Friday, October 28, 2016

Mackey's "Inferno" (Episode 2.11)

Previously on: Tavon joined the Strike Team just as they're getting ready to rip off the Armenian mob's money train. Formerly gay Julien married Vanessa, a single mother he met while on duty. Civilian auditor Lanie's unflattering report on Farmington was leaked to the press. Edgar-veda and Vic agreed to cover each other's backs until the election.

Danny and Julien are in pursuit of some carjackers. Suddenly, they stop the car, get out, and start running down the street. Julien continues the chase on foot while Danny calls for backup. Ain't that always the way, the rookie doing all the running? See also: Ben and Cooper on Southland.

We soon see another reason why Danny chose to stay with the stolen car: There's a toddler boy in the backseat. Julien tackles one of the carjackers; another uniform takes over so he can keep chasing the other one. He catches up to the second car thief in a nearby store. Julien gets his man, but not without knocking over a table of merchandise.

The Strike Team hangs out at Vic's place. Ronnie, sporting a bandage on his burned cheek, has joined the group again. "They took the skin from his ass," Lem gleefully tells us. Ronnie is ready to go back to work. He doesn't want to risk missing the money train heist; he needs the cash. He even figured out a new way to get to the truck. Vic says it's too late to change the plan; they've been rehearsing.

Ronnie went to the money train depot a couple of nights back. There's a bottleneck issue; if all 4 of them go in at once and even one Armenian is out of position, that could be very bad news for the home team. An Armenian garbage company comes to the site and the trucks just get waved in.

Ronnie's idea involves two of them stealing said garbage truck and going in a few hours before the money train arrives. Lem and Shane will hide in a dumpster. "Why am I in the garbage?" asks Shane, a lot calmer than I'd expect him to be about the idea. I guess he figures he'll have enough money to take himself on a shopping spree for more skinny jeans. Vic points out they have to come up with a way to hijack one of the garbage trucks. There's only 2 weeks to rehearse the new plan, so Vic wants to think about it.

In his office, Edgar-veda is once again in a pissy mood. The newspaper is endorsing his opponent, Karen Mitchell, for the city council primary. Edgar-veda lost his lead and Lanie's official report comes out a week before election day. Vic says the damage could be minimized by a high-profile bust. He even has someone in mind: Dante Fell, a major gangbanger from Vic's days in uniform. Dante fell off his radar when he went national. He currently has federal, state, and county warrants.

Edgar-veda gives a briefing about Dante in the roll call room. The feds think Dante is coming to Farmington or is already there. He was a founding member of the Compton Crowns gang. Dante branched out the gang to other states, supplying them with drugs and guns. Everyone gets a flyer with his picture on it.

Vic tells Edgar-veda that Ronnie wants to come back to work. The captain isn't sure he's ready. Vic reminds him that Tavon is still learning the ropes; he needs an experienced crew because Dante won't come in easily. "Fine," Edgar-veda agrees. He doesn't want Vic to have any excuses for not catching him.

Gordie, the PI that Vic hired to find his kids, drops by. He looked over some surveillance notes and found out Corinne went to talk to a divorce lawyer. Gordie didn't tell Vic right away because he had to confirm it. Vic mumbles that he didn't think they were anywhere near splitting up. Corinne's had 2 appointments with the lawyer; a third is scheduled for Tuesday at 4:00.

Vic is sure Corinne wouldn't do this to him. Gordie bets Vic didn't think she'd pack up the kids and run off to Colorado either. He thinks Vic should talk to a divorce lawyer Gordie knows. Vic says that won't be necessary.

Lanie chats up Tavon in the breakroom. She claims the damning report was a mistake; someone leaked her notes. She's just a poor, misunderstood girl. Lanie also wants to talk to Tavon about Vic. Tavon immediately looks uncomfortable.

In the clubhouse, Lem is excited about having his buddy Ronnie back. Vic announces he's open to the new plan. He sends the dynamic duo off to look for the garbage truck. Shane comes in to tell Vic he saw Tavon talking to Lanie: "The last thing that we need is another guy we can't trust." So what's Vic supposed to do, whack the new guy...again?

Enter Tavon. Shane wants to know what he talked to Lanie about. "Nothin', really," Tavon shrugs. Vic advises him to keep it that way; Lanie is a Grade-A bitch. I can't argue with that part. Shane doesn't want to go running all over the district looking for someone who might or might not even be there. "You're givin' up already?" asks Tavon. Vic heads off the impending fight by saying he knows something the feds don't. One of Dante's homies is our old friend, rapper Kern Little.

Vic tells Tavon that Kern is a friend. Of course, he leaves out that it's because he and Lem enabled Kern to kill rival rapper T-Bonz. Tavon will be riding with Shane and Vic today.

Vic, Shane, and Tavon go to Kern's studio. Vic asks for a favor; he needs to find Dante. Kern suggests he talk to a guy named Frogger.
Ooh, that's an intimidating street name. (Image credit)
Kern adds that Dante is Frogger AKA Freddie's quarter-brother. "That some kinda new ghetto math?" asks Shane. Kern explains, "That means Dante's mom was shacked up with Froggy's pops. Pops took off, but Dante's mom kept Froggy." Kern wants to ask a favor of his own. Before he goes into details, he sends Tavon on a tour of the studio.

Kern wants to get back into the drug business with the same deal that Rondell and Tio had. Seeing as how they're both dead, he might wanna rethink that. Vic tells Kern it's a no-go. Kern says they owe him; his income has gone down since he stopped getting cuts from Rondell and Tio. Between lawsuits and accountants, Kern is more or less broke. He needs protection to take their spot. Vic repeats they can't do it; he'll make things up to Kern another way.

Julien is all smiles as he brings in the carjackers. His smile quickly fades as he notices a blast from the past in the lobby: his former lover Tomas. Danny recognizes him too. Julien goes to see what his ex wants. Tomas is out on parole and wanted to see Julien. He tries to rub on Julien's chest. Julien tells Tomas that everything is different. Tomas asks for Julien's help; he has nobody else to turn to. Julien says he can't do this now.

Driving back from Kern's studio, Vic realizes they're being tailed. "Don't look!" he snaps at Tavon. Tavon asks who'd tail them. "That's what you're gonna find out," says Vic. They drop Tavon off on the sidewalk.

A woman comes into the Barn with her teenage daughter Evette, saying the girl was raped. Claudette asks if Evette's been to the hospital. Mom says no; it happened a couple of days ago and she only just found out about it. Evette's boss had her work closing so they could be alone.

Vic and Shane pick up Tavon again. The newest member of the Strike Team got the license plate number of the car following them. Shane tells him to write it down, even though Tavon swears he has a great memory. Vic checks the rearview mirror and the tail is still there.

In a hospital exam room, Claudette explains to Evette that the rape kit may help them find her boss's DNA. Evette says he wore a condom. Even then, the kit can still show that sex took place; she's brave for coming forward. Evette mumbles that she has a boyfriend. They're sexually active and her mom doesn't know. They last had sex a few days ago. Evette worries it'll show up on the test. Claudette tries to reassure her.

Elsewhere, Shane is banging on Frogger's apartment door when a woman calls out from below, "I'm the manager!" She hasn't seen Frogger today. Vic shows her Dante's mugshot. The manager hasn't seen him either. She complains that Frogger's rent is always late, but not late enough for her to start eviction proceedings. As a matter of fact, he still hasn't paid for this month.

"I hope he's okay in there," says Tavon. Maybe Frogger's sick or something and can't reach the phone. As the building manager, she could let them in to do a welfare check. She goes inside to get her keys. Shane looks grudgingly impressed by Tavon's smooth talk.

Edgar-veda has Danny, Vanessa, and Julien in the roll call room. A photographer wants to get some pictures for the paper and do an interview...just with Julien. Then why even drag poor Danny in there? Tomas, lurking in the background, says, "Julien, I really need to talk to you." Julien introduces Tomas as a friend and Vanessa as his wife.

Julien goes down the back hallway with Tomas and hisses, "What are you doing?" "You said to talk to you later; it's later," Tomas replies. He then asks, "You really married a woman?" Tomas is currently homeless and wants Julien to help. Julien is all "you ain't stayin' with me."
Pictured: Tomas (Image credit)
Julien tells Tomas that he's no longer gay. Tomas tries laying on some guilt: "If you don't help me, you know what I'm gonna have to do to survive." Danny sticks her head in to tell Julien the photographer is waiting. Tomas starts in again about breaking up is fine, but Julien should still help him.

Julien wants to get rid of Tomas, so he gives him money for a hotel. "What kinda place takes cash?" asks Tomas, "I need a credit card." He's conning you! Don't you do it, Julien! Annnnd there goes the gold card, which Tomas promises to return.

Frogger's landlady asks, "He's not dead in there, is he?" Tavon says no. Vic checks the answering machine. There's a message from Kern, warning that the cops are looking for Frogger and Dante. The Strike Team confronts Kern at his studio. He yells, "What else was I supposed to do, man?!" Vic doesn't blame Kern. When somebody feels like they've been screwed, their first impulse is to screw someone right back.

Vic wants to start fresh. He explains that they got in too deep when they were involved with Rondell and Tio. I'll say. Vic agrees to provide intel and eliminate some of the competition. In order to do that without suspicions, he has to double his arrest quota and catch big fish like Dante. Kern will make some calls and find out where Frogger is.

Dutch asks Evette's boss Bruce, played by the always unsettling Jeff Kober, why the girl would accuse him of rape. Bruce thinks it might have to do with him giving Evette her second warning. He claims she's always late to work and doesn't care about customer service. A lot of girls Evette's age get jobs at his clothing store for the employee discount and quit after 6 weeks. Sidebar: Kober is also a Sons of Anarchy alum, where he starred as Jacob Hale,

Bruce swears he didn't touch Evette. Dutch asks why Evette had to stay late a few nights ago. Bruce explains that closing the store takes 2 people. They totaled the receipts, dumped the trash, locked up, and left. He walked Evette to her car to make sure she was safe.

In the breakroom, Dutch pours himself a cup of chocolate milk. He asks Claudette if she knows anything about the impending firings. Could she put in a good word for him with Lanie? Claudette thinks he should do that himself.

They see a curly-haired woman standing in the middle of the squadroom. An officer called and told her to come to the precinct regarding her husband. She wants to know if Bruce is all right. Claudette explains that Bruce has been accused of rape. Mrs. Rosen thinks it's ridiculous; her husband's never been arrested before. Claudette asks if the couple has children. They do, a 14-year-old daughter.

Dutch needs to talk to her. Mrs. Rosen doesn't understand why. Bruce's alleged victim is 16 and sometimes people who do this sort of thing molest their own children or make inappropriate advances toward their friends. It's procedure to talk to any children in the household. Mrs. Rosen demands to see Bruce.

At the Mackey residence, Vic has just finished putting Matt to bed. Corinne is reading a progress report from his teacher, which says Matt is still struggling. Vic has a roofer coming by on Tuesday afternoon to give them an estimate. Corinne asks him to cancel, claiming she has to go to a room mother meeting at Cassidy's school.

Vic reports to Gordie that Corinne is lying; she's not Cassidy's room mother. Gordie's divorce lawyer friend tells Vic to file for divorce first, then the settlement will be on Vic's terms. He'd have a better shot at joint custody. Vic, after all, is the wronged party; Corinne took the kids out of state for an extended period without telling him. Technically, that's kidnapping. During the course of that, Matt and Cassidy were kept out of school. If Vic doesn't move fast, he'll get run over.

The lawyer adds that under California law, there's a 6-month period before a divorce is legal. If he and Corinne work things out, they can withdraw the divorce papers. The lawyer has them all ready for Vic to sign.

Julien brings Dutch the rape kit results. He reads them out loud and says one of her breasts was bruised and other evidence is consistent with Evette's story. Claudette tells him not to sound so happy about it. Dutch goes on; there was a lot of sperm present, most of it still alive. The alleged rape was 2 days ago and she claimed Bruce wore a condom. Evette had sex the day after the rape, which isn't consistent with her statement to Claudette.

Tavon found out the car tailing them belongs to Trent's Auto Body. Vic decodes that as Tommy Aaron Bankston. The place is a dummy shop set up by North Hollywood division to cover up surveillance. There's a department budget code listed: IA. That doesn't stand for Internal Affairs; IAD operates strictly out of downtown. Vic figures it out: independent auditor. In other words, Lanie.

"Well, if she wants to waste her time, let her," Vic shrugs. His phone rings. Kern knows where Frogger is: Collin Greens. Not sure if that's a person or a neighborhood. Vic goes to Edgar-veda's office to ask for a warrant on Frogger. Since our amphibian friend is a material witness in a federal case, it'd be fastest to get a warrant through the feds. Vic reminds him they have to get the warrant themselves if they want to get credit.

Vic hands over the address. Edgar-veda describes Collin Greens as a zoo; they'll have to put together a big raiding party. Vic is afraid that if they go after Frogger that hard, Dante will start running. The captain warns that if this blows up in their faces, Lanie will have more ammo. But he'll call a judge.

At Collin Greens, Tavon explains that it's the main hangout of the Compton Crowns. The best way in is the first stairwell on the right. All the stairwells are unmarked, so nobody except residents know which way is which. Tavon knows all this because of his contacts, "decent folks who are tired of living in a cell block." I knew that feeling in my old neighborhood; when the housing market crashed, houses became rentals, and meth cooks moved in.

Tavon has been sitting on the building all night "to make sure Frogger didn't hop away." Vic praises him and Shane doesn't look happy about it. The Strike Team is joined by Special Agent Vulpio of the FBI. Notice how close that is to "vulture." Agent Vulpio and his partner know they're executing a warrant on someone connected to Dante. His case is their jurisdiction.

Vic says the Strike Team is getting Frogger; they can argue over territory later. Agent Vulpio shouts they aren't arresting anyone without his presence. His words echo in the concrete cavern of a building. "Shut up!" Vic bellows back. Out of sight, someone else cries, "5-0!" Lem racks a load into the shotgun. Someone, presumably Frogger, throws a potted plant off a balcony at them.

Vic and Shane head upstairs. He tells everyone else to take cover and watch their backs. Tavon runs up the opposite stairwell. Bullets zip past the guys. Frogger runs further up the stairs, instead of doing the smart thing and going to street level and trying to get away. Downstairs, Lem hollers, "Somebody call for backup!"

Vic donkey-kicks a door and finds a group of gangbangers blasting rap. Vic shuts off the stereo and asks which one is Frogger. Shane has a better question: How are they gonna get out of there?

Claudette sits down with Evette's mom. She tells her there was semen in the rape kit, but Evette claimed Bruce used a condom. "My daughter was a virgin before she was raped," Mom insists. The test results also show Evette had sex after being raped. Did Mom know Evette is sexually active with her boyfriend Miguel? Mom shakes her head; that can't be true.

Claudette decides to finish shooting herself in the foot: "Maybe she thought you'd find out she was having sex and made up the story about her boss raping her." Mom says Evette doesn't lie.

In a different room, Dutch is talking to Evette. Wouldn't it be a whole lot better for everyone involved if the traumatized teenage rape victim were being interviewed by a female cop? Evette admits to having sex with Miguel on Saturday and shifts uncomfortably in her chair.

Dutch asks if Bruce raped her or if she's trying to get revenge after he threatened to fire her. Evette doesn't have bruised arms or skin under her nails. Dutch flat-out says what every rape victim wants to hear: "I don't believe you." (Please note the sarcasm).

"He did leave a mark," says Evette. She gestures at her breast, then up the very short denim miniskirt she's wearing. He follows her hand a little too closely. Evette tries to grab Dutch's arm and he wisely pulls away. "I saw you looking," says Evette. Dutch tells her she's mistaken. Oh no, she isn't, you dirty old man!

Dutch thinks the case is over. Evette repeats that she was raped and Bruce needs to pay for it. She ups the ante: "If you don't help me, I'll tell people that you just grabbed me!" Dutch points to the wall-mounted camera: "Now the whole world knows you're a liar."

A SWAT team arrives at Collin Greens. Lem points out Frogger's apartment and tells them to secure the perimeter. He warns them that somebody's been shooting at them.

"I ain't goin' out there, man!" yelps Frogger, who looks and sounds a whole lot like Chris Tucker. If somebody's shooting at Vic, they might nail our amphibian friend by mistake. "Then tell me where Dante is," says Vic.

The SWAT team comes to escort them out. The neighbors are chanting something unintelligible. Shane holds a bulletproof vest over Frogger's head. There's a purposeful shot of a shirt bearing the slogan I LOVE L.A. on a clothesline. Vic shoves Frogger into the Strike Team van and tells the feds to leave in their own car.

Back at the Barn, Edgar-veda asks if everyone is okay. Vic tells him that the feds were tipped off about their bust. And guess who the guilty party is? Lanie says they had a right to know, given Dante's federal warrant. Vic says, "They blew our covert entry, put each one of my men in extreme danger, you sanctimonious little bitch." "I'll be sure to put that quote in my report," she replies. I thought the report was already written? And Lanie can tell her surveillance team to take the rest of today off.

Upstairs, Frogger is handcuffed to the table. He and Shane jab about how his slight build makes him ill-suited for gang life. He's lucky his "quarter brother" Dante vouched for him. Frogger earned his rep. He claims not to know where Dante is or why he's in town.

Lanie is fixing her hair in the bathroom mirror when Tavon comes in. "You were right about Mackey," he says quietly. He might know something she can use against him. Lanie promises his name won't be mentioned. Yeah, I'd put my life in the hands of someone who can't even keep her notes private.

"Today, I saw him committing a 2-25-02 VC," Tavon starts. That's a city ordinance against parking more than 6 inches away from the curb. Lanie looks disappointed and pissed. Tavon says if she wants more than that, she's on her own.

Evette and her mom come to the Barn with evidence, namely a used condom.

(Image credit)
Evette's Mom plans to sue Bruce and the store. Claudette still hasn't recovered from having the used birth control device waved so close to her face. Evette explains that she found the condom in the store's dumpster. I'm not sure if Claudette is impressed or horrified as she says, "You went through 3 days of store garbage to find this?" "It was the only way to make you believe me," says Evette, eyeing Dutch.

"Stop showing me those," whimpers Frogger as Vic lays gory crime scene photos on the table. Vic informs him that his "quarter brother" is responsible for the bodies, all of them in Compton Crown franchise cities. 3 of the victims were San Antonio police officers. Vic tells Frogger that he's obstructing justice; either him or Dante is going to jail. He knows Frogger isn't cut out for life on the inside.

Frogger says Dante is at Mission Cross Hospital; Ursula, one of his lady friends, went into labor the night before. This baby will be Dante's first son. Nobody but Frogger knew that Dante has kids.

Lanie has learned about Dante and wants to call the police chief. Edgar-veda says there'll be plenty of time for that after Dante is arrested. The Strike Team descends upon the Mission Cross maternity ward. Vic gets the room number from the nurse. They draw their guns, not the safest place to be doing so.

"What do you want?" Ursula asks as they open her door. Vic orders Dante to put down the baby and not give them trouble. "I won't," Father of the Year promises, "Just gimme a minute." Dante kisses his son's tiny forehead.

Dutch and Claudette let Mrs. Rosen know that Evette and her mother brought in a used condom. It has to be treated as evidence. This can easily be cleared up if Bruce agrees to a DNA test. Mrs. Rosen looks at her husband. Bruce asks, "What if I don't give my permission?" In that case, they have probable cause for a warrant. "Bruce, what did you do?" demands Mrs. Rosen.

Bruce tells them it wasn't rape. Evette came onto him and now she's blackmailing him. If he didn't pay $5,000, she and her mom would report him to corporate. Bruce doesn't have $5 K just sitting around. He repeats that it was consensual, but that doesn't keep his wife from crying. Mrs. Rosen stands up and starting wildly slapping at her husband, screaming, "You slept with a child!"

Dutch restrains her and walks her toward the door. Oh, just let her have at the creep. Mrs. Rosen informs Bruce that he'll never see their daughter again. "Another win for me right before the final bell," Dutch says cheerily once Bruce is in the cage. You probably shouldn't gloat that close to the suspects. He thinks he might not need Claudette's help to keep his job.

Vic and Shane go to the recording studio to tell Kern they've changed their minds (again) about getting back into the drug business. Vic had to lie so they could arrest Dante. If Kern's smart, he won't go back to selling drugs either. Otherwise, the whole Strike Team is coming down on him. Kern's already called his old crew and taken out loans. File that under That's Your Problem.

Kern is pissed. He put himself in danger by giving up Frogger. Vic would be happy to make this up to Kern some other way or Kern can start a war he'll lose. His choice. Kern says this isn't right. Vic is confident that Kern will land on his feet: "You came up from nothing once before."

Ronnie and Lem casually get into an Atamian Waste Management truck. Ronnie is having some trouble and keeps grinding the gears.
Actual screenshot of Ronnie. (Photo credit)
The truck goes a few inches forward and lurches to a stop. "Jesus!" says Lem, trying to find something to hold onto. They roll on about a foot before the truck jerks again. Lem almost hits his head on the windshield. "I got it," Ronnie says despite all evidence to the contrary.

Lem and Ronnie go to a condemned building to meet their boss. Vic asks if they're okay: "I heard a garbage truck sideswiped 2 parked cars." Oops. Even worse, the incident is all over the police scanner. Lem springs to Ronnie's defense; he's never driven a truck like that before. "This is supposed to be a quiet operation," Vic reminds them. If something happens during the money train heist, they'll all go to jail.

Vic asks how long they can leave the garbage truck here. Lem found out condemned property sweeps won't happen for another 3 weeks. There's a long pause. Lem says quietly, "We're really doing this, aren't we?"

Julien goes to Tomas's hotel room, which, of course, gives his ex entirely the wrong idea. Julien just wants his credit card back. I'm shocked when Tomas doesn't say he "lost" it. However, the card was mysteriously canceled. Julien spots boxes of stolen electronics and tells Tomas to take them back. Tomas won't; he plans on fencing them. He wants Julien back. Julien tells Tomas to stay away from him and Vanessa.

Lanie has her desk packed up and bids Claudette goodbye. She also warns that her report will "hit like an earthquake." Claudette, one of the most law-abiding cops in the Barn, isn't worried. Lanie is recommending that Claudette be promoted to captain and run the Barn. She respects Claudette's honesty and integrity. Claudette says Lanie's report will "only cause a few tremors." She isn't the first civilian auditor to come through LAPD. Cops will protect their own and everything will go back to how it was.

Lanie thinks that could change if Claudette were in charge. "I wouldn't want the job," she says. On Lanie's way out, Vic tells her that he sure hopes she changes things around here. I mean, look at what happened today. Julien saved a kid from carjackers and the Strike Team captured a guy the feds have been after for 2 years.

It's late when someone starts pounding on the door of Vic's apartment. He instinctively grabs his gun. Corinne's voice comes from the other side of the door: "I talked to the guy at the desk. I know you're in here." Vic puts down his gun and opens the door. Corinne, waving some papers, is not a happy camper: "You have some stranger come to the house at night and give me this? You're walking out on us?!"

Vic is calm and says he'd never walk out on his family. He's just protecting himself so Corinne can't keep the kids away from him again. She gasps, "You think I'm divorcing you?" Vic knows she's been meeting with a lawyer. "A friend of mine made me talk to him," Corinne explains, "It doesn't mean that I'm filing."

Vic asks about the Tuesday appointment. Corinne has to sign some paperwork to get her deposit back. She's upset, thinking Vic was lying about them trying to work things out. Vic tells her it's not like that, which is actually true.

Corinne notices the black purse on Vic's coffee table and the matching women's shoes under it. She starts to cry. Vic reaches out to comfort her, but she knocks his arm away. "I can make you miserable too," Corinne says icily before storming out. Vic closes the door and sighs. End of episode.

Friday, October 21, 2016

There's Nothing Wiley About These "Coyotes" (Episode 2.10)

Previously on: Drug lord Armadillo Quintero was stabbed to death in the Barn's holding cell (thanks in no small part to Shane). Danny got in trouble for not finding the knife; she swore he didn't have it on him when she arrested him. Deputy Chief Gilroy threatened Vic's family and Shane wanted to kill him. Vic wouldn't allow that, so Gilroy wound up getting arrested for corruption. Lanie the civilian auditor was getting ready to release her report.

Shane bangs on the door of Vic's hotel room/apartment and hands him the newspaper. He thought Lanie's report wasn't due to come out for weeks, but there it is. The Strike Team is mentioned under a headline that proclaims "Failing Grades for Farmington Police Unit." Edgar-veda's name is also mentioned 3 times. Shane notices a pair of lacy red panties hanging on a chair. A woman, presumably Emma, calls from the bathroom for a towel.

When Vic and Shane arrive at work, everyone looks in their direction. Claudette doesn't like disliking her job. Dutch, the eternal optimist, says cheerfully, "Lucky for you, we might not have jobs in a couple weeks." Edgar-veda stalks in. Vic thinks the two of them should get their stories straight. The captain doesn't have time: "I have to manage perhaps the most dysfunctional, inefficient precinct in this city."

Vic gets a call from Corinne, who's in something of a panic. Gilroy called their house and we all know what happened last time. He left a message that he's coming over. Gilroy was bailed out of jail and is supposed to be on house arrest. Vic will be right there; Corinne needs to keep the doors locked and the alarm on.

Julien complains, "I just got married. Now's not a good time to be losin' my job." Is there ever a good time for that? Danny explains the process: Older officers get offered early retirement, then they fire disciplinary problems. The city won't fire a young black officer who works in a mostly-black neighborhood. Danny is worried about her own career; she pretty much got blamed for Armadillo's murder, not to mention Yassirah's lawsuit.

Danny asks Claudette for help in clearing her name. She insists there's no way she'd miss a large kitchen knife; one of the other inmates must've given it to Armadillo's killer. "Or another cop," Claudette suggests. Then, almost immediately:
(Photo credit)
Danny asks what Claudette means, even though it's really freaking obvious.

When Vic gets home, Corinne is shouting through the door for Gilroy to leave. Gilroy wants to apologize, not hurt her; he just needs to see Vic. Speak of the devil and he appears to pat you down. Vic tells Corinne to go back inside and learns Gilroy cut off his house arrest ankle bracelet. The former deputy chief can explain everything. "Save it!" Vic orders, "I'm taking you in."

Gilroy drops a bombshell: The D.A. wants him to give Vic up. He just can't go to prison and the best his lawyer can do is 8 years: "My liver can't do 7." Gilroy asks for help getting out of the United States. The answer, predictably, is a huge no. "Once I'm gone, you're in the clear too," he reminds his old buddy.

Vic pats him down again. Gilroy says he's not wearing a wire; he told the D.A. to go to hell when that was suggested. Time isn't on their side. Vic again refuses. Gilroy tells Vic he better put a gun to his head. Uh, he did that once and you're still alive. Might not wanna push your luck. Vic tells Gilroy to get in the truck. "What a stupid bastard you are," mutters Gilroy.

Shane drops a bag at Gilroy's feet, saying he owes $200 for the new clothes. They know Gilroy's picture will be posted at the border crossings. Might I suggest plastic surgery? Now their former boss needs Mexican and American passports. Oh, and maybe some money. Shane shuts that idea down in a hurry: "If you're lookin' for a loan from us, you can tickle my zipper."

Gilroy gives Shane the key to his safe-deposit box. He has $75,000 left from his land grab scheme, because, surprise of surprises, his mistress Sedona disappeared with the rest of it. Even in Mexico, that money won't last long. Gilroy shrugs he's a simple guy who can live in a hut on the beach. He doesn't plan on staying in Mexico long; he has a friend in Brazil. For that, he needs a one-way plane ticket from Mexico City to Rio. "I owe you," he tells Vic. When Vic tells him to shut up, Gilroy actually pouts.

Edgar-veda confronts Lanie about her report, which wasn't due for 2 weeks. He was also supposed to get an advance copy. Lanie claims someone stole her notes and leaked the unflattering portions, which was probably most of what she wrote. "Who the hell has access to your notes?!" demands the captain, now in full head-chomping mode.
(Photo credit)
Lanie doesn't know who could've possibly stolen them. A likely story. She icily adds that nothing she wrote was embellished; everything happened. But she's ever so sorry it makes him look bad.

Vic informs the boys that the new minority member of the Strike Team starts today. Since Shane and Vic have other things to do and Ronnie is presumably still recovering from his burn, Lem will be showing him around. Lem, usually Mr. Congeniality, gripes, "Why do I have to babysit the new guy?" Shane says somebody has to run their car-theft ring investigation while he and Vic deal with a problem.

Vic explains that Gilroy skipped bail, so him and Shane are helping him flee the country. Lem thought they were all staying out of trouble until the money train heist. If Gilroy goes to prison and starts talking to the D.A., the Strike Team will get locked up themselves. Of course, somebody else could tell the D.A. about them first, the most likely suspects being Edgar-veda, Claudette, and Lanie. Vic says they'll have to be extra careful.

There's a knock on the door. Here comes new Strike Team member Tavon, a veteran of Special Crimes. Wonder if that's anything like Special Victims Unit. After some handshakes, they get down to business. They only have one day to nail the head of the city's biggest car-theft ring, like a reverse version of Gone In 60 Seconds. The Strike Team has never gotten close to him because the guy knows their faces, except one. This will be a one-day trial period. Vic hands Tavon a file; Lem can fill him in on the rest.

Out in the back parking lot, Shane opines that Tavon seems "a little too cool for school." He remembers, as do I, what happened to the last newcomer. Vic interviewed Tavon a few times and he seems fine.

Claudette arrives at the home of 71-year-old Toni Jahnes, who lies dead on her living room rug. Someone broke in and stole her jewelry. Dutch thinks the killer smashed her head against the mantle and "being so old, she probably couldn't put up a fight." I don't think anyone could fight after getting their head thrown into a mantle. Dutch is pissy that his excellent case closure rate wasn't mentioned in Lanie's report. Appropos of nothing, Claudette notices framed photos of Toni's two daughters.

Vic speaks Spanish to some guy and hands over the key to Gilroy's safe-deposit box. Yeah, that seems like a smart idea. The idea is the guy will take some of the money to make Gilroy's fake IDs. Vic promises Shane this will get Gilroy out of their lives without bloodshed. Shane knows Gilroy is Vic's friend, but "I'm not gonna let him hurt us."

Edgar-veda gets into the back of a car with the police chief. The captain assures him that the report is totally biased; it doesn't mention how dramatically crime has dropped in Farmington. Chief asks what Edgar-veda would do in his place. "The first thing I would do is fire me," mumbles the captain. Chief says, "So far, I'm with you." But if Edgar-veda is fired the day the news article is printed, it'll make it appear to the public that the charges are credible. He suggests the chief withhold judgment.

"I've heard about this kind of slick shit of yours," says Chief, "It doesn't work on me."
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Chief knows Edgar-veda is running for office. He gives him a 6-month ultimatum: If he wins the election, he'll be a city councilman and no longer Chief's problem. If Edgar-veda loses the primary, he will quietly resign from the police department because he needs more time with his family.

Edgar-veda paces his office. Machado, his campaign manager, tells him not to worry so much; they have a contingency plan, namely a smear campaign. Edgar-veda gets on his high horse; he doesn't want to win the election by using dirty Mexican political tricks. Machado reminds him that half his supporters were born in Mexico. Edgar-veda wants to clean up the Barn and rehabilitate his image before the election.

In the truck, Shane speculates that Edgar-veda "the backstabbing bastard" turned them in to the D.A. so the Strike Team could take the hit for that report. He doesn't like the timing to Tavon's arrival, especially since Edgar-veda gave his blessing. Vic promises Tavon will be gone tomorrow.

Their fake ID guy comes out of the bank with a paper bag of money. He doesn't seem to know where to go. Vic keeps gesturing him toward the truck. The guy stays where he is. Shane can't believe someone can "flawlessly duplicate government documents and can't tell his left from his right." He hopes he remembers where they're meeting.

Danny and Julien break up a Jerry Springer-worthy catfight. One woman spits out a boxcutter blade from under her tongue. Ouch! Another of the young ladies involved is wielding a knife and very obviously pregnant. Back at the Barn, the pregnant girl's wounds have been dressed and she's sitting in the cage.

Julien heard this isn't the first time she picked a fight recently. Danny asks why she's doing this. "Just because I'm pregnant doesn't mean I have to stop bringing it," says the girl. Uh, actually it does when "bringing it" means "brawling in the street." Danny thinks the woman is a little old to be fighting. She asks about Antonio, the baby's father. The pregnant woman doesn't know where he is and doesn't care. This isn't about him, anyway.

Danny agrees. This is about the baby. She doesn't want anything to happen to it, right? The pregnant woman doesn't answer, just fiddles with the torn hem of her shirt. Danny realizes she's trying to miscarry, though if she's really 8 months along, the baby would more than likely survive. Julien seems to know she's having a boy. The pregnant woman says that means her son will look and sound like Antonio. She doesn't want to look at an Antonio Junior forever. I'm starting to wonder if Antonio raped her. Danny has to walk away.

Claudette has background on their murder victim Toni. She worked for the parks department for 30 years. Her daughters are both dead; one had ovarian cancer and the other was killed by a drunk driver. There have been 3 similar break-ins over the last 2 weeks. Dutch is only halfway paying attention; he's at his desk compiling a "win list." Ugh, the narcissistic weasel. Apparently, his name was mentioned in the article, so he's worried about his job.

A uniform delivers the preliminary autopsy report. Dutch glances at it and declares, "Wasn't a murder." Toni died of a heart attack, not blunt-force trauma. Claudette asks when the heart attack occurred. The M.E. doesn't know. Claudette figures it could've happened as a result of Toni seeing burglars in her house. She doesn't know who to contact; Toni has no other next-of-kin or heirs listed. "Heart attack probably doesn't count as a win, does it?" asks Dutch.

Back at the hotel, Vic finds two empty beer bottles on the counter, the only alcohol he had in the place. He and Shane find Gilroy at a nearby bar. "You the police?" asks the bartender. Gilroy got rough with some of the customers and played the "I'm a cop" card when the bartender tried to throw him out. The bartender called the cops 20 minutes ago: "It's a good thing I'm not being robbed."

Vic tells Gilroy to stand up and walk out with him and Shane. Gilroy protests he needed a drink after 4 months in jail. He offers to buy Shane and Vic a drink. "Stop makin' a scene, you dumbass," says Shane. Gilroy laughs, "Oh, you" and playfully slaps at his face. This could be his last chance. He doesn't know how right he is about that.

Gilroy tries to carry the drink out with him. Shane puts it back on the bar. Gilroy stands up and starts to fall over; Vic catches him. The bartender calls after them, asking who's paying Gilroy's tab. Vic slams some money on the bar.

Lem has a talk with a car thief. If Louis wants his drug charges reduced, he should cooperate with them. Louis refuses to rat out his cousin Denon: "It'll screw up Christmas and I'm not lettin' some cracker cop ruin the holidays." Tavon looks pissed and kicks over Louis' chair. Lem struggles to get Tavon back under control. However, I have to give Tavon credit for sticking up for his partner.

Lem manages to pull Tavon loose and they both go sliding into the wall. "Dude, there's cameras in here," Lem hisses. Tavon heard life at the Barn was different. Lem lies that he heard wrong. He turns to Louis with the threat: "I'll tell all your homo homies you're my snitch bitch." It's up to him how much helping them has to hurt. To punctuate this, Tavon crouches next to Louis and rubs his hands together menacingly. He says ratting out a cousin isn't as bad as turning in your brother.

Shane tosses the barely-conscious Gilroy onto Vic's couch. Their Mexican connection, Quazi, starts speaking Spanish.
Wrong Quasi. (Image credit)
Vic translates that the guy wants to wait until Gilroy sobers up. Shane is like "oh hell no." Gilroy slurs out, "Where's my money?" Vic tells him they're keeping it safe. Lem calls to let Vic know he set up a meeting with Louis' cousin Denon this afternoon. I bet it's the best news he's heard all day. Vic tells Shane they have to go to the car sting. They leave Gilroy and Quazi alone, which I'm sure won't come back to haunt them.

Claudette goes back to Toni's apartment. She takes a long look at the framed pictures of Toni's kids and the certificate of appreciation from the city parks department. She sits down at the kitchen table, clearly looking for something. But even she's not sure what. Perhaps she's seeing some of herself in Toni. Earlier, she mentioned to Dutch that she hasn't talked to either of her daughters in a long time.

At the Barn, Edgar-veda asks Dutch what happened to his partner. Dutch isn't sure. The captain tells him to do police work instead of polishing his resume. There's been a shooting. He and Claudette are assigned. Vic comes in, acting all cheery toward Edgar-veda. The captain asks how Tavon is settling in. Vic says he seems to be trying. If Vic has any cases he can close, today would be the day.

Vic feigns concern about his boss's job. Edgar-veda smugly informs him that Latino police captains are in demand; he could have a dozen job offers tomorrow. Vic is the one who should worry. Vic is still willing to keep up his end of their deal. It remains important to the captain too.

"Aceveda's screwing us," Vic informs Shane in the clubhouse. He's only asking about the car theft sting and Tavon, not a peep about Gilroy. That figures. Shane's been watching TV all day and there hasn't been a news story on the city's assistant police chief-turned fugitive. Vic guesses the D.A. is too embarrassed to let the public know. The good news is Shane got in touch with Coyote Jack; they should be able to get Gilroy out of the country in an hour.

Edgar-veda asks how many casualties were at the scene Claudette investigated. She isn't sure if Toni died before or during the break-in. The captain was referring to the shooting he sent her to. Even if the burglar caused Toni's fatal heart attack, the law doesn't view it as a homicide. The shooting is a priority crime. He asks where Dutch is. "I don't know. Guess he's got his priorities straight," she says. Claudette intends to finish what she started.

Edgar-veda repeats the burglary was victimless. I'd like to see him tell that to Toni's family. Claudette loses it. She shouts that she is working a real case and she could close it faster if he'd stop bothering her. She's angry that her coworkers are worried about how they'll feed their families "because of a bunch of crap they know nothing about and had nothing to do with! No wonder this precinct's upside down. Saving these people's jobs should be your priority."
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Claudette goes into the ladies' room to compose herself. Lanie asks if she's okay. "Am I being graded?" Claudette fires back. Lanie confirms her suspicions that some people will be fired, but maybe Claudette can help her make sure they're the right ones.

Vic and Shane meet Coyote Jack's van at a cemetery. Vic hustles the load of illegal immigrants out of the van and orders Coyote Jack to give him the wheel. Vic drives them through a police gate. Coyote Jack asks if this is the INS building. No, that's downtown, but they'd be happy to drop him there. Coyote Jack claims all dozen or so people in his van were just hitchhikers.

Vic wants to hire Coyote Jack to smuggle someone into Mexico. Coyote Jack's never had to charge anyone for that service before. Vic calls bullshit: "We know the tunnels run both ways." It's Jack's choice whether he wants to help them out or go to jail. Jack agrees.

Dutch finds Claudette at Toni's house again. He caught the shooter from the other case two blocks away from the scene, gun still on him. Not sure if there's a reason for it, but she sends him to check the kitchen.

Lem listens in from the Strike Team van as Louis introduces Tavon to Denon. Try saying that 5 times fast. The story is Tavon knows where Denon can find a fleet of Expeditions. Denon is immediately suspicious; he's never seen Tavon before. Where's his hood? Tavon claims he's from Detroit and that's why he likes cars. Here in L.A., he runs with, I kid you not, the 4th Street Clown Posse. That seems to pass muster.

Denon asks what shape the Expeditions are in. "Factory fresh, straight outta Motown," Tavon replies. His friend is a truck foreman who assigns routes; the driver gets a cut of the profits. Denon offers him $10,000 per truck, $11,000 for leather interior. That's not what Tavon gets in Detroit. Denon gets in his face: "This ain't Detroit, bitch." "You better back up off me, bitch," Tavon warns.

They exchange a few "who you callin' a bitch" remarks. Tavon eventually agrees to Denon's terms since he's on someone else's turf. Tavon just needs to know when and where to drop off the cars.

In Toni's bedroom, Claudette discovers someone stole all her lipstick. Maybe the burglar was a woman? Dutch found 3 empty bags of cookies and a half-eaten bag of brown sugar. Their girl could be a junkie. Should he check with Vic about dealers in the neighborhood? Claudette wants to do her own police work.

Claudette pays a visit to a street-corner pharmacist named Long John. "Oh, the pirate gangster, huh?" Dutch jokes. Now is really not the time to get cute. They're looking for a female customer of his who probably bought last night or tried to trade jewelry for rock. Claudette snatches Long John's hat right off his head even though he's much taller than her. She finds drugs inside it.

Long John asks if they'll drop the drug charge if he talks. It depends. The customer they're looking for is a "transie, calls herself Mancy." "Mancy a transie or a cross-dresser?" asks Dutch, as if that matters. Long John wants to know if there's a difference. "Fairly large one," Dutch quips.

Shane found no official papers have been issued for Gilroy: APBs, bench warrants, and the like. Lemming doesn't get why: "The guy cut his ankle monitor and bailed 8 hours ago." Lanie's report hit the paper today, so Vic highly doubts it's a malfunction or clerical error, as do I.

Claudette has shared her theory about how the knife got into the holding cell. Danny knows Vic; he'd never throw her under the bus like that. "Sorry to waste your time," Claudette sighs.

When Shane and Vic get back to Vic's place, there's a white sheet tacked to the wall. Gilroy stands in front of it while Quazi snaps Polaroids and gives instructions in Spanish. Vic's translation: "He says stop smiling. It makes you look gay" is probably incorrect. He hands Gilroy a plane ticket and informs him they had to take $10,000 out of the $75,000 for the coyote's expenses.

Gilroy says the D.A. has been asking him questions about Terry. He thinks the case might get reopened. Gilroy swears he never mentioned that he warned Vic about Terry being after the Strike Team. Vic gives him the party line he's used since the beginning: "Terry got killed in the line of duty by a drug dealer." Gilroy is all "c'mon, ain't nobody here but us chickens."

Vic draws his gun and stands Gilroy up. Shane whips off Gilroy's buttondown shirt and pulls down his pants, checking for a wire. He finds a tape recorder and mike taped under Gilroy's boxer shorts.
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"That's what the trip to the bar was about, wasn't it?" Vic asks. It's Shane's turn to pull his gun. He starts calling Gilroy a son of a bitch. He puts a couch cushion in between his gun barrel and Gilroy's face. Gilroy admits D.A. investigators are outside watching him. If anything happens to him, they'll know. Shane backs away and makes the understatement of the year: "Oh, this is not good."

Shane wonders how much the investigators have witnessed. The scene at the bar? The bank run? Quazi? Coyote Jack? Vic says it doesn't matter; none of that can be used against them. Considering they're currently aiding and abetting a fugitive, I think he's wrong about that. According to Vic, however, Gilroy asking for their help made it entrapment.

The only real evidence Gilroy got against them was the tape, which Vic now has. Shane points out the matter of harboring a fugitive. Vic says they're not anymore. Gilroy's going to Mexico as planned. The disgraced assistant chief asks what he's supposed to live on; $65,000 won't last him a year. "What about the hut? The rice and beans?" demands Shane. Gilroy replies, "That's when I wasn't really going." "Oh, you're going," growls Vic, snapping at Gilroy to get dressed.

"I didn't wanna do it. They made me," Gilroy blubbers. He apologizes to Vic. Vic tells Gilroy to get a hold of himself; he has to lose the tail on his own. "We're putting our success in his hands? Jesus!" Shane cries. Vic assures his partner that Gilroy's "done some of his best work soused."

Shane wants to cut their losses and turn Gilroy in because the guy's poison. It's hard to argue with that. Vic knows Gilroy can do it. He points out, "We send him back to prison, he starts talking, he makes our lives hell."

At the Barn, Vic informs Edgar-veda that Gilroy jumped bail. He came to Vic's place this morning and asked for help getting to Mexico. Vic didn't bring Gilroy in because they've been friends for 15 years; he thought he could convince Gilroy to turn himself in. Gilroy is still at Vic's place, drunk and crying. Vic didn't want anyone to seem him like that. Edgar-veda will send someone over.

"Vic, Denon just called. He wants to move those cars right now," says Lem. The meet was originally set for the next day, but Denon changed his mind. Edgar-veda knows Denon is a major thief and tells the guys to go get him.

Downstairs, Danny asks if she and Vic can talk. Vic's in a hurry. Danny corners him in the clubhouse. She knows she's on the top of the firing list because of what happened to Armadillo. Vic agrees it was unfair that she got suspended over it. Danny heard Armadillo's death could've been good for Vic. She's spent 6 1/2 years getting where she is and doesn't want to lose her career. Vic asks if she's been talking to Claudette.

Danny responds with a question of her own: "What happened in that cage?" Vic acts like he doesn't know. Sometimes people hide weapons and cops don't find them. Danny knows she did a good search and asks pointblank, "You had something to do with this, didn't you?" Of course, Vic says no. After everything she's done and covered up, he's pulling this shit on her? Danny tells Vic to stay away from her and leaves the clubhouse.

Dutch goes to what looks a crackhouse and asks one of its denizens where he can find Mancy. The guy is out of it and holding a large bottle filled with piss. Claudette asks the same question of a woman with a belt wrapped around her arm, ready to shoot up. Claudette finds strung-out Mancy up in the attic. Mancy is, let's say, not the most convincing female impersonator I've ever seen. I'm not sure if he/she's in the throes of an overdose, withdrawal, or AIDS. Either way, Claudette wants Mancy taken to a hospital. In a paper bag, Claudette finds high school graduation pictures of Toni's daughters.

Lanie talks to Gilroy's surveillance team on the phone. She tells them to grab him up and make sure they get the tape. Downstairs, Edgar-veda makes a big speech about how they're a family and he's gonna fight like hell to save everyone's jobs. The officers and detectives should focus on protecting and serving.

Claudette follows him up to the balcony and says, "Nice speech." I can't tell if she's being sarcastic. The captain frets, "Could be my last." Claudette tells him that Toni was already on the floor when Mancy broke in; he/she didn't cause the heart attack.

Julien informs Pregnant Brawler that they can have her put in county lockup until the baby is born. Judging by the girl's shape, that won't be very long. She shrugs and tells him to go ahead: "You don't think there's other ways to do it? Fighting's just the way you get the most props." Danny says it's okay if Pregnant Brawler doesn't want the baby; she can give him up. Pregnant Brawler asks if they've talked to her baby-daddy Antonio. Does he want her back? Does he want to be in his son's life?

Julien is sure they can find a good foster home if it comes to that. Her son deserves a chance. Pregnant Brawler doubts they can "give away a brown baby" when "not even his daddy wants him." "I'll take him," Danny blurts out. I think part of the reason she broke it off with Vic is because Danny wants a baby and knows Vic would never say yes to that. "I ain't givin' my baby to a white cop. I'd rather kill him with my bare hands," says Pregnant Brawler, even though Danny just stomped all over her notion of nobody wanting a "brown baby."

A taxi drops Gilroy off in a deserted parking lot, where he's meeting Vic and Shane. I'd be worried about the location if I were him. Shane asks, "How many wine coolers did it take you to get here?" Gilroy says he followed Vic's instructions to the letter about taking the bus and the subway. He paid the coyote $10,000 and the guy gave him an empty envelope. He lost his tail.

Vic opens the sliding door of a nearby van and introduces Gilroy to Coyote Jack. He holds up the envelope. The guy Gilroy gave the $10 K to was actually hitman who'll kill Gilroy if Vic ever calls the hitman with a designated code. "You made me pay my own hitman?" Gilroy is aghast. Shane bets he could really use another drink now.

"Vic, we were friends," Gilroy says. Vic reminds him just who threatened whose family. Gilroy claims that was a bluff. The hitman thing isn't and they both know it. Actually, Gilroy might not. He goes on about how Vic had the chance to kill Gilroy himself and couldn't go through with it. He wouldn't send a hitman after his old friend. "Maybe not," Vic concedes, "but Shane will."

Gilroy has some parting words for Vic: "I got greedy. I lost everything. There's a lesson there." Shane practically shoves him into the van. He and Vic watch as Coyote Jack drives away.

At the Barn, Denon is brought in, protesting that he didn't agree to buy stolen cars. Vic tells him there's time to come up with a better story. "It's nice to have a win on a day like today," says the captain. He asks Tavon how the guys treated him, "the guys" in this case being Lem since Vic and Shane were otherwise occupied all day. Tavon says everything is fine.

Edgar-veda and Vic go upstairs, the captain relieved to have survived today. But as Little Orphan Annie observed, there's always tomorrow. Vic knows they'll both survive the next day. Edgar-veda wishes he had Vic's confidence. Lanie tells the captain that Gilroy wasn't in Vic apartment. Vic swears that when he left, Gilroy was in a drunken stupor.

Lanie thinks he must've sobered up and gone on the run. All the surveillance team found were his clothes and the tape recorder. Vic is sure Gilroy couldn't have gone far. In the clubhouse, Vic thinks he owes the captain an apology for thinking he was the rat: "The real rodent's sittin' drunk at my apartment." Shane isn't worried; Gilroy will be in Rio de Janeiro by this time tomorrow.

Vic asks for Lem's verdict on Tavon. Lem, of course, likes the guy and says he has cojones. "It's not havin' 'em; it's usin' 'em that counts," says Shane.
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Lem goes on that Tavon is a hard worker with "a bit of a mean streak, but under control." Highlighting those traits, Lemming could very well be describing himself. Shane snaps, "Don't cream all over this guy before you seen him naked."
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Tavon is no Ronnie. Hell, Tavon isn't as good as Lem or Shane himself. All Lem meant is that Tavon being black could open up doors; they can send him places where they'd stick out too much. Speaking of opening doors, the conversation grinds to a screeching halt as Tavon enters. He presents Vic with his signed transfer papers; he just has to let his old commander know if he's staying.

"Tell him you're staying on a little longer," says Vic. Call it an extended trial period. Shane advises him to "be ready for something a little more difficult than auto capers." Tavon's ready to follow his lead.

In the parking lot, Julien asks if Danny was serious about wanting to adopt Pregnant Brawler's baby. Danny dismisses it as a stupid idea. Julien invites Danny to join him, his new wife Vanessa, and stepson Randall for dinner and church. "You tryin' to convert me now?" she asks nastily. Julien just knows she's had a hard day and she doesn't have to be alone. Danny hasn't been to church since she was 9. "God remembers you," says Julien. Danny replies, "Well, I forgot about Him." How about just saying "no, thank you"? Geez, girl, I know Julien's been a sanctimonious tool before, but he's honestly trying to help you now.

At a city council meeting, the city's showrunners and Lanie listen to the tape from Gilroy's recorder. There's only some back-and-forth between Gilroy and Vic about how the frame jobs and beat-downs never happened; Vic just made up the stories to scare the crooks because "rep's everything on the street."

The police chief shuts off the tape. He announces the Strike Team is clearing cases at a better rate than any other unit in the city; Lanie wants him to come down on them over this tape? Lanie says there are other "irregularities." Chief says Edgar-veda will take the blame; one way or the other, he's gone after the election.

"Mackey's dirty," Lanie insists. The chief doesn't think she's proven it. Lanie points out she would have more evidence if somebody hadn't stolen her notes. Chief instructs her to turn in the official report; the investigation is over.

Vic finds Claudette typing away at what seems to be the only computer in the station. He has to file a report before he can go home. Claudette says he can have it when she's done emailing her daughters. Vic thinks she better find a way to deal with her hatred of him because he's not going anywhere. "Neither am I," she says calmly. End of episode.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Vic Mackey Is My "Co-Pilot" (Episode 2.9)

Previously on: Vic's strung-out informant Connie was killed during a hostage situation. Vic took away his protection from drug dealer Rondell Robinson and shortly afterward, Rondell was found dead. Terry Crowley was planted on the Strike Team to bring down Vic; Vic ended up shooting the rookie to death. Former deputy chief Gilroy shot and killed someone who could finger him in a hit-and-run; he also ran a land-buying scheme that resulted in a race riot.

The title card reads: "14 Months Earlier," making this episode something of a Strike Team origin story. Vic and Shane, both in suits, stand over the body of a woman shot in front of a grocery store. The woman had a 1996 Ford Escort registered to her, which is nowhere to be found. According to Shane, "You'd think that drivin' an Escort would disqualify you from bein' carjacked." They're waiting for the CSIs, who are tied up at a knife fight.

Shane offers Vic a cigarette, but the big man is trying to quit. Shane predicts that'll last a week. Gilroy arrives and seems a bit startled about a fatal carjacking at 2 PM. Vic shrugs that it's business as usual in Farmington. Gilroy tells Vic he's having a hard time convincing the chief that Vic is the man to run the new Strike Team. Vic responds with Bobby Singer's catchphrase:
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Vic knows he's perfect for the job; he knows the territory and the players. The chief is worried about Vic's constant run-ins with his former superior, Plotkin. "Plotkin was an asshole," says Vic, "I'm never gonna get another shot?" "Not this one," says Gilroy. Everyone playing along at home knows that doesn't wind up being true.

Vic ducks under the crime scene tape and follows Gilroy up the street, all but begging him to talk to the chief again. He knows there are people who owe Gilroy favors. All Vic wants is to be in charge of the Strike Team and bring Shane along. Gilroy says Shane's record is spotty too. Vic knows Shane is a good cop; Gilroy can hire whoever he likes to fill the other spots. Gilroy only has one marker left with the chief; Vic would have to deliver quick results or they're both fired.

At home, Corinne is impressed by the idea of Vic commanding his own anti-drug/anti-gang task force. Vic is worried he'll blow it. "You won't," Corinne reassures him. Vic tells her it'll involve a lot of overtime; he won't see the kids as much. "We'll manage. You have to do this," Corinne insists. Doesn't take her long to change that tune. 

The Barn is not quite the Barn yet. All the desks are bare. Enter Captain Edgar-veda with his briefcase. Two guys are taking down a large wall-mounted crucifix; two more are building the cage. Edgar-veda opens his office windows and surveys his new domain. He sees Vic downstairs and asks how he can help. 

Vic introduces himself and says he's running the Strike Team. "We're still interviewing for that position," Edgar-veda informs him. Vic hopes not; Gilroy told him he's starting tomorrow. He was hoping to settle in early and meet the rest of the guys. Edgar-veda comes downstairs to introduce himself and says he read Vic's file. He doesn't sound impressed, but thinks they both have a chance to do something special. 

Edgar-veda rallies his troops for a standard speech about teamwork in front of a news crew. Everyone has a job to do that's equally important. He thanks Gilroy for everyone's new jobs. There's scattered, polite applause. Gilroy makes a speech of his own. This is a trial unit that the public thinks is a waste of time and taxpayer money; Gilroy doesn't believe that. Well, no shit, it was your idea. He wants everyone to go prove the haters wrong. More applause and everyone heads to their posts.

Gilroy whispers something in Vic's ear. Vic spots Danny and asks, "Who sucked you into this hellhole?" She jokes that she can't turn down long hours and low pay. She asks if Julien is ready. "Yes, ma'am," he replies. She tells him not to call her that, so Julien says, "Yes, sir." She tells him to just call her Danny.

What is now the clubhouse is currently crammed with old furniture, a rack of votive candles (the Barn was most certainly a Catholic church), and a piano. There's even a baptismal font in a corner. Vic knows Ronnie and Lem aren't familiar with Farmington, so he wants them to hit the streets and get themselves some CI's: "find out who's aiding, who's mating." "Knowledge is power," adds Shane.

Lem eagerly asks when they can get started. Vic already has a list of "neighborhood dickheads" so they can make house calls. "This is gonna rock, man! Thanks for letting me join the band," smiles Lemming. Vic says that Shane vouched for him and "in spite of that, I figured, what the hell?" 

Ronnie mutters that could turn out to be a mistake. Lem comes right back with "Who let the guy with the mustache in?" Everyone else on the team is clean-shaven. Ronnie says, "Ladies love the 'stache." Vic knows that trust won't happen overnight, but they'll need it where they're going.

Edgar-veda opens the door right into Vic's back. He has the Strike Team's first case: a gang-related drive-by (Is there any other kind?) with one fatality. At the scene, the body is underneath a large religious mural. Their male witness tells Vic that Wanda is dead and Jolene got taken to the hospital in an ambulance. "Looks like you got off easy," Shane remarks. The guy, of course, didn't see who did it. He tells them his name is Ringo.

"Your parents didn't like ya enough to name ya after John or Paul?" asks Shane. Ouch. Vic knows Ringo, a small-time pimp. Ringo was just walking with "his girls" when the shooting happened. He hasn't pissed anyone off enough to do that. Vic notices a detailed mural across the street, depicting someone being eaten by a lion. Ringo won't say whose tag it is. Vic tells Shane to see what he can "drum out" of Ringo.
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In the meantime, Vic will talk to one of Ringo's girls that he knows.

"The classroom is where you learn the rules, but 70% of this job is instinct," Danny tells Julien. At a nearby food truck, the owner tries to give Danny and Julien free breakfast. The rookie insists on paying; taking gratuities is against the rules. They hear glass breaking across the street. A naked woman falls out of a first floor window. She races toward Danny and Julien, yelling in Spanish. Said naked woman is also covered in blood. She grabs Danny and hugs her tight, clearly afraid of something (or more likely, someone).

Connie, relatively sober and with Brian on her hip, lets Vic into her yard. The kid lives with her mom most of the time, but Connie doesn't use when she's watching the baby. Vic tells her one of her coworkers was killed. Connie already knows about Wanda. She thinks it could've been a local drug dealer named Lionel. That would certainly explain the graffiti. Ringo didn't want to pay a tax for his hookers to do business in the neighborhood. 

Vic warns Connie to stay away from Ringo the walking target. She hears a car pull up outside. Her mom is home, meaning it's time for Connie to go to "work."

A bunch of local dealers are lined up against a wall being frisked by Lem and Shane. Vic asks, "If Lionel's the lion, then what does that make you? His wives or his cubs?" I'm sure they'd prefer to be the latter. 

One of the suspects tells Lem to stop feeling him up and calls him a fag. Lem calls him a fag right back. The suspect spits in Lem's face, so Lem kicks him in the balls from behind. Not only does he have a temper, he fights dirty. Now I understand why Shane vouched for him. Lem gets some more licks in before Vic pulls him off the guy. 

"Hey, he's the asshole who started it!" Lem shouts. Vic reminds him that there are a dozen neighbors watching this. One mistake can get them all in a lot of trouble. But when the time is right, the guy will get taken care of. Does he understand?

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Vic wants all the dealers brought back to the Barn. The suspect Lem kicked is still on the ground. "Get your ass up!" Lem orders.

Dutch comes in, awkwardly balancing a large plastic box. He goes to shake Edgar-veda's hand. The captain responds by snapping, "You're 2 hours late." Dutch explains that at his old precinct, the detectives come in at 9 AM. Well, here in Farmington, shifts start at 7: "You're lucky there's a desk left." Dutch kind of protests about his location between the kitchen and women's bathroom. Isn't there anyplace else? "There was at 7:00," Edgar-veda says.

The captain tells Dutch that a rape victim led Detectives Gannon and Wyms to the abandoned building where she was held. I know Wyms is Claudette, but not sure we've ever seen Gannon. It'd be nice if Dutch went down there and helped out.

"Tom Gannon?" Dutch asks excitedly. He doesn't know the guy personally, but he solved the case of the Beachwood Canyon Slasher. He hears Gannon is great. "He's punctual." Edgar-veda says pointedly. Dutch actually pouts.

At the vacant building, Claudette exposits that the rape victim pulled the ropes off herself and punched out the window with her bare hands. Gannon has found a collection of bras in the other room; this victim may not be the first. Dutch agrees that a vacant building on a quiet street is the perfect place for a serial rapist.

Dutch introduces himself to the other detectives, asking if Claudette's been on the force long because he hasn't heard of her. He likes to keep track of big cases. Gannon has hit a few snags concerning the victim; she's a Salvadoran illegal who doesn't speak English and won't give her name.

The victim was kidnapped by 3 guys. A ransom call was made; the men threatened to rape her if they didn't get the money. When they called back later, her family didn't have the cash. Panning the room, we see a bare mattress, torn clothes, and an abandoned pair of platform sandals. After the assault, the kidnappers tied her up and left.

"First one to roll on Lionel gets a free pass," Vic announces to the suspects in the cage. Nobody speaks up. "You don't think I'm gonna get Lionel with or without you?" Vic asks. He'll be back in an hour.

Dutch doesn't think they're looking for a typical rapist. There is such a thing? Oh, by that he means most rapists aren't motivated by money. Their suspects will probably have rap sheets for other violent crimes. Gannon doesn't seem to be paying attention. When he speaks, it's just to say that he honestly think their desk is in the best possible place.

Claudette has learned this isn't an isolated incident; a lot of illegals have been kidnapped in Farmington, but their families don't report it. They just pay the ransom. Then how do the cops know these people were even kidnapped? Some people recommended that Claudette talk to Jesus Latigo. Gannon has something better: a witness who saw 3 guys drive away from the building got a partial license plate.

Dutch asks Gannon about the Beachwood case. What made him suspect the stepbrother? Gannon shrugs that something didn't seem right; the stepsister was cut up and the guy wasn't worried about his mom's safety or that of his two blood sisters.

Dutch, trying way too hard to sound casual, wants to know who's partnered with who. "Captain's still workin' on it," says Gannon. Dutch suggests they work together. Gannon places a Post-It note on the fridge that reads "NOT YOURS? DON'T EAT IT." I wonder if somebody's already had a run-in with Lem. "Maybe it'll end up like that," Gannon says in a flat tone.

Claudette's informant (?) Jesus was sickened when he heard what happened to Annabelle; he's a family friend. Claudette wants Annabelle's family to come in and talk about the ransom call. Jesus says they won't: "My clients are illegals. You know how it is." Claudette asks if Jesus is a lawyer. Jesus says no.

"Everybody I talked to said that you're the man to see about dealing with kidnappers," says Claudette, "What does that mean?" Jesus pulls a Hagrid.

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"Oh, Jesus Christ," Lem mutters as he hefts a large crucifix off the clubhouse wall. Heh. "Goddamn it, I mean..." he goes on.
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Gannon enters, saying, "I was told this is the ladies' room." He and Vic appear to be old friends. Gannon was brought down to "bring some credibility to this old barn." Vic likes the sound of the name. Around them, the younger guys are moving boxes and the votive stand. Gannon heard Vic is running the Strike Team and asks if he's talked to Joe Clark recently. Vic heard Joe is enjoying retirement. He introduces Gannon to the rest of the team.

Vic asks what case Gannon is working on. Gannon's explanation is rather insensitive: "Some illegal got gangbanged." The victim is more worried about her parents' immigration status than finding her attackers. Lem asks who Gannon is working with. "That black girl and some Dutch guy," says Gannon. Vic doesn't know who he's talking about. "Come take a look," Gannon invites, opening the clubhouse door and pointing Dutch out.

Gannon's almost snickering as he says, "I keep hiding his chair on him. Every house needs a rube." He got some dirt from Sunset, Dutch's old precinct. Mrs. Dutch was an alcoholic, so Dutch put her in AA for help and Mrs. Dutch got "schtupped by her sponsor." The Strike Team laughs. That's not even the icing on the cake: "She finally tells him, not only is she leaving him, she's having this other guy's kid." Somebody call Jerry Springer.

Vic thinks maybe they should lay off Dutch, at least for a while. "Nah," says Gannon, triggering another round of laughter. He also heard Dutch is a windbag who needs to come down a few pegs. Well, he isn't wrong. Claudette walks in. "Doesn't anyone knock?" asks Vic, even though Gannon didn't.

Claudette has someone in interrogation. "Who?" asks Gannon. She suggests he come upstairs and find out. Gannon promises he'll be right there. To the Strike Team, he adds, "All business. She'll never last around here." Upstairs, Gannon decides there's not enough air in the room for all 3 detectives and tells Dutch to hang back.

Vic and Shane find the cage is several prisoners short. Vic asks where their suspects went. The now-retired Sergeant Nathan replies that Edgar-veda released them. Vic chases the captain down to ask why. Edgar-veda replies that their paperwork was a mess with no probable cause. I'm waiting for him to mention the fact that Lem Hulked out.

Vic wasn't trying to get the guys convicted of anything, just make them nervous. Edgar-veda says the holding cell is reserved for legitimate arrests. Vic is in the middle of investigating a murder; now his only leads and suspects are in the wind. Edgar-veda reminds him, "Commanding the Strike Team is a prized position. We had a lot of candidates just as qualified as you, if not more." He advises Vic to get his act together.

In the office, Gilroy asks how Edgar-veda's first day is going. The captain still has bugs to work out. And by bugs, I'm sure he means Vic Mackey. Gilroy senses what Edgar-veda is getting at and promises Vic will get results. Edgar-veda still wants to have a backup plan: Fill the last Strike Team opening with someone who can take over if Vic doesn't do well. Gilroy tells him to give Vic a chance.

Edgar-veda has made some phone calls and found out a lot of people won't work with Vic. They can do better than him. Gilroy needs his experiment to succeed, really, they both do. He agrees to let the captain draw up a list of candidates just in case. Edgar-veda wants to handpick the person. Gilroy wants several people run through his office; he makes all personnel decisions for the precinct.

Gilroy goes downstairs to the clubhouse, where Vic is alone at a table they found somewhere. He tells Vic there's "no time for a learning curve." Dealing with Edgar-veda is Gilroy's penance for being able to start the Strike Team. He asks about the drive-by. Vic thinks Lionel is behind it. "Then make your case and put the Strike Team on the map," says Gilroy. Vic thinks they may need more time. Gilroy tells him the chief has no patience; neither does he.

Claudette has heard Jesus is a ransom broker. Jesus describes kidnapping as heinous but lucrative, especially in Latin America. He assures them he has nothing to do with the actual kidnappings; he's just a kind soul who helps people get their loved ones back safely. Jesus charges commission. He brags that he has a 100% success rate because he knows how to negotiate.

Jesus explains that Mexicans see Salvadorians as lower class and target them. Jesus himself is Honduran. He swears he's never met the kidnappers; they just arrange a drop-off point by paging him to a pay phone. Gannon instructs Jesus to tell the police next time he gets paged. Jesus owes his success to his ability to build rapport with kidnappers and victims' families; if he gives up the kidnappers, nobody will work with him again.
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Claudette points out that a few less brokers might make the kidnappings stop or at least be less frequent. Jesus knows kidnappings will continue. Families will hire "brokers who don't care, who'll take the money and keep it." Then the victims will be killed. Jesus cares enough to get people back alive.

Shane suggests they wait a few weeks for one of Lionel's guys to commit another felony. Hell, they might not have to even wait that long. Vic says they don't have that kinda time. Ronnie and Lem found out that both narcotics and vice have been trying to make a case against Lionel, but they hit a dead end. Vic sees Gilroy and Edgar-veda scrutinizing him through the open clubhouse door.

Vic says they have to arrest Lionel pronto. Lem thinks that if they hit him long and hard enough, Lionel will get the message. "You the expert on makin' guys long and hard?" Shane asks dryly. Vic tells him this isn't funny. It's their first day on the job and there's already talk of shutting them down. Does anyone feel like going back to their last assignment? Lem looks nervous at the idea, which makes me wonder where exactly he'd been working.

Vic gets up and closes the clubhouse door. He thinks they need a shortcut, like making one of Lionel's guys produce evidence. Shane agrees that would speed things up. "Produce, as in plant?" Lem asks slowly.
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"We all know that this guy's an asshole in the first degree," says Vic, "...This isn't the first body he's responsible for." Lem is still unsure. Vic points out that a high-profile bust will make the team look good to the bosses; the bad guys will consider them a force to be reckoned with. He promises that once they rack up a few W's, they'll go back to doing things by the book.
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"We need this," Vic insists, "Just this once."

Cut to our old friend Rondell crammed in the backseat of a car with Ronnie and Shane. Rondell asks where they're going: "Ain't no police station this way." "Yeah, well, we a mobile unit," Vic responds in his best ghetto accent. Shane asks why Rondell is in a hurry to go to jail. Rondell knows he won't do time for 3 joints. "Your record, I wouldn't be too sure," says Lem.

Vic says Rondell is gonna help them get Lionel. "Are you on the pipe?" asks Rondell. Vic screeches to a stop in front of a mural depicting a snake eating a rat with the familiar motto STRIKE TEAM WAS HERE. "We had our own tagger do some work," says Shane. Rondell sasses that the painting doesn't mean anything. Shane asks if he really wants to get hauled in for possession.

"You guys may be the cops, but Lionel's the law around here," says Rondell. It'll take a lot more than 4 guys to change people's minds. Next we see of Rondell, Vic is shoving him in the cage. Shane doesn't think he'll cooperate. Vic is trying to think of another plan.

"You know what? Screw Rondell. We'll just try another homie," says Lem, flopping down on the team's hideous new couch. Shane thinks Lionel is too smart for them to stake out; the captain will just cut him loose again if they bring him in for petty crime. Ronnie suggests they get a search warrant, go to Lionel's, and plant the evidence. Vic knows Lionel will scream set-up. They need someone besides the 4 of them to find the evidence.

Lem suggests planting it in Lionel's car. Vic, pushing a coat rack back and forth like a pendulum, thinks it'd be better to hit his house when it's empty. Problem is, according to Ronnie, Lionel's girls come and go (pardon the pun) at all hours.

Claudette tells Jesus they don't need his help anymore; they've confiscated his pager. Jesus says the kidnappers use code and it won't make sense without him. Dutch tried to talking to Annabelle again, but she still wouldn't say anything. Jesus claims his ransom brokering is a valuable community service. He works pro bono (minus that commission he mentioned earlier). Claudette tells him to drop the "champion of the people" crap.

Danny and Julien are at a supermarket, where a male worker with cuts on his face is holding an ice pack to his head. The man's wife says a customer named Mayfield tried to walk out the door with a cart full of groceries and attacked her husband with a bag of ice when he tried to stop the theft. Hubby says Mayfield isn't a bad guy; he's just had it rough being unemployed for a while. He doesn't want to press charges and will settle for the money or the groceries.

Danny says they have no choice but to arrest him. Any kind of weapon makes the attack armed robbery, which is a felony. "Then go do it," snaps Wifey, "He took perishables."

Danny and Julien go to Mayfield's apartment. The rookie tells Mayfield to take his hands out of his pockets and put them behind his head. "I told him I'd pay him," says Mayfield before asking if the store owner is okay. He didn't mean to hit him that hard. Julien asks if Mayfield is aware of programs that can help him pay for groceries.

Mayfield explains that he gets food stamps, but they were stolen. Apparently the "punk gangster" in Apartment 29 keeps breaking into mailboxes and taking everybody's food stamps. It takes days to get more: "Meanwhile, my family's starvin'. What am I supposed to do?" "Not commit a felony," suggests Danny.

Vic gives Connie a false-bottom purse with a microphone inside. She asks interestedly if there's coke in the bag too. Sort of; it's crack, which carries a stiffer sentence. He wants her to tell Lionel that she'll pay a street tax to stay safe while hooking. Connie should hide the crack under his bathroom sink or someplace. Vic will be lucky if Connie doesn't smoke all the crack herself.

Vic can hear her on the microphone. If it fails, he and Shane will come running. If Connie feels threatened before that, all she has to do is say "gringo."

Danny and Julien pay a visit to a guy named Happy.
Unfortunately, not this Happy.
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Happy's place is crammed with groceries. Must be the infamous Apartment 29. Danny asks if he's been stealing food stamps. "I don't need no ghetto coupons," he replies, which is such a Happy Lowman thing to say. Danny knows he's been arrested for theft 3 times and has no job. Julien asks him to return the food stamps. Looks to me like he probably spent them all.

"I'm missing the game," Happy says, starting to close the door. Danny puts her hand up to block it. She and Julien are going to step away for exactly 2 minutes. If the rest of the food stamps (assuming there are any) aren't sitting on the porch when they get back, they're calling in the detectives.

At the edge of a parking lot carnival, Vic and Shane listen to Connie telling Lionel that she doesn't want to end up shot like Wanda. Lionel agrees to protect her, but first he wants to, uh, sample Connie's wares. She says she has to run to the bathroom first to put in her diaphragm. Do they still make those? "No need, baby girl, I ain't hittin' that raw," says Lionel. Vic and Shane watch as a drunk clown pukes all over the street.

Claudette thinks that Jesus will talk if they talk to him the right way. Gannon disagrees; he believes his witness is their best bet. He has 30 years of experience saying the broker will crack if he misses even one home-cooked meal. Edgar-veda tells Claudette to defer to Gannon. Dutch asks Claudette how she'd go after the broker, strictly hypothetically. Gannon pursuing one lead doesn't mean they can't pursue another.

Danny and Julien return to Happy's porch and find the food stamps in a paper bag. "They teach you that in the classroom?" she asks the rookie.

Over the wire, Vic and Shane hear Connie moaning sexually. It sounds like Lionel is smacking her around. Vic wants to rush to her aid. Shane grabs his arm, reminding him that Connie didn't say their code word: "gringo." They don't have a warrant and this is their only chance at getting Lionel. Connie screams again, so Vic gets out of the car.

Shane follows him, repeating that Connie does this for a living every night. She'll be fine. When Connie emerges, the carnies are setting up that classic human centrifuge: the Berry-Go-Round.
Ah, childhood memories of making my mom motion-sick.
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Connie's face is bruised and her bottom lip is split. That's all Vic needs to see. Shane practically has to take him to the ground. Connie reports that she put the drugs under the bathroom sink, just like they told her to. She hugs Vic, swearing she's fine. By the way, she needs a fix before he takes her home.

The ill-fated Terry Crowley compliments Edgar-veda on his new office. Deputy Chief Gilroy "stocked the pond with his own fish," so the captain wants someone he can trust around. Terry wants to know how this will be different than the time Edgar-veda tried to recruit him for a narcotics task force in the Valley. Edgar-veda promises it will be: "You'll say yes." Terry is happy where he is, on the robbery squad.

Edgar-veda promises better pay, plus more fun and excitement. Vic has been put in command of the Strike Team. There's a spot for Terry. If Vic turns out to be a bad fit, Terry will take over. Terry doesn't look sold.

The Strike Team sits down with Rondell in the clubhouse. Lionel is going down. The only thing that remains to be seen is if Rondell goes down with him. They have it on good authority that Lionel has drugs in his house. Rondell argues that Lionel never keeps his supply there. Is Rondell sure he's not that sloppy himself?

Next stop, the captain's office. Vic says they busted Rondell for possession with intent and he's willing to give up his boss Lionel in exchange for a deal. They're sure Lionel was behind the drive-by. Rondell just delivered some drugs to Lionel's house, so they have to move fast. Edgar-veda tells Shane to take Rondell's statement while he calls for a warrant.

Of course, instead of picking up the phone, he talks to Vic. Edgar-veda finds it curious that Rondell is turning on his boss to beat a misdemeanor marijuana charge (yes, he uses the Spanish pronunciation). Vic can't take all the credit; he's not sure Rondell knows the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor. Edgar-veda wants to tag along on the bust. Vic doesn't have a problem with that.

Claudette comes in and tells Jesus his pager just went off, so they don't have much time. Jesus is bound by tradition to stay silent. "Does this tradition always include multiple rapes?" asks Dutch. Jesus says no. Claudette asks what happens if the kidnappers think the family still owes? They could go after the woman again. How is what the kidnappers are doing honorable?

If Jesus helps them, it would show everyone it's not just brokers who have to follow the rules. Surely, the Hispanic community would see the honor in that.

"Who the hell told you I got drugs?" asks Lionel as the police toss his place. Vic says it's confidential. Lionel has the right to face his accuser. Edgar-veda suggests mentioning that at trial. Shane knocks several stacks of CDs and videos off a shelf. Julien comes out of the bathroom with drugs in hand. Vic tells Danny that Julien is a natural. "Taught him everything he knows," she brags.

Lionel protests that the drugs aren't his; he's being set up. While that actually is true, he can't prove it. Lem enters with two Tec 9s in hand, the same type of gun used in the drive-by. Lionel didn't shoot nobody. They'll just see what the ballistics lab has to say about that. When the captain leaves, Vic grins triumphantly.

Jesus makes a phone call that I get nothing out of; my Spanish is very very limited. When he hangs up, he announces he has 10 minutes to get to the drop-off point. The Strike Team comes in to drop their prisoners in the cage. Edgar-veda praises Vic's hard work; the chief will want to have a press conference. The captain will do most of the talking, but Vic still needs to be there. Claudette asks Vic to back her and Dutch up at the ransom drop.

Jesus leaves a duffel bag in an alley next to a Dumpster and drives away. As soon as the kidnappers pick up the bag, the police converge. One of them decides to run from Vic, not a smart move. He almost gets away by crawling under a fence, but Vic drags him back by the leg. When Vic walks him back to the police cars, we see the kidnapper's shirt is shredded and he has road rash on his chest. Claudette and Dutch eye Vic.

Gannon's witness is having no luck paging through mug books. When the kidnappers are brought into the cage, she looks up and says, "That's them." Gannon isn't paying attention and asks her to point out their pictures. She jabs her pinky toward the cage.

"Hey, what happened?" Gannon asks Claudette and Dutch. She shrugs that Jesus had a rapid change of heart; there wasn't time to let him know. Claudette tells the captain that Jesus led them to the kidnappers. For whatever reason, Edgar-veda's "well done" seems directed at Gannon. Claudette quietly tells Dutch that taking credit is overrated, something he would do well to keep in mind (which we all know he doesn't).

Gilroy brags to Edgar-veda that he knew Vic would deliver; however, twice in one day is unexpected. The captain thinks the Strike Team works well together. He's also sure the bloodied suspect's lawyer will have questions for Vic. "I told him to stop. Betcha next time he listens," Vic replies coolly. Gilroy thinks they should all be celebrating. Barbecue at Vic's place?

Gannon sees the men's room being cordoned off with crime scene tape and asks what he's supposed to do now. A plumber promised now-retired Sergeant Nathan that he'd stop by the Barn tomorrow. Referring to the ladies' room, Sergeant Nathan adds, "Try not to destroy that one too."

Dutch applauds Claudette's instincts and wonders why he hasn't heard of her. He suggests they partner up on a permanent basis. Claudette wouldn't mind that. Downstairs, Vic swipes Dutch's chair and hides it in the clubhouse.

Shane asks if Vic wants to grab a beer with him, Lem, and Ronnie. Vic will be there after he takes care of something. They reflect on how it was a little too easy to set up Lionel.

Julien counsels the man whose food stamps were stolen. His church does monthly food drives and he can have his pastor see if anyone's hiring. He advises, "Next time, find some help before you do something stupid." Danny asks the rookie what he's doing; he can't get emotionally involved with the people he arrests. If that's what he wants, he should become a social worker.

Danny follows her partner into the locker room. She reminds him that growing up in Farmington is different than trying to survive on its streets as a police officer. Julien wants to try his own approach to the job. Their conversation comes to a halt when Lem walks out of the shower, wearing nothing but a towel.
Is it suddenly a little warm in here?
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Even though Danny is there, he doesn't dive into a locker. He just says casually, "I didn't know we were coed." "Welcome to the experiment," Danny answers, adding she'll be right out. She tells Julien he did a good job. Once she's gone, Lem removes his towel and stands in front of his locker, taking his sweet time getting dressed. You can immediately see Julien is trying (and failing) to look uninterested in the, uh, scenery.

What appears to be the next morning, Vic brings Terry into the Barn. He's sure the kid will like it here. "The john's still broke?" Vic gripes at Sergeant Nathan. Chill, it's only been overnight. Terry says he's ready for anything. The older officer tells him the Strike Team already has a fearsome reputation.

Vic takes Terry into the clubhouse and closes the door. Crudely written in Sharpie are the words "STRIKE TEAM ONLY! (THIS MEANS YOU, ASSHOLE)". We hear Vic introducing Terry to the team and Shane saying, "We love you pretty boys from robbery." End of episode.