Monday, May 23, 2016

"Our Gang" Has High Membership Dues (Episode 1.2)

A "previously on" segment brings us back to the shooting of Terry Crowley, the newest member of Farmington's elite Strike Team.

Vic calls 911 in a panic, shouting that there's an officer down, even though he's the reason said officer is down. He claims the police radio in their van is broken and seems unsure of the address. The dispatcher asks about Terry's condition. "He's dying!" Vic says. The dispatcher manages to trace the call and tells Vic she's sending an ambulance. The line clicks dead.

A throng of police cars and officers surrounds the hospital's emergency room. Vic gives a patrolman his version of the events: He heard a gunshot and Terry hit the floor. The shooter, Two-Time, was in the bathroom and fired a few shots at them; Vic and Shane had no choice but to kill Two-Time. The unnamed patrolman mumbles that Terry is a tough kid and will make it. Danny, not in uniform, arrives and asks Shane what happened. Shane, his eyes wet, says Terry was shot in the head. Danny gives him a hug.

Over by a police car, the guy with the Tom Selleck mustache blames himself; he was walking point and should've cleared the room. Blond Spiky Hair didn't see Two-Time either. Suddenly, Aceveda and Deputy Police Chief Gilroy emerge from the hospital, their expressions grim. Everyone goes silent. Aceveda announces that Terry has been pronounced dead. People gasp. Blond Spiky Hair shouts, "No!" and punches out the driver's side window of the Strike Team van. Holy shit. Blondie doesn't seem at all fazed by the blood now dripping from his knuckles. Vic speaks up regarding Terry: "I'm responsible." Given that there are 6 seasons to go, that statement can't be a confession.

Vic sits down with Internal Affairs and repeats, "I'm responsible. It was my operation. I called the shots." Terry was too green to ride out with the Strike Team. Terry's personnel file says otherwise, an 8-year veteran with several commendations to his name and a stint in robbery. Vic goes on: "We knock down doors that other cops don't want to. My guys accept the risks because they know I will take care of them. When we got out on a mission, I expect every single one of them to come home. Anything else is unacceptable."

In the clubhouse, Blondie is playing darts, shredded hand and all. He wonders what's taking so long. Shane reminds him that Internal Affairs won't look good if they only take 5 minutes to investigate. Tom Selleck Mustache worries that Aceveda will use what happened to Terry as a reason to pull the plug on the Strike Team. Blondie asks again what's taking so long. "For the last time, I swear to God," Shane starts as the door opens. Now it's his turn in the hot seat.

Dutch and Claudette walk into the squadroom. Aceveda asks why they're not still at the crime scene. Dutch explains that Gilroy kicked them out and handed the case to IAD. Speaking of Gilroy, he wants a private word with Aceveda.

Danny asks Julien why he didn't come to the hospital vigil earlier that morning. Julien replies that she never told him to go. "I shouldn't have to. A fellow officer was dying," Danny points out. Julien said a prayer, has been out of the academy 3 weeks, and didn't know Terry. Danny educates him on Rule #1: "He was a cop. That means you knew him."

Gilroy is afraid the department will be accused of favoritism if the Strike Team is cleared in the matter of Terry's death; evidence against the team will lead to a civil war in the precinct. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Aceveda has notified Terry's mother. Gilroy wants the captain to speak at Terry's funeral.

During Shane's interview, we learn that he was the first person Vic brought on board when he started the Strike Team. Vic handpicked his whole crew, with the exception of Terry. However, Shane is quick to point out that nobody had any animosity toward the new guy.

Meanwhile, Danny tries to get information out of Dutch. He's off the case, but in Dutch's professional opinion, the Strike Team "went in undermanned with a half-assed plan." And you're a poet and don't know it. Danny follows Vic into the breakroom for a whispered conversation in which she offers to be there for him. Dutch watches jealously from his desk.

Out in the parking lot, Danny tells Julien another police fact of life: "Anytime a cop goes down, the scumbags think it's open season." This is remedied by giving criminals the occasional forcible reminder about who really owns the streets.

Blondie's bandaged hand doesn't escape the eagle-eyed Internal Affairs officer's attention. He tells her about putting it through a window when he found out Terry was dead. The cuts looks bad to IAD lady and she asks if there was tendon damage. Blondie stubbornly crosses his arms, making his biceps bulge. Oh Lordy! He asks if they can get the interview the hell over with; though, to his credit, he does say please.

Aceveda walks through the park with Hernandez, his college buddy-turned-FBI-agent. Aceveda believes that Vic set Terry up to die. He asks Hernandez if anyone knew that Terry was trying to bring down Vic. Hernandez passed some of Terry's requests up the chain of command, such as moving expenses, a job, and a new car. He isn't authorized to guarantee such things.

Aceveda plans to give Internal Affairs that information; they'll dig deeper into the shooting if someone can prove motive. Hernandez reminds his friend that Terry looking into Vic was strictly off-the-books. Aceveda only stands to lose his political clout, but the captain doesn't care about that: "I'm not gonna let Vic get away with it."

At Terry's graveside service, Aceveda quotes the epitaph from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as a bagpiper plays "Amazing Grace." Terry was a dedicated officer and did a great service to the community. The members of the Strike Team are clad in suits and ties rather than their dress uniforms. Vic flashes back to shooting Terry. Elsewhere in the cemetery, the bagpipe music drifts towards the grieving family and friends of drug dealer Two-Time.

The honor guard folds an American flag. A fellow gang member drapes his bandanna over Two-Time's coffin; someone else pours a little malt liquor next to the grave. Terry's honor guard fires a 21-gun salute. Two-Time's mother is overcome with grief and flings herself toward the grave sobbing and screaming, "Mama's sorry!" The minister tries to comfort her.

Vic and Shane slip away from the crowd. Shane seems disturbed by the fact that Terry's mother is here to attend her son's funeral. Well, where else would you expect her to be? Vic brought Terry onto his team. And how did Terry repay him? By turning rat.

Vic didn't enjoy shooting Terry, but it had to be done. All they have to do is ride out the IAD investigation. Meanwhile, Terry's mother is presented with the folded flag and her son's badge. Aceveda sees Vic and Shane having their little conference.

Danny and Julien respond to a call. A bloody, seemingly dead Hispanic man is lying beside his churro wagon. A second Hispanic man is digging frantically through the dead man's pockets. They warn him to step away. The second man says he's just trying to the get the money the victim owes.

Danny isn't going to warn him again. Julien picks up the suspect and throws him against the cart. The flimsy thing tips over, littering the ground with churros and broken glass. Was that necessary to do to those poor pastries?

Julien handcuffs the suspect, who's still trying to explain his side of the story. Levi the Churro Guy owed him $100. He came to pick it up, but Levi had already been shot and he called 911. Danny reports that Levi isn't dead and radios for an ambulance. "Keep fighting, man!" the suspect shouts at Levi, "I'll collect from you later!"

At Vic's house, his young son intently lines up forks on a placemat. Shane was over for dinner last night and Vic's wife is worried that he barely touched his porkchops. Vic reminds her that it hasn't even been a week since Terry died. Elsewhere in the house, a baby is crying. Vic's wife gets a bottle out of the microwave and offers her take on Shane: "It's like he blames himself. It's not normal. I mean, it's not like he killed Terry." Yeah, your husband did.

Vic goes back to reading his paper. His son is still playing with the forks and hasn't said a word.

Flashback to the Strike Team playing cards in the clubhouse. Shane regales them with a story of drinking poolside with a transvestite named Frank. Vic brings in Terry and introduces him to the crew. Tom Selleck Mustache introduces himself as Ronnie. Blondie hasn't offered his name.

Vic tells Terry not to let the guys haze him too bad. They deal him into their game of pitch. "Don't let 'em stick you with Shane as a partner," Vic advises, "He always loses." "That's because y'all are a buncha cheaters," Shane protests.

Back in the present, Vic's son is jumping up and down, shouting incoherently. Vic puts down his paper and tells the kid it's time to get ready for school.

At the churro cart crime scene, Dutch and Claudette ask Danny about the victim's condition and any clues she noticed. Danny found a shell casing; the paramedics didn't seem optimistic. Claudette asks Julien to size up the scene. He's reluctant to do so in front of people who have a lot more experience. Nobody notices the woman watching them from a gap in a nearby fence.

Dutch looks at the overturned churro cart and surmises there was a struggle.
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Julien explains he accidentally tipped the cart over while subduing the suspect/911 caller. Danny tries to take the blame for not handling things better. "I hope this isn't the way you teach a rookie how to preserve a crime scene," says Claudette angrily, "This is how murderers go free, son." Dutch whispers that she's in a bad mood because it's her birthday.

Gilroy comes to Aceveda's office with Frances from Internal Affairs. She's finished doing interviews and put a rush on the ballistics evidence. So far, the operation doesn't seem like it was well-planned, but nothing criminally negligent. Aceveda is surprised. Even more surprising, Two-Time's girlfriend corroborated the Strike Team's version of events.

When Frances leaves, Aceveda says she shouldn't clear the Strike Team when all the evidence isn't back yet. "It's a preliminary report," says Gilroy. A double shot of Hey It's That Guy! Aceveda played Edgar the Leviathan on Supernatural; Gilroy was on Miami Vice as the ill-fated Zito. Edgar-veda doesn't want the incident to become "another chapter in the Rodney King-O.J. book." I don't think anyone wants that...

Claudette and Dutch interview Levi the Churro Guy's son. The kid blames himself for not going to college closer and living at home, but he got a partial scholarship to Stanford. Levi had been working a lot of overtime to help his son pay for tuition. That left Levi unable to afford protection payments to a local criminal. Levi was also running his churro cart without a license, so he couldn't go to the police. The kid gives up the name of the guy Levi was paying for protection: Marlon Demeral.

Julien and Danny knock on Marlon's door. He gets combative, so they cuff him. They tell him he's wanted for questioning in a shooting. "Look, I didn't shoot nobody today!" Marlon protests. Marlon's baby mama shouts, "Mama, get the camcorder! They're taking Marlon away!" A heavyset black woman runs down the porch steps while Marlon's baby mama accuses Julien of being a race traitor. The two officers manage to get Marlon in the car. The heavyset woman films them driving away.

While bench-pressing in the precinct weight room, Vic has another Terry flashback. At first, he's alive, joking and playing cards with them. It fades to Vic shooting Terry. Vic roughly re-racks the weight.

In the breakroom, other patrolmen invite Julien to have drinks and something called a "B&B" with them, apparently a ritual all rookies go through. Julien can't; he has church tonight. Danny takes Julien aside and tells him the silly ritual is essential to earning trust: "Rule #7: Those guys may be overgrown frat boys, but someday, they might be the only thing that comes between you and a bullet."

In interrogation, Marlon is hungry and demanding something to eat. Dutch asks if he likes churros. Marlon wants a cheeseburger. Dutch leaves, presumably to get it. Marlon endears himself to Claudette by calling her "sweet thang" and saying he knows she has a smile for him. Edgar-veda walks by the break room and catches Dutch shaking the snack machine. He asks for Dutch's help with an interrogation.

Meanwhile, Marlon continues to profess his innocent in Levi's shooting. He knows who did it, but won't name names until he gets his cheeseburger. He does reveal that Los Magnificos, a Mexican gang, recently muscled in on Marlon's no doubt highly lucrative vendor protection racket.

The interrogation Edgar-veda wanted help with turns out to be grilling Vic about Terry's death. Vic wants to know what's stopping him from calling his union rep. Edgar-veda knows how to push Vic's buttons, saying it's fine if the big guy wants to hide behind a lawyer. Vic wants to talk.

Dutch asks why more backup wasn't available; Vic wanted the element of surprise. He repeats the party line: "Two-Time shot Terry, then Shane and I returned fire." Edgar-veda thanks Vic for his time, wanting to lull Vic into a false sense of security. He tells Dutch their best course of action now is to zero in on the weak link.

Claudette goes to the clubhouse to ask what information Vic has on Los Magnificos. The guys head out to roust some gangbangers. Shane is stopped by Edgar-veda. Personally, I think the weaker link is the guy with the busted hand. Anyway, Vic and Company go to talk to a wheelchair bound informant wearing an eyepatch. His nickname is Van Bro because he sells paintings on the sidewalk. He says if the Strike Team wants information, they have to buy something.

Vic tells Blondie (whose name is apparently Lem) to pick his poison. "What do I know about art, man?" asks Lem. Ronnie picks out a poorly done painting of clouds over a field of flowers. Van Bro wants $100 for it. Geez, I wouldn't give him $5. Vic hands over the money.

Van Bro knows the Los Mags were pissed at him for not paying protection. They "sent a baby banger" to get the message across more forcefully. He shakes his head, "The things they got these kids doin' these days..." I'm sure he only had to mug an old lady to earn his stripes...

Late that night in a deserted lot, members of the Los Mags surround a kid who's 13, tops. They begin the fun process of jumping the kid in. For those who haven't watched Gangland as much as I have, "jumping in" refers to a gang initiation ritual in which all the current gang members beat the wannabe member to a bloody pulp.

Danny, Julien, Vic, and the Strike Team watch this from a distance. Vic calls dibs on the newbie; anyone else they grab up is a bonus. As the gang members assault the kid, they shout at him in Spanish: "Welcome to the life!"

Dutch has a question for Shane: If he and Vic are such great cops, why did Terry get killed? "Wrong place, wrong time," Shane shrugs. Dutch notices that Shane squints every time he lies. No wonder he sucks at poker.

The gangbangers finally decide that the 13-year-old has had enough of a beating. They hug him and hand him a 40 of malt liquor. Vic gives the go signal. Police cars swarm the lot. Vic chases down and arrests the newest member of Los Mags. On his way to his car, he drops a calling card in the dirt in front of the gang.

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Edgar-veda accuses Shane of letting Terry die. He repeats, "IAD cleared us." Edgar-veda asks if Shane knows Rondell Robinson. Shane does, but not personally. A witness saw Shane, Rondell, and Vic talking at a car wash. Shane says Vic was just trying to scare Rondell.

Edgar-veda adds fuel to the fire: The Strike Team knew Terry was gonna turn them in, so he had to go. Nobody ever trusted Terry in the first place. Two-Time's girlfriend heard a shot about 15 seconds after the others. Shane has an answer for that; Two-Time started to move when they walked up on him. Vic fired that shot and killed the dealer. Edgar-veda backs Shane against the wall.
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For a second, Shane looks scared. He manages to tell the captain that he's wrong. Edgar-veda emphasizes that he has a witness. Vic bursts in. Shane reports he's been up there for 2 hours and Edgar-veda is making up things about the Strike Team. Vic tells Shane to go downstairs and wait for him and orders Dutch out. He warns that he'll lose patience if Edgar-veda comes after his guys again. Edgar-veda doesn't give any response other than a weasel-like smile.

Claudette talks to the junior Los Mag and his mother. There's a chance they can still get the case moved to juvie court. If Levi dies, he'll be tried for murder as an adult. Mom urges the bloodied preteen to tell Claudette he didn't do it. The kid does the opposite: "I shoot somebody? They don't almost die. Bitch ends up all dead." She leaves the room for a minute and Dutch tries to tell her about the scene between Vic and Edgar-veda. Claudette doesn't care.

Claudette goes back to the interrogation room with a lie. Levi is dead and Marlon confessed to the shooting. The kid, Olman, gets angry: "That's my shooting!" He won't tell Claudette who put him up to it because "they're my brothers now." His mom looks equal parts nauseated and heartbroken. Olman makes it clear he doesn't give a rat's ass about going to jail.

Gilroy is not pleased that Edgar-veda reopened the investigation of Terry's death without going through proper channels. It has to stop. Later, Vic privately thanks Gilroy for covering his ass. But according to Vic, there really isn't anything to cover: "Terry was overeager. He got himself killed. End of story." "It better be," Gilroy says ominously.

Someone left a birthday gift on Claudette's desk: a tube of denture team. Claudette's friend arrives to take the birthday girl dancing. It's ladies' night at the Crimson and Claudette's crush Franklin will be there. Claudette wants to know if his divorce is final. Yes, as of two weeks ago. She agrees to go out after she changes her clothes.

In another bar, Julien is finding out what exactly a B&B is. He has to chug a pitcher of beer and then get a girl to give him oral sex. What a lovely initiation rite...although it's a better alternative than getting an ass-kicking. Julien's fellow patrolmen introduce him to Betty the badge bunny, Betty takes Julien behind the bar and, uh, does her thing. Julien is unaware that the other uniforms are watching from the back door.

Dutch confronts Edgar-veda about putting him in an interrogation without all the facts. The captain was just trying to make Shane feel like they had nothing on him. Edgar-veda sees Vic leaving and they have a brief staring contest. End of episode.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Welcome to Farmington! ("Pilot"; Episode 1.1)

A suited Latina instructs her suited Latino male counterpart to read a prepared statement and then ask for questions. He assures her he doesn't need his notes. In a police roll call room, the Latino is introduced as Captain David Aceveda. He exposits that the Farmington District of Los Angeles, which he commands, is notorious for being crime-ridden; some reporters have called it a war zone.

Elsewhere, several plainclothes cop chase a suspect down the sidewalk. A fourth cop stays with the minivan they're utilizing for reasons unknown. The suspect shoves something in his mouth as he runs. Back in the roll call room, Aceveda announces that violent crime is down in Farmington. The officers under his command do neighborhood outreach work. Part of this outreach apparently involves chasing people through indoor/outdoor flea markets. One of the plainclothes cops almost faceplants after leaping off a display.

Outside, an iron fence blocks the suspect's escape. Back to Aceveda telling reporters that mothers feel safer about going shopping. The four plainclothes cops have caught up to their man. They're lead by the very burly and intimidating Michael Chiklis. The suspect gloats that the police are too late. More of Aceveda's speech, then back to Chiklis punching the suspect in the stomach. Chiklis hauls the suspect to his feet and yanks down the dude's shorts and boxers. "Looks like you've got some kinda third nad goin' down there," Chiklis remarks. He reaches down and yanks, producing a small baggie of drugs.

A blond cop who seems to be wearing a Kevlar vest and no other shirt thinks he has an evidence bag on him somewhere. Chiklis pockets the baggie and drags the suspect back toward the market, the guy's shorts still around his ankles. In the roll call room, Aceveda grins from his podium, "Any questions?"

"You do not see a pair like that every day," remarks a homicide detective as he stands over the body of a naked woman. His black female partner informs him that it's called "rigor." A white female police officer in uniform enters the kitchen and says the victim's sister is outside and wants to know what happened. The black woman tells her awkward partner, Dutch, to go talk to her. Dutch seems like he'd rather stay with the naked corpse, which is disturbing. Danny, the female uniform, tells Dutch she and her partner Julien were first on the scene.

Dutch immediately begins profiling the killer: inexperienced and underachieving. I'd also hazard a guess that the killer knew the woman. Outside, the victim's sister is trying to push her way past the uniforms guarding the steps. She asks if Nancy is dead and describes her as pretty with long blond hair. "That sounds like her," Dutch confirms. Nancy's Sis begins crying loudly and her knees buckle. She's right in front of Dutch, eye-level with his belt. From the right angle, it looks highly inappropriate.

Nancy's Sis clutches at the hem of Dutch's sportcoat. Dutch is very aware of all the eyes on him and clearly has no idea what to do or say. Julien, the female cop's partner, looks uncomfortable but doesn't seem to know how to pry Nancy's Sis off his fellow cop. "Where's Jenny?" sobs Nancy's Sis. Jenny, it transpires, is Nancy's young daughter. Dutch immediately gets an "Oh damn" look on his face and makes a beeline for the house.

In the kitchen, the black female detective is looking at a framed photo of a blond girl who's 8 or 9 years old at most. "Guess who's missing," Dutch says. She voices everyone's thoughts at this point in the episode: "Oh shit." Best case scenario is the little girl is terrified and hiding somewhere in the house.

Michael Chiklis and Company get buzzed into the anteroom of the precinct by the desk sergeant. Chiklis has to make a pit stop and tells the others to meet him in "the clubhouse." He declines the pretty Latina's offer of an interview, even though his team is apparently a big reason for the downturn in crime. Chiklis is frustrated to see the men's room has been cordoned off with crime scene tape, apparently a longterm issue: "If the city wants to thank us for a job well done, how's about making sure we don't all have to cram into the same goddamn stall?" Men around the squadroom clap and cheer.

The only option Chiklis has at this point is the women's room. He's waylaid by Aceveda, who reveals Chiklis's character is named Vic. Reluctantly, he follows the captain up to his office with a definite air of What in God's name did I do now? Aceveda asks if Vic remembers a suspect named Miguel Esteana. Vic knows Miguel is a scumbag drug dealer. Miguel's lawyer if that's the kind of attitude Aceveda promotes. Miguel, surprise of surprises, has filed an excessive force complaint against Vic. Miguel shows us a large bruise on his elbow. Vic smiles and asks Miguel if it's a hickey from his boyfriend. Miguel claims Vic caused the bruise with a set of pliers.

Vic doesn't remember any tools, just the bags of heroin Miguel was caught with. Miguel's lawyer plans to contest the search because that's what drug lawyers do. He's free to ask anyone on Vic's squad what happened during the arrest; they won't mention pliers either. The drug lawyer calls Vic a disgrace and leaves with his client in tow.

Aceveda gives Vic a fake smile and asks if he's lying. Vic says that's what dealers do to stay out of jail and can he please be excused to the ladies' room. Aceveda points out that there have been 4 complaints against Vic since he took over the precinct. Vic leaves with a wink, cheerfully reminding Aceveda to smile for the cameras and get the mens' room reopened.

Dutch and Claudette (his partner) stop at a taco truck for lunch. She tells Dutch she quit listening to him several minutes ago. Dutch just plows on: Their unsub (unidentified subject) is disorganized and probably has a record for nonviolent offenses. Dutch spots the female uniform from earlier getting out of her patrol car. He asks Claudette, "You think Danny would go out with me?" He rattles off stats about how many women in law enforcement meet their husbands through work.

Claudette is glad Dutch is interested in dating again, but doesn't think a uniform from their own station house is a good place to start. She provides some alternative suggestions: dance classes, a personal ad, hell, even a book club: "Show some imagination. No wonder your wife left you." Dutch protests that his ex had "intimacy issues unrelated to me." They're buzzed into the squadroom. Dutch asks why Claudette has been divorced twice. Shots fired, shots fired!

Dutch and Claudette fill the captain in about the missing 8-year-old. Jenny's father was a crackhead and the crime has personal written all over it, making him their most likely suspect. However, Nancy's neighbors recalled seeing a local fence named Ponyboy knocking on Nancy's door the day before she was killed. Ponyboy, I know you had it rough with Johnny and Dally dying and all, but why'd you go and become a criminal?

Dutch goes into the breakroom and attempts to flirt with Danny by dropping cliche's about how lousy coffee is in a precinct. He's about to ask her out when Vic bursts in, shouting, "Look, it's the ladykiller!" He asks if it's true that Nancy's Sis gave Dutch oral sex at the crime scene. Dutch says he was just comforting her, which causes the teasing to get that much worse. Shane, played by the incomparable Walton Goggins, starts making sex noises and says, "If you can think of anything else you need, you just call 911 and ask for Detective Blow-Me!" Moment ruined, Dutch stomps away.

"That was real classy," Danny says, pouring sugar in her coffee. Vic tells her that Dutch thinks he's better than everyone else; he's just reminding Dutch that's not true. Vic invites Danny to have a drink with him. "Is your wife coming?" Danny asks. When he says no, she turns him down flat. Good for her. Danny has morals. Vic suggests she lose track of the morals tonight. Julien comes in to ask if Danny's ready to go out on patrol. She looks relieved.

From the van, a painfully young-looking plainclothes officer watches as Shane and Vic talk to a guy at a car wash. The guy in question doesn't seem particularly interested in a conversation. Shane and Vic get back in the van. "Who was that?" asks Young Plainclothes. Vic cryptically replies that it's a guy he knows.

Later, Young Plainclothes secretly meets Aceveda in a local park. He has dirt for the captain: The guy Vic talked to at the car wash is a drug dealer named Rondell Robinson. Aceveda thinks Vic has been purposely taking out Rondell's competition and furthermore, he wants Young Plainclothes to help him prove it. Young Plainclothes agrees, even though Vic has a lot of friends in the LAPD.

Aceveda introduces him to Hernandez, an old college friend who now works for the Justice Department. Young Plainclothes AKA Terry says that he didn't agree to be a star witness in a federal case. He points out the obvious: If he rats out another cop to the feds, he will be a dead man walking.

"He's right," says Aceveda, "It's too dangerous. He couldn't pull it off." Terry, offended, growls that he could so. Hernandez has guaranteed him a job in the Justice Department after they bust Vic. Terry drives a hard bargain: he wants to work in D.C. and have the feds pay his moving expenses. Hernandez thinks he can make that happen. Terry is no fool; he wants a guarantee in writing.

Aceveda warns, "If we only wound him [Vic], his friends upstairs will crush both of us." What's Aceveda getting out of all this? Why, just a dirty cop being put in prison. "You wanna be mayor someday, you're gonna have to learn to lie a hell of a lot better than that," says Terry.

Claudette and Vic find the illustrious Ponyboy taking a bunch of VCRs out of his van. Said electronics came from a nearby Circuit City. Ponyboy is nattily dressed in a suit and fedora-ish hat. At the precinct, he insists he doesn't know anything about Jenny. He admits to being at Nancy's house to look for her old man Lonnie. Claudette informs him that Lonnie moved. Ponyboy has it on good authority that Lonnie is at crackhouse run by someone named Monty.

Claudette goes to a back room of the precinct, where Vic and Company are playing poker. She asks what he knows about Monty's crackhouse. "No can do. Monty gives me dirt, I give him safe passage," Vic tells her. Claudette points out that Monty might be able to help with the small matter of finding a missing child. Vic agrees to go talk to him.

Monty's crackhouse is as charming as the name implies, replete with a large pitbull on the premises. Monty lets Vic in. Without so much as a hello, Vic asks where Lonnie is. Lonnie, it turns out, is passed out on a couch in the back. Vic spots two little boys, probably no older than 6, in adjacent room. Monty makes an excuse that there's no school today and the kids' mom is on a supply run. Vic tells Monty he shouldn't have kids in a crackhouse. Monty asks what he's supposed to do with them. "Stick 'em in a back room. Rent The Lion King," Vic says. Monty lamely mumbles that someone stole his TV. "Then buy 'em some crayons!" Vic orders.

Claudette gets the pleasure of interrogating shirtless, sweaty, Jonesing Lonnie. She knows he killed Nancy; the crime lab found her blood on Lonnie's shirt. Aceveda watches the interrogation in his office via closed-circuit TV. Lonnie claims he went to the house to pick up Jenny and has no idea what happened to Nancy. Dutch guesses that Nancy made Lonnie angry and he didn't mean to do it. Claudette presses harder: Lonnie went to Nancy's to pick up Jenny, but Nancy wouldn't let him take their daughter.

Lonnie claims Nancy had a knife. Lonnie starts to cry and admits, "I killed my sweet Nancy! Why would I do that?" he sobs. Dutch guesses, "Uh, because you like crack?" He brags that he knew Lonnie was the killer. Claudette asks about Jenny. What comes out of Lonnie's mouth next shocks both her and Dutch: "I sold her." Lonnie can't remember who he sold Jenny to, just that the guy paid him $200.

"Search warrant!" Dutch shouts as he smashes a window. He finds a man, George, sitting in the kitchen, spoonfeeding an elderly woman in a wheelchair. Claudette asks about Jenny. George immediately looks shifty. In the interrogation room, Claudette waves a pile of child porn magazines taken from George's room. George asks where his mom is because she needs her medications. Dutch promises she'll be taken care of and offers George coffee.

In the squadroom, Dutch addresses everyone present: "Who took my Ding-Dongs?" Really don't think you should be worrying about snack cakes right now, Dutchboy. Vic asks if Dutch is in kindergarten. Dutch warns Vic to stay away from his desk. Claudette asks what the problem is. When she finds out, Claudette rolls her eyes at Vic, "Come on, son, fork over his Ding-Dongs." Or I'm gonna have to hear about all night she must add mentally. Vic leaves.

Dutch wonders why everyone likes "that asshole" so much. Claudette reminds him they have an interview going and is sure she saw a box of Twinkies in the breakroom. "It's not the same thing," Dutch pouts. Personally, I think both snacks suck. Give me a box of Butterscotch Krimpets or cinnamon coffee cakes any day.

Dutch sits back down with George. The pedophile insists he has nothing to hide. Dutch gives him a history lesson about how the mental health profession used to think of homosexuality as a mental illness. Homosexuality is now thought to be genetic; perhaps there's a gene that makes some people attracted to children. Maybe someday, people like George will be accepted just as gays by and large are now. George looks almost hopeful.

Shane and Vic pull Miguel out from under the car he was working on. They briefly intimidate him, noting all the tools around him and the conspicuous absence of pilers. Back the precinct, Aceveda informs Vic that Miguel dropped his excessive force complaint. Aceveda wants Vic's incident report by the next morning. Vic says he doesn't answer to Aceveda even though the guy is kind of his boss.

Danny and Julien respond to a complaint of slashed tires. The complainant thinks it's his girlfriend's jealous ex Lamar. Lamar wasn't handling his responsibilities as a man, presumably in the fatherhood department, so New Boyfriend took his place. However, New Boyfriend didn't actually see Lamar slash his tires.

Vic goes to a park at night where a large group of Hispanic men are playing soccer. He collects some money from a pimp, which he gives to his informant, a strung-out hooker named Connie. Vic reminds her that she's out of free passes. Connie is sure something is going down with Rondell's rival, Two-Time, that Saturday night. Vic remarks that she's lost weight and tells her to go get something to eat. Connie doesn't want Vic's money. Vic insists and asks where her son is. Thankfully, Connie's son is with her mom.

In the interrogation room, Dutch tells George that he has a daughter who's about to turn 14. His daughter has friends who dress like pre-trainwreck Britney Spears. Dutch relaxes in a chair, tilting it back on two legs. He says, referring to his daughter's friend Natalie, "She may not but a woman yet, but you can't call her a girl either." Oddly enough, that's almost word-for-word a line from a Britney song. Dutch has the pervert's attention; George is practically drooling.

Watching the interrogation on TV, Aceveda remarks, "I didn't know Dutch had a daughter." "He doesn't," Claudette replies. Yikes. That whole scene implies then that there are VERY dark corners of Dutch's mind where sane people dare not venture. Aceveda asks what Claudette thinks of Vic. Aceveda knows his underlings are not fond of him; the captain earned his rank by taking tests, not risking his life on the street. Claudette doesn't think busting Vic will make people like him more. Aceveda calls Vic "Al Capone with a badge." Not a fair comparison. For one thing, Al had some hair. Claudette reminds him that the public feels safer because Vic is cleaning up the neighborhoods.

Julien and Danny go to a motel to talk to Lamar the suspected tire slasher. Lamar gives it up right away; he did it because he's pissed off at his ex. He gave her $1,500 as a down payment for the car; the girl repaid him by kicking him out the next day and giving the car to her new boyfriend. If the ex has a problem, she knows where Lamar lives.

At the precinct, Julien collects Lamar's jewelry before he goes into the holding cell. Lamar can get out as soon as he is arraigned and posts bail. which will likely be about $300. Lamar protests that he doesn't have that much cash. "How are you able to afford all this jewelry then?" Julien asks pointedly.

George admits that Lonnie sold him Jenny. But Jenny was too young even for George; he prefers girls who are 12 or 13. George didn't want to keep Jenny and Lonnie had already spent the money. So sick S.O.B. George traded Jenny to "this doctor I met on the Internet."

Elsewhere, Vic is hosting a backyard barbecue. It's a cozy suburban scene: people lounging on deck chairs, kids and adults splashing around in the pool. Terry arrives and compliments Vic on his boat. Vic says he uses it to take his kids to Lake Tahoe a few times a year. The older cop is wearing a black T-shirt (in this heat?) featuring a coiled snake on the front; the slogan reads "FARMINGTON DISTRICT STRIKE TEAM...STRIKE HARD, STRIKE FAST." STRIKE FIRST, STRIKE HARD, NO MERCY, SIR! Sorry, reflex from growing up on The Karate Kid.

Vic's wife exits the house and asks if Vic is allowing their son Matthew to keep a spider in his room. "It's for a school project," Vic explains. A likely story. Vic remarks that kids grow up fast, especially with his line of work. Terry's dad was a cop and always admired guys like Vic. Terry brings up the idea of being more than just the Strike Team's driver. He understands why he's been left out: "You guys are a team; it's all about trust. Otherwise, you end up dead."

Later, when all the wives and kiddos are elsewhere, Vic gathers the Strike Team around a poolside table. Two-Time, their target, normally doesn't keep drugs at his place, but there will be tonight. Two-Time's house has steel-enforced doors, meaning they'll have to go through a window. "We" in this case must mean "everyone except Vic." No way can Michael Chiklis get his butt through a window. "Knock, knock. Who's there? Strike Team, Mr. Drug Dealer," jokes Shane.

Vic claps a big friendly hand on Terry's shoulder. Tonight is the rookie's first big mission. Vic reminds Terry that the team comes first and they take care of each other.

Claudette and Dutch talk to Dr. Grady, the pedophile Internet acquaintance of George. He demands to be charged or released; patients are counting on him. Dr. Grady claims not to know Jenny or George and answers every query with the phrase: "Charge me or release me." In the office, Aceveda asks if Dr. Grady is capable of killing Jenny. Dutch plans to let the doctor stew and come back in a couple of hours. Claudette is not okay with this: "We got a girl who's been missing since yesterday morning. Who knows if she's got food or water?" Dutch is sure he can break the man by the end of the day; he's smarter than Dr. Grady. "This is not a quiz show, Dutch," Claudette reminds him, "Lose the ego."

Aceveda heads to the Strike Team's clubhouse (really a back room in the station), opens the door, and addresses Vic: "I need you." Vic goes to the interrogation room, locks the door, and closes the blinds. Vic has brought along a goody bag: a cigarette lighter, what looks like a fifth of cheap whiskey, a thick phonebook, and a boxcutter. "What's that stuff for?" Dr. Grady asks. Exactly what you think it's for, sweetheart. Dr. Grady guesses it's Vic's turn to be bad cop. "Nah, good cop and bad cop left for the day. I'm a different kind of cop," Vic replies easily.

Dr. Grady asks to see his lawyer. He also gives Vic a friendly reminder about the camera on the other side of the room. Vic gives a disturbing speech in which he offers Dr. Grady his own 8-year-old daughter Cassidy. Dr. Grady still denies knowing Jenny. Vic shoves him, then gives him a few good licks with the phonebook. In his office, Aceveda turns off the TV monitor.

Sometime later, Vic goes downstairs with a piece of paper in hand. Dr. Grady rents a basement apartment under a fake name; Jenny is there by herself and still alive as far as the doctor knows. Dutch doesn't even thank Vic for getting the confession.

Dutch, Claudette, and Aceveda kick in Dr. Grady's door. They hear faint coughs coming from inside a small utility closet. Aceveda cuts the padlock off the door. Dutch opens it. Jenny is alive, naked except for the blanket she's wrapped in and clearly terrified. The three detectives are simultaneously horrified by the girl's condition and relieved that she isn't dead. Claudette sits next to the girl and hugs her. "It's okay, Jenny," she soothes. "You're safe now."

Back at the station, Danny has heard that Dutch found the missing little girl. Dutch describes Dr. Grady as a "domination-control sociopath." Danny says it's a good thing Dutch caught him. She's headed home after a double shift. Dutch invites her for drinks with him and some friends from his last precinct. Danny can't go; her friend has set her up on a blind date. She suddenly inquires about a bad smell. They find literal dog crap in Dutch's desk drawer.

Dutch is angry and accuses Vic of doing it. Vic plays innocent. Aceveda and Claudette survey the scene from the second floor. Aceveda talks about an old tradition: A cop who starts to get a big head gets dog crap put in his locker. I'm surprised nobody has hidden anything in Aceveda's desk yet. "You heard about that, huh?" asks Claudette, meaning she's probably responsible.

Montage time! Set to the blaring scream of Kid Rock's "Bawitdaba," the members of the Strike Team stroll out of the clubhouse in black SWAT gear. It's clear they rule the roost at the station. Dutch is wearing rubber gloves and scrubbing his desk drawer. Claudette is greeted at home by her faithful Golden Retriever. The Strike Team van is loaded with a ladder and various weapons. Terry climbs in the driver's seat. At home, Aceveda bottlefeeds his infant daughter.

It's dark in the van. About all you can see is the glow of Walton Goggins' teeth. A blond guy in a backwards baseball cap pumps his fist and headbangs as he listens to the song on his Walkman. Even just sitting here, you can feel the energy.

Danny looks herself over in the mirror. She's exchanged her police uniform for a red blouse and black skirt. She removes a pistol from her purse and puts the gun in the drawer. The doorbell rings. Danny fixes her hair one last time before opening the door. She shakes her date's hand and walks back to her chest of drawers. Surreptitiously, she slides the gun out of the drawer and back into the purse. Danny, moreso than the average woman, is aware of the danger that blind dates pose. She's taking no chances.

The Strike Team parks in front of Two-Time's house. The drug dealer is inside with a mostly-naked woman. They're playing a video game together, probably Grand Theft Auto. The Strike Team Member rocking a Tom Selleck mustache is first up the ladder and smashes the window. This startles Two-Time. He tells the woman on his lap to get up.

Two-Time runs in the bathroom to flush his stash. One by one, the Strike Team awkwardly bellyflops through the open window. Vic sees what Two-Time is doing. Two-Time immediately shoots at Vic. The guys dive for cover. Vic and Shane put multiple holes in Two-Time. Vic takes the gun out of the dead drug dealer's hand, turns around, and sees Terry.

Vic pulls the trigger. The bullet hits Terry just under his eye and he crumples to the ground. Vic calmly stands over the dying rookie. We see a brief black-and-white montage of Terry's scenes in this episode. Terry closes his eyes and Vic sadly shakes his head. In the immortal words of Murphy MacManus: