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

 

"Baby Love"

Season 9 Episode 6   

12/4/01

Teleplay by Matt Olmstead

Story by Bill Clark & Matt Olmstead

Directed by Donna Deitch

 

Almost all of it was good.....  And almost all of the summary is good, so

that's a nice fit. ;)

 

SUMMARY:

MISSING BABY:   Donna and Randy Berryhill's brand new baby girl has gone

missing from the hospital.  The entire squad is called in to help find her,

but it took hospital security--trying to keep it in house--two hours to call

the police. 

     The detectives are looking at all the women who had miscarriages and

still births in the past several weeks and they've put a caller ID box on the

switchboard in case there are any strange calls.  One enigmatic call came in

earlier from a woman asking about the Williams baby, but there was no

Williams baby.

     Clark hears from a counselor that a woman who had a still birth recently

was pretty freaked out and said she'd do anything to have a baby. Connie goes

to check her out and finds she's right as rain.  She would do anything to

have a baby--in vitro, shots, whatever is legal--but she wouldn't steal one

and she's pretty pissed someone thought she would.

     Later, another call comes in to the hospital asking about the Williams

baby. Caller ID has traced it to a woman named Tanya Dunbar. She's brought

in.  She tells the police that her friend Nicole said she was having her baby

at that hospital. She hadn't seen Nicole in about a year before going to

Nicole's baby shower a few weeks ago. She said Nicole was always sort of

messed up and hoped the baby would turn her around.

     Andy, Clark and Connie go to Nicole's apartment. When they knock, Nicole

asks if it's Randy. Connie uses a ruse to get in and they find Nicole stoned.

There are drugs all around, but no baby.  They find a crib, though, and other

baby things. Andy pushes her hard about where the baby is. Connie continues

the push and Nicole breaks down. She says the baby screamed too much. She's

not sure the baby is alive. She says she was walking around and left the baby

in a building. Andy knows she's left the child in a shooting gallery.  They

take Nicole to find the baby.  Clark chimes in that the father of the baby is

named Randy.

     In the dark, broken down building filled with rats and used needles they

find the baby. 

     Back at the house, Andy and Clark interview Nicole. She tells them

quickly and easily that she's wanted a baby for a long time and that she

snapped. She says she thinks her Prozac is affecting her wrong or something. 

Andy doesn't buy it: he reminds her that she had a baby shower and a crib and

that it's damn hard to say this  happened as the result of a snap.  Clark

asks about Randy. At this point, faced with a lot of hard time she'll have to

shoulder alone, she gives Randy up. She's been having an affair with him.

Randy and Donna have five kids, he didn't want any more, and Nicole offered

to take the kid.  Randy made the plan and was going to sue the hospital.

Nicole proves she's more screwed up than diabolical, however, by telling the

cops that she still believes Randy is going to leave his wife and start a new

family with her.

     Connie returns the baby to the Berryhills at the hospital.  Andy and

John arrive. After blowing a lot of hot air about how the NYPD cops are his

heroes, Randy wants to take a photo of everyone.  Andy calls him out of the

room for a minute. Once in the hallway, they confront him with the news about

Nicole and give him 30 seconds to say goodbye to his wife and baby. He

becomes an asshole and is carted off in cuffs without the chance to say anyt

hing to anyone.

     Connie is left to break the news to  Donna.

 

HATE CRIME:  Greg and Baldwin are called off the babynapping case to

investigate an arson at an Arab-owned store.  They are greeted by Mustafa and

Isa Al-Ramai who are extremely upset by the fire. Isa's daughter has been

injured.  They are convinced a man named Chris Padgett did it. He works

across the street from their shop and has been giving them a lot of grief

since the attacks.   Isa is not too sure the police are going to do their

best by him.

     Chris Padgett is checked out. He's an asshole, but his alibi pans out. 

Baldwin and Greg go to the hospital to ask the family who else has been

giving them trouble. Mustafa's son Solomon is there. He's American-born and

trying his best to keep things on an even keel.  Isa is enraged, however. 

He's convinced Padgett did it and that the cops haven't checked him out

enough. He accuses them of not doing their best because of the attacks. Greg

blows up.  Baldwin and Solomon try to calm things down.  Greg ends up walking

out.

     Back at the house, a frumpy little woman who calls herself Jane Doe

shows up. She's terrified someone in her neighborhood will know she's talking

to the police, so she wants to do it quickly.  She tells Baldwin and Greg

that she knows who set the fire. She says the Al-Ramais are nice people and

she wants to help, but she's scared.  She tells them she heard her neighbor

Mike Bigelow admit to setting the fire. Her bedroom window is next to his and

she heard him while he was on the phone. Before they can get any more out of

her, she takes off.

     Greg and Baldwin go get Mike. They bring him in and tell him that they

have three witnesses who saw him set the fire.  He will admit to nothing.

Greg tells him his refusal to talk is only going to hurt him since the three

witnesses will be very strong evidence against him.Baldwin adds that no one's

really going to cry too much over some Arabs losing their store.  He tells

Mike the best way to go is to come up with a good reason for setting the

fire, like that his girlfriend threw him over and he was angry and that he

selected that shop randomly.   That way, they say, he'll get off with

probation for criminal mischief or something.  Mike, of course, is stupid

enough to believe all that and even thanks Greg and Baldwin for helping him.

He writes down his fake story.

    Later, Greg and Baldwin show up with bad news for Mike. It seems they've

found out that Mike had some previous encounters with the Al-Ramais. Greg

tells them now they're going to have to go with the truth because he's got a

history with the family and there's no way anyone is going to believe it was

a random act.  Mike finally realizes he's been had.  He gets mad that the

cops screwed him and begins to spout off about it.  Baldwin leans in on him,

however, and reminds him that he's the one who threw the Molotov cocktail

into the window.  Baldwin tells him he pretty much screwed himself.

     Tony and the detectives decide to make it a hate crime charge. Solomon

shows up then to thank the cops for doing what they did. He also wanted to

apologize for his Uncle's words at the hospital.  Greg apologizes also. 

Solomon can't contain his anguish over the whole mess. He asks the squad what

he can do; he's an American, born here.  Andy tells him to hang in there,

reminding him it wasn't easy to be Japanese or German in America a while

back. Baldwin reminds him it wasn't easy to be black either.  Solomon nods

and leaves.

 

EDDIE: Eddie's nudge of a niece Cynthia has been paging and calling Andy. 

He's a little nervous about it since he doesn't want to get involved with her

again.  Cynthia assures him she needs to speak with him about something

important and that it has to do with Eddie.

    Eddie is late for work, misses doing some of the interviews on the baby

case he's supposed to do and generally out of the thick of things most of the

day. 

    When Andy finally meets with Cynthia, she tells him that Eddie's family

wants him to quit the job. She tells him that Eddie has been diagnosed with

colon cancer and that he's refused to follow his doctor's orders.  Eddie's

condition is treatable but he's not facing it.  Andy promises Cynthia he'll

talk to Eddie.

    Andy doesn't get the chance until the end of the day when the rest of the

squad has been called in to a meeting with Tony to discuss whether to keep

Eddie.

    Andy talks to Eddie in the locker room. He's promised Cynthia he won't

give away that she talked to him so he starts by trying to get Eddie to tell

him what's going on. Eddie won't.  Andy presses gently, saying he knows Eddie

and can tell something is wrong. Eddie looks as if he might tell but changes

his mind and tells Andy to buzz off.

    Meanwhile, the squad members are trying to be kind in their assessments

of Eddie. Tony cuts through the crap, though, and they finally admit that

Eddie isn't cut out for their team. Tony says he's going to arrange to have

Eddie moved but Andy walks in and puts the kibosh on that by agreeing to take

Eddie on as a partner. Tony's not too sure about it, but Andy convinces him

he can carry Eddie.  Tony agrees and decides Connie and Clark will be

partnered for a while.

     

BALDWIN AND VALERIE:   The extremely tightly wound ADA Heywood does

her best to prove she's not as concrete as she comes off when she shows up at

Baldwin's apartment while he's taking his morning shower. He answers the door

in a towel and, after quite a long, obviously planned speech about

spontaneity, Valerie begins to strip.

    Baldwin arrives at work with a song in his heart, a spring in his step

and a box of donuts in his hand.  Everyone is surprised by the donuts.

    Phone John figures it all out, however, when he later spies Baldwin and

Val performing the hand-squeeze in the catching area.

 

CONNIE'S GIRL:  Andy gets a moment to check in on Connie since she's been

dealing all day with a lost baby.  Connie assures him she's fine. He invites

her over for dinner with Theo again but she begs off, saying she has a date.

Andy seems pleased to hear that and wishes her well.

     Connie doesn't have a date, though.  Instead, she spends the evening

parked outside her daughter's house waiting for her to come home. The girl

and her friends walk down the street chatting about girl things as Connie 

looks on.

 

REVIEW:

MISSING BABY:  I found a hole  or two in this story that disturbed me to the

point of nearly ruining it.  The first is that Randy's big plan had such a

small chance of working that I can't believe he'd have even thought of it. 

The babies are tagged and alarms go off, so to have taken the chance that the

hospital staff just wouldn't have happened to check out that particular alarm

is huge. Especially in this time of heightened awareness about every little

thing.  And if they had checked, they would have caught Nicole. And Nicole

would have quickly realized that she'd have to give Randy up or be in a whole

hell of a lot of trouble. Didn't that occur to Randy?

     I also found it far too unbelievable that anyone at a busy NYC hospital

switchboard would have had the presence of mind to remember someone calling

in asking about the Williams baby when there was no Williams baby. Any

reasonable person who's taking hundreds of phone calls a day would have

chalked that up to having the wrong hospital. You could argue that in this

time of heightened awareness about every little thing someone would have

remembered but this is the hospital, let's not forget, that doesn't check out

alarms in the nursery.

     Another question: Why was Tanya brought in to the house?  Seems they

could have had a chat with her at her store.  She wasn't a suspect.

     Those things clinked in an otherwise interesting basic story. Having it

turn out to be Randy was a good turn.

     I liked the nod to using the media, too.  That's something so often

ignored.

 

HATE CRIME:  This story worked much better. It worked really well, when you

consider that it was done, soup to nuts, in only two weeks. 

      Clapp and Simmons were outstanding.   The only time I thought it was

awkward was during the exchange between Solomon and Andy at the end.  I got a

gluey kind of Waltons feel there when Andy was explaining history, and that

didn't seem quite right.  Too preachy. Sometimes it's better to make a point

without so many words.

     Medavoy's speech at the hospital was much better.  Again we have proof

that Gordon Clapp is an outstanding talent who is used far too little. 

     The outstanding part of the story was, of course, the way Greg and

Baldwin played Mike Bigelow.  Henry Simmons was remarkably good in these

scenes. It was crystal clear that Baldwin hated having to play the role of

racist but that he was putting his whole heart into it in order to trap the

racist Bigelow in his crime.  The decision to write this case for Baldwin was

good and Simmons made it work really well.  That's how you make a statement

without using too many words.

     And I didn't mind one bit seeing Greg be a top-notch cop. These two,

Clapp and Simmons, are really good together.  We've talked a lot lately about

the undeniable partner chemistry between Andy and Connie; look, we have it

with Greg and Baldwin, too.  Really good stuff.

    

EDDIE:  Wow, almost normal!  I liked this a lot.  They bring Eddie really,

really close to being sympathetic and then BAM, he's an asshole.  Excellent. 

It will be good to watch Andy, who could give this guy asshole lessons, try

to bring him out and make him face his fears.

    Another really good thing here is the character development of Eddie.  Up

till now, he's just been a boil on the butt of the 15th.  Now we see he's got

a family that really cares about him and a very serious problem to deal with.

 That makes him a festering boil with a loving family and a big problem, and

that's great--it gives him a lot of depth and calls up all kinds of

conflicting emotions. 

     I feel I know more about Eddie in three episodes than I ever knew about

Simone... or Sorenson. ;)

 

BALDWIN AND VAL:  So, she finally got to say Hey, Wood!  It goes without

saying that Henry Simmons has a remarkable physique, so drool. 

    Sadly, however, the opening scene was a total clinker.  That "Grease"

speech was nothing short of painful.  I have a few suggestions that might

have made it work: One, get rid of it. If Beauvais-Nilon is going to play

this character like a block of wood (and maybe that's the way she's supposed

to come off?), then the fewer lines she has the better.  It would have been

far more spontaneous if she'd just have walked in the door, said one or two

sentences about how Baldwin wanted her to be spontaneous and then knocked his

socks...er, a...towel off by just stripping right then and there. 

   Now, allowing for the possibility that the speech was a tool for this

character to show her inner conflict-- that she wants desperately to be

spontaneous but just can't do it without a lot of explanation which cancels

her spontaneity--the speech could have been delivered with humor. And she

could have been removing clothes a little earlier, a little more nervously,

and then Baldwin could have just read her inner struggle and shut her up by

planting his mouth on hers. 

   Neither of those things happened, though, and the whole thing fell

horribly flat.

   The end scene with them in bed was much better.  Henry carried it.

   And let me add that there's no need to write to me complaining about

"gratuitous" nudity. I hate that word, first of all, and secondly, get over

it.  The unnecessary shot in the scene was the little back step and pause on

Henry's buns (though I suspect some of you out there think it was perfectly

necessary.) That actually made me laugh. But the scene as written would

certainly have given us some big insight into the character Valerie, and

therefore would have been useful if it had been executed better.

 

CONNIE'S GIRL:  Please tell me she's not going to go psycho on us.... I

really ought to have more faith. Shame on me. (For now.)

    We've learned only that she hates a certain VJ who her friends think

looks like an ex-boyfriend of hers.

 

QUICK HITS:

*My, but Baldwin Jones certainly has a nice a..partment!!

 

*The thing I most want to know about this episode is who was the rat

wrangler? Did the rats come from a Hollywood rat farm where they live in the

lap of luxury with fresh hay to sleep on and all the cheese they can eat? 

Were they trained for those scenes?  Yeah, I'm being goofy, but I thought

having real rats was a totally cool touch.

 

*I like Andy reaching out to Connie. He sort of treats her like an alcoholic,

which fits with his own experience. 

 

*Here's what I think about a romantic matchup between Andy and Connie (since

many of you have written to ask): Mistake. But maybe one worth playing with a

little. I don't want to see them sleep together, but I could see Connie

finding things in Andy to love and maybe, out of some misguided attempt at

finding security, giving him a squeeze on the hand. It should end there,

though.

 

*Where the $#^& is Hank?  Oh, I know. None of you cares. Fine. Be that way.

 

*I liked PJ's "Well, well, well..." comment.  You know his unspoken thought

was "that explains the donuts."

 

*Best guest of the week: I have to give my nod to Connie Danese who played

Jane Doe so well.  In just a few minutes of this woman talking, I felt I

could picture her apartment and see her listening in on her neighbor's phone

call.

 

*Not that I remember all that well, but doesn't Baldwin's bed look just like

Bobby's?

 

CAST LEGACIES:

Terry Bozeman (Cataldo the hapless hospital security man):  You might have

seen him on the Practice, CSI or Judging Amy.

 

Jeanne Chinn (Nurse No-I-Didn't-Check-The-Alarm): She's been on ER and

Michael Hayes. She was also in Lethal Weapon 4.

 

Susie Spear (Donna "the Dingo took my baby" Berryhill):  She was in Dante's

Peak and on Port Charles.

 

Scott Plant (Randy "Dingo" Berryhill): He was on The Divison. He was also in

the movie Marshall Law with Jimmy Smits.  He's done Melrose Place, Baywatch

and ER.

 

Patrick Robert Smith (Uniform, since he already has three names): He was on

JAG.

 

Kevin Will (Fireman): He was on CSI. The hat he was wearing has been on NYPD

Blue before.

 

Al Faris (Mustafa "Calmy" Al-Ramai):  He's quoted in today's USA Today about

playing this role.  He played in a TV movie about the first WTC bombing. He's

also done The District, XFiles and H:LOTS.

 

Faran Tahir (Isa "Mad" Al-Ramai):  He's been on The Practice and L&O.

 

Kal Penn (Solomon "Peace...get it?" Al-Ramai):  He's been on The Agency, ER

and Spin City.

 

Jeff Parise (Chris "The Badger" Padgett):  A CSI alum.

 

Connie Danese (Jane Doe): ER and Star Trek: NTG are among her credits.

 

Rounding out the cast ably, though I could find no background info on them:

Luba Mason as Nicole Williams, James McDonald as Mike Bigelow, Wendell

Meldrum as Lucy Gullickson (the woman who had a still born child), Katie

Fountain as Jennifer (Connie's kid), Brighton Hertford and Jennifer Shon as

the other girls and, winning the award for best character name ever, Jonathan

Neil Schneider as Knucklehead, the guy who shouted USA.

 

LINE OF THE WEEK:

Slim pickin's this week. I'll go for:

 

Baldwin:  "This is gonna suck."

 

NEXT WEEK: Connie meets her daughter, Andy pairs up with Eddie. 

 

Have a great week!

Amanda Wilson