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

"Safari, So Good"
Season 9 Episode 13
2/26/02
Teleplay by Matt Olmstead & Nicholas Wootton
Story by Bill Clark & Matt Olmstead
Directed by Mark Piznarski

Totally entertaining.

First the summary and then the review.

Summary

DOCTOR DEAD

The squad is working the case of a doctor found dead at his charity clinic. A security guard garners Andy's wrath when he says he saw a tall, strange-looking white guy hanging out near the building in the wee hours, but did nothing about it.

In the doctor's pocket is a Vicodin prescription for a woman named Angela Stokes. Turns out, Angela is a hooker who's developed a lot of back pain from lying on it so much. She lies about the prescription because she doesn't want them to think the doc was doing anything wrong. He just wrote it for her without an examination.

The dead doc's partner, Raymond Chambers, who's got his God complex firmly in hand, comes in. He tells Greg and Baldwin what a fine, upstanding man the doctor was. Other than pissing off Baldwin with racist comments, he has nothing much to offer.

Tony gets a lead from narcotics about a junkie named Wayne King who has been selling prescription drugs. Wayne fits the description of the junkie hanging around the clinic the night before. Greg and Baldwin go to do a stake out.

Greg and Baldwin snatch up Wayne. He's out on the street with the other junkies who do everything they can to help the cops grab him. Apparently, Wayne isn't too popular among his fellow skels. Wayne has a gun on him, but he says it's not his.

In the interview room, Greg bores in. He tells Wayne he was seen at the clinic. He also tells Wayne that his gun is going to be linked to the doctor's murder, and that the pills they found on him will be traced to the clinic. He tells Wayne that when all of this is added up in front of a jury, he will be put to death. Wayne cracks open. He tells them he was there, but that a junkie hooker named Babydoll did it.

Wayne says Babydoll asked him to go on an easy score. He gave her his gun and she went into the clinic. He says he heard the gunshots and ran in to see her standing over the doctor's body, spitting on it and kicking it.

Greg and Baldwin go with a narcotics unit to bust into a drug house and pick up Babydoll aka Lisa McDonald. Greg and Baldwin confront her directly in the interview room. They point out that pumping six shots into a guy usually means there was some prior history. She finally tells them that she's part of a scam to get prescriptions. She works with another hooker who sets things up with the doctor. She goes and has sex with the doc, and he gives her a prescription made out to the organizing hooker. She gets a cut of the drugs. The organizing hooker's name: Angela Stokes.

The problem came when Babydoll was forced to engage in some seriously kinky acts with this doctor--acts that made her go home and scrub her flesh raw and still not come clean. She tells the detectives she was extremely disturbed and upset by the event and clues them into what it was by saying she's not a piece of toilet paper.

Babydoll returned to the clinic after securing the use of Wayne's gun, and shot the doctor to death.

Connie and Rita go after Angela again. Connie gets in her face with the evidence. She tries to whine her way out of it, but Connie shuts her up.

Later, Dr. Chambers shows up and demands to know why he wasn't informed of the latest in the case of his upstanding partner. Baldwin tells him to get out or sit and listen to the things his fine partner was into.

OLD SCORE

A man named Tariq Al-Rahim is found shot to death in an alley. His girlfriend, Natalie, is at the scene. She's been called there by the uniforms. Andy lays into the uniform who did that, telling him forcefully that the detectives do the notifications so they can see the reactions of the next of kin.

Andy quickly realizes that Tariq is a guy he helped send up back when he was in uniform. Back in the day, Tariq was named Marvin, and he bashed an old man's head in during a hardware store robbery. In his effort to find out more about what Tariq's been up to lately, Andy speaks with his parole officer.

The PO is a do-gooder who rankles Andy. He tells them how Tariq converted to Islam in prison and has spent his time out of prison doing charity work. He also tells them about one of Tariq's friends, Eric Green. Andy notes that Eric was in on the murder at the hardware store, but the PO tells him that Eric has been clean, too.

Andy and John pick Eric up. He tells them about a kid who worked with Tariq, Shawn, who stole some of the donations Tariq had gotten. Tariq fired Shawn. Past history leads Andy to treat Eric pretty poorly during the interview.

Andy and John bring Shawn in for a chat. Shawn is genuinely shocked when he hears that Tariq is dead. He admits he stole the money, and says he feels awful about it. He admits he deserved to be fired. He says he doesn't have any idea who killed Tariq, but says Tariq worked a lot with gangs and other hard core guys. Shawn says Tariq was a great man. Andy shouts back that Tariq was a murderer.

After checking out his stories, Andy and John J. find out that Shawn's alibi holds up. The medical examiner has not been able to recover bullets since they went through Tariq's body, and Tariq's car has not been found.

A witness calls the police later on after seeing a black guy set fire to a car. The description fits Eric Green to a T, and it turns out the car torched belonged to Tariq.

Back at Eric, John J. and Andy confront him with the evidence they have. Eric refuses to talk to Andy or to talk with Andy in the room. John J. makes a major blunder by asking Andy in front of Tariq if he'll leave. Andy takes John J. out in the hallway and reads him the riot act. John J. sees the error of his ways, and feels crappy about it. Andy lets him go back in and try to get Eric to go.

Nervous about whether he can do it, John J. yells at Eric how Andy worked on his previous murder case. Eric gets equally mad and says he had nothing to do with the murder but had to do 15 years anyway. Now he's pissed at Tariq because he was making Eric work for 200 dollars a week. He and Tariq got in a fight about it. Eric's anger over the matter is clearly unresolved, and he admits that he killed Tariq.

THE REPLACEMENT

John is training the PAA, Dave Moore, who's going to fill in for him for a few weeks while he's off in Africa with Ray. Dave is a snot. A self-important writer (aren't we all?) who's brought his computer and cell phone to the job with him so he can get some real work done in between filing and answering phones and taking unscheduled smoke breaks.

Greg, who we know is easily impressed, chats Dave up about his screenplays. He offers to tell Dave a few of his own police stories. Dave tries to shut him down by rudely announcing that everyone thinks his life would make a great movie and that nearly everyone is wrong. Undaunted, Greg offers again. Dave gives him a Hollywood promise and heads back to "work."

Later, Dave approaches Greg and asks if he has any stories about serial killings, sexual crimes or anything else gory or disgusting. Greg says he does, and they agree to meet at 8pm at a local alternative coffee shop. PAA John is pissed off at the whole thing.

Tony's not to happy either, and asks Dave what he's doing with the computer. Dave tells Tony he got it cleared with the Borough. Dave is quickly reminded that when he's at work in the 15th, he needs to get things cleared with Tony.

That doesn't seem to have much impact on Dave who begins making personal calls. PAA John advises him against it, but Dave says he's not like the other zombies in the PAA pool and simply must be able to talk to his agent.

That's just about the last straw for P. John who then finds a moment to speak with Andy alone in the locker room. PJ tells Andy that he shouldn't leave the squad in the hands of this unreliable temp. Andy tells him he's overreacting a bit. PJ confesses that he's afraid to go. He tells Andy how much he likes Ray and how he's afraid to mess things up with him. He's afraid that taking a trip together will be make or break it time, and he's afraid to break it and end up alone. Andy does his level best to console PJ and make him feel strong about things. After struggling to put aside his obvious discomfort at discussing a gay relationship, Andy finally tells him that if he doesn't take a chance, he's definitely going to end up alone. His best advice: Be a man. PJ takes this very well and decides to go. Andy finishes by giving him a manly punch in the arm.

At the end of the day, P. John goes over a few last details with Dave, gets good wishes from his coworkers and heads out to finish packing, buy some bug spray and hop a plane to Africa.

Before Dave leaves, he reminds Greg about their meeting. Greg, worried about Baldwin after hearing some bad news, decides not to go. Dave is pissed off and makes some rude comments to Greg. Andy is sitting there listening, and after having heard also from P. John about this guy and having witnesses his attitude all day, Andy decides to take action.

Andy tells Dave one of his police horror stories about a PAA wannabe-writer who pissed off everyone in his squad with his mouth until the detectives decided they'd had enough and threw the guy out the window. Dave gets the point, but doesn't seem overly intimidated. Andy tells him that tomorrow, he's just going to be a PAA.

ANDY AND CONNIE

Andy is acting as cold as an iceberg to Connie the day after their kiss. Connie approaches him to tell him what a great time she had, but he brushes her off. She asks if they're OK and, as he's walking away, he says they're fine.

All day, Andy acts strangely toward Connie. By the end of the day, Connie asks him to go for coffee. Andy says he's got some paperwork to do. Not about to let him get out of it, Connie says she's got some paper work too, so they can go whenever he's ready.

At the coffee shop, Connie asks Andy what the problem is. He tires to deny that there's a problem, but realizes quickly he can't. He admits that the kiss concerned him. She tells him that she loves him and Theo, and that she was just so happy having spent time with them that it just happened. Andy says she should be spending her time out in the world finding a man she can build a life with. Connie tells him that she has a wonderful time with him, and that she's comfortable with him. Andy again tells her that she needs to find someone her age with whom she could have a family. Connie tells him that she can't have kids--there were complications with her first pregnancy. Andy then surmises out loud that her attraction has everything to do with wanting to mother Theo. Connie seems offended and then tells Andy that if this is too complicated for him, she'll just drop it. She leaves.

RITA'S HUSBAND

Don continues being a creep by paging Rita every few minutes. Rita tells Connie he's also been calling her at home. Rita is annoyed, but doesn't seem too upset. She's confident he'll quit and leave her alone.

At the end of the day, John J. is trying to find someone to go have a beer with him. P. John is too busy planning for his trip, Andy and Connie both beg off quietly--Andy to avoid Connie and Connie to corner Andy alone--but Tony and Rita agree.

After a toast to Missouri and some other inane conversation at the bar, John J. looks up to see Rita's husband drunk and stumbling into the bar. John J. has only a few seconds to warn Rita before Don arrives at their table.

Rita tells him to leave. Don won't go. He asks Tony how long he's been banging Rita. Tony and John J. both stand up and tell Don to shut it down. Don won't, though, and John J. tries to move him toward the door. Don then asks John J. if he's also banging Rita. This makes John J. want to throw Don out the door, but Rita defuses things by walking outside with Don. They have an argument in which Don accuses her of cheating. She reminds him that she has never cheated on him, and that he's the one who was caught in bed with his girlfriend Gloria. Don tells Rita he loves her and misses her. Rita says that's too bad. Don leaves saying that they're enemies.

BALDWIN, GREG AND VAL

Greg's new friendship with Dave is the subject of a little chat between him and Baldwin. Baldwin advises Greg to get everything in writing before he makes any kind of deal with Dave. Greg says he's not worried, and that he's hoping he'll make a new friend. Baldwin takes this pointed comment well, knowing that Greg is still mad at him a little for including John J. in his confidence.

Later, Valerie shows up at the squad looking like she's just lost her best friend. She tells Baldwin that she's going away for a few days to see her parents. He asks her why she hasn't been answering the phone, why she's leaving. She tells him that she's miscarried the baby. She's crying a lot but doesn't want to talk about it. She's eager to get away from him and catch her train. He tries to comfort her, but she walks away. Baldwin is equally devastated by the news. He stays in the locker room after Valerie leaves.

Greg comes in to find him, and Baldwin tells him what happened. Greg suggests they go for some coffee or take a walk, but Baldwin wants to continue working.

After the tour, Greg follows Baldwin into the locker room to offer some more support. He also apologizes for being an idiot and acting so childishly. Baldwin accepts and invites him over to his place to watch the Knicks game on TV. Greg is thoroughly pleased.

Review

DOCTOR DEAD & OLD SCORE

The crime stories themselves were OK, nothing special. What saved them from being too dull was the interaction of the squad members.

John J. and Andy getting into it over the Eric Green interview was really good. John J. has been cruising along like detective of the year since his first few days of being green. Now he hits a big snag and gets Andy really pissed off. He takes his lesson well and it all ends up strengthening the partnership. The highlight of the whole, long story was John J. saying to Andy "My bad."

Greg taking the lead on nearly everything tonight was also outstanding. Not only because it gives us a chance to watch Gordon Clapp work, but because it showcases a detective who's less than perfect in nearly every area except being a detective. Greg gives a nice breather from all the calm, smoothness of everyone else. He's not calm, he's hardly smooth, but he knows what he knows and he does it well. This nothing new for Greg (except maybe the amount of time we've gotten to see it), and just in case anyone's thinking Greg is suddenly Superman, we're reminded by his story with the replacement PAA just what a quirky, naive thing he really is. Nice combination of activity for Greg.

I admit that I was not bowled over by the stories themselves, but the rest of it was enough to keep it interesting.

THE REPLACEMENT

This was the story that made the show worth watching this week. First, we get this total pain in the ass replacement, then we get lots of PAA John.

The revolving door of PAAs has featured some truly odd folks, but this guy is the best (Excluding our regular, PAA John, of course. No one can top him.) Instead of being a real freak like Dolores or Geri or the Aussie (who's name I can't recall), he's just a regular dickhead. He's more akin to people we actually know and hate, and that's unbeatable. It's fun to watch him get his comeuppance, and I'm sure we'll be seeing a bit more of that.

It's nice how our main characters deal with this guy without stepping out of what we expect from them. Tony is not rolling his eyes, he's being firm and direct and serious. PAA John becomes distressed and worried. Andy tees off on him the way he does everyone he doesn't respect, and Greg makes an open, friendly attempt to talk to the guy. If there's anything from this episode that makes me want to watch next week, it's seeing what happens to the replacement.

Of course, I'm going to miss PAA John. I hope Bill Brochtrup needed some time off to do another project.

His scenes with Andy are gold. That these two people who are so completely different can relate the way they do is priceless. If you look at the details of their lives, you'd never guess it. But when you see them talking, it all fits so well. It gives us a deeper look into these characters and we see that they, like real people, don't fit their stereotypes.

ANDY AND CONNIE

I think Andy hit the nail on the head: she wants to be Theo's mom. Good for him. Now she needs to realize this is true and move on.

It's not an age thing, it's not a looks thing, it's just that she's feeling bad over not knowing her own daughter and not having a chance to ever have another child. Right? Enough playing with this.

That said, I will admit that the way she talked to Andy was refreshing. She's better than Sylvia, who very nearly always mothered Andy. She's a far sight better than Cynthia, of course. Still, I'd much rather see these two work their chemistry and friends and coworkers than to have it mucked up by a doomed romance. (Doomed because you can't have a happy relationship on TV or else it would be horribly boring.)

RITA'S HUSBAND

Not interesting. Why? Because we've seen it before, and he even had the same name: Don. He was married to a detective in the squad. He was a jerk. He got in trouble with the law..... OK, so, if this Don gets involved in some illegal doings, I'm going to get really worried. The story with Jill and her Don sucked for the most part, so why do it again?

And again I say, we don't even know Rita yet. It's hard to care about a character that we don't know.

GREG, BALDWIN AND VAL

A miscarriage?!?!??! But I was expecting a...miscarriage!

I think it would have been much more interesting to have them have the child and deal with that, but I guess now Henry is free for possible other relationships. That'd be good.

That said, I have to say that I thought Garcelle had her best scene tonight. The only thing that would have made it better would have been a few tears rolling down her face. But even without that, I think she did a really nice job with it.

Nice to see things are all patched up with Greg and Baldwin. Greg acted like a brat, of course, but when the chips were down, he came in like a man to support his friend. I think I knew that was going to happen, too, but in this case it didn't bother me.

Is there a future for Baldwin and Val? I doubt it. And that makes me think that if there isn't, there's probably not much of a future for ADA Heywood on the show, either. GBN has come along OK since her shaky start, but still, I'd much rather see an ADA that Andy can push around than the ADA we have now. Rather than using this position to explore personal relationships, how about using it to explore police/prosecutor relationships?

Like in the Leo Cohen days. The Leo/Andy scenes were outstanding.

Quick hits

* The actor who played the writer who wrote a "fish out of water" romantic comedy that stalled is actually an actor and a writer who wrote a "fish out of water" romantic comedy that sort of stalled. He's also got a real last name that should be a character's last name. See more in Cast legacies below.

* Best Guest of the Week: The above mentioned Dan Bucatinsky is in a tie with Billy Rieck, who played Wayne.

* Did Rita get bangs? Or has she always had them? I just noticed. Not sure I like it.

* John J.! Had a very non-PC comment about the converted Muslim. Oh yeah, he's been hanging around Andy.

* I loved the shot of the WTC mural in the first scene.

* It was very small, but did anyone else catch it when Greg scared the junkies on the street? Right after they picked up Wayne, a few of them were gawking over at Greg, and he took a few menacing steps toward them. They scattered like roaches. Loved it. And then Greg went first through the door at the drug house. Yay!

* If Val's going home for a few days, does that mean we won't see her for a while?

Cast legacies

Previously on NYPD Blue: Stan Cahill as Don and Ray LaTulipe as Josh. Eddie Kehler (Jim Dobbs, security guy): He was in Ally McBeal.

Dan Bucatinsky (Dave Moore, replacement PAA): He's been on Chicago Hope and Will & Grace. He was also in the world's worst movie: Bounce. And he wrote and starred in a movie called All Over The Guy.

Austin Tichenor (Ray Chambers): He's been on X-Files, West Wing, ER and The Practice.

Josie DiVincenzo (Angela Stokes): She's been on Judging Amy, BH90210, Young and Restless and General Hospital.

Karl Wiedergott (Lance the PO): He's done Enterprise, Judging Amy and has been a voice on The Simpsons.

Robert Wisdom (Eric Green): He's done a bit of theater has also been on The District and ER.

Billy Rieck (Wayne King): He's been on The District and Six Feet Under. Shelly Cole (Babydoll): She from Gilmore Girls.

Glenn Taranto (Jerry, the guy who found the burning car): He was Gomez in the New Addams Family and was on Brooklyn South several times. He's also done Michael Hayes and L&O.

Rounding out the cast: Nick Paonessa as Uniform #1, Maura Gale as Natalie, John L. Adams as Shawn, Robert Dolan as Uniform #2, Chadwick Palmatier as Junkie #1 and Jennifer Gayley as Junkie #2.

Lines of the week

Andy comforting P. John:
"John, you're a good guy, and this Ray Maxwell, he's a good guy, and when you got two good guys....aiy..."

Greg to Wayne after hearing what Babydoll did to the doctor:
"Why was she doing that?"
Wayne: "She's a psycho! I didn't know she was a psycho before but, you know, here we are."


See you next week!
Amanda Wilson