Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cold Case Season 7, Episode 12: The Runaway Bunny

Watching my second-ever episode of “Cold Case,” I was struck my something that contrasted it with “Damages,” the other show covered in delight! in January.

The premise of “Damages” seems to be that sometimes bad things do happen to bad people, but you may have to go outside of the bounds of the law to achieve justice.

The premise of “Cold Case,” by contrast, is that the system works, and even if you think you got away with it… you didn’t.

Which makes it, in its way, a more comforting show.

This is not to say it’s always a simple one. While the last episode ended with a murder and a cheater, in this episode the bodies keep on piling up. And, much to my surprise, one body was taken off the pile.

I’d detail the plot, but I think a short synopsis lays out the episode better. When the body of a sleazy detective for hire turns up in the bottom of a building 35 years after vanishing without a trace, it’s up to the cold case workers to figure out how he got there, and why?

And ultimately, the answer is that he ended up there for trying to do the right thing. Which the gang only figures out by uncovering a couple of different conspiracies – one to cover up someone who is alive, and the other to cover up a couple of dead folks.

Having watched a couple of episodes now, I do want to talk about two things that really impress me:

First, the plots are intricate, but the actors get to act. With so many people to introduce and so many facts to throw out from week to week, shows like this can become more about the guest stars than the regulars, and that’s a shame. But here we’ve got a few nice personal details that show up every week, and even if the progression of the arcing plots is a little slow, they’re still there, and it’s nice to see them.

Secondly, I want to applaud the show for avoiding what I once heard referred to as Cesar Romero syndrome. If you don’t remember Cesar, the man was best known for playing The Joker on the Batman TV show that’s many decades behind us now.

But if you hit up the IMDB, you can see he was in, quite literally, everything. The problem was, back in the day, if you had Cesar Romero on your cop show, Romero did it. Oh, sure, they’d try and tell you it was the other guy, who you never saw before on TV and probably would never see again, but at the end of the day, it was Cesar.

But “Cold Case” avoids that, especially with episodes like this one, which contains not just an answer, but a twist within the answer, followed by another twist within the answer.
Ultimately, even if the bad guy had been Cesar Romero… it still wouldn’t have been Cesar Romero.

Both of these are solid accomplishments.

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