Women’s Murder Club (“Maybe, Baby”)

Season 1, Episode 5
Date of airing: November 9, 2007 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 9.60 million viewers, 6.5/11 in Households, 2.0/6 with Adults 18-49, 2.7/7 with Adults 25-54

In which the writers focused a little more on the homicide (and disappearance) at hand while taking a few steps back when it comes to the relationships the characters are involved in. If it hadn’t been for the final scene that of course had Lindsay and Tom making out in her apartment after sharing some of their emotional and dramatic back story with the viewers, this episode would have been the first one not dealing with Lindsay’s love life, which would have been incredibly refreshing. But now I just fear that the relationship drama was put on hold with this episode because of the highly emotionally charged murder investigation of the week, which dealt with a dead husband and a missing woman who is about to give birth or may have given birth already right after her husband was killed point blank. When children or babies are involved in the homicide investigation of a crime procedural television drama, the stakes seem to be much higher for the detectives and the writers seem to take the story more seriously for the sake of the characters. In the previous episode we’ve had some horny seniors, and now we got to see what it’s like when Lindsay Boxer is investigating the murder of a father-to-be, while the child-bearing mother-to-be is nowhere to be found.

Bullet out of the head.

If this episode was just here to explain Tom and Lindsay’s baby-less back story, then it was quite the interesting way to put the back story into the spotlight, even if some serious eyerolls were the symptoms by the end of the episode, when Tom decided to go for his ex-wife’s lips as he was starting to hand out wedding invitations. If there is anything I could do without when watching television, it is stories like these, in which separated partners get back together, even though one of them is already in another relationship that walks closer to the altar with each episode. And because the make-out session happened during the closing seconds of this hour, the remaining 42 minutes had to be filled with a solid homicide investigation that made a little too much use of the red herring principle: Characters got introduced who were supposed to be the suspects in the investigation, and then it turns out the writers weren’t interested in using any of the established narrative, so back they went with the missing mother-to-be and her best friend, who should never have been emotionally able to help Beth do what she did. You just miscarried a baby yourself, but a few weeks later you’re ready to help your also highly pregnant best friend to get rid of her own baby? I’m coughing a lot right now.

But the episode was still emotionally good to go. When crime procedurals come around with these kind of episodes, they can always show what the writers have in store when it comes to emotionally manipulative stories, and how forceful the characters in the shows are when it comes to these kind of stories (as in, how hard the detectives of a crime procedural will get into the case to catch the perp when the victim is a child or a baby). For Lindsay, the world seemed to stop when she realized what kind of case she was working on, although the writers did explain themselves away by creating this back story of a miscarriage, although in hindsight I’m not so sure it was even needed. It certainly makes WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB a crime procedural in which the detectives have reasons for their steely-eyed focused investigation, but in the end this episode seemed like it was just created to let Lindsay and Tom have that moment and to promise that this show isn’t just about the murders, but also still about the relationship of the characters.

Lindsay likes to confront his exes for not doing their job to her liking.

But yeah, one or two red herrings less would have been wonderful. I didn’t really need Clayne Crawford’s idiotic and sexist character, whose only reason for existence was to make life hell for Lindsay during a few minutes in the interrogation room. I also didn’t really need the B story of the baby buying “adoption,” which seemed like a story that was worth to be the A story (selling babies in the back alleys or on the black market — even more so a crime story that could make the detectives angry and focused on getting the perps), but here it is, filling airtime and maybe taking away screentime from the Lindsay/Tom story that clogged the final minutes of the episode. Maybe I should be thankful for that, because all I want is less relationship drama, although what would WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB be without it?

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