NYPD Blue: Summary/Review by Amanda Wilson aka Puedo01@aol.com
Season 8 Episode 16
"Everybody Into The Poole" 4/24/01
Teleplay by Nicholas Wootton
Story by Bill Clark & Nicholas Wootton
Directed by Mark Tinker

Creepy!  I love creepy.

Summary:

DIRTY POOLE: A rather odd man named Victor Poole arrives at the 1-5 to meet with detectives Sipowicz and Sorenson about his recent and rather bizarre kidnapping.
   Victor is an IRS lawyer, which doesn't score him a lot of points right off the bat. And he's a bit bedraggled and snappish. He looks sort of like a tall, thin, worn-out bum, frankly, and he weaves a tale that gets more strange with every twist and turn.
   He's just crawled out of a hole he was tossed into after being held captive inside a whore house for three days, see.  He'd been walking down the street, minding his own business, when two guys in a van pulled up beside him, tossed a pillow case over his head, and just snatched him away.  They took him to a whore house, one with five bedrooms, and locked him up inside one of the rooms.  They took his ATM card and threatened him with a knife if he didn't give over his PIN.
   Andy, Danny and TRod, who just happened to be getting a refill in the coffee room when Victor was brought in, all peer at him through squinty eyes.  
       TRod asks if he didn't have some kind of official government credentials on him. Victor says yes, but they didn't search the pocket they were in. They only took his cell phone and his wallet out of his other pocket. He thinks they kept him so long because they were taking his daily maximum out of his account with the ATM card.  He stashed his credentials under the mattress in the room he was in to hide them. He thinks one of the whores got a look at him when his captors, Billy and Tom insisted he have a freebie, which he, of course, refused. Of course.
   He tells them he go free when they suddenly tied him up, put him back in the van, and drove him to an alley where they kicked him into a puddle where he almost drowned.
    Andy dives in to the heart of it: if you're lying, tell us now so that we're not wasting our time. He and Danny explain that usually when adults go missing for so long, it's of their own doing. Vic gets pissed off. He says he did not lie, and he's really mad that they'd even think so.  He leaves mad.
    A few checks later, they find there were no radio runs in the area at the time of the supposed kidnapping, and that the FBI has been tapping Vic's cell phone.
    An FBI guy arrives to fill the detectives in.  He says the IRS doesn't think his troubles are work related because Victor is not a big wig with the agency. The FBI knows he's gay, however, which is news to our detectives. Seems Vic has made a few credit card purchases at some local "fruit stands." The FBI guy thinks he spent the last three days shacked up.
   Andy and Danny decide to canvass the area he says he was kidnapped and stop at Victor's apartment.  TRod gets a call during the meeting with the FBI agent from telephone security which reports that someone is using Victor's phone near the Chrysler Building.  
    Andy and Danny track it down and find a rather leggy brunette in a tight leather wriggling down the street and chatting on the phone.  They pull over and bust the guy--yes, guy-- who's name is Fabiola DeSilva.
   Back at the house, Fabiola--hisher voice much lower now-- tells them heshe found the phone on the floor of a whore house heshe takes hisher dates to.  Heshe says it's a big, nasty place run by two skanky white guys.  Heshe says, as heshe scratches some critter in hisher wig and ends up pulling hisher wig of hisher head, knows nothing about a supposed kidnapping.
    They do get the address of the whore house, however.
     At Vic's house, Andy and Danny come on strong. They show him a photo of Fabiola and ask if he knows him. Still sure he's lying, they bring up his affinity for gay clubs and embarrass him with that information. Victor gets really angry again. He tells them that his being gay has nothing to do with the crime against him.  He asks why they're interrogating him like he's a criminal.  They tell him they want to be sure he's not lying, especially since he concealed his sexual preference. Failing to see what that has to do with anything, Victor throws them out.
    They break through the doors of the whore house next, arresting nearly everyone inside and tossing the place for the credentials Victor says he hid there. The credentials are now where to be found. Billy and Tom are there, though, and are taken into custody.
   Billy tells Andy and Danny that Victor is just a menace. He came into the whore house, banged hookers for three days and smoked a bunch of crack and then didn't pay for it. He then gave over his ATM and PIN and told Billy to cover it. Andy tries to bluff him and tell him that a witness saw the kidnapping, but Billy doesn't fall for it. He says he did nothing, and Tom will back him up, because nothing happened.
   Tom --might as well be Tom Dumb  (or Dumber)-- seems mildly amused by everything. Of course, that's because he's so stupid he'd be amused by a bobby pin. He tells the detectives that nothing happened. They try a bluff with him, too, just in case. They tell him that Billy told the whole story of how they kidnapped Victor and held him captive, and that Billy is going to walk away from it while Tom goes to jail. Tom considers this for a minute with both his brain cells and eventually gets kind of mad. He can't believe Billy would do that.  Now the sparks are really flying from his hamster wheel, and he wants to know just how he can turn it around to screw Billy.
   The detectives aren't sure at this point if Tom really has anything or is just out to get Billy, but they tell him that he'd have to come up with his own version of what happened and say how it was all Billy's idea.  Tom says he can do that. He tells them it was all Billy's idea, and he smiles. They have to prompt him to keep telling the story.
   Amazingly, the real story then spills out. The story that Victor told, right down to the fact that they offered him a freebie with a hooker but he said no.  Surprise, surprise, Victor's fabulous tale was truth.  After a moment spent figuring out how to operate a pen, Tom happily writes the story.
    Victor is back at the 1-5 learning that his case is cleared. He walks past Andy and Danny without a word.  Andy is pissed and says, to no one in particular, "Thanks a lot."  Victor turns, answering the rebuke with a few of his own. He trashes Andy and Danny for treating him so poorly and accuses them of discriminating against him because he's gay.  Andy doesn't really have much of an answer, but does manage a bit of an apology.  
   All of this happens over John's head. Finally, John stands up in defense of Andy and Danny and tells Victor that however they behaved, they did it in order to clear the case.  Victor asks John if he's gay. John says yes. Victor tells John that while those two (Andy and Danny) may treat him well to his face, it's only because they work with him and know him. He assures John that behind his back, they're vicious and say horrible things about him.
   John looks tentatively over his shoulder at Danny and Andy, who say nothing.

CHINESE MURDER: Baldwin, Greg, Diane and Connie are at the scene of a murder on the street.  A Chinese man who delivers food for his restaurant has been bludgeoned to death.
   A Chinese-American woman and her mother are on the street trying to get a look behind the yellow tape to see if the body is that of the woman's father.  She tells Greg and Baldwin that he's been missing, they've been out looking for him, and they just came on his car parked on the street in front of the crime scene.  
   Baldwin asks several questions, and though the young woman takes offense at nearly every one of them, she manages to tell them that her father made deliveries to this neighborhood often in spite of the fact that the mostly African-American residents hassled and robbed him frequently. The last call they got was for delivery to an address in the area.  A look at the body confirms their worst fears--the victim is her father.
  Caller ID tells them the call came from a cellular phone belonging to Louise Dobkins. Hard-working, upstanding and deeply concerned, Mrs. Dobkins arrives at the house.
  After hearing that the phone was used in a crime, she tells detectives that her granddaughter, who she's raising, has the phone and is at high school.  She also says that her granddaughter has never been in trouble, and that her friends all seem like very nice people.
  The granddaughter, Sylvia, a young black girl, is brought in. She tells Baldwin and Greg that she lost the phone.  Grandma thinks she's lying, and so does Baldwin. They pressure her a bit, telling her that the phone was used in a crime and that she could be in trouble for it if she doesn't tell what happened. Baldwin and Greg also make up some story about how she could be identified as the person who called in the order if the police do a "phone line up."  She's also told only that a Chinese delivery man was robbed.              
   Scared, Sylvia hands over the phone. She tells the detectives that she made the call and ordered the food, and that was all.  Her friend Anthony is the one who took the food. She says Anthony, who is also black, doesn't like the Chinese because they don't hire blacks, they are always trying to rip the blacks off. She also gives Anthony's last name and high school.
   Anthony is brought in from school, and he's got a whole lot of attitude for a 15-year-old with no record who's being questioned by detectives. He tells Baldwin and Greg that he didn't do anything, and that they better watch out because he's only a juvenile and they can't do much to him.  Greg meets his attitude with a reminder that small, young men don't do well in prison showers. This shuts him up only a little bit.
  He says he doesn't much care for the Chinese. When Baldwin asks him why, he looks surprised and says, "you outta know."  Just then, the child's father arrives. This news inspires fear on the kid's face.  Mr. Woodside is not too pleased that the police have taken his son out of school for questioning. He's told by Baldwin that Anthony was involved in the robbery of a delivery man, and that if he can help the police get Anthony to tell the truth, things will go much better.
  Anthony's father is deeply troubled. He tells Baldwin they're a hard-working family and that he runs a strict house. He asks if his son needs a lawyer. Baldwin and Greg tell him he could get one, but that would only slow things down and assure his son's arrest.
  In the room with Anthony, dad has a strong effect. Anthony tries to lie again, but his father knows right away and jumps all over him about it. He makes his son stand up and admit whatever mistake he made.  Anthony tells how he got Sylvia to order the food and that they were only going to steal it, to pay back the Chinese for always treating blacks so poorly.  The delivery man showed up, Anthony tossed a garbage bag over his head and Sylvia was supposed to grab the food. Only the delivery man grabbed her instead. Anthony hit in him on the shoulder with a block of concrete nearby. He says he had no intention of hurting the man, he only hit him until Sylvia could get free. Afterward, they took the food and ate it.
   Mr. Woodside is shocked at the news that the man was injured. He asks how badly he was hurt. He is told that they don't know his condition yet.  Anthony pipes up that the delivery man was just a "chinky-eyed thief," just like the Korean man in the grocery store his dad always referred to that way.  
   Later, Mr. Woodside is ready to take his son home. He's told by Baldwin that the delivery man is dead and that Anthony is to be charged with murder. Woodside is enraged.  He can't believe that Baldwin lied to them and he says so. He says he would have expected such treatment from a white cop, but not from Baldwin. He accuses Baldwin of having no pride.  
  Baldwin leans in and reminds Woodside that it was he who taught his son to be racist. Baldwin tells him that he taught his son to think of Chinese people the way white trash teaches their kids to think of blacks, as animals.  Baldwin refuses to take any blame for that and walks away.
  A short time later, while ADA Heywood is talking to Sylvia and her grandmother, Baldwin is again accused of betraying his race.  Mrs. Dobkins learns that her daughter will be arrested and that she's charged in connection with a murder. She tees off on Baldwin too for not telling them what was really going on.
  Alone with Baldwin, Valerie asks what it was all about. He tells her that it's simply the way they work homicide cases and that she ought to get used to it. She tells him she has no problem with the lying done with career criminals, but these are just kids who made a mistake, and it ought to at least bother Baldwin a bit. He admits it bothers him a lot, and that supposedly endears him to her.

ANDY AND KATE: Andy spends a few minutes on the phone during the day with Katie, talking to her about new apartments. Apparently, they're looking for a new perch. Danny overhears some of it and asks, but Andy doesn't tell him that he and Katie are getting married again.  He only tells Danny that Theo needs a room of his own now, and that Katie is helping him look.
  Andy arrives home after his hard day to find Katie doing all the domestic things she usually does.  Only tonight, she has a list of apartment he needs to look at after dinner.  He's a little miffed.  She explains that they go really fast, and that if he doesn't want to end up in Brooklyn (which he doesn't), he has to look tonight. He backs off and tells her it's OK. She tells him that she's just excited about it all.  She's ready to have some privacy, and be like a normal engaged couple. He sort of stares.
   She then shows him the guest list she's made up for the wedding, and that sets him off a little more. He doesn't get really angry, but he does tell her that she needs to slow down. He says they need to talk first, work out the thing together, decide if they even want to invite anyone.
    She settles down, and so does he. He goes in to play with Theo.

DIANE AND THE DOC: Early in the work day, Diane gets a rather large and pretty bouquet delivered to her in the squad room.  The flowers provide a dramatic contrast to the usually dull office area (as does Diane's lovely pink sweater), and everyone's attention is drawn to them.
  John is impressed with the arrangement, Andy asks if the doctor sent them. Diane shyly admits he did, and sent a long a sweet note.  Danny, on the phone when they arrived, notes that they're very nice. Diane says quietly that if they bother him, she'll be happy to move them. He poo-poos that idea and tells her he thinks they're great. The flowers are sitting on the right side of her desk, right between her and Danny.
   Even the new Lieu notices. He says that in all his years being a cop, he can count on one hand the number of times he's seen flowers in the squad room. He likes them, but all this attention has Diane a little nervous. Embarrassed, she asks John to put them away for the rest of the day.
   Connie notes this with a bit a humor, observing that being too much of a girl in that environment doesn't always work in your favor. Diane smiles.  They chit chat a bit about Diane dating a doctor.
    Despite the fact that Danny is totally cool with the flowers, Andy takes a moment to reassure Danny that the flower delivery is just from Bobby's old doctor and that it probably means nothing. Danny sort of laughs it off, saying that even it were more than friendship, he'd be OK with it. He wants to see Diane happy.
    Andy's instincts are in overdrive, however, and he brings it up with Danny again while they're out looking for Fabiola.  Danny tells him again that he's right as rain with it all, and that Andy should just stop worrying.  Danny seems amused by Andy's concern.
    Much later that night, Diane returns to her apartment with her flowers in tow and Dr. Carreras beside her.  He sees her into her apartment where she puts the flowers in a nice place.  They have a fun talk about how he's learning police lingo--things like "tour" and "skel." She's totally amused by this and has what looks like the first good laugh she's had since Bobby got sick.
    Dr. C kisses her and tells her he has to go. Getting serious for a minute, she thanks him for not rushing her. He tells her he knows to take it slow with her. They joke around a little more, and then she asks him to stay a while. They kiss.
   An outside view of Diane's window shows the flowers sitting in the sill while a warm light glows inside.  Down on the street, in the shadows of his darkened car, Danny sits watching.
   
Review:
DANNY & DI & THE DOC: I'm starting here because this is, without question, the best scene in the show.  I really, really liked this.  You can't deny that it looked really creepy cool freaky scary good.  I had NO idea when they took that shot of the warm little light in the window with the pretty little flowers there that the next thing I'd see was Danny's scary little face!  The lighting was outstanding. That, combined with the music and the incredible look on Rick's face made this minute one of Blue's best.  Kudos to Rick and Mark Tinker and the guy with the lights!  (If I knew his name for sure, I'd write it.)

  Now before we all go nuts about how they're making Danny a total freak, let us remember that we don't really know what he's doing.  He could be trying to deal with it, after all, by watching it and realizing it's a picture he can never fit in to.  Or, yes, he could be gearing up to flay her alive and wear her skin ALA Jame Gumb.  But I don't think so.
    Unless Steven Bochco is going off the deep end (and I'm not saying he's not), I don't think Danny is going to do anything too weird.  It wouldn't make sense to have him go too freaky. A little freaky is OK; we've got enough saints on this show that we can afford to have someone a little freaky.
    I think this will be interesting. And I really think Rick Schroder is up to it.  He was outstanding in the scene.  I just hope, as I said last week, that they aren't planning to do anything to Danny that the character can't recover from.  It would be a colossal mistake to ruin Danny or worse, get rid of him.
   
POOLE & CHINA: I'll write about these together to highlight the obvious links: discrimination, lying, and, um, cell phones. Cell phones are the devils tools!!! Ok, done with that. (And it was a JOKE. Don't be so serious.)
  Anyways, I liked that there was a common theme in the stories like back in the Milchian Times, but again, there was a little bitty layer missing.  The discrimination theme could have used a little of Milch's subtlety.
     I felt a bit, especially in the Chinese delivery man murder, like I was being bonked on the head with it.  I felt it was a little too obvious in the first scene with the victim's daughter (one attack on Baldwin would have been sufficient.)  And again when both Anthony's father and Slyvia's grandmother chew Baldwin out, I got a little tired. Maybe just the dad's speech would have been enough.
    I liked the story of the gay guy much better.  The performances and the way this was put together had me convinced until the scene with Tom Dumb that Victor was lying.  I was put off by how hard they were on him about the gay thing, as I'm sure I was supposed to be, but that didn't stop me from thinking Danny and Andy were right about the guy's lies.  
   It was pretty off-formula to have Danny and Andy both being assholes (and they were) and then being wrong, and then having the wronged man have the last word.  (Add to that Danny being a potential stalker, and you're right out of your regular formula almost entirely here...)  Andy used to be that way a lot, but it's been a while. And to have both of them doing it... well, that was different.
    I did not,  however, like the scene with John standing up for them. I liked that the conversation between Victor and the boys at the end happened over John's head. That was really good.  But then I would have had John get up and walk out to say what he said to Victor rather than having him make a big splash in front of everyone. Victor made a good point, and it made John think, but I think it would have been a little more interesting to maybe have John wondering as he walked warily back into the squad room.  As it was, it seemed like part of the reason he said what he said was to impress Danny and Andy, which goes against John's nature.  I think he would have handled it privately.    Of course, that's probably a set up to another scene and  so it had to happen in front of Danny and Andy.
     Let me add that the whole Tom scene was just great from start to finish. The guy playing Tom was a hoot.  His slow speech, his dumb grin, the faces of the others in the room--it was a perfect sell.  
   
   Just a quick note about Baldwin and the ADA. What the #&%$ was that about "that's the kind of man I want to be with?"  So now she's going to tell him what kind of person to be?  Please pass the Pepto.  Garcelle finally delivers a line halfway decent and it turns out to be perhaps the worst line any writer for this show ever put in a woman's mouth.  Now come on, who's going to be saying something like that to a guy you've gone out with twice and haven't even slept with yet??!?! That's a line reserved for your husband of 43 years after he's finally decided to stop getting drunk every Saturday night and beating the shit out of the neighbor's dog.  Christ on a bike!

ANDY & KATE: See what I mean? Katie is Cynthia with about 15 years added on. I don't care for it.  Been there, done that.
   So, Andy's looking for a Mom for Theo and that's all. Is he really that stupid? Speaking of stupid, Katie must be to trust him again.  How is it that she doesn't notice how reserved he is?  Maybe she'll jump up and tell him no.
   Great job, as usual, by Debra Monk. She's got that spineless, needy thing really going on.  
   
QUICK HITS:
*I realize in writing the above note about Katie, that our poor male writers must have had a series of awful experiences with women. Nearly all of their women fit into one of two categories: needy & desperate or cold, ball-busting bitches.  Occasionally, as in the case of Jill Kirkendall, the ball-busting thing breaks way into the needy and desperate thing. And maybe Katie will go from being spineless to telling Andy off.  And once in while, we have one of the two lesser-used NYPD Blue women: the girly victim (Gina, Donna) or the psycho babe from hell (nearly every other PAA). But so far, only Diane, who's been around longer than the rest of them, breaks either of those stereotypes. That's why I'm going to miss her so much.

*I do have hope for Connie. I like her so far, and we really don't know much about her yet.

*And, I know the writers know how to write for women: the exchange between Connie and Diane about being a girl in the office was really good.

*The IRS lawyer, huh? Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

*John: I have never met anyone who could recognize a flower arrangement. That's impressive. And how about Diane, "Uh, yeah..looks like it..." She had no CLUE. That was funny.

*The show seemed busier tonight. Lots of little action: John's phone ringing, Shannon on the phone while waiting. Little things that make it work.

*Another phone thing I liked was when TRod's rang during the meeting with the Fibbie. Everyone kept talking and we were focused on that rather than on his phone call.  That worked well.

*Ok, so last week Andy nearly takes Tony's head off for being there during an interview, and this week when Tony hangs around for the Poole thing, there's not even a glance in his direction.  You'd think Andy would at least eyeball him a bit, considering Tony wasn't invited to stay, and considering Andy had just gotten through marking his territory.

*Tony has been greeted with a " Hey, Lieu"! This is MAJOR acceptance.  Please mark your calendars.

*TRod sure is calm for a guy making that many trips to the coffee room....maybe he drinks decaf, like me. ;)

*Another sign Andy spends too much time with Theo:  The lip zip motion.  (Funny)

*I liked the bit where Theo almost fell off the bed as he was jumping around. I always think those shots through windows are cool looking, and this was made better by that little bit of reality. You just know the kid was really falling and Franz had to catch him.  Of course, if it had been REALLY real and, say,  my mom had been there, Theo would have been bitched at up one side and down the other for jumping on the bed. Andy's such a softie.

*Speaking of my mom, where are Theo's grandparents?  I guess it's not exactly convenient to build them into a show, but a mention might make sense. After all, wasn't Sylvia part of a big ethnic family?

*I'm glad they're out of the house so much this season. They were out a lot during this episode. Tracking the Queen with the phone on the street was cool.

*I forgot to mention the other two categories of women on this show: Trannies and Biologicals. Ok, so there are lots of different types..... I can admit when I'm wrong. I'm only biological, after all.

*I loved the FBI guy. He's been on this show before... He's really good.

*My thought when Sylvia's grandmother was bitching at Baldwin (and again when DingDong was telling him what kind of man to be) was that little ditty they used to sing at the start of Baretta in the 70s.. "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time...yeah... (and the girls sing) Don't do it!"   Get OVER it, already.  He's a COP, for crispy's sake, what do you expect him to do?

CAST LEGACIES AND SUNDRY INFO:  
Previously on NYPD Blue: Debra Monk as Katie Sipowicz;  James McBride as Officer Shannon; Austin Majors as Theo  Sipowicz; David Barrera as Dr. Carreras.

Also this week: Jody Wood as FBI Agent Neil Squires: He was on Blue a while back playing a cop. He's also done Brooklyn South. You've maybe seen him on The West Wing, Law and Order, ER or Ally McSqueal.
Marty Rackham as Victor Poole: He was Jake on a few eps of Seinfeld. He was on Sex In The City, too.
Vincent Castellanos as Fabiola DeSilva,  Lee Chamberlin as Louise Dobkin, Alyssa Ashley Nichols as Sylvia Dobkin,  Arjay Smith as Anthony Woodside,  Gregg Daniel as Darryl Woodside,  Nick Offerman as Billy, Jeff Kober as Tom, Marty Rackham as Victor Poole; Christopher Breslin as  Uniform #2; Eugenia Yuan as Jenny Chin; Alice Lo as Mrs. Chin.

LINE OF THE WEEK:
Since I'm a bit pressed for time, I'll narrow it to two. You can fill in the rest.

Danny, after hearing Victor's story, relates it to Andy's need to find a new apartment: "Even if the story's bogus, we'll maybe clear out a five bedroom whore house. Lots of room for Theo."
Andy:  "I'd have to see it first."

The fantastic FBI guy: "Have a nice goose chase."

REMINDERS:  You can catch Dennis Franz on A&E's Biography on Wednesday, May 2nd.  And before that, you can catch Gordon Clapp (and David Strathairn) on Bravo (America) in the movie Eight Men Out this Thursday and Friday.

Only four more episodes left...

Until next week,
Amanda Wilson, lucky enough to be born a lady.