Chase Recap 12/6/10: Paging Jerry Springer

This week’s episode of Chase on NBC came jam-packed with 100% more running than usual. The best episode of the series so far, the hour was a frenetic trip through the streets of downtown Houston (in actuality, downtown Dallas) in which a guy who really just needed to take his problems to the Jerry Springer Show embarked upon a murderous rampage to take revenge on the girlfriend and best friend that done him wrong.

Meanwhile young Luke got a chance to save the day, coincidentally enough in the same episode in which he expressed at the outset his doubts about whether he’d ever be accepted as a full member of U.S. Marshal Annie Frost’s crack team. Oh, television — is there any personal or professional problem you can’t solve in but an hour’s time?

But back to the action. When we first joined our heroes, Luke was patiently waiting for Annie to arrive on the stairs of the Harris County Courthouse (actually the back side of 2100 Ross Avenue in downtown Dallas). She made fun of him for wearing a tie. That upset him, and he threw a hissy fit at the deputy manning security at the courthouse. Annie had a brief heart-to-heart with him (in the walkway between 2100 Ross Avenue and Chase Tower), but the counseling session was cut short by news that two prisoners had killed a couple guards and escaped onto the city streets. Annie and Luke immediately began a foot chase through the city, while the other three members of their team back at the Hall of Texas Justice sprang into action to join their comrades.

Luke almost got run over by a taxi (right next to Pegasus Plaza), and then Annie demonstrated once again that she is the Alpha of this show by running right on top of the stopped cab to take a better look around. Meanwhile, Jimmy and that-other-marshal-whose-name-I-can-never-remember caught site of one of the escaped fugitives, a relatively harmless drug dealer. That left Annie and Luke in pursuit of the truly dangerous fugitive — a fellow named Chris Novak. It’s he who actually planned the escape and killed the guards, he’d just dragged the other guy along for the ride.

After following Novak through a restaurant (Sol Irlandes Mexican Grill) and into a parking garage, Luke forgot an important rule of trying to sneak up on a bad guy: make sure your cell phone is on vibrate. The killer carjacked a hostage and made a break for it. Luke managed to atone for his mistake by shooting out the tire of the car, which led to a nifty chase (down Main Street). Elsewhere downtown, Jimmy and the Other Marshal managed to corner their fugitive at a “Burt’s Coffee” stand in the middle of a plaza. I tell you, seems like they’re putting up a Burt’s Coffee on every corner these days.

Novak ran into the Maramount Hotel (actually the Adolphus) and got away when he posed as a window washer. Back at HQ, Daisy discovered that Novak had called an old high school buddy of his when he made his escape. That clued Annie’s team to where they should look next. Novak took the light-rail (the Green Line) to some batting cages (these at TopGolf) to meet his friend who had prepared a getaway car for him. But Novak, it turns out, knew that it was his best friend and his girlfriend who had tipped off the cops about the armed robbery that had landed him in jail in the first place. He confronted his buddy and beat him to death with a bat.

When Annie’s team got there, they put the clues together, thanks to some cell phone texts that indicated that the girlfriend and the now-deceased best friend had been having a fling. They rushed to the hospital where Novak’s girlfriend works. It also happened to be the hospital where Marshal Jimmy’s girlfriend Natalie  works, so we finally got to see Annie’s competition for Jimmy’s affections. She turned out to be a take-charge, no-nonsense doctor who sprang into action when Novak cut off the power in much of the hospital.

Luke and Annie pursued their prey into the hospital morgue, where Novak started beating on Annie badly until Luke manned up and pointed a gun at his head, threatening to shoot. The bad guy had been caught. Luke finally earned the full respect of the rest of the marshals. And the whole team headed off to a neighborhood diner, still wearing their bulletproof vests, to congratulate themselves on a job well done.

So, Annie and Jimmy knew about the fling that Daisy and Luke had. Does that mean the fling has been ongoing? Do you think that Natalie can compete with Annie in the good-looking-Alpha-Female department? And don’t you think this episode points a way forward for the series? Just give us all-out chases, all the time?

Plenty of time to ponder these questions, since there’s no new episode of Chase until January, when the show moves to Wednesday nights. Join me for the next recap the morning of Jan. 13.

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