We watched several episodes of Homicide over the past couple of weeks. The airing order and the order on the DVDs appear to differ by quite a bit, but here are quick comments on : "Hate Crimes," "Thrill of the Kill," "Heartbeat," "Sniper" (parts one and two), "For God and Country (2)," and "Full Moon."
"Hate Crimes": young man killed by skinheads because they think he's gay. It turns out he wasn't, to the relief of his virulently homophobic father (the actor who plays Locke on Lost). Interesting in light of (a) later events in the series, that I happen to be aware of, and (b) general unconscious prejudice stuff, as the father absolutely fails to realize that if the skinheads hadn't shared his prejudice, his son would be alive. Also struck me as pretty honest in the characters' reactions: "it shouldn't matter, but it does."
"Thrill of the Kill": sniper going up the Interstate. Repeating the cheap trick of mistaken identity (Gee's daughter, the real shooter) might be structural, but it's still a cheap trick.
"Heartbeat": overly-cutesy tribute to Edgar Allan Poe.
"Sniper": a two-parter about random sniper shootings. Tense, and Megan Russert gets a great moment in the second part with the interrogation; I was absolutely in agony when Pembleton and Bayliss were coming in and out, because I wasn't sure at first they understood what she was doing or, later, that they weren't disrupting the rhythm. Chad says he doesn't recall this being mentioned when John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo were attacking the DC area, probably because the show was never really that well-known.
Also, wow, is that higher-up guy (Col. George Barnfather, IMDB tells me) an asshole. If he's got redeeming characteristics, they were in an episode I didn't see.
"For God and Country (2)": second part of a cross-over with Law and Order. The pacing of the first half or so is absolutely killed by the cross-over nature; and later, even after they get the groove back, you can still see the bits they put in to try and sum up the characters for L&O viewers. Cross-overs: too much baggage to be dealt with, unless it's fanfic where the baggage is the point.
"Full Moon": a somewhat light episode set at a motel; despite the relative lightness, the mystery nevertheless goes unsolved, which struck me as a little odd. I got no clue either, though I hope it wasn't the Native American guy. I wonder if the writers knew whodunnit.