L.A.’s Finest (“… My Lovely”)

Season 1, Episode 6
Date of release: May 27, 2019 (Spectrum)

I was hoping that the show might have turned a corner with the previous two episodes, because a show that knows what kind of story it wants to tell while also knowing its characters is a good show. L.A.’S FINEST has turned into a weird show in this episode, and I am starting to get the feeling the writers never really knew what to make of the premise they were hired to write about, let alone what to make of the show being a spin-off of a movie franchise, which by now has been dropped entirely. It makes me wonder if Charter Communications just wanted a television drama another network got rid of and didn’t care about the BAD BOYS connection to it. It makes me think that Charter Communications decided to buy the show from the studio, but also told the writers to get rid of the connection to Michael Bay’s films, and I really don’t know the reasoning behind this. Besides that, the show is very much schizophrenic at this point, with half of the titular L.A.’s finest being busy playing a part in a villain’s game, almost having no time investigating actual homicides. At one point, Syd and Nancy aren’t even detectives any longer, and in addition to the BAD BOYS connection having been lost, the show is also losing the general premise of its show: being a cop drama.

Even super villains go shopping for jewelry sometimes.

Those recent two episodes showed that L.A.’S FINEST doesn’t know what it wanted to be: The two Bens were investigating the murder of a transgender, in which Syd and Nancy were involved in the previous episode. But for the sake overcomplicating Syd’s life and bringing more flashbacks into Nancy’s back story, the two detectives have been removed from the LAPD’s story in this episode and they are now starring in their very own drama show, and it’s one I am less and less interested in, especially now that the writers have uncovered the most soap opera of all twists for one of the characters: Hello half-sister, and hello Joseph Burnett, who has lied to his children all this time by hiding the fact that he had another kid. Even worse was the way the twist was thrown into the finale of the episode. Joseph comes in, scream “Somebody called me, my daughter has been shot.” Syd comes around, calms down her father. And he can only say “No, not you, Syd.” How weird a moment is that to find out that you have a half-sister, and how weird is it to tell your daughter that you have another daughter you never told your one daughter about? And it gets even weirder. Katherine obviously knew all about Syd, hence her recognizing her sister on the street, but for some reason Joseph never decided to tell Syd about Katherine. At this point the story, which has just been introduced seconds ago, has turned into an awkward family drama that I would expect to find on a soap instead of a crime procedural.

The Ukrainians won’t care that American cops have invaded their business.

The biggest problem I’ve had with this episode though was how two-faced it was. The Bens’ investigation into Eve’s murder might have been a simple crime procedural meal, but because of the constant cuts to Syd and Nancy’s story, there was barely anything useful in that homicide investigation, let alone making me care about who the killer is. Not only did the story barely have time to develop organically, but the case was thrown from one suspect (Sam) to the next (Eve’s ex-girlfriend from before she changed her gender), and the case didn’t even get the emotional back story it needed to deliver the punch of the story when Eve’s ex-girlfriend jumped to her death in a wedding dress. There is an entire story behind that, but the writers decided to give all the attention to the women and their messed-up situation while surfing the disaster directed by Gabriel Knox.

And that story wasn’t really interesting to me either. The episode could have had a great thriller plot after Arlo’s threat from the previous episode, but the fear of losing someone in her life didn’t phase Syd much. In fact, she was so unphased that she figured she could get the drop on Arlo by figuring out who the guy is. And because Syd and Nancy don’t play by the rules, they decided to play rough with the Armenians, which might mean the writers just dropped another hot iron into the soup, and Syd and Nancy aren’t just dealing with Knox’s drug buddies any longer, but also the Armenians. I don’t mind the characters getting into some seriously heated waters, but if the Armenians were introduced to stay, then I can continue saying that the writers did not know how to keep track of the stories they have established. And here comes Charter Communications and Spectrum back into the fold: Did they not follow the progress of the writing and producing of the show? Did they give any notes as to what they wanted from L.A.’S FINEST? Or did the writers room have carte blanche, which essentially means they went with whatever story they came up first?

Giving up on taking out the sniper.

Best part of the episode: White Ben was given some character development over the course of this episode, getting all panicky while asking Sam a few questions in the hospital, and talking about his wife to Eve’s ex-girlfriend. It’s almost like he is ready to let other people in his life, which makes for a great character.
Worst part of the episode: Arlo came over like a genius mastermind during the confrontation between him and Syd, with Katherine being involved as well. Only have I never thought of Arlo being a genius. In fact, he was kind of a terrible weirdo who needed a dropkick, after he pretty much celebrated the fact that Kat and Syd didn’t know each other — why would that be “better” than he thought? I thought Arlo would kill someone Syd cares about, but she won’t care about someone she doesn’t know. Except of course all Arlo wanted was to put a rift between Syd and Joseph. But there already was a rift between them, which was retconned by the writers a few episodes into the show, when Joseph suddenly turned into an ally for Syd’s Knox troubles.
Weirdest part of the episode: I thought we already went through Nancy’s back story, but apparently we didn’t, because this episode delivered a whole ‘nother round of flashbacks for her. And because those flashbacks ended with the murder of her mother, it means those will continue to be important, and who knows, maybe the writers were just waiting to connect Nancy’s past with the current Knox story. This did not leave a tingling in me, and now I’m asking why I still need to see more of Nancy and Dante when they were still young.
Player of the episode: Katherine looked like a younger Octavia Spencer, and now I would love to know what Octavia Spencer would have brought to the role. Let’s give this award to the casting director who decided not to ask Octavia Spencer is she wanted to cameo for an episode.

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