The main problem is that Fraser appears to be lying in this episode. I maintain that he's merely not telling the truth. That is, he's not telling Welsh that he found a body; had Welsh asked flat out, I'm certain that Fraser would have confessed. I find that this type of 'truth concealment' is not much different from going undercover in 'Pizza and Promises' or in 'Some Like It Red', times in which Fraser has strayed from the truth in order to reach a greater good. Fraser is also demonstrating the intense loyalty he feels for Ray, and gives insight into Ray's character ('he would not be capable of an act so monstruous...'). Even though he is no longer physically present, Vecchio's character continues to be developped.
Personally, I thought that this was one of the rare third season episodes where Fraser stayed in character. He was blatantly oblvious to Francesca's sexual connotations when she compared him to a priest (gosh that makes me want to roll on the floor each time!). He was uncomfortable concealing the truth from Welsh in the hilarious bathroom scene (btw, Canadians do *not* pee standing on the toilet). And he was just as disoriented as he usually is, from going past the squad room and having to backtrack after the 'priest' fiasco to attempting to drive's Ray's car (he's only driven 'well' twice: in 'Victoria's Secret' and in 'Perfect Strangers'). I'll never understand why Ray gave him the keys!
I must admit that it took me a few viewings to like this episode because I had problems, as many other Duesers do, with the way Fraser reacted to the situation, but once I decided that he was in character, well I kind of fell in love with it! The scene where Frannie sets the dead guy careening down the hall straight into a door... Let's just say that like 'Bounty Hunter' and like 'Mounty on the Bounty' (especially part two), "Dead Guy Running' is an episode worthy of creative minds behind 'Due South'.
Who comes up with these ideas?!
I'm sure much of my admiration can be traced to the same reason given by Marie-Andree: the "return" of the "real Ray Vecchio." But I would go further and propose that Ray isn't the only Vecchio to return to form. I'm talking about Francesca Vecchio of the Vecchio famiglia, who describes the Guy from the neighborhood doing a great impression of "Mister Frank Sinatra," and I'm talking about the Francesca of "Vault" who sees herself as the leading lady in the movie of her life, so much so she can describe Ray's outrage only in terms of a scene from "The Godfather" (and how right that Fraser didn't get the reference, and how right they were NOT to push the joke at that point).
I was also touched by the subdued pathos of Francesca's confession to "Father" Fraser -- and struck by the similarity in tone and texture to Fraser's confession to the priest in "Victoria's Secret." Oh, but this was decidedly Francesca's confession: "He asked me out for a drink. I thought we were going for a drink. But I guess he thought we were going for a drink." Nothing funny here except in the most oblique way -- one smiles with affection for Francesca and compassion for her pain. And then, a moment later, one feels a flash of the outrage Ray must have felt when our wonderful Francesca says, "But then he really started to hurt me." I half-expected Fraser to reach out to comfort her at that moment, but I think it shows his intelligence and understanding that he DOESN'T try to touch her.
We even saw a bit of the old Fraser Sr. in this episode -- the irritating, interfering Dead Dad babbling on about the condition of the other dead people in the morgue and prompting a bit of the old terse impatience from his son. I missed the crackle of those exchanges in Seasons 3/4. (Well, sometimes I missed it. I do like the scenes in which Fraser Sr. counseled his son with tales from his own career -- as in "Asylum.")
But what I really loved about "Dead Guy Running" was its wit, timing, and detail. The intertextual play on "Dead Man Walking," with a really dead Guy being run down the hall by Fraser. That one little scene cracks me up every time: the marvelous Stanley ("He don't need no rights! He got a Mercedes!") clearing the halls while Fraser thanks everyone kindly, all to the beat of the great music they used to score the run. And the bathroom scene with Welsh: LOL! Toilets seem to be a motif in DS (perhaps because one of the controversies between the US and Canada is the illegal importation of Canadian bigger bowls?). And the endless ear anecdotes! How you just knew that Fraser was pulling Ray's leg (or EAR) in retaliation for Ray's refusal to share the anecdote of how he injured his ear.
Speaking of Ray, I really enjoyed him in this episode. I'm not sure why -- I just sense that the timing was really "on" for PG and CKR. And I loved watching the growing attachment between Ray and Stanley (who shared a name, the way Ray shared a name with another prominent character *g*).
The absurdities were played just right: the bearded bride, the gossiping Sergeant, the unexplained injuries, the Waco-happy Feds. I was even tickled by Fraser's automotive incompetence: driving is apparently the only city skill our Superman Mountie has UNlearned since his arrival in Chicago. It's somewhat reassuring that he's not absolutely perfect -- unlike this episode.