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.

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