On-screen reunions are beginning for the title star of “The Michael J. Fox Show.”
An upcoming story will reteam Fox with Christopher Lloyd — Doc Brown to his Marty McFly in the “Back to the Future” movies. In Thursday’s (Jan. 9) episode of his NBC sitcom, “Secret,” Fox was partnered again with Richard Kind, who played mayoral press secretary and noted sycophant Paul Lassiter on “Spin City.”
Kind’s latest TV character is Mr. Norwood, a neighbor in the Henrys’ apartment building. Mike helps him move a bounty of suitcases into the elevator as Norwood tells him he’s going on a “water-slide tour of the lower Southwest.” Actually, he’s going somewhere else: jail, since cops are waiting for him on the ground floor with guns drawn.
Mike can’t believe he “missed the story” that the suddenly revealed mobster was living so close to him, but youngest child Graham (Jack Gore) knows what’s up. As he notes the police presence around the building, Annie (Betsy Brandt) tries to explain it away by saying Norwood is being taken to “a farm.” To which Graham casually replies, “I thought they were taking him to jail for being a mobster.”
In trying to uncover the full story, Mike has a familiar rival: anchorwoman Susan (recurring guest star Anne Heche), who chides him about having been unaware of Norwood’s background. Mike then reassures Harris (Wendell Pierce), “From now on, nothing gets by me” … not realizing his own sister Leigh (Katie Finneran) is hiding in Harris’ office, where they’re carrying on a secret affair.
Securing an interview with the in-custody Norwood, Mike is sure that under his questioning, the criminal is “going down.” However, Norwood is bemused that Mike never suspected who he really was in 10 years of being neighbors. “Actually, it was 11,” Mike corrects.
As Norwood recalls poker games that Mike attended, the newsman tries to score points by asking Norwood if he “infiltrated” the games by unwittingly playing with some of the mobster’s illegal associates. Norwood says that wasn’t the case, but Mike inquires if he could claim it was anyway, for the camera.
Back at the TV station, Susan drops by Mike’s desk as he’s reviewing the tape of the interview. He claims he got “so much good stuff,” but accidentally pops up the video on giant newsroom monitors as Norwood is marveling that Mike had “no clue” of his true identity. The smirking Susan moves along, vowing she’ll “follow the money trail.”
Mike then tells Harris that Susan can have the Norwood story, worrying his investigative skills may be rusty — but then he proves exactly the opposite by deducing that Leigh is hiding in Harris’ closet. “You’re like Batman crossed with the Mentalist,” Harris says.
As Susan gets stalemated in landing her own interview with Norwood, Mike walks over and hands her a file of information on him. She’s visibly startled by his resourcefulness, but he calmly explains that’s what you get “when you play poker with your neighbors.”