Sunday, March 29, 2015

Goldblum Fest: The Incomparable Detective Raines

Yes, Charity, suits and ties throughout the entire series and boy howdy, he knows how to wear them!

I almost didn't bother watching this show. It is, after all, only 7 episodes long, having been canceled after the script was written for the 8th episode but never actually filmed. Another one of those amazing shows that died in the mid-2000s, possibly due to a writer's strike like with Moonlight or maybe just because the fan base wasn't large enough (stupid people).

Detective Michael Raines is one of those special, highly intuitive people. He's always been a little odd, talking to his homicide victims as he tries to solve their murders. The only difference now is that he sees them too. Recently traumatized by a personal loss, Raines struggles with the idea that he might be losing his mind, since he knows these are just hallucinations and not ghosts. Their knowledge is as limited as his own. These victims often give him flashes of insight that he, as himself, might possibly be missing in the case, and they often give him empathy, both for the victims themselves and sometimes even for the killers depending on the situation. Raines has a hard time dealing with his emotions and so these manifestations of his victims are a buffer that protect him from feeling too deeply about the case, allowing the victim to feel for him.

The first episode had me hooked in, oh, about five minutes. The scriptwriter really knew how to utilize Goldblum's unique knack for snappy dialogue, hands down, but it's the psychological side of the series that really grabbed me. The more I watched the series, the more I asked questions. Is Raines crazy? Why is his mind manifesting the victims into reality? Has he suffered a psychotic break without knowing it?

Before I knew it, I was engulfed in this all-too short series.

Detective Raines is an enigma. The audience, myself included, have no idea whether the man is sane or not. He might just need to be on medication, except that he has always worked by talking with the victims. It's only now, after that personal loss, that he's starting visualizing them. His psychotic break might have taken on a new form, or it could just be that his mind is protecting itself from too much emotional overload by giving him someone to bounce ideas off of, someone who can feel the emotions instead of him. It feels like he's suffering from a seriously overloaded defense mechanism. His wife left him 4 years ago, he doesn't have a police partner at the moment, he has this personal loss, etc. For a man with sensitive intuition, I suspect he could snap very easily so his brain is doing everything it can to prevent that from happening. If he started to feel something too deeply? Who knows, it could send him to a mental hospital.

It's fascinating how, as he learns more about the victims, his perception of them changes. His first victim starts out as a sweet girl from Texas and then morphs when it's uncovered that she's actually a call girl. Her persona changes, as does her interaction with him. It's all in his head, so when she dresses like a skank in one scene, she actually calls him on it, a weird personification of his conscience saying he shouldn't be imagining her like that. The characters alter and grow along with his information.

They also provide him with flashes of intuition. It's like he hides all of his really clever jumps in logic over in the hallucinations. Whenever he's not sure of something, the victim will inevitably come up with an idea that sends him down the right track. However, it's all still him! There is no outside influence giving him these ideas, just his own mind in a different voice.

And of course, you have the brilliant idea of casting him with children in two of the episodes. The first is when he's interacting with his former partner's son. Jack is only about 10 years old, still young enough to let his mom kiss him on the head. In an effort to help Jack overcome some internal issues, after all who would know about internal issues better than Raines, he decides to spend more time with the kid. He picks him up from school when Mom needs a little extra help, plays a card game with him, and just offers overall compassionate, if not slightly awkward support. It's really a touching episode, probably the best in the series although they all have moments of excellence.

Then you have the little girl, Emily. A murder and rape victim, also 10. She troubles him the most by her appearance because she keeps asking him questions about sexual assault and pedophiles because she doesn't understand what they are, or at least the little girl his brain manifested doesn't understand. So he finds himself whispering into the phone when speaking with colleagues so "Emily" won't overhear his conversation, which is ridiculous because she is him, a fact he does realize. But he can't stop himself from trying to protect this child's innocence in death when he couldn't protect her in life. When a murdered pedophile actually joins them in Raines' hallucination, the man drags Emily away down a corridor and Raines literally chases after them, forgetting, for the moment, that she isn't really there, isn't really in danger anymore, and that his fellow police officers are watching him with concerned expressions plastered on their faces. He gets to her only to find that he's empowered her with a gun which she uses to shoot the pedophile hallucination. His fear for her, even though she's only a hallucination, was so great that he gave her a way to defend herself because he couldn't defend her.

I will never understand why brilliant television series get cut. Raines has everything I like in a cop show; drama, intrigue, snappy dialogue, and a quirky lead character. I love this show more than I love Castle, which is saying something.

Three things I noticed about Goldblum:

1) He still holds the phone with his right hand against his left ear and has for at least the last 20 years.
2) He can wiggle his ears one at a time. Really odd talent.
3) The man looks AMAZING in suits. In fact, they're all he wears in this show!

So, there you have it, folks! I had halfway intended to write a post on Independence Day for the final installment, but I just couldn't stop watching Raines and then I couldn't bear the thought of not posting about it.

Charity, you need to watch it, either with me or on your own. It's brilliant, witty, and I suspect you'll love it. Do let me know what his personality type is because I'm dying with curiosity.

I do hope everyone enjoyed this fun little Goldblum Fest! Thanks to the participants, Hamlette, Charity, and DKoren. I'm not going to quit watching his films anytime soon, but I may have had enough of writing about them for awhile, unless I stumble across something equally as amazing and inspiring as Raines. I'm left with the final realization that Jeff Goldblum is awesome and I love his work even more now than when I started this crazy week.

Edit: One thing I totally forgot to mention is that the show has moderate language. I say moderate because it doesn't bother me, but might bother other folks. Also, there is sexual innuendo at least once in every episode, some more prevalent than others depending on the topic. And one episode where Raines suspects the victim might have been a lesbian. Of course, that's before television really started showing off its homosexual tolerance so it's mild by today's standards.

9 comments:

  1. What a fascinating sounding show! I am very intrigued. Also... suits rock. And yeah, why is it the smart stuff always get canceled???

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    1. It is everything I wrote and so very much more! They never released it on dvd as far as I can tell, but you can buy the episodes digitally through Amazon. Ah well, at least they're available!

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  2. Sounds fascinating. I will certainly try it out -- though if you want me to wait and watch it with you, I can do that. (Right now, I'm in the middle of an ALIAS re-watch.)

    I'll wait to assess him until I see it, but from this post he strikes me as an INXJ type...

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    1. I LOVE this show. Probably more so because it is so darn short and leaves so much unsaid! Yes, wait to watch it with me. I'll download my episodes and put them on a USB stick to bring with me. I can't believe they're not available on DVD. Cheapskates!

      And I'm thinking INFJ. It seems a very INFJ thing to have your brain manifest people that aren't really there. Just sayin', could be wrong.

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    2. I look forward to it... even though I'll be frustrated by it, if I agree that it's good and was unfairly canceled. :P

      Yes, that does sound INFJ. ;)

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    3. I do suspect you'll like it. I'm not too keen on the 2 minutes of narration they do at the beginning of each episode because it reminds me too much of Tenspeed and Brown Shoe, but nothing's perfect. They could have integrated the narrative info somewhere into the episode without him having to tell us that way.

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  3. Wow! This sounds so unique and brilliant!

    I hate it when cancelled shows never show up on DVD. I really dug Intelligence, but it only got half a season, and so isn't on DVD. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

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    1. It is both of those things, hands down. I hope you get a chance to watch it someday. I just broke down and bought the episodes off Amazon.

      You're right, Intelligence looks fascinating. I may have to try at least the first episode and see what I think. Josh Holloway! Haven't seen him in years!

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    2. Intelligence was lots of fun, and I watched it faithfully. It seemed to hit its stride around ep 12, alas, but by ep 5 it was getting pretty good. My recommendations would be "Secrets of the Secret Service," "The Rescue," "Delta Force," and "The Event Horizon."

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