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

"Oedipus Wrecked"
Season 9 Episode 20
5/7/02
Teleplay by Matt Olmstead
Story by Bill Clark & Matt Olmstead
Directed by Nelson McCormick

Intense.....

If you missed it, here's a summary:

CLARK & ORTIZ:

The day begins with these two rushing around to get ready for work but barely able to uncouple. Two deliberate, but nonetheless fine, shots of Clark's naked backside later, they're getting paged. They leave: Clark to a crime scene and Rita home to change then to the same crime scene. When she arrives, Clark tries too hard to be normal with her and misses by a mile. Andy, ever the detective, gets a clue. He knows just what's going on and Clark seems to uncomfortably suspect he knows.

Much later, while working a case, Andy asks him what's going on. Clark goes into a highly defensive explanation of how he was tired after the fight and how absolutely nothing is going on with anything. Andy stares then clarifies his question: what's going on with the case. Clark gives him an embarrassed answer.

Meanwhile, Rita remains cool all day. She flashes a smile or two Clark's way but doesn't make a big deal out of it.

GREG'S DAUGHTER:

Greg comes to work beaming. He's just heard his daughter Katie is getting married to a guy named Kevin from Detroit. He didn't know she was serious about anyone, but is very pleased there's going to be a wedding. He comments how his ex-wife drove a wedge between him and his daughters, but it's clear he's very excited about seeing Katie and meeting her fiance at a dinner tomorrow night.

Later, Katie comes in. John is happy to meet her and asks to see her ring. Katie shows it off with pride. John holds her hand and describes it: a lovely ring with channel set diamonds, or some such thing, and then adds how much he likes it and who needs a big diamond anyway? Katie is wounded. John realizes his mistake, is so shocked at his own behavior that he can't even correct it and can only point Katie toward her dad in the coffee room.

Greg is very happy to see her. After a greeting, Katie explains that there's a problem with the wedding. Her mother doesn't want Greg there and has refused to go to the wedding if he's there. Katie says she's solved the problem by planning to elope. Greg won't let her do it. He tells her it's her day and he won't let it be ruined by her parents. He tells her he will stay away from the wedding and just take her and Kevin out to dinner to celebrate. It breaks his heart to do it, but he makes it clear that he wants Katie to have the wedding. Katie takes the offer with gratitude.

After she leaves, Greg is devastated. He can barely concentrate on his work and admits to Baldwin that he's having trouble letting it go. He's burdened with a lot of divorced dad guilt and says he owes it to Katie to help her have a wedding, and that means staying away.

Much later, after one of the worst days of Greg's life (see below), Katie comes back to the station house to make sure he's OK. She sees he is, but that he's not really himself. She tells him that she just couldn't stand to have him miss the wedding, so she told her mother to just deal with it or she and Kevin would elope. Greg's ex elected to deal with it.

ANDY'S A HOSTAGE:

Clark and Andy catch a double homicide in which a woman named Sherry, who runs a recording studio out of her house, is shot to death. Also dead is her house guest Glen. His girlfriend, Judy, has been shot in the head but lives for a while.

Connie looks through Sherry's Palm Pilot and finds a client list for her studio. Clark and Andy get busy talking to folks on the list. After a jerk or two who give them nothing, they sit down to talk to Dave Burgess, a quiet guy Greg has picked up for them.

Dave is helpful and cooperative and honest. He admits knowing Sherry and that he bought pot off of her a few times. Seems Sherry makes her real money dealing dope. But Dave says he bought a little bit from her the night before then left. His alibi from that morning checks out just fine and he says he saw no one at her place when he was there.

Andy runs a check on friendly Dave anyway and finds out that someone who shares his name and birthdate is wanted for arson in Kansas. Andy and Clark decide to fingerprint him to check him out more.

Andy heads back into the pokey room to get Dave and take him down to be printed. Still friendly, Dave explains that he's never been in Kansas and that the problem may actually be that he was the victim of an identity theft. Andy says that's OK but they still need to print him. Dave starts coming unglued at this point and complaining that he's been nothing but helpful and nice and that he just wants to go home.

Andy's radar goes off and he assures Dave that as soon as the prints clear him, he can go home. He picks up Dave's coat and calls him along. He notices some sort of weight in one of the coat pockets however, and reaches in to find a couple of clips to a small gun. At the same second, Dave is pulling that gun out of his pants and pointing it at Andy.

Freaking out, Dave orders Andy to sit down and put his hands on the table. He puts the gun against Andy's temple, takes Andy's own gun away, and complains very loudly that Andy should have just let him go.

No one notices Andy's plight until Clark goes looking for him and finds the doors to the pokey room locked. Andy shouts for him to stay away and so does Dave. Clark looks through the two-way mirror and sees what's going on. He calls Tony in and in a matter of minutes, ESU arrives with snipers.

The tense situation continues while Dave both threatens to blow Andy's brains out and practically sobs his life story to him. Several times, the head of the sniper unit tries to interrupt and negotiate. He makes Dave very mad and Andy has to shout at him several times to shut up. Tony is also dealing with this guy who is trying to throw him out of the observation room.

Tony has questioned Greg about how this happened. Greg blanks: did he search the guy for weapons? He's not completely sure, but it's clear that if he did, he missed one. Baldwin tries to console him a little, but Greg is stunned. Clark has a few harsh about Greg to Baldwin later, but Baldwin tells him to back off because Greg made a mistake and needs support.

Greg, Baldwin and Clark have tracked down a real suspect in the case. Before she died, Judy told them it was a Jamaican named Ed. After narcotics fails to find any Jamaican named Ed, Greg does a phone dump of the dead guy's cell and finds a call from a guy named Ed who lives in Jamaica, Queens.

Baldwin and Clark set up on him and take him down after a foot chase. At first Ed tells them there are tons of people in Jamaica, Queens named Ed. He cracks, however, after Clark challenges him to figure out how many of them called the dead guy's cell phone.

Ed tells them he was part of a robbery scheme and that he was forced to shoot everyone because Sherry pulled out a gun.

Meanwhile, Andy tries to talk himself out of his situation. He gets Dave to unload about the arson charge and about how the government has been trying to ruin his life ever since. Dave begins to feel more comfortable with Andy when he learns Andy was in Nam and is not a big fan of the government either.

He's further encouraged when Andy promises to get him some pot and, thanks to Tony, is able to come through with a couple of joints.

Just as the snipers are poised to put two bullets through the mirror--one to break the glass and one to hopefully break Dave's skull--Andy gets him to write down his story about the government so Andy can give it to the media. As he's writing, Dave lowers the gun inch by inch. Finally Andy places his hand on Dave's gunhand and tells him not to move. He explains that there are snipers and that if he moves he'll die. Dave begins to weep a little, but gives up the gun. Andy moves to take the other gun when the ESU guys bust through the door. After things are back under control, Dave is taken out and Andy is left shell-shocked.

Later, he returns home to Theo. Connie has gone ahead of him to pick Theo up. Theo is thrilled to see Andy and has no idea anything has happened. He's sent off to get ready for bed and Andy and Connie wander wordlessly to the couch. They sit down and stare blankly at the TV. Andy is in shock. Connie sits with tears streaming down her face. Finally, Andy takes her hand. They sit a while staring, and then he asks if she'll stay a while. She turns to him and says she'll stay as long as needs her to.

DRUG MOM:

Connie and Rita are called to the scene of a bomb threat when a passerby is arrested there. A bomb sniffing dog went nuts when Ronda Clifton walked past the scene and tried to get her purse. The police stopped her and found a huge amount of drugs inside. The dog, it seems, was originally a drug-sniffer but got retrained after 9/11.

Ronda is a fifty-ish woman who looks for all the world like June Cleaver circa 2002. But there she is with a felony amount of drugs in her pocketbook.

She denies she owns the drugs and denies that she was trying to sell them. She's from upstate, she tells them, and that turns out to be true. Connie and Rita are having a hard time believing her because she was caught with the goods and because they know that appearances don't mean squat.

Mrs. Clifton says over and over that the drugs are not hers and suggests maybe a dealer tried to unload them by stuffing them in her purse. The detectives roll their eyes. Then Mrs. Clifton just flat out admits it: the drugs are hers and she's going to sell them. Connie asks her how much she paid for them and how much she plans to make off them: she says something like 3-grand. Of course, they're worth much, much more than that. Mrs. Clifton is lying and Connie and Rita lock her up.

A few hours later, after she's been sitting in a cell all that time, Connie and Rita go back and talk to Mrs. Clifton again. She still says she has no idea where the drugs came from. Connie and Rita have found out, though, that she has a son who's been in trouble several times for drugs. They ask if the drugs are Eric's. She says no, and the detectives lay it out for her: She was found with the drugs and that means she goes to jail for a minimum of 15 years. As they're walking away, Mrs. Clifton admits the drugs are Eric's. She says she had no idea they were drugs, though, when he gave them to her. He wrapped them up like a present and asked her to take them to a friend back home.

Eric is picked up later and stands by his story that the drugs are not his. Eric is a sleaze. Rita make sure he knows that he's sending his own mother up for 15 years. He still denies he had anything to do with it.

Connie and Rita then take him into the cell where his mother is. He's moved by this, but still denies that he had anything to do with it. His mother is shocked. As he walks out of the cell to leave her to her sentence she calls out that she loves him no matter what. He begins to break down and they both cry all over each other. Finally, Eric admits (just in time for mother's day) that the drugs are his.


REVIEW

CLARK & ORTIZ:

The morning after scene has become as routine as a uniform running a case at a crime scene, but does that mean it was bad? Oh, hell no. I think the rushing around, getting paged, pretending at work it never happened routine has been done a time or four on this show too, and while I'd vote for that being different, I still managed to maintain my good feeling about this couple.

I do wonder somewhere in the back of my mind how Rita was able to bounce back so quickly and completely after her husband cheated on her and then ended up murdered, but since we know virtually nothing about Rita except she likes to match bras and shirts, I'm left with no where to go on that score. I can only guess the reason she put up with so much shit from Don is because she loved him and wanted to work it out, but, hey, maybe not. Who knows? Not the writers, I guess. If they do, they aren't sharing, and that's a bit of a problem.

Still, these two are sweet and there's nothing wrong with that.

As Alan points out in his article on the show in today's Star Ledger, it's been a while since we've seen a naked butt on this show---well, unless you count Mrs. Killick's powder-covered cheeks and I don't think anyone is. My take on it is that while the nudity and language were what brought Blue into the spotlight lo those many years ago, they are certainly not what made the show able to hang on as long as it has. While the quality of naked butts over the years has wavered only slightly (Caruso's and Schroder's weren't stellar and Franz's...well...let's not go there again), Blue is certainly about a whole lot more than that. Which leads me to wonder, as Alan did, why they have to make those shots so silly. I saw his butt plain as day without the extra help from the camera, thank you very much. In other words, I can do my own double-take. It really is sort of comical.

GREG'S DAUGHTER:

I'm sort of hanging out over the ledge with the Greg story this week. Let me explain: I loved getting a look, finally, at Greg's life outside of work. I think this character is one of the most complete and certainly Gordon Clapp is the most underused actor on the show not to mention one of the very best (he was simply outstanding tonight). But as much as I loved meeting Katie and seeing Greg be so tender with her and so upset about that situation, why did it have to end up with him putting Andy's life in jeopardy?

Greg's been the butt of many jokes, he's blundered around a few times, but he's always been a good cop. He makes mistakes, sure, but he's never put another cop's life on the line. I just can't see how the other cops in the squad aren't totally wigged out over this. Especially Baldwin because Greg is the man with whom he has to trust his life all the time. Are cops really this forgiving in such cases? Hell, I remember when Diane did a similar thing during her days as a drunk and Bobby nearly bit her head off, then promised not to tell anyone if she vowed to get help with her drinking.

There was really no resolution to this very huge issue. I hope very much it's taken up again next week. It would be totally unlike Greg to just be able to let it go. He'll beat himself up over it for a long, long time. Another reason I want to see more of this: more Gordon Clapp.

ANDY'S A HOSTAGE:

This one was intense. By the time I watched this episode, I'd forgotten that Andy was going to get taken hostage and so this took me by surprise a bit. The two things that kicked the hostage story into high gear were these shots: the first where Andy finds the clips and Dave simultaneously pulls the gun, and the second, most outstanding shot of all, was Connie's reflection in the mirror when she walked into the observation room. The look on her face was perfect.

Connie, in fact, was the real tool in the story that hit all the right emotional buttons. Her shock, her helplessness, her tears at the end put the punctuation in all the right places and are what really sold the story. Charlotte Ross was outstanding. The final scene with her and Franz where she's shedding one huge tear of relief after another made me cry right along with her. Fantastic.

The tension doesn't let up for a second from the moment Andy finds those clips until it's all over. That tension was like a ball that got passed between all the actors in the various scenes from that point on, and not one of them dropped it. Daniel Roebuck (Dave) and Dennis Franz tossed it to MPG and it went on to Esai, the extra in the hall who dropped his body shield, the ESU boss, Clapp, Simmons, Brochtrup and then to Ross who ran it in for a touchdown. The whole story kicked up the level of the show so much, in fact, that in the middle of it I started thinking how slowly things started off in this episode.

Maybe the cop-as-a-hostage story has been done before, but not with the emotional hot points this one hit.

DRUG MOM:

What's good about this story is that I think Jackie O. is finally getting comfortable with Rita. She didn't have a whole lot to do, but she did get to take the lead a little in the interview with Eric, and she did a great job with those lines. We need more of this so we can get a little love going for Rita in the audience rather than just in Clark's bedroom.

QUICK HITS:

  • It was two whole weeks without ADA Heywood and then tonight, she was in the background when Andy came out of the hostage situation. That worked for me. Hey, I feel really bad that this character hasn't cut it, but the plain truth is that for whatever reason, she hasn't cut it. I haven't mentioned her absence these last two weeks for one reason, and it's a very telling reason: I didn't notice it.

  • HANK!

  • Connie is too cool. She's not afraid to bend the rules by busting into that Palm Pilot and she even threw Junior a few jabs. She can play with the boys while still being totally a girl. Love that.

  • So, someone explain to me how Clark can get his boys K.O.'ed to the point that he needs ice, then spend the night wrestling with Rita and then *not* have to be walking with at least a little limp the next day. Is it because he's only 30? He was charging down that street next to Baldwin like a fully rested, pacifist priest. (Well, maybe *that's* a bad analogy, but you know what I mean.)

  • Do they really retrain drug sniffers to be bomb sniffers? I thought it took years and years to train a dog to sniff anything but another dog with any kind of accuracy. I'm curious.

  • PAA John and the ring....very funny. It's not often Mr. Manners commits a faux pas. Knowing John, he'll come up with some fabulously wrapped and incredibly expensive wedding gift to assuage his guilt.

  • Nice touch having Clark and Andy come out of the coffee room with a guy they interviewed that we didn't see. Makes it all seem less contrived and so forth.

  • As for Dave Burgess.... Greg said he was a quiet guy. Don't these cops watch CNN? It's always the quiet guys.

  • What the hell are they feeding Theo? He's growing like a weed. Next week, Andy needs a hernia operation.

    CAST LEGACIES:

    Previously on NYPD Blue: Austin Majors as Theo, Rick Pasqualone as Uniform 1. Mary Joy (Ronda Clifton) -- She was on Blue in 93 and has done L&O twice. Chris Nelson Norris (Ed from Jamaica) -- He was on Blue in 94 and has done XFiles twice.

    Previously on a Bochco Show: David Lawrence Sawyer (ESU) -- He was on Murder One. He's also done XFiles.
    Rob Youngblood (Cole the jerk) -- Also from Murder One. He was also on General Hospital and Melrose Place.

    Previously on a Tinker Show: The outstanding Daniel Roebuck (Dave Burgess) -- He was on the short-lived Capital News, but I recognized him from his gig playing Jay Leno on Night Shift. He's been on Matlock a million times and has been a guest on the West Wing. His recent movie efforts include We Were Soldiers. He's got a looong list of credits.

    Rounding out the cast:
    Kayla Savage (Katie Medavoy)--Not a Blue legacy, but she is Fred and Ben's sister.
    Mark Worden as Eric.

    LINES OF THE WEEK:

    I found three good ones:

    NEXT WEEK:

    Murder in a deli, a sex slave operation and finally, finally, The Disney Question is finally answered...

    REMINDER:

    Two-hour season finale is May 21 and it starts at 9pm.

    Have a great week!
    Amanda Wilson