"In Goddess We Trussed"
Season 11, Episode 17
Teleplay by Greg Plageman
Story by Bill Clark & Greg Plageman
Directed by Kevin Hooks
Just to be different, I've done a summary and then a review. (Ha. Ha. And I have the nerve to bitch about formula. Anyways...)
Andy goes right down to see Uncle Personnel and tells him he's protecting a bad cop, but it goes nowhere.
Down at the morgue, he meets his new partner Wally who spends the first few minutes telling Andy all the rules which Andy promptly ignores. He also calls Andy "Sip" right off the bat.
Andy's real partner, Clark, meets up with Andy on the street and they work out the details of Andy's personal assignment. He's decided to investigate the murder of Stan's wife and not tell anyone until he's got something.
Stan's old partner brings Andy a copy of arrest records from when he and Stan worked together and a list of some of their informants. He tells Andy Mrs. Stan's death wasn't looked at very hard because of who Stan's uncle is. He thinks some of Stan's informants may talk now since it's been eight years.
Back at the morgue, Wally walks in to find Sip and Clark going over Stan's old case files. They identify a guy they think is an unregistered CI.
After Clark leaves, Wally expresses a little bit of interest in the case. Andy decides to trust him and tells the whole story, including how he was transferred. Wally sort of dances around it, but finally asks to look over the case file. Andy hands it over.
Clark is out looking for the CI, and finds him in a pool hall. The guy is very glad to hear he's not getting busted and is eager to help out. He says he knew Hatcher was a bad guy all along, and he spills it how Hatcher kept trying to make him a CI. He's a little surprised to find Clark is looking into how Hatcher's wife died, and tells him about another drug dealer who got busted by Hatcher all the time but never ended up doing time. The guy's nickname is Pig.
Andy finds Pig, whose real name is Scott, working at a butcher shop. Andy threatens Scott's job and also his life and Scott gives up a guy named Emilio who may know something.
Emilio is thrilled to see Andy, thinking he's there to help him with his case. Andy says he's not there for that, but the two work out an exchange of favors. Emilio also seems pleased that someone suspect Hatcher. He gives up the name Frankie Lawrence, a junkie who had a huge wad of cash in his hand days after the murder. Frankie said the money was from Stan. This really hot lead turns as cold as it can when Andy finds out Frankie has died from an overdose just a few months ago.
Back at the station, Hatcher has found out from Pig that Andy is spreading the word he killed his wife. He tells Clark to pass alog to Andy that he can make his life even more miserable than he already has. And he asks Clark one more time to confirm his allegiance.
Clark spreads the BS thick with Stan then heads back down the morgue to fill Andy in. Wally, meanwhile, has joined the investigation. He digs up an old friend of Frankie's, a guy with bomb experience from the military. He even has an address.
Clark and Andy head off to see this bomb man, Jerry. Jerry is extremely nervous on hearing the words "car" and "bomb" next to each other. He starts falling apart and tells them he's afraid to admit he built a bomb for Frankie eight years ago. Andy assures him he won't go to prison. Jerry says he'll talk.
Andy is finally ready to take the case to IAB and the D. He interviews Jerry in front of Sgt. Martens, Valerie Heywood and Eddie. He can't say he knows exactly what the car bomb he built was used for, but he did describe in detail how he built the bomb for Frankie.
Valerie and Martens tell Andy there isn't enough evidence to connect the bomb to Hatcher. They both tell Andy he has to get more. They consider leaking it to the press, but figure that's no good. The turn instead to Eddie and ask him to step up. Eddie says he's afraid.
Later, at the house, Clark tells Stan he wants to talk to him. He takes Stan into the pokey room where Andy waits. The two of the throw the whole case at Stan and tell him he's got till 5pm to put in his papers or Andy goes to the DA with the case. Stan is stunned. He think it over for a minute, then tells them to prove it. He then walks over t the mirror and yells at who ever is watching. Before he leaves the room, he tells Andy and Clark they'll pay for this. Who was watching? Eddie and Stan's Uncle.
Stan comes back to the house a while later and announces that he just put in his papers to take a security gig. He starts packing up his junk and tells Andy he'll see him around. Andy doesn't respond well (see LOW below).
Andy returns to the morgue to pack up his own stuff and to thank Wally for cracking the case. Wally is so very pleased he was helpful. Andy tells him he can help him get back into homicide but Wally explains how he likes his slower life style. But it seems clear he's had just about one of his best days ever.
When Andy returns to the squad, Eddie apologizes for letting Andy down. He even offers to transfer out. Andy tells him he needs to stan up for what he believes in from here on in and that they'll work it out somehow.
Rita finds out the DOA worked for another dominatrix at one point but they had a falling out. Stan tells everyone who's going follow up on that and what everyone else should be doing until Baldwin gives him the eye and asks him if he's calling the shots. Stan backs down, but he's pissed.
He pulls Clark into the locker room to talk. He wants to be sure Clark is on his side, and Clark goes right along with it. He makes Stan think they're buddies, but that he has to give it some time so it doesn't bother Andy too much. Clark manages to get through the charade without throwing up.
At the dominatrix's house, a man dressed like a woman opens the door. After he's ordered to lick the toilet seat, the whore Paulette tells the cops she had a falling out with the DOA but that she was with her slave all morning. She has to slap the slave around before he'll talk, but he finally tells the cops that's true. Greg and Baldwin tell her the girl is dead and seconds later the slave is out of his dress, putting on his pants and telling them he's a criminal defense lawyer and no one is saying even one more word.
Off the DOA's emails, Greg and Baldwin bring a guy in who sent a few threatening emails to the girl. He was disappointed she didn't want to really date him. She apparently billed him for a night out. He says he was walking his dog.Rita finds out he got a ticket nearby that morning.
Back at the guy, they throw out the fact that his car was parked near the apartment that morning. He admits he killed her when she tried to spank him. But he says he blacked out during the killing and can't remember even one thing about it.
Rita is really surprised to hear that because she's got a copy of the guy's divorce settlement, and he didn't get custody of his car.
Baldwin and Greg bring the wife in from Connecticut. She admits that she went to see the DOA but that she only told the woman to leave her husband alone. They try to get her to go for the murder an explain that her husband has taken the blame. She finally explains how she was just trying to put a stop to the relationship.
The one thing that occurred to me about the Wally angle was that it surprised me how Andy trusted him so quickly with something that could have gotten them both into so much trouble. Then again,Andy's pretty good at sizing people up quickly.
I think it would be fun to see Wally again sometime.
The problem with this story comes in what seems like an implausible turn in the story. Our resident professional, Alan Sepinwall, points out that it's not likely the DA's office would have turned this case down. Alan's theory is that bombs crafted in the way this one was are very unique -- have almost a signature -- and that the bomb maker should have been able to give enough detail to have matched whatever evidence was gathered from the scene.
And let me make this hole even bigger by noting that I can't believe for a second that IAB would have let this one go. We've seen th Cheese Squad go after truly good cops for far less than this sort of thing, and I can't believe Martens would be any more scared of Uncle Personnel than Valerie would be. It's certainly seemed enough to warran an investigation.
But, that doesn't make for an exciting little ending, does it? The scene in the pokey room was good. Andy's appearance was as much surprise to the audience as it was to Hatcher. And when I saw Stan's uncle in the reflection, it was clear why they shoved in the earlier scene with Andy getting in his face.
I still feel, and Alan does as well, that the arc as a whole came in lacking. There was a lot of potential in this story, and there were certainly topnotch performances handed in from all the key players, but it never seemed to hit the highest mark. Great story, no depth. NYPD Blue's trademark to me has always been it's rich subtext, the way that's played out in the actions and reactions of the main haracters. What does a given situation do for our main characters? How does it affect who they are? Or how does who they are affect the story? Those are the things that have made the show strong. It's about the characters first. The story just gives them something work with (hey, just like in real life!). In this case, the story is good, but the characters are just sort of going through the motions.
Some of them did get close, but not one of them ever really had a chance to dig in. It's a testimony to actors like MPG when you can see a character's internal struggle as you could when he had to pretend to be Stan's friend, but there's a lot more to it. I'd have liked to see this story be the kind of thing that solidifies the Clark-Sipowicz relationship. It's not enough to have Andy really thank Junior as he did. Though that was good, I think it would have been better to, at that point, have Andy make a remark about how he never thought he'd be able to rely on a partner like that again, or that he thinks Junior's Dad must have taught him to be a good cop or something. And if you'd have had a little more of Junior's struggle out there--a comment somewhere about the incredible jam he was in and how he'd have liked to have run it past his Dad or a trusted friend--it would have made a nice little circle.
Same with Eddie: here's a guy who's been a lot of comic relief so far, but is now caught dead in the center of a huge and very serious mess. And it's something he could have put a stop to from the get-go. We saw a little of Eddie's struggle, thanks to Johnny O.'s talent, but where was the line from Greg or Andy or even PJohn about how the other bosses would have stood up right away and put a stop to it? And how is it that Clark, Greg, Baldwin, Rita and PJohn were even able to be civil to Eddie all day? They're *detectives*, for Cripes sake, didn't they see what was happening? (Greg was offering him a beer at the end of the day. How silly is that? Greg's not that blind!)
This is the kind of opportunity I'm talking about. This arc should have been about the difference between the bullshit "brotherhood" in the police department--the kind of stories you don't like to hear about bad cops protecting bad cops--and the real Blue Wall that is good cops protecting good cops. The way to do that is to every member of the squad aware of what's going on, working together to get Andy out of the jam and Hatcher out of their lives, and pissed off as a unit at Eddie. So pissed off at Eddie, in fact, that by the end of the show he's groveling to all of them instead of just to Andy. After they were all through with Hatcher, Eddie would have been scared he was next.
Greg, Baldwin and Rita should have been working on aspects of the case. I loved Wally, but where were Andy's friends? The people he entrusts his life to? Imagine if they'd all worked together as a force, and while doing so, worked out little quirks in their characters. How powerful would that have been? For example, I imagine Greg finding his spine here and squaring off with Eddie (what a great scene that would be!) And even the uniforms, like Shannon, could have gotten in on the action in one way or another and made a little inroad toward friendship with the plain clothes guys. Josh and Hank could have turned their heads at Eddie in disdain and done a shoulder bump with Hatcher in the hallway. I mean, there's no way Hatcher could have ever gotten his uncle to transfer *all* of them, right? How would Hatcher have handled that? We'll never know.
Maybe the threats exchanged at the end--which was a great little scene--means we'll see Stan again and we'll get a chance for more.
So much potential to stand out and be outstanding. These guys who write these scripts are so capable of this kind of thing. I wonder what the hold up is. Are they just tired of the characters after all these years? C'mon fellas! There's a whole squad of talented actors and a backstory as rich as your Uncle Vegas to work with. Let's take a lesson from Papa Milch: see Deadwood and how in one tiny scene you get action and reaction that paints a whole brilliant picture of a man (or woman). See the hardware men making a deal with the shady saloon owner and see a writer using that simple action to speak volumes about what motivates the three characters. See the woman keeping vigil over the child's bed and see the writer telling a story about a woman's search for her identity. Man, I wish I could do that. I wonder if I could. No wondering about this: I know the Blue writers can do it. So?
*Fun to see all of Andy's trinkets: the Magic 8 ball, the Frog 'n Flag.
*When Andy met Wally in the morgue and called him "Dorland," Wally said, "It's Wally." But it sounded to me like he said, "It's Marley." You know, like the ghost? I thought that was pretty funny, considering where the guy works, but turns out it was just my own ears.
*I do wish PJohn had been doing more for Andy than gasping "Oh my God!" He's the perfect guy to snoop around undetected in the old police files. Can you see him walking into the morgue to drop something off?
*In case there was any doubt about who's running the 15th now, we have the final scene in which Eddie offers to transfer. Brilliant. Andy has gone from getting drunk and shot in the ass while with his hooker to earning the respect of everyone. No, Fancy wouldn't have done that, and that's a good thing. I love the Eddie dynamic because it's so different. I just hope it's explored more.
*This was nice: on the Goddess case, Stan came up with goose eggs while Rita, Baldwin and Greg kicked his ass in the detective arena. To make that point stronger, there could have been acknowledgment of that by the detectives.
*OK, so has the Victoria storyline fallen into the black hole? Not even a *mention* of it? I truly don't get this. We, the audience, are interested in *all* of the characters. We don't need lots of time devoted to this kind of thing, but we do need some and we need it consistently. It's the sauce on the ribs, you know? The texture, the spice, what makes it all worth while and different from Perry Mason, Dragnet, Law and Order and CSI.
*Along the same line of thinking (that is, the texture of the show), why haven't we heard a word about James Killins? Junior was *so* wrapped up in that emotionally. He hasn't even mentioned it to Eddie. (What's that noise? Sounds like opportunity knocking.)
*And what about Baldwin's young charge? And how he and Valerie are supposed to be raising him together? One little line at the end of a scene where she's talking about charges and, bam, you've got that sewn up for another week.
Our Director Kevin Hooks acted on Mark Tinker's The White Shadow way back when. He went on to direct at least one of Tinker's St. Elsewheres and has worked a lot for Steven Bochco, including directing Blue before and Doogie Howser, MD. He directed and was an Executive Producer of Philly and City of Angels.
Previously on NYPD Blue:
Scott William Winters as Stan Hatcher; Scott Allan Campbell as Martens; Gerard O'Donnell as Carl Garrity; James McBride as Officer Shannon.
Previously on NYPD Blue as someone else:
Richard Tanner (Bernard West) -- was Dr. Zachain in Season 8's "Thumb Enchanted Evening." Has also appeared on "JAG," "Enterprise," "The Agency," and "10-8."
Mark Adair-Rios (Emilio Juarez) -- played in two Season 1 episodes ("Emission Accomplished" and "Ice Follies"). Has recently been on "CSI: Miami," "JAG," and "Threat Matrix," and the films "Bruce Almighty" and "Along Came Polly."
Gene Borknan (shop owner) -- had a small role in Season 8's "Oh Golly Goth." Also appeared on "L.A. Law" for Bochco, as well as roles in "Beverly Hills Cop," "Silence of the Lambs," "Philadelphia," and "Se7en."
Not previously on NYPD Blue:
Peter Siragusa (Wally Dorland) -- did an episode of Bochco's "Total Security" back in the day, as well as appearances on "Becker," "Providence," and in "The Hudsucker Proxy" and "The Big Lebowski."
Tammy Tavares (Paulette Vose) -- used to be on "Days of Our Lives." Also appeared in "What Planet Are You From?" and the HBO TV-movie "Breast Men."
Jarvis George (Derek Emery) -- made appearances on "Hack" and "The Wire."
Peter Spellos (Scott Callahan) -- currently appears on "American Dreams" (he's the American Bandstand director).
Lennie Lofton (Kenneth Welkos) -- credits include guest spots on "L&O," "X-Files," and "JAG," and small parts in "L.A. Confidential," "Se7en," and "The Sum of All Fears."
Edith Fields (Carla Lawrence) -- her long resume includes guest spots on shows including "Newhart," "Cagney & Lacey," "Picket Fences," "The Practice," and "Judging Amy," as well as movies ranging from "Micki + Maude" to "The Bachelor."
Dominic Fumusa (Jerry Toback) -- credits include "Hack," "CSI: Miami," "L&O" and "L&O: SVU," "Sex and the City," and "The Sopranos."
Karen S. Gregan (Leanne Welkos) -- also did an episode of "Total Security," along with guest spots on "The Practice" and "The District," and a role in the 1999 remake of "The Haunting."
Michael Potter (Chief Don Hatcher) -- past roles include appearances on "Cold Case," "Babylon 5," "Knight Rider," "CHiPs," and the infamous 1978 "Star Wars Holiday Special."
Hatcher, upon his exit, to Andy: "I'll see *you* around."
Andy: "You better hope not."
Hope to see you then!
Happy Passover, Happy Easter and Happy Happy,