Friday, April 21, 2017

A "Cut Throat" Crew (Episode 4.8)

Previously on: Monica asked Vic to take a step back from the seizure task force. Edgar-veda started having an affair with a prostitute named Sara; their sex games involve him pretending to be a rapist. Antwon offered to tell Shane where Angie's body is; all Shane has to do for that information is kill Vic.

We open on Vic as he drives aimlessly through a bad neighborhood, listening to Alice In Chains. He knocks on a door, which is opened by Monica. Her living room (actually, the whole house) is in serious need of furniture. The new captain believes in living where you patrol, which doesn't sound like a safe plan to me. Monica herself even says, "It seemed like a good idea a month ago when I put down the deposit." Vic suggests posting undercover units outside, but Monica is too ethical to divert limited neighborhood resources to protect her own ass.

Vic asks why she called. Does the captain want him to find code violations so she can get her deposit back? Monica says pulling him off the street wasn't personal; Vic's face was plastered all over the L.A. news. She fully supports him.

Vic tells the guys he's late to their clubhouse meeting because he was taking care of things. Lem hopes he means Shane. How are they supposed to help protect Vic from getting killed when they don't know where he is? Lem and Ronnie are nervous that they haven't seen Shane or Army all day. Vic promises they'll handle it together when the time is right.

Edgar-veda wishes Sara had consulted him before dying her hair blond, but he's sure he'll get used to it. He goes into the bathroom with the condom Sara hands over. When he comes out, Sara is just hanging up the phone and looks upset. Her sister is upset about being fired and wants to come over. Edgar-veda is sure they can make it a quickie. Sara promises they'll finish their "date" another time.

Edgar-veda gets in his car, but doesn't leave. He watches as Sara lets another man in the house. He looks pretty pissed off. Come on, dude, she's a hooker. What do you expect?

Vic and Monica arrive at a bloody crime scene. Billings exposits that Mitch Robville's throat was cut; Monica knows the victim as a neighborhood informant. "Idiot shouldn't have turned down our offer to move him," says Vic. Monica is upset; she promised to protect informants and now two are dead. She wants Vic to find out who did it.
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Antwon comes out of his room, hoping Vic has a warrant to be in his house. Vic challenges the shot-caller. Does he think anyone is fair game? That he's invincible? "I don't get what you're spitting," says Antwon. Vic threatens that Antwon will be spitting teeth if he gives the word for somebody else to get hurt. He also advises him to get the door fixed.

Monica wants all other CI's in protective custody until they figure out who's behind the murders. Vic worries that could only make things worse. Monica is also calling Internal Affairs to find the leak. Vic would rather see if he can do that himself. Monica wants him to focus on the murders for now.

Vic tells Lem and Ronnie to see if Angie and Mitch have anything in common. "Why bother?" asks Lem, "We know Shane and Antwon are responsible for Angie." "We can't tell that to the captain, can we?" says Vic. Lem presses, "What about Shane?" Vic's like "not this again."

Vic has an idea. He stole Shane's cell phone from his locker. Lem can keep an eye on who calls. Ronnie can't believe that's the master plan. Neither can I. Shane and Lem are out for each other's blood already; imagine if Shane finds out who has his phone. Vic appreciates Lem and Ronnie having his back, but he doesn't need their help.

"Your unfinished business kicked down my door last night," Antwon tells Shane. Tomorrow's morning news better feature a shot of Vic's crying children. If not, Jackson will be the one grieving for his dad on TV. Antwon rachets up the threat by asking if Mara still shows open houses.

A body has turned up in a high school parking lot: science teacher Ken Gibbin. His throat was cut, just like Mitch. He's not a registered police informant, but maybe he snitched on a student. Monica asks Vic to check Mr. Gibbin's class rosters with the principal, "see who's not on the dean's list." Vic isn't so sure this is related to Mitch. Monica plans to call in the next shift to provide protection to the informants in safe houses.

One of Mr. Gibbin's students insists somebody planted drugs in his locker. Vic asks if the kid got back at his teacher for turning him in by slitting his throat. "Nah, Gibbs wasn't no rat," the boy says. When he got in trouble, they'd talk about it man-to-man; the police never got involved.

Vic learns the kid wasn't gang-affiliated before he went to juvie, "but to stay alive, he had to claim Spookstreet." The same gang supplied crack to the house Mitch informed on. Vic offers to talk to one of Danny's sources, a Spookstreeter's baby mama. "All her tips have been One-Niners. She'd never give up her own," says Monica. Vic thinks Danny might be able to persuade her. He also has a theory on the leaks: Edgar-veda's office is reviewing a bunch of their seizures.

The Spookstreet baby mama claims not to know anything about the murders. Vic asks for her price. Baby Mama's reaction is just what Monica predicted: "Money's for One-Niner shit only." Danny wants to talk to the woman alone.

A convenience store owner was hit with a bottle by a man during a robbery. He guesses $300 is missing from the register. A customer pumping gas saw it happen and called 911. Dutch interviews the customer, who looks like a Jon Cryer knockoff. Not Jon positively ID's the sketch Claudette shows him.

Edgar-veda praises Julien for taking a stand against the seizures. He asks Julien to run the license plate number of Sara's other john, lying that this car dinged his wife's car in a grocery store parking lot and the driver took off.

Upstairs, Monica lets the councilman know that the seizure CI list was compromised. Could there have been a leak on his end? Edgar-veda says that's a ridiculous idea. Has she called IAD or looked into Vic? Monica is adamant that, while Vic may do a lot of questionable things, "he would never put innocents at risk." Edgar-veda agrees to have his staff interviewed by IAD...after they talk to Vic.

Danny tells Baby Mama that she can't be half in/half out with Spookstreet. Not only is she putting her own life at risk, her 2-year-old son Malcolm could get killed. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but it's still a real possibility. Why don't they go find a tattoo parlor willing to put Spookstreet ink on a baby? Does she really want to repeat the cycle of Malcolm wearing colors and her wearing black to his funeral?

Danny lets Vic and Monica know that Spookstreeters would be getting new tattoos if they were behind the slit throats.
Something along these lines?
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An artist named Skitch usually does the gang's work.

An Asian convenience store clerk recognizes Claudette's sketch. The guy is a regular who comes in for 2-3 loose cigarettes ("looseys") a few times a week. The clerk isn't allowed to break packs, but does it anyway.

Dutch starts to leave and suddenly parks the car. A guy who looks a hell of a lot like the sketch just went into the store to buy a cup of coffee. Enter Dutch, saying, "Hey, police! Don't throw that coffee!" Of course, the guy does it anyway, soaking Dutch's suit but missing his face. Dutch tackles and arrests him. "We've been looking for you, Starbuck."
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Skitch works out of the back of a U-Haul. Very sanitary. He claims he'd remember if a Spookstreeter had come today, asking for a Grim Reaper. He'd be happy to hook Vic up with a swastika, though. Danny decides it'd be a good idea for her to go wait in the car. Vic picks up what looks like a branding iron: "Don't mind any strange noises comin' from this area." "Maybe there were two other guys around here," Skitch amends.

Monica gives Lem and Danny some Polaroids of the Spookstreeters in question: Hook and Cutter-10. She wants Lem walking point, even though Vic and Billings are investigating the murders. She promises Vic will have a chance to interrogate the gangbangers. Frustrated, Vic slams the gate on the evidence cage.

On the bust, Danny orders the driver out of the car. When he doesn't comply, Lem drags the guy through the open window, saying, "You heard the lady." Ronnie finds a bloody knife on the passenger seat.

"What's your reason for killing anyone helping us?" Monica asks Suspect #1. He's toast because the knife has his fingerprints on it, along with the victims' blood. Why murder a teacher? "He's a snitch's snitch," Suspect #1 explains. Everyone knew Mr. Gibbin gave up the One-Niner's drug den. "You got played, man," says Vic. Mr. Gibbin wasn't an informant, just a citizen. That hit was a personal score. Suspect #1 gives up who told him Mr. Gibbin was a rat: Tracy from the high school drill team.

The Coffee Bandit refuses to admit to anything. "Every once and a while, somebody commits a crime that we cops have to smile at," says Dutch. Oh yeah, getting third-degree burns from hot coffee is a riot. "Any dumbshit criminal can use a gun," says Coffee Bandit, who got the idea when "some broad threw coffee in my face."

Monica tells Dutch the department will pay to have his suit dry-cleaned. His and Claudette's work isn't done, though. Coffee Bandit isn't the same person who hit the first clerk with a bottle. All they know about that suspect is "he's a part-time smoker" who buys looseys. Monica remembers when those cost a dime. "Ah, the good old days," Claudette sighs. Dutch is surprised both women were smokers.

Sara tells Edgar-veda he can't just drop by her house. She asks him to leave, but he doesn't. Edgar-veda wants to know if he's as generous as, say, Dell Rosetti. Sara claims Dell is just a friend. Edgar-veda sees right through that: "You don't have friends; you have clients." Did Dell buy the house? Is he the reason she dyed her hair?

Edgar-veda runs down a list of perversions, curious which one Dell prefers. "You don't get to talk to me like that, even when I'm on the clock," says Sara. Edgar-veda knows Dell is a condo developer who cuts corners on his projects, which could land him in big trouble with the code enforcement department. He's married and "if the wife had any brains, she put a cheating clause in the pre-nup." "You've got a wife too," Sara reminds him. Should she call Aurora?

Edgar-veda doesn't think she'd do that, his smile becoming predatory. He doesn't want to come second to anyone.

Corinne is surprised to see Dutch at the Barn, even though he, ya know, works there. She notices the coffee on his suit. Dutch shrugs that he had a messy, albeit successful takedown. "We'll celebrate later," Corinne flirts. Of all the guys in the Barn she could've hooked up with, it had to be the closet sociopath. Not Lem who colors and plays videogames with her kids.

Dutch scoots away when Vic walks in. Corinne tells her ex-husband that their daughter Megan is ineligible for some kind of clinical trial involving autism because the Mackeys are suing the same drug company that's running the trial. Ugh, this autism/vaccine bunk is getting really old.

Corinne suggests dropping out of the lawsuit. "We're not eating 15 grand," says Vic. Corinne believes 7-year-old Matthew's autism is so severe he'll never have a normal childhood; Megan isn't even 3, so she still has a chance. As a pediatric occupational therapist's daughter, I call bullshit. Some kids aren't diagnosed with autistic disorders until late elementary school or early middle school, but they learn to adapt to life if they have proper support from their parents and therapists.

Corinne has no idea what to do because staying in the lawsuit would give them financial security for Matt. Vic tells her that he'll take care of things.

Shane pulls up to one of Antwon's rec centers, telling Halpern to get in the truck. Halpern hesitates, having gotten a beatdown from Shane once before. Shane tells Halpern he might want to hear about new opportunities in the heroin trade. Little Pop of the Los Mags has a customs agent in Arizona on his payroll.

Shane and Army know that Halpern called the shots until Antwon got out of prison. How'd he like to be king again? After all, "[Antwon] doesn't give a shit about the One-Niners;" Halpern doesn't owe him any loyalty. The Los Mags will only sell heroin to the One-Niners if Antwon is out of the picture. Once Antwon is locked up, the injunctions will stop and the police will move on to the next crime wave. Everyone comes out a winner. All Shane wants in return is the location of Angie's body.

Halpern passes on the offer. He doesn't care about being in charge, unlike some cowards willing to kill their own partner. "Kill what partner?" Army is alarmed. Halpern says, "Don't worry, Pablo, it ain't you." Army correctly guesses that Antwon wants Shane to kill Vic. Halpern thinks he'll tell Antwon about this little meeting.

When Halpern tries to get out of the truck, Army puts a gun to the back of his head. If Halpern squeals, they're "dick-deep in dead girls and bullets." Shane tells Army to put the gun away, but his partner just lowers it. Suddenly, there's a gunshot from the backseat. "I didn't mean it!" Army screams. Fortunately for Halpern, the bullet only hit his shoulder: "That asshole shot me! What's wrong with y'all? Holy shit!" Shane's thoughts exactly.

Army demands to know why Shane didn't tell him about Vic. The bleeding gangbanger is now lying across the backseat. "I said shut up!" yells Shane, turning off the police radio. He asks again about Angie's body and gives Halpern the choice of being dropped outside a hospital or bleeding out in the desert. Halpern won't talk. Shane snarls, "Next stop, Joshua Tree."

Monica understands that Mr. Gibbin failed Tracy for cutting class. Tracy says she couldn't have slit the throat of someone twice her size. She knows Hook and Cutter-10 have already been arrested. Tracy thinks they have more important criminals to chase, like Dynamite the pimp or her numbers-running mail lady. Monica announces that she's booking the teen for conspiracy to commit murder and reckless endangerment.

Vic doubts Monica can prove that Tracy used the tense climate and Stop Snitching culture to have her teacher killed. Monica fumes she's sick of being blindsided by what's going on out on the streets. She's more determined than ever to move in to her new house on the block, to show the community she's there with them. "They won't give a shit," Vic warns.

Vic asks the desk sergeant to assign a patrol car outside Monica's new house. She's moving into the 'hood and won't ask for protection and Vic wants to make sure "no assholes to get any cute ideas." Danny thinks it's bullshit Vic couldn't go on the bust and invites him out for a beer. Vic can't; he has the kids tonight and a stakeout.

Driving past a homeless shelter, Halpern tells Shane that Angie is buried under one of the porta-potties. "Not only did you kill her, you gotta shit on her too?!" shouts Army. Shane speculates, "Methane helps hide the death smell." The shelter has guards 24/7, so how are they gonna get her?

Shane parks in the middle of the street and drags Halpern out of the truck. He warns him not to tip off Antwon about the need to move the body. "We can't just leave him here," Army protests. Shane's not listening: "You tell Antwon I'm done with his shit, all of it." Shane will kill Antwon if he comes after Mara, Jackson, himself, or Vic. He and Army leave Halpern in the street.

Edgar-veda watches from his car as Dell leaves Sara's house. He goes inside and grabs her by the hair. "That's too hard," says Sara. Edgar-veda throws her down so she's bent over the couch. I can't tell if she's honestly fighting and scared or if this is another twisted game.

"Did you talk to that guy who's looking for you?" Officer Paula asks Dutch, "He said something about a mini-mart." A black man is outside in the parking lot, smoking a cigarette. When he's finished, he promises to tell Dutch everything he did.

Our suspect is trying to quit smoking and buys one cigarette at a time. A new clerk was working at the gas station and refused to open a pack. All he wanted was one cigarette. "You stole $300 from the register," Dutch adds, "Maybe now you can afford the whole pack." The guy admits to assault but swears he's not a thief.

Monica talks to Gino of Internal Affairs. She's sending him undercover into the gang task force to check up on Vic. Here's the thing, she doesn't want to prove Vic guilty; she wants to prove him innocent.

Vic goes to Corinne's with a Backpack O' Cash. He assures her it's clean, but she shouldn't deposit more than $5,000 every few months. Corinne won't take it. Vic tells her this is the only way to drop the lawsuit and get Megan in the clinical trial. Can he kiss the kids good night? Corinne softens: "Why did you have me take Cassidy tonight? Are you okay?" "Nothing I can't handle," he says quietly. It seems to Corinne like Vic is saying goodbye, maybe forever. She stuffs the Backpack O' Cash in a cabinet.

"You're pretty quiet tonight," Danny observes as she and Vic sit outside Monica's house. The captain gives them a hard look as she brings out the trash. The house lights go off. Danny thanks Vic for helping her get on the gang task force. They start making out in front seat of the car. Vic feels her up (and down).

Dutch and Claudette re-interview their witness, who eventually admits to stealing from the cash register after the clerk was knocked out. He's sorry. Claudette quotes Rhianna: "You're only sorry you got caught."

In the clubhouse, Lem is trying to call Vic and keeps getting voicemail. "What the hell kinda plan is this? We can't even reach Shane," says Ronnie. Lem shakes his head: "I don't feel right at all." That's probably the ulcer talking, honey. Ronnie just wants this to be over with. Lem doesn't want Vic to go alone; if Shane brings Army, it'll be two-on-one.

Shane suddenly opens the clubhouse door, looking for Vic. He also finally realized his phone's been missing all day and grabs it off the table. Lem makes up a story that the watch commander found it. "Thanks for the heads up." Shane's tone is pissy. Lem's like "bro, I can't call you if your phone is here." When Shane leaves, Lem practically flies at the clubhouse door. Ronnie stops him; this isn't how Vic wants things to happen. Do you really think Lem cares about that at this point?

Shane calls Vic, sounding choked up: "Can you meet me? Just you?" Their meeting spot ends up being near the train tracks. Shane paces, hemming and hawing for a second before saying, "I'm in some serious shit." Vic aims a gun at his best friend: "I bugged your car. It's you or me, right?"

Shane lays out what happened: "Antwon killed Angie right in front of me and Army. He did it with our guns." Vic thought Shane had nothing to do with Antwon. Shane argues it's nothing he and Vic haven't done. And Vic should know that Shane could never hurt him; there's too much history. It was a bluff.

Halpern showed them where Angie's body is buried, but the job's too big for Shane and Army alone: "Army's gun went off. Halpern's still alive, but once Antwon finds out, I'm dead." He sent Mara and Jackson out of L.A. for safety's sake. Almost crying, Shane begs for Vic's help. Crocodile tears, as far as I'm concerned.

Vic eyes his best friend's gun: "You've got one shot. Take it." Shane refuses. The money train messed up a lot of things, but Vic is still like a brother. "I need you." His teary hazel eyes lock with Vic's cold blue ones. Shane closes his eyes, waiting for the bullet to hit him. Vic can't bring himself to pull the trigger. End of episode.

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