NYPD Blue: Summary/Review by Amanda Wilson aka Puedo01@aol.com
Season 8 Episode 18
"Lost Time"  5/8/01
Teleplay by Buzz Bissinger
Story by Bill Clark & Buzz Bissinger
Directed by Bob Doherty

Great show!

Summary
DIANE'S LOST TIME:  Diane arrives at work before nearly everyone else to put in for an immediate leave of absence. As she shakes hands with Tony, Andy arrives and asks why she's in so early.
  Diane takes him into the locker room and tearfully explains that she's leaving. She wants to avoid having to say long, emotional good-byes, so she asks Andy to tell everyone she's going to call.
  Clearly heartbroken, Andy reminds her that he's always there for her and that he'll miss her. They hug.  Diane leaves the locker room in tears, hands a curious PAA John a slip and says, "Lost time, John," as she leaves the house for what may be a very long time.
   Throughout the day, Diane calls everyone in the squad except Danny.  Danny is disturbed by this and makes a mental note each time she calls for someone else. By the end of the day, Andy tries to comfort Danny and invites him over to eat. Danny says he's fine, will deal with it, and says he's going to stay and work.  Alone in the squad room, the phone rings. It's Diane. She apologizes for not calling sooner. Danny tells her he'll always be there for her.  He adds that he has a lot of things to say but can't do it just now. They hang up.

STRIPPER DOA: Danny, Andy and the now partnerless Connie investigate the death of stripper Lana Corso who was found strangled in her apartment. A friend, Nikolai Kosso, was to meet her at the apartment that morning. When he arrived, he heard her voice and the voices of some men inside. Angry, he left and called her, and spoke to her answering machine.  Later he sees the men leaving the building with her safe. He called 911. The police opened the apartment and found Lana
  Lana was selling some jewelry for Nikolai on consignment. He thinks the men stole the jewelry and her money.
   At the strip club, the detectives interview some of the girls. Danny speaks with one named Kristen Moore who seems very nervous right off the bat, even before anyone speaks to her.  She tells Danny Lana was her best friend and had a boyfriend named Mike Gillespie. She says she's scared and Danny gives her his card.
    A run on Gillespie shows he doesn't have a big criminal background, just a small one.  They find that the strip joint is a front for some wrongdoings for the Gambino crime family.
    In the midst of this investigation, Danny and Connie are called to another homicide scene: a man shot to death in an alley.  His ID says he's Mike Gillespie.
    Later, the stripper Kristen shows up after hearing that Mike is dead and admits she hasn't told them everything before.  After babbling on about how she has to dance naked since her mom died so she can put her brother through school, she tells about the creepy bartender at the club named Frank Russo. He'd been asking a lot of questions about Lana, and Kristen saw him talking about Lana to Mike. She's terrified someone is going to get her for talking.
    The decide to get her to help them by putting a wire on her and inviting Frank over to talk about Lana.  She just has to get him to say he was at Lana's that morning. They want to do it at her place because that means they can tape Frank without his consent.
   Kristen welcomes the slimy Frank into her apartment and offers him a beer. She tries to tell him she's interested in taking over for Lana in the jewelry business. Frank doesn't want to hear it, he just wants to do it. He paws her, tries to kiss her. She tells him no, she wants to talk business. He insists.  He grabs her, tosses her around a bit and rips her shirt off. He smacks her down on the couch and informs her they're going to do it just as Andy, Danny and the rest of the crew comes through the door and arrests him for attempted rape.
    They use the attempted rape charge on him. They tell him that a witness puts him at Lana's place that morning, and that without his own story of what happened, he could go down for murder.  Frank tells them that he was there, but that Mike killed her.  He says later, Mike pulled a gun on him and he pushed it way. The gun just went off, he says.  He writes it down for the DA.
    After he's done, the detectives toss him in the pokey and inform him he's charged with both murders. Frank is shocked. He thought the detectives understood his story. Connie reminds him of the two bullets in Mike's head. Danny tells him it's between him and the court system now. Andy then gives him some hope by reminding him of OJ.
   Kristen shows up and gets the 411 on Mike's case. Danny offers to give her a ride home. She says no, but invites him to watch her dance at the club tonight. He accepts and she leaves. She seems to convey a promise in the toss of her head as she leaves the room.     
   
ELDERLY DOA: Marty Simons and his wife were mugged coming away from a bank where Marty cashed his VA check.  Marty wouldn't give up his WWII Army Battalion ring he got for being a war hero, fought with the mugger and then collapsed and died. The mugger got the ring.
   Mrs. Simons gives a good description of the mugger to Greg and Baldwin. They find a pattern of similar robberies around the first of the month when government checks come.  Most of the descriptions are similar.  Baldwin explains that the reason no one noticed this before, even though all the victims came from the same bank, is that they were taken down in different locations, even different precincts.
   Greg and D want to set up on the bank themselves. Tony thinks this is a good idea. They ask Andy to help by posing, along with Greg, to pose as an old man at the bank.
    The "sunshine boys" hit the bank, Greg pushing Andy in a wheelchair. They spot a man who fits the description as they pretend to get money from the bank. Outside, Greg continues to wheel Andy down the street. One of the robbers grabs Greg from behind, and Andy pulls his gun out and takes the other one down. Baldwin runs in and grabs up the guy on Greg.
   The two suspects, Rashaan Dudley and Mikal Simpson are brought in.  Mrs. Simons identifies Mikal in a lineup as the man who mugged her and her husband. Greg and Baldwin tell him that he was identified in an earlier robbery and that there are other witnesses. The tell him about the ring, and they tell him they'll get him consideration if he gives up the ring. He tells them where he's stashed it. After they get the address, they spring it on him that the man died and he's up for murder now. Mikal freaks out, saying he never intended to hurt anyone.
   Greg and Baldwin return Marty's ring to his wife who promises to wear it on a chain around her neck.

ANDY'S GIRLS: The once-banished Cynthia shows up for a visit and to try to make things better with Andy. They agree they don't like how they left things.  She tells him that she understands his point of view, and how complicated things are for him. She apologizes for being so pushy, and she tells him that she didn't mean to drive him away. She says she'd like it if he'd call again, if he wants to, and she even promises to stop talking to her uncle.
  Andy tells Cynthia he and Katie are getting married.  Cynthia is very surprised and says so. Andy explains that it's good for Theo. Cynthia tells him like it is: it's a mistake to marry Katie for Theo's sake, because if it's not also good for Andy it won't be good for Theo. Andy hears her, but doesn't say much.  She gives him a kiss and wishes him well.
   At home that night, Katie asks about Andy's day. He's tense and doesn't want to talk. He tells her he doesn't want to, but seems immediately to know that's a mistake. He tries to tell her a few things but stops himself because he really doesn't want to talk to her. She offers to warm up dinner. He says he'll take care of it. He goes alone into the kitchen where he wonders what he's doing.  She's left standing in the living room wondering the very same thing.

Review
DIANE'S LOST TIME: Real emotion drove this touching scene between Kim Delaney and Dennis Franz, two actors who've been making good TV together for a long time. You'd have to be the Ghost of David Caruso not to have puddled up watching this one.  
   A few words about Kim Delaney: I did not start out her biggest fan. I was even less a fan of the "damsel in distress" back story they gave her, but I did like her pairing with Jimmy Smits.  I think what made that work so well was the fact that the two actors genuinely liked one another and had a real chemistry.  She was great in the scenes where she and Bobby were flirting, and that hook is what got me watching her a little more closely. When I did that, I found her portrayal of a drunk to be outstanding. And watching her evolve as an actress has been lots of fun.
  I don't think Diane was always taken down the best possible path in the early
days--her childhood abuse story was a tad melodramatic--but I thought the alcoholism story was realistic both in her portrayal of it and in the way it was written.  
  Over the years, as I noticed Kim Delaney's talent really starting to soar, my respect for her grew.  She's a smart, creative woman and those things combined with hard work paid off for her enormously in this setting. Surrounded by talents like Dennis Franz, Gordon Clapp and Jimmy Smits on screen, and the likes of David Milch and Mark Tinker behind the scenes, her own abilities took flight and her portrayal of Diane grew solid, comfortable, strong. Diane became an element in the show that we could always count on.
   I have heard the less-enlightened argue that Diane got boring after Bobby died.  While it's true she flashed her bare essentials far less often, and it's also true that her private life wasn't prime story material anymore, I think neither of those things were what made Diane interesting. To me, she got a lot more interesting after Bobby was out the picture and she was forced to stand on her own. (The writers were forced, really, to stand her on her own.) After Bobby, Diane Russell became perhaps the most well-rounded and realistic female character ever created on television.
  I don't know if that was done by design--a look at the other women created by the creators of Blue would make me doubt it--but even if it happened through accident boredom, or neglect of the character, it did happen.  Diane was a woman who got up every day, went to work, did her job, learned to survive and ultimately how to prosper all on her own.  
    Diane started out as a weak woman in need of a Prince Charming hero, she was, I suppose, every codependent man's dream: someone he can take care of, whether he wants to or not. But Diane Russell ended up having to learn her life's lessons without a man to teach her, save her, pay her way.  
    Diane's Prince died (something David Milch couldn't have foreseen when he put Bobby and Diane together). She struggled a bit on her own after that, but she made it.  Along came the next Prince. Of course, we all know he turned out to be something of a tadpole, and I don't think Steven Bochco thought that would happen either.  So, while they most likely didn't mean to, Milch and Bochco ended up creating a very solid female role model. This is not to say she's perfect, or that she chooses to prove something to the world by denying men access to her life--not at all--she's just had one hell of a run of bad luck, and instead of falling back on her old crutch (booze), she's moved onward and upward. Finally, she lands a nice guy (the doc, who seems to be a happy guy, in generally good health AND respectful of women all at the same time), and she makes a major decision to shake things up in her life even more by quitting her job for a while.  She's courageous, she's happy, she's got a good guy she can live with rather than a good guy she can't live without. What's not to like about that kind of life?
   And the man she leaves broken in her wake is Danny, who was broken from the start.  He can't see past himself far enough to realize that her leaving really does have nothing to do with him.
   I will miss this character, and I'll miss watching Kim Delaney portray her. Diane became a major reason I like this show, and while I like Connie an awful lot, the cheese-o-matic adoption storyline may mean it'll be a long time before I feel she'll be a woman to be proud of.  I won't give up hope though. Next season, when I'm bitching about it, just remind me of Diane's "cold" story, OK? :)
   On behalf of the hundreds of people who've emailed me, I'd like to wish Kim the very best on her new show. I hope she finds as happy a family there as she did working on Blue, and twice the success.  Thanks for all your fine, fine work, Kim. It was fun for us, too.  And, if your new show tanks (not that we believe it will, of course; I'm already hearing good things about you), please remember that there will be a not-so-small legion of people out here who will send up a tiny, selfish cry of joy and a prayer that you'll come home to Blue. (And bring your cute doctor friend with you.)

MORE ON DANNY: He seems on the edge of major wiggage. But, let me say that since his "stalking" situation with Diane a week or so ago, I'm less inclined to believe the worst.  He wasn't totally nutting out then, so while I know some creepy things are coming down the pike for our pal Dan, I'm cautiously optimistic that it won't be too weird.
  And let's remember how much of a nutcase Andy was back in the day. Kelly pulled him out of some pretty bizarre situations. Maybe now that Andy's older and sober, he'll be the one doing the rescues.
  I thought Rick was outstanding again. His portrayal of a half-nut too much in love is just so on the money.  It's creepy and really sort of sweetly sad at the same time.  He does it mostly with his face, which can't be an easy thing to do. Even though he's not gotten much screen time in the last few months, he's certainly been a stand out actor doing a whole hell of a lot with a little bit of material.    
  Of course, rumors persist--and I've yet to find anyone who can put them down for good--that Rick's future with the show is still up in the air. Given that big given, anything can happen.  I can't say enough what a mistake I think it would be lose him.

STRIPPER DOA: I liked both of the cop stories this week, this one especially. It worked on every level.  It had that thing so many of our stories have been missing lately--a little personal twist. This one was the skanky-sweet stripper Kristin who must remind Danny of his sister/mother/aunt/Diane all rolled into one. His need to protect was felt powerfully by him. She hit every protection button he has, and that gave the story some depth. It also gave the story a hook for next week, as Danny's connection with Kristin continues.
    Only one scene here didn't work--and it was the only scene in the entire show that didn't work--and that was Kristen's first scene. I think I get the reason she's such a ditz--strippers generally are and dingy girls certainly  make better damsels--but the ditz factor was a shade or six too high in this first scene. Was it the actress? Probably, but I don't know for sure. She certainly was hanging the whole plot out there in the first few sentences, though, wasn't she?  She got a little better as the show went on, but this scene reminded me so much of that infamously bad scene in Starsky and Hutch when Suzanne Sommers played a stripper who gave them information.  (A scene that's also known because it's the one that got Sommers her infamously bad role on Three's Company. Who says two wrongs don't make a right?) The actress who plays Kristin is beautiful, of course, but what have we learned this season? Beauty PLUS ability make it all work better. And if you have to pick one, ability overshadows beauty on a show with this much talent already in place.

ELDERLY DOA: Another good story.  The casting of Florence Stanley made it for me! I love that woman.  (see CAST LEGACIES for more on her) She was so good in this role. The way she used her voice just about blew me away.  If you've got it tape, go back and watch her scenes and listen to her.  Fantastic.
    And here was a bit of humor that worked well for me. Unlike the balloon scene last week, this one had context.  Andy and Greg doing their thing: It was creative, realistic, fun.  
   Someone wrote to me this week and suggested that in light of all the new cast members recently, more time should be spent on the guys we know so well, especially Greg since we see so little of him. I think that's a good point, and this scene bears it out.
   
QUICK HITS:

Hank!

Was it safe for Andy to have pulled his gun out while the other guy had Greg had a choke hold?  I realize Greg gave him the signal, but could Greg have been certain the guy who had him was unarmed?  Seemed kind of risky to me.

Did anyone else catch Baldwin calling John "Johnny?"  Cool.

Nice touch having Connie and Danny exit the car at Gillespie's murder scene chatting about Diane. That was a smart bit of added realism. It's not as though we would have noticed had the exited the car in silence, but having it added texture to the show.  Texture is good. Texture has been sorely missed. Thanks for adding it back in!

What was Danny pouring into his mouth at the stripper murder scene? Was it fine ground Zoloft? Pixie Stix? Dirt from Diane's front stoop? Ground up paper clips? What??  (undoubtedly texture that I missed!)

Was I the only one who thought about what Diane's To Do list was that day? 1) Get up, shower and get dressed, go to work early and get a leave of absence 2) Leave and be absent. 3) Stop for a coffee, maybe a bagel with a schmeer. 4) Go home and call Connie. 5) Take off shoes. Put shoes away. 6) Call Greg. 7) Watch Game Show Network for 30 minutes. Eat a cheese sandwich. 8) Call Baldwin. 9) Walk from living/bed/kitchen area into bathroom. Stare at Bobby's picture. Go grocery shopping. Get a slice. Wonder if the doc will call.  Buy a kitten. 10) Call Danny.

Did she say anything to John other than "John, it's me, Diane, again. Can I talk to Greg now?"  

Here was an unspoken that worked: The skel who stole the ring from Mr. Simons thinks he's all that but hasn't a clue what it is to be a real hero like Mr. Simons was. Mikal and his friend wouldn't have lasted a pair of seconds trying to be real men in a WWII trench.

Here was another: If the man had given up the ring, he might still be alive.  Cops area always telling you this: nothing is more valuable than your life.  The man's pride and joy was the ring he got for surviving a war with bravery. Ironic that those same things are what led to his death.

CAST LEGACIES AND SUNDRY INFO:
Previously on NYPD Blue:  Debra Monk as Katie Sipowicz; Julia Donald as Cynthia Bunin; Hank Murph as Hank, and taking some lost time from the LAPD to play with his brother EP Mark Tinker was Michael Tinker as bartender Pete Mc Neil. Little known fact: Michael Tinker has more experience polishing glass than any other cop/actor in the free world. :)

Florence Stanley (Mrs. Simons): This lovely woman has a long career on television and in film but is probably most recognizable as either Bernice Fish from Barney Miller and Fish, or as the judge on My Two Dads.  

John Enos (Frank Russo): He was on Melrose Place for a while. You may have also seen him on Sex and the City, or maybe you've seen even more of him on Red Shoe Diaries.

Garland Whitt (Mikal): He was in The Hurricane. He's also done L&O and CSI.

Jenna Gering (Kristen): She was on Baywatch once.

Greg Grunberg (Joey at the strip club): He's on Felicity and he was also in Hollow Man.

Rouding out the cast: Chelsea (as in Chelsea Clinton?): Tanjareen Martin, who should have used her own name; Alex Kuzentsov as Nikolai, Heather Parkhurst as Barmaid; Casey Lee as Rashaan; David Harris as Uniform #1; John O'Leary as Uniform #2; Roger Raney as Uniform #3.

LINES OF THE WEEK:

Andy and Greg discussing who makes a better old man:

Andy: "You think you look younger than me 'cause of that carrot top you dip in paint twice a month?"
Greg: "What are you talking about? I don't dye my hair."
Andy: "Yeah, OK, Medavoy, whatever you want, only do me a favor, huh? You gonna keep your hair that red, you gotta talk with an Irish brogue like that leprechaun with the marshmallow cereal on TV."

And my favorite---
Andy to Danny after Kristin shows up and announces she's heard Gillespie is dead: "I guess news travels fast on the titty bar grapevine."

NEXT WEEK:  Andy and Katie make a major decision.  Danny sinks deep into a dangerous situation.  This is the lead in to the series finale which I hear is really good.   If this week is any indication, the season will be ending with as much energy as it had in the first several episodes.

Thanks and take care of yourselves,
Amanda Wilson