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Hudson and Rex - Old Dog New Trick and In a Family Way - Double Review

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Sarah: “A forensic scientist never lets emotion impact their work.”
Old Dog, New Trick introduces us to Sarah’s college professor Viktor Maddox, his wife, Vanessa, and daughter Tori. Maddox and Sarah seem to have had a friendship beyond that of student and teacher, based on how Sarah used to babysit Tori, and that she and Maddox have kept in touch and are having dinner at the start of this episode. There is nothing, however, to suggest any relationship happened between them.

Thank you, Hudson & Rex, for not giving us the clich├ęd Student/Professor relationship storyline.
Maddox is in town to accept a lifetime achievement award in forensics. During dinner conversation, after a glass of champagne, Maddox starts to seem unwell. He leaves to retire to his hotel room for the evening. Vanessa stays with Sarah and the two get to know each other. “Is there a boyfriend? Anyone special?” Vanessa asks. Sarah smiles coyly as she takes a bite of food, and who does the scene cut to next? Charlie Hudson.
Charlie’s playing memory with Rex, who likes finding the photo of himself among the cards. I’m not saying that’s a photo of Rex with the bone Sarah gave him in Flare of the Dog
(but it totally is)
During the game, Sarah phones. We don’t hear her side of the conversation, but the look of concern on Charlie’s face says enough. He drops everything to go help his friend.
At the hotel, Charlie arrives to find Vanessa’s body in the bathtub, and Maddox in shock. Maddox’s story goes that after returning to his room, he fell asleep, and when he awoke, Vanessa was dead. He didn’t know what to do, so he called Sarah, who called Charlie.

Sarah needs a sample of his blood, because all the evidence points to Maddox and Vanessa being drugged, but Maddox claims to have fussy veins and sticks himself with the needle. I’m sure Sarah’s capable of handling a difficult vein or two. But okay.
Charlie watches as Sarah discusses the events with Maddox and gathers evidence. Sarah and Charlie have always had quite an easy-going relationship, but neither is afraid to get a little tough on the other when its necessary. We see this from both in this episode. Here, we see it when Charlie pulls Sarah away from Maddox for a word in private and reminds her they can’t process the crime scene without the team. Sarah thinks Maddox is being framed, based on the fact she knows him. Charlie, who has no personal stakes in this, except his own friendship with Sarah, is more detached. But he trusts Sarah, and is open to all possibilities, so the possibility the professor is being framed is taken on board. He’s still looking at domestic violence, despite Sarah’s arguments that the couple appeared happy.
“He called you. Not the police," Charlie tells Sarah. What’s the bet if Charlie ever finds himself in a similar position, his first call is to Sarah?

Jesse: “We got motive up the wazoo.”
It’s the middle of the night and Jesse arrives at the precinct to help.
Vanessa is part of a family responsible for a synthetic opioid, a family accused of profiting off addiction. And it was her family’s company, KaylisPharma who were sponsoring the award Maddox was in town for. Some of the members of the association were unhappy it was being sponsored by KaylisPharma. In their eyes, Maddox was married to the enemy.
M o t i v e.

Back at the hotel, Sarah gets the blood results back and both Maddox and Vanessa’s blood showed traces of GHB, a drug similar to rohypnol. Rex sniffs out the champagne flutes Vanessa and Viktor drank from, leading Charlie to the champagne bottle.
Maddox questions Sarah, making sure she’s taken all the evidence correctly (insulting), and during this exchange we learned his first wife also died. From cancer. However his, “the cancer was too painful to watch” leads to questions about how she ultimately died. From the cancer, or someone ending her life before the cancer could. The writers on this show are good at revealing little bits of information that seem both innocent and completely suspicious at the same time.

In this week’s edition of: Rex is the smartest member of the SJPD

Rex makes sure Sarah uses the blacklight to check the victim’s wrist for a club entry stamp. The stamp leads the team to the club where Tori happened to be DJing.

Charlie reminds Sarah that if someone is trying to frame Maddox, then she’s needed in the lab, to help clear his name. While saying this, Sarah’s head is dipped, avoiding eye-contact, and there’s a very human moment of Charlie trying to coax eye-contact and an agreement from Sarah. It’s now that Rex finds the knife that was used to stab Vanessa. Honestly, Charlie, would you solve any crimes without him?
And it’s a good time to note, as Sarah holds a platter lid over her stomach, that Mayko Nguyen is doing a great job of hiding her pregnancy. Even though for the past several episodes I haven’t been unable to unsee the baggy clothes, creative camera angles, and items she’s been holding in front of her. I wrote those lines before watching the season finale, which is also reviewed below, and the pregnancy hiding gets even more creative and fun in it.
At the club, while Charlie is speaking with Tori, Rex sniffs out oxy in her DJ booth. Not from Vanessa, but which Tori stole from Kaylis, whom Tori used to work for. When Vanessa had come to see Tori before the dinner with something to show her, Tori had assumed it was for a rehab center, so hadn’t listened to her.
At this point it looks like Dr Shahar is the one responsible for Vanessa’s death and is indeed framing Maddox. But we’re only halfway through the episode. Sarah is leaning toward Dr Shahar as the murderer and when Charlie brings her a coffee, because he is thoughtful and sweet and I bet Julia regrets losing him, and she suggests how events may have occurred he tells her she would make a great murderer.
“Thank you, don’t you forget it,” she replies as she walks away.
The micro-expressions that flit across their faces as they flirt, in this episode and others, are a thing of beauty.
Do you ship it? Rex and I do.

At Dr Shahar’s hotel room, Rex sniffs out GHB in Shahar’s insulin kit. While it feels very much like Dr. Shahar did frame Maddox, it’s not all sitting right with Charlie who thinks they’re missing something.  
Sarah and Jesse watch as Charlie questions Maddox again. When Charlie insinuates that Vanessa may have been cheating with Shahar, Sarah calls Charlie back into the observation room. She isn’t pleased with how Charlie is pushing Maddox, and like Charlie with her earlier, she isn’t afraid to let Charlie know.
Sarah: “I think you know we found Vanessa’s killer. What’s this all about?”
Charlie agrees it all tracks. The timelines add up. The evidence is there.
Sarah: “But you think I want it to be Shahar. Charlie, we have hard evidence. I’m just following where it leads me.”
Charlie: “That’s what you were taught to do. But sometimes we overlook things that should be clear to us. Especially when it involves the people we care about.”
Yes, Charlie, like your own feelings for Sarah.

In a conversation with Shahar, Charlie finally gets that piece he was missing. The question now becomes: who is being framed here? Maddox? Or Shahar?
Sarah talks with Maddox and sees his arm. There’s no puncture wound or bruise from where his blood was drawn. That, with the knowledge Vanessa may have been about to reveal some startling truths about oxy, are enough for Sarah to truly start questioning her ex professor and friend.
With Sarah’s help, Charlie puts a plan in place to trap Maddox and finally arrests him at the club as he’s trying to take the evidence from Tori.
Sarah visits Maddox in his cell, where the audience is let in on when Sarah realized he could be the murderer, and the steps she took to find the evidence to prove it.
Maddox admits he did it because Vanessa was going to throw him under the bus with her evidence about oxy. Sarah’s disappointed and hurt, but Charlie’s there to show her how proud he is of her with just one small head nod and sad eyes.

Charlie: “How you feeling?”
Sarah: “Like I just put my dad in jail.”
Charlie: “Well I met your dad. He’s not really the murdering type. Your mom on the other hand…”
More evidence for the These Two Idiots Are Already Dating But Don’t Realize It Yet theory. Charlie has met her parents. I look forward to the “Wait, is this a date? Are we dating? Have we accidentally been dating for months?” conversation that seems inevitable sometime in late season three or season four.
Sarah: “Thanks for always checking my blind spots.”
Charlie: “Always.”
The two share a very Castle/Beckett kind of eye-contact moment, and then good ol’ Jesse sends Charlie a text and it’s the message alert tone that breaks the eye contact. Jesse, this is becoming a thing we may need to address, buddy.

The season two finale, In a Family Way, takes the team to the ski slopes, where a body has been discovered in the snow. Kelly, filling in for Sarah who’s stuck at the lab, informs Charlie the body had been covered up, so it’s looking more like murder than suicide. Rex finds some residue in the snow, and then we’re back at the precinct, where Jesse is holding up racing wax for skis and snowboards. This particular wax is FreeFall Hard Wax, well-known snowboarder Hunter Dobson’s, sponsor. The wax, however, is common, with free samples being handed out at the ski resort, so it doesn’t narrow things down a lot.
Charlie finds Sarah in the lab and while she can’t perform the autopsy because the body is still frozen, Charlie knows she has possible leads already. It’s a nice moment that highlights how much faith he has in her abilities. What she has found, the sneak peek she is able to give him, is that the body was moved hours after death.
At the slopes, Charlie’s trying to ID the body. He speaks with Hunter’s friend Piper, who tells him the girl seemed like a bit of a stalker. Charlie shows Hunter a photo of the Jane Doe, and he’s all “Never seen her before in my life,” in a way that screams the opposite. Charlie tries again with the photo and Hunter admits to having seen her around. Just as he’s possibly about to say more, his father, Ross, shows up to interrupt the questioning. Rex reacts in such a way to Ross that at this point, out of the three possible suspects we’ve met, the father seems the most possible. Rex is the best judge of character, after all.
A resort worker brings Charlie Jane Doe’s jacket. In the pocket Charlie finds a business card for a fertility clinic, so off to the clinic we go. There, we’re greeted by baby bumps. Is this the episode Sarah gets to put a folder down for a while, and get up from the desks she’s often sitting behind?
We meet Dr Liam Copeland. He identifies the victim as Chelsea Waters, who turned up at the clinic claiming to be pregnant. She wasn’t.

Jesse’s found internet history of Chelsea asking questions about Hunter in a forum, including what his blood type is. In the forum she leaves a message telling Hunter they’re family now. Charlie and Joe are leaning towards it being a honey trap, and it certainly feels that way.
Ross is shady, acting as Hunter’s lawyer and threatening Charlie with police harassment charges. Adding to the possibility he is the murderer, Rex growls when he threatens Charlie with the charges. One thing we know about Rex is he reacts to hostility and aggression with the same, so he could just be reacting to the father’s body language and tone of voice.
Chelsea’s car is found and Charlie meets Kelly at the vehicle. In the trunk are items in plastic bags with letters on each bag. It appears that Chelsea was stalking more people than just Hunter and taking items from each person. While Jesse and Sarah go through the evidence, Joe shows Charlie camera footage of Chelsea walking towards where she died. She’s carrying a satchel that wasn’t found with her body.
Jesse unlocks Chelsea’s “unhackable” phone to find that Hunter was the last person to text Chelsea, asking her to meet him at the point where she died. Could Hunter have been the killer?
At the resort, Charlie finds Hunter. Hunter tries to touch Rex, who starts barking. Charlie tells him it’s a police dog’s way of signaling. On the sleeve of Hunter’s jacket, Charlie finds blood, and he knows there’s a good chance it’s Chelsea’s. When Hunter is told there was likely more than one person involved in her murder, he cracks and confesses. This timing doesn’t go unnoticed by Charlie.
At the precinct Ross arrives and hands over documents. It’s his own confession. Joe’s not completely buying it so to be sure, while questioning Ross, he asks what happened to the red purse Chelsea was carrying. Ross claims to have thrown it off the suspension bridge, and now Joe knows he isn’t the person responsible for her death. Because Chelsea didn’t have a red purse, but a grey satchel.

Sarah’s been going through the evidence, the items Chelsea had collected and bagged. She notes that all the items are things that would have saliva or blood on them. She got a hit on one of the DNA samples she tested from the bags Chelsea had collected; it belongs to a woman named Kaleigh. Because there’s a possibility Chelsea might be Ross’s daughter from an affair, Charlie asks Sarah if she could test Ross’s DNA from a cup. She says yes, and this is her face when Charlie tells her she’s the best:

S M I T T E N.

Charlie questions Kaleigh. “Turns out we’re sisters,” she tells Charlie, and he’s visibly surprised. Kaleigh was a donor baby, from a single-use clinic. She was never supposed to have siblings. A bigger surprise was learning from Chelsea they had more siblings, one of whom was Hunter Dobson.
This was never a honey trap, but a girl just trying to reconnect with her family.
Sarah confirms the three, Hunter, Chelsea, and Kaleigh, all had the same DNA, but the father isn’t Ross Dobson. For any of them. Charlie breaks this news to Ross, who had assumed an affair had resulted in Chelsea. He’s learning now that not even Hunter is his son. Ross reveals he and his wife used a clinic when trying to conceive Hunter. It’s now that Charlie gives Ross the opportunity to revise his confession. Nothing adds up and Charlie’s not convinced Ross was present at all. But, as far as Ross is concerned, he is Hunter’s father, so if his child was responsible for someone’s death, he will take the blame.
While searching through photos of the New Dawn Fertility Clinic, where the mothers of Hunter, Chelsea, and Kaleigh had gone for treatment, Charlie recognizes a photo from 25 years ago, of none other than Liam Copeland.
The team figures out Chelsea went to see Copeland to confront him, and the evidence was in the missing satchel - which is likely at Copeland’s new clinic.
This isn’t enough to get a warrant, but Joe’s got a trick up his sleeve: a prop from a previous case.
“We have to find a subtle way to get Rex in there,” he tells Sarah. The fake baby bump she straps on under her top? Not at all subtle. “You two make a fine couple.”
Charlie is L O V I N G it. Sarah, not so much.

Sarah: “You know I did not go to forensics school for this, right? I look ridiculous.”
Charlie: “That’s not true. I think you look beautiful.”

While Sarah’s getting a tour of the facilities, Charlie sends Rex to sniff out the satchel.
Charlie re-joins Sarah for the tour, and it must be noted that Charlie and Sarah are both terrible at this expectant parents thing, and also comically brilliant. They ramble about what color to paint the nursery, an attempt to distract Copeland while Rex investigates. When that stops working, Sarah fakes a contraction. Copeland touches Sarah’s bump and realizes she isn’t pregnant. Too late, however, as Rex has returned with the missing satchel. Rex seems to be picking up a scent off Copeland. Chelsea’s scent.
Charlie: “Rex was the first to figure it out. That scent from Chelsea that he picked up on you was genetic.”
Copeland tries to argue why he used his own sperm, but Charlie isn’t sympathetic. “But you never asked their consent.” And while Hudson & Rex doesn’t say it, I’ll call it what it is: it is a form of sexual assault; it is rape.
Because Chelsea had it all figured out and had found ten of her siblings already, Copeland couldn’t let the truth get out. He followed her up to the quarry and when he tried to take her satchel she fell.
Ross and Hunter still have obstruction of justice charges, but as neither committed the murder they’re free to go.
The episode ends in this show’s typically uplifting way, with Hunter and Kaleigh meeting for the first time, and with a bit of friendly competition on the slopes between Jesse and Charlie.

Hudson & Rex doesn’t need season-long arcs and recurring big bads, and is content to give us a stand-alone episode every week, in a stand-alone season that doesn’t end on a cliff-hanger. The stories, these characters, draw us back each week.
The establishing shots of St John’s showcase the beauty of this city, and once COVID-19 has settled and country borders reopen (what a world we live in where that’s a sentence I have to type), St John’s is on the top of my list for places to visit.

Watch the tags for more reviews as I revisit earlier episodes during quarantine.
I hope you’ll join me (from at least six-feet away. Please respect social distancing).

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