I actually came into this one knowing nothing about the story. Because of that, the "sudden death" at the beginning of the episode caught me completely off guard. Seeing Sanchez at home, working on his Moto Guzzi, I expected I was finally getting a little peek at the man away from work. And, I suppose that's what I did get. It just wasn't what I thought I would be seeing.
The murder, and the aftermath, painted quite a picture of Sanchez and his environment. The fact that his brother was gunned down in the street, the ambulance drivers afraid to enter the neighborhood, and his reaction at the hospital combined to provide a whole load of back story for the detective. They also set the stage for what I found to be the most interesting scene of the episode. Seeing the whole team, and their spouses, gathered at the hospital was both strange and moving. Everyone wanted to help, but nobody knew what to do. That feeling rings so true.
The case itself was interesting in that, much like the team, there wasn't a suspect in sight for most of the episode either. So often, a parade of possible perps is presented right away, and the game is narrowing the field down. This time, there was nobody. It really helped to amplify the tension the team was feeling as the days passed and they were no closer to finding the killer.
That lack of suspects was also a good point to bring back Ramos (Stephen Martines). His question, about why priority homicide was focusing on this case in particular, while other cases were being handled by robbery/homicide was so thinly veiled, but it seemed fitting for his character. I really enjoyed how Brenda spun it back on him with how his paper covers those same cases.
And in the end, the big break that ended up solving the case came from Fritz. It's nice to see that relationship work out on the professional level, but it does leave me thinking about what I haven't seen from that relationship on the personal level.
In the midst of all the drama, Provenza did provide the comic relief. His whole scene, from pulling up his pants to get in the boat/pool, to the 12ft/16ft law game, was very funny.
I totally fell for Brenda's cell-phone ruse too. I thought that she just wanted the photo, not realizing she was going to use it to uncover Tao's indiscretion.