Stalker s1 ep 20

Life, work and a bout of the flu got in the way of my reviewing the Stalker finale for ages and it may well be a little pointless now, but we’re nothing if not completists at unpopcult; for one last time, then, let’s check in with Good Stalker Jack, Sad Lt Beth, Know-it-all Janice and the amazingly competent Vicky Gregg before we wave them off into the tv sunset forever.

Our farewell begins with a jansplanation: Janice has worked out that, given what happened last week, a whole bunch of stalkers have actually been wrongfully convicted of killing their… er… stalkees. Or – as the show has insisted defiantly since episode 1 – stalkers aren’t always that bad, really.

Robbery/Homicide’s finest Det Trent – back for no real reason other than to give Deputy DA Amanda Taylor someone to ride off into cancellation with – is understandably somewhat offended at the systemic levels of incompetence implied by this theory. And Det Trent would have a point too, except that just about everyone in the meeting has either been a moron or a stalker at some point during the season, so mistake-making on a grand scale maybe isn’t that far-fetched in this particular tv universe.

While the TAU brain trust try to convince Trent of the obvious, however, the real killer busies himself stalking Bonnie from The Vampire Diaries, Kat Graham presumably popping in as a favour to old boss Kevin Williamson rather than out of a burning desire to play the role of “woman with very few lines who wanders round a house then is brutally murdered.” At least her sacrifice wasn’t in vain, though – “Uh, Agent Gregg, your serial killer theory? We’re going to start looking into that,” says Det Trent, sheepishly. Welcome to the party, dude.

Vicky Gregg, of course, has her own stake in the stalker/killer investigation since her ex-husband Will – who confuses me throughout the episode by looking exactly like both Henry from Ringer and the other suspect whose name I’ve forgotten – is now firmly back in the frame. He was stalking the woman he was having the affair with before he killed her! Which means (as Jed predicted weeks ago) both women in charge of TAU have had relationships with violent stalkers! At least Vicky will only have had the one, though. Beth, undeterred by Jack getting “Tim from downstairs (to) call him the second (she) came in the building” so he could STALK HER SOME MORE, has decided to roll the dice on a happy ending with him too, so she’s already onto her second. Good luck, Beth! I hope he doesn’t try to kill you!

Unlike poor Vicky Gregg. No sooner has the murder investigation circled back – much to Jack’s delight – to the sex addicts meeting; dipped a prurient, pointless toe in the world of polyamory so Janice can raise one last eyebrow; and given the faceless (but always on the end of a phone) “John from the NSA” another chance to break a lot of laws, than – OMG! – Vicky has to be saved from the actual killer (exactly who we knew it would be, by the way) by two stalkers. Um…..

Anyway, Hero Stalker no.1 Jack goes off to get his reward at Beth’s house (ewwwwww) while Hero Stalker no.2 Will hangs around to collect his from the grateful and apologetic Vicky till…. OMG again! Hero Stalker no.2 is a killer after all! And the show which only introduced Vicky Gregg three episodes ago, ends forever with her dangling off the edge of a metaphorical cliff.

Oh, well. If I gave a ripped leather watch strap about Stalker or Vicky Gregg, I imagine I’d be annoyed, but I didn’t stick with this show to the end because I cared about it or any of its characters. Truth be told, I don’t really know why I stuck with it. It was often offensive, usually ham-fisted and almost always ridiculous. But, perversely, I don’t think it was ever quite as end-of-civilisation misogynist as the initial firestorm of outrage which greeted the very first episode suggested; as I’ve said umpteen times, there are far more misogynist things on TV, so maybe the main reason I stuck with it was contrariness. I don’t think that would have sustained me this long, though. And, in fairness, Stalker was terrible at a lot of things, but it was very, very good at delivering creepy, horror-movie-quality shocks and scares on a weekly basis. Contrary or not, there must have been something about the show itself which kept me interested or writing about it wouldn’t have been so much fun and I’d have given up months ago.

Either way, though, it’s done now and I’m happy with that; this way, I’ll look back on Stalker with a sort of exasperated fondness, but a second run of Jansplanations, Stalker Jack heroics and staggeringly obnoxious attitudes to victims of crime might have driven me mad. So goodbye forever, TAU, and good luck to all, but especially to Vicky Gregg, who, amongst all the smiles and snogs going on elsewhere, was the only one who finished the season looking like she really needed it.

Stalker s1 ep 19

With Ray the Lunatic (temporarily, surely?) out of the way, normal service resumes this week on Stalker: a woman parks her car, and walks alone to her house, in the dark.


As usual, this does not end well for the woman – in fact, it ends even less well than usual since, rather than some stalky-type incident that involves her getting away and then being grilled by Janice about her sex life, the woman, one Francine Johnson, is straight-up murdered.

Poor Francine Johnson. It turns out, of course, that she had previously sought the help of TAU with a stalker – is it just me, or does TAU have exceptionally high rates of customer retention? If you go there complaining about one stalker, you’re doomed to return with at least two… – so a very sensible Detective from Homicide brings the case to Vicky Gregg to cast an eye over in case there’s a connection. The hitherto infallible Vicky Gregg, however, is suddenly too busy fretting about her Secret Pain to pay much attention; poor Francine’s file is metaphorically (and literally, I would guess) shoved in a drawer, while Vicky introduces us to her definitely stalky/ quite possibly murderous ex-husband instead and asks Beth to look into whether he may actually have killed his lover five years ago and framed someone else for it.

Obviously, Vicky Gregg having access to the files from an investigation where her ex-husband was a suspect and she was the alibi witness raises certain questions of propriety. And Vicky Gregg visiting Beth on her “I just survived stalking, kidnap and attempted murder and I’m now having an identity crisis” hiatus (let’s just call it “special leave”) to give her work to do has certain, not entirely positive, HR implications. But this is Stalker so nobody cares. It gives Beth an excuse to pop back into the office and engage with Jack in the most uncomfortable “flirting” scene I have ever seen in my life, and it gives Janice a chance to nosy around in a co-worker’s rather than a victim’s business for a change (“Was that your ex-husband that stopped by yesterday?”) so everyone’s, er, “happy.”

Except, of course, the stalkee of the week Pam, who only misses out on taking the trophy for unluckiest person in the world by dint of sharing an episode with Francine Johnson.

Poor Pam is being stalked by two different men at the same time, as well as being attacked by another one (whom nobody realises is OBVIOUSLY responsible for Francine’s murder as well till Janice gets the file out of the drawer at the end of the ep) and Pam is, understandably, NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT.

Inevitably, Pam’s ex is one of her stalkers, so Pam’s entirely reasonable question for the determinedly unhelpful Janice is “Can’t you just ARREST his ass?” No good answer is forthcoming, but the investigation does take the notoriously open-minded Jack and Janice to a Love and Sex Addiction Support Group where the murderer (Hello Henry from Ringer!) pretty much has “IT’S ME, YOU GUYS!” sprayed in glitter across his luxuriant hair, but they’re too busy with jansplanations about Love and Sex Addiction to notice.

“It’s about the rush that comes with sex and love. The effects of dopamine on the brain are similar to cocaine,” Dr Janice says. “You know way too much about this,” Jack points out. “Quite,” I agree. Was the Janice-is-a-recovering-love-and-sex-addict arc originally pencilled in for season 2, then? Fortunate, perhaps, that we will never know.

This entire “Pam’s ex” storyline is worth it however for the hilarious moment when, having discovered Pam’s ex hasn’t been taking his anti-psychotic medication, Janice muses, with an entirely straight face, “Pam said he wasn’t right in the head, but she never mentioned mental illness.” Uh….

After a bit of messing around and some more Pam-terrorising, both Pam’s stalkers are apprehended, but her would-be murderer lives to attack women another week, albeit with a few new Pam-administered cuts and bruises – Team Pam FTW! Now my favourite character in this ridiculous show by some distance, I really hope she makes it through next week. Unlike the Beth/Jack relationship which I’m struggling to muster up more than a shrug about. Normally, I’m all about the shipping, but this week’s mechanical, perfunctory kiss – the culmination of a courtship notable for its creepiness rather than its chemistry – failed to ignite any enthusiasm on my part or any passion on theirs. The answer to the unspoken “Will this do?” in the air? No. No, it won’t.

Stalker s1 ep 18

“It’s a psycho and his greatest hits.”

Abandoning any pretence at procedural drama this week, Stalker goes full-on generic horror movie, moving the action to a “remote” cabin (is there any other kind?) in “the woods” (colour me flabbergasted) where Ray the Lunatic, having dispensed with the unfortunate tenant using the old “my car’s broken down, can I use your phone?” trick (straight-faced horror movie bingo, from the creator of Scream – hmm), has taken Lt Beth.

Tied up like his own personal doll, he feeds her egg white omelette and talks about forever as Beth and the audience try not to gag, neither the omelette nor the love talk being particularly appetising. The trussed-up, traumatised Beth pretends (not very hard) to play along, but Ray’s a lunatic not an idiot, so he’s ready both for a number of escape attempts and a visit from hapless “Hazel from down the road” whose mama never taught her to keep her cookies to herself, there are all sorts of bad men out there.

While Ray plays house, a turf war so halfhearted it’s more a turf minor scuffle breaks out back at TAU HQ; an “FBI task force” (do the FBI do everything in “task forces?” No “teams?” Or “units?”) arrives to take over the hunt for Beth since, on the strength of no evidence whatsoever, it’s been decided, by no one even remotely involved in the investigation thus far, that Ray has probably taken Beth back to Seattle. The increasingly peevish (and stupid) Jack is obliged by tv law to have a little rant about this sudden injection of manpower, resources and fresh, uncompromised eyes into the investigation, but it’s clear almost immediately that he needn’t have bothered; while the “task force” concentrate on their day jobs dealing with super-criminals and shadowy global conspiracies or whatever, Jack and Janice are left to carry on investigating as usual, the only difference being they’re a lot more worked up about it. After all, they actually like this week’s victim.

Of course, it’s Former Stalker Jack who eventually spots the crucial clue, so, after a quick search on the NSA retrieval engine (“it’s the most comprehensive,” you know), off to cabin country the pair of them go, purporting to give Vicky Gregg the slip by hurtling maniacally past her entirely transparent, glass-walled office as she sits right there watching them. Yes, clearly, Vicky Gregg has no idea what you’re up to, guys.

*Rolls eyes*

No matter. After a brief pit stop in order to terrify a group of the world’s best-behaved students – because no episode of Stalker would be complete without someone from TAU being gratuitously rude to some blameless member of the public – unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity, Jack and Janice are obliged to make the basic horror movie mistake of splitting up, so that one of them can find the now-escaped-but-shot Beth, and the other can be found by the now-stabbed-but-still-shooting Ray the Lunatic. The only question is which one will do what.

Surprise! Because of the writers’ inexplicable fondness for Jack, he gets to embrace Beth in the darkness, while Janice gets a gun to the head from a Lunatic who’s very pleased to see her, till everyone is reunited at yet another cabin and Beth can be tied up yet again. Worst. Vacation. Ever.

The astonishingly competent (for Stalker, that is) Vicky Gregg, however, is en route, and thanks to her dual membership of the FBI and the LAPD, she’s bringing the task force, HRT and SWAT with her – Oh, and a helicopter because somebody decided this was the week to blow most of the season’s budget – so even Ray the Lunatic knows the jig’s up.

Still, it obviously wouldn’t be Stalker without someone trying to burn someone else to death, so Ray decides to repeat his previous trick and set fire to the cabin and, just in case she or we didn’t work it out for ourselves, helpfully reminds Beth and the rest of the class just “how full-circle this is for you. And how thematic.”

Thank you, Ray. I bet you aced Higher English.

Stalker Jack has no truck with themes and motifs, however – he was too busy following the cheerleaders round his school in the dark to bother with any actual reading – and is in no mood to succumb to anyone’s “narcissistic personality disorder” but his own. (Let me pause for a moment to note that this is the third week someone on Stalker has been diagnosed as having “narcissistic personality disorder” – is the show sponsored by Psychotherapists’R’Us?) So he busies Ray the Lunatic with some manly fighting, while Beth unties herself and gets her lady friend the hell out of No. 1 Inferno Road, before the task force finally gets its moment in the sun firelight, and pulls Jack out too.

But what of Ray the Lunatic? Well, Vicky Gregg, who has clearly seen a horror movie or two in her time, is taking no chances: “Secure the perimeter!” she shouts. “Cover the back, the sides, make sure he does not get away!” Ah, Vicky Gregg. Your faith in secure perimeters is touching, but I recommend you try watching a season or two of 24 alongside your Scream box set. Beth and Desk Cop Ben – hey, welcome back buddy! – may think “it’s over” but, without a body, I very much doubt it. I’ve seen a few horror movies, myself, y’know.

Stalker s1 ep 17

For all its flaws, one thing Stalker has always excelled at is scares: from the start, its strength has been in frightening both the characters and the audience, sometimes violently, sometimes more psychologically, but never less than viciously. Plot, dialogue, characterisation – all these things are perfunctory, often risible vehicles used simply to carry us from one terror to another, and it’s in the pursuit and portrayal of that terror that the show is really comfortable. Which is a sad, slightly disturbing thing but the decades-long popularity of the horror movie genre suggests the show and its writers are not alone in that.

It’s not surprising then that this episode, abandoning as it does any other real attempt at story in favour of Ray the Lunatic careering across California in a violent rampage of killing and kidnapping, is, while wholly unpleasant, undeniably effective.

We begin with a nightmare, both figurative and literal, as Lt Beth – who is doing well getting any sleep at all, in the circumstances – has a horrible dream about Ray and Perry, to her distress and Desk Cop Ben’s alarm. I thought, for a moment, she might be awoken by the tender, muscle-bound ministrations of Stalker Jack, having finally graduated from couch sentry to bed-mate, but no, Jack is still hedging his bets, babysitting son Ethan to the doe-eyed admiration and gratitude of the hospitalised (but alive!) Deputy DA Amanda Taylor, all that restraining order unpleasantness completely forgotten.

DDAAT can’t identify the man who attacked her, but Beth knows it’s Ray the Lunatic, and knows it’s only the first step of his campaign to destroy her new life, friend by friend. She doesn’t have to wait long for step two: poor Gemma from Ringer (who picked a terrible time to come back into town) once again finds herself tied up and drugged in the trunk of a car, while her friend “Carl Stevens” (who?) finds himself on the receiving end of a frying pan to the face.

Ray the Lunatic seems particularly keen on the infliction of injuries to the skull; as well as “Carl Stevens,” Perry’s dad’s unfortunate PI gets a hotel room wall to the head (amongst other things) and Perry’s unhappy expression – now he’s finally decided “This has gone too far” and tried, firstly, to escape, and, secondly, to save poor Gemma from Ringer – is on the receiving end of fists, feet and a gun.

While Ray runs amok, Beth is worrying her friends and colleagues by “getting a little intense.” So the natural thing to do is take her off the case (which she shouldn’t have been on in the first place because – HELLO – her friend’s been kidnapped and Beth’s clearly the next victim in line) and replace her with “Vicky Gregg” who is: a) an FBI agent (on some kind of level transfer deal?); b) a best-selling author(!) and c) played by Oscar-winning actress – OSCAR-WINNING ACTRESS – Mira Sorvino. WTF?!

There is very little about that last paragraph that makes any sort of sense, so let’s just move on. On any other show, Vicky Gregg would either turn out to be evil or using this as a backdoor pilot for her own spin-off. Stalker bucks the trend, however by a) making her seem pretty genuine, competent and kind to Beth, even if sending her home seems somewhat risky – surely she’s safer surrounded by cops at HQ? – and b) getting itself officially cancelled this week, making the prospect of a “Stalker She Wrote” spin-off somewhat pie-in-the-sky.

To Janice’s visible irritation, every sentence out of the preternaturally well-informed Vicky Gregg’s mouth is exposition of some sort – be it a potted history of each of her new team-mates or helpful insights into the psychological profile the Lunatic they’re hunting – which means Janice is both out-ranked in terms of grade and out-flanked in terms of jansplaining opportunities. This attack on the very essence of her being bewilders Janice to such an extent that, when the action shifts to a junkyard where cars go to die, she temporarily loses her mind and asks if “there’s a map or a blueprint of this place somewhere?” It’s a JUNKYARD, Janice. Get a hold of yourself.

Luckily, Jack’s Stalker spidey-sense kicks in just in time and they find Gemma from Ringer, only to also find that…. DUN DUN DUN! Ray the Lunatic is in the most obvious place he could be, Desk Cop Ben is REDACTED and Lt Beth is… the second woman in 40ish minutes to be drugged and trussed up in a car boot so she can be terrorised by a Lunatic in the name of entertainment. Which I guess means that Stalker really hasn’t changed that much after all.

Stalker s1 ep 16

This week on “All of your best friends are Stalkers,” lonely small-town girl Isabel is subjected to a persistent and thoroughly unnerving case of group stalking.

Since he favours stalking as a solo activity, Jack is somewhat surprised that a group version even exists – understandably so, you might think, since, as Janice jansplains, group stalking is “rare. Less than 1% of all documented stalking cases nationwide.” But does this mean both Janice and Jack have forgotten the two-stalker team who kicked off the series? Or do you need three to make a group?

Yes, I know. I’m probably thinking about these criteria more deeply than the people who write this show.

Putting questions of numbers and definitions aside, then, back to the story: our victim-of-the-week is, as usual, subjected to some genuinely frightening set-pieces – the “street theatre” scene, in particular, is both brilliantly executed and absolutely terrifying – while the TAU, also as usual, waste time ignoring the best friend (amateurs) in favour of quizzing the poor girl about her sex life instead. “It’s not accusatory,” says Lt Beth. Just prurient, then, huh? Although I do wonder if the team is about to get less interested in who the victims are sleeping with now they can just stick their noses in Beth and Jack’s budding relationship instead: with Jack sleeping on her couch in his underwear and Beth offering him coffee in her shortie-short pyjamas, there’s clearly a lot more than just co-working in the air.

Stalker Jack, of course, is too busy rubbing his hands at the prospect of finally getting into Beth’s (low-cut, remember) tops to navigate this situation with any sort of finesse or discretion. The moment where he oozes into his embarrassed boss’s office, during a meeting with her staff, to announce, with what I imagine he fondly (but inaccurately) believes to be a “charming” smirk, “I got these for you…. Brazilian nuts. I ate all yours,” is, I’m sure, meant to be cute. But this is Stalker Jack, so, instead of cute, it’s skin-crawlingly repulsive. And almost as creepy as villain-of-the-week Abraham, “a delusional narcissist with a house full of brainwashed zombies ready to do his bidding.” Just like Jack, then, except for the house full etc….

An uneasy Janice – her own dreams of “Banice” rapidly disappearing in a cloud of Stalker for Men aftershave – wonders (somewhat uncharacteristically, instead of just telling everyone) “Are they hooking up?” but a delighted Desk Cop / Desk Shipper Ben knows the score. “Not yet,” he says, sagely, “but soon. This Ray thing needs to pass first.”

Speaking of which, “This Ray thing” continues to spiral out of an increasingly unhappy Perry’s control. Ray the Lunatic, of course, may be a terrible boyfriend but he’s also a better interrogator than anyone on TAU (WTF was that “interview” Jack and Ben did this week?), easily extracting from his junior partner a full run-down of everything you ever needed to know about the main characters and had already worked out for yourself over the past 15 episodes. Relationship status? “Pshaw!” No, Beth’s not sleeping with anyone.” (Yet.) Rankings? “Ben Caldwell. He’s more of a junior detective.” (Heh, we call it a Desk Cop, Perry, but tomayto tomato.) Full names and titles of expendable recurring players? “Deputy DA Amanda Taylor.” (Right! Although that one took us a while.)

Sadly for Stage 5 Clinger Perry, though, once he’s, er, let Ray have what he really wants, the cad is out of the door without so much as a cuddle, leaving Perry to wonder if he gave it up too soon and should have held out for dinner and a movie. Even the Lunatic’s eventual return doesn’t stop the petted lip: “You’ve been gone forever,” Perry whines, “I’ve been worried. Where were you? What were you doing?” Crazy Ray smiles and strokes his new, shiny gun, but Perry is unappeased. “I think we need to, um, establish a Code of Conduct,” he says, somewhat improbably thinking he can put the homicidal genie back in the bottle. “I don’t want to hurt anyone,” he says. Uh… little late there, sport. Did you not see that final scene?

Stalker s1 ep 15

Stalker goes back to school this week, with a thoroughly unpleasant story set at the L.A. Academy for the Annoying.

A hapless Coach is stalked and almost killed, a teenage boy is pushed and almost killed – there’s a lot of almost killing going on, with unfortunate student Jenny being blamed and bullied for it by the entire school. Which seriously sucks for unfortunate student Jenny, since high school has apparently now morphed into a mediaeval torture chamber with phones and social media as the modern-day equivalent of thumbscrews and the rack.

Of course, bearing in mind the delicate issues involved, TAU deal with things as sensitively as ever, with Janice, and Beth too – although not quite as much as Janice, who seems ready to stab him in the face – openly hostile to Coach Victim and clearly blaming him for, in no particular order, being a bit keen on himself, being stalked and being almost killed.

“You didn’t do anything that would make her think you’d be receptive?” queries the disbelieving Beth. “Well, ignoring her advances might have caused her to escalate,” suggests the inexplicably furious Janice.” Um….. what? “I see a little judgement on your face,” understates the beleaguered Coach.

Oh, dude. If you think this is bad, just wait till they see the sex tape.

As Beth and Janice harangue the victim, meanwhile, grumpy old man Jack interviews a succession of obnoxious students, looking increasingly baffled as to how they know the answers to his questions. I don’t know, Jack, maybe they use their eyes, their ears and their internet connection? Kind of like you and Desk Cop Ben do? No?

Obviously, things get worse and worse for poor Jenny while the team flail around, ignoring this week’s culprit because, presumably, they think s/he can’t possibly be the same one as last week’s. Psyche! Shows what the team know, since apparently s/he can indeed, thanks to a truly ridiculous twist, straight out of some terrible 80’s pot-boiler that would have covered it with a lot more panache than this episode did. Blerg.

Since the A-plot is so nasty and stupid, then, the only fun to be had comes from the unexpectedly deep yet entirely one-sided stalker-love between Perry and Ray the Lunatic.

Holed up in a hotel room together, an adoring, excited Perry watches Ray sleep, ready with a buffet-in-a-bag of breakfast options for when he wakes up, along with clothes, toiletries and presumably his favorite chew-toy – aw, it would almost be sweet, if they weren’t both homicidal maniacs. The awestruck Perry just wants to hole up with his hero for a spell, but even Ray – the Lunatic – is weirded out by this. “I’m not staying here with you in this room for a few weeks,” he says, firmly, and off he goes, leaving Perry to throw himself on his twin bed, clutch his pillow, and wonder sulkily, ”Where have you been?” on his return. Oh, Perry. If even Ray – the LUNATIC – thinks you’re coming on a bit strong, maybe you need to dial back the devotion and calm the eff down? Just a suggestion.

Stalker s1 ep 14

After all the criticism Stalker got the first time they immolated somebody, you’d think they’d be a bit wary of going down that route again. But the writers obviously decided it was too good a trick to only try the once (or maybe the production crew bought too much gasoline and thought, hey, it’ll be fine if we just make it a guy this time), so back we are with another hoodie-clad nutcase with a zippo lighter and the second death by fire I’ve seen attempted on tv this week. (Which is two too many, frankly. Shudder.)

Our poor victim this time around is newly-engaged Dave who sadly doesn’t make it through the night, raising the intriguing, by which I mean boring and clichéd, prospect of a turf war between TAU and Robbery/Homicide, by which I mean Jack and Trent, because there is such a shortage of Detectives in the greater LA area that they had to send the two guys at most risk of starting a staring contest over Deputy DA Amanda Taylor. That game’s already won, though; Trent, presumably in the hope that his reasonableness will impress DDAAT, capitulates to Jack’s demand to run lead but he knows, right from the start, that it’s no use. DDAAT may dress up the pizzas and play dates as being what Ethan wants, but they’re clearly what DDAAT wants too, because who can resist a man who travelled cross-country to stalk you and your son, huh? Swoon. By which I mean FFS, woman. GET. A. CLUE.

Any possible re-kindling of romance with Stalker Jack has to wait, however (thank God) till the team – and Trent! – cycle through an impressive number of suspects and wildly varying motives to try and work out who killed Dave and who is still stalking his poor fiancée Nicole. “It’s personal, definitely revenge,” says Jack. But wait, no, it “implies a romantic obsession,” muses Janice. Or maybe, “This is someone who’s seen Nicole on the job. They might even have been rescued by her,” suggests Beth, who may have some experience in that area herself.

An increasingly desperate Trent cannot be doing with all this TALK, though, so he keeps trying to arrest somebody, anybody, only to keep being reminded “No, Trent. You need EVIDENCE, dude.” But Trent is undeterred. An ex? It’s him! says Trent. The father of a little boy who drowned on Nicole’s watch? “Means, motive and no alibi!” says Trent. The bereaved mother? “That’s almost a confession!” says Trent, almost hysterically by now, since nobody will let him arrest anybody and Deputy DA Amanda Taylor has Jack’s back, instead of his. I mean, “everybody has a threshold.”

Of course, as usual, everybody’s too busy accusing the rest of the guest cast to pay any attention to the person hiring a sky writer to etch “IT’S ME, NUMBSKULLS!” across the sky. It eventually falls to Janice then, to speed things up in the final reel, by the simple expedient of doubling up on the jansplanations. “We’re attracted to heroes because we see them as the embodiment of our undeveloped potential. Freud called it the ego ideal,” she says. Meanwhile, REDACTED has Nicole on a pier (which, somewhat alarmingly, has a knife attached to the barrier for….er…. any stalkers/killers who might be caught short?) and is about to push her off, but no need to hurry yourself, Janice, do go on. “It’s similar to the Florence Nightingale effect where the victim falls in love with the caregiver, only this time…” Er, yes, ok, we get it, perhaps you’d better can the cod-psychology and get to the pier, after all.

Nicole, like everybody else on Stalker, though, ultimately has to be saved by Jack and Beth so poor Trent still doesn’t get to arrest anybody, just look sad from his squad car before dumping Deputy DA Amanda Taylor. Whereupon Jack, his Stalker spidey-senses tingling at the prospect of another female co-worker with a vulnerability (Ker-Ching!) slithers up with his usual offer of “comfort,” clothing optional. When that doesn’t work, however, he tries Plan B(eth) instead; having got both love rival Janice and Desk Cop Ben out of the way by suggesting they respect the boss’s request for alone time, Stalker Jack proceeds to completely ignore it and powers into Lt Beth’s house, trundling over her protests like a sexually predatory steamroller. “Stop all that! I’m here now!” he scolds. “I just wanted some company and I brought food!” And for one joyous moment, it looks like Lt Beth may be about to single-handedly redeem the show by kicking this creep in the nuts. Just for one moment, though. Instead, of course, her eyes soften and she (inexplicably) appears to fall for the Prince of Stalkers as well, which, with Deputy DA Amanda Taylor, Janice, Trent, Perry and Ray the Lunatic all in the mix, leaves us with not so much a love triangle as a freaking nightmare.