Stalker - TV Show Review
This TV show started running on CBS in 2014. True to it's name, the show depicts the working of a specialized unit in the Los Angeles Police Department that is purely dedicated to the investigation of stalking cases.
The show has finished its first season and was recently renewed for the second season.
Stalker shows us the various daily challenges faced by LA Police Department's specialization team, not just in solving their cases, but different levels of office politics, their inter-personal relationships, and not to forget, the complexities in the personal lives of the detectives.
The Lead Detectives - Jack Larsen and Beth Davis
Beth Davis, played by Maggie Q, heads the Stalker Unit of LAPD. She is the workaholic Lieutenant in her late thirties or early forties, greatly efficient in her job, but doesn't take kindly to jokes, particularly if they are from a smart-a** male colleague who thinks that they are God's gift to women. You cannot really blame her attitude or the perpetual sour look, given that she is a woman who has to investigate crime against women on a regular basis, men being the perpetrators in most of them.
Jack Larsen, played by Dylan McDermott, is a forty-something ex-homicide detective from New York, who takes a transfer to the LAPD stalker unit, after having an affair with his chief's wife. But a disgraced affair is not the only reason why he moves to LA. He spends his free time stalking Amanda Taylor, the assistant district attorney. He even has her photos stuck onto his bedroom walls. The idea of the protector becoming the hunter is somewhat creepy.
Lift Is Not So Safe After All
Jack The Stalker
Beth Davis Has Her Own Stalker
The Good Parts
The basic premise of the show is interesting. The concept of stalking someone you love or hate, as twisted as it may be, can have its own thrill. A serial based on predatory stalkers would therefore appeal to the minds of a wide audience who fancies the dangerous.
As with many TV shows, a character becomes more interesting when the person as a secret or a dark past attached to him. In this case, both the main characters are haunted by their pasts.
Jack Larsen has a reason to stalk Amanda Taylor, the assistant DA, who is revealed to be his ex-wife. The reason being that he wants to make amends and be close to his son. However, Amanda is completely disgusted and furious with his presence. She threatens to get him fired if he doesn't leave town. The intensity of her hatred makes us wonder, is it the affair that makes her despise him, or did Jack do something worse?
Beth Davis, on the other hand, is not her real identity. Why she chose to change her identity remains unknown. To make matters darker, she earns herself a new stalker while investigating a case. The stalker in question is a psychotic college student who develops a fetish for her boldness. He digs up her past, follows her around and spies on her house at night. He even has a wall filled with sketches of her. She is, of course, unaware of it. That is an irony, given that she is an expert in stalker crimes.
A Little Intensity Would Be Nice
The Not So Good Parts
The acting from the main characters are not up to the mark. Maggie Q is a good actress, but she is too wooden in Beth's role, especially when she interacts with Jack Larsen. Her apathy towards him doesn't quite come out well. A grumpy face or stern looks are just not enough.
Jack successfully establishes himself as the the cheeky jerk who continuously gets onto Beth's nerves by comparing LA with New York all the time. However, as a man who craves to be with his estranged family, he completely lacks the intensity. All Jack does is flirt with one of his female colleagues, while backing away from her when she reciprocates. Even the immaturity in his character is very inconsistent. Okay, we get it, Jack is meant to be a jack-a**, no need to overdo it.
Some of the dialogues are too cheesy. For example, the dialogue between Jack and his colleague Detective Janice right before their one night stand is way typical. Another example, Jack asks Beth - Why do you hate me so much? Is it because I stared at your b**** the first time we met? Now that is what I call a god-awful dialogue for a detective who is trying to impress his new boss.
Anomaly #1 - Why does Beth keep her curtains open the whole day and then goes on to close it?
In each episode, Beth returns home from work, and starts closing off all the curtains in her house. The intention is clearly to show that she is a paranoid police woman, who most probably has some history of being stalked. Hence, she is constantly scared that someone may peek into her house. This is a very reasonable fear, not just for her but most of us in real life.
But the question is - who leaves their glass window curtains wide open during the entire day while they are out, and then comes back only to draw them back? Won't peeping toms peek during the daytime? In fact, one can take a better look inside the house when its inhabitant is out.
Anomaly #2 - How does Jack give such accurate narrative of the crime?
Each time that Jack and Beth visit a crime scene, Jack takes a few looks here and there at the crime scene and then starts to rebuild the crime scene with his super-accurate narration of exactly how things could have happened. Okay, we understand that Jack is supposed to be this brilliantly insightful detective. But the way he infers things immediately, without even putting his facts together would put even Sherlock Holmes to shame.
Even Sherlock Holmes would take some time piecing together all the evidence. But Detective Jack here seems to be more much intelligent and quicker than our Baker Street genius, or maybe Jack can look into the past? The whole strategy looks like a futile attempt at forcing the viewers to think highly of Mr. Smarty-pants Jack.
How Do You Like Stalker?
Choose one of the following:
I Will Come After You
As a wise men once said, nobody is perfect. Neither is any TV show. Overall, the show is good for a **light watch**, it has moderate amounts of police drama and a fair amount of chemistry between various characters.
In fact, one chemistry you cannot miss is between Beth and her teenage stalker, whenever they come face to face - Beth being oblivious to the fact that he stalks her.
But if you are expecting an intense teeth-grinding thriller full of dangerous twists, this TV show will not satisfy you at all. Instead, you may want to try out Dexter or Bates Motel.