Friday, March 10, 2017

Digging Your Own "Grave" (Episode 4.2)

Previously on: Monica Rawling was brought in to replace Edgar-veda as captain. Vic and Shane smuggled Gilroy, the former assistant chief, to Mexico. Edgar-veda was sexually assaulted by a suspect and his marriage is starting to fall apart as a result. We were introduced to Antwon Mitchell, a One-Niner who supposedly quit "the life" to become a community activist/motivational speaker. Shane might've killed Dead-Eye, a friend of Antwon's. Monica wants to start a gang task force using funds from property seizures. She wants Vic in charge but isn't sure she can trust him.

Shane and Army, his new Latino partner, are at some kind of massage parlor/porno store looking for Cromo. From the other side of a door, they hear a phone interrupting Cromo's sexytime. "This better be important, you goddamn bitch!" he snaps. Shane more or less tells Cromo he's their bitch now.

The girl Cromo was with looks awfully young. Shane confirms my suspicions by saying, "Raping a minor? Doesn't that violate some pimp code of ethics?" Cromo gives the old she-said-she-was-18 defense. Army finds a gun and drugs in the room where Cromo was having sex.

Vic asks what happened to Cal, a restaurant owner whose hand is wrapped in a bloody towel. The guy shrugs it off as a scratch and adds that he misses seeing the Strike Team at his place. "I figured with all the free meals, you'd be happy to get rid of us," says Vic. (Especially where pre-ulcer Lem was concerned; guy ate like a horse).

Cal wants a favor. Cyril, one of his employees, missed work for 2 weeks and suddenly showed up again this rob his former boss. Cal isn't worried about the money; Cyril only got $30. Vic asks if Cyril uses crack: "Only one thing turns a good kid into a thief that fast." Cal was afraid Vic wouldn't help if he knew Cyril was an addict. Maybe Vic can convince the kid to get help. If that's his goal, it would've been better to call Lem.

At the Barn, deliverymen bring in boxes of Polaroid cameras that Monica ordered. Remember when those were a thing? Danny asks what they're all for. Nina the secretary wants to know why she never got requests to order the cameras. Monica is "just curious" if Nina is leaving when Edgar-veda does.

"What are you doing in here?" Monica asks when Dutch follows her into the women's bathroom. Dutch explains, "Our men's room doesn't work. We all use this one." "No, we don't," Monica counters. I wonder if he's gonna tell her exactly how long the men's bathroom has been out of commission (3 years and counting). She stares at him until he gets the hint and leaves. Now she has another item for her to-do list.

When a male uniform tries to walk in the women's room, Dutch tells him it's occupied. "Hey, Dutch Boy's been promoted to bathroom monitor," jokes Vic. He passes around a picture of Cyril. If anyone sees him, Vic is their first phone call. Vic tells Monica about Cyril, but she says to clear it through Edgar-veda. She isn't in charge just yet.

Shane informs Cromo's underage lady friend that Social Services is coming to talk to her. Still up to his old tricks, he instructs Army to take two bags of drugs as evidence and pocket the third. Army hesitates. He has morals? Well, he won't last long as Shane's partner. "It's old-school Vice, baby," Shane tells him, "It's all good in the 'hood, brother." Army shoves a bag of drugs in his pants.

In a morgue anteroom, Vic apologizes to Gilroy's ex-wife Nancy. Hey, It's Her! Katey Sagal played the queen bitch of Charming, Gemma Teller-Morrow, on Sons of Anarchy. For this role, she's dressed much more conservatively. Nancy got a call from the Mexican police that they were shipping her husband's body stateside.

Vic explains to the coroner that they're here to identify Gilroy. The M.E. needs a minute. Vic asks how the Gilroy daughters are handling the news. Nancy hasn't told them. She doesn't get up when the M.E. says the body is ready: "I just don't wanna feel sorry for the piece of shit." Such a Gemma response.

The M.E. exposits that Gilroy was found with a bunch of fake Mexican IDs and an expired California driver's license. She pulls back the sheet. Vic immediately says, "Shit." Gilroy looks haggard. How did he die? "Take your pick," says the M.E. "Cirrhosis, malnutrition." Yeah, those two tend to go hand-in-hand. The official cause of death is Gilroy suffocated on his own vomit.

Looking closer at her clipboard, the M.E. realizes Gilroy used to be the assistant police chief. She wonders what happened that made him fall this far. Vic uses her response: "Take your pick."

Shane walks into the precinct with Cromo, bellowing, "YEEHAW! The pimp's in the Barn and we havin' a ho-down!"
Couldn't resist...
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Shane then calls his fellow officers "a bunch of sad little desk monkeys." "Who's the cowboy?" asks Monica. Vic tells her Shane was on the Strike Team and transferred to Vice after it dissolved.

Cyril the restaurant robber is only 17, which puts him squarely in Lem's jurisdiction. The kid has two hearings pending: crack possession and public lewdness. The second case resulted from Cyril getting oral sex on a park bench. The girl ran away, but was described as a small blond in her 20's with piercings, making it just this side of statutory. The address Cyril gave during that bust is different than his mom's. Either she moved or it's the mystery woman's place.

Lem remarks that it's weird seeing their clubhouse full of videotapes. Vic thanks him for unsealing Cyril's record. Lem heard Gilroy died and is sorry about it. Vic invites him to the funeral. Lem wants to know if Shane is going too. Vic acts like he has no idea, even though Shane is still his bestie.

During the getaway from a laundromat robbery, one of the suspects is shot in the chest. Danny pulls off the ski mask and is surprised to find a woman underneath.

Edgar-veda has an update on the Garage Sting. Nothing major has been observed after all their hours of surveillance. He accuses Lewis, the garage owner, of playing them. Lewis also recently violated the terms of their deal by setting up a shell corporation under his daughter's name. "I got 2 ex-wives and 5 kids," says Lewis, "I can't make a living with you guys perpetually up my ass." Edgar-veda thinks Lewis tipped off the big-fish clients.

In the observation room, Monica whispers to Vic, "Jesus, how'd you miss this?" Lewis offers to give them some bigger names. Edgar-veda says no, he's going to jail. On the balcony, he blames everything on Vic. Monica tells Edgar-veda to let Vic fix his mistake. They're interrupted by Nina announcing there's been an officer-involved shooting. The dead suspect is a blond woman in her 20's with a pierced nose; her partner in crime was Latino.

"Little Bonnie and Clyde shot and killed the manager for $11 in quarters," Billings explains at the laundromat. Clyde fled the scene. Bonnie has been identified as Hope Anthony; her address matches the one on Cyril's public lewdness arrest report. Vic has Danny show Cyril's picture to the witnesses.

Edgar-veda says, "Unbelievable. You were putting cops at risk by running this off the grid?" Vic argues that he didn't know the whole story. Edgar-veda puts Billings in charge of finding Cyril and tells Vic to go back to the Garage Sting.

Monica has a feeling Lewis wants to talk about more than he let on upstairs. She introduces herself as Edgar-veda's replacement. Lewis wants his deal back and no jail time before he tells her anything.

Corinne calls to let Vic know she sent him a package. "Is it ticking?" he jokes. Corinne named the family as plaintiffs in a class-action against a pharmaceutical company. It's the classic argument used by anti-vaxxers (and disproven by science): vaccines cause autism. Matt and Megan both received vaccines from said company. Corinne and Vic need to discuss their options with a lawyer.

Shane introduces Vic to Army. Hey, It's That Guy! Michael Pena is no stranger to L.A., having been Officer Navidad Ramirez in Gangster Squad and Officer Mike Zavala in End of Watch. Army's fresh from a 13-month tour in Iraq. Vic asks how he likes being partnered with Wild Bill. I half-expect Shane to rant about how "Wild Bill wasn't no range rider!" "Beats going door-to-door in Baghdad," says Army. I'd say anything would be preferable to that.

Vic wants to talk to Shane alone. He asks his old buddy who's dealing crack in Ashmore Heights these days. Shane isn't sure; the streets have been flooded with the stuff lately.

Vic informs Shane that Gilroy drank himself to death and asks him to come to the funeral. It's not about what a scumbag he was in life; it's about comforting his widow and children. Shane isn't paying attention to a word of this because he says, "Are you forgetting he threatened your family?" Vic shrugs that people do evil things for money and women; up until that point, Gilroy was a good friend. They should pay their respects. Interestingly, Shane doesn't ask if Lem is coming too.

Vic expresses concern about what happened at Dead-Eye's. The dead gangbanger was about to become a CI and give Vic dirt on Antwon. Shane swears he didn't have any kind of involvement with Dead-Eye. Vic seems satisfied with that.

Monica has plumbers in the Barn to get the men's room up and running again. Edgar-veda fusses those repairs will cost at least 35% of their budget. Monica doesn't care. She lets him in on her property seizure idea. "Citizens here can't afford lawyers to fight seized assets," says Edgar-veda. Monica doesn't particularly care about that either. She promises they're only going after drug dealers, pimps, and the like.

Edgar-veda questions the wisdom of putting Vic in charge. Monica reminds him just who wrote the letter that makes it impossible for her to transfer Vic elsewhere. She didn't tell him about her plan earlier because everything happened fast. After tomorrow, anything that results from the seizures will land squarely on her head.

Corinne has called in Dutch and Claudette. A rape victim wearing fishnets came to the ER and signed herself in as Olive Martini. She had no ID, just a Ralph's grocery store discount card. Olive's test results won't be back for a while.

That's fine, Dutch can grab a taco across the street. Corinne advises against Rullio's: "We treat at least 4 cases of food poisoning from there every week." Dutch wonders why there's an A from the health department in their window. "Stands for acute gastritis," Corinne returns. Oh, please don't tell me she's flirting with him! If she thought Vic was bad, Dutch is even worse. He's a psychotic cat killer, for God's sake!

"Did you say Room 6?" asks Claudette. Olive (or whatever her real name is) wasn't there.

Back at the Barn, Claudette offers to set Dutch up on a date with her boyfriend's friend. She works in public affairs, is smart, attractive, petite, and dark-skinned. "She's black?" says Dutch. Claudette didn't know that was a problem. Dutch protests that he's not racist: "I dated a black girl in college." Then he amends, "A quarter black. I mean, you could definitely tell."

All Dutch got off the Ralph's card was a fake phone number. Edgar-veda asks if they had the ER staff or the paramedics who brought her in look at mug books. That would be a no. Dutch and Claudette don't know where the rape took place, either.

"Is there anything you do know?" Edgar-veda asks nastily. Dutch looks at her card statement: "Last week, she bought 3 gallons of Chablis and 11 boxes of condoms." Edgar-veda doesn't see the humor: "If she's pissed off a pimp, her life could be in danger."

Monica sneaks Lewis a candy bar and some Red Bull. The transport van is late and he'll miss lunch at county lockup. Lewis asks if she thinks he's that easy to buy off. "Maybe you think better on a full stomach," she suggests. The D.A. won't give him a deal until he coughs up a name. Lewis guesses they have stalemate. "Except I'm going home to a warm bed tonight," says Monica.

Dutch and Claudette have footage of the rape. After getting robbed 11 times, the owner of a Korean bakery invested in top-notch security cameras. Problem is, you can't see the rapist's face.

Vic finds Antwon and a crew of volunteers flipping a former crackhouse. A banner over the front porch declares RESPECT...REBUILD...RECLAIM. Vic asks for a heads-up if Cyril goes to a One-Niner dealer to score. Antwon plays innocent: "I run a rec center."
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No problem, Vic will just roust the dealers himself and find out who's giving marching orders.

Vic's phone rings. Lem may have a line on Cyril's drug dealer. Vic gives Antwon 20 minutes to give up what he knows.

When Vic, Lem, and Ronnie roll up on the teenage dealer, the kid throws a full soda can at their windshield and tries to flee on his bike. "Park the Schwinn, shithead," Vic says over the car's loudspeaker. He clips the dealer, who slides across the hood of a Pontiac Trans Am Firebird. Somehow, the kid gets up and runs into a store with 3/4 of the former Strike Team on his heels.

The dealer makes a beeline for the drink cooler and starts chugging something, probably to wash down his stash. Vic realizes what the guy's done and wrestles him to his knees. He grabs a bottle of mustard from a nearby shelf, opens it, then pours it down the dealer's throat. Suddenly, the guy heaves mustard and crack rocks all over the floor. Lem looks grossed out. I'm stunned he doesn't sympathy puke.

Ronnie snaps on a rubber glove to collect the evidence. Vic asks if the dealer sold to Cyril. He doesn't answer. Lem, of all people, goes down the aisle to grab a bottle of liquid laxative.
"You thirsty, punk?"
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The dealer mentions that Cyril paid in quarters. Vic hauls the dealer to his feet and calls to the store owner, "Hey! Cleanup in Aisle 4." The shopkeeper looks pissed and I don't blame him.

Monica is setting up her desk in the squadroom when Edgar-veda asks why she was talking to Lewis. He shut down the Garage Sting. Monica knows the car shop is compromised, but his new business isn't. Edgar-veda tells her she didn't have the right to do that or to even get the toilets fixed.

Edgar-veda sees Vic with his puke-covered suspect: "That the kid you choked out with a bottle of mustard?" Vic argues that he saved the dumb kid's life by inducing vomiting when he swallowed crack. He promises to have the incident report ready, say, the day after tomorrow? The soon-to-be-ex captain tears down the flyers Vic posted about Gilroy's funeral; it's not a department-sanctioned event.

Upstairs, Lem tells Mustard Boy that Cyril paid him with a forged check from his boss's restaurant. Mustard Boy figured that out himself when it bounced. However, Cyril didn't write it; "a blond t-girl that works there did." Vic shows Mustard Boy the crime scene photos of Hope. The dealer confirms that's who wrote the check. "She's a tranny?" Lem sounds surprised.

Hope offered Mustard Boy oral sex in exchange for crack, "but I ain't down for that chicks-with-dicks shit." She gave him the forged check instead. Vic asks where she bought the drugs and threatens Mustard Boy when he won't talk. He tells Vic the transaction (no pun intended) took place Underhell, an abandoned tile factory by the freeway.

The addicts scatter when Vic and the boys enter Underhell. "Gun!" Ronnie shouts in warning. Vic tells Ronnie not to shoot; Cyril's dry-firing. By now, Cyril has the gun in his mouth. Vic stops him from attempting suicide, which wouldn't have worked anyway, since the gun wasn't even loaded.

Dutch and Claudette have caught up to Olive. She claims to have no idea what happened past being raped and beaten, then waking up in the ER. Dutch tells her they have her attack on tape, but they can't identify the rapist. "Then neither can I," Olive sasses.

Olive's prints came back to Olivia Kenshaw. She's got priors for prostitution and is flagged as HIV+. Claudette confronts her with the information. Olive was diagnosed 10 months ago and as a responsible hooker, she has all her johns wear condoms. The rapist didn't. "What about all the innocent people he might infect?" Claudette asks. Olive shrugs, "They should all die sore and ugly." They need the rapist's name or a description.

Dutch informs her that the state of California considers it attempted murder for someone to intentionally spread HIV. It's also hard to get the good AIDS drugs in prison. Olive wants a deal in writing that her other charges will be dropped. Edgar-veda tells his detectives that's not gonna happen. He'll play good cop with her, even though Dutch already tried that approach. When the captain goes into interrogation, he pulls a Vic and unplugs the camera.

Dutch asks again for the name of James' friend: "There's a lotta sisters I think are hot." Not helping. He rattles off Halle Berry, Tyra Banks, and Beyonce. Claudette laughs.

Cyril is in a hospital bed now with Vic trying to wake up him. He asks the kid who turned him onto drugs. Cyril slurs that he usually buys from Fat Benish above a quick-lube shop. Vic calls Ronnie to get a warrant. Vic's friend Cal is outside the room. Since Cyril didn't shoot the laundromat manager, he's in the clear, right? Not exactly. Vic explains about the felony murder rule.

Olive tells Edgar-veda she doesn't need his box of pity. "Not pity. Compassion," he corrects. Olive says he already knows what happened from watching the tape. Edgar-veda is so sorry for what happened to her. Olive gives more details. The guy paid her for oral sex, they went to an alley, and he started punching her: "It was all about the hurt with this guy."

Shane interrupts Cromo's dinner and knocks the plates off the table. He tells Cromo and "the syphilis squad" to call him first about anything happening on the streets. Shane then asks to see Venus, one of Cromo's girls. They go out back so she can give Army oral sex: "Tail's the only currency [pimps] know." Army asks why Shane isn't doing it. Shane reminds him that he's a married man, adding, "You got an ED thing happening, just say so." Venus, um, gets to work on Army.

Back in the restaurant, Cromo orders another plate of fried chicken. Shane puts out his cigarette in the pimp's mashed potatoes. He announces he wants a 10% cut of the business. Cromo stands up: "That wasn't part of our deal." Shane says they don't have a deal; the pimp will follow orders or "catch a cap in the back of your ear in what we like to call 'the line of duty.'"

Vic warns Lewis that if he bullshits them about anything, he'll be doing time in Solano. Monica is friends with the warden and knows the guards are worse than the inmates. One of Lewis's clients is Alex Kozodov, a Russian mobster who owns a taxi service. The Russians have been laundering money with him since the money train ripoff last year. It'd be easy for him to install bugs in said taxis.

A.D.A. Insardi has agreed to let Olive slide this time, but if it happens again, she's going down for attempted murder. She only said yes because Billings passed the case off as his. Olive describes her rapist as a white pizza man with a pierced tongue.

Monica gives Edgar-veda a file on Alex, who's "on everybody's top-10 list." She thinks he's making decisions just to settle a grudge. She thought they could present this case to Chief Bankston together.

When the guys arrive at Benish's place, it's on fire. Vic tells the fire chief they have a warrant to search upstairs. "Pretty hot in there right now," the chief deadpans. He doubts any evidence will survive. Vic sees a moped parked on the sidewalk. He calls to the crowd, "Who owns the bikes?" "Fat guy. He lives there," a witness replies, "You don't forget a 300-pound dude on a scooter."

In his office, Edgar-veda creepily watches the video of Olive's rape, getting off on it.

Benish has come home and tells Vic it's too bad they have nothing on him. Vic knows all his scooters are stolen and asks about Antwon. Benish repeats the party line that Antwon went straight. Vic says it won't be pretty for him in prison "when gen pop finds out you're the little red scooter bandit."

Benish tells him all the One-Niners have essentially put their crack on clearance to make way for black tar heroin. Lovely. Vic and Shane have a brief phone conversation about this development. The arson investigator told Ronnie that cooking grease is what started the fire at Benish's. And who do they know who's around a kitchen all day?

At Cal's house, there are framed pictures of Cyril all over the place. Vic asks what he knows about someone torching the place where Cyril's dealer lived. Cooking grease points to Cal. Vic demands to know if Cal was sleeping with a teenager.

In an open bedroom drawer, Vic finds bras and women's camisoles. "He slept here, but I never laid a hand on him," Cal insists. Cyril wanted to get a sex change when he turned 18. "I was gonna pay for it. We were gonna be together."

Vic is disgusted and not just about the relationship. Cal could've hurt somebody by setting the fire. "That dealer took away the only thing I love," Cal says tearfully; Vic can't know how that feels. For his part, Vic advises Cal to get a lawyer; and while he's at it, hide the photos and women's clothes.

Blah blah blah. Vaccines cause autism bullshit. Statute of limitations almost up on Matt's case.

Monica's officially the boss now. The Garage Sting will keep going so they can get Alex.

At the cemetery, a bagpiper plays "Amazing Grace." Vic, Lem, Ronnie, and even Corinne are there. Monica showed up too. She tells Vic he's still running the sting but can't be in charge of the gang squad. Vic pleads with her that he needs to be back on the street. The only way she can do that is to make the Barn an open house to Internal Affairs. Vic promises to do things right this time.

Nancy thanks Vic for getting so many cops to come to the funeral; it means a lot to their daughters.

"Amazing Grace" by the Dropkick Murphys plays over a montage. Edgar-veda puts a copy of Olive's video in his briefcase and leaves his office for the last time. A uniform brings in a gumball machine. The men's room is finally operational again.

One of Antwon's guys confronts Shane about taking a cut of Cromo's business. Antwon isn't happy about it. Shane almost shoots the guy but thinks better of it. Little does he know, Vic has been spying on him from a nearby alley. Talk about "Was blind but now I see." End of episode.

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