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"A Many Splendored Thing" is the second season finale of the American police drama television series Homicide: Life on the Street, and the thirteenth overall episode of the series. It originally aired on NBC in the United States on January 27, 1994. In the episode, Pembleton and Bayliss investigate the S&M-related murder of a young woman, which forces an uncomfortable Bayliss to confront his darker side. Meanwhile, Lewis is disturbed when a man commits murder over a $1.49 pen, and a despairing Munch crashes Bolander's date and ruins it by venting his own romantic woes.
Written by Noel Behn and directed by John McNaughton, "A Many Splendored Thing" was not originally planned to close the second season, but the expected finale "Bop Gun" was changed to the season premiere to capitalize on a guest performance by Robin Williams. The homicide case in "A Many Splendored Thing" involving a man who committed murder over a pen was based on a similar real-life killing that took place in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The episode featured the second of two guest appearances by actress Julianna Margulies as Linda, Bolander's romantic interest, as well an appearance by Adrienne Shelly as the owner of an S&M fashion store.
"A Many Splendored Thing" marked the final appearance by Jon Polito, who had played Detective Steve Crosetti since the series debuted, but was dismissed reportedly because NBC officials were unhappy with his physical appearance. Polito was publicly critical of the show after his dismissal. According to Nielsen Media Research, the episode was seen by 11.2 million household viewers, slight increase from the previous week's episode, "Black and Blue". It received generally positive reviews, and was identified by The Baltimore Sun as one of the ten best episodes of the series. "A Many Splendored Thing" was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay of an Episodic Drama.
* Jane Beard as Julie Newdow
* Cheryl Donaldson as Molly Sullivan
* Dan Garrett as Chris Novoselic
Homicide: Life on the Street: Season 2, Episode 4
A Many Splendored Thing (27 Jan. 1994)
An apparent S&M murder of a young woman leads Bayliss and Pembleton to investigate a phone sex company and a club where the quirky sexual appetite of the victim is revealed. At the local library, Lewis and Crosetti investigate the case of a man who was murdered over a $1.49 pen. Anxious about his first real date with the violin-playing waitress, Bolander asks Howard to double date. The evening out takes a few unexpected turns when an uninvited co-worker shows up.
(A library. LEWIS walks to the reference section, where MAX ZINTAK is lying sprawled on the floor. CROSETTI is already there.)
CROSETTI: Either it's murder or this library has a very strict overdue book policy.
LEWIS: (chuckles) Let's go chat with our star witness. (They leave the body and go to the desk where the bespectacled librarian MRS. NEWDOW is waiting.)
LEWIS: Uh, Miss Newdow –
NEWDOW: Uh, Mrs....Newdow. (holds up her hand so they can see her wedding ring.) Everyone always assumes librarians are old maids.
LEWIS: Sorry. You mind telling us your story, please?
NEWDOW: Well...the man who got shot and the man who shot the man who got shot were talking.
CROSETTI: Um, they come in with each other? They were together when they -
NEWDOW: No. And I don't think they even knew each other. But they were having a conversation. I even had to tell them to shush once.
LEWIS: They were arguing?
NEWDOW: No, not at all. Very friendly. The man who shot the man who got shot asked to borrow the man who got shot's pen. Oh, sure, very polite. Then, he went back to his table and he scribbled something down on a pad, and he returned the pen. This happened several times. The third time, the man who shot the man who got shot told the man who got shot that he really liked his pen and asked to buy it from him. The man who got shot said, 'Well, it's just a $1.49 pen, and it's the only one I have. You can buy one anywhere.' The man who shot the man who got shot took out a gun and he shot him. He just kept on firing. It was very noisy. I ducked down here behind the counter. Suddenly there was silence, and I stayed down here a long while. I wasn't sure if the man had left yet –
LEWIS: But there was no arguing, no yelling, no fighting, no nothing?
CROSETTI: You're saying, are you saying –
NEWDOW: (exasperated) What I'm saying is, the only reason he blew him away was over a $1.49 pen.