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Raines: The Fifth Step

“I see people who aren’t there.”

I’m not a huge fan of this one for several reasons. It features the first murder victim I just do not like or care about. Connie Webb may be sympathetic but I’m not a fan of Melinda Page Hamilton, the actress who portrays her. I think it’s the voice. It’s so sing-song and actressy.

This episode also suffers from a bit of plot overload. With all the dead ends, misleads, and twists in the case, there is less time for what made Raines special: the characters and the humor. Out of every episode, this is the one that feels most like your run of the mill crime procedural.

It’s also the most keep ‘em guessing case the show ever featured. That might make me more inclined to like the episode, if the cases were why I was watching in the first place. I had the husband (Mark Harelik) pegged from early on, but the first time I saw this I was sure he had her killed for political capital. “My wife was killed because of my relentless pursuit of justice, yet I soldier on. Would you like to donate to my campaign for Senate?”

I was seriously impressed with Mark Harelik’s hysterical crying when Raines finally confronts him about his wife’s murder, but then he takes it a little over the top when giving his completely bullshitty speech about justice. It also seems like letting Lionel jump is an uncharacteristic mistake for Raines to make. He may have been distracted by the news that Svetlana, the clean and sober hooker with a heart of gold, was at risk, but don’t let the murderer commit suicide seems like a pretty basic cop rule. Maybe Raines should’ve eased up on Boyer for forgetting to check that closet.

Officer Sally Lance gets her very own subplot this week, the first (and only) time this happens during the series run. I really like the way the team pulls around her to help her deal. After attempting to comfort her, Boyer realizes that he’s better off treating her normally and so reverts back to his obnoxious older brother teasing. For his part, Raines reassures her and ultimately, in a moment reminiscent of Buffy’s “Lie to Me,” lies to Lance, telling her things will get better. Not a little better, all the way better, as if nothing had ever happened. Raines clearly doesn’t believe his own hype, as witnessed by his speech only a few minutes previously.

I really like Raines’s relationship with his rookie. She’s clearly headed for big things as Raines pointed out in the pilot and I love that he takes her under his wing. I also love that it’s utterly platonic. Compare Lance’s shaky, semi-panicked shooting of the biker with Raines’s steady, deliberate shooting of the car trunk. He’s been doing this a lot longer than she has and has the emotional and mental wounds to show for it. The end is a little depressing with its implication that Lance will eventually turn into something like Raines.

Bits and Pieces

We were much less specific with locations this time. Downtown and West Hollywood for certain, Lionel’s house might have been in Beverly Hills or Brentwood, Svetlana’s could’ve been anywhere. Culver City was mentioned.

Pelican Bay is a California State Prison located in the far north of the state. Twin Towers is a jail in downtown Los Angeles.

Although the humor is definitely dialed down this week, there were a couple of physical bits I found funny. The first is Levay screaming at Raines at the top of his lungs while Raines sits there calmly, wiping spittle from his cheek. The second is when Raines accidentally shushes Connie and then pretends he was swatting a fly.

Charlie finally reappears.

I love the end scene with “Peace in the Valley” playing. Perfect music choice.


Levay: “I’m gonna kill you, you Zionist bitch! Just like I killed that whore! Beg me for mercy! Beg me now, pig!”
Raines: “You mentioned that a few times already. And maybe, maybe later, for the begging.”

Captain: “Derelict building being used as a clubhouse.”
Raines: “Clubhouse, wow. They have a secret handshake?”

Carolyn: “Did you just primp?”
Raines: “What?”
Carolyn: “You primped just now, didn’t you?”
Raines: “No, I don’t think I did. Why, do I not look good?”

Raines: “This is your moment of clarity. Your life has officially become unmanageable.”

Raines: “You hired a hit man to kill your wife over justice?”

Lance: “I fired three times, twelve feet away, center mass, just like I was taught. And I hit him once. Once, Raines. And that pisses me off.”
Raines: “You’re mad ‘cause you didn’t kill the guy?”

Raines: “You do your job and, little by little, it gets better.”
Lance: “So it goes away?”
Raines: “Yeah, it goes away. You wake up one morning, and once again you’re as normal as blueberry pie. Everything’s ducky.”

three out of four days at a time
sunbunny, who is probably not played by Tatiana Maslany


  1. I've been sidetracked with rewatching Dexter before Sunday, but I just saw this one and you have a point about there being a twist too many. But the car trunk scene was great. That was a lot of bullets, and Jeff Goldblum did the empty coldness thing just right.

  2. Although it is not my favorite, I liked this one. The contradiction between Raines and Lance was very well played. It made up for the been there/done that storyline.


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