Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Case of the Bogus Buccaneers: Della's Moment

The Bogus Buccaneers is episode 15 of season 9. I’ve only seen it in a badly edited form, as part of my station’s New Year’s marathon. And judging from a detailed summary here: they cut some of the things that would have made the episode make more sense. I might like it better if I see the complete version.

The plot involves a curious group of buccaneers who have a TV show and accompanying commercials for sponsored products. One of the buccaneers passing out samples, Tony Polk, goes to one house and receives a very strange greeting from the resident, who seems to think he was supposed to bring her something other than samples. They get into a struggle and he finally hits the woman to break away. Later, she is found dead and he is accused. This is another very early death, leaving the majority of the episode available for crime-solving.

The most interesting element involves Tony’s expectant wife Bett. A strange man breaks in and demands to know where she’s keeping $25,000 her husband is supposed to have. Later, this same fellow abducts both her and Della, who had gone to get her and bring her to Perry and Paul. While he holds them hostage in the house in order to search for the money, Della tricks him into looking under the sink. She then proceeds to knock him out with a frying pan and she and Bett are able to escape.

Somewhere in the middle of all this and before the abduction is a scene where Della comforts Bett. I do not recall seeing such a scene, so it must have been one of the edits. It’s a crying shame too; this episode gave Della the awesome moment of outwitting the kidnapper. The other scene is probably very good too.

Also missing is any appearance by Clay until the end of the episode, when he, Perry, and Tony’s parole officer have become the three godfathers of the Polks’ son. I realized right away something must surely be missing, as Clay being a godfather when I had not even seen him meet either parent just did not make sense. Him apparently having some earlier participation in the case would have given some foundation to the epilogue. As it was, I was bewildered.

Honestly, I know there have to be commercials, but it’s so aggravating when there have to be so many that parts of the show get chopped out. My station doesn’t even have commercials, but the prints they have available are mostly filled with syndication cuts.

The court scene had an interesting bit where Perry showed that the witness could not have seen everything she claimed to have seen, but aside from that I don’t remember anything of special interest happening in court. Hamilton had very few lines in that episode. I’m not sure he and Perry even engaged in any courtroom banter, and when that’s absent, the court scenes are often very dull for the most part. Make no mistake, I can’t stand it when Hamilton acts out-of-character in several season 9 episodes, and I do get exasperated in the first four seasons when the writers are continually falling back on Perry getting accused of misconduct even when he isn’t doing anything wrong (it happened way too often), but I love the courtroom banter in general. It’s part of the meat of the show.

All in all, I found the edited version of The Bogus Buccaneers very unmemorable, save for the scene where Della bonks the abductor. That was just epic. I don’t recall any other episode where Della got into a confrontation with a potentially dangerous antagonist and wheedled her way out of it. The main characters, as previously observed, are rarely in serious danger (or perceived serious danger). This was Della’s moment and she came through with flying colors. It’s a pity they didn’t have more scenes like this, and that they waited until the final season to bring in this one.

On a completely unrelated note: I found more evidence that season 9 may have been intended as a reboot and another season 1 as far as structure is concerned. In at least two season 1 episodes, they have met or talked about meeting at Clay’s Restaurant and Grill. I think they may have showed the actual place once, but it looked different from the one in season 9. The point is, I don’t recall them mentioning the locale again until season 9, where it became an important stop and Clay became a regular character.

I never realized before that Clay’s had been spoken of as early as season 1. I thought it had been invented solely for season 9. So it’s very interesting that it was among the characters’ first meeting places. I wonder if it was mentioned in the books.

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