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.

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