Sex and a dog-eared paperback dictionary (redcoast) wrote in __recapitulate_,
Sex and a dog-eared paperback dictionary

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The Shield, Pilot Episode.

I know some of you have never watched The Shield, but I encourage you to read this recap anyway. This pilot kicks ass, and you'll like it. I promise. Now, I meant to post this Friday, but guess what: life. But I'll make an effort to have something else next weekend, hopefully Serenity. I want to see how this goes down.

Under the jarring and jittery artsy-grit credits, a man in a power suit buttons his coat as a beautiful woman, also in a power suit, briefs him for his upcoming press-conference. Props to … someone, either the casting director, the actor, or the director, because I’ve already pegged this guy as an unreasonable asshole, and he hasn’t said a word yet. He has asshole face. Assface? Power Suit Female asks if he has his notes. Power Suit Male is all, don’t need ’em! Shut up, Power Suit.

In the press room, Power Suit Female introduces Power Suit Male as Capt. David Aceveda. Aceveda addresses the handful of reporters a with more prominent Latino accent than just before. A calculated move or does his accent waver naturally? Aceveda’s speech goes as following: “The Farming district of Los Angeles, which I’ve been commanding for the last four months [here, we see a brief shot of Danny and Julien in their patrol car. They’re characters yet to be introduced. I just though you ought to know], has traditionally been one of the most dangerous and crime-ridden areas of the city.” With an indescribably assholish expression of compassion, Aceveda continues that Farmington has even been called a “war zone.” Dude, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Have you ever seen City of God? Now that’s a war zone.

Un-ironic cut to a trio of drug dealers fleeing a corner as an unmarked police van pulls up. Four tough plainclothes cops jump out and haul ass after one of the guys. The driver gets more slowly out of the van, making no move to join the chase, and again, props! Because this guy also has a face that makes you hate him. He’s played by Reed Diamond, in case you’re interested. He was in Homicide: Life on the Street. The drug dealer with a purple shirt stuffs little baggies into his mouth and swallows them as he runs. That can’t be safe.

As Power Suit Female watches proudly, Aceveda press-conferences that “murders, rapes, armed robberies [weird emphasis his]” have become less common. I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t want to live someplace where the best news is that fewer people are being raped and murdered.

 Far more ironic cuts take place, as Aceveda reports that “Mothers feel safer as they shop for groceries” as the cops chase Purple Shirt through a cheap-ass market, knocking things over willy-nilly.

 Purple Shirt runs down an alley and finds himself trapped by a locked gate. No matter! He’s managed to swallow all his drugs. The cops catch up with him, as the lead cop, a short, bald white guy with a thick neck, snaps on a latex glove. “Too late, G-Man,” Purple Shirt smirks. Lead cop—Vic Mackey, and I’m not going to pretend that I don’t know his name—grins. It’s a dangerous cheerful grin. What’s the expression? His grin has the devil in it? Well, whatever.

 With the help of the citizens of Farming, Aceveda intends to make this district a safer home. “For all of us,” he adds, putting on his compassionate eyebrows.

 Vic punches Purple Shirt in the stomach, and he crumples to the ground, cursing. Vic isn’t grinning now! “That’s for running, asshole,” he says, and spits his gum at him. Gum? What’s next, stealing his lunch money? Vic hauls Purple Shirt up and pulls down his pants and underwear. Purple Shirt reacts with the wounded indignation universal among criminals who have been caught.  Vic and the boys discuss his inventive way of carrying drugs, and, ignoring a badly-looped protest, Vic rips his “third nad” right off. Purple Shirt crumples up in pain, cursing. Uh. Again. One of Vic’s back-up band (a cute blond named Lemonhead) offers Vic an evidence bag, but Vic declines and the drugs disappear into a pocket of his leather jacket. They haul Purple Shirt away, his pants still around his ankles, and Vic yells a jaunty “Buenas dias!” at a family that’s been watching from a balcony. Their kid is like, “Don’t buenas dias me, bitch.”

 Aceveda smirks smugly, with a smug look on his smug face, and smugly asks his audience, “Any questions?” And then he’s walloped in the face by the opening title. Cha-chada-da! I can’t make out the words to the song. I hear “La mira chacha,” and “Ya’ll wind up,” which doesn’t help. Created by Shawn Ryan.

 Gee, that took forever to describe! And we’re two minutes and thirty seconds in!

 Y’know, at first I put a lot of thought into what the juxtaposition of the press-conference and the drug-bust symbolized, and the various meanings and character motivations that could be reamed from the blah blah blah, then I realized it was really moronically simple. Vic’s tactics have lowered crime, and Aceveda’s taking credit for it. It’s really kind of obvious. How did I miss it?

 The naked corpse of a lady, strategically arranged to cover any naughty bits, is lying in a kitchen. Standing over it are Dt. Holland “Dutch Boy” Wagenbach and his partner, Claudette Wyms. Dutch is exclaiming over the dead lady’s boobs. Classy. Claudette is somewhere between disapproval and agreement. She asks Dutch if he wants to "give them a squeeze.” Ew. The lady is dead, ya’ll. Dead!

 Luckily the eminent necrophilia is interrupted by a female cop, Danny. She needs a detective to talk to the victim’s sister, and Claudette makes Dutch do it. Danny and Dutch exchange awkward banalities, and Danny makes the mistake of asking Dutch what he thinks of the case. “Nature of the wounds, we’re definitely looking at an inexperienced under-achiever type, covering up the genitals says there was a shame for what he did, family member, boyfriend—this one will break easy,” Dutch rambles. Hey, I knew all that stuff! Does this mean that I can be a TV detective?

 Dutch confronts the hysterical sister outside, who demands to know what happened to her sister. Dutch uses his professional voice, as if he wasn’t just wanting to fondle the dead body, and claims that they haven’t found out for sure who the dead person is, even though Danny described the hysterical woman as the victim’s sister, so shut it, Dutch, and quit making me write ungainly run-on sentences to describe your unsavory actions. “This is my sister Nancy’s place,” the hysterical woman says, and oh, great. I have a sister named Nancy. That must mean that the hysterical woman is me! Well, I think I would have nice hair if I weren’t hysterical. Dutch continues to stonewall me, but I quickly describe Nancy as, “Long blonde hair, pretty.” Yes, but does she have a serious rack? Dutch runs out of clever evasions, and lames, “That sounds like her. I’m sorry.” He’s still using his professional voice, which makes it all the funnier. I dissolve into tears, falling to my knees and pressing my head against Dutch’s crotch. Um. Uh. Dutch is nonplussed, much to the amusement of other uniformed cops at the scene. Hey, that cop is really cute! Why do we never see him again? More to the point, why couldn’t I be giving him a fake blow-job instead of Dutch? I have no taste.

 I finally stop sobbing and remember I have a niece, Jenny Reborg. Dutch runs into the house without reassuring me of anything. Dutch sucks.

 Kitchen. Dutch shows Claudette a picture of the missing girl. “Oh, shit, son,” Claudette says. “I know. It just got interesting,” Dutch replies. Shut up, Dutch. And let me point out that the refrigerator in the kitchen is covered in children’s drawings, and there were framed photos of the kid around. And Dutch thinks he’s such a great deductive thinker.

 Vic and his back-up band arrive at the precinct house, which, incidentally, is a remodeled church. It’s really crappy, with the holding pen being just a couple of chain-link fences in the middle of a room, and the detective’s desks crowded in the lobby. Vic’s boys take Purple Shirt to the processing bit, and Vic heads for the toilets. On the way, he meets Power Suit Female, and color me shocked! Not only do these characters know each other, they might have even had sex! There’s that vibe, you know? Power Suit wants Vic to talk to some reporters about famous drug bust he made, but Vic graciously declines. “Let the poster boy do his thing,” he says, referring to Aceveda, and the two part. That’s interesting. Is Vic supposed to be shy or something?

 Vic is incensed to discover that the men’s bathroom is still out of order. He rants, “If the city wants to thank us for a job well done, how’s about making sure we don’t all hafta cram into the same goddamn stall?!” Only the guy he’s talking to is walking in the opposite direction, so Vic ends up yelling that last part, and the lobby breaks into unexpected applause. I’m going to come up with a better name for that lobby. It’s like a newsroom, only without the news. Instead, it has crime. Crimeroom? Well, that’s not witty at all.

 Vic acknowledges the applause with a jaunty wave, but his quest for the toilet is thwarted when Aceveda asks him to come to his office. Vic wants to pee first, “[p]rovided a spot in the ladies’ room opens up.” Aceveda gives Vic a look that Means Business. Shut up, Aceveda. Vic sardonically replies, “Aye, aye, Captain,” for the benefit of the Detective Collective. I think he’s trying for more applause. No such luck, though.

 Vic’s backup band rough Purple Shirt up a little as they process him.

Aceveda’s pee-pre-empting emergency? A drug dealer Vic arrested and his lawyer, both who just happen to be Latino, are complaining he used “excessive force.” No! Stop the presses! Vic describes the dealer as a “piece of shit” and the lawyer as a “scumbag.” Piece of Shit has nasty purple bruise on his upper arm. “Yeah, that’s some hickey. Boyfriend give you that?” Vic says, with his devilish grin. Piece of Shit uncertainly accuses Vic of giving him that bruise with a pair of pliers, not making eye-contact. Vic totally owns his ass. Vic Clintons that he doesn’t recall any pliers. He could at least have the decency to lie convincingly. Scumbag, Attorney at Law, leaves in a huff, dragging Piece of Shit with him.

 Vic asks if he can pee now. Yes, please, urinate! I’m tired of hearing about your bladder. Aceveda smiles humorlessly and asks Vic if Piece of Shit is lying. “Anything to stay out of jail,” Vic soothes, suddenly able to lie. Aceveda says it’s the fourth complaint, and Vic says he’s lucky that his captain doesn’t believe him. “Keep smiling for the cameras,” Vic says, “[and] see what you can do about getting the men’s john fixed.”

 Street. “I stopped listening to you five minutes ago,” Claudette tells Dutch as she buys a coffee. I stopped listening to Dutch as soon as he opened his mouth. Dutch refers to the killer as an “un-sub,” and Claudette gives him grief about it, as unimpressed by his big words as I am. Dutch sees Danny get out of her patrol car, and asks Claudette if she thinks they should go out. “A study says over 40 percent of female law enforcement meet their spouses on the job,” Dutch says. Well, that’s just great. Another study showed that 70 percent of losers never get laid, Dutch. As they walk into the precinct house, Claudette calls Dutch “lazy,” and tells him to take dance classes or join a book club. I like Claudette. Claudette sees Dutch’s ex-wife and raises him two ex-husbands. Claudette claims that “lack of imagination” were not among the reasons her husbands had for leaving her. I wish I knew what that meant.

 As Claudette and Dutch reach their desks in the Billy Club, Aceveda appears, asking for details about the missing kid. Jenny’s dad is a crackhead, and he probably killed her mom. Claudette adds that a local criminal was seen at the house the day before. “He’s a local fence, bit of a fancy,” Claudette says. I crack a dictionary. Aceveda unnecessarily promises assistance, saying, “I want to help,” with a little pointing down gesture. “Since when does he get his hands dirty?” Dutch mutters, reading my mind. Claudette is more amenable.

Dutch accosts Danny in the coffee room. Danny is wearing the resigned expression of someone continually sexually harassed at work. They exchange weak blather over the coffee, and then Dutch starts to ask her out. Enter Vic, and a particularly simian back-up boy. They taunt Dutch about the blow-job that I didn’t give him. Monkeyboy suddenly throws his head back and thrusts his hand out at crotch level. I thought he was imitating Dutch in orgasm, but he actually was imitating the orgasmic level of excitement it caused him to come up with this witticism: “Det. Blow Me.” Sigh. What’s even sadder is that Vic thinks it’s funny. Dutch flees. Monkeyboy follows him, still teasing, leaving Vic an opportunity to grab some coffee and ask Danny out for a drink. I think he planned this. He probably saw Dutch closing in on Danny through the window, grabbed Monkeyboy, and said, “Okay, let’s taunt Dutch until he leaves—then you follow him and keep him away from Danny!” Danny pointedly asks Vic if his wife will be there. Vic pointedly says she won’t be. Danny pointedly says she won’t be, either. Vic pointedly asks when she got morals. Danny pointedly says that she always had them. Sometimes, though, she “looses track.” Vic pointedly asks her to loose track of them tonight. Danny pointedly says she won’t. “Hey, you want me to back off? All you gotta do is tell me it wasn’t great,” Vic says, grinning. Danny just looks at him because it was totally great. And I don’t think it’s just the dialogue that’s pretty pointed. Danny’s partner calls her away, and Vic takes a moment to bask in the awesomeness of his sex appeal. He responds well to getting shot down.

 “[Soft, rhythmic instrumental music]” is playing, according to the captions. Terry watches Vic and Monkeyboy harass some guy at a car wash. Vic orders him to drive “back to the barn.” Geddit? The district is called “Farmington”? Therefore, the precinct house is “the barn”? Geddit? Yeah, no one does. That’s why Shawn Ryan had to change the name of the series from “The Barn” to “The Shield,” which is actually very close to “The Sheila,” which is what I keep typing.

 Aceveda chills on a park bench. If they had opening credits wherein clips of the main characters were shown, this would be his clip. Terry approaches him. He’s identified the guy at the carwash, but Aceveda already knows who it is: a drug dealer named Rondell Robinson. Aceveda explains that Vic and Rondell have a thing going on: Vic takes out Rondell’s competition while leaving Rondell alone, and Rondell gives Vic hush money. Street violence goes down, and profits go up. That arrangement sure seems like it has benefits for the average tax-paying Farmington citizen! But I guess Aceveda is more concerned about his political career than the average tax-paying Farmington citizen. Terry agrees to help bring Vic down.

 Aceveda signals gentleman leaning against a car to join them. He’s a Fed. Terry wigs and refuses to shake his hand. Aceveda insists that this is the only way, since everyone on the West Coast owes their asses to Vic, one way or another. “I go outside the department and rat out another cop, my life’s not worth crap in L.A.,” Terry spits. Aceveda reverse psychologizes him, then offers Terry a job in Justice. Terry, who’s not as dumb as he looks, thinks he’ll be sent to Alaska. “You pick the city, then,” the Fed says unexpectedly.  Terry, clearly pulling this out of his ass, picks Washington, D.C., plus moving expenses. The Fed agrees. Not expecting this, Terry adds a bunch of other stuff that he’d like. Lava lamps. Four months vacation. And lots and lots of Turkish delight! “I’m giving up my life, you guys gotta give me something back!” Terry says. Good thing Terry isn’t tempting fate with statements like these, eh? Terry demands the offer in writing by tonight.

 Aceveda pep talks him, and Terry says he knows what to do. His only question is what Aceveda is getting out of this? “I just want a dirty cop off the street,” Aceveda says. “You wanna be mayor someday? Better learn to lie a hell of a lot better than that,” Terry says. Burn, Aceveda!

 Claudette and Dutch surprise the local fence, bit of a fancy, and—dude! It’s Whistler! He’s dressed like Tom Wolfe and unloading stolen merchandise from a van. So this is what he does when he’s not delivering life-changing messages to soulful vampires. Claudette asks Whistler about the electronic equipment in his van, and Whistler replies, “That? That’s just a big bunch of VCRs I stole from, ah, Circuit City,” nervously drumming his fingers against a box. Claudette and Dutch exchange a glance. Hee!

 Cut to Whistler in the pen, protesting his innocence in Jenny’s disappearance. I’ve just studied rhetoric, and I think his argument is marvelous in establishing ethos, pathos, and logos in one fell swoop: “Be real! You know me. Come on!” For reasons unexplained, he went to my sister’s house to find my crackhead brother-in-law, even though he wasn’t living there anymore. Whistler knows said degenerate is using at a crackhouse run by a guy named Monty. Claudette smiles and walks off. “Now let’s talk about how you and me are gonna work out this Circuit City misunderstanding, Claudette?” Whistler calls out to her back. But she’s long gone. Poor dumb Whistler.

 Vic and his back-up band are playing poker in their room. Vic’s team gets their own office and everyone else is squeezed into Copper Hopper? They must have some status in the precinct house. Claudette pokes her head in to ask about Monty’s crackhouse. Apparently that’s what you do in Farmington if you arrest anyone remotely drug-related: ask Vic Mackey for permission first. Upon hearing that Claudette needs to make an arrest there, Vic exclaims, “Oh, no no, no can do. Monty gives me dirt, I give him safe passage.” Well! Aceveda’s super-duper secret investigation should last all of ninety seconds. Vic is of the school that if you don’t feel ashamed while doing it, it’s not actually wrong. But when Claudette says that it has “something to do with the missing girl,” Vic looks crestfallen. Why? Is he a cream-puff when it comes to kids? Or does Claudette—gasp—own his very soul? Vic folds and goes to arrest my brother-in-law himself.

 It really might be all for the best, considering how re-reinforced the door to the crackhouse is. A SWAT team would have trouble getting in. Monty lets him in on sight. Vic so owns his ass. Vic finds Lonnie Reborg  and hauls him to the door. Vic sees a couple of kids and demands to know what they’re doing here. “It’s teacher institute day,” Monty says, which explains why Jennie Reborg wasn’t in school. Vic recommends Monty rent The Lion King. “Someone stole the TV,” Monty grunts. I think it was Whistler. Vic then demands he buy them crayons because Vic is a cream puff.

 Interrogation room. Claudette and Dutch are interrogating the shirtless, sweaty Lonnie, who doesn’t resemble my brother-in-law-elect, thank God. Lonnie doesn’t seem to remember killing his wife, despite Claudette’s prompting. “[T]hat’s the God’s truth, son. You can’t lie to God,” Claudette says. Dutch, fresh out of compassion, says that Nancy’s blood is all over his shirt. Hey, cool! Instead of the normal two-way mirror situation, the interrogation room is rigged with a close-circuit television, and Aceveda is monitoring from another room. As Lonnie’s confusion and fear grows, Claudette gently prompts him to remember last night’s events. Lonnie gradually recalls going to the house to get Jenny, who’s “half [his],” and Nancy resisting. “You didn’t mean to kill her, she made you do it,” Dutch says, obviously bored out of his mind. Shut up, Dutch. Aceveda sits on the edge of his chair in suspense. You can also shut up, Aceveda. “She had a knife. … I took it away from her. … I killed her! I killed my sweet Nancy!” Lonnie says, sobbing, and the camera gets far too up close and personal to his saliva- and sweat-coated beard. It’s disgusting, though the guest star is acting the hell out of this bit. “What I’d do that for?” he cries. “Uh, ‘cause you like crack?” Dutch snarks. Claudette rolls her head in a manner that totally says “Shut up, Dutch, you overcompensating twerp!” Claudette asks what happened to Jenny, and Lonnie says he sold her for two hundred dollars to a guy who likes girls. Aceveda shakes his head. Shut up, Aceveda. Dutch sits up, interest engaged again. You too, Dutch! “How come nobody stopped me?” Lonnie says hopelessly. Claudette, who’s the only person not getting on my last nerve, doesn’t know. I think that Nancy tried her best to stop him, actually. And how did she end up naked? Where does that fit in? Claudette looks up at the closed-circuit tv camera and is greeted by the commercial break.

 We return with—oh, wow! Dutch and Claudette serving a search warrant. With guns and everything. They look ridiculous. They break into a little apartment, finding only a nonplussed, mousy guy feeding his elderly mother. “George Sawyer? Where’s Jenny Reborg?” Claudette asks. George doesn’t answer.

 In the interrogation room, Georgie Porgie, Pudding and Pie, is judgmentally confronted by Claudette about his collection of “sexy schoolgirls” magazines. Porgie asks if someone will give his mother her medication. Clearly this guy is not going to talk. Dutch, playing good cop, offers Porgie some coffee.

 Ah, yes. The infamous “Who took my Ding Dongs?” scene. Dutch can’t find his Ding Dongs and becomes convinced that Vic stole them. “I’ve got a suspect whose profile screams ‘organized, humiliation-driven offender,’ which means he won’t crack easy, which means I’ve got an interrogation that’s probably going to go on all night, which means I need my Ding Dongs, and you took ’em, didn’t you?” That’s quite a sentence, Dutch! And your big words do not impress me. Vic is similarly unimpressed, and I actually don’t think he took the Ding Dongs. Claudette wants to know what’s the matter, and Dutch tattles on Vic for stealing his Ding Dongs. “Oh, come on, son. Fork over his Ding Dongs,” Claudette scolds. Bad-ass Vic, you will never believe this, is actually hurt. Claudette owns his soul, I tell you. Vic takes off, and I think if he had actually stolen the Ding Dongs he would have returned them. Claudette suggests he steal someone’s Twinkies. “It’s not the same thing,” Dutch says, forlorn.

 Interrogation room. Dutch’s genius technique is to ask Porgie if he thinks something is wrong with gay people. Porgie has a hilarious look on his face, like he’s thinking “How did I get stuck with the perverted cop?” Dutch makes a comparison between homosexual and pedophilia, saying that maybe pedophilia will eventually be accepted like homosexual. He leaves Porgie to mull that over.

 It’s still day-light outside—I think it’s in the late afternoon—and Piece of Shit is fixing his car and listening to what the captioning claims is “[Latin rap music.]” Sounds pretty crappy to me. Vic and Monkeyboy harass him with rather friendly questions about his car. Piece of Shit acts like a schoolboy being scolded. “Where’s you lawyer, [Piece of Shit]?” Vic asks pointedly, poking his nasty bruise. “I don’t know, ese,” Piece of Shit replies. He’s as sharp as a marble. Vic’s devilish grin freezes. Piece of Shit wipes his hands, looking awkward. This is sort of a non-intimidation technique.

 Aceveda’s waiting for Vic to come out of the ladies’ room. I’m just glad Vic finally got to pee.    Aceveda Latinos that Piece of Shit has changed his mind about his complaint. Well, ain’t that something. Aceveda orders Vic to give him his incident report tomorrow. Vic replies, “Sure,” then after a moment, “It’ll be a couple of days. I got something on the back burner.” Aceveda should just reply, “Okay, that’ll be fine,” but instead he makes something out of it. At this point Aceveda has climbed the stairs to the balcony over the Cop Stop, and he and Vic are conversing publicly. It’s foolish of Aceveda to try to exert his authority over Vic in this situation. Vic would never back down in a public power-play, his cojones are too big. If Aceveda wants to be mayor, he’d better learn how to pick his battles. But Aceveda is stupid and he hates Vic, so he demands that Vic turn in the paperwork tomorrow. Vic says he’ll get it in a week. “You don’t like the timetable, you take it up with Gilroy.” Aceveda says he’s in charge. Everyone looks a Vic, waiting for the smackdown. And what is it? “Well, maybe in your own mind, amigo. But in the real world, I don’t answer to you, not today, not tomorrow, not even on Cinco de Mayo.” Eh, I expected better. Racist, yes, shocking, no.

 Danny’s sub-subplot. She and Julien, her rookie partner, investigate a tire-slashing. Apparently, the owner of the car recently left one boyfriend for another, and her ex slashed the tires in revenge. The joke is that new boyfriend is a skinny black guy, and the girlfriend is a rather corpulent white woman. Screw that. She’s a total biscuit lady. The new boyfriend gets some good lines, like, “Was the real police busy today?” and “The brother dumb, but he ain’t stupid!” Julien speaks up, asking if anyone else could have slashed the tires, “[m]aybe a business associate?” The new boyfriend is indignant, and a very bad liar. “I’m just wondering why you got a $30,000 car with $500 tires parked outside of a $400-a-month apartment,” Julien says. The couple tries to figure out the math. Go rookie Julien!

 Night. Soccer. Vic finds a drug dealer talking to a couple of prostitutes and shoos them away. That is, one hooker leaves; the other stays like it’s her personal right to stay. Vic demands the drug dealer’s product and cash, and sends him away. Vic scolds the hooker and pulls her aside. He gives her the crack in return for information about a dealer named Two-Time. The hooker tells him when he’s planning a party, then bitches about not being invited. Maybe it has something to do with her unwashed, limp hair. Vic fusses over her weight and says she looks like she hasn’t been eating. She looks pregnant, Vic. Maybe’s it’s just the outfit. Vic gives her twenty dollars for “soup.” “Where’s your boy?” Vic asks. Oh, great. She has a kid. She is Goldie Heart, Crackwhore with a Heart of Gold. Vic hands her the rest of the money—I think it’s a hundred dollars—and tells her to buy her son soup too. Why soup? Why not burgers? Goldie Heart delightedly fondles the money, thinking about the crack she can buy with it.

 Interrogation room. Dutch spins Porgie a tale about his fourteen-year-old daughter and her friends who dress up like Britney Spears. Dutch leaves for coffee again.

 In the monitoring room, Aceveda is surprised to hear that Dutch has a daughter. Claudette explains he totally made the whole thing up. Aceveda smirks. Well, I hope Dutch made it up! Otherwise, call social services. Aceveda asks Claudette what she thinks of Vic. She owns his soul, Aceveda. Claudette doesn’t commit herself to anything.  Aceveda asks if Vic’s bulletproof. “From you, yeah,” Claudette says bluntly. I love Claudette. Aceveda jaws about how he has a reputation of a “test-taker” and how he was only promoted because “[he] was the right color.” Claudette points out that taking down Vic won’t change anyone’s mind, and that Aceveda should run like an America’s Next Top Model flees their cultural irrelevance. Aceveda calls Vic “Al Capone with a badge,” and Claudette points out that Al Capone made a lot of money. “What people want these days is to make it to their cars without getting mugged. Come home from work, see their stereo still there. Hear about some murder in the barrio, find out the next day the police caught the guy. If having all that means that some cop roughs up some nigger or spic in the ghetto, well, as far as most people are concerned, it’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’” That’s a long mission statement for the show. And I wonder if the network censors would have let this throw if it weren’t a conversation between a nigger and spic, respectively. Aceveda pouts his way into a commercial break.

 Danny’s sub-subplot. Julien and Danny confront the tire-slasher, who admits the deed right away. He has some math of his own: “I gave that skank $1,500 on her down payment! Day after the delivery, she kicks me out, then gives the car to some scrawny bitch she’s been balling on the side … The way I figure it, that at least makes the tires mine.”

 Cut to the tire-slasher being processed by Julien. Heh. Julien assuages him by quoting Galatians 7:6. I’m starting to like Julien. The tire-slasher doesn’t have $200 for bail. Julien wants to know how he managed to afford the many pieces of jewelry he just removed from his person. His math sense refuses to die.

 Interrogation room. It’s the next morning, and Porgie looks worse for the wear. He fesses up. Lonnie offered him his daughter for $200, but Porgie knew she was seven or eight. Porgie prefers slightly older girls, so he recouped his losses by “trading” her to a “doctor he met on the Internet.” “You traded her,” Dutch repeats stupidly. Porgie says he traded her for “a girl to be named later.” Like in baseball.

Vic is hosting a barbecue party at his home, and—hey! Is that Lemonhead in the pool? Sweet. All of Vic’s back-up band is there, including Terry. He and Vic shoot the shit over Vic’s boat, and I think we’re supposed to think that Vic bought it with his dirt money. Whatever. The way this show has portrayed him, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Vic gives all his money to the Foundation for Hookers With Hearts Of Gold and Dewey-Eyed Tousle-Headed Orphans. We meet Mrs. Mcakey, who’s an ordinary looking housewife. Terry, already laying the groundwork for his eventually betrayal of Mackey, joins Vic in badmouthing Aceveda (Vic calls Aceveda a “quota baby”).  Terry asks if he can do more than just drive for the team.  He understands why Vic has been so slow to include him, after all, the Backup Band has to be tight. “You’d kill to protect each other. It’s all about trust, otherwise, you end up dead,” Terry says. Vic agrees.

 The pool empty, and the back-up band is drinking beer. Vic lays out their next bust: Two-Time has drugs in his house in preparation for his party. It’ll be a difficult arrest; his doors are reinforced, so they will have to enter through a window. “Knock-knock, who’s there? Strike Team, Mr. Drug Dealer,” Monkeyboy says, and I’m so glad somebody has finally said the team’s proper name. Did they really have to wait thirty minutes? I think I’ll keep calling them the Back-up Band. And, “Mr. Drug Dealer?” How dumb is Monkeyboy? Vic Aragorn Maneuvers Terr and announces that he will be loosing his cherry, a rhyming joke that Monkeyboy finds very funny. Congratulations all around, and Vic reminds them to take care of the team first.

 Interrogation room. Claudette and Dutch are wearing different outfits. It’s still the afternoon of the day after Jenny went missing, if you’re keeping track. The guy playing Dr. Grady was in an Angel episode, but no clever nickname for him; not unless you consider the fact that his name has me singing “The Brady bunch, the Brady bunch.” Hey, there you go! Claudette tries to talk to him, but The Brady Bunch stonewalls her, repeating “Charge me or release me.” Claudette gives up and leaves. Then Dutch tries the very same brain-dead technique he used on the last guy. That is, comparing homosexuality and pedophilia. Hello! Dutch! This guy is a doctor! He’s too smart to fall for it. He knows the police are not his friend. The Brady Bunch shuts him up. “I’m bored,” he tells the closed circuit camera. “Charge me or release me.”

 Dutch walks into the next room, and diagnoses The Brady Bunch as a “domination-control pedophile.” Your big words do nothing to me, Dutch! Aceveda is worried about him killing the girl. Dutch’s proposal is to wait a couple of hours, then let Dutch whittle his mettle down. Claudette thinks that’s stupid, but her proposal is not much better: she says they should release him and follow him to Jenny. Dutch complains that if they loose him, he will kill her and dump the body. Aceveda becomes increasingly upset as Dutch and Claudette bicker (I like the part when Claudette says that it’s not a quiz show and Dutch should lose the ego). When both Claudette and Dutch yell that their perspective methods will get Jenny killed, Aceveda’s had enough. He shoves his chair and stomps out.

 Strike Team’s room. The Back-up Band is planning the bust when Aceveda bursts through the door. “I need you,” he tells Vic. Hee hee hee hee! Ha ha! Maybe they should’ve rephrased that.

 Vic enters the interrogation room, locks the door, and closes the blinds on the window. The Brady Bunch is mildly curious and a little intimidated.

 In the monitoring room, Claudette asks Aceveda if he knows what he’s doing. Aceveda crosses his arms, and puts on a Steely Expression. Shut up, Aceveda.

 Out of a paper bag Vic takes a bottle of whiskey, a phone book, a .. lighter? I think? And maybe a box cutter. It’s hard to tell. The Brady Bunch asks what’s up, and Vic tells him that he’s going to use that stuff to force The Brady Bunch to give up Jenny’s location. “Your turn to play bad cop?” The Brady Bunch says, smugly. Vic grins (devilishly, natch), and replies, promo-style, “Nah, good cop and bad cop left for the day. I’m a different kind of cop.” The Brady Bunch looks at the closed-circuit camera and asks for his lawyer. Aceveda is still Steely, while Dutch looks vaguely guilty. Vic says he can see his lawyer later. “People are watching us,” The Brady Bunch says uncertainly. Vic gets up in his face, and starts whispering about his possibly mythical eight-year-old named Cassidy, and asks if the Brady Bunch wants to fuck her, only he doesn’t use the word “fuck” because the network does have standards.  Instead he says “stick your dick in her,” which is probably more graphic, but I digress. The Brady Bunch has the same “How did I get stuck with the perverted cop?” look that Georgie Porgie wore, and hee. Vic’s intimidation is falling a little into attempted seduction. The Brady Bunch says he’s not interested in Vic’s daughter. Wrong answer! Vic considers that an insult to Cassidy, and demands to see the other girl so he can compare their assets. The Brady Bunch lies about it, and Vic punches him in the solar plexus. And then on his side, but they cut to the closed-circuit tv, so it doesn’t even look like Vic made contact with him. In fact, the camera makes Vic’s ass look huge, the same way it may Claudette’s ass look huge. Vic grabs the phone book, and The Brady Bunch squeals helplessly from the floor, “You’re the police!” Aceveda turns off the television before we can see Vic force The Brady Bunch to read all the P names—while drinking whiskey. Oh, the horror!

 Aceveda Steelies, Dutch creeps out of the room like the wimp he is, and Claudette disapproves. Of Aceveda, not Vic. Aceveda cracks his knuckles, and is overwhelmed by the commercial break.

 After the break, Vic waddles down to the Holmes Depot, because his pants are two sizes too small. Costuming people, we know that Vic’s cojones are of record size; don’t over-sell it. It can’t be healthy to cut off the circulation like that.  Vic has the address they need.  Aceveda takes it and walks off without a word. Dutch is standing there, sucking on his lips, so Vic confronts him and asks for a “Thank you.” Dutch storms off, jealous that Vic is cooler than him. “Just glad I could help!” Vic says real loudly. Still hamming for applause. Claudette gives him a look that would curdle his soul, had he not given it to her, and he skedaddles.

 The soulful boy soprano from Lord of the Rings warbles as Aceveda, Dutch, and Claudette break into the apartment where Jenny’s hidden. The three are wildly waving their guns around, and I’m laughing uncontrollably. They find Jenny locked in a cabinet, and Aceveda breaks the lock by hitting it with a wrench with not enough force to hammer a push-pin into a bulletin board, cheesing “Come on, goddamn it, come on!” Jenny demonstrates her precocious good taste by whimpering and hiding from the men. Claudette comforts her (and CCH Pounder accidentally steps on the young actress’s bare foot; ouch). The kid is pretty talented; she can make cry without moving her mouth.

More bad looping at the precinct house. Maybe it’s some kind of infectious disease.

 Danny, still in uniform, stops by Dutch’s desk to ask about Jenny. Dutch’s version of the story conveniently leaves out any of Vic’s involvement. Danny buys it, hook, line, and sinker. She’s a little gullible, I think. Dutch asks why she’s working out of her shift, then backpedals so he doesn’t sound like a stalker. Dutch invites her out to for a beer on a maybe-not-date, and Danny, complimented, accepts before remembering she’s been set up for a blind date tonight. After a double shift? Wouldn’t she be tired? Dutch and Danny act very lame and awkward and friendly, and Danny smells something. Dutch pokes around and finds a big pile of dog turds in an empty drawer of his desk. “Oh. What is that?” Danny says, giggling, clearly knowing what it is but very flustered. “It’s dog shit!” Dutch duhs. Maybe she turned him down because he asked her out while surrounded by the wafting fumes of dog shit. Dutch stupidly starts yelling that whoever did it has to clean it up, in order to make his humiliation more public. “Oh, it’s you, isn’t it?” Dutch snarls to someone offscreen, who turns out to be … Vic Mackey! Applause, people! Vic protests his innocence, adding, “But I promise you, I am not gonna rest until the culprit is brought to justice, buddy. Hey, attention, everyone! I’m declaring this an official crime scene. Nobody leaves here without providing a stool sample.” I find it very endearing that Vic can’t get through that last part without giggling. The Copper Hopper breaks into applause and laughter. Finally! Dutch sulks. 

Aceveda and Claudette lean on their elbows on the balcony railing. Aceveda rambles about an old cop tradition of putting dog crap in lockers to send the message: “Shut up, Dutch boy!” Or maybe something about getting a big head. What I think is funny is that Aceveda has only heard tales about such a barbaric plot-device. He really is just a test-taker. Claudette smirks and walks away. She totally put the dog crap there.

Vic’s Back-up Band leaves the “STRIKE TEAM ONLY!!! THAT MEANS YOU ASSHOLE” room and strides through Murder Central (there we go!)  as Kid Rock wants us to know his name is Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid! Lemonhead is wearing a backwards baseball cap, and looks adorable, albeit puffy-eyed. Dutch watches them leave with a hilarious immature expression. He looks like a jealous kindergartner. He scrubs furiously at his defiled desk, with a can of disinfectant and gloves and everything. Hee! Though if dog kisses are cleaner than human kisses, maybe that goes for dog crap as well.

Claudette arrives home and greets her huge dog. See, I told you. Kid Rock wants her to bawitaba-da-bang-da-dang- diggy-diggy-diggy-said-the boogie-said-up-jump-the-boogie.

The boys load up the Strike Team van, including a guy with a mustache who’s so transparent I haven’t even mentioned him yet. Terry drives. Kid Rock wonders about the questions that don’t have any answers.

Aceveda helps his baby daughter with her bottle and sighs. It’s impossible to hate a man holding a baby, and yet … Kid Rock is confused by chicks with beepers. They make perfect sense to me.

In the night lights of the city, Vic looks like a devil. Monkeyboy’s simian faces leers out of the darkness. Lemonhead is adorably juicing to some rock music. Kid Rock has heroes at the methadone clinics.

Kid Rock is singing for crooked cops and the cluttered desks. The Strike Team van drives by Goldie Heart, working the corner with her friend. She looks like her feet hurt, and she still hasn’t washed her hair.

Danny fusses with her hair as Kid Rock sings for the hookers all trickin’ out in Hollywood. No, Kid, that was last scene! Poor Danny, who looks too feminine in a police uniform, looks mannish in her civvies. She seems like the kind of woman who never really learned how to apply makeup. She agonizes over her gun for a minute, then leaves it in the drawer. She greets her date at the door—a sweet looking guy—then signals him to wait a minute and goes back for her gun. It’s more of deal than you might realize; police officers are required to be armed at all times. Kid Rock tells her to get in the pit and try to love someone.

The baseball stadium is filled in the background. The Strike Team piles out of the van, and within seconds they’ve positioned ladders at the windows.

Inside, Two-Time and his naked girlfriend are playing Grand Theft Auto, which I don’t get. You think one would interfere with the other. Also, her makeup is overdone. Kid Rock dedicates his song to D.B. Cooper.

Vic gives the signal and Mustache breaks the window. Two-Time hears it, and sends his girlfriend away. She grabs some coke lines on a mirror, while Two-Time grabs his gun and head for the bathroom. Lemonhead manages to look adorable as he crawls through the window. He and Mustache surprise the girlfriend, who has really lousy reflexes and is still fusses with the coke mirror. Meanwhile Two-Time is flushing like mad. Vic, Monkeyboy, and Terry enter and go after Two-Time, who instinctively fires at them from the bathroom. Vic and Monkeyboy return fire, filling Two-Time full of hole. Vic’s eyebrows go up to surprised. He and Monkeyboy cautiously approach the corpse, sprawled in the bathtub. Terry checks the room. His pants make him appear to have absolutely no bottom, but this is not the best time to be making this observation. Vic takes the gun from Two-Time’s hand, and looks at Monkeyboy. Terry is still checking the room. Satisfied that it’s empty, he turns to Vic. Vic shoots him in the head and he falls to the floor. The first time I saw that, my brain simply refused to process it. I just hit the rewind button, sure I had missed something.

Vic steps into Terry’s range of vision, and tilts his head, watching him sympathetically. Terry stares straight ahead, a tiny hole in his cheek and a big puddle of blood behind his head. Quickly flashing on the screen are the events of the last two days: Vic in the van after the smoking gun carwash visit, Terry meeting Aceveda in the park, the Fed offering Terry a traitor’s handshake, Vic leaving the Strike Team’s room after stupidly admitting to taking bribes, Vic laughing and flipping burgers at his party, Vic Aragorn-maneuvering as he announces Terry will be loosing his cherry. Probably the last thing Terry thinks before dying is the realization that nobody, not nobody, offers their ass to Vic and then tries to double-cross him. He closes his eyes. Vic shakes his head, all regretful, as Kid Rock gets the last laugh.

Now that is the way to write a pilot! I intended to recap Nip/Tuck, but though that show is brilliant, the pilot was so bad it put me off. Seriously, there are Columbian drug lord and gerbils, and then Julien McMahon is Botoxed in the penis, and then the crocodiles show up, and it’s all over the place and has little to do with plastic surgery. What I love about this pilot is that it doesn’t have too much going on. It holds up in retrospect, too; if you watch Vic’s behavior at the party, you realize he’s already planning Terry’s demise. He just waited for the opportune moment, and took it when he got it. The only thing that doesn’t really work is Shawn Ryan’s attempt at a Jesse, which only works if the audience knows Reed Diamond on sight; I sure didn’t. I’m not sure any series has perfectly performed a Jesse; if you know of any, I’d like to hear about it.

Now, y'all in the audience: is there anything you'd like me to recap? Seriously, I'm up for requests. I don't know what you'd like to read, so you'll have to tell me.

And: isn't this icon great? I must recap King Kong.

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