Profiler

Season 1 Episode 21

Venom, Part I

0
Aired Saturday 10:00 PM May 10, 1997 on NBC
8.8
out of 10
User Rating
25 votes
1

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Episode Summary

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Venom, Part I
AIRED:
Sam and the VCTF team are taunted by a diabolical serial killer who prefers to use a variety of exotic poisonous spiders and animals to kill her victims, while providing her pursuers with cryptic clues to her next murder. A frustrated Bailey is further irritated by a sexy private investigator who tries to aid the VCTF, but it's the unit's chief nemesis--a jealous Jack of All Trades--who ironically can help the most. Elsewhere, Bailey asks Cooper to replace John on the team, and later takes drastic measures to curb his carousing daughter.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • best episode of the season.

    10
    After a season of sorting itself out, Profiler pulls it together in a genuinely good episode. Up to this point, most Profiler episodes have failed to live up to their potential. Venom, part one, manages to be an effective, moody, intelligent episode. The basic recap. The episode opens with scenes of two parents berating and abusing their child, calling her stupid.



    A software millionaire is showering. He falls over dead. The coroner demonstrates a grim humor that will later mark some of CSI's best episodes; the cause of death is toxin from a poison dart frog. At the scene, police discover a few small dice - with letters and numbers - that spell out the chemical signature of the toxin.



    The next death is an executive at a beauty products company, attacked by a poison spider, left on her cell phone in her car. She answers the phone, the spider attacks, she dies. Again they find the letter spelling out "atrax" - the name of the spider.



    Next we get an advertising executive who is killed by snake bites while he's swimming laps in his pool. They discover the snakes were left in his pool and he collapses and dies shortly after they arrive. (The phrase "red herring" jumps out at the female investigator supposedly assigned from this company.)



    As they analyze the crimes, Sam realizes the killer is brilliant and is taunting the team, implicitly calling them stupid. In a rather slick twist, the killer finds two people who look like her parents (who she probably killed) to deliver her message to the VCTF - information about when she'll strike again and where. She even has one of them deliver a set of letter cubes with the initials of her next victim.



    We get what may be the only successful use of Jack all season - who better to profile a serial killer than another one? Jack is a few steps ahead of the team, though behind the killer, through most of the episode.



    Malone's daughter Frances in the meantime gets arrested, John brings her home. We get a fourth victim - a makeup woman at a department store who has been been poisoned. A fax shows up from Jack telling the team to go to Oklahoma.



    All in all, Profiler has managed to pull together the best episode of the season. Ally Walker has been by turns weak, moody, weepy and and indecisive. All those traits are gone as we see her turn in her best performance of the season - Sam in this episode is thoughtful, insightful, direct and most of all, intelligent. The story with Frances Malone has been fitful; in this episode the writers finally figure out they need to just go for it - let the story evolve as it will. John sums Frances up as someone who knows how to play the game and who's good; he tells Malone he should get some help and fast. It's a smart, insightful scene; a good use of both actors. Even the hospital scenes are effectively moody - shadowy and dreary. The scenes of Jack traipsing through swamps and surfing the VCTF mainframe are workable if a bit mundane. Venom is an intelligent episode. It's not overly clever, it's not trying to do too much; it handles each part of the story with a minimum of melodrama and histrionics. Even a scene that could have been sappy (the dinner with Coop, Sam, Chloe and the Angel) keeps itself smartly restrained. The problem is simple: there's no way in part two that the writers can keep deliver on what they've set up. Venom works because the writers are patient - rather than try to rush to conclusion or force a quick resolution, they take the time to develop the killer, to let the team investigate, to let Sam think and even to let Malone's daughter get arrested and released without feeling the need to hurry to resolution. That more relaxed approach creates a deeper episode, one that largely delivers the mood and stylishness Profiler has been developing all season. So a good episode that sets up the season finale.moreless
Ally Walker

Ally Walker

Dr. Samantha "Sam" Waters

Caitlin Wachs

Caitlin Wachs

Chloe Waters

Dennis Christopher

Dennis Christopher

Jack of All Trades / Albert Newquay

Erica Gimpel

Erica Gimpel

Angel Brown

Heather McComb

Heather McComb

Frances Malone

Julian McMahon

Julian McMahon

Det. John Grant

Joan Severance

Joan Severance

Christine Logan

Guest Star

Ping Wu

Ping Wu

Michael Sung

Guest Star

Randy Crowder

Randy Crowder

Detective Issacs

Guest Star

A Martinez

A Martinez

Nick "Coop" Cooper

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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