Kapone and Bomar will act as tour guides as the show visits such Memphis sites as the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Earnestine & Hazel's, and Raiford's.
Check out the Flyer's recent feature on the Bo-Keys and their terrific new album Got to Get BackI here.
Rowdy Memphis (Plot Synopsis): While Dwight (Jason Lee) and his mama (Celia Weston) are shopping at a nursery, she tells him that one of his old friends and former band mates has been arrested. The former friend, Jimmy (Vincent Ventresca, who played Billy in Romy and Michele's High School Reunion), needs Dwight's help to clear his name. The crime was an armed robbery on a party boat parked at a marina. The case is being handled by a detective (Jonathan Adams) out of the 7th precinct. (Memphis Beat is set around the 9th precinct.) Dwight feels that the detective has the wrong man for the crime and tells him so, creating friction — especially since this isn't Dwight's case to work. The three criminals took off across the lake on jet skis. Damp wetsuits in his boathouse implicate Jimmy. That seems flimsy to Dwight.
I come back from vacation to this? After a two-week reprieve from Memphis Beat duties, I'm taking the baton from Greg Akers for last night's episode:
Episode Named After: The burden of family tragedy Det. Dwight Hendricks (Jason Lee) has carried for years, since his cop dad was killed on the job when Dwight was a young boy.
On the second track, Lt. Rice (Alfre Woodard) steps in for Dwight, going into the field as Det. Whitehead's (Sam Hennings) number two as the pair investigate a potential arson case at the Carver movie theatre, a case that takes a detour — no, really — into private sex parties that were being hosted at the theater. (In an otherwise poorly written show, the sex-party bit allows Woodard a funny line reading while interrogating a sex-club member: "I don't know what kind of woman you usually go for, but I'm of the dominating variety.")
For Dwight, this week's story is about coming to grips with his father's murder — including evidence that his dad might have been on the take. Back on the home front, the other case is a mechanism for continuing to build on the at times prickly, at times combative relationship between Rice and Whitehead, who find a new level of respect for each other as they solve the case.
Rowdy Memphis (Plot Synopsis): Sutton (DJ Qualls) responds to a call of a disturbance at an old folks' home. He finds a dead man in the room, the victim of a gruesome attack. The man is Sam Walters, a defense attorney. The dead man's legal assistant, Deloris (Jillian Armenante), says he'd lost a number of big cases in the last couple years, but that he had a bleeding heart and wouldn't do anything bad to anyone. He was, however, making money on the side by meeting people and helping them off the books. An infant is put in the back of Sutton's car, parked in front of the scene of the crime. It is surmised that Walters was helping someone illegally adopt an unwanted child, and that this is that baby. Sutton is put in charge of the tot. He's nervous about it, but with the help of Dwight's mom (Celia Weston), he becomes a pro. The investigation leads Dwight and Whitehead (Sam Hennings) to a halfway house run by nuns. It appears that the baby's mother is Sister Katherine Thomas (Danielle Panabaker). But Sister Katherine is really covering for her real sister, who's the real mama, and for her father, who was getting a hefty finder's fee to get the illegitimate kid adopted (and to pay off a gambling debt to boot). Dwight and Katherine talk Sam Walters' murderer out of a hostage situation, and social services come get the little baby from Dwight. All is right again in the world.
Rowdy Memphis (Plot Synopsis): Ted Creskoe (Wade Williams) is a father from Springfield, Missouri, who has come to Memphis to find his missing daughter, Jill. It's been four years since he's seen her — she was a runaway, but sent regular letters back home to let the 'rents know she was alright. Her car is found in a river, but there's no body in it. The main suspect is her abusive husband, Derek (Clayne Crawford). Jill waitressed for and was friendly with a restaurateur (Heather McComb). A body washes up in the river but it's somebody else instead of Jill. Turns out she and the restaurateur faked her death to get her away from the husband. Jill is reunited with Papa, and Dwight visits Derek and threatens him to stay away from the soon-to-be-ex wife.
One subplot this week is that Whitehead (Sam Hennings) is terrible at gunwork and needs help from Sutton (DJ Qualls), who is, surprisingly, a crack shot. The other subplot finds Lt. Rice (Alfre Woodward) in parental angst over a schism with her daughter, who she has learned is engaged to be married.
Memphis Beat, "Inside Man"
Originally Aired June 21st, 2011
Plot Synopsis: This week's show opens at what is presumably an East Memphis (or eastern suburbs) McMansion where there's been a home break-in with a floor safe missing. Dwight (Jason Lee) suspects a return of the infamous "Fox Meadows Burglars." A public call for information leads to a mysterious, awkward tipster, Keith Grant (Reno 911's Thomas Lennon) who has a lot of knowledge about the crimes. The man seems mild-mannered, but he reminds Dwight of "the ones who end up running down Beale Street naked with a samurai sword."
After discovering that he's studied the earlier "Fox Meadows Burglars" jobs more thoroughly than the MPD, Lt. Rice (Alfre Woodard) urges Dwight and partner Whitehead (Sam Hennings) take on Keith as a consultant, and he ends up helping them solve a case that is plaguing "all the rich folks of Memphis."
A wan subplot concerns Whitehead's attempt to "rebrand" himself.
Respect (Memphis music featured in the episode): The reduced interest in Memphis music doesn't end with the episode titles this season, as the amount of music — and Memphis-specific music — is on the decline. The Muddy Waters' identified "I'm Ready" and the Ray Charles' identified "You Don't Know Me" pop up, but in other versions I couldn't ID. The Allman Brothers' "Midnight Rider" is head. Most prominently is B.B. King's "When It All Comes Down," which is used four times, twice sung by one character to another in the form of a serenade.
Memphis Beat, "At the River"
Originally Aired June 14th, 2011
Memphis Beat — TNT's set-in-Memphis, filmed-in-New Orleans, borderline-anachronistic cop procedural — returned for a (somewhat surprising) second season last night, bringing us more of Jason Lee's Elvis-loving MPD detective Dwight Hendricks and his colorful coterie of sidekicks.
Episode Named After: This is unclear. Last season, every Memphis Beat episode was named for a song recorded by Elvis Presley. That appears to not be the case for season two. I'm guessing "At the River" is not a reference to the 1997 single by techno outfit Groove Armada. Instead, it's likely a religious/gospel reference. But is it to the gospel standard "Shall We Gather at the River" or to "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" (Lyric: "At the river, I stand/Guide my feet, hold my hand")?
Plot Synopsis: The episode opens with a dead cop and a bullet shell found in the grass on the banks of the river. Lt. Rice (Alfre Woodard) splits up partners Dwight and Whitehead (Sam Hennings), having Whitehead work the murder and having Dwight pair up with a (comely) new Internal Affairs agent, Claire (Beau Garrett), while she looks into questions surrounding the late policeman.
As usual, the procedural stuff is run of the mill. More interesting is Claire, a new addition to the show and to Memphis ("I was a beat cop in St. Louis for five years — got to a glass ceiling I couldn't break through," she explains) that opens up some potentially fruitful avenues for the show, not counting the unavoidable romantic subplot.
Memphis Beat may be over, but a couple of new Memphis-connected television series debut tonight.Terriers, which stars Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James as down-on-their-luck private detectives in San Diego, may not seem to have much to do with Memphis, but it earns its local connection at least for tonight, as the series' pilot episode was directed by Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer. Terriers has been getting generally good reviews and is certainly worth a look when it debuts at 9 p.m. tonight on F/X.
Also debuting tonight is Hellcats a cheerleading show that co-stars High School Musical's Ashley Tisdale and seems heavily influenced by Bring It On. Though filmed in Vancouver, the series is set in Memphis, at the fictional Lancer University. The premise is that protagonist Marti Perkins (Aly Michalka) is "a hip, edgy townie with working-class roots" who loses her scholarship and draws on her gymnastics background to reluctantly pursue an open cheerleading scholarship. When she makes the "Hellcats" squad at Lancer, Marti is "thrust into a world of camaraderie, backstabbing, and competition that takes place at the intersection of the Memphis music scene, backroom academia, college town politics, and big money collegiate sports — in the Deep South, football is God."
Color us intrigued but skeptical about Hellcats, which has the potential to make Memphis Beat's conception of the Memphis music scene look downright realistic. The series debuts at 8 p.m. tonight on the CW network.
We'll be checking out both Terriers and Hellcats, but we aren't promising to be interested for longer than one night.
Also, the story enumerates the ratings for Memphis Beat: "The drama has been a solid performer, averaging 4.5 million viewers and a 1.1 adults 18-49 rating through 10 episodes," James Hibberd reports.
You know what this means? Another season of thousand-word episode recaps — pointing out all of the show's geographical, historical, and ambiencical — shortcomings, from your friendly neighborhood Sing All Kinds team. FTW.
Memphis Beat, Season One Guide
Pilot: "It's All Right, Mama"
Ep. 2: "Baby Let's Play House"
Ep. 3: "Love Me Tender"
Ep. 4: "Polk Salad Annie"
Ep. 5: "One Night of Sin"
Ep. 6: "Run On"
Ep. 7: "Suspicious Minds"
Ep. 8: "I Shall Not Be Moved"
Ep. 9: "Don't Be So Cruel"
Ep. 10: "I Want To Be Free"
Memphis Beat, "I Want to Be Free"
Originally Aired August 24th, 2010
Plot Synopsis: It's the season finale of Memphis Beat and things get a little crazy with an opening dream sequence. Detective Dwight Hendricks (Jason Lee) is onstage performing a rousing rendition of Elvis Presley's "Guitar Man." After screaming female fans chase him to the dressing room, Dwight looks in the mirror and sees a familiar sight: It's Jerry Schilling, the old Elvis buddy (and onetime embattled head of the Memphis & Shelby County Music Commission).
"You know who I am Dwight?," Schilling asks. "I was one of Elvis' best friends since we were kids. He called us the Memphis Mafia. I think Elvis would be very proud of what you've done for Memphis and I want to give you something very special."
With that, Schilling whips out a gold "TCB" necklace and Dwight kneels to accept it, as if he's being knighted.
"He gave all of us guys one of these," Schilling says. "Mine always meant the world to me. But I'd like you to have one now. Dwight I hope you'll remember what this means."
Rowdy Memphis (Plot synopsis):: Tony (Daniel Hugh Kelly) proposes to Ms. Hendricks (Celia Weston) at the Furthermore Hotel. Dwight Hendricks (Jason Lee) isn't sure how he feels about that, but thankfully (for him), a crime has happened at the hotel that he can investigate instead.
A groom has gone missing on the day of his wedding. Greg Watson, the groom, was set to be married to Hilary Orland (Kayla Mae Maloney). Hilary is the daughter of Memphis City Councilman Gerald Orland (Sam Anderson), and Greg was his aide.
Suspects include Greg's best man, the famous basketball player Colin Stevens (James Aaron Smith), and Greg's dad, with whom he recently had an argument at the Rendezvous.
There's blood all under the marble floor in Greg's hotel room.
The investigation leads to a link between Rachel Stein, a reporter for the Memphis Voice newspaper, and the missing groom. Stein was investigating kickbacks going to Councilman Orland for the passage of a $300 million mall development on the Mississippi River. She has since gone missing. But she left her reporters notes in her car, providing valuable clues for Dwight.
The developer of the mall, Chester Bayonne, is implicated in the kickback scheme, and Dwight surveilles Bayonne meeting with a suspected hired gun. Dwight, Whitehead (Sam Hennings), and Officer Sutton (DJ Qualls) open up the trunk of a car at the scene of the meet-up and find the bodies of Greg Watson and Rachel Stein.
Dwight approaches the councilman who admits in a roundabout way that he took the bribe. Dwight deduces who was behind the murder: Hilary Orland. She's arrested. It's unclear if Gerald Orland takes a fall in it all. Well, I couldn't figure it out anyway.
Episode Named After: The American folk song "I Shall Not Be Moved," a Negro spiritual. The song was used in turn by the labor movement and the civil rights movement. Maya Angelou named a book after it. The song was one of the covers performed by the Million Dollar Quartet — Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis — in a session at Sun on December 4, 1956.
Rowdy Memphis (Plot synopsis): Lt. Rice (Alfre Woodard) discovers that her ex-husband transferred $20,000 out of the bank account she thought he had been removed from. Rice and a bank assistant tussle. Dwight (Jason Lee), Whitehead (Sam Hennings), and Sutton (DJ Qualls) are about to eat some barbecue when they get a call about a hostage situation. A black man has taken a white man hostage in his home. Dwight recognizes the black man as Sebastian LaGrange (Clarence Williams III), a notable session musician from years before. LaGrange is out of his mind and thinks the white man, an eviction process server, was actually there to take him back to Angola prison.
Dwight and the team determine that LaGrange is really Leroy Hitch, a man convicted of a 1958 murder who later escaped from Angola and was never heard from again. Dwight goes about clearing LaGrange/Hitch’s name, believing him to be innocent of the murder of his white girlfriend. The investigation leads to Louisiana, where Dwight talks to the dead girl’s sister (Veronica Cartwright), does some snooping, and figures out the present-day mayor (Marco St. John) did it.
Episode Named After: The great Elvis Presley song "Suspicious Minds" — the greatest, in my opinion. Written and first recorded by Mark James, "Suspicious Minds" was released in 1969 and was Elvis' last #1 song in the U.S. Elvis recorded it, "In the Ghetto," and "Kentucky Rain" in his "Memphis sessions" with Chips Moman at American Sound Studio. Thematically, the song, about a troubled relationship full of doubt, is perfectly matched to several episode plots, including a strained marriage, a police officer considering taking a bribe, and a son wondering if his dad was the stand-up guy he always thought he was.
Rowdy Memphis (Plot synopsis): Detective Dwight Hendricks (Jason Lee) testifies during a criminal case about an altercation at a toy store. A pretty defense attorney — and instant love interest for Dwight — grills him on the stand, but Hendricks wins out with a speech about how he grew up knowing there's a right way to treat folks. The jury nods in agreement. Defendant: Guilty.
After the credits, we see Dwight's mom (Celia Weston) and her beau, Tony (Daniel Hugh Kelly), smoking a joint behind a moonbounce at Tony's birthday party in a park. A Beechcraft airplane emergency lands on the grassy strip of the park — but there's no one inside flying it. Whitehead (Sam Hennings) thinks it must be a "ghost plane." An Air Force officer and FAA liaison shows up to help investigate and sparks up a flirtatious relationship with Lieutenant Rice (Alfre Woodard). The investigation leads to a missing couple, the Oneys, who recently won $82 million in the lottery. Suspects include the son, an ex-brother-in-law, and then Mr. Oney (Andrew Sensenig) himself. Turns out, the Oneys didn't really win the lottery, they just said they did so they could glom some free stuff and get credit with businesses and friends. Mr. Oney was an inventor who needed money for a patent. His wife supported him, to the detriment of the rest of her family, and, when she was about to leave him and expose the lotto fraud, he killed her.
Memphis Beat, "Run On"
Originally Aired July 27, 2010
Plot Synopsis: Nice opening as we see fingers hit "A3" on a jukebox then reach for a beer as the percussive opening of Sam & Dave's "I Thank You" starts. It's Officer Sutton (DJ Qualls), who begins singing along and is soon joined by colleagues Detective Dwight Hendricks (Jason Lee), Whitehead (Sam Hennings), and Greenback (Leonard Earl Howze).
A drunken sing-along leads to roughhousing shenanigans which leads to a bar fight with civilians, whom our heroes polish off before returning to their Sam & Dave. Off-duty cops beating up people in bars. Just another fun Memphis night.
Memphis Beat, "One Night of Sin"
Originally Aired July 20, 2010
Disappointingly, this was probably the least "Memphis-y" episode of Memphis Beat yet, and since that's what we care about here, this recap will be shorter than most.original version, is a gloriously hung-over 1956 New Orleans R&B gem from Smiley Lewis. Elvis Presley recorded it a couple of years later, both in Lewis' version (which you can hear on the compilation Rockin' Bones: 1950s Punk and Rockabilly) and in a cleaned-up version. Elvis' altered "One Night" ("with you" replacing "of sin") was released in 1958 on a single opposite " I Got Stung," hitting #4 on the pop chart and #10 on the R&B chart. Elvis later did a killer version of the song on this 1968 "comeback" special for NBC.
Plot Synopsis: Detective Dwight Hendricks (Jason Lee) and his mama (Celia Weston) are attending a public memorial service for Memphis music legend Darlene "Ma" Boswell. There, the remaining members of the performing Boswell family — husband Doc and daughters Sadie and Delilah — perform a bluegrass-inflected tune and manager Frank Dixon delivers a eulogy.
Afterward, while Dwight is doing a man-on-the-street interview with a documentary filmmaker, Dixon is found dead behind the theatre where the memorial service was held, having fallen from the building's third-floor balcony. Lt. Rice (Alfre Woodard) suspects grief-based suicide but Dwight's advanced detecting skills lead him to assume foul play.
As Dwight sifts through multiple suspects, including a "super fan" played by guest star Giovanni Ribisi, a "B" plot about partner Whitehead's inappropriate tall tales on the job doesn't go much of anywhere.