Rewatching 21 Jump Street. It’s another Booker-centric tale, one that attempts to solve all of society’s ills at once. It’s season three, episode eighteen, “Next Victim.”
What’s goin’ down: An obnoxious college radio DJ, known for making outrageous and inflammatory political statements, becomes the target of a car bombing. Booker goes undercover as the DJ’s replacement, only to find the campus divided by race issues.
Here’s Hanson: Another Depp no-show this week.
Penhall’s prerogatives: Penhall is put on “backup” at the start of the episode, and then we don’t see him again.
Book ‘em: Being a shock jock doesn’t come as easily to Booker as you’d think at first. Once he gets the hang of it, though, he goes overboard with the abrasive on-air behavior — partially to draw out the culprit and partially because he enjoys shooting his mouth off.
Undercover blues: Hoffs, also undercover as a college student, gets close to a student leading an anti-racism group, although Booker warns her that he might be nuts.
Goin’ to the chapel: Hoffs has this crazy-looking lamp on her desk that looks like eight silver globes floating in a semi-spiral shape.
Torn from today’s headlines: This one’s got the rise of shock radio and the whole neo-Nazi thing, possibly inspired by the famous brawl on Geraldo the year earlier. Also, Tim Burton’s Batman was about to hit theaters, and the episode’s opening scene has someone asking, “Riddle me this, Batman.”
Trivia time: The episode was directed by James Contner, who went on to join Joss Whedon’s TV camp, directing episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse. One of the voice-only phone callers was played by actor Richard Kind, star of Mad About You, Spin City, and dozens of other comedy roles.
Jumpin’ or not: OK, OK, we get it, racism is bad. There’s some interesting moments in this one where Booker wonders if he’s gone too far, but that human drama is buried under the heavy-handed message. So very heavy-handed. Not jumpin’.
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