The the mid-season finale Donnie (Scott Wolf) gets himself, and Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack) whom he calls for help, in a pickle when the Assistant District Attorney wakes up in bed with his dead campaign manager (Brooke Nevin). Although Pierce is quickly released from custody, Donnie faces serious murder charges when his toxicology screen comes back showing no evidence to support his claim of being drugged and set-up. Kate‘s (Rachael Leigh Cook) own worries about Donnie cheating again, along with her husband’s blackout and bloodstained clothes, don’t help the situation.
Doing a little poking around on his own, with the help of Lewicki (Arjay Smith) and a grizzled police detective hallucination (Jude Ciccolella), Daniel finds some disturbing news about Donnie’s financial backers and their redistricting plan to steal elections and some innuendo suggesting a personal relationship between the victim and Donnie. While working the case Daniel also has to deal with his father (Peter Coyote) and the awkward situation he’s gotten himself into with another Alzheimer’s patient (Joanna Cassidy) in his assisted living community which will come back to bite Daniel in the ass in the episode’s final scene.
Although it’s doesn’t rank as one of the show’s best episodes, “Dirty” stands out not only because Donnie is the leading suspect in a murder but because it is one of the only episodes in the entire series where Daniel’s medical expertise isn’t put to work (other than knowing about GHB) as the professor offers no psychological diagnoses to build a case, help save an innocent man, or lead Kate to a killer.
The bizarre events get even crazier when Donnie gets switched with another prisoner, thanks to the dead woman’s angry and jealous ex-boyfriend (James Madio), and finds himself in general population at the local prison which gets him a severe beating before Kate can get to him. Calming an angry Kate down, Pierce makes sense out of the half-truths of the cop and Donnie’s opponent (Michael Bunin) to find the real killer and motive for the crime. However, the mid-season finale leaves Donnie and Kate’s relationship on thin ice and, in an explosive final scene (forgive the pun), offers a cliffhanger to the fate of the show’s leading character (who somehow I think will survive to keep the show on the air since it returns with new episodes in February).