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

Episode 14, Season 6
"Raphael's Inferno" 3/2/99
Teleplay by Doug Palau
Story by David Milch & Bill Clark
Directed by Matthew Penn

Got another winner this week, and we're learning so much more about Danny. (Not to mention we have a half-a-Hank shot!)


SUMMARY

Raphael's Hell

Andy and Danny catch the murder of a 9-year-old girl who is found shot to death and lying in the basement of her building. They first suspect the girl's mother's boyfriend and question him about the case. They find that he's done time for some kind of a mess involving a 14-year-old girl and ask him to take a lie detector test. He agrees to, swearing he's not involved in the child's death.

Meanwhile, the building super shows up at the House all ticked off because when he opened the basement for the cops to investigate, he discovered his tools had been stolen. He accuses the cops of taking them, which sends Andy into one of his tirades. Andy and Danny, with the help of ESU, discover that the only way into the basement is through the steel door which the super keeps locked all the time.

They decide to go back to the building to talk to the mother and when the arrive, they meet another tenant, Raphael, who's mopping the hallway floor. They think that's a little odd, so they start questioning him. He seems normal enough, but they then notice that the missing tools are on the floor next to where he's standing. He says he found them on the back stairs, but he's staring to act a little squirrely, so they haul him in anyway.

Raphael says his mother is his alibi, that she'd brought him soup that day to comfort him because he'd lost his job recently and because his wife and child had left him also. He swears he's never been in the basement, but whenpressed more, he admits he did go look around down there when the super left the door open a few weeks earlier.

Andy and Danny decide to go search Raphael's apartment, (deciding to get a warrant later..shhhh). They search all around until finally Danny looks into a closet and finds a piece of carpet hanging up. He rips it off and finds a rather large hole. Andy goes down to the basement, and listening to the sound of Danny's voice, finds the spot in the ceiling where the closet is. He rips off some plywood and sees Danny peering through the hole.

When later they talk to his mother, they get no more information, but do find that she's a little odd--almost too protective of her son. They discuss how they're going to handle talking to Raphael--whether they should wait to see if there's evidence of a rape or not--and finally decide just to go at him with the knowledge of the hole in the closet. During their discussion, Raphael starts out normally enough, but begins to come apart a bit when they tell him they know about the hole. He stops making sense, and begins talking a little wacko. He gets to the point where he's not making any sense at all, and they know he's just plain nuts. Later, when they run it for Fancy, we learn that Raphael has confessed, sort of--Andy remarks that he's afraid the confession won't fly because Raphael is kind of like Norman Bates, a comment that goes right past Danny (see LOW).

He's No Sister, Rosensweig

James and Greg catch the case of an elderly man, Mr. Rosensweig, who's been swindled out of eight grand. He swears that his 25-year-old girlfriend, Alexis, was pressured into forging checks for a guy named Tony. He wants the detectives to catch Tony. Of course, James and Greg think the girlfriend must be in on it because she's so young and he's so old. They don't say that, but the old man senses it and assures them that he was able to satisfy Alexis completely and that she loves him.

James and Greg find Tony and question him. Tony tells them that Alexis is in love with him and gave him 46-thousand dollars that he didn't ask for in order to help him get his website off the ground (a website that reviews pizzas.) He says he got this money from Alexis on what he called "Surprise Thursday," and when questioned further about that, coughs up that the other surprise he got was finding out that Alexis is really a man. Alexis used the rest of the money to go off and have a sex change operation.

James and Greg struggle with whether to tell the old man that his girlfriend isn't a girl. They can't quite figure out how, if he really was "satisfying" her, he wouldn't know she's not a she. James figured it was probably "the tuck," which he tried to demonstrate (clothed, thankfully). Greg doesn't want to tell him, but they pretty much figure there's no way not to. Later, the old man returns. They tell him Tony's cleared. He still doesn't want to believe Alexis was involved. Greg asks if there is anything, anything at all, that he could find out about Alexis that would make him turn away from her. He answers that he'd toss her if he found out she were really a Nazi war criminal. James says, "That's not it." And the old man decides he doesn't want to know what "it" is. He leaves, telling them he's not going to let her take advantage of him again.

Mayo Haze

The legacy of Dolores Mayo lives on when her father arrives at the 1-5 during the 4-12 shift. Diane and Jill are having a working dinner in the coffee room, and John is just spritzing his plants before he leaves for the day. James Mayo asks John if Dolores is there. John gets very nervous. He has the man sit down while he goes to get Diane and Jill. Diane and Jill come out and tell him that Dolores died a few weeks earlier. He explains that he had come to the 1-5 because he'd gotten a Christmas card from her a year ago saying she was working there. He also said he'd hoped his visit would prove that it's never too late. He's not surprised that she died from drugs, but wanted to know if there was someone else involved in her death. We find out also that he hadn't seen her since she was 13. Diane questions why it took him a year to respond to the card, which makes him very angry. He leaves, telling them that there better not have been some SOB taking advantage of Dolores when she died and adds that she'd gotten enough of that from him in her younger years. John's a little rattled by it all--left with more questions than answers.

Deep Dark Danny

Danny's little sister Laurie is in NY visiting from school and pops over from Staten Island to see her big brother. Danny has asked Shannon, who apparently moonlights doing pickups, to go meet her at the ferry. Shannon brings her back to the House and tries to charm her by taking her picture in a jail cell for her scrapbook. She's amused by it all, but Danny isn't too amused. Shannon's clearly sweet on Laurie, but when he and Danny have a moment alone, Danny makes it known that he's not too thrilled with that. Shannon apologizes, and Danny admits it's just him being protective of his sister. Shannon then asks Danny if he'll put in a good for him with her, but Danny says he's not THAT sorry he jumped on Shannon for the flirting. Laurie and Danny plan to do lunch later, and Laurie then leaves to go a museum (which is part of getting her teaching certificate, apparently). She comes back later to do lunch and tells Danny that her watch got stolen in a scam on the subway. He's upset, but she tells him it's OK and he calms down. Lunch doesn't happen because he and Andy have to do some work on the homicide. Laurie and Danny make plans for dinner instead.

Andy and Danny then have an awkward discussion about Laurie. In this, we learn that Danny and Laurie, and their younger sister Cathy, all grew up with their aunt and uncle on Staten Island. Danny was 6, Laurie 3 and Cathy 1 when they went to live there. Danny tells Andy that their parents are dead, but he doesn't say how. Danny seems to be on the verge of getting "stirred up," so they both decide to stop talking about it and get on with their work.

Danny and Laurie meet to eat after he's done with his tour, and he presents her with a new watch. We learn that he hasn't seen her for about three years, but that he remembers exactly what kind of watch she had. They leave the restaurant and she tries to talk him into coming back to SI with her to see the rest of the family. He declines. She tells him it's awkward with him not staying in touch, and he gives her a halfhearted promise that he'll do better. He then sends her off with a good word for Shannon, in case he calls.

Later, Danny is in bed with his girlfriend Nadine. He's talking fairly openly about his sisters, and about how he joined the service then became a cop so he could put money away for them to go to school. Nadine says they're lucky to have him as a brother, and he says he's the lucky one. If it weren't for them, he says, he could have been a bad guy. He tells Nadine that he "gets some peculiar ideas of fun," especially behind a couple of a beers. He adds cryptically, that "maybe all that went on" was God's way of keeping him on the straight and narrow. Just as Danny starts warming up to Nadine for round two, she asks what he meant by "all that went on." The question has the effect of cold water or a slap. He rolls away and says "I'll tell you when I'm ready to tell you, Nadine." She's upset and rolls away from him. He gives her an almost apologetic, "good night," and we fade to black.


REVIEW

Raphael's Hell

An already good story made better by a few cool details. Good already in that it wasn't the usual "domestic" that most murders turn out to be. Cops will tell you that they always automatically count family, especially boyfriends like Luis, as suspects because they so often turn out to be the crooks. They followed this path, but weren't so narrow about it that they couldn't look beyond him. I liked that at the time they stumbled on Raphael, they had not ruled out Luis at all. He was still a very viable suspect at the time, but that cop intuition which is so strong in the best detectives told Andy and Danny that something just wasn't right about Raphael.

Other things that made it cool: Danny didn't seem to need much mentoring from Andy, and I liked that. I loved the feel of the scene where they were searching the basement--music, lighting (including the flashlight), worked together well to present a bit of suspense. I had the feeling, watching that, that Andy just might stumble over a pile of old bones and discover that the little girl wasn't the first Raphael had killed. (He was thinking Norman Bates; I was thinking John Wayne Gacy.) And I found it interesting that we didn't see the whole confession. They gave us just enough to let us know Raphael was nuts, and that's really all we needed to know.

He's No Sister, Rosensweig

We haven't seen J & G working a case in a while, so I found that kind of interesting. I wish there'd been a little more build up to the "Alex is a man" thing. Somehow, it wasn't so much of a shock as I thought it could be. I admit I have to wonder about that shot of John's face when those words were uttered. What was that all about?? I can see where someone might think that insensitive to Gays.

Typical conversation between the boys trying to dance around the sex question regarding the old man and Alexis. James doing "the tuck" was kind of...you fill in the blank.

Mayo Haze

A couple of things about this. I'm enjoying the continuing development of the partnership with Diane and Jill. Diane's crack about dinner and Jill taking it all in stride seemed very partner-like. It's nice that they aren't really trying to be polite to each other anymore. It means they aren't strangers, but friends.

As for the rest of the story...I think it's a set up to something bigger. I don't think we've seen the last of Papa Mayo.

Deep Dark Danny

Well, there was no big secret revealed, but we did learn a lot about Danny, and that's a good thing. It's good to have context for these folks we invite into our homes every week. (We never really got it with Simone much.)

I liked Danny's sister a lot--hope we see more of her. Danny is clearly very protective of her (and his younger sister, it would seem.) And that seems to go beyond the normal big brother-little sister thing. He seems to have cast himself in the role of a father figure for them, and it's clear he takes that very seriously.

The secret, of course, is what happened to his parents and why he doesn't stay in touch with his Aunt and Uncle in SI. I suppose that will be revealed in the future.

He won't share it with Nadine, but I think he struggles with that. It seemed to me he didn't intend to be hurtful to her, and knew she took it that way, so offered that little "goodnight" as a way of telling her that he's still OK with everything. An aside: I just don't think Nadine is the right woman for Danny. He's rough, but he seems too bright for her. (Maybe that's just me.)

As for his communication with Andy--that seemed just right to me. They're still a little uncomfortable together, especially when talking about personal things, but that's a function of the newness and, probably, the fact that they're guys. It seemed very real to me--it's how I imagine most men relating to one another at that stage of knowing each other.

QUICK HITS:

Danny: "Who's Norman Bates?"

Andy: "Do me a favor. Next time you don't take a reference cause of your recent birth, keep it to yourself."


 Thanks for being patient with me on this late review.

Amanda Wilson