Case #1.04: "Don't Pet the Teacher"

This is undoubtedly the worst episode of the series so far. It opens with shots of a vandalized principal's office. A pair of hands steals some typewriters from a business classroom and leaves a single red rose on the desk of a teacher named Miss Chadwick.

Jenko explains to the crew about the burglaries that have been taking place at South Central High School. There's never forced entry. Jeff Stone, a purveyor of stolen goods, is the prime suspect. We also learn that Harry is getting ready to take his sergeant's exam.

On his way to school, Tom gets a flat tire. An attractive woman stops. They exchange very lame jokes about her not having a tire jack or an actual Jack (boyfriend). She gives Tom a can of Fix-A-Flat. They flirt lamely some more, then go their separate ways.

At South Central, we see weasel Jeff bullying Albert Janowitz, the school janitor. Jeff is called to the office of Principal Weintraub, who asks Jeff if he spray-painted "Weintraub bites the big one" on the wall and left a rose for Miss Chadwick. He suggests that Jeff try out for the basketball team; Jeff's brother Kyle loved the sport and was on the school's 1971 state championship team. "Did him a lotta good," Jeff comments, "Maybe I could get lost in Cambodia too."

Tom's first class is English with Miss Chadwick. Surprise, surprise, it's the lady who gave him the Fix-A-Flat! In the back of the room, Jeff is trying to sell his classmate a pair of tickets to a supposedly sold-out Van Halen concert. Ah, this brings back warm, fuzzy memories of playing penny-ante blackjack in my civics/geography class. Miss Chadwick comes over to tell the boys that English class is not an auction house.

Jeff ends up giving Tom the tickets for free and offers to buy Tom a drink. Apparently, Jeff also "has a department" that handles fake IDs.

In the cafeteria, the teachers are decorating for the Senior Dance. Miss Chadwick voices her suspicions that Jeff put the rose on her desk; another female teacher thinks it's just a harmless crush. She wishes Kyle was still around because he would have been a good influence on Jeff.

Miss Chadwick apologizes to Tom for hitting on him and finds another rose on the passenger seat of her car. After a brief scene involving Jeff talking to his dad and much younger stepmother, we join Jeff and Tom at a dance club. Jeff sells a CD player to a random girl. Jeff drives Tom to Miss Chadwick's house and spies on her through the bedroom window. Next stop on their magical mystery tour is the roof of the high school.

"What the hell are we doing up here?" Tom understandably asks. Jeff's spooky reply is "Getting away from down there." Okay, this dude has major issues. 

Back at the Chapel, Jenko, Harry, and Doug are play softball in the squadroom. Harry bats. Jenko pitches as he drills Harry with questions from the sergeant's exam. Doug is crouched behind Harry with a catcher's mitt. I always wanted to play that position when I was in peewee softball, but I didn't have the build for it. Short and skinny instead of stocky. Tom joins the group. He refers to Jeff as a "junior vampire" and doubts that the stuff he sells is even stolen.

For some reason, Miss Chadwick is grading papers in a fancy restaurant. Tom has tracked her down. Miss C admits she was attracted to Tom when they met on the road, but nothing can happen between them because he's a student.

Someone has broken into South Central again. This time, the burglar shoots some hoops in the gym before stealing calculators and, of course, giving Miss Chadwick a rose. After some more pathetic flirting between Tom and the teacher, Jenko sends Tom to pick Jeff up.

At school, Prinicipal Weintraub, Albert, and Miss Chadwick are about to open Jeff's locker without a warrant. Tom shows up in the nick of time. He informs them that he's a cop and the evidence will be compromised if they break into the locker without probable cause. Jeff appears. Tom flashes his badge and tells him to open the locker. Jeff does, causing an avalanche of calculators. Tom arrests Jeff.

Jeff's dad bails him out. He isn't angry about Jeff stealing so much as the fact that his son was "dumb enough to get caught." Tom continues stalking Miss C, who has found a CD player on her doorstep. It's not from Tom and Jeff's been in jail all day. Tom suggests the roses may have been from someone else.

Back at the high school, Jeff confronts Albert. He lets Albert know he's been watching him. He says that Albert is still as lousy at basketball as he was when he played with Kyle. Hold the phone. Kyle was basketball champion his senior year (1971); this episode is set in 1987 and Jeff appears to be a junior or a senior. That means Jeff was about 2 years old when Kyle was playing. How the hell could he remember that Albert sucked?

Anyway, Jeff threatens to tell that Albert set him up. Albert gets angry and calls Jeff Kyle. He chases Jeff through the school and they end up in the gym. Tom arrives to save the day just as Albert is about to bash Jeff's head in with the 1971 basketball state championship trophy. Al delivers an odd monologue about how the guys on the bench stay there forever. Well, things didn't exactly turn out great for Kyle the starter either; he's presumably dead or still in a Vietnamese P.O.W. camp.

Albert is arrested. Jeff confirms Tom's belief; he bought all the concert tickets and CD players himself and resold them. He just made people believe he stole them to seem cool. Jeff had been spying on Miss C to get up the courage to ask her out. Oh, that totally makes him less creepy than the crazy janitor.

On his way to take the oral portion of the sergeant's exam, Harry gets into a fender-bender in the parking lot because someone was trying to pull into the same spot. He yells out the window, berating the other driver. Harry goes into headquarters and is directed to the room where he will be taking his oral boards. His evaluator is the same guy he got into the accident with. Oops. Looks like he probably won't get to be Sergeant Ioki after all.

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