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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Does Body of Proof "Love Thy Neighbor" ?

     For the second season premiere of ABC's Body of Proof, "Love Thy Neighbor," the team investigates a case in a neighborhood that purposely will remind fans of Dana Delany's previous series, Desperate Housewives. In an idyllic cul-de-sac, a man is murdered, and the body is made to look like an accident. But a little digging, and the team discovers an extensive circle of swinging, and eventually, the real cause of the murder, a meth lab. Throughout the case, Megan (Delany) proves she still has her wits, even while increasingly bothered by the relationship between ex-husband, Todd (Jeffrey Nordling), and her boss, Kate (Jeri Ryan). Specifically, how they might mess up Megan's still-in-repair relationship with her daughter, Lacey (Mary Mouser).

     The setting is a fantastic homage, and even Megan's toss off about "desperate housewives" at the end of the episode doesn't seem too corny. The whole thing is done with affection, rather than parody. The characters making up the neighborhood get filled by some fantastic guest stars, including Joelle Carter (Justified), Derek Phillips (Friday Night Lights), Rick Fox (Dirt, Oz), Christopher Wiehl, (Jericho), and Danielle Bisutti (True Jackson, VP). The cops find evidence of kinky sexcapades and false real estate schemes, with juicy twists and delicious surprises. As a case of the week, this one is pretty darn good.

     Thankfully, much of "Love Thy Neighbor" focuses on Megan's personal life, rather than just the case of the week. ABC. is generally pretty good about keeping the characters interesting in their procedurals, and Body of Proof looks to continue that trend. Megan now seems far closer to Lacey than when season one ends, and she is desperate to keep that mother-daughter thing from deteriorating, a perfectly understandable reaction. It's hard to tell how much of Megan's distress over the situation comes from worrying over Lacey, and how much is jealousy concerning Todd, but the former seems to be winning. Nice job keeping that at the forefront, while still going about this week's business.

     Other characters besides Megan are showing some growth and depth, too. Is Kate just acquiring a fancy, expensive new piece of machinery so that her staff doesn't hate her for what she is doing to Megan? Bribery is not necessary, as Kate is staying as classy as possible under the circumstances. Ethan (Geoffrey Arend) and Curtis (Windell D. Middlebrooks) continue to bicker, but help each other.

     Bud (John Carroll Lynch) gets to complain to Sam (Sonja Sohn) about his sex life. This opens up something that is perhaps not necessary to know about Bud. But it also humanizes him, and allows a real look at the two homicide detective's working relationship. This is welcome, and so are the scenes of the two doing their own jobs, as the pair are often only on the fringe during season one. Clearly, both actors can handle a bigger workload.

     Peter (Nicholas Bishop), so far, remains generic and boring.

     Watch Body of Proof Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

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