Friday, June 10, 2016

It's the "Dawg Days" of Summer (Episode 1.4)

Yet another "previously on" about Terry's demise and Vic's association with drug dealer Rondell Robinson.

We go straight into a rowdy rap album release party at a nightclub. Lem and Danny are there moonlighting as security. Lem, ever the voyeur, watches a female partier give Rondell a lap dance and wonders aloud, "How does she even move like that?" Kern, the guest of honor, grabs the mic and thanks everyone for coming to his party. Rondell requests that Kern sing his duet with Tyesha. Tyesha can't; her album doesn't come out until next month. The crowd groans.

Lem mumbles in Danny's ear that he sees trouble. A guy in a do-rag walks toward the stage, demanding money from Kern. Rondell tries to get the guy to back off. Do-Rag only gets louder. Danny and Lem break it up. On the way out, more words are exchanged and somebody pulls out a gun. Everyone in the place screams and ducks for cover. The shooter nails someone and dashes for the exit. Lem leaps over the bar to apprehend him. The shooting victim has a hole in his chest. Danny is slightly shaken and calls out, "Lemon!" What a lovely nickname. Lem yells for somebody to call 911.

A short time later, Vic has arrived. Two people are dead after the melee and six others injured. The loudmouthed do-rag wearer who started the trouble was T-Bonz, another rapper. Rondell shot the guy on the floor. Dutch talks to a patron with an ass wound. Vic says, "Look who's the last one to a 'shots fired' call." Edgar-veda himself. He's not happy about two of his officers moonlighting. Lem says they got the okay from their shift commander. The Strike Team is told they'll assist this investigation only when necessary. "I won't put up with shooting galleries in Farmington," says Edgar-veda. Uh, Captain, that term doesn't mean what you think it does...

Edgar-veda gently grasps Vic's upper arm. He doesn't like being Vic's boss, but the station is still under his command. He menaces that Vic needs to do his job and stay out of Edgar-veda's way. Vic thinks that's good advice for the both of them. Theme song. Danny says neither rapper fired a round during the shooting. She could identify their homeboys if she sat down with a mug book.

Vic tells Lem they better host a war council between the rappers before there's any more gunfire. Dutch asks who Kern is. Vic tells Dutch Boy not to get his clogs dirty; they'll take care of this.

Vic and Lem knock on Rondell's door. T-Bonz and Kern have a long standing beef. Rondell was only backing up his boy Kern. Lem runs his hands over the big-screen TV mounted on the wall. Rondell and Kern have been friends since they were kids. Kern is also responsible for getting Rondell started in the drug business. Rondell explains the bad blood: T-Bonz used to be on Kern's record label, then he left and started his own.

Lem is now flipping through Rondell's record collection. Rondell gripes that he had them all in chronological order. At the club, he was "just shootin' to be shootin'"...whatever that means. Vic confiscates Rondell's gun. He advises Rondell to keep his dealers off the street until this thing blows over. They have an arrangement; Rondell gets a free pass as long as he keeps the neighborhood violence in check.

Vic wants Rondell to set up a friendly meeting with Kern. Rondell doesn't want to, but agrees after Vic threatens to run his gun through the ballistics lab. Vic also needs two of Rondell's shooters. When they later put the guys in the holding cell, Vic smiles angelically at the captain: "Just doing my job and staying out of your way."

Edgar-veda and his wife Aurora go to an outdoor Project Familia rally. Aurora is worried; this could be her husband's one shot at something big. Edgar-veda shakes hands with Machado, a bigwig in Project Familia. Sidebar: Machado looks like a Latino Ray Liotta knockoff. Machado is glad they came and asks for a favor. His nanny hasn't seen her husband in a few days. He's a day laborer who waits by a Farmington hardware store to get picked up for jobs and has a tempestuous relationship with his wife. Edgar-veda promises to look into it.

Lem and Vic talk to Kern at his recording studio. He doesn't know anything about who took a shot at him; when it happened, all he thought about was protecting Tyesha. Tyesha comes out of the booth holding a Pomeranian and kisses Kern. Lem looks like he wants to take the dog and cuddle it. Vic introduces himself to her, points behind him, and says, "You can call him Lemonhead."

Lem reaches out to pet the fluffy little doggie and gets growled at. Tyesha says Kern wasn't actively involved in the shooting. Vic needs Kern to pass on the message that the war is over. Kern won't call it off; T-Bonz started it by spilling blood in Kern's 'hood.

Edgar-veda sits Ellie the nanny down with Dutch. The captain explains that he's giving the Chez Club case to someone else so Dutch can devote his time to finding Ellie's missing husband Manuel. Dutch thinks it's "abuse of power" to take him off a big case to do this for his friend's nanny. I'm with him. "You'd be happier if it was his mistress?" asks Claudette.

Dutch tells Claudette she'll have to do all the talking with Ellie. There's a slight language barrier. Claudette wants to know how somebody can be a cop in L.A. for 12 years and not speak Spanish beyond a couple of phrases. Dutch explains he's always had Spanish-speaking partners.

Outside the hardware store, a Mexican man repeats the phrase "Yo no se". Dutch proudly informs his partner that means "I don't know." Claudette takes over, asking if anyone has seen Manuel Ruiz. She shows the men his picture. One guy in a varsity-style jacket tries to slink away, but Dutch and Claudette catch up to him.

In the truck with Lem driving, Vic suddenly shouts, "I don't believe this! Back up." Lem obediently throws it in reverse and drives around the corner. To a cluster of gangbangers on the corner, Vic warns, "Don't make me break a sweat trying to catch you!" Lem parks and gets out to back up Vic. Vic tells the guys to run along; Rondell wants them off the streets.

Vic knocks on Rondell's door and pushes his way in when Rondell answers. He demands to know why Rondell still has dealers out on the street. Rondell protests it's a free country. "I'm your landlord, Rondell. I let you use space that I own." Vic reminds him. "If you can't follow my rules, then I'll find someone who can. You got it?" During this exchange, Lem just hovers in the background like the big scary guys in rap videos.

Back at the precinct, Claudette fills Edgar-veda in on what she learned from the day laborers. Manuel was picked up for a job on Tuesday along with a man named Eduardo. Manuel and Eduardo were best friends in Mexico and later smuggled themselves into the U.S. together. Claudette thinks something happened on that truck ride because Eduardo's been threatening to kill Manuel ever since. The truck that picked them up was from Jamieson Contracting. Edgar-veda tells her to find out if they ever made it to work.

Over the police radio, Vic hears there's been a shooting on one of Rondell's corners. "Punch it!" he growls at Lem. When they arrive, the gunfire has stopped. Lem inspects the guys laying on the ground. A car is stopped in a nearby alley, the driver shot dead at the wheel. Vic screams over his shoulder for Lem to call EMS. We see a young boy and his bicycle pinned under the car's front bumper. Vic goes to the ground level with the boy's head and holds it still, trying to keep his spine aligned.

Later, Deputy Chief Gilroy has arrived, the area fenced in by crime scene tape. In a roundabout way, the mayor knows the boy hit by the car, a golf buddy's second cousin or some such. All Vic knows is the kid was hurt pretty badly. Gilroy wants to know how to explain the "four dead thugs." Vic tells him about the rap war between T-Bonz and Kern. He'll handle it. Gilroy hits Vic where it hurts by saying, "I told the chief that the Strike Team would make a difference, that these kinda things would stop happening." Vic assures him it's a temporary setback. But the chief funds special units based on results. Another detective has bad news: The little boy was pronounced dead on arrival.

Vic brings T-Bonz to an interrogation room for a sit-down with Kern. Lem is standing against the wall with one foot propped on a chair. He gives it a gentle kick, sending it sliding to the opposite side of the table. Vic says cheerily, "The war ends right now with a handshake." T-Bonz isn't going for it; Kern stole his money and his woman Tyesha. Kern owes T-Bonz $2 million in royalties from Tyesha's last album. Kern is a fair man, but $2 million is out of the questions. He'll give his enemy a finder's fee in an undisclosed amount. Probably not close to what T-Bonz wants.

Kern claims Tyesha wasn't selling any albums until she signed with his record label. Vic tries to break up the pissing match: "Your 10 lawyers can do battle with his 10 lawyers or we can settle this right here." T-Bonz will get money over Kern's dead body. "That sounds like a good idea," T-Bonz says in a menacing whisper.

Vic has had enough of their bullshit; each man will come up with a number and Vic will decide what's fair. "Who you supposed to be, Judge Judy?" T-Bonz mocks. Vic calls for a 24-hour ceasefire: "You boys break it, I break you." Again, Lem hasn't done anything but stand in the corner menacing the rappers with his biceps.

Dutch and Claudette go to a construction site and have a debate on the exploitation of illegal immigrant workers. They ask the site boss if an Eduardo is working today. "Throw a rock. You're bound to hit one," the site boss replies. He recognizes Manuel's picture. Manuel worked for a day and was never seen again after collecting his pay. He doesn't know what happened and doesn't care.

The detectives walk through the site, calling Eduardo's name. Another worker points him out. Eduardo immediately starts to run away. He crawls under a loose section of chainlink fence and continues down the street. Dutch doesn't follow, probably afraid of ripping his suit.

Meanwhile, Danny picks out Rondell as one of the shooters at the Chez Club. Rondell is handcuffed to the table in the interrogation room and protests his innocence to Edgar-veda. Edgar-veda has a witness and not just any witness: a cop. Two cops if he bothered to count Lem. He wants to know who's protecting Rondell's drug business. Rondell says he doesn't need protection. Even if the murder charges doesn't stick, Rondell is still going to jail for discharging a firearm in public. Edgar-veda lets Rondell know that he's dead wrong if he thinks he can deal drugs in Farmington because a cop is protecting him.

Vic has a quiet chat with Rondell while he's in the holding cell. He reminds the drug dealer he was supposed to lay low. Rondell claims he was sitting at home listening to Miles Davis when Edgar-veda showed up. He tells Vic not to worry; he never keeps drugs in his apartment. All Rondell has to do now is keep his mouth shut. That's a tall order for him.

Edgar-veda gives Machado a progress report. They still don't know where the hell Manuel is, but they do have a suspect in the case. Machado tells Edgar-veda there's a spot opening up on city council next year, a seat traditionally occupied by a black politician. However, Latinos are a growing majority in Farmington and would eagerly vote for a candidate of their own ethnicity. With Machado's backing, Edgar-veda could become a councilman.

Machado doesn't think he can sell a police officer to the voting public. "What would you think of a man who exposed corruption, brought down dirty cops from inside the department?" asks Edgar-veda, eyeing Vic from his office window. Machado is honest: It would be career suicide, but also an easier sell to voters.

Danny and Julien go to the home of a middle-aged black woman. She's quite upset; her son Thurman has been kidnapped and she got a ransom call asking for $10,000. She hasn't talked to Thurman in a month and last saw him three weeks before. Danny asks how the woman is sure he's only been missing a day. "Cemetery called. Somebody dug up his body," Thurman's mom explains. Danny tells Julien to stay with the mother while she looks into the ransom call.

Later, Danny is about to leave the precinct in her civvies when Vic stops her on the stairs. He knows she ID'd Rondell, but it's complicated by the fact that Rondell is his CI (confidential informant). Vic claims none of Rondell's bullets hit anyone and he was acting in self-defense. He needs Danny to get amnesia. Danny doesn't know if she can, but she'll think about it. She better think fast or she'll end up like Terry.

Thurman's mother waits anxiously by the phone. Julien recognizes a picture of Thurman; they went to high school together. Thurman and Company liked to beat up Julien on a daily basis. That ended up making Julien a better student because he hid in the library to avoid them. Thurman's mother reveals her son died when a liquor store robbery went bad and the owner shot him. Thurman also did drugs. Julien is sure that Thurman went to be with Jesus.

The phone rings. Julien turns on a recorder before letting Thurman's Mom answer. She lies that she has the ransom and asks where her son's body is. The caller tells her to bring the money to cemetery at 10:00. She can't understand his muffled voice, so he repeats the demand a couple of times. "Henry, is that you?" shouts Thurman's Mom.

Julien arrests Henry and puts him in the cage. Turns out that Henry used to date Thurman's mom. Henry knew Thurman's mom had a life insurance payout coming and he "wanted to take [his] new lady on one of them cruises." Julien informs Henry that Thurman's mom spent all the insurance money on the funeral. Hope this half-assed plan was worth a grave robbery charge.

At home, Vic and his wife (Corrine, according to IMDb) talk about their son's upcoming appointment with a developmental pediatrician. Vic is skeptical about how many problems a 5-year-old could have. Matthew is jumping on the couch and barking. Corrine asks why Vic is fighting the idea of seeing a specialist. He's hardly ever home and doesn't see what she has to deal with every day. Vic offers to put the kids to bed so Corrine can take a bath. As she leaves the kitchen, he playfully slaps her rear.

Out on the street, Danny is jumped by an unidentifiable black man. He forces her to the ground and puts a gun to her head, ignoring her shout of "I'm a cop!" The man says, "And I'm a cop killer, but not tonight." Danny is to forget what she saw at the Chez Club. Danny says she will.

At work the next day, Danny grabs Rondell by his collar. She's a cop and Rondell doesn't scare her. Rondell begs to differ on that second point. Danny storms out of the cage. She herds Vic into the weight room. She tells him about what happened the night before. Vic promises to take care of it, which he does by going into the cage and grabbing Rondell by the neck. Rondell whines that he was just trying to scare Danny. Vic tells Rondell to use his drug profits to bail himself out. It'll take at least a year for the firearms charge to go to trial, but the charge will get dropped somehow.

Claudette and Dutch haven't had any luck finding Eduardo, but Dutch has a new Spanish-English phrase book courtesy of his partner. Dutch is curious about why Claudette keeps reading the real estate page, but she's not talking. They suddenly spot Eduardo getting out of a van. Claudette handcuffs him. According to the closed captions, Dutch is "reading Miranda rights in broken Spanish." Nearby Mexicans laugh at his pronunciation.

In interrogation, Eduardo confirms that he and Manuel both worked for Mr. Jamieson. However, Eduardo didn't kill him and has no idea where he is now. Dutch knows Eduardo wanted Manuel dead and that they haven't been friends for a long time. Claudette asks what happened in the truck during their illegal border crossing. Eduardo insists Manuel is still his friend and nothing happened. Claudette has been intently watching their suspect's body language. "I'm not the one who killed Manuel," says Eduardo. Now we're getting somewhere. Eduardo starts crying and crosses himself. The detectives step out of the room into Edgar-veda's office.

Claudette is positive that Eduardo was raped. She spent her first few years in uniform at emergency rooms interviewing rape victims; she knows the look. She also knows it sounds like one of her partner's theories. Dutch doesn't think it would be possible to do such a thing in the back of a moving truck and then asks, "What do you mean it sounds like one of my theories?" Claudette doesn't answer.

Vic is in the clubhouse reading the paper when Tyesha and Kern make a surprise appearance. The rapper overturns a cardboard box he's carrying and a very dead Pomeranian flops out onto the table. Tyesha chokes out that T-Bonz poisoned her baby. She's supposed to be finishing work on her new album, but she's too upset to sing. T-Bonz needs to pay for breaking the ceasefire. Vic's only comment is "Get that thing off my table." Tyesha asks if Kern will be a man or does she have to get someone else to do the job. Kern knows what he has to do, but he needs Vic's help to get to T-Bonz. His badge opens up a lot of doors. Kern will even pay him. Vic asks for the address.

Dutch wants to know if Manuel is the only one who raped Eduardo in the truck. Eduardo denies it. Dutch would want to kill if someone did that to him, so what Eduardo did is understandable. "I murder Manuel," mumbles Eduardo. They were working on the roof at Mr. Jamieson's site; Manuel slipped and fell while carrying an air-conditioning unit. Dutch tells Eduardo that doesn't qualify as murder. Eduardo was told different by Mr. Jamieson.

At the construction site, Dutch, Claudette, and Eduardo watch the work crew dig up Manuel's body. Mr. Jamieson says they buried him after his accident because nobody seemed to know if Manuel had a wife or family in the States. He wanted to call the police, but that would've shut down the site and left his employees without work. Mr. Jamieson zeroes in on Eduardo and lunges at him, shouting, "I told you not to talk, asshole!" A worker holds him back. Mr. Jamieson is arrested.

Vic drives T-Bonz to a semi-trailer at the water's edge. The rapper keeps saying he never did whatever Vic thinks he did. Lem "helps" T-Bonz out of the car. Vic wants to know what happened to the trash talker he fell in love with. T-Bonz has to pay. The rapper starts babbling, offering Vic money. Kern steps out of the shadows. Lem holds his gun on both of them.

Vic tells Kern and T-Bonz to get into the semi-trailer/shipping container/whatever. Kern asks if Vic is crazy. "Oh yeah, he's definitely crazy," Lem confirms. If they want to kill each other, Vic is more than happy to cut out the middleman. T-Bonz thought they had a deal. "I'm never for sale," says Vic. "You two can't make peace, I'll see one of you in the morning." Lem quickly slams the door and locks the container. Vic chuckles that they should've thought of this yesterday.

At the precinct, Edgar-veda tells Vic that Rondell made bail. He can't imagine where a kid from the ghetto got $100,000 cash. Vic guesses he has a rich uncle. Julien doesn't know why Danny is so edgy, but he'll pray for her before he goes to bed. Awwwww.

Rondell comes home to find Vic in his living room and his record collection in pieces all over the floor. Lem strolls out of the kitchen, eating a banana. Through a mouthful, he informs Rondell the peaches are about to go bad. Rondell's TV is missing. Vic and Lem took it upon themselves to donate it to a local boys' club. Vic says this is what happens when you go after a cop. Lem thinks Rondell owes him a thank-you; he talked Vic out of doing something a lot worse.

Edgar-veda tells Machado and Ellie that Manuel's death has been ruled an accident. Mr. Jamieson has plead guilty to evidence tampering; the punishment for that is a fine. Ellie isn't worried; she'll just sue Jamieson's company. Edgar-veda walks Machado out; Machado thanks the captain for his help. He hasn't decided who to back for city council yet, so Edgar-veda has time to impress him. The captain smiles a particularly Leviathan-esque smile.

Eduardo is being released, but Dutch has one last question. Why did Eduardo go on the same job with Manuel? Eduardo says Mr. Jamieson handpicked the two of them outside the hardware store. Eduardo doesn't know what he's doing next. Dutch tells Eduardo that he has a crumbling retaining wall at his house.

Vic is in the clubhouse alone cleaning his gun when Danny opens the door. He heard she kicked ass. "No more than usual," she shrugs. Vic asks if Danny trusts him with her life. She does. Vic tells Danny she can stop looking over her shoulder for the rappers. Vic's phone rings. He promises the caller he'll be right there and puts the magazine back in his gun.

Vic goes to the ER waiting room. Corrine is sitting in a chair next to Matthew. Vic asks Corrine where their toddler Megan is. She's getting X-rays and Corrine's mom is with her. "A 5-year-old does not bite his 18-month-old sister on the face and make her fall on her head," says Corrine. Vic sends her to be with Megan. Matthew sits in a chair, staring blankly straight ahead. Vic promises Megan will be okay.

At dawn, Lem and Vic go to unlock the shipping container. Lem doesn't hear anything from inside. Vic isn't worried; "assholes like these don't wake up 'til noon." He manages to get the door open. Kern comes out with blood on his shirt and a short length of chain in his hand. Lem calls for T-Bonz. "Ain't nobody else comin' outta there," says Kern, "Told you he was a bitch." Lem looks worried and runs a hand through his already spiky hair. Kern will have his cleanup crew take care of the body.

Somehow, Vic seems surprised that locking two people with a blood feud in a crate overnight caused a murder. Lem murmurs, "Oh shit." He puts a hand out for Vic's gun and wipes the prints off for unknown reasons. Kern stands at the water's edge, watching the sunrise over the skyline. Vic joins him and asks if Kern is hungry. "I'm goddamn starved," says Kern. All right, Chauffeur Lem, take us to the nearest IHOP. End of episode.

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