NYPD Blue Summary/Review by Amanda Wilson aka Puedo01@aol.com
Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.

"Only Schumcks Pay Income Taxes"
Season 11 Episode 9
11/28/03
Teleplay by William Finkelstein
Story by Bill Clark and William Finkelstein
Directed by Donna Deitch

After a long delay, I present you with a summary and review of the last episode which aired in November before a long hiatus. I know you've forgotten the story, so read on! There will be a quiz Tuesday night when the next new epsiode airs. Thanks very much for your patience.

SUMMARY

GOOD OLD ANDY

Andy and Junior are working a home robbery in which a former cop and his wife are assaulted and robbed. The former cop, Roy, is someone Andy knows from the academy and the two worked together in the 20th precinct. John calls Roy an old-timer which offends Andy. Roy is off the job now due to disability. He fell through a roof while chasing a perp at some point and when he had to leave, he wasn't ready to quit the job. Andy predicts Roy's pride, coming in this case after the fall, will be an issue.

He's right: Roy hangs around the investigation, making sure everyone knows his days as a cop are over, but something's not right. Andy and Junior track down an item stolen from Roy that's unusual, and they get the hit they need. They go looking for a skel named JJ after the find his prints and mug shot, and when they get to his apartment, his girlfriend tells them some old guy who looks like a cop held a gun on JJ and took him out of the place in cuffs. The detectives rush over to the apartment of one of JJ's known associates and find JJ outside, handcuffed to the armrest of Roy's car. Up on the roof, they find JJ's pal Nick kicking the stuffing out of Roy and stealing his gun away from him. He's about to shoot Roy when Junior stops him and hauls him away. Roy makes an excuse about how he'd have had the guy if he hadn't tripped over a drain pipe.

Andy and Junior are back at the station trying to wrap up the case so Roy doesn't get in trouble. They need JJ and Nick to turn on each other. Junior tells JJ Nick has done that, but JJ doesn't believe the lie and refuses to talk. Andy is doing the same to Nick who also won't flip, but when Junior comes into the room and confirms Andy's lie that JJ has pinned it all on Nick, Nick folds. Both men then confess and Roy is let off the hook.

Before he leaves, he laments his early retirement. Andy tells him to make the best of it.

BALDWIN'S KID

Baldwin's attempt to save Michael meets a few more obstacles. Michael's father, who is under suspicion in the unsolved murder of Michael's mother, keeps coming around the foster home where Michael lives and intimidating the family. The foster dad tells Baldwin he can't handle it and won't listen to Baldwin's promises that it'll be taken care of. He dumps Michael back on family services which is now trying to find him a new home.

Baldwin goes to meet Michael's father and finds him in a bar. The man taunts Baldwin, calling him a white man. Baldwin is nearly provoked into punching him but realizes that if he does so, he could be charged with assault and lose the whole war. He walks away.

Michael's aunt, his dead mother's sister, is persuaded to take him in. She's very nervous, however, and tells Baldwin she will not put up with the boy's father coming around. Baldwin promises his help, and promises Michael he won't give up.

SCHMUCK

Greg and Baldwin catch the case of a guy whose car has been burned up. His name is Titell and he's written a book called Only Schmucks Pay Income Tax which promotes the fabulous notion that Americans are not required to pay income tax at all; paying taxes is merely voluntary. His sure-fire plan can save you thousands, blah blah blah. It's just the kind of scheme Greg is interested in, and Greg keeps hammering away at the details of it while Baldwin spends his energy trying to find out who torched the guy's car. Titell thinks it's his ex-wife, Carolyn, but her alibi checks out. What's more: she tells the cops that Titell has had a lot of threats based on his book and how it ruined people's lives. Greg seems unwilling to believe that. The idea of not paying taxes is far to attractive to him. While Baldwin isn't looking, Greg agrees to allow Titell to file his income tax return for him. Baldwin tries in vain to tell him the whole thing is a scam and keeps working the case. He gets a break after a deadly snake is found in Titell's office. One of the cars that got ticketed near the scene of the car fire was a van from a pet store. At the pet store, the detectives meet Ralph who tells them a little to strenously that poisonous snakes cannot be legally sold and cannot be imported into the US. They take him in. After a little badgering, Ralph coughs up that his father lost his pet store after following Titell's advice and getting busted by the IRS for tax evasion. Poor Dad is taking an extended vacation in Danbury now and Ralph was just after a little revenge. Titell is grateful the case is solved but Baldwin lets him know he needs to be looking over his own shoulder because Baldwin intends to tell federal prosecutors all about him. Greg comes to his senses, somehow recalls all the scam cases he's handled as a cop, and tells Titell to throw his tax return away. It's not easy for him, though.

T-ROD'S BAD DEA

Tony spends the morning sniping at everyone who dares cross his path. His foul mood is oppressive even to Rita who never fails to walk into his office wearing a coat of near-pathetic hope. He realizes he's taking it all out on her unfairly and asks her to shut the door so he can explain. He tells her he's been passed over for promotion to Captain's pay. She tries to assure him it's meaningless but he knows better. He knows it's payback for the trial and seems resigned to the fact that his chances for further advancement in the NYPD are similiar to the election hopes of Dr. Howard Dean. His injury is further insulted by the news that the hapless Detective Eddie Gibson has been promoted to the rank of Sergeant, making him a boss.

BEATING A DEAD MOOSE

Andy is awakened too early in the morning by the sound of scales on a bassoon. He puts on his robe, flops over to the apartment across the hall and pounds on the door. A very attractive young man opens the door and is immediatley sorry for having disturbed his new neighbor. Andy tells him to knock it off and goes back home to bed. Later, Andy is called out early to investigate a case. Connie, still home but about to leave for work, answers a knock on the door and finds the musician there. He's obviously wowed by her beauty and the fact that she's a cop --which is apparent from her weapon, etc. -- and he stumbles around as he offers another apology. He gives her two tickets to his chamber music recital that night and attempts to flirt. She recieves it all graciously and shuts the door.

Later, she asks Andy if he wants to go. He wants to know if that's a trick question. She tells him to forget about it, and he seems to until after a series of comments about his age and after listening to his own advice to Roy. They get a sitter and get all dolled up to go to the recital. Connie loves it; Andy is tortured until he reaches for her hand and settles his mind on what's most important in his life.

REVIEW

GOOD OLD ANDY

A nice little story, and I enjoyed the action-packed scene where they're chasing Roy down, but the theme is one we've seen many times before: Andy wrestles with his age. It's not that it's a bad theme--in fact, it's quite valid for a guy in his 50s who still has to work like a guy his 30s--but I'd like to think the creative minds behind the Final Draft software at Blue could come up with another way to explore it. Something other than Andy running into an old colleague or guy he used to know back in the day. I'm not sure what that would be, but maybe a clue can be found in the kinds of things that happen in people's lives that make them wish they could retire or make them realize they can't. Andy might wish he could retire because he's exhausted, or because he's emotionally wrung out from all the same old political crap in his job, or the constant flow of violence that hasn't ceased since his early days. Or maybe he realizes he can't retire because his bills are increasing, he's got more kids than an Irish Catholic married to a social worker Morman or something. Maybe some sort of other thing can come up in his life that makes him consider these things and get refocused. Nice how he got refocused with Connie, though. I guess being married to a woman nearly 20 years younger would make him feel a little more spry from time to time.

BALDWIN'S KID

This story still doesn't do much for me, but the acting going on here makes me not care about that. Baldwin and the dad are just off the charts here. If that intensity were played in more scenes during the show, we'd have something we couldn't take our eyes away from. Henry is just kicking ass here. In terms of the story, I found the explanation of why the aunt didn't take Michael in at first a little weak. Also, I thought Baldwin's little speech when he drew back from punching Craig was unnecessary. He thought better of it. I got it, I got it. No need to explain. I think I speak for most when I say Henry's face and some of our own brain cells filled in the blanks just fine.

SCHMUCK

Greg finally gets a story! What worked for me in this one was the extremely sharp contrast between Greg and Baldwin. Baldwin has a whole lot of really serious stuff going on that means ten-thousand times more than anything on Greg's mind, and he powers through this investigation with one hand tied behind his back (actually, that one hand was holding his cell phone as he tried to work things out for Michael while the other hand was smacking the schmuck all around the place.) Baldwin has a take-no-shit attitude throughout and he's got zero tolerance for crap. It was a nice change from the usual eye-rolling responses we see to Greg's lame-brain ideas. And as for Greg, well, he was perfectly tortured. Here's a man who has spent his entire life walking that thin line between total geekdom and being a man of substance. He is so put-upon by the world that the idea of a free lunch is very hard to pass up. But what bothered me by the story itself is that while we know Greg is a bit of geek and a man with big dreams and schemes of his own, we also know that underneath it all he's very much a man of substance and he's too smart to have even gotten close to falling for this. He's at least seen, if not worked, enough cases where unsuspecting people are scammed by such things. And if the words "tax" and "laws" haven't ever met his ears in the same sentence in all his 50 years on the planet, I'll be shocked. Cops are supposed to have at least an idea that laws about things generally mean that there are, well, laws about things. He's sworn to uphold them. I can't believe that Greg, who we know to be a good cop even if he's sort of a born loser, would even get near that. This charcater has grown a lot of depth and complexity over the years: he's more than one man, in a way. He's smart, he's a good cop, he's also a buffoon at times and has a whole lot of silly weaknesses. So what's the problem writing him a story that plays on all of that? I'd like it a whole lot if the next time Greg gets a story it could be something a little more believable. You can still make him the butt of jokes if you must, but there's no need to change his character and make him suddenly stupid. I think that's sort of cheap.

T-ROD'S BAD DEAL

Tony's foul mood was annoying. I wonder if a guy who got the shaft as badly as he did would just sit there going through files and taking it out on his squad. Is the fight all gone out of him? This scene was clearly a set up to his departure and to give us a little more background information on his replacement. His replacement, it was hoped by the producers, would be a fun little surprise to the Blue faithful but someone let the cat out of the bag not too long ago and ruined the fun for those who didn't know. Just in case you still haven't heard--and maybe a few of you haven't--I'm not going to do anything more than give you the clue I just did.

THE DEAD MOOSE

A girl just doesn't dream of meeting a bassoon player, you know, but Steven Bochco has gone and changed all that..... What a man, what a man. (And I don't mean Mr. Bochco, no offense intended.) I got mixed messages here, however. My first thought when I saw the Beefcake Bassoonist was "Here's a new boyfriend for Phone John!" Apparently Andy agreed since he later referred to his new neighbor as a "fruit." But then he shamelessly flirted with Connie, and I began to wonder. For her part, Connie seemed amused that the guy was so blown away by her in the way an older woman gets amused when a teenage boy develops a crush. I got no read that Connie was similarly attracted and no read that Andy was jealous (I still think he thinks the guy is gay.) So, this seems to be a fun little look-see into the more mundane annoyances/joys of life that make up most of our days. I liked it a lot.

QUICK HITS

*If the Bassoonist and P. J. get together, they could run up to Provincetown this summer and tie the knot in a "very special" NYPD Blue!

*On Andy's bedside table: a Bose acoustic radio. Them things ain't cheap. Seems like an odd indulgence for Andy. Wouldn't rather have spent that 400 bucks on a tropical fish tank? Or a couple of weeks of daycare?

*Lots of nice little directing touches--really good visuals--scattered throughout this one. I especially liked the look of the scene between Baldwin and Craig. And the shot of Baldwin's face when Michael left was outstanding. I liked how it was smashed up next to the blurry traffic lights in the transition shot that followed.

*So, where was Connie going when she left the squad room? She didn't appear to do any work at all, and when she took off, there was no mention of what she was doing. Ditto Rita who didn't do anythig all day but read that stupid book and be all mewly with Tony. Where's the writing for these women?

*Andy was rightfully offended by the Cole Porter reference, but Junior didn't get off without a hit either. Yes, everyone's a Springsteen fan but the Boss' heyday would have been shortly after Junior himself was Born in the USA. Or maybe in Kindergarten. (He's in his late 20s, right?)

LINE OF THE WEEK

The schmuck to Greg afer Greg tells him he can File 13 his tax return: "Fine. I'm going out to piss away my tax savings on two Ukranian hookers and a T-bone steak."

ON THE NEXT NYPD BLUE

Connie and her unborn child are threatened.

Thanks for hanging in there,
Amanda Wilson