Friday, July 21, 2017

Who Is the "Man Inside"? (Episode 5.7)

Previously on: Edgar-veda had Antwon kill Juan, the man who raped him. Internal Affairs officially notified the Strike Team about their investigation. Corinne told Kavanaugh about the Backpack O' Cash she got from Vic. Fatima Gardner, sister of suspected serial killer Kleavon, went missing; Claudette and Dutch both fear the worst. Yet again, they were unable to hold him due to lack of evidence. Kleavon killed another woman and cut her hair so she resembled Claudette.

At a department softball game, Farmington is losing 6-5. Lem is up to bat. Vic shouts encouragement from second base: "One to tie, two to win it, baby!" "This guy's pitching is as bad as his arrest record!" Shane taunts from first. Lem, the only guy sans sleeves, swings so hard he does a complete 180. Strike one.

Lem's next swing connects. The second baseman dives for the ball and misses; it goes rolling into the outfield. Vic gets to third about the time Shane reaches second. Vic scores. The other team gets hold of the ball again; Shane bowls over the catcher to cross home plate.

Easy there, Downtown. This is beer league.
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The umpire waves his arms and screams, "Safe!" Now rounding third and headed for home, it's a blue-eyed, handsome man (yes, I know those aren't the words).

Attaboy, Lance.
(P.S. If you haven't seen Major League: Back to the Minors, consider this your hint).
Reyes from the other team bellows, "There's no contact allowed!" "I tripped!" Shane protests. A likely story. Reyes keeps yelling that Shane should be called out. Vic laughs, "You know what? You win some, you win some." Somebody from Team Olympic shoves a player from Team Farmington, arguing the game is still tied.

A few of the guys start scuffling on the ground. Shane and Vic shout in vain for everyone to relax. Somebody from Team Farmington grabs what I initially think is a bat and turns out to be a shotgun, then pumps the action. "Put that away!" Vic orders.

"Somebody from Olympic Division calls, you tell 'em to shove it up their ass!" shouts Billings as he enters the Barn, the rest of Team Farmington filing behind him. The softball players cheer. Incidentally, Billings receives a message that Reyes from Olympic just called. "That guy's a sore loser," Lem comments. The detective who took the call thinks Reyes wants help with a case.

"I'll get right on it," Vic laughs. Billings thinks he should; Reyes is in charge of a citywide task force. The female detective is overwhelmed because Danny called in sick: "I can't do my job and hers." "Got a minute?" Kavanaugh calls to Ronnie from the balcony. Vic answers for him: Not until their lawyer gets here.

Claudette wants to interrogate Kleavon solo. Cutting his last victim's hair made this Very Personal. Dutch comes up with a code phrase for if she wants him to help: ask to turn down the air conditioning. Claudette knows Kleavon has killed at least 8 women between San Antonio and L.A. It's also likely he killed his sister.

The guys show up at a crime scene, thankfully not in their sweaty softball attire. "If yer lookin' for a rematch, I left my cleats back at the Barn," Shane says to Reyes. He replies, "You guys cheated us fair and square. We'll get you next year." "Since when are you guys good losers?" asks Lem.

Reyes is expanding his task force and wants to offer spots to the Strike Team. Rumor has it the Barn might close down. That's news to Farmington's Fab Four. Reyes had planned on discussing this over beers after the game, but duty called. Vic isn't sure this is a good idea; IAD has been all over them. Reyes shrugs it just means they're doing their jobs right.

Violet, one of the victims in the house, is only 2 or 3 years old. The place is owned by Maurizio Ochoa. The second victim is Maurizio's girlfriend Jenny, shot 15 times. Vic is familiar with Maurizio's meth operation. The dealer also had a history of domestic abuse, the most recent charge being 6 months ago when he broke Jenny's jaw.

Part of the ceiling has been ripped down, meaning the stash is gone. Maurizio got involved with a Mexican cartel during a stint in Chino. Reyes' team has been working that angle for 3 months, just waiting for the okay to make the bust. Vic's money is on a rival dealer: "When his head pops up, we'll be there to whack it." By the way, Maurizio was planning to sell 100 pounds of meth.

Kavanaugh checked Ronnie's financial records and didn't find anything unusual. He's impressed at how well he hid the mob money. Ronnie says politely, "The only money I get is from my weekly paycheck." Becca wants proof if Kavanaugh plans to continue this line of accusation. Kavanaugh is curious where Vic would get $65,000 in cash. "Don't answer that," whispers Becca.

Ronnie thinks Kavanaugh is bluffing. Kavanaugh knows Shane has money he can't account for. Either Ronnie isn't getting a cut of the profits or he had enough financial savvy to know how not to leave a trail. "You just said you checked my records and didn't find anything." says Ronnie. He doesn't keep track of his teammates' bank accounts.

Kavanaugh accuses Becca of covering Vic's ass and not looking out for Ronnie's interests. Becca calls an end to the meeting. Kavanaugh praises Ronnie's discipline; the other three are loose cannons, which is true to varying degrees. "They're gonna screw this up. They're gonna bring you down for a mistake that you were too smart to make."

Ronnie tells Vic that Kavanaugh asked about the $65 K. Vic knows the Rat King didn't just pull that figure out of his ass. Kavanaugh went through everyone else's finances. Well, we know he didn't find anything suspicious in Lem's bank account--A) He burned most of the money train stash and B) He's probably broke from always going to the doctor.

Shane asks his best friend what he did with his share of that score. Vic gave it to Corinne for the kids, meaning there's only one person who could've given Kavanaugh that information. "That's gonna look great at trial. Your ex-wife on the stand talking about dirty money we stole from the Armenian mob." says Ronnie. Vic is sure Corinne doesn't know where the money came from and that she'd never testify against him.

They go to a house, saying they're looking for Maurizio. Shane tries the old "he won the lottery" scam. Vic pushes his way in when he hears glass break. Lem tackles the tenant to the couch while Shane chases Maurizio out the back. Shane bodychecks Maurizio into a fence, wishing he could shoot the meth dealer for getting his young daughter killed.

Claudette shows Kleavon the bloody shirt Fatima brought in. He claims it's not his. Dutch searched the house and found tape, gloves, and a knife. Did he find out his sister talked to the police? Was Fatima so nervous she told him everything? Where is her body?

Tina got a hit on one of Fatima's credit cards at a furniture store. Dutch doesn't want to leave the observation room, so Julien offers to look into it. Claudette has an idea of why Kleavon moved to L.A.: "Those Texas cops had you pegged for the murders, so you decided to swim to safer waters." Kleavon insists they had the wrong guy and pulls the race card. Claudette may be black, but she's just like those "Jim Crow Texas boys."

Claudette doesn't appreciate being called an Uncle Tom. Kleavon thinks she's more like a house servant "gets called up to massa's room every night." "This guy's got a real need for black women to be subservient," Dutch says in the hall. Gee, what was your first clue? He tells Claudette to press Kleavon hard. Claudette looks exhausted.

The clubhouse doors are gone, so Vic and Becca have their attorney-client chat in the Barn's weight room. "When were you gonna tell me about the $65,000?" she demands. Her head is spinning because things have gone from Vic being persecuted to him being a cop killer to him being on the take. When things crossed their paths, Vic admits they'd save some for a rainy day "to help with intel on the street."

Vic gave the money to his ex and Kavanaugh found out. "I am trying to defend you. Do you get that?" asks Becca. She let Ronnie talk because she was under the impression they had nothing to hide. They need to know whose side Corinne is on.

"Look, I've got two autistic kids. There's special schools, there's doctors, there's--" Vic stops himself. "I'm not gonna use my kids as an excuse. That's bullshit." It was supposed to be no fuss, no victims. Vic had an exceptional case clearance record. He worked hard and didn't see anything wrong with taking some for himself. Vic admits out loud he's not who he used to be.

"Why? Because you got caught?" Becca says archly. Vic says it's because he still wants to be a cop. He won't let himself be shoved out the back door by hypocrites "who patted me on the back every time I brought some murdering rapist asshole in here." Vic needs Becca's help to get a second chance.

Shane says nobody shoots someone 15 times unless they want them "extra dead." Wasn't breaking Jenny's jaw last summer enough? Maurizio admits he smacked her around, but he'd never hurt his kid. Shane and Vic know a meth stash is easier to hide than two dead bodies; Maurizio must've ripped it out of the ceiling. "Are you saying the drugs aren't in the crawlspace?" asks the meth dealer.

Maurizio bets Jenny's ex Ted was involved. Ted's a meth head and didn't appreciate Jenny leaving while he was locked up. Violet was fathered by Ted. Ted had no clue and Jenny wanted it to stay that way.

Dutch has bad news: the M.E. found no forensic evidence on last night's Jane Doe. He starts profiling: "Made the move from organized killer to thrill killer without missing a beat." Claudette should play the angle that Kleavon's a screw-up who didn't plan things.

Vic goes to his custody exchange in the hospital parking lot. He understands why Corinne hasn't returned his calls. "Should you be at a Lamaze class or something for your new baby?" Corinne asks nastily. Did Vic get Danny pregnant? "She didn't tell me I was the father," says Vic, which might actually be true. He can't believe she told Rat King about the money out of spite. "You get angry at me for a second and you wanna send me to jail?"

Corinne's expression is one along the lines of I-didn't-think-it-would-go-this-far. She tells Vic she was threatened with jail: "What kind of a man puts the mother of his children in this position? What did you want me to do?" Keep quiet, duh. Corinne apologizes; she didn't mean to hurt him.

Maurizio has an alibi for the murders: he was at a house party. They know where Ted lives. Vic lets the guys know he explained to Becca about Corinne's goody bag. Anything they tell her is privileged and she can't protect them if she doesn't know everything. Kavanaugh calls Shane to the hot seat. Vic sternly tells him not to open his mouth without Becca.

When the Strike Team arrives, Ted isn't home, just his buddies Jimmy and Billy Boyd. Billy doesn't know what Ted does during the day; he only goes to the apartment to sleep. Vic leaves his business card with instructions to call.

Kavanaugh brings up Shane's $600,000 house, which he had gutted right after buying it. Does he pay the contractors as they go? Or does he let Mara write the checks? Shane has all their receipts and invoices. Does the Rat King want to see them? "I've already seen 'em. I've seen everything," Kavanaugh sounds manic. Becca wonders how he got the information without a subpoena; IAD is only entitled to look at departmental paystubs.

Is Shane making money on the side? "Don't answer that. We're done," says Becca. Next time, she wants him to submit a list of questions in writing. Downstairs, Shane says, "Now she's defending me like we're guilty. Why don't you just put it up in big flashing neon lights?" "I'm not the one with bags of cash floating around," Becca points out. Excuse her for trying to keep Shane out of jail.

Shane is more concerned with keeping his job. Becca explains they have to keep deflecting until Kavanaugh files formal charges. "I'm sorry, darlin', but you don't represent me anymore," says Shane. Vic and the guys continue this chat in a private corner by the vending machines.

Kavanaugh grilled Shane about how much money he and Mara make versus the money they're putting into the new house: "Problem is there's nothing left over and he knows it." "Oh, this isn't good," Lem mumbles.
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Billings reports there's been a shots-fired call at Ted's place. Rat King wants to see Lem in the office.

The shooting victim is Billy's brother Jimmy. Ted didn't do it, though, it was "some cholo dude." Either Maurizio was upset about his dead girlfriend or he really wanted those drugs back.

At the Barn, Vic theorizes that Ted killed Jenny and Violet so he could steal the meth. Do they have someone who could buy from Ted without suspicion? Shane suggests a dealer with the street named Burnout. They find Burnout and his posse hanging out at a laundromat. "My quota's a little low this week. Who wants to do the bracelet dance?" asks Vic.

Shane tells Burnout to call Ted and say he needs to score. He tries to appeal to whatever humanity Burnout might have: "When he stole those drugs, [Ted] killed a mother and her 2-year-old little girl." Burnout wants $25,000 and the department can't authorize that on such short notice. "City council could rubber-stamp a reward," Vic muses.

Kavanaugh asks Edgar-veda about Antwon and implies that Edgar-veda set up Terry's death. The councilman doesn't see what that has to do with Antwon. Did he get a share of Corinne's money? And how is Juan Lozano connected? He knows Juan assaulted Edgar-veda, but not the extent of what was done. Antwon was in the same cell block where Juan was found dead. Edgar-veda tells Kavanaugh to stop wasting his time on conspiracy theories.

A black woman used Fatima's card at the furniture store, but the clerk can't make a positive ID. Julien and Tina have the address of a motel where the woman wanted the furniture delivered.

Claudette can't believe Kleavon was so sloppy with his latest kill. Kleavon knows Claudette is sick. "You're the one who's sick," she counters.

Vic and Reyes press Edgar-veda about offering a reward. It'd be a shame if 100 pounds of meth hit the streets in his district. Edgar-veda can authorize the $25,000, but he can't speed up the process. He sees Lem upstairs in the observation room, painstakingly labeling videotapes. Edgar-veda goes inside, shut the door, and warns, "Kavanaugh's case against you is a hell of a lot stronger than you think."

Lem is suspicious of his former boss's motivations. "He's holding his trump card until he can nail all four of you," Edgar-veda says. Kavanaugh reports directly to the police chief and the mayor. "I could broker a deal. Make sure jail time gets knocked down to just one year for all of you instead of the 7-to-10 you're looking at now." Lem refuses.

Edgar-veda goes on. Vic is the one who deserves to swing; Lem shouldn't buy into his "all for one, one for all" speeches. "When are you gonna get it through your head? I. Don't want. Your help!" Lem snaps, his face turning red. Edgar-veda shouts, "Just one year for all of the shit you guys have done! But if you're too stupid to take it, well, then the four of you deserve everything you get."

Burnout gripes that he would've charged more if he'd known the Strike Team would use his house as the drug exchange point. Ted pulls up in the driveway with rock music blasting. "Yo, this guy's tweaking big time," Lem tells Vic over the phone. Ted is going to the wrong door and doesn't seem to have the drugs on him. Vic needs to know what's happening; he can't see past the fence.

"He's arguing with the woman next door," Lem narrates. "Telling him he's got the wrong place, but he's not leaving." Reyes and his associate are moving closer. They need to grab Ted; there are kids around. Reyes tells Ted to relax. Ted responds by putting a gun to the neighbor's head, taking her hostage. Reyes' friend calls SWAT.

Ted starts shooting out the window. The tweaker demands a plane. Shane wants to pull back and wait for SWAT. Reyes wires a wall that's hopefully non-load-bearing with explosives: "Just finished my weekend in the Guard." When Reyes blows the wall, Vic walks through it into the next door neighbor's house. Shane takes the hostage to safety while Vic arrests Ted.

Vic informs Ted that he killed his own daughter. Does Christmastime about 3 years ago ring a bell? Ted stares. "You do so much meth you forgot how to do a little arithmetic?" asks Vic. Um, probably. "Wouldn't have killed my own girl. Not if I knew," Ted insists. The detectives leave the room. "WHAT WAS HER NAME?!" Ted screams after them.

Reyes is sorry, but his captain said no to four IAD targets joining his task force. Vic shrugs it off: "We're happy where we are." They shake hands with a promise to see each other on the softball diamond.

Ronnie might have something they can use against Kavanaugh: "I noticed he was wearing a wedding ring, but he's been divorced, like, 2 years."

At the motel room rented under Fatima's name, Julien and Tina find packed suitcases on the bed. Julien kicks in the bathroom door. Fatima is huddled in a corner of the shower, terrified, sobbing, and holding a Bible. Tina promises they won't hurt her.

Dutch assures Fatima that Kleavon is in custody. Fatima worries they won't be able to arrest him. She describes Kleavon during their childhood as a "sweet, sensitive boy with just me, my mom, and auntie." They all wanted him to feel special. "Unfortunately, that resulted in his narcissism," says Dutch.

Claudette lies that they found Fatima strangled in an alley: "It's all you. Your signature." Kleavon says it's Claudette's fault for not finding her in time. Claudette's tone gets more heated as she talks: "You didn't respect them, you didn't even see them as people. And now your own sister? The one who took care of you!" Kleavon spits on her.

Claudette steps out to wipe the spit off her face. She's sweating. Dutch is sure Kleavon is seconds away from cracking; Claudette doubts it. She doesn't think she can go back in the room. Dutch gives her a pep talk: She has to get him to confess because there's no forensic evidence. She's gotten in his head better than anyone else. She can't let her illness get in her way.

The encouragement veers into borderline verbal abuse: "I don't give a shit how tired or weak or pained you are. If he walks today, he's gonna come after you or Fatima or some other woman." Claudette dries her face and heads back in.

Vic tells Becca he doesn't want to push any further until he secures Corinne's future and makes amends. He meets his ex at the Chinese restaurant they frequented when they were dating. Vic wants Corinne to get a lawyer of her own and make a deal with Kavanaugh. She needs to tell "the whole truth, no matter what it makes me look like." Vic can take care of himself; he needs her to take care of the kids.

Vic coaches her on what to say about the money. She asked Vic to take overtime to help out with expenses. As far as she knows, that's exactly what happened.

"Maybe I should just give him some minor bullshit that won't stick. Get us all out of it," says Lem, now sweating bullets. Shane doesn't think Lem should trust Edgar-veda. They're having this talk without Vic because he seems to trust his lawyer more than his best friends. Ronnie doesn't like Becca representing everyone; "we all have different levels of involvement."

Shane agrees. He and Vic would be charged with tax evasion, Lem with possession. Ronnie is the only one whose nose is totally clean. Ronnie argues, "Kavanaugh cannot handle four lawyers poking holes in his case." What are they waiting for? "Vic," Lem replies. Shane scoffs.

Claudette bluffs to Kleavon that a hair was found on last night's Jane Doe. They'll need hair and blood samples. Did he fight with Fatima because she confronted Kleavon about the dead girls? Fatima blamed herself for not stopping her brother. "You're bleeding," Kleavon observes. Claudette shoves a hankie under her nose.

Dutch offers to let her step out for ice. Claudette shuts the door in his face. She calls bullshit on Kleavon's insistence that he loved Fatima; Kleavon's victims were all Fatima to him. Thanks to the nonexistent hair, "We've got you, you son of a bitch!" "She was nothin'! The others were nothin'. Fatima was...Fatima was my sister," he whines.

Claudette reads off a list of his victim's names. Kleavon doesn't deny killing them or the girls in Texas, but he couldn't have hurt Fatima. As Julien walks Kleavon onto the balcony, the serial killer spots his very much alive sister downstairs. He's angry with her for playing along with the police's charade.

"Your soul's gonna burn, Kleavon!" sobs Fatima. "I'm gonna visit you until it does. You're never gonna see Mommy or Auntie. They're crying over what you've done. What's wrong with you?!" "You traitor! I'm your blood!" Kleavon shrieks.

Suddenly, Claudette collapses and rolls down the stairs. Dutch hurries to his partner's side, Lem on his heels. Tina asks if Kleavon pushed her. Alarmed, Dutch says, "No, she fainted."

Lem seems to think there's something wrong with Claudette's neck, so Billings orders them not to move her. Ronnie calls an ambulance. "Who's goin' to hell now?" Kleavon says smugly. Dutch keeps up a desperate mantra of Claudette's name, but she doesn't respond. We hear a siren approach. End of episode.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

"Rap Payback" Is a Bitch (Episode 5.6)

Previously on: Claudette was forced to release suspected serial killer Kleavon Gardner due to lack of evidence. Vic promised to bail Lem out if he got arrested by Kavanaugh and hired a lawyer for the Strike Team. Kavanaugh tried and failed to catch the Strike Team being dirty.

Everyone in the Barn stares at the spectacle of furniture movers trying to bring a new couch through the narrow hallways. "You gotta be kidding me," says a mover when he realizes Billings wants it to go upstairs. Billings warns them not to scratch the leather.

Vic doesn't look impressed. Billings explains that a bunch of his purchase orders finally got approved after last episode's big drug bust. Dutch turns into a kid, all "What'd ya bring me?"

Lem arrives, looking agitated. Vic declares his intent to move Billings' new couch down to the clubhouse. "I'm not wired," Lem says, lifting up his shirt to prove it (and giving the audience a nice view of his six-pack). Kavanaugh has gone ghost; he's not at Motel Hell, nor is he answering his phone.

Ronnie wonders why Lem hasn't been arrested. "Maybe he never had a solid case," Shane says confidently. Vic wants to act like Lem is still wired until they're positive the investigation is over. Billings pokes his head in to assign the boys to a gang-related multiple homicide.

Julien exposits the male victim has Bop Street gang ink. Sounds more like a bad 1990's boy band. Shane thought this part of town was gang-neutral since Antwon went back to prison. "My boys went down wet like real G's," says a male witness. (He's whiter than I am and dressed like Eminem). Whoever killed his friend was probably "some hater." The shooter almost nailed him and Moni, the girlfriend he has a protective arm around. Not-Slim Shady can't ID the car.

Vic encourages him to think hard about that unless he wants a free ride downtown. Not-Slim Shady can't believe that: "Me and my breezie almost catch hollowpoints and po-po got his foot up my ass? Ain't that some white toy-cop bullshit?" This would be a good time for Vic to resurrect one of my favorite lines: "No speak Ebonics, shithead." And it's Shane with the retort: "Better check your color." Lem snickers over his shoulder.

Dutch all but whines at Billings that he needs a new desk chair. In strolls Kavanaugh and an associate, both with large cardboard boxes. He notifies the captain that the Strike Team is officially under IAD investigation. Kavanaugh will be camping out in the Barn, where all the Strike Team files are stored. Would it be too much trouble to borrow Billings' office?

Billings reminds Kavanaugh that he's in charge around here. "Acting captain," smirks Kavanaugh. As such, Billings is only entitled to a desk and a phone. Monica didn't seem to have had issues mingling with the commoners.

"I got nothing to say except thank the Most High that my man's okay," says blond, dreadlocked Moni. Lem thinks she's way out of Not-Slim Shady's league. Moni likes Not-Slim Shady because he buys her presents and is, shall we say, well-endowed.

"What I'm having a hard time understanding, aside from the ghetto-speak, is why some evildoers lit up on your peace posse for no good reason," says Vic. Shane thinks Preston is pretty arrogant for a 19-year-old. "That's my government name," Preston Shady says indignantly. His homies call him Kasper.

Vic recognizes the name; our thug wannabe is a fairly major crack dealer. He's done business with everyone from the One-Niners to the Latinos. "When you white in Farmington, you don't fit in, so you gotta make friends everywhere," Preston explains before making it clear he ain't a "cheese-eating rodent."

Billings calls Vic and tells him to come back to the Barn. When he gets there, Kavanaugh has just finished tacking everyone's picture to a bulletin board. Kavanaugh puts Vic on notice. Vic isn't worried; Kavaugh's last attempt at a bust blew up in his face. "Last thing I wanna do is rock the boat," says Kavanaugh, even though that's exactly what he plans to do. He pins up a crime scene photo of Terry.

Lem slams his trusty bottle of Pepto back into his locker: "Man, if he'd arrest me already, at least then he'd have to lay out what he's got."
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Vic toys nervously with a softball bat. There's a knock on the door. Vic opens it and introduces the guys to Becca. "[Kavanaugh's] made it personal, which helps me make the case that you're being unfairly targeted." she says.

Kavanaugh opens the door: "Whoa. This looks like attorney-client privilege." Becca icily confirms that's the case. Any questions for the Strike Team have to go through her. Lem glares a hole into Kavanaugh's back as he exits.

Vic says they all have to concentrate on doing their jobs. Staying alert makes it harder for Kavanaugh to trip them up. Ronnie wants to know their next move on the gang case, even though it's obvious: talk to Bop Street. Maybe they had an internal beef with the victims.

Vic gets one of Bop Street's crackhead clients to walk him up to the door. He crouches behind her and pulls the pin out of a tear-gas grenade, which he tosses through a slot in the door. The gangbangers get as far as the backyard. Ronnie puts on his handy-dandy gas mask. One guy protests they mostly didn't have problems with Kasper. "As in you wanted him and his crew mostly dead?" Shane guesses.

Ronnie finds a shoebox full of drugs and money. Vic announces the Strike Team's truce with Bop Street is over. They'll shut down a crackhouse every two hours until they have the shooter's name. Vic drops a calling card on the guy's chest.
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Dutch brags to Claudette that the robbery-homicide division wants to interview him. Claudette acts like she's happy for him, but you can tell she's a bit jealous. Suddenly, she spots Kleavon's sister Fatima in the lobby.

Fatima's been keeping a close eye on her brother since learning he's a suspected serial killer. She reaches into her purse and produces a shirt she found while cleaning his room. There's what I would scientifically call a shitload of blood on it. As far as Fatima knows, Kleavon hasn't cut himself or been in an accident.

Claudette tells Fatima to go home and pretend everything's normal. "How am I supposed to do that?" Fatima demands of Dutch in the parking lot. Dutch lets her know she has a legal right to allow police to search the house.

At Fatima's place, Dutch inquires as to whether Kleavon's been keeping odd hours. She says no. In Kleavon's dresser, Dutch discovers a purse with a roll of duct tape and a knife inside. Fatima gasps as she hears the front door open. Dutch hides in the closet.

"Just changing the sheets," Fatima lies smoothly when her brother walks in. Kleavon is unhappy; his boss sent him home only an hour into his shift. Fatima offers to make him lunch in the kitchen, giving Dutch the opportunity to, er, come out of the closet. He manages to slink out the back door without either sibling noticing.

"Huh?" says a neighbor, spotting the suit-clad white guy wearing latex gloves. Dutch smiles and waves goofily. It'd be adorable if it hadn't been so firmly established that Dutch is as batshit crazy as the killers he chases.

The guys return to find both the clubhouse doors are missing. Kavanaugh thought they'd like some fresh air. Besides, they have nothing to hide, right? He congratulates them on last week's big drug bust. Kavanaugh wants to talk to Vic upstairs. "Not without my lawyer," he says.

In that case, can Shane talk? He doesn't see a problem with that. "Shane," Vic warns. Shane promises he'll answer anything. A little bird told the Rat King that Shane just bought a new house. Has he been doing a lot of moonlighting as a security guard? Shane can't take all the credit; Mara is a realtor.

Kavanaugh wants to talk about Terry. "IAD cleared us. Or didn't you hear the squeaks in your rat hole?" says Shane. Kavanaugh gives Shane a copy of his post-shooting interview. What made him leave Vice last year and come back to the Strike Team? He thought Shane wanted to be out of Vic's shadow. Did Vic want Shane on the Strike Team again so he could keep him on a leash?

Shane puts the folder back on the desk. What's in the file is exactly what happened. Kavanaugh asks, "So it was just you, Vic, Terry, and Two-Time in that room? No Lemansky, no Gardocki?" "It's true then, it's true now," Shane answers. Kavanaugh asks Shane to sign a paper confirming his knowledge that Terry's case has been reopened and he himself is being investigated. "Blow me," says Shane.

Claudette tells Dutch that no recent murders match Kleavon's M.O. Dutch talked to robbery-homicide again; an anonymous "veteran detective" put his name in their ear. Sounding wounded, he asks, "Are you trying to get rid of me?" Claudette thought of it as helping her partner get his dream job. A uniform lets them know that Kleavon wants to report Fatima missing. That's super not-good.

Danny goes upstairs to retrieve some of Billings' things. Kavanaugh holds up the sheet for Danny's baby-daddy office pool: "Pretty demeaning, don't you think?" Danny shrugs it off as "boys will be boys." Kavanaugh observes that Vic is the front-runner. "Everybody's got an opinion," she says.

Does that mean there's no truth to the rumors that she and Vic had a sordid affair? Danny has no interest in talking about "stupid gossip about my personal life" with IAD. Kavanaugh quotes the employee handbook: Officers who get romantically/sexually involved with each other are supposed to "report it in a timely manner." Not doing so is grounds for suspension or demotion. Didn't Danny just get a raise?

"There's no relationship between me and Vic," Danny repeats. Kavanaugh doesn't want to make this official, but will if he has to. Danny sighs; she and Vic dated, past tense. "8 or 9 months ago?" the Rat King snarks. Danny says he's free to compel a DNA test if he wants, but it's not his business. Kavanaugh gives her 'til the end of the day to file forms reporting their relationship; he'll overlook the time discrepancy.

Lem tells Vic the Bop Street crackhouse has reinforced doors and windows. Vic is about to send him off for a battering ram and flash-bang grenades when he sees a banger nicknamed Gunsmoke. He doesn't know "who capped [my] peoples," but he's damn sure it wasn't Bop Street. Being in this "pig farm" is hurting Gunsmoke's street cred. "Oink when you got something we can use," says Vic.

Gunsmoke calls over his pregnant baby-mama. She claims she saw two Latinos driving away from the scene. They had shaved heads and white T-shirts. One had "L.A." tattooed on his neck. Yeah, that description's gonna be a big help. The shooter was driving an old car with gold rims. In a Latino gang neighborhood? That also narrows it down.

Vic is curious how a "punk-ass" like Kasper got street cred with Bop Street. Gunsmoke thought he was a poser too, but "white boy got business skills." He came up with names the crack like Pink Yo and Yellow Fever. The customers didn't know it was "the same shit, different color caps."

Danny calls Vic over. Kavanaugh knows the two of them were dating. She can't afford a suspension or demotion, so she's telling Billings about it.

Kleavon last saw his sister at lunch. She said she was going to the store for soda and never came back. "I seem to remember you were out for soda when Lana Gregory was killed," Dutch says conversationally. Claudette adds it's only been a couple of hours. Isn't that premature to call the police? Kleavon gives them permission to search the house.

Dutch is concerned about the absence of Kleavon's fanny pack/murder tool kit. Fatima let him look around earlier. Claudette can't believe he was dumb enough to do that without backup. What had he planned to do if Kleavon came home? "I hid in the closet," says Dutch. Claudette doesn't want to think about what could've happened if Kleavon confronted Fatima.

Dutch was only looking out for his partner's health. Stress can trigger lupus flareups and he noticed she was in pain earlier. A uniform tells the detectives that a neighbor saw a prowler "wearing what he called a hundred-dollar suit." Dutch looks guilty. Claudette will talk to the witness; Dutch can take Kleavon to the Barn. He defensively mumbles that his suit cost $300.

Vic and Becca enter Kavanaugh's commandeered office. She sees Terry's picture and asks who he is. I guess Vic didn't tell her everything. He maintains the story that Terry was killed by a dealer. Kavanaugh adds in that Terry was undercover investigating allegations of corruption against Vic. He's sure Vic is involved in Terry's death. "Just like that Russian I was gonna murder before you blew our sting?" Vic wonders.

Becca wants evidence. "In due course," Kavanaugh promises. He reads the IAD version of Miranda: Vic has a right to a union rep or a lawyer. He gives Becca a form for Vic to sign. She intends to cooperate so Kavanaugh can "stop wasting everyone's time." Kavanaugh wants the Strike Team to walk him through the house where Terry was shot. Becca threatens to file for harassment if Kavanaugh doesn't take down his bulletin board.

"Did this murder charge slip your mind?" Becca hisses downstairs. Vic can't talk because Corinne has just arrived with the kids in tow; he'll call Becca later. Corinne volunteered to talk to Kavanaugh. Vic reminds her that she doesn't have to say anything; spousal privilege still applies.

"Dad, what the hell is going on?" Cassidy whispers when Corinne walks off. Vic scolds her for barely even swearing. Billings tells Vic there's been another 187. Cassidy wants to know what that means. "It means Dad's gotta find you a ride," says Vic. Why not just let Lem babysit?

Kavanaugh asks if Corinne wants coffee or water. She just wants to get this over with. Kavanaugh again brings up how expensive it is for one child to attend Glenridge, let alone two. How do the Mackeys manage? "Overtime," Corinne answers automatically.

Kavanaugh wonders what'll happen when Vic's money starts getting split 4 ways. Corinne doesn't understand. Kavanaugh informs her of Danny's pregnancy and long relationship with Vic. Wasn't their divorce finalized last year?

Corinne leans forward in her chair and practically snarls, "Is this another imaginary child like Andy? What kind of a man says he has an autistic child to a woman who has two of her own? How sick is that?" Kavanaugh makes out like he didn't enjoy lying. Besides, this isn't about him; it's about Vic. It's about Corinne, her kids, and Danny's new baby.
Corinne's reaction to the word "baby."
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A Latino gangbanger with "L.A." inked on his neck in a naked lady font lies dead in his house. Vic bets it was the same shooter who went after Bop Street. Shane remarks, "Payback's a bitch." "And karma's a whore," agrees Vic. Larry the uniform reports no signs of forced entry; neighbors saw the victim Amado's car being driven away: a 1969 Cutlass with gold rims. Vic has him put out an APB.

Vic almost kills the entire Strike Team driving them to apprehend the guy driving the Cutlass. They chase their suspect on foot through a parking lot. He starts to climb over a chainlink fence, kicking poor Lem in the stomach when he tries to follow. The Strike Team chases the guy up a hill. The suspect runs toward another fence. "Hey, stop, dumb-ass! That's a barbed-wire fence!" Shane calls. The guy keeps climbing, loses his footing, and rolls all the way down the hill.

"I didn't do nuttin'!" the suspect protests. Vic says, "Except for a double homicide." Fleeing the scene in the victim's car was a stupid thing to do. The guy swears Amado was dead when he got there. Amado owed him $10,000 and our friend Kasper was supposed to drop off some money. Suspect saw the dead bodies and got scared.

Kavanaugh asks if Corinne remembers Terry. Did Vic behave oddly before Terry's death? Corinne says no, but it really tore him up. The Rat King tells her that Terry had been an undercover plant investigating Vic for corruption. IAD thinks Shane and Vic had him killed. "Vic's a lot of things, but he's no killer," she says firmly.

Kavanaugh knows Vic would do anything he took to protect himself, the Strike Team, and his family. Mostly himself, really. Does Corinne honestly think Vic would be incapable of killing somebody who could've taken everything away from him?

Corinne gets choked up. Kavanaugh all but orders her not to cry "'cause tears imply that you didn't know." Corinne and Vic were married for 12 years; she had to have known. Except she didn't know anymore than Richard Kuklinski's wife knew what he got up to. Kavanaugh doesn't want to hear bullshit about how Vic is a good man. "You left him because you knew," he accuses.

Kavanaugh keeps ranting about how Corinne is only allowed to cry if she didn't know. This is about the point where I'd be walking out of the room. Corinne remains mute and shell-shocked.

Tina and Julien break into a locked public men's room to find a man up against the wall with his pants around his ankles. "Something's got me. My dick," he sobs. Tina tries to pull on his shoulders, but his penis seems to be stuck inside the wall. Julien gets an idea and opens a second door to the men's room. Something is jutting out of the opposite wall.

"You're caught in a rat trap," Julien explains. He tells Tina to call for paramedics. Julien frees the man, who collapses on the floor, still crying.

"Ouch," Billings comments when Tina brings in the rat trap, "This IAD guy's got my nuts in a waffle iron." The victim is lucky he didn't lose his penis altogether. Tina guesses the trap only sprung halfway. It was one of a batch of 20 sold at a hardware store. Julien suggested to her that Billings should assign detectives. Billings doesn't have a free detective, so he'll let them investigate; Julien is an expert on glory holes.

Kleavon insists Dutch and Claudette are wasting time by asking him about Fatima. The detectives confer outside. "Anyone else, I'd say he's genuinely concerned about her," says Dutch. Claudette wishes she could administer Kleavon's lethal injection if he did it. She doesn't want to mention the bloody shirt and missing fanny pack in case Fatima is still alive. Dutch points out Kleavon could've connected those dots himself.

Shane asks where Kasper was at 4:00. Kasper's alibi is that he was with Moni, having sex and smoking weed. He claims he doesn't know Amado. Ronnie has an ID on the second victim at Amado's house, Adair Zeborio; Las Vegas PD suspected him in a murder-for-hire.

Shane wants to keep "half-baked" Kasper talking. He wonders how long it'll be until someone kills Kasper "as reparations." Kasper says, "The streets got nothin' but love for Kasper long as I'm puttin' money in their pockets." Vic doubts it: "One bad month and you'll be dangling from a balcony just like Vanilla Ice." That story, if you buy it, was a contract dispute.

"Next thing ya know, we're gonna be hearing about some shitty rap album you're gonna wanna put out," says Shane. Kasper asks, "Why you trippin' on this black-white shit? Color ain't a thing."

Shane says there ain't nobody here but "us glacier monkeys. Black is whack." Kasper isn't fooling anyone with his street lingo; he only likes his own. Shane adds, "Not that the sisters would show you love anyway."

Kasper tosses out what's most certainly a lie; he gets "more black ass than a bus bench in Compton." If Vic and Shane don't believe him, they can ask his side chick Taneisha. He only dates Moni "'cause I can take her home to Moms without any drama."

Outside the interrogation room, Shane says, "LL Douchebag's startin' to piss me off." You and me both. Vic tells Shane to pick up Moni.

Julien is sure Bathroom Guy must've seen whoever put the rat trap on him. Bathroom Guy is uncooperative, so Julien arrests him for public indecency and lewd conduct. Bathroom Guy is worried his wife and daughters will find out he's been trolling public bathrooms.

Corinne tells Kavanaugh she doesn't have to talk due to spousal privilege. He bets Vic told her to say that. Is she aware that she can waive that right? Why doesn't she have a lawyer? Does she know Vic has a lawyer and a pretty one at that? A good man wouldn't leave the mother of his kids hanging out to dry, but a lawyer would put Corinne's interests above Vic's own.

Kavanaugh threatens to arrest Corinne for obstructing justice if she doesn't cooperate. Who'll take care of her autistic kids while she's in prison? Sure, don't even mention Cassidy. She can't expect Vic to take over that job. Corinne can't take the pressure. She admits to Vic giving her the Backpack O' Cash; she doesn't know anything else. There was $65,000 in the bag, to be exact.

Corinne didn't ask where the money came from and spent most of it on tuition and occupational therapy. There's maybe $5,000 left. Kavanaugh asks for it. The Rat King then gives her permission to cry.

Shane tells Moni to rethink alibiing Kasper. They can charge her with conspiracy to commit murder if she's protecting him. Shane plays the interrogation room tape in which Kasper talks about screwing other people.

Vic sees Corinne bolting down the stairs with her face in her hands. He hurries after her and almost runs smack into Danny. Corinne freezes at the sight of Danny's baby bump, then tells Vic not to talk to her. She leaves. "Moni gave up our friendly ghost," Shane tells him.

Vic says all women are the same, regardless of color: "When they get pissed off, watch out." Kasper must've thought he had everything between the clothes and the stripper girlfriend. All he was missing was credibility. "You're only a true baller when somebody wants you dead. If the bullets miss you, makes you immortal to the street," says Shane.

Kasper hired Amado and Adair to shoot at him and the Bop Street guys. Moni gave them the key to her locker at the strip club where she works; they found the gun used to kill the hitmen.

Claudette asks if Fatima went to church. The thing she's always loved is "no matter how bad you are or how often, forgiveness is always there. All you gotta do is come clean." Claudette theorizes Kleavon had Fatima killed and reported her missing to draw suspicion away from himself. He killed random strangers, why let a little thing like blood ties stop him? Kleavon storms out of the interrogation room.

Julien is willing to let Bathroom Guy walk if he agrees to stop trying to screw other men in public and to ID his attacker. He'll keep the victim's name out of it. Whoever did this has 19 more rat traps. Bathroom Guy sits down with a sketch artist.

Tina knows she and Julien had a rough start, but she feels like things are a lot better between them. As a kid, her gay uncle lived with her, so she doesn't judge Julien. She understands his struggle "and it's between you and your wife." Julien angrily says he should've washed her out weeks ago; Tina doesn't understand shit.

Dutch thinks he knows why Claudette recommended him to robbery-homicide: "You're getting sicker and you can't bear for me to see it." He's sorry for searching Kleavon's room without her. Claudette tells him it's dangerous for him to let her lupus affect his job performance.

A uniform tells Dutch and Claudette that a black woman in her mid-40s was found strangled. Their rape/murder victim doesn't turn out to be Fatima. Jane Doe's hair looks like it was cut off with a knife; the style vaguely resembles Claudette's.

Becca is having second thoughts about representing Vic or anyone else on the Strike Team.

Edgar-veda thinks Kavanaugh has lost his touch. Kavanaugh wonders if Edgar-veda helped Vic set up the Russian sting. He asks Edgar-veda to sign the same form he gave to Vic and Shane. As a reserve police officer, Edgar-veda is still subject to be investigated by IAD: "You walk out that door, I'm gonna take your badge and I'm gonna tell every reporter in town why."

The Rat King sure knows what buttons to push: Corinne's love of her kids, Edgar-veda's obsession with image and power, Lem's desire to be liked. Edgar-veda refuses to sign the form until the city attorney looks it over. Does he really want to fight the chair of the police committee? "I didn't want any of it," Kavanaugh lies. Nevertheless, he's here for the long haul.

Shane asks why Edgar-veda is in Kavanaugh's office. Lem thinks it'd be a good time to leave for the night. They step out of the clubhouse as their former boss walks through the squadroom. The Rat King watches from his throne. End of episode.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Proof Is In the "Trophy" (Episode 5.5)

Previously on: Claudette has been hiding an unknown illness from Dutch. Vic's informant Emolia was the one who gave up Lem to IAD. Vic went to her safe house to threaten her into leaving town so her testimony can't be used and who should walk in on him but the Rat King himself?

Kavanaugh apologizes to Emolia; it's his fault Vic found out about the investigation. He'll protect her and Sebastio. Emolia wants to go back to the safe house and get Sebastio ready for preschool. Kavanaugh let her leave the kid alone? Unbelievable. He reminds the informant of her obligation to testify when the Strike Team goes to court. Emolia says no way; she was told all she had to do was get Vic to admit to things.

Kavanaugh pleads with her in Spanish. "I don't wanna do this no more," Emolia sobs, "[Vic's] been good to me." She even returns her weekly fee. Kavanaugh tells his IAD coworker Scott to essentially put Emolia on lockdown. No calls or visitors and she can only leave the house to take her kid to school and therapy.

In the Mission Cross parking lot, Vic drops Cassidy off with Corinne. A nearby woman is crying "mi nino, mi amor." Vic has started to tell Corinne he can't believe how much damn homework 6th graders get these days when the Spanish woman sprints across the parking lot. She purposely puts her head through the driver's side window of an oncoming car. And holy shit, she's biting the driver's face!

Vic springs into action and drags the woman out of the car. A hospital security guard assists the driver. The woman who bit him has a seizure. In the ER, Vic is concerned about the effect witnessing that scene will have on his 11-year-old. Corinne isn't too worried: "She thought it was cool. Been hanging around you too much." Does she need to know anything else about Vic's "special work thing"?

Dr. Lesser, the head ER doctor, wants to talk to Vic. The woman from the parking lot is dead. She's a frequent flyer with a history of schizophrenia. Her brother reported she's been on new meds for a month. Dr. Lesser hands Vic the bottle.

"French label, no doctor." Vic observes, "Bad scrips?" "What's on the label and what's inside are two very different things," says Dr. Lesser. 5 people have died in similar fashion in the last 3 months. He filed a complaint with Captain Billings last month. "Who do I need to bitch to?"

Vic asks Bro where Schizophrenic Sis got her medication. "Just, you know, the drugstore," he replies. Vic isn't fooled. He asks Corinne to step out. "Sis was screaming about devils before she died. I hope she wasn't talking about you feeding her bad meds." Bro didn't know they weren't the right ones. He got them from Clinica Masquina; it's run by a humanitarian who supposedly helps low-income people get affordable prescriptions.

Shane is sure Kavanaugh is onto them playing fast and loose with Lem's wire. Ronnie wonders why his friend hasn't been arrested yet. Vic wants Lem kept up to date; everything else will be business as usual.

Vic asks if Billings remembers a complaint from Mission Cross about bad prescriptions. "Sorta," the captain answers. Vic informs him, "The body count is 'sorta' piling up." The hospital board might call the feds. Billings didn't realize it was anything more serious than "bogus Viagra." After 5 deaths, that's the story you're going with? The captain assigns the case to the Strike Team.

Edgar-veda suggests contacting his friends at the Justice Department and having Emolia put in Witness Protection. Rat King doesn't think that will be necessary. Edgar-veda wants to know when Lem will be arrested.

Kavanaugh has a bad feeling he can't explain or shake off about Edgar-veda and Vic. Is the councilman trying to play both sides? Edgar-veda denies it. Kavanaugh turns up the volume on his laptop; Lem's wire is broadcasting live from the clubhouse.

Lem exposits that the clinic got most of its phony drugs from a French company that went bankrupt 2 years ago. "Pharmacology was hit-and-miss. It's a loaded gun," says Ronnie. Vic wants to get a warrant for the clinic. Might I suggest sending Lem undercover cruising for ulcer meds?

Listening in, Edgar-veda realizes, "They're sending him on another one of those bullshit errands. That way, he's out of earshot." Vic asks Shane how Lem's been feeling. "He won't go to the doctor. I think he's puking blood again," Shane reports. Even more ammo for Kavanaugh (like he needs it). Vic asks Shane to keep an eye on Lem.

The Rat King grins that he got permission to bug the clubhouse; he hid the transmitter in the base of their Police League softball championship trophy. Vic tells Shane not to worry.
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Billings is pissed. A crew has arrived to set up the new vending machines, only the outlets weren't installed. At home, Danny rubs cream into her stretch marks. Billings leaves a message about how she was supposed to call the electrician about new outlets. He needs her at the Barn ASAP.

At the clinic, the Strike Team finds over a dozen unsealed boxes of drugs. Lem will run the prescriptions in those against the list from Mission Cross. Edgar-veda is lurking outside. "How'd he get here so quick?" Lem asks uneasily. At Motel Hell, the Rat King makes notes on a legal pad. Why did Edgar-veda go to the clinic at all?

Vic reports to Edgar-veda that they're shutting down the clinic. "Our drugs aren't bad," Clinic Doc insists. From an illegal source, yes, but not counterfeit. Ronnie finds different bottles from the ER; these labels are in English. Clinic Doc got them from the Gruhani brothers, Persians who run a trucking business and skim off shipments from a pharmaceutical company.

Edgar-veda, champion of the downtrodden and disenfranchised, tells Vic, "A lot of people can't afford these drugs any other way." Never mind that these black-market prescriptions are poisoning his constituents.

At the Barn's gas pump, Vic tells Shane he hired Becca to represent the Strike Team. He doesn't think they'll end up in court, but he wants to be prepared for the possibility. Vic then makes the mistake of bringing Becca to the clubhouse to talk. They're keeping Lem out of the loop for now because they know he's wired. Becca asks how they found that out. Vic claims they felt it on Lem during a pickup game of basketball.

"The rabbit hole's deep," says Becca. Their former captain Monica started the IAD investigation. "I don't think it was search and destroy." Vic bets she was trying to prove they aren't corrupt. The new chief took the case in another direction: "He sees the Strike Team as a failure of the old regime." Vic's  a high-profile target.

Becca didn't find out anything new about Kavanaugh's personal life, but he reports directly to the chief. At Motel Hell, Kavanaugh scribbles SHE KNOWS TOO MUCH on his notepad. Becca advises the guys to nail some big fish, "make it look like Internal Affairs is hurting the good guys." And by the way, she needs a $10,000 retainer.

Becca might be able to cut Lem a deal. Vic refuses: "Deals are for the guilty." Becca wanted them to know the cost up front. Cops don't make much and Shane and Vic both have kids to support. "We all get cleared, we all keep our badges. Nothing less," says Vic. That's gonna be a tall order.

Kavanaugh angrily crumples up his notes. From here on, everything the Strike Team says to Becca will be inadmissible in court because it falls under attorney-client privilege.

Vic informs Bro that the fake prescriptions caused Sis to have a stroke. When they can prove he knew the drugs weren't real, Bro will be facing manslaughter charges. The clinic charges $45 for the meds; Bro knew a Russian mob guy selling them for $10 a bottle. The Russians sell the prescriptions out of a strip club. Great place for a pharmacy.

Vic recognizes the strip club address; his old friend Popovich runs the place. Ronnie says someone trashed the Gruhani trucking office. Lem went to their houses and it looks like Zal and Babak left in a rush. Shane has himself a good chuckle about those names.

At the seedy strip club, the girls are dancing naked, which is illegal in Farmington. One of the customers (?) tries to punch Lem. "Do you have warrant to be here?" asks Popovich. Vic doesn't need one thanks to the violation of local health codes and assault on a police officer. Ronnie discovers a stash of French-labeled prescriptions in a closet.

Vic remembers a blond stripper from an old case. He thought she was going back to Russia. Stripper says her current occupation is "safer than being a whore." Vic asks where Popovich gets the illegal prescription drugs he sells. Stripper shrugs, "I just dance."

However, she adds that her boss owns a garage: Blackburn Auto. Not wanting anyone to get suspicious that she was helping the police, Stripper calls after Vic, "You go shit yourself!" That's a new one.

Down a fairly steep hill, a man is stuck under a fence. Paramedics are tending to him/trying to extract him. Julien gives Dutch and Claudette the details, "He told us he got hit by a car, knocked him down the hill. A neighbor told us he jumped out of a moving car. Red Infiniti." The victim is scratched up but has no visible gang ink.

In Spanish, the victim tells Tina he doesn't want to go to a hospital. A paramedic reports the man's arm is broken. Claudette assures the victim they're not INS. The medics can't force him to go to the hospital, but the police can. Dutch arrests him for trespassing and destruction of private property.

Extension cords are now running down the Barn's hallway to the vending machines. "People are gonna break their necks on those wires," Danny warns. Billings snipes at her to tape them down; people have to eat. Also, call a plumber. The men's bathroom is clogged up again. I bet Danny can't wait to be off maternity detail.

Tina and Julien bring back Hidalgo, his arm freshly cast. Hidalgo jumped out of the car because he was scared. A heavyset 40ish black woman picked him up for day labor outside a Home Depot, drove him out to the Angeles Crest, and forced him to dig a hole. She wanted him to bury a body. When she threatened to call INS if he refused, Hidalgo jumped out of the car.

"That's really good work," Dutch tells Tina. Claudette amends, "Both of them." They have Hidalgo take them to the hole he dug, which is big enough for 6'4" Julien to fit comfortably. The mystery woman had asked Hidalgo to make it even longer. "Hey, you guys done?" Julien calls from inside the grave.

I don't think Blackburn Auto has actually worked on cars in a really long time. The place is abandoned. The guys hear moaning from under the floorboards. A mechanic is bound and gagged in a hole. Shane checks the mechanic's wallet; it's Zal, one of the Persian brothers.

Zal was also carrying a prescription bottle in his pocket. Vic checks the label: "This is chemo medicine. Do you have cancer?" "No. Why?" wheezes Zal.

Paramedics wheel Zal to an ambulance. Zal explains that Popovich wanted to take over his shipments because the French drugs were bad. Popovich threw Zal in the hole for 2 weeks and forced him to take the chemo drug. Zal's brother Babak is probably at their office on the west side; the Russians don't know him. The Ghurani brothers hide the drugs in their mom's garage.

The guys take Popovich to the clubhouse. "They're back," Rat King smiles, pausing in the middle of some weird martial arts moves. "This is the room of endless possibilities," Vic says to the Russian. Is that anything like the Room of Requirement? The Strike Team has a business proposal for Popovich. "We know about the garage and your cancer research."

Popovich doesn't know about garages; he just runs a strip joint. "Yeah, we know. Dancing camel toe," says Shane. Vic wants to raise the iron curtain. He appreciates Popovich wanting to help people who can't afford medicine they need, but poisoned product is bad for business. They'll trade him the French swill for the real thing. In exchange, Popovich will cut the Gruhanis in for 20% and give the Strike Team 10%.

If Popovich agrees, he walks. "You say no or try to burn us, perestroika dies," says Vic. Popovich likes the arrangement. Vic tells him to bring the French drugs to the garage. The Strike Team wants $10,000 upfront. Everyone's a winner.

Popovich shakes Vic's hand: "Who says there are never police around when we need them?" "Yeah, who says?" chuckles Rat King in his motel room.

Kavanaugh asks if Edgar-veda knows anything about Vic making business deals with Russians for stolen prescriptions. Edgar-veda just knows they closed down a city-funded clinic for giving illegal prescriptions. Kavanaugh thinks the Strike Team hired Becca as their lawyer.

Billings wants to know why Vic released Popovich. Vic couldn't hold him without knowing where the supply comes from. Billings says the assistant chief "just drilled me a new ass channel." Vic might have a way to "cool your anal burning."

A black woman named Peaches reported her boyfriend Alex missing in 2004; her red Infiniti was also stolen recently. Dutch looks over the missing persons file: "6'5", a perfect peg for a very large hole."

"You found my car?" Peaches asks interestedly. Does she need to sign something to get it back? Dutch asks if anyone else had access to her car key. Peaches says no, but her realtor has her house keys. She recently moved out of the 'hood. When the Infiniti was stolen, Peaches was asleep; she runs a sports bar and doesn't get home until 3 AM.

Claudette inquires about Alex. Peaches can't believe it's taken over a year to get back to her about it. Alex was her boyfriend. He emailed her a few months ago, but Peaches doesn't think he's alive. Alex had a terminal blood disorder and wanted to spare Peaches of having to watch him suffer. He went back to his childhood home of Panama (the country, not the city in Florida).

Kavanaugh had mics and cameras planted at Blackburn Auto. Vic is back on the air, asking about Zal. Lem says Zal is worried about Babak. He certainly has reason.

Lem halfheartedly picks at a carton of Chinese food in the breakroom. Vic wonders how Lem is feeling. Lem guesses that he's about the same. For the second time in two days, Vic invites, "You should stay home tonight, take it easy." I doubt Lem will object.

Vic calls Edgar-veda. The guys are about to pick up a truckload of bad prescriptions. How would the councilman and some reporters like a ringside seat? Edgar-veda turns to Kavanaugh: "He wants to turn picking up the bad drugs into a media event." "After he makes the trade and takes the payoff in private," Kavanaugh surmises, "Steals his cake and eats it too."

"Prednisone's pretty toxic stuff," Dutch says to his partner. Claudette can't believe he looked in her desk. Dutch is just concerned about her. He gives a search warrant to the woman who bought Peaches' old house. Julien found a body wrapped in plastic hidden in the shed out back.

Back at the Barn, Dutch shows Peaches a picture of the mummified corpse. "Breaking up is hard to do," says Claudette. Peaches gasps and begins sobbing. Outside the room, Dutch opines, "That is not the response of a woman who just tried to bury a guy in the woods."

They bring in Shonda, the woman who lives in Peaches' old house. When Hidalgo sees her, he bolts. Danny talked to IT; Alex's email from Panama really came from an Internet cafe in Burbank.

Walking back to her desk, Danny accidentally runs into a pole and hits the floor hard. Her coworkers race to her side. Lem asks if she wants an ambulance. Danny thinks she just needs help standing back up. "I'm fine," she says tearfully, "Just who put the goddamn pole there?"

In the women's room, Danny is now regretting her "never let 'em see ya cry" lecture to Tina. Claudette understands that hormones can make you crazy; when she was pregnant with her first daughter, she trashed an aisle at Ralph's 'cause she couldn't decide on a diaper brand.

Edgar-veda paces the motel room. All he and the Rat King can hear over the wire is loud music, the Strike Team's traditional method of pumping themselves up for a raid. If Vic really does make a deal with the Russians, Kavanaugh wants the whole team arrested and separated. Lem goes in the clubhouse to pick up his hoodie and wish his friends luck.

Tina had a conversation with Hidalgo in which she said people who cooperate with the police can get their green cards. "Yeah, if you, like, help bring down a cartel," says Dutch. Hidalgo ID'd the first black woman he saw.

"Now the witness is an illegal coerced into a statement by a false promise of citizenship," says Julien. In other words, lawsuit. Tina really needs to consider a new line of work. Dutch assures her it'll be fine; he has a plan.

Shonda asks Claudette if the "pregnant cop" is okay. She can't believe her friend Peaches would've killed Alex. "No one can," says Dutch. Claudette smiles sweetly.

Why did Shonda try to hire Hidalgo to bury Alex? "You work two blocks from the cafe you emailed his Dead John letter from." She wanted Peaches to stop looking. Shonda's DNA is on the body. They bet she was trying to get Alex out before Peaches moved.

Shonda sighs. She flirted with Alex and they started having sex, then Alex fell in love with her. Most cases, it's the other way around. Shonda and Peaches were roommates, but Peaches owned the house. Alex wasn't worth getting kicked out over. Shonda and Alex started arguing about Peaches after sex one night; Shonda keeps a bat next to the bed and "shit just happened."

Babak and Popovich meet at the garage. Shane opens the back of a truck, revealing the real American drugs. "You got that tingly feeling I do?" Kavanaugh asks Edgar-veda in the surveillance van. Popovich gives Vic the $10,000. Out of nowhere, Babak puts a gun to Shane's head. "That's bullshit! He almost kill my brother. He poison him and then he take our business."

Vic and Shane disarm him. Babak doesn't care if they shoot him. Popovich says leaving Babak alive is too much of a risk. Vic slaps a gun in the Russian's hand. "Just not in the face," he says. Kavanaugh's tactical team moves in. Vic and Popovich both shoot Babak. Everyone drops their guns when SWAT arrives. Vic gets handcuffed along with Shane and Ronnie.

Babak stands up: "Vic, what the hell is going on?" "IAD just shit all over our sting!" Vic snarls. He introduces Babak as Detective Baham. Their guns were loaded with blanks. Killing the Russians' competition "would've been the blood tie that binds." Popovich has ties going back to the Kremlin. Did Kavanaugh really think Vic was that dirty? Kavanaugh is speechless.

Billings adds that he approved the operation. "I guess IAD will spin any kinda fiction to stain good cops bad," says Vic. Billings orders, "Uncuff my men. You idiots did enough damage for one night." Vic tells the uniforms to arrest Popovich for attempted murder.

Vic sees Danny closing down the men's room. "If it ain't broke, it ain't the Barn," she jokes. She's sorry to hear about what happened with IAD. Vic offers to buy her dinner, but Danny says she doesn't have an appetite. A knock to the head will do that.

"Should we talk?" Vic wants to know. Can he help her in some way? It doesn't look like Daddy's in the picture. "The dad doesn't know," says Danny, "I think it's better that way. I don't think that he could handle it right now." She's okay with being a single mom. Vic will do anything he can if she changes her mind.

Dutch passes Claudette a note: I'M SORRY. I'LL STOP. How middle school. Claudette confides in him that she's had lupus for 15 years; it's been flaring up a lot recently, much like Lem's ulcer. Dutch shouldn't worry. She has a good support system in her daughters and her boyfriend James.

In the clubhouse, the Strike Team has just finished a pizza. Vic passes a bottle of SoCo to Shane. Shane holds it in Lem's direction: "A little Southern'll comfort that belly." "Nah, I think I'll stick with the pink," Lem chuckles, swigging Pepto out of the bottle. That stuff is so gross; it's a wonder anybody ever gets it down.

Enter Ronnie with a trash bag. Billings asked them to clean up the clubhouse for code violations; somebody called the fire marshal. Vic grabs the softball trophy off the lockers, saying it's too close to the light. "Not the trophy, man," Shane protests, "I went 3-for-4 to win that." "You were 0-for-5," Lem corrects, "But who's counting?"

Vic turns over the trophy and notices something stuck in the base. Shane changes his mind: "It's a cheap piece of shit." Vic tosses the trophy, saying, "We'll just beat IAD again next year."

Outside, Becca joins Vic in his car. She heard IAD ruined the Russian sting earlier. Maybe Kavanaugh picked up the details on Lem's wire. If King Rat knows they're onto him, he won't be a happy camper. He tells her that Ronnie found the trophy bug during a daily sweep, "so we spun it our way. Just like you said."

Becca is upset that Vic is using her and withholding information. Vic apologizes; he's playing things by ear. He describes IAD's investigation as an "ongoing, misguided vendetta." "Kavanaugh's gonna arrest Lemansky," Becca warns, "and he's gonna try to hurt you by hurting him."

Buzz asks if Kavanaugh wants him to plant another bug. "Don't bother," mumbles Kavanaugh. Buzz thinks it's possible Vic really was talking about softball; one year, IAD lost to the Strike Team in the semi-finals.

When Buzz leaves, Kavanaugh roars in anger and flips over the table, laptop and all. He throws a chair, which almost goes through the window. IAD will be thrilled about getting charged extra for that motel room....

End of episode.

Friday, June 30, 2017

"Tapa Boca" and a Very Unhappy Birthday (Episode 5.4)

Roughly translated from Spanish, the episode title means "top mouth." I'm guessing that has something to do with Emolia.

Previously on: Vic learned that Kavanaugh of IAD has been talking to Corinne (and lying that he too has an autistic child). The rest of the Strike Team was made privy to the fact that Kavanaugh pressured Lem into wearing a wire. Emolia, a CI of Vic's, turned and is now helping Kavanaugh.

In Motel Hell, Lem does a quick mic check. Kavanaugh reminds him that he needs recorded admissions of wrong-doings by the Strike Team. "Questions make cops suspicious," says Lem. Kavanaugh is onto our blond friend: "You walk outta the room every time he opens his mouth and says something more than 'Good morning.'" "Vic and I aren't attached at the hip." True, that would be Vic and Shane.

"Dragging this out, trying to have it both ways, you're torturing yourself." Kavanaugh actually has a point there. Lem already has a stress-induced ulcer (his current predicament certainly can't be helping). Kavanaugh reiterates that Lem made his bed and now has to sleep in it.

Since threats and yelling haven't worked, Kavanaugh tries the aren't-I-a-great-pal angle. He knows it's Lem's birthday and has a gift for the big guy: a set of fishing lures. While listening to the tapes, Kavanaugh discovered Lem enjoys fly-fishing. Lem's thank you comes across as less than sincere. Kavanaugh is all "I know ratting on your friends is hard, but everything's gonna be okay, son."

Vic goes to the office of Becca the scummy defense attorney. He starts by telling her, "Everything I'm about to say falls under attorney-client privilege." IAD has painted a bullseye on Lem's back. "I don't represent cops, especially corrupt ones," she says sweetly. Well, you're in luck because Lem is clean. Vic thinks this could provide karmic balance for a woman who pays bills by getting gangbangers out of trouble.

Becca, now intrigued, wants more details. Vic tells her about the heroin Lem supposedly stole and how Kavanaugh is in charge of the investigation. He can't look into IAD himself because it'd raise too many eyebrows.

"There's the first real truth I've heard." Oh, you are very perceptive, Becca. Nobody would suspect her of working for "the man." She agrees to ask a few questions of her ex-boyfriend in the city attorney's office.

As they investigate a car accident, Dutch advises Claudette against taking a tropical vacation due to the threat of typhoons. The driver's seat is spattered with blood. Dutch speculates somebody pulled a gun during a road-rage incident. A look at the eviscerated victim tells Claudette otherwise; the thing Dutch just picked up off the ground is an umbilical cord. Oh dear God.

Billings snaps at Claudette that they don't have enough information to file an Amber Alert on the missing baby. The dead woman's boyfriend works nights in a machine shop and nobody's seen him since the murder. Dutch points into the lobby at several reporters: "The vultures are gathering." However, he still wants to use them to pull the public's heartstrings.

Danny tried to call in officers from Wilshire to join the search; their watch commander said no way until someone proves the baby is alive. "That's bullshit," Billings fumes, "Call again."

Becca talked to her ex and some A.D.A.s she went to law school with, but nobody offered to help. According to her, this "means they know something major's in motion." Vic asks if any of her friends mentioned Edgar-veda; he's their old boss and has been working with Kavanaugh. Edgar-veda had Vic cross legal boundaries to catch murderers when he was trying to sell himself to voters. Helping IAD absolves him of that by casting Vic as the villain.

Becca is curious about the real story behind the heroin. Vic hasn't asked Lem yet because Kavanaugh's got him wearing a wire.

Dutch uses Danny as a visual aid to demonstrate how one might perform an amateur C-section. He doesn't think it would require medical training. The people who do this sort of thing are usually women who have recently lost a baby or have been lying about being pregnant. Danny is now officially freaked out: "I'm never gonna sleep until I have this kid."
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Claudette may have a lead. A 911 hangup was traced to a payphone a block from the crime scene. They'll have to persuade the anonymous caller to come forward.

In the clubhouse, Ronnie is chugging coffee. Lem arrives at work, asking if the Strike Team's been assigned to the missing baby yet. Vic mimes pulling his pants down. Lem doesn't get it. Shane holds up a piece of paper with SAY YOU GOTTA TAKE A DUMP written on it.

Vic thinks Dutch and Claudette are handling the case. "Captain wants us available to round up all the other miscellaneous sickos," adds Shane. Lem repeats the line Shane fed him and passes the recorder off to Ronnie.

As Ronnie hustles out of the clubhouse, Vic gives Lem 5 minutes to talk about Kavanaugh. "He thinks I've been protecting you. I've been helpful, but not too helpful." Lem realizes Pitarrio or Emolia could've seen him take the heroin. Vic trusts Emolia. Pitarrio, on the other hand, had a very physical run-in with Lem and would have reason to snitch to IAD.

Lem worries what'll happen to him if IAD successfully makes their case. Shane is confident Lem would only do about 5 years since he's a first-time offender. "Shane!" Vic scolds. Lem's expression says it all.
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Shane has a plan. Lem could refuse to wear the wire and let himself be arrested. The rest of the Strike Team will find information they can use to undermine Kavanaugh. Lem's response is instant: "All the shit you've done and I'm the one going to jail? Are you kidding me?" Vic tells him to settle down, nobody's going to jail. The Strike Team has beaten every rap that's been thrown at them.

"Nobody jumped ship when Antwon had your balls in a sling," Vic reminds his best friend. Shane was willing to kill to protect the others. "We got you out of that before you had to go through with it," says Vic. Shane wants to do the same for Lem. But if they can't, is he willing to be the sacrifical lamb? Are your ears fucking painted on? Lem's answer to that was a huge goddamn no.

Lem, however, doesn't see anyone else in his corner and agrees. Shane promises Lem that things are gonna be fine. He and Ronnie will find Pitarrio. "I hate this," Lem says bitterly, sweat beading on his forehead now. Vic sends him to the men's room to get the recorder back.

Driving along, Lem asks the question of the day: "What kinda person cuts a baby out of its mother's stomach?" Vic stops to talk to Edgar-veda, telling Lem to stay in the car. Lem cranks up the radio because Vic's voice carries. Vic pretends he wants to talk about bums living on furniture the city trash collectors haven't picked up.

The car's police band crackles. Lem calls, "Hey, we got a 187!" In certain jurisdictions, that's dispatch code for homicide. Edgar-veda says trash is below his pay grade; call Waste Removal. Vic says he'd hate to see the councilman's district turn into a big fire hazard.

It turns out Lem wasn't fibbing about the 187. Hank, a man in a business suit, was the victim of a drive-by while leaving a diner after breakfast. His toupee is lying beside him. "Nice piece," Shane quips. He and Ronnie stopped by Pitarrio's house, where, according to Shane, "Only sign of life was a coupla squatter crackheads." A telephone lineman gave Lem the license plate number of a potential witness to the murder.

Vic tells Shane and Ronnie to keep looking. He and Lem will "find out who's got a problem with the Hair Club for Men." I think Vic's just pissed 'cause he's bald.

Billings gives a statement to the reporters: "That baby is still out there. This disgusting crime occurred at approximately 5:15 a.m. this morning." He implores the public to come forward with any information; it could save the baby's life.

Claudette is still popping pills. Maybe the work environment at the Barn finally gave her an ulcer too. Dutch ran background checks on everyone who worked with Isabel the victim, but nothing sticks out. Isabel's boyfriend is there to be interviewed.

Dutch goes after him: "Your neighbor told us Isabel was screwing someone else. Baby probably wasn't yours." Dutch himself was in the same situation once upon a time. Isabel's Boyfriend is positive Isabel was having his child. "If the baby's alive, tell us," says Claudette.

Isabel's Boyfriend mutters, "Oh God. Please let him be alive." Dutch asks if he noticed the baby's gender during the butchery. Has he really never heard of an ultrasound? At the very least, they can now put out an Amber Alert for a newborn black boy.

Dutch will have someone give the guy a ride home; he should stay by the phone in case the police have more questions. Isabel's Boyfriend is understandably angry about being accused. He wants to know who killed her and what happened to his son.

Hank the drive-by victim served time at Lompoc for an unspecified crime and worked at a pet store. He had no family or known enemies. Lem is working on a list of matches to the partial license plate. Shane waves Vic over: "Pitarrio hasn't been arrested in 6 months. That's the longest he's gone since he turned 18. He's off the grid." "If the feds picked him up and he made a deal to give up Lem, that arrest wouldn't be on his record." says Vic.

Lem holds up a folder. Their possible witness is Hank's neighbor Leon. The two of them were in the same GED class at Lompoc. On their way out the back door, they run into Julien and Tina, who have just arrested Leon.
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Julien and Tina were canvassing for the missing baby when Leon threw a bottle at their windshield. She adds, "Then he asked if he could smell my sweet spot." "Even Shane stopped using that line," says Vic.

Upstairs, Vic remarks, "Pretty stupid thing you did to get yourself arrested." Leon tries to use the I-was-having-a-bad-day defense. Did it include seeing Hank killed? "If a friend of mine was in trouble, I'd do everything I could to help him out," Vic says pointedly. Leon was scared by the gunshots and ran. Maybe if he sits around long enough, he'll remember something else.

Vic guesses the bullets were meant for Leon. "You get yourself arrested 'cause it's safer in here than it is out there," says Lem, a statement that should be hitting home. They're not willing to be his bodyguards. Vic grabs Leon by the jacket and hustles him out of the interrogation room. Leon suddenly remembers a green SUV.

Vic tells Danny he's overriding bail to release Leon on his own recognizance. Leon whines that Vic is gonna get him killed. That's a chance Vic doesn't mind taking. Back upstairs, Leon explains that a pool hustler client fell behind on his payments. They used to go to Gary's Tavern on Sunset. Is his name Dean Winchester?

"Cut to the part where someone wants to kill you," Vic says impatiently. Leon's boss Gus wanted Leon to crowbar the delinquent's arm, which would ruin the guy's pool game. Leon gave the guy an extra 24 hours to pay and was sure Gus would never know. The delinquent disappeared along with the $40,000 he owed. Gus thinks Leon has half of the money.

Leon makes it a point to say how sorry he is that Hank got killed by mistake. "Some ass-suck" who works for Gus probably shot Hank. Leon doesn't know his real name. Shane summons Vic for a private chat. Lem stays behind, listening to the lowlife gripe about how nobody wants Leon to get ahead.

Ronnie tracked down Pitarrio through an INS database. For the last 2 months, Pitarrio's been working construction. Shane is further convinced he made a deal with the feds.

Kavanaugh is once again at the kids' school. Corinne asks how old Kavanaugh's son was when he was diagnosed with autism. "Around 3," he lies smoothly. Corinne confronts him, "There's an Andy at this school, but he's not your son." She was married to Vic and cops come to the ER every day; she knows one when she sees one.

Kavanaugh tells her he's with Internal Affairs. He tries sucking up by saying she'd make a good detective. Vic is in trouble and the two of them have to do a lot of talking until he's convinced she wasn't involved. Kavanaugh threatens to charge Corinne with obstruction of justice if she tells Vic about the investigation. Does she want to go to prison?

Billings' press conference produced a witness. Isabel made a sudden turn and almost hit another car. The other car's driver started shooting and 911 put the witness on hold. The other car was white with a decal on the back window that said R.I.P. Jevontrey.

Kavanaugh listens to today's tape. Edgar-veda comes in. "Lemansky's birthday is today. His pals, they either don't know or they just don't care," announces Kavanaugh. That doesn't prove anything; guys usually aren't good with dates. My best friend remembers my birthday because ours are 3 weeks apart.

"That's the update?" Edgar-veda asks incredulously. Kavanaugh would be pissed if his best friends forgot his birthday. Come on. For all he knows, there's a surprise cake in the break room or an after work trip for beers.

Kavanaugh asks why Vic stopped by Edgar-veda's office. "Some bullshit sanitation complaint. I think he just wants to rub it in my face that he's de facto running the Barn," says the councilman. Kavanaugh apologizes for wasting his time. He'll call with the next birthday alert.

Kavanaugh rushes to Emolia's safe house to let her know it's now unsafe and she needs to pack. She shouldn't answer the phone if Vic calls.

The guy Vic and Shane meet at the construction site isn't the real Pitarrio. However, he has Pitarrio's Social Security card. Vic asks, "What'd Pitarrio get for his papers?" "He got dead," says Fake Pitarrio. Three months ago, a heroin deal in El Salvador went south and Pitarrio was murdered.

Shane thinks Emolia could be their mole (pun intended). After all, she has "a messed-up kid" and no job. Vic is adamant that Emolia wouldn't betray him; he's hung out with her and her son. Shane suggests Vic call her to "check in." Emolia's not at the safe house when they get there. The next door neighbor saw her leave with a black man earlier today.

Dutch has put the word out to decal places about special orders. Claudette brings him 3 years' worth of coroner's files. Corinne calls Dutch, saying she wants to meet. She didn't know who else to talk to. Corinne tells Dutch about Kavanaugh trying to get her to say things about Vic: "He threatened to send me to jail if I say anything or if I don't cooperate." She wants to know if it's legal or just a scare tactic.

"A lot of times, the person who goes down didn't have anything to do with the original crime." Dutch starts. (cough Lem cough) The trouble comes later on from lying and covering things up. Corinne can't be compelled to talk due to spousal privilege. But if she knew about any of Vic's, uh, extracurricular activities, she could be charged as a co-conspirator.

Corinne is their best leverage. Dutch advises her to be upfront and honest about being in the dark. Before leaving, he has a medical question for the resident nurse: Why would someone take prednisone? Corinne lists off reasons the steroid might be prescribed: lupus, asthma, Crohn's disease, arthritis.

Shane is getting frustrated as Leon looks through mug books in the clubhouse: "You don't have to memorize every picture." "Cut the guy some slack; he's got a target on his back," says Lem, who's all too aware of how that feels. Vic still can't reach Emolia. Leon ID's "ass-suck" as Justin Lamott.

In the hallway, Vic tells Ronnie about Emolia being seen going somewhere with a black guy. If Kavanaugh got to her, Vic is sure he can get her back on his side. IAD must've come to her when Pitarrio got killed. Emolia doesn't know about anything other than the mess Lem's in.

Kavanaugh has been using anything and everything he can to tear the Strike Team apart. "Prick talked to Corinne at our kids' school," says Vic, "Warn Mara. Ronnie, tell whatever you're banging this week, don't talk to strangers." The investigation will go away once they find Emolia and coach her. And just how do they plan to find her?

Vic has an idea. He asks Billings about putting Leon in a safe house. Billings has a list of available addresses, but it's eyes-only, captains and above. Let's hope Vic doesn't try robbing the captain's office again...

Danny comes upstairs. "They found the baby." Her tone is grim. Billings hands over the list. When he leaves, Vic runs it through the copier.

The coroner gives Dutch and Claudette the cause of death: trauma, most likely from a fist. In his unique horrified/interested way, Dutch asks, "Somebody punched a newborn?" The baby also had a cut leg. "A typhoon in Fiji's looking pretty good right now," Claudette mutters. Take Lem along. God knows that poor guy needs a vacation.

The baby's been dead for hours, probably since right after Isabel's murder. "It's a special kind of monster," says Dutch. Thanks to a decal shop, Billings has a name for said monster: Devares Glade. He had the decal made in honor of his uncle Jevontrey and drives a white Monte Carlo. Devares has 6 violent priors, 4 of which were committed with a Sean Deeks.

The baby's body is covered in fingerprints, at least three sets. The big ones were made by men, the smaller ones most likely a woman.

Shane disses Justin's marksmanship: 4 rounds in a wall and 2 in the wrong guy. "Loan shark shoulda hired a professional," says Lem, dropping the hint: "Some shit to be dealing with on my birthday." Shane had no idea it was today: "We should get wasted."
"SHOTS!!!!"
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They catch up to Justin. Shane plays like they're fellow legbreakers; Gus is pretty pissed about Justin shooting the wrong guy. Justin argues that he didn't, even saw the guy drop. Lem sticks a badge his Justin's face: "You just confessed to murder." Where can they find Gus?

Lem hands his recorder to Vic while Ronnie downs more coffee. Justin and Gus both confessed, clearing Leon's name. "Freak tried to hug me," Shane sounds disgusted. Vic guesses Shane insisted on oral sex. Lem is all "Boy, I must've eaten something that really disagreed with me." The wire gets passed to Ronnie. What friends won't do, huh?

Once the designated pooper is gone, Vic informs Lem that Pitarrio is a literal dead end. That leaves Emolia. Vic is sure he can sweet-talk her back into the fold. She's not in a safe house, but Vic knows where her son Sebastio has occupational therapy: "I chased down this therapist's unfaithful wife in exchange for sessions." Emolia never lets Sebastio miss an appointment.

The best thing for Lem to do right now is go home, put his feet up, and have a beer. Kavanaugh's turning up the heat. No kidding, Lem's been sweating all day. If Kavanaugh formally arrests Lem, the other guys will pool their funds to bail him out. Shane smiles and gives Lem a fist-bump.

An older man has reported a scam: A guy driving around in a camper decked out with patriotic decor has been selling bogus body armor and care packages for the troops. Grandpa paid $300 for a vest to send to his grandson in Iraq. I guess he wasn't in the military or he'd know those things are standard issue. Anyway, grandson told him it was a fake.

Julien found out Tina missed her baton training class. Tina's sorry, but she was stressed out that night after "almost having to blow a van full of skin peddlers." She didn't miss the other 3 classes, though. Why is Julien being so hard on her? Julien tells Tina point-blank that he doesn't feel safe riding with her. They find their suspect's camper with relative ease.

Before opening the cage, Tina actually follows procedure by handing over her gun. "What's a little bit like you doing being a cop?" the suspect taunts. Tina asks Danny if she can be reassigned; she's really trying with Julien, but things aren't working. Another inmate bitches about how he's a drunk and doesn't belong in holding with rapists and murderers.

"We don't have a room. This isn't an inn," Danny snaps. The guy's cellies are there for resisting arrest and "scamming grandpas into buying bogus body armor for their grandkids in Iraq. Don't get your panties in a bunch." To Tina, she adds, "Same goes for you."

In separate rooms, Dutch and Claudette talk to Devares and his female accomplice who looks like a teenager. His fingerprints were on the baby. Did she get frustrated because the baby cried too much? The detectives confer. A good attorney could convince a jury the suspects found the baby in a Dumpster and the fingerprints were from CPR. The girl is their best shot. Claudette has an idea of who she might talk to.

Danny offers to let the accomplice feel her baby bump; she didn't ever think she'd want to have kids, but now she feels maternal. She's willing to bet the girl did the cutting because she knows more about female anatomy. A man lost his son and girlfriend on the same day.

"Bitch brought that on herself," says Female Accomplice (FA). They didn't know Isabel was pregnant. She almost ran them off the road and "my man don't stand for that." To FA, shooting Isabel was self-defense. The menfolk wanted to drive off, "but I said, 'No, we gotta save the baby.'" The guys planned to sell the little boy afterward.

FA's sister has had two abortions and decided she wants a baby. The doctors botched the second abortion to the point where she can't have kids. FA thought she could surprise her sister with a stranger's baby. The baby was having trouble breathing, "so we did the stuff you see on doctor shows. We tried to clear his mouth out, turned him upside down." When that didn't work, Devares tried CPR, crushing the baby's chest in the process. Danny's heard more than enough.

Becca has learned Kavanaugh has carte blanche to investigate the Strike Team. This can't just be about a misplaced brick of heroin. Vic tells her that Edgar-veda chose him to the "posterboy for corruption to sell [a] softer, gentler voice to the voters." Vic pushed the envelope with Edgar-veda's blessing until it was no longer convenient to his political agenda.

Becca agrees to represent Vic. He explains they're a package deal by basically quoting "Good Night Saigon" by Billy Joel: "We said we'd all go down together." Becca looks almost impressed by his nobility.

Danny notices the drunk fighting other inmates in the cage and calls for help. Tina charges in...without removing her gun like she's been trained to do! Julien quickly drags her out: "Someone could've grabbed your weapon!" Is she trying to get an inmate or a fellow officer killed?

Tina runs off to have a private cry by the evidence room. Danny brings her a tissue. However, she doesn't tell the rookie that big bad Julien shouldn't have yelled at her. "You know why you're so dangerous? 'Cause this isn't real for you yet." Part of being a cop is recognizing and admitting your mistakes, then learning from them.

Of course, Tina interprets this as another attack. All she's done is try to be nice to all her coworkers: "You used to be the queen bee around here, but now you don't get so much attention with those stretch marks. So you're gonna make my life miserable." Danny's expression is one of excuse-me-bitch-what-the-fuck-did-you-say-to-me. 

Tina argues that every cop in the Barn has made mistakes; surely nobody was as mean to them as everyone is to her. Danny warns that the guys won't respect her once they see the red eyes and runny nose. Depends on the guy. Lem would probably invite her out for his birthday. As a parting shot, Danny says, "It's bitches like you that make the job harder for the rest of us."

The Strike Team stakes out the occupational therapist's office. Emolia exits with Sebastio and gets into a car with Kavanaugh. Vic decides to tail him.

Claudette's watch beeps and she takes more pills out of her desk. Dutch catches her off guard by saying, "I know you're not going on vacation. You're sick. How sick?" Claudette shrugs that she feels good enough to work every day. Dutch wants to know what's going on; they're partners. She doesn't answer.

Vic and Shane turn off their headlights as they turn down a street. Kavanaugh drops Emolia and Sebastio off at a house. When the Rat King leaves, Vic knocks on the back door. Emolia lies that she hasn't answered her phone because a dealer is harassing her. Vic pats Emolia down for a wire, wondering what Kavanaugh wants with her. Emolia claims not to know who that is.

"Why are you lying to me?" Vic sounds genuinely wounded. Did Kavanaugh threaten her with jail if she didn't play ball? Vic can get her out of this if he knows exactly what Emolia told him. "That I saw your guy take the heroin. That's it," she says. Vic knows her statement will be worthless if she skips town. Sebastio can stay with Emolia's mom until she's settled.

Emolia apologizes; she didn't know Vic then. He realizes Emolia was the one who tipped IAD about the heroin. "If I had it to do over again, I'd say no. You've been good to me and Sebastio," says Emolia. Vic yells at her for not warning him 6 months ago. Emolia brandishes a knife, warning Vic that Kavanaugh checks on her.

Vic shouts that everyone on his team could wind up jail. Didn't it mean anything to Emolia that he helped her son? Her own knife now at her throat, Emolia promises to leave. Vic doesn't trust her not to call Kavanaugh. She cries that Vic knew what she was like from the beginning. Does someone who's trustworthy turn people into the police for money?

Vic slowly realizes he can't bring himself to kill Emolia. His phone starts ringing. They come up with a story that Emolia's earlier call to her cousin had a purpose: getting a message to Vic so he could find her. The door opens. Vic whirls around with his gun out. The Rat King has returned. They stare at each other.

Kavanaugh asks why Vic is there. Vic's more interested in why Kavanaugh has been talking to his CI. Kavanaugh gives Vic a bullshit story about her helping bust a Salvadoran drug ring. "I got spooked," Emolia pipes up, "Called my cousin. She called Vic for me." Vic advises, "Next time you hide one of my CIs, put a car out front. This isn't safe."

End of episode (and end of what was probably the worst birthday of Lem's life). Seriously, I hope somebody brought him some cake or at least stopped by his house so he wasn't drinking alone...