NYPD Blue Summary/Review by Amanda Wilson aka Puedo01@aol.com
Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.

"On The Fence"
Season 11, Episode 16
3/30/04
Teleplay by Matt Olmstead
Story by Bill Clark & Matt Olmstead
Directed by Bob Doherty

SUMMARY

HATCHER

Sipowicz and Clark get called to the scene when new squad boy Stan Hatcher takes one in the arm in a dark alley. Hatcher says he was on his way to the gym at 5am when he saw a black guy running through the alley who looked like he was up to no good and he gave chase. He drew his weapon--the black guy had one too--and he got spotted by one of the nearby apartment dwellers who took him for a crook. Stan says the apartment dweller winged him.

The apartment dweller is Larry Edmunds and he tells a different story. He says he didn't see a black guy, but he saw Stan, and he thought Stan was a crook. He saw Stan reach for a gun, so he fired a warning shot and then Stan fired back.

Andy advises Stan to get his story straight. Stan is offended Andy would think he's doing anything wrong.

Eddie pushes Andy and Junior to arrest Edmunds and get the whole thing wrapped up. Stan's uncle, the chief of personnel, has been calling Eddie about it all morning.

Another check with Edmunds reveals Stan was actually standing on a garbage can looking over the fence for quite some time. He says Stan drew on him when his flipped on the light inside his place. They find also that Larry has issues with the permit for his weapon, and lied about what kinds of weapons he had.

After several hours of thinking it all over, Stan says how, oh gosh, he didn't have his gun out after all. He says he'd re-holstered so he could climb over the fence. Andy still think he's lying, and Andy still wants to get him. The end up collaring Larry on the gun violations.

PJohn furtively slips Andy an envelope when he returns from a visit to see Larry, and Andy's eyes pop a little. He calls Clark into the locker room and tells him he's dumped Stan's cell phone. Clark is stunned. Andy pushes him to talk to one of the people who's gotten a lot of calls from Stan lately: Janet Grafton, the cop who Clark rescued from her abusive husband and who has recently transferred to the 15th. Clark's eyes are popping now, and he agrees to talk to her.

Janet--looking startlingly like Sorenson's Mary DeFranco--tells Junior she owes him a favor, so she'll help. She explains the calls are probably really to her ex-husband because they were buddies. The phone is in her name. She also says Stan is a real asshole and she's not surprised they have doubts about him and his story. Then she drops the bomb: Stan's old girlfriend lives in the apartment building next door.

Andy and Junior go visit the ex-girlfriend. She's reluctant to talk, but she finally tells them he's been bothering her since their nasty break-up a few months ago. She's scared of him.

Andy and Junior approach Stan about the girlfriend angle. Stan gets really pissed off. He tries to shout Andy down when Andy suggests he was there spying on his girlfriend. Clark suggests to Andy that if this were any other cop, they'd let the girlfriend angle go. He agrees that Stan is a bad guy, but points out there's not enough to bring Stan down. Andy's not happy about that.

Stan comes back and tries to patch things up with Andy in the locker room. He apologizes for getting angry and wants to know why Andy is out to get him. He tells Andy they're much more alike than Andy thinks, and he wonders if Andy is threatened by him. Andy tells him they're nothing alike and that Stan shouldn't be a cop because he's made a career out of making mistakes. Andy tells him to leave the 15th, but Stan fires back that it's Andy who will be leaving. Andy asks him if he's going to run to his uncle and whine. Stan says that's just what he'll do. Andy tells him if he does, he's asking for it.

Junior wraps up the case by persuading Valerie to let Larry off with probation. Stan leaves it thinking Junior is in his corner. He invites Junior over to a poker game, but Junior says no.

Rita wants to know if she's safe with Stan. Clark tells her just to keep an eye out and not let him drag her into something bad.

Andy calls Junior from outside. He brings up the death of Hatcher's wife. He's been out looking up the case, and finds it was centered on the theory that a drug gang member was trying to kill Hatcher and got his wife by accident. Andy notices that Carl, Stan's old partner, asked to be reassigned right after the death. Andy's on his way to go meet the guy, and wants Junior to go. Junior thinks Andy is losing it, but goes along.

With Carl in a bar, Andy asks if Carl was scared of getting hit by the gang too. He says he guesses so. He knocks back several shots. Andy noses out a connection between Carl and Hatcher's wife. Carl says she wasn't happy, that she confided him in about it, that the two were having an affair. He was afraid of getting killed too, and he was afraid of losing his wife. He's not afraid now because he's divorced and off the job and tired of being afraid Stan would kill him.

He says the wife was planning to leave Stan and she told Carl that three days before she was blown up.

Andy is convinced Hatcher killed his wife. Junior agrees.

NO-TELL HOTEL

A man is found shot to death in a fleabag hotel where he lived. He's described as a very quiet man who never drank, never did anything wrong except maybe 43-across on the daily puzzle.

Greg and Baldwin find a bullet hole in the wall which came from the room next door. Ryan Dooling rented the room and left owing three days rent. A lovely young woman was seen with him.

Ryan can't be found, so his brother from Greenwich is called in and says how he kicked Ryan out a few weeks ago because he was clubbing too much. A club pal is brought in and, in between naps, he says the girl's name is Eva Warm.

Eva is brought in. She's a club cutie. They explain to her there was some damage to the apartment, but she says she was there just to try to talk him into going out. She says there was no argument or anything. She seems to be holding back and, after she gives up where to find Ryan, she tries to find out more about the damage but Greg and Baldwin don't tell her anything.

Ryan gets grabbed up by Anti-Crime trying to board a bus out of town. He tells Greg and Baldwin the bullet hole wasn't his, there are tons of bullet holes there. Baldwin tells him he'll go down for the crime if he doesn't fess up. He gets scared and tells them Eva did it. He says she showed up with a gun because he owed her money, and that it went off by accident.

Greg and Baldwin move sweet little Eva into the story. She says it's a big wake up call, she's done clubbing and she's enrolling in college today. OK. Then she tells the story of how Ryan duped her into giving him 500 dollars. She wants it back, so she has him followed to find out where he lives. She went and took the gun with her just to scare him. She says it was an all an accident. She knows nothing about weapons.

She writes all that down, and says again how she's starting a new life right now. After that, Baldwin tells her a man died. Eva can't believe it.

REVIEW

HATCHER

Well, it's fun to have a bad cop around, but this is going way too fast. What's the hurry? I sensed last week he'd killed his wife, but what's the rush to get this out there? I was hoping for a longer arc.

I've been really enjoying have a bad boy around again. I guess the problem I have with it now is that he's *really* bad and they're poised to prove it. It's more fun when he's just got the stink on him and he can be used as a tool to make the good cops examine their own loyalties to the job and to each other. That's one of the driving themes of the show, and since the reinvention of Andy Sipowicz over the years, it's not been easy to wedge that theme in there.

Andy's not having much trouble throwing this guy to the wolves; but the depth comes from Clark, and it's not being explored enough in my book. He's the one who's caught between the known loyalties cops have to each other, the truth that even though Stan is a wicked man, he got to skate on this one and Andy's certainty that the ends will justify the means where Stan is concerned because to Andy, Stan is just like any other skel. Clark certainly wrestled with this idea and came up with a plan to persuade Valerie to let Larry go on probation, but we didn't get to see him working that out, bouncing it off Andy, wishing his Dad were there to advise him. We seemed to have missed out on the struggle.

Another struggle we don't get to see much of is Eddie's. Here's a guy who's trying to lay back and make his last years on the job easy and hassle free, and now he's got this mess. He's climbed so far up Uncle Personnel's butt he needs to be wearing latex, but his instincts ought to be telling him he shouldn't be rocking Andy's boat, either. This just shouldn't be so easy for Eddie. Even if he has no internal struggle, it would be interesting if his efforts to keep his job all safe and secure actually ended up bringing a shit storm down on his head. Hey, I know they have to get Stan sometime; I just wish it weren't so soon.

Reviewer Emeritus Alan Sepinwall writes to say he thinks Stan went from being the squad troublemaker to a cartoon bad guy in the locker room scene with Andy. Alan puts it this way: "He may as well have chewed on a toothpick and sneered, 'Waddaya gonna do about it, old man?'" I agree with the idea that he has become a cartoon, but I liked the locker room scene. I think he was over the top in the ally scene. Anyway, I think the point is that Stan *is* a cartoon, and that's bad because it's always been the gray areas that make the show worth watching.

That said, I've seen next week's wrap up of this arc, and it is really pretty good.

NO-TELL HOTEL

This story seemed like just so-much filler until the end when sweet, innocent Eva finds out she's killed a man. The moment when Baldwin and Greg tell her that part of the story is easily the most powerful moment in the show.

Granted, not many of us have actually killed someone by doing something really stupid, but who hasn't done something really stupid? The way this was written, cast and played brought home how horrifying it would be to have one of your college mishaps end up in someone's death. How many times have you driven home drunk, for example, and woken up with the world around you still safe? You laugh about it with your trusted friends. But this is the kind of story that makes me think how easy it would be for *anyone* to be sitting in that chair hearing how one split-second of bad timing combined with your own inability to act right can change your world into a major nightmare.

I have to say, however, that as much as I liked that--and I did--it took a long damn time to get there.

QUICK HITS

*I know The Press is no match for Andy Sipowicz but, day-um, Stan Hatcher is lucky word of the mysterious "black" guy in the alley didn't hit the Post.

*Yeah, Eddie knows what a rave club is.

*Greg didn't even whistle? No spring in his step? No twinkle in his eye? No incessant "I got laid" stories? No waxing philosophical about the joy of life? Has he ::shudder:: matured? Well, that's just no fun at all.

*I don't know if this was planned (probably not), but I thought it was interesting to hear Eva use the all-too-common lazy pronunciation of the "st" blend inside the word "frustrated". You hear it a lot from the Britney set: "fruSH-trated." The other word people are too tired to say correctly is "groceries" which seems to come out these days as "groSH-ries." It's probably just me. I'm a broadcaster--I suppose that would be "broadcaSH-ter" to Eva--but it's one of my pet peeves. Hearing Eva do it was like fingernails on a chalkboard to me, but I guess that's just all part of the big rave scene Eddie and I are so fond of.

*The show sure looked good. Professor Sepinwall points out how the characters looked in many scenes like they were moving around in the real world. He's right, especially in the scene with Junior and Janet on the sidewalk. The alley and fleabag hotel looked great, too. I doubt these scenes were shot in NYC as it's so late in the season, but I guess it's possible. It looked like NYC and that's what counts. It's so much better than having them in the same four walls all the time. (And if you liked that, you'll love next week.)

*Seemed to me that Rita was really owed more of an explanation that she got about her partner. She was in the background all day doing nothing much while Andy is suspecting the guy she entrusts her life to of being a supremely bad cop.

*I suppose someone might wonder if IAB would be involved in this dust up with Larry. I think they covered all that was necessary on the internal look into the shooting with a throwaway line from Stan. The murder case against Stan may be another matter. Stay tuned.

*It just seems right somehow that PJohn is Andy's Secret Gofer on his mission to destroy the Evil Stan. Andy is the short-sleeved crusader; PJohn is his faithful and extremely well-dressed sidekick. It works.

*I still think Eddie should have a pet (other than Stan, of course). Maybe he can move Andy's fish tank into his office. Or get a hamster.

*Nice way to work Junior's future squeeze into the plot! That's economy, folks. I bow to the writers' greatness.

*And another good thing about Eddie. In just a couple of episodes, he's been more involved in what's going on than T-Rod was in nearly a whole season.

CAST LEGACIES

by J.L Garner and Research Assistant Alan Sepinwall (I told him, I said, "You gotta start somewhere, kid.")

Previously on NYPD Blue: Scott William Winters as Stan Hatcher, Lana Parrilla as Janet Grafton, Michael Echols as Officer Lowen (uniform #1).

Previously on NYPD Blue as someone else:. Gerard O'Donnell (Carl Garrity) -- appeared in Season 9's "Guns & Hoses." Has also been on "Cold Case," "Boston Public," and "Alias." Michael Mantell (Alan Lowell) -- showed up in Season 1's "Rockin' Robin." Other credits include "West Wing," "CSI," "24," "L&O," "Judging Amy," and "X-Files."

Very Weird Cast Legacy: Ryan Dooley was played by Rodney Scott, who starred in a craptacular WB teen soap called "Young Americans," which happened to be created by Steve Antin, a former actor best known for playing that Brooklyn detective who busted Andy Jr. and kept investigating all the crimes at Simone's building.---A.S.
(Scott has also been on "American Dreams," "The Disctrict," and "Dawson's Creek," as well as appearances on "CSI: Miami," "Crossing Jordan," and "X-Files.") --J.L.G.

Not previously on NYPD Blue: Stephan DuVall (Larry Edmunds) -- includes appearances on "The Guardian" and "24."
Harry Karp (Ted Whitlow) -- has been on "ER," "JAG," and "Nip/Tuck," among others.
Peter Asle Holden (Eric Dooling) -- you've seen him on "Frasier," "CSI," "Philly," and "The Wonder Years."
Justin Huen as Chase Allsworth.
Mia Korf (Lucy Timmons) -- roles include Dick Wolf's short-lived "Players," "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd," and guest spots on "Robbery Homicide Division," "The Agency," and "Chicago Hope."
Nicole Hiltz (Eva Warm) -- did a guest spot on "VIP."
Vince Melocchi (Chet Kaye) -- has appeared on "Judging Amy," "Chicago Hope," "Monk," "Brisco County, Jr.," and was one of the furniture guys in the Soup Nazi episode of "Seinfeld."
Peter Anthony Rocca (EMS) -- guest spots include "Philly" and "Brooklyn South."

LINES OF THE WEEK

Eva, displaying a stupidity about guns that boggles the mind, explains the accident: "When I pulled my finger back on the trigger, the gun went off!"

Eddie to Andy after a little set-to with Stan in the coffee room: "I thought I heard a door being slammed."
Andy: "We get a cross breeze through here sometimes."

NEXT WEEK

Two major players leave the 15th.

See you next week,
Amanda Wilson