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Ep 321: Past Imperfect

Note: This review contains spoilers for the episode. You can find a summary of the episode on CBS’ website

Do lock and key parties really happen? And why would you go to one?
I do have to admit that when Flack told the woman to look his way for a “burly guy with a gun,” my mind went straight to the gutter. Yes, when Danny said "pube" and Lindsay grabbed the bag back, my mind went STRAIGHT to the gutter. Do not pass go, do not collect 200.

This episode continues a storyline introduced in Ep 308 “Consequences,” where Mac arrested a dirty cop. This arrest brought the cop’s arrests into question. As a result, Clay Dobson gets released from prison. (Ironically, this is the type of storyline I wished they would have done with Aiden: had a defense attorney find out why she’d been removed, and have all her work questioned.)

Mac and Flack repeat their argument from “Consequences.” Mac still feels he did the right thing by putting Truby away. Flack doesn’t agree.

Mac insists that he doesn’t let his feelings affect his work on a case. I get the feeling that Flack disagrees, even though he won’t actually say it. There have been several episodes just this season where his feelings have affected a case: Murder Sings the Blues, Sweet 16, and especially this case. Even without real evidence, Mac is determined that Dobson performed the murder.

Gerard is the only one willing to call Mac on his actions, probably because of his rank. Mac makes no balls about the fact that he doesn’t like Gerard: going so far to outright saying that he “doesn’t give a damn about the title”. This is either out of character or a fatal flaw. Mac used to be in the Marines. He knows that the chain of command is sacred.

I didn’t understand why Gerard was concerned about a wrongful conviction suit. Wouldn’t a lawsuit for wrongful conviction be brought against the DA, not the PD? The Police Department doesn’t do any of the actual prosecution: they turn the evidence over to the DA, who decides whether or not to file charges. I understand his concern over a police harassment suit, however.


I normally don’t complain much about the camera work in an episode. However, there were two scenes in this ep that I thought had horrible camera work: the one between Mac and Flack (in Mac’s office), and the one where Mac was yelling at Adam. The camera jumped back and forth too much, and I was almost getting sick watching it.


Why did Dobson kill one of the women that night, but keep the other one alive for a month? Seems weird to me.

Far too little Lindsay. A one minute scene in the lab and a fifteen second voiceover? At first I tried to justify it because a lot of the scenes, especially for that case, were taped on location. (I don’t believe Anna went for on location shoot due to her baby.) But it was still far too little. They should have shown her in an interrogation scene.

This is the second time this season Mac has reamed one of his employees for not telling him something. (The first being Hawkes in “Murder Sings the Blues”) This time, it’s Adam for not immediately telling him about the DNA results. Mac was WAY out of line. At least this time, Stella was the only one around to witness it, because in Hawkes’ case, it was in front of an entire lab full of techs. Stella has been around Mac long enough to not worry about yelling back at him as well.

However, I can understand Mac’s need to keep up on everything in the lab. He had to have been surprised when Gerard confronted him with the DNA evidence (although I do think Gerard was unaware that Mac didn’t know). However, he’s so angry, and so emotionally involved that he can’t listen to reason. If Adam hadn’t shown Gerard the evidence, he’d of just pulled rank and seen it anyway!

I do wonder if they had Adam mention about his fathers’ abuse in “Some Buried Bones” to help explain his reaction to Mac’s yelling in this episode. He shirked away from Mac, and then later, exhibited one of the classic signs of abuse: blaming himself.

And it looks BAD for Mac. Dobson not only fell cuffed (which means Mac had the upper hand), he fell backwards. It would be nearly impossible for someone to lean that far back to be able to fall off, forward is easier. It's been coming all season, he's been out of line so many times, and it's finally coming to a head.

Why did it take so long for backup to respond? I don’t believe that there were no available units in the area, in fact, I’d think backup would have been there before Flack.

Adam, Adam, Adam. It's PCR, not PDR. For God's sake, it's written on the kit! Adam would not have been allowed to draw blood, he doesn't have the training (grad school does not train you for that). The gel wasn't completely accurate, because I'd think they'd also have a negative control, and a molecular weight ladder. Beyond that, no one uses a gel for that purpose anymore. Also, I yelled at the screen when Adam put the tube into the centrifuge without a counterbalance. (Not having these balanced can be disastrous.)

And, a few more rants about this. (Sorry, I’m a scientist.) The PCR test does not shorten the window. It's just more reliable and the test is quicker than the traditional methods. Also, Stella's window is technically longer. The prophylactic retrovirals she took extend the window to over a year. Lastly, just because a test doesn't to detect it now, doesn't mean she couldn't develop it later. It just means that she didn't have enough to detect it, now.

However, this episode wraps up the HIV storyline. I don’t think it ended well. Part of me wishes Stella had tested positive. I didn’t like Stella’s comment about being able to dream again. What does that say to people who are potentially getting the diagnosis now? HIV is not a death sentence (at least within a year or so) anymore.

The cowgirl was not likeable. Turning on her partner was clearly only because she wanted to avoid the consequences. She had no remorse for killing someone, and I think still thought she did the right thing. And who can listen to their Ipod at work? (Besides students…)

To the wardrobe department: Thank you for finally picking out a semi-decent top for Stella.

Overall Verdict: Somewhat above average, but not the best. I wasn’t prepared for the major cliffhanger. However, the Dobson case is also the catalyst for the multiep arc about to begin, centered around Mac, with an internal investigation. However, I don’t think it will just be this incident that gets brought up.
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