If this really does turn out to be the last episode of The Good Guys, the show went out with a bang.
Jack and Dan are having lunch at the cafe that apparently has the "best pancakes in Dallas." This puts them in prime position when a guy skips out on his check. Dan being Dan, he decides to go through the window rather than the door (breaking a $300 window to handle a $6.52 (plus tip) crime) in pursuit - a pursuit that's short-lived when a guy walks in front of Jack and collides with him, leaving him on the ground in pain. Unsurprisingly, Dan is unconcerned.
When they get back to the station, Jack's day gets worse; his old partner and now deputy chief, George Jenkins, is in the building. Apparently, George had a thing for Liz, but Jack got to her first. George is played by Chris Klein, whom I still haven't (and probably never will) forgive for that atrocious performance as Nash in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. Here, he's attempting a Southern accent and it falls equally flat. George, of course, is all smiles and after meeting him, Dan says, "I totally see why you hate that guy." Perhaps motivated to show up his old colleague, Jack agrees to pursue Dan's theory that the dine-and-dash perpetrator was up to more than running out on a bill.
A day earlier, we meet Jimmy Nichols, a "major criminal" according to the helpful caption. Jimmy is not happy with his associate Mick, because Mick has been talking to none other than Liz Traynor. Mick, as a result, ends up dead.
George takes Jack out for a beer and wants to know what happened to his career. Dan interrupts to tell Jack that they're re-releasing Savage & Stark, the TV-movie of his and Frank's rescue of the Governor's son. Everyone except Jack ends up too drunk to drive, so Jack drives George home and asks him about a nice car in his driveway. George feigns ignorance, but we find out the car belongs to Jimmy Nichols. George asks him what he needs, and he finds out that Mick's corpse is in the trunk of Jimmy's car. That's right, George is in with the mob.
Jack asks Liz to get him a subpoena for surveillance footage from the ATM across the street from the diner. She seems skittish, and disappears into Ruiz's office to tell the lieutenant that she believes someone in the department is working with the mob. At the same time, Chris Klein is doing his impression of David Caruso in CSI: Miami as he "investigates" Mick's death.
As usual, Dan goes to Julius expecting that he'll be able to identify their suspect ("He's a scumbag. You're a former scumbag"). Julius recognizes a scar above the guy's eyebrow and names him as Phil. Jack and Dan go to pay Phil a visit, only to see George and a team roll up to arrest Phil for Mick's murder. Listening to the subsequent press conference, Jack realizes that the alleged time of death is the same time that they were chasing Phil from the diner, so someone has the wrong man.
As if one ex-partner isn't enough, Frank (Gary Cole) arrives, inviting Jack to a screening of Savage & Stark. Unlike Chris Klein, I have nothing against Gary Cole; in fact, I still love him from when he was on TNT's cop drama Wanted. Dan and Frank go to the screening and we're treated to some footage from the film that's so bad it's great. The two of them are bewildered by the fact that everyone in the audience thinks it's a lot funnier than they do. They storm out of the theater, finding out that they were at an "Oddities of the 8o's" film festival. They decide to get drunk, and Dan wonders if he's steering Jack wrong, just before they get arrested.
Liz unknowingly makes the mistake of telling George that she believes there's a department mole. Jack arrives and adds his suspicions about the time of death discrepancy. George tells him to drop his case, and Liz won't tell him about hers. As a result, Jack is doing his own paperwork by himself when Samantha tells him that she hacked the ATM camera. The footage perfectly shows that Phil was the man they were chasing, and therefore couldn't have killed Mick. The only downer is that Samantha hits on Jack, which is not entirely unexpected but still horribly awkward.
Jack calls George to tell him that he has the wrong man, while George is hanging out again with Jimmy. George needs a new fall guy, and asks Jimmy how hard it is to have someone in jail killed. Phil apparently kills himself in jail and leaves a confession, but as he comes to with a massive hangover, Dan sees the body and doesn't buy the story. He and Frank start putting the pieces together, before Liz comes down to bail them out.
Back at the station, Samantha tells Jack that Phil's blood tests showed the presence a preservative chemical the lab uses; in other words, whoever planted his blood stole it from the lab. Unfortunately, Jack thinks he can trust George and gives him that information as well. George comes down to the lab to see him, by which I mean that he pulls a gun on him. Jack finally realizes (obviously) that George is the dirty cop, as Dan and Frank tear through the streets of Dallas with Liz in the backseat, hungover and on a mission.
Jack stalls for time by pretending to accept George's job offer, which is only an excuse to knock the gun out of his hands and eventually get one aimed at him. Unfortunately, he looks over at Samantha when she walks back in, and gets knocked upside the head for it. I've never been fond of Samantha since she was introduced, and now I just have one more reason to dislike her. George ties the two of them up, deciding to make Jack his new fall guy in a murder-suicide plot. For whatever reason, Jack kisses Samantha.
Three minutes earlier, Liz gets a fake email from Samantha, saying she's having an affair with Jack. Dan does not believe this at all and storms off to the lab to find both of them. What ensues is an awesome action sequence where Dan and Frank shatter a few more windows and a lot of lab equipment while Jack frees himself and sneaks around behind them. He gets the drop on George and proceeds to punch the daylights out of him, letting years of frustration out on George's face before he's hauled off. Frank kicks George for good measure. Further making me roll my eyes, when Liz arrives, Samantha feels the need to tell her that she kissed Jack.
Ruiz is impressed by everyone's work, the bad guys get busted, and Jack and Dan reflect on how far they've gone. Dan says he never wants to be in the crime lab again, before vowing that he's going to keep doing his job the way he knows how to. "Not only is it right, it's fun," he says, and I couldn't agree more. The last scene of the episode and potentially the series sees the two of them tearing out in the Trans Am to bust more punks.
I know that everyone seems to be writing The Good Guys off for dead, but I'm not ready to do that yet; I enjoy the show too much, and "Partners" is a great example of why. Yes, I can't stand Chris Klein and I wasn't happy to see him in this episode, but that meant I enjoyed it when his character got the beating that he so richly deserved. Gary Cole is perfect in the role of Frank Savage, and picks up right where he left off in "Dan On The Run" without missing a beat; he and Bradley Whitford have a great banter together that illustrates how fun and strange they must have been as partners. Colin Hanks continues to be the calm point in the sea of insane, yet when the script gives him the chance to cut loose, he's able to flip that switch effortlessly; the funniest part of the episode, for me, was seeing him finally unleash all the rage he'd been holding in. Everyone hits all the notes you'd expect them to hit, and as a result, the whole episode comes together.
If there's one problem I have with the episode, it's one I've been having all season. I've never warmed to Samantha, or to Angela Sarafyan's acting, and having seen her through the entire back half of the season, I still don't particularly care for her. I especially don't care for the Liz/Jack/Samantha triangle that this episode apparently tries to set up. Should the series beat the odds and return for season two, I'd like to see it leave that idea, and her character, behind. If there's really a need for a new character, how about promoting Ronreaco Lee to regular status, considering that he's been in eleven of the series' twenty episodes and has a much better chemistry with the main cast?
I really hope The Good Guys gets a second chance and comes back for season two; it really is an underappreciated little Friday-night escape. If it doesn't, however, I want to thank cast and crew for their hard work in providing us with twenty episodes of complete hilarity. I'll be holding on to the idea that at least, Jack and Dan will still be out in Dallas, busting more deserving punks.
For more on The Good Guys, check out the The Good Guys category at my blog, DigitalAirwaves.net.