Profiler

Season 3 Episode 7

Perfect Helen

0
Aired Saturday 10:00 PM Dec 05, 1998 on NBC
8.1
out of 10
User Rating
20 votes
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Episode Summary

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Perfect Helen
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Someone is George's hometown is stealing the corpses of young, recently decease Jewish woman, and George fears it is some form of Anti-Semitic vandalism.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Profiler gets socially relevant

    8.0
    Profiler may not be the best vehicle for an exploration of the power and pain of memory but they tackled it and did so in a surprisingly insightful and respectful way. As part of Season three's change of creative direction and vision, this episode keeps the majority of the main characters off screen for the episode.



    The set up is simple: George approaches Bailey and asks to be assigned to a case in his hometown where Jewish graves are being desecrated. At first Bailey resists but George has a perfectly tuned meltdown, reminding Bailey that his mother survived the Holocaust and she needed her son. Bailey sends George and Sam. Without overwhelming us, the show reminds us of the importance of family within Judaism, especially for survivors; George talks about coming out to his family (a decent and open reference to his character's sexuality) and how he expected his mother to react and she didn't. He talks about his childhood experience of her simply shutting down about certain topics. This particular insight is consistent with the experience of many children raised by Holocaust survivors and shows the writers sensitivity and understanding of that experience. Nan Martin plays George's mother in a restrained and careful way. In one surprisingly understated and tender scene, she asks George why he came back and he replies, "I thought you needed me." The emotional restraint in the episode strengthens rather than undermines the episode. Sam's role in the episode works as a confidant and friend for George. It's nice to see All Walker in an episode that plays to her strengths as an actress. The central mystery - the bodies stolen from the graves - isn't more a matter of yuck than anything. John Billingsley (who plays the doctor on Star Trek Enterprise and another serial killer on Cold Case) is Clifford - a dysfunctional man who has been lusting after a hot babe in his office. Unable to actually date her, he has been stealing the corpses of Jewish women, trying to preserve them to create a relationship with "Helen"; when that stops being effective, he hires a hooker who is supposed to dress and act as Helen; he accidentally kills her and dumps her body. Finally gives the real Helen jewelry he's stolen from her, kidnaps her and is captured. The investigation itself struck me as an afterthought; the skinheads in town were too obviously a red-herring. It's a little to distasteful and forced to work well but it's not bad enough to damage an overall good episode.



    Central to this episode is the question of identity - who we are born to be, who we choose to be, who we actually are. Peter Frechette plays George nicely - a man who is confronting his identity as a Jew, a gay man, the son of a survivor, someone in a long river of tradition. As the show ends, he is sitting in temple with his mother for friday evening services, affirming his identity as a Jew less out of religious devotion than devotion to the tradition and the family from which he emerged. When he confronts a boyhood friend and offers his vision of what should happen - ending the cycle of violence and distrust - the boyhood friend says "What kind of Jew are you?" George doesn't know. In a later scene when the synagogue is defaced and windows broken, he stands with Sam wondering what does it mean to be a Jew? Will the cycle of violence and prejudice ever end?



    I like that this episode doesn't force us to answer. George doesn't even really answer - he knows it has to end but he doesn't know how to end it.moreless
Ally Walker

Ally Walker

Dr. Samantha "Sam" Waters

Peter Frechette

Peter Frechette

George Fraley

Robert Davi

Robert Davi

Agent Bailey Malone

Jennifer Griffin

Jennifer Griffin

Officer Karen Radulski

Guest Star

John Billingsley

John Billingsley

Clifford

Guest Star

Cynthia Watros

Cynthia Watros

Helen Jefferies

Guest Star

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