Wild Cards- Season 1 Episode 2 “Show Me the Murder” Recap & Review

Show Me the Murder

Episode 2 of Wild Cards Season 1 begins with Max reporting for duty. Or rather, bringing Ellis along with her to the station because Chief Li has called them for a case. The optimist quickly dries out when they learn the “big assignment” is community outreach to a mostly empty room. The session is about package thieves. One of them, an older lady named Bonnie, complains of a “ghost” living in her neighbour’s house.

When Ellis and Max go to investigate, they find something more sinister. Max breaks in – illegally – and they discover the body of Jake Boshep. He was a sports agent working with Bill Flaire’s agency. Jake is stabbed multiple times in the chest, has a black eye, and the windscreen of his car is smashed. As of now, the duo thinks that all this is connected and they have been inflicted by the same person. But Jake has not been robbed, even though he has a lot of cash.

This murder is personal and they must find out what makes it so. Ellis and Max go to the agency’s office where the latter mixes with Jake’s personal secretary Dana and Ellis questions Bill. They both have a different story to tell. While Bill says that Jake had no enemies and he showed no signs of anything wrong with him, Dana completely contradicts him. Jake’s ex-wife, Amy, has a solid alibi for the night of the murder. Max slyly slips the call logs from Jake’s phone and his client list.

Next, they investigate Summer Lake, who is an MMA fighter. She has a huge fight coming up next week, which would give her global fame and the agency a huge commercial boost.  Jake called her 23 times the night he died. But she couldn’t pick up because Summer was coming back to the US on a flight from Norway. Max gives them their next lead. Almost everyone posted a remembrance message for Jake on social media…except Curtis Moorfield, Jake’s former client and a famous sportsperson. He hosts a press conference to announce where he is going to sign on next. 

Max notices his wife, Kandace, curling a straw wrapper around her finger. She found one at Jake’s house and made the connection that Kandace and Jake were having an affair. Max makes a bold move by asking Curtis this question in front of everyone. The duo are brought to the station for questioning. Kandace confesses to having an affair. She explains that Jake called Curtis to “clear the air” before he was murdered. It turns out that Curtis smashed the windscreen but he maintains that he didn’t kill him.

Max notices his shoes and brings Ellis’ attention to the pair. The concierge at Jake’s building was also wearing the same pair. However, the catch is that they are from Moorfield’s exclusive collection, which is yet to open for sale. The concierge accepts that he accepted the shoes from Mackenzie, who has shouldered all of Jake’s pending work and clients. She wanted to suppress this incident as it would have damaged the firm’s reputation.

Bill is flared up when he confronts Ellis at the station. He threatens to sue following Moorfield’s interrogation. Ellis stands his ground and instead asks Bill to be honest about Jake’s personal life. Bill points them in the direction of another former client, Hailey Chen-Lin. She is a BMX stunt rider and is known to have exhibited violent behaviour. When they visit her, Hailey reveals that she gave Jake a black eye. 

She did it because their relationship was souring due to some incidents. But Hailey is completely thrown off when they mention Jake has been killed. While Max chats to her, Ellis goes around the back to her pickup truck. He finds the murder weapon and arrests Hailey for Jake’s murder. Just like the previous episode, Max is not convinced. And internally, Ellis isn’t either. But Li asks them to close the case. Max calls George in prison. Her father advises Max to go with her instincts. 

Ellis acts on his instincts to keep looking for “the real killer” with Max. She pretends to be a masseuse and goes to Amy’s house for further investigation. Amy reveals that Jake called her the night he died and apologized to her profusely. She also says that they fought after Jake transferred a quarter of a million from her account to another woman, named Kate Westdale. Things become interesting when they visit Kate, who is the wife of former athlete Danny Westdale.

Danny died years ago due to a heart condition called HCM. To get more dirt on why Jake suddenly grew a conscience, Max pretends to be an office worker and once again hits up Dana. This time, Max is able to get conclusive evidence that leads her to the real killer. She gets her hands on all of Jake’s incoming mail, one of which is a peculiar health report from Dr Slaney. It mentions that Summer Lake has a heart condition, HCM, the same one as Danny.

They inform Summer on the eve of her fight, leaving her in disbelief. Max sets up Bill and Dr Melvin Tadlock, getting them to confess that not only did Melvin falsify Danny’s heart report all those years ago, but also that Bill killed Jake to keep him quiet. They are arrested and the detectives breathe a sigh of relief. However, they grow concerned when Summer decides to continue with the fight. Midway, Max talks to her and convinces Summer to back out. “No one is born to do just one thing on earth,” says Summer to a reporter after the fight is stopped midway. 

As the episode ends, we also solve the mystery of the package thief in Bonnie’s building. It is Bonnie herself. Max got her by asking Ricky, her friend and associate, to deliver a phone to one of Bonnie’s neighbours. It was a trap that she fell for. Max has a meeting with Bonnie where she says that she won’t report Bonnie to the police but will keep the rewards for the packages herself.

The Episode Review

Over the first two episodes, the creators of Wild Cards have not been able to figure out Ellis’ character. While Max is the belle of the ball, he has just come off as a two-dimensional cardboard figure. Ellis has zero pull or personality and for some reason, all the clues have been discovered by Max until now. It portrays him as a bad and incompetent cop. No matter how good a person you are, if you aren’t good at your job, you won’t make it.

The episodic subplot is much more sophisticated in this episode. It is not that difficult to crack but keeps us occupied nonetheless. I really hope that the creative team tracks back and makes changes to the format. Levelling the playing field by allowing Ellis to do some positive stuff would be a great start. 

It would solve a lot of problems and give the show some much-needed dynamism. The blueprint on which it has operated for the first two episodes will not be welcome in the upcoming episodes. A pivot is necessary but it remains to be seen if the writers see it as well.

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