Friday, January 27, 2017

Picking Up "Strays" (Episode 3.11)

Previously on: Vic shot Terry Crowley in the very first episode. Dutch arrested Will Faulks for being the Cuddler Rapist. Vic had a fling with Lauren the K-9 handler, which she ended when her boyfriend found out. Shane found out that Mara sent the missing $7,000 to her mom.

Vic and Shane are staking out a liquor store. Two guys are inside talking. Shane asks if they're supposed to wait until money is exchanged. Suddenly, their suspect punches the other guy in the face. "Or until he hits him," says Vic, driving up to the front of the store. Shane drawls, "Strike Team is back in business, asshole."

Lem, who's been inside posing as a customer, yells that the guy is going out the back. Vic tells Shane to get the car. Lem hops over a couple of displays on his way out. Ronnie has caught up to the suspect. Shane parks the car. He and Lem go one way, Vic and Ronnie go the other. Lem and Shane find some little yappy dogs in the backyard.

When Shane kicks in the back door, their suspect is there. A young guy points a gun at Shane. "Hey, I'm a cop!" he yells. The kid fires, missing Shane and shattering a lamp. Vic catches the shooter when he tries to dive out a window. The guy starts claiming he didn't know Shane was a cop until it was too late. "Well, here's so you won't forget," says Vic, punching him in the kidney.

Shane comes out of the house and kicks the suspect in the balls, then throws him on the ground. Before anyone fully realizes what's happening, Shane has grabbed a child's bike and hit the suspect with it. He gets on top of the guy and punches him in the face a few more times. "You look like a cop!" the suspect finally cries. Vic tells Shane that's enough.

Will has decided he wants to talk to Dutch after spending a week in solitary. Dutch guesses he wants to brag. Claudette says Will's wife Joanna still won't say anything. Dutch thinks she seems harmless. So did Marcy.

Vic shoves their suspect, Trick, into a living room chair: "We rarely talk to someone who's taken a shot at us. Usually, it's their next of kin." They caught the still-unnamed suspect shaking down a liquor store owner. Why would he run into Trick's house?

Lem appears with a department store bag and asks when Macy's starting selling prescription drugs. I wonder if he's got anything in there for ulcers. Vic dumps out the bags and examines the bottles: Oxy, Percocet, Valium... "What you run for, Luddy?" Trick calls to the guy in the other room. So they do know each other.

Ronnie sees a car pulling up outside. "Finish it," Vic instructs Shane, who obliges by putting a gun to Trick's head. Trick says it's probably his runner there to pick up the bag Lem found. Vic lays out the plan: He'll open the door and if Trick tries to run, he'll sic Shane on him.

Trick looks through the peephole and says it's one of his mules. Just in case the mule is armed, Vic and Lem draw their guns. Vic jerks open the front door, only to come face-to-face with a blond woman carrying her young daughter.

Back at the Barn, Trick yet again asserts that shooting at Shane was an accident. He'll even make it up to Shane. Trick doesn't sell the illegal scrips; that's his boss Lewis. All he personally does is recruit runners. "From where? The PTA?" asks Shane. Trick points out that nobody pulls over soccer moms. Shane makes it clear that giving up a drug dealer doesn't wash away trying to shoot him.

Trick mentions that on top of drug running and owning a custom car shop, Lewis launders money. He invests dirty cash in his car business, calls his "investors" silent partners, and gives them a cut of the profits. Vic is intrigued for more reasons than one.

On the balcony, Shane flatly refuses to work with Trick: "This asshole tried to kill me." Vic reminds him they wouldn't have gotten that tip without him. And isn't Shane supposed to be coaching Stella on what to say to the Treasury agents?

At Shane's place, Stella doesn't like the idea of lying to the feds. Mara tries a guilt trip: "Do you want me to lose my realtor's license?" Stella pours herself a tumbler of Southern Comfort. "If there's one thing the federal government does right, it's collect taxes," Shane puts in. They hate to ask her to lie, but if she doesn't, they'll both lose their jobs. He even offers to give her $3,000-4,000 for the trouble. "I'll do it for Mara," Stella sighs. Not quite the same ring as:
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When Dutch arrives for work, Joanna is waiting in the lobby and wants to talk to her husband. Dutch tells her that's not happening. She's free to visit him at county lockup, however. Joanna tried and Will refused to see her. "You have an innocent and scared man in prison," she says. Dutch tells her that Will's DNA matched the rape kits. He'd like to interview her to clear her as an accomplice. Joanna refuses unless she can talk to Will first.

A homeless man accosts cars at a stop sign, asking for cash. If he doesn't get any, he breaks out the taillights with a pipe. "I be ruling with an iron rod as the vessels of a potter shall be broken to shards," he says. Clang association, great. The next driver is understandably scared and tosses a dollar out the window.

Danny pulls up in her patrol car and orders him to drop the pipe. He complies. Julien pats him down. "Verily, I say to you be holy, for I am holy," says the man. Now we have religiosity. Add in some persecutory delusions and we'll hit the schizophrenia trifecta. "Take a bath recently?" Julien asks rudely. Shockingly, that doesn't send the man into a rage.

Vic brings Edgar-veda a list of people who've invested in AGC, Lewis' body shop. One is the head of a gang called the Farmtown Mijos; another is part-owner of a local racetrack. The captain can't do anything without more evidence of illegal activity. Vic wants to set up a drug sting on Lewis to get him to cop to the rest: "You net the octopus, follow the tentacles, get the ink." I like his analogy.

Lewis only recruits female runners and interviews them personally. The problem is the Decoy Squad has been shipped back to Wilshire. I doubt he'd go for Lem or Shane in a dress. Vic requests to have Danny play the role of soccer mom, even though she's never been undercover before. Edgar-veda doesn't like making a deal with someone who tried to shoot a cop. Vic doesn't either, but this could be the biggest case of their careers. Unable to resist the idea of being in the headlines, Edgar-veda agrees to send Danny in.

Danny and Julien put the homeless man in the cage. He's been arrested for vagrancy before and has been in and out of psych wards. Shocker. The homeless man asks when he gets to see a judge. Julien tells him to be patient. "He is. A mental patient," Vic jokes.
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Vic approaches Danny, asking what she did to piss off the captain. He needs a woman to go undercover, but Edgar-veda seemed pretty reluctant. He explains the assignment and Danny's game. Vic finds Lauren the K-9 handler in the evidence room. He better hope there's no money in there. Those of you who've seen Natalie Zea in Justified will know exactly what I'm talking about.

She's there because one of her dogs found 5 pounds of pot in a locker at Farmington South High. Vic makes another lame joke/Motley Crue reference: "Smokin' in the boys' room." Lauren tells Vic that she wants to date him, her boyfriend Hunter's been threatening suicide if she ever leaves. Vic asks if she's safe.

Lauren assures him that Hunter is more interested in hurting himself than her. She can't break up with him right now, but doesn't want to wait to sleep with Vic again. This brings back memories of the Winona-Gary-Raylan love triangle.

Joanna sees Will being brought into the Barn. He ignores his wife when she calls for him. County jail guards escort him upstairs and handcuff him to the interrogation room table. Before he talks to Dutch, Will wants a grilled cheese on sourdough, bacon on the side, fries, and Pepsi. He's never seen his wife so upset and he doesn't want his crimes affecting her more than they already have.

Dutch says that if Joanna was involved, Will can't protect her forever. Will is sure he can get her to cooperate.

The Mackeys have been called to Matt's school because he bit a classmate. "Another one?" asks Vic. The boy's skin was broken and he had to get a tetanus shot. Matt's behavior has been a problem the last couple of weeks. Corinne explains that Matt doesn't have home OT anymore and she hasn't found a replacement therapist.

The principal tells them Matt will have to be put in a one-to-one classroom for the safety of the other kids. "How's he supposed to learn how to socialize if you won't let him near other kids?" Vic asks. Honestly, that is a fair question. The Mackeys are "paying [them] 25 grand a year so he won't get stuck in a public school broom closet."

The principal gives the family an ultimatum: If Matt hurts another student, they'll have to find another school. So it'd be okay if he hurt a teacher? Just saying. Vic knows no other school would take an autistic kid who's been labeled as violent.

Outside the school, Vic asks Corinne to re-hire Owen. She can't. They had a fight and Owen took a job in Phoenix. There's a waiting list for OTs. Vic will come by tonight and talk to Matt about his behavior.

Joanna wants to talk to Will alone, but Dutch can't allow it. Will hates that he dragged her into this. Joanna is sure this is all a big misunderstanding. "You're not involved, so just tell the truth." says Will. He shocks her by calmly adding, "I did it. I raped those women. I killed them. I brought you things from their houses." She believes the police are making him say it.

Will repeats that he did it. His best hope is life without parole, so Joanna needs to get on with her own life. They'll never see each other again after today. And oh my God, It's That Guy! Clark Gregg played a much nicer character, Phil Coulson, in The Avengers and (ironically) Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Joanna tells Will how hard things have been for her. The neighbors stare. The school where she teaches told her to take a leave of absence until after the case is resolved. What is she supposed to do? Will wants her to leave. "My mother said I was a bad wife. Was I a bad wife?" Joanna frets as Dutch escorts her out.

Vic tells Danny she'll be unarmed and without a wire. I can only think of a few hundred ways that could go wrong. Shane and Lem will be her backup while Vic and Ronnie stay with Trick. "Always thought when I finally went undercover, it'd be as a hooker," Danny muses. I'm sure that could be arranged. Vic pretty much tells her that.

When she, Ronnie, and Trick are gone, Vic reminds Shane how helpful making this case could be. Lem's more concerned about Stella. Shane says the Treasury agent wants to stop by when she goes home to Indio. "I'm gone a couple of hours and you two are in bed with a cop killa?" Shane asks. Vic says it was Edgar-veda who gave the go-ahead.

"He took a shot at me and no one here seems to give a shit!" yells Shane. Lem tries to calm him down, reassuring him that Trick will go to prison for that. "Maybe next raid, I'll catch that bullet. You won't have to worry about a connection between you and her." Oh, come on, Shane, nobody said they wanted to see you dead. He looks like he might cry when he finishes with, "Just lay it all at my door."
Shane slams the door as he leaves the clubhouse.

Dutch tells Will that he's being charged with 3 murders and 7 rapes. Will doesn't deny that he did it. Dutch asks if he's done anything else. The answer is, of course, no. Dutch is curious how Joanna didn't think anything was suspicious about him staying out all day and all night. "I told her I was working or writing," Will explains as he eats a fry. She never saw that part of him.

"You were married for 8 years. She didn't wanna see it," Dutch opines. Will kind of shrugs: "Being married doesn't mean you know what's in a person's heart." He wants to know about Dutch's love life. Is he married or divorced? When Dutch says the latter, Will inquires as to who left who. He bets Dutch didn't find out what his ex was really like until after the fact. That's how that normally works...

"We're deaf and blind here. Be ready for anything," Vic advises Lem over the radio as they sit in their respective cars. Shane is worried that something could happen to him; Vic's good at solving problems and if he starts to see him as a liability... "Dude, he's never gonna kick you off the team," Lem says easily. I think Shane was leaning more toward "I could end up like Terry."

"If Vic ever thought me and Mara were becoming a problem, you'd let me know, wouldn't you?" Shane asks. If I were Lem, I'd think long and hard about whether I'd only alert Mara and let Shane deal with the consequences. Things have been pretty tense between them lately. Lem must be thinking along the same lines because he doesn't answer.

Trick introduces Lewis to Danny. Lewis asks for her license. Danny produces the fake that Ronnie gave her. When Lewis learns Danny doesn't have kids, he tells her to buy a car seat out of pocket. He instructs her to spill some stuff on it and put toys in her backseat. I have the sudden mental image of Hugh Grant in About a Boy crushing chips into a car seat to make it look like he had a kid.

Lewis will be keeping her license until he finds out if she's the real Danielle Spencer. Really, Ronnie? Were you even trying to come up with a decent alias?

Claudette asks about the homeless guy who was breaking taillights. Julien tried to have him committed to the county psych ward, but there were no beds. Claudette tells him to try private hospitals and homeless shelters. If the guy is ex-military, he could go to the V.A.

Joanna is hanging around smoking outside the Barn. Dutch lets her know she's been cleared as a suspect. But it's not as simple as that: "People think I'm guilty of living with him and not telling them he was a monster. How does a wife not know?" She wants to Dutch to ask Will what she's supposed to do now, then come back and tell her. I have a feeling she's not gonna like the answer.

Back at the car shop, Lewis has a diaper bag full of drugs for Danny. He tells her to give it to someone named Weston and wait on the porch. She needs to drive no more than 5 miles an hour over the speed limit. Danny's on her own if she gets a ticket. Lewis threatens, "If it gets back to me, I'll make sure you never have kids."

Vic tells Shane and Lem to make sure the drop goes smoothly. As Danny heads down the sidewalk, a man accosts her and tries to grab the bag. The boys jump out of their stakeout car. The man knocks Danny to the ground and runs away with her bag. Vic handcuffs Trick to the door handle in his backseat, then joins the chase.

When Vic and Ronnie get to Danny, her shirt is ripped, but she's otherwise unharmed. She's more upset about losing the drugs than anything. Vic notices Trick has slipped his cuffs somehow and is gone. "Goddamn it, goddamn it!" Shane swears. Vic kicks the car in frustration.

Shane is like "I told you so." Danny knows that if they don't get the drugs back, they can't do a sting on Lewis and the captain's head will explode.
Actually, he's more likely to chomp off somebody else's head.
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Danny suggests she go back to Lewis and explain what happened. Lem thinks that's a bad idea because Trick probably already tipped Lewis off. Danny argues that Trick will be running for 20 minutes before he stops to make a phone call. She needs to talk to Lewis now. Vic agrees to give her 3 minutes.

Lewis is, of course, not happy to hear about Danny getting ripped off. She didn't know what to do. "What you do is not hand it over, you stupid ho." says Lewis. Danny tells him the guy had a gun. "Like this?" Lewis asks, pulling one of his own, a pearl-handled 1911 .45 by the looks of it.

One of Lewis's guys holds up the diaper bag. Lewis cheers and declares, "You just passed the test, bitch." He sent them to make sure Danny is honest. Trick is a loan shark, so Lewis asks how much Danny owes him. "Enough that I need this job," she replies. Lewis tells her to get to work.

Now Dutch is asking about Will's sex life with Joanna. Will's only complaint is she doesn't like giving oral sex because she finds it demeaning. Does Dutch still think he's impotent? He shouldn't have gone on TV and said that. Will is actually right about that.

Dutch says impotence would fit a rapist's pathology. He keeps on trying to profile him. Why did Will target elderly women? "You think I resented my mother or something?" Will says. Did Dutch ever stop to think he picked people who can't fight back? Dutch has a question of his own: Did Will plan each act of violence in detail while he waited for his victims to come home?

Will reveals that he'd planned to kill all of his victims. He stayed to cuddle while he thought about whether or not to go through with it. Will believes killing is a selfish act and his victims probably didn't have much longer to live anyway.

In the evidence room, Danny and Vic swap out the real scrips for placebos. Edgar-veda stops by to let them know that Assistant Chief Phillips is excited about what a successful sting could mean. Vic tells Shane that Trick hasn't been to his house or his mom's, meaning he's probably looking for cash to skip town. He asks Trick's associate how many people owe Trick. The guy doesn't know. Trick runs that business out of a burger joint and has two Lithuanian taxi drivers who help him. "Who's the smallest and who owes the most?" Vic wants to know.

Claudette arrives at a homeless encampment. The man from earlier is being loaded into an ambulance. Julien found a shelter, but the homeless man picked a fight with a worker and left. Someone here tried to suffocate him and, unsurprisingly, nobody is talking. Julien thought bringing in a garbage truck would help somehow.

Shane and Vic have caught up with Trick. Shane gets out of the car and chases Trick through the burger joint. He shoves him onto a table full of condiment bottles. When he stands Trick up, his face is covered in mustard. "I'll take one with everything on it, huh?" Shane jokes.

Dutch wants to talk about when Will first moved to L.A. He has unsolved cases from that time period. Will claims he's innocent of those. Dutch argues that people don't suddenly decide to become serial killers at the age of 39. "Why would I lie?" Will asks. Dutch counters, "Why would you rape? Why would you kill?" Will asks if Dutch knows what it's like to have a passion you can't talk about. It feels good to "share it with someone, to have you tell me why I do it." Is he just sick? Um, yeah.

"You're an organized sociopath with tendencies--" Dutch starts. Will isn't interested in labels, just reasons. He isn't satisfied with any possible motives Dutch provides: domination, need for control. "Who would you be chasing now if you hadn't stumbled across my parking tickets?" Will questions. "What happens if the next guy reads the street signs?"

Shane shoves the mustard-slathered Trick into the cage. When Vic goes in the clubhouse, Mara is there waiting. She needs to talk to him about the Treasury investigation and can't over the phone. "You sure as hell can't talk about it here," Vic tells her. The Treasury agent wants to meet with her mom tomorrow and she doesn't know what to do. Mara needs to know the plan. Vic disabuses her of that notion; she isn't part of the Strike Team.

Vic also reminds her exactly whose fault it is that Shane is in this situation. If something needs to be done on her end, Shane will tell her. In the meantime, Mara needs to be a good little Mafia wife by staying at home and keeping quiet. She leaves in a huff.

In the interrogation room, Lewis is sure the cops have nothing on him. "Bitch, we got Trick downstairs and you distributing pharmaceuticals, possession and intent to sell." Lem's in full intimidation mode, wearing a flannel shirt with the sleeves torn off, menacing the guy with his biceps. Vic chimes in that the prescriptions came from across state lines. That's 10 years, minimum. They'll cut him a deal and let him keep his shop on one condition: Lewis agrees to outfit suspicious people's cars with bugs and cameras.

Lewis refuses to rat out his own crew. Vic points out that if they hang themselves with the tapes, Lewis himself can plead ignorance and blame a mechanic. Lewis knows that nobody will believe Trick. Someone knocks on the door and Vic pulls it open: "Meet our star witness." It's Danny, back in uniform.

Claudette asks one of the other homeless men who tried to kill Callan. She found rope matching the kind around Callan's neck in the other guy's shopping cart. The bearded guy, who I recognize as one of the carnies from the Sons of Anarchy episode involving a rapist clown, says Callan was a problem: "always pickin' fights, babblin' his black Jesus shit." He wasn't mad enough to kill. Someone else must have taken the rope from his cart. Claudette calls bullshit. Nobody can get in his cart. Bearded Guy wants a drink. Not sure if he means something alcoholic or not.

Lewis agrees to do what Vic wants, but he won't do time. Edgar-veda says he'll have to do the whole 10 years, like it or not. Lewis wants him to subtract a year for every conviction he helps secure. Vic considers this.

Claudette pours Bearded Guy a drink from what I assume is the captain's office bottle. He says someone named Crazy Eight did it and holds his cup out for another shot. Claudette doesn't think so: "Let's talk about you pulling yourself up."

Lewis is naming names. Artie the arms dealer. Rob the bank manager who specializes in off-the-books loans. Alison, a madam who pimps out underage girls.

Vic goes downstairs. Shane is sitting on the clubhouse couch, staring at the floor. He wants to know what Vic said to Mara. She just wants to help and is in as deep as they are. "In waters we know how to swim," Vic points out. Shane thinks Vic should be more respectful. "Why?" Vic demands, "She stole money from you." The argument is briefly interrupted by Lem's arrival.

Vic is sure it's just a matter of time before Shane and Mara break up. The whole team knows it. Vic isn't about to let her ruin the brotherhood. "A year from now, you're gonna be thanking me," he predicts. Lem has the vaguely uncomfortable look of somebody watching their parents fight. Shane leaves.

Dutch is still trying to get into Will's head, a place where a sane man would not dare to venture. Will asks if Dutch has ever killed anything and bugs don't count. Dutch remembers putting a dying bird out of its misery when he was a kid. Will once brought home a stray puppy and his dad made him drown it. Horrifyingly, Dutch looks fascinated by this gruesome tale. Will announces that he wants to go back to his cell.

Dutch walks through the lobby, almost in a daze. Joanna is still there. She requests the addresses of the victims' families so she can write apology letters. Dutch doesn't think that's the best plan. Joanna wonders if there's a police charity she can donate to. What can she do?

Lem tells Vic how bad Shane feels about the mess with Mara and her mom. Vic says, "It's not his fault." He sure has implied that it was since he found out. Lem goes on that Shane wants to feel safe. Vic thinks there's no safer place than the Strike Team. "Well, Terry was part of this team too," Lem points out.
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"The way Shane was talking today, it's like he thinks we didn't do everything that we could've--" "And you believe that?" asks Vic.

Did Shane mention to Lem that he was responsible for Tavon's accident? The two of them were fighting: "Mara cracked him in the back of the head with an iron. He got back in the van, swerved himself into critical condition." Shane came to Vic for help, so he cleaned things up. Lem needs to help Vic with damage control concerning Mara and the money.

At Shane's house, he tells Mara he's tired of waiting to get married. If they leave now, they'll be in Vegas in a few hours. Mara is momentarily stunned, but agrees to the idea of eloping. Shane kisses her and tells her she's beautiful.

Vic gets to his former residence and finds Corinne morosely drinking tea in the kitchen. Matt's little sister Megan picked a fight with him and bit his arm. She keeps drawing lines on the walls until Corinne takes the marker away. Megan is 2 years old and barely talks or makes eye contact.

Corinne is sure that Megan is autistic too. The idea seems to terrify her. To my way of thinking, there are much worse behavior problems for a kid to have. Conduct disorder, for one. Vic calls for Megan and hears Matt screaming. "You're locking him in his room now?" Vic snaps at Corinne. She insists it's the only way to keep them from fighting.

Vic opens the door. Matt is having a tantrum. He tries to kick his mom in the shins when she wraps her arms around him to give him deep pressure, a well-known calming technique for autistic kids. Corinne repeats the mantra, "Mommy loves you. Calm down." In the living room, Megan is staring at the TV as if nothing is happening.

Julien brings in Crazy Eight, who was afraid police would crack down on panhandlers if Callan kept breaking taillights. Claudette thinks Julien is becoming too lax in some ways and too much like Vic in others. It won't be long until she's captain and has a say in what happens to him.

Lauren goes to a hotel room and sits on Vic's lap. Her phone rings. She lies to Hunter that she's just leaving a crime scene; he can go ahead and have dinner without her. Vic puts on his coat and leaves.

Outside Dutch's house, some cats are screaming. He tosses and turns in bed for a while, then steps into his yard in his underwear. Dutch whistles and lures one of the cats with some food. Then he picks it up and strangles it! As a cat lover, I can't even... That's it, Dutch is a sick bastard and needs to be locked up. End of episode.

Friday, January 20, 2017

I Want to Know "What Power Is..." (Episode 3.10)

Previously on: The case of the missing $7,000 has been solved. Shane's baby-mama Mara stole it and sent it to her equally scheming mother. Corinne started dating Matt's occupational therapist Owen. Dutch is no closer to finding the Cuddler Rapist. Edgar-veda finally told his wife about being sexually assaulted and her reaction was less than sympathetic. He's ready to take matters into his own hands.

We pick up where we left off last episode. Edgar-veda is sitting outside the rapist's house in his car, a gun on the seat next to him. He can't make his move because the rapist and his friends are drinking on the porch. Too many witnesses. The rapist and a couple of other guys get in their car. Edgar-veda follows them.

Detective Milne has called in Claudette and Dutch to help with his latest case. Another elderly woman has been raped and strangled. This crime scene is out of the Cuddler Rapist's usual comfort zone. Their guy likes to steal figurines, but the house is so well dusted that Milne can't tell if anything is missing. He's trying to reach the victim's children.

Milne is putting a rush on the DNA evidence. He thinks he and Dutch should compare their respective case notes for any more similarities. Claudette smiles knowingly; this guy is as OCD as her partner.

Shane and Mara have her mom over for dinner. Mara's Mom asks if they've picked out baby names. Shane says they're waiting until they know if it's a boy or girl. Mara's Mom admires her daughter's engagement ring: "You found yourself a good one this time. A real Southern gentleman." Having met Walton Goggins, I can say that's accurate.

Mara wants to talk about the $7,000 they sent. She lies that she got the money as kickback from one of her real-estate clients for moving up their bid, which isn't precisely legal. Shane jumps in, adding that he found out the client is under federal investigation. The money could be dirty. If anyone asks, Mara's Mom can't say where it came from. Otherwise, Mara might lose her real estate license.

Mara's Mom smiles indulgently and says, "Wouldn't be the first time I covered for you, would it, sugar?"

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Edgar-veda's rapist is using a payphone and has pulled a gun out of his pants. He and his friends walk into an all-night liquor/convenience store. Edgar-veda goes in the back door, his own gun drawn. He's not wearing his badge on a chain for obvious reasons, so this is a pretty good way for him to get shot by the owner. What a mystery that would be for the Barn to unravel: Why was the captain murdered at a liquor store in the wee hours of the morning when he should've been home with his wife?

The robbers terrorize the store owner as he empties the register. Edgar-veda's rapist steals a sixer of beer. The captain identifies himself as a police officer. One of the suspects points a gun, so Edgar-veda shoots him. He exchanges more gunfire and hits a second suspect. The other two guys get away and drive off.

Edgar-veda tells the store owner to call 911. In one of the suspect's pockets, he finds a cell phone, which he swipes because his picture was taken during the attack. He recognizes the dead man as the one who watched him being assaulted.

The Strike Team arrives at the store. Lem looks kinda like he just rolled out of bed. "Two in the 10-ring. Nice," Vic observes. Edgar-veda thinks he shot one of the live suspects in the shoulder. A female Internal Affairs detective asks for his gun. Edgar-veda says it's his personal piece; he was running errands when he stumbled upon the robbery in progress. Vic looks like he doesn't quite believe that.

The captain tells Vic the suspects are Byz Lats: "You wanted back on the streets, prove you're more valuable there. I wanna know every pressure point this gang has by morning."

Vic takes his team down an aisle for a conference. They've got a problem because "the dead guy watched me shove a bong down his buddy's windpipe." Said buddy was probably one of the other robbers. Lem thinks it's an awfully big coincidence their captain should run into them in the middle of the night. "Unless it's not a coincidence," says Vic.

It's possible these are the guys Diagur sent to get money train cash out of his freezer. And if that's true, they're the same guys who beat up the captain and stole his gun. It should be noted that only Edgar-veda's wife Aurora and his cousin Rigoberto know what else happened the day he got attacked. Lem is worried the captain to track the guys and the cash to them. "Let's not get premenstrual until we talk to Diagur," says Vic.

When the Strike Team goes to Diagur's house, they once again catch him in the act of pleasuring a woman. They talk in the living room after the gangbanger puts some clothes on. Diagur has a theory: Edgar-veda killing Ricky was payback for Juan stealing the captain's gun. A friend's cousin Vido helped rob the store as a Byz Lats initiation rite. Vic tells Diagur to get in touch with the guys and tell them to go to Mexico.

Aurora visits her husband at work. She can't believe she had to find out about him stopping a robbery on the morning news. Shooting someone had to be traumatic for him. She suggests he take the rest of today off. He says he can't.

Vic and Corinne meet with Matt's teacher. She reports that Matt keeps to himself, but seems more curious about making friends. Displayed on the classroom wall are pictures the kids drew of their families. Matt's isn't there because the teacher thought the Mackeys should see it first. Uh-oh.

Matt drew Corinne, Cassidy, Megan, and his therapist Owen...not Vic. The teacher doesn't think they should worry; autistic children sometimes get confused when family situations change. Vic is hurt but trying not to show it.

Mara calls Shane because her mom wants more money. She figured out that 2% of a $600,000 sale is a lot more than $7,000. Now she wants $3,000 more. Shane can't believe it: "Your mother is blackmailing us?" Mara wants to give in, but Shane says no way.

In the clubhouse, Shane lets the guys know what Mara did. He's sorry. Lem asks if Mara knows about the money train. "No," Shane answers honestly, "She thinks that we've been skimmin' off drug busts or somethin'." "We? She knows that we're involved?" asks Ronnie. Also, Mara sent the $7,000 to her mom in Indio. Mom knows there's more where that came from.

"This is beautiful," says Lem, "We're already in deep shit with the money if Aceveda tracks down Diagur's errand boy. Now we gotta sweat your future mother-in-law?" Shane's trying to get Mara's Mom off their backs, but "the broad's a piece of work. Mara's got horror stories." Lem is good and pissed now: "How come every piece of ass you hit is more trouble than the last?" Shane reminds Lem that he's talking about the future Mrs. Vendrell.

Lem doesn't care, even if her lady parts can cure cancer. They get in each other's faces. Shane swears they can trust his baby-mama. "You know what I would do if I had her in interrogation?" asks Lem without raising his voice. Oh boy. "I'd tell her that the only way to save her kid's daddy is to give up the three guys he works with." "Mara's not the the moment," says Vic, "The mom is." They have to erase the trail without her knowing it.

Edgar-veda comes in to give the Strike Team flyers with Juan's mug shot on them. Vic remarks that ID'ing him didn't take long. Edgar-veda ran Ricky's priors for known accomplices. The captain passes out Juan's picture to the rest of the precinct. As a professional courtesy, he wants a call from whoever catches him. Edgar-veda wants to make the arrest himself.

Edgar-veda asks Vic about the Byz Lats' current enterprises. He lists juvenile crack dealers and a body shop that has poker and craps in the back. He can throw a sting together. "No. Right now. You and me," says the captain.

Claudette just got off the phone with Assistant Chief Phillips. He wants Dutch send copies of the Cuddler Rapist case files to Hollywood Division. She doesn't know why. Dutch bets the investigation is being reassigned to Milne. He ran the names of people who got more than one parking ticket in a hot zone prior to an attack. "It's pointless. None of them are registered sex offenders," says Dutch. Being registered only means they've been caught and convicted. Their guy might not have been arrested before.

Dutch suggests going back to their original list of probable suspects. Claudette tells him to rule out the 4 guys with multiple parking tickets first.

The Strike Team raids the body shop. Edgar-veda tells the biggest, meanest-looking employee to call his boss and get him down there.

Dutch and Claudette's first parking offender pleads ignorance; he never reads the signs. He's also black; the Cuddler Rapist is either white or Latino. He's a contractor and nobody else drives his personal car. The employees use a fleet of trucks. The guy asks if he can help out somehow. Claudette tells him that a man's been robbing houses; he hangs out around the neighborhood during the day to spy on potential victims. The contractor will keep an eye out.

In the lobby, a gas station attendant is holding a baby seat. A teenage girl dropped her baby off with him 3 hours ago and hasn't come back. "Why'd she leave her baby with you?" asks Danny. The mom claimed she ran out of gas and didn't have money; she'd bring cash by later because she had an emergency.

The attendant asked the teen mom to leave her driver's license behind as collateral. "So you have her license?" says Danny. Actually, the girl didn't have one. She left the baby instead. "You agreed to that?" Danny is stunned. The attendant's boss doesn't allow him to give away gas. I think Danny should at least give the guy credit for bringing the baby to a police station.

Diagur arrives at the body shop. Edgar-veda wants to know where Juan is. He threatens to raid a store the Byz Lats run crack out of when Diagur won't say. The captain tosses a business card on the ground and instructs Vic to keep Diagur away from the phone.

Dutch and Claudette stop by a house. A woman in a turtleneck sweater and ankle-length denim skirt answers the door. They ask her about tickets issued to a certain license plate number. In a British accent, she explains that car belongs to her husband Will's car. He isn't home right now, though; he works as a courier for a law firm.

Claudette sees a framed picture and remarks, "Cute kids." They're Wifey's students; she teaches 3rd grade. (It must be a weekend if she's at home during the day). Wifey takes the bus to work and never drives Will's car because "I'd end up driving on the wrong side of the street."

Even though Will doesn't fit the profile, Claudette still wants to sit down with him. He was in the target zone prior to two of the rapes. Dutch points out that both members of the couple have professional jobs: "They're not lower class enough." "Only the lower classes rape and kill?" asks Claudette. Seriously, Dutch, does the name Menendez ring a bell?

Dutch thinks if the Cuddler Rapist is married, his spouse probably isn't so... "British? Pretty?" Claudette guesses.

Diagur reports to Vic that Juan's accomplice Vido is getting sewed up at a doctor's house. Juan still isn't answering his phone. The captain could ruin all of Diagur's businesses, which Juan happens to know a lot about. Vic asks, "You don't think he'll bring down you and your buddies for early parole?" Juan's arrest could essentially dismantle the Byz Lats entirely. He thinks Diagur should get rid of Juan if he's too big of a problem.

The Strike Team and Edgar-veda find Vido at the doctor's house. He's groaning in pain with blood running down from his shoulder. The doctor says Vido needs an ER. Vic tells a uniform to take the gangbanger to Mission Cross. "AMA know you're operating in here?" he inquires of the doc. Doc's son has a drug problem and sometimes his dealers ask for help. The dealers won't sell to Sonny if Doc helps the police. "So aiding and abetting a fugitive's gonna get him clean?" asks Vic.

Edgar-veda shows Doc the photo of Juan. Doc saw him earlier, but he's not there now. Doc is definitely getting a trip to the Barn now. The captain thought Juan and Vido were both supposed to be here. Vic looks on the bright side: "At least we know you scared Diagur into cooperating."

The Strike Team gathers in the hospital parking lot. Ronnie found out who Treasury's new prime suspect in the money train heist is: Neil O'Brien, a violent felon with no gang ties. He's served time for armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. He'll be looked at even more closely when he spends some of their marked money.

"So we're planting money on an innocent?" Shane asks, though he normally has no qualms about such things. Vic scoffs, "If you can say that with a straight face." The best part is Neil has two brothers in Indio. The feds will be onto him in a heartbeat. "And off Mara's mommy dearest," adds Lem.

Corinne comes out to tell them that they can take Vido to jail now. Lem and Shane head inside to collect him. Corinne apologizes to Vic about Matt's picture and says there's a decision they both need to be involved in. She wants to keep Owen as a therapist because of the progress Matt's made. If Vic's uncomfortable with Owen being Corinne's boyfriend as well as Matt's therapist, she's willing to hire someone else. "Good. That's what I want," says Vic.

Julien is holding the baby. Danny says a social worker is coming by for him soon. Julien announces, "Vanessa and I are gonna have a baby." "She's pregnant?" asks Danny. No, but Julien knows she will be soon.

Upstairs, Vic asks Vido where to find Juan. Vido only met him last night. "You showed up at the doctor's alone. Your Byz Lat big brother at least give you cab fare?" asks Edgar-veda. Juan ditched Vido after the robbery went south. They met the night before at Elisa's house. Vido won't say who Elisa is.

Edgar-veda wants Vic to find the drug dealers who strong-armed the doctor. They can be charged with extortion. Vic would rather find out who Elisa is. Edgar-veda would rather do that himself.

The captain knocks on Elisa's door and says he's looking for Juan. "So am I half the time," she sasses. She agrees to let them in without a warrant, but they don't find Juan. The captain wants to take Elisa in for questioning; her boyfriend is an armed and dangerous fugitive.

Claudette has information on the law firm Will works for: Ponte and Cruz Immigration. Dutch chuckles at their slogan: "You wanna stay, we'll find a way." Ponte and Cruz aren't even lawyers, just hustlers who charge clients $50 to fill out a visa application. Will and 10 other men work there, advertising the business by putting flyers on doors and car windshields. Little lie, big lie on the wife's part?

Will also works at a 24-hour video store. "Great excuse for the wife on the occasional nights you feel like hiding naked in a woman's closet," Dutch realizes. But he can't see the rapist not having some kind of history of sexually inappropriate behavior.

James the contractor comes in with a tip. He remembers seeing a suspicious guy in the neighborhood. Dutch and Claudette tell him to leave the tip with the desk sergeant; they'll look into it.

In Edgar-veda's car, Elisa repeats that she doesn't know where Juan is. Edgar-veda asks what she does know about him, ignoring his ringing phone. "There ain't no cop house up here," Elisa says uneasily, "Let me out! Get these cuffs off me! I want my lawyer." The captain says she can call when they get to the station.

Vic heard Officer Paula went on a run with Edgar-veda. She nods that they picked up Juan's girlfriend Elisa. Are she and the captain back yet? It's been half an hour.

Vic tells the Strike Team that Edgar-veda took off someplace with Elisa. Lem nervously fiddles with a baseball bat. What if this leads the captain to Diagur and the Strike Team? Vic wants to worry about one thing at a time. Ronnie almost $30,000 worth of marked money out of the storage unit. He and Lem are supposed to drop it off someplace where Neil will find it. "Try not to be too obvious," Vic warns.

Someone knocks on the door. Ronnie puts the Box O' Cash on a chair and sits on it while Lem stupidly raises the baseball bat. Officer Paula says a woman reported a shooting. The dead guy fits Juan's description.

Edgar-veda is still driving around and finally parks on a deserted street. Elisa is really scared now. She screams for help. Edgar-veda repeats, "Tell me everything you know about Juan Lozano, starting with where he is."

When they arrive at the crime scene, Vic takes one look at the dead body and says, "That's not Juan." The victim does have Byz Lat tattoos, though. "Hey, dumb-ass!" Shane barks at the nearest uniform, "Right gang, wrong dead Mexican." However, Juan was at the scene. A neighbor identified him as the shooter. Nobody's been able to reach Edgar-veda because he's not answering his phone.

Dutch and Claudette go back to Will's house. His wife Joanna says he's still at work. Dutch tells her they got an anonymous tip that Will's car has been spotted at the scenes of several burglaries. Claudette is sure it's nothing, but it would sure help if they could look around. "If we don't find 50 VCRs stashed in a closet, end of story," Dutch puts in. Joanna agrees to sign a consent-to-search form.

The baby's mother, who's decidedly not a teenager, comes to the Barn to pick up her son, sobbing with relief. Mom tells Julien that she's been at work and her son was with his 16-year-old babysitter Taniesha. When she came home, they were both gone. "A girl fitting that description left your baby at a gas station," Danny tells her. Mom is stunned.

"I'm gettin' a stomachache already," Lem complains. He and Ronnie are on a stakeout, hiding behind the front seats of the van. One is having a lot more success than the other. They left the Pouch O' Cash in a parking lot. Neil stumbles across it, picks it up, and gets in his car. "Congratulations, you just got yourself a spot on Treasury's most wanted," says Lem.

Diagur is upset because the dead gangbanger was his best friend Arroyo. He blames Vic and Shane. Vic argues it's Diagur's fault for not sending enough guys to do the job. Diagur wants to call Edgar-veda and give Juan up. It would've saved a lot of trouble if he'd done that a few hours ago. Vic wants this handled in-house and advises Diagur to send a small army this time. Diagur tells Vic to do it himself or he's calling the captain.

Juan is at a drug house whipping up something on the stove (probably meth). He hears a noise and thinks it's his friend Sancho. Nope, it's Edgar-veda. Juan recognizes him and eyes a gun on a nearby shelf. The captain orders Juan to get on his knees. His voice is a little unsteady, but his grip on his gun is solid. Juan obeys.

Edgar-veda levels the gun at his attacker. The moment is interrupted by Shane and Vic kicking down the door. The house isn't big, so it doesn't take them long to find the captain in the kitchen. They cuff Juan.

At the Faulks', Dutch notices a typewriter. Joanna tells them Will is working on a novel. Dutch opens a cabinet and finds about a dozen mismatched figurines. Joanna explains that Will's given her knickknacks since they started dating.

Back at the Barn, Edgar-veda locks the interrogation room door and unplugs the camera. Shane and Vic are in the observation room, worried the boss will scare Juan into giving up Diagur. Vic doesn't think that's who Edgar-veda is after: "If he was, he'd be in the cage by now."

Juan asks how long the captain's been following him. "How many chances you had to pull the trigger on me and never could? What's that say about you, lawman?" he taunts, "Why don't you suck my dick? Again?" I'm shocked when Edgar-veda doesn't put Juan through a wall.

Claudette puts Will's house under surveillance until they can get a warrant. Several of the figurines have been identified by the rape victims. Dutch has invited Milne to come along for the raid and asks how old he is. Milne is 33, two years younger than Dutch was when he became a detective. Dutch wants to compare scores on the detective exam; he's pleased to find out he did better than Milne.

Jeff the contractor comes back with a written description of the suspicious man and a list of addresses. It's clear he has a crush on Claudette. She flirts, "If you'd like you skip to the part where you ask me out, you should hurry." "You don't like a man who plays hard-to-get, huh?" Jeff flirts back. He writes down his phone number.

Juan knows Edgar-veda is running for office. How would the voters like seeing the picture taken during the attack? Edgar-veda holds up Ricky's phone and informs Juan that he deleted the photo. Juan claims he had it put on a disk. If Edgar-veda gets him out of trouble, he'll make the picture go away.

Edgar-veda calls Juan's bluff: "You're too stupid to change a light bulb let alone figure out how to download." He knows Juan didn't tell anyone about the assault because it would've brought too much heat to the Byz Lats. Juan will just start telling people now that he doesn't have anything to lose. "You talk now, it's a desperate attempt to avoid the gas chamber," says Edgar-veda. Juan clearly hasn't considered that possibility.

Edgar-veda knows a lot about Juan. His girlfriend Elisa is sleeping with someone else. Juan has a sick grandmother who worries about being found by Immigration and deported; the captain could arrange for Border Patrol to stop by her house. Juan's mom is behind on her mortgage and involved in a pyramid scheme. Juan steals credit cards for the Byz Lats and has been skimming profits.

"I know about the headaches you get. I know about the uncle who molested you when you were 12," Edgar-veda goes on. He knows what's in the porno magazines that Juan hides from Elisa. Edgar-veda also knows about Juan's former cellmate who tried to stab him and can get them put in the same cell again.

Edgar-veda not killing Juan has nothing to do with cowardice: "Don't think for a second it means that I don't believe in revenge." If Juan starts running his mouth about assaulting Edgar-veda, he and his entire family "will find out about a dozen different kinds of revenge."

"It's back," says Vic when picture reappears on the observation room TV. Edgar-veda takes his gun back from Vic and tells him Juan is ready to confess. Vic stares after the captain.

Danny and Julien have arrested babysitter Taniesha and a teenage boy named Anquoin. Taniesha had been in the middle of babysitting when Anquoin asked her out. Instead of making plans for a different day, she decided to get somebody else to watch the baby. That somebody else being a strange gas station attendant. Taniesha had intended to pick up the kid after her date, but they got stuck behind an accident on the freeway.

Danny can't believe Taniesha. "You see Anquoin?" asks the teen, "Sometimes, you only get one shot with a boy like that."

Dutch forcefully knocks on Will's door. Once again, Joanna answers. Dutch hands her a warrant. Will exits the kitchen and is placed under arrest. Joanna protests that her husband didn't steal anything, then she hears what Will is being charged with. Dutch adds that the tacky figurines Will gave to the missus were trophies from his victims. "That is a sick lie," Joanna insists.

Moreover, she didn't give permission for them to look for the trinkets. Maybe not, but she gave them consent to search the house. I know from various criminal justice classes that, unless a warrant gets specific, pretty much anything the police find is fair game. Joanna turns her anger on her husband. He does pretty much the worst thing he could at this point: he tells her to calm down.

"Get the crime scene geeks in here!" Dutch calls. Grissom would resent that remark.

When Shane walks in the clubhouse, he's greeted by Vic, Mara...and Mara's mom Stella. Supposedly, Stella wanted to see where Shane worked and there's "nothing sexier than being around 3 men with guns." Mara claims they were just leaving. Out in the hall, Mara tells Shane that her mom got a message on her answering machine from a U.S. Treasury agent.

Shane goes back to the clubhouse. "The mom is poison," says Vic.
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The daughter is poison too, but there's no way Shane will leave now that she's pregnant. Shane tells Vic about the phone message. Vic says Stella should wait a week before calling back. Maybe by then, Neil will have spent some of the marked money.

Vic has moved the rest of the money train stash someplace else. "Where?" asks Shane. Lem's expression is one of well-this-got-awkward. Shane isn't allowed to know because Mara already found out once.

Vanessa picks up Julien from work. "We're gonna have a child," he says when he gets in the car. God supposedly spoke to him. At home, she and Julien have sex. Vanessa stops him when he starts getting too rough.

Edgar-veda praises Vic for his work on the extortion case. Vic thinks the captain must feel good about arresting the guys who shot at him. The Korean community has nicknamed Edgar-veda the Sheriff. Aurora comes to ask what happened yesterday. Edgar-veda shortly says he wrapped things up and shows her out, right into a crowd of TV reporters. One thinks he must be brave to be back on the streets so soon.

"I'm inspired on a daily basis by the bravery of exhibited by the men and women who work under my command. I just try to live up to their standards," says Edgar-veda. Then he starts in talking about crime statistics. End of episode.

Friday, January 13, 2017

"Slipknot" And I Don't Mean the Band (Episode 3.9)

Previously on: Walon accused Claudette of being a mole when Trish went missing on an undercover assignment. Vic told Walon that Claudette is just trying to play them against each other, so they need to work together. Edgar-veda was sexually assaulted on the job and isn't coping with it very well. $7,000 disappeared from the money train stash and the Strike Team members are accusing each other of taking it. Nobody else would've because, as Lem pointed out, "Who'd steal 7 grand and leave a fortune behind?"

Vic bursts through the double doors of the Mission Cross ER. Corinne is sitting on a gurney with a split lip, a bruised jaw, a splinted wrist, and blood down the front of her scrubs. She tells Vic he didn't have to come. Corinne was taking care of a patient and noticed he had a gunshot wound, which means mandatory police notification. The guy freaked out. Nothing's broken, though, she'll be okay.

Corinne didn't see any gang tattoos, just track marks. She opines, "He's either on something or off his meds." "I told you this place was a zoo," says Vic. Surprisingly, she accepts his offer of a ride home. When Vic drops off Cassidy and Corinne, Matt is sitting at the kitchen table with Owen. "He's still working with Matt?" Vic mutters.

Owen jumps up, asking what happened to Corinne. She keeps acting like it's no big deal. Vic tells Owen to calm down before he upsets Matt. "Matt can handle big feelings," says Owen. That'd be a stupid line even for Barney. They briefly argue about when Owen became an expert on Matt. Speaking of the kid, he looks concerned as he says, "Mommy?" Corinne tells Matt she had an accident but is okay and sends Cassidy to do her homework.

Vic tells Cassidy he'll help her. Owen thinks he can do that. "Because you're an expert on my whole family now?" Vic asks. He thinks Corinne should come back to the Barn with him and look at mug books. Owen doesn't think that's a good idea. The Asian guy knows where Corinne works. What if he comes back? "I'm what's stopping him," says Vic. If Corinne ID's the guy, Vic can put the fear of God into him.

Owen tells Corinne no. Vic says to his ex, "You know I wouldn't ask you to do it if I didn't think it was safe." Corinne wants to think about it and call him later.

Nina lets Edgar-veda know that Aurora is on the phone. "Tell her I'm in a meeting," he instructs, even though there's nobody else in his office. Nina doesn't like lying to people, but she has to do what the boss says.

A young black boy tells Julien that he and his friends heard people fighting. The gate on the community center is open and his neighbor Merril always locks it. Julien praises the kid for doing the right thing. Danny and Julien go in to investigate. Out back, Julien finds a teenage boy hanging from a tree.

Claudette gives us background. Merril, who runs the center, identified the dead boy as Klee Jones. There are no gang tags on the building and the kid doesn't have any tattoos. Klee was a talented artist; he painted the mural on the outside of the center. Claudette wants to call in the Strike Team and Decoy Squad, just in case there's a drug or gang-related lead they're missing.

The captain thinks it's best to keep Claudette and Walon separated for a while longer. Claudette thinks Klee was lynched. Edgar-veda is sure it's nothing she and Dutch can't handle.

When Vic walks in the clubhouse, Lem is chugging something out of a prescription bottle, which he hastily hides in his locker. Vic asks how he's feeling. Lem doesn't really answer, just says the doctor gave him some prescriptions (that are obviously very effective).

"I can understand you not wanting to say anything in front of the others," Vic starts, "but if you took our missing cash for any reason, I promise we'll make it all right." Oh yeah, the guy with the ulcer really wants to borrow trouble.

Lem is insulted Vic would even think that and gets in his face. Vic's like "just asking" and gives him a friendly pat on the shoulder. Lem knocks his hand away and says, "Ask someone else." He leaves the clubhouse, slamming the door behind him.

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Claudette asks Klee's sister where their parents are. "Dead," she replies. They basically raised each other. Klee kept to himself and she can't think of anyone who'd want to hurt him. People loved his paintings. Claudette holds the girl's hand when she starts to cry. The sister bets Klee's Mexican girlfriend Gitana was involved; Gitana's former boyfriend was a gangbanger with Los Profetas (the Prophets).

"Klee was different," Gitana insists. He wasn't constantly groping her; they'd talk for hours about love and art. It made her realize she could do better than her ex Neron: "He wanted me to go to church, but he's on the street thugging." Gangs didn't like that Klee painted over their tags. Dutch suggests it could've been racially motivated. "I'm fine, but I ain't killing fine," says Gitana.

Vic pulls Ronnie aside in the hallway. He immediately knows what it's about and tells Vic he counted right and is no thief. Ronnie knows that Vic asked Lem about it. When is Vic planning to ask Shane?

Nina tells Edgar-veda that Aurora is at the Barn. The captain takes her up to his office. Aurora asks if he knows anything more about the lynching. The black community is concerned and organizing a rally at the Hope Center. Edgar-veda should attend. "This is a crime scene, not a photo-op," he tells her.
Aurora says it's not about publicity (yeah, right); it's about showing the community he cares about protecting everyone.

She follows that up with this scenario: If a black candidate decides to run for city council as an independent, it could ruin his political future. Aurora's given her husband space to work through his issues, but if he doesn't want to tell her, she'll find out somehow. Nina interrupts to tell Edgar-veda he's getting an important call.

As Dutch and Claudette talk to Merril, several police cars whizz by with sirens going full blast. "Now what?" asks Claudette. A local priest, Father Zavala, was found stabbed to death in his church. All the wounds are on his back and neck, meaning he was caught by surprise. There were no witnesses, but someone carved a 19 into the priest's cheek. "One-Niner payback for Klee Jones," Claudette surmises.

It happens that the good Father Zavala was spiritual adviser to Los Profetas. Edgar-veda tells Claudette to call in the Decoy Squad and the Strike Team.

Lem comes into the clubhouse looking anxious. The money train fed is back and asked him where Dutch and Edgar-veda are. What could he want with those two? Nina announces to Vic that the Strike Team is needed.

Outside the church, Los Profetas members are consoling each other. The gang usually keeps to themselves. They deal with things biblically, meaning it's eye-for-an-eye time. Claudette gives them the case; she and Dutch will keep working the hanging. In Shane's opinion, Klee was probably killed over a drug deal gone bad. "We'll look under our rocks, you look under yours," says Dutch. Vic wants to check with the One-Niners first. He whistles for Lem like a dog.

At a One-Niners bar, they find the gangbangers meeting with a couple of guys who look like decent citizens. Tob, a One-Niner, claims this is just a community outreach event. Vic has Lem take the older guys outside. Tob shoos a guy named Twizzy out of a booth.

Vic inquires as to the whereabouts of Kern, a rapper/One-Niner longtime readers are familiar with. Tob thinks he's in Prague on tour. The gang isn't funding the tour, however, they're just "creative partners." "I bet he's gonna be pretty disappointed when he finds out you knifed a priest," says Vic. Tob claims they didn't. "He was tagged, asshole," Shane informs them.

Vic calls their leadership into question: "One hand don't know who the other hand's stabbing?" Tob promises he'll find out if one of his guys did it. Twizzy thinks whoever did it deserves a medal. Now the Los Profetas know how it feels to lose a hero.

Shane and Vic catch up to the older black gentlemen. Did they go to the One-Niners for protection? Yes, because the neighborhood is being taken over. "Latin gangs hit my liquor store 19 times in the past year," says Perry. The other man says, "You put on the colors, you live and die the life." Klee was a good kid who didn't deserve what he got.

"You wanna feel safe, you come to me," says Vic. Perry laughs that he heard the same thing 40 years ago after the riots in Watts. So much for community relations.

Neron, who has a cross tattooed on the back of his head, tells Dutch that Los Profetas didn't kill Klee. Did the One-Niners think otherwise and kill Father Zavala? The relationship between him and Gitana wasn't serious anyway, just sex. "You think going to confession once a week exempts you from being a shitbag lowlife?" Dutch asks.

Claudette tells Neron that Klee was lynched. Neron thought the kid was hanged. Dutch says it's the same thing. Didn't Neron ever read his history book in school? Claudette explains the finer points of lynching to him. Neron says, "If I'm gonna do somebody, I'm not gonna waste no time lookin' for no tree and a rope."

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Edgar-veda comes into the interrogation room and starts speaking Spanish. Claudette follows him onto the balcony. She asks how the captain plans to shut down the Los Profetas street trade and lock them all up. The Klee Jones rally is in 2 hours and nobody else needs to get hurt. A quick fix is the only option.

The Strike Team meets up with the Decoy Squad. Their counterparts are pissed. They were investigating cases of homeless people being set on fire and now 6 days of work are ruined. Trish says Claudette called them in to work the lynching, even though it's not their turf. Vic is sure Claudette had a good reason for assigning them.

At the Barn, Walon asks why they were taken off their case. Claudette wanted to send Trish and Annie to the rally. The deaths of Klee and Father Zavala have created a lot of racial tension. Walon wants to know why 3 dead homeless people aren't important: "You blew a major case last week and now you wanna turn us into mall security?"

Claudette admits she made a mistake and is sure Walon has made some too. "None that almost killed a cop," he replies. Edgar-veda backs Claudette up: "The job gets done when we trust the decisions of our superiors." "If he's out, we're all out," Trish declares. Claudette invites her to grab a stack of papers with Walon.

In the emergency room, Danny and Julien interview Mr. Rabinowitz, a mugging victim. A man with a pipe demanded money. Even though Mr. Rabinowitz gave it up, the guy hit him in the knee anyway. The mugger also took his shtriemel, a type of hat worn by Hasidic Jews.

"He didn't have to hit you," says Mr. Rabinowitz's young son. Mr. Rabinowitz reminds him that they have to be strong when things happen. He describes the mugger as Asian with a bandaged arm. Sounds a lot like the guy who hit Corinne.

Walon gripes to Vic that the Decoy Squad's arrests have dropped by 30% since coming to Farmington. Trish adds that they never had interference at Wilshire. The Decoy Squad was the brainchild of Assistant Chief Phillips; he'll listen to Walon if he has a witness. Everything will be off the record. Shane and Vic agree to be witnesses as long as Annie and Trish still attend the rally.

Danny sticks her head and asks to talk to Vic. When the Decoy Squad leaves, she tells him about Mr. Rabinowitz's mugging and how the description matches Corinne's attacker. She's tracking the stolen credit cards. Vic has a request: Call him before bringing the mugger in.

At the rally, most people in attendance are wearing purple ribbons, the One-Niners' favorite color. Reverend Leeman asks the crowd to join hands as he says a prayer. Claudette thanks Vic for getting Trish and Annie to come. Speaking of, the ladies report they've seen 6 guys with One-Niner tattoos. According to Annie, "4 of them with unnatural bulges."

Vic instructs Annie to point those guys out to the Strike Team: "They'll be the first ones we jump if this thing goes ugly." Shane calls for Vic. A group of Los Profetas are trying to come to the rally. The leader claims they're just here to listen. I seriously doubt that. Edgar-veda tells the crowd to stay put and let the cops do their jobs. Good luck.

Tob is angry that the Profetas are there. "They're not lookin' for a fight and neither are you," says Vic. Gunshots ring out and pandemonium ensues. Nobody's hurt, but the rally is officially over.

Tob is put into the cage for the shooting. The One-Niners and Los Profetas are on opposite sides of the cage, which are normally used to separate males from females. "Why don't you guys talk through the fence? Maybe some racial harmony will break out," Vic suggests.

In the captain's office, Dutch exposits that a round of firecrackers triggered the shooting. The department is being pressured to call the FBI and have the National Guard on standby. Claudette thinks that "sends a message that we've lost control." They have 24 hours to resolve this peacefully.

Vic makes Twizzy an offer: If he gives up the name of the priest's killer, Vic will get the rest of the One-Niners out of lockup. They'll be able to do business rent-free. Twizzy sees through that: "You're not on the street enough to landlord." "I'm getting the keys to the city back," says Vic.

Shane tells Vic that he talked to Lem and Ronnie. Is this the part where he gets asked about the missing $7,000? Vic has finally realized that none of them took the money. Shane believes Lem and Ronnie, but all the same, "that 7 grand didn't just spontaneously combust."

They see Edgar-veda taking the list of marked bills out of his safe. "Nothing's gonna lead back to us," Vic reassures him. If the marked bills are being spent, Shane would really like to know who's doing it.

Vic finds out the Treasury agent and a Detective Rodriguez are going to a bank in Indio to track a money lead. Lem asks how their money wound up in a desert town 2 hours away. Vic doesn't think it's from the $20,000 Diagur took. He doesn't know who's running meth out there these days.

"Laying low has kept us in the dark. We gotta get back to basics. Plug back into the street intel," Vic declares. They have to make themselves too valuable to lose. "Best defense is a good offense," Shane agrees. There's no paper trail from them to the Indio money, so Vic thinks they should be fine.

Dutch tries to talk to Perry and Friend about Klee. The kid spent two weeks across the street from their store painting a mural, but the men claimed they never talked to him. Klee never even came in to buy a soda. Perry felt Klee's artwork sent the wrong message and that the boy wasn't siding with the black community, like he should've.

Danny has an ID on the angry Asian man: Tung Yung. They need Corinne to ID him too. Vic asks Julien to circulate Tung's mugshot and promises a steak dinner to whoever finds him.

Walon tells Assistant Chief Phillips that the Decoy Squad's talent is being wasted in Farmington. Edgar-veda has them reporting to Claudette, which makes an extra layer of command. Vic has problems with her too. Assistant Chief Phillips needs a better reason than personality conflict.

"Providing for the homeless is the mayor's pet project, right?" asks Vic, "You might have a hard time explaining to the mayor why your crack Decoy Squad was pulled off the homeless-torching case to file month-old robbery reports."

Twizzy calls Vic. Tob wouldn't give up Father Zavala's killer because it was his friend Link. As in The Mod Squad? Vic should be able to find the knife and bloody clothes at Link's place. A short time later, Vic brings said evidence to Edgar-veda and Claudette. There are still no suspects in Klee's hanging.

Assistant Chief Phillips wants to know why the Decoy Squad isn't helping the Strike Team. "Because they were docked for insubordination," Edgar-veda explains. It might appear to the public that the police department cares more about a Latino priest than a black teenager. Edgar-veda says that's not true. "The truth is whatever it looks like," Assistant Chief Phillips says. As an aspiring politician, the captain should really know that already.

Vic goes downstairs and charges Link with Father Zavala's murder. "I ain't killed no priest, Tob!" Link calls as Lem drags him off somewhere. Vic tells the guard that all the One-Niners except Tob can leave. Tob's being charged with aiding and abetting.

When Edgar-veda goes back to his office, Aurora is there. She talked to his cousin Rigoberto, but he wouldn't say what her husband's secret is: "A less secure woman might think there's someone else." Edgar-veda promises he's not having an affair. Aurora knows something is wrong. They argue more and she starts to cry.

"Those guys I fought, one of them assaulted me," Edgar-veda starts, unable to hide truth any longer, "They tied my hands and they made me get on my knees." "They made you..." Aurora realizes in horror. She gasps, "You didn't."

Edgar-veda sits down with a sigh. Aurora doesn't understand how this could happen; as a police officer, he's trained in self-defense. How could he let those men do that? "Because I wanted to live," says Edgar-veda, on the verge of tears himself. Aurora is disgusted and runs out the door.

Link tells Dutch and Lem he doesn't recognize the knife. Besides, he'd never wear a Yankees jacket; he's from Boston. "I'm not sure if I'd use the Red Sox defense in Dodger town," says Dutch. Claudette agrees that killing Klee was wrong, but so was stabbing a priest. Did the One-Niners want to send a message? Link tells her that he wasn't the messenger. Dutch knows Link stabbed Father Zavala that morning. Link has an alibi: he was at anger-management class.

Dutch thinks Link is lying. So do I. Father Zavala's parish raised bail money for Los Profetas. This is just perfect as far as Assistant Chief Phillips is concerned; everyone is loose. Edgar-veda suggests having the Decoy Squad head out for the night and see if they can learn anything. He yells at Claudette.

Dutch tells the captain not to take his anger out on her: "You've got her juggling a full detective load, plus this supervisory post, and then you hang her out to dry?" Poor choice of words, Dutchboy. "How's your detective load, Wagenbach?" asks Assistant Chief Phillips, "Anything new on the sick bastard raping grandmothers?"
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Dutch admits there isn't.

Danny and Julien visit a drug dealer named Cobalt. They're looking for an Asian customer whose drug of choice is painkillers. Cobalt wants to see a warrant. In that case, Danny and Julien will just make themselves comfortable on the porch and greet his customers.

Cobalt changes his tune. Tung was around earlier and tried to trade Sudafed for Percocet, but Cobalt strictly deals in cash. He sent Tun to a Thai clinic specializing in illegal prescriptions. Tung should be there in the morning.

Link's alibi is solid; the therapist and 8 other classmates saw him. Someone must've planted the knife and Yankee jacket. Vic tells Edgar-veda that he bet on the wrong horse, no thanks to spending months on petty crimes: "I'm no good half in, half out." The captain can let Vic do his thing or Vic will take the Strike Team to another district. With all the headaches they've caused, you'd think Edgar-veda would leap at the chance to get rid of them.

"Lose the hardware!" Lem orders as they burst into Kern's bar. Vic tells Twizzy that his first act as landlord is evicting old tenants. They know Link didn't kill the priest. Tob starts beating the hell out of Twizzy.

Back at the Barn, Vic asks who planted the evidence at Link's place. Twizzy won't say. Maybe he'd like to go clubbing with Tob and Link again. Lem arrives with something very interesting he found at Twizzy's house: the same kind of rope used to hang Klee. The gangbanger looks nervously toward the ceiling. "No one's gonna save your ass, Twizzy. That camera hasn't worked in months," Vic lies.

Twizzy admits that he killed Klee "'cause that Rainbow Coalition shit was crushing us." Kern and Tob wanted to make deals with the Byz Lats. Twizzy wanted to make Los Profetas cry by killing their priest.

When Shane gets home, his lockbox is sitting on his bed. He tells Mara to open it. She hesitates. Funnily enough, Shane never actually does lock the thing because he can never remember where he hides the key. Mara thought there might be old photos in the box and she doesn't know much about the Vendrell clan.

"I called your mom in Indio," says Shane, "She told me about the $7,000 care package that you sent." If I were him, I'd seriously consider taking that ring back and just paying her child support when the baby comes. Shane can't believe Mara would steal from him. "I found a receipt from a storage facility in your handwriting with a fake name," Mara adds. What did he expect her to do when he's been lying?

Shane gets a little louder; Mara has no idea what kind of trouble she's just put him in. Mara says she only took what she needed. She knew her mom would show up if she didn't get money and was afraid she'd ruin her relationship with Shane. That ship might've already sailed.

Shane tells her she shouldn't have opened those trunks. She asks if there's money in all of them. Is he selling drugs? Shane goes all Mafia on her, saying, "You don't get to ask that question." Mara keeps going. Did Shane steal it from Vic?

Shane leans against the wall and takes a deep breath, clearly trying to keep his temper under control. He tells Mara to forget what she saw, not take any more of the money, and don't tell anyone. They have to figure out what her mom should say if people start asking questions because the cash wasn't supposed to be spent.

"If this money gets traced back to me, this is life-and-death shit for all of us," Shane says, taking a cigarette from Mara and lighting up.

Vic brings Tung's mug shot to Corinne's house. She confirms it. Vic is glad they can arrest him. Corinne tells him that someone keyed Owen's car and wrote "Stay away" on the trunk. It had to have been done before Owen left last night. "If I wanted you to stay away, I wouldn't scratch it in your little Volvo," says Vic.

Owen asks if Vic would scratch it on his face instead. Vic wants to know what Corinne's been telling her new boyfriend. "Don't yell at him," Corinne growls. Suddenly, Cassidy screams, "Stop it! I wrote it!" She runs to her room. Vic follows her.

Cassidy tells Vic that she doesn't like Owen, even though Corinne does: "Why can't you make Mommy happy?" Vic understands her feelings are hurt, but he'll always be her dad and Corinne will always be her mom. That's not changing. "Everything's changing," Cassidy says sadly.

Edgar-veda tells Claudette that the Decoy Squad has been transferred to South Central, effective tomorrow, per Assistant Chief Phillips. He didn't try to fight it. He's putting the Strike Team back on their usual anti-gang, anti-vice detail. "I'm no longer running the team," Claudette guesses.

The captain gives her some story about how there wasn't time to get her input. Claudette will be going back to detective work. Edgar-veda takes the blame for having her half in and half out.

Vic meets the head Los Profeta at the church. All charges against the gang have been dropped. They know who killed Father Zavala and there better not be anymore retribution. Twizzy was just a rogue Niner. He'll be in county for a few weeks, plenty of time for the Profetas to get someone inside. Anything past that and Vic will come after them.

When Edgar-veda gets home, Aurora is picking Sophia's toys off the living room floor. She's glad he caught the priest's killer. Edgar-veda is too; the election should go smoothly now. He tells her that he just came home to change clothes.

Danny and Julien find Tung on a sidewalk. Tung lunges at Julien. He and Danny manage to get Tung under control.

Vic stands on a hill overlooking the city. Shane joins him with a pair of binoculars. Some Russians have moved in and are dealing China white. "Air just tastes better today, doesn't it?" Vic says triumphantly. Shane starts to tell Vic something, but stops when Lem and Ronnie arrive in the van.

Montage! The Decoy Squad packs up their belongings in the clubhouse. Corinne is back at work. Danny and Julien bring Tung to the ER because he's bloody from the fight. Outside the community center, Merril cuts down the tree branch Klee was hanged from. Edgar-veda sits outside his rapist's house with a gun next to him on the passenger seat. The Strike Team raids the Russians' house. "Welcome to the neighborhood," Vic grins. End of episode.

Friday, January 6, 2017

"Cracking Ice" With Li'l Psych (Episode 3.8)

Previously on: Julien is frustrated that his efforts to get Vanessa pregnant have been unsuccessful. Dutch hosted a press conference to try and flush out the Cuddler Rapist. The Strike Team stole a Treasury watch list from Edgar-veda's safe. Vic awkwardly flirted with K-9 handler Lauren. 

Shane and Lem are playing video games together, bantering about who's gonna make who the bitch. Mara looks utterly bored. Shane barely pays attention when Mara gives him an apathetic goodbye kiss. Lem asks if everything is okay between them. Shane dismissively says, "This first trimester's like a 90-day PMS ride." "Or maybe she thinks you're not takin' it so seriously?" Lem suggests. Shane reminds him that he's marrying Mara. How much more serious does she want?

Lem wants to know if they've set a date, gotten rings. "Bought her a Lexus. She can wear that on her finger," says Shane. Besides, Mara knows how he feels about her. Lem, ever the romantic, says, "But a ring lets her show the rest of the world that you love her." Shane inquires when Lem is due for his next bikini wax. Lem pops him in the shoulder.

Ronnie calls Shane, needing him and Lem to come to the storage unit. "Is there a problem?" asks Shane. Ronnie replies tensely, "Not on the phone."

Lauren and her K-9 (a Rottweiler who is definitely not Boris) arrive to help Vic work a case. "Maybe it's a sign," he suggests. However, message she got about a drug dealer in this motel may have been an exaggeration. Vic pulls a room key out of his pocket. He and Lauren have been dancing around each other and he's curious what would happen.

Lauren tells Vic she's on duty. Besides that, she has a boyfriend. Vic knows all that. "What am I supposed to do with Koto?" Lauren asks. Vic pulls a squeaky dog toy out of his jacket. Koto chews on the toy in the corner while Lauren and Vic get down to business. Vic's phone rings and he ignores it.

At the Barn, Claudette's desk phone rings. She seems very tense as she answers. It's Trish from the Decoy Squad, pretending to be Claudette's daughter. She won't be home for dinner because she's with some friends. Before hanging up, Trish adds that Claudette should holler at Walon. The conversation was must've been a series of code phrases because Claudette reports that Trish and Walon are in trouble.

Elsewhere, a guy tells Trish to stop making calls: "That white dude you hooked us up with is a cop." That's super-not-good. He asks what Trish knows about Walon. She knows he's a Scotch man and a generous tipper. According to Trish, the cops can't touch this guy because "you ain't even done the whack yet." Li'l Psych wants Trish to hang around until it's over. Trish ducks into the bathroom under the guise of checking her makeup.

Vic pounds on the door of the storage unit. Lem lets him in. Shane tells Vic there's money missing, best guess $7,000. Ronnie was looking for marked bills and couldn't find some of them. Vic asks if anyone would like to confess anything. The rest of the Strike Team swears they haven't touched a dime.

If someone did take the cash, Vic promises to forgive and forget. They need to figure out where the marked money was spent before Treasury does. The Strike Team are the only people who know about the storage unit and have keys. "Now who took it?" Vic demands.

Claudette thinks Trish's cover is still intact, but Walon was made. They're tracing the call. The Decoy Squad has been working on a murder-for-hire sting; a gang called the Farmtown Twelves have been making their hits look like drive-bys. Trish seemed like their best "in." Walon was supposed to pay for a hit today, but they don't know where he's going.

Shane asks whether anyone's tried calling Walon's cell. If that had worked, Claudette probably wouldn't be preparing everyone for a rescue mission. It transpires Walon doesn't have his phone because he was worried about being searched.

Driving around, Shane repeats he didn't take any of the money. He hints that Tavon might have, but doesn't explain how Tavon would've even known about their super secret storage unit. "It's not enough you and the missus put him on life support, now you gotta call him a thief?" asks Vic. Shane lets his best friend know he's taking Lem's advice and buying an engagement ring through his informant Taylor. "You're using a fence to buy your wife a ring?" Vic is incredulous.

Shane swears it's on the level; Taylor knows someone who sells jewelry wholesale. Vic asks what's wrong with a regular jewelry store. Shane's answer is simple: "Taylor's cheaper...and I don't speak Farsi."

Vic and Shane walk into a hair salon where all the customers and staff are black. "May I help you?" asks the receptionist. Bald Vic is like "just here to get my cornrows tightened." He pulls a female customer out from under the dryer. Hey, It's That Girl: She played one of the prostitutes in Phonebooth.
"You done made me hurt my dick hand!"
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Vic knows Desiree is still stepping out on her man with a rival banger from the Spooktown Soldiers. Does she know who in the Twelves runs the contract hits? "Pretty Boy don't talk business with me," says Desiree. Vic gives her half an hour to cozy up before he tells Pretty Boy what she's been doing.

Edgar-veda and Claudette go to the store where Trish made the call. The owner lets the Farmtown Twelves use his office sometimes because "it beats havin' them burn it down." Claudette notices something written on the door: WALON, HOBART + 6TH 2 PM.

Desiree calls and gives Vic a name: Kaliel Wilks AKA Li'l Psych. She doesn't know where he is. Shane goes to look up the address. Claudette informs the squadroom that she knows the location of Walon's drop-off. Vic is curious how their cover was blown.

Dutch and Danny stake out the Cuddler Rapist's hunting ground. He's still working off the theory that the guy works in the neighborhood and is somebody people wouldn't notice, like a pizza delivery or cable guy. Dutch thanks her for volunteering her time; this can't be easy on her social life.

"I kicked my social life to the curb last week," says Danny. Her ex bought her a tennis racket and insisted Danny keep it at his place. What a coincidence, Dutch plays tennis too! He brags that he's good. Danny would suggest they play together sometime, but she's terrible at it and would probably bore him. Dutch hastily amends his skill level.

Lem slams his locker shut and rounds on Vic, shotgun in hand. "You think I want this goddamn ulcer?" "Well, I didn't take that money," says Ronnie before questioning Shane's loyalty. Vic puts more stock in his bestie than he does Ronnie's math skills. He wants Ronnie to go back with Lem later to recount and make sure the lock wasn't tampered with.

Enter Shane with a picture of Li'l Psych. Shockingly, he has no criminal record; Shane got the head shot from his Marine Corps file. Li'l Psych got a Section 8 discharge for brawling with his CO. Vic brings the file to Edgar-veda and Claudette. Once they find Walon, they'll scoop up the rest of the Twelves. If Trish isn't with them, they'll make somebody talk.

Tommy, the uniform who hired a crackhead to break into his family's house, appears at the back of the crowd. He's dressed in his civvies. Edgar-veda motions for him to go to the office. Trish got close to the gang by working as a cocktail waitress at their favorite strip club: Polebusters. When they told her about their murder-for-hire racket, she introduced them to Walon. "His murder they'll do for free," Vic says grimly.

Upstairs, Tommy asks the captain what he has to do to get back on the force. No jury will take an addict's word over a cop's. Problem is, Tommy's sister-in-law corroborated the burglar's story. "Tommy, you can't come back." Edgar-veda is firm. He knows Tommy didn't mean for anyone to get hurt, but that doesn't change the fact that said crackhead murdered Tommy's son and ex-wife. The captain will do his best to see Tommy doesn't go to jail. Of course, this isn't what Tommy wants to hear.

In the back hallway, the Strike Team runs into Tommy. He came down to help because he heard Walon and Trish were missing. Vic doesn't think it's a good idea for Tommy to come along, but invites the disgraced uniform over to his house to watch boxing that weekend.

Danny notices a man dressed like a meter reader peeking in someone's window and touching himself. "Doesn't look like he's birdwatching," Dutch deadpans. They get out of the car. Dutch sends Danny to check on the person inside the house. Meter Reader claims he has permission to be here.

When Danny knocks on the door, a man wearing just a towel answers. She apologizes for bothering him, but they caught someone looking in his window. "It's all good," says the man, "Dude's with her." He tips his head toward the woman standing next to him, who has a sheet wrapped around herself. "Honey, tell them to take these off me," pleads the handcuffed Meter Reader. Danny asks the woman if she knows the fake meter reader. It seems they're married and this is some kind of role-playing sex game/threesome.

Back at the Barn, Dutch says, "See something like that, you wonder if we all shouldn't just stay home and read the Bible." Come on, that was actually pretty tame compared to some of the other episodes. Danny replies that her partner already does that. You never want to hope for another victim, but so far the Cuddler Rapist hasn't made any mistakes.

Everyone is staking out the spot where Walon was supposed to drop the money: Edgar-veda and Claudette in the van, Lem with binoculars, Shane and Ronnie dressed as some kind of deliverymen, and Annie disguised as a homeless woman. The Twelves have arrived, but there's no sign of Walon or Trish. Li'l Psych isn't around either.

Shane spots Walon. Trish isn't with him. The captain tells Shane to get Walon, but Vic decides to do that part. "Trish called the hello line. It's a setup," Vic tells Walon. Nobody knows where she is. Walon doesn't want any of the Twelves picked up because Li'l Psych might make Trish. After some walkie-talkie conversation, Claudette aborts the mission.

"I got one more job to do," Li'l Psych says ominously into his phone. He has to kill a witness, collect $10,000, and skip town. Trish comes out of the bathroom and poses seductively. She doesn't understand why he keeps wanting to talk about Walon; she didn't know he was a cop. He squeezes her hands hard enough that she drops to her knees, but actually lets go when she tells him to.

"If he's a cop, then I'm in deep shit too," says Trish. They start kissing. Li'l Psych pulls out a vial of crack and tells her to sniff it. Seeing no way out, Trish does. Li'l Psych declines the drugs; he wants a clear head their first time. More kissing. Li'l Psych has her against the wall and they start having sex.

Claudette lost the Twelves in the subway after the mission was aborted. Edgar-veda assures the Strike Team that every available officer is looking for Trish. He asks Walon how they got made. Walon thinks there's a mole in the department warning the Twelves. He put it in his case notes last week. Claudette claims she never saw that.

"If there's a mole, it's not Claudette's fault that you got made," says Edgar-veda. Walon counters, "It is if she's submitting wiretap requests for us." Claudette confirms she made a request the day before, but she only used the case number, no names. The captain will see if Internal Affairs has found the mole. Walon threatens that if Trish doesn't come back in one piece, he'll use every favor he has to get Claudette's "lazy ass" fired. Lem looks ready to fight Walon for insulting his friend.

Vic is frustrated that everyone seems to know Li'l Psych, but not where he lives. Internal Affairs has narrowed the mole's location to the court offices on Hoover. 26 people work there. "Gimme 5 minutes with them, I'll find your mole," Vic promises.

Two women have been strangled in their home, the elderly one is topless. The coroner estimates they died 4 hours ago. Dutch is frustrated; he was only blocks away then. The landlord found the women's bodies when he came to drop off the mail. The younger victim is the older woman's daughter. Dutch blames himself for not finding the Cuddler Rapist. He theorizes that the daughter was killed for interrupting the rape. They may have caught a break; a neighbor saw a man leaving the house earlier.

In the squadroom, Shane meets with his informant Taylor. He whispers, "These aren't stolen, right? I'm not givin' my fiancee stolen shit." Taylor has a whole tray of rings, each with a story. One was pawned by a guy who caught his fiancee having group sex with his groomsmen. Another was given to him below cost by a wholesaler who had bad luck on the ponies.

Taylor tells Shane about the 4 C's of diamonds: color, carats, cut, and clarity. Shane is more worried about the 5th C: cost. For Shane, the ring will only be $2,000.

Vic and Claudette drive to the court office with Lem in the backseat. Vic tries to tell Claudette anyone could've missed Walon's concerns in his notes, but her bigger problem was relying on the Decoy Squad and "leaving your starters on the bench."

When they go into the office, Vic and Lem immediately take charge. They hold up their badges, loudly identifying themselves and telling everyone to stand up. Claudette has a can't-you-guys-ever-be-subtle look on her face. Vic points out the black employees and asks them to come with him. One of the white male workers wants to know what's going on. "Police business. Keep typing," Lem snaps. The cubicle drone leaves to get their boss, Judge Banks.

Vic asks the black employees where they're from. Detroit, Santa Monica, and Jersey City. He sends those three back to their desks. The other two women are from Compton and Inglewood. The first went to high school at Belmont, the second at Wilson. "Oh, that's bad news for you," Lem informs her. Wilson High isn't in Compton.

The woman moved to Farmington when she was 10 and is from Earl Street. Vic asks if she knew any Farmtown Twelves. "Who didn't?" the woman sasses. Vic knows she gave up one of their wiretaps and, in the process, exposed an undercover cop. The judge is coming out of her office.

Vic gives the woman a chance to come clean before the boss starts asking about gang ink. "Answer now or spend the next 8-10 wishing ya did," Claudette advises. The woman gives up a name: Raheem Pyrums AKA Pretty Boy.

"What the hell is going on here?" asks Judge Banks. Claudette asks her for a warrant.

In the clubhouse, Shane shows Ronnie the ring. They'll barely make rent this month, but it'll be worth it to see the smile on Mara's face. Ronnie asks if it's possible Vic took the money. The guy's finances have to be stretched tight between the divorce and having a kid with special needs. Shane tells him to shut up. Ronnie peers closer at the ring and asks, "Who's Nancy?"

Lem pounds on someone's front door. We quickly find out Pretty Boy must be one of those ironic nicknames; he's built like Ruben Studdard. Remember him?

Pretty Boy tells Lem to take it easy on the door: "That's real oak! That ain't that home-center shit." Pretty Boy isn't alone; Desiree is there. Claudette pats the woman down. Vic tells Pretty Boy they're looking for Li'l Psych. Pretty Boy claims they haven't been in touch in weeks.

"Really?" Vic says lightly, "'Cause I got a county clerk crying about how she gave you and him some police intel just yesterday." The cops are willing to forget they were here if Pretty Boy tells them where to find Li'l Psych and "some bar skank he's been hangin' with." Vic knows a few things that might surprise Pretty Boy.

Pretty Boy and Desiree start arguing about Li'l Psych. "Don't let that fool bring the whole crew down," she says. Vic tells Pretty Boy to call Li'l Psych, but he refuses. Desiree won't suffer fools (or jailbirds); she'll leave Pretty Boy if he doesn't pick up that phone.

Dutch's witness works with a sketch artist and Dutch isn't pleased with the end result: "This is an ear attached to a head." That's all the neighbor saw. "Did he have a couple of eyes? Maybe a nose and a mouth?" "Don't take that tone with me," she says. She was picking up her dog's poop at the time and couldn't see much.

Tommy is cleaning out his locker and is upset that Edgar-veda didn't help him: "What am I gonna do? Work security?" I wouldn't even count on that once the security company finds out why he got fired. Another uniform takes the long view of things: "We all end up there in 20 years anyway."

Tommy asks Danny to help him. She got her job back, so she must know what to say. Danny points out it was a different situation, but she's willing to help. Tommy doesn't believe her: "You think this is my fault." Well, basically, it is. Julien invites Tommy to come over for dinner; maybe he and Vanessa can help him figure things out. Tommy rudely declines.

Li'l Psych and Trish are getting their clothes back on. He wants her to accompany him when he makes the kill. "I don't wanna see that shit," Trish protests. Li'l Psych says Trish is just as guilty for "bringing that cop in." He gets a phone call from Pretty Boy, who I now recognize as one of Huggy Bear's bodyguards in the Owen Wilson/Ben Stiller version of Starsky and Hutch.

Pretty Boy reminds Li'l Psych where the hit is supposed to take place and tells him to call back when the deed is done. Vic asks what Pretty Boy thinks he's doing. He got an address, right? If Pretty Boy had tried to call it off, Li'l Psych would've known something was up.

Outside their intended victim's house, Trish tries to talk Li'l Psych out of it and gets absolutely nowhere. Li'l Psych aims the gun at the guy; Trish pulls on his arm right before he fires, causing him to miss. He elbows her in the face. When Li'l Psych gets out of the car and tries to flee, Trish starts wrestling him. She goes Mike Tyson and bites his ear.

Li'l Psych bodyslams her against the car a few times. He kicks her and stomps her, then leaves her lying in the street. "Vic!" Claudette cries, pointing out the windshield. He brings the car to a screeching halt and gets out to check on her. Squad cars arrive. "Get an ambulance!" Claudette orders. Trish tells Vic she got the license plate number of Li'l Psych's gray Monte Carlo.

Shane confronts Taylor about the ring: "It says, 'To Nancy, Love Donald.'" It was also reported stolen 2 weeks ago. "I told you to get me a ring that wasn't hot." They argue about whether or not Shane gave Taylor a secret wink meaning he didn't care where the ring came from.

Taylor asks how else Shane expected to get a $10,000 diamond for only $2,000. He can get Shane a ring that wasn't stolen, but it'll cost at least $3,000. Shane doesn't care; he just needs one he can actually give Mara.

Vic lets Trish do the honors of cuffing Li'l Psych. "At least yo' stuff was good," he says when Trish rolls him over.

In the captain's office, Edgar-veda is glad Trish is all right. She tells him she had to do coke to maintain her cover. Edgar-veda will put that in as an on-duty injury. Does she want to see a doctor? Trish wants STD tests and a morning-after pill. The captain offers the services of the department shrink. Trish declines; it's enough to know she put someone out of the murder business. Walon follows her out of the office.

Lauren and her boyfriend Hunter go to the clubhouse. "Tell him what you told me," Hunter prompts. Lauren says having sex with Vic was a mistake and she can't let it happen again. She also tells Vic not to call her. "Got that?" asks Hunter. Natalie Zea always plays a two-timer. On Justified, she left her husband Raylan for their realtor Gary, then kept having an on-again-off-again affair with Raylan.

In the breakroom, Dutch talks to Danny about how he believes the Cuddler Rapist killed the two women. He's never ejaculated before, but maybe these victims were different for him. Danny thought the other rapes happened at night; these women were killed in the morning. The uniform from earlier sticks his head in. Did Danny see him put his gun in his locker earlier? He can't find it. Tommy was in the locker room earlier.
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Danny goes outside and finds Tommy sitting in a police car, holding the gun. "Walk away," he tells her. His lawyer told him to take a plea deal and do less than a year in prison. He knows he deserves more. Can't argue with that. Danny attempts to talk him down; people care about Tommy. She tries the door, but it's locked. She says she'll go inside and talk to Edgar-veda, get him to change his mind. Tommy agrees.

Danny asks for the gun. Tommy wants to know what the captain has to say first. Danny goes in the back door and raises the alarm: officer in distress. Suddenly, there's a gunshot. Everyone races to the parking lot. "Somebody radio for a paramedic," says a uniform, even though Tommy shot himself in the head. Julien is stunned. Inside, Danny slides down the wall and buries her face in her hands.

Edgar-veda gives Danny and Julien permission to leave work early to talk to a department counselor. "He was a coward," Danny says contemptuously of Tommy. Julien says, "He thought the job was all that he had left." Here they are again, cleaning up his mess. Danny doesn't want to see the counselor.

Lem has confirmed their money train take is $7,000 short. The lock wasn't tampered with. Lem has a logical question: "Who's gonna steal 7 grand and leave a fortune behind?" He plops down in a chair and asks Vic, "So which one of us did it?" Vic gives the answer we knew all along: "None of us did it." What Lem and I both wanna know is: When is Vic gonna talk to Shane?

Dutch laments that it's been the day from hell. Everyone knows Claudette is the one who got Walon and Trish back safely. "I thought you were talking about Tommy," says Claudette.

Dutch gives her his theory: The daughter interrupted the Cuddler Rapist's attack on her mother, so the rapist killed her too. A witness saw a man leaving well after time of death. The guy did it to show how potent he is. "Sick. But plausible," Claudette muses.

Out in the parking lot, Julien has also decided not to see the counselor. "Sometimes, suicide puts thoughts in people's heads, you know," starts Danny. She's had a change of heart. Maybe they should go together. Julien says he's in a better place after a mere few hours.

At a clinic, the nurse says to Julien that it's late. Besides, he's missed his last 3 appointments. "I'm a cop. My schedule's kinda crazy," Julien explains. The nurse shows him to a room and hands over a specimen jar: "There are visual materials there if you like." In other words, porn. Julien decides to use a photo of him and Vanessa instead.

Walon is angry that he can't find Claudette and swats a picture off her desk like a badly-behaved cat. Vic agrees that she belongs behind a desk, but she has the chief and the captain in her pocket. She's been playing Walon and Vic against each other ever since the Decoy Squad arrived. They should start cooperating. "She can't command if we don't let her," says Walon. Vic returns the picture to Claudette's desk.

Julien's choice of visual aid doesn't seem to be working. The nurse knocks on the door to let him know the clinic closes in 5 minutes. Julien goes through the stack of magazines until he finds one featuring men.

Vic has just parked outside Shane's when Lauren calls. She's sorry about the scene earlier. She's been with Hunter for 4 years. "Don't do anything on my account," says Vic. He's sorry he put her in this situation. Pretty sure Lauren did that part on her own.

Inside the apartment, Shane has set the scene with Mara's favorite song. He hands her a sloppily wrapped present, which turns out to be a kid-size baseball mitt. "What if it's a girl?" Mara asks. Has she never heard of softball? There's a jeweler's box cradled in the pocket. Mara opens it and gasps. Shane gets on one knee. "It's incredible," she says, which I guess is a yes. They kiss and Shane slides the ring on her finger.

Mara's sorry she's been hard to deal with, but she's alone all day and her mother can be such a bitch. What happened to her real estate job? The one she just had to have a Lexus for to be take seriously? Shane promises her this marriage will work, unlike his own parents'. Mara hugs him and notices Vic outside.

Vic apologizes for his timing. Shane announces that they're officially engaged. Mara shows off the ring. Vic mumbles that what he wanted to talk about can wait. The happy couple should celebrate.

We end with Claudette getting a phone call at her desk. Is it important? Guess we'll find out next time.