blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Frasier (1993) s03e20 – Police Story

Police Story is a standout episode—and writer Sy Rosen’s sole “Frasier” credit—from the very start. It’s a moving car shot with Kelsey Grammer and Peri Gilpin, where Gilpin’s getting ready in the back seat and getting Grammer to speed because they’ve got to get to her date on time. It’s a fantastic sequence and going to kick off season three regular director Philip Charles MacKenzie’s best-directed episode.

Grammer’s speeding gets him pulled over and Gilpin convinces him to turn on the celebrity to try to get out of trouble. Grammer’s hesitant until it turns out the cop is the fetching Jane Kaczmarek, who’s a fan of his show. Lucky for him.

Thanks to having an ex-cop for a dad (John Mahoney), Grammer’s able to find out Kaczmarek’s identity… but not in a stalker way, obviously, in that cute eighties and nineties romantic pursuit (stalker) way. It’s a cop bar so Mahoney tags along, only to discover Kaczmarek was a devoted student from Mahoney’s academy teaching days. And she’d love to go out on a date with him, which all happens when Grammer’s off getting drinks for the table.

It turns out to be a great episode for Mahoney and Grammer, albeit separately to some extent because Mahoney can’t really go to Grammer for advice. Instead he goes to other son David Hyde Pierce and gives Hyde Pierce a wonderful comedic subplot as he giddily anticipates Grammer’s inevitable humiliation. It doesn’t seem bad when Hyde Pierce does it.

Anyway. After the big twist with Kaczmarek going for the older model, then there’s another when Grammer finds out about it, and a finale third twist in the middle of twist the viewer’s in on but the characters aren’t. That last twist gives Grammer a bunch of good acting fodder and Grammer delivers. The second half of the episode—starting with a great scene between Grammer and Jane Leeves and her friends—is a spotlight on Grammer and he’s got a whole bunch to do.

Grammer’s excellent, Mahoney’s excellent, Kaczmarek’s a good guest, Gilpin’s stuff is outstanding (she gets to help close it up), MacKenzie’s direction, Rosen’s script. If Story is any indication, it’s too bad Rosen didn’t write more “Frasier.” The MacKenzie direction too is just superb.

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