Last week I wrote about how Terriers differs from other case-of-the-week shows in that the cases emerge a bit more organically than they do on those procedurals where someone walks into an office and tells the hero, “I need your help.” This week we get a good example of what I’m talking about. At the end of the pilot episode, our heroes Hank and Britt flipped on their client—the corrupt, powerful real estate magnate Robert Lindus—by planting a gun in his house and calling the cops so they could implicate him in two murders Lindus helped facilitate. As “Dog And Pony” opens, Hank and Britt are being deposed by the cops and the lawyers in the Lindus case, but are sweating more because the authorities have seized their check from Lindus as evidence. Hank needs that money immediately, to put a downpayment on his old house, which his ex-wife is selling. So when Hank’s old partner Gustafson gets called out of the room, Hank raids his friend’s files, looking for a bail-jumper they can track down and turn in for the reward money. And so our boys have a job.
Beyond the opening scene and a few stray mentions, “Dog And Pony” doesn’t move the Lindus storyline forward much. The episode is designed more to flesh out the world of Terriers, and to that end, the most significant scene in “Dog And Pony” comes late, when Gustafson pulls Britt aside after the whole adventure is done in order to have a little chat about Hank. The detective warns Britt that while Hank’s a great guy, he’s self-destructive, and potentially damaging to those around him. He also drops a tantalizing reference to “what you were involved with,” hinting that there’s much more to Britt than the level-headed sidekick we’ve seen so far. They’re likable guys, Hank and Britt, but they’ve got issues.
That said, “Dog And Pony” is far more about the likability than the issues. The twosome are adorable parrying the police’s inquiries in separate interrogation rooms, saying of the Lindus-funded search for a missing cell phone, “He must’ve really, really wanted it back. Enough to kill someone, I guess.” And they’re even more adorable when they cook up a scheme to corral hulking bail-jumper Montell Gobright by intimidating his girlfriend Agatha Hagglethorpe. (“I’m not making it up,” Britt says about their mark’s name.) They half-heartedly tear down Agatha’s hippie-dippy tapestries and smash her hand-made bongs and call her “algae cakes,” saying that they’re going to come back later and really trash the place unless she pays them protection money. In actuality, they’re hoping that when they come back, Montell will be there. (Hank shows a flash of his detective’s eye when he notes that Agatha’s toilet seat was up and there was a condom wrapper in the trash, which means she’s definitely had a man around.) But when they arrive, Montell promptly throws them both through a window—and a little bit of drywall—then flees before the cops show up. (“We promised her we’d come back and trash the place,” Britt says sardonically.)
Meanwhile, both men are having a little trouble in their personal lives. Britt has brought a dachshund home to put off his girlfriend Katie’s requests to have a baby, but the dog shits everywhere, “barks at his own farts,” and while Britt’s performing cunnilingus on his lady, the dog waddles up and licks Britt’s balls. For his part, Hank is having second thoughts about buying back his old house, because an old acquaintance from AA reminds him that he lost his sobriety and his marriage in that house, and he needs to move on. In other words, both men need a win. (Or even better, in Hank’s words, “As a rule, I don’t like to get my ass kicked for free.”)
So they proceed with the Montell Gobright case, but from a different angle. Picking up on a name he dropped while beating them senseless, Hank and Britt track down Montell’s brother—or “half-brother,” as everyone reminds everybody else multiple times—and discover that he’s a meek family man living in a nice house, and that he’s a bookkeeper for the local race track, and that he and Montell pulled a half-million-dollar heist at that very same track a while back. This time out, our boys’ plan isn’t so subtle. First, they borrow some racetrack-appropriate clothes from their favorite dry cleaner. (Britt: “This thing itches.” Hank: “That’s because it belongs to a rich person.”) Then they find Montell’s brother—“half-brother”—at the track, and offer to kill Montell if he’ll cut them in on the loot from the heist. The brother—“half-brother”—agrees, then finds out that Hank is wearing a wire when Detective Gustafson swarms in to arrest him. Later, as the cops are recovering the racetrack money, Gustafson has his little chat with Britt.
As for Hank, once he has his reward money he can finally buy back his house—the first house he ever owned, where he and his ex-wife once had big plans—and once he does, he takes a sledgehammer to a wall, fulfilling a promise he made to his ex when they first moved in. It’s a strange, sweet gesture, fully in keeping with the kind of person we’re finding Hank to be: spontaneous, sentimental, regretful, and more than a little nuts.
-This episode was directed by Clark Johnson, formerly one of the cops on Homicide: Life On The Streets, and lately a go-to director for people making tough-minded TV policiers.
-Did anyone else expect that Britt’s insistence that he and Hank need a mascot for their detective agency was going to end with an explanation for the series’ title? Did anyone else get the feeling that the writers were messing with us a little there?
-Britt, when asked the time by Hank: “I could check my phone but it’s in my pocket”
-Hank, when asked why he was wearing a tie: “It was Bring Your Tie To Work Day.”
-Two funny exchanges:
Hank’s AA sponsor: “Jerking off, or are you gonna join us?”
Hank: “I can’t do both?”
Britt: “In your experience, what’s the best way to get rid of blue balls?”
Hank: “Don’t get married.”
-I also liked the scene where Guftason complains that he had to go get Hank and Britt out of jail just when when Jeopardy was about to reveal the Final Jeopardy answer in the category “Running Mates.” (Britt: “You can probably Google the answer.”)
-Out of the blue, some interesting new characters show up: a trip of slacker tech-heads who help Hank and Britt with surveillance, while having philosophical arguments about what they’re doing. I hope we see them again, and that we get more characters like this as Terriers rolls on. Helps build the world of show.
-We also learned a little more about Britt’s girlfriend Katie this week, as she initially refuses to stitch up a gunshot-afflicted Montell, but then gets interested when Montell starts talking about the racetrack job. Looks like she won’t be the typical nagging, worrywart love interest, but might be someone more helpful to the team.
-“What has four thumbs, fights crime, and just made 15 grand?”