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

Episode 16, Season 6
"Tain't Misbehaving" 4/13/99
Teleplay by Matt Olmstead
Story by David Milch & Bill Clark
Directed by Karen Gaviola

Tain't complainin' about this one. Another fine teleplay from Matt Olmstead (the fourth this year--and he's written three of my favorites: "Cop In A Bottle," "Show & Tell," and this one). And a fine directorial debut from Karen Gaviola (more on Ms. G. in Quick Hits below) with two stories woven together beautifully.

But first...

SUMMARY

What's Her Name

Nadine, Danny's bedmate, arrives at the 1-5 one morning in the midst of an attempt by Greg to get Danny to buy into a week at the beach with him in July. (Danny has refused.) Danny's surprised to see Nadine, but jumps up and introduces her to Andy. He says "Andy Sipowicz," but promptly blanks on Nadine's last name. Offended, she fills it in and tells Andy that she's heard a lot about him. Andy, not having heard anything about Nadine, simply nods. His lack of knowledge of her isn't lost on her, and as she and Danny go to the coffee room, she blasts Danny for forgetting her name. Danny apologizes, but Nadine isn't to be consoled. She tells him she's pregnant. He's shocked. Still mad, Nadine refuses to discuss it further, tells him she's through and leaves. Danny goes after her. When she stops briefly in front of John's desk, Danny calls out an introduction for her to Diane, James and Greg, making sure to use her last name. She walks on. He tries to stop her again, but she won't stay and talk.

Later, in the squad room, Danny is quietly angry and upset. Andy tries to get him to talk, but Danny says he doesn't want to talk about it. Andy guesses that he's got some kind of problem having to do with sex and this girl and keeps pushing the matter. Danny refuses to tell him. Andy eyes Diane to leave, thinking he can get Danny to talk if Diane isn't right there, but even after she goes, Danny won't talk. Danny's had it with Andy's repeated attempts to drag the information out of him and blows up, saying "Leave me the hell alone. Find someone else to drive crazy. Give me one day off."

Andy is wounded and angry. Fancy arrives with a case, and Andy leaves telling James and Greg to ride with him. He continues to cut Danny out during the investigation, and during a wordless scene at the site of the case, tries to get Jill to talk to Danny.

The tension from the blow up continues in the squad room. Andy's anger is evident to all when, while they're waiting to run the case for Fancy, he is caught muttering under his breath the "leave me the hell alone" line and how he was only trying to help. Jill's not happy that Andy has put her up to talking to Danny, but tries it without success. Andy, in turn, isn't happy that she didn't get anywhere.

That night, Danny goes to Nadine's apartment. They're both calmer and apologize to each other. She tells Danny that she is pregnant for sure. We learn that they never used birth control because Nadine had been told by doctors that an infection she'd had when she was 7 years old prevented her from becoming pregnant. She tells Danny she wasn't trying to trap him, and that she's not asking him for anything. He believes it wasn't a trap, and tells her he will do the right thing "financially and otherwise." She says that they'll just let things between them "take its own course," and he agrees. They hug.

The next day, Diane happens upon Danny in the coffee room. She greets him, and a second later, with no prompting, he's telling her all about Nadine. He seems embarrassed, saying "probably more than you wanted to know," but Diane lets him know it's OK to talk. He tells her that Nadine wants to keep the baby and that he's glad for that. Diane asks if Danny could ever love Nadine. He responds by saying Nadine is a nice girl, but that they don't really know each other all that well.

Diane then notices Andy in the next room. She encourages Danny to talk to Andy, saying he really can be helpful. She seems a bit uncomfortable with that, though, as if Danny knows she's trying to foster something between him and Andy. Danny thanks her. Either out of embarrassment, or out of a need to let Andy know she's talked to Danny, Diane puts her foot in her mouth by offering Andy a yogurt. (See long list of LsOW below.)

Danny returns to his desk and tells Andy that things with Nadine have worked out well. Andy, proving to all why he's so hard to talk to sometimes, questions Nadine's veracity. Danny has to work to convince Andy that Nadine didn't trap him. Andy doesn't get convinced, but realizes that he's stepped over the line again. He confesses to Danny that he did the same thing in a similar situation with Andy J. and that Andy J. ended up not speaking to him for two years. He tells Danny he'll back off and wishes him well with Nadine.

Jill arrives in the coffee room while Diane is finishing her yogurt and watching the kids on the playground across the street. She tells Jill that she thinks Danny and Andy will patch things up, and she adds, almost shyly, that "He's sweet...Sorenson."

Later that day, Nadine comes back to the squad in tears. She tells Danny that she's lost the baby. Diane overhears, but leaves quickly to lock herself in the locker room. Nadine says she's just come from the doctor who told her she was pregnant but miscarried. Danny comforts her and tells her things will be OK. He asks her to go somewhere to talk, but she refuses. She comments how strange it all is--how it was never quite right, since they only really "liked each other in a bar." She says it all would have been just too much of a miracle. He says he's going to call her--stay in touch with her--but she refuses that, too. She asks him to wait until she calls him. She kisses him and leaves crying.

Diane returns from the locker room, shaken by the memories or her own miscarried child. Danny tells her that Nadine lost the baby, and adds that he guesses when that kind of thing happens, it's meant to be. Diane winces. He tells her that he'd never not be a parent. She says "me either." Her pain is evident.

When the tour is over, Andy walks outside and finds Danny pacing on the street, waiting for him. Danny tells Andy about Nadine. Andy tries to comfort him as best he can, telling Danny how Sylvia was worried about losing Theo and told him not to tell anyone for three months. He also tells how he blew that by telling everyone within a day. Danny goes on, telling Andy he's "half a head case." Andy, again comforting, says "have you seen my pot-holder collection?" And Danny tells him that he's unsure of himself, especially where women are concerned; that he's done his best to take care of his sisters; that he's just confused. Andy asks about his aunt and uncle, and Danny reveals the reason he doesn't stay in touch with them. He's angry at them because they lied about his parents---that his mother was alive 13 years longer than he was told. He says he wouldn't trust them now to help him cross the street. He says he's worried about Nadine--worried that while losing the baby may be convenient, it's not necessarily a good thing.

Diane walks outside at this point. Danny thanks her for all her help with the Nadine situation. This causes Andy's eyebrow to go up. Diane acknowledges the thanks and goes home. Danny considers walking her to her car, but realizes that's probably not necessary. He thanks Andy. They shake hands, and Andy pats him on the arm before they go their separate ways.

One Nut

The case at hand is a dump job. The DOA, Gary, is found beaten to death in a dumpster in an alley. The squad discovers that the dumpster doesn't belong in that alley--that it's rented by a construction company about 10 blocks away.

They pursue leads on the dumpster and on Gary. First, they find that one of Gary's credit cards is being used by someone to buy a big screen TV. That leads them to Ted, a dimwitted soul who's been set up for a frame job by his boss.

Ted works at the construction company the dumpster is rented by. Andy tunes him up a bit during an interview, and Ted reveals that his boss asked him to move the dumpster. His payment was a one-time use of the credit card. Ted had used it twice, however, and figures that's why he got caught. He's genuinely surprised that the credit card belongs to a dead guy which elicits another offer for a smack in the head from Andy. Ted tells Andy that he's had some ill effects from the last smack in the head: it made him jump up and then sit on his testicle. (He doesn't indicate which one, however....)

Meanwhile, Diane, Jill and Danny try to track down more info about Gary. They try talking to his apartment building super but have no luck because the man doesn't speak English. They decide instead to try to track down the building owner, a man named Rooster.

It is decided, then, that Ted will be wired and sent in to talk to his boss. The idea is to get the boss, Richie Vaughn, to confess to the murder on the wire. The detectives have serious reservations about whether Ted is bright enough to pull it off. They take him the locker room to wire him up and have him practice what he'll say to Richie.

Andy, already angered by his tiff with Danny, is in no mood for Ted's lack of brain matter. When he enters the locker room to see how the wiring is going, he finds everyone standing around while Ted is in the stall "dry-shaving" near his private parts in order to accommodate the tape necessary to hold the wire in place. Andy drags him, pants down, out of the stall for his practice talk. Ted apologizes for the state of his underwear as the TARU tech applies the wire. He's led through his "lines" for Richie, and by the time that's over, no one is sure this plan is going to work. Ted is more concerned with how uncomfortable the wire is, being so near his privates.

At the construction site, Andy, James and Greg are inside a van listening and watching Ted's attempt with Richie. Ted swaggers up to Richie, walking like a cowboy to make the wire more comfortable, and Richie promptly chases him away. Just as James predicted, the whole event was as successful as Evel Kenieval's attempt at rocketing across the Snake River Canyon.

Back at the ranch, Diane, Jill and Danny have found Rooster, the building owner. They press him until he coughs it up that he's not really the owner. The owner is his son-in-law who needs to hide behind him so he can scam on his taxes. The son-in-law, he says, is a guy named Richie Vaughn. Rooster adds that one of the tenants found out Richie was the real owner, and Richie called him a 24-7 complainer and said he'd like to kill him. Light bulbs go off all around.

Greg, James and Andy have returned to the squad now and are waiting for Ted's arrival. James and Greg are predicting fireworks when Andy sees Ted. They aren't far off. Ted shows up and is immediately called "numb nut," by Andy. Ted, too dumb to realize just how angry Andy is, approaches Andy at his desk. Andy grabs him by the collar and yanks him hard. Ted tells Andy that now the wire is shoved into his "tain't." (Which, for those of you who've never heard the expression, is the area of a man's body that "tain't" his balls and "tain't" his...ah...bum. Sorry to be so explicit, but hey, you got the disclaimer.)

Diane, Jill and Danny enter as Ted is dragged off to the locker room to remove the now pressing wire. They relay that the DOA was organizing a tenant vigil and had really ticked old Richie off. Their explanation is peppered by frequent yells and yelps from Ted in the locker room who apparently didn't shave enough to make the removal of the tape an easy thing.

Andy goes busting into the locker room just as Ted hangs the wire over the stall, happy to be free of it. Andy tells him to strap it back on. Back at the construction site, Andy and Ted approach Richie. Andy is undercover, playing Ted's brother. He gets right in Richie's face, and through a series of clever comments and perfect timing, gets Richie to confess on tape that he's killed Gary. Richie is busted as soon as they walk out of his office.


REVIEW 

What's Her Name

A solid story that centers on a sometimes character (Nadine), but lets us know so much about our main characters. This story, and the way it was woven into the crime story, shows well why Blue is a story about people who happen to be cops.

And the way the stories melt together also shows the truth about most jobs--that when you're working with the same people all the time, doing pretty much the same job, you're often more concerned with your co-workers than you are with the task at hand. Not that any of our characters sacrificed their work--as I'm sure most of us don't--but their primary pre-occupation was with each other and they way they relate to one another.

This is most evident in the way the Nadine situation caused a rift and then a new understanding between Danny and Andy. It's hard to know, right off, why Andy was such a pest about the whole thing. Not until he reveals that he'd done the same thing to Andy J. do we realize that he was really only trying to be helpful. Andy's just never going to be smooth about giving advice, but he's got a good heart and he tries. That's what Diane was trying to tell Danny in the coffee room, and Danny eventually found that out on his own, the way most everyone else has.

The tension this whole situation provided for everyone in the squad was good to see. They all knew Andy was bent out of shape, and they all knew the day would be hell for as long as Andy was in a bad mood. Andy's the emotional barometer, it seems, for everyone. A typical office dynamic, that is. There's someone in just about every office who can ruin everyone's day, or make everyone's day good, based solely on whether or not, as James put it, they've had a "good BM."

As for Danny's relationship with Nadine--can we stop vilifying Danny now? He met this girl, they liked each other, they slept together, they agreed it would pretty much be an occasional kind of thing. (Even at the point where she wanted more, he'd made it clear he didn't, and since she didn't dump him then, you can't really blame him for the status of things.) Then she got pregnant. They both seemed surprised by it and both unsure how to handle it. Danny did the honorable thing, even though he was uncertain about it. I get the feeling that Nadine wished things would have worked out differently while she was pregnant, but like before, she seemed willing to take whatever Danny was able to offer her. He was honest with her. She didn't press him into marriage.

The miscarriage, for Nadine, seemed to bring light to the truth of their relationship--that it wasn't going anywhere. I think that's why she told him not to call. For Danny, who shoulders the responsibility for his sisters, it was probably a welcome relief while at the same time a source of deep guilt. I think in the final scene, he was struggling with being relieved of responsibility with this baby and "this Nadine," as he called her, but feeling guilty over feeling that relief.

We learned a bit about Diane, too. She's still grieving deeply the loss of her own baby and her Bobby, but she's made a step forward with her acceptance of Danny.

Kim Delaney could not have played that scene in the window with Jill any better. I think it's one of the best scenes we've gotten in a long time--the look and feel of it was perfect: the sunlight, the sound of the kids, the wind in Diane's hair, the different look at the coffee room, and Delaney's perfect delivery of the line "He's sweet...Sorenson. She was a little shy about saying it; almost afraid, it seemed, to admit that she found something to admire in a man who is not Bobby. It was almost as if she were trying it on, seeing how it felt, and then finding that it didn't hurt too much but wasn't completely comfortable either. That's the way, I imagine, Diane will feel as she finally climbs totally out of her grief and fully into a new life beyond Bobby. Fine acting, that which can convey so much in so few words.

Her pain was evident when she and Danny talked about the miscarriage. We know she's still not over her losses.

As for Danny---he's drawn to Diane in some way. We've seen it in earlier episodes, but it's again clear from the way he spoke unpromted to her yet didn't respond at all to Andy's or Jill's attempts. He seems also to want to extend his "protection" (the kind he gives his sisters) to Diane, wondering if he should walk her to her car. I'll agree with Diane: He's sweet...Sorenson.

Despite his concern for Diane and his willingness to open up to her and no one else, it is, I think, very important to note that it was Andy, not Diane, to whom Danny revealed his biggest secret yet: The fact that his aunt and uncle lied to him about his mother's death.

It came at a pivotal time: after his discovery that Andy isn't so bad, after all. Once Andy calmed down, backed off and became supportive rather than contrary, Danny popped this little fact out. I think it underscores the adage that a cop's partner is closer to him than family. Considering Danny's family situation, that's going to have to be true for him.

Andy, learning from his earlier mistake it seems, didn't push on this topic. It's a mystery that's going to unfold in pieces. I wonder if Danny will continue to confide this information in Andy?

One Nut

What's not to like? I think Ted is probably pretty representative of the kind people cops would love to charge with "criminal stupidity."

Taking the undercover, out-of-the-stationhouse, using-a-wire approach to things was refreshing. (How many weeks since we've seen a confession beaten out of a murderer in the pokey?)

It was more a character study than a crime story, as many Blue "crime stories" are, thank God. Ted was played brilliantly by Ray McKinnon. I think this story produced the most Lines of the Week ever (see below), and certainly the most bursts of out-loud laughter from me.

 

Quick Hits

Cast Legacies & Notes

Lines of the Week A-Plenty

There are toooo many to narrow down... had to list them all....

Andy to Ted: "How many times you want to get hit?"
Ted: "You know, the last time you hit me I jumped up and sat on my own testicle."

Diane calling out from the coffee room: "Andy, you want a yogurt?"
Andy: "You think I been occupied by some strange spirit?"

James to Ted, who is in the stall in the locker room preparing to be wired: "How you doing in there, Ted?"
Ted: "Excuse me going a little slow. It's my first time dry-shaving my pubes."

Ted, after having been dragged from the stall during the shaving: "I apologize for my underwear. I didn't know I was going to be arrested."

Ted, grabbing his crotch and complaining after the wire has been installed: "This is uncomfortable."
Andy: "The alternative location is up your ass."
Ted: "Alllllllllllllright. Let me learn to live with this."

Jill to Rooster after he tells who really owns the building: "Attaboy, Rooster."
Rooster: "Yeah. Cockadoodledoo."

Andy, grabbing Ted by the collar in a fit of rage: "Go away."
Ted: "You are forcing the transmitter into my taint."

Diane, upon spying Andy after his encounter with Ted: "That's Bad."
Jill: "The head patting..."

Danny trying to explain himself to Andy: "I'm half a head-case, Andy."
Andy trying to share the experience: "You ever seen my pot-holder collection?"

AND...soon to be a classic:

James, speaking to Greg about how Andy will react after Ted botched the first wire attempt: "Ted better hope Andy had a good BM."
Greg: "I think Andy beats his balls off regardless."


 

Another new episode next week. Until then, take care--

Amanda Wilson Puedo01@aol.com