Season 9 Episode 8
Teleplay by Jody Worth
Story by Bill Clark and Jody Worth
Directed by Dick Lowry
The summary is first, but if you want to skip it, I'll try not to be too upset. The review, however, is another story. You skip that and Santa will know.....
She meets Sipowicz, McDowell and Clark as they're working a DOA dump job. The DOA is an illegal alien from the Dominican Republic who is found strangled to death in a stolen car. Andy is telling a less-than-PC story about Hispanic crooks when Det. Ortiz arrives and introduces herself.
She's partnered up with Connie and is told by Tony to watch a few interviews to get a feel for how the squad works.
Ortiz comes to the scene with the news that the DOA may be the same guy who was reported missing last night by his uncle. He'd been working for his uncle's construction company.
At the construction company, Connie and Rita meet Renaldo Molina who reported his nephew missing after two INS agents came by and took him away. Molina was unable to find anything out from INS and went to the police who told him to file a missing persons report. He can't describe the two agents, but has a worker who might be able to.
An INS agent comes in to the 15th to say that none of his agents have taken anyone from a construction site, but adds that he's had some serious trouble with a couple of overly aggressive agents. There's an internal INS investigation on the two. Now the detectives will have to look into it all.
Agents Torrez and Ramos arrive. They've got pretty large attitudes and are made even more angry by the suggestion that they killed someone. They don't have much of an alibi, though. Photos of the two don't look familiar to witnesses, except to Molina who may have known them from previous INS raids.
Fingerprints from the car come back to a discount store security guard named Rafael Mercado. When Andy and John J. approach him in the store, he runs. After throwing a few racks of clothes at Andy and scaring some shoppers, the guy is pinned down by John.
Mercado tells Andy and John that he used to be a cop in the DR. He says he knows nothing about the case they're looking into. He admits to knowing of the DOA, but not knowing him. He says he's heard the man is a child molester, that people pointed him out as such. He informs them that back home, a child molester is just killed and the police don't get involved because a child molester deserves to die.
Connie and Rita have taken Mercado's picture to the witnesses. They say he was one of the fake INS agents, but the uncle, Molina, says there is no way he was one of them.
Suspicious now that Molina is involved, Tony sends Connie and Rita to Molina's home where the DOA once lived. They meet there with Molina's wife, Maria. They have no children. Maria is a little scared of the detectives. She has no idea that her husband's nephew is dead until Rita unceremoniously drops that bomb. Maria gets very scared then. She admits finally that the nephew was giving her the eye, and that her husband may have thought she was having an affair with him. Connie is surprised the husband would have his nephew killed just for eyeballing his wife. Rita is not surprised.
That story is relayed to Mercado who is shocked. He really believed he was doing a good thing killing a child molester. He's very unhappy at the thought that he was lied to and that maybe his victim didn't deserve to die. Andy threatened Mercado with action against any of his illegal relatives or friends. Mercado admits that he was hired by Molina to do the job. He says he'll take his hit but will not give up his partner in the crime.
After that interview, Andy runs into Rita who, unbeknownst to Andy, has been watching. He's feeling a little afraid that he might have offended her. She's OK with it, though, and acknowledges that it was a good interview.
The owner, Ray Maxwell, lives in a very nice apartment with his puppy-business partner Carter Lynch. Ray is extremely upset, as is Bridget, the puppies' mother.
Ray tells them there are a lot of people who knew about the pups. He agrees to go down to the station house to help find those people and also to get Carter to come down and talk about the robbery.
While sitting in the catching area, Ray is comforted by dog-lover Phone John, who tells about his own beloved pooch, Hank (!) who passed some time ago. Ray and John seem to have a great deal in common. In the midst of their very nice conversation, Carter arrives. He's every ugly stereotype ever pinned on a gay man and offends, and perhaps disappoints, PJ immediately. Carter chastises Ray for not putting bars on the windows like he suggested.
Carter is not much help in the search for who might have stolen the puppies, but suggests that area puppy store owner Lois Dunbar might have done it. Apparently Ray wrote in a trade newsletter that she bought from puppy mills and they had a few words over it.
Lois comes in. She thinks she's in trouble because she insulted Ray Maxwell. She has an alibi for the time of the puppy-napping.
Later, word comes that someone is trying to unload of box of bulldog puppies at a pet store. Greg and Baldwin go there to wait for the suspect. While waiting, Greg learns from Larry the pet store man, all about raising dogs, even the part about artificial insemination and how you get doggie sperm.
Then Tom shows up with a box of cute puppies. He swears they're his. That is, until he gets into the interview with Greg and Baldwin. He's told someone can identify him as the thief.
After hearing that, he tells how a guy he knows from a club he goes to gave him the address and a key and told him to take the dogs. The guy: Carter Lynch. Tom was supposed to keep the puppies for Carter but tried to sell them himself. He wasn't doing that for the money. He says that within just a few hours, his house was covered in puppy poop, the yipping was driving him nuts and the general stinkyness was overwhelming his delicate senses. The story overwhelmed Greg's.
Carter is brought in. They tell him Tom has told them everything, and that if he cooperates, they'll try to work it out with Ray so that this doesn't have to go to court.
Carter tries to deny that he set things up, but finally admits he may have mentioned the idea to Tom. He tells them that he and Ray were lovers but that they'd broken up. Ray was letting him live there until he found a job and a place of his own. He then blames Ray for getting him used to a lifestyle he can't afford. He admits he wanted the money, but also that he wanted Ray to turn to him for support and maybe take him back.
Ray agrees not to press charges if Carter moves out that night. Phone John overhears all this--he's been overhearing everything related to this case--and offers to inform Ray of the deal. Greg, Baldwin and ADA Heywood agree.
P. John meets Ray in the coffee room and tells him the good news. He also takes a moment to compliment Ray on taking the high road. Ray is appreciative. Before PJ can leave the room, he offers him two tickets to The Producers. Seems he got them from someone who knows Nathan Lane but doesn't feel like going. PJ is blown away by the offer but politely declines saying Ray should keep them for himself. Then Ray asks him if he'll go along with him. PJ obviously wants to go but again declines, saying he's promised to baby-sit for one of the detectives. Ray seems disappointed. After a few seconds, PJ tells him to give him a half hour while he works something out.
Later, PJ tells Andy that he's gotten Connie to pinch hit with Theo but that he'll honor his commitment if Andy has a problem with it. Andy asks what's going on. PJ tells him that he's got Nathan Lane's tickets to The Producers. Andy has no idea who Nathan Lane is. John tells him the tickets are manna from heaven. Andy is still confused but agrees to have Connie baby-sit.
Andy accepts the job, and takes time to offer friendship to Eddie who is very nervous about his coming surgery.
At lunchtime, Andy meets Susan Hornby and Cory, her business manager. He's told that if Mrs. Hornby approves of him, he'll be asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement.
Mrs. H tries to make some conversation with Andy but he keeps it businesslike. He agrees to take the job and she agrees contingent upon his not wearing cologne. He assures her he doesn't, but she smells something anyway. He tells her it's aftershave. She pronounces it dreadful and he tells her he won't wear it when he's working for her.
That evening, Marta, the abrasive maid, leaves Andy alone with Mrs. H. She warns Andy not to let her get too drunk.
Mrs. H. begins the evening by suggesting she play the piano and Andy sing. Andy tells her he doesn't sing. She's not too pleased, but suggests cards instead. Andy agrees to that. She asks him to get her a drink. He does, and she promptly knocks it on the floor to see what he'll do. He does nothing. She asks if he's going to clean it up and he says no. She tells him to fetch a towel. He tells her clearly that he will not fetch.
Mrs. H. is very disturbed and goes to the piano where she begins singing Chattanooga Choo-Choo. Andy just sits there. She stops and demands that he come over and sing with her. She tells him he's ruining her evening. Andy blows his top. He tells her he's going to go sit in the corner and wait for the maid, and that the next day she can hire a singing, fetching manservant.
Andy is appreciative, but his enthusiasm doesn't meet hers. He tells Connie it's probably best for her to have let Theo sleep in his bed because moving him is a little difficult.
Connie has clearly had a lot of fun playing mommy. Andy seems happy to have helped her fill this void for an evening, but when she plants a slightly-more-than friendly kiss on his cheek, he looks very worried.
In a lot of ways, she reminds me of Kim Delaney, and hopefully that will be a good thing. I'm not talking about her appearance, I'm talking about her ability. Kim didn't hit the ground running either. She seemed a little flimsy at first but grew into it incredibly well. If Jacqueline Obradors is as smart as Kim Delaney and as able to learn as well, she should do fine here.
As to her appearance, yes she reminds me of Kim in that way, too. But she reminds me much more of Amy Bremen in that department. They could be sisters.
As to story, I must admit that this one is a little stale. Nothing made it more so than Tony's line: "Or is Sipowicz a Navajo name?" Helllllooo? Who could forget Simone's "Sipowicz is one of the few Native American Poles..." a few seasons ago. I'm really, really surprised at this. It almost hurt to hear it. Going over the racism thing again is one thing, but doing it with a line that is so similar to one already used (and one so memorable) is just so wrong.
Andy's response to that line is good--he ties his fear to 9/11--but it's not enough to save the subplot. Certainly, exploring Andy's racism by tying it to 9/11 would have been a fresh way to reexamine the whole racism thing. Now would be a good time to dig into the issue of profiling again: they've done shows on it and how evil it can be, but now, in light of 9/11, there are many who are rethinking that issue and wondering if it doesn't make some kind of sense to profile non-English speaking Arabs on airplanes, for example. This episode, however, wasn't that. It was just Andy stepping in it again in front of someone who might be offended but who, it turns out, is not as easily offended as he thinks they're going be which means they're OK in his book yadda yadda yadda. Like Fancy, like Baldwin, like James, like PJ, like so many others.
I was surprised, also, at the INS guy who so easily gave up his agents to the cops. He tells Tony they've had problems with these guys being too aggressive and then he pops out in the next breath saying he wouldn't be surprised if they murdered someone. Seems like a rather large leap. And don't INS guys have some of the same sort of loyalty to one another that cops have? I could be totally off base here, but this seemed odd to me.
As to what I did like: The playing between Andy and John. If the racism thing did anything good it was to give these guys a chance to play. Nice job by MPG here.
Ray took the whole thing very seriously and did so in a way that was not comic. That's a bit of finesse that probably wasn't easy to write or to perform.
More such finesse was evident in the handling of Medavoy. You'd expect him to have dollar signs flashing in his eyes, as he did, but he didn't take it too far. In the hands of lesser-writers, these two characters would have come off like total buffoons, the butt of every joke, but they didn't. Their eccentricities were solid and real.
Carter was certainly a stereotype, but stereotypes aren't stereotypes for no reason. There are plenty of gay men who act just like him right up to and including the cruel bitchiness evident in this guy. One has only to watch Brandon on Survivor to see that... ;)
I'm glad to see PJ in a relationship again, too. For one thing, I love Our Upstairs Downstairs Phone John. He brings a great counterpoint to the other characters, including the women, who provide a constant stream of toughness to that world. Add to that the fact that he's the only PAA since Donna who really adds any color or flavor to the steady diet of grit and crime we see every week in the 1-5. The others were either dull (Gina), freaky (the Aussie, Delores) or just cartoons (Geri). Bill Brochtrup is as steady as they go. It's about time they featured a little of his life. I'm not advocating a huge slice of it, but a little here and there gives us a chance to see this actor do something other than stare. I think it's great how they work PJ in to things: having him baby-sit, cutting Andy's hair, knowing all about art, and this follows that line nicely.
Connie is so clearly reaching out from her own pain. Andy knows that. He's got to find a way now to let her know that's all she's doing, and to set her feet back on the right path gracefully.
*Hank and HANK! We FOH (Friends of Hank, an international association which has grown to many thousands in recent months), nearly fell off our chairs when PJ said his dog's name was Hank. The joy! Then, naturally, we became suspicious of our Beloved Writers. Was this a slap? Hank is a dog? What could be meant by this? Additionally, we began to get very worried when we realized that the Hank PJ was referring to was d-d-dead. Could it have been an omen? A clever foreshadow? A sly explanation?? After all, where *was* Hank Murph all season? We were overjoyed when, a scene or two later, Our Hank appeared. And we felt rather embarrassed, too, for thinking ill of the Beloved Writers. Our Hank doesn't have a white crest, after all. Silly us. Welcome back, Hank!
*You know....Medavoy really ought to know ALL about sperm donation. I kept waiting for the light of recognition and, yes, intimate understanding to go off in his head. I'm surprised he didn't tell Baldwin all about his own stint as a breeding stud.
*Executive producer and former NYPD detective Bill Clark has made a few cameos on the show. Tonight, it was his wife, Karen who stepped in. She was the woman in the pet store. Karen Clark is also a former NYPD detective, and I think she ended up a Lt. So there. You can stop bellyaching about whether real-life cops get involved with each other.... ;)
*And to keep nearly the whole family involved, there was another Clark who made a cameo in tonight's show. Bill and Karen's own Bridget Clark was there, too. She skillfully played the bereaved bulldog. The way she captured the aura of victimhood was really quite stunning. Brava Bridget!
*So the new detective is beautiful. No doubt about that. But I have to hand it to the folks who dress and make-up these stunning women: they are attractive, but they are not Charlie's Angels. They look like normal attractive women. Not every hair is always in place, there's not a fresh swipe of lipstick every time you see them, etc. They look fairly sensible, except that once in a while they wear clothes that make no sense at all in a drafty old building in NYC in the dead of winter.
*I did wonder while watching this episode where the fine detectives of Animal Precinct were. Not that Greg and Baldwin didn't handle the case well, but Annemarie Lucas would have had Carter drawn and quartered for doing what he did, and she would have a few choice words for the puppy mill lady, too.
*Interesting that the pet shop lady (Karen Clark) had a dog named Johnny. What does it all mean???
*Cool that they've got little American Flags all over the place like everyone does. There was one on John's desk. I noticed one taped to the wall in the pokey room, too.
*Yes, I noticed Rita giving Tony the eye. Yes, I wonder if they'll end up an item. If so, it would seem painfully obvious simply because of that little glance. Tony is, of course, too upstanding to be leering after a married woman, so it naturally falls to her to give the eye. Of course, I thought Connie gave him the eye early on, too, and that turned out to be nothing. But it does seem clear that Rita's marriage is going to be an issue soon.
*Andy doesn't know who Nathan Lane is? Oh, OK. I can buy this if Andy missed the post-9/11 coverage of the cast singing God Bless America after their show and how The Producers is credited with helping to keep Broadway alive after the attacks.
*Nice touch to have them asking Rita out for a mug on her first day. It *is* a tradition and I'm glad they saw to it. (Although I think Diane didn't get a free drink on her first day, and she was a boozer back then...)
*Best guest: Well, there's Bridget, but I have to give to my nod to Elmarie Wendel who played Mrs. Hornby. She nailed that combination of being both amusingly quirky and downright frightening at the same time. I also liked Kiki Shepard who played Marta the maid. She had about 15 seconds on screen, but in that short space of time and with that one or two lines, she made that character tell you everything you needed to know about working for Mrs. Hornby. Good work.
Previously on NYPD Blue: John F. O'Donohue as Eddie Gibson, Austin Majors as Theo Sipowicz, James McBride as Officer Shannon, Hank Murph as Hank.
Welcome Jacqueline Obradors as Det. Rita Ortiz: Jacqueline was born in California in 1967. Her credits include the movies Deuce Bigalow and Six Days, Seven Nights. She was a voice in Atlantis. She played Elena on the TV series Battery Park. She'll be appearing with Hector Elizondo in an independent film called Tortilla Soup this year or next.
Brian McNamara (Ray Maxwell): His resume is very long. It includes the TV movie The Billionaire Boys Club for which he got a Golden Globe nomination. He was also in Arachnophobia, Caddy Shack II, and The Flamingo Kid. His TV credits include Seinfeld and Mad About You, the Bochco shows LA Law and Hill Street Blues and the Tinker show St. Elsewhere.
Daniel Zacapa (Molina): He's done Six Feet Under, Judging Amy, JAG and BH:90210
Lori Harmon (Lois Dunbar): She's done Six Feet Under and Frasier.
Dave Florek (Agent Kuhlberg): Not sure if he's Dan's brother.... He was Vic on Grace Under Fire, Coach Smiley on the Fresh Prince, and was in Blue back in 99. He's also done Seinfeld and LA Law.
John Vickery (Corey Beachum, Mrs. Horby's manager): He was on One Life To Live and has been in Judging Amy and LA Law.
Dianna Miranda (Maria Molina): Another Six Feet Under alum. She was one of the girls in Kiss The Girls.
Elmarie Wendel (Susan Hornby): She's done Seinfeld and played Mamie on Third Rock from the Sun.
Kiki Shepard (Marta the maid): She was on Baywatch, and her movie credits include Miss Evers' Boys.
Rounding out the cast: Butch Klein as Carter Lynch, Alex Paex as INS Agent Ramos, Yancy Arias as Rafael Mercado, Chad Doreck as Tom Burrus and Douglas Fisher as Larry the pet store owner.
We're back to a whole big pack of them! I'm just going to single out a couple.
John Clark: "Yes, Andy. Yes, Andy. Yes, Andy."
Lois Dunbar: "Ray's saying I did it? Who does he think I am? Cruella DeVil?"
And my favorite:
Baldwin to Tom the puppy thief: "Where'd you get these?"
Tom: "My dog."
Baldwin: "We're gonna bring you in and verify that."
Tom: "My dog's out of town..."
No new Blue. On the 25th, we'll have a rerun of the season premiere. On Jan 1, it's the famous Sugar Bowl episode in which Andy and Eddie lead the team to victory as the hottest wide receivers ever to return to college to get their degrees.
Hope your holidays are filled with joy and loved ones, and best wishes for peace and happiness in 2002!