by Megan Haas
“Wild Card” began just like the previous episodes: Michelle chasing a suspect down while Sean follows behind. This suspect has nothing to do with the case we are about to see, but it is showing that their lives don’t stop when the episode does. But, if every episode begins this predictably, it could get tiresome..
However, what I want to look deeper at is the chemistry between the main characters. Viewers have seen the pilot: the ultimate decision maker. Now they have made it through two episodes and they need to see if they are going to make this one of their favorite series. The assumed unresolved sexual tension between Michelle Maxwell and Sean King will be what drives this show. This little bit of intrigue will bite viewers and sink deep inside to keep them coming back each week.
After Michelle catches the suspect from the beginning, she cuffs him on the ground and puts her foot on his back (classic cop show style). Apparently this act is what the suspect likes and finds arousing. As Michelle is discovering this, Sean begins to tell her that this guy is about to go to jail for a long time and to give him one more surprise. One last happy moment before he goes to jail and put her foot back on his back. Of course he is kidding around and Michelle doesn’t do anything. This conversation, even though it is limited, brings us deeper into this attraction. We might be in the middle of an already established friendship, but we are still only waiting in line to see the romantic aspect. And there still might be something between Sean and Michelle that had happened in the past.
The conversation continues and brings the show through its opening sequence with Michelle saying she’s had sex at six different national monuments in D.C. and Sean is trying to guess them. If this steady connection between these two stays like this throughout the first season, this show will stick.
What sets this show apart from the other cop shows on television is the simple fact that King & Maxwell is about the characters’ lives. Although there can be an argument that many other cop shows follow the personal aspect of their characters (Castle, Rizzoli & Isles, The Closer, Bones, etc.), this one is heavier on King and Maxwell themselves instead of their job. We are seeing them struggling to pay their bills, taking care of Edgar, their disabled bookkeeper, and more things that normal people have to do. Even though we see Rizzoli & Isles at home and watching TV, it’s closer to the end of the episode or the peak. King & Maxwell shows moments like these through the entire show.
These two have a relationship based on friendship and respect, but one that is thrown together and takes whatever is thrown at them. Like we learn about Michelle’s car that she basically lives out of, things are misplaced and it’s dirty, but it works. Their ability to go with the flow of whatever they need to do is what sets them apart from other procedural dramas. Everything is still arranged based on when they get a call, etc., but this one feels more personal.
There’s always a downside to all of the best parts about a show and this relationship, although the strongest part of the series, is what is painfully repetitive for the genre. If anyone remembers the first season of Castle, this is like that just with less fake hatred from the female character. Both shows have a first season of typical case solving and banter back and forth. Only, King & Maxwell’s relationship is more respectful from the beginning, although we did not yet see how they first met.
The episode ends with Michelle whispering “Smithsonian” in Sean’s ear, saying that this is one of her six places. She says that he will have to pay attention to the next five. The playfulness in the back of her voice suggests that she knows they will eventually end up together, as does the audience, but it isn’t their time yet. They need to wait a little longer (the show also needs to have an established first series and a renewal date as well).
The episodes in the future might fit this pattern, and if Michelle or Sean begins next week’s by chasing someone down, then they will. One episode will break the pattern and be about their personal relationship that will be tested, but this will be closer to the finale. However, as predictable as this show might be, the connection between Michelle and Sean will keep audiences returning.
As for other events of this episode, there was a case. Michelle and Sean help clear Agent Carter’s name in a case involving drugs and a homicide. Also, Sean watches the video of his previous charge being shot while he was in the secret service. He shows Edgar the video, and after Sean leaves the boathouse for the night, he watches it again and finds something unusual.