Friday, February 24, 2017

Tempers "On Tilt" (Episode 3.15)

Previously on: Lisa, a public defender, was shot in a parking garage and discovered to have high levels of OxyContin in her blood. Claudette thought it only fair to ask to have her cases reopened, but Edgar-veda won't let that happen. Margos the Armenian mobster is back in town and killed the sister of one of his accountants.

Thanks to a mole in Treasury, the Armenian Mafia got their hands on the names and photos of everyone on the Strike Team. Suspicion has begun to fall on Vic as being involved in the money train heist. Edgar-veda started asking questions about the storage unit Shane rented under an alias. Lem had what amounted to a nervous breakdown and burned a good portion of the Strike Team's retirement fund.

An angry black woman is spraying a comic shop's storefront with a hose, shouting, "Bring your behind out here! I see you, fool!" Danny and Julien roll up to handle the situation. The owner claims he was just hosing off his sidewalk: "If some crack whores happen to get wet, that's just life." Danny appreciates that prostitution is illegal, but that doesn't give him the right to "hose down the hos."

The owner asks what gives these women the right to sell their bodies in front of his store all day. And what about the drug dealers up the block? The hooker threatens the owner that she'll tell Juicy, her pimp. The owner tries to spray her again and Julien grabs him.

At his apartment, Shane is nursing some cracked ribs after that scuffle with Lem. Ronnie reports that only $195,000 is left in the retirement fund, which becomes $65,000 when split three ways. "Turns out Lem's cut was $2.8 million in ashes," Shane fumes. He tosses his Duffel O' Cash on the floor, kicks a few walls, and hits the door. You're renting, numb nuts.

Danny tells the comic shop owner the police can't come out here every time he sees a hooker. Julien adds that doesn't see hookers now. The comic book owner explains that they disappear when they see a police car. He's just trying to make his neighborhood a better, safer place. Julien advises him to think about his own safety and not antagonize people.

Vic asks Cassidy how she'd feel about living with him during the week and Corinne on the weekend. She wouldn't have to change schools or anything. Matt and Megan are staying full-time with Corinne. "But that just means I'll have you all to myself," Vic tells her. Cassidy is upset, thinking this new arrangement is because Corinne is mad at her. Both parents assure her that's not the case and they love her.

Vic tells Edgar-veda "that hobbit we found hiding in an oil drum" is talking. Margos is smuggling huge amounts of heroin into L.A. It's all stashed in a house; tomorrow is the day the drugs get delivered to suppliers. Vic wonders why the captain was interested in Shane's storage unit. Edgar-veda exposits the cash and their prime suspect Neil are both still unaccounted for. Dutch suggested the Strike Team was involved.

Vic goes to the breakroom and gives Dutch a shove. He already explained how he knew which bar Neil hung out at. "A little too smoothly, in my opinion," says Dutch. Vic counters that knowing Shane's alias doesn't prove anything either: "You look into me all you want. You're back to being a joke in this building."

The Strike Team breaks into the Armenian mob's heroin house. Not surprisingly, nobody will tell them where the drugs are stashed. Vic gives them one last chance "before we start renovating." Lem's sledgehammer would come in handy about now.

Edgar-veda introduces Claudette to A.D.A. Rommi Cohen (any relation to Mickey?). Claudette knows Lisa the public defender has been using Oxy for three years; that makes all her convictions suspect to be overturned on the grounds of inadequate counsel. Rommi explains that Lisa is a junior lawyer, so someone had sign off on all her cases. Even so, how does she know that even 1 out of 300 defendants wasn't wrongfully convicted? Edgar-veda tells Claudette that Rommi will look into it.

Alone in his office, Edgar-veda tells Rommi that Claudette means well but doesn't understand the big picture. Rommi's having drug dealer/murderer Marlon's statements about dealing to Lisa suppressed at trial, even though drug debt was his motive.

The bigger problem is most of Lisa's clients were arrested in Farmington. Perhaps Rommi and the captain can discuss strategy over drinks and dinner? "My wife and I have a rule about me having dinners alone with female colleagues," says Edgar-veda. Do invitations really happen that often? He's not attractive and certainly not charming.

Rommi apologizes but notes she didn't see a ring. Edgar-veda shrugs that he forgot to put it on. Because that's something married guys often do.

The Strike Team is hard at work tearing up the walls and the floor of the drug den. Shane is actually hanging by his fingertips from a big hole in the ceiling. Vic steps outside to talk to the homeowner, who brags, "Margos moved the heroin yesterday when you arrested Kail." He adds, "You've done a lot of damage to us." Maybe there's a way to stop this war? Margos doesn't want much, just Vic's protection while he moves the heroin north. He'll toss in 5% commission, leave L.A., and guarantee the Strike Team's safety.

Vic meets with Shane and Ronnie in the clubhouse. He tells them about the offer of non-retaliation if they escort a heroin shipment. "Working with these psycho assholes is off the table," Vic promises. This smells like a setup. If they bring in other cops, someone else might take Margos alive. That would leave him able to pass on orders to have the Strike Team taken out.

Lem comes in with an announcement: He's taking 8 weeks of vacation time that he's saved, after which he's putting in for a transfer. Shane's attitude is don't-let-the-door-hit-ya-in-the-ass-on-the-way-out. "Margos is still after us. We're safer together until we've got him," says Vic. Lem agrees to stay until then.
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The Strike Team van rolls along with Lem at the wheel. You'd think they'd have learned their lesson after last time. Shane doesn't like the looks of this spot: a quiet street with one entrance and exit. Storming in when they don't know who or what's inside is a pretty bad plan. But if they don't show up, Margos is definitely coming after them. The Armenians might have a spotter on them now.

They go to the likely lookout point and find a guy with a walkie-talkie. Vic asks where Margos is. Not getting an answer, Vic finds a pen and a pad of paper and orders the guy to write LIFE SUX. He tucks the note in the guy's shirt pocket and says, "Looks like you're gonna die a bad speller." He walks him over to the window Ronnie opened.

"Inside, waiting for you, to kill," the guy babbles. Margos isn't there. Goma sent this guy to be a lookout. The description matches the guy who owned the heroin house. Vic makes their suspect eat his would-be suicide note and tells Shane to call SWAT.

Claudette talks to Lisa's roommate who made Lisa move out. She seems unaware of Lisa's drug problem. Shouldn't a D.A. be investigating this anyway? Claudette needs help to get evidence. "She might die. I'm not ruining her reputation. And if she lives, I'm not ruining her career," says the roomie.

Julien doesn't see anything wrong with what the comic shop owner is doing. Danny's worried he'll piss off the wrong drug dealer and get killed. Julien thinks those types would leave the neighborhood if more people stood up to them. That's what my mom thought about where we used to live.

Officer Paula has brought in a box of kittens she rescued from a bust. She better keep them far away from Dutch. Not knowing he's crazy, she hands one to him. Dutch politely declines to adopt. Claudette is frustrated that nobody seems to care if Lisa was defending clients while high. Dutch asks why she's pushing this so hard. Claudette is sure she can ride it solo; he doesn't have to risk his job too.

Vic fibs to Edgar-veda that Lem's taking time off to be with his sick father and "depending on what happens, he might not be back at all." I call it a lie because last episode, Lem said the Strike Team is the only family he has. Vic needs to bring in one or two more guys; the job is too big for just him, Shane, and Ronnie.

Edgar-veda has bad news for Vic. Since implementing special teams, the crime rate has gone up, as have the number of excessive force complaints and lawsuits. The police chief wants to phase out teams like Vic's entirely. "If Lem leaves, the Strike Team won't be functional," Edgar-veda warns, "You can still cover the AGC sting, but no gang or drug detail." Now Vic has an even bigger problem than he thought he had.

"So now Lem's boned us twice?" Ronnie asks outside. Geez, he's pretty much been Lem's best friend up to this point. Vic knows the money train and everything thereafter has been his own fault. But if they want to keep the Strike Team alive, they'll have to sweet-talk Lem into staying. "I'd rather break up domestics in Van Nuys than worry if Lem's got my back," says Shane. Now that was uncalled for; Lem's as loyal as a big puppy.

Speaking of big puppies, Lem brings them an address for Goma. It doesn't escape his notice that, once again, everyone else stopped talking when he showed up.

When Ronnie picks the lock on Goma's house, a full-grown Rottweiler comes flying down the hall at them. He manages to slam the door shut just in time. The dog lunges at the door, barking and snarling. Shane has an idea that involves drawing his gun. Animal loving Lem pipes up, "Hey, hey, you don't need to shoot him." "Yeah, I don't need to, but I'd like to," counters Shane.

Lem has a plan of his own: Have Ronnie go around back and bang on the door to get the dog's attention. Shane rolls his eyes. Ronnie hops to it, calling, "Come here, puppy!" It works. Lem shoots Shane a look: "Sorry to step on your happy." Through the back door, Ronnie makes faces at the Rottweiler. Lem locks the dog in and suddenly cries, "Oh shit! Get out!"

It seems Fido has an equally vicious friend. Vic and Shane bolt out the front door while the second dog chases Lem to a bedroom. He shuts the door, then motions for the guys. Vic observes that Lem saved them a bullet. "Cost him a pair of tighty-whiteys," Shane snarks.

Ben, another public defender, delivers a box of Lisa's case files to Claudette; the pile on top are the especially sketchy ones. Edgar-veda is not pleased when he finds out what she has because he told Claudette to drop it. Why is she so set on committing career suicide? "My job comes before my career," she says pointedly.

When Dutch leaps to his partner's defense, Edgar-veda says, "We're all trying to uphold the law here. It'd be nice if she remembered that sometime." Oh, shut up, you sanctimonious tool. He lets Dutch know he didn't find anything on Vic. "Did you try?" asks Dutch, even though I'm certain the answer is no.

The Strike Team goes through Goma's very stylish home office. Lem, trying the desk on for size, finds a bunch of dry-cleaning receipts for Oriental rugs. "You don't dry-clean Oriental rugs," says Ronnie. They look curiously at him, wondering how he knows. Ronnie explains that his mom had some and made him wash them by hand.
Ronnie's middle school yearbook quote.
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Vic sits down with Ayla the book-cooking accountant, who's understandably still distraught about her sister Sosi's death. Vic talked a friend at INS into making it look like she was deported: "This way, the bad guys back home won't know that you helped us." She's leaving the country as soon as they find Margos.

Vic shows her the dry-cleaning receipts. Ayla knows where the supposed dry-cleaning shop is because she delivered papers to it.

The Strike Team catches Goma as he's about to visit one of his storage units. They drag him to a nearby alley. Vic punches him a few times: "You here to do your dry-cleaning or to see Margos?" He drops a knee on his crotch, but Goma still claims not to know where Margos is. He's just checking the heroin. That gets Vic's attention. According to Goma, there are usually a dozen guards.

Vic tells Ronnie to cuff Goma and call the captain; they need a warrant and every available officer. He pulls Lem and Shane aside. If they see Margos, they have to get him to reach for a gun. Lem grunts in pain. It's a well-documented fact that stress isn't good for ulcers. "If this is too much for you, why don't you just go home already?" asks Shane. That actually isn't a terrible idea.

Out of nowhere, Lem doubles over, heaving. Shane barely gets out of the way before drops of red splatter on the ground. Vic, sounding a little freaked out, asks, "What is that? Blood?" "It's my ulcer," Lem replies weakly. Even though Vic and Shane have no empathy, he adds, "This is what I've been doing every night for the past month."

Shane takes the opportunity to taunt him about not having the stomach to take down Margos. Lem insists that he's okay to go on the raid. Vic looks doubtful about that but doesn't argue.

"Tons of guys got crappy deals, but they all look guilty," says Claudette as she pores over Lisa's cases. Dutch shrugs, "Maybe justice can be blind and stoned." A file catches her eyes: Walter Clifton is doing 5-10 years for robbing a diner. No evidence and the only witness was a block away. The arresting officer was Vic Mackey. Claudette plans to drive out to the prison in Victorville to talk to Walter. Oh, the irony of doing your time there.

During the raid, the guys don't find Margos. But they do find a huge container of heroin bricks. Their fellow cops cheer; Lem still looks miserable. As the Armenians are led out to the transport van, Vic puts an arm around Goma, thanking him for all his help. "What are you doing?" Goma hisses. Vic grins, "Showing you the love."

The comic shop owner chants, "Crack, get off the block!" He's on the sidewalk with a video camera, catching the dealers in action. One of them runs at the shop owner and knocks him to the ground. Danny and Julien grab the dealer. The shop owner gloats that the guy is going to jail and never stops filming. "I'mma clean this place up!" he declares.

At the Barn, Julien still wants to make the shop owner's problem go away. "All it will do is move the problem down a block," says Edgar-veda, but agrees to set up a sweep. He pulls Danny aside to ask where she sees her career a year from now. Danny would like to be a detective, but she can't apply unless she's a P3. Edgar-veda knows that, which is why he's promoting her back to her old rank. He puts her in charge of the sweep.

Walter took a plea bargain to avoid getting a third strike. He says he didn't rob the diner and has a new lawyer looking into it. Claudette knows about his two prior armed robberies and that he's a Farmtown Twelve member. Walter argues he only joined the gang in prison to survive.

When Claudette gets back to the Barn, someone has cleared off her desk. COP? is spray-painted in blue on top. Dutch and Claudette discover her drawers were emptied too, except for some of Lisa's files. KILLER is written in red on one guy's mug shot. Dutch tells Edgar-veda what happened. The captain promises to look into it. "Yeah, right," Claudette says sarcastically.

Edgar-veda talked to Ben's boss and Chief Bankston. Neither of them are happy about what she's up to. When Edgar-veda leaves, Claudette will not be in charge. They're bringing in a new captain. Dutch reacts about as well as Walton Goggins and Danny McBride did about being passed over on Vice Principals, even though he's not the one who lost the job. Claudette is more shocked than anything. "It wasn't my choice. It was hers," smirks Edgar-veda. "She understands."
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Everyone in the squadroom has been watching this play out. "Okay, you've had your show. Now go to hell!" says Dutch. You sure told them!

Danny and the uniforms start rounding up crack dealers and crack whores. "Thank you, Miss Officer, I really appreciate it," says the comic shop owner.

Goma hasn't touched the lunch he asked Vic to bring. Vic threatens to give him C.I. money with all his pals watching from the cage. Goma doesn't know where Margos is now, but a Greek guy named Mihalis helps him travel.

Claudette asks to see Vic's notes on the Walter Clifton case and reinterview witnesses. Vic clears the air about the desk graffiti; he didn't do it, but only because someone else beat him to the punch.

Shane wonders where Vic is. Lem thinks he went out for Greek food. "Didn't Vic eat, like, an hour ago?" asks Shane. He goes and wakes Goma up with a slap to the head.

Vic pays a visit to Mihalis' limo service. Mihalis gets a punch in the nose when he claims not to know Margos. He then admits to leaving him messages. Vic hands him the phone: "I'll dictate, you dial. You tell him that Goma called. He sounded weird. He wanted a one-way ticket to--to--Where would someone go to hide from Margos?" "Hell," Mihalis replies. When Vic raises a fist, he corrects himself: "Venezuela."

Dutch honks at a pedestrian who wasn't in a crosswalk. "Asshole!" the guy shouts. Well, he hit the nail on the head there. Dutch advises Claudette to be perfect; the department will be looking for any excuse to fire her. He then pulls a Georgette and tells her:
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They ask what Mr. Papi the robbery witness knows about time card scams and if he ever pulled one. Mr. Papi denies it. After some conversation with his wife in rapid-fire Spanish, a teenage granddaughter with a baby on her hip comes out of the house. "I saw the man running, not Papi," she says. Papi explains why he lied: "These gangsters would hurt her if she said something." Claudette understands.

Papi never mentioned his granddaughter to Vic. When he got the photo array, "I just picked out the one closest to what Marta said he looked like."

Vic lets Goma know that Mihalis didn't help him, "which means our friendship is over." He walks him out to the cage and asks the desk sergeant if his C.I. payout is ready. The desk sergeant hands over a manila envelope. Goma will get the rest when he gives more intel.

"I did not help this guy," Goma insists to his buddies. Vic agrees, "Yeah, we just found that heroin by smell." He suggests Goma go anywhere but home.

At the limo service, Mihalis is handcuffed to the wall and wiping his bloody nose. "Looks like Vic was here," Shane remarks. Mihalis asks for help. "Sure thing, Nero," says Shane. Ronnie points out Nero was Roman. Shane calls him Zeus instead, then tweaks his broken nose. What did Mihalis tell Vic?

Margos breaks into Goma's house. The dogs are still locked in their respective rooms and making a hell of a lot of noise. Vic is armed and waiting for him. He tells Margos to drop the gun. Shockingly, Margos complies. Vic shoots him in the chest anyway, carefully moves Margos' gun so it's laying next to his body, and calls in the shooting.

Claudette gives Edgar-veda the information that the sole eyewitness to Walter's robbery faked his testimony to protect the real witness: his granddaughter. Three years have gone by and Marta no longer remembers exactly what the man looked like. Rommi agrees to discreetly look into more of Lisa's cases. "Any more foot-dragging and I'll call the press and you won't have a chance to be discreet," Claudette warns. Edgar-veda says, "Spare us the sermon."

The captain asks what exactly she thinks she's achieved. Claudette freed an innocent man. Edgar-veda reminds her that a lot of guilty people could go free too: "Don't rub our noses in your moral superiority." Claudette argues that it's decency.

When the Strike Team van pulls up to Goma's house, Vic is on the porch. He tells them Margos had a gun. He'll take all the heat.

Vic goes to Ayla's motel and tells her to pack. She's going back to Armenia on Friday. Sosi's body will be on the same plane. Ayla shouldn't worry about retaliation because Margos is dead by his hand. Ayla hugs Vic tightly and begins kissing his neck. She's probably half his age, but he doesn't spurn her advances. In fact, they have sex right then and there. When they finish, Ayla starts sobbing. Probably a combination of grief for her sister and relief that her sister's killer is dead.

Dutch peeks in the box of kittens: "All that's left is the fugly blind runt? Real classy, people." He picks up said fugly blind runt and holds it close. "New friend?" asks Claudette. Dutch guesses he'll take the kitten home. Oh, for love of God, Claudette, offer to take it instead!

Claudette thought Dutch's girlfriend Widow Kim was allergic to cats. Dutch reveals she moved out around the time the Cuddler Rapist attacks started. Now how could she dump a charmer like him? He never mentioned it so people wouldn't think he was distracted. Dutch plans to name his new pet Claudette.

Edgar-veda cruises down a stroll of prostitutes. Do he and the missus have a rule about that, I wonder? A hooker walks up to his window and says there's a lot of heat out tonight. She pours on the charm, complimenting his nice clothes and nice car. "You a nice man?" she asks. No, he's really not. If he wants a bad girl, she'll do whatever he wants.

When she gets in the car, he badges her. The hooker scoffs, "That just gets you a discount, big man." "I don't wanna ever see you out here again," says the captain. She gets out of the car and scoffs again.

Vic takes boxes of Cassidy's things out to his truck. Corinne reminds him their daughter has an orthodontist consultation coming up: "She's petrified of getting braces." She shouldn't be; the kid's teeth are perfect. Vic needs to listen to his daughter because 10 is a complicated age. "She's never direct. She's really sensitive," Corinne goes on. Vic reminds her they're doing this so Cassidy can get more attention.

Matt asks where they're going. Corinne explains that Cassidy is living with Daddy starting tomorrow. Being 7, Matt's next question is, "Why?" Cassidy tells her brother she's leaving her stuffed animals so she and Matt can play with them on weekends. "It's gonna work," Vic tells his ex-wife. She doesn't look so sure.

Vic has called a Strike Team meeting on a hill overlooking the city. Lem pulls up in his Jeep. Very nice ride. And I'm not just saying that because he's my favorite and I also happen to own a Jeep. Well, maybe I am. When he gets out, Vic says, "We can't let you leave us now, man." They've all been to hell and back together several times. That has to mean something.

Lem asks if him staying is what everyone wants. Ronnie says yes. Shane hesitates for a minute, then says yes too. "Oh man, you guys scared the shit outta me bringin' me out here," Lem chuckles. Yeah, when Vic asks to meet you in the middle of nowhere, there's usually only one reason why.

Vic "didn't want the Barn to hear us beg." He also thought they could all go out for beers once he agreed to come back. Lem probably shouldn't be drinking with his condition, but after the day he's had, beer sounds good.

Walking back to his Jeep, Lem smiles, "I knew you'd see eventually." "See what?" asks Shane. Lem clarifies, "That burning the money was the right thing to do." Vic would rather not get into that.

Lem argues he only did it to protect them. "It didn't protect us," Shane disagrees, "The only way to protect us was to kill Margos, what Vic did. You burned our futures." Maybe if you'd been a bit more financially responsible, Mr. Vendrell...

"The only reason you're even here--" Shane goes on. Ronnie cuts him off. Lem wants Shane to finish. "Aceveda will disband us if you leave, so we're stuck with you," says Shane. Vic interjects, "That's not the only reason we want you back." There's no reason the money incident should ruin the team and their friendships.

"I can't do this anymore," sighs Lem, "Stealing drugs and money, always hidin'. I mean, I'm pukin' up blood, for Christ's sake!" "You torched enough cash to buy 1,000 doctors, you dumb shit!" Shane hollers, hands up in a strangling gesture. Lem storms back to his Jeep.
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Vic tries to get Lem back on their side. Shane's not helping matters, more or less yelling for Lem to just run home like a bitch. Vic growls at him to shut up as Lem peels away. Shane doesn't think Lem cares about his friends. His friends, yes. You, not so much.

"They are going to disband us!" Ronnie cries. Vic assures him that won't happen. He wants Ronnie to try talking Lem down. Shane and Vic will wait at Lem's house in case Ronnie misses him. You might wanna rethink that plan. Shane is pretty much the last person Lem wants to see right now.

"You're gonna go apologize. Make this right," Vic orders his best friend. Shane whines that Lem should apologize to him. "I did not go through this shitstorm to lose our whole team over your goddamn temper!" Vic snaps. Shane would've been there to go after Margos if Vic hadn't ditched them. Vic's argument for that is the same as Lem's: It was for his own protection.

Shane all but says he doesn't need protection because he's a grown-ass man. Vic brings up Tavon. "You talk like we're brothers, yet you treat me like I'm a little brother," says Shane. Then maybe stop acting like you're 3? Vic guesses that's a Mara line: "She might kiss you in all the right places, but when the time comes, she'll turn on you too."

Shane lays his holster on top of Vic's truck. He wants to fight mano y mano. He must really like fighting out of his weight class too. I mean, first he tangled with Lem. "You better watch out," Vic cautions, "Your wife isn't here to hit me in the back of the head with an iron." That's a cheap shot, but not one he didn't deserve.

Shane goes back to how Vic accused him of stealing $7,000 and never lets him forget his mistakes. He went along with Vic during the whole lead-up to the money train. "Yeah, like I had to drag you kicking and screaming into it," Vic scoffs, "You wanted that money as much as I did." "And now you're backin' the guy who burned it over me!" screams Shane. Vic never put money over friends, unlike some people.

"That bitch has you so turned around and you don't even see it!" says Vic. Shane counters, "Yeah, well, I'm goin' home to that bitch. Who the hell are you goin' home to?" Uh, his daughter? Shane doesn't think that Vic trying to play Best Daddy In the World will last. Vic gives Shane one chance to leave before he really hurts him.

Shane picks up his gun and goes back to his truck. Vic comes around the hood of his own truck, his gun drawn next to his leg. Shane drives away, blasting country music. Something tells me he's not going over to Lem's to apologize. Vic stares after him with a pained expression on his face. End of episode, end of Season 3.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Time to Go "All In" (Episode 3.14)

Previously on: Matt accidentally set the Mackeys kitchen on fire and Corinne suggested that he might need to be put in a group home. Tavon woke up from his coma. Tensions are running high between Lem and Shane. Bodies with missing feet have been discovered, all of them people the Armenians suspected of robbing the money train. Dutch suspects that Margos might be involved.

Neil, the Strike Team's fall guy, was also found dead and missing his feet. The guys threw his body in an incinerator to keep Dutch from realizing Neil's dead. They left the body of Rex, a local bookie, in his place. Vic vowed to Edgar-veda that he'll take down the Armenians.

Treasury Agent Nell has identified the mole: a guy from Glendale who spent a few years living in Israel. During that time, he got involved with some Russian gangsters. He's not connected to Neil, but he's been providing classified information to the Armenians in exchange for cash.

Mr. Mole has managed to hack into LAPD's computer system. He got information on four people under the Edgar-veda's command: Vic, Shane, Lem, and Ronnie. Edgar-veda goes into the interrogation room with the mole.

The guy swears the only Strike Team information that he gave to the Armenians were their names and photos. He was supposedly kicked out of the computer before he could find out anything else, like home addresses. If the Armenians ask Mr. Mole for intel, he gets it, though. "In your experience, what does that mean?" asks Edgar-veda. Mr. Mole replies, "It's probably not good."

Corinne exits Vic's kitchen, wearing her scrubs. She talked to her nurse manager about cutting back her hours and will be able to work part-time during the day when the kids are at school. Vic asks if Cassidy can live with him for a while once the repairs are done. That'll give Corinne time to focus on Matthew and Megan, who both have autism.

Corinne doesn't want the kids split up. Vic argues that they'll still be together on weekends and holidays. He's not planning on making the move permanent. He knows Corinne is trying her best, but the current situation isn't working.

Vic visits Tavon, bearing the gift of a porn magazine. He asks if anyone from the department has come by to talk about his accident. Tavon thinks they will be the next day. Vic says the last thing Tavon needs is for Internal Affairs to find out he started the fight with Shane and hit Mara. Lord knows Tavon can't afford to lose his job, pension, or health insurance.

"Lem said you don't remember much about what happened." Vic goes on. Tavon doesn't, but he knows his own nature; he would never, ever hit a woman. Vic asks if Tavon remembers that Mara is pregnant; that could make Internal Affairs more determined to run Tavon out. Tavon wants to tell his side of the story, Shane can tell his version, and Internal Affairs can figure out the truth.

Vic stops by Shane's house to tell him that Tavon didn't buy the lie. "What if I come forward?" asks Mara. Vic reminds her that would involve revealing that the three of them have been covering it up for two months; Tavon won't listen to him. Shane has an idea: "He's always had a soft spot for Lem." For now, it's time to saddle up against the Armenians. "Try not to land the three of us in jail while we're gone," Vic tells Mara.

Montage of the guys rousting Armenians. "Show and tell, kids! Show us what you're doing and we'll tell you why it's a crime!" says Vic.

Vic and Shane talk to Petrosh, who had a bunch of financial records in the back of a rug store. "You open up a branch of H&R Blochian?" asks Shane. Petrosh says he just imports carpet. Vic tells him to try again; there were only half a dozen rugs in the showroom.

They question the guy's girlfriend Ayla about the 6-figure sums. Three months ago, she was living in Armenia, helping run her family's tile business. She's educated with no criminal record. What's a nice girl like her doing with guys like that? Ayla explains her father owed a sizable mob debt, got sick, and couldn't pay. He died right after she came to the U.S.

Someone has her sister Sosi and will kill her if she doesn't cooperate. Ayla doesn't know the guy's name, but describes him as having long hair. To Vic (and us at home), that spells Margos. He's in L.A. and hasn't told Petrosh exactly where. The accounting papers are from a scheme where they sell stolen gas tax-free.

A parking garage has become a crime scene. Lisa Kensit, a public defender, has been shot and listed as death imminent at Mission Cross. She was leaving the sentencing hearing of a One-Niner; her client got 10 years with no chance of early parole. Dutch echoes my feelings about the many execution-style shootings of police officers that have happened over the last couple of years: "Having a thankless job's bad enough. Getting shot for it is just insulting."

The Strike Team pulls over a tanker truck hauling gas; it was supposedly making a delivery to a gas station. Ronnie checks the tank and sees it's nearly full. "Maybe you're fillin' up and not droppin' off," Lem suggests. The driver admits that a few times a week, he unloads at Armenian-owned gas stations.

Vic lets Petrosh know they've confiscated his trucks and shut down his gas stations. They don't have a problem with the Armenian mob as long as they're not chopping off people's feet. They know he's working for Margos and that the boss is in town. "You need to stop Margos," says Petrosh. Vic promises he will. Margos was sent to get them back into the drug trade after the money train ripoff. Kail, who runs distribution and deliveries, might know where Margos is.

Vic tells Ronnie and Shane to take the first watch on Kail; he and Lem are headed to the hospital to talk to Tavon. Shane thanks Lem for helping him. Lem is cradling his shotgun and seems like he'd dearly love to put a round through Shane. The captain comes to the clubhouse and Vic fills him in on Margos.

"You find Margos before he finds you. A mole inside Treasury passed on your names and photos to the Armenian mob," Edgar-veda informs them. Fortunately, the gangsters don't know where they live. He offers them protection. "The Armenians need protection, not us," says Vic. Retaliation is a compliment. Means they're hurting business.

When the captain's gone, Shane is sure Diagur or Neil ratted on them before they were killed. Vic says they need to keep cool while he turns their cash into untraceable real estate.

Dutch is upset he wasn't told about the Treasury mole. Edgar-veda tells him Mr. Mole looked up information on the Strike Team and pretends it has to do with them raiding Little Armenia. Dutch theorizes that Vic is involved. If he's such a super cop, why doesn't he have a single lead on the money train? Maybe Vic's protecting whoever did it and is getting a cut of the money in exchange.
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Edgar-veda doubts it; Vic's been begging him for overtime. "I'm not saying he'd be stupid about it," says Dutch. Edgar-veda tells him to keep working Lisa's murder with Claudette.

Vic and Shane stake out Kail, who looks a lot like Danny DeVito. Shane sees the guy's two kids and says he should've pulled his act together.
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Kail's wife comes out of the house carrying a baby. "He can call collect from prison," Ronnie says a little too brightly.

At the hospital, Lem whispers that Tavon's asleep. It's clear no part of him wants to be there. Nevertheless, he says something he knows will wake up his friend: "Hey, you ready for that sponge bath?" Tavon opens his eyes, but still seems to be in a morphine haze.

Vic meaningfully tilts his head at Lem. "Vic says you don't remember hitting Mara," Lem starts. Tavon says, "Because I didn't."

Lem spins a story that Shane called him to come over after the fight. He bandaged a cut over Mara's eye and saw a bruise on her side. They didn't take her to the hospital to keep Tavon out of trouble. "Mara got you worked up. Believe me, I've wanted to crack her a few times myself," says Vic. Lem doesn't want Tavon to let one mistake ruin his life. You can see that having to deceive his friend is killing him.

"Jesus." Tavon's voice quivers, "Did I hurt the baby?" Lem reassures him that the baby is okay. Vic twists the knife by adding, "Mara did have some bleeding for a couple days." Tavon doesn't know what to do now. What should he say? Vic advises him to keep it simple: He was tired and fell asleep at the wheel.

Tavon is still fighting tears as he asks if Lem can convince Mara to visit; he wants to apologize. Good luck arranging that. She's still pissed at Tavon for hitting her baby daddy.

Vic tells Tavon they'll back him up, uncomfortable with the fact that he's crying. Vic and Lem decide they should leave. Vic gives Lem a reassuring pat on the back and almost gets clocked in the face for his trouble. Tavon doesn't notice because he's sobbing into his pillow.

Dutch talks to a guy who was seen in the courthouse parking garage and had just spent 8 weeks as a juror on a tax-fraud case: "I was the only one who graduated from high school. It was a slice of living hell." He was in a hurry to leave because he didn't want to end up a witness to murder. "I never mentioned anything about murder," says Claudette. Dutch will try to keep him off the stand if he gives details. The juror saw a black guy shoot Lisa and drive off in a green Toyota.

Dutch and Claudette's next stop is Mission Cross. Corinne reports the doctors are afraid operating on Lisa could cause cardiac arrest; she has high levels of opiates in her blood, specifically OxyContin. The drug is also famously known as hillbilly heroin. Corinne adds that Lisa's Oxy levels would've killed a normal person.

"She's a junkie?" Dutch frowns confusedly. Addiction knows no socioeconomic boundaries; he should know that after working in a city for so long. The doctor thinks the drugs could've been taken as early as that morning, before Lisa went to court.

Vic and Lem arrive at the stakeout point, the latter in a sulk that puts my cats to shame. The other two are already there in the van. Shane radios in the Armenian's location, "He's the midget into his third stack of hotcakes." How'd things go at the hospital? Vic says everything's fine. Lem scowls, no doubt thinking, 'Yeah, except for the part where Tavon broke down crying about something he didn't even do.' Kail leaves the restaurant. Shane tells Vic to follow the silver Expedition.

Edgar-veda asks Lewis how his auto shop launders cash. He couldn't have picked a more public spot, either: right in the middle of a sidewalk. Say he had $2-3 million laying around, what would Lewis do with it? Lewis says the first step is sitting on it until people stop looking for it. He uses shell corporations, but most Joe Citizens rent warehouses or storage lockers.

The captain wants Lewis to spread the word that the feds are onto whoever stole from the Armenians. If a fellow money-launderer comes forward with a positive ID of who has the cash, they get a free pass.

Shane has now joined the pursuit of Kail's Expedition. Vic is driving so erratically that Lem looks carsick. Kail suddenly speeds up, losing Vic. Shane stays on Kail's bumper. Suddenly, Kail makes a crazy U-turn in the middle of traffic, passing Vic, who then radios in an APB.

Claudette and Dutch interview Mary, who's been paging Lisa a lot. She says Lisa is her lawyer. The woman claims privilege, even though she never signed in at Lisa's office and her trial's been over for 3 years. Mary is also the last person who called Lisa. Mary herself has been clean for years, but Lisa had a habit. Mary threatened to report the lawyer if Lisa didn't get her out of trouble.

Dutch wants to know who Lisa's dealer is. Claudette is more interested in how long this arrangement's been going on. They step onto the balcony and Dutch tells her to stop shifting her focus. The important thing is to find Lisa's killer. "Maybe it's her social life that got her shot in the first place," says Claudette. Dutch is concerned that a timeline of Lisa's addiction could cause her cases to get retried. Claudette's opinion is the same as mine: "If she were high in court, they should."

Once again, this is all about Dutch's ego. Lisa defended Bob of the infamous Bob and Marcy. Of course, he tries to play it off like he's more concerned about public safety should Bob get out of jail. Claudette sees right through that, but agrees they should focus more on finding her killer.

Danny and Julien go to a supermarket. Management has asked a loud woman with a megaphone and flyers to get off their sidewalk. Said megaphone is plastered with stickers promoting Edgar-veda for city council. Danny takes down the flyers. Carol asks why Danny is harassing his supporters; he's a police captain. Danny is aware of that because Edgar-veda is her boss.

When they take her to the Barn, Carol starts to call for Edgar-veda from the cage. She declares, "He's gonna be mayor one day. No, governor." Edgar-veda quietly tells Danny that he'll talk to the woman. He asks if Carol is involved with his campaign officially. "I do this all by myself," she says, proud as a kid who just learned to tie her own shoes. It's obvious she has a crush on him.

Edgar-veda appreciates her support, but all he really needs her to do is vote for him. He lets her out. Carol is stunned: "I'm out there 12 hours a day and this is how he thanks me?" Danny's like "yeah, pretty much."

Another officer has caught up to Kail's Expedition. He radios to ask if Vic wants him to pull the guy over.
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Vic wants to handle this himself. He takes a corner with the brakes screaming.

Claudette asks Mary who Lisa's dealer was. Mary refuses to give up a name. Claudette notices goosebumps and checks Mary's eyes. Again, she asserts that she's clean. Claudette wants to know how long Mary delivered drugs to Lisa. When she doesn't answer, Claudette arrests Mary for obstruction of justice and being under the influence of a controlled substance. "The only thing I'm on is allergy medicine," Mary insists.

Downstairs, Dutch says, "You can't hold her." Claudette knows it won't take long before Mary starts jonesing.

"Kail's outside the warehouse with 3 other guys," Ronnie reports when Vic and Lem arrive. A SWAT team is already in position. The Armenians carry a rug to Kail's truck. Shane bets there's heroin rolled up inside. "What if it's not?" asks Lem. If they blow this chance to get Margos, there probably won't be another.

When the Expedition leaves the warehouse, it gets pulled over by the Strike Team. "Get on your knees, fatty!" Vic orders. Pot, meet kettle. Ronnie grabs the rug and unrolls it; packages of heroin fall out. "Oh, I want the rest of the day off!" he hoots triumphantly. Vic asks Kail where Margos is. Kail acts like he doesn't know who that is.

Vic dismisses the SWAT team and drags Kail to a corner of the alley: "You have the right to remain silent, but I wouldn't recommend it!" He dunks Kail's head in a barrel of black sludge. Vic asks again about Margos. Getting no answer, he dunks Kail again. "Okay, I'm seein' a lotta windows here," Lem says nervously. Vic growls, "These assholes didn't get our names and our pictures to send us Christmas cards!"

Kail's head is put in the barrel a third and fourth time. Lem tries to stop Vic, but the little bulldog pushes him away. Kail finally tells them Margos' address is under the visor of his car. Lem finds the address and discovers it's only a block away. It's Vic's turn to sound worried: "Is he watching us?" Um, that's what literally everyone has been trying to tell you all day.

What neither of them knows yet is that Margos has been spying on them from a nearby window. His hostage Sosi is with him. He creepily caresses the young girl's face and hair, then stabs her in the back of the neck. By the time the Strike Team breaks in, it's probably too late. Lem tries to ram open an upstairs doors, but it's blocked by something, namely Sosi's body.

Vic manages to force the door and tells the blond to look over Sosi. I'm guessing Lem must be the one with the most first-aid training because they always pick him to check on the wounded. Somehow, Sosi's still alive. Vic orders Shane to find Margos, but he's gone. Lem is trying his best to stop the bleeding and yells that they need an ambulance. Vic knows they don't have that kind of time; they'll have to drive her in their car.

Outside, Lem climbs in the backseat, cradling Sosi. Vic tells Shane to notify the hospital and Sosi's sister, then keep looking for Margos with Ronnie. Lem screams, "Drive faster! She's goin' white!"

Claudette strolls by the cage: "Looks like you're jonesing for more than allergy medication." Mary cracks; Lisa got her Oxy from Mary's boyfriend Marlon Gault. Did Marlon kill Lisa? Mary doesn't know; he just asked her to arrange a meeting at the parking garage. She's been giving drugs to Lisa for 3 years, but she doesn't have any proof, which is a relief to both Dutch and Claudette.

Danny brings Ayla to the ER entrance at Mission Cross. The young Armenian immediately notices that Lem's arms and gray T-shirt are covered in blood. "She's gone," Vic quietly Ayla, giving her a hug.

At the same supermarket, Carol has changed her tune. She's holding a DAVID ACEVEDA FOR CITY COUNCIL flyer that's been covered with a red X: "We won't stand for his Gestapo tactics. He doesn't care about working families, just himself." She has no idea how right she is about that. Danny and Julien pull up to arrest her for trespassing. To my surprise, she comes quietly.

Claudette tells Marlon that Mary gave him up. He's sure Mary will change her story by the time there's a trial. Dutch comes in: "It's amazing what a junkie'll tell you when you threaten to put them in detox." He knows Lisa owed Marlon $15,000. If he can prove she was using the past 3 years, the D.A. might knock a few years off his sentence for shooting Lisa. Marlon says he has proof.

At a diner, Vic meets with their real-estate connection Leith. They can't go through with their plan just yet; it's too soon after the Armenian mob ripoff. Vic seems surprised the real estate agent knows about that, then starts denying he was about to launder money. "You think I'm wired?" asks Leith. Vic tells him he's cop and won't do anything illegal.

Mara has heard that Tavon changed his story. Shane isn't worried. Mara tells him she doesn't want Vic around them or their baby. Can Shane transfer to another assignment? Shane flatly refuses because Vic is his best friend. They argue about Vic not being hard enough on the guy who tried to shoot Shane and how he accused Shane of stealing $7,000. "You took it," Shane reminds her. Mara points out that Vic didn't know it at the time.

There's a knock on the door. It's Edgar-veda. Mara leaves to get a house ready for a showing. The captain asks Shane about renting a storage unit under the alias Cletus Van Damme. Shane's cover story is he put his old furniture in it when Mara moved in because he didn't know if things would work out. The alias was in case Mara snooped around: "I didn't want her thinking I was having second thoughts. I mean, you know how chicks are."

Edgar-veda surveys Shane's living room. He doesn't have legal reason to open the storage locker, but would Shane mind showing him what's inside? Shane threw everything away after the wedding, however, he had to lease the thing for a year. He does the stupidest thing possible: he hands over the key.

Shane invites the rest of the Strike Team over for an emergency meeting. Vic tells them what Leith said. The key Shane gave Edgar-veda was to the storage unit they already emptied. The captain knows about Shane's alias and the storage manager ID'd Shane's picture.

Ronnie inquires, "What if his next stop's where we're really stashing it?" Maybe next time don't have the most distinctive-looking guy rent the storage unit. Vic tells them to move the money up to Bakersfield. "Well, who decided this?" Lem demands. Vic and Shane did.

Vic and Lem load the footlockers into the van while Shane puffs on a cigarette. Real helpful, pal. Vic tells Ronnie and Lem to let their car get a 5-mile head start. A siren off in the distance makes everyone's heads snap around. Lem is sure they'll be fine if they drive the speed limit. Vic tells them to call when they hit the road.

After Shane and Vic leave, Lem asks Ronnie to go make sure the footlockers are covered up. And darn it all, his phone has no signal. Can he see Ronnie's?
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Once Ronnie tosses the phone over, Lem gets in the front seat. He sits there, waiting. He hears the back doors close, then Ronnie jiggling the door handle. "Hey, it's locked!" he calls. I think Lem knows that. Lem peels away and Ronnie hilariously tries to chase the van on foot.

In his office, Edgar-veda wonders how a public defender could be a drug addict for 3 years without anybody noticing. "Scrips aren't like H or crack. It's easier to be functional," Claudette surmises. Lisa's acquittal rate is below-average. Does Claudette really want to take the chance of opening that can of worms to reconvict dangerous people? The D.A. will never sign off on this. Claudette has a solution: call an A.D.A.

Edgar-veda asks Dutch to step out, then turns on Claudette. Can she prove Lisa was high in court? She argues that Oxy is hardly a recreational substance. Edgar-veda tells her to focus on open cases. When she's in a command position, she'll learn how to make these hard decisions. "I hope to God not," she says. Claudette could alienate everyone if she gets cases reopened and I have to admit the captain has a point.

Claudette is concerned an innocent person could've been convicted of something due to ineffective counsel. "The chief will not promote you," Edgar-veda warns, "He will look for the first chance to fire you." "I can't accept a promotion if the only way to get it is to stick my conscience in a drawer!" shouts Claudette.

Vic and Shane find Ronnie walking down the sidewalk and ask what happened. Ronnie has no idea. Vic tries to call, but Lem isn't answering his phone or Ronnie's. Shane immediately jumps to the worst and most unlikely conclusion: "Lem ripped us off!" "He always thought the money was a problem," says Vic, "I know where he's going. Oh God, no!"

Lem is at the incinerator where they disposed of Neil's body, chucking handfuls of cash into the fire. He tosses the empty footlocker across the room and grabs the next one. He slams it down just as Vic walks in. Lem is completely unglued and there's no stopping him now. He even grabs a sledgehammer to hold off his teammates.

Vic asks the stupid thing: "What are you doing?" Lem's protecting them. If there's no money to find, nobody can touch them. Shane points his gun at Lem. He stands up, still holding the hammer. Vic and Ronnie tell Shane to put his gun down. Lem looks stunned and hurt at the idea one of his friends would shoot him over money that wasn't even theirs to begin with. Ronnie seems ready to cry.

"You guys are the only family I got, all right?" Lem begins, "I'm not gonna let any of us go to prison." Vic tells Lem that wasn't his call. Lem is now near tears himself: "I have always gone along with everything you've ever wanted and all it's done is get us deeper and deeper into shit." He begs Vic to let him finish.

Shane almost catches a 12-pound sledge to the face when he sneaks up behind Lem. Vic tackles Lem to the floor; Shane and Ronnie join the dogpile. Lem fights like a man possessed and manages to throw everyone off, but they wrestle him down again.

Lem tries to belly-crawl over to the furnace with another fistful of cash, everyone hanging onto him. Vic has him in a headlock and Lem seems to relax. When Vic lets go, Lem resumes grabbing all the money he can reach. Ronnie and Shane slide the footlocker away while Vic tightens his grip on Lem. All the fight goes out of him.
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The four of them lay there on the cash-strewn floor, trying to catch their breath. End of episode.

Bravo to all on that last scene, especially Kenny Johnson. Lem's always been the quiet one with a conscience, but this showed him to be perfectly capable of snapping. You can see how mentally and physically sick he is of lying.

Final note: This song would've been perfect to play over the finale.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

"Fire In the Hole" And on the Stove (Episode 3.13)

Whenever I see that phrase, I hear it said in Walton Goggins' voice.

Previously on: The Strike Team abandoned some of their marked cash where an Irish gangster named Neil O'Brien would find it. He was brought in, but nobody could prove where the money came from. Vic's informant Taylor hit pretty heavily on Danny.  The Strike Team set up a sting involving AGC, a custom car shop that also launders money. The Mackeys learned were told they'll have to find another school if Matt keeps biting kids.

Walon, the head of the Decoy Squad, threatened to have Claudette fired when his partner Trish went missing. She was later found alive, but had to do cocaine and have sex with her suspect to keep her cover. Lem found out exactly what caused Tavon's car accident.

Vic arrives at his former home to find firemen there. The kitchen is a charred wreck. Cassidy is scared and runs up to her dad for a hug. Corinne explains she was in the bathroom while Cassidy and Matt were making soup; Matt got hold of cooking spray. Corinne's mom took him and Megan for the night. "He didn't know what he was doing," Corinne insists.

"If your wife hadn't grabbed that fire extinguisher, this whole place coulda burned up," says one of the firemen. Corinne lies that she had the stove on too high and the grease caught fire. Vic invites Cassidy and Corinne to stay with him for a few days.

While they're packing, he quietly tells the fireman, "I think we both know this wasn't a grease fire." The fireman has to determine if it was arson. Vic explains that he has a 7-year-old developmentally disabled child who "was just playing where he shouldn't be." The fireman will write it up as accident. Vic gives the guy a business card in case he ever needs a favor.

Lem slowly enters Tavon's hospital room and asks, "Hey, are you talking now?" "You're that new nurse here for my sponge bath?" Tavon quips. One of his arms is in a sling. A leg is in a cast. He has scars on his neck from the tracheotomy and going through the windshield.

Lem sits down next to the bed. He heard Tavon's doctor thinks he can go to a rehab facility soon. Everyone at work misses him. Lem asks if Tavon remembers anything. The last clear memory Tavon has is fighting with Shane.

Vic shows Edgar-veda a surveillance video from one of the cars AGC bugged. It belongs to Jantell Davis of the Spookstreet Soldiers. He's seen taking money from a white guy. "Jesse Ventura here is with the Horde," says Vic. They're a biker gang with Aryan leanings.
I said "Horde," not "Nords."
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The captain is curious why these two aren't killing each other on general principle. Vic doesn't know what they're planning, but Jantell agreed to provide getaway cars. "The Horde's got a pretty violent history," says Edgar-veda. Most outlaws do. Vic knows the gang killed two bank guards during a robbery in Sacramento. Edgar-veda inquires as to how they'll find out when and where the crime is going down without anyone figuring out AGC is bugging cars.

Danny and Julien come upon a station wagon almost in the front window of a coffee shop. "Someone miss the drive-through?" she jokes. Another uniform was in pursuit of said station wagon, which was stolen. The coffee shop owners barely got out of the way in time and the thief got away. The coffee shop hasn't even been open a week.

While Julien talks to the couple, Danny looks inside the station wagon. She sees cases of 30-year-old single-malt Scotch with no tax stickers. She guesses it's worth $120 a bottle. Julien reports that the coffee shop owners are uninsured idiots who'll have to pay out of pocket to fix their store if they don't find the car thief. I'm surprised Danny doesn't say it's their own fault for not getting insurance. Her only comment is it looks like they're chasing a bootlegger.

Edgar-veda wants Vic to tell Claudette about the AGC sting since he'll be moving on after the election. Jantell got a call from cloned number saying half the fee ($10,000) was paid, so the Horde must be into something serious. Vic has an armored car schedule and a list of all the banks and check-cashing places in Farmington.

The captain doesn't want any of the locations alerted for fear of scaring the employees. Vic plans to bust someone in Spookstreet for something unrelated, then get him to give up the heist. Edgar-veda says to go through Claudette if he needs anything.

In the clubhouse, Lem shares what should be good news: Tavon is out of the coma. "He's groggy, but he's makin' sense...The bad news is he remembers gettin' in a fight with Shane before Mara clocked him over the head with an iron." Shane asks if Tavon told Lem that little detail. No, Vic did, but Tavon remembers everything up to that point.

All this is news to Ronnie. Lem sums it up beautifully: "Shane put Tavon in the hospital and then he lied to us about it." Shane argues that Tavon started the fight. Lem asks why Shane didn't say that in the first place. Vic says he made the call not to tell the other two and did it to protect the Strike Team.

"You think this is still a team?" asks Lem. Vic growls, "I'd do the same goddamn thing for you." No, you wouldn't. Lem says that won't be necessary. Shane points out that Lem's hands are dirty too. Maybe so, but they're still a hell of a lot cleaner. Vic is worried that if Tavon pins this on Shane, they're all screwed. "He's only gonna remember more, not less," Lem realizes, looking sick. Shane storms out.

Vic stakes out Jantell in the van, Lem in the passenger seat. He assures him they're still a team; they just have to get through this situation. "We never should've taken that money," Lem says vehemently. Walon, disguised as a bum, walks up to the window and tells them to leave; Jantell is being watched by the Decoy Squad. Vic is incredulous and warns that he'll tip off Jantell.

"Me? Why don't you just paint five-oh on the side of the van?" asks Walon. Vic wants to know why the Decoy Squad is looking into Spookstreet. Walon pretty much tells him "noneya." Vic throws a quarter in Walon's change cup, ordering him to get lost. Because he has the mentality of a third-grader, Walon retorts, "You get lost."

Edgar-veda gets Claudette, the Strike Team, and the Decoy Squad together. He asks why Walon's crew is investigating Spookstreet. Walon explains they're gathering intel on a guy named Durwin who makes kid-on-kid sex tapes. "That's pretty vile, even for them," says Vic. Trish says that Durwin's being doing it on the side; she doesn't think anyone else in the gang knows about it.

Edgar-veda wants to know how Durwin lures the kids. Walon says, "He's got a social worker in his pocket. Most of her caseload are crack moms." The social worker cozies up to the moms and puts it up to them as another way to make money. Trish thinks they can break the case by the end of the week.

The captain doesn't want to wait that long. Neither does Vic. The cases will be folded together to corroborate one of the Strike Team's tips. Claudette will pose as a fellow social worker, Trish as a crack mom client. Walon is not okay with this because it means the real social worker will walk. Vic "doesn't like letting the wicked witch fly away" either. Walon refuses to work for Claudette again.

Lauren meets with Vic in the Barn's parking lot and they finalize their plans for Vic to join her at a dog handler's conference in San Diego. She got them adjoining rooms with an ocean view. Vic's is under the alias Jackson Benjamin. What kinda low-rent hotel did they get for this conference? Every place I've ever stayed checks ID.

Lauren gives the reason behind the subterfuge: A lot of people know her and her boyfriend Hunter. Vic doesn't plan on leaving the room for much. Danny, unloading cases of Scotch from her patrol car, sees this.

Neil O'Brien is missing and Agent Nell from Treasury is sure the Armenians had something to do with it. Neil was supposed to be on 24/7 surveillance, but someone hacked into the system using the log-in credentials of a retired agent to call off the watch team. There are signs of a struggle in the apartment. No blood and Neil's car is still in the garage. Dutch will investigate until Nell finds the leak in Treasury. Edgar-veda tells Dutch to bring in Vic, who's dealt with the Armenians more than anybody else. (And in more ways than one).

In the bathroom, Trish makes herself looks like a crack whore. Claudette lets down her hair and takes off her badge and gun. She hasn't been undercover in years. Trish tells her it's just like riding a bike. Claudette talks to herself in the mirror, laying out her backstory: "I've been a social worker for 15 years. Hated it for the last 10. My ex-husband gambled away our savings, so I earn on the side from the crackheads who I can't help anyway, even if I wanted to." Trish has been her client for 10 months.

Claudette wishes she could take back Trish's undercover assignment that went wrong. "We're cops," the younger woman shrugs, "Shit happens."

Lauren has just gotten a call from Hunter, who was supposedly mugged. He's at home instead of the ER and didn't report it to the police. She tells Vic she's sorry, but she has to cancel their trip.

Danny and Julien's stolen station wagon was taken from an elementary school parking lot. The Scotch came out of a shipping container in San Pedro before Customs went through it. A total of 11 cases are missing and there were only 7 in the station wagon. Vic asks for Danny and Julien's help. His friend's boyfriend was mugged and didn't report it. He's curious about why. They agree to do what they can.

Dutch tells Vic about Neil's disappearance. "Huh?" Vic blinks. Dutch is sending out alerts to airports, train stations, and bus depots. Any tips Vic can provide would be helpful. If the Armenians got to Neil, Vic is sure he won't be leaving town on foot.

Dutch knows Neil has a taste for Hispanic prostitutes and could use the Strike Team's help. Vic would love to but his hands are full. Dutch says that won't be a problem; Edgar-veda is pulling Vic off the other case. Dutch will canvass the neighbors and the bar where Neil found the money.

Through the open door of the clubhouse, we see Lem and Shane having a furious but silent fight. Vic goes to see what it's all about. We hear Shane saying something about how they only kept something from him to protect him. I bet the something involves Tavon's accident.

Out in the parking lot, Vic gives them the bad news about Neil vanishing. The Armenians probably found out from the mole in Treasury. "If they get him, they'll kill him," Lem frets. If Neil's dead, the feds could go back to suspecting the Strike Team. If they think he's just gone fugitive, they'll keep looking for him for years.

"What about the fact that the guy's innocent?" asks Lem. Shane counters, "The guy's an asshole with a rap sheet as long as your sad little face." Lem grabs Shane by his jacket and slams him against the van, snarling, "Tavon wasn't enough for you?" Vic wrenches them apart. If they're gonna ride this out, Lem needs to keep his head.
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A couple of uniforms have been standing nearby, watching the scene curiously. Vic tells Shane that Lem is right that they didn't plant the money on Neil to get him killed. His plan: "Get to him before the feet-choppers do. Get his ass on a Greyhound to Akron." Google tells me there's a strong Armenian presence in Cleveland, a mere 45 minutes away. Rethink that destination, Vic.

Anyway, the guys will split up to find out if Diagur's girls or anyone else from Byz Lats turf knows of Neil. Vic finds Diagur and his homies all have some sort of makeup smeared on one cheek as a gesture of mourning. Diagur's cousin Aramis was shanked in Chino by an Armenian. Does this have anything to do with the marked money? Vic explains about the leak at Treasury. They show him Neil's picture and ask if he's been hanging around any of the girls.

Diagur is sure the Byz Lats will find him if he's in the area. Vic tells them Neil liked to hang out at a bar called Smogjumpers.

"You're lucky we needed a favor, Felicia, because throwing your ass in prison was my first choice," Walon tells the real social worker. He lies down on the backseat. Claudette parks the car and tells Felicia to keep quiet. She rings a doorbell. When Durwin answers, Claudette introduces herself as Felicia's supervisor; she wants to talk business. Durwin claims he doesn't know a Felicia.

Claudette points her out and Felicia waves. Claudette goes on that they're business partners. She knows Durwin paid "$1,200 for that little movie star she hooked you up with." Durwin lets her in. Claudette claims Felicia shorted her on her half on the $1,200. She'd prefer to deal with Durwin directly from now on.

What kind of "stars" is Durwin looking for? Durwin requests dark-skinned girls, 11 at the oldest. Claudette offers him little girls who are 8 and 10 for $2,000. $500 of that goes to their mom. They'll do whatever Durwin says. She just needs to know when to bring them over.

Julien and Danny interview Lauren's boyfriend Hunter about the mugging. He claims it happened in the parking lot of the restaurant where he works. He thinks there were three guys, but he can't describe them. Hunter started swinging when the guys demanded his watch because it was a present from Lauren.

Dutch talks to the bartender at Smogjumpers. Neil was a regular customer who liked to watch sports and gamble. The bartender eyes a lone Byz Lat in a booth uneasily. Dutch promises he's not out to arrest anyone for being a bookie. The bartender says the bookie has "a dog's name" like Sparky or Scout...or something. He thinks the guy owns a furniture store. Dutch leaves his business card.

Before leaving, he has another question. Have any other cops come by? Maybe someone named Mackey? "Shaved head, redneck partner," he elaborates. The bartender shakes his head. Dutch is satisfied with that and doesn't bother describing Lem or Ronnie.

Vic gets a call from Diagur. Neil is holed up in a motel with a Mexican girl. Also, Dutch is looking into them. Dutch asks why. Vic admits that he told Dutch that Neil hung out at Smogjumpers. There's a general grumbling of "oh, perfect." "Dutch would look into his own mother if he thought he could catch a case," Vic points out. Nevertheless, they need to get Neil out of town. Nobody moves. "I can't do this alone!" says Vic. Lem is the first one to stand up and the last to leave the clubhouse.

At the motel, the guys find a naked woman lying on the bed. She has a trail of pawprints tattooed from the small of her back down. She sees the badges and guns and gets dressed. Neil comes out of the bathroom. Shane tells him to wash his hands before he cuffs him. Vic gives his partner a look. "What? That's disgusting," says Shane.

Vic tells Neil a lot of people are looking for him. Neil already knows that; he found a bunch of Armenians tossing his apartment last night. Are they here to put him in protective custody? Vic tells him about the leaks at Treasury and LAPD. No place in California is safe.

Neil says he didn't rob the money train, which is true. He just found a bunch of cash outside Smogjumpers. The feds froze most of it after he put it in a bank. He lost $16,000 of it gambling and has another $3,000 on tonight's Lakers game. Can we say "degenerate?" His bookie Rex already has his bet. Shane says they'll front him travel expenses and make sure Rex wires any money he wins. They're sending him on a one-way trip to Akron. "Where's that?" asks Neil.

When Durwin and Claudette arrive at Trish's, the first thing he asks is where her kids are. She claims they're with her baby daddy. Durwin will pay her when he sees the kids. Trish adjusts the bedding on a mattress she has on the floor; there's even a pink teddy bear. Durwin sizes up the arrangement with his movie camera. Trish points to pictures on the walls, supposedly her kids. She says the youngest has already had...experience with men.

Danny tells Vic that she followed up on Hunter's mugging. She thinks he's lying about something. Lauren seems convinced he's telling the truth, however.

Edgar-veda asks if Dutch has found Neil. Dutch is curious why the captain asked him to keep Vic out of the loop regarding the Armenians. "He was working on a quota mandate," Edgar-veda lies when he sees Vic is in the breakroom. Nina comes downstairs to tell the captain a man was found murdered behind a Spanish grocery store and his feet are missing.

The victim turns out to be Diagur. He's shirtless and dotted with cigarette burns. Shane wonders if Diagur ratted on them. "He didn't know we were involved," says Vic. However, Diagur knew about Neil and the marked money.

Right about then, Dutch pulls up. Vic tells him who the victim is and pretends they struck out with the hookers. Lem has ducked under the crime scene tape and looks nauseous. Dutch is curious how Vic knew the name of Neil's favorite bar. Vic learned from Neil's rap sheet that he liked gambling and Mexican hookers: "There's only one place in town where you can do both and be white."

Trish's doorbell buzzes. She peeks out the blinds and says she sees her kids. Durwin picks up the camera. Trish won't let the kids in until she gets paid. Durwin agrees to give half the fee to Claudette for safekeeping. When he reaches to give it to her, Claudette pulls on his arm, sending him face first onto the mattress. She declares him under arrest.

Cassidy complains that Matt isn't helping her set the table. He just threw the napkins on the floor. Vic comes in for dinner. Seeing his daughter's frustration, Vic shows Matt how to set the table. Cassidy asks how long they'll be in a hotel. Vic isn't sure how long it'll take to get the kitchen fixed. Painters are coming if she wants to change the color of her room.

Taylor stops by the Barn with a present for Danny: tickets to a sold-out concert. She has no interest in going anywhere with a fence. But does he know anything about a guy named Glenn Callan who runs stolen Scotch? Taylor thinks he can find out...provided he has a police escort.

After dinner, Corinne thanks Vic for cooking. Vic expresses concern that one of the kids could've been hurt in that fire. Corinne doesn't know how she's supposed to reason with Matthew and Vic can't watch him 24/7. What can they do? Put him in a group home? "You're serious," Vic says quietly. Corinne argues that she doesn't want to have him committed. "Then don't bring it up again," Vic warns.

Corinne asks if this is fair to Megan; she could be normal. Corinne's trying as hard as she can. Vic guesses he has to step in.

Durwin tells Dutch and Claudette that making pornography isn't illegal. Claudette reminds him it is when it involves children and what tends to happen to pedophiles in prison. Durwin's defense is the kids' moms let him do it. If he helps them, maybe they can get him into a special housing unit.

Claudette asks what Durwin's Spookstreet friends are up to these days. "Usual shit," he replies. The cops can't offer anything unless he gives up something unusual. Durwin tells them about Primo who writes bad checks.

Outside the interrogation room, Walon says, "So we just swapped out a social worker who tricks out kids for a guy passing bad checks? That sucks." Claudette still wants to pick up Primo. Edgar-veda tells her to do it fast.

Dutch got a call from the Smogjumpers bartender; a bookie was collecting cash to make a payout to Neil. Edgar-veda tells him to bring Vic in.

Lauren apologizes to Vic for the weekend in San Diego that never happened. Vic is suspicious: "The week you're going out of town, this guy gets mugged by three guys he can't identify and he managed to fend them off?" She's sure Hunter wouldn't fake getting mugged; it's so pathological. "So is saying that he'll slit his throat if you leave him," Vic points out. Is she ever breaking up with him? Lauren says, "It's not that easy."

Edgar-veda asks if Vic has anything on Neil's bookie. Vic says no, then asks Nina who won the basketball game. Of course the Lakers did. Vic goes in the clubhouse and asks where Rex hangs his bookie hat. When Shane gives him the address, they leave. Neil must be staying in town to collect on his bet and the Strike Team has to find him before Dutch does.

Danny hasn't tracked down Glenn yet. Taylor only knows of a few places that serve top-shelf Scotch. Their best bet is the Bling-Bling Room, which "hasn't served a legal shot since the day it opened." Julien has a favor to ask Claudette. He knows her boyfriend is a contractor. Can he give the coffee shop couple an estimate to repair their store? Maybe see if he can buy materials wholesale? She'll see what see can do.

The Strike Team goes to Rex's furniture store. Said proprietor is in the back room...dead. And missing his feet...with cotton stuffing shoved down his throat. Shane calls for Vic. Neil's body is floating in a large container. "They burned him and dumped him in turpentine," says Lem. Ronnie wonders how long Neil was tortured. "He couldn't tell them anything because he didn't know what he was doing in the middle of this. Goddamn it!" cries Lem.

Vic knows they have a bigger problem: Dutch might be called out here. They have to make Neil's body vanish. The Strike Team staying out of prison depends on Neil being a live fugitive. Lem once again looks like he might throw up, but he has a suggestion.

Walon and Claudette are aware that Primo is passing bad checks again, which could send him back to prison for another three-and-a-half years. They'll let him destroy the evidence if he tells them something good. Primo heard about a credit card ring and people selling stolen rims. Walon isn't impressed.

Primo knows some transsexual prostitutes who've been rolling their johns. "Johns got it coming," says Claudette. She and Walon are about to leave when Primo tells them he knows the Horde is planning something tonight.

Shane and Ronnie lift Neil's body out of the turpentine vat. Lem and Vic come down the stairs with a couch. Ronnie, Shane, and Vic check the vat to make sure Neil's severed feet aren't in it. They put Neil's body in the couch under the cushions and place Rex in the turpentine.

Claudette tells Edgar-veda that the Horde is planning to rip off the L.A. Motor Club. It's a holiday weekend, meaning plenty of cash. The captain tells them to evacuate the club and call SWAT. Dutch suggests notifying the Strike Team too. He's working his own lead on Neil's disappearance.

The guys have just gotten the couch loaded in their van when Vic's phone rings. Their presence is requested to take down the Horde. Vic tells Shane to park the van in front of his house; neighbors know he's a cop and won't mess with it. Clearly he's forgetting how nosy Mara is. They can dump the body later.

Danny, Julien, and Taylor come into the Barn with cases of the stolen Scotch they recovered. Taylor gives her a high-five.

Outside the motor club, Shane speculates about going to jail. Will he and the rest of the Strike Team see it coming or will it be a surprise? A surprise is the last thing it should be, given all the shady shit they've done. Vic thinks it's a good idea to give the cash to their real-estate launderer. Everyone moves in for the arrests. The Horde surrenders without a fight, not at all living up to their badass reputation.

"They'll assume Spookstreet gave them up," says Claudette as the bikers are put in the cage. She promises Trish and Walon she'll keep the social worker's case open and put her out of business.

As soon as Dutch sees Rex's body in turpentine, he's sure Margos is in town and not just calling shots long-distance. Neil seems to have cheated death again. Edgar-veda and Vic are both there. "They ain't stoppin' 'til they get their money back," says Vic. Too right you are. The Armenian mob has become his top priority. He promises to "unravel them, foot by foot."

Julien lectures the Scotch thief about crashing into a store and destroying a couple's business. Danny teases that they might have to deputize Taylor. He asks if she enjoyed clubbing with him. "That was business," she replies.
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Taylor suggests they go party for real next time. He gets pointed looks from both Danny and Julien. He shrugs that Danny has his number if she ever changes her mind.

Elsewhere, Lem opens up an incinerator. Vic tosses Neil's body in. They all stand around the open furnace, watching. "We might be able to fool Dutch and the feds, but the Armenians know the truth." says Lem. Vic gives him a brief shut-the-fuck-up look and toes the incinerator door shut. End of episode.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Robberies and a "Riceburner" (Episode 3.12)

Previously on: Lauren the K-9 handler refused to break up with her boyfriend but wants to keep banging Vic. Matt got in trouble for biting another kid at school. Claudette was asked out by James, a witness in the Cuddler Rapist case. Corinne is deathly afraid that Matt's little sister Megan is autistic too. The Strike Team planted marked money on an Irish gangster named Neil. 

In the breakroom, the Barn's staff is listening to a classic law enforcement comedic bit, the supposed police department phone menu: "If you want to complain because one of our jackbooted thugs mistreated you and you want his goddamn badge, press 1. If you've committed a crime you think you can bullshit your way out of, press 2. If you're shirtless and threatening your girlfriend with a knife, but you don't want us interfering with true love, press 3."

The assembled cops chuckle.

"To report an incident of racial profiling, put down your crack pipe and press 4. If you can't locate one of your 7 unsupervised, fatherless children, press 5." Edgar-veda overhears and is predictably unamused. He tells everyone to get back to work and asks Vic for a progress report on the custom car sting. Ronnie's getting warrants and they'll start bugging cars as soon as they clear the judge's desk. Lewis' clients include drug dealers, money launderers, and a Hollywood guy who sells bootleg copies of his own movies.

Vic got the feds to give them state-of-the art surveillance gear and Ronnie is as giddy as a teenager with his first Playboy. The captain asks the Strike Team to serve a high-risk warrant in Koreatown as a favor to Detective Rodriguez. Curiously, the guy is Asian. Their target is Charlie Kim, an enforcer for the K-Town Killers. He's wanted for firebombing a motel, a fire in which 3 people died. Charlie is suspected in 4 other murders.

The motel owner agreed to testify against Charlie. The captain wants to show the Korean community that helping the police is a good thing. Edgar-veda needs Charlie brought in alive. If that's the case, he should probably send anybody other than the Strike Team. Charlie's currently holed up in an apartment complex.

"You're late," Vic snipes at Lem. Lem's sorry; he was at the hospital visiting Tavon, who's doing better now, moving and opening his eyes. Lem takes a swig from the prescription bottle in his locker. As Shane slaps a magazine into his gun, the ring on his ring finger doesn't escape Ronnie's notice. Vic looks shocked and not in a good way.

Shane confirms that he eloped with Mara over the weekend. Ronnie hugs him and Lem claps Shane on the back. "Any more surprises?" asks Vic.

Edgar-veda tells Danny and Julien that two expensive chairs were stolen from a moving truck in Echo Park. A woman named Sara bought the chairs at an estate sale. The case is another of the captain's political favors; Sara's hubby Nick is on the police commission's budget committee. The chairs cost $10,000, making it a felony theft. Danny speculates it could be an inside job.

The Strike Team arrives at Charlie's place. Vic says someone needs to watch the garage, lest their suspect drive off on his riceburner. Once the neighbor kids are safely out of the way, Lem kicks in the door. However, the guy on the other side of it isn't who they're looking for. "Where's Charlie?" Vic demands. If he's looking for Charlie, Koreatown is the wrong neighborhood; he should check Little Saigon.

Vic tells the guys to start knocking on every door in the building in case Charlie is hiding somewhere. He spots Charlie running, but it's too late. Charlie has hopped on his motorcycle. He starts firing what looks like an Uzi. Shane barks for someone to call a helicopter.

Suddenly, a woman screams. Vic finds a young boy lying next to a parked car; he seems to be dead. Lem checks on a second victim, a girl about the same age. "She's still breathing," he reports. The woman who initially screamed starts shouting at the cops in both English and Korean. Uniforms try to corral the now-unruly neighbors.

"What the hell happened here?" Edgar-veda asks. The young boy's body is covered with a tarp. Vic explains that Charlie was watching them from another apartment and escaped. The captain wants to know who's responsible. The people in Charlie's apartment turned out to be Korean tourists on their honeymoon. Vic's trying to run down John Cho, the building's owner. Rodriguez isn't having any luck getting witness statements from the neighbors.

The Strike Team finds John at a driving range that looks more like a parking garage. Vic tells him about the two kids who were just shot in front of his building. They were 7 and 8 years old, now one of them is dead.

Dutch notices Claudette is an especially good mood today. He surmises she had another date with James, which makes 3 nights this week. "You look tired. That cat still keeping you up at night?" Claudette asks. Dutch replies, "No." If only she knew...

Dutch takes a phone call and learns there's been a robbery at the 87-cent store. "Is there a profit in that?" Claudette chuckles. Dutch is curious about how serious things are between his partner and James.

At the store, the clerk thinks it was the woman's first time doing a robbery because she seemed nervous. Anxiety didn't keep her from pointing a snubnose in his face, however. He describes the woman as white, wearing a ballcap and sunglasses. That narrows it down.

Edgar-veda sits down with Rodriguez. Charlie might not have had a chance to shoot those kids if people hadn't protected him. Rodriguez reminds the captain of a Korean custom: "Don't trust the police, don't trust anybody but your own kind." Gangs serve the purpose of keeping blacks and Latinos out of Koreatown. I'm surprised Edgar-veda isn't mortally offended by that remark. The captain says that perception has to change, no doubt fearing a repeat of Season 1's race riots. He needs Rodriguez's help to get Charlie.

The Strike Team brings in their informant Taylor, who's griping that he can't be available for them 24/7. "I drop this confession of your third strike to the D.A. and your schedule clears up real fast," says Vic. If Taylor has business dealings with the Koreans, Vic needs the name of somebody he can lean on. Taylor knows a girl who's into ID theft.

Danny and Julien knock on the clubhouse door. She tells Vic about the stolen chair case. Does he know any fences? "Meet Taylor," Vic introduces.

"Married, huh?" Vic says to Shane as they drive around. He's sorry he missed the wedding. That's kinda the whole point of eloping. Is his best friend sure he knows what he's doing? Shane knows what he wants. "Just don't make the same mistakes I made," Vic cautions.

They go to the store run by Tracy the ID thief. Sidebar: My sophomore year of high school, we had a Korean exchange student. Nobody in small town Kentucky could pronounce her actual first name, so everyone called her Tracy, even the teachers. Vic says they're here to interview Tracy because she applied to be a CI. Tracy argues that she didn't.

Shane and Vic herd Tracy into the office. There, they find all the supplies needed to print fake credit cards. I wonder if her client list includes the Winchester family. Vic tells her that she doesn't need to provide a set number of tips, the opposite of what he told Connie once upon a time: "I judge my CIs by the quality of their work, not the quantity." If her information is solid, Vic's willing to let the credit card scam slide, even tip her off if there's ever a scheduled raid.

However, Tracy has to earn that privilege by giving up Charlie Kim. She claims to know about 15 guys by that name. Vic's got the wrong girl. "You the same Tracy Pok who's about to spend 8 years in federal prison for credit card fraud?" Vic asks lightly. Tracy gets the point.

Taylor tells Danny he's good at finding things and "we can start by findin' your smile." Danny shows him the pictures of the extremely ugly chairs, which are worth $10,000 apiece. "Not to no black people they're not," says Taylor. Julien agrees.

Dutch, going through surveillance tapes, remarks, "It looks like the 87-cent store paid that much for their video camera." Agent Nell from Treasury called Dutch to report they arrested a suspect in the money train heist. Claudette says a woman matching the 87-cent store clerk's vague description also walked out of a convenience store with merchandise this morning. They have a partial plate on the getaway car: a blue Honda Civic.

Corinne and Vic go to an office about getting another OT for Matt. Megan has now officially been diagnosed with autism, so she needs one too. The office worker explains that they try to assign their therapists to "situations with a high likelihood of success." Corinne's jaw drops. She stammers that Megan's autism isn't as severe and her doctor recommended early treatment.

This therapy program involves after-session exercises (newsflash: all OT/PT/speech programs do). Both parents work, so who'll do the exercises with the kids? Vic says they'll figure that out, but they need to be assigned a therapist in order to do that.

Dutch tells Claudette that if things are serious with James, "I can provide valuable insight into the male psyche." Yeah, the psyche of a crazy man, you deranged cat-strangler. Dutch has DMV reports on Civics matching the partial plates. One is registered to a married couple: Henry and Angie Deets. Henry has multiple priors for battery, spousal abuse, and misdemeanor thefts. He's also the registered owner of a .38 snubnose revolver.

Vic sees Agent Nell and Dutch leading Neil to an interrogation room. He goes downstairs to give the good news to the Strike Team. Everyone lets out a sigh of relief, then begins laughing hysterically.

Agent Nell fills in Edgar-veda on Neil. Last week, he deposited $17,000 into three different banks on the same day. Every single bill was on the marked money list. Neil's family also hails from Indio. "I thought the Irish were supposed to be lucky," Claudette remarks.

Rodriguez summons Edgar-veda onto the balcony. John Cho won't talk, fearful of what Charlie might do to his tenants. He pays protection money to Charlie every month and lets him drift to different addresses at will. Rodriguez has the list.

"This is weird," Lem comments as the Strike Team walks into an apartment complex courtyard. Every apartment has the curtains drawn. It smells like a set-up to Vic. They break into the apartment from the list. Inside, the TV is tuned to the Korean channel, but Charlie is nowhere to be found. Vic sticks his finger in a takeout container on the table and finds the food is cold. "He's probably on an underground rickshaw to Seoul by now," guesses Shane. Vic instructs the guys to start knocking on doors "not that it'll do any good." He calls the captain.

"Vic! Vic, get over here!" Lem suddenly barks, "Our car, man!" At first, I think somebody took off with it, but nope. The car is still parked where they left it...annnnnnd it's been torched. "You better flag down that rickshaw," Vic tells Shane. The neighbors have gathered around to watch the spectacle. "Somebody wants us outta here," says Vic.
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Danny informs Taylor that she and Julien already checked this pawn shop and didn't find the chairs. "Membership has its privileges," says Taylor. They go inside and show the flyer to Leroy the owner. Leroy confirms that a skinny guy tried to hock the chairs around 11:00 this morning and he didn't want them. Julien asks if there's anyone else the guy might try to sell them to. "Somebody lookin' for firewood," says Leroy.

Back at the Barn, Edgar-veda asks if the Strike Team is all right. "Car's a little overheated," Vic jokes. Rodriguez is out of ideas on how to get Charlie.

Dutch asks where Neil got all the money. Neil claims a friend owed him and paid it all back at once. When they ask for his friend's name, Neil changes his story and says he won it gambling in Vegas. Treasury Agent Nell informs him that payouts that big have to be reported to the IRS. Also, casinos have cameras everywhere. Which ones did he go to? Neil doesn't remember the names. "You remember a pyramid? A pirate ship, maybe?" asks Dutch. Luxor and Treasure Island, both on my personal list if I ever go to Vegas.

In the clubhouse, Vic tells the guys about Megan being diagnosed with autism. To get a therapist, Corinne has to become a stay-at-home mom again. Since the Treasury is focused on Neil, he figures it's safe to dip into the retirement fund. He'll only take enough to pay the therapist. Vic asks them to discuss it amongst themselves. "Whatever you guys decide, I'll respect it." I think we all know what Lem's answer will be.

When Vic leaves, all is quiet for a minute. Shane knows Vic wouldn't ask if he didn't really need it. I'm completely shocked when Lem says no. "Jesus, Lem, come on. These are his kids," says Shane. Lem points out that Vic won't be much good to his kids if he's in jail. They also can't be sure if the feds are really off their scent: "Every time we spend a dime of that money, some new shitstorm smacks us in the face." He's got something there...

Shane trusts Vic to play it smart. If a guy can't help his family out in an emergency like this, what was the point of stealing the money in the first place? "We said we wouldn't make the same mistakes as the dumbasses we catch," says Lem. Shane assures him they won't. This coming from the guy who wanted to use marked money to buy a Lexus for Mara. Lem doesn't think Vic is looking at the big picture. Ronnie is on the fence.

Dutch lets Neil know that his $17,000 was marked. Not only that, it was stolen from the Armenian mob. Neil has a shot at less prison time if he gives up the other three guys who were in on the robbery. Neil explains how he found the money on the street. "Where? On the yellow brick road?" asks Dutch. He doesn't believe Neil, even though it's exactly what happened.

The chair thief is getting desperate, even tried to pawn the chairs at a furniture place. The store owner suggested the guy sell the chairs to the S&M club. The thief left a number, which the owner thinks he threw away. As Danny walks to the door, Taylor admires the way her butt looks in her uniform pants. He asks Julien if she's seeing anyone. Julien doesn't know and wouldn't set him up with Danny anyway. The store owner produces a piece of paper with several different phone numbers written on it.

Vic finds Lauren "catching up on paperwork" at one of the Barn's computers. She says the scenery here is nicer than Wilshire. "You know, we keep meeting this way and one of these detectives might think that we actually like each other," says Vic. Lauren invites Vic to join her next weekend at a dog handling seminar in San Diego. Vic thinks he can fit that in his schedule.

Tracy calls with a tip that Charlie is at a PC arcade, which Vic relays to Rodriguez and Edgar-veda. "There might be more children there," says Rodriguez. Vic promises they'll be careful. When they arrive, Charlie is once again gone and there's a vacant computer that wasn't logged out of. Ronnie checks it and says Charlie left 6 minutes ago. "Oh, this is bullshit!" Lem complains.

At Tracy's store, Vic accuses her of tipping Charlie off. He tells the guys to seize everything in her office as evidence. Vic handcuffs her. Tracy says she's one of the few store owners who doesn't pay protection money to the K-Town Killers, but they'll find her sooner or later. Vic's offering a better deal than she'd ever get from the gang. He uncuffs her.

Claudette and Dutch have Henry the wifebeater in an interrogation room. He walks with a cane due to a slipped disk. Claudette asks where his gun is. Henry is sure it's at home; Angie knows better than to touch it. Dutch tells him Angie used the gun in a robbery. Where is she? Angie works as a temp, but Henry supposedly doesn't know where. Like a control freak like him wouldn't be tracking her every move. When Dutch barely touches Henry's arm, he cries that his back hurts and he wants his lawyer.

Vic drags Rodriguez out of the captain's office by his neck. He tries to shove Rodriguez's phone down his throat. Does he want to make another call to Charlie? Edgar-veda stops him. Vic is sure Rodriguez has been tipping Charlie off all day. "He killed a child and you're protecting him?" the captain asks his friend. Rodriguez has talked to community leaders and can't help what they do.

"That's conspiracy," says Edgar-veda. Rodriguez doesn't want cops like Vic storming through Koreatown. He won't give up Charlie. Edgar-veda calls down to the uniforms, telling them to turn Koreatown upside down.

Vic goes to the clubhouse and tells the Strike Team to gear up. Everyone stands there awkwardly. Vic guesses they voted and which way it went. He lets them know he isn't upset and seems to mean it.

The Strike Team van and a slew of police cars arrive in Koreatown. Shane lays down the rules. If there's a code violation, write a ticket. If something illegal is going on, arrest whoever's doing it. If someone smarts off, pop them in the mouth.

Dutch laments that he couldn't get the truth out of Neil. Claudette tells him that Henry's lawyer Arreyo Gonzalez is here. "The ambulance-chaser who's on all the city buses?" Dutch says worriedly, "You saw that I just barely touched that guy, right?" When they walk in the room, the first thing out of Gonzalez's mouth is, "Is that the officer who assaulted you?"

Dutch wonders why a mild-mannered housewife would suddenly start robbing convenience stores. Does Henry still beat her? "You've bullied Angie for years. She's runnin' around knocking off stores with your gun in your car and you don't know nothin' about it?" says Claudette. They know he recently bought 5 boxes of .38 ammo. Uniforms are waiting for Angie outside his house. She'll tell the cops about her husband putting her up to it.

Downstairs, Dutch isn't so sure that Angie is acting on orders. Claudette doesn't see any other explanation. Dutch argues that you never know what someone else is truly capable of: "If I told you the worst 5 things I've done in my life, I bet a few would surprise you."

Vic and Shane go to a dirty-looking Korean restaurant that somehow got an A from the health department. "We know about the little wink-wink deal you have with your councilman. No more grade fixing," Shane says as he tears the sign in half. They're shutting down her place. If she wants to reopen, she can tell them where to find Charlie.

Edgar-veda doesn't understand why his old friend Rodrgiuez is being so hostile; he used to rebel against his strict Korean upbringing. Rodriguez asks if Edgar-veda would destroy the Hispanic community's culture if he became councilman. "If they protected a child killer, yes, I would," says the captain. He stands firm that the police aren't leaving Koreatown without Charlie.

Vic and Shane are confiscating clothes from an illegal sidewalk sale when Edgar-veda calls. He gives them the address of where Charlie is hiding. Before the team gets out of the van at the house, Vic tells them, "Option one is we take him alive, but feel free to consider option two." Lem breaks down the door. Vic and Ronnie find Charlie hiding in a bedroom closet.

Claudette and Dutch talk to Angie's friend Ginnie. "Thanks to Hank, I'm her only friend," she says, "Did that bastard hit her again?" No, she's wanted for committing armed robbery with her husband's gun. Ginnie is adamant that Angie would never do such a thing. However, she's been talking about starting a new life and thought $4,000-5,000 would be enough to get her away from Hank. In L.A.? Surely you jest.

Claudette asks why such a specific amount. Half would be for Angie and the other half to pay Hank's back rent so he wouldn't get evicted. She and Dutch go back upstairs to tell Hank he's free to leave. Hank wants Dutch to apologize. Claudette tells him, "Your wife's out robbing stores so she can leave you." Hank doesn't believe her.

Dutch chuckles, asking who could blame Angie for leaving. "Not me," says Claudette. Hank stands up angrily, knocking his open soda can onto the floor. Thought you had a bad back? Attorney Gonzalez murmurs, "Don't aggravate your injury."

Outside a local barber shop, Danny and Julien run across two old men playing chess. They're also sitting on the stolen chairs. Danny asks where they got them. "We get our 10 bucks back?" one of the chess players wants to know.

Dutch and Claudette go to a dry-cleaners, where the owner just shot and killed a would-be robber. The victim is Angie. "She, uh, finally got away from Hank," Dutch says. The owner explains that he recognized Angie from the police flyers and that she pulled a gun on him. It was self-defense. "How long to wheel her outta here?" the guy asks.
Actual screenshot of Claudette's reaction.
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The guy's only concern is reopening his store.

Vic puts Charlie in the cage. This might not help the captain capture the hearts and minds of the Korean voter demographic. Edgar-veda doesn't care. Vic asks if the captain can scratch up some overtime, say, 15-20 hours a week. Edgar-veda doesn't have any overtime to give, let alone that much. Vic explains that Megan is autistic too. Private occupational therapy is expensive, especially for two kids.

The captain doesn't want Vic spreading himself too thin. They still haven't closed the AGC custom car sting. Edgar-veda uses a classic parent phrase: "I'll see what I can do." He sees that Neil is being released because he stuck to his "it fell off a truck" story. Vic overhears. He and Lem exchange a look.

At home, James joins Claudette in the shower. Things are getting serious, all right. Seriously steamy.

Vic finds Lauren in the Barn's ladies' room. "You told me not to leave without saying goodbye. That was 4 hours ago," she says. Vic locks the door. They start making out. Lauren chuckles, "This is so high school." No, it's so Bobby and Diane. Vic thinks he can make it to San Diego. The moment is interrupted by someone knocking on the bathroom door.

Taylor offers to get Danny concert tickets. What kind of music does she like? He wants to get to know her better. Danny thanks him for helping with the case.

When Vic comes over, Corinne offers him a beer. She proposes a toast to Matt and Megan getting a therapist. Sessions will start in two weeks. However, one of them will have to be home more. How soon can Vic give notice? Then, "Oh, go ahead, say it. It has to be me." Vic reminds her that someone has to pay the bills. Corinne argues that she makes plenty as a nurse, especially with overtime.

"How does it feel to get to be selfish, or don't you know because you're 'with the children as much as you can be'?" Corinne throws Vic's words back at him. Vic thinks Corinne is the best person for the job. She defeatedly says, "Yeah. I know."

Back at the clubhouse, Lem wants to explain why they voted that Vic shouldn't use the retirement fund: "It's not like your kids aren't worth it. It's just that--" Vic doesn't need an explanation. Besides, he and Corinne worked out a plan. Ronnie offers to buy everyone a beer. "With your own money?" Shane snarks. Vic has to find Charlie's paperwork.

"How about you guys?" Ronnie asks the others. Shane has to get home to Mara. Lem hopes the newlyweds are happy. "We did the right thing. We did the right thing," he says, as though he's trying to convince himself. I have a feeling he won't be joining Ronnie for a drink; alcohol isn't good for ulcers. End of episode.