Friday, August 25, 2017

"On the Jones" for Answers (Episode 6.1)

Last season: Lieutenant Kavanaugh of IAD (AKA the Rat King) launched an investigation into the Strike Team. When trying to get to Vic through Corinne didn't work, Kavanaugh set his sights on Lem. The Rat King threatened Lem with prison time for heroin possession with intent to distribute. Lem, getting progressively sicker from his ulcer, cracked under the pressure. He made a deal for a lesser sentence, but wouldn't say anything against Vic: "I can't turn on my family."

Meanwhile, a Salvadoran gang took to bombing things with hand grenades they smuggled into the U.S.

Antwon told Vic that Lem would be a dead man walking in prison unless Vic killed the One-Niners' new leader. Even though Vic kept his end of the bargain, Antwon reneged. The Strike Team hatched a plan to send Lem to Mexico under a new identity.

The Rat King and Edgar-veda schemed to make Vic believe Lem was going to testify against the Strike Team in order to get into witness protection. Shane bought the story hook, line, and sinker. On the night Lem was supposed to head south, Shane the Traitorous Bastard went rogue and served Lem a sandwich with a side of hand grenade. When Vic and the guys saw Lem's dead body, Vic pledged, "We're gonna find whoever did this. And we're gonna kill him."

Vic drives out to the cemetery. Lem's grave is so fresh it doesn't even have a headstone, but there's no shortage of flowers. Shane reports that no one's seen Guardo, who headed the grenade-smuggling operation. Vic wonders how Guardo lured Lem to his death and vows: "When we find Guardo, he dies the same way. Only slower." Shane agrees.

Ronnie wishes Lem would've come to them for help instead of his lawyer Becca. Vic argues that Lem was scared; he blames himself for botching his end of the deal with Antwon. "Hey, this is nobody's fault," says Shane.
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The three remaining members of the Strike Team point their guns at the grave. "You were a great cop," says Ronnie. Shane the Traitorous Bastard adds, "You were a good friend." Vic finishes that they're giving him the 21-gun salute he deserves. Each of them fire into the ground 7 times. Afterwards, Shane is teary-eyed. Vic reassuringly pats him on the shoulder.

In the Barn, Claudette asks if Billings already went home. Dutch replies, "He takes his 9-to-5 very seriously." So far, three Salvadorans have confessed to Lem's murder and have all been ruled out. Two suspects missed details; the latest wasn't even in the U.S. when Lem died. That's not all Dutch is upset about: "No police funeral. No press conference. It's like Lemansky never wore a badge."

Corinne arrives, looking for Vic because he isn't answering his phone. Dutch says Vic took some personal days, but he'll be back tomorrow. Corinne is worried. She hasn't talked to Vic in days and he doesn't return her messages; the kids are concerned too. Dutch offers to pass on her message.

Kavanaugh apologizes to Assistant Chief Phillips for his epic freakout in Claudette's office. He shouldn't have let things get so personal. He wants to make up for it by looking for Lem's killer. Phillips tells him Claudette is in charge of that. Kavanaugh thinks Dutch is making a mistake by only working the case from the Salvadoran angle.

Kavanaugh also wants to continue investigating Vic. Phillips flatly tells him that ain't happening. Kavanaugh presents his case: "The brick of tar we found on Lemansky was a part of something dirty that Vic put into motion." Vic needed to cover his ass when Lem got caught, so Lem agreed to take a plea bargain. Vic tried to make a deal with Antwon to guarantee Lem's safety in prison, but it went disastrously wrong. Vic knew that Lem might turn on them.

"Mackey killed his own guy?" Phillips says skeptically. Kavanaugh thinks Vic got Salvadorans to do the dirty work, "but somebody put that grenade in Lemansky's lap." Well, no shit, that'd be a terrible way to commit suicide.

The Rat King promises to be discreet and respectful (two things he's not) while he checks whether Vic was involved. Phillips wants a report the next day and they'll decide whether there's enough evidence to pursue it further.

Vic stares morosely into the empty clubhouse, no doubt picturing a certain blond with his feet kicked up on the table. Dutch and Billings don't have anything new to go on. Vic is sure Guardo killed Lem to send a message about the guys busting his drug and grenade operation.

Claudette assigns Vic to an arson case at a methadone clinic located deep in gang territory. Claudette is sorry, but she can't assign Vic to Lem's murder; he's too close to the situation. However, he'll still be the first one to know about any developments. Dutch lets Vic know about Corinne stopping by.

"Turn that shit off!" Vic barks at a One-Niner blaring rap, the police-issue Dodge Charger screeching to a halt. Vic drags the gangbanger out of the car through the window, NASCAR driver style. "Damn, I got leftovers older than you," Shane remarks to the guy's girlfriend. He probably does, what with Mara's apparent postpartum depression and all.

"Looks like Moses here finally made it to the land of milk and underage honey," says Vic. Moses claims that in addition to being "all kinds of willing," his girlfriend is legal. Ronnie tosses Vic a roll of money. Moses bitches about the guys having him steal an empty safe. Shane knocks him to the ground, reminding Moses who's in charge.

Did the One-Niners torch the methadone clinic? According to Moses, "methadonians" are good for business. A lot of the clinic's patients buy benzos from the gang. Shane wonders if the good folks running the clinic know that. Vic doubts they care; methadone "turns street junkies into state-sponsored ones."

Vic wants to find out if anyone with a history of violence has been a patient at the clinic. "Someone on the jones?" asks Shane. Vic shrugs, "Hurting, delusional, I'd be settin' fires." Claudette should post uniforms at all the methadone clinics in the area.

Vic tells Moses if the One-Niners' leader needs a favor, he'd be happy to do it. He punctuates that statement with a punch to the stomach.

At an apartment complex, Ronnie exposits that Quentin Garth is on the "home-study methadone kick." The guy is "volatile, raging about how he's being screwed by Big Medicine." Quentin also threatened a counselor at the torched methadone clinic. Nobody's seen him for two days.

Vic breaks down the door. The apartment is empty. Vic notices framed pictures of Quentin wearing a military uniform on the walls. Something tickles Shane's sensitive nose. He opens the bathroom door to find a dead man on the toilet with his pants around his ankles. The walls and tub are spattered with blood. For reasons unknown, there's a toaster on the floor.

Ronnie, who always gets the fun jobs, checks the guy's wallet. The victim is Quentin's roommate Kevin. Vic guesses Kevin was beaten with the toaster: "Glad this guy's his best friend. I'd hate to see what he'd do to his enemies." That remark will certainly touch a nerve with Shane...

Kavanaugh arrives at the Barn and every cop present gives him the stink eye. He sets his briefcase on an unoccupied desk. Dutch asks if Kavanaugh can get in touch with Emolia. The Rat King becomes cagey (pun intended). Why does Dutch need to talk to her? Dutch figures she might know how to find Guardo. Kavanaugh doesn't know where Emolia is, but she'd mentioned moving to live with her sister in Seattle.

Dutch conversationally mentions that he thought Kavanaugh's investigation was over. Kavanaugh has started a new one related to Lem's death and is making a timeline on a suspect. He holds up a DVD of traffic cam footage from the night Lem died. In Vic's voluntary statement, he said he took a drive from I-10 to the Pacific Coast Highway to clear his head.

Dutch doubts Vic was involved; he was "extraordinarily tight" with Lem. Personally, it always seemed like Lem was closest to Ronnie. Dutch asks what reason Vic would've even had to do it.

The Rat King admits to having Edgar-veda tell Vic that Lem made a deal that involved giving up his former teammates. His plan was to tail Vic to Lem's hideout, then arrest him for aiding and abetting a fugitive. Vic, Shane, and Ronnie all lost their tails. Mere hours later, Lem was found dead. Whether or not Vic actually pulled the pin, "he had Lemansky killed because I gave him motive."

At the apartment complex, Ronnie suddenly stops in his tracks and picks up a newspaper lying near someone's door. A front-page headline proclaims: "Murdered Cop Was Dirty"; underneath is Lem's mugshot. It's a final slap in the face.

Back at the Barn, Vic demands of Claudette, "You knew about this shit?" "Lem gave 12 years to this department. God knows how many arrests," Shane jumps in. Why wasn't Lem's picture ever in the paper for doing good?

Claudette says the reporters found out about the IAD investigation and "brass couldn't control the spin." Vic knows the new chief has been itching to get someone for corruption and "pinned the horns" on Lem. She calls "a shitty ending to an ugly story."

"With the bad cop buried, you and the department get a fresh start, right?" asks Vic. Claudette is sorry about what happened to Lem and I think she's being honest. However, hiding heroin in his car and turning fugitive were choices Lem made on his own.

Vic says angrily, "Kavanaugh browbeat that admission out of him, then he threatened to dump him in Antwon's bottom bunk." Ronnie also defends his best friend: "He ran 'cause he was scared." Shane adds that Lem was forced to make another deal.

Claudette knows the only way another deal would've been possible is if Lem gave up other dirty cops, which didn't happen. Vic is stunned. Claudette adds that Lem was willing to do more prison time if IAD kept him away from Antwon, but he died before the agreement was finalized. "No," Shane says, in shock for a different reason.

The police council is making an official statement later. Claudette will make sure it's as respectful as possible. Vic guesses the spokesman will be everybody's least favorite city councilman. Shane is still whispering to himself: "Aceveda said that Lem gave us up. He told them about the money train." They realize they were set up into thinking Lem was a rat, not unlike what Agent Stahl did regarding Opie. Some nice Sutter symmetry there.

Vic notices the Rat King and asks Julien if he knows what's going on. Julien heard Kavanaugh is helping work Lem's murder, even though Lem was no longer a cop. Vic and Ronnie take off. Shane stays in the hallway by himself.

Dutch checked their suspect's passport. Rene arrived in L.A. 18 hours after Lem was murdered. Tina translates that into Spanish, then gives Rene's answer in English: "He says he's got two cousins who saw him kill Lemansky." Dutch asks for their addresses, which Rene claims not to know.

Vic wants to talk to Dutch. Dutch tells the rookie to run the cousins' names. Once Tina and Rene are gone, Vic locks the door and unplugs the camera. He isn't happy that Kavanaugh is working Lem's case. Dutch claims that wasn't his choice. "Don't dick me around," Vic warns. Dutch admits, "You're the angle [Kavanaugh's working]."

Shane is sitting in his truck outside the Barn, crying and holding his gun in his lap. He jumps out of his skin when Danny, carrying baby Lee, knocks on the window. Shane wipes off his eye and pastes on a false smile; he gushes that Lee looks so big and happy.

Danny lets Shane hold the baby. She came by to deal with health insurance paperwork and thought she'd let everyone see her son. Danny goes inside. Shane takes his gun off the front seat and puts it back in his holster.

Vic asks Kavanaugh if he should start making his own funeral arrangements: "Seems like every cop you investigate ends up dead." The Rat King got Lem blown up and is trying to make it Vic's fault. Kavanaugh thinks this is just the anger stage of grief talking. "At what point do your bosses realize you're as delusional as that sick, crazy, twisted ex-wife of yours?" asks Vic.

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Kavanaugh accuses Vic of murder. Vic charges Kavanaugh. Every cop in the Barn gets between them, all holding one or the other back. In the kerfuffle, Billings gets tipped over on his ass. "Mackey! Kavanaugh! Knock it off!" Phillips barks from the balcony. Billings whines that he got a lump on his head, even though that's not how he landed. Vic walks right past a shaken-up Danny and their newborn son without a word.

Upstairs, Phillips demands to know what happened between Kavanaugh and Vic. Claudette tells him it's not the first time; they brawled at Lem's crime scene and it took 9 uniforms to pull them apart. "This is you being discreet?" asks Phillips. The Rat King argues Vic started it both times; he was just defending himself.

Phillips reminds him that IAD is supposed to be neutral. "Objectivity doesn't lead to brawls and pissing matches," adds Claudette. Phillips pulls rank as assistant chief; Kavanaugh's investigation is officially over. The Rat King needs to leave the Barn or he'll be written up for insubordination.

Kavanaugh insists, "I have proof that Vic had Lemansky killed." Claudette and Phillips look doubtful. He's sure Vic had Emolia set up the whole thing. "You told Dutch you didn't know where she was!" says Claudette. Kavanaugh lies that Emolia called him because was scared to come forward. Claudette finds it more likely she just wanted more CI money. Kavanaugh says Vic threatened Emolia's kid.

Phillips is all "you're just telling us this now?" Kavanaugh knows Vic always worms his way out of everything. He just wanted his ducks in a row before he put her statements on record. Phillips wants to hear this from Emolia herself.

In a rundown apartment, Emolia is hiding behind the door with a butcher knife. Kavanaugh knocks on the door, calling that it's just her old pal. He lets himself in and asks if any other detectives have stopped by. Emolia says no.

Kavanaugh looks around and doesn't see any toys. Is Sebastio living with Emolia's mom full-time? Emolia wants her son to be safe; people know she ratted out Guardo. Isn't Vic still taking care of her? Emolia tells Kavanaugh that Vic and the guys called Sebastio a retard; she doesn't want anything to do with them anymore. Kavanaugh offers her a way to make that right.

Edgar-veda is straightening his tie in the city hall men's room when Vic startles him by popping out of a stall. Vic knows Lem didn't squeal and that Edgar-veda was in bed with Kavanaugh. Edgar-veda confirms the Rat King played them both.

"Your jones to hurt me let you turn a blind eye to what he was doing to Lem. You knew about the Antwon threat," Vic goes on. Lem got scared and ran, which ultimately got him killed.

"When do you ever take responsibility, Vic?" asks Edgar-veda. Vic shoves him. The councilman threatens, "If you weren't a heartbeat away from being forced out--" Vic rips his badge off his belt and tosses it in the sink. Is that what Edgar-veda and the Rat King want? He pushes his holstered gun into Edgar-veda's chest, snarling, "You wanna end a career, you do it straight up to someone who's still alive."

Edgar-veda's sorry about Lem. If that's true, Vic knows the councilman won't disgrace his memory. Edgar-veda argues it's not his call; he just works here. After a minute, Vic collects his badge and gun.

Emolia recites, "I say that Vic used me as a middleman to set up a hit on his guy." Kavanaugh nods; he'll give her more details later. Emolia thought he was supposed to stop cops from lying. He justifies that by reminding Emolia she isn't a cop, adding in the semantics that it's "just somebody else's truth." They'll make it clear Vic threatened her son, which made her feel like she had no choice.

Emolia thinks the Rat King's promises of monthly checks and a house with a pool are too good to be true. The Rat King insists "this here is real!"
"This here is real!"
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Dutch calls Emolia's name through the door. When that doesn't work, he starts knocking on the window. Kavanaugh whispers that he needs to know where Vic would normally meet her; it should be someplace public but not crowded. Emolia gives him the address of a sewing shop she occasionally works for.

Kavanaugh calls Dutch and tells him about the shop. Dutch already has some possible addresses from Emolia's sister and suspects she's dodging him. Kavanaugh swear it's solid intel, but this is Dutch's case; he can do what he wants.

Axl, the clerk at a porno store, is being tended to by an EMT. A rack of DVDs has been tipped over. Someone came in, shot the wall, called him a "sick shithead," then tried to shoot him. Axl cut his head diving for cover. Tina seems very interested in the cover art on an amateur porn DVD. Julien asks if Axl can describe the suspect to a sketch artist. Axl nods that he has a "photogenic memory."

Outside, Julien and Tina debate the morality of the porn industry. He sends her to look for witnesses across the street.

Vic asks Claudette if he's supposed to let Kavanaugh ruin his career too. Claudette is more interested in why Vic hasn't submitted his retirement forms; he's supposed to keep his head down so he can still collect a partial pension. "There's been a lot going on around here!" Vic says defensively.

Claudette hands Vic a folder; the paperwork inside retires him, effective immediately. Vic thought he had until his 15th anniversary. "Certain things are in motion," she says cryptically. This wasn't her call. Vic argues that she needs him. "I need people I can trust," Claudette replies lightly. Is there a reason she should help him?

Ronnie interrupts to tell them Quentin is at another methadone clinic. This time, he has hostages. At the scene, Vic exposits Quentin's captives are a doctor and a woman with her 3-month-old baby. Quentin's poured gasoline on the doctor and mother. Ronnie reports SWAT and a hostage negotiator are 30 minutes away. Shane hangs back. "Are you coming?" Vic asks loudly.

In the clinic, two gas cans are outside the exam room. Vic surmises Quentin plans to shoot them and torch the hallway, thereby sealing himself off. Vic wants someone to peek into the exam room through the skylight. They don't need to spook Quentin.

Shane is still spacing out. Vic is sure this is nothing he and Ronnie can't handle by themselves: "We got innocents soaked with gasoline. I need your head in the game." Shane swears he's okay.

Danny is relaxing on her porch with Lee when Corinne jogs up. Does Danny know where Vic is? Corinne hasn't seen him since Lem's funeral and thought the two of them might've moved in together. Danny says, "Me and Vic aren't a thing." "What about that thing in your arms?" Corinne fires back.

Danny goes into mama bear mode: "Don't you call my son a thing, you uptight bitch." Corinne argues she's just a realist; Danny has no idea who she's gotten involved with. If Danny thinks Vic will be there for Lee, she has another thing coming.

Danny shrugs she can handle being a single mom. Corinne scoffs at that. "Just because you couldn't handle it doesn't mean I won't be able to," Danny points out.

Corinne wants to know what happens if Lee turns out to be autistic a few years from now. All babies seem fine at first and "there's a genetic predisposition for siblings." It takes two to make a baby, so Danny thinks Corinne might be the parent with bad genes.

Through the skylight, Vic sees mom and the doctor in a corner with the baby on the exam table. If they can get the kid out, SWAT can get between Quentin and the adults. Shane aims his gun down the hallway and whispers, "Jesus Christ. Don't hurt that little baby." Quentin is agitated, threatening to kill the baby if it doesn't stop crying. Shane drops his gun and heads for the exam room.

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Ronnie tries to stop him, but Shane keeps moving, even taking off his tactical vest. Shane calls, "The reason the baby's cryin' is because of the gasoline. The fumes are probably burnin' his eyes." Ronnie radios Vic for help. "Just hand the kid over to me, get a little peace and quiet," Shane continues.

Quentin opens the door, demanding to know who Shane is. The Southerner introduces himself as Shane Vendrell the unarmed cop; he throws in that a "quiet detective is a much better bargaining chip" than a screaming baby. Quentin shakes his head: "It's a con...just like everything else." He slams the door in Shane's face, pointing his gun at the mother.

"Open the door, buddy," Shane coaxes. When Quentin does, Shane starts pouring the gasoline on himself.
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Shane goes on: "Any point you think I'm lyin', you just flick your Bic, brother." Quentin shuts the door again. Shane asks if there's a closet or cabinet in the room; they can put the baby in there so it's not breathing gas.

Quentin, still holding his gun, awkwardly carries the baby to the small supply closet and closes the door. "I told you you could trust me," smiles Shane. Quentin flips on the lighter. "Vic, the psycho's goin' for Shane," Ronnie says tensely. With no time to waste, Vic jumps right through the skylight. Quentin fires at him.

Shane tries to tackle Quentin. Ronnie shoots at the suspect, then asks if Vic is okay. "I took one in the vest. Check the kid," Vic groans, his arms shredded from the glass. Shane returns the baby to its mother.

"You wanna tell me what the hell happened back here?" Claudette demands of him. Vic tells her, "We just saved 3 innocents from a homicidal junkie." "You lied to me! You lied!" Quentin screams and sobs as they leave.

The description of Axl's attacker is vague as can be: a black man in his 20's with earrings. Claudette goes to the observation room, where Billings is lying on the couch with an ice pack on his head. Does he mind taking over the porn shop case? Billings would love to, but he's still a little woozy.

Claudette suggests he go home.  Billings doesn't like that option either: "If I leave now, it chews up one of my personal days." No worries, though, he'll be fine. "Thank God," says Claudette. Billings misses the sarcasm.

Claudette asks Tina and Julien to pass out the sketch to other local porn stores. The suspect might also be a regular. Tina still doesn't have addresses for Rene's cousins. Dutch went to the sewing shop to find Emolia, but it was closed.

In interrogation, Emolia spins her tale about setting up Lem; Vic offered her $500 to do it. He was supposed to pay her yesterday and never did. She was scared that Vic might kill her and Sebastio, so she called Kavanaugh. The Rat King wants to wait for Phillips before they talk more specifics.

On the balcony, the Rat King tells Dutch that Emolia moved their meeting spot 3 times after she called about the sewing shop. He ultimately found her at a coffee shop. "No harm, no foul," Dutch shrugs.

"Ow! Easy!" Vic grunts as Corinne stuffs an ice pack up his sleeve in the ER. Corinne hopes Vic has another bag of cash stashed away for the "years of therapy" the kids will need. Cassidy internalizes everything, just like her dad. "Doing okay?" Shane asks cheerily, now in fresh clothes. Vic says, "I'll live as long as my ex isn't the one taking care of me." Corinne leaves to summon the X-Ray technician.

Shane assures Vic he's fine other than still smelling like diesel. "Just like Ronnie's aftershave," Vic jokes. On a serious note, what the hell was Shane thinking earlier? "My plan wasn't turning you into a Duraflame," says Vic, "I've had enough funerals for one week."

Vic knows they've all been beating themselves up about Lem, but it's nobody's fault except Guardo's. He tells Shane that Phillips and Claudette are forcing him to retire. Shane has to quit being reckless because Vic couldn't stand losing him too. Shane pats Vic's uninjured arm: "You won't."

Something isn't adding up for Dutch. Vic definitely has questionable ethics and could be capable of killing another cop, but Lem? Dutch is sure he heard one person, maybe two, inside Emolia's apartment, but no one answered. The timing of Kavanaugh's call was odd.

However, Dutch doesn't think Kavanaugh has motive to lie. The Rat King wouldn't even bend the rules to help his ex-wife. Claudette knows Vic won't retire without a fight. She wants to find out what he has to say about Emolia's version of events.

"Cruising for interns?" Vic asks when Dutch shows up at the ER. Dutch gets right to the point: Emolia has accused Vic of hiring Guardo to kill Lem. Vic chuckles, wondering what Kavanaugh offered her. Witness protection, same as Lem. Vic needs to give a formal statement.

Phillips doesn't like Emolia's chances against Vic's lawyer, especially without corroborating evidence. Kavanaugh asks to reopen his investigation. He also wants Dutch off the case because he doesn't know where his loyalties lie. Phillips agrees, but will soundly discipline Kavanaugh if this gets personal again. He's talking demotion.

Dutch has Claudette sign a request for surveillance footage across the street from the coffee shop. Julien caught a break: His suspect went to 4 other porn shops and bought every copy of a certain DVD. Dutch examines it: "I'm not familiar with the Dick 'N Granny series."
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Interestingly, their victim Axl, produced, directed, and starred in the movie. "Your Richard Nixon mask a reflection of your political bent or are you just afraid to be associated with your own smut?" Claudette asks curiously. Axl explains the gimmick: "I'm Richard Nixon and I'm dickin' Granny."

Dutch gets that part. But who's his costar? Whoever tried to shoot Axl has been buying up every copy. Maybe they took exception to "dickin' Granny." Axl doesn't remember who starred in Dick 'N Granny #3, just that it was a first-timer.

Dutch steps out to take a call from Vic. "Anyone ever tell you that you have incredibly expressive eyes?" Axl sleazes at Claudette, "Ever been on film?" Claudette has a question of her own: Has Axl ever been in a mug book?

Supposedly, Vic can't come in right now due to a family emergency. Claudette knows he'll run out of those and they'll get the truth. There's a ruckus down in the cage. "Hard to believe this place was ever a church," says Dutch.

Claudette will find Axl's costar tonight and follow up. Dutch warns her this kind of pace is bad for her health. Claudette shares a secret: If she doesn't turn the Barn around before the quarterly statistics hit the chief's desk, "they might be saying Mass down there again real soon."

Claudette shows an older black woman the DVD case and the police sketch. Does she know either man? "Edmond!" the woman calls. Julien catches someone, presumably Edmond, running out the back door. "Drop that gun!" he orders. Tina arrives to back Julien up: "Drop the gun, asshole, or I will shoot." Edmond complies, but asks, "Why'd you do it, Grandma?"

Granny explains to Claudette how she came to be an elderly porn star. Edmond got arrested 6 months ago for grand theft auto. She starred in the movie to pay his bail. Outside, the kid is still screaming things like, "Why'd you be his whore?"

Vic confronts Kavanaugh at his house: "You got Emolia to lie for you....You think I'm a cop killer? Maybe I am. You're a cop, right?" That sounds like a threat to the Rat King. Vic just wanted to let the bad guy know he's onto him; that makes criminals change tactics and slip up. Kavanaugh tells Vic he's wanted for questioning in Lem's murder.

Dutch now has the address for Rene's cousin Gavino, but nobody seems to be home. Shocker. Dutch follows a cat around the side of the house. Along the way, he sees at least 6 more. "Oh, that's gross," Tina exclaims, noticing a cat eating what looks like human flesh. There are bloody paw prints on the ground.

Dutch pushes open the back door. Gavino is bloodied, dead, and partially eaten. Dutch radios for a CSI team. Gavino is one of three or four victims. Dutch turns on the lights. Blood and body parts are literally everywhere. "You gotta be shittin' me," he says.

Vic apologizes to Corinne for not seeing the kids this week. He also tells her Kavanaugh thinks he had something to do with Lem dying. Corinne thinks that's ridiculous. The late news is on. Vic hurries into the living room and turns up the volume.

On screen, Edgar-veda says: "Last year, Captain Rawling initiated an inquiry into  the Farmington Gang and Drug Unit. Supervised by Lieutenant Kavanaugh from IAD, this department conducted a 7-month investigation..." Cassidy comes out to say hi. Vic snaps at her to go back to her room.

In a bar, Ronnie is watching the same news report. Edgar-veda has changed the subject to Lem: "No doubt the thought of spending years in prison was a frightening proposition." Back to Vic. "We'll never know what triggered Detective Lemansky's reluctance to serve his time..." Oh yes, we know, you damn liar.

"...Less than 24 hours later, he was found brutally murdered." Julien kneels at Lem's grave. "Someone dropped a live grenade in the front seat of his car." In an alley, Shane hooks up with Moses' girlfriend. "That murder investigation is ongoing and as of yet, no suspects are in custody. Our condolences go out to Detective Lemansky's friends and family."

Edgar-veda believes there's a message in the tragedy, "one that I hope will shake this department to its core. Breaking the law and wearing a badge is a dangerous combination. And this city will not tolerate it." We see drawings from the kids and a picture of a smiling Vic in uniform. There's a framed shot of Vic, Shane, Ronnie, and Lem drinking together. "This department will not tolerate it." On the wall is Drug Enforcement Award earned by Vic.

Over the next 18 months, the police council's goal will be stopping corruption. Kavanaugh goes through Vic's desk and finds an envelope of photos of Vic's kids. Edgar-veda promises that cops found breaking the law "will be relieved of duty and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Just as Detective Curtis Lemansky was being prosecuted for his corrupt actions."

"You son of a bitch," Vic hisses. Edgar-veda says Farmington needs trustworthy officers. Screw you, Lem was trustworthy as they come. Edgar-veda wants everyone in Farmington who wears a badge to have reason to be proud again. "Nothing personal," Kavanaugh mutters as he leaves Vic's place. End of episode.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Major "Wins and Losses" (Minisode)

This 15-minute clip, available on the Season 5 DVD and via Maxim links the emotional ending of Season 5 with the beginning of Season 6.

We recap how the guys discovered Lem's mangled body. Vic, shaken, announces to Shane and Ronnie, "We're gonna find out who did this. And we're gonna kill 'em."

Cut to Vic in the cemetery watching a backhoe at work: "Nothin' like watchin' a machine dig your best friend's grave." I expect Shane to come back with something along the lines of "I thought I was your best friend", but he has the sense to keep his mouth shut. Instead, he says the loan shark gave them a bogus tip; the suspect was Chilean and didn't know Guardo. The Strike Team is getting help from the Mexican authorities too; Vic just has to be patient.

That's not good enough for Vic. He wants to know who killed Lem. Here's a hint: he's got big teeth and is standing right next to you. Shane pats Vic on the shoulder: "Let's just send him off the right way." Vic toys with a baby doll arm that's been spray-painted gold.

Flashback to two years earlier. Shane's explaining his latest gambling scheme: 10-to-1 odds and side action on the length of the match. Ronnie asks, "Whose bright idea was it to have Mr. GED be in charge of the money?" Shane argues that he busted a Samoan ring and knows a few things about sports gambling. "Great. If I ever need someone to cover the spread on a coconut toss, you're my guy," says Vic.

Inside the clubhouse, Lem is getting ready to arm-wrestle someone. Fun fact: Kenny Johnson is a real-life arm-wrestling champion. Lem's bout against a uniform lasts all of 3 seconds. "You guys need to know that this freak of nature is a sure thing," Shane says proudly. The uniform's partner wants to bet another $100.

Vic knows Lem is still upset about last year's loss to Wilshire. Lem doesn't even care about the money; it's about bringing the department arm-wrestling trophy back to its rightful place in the Barn. Shane makes it rain, then busts out what appear to be clogging moves. The guys laugh and cheer. "That's our boy right there," Lem grins. End flashback.

Back at the cemetery, a news van pulls up. Shane asks, "They think we're burying some war criminal?" Vic is angered by the lack of police presence. Even though Lem was stripped of his badge thanks to Kavanaugh, he was still a cop's cop.

Ronnie knows Guardo can't live without TV and that he "watches it from some restaurant in the 'hood." He's working on getting the address. Another news van has arrived. "You gotta be kidding me," Vic grumbles. He shouts at the reporters, "A man died and his friends and family are here to mourn him! That's all the story you need!"

Undaunted, the female reporter asks if Vic was friends with Curtis Lemansky, who she refers to as a "disgraced detective." Vic pushes the camera away, telling her to have some respect for the dead. Ronnie quietly says that Vic going off is what the reporters want.

Claudette approaches. Vic wants her to have "the vultures" move their vans to make room for the motorcade. She sighs that there won't be one; the department brass has even banned people from coming. The chief's office isn't acknowledging the situation as an officer down, meaning no formal statement or headlines. Maybe it's best that this stay a personal event.

Flashback. The guys play pitch in the clubhouse. Vic does his best Clint Eastwood, asking Lem, "Do you feel lucky...punk?" Edgar-veda, still captain at this point, comes in. He's not impressed by the cards and money. Vic claims they're on a case.

Edgar-veda asks what Vic knows about drug dealer Ollie Turner. Vic exposits Ollie's a small fish, mostly weed and crack; they're waiting for him to clash with the One-Niners over turf. Edgar-veda informs them Ollie is wanted for questioning about a gang shooting in Wilshire. "This guy's barely mastered the art of weighing and measuring. I doubt he's gonna raise his game to capping bangers," says Vic.

The guys figure this has something to do with the captain wanting more publicity and funding. "You want us to grab him up before Wilshire gets their greedy little hands on him," Lem surmises. Vic thinks Edgar-veda wants Wilshire more than the Strike Team does. Edgar-veda sniffs disdainfully about the "unauthorized department arm-wrestling match." Ronnie jokes that Dutch's opponent is Stephen Hawking.

Vic would sure appreciate it if they could host the match someplace other than the Barn's locker room. If the Strike Team gets to Ollie first, Edgar-veda promises, "The whole Barn is your coliseum tonight." That sounds more than fair to them.

They find Ollie's drug corner. Lem parks the van on the sidewalk, gets out, and starts chasing Ollie on foot. The guy doesn't get far before he gets knocked to the ground. Unfortunately for Lem, he lands on his arm and shoulder. Vic asks if he's all right. Lem shakes out his wrist: "I think I just twisted it."

"You think it's all right to rough up my guy?" Vic demands as they cuff the suspect. Ollie claims he didn't touch Lem; it was a bad flying tackle. Shane found $3,000 on Ollie, plus a $2 bill. Ollie explains his mom gave him the bill for luck.

Vic grabs Ollie by the shirt, threatening he'll need that luck if they lose money because Lem is hurt. Lem tells Vic to relax. (Funnily, Lem and Ollie are wearing the same black-and-white flannel shirt). Lem is sure his arm will be okay by tonight; it just has to be iced down. He, Shane, and Vic laugh and start roughhousing. End flashback.

Vic enters the chapel. He takes a set at the front pew between Shane and Ronnie. Obviously, this is a closed-casket affair. A woman I don't recognize stands with her hands on the lid. Corinne tells Mara, "I can't tell you how many late nights I worried this would be me at Vic's funeral." (I kind of wonder why Mr. and Mrs. Vendrell aren't sitting together).

Mara has the same worry. Corinne isn't sure how Vic is holding up; he hasn't been talking much. "Shane hasn't said much either," says Mara. Little does she know, it's for a very different reason.

Shane stands near the casket; we flashback to him slipping a grenade in Lem's car along with the big guy's favorite sandwich. The car explodes. Shane starts with the crocodile tears and fake apologies. Back in the present, Shane leaves the chapel.

Vic approaches the casket and opens the lid. Really now? The undertaker didn't quite manage to repair the worst of the facial damage; instead of a suit, Lem's being buried in his usual jeans and plaid shirt. Vic repeats his promise to find whoever killed Lem and lays the arm-wrestling trophy beside him.

Flashback. The guys are in the Barn parking lot, Lem wearing one of his muscle shirts. Shane tosses him a bag of ice for his shoulder. Griggs, a Wilshire detective, snarks that the Strike Team looks like a "buncha Cub Scouts on their way to the Pinewood Derby." Vic reminds him just who brought in Ollie.

Griggs appreciates the delivery and asks how Lem's arm feels. Lem, a firm believer in never letting anyone see him sweat, replies, "100%." Vic, however, wants to postpone the match a week: "He hurt his wing on the job. What cop can't respect that, especially when the collar benefits both of us?" Griggs does respect Lem, "but business is business." "I told you I'm okay." Lem strides down the hall, "Let's do this."

Lem tosses his ice pack down just before he enters the squadroom. The Barn is packed to the rafters with fellow cops clapping and cheering his name. Even Edgar-veda is watching from the office. Some dissenters from Wilshire boo. Ronnie gives Lem a shoulder massage. Vic jokes, "Well, if you lose, at least no one'll hear about it."

Shane tosses in $3,000 more for the Strike Team, then closes the house to bets. He holds onto Ollie's lucky $2 bill. Griggs has a surprise: Lem's opponent has been replaced with Atticus, a behemoth who has to weigh about 400 pounds. Just for a second, Lem seems to lose some of his confidence.

Vic doesn't remember seeing Atticus at the department picnic. Griggs says Atticus was assigned to Wilshire last week as Tech 4, which seems to mean glorified maintenance man. "He's a freaking ringer," Vic spits. Griggs prefers the term "winner."

The combatants size each other up. Vic asks quietly if Lem is sure he still wants to do this. "He's all meat and no heart," says Lem. At the padded table, the guys jerk each other back and forth until the uniform acting as referee sternly tells them not to move until he says go.

The noise from the crowd intensifies. The uniform/referee lets go of their hands. They stand there a moment. Lem pushes Atticus's arm right down to the table; it's all over. Lem walks away, wincing. Ronnie, Shane, and Vic smile proudly at their friend. The Barns erupts in cheers. Edgar-veda even looks pleased. "Oh man, oh man," Lem groans.

Griggs grudgingly admits it was a good match. But wasn't Lem supposed to be hurt? He still is, actually. Can somebody go find that ice pack? Anyway, Vic advises Griggs not to "bet the farm" on tips from scumbag drug dealers like Ollie.

"Buddy, you had me crappin' my jeans...for two seconds. OH MY GOD!" cries Shane, hugging Lem. Lem manages to smile a little: "You think you can count that cash while Ronnie drives me to the ER?" "You really hurt yourself this morning?" Vic asks concernedly. Lem was just "scammin' the scammer." He knew that Vic wouldn't have let him arm-wrestle if he'd known how bad it was, adding, "I think I ripped somethin'." No shit.

Shane calls him an idiot. To Lem, winning for the team is all that matters; there was no way he could've let them down. Briggs presents Lem with the severed gold doll arm. Lem triumphantly holds it up with his good arm. His coworkers whistle and chant, "Lemonhead! Lemonhead!" Poor old Lem is gonna need that 3,000 bucks to pay the ER bill. End flashback.

"Lemonhead" is still echoing in Vic's mind as he stands over the open grave. Ronnie has gotten a location on Guardo's favorite restaurant. Vic strips off his suit jacket. Never mind changing clothes; they've got an ass to kick.

At the restaurant, Vic grabs the battering ram and sends Ronnie another direction. He breaks down the kitchen door. The guy in the restaurant isn't Guardo. Shane can't watch as Vic tries to beat Guardo's whereabouts out of the suspect. "Someone's coming," warns Ronnie, toting Lem's favorite shotgun.

"Jesus!" cries Dutch when he comes face-to-face with the Strike Team's weapons. "The hell are you guys doing here?" Vic, his head bleeding, explains they got a lead on Guardo. Dutch has a warrant for the place. Vic is glad; that'll cover both their asses.

Dutch inquires about the suspect's many injuries. Vic claims the guy attacked him, so he handled it old-school. "Old-school, as in illegal?" says Dutch. He tells the uniforms to call an ambulance. Vic wants to let the guy go and mutters in his ear, "You tell Guardo there's nowhere left to hide." He tosses the suspect bodily toward the door. End of minisode.

Friday, August 18, 2017

"Postpartum" Depression (Episode 5.11)

Previously on: Lem saved Kavanaugh's life during a raid on a Salvadoran grenade-smuggling ring. Guardo, who was in charge of the operation, got away. Kavanaugh repaid Lem's kindness by redoubling his efforts to have Lem locked up. Vic had revenge sex with Kavanaugh's ex-wife Sadie.

Lem, who's been getting progressively sicker from his ulcer, struck a deal that would make him eligible for parole in 18 months. Antwon menaced Vic about how there are One-Niners in every California prison who'd love a piece of Lem; the only way to buy him protection was for the rest of the Strike Team to help Kern Little rob a police warehouse. Things went south and Antwon went back on his word. 

Vic dropped this bombshell at Lem's going-away party, hours before Lem was supposed to turn himself in. The new plan is to smuggle Lem into Mexico. Lem didn't want to, but Vic said that it was the only way to keep him alive. 

The police chief gave Kavanaugh 48 hours to tie up loose ends in the investigation. The Rat King went knocking on the door of the former Mrs. Mackey.

"Why are you here?" asks Corinne. Kavanaugh wants her to know he always liked her. He's sorry he couldn't tell her right away that he was IAD. Kavanaugh complains that he's exhausted and hasn't been able to eat lately. Neither has Lem, so I'd call that karma. Corinne, in a tank top and sleep shorts, says uncomfortably, "I'm gonna put on a robe."

Shane is sitting on the courthouse steps, smoking. Ronnie and Becca are there too. She wonders what's going on; Lem's half an hour late. "If I was going to jail for 18 months, I wouldn't be in a rush either," shrugs Vic. He's sure Lem will show up.

Corinne wants Kavanaugh to leave. When she turns around to unlock the door, Kavanaugh presses against her and tries to untie her robe. Corinne shouts for him to stop, which he actually does. He asks if Corinne sees how lonely Vic has left the two of them. Corinne isn't lonely; they both need to move on with their lives.

Kavanaugh grabs her by the shoulders. If he takes on Vic and wins, he needs to know she'll be okay. No mention of the children. Corinne doesn't want to be without Vic. Just then, Cassidy comes out of her room. Kavanaugh hastily lets himself out. Corinne is visibly shaken.

Lem has found himself in a trailer, just like his white trash relatives Ronnie mentioned two episodes back. He's trying to cook soup, but the hotplate won't turn on. There also seems to be something wrong with the filthy toaster oven.

Outside, there's a loud bang and Lem almost jumps out of his skin. He grabs his gun. The ruckus turns out to be a neighbor moving some especially heavy trash. Lem sighs; he's cracking up and he knows it.

Vic has just found out Kavanaugh spent all morning at Corinne's: "Did he try to touch you?" Corinne wonders why he'd ask that. Vic gives her the news that Lem didn't turn himself in and pretends to have no idea where he is. Kavanaugh wants to hurt Vic through her, which Corinne already knows. Vic advises her not to let Kavanaugh in if he shows up again. I doubt she'll have any problem listening to him on that front. Corinne tells Vic to be careful.
To quote Severus Snape
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Kavanaugh, sitting in the clubhouse, asks, "Where's Lemansky?" Vic repeats he doesn't know. Kavanaugh chuckles that, once again, Lem got screwed. He warns Vic that he, Shane, and Ronnie could get in major trouble themselves for aiding and abetting a fugitive. IAD will be keeping tabs on all of them until Lem is caught. The Rat King creepily whispers, "Thank you for bringing me back into your life."

The rest of the Strike Team has a powwow in the weight room nobody seems to use. Shane talked to the federale who helped make gangbanger Doomsday disappear. Lem will meet the federale in Tijuana and go to a safehouse in Ensenada. Ronnie immediately sees a problem with this plan: "That's wall-to-wall wetbacks. Surfer boy will be a little obvious."

The federale's brother lives on a goat ranch in the mountains of San Ignacio, Belize. He's only asking for $2,000, plus a favor to be determined later. The guys can wire money to Lem via Guatemala. Shane will set Lem up with cash to use in the meantime. Their main problem now is how they'll pull off getting Lem to Tijuana with IAD watching. "We do it how we always do: right under their noses with a goddamn smile," Vic replies.

Claudette pulls Vic to help her with a case. Half a dozen Crown Vics were blown up with hand grenades in a parking lot. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. They're joined by Agent Gallagher of the DEA. Shouldn't the ATF be handling this? Agent Gallagher explains the cars were government-issue; they've been running an investigation out of a nearby travel agency.

Agent Gallagher isn't impressed that Guardo escaped. When he sasses the newly appointed Captain Claudette, she gives it right back to him. Claudette also warns Vic, "That renegade shit's not gonna fly on my watch."

Unable to cook anything, Lem tries to get some rest on the couch. That isn't working out because a neighbor's kid is crying and someone else has their stereo up too loud. He tucks his gun in his back pocket as he goes outside. It doesn't take him long to find the trailer housing the screaming kid. The door is locked and nobody is home. Not a problem for Lem; he just jerks the screen door right off the hinges.

Lem follows the sound of crying to the kitchen, where a young black boy is sitting against the cabinets. There's broken glass and milk all over the floor, plus a little blood. The boy's sister is on the other side of the room. "Where's your mommy?" asks Lem. The little girl replies, "Gone."
This picture of Lem and the kid gives me all the feels.
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Lem asks for the little boy's name, but he's crying too hard to answer. "Wendell," says the sister, pronouncing it Wen-dell. Lem wets down a dish towel. "It's gonna be okay. It's just a little cut," he reassures the kid. I wonder if this situation is giving him childhood flashbacks; a softhearted guy like Lem wouldn't estrange himself from his family without a good reason.

"What the hell is goin' on in here, guys?" demands a pudgy white man. He calls for his wife Lisa. "It's okay, I'm a cop," Lem says out of sheer habit. The man notices the revolver sticking out of Lem's jeans and shouts, "Lisa! A gun! Call the police!" Not a word about whether or not the kid is okay.

Lem has wrapped the dish towel around Wendell's hand, instructing the sister, "Hold this tight until someone gets here." He sprints back to his own trailer, grabs his gym bag, and leaves. Neighbors have run into the street. "That's the guy," says Lisa's Hubby, "I told you somethin' wasn't right with him."

At a pool hall, Vic asks a shady guy what he knows about Crown Vics getting blown up in a DEA parking lot. When the guy doesn't answer, Vic breaks a pool cue over his knee. The guy explains his gang's second-in-command Osorio was busted by the feds; they were sending a message. He's the third guy to tell them that today. According to Vic, that "means it can't possibly be true."

Ronnie gets a phone call and hangs up, looking tense. Kavanaugh might've found the trailer where they stashed Lem. The sheriff's department was just called there for a disturbance. Vic doubts Lem has been arrested; they would've heard.

Shane starts, "Maybe they found him and he was--" Vic cuts him off: "There's no way he'd eat his gun." Shane reminds him that they told Lem not to contact them, no matter what. Vic just needs them to pull together so Lem can go to Mexico tonight.

Kavanaugh is already at the trailer park. A neighbor identifies Lem from his mugshot. He tells Kavanaugh he heard a noise, went to check, and found Lem with the bleeding kid: "Said he was a cop. The whole thing seemed weird, so I had my lady call the real cops."

Next time the neighbor saw Lem, he was running away: "Funny thing was, big guy like that with a gun and all, he still looked awful scared." And with damn good reason.

Emolia is at the Barn, claiming she has information on the car bombings. Claudette tried to pass her to DEA, but Emolia would only talk to Vic, even though there's bad blood about her testifying against Lem.

Guardo was supposedly hired to guard a Colombian cocaine shipment coming via Mexico: "Guardo's a crazy shithead. Anything to blow something up." The contact is Aldo, a Mexican grocery importer. Emolia doesn't know when or where the drop-off is.

Vic doesn't trust Emolia anymore, so he wants her to cite her source. Emolia won't say unless she gets paid upfront; she needs the money so she and Sebastio can live with her sister in Seattle. Shane asks if Lem is going to Seattle too: "Oh, that's right, he can't because he's gonna be in prison."

Well, he got the Washington State part right. Wrong city.
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Shane thinks this is some way for Emolia to pay Vic back after everything he did to help her. Emolia rolls up her sleeves, revealing bruises on her arms: "I slept with this scumbag Ignacio to get this info for you." Two of Ignacio's friends then raped her. "If you made different choices from the beginning, none of us would be ripped up right now," says Vic.

Becca meets Lem in the park. He's incognito, Captain America style with a ballcap pulled down over his eyes.
It doesn't really work for Lem either.
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Lem links arms with Becca, saying, "Make it look like we're on a date." She shakes loose; she can't help him flee the police. "All right, make it look like a lovers' quarrel then," he shrugs.

Becca advises Lem to turn himself in. That turns out to be exactly what he wants to do. But first, Lem wants assurance he'll do his time someplace without One-Niners: federal prison back East. She explains that going fugitive invalidated the deal he had. Lem is willing to plead to federal charges if he has to, admit to everything.

"You can't serve them your head on a platter," says Becca. Lem points out, "Kavanaugh's not gonna stop 'til he's carving me up." She can tell the feds about the money train heist, which he claims to have pulled off alone. He has nothing to say about Vic, Ronnie, or Shane.

Becca asks a logical question: Why did he run in the first place? Lem argues that he's not running, even though he is. Becca knows Lem doesn't have a chance in hell of getting a new deal unless he gives up the others: "You have to think about yourself. This one time."

She might be able to spin the facts as the Strike Team spreading drug money around to prevent gang wars. Lem shakes his head. The Armenian money train was armed robbery, plain and simple; people died because of it. He can't give up the others because they'd all end up doing life. "Open your goddamn eyes to who we are!" Lem snaps.

Becca blinks. She didn't know people died. Lem reminds her, "This is all attorney-client privilege." He'll turn himself in as soon as she makes a deal that involves doing time back East. He'll call in a few hours to see how that's going.

Dutch burns his fingers and spills his drink while trying to get it out of the coffee vending machine. Claudette assigns him and Billings to interview a woman who was assaulted. Dutch doesn't want to work with him. Claudette tells him that's too bad because Billings is his new partner as of now.

Dutch walks outside with an ice pack on his hand while Billings whines about being unfairly demoted: "No respect. Claudette is even moving my desk where everyone can get a good gander Caesar lying in a puddle of blood." Dutch raises an eyebrow: "So in this story, you're Caesar?" Dutch wants to drive, but Billings declares he gets carsick.

Dutch wonders why Billings doesn't transfer if he feels like he got such a raw deal. It's a matter of convenience; Billings is used to his commute routine and counting down his 56 months until retirement.

Vic and the guys go to a grocery store. Aldo is an idiot and has a charcoal grill crackling away inside. To quote Lou from Rescue Me, "Someday, science is gonna be able to isolate the gene that makes people think barbecuing indoors is a good idea." Vic has heard rumor Aldo imports more than Mexican sausage. Aldo says all his goods are legal, which Vic doubts.

How about he and the guys hang around a while? Aldo tells them closing time is 7:00. Vic has a hunch he'll stay open late to take delivery of Colombian cocaine. He's willing to keep Aldo's name out of it if he tells them what time the shipment arrives; they'll bust the Salvadorans afterward.

By the way, how is Aldo at export? Vic needs a package overnighted to Mexico. "How big?" asks Aldo. Vic replies, "About 6'2"."

Vic pays a visit to the hospital, where Danny is holding a bouncing baby boy, named Lee after her dad. There's a long beat as they both look at the newborn. Vic asks if she needs anything. Danny's mom is flying in from Maryland tomorrow and her two brothers are coming over the weekend: "I got more help than I know what to do with." Vic hands over a wad of cash, her cut from the baby-daddy pool. When it comes to newborn Lee, Vic:

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Danny lets Vic hold Lee. Vic says everyone decided to give Danny the money, almost $3,000 in total. "When he's old enough and he asks, I'll tell him," Danny promises. Vic agrees to that.

The guys see Becca talking to Kavanaugh and Edgar-veda. "You think of any scenario where that's a good thing?" Shane whispers. Upstairs, she says Lem wants to turn himself in. Kavanaugh tells her she's obligated to disclose his whereabouts if she knows. Becca is aware of that. "Curtis knows where the Barn is if he wants to turn himself in," adds Claudette.

Becca tells how Kavanaugh plotted with Antwon to jeopardize Lem's life during incarceration. This would pressure Lem into testifying against Vic and the others. Becca wants Lem protected until that accusation can be investigated. He'll take the same deal he had before.

Edgar-veda says that's a no-go; Lem ran. Becca says Lem has promised to plead to new charges in exchange for serving his time in federal prison. By the way, IAD's investigation against Lem is now in the hands of the police committee due to Kavanaugh's misconduct.

Kavanaugh still wants to be the one who finds Lem. He orders surveillance teams to be put on Vic and the others. "You burned your bridges with the chief," says Edgar-veda. Claudette can't spare any manpower.

Vic follows Becca to the parking lot. He has to know if Lem is okay. "Privileged information," she says tersely. Hasn't Vic done enough damage? Should they discuss the armed robbery of the money train or Terry's murder? Becca knows what really happened: "I let you touch me. It makes me sick." She no longer finds it hard to choose between being Vic's friend or Lem's lawyer.

Tori the assault victim didn't see her attacker because she was trying to cover her face. Hey, It's Her! Ally Walker played loved-to-hate-her ATF Agent Stahl on Sons of Anarchy. Dutch remarks that this is a rough neighborhood even in daylight. Tori volunteers as a tutor at the nearby community center.

Billings asks her to come to the station and look at mug books, even though she didn't see anything. Dutch pulls him aside; it'd be better for her to call if memories come back. Billings inquires, "Why don't you figure out another way to get her phone number?" He tries to throw the nonexistent clout he had as acting captain.

A witness comes forward. She saw Tori arguing with someone; the guy took Tori to the ground and started hitting her. Their suspect parks up the street in his green cab, waiting for fares. Billings wants to ask why Tori didn't mention an argument. Dutch would rather talk to the suspect first. He's on the phone trying to find out who owns the precinct's vending machines.

Lem calls Becca from a payphone. She lets him know his offer is under consideration, but there was no hint at whether it'd be accepted. Lem asks her to get a message to Vic. Becca can't without breaking the law, so Lem changes his mind. She warns him that Kavanaugh will be merciless, like he doesn't already know.

At this point, only one other option exists for Lem: witness protection. He says no way. Becca sighs, "Curtis, you're the one with a heart, but now use your head." This isn't about head vs. heart to Lem; it's about not betraying his family.

Ronnie thinks Lem held out as long as he could. "He'd run before he would rat," Shane disagrees. Well, how else did they find out about the money train? Vic calls it an educated guess. They know Lem would find a way to tip them off if they were under suspicion. "Or he wouldn't if his deal meant us going down," says Ronnie. Shane won't believe that until he sees it.

Vic is sure Lem is avoiding them to protect them. They'll meet him at midnight and get him to Mexico. "On whose nickel?" asks Ronnie. Dirty federales don't take American Express. Shane pulls out a check Mara wrote when he told her that Lem was in trouble. The first truly unselfish thing Mrs. Vendrell has ever done. $5,000 should be enough to "keep him in burritos and beer" for a while.
Vic tells Ronnie to cash the check, keep half, and wire the rest.

When he's gone, Vic theorizes Lem could've opened his mouth about Terry. That would give credence to what's otherwise a rumor. "Terry was a decision that we both made." says Shane. Vic forced him to and he feels bad about it: "Lem's gonna hafta hide under a rock for the rest of his life. That's on me too." Shane asks how "skewering Lem" helps anybody; Vic had to do what he did.

Vic asks Edgar-veda what was going upstairs. Edgar-veda wants to talk later, but Vic is running out of "later." Do the two of them still have an alliance against Kavanaugh? Or does Vic need to break out his flamethrower and start scorching the earth?

Edgar-veda gives Vic the details: Lem wants his original deal back, but Kavanaugh won't allow that. Additional charges will be filed because he went on the run. The Rat King was put back on the investigation when Lem became a fugitive. Claudette plans to call the D.A., but for some reason, she wants to give Kavanaugh the opportunity to find Lem. Edgar-veda refuses to get involved with aiding and abetting.

Dutch's suspect Gilbos claims he was driving his taxi at 8 AM. Dutch knows he was seen arguing with and then punching Tori. Does he just go around beating women on the street or did they know each other? Gilbos doesn't answer. "You just like knocking the shit out of random strangers. Works for me," says Dutch, starting to leave.

Gilbos calls out that picking up a prostitute "doesn't mean I deserve to get rolled and robbed." Tori set him up. As soon as he was ready to, uh, get down to business, two black guys came and beat him up. Dutch knows Gilbos he's lying; Tori is a volunteer tutor for at-risk kids.

"That whore flagged my cab. Offered me anything in the book for a C-note." Tori's not only a very conservatively-dressed hooker, she's not a very pricey one. She even had Gilbos pick out a motel. The guys stole his wallet and a chain Gilbos' mother gave him. Tori should be arrested, not him,

"So did you find him?" asks Tori. Dutch confirms they did. Tori's glad to hear it. Will they call her if she needs to testify or whatnot? Billings talked to the community center director; Tori really does volunteer three afternoons a week.

Dutch comes right out with, "Are you a prostitute?" Tori scoffs, insulted he'd even think that. Dutch informs Tori she's now a suspect in an assault/robbery. Tori wants a lawyer.

Out on the grocery store loading dock, cocaine is being put in the van. There's no sign of Guardo yet. Shane observes that an El Camino full of Mexican chicks has driven past the Strike Team van twice. Vic is fairly certain they aren't connected to Kavanaugh. Ronnie has successfully wired the money and set up a meeting in Tijuana. Lem himself is the last piece of the puzzle.

Dutch tells Claudette he's filing for a transfer so he doesn't have to work with Billings. Claudette thinks they can work things out. Dutch only stayed at the Barn because Claudette was his partner. Now that she's captain, it's time for him to go elsewhere. Claudette knows she can't change his mind and agrees to help with the paperwork.

Billings has more background on Tori. She has an M.B.A. and was an account manager for a brokerage firm until she was fired 6 months ago. They let her go after she quit showing up to work. Tori has no arrest record.

Wallis, a black man in a velour tracksuit, enters with Officer Paula, saying he's Tori's lawyer. Claudette looks doubtful about that. Wallis asks if he can see his client or if he has to file for dismissal. Claudette tells Officer Paula to escort Wallis upstairs. She'll check his credentials.

Ronnie says the DEA is tied up doing a sting in Compton; it'll be a few hours before they get there. The guys don't have that long because they have to meet Lem. The Barn has no available backup. Vic wants to go in. Shane thinks that's a bad idea; there are at least 6 guys. Vic argues they can't leave Lem hanging.

Ronnie and Vic go one way, Shane goes the other. Vic breaks down the door. A few of the drug dealers get hit with the butt of Vic's shotgun. "I got rabbits!" Shane yells from the back of the house. "Let 'em run!" Vic calls back.

Shane opens a box that ostensibly contains pork rinds. Underneath the bags, he finds hand grenades. Vic says Claudette can deal with booking the Salvadorans; they need to pick up Lem.

Dutch is still on hold with the vending machine company. "Tyrez Wallis is no more a lawyer than I am a figure skater," says Claudette. In mock surprise, Billings exclaims, "Really?"

It's time to go back upstairs to talk to her, but Dutch is too busy threatening whoever's on the phone: "I want the name of the owner of these machines right now or you will be sitting in a holding cell for as long as it takes me to track it down." Overreact much?

Dutch hangs up and approaches Billings: "You own those machines? Isn't it illegal for department employees to profit from things like vending machines? Especially when you use your position as acting captain to create a de facto monopoly?" Billings sees it as a gray area. Is Dutch gonna snitch on him? Dutch smiles that he hasn't decided.

When Claudette opens the interrogation room door, Tori and Wallis are having sex doggy-style. "Attorney-client privilege?" Claudette asks lightly. Dutch looks upset.

Vic tells Claudette the bomb squad is investigating a threat made to an abortion clinic; they'll pick up the grenades later. Claudette reminds Vic he was supposed to fill her in on every step. He says there wasn't time because the smugglers were about to split up into two vans.

Gallagher arrives to congratulate Vic on the bust. Guardo must really be feeling the heat and you won't like Salvadorans when they're angry. "Better watch your Crown Vics," the DEA agent advises.

Vic pays Emolia. She'd be happy to find out where Guardo is. Vic says for another tip, there would need to be another buyer. Emolia apologizes for her crossroads deal with Kavanaugh: "I did it for Sebastio. You'd do the same for your kids." Shane has heard enough: "Take your rat money and your retarded rat-baby and get on the first bus--"

Emolia shoves Shane against the lockers. Hell hath no fury like a mother whose child has been insulted. Vic grabs Emolia by the arms: "I showed you mercy once and it ruined my friend's life." She shouldn't expect mercy again.

Edgar-veda says the police committee is amenable to a deal, but they want the maximum sentence of 10 years. If Lem turns himself in immediately, he'll be parole eligible in 4 years. Lem will be placed in protective custody, but they can't guarantee a location unless Becca's allegations turn out to be true.

Kavanaugh talks to Edgar-veda in the observation room. Lem's new deal doesn't mention giving information on the rest of the Strike Team. This could be IAD's last chance to nail Vic to the wall. The Rat King wants Edgar-veda to scare Vic into leading them to Lem or catch Vic in the act. Edgar-veda knows Vic won't be that stupid; IAD is on high alert since Lem went on the run.

Kavanaugh knows the Strike Team might've robbed the Armenian money train. Edgar-veda can make Vic think that Lem gave it up so he could get witness protection. IAD will follow the guys and catch them trying to get Lem out of the USA. The guys won't get a lot of prison time for harboring a fugitive, but they will lose their badges. Lem didn't talk; Shane and Ronnie might not be as strong.

"Lem's talking," Edgar-veda tells Vic in the parking lot. Vic calls bullshit. Edgar-veda mentions the money train, which would explain Corinne having $65,000. "He's tired, he's scared, and he wants his freedom. And he doesn't wanna die at the hands of Antwon Mitchell." Not to mention he's sicker than a dog.

Vic knows Lem isn't a rat. Edgar-veda lies the D.A. gave Lem no choice but to roll on the Strike Team. Edgar-veda himself could get in trouble because he was captain back then: "You get a message to your boy and tell him to shut the hell up." Vic would, but he doesn't know where Lem is.

Edgar-veda shouldn't have told him all this, but Kavanaugh threatened him. Vic knows everything he does, so it's time for him to clean up this mess.

Dutch will drop the soliciting charge if Tori talks about Wallis and Spank's involvement in robbing Gilbos. "Spank wasn't there when the cabby got rolled," she says. Dutch thinks she's afraid and offers protection. Tori isn't scared. She loves Spank for "dragging me out of a superficial, empty everything." She was nothing before they met.

Billings heard Tori had a nice condo. "You equate a roof over your head to love?" she asks. Dutch understands her not wanting to be away from her boyfriend, but what does she think will happen when she's in jail? He'll just "set his sights on the next piece of Century City ass that comes his way."
Tori slaps Billings in the face, saying things like "How dare you? You don't know us!" Dutch pulls her away and gets her back in the chair.

Next door, Dutch announces that Tori gave up Wallis. Why would a smart, educated woman with a good job get mixed up with a scumbag pimp? Wallis explains he finds out what a woman needs to fill the hole in her heart and keeps filling it until she can't live without him, then takes it away: "That makes me God."

Tori was an easy mark; her fiance left her for a younger woman: "I just kept telling old girl she was still the prom queen like back in the day. Sooner or later, all bitches break. If you're born a woman, I can make you my ho." Who does this guy think he is, Velvet Jones?

"Call 1-800-I-Wanna-Be-a-Ho."
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Can he leave now that he's given the detectives a free course in "pimpology"?

Vic, Shane, and Ronnie hang around quietly in the weight room. Shane asks if anyone else believes Lem made a deal. Vic says, "Maybe he felt like he had no choice." Becca could've talked Lem into it. The big guy has no clue about his new home on a goat ranch or the money they're wiring. Edgar-veda told Vic about the new deal. Shane thinks the ex-captain is bullshitting them.

"We aren't gonna know what's inside Lem's head until we see him face-to-face," says Vic. They don't need an exit plan; they just need to tell him about Belize. "And if Lem is talking, it's because he believes that Antwon has marked him as a dead man behind bars." Once Lem knows about the plan, he'll go along with it, just like he always does. (And look at how much good that's done him).

They'll go to the rendezvous point and assume Lem made a deal if he doesn't show up. If he does, they'll make sure he's onboard. "He'll be on board," Vic says confidently. Lem trusts them and Vic still trusts Lem.

Kavanaugh, waiting in the parking lot, realizes the guys are taking different cars. He'll follow Vic and have his associate trail Ronnie. There's nobody to keep an eye on Shane, though. Vic calls Ronnie from the road to let him know they're both being tailed. He'd better get a hold of Shane.

Shane's ringtone is, of course, "Dixie." Ronnie tells him that he and Vic are being followed. They have to lose them without looking like they're trying. Whoever loses their tail first will pick up Lem and hide him someplace until they can get back together as a group. Shane sighs, looking nervous as hell.

Lem's generic rental car is parked on a dusty hill outside of town. He hears an engine approaching and hilariously tries to duck behind the front end, but relaxes when he recognizes Shane's truck. "I'm glad it's you," he says, giving Shane a hug. Shane tells Lem they have to get going; the Rat King is tailing Vic and Ronnie. Lem should meet him at an abandoned body shop on Mission.
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Claudette has been reviewing Tina's file and Julien's T.O. reports. She wants to know why Billings ignored the recommendation for dismissal. Billings felt Julien was too hard on her. Claudette lists off the problems: excessive force, contaminating crime scenes, and failure to identify an undercover officer. It's more like a sixth chance than a second.

Billings knows Tina's fieldwork has a long way to go, but the kid has good instincts; that's why Dutch is mentoring her. Claudette clearly had no idea about this. "She's very intuitive," Dutch puts in. Claudette picks up the phone to have a union rep to start the dismissal paperwork. Billings cautions her against doing that.

The former acting captain comes clean about the locker room camera and the pictures of Tina in her underwear that got leaked. He and Dutch handled it. "Uh, all I did was find the pictures," says Dutch. Billings scoffs, "You helped cover this up for a shot into Tina's panties." "Asshole," Dutch retorts, even though it's true. Claudette is free to spend her first few weeks as captain watching over a "full-time lawsuit" if she wants.

At the former body shop, Shane parks curiously far away. Lem gets out of his car for a final look at Los Angeles: "Never thought it'd come to this." "Hasn't come to anything yet," Shane replies. He's going back to get Vic and Ronnie, then Lem will be on his way to Mexico.

Lem doesn't relish the thought of ending up like Gilroy. "You're not a miserable drunk," Shane points out, "It's gonna be different." Lem refuses to go anywhere. Shane asks if he really wants to spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder for Antwon.

"How the hell am I gonna live in Mexico?" asks Lem. Shane explains about the goat ranch in San Ignacio. They hired a federale to take Lem there. "It's beautiful, man. It's gonna be peaceful," Shane says almost dreamily. I'm starting to have Of Mice and Men flashbacks. Ronnie set up a bank account and "Mara and I even kicked in 5 grand for you."

Lem still says no. Shane swears they'll keep skimming off drug busts so they can wire him money. Lem sighs, "I can't do that." Shane tells Lem to trust them; this will work. Lem wants to take the hit alone.

Shane informs him, "Kavanaugh, Aceveda, the D.A., there's no other deal to make." They'll force Lem to give up the Strike Team. "Maybe not now. Maybe a year from now." And we're in Casablanca territory.

Lem needs to take his one chance to get out of this. "I got it figured out," Lem assures his friend. Shane gets hostile: "Why did you even come back here tonight if you weren't planning on leaving?" Lem wanted to see the guys, his only family.

"Don't do this, man," Shane pleads. Lem is (finally) starting to get suspicious and asks where Vic is. Shane says Vic will call when they lose their IAD tail. All is quiet for a few moments. Shane sighs that Mara is pregnant again, almost 3 months. Lem is happy for him.

"Yeah, it's another mouth to feed," Shane says gloomily. Mara might have to go on bed rest, so he'll have to step up as far as finances go. "I hope I get to see the little guy," says Lem, then adds, "Or girl." Shane repeats "girl" over and over like Lem just predicted the future.

Lem doesn't want Shane to worry about him. "Yeah?" Shane sniffles, his eyes wet, "It's all about family, right?" Distant sirens spook both of them. Lem asks what Vic and Ronnie will do if they can't lose the tail. Shane guesses they might double back to the Barn; he can call and find out. He pats Lem's arm and affectionately grabs the scruff of his neck, then tells Lem to move his car.

Shane, knowing Lem's weak spot has always been his stomach, asks conversationally, "Did you get enough to eat today?" "No, man, I'm hungry," Lem replies. I bet he is after going all over town on foot. It just so happens Shane brought along some food. How thoughtful!

Lem gets in his car. Shane goes to his truck and fiddles with something beside him. He brings a paper bag to Lem's window. Lem pulls out a plastic-wrapped sandwich and smiles, "My favorite." Shane starts double-timing it back to his truck. Lem turns and calls, "Shane? Shane!" Suddenly, the car explodes.

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Shane manages to duck the debris. He walks over to the car and peeks inside. Lem is in really bad shape but not quite dead yet. Shane kneels beside the window, whispering, "I'm sorry." You are not, you duplicitous bastard! "I'm so sorry, buddy." Shane starts blubbering crocodile tears and walks away. "Lem! You know I'm sorry." Oh, you're sorry all right. A sorry excuse for a friend.

Shane approaches the car, sees Lem is dead, and kicks the tailgate of his truck. You gave him a fucking grenade sandwich. What did you think was gonna happen? Shane gets in his truck and keeps on crying.

Vic and Ronnie are waiting at the original rendezvous point. "What are we gonna do if Lem doesn't show?" Ronnie asks in a quivering tone. Vic says, "He will." No, he won't, thanks to Shane. Speak of the devil and he appears. Shane lies that he had to shake off his tail. They lean against Vic's car to wait for Lem, Shane acting like nothing happened.

Dutch lets Wallis out of the cage. The pimp lucked out; the cabby couldn't ID him and Tori won't testify. Wallis promises to bail her out. Tina tells Dutch that Claudette wants her to spend more hours shadowing him.

Dutch thinks Tina will be a great detective because people won't realize how smart she is. A pretty face can make people assume you're not intelligent. "I know, right?" Tina giggles. Dutch adds, "But you're not nearly as smart as you need to be." If he's mentoring her, Tina better make sure his time is being well-spent.

People start rushing out of the Barn. An indistinct voice raises the worst kind of alarm: "Officer down."

"He's not coming." Ronnie has no idea how right he is. Vic thinks maybe Lem had to hide; one way or another, he'll get a message to them. (Not without a fucking seance). Vic wants to wait as long as it takes.

"Kavanaugh could be at our houses right now," says Ronnie. They have to leave. Vic sends Ronnie and Shane home. Shane the Betrayer wants to wait a while longer. So they do. Vic's phone rings.

Claudette stands beside the car, looking sadly into it. "Your transfer's denied." she tells Dutch, "I need my best detective on this." Dutch knows the weapon was a grenade. With Guardo the Salvadoran weapons smuggler still on the loose, Claudette wants Dutch to start there.

"Oh my God," Tina sobs, "Why?" The other cops are outwardly stoic. The rest of the Strike Team arrives. Vic is horrified by the sight of Lem's body. Shane pretends this is the first time he's seen the carnage. Ronnie puts a comforting hand on Vic's shoulder. In shock, Vic wanders toward the back of the car.

"You happy?" demands Kavanaugh. Vic charges at the Rat King and they grapple. Vic slams Kavanaugh into a car, shattering the driver's side window. Tina shouts, "Stop it!" The two men start wrestling on the ground. Shane and Ronnie grab Vic; some uniforms more or less drag Kavanaugh away.

Vic, gasping for air, announces, "We're gonna find whoever did this...and we're gonna kill him." Shane gets a we're gonna do what now? look on his face, but no one sees. End of Season 5 and the most heartbreaking, gut-wrenching episode of the series. I cried several times writing this recap.
RIP Curtis "Lem" Lemansky
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Friday, August 11, 2017

A Tale "Of Mice and Lem" (Episode 5.10)

Previously on: A man trying to use a glory hole in a public bathroom got a rat trap clamped to his penis for his trouble. Claudette fainted at work during a lupus flareup. Kavanaugh was forced to arrest his mentally ill ex-wife Sadie after she filed a false rape report. Lem was arrested.

Kavanaugh made a crossroads deal with Antwon, agreeing to have Lem do time in the same cell block at Lompoc. Antwon has no love for cops, so that's as good as killing Lem. Vic called Kavanaugh's bluff: "You don't have the stomach to serve Lem up to Antwon."

Lem is home from jail but not exactly enjoying it. He's flat on his back in bed, sniffling and crying from pain. Suddenly, he jumps up, almost tripping over his blankets on his way to the bathroom. Lem barely gets there in time to puke.

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He stands up, rinses out his mouth, and splashes cold water on his face. Somebody starts knocking on his door. "You gotta be kidding me," Lem says when he opens it to find the Rat King on his porch. Lem's disheveled and sweaty, wearing just a T-shirt and boxers. "You don't look so good," Kavanaugh says with faux concern.

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Lem practically collapses onto the couch, hugging his knees, a trick that can sometimes help a stomachache. Kavanaugh offers a muffin, even though the poor guy is sick and miserable. He thinks Smitty must be some friend to put up $100,000 for bail. Funny thing is, Smitty doesn't seem to know Lem that well. "Just get out, man," Lem says tiredly.

Uninvited, Kavanaugh sits down in Lem's recliner and starts eating the muffin. "When I find out how Vic and the other two got that bail money, they're gonna wish they had a friend like your friend Smitty." Lem sprints across the living room, drops to his knees, and vomits noisily into a trash can.

Kavanaugh watches as though Lem is a mildly interesting bug. He ambles over and asks, "Is that blood?" Lem is too busy retching to answer. "Do you need a doctor?" That's the first sensible question Kavanaugh's asked in a long time. "Just get the hell out!" Lem yells as fiercely as one can with their head halfway in a wicker trash can. Kavanaugh leaves him to his misery.

Vic checks on Sadie, saying Kavanaugh does the same for Corinne. Sadie thinks they must be close. Well, they've been spending a lot of time together anyway. Do they have kids? "Family wasn't on Jon's to-do list," says Sadie. She asks about his relationship with Corinne. They have good days and bad ones, but Vic always makes sure she and the kids have everything they need.

"Just like him to send someone else over to carry my emotional baggage. Tell the prick I'm great," says Sadie. Vic understands being married to a cop is hard. "Jon's wife is the job," Sadie goes on. She calls the Rat King a coward for not coming over. Vic offers to pass on a message.

By way of an answer, Sadie starts shoving her tongue down Vic's throat. Kavanaugh made his decision when he filed for divorce. She starts taking off Vic's jacket. Vic removes his holster and starts undoing his belt. He and Sadie get down to business right there on the kitchen floor.

Lem stares out Becca's office window. Shane asks where Vic's been. Vic shrugs, "Just an ex-wife thing," leaving out that it wasn't his ex. He wonders what Becca wants. Actually, this meeting is about what Lem wants. He's decided to plead guilty, which will satisfy Kavanaugh enough to stop his investigation into Vic. (Personally, I wouldn't count on that).

According to Becca, Lompoc was an empty threat; the worst place Lem could go is medium-security. Shane knows Kavanaugh will block any attempt at a deal and his friends in high places will help. Becca tells them the chief is losing confidence in the Rat King.

If Lem pleads to theft under color of authority, the D.A. will drop the possession with intent charge. The former crime has a maximum sentence of 5 years; with good behavior, Lem will probably only serve 18 months. Vic warns Lem of the consequences, namely losing his badge and pension. Don't forget about his health insurance. Some of those ulcer drugs are expensive.

Shane begs Lem not to take the deal; they're all in his corner. Lem is tired of fighting. He knows that were Shane in his position, he'd take one for the team. Wrong. Shane would throw y'all under the bus.

The Strike Team confers in the parking lot. No matter what else happens, Kavanaugh will still have the brick of heroin and Emolia's testimony. So will the next IAD investigator. Lem is tired of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Now would be a really good time to mention the stress is making him physically ill, worse than before. Of course, he doesn't, just goes back in to talk to Becca.

Vic doubts it's realistic that Lem will get paroled in 18 months. "Protective custody's a joke," Shane agrees, "He's gonna be fighting for his life the full 5 years." "Between Kavanaugh spinning doom and Becca sellin' him a rose garden, poor guy doesn't know what end is up," says Vic. Well, Lem's always tended to take the optimist view.

Ronnie thinks Lem is pleading guilty so Kavanaugh won't have the satisfaction of seeing him crack. (Little does he know, Rat King saw it that very morning).

Vic goes to Lompoc. Antwon says it sure is a shame about Lem. Vic rains on his parade: "If Lem does time, he's not gonna do it here." However, Lompoc isn't the only place Antwon has connections. The gangster claims to be the answer to all Vic's prayers, Lem's guardian angel.

Antwon knows his relationship with Vic has been volatile, to say the least, but they still have a bond. Halpern has been running the One-Niners in Antwon's absence. "That cranky black bitch is afraid of his own goddamn shadow," says Antwon. He'd rather have Kern Little running the show. Vic heard Kern's rap career flamed out, but wasn't aware he went back to flying colors.

Antwon knows of a storage unit where they're holding seized assets. "You want me to rip off a P.D. warehouse?" Vic says slowly. No, Kern's crew will be doing the actual robbery. Vic just needs to tell them when and how to hit. Antwon won't accept anything less in exchange for Lem's life.

"Stand back, nothing to see here," Julien tells a crowd, which usually means there is. My suspicions are confirmed when a paramedic says, "Jesus, his dick's gone. Somebody find it." A jogger trying to use a glory hole got more than he bargained for.

Tina exits the men's room. She found a rat trap in a stall with the victim's penis still inside. Tina gives the trap to the paramedics so they can preserve it. "That's not gonna matter if we can't stabilize him," says one of the medics as they load the victim into the ambulance.

Dutch exposits the rat trap had serrated teeth, a different model than the one used in the earlier attack. The victim is still unconscious at Mission Cross. Julien didn't have any luck canvassing the park. "So we got dick...which is more than I can say for our victim," says Dutch. Mr. Sensitivity, everybody.

Claudette wants a warning put out at bars and other businesses frequented by gay men. Dutch plans to re-interview the original victim, which will be easier said than done. The man was terrified his wife and daughters would find out, so Julien covered for him.

Tina offers to write down Alarico's address for Dutch. "I told him I'd keep his name out of it if he cooperated," says Julien. Don't make promises you can't keep. Dutch has no choice, given the level of violence in the second attack.

Vic also has no choice about helping with the warehouse robbery: "Antwon's the devil we know." "What if it's the other devil?" asks Shane, referring to Kavanaugh. He worries this could be a trap. Ronnie says easily, "This place is wide open. We could spot a surveillance unit a mile away." Vic tells the guys to triple-check everything about the warehouse. They're gone as soon as anything looks hinky.

Kern parks his truck. Shane suggests he crank up the volume on the rap music: "Might be some cops in Long Beach who can't hear it." Kern introduces them to his right-hand man Moses. Ronnie pats them both down for wires. Shane angers Kern by tossing out a jab about his failed rap career. Vic steps between them.

Kern doesn't trust the Strike Team. "The lack of love is mutual," Vic assures him. Kern calls the situation between Vic and Antwon karma. Vic informs him "taking shit from M.C. Has-Been" wasn't part of the deal they made. Moses plays peacemaker.

Ronnie tells the gangbangers that the warehouse has one guard who rarely leaves the guard shack. Surveillance cameras feed into said guard shack. In addition to cars and antiques, there's a safe containing half-a-million dollars' worth of watches and jewelry. Vic makes it clear the One-Niners are only to take the safe: "No one drives outta there with a Hummer or a flat screen."

Edgar-veda calls Vic for a meeting, which ends up taking place in the Barn's men's room. Kavanaugh is covering all his bases in case he can't make criminal charges stick. He's painting Vic's earlier statements about Terry's death as false. Vic calls bullshit: "Nothing I've said has changed because the facts haven't." "Then he's doing a good job of twisting your words," says Edgar-veda.

It's a good possibility Kavanaugh could take away Vic's retirement. His case has been sent to the police committee. Vic's attitude is let 'em try: "PBA reps will have his head on a pike." "Kavanaugh could use this as a face-saving way to end his investigation," the councilman cautions. Has Kavanaugh been saying anything about him? Vic says no.

Claudette tells Alarico's wife that they want to talk to Alarico about a car accident he witnessed. Is that what they're calling it these days? Alarico maintains he told the other cops everything. "You didn't tell me about no car accident," says the missus.

Claudette claims another driver has been seriously injured; Alarico needs to go to station and make a formal statement. Alarico wants to be left alone. Dutch says quietly, "We can do this another way if we have to."

A sheriff's deputy watches as Lem cleans out his locker. Kavanaugh surveys the clubhouse: "Pretty soon, this is gonna be a lonely room filled with empty lockers, huh?" What's that saying about chickens and hatching? Lem tells Kavanaugh he just made a deal; all it needs is the police chief's signature. Kavanaugh wants to fact-check before he shuts down the investigation.

Kavanaugh calls the chief's office and learns there is, in fact, no deal. Becca's just "feeding [Lem] a Happy Meal to keep his spirits up." He asks Edgar-veda if Vic took the bait about the department going after his pension. "You didn't see the steam coming off his bald head?" Edgar-veda snarks.

Assistant Chief Phillips knocks, asking Kavanaugh if he can borrow the office. Claudette and Billings are with him. When the Rat King and the councilman are gone, Phillips tells Claudette that her fall scared everyone. Claudette pats her rear end and says with a smile, "When you've got one of these, there's plenty of bounce to the ounce."
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Phillips is concerned Claudette's lupus could make her unable to do her job. She should've have disclosed her condition to the department when it was diagnosed 15 years ago. Phillips puts her on desk duty until she sees a doctor for a full checkup. Surely Claudette understands that he's only looking out for everyone's health and welfare.

Claudette thinks battling the bullshit epidemic would be a good start. Kavanaugh is ruining the Barn's morale. "Uh, she's got a point there," Billings acknowledges. Claudette is on a roll: "IAD is arrogant and intrusive, but this man takes intimidation to a whole other level." Everyone spends more time watching their backs than doing their jobs.

"Our last captain had unpopular policies, so you brought in an interim jellyfish that won't rock the boat." Phillips himself is putting people at risk by cutting department funding. Billings brags that crime is down since he became captain.  "If you weren't out to lunch, passing the buck, or leaving every day at 4:00, you'd know that our citizens don't report half of what's going on out there because they know we can't or won't do anything."

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Claudette will pee in a cup if she has to, but she's not the problem around here. When she leaves, Billings thinks she's loopy and "maybe that's why they call it lupus."

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Alarico wants to go home before his wife gets suspicious. Dutch promises witnessing a car accident is a good cover story.

Claudette waves her partner over and confronts him about telling people she has lupus. Dutch swears he didn't. She points out he's the only person who knows. Also, he did go to the D.A. behind her back after Claudette reopened the cases of a defense attorney who was high in court.

Claudette goes further, accusing him of gossiping with Tina. "You've crossed the line into wholesale character assassination," Dutch says indignantly. Claudette thinks career assassination is worse.

After Alarico helps create a sketch of the attacker, Dutch offers to have a uniform drive him home. Alarico would rather take the bus. Billings has a visitor: Art from the Los Angeles Gay Men's Initiative. The captain tells Julien to discuss the "rat trap glory hole business."

Julien says they've been interviewing witnesses and asking anyone with information to come forward. Art doesn't appreciate that Billings passed the buck or that Julien doesn't seem to care about the attacks. Julien suggests Art do something more proactive than blaming people, like handing out warning flyers.

Art says 6 other rat trap attacks have gone unreported. "Maybe they knew what they were doing was wrong," says Julien. Art argues that the victims were consenting adults. Julien points out that having sex in public is illegal. He shoves Art when he asks for Julien's name and badge number. Yeah, that'll smooth things over. Art basically says, "We're here, we're queer, get used to it."

Ronnie, wearing all black and a matching ski mask, gets in the van. There's no surveillance equipment of any kind around the warehouse. Vic hasn't heard anything on the police scanner. They drive up to the unoccupied guard shack. Ronnie climbs the fence and turns off all the monitors.

Elsewhere, Kern holds a gun to the guard's back: "You don't fight, you don't die."

The guard's reaction.
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Kern and Moses enter the warehouse, followed by the ski mask-clad Strike Team. The gangbangers put the safe on a dolly. All is going according to plan until Kern gets shot, along with the guard. Moses shrugs those were Antwon's orders. "This was not part of the deal!" Vic bellows. Moses plays innocent like "oh, Antwon didn't tell you?"

Vic punches Moses in the face and holds a gun to his head. Moses warns that killing him will knock Vic out of Antwon's good graces, meaning Lem will meet a gruesome end in prison. Shane dropkicks Moses in the head. When he recovers, he and another One-Niner take off with the safe.

Ronnie can't believe what just happened. Vic and Shane start picking up the guns and tools left behind. Vic surmises Antwon had Kern killed so Kern couldn't take over. Kern dying in a robbery gone bad gives the One-Niners street cred. Moses will become the boss and do Antwon's bidding.

The guys are about to leave when they hear Kern groaning. "These brothers can take a bullet," Shane remarks. Kern asks for help. Shane, surprisingly, doesn't want to leave the ex-rapper to bleed to death. Vic snarls that an ambulance would take 20 minutes to get there and Kern has maybe 10 minutes. They'll wait that long, then call it in. Saving Lem has to be their priority.

A suspect in the rat trap attacks has locked himself in a Dumpster. Julien instructs him to stand up with his hands above his head when the lock is cut. Tina found a glory hole and rat traps. They don't know if the traps were left by the suspect or put out by the building's owner.

"What do you suppose would happen if you snapped this on somebody's dick?" Dutch asks, working the action on the rat trap. Jarrod the suspect calls Dutch sick. (You don't know the half of it, pal). Claudette inquires, "Glad it wasn't you? Be a hell of a secret you'd have to live with. Something personal and embarrassing that affects your ability to function. Not something you'd want a lot of people to know about."

Dutch knows what she's driving at. If that's her attitude, she can talk to the guy alone.

Sidebar: It's interesting how Claudette and Lem sort of parallel each other. Both believe in doing the right thing, no matter what it costs them. Both have health problems; while Claudette's hidden her lupus for over a decade, Lem's been open about his ulcer since the beginning.

Claudette is curious what Jarrod has against gay men. Jarrod doesn't answer. Claudette goes downstairs to collect her purse and cane. Dutch thinks they should put Jarrod in a lineup. Claudette tells him to do whatever he wants. He's about to call Alarico when Billings reports uniforms are responding to a domestic at Alarico's house.

"We got here, he was standing over her with a baseball bat," says a neighbor. They couldn't get the bat away before Alarico hit his wife a couple of times.

During premarital counseling, Alarico, his wife, and the priest discussed his previous involvement with men. Alarico thought things would change once he was married, but the feelings have been coming back. His wife knew the score. When the police started questioning Alarico, she knew why. The missus started calling him a fag in front of their daughters. Naturally, the only way to stop that was to beat the crap out of her.

Kavanaugh arrives at the warehouse. Vic says he got a tip about the robbery from an informant. "We got stuck in the van on a stakeout, couldn't make it back here in time," adds Shane. Kavanaugh asks if Vic knew the dead gangbanger. Vic ID's him as Kern and suggests Kavanaugh take inventory of what's missing.

Kavanaugh has a sense of deja vu: "A dead cop killed by the gun of a dead bad guy." Shane knows what the Rat King is insinuating; they were on the other side of town. Kavanaugh wants to know if anyone saw them. "It wouldn't have been much of a stakeout if they had," says Shane. Vic tosses in his two cents: "You know what? You should start eating again. Malnourishment's starting to screw with your logic."

Kavanaugh lays out the scenario: Lem needs protection in prison, so they went to Antwon. Antwon agreed to help on the condition that the guys killed Kern. Yeah, that's pretty much it.

Vic thinks Kavanaugh missed a few details. Vic didn't kill Terry. The Rat King doesn't have any leverage with Lem. And, oh, by the way, Vic fucked Sadie.
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Kavanaugh goes to Sadie's house and shows her a picture of Vic. She nods that she's seen him before. Kavanaugh asks if Vic hurt her. "You're the only one who ever hurts me, Jon," she says. That won't happen again.

Sadie admits to having sex with Vic, twice, in fact. Kavanaugh asks if she realizes what a bad guy she just slept with. He gets in her face, demanding, "What is wrong with you?" Sadie tells him to leave or she'll call the police.

Vic is surprised when Lem, sporting his black-and-white track jacket, walks into the clubhouse. The police chief signed off on his deal; he has to go to the jail tomorrow morning to be processed. Lem is at peace, glad the whole mess is over. Shane hugs him, then Ronnie. Last is Vic. He grabs the scruff of Lem's neck to pull him down to his level, promising Lem will be taken care of.

Jarrod insists he wasn't behind the rat trap attacks, but thinks "these perverts" deserve punishment; gay men seduce children and spread AIDS. Billings talks to the detectives on the balcony. "He's guilty, just not prosecutable," says Claudette. All the evidence is circumstantial. Nobody will believe Alarico because he's a no-good wife-beater. They can't fabricate charges to hold Jarrod in jail.

Phillips got Claudette's medical report back, which says she's fit for duty. Claudette could've told him that. However, the department will require her to have quarterly checkups. "Your nickel," she shrugs. The police chief announces Claudette is being promoted to captain. She's is uneasy about the idea; after all, the job is jinxed worse than teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts.

If she says yes, she wants a guarantee that she runs the precinct, "not in theory, in fact." Kavanaugh interrupts the meeting to ask whether the chief really made a deal with Lem. Phillips tells Kavanaugh they were in the middle of something. Kavanaugh shouts that he was too until he got derailed; Vic deserves jail time just like Lem.

Phillips wants to him to leave, but Kavanaugh keeps ranting: "Vic Mackey kills cops! He deals drugs! He beats suspects! He screwed my ex-wife with the sole purpose of making this investigation seem like a personal vendetta. He may have assassinated a gang leader. And that's just all in one day." What does it taste like to be pissed on by Vic? Even Kavanaugh's lazy eye is wild.

Chief gives Kavanaugh 48 hours to tie up loose ends, but he'll have to find another desk. Claudette needs her office.

Vic tells Lem they'll sneak a whole cow into prison. I guess in case he wants steak? Danny is sorry to hear how things worked out for him. Lem jokes, "You're gonna be a little thinner next time I see you", hugs her, and leaves to take care of some stuff. I love that Miami Vice colored bathroom; I'll house-sit. He'll see everyone later at the going-away party.

Danny hands over a file on the warehouse robbery. EMTs found jewelry in Kern's pocket. This is very bad news. An empty safe means Antwon won't get his money, which also means Lem is a dead man walking. Vic better talk to Antwon and fast.

"These fags choose a life of sin and suffering and get what they deserve. But I'm the one in handcuffs," Jarrod says disgustedly. Julien handcuffs him to the table, walks him to the window, and points at the cage. Does Alarico's family deserve to have their lives ruined because of what Jarrod did? Jarrod's never seen Alarico before, but if something happened, it was God's will.

Jarrod quotes the Bible. Julien cuffs his other wrist to the table and unplugs the camera. Jesus lived an honest life and was crucified for it. What does Jarrod think happens when people lie in the Lord's name? Julien opens an evidence bag and dumps a rat trap onto the table.

Julien sets the trap while quoting Psalms. He edges the trap close to one of Jarrod's hands. "You wanted to look at a man down there. You wanted to touch it. ...You didn't because you knew that it was wrong."

Jarrod is now terrified. In light of Michael Jace's real-life murder conviction, this performance is especially disquieting.

Julien uses the pin from his badge to spring the trap; Jarrod convincing himself he was doing God's will gave him an excuse to touch other men's genitals. Jarrod maintains he'd never do something so disgusting. "You're no different than the men you prey on," Julien opines, "You're a homosexual." Jarrod shouts, "That's a lie! I am a Christian!" He only used the rat traps to punish gay men.

Kavanaugh knocks on Lem's door again. "What, no muffins?" Lem asks. Kavanaugh tells him that taking the deal was a bad idea. Lem thinks that's funny coming from the guy who's been threatening him with jail nonstop for weeks. Kavanaugh explains that was just a strategy: "Cops always give it up with the threat of jail." He can't believe Lem is doing this.

The Rat King is sorry he and Lem didn't become friends sooner. "Friends" is an extremely strong word for your relationship; so is "acquaintance," for that matter. "Any man would be lucky to have you in his corner." Kavanaugh holds out his hand, which Lem actually shakes. He has the nerve to wish Lem luck.

Vic tells Antwon things went south because they didn't get all the details up front. Antwon found out that Vic's been playing him against Kavanaugh, manipulating him into protecting Lem. "What do you care?" asks Vic. It seems Kavanaugh started a Department of Corrects investigation at Lompoc, which will cost Antwon most, if not all, of his creature comforts.

Vic will figure out a way to get Antwon his money and check on the DOC case. Antwon thinks Vic's done enough. As of now, Lem's protection deal is off. There are One-Niners in every California prison, so there's nowhere to hide. "One of your crew so much as hard-looks my guy, my reach will get you shivved." Coming from Vic, that's not a threat; it's a promise.

Antwon knows Vic is bluffing; otherwise, he wouldn't have come to Antwon for help. Vic reaches across the table and grabs Antwon by his jail uniform. Guards pull them apart.

Billings accuses Claudette of stealing his job. Claudette says she didn't ask for it, which is true: "Letting Kavanaugh loose in this place, they set you up to fail." She asks for help picking up the pieces. Billings refuses to stay after "getting shanked in the back like this." Claudette suggests he take a few days to think it over; her door is always open if he wants to talk.

Lem's big send-off is at a cop bar. Someone, presumably Shane, hired a couple of strippers. A blond one is cuddled up to Lem, rubbing his hair. He's either drunk or his ulcer's feeling a lot better because he's grinning like an idiot. When Vic arrives, Becca is on her way out. He tells her the neighborhood isn't safe, so he'll walk her to her car.

Becca will be taking Lem to the courthouse at 9 AM so he can surrender. She hopes Vic knows they did the right thing. Vic thanks her for helping Lem. Becca thinks he's lucky to have a friend like Vic. Vic himself doesn't look so sure. "I gotta tell you something about Lem," he starts. Before he can get to that, he's French-kissing Becca.

Claudette heard Jarrod confessed. "He and Julien 'reasoned' together," says Dutch. He congratulates her on the promotion and explains how Phillips learned she has lupus. When Claudette passed out at work, the paramedics found prednisone in her purse; they called her doctor find out why it was prescribed and Billings overheard. Billings "thought lupus was an emotional disorder."

Claudette apologizes for how she treated him earlier. "You can't un-ring that bell," says Dutch. After all this time, his partner doesn't trust him and assumed the worst. Oh, get over yourself. However, he thinks she'll be a great captain. The job requires "an active mistrust of everyone and everything." Sounds more like IAD qualifications.

The bar is now almost empty. Vic hates to ruin a good time, but they need to discuss a change of plans: "You're not going to prison." Lem is confused. Vic tells him about the crossroads deal they made with Antwon in exchange for Lem's safety; the warehouse robbery went to hell in a handbasket.

Kavanaugh has the Department of Corrections investigating Lompoc, which will make Antwon's life hell. Antwon blames Vic. "But I won't end up in Lompoc," Lem says worriedly. That part doesn't matter because Antwon has a lot of homies.

"Best-case scenario, you bust enough heads to stay alive," says Vic. Lem knows he won't get early parole if he fights, even in self-defense. Shane says, "Worst-case scenario, you'll kiss everything goodbye."

Lem pounds the table: "What the hell am I supposed to do?" Vic wants him to lay low until they get back on Antwon's good side, which is a pipe dream as far as I'm concerned. Lem is adamant: "I can't run anymore. I do not wanna do this." "Do we even have a plan?" asks Shane. Vic snaps that he's working on it.

The best option would be talking to some of Gilroy's old contacts. Lem pretty much tells Vic that Mexico is a huge goddamn no. Vic swears it'd only be temporary. Lem knows he'll lose his deal if he skips town and be in a worse fix than he is now.

"This is about keeping you alive!" Vic shouts. Lem drops his head onto his folded arms. Poor guy thought this nightmare was over and the rug's been pulled out from under him again. Shane lays a reassuring hand on his shoulder. Vic promises everything will be okay. Completely overwhelmed, Lem starts bawling, not caring that everyone is watching him.

Claudette moves her things into her new office. Downstairs, Dutch flirts with Tina. Claudette takes down Kavanaugh's bulletin board.

Danny has gone into labor and Julien is driving her to the hospital. She groans for him to hurry. Julien floors it, accidentally knocking over his plastic dashboard Jesus.

It's the dead of night, but that doesn't stop Kavanaugh from knocking on Corinne's door. He asks to talk to her. Even with everything that's happened, she lets him in.

On a hill outside town, Lem puts a duffel bag in the trunk of a generic sedan. Ronnie embraces his best friend. Shane also gets a bear hug. Vic climbs in the driver's seat. For some reason, Lem's riding in the back instead of shotgun. Shane lights a cigarette as Vic drives away. End of episode.