Picket Fences

Season 4 Episode 2

Reap the Whirlwind

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Sep 29, 1995 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • Season Four continues with one of the strongest images from the entire series. As a tornado spares the village of Rome, Wambaugh's marriage twists apart.

    If nothing else, you'll remember Season Four for one powerful image from this episode. As a tornado approaches Rome, Wambaugh and his wife, Miriam are taking cover in their home.

    Wambaugh lies down in the bathtub and covers himself with a mattress. Miriam asks him to move over a bit and make room for her. Wambaugh tells her to find her own safe spot.

    In one short scene, writer Nick Harding shows a marriage without love. And continues an old Picket Fences tradition: tearing down each character slowly to reveal what's at his core.

    In Wambaugh's case, the core isn't very pleasant. Later, at their anniversary party, Wambaugh is asked to say a few words. He takes the opportunity to tell a few stale old jokes, with Miriam as the butt. She walks out on him. Wambaugh's destruction is complete - the tornado has reduced him to a shell of a man.

    To longtime Picket Fences fans, this is a little disturbing. For three seasons, Joseph Wambaugh was a good-hearted person, excellent at law, a bit greedy and arrogant, but we liked him. He was "a character," as he liked to put it. In the first two episodes of this season, under the new direction of Jeff Melvoin, Wambaugh is a detestable person.

    The image is powerful, and this is a very well written episode. But it's not necessarily a fair episode.

    Meanwhile, we see the beginning of the decline of Max and Kenny, as Max catches Kenny with a prostitute, then risks her job helping destroy evidence from the arrest.