Friday, November 25, 2016

"Blood and Water" Run Deep (Episode 3.2)

Previously on: Edgar-veda decided to stay on the job for 6 more months, despite promising Claudette she'd be captain a lot sooner than that. 4 Armenians were killed by someone looking for the missing money train cash and the only 4 people who know where it is are the members of the Strike Team. Even though they're supposed to keep a low profile and Shane barely knows his new girlfriend, he agreed to buy her a car. 

The Byz Lat gang has armed themselves with MP5s stolen from Fort Irwin. They killed rapper Kern's homeboy Slap, so Kern pulled a drive-by as retaliation. Vic was only able to recover half the guns. He needed $100K to buy back the other half, which Edgar-veda refused to give him without going through the proper channels. Being Vic Mackey, he took matters into his own hands and withdrew the money from the Strike Team's "retirement fund." 

"Jesus, between your snoring and the phone," Mara groans at Shane. Shane sleepily rolls over and answers it. "Rise and shine, gorgeous," Vic chirps, "...I'm about 5 feet from your door." He starts knocking none-too-gently. Mara whines some more.

No doubt to spite Vic, Shane answers the door in his underwear. Vic tells him that he set up a meeting with the Byz Lats. Shane finishes getting dressed in the living room. Mara, also in her underwear, appears and asks, "Should I make coffee?" Vic appreciates the thought, but doesn't have time. "I was talking to him," she says coldly, indicating Shane, who tells her to go back to bed. Vic tells his partner to take the gun but leave the badge: "We're not cops tonight. We're neo-Nazis."
Between him and Vic's bald head, they'll fit right in.
(Photo credit)
Mara looks vaguely uncomfortable with that idea. Shane kisses her goodbye. As they go down the steps, Vic says, "I see someone parked a new Lexus in your parking spot." For the third time in two episodes, Shane clarifies that it's preowned. Vic goes into disappointed dad mode: "And I told you not to buy it for her. We'll talk about this later."

Shane asks why Latino gangbanger Garza would sell any of his guns to a couple of white supremacists. "It's called commerce," says Vic, the "dipshit" heavily implied. He gives Shane the Duffel O' Cash. Shane can't believe the captain signed off on this. Vic tells him it's actually the money train cash, but assures him "it's for display purposes only." He promised Kern he'd get the guns. Confiscating military-grade weapons from gangbangers will make their jobs easier and safer. Shane mutters that he can't believe Vic dipped into their stash "to keep a promise to some scumbag."

Vic explains Edgar-veda wouldn't have been able to sign off on time. This deal is strictly off the books. Shane gripes that they won't get credit for the bust and adds, "We're gonna talk about this later too." They find Garza enjoying a late-night snack at a 24-hour taco stand. Shane and Vic let him know that the MP5s belong to their organization: Sword of the Creator. I guess Church of the Last Chance Salvation didn't sound violent enough.

Vic claims they put down a deposit, but their connection got nervous and dumped them somewhere. They aren't saying it's Garza's fault, which is why they're willing to pay for the guns instead of just taking them. "Besides, we're still gonna need somebody to mow our lawns once this race war's over with," drawls Shane. Vic sweetens the deal; they'll even pay double.

If Garza doesn't cooperate, Shane will turn him to over to his nonexistent ATF agent brother-in-law. Garza wants half the money up front. In that case, Vic wants half the guns. Garza says to meet him in an hour. Vic wants to choose the place and see all 36 guns.

Julien and his new partner Tommy find a crying Hispanic guy rocking back and forth on the curb. There's blood all over his hands. In a nearby car, the driver and passenger have been shot. "He's dead," the guy sobs. Tommy radios for backup and a crime scene unit.

Near the docks, Lem is sitting on a roof with his trusty rifle. His trademark hair is visible over the ledge. Not the smartest move on his part. Oh, and you can totally see his walkie-talkie too. Lemming also looks like he just rolled out of bed (probably did, given how late it is).

Lem tells Vic a 4-Runner just pulled up; there's a driver, a passenger, and some muscle in the back. "How did I know this guy was gonna bone us?" asks Vic rhetorically, who's headed toward the docks in his truck. Lem can see the gun crates in the back of the 4-Runner. Vic tells Lem to stay put; he and Shane will be there in 10 minutes.

Dutch examines the pockmarked car. "How many rounds went off here?" he asks. Claudette thinks there could've been multiple shooters. Dutch asks about the blood-covered guy being looked over by EMS. Tommy exposits that he was in the backseat when this went down, "bawling his eyes out when we got here." Julien finds a military-grade gun in a nearby alley, meaning there might not have been more than one suspect.

Shane and Vic arrive at the docks to meet Garza. Vic instructs Garza to tell his hidden shooters to drop their guns and come out with their hands up. Garza whistles. The homeboys come out, but they're armed. Garza informs the guys that he needs the money and the guns. Garza whistles again. Some more Byz Lats descend from the roof, guns pointed at Lem's back.

"Tell them to let him go right now, asshole!" Ronnie calls from his hiding spot. Garza smirks about how he's already lived 5 years longer than he predicted; his fellow Byz Lat founders are dead. "Go ahead, shoot." he taunts, "Make me a hero." One way or the other, his gang is getting their money. Vic warns, "If your guy so much as twitches, my guy's gonna put one in the back of your skull."

Garza tells his homeboy to shoot Lem. Vic is like "hold on a second." He tells Ronnie to put down his gun. Ronnie will if the Byz Lat does. He reluctantly drops his rifle when Vic says, "Ronnie, go on." Garza knees Vic hard. He takes the Duffel O' Cash from Shane, then gives him the same treatment. Lem somehow escapes getting hit. As a parting shot, Garza tells the loudly groaning cops, "Mow your own lawns, putas."

It's awfully quiet in the clubhouse when the newest member of the Strike Team comes in for work. "Rough night?" Tavon asks Shane. He makes a comment about how sometimes a man just can't satisfy his woman, if you get my drift. Shane is not amused. Vic plans to set up Garza in a drug sting and use that to take the guns away from the Byz Lats. And not some piddly pot bust either; they need to catch him with the hard stuff. Vic sends Tavon to chase the crack connection while he looks for heroin.

"So what about our goddamn money?" Shane asks after Tavon leaves. Vic says their priority has to be getting Garza and his stolen guns off the street. "Our priorities? I don't remember being consulted, do you?" Shane asks Lem. The blond blames himself for letting someone sneak up behind him. Shane goes on, "You never shoulda been in that situation." For a second, it seems like Vic taking Shane's side as usual. He then adds that it's his fault; they were ill-positioned and outnumbered.

"In the meantime, we'll never see that 100 grand again," Shane gripes.

Vic actually does say that too.
(Photo credit)
Vic invites Shane to take the money out of his share. Lem thinks they should all eat the loss, cost of doing business and all that. Vic says Shane needs the money. Like Vic himself doesn't for Matt's tuition and in-home occupational therapy. Oh, Lem didn't know that Shane bought his girlfriend a new car? Shane accepts that Vic is the boss at work, but what he does with the money train cash is his own business. "Count your money and wash your Lexus," says Vic. He and the others will get Garza on their own.

Kern heard that the Byz Lats robbed some white dudes trying to buy guns. Vic's like "yeah, I know, that was me." He knows Kern was behind the drive-by that killed a Byz Lat. Kern says, "I can't control every dog in the pound." His guys are making noise about taking out girlfriends and kids of the Byz Lats next. "I can steer the ship, but I can't turn it around." Vic is gonna get the MP5s along with Garza. He'll hold Kern personally responsible if the One-Niners pull any more drive-bys.

Claudette meets Chief Bankston at city hall. She's been having trouble getting in touch by phone. "That's because I've been ducking your calls, Detective," he says bluntly. She asks if she was wrong about having been offered the captain's job. "That was when the job was open," the chief says. If Claudette can't be promoted in Farmington, she wants to be transferred to another open captain's position. Chief Bankston tells her there are no open captain slots.

"So you're telling me a chief has been out-politicked by a captain?" she asks. Chief Bankston pauses halfway through getting in his chauffeured car. Does Claudette have his word that she'll be promoted when Edgar-veda is elected to city council? "You have my support," he answers evasively. The chief advises her to start playing politics with Edgar-veda.

"I thought you were working," says Mara when Shane walks in the front door. Shane shrugs that he got into it with Vic and turns down her offer of a sandwich. He'll drink beer for lunch. Mara wants to know what's wrong, but he tells her it isn't important. Mara thinks it has to do with her and the Lexus. They can return it, even though it makes her look better as a realtor.

Shane says the argument had nothing to do with her: "Sometimes brothers fight." "So why is he always making you the little brother?" Mara asks, sitting next to him. Shane tells her it's not like that, even though it totally is.

Back at the Barn, Dutch has questions for Vic. Isn't he on a case involving stolen MP5s? The same gun was used in a murder Dutch is investigating. The victims were Hispanic. Vic asks which neighborhood and then tells Dutch it's Byz Lat territory.

Vic asks if Tavon has found out who sells crack to Garza. All Tavon knows is it's a guy who drives a blue Volvo 740.
Not the sportiest ride for a drug dealer.
(Photo credit)
According to Tavon, the owner made up for the car's lack of style by putting $2,000 rims on it. Only 6 of these Volvos are registered in Farmington. Vic gets a good chuckle at the name of one of the owners: Alonzo Wang. He's apparently also Garza's heroin connection. Vic tells Tavon to run down an address.

Corinne stops by for a visit, so Vic immediately assumes something is wrong. Corinne is resuming her career as a nurse and just got her new work schedule. She wants to look it over with him. Vic doesn't have time. Corinne gives him a copy. If he has questions, he can call her at the hospital or home.

Vic wants to know which hospital she'll be working for. Corinne managed to get her old job back: ER at Mission Cross. Vic doesn't like that a bit: "It's becoming a war zone down there." The high turnover rate was how a friend was able to get Corinne the job. Vic unfolds her schedule. Corinne will be working nights twice a week. Did she get a nanny for those nights?

"I thought you would take the kids," says Corinne. Vic can't because he works those nights too. Corinne basically accuses him of lying about wanting to spend more time with the kids. "I spent 11 years working around your schedule, Vic. Divorce means occasionally working around mine." Before things get any uglier, Edgar-veda appears and offers a cheery greeting. Corinne suddenly has to go. Vic promises he'll work something out with his own schedule.

"Getting back together?" the captain grins. Vic tells him no. Also, he needs a warrant. He got a tip that could put the Byz Lats' drug supplier out of business. It's a time-sensitive thing. How long will it take to process the paperwork? That depends on how solid the evidence is. Vic thinks this tip could also solve Dutch's gang-related shooting. The captain repeats for him to go through proper channels.

Claudette talks to the survivor of the drive-by, Esteban. His dead friends had numerous convictions ranging from assault to DUI. This kid, however, graduated cum laude and was a National Merit Scholar. What was he doing with two losers?

"Raymond wasn't a loser. He was my friend," says Esteban. Raymond protected him in high school when other kids were beating him up and stealing from him. "A guardian angel with a rap sheet 6 pages long?" asks Claudette doubtfully.

It's really not that out there. In high school, I was an honor student with a few less-than-savory friends. My sophomore year, I was being sexually harassed by a group of boys. They even made some threats and I was scared out of my head. Enter my friend's older brother Rocky, a little dude with a temper. He was out of school more than he was in, mostly for fighting. When he did show up at school, Rocky would meet me in the front hall every morning and walk me to my classes. This went on for months until the guys decided it would be smarter to leave me alone.

Raymond's girlfriend is already wearing a T-shirt with her beloved's picture on it. She even has a stack of them ready for sale. Claudette and Dutch know she's made threats against Garza. Raymond's friend Calva was a Torruco, but started out a Byz Lat. Did Garza consider him a traitor? Yes, and Raymond was with Calva that night to warn him, try to convince him to rejoin the Byz Lats.

In the stakeout car, Ronnie wonders what's taking Tavon so long. Vic says, "He'll get here when he gets here." "If we hadn't got him involved in this, we'd just go in there and pop this asshole," Lem says grumpily. Did someone forget to feed him? He's usually not the one with an itchy trigger finger. Vic reminds them that he's trying to put Garza away, so they can't go rogue. Lem wants to know why the Great and Powerful Edgar-veda can't "cut the bullshit and get us a warrant while I'm still in my 30s."

Alonzo steps out on his front porch for approximately half a second before going back inside. Just then, Tavon arrives with the warrant. He's sorry he's late, but the judge was in Pilates class. Only in L.A. When Alonzo goes outside again, the Strike Team is waiting. He asks, "Can I help you?" "Not only can you, you're going to," says Vic.

They herd him into the living room and finish clearing the house. The basement door is padlocked, so Lem kicks it in. We hear him cheering from downstairs. He and Tavon found Alonzo's stash, along with a small home lab. Vic gives Alonzo the warrant: "Hope you got somethin' for a headache 'cause I'm it." "It's a regular Rite Aid," Lem puts in.

Alonzo plans to have his lawyer look over the warrant "and if there's even an apostrophe missing," the charges will vanish. Vic says he's welcome to roll those dice. He wants Alonzo to call Garza and say he's gotten new shipments of cocaine and heroin.

Tavon and Alonzo go to a park to wait for Garza. In the car, Lem asks how long Vic plans on benching Shane. "He'll come back when he's ready," Vic says. He radios Tavon to tell him Alonzo needs to stop looking nervous. Garza shows up with the cash. Lem recognizes the duffel as theirs. Upon closer inspection, the guy isn't Garza at all but his lieutenant Diagur. Lem wonders how they're supposed to nail Garza for the drugs now. "Tavon, give him the drugs. Tell him you'll get the money from him later," Vic instructs.

Ronnie doesn't understand why they're letting Diagur go. Vic explains that they can take their money back later without Tavon around. Tavon makes up a story that the police are watching his house, so he can't take the cash right now. Diagur walks away with the backpack full of drugs and the Duffel O' Cash. Tavon radios in, asking why they're letting him go. Vic drives off without him.

"I told you going to the chief wouldn't help," Edgar-veda gloats at Claudette. He starts giving a speech about cleaning up Farmington. "Spare me, I'm not one of your voters," she says. She also points out he could've rid Gotham of scum in the 2 years he's been captain.

Edgar-veda needs someone to oversee the practical pieces of the plan he stole from Claudette. She could have command of the Strike Team and the new Decoy Squad. Think of it as being promoted. "I had a promotion," she says icily.

Lem, Vic, and Ronnie pull over Diagur. They tell him to pop the trunk. Vic asks where Garza is.

Garza, it turns out, is being interrogated by Dutch. The detective exposits that Garza is only 27 and already head of one of the biggest gangs in Farmington: "You've taught yourself what guys spend years in business school trying to learn--leading men and maximizing profits." Garza snarks that he'll let Dutch know if the Byz Lats start a stock option.

Dutch asks where Garza was at midnight the night before. Garza had a VIP table at Candi's Lounge. He offers to get Dutch in sometime. Is that all Dutch needs? Our CEO is late for an appointment. Dutch is sure the "wheels of industry" will be fine without him.

Ronnie guards the door of a motel room. Inside are Vic, Lem, and Diagur. Lem is relaxing on the bed watching TV. Vic asks if Diagur wants to take the fall for the drugs; that's what'll happen if he won't tell them where the guns are. Diagur claims he doesn't know about drugs or guns. "Come on, man, where do we find Garza?" asks Lem, sounding somewhere between tired and irritated. Diagur doesn't know that either.

Vic doesn't have anything personal against Diagur, but right now the guy's messing up his plan to take down Garza. Diagur wants to know why they're not talking in a police station. "I take you in, you're in the system. I lose control of the situation," says Vic. That's probably code for 'I'm also planning to unleash my wrath (or Lem's) at some point.'

Vic doesn't want Diagur's future decided by some lawyer who doesn't know how valuable he can be. "I'll never be valuable to you," Diagur tells him. Vic thinks Diagur just needs convincing.

In the observation room, Claudette shows Esteban a video line-up. "I told you I didn't see anyone," he says quietly. Dutch says seeing the guy's face can make things come back to you. He tells Esteban about a group of guys who bullied him in middle school; they'd spray-paint his locker or steal his homework and charge him to get it back. This was in the Midwest. He can't imagine the bullying dished out in the inner city of Los Angeles. Esteban must be scared.

"No one in this line-up can see you, son," Claudette reassures him. Dutch knows Esteban wants to do the right thing for his protector Raymond. Esteban repeats that he didn't see or hear anything. The detectives step out. Claudette is sure Esteban saw Garza shoot his friends. She sighs. A kid who was on his way out of Farmington wound up covered with blood in the backseat of a car with two gangbangers.

Julien and Tommy chase someone down the sidewalk to the sound of a blaring car alarm. Their suspect pushes a woman to the ground, then runs into a church. Folding chairs are scattered on the floor. Judging by the white-draped arch and small number of congregants, Julien's just interrupted a wedding rehearsal. In the course of subduing the guy, Julien has to use his nightstick. Tommy cuffs the guy. As they leave, Julien apologizes to the minister.

There's a knock on the motel room door. Lem opens it so Kern can come in. Diagur asks, now handcuffed to the hanging TV stand, "What the hell's he doing here?" Vic introduces to Kern to the new leader of the Byz Lats. "Garza's mi jefe," says Diagur.

Vic shuts off the TV and cuts Diagur loose. He's grooming Diagur to take over. Vic brought Kern here so the gang leaders could have a war council. He tosses a map of Los Angeles on the bed. Diagur doesn't want a truce with Kern and calls him a spook. Reached way back into the archives for that insult. In response, Kern calls Diagur "taco boy."

"There's no need to go racial here," says Vic, stepping between them, "No one wants to settle this thing in a locked steel container with our bare hands." He and Ronnie will come back in a few hours. Lem is staying behind as mediator, which actually isn't a bad job for him.

When Vic goes back to the clubhouse, Shane is waiting. Vic is glad to see his best friend. Shane requests that the boss keep out of his personal life. Tavon comes in, asking why they basically let Diagur off scot-free. Vic explains that Diagur agreed to cooperate and help them retrieve the stolen guns from Garza. Tavon isn't happy he had to hitch a ride back to the Barn with their snitch.

Dutch finds Claudette making calculations at her desk. She's trying to figure out how much money she has between her savings account and partial pension. "You're too young to quit," Dutch tells her. Flattery will get you nowhere, son. She presents the Danny Glover argument:
(Photo credit)
Dutch is sure that Edgar-veda's job will be hers; she just has to wait a few months. Claudette wishes she had his faith. "You're the best cop I've ever worked with," says Dutch, "Nobody else ever came close to keeping up with me." You just had to make it about you again, huh?

Vic passes by and Dutch asks if he has a profile on Garza from the Byz Lats. Vic's been looking for him all day. "I just cut him loose," Dutch informs Vic. He didn't want to, but Esteban wouldn't ID Garza. Dutch knows Garza is guilty. He just has to find away to poke a hole in Garza's alibi that he was at Candi's Lounge. "I may have heard of that place," says Shane. Of course you have. Claudette calls to Dutch that the crime scene reconstruction team is waiting for them.

This could solve the Strike Team's problem. If Garza can be proven guilty of murder, they won't have to strengthen the drug case with their own money. Time for a trip to Candi's.

The reconstruction team has discovered the bullets were fired from a rooftop. Some of the bullets hit the backseat, where Esteban was supposedly sitting. They've used a shitload of string to illustrate the trajectories. Dutch tells the CSI to take down the "art project." The kid gripes about how he just spent hours putting it up.

Unfortunately for Vic and Shane, Garza really was doing body shots off a stripper with the creative stage name of Poundcake. Edgar-veda asks if anything came of the warrant Vic got on Garza's supplier. That's a big fat nope according to Vic the lying liar who lies. They're trying to connect Garza to the gang shootings, but it doesn't look like he actually pulled the trigger.

Across the room, Claudette is talking to Esteban. Dutch points him out as the shooter. He takes the kid upstairs, making up some story about how he has to fill out a witness statement form. Dutch talked to the registrar at UC-Santa Barbara and found out Esteban didn't re-enroll for this semester. Esteban guesses he was homesick. Has Esteban applied for any jobs or colleges here in L.A.? No, not yet.

Esteban asks if this will take much longer. Dutch says the kid is free to walk around; he knows these rooms make people claustrophobic. Claudette, Vic, and Shane watch on the observation room TV. Dutch knows Esteban didn't see anything, but is the kid sure he didn't hear anything? Esteban couldn't hear anything over the music. "So how'd you hear the shots?" Dutch asks. Esteban clearly wasn't expecting that question.

Dutch tells Esteban about the bullet holes in the roof, right near where the kid was sitting. He had to have hit the floorboards pretty quick or he'd be dead. "Why would I kill my best friend?" Esteban challenges. From the rooftop, Esteban wouldn't have been able to see the passenger seat. Dutch thinks he only meant to kill Calva.

Did Esteban come back home to make extra money by joining the Byz Lats? Esteban says Raymond wouldn't let him. "Which is why you went behind his back, asked Garza to jump you in. Taking out Calva was your initiation," Dutch goes on. After the shooting, Esteban realized he killed Raymond too. And Raymond was there to give Calva a chance to rejoin the Byz Lats, trying to prevent more violence. Dutch thinks Raymond was a good guy, you know, for a gangbanger.

Esteban sits down and sobs, "I didn't mean to do it." Dutch asks who gave him the gun. No surprise, it was Garza. Claudette knows they'll need corroboration; one gangbanger's word against another doesn't mean much. Vic thinks he can help her with that.

When Shane and Vic go back to the motel, Ronnie says, "Don't ask." Inside, Lem is cranky: "Middle East'll be a love-in before these idiots sort their shit out!" Neither Kern nor Diagur feel like the other has anything to offer. Vic herds Diagur into the tiny bathroom. The gangbanger really ought to be grateful for the "battlefield promotion" Vic was able to arrange. Garza's looking at jail time.

Diagur is confident nothing will stick. "How smart was it sending a 19-year-old bookworm to do the hit?" asks Vic. He has Garza's drugs, cash, and second in command. Nobody's gonna know that Diagur took over thanks to a shady backroom deal. Or bathroom deal in this case. All Vic needs is proof Garza ordered the hit. The only thing Diagur knows is that Garza gave Esteban a gun, the address, and Mapquest directions.

Danny comes to the Barn and she's not a happy camper. Her appeal was at 11:00 A.M. Edgar-veda was supposed to show up, but didn't. She wants to know why. Because he's a duplicitous bastard? The captain promises the vote will be 2-to-1 in Danny's favor; he made some calls earlier. She'll get the official confirmation tomorrow. Danny is visibly relieved.

Danny goes to the parking lot to give Julien the good news. Tommy asks crudely, "What desk didja hafta bend over to make that happen?" "It sure as hell wasn't yours," she retorts.

Kern finally emerges from the motel room. Vic warns that the One-Niners better make good on their truce. Kern points out that Vic still doesn't have the guns. Maybe not, but he has a good idea. Later, Diagur comes out of a house and turns his ballcap backwards. That's the signal that Garza is there.

Shane and Vic have two special guests in the back of the stakeout car: Claudette and Dutch. According to Vic, gangbangers giving up their buddies is what separates them from the cops. "Loyalty, that most disposable of virtues," Dutch comments. Everyone gets out of the car. Shockingly, Garza's front door is unlocked. Less surprising is the drug lab in his kitchen or basement.
I can't really tell which.

Shane chases one of the cooks into the backyard. Vic gives Garza a swift boot to the balls and asks where the guns are. "We got him," Shane announces to Claudette and Dutch.

Edgar-veda finds Tommy and Julien in the breakroom. He tells them the church pastor filed an excessive force complaint. Tommy immediately goes on the defensive: "The guy was tweaking. He wouldn't go down. Took 4 of us just to get him in the cage." The captain sends Tommy out of the room. He tells Julien that the pastor is a friend of his, so the complaint will most likely go away. Edgar-veda asks for Julien's perception of the situation. Julien believes they used no more force than necessary.

Claudette surveys Garza's drug lab: "Even if we don't get him on the homicides, this should put him away for a couple of decades." Dutch still wants to nail him for murder-for-hire. Vic suggests Dutch take Garza's computer.

Back at the Barn, Dutch talks to Garza in the cage about what they found on the laptop: "The porn sites were illuminating." And, oh, by the way, they also found the Mapquest directions that sent Esteban to the hit. If Garza turns in the other 35 stolen guns, the D.A. will take the death penalty off the table. Garza slaps his arm and invites, "Put the needle right here." He wants to make a phone call.

Back at the motel, Vic watches as Diagur talks to Garza on the phone. Lem looks like he's about to take a nap. Diagur asks where the guns are so the Byz Lats can protect themselves from the One-Niners and Torrucos. He writes something down on the motel notepad.

Outside, Vic tells Lem to get a truck and pick up the guns. He instructs him to hold a few back. Lem wants to know how they're supposed to explain all the guns to the captain. "We can't, so we won't," says Vic. He tosses the Duffel O' Cash to Shane and tells him to put it in the storage unit. There's only $80,000 left, "Byz Lats overhead, I guess."

Shane thinks everything worked out well, all things considered. Vic says it's more like they got lucky. "So we cool?" asks Shane. Vic says yes. Awww, the bromance is back.

Edgar-veda tells Claudette the Decoy Squad will be starting next week. Of course, he got them to come to Farmington via some more shady political favors. Claudette thinks they need high-profile busts; the Decoy Squad can lure the bad guys out and the Strike Team will make the arrests. It's a very public way to change perception and reality. Claudette says she'll do anything to help.

Mara gets out of her car and tells Vic that Shane isn't home. Vic knows that. He wanted to apologize to her for waking them up last night. Vic thinks he and Mara got off on the wrong foot. They should get to know each other better because she's becoming a big part of his best friend's life. She's family. Mara says, "Never been big on family. Or cops, really." Then why the hell are you dating one?

Vic just wants everybody to get along. Mara's seen that kind of smile before on "guys who thought a wink and a $3 gin and tonic was all that it would take to get me into bed with them." Was she a bartender or did she just hang out in them a lot? Vic asks what he did to piss her off. "I don't like the way you treat Shane," Mara answers. Vic says, "You don't understand the world that Shane and I live in."

Mara gives him the old "my guy works for you, but he comes home to me" speech. Vic points out that she's only known Shane for 2 months. Mara thinks Vic is just jealous because he's divorced. Is he scared that Shane is all he has left? Mara doesn't need his bullshit. She tells Vic not to come over unless Shane is home.

Dutch has talked to the Treasury Department, but none of the marked bills have appeared in circulation yet. "I wouldn't sweat it. No one steals money to sit on it their whole lives," says Claudette. She's sorry that Esteban turned out to be a killer; he and Dutch had a connection. "Just when I thought he was a victim," says Dutch. Now the kid is "just another loser." You guys do know he can hear you from the cage, right?

Danny stops by Julien's house, where he's bringing in groceries. She thinks there's a good chance they could be partners again if they both talk to Edgar-veda. There's a problem with that, though. Danny's a training officer and Julien's not a rookie anymore. Danny says she's been bumped down a rank. Julien says, "Maybe. But I like the way things are for now." You can tell Danny's trying not to show she's hurt.

Claudette tells Vic she needs to meet with the Strike Team next Tuesday afternoon. The Decoy Squad from Wilshire is being brought in to work with them. She'll be in charge of both teams. Vic, of course, isn't thrilled about that. But he doesn't get vocal.

On the way out, he runs into the captain. Vic thinks the idea of the Decoy Squad is an interesting experiment. "It's more than an experiment, Vic. It's your assignment for the forseeable future," says Edgar-veda, "Maybe working under Claudette will actually produce results." "I've been producing results," Vic argues.

Edgar-veda reminds him about the drug warrant that blew up in his face. Dutch and Claudette also beat him to a gang bust. Dozens of stolen military weapons are still on the streets. Well. everyone has an off day.

It's sunset. Pelicans fly past. The Strike Team is out on Vic's boat with some cold beer, presumably doing a little fishing. Ronnie zips up a duffel full of guns and tosses it into the ocean. Shane wants to throw the next one. "Bon voyage," Vic says with a smile. End of episode.

Friday, November 18, 2016

"Playing Tight" to the Vest (Episode 3.1)

Last season: Drug dealer/murderer/rapist Armadillo was stabbed to death in the cage. This was blamed on Danny doing a bad search, so she was fired. Two homophobic uniforms, Carlson and Jackson, put up slanderous flyers about Julien. They were both fired and got revenge by going to Julien's house and giving him a "blanket party." 

Chief Bankston gave Edgar-veda the ultimatum to resign as captain if he lost the city council primary. Claudette is waiting in the wings for his spot. Edgar-veda won the primary and will be captain until the general election; if he loses that race, he'll still be resigning from the force.

Vic and the Strike Team planned to rip off the Armenian mob's so-called money train. During the heist, the Armenians turned on each other, leaving two dead. But the Strike Team still got away with what is supposed to be their big, final retirement score.

We jump right to a shirtless man beating on a suspected Peeping Tom's door with an aluminum baseball bat, screaming, "That prick saw my mom naked!" This is quickly broken up by Julien and his new male partner. The Peeping Tom argues that the woman shouldn't have left her blinds up, adding, "She's nothing to look at." A kid gets out of the house and runs past Julien. "Am I working alone here?" gripes Julien's new partner.

In an unmarked car, the Strike Team is listening to "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" of all things. I guess I shouldn't be surprised after Lemming's rendition of "Rich Girl" last season. They're staking out a corner drug dealer who looks all of 12 years old. Vic thinks any bust is a good bust. "And one step closer to cashing in on a small fortune," Lem pipes up from the backseat. Filling the arrest quotas will keep their noses clean. "Or in your case, brown," says Shane. Lem playfully swipes at him over the seat. Vic chuckles that at least they're keeping him entertained.

At the Barn, it looks like Claudette is packing up her desk. Edgar-veda has a case for Dutch and Claudette. Dutch gripes that he already has 2 open cases. Edgar-veda shrugs that they're shortstaffed. Claudette has some budgetary ideas about it. The captain tells her to focus on her detective duties; she still has 2 days until she takes command. He adds that the case is a special circumstances double homicide.

What special circumstances, you may ask? Two Armenian immigrants were found dead with their feet cut off, lying on the bottom of an empty swimming pool. (Not the same one Vic is using to store money). Both have done prison time. Dutch thinks their feet were amputated postmortem: "One foot's a trophy; four is just plain weird." Judging by the lack of blood spatter, they were killed somewhere else. A woman is watching them through a chain link fence.

Dutch asks who Claudette will assign as his new partner. He suggests Detective Ruiz from Hollywood. "Uh, Gabrielle's quite a looker," says Claudette. Dutch innocently asks, "Is she?"

Lemming chuckles in the backseat as Vic makes faces in the rearview mirror. Shane writes down the license plate of one of the dealer's customers. The registration comes back to R. Mark Lindman, M.D., but the people in the car look like kids. The drug dealers run for their car as the Strike Team drives up. Shane puts his hand out the window, demanding the doctor's kid's keys.

The drug dealers peel away from the curb. "Get the kid!" Vic calls to Tavon. Tavon badges the doctor's kid. The female passenger starts crying.

Vic radios in their pursuit. "We're losing him," Shane says unnecessarily. Overhead, there's the whirr of helicopter blades. The dealers aren't going anywhere. "Let some other unit wreck their car," says Vic. The chopper pilot keeps Vic updated over the radio. It doesn't take long for the suspects to cause a multi-car pileup. When the Strike Team gets there, a van has overturned.

Vic chases one of their suspects on foot. Over the fence and through the alleys he and Shane go. Their suspect runs through someone's open back door. Vic tackles the kid in the middle of an unsuspecting couple's dining room. They watch with mild interest from the living room as Vic grapples him. The dealer manages to bloody Vic's nose. The wife helpfully brings him a towel.

Lem speaks Spanish to the driver of the overturned van as he yanks the windshield off. Whatever cargo the guy's carrying is on fire. Lem calls over his shoulder for a knife to cut the seatbelt. I can tell you from being a volunteer firefighter that won't work. Only thing that will is a seatbelt cutter. Suddenly, gunshots start pinging off the cars. Everyone starts screaming and ducking for cover.

Lem steps through the hole where the van's windshield used to be. Shane wonders where the gunfire is coming from. Vic doesn't know. Shane guesses it could be the van. "Lem, get outta there!" Vic bellows. Lem isn't budging; he's almost gotten the driver to safety. Vic realizes there's no one actually shooting at them. Lem has successfully rescued the driver.
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The gunfire stops. When Shane and Vic approach the van, they figure out what's going on. The driver was hauling guns and ammo; the heat from the fire made the bullets start exploding. Watched a lot of MythBusters growing up and I can't recall if they ever touched on that particular thing.

CHAOS (Captain Has Arrived On Scene). The EMTs report the van's driver has a few burns and mild shock. "He's in for a bigger one," says Vic. He explains to Edgar-veda about the car chase leading to the ammo-filled van flipping over and catching fire. "One hell of a fireworks show," Shane says. Edgar-veda is not pleased that Vic's pursuit caused an accident. Vic swears they followed all the regulations in the book. The captain wants a report ASAP so his ducks are in a row downtown. "Quack, quack," Vic snarks. No pat on the back for Lemming?

Vic tries to pass off a case to Dutch, but Dutch says he's too busy with a double homicide. He asks if Vic knows about any in-fighting with the local Armenian mob families. He shows Vic crime scene pictures of the two guys with missing feet. The harbor patrol found two other victims last week. Vic guesses it was "old-country retribution." He'll show the pictures to the Strike Team.

Lem is sure those guys were killed by someone looking for the money train cash. "What happens when they run out of feet and realize it was an outside job?" Ronnie asks worriedly. Vic says only 4 people know what happened to the money train and they're all sitting at the same table. They just have to keep their heads and go about business as usual.

Tavon comes into the clubhouse. He ran Jesse the van driver's name, but the guy doesn't have a criminal record; he's an out-of-work cement mixer. Vic goes upstairs, where Jesse has a bandage on his head from being grazed by a stray round. "It is not against the law to have bullets," says Jesse. That's true, unless he was driving them across state lines. Vic knows Jesse took a Greyhound to Arizona to pick up a van filled with a half-ton of 9 mm bullets. Jesse's son Diagur told him it wasn't illegal.

Vic knows Diagur is in a local gang called the Byz Lats. Fellow Kurt Sutter fans will recognize that gang from Sons of Anarchy. Vic asks if Diagur was helping out his unemployed dad. Jesse insists Diagur wasn't involved.

Claudette and Dutch are baffled by the dead Armenians. Their apartments didn't reveal signs of a struggle and the victims' cars were still in their respective parking spaces. The killer must've been someone they trusted. Dutch speculates it could be Margos Dezirian, an Armenian mobster with a terrifying foot fetish who killed someone in their cage and then escaped the paddy wagon. "It's not the only lead we're chasing," says Claudette and she's probably lying.

If Dutch ends up being right about Margos, he wants to call the feds. He's wanted by them, LAPD, and Interpol. Edgar-veda agrees to allow it. Dutch adds that Danny has her final appeal with the police commission the next day; a good word from a future city councilman could go a long way. All the captain says is, "I'm aware of the situation."

Edgar-veda goes upstairs to his office. Vic is there and wants one last favor. He caught a Byz Lat's dad running ammo, but he can't find a free detective to investigate. And where there's ammo, there's guns. Edgar-veda tells him actual murders and armed robberies are the priority. Why doesn't Vic look into it himself? Vic can't unless the chief lowers his arrest quota. Edgar-veda refuses to get into the middle of this. He'll assign a detective when someone is free. And does Vic have the accident report?

Downstairs, Vic asks Lem if he finished said accident report. Ronnie thought he was supposed to write it. When they walk into the clubhouse, Shane is kissing his new girlfriend Mara on the couch. "We in your way?" asks Vic. Mara explains they were just looking at some car listings. She's getting her realtor's license next week and needs to upgrade her car so she'll look better at showings. Shane's helping her with the down payment. Vic is all "really now?"

Mara reminds Shane to meet her at a dealership after work and gives him a goodbye kiss. Vic sends Tavon with Lem and Ronnie to keep arresting drug dealers. To Shane, he says, "You and me are ditching school today."

Dutch got Margos' file from Interpol. He's suspected of killing 3 coca farmers in Chile; the victims' feet were removed. Dutch wants to run Margos' aliases against international flight manifests. Lem and Shane's Armenian friend Chorekian is waiting for the detectives in the lobby. He knows who killed the other Armenians because the same person was waiting at his house to kill him. Chorekian has brought along his mother, his sister, and his sister's several children. If the police protect his family, he'll tell them everything he knows.

Chorekian is sitting at Dutch's desk when Lem passes by. He follows Lem to the vending machine. Don't they know each other? Lem doesn't think so. "You and your friend Cletus," Chorekian says, "The accident that day. The guys paid up. I never had to call."

Lem is dismissive as he walks away with his bag of chips. Dutch has overheard and asks, "Cletus?" "I did not know you work for the police," Chorekian babbles on. Lem is uncharacteristically rude: "That was off-duty. I'm on-duty now. I gotta get back to work."

At a gas pump behind the Barn, Shane is ignoring the NO SMOKING sign. Vic questions his best friend's judgment: "You've known this girl for 2 months and you're buying her a new car?" Shane corrects him; it's used and all he's doing is making the down payment. Mara will make the monthly payments after she sells her first house. Vic wants to know what happened to keeping a low profile. Shane argues he's using his own money.

Vic reminds Shane how buying his girlfriend a new Lexus on a cop's salary looks. "It's preowned!" Shane repeats. It's also nothing new for Shane to be in a ton of debt. Vic tells him not to buy the car.

Lem comes out and tells his boss they have a problem. Dutch is interviewing Chorekian, who saw him and Shane the day of the heist. Lem doesn't know why Dutch wants to talk to him, but Chorekian recognized our burly friend. To be fair, anybody would. That haircut is pretty distinctive.

"And he remembered your name, Cletus," Lem adds. Vic is pissed; Cletus Van Damme also happens to be the alias Shane used to rent the storage unit where the Strike Team hid their retirement fund. Shane shrugs, "Well, it makes Lem laugh." Lemming sure isn't laughing now.

Tavon comes out of the Barn, asking if Lem is riding with him and Ronnie today. Vic reminds Lem of the severity of the situation. They were following Chorekian hours before ripping off the money train. If Dutch starts connecting the dots, they're all well and truly fucked. Vic announces they're moving the money tonight and renting a storage unit under a different alias.
Might I suggest Boyd Crowder?
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In the observation room, Chorekian sees Margos on the TV monitor. "That is not the man doing the killing," he says firmly. Dutch presses. Is he sure? Chorekian's heard of Margos, but the guy Dutch should be looking for is Lyor Slavok. He's not sure who gives Lyor his marching orders. "It's all because of the damn money train," says Chorekian.

Edgar-veda has heard rumors about a money train and can't believe someone ripped it off. "The Armenians are gonna keep dropping bodies until they find out who," says Claudette. He shows her the latest crime statistics: numbers are up by double digits in all areas. Claudette thinks the best thing he can do on city council is find the money to get the Barn fully staffed again.

The captain asks for her ideas about adding people. Claudette suggests bringing in the Decoy Squad from Wilshire. The captain is sure the Decoy Squad's commanding officer won't let them go; they're highly successful. Claudette is thinking of appealing to the chief. Edgar-veda says that'll make her look naive.

Shane and Vic find Diagur at an arcade. The kid's easily identifiable by the tattoo of his name across his shoulder blades, sticking out of his wifebeater. Vic knows his dad crashed a van loaded with live ammo. He's fine, by the way, if the kid even cares. The only gun Shane finds on a patron isn't big enough to hold 9 mm. Vic asks if they're expecting a new shipment. Of course, everyone denies it.

Vic gives a warning: If they arm themselves with anything bigger, the Byz Lats will become his personal pinata. In case anyone doesn't get the metaphor, Shane adds, "Which means we shove candy up your ass and beat ya with a bat."

Van Bro is still selling art on the sidewalk. It looks like the Strike Team made good on their promise of a sporty new wheelchair. His latest paintings are an entirely new genre: religious erotica.
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I know there are prostitutes in the Bible, the most famous being Mary Magdalene, but seriously? Anyway, Van Bro has no clue who's selling guns to Byz Lats, but he does know who's buying them.

But nope, it's our old pal Kern Little. The rapper is chilling in what looks like a strip club. Must be off-hours because Kern and his posse are the only people in the place other than the women. Vic thought Kern was broke. How'd he open this place? Kern claims he had investors. Vic guesses they're One-Niners. He wants to know what a gangsta rapper is doing in the gun-running business. Besides boosting his street cred?

Vic bets he and Shane could make their monthly narcotics quota just by emptying everyone's pockets. Kern says he's not buying guns because he wants to: "'Cause I got to." The Byz Lats have been arming themselves with fully automatic MP5s. Kern's just making sure his boys have equal firepower. He's not sure if the Byz Lats actually have the MP5s yet. Vic asks, "Who's running this arms race?

Just a wild guess.
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Kern claims it's a "regular army" guy. Vic wants to know when Kern is making his own buy and promises to take care of disarming the Byz Lats. Kern doesn't trust Vic after what happened to their last "business deal." Vic says if he has to find out on his own, he's hauling Kern in. 

Agent Quigley of the U.S. Treasury arrives, looking for Dutch. We learn that Dutch's Christian name is Holland Wagenbach. Something tells me he was bullied a lot in school. Dutch had requested the FBI. Well, Quigley is who he gets. The treasury agent understands there's an Armenain wise guy who wants to talk. "He already has," says Dutch. Quigley wants to talk to the boss.

Upstairs, Quigley sits down with Dutch, Edgar-veda, and Claudette. The Treasury Department has long been concerned about the Armenian mob shipping loads of U.S. currency overseas. 4 months ago, Quigley and other agents conducted a sting operation in San Jose, where an Armenian business owner was being shaken down. They inserted $50,000 worth of marked bills into the protection money. So far, none of the bills have been used. 

Quigley heard about Farmington's investigation into an Armenian mob rip-off. "And 4 related murders," Dutch puts in. Treasury blew the money laundering case, but the marked bills could end up leading Dutch to the killers. 

Speaking of the marked bills, Shane is in the storage unit, practically drooling over the footlocker of money. Vic seems less awed. Someone starts knocking on the unit's door. Shane hastily closes the footlocker and sits on top of it. One hand drifts to the small of his back, where he's hiding a small gun.

Vic rolls up the door. It's just Albert the manager, trying to make sure his customers got their boxes moved in okay. He sees the sheer number of boxes and asks if one of the guys recently moved. Vic explains he just got divorced. Albert asks which of them is Mr. London. As in Jack London the author? That would be Shane. Albert hands over the spare keys Shane requested. He tells them good night.

Vic watches him go. He tells Shane to buy new padlocks. They can't have the manager getting curious. Shane opens the footlocker again and throws some coats on top of the money. Vic gets a call on his cell phone from Lem. He's needed somewhere.

At the crime scene, Vic has a hard time not stepping on the shell casings all over the street. Foreign music is playing in the background. Something is illegibly spray-painted on the sidewalk. The victim is Kern's friend Slap. His feet are intact, so we know who it wasn't. There's a CD case nearby, one of Kern's albums, which is titled Too Big to Be Little. "So much for passing this case off," Vic mumbles.

Kern and company are waiting to pick up their guns. The Strike Team have (poorly) concealed themselves in a nearby alley. Vic wants to know where Kern's connection is. "Guess he got spooked," shrugs the rapper. Vic calls bullshit. He knows Kern is upset about what happened to Slap, but that "still doesn't give you license to bend me over." Kern argues it's not his fault.

Vic pulls his sidearm. Kern's homeboys do the same. "Don't even think about it," warns Lem, armed with his trusty shotgun. Shane, of all people, tells Vic to take it easy. He's sure Kern will call them with the new time and place. Vic will be waiting.

Mara and Shane exit the car dealership's office. She's ripping her boyfriend a new one: "Why did you say you would help me? So embarrassing!" Shane apologizes. He spins a story about how he talked to his friends and they said buying the car could put a huge strain on their relationship, which is still fairly new. Mara gets louder: "I worked my ass off to get this realtor's license! I need to make a living! Would you buy a half-million dollar home from somebody driving a '97 Neon?" "From you? Sure," says Shane. Mara stomps off.

At Mackeys, Cassidy complains that Vic wouldn't let her have ice cream before bedtime. Corinne tells her to go to bed. Matt is sitting at the kitchen table, drawing a picture with his new occupational therapist Owen. When asked what he's drawing, the kid replies, "Daddy and me." They finish listening to a classical music CD. Vic is impressed by the progress Matt has made.

Owen explains his reason for using music: "Matt's learning to use his ears as his primary source of hearing so his other senses don't get overwhelmed." As the daughter of an occupational therapist, that statement made absolutely no sense to me. He reminds Corinne to keep Matt doing his drills, says it was nice to meet Vic, and leaves.

"Told you he was amazing!" Corinne is practically skipping. Owen wants to have two more sessions a week and work with Matt the low price of an extra $300 a week. Vic will only have to pay half. He agrees, elated that Matt is talking now. 

Corinne tells Vic she's going back to work; there's a nursing shortage, so the pay is great. She's planning to work 30 hours a week, meaning they'll have to adjust Vic's schedule of visiting the kids. Corinne emphasizes how much she wants to work again.

Edgar-veda visits Danny at her glamorous new job: school security guard. Well, it's supposed to be temporary until her appeal, but her lawyer said not to get her hopes up. Edgar-veda wants to restock the Barn with officers he can trust to be tough but fair, people who aren't afraid to tell him when other people aren't being fair. Danny's not interested in being one of his rats.

The captain claims that's not what he's trying to do. He just doesn't want another good cop to be railroaded the way Danny was. She'd only have to come to him if major lines are crossed. "By Vic?" she asks. Edgar-veda says, "By anyone." If Danny wants her old job back, she has until the end of the school day to think about it. 

Vic talks to Julien. He's heard he's having self-confidence problems on the street in addition to the disrespect Julien gets in the Barn. People are wondering what Julien plans to do about the blanket party someone gave him. Julien says the detectives on the case aren't really getting anywhere. "Everybody here knows who did it and they're watching you," says Vic.

A warrant for the Armenian double murder should be issued within the hour. Vic wants to know if Claudette and Dutch need help, but both ignore him. "Damn, I was gonna ask her to the prom," Vic says, trying to lighten the mood. Dutch tells him, "The mob's pissed off about a shitload of stolen money that was ticketed for the homeland. Now they're whacking all the players, trying to find it." Chorekian was scared he'd be next and is now in witness protection.

This may help Dutch clear two of his unsolved murder cases. The night the money was stolen, Armenian mob soldiers were killed. The robbers were described as 3 or 4 guys in ski masks.

Vic calls an emergency powwow in the clubhouse. Chorekian spilled his guts to Dutch about the Armenians who died the night of the robbery. Lem isn't worried; the Strike Team actually wasn't responsible for that. Ronnie asks why Chorekian would say that. Vic's guess is Chorekian knew those two guys were stealing. He admitted to his part in the money laundering but not the rest. If the robbery gets traced, guess who's on the hook for the double murder? 

Vic passes out the keys to the new storage unit. They should all wait about 6-9 months before giving any of the cash to the real estate guy. Shane and Ronnie have just started to bitch about this when Tavon comes in. "Didn't mean to interrupt your secret Klan meeting," he says. Shane sasses, "Left our hoods at the dry cleaners."

Tavon wants to know why they all stop talking whenever he walks in. "Maybe because we're all captivated by your winning smile," says Shane. Tavon fires back, "Or blinded by yours." 

Vic spins a story that they were just talking about the Byz Lat situation. The Barn doesn't have enough manpower to take them down and Kern isn't playing nice. They're gonna tap the rapper's phone, even though they don't have a warrant. If Tavon has a problem with that, he should speak now or forever hold his peace.

Tavon found out that 12 cases of MP5s were recently stolen from Fort Irwin, a still-functioning training base in San Bernadino County. A total of 72 guns are on the street. Tavon doesn't want another body to pick up. Vic is satisfied with this answer. He sends Ronnie off to set up the phone tap. 

Tavon and Ronnie plant the wiretap together, disguised as telephone linemen. "Hey, look, it's the Village People," Shane jokes in the stakeout car. The first conversation they pick up is a woman demanding to know why Kern hired "light-skinned skanks with nice bodies" to work in his club. "Sounds like Kern's not too big to be a little whipped," Shane observes. Vic says lightly, "Next thing you know, he'll be buying her a new car." He's leaving now, supposedly to pick up Cassidy from school. 

Shane asks how long he and Lem have to sit out here in the car. "'Til the call comes in," Vic replies. He unnecessarily adds that the gun conversation will probably be in code. Shane is about to be in the doghouse again; he promised Mara a lunch date. I hope somebody brought plenty of snacks for Lem.

Claudette is executing the Armenian search warrant and has found 4 different guns so far. Dutch found an invoice: an overnight package shipped to Greece this morning. The name on the receipt, Marcus Dreliozis, sounds like a Greek alias for Margos Dezirian. There's an interesting note about the package: "contains dry ice." Dutch bets it's the missing feet. How perfectly gruesome.

Lem is eating a burrito in the front seat, eavesdropping on Shane's apology call to Mara. Shane hangs up and leans back in the seat, looking depressed. Lem tries to cheer him up: "Dude, we're rich. At least we're gonna be." They hear Kern's conversation with a guy named Lex: "Guns are ready. Get all the cash yet?" Kern confirms it. Lex will be at Kern's place in half an hour.
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"I think I just broke the code," says a wide-eyed Shane. 

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By the time Vic gets back, Tavon has joined them and is eating a cheeseburger. The gun runner just went into Kern's place. Lem saw 6 crates and 4 Army guys. Vic decides they need backup. Ronnie is all "wait a second, we're kinda here illegally." Vic starts to radio in, but Shane grabs his arm. He suggests they just keep a low profile. Vic managed to get through to dispatch, because a woman's voice crackles out of the speaker, asking for their location.

Vic asks if the guys really want to try going mano y mano against 36 loaded MP5s. Nobody seems to like the sound of those odds. Vic tells the dispatcher where they are.

Lyor the Armenian mobster and his lawyer keep conversing in their native tongue, making it impossible for Claudette and Dutch to know what's going on. The gist of it is the mobster wasn't involved in the murders. Dutch asks what the guy mailed to Athens earlier today. The lawyer translates his client's answer as "books." "In dry ice?" Dutch asks skeptically. Neither Armenian has an answer for that.

Lyor's name may not be on the receipt, but it was found in his house. Dutch wants to know why he was dumb enough to keep it. "I'm not gonna ask him that," says the lawyer. Claudette asks why the mobster is whispering; they can't understand him anyway. Dutch is sure Margos will be at the pickup address in Greece tomorrow. Too bad it's being rerouted to L.A.

A small army of uniforms shows up to cover Vic and the Strike Team. Even though he's not a rookie anymore, Julien's new partner rudely tells him not to get in anyone's way. They burst into the bar just as Kern hands over the money. One of the gun runners escapes into a back room. Vic asks where it leads. Kern says it's basically a door to nowhere; the only window is barred.

Vic tells the uniforms to arrest everyone and take them outside. The Strike Team helps themselves to 4 of the MP5s. Vic gives the guy in the back room 3 seconds to disarm himself before they open fire. Their suspect complies.

Agent Quigley gives Edgar-veda a list of serial numbers from the marked money. The bills will be flagged if they're spent and put into the bank system. Dutch thinks they should do cursory checks on all busts involving large amounts of cash. He also has bad news. He called the American embassy in Athens, but the Greek authorities won't arrest Margos without the go-ahead from somebody higher on the food chain. Agent Quigley thinks he might be able to help.

Lem is grinning as they lead their suspects out. Vic is absolutely disgusted that the gun runners are stealing from soldiers to supply gangbangers. He roughly shoves the guy against a wall, demanding to know who's selling guns to the Byz Lats. The guy refuses to talk. Vic tells Shane to uncuff him. 

Vic takes out his revolver and puts it in the suspect's hands. Cocking his own gun, he lays out the situation: "The trained soldier grabbed my spare gun and tried to make a run for it." "Oh, guys!" calls Lemming the Lookout. Shane directs an errant female uniform to where they're loading the evidence van. 

Vic repeats his question. The suspect won't answer. Vic raises his gun, telling the guy to run. The suspect (finally) realizes Vic isn't bluffing and spills his guts. He sold the guns to Garza, reigning Byz Lat king. The suspect puts down Vic's revolver. "That's a good little soldier boy," Vic praises.

Edgar-veda wants to hang onto the list of marked bills. He wants to know if Vic has been asking Dutch about the Armenian double murder. Dutch says he asked him a few things since Vic has more experience with organized crime. From now on, the captain doesn't want Vic to know anything. Someone tells Dutch a package came for him.
"We just got a letter
We just got a letter!
Wonder who it's from?"
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When Dutch opens the box, sure enough, it contains severed feet!
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Vic tells Julien not to take Kern to the Barn, claiming Kern and his homies set up the sting. That's why they didn't need a warrant. "What the hell was that?" Kern asks quietly as Vic uncuffs him. Vic thought he'd be more grateful about dodging a felony firearms charge. They can call things even. Kern argues they're not even because nobody on the Strike Team is dead. Uh, dude, the last guy that threatened them got shanked to death in a holding cell.

Kerns adds that they'll just get more guns and pay a visit to the Mexicans. Vic gives his word that their next stop is Byz Lat turf. Everything will be cleared up by tonight. Shane gives his best friend a look: "Thought we were playing it tight." He said the thing!

Shane isn't happy about being put at risk "over guns we had nothing to do with." Vic would do it again if he had to. "Well, I wouldn't," says Shane. Ooh, you sure told him!

Agent Quigley tried to get some back-scratching done, but the Greeks aren't interested in helping. Dutch suggests calling Parguay, Chile, or Belgium; Margos is wanted in those countries too. Quigley says that'll take a few days. That's no good because they already know where Margos will be tomorrow and "it's already tomorrow in Athens." How hard is it to have some local cops pick Margos up? 

Lyor won't tell them where Margos is going after Greece. "Even in prison, you need feet," Claudette puts in sagely. Quigley's sorry, but there's nothing else he can do. Claudette tries to talk to Assistant Chief Phillips, but he fobs her off to Edgar-veda. "He's not stepping down yet, is he?" she asks. Assistant Chief Phillips won't say anything more.

"I'm supposed to be captain in two days!" Claudette rages in the office. Edgar-veda has decided to stay until he takes care of a few things; it's a volatile time at the understaffed Barn. She asks if he's bringing in the Decoy Squad. When he says yes, Claudette accuses him of stealing her ideas. Ever the politician, Edgar-veda says, "I'm implementing them." Claudette doesn't buy that for a second.

They argue the semantics of that for a bit. The captain still foolishly believes he's making a difference. "You're the reason for half the problems in the first place," Claudette points out. He advises her to keep her opinions to herself. Claudette brandishes her reading glasses at him, saying, "I will not let you do this to me." Edgar-veda tries flattery. There's a big picture here that he knows Claudette is smart enough to see. Besides, Chief Bankston won't help her.

Vic helps Van Bro put some paintings in his wheelchair basket. He asks where he can find Garza. Van Bro thought Garza retired. "Maybe his pension ran out," Vic suggests. He needs Van Bro to tell Garza he needs a buyer for some guns who's willing to pay double the asking price. Van Bro thinks that could take a couple days. Vic gives him 2 hours.

When Vic gets back to the Barn, he sees Danny on the balcony. Edgar-veda praises him for the gun bust. Vic tells him not to get too excited; they only found half of what was stolen from Fort Irwin. He needs about $100K to buy the rest off the Byz Lats and he needs it tonight. "I'm not bending the rules for you," says the captain, even though he has a history of doing that.

Anyway, wasn't Vic opposed to taking this assignment? Vic's like "yeah, at first." Now he feels like he's the only person who cares. Edgar-veda tells him to file the paperwork and wait "or you can stop by the ATM."

Vic got an idea
An awful idea
Vic got a wonderful, awful idea
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In the squadroom, Dutch is ranting at someone on the phone: "The guy's wanted by Interpol! I'm giving you the address! All you have to do is pick him up! What's so goddamn hard about that? If my tone sounds superior, it's because I'm American and you're Greek." He slams down the phone and gets cagey when Vic asks what's wrong.

Elsewhere, Julien is praying in a stairwell. One of the disgraced uniforms who attacked him approaches. "Confess what you did to me," Julien orders. The guy answers, "I didn't do anything to you." Julien grabs him in a chokehold from behind. This scene is all the more disturbing after reading what actor Michael Jace did to his wife. 

The ex-uniform starts gagging while Julien mumbles Bible verses. "Julien, please!" his victim cries. We hear the sound of bone snapping. Julien immediately lets go, leaving the guy crying and coughing on the ground. Julien heads downstairs, pauses like he's gonna go back to check on the guy, and then continues on his way. 

Montage! Mara hugs and kisses Shane in the lobby of a different car dealership. Kern and his crew pull a drive-by at the arcade frequented by the Byz Lats; Diagur is unscathed. Vic goes to the storage unit and loads a duffel bag with cash. End of episode.

Friday, November 11, 2016

"Dominoes Falling" and April Fools (Episode 2.13)

Timely that I'm reviewing this episode in the days following the U.S. presidential election. Also, happy belated birthday to Walton Goggins!

Previously on: Vic and the boys found out the Armenian mob's money train is moving operations to a different city, meaning they only have one chance at it. Regardless of the election results, Edgar-veda is losing his job with the police department. Julien's ex-lover Tomas outed him in front of the whole Barn and Julien was subsequently harassed by his coworkers. Lanie recommended Claudette be promoted to captain so she can run the Barn.

Edgar-veda was ordered to fire 20% of the Barn's staff. Vic served Corinne with divorce papers. She found out he's been sleeping with someone else. Vic broke into the family home when he heard Matt screaming, so Corinne filed a domestic dispute complaint.

Shane goes over to the Mackey house and demands of Corinne, "You had Vic arrested?" Corinne didn't think anything would come of the complaint. I call bullshit; she's been married to a cop long enough to know how things work. Shane tells her that he won't be allowed to bail Vic out until the next morning. Corinne isn't interested in talking: "My kids are sleeping. Good night."

Shane keeps going. Vic is worried about losing his family and "that kinda distraction can get him killed. Me and the other guys too." Corinne tells him to go home and walks away.

The next morning, Vic asks what Shane was thinking. "Where I come from, when a guy's old lady jams him up, his buddies go have a talk with her," the Southerner explains. Vic says exasperatedly, "Not in the middle of the night, Jethro." The other half of the Strike Team jogs up. Ronnie knows the money train is moving out tonight. They don't know where the new collection point is.

However, they ran the license plates of the guy who ran the last drop-ship point and got his address. His name is Chorekian. Vic says they should follow their Balkan friend; he might lead them to the new place. It took them 2 months to scout the last site and now Vic wants them to recon one in a matter of hours? Shane points out they still have the garbage truck and the general plan is staying the same.

Vic knows they'll never get a chance at this much money again. The cash came from robberies, drugs, and prostitution. The Armenians didn't really earn it, so Vic doesn't feel bad about taking it. He tells Shane to gas up the garbage truck. Ronnie and Lem will follow Chorekian.

"Who'd you vote for?" a reporter asks Edgar-veda. They're in a fire station that's presumably doubling as a polling place. He smirks that it was a handsome Latino and puts an arm around Aurora. Another reporter asks for comment on the firing of the entire Strike Team. Edgar-veda says they weren't living up to the city's high standards. He even offered up his own job because as captain, they were his responsibility.

Chief Bankston meets with Vic. He cuts to the chase: Edgar-veda says the Strike Team is a real problem and has recommended firing all of them. Vic's jaw drops. He tells the chief that his team makes half the drug and gang arrests in Farmington. Chief Bankston is more concerned about their tactics, but he assures Vic that Edgar-veda is no longer a threat to him: "After he loses the primary today, he's resigning."

Chief Bankston knows when people are crossing the line. Can Vic keep up his arrest percentages without pushing the limits? Vic assures him that he can. The chief tells him to prove it or he'll act on the soon-to-be-former captain's recommendation.

In the Barn parking lot, Vic confronts Edgar-veda about putting the Strike Team on the firing list. The captain doesn't have time for this; he has to tell 27 people they've been fired. Vic knows he's not among them. Edgar-veda puts him on desk duty for the day. He heard Vic got arrested and advises, "Go clean up your own house instead of continuing to mess up mine."

Vic informs him that the chief wants him on the street and calls Edgar-veda a lame duck. Edgar-veda says Vic will follow orders or else. "Been nice knowin' ya," Vic sneers.

Lem and Shane are watching Chorekian as he talks on a payphone. Shane asks if his partner can read lips. "Even if I could, I don't speak Armenian, bro," says Lem. Chorekian's used 3 different payphones in the last 5 blocks. Chorekian gets in his car and they continue tailing him.

Edgar-veda tells Claudette there's been a homicide and the victim is her ex-husband Jeff. Her daughter Bonnie is at the scene; she apparently witnessed the whole thing. "She's supposed to be in Florida. Is she okay?" asks Claudette. Dutch will be taking the case solo, even though he and Claudette are close outside of work, because the Barn is short-staffed. It's about to be even shorter.
Edgar-veda summons two older detectives, Brett and Marlin, up to his office.

Jeff is dead in the driver's seat of his car. Bonnie is sitting on a bench; there's blood on her jacket. Hey, It's That Girl! Tracie Thoms used to be on the other side of murder investigations as Kat Miller on Cold Case. Bonnie seems to be in shock. Who wouldn't be? Dutch takes her coat as evidence. At least give her a police blanket to replace it.

"He--he shot him. He's gone," Bonnie stammers. Claudette tries to soothe her daughter. Danny tells Dutch that Bonnie was the only witness they could find. "Tell the M.E. to move his ass," Dutch instructs.

Chorekian is driving so slow that Lem asks if he's on Quaaludes. Sadly, the Armenian is not driving a white Cadillac, not a Bronco. Shane sees it as a good sign that he doesn't want to risk getting pulled over. Lem is road ragey: "Get your ass in gear, granny!"

At a red light, Chorekian stops so short that he gets rear-ended by a red sedan. The sedan's driver gets out and apologizes; he didn't think Chorekian was stopping. Chorekian asks what's wrong with him: "You drive a piece of shit. I just bought this car." Lem and Shane are right behind the red sedan. Sedan Driver gets back in his car. Chorekian speed-walks up to the truck's window.

Lem gets a little panicky, telling Shane to get out of there. Too late. "You be my witness for insurance?" asks Chorekian. Shane guesses so. He wants to exchange cell phone numbers, claiming he's always on the road. They do. Chorekian gripes that it's always people who don't care about their cars that run into you. Shane gives his name as Cletus Van Dam.

The last time I heard Walton Goggins use the name Van Dam, he looked a little...different.
(Photo credit)
They shake hands. Chorekian thanks Shane for his help. When he's out of sight, Lem repeats incredulously, "Cletus Van Dam?"

Vic is bored; there's not a single gang case on the books today. Tavon asks what's the rush. The Strike Team is being reevaluated. That's exactly Vic's point; he wants to prove the city needs them. Tavon suggests they help Dutch work his homicide case.

Vic goes over to Dutch and he explains what little he knows. Jeff and Bonnie were sitting in his car when a black man walked up to them, said something, and shot Jeff. Vic asks if it was gang related. Dutch doesn't know and Bonnie's been too upset to say much. Why were she and her father in that neighborhood in the first place? Vic offers to see if any of the local gangs were involved.

Bonnie is at her mother's desk, looking through mug books. She's sure she'll recognize the killer if he's in one of them. "If you see him in there, you tell me first. Don't say anything to Dutch," Claudette says. They can break the case without Bonnie making herself the star witness in a murder trial.

"This is Dad we're talking about!" gasps Bonnie, "I don't care what I have to do." Claudette is only watching out for her. Bonnie shakes her head. "God, Mom. I can't believe you." Claudette isn't saying she wants the killer to go free; she's just worried Bonnie will get herself in a situation she can't get out of.

Danny confronts two unnamed uniforms who were assholes to her partner: "I heard you called Julien's house, told his little boy that he was gay?" Asshole #1 has no problem with gay people as long as he doesn't have to work with them. Asshole #2 wonders what else Julien is lying about. Danny puts them on notice: "Fun's over or I end it myself."

Irving, one of Vic's informants, asks what's in it for him if he talks. Vic promises they won't bust his illegal gambling joint that he runs out of the back of a sporting goods store. Armadillo and the Torrucos being gone have brought back a previously defunct gang: the E Street Johnnies. They want to be the new top dogs. Irving drops a bag of pot. "Jesus Christ, pick it up!" Vic hisses. Irving swears the weed is for medical purposes.

Vic asks what the Johnnies' return has to do with Jeff getting shot in his car. Irving isn't sure; all he heard was them bragging about some kind of April Fools' party. Vic goes inside and asks Bonnie if it's possible the shooter said "Johnny says April Fools." She's not 100% sure because the windows were rolled up.

Claudette catches the tail end of the conversation. She tells Bonnie this isn't Vic's case. Vic takes Dutch aside to fill him in. 10 years ago, the E Street Johnnies were the biggest gang in Farmington. Then the Mexican gangs moved in.

The Johnnies had a ritual called April Fools' parties. Each year, they'd tally up how many members were killed in gang disputes and get everyone together in front of a pile of dominoes. If you picked the right one, you got to be a shooter. The shooters would walk up to random victims and say, "Johnny says April Fools" before they pulled the trigger.

Vic notices Claudette is listening in and tells her Bonnie heard the code phrase. "Thanks for the tip," she says. Dutch will take care of it; this doesn't concern Vic or Tavon. The gang connection says it does, but good luck explaining that to the chief later.

Vic sees Shane across the room. He tells Tavon to find out how many Johnnies were killed last year and the current address of their leader: Lops. The guy apparently got his street name thanks to a lopsided head. When Vic walks into the clubhouse, Shane is on the couch, rubbing his temples like he has a headache. Lem nervously toys with a football.

"You lost him?" Vic guesses. Lem explains that Chorekian got rear-ended in front of them; he wants them to be witnesses for his insurance claim. The Armenian now knows their faces and the truck. They did get his cell phone number, however, they can't trace it without a warrant. "Where's Radiohead's crib these days?" asks Vic. I'm surprised when Lem doesn't quizzically say, "The band?"

Radiohead's yard and small house are messy. There's enough computer equipment and other assorted junk for Frank Deveraux to be living here. Ronnie groans at the smell: "Did he die in here?" "Show us your ass!" Vic calls.

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Radiohead appears, dressed in an old dirty bathrobe, T-shirt, and boxer shorts. "When was the last time you took a shower?" Vic demands. Radiohead shrugs that his water was shut off last month. "Ever heard of a sponge bath?" asks Shane. Radiohead is "boycotting all things French."

Sidebar: This bit reminds me of a similar scene in Few Options, starring Kenny Johnson. Kenny plays an ex-con who has no choice but to live in his cousin's garage after being released. The cousin doesn't like him and eventually cuts off his shower privileges. When Kenny's character lands a date, he's forced to take a sponge bath with water from the outside faucet.

Vic knows Radiohead's been tracing cell phones for a drug cartel. They need his help tracing a phone themselves. Radiohead can try, but if the phone isn't transmitting, he can't triangulate its exact location. They'll settle for an approximate. Ronnie will give Radiohead the numbers; Vic, Shane, and Lem are escaping to fresh air, well, as fresh as it gets in L.A.

Asshole #1 thinks it's nice of Julien to let his partner fight his battles. How can he and Asshole #2 trust Julien with their lives if he's been lying about who he is for 2 years? Asshole #1 calls Julien a hypocrite because Julien once beat up a transsexual with AIDS who bit Danny. "You call my son again and I'll kill you," Julien threatens quietly. Asshole #1 thinks maybe he should've called Social Services instead to make sure Julien isn't abusing Randall.

Julien totally loses it. Screaming like a madman, he grabs Asshole #1 and throws him over his shoulder. Julien slams him to the floor. Inmates in the cage cheer him on. It takes two other uniforms to pull Julien off. Asshole #1 asks if Julien can do this job by himself; he'll never have backup again. Danny hurries over with a what'd-I-miss look on her face.

Dutch takes Claudette to the observation room. He gently suggests that her ex's murder might not have been a random gangland ritual. The neighborhood where Jeff was shot is known for drug activity. Dutch knows Jeff got arrested a few times after the divorce for simple possession and disturbing the peace. Claudette admits he had demons, but not bad enough to get him killed.

Bonnie still hasn't found the killer in the mug books. Claudette asks her if Jeff was doing something he shouldn't have. Bonnie is insulted her mother would even think that. Claudette knows Bonnie doesn't remember her dad's drug problem because she was young when the divorce happened. Why didn't Bonnie tell her mom she was coming? "Dad wanted to see me," she replies. She's only in California for a couple days and didn't want to run back and forth.

In the clubhouse, Ronnie is back with a location courtesy of Radiohead. It's a mostly unoccupied industrial part of town, which fits with the last place they used. Vic tells them to recon and see if the original plan will still work. They slyly hide the map when Tavon comes in. The newest Strike Team member got an address for Lops and they'll have a warrant within an hour.

Tavon asks what everyone's doing in the clubhouse. "Can't stay away from this place, even on our day off," Shane lies, then leaves with Ronnie and Lem.

Aurora calls Edgar-veda from a party. When is he coming? Hispanic voter turnout has been better than expected. Machado thinks they have a real chance. Edgar-veda promises to be there ASAP. He hangs up because Randy, another of the unlucky 27, is standing in his office doorway.

Shane calls Vic to report the new site is a lot like the old one. There's only one way in and one way out. The place even has a dumpster they can "borrow." Lem asks to talk to Vic. He tells their boss that a location change could mean other things are different too, such as more guards. That's all he gets out before Shane grabs the phone from him. A vote is taken. Vic, Shane, and Ronnie are all fine with going ahead. Lemming hesitates, but eventually okays it.

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Tavon and Vic push their way into Lops' apartment. They ask him about the current state of the Johnnies. Vic knows 3 of Lops' gang members died last year. Tavon spots a domino set on the coffee table. One guy is already dead thanks to the April Fools' parties and two other shooters are unaccounted for. Vic looks through the dominoes and doesn't see any double-threes, meaning that's this year's lucky number.

Vic asks where the other two shooters are. Lops threatens to get his Cochran (as in Johnnie Cochran) involved. Tavon pulls his gun and asks, "You think we playing?" He empties the cylinder except for one bullet and gives it a spin. What Lops doesn't see is Tavon tipping his hand to palm the remaining bullet. Lops taunts that they aren't gonna do anything.

Tavon puts the gun to Lops' head, informing him that the April Fools' victim is a cop's husband. A cop they work with. Tavon cocks the gun and pulls the trigger. Click! "You only got 5 more wrong answers," he warns. He pulls the trigger a second time. Click!

"Oh, this is gonna be the one, Tavon. I can feel it," Vic says when his partner pulls back the hammer again, "I'd better get my raincoat." Lops agrees to talk if Tavon puts the gun away.

Edgar-veda asks Julien what happened with Jackson, one of the asshole uniforms. Julien says it's nothing the two of them can't handle. Edgar-veda knows Julien is being harassed because he used to be gay. If he wants to make a formal complaint, now is a good time. Julien repeats that he can handle it.

A squad car arrives to pick up Lops. Vic checks his watch. He tells Tavon to ask the uniforms for a ride back to the Barn. Vic has someplace he has to be, but he'll be back in a hour. Lops opines that Tavon is psycho. "Yes, he is," Vic chuckles proudly. Lops adds, "You better tell that asshole he's too late." His homeboy Charlie is already at a street fair looking for his victim.

Vic takes Lops outside. He tosses his keys down to Tavon, telling him they have to hurry. Vic asks a female uniform to find out where the closest street fair is.

At the condemned building, Shane and the boys are suited up in garbage company jumpsuits and loading guns into the back of the garbage truck. Vic calls Lem and says they'll have to start without him. Lem starts asking what's going on. "I can't talk right now," Vic says irritably. Ronnie asks what Vic is saying. Lem explains Vic might not make it.

For the second time, the phone gets yanked out of Lem's hand, this time by Ronnie. He reminds Vic this is their last chance. Vic tells him to put Shane on. Ronnie does. Vic promises he'll be there, but the others will have to start without him. Shane doesn't want to do this without Vic. His partner points out that the original plan involved 3 guys and they still have 3. He trusts Shane can pull this off. Tavon pulls around with Vic's truck. They switch places so Vic is driving.

Back at the garbage truck, Lem is all, "What 3-person plan?" They were really gonna go off and do this without him? "You always had reservations," Shane notes. Ronnie tells him that was only Plan B. "Fine, let's go with Plan B," says Lem. Shane shakes his head. It's too risky until they know for sure if Vic is gonna show up. Lem knows if they don't get moving now, they'll be out of position and the whole thing could fall apart even if Vic comes. Ronnie agrees.

The garbage truck rolls up to the site with Ronnie behind the wheel. He's driving much better than he did the first time. Lem and Shane are crouched in the back. Shane finally has the sense to look scared. Ronnie works the controls so the truck picks up a dumpster. Its contents fall into the back of the truck. Shane and Lem crawl inside the dumpster. In what must feel like the worst carnival ride ever to them, the dumpster is lifted into the air and slammed roughly back on the ground.

None of the Armenians seem to notice the two armed men popping out of the dumpster like the world's most dangerous jack-in-the-box. Ronnie drives away, waving cheerily at the mobsters.

Vic arrives at the street fair, the lights from the chain ride dancing along the side of his truck. He shows some uniforms the picture of Charlie. He warns everyone that Charlie is armed. Vic, Tavon, and the rest walk into the fair, past the tilt-a-whirl and the cotton candy booth and the carousel.

Tavon and Vic spot Charlie loitering around the balloon dart game and the kiddie Ferris wheel. They chase him out into the street. Tavon manages to grab Charlie and they both bounce off a minivan's hood in the process. He finds a double-three domino in Charlie's pocket. Vic reminds Tavon that he has to leave. Tavon agrees to do the paperwork.

At the money train site, Lem and Shane are waiting to pounce. A van, presumably stuffed with cash, arrives. It's accompanied by a luxury car, which is clearly a surprise. The driver gets out and approaches the other guys gathered around. Lem asks if Shane can tell what's going on, but Shane doesn't "speak European hick."

The car's driver is throwing punches, then he pulls a gun and shoots one of his associates in the head. Lem flinches. More gunshots and there are two dead men on the ground. The others keep loading boxes of cash like nothing happened. Shane is panicky: "I gotta stop Ronnie." Lem thinks they should stick to the plan. Shane says they don't know if Vic is even coming.

Lem points out the Armenians only have sidearms and they have rifles. Shane is already dialing his phone. The whole idea was not to have to use the guns. Lem makes a very Vic-like statement: "Look, it's not even their money." Shane doesn't want to get Ronnie and Lem killed, oddly altruistic for him.

There's no cell reception and Shane hustles off to see if he can get some. "Will you stop movin' around?" Lem hisses. They knew from the start there was no cell service here. Also, they'll definitely get shot if anyone sees them.

Danny wants to talk to Edgar-veda about the asshole uniforms: Jackson and Carlson. She knows they're behind the rude flyers with Julien's picture. The captain says Julien never mentioned names. Did he really expect him to? Danny has heard Jackson and Carlson running their mouths about how they won't back up Julien if he and Danny ever run into trouble on the street. Not only is that unprofessional, it's unacceptable to leave two people for dead just because you don't like one of them.

Edgar-veda thanks her for mentioning it to him. He also has bad news: Danny's name is on the firing list because of Armadillo getting stabbed in the cage. Danny is stunned; she thought she did her penance for that when she was suspended. Edgar-veda passes the buck, telling her it was the chief's decision.

Danny asks, "Have you talked to Vic and the Strike Team about how that guy got the knife?" The captain's only heard rumors. Danny wants to know who's looking into it while she loses her career. Edgar-veda tells her the truth: nobody. Danny looks like she doesn't know whether to cry or kick someone's ass, preferably Vic's.

The Armenians are loading bricks on cash into 55-gallon drums, not unlike the Codys' heist on the season finale of Animal Kingdom. Ronnie comes back. Shane guesses he heard the shots and groans, "This is not good. Where's Vic?" Now they really have to get moving.

Shane and Lem don ski masks. Lem will take the skinny guy "with the beanie and the blowgun"; Shane gets the other one. That's a pretty unfair fight. They sneak up on the Armenians, who start firing when they figure out what's happening. One of the Armenians gets shot in the thigh. The last van load of money arrives, but the driver quickly reverses. After all, guns and ski masks can only mean one thing.

Shane chases the van on foot and shoots out the tires. "Stay right there! Hands on the wheel!" bellows the unmistakable voice of Vic Mackey. Shane is glad to see him. Vic asks why there are so many dead bodies; Shane tells him about the Armenians picking off their own. Ronnie heard the shots and they pulled off the heist with one van left.

Lem is more concerned about the Armenian with the gunshot wound. It's near an artery and he doesn't want him to bleed out. Shane doesn't think it's their problem; it's not like they shot him. Lem says, "I don't want that blood on my conscience." I think you may be the only guy on the team who has a functional one. Vic actually agrees with Lem.

They blindfold Dach the wounded Armenian. Vic asks if he wants to live or die. "Live, please," says Dach through gritted teeth. Vic promises to take Dach to the hospital. Afterwards, they'll drop off some of the money at his house: "Your buddies will figure we took care of you because you were our inside man." Dach protests that he doesn't know who they are. Vic's like "they don't know that." Once Dach gets better, he should:

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Via closed-circuit TV, Bonnie looks at a line-up. One of the fillers is Julien. Dutch asks if she sees the guy who shot her dad. Claudette pulls Dutch aside and repeats that she doesn't want her daughter being a witness at a gang trial. Dutch tries another approach with Bonnie: If he were to question these suspects, who should he start with? Bonnie identifies Charlie.

Dutch knows Charlie and his two friends all drew a double-three. Charlie shrugs it wasn't him. One of them is going to jail; Dutch will see which one after he talks to the friends. Charlie doesn't wanna get locked up for something he didn't do. His friend Mouser pulled the trigger.

Vic goes back to the clubhouse and finds Tavon at the table doing some paperwork. Tavon asks if Vic made it to wherever he was supposed to be on time. Vic's all "yep, just had to do some errands." Tavon tells him they found the other guys with dominoes and nobody else got hurt. Other than that, it's been a quiet day. Oh, Tavon, anybody in public safety knows better than to say the "Q" word.

Danny lets Vic know she's being fired: "Any idea why?" They both know her name doesn't belong on the list. She wonders how much of a stand-up guy Vic really is. Vic storms up to the office and demands to know why the captain is firing Danny. Edgar-veda is all "I'm not, Chief Bankston is." Unless Vic has information the chief doesn't, there's nothing anyone can do. And it's too bad; "she was a good officer." Edgar-veda leaves his office for the last time.

In the observation room, Dutch shows Mouser the video in which Charlie blames him for shooting Jeff. Mouser puts that right back on Charlie; being the first Johnnie to get his April Fools' victims was important to him. Dutch asks, "How do I know you're the one telling the truth?" Mouser can tell Dutch where Charlie stashes his gun.

Vic tells Claudette the April Fools' shooters are upstairs. She's unimpressed: "Results don't excuse bad behavior." Vic knows they have issues; maybe they shouldn't work together anymore. Claudette says the real question is how Vic will handle working for her. She's being promoted to captain.

"Fired for cause," Jackson or Carlson fumes as he walks into the locker room. He punches a locker. The other half of the dynamic duo gripes that LAPD is turning into the "most P.C., useless force in the country." "Maybe they just don't get your sophisticated brand of humor," Danny snarks, shoving her uniform into her duffel bag.

Does Danny really think the Barn is better off with Julien than the three of them? "Don't put me in your corner. I didn't deserve what I got," she says.

Edgar-veda is throwing an election night party: a rented-out restaurant, white tablecloths, a band, and red, white, and blue balloons. You'd think he was running for a much loftier position than city councilman. He tells the crowd that he wrote two speeches and hopes he can use the one in his left pocket. Whatever the election outcome, Edgar-veda is grateful for everyone's support. He pulls Aurora up on stage and holds her hands.

Julien runs out to the parking lot to catch Danny before she leaves. He thinks it's unfair that she's being fired. She's not about to disagree. Julien's learned so much from Danny. She has some parting advice: Julien should watch his back around the Barn. She gives him a hug.

Shane and Vic go to Dach's place to hide a duffel bag o' cash. Shane dropped the Armenian off at a shady clinic; he's getting sewn up right now. Dach promised to leave California. On Dach's TV, there's live coverage of the city election. Shane hides the cash underneath the recliner.

The anchorman's next words make Shane and Vic look up: "Police captain David Aceveda won a tight primary race against Karen Mitchell to become the district's first Hispanic Democratic candidate for council." Ding-dong, the bastard's gone! Shane's jaw drops: "I thought he was gonna lose." Vic thought he was supposed to. 6 months from now, he's gonna be their boss's boss. Shane seems scared.

"I can always tell when you're lying to me," Claudette says to Bonnie. Her daughter is a half-asleep in the breakroom, a cup of coffee in front of her. Claudette asks again why Bonnie and Jeff were on that street. Bonnie claims Jeff wanted to visit a florist to buy flowers for Jenny, his new fiancee. She didn't want to hurt her mom's feelings by telling her Dad was engaged: "Dad told me once how much you liked it when he surprised you with flowers."

Jeff was getting his life back on track. He was waiting for the right time to tell Claudette he was getting remarried. Claudette has seemed lonely lately, so Bonnie and Jeff had been putting it off. Claudette squeezes her daughter's hand.

At Julien's house, the family is doing the dinner dishes. Vanessa hopes Danny will be okay; if she needs anything, they'll be there. Julien doesn't want to talk about this in front of Randall. When Julien takes the trash out, Jackson and Carlson are hiding in the yard. They throw a blanket over his head and tackle him. They and some other guys start beating the crap out of Julien with their nightsticks, stopping just short of killing him.

Vic shows up at his former home. He would've called, but Corinne changed the phone number. Corinne doesn't want him there and Vic should tell Shane not to come back. "I didn't send him," says Vic, being honest for once. What Shane did was wrong. Corinne opens the door. Vic will ask for permission before coming over next time; he's just been worried about the kids and how they're adjusting to the separation.

Vic sighs. He never meant to hurt Corinne and he's sorry. He promises to take care of her and the kids. Vic will call her lawyer to set up a visitation schedule. Corinne starts to cry.

Montage! Randall pulls back the blanket and finds a bloodied Julien underneath. "Mama!" he cries. Danny works out some frustration at the firing range. Claudette and Bonnie leave the Barn. Corinne sits at her kitchen table with a glass of wine, staring into space. At the election party, Edgar-veda and Aurora do a celebratory slow-dance. Dutch doesn't know it, but his crime scene is the money train stop.

Vic goes to the condemned apartment building, motel, or whatever where they parked the stolen garbage truck. The stolen cash is piled high on a table that's in the bottom of the empty swimming pool for some reason. Vic is positively giddy as he slaps Shane on the back. Shane, Ronnie, and Lem all look grim.
I'm really surprised the guys aren't doing this. (Image credit)
End of episode, end of Season 2.