LA's Finest Season 1 Episode 2 Review: Defiance

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Well, I'm hooked.

After a slow-ish start, LA's Finest Season 1 Episode 2 ramped the series into high gear.

Most of my grievances and fears after LA's Finest Season 1 Episode 1 were pretty much resolved by the time the credits started rolling, and let's just say, we should be very excited to see where things go from here.

Syd Has a Connection - LA's Finest

To start, the "case of the week" element took a backseat to the main storylines, which was much appreciated.

Granted, that wasn't completely obvious from the start, as it first appeared that the girl with bad home life who was meeting her boyfriend was supposed to tie in with the "case of the week."

Syd: Did you know about 20 years ago, Ray Sherman’s little brother Dante, he got shot trying to rob this place? His young Latina accomplice, she was the getaway driver, which probably why nobody could ever identify her. They were wanted in a series of robberies.
McKenna: OK, you made your point.
Syd: Oh, no, I was just getting to the good part. So, Dante, he wouldn’t give up his girl. So Dante went to prison for her, for his sweet little angel Nancy Perez. She would go visit him.
McKenna: That’s enough.
Syd: Is it? Is it enough? All that talk about, ‘I got your back. We’re in this together, Syd,’ that was bullshit.
McKenna: This is not the same…
Syd: He was in your house this morning. I get it, right. I get it. I know how it is. Dante didn’t give you up. You owe him, right?
McKenna: You don’t know shit, Syd.

All the pieces were there to suggest the girl was the third victim, from her boyfriend having a girl's hair on his jacket and asking her if her phone was charged to the girl finding the gun in the glove compartment.

Everything seemed to indicate that this girl could be heading toward an early grave, as we -- or at least I -- erroneously believed the girl was in need of rescuing.

She was; it just wasn't in the way we imagined.

McKenna past - LA's Finest Season 1 Episode 2

So color me impressed when the show revealed the girl was no possible victim but rather a teenage McKenna.

It was nicely done, as the writers excelled at pulling the rug out from under us at just the last minute.

These flashbacks, along with information we learned from Syd, succeeded in filling in some of the gaps about McKenna's past.

Her past almost run-ins with the law wasn't as simple as falling in with the wrong crowd or falling for the bad boy.

McKenna on her own - LA's Finest Season 1 Episode 2

Sure, that may have been a factor, but she was also trying to provide for herself and her younger brother, Nico.

That doesn't excuse her behavior, but it does put some of the things she did -- namely the robberies -- into perspective.

McKenna: Syd, I need you to be straight with me. Did you burn down Club Cirque?
Syd: Yeah, I did.
McKenna: Shit. I wasn’t expecting that.

It also helps to explain her allegiance to Dante.

She's not merely protecting an old boyfriend for fear of having her criminal past revealed but rather out of a sense of guilt and loyalty.

Dante - LA's Finest Season 1 Episode 2

The only reason she was able to make something of her life was because Dante took the fall for their string of robberies and refused to give her up.

She feels like she owes him, and she's not exactly wrong.

However, she needs to consider how far she is willing to go.

She's already lied to her husband and kept the truth from Syd.

Will this be the last of it, or will she continue to put all that she's worked for at risk?

Walker + McKenna - LA's Finest Season 1 Episode 2

The only good thing -- if you can call it good -- that came out of her deception was that it indirectly led to Syd learning the truth about her partner, sooner rather than later.

Yes, McKenna lied to Syd, and Syd has a right to feel hurt and betrayed.

Syd: You know you could get yourself killed sneaking up on people like that?
McKenna: Says the lady with the gun standing over a dead body in a tub.
Syd: What are you doing here?
McKenna: Following you. Why are you here?
Syd: Looking for him.
McKenna: Looks like someone got to him before you did.

But can you imagine how much worse it would have been if Syd learned of McKenna's connection to Dante down the road, maybe when McKenna had done something to hinder Syd from finding Gabriel Knox?

At least, right now, most of the partners' cards are on the table.

Burnett and McKenna assignment - LA's Finest Season 1 Episode 1

Neither may be happy with how things played out, but it's better to have them out in the open.

Of course, McKenna doesn't know Syd stole thousands of dollars’ worth of drugs from Club Cirque, but that's a problem for another day.

The partners are more or less on equal footing and know where the other stands.

McKenna is torn between her past and present, and Syd isn't going to let anything or anyone get in her way from finding Knox.

Nothing is off limits: including pumping her father for information, and digging into her partner's past..

Burnett phone - LA's Finest Season 1 Episode 2

Syd is willing to do whatever it takes.

The problem is that her actions have consequences, and not just for her.

Syd: Who’s on the mound?
Joseph: Kershaw, he’s a bull, stubborn, never gives in to a hitter.
Syd: That’s what makes him so great.
Joseph: Great as he is, he can’t get a win without a team behind him.

Her search for Knox inadvertently led to the death of Joseph's longtime, confidential informant and friend.

And while that doesn't seem to deter her in the slightest, Joseph is still on his daughter to give up her quest for vengeance.

Burnett drink - LA's Finest Season 1 Episode 2

If Syd won't take his advice as her father, maybe she might -- though, it still seems high unlikely -- that she will as a cop.

Yes, this episode, while not providing much more insight into their fraught relationship, did reveal Joseph was a cop back in his day and everything he did as an agent of law enforcement probably wasn't on the up and up.

While we can clearly see where Syd gets her relaxed policing approach, viewing laws as suggestions more than requirements, she should consider where those actions got her father.

Since he's still kicking and in one piece, for the time being, maybe Syd doesn't see anything wrong with how he lived his life as a cop.

Joseph drink - LA's Finest Season 1 Episode 2

Like father, like daughter, right?

Well, maybe Syd should take a closer look at her father's life.

Syd: What are you doing on Tujunga? Nobody takes Tujunga. You’re wasting time. Just make a left right here.
McKenna: I know how to get there.
Syd: Dude, the app says there’s a shortcut…
McKenna: The app can suck it. I know LA.
Gil: Sista gal is right. The app is always faster.
McKenna: Wait a minute, is someone talking in the backseat? Someone I told to shut his face five minutes ago. I ain’t playing with you, Gil.
Gil: Why you giving the man grief?
Syd: Because you made us chase you, jackass.
Gil: My people were born to run. I have an obligation to flee.
Syd: OK, you’re fake ass Jamaican accent is getting on my damn nerves.

He may be a crappy dad, but he also doesn't seem to have much going on for him outside of his work.

One of his close friends was a confidential informant, someone he met through his job.

Burnett examine - LA's Finest Season 1 Episode 2

If Syd doesn't want to end up alone in 20 to 30 year’s time, without much to show for it, maybe she should start listening to Joseph.

That doesn't mean she has to stop her quest for Knox, but there are smarter and less dangerous ways to get to him.

You know, ways that don't put her in the crosshairs of the LAPD.

Just a thought.

Syd Burnett - LA's Finest Season 1 Episode 1

Some stray thoughts:

  • So the writers clearly don't know how to write teenagers. Izzie is one strange character. I'm pretty sure McKenna is wrong in that Izzie's fascination with drowning/playing dead is just for attention. That girl needs an actual therapist, not just shopping. 

  • Is there any point to Patrick other than being McKenna's loving husband, or is the new interim district attorney going to play a role in the main story arc at some point?

Ben Baines assist - LA's Finest Season 1 Episode 1
  • Ben Baines has grown a little on me a little. He's both endearing and infuriating, and he has some serious chemistry with Syd. When do we think those two are going to hook up?

  • If Ben Walker was just shot, what is he doing out in the field? I know this is a TV show, but who thinks it's a good idea for an injured cop to participate in a shootout less than a week after he was shot?

So what did you think, LA Finest Fanatics?

Are all of the secrets out in the open?

How far will McKenna go to pay back Dante?

When will Syd's actions catch up with her?

Don't forget to hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you happened to miss the latest episode, remember you can watch LA's Finest online at TV Fanatic.

Defiance Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (2 Votes)

Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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LA's Finest Season 1 Episode 2 Quotes

Izzie: You got a perp in the trunk.
Syd: No, Izzie, we wouldn’t do that. We have a snitch in the trunk.
Gil: I prefer confidential informant.

Syd: What are you doing on Tujunga? Nobody takes Tujunga. You’re wasting time. Just make a left right here.
McKenna: I know how to get there.
Syd: Dude, the app says there’s a shortcut…
McKenna: The app can suck it. I know LA.
Gil: Sista gal is right. The app is always faster.
McKenna: Wait a minute, is someone talking in the backseat? Someone I told to shut his face five minutes ago. I ain’t playing with you, Gil.
Gil: Why you giving the man grief?
Syd: Because you made us chase you, jackass.
Gil: My people were born to run. I have an obligation to flee.
Syd: OK, you’re fake ass Jamaican accent is getting on my damn nerves.