NYPD Blue, Season 4, Episode 6
Yes Sir,
That's My Baby
Written by Rift Fournier
Directed by Davis Guggenheim

PLOT ONE: SHOTGUN WEDDING

Det. Jill Kirkendall transfers into the 15th detective's squad from the Department of Investigations, and within five minutes of walking in the door, finds herself hip deep in a domestic dispute. Aries Mitchell tries to get her assistance with a sticky matter: Bernard Mays, the violent brother of his ex-girlfriend Brenda, has threatened to throw him off a roof if he doesn't marry Brenda and take care of her new baby.

Jill explains that she can't do much officially, but decides to chat with Bernard during her lunch hour in an effort to scare him off. While talking to him, she hears a baby's cry in the back of the apartment, and insists on seeing it. An oblivious Brenda brings out the infant, who she apparently hasn't even named yet.

Jill tells Lt. Fancy about her visit, and says she thinks the baby may have been kidnapped. After scolding her for making the visit alone and in an off-duty capacity, the Lieu tells her to make a call to Missing Persons.

When her inquiries turn up nothing, Jill's about to get back into the catching rotation when Aires returns to the precinct to file an assault complaint against Bernard, who tried to strangle him for siccing the cops on him. Jill, with some backup from the other detectives in the squad, arrests Bernard, and brings in Brenda and the baby for good measure. Brenda seems completely disinterested in the child's fate, and Jill offers to let her see her brother in exchange for telling the truth about the boy. Brenda explains that Bernard concocted a scheme to buy a baby so that Aires would marry her, but when the first new mother he approached turned down his offer of $500, he killed her and stole the baby.

Social Services picks up the baby, and Medavoy takes a handcuffed Brenda -- whose only concern is seeing Bernard -- to find the mother's body. Andy and Bobby congratulate Jill on an extremely successful first day. Jill, happy to be doing detective work again, but realizing that a tragedy has taken place, tells Bobby, "It's sick liking it so much."

PLOT TWO: MOLE VISION

Det. Savino finally finds out about Bobby's botched interview with Sara's dog breeder, and decides he has to draw the line on letting Simone muck with his investigation. Bobby apologizes, and after Savino says he's almost positive that the shylocks Henry named wouldn't have killed Sara, asks if he can have another chance at shaking Henry up. Savino, at a dead end with the case, reluctantly agrees.

As usual, Henry misses his initial appointment to see Bobby, but eventually comes to the station to talk. Bobby, attempting to make Henry feel as uncomfortable and humiliated as possible, takes away his glasses, then hurls him into the interrogation room cage after Henry continues to play dumb. Bobby gets right in Henry's face and tells him that he'll send him out of the precinct naked if he doesn't get the right answers to his questions. Henry finally gives Bobby the whole truth: he was trying to pull off a big coke deal, expecting to get plenty of money after inheriting the building, and when Bobby got it instead, his partner came after him. Sara got caught in the middle because she was living in the apartment that used to belong to Henry's mother, and the killer got the apartment number off a piece of junk mail addressed to Mrs. Coffield.

To make up for interfering with Savino's job, Bobby lets him take Henry's official statement and collar the killer, and suggests that Nick hold onto Henry's glasses until the statement is signed.

PLOT THREE: URBAN COWBOY

Andy and Bobby's latest murder victim to avenge is Mike Kinnon, a retired firefighter working as a limo driver. He's found shot on a sidestreet with his car and his pistol nowhere in sight, but a slightly unhinged vagrant named Margaret tells Medavoy that she saw the limo's two passengers -- including a young man dressed like a cowboy -- got into a dispute with Kinnon, and one of them shot him and drove away in the limousine.

The detectives break the bad news to Kinnon's widow Sheila. She booked all of his assignments, and says that his fare for that night was one of his regulars, a man named Lawrence Curry who her husband often hinted might be homosexual. Curry is gay, but he's also married and in the closet, so he agrees to tell the detectives what he knows if they try to spare him embarrassment. He picked up two young hustlers at a gay bar that night, a cowboy-type named Luke and his friend Billy, and after they had sex at a hotel, he gave Mike an extra tip to drive the two around for the rest of the night.

Our heroes find Luke at the bar in question, with Kinnon's gun on him. In interrogation, Luke says that Billy shot Kinnon after he tried to kick them out of the limo for using speed. Billy, HIV-positive, has already left for Florida in hopes of scamming medication from an old boyfriend.

They take Luke's statement and put out feelers with cops down South, but Curry shows up to provide a lawyer for Luke. He tells Bobby that he doesn't want Luke to become a patsy in case they can't find Billy, but Bobby suggests it's really so Curry can enjoy more of Luke's company. Curry doesn't deny it, and when he hints that Bobby may find Luke just as fascinating, Bobby calls him a pervert.

PLOT FOUR: IT'S NOT EASY BEING WEIRD

Geri Turner's gift of a rubber frog is the straw that breaks Andy's back, and he finally decides to complain to Fancy about her harassment. Geri admits to the Lieu that she did tell Andy about her underwear, but considered it harmless. Fancy tells her that Andy doesn't agree, and Geri agrees to back off, but as soon as she sees Andy again, she scornfully tells him "What a little baby you are; what a little tattletale."

The Lieutenant gives it some more thought overnight, and decides that Geri and Andy together do not make for a healthy work environment, and arranges with Sgt. Lorenzo in Anti-Crime to swap Geri and Gina Colone. Gina is glad to be able to spend more time with James, but Geri doesn't take the move with grace.

MISCELLANEOUS THREAD:

Diane stops by the squadroom for a few minutes on her way to another meeting with Jimmy Liery. Bobby tries to pump her for information about her undercover work, but all she'll say is "I'm not drinking with him and I'm not sleeping with him, okay?"


NYPD Blue's problems with writing for its female characters have been well-documented (at least, they've been harped on by me for the past few years). It seems like every woman introduced on the show is there solely as an object of desire for one of the men. Because of this, it's no surprise when one of the show's actresses leaves for a better showcase.

But it looks like there's a new sheriff in town, and her name's Jill Kirkendall.

Not all of "Yes Sir, That's My Baby" worked for me, but I can't help but give the episode a big thumbs up for the introduction of what I hope will be a great new regular character.

Let's look back at the introductions of some previous Blue women:

  • Laura Michaels and Janice Licalsi both had sex with John Kelly in the first episode (not at the same time, of course).

  • Donna Abandando was the object of lustful stares by all the men in the squad in her first appearance, and was flirting with Medavoy by her second episode.

  • Diane Russell teamed with Bobby on an investigation, but had hopped into bed with him by the end of the episode.

    Sylvia Costas and Adrienne Lesniak are the only other women not to start a romantic entanglement right away, but they were eventually reduced to the status of appendage to one of the male characters. Every once in a while, Diane gets written independently of Bobby, but for the time being, her latest subplot (potentially the meatiest she's had) is being played primarily from Bobby's perspective.

    Now, for all I know, the same may be done with Ms. Kirkendall somewhere down the road, but right now, I'm not getting any kind of vibe like that off her. She and Bobby had a few conversations -- on this show, usually a sign of impending couplehood -- but he's far too preoccupied with Diane, and she seemed only to be trying to make friends with a coworker.

    And, beyond her (for now, at least) singular status, she was remarkably fleshed-out in only one episode. Flying solo for most of the show's (arguably) dominant storyline, she got to show off some smarts, a dry wit (I loved the way she told Aires that she was a Scorpio), and plenty of moxie. And though I worried that Andrea Thompson -- a major beauty in previous roles on "Babylon 5" and "JAG"-- would be subject to the same "fashion model cop" criticisms that Kim Delaney sometimes gets, that short, functional hairstyle really deglamorizes her and makes her seem utterly believable as a detective. I'm hoping she sticks around a long while.

    The other highlight of the show was Bobby's final interrogation of Henry. Because Andy's the roughneck and Bobby's the sensitive soul, you sometimes forget just what a big guy he really is, and when he decides to physically intimidate a suspect, he's damned effective. But what was great about that scene was that it wasn't just a simple case of Bobby knocking around Henry to get to the truth. That would have been deathly dull and a disappointing climax to a great story. Instead, Bobby burrowed deep into Henry's psyche and set up a tent in there to hang out, realizing the only real way to get the truth out of the little weasel is to strip him of the tiny modicum of dignity he still possesses, which includes invading his personal space, impairing his ability to see, and threatening to publicly humiliate him, as well as giving him a few well-placed smacks. Jimmy Smits and Willie Garson are dynamite together, and I hope that the exchange at the end about Henry staying at the building means the two will still be clashing from time to time.

    The murder of the week really didn't register with me at all (which is why, even though it got a little more airtime, I didn't consider it the dominant story). I'm glad to see that Bruce Weitz is the latest "Hill Street Blues" alum to join the Steven Bochco Temporary Employment Agency (my money's on Mimi Kuzyk as the next member), and there were some nice moments scattered here and there -- the seemingly rational bum matter-of-factly peeing on Medavoy's shoes and worrying about radio broadcasts, Kinnon's widow realizing she has no one to talk to anymore, Andy recoiling in disgust at being hit on in the gay bar (though I have to wonder why on earth anyone, gay or straight, would approach a table with both Bobby and Andy present and choose to hit on Sipowicz), to name three -- but it didn't hold my interest, and I was straining to remember details about it when I wrote my summary, which is never a good sign.

    And it looks like Geri Turner's out of the picture for the time being. With the addition of Jill Kirkendall and Gina Colone -- two emotionally stable human beings -- to the detective's squad in the same week, the show's worldview on women seems to be looking up.

    Quick hits:

    Have a happy Turkey-Day, everybody...


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