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

"Peeler? I Hardly Knew Her"
Season 11, Episode 19
4/20/04
Teleplay by Tom Szentgyorgyi
Story by Bill Clark & Tom Szentgyorgyi
Directed by Jesse Bochco

Here's one for the record books: one of the worst episodes since the mostly-dismal season seven! If you missed it, you may find the summary useful. Mama always said, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." So, the review is unusually short this week.

SUMMARY

MYSTERY MAN

A man is found outside an apartment building shot in the head. The bullet is lodged in his brain and doctors think it's too risky to take it out. The mystery man can't remember anything, including his name, and all the cops are skeptical about his case.

John Doe tells them later that he remembers a man with a gun and woman screaming. They take the information but still no one thinks he's really got amnesia. The doctors don't think it's real, either. They've never seen a case like this one and say such cases are extremely rare. Greg and Baldwin try to get him off the charade, but he doesn't.

A witness reports that she heard shots nearby at about the time of the shooting. She lives across from where the mystery man was found. Greg and Baldwin interview her and she leads them to an apartment where she thought she heard the shooting. No one answers the door. The super opens it up and on the floor dead is a girl named Jessica. She's been shot in the head. A man's clothing and wallet are there, too, and the picture on the driver's license matches John Doe. His name is Tim.

Tim seems mildly interested in his name and a picture of his girlfriend who is now dead. He still says he can't remember anything. They put the pressure on him to confess to killing her, but he won't. He stares at the picture of her dead and begins to cry, but he says he doesn't remember her at all and says he has no idea if he did anything to her. Someone in Jessica's family says her ex was a jerk and that he may have caused some trouble. The ex says he was friends with Jessica. He really has no alibi. He tries to throw the murder off on Tim. He says Jessica caught him arguing on the phone with a cocaine dealer and that Tim apparently had a cocaine problem. In the middle of the interview, Eddie comes to say the ex's cell phone dump shows a bunch of phone calls to Tim.

Greg and Baldwin are afraid that if they take this info to the ex, he'll lawyer up. He's already mentioned a lawyer once. So they play a trick on him. They take him to the hospital and tell him he's needed to identify Jessica's body. At the hospital, he keeps telling the cops that Jessica was afraid of Tim and that they need to look at that and Tim's drug connection.

A door opens and Tim and Greg are there. Tim shouts out from his hospital that the ex is the man who did it. The ex freaks out. Baldwin slams the door shut and hauls the ex off to explain how he was identified by Tim. The ex is completely shocked. He asks how it is Tim could have lived. He says he shot them both because he still loved Jessica. It's clear Tim's participation worked, but Tim still has no recollection of the event. He says it's coming back slowly and that he's afraid of how awful it will be when he really does remember. He says he has the sense that he loved Jessica.

CHILD HOOKERS

Rita and Kelly go looking for leads on the mystery man and find instead a young girl in an apartment with an older woman. The woman says she hasn't seen anything and shuts the door. The super told them the apartment was empty and when it wasn't, it was clear he was hiding something. When they reopen the apartment, the girl and woman are gone and the cops find condoms in the trash can and realize they've stumbled into a child prostitution ring. They also find a man naked in the closet. The man explains to them that patronizing hookers is better and cheaper than dating. In dating, he has to shell out money for a nice dinner and a movie or something, listen to a woman bitch about her life and still have no guarantee of sex. With hookers, it's less money, more silence and all the sex he can afford. He's proud of it, sees nothing wrong with it and doesn't care that they busted him for it. That is until they bring up the kid. They tell him he'll go away for a long time because of that. He swears he has nothing to do with the young girls and that they can't prove he did, but he's scared enough to give them the name of the woman: Rosa. He says she moves around to different apartments all the time and calls him to tell him where. He gives them the addresses of previous locales.

Rosa is found, but there are no girls with her. Rosa lies about the prostitution ring. They threaten her with jail time and she tells them that there is a man in charge of the whole thing and that all he tells her is the next place to work. She gives that address to the cops. When they break through doors to get there, they find another young girl.

Rosa gets arrested and gives up the name of the man in charge, but he's not the head of the operation and Rita and Kelly end the day without a hook into the heart of the ring.

FREE PEELER

At a hearing, a judge gives Peeler his freedom based on the DNA evidence. Andy decides to look into the case again since it's open again now. He asks for Clark's help. They go check out Peeler's alibi, a woman named Anne Marie who was his girlfriend at the time. She sticks by her story: that 18 years ago, Peeler lied when he said he'd spent that night with her. She's not very happy to be talking to the cops again and tells them she's really scared now that he's out and is afraid he might come for her. Andy gets Eddie to keep the DA squad from looking into the case so he has a chance to do it himself.

Anne Marie later decides to talk to the cops but will do it only at her church with her priest present. She tells them that she lied all those years ago and that Peeler really was with her at the time of the murder. She says she was just a kid then, living at home with her very ethnic Italian family. They would have made her life hell if they'd have known she was dating a black man.

Andy tells the new information to his old partner, Joe. Joe, however, doesn't seem interested in all in the fact that Peeler is innocent and that they put the wrong guy behind bars. Joe tells Andy he won't go backward and will not help. He's pissed that he's going to end up holding the bag.

Andy and Junior go over to Peeler's house to talk to him. The Peeler's are having a party. Andy tells him Anne Marie came off her lie and that he's going to give that information to the DA so the case will go away for good. Andy also tells him if he tries to settle up with Anne Marie, he'll be in trouble. Junior asks him if he knows anything about the little girl's murder. He says he only stopped and bought a glass of lemonade from the little girl who had a stand set up. He says he did it because he knew it would make her smile. As Andy is leaving, he asks for an apology. Andy tells him he feels sorry for what Peeler went through but that he did his job and will not apologize for it.

The girl's parents are coming back in to talk about the case. Clark suggests they look into the fact that she knew her attacker since she put up no fight. Andy admits they didn't look at that back when. Clark also wants to talk to the girl's best friend, Angela.

Angela is questioned about what she recalls about Cindy's life. She says she can't remember much but that she didn't think Cindy was unhappy at home or particularly interested in any man. She does remember a man who was older and cute and that she baby sat for the man's children.

That man, Pete D'Ambrosia, is brought in. Junior makes a big deal out of making coffee for him. Pete says in the weeks before Cindy was killed, she wanted to stay over at his house a lot and not go home. He asked her if everything was OK at home, but she didn't answer. He says he had a bad feeling when that happened. He says he never told anyone about that because the cops never interviewed him and had Peeler in custody. Pete tells them he never laid a hand on the girl. After he leaves, Junior takes his coffee cup to the lab for DNA testing.

Cindy's father is asked in to talk about the case again. Junior tries to get him to drink something but he refuses. He's pretty pissed off that the case has been reopened, and he tells them he and his wife have no interest in learning the details of their daughter's murder. They tell him she may have known her killer and ask if he knew anyone who might have done this. He gets even more angry: if he'd known of anyone 18 years ago, he'd have said it then. Andy then asks him for a DNA sample and he blows up. He yells about how t hey put the wrong man away, and then he says if they have any further questions they can contact his attorney.

Andy gets really angry at that point and wonders aloud how he missed all that back then. He throws a chair into the lockers.

REVIEW

FREE PEELER

A nice arc continuing, but Oh Please God don't make it the father who did it. That's a story that's just too old and done on this show. They've got the dad lawyered up which is just what the bad guys always do, but I'm hoping that's just something to throw us off the trail. This has been a great story so far--we've gotten to strengthen the relationship between Andy and Junior here, Eddie's gotten a chance to stand up a little bit (putting the DA squad off and then not asking too many questions), but if they ride off into the sunset on a pedophile father, I'm going to be extremely disappointed.

I wish there'd been a little more interesting interaction between Andy and Peeler at that party. Andy was a pretty racist pig back in the day but Peeler's anger seemed to be directed more at Joe. I think that scene was a missed opportunity.

The final scene where Andy throws a chair was good. We've rarely gotten to see Andy lose it in the last few years. He's grabbed guys and made idle threats but we've not seen him go a little nuts like that. It might have been even better if his chair-throwing had made some kind of impact on another case or another person.

MYSTERY MAN:

For those who think this show is like a soap opera: You now have an amnesia story to bolster your claim. Yes, I know this one was a *real* case of rare amnesia and that it's all supposed to be OK because no one believed the guy, but it wasn't all OK. I'm thinking that the writers could have sold the idea that no one believed him by running a parallel to the Peeler case: have the cops conclude that John Doe did it and stop there. Have them utterly convinced he's the guy and that there's no need to look anywhere else, have them talking to Valerie about charges, have them reading the guy his rights, the whole nine yards. Then, after all that, there is a twist they didn't expect or something they've resisted looking at which finally reveals the ex husband. They are then forced into taking another look before the mystery man goes away forever. And then after that we all come around to believing Tim with his lovely line about how he has a sense that he loved that girl. Hell, my idea sucks too, but it proves this point: if you're reaching into the amnesia story sack then a) you're mailing in your work and/or b) you'd really better have something far more compelling than this was.

PROSTITUTION RING

This story was not only a major snoozer but it didn't even have a solid ending. Did I say last week that other than hair color there is no discernible difference between Ronson and Rita? The only part of this I liked was when the John was explaining why it's better to buy women.

PS: Have the chicks in the squad always chasing after the women and children social issues is going to get very old very fast. How about writing them like the men out of the box and then making adjustments where appropriate? I hate these stereotypes with a passion. It's bad enough for realism that both of these women don't weigh 90 pounds soaking wet and standing on the scale together, do we also have to have them doing only what the boys think are the girly cases?

QUICK HITS

*No way Rita and Kelly are the ones breaking down the door on that apartment. First, those two don't look like they could knock a house of cards over if they leaned into it together. Second, they've got special units for that sort of thing who can be called on a moment's notice to respond. E-S-U.

*I like Eddie's police officer doll. He's got tons of fun stuff to discover in his office.

*That box of Krispy Kreme's on the table in the coffee room is just pouring salt into the policeman's oldest wound: the donut joke. I loved it.

*I didn't love the fact that there was a special, close-up shot of Junior handling Pete's coffee cup. Why was that necessary? Are we too stupid to get the point when Junior later says, "I'll get this to the lab?" We are decidedly not that stupid, thank you, and would have enjoyed putting two and two together our own selves. I really hope this isn't a trend. This kind of shot talks down to the audience, and I don't watch shows where the audience has to be spoken to on that level.

*The lives of Medavoy & Baldwin are a faded memory. If they ever do mention Medavoy's woman or Baldwin's son again we'll never remember who they are. So, I wonder, what's the point of delving into these things if they're not going to be used to add texture and context to the show and the characters?

CAST LEGACIES

by J.L. Garner:

Previously on NYPD Blue...
Jessalyn Gilsig as Kelly Ronson, Bruce A. Young as Leonard Peeler, Ron Dean as Joe Brockhurst, Francis X. McCarthy as Gerald Clifton, Lorinne Vozoff as Sharon Clifton, Dakin Matthews as Simon Clifton, Scott Alan Smith as Defense Attorney Gimble, Michael Bofshever as Judge Carrazo, Andrew Sikking as uniform #1

Previously on NYPD Blue as someone else...
--Kathrine Narducci (Ann Marie Sullivan) -- was in Season 3's "One Big Happy Family." Narducci also plays Artie Bucco's wife Charmaine on "The Sopranos"

--Tracy Vilar (Rosa) -- appeared in Season 6's "Dead Girl Walking." Has also had guest appearances on "CSI," "MDs," and "ER," as well as roles in "K-PAX" and Steven Soderbergh's "Full Frontal"

--Scott Klace (Linus Creel) -- was in Season 6's "Raging Bulls." You've also seen him on "24," "Angel," "10-8," "Enterprise," "The District" (in the recurring role of CIA agent John Braxton) and on "George Lopez"

--Daniel Quinn (Carter Dubinsky) -- had a role in Season 2's "Boxer Rebellion." Has also done episodes of "Crossing Jordan," "ER," "X-Files," and "Baywatch"

--Jeris Lee Pointdexter (man #2) -- was in Season 3's "Burnin' Love." Also appeared on "The Handler," "The District," "ER," and in "Con Air"

--Verda Bridges (Janice) -- previously seen in Season 8's "Nariz a Nariz." You've also seen her on "The District," "Ally McBeal," "Boomtown," "American Family," and "Judging Amy"

Not previously on NYPD Blue... Charles Esten (Tim Keating) -- was a longtime regular on both the British and U.S. versions of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?", as well as having guest appearances on "L.A. Dragnet," "The Guardian," "Drew Carey," and "JAG"

Luck Hari (Dr. Chepuri) -- has made appearances on "Frasier," "The District," "ER," and "Ally McBeal"

Ciggelle Castellanos as Corisa

George Russo (Albert Tollins) -- has mostly done work in independent films and guest spots on various shows on British network ITV

Cynthia Frost (Marjorie Elspeth) -- her work includes guest spots on "ER," "L.A. Dragnet," "3rd Rock," and "thirtysomething"

Mia Wesley (Angela Malcolm) -- other appearances include "CSI," "ER," and "Party of Five"

James McDonnell (Pete D'Ambrosio) -- previous work for Bochco includes appearances on "Philly," "Murder One," and "L.A. Law," as well as guest roles on "L.A. Dragnet," "X-Files," and "ER"

Stephanie Fabian (Anna) -- did an episode of "Judging Amy" earlier this season, and had a role in the recent comedy "The Girl Next Door"

Kim Delgado (man #1) -- has had guest appearances on "CSI" and "CSI: Miami," "ER," "Babylon 5," and "Drew Carey"

Lew Dauber (Father Dwyer) -- he's also been on "Judging Amy," "24," and "JAG"

David Correia (building super) -- did an episode of "Public Morals," along with appearances on "Will & Grace," "Becker," "Mad About You," and "Alien Nation"

LINE OF THE WEEK

Eddie upon hearing the news of the man with amnesia and me upon watching this episode: "My bullshit detector is in the red here."

NEXT WEEK

Doc Devlin returns, and it's not necessarily a good thing for Clark.

I never lose hope. I know these are the most talented folks in network TV. Maybe they all had spring fever the weeks this one was the focus.

So, see you next week,
Amanda Wilson