And we're off.
LA's Finest Season 1 Episode 4 was the show's most cohesive episode to date.
It may not have been as action-packed or thrilling as previous installments, but it feels like the showrunners have finally found their footing.
A big part of what worked was that there was no distracting case of the week.
In the first three episodes, the case of the week pulled focus from what we were most interested in: the intersecting lives of Syd and McKenna and their quest to take down Gabriel Knox.
McKenna: Gotta get the stuff out of your apartment, put it in the shop, and then we’ll call in a raid.
Syd: You mean fentanyl out of my loft. I don’t pay what I pay in rent for an apartment.
McKenna: That’s what you’re seriously thinking about right now?
Syd: No, I’m thinking about how the hell I get the drugs out of my loft and into a stash house without anyone knowing.
Anything that wasn't surrounding that just became fodder.
Naturally, integrating the police procedural elements with the more serialized aspects of the show was the smart move.
It didn't even matter that the "case of the week"-type element didn't further Syd's search for Knox and answers, as the LAPD's drug raid of the auto shop still connected to the overarching storyline.
The auto shop and raid provided the perfect opportunity for Syd and McKenna to ditch the fentanyl without it winding up back on the street, and watching them pull it off was quite fun.
If the whole cop thing doesn't work out, they should seriously consider a life of crime because that's how good they are.
Granted, they've already committed several felonies, so it's not that much of a stretch.
What was also great about the raid was that it led to Syd and Calloway working together to bring down Knox.
Calloway may claim they're on the same team, but the most exciting part of their dynamic has been watching the cat and mouse routine they play.
Syd: Big Mikey sticks up and kills dope boys. That is literally robbery and homicide.
Calloway: I’m gangs and narcotics. We’re raiding drugs from a gang.
Syd: This our lead, Calloway. You know how it works. We have every right to see this case through.
Calloway: And you can, in a support role.
Calloway might not be able to prove his suspicions about Syd at this point, but just because he hasn't yet, doesn't mean he's planning on giving up.
Partnering with Syd is, most likely, his latest ploy to find out the truth, and if he so happens to be wrong -- which he isn't -- then he can still take down a dangerous criminal.
It's a win-win -- for him, at least. For Syd, not so much.
The poor girl has been through the wringer. This episode utilized one of my favorite aspects of storytelling: flashbacks.
Through flashbacks, we got a chance to see and get to know a pre-Knox Syd.
On the surface, she didn't seem that different.
Miami Syd was still impulsive, ignoring her commanding officer's orders and going to meet Knox, and just as outspoken, unafraid to call her boss on his double standards.
However, the trauma of what she went through with Knox has left scars.
When we meet Syd in the present, she's obsessed with finding Knox and taking him down.
Syd: And here I thought cowgirl was your favorite.
Hendrix: Syd, I’m worried about you.
Syd: You’re undermining me.
Hendrix: It’s still my call. You gonna make me pull rank?
Syd: You would never pull rank on a man. You wouldn’t.
Hendrix: Because I’m trying to protect you.
Syd: And that is what I’m talking about.
It's not just about revenge for her; it's about all that she's lost: a baby, a family, a life.
Now, though, Syd might have the chance to get that part of her life back, or at least get some closure, with the surprise return of her former lover.
Hendrix's appearance in Los Angeles wasn't unexpected, given his previous dealings with the DEA and Knox.
Nevertheless, it'll be sure to create some drama, as it's always complicated with exes.
For one, it seems like Syd never told Hendrix she was pregnant.
That secret alone will be sure to shake things up, and that's probably just the jumping-off point.
What'll follow is anyone's guess.
Elsewhere, the episode brought a secondary character to the forefront, and in a complete surprise, I didn't hate it.
Since LA's Finest Season 1 Episode 1, the Bens haven't seemed to have a real purpose for existing other than to prove that Syd and McKenna do, indeed, work at a police precinct.
Baines: Do you want to know the secret to staying connected with your lady and keeping your sanity throughout the pregnancy?
Walker: I said no.
Baines: Like lots of sex. Like more than you think. Like Armageddon.
They were almost as interchangeable as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Hamlet, but slowly, the layers on them have been peeled back.
This installment focused on Walker, who, as we learned on LA's Finest Season 1 Episode 3, is expecting with his wife.
It appeared like a throwaway comment at the time, but Walker's impending fatherhood took a bigger focal point.
What seemed to be there just for comic relief turned into a substantial thread when Walker confessed to Syd this wasn't the first time his wife had been pregnant.
Suddenly, he became a character we cared about for the first time.
Helping his plight was that his reveal allowed him the opportunity to connect to Syd outside of work.
She may not have told him about her pregnancy loss but taking him to the hospital NICU to be "baby buddies" was a great moment.
It let them bond on a deeper, more emotional level and made it that much more unlikely that Walker would out Syd to Calloway.
Baines: I’m sure they’ll put us in the loop when the time is right.
Walker: You’re not even a little curious?
Baines: Of course, I’m curious. I’m a detective; I’m always curious.
Walker: All right…
Baines: But I do respect the code.
Walker: OK, yeah, yeah, yeah. We have each other’s backs unconditionally… but…
Baines: No, as soon as you say but, that’s conditional. We have each other’s backs, what?
He may be curious about what she and McKenna are up to, but he knows better than to blab to some random cop.
For the record, telling Calloway off was great, and here's hoping there's more to come in the future.
Lastly, the weakest part was Izzie's random visit to a prison.
So instead of buying alcohol as a typical teen does with a fake ID, she goes and visits an inmate. Like, who does that?
It also doesn't help matters that we're left in the dark about who Izzie wanted to see.
All we got was a name: Alice Kensler.
We have no idea how she's connected to Izzie.
We know Alice isn't Izzie's mom, so there doesn't seem to be any compelling reason for her to skip school and visit some random person.
Of course, the show will reveal Alice's identity at some point, but the problem is that we don't care.
McKenna: I’m just telling you she was acting really weird.
Syd: Like obsessed with death weird, or like shave her head to troll her parents weird.
McKenna: Like up to something weird.
Neither Izzie nor Alice are relevant to the larger story at hand, and her teenage angst is becoming tiresome.
If the series isn't planning on addressing Izzie's mental health issues or possible trauma surrounding her mother's death, then why bother?
If that was the goal, showrunners, then you've succeeded.
Some stray thoughts:
Both Dante and Patrick were MIA this episode. Of the two, I'd prefer Patrick over Dante to stay gone. Patrick hasn't offered much to the storyline, whereas Dante and McKenna's past is rife for the picking. Plus, Dante's actually involved in what's happening in the present, which is more than can be said for Patrick.
Until the new district attorney becomes part of this storyline, it's fine if he waits in the wings.
Baines is way too open about some things. While he did provide some much needed humor, he should remember that it's not appropriate to say everything you think in the work place.
Joseph and Syd made substantial progess in their relationship. We all know it can't last.
So what did you think, TV Fanatics?
What's Calloway's endgame?
How will Hendrix being back in Syd's life affect her?
Do you suddenly care about Walker?
Hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you happened to miss the latest episode, remember you can watch LA's Finest online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.