BACKSTROM Recap: 'Give 'Til It Hurts' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

BACKSTROM Recap: ‘Give ‘Til It Hurts’

March 26, 2015 by  

Hey BACKSTROM fans! The show is back after a mini-break, and this episode, Give ‘Til it Hurts, saw Portland’s Special Crimes Unit investigating the death of a wealthy philanthropist, featured many of them in formal wear (it’s a good look), and more scenes with Backstrom’s ex-fiance Amy, played as always by the great Sarah Chalke. I liked this episode pretty well; in fact, I think it might be my favorite of the series so far. Let’s discuss!


A woman’s body is found in a parking garage, and Niedermeyer figures that she was run over multiple times—likely a vindictive scenario. The victim is Vanessa Taymor, a local woman known for her wealth, famous ex-tennis champion husband Tad Taymor, and extensive charity work. The team finds the info “MJ @ Ms” on her calendar and posit several scenarios, ultimately that she was scheduled to play Mahjong at her friend Meredith’s house.

Backstrom and Almond visit the game and find Meredith with Vanessa’s other game friends, including Kristen Kelly. They are all rich women known for being a bit competitive with their giving. They tell Backstrom and Almond that Vanessa had already decided to quit the game. Backstrom wants them all arrested on account of bitchiness, but Almond takes Nadia’s advice and does the opposite, actually asking nicely, leading to Niedermeyer hosting a tea party. They tell him that Vanessa quit Mahjong because of Donald Sampson, a wealthy tennis player who recently had a racist video leaked online. Vanessa didn’t want them accepting his apologetic donations, while the others were happy to take all of his guilty pennies.

Gravely and Backstrom visit Vanessa’s husband Tad in the hospital. He is in stage four lung cancer and could not have killed his wife. Gravely tells Tad that Vanessa was organizing a group of people to reject Donald’s donations, and Tad tells her that they were old friends. He is in a medical experiment and is on a wonder drug or sugar water—he doesn’t care if he’s on the placebo now that Vanessa is dead. He is convinced she wasn’t cheating on him, and then his nurse, Larissa, comes in and encourages him to look at his dream board as he gets some blood work done.

Nadia finds an online picture of Vanessa with a very expensive purse and knows the victim would have never been without it. When the purse is not included in Vanessa’s belongings, they figure whoever took it is the killer. Nadia and Niedermeyer find it in Kristen’s home, but when Kristen and her lawyer husband show up at the station, they reveal that Kristen is a documented kleptomaniac. It doesn’t completely absolve her, but Backstrom also learns that she can’t drive—and is annoyed that they should have started with that, considering Vanessa was run over!

Almond gets word that before her death, Vanessa was in a loud argument with the director of a local homeless shelter, a man who once had a record for car theft. Almond and Backstrom visit, and Backstrom gets into a verbal and physical altercation with a homeless man, and they find out that the man sometimes works for Donald Sampson, and they learn Donald kept a room at a hotel. But it’s not enough to get a warrant to search his cars, so the team decides to crash a fancy party he is hosting.

They dress up and crash the party, but don’t have luck getting access to any of Sampson’s cars. And Backstrom gets slightly drunk and then slyly accuses Sampson of murder, which of course he ignores. Later, Backstrom and Valentine find Sampson making out with Meredith, after she admits she’s the one who leaked the video. Backstrom, now drunk and upset, tells the team they may have been on the wrong trail with Sampson and Meredith and he wants to explore other possibilities for the white car that was used to run over Vanessa.

The next day, Niedermeyer calls with info—they have found a car matching the description, but it’s not registered to anyone. It’s a rental car, but the rental account belongs to Vanessa. So they must figure out who had access to her credit card. Nadia presents a list of people, and Backstrom, Nadia, and Gravely discuss the possibility that someone associated with Tad could have used the card. They discover that about $100,000 were given to Tad’s doctor for research purposes.

Backstrom and Gravely visit Tad’s doctor, who insists the money wasn’t for bribing but to help. He also admits Tad is in the control group and is not getting the experimental drug. Backstrom goes to him and then wants to take a drink from Tad’s IV. It’s risky, but he does drink it and nothing happens, proving Tad is not getting any medicine. He is sad, but then tells Larissa he will need a bigger dream board. Backstrom turns to the board and realizes that the new images are dreams of being rich—not likely the dreams of someone who already is really rich. He realizes that Larissa created it—she was going to get Tad to fall in love with her and then give her money. And once he died (likely quickly), she would be rich. Sure enough, the nurse is on the list of credit card users, and she is the one who rented the car.


  • We talked in the “Ancient, Chinese, Secret” review that a few things seemed out of order (like the pedometer and the Nied/Nadia romance). Yay, the pedometer mystery was solved in this one! We also saw some N/N stuff—though it was a little less organic and kind of out of nowhere. But the pedometer was good; scenes with Dr. Deb are great, and I loved Backstrom’s dream board of food, haha!
  • One time Hart Hanson tweeted about a time he saw a sign for Buck and Wanda in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He incorporated Moose Jaw into BONES, and it was fun hearing it pop up here as one of the MJ possibilities.
  • The Valentine/Backstrom scenes were funny, and so were the little Valentine/Niedermeyer scenes!
  • There were some other really funny lines in this one. Faves include the Backstrom/Almond Batman/Robin/Alfred conversation, Moto saying that Backstrom needed to wear his formal poncho to the event, and Backstrom wanting to punch Meredith in her Botox. Good times.


  • The video Niedermeyer showed of Sampson being allegedly racist was almost laughably tame compared to how Backstrom is sometimes. It was strange—the video didn’t really get into slurs, so it wasn’t valuable to the plot.
  • Backstrom was so ridiculous to the guy in the food line at the homeless shelter. Seriously, he’s eating food from the line and then taking more than his share? Boo!


  • I loved, loved, loved all of the Backstrom/Amy scenes, but especially their dance and then later when she asks him to stop drinking, and then he does it almost blatantly and immediately feels like a jerk for it. Those scenes are just so good. If the show gets a second season, I hope they bring Sarah Chalke back as a regular (if she wants, of course!)
  • I did not, however, love that he used Amy’s accountability coin to lie to Dr. Deb. Boo.

Enough from me—what did you think of this episode? Were you surprised by the killer? What do you think of Backstrom and Amy’s relationship? The comments are open—speak your mind!

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