As informed as we become about that common motive of these two women, we get even deeper into the mind of Det. Stevens, who comes to represent all those who have to face such hellish aspects of life and deal with them on our behalf. Peckham's sympathetically inhabited portrayal helps us empathize with what they go through and adds poignancy to a decision the detective is working on: whether to shoot himself, making certain to pretend it was while he was carelessly cleaning his gun, so that his ex-wife and kids will get his death benefits.

Although 1:23 doesn't tell us, a mother kills her children in this country every three days, on average. The news accounts aren't as involving as a live performance of Medea, but the causes of such crimes are rooted even farther back in the history of human beings struggling to cope with existence.

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