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

Episode 6, Season 6

"Danny Boy" 12/1/98

Teleplay by Meredith Stiehm

Story by Steven Bochco, David Milch & Bill Clark

Directed by Mark Tinker

We all know we're going to get a powerful punch from a Paris Barclay episode, but in what better hands could we have the transition than Mark Tinker's? I think we've got a winner!

SUMMARY

HELLO, DANNY: The most recent addition to the 15th squad arrives for his first day on the job the same day Diane returns to work after Bobby's death. Danny Sorenson takes the squad, described by Arthur Fancy as "raw," by storm. He stands up to Andy's wise cracks with no hesitation, and dives into his first case--a drive by that leads to a double homicide--with gusto. It may be too much gusto for the members of the 1-5, however. Andy and Diane, in particular, seem put off by his energy. Diane reacts stone-cold to Danny's first words to her: "I'm sorry for your loss."

Andy and Danny catch a drive-by shooting, where the victim, Julio, is hit in the shoulder. Not far away, Diane and the rest of the squad, catch a double homicide. They find that the car containing the two DOAs is the same car used in the drive-by, and there's a question about who will get the case. Diane seems to assume the worst---that Danny wants to muscle in on her case---and he does say he'll take it, which doesn't please her. Andy tries to bust his balls over it, but Sorenson tells him that he took it because he thought Diane was upset and may have come back to work too soon. Andy admits that might be the case, and seems impressed that Sorenson gave that some thought.

He's also impressed that Danny's had military service (Andy is a Vietnam Vet), and that Danny seems to care about his work (he yells at a bike messenger to stay off the sidewalks). But he also continues to warn about Diane's fragile state. Danny tells him partners are supposed to trust each other. Andy tells him that comes with time.

Andy's is later impressed much more when Danny gets a secret tip from the bartender Lenny Lohman, which Danny shares with him. Andy uses this tidbit to show the squad that Danny's not an egomanic (or as James said, "A glory hound.") Everyone seems impressed, except Diane, who's resistant to like Danny at all.

Much later, Andy tells Sylvia that Danny seems good at his job, and that his "half-a-troublemaker" grin reminds him a little of Andy, Jr.

Danny conducts a productive interview with Julio, (which James and Greg spy on through the window in the pokey--just to check Danny out) finding out that he knows Lenny. He's not afraid to get a little rough with Julio, or with Lenny, who he later pulls by the arms over the bar to get Lenny to cough up more details about the murders. Lenny tells him that he thinks the DOAs stole his car and used it in the drive-by, and that Julio's friend is responsible for the payback murders. Danny tells Lenny to call Diane and tell her where to find Julio's friend.

Diane, Jill, Andy and Danny got to get the friend, and in the process, Diane is angry and thinks the collar will be credited to Danny.

Danny later tells Art he wants Diane to do the interview, so that he's not stepping on her toes twice. Diane gets the friend to give up the killings, and in a chance meeting in the locker room that evening, Danny asks her about it. She's offended, thinking Danny is checking up on her. Finally, Danny says to her again "I'm sorry for your loss," as if to tell her "OK, I know you're in pain, but I'm not a bad guy." She tearfully tells him he knows nothing about her loss.

Danny leaves to go have a beer alone, and after a day of everyone referring to his youthful look, asks wryly if the bartender wants to card him. He drinks his beer, seeming to contemplate the uphill climb he's got trying to make friends in the 1-5.

 

SYLVIA'S CONSCIENCE: Sylvia comes to Andy in the 1-5 to talk to him about an old murder case she prosecuted. She arrives during Danny's first meeting with Art and squad about the double homicide, and Andy, who by now is trying to show everyone that Danny's not a bad guy, seems reluctant at first to leave him alone with them. He does, though, and hears that Sylvia's been getting letters from Jaun Suarez, a man she sent up after he confessed to a murder.

Suarez tells Sylvia that he was bought off to take the wrap, and that now he's afraid he'll be killed. She believes him, and asks Andy to talk to the cop who investigated the case, to see if that cop thinks the confession was solid. Andy tells her no at first, afraid he'll offend the cop, but then gives in, deciding it's in his best interest on the home front to help out his wife. He meets with the cop, Sgt. Dornan, already concerned that he's got to talk to a black fellow officer. Dornan is immediately put off by Andy's questions, thinking he's going to be set up. Andy explains he's just helping his wife, but Dornan recalls a racial slur Andy made in his presence (about someone else), and even recalls exactly when it happened (six and a half years ago). He's not going to help Andy. He says the confession seemed right to him.

Andy goes home and tells Sylvia the cop wouldn't help him, but leaves out the racial slur part of the story. 

REVIEW

HELLO, DANNY: Not such a little kid, is he? He's got a young look, but his face is weathered enough. His voice is that of a man.

I think the transition is on the right track. Danny's confident, but not an egomaniac. He's got a take-no-shit attitude with Andy and with the skels he's dealt with--even a little bit with Diane. But it worked very well to have Diane be the overly harsh one, and Danny, while not rolling over for her, trying to reach out in his own way. After all, we (anyone, even Danny) can forgive Diane her reluctance to like Danny after what she's been through. We'd really HATE Danny if he turned out to be an asshole to her.

And Andy being the one to warm up the fastest---that also worked well. Nice, that tiny little two-second scene where we see Andy and Danny chatting as they walk up to Lenny's bar, but we don't hear what they're saying. And when Andy does speak about Danny, it's in a protective kind of way. He reassures Danny, after Danny tells him about Lenny's offer to provide information, that sharing that kind of thing is the "type thing reassures peoples qualms." (God, that dialogue is just too good) And he reassures the rest of the squad by making it clear what Danny has done good. Nice touch to have Dennis actually stand in the doorway of Art's office, blocking everyone's attempted exit, so they have to hear it. And then to have him looking hesitant to leave Danny alone with everyone, wanting to be sure they wouldn't turn their backs on him.

Andy's the one we all really love, and if it's OK with Andy, it should be OK with us, right? (To seal it, we'll eventually need to hear Diane tell Danny that he's the kind of cop Bobby would have liked and admired. I know, it's early, but all in due time!)

The rest of the squad took their time with Danny, too. Fantastic shot when Danny's standing in Art's office for the first time, and everyone can be seen peering into the windows like curious little kids. Last week, we were Bobby's pigeons...those of us who took Patsy's advice and roosted back in the 1-5 this week became James, Greg, Jill, Andy and Diane.

That terrific scene with James and Greg represents very well what I feel. I didn't want Bobby to go, and I don't want to feel all warm and fuzzy about some hot-shot new kid, but...but....I can't find anything wrong with Danny, and I guess it's OK to like him...but...but...he's no Bobby Simone..no...but...he's OK...I guess....let's watch him some more, and really see. Then they go spy on him in the pokey---what a hoot! Just exactly the right thing---we gotta keep checkin' this guy out.

It's not lost on me, and probably not you, that all of those references to his youthful looks mirrored what just about _everybody_ said when they heard Rick Schroder was taking the job. "Rick-eeeeeee Schroder??? He's just a

KID!!" So the ending, when he asks the bartender with that "half-a-troublemaker" style if he's gonna card him, seemed a sly, fun little dig. Gotta like that.

(Did you note, as I did, that at the end of Bobby's first day on the job, he went out for a beer with everyone. Danny had to go it alone.)

I'll admit, though, that I still feel a little ....OK, raw....about Bobby's death. How's this for funny--when the first few beats of Mike Post's music started and I saw the exterior of the station house, I found myself thinking, "No...I miss Jimmy too much. He should be here...this is his place..." For a half-second, I thought I'd be identifying with Diane, but I know I'm firmly in the James and Greg camp: willing to go along, very happily surprised with The New Guy, curious, but a little cautious.

I think we can breathe a sigh of relief. Rick's got game, Danny's cool, and if things keep up this way, we're hardly gonna miss a beat. As powerful as last week's episode was, I think the real challenge for Milch, Tinker and the gang was successfully working in a new character. That can't be easy; but they make it look that way.

 SYLVIA'S CONSCIENCE: How nice to see a real story with Sharon Lawrence. I wonder if this is the start of a new B-story arc? I hope so. It's an interesting bit, having her concerned about a former case that just happens to bring up Andy's past transgressions with people of color.

I love the way Andy and Sylvia relate. Their home is always warm and inviting, and this week, Dennis was fabulous with all that trying-to-be-open- and-cool body language as he slid (is that what it was, a slide?) down into the couch. Andy was trying, in his conversation _and_his body language, but he fumbled on both counts, slightly miffing Sylvia. Dennis nailed that one. Looked very real; comfortable in Andy's discomfort.

 

QUICK HITS AND GUEST ACTOR LEGACIES:

LINES OF THE WEEK: Nearly too many to count!