Shark: The Wrath of Khan
L.A. is not quite under the threat of imminent annihilation, but Stark does note that a well-known rap group was blown up a month ago in their SUV. This attack was possibly caused, says Stark, by "plastique and Taliban surplus weapons" supplied to L.A. street gangs by this Khan fellow. Yeah, those high-grade weapons the Taliban aren't using just now and smuggled out of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region where bin Laden is hiding to airdrop on Malibu. Khhhaaaaaan!!
Stark's been running a sting against Khan for six months. Six months? Who knew? Two undercover agents involved in that sting are supposed to be disguised, I think, as gangster-rappers. This must explain why they are dressed like background dancers in an '80's 7-Up commercial. Other plot elements include, but are not limited to, a few double-crosses, a timer-charge and exploding hideout, a tattooed white-supremacist, sundry slo-mo shoot-outs, and a single slow-motion water-balloon bursting on the pavement.
Shows like 24, and the excellent Sleeper Cell, build entire seasons around these kinds of elements. It's a heckuva challenge for Shark to try and cram them all into a single hour, and the results are too absurdly frenetic and jumbled together for me. Over the top, (and not in a clever Ugly Betty way) just about covers it for this episode, which seems conceived for those who would find Prison Break and 24 too realistic.
Stark's daughter Julie has the night off, and I guess I can be grateful that they didn't pull a Kim Bauer and kidnap her along with Casey and the underwritten daughter of a CIA agent. (I think that's who the little girl was supposed to be, anyway.)
I sincerely don't know what to make of this episode. Maybe some CBS executive gave the producers a note that Shark needs more explosions, so rather than settling for added explosions they decided to blow the entire show up. Or perhaps the Shark staff is having a laugh ala the Scrubs parody of House earlier the same evening on NBC.
In due course, Stark resolves the plot while standing on the tarmac, complete with a taped confession from the arms merchant. Not such a wrathful Khan after all, this guy, who quickly reveals to locale of the kidnappees in exchange for a light sentence and Stark's offer to take the death penalty off the table.
That about wraps it up, except for one element, which may explain the motivation for this format-breaking shoot 'em-up, and possibly qualifies the whole mess as a "very special episode." Some long-overdue cast-thinning is accomplished in the final moments of the hour. Since the character who is killed off was never given that much to do in the series, I can't really come up with anything to say about him. Martin, I hardly knew you.