Instinct returned to our television screens Sunday, 30 June 2019 with the second season premiere ‘Stay Gold.’ The series, created by Michael Rauch, revolves around the unlikely partnership between Dr Dylan Reinhart and NYPD Det. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Needham. Reinhart and Needham are respectively played by Alan Cumming and Bojana Novakovic.

Instinct is based on the 2017 James Patterson / Howard Roughan co-written Murder Games. Murder Games, retitled Instinct, is the first book in a series currently spanning two instalments.

Reinhart, a Yale University psychology professor and author, is a former CIA paramilitary officer. The psychology professor, typically lecturing Abnormal Behavioural Analysis, works with Needham to solve bizarre cases. Needham works out of New York’s fictional 11th Precinct.

Other Characters…

Further to Cumming and Novakovic, the series also stars Daniel Ings, Naveen Andrews and Sharon Leal as Andrew “Andy” Wilson, Julian Cousins and Lt. Jasmine Gooden, respectively.

Andrew “Andy” Wilson, Dylan’s husband, is a qualified lawyer but turned his back on the law when he got tired of working for Wall Street fat cats. Even though he now owns and operates a bar, Andy frequently uses his law skills to assist friends to get out of sticky situations.

Julian Cousins is a dark horse. A contact of Dylan’s, from back when he worked as a CIA paramilitary officer, Julian now applies his talents on a freelance basis to anyone that can afford his services.

Lt Jasmine Gooden, once upon a time, was Lizzie’s partner. After being promoted to lieutenant, even though Jasmine became Lizzie’s superior, the two police officers remained close friends.

Is There a Second Season Trailer?

Tribal’ Recap…

In the first season finale, if you care to cast your mind back to Sunday, 1 July 2018, you might recall Jasmine suspending Dylan. He was suspended because some of the evidence he and his partner, Lizzie, relied on to secure closure to their case was not ethically acquired. It was attained through Julian. Consequently, not that it stops Lizzie from involving Dylan in her cases, the Yale University professor is not supposed to work active cases until his suspension is lifted.

Instinct
Instinct Promotional Poster. Image Credit: IMDb.com

SPOILER ALERT: If you have yet to see the Stephen Surjik directed Instinct second season premiere ‘Stay Gold,’ please reconsider reading beyond this point in the article. There are spoilers ahead.

Stay Gold’ Opening Sequence…

After a brief recap of events depicted in the first season, the screen transitions to a closeup of a murder victim’s face. Could we have a more public place to display a dead body than Central Park?

Screen Capture: A scene taken from the Stephen Surjik directed Instinct episode ‘Stay Gold.’
Screen Capture: A scene taken from the Stephen Surjik directed Instinct episode ‘Stay Gold.’

From the positioning of the body, Lizzie correctly observes “whoever did this took the time to make her look comfortable.” Because of Lizzie’s approach to the case is reminiscent of what the Yale University psychology professor would say, Det Anthony Fucci (Danny Mastrogiorgio) thinks it’s too intellectual.

Meanwhile, across town at Yale University, the psychology professor is beginning yet another semester of classes with young and possibly overly enthusiastic undergraduate students fresh out of high school.

Screen Capture: Alan Cumming as Dr Dylan Reinhart in the Stephen Surjik directed Instinct episode ‘Stay Gold.’
Screen Capture: Alan Cumming as Dr Dylan Reinhart in the Stephen Surjik directed Instinct episode ‘Stay Gold.’

The professor, while there are five major psychiatric disorders, tells his students there should be a sixth: Happiness. Dylan notes “happiness is statistically abnormal.” When the professor asks his class to think about happiness in the context of the people they individually know, he wants to know if they know more happy people or unhappy people. Happiness, by anyone’s barometer, is highly subjective. “What the hell is happiness, anyway?” asks Dylan.

We all experience things in our day to day lives that makes us, as individuals feel a degree of happiness. Consequently, because the nature of happiness is so subjective, each of us finds happiness from different things. What makes Dylan happy is not necessarily the same things that make any of his students happy.

Did you know more than six per cent of the population within these United States has NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder)? Even though what we are talking about is a fictional series, there are aspects of the production which is based on factual evidence. The population percentage which has NPD in the U.S. Dylan references during class is factually accurate. According to the BPD Central website:

“According to the largest study ever conducted on personality disorders (PD) by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), 5.9% of the U.S. population has BPD (Grant et al. 2008) and 6.2% has NPD (Stinson et al. 2008). As some people fit both diagnoses, about 10 per cent of the U.S. population has BPD and/or NPD.” – (From Splitting: Protecting Yourself When Divorcing a Borderline or Narcissist by Bill Eddy and Randi Kreger)

While these findings are more than a decade old, the likelihood researchers would find a significantly lower result today is remote.

NPD is one of several types of personality disorders. If one possesses an overly inflated sense of self-importance, there is a good chance that the individual has NPD.

Back at the Central Park crime scene, the detectives are pondering the case when Lizzie notices a suspicious individual in the crowd. The individual makes a run for one of the many parks exits. Consequently, Lizzie gives chase.

A Cold Morning in New York…

Elsewhere, somewhere in New York, a woman is seen stepping into a chamber. The chamber is reminiscent of one used to freeze tissue samples but more complex. It’s cryonics for the living. If one wants to maintain a youthful appearance, using such a chamber would help achieve the desired result. Unbeknownst to the woman, a man is in her condo. By barring the chamber door with a meditation stick, the woman is prevented from exiting. With the chamber reaching minus 200 degrees Fahrenheit, prolonged exposure to such a low temperature will result in death.

When Dylan arrives at the crime scene, Sgt Kanter Harris (Michael B. Silver) correctly tells the Yale professor he can’t be there because he is still suspended. Lizzie tells the sergeant she will get rid of the professor but, she is the one that texted him to come to the crime scene.

Screen Capture: Rosie Benton as Jasmine Crowley in the Stephen Surjik directed Instinct episode ‘Stay Gold.’
Screen Capture: Rosie Benton as Jasmine Crowley in the Stephen Surjik directed Instinct episode ‘Stay Gold.’

The victim, a Steve Jobs level genius, is Justine Crowley (Rosie Benton). She believed human immortality is achievable. When Lizzie tells the Yale professor about Justine, he suggests the work might stem from a fear of death. Fear of death, as the professor observes, is referenced as Thanatophobia. It should not be confused with Necrophobia, which is a specific fear of dead or dying people and/or things. Not surprisingly, Lizzie asks her partner about the fear of dying from boredom. Ever the academic, even though he possibly recognises Lizzie’s sarcasm, Dylan responds “Thaasophobia.”

Ian Bridgecroft (Andrew Rothenberg), the owner of Bridgecroft Security, indicated that he has his people reviewing information pertinent to the investigation.

Personal Motivation…

Whoever did this knew the victim, remarks Dylan. In his informed opinion, it was an inside job. Lizzie insists that the professor follow his theories while she sticks to the facts, Dylan’s observations are every bit as pertinent to the case as what the detective knows.

Screen Capture: Alan Cumming as Dr Dylan Reinhart in the Stephen Surjik directed Instinct episode ‘Stay Gold.’
Screen Capture: Alan Cumming as Dr Dylan Reinhart in the Stephen Surjik directed Instinct episode ‘Stay Gold.’

“This is not a quick painless death. Her heart rate increased. Violent shivering. Disorientation. Frostbite. Whoever did this was angry at her. Very angry,” Dylan tells the detective. “… Only a sadistic killer would trap a woman in her own Cryochamber so that she freezes to death. Sadistic killers like to watch their terrified victim’s reactions; it arouses them, it makes them feel Godlike. This murderer couldn’t see her die. … One killing is never enough for a sadistic murderer. Whoever did this will kill again.” Cue opening titles…

Post-Opening Titles Scene…

In the squad room, Lizzie apprises the lieutenant of her progress with the Justine Crowley murder case. Lizzie accidentally says, “We’re talking to people.” Jasmine immediately picks up on the phrasing, but Lizzie puts it down to a figure of speech. The “we” Lizzie was referencing, despite the professor still being on suspension, is obviously her and Dylan.

Lizzie tries to show the lieutenant video footage of the victim, but the police department is having significant issues with their computer system. It’s clear from Jasmine’s comments, they need the system repaired immediately.

Later, when Lizzie expresses her frustrations to Dylan about how slow the 11th Precinct computer network, Julian overhears the conversation.

Further, on returning to the 11th Precinct, Lizzie and Dylan discover the department has a new computer tech working alongside them. It’s Julian uncover as Jules. Julian’s British accent is perfect. Considering the actor that plays the character was born in London, his accent wouldn’t be anything but perfect.

Julian is coming out of the shadows. Because he needs somewhere safe to work, Julian is doing what all good spies do best. He’s hiding within plain sight.

Intruder Alert…

Elsewhere in the city, Julian is seen arriving at his hideout. Is hideout a good word? He has his computer system set up in what first appears an abandoned loft. With suspicious noises coming from the loft, on seeing an intruder trying to access computer files, Julian immediately terminates the computer system. As sparks fly from the servers, the intruder becomes aware he has been discovered and consequently pulls a gun. He fires wildly but is not successful in hitting Julian.

Meanwhile, at the 11th Precinct, we find Andy comforting a child while his mother is meeting with police officers. The mother had to get fingerprinted for a job. Consequently, he takes charge of the child. Andy desperately wants a child of his own. How much does Dylan want a child? Later in the episode, Dylan tells Andy he wants a baby. He wants to start a family with him.

Andy to the Rescue…

Andy is there to assist his husband in lifting his suspension. Interestingly, up until this point, Jasmine was not aware Andy is a qualified attorney. “When I saw you walk in,” Jasmine said to Andy, “I thought Dylan had brought his lawyer, not his husband.” Andy is both Dylan’s husband and his lawyer. The expression on the lieutenant’s face is priceless.

Screen Capture: Daniel Ings as Andrew "Andy" Wilson in the Stephen Surjik directed Instinct episode ‘Stay Gold.’ Seated in the background, playing Dr Dylan Reinhart is Alan Cumming. With her back to the camera, playing Lt Jasmine Gooden is Sharon Leal.
Screen Capture: Daniel Ings as Andrew “Andy” Wilson in the Stephen Surjik directed Instinct episode ‘Stay Gold.’ Seated in the background, playing Dr Dylan Reinhart is Alan Cumming. With her back to the camera, playing Lt Jasmine Gooden is Sharon Leal.

Dylan’s missteps, as the lieutenant referenced them, fall clearly under the legal safeguard of inevitable discovery. “His actions merely speedup an investigative process while a gruesome murder was unfolding,” Andy tells the lieutenant. “Dylan’s expediency would hold up in any court and in no way endangers a guilty verdict.”

Is “inevitable discovery” a legal term? Inevitable discovery, when it pertains to American jurisprudence, is a real thing. Who knew? Anyone familiar with the American legal system.

The Inevitable Discovery Exception by Shain E. Thomas on Scribd

Even though the lieutenant correctly observes “it’s her team, her responsibility,” Andy counters with a clear factual argument. “Dylan’s contract is not with [the lieutenant] or with the NYPD. It’s with the City of New York. Dylan was the mayor’s hire, not [Jasmine’s], so the onus falls on her, not [the lieutenant].”

Dylan promises to operate within the NYPD rules. Because the professor agrees to fall under the lieutenant’s command and her rules, Dylan can return to work.

Back to Work…

When Lizzie questions Joel Crowley (John Lavelle), Dylan enters the room. When Dylan enters the room, the detective begins to introduce him, but he finishes the sentence. He is now officially her partner again.

Screen Capture: Rosie Benton as Jasmine Crowley (on television screen) in the Stephen Surjik directed Instinct episode ‘Stay Gold.’ With their backs to the camera, from left to right, John Lavelle, Alan Cumming and Bojana Novakovic can be seen playing Joel Crowley, Dr Dylan Reinhart and Det Lizzie Needham, respectively.
Screen Capture: Rosie Benton as Jasmine Crowley (on television screen) in the Stephen Surjik directed Instinct episode ‘Stay Gold.’ With their backs to the camera, from left to right, John Lavelle, Alan Cumming and Bojana Novakovic can be seen playing Joel Crowley, Dr Dylan Reinhart and Det Lizzie Needham, respectively.

Jasmine initially placed work before everything else in her life but she wanted to get to know people on a more personal level. Consequently, she began to face her fears. This is not a change that comes easily to people.

A Visit to the Doctor…

After a closure examination of Jasmine’s contact list, Lizzie discovers the victim did not have very many friends one could categorise as being anything other than work colleagues. When reviewing the calendar, the detective notes that an entire day was blocked off for a single meeting. The meeting was with a Dr Alexandra Becker (Jennifer Ferrin).

Jasmine terminated sessions with the doctor because, as Alexandra suggests, the husband did not approve of his wife meeting with her.

After speaking with Bridgecroft again, neither Lizzie nor Dylan seems any closer to uncovering the truth about Jasmine’s death than they did the previous day.

Explain Yourself…

“How do you explain your blood under your wife’s nails?” Lizzie asks Joel. Initially, he is at a loss to answer the question, but when he gives it some thought, he realises the presence of his blood under his wife’s nails could be related to a new treatment Jasmine was working on.

There’s Another Body…

When Alexandra arrived at a client’s home for a session, the doctor discovered him dead in his own swimming pool. Jonathan James (Paul Alexander Nolan), a former Olympic swimmer, is dead under suspicious circumstances.

At dinner, Lizzie and Dylan find themselves not able to leave their work at work. In the distance, at the door of the restaurant, Dylan notices a narcissistic patron annoyed that he cannot be seated at his table at the exact reservation time.

Screen Capture: Alan Cumming as Dr Dylan Reinhart in the Stephen Surjik directed Instinct episode ‘Stay Gold.’ With his back to the camera, playing Ian Bridgecroft, is Andrew Rothenberg.
Screen Capture: Alan Cumming as Dr Dylan Reinhart in the Stephen Surjik directed Instinct episode ‘Stay Gold.’ With his back to the camera, playing Ian Bridgecroft, is Andrew Rothenberg.

At the doctor’s office, Dylan finds Bridgecroft with the doctor bond and gagged. Recording the conversation, Dylan tells the security consultant he too is a consultant but for the NYPD. Bridgecroft killed both Jasmine and Jonathon with what made them famous. Jasmine was looking to prolong like indefinitely and Jonathon was an Olympic swimmer.

The Episode Closes…

After Lizzie returns home, Julian apologies for his presence at the police station. Julian tells Lizzie his real name, apparently. It’s Ruben Julian. Disturbing their quiet moment alone, the lieutenant arrives. Having broken up with her fiancée, Jasmine kind of invites herself to stay at Lizzie’s apartment.

Screen Capture: Alan Cumming as Dr Dylan Reinhart in the Stephen Surjik directed Instinct episode ‘Stay Gold.’
Screen Capture: Alan Cumming as Dr Dylan Reinhart in the Stephen Surjik directed Instinct episode ‘Stay Gold.’

Meanwhile, Dylan is at the police station writing up his notes for the lieutenant. When Det Ryan Stock (Travis Van Winkle) from Nebraska arrives looking for Lt Jasmine Gooden, the professor impresses the visiting detective with his deduction skills. Dylan references the “Sleeping Beauties Case.” Could this be the beginning of a series-long narrative?