{TB Talks TV} Aquarius Review: “Everybody’s Been Burned/The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game”


aquarius nbcTweetable Takeaway: In 1967 , it’s Charlie’s world. Manson is free to roam, stalk, manipulate, and build his family.

Airtime: Thursday, at 9PM on NBC

By: , Contributor

NBC’s latest cop drama, Aquarius, sets the sinister Charlie Manson against a conservative LAPD tight ass played by X-Files’ David Duchovny, as Detective Sam Hodiak. Hey, the music is extraordinary and the show is a lot of fun. Gethin Anthony creates a spectacular, scene chewing, Charlie Manson.  He is to Aquarius what Jaws was to Jaws.

Once upon a , autumn, 1967…

Detective Sam Hodiak can’t find his keys or his ex’s sixteen-year-old daughter.

Det. Hodiak is asked to find a missing girl. Emma Karn is the missing teen. Her mother, Grace, is Hodiak’s old girlfriend. Her father, Ken, is a lawyer connected with political leaders from to Washington D.C.  He wants the girl back, but it’s an election cycle and he’s very protective of any bad or embarrassing press. Hodiak’s Lieutenant wants him to work the case but keep it quiet. Det. Hodiak runs down the people who saw her last. The trail takes him further and further down the hippy trail. Soon, he realizes no one is going to talk to a cop that looks like him. He needs a different kind of cop, a wolf in hippy’s clothing cop.


Enter narcotics officer Brian Shafe.

Officer Shafe is undercover trying to make a narco bust.  He gets his man, a low hanging fruit dealer named Mike, but he really wants the guys who supply him. They leave the café, drug hut, and walk out into the beginnings of an anti-curfew riot.  One of the riot cops gets aggressive with a protestor. Shafe, in plain clothes, steps in to settle the situation, but he gets arrested when the other cops spot the weapon holstered on his belt.

Back at the Hollywood Police Station, Shafe gets in a fight with the arresting officer over his aggression. Hodiak watches Shafe give the blue suit a decent beat down, and then requests the Lieutenant assign him to the Karn case. Shafe is a loner and not impressed by Hodiak’s brand of policing, but he doesn’t have much choice. It’s the beginning of an interesting partnership, if not a turbulent friendship. Shafe proves his value immediately with Emma’s ex-boyfriend. This clue leads them to Charles Manson, a man with a thick arrest record. His Jacket includes everything from rape to prostitution and possession of narcotics. He’s spent half his life in jail.


Charlie Manson and Emma Karn

Young Emma Karn goes to a party to escape her warring parents. She’s looking for something different and something different certainly finds her. Charlie Manson, a man with a crew of men and women willing to do his mischievous bidding, spots her immediately at the party and wastes no time separating her from her apathetic boyfriend.

Charlie is full of philosophy and original songs, which seem to blow people’s minds. Emma gets caught up in it immediately. It’s for real folks, Charlie has that Thing. He’s confident, fears nothing, already lives in a future of his own creation, and he is always on. Like Jaws, he swims and eats, swims, and eats.

Ken Karn

Ken Karn is full of secrets. As it turns out, Ken isn’t just Emma’s father; he’s Manson’s former lawyer. Manson has history with Karn and his circle of friends that includes drugs and prostitution. Karn is connected to many people in politics and the entertainment industry. Manson is interested in something that used to be called “the record business.”  Maybe better, probably worse, it was certainly different than the music industry of today. A modern Charlie Manson would have probably used YouTube to build his platform, but he wouldn’t stand a chance against all those captivating pet tricks and people fails. But it’s 1967, and he needs an in; Ken Karn will be he his connector and Emma, the collateral.

Because Manson isn’t enough, meet Mr. and Mrs. Leo Mankin.


There is plenty of crime going on at this time; regular Old Testament type crime, civil rights crimes, and the perennial favorite, 187’s. Hodiak responds to a call. An elderly woman, Joyce Mankin is found murdered in her back yard. You don’t need a CSI team to know her head was crushed with a cinder brick. Hodiak and Shafe find the murder weapon right next to her.

Hodiak suspects the husband from the start. He doesn’t waste a second even considering anyone else. Leo Mankin is a talentless leech with a medical death sentence. This case isn’t to display any fantastic detective work by Hodiak and Shafe as much as the racist nature of in 1967. Hodiak has a blatant disregard for civil rights and uses a black, community activist, Bunchy Carter, as leverage against Leo Mankin. Bunchy is pissed; it’s obvious there’s no justice for him or his community. No police protection or real legislative support.

Shafe is ashamed by Hodiak’s nature and doesn’t want any part of a wrongful arrest or trumped up charge. He hates that Hodiak used Carter, and locked him up, just to get a confession from Leo. Shafe takes Hodiak to his house. The neighbor scowls at him, but inside his wife and child are happy to see him. His wife, Kristin, is black and it’s clear neither one of them is welcome on the block.

What will Charlie Do?

This is just one of the interesting storylines set to unfold this season. It’s fascinating to watch Charlie put together his family and Hodiak promises an interesting journey as he parallels the most courageous civil rights activists in our history into the devastating year of 1968.



Eric lives in a world where the television is great, the smiles are warm, the pizza is hot, the puppies are playful, and the zombies are slow and meander while he reloads.

Twitter: @etom2012

Keep up with all of Eric’s Aquarius reviews here.
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