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.

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