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

"Tranny Get Your Gun"
Season 10 Episode 15
2/18/03
Teleplay by Eric Rogers
Story by Bill Clark & Eric Rogers
Directed by Rick Wallace

What was it those two gay guys on In Living Color used to say? ....... Let's get down to business first with the summary which I hope you'll read even if you don't want to see this one again:

SUMMARY

TRANNY STABBING:

Andy and John catch a robbery case. A man named Gordon appears with his wife to report that he got taken off while walking home the night before and that among the things stolen was his wife's broken Rolex. He had it in his pocket to take to the watch repairman. Gordon is a self-important insurance adjuster (is that redundant?). He likes to talk like he's a cop, and he's one of those unfortunate souls who was born without the ability to gauge his own impact on people. In other words, he's a hopelessly annoying boor. He uses a lingo to describe his ordeal that even Andy can't understand. ("spark job," "tag," and "ass over teakettle"--well, Andy probably got that last one.) Finally he explains that this is an insurance case and that he wants to fill out paper work so he can get money for the watch. His wife sits by dumbly saying only about three words the entire time. But her eyes will tell anyone who bothers to look what an asshole she thinks her husband is.

In the midst of this interview, Tony interrupts to send them out with Connie and Rita on a murder. Andy tells Gordon he'll get back to him with paper work and Gordon and his pained wife leave.

The murder victim is a tranny pros (that's NYPD for "transvestite prostitute") named Lana, although her parents called him Mark. MarkLana has been stabbed to death in a hotel and the building manager draws the unhappy lot of having to talk to Andy about it on what is turning out to be a pretty bad day for Andy (see below.) The manager sizes up Andy pretty fast and decides with equal rapidity that he doesn't like what he sees. After Andy accuses him of sitting behind a porn magazine all night the manager responds with as little information as possible. Several questions into their dance Andy hits the right question and the manager pops out with how he saw a guy running out the door and wrote down part of his license plate number. He whips this last out on a small piece of paper with a dramatic flare that would have impressed even his most regular patrons.

The license plate number leads back to, ta-dah, Gordon. Gordon is, of course, shocked to hear that the prostitute he was with was a man. He insists, also, that none of this get back to his wife. He says he and MarkLana hadn't quite gotten to the sex part when some guy with a knife came busting through the door screaming his lungs out and demanding all of Gordon's money. Gordon gave it up, and in the course of emptying out his pockets, also gave up his wife's broken watch. MarkLana and this nutty robber apparently knew each other as he/she referred to him as Randy. The two of them, says Gordon says he, got into a fight over the watch. Since Gordon's mamma didn't raise no fool, he took the opportunity to run out the door. Of course, he can't prove any of this. He tries, however, by saying there was a woman standing in the doorway to the next room as he fled and this woman could certainly say she heard the argument still going on. Gordon gets locked up while they check it out.

They start with Randy who is hauled in and asked if he knows Mark. Huh? Lana. Oh, her. Yeah, he knows her. He was her lookout--not her pimp, he insists--her security man. That night when she didn't call in the all clear after going up to the room with Gordon, Randy went up to check things out. What he walked in on was not the hand job Gordon described, but Gordon stabbing the life out of Lana apparently upset over her penis. Gordon, he says, ran past him in the hallway all covered in blood.

It seemed only the woman in the doorway could straighten all this out. Only thing is, it wasn't exactly a woman in the doorway. It was Monica whose parents called him Dan. DanMonica tells Connie and Rita that he/she saw nothing. When prompted further, treated a little more respectfully and promised some rhythm on any future scrapes, DanMonica admits to having heard the argument and opening his/her door to see what was going on. It was quiet suddenly, and the next thing he/she knew, a man was running down the hallway with blood all over his pants. A few minutes later, another man came up the hallway. The second man's name he/she can't remember, but he's/she's sure it's the guy who always looked out for Lana.

The detectives also get another bit of news that's bad for Gordon: one of his former coworkers called to say what a rotten dog he is. He claims Gordon is a homophobe got him fired.

Andy and John take this information to Gordon in his cell who, by now, thinks efforts to help himself are futile. He does explain that the coworker slapped him on the ass in the copy room, but doesn't know what to say to DanMonica's report. He denies it, but he also throws up his hands, worries what his wife will think about his going to a hooker, and pretty much ends up thinking he's a dead man. Andy and John try to get him to focus and ask him if they can search his house for the clothes he wore that night. He agrees, but is convinced this won't help.

Before they get that far, though, Rita has found out that DanMonica knew Randy a whole lot better than he/she let on. Randy bailed DanMonica out of jail not long ago. And Connie has found out that a man matching Randy's description pawned Gordon's wife's watch that very morning.

Back with Randy, he tries on for size several stories. He says Lana attacked him with the knife. Andy wonders if it was at that point that she stabbed herself 26 times. Randy know that one won't work. He then explains that they fought over the watch and that she then picked up the knife.... and..... then... he gets stuck on his story. Andy suggests that's when she stabbed herself 26 times. Randy tries one other thing, gets about two words of it out, then gives up. Andy suggests he tell the truth. Randy begins to write.

Gordon is released later, and Andy returns the watch to him. Gordon leaves with a small speech: he tells Andy that his time in jail has made him rethink his marriage and how important his wife is to him. He says he's had time to realize how much there is about his life and his wife that he can appreciate and that he's going to go home now to do just that. This seems to have meaning for Andy because.....

THE NON-HONEYMOONERS:

Andy and Connie are at it like Ralph and Alice Cramden from the first thing in the morning until nearly the end of the day. They start out bickering over who helps with which kid and what they do and what they don't do and how tough it is and all that. Andy finally tells her that he's going to leave before he says something he'll regret. Upon exiting the bedroom where he's said this, he finds Theo in the hallway and it's clear Theo has heard every word.

Theo asks Andy if he's really leaving. Not understanding, Andy says he is and explains he's going to work and taking Theo to school. Theo wants to know if Andy is going to come back. Andy leans down and reassures Theo that he'll always be there and will never leave him. Theo makes him promise. He does, and they leave together. This time it's Connie who's overheard.

All day, Andy is in a foul mood. He snaps at everyone, most especially Connie. At one point, he goes too far with her and tries to apologize but it's too late. He recommends to Junior that he stay single.

Everyone in the squad is aware something's up but, as usual, only PAA John has the balls to talk about it. PJohn delivers a message to Andy about his case at one point and they have a moment alone. Andy asks him how he likes the apartment (PJohn is subletting Andy's old place) and PJohn tells him he likes it very much, is doing redecorating and refurnishing. Andy says that's great. PJohn knows Andy is thinking of every possible escape plan and tells him that if he needs the apartment back, he'll move out. Andy says no, if he needed it back, he'd just find another place himself. Andy explains the reason he's interested is that he's hearing from union delegates that the department is really starting to crack down on cohabitation and he wants to get out if he has to. He stresses that he's sure no one is looking at him and Connie just yet, but just in case, you know. PJohn understands that this is a lie and also understands what the truth is. Being the tactful and brave sort of man he is, he tells Andy that he shouldn't let just one little thing someone says be the thing that decides such a major part of his life for him. Rather, he suggests, Andy should consider the many things said over a long period of time. Andy isn't too keen on this advice, but he's heard it and he understands that PJohn is really talking about his words with Connie.

Later, PJohn takes his bravery to new heights when, after witnessing a cold, sharp moment between Andy and Connie that sends everyone else scattering like cockroaches in the kitchen light, he arrives at Andy's desk with one of those little pink message slips and announces that a "delegate" he knows told him about this great florist that does wonders with daisies. He does this without a lot of sympathy for Andy but rather with the air of a man who's duty it is to deliver some tough love to a best friend on a bender.

The cold moment was in the evening when Connie was calling it a day. She bid everyone good-bye and asked Andy if he were planning on leaving soon. He told her he'd be another hour, maybe longer. He was perched over his typewriter doing paper work that she, more than any other woman in his life to date, would have known he didn't have to be doing. She turned heel and left. Junior got on him at this point, telling him to go home.

Andy finally decides to heed the advice of everyone from Gordon to Junior. He even adds a bit of his own creativity to the mix by arriving at home with not only the daisies PJohn told him about but also a box of candy. He fumbles at the door for a while trying to hold all of this and find his key. He's a big chagrined and probably nervous, and when he opens the door with his armload and apology he sees Connie standing before a table set for two with candles, wearing a soft, flowy dress, a girlie hairstyle and a look of a contrition. They wonder why they ever fought and what they fought about. They agree it was all stupid. Andy confesses that he's not so good with things that are new. Connie admits that she's not adjusted well to going from living alone to living with three other people. They forgive each other, and they recommit themselves to living with one another and the children and working out a life together.

PAKI PAPI:

A teenage Pakistani girl is found dead in a construction area that is near where she lives. The cops are able to ID her because she'd gotten picked up about six months before in a stolen car. The charges were dismissed, but her information was still on file.

The girl's father comes in to speak with Greg and Baldwin. He tells them he saw his daughter the night before but hasn't seen her since. He's not happy with her boyfriend, an American boy whose name he refuses to speak. He asks several times why they want to know all this and is then told his daughter's body has been found. Baldwin shows him a picture of the dead girl. He looks at it, then smirks a bit and tosses it across the table. He tells them he knew this would happen to her; he told her a thousand to times to stay away from the American boy because he knew this would happen.

He remains calm the entire time, and seems now to have no trouble saying the boy's name: Mike Brandt. After the father leaves, Greg expresses his amazement that the guy reacted so matter-of-factly about the murder of his daughter.

Mike Brandt comes in to chat. He's got the look typical of many of this generation of teens: unwashed and undisturbed by that with an attitude that can best be summed up in a shrug. He gets a bit defensive when asked about his girl. He says he saw her last night and then shares a few details about how her father hates him and hates their relationship and treats his daughter like she should be a robot. When pressed, he gets a little angry. Then he's informed the girl is dead. His reaction is only slightly more emotional than her father's.

A woman comes to the squad with information. She's Pakistani but won't give her name. She says only that she is the dead girl's cousin. She tells Greg and Baldwin that she over heard the girl's father telling another family member that he killed her for disobeying him: an honor killing, which is a practice common in some remote, fundamentalist cultures. (Of course, women seem to be the only ones capable of dishonoring anyone since they are always the ones getting murdered.) Greg and Baldwin seem less concerned about this point than the poor woman who put her life in danger by speaking. She's terrified she'll end up like her cousin, but Greg and Baldwin tell her rather coldly that she's a material witness now and can be forced to testify.

Baldwin and Greg go back at Mr. Yusef with this information. They doctor it up a bit to protect the girl by telling him lots of people have come to them telling them that he's been bragging about killing his daughter. He denies it all and tries again to cast blame on the boyfriend. Finally, Greg gets through to the man and he confesses that he did confess to the crime but insists he didn't actually do the crime. He says he told others he did it to try to restore some dignity to the family. The detectives know this twisted logic may be true but they're not ready yet to believe it.

While they go about looking for more evidence, a bloody knife is found in a dumpster near the scene of the crime. They go to check out the area looking for more clues and they find a homeless guy named Clay. Clay seems half drunk and very happy to see them. He's a jovial sort who's clearly been without human company for a while. He's chatty and fun and even lets out a joyful little giggle when frisked. They ask him about the knife. He tells them they need to talk to Derek about all that. Why? Well, says he simply, Derek's the one who killed the girl. As they're finding out more about Derek, Baldwin is casually searching through Clay's things. This seems to disturb Clay who gets a whole lot less jovial real fast and starts yelling at Baldwin not to "let her out." Baldwin has picked up a wallet and the ID inside belongs to the dead girl. Clay begins telling them how she tried to kill him, how she works for Derek, how Derek has been sending spies after him for years. Greg subdues the nut job and that's the end of that investigation. She was walking home from her date with Mike when she crossed paths with crazy, dangerous Clay who took it in his wacky head to end her life.

At the end of the day, Mike and Mr. Yusef are both checking out of their accommodations at the 15th when Mike asks if he can speak to the older man. Perhaps by way of some sort of inept teenage apology, Mike blurts out how he and the girl just wanted to be together. Mr. Yusef finally uncorks and flies into a rage. He yells that Mike is responsible for her death and starts trying to hammer him with his fists. Baldwin and Greg pull the two apart and then Mr. Yusef admits that he himself is responsible for his daughter's death for not making her the kind of woman she should have been.


REVIEW

I can't recall disliking an episode of this show as much as I disliked this one. There were three things I liked, but I'll get to them later. Right now I need to vent.

This Andy/Connie thing at the end ruined nearly the whole episode for me. I half expected to hear Tschaikovsky come up in the background and see Connie spin around in a hoop skirt and -- having suddenly been afflicted with a southern accent because, well, why the hell not at this point -- begin calling "Ayunday! Oh Ayunday!" at which point he'd toss his scarf recklessly on the couch and run-skip to her with open arms and big toothed grin before smothering her with kisses and turning her around and around and around.....and I might as well have seen that. Gaahhhh....

It's not bad enough that the usually-on-target Mr. Bochco got them together once, but just when it looked like it might be getting fun between them, he gets them together AGAIN! Suddenly afflicted with a Southern accent myself, I have to tell yall, I thought I was gonna hurl.

Here's the truth, and really, I don't see how anyone can deny it: Andy and Connie had loads of chemistry as cops working together. But as lovers, they have none. Zip. Zilch. Only God in his Heaven knows why this is, but it *is*, and the sooner we all agree to that and get on with it, the better.

I'll allow that maybe some of us weren't sure of this fact back in the good old days when we were all just out and out awed by the amazing electricity these two had on screen together while flipping perps and busting skels--but now we know. The chemistry is apparently no problem when the subject matter is the two of them trying to out-cop each other, but when the subject matter turns domestic they're about as electric as a loaf of bread.

Yes, I know that some of you die hard romantics who wept with bitter joy at the end of Titanic love this sort of thing, but it's just about as far from "edgy" as you can get, and if I remember correctly, NYPD Blue once prided itself on being on the edge of being edgy. Times have changed, sure, and other shows are perhaps more edgy now that Blue has grown a bit gray but still, that's just no excuse for this kind of sappy crap. Hell, the scene where Sylvia died was far less sappy. Even the great tear jerker of all time, Bobby's death, wasn't this cheesy. It was tasteful and real and moving. You had Diane--teary, sobby, mousy Diane--being brave and strong and letting go of the man she loved most in the world. But this? Here you have Connie--tough as nails and always so totally cool--dressed like Laura Ingalls Wilder and simpering at a man who'd been an out and out asshole to her all damn day, including embarrassing her in front of her coworkers. What gives? I'll tell you on thing I think gives: there aren't any women on that writing staff anymore. Beyond that puny excuse, I'm at a loss to explain it.

Allow me to beg all of you who want to defend this romance to read this first before you email me telling me what a wonderful couple they are and how "real" it all is: This is a TV show and, by definition, a TV drama. If you weren't lucky enough to have taken an English class in your life (or if you slept through them), let me tell you that one basic rule of story is conflict. You've got to have it. If you don't, you have no story, no drama, no nothing. OK, so that's a given, and our beloved writers know this. Hell, they're experts at it! They know that to leave Andy and Connie happy for any length of time--no matter how "real" it may seem to you lovable, hopeless romantics--is not providing their story with anything that will keep it alive. So what do they do? (And here's where I just don't get it) They come up with all these contrivances: who's going to pick up laundry soap, who's going to take Theo to school, are we having take out or real food, etc. ad nauseam, and they use these *mundane,* *banal* things to bring these two hard-bitten people to the brink of a break up! It's stupid! Yeah, I know people do really fight over this stuff, and I even know people break up over these and lesser things (I was married once; you don't have to tell me), but Connie and Andy are *not* like us and we don't want them to be. If they're going to have conflict--and yes, they must--there are plenty more interesting fish to fry for these two. I want to see them fight on the job. I want to see them fight over the job. I want to see them fight on the job so badly that not only is the relationship affected, the cases they're working on are affected--maybe to the point of nearly endangering someone's life--and their very jobs are called into question. That's much more fun than laundry soap and Chinese food. These are two people who could be in trouble with the brass, or Fraker could be after them for their relationship, or they could have some critical, fundamental difference of opinion on police work that constantly gets in their way...something, anything but diapers and dinners.

And was I the only one who, while watching Connie ask Andy "There was a reason we moved in together, right?", sat asking them both "Well, what was it? What? Why *did* you move in together?" No one really knows. It's not for the sex, that's for sure.

Oh...hell...I'm tired.

Let me get on to what I did like before I forget it entirely: the performance by Gordon Clapp, the performance by Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and the performance by Bill Brochtrup.

Ironic that in this episode where I hated nearly everything else, I liked--finally--what they did with Greg. He took the lead in the case and he didn't say one, stupid thing. It was gold. Now, if he'd have broken out into a rash for no reason other than touching the guy's jacket or something, we'd have it all sewn up. That'd be the old Greg: quirky, neurotic, allergic, but still a really good cop with some attitude when it was needed. Two things made Greg the charmed and fascinating character he was: his skill as a detective up against his failure as a social being, and his ability to attract women like Donna while carrying around a pudge and a bald spot. Those two conflicts played and written so well are sorely missed. They're what made Greg stand out from every other character on TV and they gave depth to NYPD Blue. I so wish they'd come back. Tonight, we got half way there. Hope it continues.

MPG, though he was strangely without comment about his life-changing ordeal last week, carried his part expertly this week. He's got a flair for comedy, that one. And beyond that, he's able to weave it in naturally with the drama his character confronts every day. You have to look no further than some of the other, newer detective/actors in the squad to see how difficult this is to do.

And Bill Brochtrup. First, I thought the writing here was super. PJohn is not only the only person in the squad unafraid to express the emotions the others repress, he's also the only one who will say anything real to Andy when Andy needs to hear it. The scene where he gives Andy advices was well crafted by all concerned: it was written just beautifully and Bill did a fantastic job of conveying his character's conviction and the bravery it took to stick his hand into the hive that Andy was. It was very nice.

As for the crime stories: the Pakistani case only scratched the surface of a couple of really cool ideas for a story and, as such, ended up a disappointment. One too-lightly touched notion was the concept of honor killing which is horrifying and thus compelling. Would have really been something had this turned out to be the case. The other was the cultural difference between this man his daughter's American boyfriend. That was compelling on many levels: the cultural difference alone, the fact that a portion of one of these cultures is actively trying to kill the other on the greater world stage at the moment, and the whole idea of how middle easterners are faring in our western world post 9/11. Since none of that ended up playing any significant role, this story seemed to me to be very thin and a missed opportunity.

The tranny pros story was better in that Gordon provided us an amusing guy to consider for murder. He was interesting and well-drawn. I didn't expect his name to be the one that came up when they ran the plate, so that was kind of fun, and I didn't know for sure that he wasn't the killer for a while. Also, this story was rich with lines of the week.

So, I guess I didn't hate that much of it. It's just the part I hated, I hated a lot. I feel cheated by it, frankly. As I've said a million times, these guys can do so much better. They won Emmys and critical acclaim doing it better, after all. They broke ground, set trends, moved some network mountains. This season, over all, has been the best in ages. There has been one good show after another and then, bam, they wrap the Laughlin story in 2.3 seconds flat and move directly into Little House In The 15th Precinct for a week. Is someone sick? Who went to the Islands and left the writers of CSI in charge? ;)

QUICK HITS:

*Back when, Andy told PJohn he was going to keep his NYPD mail going to his old apartment so the department wouldn't find out he and Connie were living together, did it occur to him that while avoiding sharing an address with Connie on paper he'd now be sharing an address with PJohn on paper?

*Andy was telling John so emphatically "Stay single!!" whilst apparently forgetting that he himself IS single. Unless he and Connie tied the knot while we weren't looking...

*Theo was at Joey's?? Who the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is Joey and why haven't we had a chance to approve of him? We don't know this guy. He could be a molester or something. I'm outraged.

*Best writing moment: having PJohn tell Andy he got the number of the florist from "a delegate." Who else could throw Andy's lie back in face with such grace? Perfect!

*As much as I hated the whole last scene, I was charmed when Andy pointed out to Connie that the box of candy had a lot of variety in it. Here's a man who feels so hopelessly out of his element when trying to be romantic that he goes overboard trying to please his woman. He doesn't know what to get, so he gets everything. He can't lose that way, right? Would have been funny if she'd have chosen that somber moment to quietly inform him of her allergy to chocolate. Not that it would matter.

*Interesting to me that DanMonica and Rita had practically the same hairstyle. They could have been sisters, sort of.

*Clay Haas, pronounced Dutch, like Haaz.That's rather than German, with a soft "s." I wonder if our Dutch-speaking MPG had a hand in that.

*I got a chuckle out of Gordon telling the Lt. what a fine job he was doing. Especially since lately, he hasn't done much at all.

*I enjoyed having a surly witness give Andy a verbal punch for a change. This was when the hotel manager played with him a little on some information and then called him an asshole.

*I herby resign from Hank sightings. I missed one last week, and I'm clearly losing my touch. You'll have to find your own reasons to get drunk is all I'm saying. I'd suggest Andy sightings but the irony would be too much.

CAST LEGACIES:

Previously on NYPD Blue: Austin Majors as Theo Sipowicz.

Jeff Perry (Gordon): This guy was one of the cofounder's of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company. You may have seen him in Chicago Hope. He's was on LA Law back in the day, too.

Linda Kerns (Gordon's quiet wife): Aside from roles in Chicago Hope, ER and The Practice, she was in Titanic. (I found this out way after I wrote my review, I swear.)

John Conti (The building manager): He did Blue in 95 and was on Hill Street Blues once. He's also done ER, Frasier and the West Wing.

Marshall Manesh (Mr. Yusef): This actor was born in Persia (now known as Iran) and has a big career including doing Blue in 2000 and City of Angels. He's been on Alias, JAG, Judging Amy, L&O, XFiles and many others.

Meera Simhan (the cousin): She's done ER, the Practice and the District.

Kelly Mantle (Dan/Monica): I mention his pedigree because it includes a film called Superfag and a role named Dickie-Boy. OK, then.

Rounding out the cast: Darrin Heames as Mike Brandt and Jimmy Staszkiel as Clay Haas.

LINES OF THE WEEK:

There were a bunch, but here are my three favorites:

Andy to John after pissing everyone off: "We gonna do a canvas?"
John: "Yeah, separately."

Andy, not so secretly worried about his future with Connie, projects this observation on Gordon and his stone silent wife: "Another hen-pecked slob."
John: "Yeah, couldn't shut her up."
Andy: "I'm saying, she made him that way."
John, giving up: "I'm saying....I don't what I'm saying. I'm gonna get my coat."

Andy, in the same mode as above only speaking now with Connie's hearing, referring to Gordon: "Seeing who's he's married to, you can see the guy just snapping."
Connie: "Yeah, behind every great whore killer...."

NEXT WEEK:

Again, all the written material on this completely ruins the story. It's going to be a fairly big one, so if you're still with us, don't miss it. Suffice it to say the story of John Jr.'s drug bust isn't quite over yet. (To those in alt.tv.nypd-blue, might I suggest a little caution in posting spoilers on this episode. When I heard about it, I truly regretting knowing in advance, and I'm sure others will also. So if you know, consider keeping it to yourself.)

Hope the snowbound among you are out (I am, finally!) and hope all have a great week! Keep in touch--

Amanda Wilson