Gay Girl’s Goggles: “Prime Suspect” SnapCap (1.07)

When only four percent of scripted TV shows feature LGBT characters, what’s a gay girl to do? Why, strap on your gay goggles and watch TV along with us, of course! Our handy appraisal scale is better than any old letter grade. Other sites A+. We say, “What about our lezzy-lady feelings?”

First, apologies for the tardiness of this week’s SnapCap. Second, whoever said seven episodes in before Prime Suspect did the obligatory “dead child/grieving parents” storyline, wins a T-shirt. Still, as much as this case was about the mysterious and tragic death of a preschooler, it was also about Det. Jane Timoney’s own childhood. Not only do we get to meet her younger sister, we also learn about their mother. Jane’s family dynamic really adds wonderful, complicated layers to this show.

AFTERELLEN BAIT

Not only do we get to meet Jane’s pretty, blonde younger sister, Det. Carolina Rivera is back and her actress, Elizabeth Rodriguez, is in the opening credits. With any luck, that means this show will soon start passing the Bechdel Test with flying colors week after week. Now, I know when she was first introduced on the show I didn’t like the way she was played off adversarial-wise against Jane. One woman who uses her sex appeal to get ahead, another who doesn’t, etc. But I think they’ve made her a much more interesting and ambitious character now. She’s willing to play the game, but only to a certain degree. And that degree does not include anything more than light flirting with Det. Duffy. Thanks the TV gods for that.

FEELINGS, FEELINGS, FEELINGS

Remember when I was talking about Jane’s family dynamic? Man, did it bring up a lot of feelings. First, we learn that Jane’s mother was an alcoholic and died when she was 13 (her sister was four) in a car crash while drunk. And Jane — Jane’s a little happy it happened that way. We also learn that Jane’s sister is unemployed (by choice, whatever that means), vegan (hey, maybe she plays on Team Ladies – it’d be nice if someone on this show did) and envies Jane’s cheekbones (don’t we all, sister). Without too much exposition, the two women paint a pretty convincing portrait of sisters who often clash heads. But, ultimately, love each other unconditionally.

The other dominant feeling was how the series is slowly, but surely, delving into Jane’s own borderline alcoholism. After wrapping up the case, she shares a drink with her colleagues saying, “I’ll drink to anything.” And then back at her father’s bar, The Jar, she offers her sister a drink. When she declines, Jane responds under her breath, “Good girl.” So she is aware of her problem, and I’m sure somewhere down the line if this show is given the time, she’s going to have to deal with it. And I trust, given the quality of this show so far, it won’t be in a Very Special Episode kind of way either.

HATITUDE

Hm, does Jane has some unresolved anger at her mother for being an alcoholic? Yeah, I think so. The way she went after the alcoholic mother of the little boy who was killed was pretty brutal. But, then again, so was what she did. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of badass Jane and her righteously indignant jawline.

THAT GUMSHOE THING

This show excels at painting in the gray areas, where we wonder if even monsters deserve some semblance of sympathy, which was typified by the subplot involving the homicide chief writing a parole letter for a convicted killer. The week’s other subplot, around Det. Rivera finally closing the string of robberies, framed her character’s ambition nicely. It also continued a nice bit of schadenfreude for Det. Duffy. I’m almost starting to feel sorry for him. Naw, not really. The show doesn’t have that much gray area – yet.

Right, so, thoughts? Are you excited to have Det. Rivera’s character take a bigger role on the show? Want to know more about Jane’s sister? You know what to do – discuss.

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