The Strike Team is running a dress rehearsal for the money train heist. Lem adorably bops down the sidewalk singing "Rich Girl" under his breath.
Shane is next to Vic taking pictures. Nobody will be in the bays where the vans pull in, which is where the two of them will be waiting. "Secrecy over muscle," says Vic, although with Lemming around, they sure have enough of the latter. Lem joins them on the roof. Ronnie shows up out of breath.
"You know this job depends on the four of us having our act together," Vic tells him. Ronnie's been driving in circles because he thought he was being followed by a Mexican. But who knows, maybe it was just a pizza delivery guy looking for the right address? "Stalked by cheese and sausage," Lem scoffs, even though his name is on the hit list too.
Vic asks if Ronnie's been sleeping enough. I'm pretty sure the answer is no. Ronnie says he's just being careful. Shane and Lem exchange a Ronnie's-a-big-ol'-scaredy-cat look. Now that the gang's all here, Vic wants to take it again from the top until they get it right. I'm surprised he hasn't made some remark to Lem about not giving away their position by singing.
Edgar-veda tells Dutch that Marcy took a plea deal; in exchange for testifying against hubby Bob, she only has to serve 8 years. He points out how bad it looks that they had the victim "alive in a car trunk in our own parking lot for hours" until Dutch released Bob and Marcy. After that, she died.
Vic is sound asleep when Doug the desk clerk knocks on his door. A couple down the hall is fighting again. We can hear a man's and woman's voice, words indistinct but obviously very pissed-off. Vic groans and rubs his eyes. "Aren't you gonna do something?" asks Doug. The woman screams and something shatters. "Want me to back ya up?" Doug asks eagerly. Vic says he's only done this 3,000 times.
Vic knocks on the couple's door, holding his badge up. The woman opens the door a crack. She has a bloody nose. Vic tells her that he's here about the noise. The woman gives him the old story about having the TV on too loud. Vic doesn't buy it and pushes his way in: "I wanna talk to the jackass who's beatin' on you. Is he still here?" The woman says they were just arguing.
Vic walks past an overturned table and the remains of a lamp. "I didn't call the police," the woman says shakily. Vic argues, "Yes, you did. Through my closed windows." She swears it won't happen again. Vic can't just lie there in bed and listen to her being abused. Either one of the couple is gonna move or she's gonna get some help. The woman says she can't afford to move and doesn't need help. Vic leads her out of the apartment.
Two prison guards bring Marcy into the Barn, wearing her finest orange jumpsuit and slip-on shoes. Dutch congratulates her on the plea bargain and adds that it's bullshit: "You deserve life, just like Bob." Why isn't this crazy bitch handcuffed to the table? Marcy needs to be honest or she'll lose the deal. Dutch clicks on a tape recorder and asks who put the peephole in the bathroom. Bob did. He liked how their neighbor Kayla looked and wanted to see her naked.
Bob liked having threesomes and Marcy wanted to please him, but Kayla wasn't interested. Marcy lured Kayla to their apartment one night. Bob was obsessed with Kayla, "thought she was so pretty." Dutch tells her, "Bob said it was your idea to cut off Kayla's arm." Marcy doesn't even try to deny it, just says, "After that, she wasn't so pretty."
Out in the parking lot, Vic is using rocks to demonstrate their strategy for the money train robbery. Him and Shane on the roof, Ronnie disarming some guy, and Lemming going for the truck. Hopefully, nobody will forget which rock they are. Ronnie thinks it's a bad idea to even talk about it when there are hits on them. It's an even worse idea to be talking about it in the parking lot of a police station.
Vic and Shane have a plan to tie up Armadillo and hide him somewhere, then leave his dead body in the getaway truck. The cops and Armenian mob will think the Torrucos were behind the robbery, but Vic has a problem. "Besides not knowing where Armadillo is?" asks Ronnie. Shane tells him to quit being a baby. Ronnie's response is close to what mine would be: "Excuse me for wanting to stay alive."
Vic is concerned about what they'll do with the money. Lem, sporting a Sopranos-esque track jacket, knows it's too much to spend right away. They'll have to launder it somehow. Shane offers that a friends of his just became a partner in a restaurant. Vic says that's exactly what IAD will check first; they can't do this alone. They need to bring in someone they can control, who'll be more scared of the Strike Team's wrath than going to prison.
Vic and Shane pay a visit to Leith, the late Tio's realtor. He claims he had no idea Tio dealt drugs out of his store, even though Tio paid for the building in cash. The realtor doesn't ask anyone where they get their money. Vic thinks he specializes in buying property for dealers, stash houses and the like. Leith's sales records tie him to 4 major dealers. "The only property you're gonna be sellin' now is bunk space in Pelican Bay," says Vic. Leith nervously asks what they want. "Real estate," answers Vic.
Emma tells Vic that the abuse victim will have to be waitlisted at another shelter. What about a hotel? She can't afford one. Emma might be able to double her up with someone. "Do and I'll owe you dinner," says Vic. It's not that simple, though. Battered women don't leave until they call Emma from the street or the ER. This one didn't even ask for help.
Dutch has turned off his tape recorder, but has some last questions for Marcy: Why? "It just kind of...happened," she says vaguely. Dutch asks why Marcy thought she could fool him. Does he really want an answer to that? "I just let you fool yourself," Marcy replies.
Dutch and Claudette have a new case: a woman strangled to death in a park. "You sure you want my help?" he asks. According to the captain, he's moody and distracted.
The abused woman is irritated and doesn't know why she's at the police station. Vic invites her to go home: "Next time Prince Charming starts using you for sparring practice, keep it down." Emma tries a softer approach; she knows how hard it is to leave home, but "sometimes staying away even one night makes him realize he crossed a line." If she doesn't leave now, she might not get another chance.
The woman mumbles that she doesn't have clothes or anything. Vic offers to go to her apartment and pick up whatever she needs. "I don't want you in my house," she protests. Vic grabs the keys anyway. Emma can't force her to get help. Vic tells Emma to keep working on her.
Emma says he doesn't know what he's talking about. Vic asks if 8 years as a patrolman "cleaning up messes like this" means nothing to her. Emma points out it's different to be the one on the receiving end. Vic plans to talk to the guy next time he hits his girlfriend: "It'll stop, trust me." Emma gets all high and mighty about how violence isn't the answer and men don't always know what's best.
In the park, a heavyset woman is lying facedown and shirtless. Julien exposits that some teenagers smoking weed found her. The victim's purse and wallet were left behind, so they've ID'ed her as Leah Madson. No prints or witnesses. Claudette examines the bra; it doesn't appear that it was removed forcibly, but the clasp is missing. To Dutch, it looks like rape/homicide. There's chocolate smeared on the bra and on the victim's fingers. Claudette thinks Leah knew her killer. "Guess I'm wrong again," says Dutch. Oh, stop.
Danny's been passed over for a promotion to senior lead officer, even though she was next in line. She bets the captain is gonna tell her it had nothing to do with the bogus complaints Yassirah filed. "Of course that's what it's about, but the brass will never admit it," says Edgar-veda. Danny just has to ride the rap, as they say.
Shane has a visitor: Tulips the bait-and-bash stripper. "It's the penis flytrap," Vic comments, "Hope you're not a daddy." They didn't use a condom, so that's a good possibility. Fortunately, Tulips just wants to tell Shane about her ex. They broke up because he was having sex with their neighbor while Tulips was working the pole. Said ex now sells prescription drugs to "illegals and grannies" and she's telling Shane as payback. "Still all class, huh?" he says.
"Are you still upset about what happened between us?" asks Tulips. No, I'm sure he's totally over the fact that your ex also bashed him in the head with a tire iron. He might have done worse if Lem and Ronnie hadn't been there to save his ass. Shane reminds her that she tried to blackmail him. Tulips tries flattery; she'd only trust a really good cop with this information. "Look around and take your pick. I'm not your guy," Shane tells her.
Vic asks why they're not following up on Tulips' information. "She's a lying whore," Shane answers, "I trusted her and she screwed me." From what Vic saw on CCTV, the "screwing was mutual."
Claudette and Dutch sit down with Stu, a clinically obese man who immediately recognizes Leah's photo. Stu works at a rib restaurant and one of the waitresses set him up on a blind date with Leah. They met the night before at Leah's apartment. Stu claims he didn't stay because he wasn't attracted to her. Why waste everyone's time? He went home and watched TV. Stu lives by himself, making this a nonconfirmable alibi. Dutch will go talk to his coworkers "as long as I'm not too moody to change my mind or too distracted to lose my way."
Claudette power-walks upstairs and asks Edgar-veda why something she said in confidence keeps getting repeated back to her. She was concerned about Dutch as a person, not his effectiveness as a detective. Edgar-veda says the chief has been concerned since the whole Bob and Marcy incident, which also happened with Lanie in the building. He hasn't seen her in a few weeks and who knows who she's been talking to? "And how is Dutch supposed to get back on the horse when you cut him off at the knees?" asks Claudette. Edgar-veda hopes Dutch doesn't mess up again because "I can't protect him anymore." "Why? Too busy protecting Vic?" Claudette sasses.
Vic breaks into the abused woman's apartment and finds the boyfriend on the couch watching TV. Boyfriend offers up the "she's a lying bitch" defense. Vic says the woman blames herself. He goes in the bedroom and starts packing a suitcase. The guy thinks Vic is sleeping with his woman, then claims the women's clothes in the closet belong to his sister. He tries to grab Vic and Vic arrests him.
Julien and Vanessa enjoy a lunch of Chinese food at a cozy table for two...with handcuff rails. She plans to drop off Randall at Julien's later while she gets her dress fitted. Julien blurts out that his Thursday night prayer group isn't just a mens' Bible study; it's reorientation therapy. For some reason, Vanessa doesn't get it. Julien spells it out: He's made bad relationship choices in the past...choices involving men. Vanessa gets tearful and stands up to leave.
Julien grabs her and starts giving a "baby, please don't go" speech. He loves Vanessa and wants to start a family with her. He hasn't had sex with a man in months. Julien needs Vanessa and hopes she'll understand and forgive him. Vanessa pulls her wrist out of his grip, saying she needs time to think.
Battered Woman sees her boyfriend in handcuffs and cries, "You said you wouldn't arrest him!" Her boyfriend is on parole and will lose his job if she goes to jail, then she'll be homeless. "And you stay alive and I'll get some goddamn sleep," Vic sums up the win/win situation. Scumbag Woman Beater yells for her to call a bail bondsman.
"So you actually thought she wouldn't go back to him?" Emma asks Vic in the observation room, "Are you unromantic or just dumb?" Vic's just tired of hearing them fight, as I think any reasonable person would be. He can't know how hard it is for a woman to escape from an abusive situation; Emma liked bad boys until she didn't. Little does she know, they don't get much badder than Vic.
Battered Woman won't be ready for Emma until she hits rock bottom; she hasn't yet. "He touches her again, he's mine," says Vic. Emma thinks he hates anything he can't control; Vic shrugs that it's part of his dance.
Dutch tells Stu, "Your coworkers say you're a little obsessive about your weight." He's spent summers at fat farms (those were still a thing in '02?), tried dozens of diets, and different exercise regimes. So have lots of people. Stu has a juvenile record for aggravated assault on a female classmate named Susan. "That's what they called it. She just didn't want people to think she was a slut," says Stu.
Claudette lays out the story. Stu and friends were playing spin-the-bottle. On Susan's spin, the bottle pointed to Stu. She refused to kiss him and Stu was humiliated. "So 11 years later, I kill some chick?" he asks. Claudette goes on. Stu followed Susan home from school a few days after the party and ordered her to kiss him; when she refused again, Stu broke her nose. Stu is now the last person who saw Leah alive. "Except the killer," he retorts.
On their way downstairs, Claudette observes that Dutch was awfully quiet in the interrogation. Dutch found Stu hard to read. The next step is to search Stu's apartment.
Shane gives Tulips a phone. She's to tell Carl that Shane needs a buyer for some prescription drugs. Just get a time and place, then hang up. She does, but makes a point of leaning way over while making the call, practically flashing Shane.
Danny hasn't found the bra clasp. Dutch reminds them that finding it will nail Stu's ass to the wall. The kitchen is full of supplements and diet books. A candy bar is taped to the top shelf in the refrigerator. There are medieval fantasy posters all over the walls. Dutch thinks Stu has the makings of a serial killer and/or rapist. Leah is probably his first or second victim.
"This is a bunch of crap," Dutch trails off. He shouts again that they need to find the bra clasp. Claudette thinks they should go back to the Barn, try to make Stu confess. Dutch doesn't have anything to work with; he wants to go back to the park and see if he missed something.
Leith can get Shane and Vic some 10-acre lots in Castro Peaks. They'll have total control, but their names won't be on the paperwork. Leith usually takes a 5% commission. Vic suggests they make it 10% for the extra risk. "What extra risk?" Leith asks as Vic passes around beers. If Leith rats them out, they'll tell the drug dealers he does business with that he ratted them out. They toast their new partnership.
Stu knows they didn't find anything in his apartment. Dutch suggests he take a lie detector test. Stu refuses; he knows they're unreliable. They tell the captain how the investigation is going. Claudette doesn't have a theory, but Dutch does. Would he care to share it with the class? Stu has signs of predatory behavior and refused to take a lie detector test. In Dutch's opinion, nobody who's innocent would do that.
Vic wonders how they can talk Battered Woman into spending a night at the shelter. Emma has been known to use trickery, something Vic would never dream of doing. They tell Battered Woman that if she goes to a shelter, Dez won't have to go to jail. Supposedly, there's a new city law that suspected abusers have to be held overnight for the woman's safety. Battered Woman agrees to go with Emma tonight.
Shane meets Carl in a vacant lot, driving Tulips' sporty silver Pontiac. Not sure if it's the same actor as before, but Carl looks like a low-rent Brad Pitt circa 1988. Carl's new girlfriend is there too. Tulips cattily asks how much her boobs cost. Carl says they're real. "Is she legal?" asks Tulips. "Born in Inglewood, bitch," Carl replies. Tulips fires back: "I meant is she 18, stupid?" In the nearby stakeout car, Ronnie and Lem are getting a kick out of this.
Tulips announces that Shane is her new boyfriend and "It's a relief to not have to fake it anymore." Carl needs Viagra if Shane has it. "Yeah, you do," puts in Tulips.
The marked patrol cars swoop in. Shane tells Carl to put his hands on his head and calls him "highlight boy." Lem puts the cuffs on. "You just got busted by my new big-dick boyfriend! How does it feel, you fag?" taunts Tulips. Shane shoves her back into the Pontiac.
In the breakroom, Dutch has a question for Vic. Did he ever know someone was guilty, but didn't have the evidence to prove it? Vic's probably lost track of the times. Dutch asks what he does about it. "You wearing a wire?" Vic chuckles. Dutch is tired of people getting away with murder. "Sometimes you gotta make the evidence fit the case if you know the guy did it," Vic says quietly.
Duly noted, Dutch drives back to Stu's apartment with a bra matching Leah's in his center console. He puts on rubber gloves, rips off the clasp, and puts it in his pocket. Dutch walks inside and tells Danny he's taking one last look around. He hides the clasp in one of Stu's jackets.
Outside, he asks Danny if she was thorough. Maybe she should do a final sweep: the trash cans, his clothes. He'll even sign her overtime slip. Dutch gets back into his car, barely making it halfway up the block before he stops hard enough to make the brakes squeal. He dashes back into Stu's apartment with the not entirely untrue excuse that he forgot something. Dutch may be desperate, but he's not stooping to Vic's level. He finds the bra clasp right where he left it and takes the candy bar from the fridge.
"We busted him, didn't we?" Tulips says excitedly. Shane knows this was all about her getting revenge on the guy who dumped her "for somebody hotter." Tulips is offended and asks if Shane thinks Carl's new girl really is hotter. Shane thinks Tulips uses people. "You're really upset with me," she says.
Tulips suggests they get out of here. Shane has to work 6 more hours. Tulips grabs his crotch, asking, "Don't you have to interrogate me or something?" Horndog Shane takes her upstairs, back to where the magic first happened. This time, he has the sense to toss her black shirt over the camera lens.
Dez has been bailed out and informed by Emma that his girlfriend isn't coming home with him: "She needs a break from your macho bullshit, so go hit somebody else tonight!" "You want some too, bitch?" Dez asks, grabbing Emma. When she pushes him away, Dez flips right over the balcony railing and lands in the squadroom below.
Cut to Dez being wheeled out by EMS and Emma being fingerprinted. Vic tells Edgar-veda that she was defending herself. Edgar-veda rants about the possible legal and civil liabilities. Vic doesn't want Emma put in the cage. "Then bail her out," Edgar-veda advises.
Dutch uncuffs Stu from the table and stands him up. They march down the hallway. "Bad mojo in there, I need a new room," Dutch explains to Claudette. Shane offers him the room where he and Tulips were just screwing. Dutch, try not to touch the table.
Once the door is closed, Dutch decides the best course of action is to start insulting Stu relentlessly. Stu couldn't take a lie detector if he wanted to because the wires wouldn't fit around him. He bets people don't call Stu fat to his face "even though they should." Dutch laughs and puffs out his pathetic pigeon chest.
The clasp on Leah's bra was broken, probably because Stu's "fat fingers weren't nimble enough to unclasp it." Said clasp must be somewhere in his house, car, or XXXL clothes. Who needs a polygraph when you have physical evidence? Picking up his jacket to head out, Dutch adds, "A jail cell feels small to someone my size." "He's going too far," Edgar-veda says in the observation room.
Vanessa stands up and says, "Kiss me," more as an order than an impassioned request. Julien obliges. Vic sees them from across the room. When they finish kissing, Vanessa is a little out of breath. She best be off; there's a lot to do before the wedding. I'll bet, since it's supposed to be that weekend. She asks him not to keep her waiting at the altar.
As Vic goes to the snack machine, he more or less quotes Mark Harmon from Summer School: "Well, I'll be darned. You're a heterosexual." He puts out his hand and congratulates Julien.
Dutch continues to ridicule Stu: "When was the last time you saw your dick without using a mirror?" He chuckles about Stu getting set up on a blind date with Leah. Her friend was probably cute, so Stu must've expected a hottie. "You deserve better, right?" Dutch asks. Stu claims he gets better. Dutch calls bullshit: "Women won't sleep with you." Pot, meet kettle.
Stu must've figured a fat girl would be sexually easy, low self-esteem and all. The park is dark and private at night. Stu hated Leah because she was fat and couldn't stop eating; he also hated himself for not being able to control being horny. Dutch starts munching on the candy bar he swiped from Stu's fridge.
"The candy bar was the trigger," Dutch guesses. Stu wanted to get laid, but Leah was too obsessed with food. He strangled Leah "with the same bra your fat fingers were fumbling to get off of her." "That's not who I am," argues Stu. Dutch's phone rings and it's Claudette calling from the observation room. He hangs up and lies to Stu that the bra clasp was found.
"I'm not fat," says Stu quietly. Dutch is rolling his sleeves back down and not paying attention. Stu grabs him with an "I'll kill you too!" He wrestles Dutch to the ground and starts strangling him with his own tie, screaming in his face: "I'm gonna be thin!" Edgar-veda calls for help, but actually pulls Stu off Dutch.
Vic hands Ronnie a manila envelope of apparently incriminating photos he doesn't want lying around. He asks Ronnie to drop them by his place later. And while he's there, can he grab Vic's checkbook? He wants to give Connie a decent burial. Shane passes Ronnie and tells him to watch out: "I hear the Thai food delivery guys are packing heat."
Vic asks how things went with Tulips. Shane says it was a clean bust. "Nice work," Vic tells him. Shane grins. Lem gets a giddy he-totally-tapped-that smirk on his face. Maybe he was watching the cameras before Claudette and the captain came in.
Claudette tells Dutch he did a good job. "Should've had more faith in me," he says. Edgar-veda compliments him too. Guys, stop inflating his head. Dutch demands more R-E-S-P-E-C-T: "I crack cases nobody else in this division can."
Vic tells Emma that she'll owe him $3,000 if she goes to Mexico and misses her court date. Unfortunately, Dez isn't seriously injured. Vic gets a call from Corinne; she excitedly says Matt wants to say hi to his daddy. When she puts the phone near Matt, he doesn't seem to know what to do. Corinne is clearly heartbroken and frustrated. Vic tells her it's okay.
"Your dog or your kid?" asks Emma. Vic replies that it was one of his three kids. He and his wife are separated. That doesn't seem to bother Emma, as they're furiously making out when they walk into Vic's crappy hotel room/apartment. Up against the wall, Vic pulls off Emma's shirt. He lays her down on the coffee table. Seriously, what is it with this show and table sex?
Suddenly, Vic whispers, "Wait." "What's that smell?" asks Emma. Vic notices photos are strewn across the floor. In the kitchen, the stove is on.