Police Officer Harry Siegel is appropriately interrogating a low-life about a missing boy. And by “appropriately,” I mean he ties him up, pounds him in the face and threatens to cut out an eyeball if he doesn’t talk. The scumbag gives up the boy’s location — uh, upstairs. Really, you couldn’t even search the house before going all Jack Bauer on him? The pervert plans on inflicting a little off-book punishment of his own. Just before saving the taxpayers a million bucks, he tells Siegel that he will never let him forget this night.
After the perp, Rory Bemell, croaks from natural causes (being beat to death after abducting a child), Internal Affairs hauls Siegel in and goes through a stack of suspects Siegel has worked over. The IAD suit gets a big smile from telling Siegel to turn in his badge.
Fifteen years later, Siegel is working as a private dick staking out a philandering husband. He gets no pleasure from playing tapes he made for the man’s distraught wife. He does, however, get pleasure from playing another tape for the woman — one of her banging her husband’s brother, which is worth tripling his fee.
The next day, he meets with Meredith Kane. She is another woman suspecting her husband of having an affair. She wants Siegel to get the evidence “to make him pay.” She says there is a run-down house conveniently across the street from their home where Siegel can set up his surveillance equipment.
Neither Siegel nor Mr. Kane get lucky the first night. Siegel does, however, pick up some strange voices from the Kane house. The voices and a light in the window suddenly go respectively silent and dark. The voices start up again and he determines that they are coming from inside the house he is using. He looks around and finds a pentagram drawn on the floor of the basement. He catches some kids who snuck in on a dare. One of them tells Siegel that some kids had once been killed in this house.
Finally at 3:06 am, he hears a man and woman and sees their silhouettes in a window of the house across the street. The woman says she was burned with cigars . . . by a cop named Siegel. He meets with Ms. Kane again to quit the case, but she won’t let him.
The next night, through a large widow he sees two young kids in the house watching TV downstairs. In an upstairs window, he sees a man with a knife. Then through yet another window, he sees the man coming down the stairs with the knife raised. Christ, this greenhouse ain’t the place to conduct a clandestine affair. Siegel runs across the street and busts down the door only to find the house deserted, not even any furniture. Looking back across the street at the hovel he was perched in, he sees a face in window over there. So he runs back to that house and hears a swirl of voices that talk about being stabbed, burned, beaten.
He sees a lot of other crazy shit in the house. Finding himself locked in, he turns and sees dead Rory Bemell standing there with a knife. He says, “I didn’t deserve this, Harry.” He tells Siegel that a girl Siegel burned was innocent and now lives in pain. And a kid he kicked senseless turned out to be a witness.
In the house, Siegel experiences a flashback to an incident when he was a kid. After his older brother pulls their father’s pistol out of the closet, Siegel accidentally fatally shoots him. Siegel’s father tells him that this must remain secret and they secretly bury the kid. OK, I guess Siegel’s mother was already dead. But what did they plan on telling the school and the neighbors? That his brother went to live on a farm?
Blah, blah, blah, Siegel realizes Meredith Kane set him up to be killed by the haunted house. He heads over to her real home to mete out some of the justice he was used to as a cop. Then there is a twist that left me a little cold. I know it is bizarre, but I think the problem is that the twist is too good for the show. Meredith suddenly has a back story that was a complete void. Even the haunted house has a history that is too-briefly summed up in one sentence.
This is the first episode on the disc, but the second episode to air. It makes me suspect that this was to be the premiere, but The Sacrifice just worked better so they went with that. Not that this is a bad episode at all — the performances were good, the visuals were interesting, it just seemed that there was too much story to fit into one hour. To be honest, it might not even be possible to tell this complete story and keep the current structure. It was probably as good as it could have been.
- Harry Siegel changed his name to Bender after he was fired from the force. On the wall of his detective office, he has clippings from his career. I guess he counts on no one reading them and asking who this Harry Siegel was and why he looks identical to Harry Bender.
- Second consecutive show where IMDb got a name wrong. Yesterday, Joanne was credited, but she was always called Joanna. Today, Eric Roberts’ character is credited as Siegel, but a police name tag says Siegal.
- I’d love to say Harry Siegel’s name was a Dirty Harry homage — Harry Callahan’s first name and the last name of that film’s director Don Siegel. But who knows?