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Tommy - 19 Hour Day - Review

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Tommy “19 Hour Day” was written by Stephen Belber, whose credits include Law & Order: SVU and Rescue Me, and directed by Geary McLeod, whose credits include Empire, Grey’s Anatomy, and The Mentalist. No surprises from the title – the episode follows Tommy on a 19 hour day as LAPD Chief of Police – with a major bomb threat and a mudslide on the 405 – and a personal crisis thrown in to the mix. I loved the way Edie Falco (Tommy) played the character in this episode. She is apparently completely unflappable, seemingly handling every new crisis thrown her way… but you can still see the strain ever so subtly. It’s a great restrained performance – and Falco is quickly giving us a full picture of this woman.

The episode starts at 4:34am in a motel in Korea town as the bomber packs up his homemade bomb to take to the environmental Summit being held that day – and at which Buddy (Thomas Sadoski) will be speaking before a vote is taken on whether or not to lift a ban on pesticides.

We catch up with Tommy at about 5am as she takes the night briefing. By 8am she’s trying to make coffee and being defeated by the coffee machine when Kate (Olivia Lucy Phillip) comes to her rescue. The two are interrupted in discussing Luna’s (Naledi Murray) behavioral problems – sparked by the pending divorce – when they are interrupted by Tommy getting a call about the bomb threat. I’m on the fence about Kate. On the one hand, her bitterness towards Tommy is grating and annoying and feels like a storyline I’m not too into. She’s supposed to be a child therapist and I can diagnose her problem! I want her to get over herself – why invite Tommy to live with you if all she does is annoy you? But I think the actor here has a thankless job and I don’t mind Phillip so much as Kate.

At headquarters, it’s all hands on deck to handle the bomb threat. Decker (Alexander Hodge) is keen to use “Nemesis” – a program that can hack into phones and other private data sources to look for suspicious conversations. Tommy points out that they would need a warrant to use it legally and that they’d need to prove it was a credible threat first. Decker insists that Leakey used it – but Tommy won’t budge. Cooper (Russell G Jones) warns her after Decker stomps out in a huff that Decker has turned down lots of other offers because he’s the best in his field.

Tommy heads to the location of the Summit where environmental protestors are getting worked up. I loved Captain Nettles (Kerry Flanagan) who we meet there – I’m really hoping we see her again as she seems like the no nonsense type who would appeal to Tommy. Bevins (Matt Servitto) is also there and angry that Tommy won’t let his officers put on their riot gear. Tommy doesn’t want things escalating so compromises by moving the gear closer in case the officers need in in a hurry.

And then there’s a huge mudslide on the 405. This ends up mostly in Copper’s lap to handle. Tommy has to figure out how to find officers to prevent looting, and quickly comes up with the solution to use cadets, which works out great.

Deputy Chief Castro (Curtiss Cook) gets a lead on the bomber and once again, Tommy must find warm bodies to help him search local motels. She gives him 5 narcotics cops for 2 hours! Meanwhile, Tommy is supposed to speak to a group of young girls. She knows she’ll never be able to squeeze it in, so she assigns Blake (Adelaide Clemens) to do it. Blake is not happy and tries to pawn it off on Ken (Michael Chernus), but he’s already been told by Tommy not to do it.

Tommy meets with Buddy and Doug (Joseph Lyle Taylor) and brings them up to speed. Doug is keen to use Nemesis, but Buddy is seemingly fine with them not using it – but Tommy does have to get him 4 extra bodyguards for that night.

We discover some interesting personal information about a lot of the characters. Decker was in Boston during the marathon bombing and even went to school with one of the bombers – it’s why he’s so prepared to do anything to stop this bomb from going off and injuring innocent people. We also get a great scene between Tommy and Diaz (Vladimir Caamano) in the car. She chastises Diaz for fiddling with his phone while driving – it’s against the law and dangerous! He then verifies that Tommy was in New York for 911. He asks her if she’d do anything – legal or otherwise – to stop it if she could. She admits that she would, but that she’d try everything to find a legal way first.

With the count down to 6 hours to go, Tommy is at the Summit site and the crowd is escalating. She oks the use of riot gear. Connor calls with the news that a man is trapped in the mudslide. With 5:12 to go, they finally get a break and find evidence of the bomber in the Rainbow Inn, including a schematic of the convention center where the Summit is being held. Unfortunately, it turns out not to be enough to get a warrant.

At this point, Tommy gets a call from Kate who is stuck on the 405 in the mudslide traffic. Luna has run away from the sitter! Tommy tells Ken and Diaz to find Luna! These two are great together because they are polar opposites. Ken has been defending the activists and continues to do so and Diaz continues to give him a hard time. Ken insists that the Earth Care group are non-violent. Diaz finally asks him in exasperation what he’s doing in the police department because he is SO not a cop. Ken tells him that he needed a job… but that isn’t really the story.

Decker is furious when they can’t get the warrant and wants to use Nemesis anyway because they now have less than 3 hours. Tommy holds her ground. I loved her analogy – when she asks him what he’s carrying on his hip – it’s his gun. She tells him that the public allows them to carry guns because they trust the police to use their weapons appropriately. Nemesis in no different! Decker storms out of the meeting. Tommy, however, now has a picture of the bomber and sets up a “lobster trap.” They’ll leave one door seemingly unguarded to lure him in, but have plainclothes cops everywhere to nab him.

With an hour to go, Buddy wants an update and Doug is adamant that the Judge who denied the warrant made a mistake and they should use Nemesis. Buddy sides with Tommy and sends Doug away. He confides in Tommy that his world is falling apart – his wife wants a divorce.

Diaz and Ken ultimately find Luna on the beach. When Kate arrives to collect Luna, she thanks Diaz and doesn’t even know Ken’s name. Diaz says to Ken that it feels good – and Ken must feel like a cop – and want to be one now. Ken finally admits why he’s working there. He tells Diaz that his brother is bi-polar and got into a lot of trouble. The police who dealt with him were kind and acted like it was their job to look after his brother. It made him want to help cops. When Diaz asks where Ken’s brother is now, Ken sadly tells him that he lives in tent under a bridge in Culver City. Diaz is shocked and asks why he doesn’t live with Ken! But Ken tries to explain that it doesn’t work that way – it’s clearly not Ken’s choice but his brother’s.

The bomb story comes to a pretty exciting climax as the bomber (Eli Cox) shows up at the door but doesn’t go in and eludes the cops. He goes to the porta-potties and drops the bomb behind them with 3 minutes to go. The cops take him down and the bomb squad comes in, containing the bomb with 13 seconds to go! More good news when the pesticide ban is upheld!

Tommy tries to talk to Decker. Apologizing for not being able to take his side, but Decker cuts her off, telling her that he’s handing in his papers and resigning. He wants to work with people who understand the threat. Tommy tries again to tell him that he was trying to work outside of the law, and he tells her that there are worse places to be.

Tommy also catches up with Blake who did talk to the girls of the Youth Police Program. She finally settled in when she realized that they all wanted to be cops – and she got them to talk instead of having to talk herself. In the end, she thanks Tommy for pushing her to do it.

Tommy finally heads home and catches up with Kate – who isn’t nearly as grateful as she should be. She tells Tommy she knows it’s wrong, but can’t help feeling that she wished it was Tommy herself who had found Luna for her rather than sending Diaz and Ken…. Even though she knows that Tommy has the 4 million people of LA to keep safe.

Buddy meanwhile, is in a bar having a drink and is joined by Blake – whom he invited. He wants to talk about anything other than cops. He also tells her that he and his wife will be announcing their divorce soon – why do I keep doubting that? I really think that Blake is going to end up caught in a scandal with Buddy….

The final scene takes us back to mostly where we began – with Tommy in bed. It’s 11:59 and she’s more than ready to call it a day!

I thought this was a great fast paced episode with action on multiple fronts to up the tension and demonstrate how much Tommy has to juggle and deal with. I also thought we got some nice background on the characters which unfolded pretty naturally and wasn’t too clunky. What did you think of the episode? Is Decker really going to leave? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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