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Note: This is my OPINION only. And I was raised to believe that everyone's opinion is valid. I am not stating facts and setting forth some kind of "this is the way it is" rule. Again, this is my OPINION only. Thank you.
Spoilers for several episodes up to and including TSbyBS abound.
A Treatise on Captain Simon Banks
Written April 27, 1998
Updated November 22, 1999
Ah, Simon, the 'inside outsider' as I once called him in an email to someone. He knows about Jim's sentinel abilities and that Blair is the expert on them, yet he is not truly involved with those abilities or the exercising of them. All three are friends, yet at the same time, Simon is sometimes kept out of those things that most concern his best detective team. Sometimes he stands on the sidelines, watching as the that team together and solve the most extraordinary cases. At other times, when they can't go to each other, he is the one they turn to for help and for support.
Simon and Jim
The friendship between Jim and Simon has been established as beginning several years before Jim's sentinel abilities re-emerged. In the flashbacks in Deep Water, we see that he took on the obviously unthrilling job of turning a rebel Vice cop into a respectable Major Crimes detective just after Simon was promoted to Captain. Back then it seemed Simon was already bugging Jim about wrecking cars. ~grin~
In Switchman, Simon and Jim (as well as Simon and Carolyn) all seem to be friends, though Jim is perhaps a bit withdrawn during the first part of the episode due to his confusion over his re-emerging senses. In Siege, Simon accepts Jim's explanation about Blair being his, er, "cousin", which speaks of trust and, in my eyes, solid friendship. And once he finds out about Jim's senses, he adapts and accepts that explanation as well, even though he isn't always at ease with either the senses or the necessity of having Blair in the department.
Throughout the months and years the follows, Simon stands solidly next to Jim, bending rules to accommodate him as much as he can. Blair's continued presence is such an accommodation. Without Simon's knowledge of Jim's sentinel abilities and his support as both a friend and a captain, Blair would probably not still hold a position as an observer in the department. We know from Finkelman's Folly that Blair's permission ran out months and months before Sarah Finkelman came in to sub for Simon. And she promptly tossed Blair out, not because she didn't like him, but because it was the rule. Therefore, it is probably with Simon's continued intervention that Blair remains as Jim's 'unofficial' partner.
Also, in Deep Water, Jim has been pulled from actively participating in the investigation of Jack's disappearance and death. Nonetheless, Simon purposely leaves the police garage card key on his desk before leaving so that Jim can use it to get into the garage to look at Jack's car. He knows Jim will do the right thing and he wants to help as much as he can.
In S2, Simon watched the final scene between Jim and Blair in the bullpen before the fountain scene. And he wanted to know if Jim really knew what he was doing. And if he could handle the sentinel thing by himself. A voice of reason that Jim should've listened more carefully to. In TSbyBS, Simon is there for Jim, trying to find a way to get out of the mess the book publisher created while at the same time keep his department working on their cases. In some ways, I think Simon represented to Jim that normality he craved and that he lost once Blair's dissertation became public.
Jim returns this friendship and support fully -- always coming to Simon's aid whether it's going to Peru to find him and even bring back his body if he was dead; to hiding him from country cops who think he's a murderer while finding evidence to prove he's not; to chasing him and a psychotic killer through a forest. And Simon knows this. At least I think he does.
Simon tends to take Jim's sentinel abilities for granted after he gets used to them and sometimes even forgets they're not normal. In Hear No Evil, Simon is trying to convince Jim to get the necessary physical done. Jim doesn't want to because, as Simon puts it, "they'll find out you're not normal." Which he then chuckles at and tells him to go anyway. In Light My Fire, Jim mentions something he heard just before a bomb went off as he talks to Simon about a report. Simon wants to know why it wasn't in the report, which makes me think he doesn't remember that Jim technically shouldn't have heard it.
However, at other times, Jim's senses still manage to surprise him. In Warriors, he is shocked to see Jim using a magnifying glass and quickly realizes something is up. In The Girl Next Door, he follows Jim as he follows a trail of oil to find Blair and his car. In Love Kills, he watches as Blair helps Jim to remember something that has to do with the picture of the knife and just how that matches up with Lila. In The Waiting Room, he scoffs at the idea of Jim talking to ghosts and just downright refuses to accept him, probably having reached his limit of weirdness. And in S2, he watches as Jim seems to lose himself to the primitive instincts of a mating sentinel, which I think reminded him just how different his detective is.
Simon and Blair
Even more intriguing to me is the growing relationship between Simon and Blair. Simon, at first, didn't think Jim should keep Blair around with him. Jim disagreed and Simon let it stand, going with Jim's judgment. And as time had passed, Simon has obviously become fond of Blair, though Blair may not always see it. In Flight, Blair makes the statement that Simon is his friend too. So we know that Blair considers Simon a friend.
In Spare Parts, we see Simon defending Blair's presence in the Cascade PD to Naomi -- probably saying much more than Blair would ever had expected considering the semi-stunned look on his face. After Naomi leaves, Blair tries to thank Simon, almost looking like he wants to hug the man. Simon sends him off, then turns away, grinning to himself liked he'd just played the best joke in the world. Many fans have picked up this, saying that Simon does consider Blair a friend, but likes to hide that fact. Taking into consideration that rather sly smile, I would have to agree!
In Secret, Blair immediately called Simon when Jim didn't come back to the loft when he was supposed to. After Blair pulls his stunt at the University with Jack Kelso, Simon keeps Blair with him most of the time, probably worried what he'll do next if he leaves him on his own. Blair worries about Jim's absence and if he might be dead. Simon reassures him, trying to keep his spirits up. And working together, they find Jim. Their camaraderie at the end of the episode, denying the need for Jim to get a new partner and their little argument over revisionist history is one of my favorite scenes to watch.
In His Brother's Keeper, it has never been more obvious just how well Blair has fit in with the cops in Major Crimes. First we have the whole set-up between Simon and Blair to get Jim to the mayor's reception and keeping the award a secret. That handshake after Jim goes up to accept the award to me meant that Blair knew all about this and he and Simon (and probably the rest of the guys) planned the whole thing. Later, the scenes at the racetrack are some of the funnest things to watch in my opinion. First, Blair sitting in the midst of five burly cops (a.k.a. the Redcoats as I believe MegaRed named them), taking their razzing about his bet without a flinch. And then boasting about his win both there and later when the five of them confront him after he collects his winnings. Now, I don't claim to know how police societies work, but to me, it seems that Simon would have to be a key person in Blair's settling in with the other cops. If the captain accepts his presence, then the rest of the cops do. If Simon hadn't been so accepting, I think there would probably be a lot more hesitance on the other cops' parts. But that's only my opinion.
In mid-third season, we've started to see Simon interacting with Blair on a much more personal level. In Sweet Science, Simon asks to speak to Blair alone in his office, not something that happens very often. He wants to know why Blair is so angry about the murder investigation. In this scene, we get to see and hear just how much Simon appreciates Blair's contribution to the department. It is excellent work by both actors, GM showing Blair's frustration and anger and BAY showing some initial confusion, then concern, and finally a sort of comfort to Blair that he is important. And then he sends him back out to Jim, saying that Jim needed him.
In Love Kills, there is a short scene between the two men, again where they are speaking alone in Simon's office. This time, Simon's concern is for Jim. He wants to know what's wrong. Blair tries to protect Jim, but Simon is no fool and wants the truth. Blair tells him something is going on with Jim's senses and in a very nice touch, Simon asks that Blair keep him posted. Lovely acknowledgment that Blair is the expert in this area and that Simon was trusting him to find out what was going on and report back to him when he could.
In Crossroads, the first fifteen minutes is some of the most classic Simon and Blair scenes that I have ever seen. The stuff with Blair trying to fix Simon's computer and then later when Simon decides they need to crash Jim's solo fishing trip are just wonderful to watch. When they arrive to find Jim in Clayton Falls, they are still feeding off each other. Blair wondering if the diner serves 'possum-on-a-stick', Simon defending it, saying his mother served possum, and then Blair suddenly deciding he's got no problem with possum -- it's a short dialogue, but I love it. In the diner itself and Blair crunching on ice (much to Simon's annoyance) was very classic. I think Blair goes out of his way to annoy Simon at times. But Simon really doesn't seem to mind. Most of the time.
During the last several episodes, the friendship between Simon and Blair became stronger. At the fountain in S2 when Blair is dead and then revived, the emotion on Simon's face is just wrenching, moreso than Jim's. Jim, I think, was in denial and it just hadn't really hit him. Simon seemed more ready to accept Blair's death and so when Jim managed to revive him, it hit him very hard. In the episodes that follow, we see Simon trusting Blair to go chasing off with Jim (and Megan) through the Mexican jungle following Alex. We see him looking at Blair rather fondly (and paternally) in the first few scenes of Four Point Shot and then later with Daryl in the stands before the game begins. And in TSbyBS, we see Simon finding a way to keep Blair with the department, which I'm sure must have been been the cause of some interesting sessions with the brass.
Simon and Daryl
Simon's relationship with his son Daryl is not something the show touches on very often, but it is included in fanfic all over the place. This is my view, probably not that much different that the general one. As quoted from my Flight review...
As for Simon and Daryl, their friendship is obviously a more father-son relationship, but I still think they have to be friends as well. In Flight, Simon goes to Peru for a drug conference, taking Daryl along with him. He is hoping to talk with his son, maybe rebuild the bridges between them that are slowly decaying because of Simon's divorce from Joan. We already know from Daryl's one other appearance in Siege that Daryl is a somewhat rebellious teenager, not really connecting with his father. But Simon and Daryl do love each other, as is evidenced in Siege by Simon's very genuine, very real reaction when he learns Daryl is in the building with Kincaid. And again at the end of that episode with the strong hug between father and son. Simon very much loves his son and wants to have a relationship with him, however difficult that may be for both of them to work on.
And so Simon decides to take Daryl to Peru, giving them some time alone. He wants to take Daryl fishing, something he doesn't realize until later is not something Daryl enjoys. In a cute scene just before the helicopter is blown up, Simon relents, saying they can go back to Lima and do whatever Daryl wants. Daryl is thrilled and promptly asks if they can go scuba diving. Poor Simon. He almost loses that wonderful smile at making his son happy. But, to his credit, he says "sure" and Daryl nearly bounces with energy.
It is also reinforced in this episode how much Daryl cares for his father, even if he sometimes acts like he doesn't. He doesn't want to leave his father after the two of them try to escape from the drug encampment. Later, he wants to go with Jim to get Simon out of the underground lab. And the final truck scene, he calls Simon "Daddy" and hugs him through the window. I wish they'd bring Daryl back again sometime. He may just be a plot device at times, I know, but I think he adds a certain dimension to Simon's character that we don't see in Jim or Blair since they are not parents. And since I like Simon, I'm all for that.
Daryl does show up one more time in the series, in the fourth season episode Four Point Shot, the second basketball episode. In this episode, it is obvious that Simon and Daryl are closer now, perhaps having healed some of the gaps that had formed between them during the divorce between Simon and Joan. They still argue since Daryl wants to go to the Academy and Simon wants his son to go to college, but I still believe they're closer since Daryl is actually talking to his father now, even if it is in an arguing fashion. Simon loves his son very much wants only the best for him, like all good fathers.
Simon and Carolyn
This wasn't a relationship that was given a whole lot of time to develop since Carolyn was only in a handful of episodes, but I liked what I saw. They were friends and liked to tease each other, as well as make bets on basketball games. Some say that they flirted a little, which may have been partly true. It's too bad we never got to see more of what could have been.
Simon and Megan
Another relationship that didn't get a whole lot of time to develop, but one that was fun to watch. Megan started on the wrong foot since the first thing she did upon arriving in America in Foreign Exchange was get involved in a car chase in the airport garage, taking along gunless observer Blair for the ride. The only thing she didn't do was destroy a certain captain's car. ~grin~ Following that, a previous history with a thief came up and caused general havoc and made Simon's blood pressure rise in a way that I'm sure he thought was reserved just for Jim and Blair.
However, after that, things settled down more or less and in Neighborhood Watch, Simon started to show Megan the ropes a little more before sending her off to work with Jim and Blair undercover. In Night Shift, he and Jim tease her about "croc-spotting." And in S2, Simon asks why Megan shows up in Sierra Verde, but doesn't try to send her back to the States, rather he keeps her with them as they track Blair, leaving her with Blair before he heads back to get additional help.
Some people also see a bit of flirting going on between these two, though more often lately Megan is paired off with Blair.
Simon as Captain
BAY said in one of his interviews that in addition to the idea of playing an African-American in a commanding role, he liked playing the role of Simon Banks since he was a captain that got out into the field and did stuff, just didn't sit behind a desk. Which is true many times. Though it seems to me whenever there is a Simon-centric episode, he's almost certain to get very hurt. In Reunion he gets shot and chased through a hotel before falling through a hole in the ceiling and nearly getting toasted. In Flight, he spends his time running away from drug runners. In Survival, he gets dragged through the forest by Quinn, tied up, beat, dropped down a coal shaft, and nearly suffocated. In Finkleman's Folly, he gets shot in the first scene and spends nearly all his time in the hospital -- though that is where we meet Amy who I always wanted to see come back. Secret is probably one of the few Simon-centric episodes where he's not hurt in some fashion.
As stated above, Simon does get involved. He's not one to sit on the sidelines, though he does that as well. He helps Jim take down Kincaid and company in Siege. He chases after the train Jim's riding in Night Train. He beats up on the bad guys in Flight and carries a very big gun. He stands up to the bad sheriff at the end of Reunion -- then promptly passes out from loss of blood. He leads raids and calls the shots in several episodes. He and Blair run around half of Cascade trying to find Jim in Secret. He fights Quinn and then later fights Lisa (Quinn's girlfriend) in Survival -- and he won't let Jim drop Quinn down the shaft. He goes down to Sierra Verde with Jim to find Alex in S2. No, Simon is not a "stay behind the desk" captain. He's an involved captain.
Simon as Friend
As mentioned throughout this mini-essay, Simon is a very good friend. Very supportive. Very much there for his men. He also likes to have fun. He joins Jim in teasing Blair at the beginning of Reunion and later he does it again in the final scene of The Girl Next Door. He and the other "redcoats" gang up on Blair in His Brother's Keeper. The first act of Crossroads is all about Simon and Blair picking on each other.
Simon also likes to pick on Jim. He wants to know if Jim was hit on the head with a toy car as a child after Jim destroys Simon's new car in Foreign Exchange. He takes the basketball tickets away from him in Four Point Shot. He jokes around with him at the beginning of Dead Drop, though the joking is about Blair. He teases Jim a little about "being born with a silver spoon in his mouth" at the end of His Brother's Keeper. And he chuckles at Jim's comment as he wonders if the department was gonna pay for the fixing of Jim's shot-up loft in Mirror Image.
Simon has hobbies. He likes to fish (even though BAY doesn't) (Flight, Poachers, Crossroads). He enjoys basketball games (Switchman, Three Point Shot) and he likes to play basketball (Four Point Shot). He owns a racehorse (His Brother's Keeper) . ~grin~ He loves a good cigar and doesn't like it when Jim won't let him smoke one in Jim's truck (Reunion). He enjoys spending time with his son, even though he doesn't always understand him.
Simon's a good guy. A good captain. And he's a true friend. A solid friend. A caring friend.