Saturday, July 24, 2021

Season One: Episode 16: "Covenant"

Directed by Roderick K. Pridy

Written by Robert Moresco

Airdate: March 21, 1997

Guest Stars: John Finn (William Garry); Michael O'Neill (Calvin Smith); Sarah Koskoff (Didi Higgens)

"Covenant" finds Frank Black in Ogden, Utah investigating a brutal multiple homicide. The ominous prologue is a flashback to the night of the murders, a depressed father William Garry greets his family as they come home for dinner, later that evening the father was arrested for murdering them in what appeared to be an open and shut case. 

A parent turning on their spouse and children remains one of the ultimate taboos, even creating a sense of shame from within communities. With Calvin about to receive a death penalty sentence, Frank is called in to take a closer look at the case. Evidence leads Frank to suspect Calvin did not commit the crimes, despite his many public confessions. Facing pushback from local authorities, especially from the County Prosecutor portrayed by Michael O'Neill.  A familiar face to television, O'Neill was known for playing characters in law enforcement, he likes to quote scripture and speaks of the "good people" in his community who want to put the crimes behind them. 

Eventually Frank determines Mr. Garry was not responsible after a forensic investigation which included exhuming the victims from their graves. Once the evidence suggests it was the mother who was responsible for the murders, Frank persuades a police officer who covered up evidence implicating the mother to finally confess the truth to prevent the death penalty sentence.

Henricksen was the only series principal to appear in this procedural episode, "Covenant" is firmly based in the true crime genre. Like many season one episodes, the tone is grim yet engaging. 

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