Friday, December 15, 2017

Time for Some "Animal Control" (Episode 7.6)

Previously on: Edgar-veda's "one-man campaign bankroll" planned to use blackmail to allow a drug cartel the opportunity to buy up Farmington. Edgar-veda took said Box O' Blackmail. Vic played the Armenians against the Mexicans, each thinking the other group had the box.

City controller Robert Martin was assassinated. Vic's federal friend Olivia has a file in the blackmail box. She asked Vic for help getting out from under the cartel.

Tina and yet another new partner respond to a burglar alarm. She stupidly goes down an alley alone, gun drawn. Behind a dumpster, Tina discovers a naked man with blood smeared on his chest.

In the clubhouse, Edgar-veda informs Vic he's turning the Box O' Blackmail over to some friends at the Justice Department. Vic can join him if he wants to get credit too. That's not good enough; Vic wants Cruz in jail and "not for 30 days on some pissant charge his lawyer can plead down to a fine."

Doesn't Edgar-veda care about Olivia? Turning over the box now means "throwing a good woman and her career under the bus." Edgar-veda shrugs that Olivia got herself into her own mess. Vic knows Cruz gets Rios to do his dirty work and wants a chance to bust him. Vic's the inside man. Edgar-veda says no way; Vic's had plenty of chances. Vic pleads for more time and Edgar-veda agrees to 36 hours.

"What happened to his clothes?" Dutch asks of Tina's suspect, now wrapped in a police blanket. Tina has no idea; she found him naked. She's hoping someone can do a psych exam on the guy. "This time of night, good luck," says Dutch. Billings is utterly uninterested, playing with his tie; let him know if naked girls show up. Nice.

Vic crouches over Lem's headstone; Ronnie joins him. "The last time we were here, Shane stood right next to us," Vic sighs, "He watched as I vowed to get the guy who killed Lem." It's been months and Vic hasn't kept his promise.

Vic tells Ronnie about Edgar-veda's timeline for turning in the Box O' Blackmail. Ronnie worries about losing their leverage with Rezian. Vic's spent the last two hours sitting here in the graveyard trying to come up with a plan. Vic thinks he knows how to get rid of the Armenians, save his job, bust Cruz, and "give Lem the justice he deserves."

There's a close-up of Lem's gravestone. Inscribed upon it are the words HONESTY, LOYALTY, OFFICER, and BROTHER. Vic knows they can't afford to wait for Shane to make a mistake. "We go through with what you're talking about, there's no turning back," Ronnie says slowly, "...Doing this in a rush to meet some deadline, we're bound to make a mistake." "We owe it to Lem!" says Vic. He promises that taking care of Shane will never blow back on them.

"Where you guys been?" Shane asks when Vic and Ronnie enter the clubhouse. Oh, nowhere, really. Just visiting the grave of the guy you murdered and plotting your death. Vic apologizes for being so stubborn about the Box O' Blackmail. Cruz won't want to pay to get the box back, but Rezian might.

Vic asks Shane to call the Armenian boss about purchasing the box. Shane's all for it, eagerly guessing they could make at least $100,000. He doesn't seem to realize that amount splits a lot neater two ways. "It's gonna feel real good to move past this," says Shane.

There's a knock at the door and an unexpected visitor appears: former Strike Team member Tavon. Ronnie and Vic greet him with hugs. Tavon recently got off disability, but still has some physical therapy to go; he transferred to Hollywood Division. "Oh, you went out and found yourself another brother?" Tavon jokes when he sees Julien, "They letting you ride in the front of the bus yet?"

Tavon expresses his sympathy about Lem, then asks to talk to Shane upstairs about someone named Gary Barba. "Hope he fell into a meat grinder," grumbles Shane. Julien asks who Gary is. Vic replies cryptically, "A blast from Shane's past."

Shane dishes exposition to Claudette; Gary was a rape suspect when he and Vic were working Vic, but they never had enough evidence to arrest. "Piece of shit goes off and kills his family a week later." His 10-year-old daughter Camille was the sole survivor. Gary's been on the run for the last 6 years and just tried to get in contact with Camille. Tavon got involved in the case because Camille's foster parents live in Hollywood.

Gary has been calling Camille constantly for days, trying to talk her into meeting up. The girl told Tavon that she was close to Shane during the original investigation. Shane remembers watching her in protective custody, a job that seems like it would've been better suited to Vic or Lem. Anyway, the girl will only meet with Gary if Shane is there to protect her.

Outside, Tavon apologizes to Shane for hitting Mara the night the two men slugged it out in Shane's living room. (Longtime viewers/readers will recall that never happened; it was a lie Lem fed Tavon to keep Shane from getting in trouble). Shane shrugs that bygones are bygones.

Vic has observed the conversation. Shane asks if he can go back and forth; Gary's back and he wants to take him down. Vic inquires if Tavon's memory is back. Shane shakes his head: "He still thinks he smacked Mara around." Vic is relieved to hear that. Shane looks vaguely sick.

Vic knows something about the Box O' Blackmail, but is afraid what Cruz will do with the intel. "I don't pay you to be afraid," says the developer. Vic points out he isn't paid enough to "stand by while you assassinate city officials." He wants Cruz's word there won't be more civilian casualties. Vic heard all the Armenian bosses are meeting sometime tonight. Cruz tells Vic to give the details to Rios.

Camille asks why her dad is coming back after all these years. "Ah, baby, your old man is a bad penny. He was bound to show up sooner or later," says Shane. He promises not to leave the teen's side until she's safe and Gary is in handcuffs. Shane also offers the girl advice he would've done well to take himself: "You are better off dealing with trouble now than looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life."

When Corinne answers her front door, Vic sighs that he's been calling all morning and knocking. Corinne, still in her robe and PJs, says she took a personal day from work. Vic reminds her they were supposed to meet about counseling for Cassidy. Corinne wants to deal with it tomorrow.

"You've been bitching to me about being more involved," Vic says irritably. He looks at his ex suspiciously. "Are you on something?" Corinne admits she took sleeping pills the night before. "Looking at your eyes, they look more like downers," says Vic. Does she know how addictive those can be? I mean, she should; she's a nurse.

Corinne argues she hasn't been able to sleep too well lately. Vic points out she's got primary custody of three kids, two of whom have special needs. Maybe they need to figure out another arrangement if she's popping pills to deal with it. "Let that be the last thing you say before you leave," Corinne growls. Vic is incredulous: "Our daughter's falling apart and you're snoring the day away?" Corinne slams the door in his face.

The naked man claims he can't remember anything that happened after 11 PM last night. He was watching the late news and has a history of sleepwalking. Usually, though, he wakes up somewhere in his house like the garage or kitchen. Once, he got arrested for public indecency after being found naked in a convenience store.

"How does your girlfriend feel about ya runnin' all over town naked?" Dutch asks, trying to lighten the mood. Jeff says he's been separated from his wife for six months. Hey, It's That Guy! Scott Michael Campbell played Dr. Weston on the Netflix series Longmire.

Jeff is a recovering addict who doesn't drink or use drugs. He's scared he might've hurt someone, but can't remember it if he did. Dutch had Tina send a sample of the blood on Jeff's body to the crime lab; they'll know soon enough whether it matches any recent assaults or murders. He inquires about the marks on Jeff's wrists. "Sometimes I tie myself up at night to stop myself from leaving," he explains.
Clearly not a foolproof strategy.

Tina brings Dutch a folder. Six months ago, uniforms responded to a 911 call from Jeff's wife. Maybe Jeff finally killed her.

Shane reports to Vic that Camille is doing well and likes her foster family. Barba wants to meet Rezian in the park this afternoon. In a filthy warehouse, they tell Rezian it'll cost $100,000 to buy the Box O' Blackmail. Rezian wants to see the box first. Vic can bring it at 9 PM if Rezian has the money. Both sides are allowed to bring three lieutenants and no weapons; Vic and Shane will be armed.

Tina hangs up a composite sketch of Robert Martin's killer. Danny recognizes the man. Claudette asks why this is the first she's hearing of Danny being attacked in the line of duty. "The Army surplus room was supposed to be cleared. I didn't wanna get another officer in trouble," she explains. Danny spent her own time looking through mug books and couldn't find the suspect.

Claudette interrupts the Strike Team's lunch break to ask them to track down Robert Martin's killer. He's the same man responsible for the body draggings. She asks where Vic is. Ronnie tells her he's on his way back from following a lead. Claudette doesn't buy that: "I put you in charge of the Strike Team so that I could have somebody who could be held accountable...If I wanted to be lied to daily, I would've left [Vic] in charge."

Claudette shuts the clubhouse doors, saying she knows Ronnie is covering Vic's ass as usual. He looks a little scared by her tone. Claudette has no choice now but to put an official reprimand in Ronnie's file. She warns, "One more and you lose the team, plus your job, if I can manage it." Claudette is willing to tolerate Vic until his hearing, but who'll still be standing when he's gone?

Vic and Ronnie talk outside in the parking lot. Shane has volunteered to handle the Armenian side of their deal. Vic bets he's already spent his share of the money. "Holy shit. This is gonna work, isn't it?" Ronnie breathes.

The blood on Jeff's body came back AB- and Jeff himself has a different blood type. Dutch found out his wife called 911 because Jeff was choking the woman in her sleep. He doesn't believe the guy really has parasomnia.

Billings thinks Dutch is projecting his failure to lock up Lloyd onto an innocent man. "I would hardly say Lloyd burned me. And haven't you got a lawsuit to lose?" Dutch asks nastily. Claudette decides they need to have a conversation with Jeff. Billings is more interested in calling his lawyer, so Claudette will help her old partner.

Olivia worriedly tells Vic that Rios asked for help getting himself and two other guys out of the US tonight. She's considering the idea of turning herself in, but she'll keep Vic's name out of it. Vic is sure she has other options. Hypothetically, how would she go about smuggling Rios to Mexico?

Vic wants to stall Rios. If they can definitively connect him to a crime, they can get him to turn on Cruz. "Vic, I can't have anymore blood on my hands," Olivia says tensely. Vic promises that won't happen.

Vic informs Rios, "Witnesses made two of your boys for the Robert Martin killing." Are they the same two he's bringing tonight? Half of LAPD is looking for them and Rios needs to make sure they're well-hidden.

Vic asks how Rios is getting out of the country. Rios basically tells him "nunya." Vic argues it is. Rios answers that his new ID is being made as they speak. Vic gives him the meeting time and location: Armenian junkyard, 9 PM.

Julien's knock-and-talk didn't turn up Martin's shooter. Ronnie didn't have any luck with the Byz Lats. Shane lets the guys know he'll be late to the meeting; he's still trying to catch Camille's dad. Ronnie looks worried. Vic reminds Shane that Rezian could get cold feet if they start changing the plan, but relents. Shane and the Armenians better be there on time.

Jeff play semantics: "I was grabbing Sophia, not choking her. I was asleep when I did it." He was also asleep when he wandered into the convenience store naked. Jeff admits he hasn't been formally diagnosed as a sleepwalker. "And yet, it's your excuse for everything," says Dutch, "And yet, you won't see a doctor about it." Both good points.

Dutch sits on the interrogation room table and leans close. He thinks being naked in public helps Jeff regain feelings of power he lacks due to his failed marriage. Exhibitionism is a rush "until it doesn't work anymore." Dutch theorizes Jeff "got into some kinky sex," but things went too far and his partner got scared. So Jeff attacked her.

Jeff repeats he isn't lying, then stutters he never meant to hurt anyone. Claudette suggests Dutch step out for a few minutes.

Olivia ran Rios' name through her ICE databases again. After several previous searches turned up nothing, Rios has been flagged on a federal watch list. Cops with cameras are following him 24/7. Olivia isn't sure if Rios is wired or not: "I need to turn myself in now while I still have control." It's downright spooky how much she sounds like Lem. She can arrest Rios when he picks up his fake IDs from her.

Vic lets Ronnie know about the surveillance. It'll be hard to deny involvement when there's photos of him and Rios on the day of the Armenian hit. "Shit," says Ronnie, throwing his taco onto his passenger seat in frustration. Vic is willing to let Rios get away to keep his family safe. They'll still have Rezian, his crew, and Shane.

Vic also tells Cruz the feds are watching Rios. Cruz needs to keep Rios away from the meeting at the junkyard.

Jeff is embarrassed and disgusting with himself for trying to choke Sophia. Claudette understands. Jeff admits he wanted to hurt Sophia because of the bitter custody battle over their daughter. He's ashamed of other thoughts he's had too.

Jeff followed Michael Vick's dogfighting trial and became hooked on the idea of the rape stand dog fighters use to breed the females. He wondered if he could design one for human women. Jeff's been having memory flashes of a young, screaming blond woman: "I think I wanted to kill her."

Camille sits at a picnic table in the park, waiting for her dad. Shane's in a van parked at the curb. The girl is scared. "You're not scared, baby. You're brave," Shane soothes. Tavon asks Shane to tell him what happened the night they fought. "I thought Lem told you," Shane answers evasively.

Tavon's replayed it in his head thousands of times. "We got a 16-year-old girl out there who's scared to death," says Shane, "Maybe this isn't the right time for this."

Cut to Shane locking Gary in the cage. Gary wants him to tell Camille he's sorry for killing Camille's mom and two brothers; he almost killed Camille too. "Sometimes it's too late to apologize, no matter how much you mean it," says Shane, an expert on that subject.

Ronnie sends the desk sergeant on an errand and starts digging through the drawers. Shane has the money from Rezian. Vic wants him to be at the meeting early. Ronnie takes Shane's gun out of the desk drawer, fiddles with it, and puts it back.

Outside, Tavon asks if he can come to Shane's this weekend and give Mara a long-overdue apology. Seeing her in person is the only way he can make peace with himself. Shane understands, but doesn't think Mara would like it. (Also, she probably forgot all about Tavon and the lie that was spun for her benefit).

Tavon nods: "After all, she might not have her iron ready this time." He's slowly come to remember everything about that night, except for the moment he supposedly hit Mara. Tavon knows it didn't happen. "You musta gone through that windshield harder than ya thought," Shane says coolly.

Tavon is pissed that Shane used Lem to cover his ass. He bets it wasn't the first time. Shane freezes in place, staring. "Now I know who you really are...and so do you," Tavon finishes.

Shane goes back to the clubhouse, looking shaken. "I thought you were headed to the junkyard," says Vic conversationally. Shane mumbles he forgot something in his locker. He then suggests the Strike Team needs a fresh start without him. Shane knows they'll never be able to put what he did to Lem behind them. He can transfer if the others want him to.

"Me and Ronnie, we got no axe to grind," Vic lies. When Shane leaves, Ronnie asks, "Can you believe the balls on that guy?" Julien struck out on canvassing another part of town. Ronnie thinks the three of them should do the next round together; splitting up hasn't worked.

In the parking lot, Corinne hands Vic her bottle of downers, which she's supposedly only been taking for a week. She's exhausted and knows she's not handling the kids very well. Corinne loves them more than anything and won't give up on Cassidy. She begs Vic not to take the kids from her. "You think my first move would be to rip the kids from you?" he asks through his teeth.

Dutch managed to find Jeff's victim, a 34-year-old woman named Fiona, in a dumpster. She was stabbed five times. Dutch bets Jeff dumped Fiona's body using his car, parked it somewhere, undressed, and started wandering around to sell his sleepwalking story. When they confront Jeff with the crime scene photos, Jeff lawyers up.

"We gotta pull Shane outta there," Vic pants at the junkyard, "I can't do this." Ronnie tells him it's a done deal; they can never make it this clean again. Vic says, "We still have a choice." "Do you think Shane gave Lem a choice?" asks Ronnie.

Elsewhere, Shane's cell phone rings with, what else, "Dixie." But it isn't Vic on the other end; it's Mara. She wants a favor. Shane tells her now isn't a good time. Mara keeps talking. Can Shane pick up Jackson's prescription on his way home from work?

Shane's call waiting signal beeps. Rezian tells Shane to give his phone to his associate. Shane points a stern finger: "I see any calls to Armenia, I'm coming after you."

In his car, Vic is worried that he got Shane's voicemail. He casually asks Ronnie where Shane is supposed to be meeting the Armenians. They're acting like they don't know because Julien is driving. Vic refuses to "let a team member fall off the map in a red zone."

Rezian complains the Mexicans' arrival is taking too long. Shane steps out to take a look around the junkyard. Two men approach the meeting spot, but don't see Shane. The Mexicans open fire on the Armenians. Shane takes out his gun, but, thanks to Ronnie's earlier gunsmithing, it goes click instead of bang.

One of the Mexicans spots Shane hiding amongst the wrecked cars.

"He's still not answering," sighs Vic, snapping at Julien to drive faster. The dispatcher crackles over the radio. Shots fired near the Armenian junkyard. Vic turns on the blue lights. When they arrive, he dials Shane's phone again. They hear "Dixie" beeping from nearby. The man himself, very much alive, appears. He lies that he was late because he had to sign Tavon's arrest report.

Vic says he tried to call with information on the Mexicans. Shane explains Rezian took his phone. Vic breathes a sigh of relief. "I'm still shaking," says Shane. Ronnie can't find the briefcase of money. Shane's just glad the Mackeys will be safe. Ronnie looks disappointed that Shane's still breathing.

Tina has information that could change things for Jeff. His victim is alive and at Mission Cross Hospital. She reported running into a naked man outside a bar the night before. The woman stepped outside for air after too many mai tais, tripped, and hit her head on a fire hydrant. Naked Jeff pulled on her arms to help her out. She freaked out and ran back to the bar.

Claudette goes back to interrogation, but the door is locked. She calls for a uniform to bring the keys. When the door is opened, we see Jeff motionless in large pool of his own blood.

Vic goes to Corinne's house to let her know she and the kids are safe.

Billings gripes some more about his disability lawsuit. The city is countersuing him for basically filing a nuisance suit. His "bitch dyke lawyer won't take the case without a retainer, but I can't afford the retainer without winning the case." Billings then asks if Dutch is planning to eat that sandwich.

"You know, Steve, someone died here tonight," Dutch points out. Billings helps himself to the sandwich even though he didn't get an answer. Dutch knows why he worked so well with Claudette: she challenged his assumptions and crazy theories.

Billings looks uncomfortable when Dutch lays a hand on his arm. For better or worse, they're partners. Dutch needs Billings' head in the game, not worrying about his lawsuit or counting the days 'til retirement.

At home, Mara puts some soft rock on the stereo. Shane enters. They embrace and kiss. Mara asks where he's been. "Lookin' for a place to hide $100,000 where Vic won't find it," he sighs. He describes the cash as a consolation prize. "Vic and Ronnie tried to kill me tonight."

Shane splashes cold water on his face in the bathroom: "It's sheer luck I'm even alive right now....The worst part is, they think I'm too stupid to even realize it [was a setup]." Shane heaves another sigh and stares at himself in the mirror. End of episode.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Put On Your "Game Face" (Episode 7.5)

Previously on: Teenage Lloyd shot and killed a classmate; he claimed self-defense because the kid had broken into his house. Dutch feared they have a Ted Bundy in the making. Vic started a mini race war by making it seem as though the Armenians stole the Mexican's Box O' Blackmail. City controller Robert Martin's name was in the box, so Edgar-veda convinced him approve a memorial to the Armenian genocide. At a rally to announce said memorial, Martin was assassinated.

Vic discovered a file on his fed friend Olivia in the Box O' Blackmail, meaning his only ally is in Cruz's pocket too. He confessed to Edgar-veda that he's told Olivia "enough to get us both killed." 

Vic and Edgar-veda arrive at the Barn's parking lot at the same time. Ronnie gets out of his car, bandage still wrapped around his arm from the recent dog attack. "You look like shit," Vic remarks. Ronnie finds it a little hard to sleep when he knows Olivia could talk to Cruz and have them greenlit. (Honestly, you'd think he'd be used to green lights by now).

Vic thinks there's a possibility she's planning to take Cruz down herself; it's what he'd do to get out from under someone's thumb.

In Claudette's office, Edgar-veda describes his dead friend Martin as "a glorified accountant, not a very sexy target." He had no enemies. (Well, Lem didn't think he had any either). Claudette explains the Strike Team was present at the rally because of Shane's work with an Armenian informant. Said informant told them about bad blood with the Mexicans. Detective Kouf wonders if recently announced mayoral candidate Edgar-veda could've been the real target.

In the hall, Edgar-veda asks if Vic has change for the vending machine, closing the gap between them so they can't be overheard. Kouf is a great detective and the councilman worries Martin's death could blow back on them. "Neither of us had a thing to do with that shooting by word or deed," Vic reassures him.

He accuses of Edgar-veda of trying to have it both ways: Brand himself as a reformer by busting Cruz, but not until he's done using his fat campaign donations.

"What's up, buttercup?" Vic asks Olivia. She sighs that she needs Vic's help again; the favor has to go through Claudette before she can tell him what it is.

Vic and Ronnie share a tense look when Vic says Olivia wants their help. "Am I missing something?" asks Shane, who's been excommunicated from the inner circle. Surprisingly, Vic tells Shane about the file Cruz has on Olivia. Cruz somehow has proof that Olivia's brother is in debt to mobbed-up bookies.

Shane wants to give the Box O' Blackmail to Rezian and have him return it to Cruz. This would pay off the Strike Team's money train debt and get their families out of Armenian crosshairs. How is that a bad thing? Julien enters, causing Vic to say he'll explain another time.

Olivia drops exposition on Claudette. Gayton Echeverria, known Cuban rat, is visiting L.A. from Miami. He has a meeting with Martin Blez, a denim manufacturer, about using his operation to launder cartel money. Echevarria's daughter, a freshman at USC, was carjacked/kidnapped earlier in the day by three black men.

"In that neighborhood, it's probably gang-related," says Claudette. Olivia nods: "Hence the Strike Team." This is their best chance at stopping the whole scheme. The Strike Team can recover the girl and keep Daddy's mind on the business of drug dealing. Echeverria didn't report the kidnapping to the police; he's using his own men to find her.

Olivia brings them the information on the daughter's car. "Not like we can put out an APB if we need to keep this on the down-low," Ronnie points out. Olivia suggests making rounds of the local chop shops. Ronnie asks Julien to pull files on carjackings with similar M.O.s. Echeverria's four enforcers are all Jamaican or Cuban and heavily armed.

Blez's private plane is due to land at 6 PM. "That doesn't give us a whole hell of a lotta time," says Vic. Olivia warns that Echeverria will get spooked and skip town before the meeting if he senses police presence around his daughter's abduction.

Shane doesn't like the idea of Olivia "walking us into a sketchy case with out-of-town players." They have to assume Cruz is getting a heads-up. Vic thinks Shane is being paranoid, but they should still be careful. Julien found a chop shop on Manzanita that specializes in stolen parts for Japanese cars like the missing Nissan.

In their car, Shane urges Vic to let Cruz have what he wants; his former friend needs to give up the dream of the Box O' Blackmail saving his career. "I don't have to remind you of all the bad shit we've done. You're the one who wrote it all down," says Vic. Shane tells him that was just Volume 1: "The next installment has Ronnie doing Zadofian's murder."

Honesty makes them all blood brothers again. Vic warns that Cruz will "unleash a level of violence and corruption in Farmington that'll turn this place into Little Mexico City." He refuses to let that happen. Vic doesn't trust anyone else to take Cruz out of play. Shane says someone else would just take Cruz's place. For Vic, locking up Cruz is "a down payment on me being able to live with myself."

Claudette calls Dutch into the kitchen. Why has he had Danny intercepting subpoenas to testify at Kleavon Gardner's trial? Dutch explains that he didn't think Claudette needed the stress of being cross-examined by Kleavon, who's acting as his own defense attorney. "Because of my illness?" Claudette guesses. Well, their last meeting, Kleavon did push Claudette down the stairs, which put her in the hospital.

Dutch promises Danny doesn't know why she was hiding the subpoenas. "I want this prick to get the justice he deserves," says Claudette. Kleavon is coming to the Barn later this afternoon to take her deposition.

As they pull up to the chop shop, a car peels out of one of the bays. "Got a rabbit," Ronnie says over the radio. The pursuit goes through an alleyway, nearly running over a pedestrian. The sudden appearance of a garbage truck inadvertently helps the team intercept their suspect. "Llwellen Wang?" Shane says incredulously, reading the guy's driver's license.

Wang protests he doesn't know anything about a missing girl. Four Caribbean dudes showed up while he was hanging out and asked about a Cuban girl. His friends didn't know what they were talking about and "dudes went at 'em with knives and shit!"

Wang points the guys to where this took place. "Zorro wannabe?" Ronnie quips, seeing the letter carved into the dead man's cheek. It looks more like a "N" to Vic. The drug lord's daughter is named Noelle. "They weren't wishing him an early Merry Christmas." says Vic.

A pompous Kleavon throws out all the legal jargon he picked up from watching Law & Order before asking Claudette to state her name and her relationship to the defendant. "I investigated the murders you committed and I arrested you for them." "What you're expressing is a very personal, biased opinion," says Kleavon.

Claudette advises him to "enjoy [his] charade." He'll be getting the death penalty for the murders he committed in California and Texas. She didn't interview other suspects because she didn't have to. Kleavon thinks Claudette acted out of prejudice: "We all know that serial murder is a white man's crime." Claudette reminds him of the videotaped confession.

Kleavon asks if Claudette is on any prescriptions. ADA Insardi tells both parties that's irrelevant. Kleavon holds up a prescription bottle he somehow got out of Claudette's trash.

Olivia arrives at the chop shop. Shane called a friend of his who works Robbery-Homicide; they've had three carjackings in a month that also involved sexual assault. Vic suggests reaching out to our old friend Deena the car thief, even though this isn't her M.O.

When Shane and Vic come knocking, someone starts shooting at them through the closed door. Vic goes around the side and almost gets shotgun pellets to the face as he dives through a window. Shane orders Deena to drop the gun.

Kleavon asks if Claudette was on steroids while interrogating him. "You are way over the line," says Insardi. Kleavon argues it goes to state of mind. Claudette claims she needs a bathroom break. Kleavon knows that's a side effect of steroids.

Dutch pulls Insardi aside. Can the ADA stop this deposition? Claudette's medical history is irrelevant to the case.

We see why Deena was so spooked. Her accomplice lies dead on the floor, an "N" carved into his cheek. "I came back from a run and I found him like that," says Deena. Her attire (low-rider jeans and a tight T-shirt) makes me doubt that story. There's a lot of demand for "Jap cars", so anyone could have their silver Nissan.

Vic asks if she knows any carjackers who target women specifically so they can rape them. She suggests Ghost Town Piru or Hollis Lane. Deena looks at the dead man and sighs sadly: "I liked him. He could've been the one. We were talking about getting out of the game." Vic thinks that's a good plan.

Kleavon remembers Claudette becoming unsteady and developing a nosebleed during his interrogation; he saw her fall down the stairs. "You're not a medical expert," chides Insardi. Kleavon points out he never went to law school either but is still being allowed to defend himself. Long-term steroid use can cause paranoia and psychosis. Does Claudette suffer from those side effects? She shakes her head.

Kleavon asks if Claudette remembers lying that his sister Fatima was strangled in an alley. Claudette defends it as a legal interrogation tactic. Insardi tells him to stop that line of questioning. Kleavon argues he would've said anything out of distress, thinking his sister was dead. Any evidence can be discredited through Claudette's supposed mental illness.

"You're putting on quite a show," says Insardi, "You think you're gonna get acquitted, think again." Kleavon wants the death penalty off the table; he's a changed man, in love with one of his prison pen pals. "Even more reason to put you down like a sick animal," says Claudette.

Chotzen, the FBI profiler who helped Dutch work Kleavon's case, wants to meet with him to discuss Lloyd's case. Billings warns that Mrs. Denton will figure out Dutch thinks her son is "Jack the Ripper Jr." His partner is free to beat a dead horse if he wants.

Danny asks Vic if he's signed the paternity paperwork; her lawyer wants to file it by the end of the week. Vic is curious about the rush, but Danny dodges the question.

Enter Corinne, clearly frustrated: "Cassidy's been suspended from school. I give up. She and her friends were at some pimps-and-hos party. All the girls had to wear lingerie." Holy shit, Cassidy is supposed to be in 8th grade! Where the hell did these girls even get lingerie? Stealing from their moms? Maybe I was sheltered, but I never even heard of parties like that until I was a high school senior.

Vic's reaction is much the same as mine, growling "pimps-and-hos" through his teeth. One of Cassidy's classmates posted photos of the girls in their underwear online. And that's not all. Corinne whispers, "There were drugs involved." Cassidy admitted she did ecstasy after Corinne threatened to make her take a urine test. She wouldn't say who gave it to her.

"I don't know what to do," Corinne frets. Vic says, "I sure as hell do!" Who threw the party? Corinne thinks it was a boy named Mickey. Vic promises to handle it.

Shane has confirmed it was live ammo fired at them. Vic doesn't think Olivia was behind that. Claudette wants the Cuban car thief in jail or sent back to Miami. Julien suggests following up on a statement made by a domestic abuse victim that uniforms have upstairs. The woman's abusive boyfriend is a gangbanger with a history of carjacking and has been bragging about "running a train on some Latina."

"Happen to mention if ol' girl was Cuban?" asks Ronnie. The girlfriend shrugs, "Cuban, Mexican, it's all reggaeton to me." Her boyfriend punched her when she refused to have sex with him. He's also a member of Ghost Town Piru.

Dutch and Chotzen go out for tacos. The profiler just got back from China, working a case where 37 women were "autopsied pre-mortem." Dutch tells him about 16-year-old Lloyd, who has "no obvious killer symptoms." However, Dutch doesn't buy the teen's story about shooting an intruder; he thinks it was a thrill kill. And if Lloyd is doing this now, what's he gonna do when he's 25? Dutch doesn't want Chotzen to let Lloyd know he's a cop too.

They bring Lloyd in based on the ruse that Chotzen is some sort of therapist. Lloyd says he's all talked out. Dutch goes back downstairs to sit with Mrs. Denton, explaining it's "easier to vent those feelings to a blank screen." She reports her son's been doing "surprisingly well" since the incident. Dutch presses. No anger or bedwetting? "My son is 16," Mrs. Denton says as though she thinks Dutch forgot that fact.

Ronnie peeks out a window with his binoculars, radioing that he sees a silver Nissan parked across the street. There are four guys in the loft. Vic plans to go with Shane and make the rescue look like a robbery by a rival gang so as not to tip anyone off about police involvement. Julien pipes up from the backseat, "No offense, but the only set you guys can claim is Aryan Nation." Vic has a way around that, but he needs Olivia's help getting Claudette to approve it.

Claudette doesn't like the proposal; it's too risky for police and civilians. She's sure it was Vic's idea. "I sign off on this insanity, here are my terms," says the captain. She wants Echevarria charged in Farmington before any federal cases are made. "Any blowback from Vic Mackey's voodoo law enforcement is on you."

"You don't have to wear your own colors. No one's gonna see your faces," Vic reassures the gangbangers. They seem to know about Shane's fling with a fellow gangbanger's girlfriend. Vic will allow them to take their own guns, but no ammo. Julien will accompany them to the fake robbery. "Now that we undercover brothers, don't you think we need to be deputized?" asks Burnout.

Vic tells them to raise their right hands. "Now do this while you do this," he instructs, rubbing his stomach and patting his head at the same time. The gangbangers fail to see the humor.

Chotzen and Dutch watch as Lloyd talks to a shrink. Lloyd worries that his mom is disappointed in him. He does some exercise where he addresses the kid he shot, saying it's all that guy's fault. Chotzen thinks Lloyd could be "speaking to his own shadow-self," which "could be interpreted as guilt."

However, Chotzen finds Lloyd's behavior more in line with the typical PTSD you'd expect after something like this. Dutch thinks he's wrong. If that's the case, the profiler says Lloyd is "a sociopath with a well-constructed mask of sanity." However, something is odd about Lloyd.

Insardi announces she's willing not to seek the death penalty if Kleavon pleads guilty to everything and accepts serving life without parole. Claudette hopes that if there's a God, Kleavon meets the same fate as his victims: throat cut, "miserable and alone."

Julien goes in the building first, then Burnout crashes the gate with his Escalade. While the real gangbangers do crowd control, Julien heads upstairs. Noelle is naked and whimpering, tied down to a filthy mattress. Julien undoes the ropes and throws her clothes at her: "Get dressed, bitch."

While he and Burnout fake a scuffle over some rims, Noelle runs out of the building. She flags down Danny, cruising by in plainclothes. The marked units surround the building. The Strike Team heads in, Ronnie toting Lem's favorite shotgun.

"I hear you're an attorney now. Not sure if that's a step up or a step down from doing time for murder," Dutch quips to Kleavon. He asks for Kleavon's expertise as a killer and shows him the tape of Lloyd's interview with Chotzen. "We all gotta ride or die with what the good Lord meant us to do," says Kleavon. Lloyd can be stopped, just like Kleavon himself was. "All it takes is a pair of cuffs and a cage to throw him in."

Vic parks at a house where two middle schoolers are shooting hoops in the driveway. "Which one of you fine young men is Mickey Dightman?" he asks politely. The kid with long blond hair nods. Vic tells him to put his hands behind his back. "What did I do?" asks Mickey. Vic smiles, "That's what you're gonna tell me, big pimpin'."

At the Barn, Vic shows Mickey a picture Corinne found online of the teen smoking a joint. He estimates booking to release will take about 18 hours. He bets the Dightmans are gonna love "being in and out of court for the next year, trying to clear their baby boy." Mickey claims he rolled his one joint from the weed patch that grows wild behind his school.

Vic questions him about the ecstasy. Danny knocks at the door; Mickey's dad is here and a parent's presence is required during the interview because of his age. "Your son is involved in a drug investigation," Vic informs Mr. Dightman. He had to make sure Mickey was safe before calling. Can Dad get Mickey to cooperate.

A glare is all it takes. Mickey stammers, "This girl in my grade, the pimps-and-hos thing was her idea...She scored the ex...The only thing Cassidy asked me to do was put together a mixtape." Vic's mouth drops open just a little.

Shane goes up to Ronnie in the parking lot, saying he knows his friend sees the big picture. "With what you did to Lem center and foreground," Ronnie says bitterly. Shane wants to appeal to Ronnie's better judgment, "even though I know I will forever be on the wrong end of it." "You got that right," grumbles Ronnie.

Shane worries Vic is gonna land the three of them in jail for life. Ronnie doesn't see anything wrong with Vic protecting his family. Shane knows it's more than that; Vic is trying to balance the ledger for Terry "in that big ol' box of sins God keeps on all of us." Ronnie replies, "I don't believe in God." "Oh, you will," counters Shane.

Vic thinks he can fix the world; Shane isn't like that and he knows Ronnie isn't either. Taking down Cruz won't change anything. Vic doesn't listen to Shane anymore, but he'll listen to Ronnie. Shane is aware Ronnie hates him, but Ronnie also knows the right thing to do.

Dutch vents his frustrations about Lloyd to Claudette. If Mrs. Denton realizes he's still a murder suspect, "she'll circle the wagons around her sweet teen killing machine." Is a better detective someone who arrests a guy after committing 30 murders or the one who prevents 29 of those murders from happening in the first place?

Dutch is sorry to hear how the deposition worked out. Claudette isn't; Kleavon plead guilty and she has the only copy of her deposition tape. Claudette sighs, "[I'm] more a liability with each passing day." If Kleavon can sense she's sick, how long will it take before a real lawyer does?

In the clubhouse, Vic wonders whose side Olivia is really on. "Makes sleeping tonight just as rough as it was last night," nods Ronnie, "Shane wants me to have the come-to-Jesus conversation with you about ending the war." He honestly think Shane has a point. Vic says, "I can't give back what I don't have." (Besides, he has bigger fish to fry. Like his 13-year-old daughter organizing drug and sex parties).

Vic explains Edgar-veda has the box. They still don't know if Olivia is Cruz's mole, a detail that has to stay between him and Ronnie.

In her office, Claudette confides to Danny that she's sick. Would Danny like a full-time reassignment as the captain's assistant? Danny smiles and agrees. She's finally got her ticket off the street.

Corinne isn't sure she wants to believe Mickey's story. What can they do if it is, anyway? Ground Cassidy until she's 21? "Or she can start learning about consequences the hard way like these people," says Vic, gesturing at the female side of the cage. Corinne balks. Vic doesn't want that to be her future either. "She's a good kid," Corinne insists. Vic thinks she better start acting like one again.

Danny starts in on him again about the paternity claim. Vic refuses to sign it. Danny thought they had a deal. "You have no idea what it takes to raise a child," says Dad of the Year. Danny never planned on Vic being part of Lee's life. "I may not have been part of the plan, but I was 50% of the execution," says Vic, which is a fair argument.

Danny thinks Lee's best shot at a good upbringing is Vic staying out of his life. Vic snarls that he won't abandon his son.

Dutch goes to Lloyd's house for a chat. He knows the kid planned on killing Luis and made it look like a robbery. Killing probably gets Lloyd off, but Dutch won't let him get away with it. Mrs. Denton emerges from the bathroom, putting a robe over her pajamas. She thanks Dutch for being helpful. Lloyd tells his mom Dutch stopped by to officially clear him of Luis's murder. "What a relief," Mrs. Denton sighs.

Olivia comes home to find Vic (and his gun) waiting for her. He takes her service weapon. She flirts that he could've just asked for a late-night rendezvous. He found a thick file on her nightstand that's labeled VICTOR MACKEY. How long has she been working for Cruz?

Two years ago, Olivia made documents in a bookmaking case disappear because they proved her brother was in debt to a cartel-financed casino. Cruz found out. Olivia thought she could live with the deal; they never asked her to do anything overly untoward. She recently smuggled four illegals over the border by pretending she was taking them for further questioning.

Olivia thinks those four men were behind the body-draggings on Kearney a few episodes back. She knew they weren't coming to the U.S. to pick lettuce. Olivia has dug herself a hole and she doesn't know how to get out of it. "You're talking to the right guy," says Vic, who's heard that song more than once. End of episode.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Armenian "Genocide" (Episode 7.4)

Previously on: Agent Olivia Murray of ICE offered assistance shutting down cartel activity in Farmington. The Armenians greenlit Vic and the rest of the Mackey clan. Armed with a Box O' Blackmail on local politicians who might oppose it, Mexican cartels have been buying land in Farmington a la Gilroy. Vic made it appear the box was sold to the Armenians, kickstarting some good old-fashioned ethnic discord. 

Vic went to Rezian and confessed his role in the money train heist. He can't pay the mob back financially, but will grant them three favors. Ronnie has come to hate playing nice-nice with Shane every day. (And who can blame him? Shane killed his best friend).

Vic found out Cassidy and a friend were drinking when she was supposed to be watching Matthew. Cassidy pushed Corinne over, causing Vic to get a little overenthusiastic disciplining her.

Vic knocks on Corinne's door, asking to talk to his eldest. Now isn't a good time; the kids are already late for school. Plus, Cassidy is pissed off at Corinne for grounding her. Vic pleads that his hours don't give him much free time and Corinne relents.

They discover Cassidy has locked herself in her room, but she does let them in. Vic apologizes for grabbing her arm the night before. She mumbles a halfhearted acceptance. Corinne and Vic want to talk more about the drinking. Cassidy's only response is to put on her backpack and say she's ready for school.

"You made a big mistake with your brother. It coulda had some goddamn serious consequences!" says Vic. Corinne tells him not to swear. Cassidy demands an explanation for her dad's behavior: "The investigations done on you? You're the criminal!" "I'm your father!" Vic yells, "I'm gonna be your father whether you like what I teach you or not!" His ex and daughter leave.

Elsewhere, the fire department is putting out the remains of Rezian's safe house. Two bodies were found inside, but are too burned to ID. Vic guesses Cruz's amigos are hunting for the Box O' Blackmail. Rezian being dead could ruin the deal Vic and Shane made with the Armenians.

"Mmm, s'mores," says Shane as they enter the wreckage. Claudette is not amused. Julien exposits it was definitely arson; there are gas cans on the floor. The two men were shot in the head before the fire was set. Ronnie isn't sure there's a connection, but today the neighborhood is hosting a memorial march for victims of the Armenian genocide.

Claudette asks if the Armenians have made any new enemies. Vic has heard "street chatter" about a Mexican beef. They'll see if Rezian can ID the victims. On the sidewalk, Shane mutters that Rezian's possible death could be a good thing for them. Vic disagrees, "Cut off the head and the tentacles get frisky."

Rezian, it turns out, is alive and well in the back room of an Armenian grocery store. He doesn't give names, but tells Vic the dead men were his lieutenants. Vic isn't surprised the Mexicans are trying to finish what they started in jail. Some valuable Mexican intel recently went missing. Rezian wants a sit-down with whoever burned down his other store; he has to make them understand the Armenians didn't steal from them.

Rezian knows there aren't enough Armenians in L.A. to sustain a war against the Mexicans. Vic advises him those guys can smell weakness. Rezian is sure that after the meeting, the Mexicans will search for their missing items elsewhere. Vic agrees to make the arrangements; this being favor number two.

"It's time to end this war we started," Shane says tensely outside. Vic says they can't yet. The meeting will happen. Shane asks if this is another surprise ending he'll learn about too late. Rezian isn't their only target; Vic wants to take down Edgar-veda's friend Cruz as well.

Shane doesn't see how it's the Strike Team's problem if the Byz-Lats take over Farmington. Vic explains that busting Cruz will almost certainly guarantee he doesn't lose his job. The Box O' Blackmail belongs to Cruz, which firmly ties him to the cartels. Cruz could kill all the Armenians for them before ending up in jail.

Vic tells Cruz that Rezian wants to make a deal. "I'm not paying anyone to give me back my property; I'm paying you to get it," says Cruz. Vic is sure Rezian will be happy to hold onto the Box O' Blackmail if that's how Cruz feels about it. Cruz is also free to "burn [his] way through the rest of East Hollywood."

Vic will set up a meeting, but Cruz himself has to be there: "I'm not walking into the belly of the Armenian beast with one of your day laborers as my date." Inside a trailer on the construction site, Cruz introduces Vic to his right-hand man Rios. Vic's "not sure he'll pass for brains." Cruz tells Vic he'll walk out of the meeting if the Armenians don't have the Box O' Blackmail in hand.

At the Barn, Vic describes Rios as having "a face only a cartel could love." The meeting likely won't happen, but it'll still appear that they did their job for both sides. Julien ran Rios' name and discovered he's "a nonperson, at least stateside." Vic plays it off like they suspect Rios of torching the building. Julien needs to dig deeper. "I'll try and find a bigger shovel," he nods.

When he's gone, Vic says, "You gotta love that first-year Strike Team enthusiasm." He instructs Ronnie to keep an eye on Julien. Rios can't know what they're really up to. Olivia arrives at the clubhouse, causing Vic to nervously chuckle and shoo away Shane and Ronnie.

Vic has a favor to ask of the feds. Their arms might not be long enough to reach their arson suspect. She agrees to run Rios' name through federal databases, which are much more extensive.

Across town, a man lies dead in someone's living room. Claudette and Tina explains the victim was a burglar, shot by teenage resident Lloyd. The kid was home alone, heard glass break, and got the family gun. To quote another great FX character:
Dutch can't believe the chief won't let Claudette out of mandated monthly field time, given her health issues. After having been her partner for so many years, you'd think Dutch would know she doesn't accept special treatment.

Billings doesn't think the case warrants any further investigation. However, they can't close the case without a statement from Lloyd, whose age requires parental presence. Tina called Lloyd's mom at work. Billings and Dutch introduce themselves to Lloyd and explain his mom will meet them at the Barn.

"Why would Luis break into our house?" the upset teen asks. It turns out he and the victim go to the same high school.

Claudette inquires why Vic is having Julien run Rios' name. Vic shrugs it's a hunch that he's not sure will pan out. She asks Shane if he got hold of Rezian. Shane nods; Rezian ID'ed the victims as his lieutenants Matavian and Bozian. Rezian has no idea why Mexicans would have a problem with his crew. Claudette seems to buy it, suggesting they reach out to Olivia.

Dutch shakes hands with Lloyd's mom. Mrs. Denton is sure Lloyd was only acting in self-defense. Dutch agrees with her estimation, but they still need her permission to talk to him. Upstairs, the kid gives his version of events.

Lloyd was doing his homework when he heard someone break in. He grabbed his mom's gun from her room. Mrs. Denton bought it because a crappy neighborhood is all she can afford since Mr. Denton walked out on them. Mother and son both took gun safety classes at a firing range. Lloyd didn't realize it was Luis until after he'd shot him; they don't hang out with the same crowd at school. In fact, Luis was kind of a bully.

"Why would Luis break into our house?" Lloyd repeats, "I never did anything to that kid, Mom, I swear." He sniffles. Mrs. Denton tries to soothe him: "This isn't your fault." Dutch suggests mother and son go have something to eat together; any further questions can wait.

Billings still thinks this was straight-up self-defense. Dutch muses that everything played out like a textbook interrogation. Billings has learned that when "the Wagenbach freak meter points to red, you listen." The victim-kills-bully angle has piqued Dutch's interest. He wants to consult Luis's friend and partner in torment Diego.

Danny is surprised when Cassidy turns up on her porch, asking to come in. She doesn't see the baby. Danny explains she just put Lee in his crib for a nap. "Who does he look like now? You or my dad?" Cassidy inquires. She tells Danny the things she read about Vic online. The teen's next question knocks Danny for a loop: "Do you think he killed Terry Crowley?" "No," Danny replies.

Danny tells Cassidy she needs to be more worried about school at her age. Cassidy keeps on about Vic: Is he helping take care of Lee? Is he even paying child support? Danny hasn't asked him too. Cassidy mutters, "I don't blame you." Danny is really uncomfortable talking about Vic with Cassidy.

"You have no reason to defend him. I mean, he gets you pregnant and then he dumps you," Cassidy says hotly, "Who does that?" Lots of guys. Open any newspaper's birth announcements and see how many single moms you find. Lee starts crying in the other room, giving Danny the perfect cue to exit.

Olivia wasn't able to find anything on Rios either. Vic shrugs that he knew it was a long shot. Shane wonders if Rios is involved with the cartel at all; the feds should've been able to turn up something.

Vic tells Rezian the Mexicans aren't interested in a peace treaty until their stolen Box O' Blackmail turns up. Rezian agrees to return the box. Vic is incensed: "You were crying to us this morning that you didn't even know what they were looking for." Shane refuses to "walk into a Mexican hat dance without a ticket."

Vic wonders what's so important about the contents of the box. Rezian snaps that it's none of Vic's business.

"He's bigger," Cassidy observes, watching Danny balance Lee on her hip. There's another knock and this time it's Corinne. She's not happy; Cassidy is supposed to be at school making up a missed test. "If you didn't ground me, I wouldn't have to sneak out," the teen sasses.

Corinne grabs her eldest by the arm; they're going home. Cassidy leaves to get her backpack from the nursery. Corinne thanks her ex's baby-mama for telling her where Cassidy was. Danny informs her that Cassidy was asking about Vic, but Danny knows it's not her place to give those answers.

Billings uncovered Luis's motive for breaking into Lloyd's house; he and his pal Diego had shorted their drug connection and needed cash. Does anyone at school know Lloyd's schedule or that his mom works a lot? Lloyd isn't sure. He maintains that he called 911 immediately after shooting his classmate. "Must've been upsetting. All that blood," says Dutch.

When the detectives talked to Diego, he seemed sure there would be $1,000 in cash someplace in Lloyd's house. Mrs. Denton says, "The most expensive thing we own is a 25-inch color TV."

They take Mrs. Denton to the observation room. Dutch worries about Lloyd having the emotional tools to cope with what happened. It must be hard being a single mom. Mrs. Denton tries her hardest to make sure Lloyd gets a good education; she never had the opportunity to go to college herself. Lloyd aces his tests, but has a "C" average because he won't do his homework.

"Lloyd says he was doing his homework when Luis broke in," Dutch points out. Mrs. Denton guesses he decided to start listening to her advice. Dutch requests permission to stay in touch with the family so he can make sure Lloyd is getting the kind of counseling and help he needs. Mrs. Denton agrees.

"We know Rezian's lyin' about the box, so we can't anticipate his next move," says Vic. Shane guesses the Armenian is preparing for a shootout. The meeting spot has no surveillance cameras and two entry/exit points. Ronnie can back the others up from outside. Vic wants Rezian instructed to bring three men and no weapons.

Ronnie asks how Vic expects to play both sides, even though Vic's been doing that since their first operation as the Strike Team. Vic tells Shane to step in if things go south (we all know the Southerner's always had the coolest head).

Shane gets a phone call with Rios' location. "How's that possible when Olivia came up empty?" Vic wonders. Picking Rios up would mean no meeting with Rezian, but they'd have time to figure out Rezian's angle. Vic arresting Cruz would screw up the whole arrangement they have. The Strike Team needs to figure out a way to keep Julien on a leash for the duration.

The guys meet with Julien, whose friend at Border Patrol put Rios on their unofficial watch list. Rios has family at the house they're parked in front of. Ronnie and Vic take the back while Shane and Julien go around front. Rios is in the living room and Vic shoos him out. "TV's on. Looks like we just missed someone," says Shane.

Billings is tired of talking about Lloyd; Dutch "spinning the grassy knoll" means nothing without evidence. Dutch recites a profile: highly intelligent male, unstable family, piss-poor student, and absent father. Billings bets Dutch's hunch has to do with a crush on Mrs. Denton.

"Let's say he lures the school bully over, shoots him for some perceived slight," says Billings. Dutch shakes his head; Lloyd didn't seem angry enough for that to be his motive. However, Ted Bundy started killing in his early teens. Methods get more sophisticated over time. Billings doesn't buy that Lloyd is a serial killer in the making.

Shane and Vic pat down the Mexicans for their meeting with Rezian. The first thing the Mexicans ask is: "Where's the box?" The Armenians swear they don't have it. Shane and Vic step in when the argument starts to escalate. "I don't know how this rumor got started, but I can't give you what I don't have," says Rezian. He's willing to let the murders of his brethren go unanswered and help the Mexicans find out who stole the Box O' Blackmail.

"Rezian's lying through his Armenian teeth," Vic tells Cruz. Cruz's second-in-command challenges, "What good is a dirty cop selling bad information?" Vic promises his intel was solid, even though Cruz has never seen proof the Armenians have the box. Maybe they should look elsewhere for it.

Dutch and Mrs. Denton sip some coffee at her place. Dutch empathizes with Lloyd's lack of a male role model; his own dad died when he was 6. Mrs. Denton reveals Lloyd's dad was a drinker. Since the divorce, she's never felt the need to settle. "A woman like you shouldn't have to," Dutch flirts.

Billings excuses himself to the bathroom. Mrs. Denton didn't think detectives made house calls. (One could argue that's mostly what they do). Billings sneaks into Lloyd's room. The teen's walls are plastered with pretty damn good self-portraits drawn on notebook paper.

Dutch inquires about Lloyd's school friends. "There aren't a lot of white kids," says Mrs. Denton, then hastily amends, "Not that that matters." The other boys at school just seem like they're involved with drugs and/or gangs, so she's been hoping Lloyd would find a girlfriend instead. Dutch says he was a late bloomer and didn't date until college.

Dutch suggests bringing Lloyd into their conversation "so he can process this in a healthy way." Billings reappears and helps himself to a cookie. Dutch lays out the plan: put the case to rest and see if the victims' fund will pay for couch time with a psychologist.

Vic enters Edgar-veda's office. The councilman snaps for Vic to call next time. Vic wants help with "an Armenian political win" because Cruz thinks they have the Box O' Blackmail. It behooves them both to keep Rezian on that same train of thought.

Edgar-veda has an idea. One of the men in the Box O' Blackmail keeps blocking funding for an Armenian genocide memorial. Vic thinks that'll "resonate big with the right ears." Vic's target? His old friend Robert Martin, the city controller. Cruz has Martin dead to rights on an insider trading scheme.

Ronnie anonymously calls Martin, pretending he knows about the politician's deal with the Berkley Group: "Insider trading is a crime. You've been a bad boy." "I don't know what you're talking about," Martin lies, hastily shutting his office door. Ronnie says that information is in the hands of Armenian interests, people "who'd love to see their ancestors' names commemorated in stone." Martin claims it's too late to fund the memorial. Ronnie doesn't think so.

Vic wishes he could've made the call; Martin never came through with the favor he promised. Ronnie points out, "He would've known your voice in a second." "Now he's gonna know my foot up his ass," says Vic.

Cruz tells Vic about Martin announcing a local memorial to the Armenian genocide. He thinks Rezian must've been lying about having the Box O' Blackmail. Cruz will present his design for the memorial at an Armenian march and knows Rezian won't be able to resist being there. "We agreed: no civilian casualties," Vic reminds him. Cruz promises there won't be any.

While the kid reads over his statement, Dutch asks if Lloyd misses his dad. "What there was to miss about him, I guess," shrugs Lloyd. He's sure the late Papa Wagenbach would be proud of Dutch. Billings summons Mrs. Denton to sign some paperwork. She reluctantly leaves the observation room. As he passes, Billings taps the interrogation room door.

Dutch mentions the drawings he saw in Lloyd's room. "A lot of great artists did self-portraits," says Lloyd, lying that he's not great at drawing. Dutch recalls Lloyd was doing homework when Luis broke in. Does Lloyd remember what subject? "Chem," the teen replies. From talking to Mrs. Denton, Dutch knows that's one of Lloyd's worst subjects.

There are details about Lloyd's statement that don't make sense. Is he sure this is exactly how it happened? Lloyd offers to show Dutch his half-finished lab report for chemistry. Dutch knows about the gun safety classes, which teach people to leave the gun unloaded until they're ready to use it. He's surprised Lloyd had time to load it as fast as things must've happened. Lloyd guesses it was adrenaline. He maintains he didn't recognize Luis until he walked up to the intruder's dead body.

Dutch has his own theory of the crime. Lloyd enticed Luis to come over by telling him about the nonexistent cash hoard his mom kept around, offering to split it 50-50 if they made it look like robbery. "Only when Luis breaks in, you're waiting there to kill him. To see what it feels like." Some people feel powerful when they kill. You'd know, wouldn't you, Dutch, you cat-strangling maniac?

Billings knocks on the door again. Dutch changes tune, asking Lloyd to sign the statement. He wants Lloyd to promise he won't blame himself for surviving the break-in.

At the Armenian rally, Edgar-veda wraps up an interview with the local news station. Martin hates seeing city fund squandered on huge events like this. Edgar-veda is pleased he had a change of heart about the memorial.

Shane and Vic are in the crowd, keeping a watchful eye on Rezian. If anyone's planning a hit, it'll happen before the speeches. Just as Martin walks toward the podium, there's a gunshot. The crowd starts screaming and running. A wounded Martin collapses on the steps; Edgar-veda yells for a medic.

A short time later, Claudette arrives in a police car. This is the second crime in Little Armenia today and there's still no lead on the first.

Vic storms into Cruz's office, announcing, "You and me, we're done! You can keep your money!" Martin's death was an assassination, plain and simple, Cruz's way of sending a message: "I'm still a goddamn cop!" "Not for long and not without me," says Cruz. He's sure Vic can draw suspicion away from him.

To do that, Vic needs a scapegoat. If Cruz doesn't find one, Vic will make sure the Box O' Blackmail finds a permanent home in Little Armenia.

At the Barn, Dutch and Billings rewatch the tape of Lloyd's interrogation. Dutch can't believe a kid his age managed to commit the perfect crime. He worries, "We let this go and Luis is just Victim #1." Billings has accepted they'll never know what really went on in that house.

Vic asks Olivia to run Rios' name again. Edgar-veda joins them. When she leaves, he shuts the clubhouse door. Vic promises he had no clue the plan was to assassinate Martin. Edgar-veda snarls, "You don't care who has to die to save your job...but I did not sign up for this." Vic argues the councilman did when he got involved with Cruz.

Vic tries to see the glass as half-full. Martin didn't deserve what happened, but his death gives them concrete proof that Cruz is dirty. Their federal friend Olivia might be able to connect Cruz to the cartels, insulating Vic and Edgar-veda from any fallout.

Ronnie and Julien bring in arson suspects Pedro and Miguel. Witnesses were too scared to ID them until after Martin was shot. (You'd think that would make them more scared). "Make sure the entire team expresses their gratitude," Claudette says pointedly.

Rezian doesn't understand why Martin was targeted. "He supported your cause," Shane answered. The Mexicans wanted to send a message. Rezian wants Shane's help recovering the Box O' Blackmail; it'll count as the last favor to earn his freedom. That sounds like a darn good deal to him.

Danny has papers for Vic, drawn up by a lawyer. His face falls when he reads them; Danny wants him to waive his parental rights to Lee. She had it put in writing "so that there's no confusion down the road."

Vic groans when he sees Edgar-veda waiting by his car: "You forget to hit me up for a campaign contribution." Edgar-veda wants to know how close Olivia is to uncovering the truth. He thought her name sounded familiar and hands Vic a folder. "Her name's in the blackmail box?" Vic asks in disbelief.

Edgar-veda wants to know how much Vic told her. "Enough to blow things with Cruz, maybe get us both killed." Vic admits. End of episode.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Here's Your "Money Shot" (Episode 7.3)

This "previously on segment" jumps around everywhere: Tina's carelessness enabled a suspect to jump Danny. Claudette confided in Dutch about having lupus. Vic learned the truth about Lem's death. Shane put together a dossier on the Strike Team's sordid dealings and promised it'll be delivered to IA if anything happens to him. He told Vic the Mackey family was greenlit by the Armenians.

Edgar-veda's college friend Cruz is the middleman in a Mexican Mafia scheme to buy up Farmington property. Cruz has boxes of blackmail material to force the hands of city officials. Vic hid the files. 

Shane warned Rezian that Mexican inmates were planning to kill him. Vic agreed to work with Shane to keep his family safe, but that doesn't mean he trusts his former best friend.

Shane scans Rezian's office to search for bugs. He heard the Top 10 Gang list is saving a spot for the Armenians...if the feds don't get to them first. Rezian will be the most famous Armenian gangster in L.A. now that he's taken over Diro's crew. "Up until now, we've been slow-dancing. If we're gonna slip into bed, I'm gonna need some protection." Lovely metaphor, Shane.

He sets something down on the desk. The remote he used to scan for listening devices is actually a police radio, broadcasting to Vic and Ronnie. Rezian asks for a favor. He knows LAPD is about to destroy some confiscated guns. "I'm sure the SWAT team guarding that shipment won't have a problem with me taking a few," Shane says sarcastically.

Rezian wants Shane to find out where the guns are kept. Shane tells Rezian there's easier ways to get illegal weapons. Rezian is only interested in the confiscated weapons; the serial numbers have been filed off. When Shane refuses to help them, Rezian says, "You just killed your friend and his family." Shane tells Rezian to go ahead: "I'm not going on some career suicide mission for you!"

Rezian thought Shane wanted to settle his money-train debt. Shane reminds the Armenian who saved him from a shanking. Rezian would be willing to put the value of the guns towards the money-train loss. It's no deal unless Rezian says what he plans to do with said guns. Rezian cryptically replies they'll be sold out of state.

"Interesting strategy," Vic remarks when Shane joins him and Ronnie in the clubhouse. Shane believes this deal will get the Armenians off their collective back forever. Ronnie dislikes the idea of innocents dying elsewhere to save Vic's family. He doubts Rezian will give up the person on his crew who told him about the Strike Team robbing the money train. (I'll give you a hint: He's not Armenian).

Vic, desperate to protect Corinne and the kids, doesn't see any other option but to go along. "So all we gotta do is hijack the department's annual PR bonanza," says Ronnie. Vic thinks he might be able to convince somebody to let them have the guns instead of just stealing them outright.

Vic checks out the abandoned building and the Box O' Blackmail is gone. Hours later, he pays a visit to Edgar-veda's office. "I knew you couldn't resist the temptation to use [the box] for your own purposes," says the councilman. He's hanging onto it until he thinks it's a good time to pass it along to the Justice Department.

Vic protests they could lose their leverage against Cruz. If the developer has half a brain, he's never talked to anyone with a file in the Box O' Blackmail. Information in the wrong hands could destroy the careers of everybody Cruz has dirt on. "Before one of them has a chance to save your job, right?" Edgar-veda guesses.

Vic huffs a sigh. Won't the Justice Department wonder why Edgar-veda kept the Box O' Blackmail for so long? Vic could tell them Edgar-veda is "trying to extort his way into the mayor's office." "You'd only be incriminating yourself," Edgar-veda warns. Vic could be forced out of his job any day; he has nothing left to lose. But if he tells the right story, Edgar-veda won't lose face.

The councilman advises Vic not to look for the box; he's hidden it well. Vic doesn't need the box when he has Edgar-veda.

Out in the Barn parking lot, Vic expresses doubts to Shane that Edgar-veda will play ball. Shane found out the confiscated guns are stored in five different places in the city. Dispo Day is in 48 hours, so the stash has to be consolidated. The question is where. Vic doesn't want to accept the responsibility of hijacking the guns until they both talk to Rezian.

When Vic introduces himself in the Armenian's office, Rezian shoos his secretary/probable concubine out. He reaches for the gun hidden down the back of his jeans. Shane hastily tells Rezian that he can't pull off the heist without Vic; after all, Vic has four very good reasons to make sure it goes well.

Vic admits to robbing the money train, "but we both know I just stole what you already stole." Rezian demands to know who else was in on it. Vic continues, "Me, my buddy Lem who's dead..." Shane looks mildly guilty at this.

Disappointingly, Vic covers Shane's ass. He claims the other money-train bandits were Lem's friends from out of town; he has no clue how to find them. Rezian suggests killing Vic right here and now. Vic knows he can't afford to do that. Rezian's crew is still getting their legs under them and they don't understand their Mexican enemies.

Rezian wants the cash returned. "Sorry, we burned through the money," Vic apologizes.

You can say that again...
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Vic won't deliver the guns unless he knows their destination. Rezian simply says they're going to Chicago. In exchange for wiping his debt away, Vic offers to become Rezian's personal genie. The guns are wish number one. "But once you've had your three meals, we walk away from the table fat, happy, and even," says Vic.

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The Armenians will need help to keep the Mexican gangs in check with intel only Vic can provide.

Shane worries about Rezian's right hand Khalulian making trouble. Vic wants to take things one step at a time: Get the gun shipment and find out who the Armenians are selling them to. Shane doesn't care. The Armenians will get guns one way or another.

The former best friends stop by one of the gun storage point. Vic hopes the clerk can save Shane's ass, spinning a tale that Shane put a gun "into the pile headed for the Smith & Wesson weenie roast"  instead of the evidence locker. Said gun was used to injure two people during a robbery and the robber has been granted a new trial.

The evidence clerk is sorry, but they're too late. The confiscated guns, all 8,000 of them, have been moved to the impound lot on San Fernando. Odds of finding one serial number are slim. (Not really, considering those get filed off before disposal). Vic guesses he can tell the D.A. to use charm instead of forensics.

Danny approaches Billings, who's working a sudoku puzzle at his desk. A woman wants to speak to a detective about a missing person. "So? Give her the paperwork," says Billings. The civilian already made a report and might have new information. Billings, however, is about to start on something else. "What? The crossword puzzle?" Danny asks incredulously.

Danny passes the case on to Dutch. Marisol Griego reported her 16-year-old friend Wan Lee missing yesterday. Billings suggests the teen ran away. Marisol is sure her friend was abducted. The girls were going to hang out at a restaurant after school. Wan was parking her motor scooter when Marisol saw a man shove her into an SUV.

A uniform contacted Mrs. Lee, who said her daughter isn't missing. Marisol insists something bad must've happened. The girls had a midterm today. Wan never skips school; she gets straight A's and dreams of going to Stanford.

Dutch knocks on Mrs. Lee's door, explaining that Wan's friend is concerned. Mrs. Lee already told the other cops nothing is wrong. Dutch would be happy to close the missing persons file if he can speak with Wan for a minute. Mrs. Lee says Wan isn't around, adding, "Come back when my son is home." Her daughter went away for a few days. Is that anything like girls in the 1950's and 1960's mysteriously dropping out of school to live with a faraway relative?

Dutch suggests calling Wan. Mrs. Lee insists she has to talk to her son before she does anything else. They don't need help from the police. She closes her door.

Billings is sitting in the car with his eyes closed, listening to the radio. Dutch knocks on the window. Billings, of course, is irritated and would rather be investigating real cases. Dutch thinks Mrs. Lee is hiding something. (So do I).

Shane calls Vic from San Fernando. It'd be easy enough to drive in and out of the impound lot using their badges. The guns must be in the warehouse the department uses to store the really expensive impounded cars. There's only one guard, who, according to Shane, "couldn't protect his own asshole." Have you ever heard the saying that if something's too good to be true, it probably is?

Shane also saw their old drug dealer friend Burnout driving a tricked-out Escalade. "Business must be good," Vic surmises. He hangs up and turns to Olivia. An Armenian CI just tipped him off about a major gun heist. Vic is willing to let the feds in on the bust because "we're all fighting the same war."

Olivia tells Vic about some advice her dad gave her as a girl: If a guy does you a favor, that's just him being nice. If he does two, he's "either trying to put his hand on your wallet or down your panties." Vic bets Olivia's dad had to chase boys off with a stick. "Louisville Slugger," she corrects, "And he wasn't afraid to use it."

This wouldn't happen to be your dad, would it?
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She advises Vic to think again if he believes handing her cases will get him sexual favors. Vic explains to her about his impending forced retirement and his desire to get as many bad guys off the street before then; he's done with jurisdictional pissing matches.

A guy named Axl (no, not Rose) toys with his long, disgusting hair in the Barn's lobby. (Sidebar: this actor once played a biker named Jackass on CSI). He seems to know Claudette. The captain seems exasperated: "What do you wanna tell me that you couldn't tell the desk sergeant?"

Someone named Larry has been hanging around Axl's porno store, asking him to invest in his movies. Larry is sleazy even by porn standards, paying his actresses with cocaine in lieu of cash. Axl threw Larry out of his store. "Because you commit your smut to a higher standard?" Claudette says lightly. Axl thought she might be interested in a "drug-peddling, money-laundering asshole."

Claudette brings Axl to the clubhouse for a chat with Ronnie. Larry's pornos run the gamut: threesomes, girl-on-girl, interracial. Axl eyes Julien: "You know, if you ever get tired of squashing people's civil rights, I can make you some real money." I don't think Vanessa would be down with that. Claudette instructs Axl to set up another meeting.

The captain tips her head, indicating for Ronnie to follow her out. She wants him to bring Tina to the bust as bait. Oh, I can only think of about 100 ways that plan could go wrong. Claudette wants Ronnie to find out who supplies Larry's coke. She also wonders where the rest of the Strike Team is. Ronnie lies that Vic and Shane are meeting a CI.

Vic and Shane pull over Burnout's slick new Caddy. Vic holds out a palm for Burnout's license and registration, then says he has to arrest Burnout for driving without them. "You got 'em both right in your goddamn pocket," Burnout protests. Shane cautions if he talks back, they'll tack on resisting arrest. Vic yanks Burnout from the driver's seat.

In the van, Ronnie wires Axl for sound, telling him, "Make the introductions and shut up." Tina, dressed in a pink tank top that's rather conservative for an aspiring porn star, fluffs her hair. Julien instructs her on procedure: Wait to be offered the drugs. If she asks outright or is vague, it's considered entrapment. (I give her all of 30 seconds before she fucks that up). Tina wrinkles her nose: "I was listening the first time you taught me that."

Larry is glad to hear Axl finally stopped making granny porn. Has Tina ever been on camera before? She nods that she's made sex tapes with one of her boyfriend Devon (who's actually Julien). "Devon" was hoping they could become porn's version of Brangelina.

Larry squeezes Tina's breasts. "Small but natural," he pervs. Squeezing her butt, he asks if she's done anal. "I was waiting for the right material," she replies. Larry starts undoing his belt, telling Tina to get naked; it's part of her audition. Tina informs him, "I don't get laid unless I get paid."

Larry suggests giving Tina something to help her relax. Oh, and does she have a stage name? "Persuasion," says Tina. Larry chuckles, getting a wooden box out of his desk. He tosses Julien a baggie of Viagra and Tina gets a thumbnail of coke. (Seems like that drug would do the opposite of put her at ease).

Before things go any further, Julien draws his gun, announcing Larry is under arrest. Tina grabs Larry's junk, hard: "Natural, but small." Even I have to admit, that was a nice burn.

A tow truck driver pulls up to seize Burnout's truck. Vic wants it dropped off at the Barn with instructions not to touch it. The driver reminds Vic it's department policy to store luxury cars at San Fernando. We see Shane lying on the floorboard of the Escalade, peeking out from under a blanket.

Julien leads Larry out of his office in handcuffs. Ronnie tells the porn producer he'll be charged with drug distribution. "I don't sell it." Larry sounds offended, "I give it away. It gets better performance out of the girls." He also gives up his source: Demetrius Harms. (Apt surname for a drug dealer). Ronnie tells Axl to get lost.

Dutch knocks on Mrs. Lee's door again; this time, accompanied by Danny. Nobody was at the Lees' store and her son is supposed to be working there today. Mrs. Lee continues to insists her daughter isn't missing. She says something in a foreign language and a teenager (presumably Wan) appears. The girl doesn't look well at all.

Ms. Johnson of CPS leads Wan up the Barn's stairs. Dutch waylays Wan's brother Joe when he tries to follow. He explains mother and son will have to wait in the lobby. Dutch offers to let Danny sit in on the interview. "Maybe I should be the one to talk to her," she suggests.

Upstairs, it sounds like Danny's not having any success. She repeats that she just wants to help the teen. People are just concerned where Wan's been for three days. "I'm here now! What difference does it make?" snaps Wan. Danny theorizes that Wan was kidnapped and let go because Mrs. Lee paid the ransom. Wan denies that's true.

Danny gently asks why the teen is so angry. She knows Wan is a good kid, a honors student with a real shot at Stanford. Would it help if Danny shared a secret of her own? My first thought is Danny might tell her about an unwanted pregnancy during her high school years.

Instead, she tells Wan about the botched search: "I didn't even see the guy's face until he was choking me." Danny was afraid she'd die, leaving her son motherless. She was also angry enough to kill the guy.

Wan's eyes fill with tears and starts to sob. She manages to say, "They raped me."

The tow truck drops the Escalade (and its concealed human cargo) at the warehouse. Listening to the guards talk, Shane almost stupidly pops his distinctive spiky hair into view. After the garage door closes, Shane stealthily exits the truck.

Vic gets a call from his PI Ray, wondering if Matt's allowed to play outside by himself. Vic says no. Well, Matt must not know that because he's walking down the street. Corinne left the house about an hour ago and Cassidy is inside hanging out with a friend.

Ray starts to follow the kid, calling, "Matthew!" Matthew runs and hides behind a woman who's watering her lawn. Ray introduces himself as a friend of the Mackeys and tries to grab Matthew's arm. Matthew, predictably, jerks away.

The woman isn't familiar with the Mackeys and is damn sure not letting Ray near Matthew. "Ray!" Vic admonishes from the cell phone. The woman bets the police can sort this out. "Vic, you better get down here," Ray says tensely.

Ronnie calls Vic to let him know he's on Demetrius' trail; evidently, he's someone they've been trying to bust since the guy moved from Oakland. He'd appreciate Vic's help. Vic can't. He asks, "Is there any way you can squeeze in a couple of unis without alerting the African queen?" Ronnie heard Demetrius only has one guy with him; he can handle this.

Ronnie tells Julien to put Larry in the van. They can't process Larry first because they can catch Demetrius alone or understaffed.

Vic's car screeches to a halt outside Corinne's house. Ray assures him everyone is okay. In the kitchen, Vic gets the surprise of his life. Corinne is being handcuffed by a sheriff's deputy. It seems Cassidy and her friend Ellen were drinking beer in her room while Cassidy was supposed to be babysitting Matthew.

Where was Corinne, you ask? A parent-teacher conference for Matthew and Megan. Vic can't believe she left the kids alone. Corinne argues it was only an hour; she feels Cassidy is old enough to babysit and so do I.

Vic tries to talk the deputy into letting Corinne go, one brother cop to another. The deputy can't; Ellen's parents complained about the drinking. The best he can do is release the kids into Vic's custody. "Vic! Vic!" calls Corinne, obviously scared. He promises to come to the sheriff's department and straighten everything out. Cassidy walks into the hall and sees her mom being escorted away.

Dutch informs Claudette that Wan agreed to let Ms. Johnson drive her to the hospital for a rape kit. Claudette praises him. "Actually, it was Danny who got her to open up," says Dutch, giving credit where credit is due for once in his life. Wan provided valuable information. She was held in an empty house near the freeway and remembers seeing a Spanish billboard advertising suntan lotion.

Dutch goes downstairs to break the bad news about the kidnapping/rape to Joe and Mrs. Lee. "Just bring my sister back here," Joe demands, "There was no kidnapping." (Funny how he doesn't deny the rape). He's calling a lawyer.

Panting heavily, Shane loads the last of the gun crates into the Escalade. He calls Vic and is unhappy his partner hasn't been outside keeping watch. Vic's sorry, but he was dealing with the small matter of Corinne being arrested. Fortunately, he was able to get bail. Shane remains pissy about having to make a clean getaway on his own. He hangs up with a sigh.

Vic's next call is presumably to Olivia. All he says is, "This is Vic Mackey. It's going down."

The guard outside turns his back and Shane sprints for the SUV, skidding a little on the polished concrete floor. He manages to drive out of the impound lot undetected.

Elsewhere, Larry and Ronnie knock on Demetrius' door. There's nobody home except for a pitbull. "Shit! Shit!" Larry cries as he's bitten. It's too bad Shane killed off the dog whisperer. Trying to stop the attack, Ronnie finds himself with his arm locked in the pitbull's jaws. Their screams bring Julien and Tina out of the van.

Julien radios for an ambulance; Tina goes behind the house. "SHIT! SHIT!" Ronnie's voice is the loudest I've ever heard it.

Rezian directs Shane and Vic into an otherwise empty parking lot. Shane had to leave some of the guns behind, but the Armenians should still have plenty. Vic has an odd feeling. By the way, did Shane tell Rezian the feds are after the Armenian mob? Rezian snaps at Vic to help Shane transfer the guns.

Suddenly, a radio beeps. Vic whirls around. "That's a police radio!" he cries in faux shock, "Jesus Christ, you were set up!" He and Shane are leaving. Vic suggests the Armenians not take the guns. Rezian and his counterpart exchange a look. Rezian jumps into the backseat of Vic's car before he pulls away. Less than 30 seconds later, Olivia and a group of police cars arrive.

Billings has been contacting real estate agents about houses for sale near the sunscreen billboard and came up with three possible matches. Impressive police work for him. Wan's rape kit was positive. Dutch asks Billings to keep mother and daughter separate until they find out what's really going on; big bro went off to look for a lawyer. Billings agrees to sit Wan in a quiet room with some mug books.

At the possible crime scene, Danny lies to Dutch that she wasn't really choked by a suspect. She was just hoping to draw Wan out.

Vic has circled back around to the parking lot now crawling with cops. He bets Rezian is glad he listened to Vic. Rezian bitches about his associates being arrested and losing the guns. If Vic or Shane sold him out, they're both dead men walking.

Vic points out that sending Rezian to jail would be a dumb move on his part; there are still outside men who could hurt Corinne and the kids. The Armenians must have a snitch in their midst.

At Rezian's, Vic tells the mobster to get rid of anything incriminating. Shane swept the front room for bugs. Does Khalulian happen to have a private office? Why, yes, he does. Through some sleight of hand, Vic makes it appear that Khalulian's phone was bugged. He then stomps on said listening device.

Does Rezian honestly think the Mexicans will ever back off of him? Vic offers to do background checks on other members of Rezian's crew to make sure they're loyal.

Outside, Vic is gleeful about all the new intel coming their way. Shane asks if Vic understands he's trying to help. I think you've "helped" enough to last you a lifetime, Shane. Vic wasn't willing to let someone else's kids die in Chicago. Shane is worried Khalulian could rat on the two of them.  "Let him," Vic shrugs, "Claudette was in on it."

If anyone asks, Shane and Vic's involvement in the money train heist was a lie Shane used to keep Rezian close. Shane wonders why he was kept in the dark. Because Vic doesn't trust you anymore, dummy. "I'm the one standing by you, Vic," says Shane, "You're the one cutting me out, punishing me." And let's think about why...

Dutch knows the uniforms don't like having new administrative duties. What Claudette could really use is a good assistant. Dutch even has a candidate in mind: Danny. He expresses his opinion that everyone else who works the desk is "under-used or under-qualified."

Dutch is sure Claudette's noticed how Danny's changed since Lee's birth: "Some kind of maternal survival instinct. I think what she really wants is something out of the line of fire." She's just too proud to ask for it herself.

Upstairs, the house's tenant, Peter, is handcuffed to a table. "I never touched [Wan]," the man insists, "She had sexual contact with two other minors." He refers to what happened as "part of therapeutic treatment." Joe, head of the Lee family since his dad's death, had learned Wan was in a lesbian relationship "and didn't appreciate his sister disgracing them."

"So her brother hired you to rape the lesbian out of her?" asks Dutch. That's one of the more bizarre defenses I've heard on this show. Peter argues he was demonstrating "a preferable alternative." He hopes Wan's "therapy" will prove successful. Furthermore, Peter has signed papers giving him legal custody of Wan and a check for $3,000.

Ronnie comes back to work with bandages wrapped around his forearm, reporting he had to get 19 stitches. Julien put out a broadcast for Demetrius' car; a neighbor said the dog was always in the backyard, never the house. Ronnie bets Axl tipped Demetrius off.

In the clubhouse, Ronnie pushes Axl onto the sofa. He informs the porn salesman he was attacked by Demetrius' dog. What was in it for Axl? "You're barkin' up the wrong tree, fellas," he chuckles. Very poor choice of words. The DEA has been notified; Julien reckons it'll only take about 10 months for Axl to get his store back. Axl explains he didn't want to burn Demetrius because the guy is dangerous.

Olivia proudly tells Claudette the bust netted 900 guns, thanks to Shane cozying up to Rezian. "Southern charm's good for somethin'," says Vic. Claudette hopes this has gotten them closer to bringing down the whole Armenian mob. But Khalulian isn't talking.

Corinne home from jail. Hearing a knock, she opens the door for Vic. She tells him Cassidy is in her room. Vic calls out; his eldest appears, looking sullen. "Never mind the illegal drinking. You were supposed to be watching your brother," Corinne says hotly. Cassidy thinks 10 is old enough to take care of yourself.

"He's autistic!" her mom reminds her. Cassidy glares: "He's your responsibility, not mine." "Hey! Who the hell do you think you're talking to?" Vic barks. (Given that Cassidy is played by Michael Chiklis' oldest daughter Autumn, I wonder if he's doing the Method acting thing).

Cassidy sasses that Corinne is the only parent who's ever around. She turns to head back to her room. When Corinne tries to stop her, Cassidy pushes her mom to the ground. Vic grabs Cassidy by the upper arms, ignoring her protest of "You're hurting me!" Vic bellows that she's never to push Corinne again.

Scared, Cassidy tells him it was an accident. Vic gives her a shake. Corinne tells him to let go. Shaking, Cassidy goes to her room and slams the door. "We didn't raise her to be like that," says Vic. Corinne wants him to leave. Vic stammers that he didn't mean to be so rough with her; he wants to apologize.

Corinne repeats that he needs to go. Reluctantly, Vic does.

Shane's apartment is full of boxes. No sooner is he in the door than Mara's complaining: "You said we had to move and you made me do it all by myself." Where has he been? "I was out," Shane answers testily. He lets her know how stupid it was to open her mouth to Corinne.

Shane dumps a box upside down on their bed; his Strike Team blackmail file is gone. What did Mara do with it? Why, she left it in her purse...completely unsecured in the next room. Shane notices the envelope has been opened. "Goddamn it," he mutters, heading for the front door.

Shane plans on giving the file to Vic. He has another copy in a safe place. Shane promises they'll be done with Vic forever once the rest of the Mackeys are no longer in danger. But despite all evidence to the contrary, Mara, Jackson, and their unborn baby are the most important people in the world to Shane.

"Used to be worried about Lee not having a sibling. Now I'm not so worried anymore," Danny remarks to Dutch. He asks how she'd feel about moving to administrative duties full-time to help Claudette. The captain's been erratic and really needs someone reliable. He's not at liberty to be more specific.

Down in the lobby, Dutch tells Joe he's under arrest for kidnapping and conspiracy to commit rape. He's also arrested Wan's so-called "therapist" on the same charges. Marisol arrives, breathless with relief that her friend is alive. She's shocked when Wan tells her to go away.

Vic eyes Ronnie's bandaged arm: "Bite looks bad. How's the bark?" Ronnie sighs, clearly not in the mood for jokes. He got in trouble for doing a major bust undermanned. Vic is sorry, but he had no choice. "We all had choices once. And we made 'em and now we gotta live with 'em," says Ronnie.

Vic promises they're getting out of the shit storm. After all this time, Ronnie knows better. To quote the late Curtis Lemansky: "I've always gone along with everything you've ever wanted and all it's down is get us deeper and deeper into shit!"

Ronnie says bluntly, "I'm tired of walking around half the day smiling at a guy who put a grenade in Lem's lap." You tell him, Gardocki! He understands Vic's family is at risk, "but I'm not gonna drown for Shane. Or you."

Vic has the list of Rezian's most trusted associates, just five guys. He's not ready to move on Rezian until he can bring Cruz down with him.

Shane pokes his head in the clubhouse, holding the blackmail. He lies through his teeth that it's the only copy. What happened with Corinne won't happen again. Ronnie and Vic both look doubtful. Shane rolls his eyes. What do they want? Blood? I think Ronnie would prefer dropping a grenade in your lap and calling it even.

Vic has something to say to his former bestie: "We all heard the lies about Lem. Knew he was under pressure, scared." (Not to mention physically ill). "Thought he might've turned. None of us will know exactly what he would've done, but you were the only one of us who saw him. Now I hate it. And it hurts me." Vic is on the edge of tears. "But under the circumstances, you made the only decision you could at the time."

Whoa, whoa, whoa. You did not just excuse him for what he did! Shane sighs and bites his lip, teary-eyed himself. He's glad Vic finally understands. Vic is sure they'll put this whole thing behind them someday. Shane leaves. Ronnie gives Vic a hard look as if to say: "Not all of us..." End of episode.