Season 10 Episode 19
Teleplay by Keith Eisner
Story by Bill Clark & Keith Eisner
Directed by Bob Doherty
This week, on our trip to the edge of the cliff where we will hang dutifully by our fingernails for three or four months, we adorable little NYPD Blue lemmings saw:
The case is at a standstill until Junior gets Bernie's phone records and finds out he's been calling Marty. Bernie admits Marty is a good guy and he wanted to protect the kid. Colin, to use half a Biblical term, is an asshole. Well, was an asshole.
Andy spends a little time with Bernie telling him it's better to be sober even if it is easier to be drunk. He gives Bernie his number and promises him some time if he needs it.
Junior, meanwhile, invites Marty back to the 1-5. When he arrives, he finds John has built quite a file on him. Marty's past includes his original last name: Seaman (or Seimen or Semen) and a nickname of "Spooge" from his high school classmates. This prompted Marty to become extraordinarily proficient at martial arts. He's so dedicated to it, in fact, that he's created his own website about it which details, among other things, how to kill someone just by popping your finger in his eye and driving it into his brain. John's pretty tough with Marty until Marty cracks and starts telling how he really didn't mean to kill the guy; he just reacted. John changes quickly and tries to help Marty out.
Later, Greg is reading through the files on Rinaldi and sees something familiar. He was in the Merchant Marines. In Singapore. In the late 80s. He's seen that before in Jerry's file! He shows this to Baldwin and then they go pay Jerry a visit. Baldwin is extremely angry and Greg tries to persuade him to back off and let him take the lead. Ignoring Baldwin's rather intimidating growl, Greg brushes past his giant partner as Jerry opens his door and shoves Jerry right back into his apartment and cuffs him. Baldwin looks on. Greg tells Jerry he's a collar because his pal Rick gave him up and then Greg makes up a ridiculous story about what Jerry has on Rick--that Rick owes him money. Jerry can't believe he's going down on this lie and tells the truth: it's not money, it's murder. He tells the cops he got Rick to rough Val up in exchange for shutting up about an 11 year old murder in Singapore. After this confession, Baldwin threatens to kill Jerry. Greg stops it and Baldwin seems satisfied to have protected his girl without losing his job and having to go prison.
They get to know each other at dinner. She asks him why he became a cop, which he doesn't spend more than five words explaining, and then he asks why she became a doctor. She draws him into a deep, winding story that sounds very much like the typical TV Cop Show motivation for why a guy like say, Starsky or Hutch, would become a cop. It's hilarious, but John doesn't really laugh at first. He asks if she's making it up. She says yes and lays a blinding smile on him. It's charming as hell, and the sparks are flying, but then her beeper goes off. He gets her a cab and they agree that they'd really like to see each other again. They kiss a couple of times and she takes off.
The hearing is two days away. Connie and Andy are waiting to hear from their lawyer to see if he's come up with anything and if they'll have to take Michelle for visitation that night with the Colohans.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Greg sits down for a nice chat with the guidance counselor. She eyeballs him a bit like old school marms do and finally tells him that she can't say much about Frank, except that he was a bad kid, but his sister really worried her. Sister? Greg has hit what may be the mother lode.
Adrian Colohan was a great kid until something happened and she took a major nosedive by drinking, not bathing, doing drugs. Greg gets a lead on an old friend of hers who may even be able to find her. He brings this news to Connie and Andy and everyone gives him an 'attaboy.
Adrian's friend tells how she thinks Frank raped his sister and got her pregnant. She was then forced to have an abortion. She never talked about it though. The friend gives them Adrian's last name and they find her.
Connie and Andy go visit Adrian. They've so far told everyone they're doing pre-sentence work for Frank's capital case, but now they tell Adrian the truth. She tells them only that she and her parents don't see eye to eye and that she can't help. She becomes angry when they confront her with her pregnancy and gets even more angry when they suggest that either Frank or her father raped her. She throws them out. Andy's last effort is to suggest to her that if her father raped her, he'll probably do it again. He leaves her his card and she tears it up.
Later, with their lawyer (who has done exactly nothing by way of digging up helpful information), Andy and Connie are told to take the baby to social services that night for a visitation with the Colohans. They are also told to prepare themselves for shared custody or worse. The lawyer leaves and Connie falls apart. Andy tells her to hold on, take the kids to Rita's and tell no one she is there. He leaves for social services alone. When he gets there, he tells the Colohans and the social worker the baby is very sick and won't be there. The Colohans are angry and threaten Andy with losing the baby entirely. They call him names. Andy warns them to be careful and they leave.
John's hammering away at Marty the way we've seen him do a hundred times, pretending to help the perp with his story so he can get more information to use against him. John knows it's bullshit, Marty knows it's bullshit, the audience knows it's bullshit and we've seen it all before. Then, all of a sudden, Marty reacts unpredictably. He actually tells the truth, and since it's the first time, it's glaringly obvious he's telling the truth. At that point, John shifts gears totally. He responds by dropping his own bullshit, and he begins to really help the kid with his story. Nice work from both actors selling their characters' lies and emotional distance so fully up until one little moment when both characters turn on a dime and get honest with each other. They were like Andy's fish swimming in a school in the tank, darting left, then right, then.... (Oh for the love of GOD, Amanda, shut up! You know it's the end of the season when I start reaching for FISH analogies...)
I also enjoyed the exchanges with Andy and Bernie but only because Bernie was such a lovable guy. The story itself seems old as the hills to me.
Really, yay for Greg saving the day on this one (and the next one). His old gumshoe ways pay off when he uncovers the key link through good, old-fashioned police work. And then he gets to lead the bad guy right into a confession using his noodle instead of Baldwin's brawn, proving once in a while that brute strength isn't everything. In this case, it failed right from Baldwin's first threat against Jerry up to the moment of the arrest.
I don't blame her for being pissed at his patronizing tone after the interview, but her jealousy is out of bounds. She suggested the break up, after all, while she was trying to move their relationship to a different level. He didn't want to go there, so what's with the jealousy? Surely we can believe Rita is an intelligent woman with a little relationship maturity, so it's reasonable to think she'd realize that she's not going to get what she needs out of Junior and find a way to move on as gracefully as possible. It's not fair for her to be pissed off at him for being what he is, even if what he is an emotionally stunted jerk. Sure it hurts, but she said what she had to say to the man and now it's over.
The whole thing is more proof, as if we needed it, that Rita exists solely for the purpose of further defining John Clark. She's a thinly written character, always has been, and as such is a weak link in the chain of this show. I feel I know more about Andy's frog pencil holder than I do about what drives Rita. The writers dropped the ball on this one. It's OK if part of this full-time character's purpose is to further define a main character, but to have that be her entire purpose is a waste of the audience's time. We're used to great characters drawn by great writers played by great actors. They've got damn near all the elements needed to have made this happen with Rita but chose not to do it. I'm not sure why, but it's really annoying. Get this woman a life, get her back with Junior, or get her gone.
Now on to the new relationship as it defines our main character: (perfect use of a side character, by the way, this defining Junior bit) We know he's shelving his emotions over the loss of his dad since he opted to accept Rita's breakup offer over it and hasn't shared much of it with Andy, so this relationship seems to suit him well at this time. He clammed up on her pretty fast when she asked about his background, and it seems the chemistry between these two is the overwhelming factor. She's busier than he is, so it doesn't seem as if he'll have to worry too much about her getting clingy. And she's obviously a willing sex partner. On the surface, she's the distant man's dream woman. As long as they both stay distant, it'll probably work. We're supposed to think he still has feelings for Rita since he ditched the Doc's call in front of her and made a ham-handed effort to say he enjoyed working with her, so I doubt the door is closed on that one, although if Junior is going to have a vice (and everyone should, don't you think?), being distant with women is an OK one to have for TV. Lots of women love to see that on TV. It's ridiculous in real life, of course, but on TV it's damn attractive.
Oh, and these actors have chemistry to burn. It's fun watching them flirt.
Charlotte Ross rocked in this episode. The final scene with her losing it after the lawyer left was incredible. She made me cry. She is so consistently good in this show and with Dennis Franz that it's a wonder anyone even remembers anything before her. Not that the old stuff wasn't great, but casting her was like casting Mike Farrell in MASH--two grand slams in a row, that was. Maybe it's something about Stage 9 on the Fox lot where Blue is shot--it used be home to MASH--but whatever it is, she's made an enormous difference in the show.
I'm not at all surprised about what's going on in the story. I don't anticipate any surprises, either. Of course, I'd love one--no one pulls off surprises better than Steven Bochco (Leland's lover down the elevator shaft in LA Law)--but if there isn't one, it'll be ok because Ross and Franz are making it OK. (It's not often I'm more interested in watching the actors than I am in paying attention to the writing.)
A word about Medavoy saving the day again: Yay!
*Josh AND Hank! (Do these guys *ever* change shirts?)
*Valerie Heywood is nothing short of adorable. It amazes me how much they've changed this character.
*Andy and Connie have a loser lawyer, but I don't get why. They have far too many contacts to have such a dolt working for them.
*I am so happy that Greg got to be the hero not once, but twice this episode. Now, all they need is to get the man a girlfriend. I know I've been pushing this idea forever and stating the problem of Greg's loveless life for years without offering a solution, so now, once and for all, I am committed: I'll volunteer to be Medavoy's girl. I'm younger & thinner, but that works in TV, right? There ya go. No excuses now.
*No talk of marriage this week. Guess they haven't cleared with their lawyer yet....
*Where is Eddie Gibson??
*The bodega owner gets my vote for favorite guest character of the week. I loved that guy! What a hoot.
*I got a laugh hearing Junior use the phrase "God squad." I'd love to know where this writer heard it. Those of us in radio (before deregulation really took hold) used this term to refer to the seemingly endless stream of canned (sometimes live and ohmyGAWD when the were!) religious programs that were slammed back to back to back to back from 5am-9am Sunday mornings. It's where most of us cut our teeth as producers, and the stories are tremendously funny.
*The Promise Keepers: A Protestant group, from what I understand, so here's this shylock blessing himself in the way of the Roman Catholics at the mention of Colin's death. Very funny!
Brad Hunt as Jerry Wells, Chandra West as Jennifer Devlin, Bill Cobbs as Bernie Carpenter, Shelley Malil as Prakash Sandahar, Vincent Riverside as Russell Weigand, James Eugene Davis as uniform no. 1, Lenny Citrano as Toby Lessing, Don Harvey as Rick Rinaldi, Sean Whalen as Marty Irons, Barbara Tarbuck as Barbara Colahan, Nicholas Pryor as John Colohan, Bob Morrisey as Dan Reardon, Katy Selverstone as Adrian Caffee, Sybyl Walker as Tina Haber, Peggy Miley as Gretchen Wingley, Julie Dretzin as Betty Nagle, Henry Murph as Hank and Ray La Tulipe as Josh Astrachan.
"I'm kidding!" and "OK, I'm not kidding this time!" followed by "I'm kidding!" --the middle eastern bodega owner
Toby the loan shark: "I'm committed to honoring Jesus Christ
through worship, prayer and obedience to God's word."
Rita: "Since when?"
Toby: "Last Saturday."
Have a great week!
Drop me a line sometime. My emails are short, but I tend to make the most of them. I'm kidding! OK, I'm not kidding this time!