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."
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."
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.