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It’s an odd idea that we have hopes for TV characters–they’re cartoon characters after all, their lives flattened into two dimensions and squished into half-hour segments with a piquant point or a hastily arranged outcome, the way life doesn’t.
After last week’s episode of TNT’s “Saving Grace,” I was caught hoping Grace Hanadarko was going to get a steady thing going with her stargazing atheist fellow, and we were going to get a steady chat about God’s existence. But this week Grace is back to mixing it up with her partner, not the stargazer. And the show is back to episodic criminal cases that deliver tidy moral packages.


Not that the moral in last night’s show was trivial. A defense attorney—the kind with a fancy haircut and a shoeshine—attempts to get his murderous client off by impugning the character of Grace and the other detectives who got him to confess. In the process, a lot of the cops’ personal information comes to light, including who’s been sleeping with whom. Truthtelling becomes the order of the day. Ham up and admits his love for Grace, and pretty much everybody in the precinct better once their secret is out. The meaningful looks the detective share over their desk lamps indicate that truth can only heal if forgiveness is also applied to the wound. That’s pretty good for a cop show.
It may be that the show will pay this lesson forward to Leon, the convicted killer who is another of Grace’s angel’s charges. Leon has surrendered to Allah, prays five times a day, and reads the Koran. His admits his crime and he’s going to pay for it with his execution in two years’ time. But he’s still mighty angry with everyone. Could this be because he sees the truth but hasn’t forgiven or asked forgiveness? Does the show have the attention span to let one episode’s moral carry over to other episodes and other characters? Here’s hoping.

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