Terrible episode that tries to address a complex problem
Into the Murdering Mind begins with a young man, Glenn Werner (Kelly Ward), in a hospital waiting area demanding to see his psychiatrist while having an apparent meltdown, but the doctor is unavailable and he runs off. He then goes to his family home and stabs to death his father, sister and brother who are found by the mother (Conchata Ferrell) the next day. The police apprehend the young man in what appears to be an open and shut case, but matters are complicated when they discover that he suffers from mental illness. If it is determined that he was in fact mentally ill at the time the crimes were committed and could not reason or distinguish between right and wrong, he could be remanded to an institution and released in a minimum of 90 days. Quincy (Jack Klugman) is shocked by this and fears that if this happens that he will go after his mother next.
This episode attempts to delve into the complexities of mental illness and how it correlates to the law when a crime is committed. While I'm no expert in this subject area, I thought they did an extremely poor job of it which results in a terrible episode. First off, there is zero mystery to this as we see right in the beginning who committed the crime and how it was done, so the only question that remains is how law enforcement and the courts are going to handle the killer. Even if being declared insane and institutionalized was the determination, you cannot tell me that a killer of three people would be put right back out on the streets in three short months. The person would be institutionalized for years, possibly even decades. Maybe in some remote, highly unusual cases a killer declared insane could get out sooner, but I just wasn't buying that it happens at the frequency that was suggested in this story and it seemed like this was exaggerated for dramatic effect.
There are plenty of plot holes as well. In the opening scenes, the hospital staff can't reach the psychiatrist and somehow there is no one on call to back him up or anyone else on duty to substitute in his absence, seriously? This is not the protocol that would be in place for mentally ill patients with prior violent tendencies. I also thought the subplot involving Sam (Robert Ito) knowing the victims was stupid and pointless as well. First he says he mowed their lawn for a couple of years implying it was brief and a long time ago, but then he also "watched the kids grow up". How did you watch the kids grow up when you only mowed their lawn for a couple of years when you were presumably a young man as well? Robert Ito was around age 50 at the time this episode aired, so unless the Sam character is 10 years or more younger or was mowing lawns well into his 30s, the time span still doesn't add up that he would have seen these kids raised.
I rarely criticize any actor or actress in particular in these reviews, but I have to break with tradition this time and say that Conchata Ferrell is awful in her performance as the mother to the point where it is a distraction. Here your husband and two of your children supposedly have just been brutally murdered, and your only surviving child who committed the crime might be out to kill you next, yet you are going around calmly discussing the matter while barely showing any emotion in your scenes only mildly concerned. I'm not very familiar with the work of this actress besides knowing that she later found success in comedy (Two and a Half Men), but I just couldn't believe how someone with so many acting credits fouled up this role so badly.
All of this combined with a huge letdown of an ending makes this a terrible Season 7 episode in my opinion and one that I would definitely not recommend viewing.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?