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October 9, 2015

Shark: Backfire

by Michael Canfield, posted Mar 30th 2007 11:57AM
Shhhhaaaaarrrrrrrkkkkkkk!!!!! (S01E17) Just under the wire, Shark sneaks a new episode into the vast desolation of repeats that is March. This time, the plot concerns the racially-charged shooting of a drug dealer and his honor-student cousin by two cops. As usual, the true culprit is not the person who Stark initially charges with a crime, but rather the person who years and years of TV-watching has told us to expect it will be: the allegedly least-likely (and therefore, most likely) candidate. The actual mystery here is why Isaac backed off his opportunity with Raina in San Diego some episodes ago. Isaac's ready to explain that now, but Raina's not in the mood, initially, to listen. She's reasonably suspicious that Isaac might just amount to a whole sack of drama and what does she need with that noise?

This is one of the better episodes. The plot-reversals, double-reversals, and triple-bogie re-re-re-reversals are not so outrageous as to sink the whole enterprise, and this allows some room for good character interaction.Stark is brought in because the higher-ups think his poor reputation among the cops will play well in the press. The press doesn't seem to notice this strategy but the police sure do. Meanwhile, ex-cop Isaac begins to feel manipulated by the D.A.'s office. Henry Simmons (finally!) gets some juicy scenes in which to display his considerable acting skills, when he's torn between his sympathy for the two detectives and Stark's theory of the case.

But my favorite character moment is probably when Stark goes back into court to get video evidence introduced into the case against one of the detectives. This is the same evidence he successfully had excluded previously while prosecuting the drug dealer for the same crime. Stark seems to enjoy frustrating judges, opposing counsel, even his own colleagues, with this kind of ballsy-absurd gambit as much as James Woods appears to enjoy playing these moments.

The legal-case comes down to evidence-tampering, something the audience knows that Stark has himself, at least once, (last episode) orchestrated. Stark the man might recognize the hypocrisy here, but Stark the-legal-shark is not about to let that affect his game.

Hypocrisy, or at least accusation-of-hypocrisy, is a theme tonight. In the final scene, daughter Julie will accuse Stark of it. The rookie detective accuses Isaac of hypocrisy when Isaac presents him with a resignation letter to sign. The kid is getting off easy, and anyway Isaac rightly points out that evidence tampering did end his own police career (though not his career in law enforcement). However, I somehow don't think Stark will be offering the kid a place on the team alongside Isaac anytime soon.

The solution, which is meant to cover all cathartic bases, amounts to another cover-up. The mother of the murdered honor student is then brought in to hear, behind closed doors, the real truth behind the fiction that Stark and the cops cooked up for the court. It would be interesting to see how a scene like that would play out on a more realistic show such as The Wire.

On the home front, Stark give Julie some tough love in the form of feigned indifference. Like I mentioned, Julie retaliates by accusing Stark of being a hypocrite. He has built his fortune keeping guilty rich clients out of jail and now refuses to use his new position in the District Attorney's office to make her charges disappear. Stark rightly calls her on her own b.s. Lately, she only communicates with him when it suits her needs.

More happily, Isaac gets another chance wtih Raina after he, sensibly, lightens up a bit, and then turns on the charm.

By the way, a new investigative-reporter character is introduced. Stark manages to manipulate her, giving her a false story tip, in order to break open the case. Maybe this will come back to haunt him, as Stark has plenty of skeletons in his closet she could uncover.

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Does anybody know the song that is playing at the begining of this episode?? Its the rap they are listening to and he turns it up, right before the cops come..

April 09 2007 at 12:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"effect/affect" fixed now, thanks Jon88.

March 30 2007 at 12:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Grrr. That would have made so much more sense if the text within the angle brackets hadn't disappeared. "but Stark the-legal-shark is not about to let that effect his game."

March 30 2007 at 12:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

> Or affect, even. The rest of your analysis is golden.

March 30 2007 at 12:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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