NYPD Blue Summary/Review by Amanda Wilson aka Puedo01@aol.com

"22 Skidoo"
Season 10 Episode 22
5/20/03
Teleplay by Matt Olmstead
Story by Bill Clark & Matt Olmstead
Directed by Mark Tinker

Not the best episode of the year, but it smacked us with a good surprise and a couple of cliffhangers....

SUMMARY

BODEGA MURDERS:

The squad is busy investigating what turns out to be a string of murders at bodegas. A Korean man, a Pakistani and a man referred to simply as Arab are all gunned down.

The Korean is killed first and a look into Asian gang activity turns up nothing. The murder of the Pakistani in another precinct turns up a finger print that goes back to a guy named Terry Parkhurst.

Andy and JC go to visit Terry and find his brother, Mike, living in his apartment. Mike is a veteran of Gulf One and is in a wheelchair. Andy looks at his medals and asks him a few questions but they get nothing out of him regarding his brother.

Later, a witness from the murder of the Korean man says she saw a black Monte Carlo zooming away from the scene. The partial plate number comes back to Terry Parkhurst. The cops go to his place again and find no one is home. At Tony's direction, they stake it out. When the car shows up--solid black with dark tinted windows--Andy gets on the radio and tells everyone to hang back. Apparently, Hank and Lisa from anti crime don't get the message. They walk toward the car, the driver makes them for cops and peels away. Three fender benders later, the Monte Carlo is gone and Andy is stuck in traffic bitching a blue streak about it.

A few minutes later, they get word of the third bodega murder. Tony shows up at this crime scene because these murders are getting some attention outside the squad and he's feeling some heat. They have nothing, however.

Greg and Baldwin stay on Terry's apartment. When Mike comes back with some groceries later, they decide to take him around the neighborhood to look for Terry in some of his haunts. They call in at one point and Connie is relaying information. Mike is spending most of the time bitching about his war experience, and a theory is developed that his brother is pissed off at the Axis of Evil and is killing people on that basis. When Connie relays that Mike has been talking about jumping into hot drop zones, Andy's ears perk up. He gets on the phone and tells Greg and Baldwin to haul Mike's ass in.

When Andy talks to Mike, he hammers him on the drops and informs him there were none during the Gulf war. He also nails him on a few other details and it's clear very quickly Mike has been lying. It becomes even more clear when Junior notices his scuffed up shoes and Andy them dumps him out of his wheelchair onto the floor. He tries to maintain, though, and doesn't react when Andy kicks him. He scrambles pretty fast a minute later when Andy flips out a switchblade and threatens to run it through his leg. Then the story comes out how he cared for his brother, who was the real Gulf vet, through all kinds of illnesses and how the war stole his life. He's convinced the Axis of Evil killed his brother.

HONEY BUNS:

Junior and Dr. D. wake up together after their first night together. JC brings her a cup of coffee while she's still in bed. She thinks it's sweet but is a little confused by the honey bear on the nightstand. Turns out he doesn't put honey in his coffee but wants it instead on her body. He covers her with it and begins to lick it off while she fakes a little protest.

He's late for work. The Doc drops him off at a crime scene and Rita happens to see it. It pisses her off royally and she makes sure JC knows it. He gets mad at her for being mad and they're the Bickersons for a while.

When they have a moment alone, John wants to know why she's so bent. She doesn't really explain it and they end up arguing again until she calls him an asshole and leaves. He talks to Andy about it a bit.

Later, John finds her an apologizes. He tells her he doesn't want to hurt her and can't understand why there isn't some way to work it out so they can be civil to each other. She tells him not to worry about it, she'll work it out.

At the end of the day, Rita has worked it out. She walks into Tony's office when nearly everyone is gone and hands in a request for a transfer. Tony tries to get her talk about it, but she won't. He tells her he'll sit on it for a day and if she still wants the transfer tomorrow, he'll sign it. She agrees.

THE SECOND GRADER:

Greg makes Second Grade detective after five tries and writes a poem about it.

DING DONG:

Baby matters settled and a proposal on the table accepted, Connie and Andy move ahead with wedding plans. They're not wasting any time, either. They've planned a small ceremony at their apartment for 7 that evening. Connie lines up a judge friend of hers to do the honors.

Tony calls Andy in to tell him there is no way he can get around the department rules on married couples working together. He tells Andy one of them will have to transfer. Andy suggests they could get married and keep it secret. Tony says he won't give them any trouble over it, but that he can't really know about it.

Connie and Andy discuss the situation. They decide to go ahead with it and hide it from the brass.

Later, Connie gets bad news from her judge friend. She's tied up with a case and can't make it that night. PJohn finally confesses to his eavesdropping and tells them they can get someone to register on line with the Universal Church of whatever and that person can perform the ceremony. Naturally, they ask PJohn to do it. Naturally, he's thrilled and agrees. The whole squad is ready to attend and keep it all hush hush.

When everyone is leaving for the day, Tony comes out of the locker room. PJohn bids him a good night and Tony responds with an arresting "Good night, Reverend." He knows, and everybody knows he knows. He understands why he's not invited, wishes them well and returns to his office.

Before she leaves, the bride walks over to Rita to ask if she's going to make it. Rita declines, explaining that she's not comfortable enough with Junior to be a small wedding with him.

FRAKER FREAKS OUT:

Capt. Fraker from IAB is on the war path and it leads him right into Tony's office. He barges in and tells Tony that the 15th has been under surveillance for a few weeks and that Tony is in a lot of trouble. The list of problems include cops leaving early, taking long lunches and coming to work late. Specifically he mentions Andy being chummy with unregistered informants who are drug dealers. Tony is not intimidated and tells Fraker straight out that this petty bullshit is all based in his personal vendetta against him and Andy. Fraker demands Tony give him every scrap of paperwork on the squad since he took over by the end of business that day.Tony says he'll get to it when he can and the argument continues while Greg tries to listen through the window.

Finally, Fraker comes out of Tony's office and barks at Andy that he needs to be available for questioning about four of his past homicide investigations. He leaves quickly. Andy and Tony talk.

Later, Sgt. Martens arrives at Tony's request. He's surprised by the things Fraker has said. He informs Tony that there has been no investigation into the 15th. He then tells Tony that someone ratted Fraker out recently about his affair with a department employee and that Fraker was passed over for promotion. It's clear to Tony that Fraker thinks someone in the 15th turned him (Andy threatened to earlier), and that Fraker is out to get them.

Tony doesn't share this with Andy, but Andy starts to get some idea when Fraker barges into the locker room and tells Andy he's in deep shit for beating on a suspect several years ago. Andy is a little concerned but becomes more worried when Fraker brings up accusations of crime scene tampering and his life with Connie. Fraker then tells Andy he's a jackpot because of Andy that he's taking Andy down with him. Andy has no idea what he's talking about and says so. Fraker leaves.

After everyone but Rita has gone home for the day, Fraker comes back to the squad room and bursts through Tony's office door. He's trashed and starts barking at Tony get Sipowicz back in the squad. Tony pages Andy and tries to calm Fraker down a little. Fraker keeps on, though, and tells Tony the only reason he got the job he has is because he's Puerto Rican. Tony asks him to leave, but Fraker won't. Then he calls Tony a spic. That's Tony's last straw. He gives Fraker the choice of leaving on his own or getting his ass kicked and thrown out. Fraker seems to realize he's beaten already and turns around to leave. He picks up his briefcase, swiftly draws his weapon and fires one shot at Tony's heart. Hit, Tony falls behind his desk. Fraker draws on him again, intending to finish him off, when a shot rings out, crashes through Tony's office window and drops Fraker. Rita, still not gone home after her transfer request, is on the other end of that gun.

The wedding now postponed, the whole squad gathers at the hospital. They learn the bullet missed Tony's heart and spinal cord but that it hit a lung. The prognosis could be worse, but his vitals aren't consistently stable.


REVIEW

Two weeks in a row I'm disappointed, and this is the season finale. No one should be disappointed by a season finale. It's just not right. In a nutshell, the reason it's disappointing: These stories are flimsy and weak. It's as if someone's asleep at the switch, totally preoccupied with things outside of work or not eating their Wheaties, I don't know. Here we go on each of the stories:

BODEGA MURDERS or the AXIS OF VILE:

This may be the first time on this show that I've ever found a crook and his backstory wholly unbelievable. Maybe it's my years as a news reporter that does it to me (I'm interested if anyone with a job not in any way connected to crime feels the same way), but who goes on an anger-motivated killing spree and stops to pick up groceries? You could see a sociopath doing that, but if this guy is a sociopath it's not likely he's going to start crying and blaming others for his brother's death. It just didn't click at all. Hey, I'm no shrink, but I do know this story didn't work, fellas. The character was just too fake and the story wrapped up just like they used to on Starsky and Hutch: overblown melodrama.

Then there are the details that were forgotten or cut out or whatever. These ran rampant in all stories tonight, but in this story the one that stands out is how in hell Mike got upstairs in his wheelchair in the first place. Is there an elevator we've never seen in the 10 years we've been staring at the squad room? Maybe there is one...but I don't remember ever seeing it. And I would have liked to have know how Andy knew there were no jumps into hot DZs. Yes, I know Andy's history in Vietnam and from that, I can assume he follows this kind of stuff, but I've never seen him do it. And there's never been any indication he's into anything but fish and reading to Theo. What I'm saying is that this was another Starksky & Hutch kind of thing: we're supposed to buy that the hero (a man we've known intimately enough over the past 10 years to have seen his bare butt and been to all his major family events) just somehow happens to know the very fact necessary to unravel all the evildoing and bam, it's done. Aw, c'mon....that's cheap. Where's the police work? I know the show's about Andy, but Andy is a cop, not a superhero.

I liked the car crashes. I don't get how Andy didn't signal Hank and Lisa that he wanted to wait before moving in on a potentially dangerous subject (see, they do that in real life), but I liked the car crashes. Oh man...Why are we supposed to believe that Andy--veteran cop and, hey, superhero--would tell his partner to wait until the guy parks the car but *not* relay that same message to the *team* of cops he had with him? And if in the world of cops it is expected of the backup guys to hang back until they see the lead guys get out of their cars, why wasn't that made clear? What ended up happening is that the scene looked lame. I mean, the car crashes were cool, but...

HONEY BUNS:

Oh. My. God. The non-sexy sex continues. I'm having a hard time getting a grip on what's wrong with these scenes. After last week's embarrassingly (for Blue) bad sex scene, I wondered if it had to do with the director as much as the writers. Then I saw this scene directed by the top dog, Mark Tinker, and I'm back at the writers and tossing in the actors now. I can't figure it out, but I do know there is just zero passion here. I hesitate to criticize actors because I know less about that craft than I do about nuclear medicine, but here's my stab at it. It's as if these two young, beautiful people are portraying their characters in the way they *think* they should look rather than in the way they really do look (and you have to assume, for the sake of argument here and maybe for the sake of portraying of a lifelike character, that John Clark and Whatsername Devlin are real people for some period of time during shooting.) It's as if the actors have no experience with real passion and are pretending, trying to make it look like it does on General Hospital or something. Since I can't believe these actors have never had a passion moment or two of uninhibited sex in their lives, I'm left wondering what the problem really is. I don't know about the actress, but surely MPG can convey that--we've seen him do it before, and he's conveyed far more complex emotions with such excellence in the past. Maybe the actors really don't have any chemistry and the first dinner date scene a few weeks ago was just a stroke of luck.... I'm at a loss.

I think the worst moment (aside from the suddenly vanished tattoo which I'll get into in Quick Hits), was when she started that ridiculous, fake protest about how he just "can't lick my entire body and get me all...oooooo....excited...and you just can't do that, you bad boy....." Oh please. Was it the words she said? Yes. Was is the way she said them? Oh, hell yes. This doesn't belong on NYPD Blue. It belongs on Dynasty.

And then there's the whole Rita angle, which makes no sense to me at all. I think, however, a line from Andy tonight has unlocked the mystery once and for all, and I'm here to reveal it to you.

First, let's review: Rita isn't getting what she wants from her relationship with John (more emotional intimacy), so she gives him a choice of opening up to her or taking a hike. He gets out the backpack and goes on his merry way. She's hurt, of course, but then (and here's where the wheels come totally off the wagon) this woman who is mature and brave enough to know what she wants from a relationship and lay it all on the line in a make-or-break-it-cause-I-have-to-know-now moment can't accept the answer she gets and turns into hell on wheels over it.

I've wondered here for weeks now how this could make sense in anyone's mind. I've railed against it, saying it's one thing for her to feel hurt but quite another to slam the guy when he's only doing what she suggested he do. And tonight, we got the icing on the cake: she gets pissed off at him for getting dropped off by his new girlfriend. What the??? I realize Rita isn't much of a well-rounded character, but by God she's not *that* shallow and selfish. It was my last straw, and I was preparing my rant when Andy opened the door and showed me the answer in this line:

"So, not a lot of female interaction growing up in that bubble," he says to JC after JC gets a verbal blast from Rita and dares to complain about it.

"Ahhhh...." I said to myself, as I imagined those very words flying right back into the bright faces of my favorite TV writers in the Bochco office on the Fox lot.

"So, not a lot of female interaction writing in that bubble."

Alas, there isn't, and it shows. Rita isn't real. The Doc is as fake as half the boobs in Hollywood, and even our beloved Connie, who was once the best-crafted female character on television, has been seriously diminished in the last year or so, largely due to this relationship with Andy (thank God Charlotte Ross is behind the wheel on Connie because she's got the stuff to make it work most of the time). This is a major problem, and it's worth resolving. Not just for the sake of the audience, but for the sake of everyone involved. Here's a great example of how diversity in the workplace can only do you good because it forces you to look at things from different perspectives. Writing is a great place to be doing that sort of thing.

Back to Andy's line for a moment: Sipowicz spent most of his adult life interacting with women like Sylvia and Connie. For contrast, he spent time with hookers. If there's any man on the planet who would be less likely to have spoken that line, I'd like to meet him. That's something a guy with very little experience with women would say and/or believe.

I know I'm the only one, but the resolution of this writing issue is the only cliffhanger that's got me hanging on this summer.

THE SECOND GRADER:

The poem....ohmygod, the poem. I shouldn't complain because Gordon Clapp had a near-storyline tonight. His reading of the poem was a superb portrayal of a person who's written something truly crappy but believes in his heart that it is so good that he wants to share it with the world. A sweet, true moment.

DING DONG:

They didn't marry! They didn't marry! They didn't marry! Oh, and one other thing, having PJohn do the ceremony is a great idea but the set up for it was a little obvious. But what does that matter? They didn't marry! Now maybe they'll break up and go back to being good cops together, and Connie can do something more than sit around and talk on the phone all day. (yeah, yeah, yeah maybe they'll marry next season...but I hope not.)

FRAKER FREAKS OUT:

Here we had a great moment: the shooting of Fraker. I didn't see it coming at all, and that made it very cool. In fact, the way this was written and shot gave us two quick shocks in rapid succession. First, we're stunned that Fraker actually shoots Tony and lands one in the general region of his heart. Second, that Rita drops Fraker. It doesn't make up for the way the rest of this episode slid downhill, but it was an outstanding scene.

I know everyone's wondering about Esai, who recently signed one of those popular "development deals" with ABC. Tony doesn't appear to be on his death bed, as was made clear by Andy tonight, and I know for sure that Esai is officially returning next season. What's not immediately clear is how long he'll be there. So, there's that. Make of it what you will.

Here's where the cliffhanger really lives for me: will this event change the Rita character into something more real? By God, men writers, you've *really* given her something to do now! Good going. (Helpful hint for the writers: Please know that, in general, women who can do that kind of thing, buck up at the hospital and then go out to face the press and the brass are generally not the same kind of women who get demonstrate irrational anger at men they've asked to leave their lives when said men get dropped off by their new girlfriends, OK?) Anyway, I'm hoping there's a Rita Revolution out of this.

Anyway, a great ending, a fine scene, but man where there a ton of details overlooked in this thin little story. The whole Fraker thing was so good earlier this year and had the potential to be an amazingly good arc which would have been so powerfully punctuated by that scene tonight, but that didn't happen, did it? I wish I knew why. All the pieces were there to make it happen, but no one did. Instead, we got Fraker charging in out of the blue (it's been ages since we've seen him) and dropping all this stuff on Tony. Wow, imagine how much cooler this whole thing could have been had they been building it all slowly over a period of weeks: Fraker staking out the squad, following Andy and Connie, keeping notes, someone maybe spotting him at one point. And that story building alongside the wedding plans, shadowing it, making Andy and Connie afraid to go near each other when that's all they want to do. Fraker could have been lurking around the custody thing. There are so many ways this could have gone that would have provided tension and mystery and edge-of-your-seat TV, and none of it happened.

Also, how is it that Andy and Tony don't talk more than once about Fraker? I mean, Fraker lays all this crap on Andy in the locker room, tells him cryptically "I'm going down and taking you with me," and Andy doesn't mention this to Tony? God. Are we supposed to believe that? Hello?? Is anyone home?

QUICK HITS:

*Why did John need to get dropped off when he was late for the crime scene? Can't cops park anywhere? (Another annoying contrivance.)

*What is up with that Kenny Rogers line? You picked a fine to leave me Lucille... That was just stupid, especially coming out Clark's mouth. He's way too cool to say something so dorky. Plus, I now have that horrid song running through my head.

*Only Greg could get the words "men and women of valor" and "sons of bitches" in the same poem. Eddie Gibson would have loved it.

*The whole Asian gang side step in the bodega murders story was pretty useless, but I have to say the actor who played Jimmy Kim was fantastic. He nailed the stereotype of the brilliant Asian student then shifted so smoothly into a very scary guy. Too bad he wasn't the killer. He gave me the creeps.

*Oh, and Andy's speech during that scene smacked a little of Joe Friday's morality speeches from the old Dragnet. Kind of bugged me a little.

*This wedding was slammed together so fast it didn't seem real or true to character (like everything else tonight). Connie's parents were said to be around a bit when their other daughter died and Connie took Michelle in, so why wouldn't they be asked to come down for the ceremony? Especially since the baby thing was just worked out in Connie's favor.

*JC wants to give Andy a wicked bachelor party, huh? He *knows* Andy, right? And he presumably also knew at that point that Andy was going to be a bachelor for about 5 more hours. Oy vey.

*Hank! Hank messed up. Whoops. Well, it was really Andy's fault.

*PJohn was wearing a red shirt tonight but working with blue files and folders. I told you something was off.

*PJohn's pal is an Internet Reverend and does all kinds of things, all of them legal: weddings, funerals, baptisms. Baptisms? Since when were baptisms "legal"? Or funerals, for that matter.

*While we're on the subject of PJohn: he tells Tony he's got to go upstairs to get online. Tony accepts this as if it's a normal PAA activity--which I find extremely odd given the fact that his main job seems to be the phone and files--and then later Tony is asking what PJ is doing upstairs online. What a boss! This whole thing also totally blew the fun we could have had when Tony said, "Good Night, Reverend." It would have been fun had we in the audience had thought Tony was clueless, but we knew he wasn't.

*So this guy in a wheelchair goes out for groceries and comes back with so much stuff that he needs two guys to help him carry it upstairs. Is this not a clue to a detective that maybe something's off? Either this guy makes 2 or 3 trips down the elevator in his chair every time he shops, or he has someone helping him regularly, or he shops so often he only has a couple of bags....or, he can really walk and it doesn't matter.

*John wants to know why Andy is so jittery about his wedding. What does Franz get in the script to say? He sweats in front of a lot of people. OK, but how about he'd nervous because it's his third trip down the aisle, one marriage bombed the other ended tragically, he's getting a third shot with a wonderful person and he's be terrified of that and suspicious of God for giving it to him. *Plus*, he sweats when he gets in front of a lot of people.

*Rita bails on the wedding saying, "I don't want it be about me." Oh Lord. Well, then don't make it about *you* by bringing it up and telling the bride you can't go because you're broken hearted. She so totally made that about her. And since when is Connie codependent? This lack of reality in the women's conversations is really getting on my nerves.

*Cute, that Fraker, calling Tony a rat.

*And my favorite quick hit of the night, perhaps of alllll time: The Case Of The Missing Tattoo. Was the fake sex so hot that it knocked the thing clean off her body? Last week, Our Girl Devlin had one on her shoulder. Some even wrote in to remark that it looked "cheap" and "dirty" and not the sort of thing a medical professional with some class would do herself. Apparently, someone at Blue agreed with some part of that assessment and used make up to cover the tattoo when they were shooting the scenes for last week's show (#21). But during all the takes of her rolling around with MPG, that make up came off and no one really caught it. They shot the scene which aired tonight (#22) before they cut up the stuff for the previous week's show and so had no idea that the makeup had worn off and exposed the tattoo. Make up was applied again for the sake of continuity for this week's scene and it didn't wear off. That's why there's a big old tattoo on her last week and nothing in the same spot this week.

*Speaking of the Doc, where was she when Tony was in the hospital? Wonder if she'll show up.

CAST LIST:

Chandra West as Jennifer Devlin, W. Earl Brown as Mike Parkhurst, Eddie Shin as Jin-Yong Kim, Casey Siemaszko as Captain Fraker and Scott Allan Campbell as I.A.B. Sergeant Martens

LINES OF THE WEEK:

"The butler will take your coat." -Mike to Andy and JC after they barge into his skanky apartment looking for a killer.

"Anyways......" -Andy after Greg reads his poem.

"You got plans tonight?" -Andy asks John.
"You asking me out?" John replies with a click and a wink.

NEXT WEEK:

Reruns, reality TV, real life. This is it until next season. Check back here early and often and check the FAQ for the date of the premiere episode of season 11, news of the show over the summer and just to drop me a line to say hi. I hope you all have a fun, safe and blessed summer.

Take good care,

Amanda Wilson