Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Memphis Beat, "Inside Man"

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Memphis Beat, "Inside Man"
Originally Aired June 21st, 2011

This week Elvis-loving Dwight exchanges one King for another.
  • This week Elvis-loving Dwight exchanges one King for another.
Episode Named After: So it looks like Memphis Beat has abandoned its first-season pattern of naming episodes after Elvis songs that would then figure in the show. This time the generic episode title refers to the heist plotline.

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.


The City (Truthy Memphis): At this point, it seems like Memphis Beat is throwing a dart at a Memphis map and just randomly dropping in area references with no sense of context or place. This time, in addition to "Fox Meadows," we get a reference to "rednecks from Hickory Hill," Boone Lake, and the prison camp in Millington. (With one allegedly Memphian character that doesn't know what Millington is.)

Union Street (Unreal estate): This episode was so lacking in color that they didn't even make up any interesting places — a la the "Whiskey Snake" bar on Union from last week. Locations amounted to the police station, a series of anonymous suburban homes, and a storage unit.

Analysis: This week's episode was even more dull and disconnected from its title city than last week. A disappointing absence of women — particularly the always welcome Celia Weston, as Dwight's mother and last week's new (and thought-to-be recurring) transfer cop played by Beau Garrett — hurt the watchability. I'm past the point of expecting anything like an accurate depiction of Memphis, but this season it feels like they've stopped trying. Hopefully my partner Greg Akers will have better luck next week when he (mercifully) takes the baton as a Memphis Beat recapper.

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