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.

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