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Memphis Beat finds a body "At the River"

Memphis Beat poster

Written by : published Wednesday 15th June 2011

Please click here to watch Memphis Beat - "At the River" online.


     Memphis Beat is back on TNT for season two. In the premiere, "At the River," the body of a cop is found, appropriately enough, at the river. Internal Affairs is investigating the slain officer as a possible dirty copy, so Lt. Rice (Alfre Woodard) asks Dwight (Jason Lee) to help out the IA officer assigned to the case, Claire Ryan (Beau Garrett, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior). Dwight meets the dead man's son, and remembers how his own father met an untimely death while on the job. He is determined to make sure the boy's memory is not marred, which he does. Meanwhile, Rice helps Det. Whitehead (Sam Hennings) solve the murder, but also mentions she's be much happier if Whitehead were not in her department, and says she will even help him get promoted if he will leave.

     By and large, Memphis Beat is a procedural. The main focus is on the cases, not the characters. The season premiere, "At the River," is no different. Even when bringing up Dwight's past, it's more of a footnote to explain motivation than an actual plot point. Only Whitehead gets any real exploration this week, as he takes Rice's promise to help promote him to get him off her team very personally. His reaction is certainly the most interesting thing about the episode.

     The case itself isn't badly done, with some unexpected twists and turns, and a bit of flirting between Dwight and the Guest Star of the Week, Claire. They have palpable chemistry, and a show that concentrates a bit more on the main characters might bring her back for at least an arc so the two can get to know each other a bit better. Memphis Beat may eventually do that, but disappoingtingly, there is no sign or mention of her in next week's second episode of the season.

     The setting (Memphis, though filmed in Louisiana) and type of crimes do differ Memphis Beat slightly from the other series of the same genre on the air, but not enough to make the show a must-see. In fact, only watch if it's convenient and you don't have anything else better to do. It won't be a waste of an hour, but there is little to gain from it, either. Lee recently said in an interview that the series would be retooled dramatically for season two, but the first two episodes do not make this obvious, if it is being done at all.

     Next week's entry is a bit better, though it's hard to pinpoint why. Perhaps the additional interplay between Dwight and Whitehead make it a bit more entertaining. Or it could be the appearance of Tom Lennon (Reno 911!, Night at the Museum) as a consultant obsessed with a series of old break-ins who is smitten with Rice. There certainly isn't anything plot-wise that furthers any development.

     If you're into procedurals, I would recommend Memphis Beat over many of its peers. But if you are looking for intelligent, gripping, deep series, skip this one. Memphis Beat airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.

     If you like my reviews, please follow me on Twitter! Click here for all of my Current Season Reviews.

Article first published as TV Review: Memphis Beat - "At the River" on Blogcritics.

About the author JeromeWetzelTV


Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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