Millennium: “Dead Letters” (Season 1, Episode 3, 11/8/1996)
December 20, 2016
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In just the third episode of Millennium, we get a real doozy. This one’s about a guy in Portland, Oregon who’s abducting women, covering their faces with duct tape, and cutting them into little pieces. Detective Jim Horn (James Morrison) is in charge of the case, and he’s a candidate being considered by the Millenium Group. He’s also going through a terrible divorce, and it’s seriously effecting his judgment.
Frank Black and Jim Horn investigating a crime scene.
The Group pays for Frank Black to fly in and help, and after seeing the evidence, he instinctively knows that the killer is leaving messages for the police to find, even though no one’s noticed. He’s right, of course; closer inspection reveals that the messages have been written on the victims’ hair. But Frank also gets the sense that Detective Horn might be dangerously unbalanced himself, and he has to fight for the guy’s soul while they’re both trying to catch the monster in their midst.
Meanwhile, Frank’s daughter Jordan is having freaky dreams back at home. They’re about clowns, and they give us our first hint that Jordan may be more like her father than he knows.
This episode is one of the best in the first season, when Millennium was still mostly a straight detective show. The Jim Horn character adds an even darker twist to what is already some pretty twisted subject matter. This is a man whose marriage has failed, whose life is being torn apart, and who can’t stop seeing his wife and his kid in the victims. It makes you think just how thin the line between order and chaos really can be. The way I see it, Horn is being hypnotized by the Backward Face, and Frank has the steely eyes of Sutekh, piercing through something that would drive most people mad.
A brief interlude with Jim’s family.