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.

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