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

Season 7, Episode 2
"A Hole in Juan" 1/18/00
Teleplay by Jody Worth
Story by David Milch & Bill Clark
Directed by Steven DePaul

Even better than last week!

SUMMARY

JILL, DON & DIANE

The entire squad is at church for the First Communion of Jill's son Kyle. (Including James and his wife Gina, whom we don't see again.) During the service, Andy's son Theo gets a little restless so Andy hauls him outside to blow off some of his kid steam. Danny follows, for what reason I'm not sure, but while outside with Theo he and Andy notice a surveillance van parked across the street. They decide to go chase it away figuring it'll cast a shadow over the joy of the service. Just as the guys leave, one says to Theo "See ya later, squirt" which elicits a long, colorful speech from Andy and stuck out tongue from Theo.

The next day, Andy makes a call to find out what the van was doing there and discovers that the job has Jill's ex, Don, under surveillance for drug distribution. Andy's not comfortable at all with this news but clearly wants Jill to know about it. He chickens out of telling her himself and puts the entire nasty chore in Diane's lap by "innocently" telling her what he found out and letting her decide how to handle it. His attempt at being sneaky isn't lost on Diane, but at this point she's more concerned with Jill than she is with Andy being a chicken.

Diane goes to tell Jill (while Andy sits pretty, thinking he's craftily gotten himself out of the job). Jill's still riding high from the success of the day before, the warmth of her friends around her and, as she tells Diane, how wonderful Don has been throughout the whole thing.

Diane, not waiting for Jill to get too carried away with the warm-fuzzies for her sleazeball ex, tells Jill she's got serious news about him. She tells Jill Don's on tape picking up packages from Air Peru and delivering them to dealers in Jackson Heights. Jill breaks down. She tells Diane she was sure they'd started to be a family again. Diane tells her the job doesn't want her spilling the beans to Don and Jill nods that she understands that. Diane comforts her and then starts to leave the room when Jill drops a bomb accusing Diane of secretly being happy about the news. Diane is shocked at Jill's bitterness. They leave it on bad terms--Jill angry at Diane; Diane angry and hurt at Jill's accusation.

Diane storms back into the squad room where she unleashes on Andy who "innocently" inquires how it went. She slams into the locker room as Andy & Danny's next case walks in the door. (One they're only too happy to take, and quickly, to get away from the confrontation.) Jill returns to the squad room, packs up her gear and leaves abruptly telling John she's taking lost time.

Later, Fancy comes back from a meeting and is greeted by John who hands him a message paper but hangs on it to as Fancy tries to take it from him. John makes deliberate eye contact with Fancy and nods toward Diane. Confused, Fancy turns to Diane and asks her to work the next case with Jill. Diane tells him Jill's on lost time, but that she can find her. Fancy asks if Jill needs lost time and Diane snaps that what she really needs is to work the case.

Fancy then asks where Danny and Andy are. Diane tells him they're in the coffee room and she adds, rather loudly as she leaves, that they'll probably come out after she's gone. Fancy watches her go, walks to the coffee room door and opens it to find the pair reading newspapers. Busted, they hop-to when they see Fancy, shuffling the papers closed quickly and asking brightly how his meeting was.

Jill, back from lost time, goes with Diane to the crime scene where a baby has been found dead in a dumpster. They work the case together professionally with no mention at all of their earlier confrontation.

They find the baby's mother, a hooker, on the streets with a he-she hooker and about to get into a brawl. The two are clearly arguing about the baby. Diane & Jill break up the fight and haul them in. They speak first to the mother, Rosana, and find she left the baby four days ago with the he-she hooker, Inez, to baby sit. She's shocked that her baby is dead and immediately tells them she didn't do it.

With Inez, they find out that the Mom is a crack addict who asked her to look after the baby for just a few hours. Four days later, Inez was still with the baby, but had to leave to go to a doctor appointment (seems she'd spent nearly 23-grand on her new female equipment and it was time to have her "canal evaluated" so, of course, she had to go.) She said the baby was fine when she left.

Diane and Jill run the case for Fancy, telling him they think the mother didn't do it. They think something happened to the baby while Inez was gone and that Inez freaked when she returned and found the baby dead. Fancy agrees they should toss the apartment where the baby lived, then asks if something's going on between them he should know about. Diane quickly says no; Jill adds almost as quickly that it's nothing he needs to know about.

At the apartment, they find vomit in the baby's crib and figure the baby choked to death while she was alone, and that Inez, not being the completely responsible baby-sitter of your dreams, put her in the dumpster in a panic.

They confront Inez with this theory and she admits that's what happened. Rosana tries on a holier-than attitude at this news but is quickly brought back down to earth when Diane reminds her that a) she left for four days instead of four hours and b) she left her baby in the care of a less-than-stable person.

At the end of the day, Andy contrives to have a moment alone with Diane to ask her again how it's going since "you seem independently upset." Diane ignores him and his apparent guilt over laying this whole thing off on her and goes to speak with Jill. Jill apologizes as soon as Diane walks into the room. Diane accepts the apology and reassures Jill that she understands her need to try to be happy and live her life. All is forgiven.

Late at night, there's a knock on Jill's door. She opens it to Don, who whispers a seductive question asking if the kids are asleep. Jill is dressed in a long, flowing white night gown but is clearly not in the mood for love. She lets Don have it as quietly as she can so she won't wake the boys. Ignoring the word that she's not to spill it, she tells him he's up for drug distribution, that their relationship is over and that he has to promise not to see the kids again. He pretends, and not well, to have no idea what she's talking about. She lays her palm across his face and tells him to cut the shit--they've got him on tape. He wants to know if he agrees never to see the kids again will she be able to prevent his arrest. This makes her even more mad and she informs him that the only way he can avoid arrest is by leaving town because she has no intention of running their personal agreement by her boss or the DA. Trying build his defense, he then tries to tell her he had no idea what was in the packages until that very moment. He thought all along it was vases. She kicks him out. He leaves, but not before remarking on the way she's dressed: "And you wore that because you never want to see me again." He tells her he hopes she doesn't end up a bitter old woman and leaves. Jill stands by the window in tears.

DANNY & ANDY

In the midst of the Jill and Diane dust up, a parole officer and his client, Romeo, walk into the squad asking for a detective. Danny jumps to the task before John can even speak, eager to get out of the line of fire. The PO tells how Romeo, out of prison recently, wants to report that some of his old running skels are trying to entice him back into life on the streets. Romeo wants to get on record that he's refused them, just in case something bad happens.

After being hustled quickly into the coffee room, Romeo lets out how he really doesn't want to report them because he doesn't want to be a snitch. But he adds that he really is trying to change his life and follow his PO's suggestions, so that's why he's there. Romeo tries to come off as a tough customer who's being forced into this and explains how he's a "rage-a-holic" who can easily become violent if pushed too far. Danny and Andy make fun of that while also trying to make him feel good for following his PO's advice and trying to stay on the right side of things. He writes down the names of two former friends, Juan and Ricky. Of course, they also think Romeo may really be there just trying to build up a defense in case he does go nuts and kill someone in a "rage-a-holic" stupor. Anyways, they take the names.

They then relax in the coffee room for a time (see above).

Later, they get word that Juan has been found stabbed to death. They can't believe it--Romeo really did use them to set up a defense. They head off to the scene, fairly sure Romeo stabbed the guy. They're talking to a few witnesses, including a blonde woman who they're told had been hanging around for a few hours, but get nothing from her or anyone.

A few minutes later, they're surprised when a young girl named Maria saunters into the crime scene telling them she's Romeo's girlfriend, Romeo's convinced he's gonna go down for the murder and that he's talking suicide. She demands they take her home where she's afraid Romeo's put his head in the oven. She even insists they open the car door for her.

Outside her apartment door they smell gas. Andy tells Maria to shut up (she's still barking orders) and they break down the door. Romeo is lying with his head in the oven. The pull him out and stick his snout out the window for some fresh air. Maria's bitching the whole time and Romeo's whining how he doesn't want to go back to prison but he knows they're going to take him anyway so he'd rather die or they should just take him in now since they wouldn't let him die. Andy and Danny tell them both to calm down and they take Romeo to the house.

In the pokey room, Romeo, his head a little more clear, is telling them he's just convinced they're not going to believe him so he's ready to confess. He even says, "I'm guilty." Andy and Danny aren't convinced he did it. They ask him where he went after he saw them that morning. He tells them, rather sheepishly, that he went home to listen to affirmation tapes. He tells them also that Ricky called him to tell him Juan was dead. That's when he figured he'd go down for it, since he'd reported the two of them and done his big "rage-a-holic" speech, to the cops earlier. Andy and Danny figure, however, that Ricky might have done it instead and framed Romeo since he knew Romeo wasn't at work that day.

Romeo, never having considered the possibility of a frame-job, asks what Ricky's motive would be. Andy rolls his eyes. Romeo's PO walks in the room.

Out in the catching area, the blonde witness from the scene of Juan's murder comes in. John is alone in the squad room. She tells him she wants to know if there's a reward for information in Juan's murder. John, knowing she's got information and not wanting her to get away without spilling it, lets her believe that he knows way more about a reward and the case than he actually does. He lets her hold her initial impression that the case is very big, even Federal, and that a reward for information would be "substantial." Dollar signs in her eyes, she orders John to write down that she saw the whole thing and she describes the knife-weidling Ricky to a tee. Danny and Andy walk up at that moment and she jumps on this new opportunity, asking if Andy's FBI and if he knows about the reward. Andy, picking up on John's game, just smiles at her to see what she knows.

DANNY & MARY

Early in the show, Danny bumps into Mary downstairs. Amid stares from other uniforms, they have a conversation in which they determine that they're both OK with what happened the other night. She seems a little embarrassed but far less freaky, and asks him to call her Mary instead of Franco. He says he will. He notices she's out of uniform and asks about that. She tells him she's being talked to about moving to Anti-Crime and asks his advice. He tells her it's a fast-track to a shield but that it's also a lot of office grunt work. She promises to keep him posted.


REVIEW

Overall, this one's one of the best. Packed with stories and subplots all wound around each other with great style. (A credit, as always, to David Milch, but also to Jody Worth and Steven DePaul--two names to keep an eye out for.)

DANNY & MARY

The friendship between Diane and Jill is crafted and executed perfectly. I don't think I've seen a friendship between women depicted so close to truth on TV (well, Mary & Rhoda..but, ya know..I mean drama).

I'm not sure what prompted Jill to attack but I suspect her motivation was buried deep in her pain over the situation with Don. She was embarrassed, as anyone would be, but perhaps especially so because she's always been so together. She's been the "big sister" in her friendship with Diane, helping her through her rough times with Bobby, drinking and Bobby's death. (Exhibit A: When she talked Diane out of that bottle after Bobby died and took her to the widows group). Now, the shoe is on the other foot and Jill's not wearing it comfortably. She lashes out at the nearest thing which happens to be the very thing that has created this "big sister" role for her. Solid friendships, though, are not one-sided like that, and in the end, Jill accepts Diane's comfort and support.

I thought Kim Delaney was stellar in this whole thing. Especially in the scene where Jill lashes out. She was stunned, hurt and angry and all of that was in her face and voice. When she shouted "Screw you, Andy" it was delivered perfectly. (Although it made me wish like hell Blue was on cable. If EVER there was a time for a good "Fuck you, Andy" that was it.) Kim has come a long, long way since her days as Jenny. I'm mightily impressed, and so, so glad she's more than the Widow Simone. They've got a super talent in her and they're taking full advantage of it. So, kudos to all on the Kim score. (Even her top seemed to fit a little better this week...)

Mr. Milch has certainly come through on his promise to keep things a little lighter, no? I did have a moment of silent prayer that Andy and Danny would not become the comedy duo to replace James and Greg for all time, but I think I have a great deal more faith in the creators of Blue than that. For those who may condemn this, lighten up! While I think lighter is certainly good, considering all the death and mayhem last season, I don't think Milch is going to be making his main characters the butt of every joke. (Besides, our favorite foil Medavoy, will be featured more prominently in episodes to come with his new partner and there are a few light aspects to that.) So, for the few moments of goofiness Danny and Andy were confined to this week, I have nothing but applause.

They were funny in a real sense--stereotypically male in their combination fear of/seedy desire for a cat fight between the women. Andy chickened out of telling Jill with the incredibly obvious motive that she'd hear it better from Diane. Now, that may be true, but we're not to be fooled: Andy had his own best interests way out in front of Jill's when he contrived to have Diane deliver the bad news. Diane saw right through him. And right through the attempts of the two to appear busy in the coffee room until she left.

Add to it that Andy later felt guilty and tried to turn the whole thing into a lesson for Danny. (Again, a Man stereotype: If he can't kill it or control it, he'll teach you about it because, by God, he knows it all, even if he is running away fast in the other direction!) The ensuing exchange between Danny and Andy on this topic was great. Andy waggles his finger with authority, Danny (who's never taken any shit or much advice from the "dinosaur") waggles his right back and meets his every worn cliche with one equally meaningless. Like the son who finally beats his aging dad at basketball, Danny wins that one with finesse.

(Now some of you guys out there may tell me that Andy was exhibiting his superior intelligence by laying the whole mess off on Diane. Me, I'm charitable, I say the Big Man is just a Big Ol' Softy who wouldn't want to hurt a fly. Less tactfully, I say he's a Big Ol' Chicken afraid to face the wrath of a strong woman. Your call.)

As for Jill and Don--great slap. There's more to come on this story.

A word about Jill's attire--how beautifully worked into that scene it was. My first thought, and Don's apparently, is "why IS she wearing that?" The answer may be as complex as Jill's feelings for Don and all that's happened. Rationally, she knows he's a screw-up and a sleaze. Her head tells her all the right things--Diane tells her all the right things. But emotionally, she's completely torn. She's always felt deeply about this man and she hoped with every ounce of herself that her head (and Diane) were wrong about him. Her heart put on that gown and to me, it was a symbol of hope. In the final scene, after Don insults her and leaves, she's holding on to herself and it looks like one strap of the gown is falling down. (I'll betcha someone is going to call it "gratuitous"--God, I'm sick of that word.)

ANDY & DANNY

What I loved about this simple story was that instead of the skel coming up with some lame-o frame job story to sell to the hard-bitten, cynical cops it was the cops trying to sell the skel on the frame job story. Perfect punctuation: When Romeo, not quite sold on the notion yet, asks "So, what would be his motive?" Don't the cops usually ask such questions? :)

John's interaction with the skittish blonde witness was good too, and good use of John. I can't remember where I read recently that either Milch or Steven Bochco said John was kind of a mirror of the audience--someone who watches it all, reacts, maybe gossips about it (like we do). That's part of his purpose, but when he gets to interact from time to time it always stands out. Bill Brochtrup is one of my absolute favorites; this scene would never have worked with Donna, Rubber Geri, the Aussie Nut or Gina (or any of the other PAAs I may have left off the list.) Again, good use of a good talent and well-crafted character.

DANNY & MARY

Just enough here to let us know this is not over yet. Interesting though: their first night together was very similar, in the way they got together, to Bobby & Diane. And now, just like Diane, Mary may be moving to Anti-Crime after her first episode. The better to have her run into Danny, I suppose.

QUICK HITS

CAST LEGACIES & SUNDRY INFO

Returning guests: Sheeri Rappaport (Mary Franco); Erich Anderson (Don Kirkendall); Lourdes Benedicto (Gina Martinez)--since her departure from Blue, Lourdes has been busy with the film projects "Permanent Midnight" and "Drive Me Crazy"; Billy Gallo (Romeo)--he played Jimmy Delmarco in the 96 episode "Tushful of Dollars."

The returning kids: I've turned up a little info on these guys to share...Courtland Mead (Kyle Kirkendall)--in addition to his occasional stint as Kyle, Courtland has also appeared on "ER," and he was Danny Torrence in the TV mini-series version of "The Shining." Courtland also does quite a bit of voice work, including work in the movies "The Haunting," "A Bug's Life," and one of my all-time favorites, "Babe."

Austin Majors (Theo Sipowicz)--He just turned 4 in November and has had quite the busy life as an actor. In addition to Theo, Austin has appeared in commercials for AT&T, Bounty, and for Proposition 10 (California thing). He's also the kid in the Tylenol commercial where he's sitting on a porch swing with his (actor) dad. And he's landed a role in a movie called "Orange County" where he'll play son to actor Michael Madsen.

Rounding out the cast: Erik Todd Dellums (Inez)--he was in "Dr. Doolittle" (the Eddie Murphy version), and he's been on H:LOTS five times playing the character Luther Mahoney.

Tawny Cypress played Rosana; Sylvia Kelegian played the blonde witness; Jesse Matthew Garcia played the PO and Ana Ortiz was the saucy-mouthed Maria.

LINES OF THE WEEK

Diane relieves Hank from his watch over Inez: "Thanks, Hank."
Hank, continuing a wary stare toward Inez: "Sure."
Inez as Hank leaves still staring: "Yeah, but you kept looking didn't you, muscle boy?"

Andy musing over Romeo's prison diagnosis: "Romeo's a rage-a-holic, which means he's often pissed off, unlike the vast majority of us gliding along devil-may-care."

Everything John said to the blonde witness. It was all in his delivery.

Andy to Danny re: Jill & Diane: "You let this be a lesson."
Danny: "Leave well enough alone."
Andy, not yet knowing Danny is making fun of him: "Yes, leave well enough alone and don't mix in also, and don't get caught in the middle."
Danny: "Put a little something aside for a rainy day."
Andy (getting it now): "Hey, those that don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it, pal. And you can take that to the bank."
Danny: "Mama said there'd be days like this."

My favorite:
Danny to the young cop who greeted them at Juan's body: "You didn't happen to find a card on the body 'I did this' signed Romeo Rodriguez."
Cop, missing the joke but eager to help: "No, I didn't find any card."


NEXT WEEK: It's a teleplay by Meredith Stiehm, which can only mean good things, and directed by Mark Tinker, which certainly means good things. Look for the return of Katie and more of James and Greg.


Amanda Wilson Puedo01@aol.com