It’s party time in the latest episode of Instinct at the NYPD. Regardless of whether it’s the case Det Lizzie Needham (Bojana Novakovic) and Dr Dylan Reinhart (Alan Cumming) are working on or the detective receiving good news, there is much to celebrate. Lizzie is now a detective (second grade). This is a promotion that comes with an office of her own.



Later, Lizzie gives her office to Det Ryan Stock (Travis Van Winkle) because she found it isolating. Having an office does not suit Lizzie because she feels more comfortable out in the bullpen with the other detectives.

What does the Lieutenant Know?


As the newly promoted detective (second grade) and  Julian Cousins (Naveen Andrews) gaze across the room at each other, it does not take Lt Jasmine Gooden (Sharon Leal) to notice the sparks between them. While the lieutenant does not know Lizzie and Jules are already seeing each other, Jasmine is clearly trying to play matchmaker.

In this second season episode, Lizzie and Dylan investigate the murder of a stepmother at a Sweet 16 Party. Ella (Betsy Wolfe) fell to her death as the party DJ was about to announce the birthday girl’s arrival to the stage. Alex (Haley Murphy), the birthday girl, is distraught over the death of her stepmother. Is Alex distraught or is she faking it? Lizzie looks at Alex as if she doesn’t believe the 16-year-old’s sob story.


Moments before falling to her death, Alex talks Ella into firing one of the waiting staff. Later, despite being smeared on social media as the murderer by Alex and her friends, it turns out the person fired from the event is not involved in Ella’s murder.

There’s Something in the Water…

Dylan draws Lizzie’s attention to the dead fish. While some people might find the fish being dead as being inconsequential to the stepmother’s murder, Dylan and Lizzie quickly arrive at the conclusion that there could be a toxin in the water which was introduced to the fish from the dead body. The toxicology report came back with nothing showing that the victim was poisoned.

A Dark Fairy Tale…

“The poison apple. A fairy tale symbol of beauty, ugliness, envy. If bitten, it causes a deathlike sleep. Ella wasn’t the evil stepmother,” Dylan said to Lizzie. “She was Cinderella. It was her friend who is evil. … Not all tales are make-believe. There is a real fruit named manchineel. ‘The little apple of death.’”

From the Encyclopaedia Britannica: “Manchineel, also called Poison Guava, (Hippomane mancinella), tree of the genus Hippomane, of the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae), that is famous for its poisonous fruits.”

When Lizzie and Dylan visit with Molly (Zoe Winters), they discover that she has a rash which conforms to the swelling on Ella’s face. Molly and Ella attended culinary school together. Before Ella’s marriage, Molly and Ella aspired to open their own bakery. This dream disappeared when Ella began her ascent towards the higher social echelons.

The ‘Sleeping Beauty Case’…

Alan Cumming

When Ryan and Dylan arrive at a rooftop meeting, they find a polaroid photograph of Jay Middlebrook (Nat Cassidy). Jay is the person they were supposed to meet. With the serial killer beginning to enjoy what he’s doing, the ‘Sleeping Beauty Case’ is taking a nasty turn. Unbeknownst to either the visiting detective or Dylan, they are being observed. Could this be the serial killer?

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Final Thoughts…

A positive aspect of the show is the dynamic between the two lead characters. Lizzie and Dylan are quick-witted and have excellent chemistry. The way the detective and the professor work together is evidence of this point.

Kathryn Erbe

It would have been a fun crossover to see Kathryn Erbe playing her Law & Order: Criminal Intent character, Alexandra Eames, on Instinct. Instead, Erbe plays Steve Gerich’s (David Alan Basche) ex-wife. Consequently, there is a missed opportunity to place Instinct in the same fictional shared universe as the Law & Order franchise, the One Chicago franchise, Homicide: Life on the Street, New York Undercover, and Conviction.