NYPD Blue, Season 1, Episode 12,
Up on the Roof
Written by George D. Putnam
Directed by Michael M. Robin

PLOT ONE: DEPOSIT, NO RETURN

James Martinez, in his first day as a detective, gets to fly solo on a fraud case involving a phony ATM machine outside a neighborhood Pathmark. The machine would read the account and PIN numbers off the cards of unsuspecting citizens, who would then find their accounts drained. And because the ATM wasn't even put there by a bank, all the people who lost their money are having difficulty getting restitution.

The only lead James has to go on at first is the partial license plate of a van spotted picking up the machine, and a sector car eventually finds the van abandoned in a vacant lot -- with the phony ATM machine dumped in some bushes a few yards away. The van is registered to Eric Moore, a junior applied engineering major at NYU who has a landscaping business on the side -- and the Pathmark in question was one of his customers -- but no rap sheet.

James, getting nowhere in his interviews, asks John for advice. He tells his mentor that he doesn't think Eric was the brains behind this, but can't get him to roll on his partner. Kelly suggests playing up the working class angle, and James eventually gets Eric to admit that he was paid $4,000 to put the machine in place by a fellow student named Joel Burleigh, who built the machine.

Unlike the blue collar, humble Eric, Joel is an arrogant jerk who takes to referring to James as "Pedro." James makes a token attempt at offering Joel a deal, pointing out that because poor people couldn't pay their rent or grocery bills due to this scam, a judge will have to give him hard time, no matter how good his father's lawyer is. Joel declines the deal, which makes James glad, since now he's almost certainly guaranteed to do time in a real prison.

"When you get a chance," he mockingly tells Joel, "write me a letter. Tell me what your cellmate's like. Tell me what it feels like to have a subway right up your ass. And my name's James, you little pisspot, and now I'm going to get you your lawyer."

PLOT TWO: WORLDS COLLIDE

Tommy Linardi's tenure as head of the Marino crime family ends much the same way as his predecessor's: with a bullet to the head. John and Andy catch the case, and while scouring the murder scene, discover that Linardi had Angelo Marino's old black book in his briefcase. Medavoy, vouchering all of the physical evidence to send over to Intelligence, asks for the book, but John -- realizing that Janice's name is almost certainly listed inside -- says he'd like to hold onto it for a little while.

Inspector Lastarza demands information from the detectives on their investigation, but they have little, aside from the getaway car, which was stolen and had no prints inside. Lastarza says he doesn't know anything, either, but immediately heads downstairs and asks Janice for more information about Richie Catena and his irate friend from the Christmas party. He also orders her to keep close tabs on Kelly's investigation for him. Janice, figuring that her assignment is over now that Linardi is dead, tries to refuse, but Lastarza coldly tells her, "You're out when I say you're out." Janice, not feeling particularly fond of Lastarza at the moment, tells John about Richie and his friend, but asks him to keep the source of the information a secret. He agrees, and, before heading off to stake out Richie's place with Andy, tells her they need to talk later about Linardi's effects.

The next morning, an angry Lastarza complains to Fancy about Sipowicz and Kelly's stake out on Richie's apartment. Fancy wonders how Lastarza would know about it, unless his people were also sitting on Richie's place -- in which case, why wouldn't he have told the detectives about it? Lastarza, embarrassed, leaves Fancy's office, but tells John and Andy -- back from 19 fruitless hours of stakeout -- to stay away from Richie.

After hearing John stall Medavoy for the umpteenth time about the notebook, Andy quietly asks him what's the big deal about the book. John explains Janice's situation -- leaving out the part about her whacking Marino -- and says he thinks Lastarza is using her off the books and doesn't think he'll stand up for her should her name be found in the book. Andy tells John he has to do what he thinks is right, but that "This wouldn't be the first page somebody tore out of a book."

A rich physician who'd befriended several members of Linardi's gang comes in to see the detectives, and tells them that he secretly treated one of them for a gunshot wound the night before: Richie Catena. He's coming forward now to avoid getting in trouble for not reporting the incident, and because he just got a call asking him to take another look at Richie, who's taking a turn for the worse. The detectives and Lastarza find a badly bleeding Richie at his favorite restaurant, and just before he dies, he gives up his friend, Jerry Frumento, and says that he used to sleep with Jerry's girlfriend Gina.

They pick up the foul-mouthed Gina at her apartment, but Jerry's nowhere to be found. She wants nothing to do with testifying in court, but Andy convinces her to at least give them Jerry's location in exchange for a walk and a grand to get out of town. She says Jerry's staying at a hotel near Central Park, but she doesn't know which one. While Lastarza dispatches his men to begin a sweep, Fancy realizes that they have no evidence to charge Jerry with the Linardi hit. He wonders if Jerry might have also been the one who killed Alfonse Giardella, and asks John to bring Laura in to look at a new photo array with Jerry's picture in it.

Sure enough, Laura picks out Jerry's picture as the window washer who gunned down Giardella, and tells Lastarza that she's willing to testify in court. John tries to talk her out of it, and Lastarza tries to get between the two, but before the discussion can continue, Fancy gets word that Jerry has taken a hostage and is holed up on a hotel roof. The hostage negotiator tries to talk him down, but John quietly comments to Fancy that, considering Laura's situation, he wouldn't mind if Jerry never came off this roof. Fancy tries to ignore the remark, but after Lastarza's attempt to interfere with the negotiation only agitates Jerry further, the Loo gives the ESU sharpshooters the green light, and they take him out. Lastarza curses his bad luck, while John notes that he didn't say anything about the hostage they saved.

John tells Janice about the book, and his fear that Lastarza won't back her when push comes to shove. He also tells her that he can't run her life, but in case she's interested, the book will be on his desk for a few more hours. He goes up to do some paperwork, and when he spots her approaching, he gets up and goes into the stairwell so he doesn't have to see what happens. James comes over to thank him for the advice on the ATM case, and for all that he taught him these past months. "I'm glad I had you for a teacher. You know, the kind of cop you are." As Janice comes out of the squadroom, John has to wonder just what kind of cop he really is.

The two lovers meet at a nearby bar after work. John tells Janice that she's finally in the clear, since the mob has no power over her without the book, and since Lastarza has too many reasons not to come forward. Janice should feel glad, but she realizes that she and John are also through, because in time, he'll come to hate her for what she made him do. He really can't argue, and she gets up and tells him good-bye.

PLOT THREE: FATHER FIGURE

For the past several months, Lt. Fancy and his wife Lillian have been taking care of Maceo Williams, the teenage son of Sherilee, a neighborhood junkie. Now, Sherilee is out of her detox program and ready to resume custody of Maceo, so they can go down to stay with family in South Carolina. Art, who's really bonded with the boy these past months, asks the family court judge to give a 60-day stay before Sherilee can take him back to make sure she can stay clean. Maceo tells the judge that he'd rather stay with the Fancy family, and she asks for some time to think things over.

Art gets a call from a social worker that night with some bad news: the judge denied his request, and Sherilee will be taking Maceo back tomorrow. Maceo doesn't take the news well, and the next day skips school and gets caught shoplifting in a local store. Art manages to get the charges dropped, and Mace explains that he wanted to be arrested so he wouldn't have to leave New York. The Loo says that Maceo has to be a man; Maceo replies that he doesn't know anything about being a man, except what he's learned from Arthur, and complains that he never gets what he wants in life.

Fancy tells Sherilee about the shoplifting incident, and asks her to reconsider her plan to move so soon. She has a job waiting for her in South Carolina, she explains, as well as plenty of family and a new therapy program. She realizes that detox is the easiest part of her recovery, and wants to get started with the rest as soon as possible. Art has no choice but to agree.

That night, Maceo has to say goodbye. Art tells him to write frequently, and to call whenever he needs anything. He also says to remember that he, Lillian, and the girls all love Maceo, and as long as Maceo remembers that, he'll never really be alone. As he and Lillian get ready for bed, she asks if he's sorry they never had a son. He says that the last pregnancy was too hard for them to risk trying again, and, besides, he's too old to be a father again. Lillian tries to convince him otherwise, but his thoughts are clearly stuck on Maceo. "You were good for him," she whispers, before kissing him good-night.


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