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

Episode 8, Season 6

"Raging Bulls" 12/15/98

Teleplay by Leonard Gardner

Story by Steven Bochco, David Milch & Bill Clark

Directed by Steven DePaul

Andy's back--mmmmm, sorta.


SUMMARY

BROTHERS OF DIFFERENT COLORS: A black plain clothes cop is accidentally shot by an off-duty white cop. The black cop (Hudson) was chasing a couple of robbery suspects when the off-duty officer Szymanski sees the chase, steps outside and is shot in the shoulder. He sees the plain clothes cop with a gun drawn, doesn't know he's undercover, and shoots him five times, nearly killing him.

A rookie uniform, Baker, is also there. Danny talks to him and finds out he also thought the undercover guys were bad guys and also fired a shot. His bullet hit Szymanski, but Szymanski doesn't know this.

The fly in the ointment is that Szymanski has had a previous run-in with Lt. Fancy. He pulled Fancy over two years ago for a busted tail light ("Tailights Last Gleaming"), and Fancy believed it was because he was a black man driving through a mostly-white neighborhood. Now Fancy, and IAB Sgt. Martens, want to make sure this incident isn't racial.

This doesn't sit well with Andy, whose own checkered past where racism is concerned immediatley puts him on guard against Fancy's reaction. Szymanski is waiting for it too--the first words out of his mouth are, "This is not racial." Both Andy and Fancy are on the defensive right away. The shoot seems clean to Andy--Szymanski thought the undercover was a skel who shot him, so he shot back. The undercovers were not wearing the designated color of the day (used by undercovers to alert other cops that they are on the job). Fancy, however, already pegging Szymanski for a racist, wants to know why he fired five times on the undercover. Andy and Fancy have a few heated verbal exchanges, Andy finally throwing a thumb in Fancy's face. From there, they take off to the locker room where Andy throws a punch and a fight ensues. Art gets a few good hit in before Danny comes in, breaks it up, and chastises the two like they're bad kids. (Danny even "threatens" to transfer out--saying he won't work where this kind of thing happens.)

Art and Andy seem to feel appropriately stupid over the whole thing, and spend several minutes in silence together cleaning up their various cuts and bruises. Later, they talk it out, starting with a few "pleasantries" people grab for when they feel like they've made idiots of themselves--Art inquires about Andy's health, Andy about Art's and Art reveals his father was a drunk with hypertension. Getting down to business, they tell each other they can read each other's minds, and that what they're reading pisses them both off. They also discover that what they're reading from each other is exactly the same thing. Art admits to being too hard, then tells Andy that of all the cops on the force, he understands Andy better than anyone. "Why is that?" he wonders, but it's already obvious.

Now they set about making it right with everyone, including Danny, Diane and Jill, who are sitting like three kids on the catching bench waiting for the locker room doors to open.

Andy tells them all's well. Danny goes and makes things right with the nervous Baker, telling him he'll make him look good. Art sits down with Hudson's partner and tells him he'll do what he can to make their mistakes look better rather than worse. Art then goes to Szymanski to tell him that he's going to keep IAB out of things. Szymanski's nervous at first, thinking Art's going to come down on him. Art tells him the undercover mistakes and Szymanski jumps on them with both feet, "Yeah, that's why I shot him..." All's not perfect here, though, as Art points out that if the undercovers had been wearing the color, Szymanski probably would have shot anyway. Szymanski tells Art he would have given them more consideration if they'd been wearing the color. It looks as if it might come to blows between these two before Szymanski relates a story of how he was beat up and nearly-mutilated by three black kids in a park one night. He tells Art that if he was taking that out on Art when he pulled him over a few years back, that Art made the situation worse by then transferring Szymanski to the 1-5. He tells Art that he's responsible for putting Szymanski in a position where he'd shoot an undercover cop. Art backs down, tells him he'll work it out with IAB.

When Martens arrives again, Fancy strategically places his hand over the left side of his face so as to hide the bruise he got from Andy. Martens is curious, but patiently listens to Fancy's long explanation of how the shooting was right and all's well in the 1-5. When Art finally lets his hand down, Martens asks him what happened to his face. Art tells him he walked into a door. Martens leaves, running into Andy a second later in the squad room. He looks at Andy's beat-up face and says simply, "Door?"

Andy and Danny do a little clean up of the day's events, with Danny making it clear that he doesn't like his co-workers throwing punches at each other. Andy tries to be a smart ass with him, but Danny holds his own and Andy finally apologizes in sincerely but sarcastically, as only Andy can.

Andy and Art have a little scene outside the station house where they make up even more. They decide the best they can do is to be civil to each other, including saying "good night," which they then proceed to do several times, neither one knowing when to quit. It's the closest they'll come to apologizing to each other.

 

THE SECRET LIFE OF DOLORES: In a jam last week at her part-time job in the strip club, this week, Dolores is collared by a store security guard for shoplifting. Diane and Jill hear about it, but find that the security cop has tried to get over on Dolores, promising he'll drop the shoplifting charge if she gives it up. Dolores refuses, and Diane and Jill try to straighten things out for her. Security man is now claiming that Dolores offered sexual favors if he'd drop the charge. Diane and Jill get the security guard to admit that he turned off the video camera in his office, which makes him look guilty, and he agrees to drop the charge. He swears, however, that Dolores was offering sex through body language. Diane and Jill got to talk to Dolores, who has arrived downstairs, and they find her in a little room wearing a real slinky outfit and draped on a desk. They talk to her, tell her they've gotten her out of two jams now and want her to face her problems. She cops an attitude at first, and while not giving that up easily, gets emotional when Diane and Jill tell her they're trying to help her. Fancy wants to fire her, and they're supposed to meet about that soon.

 

SYLVIA SUAREZ: Sylvia comes home from Riker's where she's been looking into the Suarez murder. She's upset that she's run into a dead end there. Andy tells her there was probably someone on the outside who ordered the murder, and that he'll help her try to get justice for Suarez. Sylvia cries because she feels so bad for Suarez.


REVIEW

BROTHERS OF DIFFERENT COLORS: Not your typical "racial" story. In this one, there is no clear right or wrong, and it's not really about that anyway. This story, to me, was about Art and Andy: how much they are alike and how hard it is for them deal with that. It all tracks with the growth we've seen in Andy over the years, but is still in-keeping with his tendency to get too pissed off too fast. Both men overreacted, both expected the worst from each other, and both ended the day surprised.

The dialogue in their post-fight scene in the locker room was so good--it moved them along so well, let us know so much, and brought home the point that these two guys are so much alike. I got the same feeling from their wordless scene before that. I was reminded, by the time it was all over, of Andy's relationship with Bobby. Certainly there was never that much tension between Andy and Bobby, but the underlying feelings were the same. These are two men who come from such different places but who can--whether it's comfortable for them or not--learn to love and respect each other.

The only thing hanging me up with this story was the exchange between Art and Szymanski. I thought Szymanski's feelings about his situation were valid, from his perspective, but I was really surprised that Art seemed to take it so well. He was pissed, as I expected, but I thought that if Andy's thumb in his face was enough to bring him to violence, wouldn't Szymanski actually blaming him for the whole mess do that too? This might have made more sense if that part of the conversation with Szymanski had come before Art and Andy took to beating the crap out of each other. It might have given us more behind Art's anger.

On the other hand (there's always another hand), the fight between Art and Andy had less to do with racism that it did the fact that these two men don't like looking in the mirror and seeing each other's faces looking right back at them.

Danny's involvement here gives me more to like about Andy's new partner. He's not taking any shit from Andy, but he's not being a jerk about it. He stood up to Andy--told him clearly he didn't like it-- and when Andy apologized in his snarky little way, Sorenson's smile said it all. There's a nice mutual respect building here. It's not this father-son thing, thank god.

Danny handled the Baker situation well--his remarks about his "pain-in-the-balls dinosaur of a partner," served two-purposes for me. First, it was more evidence that Danny isn't going to be putting Andy on any pedestals; second, it was a smart way for Danny to work the rookie Baker. Danny's no dummy. I like that in a TV cop who is replacing one of my favorite characters.

What was up with everyone sitting on the catching bench? They don't got enough work to do?

Nice comic relief with Fancy using his hand to hide his face from Martens. I really liked it. And also in the final Andy-Art scene (which would have been a really good place to end the show), which produced my pick for LOW, below.

 

THE SECRET LIFE OF DOLORES: Lola Glaudini is doing a bang-up job with Dolores, but I think I'm done with this. I don't think, though, it's all over. Now that we know Dolores has some big troubles leading her into a dangerous life of crime, I suppose we'll have to find out what they are. Me, I hope Fancy cans her next week. Upstairs John can come back and play the small role of PAA--he adds much more to it than anyone so far, I think. His eyerolling, glances and occasional great lines (remember him with the dictionary?) are just enough to keep that presence in the corner desk interesting but not intrusive. I also much-preferred his one big story (about his affair with the cop) to Dolores' shopliftin' and strippin', Donna's affair with Greg and Geri the Rubber Lovin' Lady.

 

SYLVIA SUAREZ: Something's not right here. For the very first time, I'm left with the feeling that Sylvia is overreacting. She's a DA in NYC--wouldn't she be too busy with the 40 or 50 current cases she's got going to be tearing up over Suarez? I dunno. I think I feel let down here because I really thought, after reading some spoilers about this week's ep, that somehow the whole Sgt. Dornan thing would come into play. I know this story isn't over--so I'll just bide my time here. But I think that, aside from watching Andy watch Theo sleep, this scene could have fallen off the face of the earth and we wouldn't have missed a thing.

 

QUICK HITS:

ACTOR LEGACIES:

LOTW:

Art to Andy outside:"When I said goodnight, I meant to include you in that."

Andy: "Boy there's several hours of tossing and turning I don't have to worry about."


 

No new Blue for the next two weeks. I believe Barbara Walters is on next Tuesday, and after that, probably a re-run, though I don't know which one. So, I'll be getting some sleep on Tuesday nights, and I hope that all of you have a nice holiday season! Stay safe! 

Amanda Wilson, aka Puedo01@aol.com