I have a love/hate relationship with Provenza.
His wisecracks are both hysterical and irritating, and no hour is complete without some Provenza snark. In Major Crimes Season 4 Episode 3, Provenza serves a bigger purpose.
This installment is about technology and the law. Guess which side he falls on?
The crime of the week was notable only because the victim's death was recorded on a webcam. Otherwise, it would just be a story that's seen way too often in real life: a victim (usually female) beaten to death by a known male assailant, while the cops have few leads.
However, thanks to the webcam – and to some spyware illegally installed on it – the cops actually make their case. Did it surprise anyone that Provenza was his grumpy self when it came to all things technologically related?
How I miss the days of perverts peeking through windows.Provenza
He had a point about a plain old pervert, I thought, especially because video was so much a part of this hour. We're all so used to being online. YouTube videos, recording things on our phones and the like are becoming common place activities.
Questions of whether citizens can or should record cops making arrests have been big news recently, and I wouldn't be surprised if Major Crimes goes there, too, sometime this season. In the meantime, someone like Provenza who knows so little about social media that he says" the" before Facebook or Twitter, is bound to be a little lost.
This was a nice use of his character, even though I'd have loved it to go further. Provenza and his anti-technology ways were just a sideline; a scene where he admits to someone that he's in over his head with this technology stuff might have been even more interesting.
The juxtaposition of the illegal spycam video with Rusty's video of Slider was interesting. Rusty was bewildered by why he was in trouble for taking a video of a criminal defendant that the defendant asked him to take in Major Crimes Season 4 Episode 2.
So... some guy illegallly recorded 42 women without their permission and I videoed a confessed killer at his request, and I'm the one in trouble?Rusty
Rusty's naivety is probably going to continue – and get worse – throughout the remainder of the season. It also served as a nice reminder that Sharon is struggling with letting him grow up instead of protecting him forever.
Judge Grove irritated me until he suggested to Sharon that she needed to stop looking over Rusty's shoulder and let him do his thing so that she wouldn't accidentally poison the case against Slider. She literally couldn't help Rusty this time, because it would destroy her case if she did.
Rusty was forced to make a few deals he didn't like. He had to turn over his phone instead of demanding a warrant in order to expedite the case (and because Sharon told him to.) He also had to agree not to talk to Slider anymore and to suspend his video blog until the judge finished ruling on whether his video was appropriate.
It probably helped to know that he was fighting for Alice by going along with what the judge said, even if he hated what he was being asked to do.
Not only can you stand up for Alice, but you can stand up for yourself.Raydor
I really liked Rusty's storyline, and hope this isn't the end of his butting heads with the legal system over trying to get at the truth. I love law vs. press type stories anyway, and this could be interesting. Did anyone else think that Rusty was going to defy the judge and post on his vlog anyway, or that the judge asked for the name of the vlog so that he could check to make sure his instructions were being followed?
In any case, Rusty may have begun to realize that his job was more difficult than he thought, but that only made him more determined to find out who Alice really was. Hobbs, on the other hand, probably sees deals as business as usual, even though she hated the one she had to make, too. I'd have loved to have seen her stand up more strongly to Chief Taylor, though I guess she probably didn't have a choice.
Hobbs ended up accepting a statement from a witness who had illegally watched 42 women and who had silently watched one of them getting killed without even thinking about calling the police. Her frustration was obvious, and I didn't blame her for it. Here was an opportunity to get a pervert off the streets and out of women's bedrooms, but he wasn't being charged, and for what?
If only she had more power, she wouldn't have made that deal for anything. As it was, she was reduced to commenting on its uselessness.
Well, that was a terrific use of the dealmaking process.Hobbs
So what did you think of the way the writers wove together the various threads of this episode? I really enjoyed each of the storylines, and the theme wasn't all that obvious, even if I think they could have taken things even further.
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Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.