Season 1 Episode 1

Merit Badge

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Sep 26, 2007 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
339 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The pilot introduces us to Detective Charlie Crews and the painful cobwebs of his past as he returns to a world that's moved on without him. His appreciation for the details offers him up an unique insights into crime solving. Also his newfound Life reminds us of all the little things we easily take for granted.moreless

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  • Good for a pilot

    For a pilot episode this was quite alright. Made me interested enough to stick with the show and it felt fresh enough. The setup for the show was original enough to avoid making it feel like just another crime solving show.

    I liked the aspect of little clips of his past and of people talking about his past, so I hope that will continue throughout the show. Though I can't help but wonder if the guy would really be so clueless as to modern technology. I don't know what the "technical gadget standard" is at American prisons, but where I'm from inmates have TVs and computers. So that struck me as weird, but since I don't know for sure whether or not he'd be up to speed about technology I'll let that one pass.

    Something I liked was the choice of having a lead character going with "zen". It gives some interesting lines and creates a slightly more interesting character. That obsession with fruit was also a fun bonus.

    On the negative:

    Gee, teamed up with a hot female partner with a "questionable" background? How original. Nobody ever thought of that before. The female cop annoyed me, I would rather have seen something different. I'm guessing she will become the Scully to his Mulder and keep defending him all the time, and slowly grow to see things the way he does.

    The case they worked on got too little screen-time. It was like "we have a crime scene", then "we found information" and then "we have the guy". I hope future episodes will have more fleshed out criminal stories. On the other hand, the pilot also has to set up the characters and the background stories, so that doesn't leave too much time for the case.moreless
  • Perfect! Simply perfect.

    Damian Lewis plays a cop with a twist. His 12 years in prison for a crime he did not commit has left him with a lot of money and a zen-like outlook on life.

    He rejoins the police force (not explained why yet, but many hints about him getting revenge), and takes the unconventional route from day 1.

    The murder case is cleverly handled - the bit about asking the dog being my favourite. He also infused a lot of humanity into the role - when he talks about the moment to the dead boy's mother.

    The support cast is good - his partner is okay. She is young, angry, a recovering alcoholic, and stuck with the worst partner in the dept. His ex-partner comes across as a bit of a creepy guy, but somebody who means well in the end (or so we think). He is a good actor and his role is one to watch closely. The lieutenant comes accross poorly. Don't think she can act, and her accent and hard-ass exterior simply don't stand up. The financial adviser is funny. And the lawyer obviously has a crush on him.

    All in all, the concept and characters were very well introduced. I especially love the reality-show type interviews of the characters (except for Lewis) to find out how they "really" think.

    Top stuff, and dying for more!moreless
  • The pilot introduces us to Detective Charlie Crews. His appreciation for the details offers him up an unique insights into crime solving. Also his newfound Life reminds us of all the little things we easily take for granted.moreless

    I didn't really know what to expect of this show, but the pilot was a really good surprise. Sometimes pilots are a bit hard to follow seeing as they are our first glimpse of the hero/vilains of a serie. Sometimes the pilots don't do their jobs well or they need to follow up for a whole 5 ou 6 episodes which most of the times end up "killing" the show. But not this pilot, you get who Charlie is and he will probably try to do, he's completely odd; you get to meet with detective Reese and her own demons. Their "partnership" kinda reminded me of Goren and Eames, in the fact that she'll probably grow to be his "balance", she'll probably back him up, and he's ODD..All in all I really liked this serie.moreless
  • This episode is a great pilot episode for a great series. =] (Spoilers)

    Damian Lewis does an excellent job at playing the series' main character, Charlie Crews. He's definitely the best show, and I like the humor the character brings with his Zen lifestyle. There weren't very many action scenes in this episode, but what was there was good. There was plenty of character development in this episode as well, showing a bit of Charlie Crews and Dani Reese, and what their personalities are. The Conspiracy Wall is an interesting development in this episode, and I'm looking forward to Charlie discovering all the secrets of how he was set up, and who is behind it. Overall, I give this episode, Merit Badge, a 9 out of 10.moreless
  • good episode....

    Well, this episode had the daunting task of introducing the characters and the premise of the show and it did ok. The main character was in jail falsly for 12 years and got out, got paid a lot, and still went back to work. He has an odd personality, which is very interesting. His new partner has problems of her own. I like the idea of having two partners that have issues and both trying to pretend nothing's wrong. The dynamics between the main character and the other cops he used to work with is interesting. The case in this episode was unique; I had never seen something like it. A boy was killed and the boy's father was in jail. I liked how they brought the main character back to jail in the first episode. Overall, however, the episode bored me at times and seemed slow, probably because of having to introduce everything.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • When Reese is standing outside the police tape talking to Crews at the beginning, you can see the reflection of the boom pole in her sunglasses.

    • Michael Cudlitz guest stars as Mark, the biological father of the victim. Cudlitz and series star Damian Lewis last appeared together in the critically acclaimed HBO Mini-Series Band of Brothers as Sgt. Randleman and Maj. Winters, respectively.

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Griffiths: No Zen for Daddy?
      Crews: No Zen for Daddy.

    • (Crews puts the light on his roof, pulls the car over and approaches the driver)
      Man: So what is it this time?
      Crews: License and registration.
      Man: You know damn well who I am.
      Crews: License and registration please.
      Man: Look, I married your ex-wife, that is not a crime.
      (Hands Charlie his license and registration)
      Crews: Are you aware that you changed lanes back there without signaling?
      (begins writing a ticket)
      Man: You have nothing better to do?
      Charlie Crews: No sir. Not at this moment.

    • Crews: Oh, okay, okay you're mad at me.
      Reese: Mad, no I'm not mad. I mean I don't even think there is a word for what I am. I mean what you did to that husband, I kinda get, okay. I mean I guess I kinda get, but what you said to that wife...
      Crews: I know. That one was me. It was my fault, I take responsibility. I wasn't in the moment. If I'd stayed in the moment, if I'd stayed present, I would of been okay, but I didn't. I was thinking about where we're going next. So I left the moment just when I should have been completely in the moment, which is when people usually leave the moment, but the moment is just too much for, which is pretty much always too much. I was thinking about where we're gonna go next.

    • Crews: (to Reese) The dog must have took a bullet for the kid. Then took the shooter's finger off. Anyone ever love you that much?

    • Crews: (holding out a cup) Mango?
      Reese: (shaking her head) That's okay.
      Crews: These came all the way from Guatamala, and now they're right here in this cup. It's all connected, Reese.
      Reese: What is?
      Crews: It is.
      Reese: Mm, that's zen.
      Crews: Is it?
      Reese: That's zen too, isn't it...
      Crews: Is it?
      Reese: Say "Is it" one more time and I'll shoot you.

    • Crews: Anger ruins joy, steals the goodness of my mind, forces my mouth to say terrible things. Overcoming anger brings peace of mind, leads to a mind without regrets. If I overcome anger I will be delightful and loved by everyone.
      Guard: Are you making fun of us?
      Crews: It is the universe that makes fun of us all.
      (Crews and Reese leave)
      Reese: Why exactly would the universe make fun of us all?
      Crews: Maybe it's insecure

    • Crews: You want to drive the tractor.
      Ted: You know I sort of do.

    • Reese: I don't exactly understand you.
      Crews: You don't need to understand here to be here.
      Reese: That's what I don't understand.

    • Crews: Hey Ted! The orange grove deal includes the tractor, right? The big red one?
      Ted: Yes Charlie, it includes the big red tractor.

    • Bobby: Can I get a picture on account of you being a celebrity detective and all?
      Crews: That's a phone Bobby.
      Officer: It's got a camera in it. Where have you been?
      Crews: Me? I've been in maximum security prison.

    • Crews: Did you ask the dog?
      Officer 1: Did we ask the dog?
      Officer 2: No we did not ask the dog.
      Officer 1: No sir we did not ask the dog.

  • NOTES (4)

    • International Show Titles:
      Czech Republic: Na doživotí (For Life)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Australia: October 11, 2007 on Ten
      Norway: February 13, 2008 on TV3
      Denmark: May 1, 2008 on TV3+
      Israel: May 5, 2008 on YES Stars 2
      Sweden: May 6, 2008 on TV3
      Belgium: August 31, 2008 on VT4
      Middle East: October 18, 2008 on ShowSeries
      United Kingdom: October 30, 2008 on ITV3
      Finland: January 5, 2009 on MTV3
      Poland: January 9, 2009 on TVP2
      Switzerland: January 12, 2009 on SF zwei
      Germany: March 11, 2009 on VOX
      Czech Republic: September 15, 2009 on Prima
      Slovakia: February 2, 2010 on JOJ

    • Featured Music:
      "Single Sedative" by Eastern Conference Champions
      "Last Hero" by Negative
      "Dream Awake" by The Frames
      "Jique" by Brazilian Girls

    • On, fans will be able to further investigate Charlie's conspiracy wall, hidden in his home. Users will be able to delve into the mysteries as Charlie learns more about who put him behind bars. This will launch at the same time as the pilot.