Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Politics is Full of "Carnivores" (Episode 1.11)

Previously on: Julien TOTALLY isn't gay, okay?! A reporter asked Edgar-veda about him allegedly raping a 21-year-old woman. Vic and Lem locked two feuding rappers in a storage container overnight; only one (Kern) came out alive. Vic is allowing his informant Rondell Robinson to continue dealing drugs.

Rondell asks Kern how he's supposed to get money to pay off a drug debt. Kern suggests that not snorting the profits would be a good place to start. Rondell isn't asking for much, just $50,000. Their argument is cut short by a drive-by.

Vic and Shane are waiting on a corner with guy named Jasper, who gripes that he thought the Strike Team knew what they were doing. He wants his $50,000.

Not THAT Jasper...
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Vic will set up another meeting and drag Rondell to it if he has to. Jasper refuses to sit on the package any longer; he'll sell it to the highest bidder. Vic informs him that drugs in the neighborhood have to go through him. Jasper walks away. "Oh, I'm gonna kill Rondell," mumbles Vic.

Rondell shows Vic all the holes in his ride. He didn't call the police because he has drugs on him. And also, he's short on the $50 K he owes Jasper. Rondell has been losing business thanks to, and I quote: "them bean-sellin', bowtie-wearin', skinny-suited Nation of Islam terrorists." They're also the ones who shot at him and Kern. Yesterday, three Nation of Islam guys interrupted one of his drug deals, so Rondell punched out their leader. He knows this has to be payback. "What you been hangin' around me all day long for, then?" asks Kern. Why, because Rondell doesn't have an armored car. Vic tells them to stay put until he gets back.

Danny and Julien arrive at an apartment where they can hear loud music and a man shouting in Korean. When they kick down the door, they see one of the man's feet are literally nailed to the floor. His wife lies dead nearby. Danny does a quick sweep of the apartment and shuts off the music. She tells her partner to see if he can get the man's feet off the floor without removing the nails from his feet. As anyone with first-aid training knows, pulling an impaled object out can cause the kind of bleeding that can get away from you.

The Korean man screams as Julien pries his feet up and nearly faints. Julien carries the man to his recliner and Danny pulls up the lever on its footrest. The man looks at his dead wife and opens a small chest of drawers beside him. Before the two officers can react, he shoots himself in the head. Julien gets hit by some flying blood. He backs himself against a wall, his eyes wide with fear.

Vic and Shane find the Nation of Islam men hanging around a store. All but one of the men are black. The token white boy asks Shane if he'd like one of their magazines. Vic asks to speak to Xavier Salaam, formerly Xavier Criss, a Chino veteran who did 6 years for manslaughter. Xavier appears and says he's willing to cooperate.

Vic asks about his run-in with Rondell. Xavier was just trying to pass out magazines on the same corner where Rondell was selling drugs. They had a fight, Xavier lost, and he isn't looking to retaliate. "I thought you guys were 'an eye for an eye,' whacking off hands," says Shane. Xavier corrects him, "That's the Jews and the fundamentalist Muslims. The Nation does not murder." Vic reminds Xavier what he did his time for. Xavier says he's a changed man.

The Nation has started hanging out in this neighborhood because "it needs cleansing." Of what, Xavier doesn't say. Vic says it's his job to clean up Dodge. Xavier thinks he could do a better job.

At the couple's apartment, Danny brings her partner a fresh uniform shirt. Dutch offers to have someone drive Julien home, but Julien insists he's fine. "Murder, torture, suicide, where to start?" asks Claudette. Danny thinks it was a home invasion; the mattress is ripped open and money is spilling out of it. Neighbors reported hearing a conversation followed by arguing and loud music. They didn't recognize the voices.

Kern's car is loaded onto a flatbed. Vic tells Rondell he doesn't think Xavier was behind the shooting. Rondell admits there are some rivals trying to take over his business. Vic will take care of that and thinks Rondell should be worrying more about the $50,000. Rondell can't get the cash until Jasper gives him the drugs he's supposed to be. Vic says he better think of something. Shane gets assigned to find Rondell's new competition. He does with an assist from Ronnie.

Shane thinks it's pretty ballsy of a fellow dealer to be selling Rondell's dope behind his back. Vic and Shane are sure he shot Kern's car and that's what they plan to tell the rapper. The dealer tried to tell Rondell the Nation of Islam was bad for business and thought it'd take a smarter man than Rondell to deal with them. Things are about to dangerous on the streets. Lucky for him, he'll be in the cage.

Dutch gripes that he and Claudette weren't given commendations for the serial killer they caught last episode. Claudette tells him to get over it. They enter a Korean nail and hair salon; all conversation in the place instantly stops. They tell a middle-aged employee Rhee-Soo that they need to talk about her father, Yung Ho. Terrible name in English. She doesn't seem to understand them. Dutch asks if anyone speaks English. Judging by the response, I'd have to say no.

Danny advises Julien not to spend too much time thinking about why Yung shot himself. Vic has told Dutch and Claudette it probably wasn't an Asian gang; they would've tagged the scene. There's no telling how much money the thieves got away with. Yung and his wife didn't have a savings account, just checking. Yung owned a butcher shop in the neighborhood for decades.

Dutch stops Officer Dai, asking if she can translate for a victim's family member who doesn't speak English. Officer Dai would if she spoke Korean. Claudette tells Dutch not to worry; she already called for a translator.

Edgar-veda pays a visit to his ex-girlfriend from college, Maureen. She's also the woman who accused him of rape, which makes this an even worse idea. (FYI: His claim was that she liked it rough but he ended things when it got too kinky, so she stalked him and cried rape). It appears she has some kind of art studio set up in her house.

Maureen recognizes Edgar-veda and is surprised to see him. She knows why he's there and it's too late; the reporter interviewed her two days ago. Maureen gave her quite a different version of events: "The ambitious Latino pursued the rich white girl, got her drunk, tied her up, subjected her to sexual acts against her will. He continued to stalk her obsessively. Until one night, she was forced to fend him off with a penknife." I honestly can't tell which one of them is telling the truth.

Maureen wants him to apologize and admit to the reporter what he did. "I did nothing wrong," the captain insists. He knows people at the Spanish-language newspaper and could bury the article with one phone call. He had been hoping they could make peace. She tells him to get lost.

Outside the store seen earlier, a paramedic is tending to one of the Nation of Islam members. Xavier says they were just standing there when someone started shooting at them. The only casualty was a guy who split his head open on the curb diving for cover. Xavier saw Rondell do it and chased after him. "We didn't catch him, but we will," he says. Vic counters, "No, I will." He warns Xavier to stay out of his way.

The Korean officer translates Rhee-Soo's explanation of why her father killed himself: The family's life savings were stolen and he failed to protect Rhee-Soo's mother; it was an act of shame and self-punishment. Rhee-Soo doesn't know  who'd want to hurt her parents. Claudette tells Dutch she can tell by body language that Rhee-Soo is lying. Dutch scoffs that it's a completely different culture.

The principal of Glenridge has bad news for the Mackeys: Matthew was wait-listed. "But you said we were in." Vic is working not to sound angry. The school interviewed another family last week. "I thought you said the deadline was 3 weeks ago." Vic is definitely irritated. Some of the admissions board trustees saw the newspaper article in which Vic was accused of stealing drugs. "If I really did that, do you think I'd still have my job?" he asks.

The principal tries to fob them off by saying there are plenty of other good programs in the area. Vic wants to know how long of a wait list they're talking about. It'll be 9 months-1 year. "Matthew's behind already," frets Corinne, "He's drowning socially." The principal lies about how sorry she is.

A uniform brings in a crackhead named Linda. She likes to keep her drugs in personal places. Danny, as the only female patrol officer on duty, is the only person legally allowed to strip-search her. Danny takes Linda into the women's room and emerges carrying something that is most definitely not a heavy-duty tampon.

Xavier walks up to the desk, asking to speak to the person in charge. Edgar-veda asks how he can help. Xavier made a citizen's arrest of some crack dealers. The captain says he'll have to stick around to make a formal statement. "This is my statement. We will not rest until these drug dealers and the police who give them comfort are brought to justice," says Xavier. Behind the glass, Vic looks slightly worried.

Xavier and the captain talk in the office, the former saying the dermis of Farmington is infected. "Could you be more specific about the dermis?" asks Edgar-veda. Xavier thinks the drug dealers had no fear of being arrested, but were just soldiers: "The captains and the general are still at large."

Downstairs, Rondell has arrived. He wants to hide out in the Barn so the Nation can't find him. Vic shoves him into the clubhouse and tells him that's not happening. He asks if the Muslims know about their little pact. "What kinda good is police protection if nobody knows about it?" Rondell wants to know. Oh shit. Vic tells him basically you don't have to go home but you can't stay here. Rondell shouts that Vic is coming with him if he goes down. A few uniforms overhear.

Edgar-veda asks which officers Xavier believes are protecting Rondell. Xavier doesn't want to say until he's 100%, but is sure it won't be long until he is. He'll be downstairs in the lobby until he feels the situation is resolved. Xavier and the Nation stand across the lobby in two columns.

Julien's ex-boyfriend Tomas has been picked up for stealing CDs. With his record, he could go to prison. "You abandoned me," Tomas accuses. Another cop told him not to call Julien and maybe Julien was told the same. Tomas needed Julien, but now it's too late. He's scared of prison. He really should've thought of that before he ripped off the music store.

Vic gets some dirt on the family who bumped Matthew off the Glenridge list: a banker and his second wife with a house in Brentwood and a ranch in Telluride. Vic is upset about the other family buying their way in, as I think any parent would be. Ronnie didn't find anything Vic could use against the principal, Ms. Emerich. The only record of her as far as the police are concerned is a burglary report she filed 3 weeks ago.

Edgar-veda drags Vic up to his office. He tells him what Xavier said about Rondell trying to kill him and Vic's relationship with said drug dealer. Uniforms went to Rondell's house to pick him up, but he wasn't home. Vic taps his fingers against his leg. "You doing okay?" the captain asks mildly, "You don't look so hot." "I'm fine," Vic lies.

Claudette found out that Rhee-Soo has a son with a record. Dutch asks, "You really think the kid went from loitering and shoplifting to strangling Grams and nailing Grandpa's feet to the floor?" Claudette doesn't think anyone else but family would know about tens of thousands of dollars hidden in a mattress. "You rarely see that level of sadism in family members," says Dutch. Several dozen episodes of Deadly Women and Snapped would tend to disagree with that statement. Officer Dai comes in with a tip: 3 Korean teenage boys were spotted blowing wads of cash on jewelry.

The jewelry store owner says the kids spent $7,000 on chains: men's and women's styles. Claudette shows him an array of mug shots. The store owner picks out Rhee-Soo's son, remembering that he bought the biggest bracelet. "Probably Christmas gifts for the rest of the family," Claudette speculates.

They need to take the money as evidence. The store owner is reluctant when he learns he won't get the $7,000 back right away. Dutch tells him they're investigating a murder and will return the jewelry if it turns up. "So I never get my jewelry back either, right? Why did I even call the police?" says the frustrated store owner. Claudette suggests, "Because you're a good citizen?" "Not anymore. Too expensive," he states firmly.

Linda the crackhead makes a crude remark at Danny about the strip-search. "Show her some respect!" Julien barks. Danny isn't happy about this...or the blanket party she heard about. The transsexual prostitute was hurt badly enough to be hospitalized. "Why would you do that?" I'm sure Catherine Dent asked herself that same question when Michael Jace was arrested. Danny thought she could count on Julien having a good heart. He watches as Tomas is led out to the transport van.

Tereza the reporter confronts Edgar-veda about her editor killing her story. It may still see print, however, because she left the Spanish-language paper and is now freelancing for the L.A. Times. Her first piece is about how Edgar-veda uses "aggressive tactics to hurt people and squelch the truth, just like 15 years ago." She hands over her first draft.

Up on a rooftop, Vic and Kern are looking for Rondell, who takes a shot at them. Rondell protests he didn't know who they were. Vic punches him in the face, grabs him by the jacket, and backs him over to the edge of the roof: "You shoot at me, you die!" Kern tries to pull Vic off, so Vic draws his gun. Kern convinces Vic there are too many witnesses around for him to get away with throwing someone off a roof; for his part, Kern will keep an eye on Rondell. "Next time, you'd better grow wings!" Vic threatens.

Vic goes to the interrogation room and immediately unplugs the camera, something Shane should've thought about when he got friendly with Tulips. He asks the unnamed drug dealer why he should deal with him and not Rondell. Dealer #2 doesn't use his own product like Rondell. The problems with the Nation of Islam started when Rondell was high; Dealer #2 would've just moved to another corner. Peaceful resistance is something Vic can get behind. For $50,000, he can start protection right away.

Edgar-veda is in bed with Aurora but having, um, performance issues. He tells her about Tereza interviewing Maureen. "Oh God," says Aurora. Maureen still believes Edgar-veda raped her and the article may end up in the Times. He visited her to try and reason with her and it went about as well as you'd think. She huffs and turns over.

Machado, Edgar-veda's financial backer, heard the Metro section editor likes the article but isn't sure it'll run. But what if it does? "Change your name to Kennedy, you move to Massachusetts, and you'll be fine," shrugs Machado. Edgar-veda has a case for libel, but by the time it gets through court, the damage to his political reputation will be done. The best thing he can do is get Maureen to recant before the article is printed.

Edgar-veda tried that, but she wants a public apology and he won't admit to a crime he didn't commit. Machado thinks he should just give Maureen what she wants.

Vic goes to Glenridge to talk to Ms. Emerich. He knows she had an heirloom ring stolen during a break-in. "Can I be brutally honest with you?" asks Vic. She nods. "Hollywood Division's never gonna get your ring back." The police have the resources to solve just about anything, but the case has to be a priority. Stolen jewelry doesn't qualify, but "maybe I can do something for you."

Ronnie talked to a pawn shop owner that Vic knows. Felipe hasn't seen Ms. Emerich's ring, but he's asking around. He also bet Ronnie $50 that he could find it in less than 12 hours. Vic thinks taking him on it was a bad idea.

Claudette knows Rhee-Soo's son Nam has been in trouble before. Rhee-Soo will only talk to Dutch. "Why?" he asks. Claudette pointedly taps her skin. "Oh no! You tell her we don't do that," he says to the interpreter. Claudette is okay with it as long as she's willing to cooperate. Dutch wants the interpreter to ask Rhee-Soo about Nam's relationship with his grandmother. "If she thinks you're prying into her family's business, she'll shut down completely," the interpreter warns.

Dutch is frustrated. Claudette tells him to just roll with it. He asks Rhee-Soo where Nam liked to hang out with his friends Paul and Kenny. Nam slept over at Kenny's. However, Kenny's mom was told that Kenny was staying over with Nam. Officer Dai comes in to report there's been another home invasion.

Just like Yung, these burglary victims are Korean. Dutch talks to the teenage son/grandson away from the arguing older members of the family. The burglars stole the family's cash, along with the teen's XBOX and games. He recognized the robbery crew as his cousin and his cousin's two friends.

Danny and Julien arrive at a house. A hysterical woman meets their car, talking in rapid Spanish. She's hosting a graduation party and one of the guests has a gun. Danny immediately calls for backup, then sends Julien through the house while she checks the side yard.

Julien finds the suspect out back. The guy fires a few shots that don't seem to hit anyone, then jumps the backyard fence. Julien chases him, ignoring his partner's warning to wait. The suspects trips himself up and ends up with his back against a chainlink fence. He looks all of 16-17 years old. Drawing his revolver, he warns Julien, "Get back. I'll shoot." Julien holsters his gun and takes a step closer, calmly intoning, "Go ahead."

Backup arrives not a minute too soon. Julien takes the kid's gun away. When he and Danny get back to the Barn, they're greeted with applause from their fellow cops and oily words of praise from the captain. Danny takes Julien into the bathroom and confronts him. She knows he isn't wearing a vest: "Did you wanna get shot? Julien, did you wanna die? Why? You can tell me." Julien feels guilty about being gay. He leaves before he can start crying in front of her.

Vic knows who tried to kill Kern: Rondell's friend Tio AKA Dealer #2. Rondell is a liability and will no longer be under Vic's protection. He almost got Vic in a lot of trouble. "He got one of my acts high, ruined the whole session," fumes Kern. Tio is willing to make up for the money lost on her studio time. Kern doesn't like the idea of turning on Rondell; they grew up together.

Dutch and Claudette find Nam, Kenny, Paul, and company having a party involving XBOX and a lot of weed. "When I was a kid, we just tipped cows," says Dutch.
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Claudette wonders why Nam and his friends are robbing their own relatives. Simple, they wanted things like video games and jewelry, but they didn't want to work for them. Nam didn't kill his grandma; that was Kenny, but he still blames Grandma for not telling them where she hid the money. Kenny also nailed Grandpa Yung's feet to the floor because the old man wouldn't sit still while his house was being robbed and his wife murdered. The Korean officer translates his confession and Rhee-Soo starts to cry.

And will ya look at that? Vic found Ms. Emerich's ring. She doesn't know how to thank him. "You know how to thank me," says Vic. He knows the Mackey family will be an asset to Glenridge.

When Vic leaves work, he has to walk the Nation of Islam gauntlet. He tells Xavier that he won't be having anymore issues with Rondell. Xavier doubts it. He wants Vic to admit he's evil. "I'm outta here," says Vic, "Sure you don't wanna wait this out at the Best Western?" Xavier tells Vic to go ahead and rest: "Peddlers of illegal drugs can hide, but we know where to find you."

Edgar-veda stupidly goes back to Maureen's house alone. He knows she's still upset, but she needs to tell the truth. "You need me?" she murmurs, stroking his arm. Oh boy. He tells her that he's married. Maureen wants him to admit to what he did. She leans in for a kiss. Edgar-veda reaches into the back of her jeans and pulls out a small recorder.

Maureen says he knows damn well what happened. She was young and wanted to explore her sexuality. Edgar-veda enjoyed until he got bored and started telling his friends about "the crazy white bitch who liked to be tied up and choked." Given what a manipulative asshole he is now, her version of the story is sounding a lot more plausible. Two of Edgar-veda's friends came to Maureen's dorm and raped her because "they heard I liked it."

It's obvious this is the first time Edgar-veda has heard about that detail. "Oh my God," he says softly, "Who?" "Mark and Peter," she replies. Edgar-veda says he barely knew them. Maureen accuses him of sending Mark and Peter to rape her. He didn't know they would rape her and he's sorry about what they did to her. She slaps him across the face, growling, "You are responsible. You tell that slut you married I feel sorry for her." Wow.

At home, Corinne tells Vic that Matthew got accepted to Glenridge and asks how he pulled it off. Vic pretends it's news to him. "What did you do?" she asks again. Vic shrugs, "Nothing that any dad wouldn't do." Corinne hugs him ecstatically, then wonders what'll happen to the other family. "They missed the deadline, broke the rules," but they're also rich and he's sure they'll find another place for their kid.

A young black man's body is found on a sidewalk, more specifically, Rondell's body. Dutch sums it up: multiple gunshot wounds and no witnesses. End of episode.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

"Dragonchasers" Aren't a Pokemon Go Team (Episode 1.10)

Previously on: An underage prostitute nicknamed Sally (as in Struthers) was murdered, one of a string of other "working girls" killed. Dutch is obsessed with finding the guy responsible. Julien is totally not gay. Crack Whore Connie stabbed a john in not-quite-self-defense. She was afraid of losing her son, so Vic agreed to hit to make the story that the john attacked her more convincing.

At a strip club, Vic gets a lapdance from a woman in purple glitter pasties and matching G-string. She suggests they move their party from the VIP room to the alley behind the club. The stripper leads him outside to a conveniently placed pleather couch. She tells him they have to make it a quickie; she doesn't want her boss to find out.

Elsewhere, the rest of the Strike Team listens in from their van. The stripper asks the age-old question, "How do I know you're not a cop?" "If I were a cop, would I do this?" asks Vic before doing something that makes the stripper moan. The guy laughs. Lemming, the true professional, has a more important concern: How will they know when the muggers try to jump Vic? They need to bust her now. "Oh, and ruin a good thing? He'd kill us." says Shane.

Danny and Julien catch a man masturbating in an alley. Danny orders, "Get your hands out of your pants and put 'em up!" The guy repeats that he can explain. No, I really don't think you can. Julien checks his ID and finds the guy is from Pasadena. Danny makes it sound like he's a long way from home. Google Maps says more like 20 minutes. "This is the stupidest thing I've ever done," says the masturbator.

And no, it's not this guy.
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Vic gets back in the van with a sigh and the other guys pats him on the back. He guesses Purple Pasties isn't part of the mugging ring. "You nailed her, didn't you?" asks Shane. Vic replies, "Like I'd tell you 3." Oh, come on, you would. Vic's phone rings and it's Connie. Whoops, gotta run. He says to wait half an hour before sending the next guy in and keep rotating out until somebody gets jumped. Whenever it's Lemming's turn, I imagine the conversation going something like this.

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In a convenience store, Connie is kneeling on the ground next to an unconscious woman while a paramedic packs up his gear. Connie's baby son is screaming. Connie is in tears muttering that she's sorry. Vic asks what happened. Connie says the dead woman is her mom.

Ronnie is next to run the gauntlet. He uses his own name to introduce himself to the stripper. "Amateur," scoffs Shane. The stripper asks what Ronnie is "into." He dumbly tells her that he plays golf. Ronnie stammers, asking her to "tease him...not really take it off but almost." Lemming seems to be enjoying this far too much. Shane can't stand to listen to this anymore; he's going in. Lemming shakes his head: "Ronnie, Ronnie, Ronnie."

Couldn't help it.
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Vic brings Connie a jar of baby food and a plastic spoon, asking what she plans to do. Her mom had been the one who mostly took care of Baby Brian. Connie says she'll get clean and won't need help with the baby. "You can barely take care of yourself," Vic points out. If he offers to adopt the kid, Corinne will probably kill him. "They can't take Brian. He's all I got left," Connie whimpers as the medics take her mother's body out on a stretcher, "Help me, Vic. You can get me through this."

Vic doesn't think that's a good idea; she needs a professional. Connie is afraid that if she goes to rehab, the court will use that to take away Brian and her welfare checks. She hasn't gotten high in 12 hours and the next 48 will be the worst. She has to get clean; she's Brian's mom.

At the Barn, a reporter from a Spanish-language newspaper interviews Edgar-veda. He brags about how much the crime rate in Farmington has declined since he took over. She thinks it's ironic they're using an old church: "God moved out, the cops moved in." Edgar-veda, trying to be clever, answers, "God's still here. We just sublet." The reporter wants to interview some of his officers for background. Hopefully, she doesn't talk to Vic.

Around the vending machines, Danny tells some other uniforms about the Koreatown alley masturbator. "Wasn't even homeless, just a regular Joe from Pasadena," adds Julien. This piques Dutch's interest. Which alley? Next to the laundromat that keeps getting robbed. "He's not horning in on your territory, is he, Detective?" jokes a uniform. Dutch wants to know what the guy's name was; it had to have been on the ticket. They just gave him a verbal warning, but Julien remembers it was Sean Taylor.

Vic checks Connie's mother's apartment for drugs and warns, "If you put yourself or this kid in harm's way, DCFS isn't gonna take him away; I am." He advises her to stay hydrated and eat bananas. One of the guys from the Strike Team is coming to sit with her. My money is on Lemming; he gets all the fun jobs. Vic will take Brian home with him so he doesn't have to watch his mom go through withdrawal.

Shane gets a lap dance from a girl in a purple sequined bikini top. Seriously, does this place have a dress code or something? She calls him hot and gives him the old "I don't usually do this, but let's have sex in the alley." Outside, Shane puts her against the wall of the club and starts kissing her. In the van, Lemming can't believe Ronnie tried to talk to a stripper about golf. He hears sex noises through the headphones and chuckles, "He shoots, he scores!"

The microphone on Shane's wire squeals, wiping the smirk off Lemming's face in a hurry. He and Ronnie jump out of the van in time to stop the guy from kicking Shane's ass any further. Lemming asks his loudly groaning pal the stupid thing: "Are you all right?"

Dutch shows Danny a DMV photo of Sean Taylor and she confirms that's the guy. Julien is bringing a struggling transsexual prostitute to the cage; 'she' has been charged with soliciting a police officer for sex. "I'm not going in there!" the hooker protests. When Julien takes the cuffs off, the hooker knocks and Danny over and starts biting her arm. "Get him off!" Danny shrieks in a panic. Julien and another officer get 'her' under control.

Danny stands up and sprints for the bathroom. The skin on her forearm is broken. She runs it under hot water. Julien checks on her. Danny asks him to drive her to the hospital for a blood test and PEP (Post-Exposure Prevention) in case the prostitute has AIDS. "You think he does?" Julien asks worriedly. Danny replies, "You saw the guy."

Shane gripes to Lemming about the mugger breaking up his magic moment with the stripper. He knows it wasn't an act and "she really felt something." Lemming thinks it was probably the roll of $20s Shane had in his pocket. "She was rubbing her ass all over my hands. They don't just do that for everyone," Shane insists. All righty then.

Dutch visits Sean Taylor at the garage where he works. Sean has a calendar on display with pictures of Chicago landmarks on it. He explains that he's from Rockford, Illinois. Dutch explains that he's there because Sean should've been given a ticket. Sean says he's embarrassed about it but doesn't quite look it. Dutch tries to get the guy's guard down by asking if there might be something wrong with his car radio; all the stations are in Spanish. "That's just Los Angeles," says Sean.

When Vic walks in the house carrying Brian, Corinne remarks, "Some husbands just bring home flowers." She asks who the baby is. Vic tells her that Brian is Connie's son: "This hooker, I'll explain later." "You brought a prostitute's child home?" Corinne gasps.

Vic fills her in on the situation: Connie's mother died of a stroke and Connie is trying to kick her drug habit so the state won't take Brian. Wisely, he leaves out the part about Connie potentially losing her welfare. It's only for one night and Vic doesn't trust anyone else with Brian. "I hate you," hisses Corinne. Vic says he loves her too.

Dutch shares a theory with Claudette: Sean the alley masturbator is the serial killer he's been hunting. He just finished interviewing Sean's aunt, who raised him; his early childhood fits a serial killer's profile. Also, the alley where Danni and Julien found him was 2 blocks from the corner Sally usually worked. "You never established Sally was killed in that alley," Claudette points out.

Dutch goes on that Sean is an opportunity offender, only killing when presented with the right victim under the right circumstances. In the absence of an opportunity, he might fantasize and relive an earlier crime. Sean has a cozy little apartment in Pasadena. Why drive to one of the worst parts of Los Angeles to masturbate outdoors?

At Connie's place, she's sweaty and complaining about cramps. She tries to get out of bed. When Ronnie tries to get her to relax, she slaps him in the face. Then she immediately leans over the side of the bed and pukes on the floor. "She hit me!" Ronnie shouts as Vic comes in. Vic sits next to her on the bed and helps her drink some water. "I love you, Vic," sobs Connie.

The stripper, now in an interrogation room, asks Shane if his head is okay. "No, it hurts," he answers. The stripper apologizes; she didn't know he was a cop. Like it would be totally fine if he'd just been an average citizen? She wanted to stop Carl from hurting Shane because she thinks he's sexy. She guesses that he's Southern. "Atlanta, thereabouts," Shane confirms. The stripper purrs, "Hot-lanta." I've seriously never understood the origin of that nickname. I was in Atlanta last summer and didn't find the temperature that bad. In fact, the hottest place I've ever been during summer is a toss-up between DC and Chicago.

Anyway, Shane asks about Carl. Carl introduced her to the club owner and that's when she started--"Stripping?" Shane supplies. The girl gives him a snotty look and says, "I'm a dancer."

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Carl had the idea to start robbing customers. He was supplying her with epilepsy medicine, so she felt like she owed him. Yeah, right. A strip club is one of the worst possible places for an epileptic with all the strobe lights and whatnot. Shane doesn't ask why she can't just see a doctor and get a prescription like the rest of the epileptic population. The stripper knew it was wrong, but Carl is just so darn sweet. "He hit me in the head with a tire iron," Shane disagrees.

Sean asks why Dutch has been bothering his aunt. She told them all about the house fire that killed Sean's parents. Claudette gives his aunt credit for taking him in. Dutch flatters Sean, telling him that "excelling in the face of tragedy speaks volumes about your character." Sean, it seems, graduated from college magna cum laude and turned down a full ride to law school. Who does that and starts installing car stereos for a living?

Sean chuckles. He wishes they'd just write him a ticket for public lewdness and be done with this whole thing. Dutch asks if Sean likes to hunt. He talked to a detective in Rockford. When Sean was 15, he went out hunting with his best friend Mike and only one of the boys made it out of the woods alive. "It was an accident," Sean insists, adding that psychoanalyzation seems out of Dutch's league, "I know a lot more about you than you'll ever know about me."

"Either this guy is innocent or he doesn't scare easily," Claudette surmises in the squadroom. They need to find some physical evidence or they can't hold Sean.

Connie is shouting that she wants to go home. "You are home, honey," Vic soothes. Connie begins crying, shrieking that she wants to die. Then she starts to ramble: "We had sex. I told him it was time to pay. He said that he didn't have to pay. That's when he started hitting me! He pulled out a gun! I took it and I shot him!" Ronnie, now sporting a flowered Band-Aid, asks what she's talking about. Connie orders Vic to hit her.

Tereza the reporter asks Claudette about Edgar-veda. Relationships? Effectiveness? People skills? Claudette sums it up: he does fine with people "and our relationship is he's my boss." Tereza asks if people resent that he rose through the ranks doing desk jobs rather than being on the street. Claudette doesn't. They're one big, happy family aside from occasional arguments. "You're talking about the Strike Team," says Tereza. Claudette asks, "Am I?" Tereza knows about the excessive force complaints, investigations, and civil lawsuits.

"Carl totally rolled on Tulips," Lem tells Shane. Shane says that she also rolled on Carl: "He's like this Svengali guy that got a buncha the dancers to go along with his little bait and bash scheme." Carl told Lemming a different story; Tulips organized the muggings. "She's an epileptic hottie, not Amy Fisher," says Shane. Amy Fisher is better known as the "Long Island Lolita" who at the age of 17 shot her lover's wife.

Vic asks who the ringleader is. Lemming and Shane talk over each other: "Her!" "Him!" Vic puts his hands on his hips and says, "This is the easiest case we've had all year. Are you telling me I have to get involved?" Basically. "No," the dynamic duo says in unison. Vic tells them to get to the bottom of it or just arrest both "for kicking Shane's ass." "I didn't get my ass kicked. I got sucker-punched," Shane argues.
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Danny is back from the hospital. Until they can subpoena the prostitutes medical records, she has to take antiretrovirals and get her blood tested every 30 days. I have a paramedic friend who accidentally stuck himself with a needle at work and had to take those pills, so I feel for Danny. I'd never seen my friend crankier or sicker. Fortunately, he didn't get HIV.

Julien feels guilty for taking his eyes off the biter; hitting him with the baton sent blood into his partner's cut. She tells him not to worry about it. Another uniform says to Julien, "You let loose on that queer pretty good last night, huh? You did the right thing." The unnamed uniform wants to send a message by way of a blanket party. Danny tells them not to do it. They shrug that she can always change her mind. Julien asks, "What's a blanket party?"

Dutch and Claudette come back to find that Sean has written a profile of Dutch on the interrogation room whiteboard: "Craves respect, fantasizes about being well-liked yet shows no outward manifestation of  his low self-esteem, feels ignored and unappreciated, and inadequate with women."

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Claudette suggests he can read her palm. "Look at him. Tell me I'm wrong," says Sean. Obviously, Claudette can't let him know he's right. Sean thinks Dutch became a cop thinking that a badge and gun would make people respect him. The uniform didn't make him less of a joke; Dutch is the same lonely kid from high school who doesn't like what he sees in the mirror, "a lowly civil servant."

"I hope you're here to pick him up," Corinne says to Vic as she carries Brian through the kitchen. Vic is filling a grocery bag with bananas and bottled water. He can't bring him back yet; it's too ugly. Connie threw up all over her clothes. "It's pretty ugly around here too," Corinne says testily, "Why can't you just take this crack whore to detox?" Vic tells her again that Connie will lose Brian if she gets treated through official channels.

Corinne asks Vic, "Are you sleeping with her?" "Jesus, the kids!" Vic hisses. Corinne stares intently at the baby's features, trying to find something resembling Vic. Vic tells Corinne that he's not Brian's father and explains his sense of personal responsibility for Connie.

2 years ago, Connie got beaten up in another neighborhood for stealing the locals' johns. Vic gave her his number if she needed anything. One night, she called. Vic found her "cracked out on the floor of a hotel bathroom, 6 months pregnant, crying, screaming, begging for forgiveness." Connie had tried to force herself to have a miscarriage. Vic rushed her to the hospital, where the doctors did an emergency C-section. Brian was 10 weeks premature and positive at birth for crack.

This story gives Corinne a change of heart. She offers Vic a box of old dresses that's in the garage.

Shane tells Tulips that Carl is blaming her. Of course, Shane doesn't believe this was her idea, "but who knows how a jury would see it?" He asks if she knows anything that can prove it was Carl: mugging victims' names, dates, anything. The D.A. is only offering one deal and he wants Tulips to get it. "There must be something I can put on the table," she says. I think I know where this is going...

Julien visits the transsexual prostitute in the cage, asking why he/she attacked Danny. "Because I wanted to give her what I got," the transsexual replies. Julien doesn't think HIV can be passed through biting. "Aren't you the expert?" sasses the transsexual. Julien asks, "So you were trying to kill her?" The transsexual got HIV in jail: "Cops put me in jail. So why shouldn't I give it to cops?" Julien growls, "You're the reason why people hate faggots." The prostitute thinks he/she should've bitten both of them.

Vic is giving Tereza the reporter a tour of the Barn. He takes her to the observation room and explains they use it for people to safely identify suspects and monitor interrogation techniques. He flips on one of the closed-circuit TVs. We're treated to the sight of Shane having sex with Tulips. Vic hurriedly jabs the button to change the channel; Dutch is still interviewing Sean.

Tereza tells Vic that people call the precinct's tactics "harm on the Farm." Vic says it's just a rumor; it never hurts to have suspects scared. She asks if Edgar-veda encourages that. The captain knocks on the door, asking if he can borrow Vic. In the office, he demands, "What are you telling her?" Vic shrugs that reporters are always looking for dirt. "So she goes where it's dirty," Edgar-veda says.
Vic and the boss may not like each other, but they both agree that the reporter snooping around can only bring trouble. Vic asks how they can get rid of her.

In the breakroom, Julien tells the two uniforms from earlier that Danny had to go home; the AIDS drugs made her too nauseous to work. They hope she doesn't end up like Officer Watson, who got AIDS from being stuck with a dirty needle. Julien's never heard about it. They explain that being shot in the line of duty, fatally or not, is seen as heroic, but: "Some queer in a dress gives you AIDS, you end up unemployed and the city's dirty little secret." Danny may not want them to give the transsexual a blanket party, but he/she deserves it. "Count me in," says Julien.

Vic asks how the bait-and-bash case is going. Shane got Tulips to agree to testify against Carl. "I was doing a little channel surfing up in Observation," Vic says casually, "I didn't know we got the Spice Channel." I'd say more like Skinemax, but whatever. "You saw that," says Shane, not looking the least bit embarrassed. Vic warns him that he better not see any reruns.

Lemming joins them. He talked to the rest of the strippers; all of them said Tulips was behind the whole thing: "Carl was just like her sexual pawn she totally manipulated." Seeing how she played Shane like a fiddle, I believe it. Shane walks over to the cage. Tulips asks when she's getting out. Shane isn't sure; Carl and the girls say she's the shot-caller. The lightest sentence he can get her is 2 years.

Tulips scowls and folds her arms: "How much time are you getting for sexual misconduct?" It appears that she has the, uh, DNA evidence to back her claim. "So am I getting out of here or do we need to call your supervisor?" she asks.

As Planned Parenthood so eloquently put it, sometimes you don't want to "catch 'em all."
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Somehow, Shane doesn't call her a bitch right to her face. Too much of a Southern gentleman, I suppose.

Connie, now past the worst of the withdrawal, is wearing one of Corinne's old dresses. She asks Ronnie how she looks. "Beautiful," he lies. Connie says she's dizzy. Ronnie thinks she should lie down and offers to bring her some tea. While Ronnie is in the kitchen, Connie takes his wallet out of his jacket and steals all his cash. He really should've known better than to leave his wallet sitting around with a junkie. She slips out of the apartment.

Up in the observation room, Lemming is munching on a donut. Dutch is on CCTV, still talking to their suspected serial killer. Sean is sick of talking about his own family and asks what Papa Dutch thinks of his son's career. "He's proud of me," Dutch replies. Sean smiles, "Sure, that's what he says to your face." Lemming chuckles.

Shane calls in a group of passing uniforms to come watch the show: "Dutch is getting hammered by this civvie." "It's brutal!" Lemming cries. Shane adds, "It's like watching a train wreck, only it's more horrific."

In the office, Edgar-veda tells Tereza to just tell them what kind of information she's really after. Tereza asks about the upswing in brutality complaints. Ever the politician, Edgar-veda says, "We're a very proactive force. Bad guys don't like to be arrested. Allegations are all they are." Vic actually defends his boss. Tereza's next question to the captain catches both men off-guard: "What about your alleged rape of a 21-year-old white girl?" Edgar-veda sends Vic outside.

Tereza doesn't think it's a coincidence that someone who's been violent himself is commanding a district with a high rate of police violence. Now he wants to be a councilman. Edgar-veda says the incident occurred 15 years ago. Tereza has a hospital report from the victim, Maureen Wilmore. She was bruised and even had minor burns. Edgar-veda is all "I can't talk about it, I have a family." Tereza asks, "And how would you like it if their rapist wanted to be their representative?" She leaves.

Sean is half-asleep on the interrogation room table when Dutch and Claudette come in. Dutch erases the psychological profile Sean wrote up. He starts off by poking the bear; the detective may not have been Mr. Popularity in high school, but "I got laid...more than a few times." If his current personality is anything to go by, I don't think so. Dutch goes on, "I'm getting laid now too. And guess what? She's hot."

Vic joins the crowd around the CCTV. "Sherlock Holmes here is getting smoked," says Shane. Now it's Dutch's turn to write on the whiteboard. Sean can sense vulnerability, has access to other people's cars, and is meticulous. Dutch asks if Sean put a CD player in a green Taurus about 5 weeks back. Sean works on a lot of cars. Dutch adds in another detail: the customer complained because the right taillight was broken when they picked it up. He erases the whiteboard again, wanting to know if Sean knows Sally.

"Oh my God, someone stop it," Shane laughs in observation. Dutch writes LIAR on the whiteboard. Sean wants to leave. They tell him that isn't happening; from the earlier conversations, they got enough evidence for a warrant to search his house. Sean knows they won't find anything. Well, other than some bondage porn. Dutch and Claudette also got a warrant for his aunt's house. "You can't do that," says Sean. They can because Sean co-signed the mortgage.

Lemming has finished his donut and moved on to popcorn.

Actual still from the episode.
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A uniform gripes that he thought Dutch was getting destroyed. Dutch draws a kindergarten-quality rendering of a house with a front porch. He informs Sean that the Pasadena police just dug 2 bodies out of the crawlspace. Dutch asks how many more bodies they'll find. "17," Sean replies matter-of-factly. The crowd in observation is no longer entertained. Lemming even seems to have lost his appetite. "That's just under the crawlspace, you know," Sean chuckles. He dumped some of his victims when he ran out of room under Auntie's house.

Dutch thinks Sean is so typical it's pathetic: "As soon as you're caught, you try to be special." Sean stands up. He's killed 22 people, 23 counting the "hunting accident" in high school: "I'm special, all right." Dutch counters, "If you're so special, how come a lowly civil servant like me just caught you?"
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What happens next is something I doubt Dutch has experienced before. When he walks out of interrogation, he's greeted with cheers, applause, and slaps on the back. "Told you we'd get this guy," says Vic, looking like a proud father.

Vic sees Tulips being let out of the cage and hunts for Shane. He doesn't have to go further than the clubhouse. He shuts the door, clapping, and says, "Way to go, Ron Jeremy." Hold up. Walton Goggins may not be the best looking man in the world, but comparing him to this?
Yeah, that's not cool.
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"A simple investigation and you cage everyone except for the evil stripper," Vic goes on. Shane says, "At least we got the guy who hit me. And she's a dancer." And I'm Mary, Queen of Scots. Vic doesn't think Tulips will have problems finding "another loser with a tire iron." Shane rolls his eyes: "So everyone else here is free to just bang away. Lem here's nailing Chiquita Banana--"

Lemming throws a basketball in the direction of Shane's face, but Shane's got quick hands. He's all "come on, I didn't mean nothin' by it." Lemming is tired of hearing it. "Oh, so once again, I'm the asshole?" asks Shane. Yeah, pretty much. Lemming tells Shane to leave Tigre out of this. "Oh, come on, this whole West Side Story thing's got a lifespan of 2 weeks, tops," scoffs Shane. Lemming throws the basketball at him again. The door opens, immediately cuing them to start acting like adults. It's Ronnie, here to let them know he lost Connie.

Edgar-veda has decided the best place to talk to his wife is in the cozy atmosphere of his office. He wants to explain his side of things before Aurora reads about it in the paper. Maureen, a publishing heiress, dated Edgar-veda when they were in college at USC. She liked it rough. One night when they were both drunk, Maureen asked him to tie her up and pour hot wax on her body. He complied, but he drew the line at choking. Edgar-veda broke up with her the next day.

Maureen didn't take the end of the relationship very well. She stalked Edgar-veda, followed him home one day, and grabbed his roommate's pocketknife. Edgar-veda points to his shoulder: "I didn't get this scar from rock-climbing." Then Maureen accused him of sexual battery and attempted rape. Aurora can't believe it. Edgar-veda wants to fight the story and clear his name, afraid the public won't trust him.

Connie shows up downstairs. Vic can tell she's high. "I'm sorry, I tried," she says. Lemming walks over, carrying Brian. He looks scared to death of dropping the kid. Connie is glad they took good care of her baby. "You need help," says Vic. Connie dazedly says, "I can' helped." Brian starts to cry. Lemming the bachelor doesn't know what to do.

Connie knows someone will love Brian. "He's your boy," Vic reminds her. Connie sure couples would fight over a happy white baby. I don't think "happy" is the word I'd be using right now. "He needs his mother," says Vic. Connie basically says she's not mom material and heads for the door. Lemming passes the screaming baby off to Vic. Vic's expression clearly reads "My wife is gonna kill me when I get home." Brian reaches his chubby arms toward the door as Connie walks out. Both men look saddened.

Julien loads the transsexual prostitute into a paddy wagon. A line of uniforms appears. One of the uniforms opens the door and throws a blanket over the prostitute. Two officers hold him/her down while Julien avenges his partner with his baton. This is really disturbing to watch in the wake of Michael Jace's recent murder conviction. They pull Julien off before he goes too far and kills him/her.

Julien and the others climb out of the paddy wagon, leaving the transsexual a sobbing heap on the floor. They grab the blanket, shut the doors, and signal for the driver to leave. Dutch walks out to his car. He finally comes down the adrenaline high from earlier and sits with the radio on, crying his eyes out for Sally and the rest of Sean's victims. End of episode.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Lem Can't Just "Throwaway" This Mistake (Episode 1.9)

It's only fitting that I'm recapping a Lem-centric episode this week, as Kenny Johnson is celebrating his 53rd birthday!

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This episode, our "previously on" announcer is Lem himself. Danni wanted Julien to put in a request for a new partner, as hers was denied. Dutch and Shane competed for the affections of a murder victim's widow; shockingly, Dutch won. Vic threatened to out Julien if Julien refused to drop his Internal Affairs complaint, so Julien told Edgar-veda he was mistaken.

Not sure if the music during the opening credits is rap or death metal in Spanish. A Latino man is beating a truck driver while his homeboys hijack the cargo: cigarettes. One of the gangbangers shoots out two tires before leaving the bloodied, battered trucker in the street. 

When the Strike Team arrives, the truck driver is sitting on the curb while paramedics try to clean up his face. Three men attacked him, but they were all wearing bandannas or masks. He knows they were Hispanic because they were speaking Spanish and had Spanish tattoos. He describes one tattoo as a winged serpent and another as just the letters "L.M." Ah, our old friends the Los Magnificos (Los Mags for short). 

At the Mackey house, Corrine shows Matt flashcards with drawings of kids on the front and an emotion on the back. Matt thinks the girl looks hungry. Corrine tries not to look disappointed; the back of the card says "happy." She suggests that Daddy help out. "Daddy's hungry too," says Vic, chomping on a banana. Corrine asks again and Matt gives the right answer.

On the next card, the girl is looking at the ground with giant tears rolling down her face. Matt says she looks happy. The phone rings. Corrine knows it's work by the caller ID and reminds her husband, "It's your day off." Vic answers anyway. Matt hugs his leg, awwww. Vic tells Corrine he's leaving.

Corrine isn't happy about this; she's sick and has barely slept all week. It's not fair that Shane got 3 uninterrupted days off to go to Las Vegas. "Shane's not in charge. I am," says Vic. The Mackeys are getting a new babysitter the next day and that should make things a lot easier for her. But as usual, Vic has no clue when he'll be home.

Vic's first stop is a tattoo parlor. From around a curtain, he sees a guy sitting on a tattoo stool with no pants on. A woman is holding the semi-naked guy's hand. "Cesar, tear yourself away," Vic orders. Cesar explains that the newlyweds are getting matching genital piercings. How romantic. Vic shows him the sketch of the serpent tattoo. It's not Cesar's work, but he'll make some calls.

By nightfall, their target has a name: Hector Estanza. The Strike Team stakes out his girlfriend's house. They get out and approach the house. They hear Hector's girlfriend yelling at him. The argument gets louder; the girlfriend wants him to leave, but Hector won't. Vic tells them to be ready. Hector is known for being violent.

They kick in the door. Hector heads for the back door with Vic on his heels and Lem close behind, ignoring their shouts of "Freeze!" Lem sees a gun and doesn't hesitate, firing several times. "Shit!" he cries when he walks closer. Hector didn't have a gun, just a carton of stolen cigarettes. They search him, but don't find any kind of weapon. Ronnie calls from the house, asking if they're all right. Vic yells back for him to stay with the girlfriend. He shakes his head: "Just when we got clear of everything."

"I shot an unarmed guy!" Lem's voice is almost a whimper. Vic is sure they can come up with a story, convince their bosses that Hector was the truck-jacker. "And he threatened us with a carton of cigarettes, so I shot him?" Lem is incredulous. Vic growls, "Hey! Let me think!" He goes back to the car, radios for backup and an ambulance, then gets a gun out of the trunk to plant on Hector. Lem protests. Vic lies, "I don't like it anymore than you do." The team can't afford trouble right now. Besides, Lem, you saw what Hector did to the truck driver's face.

Edgar-veda comes to the scene. Vic tells him the whole story, except in this version, Hector had a gun that Vic didn't notice. Lem did, thereby saving Vic's life. The woman on the porch is shouting, "Chako! What did you do?" Vic assures her that her boyfriend Hector will be fine. The woman drops a bombshell: "That's my brother, Chako." Edgar-veda rounds on Lem, "You shot the wrong guy?" Lem looks sick to his stomach.

At the Barn the next morning, Vic tells Edgar-veda they thought Chako was Hector because of the gun and cigarettes. He adds that Chako is no angel; he's a Los Mag, probably the same crew as Hector. They don't think Hector's girlfriend was in on it. Lem will interview her at the hospital. Vic hopes she'll roll on Hector for beating her up. I wouldn't count on it.

The captain summons Julien upstairs for an ass-reaming about taking back his statement and that there's clearly been misconduct. Why shouldn't he turn Julien over to IAD for filing a false report?
Julien grew up in Farmington, dreaming of making a difference as a police officer. Edgar-veda says taking Vic off the streets would've made a big difference and he's concerned the two of them made a pact. Julien tells him no, which is sort of the truth. It was actually blackmail.

Julien wants the chance to prove he's a good cop. The captain puts Julien on probation for a month, docks a week's pay, and will write an official reprimand. Despite not really being in a position to make this demand, Julien says, "A new training officer might help me with that fresh start." Edgar-veda tells him that he doesn't get to choose his own partner and neither does Danny.

At the hospital, Lem joins Hector's sister Tigre in the waiting room. He tries to keep things light and friendly by introducing himself by his first name: Curtis. I can't help but think of the last Tig that Kenny Johnson shared the screen with.

Yeah, that didn't work out so well.
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Lem asks about Chako and the Los Mags. Chako joined the gang 3 years ago, but he's no longer part of it. Chako just came over to protect her from Hector, who isn't happy that Tigre broke up with him. Lem wants to know if she's ever considered pressing charges on Hector. Tigre doesn't think the police can protect her: "Chako was taking care of me until your guy shot him." Oh, if only she knew. Lem can ask anyone in the neighborhood and they'll say Hector was out of the life.

Claudette and Dutch make their way into a backyard. Julien leads the way, saying he's sure the victim was bitten by coyotes. The rabbits and groundhogs are all hibernating. And how does a city boy know this? He spent time hanging out at his grandpa's farm. The victim, an elderly man named Maynard Hawkins, is still alive, to a post in the ground. He sits dazedly in a lawn chair. His clothes are ripped and filthy. His face is also dirty and might have a bruise or two. 

Claudette asks the man if he's been outside all night. Maynard doesn't want to be any trouble. Dutch assures him that he's far from being the one who's in trouble. "He's got some pretty serious bites. Where are the damn paramedics?" Claudette grouses. Danni calls them again while Julien frees Maynard with bolt cutters. The elderly man insists that he's okay. Claudette notices he's blind.

A guy with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth calls down from the balcony, asking what's going on. It turns out he's the victim's son Lloyd. Claudette informs him that his dad's been attacked by coyotes. Lloyd looks chastened; he's sorry and can explain everything. "Save it for the station," advises Claudette.

When Claudette gets to the Barn, her own father is waiting for her. Claudette immediately thinks something is wrong. Professor Bryce Wyms shrugs that he just needed a quiet place to read. Claudette can't talk right now, but he doesn't mind waiting. "It could be hours," Claudette warns. That's okay; Bryce is only on page 23 of his book. He sounds like me. Bryce is also sure the station is fascinating.

"It is," Dutch says brightly. Claudette counters, "It's not." Dutch thinks they should let Bryce judge for himself. He takes Bryce to watch Claudette interrogate Lloyd via closed-circuit TV. Lloyd doesn't understand what all the fuss is about. Claudette tells Lloyd he's being charged with elder abuse, a felony. Dutch tells Bryce they know he's guilty, but it's a matter of degrees. "So it's the subtle fractions of culpability that conspire to determine that man's fate?" Bryce muses. Must be a law professor. Dutch grins.

Claudette goes on that Maynard was tied up "like an animal" with no shelter. Lloyd tries to explain that with a pity party: he's divorced and got behind on alimony and child support to the point that the state of California garnishes his wages. He missed payments to the nursing home, resulting in his dad's eviction. 

Lloyd couldn't put him in another nursing home because they're all too expensive. Maynard's Social Security benefits barely cover the cost of food and adult diapers. Lloyd chains his blind father outside because he wanders. His mother isn't around. "It is the system that screwed him over, not me," Lloyd concludes. Claudette handcuffs Lloyd to the table: "That's to make sure you don't wander."

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Out by the cage, Lem meets with a parole officer named Travis. He asks about his client Chako Orozco. Kind of sounds like a rap name. Travis knows his good ex-cons by name and says, "He's not in any kind of trouble, is he?" Lem chews hard on his gum, thinking 'No, but I am.' 

In the clubhouse, Lem tells the rest of the Strike Team they made a mistake. Chako's P.O. says he's clean. Chako is also part of Clean Slate, a local program for gang members who want out. Chako's never missed a counseling session and mentors young bangers reconsidering their life choices. Vic says that doesn't mean Chako didn't get back into "the life." Chako also ran from them.

According to Tigre, Chako was scared about getting caught with the stolen cigarettes. Vic asks about the tattoos. Tigre told Lem that Chako was saving to get them lasered off. "His sister has a name now?" says Vic. Lem wants to get Chako's side of the story. He doesn't care that the truth could get him suspended from the department or worse. Here we establish Lem as the only guy on the Strike Team with a conscience.

Claudette plans to go back to the hospital to talk to Maynard. "Rebecca wants you to meet Warner," Bryce says. I assume Rebecca is one of her daughters. Warner is her new fiance. Claudette doesn't want to meet the guy. It seems Rebecca is already married. Bryce wishes Claudette would see her; after all, Rebecca just flew 3,000 miles from Boston. 

Claudette doesn't mind visiting her daughter. It's the boyfriend she objects to. Rebecca and her husband Gordon have only been married for 11 months. It's too soon for her to give up. "She's a big girl now," says Bryce. Claudette offers to take him to his car, but Rebecca and Warren dropped him off. Bryce wants to stay and let Dutch finish showing him around.

Vic goes to the hospital to see Chako, who repeats that he was just protecting his sister. He ran because having stolen cigarettes on him would violate his parole. Furthermore, Chako knows a gun was planted on him and that'll be his third strike. "They planted the gun on you?" Tigre says angrily. Vic says that never happened. Chako wants to get to what really matters to him: keeping Tigre safe. Hector will think Tigre tipped the police off about the cigarettes. 

Vic asks where Hector keeps stolen goods and who else is in the crew. Chako insists he's not a Los Mag anymore. Lem promises that they'll protect Tigre. Vic notices the blurry L.M. on Chako's chest and remarks, "Must've hurt like a mother getting that thing lasered off." "Worse than getting shot," Chako says pointedly.

Outside, Vic says, "This is not good. I believe him." So does Ronnie. Hector's pretty noble for thinking more about his sister's safety than he does about getting sent back to prison on his third strike. Ronnie agrees that they set up the wrong person. "What if I killed him?" Lem asks shakily. "You didn't," Vic shrugs. He doesn't know what the next move should be.

Lem paces the clubhouse, waving a basketball. Wonder if it was signed by Derrick Tripp? They just have to clear Chako's name. There must be a way to get the gun charge dropped without admitting it was a plant. Ronnie has an idea: sneak the gun into the evidence room. Lem thinks it'll never work; too many people go in and out. Vic knows it's a lot quieter at night. In the meantime, they'll find Hector. Lem will guard Tigre while Vic and Ronnie comb the streets.

Vic's phone rings. When he picks up, he can hear Matt in the background saying, "Daddy! Daddy!" Corrine asks why Vic's been gone since yesterday. Besides, she thought he'd made an arrest. She needs to go out and pick up her prescription from Rite Aid. Vic wants to know if the babysitter is there. Corrine whispers, "Well, I'd have to leave her with the kids." "We hired a babysitter you don't trust with the kids?!" Vic can't believe it and neither can I. Corrine dodges that by asking when he's coming home.

In the breakroom, Ronnie asks Julien what kind of season he thinks the Dodgers will have. Julien doesn't watch baseball. "Would it be profiling if I said, 'I bet you follow basketball'?" asks Vic. Uh, yeah, pretty much. He actually did hear that Julien is a Clippers fan. It just so happens Vic has two tickets to a Clippers game he can't use, floor seats, no less. Vic is also putting together a precinct softball team to play "those beach cops over in Venice" and wants Julien to play center field.

Lem parks his low-rider motorcycle, which looks a lot like this one, outside Tigre's house.

Nope, THAT doesn't stick out at all.
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Lem cheerfully bangs on the door. "You're here," Tigre says unenthusiastically. Lem smiles, "As promised." "Nice bike. Hope you chained it," she says, letting him in. Lem wants to know if she rides. Tigre is sure he's only asking because she's got gang ties. She asks what's going on. Lem explains he's staying with her until they arrest Hector.

Lem takes a quick look around the apartment. The first open door is Tigre's room. She has a cute pastel bedspread and even a few stuffed animals. Lem sticks his head in the bathroom and walks back past her bed. "What do you think you're doing?" Tigre demands. Lem notices her lingerie hanging on a clothesline outside the kitchen window. He at least has the sense to look embarrassed.

Lem thinks he has the place covered. He goes to the living room and sits down in a chair next to the window. "Ain't nobody getting past me," he assures her. Tigre shakes her head. I think the fact he didn't raid the kitchen while he was in there shows remarkable restraint. Also, how can she resist this face?

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"Social Services already told me they're taking me away," Maynard tells Claudette. He's in a hospital room with the top of his head and the bites on his arms bandaged. Claudette asks what happened to his wife. Maynard says Mona ran away 5-6 years back; Lloyd told him so.

Lem, still trying to make conversation, asks what Tigre does for a living. She's a stylist. Lem asks, "So you could do my hair?" Oh, honey, don't mess with perfection. Tigre suggests he cut it all off and start over. Bite your tongue, woman.

Tigre could help them out a lot if she tells them where Hector's next heist will be. She claims she doesn't know. Lem doesn't quite believe her. Chako's not afraid of Hector like she is. Tigre says she has reason to be. Guys like Hector don't scare Lem; he deals with them every day. There's a big difference between arresting a guy like Hector and living with one.

To prove her point, Tigre lifts up her shirt, revealing a large "H" cut into her stomach. Lem's face is equal parts sad and "oh, hell no". He thinks it looks fresh. It is; Tigre says Hector cut her last night when she refused to let him and the stolen cigarettes in. 

Ronnie and Vic sit in a car near Hector's house. The gang members seem to be planning their next job. Ronnie states the obvious: Lem's been down in the dumps since this whole thing started. Vic says it's better than the possibility of him getting shot. A motorcycle roars down the street, a bike they're both familiar with.

Lem is unperturbed by the chained, barking pitbull near the house. He gives the metal security door a good kick. Vic and Ronnie jump out of the car. When Hector answers the door, Lem grabs him and tosses him to the pavement. Lem hits Hector in the face a few times, then burns him with his own cigarette. "You like that?" he shouts.

Hector's homeboys rush out to see what's happening. Guns drawn, Vic and Ronnie announce that they're the police. Lem stands up and shouts, "That's for Tigre, asshole! Now you stay away from her!" He gives Hector a kick for good measure. Vic tries to talk him down. "He branded her!" Lem says.

Hector warns that Lem is dead if he comes between him and Tigre. Lem lets the gangbanger know he's not scared of him, punctuating it by jumping on top of him again. Vic manages to get Lem away from Hector and keeps his gun pointed at the gangbanger. "That's right, bitch-ass!" Lem says. The pitbull is still barking and looks ready to snap its chain any second. In the immortal words of Disney's Megara, "Get out of there, you big lug, while you still can."

Back at the clubhouse, Lem angrily hurls darts at the board. Hector needed a lesson. Vic says Hector was about to knock over another truck and "15-to-20 woulda been a great lesson." Ronnie compliments Lem on his ass-kicking skills. Vic argues that's not the point; catching Hector in the act and locking him up was their mission. "What about getting Chako off?" Lem inquires.

Vic grabs his arm, not a good idea while Lem is still holding a pointy object in his hand: "I said tonight. Now are you protecting the sister or just getting in my way?" Lem can take a hint. He flips the remaining dart at the board with his back turned, a pretty neat trick. He could probably win Tigre a stuffed animal at the pier that way.

Dutch has learned new things about his partner from Bryce, namely that Claudette was a classical dancer as a teen. Claudette shrugs that she only studied for 9 months. "In Paris," Dutch reminds her. Claudette tells them they have a new angle on their investigation into Maynard's abuse. Lloyd has been cashing his mom's Social Security checks for quite some time, but she's nowhere to be found. Maynard and Mona have 5 other kids that Claudette plans to call. Dutch will do some digging on the computer. "Oh, and your daughter and her fiance will be here in half an hour," he adds.

Edgar-veda wants to talk to Danny. Surprisingly, not about Julien. He has a friend who let him peek at the sergeant's exam scores. Danny failed by 3 points. She's, understandably, angry and frustrated with herself. I can relate; I missed a computerized exam by that margin and have to take a mandatory study skills class next semester. Never mind that I got a B in the class overall. Anyway, Edgar-veda is sure she'll pass next time.

Vic goes into the evidence room, but can't find the plant gun.

Tigre gently cleans Lem's knuckles with peroxide, just like she used to do in her brother's bad old days. "It feels good," Lem says. No, that stuff stings like a bitch. Tigre wishes she'd seen it. Lem is sorry he couldn't do more. I think he probably would have if Vic hadn't shown up. Chako doesn't deserve to be in prison, but Hector does. Tigre wants to know what he plans to do about it. Lem tells him to have faith in her, then says there's something he has to tell her. Oh dear.

Lem doesn't ease into, just blurts out, "I shot your brother. I thought he was gonna kill my boss." Tigre asks, "Are you the asshole who planted the gun on him?" Of course, Lem doesn't save his own neck and tell her, "No, it was my asshole boss." Tigre loses interest in the details. She wants Lem out of her house. Lem points out that Hector will probably kill her. Tigre pulls a gun. Pretty sure she can take care of herself.

"You shoot my brother, then you try to get in my pants for laughs?" she says shrilly. Lem tells her it's not like that, although he does seem very interested in her pants. Stop lying, dude, you're no good at it. Lem says he just made a really horrible mistake. The argument is halted by the sound of glass breaking. When Lem opens the door, a car full of gangbangers rolls past. He shoots at the car but misses. "Punk-ass!" Seriously, quit taunting the gangbangers.

While Lem looks through the evidence room, Ronnie flirts with Kakuza, the female cop who normally works in there, to distract her. He's thinking of moving out the Valley. Kakuza lives in West Hills and says it's nice. Ronnie thinks he saw a West Hills for rent ad on the bulletin board. Could she go check? Kakuza says sure, but she has to lock up first.

Vic comes out and jokes, "Sleeping on the job again?" Kakuza is suspicious that Vic and Ronnie are trying to pull some kind of prank on her. Oh, not at all, just some minor evidence theft. She goes into the evidence room and warns that she's watching them. Vic and Ronnie walk away, exchanging "aw, fuck" looks.

Claudette is getting nowhere: "Every one of Maynard's kids hopes he rots in hell, have no clue where the mother is." Dutch got hits on Mona's maiden name in Virginia, but he can't call tonight due to the time zone difference. Rebecca comes in and introduces Claudette to Warner. Bryce is with them and ready to go out to eat. Dutch tells him there's a diner in the neighborhood that Claudette likes.

As they walk, Claudette asks how the lovebirds met. "Parent-teacher conference," Warren replies, "She taught my 9-year-old." Actually, both of his boys have been in Rebecca's class and they loved her. "I see," Claudette says icily. Bryce starts, "Peaches--" Claudette snaps at him not to call her that. She just wants to know if Warner "wants a wife or a babysitter." Warner is uncomfortable and thinks he should go back to the hotel.

"How can you say that?" Rebecca demands of her mother. Claudette doesn't want Rebecca to throw away her marriage. Rebecca argues that she's having problems with Gordon and Mom is, like, being so unfair to Warren. Claudette wants to know how this forced meeting was supposed to change her mind. "Well, at least everyone is finally talking," Bryce deadpans.

Vic is still hovering around the squadroom. Lem asks if they got the gun. The answer is nope. Tigre should be safe for tonight; Lem is putting her up in a hotel. Ronnie knows Kakuza won't let them near the evidence room again. If the gun ends up at the city's main evidence locker, they'll never get it back. "How bad do you wanna make this right?" Vic asks Lem, "You ever wonder how evidence gets from here to Central Storage?"

Dutch's new girlfriend Widow Kelner drops by. She was trying to make him a special dinner and had the microwave, blender, and TV on at the same time. The lights went out and she doesn't know why. Dutch says she overloaded the circuit; all she has to do is find the circuit in the breaker box. "Maybe you trip my switch," she jokes lamely.

Claudette, back from her fun-filled family dinner, sees them kissing. Danny sees it too and thinks it's nice that he's dating someone. Dutch just met Kim, but things seem to be going well. I'd say more than well given they had sex in her kitchen. Claudette calls Dutch over and triumphantly hands him a file. She's glad he has a girlfriend who doesn't happen to be their coworker.

Bryce is here again. Dutch had planned to show him their fingerprint system. She shoos him away to check on the Virginia Beach leads. Bryce tells Claudette that Rebecca is shipping up to Boston in the morning and they should have dinner as a family. Claudette doesn't think that's a good idea. Bryce says he'll do a better job refereeing. Claudette says there's nothing to referee if she doesn't show up. Bryce says, "I remember a brilliant scholar who chose to go into police work against my advice. I was mortified." Claudette is sure he still is. Bryce says no, he understands now.

Vic invites Julien to a fellow cop's retirement party. Julien wants to know why Vic is being so nice all of a sudden. "You looked out for me. I'm just trying to look out for you," Vic says easily. Julien knows Vic isn't his friend, so he can quit pretending.

Claudette calls Mona Gaines of Virginia Beach, introducing herself as a detective from Los Angeles. She asks if the woman was once Mona Hawkins. "What do you want?" the old lady says nastily. Claudette asks if she's aware that her son Lloyd has been cashing her Social Security checks. Mona doesn't care about that as long as she doesn't get hassled.

Claudette tells her about Lloyd abusing Maynard. Mona says, "That's not my problem. Don't call me back." Dutch tries to be positive; at least Mona isn't dead. "One hell of a family," Claudette comments. Yeah, get these people a seat on Dr. Phil.

Lem, playing with fire, rides back to Hector's. This agitates the guard dog. Hector's not there, so he gives a message to the homie: Tigre is Lem's girl now. If Hector doesn't like it, he can meet Lem at the river at 11:00 this morning. "I'll kick all three of your asses at the same time," says Lem.
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It'll be just four guys settling their differences. No cops, Lem himself notwithstanding. Hector's friend says they're on. Before roaring off on his bike, Lem throws out his favorite word of the episode "bitch."

Vic goes to Cesar's tattoo parlor and asks for some temporary ink, accidentally walking in on another dude getting his junk pierced. At the Barn, Kakuza loads a cart with evidence bags, wheels it to the parking lot, and loads it into a van. There's a rap song playing in the background that name drops a '63 Chevy. Given Kenny Johnson's birthdate, I'm not sure it's a coincidence.

Vic covers his face with a bandanna. Lem does too, his trademark blond spikes stuffed under a hat. Smart thinking, anybody could ID that hair. Lem swerves in front of the evidence van and parks. Vic gets out, holding his gun sideways like a real gangsta. "Please don't hurt me!" pleads the uniform who's yanked out of the driver's seat. Vic holds him down, a large "L.M." on his forearm.

Somebody, I'm guessing Lem, wraps their hand in a cloth to open the back door and paw through the evidence bags. Another good idea since all their fingerprints are on file. However, gloves might have been easier. Somebody else spray-paints "L.M." on the side of the van. Vic shoots out a tire.

Later, the Strike Team comes up to a crime scene. "A police evidence van was robbed," Edgar-veda says. Oh, that's news to them. The uniform driving says the only thing stolen was a gun. Vic surmises from the tag which gang is behind it. Lem checks the evidence log and gee whiz, it was Chako's gun. "If we don't get that back, Chako's gonna walk," says Vic. Edgar-veda wants a description of the gangbangers. Officer Johnson just remembers a winged snake tattooed on the leader. Vic says it must be Hector.

Rebecca goes to the Barn to say goodbye since Claudette wouldn't join them for dinner again. Claudette hugs her and says they need to agree to disagree about Warner. Not like he's standing right there or anything. Claudette gives him a tour, starting with an interrogation room. She closes the door behind them. "So this is where you break 'em," Warren says nervously. Downstairs, Rebecca exits the ladies' room and asks, "Where's Mom and Warner?"

Upstairs, Claudette wants to know if Warner is aware how smart Rebecca is. "I do love her," Warner says. If his kids didn't like Rebecca, he'd have a hard time choosing sides. "Don't make jokes about giving up your kids," Claudette's using her stern mama tone. Her daughter dreams of getting a doctorate and writing a book. Warner will support Rebecca's goals. Claudette knows Warner has all the right answers today, but marriage is about having the right answers every day, not just when it's convenient. 

Hector's pitbull wags its tail in anticipation, snarling viciously at the police cars parking in the driveway. The cops swoop in and corner Hector and friends. Hector is still sporting that cigarette burn. Vic is surprised at how easily he gives up. "He doesn't put up much of a fight 'less you wear a dress," Lem snarks. Hector isn't worried; they'll have to let him go for lack of evidence. I wouldn't be so sure.

Vic informs Hector that he robbed a police vehicle. Hector says he was at the river waiting for Lem. Unnoticed, Lem slips a gun out of his back pocket and onto Hector's windowsill. Oh, and looky what we have here! Lem sniffs the barrel and says it's been fired recently. Hector better hope it doesn't match the bullets from the van. "You set me up!" handcuffed Hector cries as they walk him out the front door. Vic says, "Like a jury's never heard that one before."

Edgar-veda sits Julien and Danny in his office. He saw them bickering about taping the perimeter at the van robbery scene: "If I separate you two, you'll just carry your baggage somewhere else." He believes in solving problems, not moving them around. He asks them to name their primary issue. "Communication" is Julien's answer and "trust" is Danny's. "Trust comes from communication," says the captain. What seminar did he get that from? 

Edgar-veda could send them both to a team-building workshop or the department shrink. Do either of those sound fun? Danny and Julien say no. When they trust each other, Edgar-veda will feel more comfortable pairing them with different people.

Bryce invites Dutch to have dinner with the Wyms family. He can't because he has a date with Kim. Bryce thanks Dutch for showing him around. 

When Vic gets home, Corrine is packing lunches for their two older kids to take to school. Matt kept asking about Vic and she didn't know what to tell him. Oh, and by the way, Corrine fired the babysitter. Why? "She just created more work. I had to explain everything to her and she didn't know how to handle Matthew." What did Corrine expect the first day on the job? Makes me wonder how she treated the less experienced nurses at work. The kids need Vic. He reminds her that he can't quit his job.

"Wanting us to be a family doesn't make me a shrew," says Corrine. I can see both sides of the argument. "This is working," she says, "Something has to change." It's not like she even gave the sitter a chance.

A nurse wheels Maynard out of the hospital. A van is waiting to take him to a nursing home. "Where's Lloyd?" he rasps. Claudette tells Maynard, "He's with us. He'll be better off." She asks why all 6 of kids hate him, not even mentioning Mona. Maynard's answer is simple: "I was a bastard." Claudette gets back in her car and asks her dad if she can change her mind about dinner. Bryce smiles; he made a reservation for 4.

Lem, sitting on Tigre's couch, has just told her the good news. "You expect me to believe that Hector just made that gun disappear?" she asks, "Chako goes free?" She sits down next to him, wearing an almost see-through top. "I have you to thank for that, don't I?" She gently tugs one of his beltloops. Lem is all aw-shucks: "I'm the one who shot your brother." Tigre runs her hands through his hair and teases that she could do something with it.

Tigre starts to kiss him. Lem enjoys that for all of 10 seconds before jumping to his feet. He confesses that they did plant the gun on Chako because they mistook him for Hector. Tigre stands up too, pressing a finger over his lips. She knows, but Lem making it right is all that matters.

They start kissing again. Lem picks up her up, carries her to the kitchen table, and lays her on top of it. Then he climbs on top of her. One of them knocks over a little knick-knack and a lamp. Who has a lamp on their kitchen table? Neither of them are heavy, but it'll be a miracle if the table survives this. However, I'm sure Lem would be a gentleman and replace it. End of episode.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

"Cupid & Psycho": A Match Made in Heaven (Episode 1.8)

Previously on: Danni and Julien investigated a man named Lamar who slashed his ex-girlfriend's tires. Vic confided in Shane about Matt's autism. The drug theft case against Vic was leaked to the press with an assist from Edgar-veda. Vic arrested Julien's lover Tomas.

Danny and Julien are involved in a car chase, pursuing a white Pontiac (at least it's not a Bronco); the rookie is driving. There's radio chatter about CHP possibly deploying spike trips, but deciding against it due to cross-traffic.

In my head, these two are zipping to the scene.
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The Pontiac is now driving on the wrong side of the wrong. Julien just barely avoids getting hit by a van that's backing out of a parking lot. Danny warns, "Don't gun it! Too many people!"

Gilroy tosses a paper on Edgar-veda's desk. One front page headline reads: "Farmington cops investigated for stealing drugs." Edgar-veda lies that the story made him sick too and asks if the deputy chief knows how it got out. "Yeah, you leaked it!" shouts Gilroy. Edgar-veda is all "who, me?" before insisting he's not anti-cop.

He asks if Gilroy plans on suspending the Strike Team. Gilroy reminds him of the cherished legal concept of "innocent until proven guilty." The Strike Team will be reassigned to the detective pool with different partners. Gilroy threatens to have Edgar-veda fired for leaking the story. Edgar-veda thinks it wouldn't be smart to get rid of "the one cop who actually cares" about getting dirty cops off the street.

Claudette is surprised to see Vic slumming it in the squadroom. He explains about the temporary partner-swap. Dutch clearly drew the short straw; he's paired with Shane.

We see the Pontiac chase continue, first from the perspective of the police helicopter before transitioning down to Danny and Julien. She points out an intersection for him to block. When the rest of the chase passes by, he'll stay parallel until told to converge. The Pontiac roars by with police cars behind it. Suddenly, the Pontiac crashes offscreen.

"What the hell am I supposed to talk to Shane Vendrell about all day?" gripes Dutch. Claudette shrugs that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Danny and Julien approach the crashed Pontiac. Another officer shakes his head, indicating the driver is dead at the wheel. Julien spots a piece of fabric sticking out of the trunk. When it's popped open, we see a badly burned corpse. Danny and Julien are horrified. Seconds later, the "corpse's" eyes open. Danny and Julien gasp. Theme song.

In the clubhouse, Shane and Vic have a brief discussion about how screwed they are. Vic's about to shut the door when Danny and Julien enter the Barn. He tells Danny they heard about the "crispy critter." Danny thinks it's a miracle he's still alive. Shane figures the victim had it coming. Why else would you torture somebody and shove them in a trunk? Julien is vehement that nobody deserves what this guy is suffering.

"He was probably a rat," Shane says pointedly, shoving Julien. Their respective partners step in before it goes further. Julien gets hold of Shane again. Vic shoves his best friend behind him. Danny drags her partner away. Vic whispers for Shane to lay low and let him handle things, giving him a much more playful slap than last episode.

Tomas calls out from the cage, asking Julien to get him out of jail. There's nothing Julien can do about it. Tomas wonders how Vic knew about their relationship. Vic checks his gun so he can unlock the cage. He got Tomas released until his court date. He swears he saw Tomas making out with Julien when he busted him. Julien denies it. Vic says it's easy enough to make mistakes; you think you saw someone stealing drugs and they were really just packing up extra ammo.

"He's not confused about anything," Tomas insists. Julien won't recant his statement and as for what Vic witnessed, "It never happened." At the desk, Tomas gets his property back and says he and Julien need each other. Vic tells him that Julien doesn't need a narcissistic conman like Tomas complicating his life. The best thing he can do is cut Julien off. Otherwise, Vic will be arresting him every other week. He shuts the Barn door in Tomas's face.

"Oh man, look at this guy," says Claudette from behind an observation window, watching the doctors and nurses care for the burn victim. If Vic is ever that bad off, he wants her to pull the plug with both hands. Claudette thinks it beats the alternative. Dr. Crawford doesn't mince words with the detectives: "3rd-degree burns over 60% of his body? He's gonna die." She gives Claudette a bag of the man's belongings.

Dr. Crawford found traces of red phosphorus and hydrogen chloride on the victim. "So he blew himself up in a meth lab," says Vic.

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Among the victim's things, Claudette finds baggie of meth bearing a Cupid stamp. "Meth's the drug of the day," Dr. Crawford remarks. There are overdose victims in the ER.

In an ER bay, a groaning man with an oxygen mask over his mask is being closely watched by a nurse. Dr. Crawford says he's the third one today and asks to see the man's property. Claudette gives the doctor a business card, instructing her to call if any more overdoses come in. Vic finds another baggie of Cupid meth. Claudette is worried; there's no telling how much was made before the cook blew himself up.

EMTs wheel in a new patient, "another college kid." Vic asks how Claudette wants to play this. They both have different ways of handling things, so taking turns seems like the best thing to do. Claudette hopes Vic's methods won't put her name in the papers too. Vic laughs, "Don't believe everything you read." Vic is a gentleman, so they'll follow the first lead Claudette's way. The only thing they know for sure is the identity of the dead driver; she'll start with his family.

Edgar-veda meets with his politician friend Jorge. The captain may have burned bridges, but the headline will help him build new ones. Jorge has decided to back Edgar-veda in the city council race. He invites Edgar-veda and his wife Aurora to dinner; Jorge has to introduce the captain to his new campaign staff. They'll officially announce his candidacy at the neighborhood Cinco de Mayo block party. Edgar-veda promises he didn't come here to lose. Jorge says, "You can't afford to."

At the Barn, Shane is antsy and playing with a Nerf football. He wants to toss a crackhouse, but Dutch would rather stay in to go over some open files. Dutch asks Danni about the sergeant's exam. She thinks it could go either way, but wants him to know how grateful she is for his tutoring. She offers to buy Dutch dinner at a place of his choosing.

A pretty woman wearing a blue blouse comes in looking for Detective Gannon; she's been leaving messages for 2 months and he hasn't responded. Dutch tells her that Gannon retired. Shane stops pacing to watch the conversation. Gannon, it transpires, had been investigating her husband, Kyle Kelner's murder. Shane the Southern gentleman pulls out a chair for her. Dutch leaves to pull the case file. Mrs. Kelner reveals that today is the one-year anniversary of Kyle's murder. "I'm so sorry," Shane says in a hushed, sincere voice.

Vic and Claudette interview the Pontiac driver's grieving widow. She doesn't understand why Andy would lead the police on a chase. Claudette tells her about the burn victim in the trunk and the meth in the car. She shows the woman the baggie. Mrs. Andy recognizes the Cupid as being from their daughter's rubber stamp collection. Andy wasn't a drug dealer, just an out-of-work website designer like his friend Eric. Andy and Eric were college friends. She tried to call Eric during the TV chase, but he didn't answer. Claudette has a pretty good idea why.

At the hospital, Eric's brother can hardly bring himself to look through the burn unit's observation window. We can see a bandage on the brother's forearm. He can't believe Eric was in a meth lab explosion, but did know about his brother's financial problems. "How was I supposed to help him?" he asks tearfully, "He was the one who went to college. Now they're asking me to end his life."

Julien thanks Danny for standing up for him with Vic. That's what partners do, even when they disagree. "This is a brotherhood. Everyone around here seems to get that but you," Danny adds. Julien pulls the "you don't know what I've been through" card. That's because he never talks to Danny. He needs to open up if he wants them to stay partners. Edgar-veda already said no when Danny requested to work with someone else.

Shane and Dutch dig through a box Detective Gannon left behind. They find an arrest warrant that was never served and an old lottery ticket. "Weight Watchers coupon, like that lard-ass would ever use it," says Shane. He doesn't want to scrape ice off a cold case. Dutch thinks they owe it to the widow, but he'll work solo if Shane doesn't feel that way.

Shane is fine with staying because of the possibility of, and I quote: "'I lost my husband tragically, but I'm still young and hot and in need of emotional release' sex."

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Shane can't believe Dutch has never worked a case and gone back weeks later "for a statement." Dutch just looks disgusted.

Julien and Danny roll up to a domestic in progress, two guys fighting over a girl. Danny recognizes the parties immediately. Fran the tire-slashing victim got back together with Lamar, her tire-slashing ex-boyfriend. Lamar wants Hooper, the current ex-boyfriend, arrested for trespassing. "Hey, Fran, don't do this to me, baby!" pleads the current ex. Fran and Lamar kiss in front of Hooper as he's loaded into the police car.

Edgar-veda goes home to tell Aurora that Jorge is backing him for city council. She hugs him and wonders why he doesn't look happier. Edgar-veda worries that he only has one shot. "You won't need another one," Aurora assures him, before adding, "Power is an aphrodisiac."

Dr. Crawford meets Claudette and Vic in the ER. Two of overdose victims are dead, the third has brain damage, and all of them attended the same college. EMS brought in two of the guys; the guy who died most recently was brought in by a friend. The guy leaning against the wall says he's a fraternity pledgemaster and the dead kid was pledging. Vic holds up the meth: "This part of rush week?"

Pledgemaster is a cliche: "My dad's a lawyer." "Mine was a bricklayer. So what?" Vic fires back. Pledgemaster gives the name of his dad's law firm. "We're definitely doing this one my way," Vic chuckles. He drags Pledgemaster back into the ER and pulls the sheet off the dead kid. "Kiss your brother," Vic orders, forcing Pledgemaster's head toward the corpse. When Pledgemaster claims he doesn't know who sold the meth, Vic says, "Kiss your brother again!"

Pledgemaster finally cracks: "We gave it to all the pledges! It was supposed to be funny, sending them to class on speed!" So there are even more potential victims, lovely! Pledgemaster bought it from Effi Montecito, a guy who deals to all the frats on campus. "Now let me show you how we haze our pledges!" says Vic as he handcuffs Pledgemaster.

Dutch remarks that Gannon left a long "to-be-interviewed" list, so they have to start over. Mrs. Kelner's late husband Kyle had been a property manager for some local condos and was found dead at a construction site. He and his business partner Ari had started building a new complex.

Mrs. Kelner is on the verge of tears. Shane brings her a glass of water and says he'll bring her some chips. Dutch asks if the widow has talked to a grief counselor. Mrs. Kelner says it didn't help. Dutch can make some recommendations if she wants to try again.

Claudette has gotten some more information on Effi the campus drug dealer. He's 25 and still lives in his old frat house. She's working on getting a warrant. Vic follows Julien into the bathroom and mentions the IAD investigation. Julien refuses to change his statement. Vic promises not to tell anyone that Julien is gay if he says Vic didn't steal any cocaine.

The Strike Team is made up of good men and Vic won't let Julien ruin their lives. Julien's not giving Vic any choice but to turn in the arrest report that says he caught Julien in the midst of a sex act with Tomas. "That report doesn't prove anything," says Julien. Vic doesn't have to prove it; just saying what he saw will be enough. He leaves Julien to mull that over. Vic is about to turn in the arrest report when Julien calls his name.

Julien goes to Edgar-veda, no longer sure that he saw Vic stealing drugs. It was dark and he couldn't really see what was happening. Edgar-veda is certain that Vic threatened Julien. The rookie says no, which is technically true. What Vic did is more along the lines of blackmail. Edgar-veda reads from Julien's interview transcript, warning him of the penalties of not reporting corruption and making false statements. Julien is willing to take the punishment. Edgar-veda dismisses him, slamming the office door so hard that the glass shatters.

In the clubhouse, Shane laughs and high-fives Vic for getting them off the hook. Edgar-veda commands Shane to leave and asks what Vic did to Julien that made him change his story. Vic asks if he can leave. He and Corrine are touring a school for autistic children.

Danny and Julien get called back to the home of Fran and Lamar. Somebody has spraypainted the word "HOE" in red across the front door. Fran knows it was her ex Hooper; he's a bad speller. They take the couple back to the Barn to sign an official complaint. Fran can use it to get a temporary restraining order, under which Hooper can't be within 10 feet of her. Lamar says that if the order is violated, "I'll make him my bitch."

Fran mentions that she sometimes sees Hooper at the Vons and he helps her shop. "Aw, hell naw!" cries Lamar. He adds that Fran needs to just "sign the damn thing." She does.

Dutch interviews Ari, who claims he was on a business trip in Phoenix when Kyle was murdered. Why is Dutch asking this now, anyway? The detective explains that the file slipped through a crack. Given the day's headline, Ari is "surprised any crack slips past you guys."

Shane interviews Kyle's secretary. She says he was a great boss and she hasn't had a decent job since he died. Shane suggests that she lean on her husband or boyfriend during this difficult time. "I'm single," says the secretary. Shane's eyebrows go up a fraction of an inch.

During the school tour, a teacher explains that comprehensive treatment for autism is available onsite: speech, occupational, and behavioral therapy. Vic has a concern. He read that placing a kid in a school where all the other kids are autistic can prevent them from socializing properly. The teacher says Matthew would be put in a small class with kids at his own level. She's not in favor of mainstreaming at public schools because "throwing them in the deep end doesn't teach them how to swim" either. Attending this school will make Matthew a leader and build his self-confidence.

The teacher adds on some pressure for the Mackeys to make a decision: There's one spot remaining in the school and "it's sure to go quickly." Vic still has sticker shock; the tuition is $25,000. In 2002, undergraduate tuition for a full year at Stanford was only slightly more expensive (about $27,000). All the school's parents say it's well worth the cost. The teacher again advises them to decide quickly.

Julien's reverend drops by the Barn because Edgar-veda called him and said Julien might need spiritual guidance. Julien explains that he recanted his statement due to being unsure of what he saw. He overreacted. The reverend has never known Julien to be prone to that and senses there's something else on his mind. "What do you do when the man you are isn't the man that you want to be?" asks Julien. The reverend's advice is simple: "Give the man that you are a kick in the ass." Also, he recommends praying about it.

Vic and Claudette enter the Kappa Upsilon house. The pledges are standing in the living room, blindfolded and wearing just boxers. Effi is sitting on a recliner, holding a rope that's attached to a live sheep. "You're coming with us," says Vic. Effi stands up, but doesn't let go of the makeshift leash.

Claudette wants to conduct the interview her way. "If you think we have time for that," Vic shrugs. Effi, now sans sheep, is waiting in the interrogation room with his lawyer. Vic thought "screwing sheep went out with New Wave." "We weren't really gonna make 'em do it," says Effi. The first words out of the lawyer's mouth are "You dragged my son down here."

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Claudette tells Mr. Montecito that Effi is suspected of drug trafficking. Three pledges went to Mission Cross Hospital after overdosing on meth and now two of them are dead. They know he's Frat Row's top supplier and they have to get the rest of the Cupid meth off the street before anyone else gets hurt. Mr. Montecito slaps his son in the head, asking, "You're dealing drugs again?" Effi assures his dad they can't prove it. Mr. Montecito tells his son to grow up. The look on Claudette's face says that ship sailed long ago.

Mr. Montecito calls Effi a "son of a bitch" and slaps him again. Effi gets angry and takes a swing at his old man. They grab each other by the shirt. Vic gets them apart and stands between them. Two uniforms enter to subdue father and son. As he's dragged out, Mr. Montecito yells, "You see if I'm gonna bail you out this time!" I bet some well-meaning family member guilts him into doing it anyway.

At the hospital, a nurse changes the sheets in Eric's room. His brother told them to turn off the life support. Claudette doesn't want to come off as disingenuous, but she's sorry for his loss. "What's 'disingenuous' mean?" asks the brother, just in case we forgot he's the dumb one. They arrest him for cooking meth; Effi rolled on him.

Vic and Claudette interview their suspects in the same room. Eric's brother reveals he was in the room when the explosion happened. They put him in the trunk, not wanting to risk a trip to the hospital. Andy was planning to bury him in the desert, thinking Eric would be dead by the time they got there. "Exactly how stupid are you?" asks Effi. Vic reminds the frat rat that he's been 6 credits shy of graduation for 4 years running: "You're a drug dealer who spends his free time watching pledges hump sheep and he's the stupid one?"

Claudette asks if there's any Cupid meth still out there. Manny, the guy who gave our meth cooks their lab startup loan, is holding some product for collateral. When they couldn't make a payment, he broke Eric's brother's hand and took 10 pounds of meth. It's Manny's fault that Eric died because Eric was nervous about the threats and rushed the last batch. Claudette is familiar with Manny Sandoval.

Vic asks Edgar-veda for $20,000 to take to a meeting with Manny. Effi and Eric's Bro both agreed to wear wires. The police can collect the tainted meth at the drop location. Edgar-veda isn't about to give Vic that much cash when he's under investigation for stealing drugs. Claudette tells him to put the voucher in her name. Lives are at stake. Edgar-veda agrees.

Dutch visits Mrs. Kelner at home. He tried to call, but didn't get an answer. Mrs. Kelner claims she forgot to pay the bill. Dutch just wanted to ask if Kyle's company owned any properties in Phoenix. No, but Ari has family members who live there. Mrs. Kelner also says she has an appointment with one of the counselors Dutch recommended.

Julien isn't happy about Edgar-veda bringing his reverend into this. The captain asks what happened to the fortitude that made Julien come forward. He advises Julien to call his union rep; the rookie is looking at suspension or possibly being fired. The lying liar who lies wishes things had gone differently.

At home, Corrine offers up ways to get money for Matthew's tuition. They could skip their annual vacation to Lake Powell. She could go back to work at the ER. Vic says she'd spend half her paycheck on daycare for their toddler Megan. Matthew can keep toughing it out in public school. Corrine insists he'd be happier at Glenridge.

Okay, wait a second, who decided that was a good name for a special-needs school? In the 1980s, there was a very nasty and very public incident in which a group of high school football players gang-raped a mentally-challenged female classmate. The town? Glen Ridge, New Jersey.

Anyway, Vic knows what's best for his son, so he tells Corrine to call the school in the morning. Vic will have to pick up some overtime too. Corrine complains that the kids barely see him anyway. Well, you can't have it both ways. Either you both work more so he can go to a school more suited to his needs or keep the kid in a situation that isn't working for him academically or socially.

The eldest Mackey child, Cassidy, enters the kitchen, upset because Matthew drew in her diary. Corrine promises to buy another one. "Why does he do stuff like that? He never listens," says Cassidy. Vic explains that Matt understands things differently. Cassidy's handwriting is neat and fits in the lines, but her brother doesn't know how to make things fit. He needs help. "Big sister help?" asks Cassidy. Vic gives her a hug and a kiss.

Edgar-veda gripes to his wife about how he can't ride the headline to city council. "You're more than just the headline," says Aurora. Edgar-veda is afraid that Jorge will pull his financial support and that Gilroy will have him fired from the police department. Just as Aurora starts putting the moves on him, the baby starts to scream. "I knew twice in one day was too much to hope for," he sighs.

Danny and Julien go back to Fran's. The graffiti outside now reads "SHOE." Hooper answers the door. Fran met him at the Vons and apparently forgave him. Hooper couldn't scrub the "hoe" off the house, so adding a letter seemed like the logical thing to do. Lamar slashed Hooper's tires again. Hooper wants his name taken off the restraining order and Lamar's name put on it.

Danny pulls Fran aside for some girl talk. It's clear that both these guys will do anything for her and she's playing a dangerous game by leading them on. Fran needs to pick one guy and stick with him.

Dutch and Shane re-interview Ari. He repeats his story about the business trip. He went out with a work friend for drinks at 9:30. Dutch checked flight manifests and knows Ari's plane didn't take off until 10:00. Shane grabs Ari by the neck, screaming, "You killed him, asswipe! Say it!"

Ari confesses. Kyle had found out Ari was stealing from their business' bank account. He adds, "I didn't have a plan or an alibi. Why didn't you just arrest me last year?" Outside the interrogation room, Shane chuckles about how much that rocked. Dutch isn't celebrating. He looks like something is bothering him.

In their car, Vic gripes that the wires at Beverly Hills P.D. probably work. "You don't like our World War II hand-me-downs?" asks Claudette. They suddenly hear grunts, curses, and shouts that Manny found the wires. They get there just in time to pull Manny off Eric's brother Paul. Only took 35 minutes to name the poor kid. "This isn't gonna screw up my deal, is it?" asks Effi.

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At the Barn, Manny says he only attacked Paul in self-defense. He threatens to sell more of the contaminated meth when he gets out on bond.

Mrs. Kelner asks why Ari killed her husband. "Kyle caught him with his hand in the cookie jar," says Shane. Mrs. Kelner thanks them for finding out what happened. Shane promises to check on her in a few weeks. Dutch hopes she keeps her counseling appointment. Mrs. Kelner doesn't see the point; it won't change anything. "I just don't wanna be alone anymore," she says sadly.

Dutch cancels his dinner with Danny, throwing her own words back at her: "A friend of mine is having a crisis." Danny says it's no problem; they can reschedule.

Vic and Claudette sent teams to search the alley where Manny met his cooks and Manny's house. They didn't find any Cupid meth. Vic thinks they need to start doing things his way. "And what way would that be, exactly?" asks Edgar-veda. Vic makes a lame joke that they should put a bell around the captain's neck.

They let Manny out of the cage, bluffing that they found the drugs. People are dead because of Manny, putting him on Vic's radar, not a good place to be.

Edgar-veda goes to Jorge's office to let him know that the department is no longer investigating Vic. Their only witness got cold feet. Jorge isn't worried. Most people don't read past the headlines, so "perception is reality." Unfortunately so, especially in this USA election cycle. Anyway, stopping before I rant about the multitude of reasons why Hilary Clinton should be in prison.

Dutch and Claudette discuss their first day with their temporary partner. Vic was okay, but she misses Dutch. "Shane wants to hit the monster truck rally on Friday," says Dutch and I can't tell whether or not he's happy about it.

Vic is headed into the bathroom when he runs into Julien. "We gotta stop meeting like this," he jokes. Julien insists he's not gay. He just gets these urges and fights them until he runs out of strength. He hates this feeling. Vic, unexpectedly, tells Julien not to go through life hating himself. Julien is upset about pushing everyone away; he's all alone now. Vic says he's not. Julien was there for him and Vic won't tell anyone what he saw.

This scene brings us to Cooking With Dutch. Tonight's menu is pasta for himself and Mrs. Kelner. She purrs that it's nice to have someone cook for her and starts to kiss him. Dutch doesn't want to take advantage of her pent-up grief and misplaced feelings. "You wouldn't be," she says.

Danny apologizes to Vic for thinking he stole the drugs. She's upset that it ruined her partnership with Julien. Vic says Julien deserves a second chance. Danny takes Gilroy's appearance as her cue to exit. The deputy chief has terrific news: The Strike Team goes back in business tomorrow. He shuts the clubhouse door and tells his pal that he's tired of cleaning up his messes.

Mrs. Kelner, her hair wet and wearing just a bathrobe, puts on some music. She takes her date's gun out of its holster. Dutch is still taking a shower. She seems to think better of whatever she was planning and picks his clothes off the floor.

Montage! Edgar-veda and Aurora leave for his candidacy announcement. Shane works out in the Barn's weight room. The Mackeys are eating pizza. Matt pokes his slice with a spoon; Cassidy shows him how to pick it up to eat it. Claudette and Danny go to a house where there's blood all over the kitchen walls. Hooper and Fran lie dead on the floor. Lamar, with blood on his clothes, is handcuffed in the living room. You play with fire and you get burned. End of episode.