NYPD Blue Summary/Review by Amanda Wilson aka puedo01@aol.com

 

"Hit The Road Clark"

Season 9 Episode 4   

11/20/01

Teleplay by Elizabeth Sarnoff

Stories by Bill Clark & Elizabeth Sarnoff

Directed by Jake Paltrow

 

I loved this show. They were out of the squad room!!! And more....

 

First, if you were a bonehead and missed it, read the summary below. Even if you weren't a bonehead and didn't miss it, read the summary below. I mean, I worked really hard on it and I'd hate to think of you just skipping it. But, if you're too much of a snoot to do that one thing for me, then skip to the review and let me know what you think.

 

SUMMARY:

CORRECTIONS MURDER: Andy and John, Greg and Baldwin catch the case of a Riker's correction officer named Linda who is found naked and dead in a vacant lot.    

     After interviewing several of her co-wokers, they find that Linda may have been a little bit wacky.   Her closest friend, Officer Celia Campos, says she was on her way to her boyfriend Javier's house that night to celebrate her birthday.  Javier reports that Linda did indeed show up but that he's not really her boyfriend. He's really kind of asshole is what he is. He tells the cops that Linda showed up wearing nothing but a leather coat and carrying a bottle of champagne. He had another girl in his apartment and sent Linda away.

     Linda's car is a found a bit later.  She's got a bizarre collection of bumper stickers, a whole roll of film with nothing but pictures of a cat and a trunk full of aluminum cans all of which seem to lend credence to the theory that Linda isn't wrapped too tightly. In addition to those goodies, there is blood all over the car, suggesting she was shot there, and a receipt for a big bottle of beer.

     Andy and John follow the receipt to the store it came from and find Ramon behind the counter. He tells how a tall, black guy came in the night before and bought that beer. He says the guy told him there was some nearly naked chick outside looking for a party. Ramon went for a peep but didn't join the fun. He saw this guy call a friend over and then saw them all leave. After some cajoling and a threat or two Ramon is persuaded to ID the guy who bought the beer.

    The detectives sit outside the bodega and grab the guy up commando-style. Back at the house this guy, Jumaine, tells them Linda was a stranger who decided she wanted to get laid. She asked him, offered him champagne and it's safe to assume every part of him pretty much jumped for joy. He was so thrilled that he tried to get someone else in on it in case no one believed his too-good-to-be true story. When the bodega man refused, he spied his pal Gerald on the street and asked him to join in. Gerald went for it. They all  three went to Jumaine's grandma's house and got it on while granny slept. After, Jumaine took off and Gerald left with Linda.

     The cops bring Gerald in and he tells the same story, adding that Linda was indeed a bit wacky. After he left with Linda, he says they were chatting merrily about a club they both liked when suddenly Linda thought her necklace was missing. She pulled the car over and shoved her gun into Gerald's face. He told her he hadn't stolen her necklace; she was still wearing it. She realized this, put the gun in her lap and the storm was over as if nothing ever happened. Gerald admired her gun, though, and asked her if he could buy it. She said no, so he pulled out his own gun and shot her to death.

     John ends up with the problem of how to write it all up.  Does he make Linda look like the nut she truly was?  Clearly, her lack of good judgment combined with her general wonkyness led to her death, but does that mean Gerald should get any help in his defense? Andy tries to persuade him to leave Linda's bizarre behavior out of the report. His position is that no matter how much of a freak Linda was, she had put her gun away by the time Gerald decided to shoot her.  John says he'd like to think about it. He takes off from the squad room a few minutes later leaving everyone hoping he's not going to go seek advice from his father.

     Where he goes is back to Riker's to see Linda's close friend.  The friend admits Linda may have been a little eccentric and maybe could have benefited from a little psychotherapy, but says she wasn't dangerous or bad in any way. John decides then and there to make it look like a straight robbery and leave the rest to Gerald's lawyers.

    

ANDY & JOHNNY:  The partnership that got off to the wrong start because of the interference of John's father is still on shaky ground the day after the fight in the bar.    

     Andy takes a few minutes first thing in the morning to tell John he doesn't think his dad is going to walk away and leave it alone. John assures Andy that everything is fine and that nothing is going to happen again. Andy says he doesn't believe it because he's worked with John's dad and knows him. 

     Andy pulls John aside and tries to convince him to leave the 1-5 and go work in his dad's squad.  John tells him no, he wants to work in the 15th. He lays it out for Andy, telling him if Andy doesn't want to partner with him he needs to just say it now.  But he adds that he's a good cop. He tells Andy he's done well in every assignment, has good sources and a great record. He says he's got Andy's back on the street and that he'll take up any slack in paperwork Andy doesn't want to do, and he says he wants to learn from Andy.  Andy considers it all and, with a bit of uncertainty, decides to give John the chance.

    Later, Andy tries to let John know that he understands about John's dad.  Andy does it awkwardly, of course, and John doesn't seem to want to hear it. Andy then tries to make a joke about corrections officers, but John's already heard it and coldly repeats the punch line. Andy's been shut down a little, but continues to make jokes later while they're staking out the bodega, and John responds very well.

    When Andy offers him advice on the case, John respectfully takes it under consideration.  He goes off to get more information before making his decision, but he ends up doing just what Andy suggested.

 

CONNIE'S DUMBER HALF:  Since the squad is still down a detective, the beleaguered Eddie Gibson, aka Uncle Eddie who fixed Andy up last season with his simpering niece, joins the day tour from night watch. Spurred by Andy's promotion to first grade, Eddie The Go-Getter applied for the job because he wants to beef up his own paycheck and retirement plan.

     Tony sticks Connie with him.  It takes about two minutes of their homicide case for Eddie to offend her.  First, he answers a question she puts to a witness.  When she slyly directs the next question to him, he can't answer it, of course, and puts the question to the witness. Connie thought she had made her point then and there but realizes otherwise when Eddie takes her aside to tell her not to worry about him being one of those cops who hates working with women because, "I've worked with some dynamite broads over the years."  He then gallantly offers to take care of any physical stuff that may come up.  Connie tries to respond diplomatically (uh..that is, without laughing). Eddie then advises her he'll also take care of all her free lunch needs since he knows a guy who feeds cops.

    The DOA is a woman named Sandy who had MS and lived alone most of the time. She's got a young daughter, Janie, but the child lives with Sandy's mother off and on.  Sandy also had an ex-husband, Roy, who was in some trouble for domestic violence a time or two and who has fought for custody of Janie.

     Sandy's mother, Mrs. Follender, comes in and confirms that Sandy and her ex fought a lot. She says her daughter was very messed up.

     Connie and Eddie go see Roy at his job at a grocery.  Roy thinks they're there because he's been skipping child support payments. He launches into his story about how the judge won't listen to him, how Sandy's mother won't let him see the kid and how he's not going to pay child support unless he's allowed to see her. He also says he only slapped Sandy a few times to stop her from beating on him while she was drunk. The detectives inform Roy that Sandy is dead. He seems shocked and asks if she had a seizure. They take him in.

    Connie gets the phone dump from Sandy's apartment. It's a big break in the case: there are a bunch of calls to and from the apartment that morning to Sandy's mother's house. Sandy's mother told them she hadn't talked to Sandy in a few days. When Connie says she's going to get the mom back in, Eddie dimly agrees that that's a pretty good idea and then asks Connie to keep him posted before going back to some phone call (no doubt personal) he was making.

     Sandy's mom comes back and she has little Janie in tow. She asks the detectives to keep it quick because she doesn't have a sitter, and she starts to bring Janie into the squad room with her. Eddie tells her they'll absolutely keep it quick but Connie jumps in and asks Phone John to watch Janie while they talk to Mrs. Follender. 

     Having learned her lesson about sharing with Eddie, Connie then tells him cryptically that she's got to "take care of that one thing" and that she'll be right in. Eddie, too dumb to notice he has no idea what she's talking about, takes Mrs. Follender into a room. Connie makes likes she's got something to do at her desk until they're out of sight. Then she goes to the catching bench and sits with Janie for a minute. The little girl is sad and sort of lost after her mother's death. Connie asks if she'd like a soda. She dutifully informs Connie that she's been told to sit with Phone John so Connie asks PJ to join them in the coffee room.

    Once there, Connie asks Janie a little about her life and what she did that morning. Janie says how she and her grandmother went over to her mother's house but her mom wasn't home. Connie finds out that Jamie waited in the car while granny went upstairs. That's all she needs.  P.John stays behind to comfort the child.

     Connie enters the interview room as if Eddie isn't even there. She dives in with the news that she knows Mrs. Follender went to see Sandy that day and how Janie waited in the car.  Connie tells her that if she doesn't tell the whole story, make it look right, Janie will have to testify.  Mrs. Follender explains how she'd have been a better mother since Sandy was sick, a drunk and just lonely.  Connie can't believe it. Mrs. Follender tells Connie not to judge her. Connie assures her someone else will do that later. Eddie sits there like an ottoman.

     Later, Andy asks pointedly why Eddie is now working the day tour. Tony isn't all that thrilled about it but says the guy has a right, plus Tony asked around and didn't hear anything bad. After being told there's no choice, Connie says she'll work with Eddie.

     At the end of the day, Eddie steps in it again. When Andy asks him where Connie is, he tells Andy that he's got her gassing up the car. Eddie says she didn't seem to mind when he told her to do it. Andy lays into him about being a slacker. Eddie tries to take credit for clearing the homicide and really pisses Andy off since Andy knows better. Andy leaves. Eddie then tries to trash Andy to John but John stops him cold and tells him to stop.

 

THE BOY AND HIS PA:  John goes home to his parents' house where he lives. He walks in and starts to tell his dad about his day. Dad is dressed like Stanley Kowalski and acting about as mannerly when John notices that his bags are packed and lying on the floor by the door.  He asks his father what's going on.  Dad says since he's a big detective in the 15th now, he can figure it out. They argue again about John's decision to stay in the 15th and work with Andy.  When John says he's not leaving the squad, his father tells him then that he can leave the house.  John picks up his bags and leaves without a word or a place to stay.

 

REVIEW:

     God, I love it when they take these characters outside! 

CORRECTIONS MURDER:  Good story. The way the victim's personality was revealed a little more each time we heard about her was engaging and different. First, we think she's a hooker, which brings to mind a certain kind of person. Then we learn she's a corrections officer, which brings to mind an entirely different kind of person. Then we find out she's a little off the wall (from Campos and Javier) which progresses to a nuttier-than-a-fruitcake (her car)  which leads to totally wacked out (Gerald's story) which leads back to eccentric, a little dark, but not so bad (Campos putting in perspective.)  And it all begs the question that John ended up asking which is, Does It Really Matter?  The answer, though it took John a while to mull it over, is no.

    At first I thought it was silly to have John even wonder (Andy certainly knew it right off the bat), but then I thought about things like our rape laws and domestic violence laws. How many years did it take our lawmakers to figure out that just because a woman wears a short skirt she's not asking to be raped?  Some of us still don't understand that while exercising bad judgment may indeed lead to your mugging/rape/murder it certainly doesn't mean you deserved to be mugged/raped/murdered. No one, no matter how odd or stupid, deserves to be made the victim of a crime.  The streets belong to the law-abiding in all their myriad forms including the wonky Lindas of the world.

 

ANDY & JOHNNY:  John sure figured out how to get to Andy fast: tell him you want to learn from him. Actually, this is true of all of us, which reinforces the "everyman" aspect of Andy Sipowicz. Who doesn't love it, even secretly, when someone says, "I want to learn how you do what you do."  It appeals to our pride and our desire to make a mark on the world, leave a legacy.  That's been a big theme for Andy since his son's death, and while I doubt John Boy is going to be another son for Andy, he will give Andy a chance to pass along his vast cop knowledge and maybe, just maybe, expunge his guilt over Andy J's death. 

   I thought the idea of having John appeal to Andy in that way was very smart. I think they might have wanted to try that with Danny at first, but the wheels never really got on that wagon, did they?

 

CONNIE'S DUMBER HALF:  I like having Eddie in the squad for a while. I don't think is going to last all that long, but it's fun for now to have one of the day tour be a seriously bad cop. 

     For one thing, it'll help reduce the perfection factor in both the area of skill and the area of looks (all due respect to Mr. Donohue; he just doesn't appeal to the ladies in the same way as Mr. Morales, Mr. Simmons or Mr. Gosselaar).   Hey, and now maybe the 1-5 will blow a case. Not that we want Our Heroes to fail, but it's OK if it's not their fault.  Gibson isn't going to be--shouldn't be---anyone's hero.

    It's nice to see a lazy cop, too. After all, we've all met a few of those in real life, haven't we?  If not cops, then certainly in our business lives: the moocher, the slacker, the guy who's there to pick up a paycheck.  You know him, I know you do. Maybe you ARE him, in which case you should identify quite nicely.

    I like this also because it may, in the right hands, take some of the

bumbling stuff off Medavoy.  It's OK when Medavoy rambles a bit, but he's still a good cop. We need to see more of Medavoy being good at his job. I liked him best when he was having allergy attacks while being a good cop. The thing about Medavoy a few seasons ago is that they stopped showing him being a good cop very often and focused on his eccentricities. That seems to be changing a bit now and maybe Eddie Gibson will seal that deal.

    I will miss Andy and Connie, but I think there's room for them to

interact enough. I hope so because that chemistry can't be ignored.  But if they follow up with tonight's story between Connie and Eddie, we should be able to look forward to a good ass-kicking with Eddie on the receiving end.

    Another good thing about the pairing is that it gives the show the opportunity to develop Connie independently from involvement with a man.  NYPD Blue has, as far as I've seen, made the best attempt at character development for women.  I don't know exactly why this has been such a failure in the past, but Blue has done a fairly good job of it.  Unfortunately, it hasn't been consistent. They tried with Adrienne Lesniak for a week or so but then they hooked her up with James and made her a lesbian. They almost got there with Jill but then they had to make her go limp when her skell ex-husband showed up (I'm still pissed off about that!). The biggest success has been Diane, though I know many of you disagree with me there.  Diane started out as the typical TV girl: she existed only to provide a romantic lead for Simone. But after he died, she became a truly great character. There was no more hysterical sobbing, no more needy-girl-drunk games. Then they had to go and hook her up with Danny... well, we know how that failed.

      So, Dear TV Creator People: Please note that once you make a woman independent and in control, you can't take her backward into Whimpy Whiny Land. It doesn't happen in real life, does it? No.  Let that be a lesson:  Do not make Connie a freak over some bozo guy. Or any guy, for that matter.  We haven't heard a word about her past since she dropped the shudder-inducing adopted baby bomb and I hope we never do. That's one thread I don't care if they drop entirely.  Get her in a relationship with a strong, professional guy we hardly ever see-- or a few of them, she can have commitment issues-- and then let her be a cop.

    

JOHN AND POPS:  I thought this was the standout scene of the show. Joe Spano is so good. And here we have this perfectly decent guy in John Boy who's doing his best to do his best and standing up for what he wants in life, and his own father is messing with his head, kicking him out on to the street. 

It's more than just time for Johnny to grow up. He's got to reassess everything now.  It's one of life's really big crossroads.  I hope we get to see him working it out, taking a few wrong turns (like Andy did), before he gets it right.  The set up here is really good. Let's hope the payoff is as good.

 

QUICK HITS:

*What is up with the commando take down of Jumaine??  Did I miss something, like, say, someone shouting "Stop! Police!"  I'm certainly no expert on police procedure, so would someone who is please explain to me how the cops can just ride up and rope you into a car like that without identifying themselves or giving the guy a chance to put up his hands and say OK?  Or did they and I missed it the three times I looked at it?  I think if that happened to me, Eddie Gibson wouldn't be the only one in need of Depends. I mean, Christ on a Bike! What were they thinking?

 

* If Tony asked around about Eddie Gibson he must have skipped Andy.

 

*Kinda funny how a soda got the kid to talk. Haven't seen that in a while. (Sprite + 9-year-old = murder collar)

 

*Great to see Phone John (PJ) doing something besides answer the phone. I've missed him.

 

*Jumaine's girlfriend, though only in the show for about a minute, was wonderful in the way she freaked out when he was picked up (and slammed into the car). Her yelling and prancing and screaming for the police..... very good!  Makes me think all the more that they didn't identify themselves.

 

*Got a laugh when Eddie said the usual ("I'm sorry") to the bereaved and got back the unusual ("You didn't do it.")

 

*I know I didn't see what I thought I saw BUT did anyone catch the very quick shot of one of those spontaneous 9/11 memorials?  If so, did you notice that the guy walking through that show was the absolute mirror image of Rick Schroder?  I know it wasn't Rick, but it sure did look like him.  If you have it, go to the video tape.

 

*About that 9/11 shot:  I hear that some of the guys from the show went to NYC to get a few of those shots for the show. Very, very cool. Nice touch.

 

*Eddie is so dumb.  How dumb is he? He's so dumb he offers to take care of the physical stuff without even realizing that Connie could kick his doughy ass into next week without even breaking a sweat.

 

*The thing about Eddie: At least SOMEONE in that damn squad cares about corned beef.

 

*Andy worked with John Boy's dad. There's more to that story for certain.  I'm only just beginning to lose my fear that we won't ever hear about stories they start on this show.  I can't wait to hear this one. I'm sure it doesn't shed a real favorable light on Andy, either.

 

*One of my favorite moments was when Connie directed her second question of the neighbor directly to Eddie.  Those are the little things that mean so much. Great idea, excellent execution.

 

*Hats off to John F. O' Donohue for snagging himself a role like Eddie Gibson. Eddie's better than Vince Gotellli--well, come to think of it, Vince DID have the tit cup--- but he's damn good, and O'Donohue is doing a bang-up job playing this guy.

 

*Best Guest of the week: It's hard to pick; they're all so good. I think it's a tie between Jenny O'Hara and Dwayne Adway. See CAST LEGACIES for more info on these two.  (Note: I'm not counting our recurring guests in this pick. Joe Spano would win every week and that's just not fair.)

 

*Speaking of recurring people....need I say his name? C'mon, everyone say it with me...

 

CAST LEGACIES, FREE MONEY, FUN STUFF, ETC.: 

Our guest director this week is Jake Paltrow who's done a few turns behind the camera for Blue before. His family has tapped the mother lode in talent: His dad is Bruce Paltrow, one of the men behind the incredible St. Elsewhere, Mom is the lovely and talented Blythe Danner and Sis is the much-celebrated Gwyneth Paltrow. Jake's clearly got this directing thing down which can only mean that theirs is the only family in America whose home movies are not boring.

 

Previously on NYPD Blue:  Joe Spano (John Clark, Sr.); John F. O'Donohue (Eddie Gibson)

 

The talented list of guests this week (in no particular order): Jenny O'Hara (Mrs. Follender): She's got an incredible career that dates back a few years and includes many films and television shows. She was on The Facts of Life for a while, which I mention only because I know each and every one of you watched the reunion show this week (uh-huh). She's been a guest on shows like LA Law, St. Elsewhere, L&O, ER, The Practice, Starsky and Hutch and The Streets of San Francisco. She was also in If These Walls Could Talk II with her Blue granddaughter Janie.Steffani Brass (Janie):  Just 9-years-old, this talented girl was in If These Walls Could Talk II, though in a different segment than Ms. O'Hara.

Steffani's impressive career includes guest spots on ER, Judging Amy, CSI, Friends, and my favorite, The Amanda Show.

Beau Billingslea (Deputy Warden Jim Cullen):  This man has been on every television show know to mankind including a few Bochco shows like LA Law, City of Angels and a previous Blue. He's done many films as well including The American President. He was on Young and Restless, General Hospital and Santa Barbara, and is a Digimon voice.

Susan Merson (Pam Del Porto, the neighbor): She's been on Ally McSqueal, ER, LA Law and St. Elzwhere.

Timothy Paul Perez (Javier Lopez): He was on ER.

Brent Sexton (Roy): Brent was in the movie A.I. He's also done Judging Amy, CSI and the X-Files.

Dwayne Adway (Jumaine Lewis): This outstanding young actor played Dennis Rodman in Bad As I Wanna Be. He was also in Tracy Takes On. He's appeared on ER and JAG.

Dorian Missick (Gerald): Dorian was on Philly recently and has done a few of the L&O shows.

Julio Oscar Mechoso (Ramon DeJesus): He was in Jurassic Park III. He was also on the show Birdland. He was a guest on Coach several times and also Seinfeld.

Rounding out the cast were Loyda Ramos as Celia Campos, David Harris as Uniform #1 and Valerie D. Young, who did a fine job freaking out when her boyfriend was "kidnapped."

 

LINES OF THE WEEK:

The bumper stickers, as read by Greg: "Zero to Bitch in 3.5 seconds. Save a tree, wipe your butt with an owl...... you don't see many bumper stickers nowadays."

 

Andy to John on listening to Ramon explain his jerky clues:

"If he blows this, your job is to keep me 15 feet away from him at all times."

 

And the tops:

Andy commenting on the 15th's newest additions: 

"This is great. We got one guy in diapers, the other one in Depends."

 

NEXT WEEK: John Clark lands in the soup when a thief really messes up his day and that (everybody shudder now) baby issue comes up, in a way, with Connie.

 

See you then!

Amanda Wilson