Friday, October 13, 2017

"The Math of Wrath" Equals Chaos (Episode 6.8)

Previously on: A dozen Mexicans were found in a house, their bodies cut into pieces by a machete, a favored weapon of Salvadorans. As revenge, Mexican gangbangers shot people at a Salvadoran street fair. 

Ronnie found out that Shane was responsible for Lem's murder.

Undercover ICE agent Hernan is MIA. 

A panicked Mara is preparing to flee with Shane and their son. Shane put together detailed files on all the Strike Team's illicit activities, an insurance policy should anything happen to him. To show Vic he's serious, Shane gave his former best friend a copy of the file.

Shane hired himself out to some Armenians and shook down an Iraqi gas station owner. Said gas station owner was found dead shortly after, the nozzle of a gas pump shoved down his throat.

A woman works on her sewing machine while listening to her iPod. She pats her cat on the head, then leaves her apartment. Some guys give her unsavory looks as she passes them on the sidewalk. The woman boards a city bus, which she rides to the hospital.

She sits beside the bed of a comatose old man and whispers, "The nurse said you are staying strong, Papa." She can't stay long, but she has a gift: the colorful lap blanket we saw her sewing earlier. The daughter says something in Armenian that (I assume) means "I love you" or something along those lines. Daughter stops at a church and blesses herself in front of the Mary statue.

Near a classroom, Shane sticks a badge in her face, demanding to see Kesakhian: "I've squeezed every food stamp-collecting, Benz-driving Armenian from here to Glendale." He knows the guy works here and isn't leaving without face time. The woman takes him to an office and says, "I'm Kesakhian."

Shane doesn't believe her: "I've got my nuts in a wringer right now and I don't like it when people crank the handle, okay? I need to speak to the real Kesakhian." Daughter K explains she's handling her father's affairs. Shane has a message: "I didn't sign up to be walked into a murder jackpot and he better goddamn well fix it."

He was hired to get more customers for the oil delivery company and now someone is dead. Daughter K objects to Shane's use of "Jesus Christ" because, ya know, they're in a church. "Jesus can kiss my ass," says Shane hotly.

Now now, we know you don't mean that...
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If Kesakhian thought he found a handy fall guy for the Iraqi's murder, he's gonna find himself on "the business end of a hollowpoint." Daughter wants to take the conversation elsewhere. At a cafe, Shane asks, "You know what your daddy and his crew do for a living? They're stone-cold gangstas." Daughter K is well aware of that. She left her college career in Berlin to be his translator. Everything that's recently happened business wise was aboveboard.

"Just because people haven't been gettin' their feet chopped off lately doesn't get the Armenian mob into the Chamber of Commerce," says Shane. (Imagine the slogan if they did). Daughter K agrees to ask her dad about the gas station. Shane threatens to create problems for him if that doesn't happen.

At the Barn, Vic has arranged for a three-way sitdown: himself, Shane, and Claudette. The captain lightly asks about the tension between the two men. She knows what it's like to lose a friend, but she's sure there's more to it than that. Why have they been asking Nancy about Gilroy's Mexican connections? The disgraced former assistant chief's case has been closed for over a year.

"I'd think with your appeals hearing coming up, you'd be more helpful if you're interested in saving your job," she says to Vic. Shane answers, "Lem's killer. Lem was on the run, knew about Gilroy's underground railroad to Margaritaville. I thought somethin' mighta gone sideways in that regard. Coyote pullin' a double cross." (As Claudette herself once said, "You're stretching, son. Try yoga").

Shane reminds her that she's been stuck on the "dead Mexican hat dance" and not spending any time looking for Lem's killer. Vic glares at him. Claudette reprimands Shane for his tone. Shane doesn't think that'll be an issue again; he's transferring soon.

The conversation is interrupted by Kevin, accompanied by Hernan's handler. Talbert hasn't heard from Hernan in 36 hours and is starting to worry that his cover is blown. What are the locals doing to find him? Vic's been staking out Hernan's girlfriend and various associates. Talbert is holding them accountable for this. Claudette checks her watch: "It's 10:42 a.m. in case you need a time stamp for your ass-cover memo." Talbert wants any contact with Hernan reported immediately and leaves.

Vic remarks he can understand why Hernan reached out to him and not Talbert. Claudette is beginning to regret getting involved in the case, even though Hernan could help solve the San Marcos murders. No one knows Hernan is a fed except for the Strike Team, Claudette, and Dutch.

Kevin is confident Hernan can handle himself; they could get him killed if they start digging for him. Vic suggests a passive search. Julien didn't see any sign of Hernan at his girlfriend's. Ronnie jokes it wasn't a total waste of time: "She does yoga in the nude with the blinds open." "That really worries me, Hernan not showing up at home for that," says Vic. They should talk to the Byz Lats.

Kevin reports the truce is shaky at best. Hernan could've gotten caught in the crossfire. Kevin thinks Shane could ride with Vic and talk to Santi. Ronnie makes up a story that Shane has a troubled history with the Byz Lats; they won't open up around him. Kevin says he and Julien will cover the Salvadoran angle.

Outside, Ronnie quietly tells Vic he can't forgive Shane, but they can't let anyone else know the truth. Vic just can't stand listening to Shane "play offa Lem's murder like he's tryin' to solve it." Ronnie says Vic needs to keep his anger in check.

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Ronnie reminds Vic that neither of them are exactly innocent "and I'm not spendin' the rest of my life wearin' state property."

We see someone has vandalized one of the recruitment billboards featuring Tina. Gang members whistle to each other as Vic pulls up, a signal of some sort, no doubt. "Thought I smelled bacon," one wisecracks. The Byz Lats won't honor the truce because Vic tried to play them. However, even they know better than to mess with an undercover fed. That part they're leaving up to the Salvadorans.

"You need a new Ouija board 'cause you're channeling some bad intel," sasses Ronnie. Santi again accuses Vic of double-crossing him. Vic takes a call and gets back in the car with Ronnie. Someone found a body and they're both worried it could be Hernan.

At the crime scene, a uniform describes the murder victim as a Hispanic male between 20 and 30, sporting Salvadoran gang ink. The body was cut up and there's no ID. Kevin peeks in one of the trash bags, but it's not Hernan. Ronnie points out, "Doesn't mean they're not goin' through the ranks 'til they find him."

In the observation room, a father informs Vic that his son lied to the police about witnessing the body dump because he'd been dating an underage girl. The son argues, "I thought she was 18 until she invited me to her quinceanera." (For those that don't know, that's an elaborate birthday party, held in many Latin cultures when a girl turns 15).

Anyway, Tricia's parents were out, so they were having sex. She was on top, looked out the window, and saw a dark green Camaro pull into the alley. A guy got out and left some trash bags behind. The kid describes the suspect as a "vato, just a regular dude. The license plate was 1-B-J-something." He's sure about that because "that's what I told [Tricia] I needed." Vic is not amused.

Daughter K reports her dad is concerned about the gas station murder. "His concern doesn't help me one goddamn bit," says Shane. She gives him an envelope full of money and asks for a favor. "Doing favors for you people is how I got my ass in this sling," he says. Need I remind you that you wouldn't need favors to get out of the country had you not murdered your friend in cold blood?

Daughter K and daddy own a few apartment buildings that have been robbed; the police haven't been helpful. "Might have somethin' to do with the property owner's last name," Shane speculates. Daughter K is having trouble finding tenants and nobody in their right mind will buy the building if she sells. Will Shane help her figured out who's behind the robberies? Shane answers with another question: "Are you a mob daughter or a damsel in distress?" He'll look into it, but only if he gets paid.

At the Barn, Shane uses the one and only computer to look up reports on the addresses. One of them was filed by Tina and Julien. She remembers there was a noise complaint called in by neighbors. The Russian girls in the apartment claimed it was due to someone's drunk ex-boyfriend. Nothing was stolen, but Tina found the ex-girlfriend suspicious. She answered the door wearing fishnets and garters in the middle of the day.

Vic found five matches to the partial license plate Tricia saw. One is registered to Hernan's girlfriend Leticia. They can't put out an APB due to Hernan's undercover status. Ronnie asks how to spin it if Hernan was the person dumping the body. Vic doesn't want to worry about that until they have to.

Shane buzzes an apartment, claiming he's Matthew from the airport. "Who are you here to see?" asks a woman's voice. Shane pours on the Southern charm: "Well, after hearin' that sexy voice, I'm hopin' it's you, darlin'." The girl buzzes him in. She opens the door in a silk bathrobe embroidered with dragons.

The first thing she asks is: "Are you a police officer?" Shane dodges that by complimenting her sexy Russian accent. Once they're in the bedroom, she immediately tells Shane to whip it out. He's all too happy to oblige. The woman inquires if he wants a full hour. Shane shrugs that he's not in a hurry.

Russian wants $300 up front "for time and companionship only." She's definitely had run-ins for prostitution before. She's about to tear open a condom wrapper with her teeth when Shane flashes his badge and announces she's under arrest. Russian doesn't think so: "You let me touch your dick; that's entrapment. I know the law." Shane points out it's her word against his: "Zip me back up and put your hands behind your back."

Elsewhere, Danny consoles a woman who's been stabbed. A male passerby whistles at Tina and says he recognizes her from the billboards. Billings arrives to get the victim's statement. Danny informs him the woman's asked for a lawyer. Odd behavior after being stabbed. The victim tells the medics to take her to Cedars-Sinai. Billings gripes about entitled assholes. Tina chirps that she needs a Sharpie to sign an autograph for her admirer.

An Asian shop owner says she "no see nothing," even though the attack happened steps away. She won't let Dutch in without a warrant.

Ronnie and Vic roll out to meet Julien and Kevin at the Camaro. Hernan or Leticia will eventually come back for it. Ronnie asks what Vic's game plan is when Shane starts unraveling. Vic tells Ronnie about the file Shane put together; he knows Ronnie is mentioned in it by name. Vic burned his copy. Problem is, Mara knows about everything too.

Vic gets a text that says "Shitters' Alley. Right now," which he figures is from Hernan. He's going there solo. Ronnie will stay and keep an eye on the Camaro. In the alley, Vic finds Hernan's girlfriend. Leticia says it was too dangerous for Hernan to come.

Vic pulls his gun and threatens her: "If you're lyin' to me or pullin' any tricks, your own mother won't recognize you when I'm through." Leticia whimpers that Vic's hurting her and swears Hernan sent her. She has a message: Hernan is robbing a gun store tonight on Alvarado near the park at 6:00 sharp; Vic needs to let it happen but rescue the innocents. Leticia knows Hernan is a cop and hasn't told anyone else.

Vic asks about the dead body in the alley. Leticia insists Hernan had no choice; Octavio executed the guy for being a snitch. Vic has a message of his own: Hernan needs to contact his bosses in D.C. and leave the Camaro where it is. He'll hide instructions for Hernan in one of the wheel wells.

Shane lets Russian know he isn't interested in her hooking. If she tells him what happened at her house two weeks ago, "you streetwalk outta here a free woman." Russian got robbed for $2,500 by a guy who came for "an appointment." She describes him as a white "like a regular business john." Three black men arrived instead, threatening to shoot her and her roommate if they looked at them.

Russian and her fellow hookers have been working lots of overtime to prevent their pimp from finding out about the robbery. Can she leave now? She has a client that likes golden showers and she needs to drink iced tea to get the right, um, flavor. Shane chuckles: "I'll be right back with those mug books and a Snapple."

Vic believes Leticia when she says Hernan's alive, but Claudette is skeptical. Kevin doesn't want to risk blowing Hernan's cover. "Screw his cover," she says bluntly. They're under orders to notify ICE of any contact. Kevin pleads that getting them involved will "FUBAR the whole thing." Claudette tells them to get Shane out of the interrogation room. He's up there with a prostitute and "I don't want him freelancing for Vice while he's still under my command."

Vic catches Kevin by the elbow; they need to protect Claudette from herself. They should find Hernan and then turn him over to ICE. Kevin worries about disobeying the captain. Vic says they don't make cases by listening to upper management. If they play their cards right, they can protect Hernan while keeping guns out of bad guys' hands.
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Shane fills Daughter K in on the robberies, which funnily only seem to happen in buildings that escort services are run out of. Daughter K insists she doesn't know about any hookers; they're just real estate investors. Shane calls that "window dressing wrapped around the same old-school gangsta shit." He might know who's behind all this.

At the ER, Dutch and Billings are met by stabbing victim Eleanor's lawyer. He's promised his client immunity if she's honest with the police. Eleanor admits to buying three replicas, which Billings instantly recognizes as a euphemism for knockoff handbags. "Nurses here do it all the time," defends Corinne.

Someone stabbed Eleanor today and pushed her down. "So you lost the three purses you bought and the two you had with you?" asks Dutch. Eleanor sharply tells him, "They're not purses! Two were evening clutches. The other was a keepall." She describes her attacker as a bad-smelling Hispanic man. Dutch guesses the thief thought the knockoffs were real. "Knockoffs are what they sell in Times Square," Eleanor says prissily, "These are quality replicas."

Corinne heard the replicas in that neighborhood are so good you can't tell the difference. Tina nods that it's all about good weight, stitching, and hardware; she favors Marc Jacobs. Corinne likes Gucci, but she'll never be able to afford the real thing with her salary. I don't know about L.A., but registered nurses in my home state of Kentucky can make bank depending on the hospital.

Danny can't relate; Lee's diaper bag came from Old Navy. Surprisingly, Corinne doesn't say anything catty. She agrees that they're stylish.

As Shane comes into the clubhouse, Kevin explains about the gun store robbery they're allowing to happen. Vic has assigned Danny and Tina to a checkpoint; the Strike Team's first priority is watching the girls' backs in case of something. They have to be ready for anything because Hernan could go off-script.

Vic and Ronnie watch the green Camaro park by a dumpster. Hernan, ski mask over his face, walks point into the gun store. Julien is already inside posing as a security guard. Someone puts a gun to his head and takes his car keys while the others grab assault rifles off the shelves. The robbery takes less than a minute.

Kevin tails the Camaro in his unmarked car, guiding them right to Danny. She plays the stop off as a routine insurance checkpoint. Vic knows the registration is expired and wonders what the gangbangers will do: "Go for it and pray nobody pops the trunk? Or risk going away for a few decades?"

Hernan's passengers get out of the backseat, run across the road, and carjack a Jeep. Shane isn't fast enough to stop them. Vic assures Danny they have everything under control.

Edgar-veda questions why he should join the exploratory committee instead of outright announcing his candidacy for mayor. A fellow councilman explains an announcement would trigger financial scrutiny. Who are his supporters? How much are they contributing? Exploratory Committee also gives him the chance to check out other avenues, such as running for state assemblyman.

His campaign advisor suggests pushing through redistricting. Koreans are a big part of Farmington and less likely to vote for a Democratic candidate. Blacks don't support Edgar-veda either, but they also don't go out and vote. He can stock the pond with Latino citizens.

In the hall, Edgar-veda's construction company friend gives him a check. Edgar-veda asks why it's only $100,000. His friend promises the rest when the San Marcos case is closed.

Dutch thinks they should've denied Eleanor's immunity and arrested her. Claudette is more interested in finding the purse snatcher than trademark infringement. Billings bucks for a raid at the purse shop, which attracts "upscale clientele to a shitty neighborhood." More stabbings (or worse) could happen.

Claudette agrees, only because she doesn't want a "pampered socialite breathing down [my] neck. That's what I have Aceveda for." Speak of the devil and he appears. He wants to know if Claudette needs more resources to solve the San Marcos case. She doesn't want to give him information after what happened with Hernan. Edgar-veda is shocked, just shocked that she'd think he's a mole.

In the Barn's parking lot, Kevin shows off the gun haul in the Camaro's trunk. Claudette is none too pleased that Hernan is MIA again and that the other two got away. Kevin explains he made a judgment call; the guns could've been used against the Strike Team if they'd rushed the store. Vic is confident Hernan and friends will turn up.

Claudette asks about the unauthorized phony insurance checkpoint. She's sure Vic or Kevin signed off on it and can't believe they put uniforms in harm's way. "'Harm's way' is part of the job description," Kevin says coolly. Claudette thought she could trust Kevin, but he's turning out to be another Vic.

Kevin reminds her the Barn is in serious jeopardy if the San Marcos case goes unsolved. Claudette warns that he could end up following Vic out the door.

Shane stops to visit a site where parolees are picking up trash. Juneteenth, a pimp, is of special interest. Shane knows the pimps sit on the Russian girls' passports so they can't leave the States. He also knows about the robberies and assaults. Juneteenth laughs, "You can't prove shit." Shane whips off his sunglasses, Horatio Caine style, and says, "Try me."

He offers to run interference so Juneteenth can keep doing what he's doing...in exchange for a small cut of the profits, of course. Juneteenth would have to discuss that with his business partners. Shane inquires, "You mean Pancake and Squeeze?" Juneteenth is surprised Shane knew that.

Shane's next stop is Kesakhian's hospital room: "When you said your father was travelin', I didn't think you meant the highway to heaven." Kesakhian was brought in DOA by an ambulance 11 days ago; the nurses don't expect him to last another week. Daughter K has been praying for a miracle. She can't stand to see her father's crime empire "torn apart by snakes and vultures."

Shane knows people are already freelancing behind her back. The daughter asks if she can count on Shane. That'd be a no; she lied to him. However, he also knows "a nice choir girl like you" doesn't want any part of the havoc Margos will wreak. Shane gives her the names of the pimps, reminding her she has bigger problems.

Danny is impressed by Eleanor's memory of her attacker; the sketch is pretty detailed. Billings suggests canvassing Skid Row first. Dutch doesn't get it: "This woman could have anything she wants. Is saving a few bucks worth a couple stab wounds?" "When it comes to Louis, Gucci, and Fendi," says Tina. Danny adds, "Coach, Prada, Chanel." Eleanor must get a thrill when her friends that pay full price on Rodeo Drive mistake her knockoffs for the real thing.

"Are they hearing themselves?" asks Dutch. Are you forgetting you once strangled a cat to see what it would feel like? Judge not lest ye be judged, Dutch Boy.

Hernan has sent Vic another text, asking to meet tonight. Kevin thinks his intel better be worth it "after the ass-reaming I just took." He wants to round up the team, but Vic says he and Ronnie can handle it. He promises to remain civil as long as Shane stays with the team. Kevin wishes Vic could stick around too. However: "You're a done deal. Claudette's been playing you since the day I showed up." Kevin is sorry and wishes he could do something.

Vic shrugs off the apology. He's got time until his hearing. Plus, Claudette isn't the only person at the table. He leaves Kevin to ponder exactly what that means.

In the break room, Billings and Dutch continue to express their mystification about women and purses. "Get a lunchbox. Whack a mugger with one of those, at least you'll draw some blood," says Billings. Shane agrees, "Chicks are nuts." Well, you'd know; you married Mara.

Claudette comes in with a report. Juneteenth the pimp was found castrated in an alley. Billings bets Juneteenth's ex is carrying his family jewels in her "knockoff Louis Vuitton." "Paid for with his money," says Dutch, ever the cynic. A live castration victim is in the ER at Mission Cross. Claudette snarks, "Missing bags maybe you boys can relate to."

People in the squadroom applaud as Danny and Tina bring in the smelly purse snatcher. He threw "homemade shit balls" at the girls before they hauled him out of the sewer. Dutch gallantly offers to take the suspect to booking. Danny shakes her head: "Don't deny me the pleasure of throwing his skanky ass into the cage."

Puffing on a cigarette, Shane suggests he and Ronnie hit a dive bar for a few beers. Ronnie acts like he didn't hear a thing. "What? I extend an invite, you throw shade?" asks Shane. Ronnie turns around, walks right up to Shane, and says, "I know what you did to Lem."

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"Vic had to spin what happened like I'm the antichrist," says Shane. Um, you kind of are. He argues Lem would be alive if it wasn't for Vic. Ronnie isn't falling for that; he knows who pulled the pin. Shane calls it an inevitable tragedy. "You even start any horseshit about how you were protecting all of us, I will throw down with you right now." Ronnie's tone is as menacing as I've ever heard.

Shane doesn't want to fight him; they don't have a beef. Ronnie begs to differ. He knows Shane is trying to blackmail him and Vic. Shane doesn't deny he wrote a 24-page journal. (Everything the guys pulled and it's that short?) They tensely wait for a uniform to pass before continuing the conversation.

"Why don't you ask Vic to show you page one?" asks Shane. Ronnie can't because Vic burned it. Shane bets he knows why; the first paragraph is all about how Vic killed Terry while he watched. "I've been lying, covering up, bleeding out of my goddamn anus for three years trying to protect him." (Wrong again. Lem was the one bleeding, puking blood, actually, thanks to your shenanigans).
If Ronnie gets tired of Vic leading him around by a leash, he should call Shane and get the whole ugly truth. Ronnie's jaw twitches.

In their street clothes, Tina and Corinne head for the knockoff emporium. Tina knows they have a limited window before the place gets shut down. The store turns out to be the one closest to where Eleanor was stabbed.

Tina asks the owner about Fendi clutches. The woman unlocks a back room that she told Dutch earlier she didn't have a key for. She leads them through a maze of locked gates and upstairs. "I'm not sure about this," Corinne says uneasily. Tina tells her to think happy designer purse thoughts. And don't worry, she has her gun.

Tina suddenly laughs. Danny, buying a knockoff diaper bag, gives her coworker a guilty stare but thinks she and Tina deserve purses after the day they've had. Corinne's wasn't much better; her shift began with a meth head puking on her. Another salesgirl tells Danny to come back next week when they get new Prada.

Vic climbs back in the car with Ronnie. Hernan didn't come to the meeting. Leticia told Vic something big is coming but didn't get specific. She just knows the Byz Lats and Salvadorans are negotiating tomorrow. Hernan is flying to El Salvador and Leticia has no clue when he'll be back. Meaning they went through the gun shop sting for no reason.

"Why would he jerk us off like that?" Ronnie wonders. Vic guesses they sent Hernan south until things calm down. Hell, Hernan probably framed the latest murder victim as a snitch to draw suspicion away from himself. Vic takes it further: "Hernan didn't just set this guy up. He did the chopping."

Ronnie looks unsettled, but reckons the dead guy got what was coming. "But Hernan's gotta live with what he did now," says Vic. Ronnie pipes up with "No different than why you shot Terry." Vic supposes Ronnie got that from Shane. Ronnie shocks the hell out of me by saying, "Page one of Shane's memoirs wasn't exactly new information." Fortunately, Shane can't prove it.

Ronnie wishes Vic had been honest with him from the start. He asks when they can leave all this shit in the past. Vic doesn't answer.

Shane watches Daughter K pray in the otherwise empty church. He knows she castrated the pimps. "It was maybe too much?" she asks. Shane drawls, "I'm certain you got your point across." She gives Shane more money, along with the names and addresses of the men who killed the gas station owner. They're willing to confess. Shane doubts it could be that easy.

Daughter K nods that they'll talk to protect their wives and families: "Armenian way, they suffer first." Shane knows it won't take long for Rezian to figure out Daughter K is running the show. She's not ready for him to come after her. "Just 'cause your father was in the life doesn't mean you have to be Daddy's little gangster."

Daughter argues her dad is a survivor. He used to teach her about history every night at dinner. Everything was taken from Armenians "and he taught me to never let that happen to us again." Well, other than that whole money train thing a few years back, right? People are still loyal to her dad and now she has Shane. End of episode.

Friday, October 6, 2017

"Exiled" from the Kingdom (Episode 6.7)

Previously on: 11 (possibly 12) people were murdered in a house by Salvadorans. So far, the cops have struck out with leads and suspects. One victim was a Mexican government official. The Barn has been threatened with closure. Vic discovered his best friend Shane murdered Lem. He threatened to kill Shane too.

Shane's face has finally healed from the ass-kicking. He splashes cold water on it and flushes his painkillers down the toilet. He sits down and painstakingly scrawls TERRY CROWLEY across the top of a legal pad. More pads and case files (including Terry's) are spread across the spare bed in his hotel room. Shane's antsy, pacing and smoking cigarettes.

Ronnie gets in Vic's car, asking, "Did you talk to Shane?" Vic can barely get the words out: "He did it. He killed Lem." Ronnie can't believe it. Vic promises Shane is never coming back to the Strike Team.

They're meeting Hernan the undercover fed in a park bathroom. Hernan's new handler, Talbert, knows the severed arm belonged to government official Romero. Hernan was told to leave the case alone. Vic finds it odd that the governments on both sides of the border are looking the other way. Hernan bets "some fed way up the food chain is getting greased to keep it off the books."

Hernan doesn't trust Talbert, a dangerous position for an undercover to be in. He asks Vic to be his lifeline. Vic gives Hernan the number to his burner phone. Hernan is hoping to get his own crew, which will make him privy to more gang secrets. Could Vic raid Lonya's Bar at 2:00 this afternoon Hernan plans to tip off the gang 20 minutes before Vic gets there. His cover story will be that he has a mole in the police department.

When Vic arrives at the Barn, cops are pouring out to their cars en masse. "We got a street fair with confetti and dead bodies," Kevin says. More specifically, it's the Salvadoran El Mundo Festival. Four people are dead, others injured; all the casualties are women and children. And does Vic happen to know why Shane called in sick today?

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Vic almost parks on top of several festival-goers when they arrive. He tells Julien to help the outnumbered uniforms. Danny and Tina fill Vic in on the details. Six Mexicans with Byz Lat tattoos showed up at the festival with sawed-off shotguns hidden in their backpacks. The festival was sponsored by a Salvadoran gang.

Claudette theorizes the shooting is Mexican payback for the San Marcos house murders. "Hernan says Salvadorans had nothing to do with San Marcos. It was an internal Mexican beef," says Vic. Claudette isn't so sure about that. "He lied," Vic realizes.

Danny is struggling to keep a distraught woman behind the police tape. "My son!" the Latina cries, pointing to a stretcher the paramedics are loading into an ambulance, "My son was shot! Let me see him!"

Back at the Barn, Claudette wants to find out why Hernan lied to them. Vic explains Hernan is about to be made a gang captain and wouldn't want the local cops turning up the heat. The undercover fed is nervous about being told not to investigate Romero's murder and no longer trusts his handler. Claudette tells Dutch and Billings to run with the Romero lead.

Vic tells the captain about the favor Hernan asked for. She wants the Salvadorans brought in anyway. Phillips arrives to talk to her. "I-I know this street festival thing looks bad," Claudette stutters. She assures the chief her best detectives are handling it. Fortunately, Wilshire and Central have also offered help.

Mara is by the vending machines, holding Jackson on one hip. Have the guys seen Shane? He didn't come home last night. I'm not sure why Mara even cares, given that she threw him out of the house after his drug-fueled murder confession. Mara zeroes right in on Vic: "He doesn't do anything without you knowing about it." She knows the truth about Lem. "If you did anything to hurt Shane--"

Vic cuts her off, challenging, "What is it you think you know?" Mara says she and Shane don't keep secrets from each other. Vic pats Jackson on the head: "Open and honest. That's the best way, right?"

The guys raid Lonya's Bar, which, surprise of surprises, is empty. "Hernan knew we'd come early for the bosses," says Vic, "I'm beginning to think this guy is kind of an asshole."

Shane straightens up a stack of handwritten papers. Besides the one with Terry's name on it, there's one that says ARMENIAN MONEY TRAIN FEB-APR '03. He puts all his files and folders into two manila envelopes.

At the bar, Vic's phone rings. Hernan is on the other end. Vic asks if the bosses are planning retaliation. Said bosses are around, so Hernan gives his answer in rapid Spanish. The gist of it is "check the garbage." Vic finds a list of the bosses' addresses. He decodes what Hernan is saying as "pick me up with the rest of them." Vic hangs up and takes back what he said about Hernan.

Ronnie thinks it's a smart move that "preserves his cover, gets the shot-callers off the street." Julien is concerned the Byz Lats might get suspicious if they just pick up the Salvadorans. Vic has a solution for that: a gang sweep.

Claudette tells Edgar-veda about Phillips' visit and his involving Wilshire and Central: "Our stats are tanking. He's gonna shut this place down." Edgar-veda guesses, "They're keeping it under the radar to protect morale." "It's hard to motivate cops when your home base is a sinking ship," she points out.

Claudette asks for extra manpower for a gang sweep. Edgar-veda cautions that the Mexican and Salvadoran communities are both angry; this will look like victim-blaming. "It's a warrant sweep," she explains, adding she's doing this to protect an undercover ICE agent. The agent might be able to help broker peace.

At a construction site, Edgar-veda's friend Cruz lays out his plans for a new community: restaurants, stores, and a movie theater within walking distance of new low-income housing and a low-cost medical clinic: "People work hard for their money. They shouldn't have to bus to Beverly Hills to spend it." If they're low-income, they can't stop in Beverly Hills anyway, dummy.

Edgar-veda tells Cruz about the upcoming gang sweep. His friend calls it a "blitzkrieg against Latinos." Edgar-veda argues, "We're getting gang members off the street to keep the community safe." Between all their connections, they can convince the neighborhood this is a good thing.

Cruz explains the two of them aren't considered "real Latinos" by the locals anymore: "They see a developer and a former cop." Edgar-veda tells them the Barn might be closed permanently, meaning fewer police officers in the area. Gesturing at the construction, he asks, "What good is all this if we can't protect it or the people who come here?" Edgar-veda even goes as far as telling Cruz the real reason they're doing the sweep. Jesus, Hernan is a....
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Shane comes home, picks up Jackson out of his playpen, and gives him a hug. "Where the hell have you been?" Mara demands. Shane shrugs that he was doing some thinking. Mara thinks it's more like "you were getting your dick sucked by your underage Nubian whore." Shane snaps at her to watch her mouth around the kid.

"I left you a message, said not to wait up," he adds. His cell died and he couldn't find another phone. (A likely story). In any case, Shane's sorry he worried her. Mara tells him that she went looking for him at work and talked to Vic. He scared her.

"Mara, what did you say to him?" asks Shane, "Did you say anything about Lem?" "I think he might've figured it out," she replies. Shane wants to know what else she said to him. Mara may have mentioned that the Vendrells don't keep secrets from each other.

Shane sighs: "You know who this guy is? What he's done? The shit he can do, Mara? Not just to me, but to you and Jacks?" "What else have you done, Shane? Huh?" Mara sounds freaked out. Shane barks, "Enough!"

Mara backs away from him, but keeps asking questions: "Will he tell them about Lem? Will they send you to prison?" Shane is confident Vic will keep his mouth shut; he could cause all kinds of trouble for Vic if he wanted to. "So you're a threat to him? Oh God," says Mara. They have to get out of L.A.

Shane has already called Vice about getting his old job back. He'll work there for a year or so until they save enough to move. Shane gives her instructions: Pack a bag for herself and Jackson, small but enough to live out of for a while. He has a few things he needs to take care of, then he'll join them. Shane gives her a hug and a kiss.

Mara realizes she can't leave that fast. Corinne is supposed to come over tomorrow with stuff for their new baby. "Vic wouldn't do anything to us when we're with his wife and kid, right?" Make that "ex-wife," Mara.

Kevin briefs everyone on their two main targets: Octavio Menez, to be picked up by SWAT, and Santi Galas, to be picked up by the Strike Team. "These scumbags live with family, that means elderly and kids," adds Vic, "So safety off, but easy on the trigger." Ronnie's job is to bring in Hernan; other gang members know Vic's face.

Agent Talbert enters to start the feds vs. locals pissing contest. He refuses to sign off on the raid. "Then don't," says Claudette. The sweep is happening with or without his help. Talbert intends to stop it. "Might as well paint a bull's-eye on Hernan's back," says Vic. Talbert gives them the password ("honeycomb); they're to back off immediately if Hernan tells them to.

Ronnie and the SWAT team descend on Hernan's house. Ronnie finds Hernan in bed with a girl and whispers "honeycomb" in his ear. Elsewhere, Vic, Kevin, and Julien are in foot pursuit of Santi. Julien tackles him. "Godspeed," Vic jokes.

Shane pays a visit to Nancy, the widow of disgraced former assistant police chief Ben Gilroy. She recognizes him as one of Vic's friends. What does Shane need? Shane knows that she recently told Vic about people Gilroy knew when he was living in Mexico. Shane himself is investigating something similar and needs whatever intel she gave to Vic. Nancy is suspicious.

"I can't discuss the details with you, ma'am," Shane says politely, "But you're gonna have to turn over that information. I don't wanna have to file a failure to cooperate charge." Nancy glares: "I was married to a cop for 20 years, asshole. Don't threaten me with bullshit charges." Even when Katey Sagal isn't playing Gemma, she's still a bad bitch.

When she tries to leave the room, Shane grabs her by the arm. Do the couple's daughters know Daddy ripped off the city and "disgraced the badge for some dirty Latina snatch?" Nancy looks out the window and sees her kids on the walkway talking to a friend. "Shut up," she hisses.

Shane does the opposite: "They know he choked on his own puke? Those autopsy photos are brutal. You want your daughters to see 'em?" Nancy gives Shane a hard slap across the face. He pushes her onto an easy chair and leans over her. Shane wants everything she knows by tonight or he's coming over for a little show-and-tell. He lets himself out a second before the girls open the front door.

Vic understands why Hernan lied about the San Marcos murders, but they still need the truth. Hernan explains the Byz Lats are trying to partner with a cartel based in Mexico City; the Salvadorans want a piece of the action too. He doesn't know what chopping off the Mexican official's arm had to do with anything.

Claudette asks Hernan to broker a ceasefire between the Byz Lats and Salvadorans. "There's no peace without the shooters paying the price," he says. Vic has an idea: send the Byz Lat gunmen to Chino, which is Salvadoran-deep. Does Hernan think he can talk the "Salvadoran Grand Poobah" into that?

Hernan knows he can't be promoted to captain if he "talks like Ghandi." "Talk like Trump," Kevin advises. The gangs can't go back to making money if they're too busy killing each other. Hernan can't ask who the shooters were without blowing his cover. Talbert thinks the assignment is getting too dangerous. "You're not pulling me out of this," Hernan says stubbornly. He's been undercover for 2 1/2 years. Vic agrees with his position.

Claudette pulls him aside. She heard Shane reapplied for his old job in Vice. Vic shrugs, "Makes sense. Lem gone, me bein' forced out maybe." "He also requested two weeks unpaid leave," adds Claudette. That's roughly the same amount of time Vic has left on the job. Shane's request is being denied, mostly because the wheels of police bureaucracy turn slowly.

Vic doesn't have a problem with Shane staying at the Barn. Claudette has noticed Vic doesn't seem especially upset about his best friend transferring: "If something happened between the two of you that affects the job, I need to know." Vic, of course, doesn't rat Shane out. He just says they're all upset over Lem. If Claudette has an issue with Shane, she should talk to new Strike Team leader Kevin. "I'm just a hired hand here now," Vic adds bitterly.

He and Kevin have a chat with Santi. "Don't you Byz Lat assholes know you gotta get along with these psychos? Either that or get a grenade shoved up your ass." Santi's life would be much easier if he gives up the names of the street fair shooters. He won't have a gang left to run if the members keep getting killed.

The cops know which Salvadorans were responsible for the San Marcos murders and are planning to arrest them soon. "But maybe these guys get lost on the way back to the Barn, end up in a bad neighborhood somehow," Vic suggests, "Tell me where to lose them." With the score settled, the Byz Lats can get back to business. Vic offers Santi a disposable cell phone: "Use all the minutes you need."

In the squadroom, Nancy approaches Vic and quietly asks, "What the hell is your guy up to?" Vic wants to know which one she's talking about. "That goddamn hillbilly," she replies. Vic takes her into the clubhouse. Nancy tells him that Shane came over unexpectedly and wanted to talk to Gilroy's Mexican contacts. She's worried someone will find out she was sending money to Gilroy while he was on the run. Vic told IAD he got the information on his own so they'd close the case.

Nancy sighs, "It never ends, does it?" Vic promises he'll take care of Shane. Nancy thinks he better; Shane threatened to tell her girls all their dad's secrets: the embezzlement, the affair, even the autopsy photos. She's done everything possible to shelter her daughters from that knowledge. "You rein him in, Vic, or so help me God--" "I'll take care of it," he cuts her off. I smell another hit brewing...

Ronnie comes in, catching the tail end of the conversation."Shane's gettin' ready for a cold, long winter," Vic says. He explains about Shane trying to find Gilroy's Mexican contacts and putting in for a transfer. "We gonna be one of the bases he tries to cover?" worries Ronnie.

At a Middle Eastern bakery, Shane channels his dead friend by helping himself to a free sample cookie. Unlike Lem, however, he immediately spits it in the trash. The baker introduces himself as Yezik and tells him the free cookies are called barazek. (Google tells me that's a concoction of pistachio and sesame seeds). "No wonder you give it away for free, tastes like old tires," says Shane.

Yezik uneasily eyes the badge on Shane's belt. Shane wants to talk to the bakery's new owner Kesahkian. Yezik claims not to know him. Shane looks around: "I see about a dozen health code violations in this room alone. Gives me authority to start opening up all your ovens. You sure all I'm gonna find is half-baked barazek?" Yezik thinks he can pass along a message, which is Shane has a business proposal for Kesahkian. He hands Yezik a business card.

Mara and Corinne sit on the floor together while Jackson and Megan play together. "Shane's just so hard to access sometimes," says Mrs. Vendrell, who knew darn well he wasn't exactly Mr. Warm-and-Fuzzy when they got together. Did Vic talk about work much? Corinne tried to get him to open up and eventually stopped asking.

Shane tells Mara some things, but "sometimes, I wish he didn't tell me anything." Ohhhhh boy, I bet she's about to say entirely too much. Corinne blames police work for turning her marriage sour and making Vic into a hard-ass. When they first met, Vic was really sweet.

Mara knows Vic's had it rough, what with Kavanaugh's IAD investigation. "Those charges were all bullshit," says Corinne, never mind the kids are right there, "I know he had nothing to do with Lem's murder." "I know," Mara nods. Does she ever!

"It's the off-duty shit that scares me the most. You know?" says Mara. Corinne acts like she has no idea what that means and leaves to refill the kids' sippy cups.

Romero, one of the San Marcos victims, was Mexico's Assistant Secretary of Trade and Export. His father is Mexico's Secretary of Finance. "The hell's this guy's hacked-off arm doing in Farmington?" Dutch muses. Also what happened to the rest of body? He looks around as Billing makes a turn. Does his partner know where he's going.

"I used to troll for UCLA hotties when I was in community college," says Billings, "Wasn't gonna take 'em back to my shithole in Alhambra, so I'd drive up here, say I'm going to my folks' place." Dutch can't believe that actually worked. It really didn't, though. Billings would find a nice house with lights on, then tell the girl his parents came home early and they'd have to go to her place.

Dutch looks at the house they parked next to: "Looks like Eduardo's ex found herself a rich gringo." He rings the doorbell, setting off a chorus of barking dogs.

In the back of the bakery, Shane is annoyed that he's talking to someone named Ellis instead of Kesahkian himself. He reaches for his gun and so do Ellis' friends. Ellis says something to them in Armenian. They all lay down their guns as a show of good faith. Shane guesses the rumors are true about old-school Armenian mob guys coming back to the neighborhood. Yeah, getting involved with them worked so well last time.

Ellis remarks it's been a while since they had a good relationship with local cops. "Yeah, well, choppin' off people's feet will strain any relationship," says Shane. The Armenians wants to smooth that over. Ellis says there's a new Iraqi-owned gas station nearby with an Arab-based gas supplier. "Sounds fishy. Could be funneling the money back to al-Qaeda," says Shane. He'll see what he can find out.

At the Barn, Romero's ex tells the cops she hasn't seen him in years, but they talk on the phone sometimes. Dutch breaks the news about Romero's severed arm being found with numerous other dead bodies. She had no idea he was even missing. Maria remembers her late ex-husband traveled to L.A. two or three times a year, supposedly for family reasons. He always stayed at the same hotel in Koreatown.

Dutch learns that Romero checked into the Koreatown hotel using an alias two days before his death. The clerk gave Billings the plate number of Romero's Mercedes, which came back as a rental from LAX. They're in the process of tracing the LoJack signal.

Upstairs, Santi agrees to give up three shooters. Claudette knows witnesses saw six, but Santi won't reveal whether or not that's accurate. Claudette doesn't like the possibility of letting three murderers walk free, but it may be the only option they have to cool down the gangs. Once she's gone, Vic returns to Santi. The Byz Lat tells Vic where to drop off the Salvadorans.

Kevin doesn't entirely trust Santi and wants to call for backup. Vic assures him this is an honest deal. The guys scramble into position, Ronnie hopping around like a spider monkey. "You're not gonna believe this," he says when he peeks in the window. The three Byz Lats are having a noisy orgy with a woman in the kitchen/living room. Vic, Ronnie, Kevin, and Julien go in the house via the side door and round up the naked perps.

In the Koreatown hotel room, Dutch and Billings find Romero. He's very much alive, but is missing half of one arm. "Glad we found the rest of you," remarks Dutch. Romero refuses to talk due to diplomatic immunity. Billings opens a suitcase on the bed and finds stacks of cash. "Ever heard of traveler's checks?" snarks Dutch.

In her office, Claudette tells Dutch she just got chewed out by the Mexican consulate for taking Romero in against his will. Dutch argues Romero needs protective custody: "This guy had his arm hacked off at a grisly crime scene. He had a suitcase full of unexplained cash." Dutch knows he'll hold onto the money "like it's his missing hand." To keep him around, they need to "lose" the suitcase.

"Technically, we should notify Narcotics," says Claudette. A lot of the money had drug residue on it. Claudette risks a further ass-reaming by playing fast and loose with procedures, but the information they could get out of Romero would be worth it.

Down by the cage, Vic introduces Octavio to the Byz Lats who opened fire on the street fair. It's too bad they can't all get to know each other. Vic shoves Hernan all the way out to the lobby. Claudette hopes Hernan will keep his end of the bargain.

Mara loads a bag of baby toys into her car. "I'm sorry if I said too much earlier," she tells Corinne. The former Mrs. Mackey understands needing to vent. Mara knows something happened between Vic and her husband, something that drove a huge wedge between them. She's worried and wants Corinne to talk to Vic.

"You think Vic's gonna do something to him?" asks Corinne. Mara answers, "Tell Vic we don't want any trouble. He can get hurt too. He has just as much to lose as we do, if not more." Corinne demands to know what Mara means. Mara just gets in her car and pulls away.

Shane goes to the Iraqi gas station, flashes his badge, and asks for the supply invoices. The clerk tells him to come back with a warrant. When the guy puts his hand through the bulletproof glass for a better look at the badge, Shane grabs his wrist. "I'm a citizen, man!" the guy protests. Shane cuffs him to the counter and says, "Not in my world."

Shane puts on a pair of latex gloves and locks the store. He gets in the booth with the clerk, kicks him, and takes a clipboard off the wall. The station is getting a shipment tonight from Nawzad Oil. Shane wonders if the company is on a Homeland Security watchlist. He takes the surveillance tape out of the VCR, instructing the clerk to refuse the gas.

The clerk shouldn't get too fussed, though. Another company will be dropping off a shipment in the morning. Shane thinks the company's name ends in I-A-N. The clerk immediately knows what's going on: Armenians put Shane up to this. Shane grabs his cuffed wrist again: "Nobody puts me up to anything." (Bullshit).

Vic and Kevin are at the rendezvous point Hernan picked. The undercover agent is a no-show. Talbert pulls up, informing the locals he lost contact with Hernan. "What's that mean?" asks Kevin. Nothing good. Talbert accuses them of compromising Hernan's cover, then drives off.

Claudette knocks on Nancy's door and takes an evidence bag in her purse. Some of Gilroy's belongings got lost when he was booked, namely his watch and wedding ring. She wanted to personally return them. Claudette is also curious why Nancy seemed so upset earlier. Nancy tells her it's nothing.

Claudette looks around at the framed photos; she has two daughters herself with the same age difference as Nancy's. Claudette doesn't have pictures of her ex either. "Guess we know how to pick 'em, huh?" asks Nancy.

Claudette tells Nancy about her own husband's murder, which her oldest daughter witnessed. She thinks Bonnie is handling it okay, but Claudette admits she stopped asking a while ago. Nancy questions, "You ever blame yourself?" Claudette doesn't anymore and encourages Nancy to call if she needs someone to talk to.

Just before Claudette steps out, Nancy tells her that Vic wanted to know how Gilroy got money in Mexico. She'd never dream of helping a fugitive, of course. "Vendrell came by today, wanted the same information. He was all jacked up." Claudette won't let Vic or anyone else hurt Nancy.

Elsewhere, Danny radios in a dead body. We see it's the Iraqi gas station clerk, the nozzle of a gas pump shoved down his throat.

Vic catches up to Shane, warning him not to go to Nancy's again. Shane jabs at Vic, implying he's sleeping with Nancy. "You've destroyed enough families. You leave hers alone," Vic says before tossing something into Shane's open truck window. "Don't worry, it's not like it's a live grenade or anything."

It's an envelope with the names of Gilroy's Mexican contacts. Vic twists the knife some more: "Good luck on the goat farm. I hear Juarez PD's lookin' for a few good hombres." Shane asks if Vic is stupid enough to think he'd use the same escape plan they set up for Lem. He knew threatening Nancy would move Vic here, to neutral ground.

Shane tosses a manila envelope onto Vic's lap and delivers a great monologue: "The original is in a warm, safe place. Anything happens to me or my wife or my son, even my mailman, anybody that I am close to, that lands on IAD's doorstep. Just imagine every wrong, brutal thing we've ever done. It's hard to do, isn't it? We've done so many." That said, Shane peels away.

Vic opens the envelope and finds the top sheet, which describes what really happened the night Terry died. The next paper is about Tio, a drug dealer the Strike Team used to protect; there are crime scene photos from his murder. There's more: Margos' mug shot, a dead woman's photo.

Vic looks up and sees Nancy standing nearby. He drives away, blinking rapidly and no doubt pondering how fucked he truly is. End of episode.

Friday, September 29, 2017

No Good Comes From "Chasing Ghosts" (Episode 6.6)

Previously on: Shane stole a grenade from a Salvadoran gang, pulled the pin, dropped it in Lem's lap, and left him to die! Vic vowed to find and kill the person responsible; believing it was gang leader Guardo, he did just that. After a vicious assault, Mara found out Shane's been having an affair with an 18-year-old black woman and threw him out of their house. Hernan, an undercover fed, told the Strike Team that Guardo was with him the night Lem died. Shane, crying and fucked-up on pills, went back to Mara's in the middle of the night and confessed he murdered Lem.

A prison guard with a barking dog patrols a line of prisoners, ordering them to strip to their underwear and hand over their shoes. Another guard, Billy, knocks on the door of a supply closet. Inside, Antwon is cuddled up on a bunk with a woman. Billy informs Antwon he has a visitor. "I know my visitor can't be half as fine as Renee," says the gangster. Billy describes the visitor as "some white cop from L.A."

Antwon asks for a few minutes with Renee, snapping, "And shut that damn dog up!" He caresses Renee's breasts, telling her there's no time for "sweet nothings."

"My day just gets sunnier and sunnier," Antwon says when he sees Vic in the visitors' room. He's gotten most of his privileges back since Kavanaugh was arrested for framing Vic. He wasn't aware the two of them still had business. "Oh, you mean since my guy you put a hit on got a grenade in his lap?" Vic asks lightly. Antwon thinks whoever did it should get points for creativity.

Vic is sure Antwon set up guys to find Lem after he got scared and skipped town, then made it look like Guardo did it. Vic offers a deal: If Antwon gives up the names of his guys, the big man himself won't be charged as a co-conspirator. Don't cooperate and "I don't care how many guards you have on the payroll, I will find a way to get to you inside here." 

Antwon isn't afraid. He thinks his "greatest encore" is making Vic think "I'm everyone and everywhere, responsible for all the worst crimes against humanity...Chasing ghosts hasn't really gotten you anywhere."

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Antwon maintains his innocence, guessing Vic must've lost his last clue if he's blaming him.

Shane is back at work, face still bruised all to hell. Vic has bad news for him: The Salvadorans didn't kill Lem. They talked to an undercover fed who was in Mexico with Guardo when Lem got killed. Antwon swears the One-Niners weren't responsible either. Shane shakes his head: "We finished this. There's nothing more to find out, all right?"

Vic asks Dutch if he's made progress on Lem's case. Dutch is still trying to find Guardo. Vic tells him about his conversation with Hernan; Guardo has an alibi. Dutch hasn't gotten any reports back from the crime lab. "I got a dead cop and no suspect. You think you could light a fire under their Bunsen burner?" asks Vic.

Corinne calls to ask if anything happened last weekend that could've upset Cassidy; their daughter is refusing to stay with Vic when Corinne goes to San Francisco with the younger kids for an autism rally. Cassidy won't tell her mom what's bothering her. Corinne already has a hotel and plane tickets. Vic promises to smooth things over with their eldest. 

Ronnie is checking into felons who served in the military: "Maybe they got Lem's grenade from Uncle Sam." In the clubhouse, Shane has his feet up on the table, perusing the paper's real-estate section. "You wanna jump in on this Lem thing anywhere?" asks Vic. Shane doesn't want to waste his time.

Vic doesn't think Hernan had a reason to lie to them. "You were sure enough to put a bullet in Guardo," Shane points out. They all did what they had to do. Vic needs to stop asking questions that can't be answered. With that, Shane leaves the clubhouse.

"Whatever funk he's in seems to be over," Ronnie remarks. He isn't sure he can be at peace with his best friend's murder until he knows for sure that they got the right person. 

"When we took down the stash of grenades the night that Lem died, Shane did the count solo, right?" Vic says slowly, "Did he say anything weird?" Ronnie says no, then he remembers, "When Kavanaugh's frame-up job was gone and things looked really bad...he said something like: What if he said he had a grenade from the bust and he was with Lem and it went off accidentally?"

At the time, Ronnie thought Shane was just theorizing a way to get Vic off the charges. Ronnie himself told Shane that idea would never work because Shane would be admitting to aiding and abetting a fugitive. Shane didn't have a response to that. 

Vic asks if Ronnie remembers how many grenades were at the Salvadoran stash house. "Jesus, Vic, I don't wanna think like that," Ronnie mutters. He and Vic write their recollections on different pieces of paper and come up with the same number: 73. Vic wants Ronnie to quietly make sure all 73 grenades are still in the bomb squad's evidence lockup. 

Julien arrives for work, asking if he can use a clubhouse locker. Vic goes still when Julien opens one. "Was this Lem's?" Julien starts stammering an apology. Vic says it's okay to use. Shane swaggers in with a smile: "Pregnancy sex is the best sex." Kevin jokes that he'll have to call Mara and find out for himself.
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Claudette has a case for the Strike Team: Emily Martin was stabbed to death in an apartment building. Kevin didn't know they were working straight-up homicides. This particular one is a political powderkeg; Emily's father Rob is a city controller. Edgar-veda made a personal request for more manpower. "These high-profile cases are just one big invitation to get ass-reamed by the bosses," says Ronnie. Vic suggests they solve it quickly.

Emily's body is in a hallway, blood spattered up the walls. Vic doesn't think Emily's murder looks like a robbery gone bad. Kevin remarks this building is a long way from Daddy's nice neighborhood. "You guys know the drill," says Vic, "Look for nosy neighbors."

Julien points out a bloody shoe print in the carpet. "I knew they bumped him up for a reason," says Shane. It's hard to tell if the praise is sincere.

"Here comes the poster girl," says an officer as Tina steps into the squadroom. A round of clapping and whistling breaks out. Dutch immediately runs over to ask how Tina's doing. Tina was transferred to the P.R. department so she could speak at schools and police recruitment meetings. She met people in the chief's office and was able to convince them to let her come back to the streets. Dutch agrees that's where Tina belongs despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Danny tells Dutch there's a woman in the lobby who wants to talk to a detective about Guardo. She knows he's the prime suspect in Lem's murder. She welcomes Tina back and informs the younger officer that she's her temporary partner since Julien is now part of the Strike Team. "Well, sergeants don't get out much," Tina sounds disappointed.

Dutch's mystery woman is Guardo's girlfriend Nydia, who wants to report her boyfriend missing. She's convinced something terrible happened (and she has no idea how right she is). Guardo hasn't called her in a week and they normally talk every day. A cop told her a Mexican rival named Salceda wanted Guardo dead. Nydia adds that she was in protective custody and wants Dutch to quit playing dumb.

Edgar-veda introduces Kevin to Emily's parents as the lead detective in their daughter's murder. Kevin politely asks if they know why Emily was in this part of town. Her mom Patricia says Emily didn't deserve what happened to her. Her dad Robert adds, "My wife doesn't deserve to be put through anything else."

Inside, Edgar-veda quietly tells Kevin the importance of not sullying Emily's reputation. Shane has news. A neighbor, Rahid, was seen carrying two heavy trash bags down the stairs from his sixth-floor apartment. Other neighbors have been threatened when they complained about Rahid's loud music and constant visitors.

Kevin approaches and repeats what Aceveda said about Emily: "We don't even know what we're supposed to be hiding yet." This worries Julien, but Vic talks him down. They're caught between a city controller and Claudette's moral code: "Whoever you screw, you get cut off at the knees." Before they can figure out what to do, they have to find out what really happened to Emily.

It seems as though Rahid may have packed up a drug stash in a hurry before leaving. The building has assigned parking spaces, so Rahid's license plate will be on file. Julien finds an address book full of phone numbers but no names. Vic tells him to start dialing. Shane finds a used syringe under the bed.

Nydia describes being taken to the safe house last week. She asks them to look for Guardo. Vic had told her Salceda would try to kidnap her to get at Guardo. Shane told her they'd caught Salceda and dropped her off at home.

Outside, Dutch confers with Claudette. Nydia's timeline has everything taking place during the personal days Vic used after Lem died. She confirmed Vic let her talk to Guardo on the phone. Dutch couldn't find records of anyone named Salceda with connections to the Salvadorans. "We are not gonna accuse Vic Mackey of murder and be wrong again," Claudette says firmly.

Dutch wants to put Vic in the room with Nydia and not tell her the camera is on. "You shook that hornet's nest once. Haven't you been stung enough yet?" asks Claudette. She reluctantly agrees to the plan, however.

Vic questions Valerie, a young, blonde mother of two, as to why they found her number in an apartment "on the shitty side of the freeway." Does her husband know she's on drugs? Vic rolls up Valerie's sleeves: "Gotta work real hard to hide that secret." He takes off her shoes, checking the veins on her ankles and between her toes.

"Stop." Valerie struggles as Vic pushes up her skirt. There are track marks on her thighs. "Don't tell Jeffrey," Valerie begs. Vic threatens to tell everyone from hubby to "the little old lady who brings cookies to your PTA meetings."

"Sure is getting hot in here," Billings whispers. Dutch tells him to stop sexually harassing Tina. He noticed the Quick Meal vending machines are still in the hall, "meaning you're still lining your pockets on the department's dime." Dutch promises not to call IAD if Billings gets rid of the machines and stops making jokes about Dutch having a crush on Tina.

Kevin asks if Vic ever thought about putting doors on the clubhouse. (Little does he know Vic is the reason they lost the doors). Valerie is waiting for Rahid to text her back about when to pick up her next fix and a code number indicating the location.

Tina is being bitchy about Danny trying to teach her the new filing system, but perks right up when Kevin appears. Danny notices and asks if Tina is done filing. "It's a three-week job. What do you think?" she asks. Danny advises her to lose the attitude. Her job performance needs to improve drastically if she doesn't want to be the "permanent filing girl."

Tina boasts about her new friends high on the food chain; Danny's new stripes don't impress her. The junior officer adds that Danny needs to watch her tone or risk explaining why she can't get along with "the new face of the department."

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Corinne is waiting in the lobby with Cassidy, the teen's face all but hidden by a curtain of hair. She pulls away when Vic tries to put his arm around her. "All right, Cass, what's going on?" he sighs. Cassidy turns to Corinne: "I don't have to talk to him."

Vic tries to make Cassidy understand the stress she's causing her mom. Cassidy wants to spend the autism rally weekend with her friend Olivia; the other girl's parents said it was okay. Vic asks what's really bothering her.

Cassidy's friend Brian has a father who's a lawyer. The kids did a LexisNexis search for Vic's name. "I saw all the shit you've done," Cassidy says fiercely, "The brutality complaints. The IAD guy thought you killed people." Corinne reminds her that people saying things doesn't make them true and "that IAD cop got caught trying to frame your father."

Cassidy doesn't want to learn any life lessons from Vic. "I'll teach you some respect--" Vic starts. Cassidy's tone is calm when she says, "Respect is earned." Vic tells her the website doesn't have the whole truth. "Like the baby you had with some other woman?" Cassidy overheard Corinne talking to Grandma about it on the phone.

Vic tells Cassidy not to worry about "adult stuff." Cassidy wants to know why she shouldn't be upset that she found out she has a half-brother she's never met. She storms out of the room and downstairs, both parents on her heels.

Kevin meets Vic at the bottom of the stairs; they know where Rahid is meeting Valerie. Dutch asks Vic to go talk to someone about Guardo: "If it's about Lemansky's murder, it could be important." Vic will get to that once they track down today's other murder suspect.

Ronnie eyes Rahid from a table at a diner. Vic, Kevin, and Julien enter. Kevin invites himself to sit with Rahid. When Rahid tries to get up, Vic puts a gun to his head.

At the Barn, Vic wants to know about the bags Rahid was seen with. Rahid asks, "Don't you guys ever take out the trash?" "Not the day after pickup," Kevin replies. They know Emily was in his apartment and they'll probably find her blood on his shoes. Rahid went downstairs afterward to dump the knife. "And Johnnie Cochran ain't alive to represent you," adds Vic.

Even though he initially claimed not to know Emily, Rahid somehow knows her dad is a city official. He admits Emily gave him oral sex, but he didn't kill her. Vic is curious why Emily would do that "aside from your winning personality." Well, Emily didn't always have money to pay for her drug habit. She also "serviced" his associate Snail in Brentwood.

"That white boy's a control freak," Rahid says of Snail, "He got her on the shit, then started rationing it out." He didn't see Snail kill Emily, but he heard a struggle and found her dead. Rahid threw away his stash because he knew the police would be coming.

Edgar-veda asks how the investigation is progressing. "Getting to a dark place," Vic says cryptically before clarifying that Emily was a "heroin-addicted whore." There may not be a way they can spin this. Edgar-veda says her dad wouldn't be able to blame the police department if the press got ahold of the story.

Claudette has words of wisdom for Kevin: "Don't let these people influence you. Follow the case where it leads, but the VIP key is only gonna open so many doors."

Ronnie pulls Vic out to the back parking lot for a chat. The bomb squad hand-counted the grenades Shane delivered as evidence; all 73 were there. Vic sighs, "I'm an asshole. First I doubted Lem, now Shane." Ronnie tells Vic not to be so hard on himself. They just wanted answers. Vic thinks Shane may have been right about there not being any.

Vic's next private conversation is with Danny in the weight room: "My daughter knows about Lee." Danny knows Corinne is the mother of Vic's children, "but that lady's been a real pain in my ass." She chose the single mom life for a reason. If Vic's learned one thing from being a dad, it's that things never go as planned.

The Strike Team descends on Snail's apartment. Kevin is about to hit the door with a battering ram when Vic stops him, noticing a mirror inside aimed their way. Suddenly, gunshots rip through the door. "That's a .45; vests aren't gonna be worth shit," says Vic. They wait for Snail to empty the magazine before entering.

Vic and Kevin comb the apartment, but Snail is nowhere to be found. At least until he pops out of a closet and tries to shoot Kevin. Vic tackles Snail to the bed.

Outside, Vic informs the others he's taking Snail in alone. There's too much at stake; Emily's dad could "eliminate the Strike Team with the stroke of a pen." Julien isn't comfortable with the idea, knowing Vic will probably tune Snail up. Vic is fine with taking the hit for everyone because he's being forced to retire at the end of the month. Julien, Kevin, Shane, and Ronnie all have something to lose.

In his car, Vic offers Snail a chance to avoid the death penalty. Emily's family wants to avoid embarrassment and scandal, which they will if Snail tells his story the right way. "What's the right story?" the kid asks.

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Back at the Barn, Vic promises Rahid the chance to leave with no pending charges. Dutch tells him that the woman with information on Guardo is still upstairs. Vic is surprised when lo and behold, it's Nydia. Claudette and Dutch watch as Vic claims he never touched Guardo.

Vic heard that Salceda wanted Guardo dead. Was Nydia aware Guardo was the prime suspect in a cop's murder? Vic never kept her prisoner and Nydia is lucky she didn't dragged off into Guardo's shit.

Vic goes to observation, asking if they want to get Kavanaugh out of jail and have him investigated again. Dutch thinks the Nydia situation sounds more like kidnapping than witness protection. Vic admits to using Salceda's name to get to Guardo; he wanted to make him pay for Lem. Claudette would be on his case if he'd ignored the rumors and Nydia had gotten killed. Vic never saw Guardo.

He thinks Nydia's appearance could be a ploy to make them think he's dead. Claudette notes Vic isn't making a compelling case for keeping his job. Vic is sure Hernan can tell them Guardo was killed by Mexicans. They can ask Kevin how to get in touch. He calmly strolls out of the room.

Robert the city controller was aware of his daughter's drug addiction, but Emily refused his offers of help. He'd cut her off as an attempt to keep her from buying heroin; Emily bragged about how she was hooking to get high. Robert had written it off as an attempt to con more money out of him.

Vic confirms that Emily was prostituting herself, "but that's not how history has to read." Just how Vic remembers Lem as a funny guy and a loyal teammate, not as a dirty cop. There are angles Vic can't cover, though, like the coroner's office. Robert isn't worried about that; he can pay to have the lab reports doctored.

Vic tells Robert about his upcoming hearing, which determines whether he'll be forced to retire. Robert will do what he can to help. "Must be good to be king," Vic muses.

In separate interrogation rooms, Emily's story is spun. Rahid was supposedly angry with her for trying to get Snail out of the drug trade. Snail said Emily followed him to Rahid's place to stop him from buying his inventory; he lost control of himself and stabbed her in the elevator. Claudette looks mildly impressed by Snail's acting skills.

Julien confronts Vic about the Strike Team playing God. The way Vic sees it, God creates everyone equal, but once you're born, He starts playing favorites. I think everyone's felt that way at some point in their lives.

Vic sees an open file in front of Dutch: lab results and Lem's autopsy report. Dutch is cagey; all he'll say is there were no fingerprints or DNA evidence. Vic demands to see for himself; nobody wants to solve the case more than he does.

Dutch displays a rare degree of sensitivity as he explains why Vic is better off not looking at the file. It includes crime scene and autopsy photos: "Curtis was eviscerated from the waist down." Vic doesn't care. He flips past a couple pictures of Lem dead in the car and notices a new sheet of paper, a report from Kavanaugh.

"Part of the deal he made when he came clean about you was full disclosure," Dutch exposits. Vic closes his eyes, sad and numb all at once.

Across the Barn, Tina is helping Kevin put the door back on the clubhouse. The Sharpie note now reads WE'RE BACK, ASSHOLES! Danny, dressed in her civvies, asks to see Tina to talk about some filing errors she made. Dutch asks how the hell Kevin managed to arrange a meeting with Hernan. "It's easier to negotiate between federal agencies," Kevin explains. He may not be a fed anymore, but he's still got his name.

In the hallway, Billings is barking orders at movers, telling them not to ding the vending machine. Dutch approaches to let him know the machines can stay. Billings is smart and knows Dutch just wants to dangle it over his head. Dutch reminds him who's losing money if the machines are gone.

Danny answers a knock to find Vic and Cassidy at her doorstep. She introduces the teen to her new half-brother Lee. His middle name is Carson, Danny's mom's maiden name. Danny offers to let Cassidy hold Lee, but she declines.

Ronnie tells Shane that Vic wants the three of them to have a little powwow at Portillo Auto Body: "walk Lem's crime scene the time of night that it happened." The CSIs might've missed something. Shane inquires about the lab report. Ronnie answers that there wasn't much in it; he has to finish paperwork on Emily's stabbing, but he'll be there soon.

Once Shane leaves, Ronnie calls Vic: "Are you sure you don't want me to be there?" Vic warns him to keep a safe distance and hangs up, scanning the horizon for Shane's truck. It's a while before he arrives. Vic tells his best friend they rolled snake eyes on forensics. Shane shrugs it off as Guardo being careful. "Not careful enough to escape us," says Vic.

Vic starts talking about Guardo: "I shot him, tortured him, and burned his body and he didn't kill Lem." The Salvadorans didn't even kill Emolia for being a rat. He doubts one of them could've thrown a grenade on Lem and disappeared without a trace.

"It wasn't One-Niners looking for Antwon revenge," Vic goes on, "Made a fool of myself up at Lompoc finding that one out. So I asked Ronnie to check if you logged all the grenades from the bust that night."

You can feel the tension hovering in the air between them, Shane just one wrong look away from tipping his hand and bringing Vic's wrath down on his head. He's carefully stone-faced when Vic plants himself a foot away from him. Vic knows all 73 grenades made it to the evidence locker.

"Which means..." he sighs heavily, "You pocketed a grenade before Aceveda even lied to us about Lem ratting us out. You lied to us at the bust about the count." There's no anger in his tone, just pain. "Before I even started to question Lem, you were looking for a way to shut him up and make it look Salvadoran."

Vic knows Shane was the last one to get to the meeting spot the night Lem died. Shane's excuse about not being able to lose his tail is looking pretty flimsy. Vic saw a report Kavanaugh wrote just before being arrested; he and one other guy were the only people looking for Lem that night. They rode together.

Tears swim in Vic's eyes. Did Shane just drop a grenade in Lem's lap and run? "I did what I thought had to be done at the time," Shane confesses. Vic buries his face in one big hand, repeating, "Oh God." He walks away from Shane, fists clenched, then whirls around and screams, "You piece of shit!"

Shane explains he went rogue because Lem refused to go to Mexico. He tried his best to sell Lem on the goat farm and assure him they'd send money: "You said if he wouldn't take the ride to Mexico that we would know that he turned." "He didn't turn!" Vic bellows.

"We couldn't afford to take that chance," says Shane. It wasn't an easy decision for him to make, never mind leaving with the guilt. "For you?" Vic is aghast, "Lem!" "At the time, it was either him or the rest of us." Vic calls bullshit.

Shane keeps trying to rationalize it: "If he would've gone to jail like he wanted, he would've been killed by Antwon or turned by Kavanaugh." Vic says they can't know that. Lem was strong; Shane only killed him because he's a coward. Shane disagrees with that.

"You were when you sat by and watched me tear Guardo apart for something you did!" Vic practically sobs out, "What did you turn me into?" Shane thinks the grenade smuggler deserved what he got. "I'm not an executioner!" Vic yells. Shane fires back, "Well, go tell that to Terry's family!" Vic plays semantics; Terry was a traitor and Lem was their friend.

Shane says something else that should make Vic wants loosen a few of his teeth: Vic thinks he's looking at Shane through a window, but it's really a mirror. Vic shakes his head: "I would've spared Lem." Shane says, "I put Lem down so you could go to bed at night believing that." It's not like he had time to consult Vic and Ronnie.

Vic argues that Lem was owed a chance. Shane pours on the crocodile tears: "Look, it's taken me a while, but you're gonna learn how to accept it--" Vic shoves him hard, saying, "I will never accept that!" Shane refuses to fight Vic and lights a cigarette. He finally figures out Ronnie was never coming to this meeting.

Did Vic say he was gonna know the truth by looking in Shane's eyes? If Vic is so good at reading people, why didn't he know Aceveda was lying about Lem? Shane points his cigarette at Vic: "All I was doin' was followin' yer game plan, Coach." Vic is still pissed; Shane was willing to make him the scapegoat. Shane swears it wouldn't have gone that far.

"I had the chance to pull the trigger on you once before. I didn't do it and Lem lost his life because of it," Vic says with his characteristic silky menace. Shane knows Lem would've cracked eventually; he did this to protect the team. Just like Vic did with Terry.

Shane thinks Vic just needs time to get used to the idea. "You and me, we're all outta time," Vic says, then reminds him Lem's case is still open. "I hope they catch you. I hope they do. I hope everybody knows what you did." His next words are a warning: "You don't get to do what you did for free. You're gonna pay that bill."

Shane doubts Vic would turn rat. Even if he did, Shane could tell IAD the truth about Terry. Vic isn't worried because Terry's case hinges on hearsay. "Our entire lives are hearsay," says Shane, "And I've got a hell of a lot more on you than you've got on me."

Vic snarls at Shane to get in his truck before he kills him. Shane knows Vic couldn't do that; he tried once and didn't have the stomach for it. Vic points out their last tiff was before Shane blew Lem in half with a grenade. "If I see you again, I will kill you," he vows. Shane calls Vic a hypocrite before peeling off in his truck. End of episode.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Truth "Haunts" (Episode 6.5)

Previously on: Hernan, a suspect in the string of grenade murders, is actually an undercover cop. Shane's cheating on Mara. An unknown man has been sexually assaulting and branding runaway teenage girls, telling them to go home. One of his victims was able to describe the bedroom where she was held. Kevin transferred to the Strike Team. 

Shane the traitorous bastard went rogue and blew Lem up in his car to keep him from talking about the team's shady dealings. Vic murdered Guardo, a Salvadoran grenade smuggler that he believed had Lem killed.

Paramedics wheeling a gurney into the hospital give a hand-off report to the nurse: They found a man "swirlin' around in the gutter." He's stable now but bloodied with some possible fractures. Corinne pages the resident. One of the paramedics shows her something they found on the victim: a badge. More specifically, a detective's shield. Corinne glances at the man on the stretcher; it's Shane.

A short time later, Vic and Ronnie arrive. Corinne explains that Shane was beaten and doesn't remember anything about what happened. "Oh man!" Vic mutters when he gets a good look at his best friend. Shane puts up his hand: "No shit from you guys. Already took one pounding today." His head and side are bandaged, his face bruised all to hell.

Shane was walking to his truck and next thing he knew, "I'm comin' to in a meat wagon."

I've always understood that term to mean one of these.
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Shane didn't see anyone, but whoever jumped him left his wallet and gun alone. Vic and Ronnie ask if this could be payback for Guardo. If it was, Shane is sure "we wouldn't be havin' this conversation." It could've easily been someone else they sent up, though. Ronnie offers to check that angle.

"Tell me somethin'. Who's that?" asks Shane, pointing to Ronnie. Vic chuckles, squeezing Ronnie's freshly shaved cheeks. Ronnie says his new girlfriend prefers that look. Shane laughs so hard at his teammate's expense that it aggravates his broken ribs.

"Oh my God! What happened?" cries Mara, rushing to hold her husband's hand. Shane doesn't answer, just kisses her knuckles.

At the Barn, Claudette asks how Shane is feeling. "Hurtin' for certain. Not especially pleasing to the eye at the moment," Vic reports. (Was Shane ever)? Claudette will post a uniform outside Shane's hospital room until they know more details about the attack.

Claudette asks what Kevin knows about the San Marcos house murders. Only what he heard. The case was being investigated by Robbery-Homicide, but they recently kicked it back to the Strike Team. The original detective found 11 bodies and one severed arm. "Machete's the weapon of choice for the Salvadorans," Kevin notes.

No, not THAT Machete...
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The victims were all illegal immigrants from Mexico; the arm remains unidentified. The male victims had all been recently released from the same Mexican prison. Claudette tells them this case is now their top priority: "Solving it quickly is the difference between keeping the Barn open or closing it for good." Nobody else is to know that piece of information.

"So far no one on the streets is braggin' about giving Shane a beat-down," says Ronnie. He has a theory: Guardo's girlfriend figured out they used her to get to Guardo and told his friends. Vic doubts that: "Shane got hit with a fist, not a machete or a grenade."

Kevin found out the San Marcos victims were all connected to the same drug cartel. Julien, who Claudette brought onto the Strike Team, adds they had guest worker visas. "Prisoners don't get work visas," says Kevin. Vic adds, "Especially not real ones. Where do you want to start, jefe?" Ronnie looks surprised to hear the new guy referred to as such.

Kevin still knows people at INS who can help ID the arm. But where does Vic want to start? He knows the territory and the players. Vic might know someone who can forge visas this well. He shakes Julien's hand, welcoming him to the team. Julien promises not to let Vic down. Vic says, "[Kevin's] the boss now. Don't let him down."

Teenage rape victim Graciela is being released from the hospital today, but Dutch is no closer to ID'ing her attacker. Billings is canvassing with a sketch. Dutch sent a profile to the feds and is waiting to hear back from local Y's and youth shelters. The guy is escalating quickly and Dutch wouldn't be surprised if he's already found another girl.

"Oh my God," Julien sighs as he looks around the San Marcos house, a blood-spatter extravaganza that resembles a cross between the shower scene from Psycho and a production of Sweeney Todd. He takes out a pen and a pad of paper. "Who wants what and why and how slaughtering all those people in this room helped achieve that goal. That's all you need to be writin' down," advises Kevin.

Vic and Ronnie drag in a nervous-looking white guy. "I read about it in the paper. I didn't need to see it," he protests. Vic shows him the forged visas. The forger claims he changed careers and he has no idea who else could've made them. Vic tells him the police are under pressure to make an arrest "no matter how bogus the ID."

Forger can tell by the font that the visas were printed in Mexico, not the U.S. There's tension between Mexicans and Salvadorans: "Latinos can't even trust each other." Vic tells him to wait outside and the forger gladly sprints for the exit. Vic wants to start with the Salvadorans.

They ask Guardo's former second-in-command Tejado why there's a feud with the Mexicans.  The guy won't talk without a favor, namely oral sex from "a hottie" right here in the interrogation room. "Thought it was gonna be somethin' difficult," says Vic. Guardo's lieutenant believes Mexicans were responsible for Guardo's murder and the Salvadorans must avenge him.

"Guardo's dead, you're wearin' orange, so who's gonna take up the fight?" asks Vic. Tejado says that part is "bein' worked out in upper management." He lists some possible names: Octavio, Rodrigo, and Hernan. Hernan is new but wants to take over as shot-caller. Vic's phone rings and he starts to leave.

"What about my hummer?" demands Tejado. Vic calls over Officer Asher, who it should be noted is male: "You're considered a hottie in some circles, right?" "Damn straight," Asher says proudly, "Why?" "This is Tejado. He's got a request for you," says Vic.

Vic thinks Moses from the One-Niners might know who went after Shane. San Marcos is the first priority, so he'll deal with it himself. "Don't go walking into traffic, making me look bad," cautions Kevin.

Billings and Dutch interview one of Graciela's friends from the youth center. Billings gives her a sandwich. "By law, we're required to send runaways back home," says Dutch, "If you cooperate, tell us everything you know about Graciela, and promise to go back home on your own, we'll take you at your word." The girl never noticed anyone following Graciela, but there was a creepy guy named J.B. they'd see at Ray's Burger Stand. They didn't mind him much because he gave them free burgers.

Judging by J.B.'s attire, he works at Ray's Burger Stand. Billings confirms my suspicion by saying that if J.B. was giving away food, that's considered stealing and is a parole violation. J.B. swears he only talked to the girls and gave them leftovers that the restaurant would've thrown away.

"Talkin' to 'em is one thing. Spiking their soda with GHB, sodomizing, and torturin' 'em is another," says Billings, laying crime scene photos on the table. J.B. insists, "I didn't do that shit!" Dutch bets it's tough for an ex-con making minimum wage to find a nice girl his own age. However, "a homeless, hungry 15-year-old runaway is easy impress with a burger and fries."

When Ronnie and Vic arrive at Moses' hangout, the gangster has a cane. "You better pray you didn't hurt that foot stickin' it up a white cop's ass," says Vic. Moses tells Vic to relax: "I'm rockin' a pimp stick 'cause I'm cold like that." He reveals that Shane's been hooking up with his 18-year-old girlfriend Tilli.

That sounds like motive to Vic, but Moses "ain't about no sloppy seconds." Tilli, on the other hand, might have an idea.

Carlos, from a shelter called Children's Beacon, sits down with Dutch. He made a list of female residents he feels would be most at-risk, ones with known drug and prostitution issues. Helping runaways is an issue close to Carlos' heart; his own daughter Sabrina went missing three years ago. Dutch offers to take another look at the case.

When Danny arrives to guard Shane, Mara is helping him walk to the bathroom. This means Danny is treated to the sight of Shane's bare ass sticking out of his hospital gown.

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"Jesus," Danny says when she sees the damage done to Shane's face. She promises they'll find whoever attacked him. "You just saw the only part of him that's not bruised," says Mara. Claudette wants a formal statement from Shane, even though he already talked to Vic.

Shane doesn't want police protection: "I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time." Be that as it may, Danny still has to follow orders.

Dutch didn't find anything incriminating at J.B.'s and doubts he's their guy. J.B. lives in a 4th-floor walk-up; most people wouldn't bother dragging victims up all those stairs. The building has thin walls, so a neighbor would've noticed screaming.

Carlos returns with the names of girls Children's Beacon recently lost touch with. Dutch introduces him to Billings. Carlos again relays the story of his daughter. In a corner, Billings asks Dutch for a refresher on his profile. Dutch believes it's "a single father whose daughter disappeared or died prematurely." Carlos fits that bill. And "a lot of these freaks like to insert themselves into the investigations."

Edgar-veda introduces Claudette to a man named Cruz, a Latino activist. He was the person who initially suggested a Salvadoran connection. Claudette assures him that Kevin, the lead detective, is more than qualified to deal with that angle.

In the observation room, Claudette lectures the councilman about "bringing a civilian into a confidential police matter." Edgar-veda doubts she'd take this so personally if she knew more.

Billings and Dutch bring Carlos to an interrogation room.

"Why you callin' me out in front of my people?" Tilli demands. Vic heard she likes cops. Does she knew who could've put Shane in the hospital? Tilli wants to see him; Vic is sure Mrs. Vendrell won't appreciate that. Tilli shrugs, "I'll just say I'm a friend." Vic knows that won't play: "Shane doesn't have too many teenage black friends."

Ronnie spots a bruise on Tilli's arm. It came courtesy of her stepdad after he found out she was seeing Shane. Tilli told Stepdad that if he tried to break them up or hurt her, she'd get Shane to kick his ass. She doesn't know where her stepdad is other than maybe at home because "he all about that monthly check from the county." Vic warns Tilli to stay away from both her stepdad and the hospital.

Mara stops by the nurse's station to let Corinne know Shane's Percocet isn't working. Corinne hands Mara the bag containing Shane's personal effects. Mara immediately seems upset and asks Danny to take a break. Once she's gone, Mara throws the bag at her husband, hitting him in the chest.

"Goddamn it, how could you?" shouts Mara, "Why do you need condoms when I'm three months pregnant?"
"You rang?"
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Shane, of course, plays innocent: "They must've been from before. Mara, I'm not doin' anything, baby. I swear." Mara may not be smart, but she ain't dumb. Is cheating the reason Shane wound up in the hospital? Shane tells her it's not important. When that doesn't work, he breaks out the crocodile tears and apologies.

Mara continues ranting, loud enough for Danny to hear out in the hallway: "This is us, okay? Our family. You threw it away! I've been trying to help you through all of this." ("This" presumably meaning Lem's death). "You waking up screaming. And then you're out--Oh, I can't believe you!" She grabs her purse and storms out.

Carlos talks about how everyone pitched in when Sabrina first went missing: family, neighbors, people from church. Life and eventually the police moved on. He's sure Sabrina is still out there. Billings is a father and can't imagine what Carlos is going through.

Carlos brought them 15 names. Dutch asks if there's any one girl he thinks is particularly at-risk. Carlos flips through his file: "Probably Rosanna." She got involved with a pimp and hasn't been at the shelter for at least two weeks.

Downstairs, Kevin asks for Dutch's files on the San Marcos murders and anything he knows about Hernan. Dutch quietly tells him Hernan is an undercover fed. He was already told by Hernan's ICE handler to stay away.

Vic's former partner Joe pays him a visit: "I heard about your guy. Curtis was a good kid." He was out of town during the funeral. Can he donate to a charity or a police memorial fund in Lem's name? "Audubon Society," Vic replies, "Lem was really into birds, turns out."

Joe has a business idea for Vic, but Vic can't get involved right now. Twelve people have been murdered, no suspects. Someone put Shane in the hospital. Joe just wants to repay Vic for all his help a few years back.

Vic remarks that Joe looks like he's doing all right for himself with his fancy new car. Joe also has a 26-year-old Filipino wife "to keep in Gucci." He heard his old friend might be getting forced off the job without a pension. Vic says that's just a rumor.

Joe knows a guy who owns an apartment building. His friend wants to renovate and raise the rent, "only there's an undesirable element camped out there." More specifically, Jamaican drug dealers harassing the other tenants. The landlord can't evict them because they're never late with the rent. Mr. Landlord has promised cash up front to convince the Jamaicans to move. Vic agrees to take a look at the place.

There's a spotter at the apartments. Joe gripes about how his employment with the police department ended; all his dedication and "you don't even get to leave on your own terms." Vic takes note of how many people are involved in these drug deals. He's passing on the job and thinks Joe should too. Joe can't because it's his only income this month.

Joe asks Vic to run the building for tenants with priors so he has an idea of what he's dealing with. Vic agrees to that much.

Dutch brings Princess and her mother in. He plays a tape of Carlos' interrogation. "I'm sure that's his voice," says the teen. That's enough for the detectives to be able to go to Carlos' house.

"Entrance off the alley," Dutch observes. It'd be easy to take victims there without anyone noticing. Inside, there's general disarray and dishes piled in the sink. Billings kicks in a door at the end of the hall. It's definitely a teenage girl's bedroom: pink curtains and bedspread, stuffed animals, and the boy band posters Princess described.

"What 15-year-old keeps her room this neat?" Billings wonders. He's asking the wrong person; Dutch never had kids. The carpet is freshly shampooed.

Vic and Ronnie drive Shane home from the hospital. Vic tells him they know about the affair. Shane admits Tilli's stepdad beat him up. "Jesus Christ, Shane," mutters Ronnie. Shane says it's not like he's the only one of them who's "ever had a little out-of-bounds ass before."

Vic reminds him of the risks involved with Tilli, a One-Niner's girl. Shane was told Tilli broke up with Moses. "You sayin' this is about more than gettin' laid?" Ronnie asks incredulously. Shane repeats his story: "She just shot off her mouth about us to the dickhead stepdad. I got blindsided." "Yeah, I can see that," snarks Vic.

Vic also suggests "raising the mistress bar." "If you still want a wife and kid to come home to," adds Ronnie. Shane asks if the other two have ever considered coming clean about everything. Vic's answer is an instantaneous "no."

He gives Shane a choice about Tilli's stepdad: him and Ronnie can return the ass-kicking in kind or they can wait until Shane feels well enough to do it himself. Shane wants to let it go. Vic argues about the principle of the guy knowingly hurting a cop, but Shane is adamant.

When Shane goes inside, he finds Mara has locked herself in their bedroom. She opens the door with Jackson in her arms and informs her husband, "Some black bitch called your phone...She sounded like she was 10. Is that who you're banging while I've got morning sickness?" She throws the phone at him. "You've always been an asshole." Only took a few years for her to catch on.

"Mara, please," Shane starts. Mara snaps, "Yeah, I know. You're all torn up over Lem." She tells him to leave. Furthermore, she doesn't want Jackson or the new baby growing up around Shane.

Kevin's INS contact ID'ed the severed arm as Eduardo Romero, a presidential appointment to the Mexican government. As a high-profile figure, he should've been the first person Mexico identified. Vic guesses they wanted to spare themselves the embarrassment, then snipes at Julien to stop taking notes. Kevin backs Vic's play: "This is raw intel. We don't know where it leads yet...You don't hand your superior pieces of a puzzle; you hand 'em the whole picture."

Dutch apologizes to Carlos for the wait. They were sending uniforms to canvass the area where he said Rosanna works. More information about her might help, little things like where she goes out to eat and the movies and music she likes.

"You show me a kid's room and I can tell you their life story," says Billings. Carlos knows they searched his house and is sure they didn't find anything. Not exactly. Two witnesses identified his voice and remember the posters in Sabrina's room. Carlos is confident his lawyer will have him released before the detectives clock out.

Dutch offers to personally reopen Sabrina's case if Carlos tells them what they want to know. Carlos will only do that if he can tell his daughter's story in front of a TV reporter, accusing the police of burying the case three years ago.

Vic gives Joe the tenants' priors: possession, robbery, aggravated assault. Joe looks around the clubhouse: "Lotta ghosts in this place, man." "And every day's Halloween," Vic agrees.

"Goddamn freeway. City's turnin' into a third-world shitbag," gripes a man named Lester. Hey, It's That Guy! Patrick St. Esprit later appears on another FX drama Sons of Anarchy as Charming's town mogul Elliott Oswald. Lester, an ex-cop, knows Vic by reputation.

Vic suggests Joe take a few more guys to the building. Lester is confident the dealers will be too stoned to realize what's happening: "Raids like this, I used to do 'em in my sleep. Literally." Vic's warning about a recent weapons charge falls on deaf ears, so he asks to ride along.

A female detective with a camcorder tapes Carlos' confession. Billings asks about Carlos' endgame: "Punishing these girls for running away, get back at your own kid for disappearing?" Carlos maintains that what he did was worth it if it convinced even one girl to go home.

Dutch doesn't understand how sexually assaulting young runaways would help get Sabrina back. Carlos did that out of anger at the cops for dropping her case after three months.

Dutch wants to know why Sabrina took off in the first place. Carlos gets hostile, denying he gave her a reason. Dutch wonders if Sabrina might've been murdered. "She's alive," Carlos insists, "I just can't find her myself." Dutch reminds him the deal is off unless he's totally honest. Carlos won't talk unless the camera is off, which also seems like a violation of the deal.

"Sabrina's mother died when she was 9. She never got over it. I mean, neither of us did," Carlos starts. As she grew older, Sabrina started to really resemble her dead mother. "I don't think Sabrina realized just how much like her she was. In every way." This led to him molesting her.

Carlos tearfully asks them to turn the camera again and speaks directly into the lens, telling Sabrina he's sorry for hurting her. "Oh, Jesus," Billings says disgustedly, leaving the room. Carlos begs her to come home.

Outside the apartment building, Vic, Lester, and Joe wait in a car. Lester offers the others bulbs of garlic. Is he expecting vampires? No, it's because bad breath makes for effective psychological warfare. Joe passes because "I'd like to get laid tonight."

They kick in the door of the Jamaicans' apartment. One of them tries to hit Lester with a golf club from behind. Lester wrestles the club away and chases the guy through the house. In the process of trying to stop the suspect from climbing out the window, Lester either accidentally or on purpose loses his grip. The Jamaican plummets a couple of stories to the sidewalk.

"Fore," calls Lester, tossing the club out the window. The Jamaican hobbles into the night on a probably broken leg. In the living room, Joe is cutting off another Jamaican's dreadlocks. "How much you want?" asks a third Jamaican, "We'll cut you in for half. This is some felonious bullshit!"

Vic stops Lester from super-gluing the guy's lips together. Lester drags the guy into the bathroom, holds a gun to his head, and tells him to pee. The dealer is forced to his knees and Lester orders him to drink from the toilet. Joe forces his head in. This is too sadistic even for Vic. He wrenches the dealer free and tells him to consider this an official eviction notice.

Shane is parked outside his house, sobbing. He stops long enough to snort some crushed oxycodone pills off a CD case. Ah, good old hillbilly heroin. Lovely.

Joe thanks Vic for his help. The same landlord owns another building in South Central L.A., but Vic wants no part of any further shenanigans. Joe promises he'll get rid of Lester next time. Lester pipes up with: "I guess all that badass noise I heard about you is bullshit."

Vic declines their offer of a ride back to the Barn. "Let him go, man," Lester says to Joe, "We don't need him. Word is most of the guys on his team end up dead anyhow." That was the wrong thing to say. Vic punches Lester in the nose, knocking him right on his ass.

"Did Sabrina make the news?" Carlos calls from the cage. Dutch confirms it was that morning's lead story. Another precinct got an anonymous tip that Sabrina is buried near Lake Elsinore; local officers dug up the area and found a body. Carlos is sure it can't be his daughter. Billings has heard enough. He turns around and shouts, "Your daughter's dead! You made her run away; she got killed!"

Vic meets Julien, Kevin, and Ronnie at a soccer field. Kevin points out Hernan; his handler agreed that he could talk to them as long as the Strike Team is subtle. Unfortunately, that's never been their strong suit. Vic floors it, driving right into the middle of the soccer game.

Kevin gets out of the car and tackles Hernan. "Stop fighting. We know who you are," Vic says through his teeth. Hernan tells Kevin to make this look good for the homies watching. Kevin obliges by chokeslamming the fed into a tree.

Hey, It's That Guy! Hernan is none other than Clifton Collins, Jr. He did a great job as Connor and Murphy's sidekick Romeo in Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day.

Vic lays out what he heard: Salvadorans hit the San Marcos house and the Mexicans retaliated by killing Guardo. Hernan claims another Mexican faction is responsible for the San Marcos murders. "Killed their own? Unlikely," says Vic. Kevin adds, "Especially when one victim was a government official."

Hernan guesses Guardo was collateral damage. Vic thinks that serves him right after blowing up a cop. Hernan scoffs, "Guardo didn't have anything to do with that." He rattles off what he does know: Emolia ratted Lem to IAD and was put in a safe house; now she's living with her sister in Seattle. If the Salvadorans didn't kill a snitch, there's no way they went after a cop.

The late Guardo was in Mexico with Hernan the night Lem was killed. Couldn't get a better alibi than that. "Is anyone gonna make this look good?" asks Hernan. Kevin punches him in the jaw.

"Guardo didn't kill Lem," Vic repeats. Ronnie thinks Hernan could be wrong. "He's not wrong!" shouts Vic.

Mara wakes up when she hears someone jimmying the lock. She goes to investigate and finds Shane in the living room. "Ask me to come back," he pleads. He's crying and clearly high. "Our son is in the other room," Mara warns when Shane draws his pistol and shuts the door.

Shane begs for Mara's forgiveness; he knows what he did was wrong. Mara can't believe it: "You want me to forgive you for sleeping with a girl that's barely out of an inner-city middle school? Forget it. Go ahead, shoot me, shoot yourself." I'd be real careful about saying that right now. Shane doesn't want Jackson to find out what he's done.

Mara asks if Vic got Shane involved in something illegal. "He doesn't even know," Shane blubbers, "I killed Lem. I did it, I did it. I dropped a grenade in his lap and I just walked away." Mara is horrified. Shane gets into the more gruesome details, how Lem was still breathing afterward and he left him to die.

"Why?" Mara gasps. Shane explains that he thought Lem was gonna take a deal and hang them all out to dry: "I thought he was gonna take me away from you. From Jackson. From our baby." He didn't know what else to do. Shane wails at the ceiling, begging God for forgiveness.

"I can't do this anymore. I'm sorry," Shane says to Mara. "Please just ask me back." She wraps her arms around him and Shane lets out a shaky breath. Let me just say I have no clue how Walton Goggins didn't get an Emmy, based on that scene alone. End of episode.