Friday, August 26, 2016

The Cost of War is "Dead Soldiers" (Episode 2.2)

Previously on: Vic hired a private eye to find Corinne and the kids and learned they're currently somewhere in Colorado. Armadillo Quintero, a Mexican drug lord, killed two other drug dealers with burning tire necklaces. Vic and the boys illegally went to Tijuana to track down Armadillo's brother Navaro and a shipment of poisoned cocaine; they also brought back Navaro himself in the trunk of Ronnie's car. Lanie, a civilian auditor, wants to bring down Edgar-veda. The captain agreed to watch Vic's back until the election if Vic reins in the Strike Team.

At a party in a vacant lot, a Latina tattoo artist with a live boa constrictor around her neck is giving a guy some new ink. One of the guests is either a little person or a kid way too young to be in a gang. Vic turns off the music and the rest of the Strike Team moves in. "Nice boa," he says to the tattoo artist. He inspects a customer's arm and notices the gang logo is being changed to Torucos. It was Armadillo's idea, apparently.

Vic shows them a Polaroid of Navaro in the cage, then tucks it into a gangbanger's shirt pocket. A different gangbanger gets the Strike Team calling card stuck to his forehead.
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Later, Vic arrives at a still-smoldering comic book store. "Someone torched Tio's drug crib," says Shane. He's worried about all the money they'll now have to eat. Vic knows they have a bigger problem; the arson investigation could turn up their names. He tells Shane to find Tio. Shane wants to pass that job off to Lem and stay to help Vic.

Edgar-veda is there too. As DeNiro observed in Backdraft, "Pretty fancy shoes you're wearin' to a fire scene." Claudette tells him and Vic that the fire started on the first floor and spread to the rest of the building. The fire department found a gas can behind the store. Claudette found the same tag as in the burning tire murders, along with something else.

A small body is covered with a yellow tarp. Vic at first thinks it's a kid who came in to buy some Batman comics or something and got caught in the blaze. Fortunately, the corpse isn't human. It's a pig. Not only that, the pig has the Strike Team's calling card stabbed into its forehead. Vic explains that he gave it to some of Armadillo's boys last night.

"Armadillo is my case," Claudette goes on, "He raped a 12-year-old girl last night to cover the tire murders." Vic asks why Armadillo hasn't been arrested. The victim's brother has been really uncooperative and they suspect he took her back to Mexico. Vic wonders why anyone would torch a comic shop. Claudette interviewed people in the neighborhood, who all suspect the owner, Theodore, of using the place as a front for drugs.

Armadillo is burning down his competition and sending a message to the Strike Team; Vic wants to handle the case himself. Claudette gets territorial. Vic says gangland is his domain. Edgar-veda says the case is more than big enough for the two of them.

Vic just about bottoms out the Strike Team van driving it into someone's yard. Shane picks up a handy cinderblock to use on the door. Vic suggests the doorbell might work. As the old fire department saying goes...
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One of Armadillo's boys answers the door, demanding to know what this is all about. "It's all about love, ese," Vic replies as he pushing his way in. Armadillo is on the couch reading one of his law books; mercifully, he's clothed in a track suit. Lem, Shane, and Ronnie take Armadillo's friends outside. Armadillo seems to know why Vic is there and says he was with some friends when the fire was set. The most recent fire or the one involving tires and murder?

Vic says the Brothers Quintero seem to share a lot of interests, namely the drug trade. Armadillo swears he's nothing like his brother. Navaro likes partying. Armadillo is "much more comfortable in bed with a good book to read." "And a little girl to rape," adds Vic. Armadillo knows Vic has nothing to arrest him for: no open warrants, legal visa, no drugs or guns in the house. As to the last part, of course not. Smart dealers know not to keep anything where they sleep.

Vic advises Armadillo to "pack up your shit and get on the next donkey back to home." Well then. Armadillo is all "but I just got here." Vic arrests him. Armadillo asks what he's being charged with. Vic is sure he can think of something on the way to the Barn.

Outside, Shane, Lem, and Ronnie have assembled the rest of Armadillo's crew. Some are handcuffed to the swing set; it being there is kinda weird because I haven't seen a kid yet. "Any of you guys not named Martinez?" asks Shane. I'm surprised to see Ronnie, not Lemming, playing on one of the swings. Lem is calling in about a guy's driver's license that expired 8 months ago. One of the men, Javier, has a warrant out for aggravated assault. Perfect. Vic tells Armadillo he's under arrest for harboring a felon.

At the Barn, Vic takes a Polaroid of Armadillo in the cage. Claudette says Mexican authorities seem to know Armadillo by reputation, but he has no rap sheet south of the border. "Unlike his brother, he's smart," says Vic. He introduces Claudette to Lanie and brags to the auditor about arresting Navaro's brother.

Unless they find something else on Armadillo, the harboring charge won't be enough to hold him. Vic knows that and is sure Armadillo knows it too, being an unofficial law student and all. They need to find the guy who torched the comic book store/stash house and charge Armadillo with arson for hire. Claudette asks if Vic knows where Tio is, since he's registered as one of Vic's informants. Vic acts like he hasn't talked to or seen Tio in months. He'll have the Strike Team look for the arsonist.

Lanie asks Edgar-veda if she can observe Vic. "Actually, I was just coming to get you. A city official's been shot," says the captain. It's unknown who the victim is. Lanie can ride with Dutch. Next, the captain tells Vic how unhappy he is about Vic having a connection to the arson case; he specifically asked if there was a reason to keep Claudette away from the investigation.

Vic tells the wannabe politician to learn to read between the lines: "I told you I wanna handle this thing myself." Edgar-veda asks what this means for their gentleman's agreement. Vic promises he'll be careful.

Shane found out that Tio is in hiding at his baby mama's house. And holy muscle shirt, Lemming!
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Shane asks how long Vic is gonna freeze them out. "Until I can trust the three of you again," Vic replies, sounding like the disappointed father of a teenager. Lemming pleads that he's really sorry. Vic wants somebody to go with him and doesn't give a damn who. They exchange a look that says I'm-not-riding-with-Dad-when-he's pissed.

Tio and his baby mama are in the yard pushing their daughter in a tire swing. There's a slide off the same homemade platform. It appears Shane drew the short straw. Tio sends his kid and baby mama inside, then gripes about the "Mexican psycho" torching his building. Vic asks what he lost. Tio keeps most of his supply elsewhere, but he had cash and records in the safe. Tio is such an organized drug dealer that he had an accounts ledger. A book that Vic and Shane's names might be in.
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Tio assures the cops that his book is coded; he refers to Vic as his landlord, which immediately makes me think of the 'Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood' sketch that Eddie Murphy did on SNL. The Strike Team wasn't complaining when Tio doubled their cut of his business. Vic asks where the safe was. Tio kept it in the back room of the comic shop. He exposits that it's the type of safe where if the lock is forced, the contents will be destroyed.

Vic tells Tio to lay low; it's bad news for both of them if Claudette connects the dots. "This can't go unanswered," says Tio. Vic assures him it won't. He needs the names and numbers of a few of Tio's sales force. Vic instructs Shane to give the Torucos an address, but they can't burn it until Vic says so: "Just the building, no bodies. I wanna send a message, not start a war."

Shane pulls on the passenger door of Vic's truck, then knocks on the window like "Um, door's locked." "Lem can pick you up," Vic calls. I'm sure both parties will appreciate that. Shane watches incredulously as Vic drives away. Tio offers to let Shane use his phone. In uncharacteristic fashion, Shane does not respond by screaming, "YOU GO TO HELL!"

I'm beginning to think Edgar-veda made up the whole thing about a city official being shot until we cut to Dutch arriving at a crime scene. He remarks that it's pretty quiet for a high-profile case. One of those parking enforcement cart things is parked in the middle of the street.
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A uniform named Ray tells Dutch that the victim, Helen Zamorski, was shot in the back three times. And what a surprise, no witnesses. Helen is also the city official in question; she was a parking enforcement officer. "A meter maid?" Dutch can't believe. As proof, Officer Ray holds up her computerized ticket book. Lanie is not happy that a meter maid is considered a city official and wants to speak to Ray's captain. I'm sure Lanie would be singing a different tune if she was the one who was shot.

At Tio's store front, the fire department has recovered the safe. Cocaine residue and scales were found upstairs, meaning they have probable cause to open said safe. Claudette can't wait to see what's in it. Vic is decidedly less enthused. Claudette wheels the safe into the precinct on a dolly. She hopes something in it ties him to Armadillo. "Tio's no saint, but he's the victim here," says Vic. They need to focus on finding the arsonist.

Claudette knows Vic has an informant relationship with Tio, but he wasn't targeted by accident. Vic knows someone who can crack the safe and doesn't know where Tio is.

Outside in the parking lot, Gordie is eating a sandwich in his expensive-looking sportscar. He knows who Corinne has been living with in Colorado Springs: Camille Briskin, a woman she went to college with. The kids are with her. Vic wants to jump on the next plane, but Gordie goes on that she's been spotted by his source packing luggage.

Danny and Julien arrive at an apartment complex where a black woman (judging by her attire, I'd say nurse) has called in a complaint about her next door neighbor. More specifically, she thinks he's a terrorist. Terrible chemical smells come out of the place "like he's making dirty bombs." Alena's a single mom with two boys and now she comes home to this. The woman's leashed Rottweiler snarls at Julien as he passes.

Danny knocks on the door. A Middle Eastern man, Zaide Altani, answers. Danny introduces herself and Julien, then says there's been a complaint. Zaide eyes the family next door; he knows who it was and that she probably accused him of being a terrorist. Danny asks if they can come in and look around. Zaide gets huffy: "I am a suspect just because I am Arab." "No, sir, you're a suspect because 19 guys who look like your twin brother killed 3,000 Americans," says Danny. Can't say my response would be a lot different.

The easiest thing for Zaide to do is to let them look around his house for a minute. "Or we could file a report with the federal government and let them check you out," puts in Julien. At this, Zaide opens the front door and allows them to enter, tossing in a sarcastic "God bless America."

Danny immediately spots an Arab-language newspaper; on the front page, an American flag is being burned. Zaide protests that he can't control what the paper prints and that his brothers sends it to him from his old home of Damascus. He's been in America for 5 years, has a job, and pays taxes. Zaide introduces the officers to his hijab-clad wife, Yassirah. As for the bad smell the neighbor reported, they're just making pickled fish. Danny thanks Zaide for cooperating. "So you will tell the black one that I am no terrorist?" he asks, referring to Alena. I sense a long-simmering feud here.

Shane knows that Armadillo's crew is working out of the old Sugar Cube Lounge: "salsa by night, distribution by day." Vic doubts the club has proper permits. He tells Shane to go in posing as alcoholic beverage control. Tio's crew can set it on fire after it's all clear.
I have a feeling Shane would prefer to handle this himself.
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Lem has found out who Armadillo got to torch Tio's place: Ripley Verdugo, "a flame retard," as Shane puts it. For some reason, Armadillo has decided to take off his shirt in the cage. Lem takes the opportunity to tell Vic how sorry he is about Corinne running out on him. Vic shakes his head and leaves. "Are you an idiot?" asks Shane. Poor Lemming; he's just trying to be nice.

Vic goes to greet Smith, the locksmith/safecracker. Heh. He's sure Shane brought Smith up to speed. Vic wants Shane to break into the safe through the front lock. Smith knows it's a so-called "smart safe" and that would ruin whatever's in it. Vic gives him a that's-the-point look. Smith, who looks kind of like Hitler with a thicker mustache, starts pounding on the front of the safe with a hammer.

Claudette has done her homework too: "Manufacturer says you have to go through the back to disarm the destruct mechanism." Vic adds that he thought the locksmith worked on smart safes before. Smith all but says "Oops, silly me." "Good catch," Vic mutters to Claudette through his teeth.

Mentoya, Officer Zamorski's supervisor, thinks it would take more than bullets to bring her down. Dutch takes exception to her title: "She was a meter maid." Mentoya asks if Dutch knows how much revenue parking tickets bring into the city: "If it wasn't for people like Helen Zamorski risking her life every day, you guys would be making less than schoolteachers." Officer Zamorski was dedicated, writing more 30% over her quota every month. Dutch tells Mentoya that someone smashed her electronic ticket book. "Animals," he says.

Lanie asks to use the bathroom. Mentoya gives her the key, old-school gas station style; there's a California license plate keychain that reads JOHN attached to it. It's really the little details that make a show. Dutch wants to see the records of Officer Zamorski's recent tickets, especially the last ticket she wrote. He'd also like the names of people she wrote large numbers of tickets to. By the way, who can he talk to about a ticket?

Dutch got a ticket for parking in front of the courthouse. According to Dutch, he was testifying that day in a kiddie-porn case: "We got the sick bastard, thank God." Mentoya asks about the designated police parking area off Grand Avenue. It's 6 blocks away and Dutch was running late. He repeats what kind of case he was giving testimony in.

Mentoya guesses Dutch will have to take the ticket to court. "A little help, maybe, one officer to another," Dutch wheedles. Lanie comes out of the bathroom just in time to hear that. Mentoya tells Dutch, "I don't fix parking tickets. And being a police officer doesn't make you above the law." He hands Dutch a computer printout of Officer Zamorski's ticket records.

Claudette looks at Tio's ledger. She can't understand why he was making payments to a landlord; he owned the building. Vic suggests Armadillo was the landlord and that Tio got tired of paying. The fire was set as a warning. It's a good theory, but the payments started weeks before Armadillo came to California. She asks if they found Tio. When Vic says yes, she wants him brought in.

At Tio's baby mama's, Vic asks Claudette to stay in the car, claiming he doesn't want to risk losing his CI's trust. Claudette doesn't want him going in without backup; he'd told her he hasn't seen Tio in months and therefore wouldn't know if he's squirrelly now. She eventually agrees to stay in the car, but asks, "Something I need to know about you and this guy?"

In the house, Vic tells Tio that he'll look innocent if he comes in voluntarily. They need to keep having each other's backs. Tio asks what he's supposed to say if Claudette asks about the landlord. Vic advises him to say he was forced to pay for protection: "Choose your favorite band of brothers." Claudette is good and Vic is trying to throw her off his scent. He shows Tio the mug shot of Ripley the arsonist. Tio can say he saw the guy casing the store.

Tio asks what they're doing to Armadillo as payback. The Strike Team found the Torucos' hangout; Tio's friends are gonna set a 3-alarmer. Claudette knocks on the door. She asks if everything is okay and Tio says yes.

In the cage, Armadillo is stripping down to his Speedo. I wouldn't do that. Tio enters with Vic and Claudette, yelling, "Is that the bitch who burned my place up?" Gordie calls Vic over, saying it's important. Claudette will start the party without Vic. Gordie's friend followed Corinne to the airport in Colorado Springs and asks who she knows in Phoenix. Vic has no clue; that's the reason he hired Gordie in the first place. In an odd turn of events, only baby Megan got on the plane. Cassidy and Matthew are still with Corinne's college friend.

"Tio found our guy," Claudette announces when Vic enters the interrogation room. Tio gives the story about seeing Ripley in the back parking lot. Vic leaves to find Ripley, but Claudette doesn't follow. She wants to keep talking to Tio. Vic goes into the observation room and turns on the TV. Claudette asks Tio about the ledger.

Lem remarks that he's never seen Vic so pissed. "He's pissed about his kids. It's classic displacement," says Psychiatrist Shane. Lem is more worried about replacement. "Where would Vic be without us?" Shane asks as he pulls the building's fire alarm. I don't know, maybe prison? Our Georgia boy, for one, is not going back to traffic duty.

Shane thinks Vic will keep them around if they just do their jobs the best they can. Hand on his hip, Lemming says, "Oh, now that plan makes sense?" This kicks off a round of "shut up" "no, you shut up." Lem flips Shane off. Shirtless, chubby Ripley hustles out of his apartment. Lemming all but tosses him back in: "Go put a shirt on, bitch!" He follows Ripley to make sure he doesn't run out the back. The neighbors are watching curiously from their windows and front steps. Shane gives them a toothy smile and a cheery wave.
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Dutch sits down with Barney, one of Officer Zamorski's frequent flyers. He's racked up over $1300 in fines. Barney works as a messenger and says parking tickets come with the territory. His most recent ticket was this morning. Dutch tells him that the woman who wrote the ticket was shot: "She's gonna live, but not like she used to." I guess she's been paralyzed.

Dutch thinks Barney might've been upset about getting 34 tickets in 7 months. Barney admits he is; he doesn't have enough to pay them off and he might lose his job over it. However, he wasn't mad enough to shoot her. At 9:30 A.M., he was in traffic on his way to LAX. Dutch asks if Barney is willing to take a gunshot residue (GSR) test. Barney says sure, he wants to help.

Claudette is impressed that Tio the comic book merchant could buy two buildings with cash; she can barely pay her mortgage. Tio shrugs that he's good at managing his money. Claudette asks what kind of financial sense it makes to keep paying a nonexistent landlord. She adds that being an informant is not an automatic get-out-of-jail-free card; she knows he's dealing. Tio informs her that he's a victim.

Claudette tells him she can use the ledger to get search warrants for his house and the other building he owns. Will what they find there make him a victim too? If Tio helps them get Armadillo, Claudette will forget about the ledger. Edgar-veda comes into the observation room and sees Vic. He recognizes Tio as the guy the Long Beach Sheriff's Department pulled over with the Strike Team.

Edgar-veda asks if Tio can hurt them. Vic says no. Enter Dutch, who wants to kill time until his next suspect arrives by watching Claudette. That's a little creepy, actually. Vic steps out onto the choir loft/balcony thing and sees the boys bringing in Ripley. He opens the interrogation room door, offering Claudette the first shot at him. She says sure, but wants to let Tio stew.

Zaide is furious; he put his prayer mat outside to dry and it's been ruined. He's convinced Alena purposely set her dog on it. He shouts that she should have the dog put to sleep. "That's enough!" roars Julien. He and Danny searched the house and found no evidence of terrorist activity. He orders Alena to go back inside and restrain her dog before he has to call Animal Control. Julien tells Zaide to stop threatening the dog and "acting like such a victim." He and Danny don't want to come back here. "You're learning," his partner smiles as they leave.

Claudette asks if Ripley has an alibi for last night. The arsonist claims he was home alone masturbating. "Have some manners when you talk to me," snaps Claudette. She holds up a mugshot, wondering when he changed his look. Ripley stopped shaving his head 6 months ago. "Jesus, I can't catch a gooddamn break," mutters Vic. Claudette asks how Tio saw a year-old mug shot that only the police had access to. Vic will find out how that happened. Claudette's had enough of his brand of help.

Claudette confronts Tio about the hair discrepancy. She wants to know the reason he lied and who he's protecting. "You wanna put both our careers in this guy's hands?" Edgar-veda asks Vic. Claudette turns off the camera. Tio maintains that he's just a lowly CI. Claudette says they can charge him with racketeering if they tie the payoffs to a cop; add in possession with in tent and "you won't see your baby girl until she's 35."

Edgar-veda pulls her out of the room to tell her about a club that just burned down. It's the same M.O. as the one used at Tio's store. She can talk to Tio later. "He could be the key to getting Armadillo," says Claudette. Edgar-veda tells her she's the primary detective on the arson case and is needed at the scene: "This isn't a discussion!"

Dutch meets with mustached, spectacled Izzy, the last man to receive a parking ticket from Officer Zamorski. The circumstances make him a witness or a suspect. Izzy claims he didn't see anything, meaning he must be the latter. Izzy explains that he doesn't mind getting tickets because it's cheaper than a garage parking space: The garage charges $22 a day and Izzy averages two $30 tickets a week. Izzy agrees to the GSR test "as long as it doesn't cost me anything."

Vic goes downstairs with Tio, tossing him an evidence bag. He tells him to burn the ledger and quit bookkeeping. Vic gets a call from Gordie. Corinne caught a connecting flight in Arizona: Phoenix to Burbank. Gordie wants Vic to stay put until he figures out why she's goin' back to Cali.

In his office, Lanie tells Edgar-veda how irritated she is that a meter maid was passed off as high-level city official: "Is there some reason you didn't want me following Detective Mackey today?" "Of course not," the captain says innocently. Claudette comes in. The club that burned down was a Toruco hangout, so somebody was trying to pay back Armadillo. She'll see what Tio knows. Edgar-veda says they let him leave with the ledger due to lack of evidence.

Dutch and Lanie eat something I can't identify in the breakroom. Dutch isn't sure if either of their suspects killed Officer Zamorsky; Barney seems too passive and Izzy seems used to getting tickets. Both agreed to be tested for GSR. A uniform comes in with a lab report. Barney tested positive.

Dutch takes Barney upstairs and shows him the test results. Barney asks if he can take it again. Based on the test, Dutch can search Barney's car and house for the gun. Barney mumbles that his tire was 3 inches in the red and he got a ticket. Officer Zamorski laughed when he asked to have the ticket waived. Dutch handcuffs Barney to the table, but there's just one more thing. Barney knew he was guilty, so why did he agree to the GSR test at all? Barney's explanation is simple: "If I didn't take it, I'd look guilty was a government test, so I figured how reliable could it be?"

Edgar-veda just got off the phone with the D.A. Ripley made a deal, giving up two accomplices in exchange for them all serving time at Terminal Island together. Vic thinks the deal shouldn't have been made; Armadillo is consolidating his guys into one prison. They can't charge Armadillo for hiring the arsonist or the rapes. "What happened here today was bullshit!" Claudette explodes. She's never interfered with the captain's campaign or how Vic runs the Strike Team. She's determined to find the truth, even if she has to go through both of them.

Armadillo gives Ripley a hug before the drug kingpin waltzes out of the cage. His lawyer chastises, "Harboring a felon? That's a stretch even for this precinct."

There's trouble between the feuding neighbors again. Zaide is upset that Alena's American flag is covering part of his window. He takes it off the wall just as Danny and Julien arrive. "Go back to your cave, Osama!" says Alena. Zaide fires back: "Why don't you go back to the jungle?! No job, raising these fat, stupid children." That's the last straw; Alena steps inside and comes back out with a kitchen knife. Julien quickly disarms her.

Just then, Zaide comes out of his own apartment, carrying a gun. "You don't protect me? Allah protects me!" he shouts.
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Danny draws her gun and orders Zaide to put his down. Zaide continues to yell and wave his arms. The barrel ends up pointed in her direction, leaving Danny with no choice. Zaide drops like a stone, the American flag landing under his head. Yassirah comes out of the apartment, shrieking and throws herself on top of her husband's dead body. "Where's your Allah now?!" cries Alena triumphantly. Julien pushes her back into her own apartment.

Later, Alena is put in a squad car in handcuffs, presumably for waving that knife around. The captain is sure the review board will rule in Danny's favor. He reminds her of the department policy of two mandatory days off after a fatal shooting. He and Lanie duck under the tape to inspect the crime scene.

Tio's worried and pissed; 3 of his dealers have disappeared. He's tried calling and paging and is sure Armadillo has them. Tio wants to send Armadillo south. "Yeah, like 6 feet south." Shane agrees. Vic asks if he's the only one thinking.

Dutch opens the door to the women's room, still the only working bathroom in the Barn. We can hear someone (presumably Lanie) throwing up in a stall. He backs away. Claudette gripes that her arson case is "all smoke and mirrors," but doesn't go into more detail. Lanie comes out of the bathroom, taking a hit of breath freshening spray. It's gonna take more than that, honey.

Dutch tells Lanie he had fun having her ride along and hopes he didn't make too many mistakes. Lanie thanks him for his time. Dutch suggests they go out to eat together sometime. "Dutch, hitting on me? That is a mistake," she says rudely. Dutch stammers that he has a girlfriend.

Gordie meets up with Vic and tells him Corinne she stopped at the courthouse to copy the kids' birth certificates, then came here. "Here" being another PI's office, Morgal, a guy who "played one season for the Rams and thinks he's Dick Butkus."

When Gordie and Vic walk into the office, Corinne is holding Megan on her lap and nervously says, "Oh God." Wyman tells them that he's having a confidential meeting. Gordie tells Morgal that Vic has been looking for his kids for over a month. Vic asks where Cassidy and Matt are. Morgal tells Corinne she doesn't have to answer. "Your children are where you can't hurt them," he adds.

Vic is dumbfounded. He's never abused his wife or his children. He tries to ask his wife what the hell is going on. "One more step and she's signing a restraining order," Morgal warns. Corinne says she was scared for the kids because of what happened with Gilroy. Vic tries to assure her that it was a one-time thing. Morgal herds her out of the office.

"It's just just Gilroy; it's all of it," Corinne says over Megan's crying. She gets in a truck. Vic tries to get close enough to continue the conversation. Morgal reacts by bodily throwing Vic into some nearby trash cans. It takes a big man to toss around Michael Chiklis like a rag doll. Morgal growls that Vic has a lot to answer for.

"You're investigating me?" Vic is incredulous, "Corinne!" She apologizes, saying she didn't know what else to do. Morgal gets into the truck and pulls away. Gordie promises Vic they'll get her and all 3 kids back. "What?!" Vic yells by way of a greeting when his phone rings. Tio screams his name from the other end.

Elsewhere in the city, Vic arrives to find Tio got a tire necklace of his own. He's dead. Claudette looks at him suspiciously.

Vic pulls up to Armadillo's house in his truck. The Strike Team joins him in the van. The front door is open, so Vic, Shane, and Lem walk in. Ronnie hangs back. Armadillo, in his ever-present Speedo, is lounging on the floor with a book. He tells them that unless they have a warrant, they can't be in his house. There are some wicked scars on his back, belt marks would be my guess.

Vic starts hitting Armadillo with one of the law books. In the face, in the back, anyplace he can reach. Lem tries to stop him, but Vic knocks him back. Vic asks if Armadillo is ready to go back to Mexico now. His face and shirt are now spattered with the drug lord's blood. Lem pulls at Vic again. Shane seems eager to see what'll happen next.

Armadillo spits out a couple of teeth. Vic drags him into the kitchen by one leg and turns on the stove. What follows is almost as brutal as the infamous "fire or knife" scene from Sons of Anarchy. Vic slams Armadillo's face onto the burner. "Tell me you're leaving! Say it!" shouts Vic. Armadillo, understandably, is crying and whimpering. By now, Lem looks shocked by the cruelty and also scared to death of his boss. Even Shane is like "holy shit, Vic, you can't do this!"

Vic ignores them. Not getting anywhere with words, Shane and Lem each grab an arm, forcing Vic to let go of Armadillo. They back him against the kitchen wall, telling him it's over. Armadillo is seething on the floor, blood dripping from the bridge of his nose. There are grill marks on his face, holy fuck.

The adrenaline wears off and Vic walks away, Shane and Lem on his heels. On the porch, Ronnie sees the blood on Vic clothes and decides not to ask where it came from...or whose it is. End of episode.

Friday, August 19, 2016

There Isn't Always a "Quick Fix" (Episode 2.1)

Last season: Assistant Chief Gilroy was arrested for corruption after a landgrab scheme resulted in a double homicide, a race riot, and three dead police officers. Vic's wife Corinne left him after she and the children were endangered by Gilroy. Vic himself shot and killed fellow officer Terry Crowley and stole some drugs, getting away with both. He also formed an alliance with a drug dealer named Tio. Julien started sexual-reorientation therapy. Captain Edgar-veda decided to run for city council and tried everything he could to bring Vic down for corruption.

Some gangbangers tag a wall and sledgehammer two wooden posts to the ground. They tie a man to each post and put a tire around him. This is going nowhere good. The gangbangers pour gas onto the men and set the first tire on fire. Season 2 is certainly off to a brutal start. The gang leader is played by Danny Pino, AKA Scotty from Cold Case. He turns up the music to muffled the first man's agony.
The second intended victim pleads for his life in Spanish.

Vic meets with a private investigator named Gordie in a hotel parking lot. The PI sent Corinne's photo to hotels with weekly or monthly rates; Corinne checked into this one last week as Jan Murphy. There's something else Vic needs to know: Corinne isn't by herself. Vic knows that; she took the kids too. The PI says the kids aren't with her. However, a guy named Steven is. He owns a local yoga studio.

Gordie isn't surprised. His own ex-wife started working out right after their divorce. The thing is, Corinne and Vic are still legally married. Steven's been visiting Corinne every night. Vic asks which room. "209," says Gordie. As Vic heads upstairs, Gordie half-heartedly tells him to stop.

Vic breaks down the door of Room 209, where a man and woman are having sex. Vic throws the man off the bed. "Who are you?!" screams the woman, who's definitely not Corinne.
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Vic none too gracefully removes himself from the situation and chews out Gordie in the parking lot: "You've been on this for a month. You can't find 3 kids and a housewife?" Gordie thinks they need to expand their search beyond Southern California. Matthew and Cassidy haven't been in school, Corinne isn't staying with a friend or relative, and there's no financial trail. Vic opposes the idea of checking accident reports and hospital records.

In a garage, a guy is about to pop open a crate that came from Mexico. Lem is the lookout, kneeling next to the partially unrolled door. "Come on, hurry up," he says anxiously. Mixed in with the Mexican blankets are bricks of drugs. Shane, sporting a stylish brown leather blazer, says two shipments in a week isn't too shabby.

Tio tests the merchandise with a police kit and nonsensically announces to Shane, "We're pregnant." Shane follows Tio home in his truck. Lem is riding shotgun and nervous: "You know, if we double up on shipments, sooner or later, someone's gonna notice." "Hey, Vic put me in charge," says Shane, "So just roll with it." A sheriff's car changes lanes, getting in between Shane's truck and Tio's car.

"What're we gonna do if they find that coke?" Ronnie pipes up from the backseat. Shane says they'll lose $50 K each. "Three black guys with a trunk full of coke can't drive the goddamn speed limit?" asks Ronnie. Apparently not. The deputy hits the lights and sirens. Lem mutters, "I knew this was a mistake." Shane tells him to shut up, then asks what they should do. Lem shrugs, "Hey, you're in charge." "Hey, we're in this together," Shane disagrees.

Cut to Tio and his crew facedown on the pavement while the car is searched. "Hey lookie here, Clark," says one of the cops, holding up the bag o' coke. Shane pulls over and the cop draws his gun. Lem holds up his badge and is all "It's cool, we're cops too." Shane takes over, saying the deputies just busted his informant and they're on their way to a bust; the coke is theirs.

"Who's in charge of the sting?" asks the deputy. Vic Mackey. Shane would be more than happy to call him and have him come down. The deputy wants to know who their CO is. Edgar-veda will be getting a phone call too. Shane hopes he doesn't mind waking up a captain.

"Burning necklaces have been gaining popularity in Central and South American drug cartels," Dutch informs his partner. She tells him they've also been used in South Africa to kill police informants. She learns that Dutch, who couldn't speak a lick last season, is now taking Spanish classes.

Vic arrives at the traffic stop in his shiny Dodge Ram. The patrolman asks if Vic knows Lem, Shane, and Ronnie. Vic unwisely attempts to lighten the mood: "Depends. What'd they do?" The patrolman explains how he pulled over Tio and found guns and cocaine; the rest of the Strike Team says it's for a buy-bust. Nobody notified the sheriff's office about the operation, so the deputies have to wait for Edgar-veda to give them the all-clear. Vic says it's not necessary; they're already late.

No sooner does he say that than Edgar-veda pulls up in a sedan with a cherry-drop light on the dash. For once, Edgar-veda's not wearing a shirt and tie. The deputy tells them about Tio's trunkload of blow. The captain owes Vic a favor; he got all the credit for taking down Gilroy and the cop-killers. Edgar-veda lies that it's his fault because he forgot to forward a form. He promises it won't happen again. The deputy apologizes for delaying them and goes back to his car.

Edgar-veda approaches the Strike Team: "You're on your way to a bust, right?" Shane says yes. The captain tells them to go arrest someone. Shane, Lem, and Ronnie get back in the truck. "You and I need to talk," Edgar-veda says to Vic.

In the captain's office, Vic thanks him for cutting them slack on the supposed paperwork snafu. The captain asks if something is wrong with Vic; he's been working fewer hours and his arrest numbers are down. "Bad guys must be hibernating," says Vic. Dude, nobody hibernates in Los Angeles. "Why don't you just give me a demerit and call it a night?"

Edgar-veda informs him a civilian auditor is coming to the Barn and will probably shut the place down if she sees what he sees. Vic shrugs that it's the captain's problem. "I don't think she'll be as understanding of your paperwork snafus as I am, which makes this our problem," Edgar-veda says, "This drug thing tonight--" Vic promises that Shane and the boys are totally arresting some people for that.

The burning necklace victims have been identified as Pablo Fernando and Christopher Reyes, street names Bang-Bang and Cucha. One was a Los Mag, the other a Toro, but both were high-ranking. Edgar-veda reminds everyone to be on their best behavior; Lanie the civilian auditor starts her observations today. Everyone groans. He can't help that the city council called her, given the recent public scandals.

By the cage, Shane mutters to Vic, "Say hello to Fall Guy #1 and Fall Guy #2." "Why are you turning in Tio's stash?" asks Vic, eyeing the cocaine brick on the counter. Turns out the drugs belong to the Spanish fall guys. Vic heard the dealers in the cage were small-time. Lem guesses they aren't anymore. Edgar-veda wanders over, praising the Strike Team for the arrests. Once he's gone, Shane says the fall guys bought their coke from Alvarez, another supposed small-timer.
Wouldn't be surprised if it turns out to be THIS Alvarez.
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Vic wants to pay Alvarez a visit and find out why he's "moving from the minors to the majors." I'm not sure if this is an unintentional reference to another project Kenny Johnson and Walton Goggins worked on together: Major League: Back to the Minors. Vic's phone rings and he's all "what now?!"

The Strike Team arrives at Tio's and Vic asks what the problem is. Tio says, "That," indicating a guy on all fours throwing up blood. He jumps out of the way as the guy pukes again. "What'd you call us for?" Shane demands. Tio points out that he can't exactly have the paramedics stop by his stash spot. Tio's underling says the guy snorted a few lines of product to check the quality. Tio isn't happy about his "employees" giving out free samples.

"Shit, he's going into cardiac arrest," Lem says from the floor. He calls for a towel. When Shane hands one over, Lem wipes off the guy's face and starts giving him mouth-to-mouth. Shane and Vic groan in disgust as Lem continues CPR, managing to revive the guy. Vic tells Lem to drop him off at the ER door and not answer any questions. Two of Tio's guys pick up the overdose victim and carry him out.

"How much did he do?" Vic asks another of the "salesmen." He swears it was just a couple of lines and the guy isn't allergic to it or anything. Shane thinks he could've been mixing drugs. "Maybe the coke's bad," Lem suggests. Shane insists nothing is wrong with the cocaine except maybe that it's too pure. "You're so sure, do a line," Vic tells him, because Shane isn't nearly volatile enough. He asks Ronnie to take a sample to the lab.

Tio asks who'd contaminate his drugs. Vic surmises it was someone with enough coke of their own to put Tio out of business. They might as well forget about the hospital after spending all this time arguing.

Vic parks halfway on the sidewalk to Alvarez, out for a stroll with his angry pitbull. It's not the guy who played Kurt Sutter's other Alvarez either. He wants to know how a minor crack dealer got a hold of high-quality cocaine. Alvarez insists he's clean. Vic says they picked up some of his guys. Alvarez is all "I don't know what you mean." Lem grabs the pitbull's leash and as strong as he is, even he can barely hang onto the dog. He's lucky the thing didn't take his hand off. Vic tells Alvarez they're taking him for a little car ride.

They head down the street, Alvarez up front with Vic and Lem in the back with the dog. Vic is sure Alvarez doesn't visit One-Niner territory often; I'd say so too, what with the One-Niners being a rival gang and all. Vic stops and yells out an insult about the sister of a One-Niner named Mo, claiming Alvarez said it. Quickly rolling up the window, he asks if Alvarez messed with Tio's latest shipment. Alvarez won't say.

One-Niners have started to surround the car. Vic tells Alvarez he'll have to find another ride. Lemming, hugging the dog (yes, really) hopes Alvarez's expensive sneakers make him run faster. Alavrez says he got the coke from Navaro and Armadillo Quintero.
I know these little guys are cute, but naming your kid after one?
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The Quintero brothers are major coke dealers from Tijuana, trying to flood Farmington with their product. Alvarez nervously tells Vic to get him away from all the angry rival bangers.

Back at the Barn, Vic gives Claudette his lead about the Quinteros. He buzzes in Gordie the PI. Upstairs, Edgar-veda asks his secretary if she knows who Gordie is. She doesn't. Edgar-veda tells her to check the visitors' log. I'm surprised Corinne running out on Vic hasn't hit the precinct grapevine. In the clubhouse, Gordie explains that he's part of a PI network. He can give Corinne's information to all his friends (in exchange for a fee, of course). $20,000 will get Vic half of Gordie's contacts, $50 K for everyone.

Despite doing this for a living, Vic can't seem to tell he's being shaken down. Either that or he's so desperate to find his family he doesn't care what it costs. Given his reaction in the Season 1 finale, I'm going with the latter. There's just one snag: Gordie's contacts will want half the fee up front. Vic promises he'll have the money in an hour.

Claudette asks Cucha's family if they know of anyone who'd want to kill him. Cucha has a teenage brother, a female relative who could be a mom or aunt, and a little sister dressed up in a Catholic school uniform. Cucha's brother says he doesn't know anything and denies knowing the Quinteros. "Armadillo?" pipes up little sister Mayda. Cucha repeats that nobody knows nothing. Dutch leaves his pocket notebook on a side table, presumably for Mayda to find.

Vic meets Shane at a self-storage place, asking to make an emergency withdrawal from their retirement fund. Shane says there's nothing left in the storage locker, the remainder of the Strike Team pulled it out and invested it. A likely story. Vic is none too happy that he wasn't consulted. Shane shrugs that Vic put him in charge and that investing the money was supposed to be a surprise. "It is. A bad one," says Vic.

Shane thinks Vic should be more appreciative that his best buddy has increased shipments and assisted with distribution. "Distribution?" Vic cries. The Strike Team were supposed to be middlemen, not dealers. Shane insists that all he's doing is taking their game up a level. "What level is that? Prison?!" Vic demands. Shane says Vic's money is currently tied up in a cocaine investment, specifically the coke "that had Tio's guy bleeding from every orifice."

Vic needs his share of the money. Shane counters that they all do. Vic reminds Shane that he's trying to track down Corinne and his kids. Shane had no idea they were missing. Vic bellows that he needs $25 K to give to his PI. Shane screwed him. They argue back and forth. "What am I supposed to do?!" Vic screams in frustration. Shane has no answer.

Claudette asks a pretty white girl, Jessica, if she recently left her boyfriend Cucha to be with Armadillo. Jessica says no. She has an interesting tattoo on one cheek: a small white dove in flight. Jessica is not your typical gangbanger's girlfriend; she's a senior at the exclusive-sounding Whitney School For Girls and her father is a chiropractor-to-the-stars. Claudette wonders how Dad feels about her changing from "Westside cheerleader to barrio gang babe." Dutch makes a comment about the face tattoo. Jessica works hard not to cry.

She explains that two weeks before, she and Cucha were going for a walk when they were accosted by Armadillo and his homies. They asked if Cucha had changed his mind about something. When he said no, Armadillo took Jessica to his house and raped her. Afterward, he held her down while someone else gave her the dove tattoo. When Cucha saw the tattoo later, he called Jessica a puta (Spanish for slut). Crying, she asks them to have her dad pick her up.

Danny wakes up naked in bed. She checks the alarm clock, almost knocking over a glass of wine, and groans, "Oh God, I fell asleep." Vic stands nearby, getting dressed. She asks what they're gonna tell Corinne. Vic lies that she's out of town for the 5th time this month. Danny doesn't mind them having a thing; she just doesn't want them to "have a thing," a statement that makes no sense whatsoever. Before Vic leaves, he gives her a quick kiss.

At the stash spot, Vic informs Jasper that he got a batch of coke tainted with rosary pea. Rosary pea, a woodvine native to Florida, is also extremely toxic. They're lucky more cocaine didn't hit the street or they'd have a lot of dead bodies to explain. Tio is sure Jasper messed with the drugs. We learn Jasper isn't just a coke runner; he's a customs agent. Jasper insists the drugs must've been laced in Mexico. His supplier uses a store called Rosillian Imports in Tijuana as a front for Navaro Quintero.

In the Barn's back parking lot, Gordie asks for his fee. Vic explains he hit a snag getting it and asks Gordie to front the money. Gordie doesn't have an extra $25,000 sitting around, but thinks he can stall until that night. He gives Vic a deadline of 10:00.

Vic goes into the clubhouse. Ronnie is chilling on the couch and Lem is playing solitaire or something. Vic tells everyone to take off their guns so they can make a quick trip to Tijuana. Lem immediately stands up and heads for his locker. Shane is more reluctant, even though he always sucks up to Vic. Edgar-veda sticks his head in to introduce Lanie the civilian auditor. She has a few question for Vic, who replies that he's busy and leaves.

Edgar-veda follows him, asking where Vic is going. "Tijuana," he answers. Edgar-veda wants to know why. Vic tells him that someone has been smuggling poisoned cocaine into Farmington. The captain points out the Strike Team doesn't have jurisdiction in Mexico. Vic will take a personal day to go down there. Edgar-veda says he won't sign off on it. "If you want dozens of potential voters keelin' over, so be it." If the captain didn't know Vic so well, he'd think that tone was actually calm.

Vic drives the guys to the border in a generic sedan. The border patrol agent on the Mexico side asks about the nature of their visit. "Little bit of everything," Vic answers vaguely, somehow not throwing any red flags. The guy waves them through with a "Welcome to Mexico." Vic drives further down and stops the car in the middle of the street. He tells the guys to find guns. Shane looks around dubiously: "They got gun stores?" "It's Tijuana, use your imagination." Vic retorts. Lem and Shane get out. Next to Vic, Ronnie is studying a map. Vic asks if he knows how to get to Rosillian Imports.

Our boys on foot are immediately accosted by a chubby middle-aged Mexican man. "Nice girls, hot girls," he says. Lem absolutely towers over the guy and surprisingly doesn't tell him about his Latina girlfriend Tigre. Shane starts to drag him away.

Rosillian Imports looks closed. Ronnie tries to climb the metal security door. Vic swears. A plainclothes Mexican policeman appears and wants to know what they're doing. Ronnie jumps down. Vic tells the guy they're cops from the U.S. The Mexican offers says they should be more careful; this isn't a safe part of town for tourists. It doesn't look particularly safe for the residents either. Vic claims he's looking for a friend's sister who got kidnapped two days ago. His friend wants to pay the ransom and not fool with a police report.

Vic says they're looking for Navaro Quintero. "I'm not surprised," says Mexican Policeman, "He and his brother are our biggest problem." Navaro has an open federal warrant in the U.S., but he can't be arrested as long as he's in Tijuana.

Lem and Shane are following a different guy through the streets, a guy who says he knows where they can buy guns. Shane thinks it's sad Tijuana isn't living up to its potential as a community of friendly senoritas and white-sand beaches; instead, it's the "asshole of South America." "Mexico's in Central America," Lemming corrects. Shane asks where the guns are and finds out less than a second later.

The Mexican and his companions surround them with weapons drawn. "Where is your money?" asks the leader. Lem and Shane both have a can-you-believe-this-shit look on their faces. Lem gives up his wallet first, which also happens to have his big shiny badge in it. Shane shows them his own badge. The Mexicans are unimpressed.

Shane is reluctant to fork over his wallet. One of the muggers puts a gun to the base of Lem's skull. Surprisingly, Shane doesn't make some crack about how he never liked Lem anyway. I suppose he figures the Strike Team won't be able to explain yet another corpse of one of their own. He hands over his wallet. The Mexican muggers tell them to hit the road. Oh, explaining their missing badges to Edgar-veda is gonna be fun.

Back at the Barn, Lanie introduces herself to Dutch. She asks for his personal notes on Gilroy's land fraud case and the hit-and-run; his bail hearing is coming up and the D.A. doesn't want any surprises. Dutch promises to get it to her ASAP. Cucha's little sister Mayda shows up to return Dutch's notebook. She's changed out of her school uniform and into jeans and a yellow T-shirt with a matching barrette shaped like a butterfly.

Mayda asks if Dutch caught Armadillo, revealing "he's the one who killed my brother." Upstairs, Mayda takes off her barrette and plays with it. Armadillo apparently paid the family a visit and told Cucha that "he could join him or he could die." She's rather calm about this, even though it was said right in front of her. Mayda thinks Armadillo wants her to be scared of him, but she's not.

Claudette comes into the room and talks to Dutch just outside the door. Dutch explains that Mayda came forward on her own. "You're interviewing a minor without a guardian present," Claudette reminds him. Dutch tells her that Armadillo threatened Cucha in front of his little sister. Mayda could testify to the grand jury. However, her family objects. Claudette throws out the old "You'd understand if you had kids argument."

She walks Mayda downstairs and says she'll take her home. Claudette praises Mayda for being brave enough to tell them what she heard. Mayda notices she forgot her barrette. Claudette promises to buy another one.

In Tijuana, Navaro is eating lunch on a restaurant patio. Ronnie is surprised there are only two bodyguards with him. "Probably thinks nobody's crazy enough to mess with him," Vic says sagely. Shane and Lem walk up. Vic asks for one of their guns. Lem tells Vic they didn't get any, but doesn't mention the mugging.

Vic shrugs that they'll go after Navaro anyway, ignoring Lem and Ronnie's protests. He tells Ronnie to get the car; Lem and Shane will tackle the bodyguards and take their guns. When they get within shouting distance, Vic calls to Navaro: "Hey, can you tell me where the donkey shows are around here?" then punches the drug lord in the head. Shane and Lem disarm the bodyguards.

Ronnie drives up, the car's brakes screeching. Shane pushes Navaro into the backseat. Lem gets in on the other side and Vic rides up front.

Julien has a young boy named Randall in the cage. The kid's mother shows up and Julien explains that Randall was caught trying to shoplift spray paint from a hardware store. Randall's also been spotted tagging buildings. His mom Vanessa is upset and disappointed.

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Julien adds that it isn't normal procedure to arrest kids Randall's age, but they couldn't get a hold of Vanessa and the store owner wants to press charges. Vanessa doesn't know what else she can do to help her son be a good person; she cut back on her work hours so she can be home with him at night, is active in his PTA, and they go to church. Julien will see what he can do.

"She seems pretty upset," he mutters to Danny. She replies, "She should be." The kid's only 10 and he's stealing and tagging buildings and "before you know it, we'll be mopping him off a sidewalk." Julien thinks he can break the odds.

Down in Tijuana, the Strike Team has parked atop a deserted hill that looks like an illegal dump. Ronnie is siphoning some gas out of the sedan. "I ain't paying you nothing, ese," declares Navaro, who's played by Sons of Anarchy alum Emilio Rivera. If they let him go, they can go back to California alive.

There's a handy pile of tires nearby. Vic asks Lem to give him one. Vic puts the tire over Navaro's neck. Ronnie pours gas on him. Vic menacingly flicks a cigarette lighter. Navaro changes his tune and asks how much money they want. $350,000 American, plus another $50,000 for ruining Vic's day. Lem tells Vic not to push it. "Shut the hell up!" shouts Vic. Poor Lemming must get sick of hearing that.

When Claudette goes to Armadillo's house, the other half of the Quintero drug cartel answers the door holding a thick book, wearing nothing but a black Speedo, a watch, and a gold chain. Lovely. Dutch takes note of the bruises speckled across Armadillo's torso. The next time we see Armadillo, he's dressed and in the interrogation room. Dutch asks, "What brings you to Los Angeles, Armando?" He just can't take a guy named after a desert creature seriously. Nor could I.

Armadillo is looking for new opportunities, like many other immigrants. Claudette asks if that includes putting the Los Mags and Toros out of business. Armadillo thinks it's a little early in their chat for her to be showing her hand. He claims he has no idea who the gangs are.

Armadillo has also been reading up on American law; he has stacks of law books at home. He knows the longest they can detain him without charging him is 6 hours. Dutch informs him that they can hold murder suspects for 24 hours. Armadillo says he has multiple alibis. "You're not here to fight the Toros and the Los Mags. You're here to unite them," Claudette realizes.

In observation, the captain poo-poos the idea of rival gangs working together. "They stop pissing on each other and turn their guns on everyday folks, it's not good," says Claudette. Edgar-veda asks how they can hold him when Jessica won't testify about her rape. Dutch says Mayda will testify. Claudette isn't comfortable with putting a 12-year-old girl in the middle of this. 12? Mayda's 9 if she's a day. They'll find some other way to get at Armadillo.

Vic drives Ronnie's car to a cemetery. Navaro is sandwiched in the back between Ronnie and Lem, the latter holding a gun to his head. Ronnie has a bad feeling. "Keep it yourself," says Vic. Navaro talks to his men in Spanish, getting them to put their guns down. As soon as they put a duffel bag of cash in the trunk, Vic drives away. "What are you doing?!" asks Shane.

Navaro's guys start shooting at the car. The backseat is too cramped for Lem and Ronnie to force the drug dealer to the floorboards. "Let's toss him!" yelps Shane. Vic parks on a different trash-strewn hillside. Nobody's been shot. They get out to inspect the damage to the car. "Holy shit. I just leased this car!" cries Ronnie.
Pictured: the least of Ronnie's problems.
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Vic knows Navaro has a federal warrant and wants to turn him in on it. However, they can't arrest people in Mexico. Vic is sure that once they get Navaro to the States, nobody'll care too much how he got there. "This is insane!" shouts Shane. And if Shane Vendrell is questioning your sanity, you're doing something pretty damn stupid. He thinks they should just leave him on the side of the road somewhere.

Vic says that Navaro was willing to poison dozens of strangers with bad coke. If they leave him, he might come back for revenge. Lem wants to know how they're supposed to get him across the border. Oh, that's easy: in the trunk. "That's if we even make it to the border! Look at the car!" Shane is good and agitated now. All I see are some holes in the trunk and back windshield and broken taillights.

"How am I gonna pay for this?" moans Ronnie. Lem adds that Navaro will be kicking and screaming the whole trip.
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Vic has a solution: Stop by a shady drugstore for some roofies. "The date rape drug?" asks Shane. No, the breath mint. "Don't pretend like you don't know what they look like," says Vic. Wow, that was uncalled for.

Claudette has more background on Armadillo. He was an orphan who grew up on the streets. His social worker had his IQ tested when he was 11 and got Armadillo into a school for gifted children. Two weeks into the semester, he was expelled for raping and beating one of his teachers. I'm sure the social worker tried to claim he was still basically a good kid. Armadillo did two years in Mexican juvie hall and hasn't had so much as a parking ticket ever since.

Dutch will put in a call to INS to find out if rape is enough to get Armadillo's visa revoked. I certainly hope so, good Lord! Lanie comes over to ask for Gilroy's file. Dutch says he's busy and will give it to her later. Lanie snippily informs him that she asks politely the first time and is a lot less polite if she has to ask again.

Cue a major power trip. Lanie's bosses want to know why Farmington is the epicenter of corruption, lawsuits, and riots. She could get people fired or even have the whole precinct shut down. Dutch thinks she's hot, so he folds like a cheap suit, mumbling, "Yes, ma'am." He looks up and sees Edgar-veda looming from his office perch.

The Strike Team waits in a long line of cars to cross back into the United States. Lem fidgets, noticing the heavily armed Border Patrol agents and roving drug dogs. The back of the sedan has touristy new bumper stickers covering up some of the damage. "How do we explain 400 grand in cash and a doped-out drug lord in our trunk?" asks Shane. Vic says pointedly, "If nobody breaks a sweat, we won't have to."

Lanie asks Edgar-veda where Vic is. The captain vaguely answers, "Still in the field." Lanie wants to know if that's code for....
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Edgar-veda gives her a shark's smile: "You're not after Mackey, are you? You're after me." Lanie claims nobody is being persecuted, buuuuuut the captain has enemies on the city council. Despite the scandals and rioting, Edgar-veda currently has a point lead over opposing candidate Karen Mitchell: "They know I'll be fair, but they also know that if there's something to find, I'll find it."

Julien lets 10-year-old thief Randall out of the cage; the hardware store owner agreed not to press charges if Julien vouched for the kid. He takes Randall upstairs and asks why he should be let go. Randall says stealing the spray paint was his friend Henry's idea and promises he'll never do it again. Julien seems to believe him, but warns that Randall will have to answer to both Julien and his mom if he keeps being a little punk.

Vanessa is waiting outside the interview room and asks if her kid is on the fast track to nowhere. Julien is sure Randall will think twice next time; he knows Vanessa is doing her best. They discuss their respective churches. Julien awkwardly asks if he can stop by her house that night. It's against police regulations to ask someone out while on duty. Vanessa is flattered and flirts, "Come by. Maybe I'll be home." She leaves with her son.

Dutch puts Gilroy's file on Lanie's desk. He looks like he wants to say more, but walks away. Passing by the observation room, he sees Armadillo laughing to himself on CCTV. That's odd. He goes into the interrogation room and asks what's so amusing. Armadillo's like "nuthin'". It's been 6 hours, so he's free to leave. Armadillo says, "I guess what I did when I was 11 doesn't stop me from visiting your country."

It's the Strike Team's turn in the U.S. reentry line. A dog sniffs the car while another agents asks for their IDs and to pop the trunk. Vic flashes his license as well as his badge because there's no way to explain why Lem and Shane don't have their licenses. Everyone in the car looks sick and miserable, so the agent asks, "You guys have a rough time on the other side?" Vic lies that they've spent the last two days blackout drunk at a bachelor party.

"Pop the trunk, please," the agent repeats. Vic says the trunk latch doesn't work and starts to get out of the car. Bad move. The agent puts out his hand for the keys. Walking around to the trunk, which is held shut with some wire, he asks what happened to it. Vic laughs that they were at someplace called Rosarita, which sounds like a brothel and I'm even more sure of it when he mentions Madame Maria: "...came out this morning and it looked like that." Lem looks ready to throw up.

"You boys are lucky you got off with just a few stickers," says the agent. Lemming gives the guy his most earnest this-was-a-boys'-weekend-gone-bad smile. Vic thinks he has some pliers around if the agent needs to cut the wire. The agent tells Vic not to worry about it, then asks if they have anything to declare. "Just that it's great to be back in the States," says Vic. The agent waves them along with a cheery "Welcome home."

At the Barn, Vic puts Navaro in the cage and takes a Polaroid of him, saying, "Quesadilla!" It would've been hilarious if Lem had popped around a corner like "Where???" Seeing a Polaroid camera makes 2002 feel like forever ago.

Dutch tells Claudette about Armadillo laughing creepily to himself. Claudette is sure nothing happened; Dutch is equally sure he was reacting to something. Vic apologizes to Lanie for giving her the brush-off. He had a tip that a Mexican drug lord was in town and had to pick him up. According to Vic, they arrested Navaro as he was about to go back to Mexico. Lanie says her questions can wait another day.

Claudette asks if anyone talked to Armadillo when he was upstairs. Nobody was supposed to, but they'll go to the tapes. When Dutch goes back over the footage, he sees Armadillo pick something up off the floor. Mayda's barrette. Oh God no.

The Strike Team goes to the storage unit to deposit their bag o' cash. They came out ahead, even though Ronnie's car is now totaled. Ronnie has gotten over the ruined lease, high-fiving and shadowboxing with Lem. Vic comes out and Shane locks the storage unit. "Gimme your keys," Vic orders. He can't trust them anymore. Even Shane doesn't argue. I have a slight suspicion Vic is gonna clean out the storage unit to keep paying the PI.

Claudette knocks on Mayda's family's apartment door. Her older brother answers. Claudette asks where Mayda is; her brother says a friend's house. She tells him to call and check. Dutch lets him know that Mayda told them about Armadillo, even though her brother told her to shut up about it. They tell him Armadillo knows Mayda talked. Mom reports in Spanish that Mayda never got to her friend's house. Oh shit.

Understandably, her brother is angry and panicky. Dutch promises they'll find her. But in what condition? Claudette is about to jump in the car when she spots Mayda walking dazedly up the sidewalk. She asks if the girl is okay and notices she's wearing her yellow butterfly barrette again. When Claudette gets down to Mayda's level, she sees a Band-Aid on the little girl's cheek. Underneath it is a fresh dove tattoo. Fucking hell.

Her older brother starts crying, picks her up, and runs back into the house with her. "Topo, let us get her to a doctor!" calls Claudette. She thumps on the closed door. "Let us help her!"

Gordie has new information on Corinne. She was given a warning for blowing a stop sign in Colorado Springs. His Denver contact took a photo three hours ago of Corinne and the kids shopping for groceries. Gordie shows it to Vic and it's them all right. Vic asks to keep the picture and Gordie is like "whatever."

At home, Vic eats a disgusting-looking TV dinner while listening to "Blue On Black" by Kenny Wayne Shepherd, an underrated song of the early 2000s. Seriously, YouTube it. There's a knock on the door and it's Edgar-veda. "I didn't know you made house calls," Vic says in a faux-cheerful tone. The captain asks if Gordie has tracked down the rest of the Mackeys yet: "I assume if they were here, your place would be in slightly better condition." Rude.

Edgar-veda makes some bold predictions. Next year, he'll be a city councilman. In 6 years, he'll be mayor. He asks how they can solve the problem of Lanie: "As much as I'd love for her to take you down, I don't need a scandal right now." I think you mean another scandal. They need to reach an understanding. Vic says, "Yeah, right." Edgar-veda doesn't think Vic has a choice. He'll watch Vic's back until the election if Vic gets the boys under control and doesn't embarrass the captain.

I think Vic mostly has the first part done. Lem and Ronnie don't do anything without the boss's say-so. Shane, however, is a loose cannon. "How do I know I can trust you?" asks Vic. Edgar-veda tosses the question right back. Vic says they have a deal. "This doesn't mean I like you," says the captain. Vic's well aware of that. He leaves. End of episode.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Sometimes You Get So Busy Runnin' 'Round in "Circles" (Episode 1.13)

Previously on: Two black women were murdered in their apartment; they had called 911 during the break-in, but it took the police an hour to respond. The 911 tapes were leaked to the local news, sparking a race riot. Gilroy killed someone in a hit-and-run, then shot the only witness. Gilroy's mistress Sedona is the CEO of a dummy corporation that's been buying up property in the neighborhood where the double murder took place. Gilroy went to Vic's house and menaced his family.

The riot in the Grove is still going strong. A police car has been flipped over and set on fire. A riot squad officer with a megaphone orders them to disperse, but no one is listening. People throw bottles at the riot squad's shields. They start to jump on cars parked along the street.

At the command post, Claudette and Edgar-veda listen in. It's getting too dangerous out there for the riot squad. The captain has to decide whether to pull them back or tell them it's time to start arresting people. He says to send them in. It only takes one container of tear gas to send most of the crowd on their way. A young woman trips and falls on her face. A uniform relays this to Edgar-veda. Things just went from bad to worse.

Danny gets a radio call, but another female officer answers that she's responding to the same address; she and Julien may need back up. Danny tells the rookie to hit the lights so the other officers can't beat them there.

Vic seems to have set his family up in a very nice hotel suite. He instructs Lem to keep everybody calm. He has the best temperament out of the whole Strike Team, so he picked the right man for the job. The rest of the Mackeys have to lay low until someone finds Gilroy. Vic asks if Lem minds sleeping over on the couch. "I've had worse," says Lem, taking off his jacket and making himself comfortable.

Corinne reports that all the kids are asleep and turns to her husband, "You want to tell me why my children are in danger?" Vic assures her they're not. "Then why are we living like refugees?" Over on the couch, Lem looks awkward about witnessing this marital dispute. Vic just has to figure out some things, so they can't go home yet. Corinne knows this doesn't happen to other cops' families.

Vic and Julien arrive at their scene, but the other officers beat them there. The female officer driving is unconscious in the car, her head bleeding. Her partner is dead. Julien radios for help. "Up," groans Officer Paula. Another bullet hits the roof of the car. Danny and Julien drag Paula and Rudy out of the car and to the ground. More than one person is shooting at them from the balcony of a nearby apartment building. Julien manages to hit one suspect; the others flee. Danny holds Paula in her lap.

Cut to Paula being loaded into an ambulance. Vic and Shane arrive. Claudette tells them what happened: "Someone made a bogus 911 call. When the units responded, they opened fire." To anyone following current US news, this should be sickeningly familiar. Vic sees Danny's patrol car and asks anxiously, "Who got hit?" The captain says Rudy is dead and Paula is in bad shape; Danny and Julien are fine.

"Is this because of the dead women who got stood up by 911?" asks Shane. Edgar-veda thinks so. Vic wants a shot at whoever is responsible, the line forms behind him. Danny is shaken; Vic gives her a hug. Claudette traced the fake 911 call to a cell phone registered to a man named Cyrus. Vic, Claudette, and Edgar-veda go to Cyrus' apartment and take him into custody.

"Where's your cell phone?" asks Claudette. He doesn't know. Edgar-veda tells him that's a problem; two police officers were shot and his phone made the call that lured them there. Cyrus says losing your phone isn't a crime. If it was, I personally would have a pretty long rap sheet.

Vic asks if Dutch is still working the gangbanger hit-and-run. Dutch nods. Vic wants to know if he ever tracked down the driver's girlfriend. Dutch says Sedona used to work at police headquarters as an accountant. All her real estate purchases went through the same escrow company, but they won't release anything without a warrant. Vic thinks he might be able to convince them.

In the clubhouse, Shane tells Vic that Gilroy isn't at home or his office: "We gotta find him before he finds us." Vic suggests Gilroy is with Sedona, but Shane is sure the mistress is dead. Vic more or less tells Shane to stop bitching and start helping him look through files. You see, in order for Gilroy to collect money from the land sales, he needs Sedona's signature. She's more valuable to keep alive.

Danny comes into the locker room and apologizes for interrupting his prayer. "You're shaking," she observes. He says he's not scared, just grateful he didn't lose his partner.

"This isn't the first cell phone you've lost, is it?" Claudette asks Cyrus. She called 7 cell phone providers; he's lost or cloned all 7 of those phones and always on the first of the month, due date for the bill. She suspects he sells the phones to people and waits a few days to report them missing. Legally, the phones are still in his name, which makes him an accessory to Rudy's murder. Cyrus can tell them who he sold the phones to and swears he wouldn't "get mixed up in no cop killings."

One of his customers is named Igal and quote "one of those Jews."
"Jews? Where?"
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Cyrus means "he's not an American of them real Jews, like from Jerusalem or somethin'." Dutch comes in with bad news. There's been another phony 911 call used as a setup to ambush police officers; both victims, Patrick and Chris, are dead. At the crime scene, Claudette and the captain find that both officers' badges have been taken as trophies.

Shane and Vic canvass the crowd for witnesses. Shane lies that they were told a woman was at the scene earlier; she didn't witness the shooting itself but remembers another witness being present. Mystery woman is supposedly on her way to ID that person. During the speech, a teenage black boy starts to slink away from the scene. Vic and Shane chase him through traffic, Vic yelling, "Don't make me shoot you, asshole!"

The boy tries to outwit the heavyset detective by climbing a wooden fence. Vic simply plows through it and lands on top of him. "I didn't do nothing, man!" the kid protests. Vic pulls a baggie of drugs out of his pocket, threatening to plant it on the kid if he doesn't start talking. The boy saw 3 people shoot the cops and "mess with the bodies a little," two black men and a black woman.

At the Barn, Shane brings in a stack of flyers with their suspects' sketches on them. Vic will see if his street contacts recognize them. "No one talks to the press but me," says Gilroy. Nice of you to join us. He wants every off-duty cop in Farmington here within 45 minutes. He demands to know why Dutch is just sitting at his desk. Dutch tells him about the hit-and-run.

"Well, stop," Gilroy orders, "We got cops bleeding out in the streets. Half the district's on fire. There is no other case. You and Claudette will be overseeing this investigation." Edgar-veda practically whines that this is his case. Gilroy explains why he's pulling Edgar-veda off. The captain was in charge of the riot squad and a woman got trampled to death during the rioting. Two more officers are dead and "I can't afford your leadership right now. If you wanna cry to the chief, do it downstairs 'cause I'm taking over your office."

Vic comes upstairs and is stunned to see Gilroy behind Edgar-veda's desk. "You threatened my family," says Vic. Gilroy says coolly, "If I wanted to hurt them, I could've. You kept digging into Sedona and our land deals. I was just refocusing you." Vic knows what Gilroy did, but the deputy chief is confident he won't do anything with that knowledge. Gilroy has something on Vic. I'm not sure if he's referring to Terry or something else. He tells him to find the cop killers and forget about Sedona.

In the bathroom, Edgar-veda splashes some cold water on his face. Vic sees this and plays on the captain's ego; Gilroy is unfairly blaming him for what happened in the Grove and Edgar-veda will be the goat even when they catch the cop killers. It could be bad news for him in the city council race. "What if I told you there was a way to flip things around, make you the hero?" All the captain has to do is help Vic catch a dirty cop.

"Gilroy diverted police units from that part of town so crime would rise and he could buy property at a profit?" asks Edgar-veda in the Strike Team clubhouse. These actions led, however indirectly, to the double homicide that sparked the race riots and the murders of police officers. Vic tells about Gilroy being afraid of this information coming out after he killed someone in a hit-and-run with his mistress riding shotgun.

Edgar-veda asks why Vic doesn't just arrest Gilroy. "Because I can't prove it," says Vic. He can't decipher all these complicated real-estate papers, but a smart guy like Edgar-veda could. "You're flattering me, so this must be a setup." Give the captain a cookie! Vic can't charge Gilroy for the hit-and-run because he had the car fixed and the only witness is dead. They need to find Sedona, Gilroy's passenger/mistress. She can give him up.

If Edgar-veda finds her, Vic will let him make the big arrest of the cop killers and Gilroy. It'd be a real pretty headline. There's more back-and-forth about how Edgar-veda doesn't trust Vic. The captain does agree to do it.

Dutch dumps out an evidence bag full of phones, asking Igal if he's trying to put AT&T out of business. Claudette tells him all the phones were cloned or stolen. Igal deadpans, "I am as shocked you are to discover that." Dutch shows him the sketches. Are any of these people his customers? Igal isn't sure and wants to know what the kids have done.

Claudette informs him they shot and killed three police officers and put a fourth in the hospital. They used these phones to lure the officers into harm's way. Igal admits to selling each of the kids a phone the day before. He asks what he can do to help. Claudette tells him to write down the numbers of the phones they bought.

Ronnie is upset about Patrick's death; the Strike Team just went to his kid's birthday party. Lem joins them, still in last night's Canadian tux and orange T-shirt. Vic will be giving out a reward to whoever IDs the cop killers. He asks how the kids are doing. Just fine, Uncle Lem rented them a PlayStation. Lem thinks Vic should call Corinne because she's not a happy camper. The guys head off in different directions.

Vic decides to take Lem's advice. "When are we going home?" asks Corinne without so much as a hello. Vic is sure it'll just be a day or two; he has a lot going on and doesn't need another problem. "What's happening to this family is a problem and you won't even tell me why!" says Corinne angrily. Vic retorts that all she needs to do is sit at the hotel and do nothing; is that so hard? He'll tell her when it's safe go home. "Don't bother," Corinne tells him, hanging up. I bet she pulls a Janet Gavin and moves everybody's stuff out while he's at work.

Vic and Shane find Tio the drug dealer on his usual corner. "Killing brain cells is fine, but killing cops ain't," Vic says, patting Tio down. Tio thinks the community should work for a better relationship with the police department. Vic tells Tio to be his eyes and ears on the street, his hands and feet too if he finds the shooters first. People tend to brag about these things.

At the Barn, Edgar-veda is trying to get someone at the real-estate office to give him some information. Gilroy apologizes for being hard on the captain. He thinks he knows how to make him feel better about being pushed off the cop killings. This interests Edgar-veda enough that he hangs up the phone. Until recently, Gilroy thought Vic meant well enough.

Now there's a dead kid named Jesus who's been written off as a gang hit. A source says Vic did it. Oh, that dirty bastard! Edgar-veda is the only person Gilroy can trust to look into it. Suddenly, a hail of gunfire takes out the Barn's stained-glass windows. Pity, they looked so nice. "Lock down the building!" Edgar-veda orders.

Inexplicably, he and a group of other officers then run out into the back of the station. The shooter's red car barely gets half a block before it's boxed in by police cars. One of the passengers is still holding what looks like a machine pistol. Edgar-veda orders them to throw their guns out the window. One of the suspects whines that the police will just shoot him anyway. A uniform has a clean shot, but the captain tells him not to fire and starts talking to the suspects in Spanish. The driver and passenger drop their guns on the ground.

"Everyone in the neighborhood feels like they can take a free shot now," says Edgar-veda as the suspects are put in the cage. Gilroy asks if Edgar-veda is still interested in taking down Vic, which, of course he is.

Vic and Shane meet Tio on his corner. The drug dealer "heard about some punk flashing a cop's badge as a souvenir." He knows where the kid lives; his dad is a regular customer. "Dad's busy mainlining and Junior's a cop killer. I doubt Mom's Betty Crocker," says Vic. They drive off with an address in hand. Not surprisingly, it's a sleazy apartment building.

When they open the door, Dad's sitting on the couch with two syringes sticking out of his arm. "We're looking for your boy," says Vic. Sonny isn't home and Dad has no idea where he could be. Also not a surprise. If he doesn't cooperate, he'll be going through withdrawal in a holding cell. Dad thinks he can get Sonny home, but what's in it for him? When Vic pushes him back onto the couch, we see two more syringes sticking out of the top of Dad's foot.

Danny and Julien get a radio call, a woman reporting that she's dying. Julien notes the address is only 3 blocks from where Paula and Rudy were killed. They walk up to the house with extreme caution. Danny raps on the metal security door with her baton. "In here!" a woman shouts.

An older black woman is lying in bed. She tells them her daughter left and she's in too much pain to get out of bed to get her arthritis medicine. "You called us for your arthritis medicine?" Danny is incredulous, "Ma'am, 911 is for emergencies." "Well, it's an emergency to me," the woman retorts. Danny checks the prescription label and shakes two pills into her hand. "Would it kill you to get me a glass of water?" asks the woman.

Junkie Dad answers a phone call from Sonny, lying that Mom just came home. She got religion and can't wait to see him. He tells Vic that Sonny is on his way and shoots up another syringe.

Claudette gets a tip. A cell phone Igal sold to one of the killers was just used to call an apartment in the Grove. She and Dutch leave.

Sonny arrives and instead of a kiss from Mama, he gets a bearhug from Vic. And not the fun kind. Vic finds a gun on the kid and asks, "This what you used to kill my friends?" Sonny also has a badge in his pocket. He won't tell Vic who his partners were. Vic stabs the kid with the pointy part of the badge. "Dad!" Sonny cries. Junkie Dad, already high, unconvincingly says, "Sorry."

Vic asks again who else was in on this. "Benji and Twanya," sobs Sonny. Their plan had been to all squat in an abandoned building in the Grove. Vic pulls the badge out and stabs the kid somewhere else. He's getting ready to poke him a third time when they hear: "Police! Search warrant!" "It's just us!" Shane calls back.

Enter Claudette with several uniforms. Vic holds up the badge, proving this is one of the cop-killers. Sonny whimpers that Vic stabbed him with it. "You look fine to me," says Claudette. In the interrogation room, one of Sonny's legs is shaking. Dutch asks why he did it. Claudette wants to know how many more lives he wants to ruin. "More the merrier," Sonny replies coldly. He makes a finger gun and "fires" it at Dutch. "It takes everything in me not to slap you silly," hisses Claudette.

Tio tells a crack whore he won't give her a freebie. Vic and Shane pull up, this time with Lem and Ronnie as reinforcement. Vic needs another favor from Tio, namely all the cash on him: "I need to grease a few wheels. I left my play money at home." Tio hands it over.

Vic divvies up the money, telling the guys to "talk to every Boxcar Willy and bag lady" they can find. He wants to know where Benji and Twanya are squatting. Ronnie says, "Looks like it's gonna be rainin' Jim Beam." "Make it Thunderbird; it'll go farther," Lem advises.

Sedona arrives at the real-estate office, saying, "I was told there was a problem with the closing on one of my properties." "Actually, there's not," the realtor admits. Edgar-veda says he's a police captain and wants to talk to her. They go to her house, which is a far cry from her place in Farmington. Sedona modestly says she's been successful lately. Edgar-veda knows about the shell corporation in the Caymans.

"If you were gonna arrest me, you would've taken me in, not back to my place," she says, offering him a drink. Edgar-veda wants to know how the land scheme works. Sedona speculates real estate and knows it's not illegal. "Unless your boyfriend is keeping police resources from that area so it stays a slum and you can buy it on the cheap," says Edgar-veda. She can then sell it at a profit when the police clean up the neighborhood again. Sedona thinks she should've thought of that. The captain is sure she did; "seems a bit too complicated for Gilroy." Ouch.

Sedona claims she doesn't know anyone named Gilroy. Edgar-veda can prove she worked in his office for 2 months. She must've showed him how to put police department pensions in her account long enough to buy the land. He wants to hear about the hit-and-run.

Dutch thinks he understands why Sonny's angry: Dad's a heroin addict and Mom ran away when Sonny was 9. Did he know the women across the street, the ones who were murdered? Was this for revenge or a sick way of getting kicks? Twanya knew the murder victims; they took care of her. Twanya, Sonny, and Benji couldn't let their deaths go unanswered.

"The police didn't kill those women. Wally Thornton did," Dutch points out. Sonny disagrees, "They called 911! You all took an hour to show up!" He killed the cops "just like you all killed those ladies." Claudette levels a finger at him: "I don't care how right you think you are. I don't care what kinda bad life you've had. What you did was wrong. It's as wrong as it gets."
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Edgar-veda introduces Vic to Sedona: "She has a lot of interesting things to say about our assistant chief." "So much for loyalty, huh?" Vic remarks. Ben may be in love, but Sedona has a future. The captain informs Vic that he's been implicated too: "You think I wouldn't find out about the murder?" I'm sure he was counting on it. Vic swears he had nothing to do with killing Jesus, which actually is true. Edgar-veda tells Vic he has a warrant to search his house for the murder weapon.

Vic looks worried: "Ben was at my house yesterday." He adds in a whisper, "He must've planted the gun there." "And why would Gilroy have a murder weapon to an unsolved gang hit?" the captain asks. Vic's answer is unexpected: "Because he killed Jesus. I was in the room when he did it." He looks at the paper: "This warrant is 6 hours old."

Edgar-veda hasn't searched Vic's house yet. Gilroy wanted Vic to be allowed to arrest the cop-killers first. Vic phone rings. When he answers it, he scribbles down an address. "That was Lem," he tells the captain, "They know where the other two shooters are. Are you gonna help Gilroy frame me, or are you gonna go with me and nail these bastards?"

At the abandoned building, Vic asks if they're sure the kids are inside. "Thunderbird did the trick," Ronnie confirms. Lem adds that a squatter said Benji waved a gun in his face. He and Ronnie are sitting in the back of the van, outfitted in their tactical gear. As usual, Lem has the shotgun with the flashlight mounted on it. Edgar-veda pulls a vest on over his shirt and tie.

Vic tells everyone to stay close. "I know what I'm doing," says Edgar-veda. The look that passes between Lem and Shane says otherwise. Vic gives a quick pep talk: "If they want to come peacefully, fine. If not, they killed Rudy, Patrick, and Chris." As they enter the building, the captain is at the very back of the line.

The first group of squatters they come across are all too old to be Benji and Twanya. The next squatter is an old white man. It's Vic who finds them. While talking to Benji, Vic doesn't notice Twanya raising a gun behind him. Edgar-veda calls out, "Vic!" and shoots Twanya.

Vic is pointing Benji's gun at him along with his own: "Put your hands on your hand! I'm not gonna tell you again!" The rest of the Strike Team arrives. Lem asks if they're okay. Edgar-veda says yes and rips a gold chain off the girl's neck; dangling from it is a dead officer's badge. And now Vic owes the captain for saving his life.

Dutch and Gilroy watch as Benji is brought in. "Great work, David," the assistant chief praises. In the office, he asks if Edgar-veda still has the warrant for Vic's house. The captain doesn't think it's fair for Vic to be stabbed in the back after cleaning up Gilroy's mess; he knows all about the land grab and the hit-and-run. "Last time. Don't play with fire," Gilroy warns. If Edgar-veda won't serve the warrant, he'll find someone else. He adds, "You're fired."

Meanwhile, Vic and Shane are tearing the Mackey's kitchen apart, Shane climbing on the counters to look in the cabinets. Oh, Corinne is gonna love finding those boot prints. "Check the den again," Vic barks. Ronnie didn't find anything in Matthew's room, so Vic sends him to the garage.

"Ah, this gun is nowhere!" gripes Shane, fumbling around a living room table. He knocks over a framed photo of the Mackeys and the glass breaks. "I found it!" Lem screams from somewhere in the house. He appears, carrying a revolver, informing Vic, "It was in the central air vent in Cassidy's room." Vic checks the cylinder and sees it's loaded.

Gilroy arrives at Sedona's, all "Honey, I'm home!" Vic is waiting on the couch and greets, "Hi, Ben" with just a hint of malice. Shane locks the door. Vic holds up the revolver Gilroy planted. Shane disarms the assistant chief. "You planted a murder weapon in my house? A loaded gun in my little girl's room?" rumbles Vic. Gilroy is sure Cassidy couldn't have reached it.

Shane looks forward to what's coming next: "Oh, you are so over, man." Gilroy is sure there's a way out. "Shut up, you goddamn drunk!" says Shane. Gilroy asks them to drop him and Sedona off somewhere in Mexico and they'll disappear. Vic can't do that. "Just kill me, Vic! Go ahead!" says Gilroy. Oh, don't tempt him.

Gilroy asks what makes Vic think he's really the better man. Vic cocks the revolver and holds it under Gilroy's chin: "I'm not like you." "Not yet," Gilroy amends before telling him to pull the trigger. Shane also encourages it. He knows it can't be easy with all the history Vic and Gilroy have. He volunteers to shoot Gilroy instead. Vic's hand shakes as he holds the gun. Eventually, he decides to just pistol-whip his old friend.

In the locker room, Danny thinks she and Julien are becoming a good team. She does wonder about something. She tries to get Julien to open up about his life outside work, but he never asks her personal questions. "You want to talk, we will," says Julien, which isn't really an answer.

The squadroom falls into a sudden hush when Vic frogmarches Gilroy in. The assistant chief is bloodied and handcuffed. Vic puts him in the cage. Enter Lem. Oh, sweetheart, go home and at least change your clothes. He has bad news for Vic: "I went by the hotel. Your family's gone."

Corinne comes home and finds the house still absolutely trashed. Edgar-veda has a press conference to announce the cop-killers were arrested and that Gilroy was arrested for choices that led to "tragic circumstances." Vic walks through the house, calling for his wife and Cassidy. The picture frame Shane knocked over crunches under his feet. He looks down at the picture.

The light on the answering machine is blinking. Remember when people still had those? Corinne doesn't know where they're going quite yet; if Vic still loves her, he won't try to look for her. Seriously, after all the trouble Vic went to so their son could go to the autism program, she's taking off before his first day? Not to mention her concerns about the kid being academically and socially behind. Vic starts breathing heavy. He can't believe this is happening.

At the Barn, Edgar-veda won't comment further on Gilroy's arrest. At the Mackeys, Vic is sweating. He strips off his leather jacket and holster. He collapses into a kitchen chair, clawing at his chest. He looks like he's having a heart attack.

A reporter asks if the high-profile arrests will make Edgar-veda the front-runner in the race for city council. In Edgar-veda's experience, people don't like being told who to vote for.

Vic kneels on the kitchen floor amidst the scattered pots and pans, weeping.

Edgar-veda sums up the day's events: "Three officers gave their lives in defense of an institution that their boss betrayed for personal gain. It's a scandal and an outrage."

Vic hurls his badge across the room and it bounces off the cookie jar. He gathers up his jacket, holster, and keys, then walks out the back door. Phenomenal acting in the last scene by Michael Chiklis, showing how even the biggest, toughest guy can be broken by losing his family. End of episode, end of Season 1.