Friday, March 24, 2017

Dutchboy In the "Dog House" (Episode 4.4)

Previously on: Dutch offered to rein in Claudette so he can get back to investigating so-called "real" crimes. Antwon's dealers have been selling off their crack to make room for heroin and Shane could be in on it. Monica started enforcing federal asset-forfeiture laws.

Edgar-veda sits down with Bill, another councilman, worried about how property seizures will impact his constituents (and therefore their votes next election cycle). He pretends he's concerned the policy will lead to more corruption, as it has in other cities. Edgar-veda asks to be in a position of power on the police committee. He knows what should be done, but as of now doesn't have the authority. "That's what the other councilmen are afraid of," says Bill, "Think you might try to shove something down their throat." Poor choice of words given what happened to Edgar-veda last season.

Throughout their time at the bar, Edgar-veda has been eyeing up a woman in a tight sweater. She saunters over and introduces herself as Sara. She joins him for a cigarette and remarks that she hasn't seen him before; however, his friend seems familiar. "I hope, for his wife's sake, he wasn't a john," says Edgar-veda. Sara thinks she needs to get her cop radar checked. Edgar-veda isn't interested in arrested her.

Edgar-veda conversationally asks where Sara is from. She just moved to L.A. from Phoenix and likes it so far. "There's a lot to like," Edgar-veda agrees and I'm sure he's not talking about Rodeo Drive or sightseeing on Hollywood Boulevard. Sara gives him a business card and leaves.

Shane and Army meet with some of Antwon's goons. They aren't pleased about "cops with Kodaks takin' cars and shit." Shane, like TLC, has a strict policy.
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The One-Niners are also a week behind on tips. Next time, he talks to Antwon personally or no one at all. Halpern wonders whether Shane's forgotten how much he's into Antwon for, threatening to rat on Shane if he doesn't help them.

Shane pulls Army aside for a private conference. "Are we involved in some shit beyond hookers that I don't know about?" asks Army. Shane is sure this is no big deal; Antwon is just slow on the quo of their quid pro quo arrangement. He then starts beating up Halpern, using his handcuffs as makeshift brass knuckles. Army pulls his gun and makes Halpern's friend finish the beating.

A.D.A Insardi asks Dutch to look into Maurice Webster, a drug dealer who's supposedly a major player. Drugs aren't Dutch and Claudette's forte, but Insardi is sure they can handle it.

Corinne is excited about the possibility they may have an offer on their house. "Why does Mom have to move?" asks Cassidy, "What about my friends when I'm here?" Corinne just shrugs. Yeah, acting like you don't care whether your middle-schooler sees their friends is always a good game plan. Cassidy and Vic have to leave while the realtor is there, but she wants to go to her room and get her stuff. "Nobody's gonna touch your things," Corinne promises.

Vic gets a phone call and has to go to work. Cassidy hangs her head sadly.

At the crime scene, a suburban home, a woman is being wheeled out by the paramedics. Vic quietly tells Monica, "I appreciate the call, but rape's not usually my thing." "Fugitive recovery is," says the captain. Oscar Ruiz was due to appear in court on three sexual assault charges and found an open window to get in this victim's house. He got loose at 7:30; the 911 call came in two hours later.

Monica plays the answering machine tape. Myrna, the victim, tells her boyfriend Joe that she slept with someone else. Her voice is flat, then tearful: "He's better than you are. He's a real man." Sounds like she's under duress. Joe seems to get that feeling too, asking if somebody is there making her say this. Joe then tells Myrna he's calling the police and will be right home. Vic is now even more fiercely determined to catch Oscar.

At the Barn, Dutch exposits that forcing victims to call their husbands or boyfriends is part of Oscar's M.O. He put together a list of Oscar's known friends, including a fiancee who lives in Farmington. Oscar left Myrna's house at 9:15 with trophies: a gun and clothes from the closet. Dutch is concerned that Oscar will be on a rape spree until they catch him. Another piece of Oscar's M.O. is disguising himself as a flower deliveryman.

Vic takes issue with Dutch referring to Oscar as the stay-at-home rapist: "The women stay home. This guy goes out and rapes." "Nicknames are meant to be catchy, not literal," says Dutch. Somebody needs to go to sensitivity training. Monica thinks Vic can take things from here.

Monica and Vic sit down with Emily, one of Oscar's victims. Monica offers up a police department safe house. The sheriff's deputies thought they had Oscar contained downtown and it took time to realize he slipped past them. If Emily doesn't want to go to a safe house, Vic can post some uniforms at her place. Emily decides she'd rather stay at the Barn.

Vic and Ronnie pay a visit to the body shop where Oscar's roommate Felix works. Oscar came to the shop earlier, pleading innocence. He was facing life in prison, so Felix gave Oscar some money to go to Mexico. Vic tells Felix that Oscar is still in the States and raped another woman. Oscar knows where Felix keeps a spare key to their apartment.

Shane tells Antwon he's sorry about the beat-down, but nobody owns him and Army. Antwon concedes that Halpern was out of line. He gives Shane a bundle of money. Shane wants more tips and "I'll make sure you get by, same as before."

Antwon complains the cops are coming after the One-Niners like storm troopers. "Well, I'm your Luke Skywalker," says Shane. The cop running the seizure detail happens to be his best friend. Once Antwon starts making himself more useful, Shane will step up the protection.

Monica tells Edgar-veda she has to reschedule their meeting because a rapist escaped from the courthouse and attacked someone. He still wants to talk about the seizure program because it's important. More important than catching that bastard? I think not. Monica officially assigns Dutch and Claudette to Maurice's case. They shouldn't waste time.

Ronnie has posted Oscar's mugshots in all the nearby flower shops and supermarkets, but hasn't been able to track down the fiancee yet. Vic tells the uniforms to start the search at Oscar's old apartment, then fan out.

Lem might have a way to get to Antwon. It seems Antwon's oldest son, Donald III, sells fake IDs out of his van in the DMV parking lot. Donald definitely didn't inherit the criminal mastermind gene; there's probably cameras all over the place. The kid dropped out of private school to join the family business. Vic tells Lem not to arrest Donald for a few days; he needs to test a theory.

Ronnie jumps in the truck; someone just spotted Oscar nearby.

Edgar-veda thinks Monica is pushing too hard with the seizures. He suggests she play Officer Friendly at some local churches and watch groups instead. The current policy makes it look like she's targeting blacks and Latinos. "That's who's here. We target the criminals," Monica disagrees, adding, "Most of their victims are black or Latino." Edgar-veda wants unspecified modifications to make the plan more civilian-friendly and lets her know that he might be joining the police committee.

"We don't answer to the police committee on this," says Monica. He corrects, "Not yet." Monica takes a phone call. Vic and Ronnie just missed Oscar at a flower store. Vic needs as many officers as possible to blanket the neighborhood.

Danny and Julien are looking for Raga, the main tagger for the One-Niners. They're in a territory dispute with another gang: the Po' Boys. Must be transplants from Louisiana. Raga keeps targeting a specific freeway sign. Danny and Julien get called away before they can decide whether to post there for the night.

Claudette can't believe a 60-year-old dealer like Maurice has never been arrested. His only criminal charge was a possession citation in 1989. Dutch is sure it's important or Insardi wouldn't have them working on it. After all, they were specifically requested. "Because everyone else is out hunting a rapist," Claudette reminds him.

Ronnie found out Oscar just called his fiancee. She tipped him off about the police looking for him. At another house, a woman is on a stretcher. "I'll be right behind you," her husband/boyfriend promises. Enraged, he smashes something in the kitchen. "Son of a bitch!" he howls, ripping a cabinet right off the wall. The man sits down hard on the floor and starts crying.

Julien didn't find anything during his canvass. More uniforms are posted at train and bus stations; Oscar has relatives in Fresno. Monica suggests Vic get a psych profile from Dutch. They have to get creative.

Vic talks to a gangbanger named Suvuto, even though Oscar isn't affiliated. "God's work ain't cop's work, homey," says Suvuto, who has a crown of thorns tattooed on his skull. Vic is sure Jesus wouldn't mind. Suvuto tosses out something that sounds like a Bible quote but isn't: "He who persecutes my brother persecutes me." Vic asks, "What about he who rapes my mother or my sister?"

Oscar has raped 5 women that they know of; he further humiliates his victims by making them call their husband or boyfriend and tell them how good Oscar was. He escaped from the courthouse today. Suvuto will keep an eye out. Vic tells them Oscar usually pretends to be delivering flowers.

Carl the uniform pulled over Slick, a guy with joints in his car. Dutch tells the suspect about the new asset seizure program. Does he really want to start a criminal career at age 40? Dutch gives Slick one chance to name his dealer. Slick says Maurice is just a friend who grows a few plants at home.

"Three plants in his backyard? The D.A.'s office is trying to make us look like idiots," Claudette opines on the balcony. She and Dutch tell Monica that Maurice is strictly small-time. Claudette shakes her head: "Crushing crime, one blunt at a time."

Edgar-veda runs Sara's name and finds she's never been arrested, at least not in Los Angeles. Monica catches him, so he lies that he was looking up potential employees. "Resources are for law-enforcement personnel only," Monica says coldly. Edgar-veda counters that, as a reservist, he is personnel. Monica guesses he stayed on because he didn't put in enough time for a 10-year pension.

In the parking lot, Edgar-veda says seizing assets from an already-poor community looks bad. Monica refuses to compromise on the policy. She also correctly guesses that this might be about the city council getting a cut of the profits, which is well above her pay grade. Edgar-veda offers to set up a public forum where Monica can explain the policy and answer citizens' questions.

Antwon tells Shane and Army he knows someone who smuggles Mexicans over the U.S. border. Neither cop is impressed. Army's mom has "half a dozen sleeping in the back room on any given night." This is different, though; according to Antwon, these Mexicans are held hostage until a family member agrees to pay a $5,000 "relocation fee."

Shane and Vic pass each other in their respective cars. Hunting a rapist is wearing Vic down, so Shane offers to swap for his "coyote farm" case. Vic wants a break, not charity. Shane thinks of it more as a peace offering.

They bring the idea to Monica, but every available officer is looking for Ruiz. She does, however, promise to see what she can do. Walking out of the Barn, Shane sees Lem standing by the cage and remarks, "Look what the rat dragged in." Don't you talk about my Lemming that way!

Vic says Lem is just there to tell what he knows about a garage on Third that sells stolen airbags. I'm not sure what the profit is in that, but I'm no car expert. Lem doesn't see either of them and Shane slips out the back door.

Dutch confronts Insardi about wasting his and Claudette's time with Maurice. The ADA gives up her endgame: Maurice is about to testify for the defense in a murder trial and she wants to undermine his credibility. Dutch, of course, is not happy about this. "You wanted out of the doghouse, remember?" Insardi reminds him. If Dutch doesn't like this deal, she'll gladly put him back where he was.

Claudette tells Dutch to get someone else to go undercover with Slick. Dutch gets pissy, saying it's their case and ordering her not to walk away from him. Claudette looks like she'd love to give him a whipping with the folders she's carrying.

Danny and Julien try to keep a mob of angry citizens under control. The people are attacking an overturned flower shop van with baseball bats. Vic happens upon the scene. "They think it's your guy. They just started chasing him and he called 911," Danny reports. Vic yanks someone off the van, looks at the driver, and shouts to the crowd, "He's not the rapist! He's Chinese, for chrissake! What's wrong with you people?" The deliveryman is terrified, but otherwise unharmed.

Suvuto apologizes to Vic about his friends getting overzealous. "If he's a Chinaman driving an actual floral truck, feel free to assume he's not our escaped Hispanic rapist!" Vic says. He didn't ask for a lynch mob.

At the Barn, Monica asks why Vic put a street gang on the payroll. Vic only wanted street intel from them. "I got the genie back in the bottle," he promises. Monica counters, "Maybe you should've asked the genie for three wishes." Is he planning to burn her? A lot of people warned Monica about Vic and she's thinking she should've listened.

Emily has been sitting in the squadroom all day because she's afraid to go home. Has Vic talked to Dutch? Vic finds him in the breakroom eating a sandwich. "Deputizing vigilantes, I gotta write that one down," says Dutch. Vic argues he's just trying to keep Oscar from raping anyone else. He's got eyes on Oscar's roommate, fiancee, and the border: "I need you to drop some profile bullshit on me, preferably something useful."

Dutch knows Oscar has raped two women in a day when he used to do it once every few months. What else does Oscar binge on? Most rapists are loners and loners become creatures of habit. (Dutch would know). Does Oscar like soccer, video games, porn? He might indulge in other things he missed in prison.

Claudette goes to Slick's house with the story that weed is the only thing that helps curb the side effects of her mom's chemo treatments. He brings her two bags. He normally charges $20 apiece, but her mom will be getting a freebie.

Edgar-veda calls Sara from a payphone, wanting to set up a "date." He needs to take more precautions than most people because he's a city councilman and reserve police officer. Sara tells him to come over tonight.

Roommate Felix claims to have no idea what kind of hobbies or habits Oscar has: "He'd get his takeout and close his door. All day, every day." He always brought home chicken pot pie from Clucky's.

Vic shows Oscar's mugshot to the Clucky's waitress, who confirms he was there an hour ago. Oscar is looking for a car and asked the waitress what she drives. He also asked her out, but she told him that she's engaged. She doesn't know that's quite possibly one of the worst things she could've said.

In the parking lot, the waitress, Vic, and Ronnie discover her passenger door has been jimmied. Nothing is missing except her registration paperwork, which has her home address on it. Vic and Ronnie hurry to the waitress's house. Through the kitchen window, Ronnie sees Oscar leaping a nearby fence.

Vic chases him down the street, but is unable to follow him over another fence. K-9 Officer Cummings arrives and unleashes his dog. Vic and the handler follow the dog into the alley. The dog corners Oscar in a shed. Over the barking, we can hear the rapist screaming. "Should I call him back?" asks Cummings. Vic replies, "Not yet."

Vic tells Oscar to throw his gun outside. Ronnie appears, carrying the gun Oscar dropped in the street. Cummings asks again if he should call off the dog. "This guy raped five women, two today," Vic growls. Cummings gets it: "Yeah, he might still be packing." A few more minutes go by before Vic decides Oscar has had enough.

Monica tells Emily that Oscar has been arrested and a police dog ruptured one of his testicles in the course of subduing him. "They say dogs are a good judge of character," says Monica.
Case in point...
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Emily is teary-eyed but relieved.

Shane thanks Antwon for his tip about the coyote farm, adding that he's not an unreasonable man: "You work with me, I work with you. Keep both our asses in the clear." Shane tells Antwon someone is looking into the garage dealing in stolen airbags. Antwon is more concerned about the seizures. Shane is working on that.

Slick doesn't understand why he's been arrested; he doesn't make trouble, hurt people, or sell to kids. Going to jail over three plants isn't right. Monica tells Claudette and Dutch that Insardi is taking over the case.

Ronnie went to the garage and found out the airbag guy isn't there anymore. "Shane tipped him off about it," says Vic. He warns Lem and Ronnie to watch what they say around the resident redneck. Lem's part of it now.
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Vic has a plan: Have Lem arrest Antwon's son Donald for his fake ID scam and let the guy feel the heat. Lem wants to know if Vic means Antwon or Shane. "Both," Vic answers.

Sara brings Edgar-veda a drink. She wants him to proposition her so she knows this isn't a sting. Edgar-veda wants to have sex with her; she just has to name her price, which turns out to be $600. He grabs her wrists when she tries to undress him, but lets go when she says it hurts.

Sara lays out some rules of her own. Slapping is okay as long as he doesn't leave bruises. No scratching or blood. Hair pulling is also fine if he doesn't pull her hair out. She doesn't mind choking unless it hurts. They'll have a safe signal.

Danny and Julien are staking out a graffiti hotspot. They learn their master tagger Raga is a girl. She starts to spray the overpass sign. "Sorry to ruin your masterpiece," Danny says, getting out of the car. Raga looks down at the highway below, contemplating jumping. Julien tells her it's not worth it.

Monica asks Raga who's calling the shots in the war with the Po' Boys; things will be easier on the girl if she talks. Danny asks what her nickname stands for. "Righteous angel, gorgeous ass," the teen replies. Monica smiles and admits, "I don't like the artwork, but I do admire the confidence."

Lem and Vic sit down with Donald III. Donald III is proud of the fact that he's a walking target because he's Antwon's son. Has he seen his dad recently? "Oh, that's right, he's got 10 other kids to look in on," says Vic. Donald III barely knows his dad, but Antwon lectures him about going straight. Vic thinks Antwon should take his own advice. "I don't like the dude, but I ain't gonna help the white occupation take him down either," says Donald III.

Shane tells Antwon he doesn't offer a guarantee. Antwon doesn't care about that, but is enraged that "they're trying to get at me through my blood." "You're starting to sound a lot like Halpern. Maybe you're thinking about dropping a dime too?" Shane says coolly. He'll get close to Vic again, just like they agreed.

Raga's mother isn't happy that "you've been holding my daughter all night for a little graffiti." Monica tells the woman that Raga tags for the most violent gangs in the city and gets a typical response:
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When Monica opens the interrogation room door, Raga is standing on a chair, drawing on the walls.
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"So where should we send the bill?" Monica asks.

Shane goes into the former clubhouse and notices Vic and Ronnie are still working the garage sting. He wants to rejoin the band, even though the Strike Team was officially dissolved months ago. But Army has to come along; they're a package deal. Shane doesn't realize he's in no position to make demands. Vic will try to make that happen. I'm kinda surprised Shane didn't say anything about how Lem better not come back either.

Monica announces to Dutch and Claudette that the D.A. wants them investigating a double murder. Claudette wasn't aware the D.A. assigned cases: "Exactly whose agenda were we servicing by targeting and rolling a three-plant drug kingpin?" Monica claims to have no idea what Claudette means.

Vic asks Monica about bringing Shane onto his task force. Monica doesn't know Shane "except for what's on paper. A lot of that's bad." Vic says that was just politics; Edgar-veda didn't like Shane. Monica thought the two of them had bigger problems that just that. "Well, brothers fight," Vic shrugs. Monica agrees to let Shane on the task force because Vic vouched for him. End of episode.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The New Boss Starts Off With a "Bang" (Episode 4.3)

Previously on: Monica was brought in to replace Edgar-veda. Dutch and Claudette were blackballed by the D.A.'s office because the latter is reopening cases tried by a drug-addled legal aid attorney. Monica is starting a new gang task force and gave Vic a week to convince her that he should run it. Lem quit the Strike Team, mostly for health reasons, and transferred to Youth Authority. 

Antwon Mitchell fancies himself as a reformed gangbanger, but Vic knows he's still calling shots for the One-Niners. Shane stole a dead dealer's Blackberry because his name was in it and may be in bed with Antwon. The One-Niners started selling off all their crack to make the jump to heroin. 

Julien tapes off an accident scene. A car is wrapped around a streetlight. One of the casualties yells out, "What's up with my legs, man?" "I think that's Betty Johnson's boy," mutters a female witness. Another man lies dead on the sidewalk. Rap music is still blaring from the wrecked car. A uniform turns it off and we see a man dead in the passenger seat.

"Drive-by in the hood, that's original," Billings remarks as he arrives. Julien tells him all the victims were members of Spookstreet. They couldn't find the SUV's driver, but they did find half a key of heroin in the backseat. The paramedics don't think the guy asking why he can't move his legs will make it. No witnesses, also original.

Vic splits a pitcher of beer with Lem and Ronnie. He asks what the junior gangbangers are saying about Antwon. Lem confirms what Shane told them about the heroin shipments. Vic tells Lem his suspicions that Shane is involved in Antwon's business ventures. "Well, he's not my problem," shrugs Lem. Vic reminds him that Shane getting investigated by Internal Affairs could mean very bad things for all four of them; he could give them up in exchange for a lighter sentence.

In spite of all the bad blood between them, Lem is sure Shane wouldn't rat on them. "He was ready to go to jail for Mara when she almost killed Tavon," Vic says. Besides, Shane has more to lose now that he's a daddy. Ronnie says they have to cozy up to Shane again to keep an eye on him. Lem hasn't talked to him in months. As his bestie, Vic plans to deal with Shane himself.

Vic also went behind Lem's back and talked to his supervisor. Tomorrow, he'll be riding with Danny and Julien, who are looking into the One-Niners. Vic wants to be the first to know if they pick up any kids who start talking about Shane or Antwon.

Today is Monica's first official day as captain, which calls for a speech. She finds it unfortunate that everyone knows about the Barn's scandals, but not its successes. She knows the Barn is "full of wonderful people who want to make a difference." Monica starts to get nervous; she's not a good public speaker. "They say you should imagine your audience naked, but with this crowd, I wouldn't suggest it," Vic pipes up.

That turns out to be just the right tension-breaker. Monica puts down her note cards and speaks from the heart. She knows what it's like on the streets and thanks the officers on behalf of the public. Lem is watching her from the very back of the room. Monica believes the problems are not the employees' fault; it's bad policies and she wants to change them. The assembled cops applaud.

Farmington's denizens are mostly poor and some don't speak English. They only know three things: drugs, gangs, and fear. The police may not be miracle workers, but it's no secret things are too easy for the criminals. That too must change. People clap again.

Monica talks about the gang war brewing between Spookstreet and the One-Niners; five people are dead as the result of last night's drive-bys. She asks what Billings knows. He admits not much. The SUV's owner/driver is still in the wind.

"Starting today, all drug and gang-related homicides will go through Vic Mackey," Monica announces. She's assigned 10 detectives and 20 uniforms to work under him. Their job is to gather data on the 50 or so gangs who operate in Farmington. This is all deja vu to Lem.

Monica adds that everyone will also be enforcing federal asset forfeiture laws. Seized property will be sold at police auctions with profits split between the D.A.'s office, community programs, and the police department. Every guy except Lem cheers the grand reopening of the men's room. Monica plans to hire more people, authorize more overtime, and buy "equipment that actually works." Everyone laughs at the last one.

Informants will also get a cut of seizure profits: "Citizens whose fear and silence the gangs depend on. We are gonna make them a better deal than the bangers." Monica's aware that people are resistant to change, but they'll all make the community better.

Vic interrupts the speech to tell her about another gang shooting with two dead and one in critical condition. Monica wraps up by saying, "The job is impossible, but I can't do it without you. So let's get started."

Vic tells Monica, "I didn't think you could top fixin' the men's john." Monica warns him not to be too impressed; she still hasn't figured out how to set up her new voicemail. Vic wants to sweep for open warrants, send out extra patrols, and get as many Spookstreet and One-Niners off the street as they can. The gang war might only last a week or it could drag on for a year. Monica orders him to put a stop to it.

Edgar-veda's office has been turned into the gang task force's command post. Everyone has been assigned gang territory to map and will be issued a Polaroid camera to document gangbangers and their ink. Danny, Julien, and Lem are going to One-Niner turf to find out what sparked the war. I hope somebody told the uniforms to throw a few dozen packs of Rolaids in their glovebox. Danny thought Lem had transferred. "Half the Niners are under 17," Lem explains, "I mixed it up with the other half on the Strike Team."

Ronnie has a rap sheet on Choppa, the owner of the ruined Escalade. Teams are staking out Choppa's house and other places he hangs out. Vic tells him to have someone sit on his mom and girlfriend too. Stank runs the One-Niners and might know something.

Vic knocks on Antwon's door and it takes him a while to answer: "Tough getting up without a prison guard bangin' on your cell door?" Or has he been up all night calling shots in a gang war? Shootings probably spook the drug customers. Antwon claims to have no idea why everyone is warring. Vic knows they both want the same thing for once. Why don't they scratch each other's backs?

Danny and Julien stop a group of One-Niners. Big Crane, one of Lem's juvies, says they're just walking. "You wouldn't be 'just walking' to beef with Spookstreet, would you?" asks Julien. He wants to take their pictures, a new policy for people "dressing like they're representing." "They're just threads, man," argues Big Crane. Lem tells the kid not to make trouble for them.

Danny snaps photos of the kid and his numerous tattoos. She asks for his real name. "You mean my slave name?" he asks before giving it up as Tremaine Harris.

Vic sees Army and Shane doing a perp walk with a suspect. Vic casually mentions he didn't see Shane at Gilroy's funeral. Shane had bigger problems, "but I'll send Nancy a fruitcake if it makes you feel any better." He unwraps his order from a taco truck: a tortilla stuffed with money. Vic wants Shane's help with any drug-related reasons the gangs may be feuding; he covered his ass about Dead-Eye's Blackberry.

Billings has tracked down Choppa, who ran home to Mama, as Vic predicted. Vic goes to the door and lies they're looking for Choppa because his car was in an accident. He asks Choppa's little brother where he is. "He's in his room," the kid offers. Billings, Vic, and a couple of uniforms head that direction.

Boxer-clad Choppa, it seems, got his nickname due to the grill he sports. One of the uniforms finds a gun in the room. Vic asks who shot Choppa's car and friends. Choppa replies that he wasn't there. "Where are your clothes?" asks Vic. A beat, then, "You don't live here." Vic marches Choppa into the next room, opens the washer, and pulls out a bloody T-shirt. "Told you to wash my shirt, Mama," says Choppa.

Monica sends Claudette and Dutch to an armed robbery that was committed with a deadly weapon. The victim is at Mission Cross, suffering from burns after being splashed with scalding coffee. Claudette thinks a uniform could handle the case. Monica can't assign them to anything more important until they make nice-nice with the D.A. "Impressive. Only 6 months into our unflinching moral stand and already the results are devastatingly effective," says Dutch.

Choppa admits to being stopped at a traffic light when someone started shooting at the passenger side of his car. He bolted as soon as the gun went off. Vic asks if he's sure it had nothing to do with the heroin he was driving around. Choppa makes the classic Cops argument: "That shit wasn't mine." The drugs belonged to his dead friend.

Monica is sure Choppa knows more than he's saying. If he didn't see anyone, how did his guys know who to retaliate against? As if the guy even knows the meaning of that word.

Dutch thinks Claudette should apologize to the D.A. because "I deserve out of the doghouse." Claudette refuses. "You don't have to mean it," says Dutch. Rodrigo, the convenience store clerk, describes the attack. A customer asked if the coffee was fresh and after being assured it was, he bought a cup. Rodrigo opened the register to make change and the coffee was thrown at him. The robber grabbed cash out of the drawer.

Suddenly, gunshots ring from somewhere else in the ER. The female uniform with Rodrigo calls it in. A security guard in the waiting room has been shot in the leg. Someone else lies dead nearby. When Vic gets there, his first question is, "Where's Corinne?" Fortunately, she was off today.

Dutch lays out what happened. Harold Pinker AKA Oink of Spookstreet was in the ER to have a broken finger set. Two kids in One-Niners colors came in and told the nurses they were there to visit a friend. Once they were let in, they opened fire on Oink. Monica asks why the hospital doesn't have metal detectors. "They can't afford thermometers," says Vic. Monica tells Dutch and Claudette to stay with the convenience store robbery.

Back at the Barn, Vic throws the remainder of Choppa's soda into the gangbanger's face. He informs Choppa that his cousin Oink was shot dead by One-Niners in the ER. The police found more heroin in Choppa's house. Vic wants the name of who started the war. Choppa is going to prison whether or not he cooperates. Doesn't he want to do right by his cousin? Shane sticks his head in to tell them that Choppa also goes by Goldie G and is a wannabe rapper.

On the balcony, Vic makes the introductions. In the observation room, Shane shows them a DVD that's half rap video and half amateur porn. Choppa's costar has tattoos that signify she's a One-Niner girl. Her moans were used to make the backbeat of the song. "Never thought of myself as a prude, but it might be time to reconsider," says Monica.

Danny and Julien walk up to a park where teen girls with babies are hanging out on benches. "You met the guys, get ready for their better halves," says Lem. A sign on the fence declares the park is a crack-free zone. Danny remarks, "Heck of a place for a Mommy and Me class."

One of the girls, Tanika, wishes Lem had brought Julien around sooner, then she wouldn't have a broke baby-daddy. One could argue that she still would, given how little cops are generally paid. Lem asks if Antwon had anything to do with the drive-bys. "Nah, he's straight up. He built this park," Tanika says.

She doesn't know Antwon personally, but she does know three (count 'em, three) of his baby mamas. Danny is curious how many he has. "Why? You lookin' to get knocked up?" asks Tanika.
Danny's reaction
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Vic sits Choppa down in front of the DVD. Choppa says he never caught the girl's name. "Bet you caught something else," quips Monica. Choppa knew she was a One-Niner's woman, but "we don't throw down over bitches." Charming. Choppa made the DVD as a demo: "Y'all always jawin' about gettin' a job. This is my resume." Vic chuckles at the idea of this making Choppa famous.

Choppa gestures at the TV: "Check it out. I'm about to get it on with this other ho." "6 people are dead. Why are you smiling?" Monica asks in a chilly tone. Choppa shrugs that you can't buy street cred. Monica tells Vic to hurry up and find Choppa's pressure point. She's done, pardon the pun, screwing around. There's a reason she gave Vic a second chance.

Dutch is still griping about not being assigned a "real" case. Claudette suggests he pretend the robber is really a multiple murderer. "Well, now you're just getting me aroused," says Dutch. The scary part is he's probably not kidding. Dutch thinks fleeing on foot means the guy lives in the neighborhood; he might have priors and has learned from those mistakes. Claudette smiles that it's a good start.

Vic introduces Stank to Monica. Stank swears the One-Niners didn't start the war. The cops take him to the observation room and show him the DVD. Stank recognizes the girl, but doesn't say who she is. The DVD was made by the aptly-named Ghetto Bang productions, owned by a Terrence Ross. Shane offers to look into him, but Monica says no because he's not under her command. However, she's fine if Vic rides along.

Vic knocks on Terrence's door. Ghetto Bang is certainly ghetto with its advertising, using a single sheet of 8x11" printer paper for a sign. Inside, Terrence is previewing another porno film featuring a young black man having sex with a middle-aged white woman.

Vic is more interested in Choppa. Terrence is afraid to talk. Would he rather the cops check the birthdates of all his porn girls? Choppa wanted a demo and Terrence had everything he needed: cameras, girls, and Viagra. Terrence isn't just a smut peddler, though: "I do weddings and confirmations too." Choppa's costar is Bounce, "a video ho looking to hook up with the next Nelly." Terrence has her address in his Rolodex.

Dutch is at a different convenience store. Paramedics are tending to the owner, who only speaks Arabic. His niece translates that someone threw coffee in his face and robbed the store. Claudette asks for a description. The niece relays the question in Arabic. Uncle gets louder and more agitated. "Calm down. This is an investigation, not a goddamn jihad," says Dutch impatiently.
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Claudette looks like she wants to disappear.

"You might not recognize Bounce with her clothes on," Shane says to Monica. Bounce glares, "I don't do porn. I was dancing." Is that what they're calling naked doggy-style these days? Vic smiles and tells Shane this reminds him of old times. Shane suddenly has to leave.

Monica asks how Bounce got a black eye. Bounce is no snitch. Monica knows the girl has a 10-month-old baby and is on parole. If Bounce goes to prison, she'll lose her baby and Monica doesn't want that. Bounce doesn't understand what she did to violate said parole. "It's called consorting with a known felon," Vic explains.

Bounce was punched by Peter AKA Puppethead, her One-Niner baby daddy. He didn't like seeing her on video screwing another guy. "This war, it's about you?" asks Monica. Bounce cracks her gum: "Guess I'm the bomb, huh?"

Dutch sits down with Kyle, a convicted convenience store robber. They're running his prints against the coffee cup they found at the scene. "I always used a knife," says Kyle.

Monica pulls Dutch into the gang force command post so he can apologize to the Arab store owner. She assures the man that Dutch's comments in no way reflect departmental opinions about his culture or religion. The store owner and his niece both seem to accept this. He asks if they've caught the robber yet. Monica tells him they're still working on it.

When they leave, Monica turns to Dutch: "Borderline racism aside, I don't have time for this nonsense." Dutch is sorry; it's just so hard not seeing action. "It's my first day, I'm already tired of hearing it."

Vic warns the guys with him to be careful; Puppethead is bound to scare easily since his gang pissed off Spookstreet. Puppethead runs out the back and into an alley. Vic gives chase, throwing him up and over the fence he tried to jump, cheerleader-style.

Next time we see Puppethead, his face is all bruised up. He's having an interrogation room war council with Stank. In the observation room, Monica asks Choppa if Stank's the guy who shot his car. Puppethead won't admit to anything and Choppa isn't talking.

Monica wants to know if Vic has anything they can use as leverage. Ronnie looked into Choppa's financial situation. In addition to his apartment, Choppa owns a house. He made the down payment with cash and pays the mortgage with money orders. "Drug money," Monica muses. Choppa's mom and two siblings live in the house; she knows he's never had a legitimate job. "You're gonna tell Choppa we're takin' his mom's house?" Vic guesses. If he doesn't talk, they will.

The problem is that Choppa's siblings are both fairly young. "Be a huge PR nightmare," mutters Monica. The chief only okayed asset forfeiture because no other tactic has worked. Monica doesn't want to "give the naysayers any ammo" by evicting a family of three.

Monica and Vic go back in and announce to Choppa that they're taking his mom's house. He doesn't believe they can. Cut him outside watching the place get cordoned off with crime scene tape. Monica educates him about asset forfeiture laws. If Choppa wants to fight this, he has to pay out of pocket for a lawyer.

Vic and Ronnie tell Antwon that Puppethead started the war over his woman stepping out on him. Vic needs Antwon's help keeping the One-Niners from killing the rest of Spookstreet. If Antwon can convince people he's no longer gang affiliated, that should be a piece of cake.

There's been another coffee robbery, but this time, the beverage wasn't hot. The clerk got a picture of the robber with his camera phone. It's Kyle. As he's thrown in the cage, Kyle protests, "I was done with robbing 'til he [Dutch] put it back in my head!" Monica asks if they got the coffee slinger. Dutch confesses to letting too many details slip; Kyle's just a copycat.

Vic hears the tail end of this and says, "Way to go. Get assigned a simple robbery, cause a crime wave. Remind me never to put you on a murder case." Dutch hopes Claudette is happy, even though she had absolutely nothing to do with this mess.

Vic unlocks the cage. Choppa's dentist said he paid for his grill with cash and now "tooth fairy wants 'em back." I start having flashbacks to the Justified episode about the dentist who extracted someone's teeth without anesthesia...or permission. The kid removes the fronts and drops them in a plastic container Vic offers.

Lem has it on good authority that Antwon doesn't "strap his shit up. Guy's fathered a dozen children from 6 different mothers." He even impregnated a couple while he was in jail by smuggling out sperm. "You hit up that many women, you're bound to leave some serious scorn behind," says Vic. He asks Lem to find out their names. So far, nobody on the streets has mentioned Shane.

Choppa's mom bursts in with his siblings in tow, barking his Christian name: Aloicius. She demands to know what kind of trouble he's gotten them into. Who's in charge? Who put her and her babies out on the street? Monica is all too happy to take the blame for that. She's sorry for the way things worked out, but she found a place for the family in a shelter. Social Services can help them look for a new permanent home.

"You wanna help? Gimme my home back," says Mama Choppa. Her elementary-school-aged daughter is on the verge of tears. "My boy got shot at! He's innocent." "Your boy bought your home with drug money," Monica counters. Mama Choppa tells Monica she doesn't know what it's like trying to survive in Farmington; she's sure the captain doesn't have kids because "no mother could do this." Monica reminds her that the six people killed in drive-bys were also someone's children and she's lucky a house is all she lost. Mama Choppa screams at Monica to shut up.
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Lem shows Danny and Julien where the kids who act as gang recruiters hang out. He greets Lil Bull, who seems to be their leader: "I got some people here wanna take you guys' picture. Gonna make you all famous." All smiles and big-brother attitude, Lem is not cut out for juvie. I know because one of my best friends used to work at what was basically kiddie prison. He was a decorated combat veteran and said those juvie inmates weren't to be underestimated.

One of the kids takes off down the block. Julien catches up to him pretty easily. The kid doesn't want his picture taken. Julien advises him to stop hanging around gangbangers and sends him on his way. No doubt he's seeing some of his stepson Randall in that boy; they're about the same age.

Vic is concerned about going into even more debt by suing the vaccine company. Vaccines DO NOT cause autism, okay??? Instead of hiring an expert witness, Vic wants to save money by getting Corinne's friend Gail to testify; she's the head pediatrician at Mission Cross.

Dutch interrupts Claudette, who's eating dinner by herself in the breakroom. He opines that reopening those cases isn't about right and wrong to her anymore; it's just about her pride. Said the self-centered loudmouth to no one in particular. He thinks she chose to shoot herself in the foot rather than become captain. She tells Dutch that if he feels that way, he's free to get a new partner. Dutch doesn't want to, but she's not leaving him much choice.

Upstairs, Monica surveys her gang turf maps. Danny thanks the new captain for putting her on the task force; it's nice to have a mission. Monica says, "Thank Vic. He recommended you."

Gail tells the Mackeys the same thing I said a few paragraphs ago: There is no scientific proof that vaccines and autism are linked in any way, shape, or form. She refuses to be associated with the lawsuit. Gail attributes the rise in cases to doctors getting better at recognizing autism. If Gail were in their shoes, she'd drop the lawsuit and love Matt and Megan for who they are.

Vic gets angry, sure this is a case of a doctor covering other doctors' asses. He storms out. Corinne accuses Gail of not wanting to help a friend. The double diagnosis cost her kids their future and Corinne her marriage. Maybe somebody should sit her down with autistic young adults who've gone on to lead happy, productive lives.

Julien goes to the junior gangbanger's house. He offers not to put the kid's picture up on the Wall O' Gangs if the kid considers making smarter choices. Not stays out of police trouble, just the considering. Julien knows how it is growing up in Farmington. Has the boy thought about church or sports? The kid isn't interested. Julien suggests the Police Explorer's Program. Shades of Southland.

Julien thinks the kid ran away earlier because he was scared and knows what he's doing isn't right. "You need to chill, Oprah," the boy sasses, "I ain't never gonna be no sellout cop." Julien leaves and takes the picture with him.

Monica looks at all the gang Polaroids the task force has managed to get. "We're gonna need a bigger room," she quips a la Chief Brody. She just heard that Antwon put up 10% of Puppethead's quarter-million-dollar bail. He probably has lethal designs on the rival banger.

Sure enough, when Vic, Monica, and Ronnie get to Puppethead's house, the front window has been smashed. In the bedroom, Puppethead's baby mama is packing a suitcase. She tells them that Antwon supposedly chained her baby daddy to a car and dragged him behind it.

Monica doesn't believe Antwon convinced his rivals to give up one of their own. Of course, they won't know until if and when his body turns up. Mama Choppa checked into the shelter and Choppa himself still isn't cooperating. Monica wonders why she feels like they already lost the war. "Well, we did," Vic says grimly. But at least they got the shooters. Nothing says Monica can't return the house.

Vic goes to Shane's new apartment, bearing a gift for baby Jackson. Vic thinks it's a good thing Jackson looks like his mom. Speaking of, Mara enters, still in her PJ's and bathrobe, holding a bottle of formula. She more or less shoves it in Shane's hand and walks back to the bedroom. Shane says Mara's still adjusting to motherhood.

Vic follows Shane to the kitchen. As Shane reheats the bottle, Jackson starts crying loudly. Reenter Mara, demanding, "If it wasn't warm enough, why didn't you say so?" Shane assures her that he can handle this. After he finishes feeding Jackson, he'll make Mara some lunch.

Vic tells Shane about the seizures and how they won't happen without the best of the best. Shane likes being on Vice and tosses out, "You killed our team, not me." That's debatable. Shane's attitude is a huge part of why Lem resigned, which ultimately led to the department pulling the plug.

On the gang squad, Shane would be working under Monica, not Vic. Shane still isn't tempted; he likes his new partner Army. Vic can try to have Army brought in. He keeps trying to sweeten the deal. The Barn is less of a commute. "Shane's doing just fine without you," says Mara, sitting on the couch.

Vic can tell he's getting nowhere. He compliments the couple on their beautiful baby. Shane promises to think about it. Once Vic is gone, Mara tells Shane she doesn't trust him. "It's not about trust anymore, baby," Shane whispers. Then what the hell is it about?

In the cage, Choppa shouts names at Monica for seizing his mom's house.

Dutch asks A.D.A. Insardi what Claudette can do to get out of the doghouse. Short of begging on her knees, nothing. "What if I control her?" asks Dutch, "She listens to me." Keep telling yourself that. Insardi expects Dutch to do her favors if she asks. I'm surprised he doesn't inquire as to whether these favors are sexual in nature.

Vic has unsuccessfully swept Choppa's house for drugs and didn't find anything. The family's property is still there. Monica initially expresses doubt about whether seizing the house was the right thing to do, but ultimately stands her ground. Offering considerations for special circumstances sounds too much like Edgar-veda to her.

Outside, Monica signs a paper and says, "Take it." Fade out on a moving truck backing up the house. End of episode.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Digging Your Own "Grave" (Episode 4.2)

Previously on: Monica Rawling was brought in to replace Edgar-veda as captain. Vic and Shane smuggled Gilroy, the former assistant chief, to Mexico. Edgar-veda was sexually assaulted by a suspect and his marriage is starting to fall apart as a result. We were introduced to Antwon Mitchell, a One-Niner who supposedly quit "the life" to become a community activist/motivational speaker. Shane might've killed Dead-Eye, a friend of Antwon's. Monica wants to start a gang task force using funds from property seizures. She wants Vic in charge but isn't sure she can trust him.

Shane and Army, his new Latino partner, are at some kind of massage parlor/porno store looking for Cromo. From the other side of a door, they hear a phone interrupting Cromo's sexytime. "This better be important, you goddamn bitch!" he snaps. Shane more or less tells Cromo he's their bitch now.

The girl Cromo was with looks awfully young. Shane confirms my suspicions by saying, "Raping a minor? Doesn't that violate some pimp code of ethics?" Cromo gives the old she-said-she-was-18 defense. Army finds a gun and drugs in the room where Cromo was having sex.

Vic asks what happened to Cal, a restaurant owner whose hand is wrapped in a bloody towel. The guy shrugs it off as a scratch and adds that he misses seeing the Strike Team at his place. "I figured with all the free meals, you'd be happy to get rid of us," says Vic. (Especially where pre-ulcer Lem was concerned; guy ate like a horse).

Cal wants a favor. Cyril, one of his employees, missed work for 2 weeks and suddenly showed up again this morning...to rob his former boss. Cal isn't worried about the money; Cyril only got $30. Vic asks if Cyril uses crack: "Only one thing turns a good kid into a thief that fast." Cal was afraid Vic wouldn't help if he knew Cyril was an addict. Maybe Vic can convince the kid to get help. If that's his goal, it would've been better to call Lem.

At the Barn, deliverymen bring in boxes of Polaroid cameras that Monica ordered. Remember when those were a thing? Danny asks what they're all for. Nina the secretary wants to know why she never got requests to order the cameras. Monica is "just curious" if Nina is leaving when Edgar-veda does.

"What are you doing in here?" Monica asks when Dutch follows her into the women's bathroom. Dutch explains, "Our men's room doesn't work. We all use this one." "No, we don't," Monica counters. I wonder if he's gonna tell her exactly how long the men's bathroom has been out of commission (3 years and counting). She stares at him until he gets the hint and leaves. Now she has another item for her to-do list.

When a male uniform tries to walk in the women's room, Dutch tells him it's occupied. "Hey, Dutch Boy's been promoted to bathroom monitor," jokes Vic. He passes around a picture of Cyril. If anyone sees him, Vic is their first phone call. Vic tells Monica about Cyril, but she says to clear it through Edgar-veda. She isn't in charge just yet.

Shane informs Cromo's underage lady friend that Social Services is coming to talk to her. Still up to his old tricks, he instructs Army to take two bags of drugs as evidence and pocket the third. Army hesitates. He has morals? Well, he won't last long as Shane's partner. "It's old-school Vice, baby," Shane tells him, "It's all good in the 'hood, brother." Army shoves a bag of drugs in his pants.

In a morgue anteroom, Vic apologizes to Gilroy's ex-wife Nancy. Hey, It's Her! Katey Sagal played the queen bitch of Charming, Gemma Teller-Morrow, on Sons of Anarchy. For this role, she's dressed much more conservatively. Nancy got a call from the Mexican police that they were shipping her husband's body stateside.

Vic explains to the coroner that they're here to identify Gilroy. The M.E. needs a minute. Vic asks how the Gilroy daughters are handling the news. Nancy hasn't told them. She doesn't get up when the M.E. says the body is ready: "I just don't wanna feel sorry for the piece of shit." Such a Gemma response.

The M.E. exposits that Gilroy was found with a bunch of fake Mexican IDs and an expired California driver's license. She pulls back the sheet. Vic immediately says, "Shit." Gilroy looks haggard. How did he die? "Take your pick," says the M.E. "Cirrhosis, malnutrition." Yeah, those two tend to go hand-in-hand. The official cause of death is Gilroy suffocated on his own vomit.

Looking closer at her clipboard, the M.E. realizes Gilroy used to be the assistant police chief. She wonders what happened that made him fall this far. Vic uses her response: "Take your pick."

Shane walks into the precinct with Cromo, bellowing, "YEEHAW! The pimp's in the Barn and we havin' a ho-down!"
Couldn't resist...
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Shane then calls his fellow officers "a bunch of sad little desk monkeys." "Who's the cowboy?" asks Monica. Vic tells her Shane was on the Strike Team and transferred to Vice after it dissolved.

Cyril the restaurant robber is only 17, which puts him squarely in Lem's jurisdiction. The kid has two hearings pending: crack possession and public lewdness. The second case resulted from Cyril getting oral sex on a park bench. The girl ran away, but was described as a small blond in her 20's with piercings, making it just this side of statutory. The address Cyril gave during that bust is different than his mom's. Either she moved or it's the mystery woman's place.

Lem remarks that it's weird seeing their clubhouse full of videotapes. Vic thanks him for unsealing Cyril's record. Lem heard Gilroy died and is sorry about it. Vic invites him to the funeral. Lem wants to know if Shane is going too. Vic acts like he has no idea, even though Shane is still his bestie.

During the getaway from a laundromat robbery, one of the suspects is shot in the chest. Danny pulls off the ski mask and is surprised to find a woman underneath.

Edgar-veda has an update on the Garage Sting. Nothing major has been observed after all their hours of surveillance. He accuses Lewis, the garage owner, of playing them. Lewis also recently violated the terms of their deal by setting up a shell corporation under his daughter's name. "I got 2 ex-wives and 5 kids," says Lewis, "I can't make a living with you guys perpetually up my ass." Edgar-veda thinks Lewis tipped off the big-fish clients.

In the observation room, Monica whispers to Vic, "Jesus, how'd you miss this?" Lewis offers to give them some bigger names. Edgar-veda says no, he's going to jail. On the balcony, he blames everything on Vic. Monica tells Edgar-veda to let Vic fix his mistake. They're interrupted by Nina announcing there's been an officer-involved shooting. The dead suspect is a blond woman in her 20's with a pierced nose; her partner in crime was Latino.

"Little Bonnie and Clyde shot and killed the manager for $11 in quarters," Billings explains at the laundromat. Clyde fled the scene. Bonnie has been identified as Hope Anthony; her address matches the one on Cyril's public lewdness arrest report. Vic has Danny show Cyril's picture to the witnesses.

Edgar-veda says, "Unbelievable. You were putting cops at risk by running this off the grid?" Vic argues that he didn't know the whole story. Edgar-veda puts Billings in charge of finding Cyril and tells Vic to go back to the Garage Sting.

Monica has a feeling Lewis wants to talk about more than he let on upstairs. She introduces herself as Edgar-veda's replacement. Lewis wants his deal back and no jail time before he tells her anything.

Corinne calls to let Vic know she sent him a package. "Is it ticking?" he jokes. Corinne named the family as plaintiffs in a class-action against a pharmaceutical company. It's the classic argument used by anti-vaxxers (and disproven by science): vaccines cause autism. Matt and Megan both received vaccines from said company. Corinne and Vic need to discuss their options with a lawyer.

Shane introduces Vic to Army. Hey, It's That Guy! Michael Pena is no stranger to L.A., having been Officer Navidad Ramirez in Gangster Squad and Officer Mike Zavala in End of Watch. Army's fresh from a 13-month tour in Iraq. Vic asks how he likes being partnered with Wild Bill. I half-expect Shane to rant about how "Wild Bill wasn't no range rider!" "Beats going door-to-door in Baghdad," says Army. I'd say anything would be preferable to that.

Vic wants to talk to Shane alone. He asks his old buddy who's dealing crack in Ashmore Heights these days. Shane isn't sure; the streets have been flooded with the stuff lately.

Vic informs Shane that Gilroy drank himself to death and asks him to come to the funeral. It's not about what a scumbag he was in life; it's about comforting his widow and children. Shane isn't paying attention to a word of this because he says, "Are you forgetting he threatened your family?" Vic shrugs that people do evil things for money and women; up until that point, Gilroy was a good friend. They should pay their respects. Interestingly, Shane doesn't ask if Lem is coming too.

Vic expresses concern about what happened at Dead-Eye's. The dead gangbanger was about to become a CI and give Vic dirt on Antwon. Shane swears he didn't have any kind of involvement with Dead-Eye. Vic seems satisfied with that.

Monica has plumbers in the Barn to get the men's room up and running again. Edgar-veda fusses those repairs will cost at least 35% of their budget. Monica doesn't care. She lets him in on her property seizure idea. "Citizens here can't afford lawyers to fight seized assets," says Edgar-veda. Monica doesn't particularly care about that either. She promises they're only going after drug dealers, pimps, and the like.

Edgar-veda questions the wisdom of putting Vic in charge. Monica reminds him just who wrote the letter that makes it impossible for her to transfer Vic elsewhere. She didn't tell him about her plan earlier because everything happened fast. After tomorrow, anything that results from the seizures will land squarely on her head.

Corinne has called in Dutch and Claudette. A rape victim wearing fishnets came to the ER and signed herself in as Olive Martini. She had no ID, just a Ralph's grocery store discount card. Olive's test results won't be back for a while.

That's fine, Dutch can grab a taco across the street. Corinne advises against Rullio's: "We treat at least 4 cases of food poisoning from there every week." Dutch wonders why there's an A from the health department in their window. "Stands for acute gastritis," Corinne returns. Oh, please don't tell me she's flirting with him! If she thought Vic was bad, Dutch is even worse. He's a psychotic cat killer, for God's sake!

"Did you say Room 6?" asks Claudette. Olive (or whatever her real name is) wasn't there.

Back at the Barn, Claudette offers to set Dutch up on a date with her boyfriend's friend. She works in public affairs, is smart, attractive, petite, and dark-skinned. "She's black?" says Dutch. Claudette didn't know that was a problem. Dutch protests that he's not racist: "I dated a black girl in college." Then he amends, "A quarter black. I mean, you could definitely tell."

All Dutch got off the Ralph's card was a fake phone number. Edgar-veda asks if they had the ER staff or the paramedics who brought her in look at mug books. That would be a no. Dutch and Claudette don't know where the rape took place, either.

"Is there anything you do know?" Edgar-veda asks nastily. Dutch looks at her card statement: "Last week, she bought 3 gallons of Chablis and 11 boxes of condoms." Edgar-veda doesn't see the humor: "If she's pissed off a pimp, her life could be in danger."

Monica sneaks Lewis a candy bar and some Red Bull. The transport van is late and he'll miss lunch at county lockup. Lewis asks if she thinks he's that easy to buy off. "Maybe you think better on a full stomach," she suggests. The D.A. won't give him a deal until he coughs up a name. Lewis guesses they have stalemate. "Except I'm going home to a warm bed tonight," says Monica.

Dutch and Claudette have footage of the rape. After getting robbed 11 times, the owner of a Korean bakery invested in top-notch security cameras. Problem is, you can't see the rapist's face.

Vic finds Antwon and a crew of volunteers flipping a former crackhouse. A banner over the front porch declares RESPECT...REBUILD...RECLAIM. Vic asks for a heads-up if Cyril goes to a One-Niner dealer to score. Antwon plays innocent: "I run a rec center."
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No problem, Vic will just roust the dealers himself and find out who's giving marching orders.

Vic's phone rings. Lem may have a line on Cyril's drug dealer. Vic gives Antwon 20 minutes to give up what he knows.

When Vic, Lem, and Ronnie roll up on the teenage dealer, the kid throws a full soda can at their windshield and tries to flee on his bike. "Park the Schwinn, shithead," Vic says over the car's loudspeaker. He clips the dealer, who slides across the hood of a Pontiac Trans Am Firebird. Somehow, the kid gets up and runs into a store with 3/4 of the former Strike Team on his heels.

The dealer makes a beeline for the drink cooler and starts chugging something, probably to wash down his stash. Vic realizes what the guy's done and wrestles him to his knees. He grabs a bottle of mustard from a nearby shelf, opens it, then pours it down the dealer's throat. Suddenly, the guy heaves mustard and crack rocks all over the floor. Lem looks grossed out. I'm stunned he doesn't sympathy puke.

Ronnie snaps on a rubber glove to collect the evidence. Vic asks if the dealer sold to Cyril. He doesn't answer. Lem, of all people, goes down the aisle to grab a bottle of liquid laxative.
"You thirsty, punk?"
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The dealer mentions that Cyril paid in quarters. Vic hauls the dealer to his feet and calls to the store owner, "Hey! Cleanup in Aisle 4." The shopkeeper looks pissed and I don't blame him.

Monica is setting up her desk in the squadroom when Edgar-veda asks why she was talking to Lewis. He shut down the Garage Sting. Monica knows the car shop is compromised, but his new business isn't. Edgar-veda tells her she didn't have the right to do that or to even get the toilets fixed.

Edgar-veda sees Vic with his puke-covered suspect: "That the kid you choked out with a bottle of mustard?" Vic argues that he saved the dumb kid's life by inducing vomiting when he swallowed crack. He promises to have the incident report ready, say, the day after tomorrow? The soon-to-be-ex captain tears down the flyers Vic posted about Gilroy's funeral; it's not a department-sanctioned event.

Upstairs, Lem tells Mustard Boy that Cyril paid him with a forged check from his boss's restaurant. Mustard Boy figured that out himself when it bounced. However, Cyril didn't write it; "a blond t-girl that works there did." Vic shows Mustard Boy the crime scene photos of Hope. The dealer confirms that's who wrote the check. "She's a tranny?" Lem sounds surprised.

Hope offered Mustard Boy oral sex in exchange for crack, "but I ain't down for that chicks-with-dicks shit." She gave him the forged check instead. Vic asks where she bought the drugs and threatens Mustard Boy when he won't talk. He tells Vic the transaction (no pun intended) took place Underhell, an abandoned tile factory by the freeway.

The addicts scatter when Vic and the boys enter Underhell. "Gun!" Ronnie shouts in warning. Vic tells Ronnie not to shoot; Cyril's dry-firing. By now, Cyril has the gun in his mouth. Vic stops him from attempting suicide, which wouldn't have worked anyway, since the gun wasn't even loaded.

Dutch and Claudette have caught up to Olive. She claims to have no idea what happened past being raped and beaten, then waking up in the ER. Dutch tells her they have her attack on tape, but they can't identify the rapist. "Then neither can I," Olive sasses.

Olive's prints came back to Olivia Kenshaw. She's got priors for prostitution and is flagged as HIV+. Claudette confronts her with the information. Olive was diagnosed 10 months ago and as a responsible hooker, she has all her johns wear condoms. The rapist didn't. "What about all the innocent people he might infect?" Claudette asks. Olive shrugs, "They should all die sore and ugly." They need the rapist's name or a description.

Dutch informs her that the state of California considers it attempted murder for someone to intentionally spread HIV. It's also hard to get the good AIDS drugs in prison. Olive wants a deal in writing that her other charges will be dropped. Edgar-veda tells his detectives that's not gonna happen. He'll play good cop with her, even though Dutch already tried that approach. When the captain goes into interrogation, he pulls a Vic and unplugs the camera.

Dutch asks again for the name of James' friend: "There's a lotta sisters I think are hot." Not helping. He rattles off Halle Berry, Tyra Banks, and Beyonce. Claudette laughs.

Cyril is in a hospital bed now with Vic trying to wake up him. He asks the kid who turned him onto drugs. Cyril slurs that he usually buys from Fat Benish above a quick-lube shop. Vic calls Ronnie to get a warrant. Vic's friend Cal is outside the room. Since Cyril didn't shoot the laundromat manager, he's in the clear, right? Not exactly. Vic explains about the felony murder rule.

Olive tells Edgar-veda she doesn't need his box of pity. "Not pity. Compassion," he corrects. Olive says he already knows what happened from watching the tape. Edgar-veda is so sorry for what happened to her. Olive gives more details. The guy paid her for oral sex, they went to an alley, and he started punching her: "It was all about the hurt with this guy."

Shane interrupts Cromo's dinner and knocks the plates off the table. He tells Cromo and "the syphilis squad" to call him first about anything happening on the streets. Shane then asks to see Venus, one of Cromo's girls. They go out back so she can give Army oral sex: "Tail's the only currency [pimps] know." Army asks why Shane isn't doing it. Shane reminds him that he's a married man, adding, "You got an ED thing happening, just say so." Venus, um, gets to work on Army.

Back in the restaurant, Cromo orders another plate of fried chicken. Shane puts out his cigarette in the pimp's mashed potatoes. He announces he wants a 10% cut of the business. Cromo stands up: "That wasn't part of our deal." Shane says they don't have a deal; the pimp will follow orders or "catch a cap in the back of your ear in what we like to call 'the line of duty.'"

Vic warns Lewis that if he bullshits them about anything, he'll be doing time in Solano. Monica is friends with the warden and knows the guards are worse than the inmates. One of Lewis's clients is Alex Kozodov, a Russian mobster who owns a taxi service. The Russians have been laundering money with him since the money train ripoff last year. It'd be easy for him to install bugs in said taxis.

A.D.A. Insardi has agreed to let Olive slide this time, but if it happens again, she's going down for attempted murder. She only said yes because Billings passed the case off as his. Olive describes her rapist as a white pizza man with a pierced tongue.

Monica gives Edgar-veda a file on Alex, who's "on everybody's top-10 list." She thinks he's making decisions just to settle a grudge. She thought they could present this case to Chief Bankston together.

When the guys arrive at Benish's place, it's on fire. Vic tells the fire chief they have a warrant to search upstairs. "Pretty hot in there right now," the chief deadpans. He doubts any evidence will survive. Vic sees a moped parked on the sidewalk. He calls to the crowd, "Who owns the bikes?" "Fat guy. He lives there," a witness replies, "You don't forget a 300-pound dude on a scooter."

In his office, Edgar-veda creepily watches the video of Olive's rape, getting off on it.

Benish has come home and tells Vic it's too bad they have nothing on him. Vic knows all his scooters are stolen and asks about Antwon. Benish repeats the party line that Antwon went straight. Vic says it won't be pretty for him in prison "when gen pop finds out you're the little red scooter bandit."

Benish tells him all the One-Niners have essentially put their crack on clearance to make way for black tar heroin. Lovely. Vic and Shane have a brief phone conversation about this development. The arson investigator told Ronnie that cooking grease is what started the fire at Benish's. And who do they know who's around a kitchen all day?

At Cal's house, there are framed pictures of Cyril all over the place. Vic asks what he knows about someone torching the place where Cyril's dealer lived. Cooking grease points to Cal. Vic demands to know if Cal was sleeping with a teenager.

In an open bedroom drawer, Vic finds bras and women's camisoles. "He slept here, but I never laid a hand on him," Cal insists. Cyril wanted to get a sex change when he turned 18. "I was gonna pay for it. We were gonna be together."

Vic is disgusted and not just about the relationship. Cal could've hurt somebody by setting the fire. "That dealer took away the only thing I love," Cal says tearfully; Vic can't know how that feels. For his part, Vic advises Cal to get a lawyer; and while he's at it, hide the photos and women's clothes.

Blah blah blah. Vaccines cause autism bullshit. Statute of limitations almost up on Matt's case.

Monica's officially the boss now. The Garage Sting will keep going so they can get Alex.

At the cemetery, a bagpiper plays "Amazing Grace." Vic, Lem, Ronnie, and even Corinne are there. Monica showed up too. She tells Vic he's still running the sting but can't be in charge of the gang squad. Vic pleads with her that he needs to be back on the street. The only way she can do that is to make the Barn an open house to Internal Affairs. Vic promises to do things right this time.

Nancy thanks Vic for getting so many cops to come to the funeral; it means a lot to their daughters.

"Amazing Grace" by the Dropkick Murphys plays over a montage. Edgar-veda puts a copy of Olive's video in his briefcase and leaves his office for the last time. A uniform brings in a gumball machine. The men's room is finally operational again.

One of Antwon's guys confronts Shane about taking a cut of Cromo's business. Antwon isn't happy about it. Shane almost shoots the guy but thinks better of it. Little does he know, Vic has been spying on him from a nearby alley. Talk about "Was blind but now I see." End of episode.

Friday, March 3, 2017

"The Cure" For What Ails You (Episode 4.1)

We jump into Season 4 without a "previously on" segment. Vic and a group of uniforms raid an apartment. One of the uniforms gets bitten in the leg by the tenant's pitbull; he manages to shoot it. The haul from the raid is $6,000 and stolen DVD players, still in the boxes.

The uniform who was bitten didn't hear the dog coming. "Suspect cut the vocal cords. Didn't your T.O. warn you they do that now?" asks Julien. Danny tells them that Assistant Chief Phillips is on his way. Vic sighs and says to the rookie, "You woulda been better off shootin' the suspect." The official story is Phillips fears that a trigger-happy officer might mistake a kid for a dog. The more likely reason Phillips' wife raises cockapoos and probably cuts him off sex whenever a cop kills a dog.

Didn't the rookie see the mandate that came out last month? The guy nervously says he just started last week. "Don't sweat it, Scooby," says Vic. And thus a nickname is born.

Assistant Chief Phillips arrives accompanied by Glenn Close. I know her best from her wickedly delightful portrayal of Cruella in the live-action 101 Dalmatians movie. Phillips wants to know where the shooter is. Vic tells him it was a rookie who had no other choice. He gestures to the kitchen. The dog's body is lying on the floor; someone (probably Vic) laid a gun next to it. "Oh, come on, Roy," says Glenn with a smile, "If the dog had a piece, he was gonna use it." Even the assistant chief can't quite hold back a smirk. Before leaving, she adds, "Nice collar."

Assistant Chief Phillips introduces Edgar-veda to Glenn AKA Monica Rawling, his replacement. The soon-to-be-ex-captain wasn't expecting her for a week. Monica is taking personal time to get a cursory take on the Barn. Assistant Chief Phillips says, "Monica started as a patrol officer in Farmington." "Yeah, everyone knows you put in your time," says Edgar-veda the test-taker. Monica asks to meet the troops, so Edgar-veda takes her around the Barn.

Dutch and Claudette confer about this. "I didn't expect them to go for another woman. You know, I mean, after they torpedoed you," he says. Claudette gives him a thank-you-for-reminding-me look. Monica comes over to shake Claudette's hand; she's heard a lot about her.

In the clubhouse, Ronnie and Vic are playing cards, halfway watching grainy black-and-white surveillance video on an old TV. Ronnie asks whether Vic's latest girlfriend is "a screamer or a moaner." Vic tells Ronnie to get his own woman. Edgar-veda introduces them to Monica. He brings her up to speed on the AGC sting, a local custom car outfit that's also in the money-laundering business. Vic's expecting to get about 3 dozen arrests out of it.

Monica is itching to go on the streets. Can Edgar-veda spare Vic to give her the grand tour? He agrees as long as they aren't gone all day; Vic has to log evidence tapes. As they drive through the neighborhood, we learn Monica has spent the last 3 years heading the domestic abuse unit. "I see the Farm's as rough as ever," she notes. Vic gives her a whaddaya-gonna-do speech; nobody wants to accept help, at least not from the police.

Monica asks what happened to the Strike Team. Vic explains that Tavon got in a bad car accident and a couple of other guys transferred. The department claimed they didn't have to money to restock the pond. Vic laments that they "pulled the plug on somethin' that works." He'll be back on the streets himself after he ditches the Garage Sting.

A radio call comes in, requesting additional officers. A homicide just took place at the Pavo Real Motel. Vic makes a U-turn. In the tiny motel bathroom, several people are dead, their hands zip-tied behind their backs. The victims are the Veneza family, locals. Which begs the question, why stay in a motel when you live here? Dutch exposits the family's been here since their eviction last month and they're paying for the room with "several over-maxed credit cards." It looks to Billings like they were all drowned in the tub.

Edgar-veda wants the case solved by next week so Monica won't think she's inheriting a mess. He assigns Billings to be the primary, not Dutch and Claudette. Those two got themselves in hot water with the D.A.'s office after Claudette pushed to reopen cases tried by a drug-addled public defender. Edgar-veda doesn't want to hear any complaints; it isn't his fault. Billings asks Claudette and Dutch to see if the Venezas car is still outside and help with getting witness statements. Like you'd find many cooperative witnesses in a place like that.

Vic and Monica stick their heads in the bathroom. A prostitute who does business out of the hotel heard someone scream, but didn't call for help because she was...otherwise engaged. "Lovely," Claudette mutters. Dutch found a pay locker key in the Venezas car. Claudette looks in the backseat and remarks they have a bigger problem: an empty booster seat.

In Mrs. Veneza's wallet, Monica finds a picture of a little boy who's probably 2 or 3. Vic hurries out of the room. The One-Niners run drugs out of the motel and no crime happens in the neighborhood that they don't know about. Can Monica get a ride back to the Barn with somebody? Monica would rather go with Vic.

Vic stops at a restaurant where every other customer is wearing One-Niner purple. He asks the nearest guy what he knows about someone drowning a family at the Pavo Real and kidnapping their little boy. The guy claims he has no idea anything like that even happened. Vic knows "you maggots use that motel like it's a frat house." If the kid is found alive, Vic won't burn the fleabag to the ground.

A One-Niner named T-Gun gets mouthy with Monica. She pats him down. He seems to recognize her. Monica bets she probably arrested T-Gun's dad back in the day; T-Gun says he never knew his dad. She finds a knife in his pocket, which violates his probation. Monica doesn't have time to write him up, so she'll keep his driver's license as collateral; he can pick it up at the Farmington precinct. "That was a waste," she gripes. Vic isn't so sure about that: "We stirred up the pot. Now we'll see what boils over."

A.D.A. Insardi joins the cops at the motel. The missing boy has been identified as 3-year-old Little Eddie. The crime lab put a rush on all the evidence. Claudette suspects he was kidnapped for very sinister reasons. Why kill the people who could pay ransom? Edgar-veda assigns Dutch and Claudette to trace the pay locker, which Dutch protests. The A.D.A. doesn't appreciate his attitude.

Corinne calls Vic, asking if he can come over today and sign an agreement for a realtor to show their marital home. I hope their realtor isn't named Mara. Vic asks her to drop it off at the Barn when she gets off work.

Monica asks if it's true Vic is leaving the Barn. Vic put his name in to run a new street crime unit. The new boss has bad news: someone else got the job.

"RESPECT!" shouts a group of black men. A very large black, Antwon, gives an impassioned speech before them: "Our sisters need us. They're raising our babies alone while we're out in the street chasing women or money or drugs instead of giving them respect. Our babies, they need us in their lives. Our mothers need us. Too many have cried too many tears, buried too many sons."

Vic and Monica wander into the community center and stand at the back of the crowd. Vic exposits Antwon is a One-Niner O.G. The crowd is made up of gangbangers from rival sets and dozens of civilians. Antwon recognizes the police officers: "You put more than two black men together and look who shows up." I roll my eyes, thinking he's about to change topics to All Cops Are Racist No Matter What. Instead, Antwon continues, "But it's our own fault because we commit the crimes." He talks about his bad old days with the One-Niners.

Antwon urges the gangbangers in the crowd to put the salesmanship and hustling skills they learned on the streets to positive use. Open a restaurant or a store, hell, even a bank. The rally ends with a round of

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Dutch and Claudette are at a 24-hour gym, looking for the locker their key goes to. Dutch asks why Claudette had to torch his career along with her own. Nobody forced him to help her. Claudette wouldn't blame him if he requested a new partner. Dutch examines a locker: "You could definitely fit a child in there." A naked passerby watches them curiously. Instead, Dutch finds a Duffel O' Cash.

After Antwon's rally, there's music and a potluck lunch. Vic doesn't buy that a One-Niner with the unfortunate street name of Stank doesn't know nothing about a kidnapping/multiple homicide on his turf. Antown remembers Monica from her time in uniform and asks about her old partner Nelson. She says he died of cancer 3 years ago. Vic tells him about what went down at the Pavo Real Motel, a known "One-Niner cesspool." Looking around the room, he adds, "These million men, they're One-Niners."

Antown claims this is just a community cookout. Vic calls bullshit; he knows a gang council when he sees one. This has to be a parole violation. Antwon informs Vic that he's been off probation for 4 months: "I ain't the system's slave no mo'." Vic and Monica know he didn't just retire. Antwon swears he's just trying to keep this generation from repeating his mistakes.

Vic wants Antwon to come to the Barn. Antwon insists on having his friends escort him because "this is the city that plants evidence on innocent brothers. Shoots us in the back, says we were resisting. Takes us to their police house, sticks a plunger in our ass." "Actually, that one was New York," Monica corrects. The Abner Louima incident resulted in protests, a $5.8 million settlement, and a ripped-from-the-headlines episode of Law & Order: SVU.

Dutch and Claudette tell Billings that Mr. Veneza had $35,000 stashed in a gym locker. With this much lying around, how did the family get evicted? Billings talked to the older son's classmates, who pointed him in the direction of a gangbanger named Chalindo of the Coronado Boys. The gang is known for kidnapping.

Antwon looks around the Barn and remembers going to church there as a kid. Monica introduces Antwon to Edgar-veda. The almost-ex-captain wants to know what he has to do with the multiple murder. Monica explains the One-Niners run the motel.

Vic tells him about not getting the street crimes post. Edgar-veda didn't know he was transferring. "Then why'd you write a 4-page letter sabotaging it?" asks Vic. He talked to someone downtown who owes him a favor. "You stabbed me in the back. You didn't want me to find out about it until you ran outta here, right?"
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Edgar-veda doesn't want to pass Vic along to be someone else's problem. He's not pleased with the way Vic's been running the Garage Sting. Thousands of dollars and hours of surveillance only got them 9 minor busts. Edgar-veda gives him an ass-reaming in front of the entire squadroom: "You ran the Strike Team into the ground. To get you under control, I parked you in front of videotapes for 6 months and you even managed to botch that! You are a joke."

Vic charges at Edgar-veda, who's also ready for a fight. It takes three guys apiece to hold them back. "After everything, you thought I wouldn't get the last word?" asks Edgar-veda. Monica remarks, "One happy family, huh?"

Upstairs, Vic wants to know why everyone says Antwon still runs the One-Niners when he supposedly "hung up [his] colors to preach the peace." Antwon explains his status "keeps him real to the little homies." People talking doesn't make it true.

In observation, Edgar-veda is sorry he didn't have a chance to warn Monica about Vic sooner. She'll learn how to get him under control. "Didn't look like anyone was in control downstairs," she says lightly. She read his letter. If half the allegations were true, Vic would've been fired a long time ago.

All Vic wants to know is who kidnapped Little Eddie. If Antwon tells him, Vic won't look into how all the new banks and restaurants are being funded. Antwon isn't worried; Monica's partner died before he could get anything on him.

Monica comes in the room and argues Nelson did get something on Antwon: a 13-year sentence at Lompoc for trafficking. However, Antwon skated on shooting three people at a crack house and stabbing a cop in the leg. Vic tosses Antwon's catchphrase back at him: "Respect." Antwon flips Vic off, but only after the door is safely closed.

Lem brings in a file on Chalindo, who's done time for robbery. Nobody's seen Chalindo for two weeks, but Lem can talk to the kid's mom. Dutch tells him that he and Claudette can handle it. Being Dutch, he also theorizes that the family sold Little Eddie into the sex trade. "Why?" asks Lem. Claudette replies, "Because that's how Dutch thinks." Dutch argues it's the way of the world these days.

Claudette asks Lem how he likes working for the Youth Authority. His response is a typical Lem-ism: "It's pretty cool. Lotsa kids." He hangs his head, clearly missing the Barn. On his way out, he stops in the clubhouse. Monica is there and tells him Ronnie and Vic are in the field. He asks her to tell them Lem stopped by.

The name Lemansky rings a bell for her, which it would for anyone. She remembers that he was on the Strike Team and introduces herself as the new captain. She read his personnel file and thinks the Barn lost a good man. Lem shrugs that he needed a change. Monica understands; she heard Vic can be hard to work with. Lem claims didn't have a problem with Vic. True, his beef was mostly with Shane. "Just time," he says lamely.

Chalindo's mom hasn't seen her son in weeks and didn't bother to report him missing, but has the gall to insist: "I couldn't have been a better mom." "Ma'am, this isn't about you," says Dutch. It's about a murdered family and a kidnapped toddler. Chalindo's mom claims she had no control over her son and what he did, no matter how hard she tried. "Well, yes, I can see that," Claudette lies.

Vic goes to Antwon's surprisingly sparse apartment and offers to have bars installed on the windows as a Christmas gift. Antwon chuckles, "13 years, you learn what you can live without." He just wants a view. He warns Vic to stop asking around about him; Vic should just come to him like a man.

Antwon presents a witness to the motel drownings: Elena, one of the maids. She supposedly saw two Latinos exiting the Venezas room with Little Eddie. She wrote down some of the license plate number from their blue Honda. Elena's only coming forward because Antwon promised protection. Vic asks curiously, "What kinda protection can an ex-con motivational speaker offer?" Antwon basically tells him not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Maybe Vic can do him a favor someday.

Billings found out that Mr. Veneza was into a loan shark for $35,000. Claudette is looking into whether any Coronado Boys have ties to Chalindo. Monica sees the stack of mug shots and wonders why they're not in a database or on a wall. "The Barn's an apt name. We're low-tech," Claudette says. Hell, they only have one computer. Monica asks how Vic kept his gang data organized. Claudette says Vic isn't exactly organized, but she'll let the boss decide what Vic's strengths are.

Monica addresses the elephant in the room: "Whoever cost you that job, it wasn't me." The D.A.'s office has a right to be upset. Claudette's investigation has caused 17 convictions to be overturned; 40 more cases are being appealed. She's made her point and should get on with things. Dutch announces Vic might have located a suspect.

When they break into the apartment, cartoons are playing on a small TV in the kitchen. Little Eddie is crying and chained to a table leg. Monica unhooks the chain and picks up the crying toddler, attempting to soothe him. Little Eddie will be going to Mission Cross to be checked out. Vic has the cell phone number of suspected kidnapper Fernando. Dutch gets a warrant to triangulate Fernando's position. After that happens, Vic tackles a suspect after a brief foot chase behind a body shop.

Danny tells an injured man that the ambulance has arrived. The guy doesn't want to go to the hospital. "But you've been shot," says Julien. The guy tells Julien he doesn't have insurance; I bet there's more to the story than just that. ERs are legally obligated to stabilize you, insurance or no. The victim doesn't know who shot him anyway because it was a drive-by. None of the neighbors are talking. Julien's not surprised.

Monica tells Dutch that his name came up when Assistant Chief Phillips gave her background on the Barn. She knows about Claudette's personal Project Innocence crusade and warns that could drag Dutch down with her. Monica asks Billings to let Claudette and Dutch interview the suspect who's more likely to confess; they need a win.

Claudette doesn't think Fernando seems like the kind of guy who's capable of drowning a family one by one. It must've been awful for him to watch. She and Dutch go next door to tell the second suspect that Fernando is about to break, but not killing Little Eddie will count for something. He doesn't buy it, so it's back to Fernando. Why is his friend Tito acting like Little Eddie is dead?

Fernando says Tito held Mr. Veneza's head underwater. When he realized he went too far, Tito decided to kill the rest of the family. They were trying to find out where the $35,000 was. Mr. Veneza and his son had gotten into the heroin trade, or la cura, with Chalindo's help. The son never let on that there really was no heroin to be bought.

Fernando kidnapped Little Eddie to keep Tito from killing him. 3 years old or not, Tito said a witness was a witness. Fernando sounds panicky, "I didn't drown anyone and I saved a little kid. That's all good, right?"

Vic talks to Dead-Eye, a One-Niner who got kicked off his drug corner. Did he have differences with his boss, namely Antwon? How does Dead-Eye plan on feeding his two sons now? It'd be real easy to set him up. Dead-Eye sends his kids in the house so Daddy can talk business. If Vic gives him enough money, he'll give up Antwon.

Julien asks a bunch of boys on bikes about the shooting. All he gets are sassy answers. Julien asks if they really want to throw their lives away by joining a gang. Would they like to see what juvie looks like? I bet Lem could arrange a Scared Straight session. Danny sends the disrespectful shits on their way and asks Julien why he took that. Julien quotes, "'Jesus said, 'Suffer the little children unto me.'" That includes bad kids. "That doesn't mean we have to suffer too," Danny points out.

Thanks to the surveillance tapes, Ronnie now has enough evidence to nail Mike Winston. Vic thinks it has to do with Mike shaking down local store owners. Not exactly. On the tape, we see Mike beating his son, who can't be more than 12, for sitting in the driver's seat of his car. The kid cries and begs Mike to stop.

Mrs. Winston isn't in the picture due to being in a psych ward. But if they arrest Mike, they risk blowing their covert surveillance on him and everyone else. Vic is clearly bothered as he listens to the kid sobbing and Mike shouting, "Stop whining!"

Vic goes to a bar, asks to see their liquor license, and orders a beer. Mike walks over to confront Vic for stealing his seat. "You saving this seat for your boyfriend?" asks Vic. Mike punches him in the face. "Mike, he's a cop," the bartender cautions. Vic administers a sound thrashing.

At Mission Cross, Corinne brings Vic an ice pack for his head and asks him to wait while she gets the realtor agreement out of her locker. "I said I'd stop by," he says with a roguish smile. The plan is to sell while the market is still good, then send the kids to school in the district where Corinne's mom lives.

"You really did a number on Winston," says Ronnie as he sits next to his boss. Fortunately, the kid's grandparents in Simi Valley offered to take him in. Looking sideways at Vic, he adds, "I thought they were gonna fix your face?" "They're gonna hafta fix yours in a minute," Vic teases.

Julien and Danny are still waiting for detectives at the scene of the drive-by. The dispatcher tells them to report back to the Barn; someone else needs their car.

Vic tells Monica he's working on a CI contract for Dead-Eye. She asks about the bruise on his head. Vic shrugs that a drunk picked a fight. Monica advises him not to get off to a bad start by lying to her; she's aware of what happened with Mike Winston. He explains that he saw Mike on tape abusing his son. As a dad, he couldn't stand for it.

To preserve the Garage Sting, he let Mike throw the first punch. Assaulting an officer violated Mike's parole. Monica tells him that was equal parts smart and stupid. We learn Vic jumped on the Pavo Real Motel murders with both feet because he and the Strike Team were about to have the motel shut down when they were disbanded.

Monica respects his experience and admires his dedication. However, that doesn't wash away reading a confidential letter, insubordination, and "a bar brawl chaser." Is Vic trying to get fired? Edgar-veda's letter essentially black-balled Vic from any other unit in L.A. They're stuck with each other.

Monica plans to start a gang task force. Vic tells her, "Good luck. The department wouldn't fund another guy for the Strike Team." She's not using city funds; she'll bankroll it by seizing "houses, cars, businesses, anything bought with drug money." 1/3 of the money will be put back into the neighborhoods for after-school programs and that kind of thing.

All the new captain needs is someone to run things on the street..."someone who won't lose control." Boy, is she looking at the wrong candidate. Monica should put in a call to the Youth Authority; Lem always kept his head about the best. Vic wants the job, but Monica needs to be sure she can trust him. She gives him a week to straighten up, even though he already had 3 years on the Strike Team to do that.

Dutch tells A.D.A Insardi that Fernando and Tito keep pointing fingers at each other, but it shouldn't be hard to prove them both guilty. Chalindo's nowhere to be found: "Mom of the year probably tipped him off." Insardi praises Billings, who says he couldn't have done it without Claudette and Dutch. The A.D.A. brushes that off. Dutch, of course, is pissy about not getting credit.

Aurora tells Edgar-veda that it's a little difficult for her to do couples' counseling by herself. Has he decided he doesn't like this therapist either? "You need to get past it," Aurora goes on insensitively, "I'm tired of feeling like I was raped too." Edgar-veda snaps, "If I'm not good enough for you, then find someone else." Maybe they should get divorced. Aurora says no way: "Whatever it is you need to do to help yourself, do it already."

"God, I hope this guy's not bonin' us," Vic says as he and Ronnie walk up to Dead-Eye's house. He peeks in the window and tells Ronnie there's a problem. Somebody shot Dead-Eye in the head. When Vic and Ronnie walk into the living room, they hear something fall over. Vic takes cover behind the couch.

A familiar voice calls, "Freeze! Police! Come out!" "Shane?" Vic calls back. He asks what his best buddy is doing there. Shane claims one of his C.I.s tipped him off about a shooting. He doesn't have any backup and was about to call it in when Vic showed up.
Actual screenshot of Michael Chiklis.
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Vic sends Ronnie to watch the door as Shane rummages through Dead-Eye's shelves. When Vic asks why Vice was looking into the dead gangbanger, Shane changes to the subject. Mara had Shane's son 3 weeks ago and they named him Jackson. "As in Michael?" asks Vic. Good ol' boy Shane says, "As in Stonewall." He sure was sorry to hear Vic got shafted out of the street crime detail.

Vic tells Shane about the drownings at Pavo Real. The Strike Team could've had the place condemned if they hadn't been so busy covering their own asses. And remind me whose fault that was again? "Too many dickheads, too little time," shrugs Shane, pocketing Dead-Eye's Blackberry. Off Vic's look, he says, "I had dealings with this guy. You know how it is." Vic tells Shane to put it back. Shane refuses because his name is in it. Along with Antwon's?

Vic asks who killed Dead-Eye. Shane has a question of his own: "You wanna smell my gun?" I know he means it in the literal sense, but it still sounds so dirty. Vic presses. Was it Antwon? Shane decides to let Vic call in about the body and leaves. End of episode.