NYPD Blue, Season 2, Episode 2,
For Whom the
Skell Rolls
Story by Stephen Bochco & David Milch
Teleplay by Gardner Stern
Directed by Michael M. Robin
To skip straight down to the review, click here.

PLOT ONE: THE NEVERENDING TRIAL ACTUALLY ENDS

Janice testified at her murder trial that a)she did not plan to kill Angelo Marino until she got into his car, b)John Kelly knew nothing about the murders, and c)she confessed of her own volition, not because Kelly had forced her to do so. The DA and Attorney James Sinclaire both gave eloquent closing statements, but, apparently, Attorney Sinclaire's was more moving - Janice was only found guilty on the lesser charge of manslaughter in the first degree. Sinclaire told her that she would get sentenced for no more than 2 years, and that she would probably be out on work release in six months. "Not bad for a shyster lawyer, eh?" That night, Kelly promises Janice that he'll visit her upstate all the time.

PLOT TWO: HAVERILL VS. KELLY

Everyone's favorite asshole from upstairs, Commander Haverill, showed up again, this time as part of the witch hunt to nail Our Hero (tm) for tearing the pages from the book. While Kelly and Sipowicz are in the middle of a double-murder investigation (more on that to follow), Haverill continually harrasses Kelly about giving a statement about the two dirty cops from the previous week. Internal Affairs seems convinced that Kelly only busted the two cops because he wanted a cut of their action, but when no drug dealers identify Kelly or Sipowicz as ever having hung around with the two dirty cops, that avenue of persecution is closed. When even Medavoy won't turn on Kelly (more to follow), Haverill decides to screw over Our Hero by refusing to drop the charges on one of Kelly's informants (from the double-murder case). Kelly gets extremely insubordinate with Haverill, which gives him all the ammo he needs - he even decides to let the snitch go.

PLOT THREE: THE BIG BLUE WALL, MEDAVOY STYLE

Because the Linardi murder was Medavoy's case, the fact that Kelly held onto the book for three days is more than a little suspicious, and Internal Affairs wants to talk to Medavoy about it. Greg knows that he didn't do anything wrong, but tells Donna that he's afraid that if he goes into the interview and starts stammering, they'll think he's trying to cover for John - and he doesn't want to jam up one of his friends. However, when he goes into the IAB interview, he's so relaxed, he doesn't even stammer once - he calmly claims (contrary to what actually happened) that he never got around to asking John for the book for a few days because of other aspects of the case, and that Kelly gave him the book the minute he was asked about it. The IAB sleazeballs realize Medavoy isn't going to be any help, so they let him leave, and he walks out of the room triumphantly.

PLOT FOUR: THE ROCK STAR MURDER

A black man and woman have been found brutally and bloodily murdered in her apartment, which is in a building described as a "non-stop party," because of all the drug dealing that goes on. Kelly thinks he has a lead, a crackhead who was seen coming out of the dead woman's apartment, but he has an alibi - he was watching Star Trek with his girlfriend. However, the Trekkie crackhead saw another guy going into the dead woman's apartment, and identifies him for Kelly and Sipowicz. The new suspect is an ex-con who's been hard-working and straight for two years since his last prison term, but he confesses to Kelly (after another smooth speech about the uselessness of lawyers) that he killed them both in a fit of rage after the guy started hassling him for talking to the woman (and after the guy tried to rob him).

PLOT FIVE: NORMAN, IS THAT YOU?

In the midst of Janice's trial and the Inquisition going on for Kelly, ex-Detective Roberts shows up and tells Sipowicz that he has a bit of evidence that might help Kelly. Seems that one of his new PI clients is a madame. Said madame has a regular client who likes for his hookers to dress like schoolgirls so he can spank them. Said client just happens to be Norman Gardners, who is in the midst of claiming on his show that Kelly may have been on Marino's payroll, thanks to the "expert" testimony of the bereaved girlfriend of Richie the Dead Bagman. Andy calls up our friendly Geraldo-wannabe and shows him the tape. Norman, needless to say, is a bit upset, but gets Sipowicz to give him the tape in exchange for a public retraction of the "dirty cop" accusations about Kelly.

PLOT SIX: ANDY POPS THE QUESTION

Though their dinner date is interrupted for a night while Andy works the double-homicide, Andy and Sylvia finally manage to eat at their favorite restaurant. Unfortunately, in the five months since they last dated, the restaurant stopped carrying Sylvia's favorite kind of bread, which upsets Andy, but he controls himself. He starts to tell Sylvia that he knows he needs more self-control, but that he's improved. Then he tells her that he finally has his life in order:

Sylvia's taken aback. Andy tells her to think about it, and mops his brow.


I want to say this, first and foremost: I was prepared to write a lot about the wrap-up of Janice's trial, about Norman's naughty videotape, about Greg's triumph with the IAB guys, about John's blow-up with Commander Haverill, but all I'm really interested in at the moment is that last bit of conversation I just typed.

ANDY ASKED SYLVIA TO MARRY HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry, but that has to be the most shocking, surprising, enjoyable moments I have ever seen in the history of TV. Most of the time, when a big thing like this is about to happen, there's a ton of hype about it - and there's also a huge build-up to it in the episode. This one was totally out of the blue, and I was as stunned as Sylvia was. And the shot of Andy mopping his brow immediately after was priceless.

All I have to say is, GO ANDY! I just hope the stress created by this sudden little bit of question-popping doesn't screw up his sobriety again, after he's fought this hard to get himself straight and to get Sylvia back.

With regards to the rest of the stuff in the show, some comments:


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