NYPD Blue Summary/Review by Amanda Wilson aka Puedo01@aol.com
Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.

"Stoli With A Twist"
Season 12, Episode 13
1/11/05
Teleplay by Tom Szentgyorgyi
Story by Bill Clark & Tom Szentgyorgyi
Directed by Jesse Bochco

And the crowd goes wild..... Short summary followed by longer review. (I think I'm finally starting to get the hang of this.)

SUMMARY

AA STING

The detectives keep up their undercover operation at AA meetings. They turn up several likely suspects, but settle on one of the guys who made a play for Rita. He goes by the name Justin, and when he turns up at a meeting Murph and Greg are staking out, Murph plays the victim so well that he makes a play for her. He persuades her to go drinking. She takes him to a dummy apartment where she does three fairly sizable shots of Vodka and comes on to the guy. He's telling her how his mother was a whore and how she's probably a whore too. She says she is and throws herself at him. He tells her he's going to choke the life out of her like all the others, and when he throws his hands around her throat, she throws him to the ground and pulls a gun on him. The other cops bust into the room not a moment too soon. The vodka is starting to catch up with her a bit.

KILLING CLARK'S GHOSTS

A hangover from Clark's recent drinking days comes back to haunt him when he and Baldwin catch the murder of former nurse Steve McClintock. He was on the hook for murdering a pregnant woman in an adoption scam (earlier this season), but his case got tossed out when it was revealed that Clark slept with McClintock's girlfriend Carly who was a witness in the case. Steroids are found at the scene of MClintock's murder. That, combined with Carly's convincing story and solid alibi, steer them away from looking at her. Then Narcotics tells them they picked up a guy who had a trunkload of McClintock's steroids. Nathan Creek tells them he got robbed McClintock of the drugs, and killed him, because Carly told him where the drugs would be. But, he says, Carly promised him McClintock wouldn't be there.

They believe she set it up on purpose, knowing Creek would kill for such a big payday, but they can't prove it. She says Creek is lying.

Next, they talk to a guy who made a phone call to McClintock, and he tells them Carly put him up to calling McClintock and setting up a time to buy some of the steroids he was selling. The appointment was set for the time of the murder.

She says that guy is lying, too, and when confronted with the real reason she was fired from her last job--drugs--she says her former employer is lying. Clark tells her it's all over now and she's caught, no matter what she says. She confesses, but still somehow believes she's the victim.

ADA + COP

ADA Munson asks Clark for lunch. He's interested but busy, and when she asks about the case, he tells her Carly is involved. She seems cool with that and asks to be kept informed. However, when he informs her by way of asking if they can hold Carly as a suspect, she tells him no and barks at him for wasting her time. Later, after more evidence is found that forces a confession, Munson comes back around to apologize for blowing up. She admits to feeling unprofessional about Clark and Carly. Clark tells her its fine and asks her to dinner. They make plans for a Friday night date.

THE GIFT

Greg is flattered by a gift from Bridgett: a lovely bottle of wine wrapped in a little scarf. She sent it to his office to congratulate him on his good work in the real estate deal. Greg tells the squad it's because he helped her out. Everyone has fun explaining the real reason: she likes him. Greg gets uncharacteristically quiet.

BALE HAS ANOTHER SECRET

At the end of the day, Bale is giving Andy a pat on the back. He decides to let Andy in on another secret: he's heard from some friends who are in the know that Andy has passed the Sergeant's exam and will be notified officially soon. Andy can barely contain his joy as he returns to the squad room, but he does contain it and choses not to tell the inquisitive Clark. He then takes a long look around the room he's called home for so many years and sorrow begins to edge his joy as he contemplates moving on. Where a few seconds earlier he was masking a smile, in these final moments he finds himself blinking back tears.

REVIEW

AA STING

It sure was good to have a story arc, but it's too bad it was a short one. It seems the show has some trouble striking a balance between making them too cumbersome and not keeping enough of a good thing around. I suppose it's best to leave us wanting more, and this one did. I don't know where else they could have gone with it.

I thought this episode featured the very best work ever from Jackie O. and some very fine work from Bonnie Somerville. Jackie had complete command of the opening scene, and played the conversation about Rita's hair perfectly. That was a terrific bit of writing: it was just weird enough to make you wonder if the guy was a freak, but it was also light and quirky enough to be believable. You could see a girl falling into an easy conversation about her hair with a perfect stranger--you did see it, sort of. (And, not that it's important to the story, but it made me look a lot at her hair which is very pretty.) In fact, the whole scene was a winner--all of the conversations were fast, all the people could have been the weirdo murderer, and the call at the end about the latest killing set up the rest of the show quite nicely.

On to Bonnie's work as drunk and easy. She played drunk pretty well, but I thought the easy stuff was a bit underplayed. The lines seemed to lend themselves to a more drunk, more playful woman. He was completely serious, but she was playing it like he was just coming on in a very nasty, dirty way. I think that was the right way to play it, but it might have added more tension if she'd have put a little more of her own nasty lust into it, acting like all that sick talk about his mother really turned her on. It would have made the scene more shocking, I think. The scene was, however, really intense. Things that added up to that intensity included the way the guy stalked around her slowly, the sickly yellow light, the closing of the blinds and the way he stood behind her. All of those decisions were aces. The capper was when she told Rita that she probably shouldn't drive. (I'd have ended it there instead of keeping the line about how she wished he hadn't touched her. She's a cop--c'mon, bad guys touch in undercover work. You don't like it, but you don't whine about it, right? Besides, she threw him down pretty well for a half-drunk, skinny chick about to get murdered.)

Interesting that Andy sort of took a back seat in solving all of this. He just guided it rather than driving it. That's OK.

CLARK'S GHOST

I guess this story was all about clearing Clark's slate and making him shiny again. Well, shiny enough for Flip (ADA Munson's nickname until they bring that do under control).

I liked the tension between Clark and Carly in the first scene, but after that, the story didn't do much for me. I'm not interested in Flip and Clark getting together. I can certainly buy that Flip would be attracted him--he's very attractive--but I don't buy that she's gotten over his rather huge transgression in the Carly case. It's easy for us to see he's a great guy who just hit a bad patch and made a mistake--we know Clark pretty well--but she's only just met him. The lion's share of her experience with him has been that he blew a murder case by banging a witness, and I think for most reasonable people that would be a tough thing to forget. Yes, he protected that other witness by camping outside her apartment all night, but that wasn't enough.

This is the kind of story in which stretching the bounds of believability doesn't work for me. It would be whole lot more interesting if Flip weren't so damn easy for him. She bounces in asking for a lunch date, she has to "think" if she's free Fri--she is! Wouldn't it be more fun if he were the one falling for her and having to work to win her over after his big fuck up? He could do a little more internal twisting that way, and we could be rooting for him to get the girl of his dreams. As is, we all know we're just going to see him doing external twisting before the season's out (um, not that there's anything really wrong with that).

THE GIFT

Can you feel Greg's happy ending coming? I'm utterly convinced it will be a happy ending. I don't know for sure, but I'm blissfully hopeful that one nice guy will not finish last.

SECRET

It's no surprise that Andy passed the sergeant's exam. I think he'll have a happy ending, too. The surprise was, for me, how damn emotional I got over it. Dennis Franz going from happy to tearful in zero-point-two was remarkable, and it shook me up.

I have never watched a TV show for this long, and certainly not with this much involvement (I mean, who does? Not even David Milch stayed with it this long, I tell you!) and frankly, there have been times when I thought I'd give it up (the Sorenson years were tough on us all) but now that I've stuck with it all this time.... I guess it's dawning on me that the end really is near. Seems to have been dawning on Dennis in that scene. If I'm not the only one who's been watching this since Dennis was a toddler, I guess I'm not the only one who welled up there. Maybe I'll be grateful for these scenes which ease us away from the thing.

QUICK HITS

*Interesting how, after two AA meetings, Murph is suddenly an expert on how alcoholics behave. "The DOA would never drink in a bar..." The DOA was in AA for three weeks, before which I'll be she spent a ton of time drinking in bars. Not to mention the fact that Andy, who was looking on from behind her while she said this, hit at least one of his off-the-wagon benders in a bar.

*I like how Andy took care of Roger, but I wonder if he'd be better off in detox for a while and then going to meetings. I mean, if you think you could kill someone while drinking and you go drinking, I'd say you might be in a bit of a crisis.

*Bartender, that'll be a Double Hank!

*How much do you suppose the rent is on that Manhattan dummy apartment? I could be on the air weekends at 1010 WINS if they'd let me have it. I promise to let them use it whenever they need to catch a killer....

*So, is Bale ever going to be a jerk again? That was fun. Tick, tick, tick.

*I liked the happy music which heralded the gift scene.

*Murph called Medavoy "Gregie." Is she allowed to do that? Actually, that scene was outstanding because she did that and because everyone else had such good reactions. Clark was the expert: "That's not why she sent it!" Baldwin was wing man, "My man!" Rita and Murph were girlie--PJ, too. Andy looked as if he had to steel himself to hear facts about Greg's dating life that, had he actually heard them, would have sent him running to the bathroom, clutching his gut. And Bale ruined the fun by flying out of his office all businesslike asking about the murder case. The only one not himself, as previously mentioned, was Greg who blushed and shut up. Excellent few minutes of pure character, and finely played by all.

*Another great scene like the above was when a few of the squad folk were watching the AA meeting video. Just like in offices around the globe, the focus shifts suddenly from the task at hand to useless commentary. Of course, it's not useless to us: it gives us a nice little window into our characters and their relationships with one another, and it lends a great deal of credibility all that they do. Those are all the reasons we watch. Again, well done.

*Andy in blue jeans. I know it was just for the AA work, but it seems to fit him as he relaxes into a better life after his hard years in 15th. He's much cooler now that most of his shit is worked out and no one's on their death bed.

*The Trojan Gym. Cute.

*Lisa Lackey is such a lovely young woman. But someone needs to fix that flippy do, man. However, it did look better tonight.

CAST LEGACIES

compiled by J.(uciy) L. (ips) Garner:

Previously on NYPD Blue... Lisa Lackey as A.D.A. Munson, Myndy Crist as Carly Landis, Scott Atkinson as Dr. Steve McClintock

Previously on NYPD Blue as someone else...
--Karl Makinen (Nathan Creek) -- was in Season 1's "Abandando Abandoned." Has since appeared on "Brooklyn South," "Philly," and "Six Feet Under," as well as in the films "Conspiracy Theory," "Thirteen Days," and "House of Sand and Fog"

--Jeris Lee Poindexter (leader) -- he was in Season 3's "Burnin' Love" and last year's "Peeler? I Hardly Knew Her." He's also done "CSI: NY," "Bernie Mac," and the movie "Soul Plane" since then--

Nino Neuboeck (bodybuilder) -- not your traditional entry for this section; Mr. Neuboeck's worked on "NYPD Blue" in the past as a first assistant cameraman. He's also had the same job on the films "Hulk," "The One," "Evolution," and the TV show "Charmed"

Not previously on NYPD Blue...
--Paul Lieber (Max Pec) -- he's been on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Alias," "Judging Amy," "X-Files," and "The Practice"

--Zeljko Ivanek (Justin Deroos) -- best known for his roles as Governor Devlin on "Oz," Andre Drazen from the first season of "24," and A.S.A. Ed Danvers on "Homicide." He's also been on "L&O," "West Wing," and "L.A. Law"

--Rochelle Robinson (Ina) -- you've seen her on "Scrubs" and "3rd Rock"

--Joanna Canton (Kerri Heath) -- she's appeared on "That 70s Show," "Crossing Jordan," "Spin City," and "Freaks and Geeks"

--Sasha Mitchell (Darian Lasalle) -- his other roles include roles on "Dallas" and "Step by Step," as well as appearances on "ER," "JAG," and "St. Elsewhere"

--Jim Metzler (Roger Harborn) -- his resume includes appearances on "CSI: NY," "Sliders," "JAG," "Deep Space Nine," "Beauty and the Beast," the first two "North and South" miniseries, and the film "976-EVIL"

--Juan Garcia (Henry Delgado) -- he's been on "LAX," "The Handler," "West Wing," "Judging Amy," "Voyager," "Seinfeld," and "The Shield"

--George LePorte (Warren) -- he's appeared on "Cold Case," and in the movie "Higher Learning"

--Scott Conte (George) -- other appearances include "Boston Legal," "Joan of Arcadia," and "Seinfeld"

--Stephen O'Mahoney (uniform) -- you've seen him on "Passions," "Firefly," and "Voyager"

--Kelly McCool (leader) -- had a role in "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" and an uncredited role in "Maid in Manhattan"

LINES OF THE WEEK

Baldwin to the muscle head in the Trojan Gym re: steroids: "That stuff you take is gonna shrink your balls, give you tits and destroy your liver."
Muscle head: "Your point being?"

Greg commenting on the babe exiting a downtown AA meeting: "All these years, going to bars. I should have been going to meetings."

See you next week!
Amanda Wilson