Wednesday, November 30, 2005

(TV: Commander In Chief) Name the Dead

Okay, I shouldn’t watch television whenever a show tries to talk about a subject I actually know something about.

But I recorded Geena Davis’ new show, Commander in Chief, about the first woman President and what are they discussing but…..the death penalty. In the back story we have learned that Davis’ character was an Independent who was a University President following a career as a homicide prosecutor (??).

The main storyline for this week’s episode was about a woman on death row -- in Texas of course, with a “room temperature IQ,” of course – never mind that under the Atkins case a retarded person can’t be executed. But why should reality intrude.

We get a clue where new showrunner Steven Bochco, who wrote this episode, falls on this subject when the President explains the case as a “dim-witted girl who fell in with a bad guy who robbed cab drivers and one of them died.” Gee, sounds like the victim might as well have gotten hit by a bus.

Then the President’s old law school pal brings a handmade card written by the condemned killer that reads like a third grader. We also find out that the condemned may or may not have been the actual shooter. Certainly doesn’t sound like Tookie Williams or Karla Faye Tucker.

But: “I can save her life,” Davis’ character declares. Hmmm, really? The pardon power of the President extends only to offenses cognizable under Federal law. Must've been something more to this "falling in" story.

The back story is about Davis's first Thanksgiving as president. Instead of pardoning the turkey, what a surprise: she pardons the dim-witted Texas murderess.

(I wrote that last paragraph, about the turkey, halfway through the show, before knowing the ending. Am I psychic?)

Everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving dinner -- except the dead nameless cab driver and his grieving nameless family who may or may not have been able to afford a big fat turkey this year, what with dad's income gone and all.

Many ancient advanced cultures believed that it was important to name the dead. If the dead were named their souls would live on.

How many of the dead by the 3000+ condemned murderers in America today can you name?

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