Nobody does a manhunt like Major Crimes.
Major Crimes Season 5 Episode 7 featured an unhinged, suicidal man who was armed with more guns than he could carry.
In some ways, it was a tense, exciting hour of television. Yet something seemed all too political about it.
Some of the themes of this episode have been dealt with heavily on the news.
The perpetrator, Elliot Chase, was armed with AR-15s and other weapons that are currently at the center of debates over gun control, and his plight began because he lost his job and his home in the recession of 2008.
Mental illness and guns is a hotly debated topic, and unfortunately "Moral Hazard" didn't really do much to address it.
What's going on? Is Elliot okay? Did he do something?Karen
Elliot's ex-wife, Karen, painted a tragic picture of her husband to viewers. She and Elliot were, presumably, happy until he lost his job. Soon after they lost their home, and his mental state became too much for his wife to deal with.
This wasn't really delved into any too deeply, though; it was just a point of information so that the cops knew who they were dealing with.
In a way, this works well. Nobody wants to watch a TV show that's really an hour-long infomerical for a political position. At best, that kind of episode is boring.
There's nothing entertaining in politics disguised as a fictional story.
However, a more nuanced depiction of Elliot's mental illness would have made the story richer.
I found myself wanting to know why he went off the rails. His belief that mortgage brokers are "evil" just wasn't enough of a motivation and made him into a bit of a cartoon villain.
I got hit today, and it hurt. But leaving here wouldn't just hurt me. It would probably kill me.Provenza
Patrice's conflict with Provenza was more interesting than the manhunt itself. Patrice, as usual, thought she knew best and decided that it was time for her Louis to retire. I found myself wondering why Provenza didn't just tell her that he had no intention of retiring.
The fact that at the end of the hour, he did just that, made up for his reluctance to communicate earlier on.
Julio: Sir, are you okay?
Provenza: No.... my wife... is gonna kill me!
Provenza's dilemma was a source of humor as well as an interesting story in its own right. Only Provenza would lament after getting shot that his wife would be upset with him!
Buzz: Sorry, can't talk.
Rusty: Okay, just listen while you get ready to go wherever you're going.
Rusty, on the other hand, had another annoying little sideline. This time, he was bothering everyone he could think of to try to find a way around LAPD policy so that Buzz could check out some fingerprints.
Buzz's story should be big news. It should be a season-long arc that moves forward in every episode even if there's not a lot of time to devote to it.
What it should not be is a story that consists entirely of filler scenes in which Rusty bugs everyone without there being any payoff at the end.
Gus' annoyance with Rusty's obsession mirrored the audience's, though it's a good set up for a conflict between Rusty and Gus over Rusty's job later on.
Did you like "Moral Hazard"? Did Elliot's behavior make any sense to you? Were you bothered by the mention of AR-15s in this storyline?
Weigh in below, and if you missed something, make sure to watch Major Crimes online.
Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.