"I Kid You Not"
Season 10 Episode 11
Teleplay by Tom Szentgyorgyi
Story by Bill Clark & Tom Szentgyorgyi
Directed by Joe Ann Fogle
Andy and John get the case and hold the car for the homicide investigation. Denise isn't happy about that: she works for a record company and is planning a big party for that night. They won't even let her get her things out of the trunk.
During a search of the trunk, they find a bunch of CDs she said she was delivering to an artist but also find two ounces of cocaine.
Denise swears it's not hers. She says she was delivering the CDs for her boss and got them and they bag they were in from him that morning. She says she does this all the time. Andy and John lock her up while they go find her boss.
Greg Knapp is the record executive Denise works for. He's got the lost look of a 20-something stoner and actually giggled when Andy mentioned the drugs. He also denied he had anything to do with any of it and suggested they look at Denise's brother Sean who just got out of jail on drug charges.
Greg gets a call from a witness that supports the brother theory. A man across the street says he was the black guy talking with Denise after the shooting and before he ran away.
Sean is brought in. He says he was in the car with her but has no idea about the drugs, and he seems to be telling the truth. He says he went into the bodega to get some cigarettes and came out to find the carjacker holding a gun on his sister. He says he ran from the scene because he'd been involved in a shooting and figured the cops wouldn't believe his story since he just got out of jail. He's stunned at the news about the drugs, but says he'll take all the blame to keep his sister out of jail. The only problem is he doesn't know how much coke was in the car and gets the amount wrong.
Andy and John haven't come up with anything on the gun used but the dead guy's parole officer says one of his games was to take off people who'd just made drug buys. The detectives decide to give Denise one more chance at telling the truth.
They visit her in her cell downstairs where she's sitting and trying not to touch anything. They tell her they talked to her brother. She tells the same story about why he took off. She then tells that the recording artist she was on her way to see, Delray Kelly, asked her to stop at the home of a guy named Robbie and pick up a package. She didn't ask what it was and didn't look, but put it in the bag with the CDs just in case it was something that needed to be hidden. She confesses that she and Delray are in love. She also admits that Delray is married, but insists they're in love.
Andy and John tell her the only way she's going to get out of this is if Delray admits it. She says he will if they tell him that Denise says it's time to tell the truth. They can't believe it.
They believe Denise and her brother and don't want to prosecute either one of them. They run it by ADA Heywood who confirms what they already knew: No matter what they want or how mixed up Denise got, Denise is going down if Delray won't confess.
Delray is brought in. He pretends he doesn't know Denise at first, then admits he's got so many women he wasn't sure. They tell him about her trouble but he doesn't seem to care much. He feigns surprise. They tell him they've got phone records linking him to the dealer Robbie and he responds with an affected look of incredulity and says, "Robbie is a dealer?" They can't hold him.
Down in the cell, they find Denise still sitting as if she's afraid to get dirty. They tell her Delray would admit to nothing. Deeply shocked she cries that he wouldn't do that to her. Andy and John tell her that he did, and that now they have to take her to central booking. She crumbles when they cuff her and as they take her out of the cell she begs them not to do this to her. It's clear they don't want to but they have no choice.
Connie and Rita go to his address and find an apartment cluttered with filth. There are flies buzzing, roaches taking lunch and rats in every doorway. Behind one of those doors they find a bathroom and three small, filthy, crying children. They take the children from the apartment.
Greg and Baldwin try to track the mother, Joyce Bradovich, through her case worker. Pat Keneely is, however, far too busy to really know much about that case. He's got dozens of others and thinks he left Joyce's file at home. He says he was there just a month ago and the place looked fine. This doesn't seem quite true, though, considering the mess in the apartment. He tells them that if she's using again, they might find her in Tompkins Square Park. He asks about the kids and is told the two girls and boy are all at the hospital. He wants to know about the infant and is met with surprise. Infant? There wasn't one when Connie and Rita went to the house. The case worker supposes Joyce took the infant with her.
Connie and Rita find the Mom getting methadone. She doesn't have the baby with her but she's carrying a huge attitude. She's really angry that she's been picked up and demands to know why. Connie gets rough with her and tells her how they found her kids. She says the 6 month old is with her sister Maureen. Rita calls and Maureen confirms that, but Joyce isn't out of the woods. Connie arrests her for child endangerment for leaving her other three kids in the dirty apartment. She also announces to her that her boyfriend was shot and killed during a carjacking. Joyce seems more upset at the way Connie told her the news than she is at the news itself.
Connie and Rita go to Maureen's to look for the baby. Maureen is a nice enough woman, clean and living in a clean place. The baby is lying in a crib. Rita and Connie wander over for a closer look and notice that for a 6 month old, that little baby has a whole lot of meat on her bones. Connie asks Maureen where her own child is. Maureen starts shifting her weight from leg to leg and says she's visiting with her father. But she cracks when she's asked to call him. Connie points out that the baby they're looking for couldn't be that big and demands to know where Joyce's baby is. Maureen tells them Joyce asked her a few weeks ago to tell anyone who called that she had the baby. She figured it was to help Maureen come up with some kind of cover so her child welfare checks wouldn't get messed up.
Connie and Rita go back at Joyce. Connie is really angry this time. She gets physical with Joyce who is babbling like she killed 80 percent of her brain cells on her last binge. Joyce finally explains that she gets sad a lot and tired and that there's no one to help her. She pathetically recounts how she tries to care for her kids and that she put the baby up on the roof so she could get some peace. She says she was going right back after her when Connie and Rita picked her up.
The detectives are off to find the baby. They search the roof for several minutes, Connie explaining that the child would be making some kind of noise if she were there and alive. Rita finally finds her dead, and it looks as if she's been dead a while. She tells Connie not to look but Connie does anyway.
Back with Joyce, Connie lets Rita take the lead. Rita gets Joyce to explain what happened. Joyce says she was trying to overcome her laziness and sadness and take care of the baby the way she knows she's supposed to. She says it's hard because no one helps her. They ask about her case worker and she says she hasn't seen him in a year. She admits she's not very good at caring for children, but was trying hard to keep the baby clean. From this Rita guesses something happened at bath time. Joyce says the water was too hot and the baby burned.
Greg, Baldwin, Connie and Rita all want the case worker to get in trouble, too. They talk to Heywood about it. She tells them it's highly unlikely they'd be able to prosecute him for anything. Greg suggests that the case file left at home was just conveniently lost so the case worker would have time to doctor it. They ask Heywood if they could get him on some sort of fraud. Again, she says it would be an uphill battle. Just then, the case worker comes in with some story about how the file really wasn't at his house after all but just took a long time to find.
Connie gets in his face, begins to muscle him and shouts how they know he lied. Baldwin and Rita also tell him they know he's a liar and that they're going to report him to everyone they can. Andy pulls Connie off the man.
He demands crime scene investigate. He tells them she denied to him that she ever used heroin and adds she never would have because she lost a friend to it. The detectives don't want to believe him. They tell him it's not unusual for junkies to switch poison and not inform family members. This makes Tony even more mad and he demands a full investigation. Since he's a Lt., the detectives agree.
Andrew, Angela's more-recent ex-husband, arrives in the squad at Tony's request. It was his BMW Angela was found in, the one he couldn't get back from her. Tony practically accuses of him murdering her and says he's going to get to the bottom of Angela's death. Andrew tells him he's not going to be offended at the accusation because he understands how Tony feels. He tells Tony he tried everything to help Angela, too, but in the end could do nothing. Before he leaves, he offers to split funeral expenses with Tony. Andy, John and PJohn all hear this offer and wonder what's up. Tony refuses to discuss it.
Later, Andy gets Tony alone for a minute and Tony tells him the story. Andy suggest he take a few days off. Trying not to burst into tears, Tony says he will probably do that. Andy says he's there for Tony to talk to if he needs it. Tony thanks him and Andy leaves.
Tony goes that evening to see Angela's parents, Elaine and Joe. They're very happy to see him and begin telling him how glad they are he and Angela are getting back together. Tony begins to tell them to sad news, beginning with how Angela has been back on drugs and ending with how she was found OD'ed in Andrew's car. They are all three shattered.
Sneaky comes up with the perfect ruse to get John to the party. He foists upon him a little pink message slip saying he's been summoned to in-service training that night. John asks him to reschedule, but Sneaky says they were very insistent since John is already overdue for a seminar. Andy starts making fun and John insists that Sneaky keep trying to get him out of it. Sneaky says he'll try.
Later, Sneaky tells John he did his best but that he couldn't get John out of the in-service. John is really pissed off. Sneaky pumps his fist and mouths "yes" as soon as John is out of sight.
John arrives at the hotel and wanders down a hallway a little confused as to why he's been told to go to a hotel room rather than, say, a conference room in a hotel. He finds the right door and knocks and Rita opens it. He seems pleased to see her at his inservice training until a few seconds pass and he realizes he's been snookered.
She's ordered champagne and strawberries and settles on to the bed. But this has been a really rough day for her and she's not really as into this moment as she'd hoped to be. He asks if she's OK and she says she is but then starts to cry about the death of the baby. John picks up the champagne and leads her to the bathroom where he tells her they're going to wash the day away.
For all those who've wished people could be locked up just for being stupid, this one's for you. Of course, she did break the law, but it's one of those situations that's been in the press so often the last few years: women who do stupid things for their boyfriends or husbands without really knowing what they're doing and who end up in jail for decades while their men go free. Many of them are being pardoned by governors around the nation but many more remain locked up.
The moral of the story: don't pick up packages for anyone but yourself. Especially if you're dating an unknown recording "artist" who's married. (Sheesh!)
I thought the woman who played Denise and the man who played Delray were top-notch. The contrast of Denise with her lovely clothes and hair and her refined manner in that nasty jail cell was really powerful, especially in the final scene.
The woman who played Joyce was aces. And the social commentary on the case worker was appropriate. I know they're not all like him (so please don't write me to defend case workers), but something is wrong with a system in which this kind of thing happens all the time. It bears a closer look from those of us not directly involved. It is our money, after all, not to mention our society.
What I liked the most was the fact that this case grew out of the murder case. Just think: if the carjacker had gotten away with his crime, there might have been more than one dead kid on that roof.
But what's done is done, and this one's done. Unless there is a murder behind it, which I think would be very cool. I kind of hope there is because I don't think this story gave Esai Morales the showcase the man should have. He was really good in this episode, especially when he was telling the detectives to get crime scene on the case. I think his insistence that she was murdered--even if she weren't--could be a good thing to carry on for a while.
I was thinking they took a pretty good step having Rita tell Connie not to look at the body. I think it might have been a good Rita moment to carry that on and have her being strong for and about Connie right on through.
We don't even have to break up their happy home--just let them work cases together again.
*Baby Stilla lives on..as in "still...ah...no name." Heck, even the baby who died this week had a name! (Well, Connie's does too, but no one has yet uttered it so that it sticks to the final edit of the show.) Of course, this is hardly meaningful to the show, but that's part of what Quick Hits are all about.
*ADA Heywood's appearance wasn't much use this week. All she did was give Andy and John a chance to say how much they didn't want to prosecute Denise and her brother. Now that Heywood seems to have relaxed a bit, I think it's time to test drive this reshaped character on something a little more interesting, and I'm NOT talking about another date with Baldwin. I mean a real part in a real story.
*I missed not hearing any mention of John's dad this week.
*Nice how the actors seemed cold at the top of the show. It is in fact damn chilly out East about now. However, Connie and Rita didn't seem all that frozen while on top that windy roof.
*The scene where the kids are found in the bathroom is fantastic. You're moving along, fully expecting to see blood and guts like you normally do in these shows, and then bam! Kids! It was such a powerful and moving surprise. And a very touching shot of that little baby saying "mamma, mamma" as Connie carried her out the door. What a stroke of luck to get that. This was the standout scene of the episode.
*And while we're at it, hats off to the rat wrangler! Little Ben was both disgusting and cute at the same time, especially when he was on the other side of the door. You know, nothing makes a scene click like animals and kids...
Previously on NYPD Blue: Anthony Mangano as Ed Laughlin, Eddie Bowz as Andrew Taylor and Jessica Ferrarone as Angela Lupo.
Happy New Year, everyone!