Backstrom “Give ‘Til It Hurts” Review (Season 1 Episode 8)

Backstrom Give Til It Hurts Season 1 Episode 8 05

On the latest episode of “Backstrom,” venture capitalist and philanthropist Vanessa Taymor was discovered dead, the victim of, as Backstrom put it, “a hit, another hit, another hit and run” after someone ran her down repeatedly, in “Give ‘Til It Hurts.” Was it a crime of passion? Pure vengeance? A jealous spouse? Backstrom determined to find out, even if it meant- gasp! – shaving and dressing up for a fancy-shmancy charity event and busting out his best moves on the dance floor. Eat your heart out, “Dancing with the Stars”!

First to be crossed off the list was the husband, Tad (Chris Payne Gilbert, “The Protector”), who it turned out, was in the hospital and had been for six weeks or so, undergoing experimental treatments for cancer. Not exactly thrilled his main reason for going on and fighting the disease had been taken from him, the former tennis champ directed Backstrom and company towards her former pals, a group of ladies who gathered to play Mahjong regularly at a posh locale. Backstrom being Backstrom, he wasted no time in insulting the ladies, and hauling them in for questioning, not in the least after one of them tossed a drink in his face.

Once there, the women promptly lawyer up, but Niedermayer manages to butter them up with some high-end tea and they finally loosen up their tongues a bit. It seems they are all on various charity boards together and had a falling out with Vanessa over her not wanting to accept money from Donald Sampson, who had run into a bit of a scandal for a video that had leaked of him spewing racist bile. The problem was, it was a lot of money, and the rest of the women somewhat understandably wanted to take it. But was that really worth killing her over?

Other dead ends included the fact that one of the ladies, Cristen (Keegan Connor Tracy, “Once Upon a Time”) had stolen Vanessa’s high-end purse at the scene of the crime and was with her right before she died- but she turned out not to have access to a car at the time. She was able to describe the car that did it, which turned out to be a rental in Vanessa’s own name. Another possibility was a man who worked at a soup kitchen with a shady past, who was upset with Sampson’s words, but wasn’t above accepting his money, though he wasn’t inclined to kill Vanessa over objecting to it.

A homeless man in the soup kitchen led Backstrom to the fact that Sampson might be having an affair with someone, and all signs pointed to Vanessa, who had known Sampson for ages, and who had an ongoing rivalry with her husband. However, they still had to prove it, so the team got dressed up to the nines and headed to a fund-raiser at his house, where everyone did their best to fit in while attempting to snoop around the grounds to look for the car that had been spotted and spy on Sampson. Alas, Backstrom overhears Sampson talking to a woman, who it turned out had intentionally leaked the tape after an argument. The affair was obviously still going on, and it clearly wasn’t with Vanessa, so yet another lead was sunk.

Nadia finds a series of cash donations from Vanessa to what appears to be a false charity, which traces back to her husband’s doctor, who is giving him an experimental drug. However, the doctor confirms that the money is to cover the trial costs, and was done that way to keep it from the husband, who was part of a larger group of people on the drug in question. Unfortunately for him, he had landed in the placebo group, so his medicine wasn’t real at all, which meant that his so-called “treatment” was completely bogus. Backstrom proves it by taking the “drug” himself, which is, of course, absolutely harmless.

Backstrom then realizes that the husband’s “dream board,” a collage of pictures beside his bed filled with pictures of the things he supposedly wanted isn’t really his at all, but rather assembled by his nurse, who helped him put it together in his weakened state. However, the pictures all show glamorous stuff that a man as rich as Tad would have already owned, for the most part- which meant that the pictures were more of a representation of things the nurse wanted than him.

Backstrom realizes that she must have eliminated the wife in order to swoop in and take her place, in order to put herself in the running for her replacement, and thus, in prime position for his inheritance as well. Gravely finds the damning evidence on the hospital computer and that’s all she wrote for the nurse. Case closed.

This was a fun episode, with some great character moments for Backstrom in particular, who ran afoul with a possum in the opening sequence- which he thought was an excuse for a booty call from his ex, a returning Sarah Chalke- and later got his tango on at the charity ball with the same. I also loved the moment when he and Valentine walked into the event to the strains of “Turn Down For What?”

And, as ever, the interactions with him and Dr. Deb were a wonderful mixture of dark humor- Backstrom gave him evidence he was genuinely trying to change his ways by using a sober chip he had gotten from his ex, who actually intended it as a token to get Backstrom to quit drinking, which she had gotten from her father- and sincere concern and respect on both ends, which is a tricky balance to get right. The show nails it time and again, though, in these recurring scenes. My favorite line also harkened back to the sober chip, which Backstrom remarked upon which, after receiving it from Amy: “He quit drinking and started gambling?” LOL.

Granted, the solution to the case was a bit random as a whole, but at least there was no shortage of suspects, and I certainly didn’t see the culprit coming. I did figure Backstrom’s attempt at a dream board would be ridiculously over-the-top, which it was. (There was a lot of booze and cigars and the like.) I also enjoyed seeing Backstrom takedown the Mahjong ladies with enormous glee. Pretty good stuff all around, all told. The show is definitely growing on me overall.

How about you? Are you a fan of “Backstrom” and his antics? Or is his humor a bit dark for your tastes? How about his dope dance moves? Would you like to see him and Amy back together as a couple? Or would you rather he move on with Gravely? (Great double take by her, BTW, when Backstrom cast her off while they were dancing to go after Amy.) Who is your favorite character? Sound off on this and more down below and see you next time!