"The 3-H Club"
Season 12, Episode 9
Teleplay by Greg Ball and Steve Blackman
Story by Bill Clark, Greg Ball and Steve Blackman
Directed by Mark Tinker
A neighbor of Craig's, Mrs. Barker, is questioned after the super reported he saw her in Craig's place. She finally admits they had an affair but says her family knows nothing about it.
Michael's aunt Tammy, who Craig once beat up and whose sister was Craig's murdered wife, comes in. She admits she owns a gun and agrees to turn it over, but is worried because she got it illegally.
The e-mail Michael sent is traced to the account of a dweeb little pal of his named Tennyson. Tennyson and his extra-dweeby parents (they chose the name, after all), come in to talk. The kid has a major attitude but finally admits that Michael has been staying in his older brother's dorm room at NYU.
That's where the cops find him, and he's got Baldwin's missing gun with him. Andy and Clark tell him Craig is dead. Michael says he glad, but says he didn't do it.
Another gun then turns up in the laundry room at Craig's building. About this time, Mrs. Barker's husband, Harold, comes in to talk. He's a middle class suit fresh from a management seminar. After being told his wife is going to get indicted for murder, he admits to the crime. Later, his wife comes in and claims she did it. One is protecting the other, both knew where the murder weapon was, so the case is left up to a grand jury.
Bale, meanwhile, decides to let Tammy skate on the weapons charge. Baldwin and Michael patch things up with Andy's fatherly help.
Meanwhile, Det. Donnelly from another precinct comes in because he's investigating a homicide that likely connected to the molestation. He speaks Latin to the priest, making it clear he's a Catholic from the old school, and then looks up the priest's history and finds he's been accused of molestation in the past.
Det. Donnelly goes ape on the Father, accusing him of molesting the boy and telling him there's no way he can get out of it. The personal vendetta is so clear that Rita and Murph have to yank the cop out of the room and settle him down. At that moment Lynn arrives with news: first, she has personal knowledge that Father is turned on by women, not boys and second, one of her soup kitchen patrons made copies of the van keys.
Eric is picked up and forced to confess to being alone with Eddie in the van that morning. He doesn't go for the murder, but he's real close before he lawyers up. Det. Donnelly explains his altar boy past (not that he needs to), eats crow then offers to share by taking Rita and Murph out to dinner.
And please don't write to tell me that this is how teenagers are. First, not all of them are. Second, the point should be that we, the audience, buy into the resolution of the story. As written, this story's resolution was all about whether Baldwin would be mad at Michael. Hello? Was that ever in doubt to us? No. What's audience-worthy here is whether Baldwin's love for Michael will make a difference in Michael's life, Michael's attitude, Michael's future. That's what I wanted to see.
Am I supposed to feel sorry for the detective who got molested? I can do that, so long as he doesn't lay his justified anger unjustly at the feet of an innocent man. That's inexcusable. Again, there's no personal growth here, and that's what this show has always been about to me. Instead of seeing a person deal with his demons--or at least struggle with them--we see him take his bad luck and try to use it as a weapon against another person. Then he makes amends by offering an apology to two people who were not harmed (and offers to buy them dinner, wow). What's compelling about that? He should have taken his apology down to the church and put it where it belonged, then spent the dinner-for-three money helping to stock the soup kitchen. And instead of being thrilled at the thought of a free meal, our detectives on the case, our main characters in the story, might have suggested that to him.
Greg Medavoy, the tedious raconteur, the conveyor of copious communications, is asked by his attorney to keep it simple. There's a challenge. Greg meets it, then wanders, as Greg must. His attorney is nervous, the audience holds its breath a bit, waiting to see if the hapless Greg Medavoy has it within to understand his own foibles and overcome at a time of crisis. It would have been easy--expected--to have Greg blither on and still come out a winner. Instead, we got a succinct account, a shining ornament on the story. It was completely in line with Greg's character to have spoken up, but it was a sign of positive change that he did it so eloquently.
And then the very best two scenes all-around: Greg's confrontation with Bale and the moment leading up to it. Currie Graham played the reaction to Greg's sentence perfectly. Bale is a single-minded man. He did what he did to make a point. The substance of that point may be up for debate, but the fact that he succeeded in making it is not. He made a statement--a point--very clearly by taking action against Greg and seeing it through. In his world, there is no reason for regret. In his world, he achieved what he set out to achieve and that's that, now on to the next thing.
But for Medavoy, naturally, there's more to the story. And, again true to his nature, he's not about to shut up. The menacing way the transition between these scenes was presented is the height of excellence. (Would that the rest of the show were its match...) We in the audience are barely through the first of our mutterings at Bale's casual, cruel brush off of this attempt on Greg's career when a sharp close of a door brings Medavoy over Bale's shoulder like a swarm, hushing us. Greg speaks, again more eloquently than we're used to hearing, and says to Bale what only Andy has had the courage so far to say. Greg doesn't accomplish anything with Bale--neither did Andy--but he accomplished a lot for Greg. He punctuates his personal triumph by not falling into the need to seek approval--or anything--from Andy when Andy asks him what's going on. He walks out, silently and very much under his own power. Brilliant.
*Bale has now threatened the careers of nearly everyone in the squad. Greg, Baldwin, Clark, Andy, and, on a smaller scale, Rita. I think Murph and PJohn are as yet unscathed. So, when's the mutiny? And when do the uniforms get involved?
*Three kids are questioned in this show, only one with his parents. How do they question an 8 year old molestation victim without his parents there? And, while I realize having Michael's guardian in the room in this case wouldn't have been appropriate, what about his social worker? I don't know what the rules are, and I can see them being bent in Michael's case, but talking to that kid at school without his folks seemed way off to me. Wouldn't the school have called his parents at least right after calling the cops? I know there are time and budget constraints, but that one really stuck out.
*The best guests of the week were Tennyson and his parents. That family represents everything you love to hate about yuppies, and the whole package was presented perfectly in everything from the kid's name, to the clothes they all wore and the expressions the actors hung on their faces. It's an example of how the smallest things work together to tell a story. More evidence: the kid takes a moment to rat his brother Jason out for staying with his girlfriend, and the mother referring to Jason as "Tennyson's brother," rather than something like "our other son." There seems to be a whole, wonderful story of family rivalries behind that. (Here's how I want to see it: Jason isn't hers, but is his from a previous marriage which she considers her husband's greatest failure. She wasn't afraid to name the son she produced Tennyson, convinced of her own power to make this kid so great that he'd overcome that awkward moniker and outshine his brother and every other kid on earth. The irony is that little Tennyson is anything but great--he's jealous of Jason, and just as obnoxious and tedious as every third kid his age--and he's in a police station getting questioned about hiding a possible murderer.) I loved this.
Previously on NYPD Blue:Cyrus Farmer as Craig Woodruff, Andre Jamal Kinney as Michael Woodruff, Paula Newsome as Tammy Carlyle,.
Previously on NYPD Blue as somebody else:
--Gregg Daniel (Harold Barker) -- was in Season 8's "Everyone Into the Poole." He's also been on "Desperate Housewives," "Nip/Tuck," "West Wing," "Voyager," and the late '90s "Mike Hammer" revival
--Eddie Kehler (Eric Larson) -- appeared in Season 9's "Safari, So Good." His other credits include "The District," "L.A. Dragnet," and "Ally McBeal"
Not previously on NYPD Blue:
--Matt DeCaro (Emmet Minor) -- has made appearances on "CSI," "L&O: SVU," and the movies "Mr. 3000" and "U.S. Marshals"
--Paul Butcher (Eddie Cowan) -- you've seen him on "LAX," "That 70s Show," "ER," "Lyon's Den," and "Six Feet Under"
--Mark Chaet (Norman Kerasik) -- his resume includes the films "The House of Sand and Fog," and "Liar Liar," as well as appearances on "Las Vegas," "Enterprise," "West Wing," "ER," "Scrubs," and "X-Files"
--Shawn Michael Patrick (Scott Drazin) -- he's been on "Boston Legal," "Alias," "American Dreams," "Gilmore Girls," and "The Practice"
--J. Patrick McCormack (Connor Schmertz) -- credits include "West Wing," "L.A. Dragnet," "The District," "X-Files," "Ally McBeal," "The Pretender," "Babylon 5," "Deep Space Nine," and "Seinfeld"
--Dmitri Boudrine (Stanko Causevic) -- you've seen him on "Monk," "Alias," "Will & Grace," "Robbery Homicide Division," "X-Files," and the film "Cast Away"
--Dawnn Lewis (Jocelyn Barker) -- her credits include the original cast of "A Different World," recurring roles on "Any Day Now," "Futurama," and the mid-90s animated "Spider-Man" series, as well as guest spots on "Andy Richter Controls the Universe," "Early Edition," and "Sliders"
--Ken Marino (Gerard Donnely) -- was a cast member of the MTV sketch comedy show "The State," and has also appeared on "Monk," "Las Vegas," "Dawson's Creek," "Will & Grace," and "The Practice"
--Ned Schmidtke (Father McIntyre) -- his recent work includes appearances on "JAG," "ER," "Crossing Jordan," "West Wing," and next year's sequel to Bond-wannabe "xXx"
--Colton James (Tennyson Singer) -- he was on "Port Charles" for two years, and has appeared on "Judging Amy," "CSI," "ER," "X-Files," and in the films "The Lost World: Jurassic Park," "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me," and "The Cell"
--Bob Pescovitz (Claude Singer) -- you've seen him on "Judging Amy," "Hunter," "Cheers," and "L.A. Law"
--Stephanie Nash (Prudence Singer) -- she's appeared on "7th Heaven," "L.A. Dragnet," "Boston Public," "Judging Amy," and "Frasier"
--Christine Estabrook (Lynn Cahill) -- her resume includes "Spider-Man 2," "The Usual Suspects," and appearances on "Desperate Housewives," "Six Feet Under," "The Practice," "X-Files," and "L.A. Law"