NYPD Blue: Summary/Review by Amanda Wilson aka Puedo01@aol.com
Season 8 Episode 9
"Oh Golly Goth" 3/6/01
Teleplay by Matt Olmstead
Story by Bill Clark & Matt Olmstead
Directed by Mark Tinker
Great episode, great new character we get to meet. Before we get into all the gory details, here's a primer for those who insisted on watching their tapes of Dub-ya's dissertation saved from last week.....
GOTHS: Danny is sidelined by Art while the subway slashing case is still up in the air (more on that in Danny's story below). To compensate, the borough has sent over a replacement detective named Connie McDowell.
Connie's first few seconds in the squad are less than pleasant; in fact, Connie's whole day pretty much sucks. She's greeted by the Flaming Welcome Wagon from Hell. In her first minute in the 1-5, she's pelted with questions from everyone about why she's there, how long she's staying, who sent her. Finally, she speaks up and asks rather strongly if there's been some mistake. Diane takes the cue and apologizes, then introduces her around the squad.
Almost immediately, Fancy comes out of his office and hands out assignments on a hotel assault case. He barely says hello to Connie before telling her to work with Diane and go to the hotel where uniforms have a perp in custody.
Greg and Baldwin are told to get over to Bellevue where the victim is being treated for stab wounds. Andy is told to see if there was anything from the night shift that seemed odd.
Everyone hustles off on their jobs while Fancy returns to his office and Danny sits quietly, head hung low as he rides his desk alone.
At Bellevue, the victim, Ross Fitzpatrick, sits in a hospital bed with long slash marks at his neck. Greg and Baldwin ask him for his story. He tells them he was asleep when a guy pounded on his door and told him there was a gas leak. It being a nice, respectable hotel, Ross let him in. Next thing he knew, he was on the floor all cut up and the guy was trying to rob him. He figured it was because he was flashing some big green in the hotel bar. He describes the guy only as a white male in his 20s with dark hair. Baldwin tells him there's a perp in the hotel room and that they'll be back with more information. Ross doesn't seem interested. He nearly insists they don't return.
At the hotel, Diane and Connie arrive to hear a different story. The front desk clerk has told the uniforms that Ross ran naked and bleeding down to the lobby. In the hotel bathroom, there is a ton of blood in the shower stall and shit everywhere. Cops are standing around laughing because, near as they can figure, the guy was stabbed in the shower and literally shit himself from fear.
Snoozing in a chair in the hotel room is a young guy in Goth wear: hair dyed black, silver jewelry on every body part, satanic tattoos and the signature black clothing. The uniforms say they found him there passed out with a knife in his hand. Diane and Connie kick him awake a little. He blinks his eyes open enough to say he didn't stab anyone, then goes back to sleep. He's hauled down to the station house while Diane and Connie continue to work the scene. Connie's day takes another turn south when she figures aloud that since she's the new kid on the block, she's going to get stuck with the bathroom. Diane gives Connie her trademark squint and tells her to have fun.
Back at the house, Diane, Connie, Baldwin and Greg confer on the case within earshot and view of Danny who looks on longingly but stays quiet. The fab four figure something's amiss with all the screwed up stories they're getting. Greg has run two phone calls made from the room: one to Ross' ex-fiance on the west side, another to a home in Minnesota.
The ex-fiance, Lisa Derkos, comes in at the request of the detectives. Lisa is a pissed off, off-put, put out and out to help Ross feel any pain the world has to offer him. She stalks into the coffee room straightening her cardigan and pearls and proceeds to tell Diane and Connie how she dumped Ross recently when she discovered, after snooping through his email, that he's into some hideous and kinky thing involving diapers. She is beyond horrified by what she's found and has decided that Ross deserves whatever Evil may do to him. She's not much help, however, when Connie and Diane begin asking her questions. In fact, she gives them no information at all but learns a great deal more that horrifies her further. Goths? She asks. Are you kidding?
Meanwhile, Greg and Baldwin go at the sleepy skel picked up in the hotel room. They drag him off the floor of the pokey and make sure he's awake. His name is X, short for his real name: Howard Xavier. Howard tells how he and his friends Raven and Dio were partying in the park at about 3am when this rich guy (Ross) asks them back to his hotel to continue the party. Howard says they all had a fine time drinking champagne, eating steaks from room service, taking what they wanted from the minibar. Howard, who clearly has no idea how to really live, ordered up a bad "pornie" on the television while Raven and Dio were doing the real thing nearby. He told how Ross was "rubbing one out" while watching the live sex. Howard, however, fell asleep. He told them he had no idea what happened after that. He couldn't even give them a place to find Dio and Raven. All he knew was that Raven's real name might be Tracy.
Medavoy, Jones, Russell and McDowell meet again to hash things out. They've now learned that the call to Minnesota went to a woman who's daughter, Tracy, had run away some time ago. Minnesota cops traced the call back to a place in NYC that Diane and Connie were going to check out. Greg and D went back to the hospital to see Ross again.
Ross was even less cooperative the second time. After trying like a wimp to impress them with his job as a five year associate at blue chip intellectual property law firm, he made it clear he didn't care at all that the stories didn't match up. He didn't care to press charges and he refused to help the cops in any way, shape or form from that point on. Greg was pissed at diaper boy.
Diane and Connie found Raven/Tracy. The girl, decked out like X right down to the black nail polish and eye liner, seemed very scared when she was brought in. She didn't want to say anything against Dio. Connie got down to the bones of it quickly, though, by reminding Tracy who she really was. She also told Tracy that her mom was worried. This made Tracy cry a bit and prompted her to tell them that she was supposed to meet Dio in an hour at the bus station. She also told how she was in the hotel, she and Dio had sex while Ross watched, and how Ross tried to join in. She said Dio got mad. Connie's speech wasn't strong enough to get Tracy to go any farther with the story. She told them her soul was joined with Dio's, that she loved him and wouldn't say anything against him.
An hour later, Dio is picked up at the bus station and brought in by Greg and Baldwin. His real name is Shane. He's extra creepy. He figures out right away that Raven has betrayed him. He refers to her and X as posers. Greg stares at his watch.
Finally, Connie and Diane try a new trick to shake Tracy out of her misguided loyalty to Dio. Diane takes the girl into the observation room off the pokey where she can watch an interview Connie does with Dio. Dio is immediately turned on by the lovely Connie and begins to flirt in an extra creepy, deeply slimy way. During all of this, he tells Connie how Raven was really sort of a hanger-on that he'd tried to kick away a few times. Just so he could say the word "sex" in front of her, he also tells Connie that Raven was pretty dull in bed. Raven hears all of this and within a half-second or so tells Diane everything about how Dio stabbed the guy. Hell really hath no fury like a Goth girl scorned, after all.
DANNY'S JACKPOT: Danny is stuck being a desk jockey after hearing from Fancy that things are still up in the air with the slasher case. The case itself has been turned over to the DA's office. Fancy says if they can't come up with an indictment, Danny's in a career-screwing mess. He says Danny may be in a career-screwing mess even if there is an indictment. Only time will tell.
Danny is left alone and in silence all the day. Andy isn't even speaking to him. Part way through the day, a man named Dominick Romano came into the house and introduced himself as the father of one of the men stabbed to the death in the subway. Andy takes him back to the coffee room and gives him a sympathetic ear. Mr. Romano asks how the case is going. Andy says there is a suspect but not much of a case at this point. Mr. Romano asks for Andy's help in finding his son's necklace: a crucifix that he got for his First Communion. It has his initials on it. Andy, moved by the plight of this man who lost a son, promises to get the necklace.
Andy works on this lead quietly. He gets a call back from Louise, the witness from last week, and asks her if she saw Sid take a necklace from the victim. We don't know from our end of the phone call if she did.
Andy goes to Fancy and tells him he's going to take some time to go out to Rikers and see a running buddy of Sid's, a guy he used to steal with. Fancy tells him he can't get involved in the case because it's the DA's case now. Andy says he's going to take a vacation day then. He promises that the case won't come back to Art. Art tells him it better not.
Andy goes to the prison to see Darius. Darius won't tell him anything about their fence contacts. Andy promises Darius a transfer to a prison where his family won't have to drive so far, and then Darius gives him a name.
Andy goes to see this swag man, Choppy. After telling Choppy his bodega would be boarded up if he doesn't cooperate, Choppy tells that Sid did try to sell him the necklace but ended up going instead to a hot dog vendor name Louie. Louie tells Andy he sold the necklace to a guy named Hector Rodriguez who lives on 4th. Andy takes that name and street number and calls John on a cell phone to get an exact address. While wired to John, he orders a polish with mustard from Louie.
Armed with Hector's address, Andy knocks up at Hector's apartment. He tells the man he needs to get the necklace back because it's stolen property. Hector says he had no idea, but Andy doesn't care. He's intense about this and feeling protective of the man who's son was killed, and he's being kind of an asshole with Hector. He threatens to charge him with receiving stolen property. Hector gives in, calls his 11-year-old daughter over and takes the necklace off her. Andy is consumed with guilt. He tells the girl very nicely there was a mix up at the store where her daddy bought the necklace. He apologizes for the owner and gives the man the money he paid for the necklace. Hector refuses at first, not wanting to let Andy assuage his guilt, but finally jumps on the high road and accepts the money.
Andy goes after Sid now. He finds Sid a lot less twitchy and sitting on a stoop in his neighborhood surrounded by friends. They make him for a cop right away and Sid starts going on about how he got beat up last time he talked to a cop from the 15th. Sid is BMOS, Big Man On Stoop, as he taunts Andy and threatens to sue the department and finally, threatens to beat Andy up. What doesn't realize, of course, is that he's really BMIS, Big Man In the Soup, because Andy has the goods on him. Andy wades into the crowd of people on the stoop -- the only white man and a cop at that -- in the days after Diallo and Louima. He walks right up to Sid and says, "Let's go." Sid is clearly impressed, maybe a little intimidated, by Andy's sheer bravery. But this fades quickly, and he makes Andy apologize for the beating he took. Andy apologizes. Stupid Sid leaves with Andy, all the while trying his best to save face with his friends.
Back on Andy's turf, Sid is hanging by the arm from one of Andy's meaty hands as they walk into the squad room. Josh takes Sid into an interview room as Fancy crawls all over Andy. Andy ends up telling Fancy that he feels he's earned some latitude after all his years on the job, and to just go ahead and call the DA. In the meantime, he's going to talk to Sid. Fancy's not happy, but orders him to keep Josh in the room as a witness.
Andy sits politely across the table from Sid and begins discussing God. Andy says how God must have been pretty busy doing other things yesterday when Sid was getting away with murder, but he figures God's back in the game today. Why? Because around about the time God noticed that the murder victim's necklace--his crucifix he's worn since his First Holy Communion when he was a little boy--was stolen, all roads started leading to Sid. Andy tells him a witness saw him take the necklace off the kid. At least one other will talk about how he tried to sell it. And that now Sid is so caught, he can't get out. Not even by screaming about police brutality.
Sid says he can too holler about the beating. Andy tells him no, he won't want to, because if he agrees to shut up about it, Andy will make sure he gets administrative segregation while he's doing his long stretch in prison. That's the only way, Andy assures him, that his tiny body won't become a vessel for all the perverted things he's so afraid of. Sid is stunned. He knows he's done. He drifts into a memory of how he had a crucifix when he was a child and how it was stolen from him. He then tells Andy that he killed the man on the subway because the man laughed at him and slapped him, and he was just tired of being laughed at.
Toting his new evidence and his confession from Sid, Andy marches up to Fancy and hands it to him tied up in a neat little bow. Sid's going down and there may not even be a trial.
Andy picks up his coat and leaves for the day without a word to anyone. Diane and Danny, however, who have exchanged a friendly word today, over hear what Andy tells Art. Diane looks at Danny and tells him twice how huge this is for him.
Later that night, after Theo's in bed, Andy gets a knock at his door. It's Danny, who has realized completely what a second chance he's gotten from Andy. Andy is cold to him, and does not invite him in. Danny tells him thanks, and also tells him he's going to get his head on straight now and get over his problem.
Andy tells him that he doesn't want to talk about it anymore. He grants Danny his request for a second chance under the condition that they don't talk about it any more. He tells Danny they'll start fresh tomorrow, and if Danny proves he's not going to throw his job or life away just from being pissed off at the world, then he'll consider this a bump in the road. In an obvious reference to himself, he also says that he's tired of telling Danny that whatever his problem is, others have had worse problems and come out OK. Danny nods in agreement. He seems as if he wants to tell Andy some of what his problem is but thinks better of it and walks away with more grateful thanks.
GOTHS: Goths? Yeah, you know, like...Goths. I admit to being a bit confused by some of the details of the story.
Diapers? Yeah, you know, like...what the hell? I'm certain this is some freaky kinky disgusting thing I don't really want to know about. OK, cool. I don't feel compelled to find out, but I do wonder what on earth it had to do with what happened in the hotel room. Also, we never really found out why the guy was stabbed in the shower, and if the shit was really from fear....?? Diapers...shit... I don't get it. Oh, God. No, I don't want to know about that. But how does a diaper boy get into a place where he invites Goths to party with him?
All that confusion aside (and maybe I'm just naive and that's OK with me!), the performances here were really solid. The Goths all looked great, first off, and this extra creepy Dio person really filled the bill. Nice touch having him lick his hand like that.
I must say, however, that in the hand-licking scene and also in the scene where he's lusting after Connie, it seemed to me that Goth Boy was left winning the scene. It would have been more fun if Baldwin had not only grabbed his throat, but seemed less-threatened by this curse.
And I say this especially with Connie's responses to Goth Boy's lust. This is where our beloved writers seem to fall down a bit: keeping up a sense of authenticity when it comes to the way strong, smart, police women would deal with a guy like this. I'm not even a police woman, but a guy like that says to me "Have you ever craved it?" And among the last things I'm going to say is something like "I'm not going to answer that." Then he tells her he was thinking of her when he last screwed Raven. She responds with the weak: "You never quit with your crap..." It's possible that the intent was to have to her so rattled by him that she couldn't come up with anything better, but if so, why would you want your new cop to appear rattled? That just didn't work for me. In both cases she could have either had a real comeback or two that would put him in his place or embarrass him, or she could have just asked another question, ignoring him and doing her job.
That scene reminded me of Diane telling Denby, "I hate you." That kind of response just doesn't ring true in characters like these.
Let me make it clear that I've got no complaints at all with Charlotte Ross. After the addition of Garcelle Beauvais with her beautiful face but not-quite -par talent, it's hard not to worry that another beauty on the team is going to be a lightweight. But Ross is anything but a lightweight in this show. She made a big mark in her first scene. Practically under attack, she hangs on to her confidence and makes her point gracefully with her new co-workers. She sells her toughness subtly and with humor.
Her first interview scene, however, belonged to someone else. It was the scene with the ex-fiance, played by Moira Walley. I found the whole interview with the ex-fiance a riot. I loved it. It added virtually nothing to the story, but did tons and tons for the characters, and Walley was really a standout. She nailed that uptight woman perfectly. The business with her cardigan, the wearing of pearls, the way she walked and even the color of her hair... all of it was perfect. She stole that scene from Ross, who was probably trying to make a big first impression there.
Ross got her chance though, in the interview with Tracy. She delivered the
tell-it-like-it-is speech solidly.
I think she's a great addition to the cast. I am going to miss Kim Delaney a lot, a lot, a lot. But if she keeps on hammering out good performances like tonight's, I'm pretty sure I'm going to like watching Charlotte Ross just as much. I'm sure you boys are, too. ;)
One final note on Connie---please don't let's get her all wrapped up with Danny. At least not until the boy gets on some nerve pills or something. She's way too much woman for him. ;)
DANNY: Speaking of...
Clever way to get him out of his hole. Andy wrapped it all up solo, and I have to say that the dual motivation for Andy here was a really good idea. Last week, he told Danny he was washing his hands of Danny's troubles, but this week, he's out sewing it all up for Danny. Yes, Danny got helped out, and I think Andy wants to help the kid because he does remind Andy of Andy J. BUT, Andy's other motivation, and maybe bigger motivation, was that he's a father who has lost a son to violent crime. Mr. Romano made a big impression on Andy. Andy wanted to help him out and set about doing just that.
And what a nice reflection of those emotions in the scene with Hector and his daughter. At first it seems like a conflict, but Andy's fatherly feelings win in two ways in that scene. That's really, really good writing. I wish I could do stuff like that!
Great work by Phil LaMarr again this week. His character is off the PCP which gives him a little more to work with. He was outstanding in the scene on the stoop and again when he made his confession. His description of being slapped was really powerful.
Another really powerful scene was the stoop scene. It's one of the scenes that makes certain episodes of this show just jump right out. There was so much tension there. You could almost hear the names Sid shouted out last week echoing around the street as Andy stood there. Every eye was on him, and I got the feeling that it could have escalated at any second into an angry mob beating hell out of Andy. One of the best things in this whole scene was the look on Sid's face when Andy walked up those steps. Whoever came up with the idea to have him walk up there should get a free lunch forever, because that act conveyed so much. I really think it scared Sid. I think it's the reason he went with Andy. Andy showed him he wasn't afraid (although he had to be), wasn't going to back away. I don't know how practical it is, but in the best of all possible worlds, that would be the way cops would control or intimidate people they need to get into custody. Great job by all in that scene.
At the end, Andy's little grow-up speech to Danny was good. I hope this time the little snot hears it. :)
What IS his problem anyway???? God, I hope they tell us soon. On the other hand, once it's out, he'll run the risk of being really boring. Then they can hook him up with quirky Mary again, maybe.
Since I've made it a point to point out the flaws I see in Ms. Beauvais' work lately, I'll say she seemed a little better tonight. She was toned down somewhat, and that's good. Seems like she may have gotten a little help. I hope that continues, because, frankly, I dread the day she and Baldwin have a romance talk. I don't think she can pull that off. I don't need to see Henry's buns, you know? Not if it means another Elizabeth Berkley-type moment.
*To all you media bashers out there, let me point out a fine, fine line from ADA Heywood, which I paraphrase here: "If the media doesn't get hold of this (meaning Danny beating a the man who slashed two people and that guy getting off because of it), then he's looking at just a 10 day rip." Hey man, if the press didn't tell you, who would? And if no one ever told you, who'd be getting away with murder then? And robbery? And God-knows what else. Certainly news coverage isn't perfect--any more than our court system or police departments are-- but damn, it's important that someone is watching what's going on. I say "let the sunshine in!" Amen. It's your money, after all. Your property. Your safety.
*Great shots from director Mark Tinker include: The stoop. The little swingy camera motion between Andy and Danny when John is hauling over a huge pile of files for Danny to work on. The scenes where Danny is uncomfortably in the foreground during the big discussions on the case, and the ones where he's left all alone in the squad to push paper. I especially like the one after Fancy to talks to Heywood.
We get a close up of Danny at his desk, and in the background, over Danny's shoulder Fancy stands up in his office and looks out at Danny.
(PS: "the little swingy camera motion" IS an actual, official directorial term. Because I say so. I'm a (news) director. That counts (for nothing).)
*Too bad Mr. Blue Chip Snothead couldn't have been more embarrassed somehow. Seems like he was really asking for it. Would have been fun to have Greg quiz him on his kink.
*Great casting for the part of Tracy. Under all that gunk on her face and her freaky hair, you could still see the sweet, lost little kid she was when she ran away from MinneSNOWta.
*I loved the name Choppy. Can we have him back in another show just so we can get to know him? I want to know more about a bodega-owning swag named Choppy.
*I also want one of those courtesy shields. Not that I'm ever bad when I go to New York, you understand.
*Time to meet John's boyfriend. Let's see him with a bit of life. Just a bit!
*Loved Greg trying to be cool with X and failing miserably.
*Another good Greg moment was when he looked at his watch during the Dio interview. As if to say...we're gonna be here a while.
*The ex-fiance kind of made me think of June Cleaver on a really, really, really bad PMS day.
*Good thinking in not letting us know whether Lisa had seen Sid rip the necklace off the victim right away. That kept us interested in the rest of the story and added punch to Andy's final scene with Sid.
*"Rubbing one out" I've heard, but "wrestling with Jimmy?" That's a new one! Well, it's not like sit around with my friend and discuss euphemisms for men flying solo, or anything. I mean, who talks about skippy whipping in polite company? So, I don't know any of those terms.
*How dumb is X to rent a pornie and bitch about no action in it when folks involved in live action two feet from him were willing to let others watch?
*From the I Watch Too Closely Department: If X had been wearing one of those big robes he was talking about at some point, when did he put his black clothes back on to pass out in?
*Choppy says he knows a guy in another precinct. I could have sworn he said Mike Dewine. That will make Ohioans laugh. (Imagine him busting skels with Andy.)
*I thought it was cool how Andy was so much bigger than Choppy and how he poked Choppy in his pointy little head. Mike Dewine could never pull that off.
*Best cop threat: Tell me what I want to know or else we'll eat all your hot dogs.
Works every time.
*Kind of funny how Goth Boy is calling other people "posers."
*So, Danny gets a skate, huh? How do we feel about that?
CAST LEGACIES AND SUNDRY INFO:
Previously on NYPD Blue: Garcelle Beauvais as ADA Valerie Heywood, Phil LaMarr as Sidney Thompson, Mike Sabatino as Officer Martelli, Ray LaTulipe as Josh.
Dwayne L. Barnes as Darius Lowell, Alexander Pascal as Shane Morrissey, Rainbow Borden as Howard "X" Xavier, Ned Vaughn as Ross Fitzpatrick, Taryn Manning as Tracy, aka "Raven", Moira Walley as Lisa Derkos, James Wellington as
Dominic Romano, Miguel Perez as Hector Rodriguez and Brad Grunberg as
LINES OF THE WEEK:
These are just for the way they were delivered. You had to hear 'em:
Connie after Dio says he wants to be honest: "Let's keep that up."
Dio: "Let's doooo."
(You know, I don't think they were talking about the same thing.)
(Best delivered line of the night from Lisa:)
Diane to Ross' former fiance, Lisa: "Did he have any friends named X?"
Lisa: "X? Are you kidding me?"
Connie: Yeah, you know, like... Goths.
Lisa: He was hanging out with Goths?
Andy to Louie while on the phone with John: "Why don't you give me a polish with mustard."
And then immediately to John: "No, no, not you."
And my favorite because it's what I'll say tomorrow:
X to Baldwin: "I had a great night. Waking up sucked, though."
NEXT WEEK: Baldwin has a (deep fearful sigh) date. But so does Andy. Oh, and a couple of detectives investigate a situation where a person's rage gets him in a lot of trouble. Most enticing, Capt. Bass returns under unpleasant personal circumstances.
Tune in, or else I'll have your house boarded up in an hour, and I'll use your thick skull to drive in the nails. (I just made that up. Really.)
Have a great week!