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

Episode 2, Season 6

"Cop In A Bottle" 10/27/98

Teleplay by Matt Olmstead

Story by Steven Bochco, David Milch & Bill Clark

Directed by Paris Barclay

 

Great script, stunning visuals, Jimmy Smits is all heart...

 

SUMMARY:

HEART AND SOUL: Bobby, not feeling any better than he did last week, arrives at the scene of a double homicide. Diane is very concerned about his inability to breathe and draws Andy into a conversation away from Bobby to share this concern. Shortly afterward, Bobby, trying to do his job, nearly collapses and is helped up by Andy who rides with him and Diane to a hospital. Once there, a doctor informs Bobby that his heart is enlarged and that he's got fluid in his lungs--the signs of heart failure. The cause is unknown, but the doctor is told by Diane and Bobby about the cut on his arm last week and the nick he got at the dentist's office. The doctor says it's possible an infection is running around his system, but that more tests are necessary to determine that. Diane is told of the enlarged heart and relays the story to Andy, and together they struggle to make the best of this scant information. The primary concern is keeping his heart going, and to that end, he is wheeled into the Coronary Care Unit, with Diane at his side and a worried Andy looking on.

Andy returns to the squad while Bobby undergoes blood work and an ultrasound. He is told he'll have to stay in the hospital for several days while the source of the problem is traced. The best case scenario given is the infection theory, which would be treated with a round of antibiotics and lead to a complete recovery. Bobby and Diane settle in to wait. Barely able to contain their fear, they grasp hands and decide to watch TV. When the doctor comes back, we learn that they haven't learned much new. They'll do an angiogram to rule out heart attack, but the doc is betting on an infection. This time, he states that most of them are treatable, leaving a large space of silent concern in the wake of the word "most." Bobby and Diane try to take some comfort from the fact that the doctor's father was a cop and that he's got a lot of respect for cops.

After sharing a bad hospital meal, Andy arrives to check in on Bobby and take Diane home. Bobby tells Andy he feels better and tells Diane he wants her to return in the morning. They say good-bye, and Andy and Diane go down the hospital corridor together, clearly not wanting to leave. They hold hands, try to reassure each other, and get on the elevator with tears in their eyes.

LIVER TOO BIG: Instead of helping his partner, Andy finds himself helping a cop from the 2-7 who's gotten involved in a double murder. Mike Walsh is drunk when the incident occurs near a diner, and begins to weave a large lie about why he was there and why he shot one of the men who is now dead. Andy, Jill, Medavoy and Martinez combine to figure out that Walsh's fatal shooting of one of the men was justified, but the circumstances of his being there are shady. The man he shot is a perp who shot the other DOA at the scene. Andy gets Walsh a drink to help calm him before he talks. When Walsh's new Lt. arrives, he smells the booze and explains to Fancy that he's gunning for Walsh because he's a drunk and a screw up. Fancy gets him to back off a bit while the folks in the 1-5 try to sort out the deaths and search for a second perp who was spotted at the scene. The second perp is told the lie that his friend is alive, and that bit of news added to the threat that Andy will remove a bullet from his arm with tweezers, makes him give up the story. He and his friend were giving another guy some trouble when the shooting started. Walsh was nearby, came out to help, shot one perp dead and wounded the other. A prostitute--the one who helped with the murder of Andy Jr.-- arrives to tell the same story, but add to it that Walsh was banging her at the time the whole mess starts. The detectives keep the dirty laundry out of the paperwork on the case and Walsh walks away with a clean shoot. But not before Andy gives him some sobering advice about quitting drinking.

REVIEW:

HEART AND SOUL: One powerful scene after another in this story line. It's all tight; nearly every scene delivering a punch that I felt almost physically (definitely emotionally). Has Jimmy Smits had a heart ailment? He makes this so real. I never thought I'd say this about Dennis Franz, and I certainly don't mean to take away from him, but Smits outshines him in every single scene. He's also way out above the fine work of Kim Delaney, who, in my opinion, did her best work yet in this episode.

So many moments stand out, it's hard to pick one. The first is that first glimpse we get of Bobby in the ER all hooked up to those machines and trying to take a deep breath. He looks very ill--gaunt, red-faced, terrified. Despite this most horrible situation, he's still Bobby, trying to take care of everyone else. When Andy, desperate to do something, anything, offers a blanket, Bobby refuses at first. Then he sees the offer for what it is and allows Andy to cover his feet.

The first of many tears to come to my eyes hit me when they wheeled Bobby out from behind that curtain to take him to CCU. Here are Andy and Diane looking at the man who has cared for them, been strong for them, stood by them through their worst moments (Andy Jr.'s death, Diane's abuse and alcoholism, to name a few) and seeing him in a state of total dependence, weak and unable to move under his own power. He's traveling into a huge unknown, and they are powerless to help him in the way he has helped them. Franz and Delaney completely nailed that feeling of helpless for me, in that moment, and in the end, when they hold hands and get on that elevator. They were holding on to each other, both scared that they were losing the man they've both held on to for so long.

I can't say enough about that elevator scene, by the way. The way they walked reluctantly toward it, the way they turned around slowly, and the looks on their faces as the doors were shutting. Incredible. Paris is right--Delaney didn't win that Emmy for nothin', and she just might get another one.

The reactions of the rest of the squad were well in-line with their characters, though I'd have liked to seen a tad more concern from Jill. I suppose she's just trying to keep her cool, but I could have done with a little more from the woman who went to dinner with him.

Medavoy did his Medavoy thing--looking at the bright side even when it's not always appropriate and finding comfort in the little stories he offers up about people who have exactly the same symptoms. That's fine writing. Isn't it true that people do that to the point of annoyance when you're going through something? My own mom is having heart trouble right now and all I'm hearing from the well-meaning-but-socially-awkard is how someone they know had *exactly the same thing*.

Martinez's concern, like Andy's in a way, comes in anger. He took it out on Andy, who learned the lesson at the end that he's not going through this alone. After Fancy told Andy in private that Diane wanted him to go back to the hospital, and the reason he told him in private was to spare the others' feelings, Andy apologizes in his own way by telling the squad what a "pain in the balls" he can be. Andy's feeling mostly fear, I think, for many reasons I've already stated. He's trying to make the best of things and be there for Bobby. His "lean on me" line early on was a good Andy moment.

LIVER TOO BIG: A good story to balance the Bobby story and to put Andy in a position where he has to face up to things he'd probably rather not spend a lot of time looking at. He wants to help Bobby, but he ends up having to help Walsh. And it's not little bit that Walsh is a drunk, the same kind of drunk as Andy (Andy tells him).

Andy does help him, every one of the cops in the 1-5 does. They all want to surround Bobby and make it all right for him, but since they can't, they do it for Walsh. Walsh, of course, isn't aware. He's too blinded by his addiction to truly realize what's been done for him, and even though he knows Simone is sick, he doesn't have a clue what that means for him.

He was Andy in Andy's other life, and he might be Andy again. Didn't your heart skip a tiny beat when Andy asked for that bottle? Of course it did. We all wonder, as Andy probably does, if there's going to be a last straw that will send him back to drinking. Andy gets to reassure us, and himself, that climbing back into the bottle isn't the answer. He does this in his half-heard speech to Walsh about getting off the booze and getting back on track.  

QUICK HITS:

An almost-cliff-hanger with that damn alarm going off in Bobby's hospital room. Thought we'd have a real gripping moment to hang on to for a week. Makes me think of the ABC promo which was run after the first break in the show: "Nervous? Good." Yeah, we're nervous.

Shannon's back for a minute. And the hooker who helped in Andy J's death. She just happens to be everywhere cops are in trouble, no?

Trash talk shows get a moment on Blue! Whaddya know. Then the Clinton cameo. Ok..well, which is shittier TV I ask you? Who's REALLY hurting America? Or is it all just exactly the same? At any rate, Bobby's health is more important and Bill Clinton and Jerry Springer are just two distractions on the way to what's really meaningful for Diane and Andy.

A couple of nice foot-in-mouth moments. One from Greg when he tells Andy what a drunk Walsh is, then realizes who he's talking to and immediately goes into the Medavoy Backstroke. And again when the hooker refers to the two Latino perps as "grease balls," then realizes she's just said this to Martinez. Martinez manages to take the high road instead of having a reaction that would lead him to beat his head against the brick wall of bigotry.

Thanks to my buddy Alan Stamm (you know, TOA: The Other Alan) I got a look-see at the cast list for this week. My research from that wonderful bit of info let me to these little gems: Larry Brandenberg, who played Mike Walsh tonight, played Capt. Wallenbeck on Blue in "Steroid Roy" in 94, and I remember him from one of my all-time favorite movies, Fargo, in which he played Stan; Matt Landers, tonight's Baumgartner, played in "Upstairs/Downstairs" in 97; David Barrera (Dr. Carreras) played in "I Don't Wanna Dye" last season, and Carlease Burke (Nurse 3 tonight) played in an early Blue ep in 93 and also had a guest shot on Brooklyn "So Sad It Went" South. I swear I recognize the name Mimi Ward, who played Nurse 2 tonight, but I can't find her anywhere. Maybe my mind is playing tricks on me....

LINE OF THE WEEK:

Bobby: If I'm stay here though, I wish these stupid gowns would cover what they're supposed to cover.

Diane: Once again, the curse of large privates.

Well, OK, maybe you CAN know too much about your favorite TV cop.

 

And from last week, an astute viewer pointed out in e-mail to me that this should have been the line of the week, and I couldn't agree more. Remember this exchange in the doorway of the DOA's apartment?

SIMONE: And just what is his "lifestyle"?

(Roberts leans in towards Andy)

ROBERTS: (whispering) Fagola!

(Andy gives him a "what the f**k?" look)

ROBERTS: (whispering) Fruitskie!

(Andy continues to look puzzled)


EARLY WARNING: Episode 5, Jimmy's last, will be 90 minutes long. It's set for November 24th, and it's another Must See PB episode. Get your VCRs and your hankies ready, folks. Also, the show will be pre-empted on Nov. 3 for ABC's coverage of the mid-term elections.

Thanks,

Amanda Wilson