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

Season 7, Episode 4
"Naked Are the Dead" 2/1/00
Teleplay by Leonard Gardner
Story by David Milch & Bill Clark
Directed by Bob Doherty

SUMMARY

SEVEN DEAD GUYS

Andy, Danny, Diane and Jill are working a multiple homicide in which seven young Hispanic men are found naked in a nearly empty apartment. Six have been shot, the seventh has had his throat cut. All are tied up. No clothes can be found in the apartment. There's no evidence at all that anyone really lives there. One closet is found empty with a broken pad lock.

Andy begins theorizing that this was some type of sex club. Danny doesn't buy it because one of the guys has a woman's name tattooed on his arm.

Running the story for Fancy, we learn that the man who rented the place paid cash. There was no sign of drugs. The detectives figure they're going to get "help" working this case because it's so big.

Sure enough, the job sends in a profiler and a guy from the organized crime bureau of the NYPD. Andy knows the profiler, Jarvis, from working the Bucci case several years ago. (This is a case featured in a much earlier season. The Bucci's young daughter was kidnapped. Andy worked the case for several years and then catches a break in it while out car shopping with Andy Jr. He tracks it down and is able to return the child to her parents.) Andy tells Danny how he hates Jarvis because all he did during the Bucci case was come up with lame profiles of potential kidnappers, none of which ever panned out.

Jarvis and Morrison, the guy from OCB, are both interested in a drug cartel conspiracy theory, thinking that maybe the young Hispanic victims are not U.S.-born. Andy thinks the theory is faulty and offers his naked sex cult aspect again.

Away from Jarvis and Fancy, Morrison tells Andy and Danny he's got a guy he likes for the murders. A guy who's connected in the drug world on a fairly high level. Morrison, it becomes clear, hasn't done much police work on the streets, but they go see his suspect anyway. After learning way too much about this suspect's anal polyps, they decide he's not the one.

Back at the house, a cabbie is waiting to talk to them. The cabbie has heard about the murders and is looking for reward money. Once that's secured, he tells how he drove two guys away from the building earlier and helped them carry a bunch of garbage bags up to another apartment.

Andy, Danny and Morrison pick up one of the guys from the apartment and the trash bags filled with the victim's clothes. They've also found a gun they think was the murder weapon.

The go at the suspect. Andy grabs him up by the collar and spits in his face how he's going to die by the "hot shot" if he doesn't say what happened. He begins to explain that he's not the one who did the killing, his friend Miguel did, and that it was the sight of 10 kilos of cocaine that made him do it. The detectives are all on the edge of their seats to find out more.

Was it part of a drug cartel? the OCB guy wants to know. Why were they naked? Why were six shot and one slashed? The skel seems a bit surprised at the cartel question and tells how it was really just meant to be a simple robbery. He and his buddy Miguel had heard that people gather in that apartment to party with cocaine. They thought they'd flash a gun around and steal a few ounces from the partiers. They were cranked up as it was, and broke in. When they got inside, they saw the seven guys there bagging up the 10 kilos of cocaine for street sale. They freaked out, having no idea what they'd walked into. Miguel was scared that since they'd been seen by all these guys, they would be killed for discovering the operation, so he killed them all. They were already naked so they wouldn't have any place to hide any of the baggies they might want to steal. (Naked workers are honest workers in the cocaine bagging business.) Why one guy with his throat slashed? Nothing there to please the profiler -- seems Miguel's piece only holds six bullets. Six bullets, seven guys means one of them got his throat cut.

Vic and Migs took the coke but had to take it out of town because they knew it was too much to get rid of in the city. And they took the clothes which were locked in a closet so they could rifle through for money later.

Andy's beyond pleased that the case wasn't the big organized-crime-psychological-kill their guests thought it was. Morrison seems embarrassed and asks not to be put in the detectives' report. They tell him they'll put him in anyway and he goes home happy as a clam that he's been part of a real case. Andy makes fun of him, but he doesn't get it. The profiler stops by to leave a note of congratulations but he barely gets out the door before Andy begins trashing him to Danny again.

After reading the note, Andy realizes that during the Bucci case the profiler was a good guy, giving hope to the family with his lame profiles. He admits to Danny that it was he who was the prick back in those days and confesses that he just doesn't like reminders of who he used to be.

JAMES AND GREG

The dynamic duo is back in action investigating what they think might be a dump job. A guy's been found on the street outside a clothing warehouse with his neck broken. During the initial look-see at the crime scene, Greg spends almost as much time examining the female paramedic as he does examining the body. He fails to impress her, however.

Officer Lowen shows up at the house later with the man who's factory the body was found near. His place has been robbed of silk shirts and leather pants and they're being sold on the street.

James and Greg go check it out and end up busting the chatty salesman and his weird-looking, but silent, friend. They get nothing much from the chatty salesman, but go at the silent guy strong. They've found out that he's the DOA's brother, Dave.

Dave's anything but upset about his brother's death but swears it wasn't murder. He tells how it was fate: He and his brother were ripping off the factory the night before. He was on the third floor tossing bags of silk shirts out the window to his brother below when he noticed the large bundles of leather pants. Figuring that was either going to be a good sell or a good way to kill his brother by "accident" he launches a heavy bundle out the window without warning his brother it was coming. Bam! It his him on the head, snapping his neck. Dave just leaves his brother dead in the alley, calls his salesman friend and goes to work selling the goods. Why? (See LOW below).

Meanwhile, Greg's rolled the dice with the paramedic, one Loretta Beckwith, and snagged himself a date. Continuing his ever-impressive ways, he's promised her dinner at a buffet.

JILL, DON, DIANE, FANCY

Jill gets a call from the Sarge at the 113th precinct who tells her Don, her ex-husband, has been picked up drug charges. She goes to see him, but not before telling Diane that she can't believe he didn't leave town knowing he was going to be arrested. Fancy overhears that bit, and after Jill leaves, tries to grill Diane about whether Jill gave Don a heads up. Diane feels trapped and doesn't give it up. Fancy makes it clear that he wants to know only so he can help save Jill's job.

Jill meets with Don at the 113. He says, rather loudly, that he considered leaving town after she told him he was about to get busted but decided not to because he thought it would look like an admission of guilt. Jill tries to shut him about what she told him, explaining that if anyone finds out she did, she'll lose her job and their kids will be in jeopardy. Don says he won't tell if she can come up with another way to get him out of jail. Otherwise, he informs her, he's gotta look out for himself. Jill leaves.

Back at the house, Fancy corners her. He tells her the Sarge at the 113 has agreed to keep her name out of is as much as he can. Fancy tells her to sit tight and goes off to see Don himself.

In Don's cell, Fancy cozies up to him by grabbing his collar and telling him he's going to give up every shred of information he has about his Peruvian drug bosses in exchange for a walk on the drug charges. Fancy suggests strongly that Don just forget about Jill and promise to give up everything he knows. Fancy makes it clear that if Don doesn't cooperate he's going to jail no matter what he says about Jill. Don is convinced Fancy has the power to do this and agrees to the deal.

Later, Fancy tells Jill he's going to handle everything with Don's case. He warns her that unless she's able to let go and stop letting Don play her, she's going to go down.

DANNY & MARY

Our quirky couple is having dinner at Danny's. Mary's cooked for him for the first time and is perched nervously watching his every bite. She's too nervous to eat. Danny, fearing her very sanity hangs on his every word, carefully compliments her on her culinary skills. Nervous though she is, she seems charmed by his over-attentiveness and when he makes note of the different kinds of cheeses in the lasagna, she seems enormously pleased.

Relaxed a bit now, she helps him clean up in the kitchen as they discuss their day. She tells a story about her new job in anti-crime; he tells the story of Andy's self-discovery. In the midst of this, he cautions her not to mix up his knives and forks. She points out that he's only got two of each. He acknowledges that and asks her again not to mix them up.

Later, when she asks him to get her "a little stirred up" he laughs before obliging her.


REVIEW

SEVEN DEAD GUYS

So much for mystery--and that's gotta be by design. This story almost pokes fun at pop culture's constant demand for some macabre, mysterious motive to every crime. The truth, always portrayed so deftly here, is that most murders aren't mysteries and most aren't perpetrated by some crafty, evil-minded, Hannibal Lecter type psycho. Any cop or crime reporter can attest to the fact that most are domestic in nature or, when that's not the case, driven by the money-drug duo, as was the motive here. We don't get to that so easily, however.

First, we're teased with the notion that there might just be something more sinister at hand. Everyone seems focused on the fact that they guys were naked, which is, of course, the angle that would get the most media/public attention. Even when drugs are mentioned, it's a cartel that must be at work!

Delightful, then, that the whole miserable mess was practically an accident. Well, as accidental as murder gets, I suppose. Hardly Hannibal Lecter, our assistant murderer, Vic, is more like Gomer Pyle. Such is the case in real life.

While I get the beauty of that story, I'm not sure I get the involvement of the guy from OCB who was perhaps even more Pylish (or is that Pileish?) I guess he points out what morons the higher-ups can be.

And I wasn't all that impressed with Andy's self-discovery this week. Hasn't he already discovered what a prick he was? I mean, Sylvia and Andy J. taught him that several seasons ago....

JAMES AND GREG

Showing a solid partnership here, which will undoubtedly set us up for something when James eventually leaves. I think this was the best interview I've seen these two guys do! In fact, I haven't been so impressed with Greg in an interview since he bapped that guy in the head with the phone book a few years ago.

Perfect portrayal of the skel brother Dave, right down to his wimpy hair. He looked a little like a wet Leonardo DiCaprio. (Anyone else want to just slap Leonardo at the end of Cry-tanic? I'm sure this wasn't the point of this episode, but I found this Leo-look-a-like being a total scum particularly satisfying.)

And a great ending. I was just sort of staring along up to that point, wondering if this case was going to end up in some near-crime story when all of a sudden James reminded me that Dave/Leo left his brother's body on the street and went off to sell the stolen shit. Right! OK, some accident.

JILL, DON, DIANE, FANCY

For those of us who crave the long story arcs, this one's heating up by delicious inches. It was a few weeks ago that Jill made the stupid mistake of telling Don narcotics was about to cash in on him. Now, we're seeing the fruits of her folly. Don just couldn't be more of a slime. Now THERE'S your crafty, evil-minded guy. (And we have drugs, money and domestic trouble all playing into this story.)

I found myself wondering what on earth our brilliant, professional Jill was doing giving in to this guy. Then, she made me proud by walking away from him at the jail. And I'll leave this bit of analysis to the parents out there: It's easy for me (no kids) to say "Get over him, already!" to Jill, but I suspect even bigger than her inability to let go of the love she once felt for Don is her motivation to protect her children at nearly any cost. That may be why she told him in the first place. Not because she didn't want to see him in jail; but because she didn't want her kids to see their father in jail. Ya think?

Loved seeing Fancy in this one. I suspect there will be lots more voices going up demanding more Fancy in Blue. James McDaniel can certainly do the job. He was awesome in that scene with Don -- like Jimmy Smits, in a way -- totally intimidating while sitting down. Not many can pull that off. Pretty impressive! And in the very next scene, he's using his power almost lovingly with Jill. Great, great stuff.

DANNY & MARY

Not much to say here. Let's see, we learned that Mary is in anti-crime, which says to me we're going to be seeing more of her in the 1-5. And we learned that Danny truly suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. The paper clips were a clue--the knives and forks are solid proof.

I love this, by the way. How many other leading men characters have flaws like ours? Danny's got OCD; Andy's a pudgy (albeit much less pudgy) former-drunk. Greg has allergies and James..well, he's got too much pasta under that shirt and a lousy barber. We got your realism right here, baby.

Note to those who are working hard to defend Danny Sorenson as the best all-time partner for Andy Sipowicz: At least Danny's real! Kelly had a saintly answer for everything; Simone looked like a saint (yeah, and acted like one too). Danny? Why he's just "simple folk."

QUICK HITS

CAST LEGACIES & SUNDRY INFO

Returning to Blue: Erich Anderson (Don Kirkendall); Sheeri Rappaport (Mary Franco); Billy Concha (Officer Miller); Michael Echols (Officer Lowen).

Blue Alum: Kirk Baltz (Det. Jay Morrison)--He's been on Blue twice previously both times playing Officer Daryl Guyce. I think both appearances were in '94.

Newbies: Andy Umberger (Det. Jarvis)--You may have seen this actor on Law & Order or The Practice, but he also did two stints on the deep and enriching show Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Vincent Castellanos played Vic Torres and Chuck Cooper played Lowell Griffin. Louis Vanaria (Johnny, the Salesman)--I knew I'd seen this memorable face before! He played in the movie "A Bronx Tale." Jason Winther did a super job as the skel brother and Leo DiCaprio look-alike Davey. Jennifer Donlin played Greg's paramedic buffet date.

Our director, Bob Doherty, is Blue's Production Manager most of the time, and he's directed a few other episodes.

LINES OF THE WEEK

Fancy, after hearing about the multiple homicide: "Nobody talks to the media."
Andy: "Seven totally naked bodies with a possible nude sex cult aspect tie in. Yeah, no news angle there."

Martinez tells Davey he's going up for murder even though Davey explains the death of his brother Mike was an "accident."
Davey:
"You guys wouldn't do that to me, would you? After everything I've been through?"
Martinez: "Come on Dave, all that grief? How come you got right out there selling those shirts and pants.
Davey: "Mike woulda wanted it that way?"

 

NEXT WEEK

The fate of James is revealed. Jill's trouble deepens and spins off some trouble for Diane. All that without David Milch in the story credit!


If you've made it this far, God Bless you...

Amanda Wilson Puedo01@aol.com