Season 11 Episode 4
Teleplay by Greg Plageman
Story by Bill Clark & Greg Plageman
Directed by Dennis Dugan
Oh, keep this up! The trial is over (whew!), and the show is really picking up. Loved almost all of this one.... Here's a summary, a review, and a whole lot of fun quick hits (almost as fun as your best 10 minutes with Thong Thing, boyz....) Do read on:
Baldwin and Greg find Michael in the park. He's reluctant to talk and is holding every emotion about his mother's death inside. He manages to tell them about her half-wit, obese boyfriend Desmond who runs a car shop. Andy and John J. go there and find Desmond on the other end of a large, snarling pit bull's chain. Desmond calls Pixie the pugnacious pup off and goes to the station house with the boys. He tells them he had a fight with Janelle's ex-husband Craig a week earlier and is truly surprised to learn she's dead.
Baldwin and Greg get Michael to say his father, who just got out of jail, is hanging out with a new woman and even gives her address, but tries to convince them he didn't kill her. Baldwin has taken an interest in Michael and wants to help the kid. Craig is roused from the couch of his girlfriend Becky and interviewed. He feigns love for his son but won't give anything up on his ex-wife until they find out he was at her place the night of the murder. Andy gives him a chance to save his son from the pain of having to flip for him, but he won't do it. After a little run-in with Baldwin on how to handle the kid, Andy finally persuades him to talk about his father's visit. That done, Baldwin spends the evening trying to find a safe place for Michael. Michael finally lets go enough to cry over his mom's death.
At Rita's suggestion, Greg does a net search on Eve's porn name, Stella Starr, and turns up some strong interest in her flicks from a guy named Tom who lives in the city. Rita and Connie bring him in for a chat. In an intense interview, they get Tom to trip up his story a few times and finally spill it that he was with Eve. He then explains that he was only offering his love and friendship and that she rudely rejected him. So you raped her and killed her? they ask. Yes, he says, I killed her, but adds indignantly, I didn't rape her. She was already dead when we had sex.
Some really super interview scenes, a few terrific light moments, lots of action outside the squad room and some pretty tight writing made this one stand out. If it hadn't been for the yawner of a trial sequence, this show would have really popped!
Andy is, naturally, offended by the questions and, naturally, focused on getting the job done. But he's also more concerned about the kid than Baldwin suspected. The scene in which he gives Craig a chance to be a stand-up Dad is really good. It reveals a lot about Andy that we haven't gotten see much of in a while. And when he interviews Michael, you can see he's keeping the kid's best interest at heart. It's up to your personal judgment as to whether he was too tough with the kid--telling him how his mother's body was found and making sure to say over and over how his father wouldn't stand up for him in return--but he gets it done. Pop that in the category of "things that make you go 'Hmmmm,'" and that's what Blue does best. There is no right answer. It was refreshing, though, to see Andy telling the kid like it is when it comes to his Dad, even if the kid isn't really hearing it. I loved that scene because I was pulling for Andy: I knew he was speaking the truth, telling Michael something you want him to hear so he can forgo spending the next 25 years of his life figuring it out the hard way.
Let's dish on this week's Corn Nuts scene: The half naked chick in the doorway, the Thong Thing -- it was top-notch. I'd forgotten how much fun these lighter moments are. That's because it's been ages since we've had more than a one-liner to make us chuckle. This scene was just so funny, if a little unrealistic (see Quick Hits).
I've certainly never answered my door in my undies, but I--like most women--have been in situations where men have fallen over themselves trying to talk to me, and from that slightly different perspective, I found these guys' reactions ringing true. Here's my take on the boyz: I loved how MPG had Clark cracking up while talking to her. That brought a really brilliant level of reality to his performance. Of course a guy in that situation would laugh--either he's nervous or he can't believe his luck--whatever, a guy like Clark would laugh. If I'm the actor, I'd have never thought to have the character do that, but it worked so perfectly well and kept the scene from being cheesy. (Admit it: in the hands of lesser actors, we'd have had a Starsky & Hutch moment here.) MPG may not be totally comfortable yet in the scenes of hot passion (ala Jimmy Smits), but he's got a natural flair for comedy and mixes it really well with Clark's more serious side. Nice to see him get to use it.
Clapp's Medavoy was also loads of fun to watch. He's *the other* kind of guy you run into from time to time. A total geek who is wholly unaware of his geekiness. His social barometer broke in the 5th grade. He pushes and pushes but has no idea how he comes off, and he's not laughing because he thinks he's so cool.
Andy was the perfect example of the guy who's a) embarrassed by his own reactions to beautiful women and b) got better than Thong Thing at home. He loves what he sees but wouldn't be caught dead letting anyone know that. And in his mind, that girl's got nothing on what lies next to him every night. With Connie between the sheets, Andy is free to enjoy the reactions of the other guys.
Baldwin is, as usual, the smoothest of the bunch. He takes a seriously honest look at her (from behind the other guys, of course) then stands coolly by soaking it all in. If he'd been the one talking to her, she'd have known he was impressed but *she* would have been the one doing the staring.
I'm curious how many times you guys out there watched the scene and in which rewind of it you actually picked up the information the girl conveyed. Or did you ever? ;)
Now, I don't want to take anything away from J-O's work here because I thought it was really good, but imagine how much more fun this one would have been with Connie and Andy. Oh, I do miss those days when Connie and Andy were cops together (all three of them).
We would have missed Daniel Benzali, but let's be real: His main attraction on this show was his interaction with Andy and we got--what-- 90 seconds of that? So dump it. We would have missed Valerie doing a pretty good opening statement, but let's be real: when is a riding ADA who's dating a detective in this squad, one she works with everyday, going to get to try a case like this? Dump it. We would have missed Devlin's testimony getting blown out of the water by her affair with Clark, but again: The bombshell that could have been was completely glossed over, it seems highly unlikely Valerie wouldn't have known about that and Valerie's re-direct on that was pretty lame. Dump it. Rita's testimony? We know what we she saw. Dump it. Olivera's and Acevedo's stories? The attempt at drama there failed so Dump and Dump. The whole thing with Tony's mother could have been brought up in a 30 second conversation with Valerie. The only thing we might have needed to see was Fraker charming the jury, and that could have been one scene, the final testimony before closings (which we don't need to see). The jury then comes back and we're done. That way, all we really would have missed is a lot of weak story that dragged through the rest of the last two episodes like a club foot.
Fraker's acquittal is certainly a surprise. (I really thought he'd go down and we'd get some good drama along the way but the opposite of both those things happened). But the surprised lacked adequate punch: I have no reason to be fearful or concerned that Fraker is a free man; I can't relate to Tony or Rita at all on this and that's a bad thing. I'd be happier had I been given a little more than one sentence from Rita on the potential fall out from this. She's worried the department will come down on her and Tony. OK, then. So? Seems to me Greg, at least--who hasn't missed an opportunity to yap about the trial---would be flapping his jaws incessantly at all the possibilities now. Silence. Guess we'll have to wait, but this show sure didn't put me on the edge of my seat over it.
Fraker can't work--he said so in the trial--so what do we do with the wonderful Casey Siemaszko? I guess he goes the way of Mike Roberts. I suppose that'll be OK. It's been too long since we've had a half-a-cop wandering around--poor Vince Gotelli is gone forever; where is Eddie Gibson when you need him?
And Rita and Tony down by the river....aiy....this brings me to:
*Is anyone else singing the title to this episode?
*Alright, wake up now. There's a beautiful girl in a thong answering the door to her apartment in a not-so-great NYC neighborhood where just last night her next door neighbor had a loud fight with a guy and ended up as dead as Dick Nixon's dog. You're a cop. After you pop your eyeballs back into their sockets, doesn't it occur to you----any of you, up to and including the 50-something guy who's seen it *all*--to kindly suggest to this chick from Philly that here in New York City we don't answer our doors in our not-so-great-neighborhoods half-naked *especially* the day after our neighbors are beaten to bloody pulps and dumped by the river. Seems like a natural public service kind of thing, to me; the kind of thing Mayor Guiliani would have insisted upon (after he copped a feel).
*John Jr. asking if the guy really swims in that river: good question, but didn't he ever watch Seinfeld?
*And another thing about that damn trial: how is it that no one ever played the race card? If you're going for even a little bit of reality, that's going to be an element here. Especially in the NYPD.
*What Would Jesus Drink? Wine, you maroon! I enjoyed the scene with that uniform. From his comment on the "black hole" that is most women's purses to the WWJD line. He was socially inappropriate, and I like that in a uniform cop. Nicely done.
*This was either something hatched in the devilishly goofy minds of the people who put this show together or I need to get out more, but Thong Thing's apartment number was 5F. There were five of them standing there, at least four of them with nothing but F-in' on their minds.
*I'd have to give Greg the edge in this week's dust up with Andy. I also think Greg will be the one who finally goes off the deep end and slips a twinkie in the fish tank killing Andy's Nemos. There's your Final Episode preview. You read it here first.
*I swear I've seen that blue garage door before. Have I been watching this show too long? You know, I don't really need you to answer that.
*Hank and Josh! Welcome back, fellas. Where's the adorable Officer Miller? Guess I'm stuck just dreaming about him.....
*I love it when they use animals. The rats are still my favorite: that was sooo creepy. Animals always add an interesting and real texture to things on this show. This pit bull was texture from tip to tail! He seemed really pissed off, too. I'm guessing MPG and Dennis Franz were glad the actor on the other end of the pit bull was a sufficient anchor for that thing, but imagine being that guy! I'd have been petrified to handle the snarling pooch. Sure, they're trained, but as your pal Roy can tell you now that he's off his ventilator for a few hours a day, animals are animals are animals are animals. Yikes!
*Stella Starr. El-chees-o! I guess those movies aren't going for a more sophisticated audience, huh? I thought her real name had potential: Eve Burleigh. The name you get at the end of your career in Burlesque. Also, it sounds like a dish....which I'm sure she must have been.
v *Eve was from Riverdale. I met a nice couple from Riverdale recently. Hello, you two!
*OK, the guys got to look at a pretty girl's butt cheeks and what do we women get? Wally the Frog Man adjusting himself in his 80's speedo which you just *know* smells like the East River. Boy, I miss Jimmy Smits.
*Did you note the fabulous cat collection Becky the Big White Woman had in and on her apartment? Talk about texture. That was fantastic stuff. Here's an example of how a character is made whole not just by the things the actor does but by the people around the actor who create spaces like that one. First, there is a kitty collage on the woman's door, then every square inch of her ratty little apartment is covered in kitty paraphernalia: ceramic kitties, stuffed kitties, kitty photos, kitty pillows; you imagine kitty curtains, kitty dishes, kitty flatware, kitty lines, a kitty cozy in the kitty kitchen. And standing in stark contrast to this, the woman of the house who purrs like a piranha. Plus, there's Craig lying on the couch like so many leftovers in the kitty litter. Man, what a beautiful scene. The kicker: the sign in the hallway on the way out reads: NO PETS.
Previously on NYPD Blue: Casey Siemaszko as Captain Fraker, Daniel Benzali as James Sinclair, William Dennis Hunt as Judge Byrns.
Michael Woodruff played by Andre Jamal Kinney; Craig Woodruff played by the incredible Cyrus Farmer (who was in the pilot of Brooklyn South); Marlissa Diaz aka Thong Thing played by Darlena Tejeiro; Desmond Carter played by the Very Brave Jeffrey V. Thompson (that's what the V. stands for); Carlotta played by Sarah Buxton; Jury Foreman played by Rachel Smith; Becky Larson played by Lynne Garbet; Dan Burleigh played by Wayne Duvall; Tom Grybowski played by Steve Cell; Freezepop played by David Sean Shaw; Uniform #2 played by Lou Picolli; Wall played by Brian Letscher, and Pixie as Her-snarling-damn-self.
John, lusting after the Philly Thong: "I love her!"
John, feeling decidedly less horny over Pixie: "Everytime I see a pit bull like that, there's a needle dick on the other end of it."
Andy, after getting two eyes-full of Wally's backdoor: "Uncle!"
And my favorite, mostly for the delivery of it...
Craig, explaining his whereabouts on the night of the crime: "I was at Becky's having some Big White Woman sex."
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