Monday, May 14, 2007

Nobody's Perfect

November 12, 2003 (ABC)
Writer: Peter Lefcourt
Director: Michael Katleman

Writer Peter Lefcourt (“Dear Derwood”) must have had a GLAAD award in mind when he penned this KAREN SISCO episode, in which nearly every significant guest character is gay. U.S. marshal Karen Sisco (Carla Gugino) pursues murder suspect Louis DiNardo (NASH BRIDGES regular Jaime Gomez) to Kalamazoo, where he cold-cocks her in a sauna and escapes. Six months later, there’s a hit on DiNardo’s credit card at a hardware store in Miami, and Karen pesters her boss Amos (Bill Duke) for the case. Amos warily agrees, under the condition that she doesn’t make the case a personal one (“Pissed off marshals don’t do good work.”) and that she bring in DiNardo in 72 hours.

The store’s surveillance cameras prove the purchaser of a hedge trimmer isn’t DiNardo, and why would a murder suspect buy one anyway? Not only is DiNardo on the run from the Feds, but also Fred (Bodhi Elfman) and Stan (Oded Gross), two eccentric gay hitmen who love listening to opera and speaking in colorful phrases like Jules and Vincent in PULP FICTION. They work for “Mr. G” (Marc Vann), an extortionist from whom DiNardo stole $300,000—money he wants back in a bad way.

While Karen shuffles around Miami, chasing one vague clue after another, interviewing DiNardo’s former associates like the wife he cheated on (Sarah Aldrich) and Cary (Jonathan Slavin from ANDY RICHTER CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE), his gay lover, her father Marshall (Robert Forster), a private eye, takes on beautiful Mrs. Mulraney (Isabella Hofmann, formerly a detective on HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET) as a client. She suspects her husband of infidelity, and agrees to pay Marshall $5000 to find out. This subplot is well-played by Forster and Hofmann, who have enough chemistry to convince the audience that their relationship may go somewhere, but it was either not thought out very well or was the victim of post-production editing, because it ends in a confusing manner.

I can’t say much more about the main plot without giving it away, but it includes the casting of transgendered actress Alexandra Billings in a key role and current GREY’S ANATOMY star Kate Walsh as a Miami-Dade homicide detective with the hots for Karen. Outside of the villain’s identity, “Nobody’s Perfect” serves up a typical television crime plot, but spices it up with colorful supporting players, a snifter of surprising violence, a bit more screen time for Forster (SISCO’s secret weapon) and Gugino in more cleavage-baring tanktops. Although she isn’t credited, I’m pretty sure MY NAME IS EARL’s Nadine Velasquez appears with Gugino in the teaser set in a health club.

Writer Lefcourt is also a novelist, and two of his books, THE DEAL and THE DREYFUS AFFAIR, have been optioned by Hollywood to be adapted into movie form. Director Michael Katleman is busy in episodic television with credits ranging from CHINA BEACH to TRU CALLING; he made his feature-film debut with 2007’s killer-croc horror movie PRIMEVAL.

“Nobody’s Perfect” was also the final KAREN SISCO episode to air on ABC. By the time the network placed SISCO on “hiatus,” ten episodes were in the can with no indication they would ever air. ABC promised it would return SISCO to its prime-time schedule, possibly in the spring of 2004 and maybe even paired with ALIAS on Sunday night, but, alas, it never happened, and KAREN was dead.

Although ABC never ran the final three episodes, they did eventually premiere on the USA cable network, beginning in March 2004. All ten KAREN SISCOs also have run on Universal’s Sleuth network, a cable channel dedicated to reruns of TV crime dramas.


Nostalgia Kinky said...

Thanks for another great review Marty...looking forward to the final three (two of which are among my favorites of the series)

katie said...

mckee in my new mag i just got there is a hot pic i'll save for you of Carla Gugino - she is wrapped only in a fishing net.

J. Brown said...

Is there any limit to Gugino's awesomeness? I don't think so.

Katie, scan that photo and e-mail it to us, stat.