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.

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