I had been eager to see this episode, since as we all know, Gerald McRaney married Delta Burke in real life. I am not sure when this episode came in the timeline of their relationship, but Delta had already been delighting audiences as Suzanne Sugarbaker on CBS' hit southern sitcom Designing Women for a year before she turned up on this show. In many ways, Delta has a very limited range as an actress, and this story sort of proves it. She's basically playing another Suzanne type character, charming the pants off Rick and pulling a few fast numbers on him and his brother. Even after she seems to experience a change of heart midway through the story, she still manages to stiff them with the bill at the end. I guess we needed to know that while Mac wound up with Delta behind the scenes, Rick did not get to keep her on camera.
And yet, despite Delta's limited ability to play a wide range of characters, she does manage very well here with the highly specialized, high-maintenance woman she plays. She's a reporter Rick knew in 'Nam, and her stupid selfish act fifteen years earlier caused a lot of suffering for the men Rick served with. In a pivotal scene, he lashes out at her and tells her what kind of pain she caused. It's not a typical screaming match-- yes, the veins on Rick's neck and forehead are popping out-- but he is setting her straight because he cares enough to see her change, and this comes across vividly. Delta's reactions are perfect, including the apology scene that follows afterward, and this is perhaps some of the best acting she's ever done on television.
The title for the episode is an allusion to a movie called Desperately Seeking Susan, which couldn't be more different from this crime story. The plot involves a fugitive from "justice" (in quotes because this is another episode about corrupt small-town justice) whom Delta's character believes has been set up. The Simons help her basically help him, and it all seems to be moving along as one expects, until the last part. The scene where the Simons stop guest star Pat Corley from extraditing Dacody sacrifices all credibility the episode might have had up to that moment. There is no way a relatively new lieutenant like Abby Marsh, who has already been established as a no-nonsense by-the-book copper, would let two private detectives use a squad car and pose as police to nab Corley. It was just too unreal for words. Kind of like Suzanne, I mean Delta, going back to Sugarbaker's in Atlanta without paying the bill.
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