The protector

THE PROTECTOR “Rats” Season 1 Episode 10 – This week on The Protector, it’s all about “Rats.” Fortunately not the gross, disease-riddled variety, but the cute, white kind on which scientists love to experiment.

Every heroine has a flaw and it turns out that Gloria’s is musophobia, the fear of rodents. But when an entire university research team is poisoned and one of them doesn’t survive, our Protector must face that fear in order to solve a murder in a lab full of rats.

I’ve been trying to remember if in all the cop shows that have ever used the backdrop of an animal research institution (and that’s pretty much all of them), the killer ever actually turned out to be everyone’s first suspect, the animal rights activist who threatened the scientists. These guys have the worst reputation. Yes, they are responsible for most of those abused puppy commercials set to Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel,” but when it comes to fictional murder, they’re always proven innocent by the second commercial break.

There’s a downside to watching too many cop shows: you know all the clues to look for in order to figure out the mystery long before the end of the hour. And I’m not talking about the physical evidence of the case. It’s more like recognizing that a reasonably well-known actress like Ashley Williams, who played one of the poisoned grad students, probably isn’t going to have just that one interview scene in the beginning of the episode. It’s clear that she’ll be back, which usually means she’ll either be the killer or she’ll be responsible for a lesser crime that will lead the detectives to the real killer.

It’s not the writer’s fault; that’s just a casting fail and probably an unavoidable one unless really unknown actors and actresses start being hired exclusively to play killer characters. Still, I long for the simpler days when I didn’t know whodunit until the big reveal.

On the home front, Gloria’s son, Nick (I think…could have been Leo), is grounded and Uncle Davey is put in charge of enforcing his no video games/no cookies punishment, since Gloria spends exactly 5.2 seconds every episode with her children. No more, no less. But when Nick (or Leo) catches Davey kissing the nanny, it’s blackmail time. Cookies for silence. I respect a kid who can blackmail his uncle. It shows a moral ambiguity that will serve him well later in life.

I’m still on my quest to figure out exactly what is supposed to separate The Protector from all the other cop dramas on TV right now. Is it Gloria’s quirks? Michelle’s straight talk? The sweeping landscape of Los Angeles? Should I just give up?

What did you think of the episode? Is it okay to kill rats and line the pockets of laboratories if the trade-off is discovering a cure for diabetes? Do you really want a teddy bear thumb drive now? Let me know below!