Friday, July 7, 2017

The Proof Is In the "Trophy" (Episode 5.5)

Previously on: Claudette has been hiding an unknown illness from Dutch. Vic's informant Emolia was the one who gave up Lem to IAD. Vic went to her safe house to threaten her into leaving town so her testimony can't be used and who should walk in on him but the Rat King himself?

Kavanaugh apologizes to Emolia; it's his fault Vic found out about the investigation. He'll protect her and Sebastio. Emolia wants to go back to the safe house and get Sebastio ready for preschool. Kavanaugh let her leave the kid alone? Unbelievable. He reminds the informant of her obligation to testify when the Strike Team goes to court. Emolia says no way; she was told all she had to do was get Vic to admit to things.

Kavanaugh pleads with her in Spanish. "I don't wanna do this no more," Emolia sobs, "[Vic's] been good to me." She even returns her weekly fee. Kavanaugh tells his IAD coworker Scott to essentially put Emolia on lockdown. No calls or visitors and she can only leave the house to take her kid to school and therapy.

In the Mission Cross parking lot, Vic drops Cassidy off with Corinne. A nearby woman is crying "mi nino, mi amor." Vic has started to tell Corinne he can't believe how much damn homework 6th graders get these days when the Spanish woman sprints across the parking lot. She purposely puts her head through the driver's side window of an oncoming car. And holy shit, she's biting the driver's face!

Vic springs into action and drags the woman out of the car. A hospital security guard assists the driver. The woman who bit him has a seizure. In the ER, Vic is concerned about the effect witnessing that scene will have on his 11-year-old. Corinne isn't too worried: "She thought it was cool. Been hanging around you too much." Does she need to know anything else about Vic's "special work thing"?

Dr. Lesser, the head ER doctor, wants to talk to Vic. The woman from the parking lot is dead. She's a frequent flyer with a history of schizophrenia. Her brother reported she's been on new meds for a month. Dr. Lesser hands Vic the bottle.

"French label, no doctor." Vic observes, "Bad scrips?" "What's on the label and what's inside are two very different things," says Dr. Lesser. 5 people have died in similar fashion in the last 3 months. He filed a complaint with Captain Billings last month. "Who do I need to bitch to?"

Vic asks Bro where Schizophrenic Sis got her medication. "Just, you know, the drugstore," he replies. Vic isn't fooled. He asks Corinne to step out. "Sis was screaming about devils before she died. I hope she wasn't talking about you feeding her bad meds." Bro didn't know they weren't the right ones. He got them from Clinica Masquina; it's run by a humanitarian who supposedly helps low-income people get affordable prescriptions.

Shane is sure Kavanaugh is onto them playing fast and loose with Lem's wire. Ronnie wonders why his friend hasn't been arrested yet. Vic wants Lem kept up to date; everything else will be business as usual.

Vic asks if Billings remembers a complaint from Mission Cross about bad prescriptions. "Sorta," the captain answers. Vic informs him, "The body count is 'sorta' piling up." The hospital board might call the feds. Billings didn't realize it was anything more serious than "bogus Viagra." After 5 deaths, that's the story you're going with? The captain assigns the case to the Strike Team.

Edgar-veda suggests contacting his friends at the Justice Department and having Emolia put in Witness Protection. Rat King doesn't think that will be necessary. Edgar-veda wants to know when Lem will be arrested.

Kavanaugh has a bad feeling he can't explain or shake off about Edgar-veda and Vic. Is the councilman trying to play both sides? Edgar-veda denies it. Kavanaugh turns up the volume on his laptop; Lem's wire is broadcasting live from the clubhouse.

Lem exposits that the clinic got most of its phony drugs from a French company that went bankrupt 2 years ago. "Pharmacology was hit-and-miss. It's a loaded gun," says Ronnie. Vic wants to get a warrant for the clinic. Might I suggest sending Lem undercover cruising for ulcer meds?

Listening in, Edgar-veda realizes, "They're sending him on another one of those bullshit errands. That way, he's out of earshot." Vic asks Shane how Lem's been feeling. "He won't go to the doctor. I think he's puking blood again," Shane reports. Even more ammo for Kavanaugh (like he needs it). Vic asks Shane to keep an eye on Lem.

The Rat King grins that he got permission to bug the clubhouse; he hid the transmitter in the base of their Police League softball championship trophy. Vic tells Shane not to worry.
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Billings is pissed. A crew has arrived to set up the new vending machines, only the outlets weren't installed. At home, Danny rubs cream into her stretch marks. Billings leaves a message about how she was supposed to call the electrician about new outlets. He needs her at the Barn ASAP.

At the clinic, the Strike Team finds over a dozen unsealed boxes of drugs. Lem will run the prescriptions in those against the list from Mission Cross. Edgar-veda is lurking outside. "How'd he get here so quick?" Lem asks uneasily. At Motel Hell, the Rat King makes notes on a legal pad. Why did Edgar-veda go to the clinic at all?

Vic reports to Edgar-veda that they're shutting down the clinic. "Our drugs aren't bad," Clinic Doc insists. From an illegal source, yes, but not counterfeit. Ronnie finds different bottles from the ER; these labels are in English. Clinic Doc got them from the Gruhani brothers, Persians who run a trucking business and skim off shipments from a pharmaceutical company.

Edgar-veda, champion of the downtrodden and disenfranchised, tells Vic, "A lot of people can't afford these drugs any other way." Never mind that these black-market prescriptions are poisoning his constituents.

At the Barn's gas pump, Vic tells Shane he hired Becca to represent the Strike Team. He doesn't think they'll end up in court, but he wants to be prepared for the possibility. Vic then makes the mistake of bringing Becca to the clubhouse to talk. They're keeping Lem out of the loop for now because they know he's wired. Becca asks how they found that out. Vic claims they felt it on Lem during a pickup game of basketball.

"The rabbit hole's deep," says Becca. Their former captain Monica started the IAD investigation. "I don't think it was search and destroy." Vic bets she was trying to prove they aren't corrupt. The new chief took the case in another direction: "He sees the Strike Team as a failure of the old regime." Vic's  a high-profile target.

Becca didn't find out anything new about Kavanaugh's personal life, but he reports directly to the chief. At Motel Hell, Kavanaugh scribbles SHE KNOWS TOO MUCH on his notepad. Becca advises the guys to nail some big fish, "make it look like Internal Affairs is hurting the good guys." And by the way, she needs a $10,000 retainer.

Becca might be able to cut Lem a deal. Vic refuses: "Deals are for the guilty." Becca wanted them to know the cost up front. Cops don't make much and Shane and Vic both have kids to support. "We all get cleared, we all keep our badges. Nothing less," says Vic. That's gonna be a tall order.

Kavanaugh angrily crumples up his notes. From here on, everything the Strike Team says to Becca will be inadmissible in court because it falls under attorney-client privilege.

Vic informs Bro that the fake prescriptions caused Sis to have a stroke. When they can prove he knew the drugs weren't real, Bro will be facing manslaughter charges. The clinic charges $45 for the meds; Bro knew a Russian mob guy selling them for $10 a bottle. The Russians sell the prescriptions out of a strip club. Great place for a pharmacy.

Vic recognizes the strip club address; his old friend Popovich runs the place. Ronnie says someone trashed the Gruhani trucking office. Lem went to their houses and it looks like Zal and Babak left in a rush. Shane has himself a good chuckle about those names.

At the seedy strip club, the girls are dancing naked, which is illegal in Farmington. One of the customers (?) tries to punch Lem. "Do you have warrant to be here?" asks Popovich. Vic doesn't need one thanks to the violation of local health codes and assault on a police officer. Ronnie discovers a stash of French-labeled prescriptions in a closet.

Vic remembers a blond stripper from an old case. He thought she was going back to Russia. Stripper says her current occupation is "safer than being a whore." Vic asks where Popovich gets the illegal prescription drugs he sells. Stripper shrugs, "I just dance."

However, she adds that her boss owns a garage: Blackburn Auto. Not wanting anyone to get suspicious that she was helping the police, Stripper calls after Vic, "You go shit yourself!" That's a new one.

Down a fairly steep hill, a man is stuck under a fence. Paramedics are tending to him/trying to extract him. Julien gives Dutch and Claudette the details, "He told us he got hit by a car, knocked him down the hill. A neighbor told us he jumped out of a moving car. Red Infiniti." The victim is scratched up but has no visible gang ink.

In Spanish, the victim tells Tina he doesn't want to go to a hospital. A paramedic reports the man's arm is broken. Claudette assures the victim they're not INS. The medics can't force him to go to the hospital, but the police can. Dutch arrests him for trespassing and destruction of private property.

Extension cords are now running down the Barn's hallway to the vending machines. "People are gonna break their necks on those wires," Danny warns. Billings snipes at her to tape them down; people have to eat. Also, call a plumber. The men's bathroom is clogged up again. I bet Danny can't wait to be off maternity detail.

Tina and Julien bring back Hidalgo, his arm freshly cast. Hidalgo jumped out of the car because he was scared. A heavyset 40ish black woman picked him up for day labor outside a Home Depot, drove him out to the Angeles Crest, and forced him to dig a hole. She wanted him to bury a body. When she threatened to call INS if he refused, Hidalgo jumped out of the car.

"That's really good work," Dutch tells Tina. Claudette amends, "Both of them." They have Hidalgo take them to the hole he dug, which is big enough for 6'4" Julien to fit comfortably. The mystery woman had asked Hidalgo to make it even longer. "Hey, you guys done?" Julien calls from inside the grave.

I don't think Blackburn Auto has actually worked on cars in a really long time. The place is abandoned. The guys hear moaning from under the floorboards. A mechanic is bound and gagged in a hole. Shane checks the mechanic's wallet; it's Zal, one of the Persian brothers.

Zal was also carrying a prescription bottle in his pocket. Vic checks the label: "This is chemo medicine. Do you have cancer?" "No. Why?" wheezes Zal.

Paramedics wheel Zal to an ambulance. Zal explains that Popovich wanted to take over his shipments because the French drugs were bad. Popovich threw Zal in the hole for 2 weeks and forced him to take the chemo drug. Zal's brother Babak is probably at their office on the west side; the Russians don't know him. The Ghurani brothers hide the drugs in their mom's garage.

The guys take Popovich to the clubhouse. "They're back," Rat King smiles, pausing in the middle of some weird martial arts moves. "This is the room of endless possibilities," Vic says to the Russian. Is that anything like the Room of Requirement? The Strike Team has a business proposal for Popovich. "We know about the garage and your cancer research."

Popovich doesn't know about garages; he just runs a strip joint. "Yeah, we know. Dancing camel toe," says Shane. Vic wants to raise the iron curtain. He appreciates Popovich wanting to help people who can't afford medicine they need, but poisoned product is bad for business. They'll trade him the French swill for the real thing. In exchange, Popovich will cut the Gruhanis in for 20% and give the Strike Team 10%.

If Popovich agrees, he walks. "You say no or try to burn us, perestroika dies," says Vic. Popovich likes the arrangement. Vic tells him to bring the French drugs to the garage. The Strike Team wants $10,000 upfront. Everyone's a winner.

Popovich shakes Vic's hand: "Who says there are never police around when we need them?" "Yeah, who says?" chuckles Rat King in his motel room.

Kavanaugh asks if Edgar-veda knows anything about Vic making business deals with Russians for stolen prescriptions. Edgar-veda just knows they closed down a city-funded clinic for giving illegal prescriptions. Kavanaugh thinks the Strike Team hired Becca as their lawyer.

Billings wants to know why Vic released Popovich. Vic couldn't hold him without knowing where the supply comes from. Billings says the assistant chief "just drilled me a new ass channel." Vic might have a way to "cool your anal burning."

A black woman named Peaches reported her boyfriend Alex missing in 2004; her red Infiniti was also stolen recently. Dutch looks over the missing persons file: "6'5", a perfect peg for a very large hole."

"You found my car?" Peaches asks interestedly. Does she need to sign something to get it back? Dutch asks if anyone else had access to her car key. Peaches says no, but her realtor has her house keys. She recently moved out of the 'hood. When the Infiniti was stolen, Peaches was asleep; she runs a sports bar and doesn't get home until 3 AM.

Claudette inquires about Alex. Peaches can't believe it's taken over a year to get back to her about it. Alex was her boyfriend. He emailed her a few months ago, but Peaches doesn't think he's alive. Alex had a terminal blood disorder and wanted to spare Peaches of having to watch him suffer. He went back to his childhood home of Panama (the country, not the city in Florida).

Kavanaugh had mics and cameras planted at Blackburn Auto. Vic is back on the air, asking about Zal. Lem says Zal is worried about Babak. He certainly has reason.

Lem halfheartedly picks at a carton of Chinese food in the breakroom. Vic wonders how Lem is feeling. Lem guesses that he's about the same. For the second time in two days, Vic invites, "You should stay home tonight, take it easy." I doubt Lem will object.

Vic calls Edgar-veda. The guys are about to pick up a truckload of bad prescriptions. How would the councilman and some reporters like a ringside seat? Edgar-veda turns to Kavanaugh: "He wants to turn picking up the bad drugs into a media event." "After he makes the trade and takes the payoff in private," Kavanaugh surmises, "Steals his cake and eats it too."

"Prednisone's pretty toxic stuff," Dutch says to his partner. Claudette can't believe he looked in her desk. Dutch is just concerned about her. He gives a search warrant to the woman who bought Peaches' old house. Julien found a body wrapped in plastic hidden in the shed out back.

Back at the Barn, Dutch shows Peaches a picture of the mummified corpse. "Breaking up is hard to do," says Claudette. Peaches gasps and begins sobbing. Outside the room, Dutch opines, "That is not the response of a woman who just tried to bury a guy in the woods."

They bring in Shonda, the woman who lives in Peaches' old house. When Hidalgo sees her, he bolts. Danny talked to IT; Alex's email from Panama really came from an Internet cafe in Burbank.

Walking back to her desk, Danny accidentally runs into a pole and hits the floor hard. Her coworkers race to her side. Lem asks if she wants an ambulance. Danny thinks she just needs help standing back up. "I'm fine," she says tearfully, "Just who put the goddamn pole there?"

In the women's room, Danny is now regretting her "never let 'em see ya cry" lecture to Tina. Claudette understands that hormones can make you crazy; when she was pregnant with her first daughter, she trashed an aisle at Ralph's 'cause she couldn't decide on a diaper brand.

Edgar-veda paces the motel room. All he and the Rat King can hear over the wire is loud music, the Strike Team's traditional method of pumping themselves up for a raid. If Vic really does make a deal with the Russians, Kavanaugh wants the whole team arrested and separated. Lem goes in the clubhouse to pick up his hoodie and wish his friends luck.

Tina had a conversation with Hidalgo in which she said people who cooperate with the police can get their green cards. "Yeah, if you, like, help bring down a cartel," says Dutch. Hidalgo ID'd the first black woman he saw.

"Now the witness is an illegal coerced into a statement by a false promise of citizenship," says Julien. In other words, lawsuit. Tina really needs to consider a new line of work. Dutch assures her it'll be fine; he has a plan.

Shonda asks Claudette if the "pregnant cop" is okay. She can't believe her friend Peaches would've killed Alex. "No one can," says Dutch. Claudette smiles sweetly.

Why did Shonda try to hire Hidalgo to bury Alex? "You work two blocks from the cafe you emailed his Dead John letter from." She wanted Peaches to stop looking. Shonda's DNA is on the body. They bet she was trying to get Alex out before Peaches moved.

Shonda sighs. She flirted with Alex and they started having sex, then Alex fell in love with her. Most cases, it's the other way around. Shonda and Peaches were roommates, but Peaches owned the house. Alex wasn't worth getting kicked out over. Shonda and Alex started arguing about Peaches after sex one night; Shonda keeps a bat next to the bed and "shit just happened."

Babak and Popovich meet at the garage. Shane opens the back of a truck, revealing the real American drugs. "You got that tingly feeling I do?" Kavanaugh asks Edgar-veda in the surveillance van. Popovich gives Vic the $10,000. Out of nowhere, Babak puts a gun to Shane's head. "That's bullshit! He almost kill my brother. He poison him and then he take our business."

Vic and Shane disarm him. Babak doesn't care if they shoot him. Popovich says leaving Babak alive is too much of a risk. Vic slaps a gun in the Russian's hand. "Just not in the face," he says. Kavanaugh's tactical team moves in. Vic and Popovich both shoot Babak. Everyone drops their guns when SWAT arrives. Vic gets handcuffed along with Shane and Ronnie.

Babak stands up: "Vic, what the hell is going on?" "IAD just shit all over our sting!" Vic snarls. He introduces Babak as Detective Baham. Their guns were loaded with blanks. Killing the Russians' competition "would've been the blood tie that binds." Popovich has ties going back to the Kremlin. Did Kavanaugh really think Vic was that dirty? Kavanaugh is speechless.

Billings adds that he approved the operation. "I guess IAD will spin any kinda fiction to stain good cops bad," says Vic. Billings orders, "Uncuff my men. You idiots did enough damage for one night." Vic tells the uniforms to arrest Popovich for attempted murder.

Vic sees Danny closing down the men's room. "If it ain't broke, it ain't the Barn," she jokes. She's sorry to hear about what happened with IAD. Vic offers to buy her dinner, but Danny says she doesn't have an appetite. A knock to the head will do that.

"Should we talk?" Vic wants to know. Can he help her in some way? It doesn't look like Daddy's in the picture. "The dad doesn't know," says Danny, "I think it's better that way. I don't think that he could handle it right now." She's okay with being a single mom. Vic will do anything he can if she changes her mind.

Dutch passes Claudette a note: I'M SORRY. I'LL STOP. How middle school. Claudette confides in him that she's had lupus for 15 years; it's been flaring up a lot recently, much like Lem's ulcer. Dutch shouldn't worry. She has a good support system in her daughters and her boyfriend James.

In the clubhouse, the Strike Team has just finished a pizza. Vic passes a bottle of SoCo to Shane. Shane holds it in Lem's direction: "A little Southern'll comfort that belly." "Nah, I think I'll stick with the pink," Lem chuckles, swigging Pepto out of the bottle. That stuff is so gross; it's a wonder anybody ever gets it down.

Enter Ronnie with a trash bag. Billings asked them to clean up the clubhouse for code violations; somebody called the fire marshal. Vic grabs the softball trophy off the lockers, saying it's too close to the light. "Not the trophy, man," Shane protests, "I went 3-for-4 to win that." "You were 0-for-5," Lem corrects, "But who's counting?"

Vic turns over the trophy and notices something stuck in the base. Shane changes his mind: "It's a cheap piece of shit." Vic tosses the trophy, saying, "We'll just beat IAD again next year."

Outside, Becca joins Vic in his car. She heard IAD ruined the Russian sting earlier. Maybe Kavanaugh picked up the details on Lem's wire. If King Rat knows they're onto him, he won't be a happy camper. He tells her that Ronnie found the trophy bug during a daily sweep, "so we spun it our way. Just like you said."

Becca is upset that Vic is using her and withholding information. Vic apologizes; he's playing things by ear. He describes IAD's investigation as an "ongoing, misguided vendetta." "Kavanaugh's gonna arrest Lemansky," Becca warns, "and he's gonna try to hurt you by hurting him."

Buzz asks if Kavanaugh wants him to plant another bug. "Don't bother," mumbles Kavanaugh. Buzz thinks it's possible Vic really was talking about softball; one year, IAD lost to the Strike Team in the semi-finals.

When Buzz leaves, Kavanaugh roars in anger and flips over the table, laptop and all. He throws a chair, which almost goes through the window. IAD will be thrilled about getting charged extra for that motel room....

End of episode.

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