Friday, November 17, 2017

Here's Your "Money Shot" (Episode 7.3)

This "previously on segment" jumps around everywhere: Tina's carelessness enabled a suspect to jump Danny. Claudette confided in Dutch about having lupus. Vic learned the truth about Lem's death. Shane put together a dossier on the Strike Team's sordid dealings and promised it'll be delivered to IA if anything happens to him. He told Vic the Mackey family was greenlit by the Armenians.

Edgar-veda's college friend Cruz is the middleman in a Mexican Mafia scheme to buy up Farmington property. Cruz has boxes of blackmail material to force the hands of city officials. Vic hid the files. 

Shane warned Rezian that Mexican inmates were planning to kill him. Vic agreed to work with Shane to keep his family safe, but that doesn't mean he trusts his former best friend.

Shane scans Rezian's office to search for bugs. He heard the Top 10 Gang list is saving a spot for the Armenians...if the feds don't get to them first. Rezian will be the most famous Armenian gangster in L.A. now that he's taken over Diro's crew. "Up until now, we've been slow-dancing. If we're gonna slip into bed, I'm gonna need some protection." Lovely metaphor, Shane.

He sets something down on the desk. The remote he used to scan for listening devices is actually a police radio, broadcasting to Vic and Ronnie. Rezian asks for a favor. He knows LAPD is about to destroy some confiscated guns. "I'm sure the SWAT team guarding that shipment won't have a problem with me taking a few," Shane says sarcastically.

Rezian wants Shane to find out where the guns are kept. Shane tells Rezian there's easier ways to get illegal weapons. Rezian is only interested in the confiscated weapons; the serial numbers have been filed off. When Shane refuses to help them, Rezian says, "You just killed your friend and his family." Shane tells Rezian to go ahead: "I'm not going on some career suicide mission for you!"

Rezian thought Shane wanted to settle his money-train debt. Shane reminds the Armenian who saved him from a shanking. Rezian would be willing to put the value of the guns towards the money-train loss. It's no deal unless Rezian says what he plans to do with said guns. Rezian cryptically replies they'll be sold out of state.

"Interesting strategy," Vic remarks when Shane joins him and Ronnie in the clubhouse. Shane believes this deal will get the Armenians off their collective back forever. Ronnie dislikes the idea of innocents dying elsewhere to save Vic's family. He doubts Rezian will give up the person on his crew who told him about the Strike Team robbing the money train. (I'll give you a hint: He's not Armenian).

Vic, desperate to protect Corinne and the kids, doesn't see any other option but to go along. "So all we gotta do is hijack the department's annual PR bonanza," says Ronnie. Vic thinks he might be able to convince somebody to let them have the guns instead of just stealing them outright.

Vic checks out the abandoned building and the Box O' Blackmail is gone. Hours later, he pays a visit to Edgar-veda's office. "I knew you couldn't resist the temptation to use [the box] for your own purposes," says the councilman. He's hanging onto it until he thinks it's a good time to pass it along to the Justice Department.

Vic protests they could lose their leverage against Cruz. If the developer has half a brain, he's never talked to anyone with a file in the Box O' Blackmail. Information in the wrong hands could destroy the careers of everybody Cruz has dirt on. "Before one of them has a chance to save your job, right?" Edgar-veda guesses.

Vic huffs a sigh. Won't the Justice Department wonder why Edgar-veda kept the Box O' Blackmail for so long? Vic could tell them Edgar-veda is "trying to extort his way into the mayor's office." "You'd only be incriminating yourself," Edgar-veda warns. Vic could be forced out of his job any day; he has nothing left to lose. But if he tells the right story, Edgar-veda won't lose face.

The councilman advises Vic not to look for the box; he's hidden it well. Vic doesn't need the box when he has Edgar-veda.

Out in the Barn parking lot, Vic expresses doubts to Shane that Edgar-veda will play ball. Shane found out the confiscated guns are stored in five different places in the city. Dispo Day is in 48 hours, so the stash has to be consolidated. The question is where. Vic doesn't want to accept the responsibility of hijacking the guns until they both talk to Rezian.

When Vic introduces himself in the Armenian's office, Rezian shoos his secretary/probable concubine out. He reaches for the gun hidden down the back of his jeans. Shane hastily tells Rezian that he can't pull off the heist without Vic; after all, Vic has four very good reasons to make sure it goes well.

Vic admits to robbing the money train, "but we both know I just stole what you already stole." Rezian demands to know who else was in on it. Vic continues, "Me, my buddy Lem who's dead..." Shane looks mildly guilty at this.

Disappointingly, Vic covers Shane's ass. He claims the other money-train bandits were Lem's friends from out of town; he has no clue how to find them. Rezian suggests killing Vic right here and now. Vic knows he can't afford to do that. Rezian's crew is still getting their legs under them and they don't understand their Mexican enemies.

Rezian wants the cash returned. "Sorry, we burned through the money," Vic apologizes.

You can say that again...
(Photo credit)
Vic won't deliver the guns unless he knows their destination. Rezian simply says they're going to Chicago. In exchange for wiping his debt away, Vic offers to become Rezian's personal genie. The guns are wish number one. "But once you've had your three meals, we walk away from the table fat, happy, and even," says Vic.

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The Armenians will need help to keep the Mexican gangs in check with intel only Vic can provide.

Shane worries about Rezian's right hand Khalulian making trouble. Vic wants to take things one step at a time: Get the gun shipment and find out who the Armenians are selling them to. Shane doesn't care. The Armenians will get guns one way or another.

The former best friends stop by one of the gun storage point. Vic hopes the clerk can save Shane's ass, spinning a tale that Shane put a gun "into the pile headed for the Smith & Wesson weenie roast"  instead of the evidence locker. Said gun was used to injure two people during a robbery and the robber has been granted a new trial.

The evidence clerk is sorry, but they're too late. The confiscated guns, all 8,000 of them, have been moved to the impound lot on San Fernando. Odds of finding one serial number are slim. (Not really, considering those get filed off before disposal). Vic guesses he can tell the D.A. to use charm instead of forensics.

Danny approaches Billings, who's working a sudoku puzzle at his desk. A woman wants to speak to a detective about a missing person. "So? Give her the paperwork," says Billings. The civilian already made a report and might have new information. Billings, however, is about to start on something else. "What? The crossword puzzle?" Danny asks incredulously.

Danny passes the case on to Dutch. Marisol Griego reported her 16-year-old friend Wan Lee missing yesterday. Billings suggests the teen ran away. Marisol is sure her friend was abducted. The girls were going to hang out at a restaurant after school. Wan was parking her motor scooter when Marisol saw a man shove her into an SUV.

A uniform contacted Mrs. Lee, who said her daughter isn't missing. Marisol insists something bad must've happened. The girls had a midterm today. Wan never skips school; she gets straight A's and dreams of going to Stanford.

Dutch knocks on Mrs. Lee's door, explaining that Wan's friend is concerned. Mrs. Lee already told the other cops nothing is wrong. Dutch would be happy to close the missing persons file if he can speak with Wan for a minute. Mrs. Lee says Wan isn't around, adding, "Come back when my son is home." Her daughter went away for a few days. Is that anything like girls in the 1950's and 1960's mysteriously dropping out of school to live with a faraway relative?

Dutch suggests calling Wan. Mrs. Lee insists she has to talk to her son before she does anything else. They don't need help from the police. She closes her door.

Billings is sitting in the car with his eyes closed, listening to the radio. Dutch knocks on the window. Billings, of course, is irritated and would rather be investigating real cases. Dutch thinks Mrs. Lee is hiding something. (So do I).

Shane calls Vic from San Fernando. It'd be easy enough to drive in and out of the impound lot using their badges. The guns must be in the warehouse the department uses to store the really expensive impounded cars. There's only one guard, who, according to Shane, "couldn't protect his own asshole." Have you ever heard the saying that if something's too good to be true, it probably is?

Shane also saw their old drug dealer friend Burnout driving a tricked-out Escalade. "Business must be good," Vic surmises. He hangs up and turns to Olivia. An Armenian CI just tipped him off about a major gun heist. Vic is willing to let the feds in on the bust because "we're all fighting the same war."

Olivia tells Vic about some advice her dad gave her as a girl: If a guy does you a favor, that's just him being nice. If he does two, he's "either trying to put his hand on your wallet or down your panties." Vic bets Olivia's dad had to chase boys off with a stick. "Louisville Slugger," she corrects, "And he wasn't afraid to use it."

This wouldn't happen to be your dad, would it?
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She advises Vic to think again if he believes handing her cases will get him sexual favors. Vic explains to her about his impending forced retirement and his desire to get as many bad guys off the street before then; he's done with jurisdictional pissing matches.

A guy named Axl (no, not Rose) toys with his long, disgusting hair in the Barn's lobby. (Sidebar: this actor once played a biker named Jackass on CSI). He seems to know Claudette. The captain seems exasperated: "What do you wanna tell me that you couldn't tell the desk sergeant?"

Someone named Larry has been hanging around Axl's porno store, asking him to invest in his movies. Larry is sleazy even by porn standards, paying his actresses with cocaine in lieu of cash. Axl threw Larry out of his store. "Because you commit your smut to a higher standard?" Claudette says lightly. Axl thought she might be interested in a "drug-peddling, money-laundering asshole."

Claudette brings Axl to the clubhouse for a chat with Ronnie. Larry's pornos run the gamut: threesomes, girl-on-girl, interracial. Axl eyes Julien: "You know, if you ever get tired of squashing people's civil rights, I can make you some real money." I don't think Vanessa would be down with that. Claudette instructs Axl to set up another meeting.

The captain tips her head, indicating for Ronnie to follow her out. She wants him to bring Tina to the bust as bait. Oh, I can only think of about 100 ways that plan could go wrong. Claudette wants Ronnie to find out who supplies Larry's coke. She also wonders where the rest of the Strike Team is. Ronnie lies that Vic and Shane are meeting a CI.

Vic and Shane pull over Burnout's slick new Caddy. Vic holds out a palm for Burnout's license and registration, then says he has to arrest Burnout for driving without them. "You got 'em both right in your goddamn pocket," Burnout protests. Shane cautions if he talks back, they'll tack on resisting arrest. Vic yanks Burnout from the driver's seat.

In the van, Ronnie wires Axl for sound, telling him, "Make the introductions and shut up." Tina, dressed in a pink tank top that's rather conservative for an aspiring porn star, fluffs her hair. Julien instructs her on procedure: Wait to be offered the drugs. If she asks outright or is vague, it's considered entrapment. (I give her all of 30 seconds before she fucks that up). Tina wrinkles her nose: "I was listening the first time you taught me that."

Larry is glad to hear Axl finally stopped making granny porn. Has Tina ever been on camera before? She nods that she's made sex tapes with one of her boyfriend Devon (who's actually Julien). "Devon" was hoping they could become porn's version of Brangelina.

Larry squeezes Tina's breasts. "Small but natural," he pervs. Squeezing her butt, he asks if she's done anal. "I was waiting for the right material," she replies. Larry starts undoing his belt, telling Tina to get naked; it's part of her audition. Tina informs him, "I don't get laid unless I get paid."

Larry suggests giving Tina something to help her relax. Oh, and does she have a stage name? "Persuasion," says Tina. Larry chuckles, getting a wooden box out of his desk. He tosses Julien a baggie of Viagra and Tina gets a thumbnail of coke. (Seems like that drug would do the opposite of put her at ease).

Before things go any further, Julien draws his gun, announcing Larry is under arrest. Tina grabs Larry's junk, hard: "Natural, but small." Even I have to admit, that was a nice burn.

A tow truck driver pulls up to seize Burnout's truck. Vic wants it dropped off at the Barn with instructions not to touch it. The driver reminds Vic it's department policy to store luxury cars at San Fernando. We see Shane lying on the floorboard of the Escalade, peeking out from under a blanket.

Julien leads Larry out of his office in handcuffs. Ronnie tells the porn producer he'll be charged with drug distribution. "I don't sell it." Larry sounds offended, "I give it away. It gets better performance out of the girls." He also gives up his source: Demetrius Harms. (Apt surname for a drug dealer). Ronnie tells Axl to get lost.

Dutch knocks on Mrs. Lee's door again; this time, accompanied by Danny. Nobody was at the Lees' store and her son is supposed to be working there today. Mrs. Lee continues to insists her daughter isn't missing. She says something in a foreign language and a teenager (presumably Wan) appears. The girl doesn't look well at all.

Ms. Johnson of CPS leads Wan up the Barn's stairs. Dutch waylays Wan's brother Joe when he tries to follow. He explains mother and son will have to wait in the lobby. Dutch offers to let Danny sit in on the interview. "Maybe I should be the one to talk to her," she suggests.

Upstairs, it sounds like Danny's not having any success. She repeats that she just wants to help the teen. People are just concerned where Wan's been for three days. "I'm here now! What difference does it make?" snaps Wan. Danny theorizes that Wan was kidnapped and let go because Mrs. Lee paid the ransom. Wan denies that's true.

Danny gently asks why the teen is so angry. She knows Wan is a good kid, a honors student with a real shot at Stanford. Would it help if Danny shared a secret of her own? My first thought is Danny might tell her about an unwanted pregnancy during her high school years.

Instead, she tells Wan about the botched search: "I didn't even see the guy's face until he was choking me." Danny was afraid she'd die, leaving her son motherless. She was also angry enough to kill the guy.

Wan's eyes fill with tears and starts to sob. She manages to say, "They raped me."

The tow truck drops the Escalade (and its concealed human cargo) at the warehouse. Listening to the guards talk, Shane almost stupidly pops his distinctive spiky hair into view. After the garage door closes, Shane stealthily exits the truck.

Vic gets a call from his PI Ray, wondering if Matt's allowed to play outside by himself. Vic says no. Well, Matt must not know that because he's walking down the street. Corinne left the house about an hour ago and Cassidy is inside hanging out with a friend.

Ray starts to follow the kid, calling, "Matthew!" Matthew runs and hides behind a woman who's watering her lawn. Ray introduces himself as a friend of the Mackeys and tries to grab Matthew's arm. Matthew, predictably, jerks away.

The woman isn't familiar with the Mackeys and is damn sure not letting Ray near Matthew. "Ray!" Vic admonishes from the cell phone. The woman bets the police can sort this out. "Vic, you better get down here," Ray says tensely.

Ronnie calls Vic to let him know he's on Demetrius' trail; evidently, he's someone they've been trying to bust since the guy moved from Oakland. He'd appreciate Vic's help. Vic can't. He asks, "Is there any way you can squeeze in a couple of unis without alerting the African queen?" Ronnie heard Demetrius only has one guy with him; he can handle this.

Ronnie tells Julien to put Larry in the van. They can't process Larry first because they can catch Demetrius alone or understaffed.

Vic's car screeches to a halt outside Corinne's house. Ray assures him everyone is okay. In the kitchen, Vic gets the surprise of his life. Corinne is being handcuffed by a sheriff's deputy. It seems Cassidy and her friend Ellen were drinking beer in her room while Cassidy was supposed to be babysitting Matthew.

Where was Corinne, you ask? A parent-teacher conference for Matthew and Megan. Vic can't believe she left the kids alone. Corinne argues it was only an hour; she feels Cassidy is old enough to babysit and so do I.

Vic tries to talk the deputy into letting Corinne go, one brother cop to another. The deputy can't; Ellen's parents complained about the drinking. The best he can do is release the kids into Vic's custody. "Vic! Vic!" calls Corinne, obviously scared. He promises to come to the sheriff's department and straighten everything out. Cassidy walks into the hall and sees her mom being escorted away.

Dutch informs Claudette that Wan agreed to let Ms. Johnson drive her to the hospital for a rape kit. Claudette praises him. "Actually, it was Danny who got her to open up," says Dutch, giving credit where credit is due for once in his life. Wan provided valuable information. She was held in an empty house near the freeway and remembers seeing a Spanish billboard advertising suntan lotion.

Dutch goes downstairs to break the bad news about the kidnapping/rape to Joe and Mrs. Lee. "Just bring my sister back here," Joe demands, "There was no kidnapping." (Funny how he doesn't deny the rape). He's calling a lawyer.

Panting heavily, Shane loads the last of the gun crates into the Escalade. He calls Vic and is unhappy his partner hasn't been outside keeping watch. Vic's sorry, but he was dealing with the small matter of Corinne being arrested. Fortunately, he was able to get bail. Shane remains pissy about having to make a clean getaway on his own. He hangs up with a sigh.

Vic's next call is presumably to Olivia. All he says is, "This is Vic Mackey. It's going down."

The guard outside turns his back and Shane sprints for the SUV, skidding a little on the polished concrete floor. He manages to drive out of the impound lot undetected.

Elsewhere, Larry and Ronnie knock on Demetrius' door. There's nobody home except for a pitbull. "Shit! Shit!" Larry cries as he's bitten. It's too bad Shane killed off the dog whisperer. Trying to stop the attack, Ronnie finds himself with his arm locked in the pitbull's jaws. Their screams bring Julien and Tina out of the van.

Julien radios for an ambulance; Tina goes behind the house. "SHIT! SHIT!" Ronnie's voice is the loudest I've ever heard it.

Rezian directs Shane and Vic into an otherwise empty parking lot. Shane had to leave some of the guns behind, but the Armenians should still have plenty. Vic has an odd feeling. By the way, did Shane tell Rezian the feds are after the Armenian mob? Rezian snaps at Vic to help Shane transfer the guns.

Suddenly, a radio beeps. Vic whirls around. "That's a police radio!" he cries in faux shock, "Jesus Christ, you were set up!" He and Shane are leaving. Vic suggests the Armenians not take the guns. Rezian and his counterpart exchange a look. Rezian jumps into the backseat of Vic's car before he pulls away. Less than 30 seconds later, Olivia and a group of police cars arrive.

Billings has been contacting real estate agents about houses for sale near the sunscreen billboard and came up with three possible matches. Impressive police work for him. Wan's rape kit was positive. Dutch asks Billings to keep mother and daughter separate until they find out what's really going on; big bro went off to look for a lawyer. Billings agrees to sit Wan in a quiet room with some mug books.

At the possible crime scene, Danny lies to Dutch that she wasn't really choked by a suspect. She was just hoping to draw Wan out.

Vic has circled back around to the parking lot now crawling with cops. He bets Rezian is glad he listened to Vic. Rezian bitches about his associates being arrested and losing the guns. If Vic or Shane sold him out, they're both dead men walking.

Vic points out that sending Rezian to jail would be a dumb move on his part; there are still outside men who could hurt Corinne and the kids. The Armenians must have a snitch in their midst.

At Rezian's, Vic tells the mobster to get rid of anything incriminating. Shane swept the front room for bugs. Does Khalulian happen to have a private office? Why, yes, he does. Through some sleight of hand, Vic makes it appear that Khalulian's phone was bugged. He then stomps on said listening device.

Does Rezian honestly think the Mexicans will ever back off of him? Vic offers to do background checks on other members of Rezian's crew to make sure they're loyal.

Outside, Vic is gleeful about all the new intel coming their way. Shane asks if Vic understands he's trying to help. I think you've "helped" enough to last you a lifetime, Shane. Vic wasn't willing to let someone else's kids die in Chicago. Shane is worried Khalulian could rat on the two of them.  "Let him," Vic shrugs, "Claudette was in on it."

If anyone asks, Shane and Vic's involvement in the money train heist was a lie Shane used to keep Rezian close. Shane wonders why he was kept in the dark. Because Vic doesn't trust you anymore, dummy. "I'm the one standing by you, Vic," says Shane, "You're the one cutting me out, punishing me." And let's think about why...

Dutch knows the uniforms don't like having new administrative duties. What Claudette could really use is a good assistant. Dutch even has a candidate in mind: Danny. He expresses his opinion that everyone else who works the desk is "under-used or under-qualified."

Dutch is sure Claudette's noticed how Danny's changed since Lee's birth: "Some kind of maternal survival instinct. I think what she really wants is something out of the line of fire." She's just too proud to ask for it herself.

Upstairs, the house's tenant, Peter, is handcuffed to a table. "I never touched [Wan]," the man insists, "She had sexual contact with two other minors." He refers to what happened as "part of therapeutic treatment." Joe, head of the Lee family since his dad's death, had learned Wan was in a lesbian relationship "and didn't appreciate his sister disgracing them."

"So her brother hired you to rape the lesbian out of her?" asks Dutch. That's one of the more bizarre defenses I've heard on this show. Peter argues he was demonstrating "a preferable alternative." He hopes Wan's "therapy" will prove successful. Furthermore, Peter has signed papers giving him legal custody of Wan and a check for $3,000.

Ronnie comes back to work with bandages wrapped around his forearm, reporting he had to get 19 stitches. Julien put out a broadcast for Demetrius' car; a neighbor said the dog was always in the backyard, never the house. Ronnie bets Axl tipped Demetrius off.

In the clubhouse, Ronnie pushes Axl onto the sofa. He informs the porn salesman he was attacked by Demetrius' dog. What was in it for Axl? "You're barkin' up the wrong tree, fellas," he chuckles. Very poor choice of words. The DEA has been notified; Julien reckons it'll only take about 10 months for Axl to get his store back. Axl explains he didn't want to burn Demetrius because the guy is dangerous.

Olivia proudly tells Claudette the bust netted 900 guns, thanks to Shane cozying up to Rezian. "Southern charm's good for somethin'," says Vic. Claudette hopes this has gotten them closer to bringing down the whole Armenian mob. But Khalulian isn't talking.

Corinne home from jail. Hearing a knock, she opens the door for Vic. She tells him Cassidy is in her room. Vic calls out; his eldest appears, looking sullen. "Never mind the illegal drinking. You were supposed to be watching your brother," Corinne says hotly. Cassidy thinks 10 is old enough to take care of yourself.

"He's autistic!" her mom reminds her. Cassidy glares: "He's your responsibility, not mine." "Hey! Who the hell do you think you're talking to?" Vic barks. (Given that Cassidy is played by Michael Chiklis' oldest daughter Autumn, I wonder if he's doing the Method acting thing).

Cassidy sasses that Corinne is the only parent who's ever around. She turns to head back to her room. When Corinne tries to stop her, Cassidy pushes her mom to the ground. Vic grabs Cassidy by the upper arms, ignoring her protest of "You're hurting me!" Vic bellows that she's never to push Corinne again.

Scared, Cassidy tells him it was an accident. Vic gives her a shake. Corinne tells him to let go. Shaking, Cassidy goes to her room and slams the door. "We didn't raise her to be like that," says Vic. Corinne wants him to leave. Vic stammers that he didn't mean to be so rough with her; he wants to apologize.

Corinne repeats that he needs to go. Reluctantly, Vic does.

Shane's apartment is full of boxes. No sooner is he in the door than Mara's complaining: "You said we had to move and you made me do it all by myself." Where has he been? "I was out," Shane answers testily. He lets her know how stupid it was to open her mouth to Corinne.

Shane dumps a box upside down on their bed; his Strike Team blackmail file is gone. What did Mara do with it? Why, she left it in her purse...completely unsecured in the next room. Shane notices the envelope has been opened. "Goddamn it," he mutters, heading for the front door.

Shane plans on giving the file to Vic. He has another copy in a safe place. Shane promises they'll be done with Vic forever once the rest of the Mackeys are no longer in danger. But despite all evidence to the contrary, Mara, Jackson, and their unborn baby are the most important people in the world to Shane.

"Used to be worried about Lee not having a sibling. Now I'm not so worried anymore," Danny remarks to Dutch. He asks how she'd feel about moving to administrative duties full-time to help Claudette. The captain's been erratic and really needs someone reliable. He's not at liberty to be more specific.

Down in the lobby, Dutch tells Joe he's under arrest for kidnapping and conspiracy to commit rape. He's also arrested Wan's so-called "therapist" on the same charges. Marisol arrives, breathless with relief that her friend is alive. She's shocked when Wan tells her to go away.

Vic eyes Ronnie's bandaged arm: "Bite looks bad. How's the bark?" Ronnie sighs, clearly not in the mood for jokes. He got in trouble for doing a major bust undermanned. Vic is sorry, but he had no choice. "We all had choices once. And we made 'em and now we gotta live with 'em," says Ronnie.

Vic promises they're getting out of the shit storm. After all this time, Ronnie knows better. To quote the late Curtis Lemansky: "I've always gone along with everything you've ever wanted and all it's down is get us deeper and deeper into shit!"

Ronnie says bluntly, "I'm tired of walking around half the day smiling at a guy who put a grenade in Lem's lap." You tell him, Gardocki! He understands Vic's family is at risk, "but I'm not gonna drown for Shane. Or you."

Vic has the list of Rezian's most trusted associates, just five guys. He's not ready to move on Rezian until he can bring Cruz down with him.

Shane pokes his head in the clubhouse, holding the blackmail. He lies through his teeth that it's the only copy. What happened with Corinne won't happen again. Ronnie and Vic both look doubtful. Shane rolls his eyes. What do they want? Blood? I think Ronnie would prefer dropping a grenade in your lap and calling it even.

Vic has something to say to his former bestie: "We all heard the lies about Lem. Knew he was under pressure, scared." (Not to mention physically ill). "Thought he might've turned. None of us will know exactly what he would've done, but you were the only one of us who saw him. Now I hate it. And it hurts me." Vic is on the edge of tears. "But under the circumstances, you made the only decision you could at the time."

Whoa, whoa, whoa. You did not just excuse him for what he did! Shane sighs and bites his lip, teary-eyed himself. He's glad Vic finally understands. Vic is sure they'll put this whole thing behind them someday. Shane leaves. Ronnie gives Vic a hard look as if to say: "Not all of us..." End of episode.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Don't Be a "Snitch" Bitch (Episode 7.2)

Would like to wish a very happy birthday to Walton Goggins! Had the chance to meet him last year and, y'all, his picture should be in the dictionary under "Southern gentleman."

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Previously on: Vic and Ronnie roughed up Shane for his involvement in Lem's death and him ratting on them to the Armenians. Mara said entirely too much about that situation to Corinne. Vic lied to Cruz that Aramboles sold the Box O' Blackmail to Rezian the Armenian. Vic's plan? "We just sit back and watch the gang war."

Driving through the middle of nowhere, Shane gives up on getting a decent signal and turns off Vic's radio. They pass a sign for Angeles National Forest. "Bring back memories?" asks Vic, parking the car, "On a clear night, you can see Guardo's house from here. Don't worry; I haven't seen his ghost around."

He takes Shane into the abandoned house, where Aramboles is chained up. Vic informs Aramboles, "I told your boss you sold his box of sins to the Armenians." Aramboles is sure Cruz won't believe that. "With the price on your head, I could retire," Vic goes on. It's in Aramboles' best interests to just disappear. Shane would just love to be his travel agent. Uh, Vic, remember what happened last time?Barely concealing sarcasm, Vic tells Armaboles how much Shane hates seeing innocents die.

Shane follows Vic out of the house, asking what the hell is going on. It's simple: Aramboles is the only way to defuse the time bomb Shane left on the Mackeys' doorstep. Vic helped himself to the blackmail files and set Aramboles up as a traitor. Shane is impressed.

Vic needs to Shane to call the coyotes they originally hired to get Lem to Mexico. He wants Aramboles gone by the next day. Shane doesn't like the idea of "setting him up on a goat farm with money and contacts" until he knows who he's dealing with. Vic harshly reminds Shane that he's been expelled from the circle of trust.

At the construction site, Vic tries to talk Cruz out of immediately whacking Rezian. It's too late for that. Cruz requests help with "controlling any blowback." Fellow Mexicans in county jail are already in position to kill Rezian. Vic tells Cruz this will hurt his legitimate businesses and their protection deal.

There's a new notice on the Barn's bulletin board. The mayor invited Farmington's top 10 gangs to a press conference. Oh, that'll go off without a hitch. "Are we makin' celebrities of these douchebags now?" asks Vic. Haven't we always? Look at Al Capone, the Gottis, Iceberg Slim, Tookie Williams. (I could go on).

Somehow, this press conference is supposed to help L.A. win its war on gangs. Claudette doesn't like the idea either, but she was outvoted. The mayor seems to think this will reassure the public. The sanctioned gang council has also made front-page headlines. "Fortunately, most of these bangers can't read," snarks Vic. He checks his watch, betting it'll take no less than three hours for a gang to kill someone in order to move up the power rankings.

Vic's hearing has been rescheduled to four weeks from now. Claudette would have no objection to him taking time off to strategize with his lawyer or PBA rep. Vic touches the badge on his belt: "As long as I got this, I'm gonna use it."

In the clubhouse, Shane starts to give instruction about the coyote. Vic cuts him off with, "This war we started is already spinning out of control." Rezian was greenlit and would be dead before they can get him into protective custody. Maybe Rezian is the only one who knows Vic was behind the money train heist. Even so, the second-in-command could still want to avenge his boss. Shane needs to warn Rezian so the Armenian will owe him a favor.

Rezian gripes to Shane about living off oatmeal and bologna and not being able to have sex. "Oatmeal's good for the colon," says Shane. Rezian fails to see the humor. His accountant has agreed to testify against him. Shane advises Rezian to watch his back; he's been greenlit by the Mexicans. Rezian threatens the Mackey and Vendrell clans should anything happen to him.

"I guess some of these bangers can read," Vic quips over the bloody body of a man dressed in a suit. The dead man has been IDed as John Layton, an average citizen from Pasadena. Of course, there are no witnesses. Ronnie guesses it could've been a drug deal gone bad. "This is not where whitey scores his powder," says Vic.

Claudette checks John's wallet; his cash and cards are still there. Maybe he was searching for hookers? Ronnie shakes his head and jerks his thumb over his shoulder: "Stroll's six blocks that way." Vic spots One-Niners and Los Mag tags on a nearby wall. Vic basically tells Claudette to have fun explaining to the mayor "that his list got a white guy popped." Claudette says there's no proof the incident is related.

Ronnie offers to take Shane with him to meet the One-Niners, but Vic would rather keep an eye on him. He sends Ronnie and Julien to interview the Los Mags. In the car, Shane informs Vic that Rezian "is a big believer in life insurance. He gets whacked, he comes after your family and mine." Vic sighs and whips off his sunglasses, asking again how they lost control.

Shane breaks the news about Rezian's accountant. Vic says keeping Rezian from getting shanked is their top priority.

Vic and Shane pay a visit to Moses, head of the One-Niners. His living room is trashed. "Redecorating?" inquires Shane. Moses gripes, "Pigs came through here like a damn hurricane." He doesn't know nothing about the dead body on his turf, but brags that the Niners are the #5 gang in Farmington. Murdering citizens is bad for business.

Vic suggests it could've been a baby banger trying to get street cred. Moses says that wouldn't happen without his knowledge. They should talk to Athens, Piru, Spookstreet, or one of the other gangs. Spookstreet didn't make the list and is in danger of being squeezed out if they don't prove their mettle.

Does Moses happen to have any soldiers in County? Moses nods. Vic thinks they can help each other out. The One-Niners protect Rezian, Vic gets the cops to back off the gang. Moses gives them until 4:00 that afternoon.

Elsewhere, a woman named Lana lies dead on the sidewalk. To Danny, it looks like a cinder block fell onto Lana's head. Witnesses told Danny a cinder block fell on Lana's head. "Death from above," Dutch quips tastelessly.

Lana's boyfriend Doug is agitated and tearful, insisting Lana was murdered. Mexicans in the neighborhood have been harassing them ever since they rented a rehearsal space for their band. Lana was the lead singer. "They're always yelling at us outta their windows, bitching at us to move! If they don't like our smoke, they can go back to Mexico City and choke on the smog!"

Dutch tries to get Doug to calm down and ushers him back behind the crime scene tape. Under his breath to Billings, he agrees that the cinder block was dropped intentionally. Tina talked to Lana's bandmates. Everyone was outside with her when she died, but nobody looked up to see what happened. Dutch asks the women to interview every tenant with a window facing the street.

While canvassing the building, Danny and Tina hear a couple arguing loudly in Spanish. "Great, we respond to a murder, we get a domestic," grumbles Tina. She pounds on the door, calling, "Abre le puerta!" 

"WHAT?!" the male tenant bellows in her face. His woman is in the background, dressed in just a miniskirt and bra, tries to cover herself. In Spanish, she tells the man to shut the fucking door. The man starts to reach for something. Danny draws her gun, ordering him to put his hands in the air. Tina, inside the apartment, explains that the man was getting a shirt for his girlfriend to put on.

Chief Phillips calls John's murder a tragedy that couldn't have come at a worse time. It's resulted in a news blackout concerning gang-related crimes. "The mayor didn't want to fuel speculation that his gangbanger hall of fame is the cause," Claudette says hotly. Phillips is glad to hear Vic was assigned the case.

Julien asks who Shane is escorting to interrogation. That would be Jamal, shotcaller for Spookstreet. "Although he claims to be just another downtrodden black man in the struggle," says Vic, a comment I'm sure doesn't touch a nerve with Julien at all.

Upstairs, Vic informs Jamal that the streets are calling Spookstreet "the clown posse."
And nobody wants to be compared to these guys.
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"They're laughing at you, not with you," Vic goes on. Which is how most people I know feel about ICP. Jamal is none too pleased he was dragged out of his bed before he could take his "calm pills." Shane pulls the prescription bottle out of Jamal's shirt pocket, taunting, "My wife takes these when she's on the rag. Maybe I should get you a tampon too." Dude, Mara is a bitch on wheels, on her period, pregnant, or otherwise. Stop denying it.

Vic is sure Jamal was behind John's murder, a ploy to make the top 10: "I could make a top-100 list. Your piece of shit crew wouldn't be on it." Jamal argues he wouldn't have a beef with a strange white guy. Well, maybe Jamal was trying to teach his fellow Spookstreeters a lesson and the regular Joe from Pasadena got caught in the crossfire. If that's the case, the Strike Team can help.

Jamal lists off his personal problems: kids to feed, a dying mother. He's a man of peace "with the most high as my witness." He don't know nothing.

Dutch asks the landlord if there's gang presence in the building. Of course, Mr. Landlord says all his tenants are hardworking families who pay their rent on time. Nobody's complained to him about the noisy band and their cigarettes. Mr. Landlord was buying plumbing supplies at the hardware store when Lana died.

Dutch excuses himself to pull his partner away from flirting with a young Latina: "If this is the Billings level of effort I can look forward to, you may as well just go home." Is he the only one here even trying to solve the case? Danny and Tina both struck out with witnesses.

Dutch is disturbed that his partner is so apathetic about "a young woman getting her head bashed in." Billings complains that they've been out in the hot sun for a long time and they're no closer to finding out who killed Lana.

Dutch turns and announces to the crowd that they're all gonna get a look at what their tax dollars do. Nobody wants to come forward, so everyone will be taking a ride to the Farmington station for further questioning. He vows to make their lives "as unpleasant and inconvenient as possible." Yeah, that'll get them on your side, you fucking idiot. He tersely tells Danny to call a city bus.

A young couple has been shot to death in their car. "Colorado plates. Visiting USC for graduation," exposits a uniform. Vic snorts ruefully: "And they thought tuition was a bitch." This is the same neighborhood and M.O. as the earlier shooting.

An elderly black woman shuffles across the street with her walker, saying she saw what happened. "You need to stop snitchin', bitch!" a younger female voice screams. The elderly woman responds, "You need to mind your mouth and get back to your mama!" She tells the police how she's tired of watching "young folks turn these streets into a living hell."

Claudette suggests taking her statement back at the precinct. The witness isn't worried about her safety; she's too old to be scared. She proceeds to give chapter and verse about her life. Her sons are in jail. No grandkids because her daughter is a lesbian. Gotta love TMI from senior citizens. "I'm ready to see my Jesus!" she finishes.

Granny saw two shooters wearing gray do-rags. Vic knows that's a Spookstreet trademark. "They were like 13 or 14, maybe. They were babies," Granny frets.

Vic invites himself into Moses' house, ordering to call his friends in County and have them protect Rezian.

A female tenant of the apartment block tells Dutch she didn't see anything. She likes to sit around naked when she's home, so the blinds were shut. Across the squadroom, Billings is doling out quarters to the tenants' kids; they're running back and forth from the vending machines.

Vic brings Jamal in and is surprised to see his ex-wife and eldest child. Corinne lets him know she's aware of the Armenian situation. Vic herds Corinne into the clubhouse, promising he's handling it. "By tying Mara up and gagging her?" asks Corinne.

Vic claims the Armenian thing was an undercover assignment; she's better off not knowing the details. Shane used bad judgment (I'll say) and got them in trouble. The ex-cop is only following Corinne to protect her. In fact, Vic thinks it's a good idea to move her and the kids to a hotel.

Corinne shakes her head, tired of Vic's bullshit. Moving to Connecticut to live with her cousins sounds like a better plan. Vic vows he'd never let anyone hurt Corinne or their kids.

Cassidy wanders through the squadroom and asks if Billings works at the Barn. "8 hours a day, minus half-hour lunch," he confirms. Cassidy wants someone arrested, namely Daddy Dearest.

Claudette and Phillips just got a troubling anonymous phone call, claiming Spookstreet is in league with al Qaeda. Vic is pretty sure that's bullshit. Phillips has seen rumors posted on local online message boards. "On the Internet, Dutch Boy is still a 13-year-old girl looking for her first training bra," Vic points out.

Phillips doesn't think it's a stretch; terrorist groups supply drugs and weapons for street gangs to sell. Claudette reminds them how bad it'll look if they're wrong and something happens. Ronnie agrees to start on the international angle, but Phillips has called in Homeland Security. Vic storms out.

Next door, he tells Jamal lying is unacceptable. According to Jamal, if the shooters were wearing Spookstreet colors, they were just fronting. Vic can't help the gangbanger once the feds get involved: "Your boys used the al Qaeda card, which means you get a rainbow coalition of law enforcement shitting multicultural bricks."

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Jamal insists he's not down with the Muslim Brotherhood; he's strictly "black man South Central-Eastside." He adds, "Some G, unaffiliated, outside my set does the deed." Vic's witness saw kids. Jamal remembers making a joke while watching CNN with some junior members: If you really wanna stir up shit, say you're al Qaeda. Bad things happening to white people are all anyone talks about.

After that, "some kid called my phone from the barber shop, talking crazy shit." Jamal didn't take it seriously. He doesn't know the boy's name. Claudette shoos Vic out. Downstairs, Vic asks to see Jamal's phone.

Shane goes to the jail, asking to see Rezian's accountant Grubman. The deputy informs him no visitors are allowed. Shane spins a tale that he arrested Grubman and has reason to believe there's a threat against his life. If Grubman recants, an Armenian mob boss will walk. He appreciates that she's trying to do her job; why doesn't she come in with him?

Shane thanks Grubman for agreeing to testify. Is there anything else he can do to make him more comfortable? Shane doesn't want him to be scared of testifying. The police will protect him and his daughter Katrona. Would Grubman like to go over any of his testimony? The accountant wouldn't.

Vic offers to help Olivia by giving her the name and address of an illegal alien who sells weapons. She reads the paper Vic hands her. She's never heard of Aramboles.

Shane gives Vic an update. Grubman mysteriously has amnesia; Rezian is alive as far as he knows. Danny tells Shane he's been summoned to Claudette's office.

At her desk, Claudette flexes her hands a few times. She's about to take her pills when the door opens. She quickly hides the bottle. Claudette hopes Shane didn't talk to Grubman about testifying. She talked to the sheriff's deputy and the D.A.; Grubman has recanted.

Shane asks what good would come of him losing a high-profile arrest like Rezian. Claudette isn't sure...yet. Shane would be happy to talk to the D.A. anytime.

In the breakroom, Tina and Danny are sniping at each other again. The younger woman can't believe Danny is still pissed about their suspect getting away from the surplus store. Does Danny think it's her fault? "Where there's smoke, there's fire," says Danny. Tina argues she cleared the place; Danny is the one who drew a gun because she thinks she can't trust Tina. Dutch awkwardly listens to the whole thing.

Vic finds baby banger Little BK sweeping up hair at a local barber shop. They know BK called Jamal right before his arrest. Little BK denies it. "Your number's in his phone, little asshole," says Ronnie. Besides, if Spookstreet doesn't claim the murders, they'll never make the Farmington Top 10. Would Little BK like to be known in "'hood lore" as the guy who put Jamal away for accessory to murder?

The kid looks uneasily around before proudly declaring he did it. Jamal didn't know anything about it; this was all the kid's idea. Vic leads Little BK out of the store. A short time later, the baby banger watches as Ronnie and Vic parade arrested Spookstreeters down the sidewalk. Their fellow gang members chant "Spookstreet" and wave gang signs. (I thought getting caught was bad for business)?

"Meet al Qaeda's number two and three. Want me to call Juvie or ya wanna waterboard 'em?" Vic asks Claudette at the Barn. Billings wants to know if Vic has a minute to talk about Cassidy. The eldest Mackey child claimed that Vic attacked Shane's wife. Vic says Cassidy is acting out because he won't buy her a cell phone.

Billings understands how difficult it can be raising daughters. He assures Vic he didn't write down anything she said. Claudette steps over tenants from the murder scene. Is Billings really intending to keep them overnight? Dutch is sure someone will talk if they get tired enough.

He's still bitter about Billings making money from the vending machine. Claudette tells Dutch to let it go; Billings picking up the lawsuit again could be disastrous for the Barn. Dutch confronts him in the break room. Billings intends to get every cent of his pension. "God, is that all you want?" Dutch asks disgustedly.

Billings also wants a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Dutch is curious what Billings has done to earn it. Billings then suggests they take another shot at Nacio the apartment manager. Nacio is new to the job, just under a year. The tenants like him because he gets things fixed right away.

The reason the residents seem uncooperative is most of them are illegals. They also didn't like the noise and smoke from the band and were frustrated by the lack of police response. Dutch thought Nacio didn't know about the problems. Nacio shrugs he's talked to his tenants in the precinct lobby.

Nacio repeats he was at the hardware store during the murder. Dutch asks to see the bag Nacio claims he set down when he saw the dead body. Nacio, however, can't remember what he did with it. Dutch puts his own twist on one of Judge Judy's favorite sayings:

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Dutch is sure Nacio didn't mean to kill Lana; he was just trying to keep the building orderly. Was he trying to scare off the noisy band by throwing cinder blocks? The tenants aren't talking because Nacio helps make their living situation better.

Claudette asks where Little BK's mother is. The shithead replies, "Sucking yo' man's dick because you won't, bitch." The legal aid lawyer advises his client to remain silent. The kid boasts, "We smoked them fools all day long!" He refers to the murders as "paying the white devil his due." Little BK continually drops the 'N' bomb. Lovely.

Claudette inquires, "Do you realize that killing people because of the color of their skin is a hate crime?" Little BK doesn't care. Claudette enlightens him on how that word was used to reduce black people to mere property. She angrily slaps the table. Not only is Little BK a murderer, he's succeeded in dehumanizing himself.

"White man even got you talking by his rules now," says Little BK. Claudette looks like she wants to whip his ass. Au contraire. Claudette "wouldn't waste the N-word on someone as empty and godless as you."

Later, Insardi tells Claudette a complaint has been filed against her for "using a racist epithet" to a suspect. Little BK's lawyer witnessed the whole thing. Claudette admits to using the N-word out of frustration: "Some crack-baby tweener does a triple homicide and I'm the one being held over a barrel?"

Insardi doesn't think Claudette has anything to worry about other than "a rainforest of paperwork and some chest-thumping." She has bigger problems to worry about, like a mom who poured scalding water on her infant "because the father came home with a hickey on his neck." She asks Claudette to pass her congratulations to Vic and the team.

As the D.A. leaves, Dutch comes in and sits on the edge of Claudette's desk. She complains the department is painting her as a racist against her own race because the al Qaeda connection was bogus.

In their truck, Shane, Vic, and Aramboles watch ICE agents load a van with illegal weapons. Coyotes are waiting to take him back home to a nice house in the mountains. Does he like goat milk? (I'm waiting for Shane to pull the pin on a grenade).

Vic warns that if Armaboles tries to come back to the States, he'll be chased by the feds, the cartel, and the Strike Team. The cartel or feds catching him is actually the best-case scenario. "Hasta la vista, shithead," says Shane as the coyotes load Aramboles into another van. He then has the audacity to ask Vic: "You and me, we're on the road to being cool, right?"

Oh yeah, what's murdering one friend to save your own sorry ass? Shane adds, "I'm not your whipping boy for life, man. That's what you got Ronnie for." However, in 7 seasons, we've never seen anyone on the Strike Team be outright mean to Ronnie. Just good-natured, boys-will-be-boys ribbing.

Vic tells Shane that Mara's been having some interesting girl-talk with Corinne. He doesn't need Mrs. Vendrell causing trouble. Shane's phone beeps and it's the county jail.

At the jail infirmary, Rezian is pissed. Shane reminds him who made sure the Mexicans didn't succeed in killing him: "Those brothers sure as hell didn't pull that shiv-wielding ese off your ass to fulfill some community service requirement." He doesn't know the hit even came from the Mexicans. In fact, Shane wouldn't rule out a fellow Armenian.

"I may be the only friend that you can trust now," says the Southerner. Well, then Rezian's a dead man walking.

Vic guesses Aramboles ran off after selling the Box O' Blackmail. By the way, Rezian is still alive and "one pissed-off Eastern European." Vic can help Cruz get to Rezian, but "this 30-day trial bullshit is over."

Cruz thinks Vic owes him. Vic chuckles; a delayed hearing isn't the same as a saved career. He'd be happy to find out who has the Box O' Blackmail. Anything else will require renegotiation. Vic thinks $10,000 a week sounds fair. Armenian retaliation goes through Vic and Cruz has to promise no civilians get hurt.

Cruz points out war is messy. He scoffs at the idea of Vic having morals. Call girls get paid more than $10,000 to check their morals at the door. Vic gives Cruz until the morning to answer. End of episode.

Friday, November 3, 2017

"The Coefficient of Drag" Is Dimensionless (Episode 7.1)

Well, folks, we've reached the beginning of the end. This episode kicked off the seventh and final season of The Shield. 

Last season: Vic blew off the appeals hearing about his forced retirement. Edgar-veda's friend Cruz presented Vic with blackmail pictures that could potentially help save his job. Yet another land grab is in progress; this time, the culprit is the Mexican mafia. Aramboles, formerly of Mexican military intelligence, got caught with a car trunk full of other blackmail on prominent Farmington citizens.

Shane told Armenian mob princess Diro that Vic was behind the money train robbery. (Of course, he left out his own role in it). She threatened to kill Vic's ex-wife and kids first to make him suffer. He basically kidnapped Corinne and Cassidy, then locked them in a cargo truck for an afternoon, claiming it was for their safety.

Things escalated and Shane was forced to kill hitman Zadofian in Corinne's living room. Rezian, another Armenian mobster, promised not to hurt Shane and Vic's families if they pay $2 million in restitution for the money train. He was willing to accept favors in lieu of cash.

Shane comes home to find a terrified Mara duct-taped and gagged on the couch. Before he can untie her, Vic appears from the shadows, giving his former best friend a pistol whipping. Ronnie grabs Shane's jacket and drags him across the floor into the bedroom.

"You don't understand, buddy!" Shane protests. I think we're way past "buddy" here. Vic is furious about Corinne and Cassidy being kidnapped. "I had to save their lives!" Shane goes on. Vic boots him in the crotch. Shane howls, "The Armenians know about the money train!" Vic freezes in mid-punch. Only four people knew about that; and (thanks to Shane), one of them is now dead.

Shane lies that Diro figured it out on her own. Vic sees right through him. Shane the Cowardly Traitorous Bastard whimpers that the Armenians will realize he was in on it. "Yeah, and me too, asshole," snaps Ronnie. Shane tells Vic he made a deal with Rezian to take the green light off their families. He's paying off their collective debt with favors.

When Shane tries to stand up, Vic kicks him in the ribs, growling, "What the hell did you get us into?" Shane explains the blood in Vic's house was from the hitman who was sent to kill Corinne and the kids. Vic is none too happy that Shane let Zadofian get away. Shane argues that Vic's family still being alive is more important. Can't they all work together to get out of this and be friends again? That would be a huge goddamn no.

Shane knows Vic and Ronnie hate him, but everything he's done over the last year was to protect them. He'd never hurt Vic's family. Vic reminds him coldly, "Lem was family." He and Ronnie exit Shane's apartment, leaving Mara still tied up on the couch. Jackson can be heard wailing in another room.

Shane untapes Mara's hands and fusses over her, then jogs off to check on Jackson. He tells her not to worry about Vic. "He tied me up and he beat the shit out of you!" says Mara. Shane sits Jackson down in his booster chair with some cereal. He just can't figure out why Vic is so bent out of shape over the kidnapping. He thought the bad blood between them was over.

"That bad blood is spraying all over this family!" says Mara, following him into the kitchen. "Vic is never gonna forgive you for Lem." (Well, should he?) She dabs the blood off Shane's face with a wet dish towel. For what seems like the millionth time in the last few episodes, she repeats they need to get away from Vic.

Ronnie wonders what'll happen regarding his friend's hearing. Vic guesses he shot himself in the foot by leaving. Ronnie tells Vic he's been offered a slot with S.I.S (Special Investigation Section), a real-life, elite LAPD detective unit tasked with taking down the worst of the worst. He flatly refuses to stay in the same precinct as Shane.

Vic stops the car. They meet up with a youngish guy who was thrown off the police department and now does private security work. Vic pays him to keep Corinne and the kids safe. "I'll be like a mother bird with her eggs," the guy promises. Vic warns him to keep a low-profile; his family doesn't know they've been greenlit.

"You had me arrested, you make the case go away," snarls Rezian. Shane can't; the department might already be suspicious about the "lost" ledgers. "Revising" reports will get him in even more trouble. Besides, Diro's probably "back in Munich playing quarters with coeds." Rezian doubts it; Diro's been in the family business since she was 15. Does Shane know where she is?

"I'm not your Armenian LoJack," mumbles Shane. Rezian wants Shane to find Zadofian; his associates can "extract the truth." (More like extract some teeth and chop off his feet). "Where do Armenian hit men nurse belly wounds these days?" asks Shane. Rezian guesses Zadofian is with Darla, his "little Filipina whore."

At a crime scene, Claudette asks how the hearing went. Vic wants it to be a surprise. A blood trail extends down the block, as though someone were dragged behind a car. Claudette assigns Ronnie to investigate gang-related angles; Vic has to take a backseat.

Julien confirms my theory: two Salvadorans were dragged behind cars. They were part of Castillo's crew. Mexicans and Salvadorans both occupy the neighborhood. "'Til now, they've always shared lunch money," says Vic. Claudette wants them to call in Shane.

A blond woman in a business suit approaches them, Agent Olivia Murray of ICE. She didn't notify the Barn that she'd be coming because this is strictly a "curiosity call." A gang called Manada de Muerte (Herd of Death) has a tradition of marking new turf boundaries with blood. They're mostly compromised of former federales and Mexican military; their main business is protecting drug cartels.

"What in God's name are they doing in Farmington?" asks Claudette. Well, it is a crime-infested hellhole with a mostly Latino population. Olivia's bureau chief pulled the plug on her investigation into the San Marcos murders when she kept hitting dead ends. (Pun intended).

Vic thinks it would be helpful to have the personnel files of the disgraced Mexican cops. Olivia promises to make that happen. "Next time, take the bus, boys," Vic says when he sees the mangled bodies.

Cassidy strolls into Vic's living room with her earbuds in one ear. Vic is explaining to Corinne why they're in hiding. Corinne tells her eldest to check on her siblings. "I'm old enough to hear this," Cassidy protests.

According to Vic, a guard heard an inmate threatening to kill a cop's family and thought it might be the Mackeys. The guard told Shane about it. Shane panicked when Vic didn't answer his phone. The blood in Corinne's house was from "a break-in gone sideways."

Corinne raises an eyebrow: "So I'm supposed to believe all this is happening at the same time Shane locks us in a box for our own well-being?" "Shane overreacted," Vic insists, "His heart was in the right place, but unfortunately, his brain was a couple steps behind." Ain't it always?

The bottom line is she and the kids aren't in any danger now; they never were. However, Vic would love it if they stayed around a few more days. Corinne agrees.

Outside, Vic's PI is scuffling with an armed man. The mystery man demands Vic's stash of files. Cassidy exits the apartment to take out the trash and Vic hastily pushes Mystery Dude and PI behind the trunk of his car. He waves Cassidy off with a slightly breathless "See ya, sweetie."

Vic takes the Mexican to the same house where he tortured and killed Guardo. "If I don't return la caja pecado (the sin box), I'm dead," says the guy, which is hardly any of Vic's concern. Aramboles spent over two-and-a-half years gathering blackmail, payback for L.A. politicians bitching about corrupt foreign governments when they're doing the same. He made Cruz valuable to the cartel.

"And he's gonna pay you back by putting a bullet in your head. That sucks," Vic sounds way less than sincere. Nobody knows the box is missing (yet). Aramboles explains the cartels are getting nervous about their L.A. investments. The blood trail down Kearny Street represents Cruz expanding his developments.

Vic starts to leave. Aramboles asks if Vic is gonna leave him chained up. "I could do worse," says Vic.

Shane looks at Diro and Zadofian's INTERPOL mug shots on the Barn's one and only computer. He hastily clicks the screen blank when Claudette approaches. She asks why he's been visiting Rezian so often in jail. Shane thinks Rezian knows something about the Mexican/Salvadoran beef and is trying to convince him to talk.

Ronnie gives Vic the business card of an Armenian mob doctor. "'Dr. Edna Lucine, Bow-Wow and Meow,'" Vic reads. Ronnie jokes, "Hate to be part of that HMO." Vic sees Shane still at the computer and gives him a contemptuous look.

Tina asks Dutch to give her a hand with some files. Dutch expresses to Claudette what a waste of time it is to have uniforms do administrative work. "What would you prefer me to do?" the captain snipes. People have quit. Thanks to Billings' lawsuit, there's now a hiring freeze.

"The guy tapped his head on a desk," says Dutch. Claudette has even more good news; the city attorney is settling with Billings. Dutch will be working cases solo. He's relieved; Billings was like an albatross around his neck. Claudette is glad to see her former partner's self-esteem is still intact.

In the back of her clinic, Dr. Lucine is examining the cutest little French bulldog. Vic flashes his badge: "I understand you're chief surgeon at Armenia General." If he checks her pharmacy, will he only find doggy meds?

Dr. Lucine borrowed money from Armenians to pay for vet school. (Guarantee it was under worse terms than government loans). She claims she had no idea "patching up criminals" would be part of the repayment plan. She admits to taking care of a gut shot, then driving the man to Edgemont Hotel to recuperate.

Shane peeks in a window and sees a young Filipina having loud sex with a much older man. He barges into the apartment. "I'll have her back before the little blue pill wears off," Shane promises. The hooker pulls on a robe, angrily asking what Shane wants. Shane wants to know where he can find Zadofian. She says he usually stays at the Edgemont Hotel.

Danny wants to have a word with Dutch. Dutch starts talking first. They were both lonely and vulnerable the night before; the kiss was a one-time thing between good friends. Work shouldn't be uncomfortable because of it. Turns out, that's the furthest thing from Danny's mind: "There's a guy out here who says he killed his wife." Dutch will get on that. He chuckles obnoxiously, "Wouldn't want him to kill anybody else's wife."

Upstairs, a Hispanic man waits in interrogation. "So you killed your wife two years ago?" Dutch asks conversationally. Emilio disagrees, "I had my friend Hector kill her." Hubby put ground-up sleeping pills in her wine and went to work. "Hector was supposed to push her down in the tub."

Danny brings in the case file. "Douchebag showed up too soon," Hubby of the Year goes on, "She was awake." Emilio was tried and acquitted. He boasts that he's untouchable "'cause I'm protected by final jeopardy." It's double, you idiot. Emilio never told anyone about Hector, afraid Hector would point the finger at him for planning it.

As payment for the hit, Hector got start-up money for a siding business. Dutch is somehow surprised by the lack of remorse. "You had to know her," says Emilio. This reminds me of a similar episode of Saving Grace. A woman in an unhappy (but not abusive) marriage offered various odd things to different people, hoping to entice them into killing her husband: $75, a homemade carrot cake, movie tickets.

Anyway, Emilio wants Hector arrested. It seems he's fallen in love with Hector's girlfriend Lorena and a murder rap is a convenient way to get rid of the competition. He's sure Lorena loves him back but is afraid to leave Hector.

In a parking lot, Vic stares at an old photo of himself, Shane, Ronnie, and Lem drinking beers together. It was taken with a camera Lem confiscated from a drug dealer. Vic carefully folds it up as Ronnie arrives. Zadofian is in Room 11. Vic offers to do this on his own. "If Shane's telling the truth, this guy's a threat to all of us. I'm in," says Ronnie.

They break into the room and Vic punches the Armenian roughly where his gunshot wound is. Zadofian won't say who shot him (shocker). Vic rips off the bandage, puts a pillow over Zadofian's face, and buries the muzzle of his gun in the still-open wound. Zadofain thinks it was Rezian's crew.

Vic holds out the picture so Shane's face is showing. Is that who Zadofian saw? Zadofian instantly recognizes Shane's blinding grin. Vic wraps his hands around the Armenian's neck.

Shane jogs into the hotel's courtyard. "Goddamn it," he swears, seeing Vic's car.

Back in the room, Ronnie pulls Vic off Zadofian. He urges Vic to use his brain. Zadofian's blood was in Corinne's house; if he turns up dead, you wouldn't have to be a detective to work out what happened.

Shane notices Vic coming downstairs and squeezes his skinny body between the two vending machines. Ronnie handcuffs Zadofian to the bed and has a discussion with Vic out on the balcony. Vic gets in his car while Ronnie returns to the room.

Ronnie asks where to find Diro and tosses the gangster's cell phone at him. "Page her," he instructs. Um, how is he supposed to do that with his hands cuffed to the bedpost?

Dutch has uncovered another problem with his murder investigation. The original detective ruled Hector out as a suspect. And who was that? Why, none other than the illustrious Steve Billings. Claudette says disgustedly, "See if he has the strength to talk." She calls down to Vic that Julien is talking to a woman who witnessed the body dragging.

"Whatever information you give up could save lives," Julien coaxes. The Latina sasses, "Do I look like Wonder Woman to you?" Vic refers to her as the "Byz Lat queen." Eyeing her baby bump, he inquires, "Who's the lucky cholo?" Her baby-daddy is Jimmy Mendez.

Vic doubts she'll talk; if she did, Jimmy would end up the next victim. However, she was seen willingly getting into a police car. Vic is sure she can convince the Byz Lats she isn't a rat. They step outside the room.

Olivia stands against the rail, considering the balcony. "Anybody ever tumble off this thing?" she inquires. Actually, yes. Olivia sees her errand boy and opts for the stairs. The pregnant girl opens the interrogation room door. If she "happens to remember" anything, will the police protect Jimmy? She has no intentions of being a single mom.

Shane is still in the motel parking lot, Ronnie in the room having a phone conversation with Claudette. The first supposed Salvadoran lead he was chasing didn't pan out; he has one more to go and will check back in later.

Zadofian's phone rings; the caller ID reads Diro. The Armenian asks if Ronnie will let him answer. "That won't be necessary," says the detective, pocketing the phone. Ronnie turns...and calmly fires two shots into Zadofian's chest.
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Shane hears the gunfire and jumps out of his skin. He races to hide behind the vending machines.

Ronnie wipes his prints off the gun, letting it fall to the carpet. He puts the same black beanie on his head and climbs out the bathroom window. Shane doesn't seem to recognize Ronnie or the beat-up car he's driving. Once he's gone, Shane takes the motel stairs two at a time. He opens Room 11 and sees Zadofian dead on the bed.

Olivia brings Vic a hefty container of personnel files, all disgraced federales from the last five years. "Cartel must have one hell of a pension plan," Vic remarks. Claudette asks him to show the federales' photos to their witness. Danny tells the captain there's been a shots-fired call at the Edgemont.

Claudette wants Vic to stay with Julien; Shane can check it out on his way back to the Barn.

Back at the motel, Shane breaks into a glass case containing a fire hose and an ax. Panting, he returns to the room and chops off Zadofian's feet! 

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Shane jogs away from the motel room just as the sirens get close. The uniforms are shocked by what they find in Room 11. "Hey," Shane says casually, appearing in the doorway, "Ouch. Footloose and fancy-free."

Vic meets Ronnie behind the Barn and notices his friend seems shaken. Ronnie explains how he talked to the captain on the phone, "pulled the trigger a minute later." Both their asses are covered. Vic says, "I need to see that distant stare come off your face." Good luck with that! Fucking hell, Ronnie was the least corrupted up to this point.

Fortunately, Ronnie has Diro's number and can GPS track it later. They'll deal with her once they're finished with Rezian. Julien reports their witness ID'ed one of the ex-federales. Vic sends him on his way with a pointed look. He asks Ronnie, "You firing on enough cylinders to handle this death-mob thing?"

Passing each other, Dutch inquires about Ronnie's Salvadoran leads. Ronnie shrugs they didn't pan out. Billings arrives in a taxi, claiming his injuries causes blackouts that make him unsafe to drive. Can Dutch reimburse his fare?

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Claudette used some creativity to get Billings to set foot in the Barn; she said he had to sign some more workers' comp/insurance forms. While they're at it, how about helping Dutch with his case? Billings isn't sure he can; his incredibly minor head injury has also caused memory lapses.

Dutch exposits about Doris' murder. Her husband Emilio was acquitted and is upstairs saying he hired his buddy Hector to do it. Billings argues that the D.A. is the one who blew any chances of convicting Emilio. Can they go over Billings' notes? Billings the old liar requests that Dutch call a cab; he's suddenly feeling lightheaded.

Dutch hits Billings where he lives: "If the D.A. has to drag you back into this, it might delay the progress on your lawsuit." Billings asks for sushi: "Protein helps with my memory capability."

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Vic takes Edgar-veda to an abandoned building; the two of them have the only keys. Vic sits down on the floor with the Box O' Blackmail. There are 100 files in it and it'll take just one to save his job: "I'm gonna give them their sin back, grant 'em absolution."

Edgar-veda reminds Vic this is their only evidence against Cruz. Using it nefariously would exclude it from any criminal trial. They also can't risk Cruz finding out they even have the box. Vic raises an eyebrow: "Now that your Kodak moment is outta this box, the hell with everyone else, right?"

They'll never be friends, but they can still help each other. Edgar-veda hopes to become mayor and Vic wants to stay a cop. Vic suspects Cruz could've pulled the strings on the body-draggings and Edgar-veda knows his motive. Tomorrow, there's a major rezoning vote that would allow Cruz to build a hotel. The head of the committee, Councilman Dowd, has a file in the Box O' Blackmail.

Edgar-veda suggests they untwist Dowd's arm by sending him the original file and keeping a copy. Vic chuckles, imagining how pissed Cruz will be.

Billings, wearing his sunglasses inside like a douchebag, remembers Hector having an alibi. Dutch says lightly, "Maybe if you take off the sunglasses, you could actually see something." Billings adds migraines to his list of supposed ailments. On a scrap of paper, Billings had jotted that Hector was having sex with a woman named Lorena all night when Doris was killed.

Claudette summons Billings to her office. She has bad news: the city attorney turned down his lawyer's settlement offer. She also has little patients for cops who file bogus lawsuits. Billings insists, "I was injured on the job and now I'm disabled."

Claudette educates him on where funds are cut to pay settlements, little things like gang intervention programs and other community programs. Billings blames Claudette; this wouldn't have happened if she hadn't let Vic and Kavanaugh go at each other. He brags about "having the brass by the balls." Claudette loses her temper: "You're a goddamn joke!" Billings mutters about adding slander to the suit.

Dutch asks if Julien remembers Doris's case. Julien nods; it was his first dead body when he was a rookie. He testified at Emilio's trial, but "the defense ripped Billings' police work to shreds." Dutch tells Claudette what Billings said about D.A. Insardi tanking the case. Maybe they can offer a chance for him to redeem himself.

The ex-federale seen at the body-dragging, Marcus Villanueva, was thrown off the force two years ago after he and his partner "accidentally" slit a suspect's throat. Marcus's brother owns a military surplus store right here in L.A. "If he's there, he's probably not alone or empty-handed," says Julien. Claudette wants the Strike Team to take point and she'll see if there's a spare SWAT unit.

"Place is closed," Shane reports at the store. There are cars out back, one of which is the pickup the witness saw dragging the body. Shane thinks they should move fast; "these psychos get off on collateral damage." Ronnie wants to wait for SWAT.

Cruz heard about Vic's hearing and finds the outcome unfortunate. Vic wonders what he knows about the blood lines freshly drawn on Kearney. Cruz plays dumb about that, as well as the stolen files. According to Vic, gangbangers are now bidding on said files. Maybe they can help each other get back what was lost.

Cruz needs a partner with balls, something Edgar-veda is sorely lacking. Vic can do that if he has a job. Cruz can't do anything to stop Vic's dismissal. Vic gets a call from Ronnie. They have to move on the death mob because SWAT has been sent to handle a hostage situation. Vic tells Cruz they'll continue their conversation later.

Across from the store, Julien has his head buried in the open hood of a car as cover. He sees a gray Jeep pulling up. Ronnie barks, "We gotta do this without SWAT!" The cops scramble into position, then break down the store's doors. The suspects start shooting at the cops with the store's inventory. A uniform goes down.

Vic radios to Ronnie that he's gonna create a diversion. Um, how exactly? Before Ronnie can figure that out, a car drives through the storefront. Vic gets out, rubbing his neck. "Any idea how I should explain this one to Phillips?" asks Claudette. Vic wisecracks, "Just tell him I took a wrong turn."

Vic tasks the others with inventorying the illegal weapons. "Good, more paperwork," Danny says sarcastically. Shane heard Zadofian is dead. "Nature of the job," Ronnie shrugs. Vic has a plan on how to handle the rest of their "problem," which he'll explain at the Barn.

Lorena doesn't understand why she's at the police station; Emilio's trial is over. Dutch asks if she knows Hector. Not only is Hector her boss, they're engaged.

Billings is kicked back in the observation room with his feet on a chair. "Glad to see your work ethic remains intact, Detective," greets D.A. Insardi. She's here to find out why Dutch is reopening the case. Billings tells her he's now on disability. "Good. Maybe we'll actually convict somebody," she says.

Vic needs someone to make Rezian think "Mexicans are the Armenians' worst problem since the Turks."

At ease, Granny.
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Shane thinks he knows just what to say. Their meeting is interrupted by Claudette. She needs a moment with Vic because she just talked to the chief. "Save the touching goodbye speech," says Vic. Claudette informs him the police commissioner just took an indefinite leave of absence for health reasons. It'll take 30 days to form a new committee, giving Vic a stay of execution, if you will.

Vic thinks she should be grateful; him being around equals better crime stats. Claudette lets him know the stakes. Ronnie has been promoted to Strike Team leader. Any misconduct on Vic's part will put a black mark in his friend's file. The captain knows Vic can't afford to lose more friends.

Dutch thinks Lorena is too afraid to tell the truth about Hector. He wonders why Insardi has it in for Billings. Oh yeah, she said he was incompetent.

Billings goes upstairs to confront Lorena. She works for Hector and he knows they were supposedly eating Chinese food together the night Doris died. "I don't remember all the details," says Lorena. However, she's damn sure Hector didn't kill Doris.

Billings knows she lied to give Hector an alibi. He's sure the white prison guards will appreciate her, um, large assets. "I didn't know about the killing until afterwards," Lorena tearfully protests.

At the surplus store, Tina is carrying out the last of the AK-47s when Danny is ambushed from behind a rack. The man puts one hand over Danny's mouth and the other around her neck. She struggles as he forces her to the floor. He disappears as Tina and a male uniform reenter.

"That guy could've been armed. Who the hell cleared this room?" asks Danny. I have a pretty good guess and it starts with 'T.' She vows that if she finds out who didn't do a thorough sweep, that person is out of a job.

Billings enters Claudette's office again. This time, D.A. Insardi is there too. Claudette apologizes for her unprofessional earlier outburst. She praises Billings for solving Doris's murder. Billings shrugs that he has bursts of energy. They play the tape from Lorena's interrogation.

Claudette reads off a laundry list of maladies that are supposedly the result of his very mild concussion: headaches, disorientation, lethargy, memory loss, inability to logic. She nods toward the TV: "Your scam's over." The tape is more than enough evidence. Dutch offers to throw in Billings' history of defrauding the city of Los Angeles via vending machines.

Billings claims he never meant to hurt the police department and offers to have his lawyer renegotiate. "Be glad I didn't fire you, pull your pension," Claudette says sternly. Starting tomorrow, Billings will be back on the job. However, he's free to quit.

At Vic's place, Cassidy points out an SUV that's been parked down the block all day. "It's just a neighbor, sweetie," Corinne reassures her. She then tells the kids to pack up their stuff so they can go home.

Billings is none too happy about what's transpired with his lawsuit. He'll go to work, but "as far as effort goes, I don't know what's between zero and the city-mandated minimum.

Claudette brings Dutch the DNA report from Vic's house. It's a match to Zadofian. Vic was with Claudette when Zadofian was killed; Ronnie and Shane were chasing other leads in the body-drag. She admits to her partner she's struggling to adjust to her new lupus medication.

Shane goes to the jail to tell Rezian about Zadofian's death. "The first thing I tell you to do turns to shit," the Armenian grumbles. Shane lies that Diro killed Zadofian and is reaching out to Mexicans to form an alliance. Smart move in an area with a heavy Latino population. Shane knows all the Mexican gangs, so none of them would dare to hurt Vic's family. 

Vic hopes the police commissioner will be all right. "Nothing three weeks in the Caribbean with his mistress can't cure," says Cruz. Vic claims Aramboles sold the blackmail files to Rezian: "The Armenians are making a hard play for your barrio sandbox." Cruz would do well to keep in mind that no cop in L.A. knows "those Balkan psychos" better than Vic Mackey. The PI calls Vic to say Corinne left with the kids.

Corinne stops at Mara's, but Mrs. Vendrell hasn't seen Shane. Mara knows about the kidnapping. She informs Corinne about Vic breaking into the house and tying her up on the couch: "He didn't know about the bogus Armenian threat. He thought that Shane was trying to hurt him by scaring his wife and daughter."

Corinne is all "what Armenian threat?" Vic told her Shane's intel came from a gangbanger in County. Mara guesses they're both being lied to. Corinne has seen an ex-cop following her and has no clue why. "I do. And it's hurting both our families." Oh, Mara, when will you learn to shut your damn mouth? Mara suggests the women run interference with their respective hubbies before someone gets hurt. Corinne turns and sees her eldest standing behind her, looking horrorstruck.

At what looks like the same lonely on-ramp where they were supposed to meet Lem, Ronnie hands Vic the crime scene report on Zadofian. The Armenian's feet were attached when he left. And look who was the first detective on scene: Shane Vendrell. Vic sighs; this whole thing had to be a message for Diro.

Shane's truck is approaching. "We gotta keep him close, make him feel safe, just like old times," Vic says quietly. He'll never forget what Ronnie did for him, but warns, "Don't you ever get sucked into that black hole that got Shane." (And by extension, Lem).

Speak of the devil, he's puffing a cigarette and giving them a friendly wave. Vic asks if Shane knows anything about Zadofian's pedicure. Shane says he found him that way. Ronnie remembers Zadofian having his feet when they left. Shane knows he's caught in a lie.

He explains that Rezian hired him to find Zadofian, with orders to hand him over. Shane admits to chopping off his feet to make it look like Diro. Do Vic and Ronnie know who shot Zadofian? Vic figures it was Diro. Shane tells Vic he spun the story he was fed about the Mexicans. Vic did the same.

The sooner the Armenians and Mexicans finish each other off, the sooner the rest of the Mackeys are safe. "We just sit back and watch the gang war." says Vic. End of episode.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Brutal "Spanish Practices" (Episode 6.10)

Previously on: The Great Vending Machine Feud escalated. Billings sparked a competition between Dutch and Kevin for Tina's affection and used a fake invitation to get Dutch to Tina's house. Through her living room window, the Ugly Dutch-ling witnessed Tina and young, attractive Kevin having sex.

Vic found out the truth about Lem's death and threatened to kill Shane. As insurance, Shane put together a package detailing every corrupt thing the Strike Team ever did. 

Shane got back in bed with the Armenian mob. Local boss Kesahkian is dying in the hospital and his daughter Diro is poised to take over the family business. Shane arrested Rezian, a port boss who could've stolen Diro's crown. Vic warned Diro about the life expectancy of Shane's business partners, so she ended their arrangement.

Knowing Vic was the reason Diro got cold feet, Shane retaliated by telling her Vic ripped off the money train a few years back. (Of course, he left out that the whole fucking thing was his own idea). Diro concluded that Vic must be "dealt with." 

Romero, who had his arm hacked off during the San Marcos murders, refused to talk due to diplomatic immunity. The police "lost" a mysterious suitcase of cash that Romero had with him. Vic is certain Edgar-veda and Cruz are involved in a conspiracy related to San Marcos. The suspicions were further heightened after Vic learned Romero went to college with Edgar-veda and Cruz.

Cruz provided Vic with something that could prove valuable to saving his job: the supposedly destroyed photo of Edgar-veda being forced to give oral sex to Juan the gangbanger. In exchange for this, Cruz ordered Vic to stop digging into San Marcos.

At home, Edgar-veda answers a phone call from Vic, who announces he's in the councilman's driveway. Vic warns that Edgar-veda won't want to have this chat where his family could overhear. Before stepping outside, Edgar-veda gets his gun from a lockbox and hides it in the back of his pants.

Vic's appeal is scheduled for the next day. Edgar-veda tells Vic he came to the wrong place for a pep talk. Vic shows him the picture; Edgar-veda claims it was Photoshopped. Vic was hoping his former boss could nudge the review board in the right direction. Edgar-veda tosses the picture on the ground, insisting it's fake. Vic retrieves the photo as Edgar-veda goes back inside.

Shane paces outside Mission Cross Hospital, smoking a cigarette. For a second, I think Mara's gone into early labor. He goes inside and hovers by Kesahkian's room. A muscular Armenian is guarding the door. Diro motions for the guy to let Shane in.

The hospital doesn't mind gangsters hanging around because Kesahkian's been a generous donor. Jesus, even the hospitals in Farmington are corrupt. The doctors told Diro that her father only has a couple of days to live. Diro gives Shane an envelope of cash for his tip about the money train heist.

Shane knows the Armenians have been under the radar "since the feet-chopping ended." It might be a good idea to let bygones be bygones; dead cops are bad for business. The port is temporarily shut down and the mob can't take another hit. Well, Diro gave the information to her father's pals in their native land, so what happens next is out of her hands.

Shane understands her being upset, but you don't win this game by being stupid. "I'm not playing a game, Shane. Are you?" she asks. Shane is just thinking of the big picture, the same excuse he used for murdering Lem in cold blood.

At the Barn, Vic is greeted by Edgar-veda's lawyer Ben. The detective's threats will not go unanswered. "The truth is not a threat," says Vic. Ben will be pursuing criminal action against Vic for extortion and a civil suit for defamation of character. Since Vic conducted his blackmail off-duty, the police department won't pay for his lawyer.

Ben practically gloats, "You're ineligible for a police pension and you'll be out of a job soon. You'll have to liquidate your assets to fight this." He promises that Vic is for "seven years of legal hell." As opposed to the six he's already weathered?

Vic's next stop is the bar where Edgar-veda met Sara the hooker back in Season 4. Cruz is there, drinking with an Asian woman half his age. Vic wants every copy of the oral sex picture and the backstory that goes with it. If Cruz isn't agreeable to that, well, Vic has no choice but to find out how he's connected to San Marcos.

Cruz assures Vic he's not involved criminally. Vic wonders why he's so afraid of what could come out. Cruz is sure Vic is too dumb to connect all the dots and was hoping to save himself from having to resort to drastic measures. Like murder? Vic knows that's a possibility, so he apologizes.

Cruz asks how Operation Save My Job is going. Vic repeats that he needs the original, all the copies, and the story behind the Kodak moment; Edgar-veda is claiming Photoshop. He can't do favors for Cruz if he's stripped of his badge.

Shane sits down with Rezian at the jail. It's just too bad what happened at the docks; orange isn't a good color for the Armenian. He offers to help him regain his freedom. Rezian doesn't think so; trusting Shane got him in trouble in the first place. "Importing untaxed gas landed you here," Shane argues, showing him a cell phone picture of the ledgers. He could make them mysteriously "vanish" from the evidence lockup.

Shane had to end his arrangement with Diro because "she's got some bad intel on a couple innocents she thinks robbed the Armenian money train." He needs to know who's coming over from Armenia to do the hit. "If Diro's smart, and she is, she'll take care of the retaliation herself. Hire locally," says Rezian. Most likely, Zadofian would be the one she'd trust to do the whacking.

Rezian warns that the money train robbers won't be the initial victims. Diro will target their wives and children first. Shane is quiet as he ponders exactly what he just set in motion.

Tina has found 3 California driver's licenses issued to Zadofians; there's a father/daughter combo in Whittier and a single man in Glendale. Shane asks for the particulars on Glendale's car first; that town is 15 short minutes from L.A. Can she pass the make and model on to Wilshire and Pasadena?

Vic shows up in Edgar-veda's driveway with another envelope. "What now?" asks the councilman, "Pictures of me screwing the Bush twins?" Nope, just Juan's original memory stick and all the copies. Vic knows Juan later "got his skull crushed in County" and bets Edgar-veda had something to do with it. And how did he get these pictures? From Cruz in exchange for stopping the San Marcos investigation.

Vic is curious how Cruz got the pictures from Juan and why Mexican and American officials wanted to bury the San Marcos murders. Cruz's college friend Romero was the only survivor. Vic needs his badge for longer than three days to prove Cruz is involved. Edgar-veda claims it's too late to do anything about the review board hearing.

Edgar-veda goes to the Barn and asks Claudette to return Romero's briefcase of money ASAP. Vic thinks following it will uncover a conspiracy that led to the San Marcos murders: "You know this goes much higher than three cholos with machetes." Claudette agrees to do this "off the books, but if it blows up, it lands on you." Considering the manner in which a member of that precinct was recently killed, poor choice of words.

Claudette asks Edgar-veda if there will be any surprises at tonight's review board. "Shouldn't be," the councilman says innocently. The captain hopes not.

Over the police radio, Vic hears a BOLO (be on the lookout) for a 2003 Lexus, issued by Farmington Detective Shane Vendrell. Holding a pen cap in his teeth, he scribbles down the license plate number and driver's name. Vic parks his car at Glen Ridge School. Corinne walks out with Matt and Megan, thanking Vic for bringing their son's backpack.

Vic hugs the kids and tells them to have a good weekend at Grandma's. From across the street, Shane watches Vic carry Megan to Corinne's van. Shane puts his truck in gear to follow her. Just then, Tina calls his cell to let him know Zadofian's car was spotted in Little Armenia. Should she have officers stop him? Shane just wants the address.

Shane cocks his gun as he exits his truck. As he approaches Zadofian, Diro calls him from the hospital. Zadofian isn't where Shane thinks he is; she and Shane need to discuss how to handle their "problem."
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Officer Paula hands over Romero's suitcase. "With all your delays, you won't mind if we forget to say 'gracias,'" snipes Romero's Lawyer. Outside the Barn, Vic is waiting to tail Romero's car.

At the hospital, Kesahkian's bodyguard pushes Shane against the wardrobe and takes his gun. The doctor advised Diro to turn off life support, which she refused to do. Shane tries to call off the hits on Vic and Ronnie; their families don't deserve to be hurt. "We can't separate the ones we love from the choices we make," says Diro. This hits home for Shane because Mara knows the truth about Lem.

"You need to accept the fate of your associates," Diro goes on. Shane can't stand to see his friends die. Diro adds Shane will be punished in kind for his betrayal; she heard about his chat with Rezian. "You can't kill Vic's wife and kids," Shane begs. Diro shrugs that she can't stop what's in motion.

Shane lunges forward to the bed and grabs Kesahkian's throat, lobbing Diro's own words at her: "We can't separate the ones we love from the choices we make, right?" He orders the bodyguard to return his gun. Shane then steals the bodyguard's gun and cigarettes. When the guard tries to follow Shane, Diro stops him. Zadofian can handle him too.

Vic jots down the address where Romero's driver stops to drop off the suitcase. Shane tries to call, but Vic is screening. Vic goes across the street and pretends to be buying a newspaper. He steps into the office the suitcase recipient came out of and starts digging through their mailbox.

A secretary asks if Vic needs help. Vic lies that he works nearby and got a letter addressed to this office by mistake. There's no sign out front, so Vic asks what they sell here. The secretary gets cagey: "We're a service provider." She can't give more details because "I just answer the phones."

Vic asks if they need copiers, claiming he's a salesman. He'd love to take a look at the current setup; he's behind on his monthly sales quota. The secretary wants him to leave because nobody's really supposed to be in here. Vic opens a door and sees a rack of what appear to be military style rifles. He chuckles, "I guess this isn't a copy room."

Vic flashes his badge at the secretary. He wants to know everything about her boss Aramboles. She keeps up her "I just work here" routine. Vic asks about the one-armed man who just left a suitcase full of money. Secretary could potentially be charged with conspiracy and illegal transfer of currency out of the country. Who is Aramboles and what does he do?

Secretary recently moved to the States from Mexico City. Aramboles claims to have been military intelligence south of the border. When he offered the job, she took it because it beat the hell out of dancing in a strip club. Vic inquires about all the computer equipment. Secretary thinks Aramboles is a security consultant.

Aramboles is going to the bank before an important client meeting. Vic makes a deal with her: "You forget I was ever here or I tell your boss you gave me a tour of his closet full of guns and goodies."

Back outside, Vic ignores another call from Shane. Edgar-veda gets in the car with some more information. Aramboles really was a military investigator assigned to a cartel task force. He was fired last year; the rumor mill said it was because he switched sides. Edgar-veda isn't sure what the connection is between him and Cruz.

Edgar-veda hasn't talked to his old pal much lately. Didn't even cash the check Cruz wrote for his campaign. Vic wants Edgar-veda to cozy up to him again; there has to be a bigger motive behind Cruz giving Vic the compromising pictures. Cruz will expect Edgar-veda to ask him for help. As a good-faith gesture, Vic hands Edgar-veda the jump drive containing the pictures.

Billings conversationally asks Dutch how last night was. Dutch shrugs, "Fine." Billings mentions his night was entertaining. A body lies in front of what looks like a small store. Danny reports the victim's name was Joe Barnes AKA Miracle Joe. "Jesus, no," mutters Dutch.

Miracle Joe was a local homeless man who survived 20 years' worth of Farmington "riots, earthquakes, gunshots, stabbings, beatings." A homeless woman saw a teenager who works for Ray Stodds dump Joe out of a pickup truck "like a bag of garbage." Ray is a local extortionist who charges homeless people to beg on the freeway ramp.

Shane jogs up to Corinne as she and Cassidy open the back hatch of their van. The former Mrs. Mackey doesn't want to talk to Shane or Mara. Shane asks where Matt and Megan are. "Not here," snaps Corinne. Shane tells them to come with him. "Does Vic even know you're here?" asks Corinne.
She's not going anywhere without more details.

A black sedan cruises past, making Shane nervous. He yells, "Just get back in your van right now or someone's gonna kill you and your goddamn kids!" "Call Dad," Cassidy tells her mom. Shane scoffs that he's been trying to do that for an hour. He takes Corinne's phone; she's in danger because of Vic. If she calls the precinct, Vic will go to jail in addition to losing his job.

When Corinne tries to walk away, Shane grabs her arm. She notices he's holding his gun next to his leg. Shane tells them to get in the van, promising not to hurt them. "Then put that away," says Corinne. Mother and daughter climb in the van, likely against Corinne's better judgment.

Danny gives Dutch a sketch of the person seen dumping Miracle Joe's body. She sees a worn photo of a young black boy on Dutch's desk. "That was the nephew Miracle Joe always talked about seeing someday," he explains, "It was in his wallet."

Danny heard about Kevin and Tina hooking up. "Really?" says Dutch innocently. His tone doesn't fool Danny; witnesses saw Dutch there. Dutch is sure Billings set him up into going to Tina's, but he can't prove it. "Sorry," Danny sounds like she means it. She knows Dutch liked her.

Danny confides she never really had a crush on Kevin. She was just trying to prove she could still get a man with her post-baby body. Dutch guesses that's what the two of them get for being shallow.

"Charging the homeless a panhandle tax. That's real upstanding," Dutch says to Ray. Danny and Tina watch the interrogation from the observation room. A couple passing uniforms snicker at Tina. Danny is sympathetic; it has to suck being the subject of office gossip. "I can't believe Dutch watched," says Tina, wrinkling her nose in disgust. Danny tells the younger woman about the mean prank someone pulled on Dutch.

Tina looks like she wants to cry. Danny knows Tina never had feelings for Dutch; she was just using him to get a promotion. "He had a chance," Tina (probably) lies, "He just never took it." Kevin was just an impulse fuck. He's been avoiding Tina ever since, meaning he thinks it was a mistake. "We all make a few," says Danny, an expert on office romances gone wrong.

Ray ID's the sketch of the teenager as Bones. Dutch asks if Ray had problems with Joe over unpaid "off-ramp rent." Ray claims he quit trying to get Joe to pay. A few months ago, Ray saw Joe get hit by a bus, get up, and walk away: "I figured it was some sorta sign."

Shane parks Corinne's van under an overpass, near what's either an illegal car dealership or parking lot. He knocks on the window, ordering her to get out. He drags her by the arm when she doesn't move. Shane herds mother and daughter toward what looks like a semi-trailer.
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Corinne frantically begs him not to hurt Cassidy. She grabs him by the front of his leather jacket when he promises they'll be safe in the trailer. Shane easily picks them both up and carries them. Corinne fights the whole way, screaming and punching him in the back. Shane tosses them both in the trailer.

"Corinne, I've got my family hiding too!" he calls through the closed door. I'm willing to bet the Vendrells accommodations are much nicer. Corinne shouts his name and pounds on the door. Shane says he'll come back to pick them up when it's safe.

Over dinner, Edgar-veda tells Cruz about a former employee that's trying to create a scandal. He thanks Cruz for the check he just cashed, but he needs more money. Not much, just $150,000. Cruz thinks he can make that happen and asks for another favor. He asks Edgar-veda to anonymously donate money to a private college to fund a voter research study about Farmington. Edgar-veda agrees.

The councilman tells Vic about Cruz's research grant, which is really just a cover for a redistricting scheme. Vic shows Edgar-veda a highlighted map from Aramboles' office; all the buildings noted are owned by Cruz. Anti-terrorism laws have made it much harder to launder money internationally. "The Mexican mob is buying up Farmington?" asks Vic. Basically, yeah.

Vic speculates the Mexicans could set up prostitution rings in the low-income housing projects; the medical clinic would be a way to sell illegal prescription drugs. Vic wants to go after Aramboles. Edgar-veda advises him against it because they risk tipping off Cruz. Vic pleads that he only has three days left on the job. Edgar-veda tells him to be realistic: "This will take three years."

"Help me stay so I can finish this," Vic says desperately. Edgar-veda can't help him. However, Howard Gregson of the review board might be sympathetic to Vic because he has an autistic grandson. Vic mostly pays for the doctors and therapy that Matt and Megan need. Vic refuses to use the kids as an excuse, but that might be the only card he has. Howard could sway another vote in Vic's favor.

Kevin comes out of the breakroom as Tina is walking in and doesn't even acknowledge her. Dutch is eating lunch at the table. Tina wants to talk about last night. Dutch apologizes for spying on her (as well he should). Tina gives him the old "I never meant to hurt you" routine. Dutch tells her she has nothing to be sorry for. He developed an unrealistic crush on her and wants to move past it.

Dutch sees a suspect in Joe's murder being brought in and leaves. Danny informs him that Miracle Joe's nephew is driving in. Dutch can't find Billings and asks his other former crush Danny if she'd like to help with the interrogation. Tina watches jealously from the breakroom.

The teenage suspect lawyers up. Claudette brings in a coroner's report; Miracle Joe's cause of death was plain old heart failure. Dutch finds it a cruel irony that Miracle Joe survived all those years on the street in a place like Farmington just to be killed by a heart attack.

Ronnie is about to leave for a clandestine meeting with Vic when Kevin stops him. He heard from a dealer named Burnout about an upcoming gang initiation rite. Burnout also happens to be one of the Strike Team's longest-standing informants. He gripes, "You burned our source for a gang initiation tip?" Kevin thinks stopping four teenagers from jumping into a gang is a good idea and could mean fewer issues down the line. Sounds like a Lem strategy.

"Hey, the cops are coming!" warns a boy who looks all of 12 years old. His friend is on the ground being kicked by other members of the gang. Everyone scatters as the Strike Team and uniforms appear. Kevin asks what to do with the younger kids. "Can't hold 'em on anything," says Ronnie. Their only option is to start calling some parents. Julien helps the injured kid stand and offers to drive him to the hospital.

Vic is none too happy to see Burnout in the cage and equally unimpressed by the tip he provided. Vic confronts Kevin. Kevin asks if Burnout signed a CI contract, which, of course, he didn't. The new Strike Team leader shrugs that Vic won't be needing informants much longer anyway.

Vic argues that gangs beating on their own members "keeps the rage in-house." Julien pipes up a gang is a lifelong commitment; these kids are too young and stupid to know what they're doing.

Shane is alone sitting on a kitchen counter when the doorbell rings. He shoves his gun down the front of his starched and pressed Wranglers before answering. It's a rep from a burglar alarm company, asking to speak with Mrs. Mackey. It's the only way he can reset the alarm.

"I'll go get her," says Shane, letting the guy in. He draws his gun and starts grappling with the alarm rep. They thrash on the floor amongst the kids' toys. Suddenly, there's a gunshot. "Aw, you dumb shit!" Shane yells. The alarm guy starts ranting in Armenian, causing Shane to realize this was a setup.

"It's your lucky day," Shane declares, "I don't have time to bury a body." He gives Phony Alarm Rep a message for Diro: She's no longer queen bee. Rezian is taking over. If Phony Alarm Rep joins Rezian's crew, he can drive himself to the ER. Phony Alarm Rep nods in agreement.

Outside a store, a bloodied woman is loaded into an ambulance. A couple of kids attacked her with a pipe. "This is a simple assault. Why are you here?" Claudette asks Kevin, Julien, and Ronnie. Ronnie explains they broke up a Spookstreet initiation earlier and this might be a continuation. "We don't know that," says Kevin. Hands on his hips, Ronnie repeats if gangs can't attack their own, they start on innocents.

"Anyone who skulls a woman like that is gonna do a lot worse when they join a gang," says Kevin. Julien interjects that they couldn't just watch the kids get beaten. Two kids were being jumped in and they need to find the other one. When Kevin and Julien are gone, Ronnie calls Vic and asks to be picked up.

Vic and Ronnie visit a gang leader named Streetz. They heard his latest recruitment session isn't going so well. The cops broke up the jumping-in party, "then one of your baby bangers bashes a woman's head in." Streetz would send flowers if he cared. And why should he help Vic again? Word is he's getting fired. Vic names Ronnie as his successor if that happens.

Ronnie makes a peace offering: "Schedule another jump-in. I'll make sure it doesn't get broken up." "You don't help us find this kid, we'll show you how we jump someone in," threatens Vic.

Ronnie and Vic drive Streetz around, looking for the initiate. Streetz thinks he sees the kid across the street. Vic follows behind as Ronnie hustles to cut the kid off from the front. Vic gently takes the boy down, handcuffs him, and confiscates a gun.

Danny and Dutch's suspect is clear of the murder charge, but they can still hold him for desecrating a corpse. A public defender can't come to the station until morning. Would he rather spend the night in lockup or tell them what happened?

The teenager cracks. He found Miracle Joe's body and dumped him at the Fast Mart; the new owner called the cops on him for loitering once. "So you left a corpse at his front door?" Dutch asks incredulously. Body Dumper says, "Who wants to step over a dead body to buy a Slurpee?" Which, I guess, is a pretty valid point.

Billings reappears in the squadroom. Dutch asks where he's been. "It's nice to know I closed my last case," Billings replies. His doctor just signed off on his disability claim and he's planning to sue the police department. Billings wants $3.4 million in pain and suffering for being forced to work after a serious injury. "I got knocked down trying to break of the fight between Mackey and Kavanaugh."

Oh really, Billings? You got pushed. Lem was murdered and you don't see his parents trying to sue the city. (Something of a surprise given how greedy they apparently are). Billings claims he's had nausea, back pain, and headaches since the incident. Claudette raises an eyebrow: "You understand insurance fraud is a felony?" Billings tells her to read the letter; it's been nice knowing everyone.

Vic brings in the baby banger, announcing, "He was about to shoot someone on a crowded sidewalk." Claudette gives him some rare praise. They discuss Vic's upcoming hearing. "Are you gonna use those last words to save yourself or burn this place down?" she asks. Vic knows the precinct is out of danger thanks to him solving the San Marcos case. Does Claudette really wants to bet the farm on Kevin, so to speak?

Vic reminds her this isn't an everyone-plays soccer league. She needs someone who knows the streets. Vic tells a uniform to call the kid's parents. Kevin gets territorial about the case. Danny rushes up to let Vic know there was a shots-fired 911 call at Corinne's house.

Vic bounds up the porch steps, barking for Asher to tell him what happened. Asher doesn't know. Neighbors reported the gunshot. There's a pool of blood in the living room, but no one in the house. Vic contaminates the crime scene by checking every room for himself. He directs Asher to the family address book and tells him to find out if anyone's heard from Corinne or Cassidy. Vic tries Corinne's cell number and discovers the phone on the kitchen counter.

In jail, Rezian heard he might get off on a lesser charge. Shane says that's what happens when evidence gets "lost." Rezian promises to ensure safety for Vic, Ronnie, and their families if Shane tells him where the Kesahkians are. He also wants $2 million in restitution for the money train, payable in protection and favors. Shane refuses, so Rezian repeats his threat to start the killing with Vic's kids.

Shane lets a sweaty, bedraggled Corinne out of the semi-trailer; an equally worse-for-wear Cassidy follows. Shane's already called a taxi for them. Corinne demands an explanation. Cassidy tries to calm her mother, but Corinne is having none of it. "You know who you married. That's all the explanation you need," Shane says coolly, getting in his truck.

Vic sits on the front steps with Matt and Megan. A taxi drops off Cassidy and Corinne. The eldest Mackey child immediately runs to her dad for a hug. Corinne won't let Vic touch her. She gives him a rundown of their day: "Shane pulled a gun on us. He took us somewhere in East L.A. He locked us in a truck. I thought he was gonna kill us." He claimed he was trying to protect them from Vic.

"Shane's in business with some very dangerous people," Vic explains. His former best friend was probably trying to scare them to get back at Vic. Corinne asks what Vic intends to do about it. He instructs Asher to drop Corinne and the kids at his place. He'll take care of Shane.

Ronnie found a shell casing and a blood trail. He also discovered an Armenian cigarette butt inside. Vic bets it's a warning. He tells Ronnie to keep an eye on Shane: "Figure out what he's doing and who he's doin' it with. Then we're gonna crush him." I'm sure that sounds like an excellent idea to Ronnie; he always seemed to be the closest person to Lem.

Claudette asks Kevin if there's something he'd like to say about him and Tina. She's heard enough people gossiping that she figures there's at least some truth to it. Kevin confirms her suspicions by saying, "You can tell your old partner that I'm not pressing charges for being a peeping Tom."

Department policy requires Kevin to disclose a sexual relationship with a fellow officer, especially one he outranks. Kevin argues that it was a one night stand. He's sure she wants to bring up his performance on the Strike Team; he hasn't had a chance to do anything without Vic scrutinizing him. "I don't want Vic. I want someone with a little Vic," says the captain, "The right kind. And that's not you." Being let go is no skin off Kevin's nose; he brags that he had departments fighting over him.

Vic is the hallway waiting for his hearing to start when Asher brings a surprise: Corinne, accompanied by all three kids. They're dressed in what us Southerners would call church clothes: a pantsuit for Corinne, a sundress for Megan, collared shirt and dark pants for Matt, a skirt and sweater for Cassidy. The young Mackeys wanted to come support their dad. Vic is visibly overwhelmed as he doles out hugs and kisses. "We're all here for you," Corinne promises, come what may.

A woman appears to collect Vic. Corinne wishes her ex-husband luck. Vic shocks everyone by turning around and walking out of the building.

Dutch and Danny break the bad news to Miracle Joe's nephew Jim. "You should know your uncle wasn't just a homeless guy. He was a legend around here. Everybody really liked him." Dutch is displaying a rare degree of sensitivity and respect. Jim smiles; his uncle was a likable guy but loved being alone.

Danny returns the picture from Miracle Joe's wallet. Jim hasn't seen his uncle in 12 years. Miracle Joe was his dad's older brother; he quit his job to become a caretaker when Jim's dad became terminally ill. The doctors gave Jim's dad a year to live, but he survived for five. Miracle Joe fell into a deep depression when his brother died and made himself disappear.

The family eventually tracked Miracle Joe down. They tried to convince him to come home, but he refused. Holding back tears, Jim says, "I guess he's with my dad now." A while later, Danny finds Dutch sobbing quietly in the locker room. She sits on the bench beside him.

"I sometimes just get hit by the little things," Dutch says. Serial killers he can handle. (We know). Danny fights off tears of her own and wraps him in a hug. Next thing you know, they're kissing. They hug again, Dutch's cheek resting on Danny's shoulder. Oh, Vic would love to see what his other baby-mama is up to...

Speaking of, Vic is tailing Romero's associate. He flips on the blue lights and siren to pull him over. "Is there a problem, Officer?" asks Aramboles as Vic shines a flashlight in his car. Vic replies, "Don't know yet." He tells him to pop the trunk. The guy suddenly floors it, Vic still hanging out the driver's side window. Vic orders him to stop, elbowing him a few times for good measure.

Vic grabs the steering wheel and drives the car onto the sidewalk, knocking over a trash can. He bodily drags Aramboles out of the car, then starts kicking him in the head and ribs.

Diro is sitting at her dad's bedside when Shane walks in. "Rezian sent you to kill me?" she guesses. Shane tells her to leave before Rezian's friends show up. Maybe she can go back to school in Germany. Is that code like "a nice goat farm in Mexico", you bastard?

Diro refuses to leave her unconscious dad to the mercy of Rezian's crew. Shane all but says he wishes the geezer would die faster. Diro pats her dad's hand, then turns off the ventilator. She crosses herself. The heart monitor beeps to a flatline. Shane tells Diro he's awful sorry about her daddy. "Sentiment will destroy you," the one-time Mafia princess cautions.

Edgar-veda arrives at Vic's location in a taxi. Aramboles is still unconscious on the ground. The trunk is full of surveillance equipment and files. Edgar-veda discovers a picture of Maria, the mayor's financial adviser, in a compromising position. There's more. A paternity suit for a local rabbi, a judge's bills for drug rehab, a DVD labeled SENATOR BRADWELL AND THE CAMPFIRE BOYS.

"Holy shit," breathes Edgar-veda. Vic nods, "That's how Cruz is getting everybody onboard the train to Cartel Town." Good old-fashioned blackmail. This could go far enough up the ladder to save Vic's badge. Is his former boss willing to help him?

Edgar-veda can take the unmarked car; Vic has a ride. He advises the councilman not to let Aramboles see his face. Vic closes the trunk and pushes Aramboles out of the car. He's sure Cruz can take him home. He's also certain Cruz will understand the "lost trunk full of leverage." End of episode, end of Season 6.