Smallville

Season 2 Episode 13

Suspect

1
Aired Friday 8:00 PM Jan 28, 2003 on The CW
9.2
out of 10
User Rating
636 votes
11

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Lionel is shot in the manor, and Jonathan is the prime suspect.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • this was a good ep i thougt

    8.5
    in this ep of smallville the start of the show you see someone shoot him off the the top of the balcony and through a table. and the police find johathan standed off the road with alcol and a gun in his hand and they said he was over the legal limit .thing is clark does not beleve that and starts to investgate with pete and he starts to hear all the stories at first the guy that works with lionel says it was lex and then lex says it was dominic that shot his dad. thing is clarks goes to talk to the bartender one of clarks dads friends and he says he saw him drinking alot and shooting his month off. and then as there driving back they get pushed off the road by a huge truck and there car is shot with a bullet and it explodes. clark saves pete and then they back later on and find out that the bartender is dead and clark sees a photo of someone eles on the wall and he knows who did it . and its a set up he had lionel moved to a new room and had it say he was getting better and had pillows under neath and the guy came in and shot a few times and clark was hiding in the room and it tunred out to be the sherif i thougth it was a great ep i tought.moreless
  • Multiple versions of an assailant shooting Lionel keeps us guessing about the culprit. Clark plays a key role in identifying the shooter and clearing Jonathan of the crime.

    7.5
    A stormy night at the Luthor mansion has Lionel letting us know that Martha is no longer his employee, then he senses someone entering below. Shots ring out; Lionel falls over the rail to the floor below, but we don't see the shooter.



    Jonathan is awakened in the red Dodge pickup by deputies - he holds a pistol in one hand, a liquor bottle in the other, and Sheriff Ethan arrests him. Since it's so obviously a frame-up, we can expect the entire episode to revolve around how his innocence is established. Lionel's survival is now doubtful, and all Jonathan remembers is stopping for a beer on the way home.



    Lex and Lionel's assistant Dominic Santori have harsh words at the hospital about who might be behind the murder attempt - it's not like Lex to go off so fast - usually he's very controlled, but here we might be seeing evidence of his true concern for his father. Lana and Clark ask Henry Small to represent Jonathan, but he turns it down cold. Lana has to tell Clark that she saw Jonathan at the Luthor mansion the previous day, unknown to Clark. Her story is illustrated by a flashback, again overloaded with lighting effects - it's a major lightning storm, thunder almost drowning out the soundtrack, as Lana overhears the argument between Lionel and Jonathan. She already had to report that conversation to the Sheriff, so she's already lined up with the prosecution. Exercising a search warrant at the Kent farm, Sheriff Ethan finds a watch belonging to Martha - a gift from Lionel, so all the plot elements spelling guilt pile up on Jonathan. Come to think of it, he brings this on himself with his hothead attitude and belligerent protection of his family. And Jonathan's claim about having only half a beer doesn't square with the bartender's recollection, and his blood alcohol was over the limit, according to the Sheriff.



    In the next flashback, call it Version 2.0, Jonathan gets bombed, takes the gun out, and heads for the Luthor mansion. Smallville scripting can depict either an imaginary scene, or the actual event. In this one, Jonathan IS the shooter. Witnesses place Jonathan leaving the mansion after the shots - it looks grim for the Kent family. In a mid-'80s red Chevy Camaro, Clark and Pete investigate the area where Jonathan was arrested, Clark using his x-ray vision to find a bullet embedded in a wall. He reports it to Sheriff Ethan - he's skeptical, but agrees to have it tested. Lionel lapses into a coma from the surgery and the wound. Dominic appears to be an ally for Clark - as he accuses Lex of being the culprit. In Flashback 3.0, Lex is seen accusing Dominic of buying up voting shares of Lexcorp, which he sees as a plot to take over the company. There was a big strobe-light thunderstorm that night too. This version of the shooting has Lex doing it, as theorized by Santori. Clark doesn't quite believe that version either.



    We finally get some relief from the overblown lighting and sound, as Chloe and Lana meet at the Torch office, where Chloe informs Lana that Henry Small has done legal work for Luthorcorp - a good reason to stay out of the case. And Luthorcorp arranged for Small to lose his job. But Small never becomes a suspect, so this bit of a side story is a throw-away.



    Clark bangs into the mansion to bluntly ask Lex if he's trying to frame Jonathan - they both have a father to lose - so Lex boots him out. In jail, Jonathan admits to Martha that he was indeed jealous about the attention she got from Lionel - and apologizes for giving in to his petty fears.



    Clark and Pete next try the tavern for evidence that someone drugged Jonathan. The bartender claims that Jonathan said he was going to "take care of Lionel." Clark loses his temper on hearing this, but Pete keeps him under control.



    In the best action/effects scene of the episode, a semi veers toward the Camaro, forcing Pete to exit into a field, and the car flies through the air to a bumpy landing. The masked semi driver neatly places a rifle round in the gas tank, but the slow-mo of the round flying out seems a bit pointless - usually Clark catches these bullets - not this time. The Camaro becomes one big fireball, but Clark drags Pete out - by now he should be having second thoughts about being a close friend of Clark.



    Lex tells Clark of his theory of the attempt on Lionel's life - Dominic has a motive also. So Version 3.0 of the shooting is shown in flashback, and this time Dominic is the shooter. Then another bar scene has the bartender giving the extra liquor to someone other than Jonathan. Clark cools off and starts to work with Lex. The flashbacks keep us guessing and effectively show how so many people would be willing to get rid of Lionel.



    Lana tells Henry what she learned about his loss of a position because of a complaint by Luthorcorp - he's offended. He reluctantly tells her his story - he was legal counsel for a young murder victim. and didn't do a good job. His client was executed, but later proved innocent, and Henry quit the bar. He relents, and agrees to represent Jonathan. The bartender, a school chum of Jonathan, has disappeared, so Clark goes looking, but for what? He finds the body of the bartender in a deep freeze. Pretty clumsy murder - hiding the body on the premises.



    Finally, at the hospital, someone comes in to finish off Lionel - firing into...a pile of pillows. It's a trap, and the shooter is none other than Sheriff Ethan! This is a good surprise outcome because none of the flashbacks even hinted it might be him. Clark is hiding in the room, and Ethan is caught. He confess to being in cahoots with the bartender to frame Jonathan. So here's Version 4.0 of the shooting, maybe the real story at last. Jonathan's drink at the bar is spiked, Ethan sloshes liquor all over him, then uses Jonathan's hand to fire the pistol. The Sheriff was determined to rid Smallville of the evil of the Luthor family, and this is the end of Mitchell Kosterman's continuing role as the sheriff.



    Lex sees Clark at the loft to check on Jonathan - he's ok. Lionel is recovering too, but they talked about the darkness in some people - Lex thinks Lionel has the ability to bring it out. He should know. Lex visits Lionel, out of the coma, telling him about Ethan. Now Version 5.0, but a different flashback, showing Ethan's motives. Lionel bribed him for criminal information on people from whom he needed to buy shares to get control of Lexcorp. Ethan has tried to cover himself with evidence against Lionel, but he's one step ahead, already having bought Ethan's documentation. But Lionel blames Lex for an employee coup and offers Ethan a working partnership. All this manipulation and blackmail led to the downfall of another resident, attempting to get even with Lionel.



    Good points about "Suspect" - the inventive flashbacks with multiple versions of the same event, making us guess about the correct version until the surprise ending, interesting dialog for Mr. Rosenbaum showing his complex character and paranoia, good acting throughout, and great special effects. Bad points - the annoying overdramatized lighting, strobes going off incessantly in a lousy simulation of lightning, and the unnecessary thunder. Don't make too much effort seeing it again, but if it's on, it's certainly a watchable episode. Re-run rating C.moreless
  • Lionel gets shot. 2 times. Falls off the balcony. Shatters the glass table. Survives?

    9.9
    Lionel gets shot. 2 times. Falls off the balcony. Shatters the glass table. Survives?



    Of course! Why wouldn't he?! I really enjoyed watching Smallville. But lately it started to annoy me. All the episodes seem the same, I'm sick of Lex being so... pure and inoccent and friendly, and on the other hand so mean and cruel.. It's weird. Lionel is also disturbing. Everything he does, has a secret meaning. He's such a bad person he should be locked up just for being like that. Clark saves the day once again. How... boring. And what's up woth him and Lana? they so obviously like each other! "we can never go back, it can never be the same again" ... geez! And that shooting- firstly we heard only 2 shots (when Jonathan shot him). And when the sherrif shot Lionel, there were three shots. And only 2 wounds. What was that all about?moreless
  • Who Shot L.L.?

    8.9
    Suspect-Lionel is shot in the manor, and Jonathan is the prime suspect.



    When it somes to mystery and suspense, this episode ranks right up there with the best of this season. "Suspect" finds Jothnathan as the main suspect after Lionel is shot. The mystery behind Lionel's attack is the best aspect of the episode as you really have no idea who the killer might possibly. It's too obvious that Jonathan would be the killer but when Lex and Lionel's assistant, Dominic, the possiblities on the shooter become more vivid.



    I loved the episode pieces up the night of the shooting with eerie flashbacks which are shot in a strange gritty lightning. Also, there are some great action sequences like Clark and Pete escaping from an assassin that blows up Pete's car. The revelation of the shooter is actually shocking as it was Sheriff Ethan all along. It's shocking because the character has been around since Season 1 and always seemed like a nice guy. Just goes to show how powerful Lionel is turning a reasonable man into murderer. All and All, a great episode full of mystery and stellar story telling.moreless
  • Great Episode

    10
    Lionel is mysteriously shot at the Luthor mansion, leaving behind a huge list of suspects with various motives to want him dead. Jonathan, who is found unconscious in his truck with a bottle of vodka and a gun in his hand, is arrested as the prime suspect. Clark and Pete investigate, and discover an elaborate plan orchestrated by Sheriff Ethan. "Suspect" is an episode of "Smallville" visibly inspired in Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece "Rashômon". Showing different perspectives of a crime, the surprising motives are disclosed only in the very end of the story. The destructive and evil character of Lionel Luthor is really disgusting.moreless
Tom Welling

Tom Welling

Clark Kent/Kal-El of Krypton

Kristin Kreuk

Kristin Kreuk

Lana Lang

Michael Rosenbaum

Michael Rosenbaum

Alexander ('Lex') Joseph Luthor

Allison Mack

Allison Mack

Chloe Sullivan

Sam Jones III

Sam Jones III

'Pete' Ross

John Glover

John Glover

Lionel Luthor

Jason Connery

Jason Connery

Dominic Sanatori

Guest Star

Eric Keenleyside

Eric Keenleyside

Mike the Bartender

Guest Star

Barclay Hope

Barclay Hope

Doctor

Guest Star

Mitchell Kosterman

Mitchell Kosterman

Sheriff Ethan

Recurring Role

Patrick Cassidy

Patrick Cassidy

Henry Small

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (19)

    • When Clark reads out what Ethan wrote about his dad it said "to Jonathan, a great quarterback, a better friend." But when Clark tried out for the team in the episode "Hothead" he said he got his dad's old position of tailback.

    • Why did Martha take the watch home in the first place? In her conversation with Lionel, when he gave her the watch, she told him that she couldn't accept it.

    • Why does no one miss the "octagonal disc" that Martha stole in the last episode? Both Lex and Lionel knew of its value, though not in specifics, and would have inquired heavily to its whereabouts. Why wouldn't anyone notice that Mrs. Kent is the only common denominator?

    • At 8:15 right as Jonathan said "...getting involved with yours." a boom-mic pops into the scene at the top.

    • Why does Ethan try to frame anyone in the first place? He's going to be in charge of the investigation. Since so many people hate Lionel it should have been fairly easy to just never arrest a suspect and leave the case unsolved.

    • In the final flashback after Lionel is shot, there is a lot of blood on his shirt when he crashes on the table. However in the next shot, from the balcony, there is only a little blood around the wounds.

    • When Jonathan pays the bartender for the bottle of alcohol he pays him with a Canadian twenty dollar bill! Since when do Americans use Canadian currency?

    • The doctor told Lex "Even though I removed the bullet, the kidney damage significantly slowed his metabolism." Lionel was shot in the chest and shoulder no where near his kidneys. If the fall damaged his kidneys then the doctor phrased that sentence misleadingly. (some noted Lionel's kidneys could have been injured by the fall - others that the bullet may have ricocheted)

    • Is it really that hard to find qualified security guards? Even after getting his house bugged last episode, Lex apparently hasn't improved his security at all. The night that Lionel was shot, there was practically a parade through the house, with no less than four people coming and going unannounced.

    • Ethan tells Martha and Clark that he checked Jonathan's blood alcohol and it was "2.0". To achieve this, Jonathan would have to drink at least 133 drinks (each of these giving him 0.015) would be in a couple of hours, which would very likely kill him. 0.2 (13 drinks) is more likely what was meant.

    • Umm... the police had a search warrant for Clark's home but did not bother to check the STORM CELLAR??? Wasn't this a big thing when they got a search warrant in another episode? Now, it was just no big deal and they found no alien ship. Writers? Hello? (editor's note: the guy who was in charge of the investigation probably had no reason to search the storm cellar, however, given he knew exactly where the evidence he was looking for was...)

    • Ethan is a trained professional. Police and security guards undergo firearms training so in critical situations they only have to take one shot and make it count (ie. kill the perpetrator). At the distance Ethan shot Lionel, there's no way Lionel would be alive when he hit the floor if Ethan wanted to kill him, or even that Ethan would take a second shot. (editor's note: that said, there's no real way to know if Ethan was anything other than a minimum qualifier - with Clark around it doesn't seem like he's had to shoot a lot of people in Smallville :) )

    • Lionel was shot through the chest and fell off the second floor of the office onto a glass table. After "Vortex" and now this episode, one has to wonder exactly what does it take to kill Lionel? This guy's like Jason Voorhees.

    • Incorrectly, three shots can be heard in the final flashback when we see who really shot Lionel.

    • When the car explodes, Clark looks behind them and sees that the truck is gone. A truck of that size couldn't possibly start up from a complete stop and then drive away totally out of sight in just a few seconds. (editor's note: and even if it did, couldn't Clark superspeed after it? Not like there are a lot of directions it could have gone.)

    • What's up with the eerie green glow in the freezer? In this show, that glow means pretty much one thing, but not here?

    • So why didn't the killer finish the job and just take one more shot - just step up to Lionel and put a bullet in his brain? It's not like he had to rush out - was there a bullet shortage this week?

    • More of a nitpick, but...shouldn't Ethan have revealed a second piece of evidence against Jonathan when he searched the Kent home? When he went there he had no idea he was actually going to find a piece of incriminating evidence (the watch from Lionel to Martha). Which means he presumably went there to plant/find some fake evidence of his own. What was the fake evidence, and why didn't he reveal it to double-incriminate Jonathan and definitively set him up?

    • Inexplicably, Pete is none the worse for wear after his brutal run-in with Tina-as-Lana in "Visage."

  • QUOTES (5)

  • NOTES (7)

    • This marks the last onscreen appearance of Dominic Santori, whose fate was revealed in #3 and 4 of the Smallville comic.

    • The music Lionel is listening to before being shot is an aria from La Wally by Catalani called Ebben?...Ne Andro Lontana.

    • At the beginning of this episode, Lionel Luthor is seen reading Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche. The full title of this book is Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future. Chances are this is a reference to the Luthor genetic strain of evil.

    • Jonathan Kent mentions both the Wild Coyote (as do many others) and Highway 91. The Wild Coyote is an actual bar in Vancouver, and Highway 91 does in fact exist as well (and would likely be the route that Jonathan would take to get from the Wild Coyote to the set of the Kent farm).

    • In its first broadcast this episode aired at the same time as President Bush's State of the Union Address. WB was one of the few networks that didn't pre-empt their normal broadcasting to run the SotU.

    • Presumably the last appearance of semi-regular Mitchell Kosterman - we never do find out his character's last name from anything said on-screen although the on-line Ledger states it is "Miller." At least he goes out as a guest star rather than a co-star.

    • Director Kenneth Biller seems to have a sense of humor - when Pete and Clark go shooting off the road in Pete's car, the low-angle car-shooting-through-the-air shot looks a lot like any number of Dukes of Hazards shots of the General Lee doing a stunt.

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • Pete: I don't mean to rain on your CSI parade...
      This is a slight nod to when Sam Jones III (Pete) guest-starred on two episodes on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, a crime show on CBS, with reruns on Spike TV.

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