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MEMPHIS BEAT Season 2 Starts With Tonal Opposites

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MEMPHIS BEAT Season 2 Starts With Tonal Opposites

Memphis Beat Season 2

Photo : TNT

I got to see the first two episodes of Season 2 – “At The River” and “Inside Man.” Neither gave any indication that MEMPHIS BEAT will attempt an overall mystery or crime(s) to solve over its ten-episode summer run, which is a good thing since the characters are what makes the show so interesting and fun.

I got to see the first two episodes of Season 2 – “At The River” and “Inside Man.” Neither gave any indication that MEMPHIS BEAT will attempt an overall mystery or crime(s) to solve over its ten-episode summer run, which is a good thing since the characters are what makes the show so interesting and fun.

The opener, “At The River,” has Det. Dwight Hendricks (Jason Lee – MY NAME IS EARL, ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS) and the department attempt to solve the murder of a fellow officer. There’s also an Internal Affairs investigation that requires Dwight to work with Claire Ryan (Beau Garrett – CRIMINAL MINDS: SUSPECT BEHAVIOR, TRON: LEGACY).  The case makes for a more somber re-introduction to the Memphis PD gang as well as giving some deeper insight into who Dwight is and his background.

Memphis Beat Season 2

Photo : TNT

The best part of the episode for me was the interaction between Lt. Tanya Rice (Alfre Woodard) and Det. Charlie “Whitehead” White (Sam Hennings – Samuel Colt to you SUPERNATURAL fans). Their often uneasy relationship makes for some great scenes, an impossible feat if they weren’t both such skilled actors. It’ll also be interesting to see if Claire reappears down the line either as a love interest or to pick up a plot thread I might have seen dangling (or both).

“Inside Man,” which is definitely more comedic,  is easily my favorite of the two thanks to guest-star Thomas Lennon (RENO 911!, 17 AGAIN, VIVA VARIETY) who plays a man with valuable information regarding a string of robberies. Lennon is simultaneously charming and annoying and is a great foil for…well, everyone. I especially love his interaction with Lt. Rice (the word “twitterpated” comes to mind). Hennings also has some great moments thanks to White’s attempt to “rebrand” himself.

DJ Qualls (ROAD TRIP, HUSTLE AND FLOW) as Officer Davey Sutton and Leonard Earl Howze (ANTWONE FISHER) as Det. Reginald Greenback round out the recurring cast. While that don’t always get the spotlight, and they certainly didn’t in either episode, they’re a welcome presence. I kind of want to squeeze them…perhaps lightly squeeze Qualls…

Lee continues to do solid work as Dwight. He’s definitely at home as the character and makes the singing scenes, the part of the show I find most questionable, seem natural for Hendricks. Lee commits wholeheartedly to a character quirk that could derail the show if there were any hesitation, any hint of “this is silly” behind his eyes.

If you’ve enjoyed MEMPHIS BEAT in the past, you certainly won’t be disappointed in the new season. Regardless, I recommend “Inside Man” if for no other reason than the joy of Thomas Lennon.

MEMPHIS BEAT Season 2 Premiere on TNT Tuesday, June 14th 9/8c

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