At their storage unit, the Strike Team is going over their money train stash with magnifying glasses and blacklights. They can't spend any of it until they know which bills are marked.
Edgar-veda asks how many victims the Cuddler Rapist has so far. There have been 5 confirmed attacks. Edgar-veda wants to call the press tomorrow. Dutch thinks it's too soon; he and Claudette want to talk to some registered sex offenders who also have robbery convictions. Edgar-veda thinks interviewing over 100 people would take at least a month.
Dutch has narrowed the list to 14. "How?" asks the captain. Claudette says they got the geographic profile that Edgar-veda said no to. The criminologist gave them a 50% discount when he found out the rapist was targeting the elderly because his grandma put him through college. Dutch wrote the check. If the profile doesn't pan out, the captain can take it out of his salary. In addition to possible work and home addresses for the rapist, the profile also gave them a list of areas at high risk for future rapes.
That's all well and good, but Edgar-veda is still proceeding with the press conference. "What if our guy has a lust for fame?" asks Dutch. Media attention could make him more dangerous. The captain stands firm: "Potential rape victims need to know the threat and they need to know it now."
Walking past the back window, Vic sees Corinne strut past in just a shirt and panties. She grabs a pair of jeans from the laundry room. Vic knocks. "You're early," Corinne remarks. Vic knows she wants the pool filter checked; he'll do it before he takes Cassidy to her ballgame.
In the living room, Matt and Owen are playing a clapping game. Vic definitely knows something is up between Owen and his ex-wife. He and the therapist argue a bit when Vic tells Matt that he can put his toys away later. Vic invites his son to help Dad with the pool filter.
Lem has made friends with a nurse and found out Tavon is doing well enough that he's off the ventilator. He isn't responding to voices yet, but there's a chance he'll fully recover. Lem is going to visit after work and asks the other guys if they want to come. Shane can't, but he has an idea on how to find the marked bills: federal lists. Vic stomps all over that one: "You can't just walk into a bank and ask to see their Treasury watch list."
Banks aren't the only places that have those lists. Check-cashing stores and Indian casinos get them too. Shane knows a store owner named Uncle Ho. He'll badge him and ask to make sure his list is current. Uncle Ho won't refuse because Shane also knows about the hookers he has in the back room. Vic agrees to the plan and tells Shane to keep it quiet.
There's a note on the breakroom fridge that reads: PLEASE DO NOT TAKE FOOD THAT ISN'T YOURS. "Who the hell wrote this?" Tommy demands, tearing it down. Chill out, dude, it was probably directed at Lem. Danny says Nina the secretary put it up.
A Detective Kouf from Wilshire comes in, asking to talk to Tommy, rather insistent that the conversation take place out in the hall. When Danny tells Julien to get the captain, Tommy and Kouf's discussion moves to Edgar-veda's office. Kouf drops a bombshell: "Your ex-wife and son were found murdered." He wants Tommy to come to Wilshire and answer some questions.
Tommy is incredulous: "You think I had something to do with this?" Kouf tells Edgar-veda it's procedure. Edgar-veda tells him to talk to Tommy here in Farmington and make it fast. Tommy grabs a chair and hurls it through the window; it lands on Dutch's desk downstairs in the squadroom. The grief-stricken father starts to cry.
Kouf asks where Tommy was between 10:00 and 11:00 the night before. Tommy isn't sure; he worked late and went home. He doesn't have a girlfriend or anyone who can confirm that.
"This is bullshit," mutters Vic. Dutch agrees, "I heard his divorce got nasty, but come on." Claudette is sure they won't find anything linking the murders to Tommy. But in the meantime, the real killer could get away. "It was Wilshire's case. Your team has yours," she tells Vic.
In the locker room, we learn that Tommy's kid was 4 or 5 years old. "We gotta posse up," Vic declares.
"Change of plans. I'm calling in sick," Vic informs Trish. She asks if this is about Tommy's family. Vic thinks Tommy is being targeted because the Wilshire captain is pissed about losing the Decoy Squad. Trish should just tell Claudette that Vic was at the briefing. "She spanks me, I'll spank you," she warns.
Shane wants to tag along: "I'm not sittin' around on flamer duty while Tommy gets boned." Vic tells Shane to stay put. He asks Julien if he heard about his old partner. "There's no way he did this," the uniform says adamantly. He wants to help out.
Kouf asks if Tommy made any phone calls; those records would prove he was home. Tommy wants to go to the morgue and see his family. Edgar-veda sees Aurora and his daughter on the balcony and excuses himself. "She's been crying for you. She doesn't know where you've been," says Aurora. That toddler looks pretty calm to me, but that might have something to do with the giant cookie she's eating.
Being busy has never stopped him from coming home before. Edgar-veda can't talk about it now and doesn't know if he'll be home for dinner. Aurora wants to know what's so important. "One of my cops just found out his family's been murdered. And on top of that, he's a suspect." Edgar-veda starts. He rants about how Aurora's been calling all day and now she brought Sophia here.
Aurora tells him to calm down. She tries rubbing his chest and side. Edgar-veda pushes her hand away, saying icily, "I'll be home when I get home."
At Tommy's ex's house, Vic asks the Wilshire detective if he and the rest of the posse can look around. He knows this isn't their jurisdiction, but Tommy is their friend. He promises they won't tamper with the crime scene. Wilshire Detective says no; the captain is coming here any minute. Vic thinks it's unfair that Tommy is caught in the middle of a pissing match between their respective bosses. All he's asking is to look around for 2 minutes with Tommy's partner Julien; everyone else will stay outside. Wilshire Detective agrees.
A CSI gives Vic the details. The intruder broke a lock on the back window to get in. Tommy's wife was stabbed a few dozen times. Her sister discovered the bodies; according to her, a silver tea set and some jewelry is missing. There are definite signs of a struggle: an overturned chair, blood on the kitchen walls and floor.
Tommy's son tried to hide under the bed. The intruder found him and cut his throat. In the kid's room, the bed is turned on its side. There's a framed picture of Tommy and his little boy on the dresser. "Think God's gonna show any mercy to the person who did this?" Vic asks Julien.
Outside, Vic tells Danny he's sure the murderer was "cranked on something." Danny talked to some neighbors. There have been a lot of break-ins and Tommy's ex lives right across the street from a crack house.
Vic heads across the street and tries the doorknob. It won't turn. He's about to kick in the door when Danny reminds him that she literally just got her job back and can't be a party to this. Vic peeks in one of the filthy windows and says, "There's a citizen inside in need of immediate medical attention." When Vic walks in the living room, he rips down the cardboard covering a window, much to the chagrin of the crackheads. "Rise and shine, party people!" he shouts.
He drags the owner of the crack house into another room and asks what he knows about the murders across the street. The guy says nobody but him was here last night; this makes him Suspect #1. "I was too blind off an eight-ball to raise my hand against my fellow man," he protests. Vic hisses, "Are you playing games with me? 'Cause I know some games myself."
On a nearby shelf, Vic finds a knife just a step down from a cleaver and menaces the guy with it. The junkie says a local dealer named Darontay made a delivery last night. Darontay saw Tommy's ex writing down his license plate and "goes out to regulate, tells her to get ghost." The junkie doesn't know what happened after that because "I was too busy tryin' to get my smoke on."
Vic thinks the paper with the license plate number could still be in the house. Julien remembers seeing a list of some kind on the fridge. Vic goes to ask Wilshire Detective about taking a second look. He's told Captain Griggs is on his way; if Vic really wants to help, he should walk away. Wilshire Detective doesn't notice Julien walking into the house.
When Julien comes back out, he discreetly hands a piece of paper to Vic. He bets the last license plate number she wrote down belongs to Derontay. Vic tells Julien to copy them down, run them, and then return the list to Wilshire. It may be their case, but Vic is afraid they have their hearts set on railroading Tommy. Danny agrees with this estimation, but she's not down for B&E and stealing evidence. Vic points out it'll be hard to tie in an alternate suspect if they have a chance to fence anything.
Danny signed up to help keep Tommy out of jail, not get locked up herself. "We're just doing the job [Wilshire] should be doing," says Vic. Danny doesn't buy it. She tries to convince Julien to leave with her, but he doesn't want to. Does he realize how hard it'll be for him to conceive a child if he's in county? Julien says it's not like he hasn't covered for her. Vic gives the original copy of the list to Danny. He and Julien get in Vic's truck.
Kouf asks Tommy if his ex told him about the break-in last month, during which the burglar got in the house through the same window. Nobody was home that time. Kouf opines the neighborhood is a bad place for a single mother to be living. "I tried to get Barb to move, but she likes the house," says Tommy. He doesn't make enough money for them to leave.
Edgar-veda doesn't think it's a big deal that Tommy and Barb had arguments; they got divorced for a reason, after all. Said divorce became final two weeks ago and "it's hard to get a house in the Hills on a uniform's alimony." Tommy wants to know why Kouf keeps bringing up money.
Dutch did a recon mission at the homes of the women who were attacked by the Cuddler Rapist; they all had windows facing the street. And? Lots of people do. He reinterviewed the victims and learned they all kept their curtains open during the day and closed at night. The rapist could be someone who works in the area that nobody would pay much attention to, like a mailman or a construction worker.
Edgar-veda joins Dutch and Claudette in the break room and asks, "Are you any closer to a suspect or just $2,500 poorer?" What's the big deal? It's not like Dutch spent departmental money on it. Dutch requests extra patrols in high-risk areas. Edgar-veda tells Dutch that he'll be doing the press conference.
Dutch thinks it would be a better idea to release the psych profile and see if that gets them any tips. The rapist is most likely single or has a submissive partner who doesn't question his being out at all hours. Edgar-veda waves his hand: "Enough profiles. Just give them what we know." Dutch looks hurt.
Vic calls Shane with the plate number to run. He needs an address ASAP. Shane went to Uncle Ho's check-cashing place and managed to sneak out with the Treasury watch list. He can tell by Vic's stilted answers that he can't really talk. Shane and the guys will check their money against the list after they're through with hustler detail. He decodes Vic's answer to mean that the captain may have a different list.
Vic tells him to check the evidence against the Byz Lats case. Shane knows there are marked bills in the evidence lockup. He talks to Officer Cacuzza the evidence clerk. She can't release anything without the owner's signature. Shane says he just needs to go in the evidence room and check the bills for drug residue so he can get a search warrant. She gives him the evidence bag of marked money.
Judging by Edgar-veda's expression, he had no clue about any of this. Tommy insists a mistake was made and demands to be allowed to see his son's body. Kouf and Edgar-veda step outside to meet with Kouf's superior, Captain Griggs. Griggs wants to know why Tommy isn't in custody. He believes Tommy broke into the house and killed his ex to cover up the thefts. Their son saw it, so he had to die too.
Edgar-veda doesn't think there's enough evidence to back up that theory. Does he really want Griggs to get a search warrant for Tommy's house? Edgar-veda knows that's a bluff; there's no probable cause. Griggs asks when his fellow captain became a defense attorney. He wants Tommy cuffed and put in a car. Edgar-veda intends to keep Tommy at the Barn until there's more evidence.
Griggs is sure the chief can settle this. Edgar-veda is just as sure that he'd be interrupting Chief Bankston's golf game.
When Vic goes to Derontay's house, a girl in a camisole and a thong is bringing the drug dealer a sandwich. "Put your clothes on, walk out the door, and change your taste in men," Vic instructs her. He asks where Derontay was last night. "Ruling the streets, then back to the crib for a little thug passion with shorty," says Derontay.
Vic tells Derontay about the double murder across the street from a crack house he supplies. Julien adds that the victims were a police officer's wife and child. Never mind that divorce technicality. "You see me cryin'?" asks Derontay. He would've been happy to do it, but he was wearing a new suit last night. Julien eyes the dealer's blinged-out cross: "You wear that around your neck and you talk like that?" It's clearly less of a religious symbol and more of a fashion statement.
Julien grabs Derontay by his shirt and pulls him to his feet. Derontay doesn't understand why Julien cares so much: "Two less blue-eyed devils in this world." Julien rips the chain off Derontay's neck. Vic knows witnesses saw the dealer arguing with Barb.
"Who didn't have words with that bitch?" asks Derontay, "Telling folks to come correct or get dimed on 'cause her baby-daddy five-0. Hell, even your boy couldn't deal. Hired a straight G to come gank his own crib."
Vic responds to this with one of my all-time favorite lines: "No speak Ebonics, shithead." Derontay translates, "Her old man hired some dude to come rob his own damn house." He got this information from "fellow smokehouds", so who knows whether it's reliable? Either way, it's a disturbing possibility to Vic and Julien. Derontay makes the understatement of the year. Hiring a crackhead to burglarize your ex "probably wasn't a wise choice."
Vic makes a beeline for Tommy's interrogation room and unplugs the camera. He confronts Tommy with the truth. Tommy was upset that Barb got half of his coin collection in the divorce; he knew she was planning to sell them. He hired somebody to steal them, but it was supposed to be a one-time gig. Vic whispers, "You know, a bunch of us are out there tryin' to clear your name. You're makin' us all look like assholes."
The hired burglar was a suspect who owed Tommy a favor; that has nothing to do with his family being murdered. Vic points out the murderer went through the same window. He understands exes can make you crazy and murder is certainly one way to get out of paying alimony. Tommy knows Vic has kids. How could he think this? Vic may not be father of the year, but as he says himself, "I wouldn't hire some crackhead to break into where they sleep."
Tommy planned the first robbery for when he knew Jeff and Barb would be out of town and also: "He wasn't a crackhead." Vic asks if he piss-tested the guy. The burglar must've come back for more stuff and killed them both. Tommy starts panting: "Jesus Christ. I gotta find him." That's Vic's job. He just needs a name.
Edgar-veda starts knocking and telling Vic to unlock the door. Tommy's hired thief was Soren Arnovic, which sounds vaguely Armenian. He makes sure to add, "If he did this, I didn't know, Vic." Vic opens the door and pretends he was just giving Tommy some moral support.
In front of reporters, Dutch gives out the victim profile: women who live alone, ages 65-80. The rapist waits for his victims to go out, breaks in their houses, and waits for them. Those living in the area should keep their blinds closed all the time. The rapist is white or Latino, 25-40 years old.
A female reporter says that's not much to go on. "We know he thinks he's a sophisticated predator," Dutch counters, "But really, he has low intelligence and poor interpersonal skills. Probably has a menial job or unemployed." The rapist probably isn't in a relationship, but if so, he's domineering. "And he struggles with impotence. Thank you." I have a feeling that he went way off-script here.
Claudette can't believe he just said all that on TV. Dutch is sure public emasculation will flush their rapist out. I think it's more likely to piss him off enough that he decides to prove his manhood by killing his next victim.
Shane ran the bills from the Byz Lats' case, but none of them were on Uncle Ho's Treasury list. Now they have to figure out how to get their hands on Edgar-veda's list. Julien pokes his head in the clubhouse to say he got an address on Soren. On their way out, he and Vic pass Danny. She tells her partner they have to get back on patrol. "What if it was you up in interrogation for two murders you didn't do?" asks Vic.
Danny can't afford to get in any more trouble. If Vic and Julien leave, she's going to the captain.
Upstairs, Kouf and Griggs grill Tommy about the coins. They know the collection legally belonged to Barbara. Tommy wants his lawyer or to see his son's body. Edgar-veda decides the Wilshire detectives can have Tommy. They handcuff him.
We (finally) get to the episode's C-plot. Trish exposits that there have been 3 assaults on gay hustlers in the past month. All the attacks were on Saturday nights. "The victims give us anything?" Lem asks, tossing a football to Ronnie. "Besides big sad eyes?" Shane asks around his cigarette. Aren't they supposed to be stopping vice in Farmington? If Shane were a hustler and people started getting jumped on his stroll, he'd take his business elsewhere.
Trish fails to see the humor. One of the victims sustained a skull fracture and had to be put in ICU. That should hit very close to home for our boys. Shane will be going undercover as a hustler; the rest of the Strike Team will take the perimeter. Shane, of course, vehemently objects to this assignment. Why can't Lem or Ronnie do it? "They don't look gay enough," Trish replies.
The next time we see Shane, he's standing on a street corner wired for sound. His shirt is mostly unbuttoned. Walton Goggins may not be the most attractive guy in the world, but he's got a nice set of pecs and a six-pack. Through the earpiece, Lem is giving Shane very graphic oral sex tips that he probably got from Trish's copy of Cosmo.
Shane completely blows his cover by responding: "I'm engaged to a gorgeous female who's carrying my child. You're the one who actually knows the names of dick parts." A passing hustler says, "You must be the undercover police officer." "I'm glad to be of service," Shane grouses. The hustler thanks him for being there to protect them. Shane thinks he should hold off on the gratitude: "More than likely I'll be running you in next week."
One of the reporters approaches Dutch's desk. She got a call from someone claiming to be the Cuddler Rapist. He demanded that Dutch publicly retract his statement about impotence. Claudette thinks it could be a hoax; they've had over 100 calls. However, the man who contacted the report said he stole a Hummel from the last victim's house; Patty was missing a few.
Vic tells Julien not to worry; Danny wouldn't rat her own partner out anymore than she'd rat Vic out. I wouldn't bet on that. Vic's also not taking any chances with Soren the crackhead who killed Tommy's family: "He resists, he reaches for a piece, he lifts a finger, we use deadly force." Julien seems okay with that.
Edgar-veda is about to look through a mug book of Hispanic males when Danny knocks on the door. She tells him about Vic forming a posse and that Julien is with him. "You let this happen?" asks the captain. Danny raises an eyebrow: "Well, I'm not his T.O. anymore, am I?" Edgar-veda thought she was a good influence on him.
Vic finds the address and radios for backup. He tells Julien to go to the front door. Vic's logic? "He sees the uniform, he runs, he did it." The house is a squat one-story affair painted bright turquoise. Reminds me of the houses I saw down in the Bahamas. Julien yells, "Police!", which is immediately followed by, "He's got a gun! He's running!"
Julien gives chase while Vic squeezes himself through the backyard gate. As the suspect knocks over some cheap plastic patio chairs, Julien reports he couldn't get a clean shot but the guy is still armed. Vic tells him to wait for backup out front. "Don't come near me!" Soren warns.
Dutch gives instructions to the reporter. When the suspected rapist calls, "tell him the only way the public is gonna hear his side of the story is for him to come forward and tell the truth himself." "You really think he's gonna give it all up just to make it clear he's not impotent?" she asks skeptically, "Why would he do that?" "Uh, because he's mentally ill?" Dutch replies.
From his hidey hole, Soren tells Vic not to come near him. Vic ignores this and gets closer. He tells Soren the worst part of prison is the stench; he'll have to put up with it for at least 10 years before he gets the needle. The second worst part? Soren won't be able to get drugs when he's withdrawing. "Me? I'd eat a bullet right now," Vic adds.
Julien informs his partner their backup is two minutes away. Out front, police cars converge. Julien lets them know they have the suspect who killed Tommy's family; Vic is trying to convince the guy to put his gun down. "Hope he doesn't try too hard," says one of the uniforms. Don't worry, it's Vic.
Vic quietly suggests suicide again. The uniforms enter the backyard. Soren comes out with his hands up. The uniforms cuff him.
Back on the street corner, the hustlers admire the rims on a john's car. They guess they cost a couple of nights work. Shane happens to know rims like that cost at least $3,200 and an extra $1,000 for spinners. One of the hustlers says, "Looks like our breeder knows a thing or two about rim jobs." Lem's reaction is predictable, chuckling, "Heh. Rim jobs."
Edgar-veda, Dutch, and Claudette listen to the tape of the reporter talking to the suspected rapist. The guy wants to be interviewed on camera with no one present except himself, her, and Dutch. The captain wants a cop to be the cameraman. The reporter points out her camera is more complicated than the camcorders people use to film their kids' birthday parties. Her cameraman knows how to keep his cool; he was on assignment in Baghdad during Desert Storm.
Edgar-veda doesn't care; he wants three backup teams with radios nearby. Everyone will have to wear a vest. Should be just like old times for the cameraman.
It's dark now. One of the hustlers is telling Shane about the Chevy 1500 he had back home. Shane says he used to have an F-150 with a nitrous system. The hustler's brother did that to a Dodge, which resulted in the whole engine being ruined. Before the bonding session goes any further, some guys blasting heavy metal jump out of a truck, taunting, "Hey, faggot!" They start beating up one of the hustlers.
Trish, now in a different stakeout car with Ronnie, gives the go signal. Shane tells the gay-bashers that he's a police officer, pulling out his gun for emphasis. Lem, Ronnie, and Trish move in.
Back at the Barn, Vic sees the gay-bashers in the cage and more or less thanks Trish for covering for him. "D.A. says this case has got the makings of a hate crime," Claudette tells them.
Edgar-veda asks Vic, "You went off the grid today?" Vic has a question of his own: "Who told you that?" Danny happens to pass by just then. Vic knew Tommy didn't do it and didn't appreciate Captain Griggs trying to frame him. Edgar-veda tells him it better not happen again, which we all know it will.
Claudette had no idea Vic wasn't where he was supposed to be. "I was there in spirit," he answers coolly. Edgar-veda asks her, "You've never disappeared for a couple of hours to help another cop?" Claudette notices he looks like hell. Edgar-veda denies anything is wrong; he just had a long day.
At Corinne's, Vic lets her know the pool filter is fixed. He hears classical music and asks if Matt is having another therapy session. He observes that Owen's been around a lot. Is there something she wants to tell him? "Did Cassidy say something?" asks Corinne. She didn't have to, you idiot. Did you forget what Vic does for a living?
Vic tells her what tipped him off: "You walked by the doorway in your panties without batting an eye that he was just inside." Corinne tells Vic it's none of his business. Vic wants her to find another therapist: "I'm not shelling out my own money so that the hired help can play daddy to impress you." Corinne says Owen is a great teacher and that's what Vic is paying for; anything else is her affair.
"You know he has a record?" asks Vic, "He got busted for weed in college." Corinne can't believe Vic did a background check. Vic thinks he had every right to; after all, Owen spends time alone with Matt. I really can't argue with him there. The charge wasn't simple possession either; Owen was dealing.
"It couldn't have been that serious if he got his teaching certificate," Corinne argues. Vic tells her that she can date who she wants, but Owen is out of a job.
Back at the Barn, Vic talks to Julien in the locker room. Soren confessed to killing Tommy's family and that Tommy hired him to break into their house last month. Tommy will probably be fired. Julien insists he didn't have a shot on Soren. He's going to church tonight and plans to pray for Barb, Tommy, and Jeff. "Say one for all of us," Vic advises.
On a desolate street, Dutch and the reporter are still waiting for the suspected rapist. He was supposed to surrender 4 hours ago. "Is he sending a message that it's your department who is impotent?" she asks Dutch. His reply? "You may as well turn this off 'cause it's never gonna air."
In the clubhouse, Lem thinks they'd all be better off if the money train never happened. "Gimme a break," says Shane. Vic knows Edgar-veda is checking serial numbers on any bust where over $1,000 is seized; some uniforms just logged $2,000 into evidence. If they don't let the money out of their sight, they might be able to find the captain's list.
Nina brings Edgar-veda his phone list and schedule for the next day. She thinks it would be a good idea for him to call Aurora back. "I'll do it when I do it," he snaps before telling her to go check the money in the evidence lockup like he told her to. When she leaves, Edgar-veda pages through the mug book.
Downstairs, Ronnie and Lem watch Nina walk toward the evidence room. Lem sticks his head in there with a story that Shane forgot to sign an evidence envelope. "No, he signed it," says Cacuzza. Well, nobody can say you didn't try, Lemming.
Now under a bridge, Dutch has realized the rapist was never coming. The guy just wanted to embarrass him. "Probably," says Claudette. Dutch thinks the rapist has more self-control than he gave him credit for. They still have a few hours before they have to go back to work; Claudette suggests that Dutch buy her breakfast.
They know where the Cuddler Rapist lives and hunts. Now that they have him on tape, they can do a voice analysis. It's only a matter of time until they find him. "I was wrong. You were right," Claudette admits. Hell, she'll even buy breakfast instead.
Nina comes out of the evidence lockup carrying the list. Shane asks her to help him with the computer because it's not taking his password. She says she can't because she's working on something for the captain. Nina goes upstairs and returns the list. Passing by the office, Vic sees Edgar-veda put the Treasury list in a safe.
Vic goes down to the clubhouse and tells the Strike Team where they can find the list. It shouldn't be hard to get it back; the money train was trickier to pull off. "It's in a safe in a captain's office inside a police station," Shane points out. Vic reminds them that their cash is no good without the list. There has to be a way. End of episode.