Friday, December 30, 2016

Nobody's "Safe" (Episode 3.7)

Previously on: Danny told Edgar-veda about Vic and Julien forming a posse last episode. Edgar-veda was sexually assaulted on the job by two men; he's been ignoring his wife and being generally rude since. Edgar-veda was given a list of marked bills from the money train heist by a Treasury agent. The Strike Team needs said list to know which bills are safe to spend. The problem? Edgar-veda put said list in a safe in his office.

"Christ, it's freezing out here!" Lem gripes, shaking all over. Vic reminds him that they can't use the clubhouse with the Decoy Squad in it. I'm surprised he didn't ask why Lem isn't wearing a jacket. Vic informs the Strike Team they're working late tomorrow, so they better cancel any plans. "I got tickets for Journey!" says Ronnie. What could be so important? They're gonna steal the Treasury list from the captain's safe. Lem thought that was impossible.

Then-President Bush is campaigning in L.A. and added a stop in Century City, which takes him through Farmington. Every cop in the district will be on security detail for the motorcade. The Barn will have a skeleton crew. "You forget about the combination?" asks Lem, who's chewing on gum or something. It's a county-issue safe, so the combination is on file. If someone from the evidence room asks for a favor, they better do it.

They've got one shot, one opportunity. "This works, I might even have to vote for the guy," says Vic.

Out on Shane's deck, Mara is smoking a cigarette. That's real healthy for the kid. She argues that it's just one. Shane notices 8 other butts on the railing. "6 of them are yours. Maybe you should stop too, for Christ's sake," says Mara. Shane thinks it's just her hormones talking, a very dangerous thing to say to a pregnant woman.

Mara's mom knows about the baby and Mara acts likes it's a disaster. Shane is sure her mom can't be that bad. Mara gets all Mom's crap because she's the only one of her siblings who still talks to her. Shane tells her not to worry and kisses her cheek. Mara grabs his wrist and whines, "You're supposed to be off today." Shane says everyone is on duty because the president is in town.

The squadroom in the Barn is deserted except for Vic. He goes in the clubhouse and tells the guys they have half an hour before morning shift starts; it's a ghost town. "Boo," whispers Shane. Nobody laughs. In fact, Lem looks vaguely sick.

They head upstairs. Shane picks the lock on Edgar-veda's office door, then crawls across the floor like a monkey. He tries the combination, but the safe won't open. Lem, keeping watch on the balcony, sees Nina arriving for work. He hurriedly calls Vic. He motions for Shane to hide. Shane crawls under the captain's desk.

Vic intercepts Nina at the bottom of the stairs, greeting, "Hey, you're here early." She starts to head upstairs and gets as far the balcony. I guess she realized she forgot something downstairs. This gives Shane the chance to slink out of the office. Vic asks about the list. "Ask your Property guy when he pulls his head out of his ass," says Shane.

Well, is Shane sure he punched in the code right? There's no other way to get the list, "especially when employee of the month clocks in two hours early." Ronnie thinks he can crack the safe. He's never tried it before, but that's never stopped him. Case in point: the garbage truck. "Shane was in there 30 seconds and we almost got caught," Lem points out.

If they sneak the safe out tonight, Ronnie could take his time. Lem asks how the captain won't notice a missing safe. Easy, they'll wait until he leaves work and put a twin in its place. The safe is standard police-issue, so it'll be no trouble to find a duplicate.

A woman named Mrs. Maldonado is in the lobby to see Vic, which he doesn't seem too happy about. She's holding a CD: "Reina's friend gave me this song. It says he killed her. It says he stab and kill mi hija!" (That's "my daughter" in Spanish).

The Strike Team plays the CD. "This supposed to be hip? It sounds like a Chihuahua threw up on an accordion," says Shane. Edgar-veda explains, "It's a narcorrido, a song about crimes." Usually drugs or murder. I have limited knowledge of this sub-genre of music thanks to an episode of CSI. 

Claudette translates the lyrics. Chaydez loved a girl he couldn't have, but couldn't let her go; it sounds like a love song to her. The captain translates the next verse. As Chaydez and the girl made love, he stabbed her once for every day they were together. He buried her by an underpass in Frogtown Flats, near the river. "A real chart-topper," says Vic.

The girl mentioned in the song, Reina, is a 15-year-old who disappeared 6 months ago. Vic helped out for a day, but it wasn't gang-related. Chaydez was their only suspect because he worked for Reina's father. Bobby, the original detective, took early retirement, so the mom asks Vic for updates.

The singer is Otillio Ramirez, a self-published artist. Edgar-veda wants them to find Ottilio and get a K-9 team to look for Reina's body at the underpass. "You gonna bring in Eminem every time he raps about killin' his ex?" asks Vic. Edgar-veda says there's a difference: "Narcocorridos are recorded history."

Vic meets Boris the K-9 and his female handler at the underpass. Hey, It's That Girl! Lauren is played by Natalie Zea. Fellow FX junkies may recognize her as Winona Hawkins, Raylan's ex-wife on Justified. "What brings us together this time?" she flirts. Vic answers, "Heard a song about a lovesick cholo, buried his chiquita out here." She should think of it as quality time.

Vic asks if Lauren still has a boyfriend. Lauren asks if Vic still has a wife. He doesn't. Lauren's boyfriend the chef is "still trying to establish his career," which doesn't really tell him if they're still together. Boris starts to bark, which means he found a body. Lauren marks the spot with a red flag. "They don't write love songs like they used to," says Vic.

Boris barks again. Lauren puts down another flag. The count goes up to three, then four. Lauren makes a lame attempt at a Jaws reference: "I need more flags."

In a Mexican neighborhood, it looks like there's some kind of street fair going on. A man is playing a trumpet. Tables selling everything from toys to CDs are set up on the sidewalk. "Hey, can I get your autograph?" Shane asks Ottilio. Vic adds, "Yeah, like on a confession." Lem swipes the crate the guy was sitting on and starts to pack up the merchandise.

A passerby asks what they're doing to Ottilio: "He didn't do nothing." "He seems to know where all the bodies are buried," Vic counters. Ottilio glares: "You can't silence me." "Hell no," Vic chuckles, "We're gonna make you talk." They shove him in the car. Shane takes Ottilio's cowboy hat and puts it on.

At the Barn, Ottilio protests that he knows his rights. "Relax. You might get a new album out of it," says Vic. The final body count from Frogtown was 8, all young women. Some of the bodies were there for quite a while. Dutch is intrigued by the idea of musical confessions. Claudette wants to see the items recovered from the women's bodies.

Upstairs, Vic says the song lyrics state Reina's body was dumped by the train tracks. She was 14 when she went missing. Ottilio sang about Chaydez stabbing her. Vic wonders "why your shitty CD led us to 8 dead women." Ottilio starts yelling for help.

"What's going on?" asks Edgar-veda. Vic is telling the truth for once when he says nothing happened. "I don't wanna be alone with him." says Ottilio. Vic invites Edgar-veda to look at the videotape. The captain would rather sit in; everyone else is on presidential detail.

"I don't commit crimes. I'm a journalist," Ottilio explains. Edgar-veda asks if Chaydez commissioned him to write the song. "A reporter protects his sources," says Ottilio. All he does is tell the truth. If they're gonna arrest him, they should arrest the whole L.A. Times staff too.

Claudette translates another song for Dutch. Sol Negro needed money and planned to take it from a liquor store on San Marcos, but the owner hated Mexicans and pulled a gun: "Sol Negro bravely shot him in the neck." Dutch remembers the case because it happened on Christmas. "Ottilio's got three CDs. Who knows how many cases we might close?" she asks.

Claudette tells Dutch to run Sol Negro and the street name. "Who am I, the Strike Team all of a sudden?" asks Dutch. It sounded a lot like an order.

When Lem and Vic bring Chaydez in for questioning, Mrs. Maldonado is still in the lobby. She asks if he knows where Reina is. Vic suggests she go home; interrogation could take hours. "I want to stay here for the good news," she says.

Upstairs, Vic plays the song and tells Chaydez that Ottilio is singing about him. "Just a song," Chaydez shrugs. Vic corrects him, "It's a map to 8 dead girls." He knows Reina is one of them. Edgar-veda doesn't understand why "an asshole like you would put a stabbing to music." He killed Reina and had Ottilio write the song. The captain knows "Narcocorridos are real. The singer's reputation depends on it."

Claudette asks to speak to Vic and Edgar-veda outside. The M.E. report says cause of death in all 8 cases was long-term exposure to chemicals used to make meth. Reina's dental records didn't match any of the victims. Edgar-veda tells Claudette to stay on the meth case while Vic looks into Reina. In the meantime, find something to charge Chaydez and Ottilio with. Edgar-veda leaves for a meeting with the Secret Service.

Vic and Claudette are both like "did you just hear what I think I heard?" Claudette plans to cut Chaydez loose and have the Decoy Squad tail him.

Vic brings a cardboard box to the van and tells Ronnie he has an hour to crack the safe. They should have enough time to make the switch before the Decoy Squad comes back. "I really don't like this," says Lem, popping something in his mouth. Vic asks what's with the Rolaids. Lem explains sharply that he's had an ulcer "since the Armenian mob started lookin' for me." Shane helpfully tells him to stop worrying his guts out.

Lem thinks it's crazy to be breaking into the captain's office. I'm inclined to agree. He has another idea: Lay their cash off on some crooks for 30 cents on the dollar and let them worry about laundering it. "Partner up with criminals? Tryin' to find the flaw in that plan," says Vic, even though he's done exactly that more than once. Also, he wants a dollar on the dollar.

They head upstairs with the dummy safe in the cardboard box. "Hey," Lem practically squeaks when he sees Trish. Vic lies that they're moving stuff out of the clubhouse to give the Decoy Squad more room. Trish thought he wanted them gone. Vic does, but they might as well make the place comfortable.

Edgar-veda comes back because the Secret Service meeting was postponed. Vic thanks him for helping with Reina's case; he thought the girl was dead. Upstairs, Shane and Lem are switching out the safes. Vic's been hoping to be able to give Reina's mom good news because Reina's dad died of a heart attack last month. Lem and Shane have just made it out of the office.

"How's your stomach now?" Vic asks Lem when they get to the parking lot, then reassures him they're halfway home. Lem dumps the box in the van. Now they just have to get the Treasury list out and copied before dayshift comes back.
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Vic suggests that Lem give Ronnie one of his Rolaids.

Danny and Julien are in the evidence room doing the oh-so-important job of inventorying office supplies. They're 57 staplers short.
Bet I know who the culprit is.
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They discuss whether or not Julien did the right thing by joining Vic's posse. Danny tells Julien about the crossroads deal she had to make with Edgar-veda to get rehired. When she agreed, she never thought she'd have to turn her own partner in.

The liquor store owner survived being shot in the neck and identified Sol Negro as the Christmas Day robber. "If we close any more cases because of Ottilio's songs, we should deputize him," says Claudette. Dutch is headed out somewhere, but Claudette can't join him. One of the dead women had a friend's phone number in her pocket and the friend is coming to the Barn.

Claudette's witness says Leticia was her best friend in Mexico. Claudette tells her about the mass grave and how Leticia died of meth exposure. "She never touched drugs," the friend insists. A coyote brought Leticia to L.A., but she doesn't know when. Leticia called two weeks ago and the friend only got a message that she needed help.

After Dutch brings in Sol, he's ready to go back to the Cuddler Rapist files. Claudette asks for his help with ID'ing the other 7 women in the grave. Dutch claims he can't work both cases at once without losing momentum, but relents.

Vic walks Ottilio out. Sol calls to the songwriter from the booking counter. He manages to hit two uniforms and attempt to choke Dutch before being subdued. They manage to wrangle him into the cage. Dutch asks what Sol was yelling in Spanish. "There's your next song," Claudette deciphers. In the lobby, Mrs. Maldonado starts shouting in Spanish too, asking where her daughter is.

Vic goes back to the van and opens the rear doors. Ronnie can't crack the safe. He also can't pull the lock out because it would be too noticeable. "This keeps getting better," Lem grouses from where he's lying on the floor. Shane wants to know how they'll get the safe back inside. Vic is more concerned about the list. They'll each take turns watching Edgar-veda. Ronnie knows Smitty the locksmith could get the safe open, but Vic wants this kept in-house.

Shane gets first watch on the captain. Edgar-veda punches in the combination, but the safe won't open. Shane's phone rings and he tells Mara he's a little busy. She keeps on talking about how she spent 4 hours on the phone with her mom: "She says they're gonna kick her out of her apartment if I can't help her with the rent." If her daughter is anything to judge by, it's probably a con job.

Edgar-veda waves his secretary into the office. Shane says they need to talk about this later. "Are you ever coming home?" asks Mara. He tells her he'll be home as soon as he can.

Danny asks if Dutch checked out a department laptop around 10 months ago. Dutch says no, but his signature is on the log. Vic praises Lauren for her good work on finding the grave; she tells him to thank Boris. Vic saw the dog pacing outside. Lauren explains he "gets worked up and wants to go all night long." "Corpus interruptus," Vic smirks. Maybe someday he'll meet her under more pleasant circumstances.

In the choir loft/balcony, Edgar-veda demands of Nina, "Why isn't the narcocorrido in the cage?" She doesn't know, but will check the logbook. Lauren leaves to take another case. The captain asks Vic about Chaydez and Ottilio. "We had to cut 'em loose," says Vic. Edgar-veda storms downstairs; those two were supposed to be kept in custody. Vic couldn't do that once their hold time expired.

Edgar-veda barks, "You think you can disobey a direct goddamn order?" Claudette takes the heat; she was only trying to protect the case. Edgar-veda reminds her who is still captain: "And I will not put up with shit like this again!" Vic and Claudette exchange a what-was-that-all-about look.

Dutch asks if Danny found the computer. She hasn't. If Dutch doesn't find it, the city will be sending him a bill. Dutch remembers what he was using it for: child porn. Danny and Julien give him matching horrified stares. Dutch assures them it was strictly professional, hanging around chatrooms To Catch a Predator style. He got sidetracked by another case and forgot he had the laptop.

Danny wants to make sure she has this straight: "So when we find this computer that was last signed out by you, it's gonna be full of kiddie porn?" Dutch wants a chance to delete some files before he turns it back in. To that, I'd say shit no. "I swear it was just work," he chuckles.
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Vic asks Nina if she can help the Strike Team get some new stuff for the clubhouse. She tells him to submit an official request. Vic tries flattery; everyone knows she can speed things up. Nina has her own emergency to deal with, namely finding a locksmith. Vic offers Smitty, but she has someone else in mind. He peeks at the name Nina was considering and informs her the guy got sent up to Pelican Bay for burglary 8 months ago. Nina asks if Smitty is nearby.

"Why are we meeting in the back of a van?" Smitty asks the Strike Team. He stammers that he's turning over a new leaf. "Sounds like a good idea," says Lem, now sitting in a corner with his knees pulled up to his chest. Poor guy's ulcer is probably in overdrive.

Smitty has to be careful about the jobs he takes because he's trying to start a home security business. Vic offers to give Smitty some leads: the addresses and phone numbers of every residence in Farmington that's been burglarized in the last 2 months. He just has to do them a favor.

In the office, Smitty asks for Edgar-veda's combination. The captain writes it down. Smitty warns this will take time. Edgar-veda doesn't care. Smitty doesn't even try the combination, just starts drilling. Once Edgar-veda is gone, he calls Shane, who relays the combination to Ronnie. The safe pops open. In addition to the Treasury list, Ronnie finds some mugshots of Hispanic men. Lem and Shane send him inside to copy the list.

Trish has learned from Walon that Chaydez cleaned out his bank account as soon as the place opened. The account was under two different names, one of which was Reina's. The teller last saw Reina a week ago. "She's alive?" Vic can't believe it. The teller was sure because Reina and Chaydez were "an odd couple: too old to be his daughter, too young to be his girlfriend."

Vic tells Mrs. Maldonado about this. "I knew it," she sighs, "I knew she was alive." He asks how well Reina knew Chaydez. Mrs. Maldonado says Chaydez worked for her husband, but she's sure that he wasn't romantically involved with their daughter. Reina wouldn't have kept a secret like that.

Walon and the Strike Team are listening in on Chaydez. He's unloading his van: boxes and wire or rope. There's no sign of Reina. "What if she's the thing being moved?" asks Edgar-veda. The shades are drawn, so they can't see inside. The captain orders the Decoy Squad to go in. Vic doesn't like the idea; if Reina is elsewhere, they might never find her. Claudette adds that evidence they find could get tossed out. "I said go in. Get the girl!" Edgar-veda barks.

Walon comes back without Reina. There were women's clothes and shoes at Chaydez's house, so she was living there a while. He also found a 3-day-old receipt for makeup. Claudette doesn't know if that will even be admissible, even though the search was done in good faith. Vic is disgusted: "We can't even get him for playing house with a minor."

Vic asks Chaydez about the makeup receipt, but he claims he hasn't seen Reina. Edgar-veda says a bank teller remembers them opening an account together. This is problematic for Chaydez, who's already on probation for statutory rape. Chaydez asserts he didn't do anything wrong. "Not as you see it. You're in love," says Vic. Edgar-veda adds, "Forget the fact that she's barely out of algebra." In my high school, you took algebra until junior year.

Vic knows Chaydez is connected to the 8 dead women, but at the moment, he's more concerned about the live teenager. Edgar-veda understands why Chaydez would like Reina: "Too inexperienced to see what a dick you really are." Chaydez repeats he wouldn't have been with her, but Reina's mom keeps coming to his place to look for her. Edgar-veda guesses that Chaydez commissioned the murder song to get Mrs. Maldonado off his back. Did he hate Reina's mom so much he made the song come true?

Edgar-veda starts speaking Spanish and pushes Chaydez out of his chair. He kicks the guy while he's down. Even Vic is shocked. He pulls the captain off their suspect. Edgar-veda stomps out. Vic tells Chaydez to keep his mouth shut.

In the office, Smitty is returning the contents of Edgar-veda's safe to their rightful place. When the captain walks in, Smitty says he had to replace the safe door and gives Edgar-veda the new combination.

Vic goes into the observation room and takes the videotape containing Chaydez's beat-down.

Claudette asks Sol about Leticia. Records show she called her friend from Sol's phone. "Maybe I dialed a wrong number," he says. Claudette doesn't buy that: "And left a message doing an impression of her?" Sol has more than one cell phone and doesn't always do a good job keeping track of them all. Dutch asks what Sol does for a living and Sol is vague.

Claudette thinks that with his nice clothes, Sol must be doing better for himself than migrant work. There were traces of lye and red phosphorus in Leticia's lungs, meaning she was exposed to meth. "She worked in your meth lab; she used your phone," Dutch goes on.

In the squadroom, Vic thanks Claudette for taking the heat with the captain earlier. Dutch found out Sol was arrested in Sinaloa last year for manufacturing meth, but there wasn't a trial; he expected the Mexican police would at least pretend to be honest. That makes 3 dead ends. Chaydez and Sol don't know each other, but they look awful friendly in the cage.

Nina approaches Dutch about the missing laptop. He hasn't found it, but is sure it'll turn up. Nina wants him to know she had to call Internal Affairs because the laptop is city property worth over $500. When she leaves, Dutch says to Danny, "Please tell me you put her up to that." She didn't.

Mara calls Shane again; she's bleeding and thinks it could be a miscarriage. I know people don't make rational choices when they're extremely scared, but why would you call your baby-daddy instead of an ambulance? Shane tells Mara to call the her OB/GYN and lie down; he's on his way.

Claudette has learned that Chaydez and Sol are second cousins. Vic thinks Chaydez could've been helping out with the "meth lab cemetery." Maybe they can go to the media and get the cousins to turn on each other.

Vic and Claudette talk to Ottilio again. They know the narcocorrido about Reina is a lie. "But I saw a body," says Ottilio. Vic says Ottilio just made himself an accessory after the fact. They also know about Chaydez's cousin in the meth business whose workers all seem to die. Vic thought Ottilio was all about the truth and will make sure the whole community knows. After all, "we wouldn't want any of your fans paying good money for a corrido con job."

Chaydez and Ottilio have a heated argument in the cage. Trish, disguised as a homeless woman, is on the female side. Claudette hopes her Spanish is good. Apparently it is because she tells Vic later that Reina is with Chaydez's friend Joaquin. Sol runs his meth lab out of a truck, which is currently at an industrial park in Boyle Heights, former home of gangster king Mickey Cohen.

Officers go to an underpass and find a bunch of men hanging around outside the mobile lab. "Hazard fumes, don't breathe inside the trailer," Dutch warns as Julien opens the truck. Probably a dozen women are inside, all coughing and hacking. Some are crying.

Vic, Lem, and Ronnie go to Joaquin's apartment. The TV is on, but nobody's in the living room. Reina comes out of the bedroom, thinking it's Chaydez. Lem badges her so she won't be scared. "Hello, Reina. We're here to rescue you," Vic greets.

They take the girl back to the clubhouse. Reina asks if she really has to see her mom. Vic goes out to the lobby to give Mrs. Maldonado the news that Reina is alive. He tells her that Chaydez didn't kidnap Reina; her daughter ran away because she knew her parents wouldn't approve of the relationship. Mrs. Maldonado is upset that Reina didn't come to her dad's funeral. "She was young. She thought she was in love. She made a mistake," says Vic.

"You're wrong." Mrs. Maldonado stands up to leave. Vic tells her that Reina needs her mom. "No, not now!" Mrs. Maldonado walks out the front door.

"Look familiar, you big perv?" asks Danny, holding up the laptop. She and Julien found it in a desk drawer in the storage room. She jokes that she mailed in Dutch's renewal card for Tiger Beat. Dutch fails to see the humor.

When Vic goes back to the squadroom, Lauren is there. She supposedly made a mistake on her paperwork. "Maybe you were just hoping you'd run into me," he suggests. Is her boyfriend cooking tonight? No, he works weekends. Lauren doesn't want to sleep with Vic because of her chef. "Mentally, you're already checked out," says Vic. He'll explain what he means over dinner.

From bed, Mara asks why Shane has to go back to work: "I'm having a miscarriage." Shane brings her a glass of water. He already took her to the doctor and the couple was told it was just spotting. Shane kisses her and tells her to take it easy. Does she need anything else before he leaves? Mara wants the one thing she can't have right now: for Shane to stay.

Megan, Corinne, and Cassidy are on the clubhouse couch. The youngest has a bottle. (Isn't she weaned yet?) Lem is watching Matt draw. When Vic comes in, Cassidy asks if they can watch a movie. Corinne pulls Vic into the hallway and asks for a favor. Can Vic takes the kids this weekend? She knows he doesn't technically have them until next weekend, but there's something she has to do and she doesn't want the kids "to be around me like this."

Vic asks what's wrong. Did something happen to Corinne's mother? She doesn't answer, just says she's having a hard time. Vic hugs her and agrees to watch the kids. In exchange, Corinne says she'll take the kids next weekend. Vic says it's not necessary; he misses them. Before she leaves, Corinne promises she'll be fine. I'm starting to wonder if Owen got Corinne "in trouble" as they used to say and she doesn't want them to know she's getting an abortion.

Vic tells Lauren they can't have dinner tonight because he got a better offer: two nights with the kids. Lauren thinks it's a sign. Vic says he can make it up next week, but she turns him down.

Vic pays a visit to Edgar-veda at home. He lets the captain know that Chaydez is in jail and Reina is alive and safe. He also hands over the interrogation room videotape. Can't stand owing the boss something. "Dad, let's go!" Cassidy calls impatiently from the truck.

Edgar-veda sits down with Rigo, apparently a long-lost relative of his. He must've told him about being sexually assaulted because Rigo asks, "You couldn't stop them?" Edgar-veda explains there was a gun to his head. Nobody but Rigo knows it even happened. Edgar-veda feels guilty. He did what the rapist wanted so he could see his wife and daughter again: "Now all I do is make up excuses not to go home." The captain is about to cry.

"You did what you had to do. No one can blame you," says Rigo. Edgar-veda tells him about beating Chaydez: "The only thing that stopped me is I started to piss my pants. I'm losing control of everything." "Then take it back," Rigo advises. Edgar-veda sobs that he doesn't know how.

Rigo gives him a pep talk: Edgar-veda is a police captain in charge of 200 people. He's gonna be a city councilman. He has power, a gun, and a badge. Does Edgar-veda know who attacked him? He could find out, but what good would that do? "If it was me, I'd kill 'em," says Rigo. End of episode.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Time to "Posse Up" (Episode 3.6)

Previously on: Dutch and Claudette, in an effort to track down the so-called Cuddler Rapist, asked Edgar-veda to approve a $5,000 geographical study. The captain refused. The Byz Lats were found to be in possession of marked bills from the money train. While searching a suspect's house alone, Edgar-veda was sexually assaulted by a man. He didn't tell anyone at the Barn about what happened.

At their storage unit, the Strike Team is going over their money train stash with magnifying glasses and blacklights. They can't spend any of it until they know which bills are marked.

Edgar-veda asks how many victims the Cuddler Rapist has so far. There have been 5 confirmed attacks. Edgar-veda wants to call the press tomorrow. Dutch thinks it's too soon; he and Claudette want to talk to some registered sex offenders who also have robbery convictions. Edgar-veda thinks interviewing over 100 people would take at least a month.

Dutch has narrowed the list to 14. "How?" asks the captain. Claudette says they got the geographic profile that Edgar-veda said no to. The criminologist gave them a 50% discount when he found out the rapist was targeting the elderly because his grandma put him through college. Dutch wrote the check. If the profile doesn't pan out, the captain can take it out of his salary. In addition to possible work and home addresses for the rapist, the profile also gave them a list of areas at high risk for future rapes.

That's all well and good, but Edgar-veda is still proceeding with the press conference. "What if our guy has a lust for fame?" asks Dutch. Media attention could make him more dangerous. The captain stands firm: "Potential rape victims need to know the threat and they need to know it now."

Walking past the back window, Vic sees Corinne strut past in just a shirt and panties. She grabs a pair of jeans from the laundry room. Vic knocks. "You're early," Corinne remarks. Vic knows she wants the pool filter checked; he'll do it before he takes Cassidy to her ballgame.

In the living room, Matt and Owen are playing a clapping game. Vic definitely knows something is up between Owen and his ex-wife. He and the therapist argue a bit when Vic tells Matt that he can put his toys away later. Vic invites his son to help Dad with the pool filter.

Lem has made friends with a nurse and found out Tavon is doing well enough that he's off the ventilator. He isn't responding to voices yet, but there's a chance he'll fully recover. Lem is going to visit after work and asks the other guys if they want to come. Shane can't, but he has an idea on how to find the marked bills: federal lists. Vic stomps all over that one: "You can't just walk into a bank and ask to see their Treasury watch list."

Banks aren't the only places that have those lists. Check-cashing stores and Indian casinos get them too. Shane knows a store owner named Uncle Ho. He'll badge him and ask to make sure his list is current. Uncle Ho won't refuse because Shane also knows about the hookers he has in the back room. Vic agrees to the plan and tells Shane to keep it quiet.
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Claudette comes into the clubhouse and assigns the guys to Trish for the day. Gay bashers have been going after hustlers. The rest of the Decoy Squad is on a deep cover assignment and won't be joining them. Vic has no problem working with the Decoy Squad, but they don't work for them. "That's right, you work for me," Claudette reminds him.

There's a note on the breakroom fridge that reads: PLEASE DO NOT TAKE FOOD THAT ISN'T YOURS. "Who the hell wrote this?" Tommy demands, tearing it down. Chill out, dude, it was probably directed at Lem. Danny says Nina the secretary put it up.

A Detective Kouf from Wilshire comes in, asking to talk to Tommy, rather insistent that the conversation take place out in the hall. When Danny tells Julien to get the captain, Tommy and Kouf's discussion moves to Edgar-veda's office. Kouf drops a bombshell: "Your ex-wife and son were found murdered." He wants Tommy to come to Wilshire and answer some questions.

Tommy is incredulous: "You think I had something to do with this?" Kouf tells Edgar-veda it's procedure. Edgar-veda tells him to talk to Tommy here in Farmington and make it fast. Tommy grabs a chair and hurls it through the window; it lands on Dutch's desk downstairs in the squadroom. The grief-stricken father starts to cry.

Kouf asks where Tommy was between 10:00 and 11:00 the night before. Tommy isn't sure; he worked late and went home. He doesn't have a girlfriend or anyone who can confirm that.

"This is bullshit," mutters Vic. Dutch agrees, "I heard his divorce got nasty, but come on." Claudette is sure they won't find anything linking the murders to Tommy. But in the meantime, the real killer could get away. "It was Wilshire's case. Your team has yours," she tells Vic.

In the locker room, we learn that Tommy's kid was 4 or 5 years old. "We gotta posse up," Vic declares.
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If they don't send a message to the real killer, it means cops' families are fair game. One of the uniforms is stuck with cage duty today; what can he do to help? Vic asks him to run a records check for recent parolees who were arrested by Tommy. Vic himself will go to the crime scene. Danny and the others will canvass the neighborhood.

"Change of plans. I'm calling in sick," Vic informs Trish. She asks if this is about Tommy's family. Vic thinks Tommy is being targeted because the Wilshire captain is pissed about losing the Decoy Squad. Trish should just tell Claudette that Vic was at the briefing. "She spanks me, I'll spank you," she warns.

Shane wants to tag along: "I'm not sittin' around on flamer duty while Tommy gets boned." Vic tells Shane to stay put. He asks Julien if he heard about his old partner. "There's no way he did this," the uniform says adamantly. He wants to help out.

Kouf asks if Tommy made any phone calls; those records would prove he was home. Tommy wants to go to the morgue and see his family. Edgar-veda sees Aurora and his daughter on the balcony and excuses himself. "She's been crying for you. She doesn't know where you've been," says Aurora. That toddler looks pretty calm to me, but that might have something to do with the giant cookie she's eating.

Being busy has never stopped him from coming home before. Edgar-veda can't talk about it now and doesn't know if he'll be home for dinner. Aurora wants to know what's so important. "One of my cops just found out his family's been murdered. And on top of that, he's a suspect." Edgar-veda starts. He rants about how Aurora's been calling all day and now she brought Sophia here.

Aurora tells him to calm down. She tries rubbing his chest and side. Edgar-veda pushes her hand away, saying icily, "I'll be home when I get home."

At Tommy's ex's house, Vic asks the Wilshire detective if he and the rest of the posse can look around. He knows this isn't their jurisdiction, but Tommy is their friend. He promises they won't tamper with the crime scene. Wilshire Detective says no; the captain is coming here any minute. Vic thinks it's unfair that Tommy is caught in the middle of a pissing match between their respective bosses. All he's asking is to look around for 2 minutes with Tommy's partner Julien; everyone else will stay outside. Wilshire Detective agrees.

A CSI gives Vic the details. The intruder broke a lock on the back window to get in. Tommy's wife was stabbed a few dozen times. Her sister discovered the bodies; according to her, a silver tea set and some jewelry is missing. There are definite signs of a struggle: an overturned chair, blood on the kitchen walls and floor.

Tommy's son tried to hide under the bed. The intruder found him and cut his throat. In the kid's room, the bed is turned on its side. There's a framed picture of Tommy and his little boy on the dresser. "Think God's gonna show any mercy to the person who did this?" Vic asks Julien.

Outside, Vic tells Danny he's sure the murderer was "cranked on something." Danny talked to some neighbors. There have been a lot of break-ins and Tommy's ex lives right across the street from a crack house.

Vic heads across the street and tries the doorknob. It won't turn. He's about to kick in the door when Danny reminds him that she literally just got her job back and can't be a party to this. Vic peeks in one of the filthy windows and says, "There's a citizen inside in need of immediate medical attention." When Vic walks in the living room, he rips down the cardboard covering a window, much to the chagrin of the crackheads. "Rise and shine, party people!" he shouts.

He drags the owner of the crack house into another room and asks what he knows about the murders across the street. The guy says nobody but him was here last night; this makes him Suspect #1. "I was too blind off an eight-ball to raise my hand against my fellow man," he protests. Vic hisses, "Are you playing games with me? 'Cause I know some games myself."

On a nearby shelf, Vic finds a knife just a step down from a cleaver and menaces the guy with it. The junkie says a local dealer named Darontay made a delivery last night. Darontay saw Tommy's ex writing down his license plate and "goes out to regulate, tells her to get ghost." The junkie doesn't know what happened after that because "I was too busy tryin' to get my smoke on."

Vic thinks the paper with the license plate number could still be in the house. Julien remembers seeing a list of some kind on the fridge. Vic goes to ask Wilshire Detective about taking a second look. He's told Captain Griggs is on his way; if Vic really wants to help, he should walk away. Wilshire Detective doesn't notice Julien walking into the house.

When Julien comes back out, he discreetly hands a piece of paper to Vic. He bets the last license plate number she wrote down belongs to Derontay. Vic tells Julien to copy them down, run them, and then return the list to Wilshire. It may be their case, but Vic is afraid they have their hearts set on railroading Tommy. Danny agrees with this estimation, but she's not down for B&E and stealing evidence. Vic points out it'll be hard to tie in an alternate suspect if they have a chance to fence anything.

Danny signed up to help keep Tommy out of jail, not get locked up herself. "We're just doing the job [Wilshire] should be doing," says Vic. Danny doesn't buy it. She tries to convince Julien to leave with her, but he doesn't want to. Does he realize how hard it'll be for him to conceive a child if he's in county? Julien says it's not like he hasn't covered for her. Vic gives the original copy of the list to Danny. He and Julien get in Vic's truck.

Kouf asks Tommy if his ex told him about the break-in last month, during which the burglar got in the house through the same window. Nobody was home that time. Kouf opines the neighborhood is a bad place for a single mother to be living. "I tried to get Barb to move, but she likes the house," says Tommy. He doesn't make enough money for them to leave.

Edgar-veda doesn't think it's a big deal that Tommy and Barb had arguments; they got divorced for a reason, after all. Said divorce became final two weeks ago and "it's hard to get a house in the Hills on a uniform's alimony." Tommy wants to know why Kouf keeps bringing up money.

Dutch did a recon mission at the homes of the women who were attacked by the Cuddler Rapist; they all had windows facing the street. And? Lots of people do. He reinterviewed the victims and learned they all kept their curtains open during the day and closed at night. The rapist could be someone who works in the area that nobody would pay much attention to, like a mailman or a construction worker.

Edgar-veda joins Dutch and Claudette in the break room and asks, "Are you any closer to a suspect or just $2,500 poorer?" What's the big deal? It's not like Dutch spent departmental money on it. Dutch requests extra patrols in high-risk areas. Edgar-veda tells Dutch that he'll be doing the press conference.

Dutch thinks it would be a better idea to release the psych profile and see if that gets them any tips. The rapist is most likely single or has a submissive partner who doesn't question his being out at all hours. Edgar-veda waves his hand: "Enough profiles. Just give them what we know." Dutch looks hurt.

Vic calls Shane with the plate number to run. He needs an address ASAP. Shane went to Uncle Ho's check-cashing place and managed to sneak out with the Treasury watch list. He can tell by Vic's stilted answers that he can't really talk. Shane and the guys will check their money against the list after they're through with hustler detail. He decodes Vic's answer to mean that the captain may have a different list.

Vic tells him to check the evidence against the Byz Lats case. Shane knows there are marked bills in the evidence lockup. He talks to Officer Cacuzza the evidence clerk. She can't release anything without the owner's signature. Shane says he just needs to go in the evidence room and check the bills for drug residue so he can get a search warrant. She gives him the evidence bag of marked money.
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Kouf asks if Tommy's been to Barb's house since they split up. Tommy only stopped there to pick up their son Jeff. One of the items stolen in last month's burglary was a coin collection that belonged to Tommy's father. According to Barb's sister, Jeff saw the coin collection while visiting his dad's place. Jeff told Barb about it and Barb threatened to press charges, which would've gotten Tommy fired.

Judging by Edgar-veda's expression, he had no clue about any of this. Tommy insists a mistake was made and demands to be allowed to see his son's body. Kouf and Edgar-veda step outside to meet with Kouf's superior, Captain Griggs. Griggs wants to know why Tommy isn't in custody. He believes Tommy broke into the house and killed his ex to cover up the thefts. Their son saw it, so he had to die too.

Edgar-veda doesn't think there's enough evidence to back up that theory. Does he really want Griggs to get a search warrant for Tommy's house? Edgar-veda knows that's a bluff; there's no probable cause. Griggs asks when his fellow captain became a defense attorney. He wants Tommy cuffed and put in a car. Edgar-veda intends to keep Tommy at the Barn until there's more evidence.

Griggs is sure the chief can settle this. Edgar-veda is just as sure that he'd be interrupting Chief Bankston's golf game.

When Vic goes to Derontay's house, a girl in a camisole and a thong is bringing the drug dealer a sandwich. "Put your clothes on, walk out the door, and change your taste in men," Vic instructs her. He asks where Derontay was last night. "Ruling the streets, then back to the crib for a little thug passion with shorty," says Derontay.

Vic tells Derontay about the double murder across the street from a crack house he supplies. Julien adds that the victims were a police officer's wife and child. Never mind that divorce technicality. "You see me cryin'?" asks Derontay. He would've been happy to do it, but he was wearing a new suit last night. Julien eyes the dealer's blinged-out cross: "You wear that around your neck and you talk like that?" It's clearly less of a religious symbol and more of a fashion statement.

Julien grabs Derontay by his shirt and pulls him to his feet. Derontay doesn't understand why Julien cares so much: "Two less blue-eyed devils in this world." Julien rips the chain off Derontay's neck. Vic knows witnesses saw the dealer arguing with Barb.

"Who didn't have words with that bitch?" asks Derontay, "Telling folks to come correct or get dimed on 'cause her baby-daddy five-0. Hell, even your boy couldn't deal. Hired a straight G to come gank his own crib."

Vic responds to this with one of my all-time favorite lines: "No speak Ebonics, shithead." Derontay translates, "Her old man hired some dude to come rob his own damn house." He got this information from "fellow smokehouds", so who knows whether it's reliable? Either way, it's a disturbing possibility to Vic and Julien. Derontay makes the understatement of the year. Hiring a crackhead to burglarize your ex "probably wasn't a wise choice."

Vic makes a beeline for Tommy's interrogation room and unplugs the camera. He confronts Tommy with the truth. Tommy was upset that Barb got half of his coin collection in the divorce; he knew she was planning to sell them. He hired somebody to steal them, but it was supposed to be a one-time gig. Vic whispers, "You know, a bunch of us are out there tryin' to clear your name. You're makin' us all look like assholes."

The hired burglar was a suspect who owed Tommy a favor; that has nothing to do with his family being murdered. Vic points out the murderer went through the same window. He understands exes can make you crazy and murder is certainly one way to get out of paying alimony. Tommy knows Vic has kids. How could he think this? Vic may not be father of the year, but as he says himself, "I wouldn't hire some crackhead to break into where they sleep."

Tommy planned the first robbery for when he knew Jeff and Barb would be out of town and also: "He wasn't a crackhead." Vic asks if he piss-tested the guy. The burglar must've come back for more stuff and killed them both. Tommy starts panting: "Jesus Christ. I gotta find him." That's Vic's job. He just needs a name.

Edgar-veda starts knocking and telling Vic to unlock the door. Tommy's hired thief was Soren Arnovic, which sounds vaguely Armenian. He makes sure to add, "If he did this, I didn't know, Vic." Vic opens the door and pretends he was just giving Tommy some moral support.

In front of reporters, Dutch gives out the victim profile: women who live alone, ages 65-80. The rapist waits for his victims to go out, breaks in their houses, and waits for them. Those living in the area should keep their blinds closed all the time. The rapist is white or Latino, 25-40 years old.

A female reporter says that's not much to go on. "We know he thinks he's a sophisticated predator," Dutch counters, "But really, he has low intelligence and poor interpersonal skills. Probably has a menial job or unemployed." The rapist probably isn't in a relationship, but if so, he's domineering. "And he struggles with impotence. Thank you." I have a feeling that he went way off-script here.

Claudette can't believe he just said all that on TV. Dutch is sure public emasculation will flush their rapist out. I think it's more likely to piss him off enough that he decides to prove his manhood by killing his next victim.

Shane ran the bills from the Byz Lats' case, but none of them were on Uncle Ho's Treasury list. Now they have to figure out how to get their hands on Edgar-veda's list. Julien pokes his head in the clubhouse to say he got an address on Soren. On their way out, he and Vic pass Danny. She tells her partner they have to get back on patrol. "What if it was you up in interrogation for two murders you didn't do?" asks Vic.

Danny can't afford to get in any more trouble. If Vic and Julien leave, she's going to the captain.

Upstairs, Kouf and Griggs grill Tommy about the coins. They know the collection legally belonged to Barbara. Tommy wants his lawyer or to see his son's body. Edgar-veda decides the Wilshire detectives can have Tommy. They handcuff him.

We (finally) get to the episode's C-plot. Trish exposits that there have been 3 assaults on gay hustlers in the past month. All the attacks were on Saturday nights. "The victims give us anything?" Lem asks, tossing a football to Ronnie. "Besides big sad eyes?" Shane asks around his cigarette. Aren't they supposed to be stopping vice in Farmington? If Shane were a hustler and people started getting jumped on his stroll, he'd take his business elsewhere.

Trish fails to see the humor. One of the victims sustained a skull fracture and had to be put in ICU. That should hit very close to home for our boys. Shane will be going undercover as a hustler; the rest of the Strike Team will take the perimeter. Shane, of course, vehemently objects to this assignment. Why can't Lem or Ronnie do it? "They don't look gay enough," Trish replies.

The next time we see Shane, he's standing on a street corner wired for sound. His shirt is mostly unbuttoned. Walton Goggins may not be the most attractive guy in the world, but he's got a nice set of pecs and a six-pack. Through the earpiece, Lem is giving Shane very graphic oral sex tips that he probably got from Trish's copy of Cosmo.

Shane completely blows his cover by responding: "I'm engaged to a gorgeous female who's carrying my child. You're the one who actually knows the names of dick parts." A passing hustler says, "You must be the undercover police officer." "I'm glad to be of service," Shane grouses. The hustler thanks him for being there to protect them. Shane thinks he should hold off on the gratitude: "More than likely I'll be running you in next week."

One of the reporters approaches Dutch's desk. She got a call from someone claiming to be the Cuddler Rapist. He demanded that Dutch publicly retract his statement about impotence. Claudette thinks it could be a hoax; they've had over 100 calls. However, the man who contacted the report said he stole a Hummel from the last victim's house; Patty was missing a few.

Vic tells Julien not to worry; Danny wouldn't rat her own partner out anymore than she'd rat Vic out. I wouldn't bet on that. Vic's also not taking any chances with Soren the crackhead who killed Tommy's family: "He resists, he reaches for a piece, he lifts a finger, we use deadly force." Julien seems okay with that.

Edgar-veda is about to look through a mug book of Hispanic males when Danny knocks on the door. She tells him about Vic forming a posse and that Julien is with him. "You let this happen?" asks the captain. Danny raises an eyebrow: "Well, I'm not his T.O. anymore, am I?" Edgar-veda thought she was a good influence on him.

Vic finds the address and radios for backup. He tells Julien to go to the front door. Vic's logic? "He sees the uniform, he runs, he did it." The house is a squat one-story affair painted bright turquoise. Reminds me of the houses I saw down in the Bahamas. Julien yells, "Police!", which is immediately followed by, "He's got a gun! He's running!"

Julien gives chase while Vic squeezes himself through the backyard gate. As the suspect knocks over some cheap plastic patio chairs, Julien reports he couldn't get a clean shot but the guy is still armed. Vic tells him to wait for backup out front. "Don't come near me!" Soren warns.

Dutch gives instructions to the reporter. When the suspected rapist calls, "tell him the only way the public is gonna hear his side of the story is for him to come forward and tell the truth himself." "You really think he's gonna give it all up just to make it clear he's not impotent?" she asks skeptically, "Why would he do that?" "Uh, because he's mentally ill?" Dutch replies.

From his hidey hole, Soren tells Vic not to come near him. Vic ignores this and gets closer. He tells Soren the worst part of prison is the stench; he'll have to put up with it for at least 10 years before he gets the needle. The second worst part? Soren won't be able to get drugs when he's withdrawing. "Me? I'd eat a bullet right now," Vic adds.

Julien informs his partner their backup is two minutes away. Out front, police cars converge. Julien lets them know they have the suspect who killed Tommy's family; Vic is trying to convince the guy to put his gun down. "Hope he doesn't try too hard," says one of the uniforms. Don't worry, it's Vic.

Vic quietly suggests suicide again. The uniforms enter the backyard. Soren comes out with his hands up. The uniforms cuff him.

Back on the street corner, the hustlers admire the rims on a john's car. They guess they cost a couple of nights work. Shane happens to know rims like that cost at least $3,200 and an extra $1,000 for spinners. One of the hustlers says, "Looks like our breeder knows a thing or two about rim jobs." Lem's reaction is predictable, chuckling, "Heh. Rim jobs."

Edgar-veda, Dutch, and Claudette listen to the tape of the reporter talking to the suspected rapist. The guy wants to be interviewed on camera with no one present except himself, her, and Dutch. The captain wants a cop to be the cameraman. The reporter points out her camera is more complicated than the camcorders people use to film their kids' birthday parties. Her cameraman knows how to keep his cool; he was on assignment in Baghdad during Desert Storm.

Edgar-veda doesn't care; he wants three backup teams with radios nearby. Everyone will have to wear a vest. Should be just like old times for the cameraman.

It's dark now. One of the hustlers is telling Shane about the Chevy 1500 he had back home. Shane says he used to have an F-150 with a nitrous system. The hustler's brother did that to a Dodge, which resulted in the whole engine being ruined. Before the bonding session goes any further, some guys blasting heavy metal jump out of a truck, taunting, "Hey, faggot!" They start beating up one of the hustlers.

Trish, now in a different stakeout car with Ronnie, gives the go signal. Shane tells the gay-bashers that he's a police officer, pulling out his gun for emphasis. Lem, Ronnie, and Trish move in.

Back at the Barn, Vic sees the gay-bashers in the cage and more or less thanks Trish for covering for him. "D.A. says this case has got the makings of a hate crime," Claudette tells them.
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Trish says they were also financially motivated. The suspects are all football players (high school? college?): "After the game, they knock go back a few and then go lookin' for a few queers to beat up on." "Rip 'em off for their trick money to pay the bar tab," adds Vic. Claudette asks how the Strike Team did. Trish thinks Shane is a natural undercover male hooker.

Edgar-veda asks Vic, "You went off the grid today?" Vic has a question of his own: "Who told you that?" Danny happens to pass by just then. Vic knew Tommy didn't do it and didn't appreciate Captain Griggs trying to frame him. Edgar-veda tells him it better not happen again, which we all know it will.

Claudette had no idea Vic wasn't where he was supposed to be. "I was there in spirit," he answers coolly. Edgar-veda asks her, "You've never disappeared for a couple of hours to help another cop?" Claudette notices he looks like hell. Edgar-veda denies anything is wrong; he just had a long day.

At Corinne's, Vic lets her know the pool filter is fixed. He hears classical music and asks if Matt is having another therapy session. He observes that Owen's been around a lot. Is there something she wants to tell him? "Did Cassidy say something?" asks Corinne. She didn't have to, you idiot. Did you forget what Vic does for a living?

Vic tells her what tipped him off: "You walked by the doorway in your panties without batting an eye that he was just inside." Corinne tells Vic it's none of his business. Vic wants her to find another therapist: "I'm not shelling out my own money so that the hired help can play daddy to impress you." Corinne says Owen is a great teacher and that's what Vic is paying for; anything else is her affair.

"You know he has a record?" asks Vic, "He got busted for weed in college." Corinne can't believe Vic did a background check. Vic thinks he had every right to; after all, Owen spends time alone with Matt. I really can't argue with him there. The charge wasn't simple possession either; Owen was dealing.

"It couldn't have been that serious if he got his teaching certificate," Corinne argues. Vic tells her that she can date who she wants, but Owen is out of a job.

Back at the Barn, Vic talks to Julien in the locker room. Soren confessed to killing Tommy's family and that Tommy hired him to break into their house last month. Tommy will probably be fired. Julien insists he didn't have a shot on Soren. He's going to church tonight and plans to pray for Barb, Tommy, and Jeff. "Say one for all of us," Vic advises.

On a desolate street, Dutch and the reporter are still waiting for the suspected rapist. He was supposed to surrender 4 hours ago. "Is he sending a message that it's your department who is impotent?" she asks Dutch. His reply? "You may as well turn this off 'cause it's never gonna air."

In the clubhouse, Lem thinks they'd all be better off if the money train never happened. "Gimme a break," says Shane. Vic knows Edgar-veda is checking serial numbers on any bust where over $1,000 is seized; some uniforms just logged $2,000 into evidence. If they don't let the money out of their sight, they might be able to find the captain's list.

Nina brings Edgar-veda his phone list and schedule for the next day. She thinks it would be a good idea for him to call Aurora back. "I'll do it when I do it," he snaps before telling her to go check the money in the evidence lockup like he told her to. When she leaves, Edgar-veda pages through the mug book.

Downstairs, Ronnie and Lem watch Nina walk toward the evidence room. Lem sticks his head in there with a story that Shane forgot to sign an evidence envelope. "No, he signed it," says Cacuzza. Well, nobody can say you didn't try, Lemming.

Now under a bridge, Dutch has realized the rapist was never coming. The guy just wanted to embarrass him. "Probably," says Claudette. Dutch thinks the rapist has more self-control than he gave him credit for. They still have a few hours before they have to go back to work; Claudette suggests that Dutch buy her breakfast.

They know where the Cuddler Rapist lives and hunts. Now that they have him on tape, they can do a voice analysis. It's only a matter of time until they find him. "I was wrong. You were right," Claudette admits. Hell, she'll even buy breakfast instead.

Nina comes out of the evidence lockup carrying the list. Shane asks her to help him with the computer because it's not taking his password. She says she can't because she's working on something for the captain. Nina goes upstairs and returns the list. Passing by the office, Vic sees Edgar-veda put the Treasury list in a safe.

Vic goes down to the clubhouse and tells the Strike Team where they can find the list. It shouldn't be hard to get it back; the money train was trickier to pull off. "It's in a safe in a captain's office inside a police station," Shane points out. Vic reminds them that their cash is no good without the list. There has to be a way. End of episode.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Keeping "Mum" (Episode 3.5)

Previously on: The Strike Team has no clue their Armenian money train stash contains marked bills. Edgar-veda was given a list of the serial numbers by Agent Quigley from the Department of Justice. Vic helped Diagur take over the Byz Lats gang. Dutch struck out while looking for the man who raped an elderly woman. Shane and Tavon had a huge brawl, which was stopped by Mara hitting Tavon in the head with an iron. On his way home, Tavon crashed the Strike Team van and went through the windshield.

We pick up with Vic, Lem, and Ronnie pacing in the Mission Cross ER parking lot. Corinne comes out with news; Tavon is listed in grave condition. If he recovers, he'll most likely have brain damage from the trauma. Lem wants to see him, but ICU is reserved for family only. Though Corinne doesn't work in ICU, she'll do her best to keep Vic updated.

Vic takes out his phone and calls Shane, who's wandering through his mostly-destroyed living room with Mara standing nearby. Vic doesn't beat around the bush: "Tavon got into an accident. Hit a parked car full speed. He might not make it." "Oh man," Shane sighs, actually looking sorry. Vic tells him to get to Mission Cross pronto. Shane starts babbling some story about getting in a bar fight. Vic's call-waiting signal beeps. He has to take the other call; Shane should come if he can.

Danny and Julien go to a house where a worried-looking woman is standing in the front yard. Lyle, her ex-boyfriend, has been harassing her and she's afraid he's in the house right now. Her bedroom light was off when she left for work and now it's on. The woman got a restraining order, which, predictably, only made Lyle angrier.

Julien goes in the house first. He sweeps the ground floor while Danny heads upstairs. The woman hovers in the doorway. Julien asks her to stay back. Nobody's in the bedroom, but we hear glass shatter somewhere in the house. Julien chases the suspect out into the backyard and comes close to knocking himself out on a clothesline bar. You can hear the clang. When Danny checks on him, he insists he's fine. Their perp gets away.

It seems the call-waiting was from Claudette. She's sorry about Tavon, but she needs Vic to sweep Alvarado Corridor for cruisers and loiterers. Local residents and business owners have been complaining. Vic can't believe she called him to the Barn for this; he's going back to Mission Cross. Claudette says it'll be a few days before the doctors know anything about Tavon anyway. "I'm a detective, not a janitor," Vic says testily, "Get your unis to do your sweeping." Or the Decoy Squad.

Vic is incensed that since Claudette was put in charge, the Strike Team's gotten all kinds of bullshit assignments. Claudette isn't Gilroy; she won't let them handpick cases. If Vic doesn't like it, he can complain to Edgar-veda or Chief Bankston. Vic knows he has to pick his battles and agrees to the sweep. He stops by the clubhouse to vent his frustration by smashing the light over their card table with a baseball bat. A random uniform sticks his head in (unwise) to see if Vic's okay. "Bulb blew out," Vic shrugs.

When Vic knocks on Shane's door, Mara is on her hands and knees with a sponge, trying to clean up the puddle of blood. If CSI and its spin-offs taught me anything, I hope she's using bleach. Shane hastily drags his recliner over the rather large portion Mara hasn't mopped up yet. He opens the door and Vic comes in, trailed by Lem.

Vic tells Shane they've been assigned to sweep Alvarado. When Shane turns around, his best friend observes, "Jesus, someone clocked you." "Dude, who kicked your ass?" Lem puts in. Mara claims she was getting pawed by a drunk at the bar when white knight Sir Shane stepped in to defend her honor. Said drunk and his friends jumped Shane in the bathroom.

"So there was more than one guy?" asks Vic. Shane's like "no, it was mostly the drunk groper." Vic takes note of the marks in the walls and clutter everywhere. He wants to know if Tavon dropped by. Shane says no. Mara alibis that they've been doing laundry all night. Vic seems satisfied and convinced of all this. He tells Shane to take some time off until his face heals.

On Alvarado, there's a huge, mostly Hispanic crowd of prostitutes, johns, and pimps. Vic lets out an ear-piercing dog whistle and calls, "Fiesta siesta! Everyone not outta here in one minute gets run in!" This is enough to get most of the people headed elsewhere. One of the loiterers leans on a car painted bright orange. Vic informs him there's a curfew in this part of town. The guy argues the curfew doesn't apply to him; he's over 21.

Vic thinks the car looks like it has 14 coats of high-end paint. "Let's see," says Ronnie, taking out his pocketknife. The guy takes the hint and leaves.

Julien and Danny talk to Lyle, who claims he was jogging when his ex's house was broken into. Lyle can't go near Elena because of the restraining order. Danny is aware of it, but she also knows that he's been leaving messages on her machine. According to Lyle, he left those before she got the restraining order. He also isn't sure anyone can verify that he was jogging tonight. Danny warns that they're watching him and Elena.

Vic gives another loiterer his 10th citation for cruising. The guy customizes cars and says driving around the streets is the only way he can advertise. Vic suggests he try the Yellow Pages. They're impounding the car and Lem is sure the loiterer will get it back in a month or two. Don't worry, he'll take good care of it.

The guy asks what he has to do to keep the car. Simple, give Vic a bigger criminal to target. The tow truck pulls up and the loiterer gives Vic a name: Aramis.
My first thought when someone mentions that name.
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At the Barn the next morning, Vic asks if Edgar-veda has seen Claudette. She and Dutch are on their way out; another elderly woman has been raped. But maybe the captain can help with whatever Vic needs. Vic tells him about what he learned during the almost-tow at the Alvarado sweep: a guy named Aramis sneaks contraband into Chino for his gangbanger friends. Vic isn't sure exactly what is being brought into the prison; he wanted to ask Claudette if he and the team should stick to Alvarado. Edgar-veda tells him to follow up on the smuggling.

When Dutch and Claudette arrive at their crime scene. The victim, Lou-Ann, didn't call it in; her daughter Patty did. Lou-Ann helps herself to a fistful of candy from a nearby dish. She's fully clothed and doesn't appear upset. The break-in happened the night before. Patty came over this morning and noticed some of Lou-Ann's Hummel figurines were gone. "She's supposed to be watching her sugar levels," Patty comments as her mother eats the candy.

Dutch goes to Lou-Ann's bedroom and knocks on the doorjamb. He's the worst possible person to be talking to a woman who's likely been raped. Lou-Ann is sitting on her bed, which is stripped down to the mattress. Dutch asks if anything is missing from the bedroom. Lou-Ann doesn't think so. She came home from the movies at 9:00 last night and saw things missing.

"You weren't afraid?" asks Claudette. Lou-Ann has lived in Farmington for 40 years, so no. Dutch surreptitiously checks the laundry hamper. Claudette understands Patty wants her mom to move to Encino. "You'll have to kill me before I'll retire to the Valley," says Lou-Ann.

Outside, Dutch snaps on a pair of rubber gloves and walks to the dumpster. "The compulsive eating, the odd distracted behavior, I think Lou-Ann was raped," he opines. Claudette agrees. Dutch flips open the lid and goes dumpster-diving. Claudette warns that anything he finds will probably be too contaminated to test. Under some garbage bags, Dutch finds a set of floral-patterned sheets and vaults out of the dumpster.

Sitting in the stakeout car, Lem and Vic see Aramis carrying a chin-high stake of cigarette cartons. Diagur is running things better than Vic thought he would. Ronnie is stationed at a nearby sidewalk cafe with a glass of iced tea. Vic and Lem get a good chuckle at Aramis trying to stuff the cartons into the small trunk of his car.

"We can't provide 24-hour protection to every woman with an ex who has a temper," Edgar-veda tells Danny. So much for his protect-the-vulnerable-citizens platform. Danny checked into Lyle's background. One of his other exes left a good job in Cleveland and moved to New Hampshire because she was afraid Lyle would kill her.

Julien backs his partner's play. Edgar-veda thinks they can escort her to work and set up extra patrols in her neighborhood. Lyle has a week to violate the restraining order. If he doesn't, the protection stops.

Dutch has found case files on 11 elderly women whose houses were broken into while they were home. And that's just from the last 6 months. Claudette has the local hospitals on alert to call her if any women in that age range report being raped.

Dutch hands her a spiralbound book: Mueller's Geographic Profiles. Mueller is a criminal logistics expert from Duke who takes data from violent serial crimes and generates the most likely location of the suspect. He needs 3 cases to create a preliminary profile. Claudette points out they only have one confirmed victim, two if Lou-Ann eventually tells them. Dutch wonders if Edgar-veda will spring for the study; Mueller doesn't work cheap. Claudette thinks they're better off going back through the files to find their second and third victims.

Vic brings in two suspects he caught with drugs, cigarettes, and $7,500 in cash. Edgar-veda is impressed he already broke the case. Vic explains the operation: "The gangbanger sets up the care packages. The white guy is a frozen food deliveryman who drops off at Chino twice a week." Claudette asks what Vic is talking about. Vic tells her that the captain cleared him to work the smuggling case.

Upstairs, Vic and Lem ask Aramis about the cigarettes and heroin. "Must be the old man's 'cause I learned in school to just say no," snarks Aramis. Vic knows Aramis takes orders from gangbangers and Fred sneaks in the goodies. The two cops close in. "We gotcha dead to rights," says Lem. Vic talked to the D.A.; if Aramis cooperates, he can serve his sentence in Chino with his homies.

They go to the next room over. Fred asks if he can go home. Lem says Aramis told them about Fred's weekly trips to Chino. "I'm a deliveryman. That's my job," says Fred. He didn't know about the heroin because he doesn't open the packages. "But you knew it was wrong," says Vic.

Fred mumbles that he has to leave because his wife is cooking dinner. Lem's the good cop, all smiles and "it's all right." Vic asks if Fred understands that he's under arrest. Fred can make things easier on himself if he tells them who collects the "packages" at Chino. Fred keeps saying this has to be a mistake and he's not a criminal.

In his office, Edgar-veda takes some papers out of his safe. He tells his secretary about the Strike Team's bust that included cash. He wants her to check every serial number against the Department of Justice list. I hope he's gonna sign off on her overtime. Also, shouldn't a trained investigator being doing this, if only for chain of evidence purposes? She has to return the list directly to him. Nina sighs that she could be more than just the captain's assistant. The election is coming up and his campaign staff don't know what they're doing.

Claudette sighs that a woman named Layla was the victim of a break-in 5 months ago and just reported that she was raped during the same incident. The rapist didn't use a condom and there was "a lot of cuddling." They need one more victim to be able to hire the profiler.

Dutch and Claudette sit down in Lou-Ann's kitchen with her and Patty. Lou-Ann is eating candy again. Dutch asks if she noticed anyone suspicious near her house. "In this neighborhood?" she scoffs, "Try finding someone who doesn't look suspicious." Claudette's asking because a man has been breaking into houses so he can sexually assault women.

Lou-Ann scoffs again. "Sexually? I'm flattered, Detective." "He's targeting women your age," Claudette goes on, "Did someone hurt you?" Lou-Ann says no and walks out of the kitchen. "Thank God," sighs Patty. Dutch and Claudette aren't so sure Lou-Ann told them everything.

Danny checked on Tavon's accident report for Vic. Witnesses saw the van swerving for several blocks before Tavon hit the parked car. Did Tavon have a history of being a drinker? Not that Vic knows of. He asks which direction the car was going. "North on Perry," says Danny.

Out in the parking lot, Shane is using the shiny paint job on his truck to examine his cut cheek. Mara is there too, even though Vic asked his best friend to come alone. Shane says Mara wasn't sure that he was okay to drive. Vic gives Shane the facts from the accident report. The hospital didn't find drugs or alcohol in Tavon's system, but he was weaving prior to the crash.

Vic knows something is missing "like a coffee table or a painting." Mara tries to feign doe-eyed concern and innocence, but only succeeds in looking worried about herself. Shane looks uncomfortable and 'fesses up. His version is Tavon gave him a backhanded apology (true), they argued, and Tavon jumped him. Shane hit him back. Vic wants to know where. Shane once again is honest and says the back of the head. However, he's sure the brain trauma is from the car accident.

Vic reminds him of the witnesses' statements. If a doctor can prove Shane caused the brain damage, he could be brought up on charges. Vic asks what Tavon was hit with. "A paperweight or something." I'm not sure if Shane honestly doesn't know or if he's lying to keep his baby mama out of jail. Speaking of, Vic asks where Mara was during the fight. She lies that she was doing laundry in the basement. Vic doesn't believe her, but Shane repeats she wasn't there. As my grandma used to say, "One lies and the other swears to it."

Edgar-veda's secretary returns the list of marked bills. She got two matches. The captain is surprised. Cut to Aramis being led out of the cage. Another man in a suit is there too. Vic and Lem see this and ask what's going on. Edgar-veda says he has to question our Musketeer about an unrelated matter. He tells the Strike Team to go back to Alvarado.

The suit's ID reading "Treasury" does not escape Vic's notice. This makes the second Treasury agent to stop by the Barn in the last two weeks. Lem wonders if Edgar-veda has pieced together Diagur's hostile takeover of the Byz Lats. There's only one way to find out.

They go to the observation room, Lem watching the door. On CCTV, Edgar-veda asks where Aramis got the $7,500. Aramis isn't interested in talking because he already made a deal. Edgar-veda lets him know his crime has become federal, hence the presence of Agent Nell. The Chino deal is null and void. Agent Nell asks how Aramis got his hands on marked money stolen from the Armenian mob. "Holy shit," Vic breathes. Lem looks sick to his stomach and has a death grip on the doorjamb.

Vic remembers the bag they gave Diagur had come back short $20,000. That must be how Aramis got it. Meanwhile, Aramis asserts he doesn't remember where the money came from. "Whoever stole that money killed two Armenians to get it," Agent Nell goes on. Does Aramis want to risk getting the death penalty for something he didn't do? Edgar-veda moves for the interrogation room door, so Vic and Lem hustle out of observation.

Outside, Lem has a bad feeling about this. Ronnie fires off questions: "Our money's marked? Some of it? All of it?" The others have no idea. They all pile into the stakeout car. Their destination? "To silence a smoking gun" as Vic puts it.

Under a blue tarp tent in a seedy lot, the Strike Team finds two of Diagur's associates smoking a bong. Juan, the buck-toothed one, says he'd be happy to pass on a message. Vic checks Juan's ink and asks how long he's been out of Terminal Island. Ronnie and Lem start (literally) twisting some arms. Vic warns that Juan'll be going back to prison if they don't get some information. "Home is where the heart is," says Juan, stoned and utterly unconcerned.

Vic relights the bong, then shoves it in the guy's mouth. The guy struggles as he's forced to take an extremely long hit. Puke splatters the table. Vic takes the bong out of Juan's mouth and offers it to his friend. The friend is much more forthcoming: Diagur is at Yolanda's house, which he describes as brown with a Madonna statue in the yard. In a Latino neighborhood? That narrows it down.

The Strike Team knocks on Yolanda's front door. A middle-aged woman lets them in. They find Diagur in a back bedroom, having sex with a girl who's presumably Yolanda. "How old are you?" asks Vic. Yolanda, holding a robe over herself, sasses, "Old enough." Vic is glad her mom is such a concerned parent and tells Yolanda to wait outside.

He asks if the Byz Lats have a lawyer on retainer, which of course they does. Vic tells Diagur to get his lawyer to the Barn ASAP. Aramis is there on smuggling charges and they need to make sure he keeps quiet.

Danny visits Lyle at work. Somebody left a rose in Elena's mailbox. Lyle pulls the old "Don't you have more important things to do" card. Julien says, "Actually, tampering with a mailbox is a federal offense." Lyle was supposed to be making business calls, so the boss gave authorization for the police to monitor his work phone and online activity. "You can either spend your 9-to-5 stalking or you can spend it working. You can't do both," says Danny.

Back at Yolanda's, Diagur has just gotten off the phone with the Byz Lats' lawyer. He gets dressed and is curious why Vic is being so helpful. Vic tells him about the marked money stolen from the Armenians. If word gets out that the police suspect the Byz Lats, the gang will be "up to their necks in severed feet." He's trying to prevent a war. Diagur doesn't know where the money came from. Vic advises him to stick to that story.

Oh, and in addition to the $7,500, Diagur gave Aramis $15,000. His fingerprints will still be on it. Diagur knows Aramis keeps it in the freezer. Vic tells him to pick it up, then disappear for a few weeks.

When the Strike Team arrives at the Barn, Aramis is back in the cage. That can only mean he talked. Cut to Edgar-veda and Agent Nell at Aramis's house, taking the brick of cash out of the freezer. Agent Nell will run the serial numbers and take the money to the lab for fingerprinting. Aramis gave permission to search the whole house, so Edgar-veda wants to stay behind and look around. He'll call some uniforms for a ride back.

Corinne tells Dutch and Claudette that a woman named Diana Peabo came to the ER last month after being hurt in a home invasion. Diana's kids brought her in again today for an allergic reaction; she mixed two medications that she shouldn't have. Her family reports Diana hasn't been herself since the burglary. Also, Tavon is no better and no worse than he was yesterday. Claudette and Dutch ask Diana's son Vince if they can talk to her.

Edgar-veda is poking around the bathroom, unseen by the goons Diagur sent to pick up the money. When he hears a voice, the captain draws his gun. Edgar-veda announces himself as the police and the suspect tries to run but seems to think better of it. He orders the guy to his knees. Suddenly, the captain is tackled from behind by a second guy. Fortunately, there's a mattress for him to land on.

Edgar-veda's gun is knocked loose. The three men struggle for it. We recognize Diagur's henchmen as the two stoners from earlier. Juan manages to grab the captain's gun. He hoots with glee like Wild Bill Wharton.
"Ain't this a party now?!"
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"Don't make this mistake. I'm a police officer," says Edgar-veda, as if these guys can't tell. He gets pistol-whipped for his trouble, falling to the floor. Edgar-veda tells them they still have a chance to get out of this. They kick him down when he tries to get up. The second guy ties the captain's hands behind his back with some kind of electrical cord.

Juan holds the gun to the captain's forehead. "Don't throw your life away," Edgar-veda says desperately. Juan, much like Wild Bill, isn't afraid of prison. He undoes his belt and asks in no uncertain terms if the captain has ever given oral sex to another man. When Edgar-veda refuses, Juan cocks the gun.

Someone knocks on the door. Juan covers the captain's mouth with his non-gun hand so he can't scream. We see a uniform on the porch. He gives his partner a why-isn't-he-answering shrug. The partner thinks Edgar-veda got a limo to pick him up. The uniform on the porch radios dispatch and the dispatcher can't confirm the address. The uniforms leave and Juan picks back up where he started.

At the Barn, Vic can't find the captain. Nina says Edgar-veda is out in the field searching a suspect's house. She can try calling, but she's already left two messages. She tries a third time with no luck.

Juan asks his counterpart to take a picture of him sexually assaulting the captain. The guy is clearly squicked out but does it. Juan lets out another wild yell, getting off on his extreme cruelty.

Claudette asks if Diana remembers anything about more about the robber than she told the police already, but they're out of luck. In observation, Dutch breaks the bad news to Vince: his mother may have been raped by the man who broke into her house.

Diana's son tells them what he saw the day of the robbery. He found his mom on the kitchen floor and she couldn't stop crying. The back window was broken. He's sure Diana would've mentioned being raped.

At Aramis's place, Juan has finished assaulting Edgar-veda. He asks if the captain is gonna tell anyone. Edgar-veda says no. Juan's friend thinks they should kill him to make sure. Juan hands him the gun. Edgar-veda pleads with them; he has a wife and a little girl. Juan aims the gun and cocks it. "If your mother were here, what would she tell you to do?" asks the captain. The other guy insists that Juan shoot him.

Tires squeal outside. "It's the other cop, let's go," says Juan's friend. They bolt, leaving Edgar-veda sweating, bleeding, and still tied up on the floor. The captain manages to get loose and calls out, "I'm in here!" We hear the Strike Team forcing the door. Lem and Ronnie sweep the house while Vic stays in the living room. "They got my gun," Edgar-veda pants. Vic asks if he's hurt. The captain is in shock and says, "No."

While the detectives sit in the observation room, Vince asks his mom what happened during the robbery. Did the man do more than just push her? Did he rape her? "Don't you say that," says Diana. When Vince asks again, she sobs, "Yes, he did." Vince holds his mom and tries to comfort her.

Driving past Elena's house, Julien thinks he sees something. He did, indeed. Lyle is lurking between Elena's car and the wall of her house. They bring him back to the Barn and put him in the cage. Edgar-veda comes in with a bandaged forehead and waves off Dutch's concern: "No harm done. Let's not waste any time on it." Vic tells Dutch that the captain had to fend off two suspects: "Miracle he hasn't called a press conference yet."

Lou-Ann's house is surrounded by uniforms. Tommy exposits that Lou-Ann locked herself in with her husband's service weapon. Patty is behind Dutch and Claudette; her key didn't work in the new lock and Mom shot at her. The detectives cautiously walk in. Lou-Ann is listening to some sleepy jazz, sitting on her stripped bed and holding her dead husband's 1911. She puts it down when they tell her to.

Claudette sits next to Lou-Ann. The older woman points out her wedding picture. Claudette asks what happened. "He robbed me. I didn't want to get robbed again." Lou-Ann replies. Now I'm wondering if there's a dead rapist somewhere in the house.

When Vic comes home with Cassidy, the kitchen table is strewn with art supplies. Cassidy ignores Owen's presence. "I'm drawing a zoo," Matt tells his father with a sweet smile. Corinne asks how Cassidy's appointment with Dr. Franks the counselor went. "You know shrinks. You ask 'em one question, they give ya 5 back," Vic says dismissively.

Dr. Franks suggested to Corinne that both parents do one-on-one sessions with him. Vic wants to help Cassidy through the divorce, but he refuses to talk to a therapist. "Stubborn and incommunicative. Wonder where she gets that from?" asks Corinne. She has more information on Tavon. His last surgery was successful and the brain bruising wasn't as bad as they thought. The next 48 hours are critical.

"If he recovers, would he be able to remember anything that happened?" Vic wants to know. He supposedly had Tavon undercover prior to the accident. Possible results are on a spectrum from Tavon could remember everything to he could wake up without a clue of who he is.

Vic stops by Shane and Mara's, armed with what Corinne just told him. If Tavon dies, an autopsy could reveal that the blow to the head happened before the crash. "We'll figure this out, baby," says Mara. When she steps out, Vic says quietly, "Chew on this, baby. We just found out the feds marked some of our money train cash." Shane's reaction is immediate.
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If the accident leads back to Shane before he alleges self-defense, Internal Affairs will be around right when they need to cash in. Vic wants the truth.
Sorry, it's a reflex.
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"You had a fight. One of you hit him. It was self-defense," Vic goes on. It could all go away if Shane and Mara come clean. Vic needs a decision now. Shane wants to make it disappear.

Dutch and Claudette tell Edgar-veda about the cuddler rapist and how they want to hire a criminologist from Duke to build a geographical profile. They were able to confirm three victims, which is required for him to do a study. Mueller's past results have been accurate down to the square block. It can help them narrow the search.

"If this Mueller can to help, then let him," says the captain. Dutch tells him the profile will cost $5,000. Edgar-veda can't spare the money. "The victims could just pile up until he makes a mistake. And so far, he hasn't made one," Dutch argues. Edgar-veda says no again, being awfully unsympathetic for someone who was just sexually assaulted himself.

Vic tells Shane and Mara to get rid of the evidence. Throw the rug out and buy a new one. Same goes for the coffee table and the painting. Make sure to pay with cash. Vic will help Shane patch the wall. What was Tavon hit with? Shane brings out the iron. Mara objects to throwing it out; it's brand-new and she washed it afterward. Shane promises her a new one and takes the rug down to Vic's truck.

Mara goes back to washing the floor. She tells Vic the crash wasn't her fault. "You mean, 'It's not Shane's fault,'" he corrects her, adding, "He must really love you." Mara says Shane is just trying to do the right thing; she trusts him. If push comes to shove, Vic wants Mara to tell the real truth: "D.A. is never gonna pursue the conviction of a pregnant woman trying to protect the father of her child." He knows Shane will do things however Mara tells him to.

Shane comes back in and takes over mopping. Vic gives the couple a blacklight and a bottle of Luminol. Shane will handle that part; the fumes could be harmful to the baby. Shane thanks Vic and gives Mara a reassuring kiss.

Danny lets Edgar-veda know that she caught Lyle hiding next to Elena's house. The captain seems distracted as he signs something for Nina. He ducks into the women's room/the only working bathroom in the Barn. Edgar-veda rinses his mouth out with water from the sink, then locks himself in a stall to dry-heave. End of episode.

Friday, December 9, 2016

"Streaks and Tips"...And I Don't Mean Highlights (Episode 3.4)

Previously on: Corinne went back to her old job as an ER nurse at Mission Cross. Julien got revenge on the coworkers who threw him the blanket party. Danny asked Julien about partnering up again and didn't get an answer. Shane's girlfriend Mara told him that she's pregnant and literally had a tantrum when he suggested getting married. Claudette was put in charge of both the Strike Team and the new Decoy Squad. The Strike Team has started to worry that the Decoy Squad might replace them.

"Oh, you didn't hear, dude? Shane's getting married!" Lem exclaims. The Barn explodes with cheers. Proud papa-to-be Shane has fistfuls of cigars for everyone. Doesn't he know you're supposed to give those out after the baby is born? Julien must've somehow missed Lem shouting because he says he didn't know Shane was married. "I'm not. Must've been an immaculate conception," Shane jokes. Danny has a joke of her own: "She your cousin?" Because all rednecks screw their relatives.

"Amazing thing is, she's not a stripper," says Ronnie. Shane has held back a cigar for his best buddy Vic, who asks how Mara is. Shane reports that she has morning sickness. Isn't it crazy that he's gonna be a daddy? I think it's only crazy it didn't happen sooner, given Shane's proclivity for unprotected sex.

Shane and Mara haven't really discussed wedding plans; they might even elope. But whatever they decide, Shane wants Vic there. Doesn't having guests take away the whole point of eloping?

Claudette approaches the ER check-in desk at Mission Cross. "Someone asks for a detective?" "That was me," says Corinne. Claudette didn't know Corinne was a nurse. As if. One thing I learned as a volunteer firefighter, men are capable of gossiping just as much as women. Corinne shakes hands with Dutch and says, "Dr. Genty asked me to call you."

Dr. Genty tells the detectives that a man named Robert has come in with food poisoning 3 times this month. Each time, he's tested positive for thallium, which is an odorless and tasteless poison. Dutch and Claudette interview Robert, who suggests someone could be tampering with products in his grocery store. Dutch asks to search his house to see if any of the packages look odd.

"Maybe it was a mix-up at the lab? I mean, I feel better now," says Robert. Dr. Genty ran 2 different samples. Dutch asks if the victim was trying to poison himself. "God, no," the guy groans. Dutch wants to know what the victim ate today. Robert's brother came over and they had breakfast at home. The other times he got sick, he was at home. And what do you know? So was his brother!

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Claudette, who'd stepped out to answer her phone, tells Dutch the captain called. He has to take the case by himself.

Tavon tells Vic he's thinking of transferring off the Strike Team. It's not as fun as he expected and he isn't fitting in like he wanted. "You're wanted," says Vic. He knows the other guys are a tight bunch. No surprise, Tavon's biggest problem is Shane. Before Vic can delve any deeper into that, the secretary tells him Edgar-veda and Claudette want to see him.

On a downtown street, there's a body under a yellow tarp. The victim is Karen Rivas, a local advocate for the homeless. She and her child were carjacked after a robbery, but the baby is okay. In a nearby store, the owner and his son are both dead. Claudette is running the investigation with the Strike Team and Decoy Squad falling in behind her. Vic wants to know why; they've worked robberies on their own before. "So have they," Claudette says of the Decoy Squad.

"Random crime, no video, media attention. Lucky we're here," says Walon. Vic wants to make a friendly wager: The first team to bring in the shooter wins. Walon wants to have pride riding on this instead of money. Shane is fine with that: "You guys lose, Sasquatch here has to take a bath." Walon has a better idea: Losers have to streak through the Barn. "Very 1974 of you," says Vic.

Lem asks what kinda bet that is; they need to put some money on it. Ronnie agrees. "A real man puts his dignity on the line," says Waylon, kicking off a round of trash talk from the Decoy Squad. Vic wants to be a gentleman and offer the Decoy Squad an out, since they're coed and the Strike Team isn't. Trish says the Strike Team are the only ladies she sees. The bet is back on.
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Claudette gives both teams some particulars. Karen was driving a white 1999 Mercedes S420. Vic will get the license plate and VIN from DMV. That'll only take, like, an hour. Lem will put out the APB. Nobody in the crowd saw anything, shocker. Walon, Annie, Eddie, and Trish will re-interview the potential witnesses.

Vic noticed two of the store's cases were cleaned out. Maybe the thieves were looking for something or were just pissed off they couldn't get into the register. Ronnie will take inventory. Tavon knows a fence who'll buy anything; Vic sends him and Shane to check on it. Vic is sure the car will turn up. The thieves might try to scrap it since they couldn't get any cash. Lem offers to go to the local chop shops.

Walon already has a witness. We see said witness, a black lady, being interviewed by news crews: "It was horrible. I heard shots and then I saw this white guy and this black girl run out. They jacked this lady's car, shot her dead, and threw her baby to the curb." Claudette pulls the woman aside and asks why she didn't mention this earlier. The witness went home to change her clothes and put on makeup; like many Los Angeles residents, she's a struggling actress.

Edgar-veda asks if she's worried the killers could identify her. The woman shrugs that they don't know her name or where she lives. Claudette has another question: "Are you in the phone book?" The woman now looks concerned. "You all are gonna protect me, right?"

Vic goes to a garage run by someone named Edixon. Lem got a phone call from Ronnie; the Decoy Squad rounded up some more witnesses. Vic is sure the captain is auditioning them to replace the Strike Team. Lem says, "Won't happen." "Damn straight," Vic agrees. They walk out back and find their man. Vic starts talking to him in Spanish; the only words I can get are "Mercedes blanco." Edixon swears he's never seen the car.

Vic puts a friendly arm around his shoulders and points to a nearby gate. You can hear lots of activity behind it. In English, Vic asks what's going on in there. He opens the gate without waiting for an answer. "Not another chop shop, Edixon!" Vic says disappointedly. There's an empty snack cart in the lot. "Who's stealing for you? The evil churro vendor?" Lem quips. He probably wishes there were churros in it.

"Policia!" Vic calls. He has all the employees put their hands on the cars. "If I see Mercedes, I call," Edixon promises. Vic wants Edixon to put word on the street that he's willing to pay top dollar for the car.

Tavon goes to a pawn shop with a list of items stolen from Ling's store. Shane is less interested in police business and more interested in the jewelry case. The shop owner, Meaty, hasn't seen anything on the list, but comments, "That's a rough way to go outta business." "If you already shelled out cash for it, maybe you wouldn't wanna say," Shane guesses, now behind one of the counters. Meaty repeats he doesn't have anything from Ling's.

While picking through a cardboard box, Shane finds a revolver. "Shit!" cries Meaty. Shane asks if he has a license to sell firearms. Judging by that response, I'd have to say no. The serial number's been filed off the revolver and there's 4 more in the box. Meaty tells Shane to leave his shit alone. Shane puts Meaty under arrest.

"If it turns up, he'll call," Tavon assures his partner. Meaty retorts, "Not anymore." Meaty is so big that Shane has to ask for Tavon's handcuffs too.

The witness looks through mugshots on Claudette's computer. She asks if they can wrap this up later; her 15 minutes of fame are almost up. The witness is sure she can describe the black girl, but white guys all look alike to her. Edgar-veda tells her to keep looking; the city is offering a $5,000 reward. That changes the witness's mind in a hurry.

Vic tells Claudette that he has chop shop CIs on the lookout for 1999 Benzes. Ronnie found out all the missing jewelry from Ling's was pawned by the same guy, Dean Warrison. Vic shows Claudette a mug shot. Lem went to Dean's last known address, but the guy moved out months ago. They're trying to figure out where he lives now and who's playing Bonnie to his Clyde. Edgar-veda reads off the rap sheet: robbery, breaking and entering, drug possession. Not a far leap from there to armed robbery and carjacking.

Claudette brings Dean's mugshot to her witness and asks if that's the man she saw. "He's white. Could be," the woman replies unhelpfully. The captain will release the make and model of Karen's car to the media. Vic asks what the Decoy Squad's come up with. Karen's Amex card was used an hour ago at a gas station. Walon's interviewing the clerk.

"Kevin, you're here because someone's trying to kill your brother," Dutch informs his suspect. They found thallium in Robert's system. He's been hospitalized for poisoning 3 times this month. Kevin wonders if Robert's trying to commit suicide. Dutch doubts it; Robert's had a good job for the last 12 years, owns his own home, has lots of friends, no trouble with dating, and is healthy. Why would a guy like that want to kill himself? "Depression?" Kevin suggests.

Dutch lays out his theory. Kevin is unemployed, broke, and has been to rehab. Robert made Kevin the beneficiary on his life insurance policy. He gets poisoned every time Kevin cooks for him. "It's a little perspicuous, don't you think?" asks Dutch. Of course, Kevin has no idea what the word means. I actually didn't either until I looked it up.

The detective laughs. "You think you're smart enough to lie to me?" He adds that "perspicuous" means "obvious." "It's obvious you're a dick," says Kevin.
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Ronnie has information for Vic. One of Dean's drug buddies said Dean recently moved in with a black woman. Ronnie doesn't have an address, but he's working on it. "Well, work harder," snaps Vic, "Our killer's runnin' around out there and I don't wanna be runnin' around in here buck-naked." I'm sure nobody wants to see all that, Vic, but who agreed to the bet again?

"Yeah, well, I got nothin' to be embarrassed about," Lem smirks. Ronnie wishes he'd waxed his back. Lem's seen Ronnie in the shower and pipes up: "It's not your back you need to be worried about." Well then!

Dean's file said he's been in rehab. Vic asks Lem to check out the rehab facility; maybe he met his girlfriend there. He hasn't gotten anything from chop shops so far. Through the open clubhouse door, they see Walon passing Trish a copy of Dean's mug shot. He tells her to show it around local motels.

"Whose mug shot?" asks Vic. Walon quickly turns off the computer monitor. Vic thinks that's cold. "Not as cold as you're gonna be," says Walon. He'll make sure the AC is turned up high.

Edgar-veda brings Carlos the reporter to Claudette's desk. He's doing a story about Karen's murder investigation for the Sunday paper; Claudette should give him full access. "How'd you get that assignment?" she asks, even though she already knows. The captain's secretary, Nina, tells him that Chief Bankston is on the phone. Edgar-veda is all "I'll call him back."

Claudette takes him aside and starts to say something about him being a glory hound. Edgar-veda insists this isn't about him; it's about a good citizen who was murdered while running errands. They have a suspect and he knows the case will be solved.

"Shane arrested my CI," Tavon hisses to Vic, "Ruined a 5-year relationship. He's trying to make me look like a punk." Vic asks Shane why he arrested Meaty. Shane replies, "Caught Fatboy Slim here filing the serial numbers off a few handguns." Vic wants to know if that crime had anything to do with the triple murder. Tavon insists it didn't; Shane just has his head up his ass.

"When Vic's not around, I'm in charge," says Shane. Vic tells him to cut Meaty loose. They're trying to catch a killer before the Decoy Squad (and preserve their dignity); he doesn't have time for his best friend's bullshit. As he's let out, Meaty taunts Shane. Vic warns the big man that if he opens his mouth again, he'll be begging to be just locked up. Meaty leaves in a hurry.

"What was that about?" asks Carlos, who saw the whole thing. Claudette explains, "Passionate people having a difference of opinion." Dutch comes downstairs and asks to talk to his partner. He thinks he went too far with Robert's brother because "you were down here with your photo shoot."

"Don't tell me you played bad cop," says Claudette. Dutch is like "well, you weren't there to stop me." Claudette knew he could handle the interrogation. Dutch agrees that he usually can, but there are times he needs his partner. They have a connection. Claudette puts up a hand: "Please don't say I complete you." She tells him to go back upstairs and try again.

Danny and her new partner Lucas respond to a domestic disturbance call. Inside the house, we can hear Vanessa and Julien arguing about whether or not he should see a doctor. Julien is worried about the cost. Danny knocks on the door and Julien lets them in. He assures them the fight was only verbal; he didn't know how loud they'd gotten, thinking it must've been a neighbor who contacted the police.

"The call came from this address," Danny tells the couple. Vanessa calls out for Randall and asks if he called the police. The kid nods. Vanessa apologizes for scaring him. Lucas wants to talk to Randall and Vanessa gives him permission. Danny takes Vanessa out on the porch, asking if the other woman feels threatened or unsafe. Standard procedure for this type of situation.

Vanessa swears that she's fine. Julien has just been under a lot of stress; after being attacked, he had to have back surgery. He's had that type of surgery once before and still has pain from it now and then. Julien might even need a third operation. Randall was just scared by the yelling.

Claudette tells Edgar-veda that the Decoy Squad got in touch with a motel clerk who saw the suspect's car. Vic can do better; he ID'd Dean's roommate as Danielle Riggs. The wannabe actress at the scene ID'd Danielle as the female carjacker. Claudette asks why there's tension between Tavon and Shane. "Ah, just two dogs humping," Vic shrugs. Claudette offers, "Well, if you can't pry them loose, I can get my hose out." She's impressed by the Decoy Squad and doesn't want any problems with the Strike Team.

Speaking of the Strike Team, they head to Dean's apartment and pick up the keys from the landlord. A neighbor calls from his porch that Dean isn't home; he saw Dean leave with Danielle this morning. Vic sends Tavon, Lem, and Shane into the apartment anyway. Vic shows Danielle's mug shot to the neighbor, who says, "She left with the white boy." Lem gives the all-clear.

Dutch brings Kevin a cup of coffee. He reports that Robert will be in the hospital overnight for observation. Dutch lets Kevin know how much his brother cares about him, claiming he practically threw Dutch out when he heard Kevin was a suspect. Dutch knows Kevin's really been trying and that he blew $15,000 borrowed from Robert on a bad investment.

"It was only $14,000," Kevin argues. The business venture would've been successful if the other investors hadn't gotten cold feet at the last minute. Dutch asks if Kevin is the kinda guy who always blames other people for his failures. "And you're one of these guys who's always just a dick," he fires back.

Edgar-veda asks Danny about the domestic dispute at Julien's. There's a new policy that any 911 calls at an officer's home address get flagged. Danny says it was nothing. Why wasn't it in her report? The captain wants her to be straight with him. Danny thought her orders were "see something, say something." It was just a loud argument that scared the kid so much he called the police.

The captain reminds Danny about the active excessive force complaint against Julien. Adding this in doesn't look good. Danny is planning to talk to Julien about it. Vic reports to Claudette that Lem and Tavon are sitting on Dean's apartment; Ronnie and Shane are trying to track down Danielle's family. Right then, Walon and the Decoy Squad come into the Barn with Dean in tow. Claudette takes Dean upstairs.

Vic asks Walon how they found Dean so fast. The Decoy Squad knew that Dean had a record for drug possession, so they staked out a few methadone clinics and got lucky. "You busted him based on my tip," Vic sounds just a bit territorial. Trish takes the opportunity to ask about Vic's, um, "tip": "cut or uncut?" Vic just smirks.

Claudette asks if Dean heard about the pawn shop shooting. He says no. Claudette knows he hocked the stolen jewelry. A witness saw him and Danielle. Dean claims he didn't rob the pawn shop; it was Danielle and Danielle's boyfriend Crazyhouse, who's fresh out of prison. Dean was just the getaway driver. He's been staying with Danielle, but they're not having sex. He needed cash and hocked some of her jewelry.

What Dean didn't know was said jewelry had been gifts from Crazyhouse. The guy lived up to his nickname and made Dean drive him to the pawn shop where he sold Danielle's jewelry. Crazyhouse must've stolen the car after Dean left. He didn't know Crazyhouse would kill anyone. Walon comes in the observation room to gloat. Vic tells him arresting the accomplice doesn't count; their deal was for the shooter.

Enter Claudette, who has no clue what they're talking about and doesn't care. She orders them to find Danielle and Crazyhouse. Vic and Waylon argue about who's trying to back out of the bet until Vic's phone rings. He's gotten a tip about the stolen car.

Deena, our female car thief from way back in Season 1, is at Eddie's shop trying to offload a 1999 Benz. She insists they're making a mistake, but Vic knows better. He brings her back to the Barn. "How come you never called?" Deena asks Edgar-veda.

Vic welcomes Danny back. She heard he's been mentoring Julien. Vic just told Julien that he needs to stand up for himself. "You mean like with Carlson and his broken arm?" she asks. Vic has no idea how that happened.

"So I heard you're going to the the city council," says Deena. All Edgar-veda did was win the primary; the general election hasn't happened yet. Deena knows he's running unopposed. She offers to be the next Mrs. Edgar-veda. The captain is sure his current wife would object to that. He informs her that the people who stole the car she was trying to sell left 3 people dead.

Deena asks about the reward before swearing she doesn't know where they are; she just works for a car broker. She didn't know it was the car from the news until she was arrested. Uh-huh, so just like last time, right? She can tell them where she ditched the car. The captain wisely asks, "And what will it cost me?" Deena wants the reward up front and for she and her boss to get a free pass.

Vic thinks, as do I, that Deena knows more than she's saying. The D.A. wants to give her immunity. Vic is fine with that as long as he can follow Deena and see what angle she's working. Walon asks if Edgar-veda needs the Decoy Squad to pick up the car and the captain agrees.

Dutch asks his partner where she's been. "Working a triple murder," she replies. Dutch can't get Kevin to talk and he couldn't find thallium anywhere in Robert's house. If Kevin doesn't confess, he'll be let go and free to poison his brother again. Robert refuses to believe Kevin could've been involved.

On the handy-dandy interrogation room whiteboard, Dutch draws two columns. He labels one "Robert" and the other "Kevin." Dutch writes that Robert is successful and has money, while Kevin is a broke loser. He adds that Kevin is also fratricidal, so he's going to jail.

Claudette comes in, looks at the whiteboard, and asks, "What is this shit?" She wants Dutch to step outside. She erases the board and apologizes to Kevin, claiming Dutch has an uncle high up on the force so he can't be fired. "She's just playing him. I got here on merit," Dutch informs the other detective in the observation room.

Claudette tells Kevin she gets worked up just thinking about how Dutch doesn't think she knows what she's doing. I'm sure that's actually the truth. Kevin knows someone like Dutch. "No offense, he can't possibly be this bad," says Claudette.

Shane asks Vic how they're gonna get rid of Tavon. Vic knows kicking the only black guy off the Strike Team wouldn't do them any favors with Edgar-veda or Chief Bankston who's also black. Besides, they need an outsider around to keep them sharp about the money train. Shane thinks it's bullshit. "It's my call, live with it," says Vic. They're following Deena and her boyfriend.

Deena's boyfriend stops in a parking lot. She gets out and pulls out a janitor-size ring of dummy keys. In no time, she's inside the car. Lem and Tavon swoop in with the van. Shane asks Deena if that's her car. It's not, but Deena has immunity. "Not on this one, you don't," Lem corrects her. Ronnie hands Vic a piece of paper, which apparently somehow proves she talked to the shooter. Vic will make sure charges get pressed.

Deena's boyfriend says the shooters sold them the stolen Mercedes; they needed a different car to get out of town. Deena swears they were going to turn the other couple in.
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Vic has a new plan in mind. Cut to the Strike Team gathered on the sidewalk as Deena and her boyfriend get out of the car. "I hope these two idiots don't blow it," Lem mutters.

Vic gets a call from Corinne; she's anxious and understandably so. Their oldest child is missing. The babysitter thought she was in her room, but Cassidy wasn't there when Corinne got home from work. Corinne thinks Cassidy might have run away. Vic tells her to call the police. Corinne already did and is waiting for them. Vic promises to be right there and hangs up.

Walking back to his car, he explains to the rest of the Strike Team what's going on. Shane asks who's being left in charge. "We're a team. Just get it done," Vic snaps.

By the time Vic gets to Corinne's, a police officer is already there. Corinne called all of Cassidy's friends, but none of them have seen her. The uniform tells Vic that detectives from juvenile division are on their way over to set up a command post. 6 patrol cars are combing the neighborhood. Interestingly, Matt's therapist Owen is sitting at the kitchen table.

Corinne says Cassidy's bike is missing too. Vic is relieved; that probably rules out kidnapping. Corinne doesn't know where she would've gone, though. Vic asks if Owen was around when Cassidy took off. He was, but didn't hear anything because he was busy working with Matt. Vic looks disgusted and turns to Corinne: "Let's go find her."

Danny sees Julien sitting on a locker room bench. The captain called in extra help until Dean and Danielle are arrested. Danny opines it might've been a good idea for him to stay on disability for a few more weeks. "Vanessa worries too much," he scoffs. Things are just fine at work and at home. Danny points out she was just at Julien's for a disturbance call; he's not himself. She even asks about Carlson's arm. "He got hurt," Julien replies simply. Danny doesn't look convinced.

Deena and Dean go to an indoor swap meet. The Strike Team is scattered throughout the place, posing as fellow customers. Tavon and Shane casually follow the couple. Suddenly, Dean grabs Danielle in a headlock. "Gun!" cries Shane. Girlfriend or not, Dean is prepared to kill her. "You got a car, man. Just go," Shane tells him. As soon as Dean steps outside, Lem hits him in the head with the butt of his shotgun. They cuff Dean and shove him against the wall.

Vic and Corinne are driving around looking for Cassidy. Vic asks if their daughter was upset about something. Most kids are if they're running away. Corinne told Cassidy she couldn't go to her friend Piper's for a sleepover and they'd discuss why after Corinne got home from work. Vic thought Corinne was working nights. "This was O.T.," Corinne explains. Vic proceeds to blame her work schedule for Cassidy running off.

Corinne thought the kids would be okay. Owen was there and so was Camilla the babysitter. She stands up for herself: "We're getting a divorce. I need to work. This is not my fault." Of course, Vic pulls the old "Whose fault is it?" Corinne tells him to shut up. You go, girl! I'm not a huge fan of her, but Vic is being pretty unreasonable.

Kevin continues insisting that he didn't poison his brother. Dutch brings Claudette a folder. She explains to their suspect that it's a "quadrophenia report." The lab supposedly found traces of thallium in Kevin's kitchen. Kevin asks what happens now. Dutch will get his name in the paper. Claudette adds, "Egomaniac hired a reporter to do a story on him." He'd get credit as the primary detective.

Kevin asks what would happen if he talked to Claudette. She guesses she'd get the credit. Kevin knew he could never pay back all the money he borrowed from Robert: "Thallium, it just seemed easier than disappointing him again." All righty then.

Driving past a park, Vic spots Cassidy sitting on a swing. He parks and both parents jump out of the car. Corinne asks Cassidy if she's okay. The kid says flatly, "Yep." Vic tells her they're going home. It takes a few repetitions of that phrase before she gets off the swing.

Danny and Julien meet with Edgar-veda. The captain has decided to make them partners again. Julien was happy with Tommy, but it's not up to him. As of tomorrow, he and Danny are back together.

Vic comes back to the Strike Team with the good news that Cassidy is okay. He observes, "Looks like you guys did just fine without me." Lem and Ronnie are playfully shoving each other. The Strike Team won the bet, meaning they all get to keep their clothes on. When they get back to the Barn, Vic brags about it to Walon.

"It's chilly in here." Vic observes, "Somebody turn up the air-conditioning?" Trish asks how they found the shooters. Vic turns her earlier question back on her: "Bikini or Brazilian?" He heads into the breakroom to praise Tavon for his part in preventing a shootout at the swap meet. Tavon doesn't think it was a big deal. Vic does and has a favor to ask: Work things out with Shane. Tavon has the chance to be the bigger man. Shane just acts out when he's jealous; he needs to feel secure.

"Send him to a shrink," Tavon suggests. Vic is gonna talk to Shane about this too; he's not blaming Tavon. Will he take one for the team by making the first move?

Julien and Vanessa are naked in bed. He asks what they're doing. Isn't that pretty obvious? "Maybe it's God's plan for us just to have Randall," sighs Vanessa. Julien wants his own child. "Randall is your child," Vanessa says. He kind of is by default; his biological dad doesn't seem to be in the picture. Julien practically growls, "A man like Shane Vendrell can get his woman pregnant without even trying." Vanessa soothes that they'll keep trying; she doesn't want to fight about it again. Julien doesn't want to fight either. He plans to see a doctor about it.

Dutch says Claudette is on a roll solving 2 cases in a day. "You solved the poisoning. I was just your pawn," she tells him. Oh, please don't say anything that might inflate his ego. Dutch guesses that's one way to look at it. He asks if she's strictly running the special teams or if she's still a detective. "I'm whatever you need me to be," says Claudette, reminding me of Eddie Murphy's intended brides in Coming to America.

When Shane walks in his apartment, he gets a surprise. Mara is talking to Tavon and trying to feel the baby move, even though she's nowhere near far enough along for that. "Looks like you're feelin' somethin'," says Shane, starting off this conversation off on the wrong foot. They immediately move away from each other. Mara kisses Shane's cheek. Shane asks how she's feeling. Mara's fine as long as she has her ginger ale and crackers. She steps out to check on the laundry/give the menfolk some privacy.

Tavon knows Shane and Vic started the Strike Team. He's not trying to replace Shane, just add to things. However, Tavon doesn't want to hang around where he's not wanted. "I wasn't tryin' to be a dick," Shane lies. He doesn't want Tavon screwing up what he and Vic built. "Just as long as you know your place, you'll be all right." Shane opens the door, trying to hint at Tavon to leave.

Of course, "know your place" was exactly the wrong thing to say. Tavon asks if Shane means the back of the bus: "He doesn't wanna hurt your little feelings, but Vic has plans for me." That gets Shane good and riled, as we Southerners say: "He's my best friend. He's been my best friend for 7 years. You really think he's gonna push me aside for some darkie?"

Tavon pops Shane in the mouth. Shane tackles him to the floor, breaking the coffee table in the process. They stand back up. Tavon pushes Shane into a shelf, knocking over the stereo. He shoves Shane into the opposite wall and makes a huge crack in the drywall.

Shane manages to overpower Tavon and push him back to the floor. He gets him in a headlock. Both of them are bleeding. Tavon tries to bite Shane's arm. Mara comes in to find Tavon on top of her baby daddy. She takes matters into her own hands, crying, "Get off!" as she smashes an iron into the back of Tavon's head. The blow knocks him for a loop. When Tavon gets up, he approaches Mara a couple of times. She holds the iron out in front of her as a warning. Shane is lying on the kitchen floor, the back of his shirt torn open.

Tavon staggers out of the apartment. We can hear him knocking more things over. "Where are you goin'?" Shane asks, getting up. He tries to follow Tavon, but collapses in the living room. Shane keeps crawling for the door, but Mara holds him back.

Vic tells Claudette that he took care of the Shane/Tavon problem. Oh, if only he knew what just happened. He reminds her of the good the Strike Team did today. "Just as long as they keep their clothes on," she smiles, "Lucky you didn't lose." Vic wasn't worried about that. "No, lucky for us you didn't lose," Claudette clarifies.

Tavon drives away from Shane's in the Strike Team van, still bleeding heavily from the head. He almost drifts into oncoming traffic. Tavon slumps over the steering wheel and veers to the side of the road. He hits a parked car. A passing motorist sees a Tavon-sized hole in the van's windshield. "Call 911, somebody," says another witness. Tavon lies motionless on the street. Talk about taking one for the team...

The prisoners are led out of the cage. Vic tells Lem to give the Decoy Squad the 2-minute warning. Vic's phone rings. Corinne talked to Cassidy's teacher about this morning's incident and the teacher suggested family counseling. Vic says he didn't mean to blame her; he was just out of his mind with worry. He's glad Cassidy is safe. Vic hears people cheering and abruptly hangs up. The show is about to start.

The Decoy Squad jogs through the Barn to Billy Squier's "The Stroke." (Which, oddly, isn't about what you'd think it's about at all). Walon shakes his bare ass at Dutch, eliciting more cheering. Lem is laughing so hard he can barely stand up. Ronnie is holding some money in his teeth, which Walon happily takes. He pole-dances his way back into the clubhouse and closes the door with a flourish. "I cannot believe Shane and Tavon just missed that," Vic chuckles to Lem. End of episode.