E: Well. That’s quite a thing. We’ve got smiling country singers, a family with a gospel tinge, backstage bachanalias, a dead manager, a documentary, and Giovanni Ribisi hanging from a ceiling fan. My oh my.
Dwight and his Momma attend a Memorial concert for Ma Boswell, the mother (duh) of a country music family act. Everything is lovely and touching, and the music has a gospel feel as husband Doc and daughters Sadie and Delilah sing to Ma’s memory. Their manager, Frank Dixon, weeps a tribute. And right afterward, he seems to have thrown himself off the building. Dwight (being Dwight) soon realizes Frank’s been smacked in the face with Doc’s priceless mandolin, which would have sent him flying off the building. And Dwight being Dwight, he figures out other clues based on his encyclopedic knowledge of the Boswell’s music. Frank Dixon – I don’t suppose that’s a nod to Emma, is it? No. I’d say that’s extremely unlikely.
This is a variation on the English country house mystery; only a certain number of people were in the VIP area of the theater, and so only they could have climbed the staircase from which Frank accessed the roof. Suspects include Doc, Sadie, Delilah, Benny the head of security, Gene their biggest fan, and Sadie’s parasite of a husband Leonard. Dwight and White zero right in on the crazy fan, who’s got a host of restraining orders out against him by other country luminaries. When they arrive at his place, he’s hanging from the aforementioned ceiling fan, having initially tried to off himself in despondency. Ribisi specialized in nutjobs; mustachioed Gene is impressively distinct, considering just how many crazies Ribisi has played. He’s a true fan – a schizophrenic one with a website, an apartment as shrine, and the mandolin/murder weapon which he swiped from the crime scene. He does have an alibi, though – he was attending an event in the lobby with other fan club members he knows only by their usernames. Cute.
Okay. I can’t help mentioning this. When they go back to the station, we can see that the damn lamp is still there! Yikes. Funny that Hendricks is going to lecture White about telling salacious personal stories right in view of it, huh?
Delilah, who looks like a caucasion version of Navi Rawat, sings bluesy folk rock when she’s by herself. Love that! She’s got a nice Susan Tedeschi/Lucinda Williams vibe. And when Hendricks goes to confront White (after Rice lets on that one of White’s informants has accused him of improper relations, blah blah blah), Susan’s “I Can’t Let Go” is playing in the background. Nice touch! I remember one of my coworkers hollering out “will somebody please find that man and make him go back to her so she will just shut up?” when it played on our work radio, so it makes me chuckle, but I do love the song anyway anyway.
Anyhow, Dwight got all up in Rice’s face about White and how pure he is, but when he confronts White, he’s utterly shocked to find out he was telling the truth – that White has an act for the guys to cover his monogamous mildness. I don’t remember hearing any salacious stories before this episode, so the revelation didn’t exactly stun me.
Huh. Dwight has a room in his house that’s kind of like Ribisi’s apartment. And he gets inspiration I can’t follow from some old Elvis posters. He’s inspired to call the documentarian, who sure likes him a lot despite his crazy tribute room. And she tells him he’s on an annotated list of the most eligible bachelors in Memphis over 35. Huh. Dwight uses her to confirm that Frank was Delilah’s father, that Doc’s been paid off to stay in the group for her entire life, and that Delilah and Frank might have had a sexual relationship. Gross city. Now that is what we call a motive for murder!
Aw. This is a nice ending. Gene/Giovani gets to be a hero, wearing a wire to elicit a confession , Delilah isn’t the killer after all (the far less likable brother-in-law Leonard is, having gone after Frank for his job), and even though she did hit him in the face with the mandolin (when he finally confessed he was her father), that was only coincidental to him going over the roof. That’s a good twist – the murder weapon that didn’t actually kill the victim. Even nicer, the only incest going on was one kiss (phew), and Dwight gets to perform on stage with Delilah (on camera, for the documentary). Ah, and they sing the title track, “One Night of Sin,” an Elvis tune I’ve never heard. I need to listen to more Elvis, because it’s a really good tune. All in all, as good as it can be.
I have to warn you, this is likely to be my last recap of Memphis Beat. I like the feeling of the show, and its sense of place, but I’m still not sold on the characters. It’s pretty well made, and well enough acted, but I just don’t think I like them enough to spend the time, you know? It’s probably the best written and most clearly conceived summer show I’ve looked into, but I don’t need to know what happens to these people. There’s no urgency. It’s more like “oh, yes, this is nice”, and that’s not enough to make it a weekly project anymore, especially since I am excited by Covert Affairs, which airs at the same time. I guess we’ll see next week, though. I hadn’t planned on doing this one.