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.

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