The one thing I dreaded about writing this review was the word “assassin.” You see, I lost the title for my school spelling bee when I was in the 5th grade on that word. We had to write out the words on a blackboard rather than recite the spelling, and for a 5th grader, it was hard to write out the word “ass” twice for all to see. Seriously now, I won’t be able to do a full recap on this episode because of some time constraints. So I’ll provide a brief summary and spend a little more time on the review.
It appears that an assassination attempt was made a foreign politician named Bela Khan (Indira Varma). During one attempt, her assistant is killed, and Khan’s bodyguard then kills the apparent assassin. Later, her bodyguard is killed during transport to a hearing, and her bother is killed while Bela is giving a speech. The subsequent probe leads detectives to believe she was behind the attacks, which of course, she was.
I’m not a real fan of “Ripped from the Headlines” and this show managed rip off two, maybe three real life situations. Logan (Chris Noth) only specifically mentioned one of them – the shooting of Bobby Kennedy, who was assassinated in a hotel kitchen after a speech. What Logan failed to acknowledge is that the main character – the apparent target – was based on Benazir Bhutto. I suppose the show didn’t think it could get away with mentioning two real life stories in one episode, and one that was so glaringly obvious. The detectives also make an issue of Bela wearing a pink suit when her brother was shot, so his blood that she got on it would look better on photographs. Jackie Kennedy also wore a bright pink suit the day President Kennedy was assassinated; I doubt that she wore that color suit anticipating that shooting. After mentioning Bobby getting shot, and now this more subtle reference to Jackie’s pink suit, I found these parallels cheap and frankly, offensive.
As with the Mike Logan episodes of late, this episode seemed a little uneven. There were some glimmers of the real Mikey that showed through – his pointed interrogation, the tinge of sarcasm, and the plaid-looking tie. Those hints of the old Logan were great and I think that if the Criminal Intent writers had a better clue of who Mike Logan was when he was with the 27th precinct, they could have made him seem a little more edgy now. Instead, Logan just seems tired. This could be the way the show wants to portray him after his banishment to Staten Island, but for me, well, I would have taken a different approach. Still, he was better presented in this episode than in the previous episode, "Contract."
Detective Wheeler (Julianne Nicholson) seemed to be a little in the background at first, but then had a little more to offer to the investigation. What I didn’t like about this episode is that both detectives seem to be a little too low key, and their personalities a little buried. Unlike Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Eames (Kathryn Erbe) who seem to have very distinct styles and behaviors, Logan and Wheeler both seem too low key. After all the time that Logan has been at Major Case, and now with Wheeler’s return to Major Case, it seems we still don’t know much about what makes these people tick. Wheeler seems even more of a blank slate than before. One funny comment was when she acknowledge that Logan had become “quite the diplomat” while she was gone. It’s more like someone sucked the life force out of him instead.
And while I didn’t dislike this episode, I found it incredibly hard to follow with all the people involved in the story and the complex chain of events surrounding the shootings. I think I’m glad I didn’t have time to do a full recap because I was having a hard time following all the players. I also didn’t like the preachiness interspersed within the storyline. Sometimes the Law & Order franchise goes a little overboard on the social commentary. If they did it more subtly maybe it would seem more interesting. I did, however, like Indira Varma in her role, she was a perfect fit.
So all in all, this episode was OK, but it does take some work to follow all the players. One still can see a peek at some of the old Mike Logan – get it while you can!
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