Main cast: Eric Roberts (Harry Siegel), Cynthia Watros (Meredith Kane), Jack Noseworthy (Rory Bemell), Larry Gilliard Jr (James), Jake Church (Max), and Tom Edwards (Father)
Director: Brad Anderson
Harry Siegel is a cop that has a pretty long history of beating the people under his custody pretty badly. He has never used his gun while on duty, but he has no problems choking, beating, and even setting suspects on fire. He crosses the line, as far his superiors are concerned, in the opening of the episode when he beats up a probable kidnapper so badly that the man dies while being wheeled out to the ambulance. But because the kid Harry rescues is a senator’s son, he merely loses his job and has to serve some community service.
Cut to fifteen years later, when Harry is now a private investigator. He has a sassy assistant, James, and seems to be pretty good at his job, often catching his clients’ spouses cheating on them as well as those clients cheating themselves, heh. As you can guess, though, he is still not over his dismissal from the force. Then comes a social worker, Meredith Kane, who wants to hire him and James for what seems like another routine case of a cheating spouse. At her request, he sets up camp in a house opposite Meredith’s to spy on the hubby. Well, what do you know, it’s a big and empty house, and Harry starts seeing what seems like the ghosts of his past manifesting to give him the middle finger…
Scorned has the making of a solid thriller but it suffers from an identity crisis of sorts. You see, for a long time it is building up to be some psychological horror story, and then… boom! Out of the blue supernatural elements pop up at the tail end of the episode, making me scratch my head and wondering what has just happened. Also, Harry has done many bad things, and for a while, I wonder whether this episode is just some PSA about police brutality wrapped up in a M Night Shyamalan-ish package, but no, as the episode progresses, our protagonist gets mostly hammered and even punished for what was actually an innocent childhood mistake. As a result, the closure feels like a disproportionately misguided retribution in action, punishing Harry for an accident rather than for the sins he willingly committed since then. Or maybe these people are just aiming for some cruel twist of irony? If so, that only reinforces the impression that the entire episode is a mess.
Shame, really. The cast is generally solid, and the pacing is good too. It’s just that the story in itself doesn’t quite cut it.