Friday, April 1, 2011

AUS Television: City Homicide, No Greater Honour, Part Six "Ghosts"

City Homicide
No Greater Honour, Part Six, Ghosts
Original Air Date:  March 30, 2011

Greg Stevens confessed to a hospice priest that he'd murdered three people before dying.  When Duncan and Rhys start investigating the claim, they find that the three names Stevens had written inside his Bible were connected.  The case takes a shocking turn when the evidence leads them to the son of the man Stevens used to work for.  Homicide isn't quite prepared for what they learn next.

Duncan and Rhys are called to the hospice bedside of a man, Greg Stevens, who has died from prostate cancer.  Not much is known about him other than he had lived on the streets before having been diagnosed with cancer.  Stevens told the hospice Father (Trent Baker) he had murdered three people but didn't give any additional details.  The Father gives them a small Bible Stevens carried around with him.  Inside the front cover he had written three names:  Mavis Simmons, Peter Faulkner and Ruth Benson.

Bernice Waverley fills Stanley and Jarvis in on Lombardi's plans for Homicide, which doesn't set too well with Stanley.  Bernice plans to tell those assigned to the squad that night that Friday will be the last day for Homicide.

As Stanley is returning to Homicide, Rhys stops him to update him on the names from the Bible.  None of them were murdered.  Mavis Simmons died in a car crash and Peter Faulkner died in a house fire.  Both were recorded as accidental.  Ruth Benson disappeared.  The two deaths and Benson's disappearance all happened in 1989 but that is the only known connection.  Duncan asks what they are supposed to do with nothing else to go on.  Stanley simply replies "Your job.  Be detectives."

In the morgue, Ronnie (Genevieve Morris) provides them that Stevens was a professional fighter when he was younger as she found multiple fractures in his fingers and hands and his jaw had been broken at least four times and he has extensive damage to his ribs.  Jarvis has a look at the body and he identifies him as Charlie Mansfield.  Jarvis recognizes scar tissue under Charlie's eyes as his weakness as a fighter.  He last knew of Mansfield working as a bouncer or standover for various lowlifes about town.  He advises Duncan and Rhys to find out who Charlie's manager and cornerman were.  Duncan takes the cornerman leaving the manager for Rhys.

Rhys speaks with Phillip Canter (Shane Connor) who managed Charlie's last few fights.  He thought Charlie had potential but he was a bleeder.  Rhys points out that his research showed Phillip's father George was actually Charlie's manager.  Phillip explains that his father became indisposed and he took over.  Again, research showed George Canter killed someone in a road rage incident and died in prison after 16 years.  Canter heard Charlie was working as a bouncer but didn't really know what had happened to him.  He knew of no friends or family to speak of.  Charlie had said he grew up in a boys home and Canter remembered the odd girlfriend hanging around but can't remember any of their names.  When Rhys mentions the three names in Charlie's Bible, Canter says they mean nothing to him.

Rhys arrives in Bernice's office at her request and she asks if he had a chance to check into transferring to Task Force Circa.  Rhys tells her he isn't applying for the transfer as he loves it in Homicide and he feels he has a lot to learn there.  He starts to leave and she stops him.  She warns him that what she is telling him is strictly confidential then tells him the Homicide squad will be finished as of Friday.  He questions if that was why she originally asked him to transfer, which she denies.  He then remarks she was giving him preferential treatment and she is putting him in an impossible position by giving him information his colleagues, and his friends, doesn't know about.  She tells him that he's her family.

That night, Bernice calls a meeting at Homicide where she, flanked by Jarvis and Stanley, tells the Homicide squad that in a couple of hours, Michael Lombardi will be making an announcement to the media that Homicide is going to be disbanded.  The detectives are understandably shocked and angry.  Jarvis quiets them down so Bernice can finish.  She lays out Lombardi's plans for future homicide cases and that she will make every possible effort that each of the detectives get transferred to the squad or position of their choice.  Allie brings up the point that for a homicide detective, the only direction from there is down.  Jarvis shushes her and Bernice continues telling the squad each of them has served with loyalty and distinction.  She tells them all she can do is thank them from the bottom of her heart.  Rhys speaks up telling her that isn't all she can do.  What is happening is political payback from Lombardi because Homicide got to close to the truth about him.  Jarvis calls him down but Rhys continues asking if they are going to just let him destroy the best department in the job and specifically questions Bernice if she will.  He tells her from where he's standing, it looks like she just rolled over.  He turns to walk away and Jarvis calls him back.  Rhys turns around and tells Jarvis that, with all due respect, they still have three potential murders to solve then leaves.

Matt speaks with Rhys and tells him he put up a good fight in there and Rhys says if Bernice didn't like what she heard, too bad.  He points out that the case he and Duncan are currently working on is the exact type of case that will never get solved if Homicide is closed and Matt agrees.  Rhys tells him Bernice tried to get him on a task force and that he told her 'no'.  Matt gets a phone call and goes into his office to take it.  When the detectives start filtering back to their desks, Jennifer and Nick talk about where they might go.  Allie sits down next to Rhys and asks if he knew Homicide was being disbanded.  He asks her why he would know and, even if he did, what he was supposed to do.  He admits he learned just before everyone else did.  Matt comes back out and tells the team pathology came back on Stevens/Charlie Mansfield.  He had a lethal dose of heroin in his system.  Ronnie examined the body and found a needle mark in his heart.  Charlie was murdered.

Duncan and Rhys return to the hospice and question the Father about the security arrangements, which he explains.  He directs them to the night supervisor, Michelle Smith (Susanne 'Rudie' Chapman).  She didn't know Greg/Charlie very well apart from the fact he was in a lot of pain.  She is caring for her father at home.  She didn't recall ever seeing the Bible Greg/Charlie had and she didn't remember the name Charlie Mansfield.  She also doesn't remember anyone unusual at the hospice the night Greg/Charlie died.  Her father continues calling to her from inside their home and she ends their interview to attend to him.

Michael Lombardi pays a visit to Bernice in her office to inform her he has been speaking with the Commissioner to ask how the reassignments from Homicide have been going and was told Bernice would be briefing him on those details.  He wants everything completed by the end of business Friday and she cannot understand the rush.  He tells her "big boys games, big boys rules" and surely she's grown up enough to understand that.  She tells him he clearly has no respect for her and the feeling is entirely mutual, but to destroy Homicide is counterproductive.  She offers that if he keeps Homicide, she will give him her resignation.  He tells her it's noble that she's falling on her sword and that he expects her resignation by Friday, but Homicide will be none of her concern.  She maintains that without a guarantee that Homicide is secure he will not be receiving her resignation.  He tells her not to defy him.  Homicide will end Friday and her resignation will come with it.

Jennifer meets Nick after one of his meetings with his lawyers.  He feels Lombardi will be pushing hard against him but that is his problem.  He asks if she's learned where she's being transferred, which she hasn't.  She got a call from fraud and can go back there if she wishes.  She tells him it offers up other possibilities.  The way she sees it, the issue between them was they were both homicide cops.  She tells him to hurry up and decide where he wants to be transferred but to give fraud a miss.

Allie is going over a list of open positions in other squads and mentions to Rhys there is one in Ethical Standards but he probably shouldn't go for that one.  He tells her that Task Force Circa has an opening but she doesn't see it listed.  He urges her to give them a call then asks for her help in taking down a statement.  He managed to track down one of Peter Faulkner's relatives and Duncan is chasing leads on the other two victims.  They speak with Faulkner's niece, Debra, and tell her they believe his death might not have been accidental.  Allie asks if she knows anyone who might have wanted her uncle dead and she doesn't.  She describes him as the strange one in the family but everyone always got along.  He lived alone and liked it that way.  She only knows of one thing that could have been trouble.  About three months before he died, Peter witnessed a murder.

In briefing, Allie brings the team up to speed on the case.  Duncan tracked down one of Mavis Simmons' relatives and learned that before she died in the car accident, she witnessed a crime and testified about what she had seen in the trial.  Peter Faulkner also witnessed a crime.  Ruth Benson was also in the court records as a witness.  They all saw a man being stabbed to death in a road rage incident.  The man they witnessed committing the murder was George Canter.

Phillip Canter is brought in for interview and he isn't happy about being there.  Once Duncan gets him under control, he tells them he was in Perth at a gaming industry convention the night before last.  Matt, who is watching the interview with Stanley, checks the information out.  Rhys questions Canter about his father and his trial.  Rhys again mentions the names of the witnesses and Canter again maintains it was a long time ago.  Duncan informs Canter that Charlie told a priest he had killed the three people and Canter claims that had nothing to do with him.  Rhys asks if Canter knows about Charlie dying before he could tell the police about the murders and Canter claims he doesn't.  Duncan asks Canter if he paid Charlie to kill the witnesses as ghosts come back to haunt.  Canter tells him with a smile that he doesn't believe in ghosts.  Duncan goes in to see Stanley and Matt comes back into the room to confirm that Canter was at the convention like he said.  Stanley orders Duncan to let Canter go and they keep at the investigation.  When Duncan has gone, Matt asks Stanley if he knows where he's being sent.  Stanley replies that it doesn't matter, he won't go; he'll leave the force before he leaves Homicide.  Stanley tells Matt he can't tell him what to do but advises him to not get bitter.

The next morning, Stanley, Rhys and Duncan arrive at the scene of a body discovery.  Ronnie gives them the details that it was a woman.  Duncan and Rhys identify the woman as Michelle Smith, the night manager at the hospice where Charlie was murdered.  Stanley orders them to get to Michelle's home and speak with her father while he has Phillip Canter brought back in as he's now the prime suspect in her murder.  When they arrive at the Smith home, they hear shots being fired.  They announce their presence and Rhys takes the back while Duncan the front.  Duncan enters the home and finds Michelle's father (Vincent Gil) on the bed with a gun in his hand.  Rhys comes into the room via the back door and they order him to put the gun down.  He says no one was shooting at him despite the fact there is glass inside the room indicating a shot came from outside.  Duncan starts to tell Mr. Smith about his daughter but he corrects Duncan saying his name is Robson then asks about Michelle.

In interview, Michelle's father explains the incident at his house as mistaken identity and has no idea who would have killed her.  Rhys goes over his criminal record and the fact he worked for George Canter with Charlie.  Rhys asks if Phillip Canter killed Michelle then tried to kill him but Robson says nothing.  They question if Michelle mentioned Charlie offhand and he recognized him as his old work mate.  They ask if it was Phillip Canter's idea for Michelle to kill Charlie or if it was his (Robson's).  Jarvis enters the room with Stanley and Matt and they inform him they believe everything comes back to Phillip Canter and they believe he got Charlie and Robson to kill the three witnesses.  Rhys continues to press Robson wanting him to do the right thing and let them catch his daughter's killer but he refuses.  Knowing they need more, Stanley orders Matt to check up on Canter's phone records but Jarvis knows it will take more than that.  He suggests they let him stew for a while and build up some steam.  Then, send Freeman in to put the fear of Homicide in him.

Rhys and Duncan go into the interview room with Canter and Rhys official places him under arrest for Charlie Mansfield's murder.  Canter denies knowing Michelle Smith but they inform him her real name was Michelle Robson and he definitely knew her father.  He says he hasn't seen Bert Robson in a long time and didn't know Michelle at all.  Rhys points out they have phone records proving she contacting Canter on four occasions but he claims to not remember the calls.  They inform Canter that he will stay in jail while they build the case because there is a witness to protect.  He asks who the witness is and when they tell him it is Burt Robson, he laughs saying there is no way Burt would go to the police.  Canter warns them they'll never make the charges stick and Duncan calmly tells him they've got all the time in the world.  Rhys starts to usher Canter out of the room and he stops them offering a deal.  When they ask what he has that would be of interest, he mentions Michael Lombardi's name.  He offers to testify in court that Michael Lombardi approached him three weeks ago to have someone killed.

While Duncan stays with Canter to keep pressure on him, a briefing is held, with Stanley, Bernice and Jarvis in attendance, and Rhys informs the team about Phillip Canter's offer of a deal.  He tells the team what Canter is being charged with then drops the bombshell about Lombardi.  Canter said Lombardi wanted his senior advisor, Ethan Derwent (Charlie Cousins) murdered.  Nick knows immediately that Derwent is Deep Throat.  Rhys continues to tell them that Lombardi and Canter have been doing business for years and it was even Lombardi who granted Canter his online gaming license despite Canter having a criminal record.  Bernice takes Stanley and Jarvis (who is thrilled at the discoveries against Lombardi) from the table to talk.  In Stanley's office, Jarvis tells them he wants to go after Lombardi.  Stanley reminds him of Canter's murders.  Bernice agrees with Stanley that what Jarvis is suggesting isn't what Homicide stands for.  Jarvis leaves the decision up to Bernice as he and Stanley continue disagreeing over the big picture.  Bernice makes the call to bring Ethan Derwent in to Homicide, pleasing Jarvis, but not Stanley.

In interview, Derwent tells Bernice and Jarvis they are making a big mistake.  Jarvis mentions him feeding information to the press about Lombardi but Derwent denies knowing anything about that.  Bernice makes it clear to him he is among friends with them as the rest of the team watch the interview with Stanley.  Bernice states clearly they believe he was feeding the press information to implicate Lombardi in the Dane Majors case.  He comments that he'd never work again and Bernice reminds him Juliette Gardiner died for him.  He again denies revealing any information.  Jarvis tells him Lombardi doesn't believe that.  When Derwent questions what he means, Bernice reveals that they have knowledge Lombardi tried to hire someone to have him killed.  She assures him they have the man he tried to hire in custody and that they are trying to help him (Ethan) but he must help them as well.  Jarvis tells him they want Lombardi on a skewer and they think he can do that for them.

Ethan Derwent goes into Lombardi's office and gives him his resignation.  He is wearing a wire with Homicide listening to everything being said between he and Lombardi.  Ethan brings up Lombardi and the Dane Majors case and Lombardi admits to having Dalton plant the golf club against Majors.  When they hear that, the team take off their ear pieces to move in on Lombardi.  Ethan lets Lombardi know he knows about him trying to have him killed.  Bernice, Jarvis and Nick enter the office and Bernice places Lombardi under arrest for perverting the course of justice and conspiracy to murder Ethan Derwent.  Lombardi is shocked when he learns they have him on tape admitting to his crimes.  Bernice tells him they are "big boys games and big boys rules" and surely he's grown up enough to understand it.

Homicide watches a news report about Lombardi's arrest.  When they turn it off, Bernice gets up to speak and tells them while she can't officially comment on Lombardi's future, she can tell them, "amongst those four walls" that he's going down.  She continues that she's immensely proud of them all and is humbled by their tenacity, courage and dignity they have shown through challenging times.  She raises her drink to them and tells them she's so happy she doesn't have to arrange for the transfer of so many fine detectives.  When she has finished talking to the team, Bernice tells Stanley she understands how he feels about having to let Canter walk but asks what the alternative is.  He smiles and tells her they live to fight another day.  Matt and Allie express their happiness about not having to find another job and Matt comments that Rhys will make a fine cop.  Allie says it helps when you have friends and family in high places, meaning Bernice Waverley.  Matt tells her that Rhys was offered a way out through the task force and declined.

That evening, when the celebration is over, Rhys is sitting at his desk and Allie comes in.  He starts packing up to leave for the night as they talk casually about the days events.  He gets up to leave and she calls to him and asks if he is coming for a drink.  Nick opens his front door to find Jennifer standing there.  She comes in and tells him he'll never get his renovations completed now.  He puts his arms around her and asks if she has any second thoughts as they are both still in Homicide.  She tells him that doesn't matter anymore then kisses him.  As they are kissing, they are both called into work.

Duncan is working a case.  Stanley arrives with Jarvis.  Jennifer and Nick arrive.  The sheet over the body is lifted to reveal Phillip Canter.  Burt Robson is in the back of a police car in custody.  He said he shot Canter because Canter killed Michelle.  Jarvis tells Stanley that Robson will probably confess to the murders of the other three witnesses as well, which Stanley comments is closure for those three families.  Jarvis tells him that is what Homicide is about; that's why they exist.

I've enjoyed watching every single episode of City Homicide (sometimes watching them many times).  There are cop shows and then there are cop shows.  City Homicide wasn't just about the weekly murder case.  It was about the characters, first and foremost.  We got a glimpse into their lives every week and we came to know and care about each one of them.  As fans of the show, we were saddened when Duncan lost Claire, on the edge of our seats wondering if the team would find Wilton Sparks in time to save his life, we felt Matt's pain when his mother's body was found and our hearts were broken when Josh Waverley was senselessly murdered.

I hate to see City Homicide end as it was, and is, such an amazing show.  I'll miss Stanley Wolfe, Duncan Freeman, Jennifer Maplethorpe, Matt Ryan, Nick Buchanan, Allie Kingston, Bernice Waverley, Terry Jarvis and Rhys Levitt.  City Homicide was a fine show with a fine cast.  I'm very pleased with how the writers and producers chose to wrap up the final episode.  The montage of scenes was excellently put together and some fine choices made.  The show was enough to give City Homicide fans closure, I think.

The show, and the series, ends with a two minute montage of scenes from the past five years of City Homicide.  The emotional highs and lows, the good times and bad times and the faces that have come and gone.  The evolution of the characters from episode one through this final episode.  What a fitting way to send City Homicide into Australian television history.

For more information:
City Homicide Official Site:
Internet Movie Database:
TV Rage:

1 comment:

  1. I agree. Having watched the series from the US, I have to compare it against the CSI series (can only stand CSI:NY and even that's getting old) and Castle for crime dramas. This show was far above even my favorite cop drama of Castle as it focused on more than just 2-4 people's lives but instead an entire squad. What a fantastic set of writers and cast - hopefully I'll get a chance to see the episodes I've missed and get my wife hooked too! :)