Friday, March 31, 2017

"Tar Baby" That Is, the Drug Kind (Episode 4.5)

Previously on: Edgar-veda started having an affair with a prostitute named Sara. Dutch struck a deal with the D.A.'s office to get put back on "real" cases. Monica kicked off a controversial asset forfeiture plan. Shane is most definitely in bed with Antwon.

Speaking of in bed, we open with Edgar-veda and Sara having rough sex. She's playing the role of a rape victim at his gross request. Afterward, they make another appointment for Thursday. In lieu of $600, he gives her an expensive handbag from Neiman's. Sara seems pleased: "I have the perfect pair of shoes to go with this. From now on, though, get a gift receipt."

Sara tells him there's nothing wrong with what they're doing as consenting adults, even though prostitution itself is illegal: "That energy has to come out." I'm guessing Edgar-veda told her some story about how his wife doesn't have sex with him anymore. He tells her he's not there for small talk.

At a large church packed to the rafter, Monica hosts a town-hall meeting about the seizure plan. A man questions whether Monica can really change things: "All these years, I've heard a lotta talkin' and all I see is more sidewalk chalkin'." Monica agrees that for every head you cut off the Hydra, three more grow and: "It's because the culture of wealth that's been created around the sale of drugs has sent a very clear message to our kids: 'Now Hiring.'"

As part of her plan to better the community, Monica will have more officers patrol areas known for drug trafficking and expand after-school programs. Kids with positive things to do and places to go are less likely to get involved with gangs. She'll also send officers to schools for anti-drug education. She's sure these things will work, but the adults in the community need to be patient.

Monica explains that property bought with drug profits will be seized and sold at auction; the proceeds will go to support community programs and the crime victims' fund. The dealers "need to pay the bill for all the pain and suffering that they've caused." I see one face in the crowd who won't be happy about that: Antwon.

Billings and Vic start working the case of Romeo Barnes, who was shot dead near a methadone clinic. A clinic worker saw Romeo and a black woman arguing with another black man; the second black man shot Romeo and rode away on a motorcycle.
One of these guys, maybe?
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The clinic worker is otherwise unhelpful. He didn't actually see the shooting and can't identify the guy on the bike or the woman. He doesn't know Romeo either.

A woman stands up and thanks Monica, "God bless you for crackin' down on these gangsters so my kids can go to school one day without being afraid of getting shot." The crowd cheers and claps. Antwon is sure asset forfeiture will create a bigger problem; the racist white po-lice "want to take the black and the brown man's property if they think he's up to no good."

Monica lets the crowd know exactly what his words are worth: "Mr. Mitchell is a convicted felon who spent 13 years in prison for distributing crack cocaine." Antwon asks whether Monica believes in rehabilitation. In his case, Monica wouldn't because his behavior hasn't changed. Antwon argues, "The police aren't a jury of our peers."

At this, Julien stands up. He talks about growing up in Farmington; it really wasn't a bad neighborhood until the crack epidemic started in 1984. It quickly turned into the crime-infested hellhole we all know. Julien became a police officer to help make the community safe again: "With God's help and your support, law enforcement is a solution. We are not the problem." Someone in the crowd calls Julien a sellout. Nice.

Edgar-veda, who snuck in the back, also makes a speech. When a person is arrested, they're innocent until proven guilty. The seizure policy reverses that idea; it falls on you to prove that you didn't buy your house with drug money: "There has been abuse and corruption in nearly every city that this policy has been tried." He won't support it without lots of regulations. Monica thinks he's trying to fix something that ain't broke, as we say down South. Edgar-veda disagrees and the crowd claps loudly.

After the meeting, Monica tells Edgar-veda it was a dick move to put her on stage under the pretext that he was supporting her and then undermining her. Edgar-veda accuses her of "using the boogeyman to ride roughshod over people's rights." He's now vice-chairman of the police committee and will be overseeing the implementation of the seizures. They'll be fine if Monica learns to do what he says.

Vic has learned that Romeo did time for dealing crack and assault, but hasn't been arrested in 10 years. "Doesn't sound like he got shot for minding his own business," says Monica. She suggests bringing Shane in because he works Vice and could help them get Antwon. Vic says Antwon wouldn't mess with anyone this low on the totem pole. And what Monica doesn't know is that Shane won't help them take down Antwon anyway. Maybe now would be a good time for Vic to tell Monica about his suspicions?

Lem comes into the Barn with a girl in her early teens. "New girlfriend?" jokes Vic. Lem scoffs, "I got socks older than her." She might know something about the murder outside the methadone clinic. Monica asks if the girl is reliable. Lem knows Angie pretty well; he busts her every few weeks for petty shoplifting. Angie isn't a bad kid, though: "She's just trying to keep her and her mom fed."

In the observation room, Lem sets the girl up with a can of Coke and a chocolate bar. Angie says Romeo didn't use anymore; he was her mom's NA sponsor. Mom's old drug dealer has been trying to get her to buy heroin again. Romeo told the dealer to leave Mom alone.

Angie doesn't know the dealer's name, just that "he rides a loud-ass motorcycle." She thinks her mom is probably out prostituting herself to get more drug money. Vic asks if she could show them where Mom usually does business. "Can I get some Starbursts first?" she asks shyly. A kid after Lem's heart.

Shane isn't happy that he's being stuck on the methadone case. Vic is like "well, you're the one who's tapped into Vice." Before that, Vic has something to show his best friend. He and Ronnie "borrowed" a Garage Sting camera for personal use. "Ladies and gentlemen, the man who put the pimp in pimp juice," says Ronnie as he fires up the VCR.

On the tape, Dutch is driving around with a black woman riding shotgun. Belle is a friend of Claudette's and the two are on a blind date. Dutch apologizes for turning the air-conditioning up so high: "I guess colder climes are hardwired into my Northern European DNA." Vic, Ronnie, Shane, and Army bust out laughing.

Dutch drops Belle off at her place and suggests they go out again over the weekend. Belle can't; she'll be in Kansas City. Dutch hands her a business card and says, "Call me when you get back." He awkwardly kisses her on the cheek. As he drives away, Dutch starts singing "Hungry Like the Wolf" very off-key. Shane cackles like a hyena. Ronnie shuts off the VCR.

Vic asks if Shane and Army know of any heroin dealers who like to hang around the methadone clinic on Seymour; he and Ronnie are going off in search of a "junkie mom who witnessed the shooting." Shane takes Vic's question to Antwon, who predictably replies, "Street soldiers are a little below my need-to-know." One of Antwon's boys knows that Freebo has a riceburner...and a temper.

Antwon reminds Shane that his job is to keep Antwon's friends out of jail. "He grudge-whacked a drug counselor. Now that shit ain't right," says Shane. He'll make sure the case doesn't go any farther up the food chain. Antwon's friend will look around for him. "Good boy. Holla," Shane says as he leaves.

Monica assigns Claudette and Dutch to the murder of a 65-year-old woman who was shot during a home invasion. She wants them to run it through Vic because it looks gang-related. Claudette can't believe the captain is confiscating Maurice's house over three pot plants. Monica reminds her that Maurice dealt out of his house. She suggests they go someplace for some private girl-talk.

Upstairs in the task force room, Monica tells Claudette, "Debate's fine. Insubordination isn't." Claudette knows the D.A. doesn't assign cases any more than Monica can assign a prosecutor. Why were she and Dutch put on Maurice's investigation? The detective in her wonders who benefits from seizing a nobody's house. "Maybe the detective in you should get down to your assigned crime scene before a reprimand hits your desk," Monica counters.

Even though it was called in as a home invasion, Danny didn't find any sign of forced entry. The victim's daughter picked up her dad at the library and they came home to find her mom dead on the floor. When she took her dad to the library, she saw a car full of Mexican kids who looked like gangbangers parked across the street.

The victim's husband sinks into a chair. "Daddy, are you okay?" frets the daughter, "We have to get him to a hospital. He's got heart problems." Danny and Julien offer to drive them to Mission Cross. Wouldn't an ambulance be a better idea?

Monica, Vic, Lem, and Angie find Angie's mom Hoda in a junkie/whore hotel. I can't tell if she's high or starting to withdraw. Monica takes the girl outside and asks gently, "Do you have other family that you go to when she's like this?" "She's like this all the time," Angie replies, "Someone's gotta look out for her." The last time she tried to get Mom into rehab, she was told there was a six-month waiting list. Monica thinks she might be able to grease the wheels.

Vic and Lem sit on either side of Mom's bed. Not advisable in a place like that. Vic asks where Hoda scores her drugs, claiming he has "a sick friend." "I can take me some grey dick," Hoda slurs, reaching for Vic's belt. He and Lem hurriedly jump off the bed. Hoda's in no shape to remember the address, but Angie knows where to go: a cul-de-sac on Hoover.

I'll be surprised if Lem doesn't end up offering to take Angie in. This episode reminds me a lot of something that happened on Southland. Sammy developed a soft spot for/mentor relationship with Janilla, a young girl who witnessed a gang murder and later decided she wanted to be a Police Explorer. Things didn't work out so well for Janilla; her grandmother was shot and she ended up having to go into Witness Protection. Let's hope it goes differently for Angie.

Lem and Vic scope out the house from afar. The drug den has reinforced steel doors and blackout windows. They don't see heavy traffic (at least not yet), but there are two spotters on the lawn. Vic wants to call Monica for a warrant. Lem gets territorial: "This is my tip." Vic points out that he doesn't work Farmington anymore.

Lem thinks it's unfair that Shane got to come back to the Barn. "Having you there is gonna drive him further away," says Vic. They have to keep Shane close and Lem knows why. Vic appreciates all the help Lem's given him recently from his juvie connections. He unnecessarily jogs Lem's memory about the bad blood between him and Shane.

Claudette knows there have been a lot of home invasions in the elderly woman's neighborhood recently. Dutch calls out to her from the bedroom; he finds it curious that the victim's open jewelry box appears untouched. Claudette guesses the burglars could've panicked and left after shooting her. She's seen something like that happen before when two crackheads attempted to steal an 80-year-old's birdbath.

Dutch thinks something is odd about the victim's family. Vic still wants to check with the Byz Lats; the crime happened on their turf. Dutch is going back over witness statements and police reports from similar incidents. Vic tells him to re-canvass. Dutch snipes that he's run murder investigations before. "Just attack it. Like you're hungry. Like the wolf," says Vic. Dutch looks puzzled by that.

Monica holds a briefing about the upcoming drug raid. "One of the spotters calls himself TEC-9, so we can assume the firepower lives up to the name," says Vic. Monica tells everyone to keep an eye out for Freebo and his motorcycle.

Ronnie inquires why they aren't serving a high-risk warrant at night like they usually do. "The bad guys have imbedded themselves in a residential area where there's a lotta kids," Monica explains. It's less of a risk to go in during school hours. She adds, "This will be a success if and only if every one of you comes back in one piece and no civilians are hurt."
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In the parking lot, Vic assigns Shane to go in with him. Army will be with Lem and Ronnie. Army knows the block is part of Antwon's business and wants to give him a heads-up. Shane is about to start dialing when Monica tells him, "No cell phones." Shane lies that he was just gonna call his wife. Vic barks at him to get in the truck.

At the house, Vic sneaks up behind one of the spotters. Ronnie tackles the other one. SWAT gets the front door open and Vic tosses in a flash-bang grenade. Lem's group goes in another door and Lem stops a guy from sneaking out a window. There's a veritable arsenal in a locked closet. "I wish we had this kinda shit in Iraq," Army comments.

Vic finds a brick of heroin in a shoebox (not a very original hiding place). He offers a deal to the spotters: Whoever gives up Freebo's real name won't be facing 20 years in Pelican Bay. One of them quietly says Freebo AKA Freddie Bokamp just left. The guy must've done the informant dance before because he asks to be taken to jail with the rest of the crew.

Jesse, a uniform, tells Monica there's a strong chemical odor coming from the house, possibly ether. Monica calls in HAZMAT. Vic has a real name on Freebo, "but pulling a new warrant takes time." In light of the HAZMAT situation, Monica wants to evacuate the block.

One man refuses to leave because his young son has pneumonia. Danny tells him the area is unsafe and he doesn't have a choice. Julien picks up the blanket-wrapped boy, saying they can drive father and son to a hospital. Dad gets belligerent and has to be restrained by other officers.

Claudette asks Donna if her mom had any enemies. "She was my stepmother," Donna corrects. Her mom's been dead for 9 years; she and Dad found her in the same room as they found Margo today. Her mom's cause of death was a stroke. Dutch wonders why the thieves only took Margo's jewelry. Donna gets evasive; she wants to go back to the hospital to sit with her dad.

At the Barn, Vic lets Monica know they didn't find Freebo during the evacuation. He learns from his informant that Freebo lives with his twin brother Weebo. On the way downstairs, Vic passes Edgar-veda: "Press conference hasn't started yet. Still got time to figure out how to take credit for all this."

Edgar-veda compliments Monica on the raid. He then asks why she didn't arrange for emergency shelter for the block's honest residents. Monica didn't know there'd be a meth lab or that they'd have to evacuate. What he calls a snafu, she calls the biggest drug bust in 10 years.

The gun used in the supposed home invasion was a .38; matching ammo was found in the husband's closet but no gun. None of the neighbors confirmed the stepdaughter's story about a car full of gangbangers. Dutch doesn't think the husband did it. "What was in it for Daddy's little girl?" Claudette wonders.

Upstairs, she asks Warren where he keeps his gun. He replies it's in the bedroom closet but is never loaded. If that's true, why can't they find it? Did Margo have any problems with Donna? Was Donna upset that Margo wanted to move out of state with him?

Warren says there was another break-in a few weeks ago; he didn't report it to the police or tell his daughter. He didn't want her to worry. Supposedly, the burglar stole his gun.

A.D.A. Insardi drops off a subpoena. Monica asks about Maurice's case. Insardi doesn't know all the details because she doesn't have the file in front of her. Monica asks if there's someone she can call; they can't seize the house if it gets kicked down to a misdemeanor. Insardi then claims she's not at liberty to discuss it.

Antwon tells Shane he's got some 'splaining to do. Shane didn't know that was Antwon's drug house or that Vic would be raiding it until it was too late. It also wasn't smart of Freebo to kill someone in front of witnesses; Antwon better hope Shane is the one who brings him in. Antwon thinks they should get together and work on their communication.

"Where the hell is Shane?" Vic asks as their suspects come out of the house. Lem looks out the window, then at the mug shots in his lap. Confused, he asks, "Which one's Weebo and which one's Freebo?" The twins mount their riceburners. Vic worries they could take off different directions; the cops only have the one car.

Before they can ride off, Vic and Lem get out of the car. The twins start shooting at them. Lem hits one of them and calls in the officer-involved shooting. "Where the hell have you been?" he snaps when Shane arrives. Shane asks what happened. Gee, what does it look like?

Monica tells Claudette she stopped the seizure paperwork on Maurice's house. Maurice was set to testify for the defense in a murder trial and the D.A. had the agenda of ruining his credibility. "You smelled horseshit, turns out there was a pony in the Barn," Monica quips.

Freebo won't talk to Vic; he's too upset about Weebo's death. Vic asks Monica to talk to Internal Affairs about the officer-involved shooting. He knows she's not Lem's supervisor, but Lem's CI broke the case. Monica has the same first question that Lem's boss will: Where was their backup? Vic lies that Shane got stuck in traffic. The twins were about to flee and they didn't know which was which.

Vic tells Freebo that they have him for killing Romeo: "We go for special circumstances, you'll be seeing your brother again before you know it." "Don't talk like that!" Freebo spits, "That boy was my heart!" Vic asks about Antwon; Freebo supposedly doesn't know him. Shane watches anxiously from the observation room. He hurriedly turns off the TV as Dutch and Claudette bring in Donna.

On a different TV, there's a Latino sitting by himself. Dutch asks if he was parked outside the house. Donna is positive he was the driver. "That man's a police officer," Dutch informs her, "He was on patrol with his partner when you shot your stepmother." Donna vehemently denies it.

Dutch thinks she was trying to recapture the last time it was just the two of them and Dad needed her: the day her mom died. They know Warren is lying and will be charged as an accessory after the fact if he keeps it up. Donna sits down heavily and says, "If he moved to Arizona, he'd be dead in 6 months." She cooks, she cleans, she drives him to doctor's appointments, and makes sure he takes all 17 of his medications every day. Margo didn't care about Warren the way Donna's mom did.

Donna and Margo were arguing about the move. When her stepmom turned around, Donna shot her in the back. She threw away the gun and her stepmom's jewelry.

In the squadroom, Monica congratulates everyone involved in the raid. They'll all be getting commendation letters. She then asks if Danny and Julien have anything to add about the dad they drove to the hospital. They don't. Monica will make sure to tell the city attorney that Dad's impending lawsuit is meritless.

Julien thinks they shouldn't be acting like they just won the big game. That dad was perfectly reasonable until they tried to drag him out of his home. Never mind that it was a safety issue, what with the meth lab and all. Danny says only thugs profit from police being turned into the enemy. Amen, sister.

Julien asks why they aren't taking houses from drug lawyers and bankers who wash dirty money. "If you think this is such a rotten idea, then why'd you help the captain sell it on that panel?" Danny fires back.

Claudette wonders why she's out of the D.A.'s doghouse. She didn't apologize and they don't usually admit when they're wrong. She tells him what she knows about Maurice and how that could explain the attitude adjustment. Claudette asks flat out if Dutch offered Insardi any favors. Dutch admits he did; somebody needed to make nice-nice. Unbeknownst to them, Monica is watching the whole thing unfold on CCTV.

Claudette says it wasn't his deal to make; they're partners. "I wasn't gonna sit on my hands and watch you wreck your career and mine along with it," Dutch says. Claudette needs to accept losing the fight. She storms out.

Monica confronts Insardi about what she did to Dutch and Claudette: "You do not wanna mess with my people again." You really don't, lady; she'll turn your dog into a coat. Will Insardi's office be working with the police or against them? "Together," Insardi replies. There's the right answer.

Julien tells Claudette how he feels about the seizures. Can she help out with her seniority? Claudette doubts it; her opinion doesn't seem to count for much. Julien should use his voice and opinion himself.

"I'm getting my nuts twisted by IAD on account of you," Lem tells Shane. Well, that can't be good for his condition. Army pipes up and Lem tells him to stay out of it. Shane doesn't think he and Lem have anything to say to each other. Vic hisses at them to cool it; Monica's coming down the hall.

Monica has bad news: Angie's mom was just found dead from an overdose. Social Services can't find the kid and it's possible she doesn't even know yet. Lem and Vic leave to find her.

Antwon angrily slams a lockbox shut. Shane doesn't get why he's so pissed; there's no roads leading back to him. Antwon asks if Shane knows how much product and manpower he lost. "If you'd kept me in the loop about your tar castles, then maybe I coulda kept an eye out for you, homey," Shane retorts.

That was the wrong thing to say. Antwon's goons wrestle Shane and Army to the ground. "Get his piece," Antwon instructs. Halpern kicks Shane a few times. "I don't get played and I ain't your homey," growls Antwon, now armed with both their guns. His guys saw them at the raid. "So how you gonna tell me now there was nothing that you could do? You think you was ever makin' the rules around here?"

Antwon cocks the gun. "You're not stupid enough to bring that kinda heat down on your ass," Shane challenges. Some guys bring in Angie; she's crying and has duct tape over her mouth. Antwon talked to her mom and "It's amazing what a bitch'll give up for a little rush. Or in this case, a big rush." "Jesus, you killed her mother," Shane realizes.

"This is the little ho that gave up my block," Antwon goes on. Army protests that she's a kid. Antwon stuffs one of their business cards in Angie's pocket and lays out the story. Shane and Army were trying to bring her to foster care, but Angie didn't want to go. She offered them oral sex in exchange for going free, then threatened to tell Monica. Antwon shoots Angie with both cops' guns. Oh sweet Jesus, no.

The gangster kingpin states the obvious: If Angie's body is ever found, Shane and Army are in huge trouble. Antwon rolls Shane over and puts a giant Timberland boot across his neck: "From now on, I say, 'Suck my dick,' you say, 'You want me to lick your balls, Daddy?'" Point made, he backs off and lets Shane breathe. Poor Angie. I hope she has some relative somewhere who'll raise holy hell looking for her. End of episode.

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