So we all had a nice break last week; no mythology, no dangling plot threads involving Kara Stanton or Nathan Ingram, no flashbacks to Reese's shadowy past. Kind of refreshing, in a way.
On the other hand, what we got resembled most of CBS's other procedurals, so maybe these breaks aren't all they're cracked up to be. Hey, going into last night's episode, I was just happy knowing we'd be getting back into some juicy backstory.
Yeah, hold that thought.
I noticed this a couple episodes back, but detectives Fusco (Kevin Chapman) and Carter (Taraji P. Henson) have been added to the "hunted by authorities" intro. Welcome to the revolution.
In a story "ripped from the headlines," a new mayor is going to be elected in five days. Assistant DA Landon Walker is running against city councilman Ed Griffin, who is facing some ethical hurdles. Local investigative reporter Maxine Angelis (Gloria Votsis) has suckered Griffin's money man into coming clean about Griffin's fund-raising activities, which are anything but. This dame's got a lot of moxie.
Coincidentally, Angelis has written stories on HR and Elias as well. Naturally she's the latest Number of the Week.
Meanwhile, the feds are acting on Fusco's tip from last season's finale and picking up lots of crooked cops (what's the correct collective noun for that? A pigpen of dirty cops? A rasher?). FBI Agent Donnelly (Brennan Brown) is back, and he wants whoever the Big Boss of HR is. Oh, and who's that lurking in Fusco's car? Why, it's Sinister Officer Simmons (Robert John Burke), who instructs the detective (in his trademark gravelly voice) he needs to find out whatever dirt the FBI has on HR and get rid of it. Once he does, he's free to leave the organization. My reaction to that promise contains roughly the same amount of skepticism I felt when I first heard Madonna singing about being a virgin.
Angelis gets a visit from Mr. Quinn, Griffin's campaign manager, played by The Wire's Clarke "Lester Freamon" Peters. As an aside, I'd just like to point out that CBS has been doing a stand-up job giving those guys work, as J.D. "Bodie" Williams and Hassan "Wee-Bey" Johnson were both on The Good Wife last Sunday.
Not that I watch The Good Wife or anything. Ha-ha. Heh.
The upshot being, Angelis is still keen to find the head of HR. She gets an anonymous tip that one Christopher Zambrano is the man, as well as confirmation from an agent that owes her a favor. If the name "Zambrano" sounds familiar, it's because daddy Z was one of the Mafia dons Elias wiped out last season. Chris, however, is a "legitimate businessman." Cough.
A complication arises when Finch discovers Angelis is also looking into a mysterious "man in a suit," which limits Reese's on the ground effectiveness. He enlists Carter/Fusco to give him a hand. Angelis runs the Zambrano story, based on evidence that is -- frankly -- pretty thin. The threat level has increased to the point Reese worries about his ability to protect her. But not to worry, Finch has engineered an online dating profile to match Angelis's and set up a date for that night.
Here's another suggestion: She's looking for a guy in a suit, right? Would it kill Reese one day to wear fucking warmups?
The date is...interesting. Reese hasn't reviewed Finch's notes so here comes Zoe Morgan (Paige Turco)?! Finch has sent her in to heighten Angelis's interest, but honestly they could just stand her up in the corner all episode for all I care. During the date, they both learn (Reese from Carter, Angelis from her editor) that Zambrano is not, in fact, head of HR. They arrive at the docks just in time to find Zambrano's corpse, which really isn't in time at all, I guess. Talk about your lousy first dates.
Long story short: Zambrano was going to turn over information about HR's boss to the FBI, and her anonymous tip likely came from the bad guys. In other (Reese's) word: Maxine wasn't the victim, she was the -- admittedly -- inadvertent perpetrator. Now she's persona non grata at her paper and under investigation by the FBI. Sounds like a good time to grab a drink with her new beau, John "Anderson." Unfortunately, his attempts to assuage her guilt are inconveniently interrupted when they're ambushed outside a bar.
Angelis is pretty cool under fire, and they evade assassination and head back to Reese's giant fucking loft (Finch gets over there in time to drop off Bear to further melt the dog-loving reporter's heart). Angelis elects to spend the night because Reese/Anderson is such a "good guy." It's true, fellas; standards have officially dropped low enough that the fact you're not a date rapist is often sufficient.
Zoe makes a repeat appearance to drop the bomb that mayoral candidate Landon Walker (I guess "White Goodman" was taken) may actually be the head of HR. Frankly, she could deliver the news that I have bone cancer and I wouldn't mind so much. Did I mention I like Paige Turco? I was more worried the budding chemistry between Reese and Angelis meant she was going to die any second.
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I'm mostly kidding, except that she and Reese go to Zambrano's carousel (don't ask) and find his ledger, only to be surprised by the two out-of-favor FBI agents. They want Angelis's evidence too, but are interrupted by Carter and Fusco, who doesn't waste the opportunity to remove incriminating evidence related to him and Simmons.
So it really was Walker all along, well, I guess that wraps it...wait, what? QUINN IS THE BIG BOSS OF HR? Cool, that means more Clarke Peters for a while.
So that's two episodes in a row with no flashbacks. I guess they're trying to space things out a little better after the frequent information overloads from season 1. Now that the show's a ratings hit, perhaps the showrunners aren't feeling the same sense of urgency to grab everyone's attention. We'll see how it plays out.
Next week: More Zoe!