G's daughter visiting and their relationship is more like the Homicide I know and love: character development, realism and great acting.

    Frank and Tim have some amusing bickering, but not enough to redeem this one.

  • This one just isn't that thrilling

    If ‘A Dolls Eyes’ represented the best aspects of Homicide, ‘Thrill of the Kill’ represented the weakest part of the ‘new’ series. Considering the qualities of this episodes one can not understand why NBC was so hyped by it that they ran it out of sequence in time for the November Sweeps. Not only is it a vastly inferior episode, it is not even very good television by the standards of normal television mainly because of a couple of major logical flaws.

    The story involves a serial killer who, starting in Florida, begins driving north down the interstate, apparently slaughtering passengers every time that he stops for gas. The FBI learns about a murder in Virginia which isn’t that far from Maryland. Yet somehow Bayliss and Pembleton have time to talk to the FBI, practice at the firing range, drive to the crime scene, interrogate witnesses and drive back to Baltimore well before the killer arrives. This is a hole in the plot big enough to drive a pick-up through but nobody in the show says anything about it.

    The second flaw is more a problem of being able to suspend disbelief. Bayliss and Pembleton eventually catch up with their suspect Newton Dell, a man with a string of priors and a borderline sociopath.

    He denies that he committed the murders, saying that he told ‘him’ not to do it. In the denoument it is revealed that the ‘him’ is Newton’s twin brother. This means that Newton rode in the same car with his brother and did absolutely nothing to prevent him from committing the murders, other than tell him that it was wrong. I didn’t believe this when I first saw the episode six years ago and I can’t believe it now.

    This maybe the most unsatisfying ending of any case that the show ever did.

    While the case is not particularly exciting there are some very interesting character development that makes for some interest (though not enough to save the show from being mediocre) For the first time in the series we see the detectives doing qualifying for their firing proficiency exam. Here at last we see the one part of being a police where Pembleton is less than stellar: he is a very lousy shot. He says that using the gun has always been the part of the job he never liked. In more series this would be a quirk, meaning little. As it turns out this foreshadows his greatest obstacle when he has to return to the job.

    More importantly is Gee’s meeting with his oldest daughter, Charisse making her first (and as it turns out, only) appearance on the show. Gee is surprisingly nervous about seeing her for the first time in a couple of years and becomes understandably disturbed when she is late to her meeting. This leads to the tensest moment of the entire episode when we are led to suspect because of the editing that Charisse has become Dell’s victim. It comes as an immense relief to Gee (and to the viewer) when she turns up at his house. However, his relief fades when he learns that Charisse is planning to move even further away—all the way to San Francisco to get married to a man Gee has never met. Gee realized that time, combined with the job that he has, is taking his daughter away from him and he is understandably disturbed. (This will be explored to an extent in ‘Stakeout’ later this season.) Yaphet Kotto gets a chance to explore depths that he usually done it and he reveals in his speech and his very body language, how effective an actor he is. (We also learn some more information about Gee’s other two children which will later turn about to be false--- at least in regard to his son.)

    There are some tense moments and some funny sequences, including the opening where we see Frank and Tim being towed from a crime scene back to the station. But the writing and pacing of the show seem very ill-suited to the realism and quirkiness of Homicide from as recently as one episode ago and closer to a more conventional police drama. In many ways this is the weakest episode of the fourth season, though unfortunately there will be a couple of other claimants to that.

    My score:4

Jeffrey Donovan

Jeffrey Donovan

Newton Dell/Miles Dell/Newton/Miles Dell

Guest Star

Marty Lodge

Marty Lodge

Steve Brandt

Guest Star

Theara J. Ward

Theara J. Ward


Guest Star

Rhonda Overby

Rhonda Overby

Dawn Daniels

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (4)

    • Another viewer noted that when Gee's daughter talked about her brother, she referred to him as Al Jr. Of course in the seventh season, we are introduced to Mike Giardello as Gee's son. As a way to explain this, perhaps Mike is an Alphonse Michael Giardello Jr., (with Gee being a senior); to distance himself from his father, Mike didn't want to be known as a junior, so he went with his middle name.

    • A viewer from Baltimore notes that Rhonda Overby is an actual reporter for the Baltimore NBC affiliate WBAL Channel 11.

    • A very intense episode, that should be nominated for an Emmy. For whatever reason, it was also shown out of production order, as the production code denotes. It should have really been shown as the 40th episode. This episode and the next three should be viewed in this order: #39 (404), #40 (405), #38 (406) & #37 (407). The temporary squad room reappears in episode #39.

    • Music in this episode: Garbage "A Stroke of Luck" alb: Garbage; Dada "Feel Me Don't You" alb: American Highway Flower.


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