Monday, December 10, 2007
TV EYE: Through the Past, Darkly
Do I get drummed outta the TV Taste Club if I admit to actually liking a show produced by Uber producer Jerry Bruckheimer? Since it’s inception in 2003, the low key procedural Cold Case (NBC, Sunday, 10:00 PM) has cast a certain spell on me, and I find it’s formula, it’s doom and gloom atmospherics, and it’s wistful gazing-into-the-past structure, all rather addictive. The show centers around a group of Philadelphia coppers ( John Finn, Jeremy Ratchford, Thom Barry, Danny Pino, Tracie Thomas, underplayers all) forced to dig deep into the dusty files that contain, cold, or unsolved cases. Kathryn Morris plays Detective Lily Rush, the team’s centerpiece, a waif-like combo of moral conscientiousness, dissipated guilt, and avenging angel. The show swings back and forth from then to now, utilizing period songs and period film stock, while the actors either doing the age-make-up thang or simply going with two sets of young and old, with each episode occurring within an extremely specific milieu—typically quantified by class, ethnicity, or social issue-of-the-period. Cold Case also well utilizes a solid feel for Philadelphia, it's setting (despite the fact that they probably only go in one or twice a year to shoot exteriors), and the Philly depicted is a steel gray, downcast, chilly urban center, brimming over with dreamers, losers, and (most of all) those that are just going through the motions. The crime always gets solved, yet the general feel of the show is far from smug endings and satisfying turns of justice---the show gives off a weary vibe of lives lost and misspent, of paths not taken, of shared guilt (each and all get lined up as suspects), and it’s final slo-mo, cue-the-music series of shots often make me weirdly sad or downright depressed, while continually exerting a strange pull that brings me back for the next episode of time-bending crime-solving.