Five Things You Should Know About Battle Creek

Milt, Russ and the team - Battle Creek

Battle Creek premiered on March 1, 2015 on CBS. It currently airs on Sunday night at 10 pm. I am finding it to be highly entertaining, and if you have not watched it, I enthusiastically recommend it. For people that have not seen the program, I will try and not spoil it, but if I inadvertently do, I apologize!

The show is set in Battle Creek, Michigan. I have never been to Battle Creek, but it is portrayed as a relatively small city with limited police resources. The equipment they have is outdated and frequently breaks down. In fact, in the first episode, a police detective borrows a video camera from a parent who is filming a dance recital in order to videotape a sting operation.

Help arrives in the form of an FBI agent charged with opening a field office in Battle Creek. He brings with him the full resources of the FBI, which are impressive. His access to high tech crime fighting equipment and techniques has everyone wowed, except of course for the man he selects to be his police partner.

If I had to complain about this program it would be because of the terrible time slot CBS has given it. I will admit that I am worried that lost in the late Sunday hour, people will not take notice of this show, and that would be a shame, because it is so creatively written.

Partner Friction
 

Russ and Milt - Battle Creek

As with some other TV programs, the two main leads are set at odds with each other for comic effect. Detective Russ Agnew with the Battle Creek Detective Squad is suspicious and abrasive and in general portrayed as a misanthrope. Agent Milt Chamberline of the FBI, on the other hand, is a trusting compassionate person portrayed as the guy everyone loves, especially women!

Of course, these two have entirely different approaches to crime solving, including their interrogation techniques and investigative procedures. Milt is trusting and manages to get people to cooperate, whereas Russ is suspicious of everyone and does not get the same results. Russ constantly throws out wild theories about the crime of the week, preferring the spit-ball approach, whereas Milt is very careful and methodical in his thought process.

Because of this disparity, Russ is constantly frustrated and annoyed. He resents the equipment and resources Milt brings to the game, and is usually sarcastic in his interactions with Milt. Milt seems to always remain calm and polite despite Russ’ argumentative and belittling comments.

When Milt is permitted by the Commander to select one of the members of the Battle Creek Detective Squad to be his partner, everyone wants to be selected – except of course Russ. Predictably, Milt chooses Russ to be his partner!

Chemistry
 

Russ and Milt - Battle Creek

The two lead actors have amazing chemistry and play off each other to good advantage. If I were to compare them to other TV shows, their dynamic is reminiscent of Oscar and Felix from The Odd Couple or Wes and Travis from Common Law. In fact, one of the reasons I gave this show a try was because the pre-premiere advertising for it reminded me of Common Law, a show which I truly miss!

While both men are handsome, Milt is always impeccably dressed, groomed and everyone fawns over him. Russ, on the other hand, has facial stubble and reminds me of Columbo with rumpled clothes and demeanor. When Milt brings donuts to share with the office, everyone notices and comments, despite the fact Russ brought donuts recently and no one remembered or commented.

Fun, Creative Cases
 

The Mayor - Battle Creek

The writers build on the fact that Battle Creek is known as the “Cereal City” since it is the world headquarters for the Kellogg Company. Cases incorporate fictional events like “Breakfast Day,” which is based on the real “Cereal Festival” held in June in Battle Creek. When one case involves a cartel, it is not for the usual item – but I won’t spoil it for you! This unique spin on crime makes the episodes interesting and entertaining.

The Team
 

Cast - Battle Creek

As is typical with this type of show, the detective squad is full of quirky characters. Even Commander Guziewicz has her quirks – which actually is a bit unusual, since the leader is mostly portrayed in other shows as being the one normal person!

Detective Fontanelle White, who is referred to as Font, is Russ’ partner before Milt, and is highly loyal to Russ. He also gets a lot of the snarkiest lines. Office Manager Holly Dale is the love interest for Russ, and although she is very insightful in her work, she has not figured out that Russ has a crush on her despite the fact it is obvious to everyone else!

We don’t know very much about the other three detectives; Niblet (a nickname due to the appearance of his teeth), Funkhauser and Jacocks. The Medical Examiner is a Little Person, and in Russ’ abrasive manner he resents the fact that the department spent money to resize the autopsy tables. Milt of course becomes her darling when he takes her side.

The Mystery of Milt
 

Battle Creek Mans Best Friend Episode 3 05

Milt, as it turns out, is a complicated guy! There is the ongoing mystery of why he was charged with setting up a field office in Battle Creek. After all, He was working in Detroit, and Battle Creek is a step down in his career. Plus, we find out in the first episode that his former boss was happy to see him go.

Russ, for his part, is determined to find the truth – after all he is a detective! Exactly what happened and why Milt was transferred is the subject of his ongoing off-the-books investigation on the part of Russ, and he uses subterfuge as well as outright questioning to try and suss out the facts. The problem is that everyone seems to be lying!

 

Have you watched Battle Creek? What do you think of it? Do you hope it gets a better time slot and survives for a second season? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!