Vic comes into the clubhouse, immediately locks both doors, and turns up the volume on their stereo. He and Shane fill the other two in on the diamond fencing operation and fooling the Armenians into thinking they killed a problem member by blowing a suicide victim's face off. "I can't believe we missed out on that," Lem says in uncharacteristically eager fashion. Vic tells them about stumbling across the money laundering ring. Lem thinks they're busting it and cheers, "Sweet!"
Vic goes on that the cash won't be going into the evidence lockup. Shane knows exactly where and when they ship the money to be laundered overseas. The Armenian money train will be the Strike Team's big retirement score. Lem is all "um, what?" "I told you he'd be speechless," Shane chuckles. Getting a little louder, Lem says, "You can't be serious."
Vic whispers that they have 2 months to plan the operation, rehearse it over and over. Lem is emphatic; he wants no part of this. Ripping off the Armenian mob is a thin step short of suicide. Not to mention that if they do pull it off, they'll be wanted by their own police department. Ronnie has a much different attitude.
Vic doesn't want her to put herself in harm's way. Never mind that she's done that 100 times over: trying to force herself to miscarry, doing crack, prostituting herself. "You know my resume. Who else is gonna give me a job?" Connie asks. She throws in a guilt trip. If Vic turns her down, she'll have to go back to hooking. Hooking will lead to her using again. And her old friend would be responsible for it. Connie also just heard about a teenager named Felipe who sells heroin to kids.
Vic pays a visit to a local middle school. He and Shane pull a kid named Enrique out of science class and into the principal's office.
|A place Walton Goggins is now very familiar with.|
Enrique reaches into his pocket and pulls out a few bags. He says he's not the only one with drugs. Felipe's been handing it out by the school's east gate. Free samples, just like all those 1980's PSAs warned you about.
Danny knows full well nothing will come of that because she spends all day taking vandalism reports like this one. Edgar-veda reminds her of the importance of documenting the incident. The captain doesn't want to get on Danny's case, but his bosses have been asking for Julien's 6-month review. He needs it by the end of today.
At the middle school, Vic explains to the principal that he called in officers to search every student and locker. If a locker has been left open, it means drugs were found. The majority of the lockers on this floor are open. "I think you should start calling some parents," Vic advises the principal.
Shane is smoking in the boys' room while Vic uses the facilities. Shane can't believe Lem is being such a wimp about a little thing like ripping off the Armenian mob. Vic thinks Lem might have a point. Yes, please continue that thought process. Shane figures they can still pull off the job with 3 people; Lem won't care. Maybe not, but Vic does: "One guy knowing who isn't accountable isn't an option." They're a team.
On the school's front steps, Edgar-veda's city council opponent gives an impassioned speech to a crowd of reporters. One of them asks Edgar-veda for his opinion; he replies that he's here as a police officer. What looks like the entire student body is sitting on the floor of the gym. Vic fills the captain in about someone giving out free hits of pure heroin; if you smoke it or snort it, you'll get just as high as shooting up.
Edgar-veda thought Vic had a handle on drug activity in this neighborhood. Vic did, but then said handle was "burnt at the stake by Armadillo." Though he gave Tio a lot of slack, there were a lot of rules too, not dealing to kids being one. Edgar-veda wants this fixed without making arrangements with another drug dealer: "Crack down publicly and hard."
In a pool hall, a large group of Latino men are watching a soccer game on TV while they play. The Strike Team bursts in and herds everyone to their knees in the middle of the room. Vic heard they thought they could turn middle schoolers into clients. He picks up a pool cue and breaks it over his knee. Using one end of the stick, he smashes the jukebox and calls, "Nope! No heroin here!"
Lem has grabbed a pool cue of his own and is smacking the light fixtures. Shane pushes the TV off its shelf. Nothing falls out of it. Lem flips over a foosball table and reports, "Nothing here either, boss." Vic gestures to the suspects with his pool cue, designating them as 'A' or 'B.' He tells all the A's to stand up: "The next asshole I catch selling dope to kids, I'm gonna find a soft, dark place to jam this stick. Now get out."
Vic instructs the B's to stand up. Felipe, a skinny kid who's probably still in high school, tries to leave with the A's. Vic asks where Felipe thinks he's going: "You were handing out free samples at East Truman Middle School today, which makes you a special kinda B. My bitch."
Danny is on the street tending to what looks like the victims of a multi-car accident when Armadillo approaches. He asks if she works with Vic Mackey. "Maybe. Why?" says Danny. Armadillo acts like he's one of Vic's many unofficial informants. He has an important message to pass along: "The guy he's looking for isn't stopping. And I'm afraid if Vic isn't careful, he might start talking." Danny finds this very odd and wants Armadillo's name. He replies evasively, "Tell him about the face. He'll know."
Vic seems mildly impressed that someone Felipe's age is selling heroin. Felipe says he won't go to jail for it; after all, he's only 15. Vic laughs, "What fantasy world are you living in?" Minors can be charged as adults if the offense is serious enough and moving major weight in heroin qualifies. "But--but I'm a minor. I was told--" Felipe stammers. Vic shouts in his face, "You were told wrong!" Felipe immediately starts whimpering.
Shockingly, Vic tells the kid it's all right to cry. Everybody acts tough on the street, but reality sets in hard when you get caught. "I was just following orders," Felipe says like a good German, "You don't understand. You can't say no to him." The "him" in question is Armadillo. Felipe claims he's never met Armadillo; everything is done through his middleman Eduardo.
"Armadillo's back?" Edgar-veda asks in such a skeptical tone you'd think Vic had said "Voldemort." Vic explains the "hook 'em young" business model. Edgar-veda wants all hands on deck. "The last time you couldn't read between the lines, so let me draw you a clear picture." says Vic. He wants everyone, especially Claudette, to stay out of his way.
Armadillo is playing it smart by using minors to deal; they can't do prison time. Minors also can't be undercover CIs. Felipe can lead them to Eduardo, who in turn can lead them back to Armadillo. The captain reminds Vic that would be illegal. Vic insists it's more a gray area. "The last time you used a kid, Armadillo raped and tattooed her," says Edgar-veda. That was actually Dutch. He tells Vic to come up with another solution fast or he'll unleash the whole precinct.
Downstairs, Danny gives Vic the message. She describes his "informant's" face as being "all scarred up, like he'd been in some kind of fire or something." Vic instantly knows who she means. In the clubhouse, Shane exposits that Armadillo's declared war. If other cops bring Armadillo in, there's bound to be a complaint about the grill marks. The Strike Team has to find Armadillo: "He'll pull his gun, we'll have no choice." Ronnie thinks the drug lord should've gone back to Mexico like they told him.
Somebody is absent from this scene: Lem. "If he's not down with ripping off the money train, how the hell do you think he's gonna feel about this?" Shane asks. Vic has a solution: "Keep him away from the action, watching the door or somethin'." Lem walks in.
A woman named Anne has come to the station to file a missing persons report on her elderly mother, Jeannie, who has Alzheimer's. Anne went out for an hour and the cleaning lady said she'd keep an eye on Mom. Claudette promises they'll find her. She asks if there's someplace Mom might go. Most of her friends are dead or have moved to nursing homes. There are no other relatives nearby and Anne is an only child.
Dutch has somewhat comforting news. Nobody matching Jeannie's description is in the morgue or any of the local hospitals. The police department is already printing up flyers. He and Claudette will oversee the search.
In the break room, Julien asks Danny if she has plans the next Sunday. He's getting married to Vanessa, the woman whose young son Julien let slide on a shoplifting charge. They've been seeing each other for 7 weeks. "Please tell me this is a joke," says Danny. Julien loves Vanessa and Vanessa loves him; he doesn't see any reason to wait. It's gonna be a small wedding and it's really important to him that Danny be there.
"Julien, you are gay," she says quietly. Julien argues that he was just "misguided." Danny has heard that sexual re-orientation therapy doesn't work. "That's just anti-religious propaganda," says Julien. He asks again if she'll be at the wedding.
At a bodega, the clerk tells Claudette that Jeannie walked in and tried to leave with 3 bags of candy. He told her she had to pay, but she was "out of it...loco." The clerk was worried about her, but didn't try to keep her in the store. As he justifiably puts it, "I'm gonna tackle some old lady?" And he called the police, didn't he?
Back at the Barn, Anne is familiar with the store Claudette is talking about. Jeannie had her first job there as a teenager, back when the place was a soda fountain. Claudette asks what else her mother did back then and finds Dutch at his desk. He just got back from buying a sandwich. Claudette mentions that they have a case and his break was 2 hours ago. "I was hungry," Dutch whines, "and I wouldn't exactly call this a case." A vulnerable adult is missing. What would you really consider it, then?
Claudette tells him about Jeannie going back to her former workplace. She could be on a journey to the past. "God knows how many defining moments she's had. She's an old white lady wandering around a mostly black and Hispanic neighborhood in pajamas and slippers. Someone's gonna call her in," says Dutch. Julien comes over to tell them Jeannie was spotted trying to get into a locked apartment on Chester Avenue about an hour ago. Claudette is sure it's someplace else Jeannie used to go.
Walking through the back hallway, Dutch gets body-checked by Shane. Shane doesn't seem to notice what he did. Dutch calls him out on his distinctively bad manners. Shane scoffs. "How funny would it be if I knocked those over-sized teeth out?" Dutch asks nastily.
"Hey, that's not my lawyer," Navaro says in the jail visitors' room. The guard sits him down with Vic anyway. Vic wants Navaro to tell his baby brother that there are gonna be new rules for him. One of these is not dealing drugs to kids. Navaro claims he doesn't talk to Armadillo anymore, which Vic knows is bullshit. The Quinteros are partners in their drug racket. "Armadillo doesn't like rules," says Navaro. No shit.
Vic gestures with his head to a One-Niner across the room. He's done the guy some favors. All Vic has to do is talk to him and Navaro will be greenlit. He said the thing! Navaro doesn't understand. Vic elaborates: "Means you'd be shanked in the shower, bleed out before the guards even know you're late for breakfast." If Armadillo threatens Vic or the Strike Team, Vic will call in his marker with the One-Niner.
Lem can't believe that Vic greenlit Navaro. Vic gets into semantics: "I only threatened to." They're hoping he'll contact Armadillo and they can find out where he's hiding. The county guards are monitoring the phones and will let the Strike Team listen in. Ronnie the resident tech guy will trace the calls. Doesn't the jail do that?
Lem wonders what'll happen if Armadillo does call and they bring him in: "What if he talks about...you know..." They're cops and Armadillo's a fugitive, plain and simple. Shane is confident he'll buy the greenlighting and keep his mouth shut to save Navaro. Yes, because you can trust a homicidal, drug-dealing rapist to have some sense of family honor.
On Chester Avenue, the apartment's tenant says Jeannie was jiggling his doorknob. She was asking for Earl. This prompts Dutch and Claudette have a sit-down with a gentleman about Jeannie's age. Dutch knows Earl used to live on Chester Avenue from 1946 to 1948.
Claudette asks if he remembers Jeannie Sutton. Earl says no. Claudette tries the maiden name: Russell. That one Earl recognizes; he dated her on and off for more than a year when he got back from World War II. They met at the soda shop where Jeannie worked. They haven't kept in touch, "but if she still looks as good as she used to," Earl wants her number. Claudette gives him the bad news that Jeannie has Alzheimer's and is missing. She asks Earl to call if Jeannie tries to contact him. Dutch gets a tip from a uniform that someone saw Jeannie in Echo Park.
Vic gives Connie a CI contract. She'd have to provide 4 tips a month that lead to arrests. In exchange, the department will pay her $2,000/month. Connie would also undergo mandatory drug tests. She gripes that she doesn't like peeing in a cup, but, really, does anybody? Connie asks when she'll get her first check. Vic says after her first tip. Connie protests that she already gave him one. "That was in good faith," Vic tells her. Connie quickly signs the contract.
On a playground, there's a body covered with a tarp lying on the sand. Edgar-veda explains a 3-year-old died after eating "candy" he found in his brother's backpack. A distraught boy is being comforted by his mother on a nearby bench. The kid already admitted to being given the drugs at school. Vic observes, "He's too young to go to Truman East." That's because he goes to South Torres Elementary.
"I'm sick of this. Whatever you're gonna do, do it quick," the captain tells the Strike Team. They already have. Edgar-veda tells them to do more. However, they still can't use Felipe as a CI.
Vic escorts Felipe to the precinct bathroom. "I can't go when someone's watching me," Felipe says nervously. Vic advises him to get used to it; the kid could do 20 years. He wants Felipe to do a good deed. It's illegal in California to use minors as undercover CIs, so they're gonna let him free but keep a tail on him. Felipe will reconnect with Eduardo and find out where Armadillo is.
At Echo Park, Jeannie is kneeling on the sidewalk being taunted by some teenage punks on skateboards. "Hey, who taught you you could treat an old woman like that, huh?" asks Dutch. I notice the tipster was wrong; Jeannie is wearing cotton pants and a blouse. The kid says Jeannie is crazy. She's been crawling around and clawing at the sidewalk. Claudette murmurs soothing words to the older woman and helps her stand up.
Vanessa comes to the breakroom and introduces herself to Danny. She's looking for Julien so they can pick out floral arrangements for the wedding. I can tell you that's usually a waste of time; both times my dad got married, he threw up his hands and said to the bride, "I don't care. Whatever you want." Danny congratulates her. Vanessa can't believe this has happened so fast; she's never met a man with as much integrity as Julien. She knows he'll be a great father to Randall. Julien comes in and hugs his fiancee. Danny asks to speak to him privately.
"My God, you haven't told her yet?" Danny asks when Vanessa leaves. Julien didn't think it was necessary; he's a straight man now. Danny thinks Vanessa has a right to know, especially since Julien will be part of Randall's life too. Julien asks, "So you tell every man you've been with about every shameful thing you've ever done?" Danny's jaw drops; she knows he's talking about her affair with Vic. "If you don't tell her before the wedding, I will," she threatens.
Felipe is walking down the street. Ronnie and Vic watch from a parked car. Ronnie asks what Vic will do with his cut of the money train, even though he probably already knows: pay Matt's tuition and start college funds for his daughters. Vic doesn't think it's a good idea to discuss the job openly. He radios that Felipe is going to a payphone.
The other half of the Strike Team watches from the van. Shane tries to assure Lem that the money train is a sure thing. Lem didn't become a cop to steal from the mob. "You get any softer, you're gonna start lactating," says Shane.
"You think I'm doing this for me?" he goes on. Lem is literally biting his lip to keep himself from listing off all the times Shane's been a selfish asshole. Shane tries to make it sound altruistic: They'd be helping their boss get money to pay for Matt's doctor appointments and special schooling. "And the guy could be facing a divorce," Shane adds, "He needs this." You can see Lem's resolve crumble. Shane's a master manipulator.
In his office, Edgar-veda has lunch with Aurora. He's scheming up ways to turn stopping the school heroin pipeline into votes. Never mind he's not actually the one rousting dealers. He tells Aurora that Vic is in charge. "Can you trust him?" asks Aurora. Edgar-veda pretty much says no, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Now there are too many loose threads. "David, you're gonna win," she says. Edgar-veda frets that they'll both be embarrassed if he loses.
Aurora tells them that the only way that could happen is if he doesn't make every effort to keep the local schools safe. Their daughter will have to attend them one day. Like those two snobs wouldn't second mortgage the house to send her to a private school. Edgar-veda doesn't think he's doing a good job with that. "What's stopping you?" Aurora demands.
Edgar-veda assembles the troops. He wants a wide net: every school, every kid who got free samples, the gangbangers who are disgruntled about the Torruco consolidation. Anything could lead them to Armadillo. Claudette seems surprised that he's back in town. He's also the one dealing drugs to kids. The captain claims he didn't tell her because he just found out himself. He promises her the first shot at Armadillo; he and Vic won't interfere.
In the car, Vic gives Felipe instructions: Ask Eduardo for another batch of sample heroin and Vic will call Felipe's cell phone after 10 minutes. If he sees the drugs, Felipe is to "pick up and say something clever." Vic will keep calling until Felipe picks up, then the Strike Team will come in. They'll take everybody back to the Barn and let Felipe go.
"Cheers, little G," says Eduardo, giving Felipe a Corona. Add contributing to the delinquency of a minor to his charges. Felipe chugs half the beer, no doubt in a desperate attempt to settle his nerves. He tells Eduardo that kids are asking for more heroin. Eduardo eagerly reaches into a black duffel and plops a handful of thumbnail bags on the coffee table. He reminds Felipe the new price is $20 a bag. Eduardo has an associate bring out a paper bag for the heroin.
Felipe's phone rings. He answers with a charming "What, bitch? I told you not to call me." Eduardo praises Felipe for "setting the hos straight already." Felipe starts putting the drugs in the paper bag, a couple of tiny bags at a time. Eduardo looks at him suspiciously and grabs the phone. He punches the redial button.
The cavalry arrives, Ronnie and Vic through the front door and Lem and Shane from the back of the house. Eduardo hears Vic's phone ringing. "You're dead," he threatens Felipe. Eduardo gets a kick in the chest for that. Vic asks if Felipe is okay. "No, I'm dead," squeaks the terrified teen.
Edgar-veda summons Danny to his office. He tells her that he just got a call from a police officer in Maryland; Danny's mom has been killed in a car accident. Danny is stunned. Becoming a little girl again, she asks to call her dad. Edgar-veda steps out to get her some privacy. Danny dials the phone and says softly, "Dad? It's me."
Danny emerges from the office, extremely pissed off: "It was a prank! My mother's fine." She wants Yassirah's phone records subpoenaed; it had to have been her. Without luck, Edgar-veda tries to get her to calm down. "She destroys my car, then she tries to ruin my career and now it's my family?!" she shouts. Edgar-veda promises to take care of it.
Anne thanks Claudette and Dutch for finding her mother. But as usual, Dutch wants to get the last word in. He understands Jeannie going back to the old soda shop and Earl's house, but why a sidewalk in Echo Park? She would've been 17 or 18 when she dated Earl and the 1940's were very conservative times.
Dutch found an interesting article in the newspaper archives. November 18, 1947: A newborn baby boy was found smothered to death and buried in a shallow grave in that area of Echo Park The city built a sidewalk over the spot, exactly where he and Claudette found Jeannie. Echo Park also happens to be 3 blocks from Earl's old apartment. "No," Anne says weakly, "That's impossible."
Vic takes Eduardo into the bedroom. He knows that he's spreading Armadillo's dope around the schools. Eduardo claims not to know who Armadillo is. Vic wraps a kitchen towel around his neck. Edgar-veda knocks on the door and he hurriedly lets go. The captain asks what's going on and Vic fills him in. Edgar-veda wants Eduardo brought to the Barn with the others. Vic's not done. "Hand him over," the captain repeats.
Vic and Edgar-veda step outside the bedroom. Vic was given the green light to get Armadillo and Eduardo is the last piece of the puzzle. The captain is upset about the underage CI whose cover is now blown. "We both knew that was a risk," says Vic. The captain needs to take it from here. "You want Armadillo or not?" Vic growls. Edgar-veda says, "Claudette and I will get him. She overheard. There's nothing I can do." They have to do this by the book now.
Julien finds Danny working out in the Barn's weight room. Edgar-veda told Julien that he passed his 6-month review, however, he needs to address his communication and stress management issues. Him and everybody else in that precinct. Danny reminds him that passing the review is the more important thing.
"This is because I didn't cover you on that shooting, isn't it?" asks Julien. She really didn't need his help at all because Zaide gave her no choice. Then Julien thinks it's because he's getting married or that Danny is taking out her frustrations about Yassirah on him.
"You are way past outta line," Danny warns. Julien yells that he deserved a better evaluation. Danny calmly says she could've been a lot harsher. The truth is Julien has a lot of bottled-up pressure about his sexuality and no release valve. He also can't communicate. Julien isn't "about to jeopardize the only good relationship I've ever had for something I'm not and never will be again." Danny can tell Vanessa if she wants. It'll be on her conscience.
Edgar-veda tells Eduardo they have enough evidence to get him the death penalty for the 3-year-old who overdosed. They're willing to take the death penalty off the table if he gives up Armadillo.
Connie comes in with a tip about a pimp who's getting his girls to rob their johns. Vic says she can give tips over the phone. Connie asks where her toddler son Brian is. Vic breaks it to her gently that she can't see him. Connie signed over her parental rights and Brian's been adopted. She starts to cry: "I gave him to you to take care of him for me." Like Corinne would've agreed to raise a stranger's child (no doubt with disabilities of his own from Connie's crack use) when she already has Matthew.
Vic should've known she'd get clean. He doesn't know what it's like to lose his kid. Actually, he does. "Please, Vic," she begs. He's sorry, but there's nothing he can do. Connie wants a cash advance on her latest tip. Vic gives it to her out of his own pocket.
In the clubhouse, Ronnie is listening in on the jail lines. Navaro hasn't made any calls. Vic isn't sure if Eduardo gave up Armadillo. He leaves and takes Felipe outside. Vic introduces him to Officer Carlton from the Lancaster gang unit. They got Felipe a spot in the Clean Slate program, which he assures the kid isn't like juvie. Felipe can get rid of the gang tats and come back a new man. Vic had to call in a lot of favors, so the kid better not screw this up.
"You killed your baby, didn't you?" Dutch asks Earl. Baby John Doe is buried in a section of unidentified graves at the county cemetery. The police will have him exhumed and use DNA to prove Earl was the father.
Claudette asks if Eduardo honestly believes Armadillo will reward his loyalty. When they arrest him, Armadillo will think it's because of Eduardo. Armadillo has a lot of friends in the prison system: "You're gonna end up burned to death in your cell." If he tells them where Armadillo is, they'll send him to Ossining, New York, far from the drug lord's reach. They hope.
Edgar-veda comes downstairs and tells Vic that Armadillo is hiding out in Inglewood.
On her way out of the Barn, Anne practically scolds Dutch: "You're wrong. You don't know my mother." "I just wish you had a chance to know your brother," he retorts. Too far, Dutch, too far. When they're gone, Dutch starts rambling about how humanity is just a collection of "sociopathic little narcissists." (He'd be the expert on that subject). Everyone does whatever they want and will always save their own skin. "I can't even believe in an old woman who's too sick to feed herself."
Don't get Dutch wrong. He isn't sad or surprised: "It's just nature." People are animals and he's learning to be okay with it. Claudette is looking at her partner like he could use some couch time with the department shrink.
In the clubhouse, Ronnie is listening to Navaro's wiretapped conversation with Armadillo. He gives Vic the number Armadillo is calling from. The area code is 323 (Hollywood area); Inglewood's area code is 310. Eduardo played them. Vic sends Shane to get the right address.
Ronnie isn't sure what the Quintero brothers are talking about because they're speaking Spanish. The only word he could get out of it was "lawyer." Vic let somebody who doesn't speak the language keep tabs on a major Mexican drug lord's conversation?
Vic asks if Shane knows yet. No, but he will. Shane comes in with the correct address. Ronnie will keep monitoring the phones. Lem is their wheel man. "Shouldn't we be taking two cars?" Shane asks quietly. Vic says Lem had a change of heart.
When the van gets close to Armadillo's house, Lem cuts off the headlights. Vic reports that Armadillo is still talking to Navaro. The first guy who gets a clean shot has to take it. Vic can hear music and carefully opens the front door. The house is virtually empty except for the stereo and some furniture.
A cordless phone handset (remember those?) is sitting on the kitchen table. Vic can hear choking sounds coming from it. "I hope you all made it," says Armadillo with silky menace. Vic says through his teeth, "Weren't you supposed to meet me here to suck my dick?" Armadillo wanted to talk to Vic one last time. Vic thinks he should talk to Navaro before he starts making threats. "I've already taken care of my brother," says Armadillo.
Cut to county lockup. Navaro is lying next to the phone bank, bleeding profusely from his chest.
"And now, you've been greenlit," Armadillo finishes. End of episode.