NYPD Blue: Summary/Review by Amanda Wilson akaPuedo01@aol.com
Season 8 Episode 12
"Thumb Enchanted Evening" 3/27/01
Teleplay by Buzz Bissinger
Story by Bill Clark & Buzz Bissinger
Directed by John Tracy
Blue once again makes good on its promise to lighten up.
MOB MESS: Sipowicz and Sorenson investigate the murder of a man whose body is found in the trunk of a car outside a social club frequented by the Scarpelli crime family.
The body had been in the trunk for a few weeks and wiseguys were all standing around when the police arrived. Andy shoves one's face into the stinky hulk in the trunk and gets a tentative ID: Eddie Testa.
Further investigation reveals Eddie Testa was a low-level Scarpelli man who was probably banging someone he shouldn't have been. The car he was in was stolen a week or so previous, and four days ago the car and driver were caught on film by an automatic camera which snapped a pic after a red light violation.
Andy shows the photo around the squad room, knowing the guy's face is familiar. Greg recognizes him as Charlie Carramaza who owns a pizza shop in the neighborhood. Andy and Danny sit on his place and pick him up when he comes out that afternoon.
Carramaza's attorney, Gerald Holtzman, shows up before his client is even comfortably seated in the interview room. After a long session chatting with said client, Holtzman asks for a deal. Charlie will spill the dirt on the nearly 30 homicides he's committed and on several others he has knowledge of if he's allowed to go into federal witness protection instead of to jail.
Andy and Danny don't like it, but they call ADA Heywood and a federal prosecutor and the deal is made. Charlie goes through the 15th's unsolved homicide files like he's looking through his grammar school yearbook. He happens upon the photo of the late Ricky Rivera, a drug dealer killed nine years ago.
Regret clouds Charlie's face as he recalls that, while he did not kill Ricky, Ricky's death cost the Scarpelli's a lot of money; he was sent out to kill Ricky's killer but could not locate him. He was a kid, Charlie remembers, named Kenny Sotomayor, just a college kid.
Andy and Danny want to close the Rivera killing. A check on Kenny reveals he's a customs agent at JFK and has held that job for five years. Kenny's supervisor is called into the squad. He's shocked that Kenny is a suspect. Kenny did four years in the military and then devoted himself to law enforcement. Kenny is like a son to him. No way could Kenny have done this. He was behind one of the biggest busts at JFK ever, just a few weeks ago. He's a fine young man.
Andy and Danny persuade the supervisor to call Kenny and tell him the detectives want him to come speak to them about the JFK bust. He begrudgingly obliges them.
Kenny arrives, spit-shined and proud, ready to talk about his big take down at the airport. But at the mention of the name Ricky Rivera, Kenny caves in. He admits to the homicide without hesitation and turns over his badge to his greatly disappointed supervisor.
By way of explaining himself, he tells how he was a drug user in college. He eventually turned to selling the stuff. One day while extremely stoned, he decided to cut out the middle man and whacked Rivera. Realizing immediately how stupid he'd been, he ran off and joined the military to hide from the mob. But during his tour, something changed in him. Cleaned up and living to his full potential, he decided to turn his life around. When he got out of the service, he decided to pay something back by getting into law enforcement, and he promised himself that if he was ever found out, he'd turn himself in without question.
Andy and Danny have so much respect for this that they agree to let him be taken off to life in prison wearing plain clothes and cuffed in front with a coat over his hands.
Meanwhile, mass murderer Charlie Carramaza is off to his hotel awaiting assignment in a new home with a new identity and new life.
GREEN THUMB: New 15th squad detective Connie McDowell is partnered with Diane Russell on a case involving a man who had half of his penis cut off by a men's room hustler in the subway.
Vincent Oxman is at Bellevue. He'll live, but he's not happy that two female detectives have been assigned to his rather sensitive case. Nevertheless, he tells how he met a short black man on the platform and, after the man winked at him, accompanied the man to a nearby restroom. The black man engaged him orally for a few minutes and then suddenly whacked off half his penis. The half a penis, about four or more inches in length according to the doctor, is still at large. There is, however, still a chance for reattachment if it can be found in enough time.
Diane and Connie, along with Baldwin and Greg, begin the task of trying to identify the hustler when the call comes in that a thumb has been found lying on the shelf of at ATM machine in the precinct. Sure enough, the thumb was not a thumb. The woman who found it was sure it was a thumb, but, as Baldwin said upon seeing it, "If that's a thumb, it's missing a nail." The half joint is packed in ice and sent off to the hospital for a "family reunion."
Later the detectives are aided, as were their colleagues Andy and Danny, by an automatic camera. The ATM machine photos from that morning revealed the face of one Shorty Boom, a homeless man who makes a living hustling men in the subway.
A search of the dank underbelly of New York turns up another homeless guy who tells there where Shorty usually works. That restroom is then invaded by the four detectives who arrive to see a man's feet in one stall and a paper bag sitting right in front of him.
Baldwin bangs on the stall door and orders everyone's pants up. Two men exit the stall--one had his feet in the bag. They've gotten their hands up, but their pants are still hanging around their ankles. Sure enough, one of them is the elusive Shorty Boom. The other is a Wall Streeter wearing a 2000-dollar suit and all the requisite accoutrements, who is begging like a girl for someone to cut him a break. Diane and Connie scare the shit out him and send him on his way.
Back at the house, Shorty tells it like it like was with Mr. Big after first trying to convince the detectives that the man had come on to him. His decision to tell the truth is aided significantly by the photo of him taken at the ATM. He explains that his customary fee for fellatio is fifteen dollars. Vincent, however, wanted to give him only ten. He accepted and got busy. A few minutes later, Vincent began instructing him on the finer points which just pissed Shorty off. He's an expert, you know, with a lot of experience, and doesn't need this cheap bastard telling him how to perform. So, he decided, essentially, that one good discount deserved another and quick as a wink the wonk was whacked.
Back at the hospital, Diane and Connie learn that Vincent refused the reattachment surgery. He explains to them that despite being beaten, robbed and humiliated several times over the years, he's been unable to stop himself from seeking out sex with strangers. He thinks this may do the trick.
FANCY: Early in the morning, Lt. Fancy is found pacing nervously in his office. The phone rings. After a few cryptic (to us) comments, Fancy hangs up and utters a deeply resonant "Yesssss!"
He walks out into the squad room where Diane, Greg, Baldwin and Connie are waiting to tell him about their case and announces that he's made Captain and that his new post starts next Tuesday. Congratulations go around a few times, and Andy walks in.
Andy reacts coolly to the news, and the minute he gets a chance to be alone with Art, asks him what he hell he's doing. He warns that Art may not stay assigned to the detective bureau, and that he may very well end up in uniform again. Art says he'll take his chances. Andy asks who the new Lt. will be but Art says he doesn't know.
Later, Andy confides to Danny that he's sure Fancy is holding out on them regarding his replacement. He deeds to call in a marker and find out what he can. For Andy, the information he gets couldn't be worse: Fancy's replacement is a woman. And she's coming over from the Rat Squad (Internal Affairs).
Danny's stomach churns at the news nearly as much as Andy's. They're ringing their hands over the horror of it all when the news does indeed get worse. PAA John has overheard the new Lieu's name, Susan Dalto, and he blanched at the sound of it. He rolled his chair for a confidential chat with Andy and says that if Dalto is indeed chosen as the new boss, he's going to quit. Why? Because he knows Dalto from the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) where she's known as a real ball-buster.
A man-hating lesbian for a boss. Andy's worst nightmare digs its roots into consciousness.
He marches into Fancy's office very pissed off and demanding to know why Art didn't tell him. Art swears he didn't know and promises to find out if the information is true.
It is true, of course, and Lt. Dalto arrives a short time later giving life to phrase bitch on wheels. Ever-friendly, John warmly introduces himself from GOAL. This doesn't impress the Lt. one tiny little bit. In fact, she makes a rude comment about his little toy hippo which lives perched atop his desk lamp. "Cute" she says, firing the label out like a nail gun.
Rolling into Fancy's office, she insults his command by pointing out that his squad is in horrible shape and then asks to see the personnel files. Fancy tries without success to defend the dirty laundry list she's whipped out: Andy's drinking, Diane and Bobby's marriage, Danny's propensity to club skels, etc. and finally turns over the files. He rolls his eyes at her, but only after he's sure she's not looking.
Later, Dalto rides her broom into the squad room. By this time, the entire squad is present. Fancy introduces her around. She casts a wary on everyone, especially Sorenson and Sipowicz. She smiles brightly, though, and tells a little about herself. She seems friendly enough at first, but as she begins to pace like a nazi prison camp guard, this tiny bit of wrapping comes off in a hurry. She informs the detectives that she plays by the rules, and that means rules, including a shave for Andy and proper footwear for Diane and Connie.
In essence, she manages to insult nearly everyone in the room in just a very few short minutes. She saves her best for Andy, though, as she walks over to him and makes it a point to insult him.
After work, Andy wanders around outside the front door until Fancy walks out. They take a few moments to awkwardly compliment each other and remember some of the bad old days when they used to hang out in rib joints. Art tells him he's a good cop. And he goes one further by telling Andy that if he's ever in trouble, Art will be his go to man.
ANDY AND CYNTHIA: Andy meets Cynthia for lunch. He explains to her that he's not been happy at all with the way she and her Uncle Eddie have been talking about him. She apologizes and explains that Eddie probably just assumes she's interested in what happens to Andy.
Andy then attempts to put some perspective on their relationship by telling her that he's not sure they're right for each other. She's disappointed, but tries to reassure him a little. They decide that they're just going to take it slow and see how it goes.
MOB MESS: It was a long way to making the point that the mob guys who turn state's evidence get a pretty sweet deal compared with your run of the mill killer with a heart of gold.
That said, I fully enjoyed the Carramaza scenes, and I also loved the scene at the top of the show where Andy shoves that poor jerk's face into the rotting body.
The wiseguy thing is one of my favorite motifs ("Goodfellas" being perhaps my all-time favorite film), and it was made even more fun by having Andy put that guy in his place. Sort of made me wish to see Andy square off with Tony Soprano... although I don't know who I'd root for.
Interesting to note that Blue is the show that really set the bar for shows like The Sopranos.
GREEN THUMB: What a very weird tale. Like the story above it, I think it's creation was a just a vehicle for a lot of clever one-liners and a way to fill in the cop stuff while the story of the new Lt. was taking center stage.
I found it very entertaining, however, because I kept laughing. It was almost funny enough to keep me from wondering why Shorty took the man's dick in the first place rather than just dropping it on the floor. Unless I missed it, this was not explained. It's the kind of detail that needs a word or two.
I also almost didn't wonder why on earth Diane and Connie went to ask Vincent why he didn't want his dick back. There was certainly no reason for them to ask other than sheer curiosity. Hey, I'd be curious too, but would I ask? No. This seemed to be a kind of convenient way to insert Vincent's speech into the story. Maybe a different approach would have achieved the same goal with a ring of realism, like having Vincent say right off the bat that he didn't want it back if was found. (It's not as if the story included an all-out search for it.)
Connie's doing great, by the way. She's clearly a sharper edge than Diane, which is great because it makes the pairing of them more interesting. Too bad Kim is leaving and we won't be able to see more development of their compelling partnership.
I think Connie would also be well matched with Greg (it'd be fun to see her defend him) or with Andy (it'd be fun to see which one of them could crack the nastiest comment).
FANCY: This story was the centerpiece of the show. The rest was just so much entertaining filler.
The fact that Fancy's departure is causing less concern than his replacement is about par for the course for this character. I'm not complaining, mind you. I love Art Fancy, and I think James McD did a fantastic job with him, but I was never in the camp lobbying for more Fancy stories. That's because I believe that Fancy, like everyone else in the squad who is not a detective, is one of the sidedishes that makes the show so solid. The fact that he was never featured much is OK with me. He was superb as the compliment to the main dish, and that's no small thing.
I will admit that I got tired of his stories very nearly always being about racial injustice. He was capable of doing much more, as we eventually got to see. Congratulations to James McDaniel on a fine run. Hope his future endeavors are just as rewarding.
And so who is our new boss? Dalto? Most of you have by now read that Esai Morales is joining the cast at the new Lt. That would qualify as a spoiler for the Dalto storyline, now wouldn't it?
Dalto is Andy's every nightmare. If you've watched NYPD Blue for any length of time, you probably realize that the addition of a character like that on a permanent basis would pretty much ruin the show. It would almost have to constantly be about what a bitch she is and how everyone hates her. Yawn. Thankfully, that's not going to be the case. This is an interesting way to make some new stories before the new guy arrives.
Her friction with Andy is completely predictable. I'm much more interested in her friction with Danny, and the women, or Baldwin.
ANDY AND CYNTHIA: Andy putting on the brakes in this way rang totally true to me. The last thing anyone wants in life is a clingy mate, and certainly not at a time in your life when you're feeling way through dating again. Glad to know there won't be wedding bells anytime soon, and that maybe we'll see Andy date a different kind of woman.
*I should pose this question to a doctor: How long before reattachment is no longer possible when a po po has spent the morning giving the one-eye to ATM customers?
*Victor refusing his penis: someone's been reading The Professor and the Madman... (Excellent book, by the way. Read it!)
*I though that at any moment, Charlie Carramazza was going to break into a Billy Crystal routine: Jimmy Apes, Timmy The Tuna, Ricky Rice-A-Roni, Vinnie Bag O' Donuts....you get the picture.
*Who doesn't know about ATM cameras? Certainly not a man who makes a living as a criminal. Or a man with, say, eyes. (It's not as if they're hidden).
*Po Po? Maybe Andy's been hanging out with Theo a little too much.
*Shorty Boom: This is one of the all-time great character names. Sounds like something a scorned woman would call her ex-amor's po po. "Yeah, Trixie, at least I don't gotta worry about pretending I'm impressed with little shorty boom no more."
*I liked very much the acknowledgment of past events in this episode: Andy's run-in with the Marino family and his shots in the butt. That's a very nice touch.
*Another nice touch in that regard was having Dalto bring up the Bobby & Diane office romance. Fancy made it a point to ignore it.
*Gee, I wonder what she'd have done if she'd know B & D did the wild thing in the locker room shower? Or that Greg fathered a child in one of the stalls?
*And what of Dalto's claim that Fancy runs a shoddy ship? Everything she said was true, even if her slant on it was evil. And there's more: The Kirkendall affair is a black mark on everyone. And there's Greg's romance with Donna, Andy's impersonation of an ADA, Danny's affair with Mary, Danny and Diane's affair, Diane's alcoholism, Diane's Leiry episode..... I can't remember what else. I mean, footwear ain't the half of it.
*Dalto wants Andy to shave. It looked to me like he was already missing half his mustache. Anyone else notice this?
*Perfect involvement of Our PAA John this week. He was involved in a small way in everything going on, which is probably true of real-life PAAs. I'll say it again: Bill Brochtrup & his John Irvin make the best PAA ever.
*Greg was the brave man of the hour when Dalto was speaking, wasn't he? The only one with nerve enough to answer the question "Are there any questions?" and sense enough to keep the question civil.
*Shorty said he accepted the 10 bucks instead of the 15 for his services in the restroom because he was hungry (I think he meant for food, but hey, what how can we be sure? ) I know, that's sick and disgusting. Even for one of my reviews.
*One shot I loved a lot: Danny and Andy framing the doorway into the squadroom and Fancy standing at his office door in the center of the shot. The two main guys framing the less-main-but-still-important guy... that looked cool.
*Second shot I loved a lot: John rolling over in his chair for a private confab with Sipowicz.
*Winemaker? I've never heard that one before. What's the old saying? Explained euphemisms are failed euphemisms. No, that's not it. ;)
*When Andy took Kenny's sidearm I though immediately of Andy Gets His Gun. Must have been the goofy mood the rest of the show put me in.
*I guess the Army has a whole new hook for recruiting now.
*Denise Crosby sure has changed. And she really looked the part tonight.
CAST LEGACIES AND SUNDRY INFO:
Previously On NYPD Blue: Eric Poppick (Vincent Oxman): He played a doctor on Blue in 1995. He's also been on LA Law and Seinfeld; Lou Casal (Carramaza): He was on Blue in 95 as well. And our regulars: Billy Concha as Officer Miller, Michael Echols as Officer Echols, Ray LaTulipe as Josh Astrachan, Juliana Donald as Cynthia Bunin.
Previously Elsewhere: Denise Crosby (Lt. Dalto): She's got a long list of credits, but is probably best known for her role as Tasha Yar (also a Lt.) on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
John Pleshette (Gerald Holtzman): Suzanne's brother has a long list of movie and television credits. He was on Bochco's Murder One as well.
Michael Cavalier (Johnny): He's been on ER and was in the cable flick Marshall Law with Jimmy Smits. Richard Tanner (Dr. Zachain): He's done the West Wing, and was on General Hospital as Mark Cerullo. Zaid Farid (Terry Lawrence): He was on City of Angels. Jessie Goins (Bradley Odom): He's been in nearly every TV show ever made, including LA Law and Hill Street Blues.
Rounding out the cast: James Eugene Davis as Officer Hutchinson (Hutch?); Michele Gregory as Alison, Finder Of Penis, Terence L. Washington as Shorty Boom, Jeff Allen as Bill Stiles, Patrick O' Connell as Henry Kaufman, Ricardo Antonia Chavira as Kenny Sotomayor.
LINES OF THE WEEK:
Let me state upfront that I am not going to write all of them down here. I'd have to include nearly every other exchange and none of us has that kind of time. Here are few of my favorites:
Johnny the Wiseguy after Andy shoves his face into the dead body: "I'm gonna call my attorney. I'm gonna sue you for harrassment. You're a pussy."
Andy: "Guy's calling his attorney being harrassed and he's calling me a pussy."
Andy: "C'mon! What kind of a jerk is gonna confuse something the size of a thumb with what you're looking for?"
John: "Trust me, detective, there are a lot of them out there that could be confused with a thumb."
Greg on seeing the rather large "thumb": "And that's half.... No wonder my wife threw me out."
Diane to the woman who found the "thumb": "Actually, it's not a thumb."
Woman: "What is it?"
Diane: "A penis."
Connie: "Actually, half a penis."
Woman: "That's sick and disgusting. Even for New York."
NEXT WEEK: James McDaniel exits as Lieutenant Fancy moves on to his new position as a captain and the abrasive Lt. Dalto moves in, but not for long. Meanwhile, a teenage immigrant girl with a troubled past is murdered and the suspects are many.
Have a great week,