BACKSTROM Recap: 'Love is a Rose and You Better Not Pick It' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

BACKSTROM Recap: ‘Love is a Rose and You Better Not Pick It’

April 9, 2015 by  

Hello BACKSTROM fans! It’s hard to believe we are in the final half of season 1. I have to say that the past couple of episodes, including this one — “Love is a Rose and You Better Not Pick It” — have been great, and the show’s style has been more successful lately. I would be glad to see this show renewed for a second season. Until any announcement has been made one way or the other, let’s discuss this episode!


The episode begins in a rose garden, where a woman has been found murdered. Cause of death is a blow to the head. Backstrom figures the woman’s name (Larissa Moscovitz) and red nail polish indicate she was a prostitute. When Gravely is horrified, he points out that some of his favorite people are prostitutes.  Gravely is additionally horrified that ADA Steve Kines is on the scene on the mayor’s behalf to quell any media attention at the rose garden. Backstrom is more concerned with an employed gardener, Norman Gilman, especially when Niedermayer finds a bloody shovel in a shed.

At the Special Crimes Unit office, Niedermayer tells Backstrom he was somewhat correct about Larissa’s profession; she was once a prostitute but is now a life coach. Backstrom questions Norman, who has priors for indecency. Norman insists he didn’t kill Larissa, but Backstrom finds a hole in his shirt pocket that he used to take pictures of women’s cleavage.

Almond and Moto go to Larissa’s apartment. It’s very fancy, and they find a bouquet of purple roses. When Moto wonders if it is a coincidence, Almond encourages him to follow the lead. He also finds Larissa’s datebook and discovers an appointment with Dmitri Green. Almond visits his home and also meets his girlfriend/legal counsel Claire. Dmitri is visibly upset about Larissa’s death and finally admits she was a sex surrogate. Claire is also understandably upset. Almond invites them both to the station.

Backstrom questions Dmitri while Gravely counters with Claire, and they both learn that Dmitri only is aroused when he is dressed as a princess. But Larissa was helping him with that, and it improved their sex life—she got him down to a tiara only. Their stories corroborate. Meanwhile, Moto arrives with the purple roses, and he decides to track down who sent them.

Nadia has info about Larissa on a website, and she reports that Larissa reported to a psychotherapist, Dr. Fleck. Niedermayer and Nadia figure Dr. Fleck might speak to a potential client, and so Backstrom visits, pretending he has issues with sex.

Dr. Fleck refers him to another surrogate, intimacy specialist Sandy Hale-Cooper. When Backstrom comes clean and admits to being a lieutenant (and accusing Fleck of murder and solicitation), Fleck says he is innocent and can’t provide additional details because of doctor/patient confidentiality. He then proceeds to psychoanalyze Backstrom, diagnosing him with ego, inability to have love or intimacy, addictions to drugs, food, alcohol, etc., wanting pleasure without vulnerability, and mother issues, and bullied by his dad. Backstrom leaves, stunned, and Gravely kindly pretends she didn’t hear any of it.

After finding out Larissa had sex before she died, Backstrom decides to have Sandy Hale-Cooper over to the barge. Valentine thinks this is crazy, especially when middle-aged Sandy shows up. It’s not what Backstrom expected, as Sandy explains the differences between sex surrogates and prostitutes (the former want to help people move on to healthy relationships), and later we see Backstrom somewhat traumatized, as he explains to Valentine that there may have been some breastfeeding role playing going on to help him deal with his mother issues. Alrighty then. Backstrom and Valentine discuss Backstrom’s mother, and he reveals a small ceramic bowl his mother made for him before he was born.

Almond and Moto follow the trail of the purple roses to a law office and immediately find Claire working at the front desk. Backstrom interrogates her, wondering why she played dumb when Almond visited Dmitri’s home. He does his “I’m you” routine and figures out that she knew about Dmitri and Larissa but didn’t want Dmitri to know, because it might impede his progress. She sent the roses as a thanks for not telling Dmitri and for the help in the relationship, and because she helped Claire with some of her own sexual issues. She admits sex therapy is not for everyone and states that once, a red haired woman showed up and called Larissa a fraud, threatening to kill her. A new suspect is born!

Gravely looks at Nadia’s board for a female red-headed suspect. There is one man in a wheelchair, Joshua Larimer, and so Gravely and Moto visit the Larimers. Gravely questions Joshua’s mother, Janet. She states she didn’t care for Larissa, but a conversation changed her mind because Larissa helped her son. Moto and Joshua play basketball and discuss sex, and Joshua says he didn’t need Larissa any longer because he had a new, real, girlfriend. He also states that Larissa was his second surrogate. The first was Sandy Hale-Cooper, who was angry when she was replaced with Larissa.

Backstrom interrogates Sandy at the SCU office, and she tries to bring up their sessions, but he indicates that Sandy was jealous of Larissa’s youth and beauty. She says she is innocent, but she also admits that Dr. Fleck did sometimes sleep with his surrogates. The good ones (like Sandy) refused. She also says that they always use condoms when having sex with clients.

When Gravely and Kines successfully get Fleck’s DNA and confidentiality clause waved, Moto, Nadia, Gravely, and Niedermayer look over the client files. They find different types of sexual dysfunctions, but Niedermayer later tells Backstrom that Dr. Fleck has a reliable alibi. He also points out that the sex surrogates make a point of only meeting with a client up to 12 times, but Joshua and Larissa met 15 times. Backstrom figures Larissa was in love with him, and they wonder if the young man killed her. It’s possible, but they aren’t sure how he could then get the bloody shovel into the tool shed. Evidence points to Joshua’s mother being an accomplice.

Backstrom brings Janet in for questioning. He suggests that she didn’t approve of Joshua’s relationship with Larissa or that Larissa confessed she loved Joshua. Janet denies killing Larissa. But Backstrom notices a necklace around her neck and is able to match it up with one of Norman’s cleavage photos—putting Janet at the rose garden at the time of the murder.
He can make an arrest, but he leaves the office instead, deferring to Moto to finish the job.


  • I couldn’t name all of the technical terms for it, but this episode’s direction and camera work (photography?) were really unique and well done.
  • Great guest stars in this one—especially Lindsay Kraft as Claire; she was terrifically funny.
  • Glad to see Ben Hollingsworth back as Steve Kines. I still like his relationship/non-relationship with Gravely. She often ends up being the aggrieved party when it comes to Backstrom or other people on the team, so it’s great to see her be able to be the obnoxious (in a good way) alpha in a relationship sometimes! I hope to see more of them together!
  • Many of the Backstrom and Niedermayer conversations in this episode were great. There is good comedic timing developing between the two of them.
  • Likewise, the Moto and Almond scenes were fun too. It’s good when the show mixes up its personal and professional pairings.


  • The convo between Backstrom and Niedermayer about whether a woman’s body or sex without a condom can always determine if it was consensual or not was a little too pithy. The pathologist data can perhaps lean one way or the other, but there’s no way it can be definitive, as the show suggested.


  • We learn that what he thought he knew about his mother, that she died in childbirth, is untrue, and she committed suicide a few months after Backstrom was born–using Blue Backstrom’s (his father) service pistol. Well done, Rainn Wilson, for playing that entire scene. It will be interesting to see if there is a confrontation with his dad about this information. Backstrom always seems so quick to suppress things, but such a large reveal can’t likely be ignored for good.
  • Also well done Thomas Dekker, for playing Valentine in those scenes—he obviously puts great meaning into the idea of family and brotherhood and wants to be accepted by Backstrom, but knows that acceptance is hard to come by

I really liked this episode; I thought it was funny and had good character interactions. How about you? What did you like or not like about this one? Do you want to see more of Gravely and Kines? And what do you think may happen next regarding this information Backstrom has on about his mother? The comments are open—speak up!

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