In the roll call room, Edgar-veda presents Vic with a medal for valor and courage under fire. Vic's acceptance speech is short: "Everybody here deserves one of these. I was just the guy holdin' it when the music stopped." As the crowd disperses, the captain informs Vic that the medal is not a free pass. Vic should also thank Lanie the civilian auditor for putting his name in for said award.
Tomorrow, the department is hosting a toys-for-guns drive. Vic came up with a twist for this round: Have people who turn in a gun fill out raffle tickets to win a prize. The lab will run the guns for ballistics. If any match an unsolved crime, they'll know where to find the owners. Lanie is impressed that Vic had such a good idea while hooked to a morphine drip. Vic says a stolen gun put him in the hospital and 3 weeks off gave him plenty of time to think. Let's hope he spent at least as much time thinking about his current domestic situation.
Danny and Julien run the drive from a table behind the Barn. An elementary school-aged girl, Patty Hinkle, turns in her dad's pistol because "I don't like it." This brings up all kinds of 2nd Amendment issues that, for the sake of brevity, I won't even attempt to get into. Julien has Patty write down her address.
Vic's first case after being out sick is a store robbery gone bad; one person is dead. A witness said the shooter got in by using a police badge, more specifically #714. Shane's badge.
|Pictured: Shane Vendrell.|
Edgar-veda asks if Vic knew about it, but Vic feigns ignorance. Shane got his fake badge from a Serbian in Rosehill and what's the difference? "It's just like the real thing." "No, Officer Vendrell, it is not," says Edgar-veda. Pretty sure it's Detective Vendrell, but whatever. Vic promises to clear the whole thing up. Edgar-veda slaps the fake badge back at Shane.
This gets me thinking of another little detail. Lem was with Shane when he got mugged and his badge got stolen too. I hope he had enough sense to report it lost, otherwise Vic will have a lot of explaining to do if it happens again.
Vic asks where Shane really was 2 hours ago. Shane was asleep. They go into what seems to be a pawn shop from the back. The dead man was employee and so was the witness. The shooter was wearing a mask, so they can't get a description. The remaining employee claims nothing is missing. Vic calls bullshit; nobody uses a cop's badge to get a store unlocked, murders somebody, and steals nothing.
Vic sits down. The robber had to have known what he was after: "Whatever it was, it wasn't supposed to be here. Am I right?" He tells the employee that he and Shane have a side business that helps robbery victims get their stuff back. Outside, Edgar-veda can't believe Vic offered to get the merchandise back for a fee. "He was hiding something he wasn't gonna tell a clean cop," Vic argues. I dunno, put the guy in a room for 5 minutes with Lem's earnest baby blues and see what happens.
Vic explains that the store is a front for a diamond chop shop run by the Armenian mob. I can't say that "chop shop" is a term I've heard applied to anything but stolen cars. The scam is the diamonds are re-cut, mounted in different settings so they can't be traced, and then resold. Vic shows the captain Polaroids of the stolen gems. "This is entrapment," says Edgar-veda. Vic argues, "Only for the jeweler and he's a guppy."
Vic finds his informant Taylor once again fencing items out of his van. He's disappointed that Taylor didn't let them know about the sale. Hell, Vic thought he was on the mailing list. Taylor thought he was free after giving up Fleetwood last episode. Vic swears it's just one last favor. He asks if Taylor knows anybody who might be into diamonds. "I don't usually travel in those circles," says Taylor and I believe him. I wouldn't give him $1 for most of the stuff in his van.
Shane grabs a boombox out of the van and wanders back to Vic's truck with it. Vic tells Taylor to let him know if he hears anything. Taylor knows CIs are supposed to be registered and paid. Vic hands him what looks like $5. Taylor protests that the sticker price of the boombox is $50. Vic takes the money back.
At the Barn, Danny has learned that Zaide's widow, Yassirrah, is suing the department, even though it was a clean shoot. Yassirrah's Lawyer won't take it to trial if the city agrees to pay $5 million. He argues that Danny came in illegally, "establishing a pattern of racial insensitivity and abusive behavior." Danny argues Zaide gave them permission to come in. "Only after you threatened to bring in the FBI," says Yassirrah's lawyer. Technically, that was Julien and he threatened to call Homeland Security. Treating Zaide "like a criminal" is what made the dispute with the neighbors worse.
"This is ridiculous," Danny butts in. The captain stands by her actions, both the search and the shooting. The lawyer wants a counteroffer by the end of the business day. "I wouldn't hold my breath," says Edgar-veda. The lawyer adds they're naming the captain as a co-defendant in the civil suit.
Vic goes to a different pawn shop. He tells the employee he has information about the place fencing diamonds. He takes the office keys and finds the diamonds, still wrapped in velvet, in the desk. For starters, the guy will be charged with possession of stolen property. If the employee gets the buyer to come back to the store, Vic will let him keep 1/3 of the diamonds.
Edgar-veda tells Claudette there's been a ballistics match on one of Vic's toys-for-guns dropoffs. It's one of Claudette's unsolved murder cases from last year. She remembers the victim. Richard Cummings took out a loan from loan shark Manny Sandoval. He couldn't pay it back and was killed. She's sure Manny did it, so why did someone else have the gun?
Claudette and Dutch go to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting. 'Tis the season, according to Dutch, it being 2 days after the Super Bowl: "Everybody finds a higher power when they lose their shirt." Dutch himself lost $100 on the Raiders. Shockingly, they really did play in the Super Bowl that year and lost to the Buccaneers by 27. Claudette spots Manny hanging around an alley outside the meeting. She knows he won't talk unless she can box him in with evidence, so she wants to talk to the gun's owner first.
Back at the pawn shop, a guy in suit sporting expensive gold jewelry asks what the employee wants. Vic pops out of the office, hoping he hocked enough to make bail. Shane throws the guy against the wall, demanding to know where his badge is.
At the Barn, the suited one, Hrach, wants to make a deal. Vic's not interested; they got him cold for robbery/homicide and selling the diamonds tied to both. Hrach can give them Alex Esnick, who runs the Armenian mob's Ziran family. He works protection for Alex and Alex also owns the jewelry store he robbed. Shane can't believe that he was dumb enough to rob his own boss.
Hrach says he was just taking back something that didn't belong to Alex. The dead guy worked for Alex and robbed Hrach, so Hrach retaliated. Alex likes to cause trouble between Russian Armenians like himself and Lebanese Armenians like Hrach. Alex also has his hands in hijacking and illegal gambling. Hrach asks if Vic has ever heard a rumor about a money train. He has Shane's attention.
Hrach describes it as a super secret rolling bank vault. It runs out of L.A. every few months to launder the Armenian mob's money overseas. Vic is curious about how much money they're talking. Hrach doesn't know for sure, just that it's a lot.
Edgar-veda, who watched that whole exchange from the observation room, says no way. They already caught the killer, case closed. But Alex is one of the biggest Armenian mobsters on the West Coast. Edgar-veda's not running a mob task force. Who said he has to run it? "You just have to watch," says Shane. Vic will return the diamonds and see if Alex wants to buy a dirty cop. The captain thinks he's having too much fun. "Inside, I'm a sad clown," Vic assures him.
Edgar-veda knows about the deal Vic struck with the pawnbroker and doesn't want him giving the rest of the gems back to the mob. Well, Vic has to be convincing. The captain still hates the idea. Vic appeals to his political side: "You know how Guiliani became mayor of New York? He brought down the mob." He also helped turn Times Square from a crime-infested hellhole into a tourist hot spot. Edgar-veda agrees to the operation, but wants to know everything Vic does.
Dutch and Claudette pick up Patty's dad Mr. Hinkle outside a Gamblers Anonymous meeting. Hello, Mr. Hinkle/This is Harvey Johnson/Can I speak to Penelope Ann? Sorry, I did a community theater production of Bye-Bye Birdie two months ago and the songs are still lodged in my brain. And oddly enough, Patty told Danny her middle name is Ann.
At the Barn, Claudette shows Mr. Hinkle a crime scene photo of Richard Cummings, who owed $50,000 to loan shark Manny Sandoval. "Your gun killed him," adds Dutch.
Mr. Hinkle asks how the police got his gun. Dutch explains about Patty and the toys-for-guns drive. Claudette wants to know how much Manny paid Mr. Hinkle to shoot Richard. They know from his phone logs that he calls a lot of phone booths.
|Hopefully not this phone booth.|
Edgar-veda lets Danny know that a man named Abul has filed a complaint against her due to an incident that happened 6 months earlier. Danny had been dispatched to break up a bar fight; Abul is now accusing her of using racial slurs. The captain needs to know if she made any anti-Arab comments, even just in the heat of the moment. Danny says she didn't. Edgar-veda unnecessarily reminds her that his name is on the lawsuit too.
Vic and Shane go to an Armenian bar to return the diamonds to Alex. He says some are missing. Vic tells him about the deal he struck with the jewelry store owner. Alex isn't happy they didn't go through him and also doesn't like having the police in his social club. They start to leave, then Vic asks about an Armenian-owend auto warehouse full of stolen parts. The police are raiding it in 3 hours.
Alex wants to know why they're telling him. Vic says he and Shane are planning to moonlight. Their first tip is free. Vic gives Alex a business card. "Now we're waiting for the Armenian to call us back?" Edgar-veda asks at the barn. He thought this was supposed to be simple. When Vic Mackey is involved, nothing ever is. Vic requests to have the warehouse raided in 2 hours. He mentions there won't be anything in it by the time the raiding party arrives.
Edgar-veda agrees to the plan but wants it cleared through him first next time. Vic promises he and the Strike Team will find the money train if it exists. Speaking of Vic, the captain is reassigning Shane. Vic doesn't want his partner/best friend going anywhere. Edgar-veda thinks the vice division would be a better fit. Shane would also never get any work done because he'd be too busy gambling and getting freebies from hookers.
Edgar-veda explains it's bad community relations for an all-white team to be operating in minority neighborhoods. Vic thought that he could run the Strike Team as he wants it if he kept his nose clean. Problem is that Shane didn't. Edgar-veda wants the next team member to be black or Latino. Just take a guess which one he'll lean toward...
Vic leaves the office in a huff and asks Lanie if she can help him. She already knows what Edgar-veda wants to do because it was her idea. Vic doesn't have an open spot; Lanie heard one was opening. She repeats the speech about an all-white team making it seem like the Gestapo. Vic will get used to the idea. Wanna bet?
At the Armenian social club, a band is crammed onto a small stage with several women in skimpy clothing. One of the women is also wearing angel wings. Alex thanks Vic and Shane for tipping him off about the raid and pours them drinks. He wants Hrach shut up, but there's the small matter of him being in police custody. He asks how much it would cost to have him "taken out."
Vic says they can't kill him. Alex makes out like he just wants to get Hrach out of jail. As arresting officer, Vic could help with that. Say he made a mistake that violates Hrach's rights. Alex asks how much.
Cut to Edgar-veda asking, "You want me to release a murderer so that his mob boss can kill him?" "Sounded a lot better the way Vic explained it to me," says Shane. Vic assures the captain that they won't let Alex kill Hrach: "We're gonna do it ourselves...or at least provide a reasonable facsimile." All they need is a corpse. The captain wants to know when this stops. Vic promises it will when they get Alex, which will happen when he pays them for the hit.
Edgar-veda announces he's pulling the plug. Vic repeats that Alex needs a body and giving him a picture of "some uni in Halloween makeup isn't gonna cut it." Edgar-veda will transfer both Vic and Shane to vice if they don't achieve anything other than total success. Shane asks what the vice remark was all about. Vic just shrugs.
Manny tells Claudette and Dutch that he isn't a loan shark. They know that Richard and Mr. Hinkle both owe him a lot of money. Claudette guesses that he offered to clear Hinkle's debt in exchange for killing Richard. Out in the squadroom, Dutch is still beating himself up about not seeing through Marcy's act. He's sure Mr. Hinkle did it: his gun, no alibi. Maybe the widow was having an affair with Mr. Hinkle and they conspired to kill Richard. Claudette insists it's Manny.
A Korean community activist is now questioning why he's backing Edgar-veda for city council. He seems unconcerned with their problems. A Korean gang member died in a drive-by and his family wants a funeral Mass; the new priest of their church has refused to allow it. The gang has been vandalizing the church and sending death threats to said priest. Edgar-veda will have an officer protect the good father because "a community's strength stems from its leaders, especially its spiritual ones."
Shane has a line on a corpse they can use to fake out Alex. A white male in his 20's just "blew his head off." I'm sure he won't notice that Hrach's skin is a few shades off. Vic asks Hrach for his clothes and wallet. Edgar-veda opens the clubhouse door and finds Hrach sitting in his underwear. He wants to know what the hell is going on. Vic says they found their dead guy: "No face, no relatives, no problem." The captain will meet them.
At the suicide scene, Vic and Shane shoo the crime scene techs out. They have 15 minutes before Alex gets there. Vic unzips the body bag and rounds on Shane, "I thought he blew his face off!" To be fair, that is what Shane heard. Dispatchers have been known to be wrong. As an EMT trainee, I rode along to a supposed heart attack that turned out to be a suicide attempt.
Anyway, now they have to figure out what to do about the totally recognizable dead guy. Vic tells Shane to go get the shotgun out of his car.
Danny and Julien have drawn the protection detail at the Korean church. This is all I can think of.
Danny informs him it's illegal. The grave is marked with a crude cross made of sticks. Danny kind of smiles, thinking it's sweet. She adds, "Bury it deep."
Back at the suicide scene, even Shane doesn't want to shoot the dead guy. Vic covers one side of his body with a blanket to protect him from blood and GSR, then pulls the trigger. Edgar-veda comes in and groans, "Oh God." It's not clear if he knows Vic shot the guy a second time or if he's just totally grossed out by what he's seeing. When Alex brings the money, it'll be an in and out operation. The captain hightails it out of there and into the surveillance van.
Danny is still talking to/flirting with Charlie. She asks if one of the soccer players is his. Charlie doesn't have kids; he just used to play soccer. He adds that most of his players don't have fathers in the picture and they need a strong male role model. Charlie invites Danny to their game on Sunday. It just so happens it's her weekend off.
Alex asks if Vic killed Hrach himself. Vic claims he did and that costs extra. Edgar-veda waits anxiously for the signal to raid the place. Alex is glad Vic saved him the trouble; Hrach knew too much about his businesses. He wants protection. Vic is curious about what exactly Hrach knew; Alex wants to talk elsewhere. Vic never gives the "go" signal. "Son of a bitch!" cries the captain as he throws down his headphones.
At the Armenian club, Alex asks if any of his other businesses will be raided. Vic offers to run the addresses at the precinct. "That's delicate information to give to a police officer that I barely know," says Alex. He wants to send his assistant Hagop with Vic; Shane will stay behind at the club as insurance. I don't really think he'll mind. The bar has plenty of alcohol and loose women. "Make sure he doesn't catch anything," Vic tells Alex.
Claudette shows Richard's widow a photo array. The widow says she never saw the killer's face because he was running away. Besides, it happened 9 months ago. I don't think the face of your husband's killer is something you'd forget in a hurry.
The night Richard died, he and his wife were home alone. It was also a school night and the kids weren't around. Mrs. Cummings tells Dutch about a family tradition: Grandma takes the kids ice skating every Wednesday night and they sleep over, then Grandma drives them to school on Thursday. "It would be interesting if the killer knew the kids wouldn't be in the house," Dutch muses. Maybe the killer knew the kids and wanted to spare them the trauma.
Claudette takes Dutch out to the hall and tells him that he shouldn't be accusing the widow. She cleared her as a suspect. "You cleared her of any connection to Manny," Dutch argues, "What about Hinkle?" "She's not Marcy!" Claudette says hotly. Dutch may have screwed up his own case, but he's not screwing up hers. Dutch tells her to take it back. "Later," says Claudette, before adding that she's going back to the case alone.
Claudette tells Mr. Hinkle that Mrs. Cummings saw him outside their house the night Richard died. She ID'ed him. Mr. Hinkle, who looks like a low-rent Danny McBride, bites his lip and puts his face in one hand. Claudette goes in the next room and tells Manny that "Hinkle spilled his guts like a cheap pinata." Aren't all pinatas supposed to spill their guts? Manny excused the vig but not the principal in exchange for killing Richard.
"It's his word against mine," says Manny. Claudette thinks the jury will believe Mr. Hinkle once he starts crying on the stand in front of little Patty. Hopefully Patty's mother won't take her daughter to her dad's murder trial. Claudette doesn't need a confession.
Edgar-veda sees Vic with Hagop. Vic is typing in addresses that Hagop gives him. In the process, he learns about the loot in each place: tax-free cigarettes and a mystery storage building. Neither place is on the department hit list. The captain asks what happened to Shane. Vic lies that he's on a hooker sting. More like "has a hooker on his lap" given his penchant for strippers. But Edgar-veda shouldn't worry; Shane isn't entrapping johns.
The captain reminds Vic that he's supposed to check in every 2 hours. Hagop sees Hrach being walked to the cage.
At the club, the girls are lazily gyrating to what I can only assume is Armenian folk music. Shane has lost all his money playing cards. "Instead of playing poker, we should be playing 'poke her,'" he leers. Shane gets a phone call from Vic, who instructs him to say, "wrong number," hang up, and make a break for the men's room. Shane does.
As soon as he's gone, Alex racks a round into the chamber and gives the gun to an underling. The dancing girl in the tube top pulls it off, revealing black pasties and the physique of an 11-year-old boy. In the men's room, Shane puts his gun to the head of Alex's underling. Vic and company arrive, pushing the Armenians to the floor. Vic arrests Alex and calls out for Shane. Our boy emerges from the bathroom none the worse for wear with a handcuffed suspect. "Next time, I save your ass," Shane tells Vic. Vic agrees that it's a date.
Back outside the Korean church, Danny and Julien are now in plainclothes. She sees Charlie pay a kid for a paper bag. "What are you doing?" she asks. Charlie says he's burying a hamster like it's the most natural thing in the world. Looking even more weirded out, she asks if he paid the kid for it. Charlie claims he gave the kid a few bucks to buy a new hamster. Danny nudges open his backyard gate and it's like Pet Semetary in there.
"I'm gonna have to write you up for this," says Danny. Charlie approaches her, still holding the dead hamster, insisting she doesn't have to. Danny pretty much says "No, I really do and you can forget about Sunday. And why am I always attracted to creeps?"
The halo-clad Armenian dancers are led out of the club. Vic worries that the mobsters will empty their stash spots before they can be raided. Edgar-veda can get search teams moving now. Vic gives him all the addresses, except for the mystery spot on Escoveda.
Vic and Shane scope out the mystery spot from a nearby rooftop. Semi-trucks are being loaded with oil drums/Hazmat barrels that probably don't contain either substance. Vic guesses it's the money train. "So it is real," Shane breathes, watching the Armenians load bricks of cash into the barrels. Reminds me of the heist on the season finale of Animal Kingdom. Shane asks what Vic wants to do.
Lanie asks Abul, the Arab-American man who's filed a complaint against Danny, didn't report the incident sooner. Abul claims he didn't know his rights. Edgar-veda brings in a witness: Julien. Julien remembers Abul from his first week on the job; Abdul violently resisted arrest. Danny didn't use any racial slurs, but Abul had a few for Julien. Abul responds with some crap about "the blue wall of silence." Lanie asks pointblank if Yassirah's Lawyer told him to come in and file a false complaint.
Upstairs, Yassirah's Lawyer pleads ignorance. It seems he also told Abul he'd represent him for free in the civil suit. Yassirah's Lawyer insists there was no quid pro quo. Abul's case against the department ends here. Edgar-veda's counteroffer is the sum of exactly $0. Julien may not be corroborating Danny's version of events, but he isn't contradicting it either. Danny watches this tensely from a chair in the corner.
Yassirah's Lawyer thinks he has all the right elements on his side: a grieving widow, illegal entry, and an innocent man. Edgar-veda has strong evidence supporting Danny; she's dedicated and has a solid departmental record. He looks forward to letting a jury settle this. Yassirah looks helplessly at her mouthpiece. The lawyer says they'll be in touch.
Back at the money train depot, the Armenians are still boxing up cash. Shane reports all the out-of-state license plates he's seen: Washington, Nevada, Arizona, and Oregon. The money train handles every dime the Armenians make on the West Coast. Surprisingly, Shane wants to call for backup and then relish Edgar-veda kissing the Strike Team's collective ass. Vic says to let it go. "Why?" Shane whispers incredulously. Vic gives him a meaningful look and repeats, "We're gonna let it go."
In the cage, Manny instructs Mr. Hinkle: "Tell that bitch you lied. You made it up because you owed me money and you wanted to get even." Mr. Hinkle can't keep lying. Manny could easily arrange for little Patty to be the next victim. Claudette ambles over and pulls out an earpiece: "I didn't need a confession, but it doesn't hurt."
The captain tells Vic about the haul from the raids: digital cameras, fake passports, and credit cards. Shane and Vic say they didn't find a thing. Either Hagop gave them wrong information or the money train is an urban legend. Edgar-veda wants to check out the warehouse for himself, takes the addrress from Vic, then gives it right back. Seriously?
Vic agrees to put a minority on the Strike Team as long as he gets to keep Shane. Edgar-veda will suspend Shane for a week and approve the new team member. Vic wants to be able to give final approval. The captain okays their deal.
Claudette apologizes for what she said about Dutch earlier; Dutch tells her she doesn't have to be sorry. She offers to buy her partner dinner, but Dutch says he's not hungry.
In the clubhouse, Vic tells Shane that he plans to hijack the money train next time it's back in town. They'll have to be extra careful (no shit). Shane whispers, "You can't really be talking about making off with the Armenian mob's entire Western U.S. kitty?" Oh, but he is. Vic points out that European can't keep track of their own plutonium.
Yassirah comes into the Barn, steaming mad and no longer speaking through a man. Her lawyer has dropped her case. Yassirah sees Danny and shouts that Zaide would never have shot her. If the police department cared, they would've settled out of court and "given me a chance for my baby." I didn't see any evidence of kids in their house, so I guess that means Yassirah just found out she's pregnant.
Yassirah seems sure it will be a boy, adding that her son won't know his father. She'll never forget what Danny did (her job?). The grieving widow's last words before leaving are chilling: "Justice will find you."
At home, Vic and Cassidy are trying to teach Matt a card game. Corinne arrives and looks disapprovingly at the kitchen table: "Birthday cake for dinner?" "It's somebody's birthday...somewhere," Vic shrugs. I also see bowls of half-melted ice cream. She tells the kids to get ready for bed. Vic reports that toddler Megan went to sleep without any trouble.
Corinne asks how he's feeling. Vic is a little stiff but glad to be back at work. She thinks he might be pushing himself too soon. Vic opines that if doctors could, "they'd put you on bed rest until ya got somethin' else they can charge ya for." Corinne not-so-subtly reminds Vic about his promise to move out.
Vic goes to a cheap motel, the kind I refer to as a Winchester special. (Netflix Supernatural and you'll get it). When the clerk sees Vic's badge, he immediately comps the room. He just needs Vic's name and police division. He asks if this is about the people across the street. Vic says he can't say. "I'll tell you, the things he does to her, it's a sin," the clerk goes on. Vic requests a room with a view across the street.
Vic goes into his room. He leverages himself down to sit on the coffee table, clearly still in pain, both emotional and physical. End of episode.