Sunday, April 29, 2007


October 29, 2003 (ABC)
Writer: Jason Smilovic
Director: Steve Miner

An old case comes back to haunt Marshall Sisco (Robert Forster) in this good KAREN SISCO episode written by executive producer Smilovic. U.S. marshal Karen Sisco (Carla Gugino), teaming up with Treasury agent Garrison Kick (Frank Grillo), busts an amiable counterfeiter, Lestor Porter (Jim True-Frost), at his hideout in the swamp. To escape a third term in the joint, he claims knowledge of underworld dealings, and makes a deal to give up a mobster named Salvatore Gigliani, but with one condition: that Karen be assigned to bodyguard him until he gets into Witness Protection. He trusts Karen, because, according to him, they were classmates in high school.

Meanwhile, bank robber Junior McLeod (John Diehl) is released after a fifteen-year stint in Lompoc. After a quick smash-and-grab armored car heist for traveling money, McLeod buys a black-market rifle and takes a rooftop shot through Lestor’s hotel room window that leaves the counterfeiter wounded. Why would McLeod, whom Marshall arrested fifteen years ago, want to kill Lestor, whom the ex-con doesn’t even know? One hint: it has nothing to do with Lestor’s mob tales.

An interesting mystery and plenty of screen time for Forster make “Nostalgia” one of KAREN SISCO’s finer shows. Appealing guest turns by True-Frost and Diehl add immeasurably to the suspense, particularly True-Frost, who makes Lestor a likable “villain.” Lestor has a seemingly photographic memory of Karen, even where she sat in 3rd period English. On the other hand, Karen has no memory of him whatsoever, a realization that bothers her, particularly when she is stung by unintentionally insulting comments that imply her classmates considered her standoffish. Gugino plays these scenes beautifully and non-verbally, providing the audience with more insight into Karen without hitting us over the head. Conversations with her father, as well as a brief glance at her high school yearbook (including Gugino’s real school photo), help fill in some blanks concerning her childhood. Also, that yearbook is the source of a hilarious gag involving a football player and a black eye.

In addition to True-Frost, who went on to a regular role as a cop on THE WIRE, and veteran character actor Diehl, perhaps best known for his regular role—as a cop—on MIAMI VICE, “Nostalgia” delivers a nice array of familiar faces, including Grillo (a regular on PRISON BREAK), Emmy-winning soap star Sarah Joy Brown (GENERAL HOSPITAL), Kurt Fuller (Werner Klemperer in AUTO FOCUS) and the ubiquitous Dick Miller (!) as shoe-selling Salvatore. Horror-movie fans will note the direction by Steve Miner, who bounces back and forth between features and episodic television, but is best known for FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 and FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III, which was gruelingly lensed in audience-pleasing 3D. No shocks or scares in “Nostalgia,” however. Just good old-fashioned crime drama with a nice blend of humor and suspense.


Nostalgia Kinky said...

I am glad to see you continuing these reviews. This was one of my favorite episodes in that it expanded the relationship between Karen and her dad (Forster is always amazing). Karen blocking out certain aspects of her youth also gave her character more psycholgical weight and Carla played it beautifully.
Good episode by Miner...thanks for posting

katie said...

you need to watch entourage mckee.