The lovely scene opens to a shooting, blood all over the place; drive-by, one dead. Tar heroin found, no witnesses to the crime. Just another day in the neighborhood.
Ronnie, Lem, and Vic are out for a drink, discussing gaining information on Antoine, the “reformed” OG. Shane’s name is brought up as a potential liability in virtually any situation, given their past runs with each other and Shane’s devotion to his wife above his former brothers on the force. Oh yeah, and Vic caught him in last week’s episode conversing with Antoine’s people.
At the barn, Captain Monica Rawling officially takes over. Rather than give a blowhard speech a la Aceveda, Rawling frankly discussed the changes she planned to make to the Farmington division, EVEN above and beyond fixing the men’s bathroom. It’s a difficult patrol when you’re dealing with minorities and poverty, let alone when you’re short manpower and using garbage for equipment.
Rawling announces the formation of a gang and drug task unit, headed up by Detective Mackey with 10 detectives and 20 units under him. She announces the enforcement of forfeiture laws, where anything found being used in connection to or bought with drug money, in addition to stolen property, can and will be seized by the police. A third of this money will be given to the district attorney’s office, a third filtered back into the community, and the remaining third used directly by the barn to fund improvements, pay informants, and other such dealings.
Also announced is the scenario seen opening the episode: it’s a gang war, with Spook Street vs. the 19ers battling back and forth; five are dead in five hours, while Vic pops up saying more retaliation has been had. The time for speeches is over, and after a nice applause, business is as usual.
Danny and Julian hit the street with Lem (who is working Juvenile unit) with cameras to capture photos of all known gang members.
Vic makes a visit to Antoine Mitchell, essentially asking him to help keep peace with this gang war in exchange for information to be passed between them both. No answer from Pookie, but the point is made as well as it could be.
Vic’s next stop is talking to Shane about helping with intel as well, although Shane is even less cooperative than the OG. Vic happens to mention having Shane’s back during his “secret” meeting with Antoine’s buddies, and Shane then mentions that he’ll ask around.
Upon getting a name, Vic and others head out to find “Choppa,” a Spook Street gangbanger who was shot at and fled the scene afterwards. Rolling up to his mom’s house, Mackey finds some nicely bloodstained clothes in the laundry basket which Choppa’s mom hadn’t yet had the chance to wash.
A new case rolls into the barn: someone robbed a convenience store by purchasing coffee, then throwing it in the face of the clerk and taking the cash from the register. Who should get this exciting task other than Claudette Wyms and Dutch Wagenbach? Dutch whines a bit, but the choices Wyms made last season by re-investigating hundreds of cases won by a drug-addicted assistant DA have certainly not been forgiven or forgotten by the district attorney’s office, and so in Peonville they shall remain.
Vic starts interrogating Choppa, even bringing up a half kilo of tar found at the crime scene, yet he remains silent.
As Wyms and Wagenbach are at Mission Cross talking to the coffee burn victim, shots go off! Carnage, kinda! A rent-a-cop is down and another is dead. When the two offer to start investigating, Rawling points out that a gang member was killed in the shooting, and hands it off to Vic. Turns out that “Oink,” Choppa’s cousin, was there to have a broken finger tended to, yet his involvement still will not make Choppa talk about who shot at him.
Shane brings in a rap/porn DVD starring “Golden G” having a whole lot of nasty sex with a 19er chick. Imagine this, Golden G is Choppa. He calls this his demo, his “resume,” as it were. He won’t give up the name of the girl. Shane also drops Ghetto Bang Productions as the creator of the video, and Vic tags along to speak with management there. More than readily, he hands over the name of the girl — “Bounce,” complete with rolodex calling card.
Dutch is at the barn, questioning a possible suspect in the coffee robbery case. He’s got a solid alibi, and despite his past record of robberies, he states, “I always used a knife.”
Vic et al bring in Bounce, fresh with a black eye from her baby daddy “Puppethead.” He’s a 19er and saw the video.
Another coffee robbery: as Dutch attempts to question the extremely erratic shopowner, OOPS, some borderline racist comments come out. Way to go, buddy.
And now it’s time to go get Puppethead, who of course runs when the cops get near. Mackey makes the chase on foot, but Puppethead is stuck on a fence. Here, let Vic help you over! Busted and bruised and in the interrogation room, neither he nor Choppa are talking, still.
…and a complaint is made against Dutch, and he apologizes. He whines a bit more about frustration for being stuck on weenie-cases, but Rawling makes it clear: she’s tired of the whining.
Rawling then talks to Vic about his going-nowhere situation with these bangers. It comes to light that Choppa bought his mom a house, cash, with mortgage payments being made with money orders. In other words, drug money. The proposition is made: either Choppa gives up the shooters, or the cops seize the house. AND HE STILL DOESN’T TALK! Even with him in the backseat of the patrol car as his mom and her young children are led out, he thinks it’s all a front.
Vic makes another visit to Antoine Mitchell: see, the entire war here is over this chick Bounce. He tells Antoine that they have the shooter in custody, but they need him to help keep the peace and halt retaliation. Still no real words from the big man.
A third coffee robbery is had, but this time, the clerk caught a photo of the perp on his cell phone. Check it out, it’s the kid Dutch was interrogating earlier, the one with the iron-clad alibi. They track him down again and drag him in, where he half-laughs about Dutch giving him the idea to copycat the crime.
Vic repossesses Choppa’s gold teeth. Hah.
Choppa’s mother and kids come in and have quite the shouting match and moral argument with Captain Rawling. As she carries on about being a parent, Rawling points out that she’s turning a blind eye to crime. The woman repeatedly argues that no mother could ever throw another mother and her children out on the street; clearly, Rawling isn’t a parent.
Julian, Danny, and Lem continue their walking the streets and this time photograph a bunch of itty bitty widdle gang banger kids. One takes off and runs, which Julian retrieves.
Meanwhile, Vic and Corrine speak with the man spearheading the civil suit against the vaccine company which may or may not have increased the instance of autism in those children who received the vaccine. In search of ways to minimize expert costs, Corrine mentions that she’s friends with the head of pediatrics. However, upon meeting with the doctor, she is reluctant to get involved with the lawsuit and has no real information to tie the vaccine to autism, and therefore cannot help. Vic freaks out about doctors protecting doctors the way that cops protect cops; Corrine is calmer, but just as displeased about the doctor not wanting to help her children.
Dutch discusses with Claudette her continuing steadfast position and reluctance to apologize to the DA’s office. She continues to tell Dutch that he’s free to find a new partner. He’s feeling as if she’s giving him no choice.
Before Danny leaves the barn for the evening, she takes a moment to thank Rawling for putting her in the special gang/drug unit. She says to thank Vic, who recommended her. Of course, Danny and Vic have a long history consisting of a casual affair, Danny getting fired due to the Strike Team using her (inadvertently) as a scapegoat to protect Vic in a particularly hairy case, and other such ups and downs. Needless to say, her reaction was tense at best.
Julian takes a trip to the house of the little gang baby who ran earlier in the day, attempting to help point the child in a better direction. However, the strong anti-cop sentiment has already been ingrained in this one, and Julian leaves without doing much good.
Meanwhile, reports come in that Puppethead was bailed out. $250k, in cash. By Antoine Mitchell.
Vic, Ronnie, and Monica head straight to Puppethead’s house, hoping to find him before he gets killed. All who is there is Bounce and her baby; she says she’s already been told that Puppethead is dead, that Antoine gave him up to end the war.
Rawling is pretty damned far from happy about the entire case at this point, from the house seizure to the death of yet another.
Vic makes a trip to Shane’s apartment. Shane’s taking care of his and Mara’s son. Regardless of Shane’s persona on the street, it’s clear that his personal life is more than a bit messy, with Mara dealing with post-partem depression. Vic invites Shane back to Farmington to serve on his drug and gang task force, but Shane claims he’s happy on vice and with his new partner. Vic, as a continuing gesture, offers to try to get his partner in as well. Lots of action, lots of available overtime should a struggling small family need the extra cash. Mara gives Vic shit as usual, but Vic completely ignores her; after he leaves, Shane makes some pretty clear hints that he’s considering the possibility.
Back at the barn, Choppa is raising a stir, just now really coming to the understanding that yes, the house seizure is a done deal, and yes, his mom and younger siblings are on the street.
Dutch talks to the district attorney’s office about cutting him and Claudette some sort of break, but they’re adamant that Wyms must lay in the bed she made. Dutch then makes an interesting offer, to “control” Wyms; the DA’s office fully expects favors in return, and the deal is made.
Finally, as the house seizure is being finalized, Mackey attempted to intervene and put a stop to it, as there’s no real need for the leverage at this point. However, Rawling maintains that it’s a house bought with drug money, period, and exceptions can’t be made simply because they’re public relations nightmares; that’s Aceveda-style double-talking, not hers. She signs the seizure papers herself.
The episode as a whole? Eh, a lot of storytelling with not a lot of adventure. Still, the advancement of Captain Rawling’s personality is taking hold, and the potential for the old Strike Team buddies to reunite is closer on the horizon. Whether or not this will lead to faces getting held on an electric stove burner is anyone’s guess, but the build up has potential.