Friday, September 15, 2017

Breaking In "The New Guy" (Episode 6.4)

Previously on: Dutch put the moves on rookie uniform Tina. Shane blew up Lem in his car. Vic killed grenade smuggling Guardo, falsely believing he was the one who murdered Lem, and Shane still didn't own up to it. Kevin Hiatt, a former INS agent, will be starting at the Barn and groomed to replace Vic.

Squad cars and helicopters are in a tense stand-off at Wings 'N Things restaurant. Vic, Shane, and Ronnie suit up in their vests. Santonino comes sprinting out the front door, yelling, "It wasn't me! They got guns in there!" Vic asks Asher for the CliffNotes version of events. They can't see inside the restaurant, so no one knows how many suspects are involved or what they might be packing. His best guess is semi-automatic. Situations like that are Vic's specialty.

Claudette pulls up, a young white man accompanying her. She introduces him to Vic as Kevin. Another shot is fired. Vic tells Kevin and Claudette to stay down. "Uh, did he just give me a time-out?" asks Kevin. Claudette raises her eyebrows, like That's Vic for ya...

Vic, Shane, and Ronnie enter. They find several armed suspects, who all look dead. A young woman with a shoulder wound lies on the floor. A guy with a gut wound is behind the counter. "One of them Niners shot us up and then took off," whimpers Chellie, presumably an employee.

There's a crash from the back, near the kitchen. "Hey! Hands on your head!" shouts Vic. Kevin has come in, carrying a shotgun: "I was gettin' splinters in my ass sitting on the bench." In 30 seconds?

A short time later, Vic brings out the guy in the black hoodie, the only one who's "not colored up." Shane isn't happy that Kevin was handling Lem's favorite gun. Vic doesn't think the kid meant anything by it; he probably just got it out of the trunk. Ronnie can't believe the department is getting rid of Vic to bring on "some cop in diapers."

Vic makes nice-nice as best as he knows how, introducing Kevin to Shane and Ronnie. Shane wastes no time in relieving Kevin of the shotgun. Kevin tells them how sorry he was to hear about Lem: "I lost my partner on the border 3 years ago. It's a bitch of a thing." "Lem was more than a partner," says Shane the Traitorous Bastard. Vic wants Kevin to ride with him; he'll fill the kid in on the Niners.

Claudette has reassigned people to uphold the One-Niner injunctions from Season 4. Working with Kevin will give Vic a chance to show he "can play well with others." Vic thinks "it's a little late in the game for me to win Miss Congeniality." Kevin already has a theory: "Spookstreet heard the Byz Lats and the One-Niners were having a square dance, decided to crash." Why don't you leave the square dancing to Shane?

Claudette tells Kevin he'll eventually be able to expand the team, handpick some more help. "What about Shane and Ronnie?" asks Vic. Kevin plans to keep them. Claudette's long-term goal is to have Kevin supervise two teams. She also arranged for Vic to see an appeals panel about his impending forced retirement.

Vic knows Edgar-veda won't okay that. Claudette wouldn't be so sure; a lot is riding on the Barn's success. He's free to continue pleading for supervisory privileges. Vic leaves to deal with a scuffle in the cage.

Up in the office, Claudette has a secret for Kevin: "I lied to Mackey. In three weeks, he's gone. Period." Vic would be sniffing for loopholes if he knew. "Well, that's kinda cold," Kevin opines. Claudette asks how much he knows about Vic. Kevin shrugs that he's just heard rumors and knows two guys have died inside of the last few years.

Claudette tells him about Tavon's unfortunate run-in with a windshield, but assures Kevin, "You'll be just fine as long as he doesn't have a problem with you." Kevin wants to start adding to the team ASAP.

Corinne stops by the clubhouse with something she wants Vic, Shane, and Ronnie to all hear: "I feel really stupid saying this out loud and normally I don't even believe in this stuff. But I woke up this morning and felt like I was given a message." She had a dream the night before. They were all having a barbecue in the Mackeys old backyard, "only it was this beautiful place by this precipice." I'm gonna stop you right there and say the old backyard was pretty damn nice.

Corinne goes on: "Lem was there and he was wearing his usual jeans, but he had on this pinstriped shirt. And his hair was shorter. And he was younger, like when I first met him." He was wrestling with one of the guys, but she doesn't remember who. "And then he wanted burgers for you guys." (Because of course). Lem requested them well-done.

"The thing is, when I handed him the burgers, he got really mad. He said I made them all wrong." Corinne had never seen Lem like that. In the dream, Vic told Lem everything was okay and he'd learn to like burgers that way. "Then [Lem] got really calm and he said, 'Okay. It's all gonna be okay.'" Then Lem stepped off the cliff and disappeared without going up or down.

I can't tell if Shane's expression is one of guilt or Shut up, this is crazy. Who the hell cares? "I know this sounds crazy, but I think it was Lem," Corinne finishes, "Maybe it means that everything's gonna be okay." Nobody says anything.

Vic tells Shane not to make himself nuts about Corinne's dream: "We've all been hurtin' lately. She thought it would give us some comfort. Just go with it." "He didn't disappear up in the sky. He disappeared sideways, How is that comforting?" asks Shane, who will most certainly disappear down below.

Vic sees Kevin in the observation room, watching one of the gangbangers on CCTV. Vic wants to work the losing friends angle but not show sympathy; gangsters can smell weakness. Kevin reminds Vic this isn't his first rodeo. "Well, this isn't the Valley or the Rio Grande. It's the majors," says Vic. He doesn't think Kevin is ready for Farmington. Kevin cuts Vic off; he saw plenty during his 4 years with Border Patrol.

Vic describes Farmington's cultural melting pot: "Mexis that were too smart to get picked up," black gangs, Russians, Asians, and let's not forget our old friends the Armenians. Kevin asks Vic to make him ready for the neighborhood.

Vic takes note of their suspect Ray's altered One-Niner tattoo: "Either you're founding a new set or you're trying to jump out. Both are punishable by death." This gives me flashbacks to another scene from a Kurt Sutter show involving gang ink.

"Fire or knife?"
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If wanting to get out is the case, Kevin doesn't think Ray is a bad guy. So why the angry look? "Because I'm a black man and you're a cop," the Niner replies. Kevin says, "So picture me holding a puppy." Interesting tactic. It's like Lem reincarnated.

Ray claims he's been out of the life for 4 months. Vic asks him to explain the .22 they caught him with. The guy shrugs it's for self-defense and wants to know if his friend Vantes made it out alive. He starts waxing philosophical: "Oppressors are oppressors," no matter their skin color. Guys who deal for the One-Niners would probably make more money working at In 'N Out.

"Breaking ties with [them] over drug money ain't exactly noble," Kevin says. Vic adds, "Banging doesn't come with an out clause." What was his grand scheme to escape? Ray and seven other guys were gonna jump out together; the meeting at the restaurant was to discuss terms (possibly the aforementioned "fire or knife" scenario). They had guns just in case and the Niners shot first.

Danny and Julien jog toward a screaming woman. Fresh off maternity leave, the newly-minted sergeant is having trouble keeping up. A heavyset man in a nearby yard pulls up his pants. It appears they're interrupting a rape in progress. Julien tackles the guy, who keeps protesting that he didn't do nothing. The female victim is semiconscious, so Danny radios for paramedics.

A neighbor on his balcony calls down, "Hey! I was watching that!" "Hey, get a life, asshole!" Danny shouts back.

Cervantes is familiar to Vic, who sent him on a year-long retreat to Corcoran for dealing. The gangbanger "spent his 8 months reading Malcolm X, Huey Newton." (In case you're wondering, Huey was one of the founding members of the Black Panthers). After Vantes got paroled, he started helping friends get out of "the life." The meeting at the wing joint was a setup.

Vic wants the survivors to have a chance to atone for their mistakes. Kevin thinks Vantes and the Niners trying to jump out need to be off the streets. "Yeah? Thanks for weighin' in," pipes up Shane. Maybe they can convince Moses to declare a cease-fire. Vic tells Kevin not to take Shane's attitude personally: "He's still real raw about Lem." I believe the term he's looking for is "guilty conscience."

"50 bucks says Mackey and the new guy get into it by the end of the day," Billings wagers. Claudette tells Dutch about the interrupted rape. The victim, Graciela, recently ran away from her fourth foster home. "I love the smell of underage sexual assault in the morning," says Billings.
Basically Claudette's reaction.
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He backpedals: "I didn't mean that the way it came out." Yes, you did, you creep. It's a wonder him and Dutch don't get along; they're both perverts. Dutch is surprised Danny is back. He asks what happened to his crush Tina. Claudette explains she transferred. "You finally make your move? Scare Hanlon and her bikini briefs out the door?" Billings jokes.

Moses' girlfriend Tilli shows the Strike Team to the backyard, where people are barbecuing and pitbull puppies are wrestling with each other. Shane worries about talking to Moses in front of Kevin, given his and Vic's history with the guy. What if Moses mentions he killed Kern? "For Christ's sake, hold it together," says Vic. He can't afford for anything to go wrong with his appeal coming up.

"Mackey's lackeys," drawls Moses. Ronnie is crouched on the ground, playing with the puppies. Moses claims, "Low-level shit ain't my concerns." He's also not responsible for what his lieutenants do. Vic asks why Moses would care if Vantes and seven other guys quit the Niners?

"You got an eye cramp?" Moses asks a glaring Shane. The Southerner thought he was clear about Moses staying away from underage girls. Moses dismisses them.

Corinne reports that Graciela's drug test showed high levels of GHB. "Why write a girl a sonnet when you can slip her a Mickey?" shrugs Billings. The teen's rape kit was positive and someone carved the words "GO HOME" into her stomach. Corinne guesses the cuts are a couple of days old.

"There's no use in lying, Mahud. Two police officers saw you raping her," says Dutch. Mahud asserts, "I screw her, I no rape her." Billings asks if Mahud roofied Graciela. Mahud thought she looked like a hooker and she accepted his offer of $20 for sex. Was he supposed to stop when she passed out? "Yeah!" shouts Dutch, the "duh" quite obvious.

Mahud tells them to check Graciela's pocket for the money, then starts yelling at them in some other language (presumably Arabic). Dutch doesn't think he cut up Graciela.

Vantes framed his mugshot, supposedly to remind him of his wrongdoings. His mom isn't interested in helping the guys find him; he's safer on his own. Two carloads of suspicious men creep down the street. Vic tells Mama Vantes to go inside, then orders the gangbangers to move along. Mama Vantes says Niners have been driving back and forth all day.

Vic asks for helping finding Vantes so he doesn't get hurt. Mama Vantes isn't worried: "A lot of people think my boy is a hero." Vic gives her a business card: "If you want your son to be a live hero, not a dead martyr, have him call me."

"If I woulda known I was gonna see you today, I woulda worn that little top you like," flirts Tilli. Shane thought she'd stopped dating Moses: "I don't want him touching you." Tilli wraps her arms around his neck.

Shane wants to know who's after Vantes. Tilli thinks Angelo is only doing that because Moses has been hard on him. She gives Shane his address, hoping this won't get her in trouble. Shane says anyone who messes with her will be the one in trouble. They kiss. "End it with Moses today," Shane tells her.

Vic, Ronnie, and Claudette ponder their next move. The new captain wants to send a message that the police will protect people who want to get out of gangs. Vic wonders what happened to Shane. Ronnie thinks he's talking a CI from his Vice days. "Shane was in Vice? That explains a lot," says Kevin. Vic tosses Kevin's earlier words at him: "Just picture Shane with a puppy."

Vic tells Ronnie that's Kevin's interrogation technique. Ronnie laughs. Is Kevin try to get answers or get laid? They all have themselves a chuckle. "Glad to see everybody's havin' fun." Shane is back. "'Course, Lem's still dead. Anyone else give a shit?"

"Hey, man, we were just--" Kevin starts. Shane snaps that Kevin doesn't belong on the Strike Team; he isn't half the man or cop Lem was. He's tired of everyone pretending everything is normal: "I actually give a shit that he's gone."
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Vic follows Shane outside. Shane lights up a cigarette. His CI told him Angelo set up the shootings. Shane chokes up; he wants Lem back. "You keep this up, I'm not gonna be the only one around here that's not gonna have a job," Vic says quietly. Shane and Ronnie could be next; Lem wouldn't want that to happen.

Vic needs Kevin on his side. The rookie needing more guidance could sway the appeals panel in Vic's favor. They avenged Lem by killing Guardo. (Never mind that he was actually innocent). Shane can't stop thinking about Corinne's dream: "She said he was pissed. Said she'd never seen him like that." Vic wants to find Angelo and "save who we can save today."

Vantes calls Vic from what looks like an abandoned house; he wants to handle his own business. Vic offers protective custody. Moses knows Vantes talked to the cops. "DuBois wrote about the path of honor and humanity." If he dies, he'll still have that. Vantes wants Vic to stop looking for him and hangs up on him.

Edgar-veda is getting lunch from a taco truck on the outskirts of a construction site. He helped his friend Cruz get the project pushed through the housing commission. Cruz heard Edgar-veda has been promoting a "cleaner, kinder" police force. Edgar-veda nods that a bad apple recently "got himself killed." It's a hard sell when 12 Mexicans were murdered and there have been no arrests.

Edgar-veda can't help with that; the case was handed off to robbery/homicide. Cruz thinks if the department cared about murdered illegals, the case would already be solved. Construction workers on the site have told him a Salvadoran gang, La Raza Guanaca, was behind it. Farmington catching the murderer would make Edgar-veda's voters believe the police care about the Latino community. Never one to miss using a race-baiting opportunity for political gain, Edgar-veda smiles.

Dutch pulled the videotaped statement of a different runaway who said she was kidnapped. When he opens the observation room door, Danny is in the midst of pumping breast milk. Dutch's "oops" sounds a little disingenuous. Fellow mom Claudette says, "You can use my office anytime." Billings makes a crude gesture referring to how big Danny's breasts have gotten.

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The runaway on the tape is a black girl named Princess, who returned home a month later. She told her mom she'd been kidnapped, sodomized, and held prisoner for 2 weeks. Princess described her abductor as Latino and said she was drugged most of the time. The last thing she remembered prior to being captured was panhandling outside a burger restaurant.

On the tape, Princess says, "He kept saying, 'Go home now. Go home.'" The same phrase that was carved into Graciela. One morning, Princess woke up lying in the street and she went home. Dutch shuts off the tape. Things didn't add up for him; Princess refused a rape kit and her drug test was negative. Their perp cut Graciela; he's escalating. Claudette will have Princess's mom bring her in to be interviewed again.

Vic almost T-bones Moses' car. He doesn't believe Angelo set up the hit without being told. Vic reminds Moses he has two strikes; one more means life in prison. Moses is all "you wouldn't plant anything on me, would you?" Vic and Kevin get out of the car. Moses refuses to talk in front of the new kid.

When Kevin leaves, Moses flatly states Vantes has to die, but he'll let the others go. In return, he wants Vic to back off the One-Niners for 6 months. Vic will leave them be for 2 months, but he can't guarantee the uniforms won't hassle them; however, he can keep Kevin on a leash.

Kevin rejoins Vic, who fills him in on Moses' terms. Kevin thinks they should arrest Moses for conspiracy to commit murder. It's a no-can-do from Vic: "I took the deal. At least, that's what he thinks." He can't teach Kevin all his tricks right away.

Dutch passes out pictures of Princess. Her mom reported she's run away again. Dutch apologizes to Danny for walking in on her: "I know it's all perfectly natural."

"Wow! They put Hanlon on a poster," says Billings. The latest wall art shows her standing next to a Latino uniform. The slogan above their heads reads: THE NEW FACES OF YOUR POLICE. "Oh, great. She gets to be Miss Farmington, huh?" Danny grumbles.

Dutch asks the secretary where the poster came from. The department, stupid. Claudette elaborates, "The old 'new face' was caught filing bogus OT." Besides the posters, Tina will be making citywide public appearances.

Dutch is confused; he thought Tina wanted to be a detective. Claudette cryptically replies, "This is straight from the chief's office." Tina was selected after yesterday's publicity photo shoot.

Billings tells Dutch that Graciela just woke up and was able to describe her kidnapper to a sketch artist.

Julien drives the patrol car while Danny speaks Spanish into her cell phone. When she ends the call, she laments, "Can't afford a babysitter that speaks English." What happened to Vic's under-the-table child support? A gold car rolls past with a man lying across the hood and nobody driving. Julien gets out, puts the car in park, and shuts off the blaring rap music.

Vic knows Angelo has hits out on Vantes, Marlen, and Jason. "Fine way to treat your friends. What do you do on birthdays?" quips Kevin. Vic says Angelo can end this with one phone call. Angelo won't cooperate: "I didn't push the button. I can't un-push it." Maybe Kevin can make a deal if he gives up Moses.

Angelo chuckles, "Cop says 'deal,' you go to jail." If he goes along with this, he and his family are next on the hit list.

Vic's car and Shane's truck screech to a stop at Julien's crime scene. The victim isn't Vantes; his name is Danyel. A guy across the street is filming the cops with his camcorder. Looks like Moses didn't keep his end of the deal. "One down, three to go," drawls Shane.

A short time later, Vic has learned Vantes sent Danyel on a peace mission. Clearly, it backfired. Handcuffed Ray is dragged over to the car. Vic asks if Ray wants his friends to die like Danyel. Whoever killed him also stole his phone, so they'll know who he's been talking to. Vic says, "Vantes might be a revolutionary, but he ain't bulletproof." "How many funerals you wanna go to?" asks Ronnie.

Vic knows Ray's done a lot of bad things. Is he willing to do one last good deed for his friends? Ray thinks Vante's cousin Aquille might know where Marlen, Vantes, and Jason are.

The guys knock on Aquille's door. When he doesn't answer, Kevin mutters, "Hell with it" and kicks it down. Vic spots a gun on the coffee table and asks, "Sending your cousin on a little trip? Where's Vantes?"

Graciela only remembers one other detail about her rapist: a red mask. Billings pulls Dutch to a corner of the room: "Girls this age need a gentle touch." That came out much creepier than I hope he intended. Billings thinks she'll open up to him because he's a great father. "Two weekends a month?" asks Dutch.

Out in the hall, Dutch says to Corinne, "Sometimes I think humans need a subspecies to categorize these bastards." She reports that Vic seems better. Dutch tells her about Kevin taking over when Vic retires. "That's not for years," says Corinne. Dutch asks if she's aware the department is forcing Vic out on his 15th anniversary, which is less than a month away.

Edgar-veda wants Claudette's take on Kevin. "He's nothing like Vic. I love him," she says. The councilman has learned from an anonymous source that a Salvadoran gang committed the San Marcos machete murders.

Kevin's stint with INS makes him the perfect guy to investigate; he had the case kicked back to the Barn: "Handled correctly, this could be the big PR win we need." "Or a crime stats nightmare that shuts this door forever," says Claudette. To Edgar-veda's way of thinking, a dozen solved murders could keep the door open.

Ronnie wires Ray for sound. Claudette brings Kevin to her office and hands him the personnel file of a possible Strike Team addition. Kevin has noticed Vic likes to deceive suspects into thinking he'll do things that aren't exactly legal and then flips the script on them. Vic's reputation could have more to do with perception than reality. Claudette doesn't think so: "Vic is showing you his good side because it's in his best interest."

Vic tosses Ray in the cage. Billings overhears Dutch leaving Tina a voicemail. Dutch has a profile on whoever abducted Graciela: a single dad whose daughter died prematurely or disappeared and is trying to teach his victims a lesson. Going home would be "good advice if it didn't involve kidnapping, rape, and torture."

Billings hits Dutch where he lives, opining that profiling is overrated. Dutch just likes to make up stories "like the one about you and Tina." She's out of his league, especially as far as appearance. Dutch points out his partner isn't exactly Adonis. "Helping her improve her skills had nothing to do with any interest in her," Dutch lies. Other people don't see how talented Tina is.

Billings thinks Dutch took advantage like their perp, "except your drug of choice was power and the false hope of career advancement." Dutch has developed a reputation for wanting what he can't have: Corinne, widows of murder victims, female uniforms. Dutch argues his job is time-consuming, so where else is he supposed to meet women?

Princess is bitter: "Congratulations on getting another girl ass-raped." Claudette apologizes for not believing her. "Ain't no never mind to me. I cried my tears all out," says the girl. Mom isn't happy either: "I gave this girl a whipping based on you telling me she lied. And now you're telling me she didn't?"

Claudette explains there was a lack of corroborating evidence at the time. Can she remember any new details that may help them? Princess's kidnapper her kept her locked in a girl's bedroom, "only from a long time ago. The posters on the wall were all whack. White boys in these gay poses."

Kinda like these?
Princess remembers one of the bands was called "65 Degrees or something." I was always more of an NSYNC girl, but I loved the 98 Degrees song from Mulan. Billings knows about 98 Degrees too; he took his oldest daughter to their concert. Dutch shows Princess the sketch from Graciela's file. "Those are his eyes," the teen says instantly.

In the clubhouse, Vic stares morosely into a box of books that just arrived. Shane reads a note stapled to the packing slip: "Not looking forward to the 8-by-10 cell or fighting for the top bunk...but I figure the least I can do is come out smarter than when I went in. Send these to me wherever I land. I'll miss you. Lem."

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According to the receipt, Lem ordered the books online the night before he skipped town. This library runs the gamut: art, sports, history, Stephen King, Birds of America, Dreams and What They Mean. Sounds like my own bookshelf. Shane is on the verge of bawling. He recovers enough to ask what Vic wants to do with them.

"Vantes is a big reader, right?" asks Vic, "We're gonna find him and the other two. We're gonna send them someplace peaceful. Safe." He's sure Vantes will appreciate the books.

In the Barn parking lot, Corinne confronts Vic about his impending forced retirement. Does he think his child support checks will magically show up in her mailbox? "I've always taken care of the kids," says Vic, which is true, at least financially. Corinne agrees with that assessment, but knows it's cost Vic more than dollars.

Shane comes outside with a location on Vantes. Before leaving, Vic tells Corinne, "I'm not gonna lose my job." Don't make promises you can't keep.

Danny hopes what she pumped today will be enough to last Lee through tomorrow. She snaps at Julien, accusing him of being judgmental about her being an unwed mother and almost immediately apologizes. Julien smiles, "It beats riding with Tina." I imagine anything would be.

Claudette has suggested that Julien be brought onto the Strike Team, but he doesn't want to work with Vic. Claudette tells him he'd be working for Kevin. The job comes with a pay raise and prestige. "It may still be called the Strike Team, but it's a different animal."

Julien agrees to the promotion. Claudette smiles and tells him he starts tomorrow. Let's hope things work out better than they did for Lem, Terry, and Tavon.

Vic and the guys cautiously walk through the abandoned house seen earlier in the episode, looking for Vantes. "He's here!" cries one of his friends, "He's hurt! He got shot this morning!" Vantes is lying on a dirty mattress, a red stain on his white T-shirt and a hole in his stomach. "And you just let him bleed?" snaps Vic. He should know gangbangers avoid hospitals, mandatory police notification and all that.

One of Vantes' friends says he was afraid Moses would find them. Vantes wouldn't even let them tell Aquille. Vantes moans something about the Niners. "Shit, he's going into shock," says Vic. Kevin calls an ambulance. Vic talks to Vantes, a steady stream of "Stay with me."

Vantes passes out, his breathing sounds funny. Vic knows there's no time to wait for EMS. He and Shane carry Vantes out to the car. Vic drives erratically while Shane sits in the backseat with Vantes. "Stay awake!" Vic shouts, "Your mom wants you to come home." He adds through gritted teeth, "You're not gonna die on me. I'm not gonna let you die."

Vic and Shane haul Vantes' limp form through the ER doors, screaming, "We need a doctor!" Vic spots Corinne in one of the trauma rooms and knocks desperately on the glass. Shane, who put a blanket over Vantes' upper body, shakes his head grimly.

Vic clutches his head and starts babbling: "Lem--In the dream--Did Lem--Your dream was--" Corinne frowns confusedly; she can't hear him. Vic punches a hole in the wall and throws a chair. Corinne leaves the relative safety of the trauma room to deal with her overwrought ex-husband just as Vic turns over a table. A security guard tells him to cut it out. "It's all right, we're cops," says Shane.

Vic heaves around an end table and a few more chairs. Out of furniture to throw, he paces, grunting and panting. Vic turns around. He realizes Kevin, Shane, and Claudette all witnessed his breakdown. Patients stare as Vic leaves. He just gets in his car like nothing happened. End of episode.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Start "Back to One" (Episode 6.3)

Previously on: Shane killed Lem by tossing a live hand grenade in his car. Vic swore to avenge him and assumed weapons smuggler Guardo was involved. He fake-kidnapped Guardo's girlfriend Lydia, demanding a $50,000 ransom. Kavanaugh confessed to getting Emolia to lie for him; he's now in jail and stripped of his badge, just like Lem was.

At the safe house, Nydia asks why no one else is watching her. Vic thinks he can handle it. He won't let her call Guardo; doing so might tip off the nonexistent kidnappers. This could be an inside job, so it's best Guardo not know anything. Nydia should wait until Guardo calls her.

Corinne brings Shane a box of hand-me-down toys for Jackson. Shane's Mr. Mom today because Mara is showing a house. Corinne heard the charges against Vic were dropped. She feels guilty for telling Kavanaugh about the money Vic gave her; if she hadn't said anything, maybe Lem would be alive. "Sweetie, no, Lem's not your fault," says Shane.
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Shane, of course, blames Kavanaugh. The Rat King is far from innocent in the situation, but he's not the one who pulled the pin.

Corinne worries that Vic hasn't been himself. What'll he do if he finds whoever killed Lem? Shane "lost one of my closest, most dearest friends" and can't stand the idea of losing Vic. Corinne feels Vic has grown distant from the kids, though part of that is her fault for not wanting Vic around. Shane promises he won't let grief stop Vic from being a good dad.

Nydia is suspicious; she's never heard of Salceda, the guy who's supposedly trying to kill Guardo. Vic thinks it's unlikely she'd know a guy who wants to take over Guardo's business. Mexicans would be thrilled to replace a Salvadoran. Maybe Vic should just let Salceda do that. Nydia stomps toward the bathroom. Vic tells her to leave her phone behind.

A drug store manager, pharmacy tech, and cashier all lie murdered behind the counter. Billings exposits that the suspects came in right at opening, shot the employees, and stole ephedrine. For those who don't know, ephedrine is a type of allergy medicine that can be used to make meth. He figures the killers were tweakers in search of a quick fix. A cook needing ingredients is an equally likely scenario.

Claudette wonders what the higher-ups will think of Farmington having two multiple murders within a few weeks of each other. "Spoken like a true captain," says Billings. He then apologizes to Dutch for resisting the idea of them being partners; they make a good team. As far as Dutch is concerned, the jury is still out on that.

"Your weaknesses are my strengths," Billings goes on, listing arrogance, overconfidence (same thing), and inability to give credit to other people. Dutch thinks Claudette is smarter than Billings (the K-9 unit dogs probably have higher IQs than our balding friend). Billings makes a good scapegoat if Dutch's closure rate goes down.

Shane tells Vic they should back off Nydia. The surviving Strike Team members are all out from under IAD's microscope for the first time in forever; they shouldn't borrow trouble. Vic refuses to allow Lem's death to go unanswered. Shane suggests telling Nydia they found Salceda, then going after Guardo again in a couple of months.

"The department doesn't want this case solved because it opens old wounds," says Vic. They hung Lem out to dry and branded him a dirty cop. "That makes us the only ones who care enough to make that right." True, it doesn't sound like the other Lemanskys gave a damn about him, dead or alive. Ronnie agrees that they owe Lem. Vic sends him and Shane to the Barn for more guns, just in case.

Shane asks how he's supposed to explain being there on his day off. If Claudette asks, they should say they're cleaning out Lem's locker. They need to get to the truth.

But, seriously, Vic, you can't.
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Vic warns, "This thing's gonna get a lot uglier before it gets better."

Claudette and Dutch watch surveillance video from the drug store. He estimates the shooters are in their 30's and they don't look like tweakers. 12 boxes of ephedrine are missing from the store's inventory. Claudette noticed one of the suspects has tattoos, so there could be an Aryan or biker gang connection. Well, they're too far south for it to have been any of the Reaper Crew.

Dutch suggests she hand off the drug murder to the Strike Team and put him back on Lem's murder. Claudette thought he ran out of leads. Dutch did too, but the name Hernan keeps coming up during interviews.

Hernan Alvarez, perchance?
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Dutch bets Hernan is smart, has something to hide, or both. Claudette wants him to stay on the pharmacy case.

In the clubhouse, Shane and Ronnie zip Lem's favorite shotgun into a case. "You two still work here?" asks Claudette. Shane tells her he's taking personal time. Ronnie, the second most honest, blurts, "I used mine up on my wisdom teeth." You didn't have those taken out in high school?

Claudette needs them both if they're still on the clock. Ronnie heads to the parking lot with the gun case. Shane gives her the story they're picking up Lem's things. Claudette is glad she didn't have to bring that up; the Barn is short on lockers. How's Vic holding up? "We lost a friend," Shane shrugs. Claudette wants Vic back at work ASAP.

Billings struck out; the picture from the video doesn't match any known gang tats. "Looks like some kinda bird," says Dutch. If the suspects weren't male, I'd suggest a SAMCRO old lady, say, Wendy? They ask Ronnie for an opinion. He guesses it could be Navy ink. Claudette asks Ronnie to help Dutch and Billings. She wants the case closed before the cooks need more Sudafed.

"I don't need another person to babysit," Dutch gripes. Claudette reminds him who said drug cases are the Strike Team's turf. Besides, if Shane and Vic are hunting Lem's killer, Dutch might hear about it through Ronnie.

Nydia answers her phone. Vic grabs it from her and goes outside. He tells Guardo that his girlfriend is alive for now, but he shouldn't count on talking to her again. Right about then, Shane arrives in the van.

Guardo threatens to kill Vic if he touches Nydia. Vic responds with a threat of his own: He'll make Guardo listen while he rapes and kills Nydia. To avoid that, Guardo needs to drop the ransom in the trash can by the lake at MacArthur Park.

Guardo thinks he can be in L.A. by the day after tomorrow. Vic is curious what the cartels will think of a guy who can't protect his own girlfriend. Guardo changes his tune; he'll be there in three hours. Vic tells him to come alone. Once he has the money, he'll reveal Nydia's location.

Vic hangs up and asks where Ronnie is. Shane shakes his head: "He blew threw his goddamn personal days on his teeth." What if Guardo tries to set them up? Vic wants to go to the park early and check for traps.

Dutch isn't having any luck trying to reach a fed, Agent Zinman, about Hernan. Ronnie checked Navy records against L.A. residents who lost military benefits due to felony convictions and found a match. "We can wrap this up by dinner," Billings says enthusiastically, offering his hand for a fist-bump.

Ronnie advises Dutch to stay behind him as they approach their suspect's house. There's a BEWARE OF DOG sign and a drooling bullmastiff in the yard. Ronnie kicks in the door. A woman calls out, "Tommy, is that you?" "I have an arrest warrant for Tom Franklin. Where is he?" Ronnie's tone is all business. Tommy's sister Lisa thinks he might be working in the detached garage.

Ronnie breaks the lock. And what to his wondering eyes should appear but a meth lab. Lisa claims to have no idea Tommy was making drugs; he told her he was fixing a car. Tommy was gone when she woke up today. Dutch informs her, "Your brother killed three people." Lisa, who appears to be perfectly able-bodied and of sound mind, asks, "If he's not here, who's gonna take care of me?"

Vic watches the trash can through his binoculars. Shane speculates Guardo could've been south of the border when Lem was killed. "Then he ordered it and he knows who did," says Vic, "He'll give it up for his life." Nydia is in the van, which is parked behind them. Guardo is still about two hours away.

Shane tells Vic about Corinne's worries over what Vic might do and how it could affect the kids. Vic promises he'll visit them after they deal with Guardo. Why doesn't Shane check on Nydia?

"Hello, Sergeant. Welcome back," Dutch greets Danny. She reports another pharmacy has been robbed. No casualties except cabinets, but all the ephedrine was stolen.

Edgar-veda introduces Claudette to Skip Osaka, a photographer who wants to take publicity shots of some of the officers. Hey, It's That Guy! Ken Jeong has been a sitcom fixture recently as Senor Chang on Community and starring in his own short-lived show Dr. Ken. Claudette invites Skip to set up his equipment on an open desk.

"After Lemansky, they thought it was a good idea that the department get some good PR," the councilman explains, "We both want this place to survive, so I made sure that the Barn gets its shot too." The only publicity Claudette wants is lower crime stats. As a reservist, they naturally want pictures of Edgar-veda himself in uniform too.

Two carloads of Mexicans park near the drop-off point. "We need an army, Vic," says Shane, "With the shit these guys might be packing, I'm talking literally." Vic wants to wait to make sure Guardo is coming.

Tina tells Dutch the pharmacy robbers herded all the employees to the back of the store and broke the drug cabinets. Leticia the assistant manager IDs Tom's photo. The other suspect looked a lot like him. She didn't see what kind of car they were in and wonders why she wasn't killed like the people at the other pharmacy.

"Probably didn't have enough bullets," Ronnie guesses quietly. When Billings praises Ronnie's investigative work, Dutch actually pouts. Ronnie goes to the sidewalk to take a call from Vic. Dutch is looking over his shoulder, so Ronnie lets Vic know he can't talk. He pretends to Dutch that he was talking to a uniform who just arrested Tom.

Tom's buddy is good at avoiding cameras, meaning only Tom himself is on the hook for two armed robberies and three murders. "The Berkeley Law grads in the D.A.'s office are gonna be tearing each other's eyes out to get this case," Dutch says. Highly graphic and specific imagery there.

Tom didn't shoot anyone; it was his cousin Bobby: "He made a deal with some dude in the Horde to cook up 20 pounds of meth."
For the love of--I said "Horde," not "Nords." You're dismissed, Darby.
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The cousins had never cooked that much before. A Mexican was supposed to supply the ephedrine, but their connection showed up with plants. "So you started killing people?" Dutch frowns confusedly.

Bobby refused to back out of the deal; he'd already been paid and spent the money on a Harley. Robbing pharmacies was the only way to get ephedrine, but no one was supposed to get hurt. They can probably find Bobby in Van Nuys with his new lady friend.

Guardo stops by the trash can to drop off Nydia's ransom. Shane tells her to stay in the van and gets in Vic's car. "He's got 10 guys between us and him," Shane worries. Well, they're not really after the money anyway. Vic bets Guardo is hiding someplace. "What if he's not there alone?" Shane asks.

Vic tells him to take Nydia back to the safe house while he tails Guardo. They probably have half an hour before anyone gets suspicious. Shane wants Vic to call him when he knows where Guardo is. "If there's time," Vic says. Shane begs Vic to wait until he's there as backup.

Vic follows Guardo to a house. Ronnie is on a stakeout and can't get away. Dutch asks him if Vic is all right. "He's dealing with things his own way," Ronnie answers cryptically. Dutch brags he was the first one to figure out Kavanaugh was lying. Bobby arrives on his brand-new motorcycle, his girlfriend riding on the back.
Nope, not that Bobby.
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The three detectives move in. Ronnie pushes Bobby against a wall. Bobby's old lady tries to pull Ronnie off her man. Uniform backup arrives. Bobby isn't listening to Ronnie's directions, so Ronnie punches him in the face. "Now you'll roll over," he says calmly. A uniform cuffs Bobby. Ronnie's knuckles are scraped open. Tina looks impressed.

Vic approaches Guardo's hideout, wearing a bulletproof vest and toting what looks like Lem's trusty shotgun. He takes a breath to steel himself, then kicks in the back door. Vic stops Guardo from climbing out the bedroom window. "Officer, you're not going to find anything here," Guardo says. Au contraire, mon ami. Vic pokes him in the stomach with the shotgun, then knocks him to the floor.

Meanwhile, Shane lies to Nadia that Salceda was hiding at Guardo's. Guardo isn't actually in town, but Salceda bought the rumor. Shane parks outside the safe house. Nydia thanks him for protecting her; she's about a month pregnant and Guardo doesn't know yet. Before leaving, Nydia plants a chaste kiss on Shane's cheek.

Dutch tells Claudette they recovered the gun and stolen ephedrine. Billings praises Ronnie for the assist. Nobody seems to notice the tension in Ronnie's voice as he asks, "So I guess we're done, right?" Not quite.

Tina is gung-ho to go after the Horde; Tom and Bobby are supposed to give them meth. "There is no meth," Dutch reminds her. They're not making a deal with murderers to get drug dealers. "The Horde doesn't know there's no meth," says Claudette. They could offer leniency for Tom.

Dutch wants to turn the case over to the D.A. The Horde is notoriously difficult to bust; Bobby gives them a valuable in. The bikers don't know what Tom looks like, so Ronnie can pose as him. Ronnie going after bikers?

This is oddly familiar...
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Vic brings a handcuffed Guardo to an abandoned house. If this is about money, Guardo offers to get more. Vic takes off his leather jacket and puts it over Guardo's face. He cuffs Guardo's hands in front, then ties a rope linking the cuffs to a pipe in the ceiling.

Guardo wants a lawyer. Vic pulls the jacket off his face and surprisingly doesn't say something along the lines of "You're gonna want a doctor in a minute."

Guardo asks what this is all about. "You killed my friend a week ago. You tossed a grenade in his car and blew his guts out," says Vic. Guardo pleads both innocence and ignorance. Vic doesn't believe him, demanding, "Who led you to him?" He's sure Guardo ordered the hit.

Guardo wants to know if Vic hurt Nydia. Vic ignores that: "His name was Curtis Lemansky. He was a good cop. He was my friend and you killed him. All I want is to hear you say it." Guardo's been in Mexico for the last two weeks. At this, Vic actually snorts like an angry bull.

Shane enters the house and sees what Vic is up to. "Your friend is making a mistake," says Guardo. Vic won't let Guardo leave until he hears every detail of what happened to Lem. Maybe they can persuade him through Nydia. Vic tells Shane to bring Nydia in and undress her.

Guardo heard Lino Prieto killed Lem. He's none too pleased that Prieto didn't go through proper gang channels for approval. Guardo doesn't know how Prieto found Lem: "[He's] the one who should be hanging here, not me." "If you're telling the truth, he will be," says Vic, leaving Shane to guard their prisoner.

Vic calls Ronnie, asking him to look up Prieto. Ronnie is channeling his fallen comrade's fashion sense in a gray sweatshirt with the sleeves cut short. He's just typed Prieto's name into the computer when Dutch loudly clears his throat behind him. "Do you need something?" Ronnie snaps. Dutch says it's time to leave. Ronnie quietly gives Vic Prieto's last known address; Vic will have to do this mission solo.

At Prieto's apartment, his brother answers the door. Vic checks Filberto's ID and asks where his brother went. Filberto's answer is a surprise: Lino's been in jail for almost a month. Filberto's been taking care of Lino's wife Margie and his brother's kids. Vic implies Filberto and Margie must be having an affair, then adds, "Guardo says your brother killed a friend of mine. A cop."

Filberto doubts it; Lino's always been a liar. He was stupid to join a gang, but he's no murderer. Lino is currently locked up for stealing a car while he was drunk and crashing it into a store. Vic asks, "Why would Guardo give me your brother's name?" The oldest motive in the book: jealousy. Nydia told Guardo she thought Lino was good-looking. "You keep this visit to yourself, you'll never see me again," Vic promises.

At a gas station, Bobby hopes the Horde won't show up. Ronnie tells him not to count on that. Billings, in a separate stakeout car with Dutch, opines, "I like Ronnie. He's quiet, but there's something there." He wishes he could join the Strike Team, have some fun and excitement. "Yeah," Dutch mutters in a bored tone, "it's too bad you get those headaches."

Three bikers ride up to the gas station. Ronnie introduces himself as Tom. The Horde asks to see the product. Ronnie passes over a paper bag. As soon as the biker takes it, two things happen: Bobby bolts and Ronnie draws his gun. Uniforms, Dutch, and Billings converge to arrest everyone. Tina pats Ronnie on the arm: "Thanks for making me look good to the captain." Well, she always has had a thing for older men. Ronnie smiles, no doubt thinking, 'I wish Lem were here to tease me about this.'

At the Barn, Dutch is a bit cool toward Tina, likely because she was flirting with Ronnie. Our bearded friend appears, asking if Dutch and Billings can cover his portion of the paperwork. Ronnie gives Tina a bat on the back as he leaves. Meanwhile, Billings is entertaining the squadroom with an exaggerated version of his exploits. Someone tells him, "You're the man" without a trace of mockery.

By now, it's dark in the abandoned house. Guardo wants to be let go. "Shut up, shithead," Shane grumbles, holding his temple like he's got a migraine. Guardo swears they got the wrong guy, a fact Shane is well aware of. Guardo offers to give up enough intel for them to take down the whole gang, repeating that he didn't kill Lem.

"What about that backyard barbecue you blew up, huh?" asks Shane. (AKA the incident that gave him the awful idea in the first place). He shouts about having to walk through the dead kids' blood. "I'll give you money. Make you rich. What do you want?" Guardo whispers. Shane's reply is almost inaudible: "Peace."

Guardo knows he wouldn't be here if Shane were an honest cop. He could untie Guardo and make up a story about how he escaped. Shane puffs on his cigarette: "I don't like the way blood money spends." He tells Guardo that Nydia is pregnant.

Vic comes back and punches Guardo in the chest. He knows Guardo was lying about Prieto. "Come on, Vic, man," Shane pleads as Vic removes a coil of chain from the duffel bag. You can stop this, Shane, with just three simple words: "I killed Lem."

Vic doubles the chain back on itself, asking Guardo who told him about Lem. Was it Emolia or Kavanaugh? When he doesn't get an answer, Vic whips him with the chain. "I didn't do it!" Guardo shrieks. Vic hits him again.

Dutch didn't get anything new about Lem from Ronnie, "just a couple of phone calls he didn't want me to hear." He lies that working with Billings is okay. Dutch hasn't found Hernan yet. He asks if Claudette ever felt like she was carrying him on her back when they were partners. "You made me a better detective," she replies.

Guardo is now semi-conscious and whipped bloody. "Just tell me what I wanna know and this'll be over," Vic tells the arms dealer. Ronnie is now watching from the corner. Vic hits Guardo twice. "Who else was involved?" Vic demands. Guardo's words are slurred as he protests, "I don't know nothing." Shane is all "Vic, maybe you should stop." Of course, Vic doesn't listen.

Vic's voice is guttural, almost insane as he accuses, "It was Emolia! That Salvadoran slut tipped you off, I know it!" Shane loudly states that Guardo might really be innocent. Vic rounds on his best friend, "If it wasn't Guardo, who was it?!" Shane thinks Guardo should've given up a name by now. Ronnie finds it more likely Guardo was working alone. "Come on, this is crazy!" says Shane.
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Vic bellows, "He killed Lem!" He knows Shane and Ronnie haven't forgotten how bad Lem looked when they found him. "Don't you think he deserves to die for what he did?!" "Look, I want you not to do this for me," says Shane. Vic snaps, "Why not?" For a wild second, I think Shane might actually tell the truth. Instead, he says Guardo has lots of money.

That answer doesn't calm Vic down in the slightest: "You're gonna put a price on Lem's life?" Shane shrugs that it always comes down to their families and futures. Guardo says the worst thing possible: "I'm glad your friend died." Vic gives him another smack with the chain.

Shane steps between Vic and Guardo. If Guardo dies, they lose their chance to find out what happened. Guardo wasn't the only one involved and...

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Vic tosses the chain to the floor. He's sweaty, wild-eyed, and exhausted. Suddenly, he draws his gun and shoots Guardo. Shane flinches. Guardo, suspended from the ceiling, swings grotesquely. Vic sighs: "You're right. If he had a real name to tell us, he would've. He acted alone."

Now it's time to dump the body. "As long as Guardo's at large, he'll always remain the primary suspect in Lem's death," says Ronnie. In shock, Shane says, "We just killed somebody." That's rich coming from you.

Dutch gives Tina a pep talk: "Detective work isn't as sexy, but it's where brainpower like yours really gets utilized." Really now? I have friends in uniform and in pretty much every police department, being a detective is considered the most glamorous job. He suggests Tina start keeping a library of interesting cases. She should also think like a detective 24/7/365.

Tina asks if Dutch really has a crime library. (It's probably more like a shrine in his closet). Dutch offers to take her to his place and let her see it sometime. As Claudette once said in another episode, "What kinda back-door con is that?" Tina falls for it.

Dutch pulls into his driveway, blasting "I Ran" by Flock of Seagulls. He sure has a thing for 1980's one-hit wonders. Dutch brings up the idea of ordering Chinese food and cracking open a bottle of wine. "I-Is this a date?" Tina stammers. Dutch asks, "Do you want it to be?" Tina answers with another question: Does he have a girlfriend?

There's a woman on his porch who turns out to be Zinman, the ICE agent Dutch was trying to call earlier. She can tell him more about Hernan if Tina isn't around.

Vic dumps Guardo's naked, battered corpse in a hole. He, Shane, and Ronnie pour bleach and gas over him. Shane lights the match.

"Hernan is undercover in the Salvadoran organization," Zinman explains. She can't compromise that. Dutch needs to stop trying to find Hernan. Dutch refuses: "A cop was killed by the Salvadorans." Zinman is aware of that. She also knows Guardo didn't do it.

Dutch argues being out of the country doesn't mean Guardo didn't order the hit; grenades are his calling card. Guardo is stateside now, but Zinman won't let Dutch use Hernan to find him. "This isn't a pissing contest. It's an order," says the federal agent.

The guys are back in the Barn, dealing with the matter of Lem's locker. "Guy ever clean this thing out?" asks Vic, wrinkling his nose as he holds up a pair of sneakers, "It's like being back in high school." Ronnie points to a photo of himself, Vic, and Shane. Lem took it with a disposable camera confiscated from a drug dealer. Ronnie chuckles: "Almost got the case thrown out." "Tampering with evidence," Vic says with a grin.

Shane is sitting on the other side of the locker room, not lifting a finger to help. Vic wants Shane to have the picture. Claudette comes in and asks how they're holding up. "Just had my first good night's sleep in a while," says Vic. He politely declines taking the rest of his personal days.

Claudette has file for them on Kevin Hiatt, who used to work for INS and joined LAPD a year ago. Starting next week, he'll be assigned to Farmington. "You're not adding anybody to my team that I don't have approval of," says Vic. We're talking about your job, not Cassidy's date to Homecoming.

"He's not your addition; he's your replacement," Claudette corrects. Vic's 15-year anniversary (and forced retirement) is fast approaching. The guys go quiet. With everything that's happened recently, they must've forgotten all about that. End of episode.

Friday, September 1, 2017

A Slow Burning "Baptism By Fire" (Episode 6.2)

Happy belated birthday to Vic Mackey himself: Michael Chiklis!

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Previously on: Kavanaugh became even more unstable when he found out Vic had sex with his ex-wife; he even tried to sleep with Corinne. Lem had planned to take a deal for a lighter sentence. Behind his back, Vic arranged for Lem to flee to Mexico. The night he was supposed to leave, Lem balked at the idea, so Shane the Traitorous Bastard dropped a live grenade in his lap. Vic immediately suspected Guardo the grenade smuggler.

Meanwhile, Kavanaugh the Rat King got Emolia to lie for him and say Vic had her arrange the hit on Lem.

Ronnie gets in Vic's car, apologizing for being late. Claudette had him following a lead on the San Marcos murders. Vic thought that case was assigned to robbery/homicide. They're staking out an old man named Jupo, founder of the Salvadoran gang. Jupo must have a death wish because he's smoking while hooked up to his portable oxygen tank. He has terminal lung cancer and was granted parole after serving 50 years of a life sentence.

The guys stroll up to the porch. Vic introduces himself. Jupo has never heard of Vic. Indicating the tattooed Latino sitting next to Jupo, Vic guesses, "Your male nurse probably heard of me." Jupo's grandson, does, at least by reputation. "You're the one raging war against us," wheezes Jupo. Vic's problem is with Guardo. Jupo gets defensive: "I built this gang from the ground up."

Vic looks around the decrepit house and messy yard. He remarks the Salvadorans give "one hell of a pension plan." Vic wants Guardo. Jupo refuses to dishonor himself. Vic tells him that Guardo murdered a cop: "You old-school guys, you knew never to do that." Jupo swears he don't know nothing about it and tosses out his opinion about the new generation.

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Vic agrees. And ain't it a shame Jupo's grandson might have to pay the price for breaking tradition?The gun the kid's carrying concealed is a felony. "Who knows what else I might find if I decide to be a hard-ass?" Vic goes on. Jupo offers up Guardo's phone number.

Asher the uniform calls Vic with bad news: "I'm at your house serving a search warrant." He doesn't know what it's for, but Kavanaugh, Dutch, and Claudette are there too. Vic has nothing to hide, though he appreciates the heads-up.

When he tells the guys, Shane can't believe anybody bought Emolia's story. "Is there something that I need to know?" asks Ronnie. Shane wonders what that's supposed to mean.

All Dutch finds in Vic's closet is a cigar box of old pictures: Corinne in her wedding dress, Corinne holding Cassidy as a toddler. Billings hasn't checked the trash cans because his jacket is new and "garbage is what God made unis for."

Dutch conversationally mentions he thought Billings was taking a personal day. It's Thursday, so Billings wants to wait until tomorrow and make it a three-day weekend.

Dutch, who has no qualms about trash, digs up a crumpled map with Portillo Auto Body circled on it. Lem was killed there and, in his statement, Vic claimed he'd never been there before. The Rat King is sure there's more evidence in the house if Vic was this careless.

At the Barn, Emolia signs her false statement. Billings found a matchbook from Emolia's sometimes employer, Tama's Costura, at Vic's place. According to Vic, they hadn't had any contact since he dropped her as an informant. There was also an envelope with $500 inside the phone book, the amount Emolia said Vic promised to pay for the hit. Kavanaugh wants the envelope tested for prints. Billings doesn't believe Vic would've had Lem killed.

The guys go where Guardo's girlfriend Nydia lives. She isn't home, but they don't mind waiting for the couple to come back.

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Shane looks nervous about this plan. Before they can make their move, a broadcast comes over the police scanner: Vic Mackey is wanted for questioning. They walk around the side of the house so Ronnie can pick the lock. He wonders aloud why there's an APB out if Vic is innocent. Shane suggests they go back to the Barn before things go any further.

"Now might be our last shot at Guardo," says Vic. Ronnie pops the back door open. The floors creak as the guys fan out and search. The house is clear. Vic notices pictures of Guardo and Nydia. Over his shoulder, Vic states he doesn't care about Guardo's loved ones.

Hearing a noise, Vic adds, "Someone's here. Don't get trigger-happy." He wants Guardo to live long enough to be questioned. Nydia makes a phone call in Spanish; the only thing I can understand is Guardo. She goes to the kitchen and starts making lunch. Hope she has plenty for three guests.

Tina complains her new community relations gig is boring. I imagine it would be, but longtime readers know she's too much of a liability on the street. Claudette emphasizes the importance of people in the community feeling safe to tell Officer Friendly about their problems.

Robbery/Homicide faxed a sketch of the suspect in the San Marcos murders. She wants Julien and Tina to pass copies around.

"If you're here to get an update on Vic, I'm too busy," Claudette tells everyone's least favorite councilman. Edgar-veda notices the Barn is pretty empty. Half the staff is looking for Vic while the other half assists Robbery/Homicide. Edgar-veda offers to get authorization to hire more people.

The district's homicide rate has quadrupled since Claudette became captain last week. The San Marcos murder house is in no-man's land between Wilshire, Central, and Farmington. Even though the body count is supposed to be divided equally, Wilshire and Central are pinning all the blame on the new donkey.

Claudette is sure crime stats will go down once she settles in. Edgar-veda doesn't think so. Three Mexican prisons are being consolidated; inmates with three years or less to serve will be released, a large percentage of which might (illegally) cross the border into the States and settle in Farmington. Some of them are likely here already.

Edgar-veda will file for a budget increase and sweet-talk the Wilshire and Central captains into taking their share of the multiple murder victims. Claudette doesn't believe it could be that easy. Edgar-veda asks what she knows so far about Vic.

"Jesus, how long does it take to eat a salad?" asks Ronnie as he, Vic, and Shane emerge from hiding. They could always pull a Lem and raid Nydia's kitchen. They watch as Nydia drives away. Vic checks the call history on her landline: "Guardo's in Mexico. Goddamn it!" He writes down the number.

Shane says, "We can't rush this. We gotta handle it right." They can't wait due to the APB on Vic. Not wanting his friends to go down with him, Vic tells Shane and Ronnie to go back to the Barn.

Vic confronts Aldo the supermarket owner. Aldo is worried people will get suspicious about Vic coming to his store: "Do you want me killed?" Vic lets Aldo know it's not the Salvadorans he has to worry about if he keeps lying. Why is Guardo in San Miguel, Mexico? It seems he's planning to smuggle in a load of prescription drugs next week. He's been there a few days.

"Where's your cell phone?" asks Vic. Aldo hands it over. Vic instructs him to leave the keys and get out of the truck, promising to return it with a full tank.

"Where have you two been?" Claudette demands of Shane and Ronnie. She's been trying to call them all morning. Shane claims their phones were off while they were in the field. Why is there an APB out on Vic? Claudette can't tell them. Dutch asks when they saw him last. Shane claims Vic's taking another personal day. Rat King Kavanaugh needs to talk to both Shane and Ronnie.

Shane's official statement says nobody on the Strike Team had ever been to Portillo Auto Body. Why did Vic have a map to Portillo in his house? Vic promised Emolia $500 to give Lem to the Salvadorans. They found $500 in an envelope with Vic's prints on it. Could Vic have set Lem up? Shane points at Kavanaugh, "You're crazier than that ex-wife of his."

They know Emolia was in contact with the Salvadorans. "Emolia was outed as a snitch. She was probably calling to beg for her life." says Shane. Well, how else does he explain the evidence? Shane guesses she planted it or Kavanaugh did. "That's gold," Rat King chuckles.

Kavanaugh investigated Vic for 6 months and couldn't find anything. It's awfully convenient he has this tidy little story mere days after Lem's death. "Sound like you know a lot about tall tales and planting evidence," says Rat King. Oh, if only you knew. "Vic didn't kill Lem," Shane repeats. (Yeah, it was you doing that, you bastard). Emolia just wants revenge.

Then why isn't Vic here right now defending himself? Shane doesn't think Vic is aware of the APB. He asks if Dutch is really buying this. Dutch's expression says a resounding "yes." Kavanaugh is curious about Shane's involvement (keep working that angle); it's already too late for Vic. Shane can save himself if he tells them where Vic went.

Vic meets with his federale friend Tonio. He needs his help "repatriating" Guardo to the States. Tonio himself is looking for Rocha, a Byz Lat in East L.A. who's wanted for murder in Mexico City. Rocha used to be under the protection of a rich cattle rancher whose daughter he married; he recently left Mexico with her kids. Prescription smuggling would give Vic leverage.

Rocha being arrested in L.A. means the case being entangled in international court: "The mother and rich grandparents are looking for a quicker solution." Tonio will give Vic a cut of the money. He doesn't care what happens to Rocha as long as the kids are returned safely. Tonio asks what Guardo did. "He killed my friend," Vic replies.

Vic calls Ronnie, who informs him that Shane is being interrogated by Dutch and Kavanaugh. Making the understatement of the month, he says, "It's not good." The Rat King found a map to the body shop and a matchbook from Emolia's workplace in Vic's trash. Vic knows it was planted; nobody can prove otherwise. He asks Ronnie to find out who's the current Byz Lat leader in East L.A.

Tina heard they found evidence at Vic's house. "Maybe a little too much," muses Dutch. He challenges Tina to apply Ockham's razor to Lem's murder. Chatton, another philosopher, came up with what Dutch calls an anti-razor: The world has too many variables for people to assume the simplest answer is always correct. She asks what Dutch thinks is going on.

Dutch is curious why Emolia is still in L.A.; after all, the Salvadorans put out a contract on her life. Emolia refuses to talk to anyone other than the Rat King. Emolia blames the police for her being in the middle of this. Enter Kavanaugh, none too pleased that Dutch is interviewing Emolia without him.

Outside, Dutch lays out his theory. Emolia was greenlit, so agreed to pin Lem's murder on Vic so Guardo would spare her life. Kavanaugh says it's a waste of time; they need everyone available looking for Vic. He takes a shot at Dutch about giving private tutoring to "hot unis." (Wonder if he knows Dutch used to have a thing for Danny). Emolia is innocent and the interrogation is over.

Kavanaugh expresses concern to Claudette about keeping Dutch on Lem's case. Dutch's brief romantic relationship with Corinne may have clouded his objectivity. Claudette raises an eyebrow: "Dutch is protecting Vic for his ex-wife's sake? ...What about the personal nature of the case with you?" Kavanaugh shrugs that relations between IAD and regular cops will always be strained. Finally getting Vic off the street would be a major victory for Claudette.

Shane worries the murder charge against Vic could actually hold up. "We can't let him take this hit," says Ronnie. They both sigh. Shane gets fidgety: "What if I said that I was with Lem or something?" (That would at least resemble the truth). "I had a grenade from the bust," he goes on, "It just went off by accident?" In Lem's lap?

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Ronnie shakes his head. Lying won't help Vic (other than "it was an accident", Shane's being honest). Also, Shane would be confessing to aiding and abetting a fugitive. Shane mutters "yeah" over and over, desperate to help his best friend. "The longer he's in the wind, the guiltier he looks," Ronnie points out unnecessarily.

Vic rolls up to the Byz Lat compound and is waylaid by a large gangbanger asking Vic to state his business. Vic wants to see Santi. "Nobody sees jefe without an appointment or a warrant," says Big Byz Lat. They know the local cops and don't recognize Vic. He explains he works in Farmington and wants the destination of their next drug shipment; if he doesn't talk to Santi, those drugs will be seized.

Big Byz Lat makes a phone call and lets Vic in, directing him to a parking space. He asks for Vic's gun. Vic can't do that because it's city issue. Biggie won't let him in, so Vic drops the magazine. Guess Biggie doesn't know most cops keep one in the chamber.

In a basement surrounded by about a dozen gangbangers, Vic asks where Rocha is. Santi guesses Vic's the terms of their agreement: Drugs pass safely over the border in exchange for Rocha. "Great minds think alike," Vic confirms.

Santi warns Vic that busting their shipment will be viewed as an act of war against every Latino gang in L.A. He'll pay Vic for his time if "you forget my face and the scrips." Vic doesn't want money. He's trying to make nice-nice, but if Santi wants "shock and awe," that can be arranged.

One of the younger Byz Lats aims a gun at Vic's head. "Watch it, homes. Little homey's shitfaced, ese," chuckles another Byz Lat. Vic calmly says, "Junior missed the short bus to school today." Santi says something in Spanish. The kid, whose voice hasn't quite broken and whose gun hand is shaky, declares, "I ain't afraid of no cops." Vic points his own gun at the kid's face.

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The other gangbangers draw down. The kid taunts that Vic don't have no bullets. Just like I thought, there's one chambered. Would Santi rather leave the basement with Vic or die there with him? Santi opts for the former.

Vic marches Santi outside, barrel buried in the Byz Lat's kidney. He slaps the magazine back in his gun and gets in the truck with Santi, peeling out before anyone can close the gate.

Vic gives Santi until the next red light to tell him where Rocha is hiding. Rocha is supposed to carry out a hit on Big G (such an original gangster name), a dealer who belongs to the One-Niners. "Rocha doesn't show up or you warn him, I show up with a hell of a lot more than one in the chamber," Vic threatens before pushing Santi out of the moving car.

Vic's next stop is a basketball court. He lets 400-pound Big G know about the hit. However, he also wants Rocha to find his intended victim. Dropped off at his favorite corner, Big G asks what happens if Rocha does a drive-by. Vic is sure a professional like Rocha will fire at close range: two in the chest, one in the head.

Corinne tells Dutch two unmarked sedans are parked outside her house: "I was a cop's wife long enough to know that there's trouble." She hasn't seen Vic since last night and he told her someone's trying to frame him for Lem's murder. Dutch breaks some bad news: There's a warrant out for Vic. Corinne insists, "He would never in a million years."

Dutch says something monotone about evidence. Corinne can't believe he thinks Vic is capable of this. Dutch gently tells her to prepare the kids for the possibility of Daddy going to jail. "What are you doin' to my husband, huh?" Corinne demands of Kavanaugh. Hating Vic doesn't give him the right to accuse him of things he didn't do.

Kavanaugh puts a hand on her shoulder, suggesting they go someplace private. "Like my house? You wanna put your hands all over me again? Pin me up against the door?" yells Corinne. Everyone in the squadroom has stopped what they're doing to stare. "You used your badge to get into my house and then you tried to touch me! I didn't feel safe!"

Dutch tries to get her to stop making a scene, but that ship has long since sailed. By now, Claudette has arrived. Corinne wants to file charges on Kavanaugh for the attempted sexual assault.

As Rocha heads toward Big G, Vic gets out of the truck. He shoves Rocha against a fence before he can do what he came to do. Rocha fires a couple of wild shots, panicking kids walking home from the nearby high school. Vic handcuffs Rocha, promising to let him go if he shows him where his kids are. Rocha gives him the name of a motel. Vic handcuffs him to the fence.

Claudette and Dutch talk about the latest development with Kavanaugh. "I believe she believes it [happened]," says Dutch. He never thought Kavanaugh was capable of something like that. Claudette wonders what else he could be capable of. She asks what happens to his pleas of Vic's innocence. Does Dutch see Vic going to jail for Lem's murder as karmic justice, whether Vic is guilty or not?

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Dutch spouts a Grissom-ism: "The evidence is the evidence." Claudette reminds him she only has one chance to get the Barn back on track. That means going after the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Dutch thinks Emolia is lying and that the Rat King told her what to say. He pulled surveillance footage proving Emolia and Kavanaugh never met in the coffee shop. Claudette wants Emolia brought back in.

At the meeting spot, Rocha's kids are reunited with their mom. Tonio is sorry, but Guardo has connections that make him nigh impossible to shanghai. Vic is understandably pissed about Tonio not keeping his end of the bargain, even suggesting Guardo paid off the federale. He won't settle for money or more favors. Can Tonio get Guardo a message? Tonio thinks he might be able to. Vic wants to meet again in two hours.

Kavanaugh asks why Emolia is at the Barn. He and Claudette argue back and forth about whether he can be in the interrogation room. Claudette will only allow him to observe. Shane apologizes to Emolia for calling her son Sebastio a retard; he pleads with her not to betray Vic, who was always good to them. Emolia ignores him.

Once the interrogation room door closes, Claudette smiles as she looks around: "I've fixed a lot of wrongs inside these walls." Her tone soon turns harsh: "Guardo wanted to have you killed! You made up a story about Vic so that you could get witness protection!" Yeah, that's pretty much it. Emolia keeps toeing the party line.

Claudette calls Julien and Asher upstairs, then orders Kavanaugh to leave. If he won't, the uniforms will be happy to help the Rat King on his way. Kavanaugh moseys over to observation.

Claudette knows Emolia's been in a lot of trouble before. Normally, she'd be sympathetic to a woman being ping-ponged between two abusive men, but Emolia let them do it for money. Emolia protests she did it for Sebastio's sake.

Would Emolia would rather lose her soul to Vic and Kavanaugh or be strong enough to get free of them? Claudette understands Emolia is scared. But if Emolia tells the truth, Claudette can get her into witness protection. Vic and Kavanaugh are destroying her life and Sebastio's. Emolia starts to cry.

Kavanaugh wants to talk to the captain. Julien and Asher bar the door. Dutch tells the uniforms to stand down. Kavanaugh barges into the interrogation room. The next thing out of his mouth is an admission that he coerced Emolia to lie and planted evidence in Vic's house. He adds, "But I framed a guilty man."
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Vic tells Shane and Ronnie that Tonio screwed them. It's time to change tactics. He marches toward Nydia's house, instructing the other two to follow his lead. Shane hangs back. Vic introduces them as detectives and claims someone plans to kidnap her. Namely Salceda, a Mexican drug lord who also wants to kill Guardo.

Nydia throws a curveball: "I don't know any Guardo." She hasn't even heard of him. Vic guesses they got the wrong house. They start to leave. "Wait!" Nydia calls after them. Guardo gave her strict instructions not to talk to cops. According to Vic, Salceda plans to use Nydia as bait to lure Guardo back to the States. Shane's glad they found her in time.

Nydia wants to call Guardo. Vic advises against that; anyone could be listening. The hit is an inside job. Ronnie will drive her to a safe house. She'd only have to stay for a day or two. Vic will pack some clothes for her.

"What the hell are you doin'?" asks Shane, following Vic into the house. Vic tosses a suitcase onto the bed: "Just pack. I'll explain later." Shane haphazardly puts underwear in the suitcase. Vic pockets a gold cross from the jewelry box.

Kavanaugh smiles that he's never cheated in his life before now. It's ironic he got caught trying to set up someone so dirty. "You set up another cop for murder. Threw away your career. I fail to see the humor," says Claudette. "You sacrificed your integrity for Vic Mackey. You were better than him." Somehow, I seriously doubt that.

Julien and Asher confiscate Kavanaugh's badge and gun. The Rat King is being arrested for interfering with police business under color of authority. Claudette is sure other charges will be added. Let's see here: witness tampering, attempted rape, harassment, tampering with evidence. There'd be more than one count of each if poor Lem were alive to testify.

Claudette tells the uniforms to drive Kavanaugh to police headquarters. She cuffs the Rat King in front and lets him drape his sportcoat over his hands to conceal them. Hopefully, that's the last professional courtesy he gets. Kavanaugh gloats that Vic is Claudette's problem now (which he was to begin with because she's his captain).

Vic brings Nydia's necklace to Tonio. His message: If Guardo ever wants to see her again, he has to personally deliver a $50,000 ransom to L.A. Cash only. "I don't think I want any part of this, let alone what you'll do to him once you've got him," says Tonio.

Vic just wants the message delivered; Tonio can wash his hands after that. The federale agrees. Guardo needs to call Nydia's cell to arrange the drop.

Shane, of all people, says, "The last thing we need is more dirty money." Vic doesn't give a shit about the ransom. Nobody will trust Guardo with their drug shipments if he can't protect his own girlfriend. Shane begs Vic to reconsider. They can't bring Lem back and Shane can't stand it if he loses his best friend too. Vic remains adamant: "Guardo has to pay."

At the safe house, Ronnie sits by himself in the dark kitchen. He jumps a foot in the air when Vic opens the door. Nydia is asleep. Shane tells Ronnie about the new plan. It doesn't seem like they're planning to actually kill her if Guardo doesn't show up. The bigger question is what happens if he does.

Shane is all "uh, maybe we shouldn't do this." Vic says they're both free to go back to the Barn. He takes Ronnie's place at the table and toys with Nydia's phone.

Danny has stopped by the Barn to show off Lee. She sighs to Claudette that he has colic and cries a lot. Claudette has good news: Danny passed her sergeant's exam. The promotion is in effect immediately when she comes back from maternity leave. However, if Danny waits too long, her name drops to the bottom of the list. Claudette tells her to sleep on it, like Danny will with a newborn.

Claudette also has good news for Shane and Ronnie: All charges against Vic have been dropped. "If he's still in the country, tell him he can sleep in his own bed tonight."

Back at the safe house, Shane wants Vic to let Nydia go. "She's how we get to Guardo," says Vic. Ronnie asks, "What happened to no more unilateral decisions?" (If only he knew about the one Shane made). This plan is too risky for his tastes. Vic finds it unfair that Guardo is alive and Lem isn't. If the guys don't want to help him, he'll do it himself.

"What the hell is your problem?" asks Shane, "Can't you listen to anybody but yourself?" (Said the self-centered loudmouth to no one in particular). Lem died because he wouldn't go to Mexico. Does Vic want the grave next to his? Does he want them to all go to jail? After this outburst, Shane storms away. Ronnie takes off his jacket and settles in, telling Vic to go get some sleep. Vic squeezes his shoulder.

"You've been a very busy boy," Vic tells Kavanaugh in lockup. The Rat King counters, "I learned from the master." Vic knows what Kavanaugh did to Corinne. I think the Rat King better watch out in the showers. Kavanaugh is confident "the universe will take out its trash when it's ready." Vic thinks it already has.

Kavanaugh tells Vic he turned Lem into a thug and a thief. Wrong. Unlike Vic, Lem always had good reason when he lost his temper. Kavanaugh knows trying to use Vic's tactics backfired on him, "but I won't be the one hearing my dead friend's screams in my head." Vic reminds Kavanaugh who's going to his own bed tonight.

Kavanaugh shrugs: "I'm at peace. Are you?" "Soon enough," Vic replies. And thus ends the tenure of one of the most despicable characters in The Shield's history.

Kavanaugh conveniently forgot he was a master manipulator before Emolia and the planted map; he played Lem like a fiddle, twisting his head 'til he didn't remember which way was up. It wasn't just Lem's mental health that suffered for it. By the end, his stress-related ulcer had damn near crippled him. I, for one, hope Kavanaugh doesn't get a plea deal. End of episode.

Friday, August 25, 2017

"On the Jones" for Answers (Episode 6.1)

Last season: Lieutenant Kavanaugh of IAD (AKA the Rat King) launched an investigation into the Strike Team. When trying to get to Vic through Corinne didn't work, Kavanaugh set his sights on Lem. The Rat King threatened Lem with prison time for heroin possession with intent to distribute. Lem, getting progressively sicker from his ulcer, cracked under the pressure. He made a deal for a lesser sentence, but wouldn't say anything against Vic: "I can't turn on my family."

Meanwhile, a Salvadoran gang took to bombing things with hand grenades they smuggled into the U.S.

Antwon told Vic that Lem would be a dead man walking in prison unless Vic killed the One-Niners' new leader. Even though Vic kept his end of the bargain, Antwon reneged. The Strike Team hatched a plan to send Lem to Mexico under a new identity.

The Rat King and Edgar-veda schemed to make Vic believe Lem was going to testify against the Strike Team in order to get into witness protection. Shane bought the story hook, line, and sinker. On the night Lem was supposed to head south, Shane the Traitorous Bastard went rogue and served Lem a sandwich with a side of hand grenade. When Vic and the guys saw Lem's dead body, Vic pledged, "We're gonna find whoever did this. And we're gonna kill him."

Vic drives out to the cemetery. Lem's grave is so fresh it doesn't even have a headstone, but there's no shortage of flowers. Shane reports that no one's seen Guardo, who headed the grenade-smuggling operation. Vic wonders how Guardo lured Lem to his death and vows: "When we find Guardo, he dies the same way. Only slower." Shane agrees.

Ronnie wishes Lem would've come to them for help instead of his lawyer Becca. Vic argues that Lem was scared; he blames himself for botching his end of the deal with Antwon. "Hey, this is nobody's fault," says Shane.
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The three remaining members of the Strike Team point their guns at the grave. "You were a great cop," says Ronnie. Shane the Traitorous Bastard adds, "You were a good friend." Vic finishes that they're giving him the 21-gun salute he deserves. Each of them fire into the ground 7 times. Afterwards, Shane is teary-eyed. Vic reassuringly pats him on the shoulder.

In the Barn, Claudette asks if Billings already went home. Dutch replies, "He takes his 9-to-5 very seriously." So far, three Salvadorans have confessed to Lem's murder and have all been ruled out. Two suspects missed details; the latest wasn't even in the U.S. when Lem died. That's not all Dutch is upset about: "No police funeral. No press conference. It's like Lemansky never wore a badge."

Corinne arrives, looking for Vic because he isn't answering his phone. Dutch says Vic took some personal days, but he'll be back tomorrow. Corinne is worried. She hasn't talked to Vic in days and he doesn't return her messages; the kids are concerned too. Dutch offers to pass on her message.

Kavanaugh apologizes to Assistant Chief Phillips for his epic freakout in Claudette's office. He shouldn't have let things get so personal. He wants to make up for it by looking for Lem's killer. Phillips tells him Claudette is in charge of that. Kavanaugh thinks Dutch is making a mistake by only working the case from the Salvadoran angle.

Kavanaugh also wants to continue investigating Vic. Phillips flatly tells him that ain't happening. Kavanaugh presents his case: "The brick of tar we found on Lemansky was a part of something dirty that Vic put into motion." Vic needed to cover his ass when Lem got caught, so Lem agreed to take a plea bargain. Vic tried to make a deal with Antwon to guarantee Lem's safety in prison, but it went disastrously wrong. Vic knew that Lem might turn on them.

"Mackey killed his own guy?" Phillips says skeptically. Kavanaugh thinks Vic got Salvadorans to do the dirty work, "but somebody put that grenade in Lemansky's lap." Well, no shit, that'd be a terrible way to commit suicide.

The Rat King promises to be discreet and respectful (two things he's not) while he checks whether Vic was involved. Phillips wants a report the next day and they'll decide whether there's enough evidence to pursue it further.

Vic stares morosely into the empty clubhouse, no doubt picturing a certain blond with his feet kicked up on the table. Dutch and Billings don't have anything new to go on. Vic is sure Guardo killed Lem to send a message about the guys busting his drug and grenade operation.

Claudette assigns Vic to an arson case at a methadone clinic located deep in gang territory. Claudette is sorry, but she can't assign Vic to Lem's murder; he's too close to the situation. However, he'll still be the first one to know about any developments. Dutch lets Vic know about Corinne stopping by.

"Turn that shit off!" Vic barks at a One-Niner blaring rap, the police-issue Dodge Charger screeching to a halt. Vic drags the gangbanger out of the car through the window, NASCAR driver style. "Damn, I got leftovers older than you," Shane remarks to the guy's girlfriend. He probably does, what with Mara's apparent postpartum depression and all.

"Looks like Moses here finally made it to the land of milk and underage honey," says Vic. Moses claims that in addition to being "all kinds of willing," his girlfriend is legal. Ronnie tosses Vic a roll of money. Moses bitches about the guys having him steal an empty safe. Shane knocks him to the ground, reminding Moses who's in charge.

Did the One-Niners torch the methadone clinic? According to Moses, "methadonians" are good for business. A lot of the clinic's patients buy benzos from the gang. Shane wonders if the good folks running the clinic know that. Vic doubts they care; methadone "turns street junkies into state-sponsored ones."

Vic wants to find out if anyone with a history of violence has been a patient at the clinic. "Someone on the jones?" asks Shane. Vic shrugs, "Hurting, delusional, I'd be settin' fires." Claudette should post uniforms at all the methadone clinics in the area.

Vic tells Moses if the One-Niners' leader needs a favor, he'd be happy to do it. He punctuates that statement with a punch to the stomach.

At an apartment complex, Ronnie exposits that Quentin Garth is on the "home-study methadone kick." The guy is "volatile, raging about how he's being screwed by Big Medicine." Quentin also threatened a counselor at the torched methadone clinic. Nobody's seen him for two days.

Vic breaks down the door. The apartment is empty. Vic notices framed pictures of Quentin wearing a military uniform on the walls. Something tickles Shane's sensitive nose. He opens the bathroom door to find a dead man on the toilet with his pants around his ankles. The walls and tub are spattered with blood. For reasons unknown, there's a toaster on the floor.

Ronnie, who always gets the fun jobs, checks the guy's wallet. The victim is Quentin's roommate Kevin. Vic guesses Kevin was beaten with the toaster: "Glad this guy's his best friend. I'd hate to see what he'd do to his enemies." That remark will certainly touch a nerve with Shane...

Kavanaugh arrives at the Barn and every cop present gives him the stink eye. He sets his briefcase on an unoccupied desk. Dutch asks if Kavanaugh can get in touch with Emolia. The Rat King becomes cagey (pun intended). Why does Dutch need to talk to her? Dutch figures she might know how to find Guardo. Kavanaugh doesn't know where Emolia is, but she'd mentioned moving to live with her sister in Seattle.

Dutch conversationally mentions that he thought Kavanaugh's investigation was over. Kavanaugh has started a new one related to Lem's death and is making a timeline on a suspect. He holds up a DVD of traffic cam footage from the night Lem died. In Vic's voluntary statement, he said he took a drive from I-10 to the Pacific Coast Highway to clear his head.

Dutch doubts Vic was involved; he was "extraordinarily tight" with Lem. Personally, it always seemed like Lem was closest to Ronnie. Dutch asks what reason Vic would've even had to do it.

The Rat King admits to having Edgar-veda tell Vic that Lem made a deal that involved giving up his former teammates. His plan was to tail Vic to Lem's hideout, then arrest him for aiding and abetting a fugitive. Vic, Shane, and Ronnie all lost their tails. Mere hours later, Lem was found dead. Whether or not Vic actually pulled the pin, "he had Lemansky killed because I gave him motive."

At the apartment complex, Ronnie suddenly stops in his tracks and picks up a newspaper lying near someone's door. A front-page headline proclaims: "Murdered Cop Was Dirty"; underneath is Lem's mugshot. It's a final slap in the face.

Back at the Barn, Vic demands of Claudette, "You knew about this shit?" "Lem gave 12 years to this department. God knows how many arrests," Shane jumps in. Why wasn't Lem's picture ever in the paper for doing good?

Claudette says the reporters found out about the IAD investigation and "brass couldn't control the spin." Vic knows the new chief has been itching to get someone for corruption and "pinned the horns" on Lem. She calls "a shitty ending to an ugly story."

"With the bad cop buried, you and the department get a fresh start, right?" asks Vic. Claudette is sorry about what happened to Lem and I think she's being honest. However, hiding heroin in his car and turning fugitive were choices Lem made on his own.

Vic says angrily, "Kavanaugh browbeat that admission out of him, then he threatened to dump him in Antwon's bottom bunk." Ronnie also defends his best friend: "He ran 'cause he was scared." Shane adds that Lem was forced to make another deal.

Claudette knows the only way another deal would've been possible is if Lem gave up other dirty cops, which didn't happen. Vic is stunned. Claudette adds that Lem was willing to do more prison time if IAD kept him away from Antwon, but he died before the agreement was finalized. "No," Shane says, in shock for a different reason.

The police council is making an official statement later. Claudette will make sure it's as respectful as possible. Vic guesses the spokesman will be everybody's least favorite city councilman. Shane is still whispering to himself: "Aceveda said that Lem gave us up. He told them about the money train." They realize they were set up into thinking Lem was a rat, not unlike what Agent Stahl did regarding Opie. Some nice Sutter symmetry there.

Vic notices the Rat King and asks Julien if he knows what's going on. Julien heard Kavanaugh is helping work Lem's murder, even though Lem was no longer a cop. Vic and Ronnie take off. Shane stays in the hallway by himself.

Dutch checked their suspect's passport. Rene arrived in L.A. 18 hours after Lem was murdered. Tina translates that into Spanish, then gives Rene's answer in English: "He says he's got two cousins who saw him kill Lemansky." Dutch asks for their addresses, which Rene claims not to know.

Vic wants to talk to Dutch. Dutch tells the rookie to run the cousins' names. Once Tina and Rene are gone, Vic locks the door and unplugs the camera. He isn't happy that Kavanaugh is working Lem's case. Dutch claims that wasn't his choice. "Don't dick me around," Vic warns. Dutch admits, "You're the angle [Kavanaugh's working]."

Shane is sitting in his truck outside the Barn, crying and holding his gun in his lap. He jumps out of his skin when Danny, carrying baby Lee, knocks on the window. Shane wipes off his eye and pastes on a false smile; he gushes that Lee looks so big and happy.

Danny lets Shane hold the baby. She came by to deal with health insurance paperwork and thought she'd let everyone see her son. Danny goes inside. Shane takes his gun off the front seat and puts it back in his holster.

Vic asks Kavanaugh if he should start making his own funeral arrangements: "Seems like every cop you investigate ends up dead." The Rat King got Lem blown up and is trying to make it Vic's fault. Kavanaugh thinks this is just the anger stage of grief talking. "At what point do your bosses realize you're as delusional as that sick, crazy, twisted ex-wife of yours?" asks Vic.

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Kavanaugh accuses Vic of murder. Vic charges Kavanaugh. Every cop in the Barn gets between them, all holding one or the other back. In the kerfuffle, Billings gets tipped over on his ass. "Mackey! Kavanaugh! Knock it off!" Phillips barks from the balcony. Billings whines that he got a lump on his head, even though that's not how he landed. Vic walks right past a shaken-up Danny and their newborn son without a word.

Upstairs, Phillips demands to know what happened between Kavanaugh and Vic. Claudette tells him it's not the first time; they brawled at Lem's crime scene and it took 9 uniforms to pull them apart. "This is you being discreet?" asks Phillips. The Rat King argues Vic started it both times; he was just defending himself.

Phillips reminds him that IAD is supposed to be neutral. "Objectivity doesn't lead to brawls and pissing matches," adds Claudette. Phillips pulls rank as assistant chief; Kavanaugh's investigation is officially over. The Rat King needs to leave the Barn or he'll be written up for insubordination.

Kavanaugh insists, "I have proof that Vic had Lemansky killed." Claudette and Phillips look doubtful. He's sure Vic had Emolia set up the whole thing. "You told Dutch you didn't know where she was!" says Claudette. Kavanaugh lies that Emolia called him because was scared to come forward. Claudette finds it more likely she just wanted more CI money. Kavanaugh says Vic threatened Emolia's kid.

Phillips is all "you're just telling us this now?" Kavanaugh knows Vic always worms his way out of everything. He just wanted his ducks in a row before he put her statements on record. Phillips wants to hear this from Emolia herself.

In a rundown apartment, Emolia is hiding behind the door with a butcher knife. Kavanaugh knocks on the door, calling that it's just her old pal. He lets himself in and asks if any other detectives have stopped by. Emolia says no.

Kavanaugh looks around and doesn't see any toys. Is Sebastio living with Emolia's mom full-time? Emolia wants her son to be safe; people know she ratted out Guardo. Isn't Vic still taking care of her? Emolia tells Kavanaugh that Vic and the guys called Sebastio a retard; she doesn't want anything to do with them anymore. Kavanaugh offers her a way to make that right.

Edgar-veda is straightening his tie in the city hall men's room when Vic startles him by popping out of a stall. Vic knows Lem didn't squeal and that Edgar-veda was in bed with Kavanaugh. Edgar-veda confirms the Rat King played them both.

"Your jones to hurt me let you turn a blind eye to what he was doing to Lem. You knew about the Antwon threat," Vic goes on. Lem got scared and ran, which ultimately got him killed.

"When do you ever take responsibility, Vic?" asks Edgar-veda. Vic shoves him. The councilman threatens, "If you weren't a heartbeat away from being forced out--" Vic rips his badge off his belt and tosses it in the sink. Is that what Edgar-veda and the Rat King want? He pushes his holstered gun into Edgar-veda's chest, snarling, "You wanna end a career, you do it straight up to someone who's still alive."

Edgar-veda's sorry about Lem. If that's true, Vic knows the councilman won't disgrace his memory. Edgar-veda argues it's not his call; he just works here. After a minute, Vic collects his badge and gun.

Emolia recites, "I say that Vic used me as a middleman to set up a hit on his guy." Kavanaugh nods; he'll give her more details later. Emolia thought he was supposed to stop cops from lying. He justifies that by reminding Emolia she isn't a cop, adding in the semantics that it's "just somebody else's truth." They'll make it clear Vic threatened her son, which made her feel like she had no choice.

Emolia thinks the Rat King's promises of monthly checks and a house with a pool are too good to be true. The Rat King insists "this here is real!"
"This here is real!"
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Dutch calls Emolia's name through the door. When that doesn't work, he starts knocking on the window. Kavanaugh whispers that he needs to know where Vic would normally meet her; it should be someplace public but not crowded. Emolia gives him the address of a sewing shop she occasionally works for.

Kavanaugh calls Dutch and tells him about the shop. Dutch already has some possible addresses from Emolia's sister and suspects she's dodging him. Kavanaugh swear it's solid intel, but this is Dutch's case; he can do what he wants.

Axl, the clerk at a porno store, is being tended to by an EMT. A rack of DVDs has been tipped over. Someone came in, shot the wall, called him a "sick shithead," then tried to shoot him. Axl cut his head diving for cover. Tina seems very interested in the cover art on an amateur porn DVD. Julien asks if Axl can describe the suspect to a sketch artist. Axl nods that he has a "photogenic memory."

Outside, Julien and Tina debate the morality of the porn industry. He sends her to look for witnesses across the street.

Vic asks Claudette if he's supposed to let Kavanaugh ruin his career too. Claudette is more interested in why Vic hasn't submitted his retirement forms; he's supposed to keep his head down so he can still collect a partial pension. "There's been a lot going on around here!" Vic says defensively.

Claudette hands Vic a folder; the paperwork inside retires him, effective immediately. Vic thought he had until his 15th anniversary. "Certain things are in motion," she says cryptically. This wasn't her call. Vic argues that she needs him. "I need people I can trust," Claudette replies lightly. Is there a reason she should help him?

Ronnie interrupts to tell them Quentin is at another methadone clinic. This time, he has hostages. At the scene, Vic exposits Quentin's captives are a doctor and a woman with her 3-month-old baby. Quentin's poured gasoline on the doctor and mother. Ronnie reports SWAT and a hostage negotiator are 30 minutes away. Shane hangs back. "Are you coming?" Vic asks loudly.

In the clinic, two gas cans are outside the exam room. Vic surmises Quentin plans to shoot them and torch the hallway, thereby sealing himself off. Vic wants someone to peek into the exam room through the skylight. They don't need to spook Quentin.

Shane is still spacing out. Vic is sure this is nothing he and Ronnie can't handle by themselves: "We got innocents soaked with gasoline. I need your head in the game." Shane swears he's okay.

Danny is relaxing on her porch with Lee when Corinne jogs up. Does Danny know where Vic is? Corinne hasn't seen him since Lem's funeral and thought the two of them might've moved in together. Danny says, "Me and Vic aren't a thing." "What about that thing in your arms?" Corinne fires back.

Danny goes into mama bear mode: "Don't you call my son a thing, you uptight bitch." Corinne argues she's just a realist; Danny has no idea who she's gotten involved with. If Danny thinks Vic will be there for Lee, she has another thing coming.

Danny shrugs she can handle being a single mom. Corinne scoffs at that. "Just because you couldn't handle it doesn't mean I won't be able to," Danny points out.

Corinne wants to know what happens if Lee turns out to be autistic a few years from now. All babies seem fine at first and "there's a genetic predisposition for siblings." It takes two to make a baby, so Danny thinks Corinne might be the parent with bad genes.

Through the skylight, Vic sees mom and the doctor in a corner with the baby on the exam table. If they can get the kid out, SWAT can get between Quentin and the adults. Shane aims his gun down the hallway and whispers, "Jesus Christ. Don't hurt that little baby." Quentin is agitated, threatening to kill the baby if it doesn't stop crying. Shane drops his gun and heads for the exam room.

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Ronnie tries to stop him, but Shane keeps moving, even taking off his tactical vest. Shane calls, "The reason the baby's cryin' is because of the gasoline. The fumes are probably burnin' his eyes." Ronnie radios Vic for help. "Just hand the kid over to me, get a little peace and quiet," Shane continues.

Quentin opens the door, demanding to know who Shane is. The Southerner introduces himself as Shane Vendrell the unarmed cop; he throws in that a "quiet detective is a much better bargaining chip" than a screaming baby. Quentin shakes his head: "It's a con...just like everything else." He slams the door in Shane's face, pointing his gun at the mother.

"Open the door, buddy," Shane coaxes. When Quentin does, Shane starts pouring the gasoline on himself.
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Shane goes on: "Any point you think I'm lyin', you just flick your Bic, brother." Quentin shuts the door again. Shane asks if there's a closet or cabinet in the room; they can put the baby in there so it's not breathing gas.

Quentin, still holding his gun, awkwardly carries the baby to the small supply closet and closes the door. "I told you you could trust me," smiles Shane. Quentin flips on the lighter. "Vic, the psycho's goin' for Shane," Ronnie says tensely. With no time to waste, Vic jumps right through the skylight. Quentin fires at him.

Shane tries to tackle Quentin. Ronnie shoots at the suspect, then asks if Vic is okay. "I took one in the vest. Check the kid," Vic groans, his arms shredded from the glass. Shane returns the baby to its mother.

"You wanna tell me what the hell happened back here?" Claudette demands of him. Vic tells her, "We just saved 3 innocents from a homicidal junkie." "You lied to me! You lied!" Quentin screams and sobs as they leave.

The description of Axl's attacker is vague as can be: a black man in his 20's with earrings. Claudette goes to the observation room, where Billings is lying on the couch with an ice pack on his head. Does he mind taking over the porn shop case? Billings would love to, but he's still a little woozy.

Claudette suggests he go home.  Billings doesn't like that option either: "If I leave now, it chews up one of my personal days." No worries, though, he'll be fine. "Thank God," says Claudette. Billings misses the sarcasm.

Claudette asks Tina and Julien to pass out the sketch to other local porn stores. The suspect might also be a regular. Tina still doesn't have addresses for Rene's cousins. Dutch went to the sewing shop to find Emolia, but it was closed.

In interrogation, Emolia spins her tale about setting up Lem; Vic offered her $500 to do it. He was supposed to pay her yesterday and never did. She was scared that Vic might kill her and Sebastio, so she called Kavanaugh. The Rat King wants to wait for Phillips before they talk more specifics.

On the balcony, the Rat King tells Dutch that Emolia moved their meeting spot 3 times after she called about the sewing shop. He ultimately found her at a coffee shop. "No harm, no foul," Dutch shrugs.

"Ow! Easy!" Vic grunts as Corinne stuffs an ice pack up his sleeve in the ER. Corinne hopes Vic has another bag of cash stashed away for the "years of therapy" the kids will need. Cassidy internalizes everything, just like her dad. "Doing okay?" Shane asks cheerily, now in fresh clothes. Vic says, "I'll live as long as my ex isn't the one taking care of me." Corinne leaves to summon the X-Ray technician.

Shane assures Vic he's fine other than still smelling like diesel. "Just like Ronnie's aftershave," Vic jokes. On a serious note, what the hell was Shane thinking earlier? "My plan wasn't turning you into a Duraflame," says Vic, "I've had enough funerals for one week."

Vic knows they've all been beating themselves up about Lem, but it's nobody's fault except Guardo's. He tells Shane that Phillips and Claudette are forcing him to retire. Shane has to quit being reckless because Vic couldn't stand losing him too. Shane pats Vic's uninjured arm: "You won't."

Something isn't adding up for Dutch. Vic definitely has questionable ethics and could be capable of killing another cop, but Lem? Dutch is sure he heard one person, maybe two, inside Emolia's apartment, but no one answered. The timing of Kavanaugh's call was odd.

However, Dutch doesn't think Kavanaugh has motive to lie. The Rat King wouldn't even bend the rules to help his ex-wife. Claudette knows Vic won't retire without a fight. She wants to find out what he has to say about Emolia's version of events.

"Cruising for interns?" Vic asks when Dutch shows up at the ER. Dutch gets right to the point: Emolia has accused Vic of hiring Guardo to kill Lem. Vic chuckles, wondering what Kavanaugh offered her. Witness protection, same as Lem. Vic needs to give a formal statement.

Phillips doesn't like Emolia's chances against Vic's lawyer, especially without corroborating evidence. Kavanaugh asks to reopen his investigation. He also wants Dutch off the case because he doesn't know where his loyalties lie. Phillips agrees, but will soundly discipline Kavanaugh if this gets personal again. He's talking demotion.

Dutch has Claudette sign a request for surveillance footage across the street from the coffee shop. Julien caught a break: His suspect went to 4 other porn shops and bought every copy of a certain DVD. Dutch examines it: "I'm not familiar with the Dick 'N Granny series."
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Interestingly, their victim Axl, produced, directed, and starred in the movie. "Your Richard Nixon mask a reflection of your political bent or are you just afraid to be associated with your own smut?" Claudette asks curiously. Axl explains the gimmick: "I'm Richard Nixon and I'm dickin' Granny."

Dutch gets that part. But who's his costar? Whoever tried to shoot Axl has been buying up every copy. Maybe they took exception to "dickin' Granny." Axl doesn't remember who starred in Dick 'N Granny #3, just that it was a first-timer.

Dutch steps out to take a call from Vic. "Anyone ever tell you that you have incredibly expressive eyes?" Axl sleazes at Claudette, "Ever been on film?" Claudette has a question of her own: Has Axl ever been in a mug book?

Supposedly, Vic can't come in right now due to a family emergency. Claudette knows he'll run out of those and they'll get the truth. There's a ruckus down in the cage. "Hard to believe this place was ever a church," says Dutch.

Claudette will find Axl's costar tonight and follow up. Dutch warns her this kind of pace is bad for her health. Claudette shares a secret: If she doesn't turn the Barn around before the quarterly statistics hit the chief's desk, "they might be saying Mass down there again real soon."

Claudette shows an older black woman the DVD case and the police sketch. Does she know either man? "Edmond!" the woman calls. Julien catches someone, presumably Edmond, running out the back door. "Drop that gun!" he orders. Tina arrives to back Julien up: "Drop the gun, asshole, or I will shoot." Edmond complies, but asks, "Why'd you do it, Grandma?"

Granny explains to Claudette how she came to be an elderly porn star. Edmond got arrested 6 months ago for grand theft auto. She starred in the movie to pay his bail. Outside, the kid is still screaming things like, "Why'd you be his whore?"

Vic confronts Kavanaugh at his house: "You got Emolia to lie for you....You think I'm a cop killer? Maybe I am. You're a cop, right?" That sounds like a threat to the Rat King. Vic just wanted to let the bad guy know he's onto him; that makes criminals change tactics and slip up. Kavanaugh tells Vic he's wanted for questioning in Lem's murder.

Dutch now has the address for Rene's cousin Gavino, but nobody seems to be home. Shocker. Dutch follows a cat around the side of the house. Along the way, he sees at least 6 more. "Oh, that's gross," Tina exclaims, noticing a cat eating what looks like human flesh. There are bloody paw prints on the ground.

Dutch pushes open the back door. Gavino is bloodied, dead, and partially eaten. Dutch radios for a CSI team. Gavino is one of three or four victims. Dutch turns on the lights. Blood and body parts are literally everywhere. "You gotta be shittin' me," he says.

Vic apologizes to Corinne for not seeing the kids this week. He also tells her Kavanaugh thinks he had something to do with Lem dying. Corinne thinks that's ridiculous. The late news is on. Vic hurries into the living room and turns up the volume.

On screen, Edgar-veda says: "Last year, Captain Rawling initiated an inquiry into  the Farmington Gang and Drug Unit. Supervised by Lieutenant Kavanaugh from IAD, this department conducted a 7-month investigation..." Cassidy comes out to say hi. Vic snaps at her to go back to her room.

In a bar, Ronnie is watching the same news report. Edgar-veda has changed the subject to Lem: "No doubt the thought of spending years in prison was a frightening proposition." Back to Vic. "We'll never know what triggered Detective Lemansky's reluctance to serve his time..." Oh yes, we know, you damn liar.

"...Less than 24 hours later, he was found brutally murdered." Julien kneels at Lem's grave. "Someone dropped a live grenade in the front seat of his car." In an alley, Shane hooks up with Moses' girlfriend. "That murder investigation is ongoing and as of yet, no suspects are in custody. Our condolences go out to Detective Lemansky's friends and family."

Edgar-veda believes there's a message in the tragedy, "one that I hope will shake this department to its core. Breaking the law and wearing a badge is a dangerous combination. And this city will not tolerate it." We see drawings from the kids and a picture of a smiling Vic in uniform. There's a framed shot of Vic, Shane, Ronnie, and Lem drinking together. "This department will not tolerate it." On the wall is Drug Enforcement Award earned by Vic.

Over the next 18 months, the police council's goal will be stopping corruption. Kavanaugh goes through Vic's desk and finds an envelope of photos of Vic's kids. Edgar-veda promises that cops found breaking the law "will be relieved of duty and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Just as Detective Curtis Lemansky was being prosecuted for his corrupt actions."

"You son of a bitch," Vic hisses. Edgar-veda says Farmington needs trustworthy officers. Screw you, Lem was trustworthy as they come. Edgar-veda wants everyone in Farmington who wears a badge to have reason to be proud again. "Nothing personal," Kavanaugh mutters as he leaves Vic's place. End of episode.