Template:Infobox character Timothy Bayliss is a fictional detective on Homicide: Life on the Street. He was a primary character, and was played by Kyle Secor. He was loosely based on the real-life Det. Tom Pellegrini from David Simon's book "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets", though the real detective was reportedly not a fan at all of his fictional alter ego.


Bayliss had a difficult relationship with his family, but perhaps because of that he strongly valued family loyalty. Growing up he was very close with his cousins Jim and Kurt Bayliss who he claims were like his brothers. Pembleton would later question Jim for the murder of a Turkish exchange student, a crime for which he was acquitted. Kurt was shot and killed in Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War and his death may have played a role in the murder of the exchange student. Jim and Kurt's father (Tim's uncle) was extremely racist as Jim claims that the first time he ever heard racist words were out of their father's mouth. In season five it was revealed that Bayliss had been sexually molested as a child by another of his father's brothers, George. After telling this to his father, he was accused of lying. At that point onward his relationship to his father was mostly hostile and remained so to the man's death. He told Det. Kellerman that he was arrested for protesting U.S. policy towards El Salvador when he was a teenager, a story idea that Secor reportedly disdained as out of established character for Bayliss, and one that was quickly discarded in favor of the character developments for Seasons 5-7, including his childhood sexual abuse and religious journey.


Unlike several characters in the series, religion was not important in his family background. When asked he stated he had been raised "mutt." In this case that meant his family attended several different denominations, most of which could be termed "Mainline Protestant," but they had no attachment to any of them. Bayliss states that he was baptized into the Presbyterian Church and confirmed in the Episcopal Church. He briefly joined Unitarian Universalism for a girlfriend but seems to have not been particularly sincere about it. That being said, he did start out with a nominally Christian outlook, which was mentioned time to time in the early seasons.

Adena Watson case Edit

Tim Bayliss had originally worked for the mayor's security, but his ambition had been to work at Homicide. His first case would be the rape-murder of Adena Watson. This case haunted him throughout the series, but particularly in the first four seasons. In one episode in the fourth season he learns that Risley Tucker (Moses Gunn), an arabber whom he zeroed in on as the likely murderer but was unable to secure a confession from, has died of natural causes. A distraught Tim later meets with Adena's mother and they both discover that in many ways she had moved on from the tragedy better than Bayliss had. This realization confused and angered her. In this same episode he indicated he was starting to hate Adena due to the fact he could not move on from her death, and annoyed Det. Pembleton by trying to make a connection between a similar child murder case and Adena Watson. However his inability to capture Adena's murderer and the fact that it was his first case helped make it an obsession for him. The case also led to his partnering with Frank Pembleton. In the Season 6 episode "Finnegan's Wake", Tim wrestled anew with the Watson case when he learned about the longest-running unsolved homicide on the BPD's books, the rape and murder in 1932 of a little girl named Carla Slone; Pembleton told Tim that the senior detectives all decided to not tell him about the Slone case because it strongly echoed Adena Watson's case, not least because the lead detective in 1932 was a very young cop who saw the case quickly spiral out of his control. Tim was having dreams about the case, and told the retired cop who helped Falsone solve the case that he wondered if he had true evil (Risley Tucker) in his sights and let him get away.

Partnership with Pembleton Edit

The partnership with Pembleton would form a core element to the character and the entire show. Pembleton was by turns supportive and hurtful to Bayliss. He wanted to take a hard line on Bayliss's cousin who killed a Turkish exchange student, and also said that Bayliss lacked an understanding of "his dark side" so would do poorly in his job. Yet Pembleton also saved Bayliss from being charged in an incident that could have been interpreted as robbery, and Pembleton once told Bayliss that he was the only man he trusted. The only other person Pembleton said he trusted was his wife, Mary.

That being said, the two ended their partnership for a time in the fifth season, partly due to Pembleton's stroke. Bayliss stated that Frank's rhythm was "off" after recovery, but there were also hints that he had come to prefer working without him. In addition to that he felt uncomfortable with Pembleton after he told him how he (Bayliss) was abused in childhood. The case in this episode involved a mother who allowed her husband to beat her daughter from a previous marriage to death and was pregnant with the husband's child, and Pembleton showed some sympathy to the woman's story. Later he returned to partnering with Pembleton due to Mary leaving Pembleton for a time.

Pembleton left the force shortly after Bayliss was shot by a member of Georgia Ray Mahoney's gang. Pembleton met Bayliss's mother, Virginia, after Tim's surgery. She told Frank what Tim thought of their friendship "You're not a person who has friends but he's your friend". Shortly afterwards Frank and Mary say a prayer for Tim.

Personal life Edit

In the first two seasons Bayliss's character had been called a "fair-haired choir boy" and he stated once that he rejected the idea of having sex for any reason besides love. That started hints at having him "lose his innocence," or questions of whether his claimed innocence was even genuine, occurred even then. Starting in the third season they stated they wanted to more clearly have him "lose his innocence." Hence in season three he had an affair with Emma Zoole who liked having sex in a coffin and who later broke up with him because he "wouldn't fight with her." The statement had something of a double meaning as it directly involved his unwillingness to argue with her about their problems, but other aspects of the character implied she also was referring to his disdain for rough sex. The end of the relationship led to his pulling a gun on a store clerk. In later seasons he explored bisexuality. However the character did not "come out," in the standard sense, until season 7. In the first episode concerning the matter he flatly stated he was "not gay" and did not formally declare himself to be bisexual until Season 7, but even then he did not want to be deemed "a crusader" on the matter. This way of treating his sexuality is believed to have made the network uncomfortable.[1] He had a fling with Dr. Cox and a semi-flirtation with Det. Ballard, and briefly dated a closeted uniform cop, but had no serious relationships in the final seasons of the show. During Season 6, Bayliss and Pembleton partnered again, and a drug war sparked by the killing of Baltimore drug kingpin Luther Mahoney led to brutal retaliation against the police department, including Mahoney's nephew, in custody, getting hold of an officer's gun and shooting up the squad room. Bayliss and Pembleton were not present but worked on the police response. During a gun battle, Pembleton froze and Bayliss, who shoved him aside, was shot and severely wounded. Pembleton, disgusted to find that fellow detective Mike Kellerman had deliberately shot Mahoney and would resign instead of being prosecuted, grief-stricken over Bayliss's wounding, quit the force in disgust in the season finale. Bayliss would return for Season 7, forever changed and foreshadowing his actions in that season.

As mentioned in the childhood section he had not had a particularly religious upbringing. That being said, toward the end of the series, after he had been shot, he became more interested in the matter and converted to Zen Buddhism. Other officers questioned how sincere his conversion was, with some justification. At the end of the episode Zen and the Art of Murder it is implied he abandoned Buddhism as he feels having to shoot a man during the job made him "not a very good Buddhist." Bayliss' sexual orientation and religion had prompted him to develop a website which was later shut down on request of Homicide Captain Roger Gaffney. The series finale implied that he murdered Luke Ryland, "the Internet killer" after a legal snafu allowed Ryland to escape prosecution. In the 2000 TV movie, Homicide: Life Everlasting, he was revealed to have taken an impromptu leave of absence, presumably conflicted over his murder of Luke Ryland. He returned to the force to solve Lieutenant Girdello's murder and subseqently confessed the killing of Ryland to Pembleton, and asked Pembleton to turn him in.

Bayliss' outcome is somewhat vague, but immediately after Bayliss confessed, Ryland's name is rewritten in blue, not black - not by Meldrick - as Meldrick is subsequently shown at the bar with the rest of the squad questioning Bayliss & Pembleton's whereabouts - and Pembleton later comments that he caught two killers that night. If Bayliss had been arrested, then it seems unlikely that he had committed suicide, as some have suggested referring to a scene in the third season Law & Order: SVU episode "Sacrifice," when Bayliss' former partner Munch expressed concerns to his new partner Odafin Tutola (Ice-T) that he is worried about his getting worked up over cases, suggesting that he had a partner "early on" who "got worked up" over cases and later "ate his gun.". If Bayliss had committed suicide, he had not done so by the end of the TV movie - as Bayliss was not at the table playing poker with the deceased Crosetti and Felton.


  1. New York Magazine

Template:Homicide: Life on the Street

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