Alynda Wheat's Beat Cop: The Last Patrol

There’s no way I’m going to get this right. We never say precisely what we ought to when we part, the words are never perfect enough — not even for those of us who get paid to write them…or used to, anyway. I’m sorry to say that this is the last time we’ll walk the Beat together as I’m leaving EW. So I’ll tell you what, Coppers, let’s save the hugs for the end, stuff down the tears (I grant that they’re probably all mine), and take a stroll. I’m ready if you are.

This, at least, I know you’ll love: Let’s talk about Criminal Minds! There’s a new team leader at the BAU, and he’s one tall drink of water, that Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore). He’s also pretty damned good at running the show. (And to think, you were worried! Okay, no, that was me.) We could tell from jump that Derek had this by the way he masterfully deflected Strauss’s (Jayne Atkinson) attempt to sow discord by trying to hand him Hotchner’s (Thomas Gibson) office. It was respectful but authoritative, clear and firm — and I’m totally taking notes on how to pull that move. Morgan was also in full control on the ground, calling orders and dispatching the team to track an UnSub who blitzes his victims, slices their throats, then uses some kind of freaky ocular melon-baller to remove their eyes.

Which reminds me, Beatniks, did you learn a new word last night? It was enucleator, as in one who enucleates, or removes tumors (or in this case, eyes). We can add it to the Official Glossary of Procedural Terms containing all the words crime and medical shows have taught us: exsanguination, defenestration, contusion, hematoma, mass spectrometer, stippling, Sarcoidosis…. (Oh who are we kidding? It’s never Sarcoidosis.)

We also had interesting fodder for our conversations on violence against women in procedurals. Yes, the episode opened with two young girls getting slashed—that was the crime that drew us in. The UnSub later went after a woman jogging alone at night (who does that?), but he also attacked men. On a show like SVU, the victims are generally kids and women, because they are the most physically vulnerable to sexual predation. (Ooh! Another glossary word!) But Criminal Minds, while making victims of women more often than it has to, also frequently tries to take an even-handed approach to its victimology. The first of the ocularly obsessed UnSub’s victims was, we later learned, a man. The case that brought Morgan into the sphere of recurring guest Salli Richardson-Whitfield involved a trio of thugs who largely targeted men. If anything, Criminal Minds is often less about making women easy prey than it is about making men easy predators.

Picking up on that very theme was CSI, with interconnecting cases of a man raped in an alley and another man dead in a store. It turned out the dead guy was the rapist, the brother of the rape victim’s girlfriend. It was also the rare occasion of a television show focusing on an adult male rape victim outside of a prison. As horrifying as rape is — for anyone — we have to appreciate the way Stokes (George Eads) handled the matter. He was persistent, sensitive, and fought to get the victim (Desperate Housewives’ Cody Kasch) to seek help and trust his girlfriend. It didn’t exactly work, but that’s probably fairly close to reality too. It was a solid episode, but I’m still looking forward to next week’s triple header. Langston (Laurence Fishburne) is growing on me, and it’ll be interesting to see him in all the other environments. Besides, I have a twisted desire to find out if Horatio Caine (David Caruso) annoys him as much as he annoys the rest of us.

Finally, we got some levity. How nice that in a week in which Castle was not at its best, Bones picked up the baton and ran with the funny. The opening scene was of a body found in a swamp, slapped on the exam table, with an eager-beaver troop of Woodchucks standing by. It seems the girls found the body, fished it out, took digital photos, water samples, and soil samples with gps coordinates. For their trouble they got a mini lecture from Brennan (Emily Deschanel) about disturbing crime scenes. “You’re mean!” they yelled. And you know what? Sometimes she is.

But the central conceit of the episode was terrific. The dead guy was a chicken-plant worker who not only died by having his neck wrung by a machine at the plant, his “dancing phalanges” ended up as nuggets at the Chicken Hut. Best part: He looked like a chicken! At that point I couldn’t help but remember the late Frank Perdue, the former head of Perdue Farms, who had a slew of fun ads starring himself, and the distinct bearing of a Carolina clucker. (A pause for nostalgia, please.) Anyway, the list of suspects included his wife, the gang of protestors outside the plant, the guard, and the beak clipper — a hilarious woman named  Sufe Bradshaw, who’s popped up in many a guest role of late. Thank goodness for her or I might’ve begun to get annoyed at the heavy-handedness of Angela’s veggie vengeance, and the cheesiness of her budding relationship with Wendell (Michael Terry). Don’t get me wrong, I like the kid — especially in his geek bromance with Hodgins (T.J. Thyne). But we all know that the only other pairing this threesome out to make is Angela/Hodgins, not Angela/intern. Still, my vote for best line of the night? Booth: “Is Angela good or is she good?” Brennan: “Those are the same question!” Yes, Brennan. Yes, they are. We love you for noticing.

What about you, Coppers? Do you dig the authoritative Morgan? Worried, as Rossi (Joe Mantegna) warns, that the day they ask him to step down could get ugly? What’s your take on AngEll? WendelLa? (Angela and Wendell? See, even the franken-monikers don’t work!) And who was that cutie commando who gave Ziva (Cote de Pablo) an assist at the end of NCIS? All I have to say is: more, please.

But I’m afraid there’s no more from me, Coppers. I’m turning in my badge and taking early retirement. It has been my honor to walk this Beat with you. I will miss it and I will miss you. So as always, and forevermore, let’s be careful out there.

UPDATE!: You (very kindly) asked, so I joined Twitter. You can find me here:

Comments (95 total) Add your comment
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  • theTVaddict

    Alynda Wheat as a long time subscriber, please know you will be missed.

    • Alynda Wheat

      Thanks, TVaddict (and everyone). I really will miss dishing about our favorite TV genre with you all.

      • Karen

        First Josh Wolk, now you? There is no fairness. Can we find you on twitter to follow future endeavors?

      • Alynda Wheat

        I’ve never tweeted in my life, Karen! Should I get the Twitter? What do people do with it, really?

      • Karen

        Well, in this case, you could post links to articles/blogs you write on other websites… Keep your following! Self promote! (and you can follow me following you at )

      • Lisa

        I was going to say the same as Karen–you and Josh Wolk will be missed! I have been a subscriber forever and will miss both of you!! Where are you going?

  • Babs

    Say it ain’t so! Alynda’s print and electronic columns are superb!

    • Vishal

      madmarvelgirl Posted on I totally agree about Jean. They were only statring to get at the potential of that character when she died. Both times. (Both times she stayed dead; not talking about other times).I can’t think that I’ve ever drifted away from a story immediately following a character death, but I know that lineups definitely have an affect on my interest in following stories. I say I’m an X-men’ fan, but there are a lot of classic’ stories I haven’t bothered with because they don’t have Scott or Jean in them.

  • LibbyP

    Alynda, we’ll miss you! Best wishes in your future endeavors!

  • Mary

    Noooo! I’ve loved this column the past few weeks! Even if someone else takes it over, it won’t be the same. :(

    • Alynda Wheat

      Sorry, Mary, I don’t think anyone will. But I do believe individual writers like individual shows, so you’ll almost certainly continue to see Bones, Castle, and House covered in some fashion. But no, I don’t think there will continue to be a procedural clearinghouse like this one.

    • anna nymous

      At the risk of sounding childish, I have to say, “But that’s not fair!” I just discovered this column too a few weeks ago, and AW’s going now? Ms. Wheat, are you moving to another magazine? Do you have a blog we can follow you on? No, I totally didn’t mean that to sound stalkerish. Just that I’m really going to miss this column and your personal takes on the shows you covered.

      Well, good luck on your future endeavors, and thanks for giving us this however briefly.

      • Ino

        I’m a recurrent aienduce of your respective websites. I liked the current a single along with other articles on your own weblog much that I possess enrolled in the actual blog’s Rss in Thunderbird. Perhaps considering stealing some ideas and place results. Retain every one of the great work indicators putting up a lot more informative articles. Thanks a lot. Time spent well for this submit.

  • Daniel F.

    We love you, Alynda! Best wishes for the future.

  • mjryan

    WTH, EW? First Bernadin and now you, Alynda. Totally sucks. Good luck to you!

    • mrkittysmom

      Bernadin too????? Jeeze – what is going on over there?

    • Brittany

      Alynda, I really appreciated your articles and insight, and I will be said to see you go!! But can someone tell me- when did Bernardin say he was leaving?? Did I miss that announcement?

  • Julia

    Best of luck in your future endeavors, Alynda, but I am really going to miss you and the Beat Cop column! Wherever you’re heading to next will be lucky to get you! :)

  • chris

    Actually, this was one time I didn’t find Angela annoying. The conditions they described in that factory are really happening. I like the fact that with this, and the dog fighting episode from last season, they’re drawing attention to these issues. I’m sure that animal lover Emily Deschanel had a hand in it.

  • Babs (Original Flavor)

    Sorry to see you go, Alynda. Good luck with future adventures!

  • supercommon

    This saddens me greatly. Great things like “The Beat” are what makes me come to Popwatch every day. I’m calling shenanigans.

  • Alex

    Oh, no…. I liked that someone talked about Law and Order… :(

  • Summer

    Alynda, you will definitely be missed. I literally used to read the What to Watch portion of the magazine strictly to see what you would say, and then I really enjoyed your Beat Cop on here! I wish you the best of luck in future endeavours and hope to see you writing for someone else who is smart enough to snap you up very soon! I might even keep up with my Twitter if you decide to create an account!

  • mrkittysmom

    Man…first Josh, now you? What is going on over there?

  • noam

    alynda wheat has always been an excellent writer, and for awhile now, has been probably one of the best at ew. ms wheat-you will be missed! can you possibly tell us where we can find your work in the future?

    • Alynda Wheat

      I would if I knew, Noam. For the moment, you can find me on my couch, in my jammies. I imagine I’ll have a lot more time to fit Judge Judy in my schedule. But thanks for the kind words.

      • Lily

        If you find yourself with more free time than you know what to do with, maybe you could start a blog? I’d definitely read it.

  • mrkittysmom

    …after doing some checking, I guess this is all a part of the Time, Inc. bloodbath. Short sighted, mighty short sighted.
    Sorry to see you go.

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