Monday, March 16, 2009

Cold Case - Recap & Review - Officer Down

Cold Case
Officer Down

Original Air Date: Mar 15, 2009

Amanda — Sr Reviewer

Over the years, Cold Case has been at its finest when the cases are personal: Saving Patrick Bubley, Sanctuary, 8:03 AM, The Badlands, and Triple Threat, to name a few, and when a Cold Case detective is shot, it’s hard to get any more personal than that. I had high expectations, and a few reservations, going into this episode, but when all is said and done, this one will rank up there with the greats.

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[photo: CBS]


  1. Cold Case
    Officer Down

    Original Airdate: March 15, 2009

    Amanda — Sr Reviewer

    Over the years, Cold Case has been at its finest when the cases are personal: Saving Patrick Bubley, Sanctuary, 8:03 AM, The Badlands, and Triple Threat, to name a few, and when a Cold Case detective is shot, it’s hard to get any more personal than that. I had high expectations, and a few reservations, going into this episode, but when all is said and done, this one will rank up there with the greats.

    While out with Vera, Jeffries stops by a convenience store to buy milk, and within seconds, Vera hears gunshots. He goes in to find the store owner, Henry “Pops” Walters, and Jeffries both wounded. Pops dies, but Jeffries pulls through despite a collapsed lung. As Jeffries recovers, the detectives try to piece together what happened. Vera remembers someone fleeing out the back door, and the first officer on the scene, Det. Pete McGinley, giving chase. Meanwhile, an investigation of the store turns up security tapes and a picture of Pops with his granddaughter, Carmen, whom Lilly remembers visiting the office a week earlier. Carmen told Jeffries that someone named James Valentine was after Pops, and Jeffries assured her he’d take care of it. The squad begins a search for Valentine, a former juvenile offender who seems to have straightened out thanks to a stint in the military, but who has a felony gun charge that Jeffries managed to get dropped.

    In an interview with Stillman, the oh-so-delicious McGinley admits that he was following Jeffries, then accuses him of fixing Valentine’s gun charge, and I have to admit the flashback looks suspicious, with Jeffries accepting a wad of cash from Valentine. Lilly and Scotty finally locate Valentine, who says Pops helped him turn his life around. The gun, he claims, was for Pops’ protection, as he’d been harassed in recent weeks by a Dominican thug named Francisco Ariza. Valentine says he was on his way to convince him to take the gun when Jeffries stopped him.

    Lilly and Scotty storm Francisco’s place and find bloody clothes, including a pair of shoes that left footprints at the store. After ADA Bell tells them where to find Francisco, Scotty and Kat make haste, but find only Francisco’s younger brother Gabriel. Gabriel reluctantly recounts for Scotty a confrontation with Pops where Pops foiled Francisco’s shoplifting attempt and challenged him to be a man and make an honest living, offering him a job on the spot. Meanwhile, Lilly visits Jeffries in the hospital and get the best flashback of the episode: Pops making the same offer to a young Jeffries, who’d been shoplifting and bullying neighborhood kids. Jeffries credits Pops for straightening him out and getting him into football, and, appropriately, he “sees” Pops at the end.

    Francisco finally turns up, but he’s already dead, shot by an unapologetically vengeful Valentine. However, a peek at Francisco’s shoes tells Lilly the tragic truth: Valentine shot the wrong guy. Frankie’s TLC with the security tapes confirms that Francisco took Pops up on his offer…and his brother, Gabriel, was the real doer. Scotty and Lil storm his place, and Gabriel, believing they killed Francisco, immediately takes a few shots at Scotty. Fortunately, he misses, and Lilly fires a couple warning shots of her own. They talk Gabriel down and get his confession...but Lil’s warning shots didn’t miss; Gabriel’s been shot in the leg.

    The flashbacks in this episode were outstanding. I loved how they incorporated a few seemingly unimportant elements from recent episodes (that mysterious phone message Vera took for Jeffries and Carmen’s appearance were both explained perfectly). The show was fast-paced, as Chris Silber’s episodes tend to be, but it wasn’t rushed in the slightest, which, considering just how much they managed to include, is quite an accomplishment. I was a bit concerned when I saw that Lilly’s dad, Just Go Away Already Frankie, and ADA McClumsy were all making appearances, but everything fit together beautifully.

    The strongest aspect of this one, to me, was how each detective found his or her own way to cope, and as such, everyone got their own moment to shine. Kat, who was seen at the beginning waking Veronica, returned to her daughter at the end after an episode spent being uncharacteristically tender. Stillman was predictably stoic, running herd on his detectives and not letting any of the strain show until the very end, when a sip of whiskey in his office speaks volumes. Scotty finds some comfort and TLC in the arms of Frankie (gaaaack), but, given the circumstances, I’ll let it slide. (After this, though, can he PLEASE grow a pair and dump her already?) Lilly received a mid-case visit and St. Jude medallion from her father, who was concerned about her after hearing of the shooting, and at the end, she had a tearful breakdown the likes of which we’ve not seen since The Woods. But the one who will remain forever etched in my memory is Vera. Jeremy Ratchford absolutely knocked this episode out of the park. From the beginning, when he discovered his fallen friend, to his guilt over drinking all the milk, to his frenetic phone calls, to the scene where he apologizes to (and humorously hugs!) a man he yelled at earlier, to the end, where he’s finally able to sleep; all are memorable, but the one that will stand out even among those is the beautiful scene with Stillman where he’s desperate to do something for Jeffries, and Stillman instructs him to pray. It’s indescribably powerful when these two hardened cops kneel in prayer for their friend.

    So that’s my two cents, which, on March 15, 2009, would have bought…whatever two cents buys today. What did you all think? Did you love this one as much as I did? As always, I welcome your thoughts!

  2. 24 hours later and I'm still in a total state of squee over this episode. I didn't think anything was going to be able to top Wednesday's Women, but hoo boy, this one does so with ease! (And given WW was Kat-centric, I don't say that lightly!)

    The first 10 minutes were as good a piece of television as you will see anywhere. I adored seeing each of the detectives get the call: Kat hustling Veronica out of bed, worry in her voice; Scotty being barely polite to his date to the point where he nearly runs her over in his haste to leave; Lilly jogging but bless her, she has her cell phone with her. The only thing that would have made this outstanding would have been seeing Stillman getting the first phone call, telling him one of HIS detectives was down.

    However, they gave Stillman (and John Finn) a fantastic scene with Doherty, that was just a joy to watch. Would have been really easy to overplay it but both actors got it spot on. And you really believed Stillman would beat the ever-lovin' cr@p outta Doherty if he crossed his detectives again.

    Vera! I have no words other than EEEEEEEE!!! Awesomely played by Jeremy Ratchford, I totally agree.

    And we saw kick-ass Kat!! "We don't give a rat's ass!" And we got to see Tender!Kat, in the scenes in the chapel. Her face when she saw Stillman and Vera praying and jumped to the conclusion Jeffries was dead was priceless. Tracie does SO much with a look here. And later, wordlessly comforting Vera when they know Will's going to be ok. *sighs happily*

    I could ramble on all day about this, there were just so many good things. Still hate Frankie but did like her "hairdryer" scene. And I really adored ADA Adorkable this time around. My favourite scene though is where Kat finds out Valentine's location and every detective in the vicinity takes off all at once to track him down. It really showed that there's a wider community than just our five detectives, and all of them wanted to catch the doer really badly. It was subtle but very, very well done.

    It's hard to believe that any of the episodes to come can beat this one, but boy howdy, if they even come close, we're in for a heck of ride in :)

  3. Hey, you're right. Where WAS the Stillman reaction shot? I'm guessing the scene where he showed up and asked Vera what happened was probably what we got for him, which was fine, because Vera's line about drinking the milk was funny and sniffle-worthy at the same time.

    We did see kick-ass!Kat. I think that scene with her and Scotty, where she was threatening and he was all sweet with Gabriel (to a point) was one of my favorites. "I got a right, and a couple lefts." Hee.

    I liked the ADA, too! He works much better with Lilly that. Dare I say it, I think Lil and ADA McGrowingOnMe have chemistry...


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