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

Season 7, Episode 6
"Brothers Under Arms" 2/15/00
Teleplay by Matt Olmstead
Story by David Milch & Bill Clark
Directed by Jake Paltrow

Hank! A "wow" moment and the "absolutely" count rises...for that and more, scroll down to the review and quick hits....if you forgot to set your VCR and so forth, start with......

SUMMARY

ANDY, DANNY

They catch a homicide where ballistics shows the victim was shot with a gun used in a crime two years ago. They track down the owner of that gun, Jason Wiggins. Jason is very uncooperative until his mother shows up and gives him an alibi. Mrs. Wiggins is persuaded to get her son to help with the case. Jason then tells the name of the guy he rented his gun to.

That guy is brought in and tells how he was just a go-between. He rented the gun from Jason to give to Jason's little brother Robbie. Robbie knew Jason wouldn't give him the gun since Jason had been making efforts to get on the right side of life and wouldn't tolerate his brother getting into trouble. Robbie is brought in. He tells how the DOA was hassling his girlfriend and how he went to straighten things out, taking the gun to be scary. The DOA points a gun at Robbie instead. Robbie, forgetting he has his own gun, jumps on the guy. The guy shoots at him and Robbie then remembers his gun and

shoots back.

Since the gun was rented, it was to be given back if not used; thrown away if used and a buy out fee paid. Robbie didn't have the money to pay the buy out, so he stole the DOA's gun intending to give it back and throw the hot gun away. In his confusion, however, he threw away the wrong gun. All of that made it impossible at first to see the case as self-defense.

Sipowicz promised Mrs. Wiggins he'd do his best for Jason and she trusted him. He became worried when it turned out her other son was involved that she'd make Sipowicz out to be a racist who was just taking advantage and trying to hurt her family. He gets Fancy to talk to her at the end when they find out it was self-defense. Fancy tells her they'll do their best to keep her kids out of jail.

JAMES

James' last day on the job in the 1-5 is uneventful. He reminisces a bit with the other detectives, packs up his stuff and then says good bye to Greg. Later, the whole squad joins him at a bar for a going away party where Greg makes a touching speech that reminds Diane of Bobby and Andy of Kelly and Bobby. James makes a good bye speech. "A good time was had by all."

DON, JILL, DIANE

Denby returns to the squad with an apology that Diane doesn't accept and the news that Don has escaped from the motel where Denby's been guarding him until he can testify. Seems Denby drank more after Diane left the night before and forgot the guard the door. He hasn't reported Don missing because that would put him in jam, and now he wants Jill to help by giving him info if Don contacts her.

Don begins calling Jill, who initially won't talk to him. Diane tries to get her to find out where Don is so Denby can pick him up. Jill breaks down telling Diane she just can't turn him in. Later, Don calls again and Jill finally takes the call. She gives Don Diane's phone number and tells him to call her there. Diane hears this and has a bad reaction, frightened that Jill's getting herself in deeper. Jill says she just needs to see him. Diane tries to persuade her to talk Don into giving himself up and warns Jill not to hurt herself by helping him run. Jill smiles and nods unconvincingly as Diane gives her the keys to her apartment.

Don arrives at the apartment telling Jill he just has to get away. She tries to pretend at first she's not going to help him but ends up giving him about seven hundred dollars. As he stands there trying to be convincing about how much he loves their kids, he spies a ring in a dish on the fireplace mantle sitting next to a photo of Bobby. He makes like he's going to hug Jill and steals the ring from the mantle right behind her back.

Jill returns to the squad where she tells Diane that Don is leaving and that she helped him do it. Diane tells her that if he's caught, she'll be in trouble for aiding a felony escape. Jill knows this and assures Diane that if she gets in trouble, she'll protect Diane.

Later, Denby pages Diane to a crime scene. Since she has no reason to be there out of her jurisdiction, Denby tells the other cops that she's his girlfriend and she thought he was lying about why he missed their date. He pretends he's brought her to the scene to get himself out of the doghouse. Diane is pissed about this and demands to know why Denby paged her. Then he shows her an ID-proofed body in a dumpster--a man with his head, hands and feet cut off. He thinks it's Don but wants to be sure. He gets her away from the other cops and shows her the ring he found on the body. Diane is horrified to see her late husband's wedding ring in Denby's hand. She assures Denby the body is Don, demands to have the ring and walks off into the rainy night.


REVIEW

DANNY, ANDY

This one wasn't another run-of-the mill homicide case. I liked it that we picked up the story in the middle of the action. The actual killing and all the early crime scene stuff was off camera, which is a change. I didn't expect it to turn out that Robbie was just defending himself, either.

Andy's racial paranoia is something we haven't seen for a while. This signaled a pretty big departure from the usual Sipowicz missteps where racial issues are concerned. Perhaps having burned himself in that fire once too many times, he was bending over backwards to make sure he wouldn't be perceived as a racist. Frankly, that didn't sit too well with me for some reason. Andy's learned something about his racism and that kind of takes the edge off a little too much for my taste. It was always somehow more satisfying to see Andy fall into the hole and not really understand how he did it.

I thought it was good, however, that he was so convinced Fancy would have better luck with Mrs. Wiggins when Fancy didn't really. She wasn't any more convinced after talking to Art. She just knew she had no choice but to let it happen. And it pissed her off that Andy wasn't brave enough to talk to her himself.

I know I'm thinking too much, but I'm also surprised that Danny, who didn't seem at all worried about the racial aspect, didn't take the bull by the horns and talk to her. He usually doesn't just follow Andy like that. Didn't ring true to Danny's character to have him standing around in Fancy's office then all worried with Andy.

JAMES

James the cop's last day on the job was the perfect example of why James the character is better off leaving. He didn't do anything. I'm not going to say much about this because I've written it a thousand times, but there just wasn't anything much left to do with once-meaningful character of Martinez. For the past several seasons all he did was roll his eyes at Greg. Once in recent memory they shot him, and that was good; once, they used him to explore racism against Hispanics and that was good. But that was pretty much it.

Even his speech in the bar was pretty dull. Greg's speech, on the other hand, was really good. He started off trying to be funny in only the way someone as clueless as Greg can be: really poorly. Then, as the layers fell away, we saw the heart of Greg--the heart of cops, really--who always end up having to say good-bye to each other in one way or another. The shots of Diane and Andy during this were poignant and well-placed, and added so much texture to the scene. Greg's speech, taken in the context of what's happened in our humble little 15th, was a really good moment.

DON, JILL, DIANE

This one was, to me, a total "wow" story (to paraphrase my hero, Alan Sepinwall). Putting aside the fact that I want to smack Jill for her total stupidity, I was just stunned to the point of actually gasping when Don, the lowlife nutsack, dirtbag, bastard (Andy's words if he'd had any), lifted Bobby's wedding ring.

The nerve of that prick to raid the sacred grave of Bobby!!! Not that I needed any convincing that Don is an asshole, but damn, that was good. It gave me chills to see Diane's reaction when she saw the ring in Denby's hand. And Diane's reaction aside, I had my own serious reaction to it, which made it a great moment from the viewer's standpoint. The writers just stepped into our pleasant little bittersweet memories of St. Simone and pissed all over them! Great stuff.

As for Jill, well......I've had my serious doubts all along that someone so seemingly together on the job would have gotten in so deep with this nut. The only thing I can figure is that Jill is an emotionally abused woman. I mean that seriously, because only someone who's been battered reacts that way to such an obviously evil man. The reason, though, that this is such a hard-sell is because we've been no context at all in which to place this reaction of Jill's. I mean, I'm just guessing at the battering thing; we've no evidence at all that her past relationship with Don was abusive in any way. We've only seen that, for some vague reason, she'll do anything for him. I thought at first it was to protect her kids, and that made sense, but tonight she put her kids in even more jeopardy by breaking the law herself.

What we end up with is a woman who seems totally together on the job, and together enough to help Diane stay away from the bottle after her husband died, but who brings a good-for-nothing man back into her kids' lives, then puts her job in jeopardy to get him out of being arrested, then it just doesn't make sense to me.

QUICK HITS

CAST LEGACIES AND SUNDRY INFO

Returning this week: Eric Anderson as Don Kirkendall (won't be seeing Don anymore....); Scott Cohen as Arthur Denby; Ray LaTulipe as Josh; Hank Murph as Hank!; Billy Concha as Officer Miller (drinking with a ball cap on in the bar; fine whistle!)

Newbies: Damien Wayans (Trey, the go-between): He's one of Mrs. Wayans' boys. He was in "Major Payne" and also in the forgettable "Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood," which was directed by Paris Barclay (who may also be trying to forget that one.)

Tina Lifford (Mrs. Wiggins): She's got a long list of credits including "New Jack City" and "Knots Landing." I remember her face from "The Gail Deavers Story" in which she played Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

Rounding out the cast: Anthony C. Hall as Jason Wiggins; Eric K. George as Robbie Wiggins, and Walter Emanuel Jones as Ray Young.

Jake Paltrow: The director this week doing his second Blue episode (his first was last year's "Big Bang Theory.") Talent runs in his blood: he's Gwyneth's brother, and the son of noted director Bruce Paltrow (who worked with another noted director and Blue Executive Producer Mark Tinker on St. Elsewhere in the 80s). And his mom is the very talented actress Blythe Danner. (Note: father Bruce and sister Gwyenth are working on a film together due out this year, I think, called "Duets.")

LINES OF THE WEEK

Danny to the uncooperative Jason: "OK, Jason, you remind them upstate when they're banging you four at a time how tough you were at the station house." 

Danny to Andy after Andy repeatedly shushes Mrs. Wiggins: "You sound like Dr. Evil."
Andy: "Yeah, like that motorcycle lunatic would have any better chance at making that woman hear reason."

Andy asks Fancy of his chat with Mrs. Wiggins: "She make any derogatory references?"
Fancy: "She said you were old and bald."
Andy, incredulous: "Old?"
Danny, mocking: "Bald?"


NEXT WEEK

Feb sweeps continue with an episode in the regular Tuesday timeslot on the 22nd and a bonus episode the very next night. Tuesday, we meet Greg's new partner, Baldwin Jones. He's got some impressive moves....

Till then,

Amanda - Puedo01@aol.com