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Terriers Watch: By Hooker By Crook

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Brief spoilers for last night’s Terriers after the jump:

Last week’s Terriers post convinced me there’s enough interest in the show that I should return to it on the blog. And this was a good week to do it, because “Pimp Daddy” was a strong explanation of two questions that Terriers explores. The first is a question common to any private-eye story: what can you find out? The second is a question sometimes explored by truly good private-eye stories: what do you really want to know?

The job of private dicks like Hank and Britt is such that they often find themselves digging up dirt for people who might well be better off with their dirt undug. Their job—especially for two guys struggling this hard to pay the bills—is to dig and not ask questions.

With their business, however, comes an ability to unearth the past that can be tempting and dangerous, and this theme played out in both the case of the week—both with Michaela the transvestite hooker and then with her murdered friend—and both Hank and Britt’s serial stories.

In each of Britt’s investigations, he (and later Michaela), decide that the greater part of kindness is not revealing the whole truth: not telling a teenager that the she he paid for sex was a he, and not telling the murder victims parents about their son’s later life choices. (Discussion question: But was each choice correct? You could argue that it’s one thing to be paternalistic toward a minor, whereas grown parents—however they might take the news—deserve to know the whole truth about their dead child.)

Hank, meanwhile, actively seeks out the dirt in Jason’s past (his parents were accused child molesters, though his own role in it as a teen is unclear), with obviously checkered motivations: does he want to protect Gretchen or just win her back? One could make the case, of course that both could be true, but there’s an obvious hypocrisy in his behavior, as is pointed up after Britt finds the pregnancy test: Hank has been protecting his friend and partner from the news of Katie’s one-night infidelity. And as he finally confronts Gretchen with the information—which, it turns out, she has known for some time—Donal Logue does a fine job of suggesting that Hank himself may on some level doubt if he’s doing the right thing, that he’s arguing to persuade himself as much as anything.

This being Terriers, the episode doesn’t provide any clear answers on the benefits of a full-disclosure policy, but it did a fine job of showing how people live with the truth, and try to live without it. As Michaela puts it: “For people like us, the further you do back, the more painful it usually is. So honey, you just stick to the day-to-day.”

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