Season Four, Episode Seven, No Smoke
Original Air Date: August 18, 2010
After a fire that claimed the lives of five people the suspected arsonist is found bludgeoned and hanging from a tree. On Jarvis' insistence, an old friend and colleague is assigned to the case and provides both conflict and insight as the detectives work to find the killer among the long list of suspects.
The biggest news from this episode: Wilton Sparks!! Sparks is a Community Liaison and on the scene when Matt and Duncan arrive. Jarvis, knowing that the residents in the community where the victim lived know and trust Sparks, insists Sparks will be assisting in the investigation. Sparks genuinely likes the residents in the community and doesn't feel that any of them would actually be capable of killing the victim and it seems like, at times, he's too close for objectivity.
Sparks and Kingston are a lot alike. And this week, they were partnered despite Kingston's objections to Wolfe. It's clear from the start that Kingston has a severe dislike for Sparks. Severe. From the look on her face when he says to her "nice to meet you, love" we know the relationship between the two will be tense, at best. We don't know why she seems to hate him so much right off but later find out.
On more than one occasion Kingston asks him if he remembers her and he doesn't. He even asks her once, in true Wilton Sparks form "Did we have sex? I'd remember if we had sex, wouldn't I?". We later learn that Kingston was in one of Sparks' training classes and she thought he was too hard on her and the other women in the class. She doesn't want him using any "terms of affection" towards her and doesn't even want to be around him. They disagree about literally everything.
Despite the severe dislike Kingston has for Sparks, the two seem to come to a mutual understanding of one another near the end of the episode. When a friend of Sparks' from the community, and a prime suspect in the case calls Kingston "love" Sparks calls him down for it and makes a point of telling Stanley Wolfe he has a great detective on his hands in Kingston. Kingston even tells Sparks with a smile that he needs to come again "when you can't stay so long".
I was so happy to see Senior Sergeant Sparks back for this case. I loved Sparks when he was a semi-regular character during the first season. He's crude, prone to sexist comments and definitely old school but he is a great detective and often very funny. For all of his bad characteristics he has enough going for him to make him very likable, I think. He knows his job and has a unique way of getting it done. He does everything on his terms. He's the same Wilton Sparks we all came to know and love four years ago. He hasn't changed a bit.
This was perhaps my favorite episode of the season thus far. Don't get me wrong, I've loved the entire season, but having Sparks and his unique brand of personality back really bumped the show up a notch for me. I truly hope he will make a few more appearances in the future as I could really see Sparks and Kingston becoming a stand-out investigating twosome.
Don't forget that next week City Homicide will be on at a special time next Wednesday. It will be on at 9:30 p.m. (AUS time).