Season 10 Episode 7
Teleplay by Greg Plageman
Story by Bill Clark & Greg Plageman
Directed by Mark Tinker
Not my favorite episode......here's a summary:
Her ID says she's a student at a fashion school, but Andy still swears she's a dead whore. Her roommate, Jill, is brought in to talk, and when Andy asks if the girl ever worked as a hooker, the roomie goes nuts and gets real pissed off. She's highly offended that just because her friend was found dead wearing a short skirt and high boots the cops just assume she's a whore.
A while later, another dead woman is found in the same area. Her body was uncovered while crime scene guys were moving some of the junk around at the dump. Rita, who used to work Vice, recognizes this one. She's a dead whore for sure.
The cops are checking out cell phone numbers from the second girl. They come up with another hooker and a guy named Reed Jacobson.
Reed says he was only calling a hooker as a joke. He's a "time waster"--calls them but doesn't follow through. Andy asks why her cell phone then, showed her calling him back. Reed says she was just trying to sweet talk him into it (yeah, like there's not enough business out there for her). They don't believe him, but he won't budge.
The hooker, Darlene, doesn't have much to add either. She's totally shocked that her friend is dead. All she can says is the area where her friend was. Turns out that's Reed's neighborhood.
Andy decides to have Rita and Connie go in to talk to Reed since he's got women issues. They go and try to turn on the charm, but Reed sees right through it and it doesn't work.
Andy and John observe that though he won't talk, he hasn't asked to leave or asked for a lawyer. They decided to check out a tip that he had some trouble at work with a female coworker.
Shannon McKenzie at Reed's office is pretty freaked out when Andy and John show up. She tells them everyone warned her that he was postal, but she made friends anyway since her desk was next to his. It turned bad when he asked her out and she refused. He then called her names and told everyone she was a lesbian. She told her boss, the boss talked to Reed and he freaked out. It was that night that the women were killed.
Jill comes back later with her laptop computer. Her dead roomie had used it and she checked out the browser history and found an escort service website that her roomie visited. She gives the laptop to John, and then tells Andy to say "I told you so." Andy just says he's sorry for her loss.
They go back at Reed with the first girl he ordered from the internet service. He still doesn't move. Andy lines up all the forensic evidence they're going to have soon: a flake of skin, a drop of fluid, all kinds of things they can eventually find.
John brings up Shannon, and this strikes a nerve. He begins to rant about how he invited her to a Buffet concert but she misunderstood and thought he was going to give her both tickets.
They decide to bring Shannon in to talk to Reed, thinking it'll rattle him so much he'll talk. Shannon is reluctant. They make her think she might be in danger if he gets out and they plead with her to help out. What they don't tell her is that he's under suspicious for murdering two women.
She goes in and apologizes to him, and, at the direction of John and Andy, asks him to apologize too. This has the desired effect: he gets really mad. They begin to argue. It ends when she sort of laughs at him and calls him a loser. He lunges at her. John and Andy get her out fast and slam Reed into a wall. Still mad, they provoke him into telling what he did to the hookers. He admits he killed them because they made him mad. One tried to rob him, the other tried to run away.
Shannon, meanwhile, is real ticked off that they put her in the room with him. John tells her she helped out a lot. Then he tells her that he killed two women. Shannon really loses it then and John makes sure she gets home OK.
Turns out she's a tutor, and they check into her students. They also check out the super's nephew, Jerry. Jerry does some work around the building and has a reputation with the ladies as well. His background check reveals some assault collars.
Meanwhile, a minister shows up at the station house with information about the case. One of her flock, Rashard Coleman, is worried that he might be under investigation since he had a previous charge of rape filed against him as was a student of the dead woman's.
The detectives tell Rev. Elizabeth Murray that she needs to convince Rashard to come in. She explains that he's very afraid because of his past--the rape charge did not lead to a conviction. And she adds that he was beaten by cops in the past, as well. She asks for and is given Greg and Baldwin's word that Rashard will be treated fairly. She tells them also that he's been an outstanding member of her church for two years.
Jerry comes in first. He admits to helping his uncle out around the building and also to servicing some of the ladies in the building. He says, though, that the dead woman wasn't one of them. He says he was afraid of her big, black boyfriend Rashard. He'd seen them kissing in the hall a few times.
For some reason, this information convinces Greg and Baldwin that Rashard is their man. When he comes in, it's clear he's kind of slow and is very scared. He apologizes for not coming in sooner. This makes them suspicious, too. They think he's feeling guilty. He seems as if he does, but he swears over and over that he didn't do it. He says it's a lie that he was her boyfriend. Baldwin points out that he lied on his last rape charge before he came up with a story that he'd blacked out that time. Greg and Baldwin tell him over and over that he's lying again.
They have nothing and are afraid they're going to lose him. They decided to work the pastor into things thinking he'll confess to her. They lie to Rashard that the pastor thinks he did it and wants him to confess. Rashard is upset and confused by this. He asks to speak with her.
Then they lie to the pastor and say Rashard won't even admit that he knew the woman. She asks to speak with him. They lie again and tell her they can only give her a minute with him to try to convince him to tell the truth. They say the boss doesn't want her to talk to Rashard.
They hustle her in, pretending it's a secret, and she has only enough time to tell Rashard to tell the truth. He tries to protest, but there's no time. She says only that he needs to tell the truth. They hustle her out the door.
Greg then leans in on Rashard and asks if maybe he didn't black out. He says he didn't do it, but maybe blacked out. He's scared and upset and says he doesn't remember. Greg then tells him if he doesn't admit to it, he could get the death penalty. Rashard says "OK."
They then tell the pastor that Rashard admitted to it. She leaves, but can't believe what just happened. She asks if they used her, and they say no. She leaves shaking her head.
When they run the case for ADA Heywood we find out that there's no DNA from it. Heywood wants more evidence than Rashard's "OK." Tony seems to provide it when he shows up with an autopsy report that has skin and blood under the victim's nails. Greg smugly tells Heywood that they've got her evidence now, but Tony cuts him off to tell him that the blood type is different from Rashard's and he's in the clear. Baldwin suggest weakly that the ME is wrong.
Greg and Baldwin are stunned. Tony is pissed off. They decided to go back at Jerry and let Rashard go.
When the get Jerry back, they're both really angry. They tell him to take off his shirt so they can see if he's got scratches. He refuses, then tells them he was working in some bushes and got scratched. They tell him made up the story about Rashard and he turns into a smart ass then. Baldwin rips open his shirt to reveal three perfect scratches on his shoulder about finger distance apart. Then Baldwin lifts him up out of his chair by his neck and shoves him, choking, into a wall. He explains how angry he is that he's been leaning on the wrong guy all day and how important it is for Jerry to talk.
When he lets go of Jerry's neck, Jerry does talk. He says he was high at the time and he got pissed off because she always ignored him. His enormous ego didn't match his puny existence and he killed her for it.
Later, they try to explain to Rashard and his pastor. Baldwin tells him they were going off information they had. Rashard wants to know why his repeated denial didn't count. Baldwin says it's because they hear denials all the time. Rashard counters by concluding that the cops, then, just decide on their own who did it and who didn't.
The pastor ends it by trying to shame them. She reminds them that they gave their word that they'd treat Rashard fairly. Tony tells them they made a mistake but fixed it. She repeats that they gave their word.
When he sees her, the part of him that dressed for the occasion takes a back seat to the part of him that is suspicious about the call. He asks her immediately what she needs. She tells him she doesn't need anything; she just wanted to see him. He doesn't believe her, and it seems he's waited a long time to tell her a few things.
He tells her that he was in love with her once, worked his ass off for her and she ended up spending their money on drugs and banging some other guy. He reminds her how he had to take out a legal notice in the paper in order to divorce her.
She apologizes and explains that she just needed to get away quickly in order to change her life. He asks her again what she needs. She tells him apologizing is it. She tells him if the first five years they had together weren't the best of his life, she'll leave. He says nothing and they have lunch.
Later, Angela comes to the station house to give him his father's money clip. She says she was too flustered at lunch and forgot. She also gives him her card and suggests he call if he wants to.
By the end of a difficult day, Tony reaches for the card and calls. They have dinner together. She's a real estate agent now and wants to show him a property in Manhattan. Aware that she has a little more she'd like to show him, too, he agrees to see the place. They're not in the door two minutes when they're grabbing for one another. Soon they join their clothes on the lovely hardwood floor.
Meanwhile, Connie spends every free second she can on the phone with her baby-sitter trying to make sure the baby is fed, diapered, swaddled...breathing. It annoys everyone in the squad but Tony is the only one to talk about it. He reminds everyone generally to concentrate on their cases, but makes the announcement over Connie's head seconds after she hangs up the phone from one of her baby-sitter calls.
In between trying to solve homicides and trying to figure out if the baby has pooped, Connie notices Andy's a little preoccupied. They find a minute to talk and Andy explains that Theo misses her. He tells her that Theo wants to call her Mom and that the child thinks of her as his mother. Connie, exhausted and more than a little freaked out at her sudden motherhood, lands on him with both feet. She's pissed that Andy is "dumping" this on her at such a time. He tells her he can help, but she doesn't even hear him. She yells and stomps out of the locker room.
Later, as Theo and Andy sit down to dinner, there's a knock on the door. A beaming Connie, holding little Stilla (that's what I'm naming her for now since they still..uh...don't have one for her), stands before him. Theo runs over and begs to hold Stilla in his arms. Connie gets him set up on the couch with the baby, and Andy tells Connie they can handle these little lives better together than they could apart. Connie agrees and reminds him she has a two-bedroom. Andy smiles and says he'll talk to Theo about it.
Here are a couple of stories--this one and the murder of the woman in the apartment--that could have had some real depth if they'd been linked together somehow. There was a common theme in the motives, and that is that while Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned, You Better Really Look The Fuck Out When A Man's Ego Has Been Bruised. It's an interesting theme, too, since you can argue that the bruised male ego has wrought so much destruction in our little world. But that deeper theme wasn't explored. I'm not even sure anyone was aware of its potential. Milch might have been. He was really good at stuff like that. As long as you could understand his dialogue (which wasn't always the case), his themes were rich and complex. This is an episode where I really missed that kind of writing. As it stood, this plot was more like a 70s cop show than the Blue I've gotten used to.
Which is not to say there weren't some good moments once you get past that. I liked Andy poking Reed in the chest every few seconds. I also liked Andy's Answer to CSI: yeah, there'll be a lot of physical evidence later, but we're going to get you to confess now because that's what good cops do. And they did. Forensics? he seemed to say, We don't need no steeenking Forensics! They pulled out all kinds of stops to push this guy's buttons, and they finally found the way to do it. (Poor little Shannon had no idea. If I had been her, I'd have probably fainted outside that interview room after the guy lunged at me.) It's a reminder that the meat of this show is supposed to be the interview.
I get why the story went this way. Someone probably said, "Wouldn't it be cool if we have these guys getting a confession out of an innocent man for a change?" Well, yeah, it would be cool. Especially since it happens from time to time, and it would be real interesting to see how it happens because most of us can't believe it really does.
But in order for the whole thing to work, I think the audience has to be taken along for the ride. It would have helped if the innocent guy hadn't been so obviously innocent and the guilty guy hadn't been so obviously guilty. Am I the only one who knew immediately that Rashard didn't do it and that Jerry was as guilty as Jimmy Swaggart's conscience?
If the audience had been just as quick to judge as the cops were, then we'd have been just as shocked as they were to learn that Rashard wasn't the guy. That would have been fun. That would have had us all talking about how maybe you can't trust confessions in some circumstances, or how an innocent man could be persuaded to confess to something he didn't do. Instead, we're left wondering what the hell Baldwin and Greg were thinking, and that's not fun.
I mean, if they wanted to show cops being too quick to judge, or lazy or whatever, why pick Greg and Baldwin? They're a couple of our heroes, ya know, and they've closed some pretty tough cases. If you can't change the story, then I'd say it was better suited to, God Bless him, Eddie Gibson or someone of his ilk.
I'm thinking that first scene in the restaurant should have had her smoldering and sexy and really pure now despite her past; nearly irresistible to Tony. She should have been contrite and fawning a bit; completely likable to us. It seemed like it was written that way, anyway. It's a good set up: she's done him really, really wrong but we all believe she's really changed her ways and we know he can't resist. The heart knows only what the heart knows and all that, and we don't want him to resist. By the time he picks up the card to call her, we're cheering him on to do it, and when they finally fall to the hardwood floor, we're hoping as much as he is that it's all going to work out. But that's not how it came out on screen. Not at all.
Instead, she came off as completely inauthentic and, to me, completely unlikable. There was nothing about her that seemed convincing or even friendly. She whined her excuses out at lunch and then at dinner, recounted a tender story of their love like she was reading a shopping list. She doesn't seem to be in love, she doesn't even seem to be in lust (which is amazing considering Tony's a pretty hot guy). Maybe there's an arc here where we'll find out that she's really not in love, and that's fine, but why are we seeing that now? We should be seeing what Tony is seeing: something irresistible in her demeanor. It's almost as if the actress already knows her character is going to break Tony's heart.
The set up for Tony is great, too, and Esai played it well. He's all dressed up, so you know that no matter what he says to her, he wants very much to impress her. He was excited and put some thought into the meeting. But he was also cautious. He wanted to make sure she wasn't going to crush him again. I think the script was written so that he'd be convinced of that by evening, but the execution of it on the part of the Mrs. left it on the page instead of on the screen.
Having a new and unexpected little one must be overwhelming, but not so much that Connie would have such a cold reaction to the news that the little boy of her heart needs her. Bad choice of words for Connie, in my opinion, and really not in keeping with her character. I don't mind her wigging out a little over her new situation, but she was downright mean when Andy mentioned Theo, and uncharacteristically selfish. Andy offered to help and she slammed the door.
And then she showed up at the house without a word of contrition. Obviously, she'd thought about it some and changed her mind, but she could have said something.
The line where she says she says she's afraid someone will take Stilla away because they'll find out she's a bad mother got me thinking maybe someone ought to take a look at her just based on how she reacted at the mention of Theo's name. If she loves that child the way "Sylvia would have wanted it," what's she doing ignoring him for the new kid? Sylvia would have taken that new baby to Theo right away. I guess she's making amends now, but this little freak out session in the locker room was not in character for Connie.
Yes, they have to have tension in this drama. And if you marked my words a few months back, I predicted it would be of the sort that made Connie look bad. So far, that's what happening. Yuck. And now they're moving in together...oh, me of little faith.
*Alright, this baby still has no name. In case you skipped the summary (I know who you are out there!), I dub her temporarily Stilla cause she's still..uh..without a name.
*Isn't there some provision in the NYPD for parental leave? What about FMLA? I know it applies in these types of cases. FMLA includes a lengthy approval process from what I hear, but there must be something else the union provides, no? Seems like Connie and Stilla could benefit from that kind of benefit.
*I'm just curious how come Andy can dress Theo so cool but dresses himself like it's still 1973....
*One thing you can always count on in Tinker-directed episodes is a cool shot or two or four. The coolest tonight was the one following Tony through the windows into his office to play with Angela's phone number. There were some good close ups of PAA John, too.
*Jill the roomie doesn't know how to say Illinois. There's something about that I like. I guess because it's not uncommon, at least in the East, to run into people who are otherwise on-the-ball who don't know the s is silent. Amazing but true. It's almost a colloquialism is some areas.
*Speaking of Jill: for a girl who goes to a school where how they dress is, like, ya know, rill important, she sure picked a dog of an outfit that day.
*Favorite moment: When Angela shows up and Curious John spies in from his PAA perch only to be met with a warning glance from Tony. Funny when Mr. Nebby-Nose's head snaps back down so fast. ("nebby": a little Pittsburghese for yinz guys that means nosey, as in "dahn't be so nebby!")
Jill the fashion student: I guess all guys who wear short sleeve shirts and ties are assholes.
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See you then! Amanda Wilson