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Wanted

Promise of Darkness
Episode 1.5 - Aug. 28, 2005

After the previous week's heavy dose of Lee Tergesen as undercover Eddie Drake, this episode was a disappointment -- and not just because of Lee's relative lack of screen time. 

This episode epitomizes a lot of what has been bad about "Wanted": Overkill in the violence department, inconsistent character development and poor writing.

Lee had some fine moments, but the episode was doomed once the assignments were handed out and Eddie Drake was left behind. Lee/Eddie makes scenes come alive and the actors around him better. Subtract Eddie Drake from the action, and well ... you have this episode.

This week, the task force was on the trail of a child rapist-and-killer who had recently escaped from prison. When Lt. Rose divides up the team to chase down leads, he leaves Drake behind with the tech wizard, Rodney Gronbeck (Josey Scott). 

So while the others are doing real police work, Drake mops the floor and trades barbs with Gronbeck. A later scene in a surveillance van also provides some character development for Eddie Drake:

Drake proclaims why he won't have kids: "They either grown up to be a Martin Beckwith [the bad guy] or theyíre killed by one."
Gronbeck: "Thatís a really positive outlook on life."
Drake, while eating a sandwich and pickle: "Iím just saying ... the world we live in..."
Gronbeck: "With all the tuna salad you stuck your pickle in over the years who knows how many kids you got running around out there, un-be-know-anst to you."
Drake disgustedly discards his half-eaten pickle and corrects Gronbeck's Southernese: "Unbeknownst..."
Gronbeck doesn't back down: "Itís un-be-know-anst where I come from."
Lee: "Where do you come from?"
But before we learn any more, the action picks up again with a lively gunshot to the head at the house they're watching.

Most of the episode is focused on the Jimmy McGloin character's rage over the crime, the criminal, pornography and his own victimization. It's not subtle, to say the least. 

The series had aimed to spotlight the surreal, schizophrenic nature of police work at this level -- showing how the unspeakable brutality of the job overwhelms domestic life. Similarly the show depicts law enforcement professionals having to act as a team to get the job done, but then flinging wisecracks and insults at one another during their down time.

"Wanted" succeeds better in the latter regard, and would do better to stick to that formula. Especially with the chief wise-ass, Eddie Drake, taking the lead.

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Video clip

Dipping his pickle

 

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