Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bill Vincent again

How does that Bill Vincent manage to keep slipping past me? I didn’t remember that he was the assistant D.A. with Hamilton in The Golfer’s Gambit. Of course, I scarcely watch the episode, so it’s a logical error to make.

Seeing it again on MeTV this week, I was reminded of all the reasons I hadn’t liked it before. Those still stand, and in addition, the murder victim Chick irritated me a lot more this time. He repulsed me every time he was on the screen. If I hadn’t been trying to record it, I would have loved to have fast-forwarded the episode ahead to the banquet where Hamilton spoke.

But as cringe-worthy as Hamilton’s testimony and cross-examination in court were, I did like seeing Bill Vincent again. It’s interesting that Hamilton trusted him with the task of coming along and questioning Hamilton on the stand. And I enjoyed the silent exchange of Bill asking if that was all and Hamilton giving a slight nod.

So that makes three appearances by Bill Vincent. (And I double-checked Don Dubbins’ credits to make sure there weren’t any other surprise appearances lurking about.) Clearly the writers were trying to do something with him, as I previously surmised. Bill seems to have been placed as being important to Hamilton—a recurring character for the prosecution, and the first aside from the mysterious Leon to actually interact with Hamilton. If the series had been renewed for a season 10, I’m assuming we would have seen more of Bill.

Making Bill a prominent assistant D.A., one whom Hamilton seems to have especially taken under his wing, is the sort of thing I would have loved to have seen the writers do with Sampson. It would have given Sampson even more screentime and he would have interacted with Hamilton, both of which would have been wonderful things.

Bill is certainly in need of more help than Sampson, however; Sampson has been shown to be able to put together some very good cases and has researched about as much as any D.A. on the series is allowed to by the writers. He has a blustering approach at times and is a bit harsh, but overall he seems far more mature and experienced than Bill.

Bill, on the other hand, has been an eager beaver both times Hamilton let him handle an entire case in court. I’m guessing he was more subdued in The Golfer’s Gambit because Hamilton was right there, and perhaps he was still mortified and mollified after Hamilton had to come right into court to stop him in The Impetuous Imp. Too bad he couldn’t have taken some of what Hamilton subsequently tried to teach him into practice; towards the end of the season, The Misguided Model shows him as being quite possibly more impulsive than ever. The judge gives him a fierce scolding for his flimsy case against the defendant, more than I remember Hamilton ever being given.

Unfortunately, since Hamilton’s testimony was made out to be so awful in The Golfer’s Gambit, the writers’ intentions may have been that Bill picked up Hamilton’s bad traits instead of his good; hence, the scene in The Misguided Model. I still wish Hamilton’s testimony hadn’t been written to be so ridiculous. Even if he and the police are supposed to jump to conclusions, it usually doesn’t get that bad.

(I didn’t really like Perry’s eventual, amused smile, either; other people and I get that type of smile in real-life when someone thinks we’re being ridiculous. Its inclusion definitely drives home how bad the scene is. It’s a pity; I usually feel that Orville Hampton wrote better for Hamilton than Ernest Frankel did. I wonder if the court scene could have been John Elliotte’s idea. He had some involvement with the story as well, and I generally don’t care much for his Perry story attempts.)

In any case, it’s really interesting how often Bill was used, particularly since he’s the only assistant D.A. since season 4 to have more than one episode. I wish the writers could have had the chance to go somewhere else with him, to show him learning something good from Hamilton and applying it in the way he handles a court case. And there could have been so many fascinating scenes of Hamilton talking to and teaching Bill in his office.

I wonder if anyone ever interviewed Don Dubbins about the character and if he knew what the intentions were for him. That is impossible now, sadly due to his death some years ago. But if such an interview ever did happen, I wish I could find it.

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