Saturday, October 27, 2012

Beauty and the Beast, Season 1, Episode 3: All In

It’s the end of the work day and Judge Hanson is saying good bye to a law clerk and heading to his car – until another car runs him over. Then reverses and makes sure he’s not only dead but laminated to the floor. Nasty.

Catherine, meanwhile, is working on JT’s ulcer by showing up at his work to ask about Vincent. JT tries, again, to try and explain the concept of “in hiding” and they both engage in the most convoluted recap I’ve ever seen (c’mon we had a voice over at the beginning of the show, this is beyond unnecessary). She’s worried she hasn’t heard from him and she has an important note to pass on “how are you?” yes. Really. JT is surprisingly unimpressed.

At her home we see that Catherine’s little sister Heather has brought a half naked guy home. I hope this scene exists to provide eye candy rather than to remind us Heather exists until the character becomes relevant. Heather also wants to point out that Catherine needs to RSVP for her father’s wedding and warns her that she needs a +1 or her father will think she’ll die alone with 10,000 cats

To the crime scene! Where we find the victim, Judge Hanson, is an immigration judge and a good friend of Joe. Tessa and Catherine do the detective thing and find the car that splattered him across the floor belonged to a woman called Iris, from Bosnia, and that the judge recently had her brother deported. And, unfortunately, the detective in charge will be Wolanski and his partner since it’s their turn – Tessa and Catherine only provide support and strike sparks because Wolanski is a sexist who doesn’t take them seriously. Having to trail behind them is falling, even as they charge in without looking around – meaning they miss what Catherine spots, that Iris has apparently run over the judge in her own car and hasn’t bothered to wipe it down afterwards. They also miss the chance to chase down Iris when she tries to run – but at least dramatic, shaky camera man who spent far too long at art’s school, got to join in the chase. When they catch her, she protests that she has a green card – and is shocked that the judge is dead.

Back at the police station Catherine and Tessa discuss the case with Catherine concerned that she said “I have a green card” and not “I’m not a murderer!” and her genuine shock. She also makes a dramatic lemming-like plummet of logic and decides the reversing over the judge wasn’t to make sure he was dead, but to make sure the plates were seen so Iris would be framed. Uh-huh, don’t you just love these psychic-like leaps of logic. Tessa reminds Catherine its’ not their case. Despite that, Catherine goes to speak to Iris – but she refuses to talk.

When Catherine returns home she gets a note from Vincent – “She didn’t do it.”

At the abandoned factory Vincent tells JT he and Catherine are staying in touch, carefully while JT’s ulcer develops a little further. Especially when Catherine shows up – so much for carefully. Vincent knows Iris didn’t do it because he saw her when she was supposed to be committing the crime – she was going home. Catherine wants to know if Vincent is following her – yes, yes he is, ah romantic stalking! JT is convinced they’re all going to die horribly and Catherine is frustrated that while she now has a witness to Iris’s innocence, Vincent can’t come forward to prove it.

At the station she starts the task of proving Iris’s innocence – so it’s to Evan, who is busy cleaning since he is being audited or examined, or whatever medical examiners get because his last assistant did several no-nos with the paperwork. Because they have a suspect in custody, the forensic is a low priority – but Catherine can look through the Judge’s personal effects (though Evan does point out it’s not her case). Catherine finds a receipt for a valet parking service addressed to the same block where Iris works (holy tenuous connections batman!) and decides to go check it out.
To the club with its exclusive valet service where Iris worked where we meet Sam, the barman and Dane the owner. Sam confirms they use that valet. He also refers to the judge as “Iris’s guy” and that they had an argument 2 nights ago – when her brother was deported and that she was upset and confused that she got a green card and her brother didn’t.

Tessa, stuck at work, has to watch the irritating Wolanski show-boating for the press, calls Catherine to find out where she is – why she’s at Iris’s flat. Insert 9th lecture that this is not Catherine’s case with an additional smack that the only reason Catherine doesn’t think she did it is because Iris is a cute girl – the same reason Wolanski doesn’t take them serious as detectives. Despite the lecture, Catherine keeps on searching and finds a man’s XL shirt – the judge wasn’t XL. While in the warderobe she hears coughing and finds a secret hidey-basement behind the closet in which two girls are hiding, one of them sick.

It’s off to see Vincent in his not-even-slightly secret lair! He reminds her that he’s not Batman, it isn’t his job to save people, she counters that he has saved 6 people. The girls are Iris’s little sisters and since they’re illegal immigrants she can’t take them to the ER or they will be deported. Vincent reminds her again of the risk and Catherine reminds him of how he used to care as a doctor. More shaming and arguing before he goes and check out the little girl, sending his prescription, by phone (much to Catherine’s annoyance – he has a phone and didn’t give her the number! She could have just texted her pointless risking them all message!) to JT to purloin from the university lab

Back to the police station where Evans has checked Iris’s car for Catherine and found lots of people have been in it – since she works for exclusive valet service clubs. But it’s all irrelevant anyway – because Iris has confessed. Catherine has a double take and goes and questions Iris, asking why. Her lawyer has convinced her that 10 years with a plea agreement is better than life.  Catherine tells Iris about her sisters and that she hasn’t told anyone but it’s quickly become clear that they are her alibis and she can’t talk because they risk being deported back to Bosnia – where they may be killed (by whom? The war in Bosnia is over, Bosnia-Herzegovina isn’t rich by any means, but nor is it super-duper dangerous). When Catherine suggests she was more than a friend to Judge Hanson she angrily counter is – she was just a friend trying to get him to look out for her brother – Dane (the club owner) is lying. She knew it was Dane who told Catherine because she used to date him and he never believed there was nothing going on between her and the judge.

This is when their little chat is interrupted by Joe who is getting tired of Catherine’s loose cannon ways, especially talking to a suspect, who has confessed, without their lawyer being present. Big no-no, he suspends Catherine and, because she knew about it and is her partner, puts Tesss on desk duty. As they leave his office, Tess drags her on the carpet as well for dragging her down with Catherine’s off-the-rails behaviour. My my, actual consequences for police doing their own thing with no accountability! I’m almost shocked.

On the walk home Catherine runs into Vincent who has been talking to Iris’s sisters. On the day of Judge Hanson’s death a man came into the flat with a “knife in his arm” (he assumes they mean hand) and took Iris’s keys. Catherine jumps to Dane as the likely person but now has no gun, no badge and no way to get a warrant. She finally decides to go to the club so she can sneak around without a warrant (errr… that’s not how it works). But off she toddles to the club and quickly making a b-line for the staff-only entrance. She finds nothing there, but she does get confronted by Dane who wants to know what she’s doing there. She goes on the offensive and says she has 2 witnesses who will say he was in Iris’s house when the judge was killed. He counters that he has 200 witnesses who will say he was in the club at that time – which rather takes the wind out of her sails.

But, as she leaves, he grabs the phone to call someone and Vincent, lurking outside the window, hears him tell someone he isn’t going to take the fall for them. As he leaves the club for a smoke, he is grabbed by Vincent and smacked around as he demands to know who he called. He knocks the man unconscious and Catherine runs up to chew Vincent out on how very not ok that was. But she also complains that she was going to handle it alone without him – he points out if he hadn’t left the note she wouldn’t know there was an issue, would she rather he didn’t? She counters again that their relationship is entirely on his terms – she can’t contact him, can’t go to his place, she doesn’t know where is or whether he’s alive for weeks on end, but at the same time he leaves notes and follows her. It’s very one sided. It’s an odd argument, she starts out where she’s strong (how dare you beat this man into unconsciousness) and then slowly moves onto weaker and weaker ground.

The argument is interrupted by Catherine noticing a photograph in the club window – it’s Sam the barman with a knife tattoo on his arm. She suddenly realises that that is what Iris’s sisters meant. She tells Vincent not to get involved, from here on she has to do everything by the book – and leaves. Vincent, meanwhile grabs the unconscious Dane’s mobile phone when it gets a text message saying “cleaning things up.” He takes the phone and texts back “let me help” and finds out where he is.

Tess and Catherine have a make up scene – but Catherine is still stuck on her case. She tells Tess everything – about Iris’s sisters, why she can’t come forward and how, checking the background, she’s found that Sam the barman was probably the man who smuggled Iris and her sisters into the US. He has a previous conviction for people trafficking – and the judge who convicted him? That would be Hanson. Sam was worried that Iris was becoming friendly with Hanson in order to expose Sam and get favourable treatment for her family. She also shows something else she stole from the club while there – Sam’s spittoon (he carried one around in the club – yes, extremely nasty and very convenient) so they can check the DNA in it with the DNA in Iris’s car. This is when Tess gets a text saying they have a hit on Sam’s phone – he’s in Iris’s apartment (ok… they have GPS tracking on Sam’s phone? Why? She’s on desk duty? She didn’t even know Sam was a suspect until 2 minutes ago! Does she just get randon text alerts saying “hey, this plot important person has entered this location!”) They take everything to their boss, Joe.

At Iris’s flat, Sam enters with a gun, enters the hidden cellar – and is taken apart by Vincent who ties him to a chair with a bag on his head. Unfortunately this is when Catherine, Tess, Wolanski, Joe and SWAT arrive and are blocking his exit. He calls Catherine and she tells him he has to get out because they’re about to storm the place. They secure the flat and Catherine quickly suggests Sam has fled through the building and it has to be checked – while SWAT rushes off, she runs down and finds Vincent panicking, going feral while Sam begins to wake up. She leaps on Sam, knocks him unconscious and slowly calms Vincent down so he doesn’t kill anyone. She brings out Sam, leaving Vincent, hidden, below. (So, she lead SWAT into this flat with a hidden room and didn’t bother to tell them about it? Really?)

Time for the aftermath! Joe confirms that they found Sam’s DNA in Iris’s car at the time of the murder (what? Your DNA is time stamped? Uh-huh). He then points out she used Evans to examine the DNA though it wasn’t her case, stole the chewing tobacco, searched the club without a warrant or a badge…. All of her breaches of protocol means she should be demoted to traqsh. But since Judge Hanson was a friend and he appreciates her catching his killer, instead she’s on desk duty for a week. Uh-huh.

Catherine tells Iris she had to reveal her sisters – but she got them all asylum. Iris is just happy she stopped Sam from killing them. Evans passed his little audit and continues to flirt with Catherine. She calls her dad, fills in her wedding invite and says she doesn’t need a +1 but that doesn’t mean she’s eternally alone.

She and Vincent meet on her firescape where she concedes that she understands why their meeting always has to be on his terms due to the risk it is to him. he adjusts the terms – they have to contact each other every week so they know each other is alive, she can’t come to his not-very-secret hideout – and he gives her his disposable mobile phone number.

And in a shadowy car in a shadowy alley (really? Doesn’t Muirfield have officers) who have been checking samples in the morgue. They know Vincent Keller is still alive – and Catherine Chandler is going to bring him to them.

One thing I am impressed by this show is this is the second time it has done a classic dubious “I’m-so-special” protagonist thing which I was ready to complain about – and then averted it. Catherine was angry that her meeting with Vincent had to be on his terms – but that ignores the risk he is taking, not her. It ignores her habit of being careless and giving JT and ulcer (giving a note to say hi?) and ignores the fact he doesn’t want anything from her. Their meetings are all about how he can help her. Given these 3 and the disaster she nearly caused last week, why shouldn’t they be on his terms? And then in the closing scene she acknowledges it…

I don’t think I’ve seen a protagonist who is simultaneously both rather spunky AND aware of the fact and willing to own it and learn from it.

And, your mileage may vary, but my pet hate is police programmes where the cop shreds the rule book but it’s all ok because they catch the bad guy who they knew was bad, honest. Just once I’d like to see a police or detective programme that doesn’t have them breaking into places, lying in interviews, seizing without evidence  and all the usual staples of the cop drama. A policeman doing these things isn’t a plucky hero fighting against red tape for great justice – they’re a corrupt criminal. The only thing worse are police who work by “hunches” and police who rely entirely on confessions to hide the fact they have no damn evidence at all.

I am getting more disappointed with the police drama; this week had repeated instances of fuzzy logical leaps to say the least – and I’m still bemused that Sam’s phone was been tracked by Tess when she never even knew who the man was.