Case #1.08: "Bad Influence"

The episode opens with two middle school boys (Jordan and Dylan) hanging out in a deli late at night. Dark-haired Dylan apparently works there. Blond-haired, blue-eyed Jordan is looking at a porn magazine. Sidebar: Why are the blonds always the perverted ones on this show? See "The Worst Night of Your Life".

The boys' attention is torn away from the naked women by some noise from outside. Some men in a van are breaking into an ATM across the street. Jordan wants to call the police, but Dylan has other ideas. He hits the store alarm, which can be heard from outside. The robbers are spooked and flee. Dylan and Jordan hurry to the gutted machine and start stuffing their pockets with cash; the guys who started the robbery see them doing it.

In Cap'n Rufus's office, the Jump Street team passes around school pictures of Dylan and Jordan; they've now been missing for 36 hours. Tom is concerned they could be homicide victims. In his black T-shirt and white sportscoat, he looks like he robbed Don Johnson's closet. Doug, in a denim tuxedo and brown leather jacket, is channeling Hutch. Rufus instructs them to go talk to the missing boys' parents.

Next item of business: Rumors are circulating that a teenage prostitute is working the halls of her high school. Judy thinks it "sounds like a story a bunch of guys like Penhall would make up." Doug doesn't even get the slightest bit defensive about this remark. Harry will be going undercover to bust the girl (if she exists) for prostitution while Judy works things from the girl's side.

Doug leaves the office to call Jordan and Dylan's parents to set up an interview. Tom warns Doug to watch what he says and try not to get their hopes up too much. Doug promises to be as pessimistic as possible. 

At one of the boys' houses, the two sets of parents are seated on opposite sides of the kitchen table. The writers don't really distinguish who's who, so I'm not going to attempt to. One of the dads is very hostile to Doug and Tom. They try to be professional and ask if there's any places Jordan and Dylan liked to hang out. Hostile Dad tells him they like to play basketball at the Y; Mom #2 (not Hostile Dad's wife) reminds him that they did that a couple of years ago. 

There's a brief pause before Doug states: "You people have no idea what your kids are up to, do you?" All four parents aggressively state that they can't monitor the boys' activities 24 hours a day because they all work full-time. Mom #2 is nearly in tears. "Those poor babies," she whimpers. "I can't bear to think what's happened to them."

At a VERY nice hotel restaurant, Jordan and Dylan, both in designer clothes, are relaxing at a table. Dylan orders two vodka martinis and bribes the waitress when she asks for ID. It seems they've been on a spending spree: new suits, pinky rings, and tipping the waitress $50 for a bag of chips. Jordan thinks they should go home because he's worried the ATM robbers will find them. The waitress appears with the martinis. "This is nuts," Jordan hisses. Dylan smirks and asks if it's acceptable. "Barely," concedes Jordan as they toast.

At the high school with the suspected prostitute, poor Harry is picked last for basketball in gym class. One of the guys on his team has a date that night with a girl named Lauren, who's supposed to "do it for money." After class, he informs Judy of this. Judy bets that Lauren has no clue what's being said about her.

Judy finds Lauren in the library. Lauren bears a striking resemblance to one of my mother's friends from college. She has newspaper real-estate ads spread all over a table. Judy introduces herself as transfer student from Jefferson, the same cover story she used in the last episode! Have some creativity, Rufus!

Anyway, Lauren is looking at the ads for her dad. He's being transferred to his company's office in Connecticut and wants her to see what's available. Judy, understandably, doesn't seem to buy this story. Who asks their 16 or 17-year-old daughter to check out housing ads for them?

Lauren goes on to say her mom doesn't want to move because it'll mean leaving the country club. Lauren's dad has promised to buy Lauren a horse when they get to Connecticut. They're interrupted by a blond girl who smiles sweetly before asking nastily if Lauren is interviewing more candidates for the massage parlor.

"What was that about?" Judy wants to know. Lauren advises Judy to be careful who she dates. The guys expect sex; if they don't get it, they'll lie and say you had sex with them anyway. 

That is only too true. My first boyfriend would act like we weren't together. When my best friend told me that he asked her out, I broke up with him in our school cafeteria in front of everyone. Next thing I know, he told all his football teammates that we had sex. Our relationship lasted a grand total of a week and we never even kissed. 

Later that day, Harry approaches Lauren at her locker and awkwardly asks her out. He assures her that he's a sweetheart. Lauren agrees to a date with him the next night.

At Judy's locker, she asks Harry if Lauren really strikes him as a hooker. Guys, she points out again, are notorious for rumors: "She can't get enough...she swings from chandeliers. No one ever stops to think about how it hurts the girls because your brains are stuck in your zippers." Testify, my sister!

We join Lauren on a porch with the guy from Harry's gym class. She's dressed somewhat provocatively and they're making out. They go in the house and raid the fridge for beers. Lauren watches intently as the guy punches in the code for the burglar alarm. She asks if he's sure his parents are gone for the night and if he has protection. Upstairs in his bedroom, she takes off her top, revealing her bare back. She says they have plenty of time as long as he has money. He passes out mid-kiss.

At the upscale Ambassador Hotel, Tom and Doug are interrogate the waitress and desk clerk. Tom has changed into a tweed jacket reminiscent of something a college professor would wear; Doug looks quite out of place in his flannel shirt and Army surplus store jacket.

"Didn't you think it was little strange that two 15-year-olds asked for the presidential suite?" Tom wants to know. The clerk did at first, but Mr. Steel and Mr. Bond paid in cash. Doug repeats the fake names with raised eyebrows. The waitress just thought they were rich kids until she saw the report in the newspaper that they were missing. The clerk says the boys were pleasant guests and good tippers.

Tom requests a copy of the hotel bill and gripes to Doug, "Everybody's worried these kids are dead and they're out there auditioning for Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous." Doug is surprisingly calm. He tells Tom to relax and just be glad the kids are okay.

Jordan and Dylan's hotel bill contains charges for room service, pay-per-view movies, valet (odd since they didn't have a car), and a dozen calls to a number called Dial-A-Sweat. Tom doesn't know what Dial-A-Sweat is and Doug eagerly explains, "You pay 2 bucks to talk for 3 minutes to an extremely friendly lady." When Tom shoots him a look, Doug says that Fuller told him about the number. 

A man with a mustache knocks on Lauren's front door. Lauren is upset; they had a deal that Mr. Mustache wasn't supposed to come to her house. Lauren asks for her money. Mr. Mustache says Lauren's mother never gave him this attitude or any problems. Presumably, Mr. Mustache used to be her mom's pimp. "A $400-a-day fix was no problem?" Lauren asks. A drug-addicted candidate for Mom of the Year.

Mr. Mustache hands over a wad of money. Lauren thinks she's being shortchanged; she knows she stole an expensive stereo. He tells her it was a foreign knock-off and asks how last night went. She tells him the guy from gym had a new TV, stereo, CD player, and original artwork. Mustache asks for the location of the master bedroom and the alarm code. Lauren gives him both and tells him to come back with more money next time before slamming the door in his face.

Lauren goes into her mom's bedroom and asks if her mom's picked a house. Her mom doesn't know how they can afford a place that costs $100,000. Lauren says they just need the down payment and she's been saving everything she earns from her night job. She wants to keep her promise to get Mom clean and away from guys like Eddy the pimp. She kisses her mom's cheek and says they'll be in Connecticut in no time.

In the boys' locker room, the guy from gym class brags about his "date" with Lauren, conveniently leaving out the part where she drugged him into unconsciousness. According to him, Laura broke a nail ripping his clothes off and they did things even he's embarrassed to discuss. The boys hoot and cheer. Harry tells the group he has a date with Lauren that night. A nerd with glasses is apparently letting Harry use his house because he begs Harry to rip up the security code once he gets inside.

At Judy's locker, Harry gives her the latest update on the case. They argue again about Harry not taking this seriously. In the girl's bathroom, Judy and Lauren discuss a Spanish test while touching up their lipstick. Lauren says she was up late with her dad conjugating verbs. Judy notices Lauren's broken nail; Lauren says it happened when she was loading the dishwasher.

We join Jordan and Dylan in the lobby of a BMW dealership. Jordan still wants to go home; Dylan promises they will when they spend all the money. The salesman informs the boys that he can't go forward with the deal. Is it because neither one of them is old enough to drive? Nope, it's because they have no credit history.

Time for Plan B. The boys go to a Honda dealership and pay cash for a red-white-and-blue crotch rocket, matching leather motocross outfits, and helmets. Apparently not having a driver's license doesn't matter to the owner. The boys ride off, Dylan driving and Jordan on the back.

In the Jump Street locker room, Harry and Judy plan out the final details of Harry's date/bust. Judy gets upset when Harry suggests that he can go without her as back-up. She apologizes and explains why this case is getting to her; when she worked Vice, a detective sexually harassed her and told recruits she was a real hooker that was rescued and trained for Vice.

At the decoy house, Harry types in the alarm code with Lauren watching over his shoulder. Harry asks how she wants to handle payment, but Lauren changes the subject. Harry signals Judy, who's waiting across the street in a car. She drives to a payphone and calls the phone company to get the house's phone number.

Meanwhile, Harry and Lauren are kissing in a bedroom. He asks if she wants to talk about price before they get down to business. The phone rings. Harry answers. Judy tells him not to bust Lauren yet because she might be connected to a string of burglaries in the area. Harry hangs up and turns to find Lauren lying on the bed. She's wearing nothing but lacy lingerie. Harry offers up the most classic excuse in the book: He has a headache.

Judy wants a chance to talk to Lauren and find out who her partner is before they arrest her for conspiracy in the burglary cases. Fuller asks why Judy wants to go so easy on a girl who's lied from the beginning. Judy feels like Lauren never had a chance in life: prostitute mother, no father, and she was "probably raised in the back room of a massage parlor." Fuller reminds Judy that they're not social workers. Judy thinks Lauren wants to come clean on her own, but promises to bring her in if she won't talk.

In the squadroom, Harry tells Doug and Tom that the ATM robbers were caught. The amount of cash recovered was $12,000 short. Tom is still irritated that Jordan and Dylan are worrying their respective parents for nothing. He wants to hold off on finding them until they're broke. Doug says that could take years if they found a good investment counselor. Rufus reminds them they still have to bring the missing kids back. Tom wishes he could witness the punishments the boys will get.

Cap'n Rufus tells them to let the parents know the kids are alive and not in danger. Tom counters that they're in danger of him breaking their necks. Doug tells him to take it easy. Harry asks Rufus if Judy was able to talk him into not busting Lauren.

In the school parking lot, Lauren is pissed to learn her new friend Judy is a cop. Judy tells Lauren she knows the truth about Lauren's life. Lauren argues that all women sell their bodies; she just takes cash up front instead of expecting theater tickets or a wedding ring. Judy asks if that's what Lauren's mom taught her. Lauren's just providing for her family and no one is getting hurt. Well, except the people whose houses she helps rip off.

Lauren challenges Judy to prove she had anything to do with it. Judy wants to know who Lauren is working with. Lauren gets in her car and drives off.

Dylan pops a wheelie while going down the street on his new motorcycle. When they park, Jordan excitedly points out a pair of girls their age who are eyeing them from the arcade across the street. Dylan dismissively tells Jordan the girls are jailbait. "So are we!" Jordan points out. 

Dylan wants to meet older women at a nearby bar called Champagne Charlie's. Jordan is going to the arcade whether Dylan likes it or not. Dylan, for some reason, follows Jordan. The girls, they learn, are outside the arcade because they ran out of quarters. Jordan offers to treat them to pinball and throws an arm over the brunette's shoulder. The arcade attendant is stunned when Jordan gives him a $100 bill and asks for quarters. Back outside, Dylan is talking to the blond girl. She agrees to go for a motorcycle ride.

Mom #2 is relieved the boys are okay. Bald Dad thinks his son must've stolen his credit card to finance their little adventure. Tom says they've been using the $12,000 they stole. Doug thinks they're down to $6,000 or so after the hotel, limo, and motorcycle. Mom #2 asks whether Tom and Doug know if the boys bought helmets. Doug shrugs. 

Bald Dad doesn't seem to appreciate that Dylan and Jordan essentially committed bank robbery. Tom promises to call the parents once they find the boys. Bald Dad asks who'll get the things that Jordan and Dylan already bought.

Lauren arrives home to find Mustache Eddy coming out of her mother's room. Her mom is sitting on the floor, clearly high on something. Lauren cries that her mother promised she'd stay off drugs. She runs into the living room, shouting that Eddy is an animal. Eddy pushes her over. Lauren tells him to leave before she kills him, which he finds amusing. He says that Lauren's mother asked him to come over. 

Judy shows up at Lauren's door and flashes her badge. Lauren asks what's gonna happen to her now. Judy says she'll be arrested for conspiracy and will probably get off with just reform school. Lauren wants a deal for telling Judy that she's been working with Eddy. She asks what'll happen to her mom. Judy tells Lauren that she'll probably end up in a foster home. Lauren starts to cry. Judy gives Lauren her business card with instructions to call when she finds out where Eddy lives.

Tom and Doug arrive at the arcade in Tom's Mustang. Tom complains that kids dump $20 a night into the videogames and ought to work to support their habit. Doug says kids need to be kids. The arcade attendant points out Jordan, who's at the pinball machine with the brunette girl. The attendant called the cops after Jordan asked him to break a $100. 

When Tom and Doug show up, Jordan sheepishly tells his new girlfriend that he's involved in grand theft. "Neat!" she exclaims. She equates this with her getting caught shoplifting once. As he's lead out of the arcade in handcuffs, she calls, "I'll wait for you, Jordy!" 

Police cars surround Eddy's house. Eddy comes out to see what's going on. When Judy asks for Eddy, he says his name is Kyle. Turns out Kyle is just one of a long list of aliases. A uniform cop opens the U-Haul parked outside and finds stolen items from the burgled houses. Harry arrests Eddy. Judy wants to move Lauren out of her house before Eddy gets out on bail.

When Judy and Harry arrive at Lauren's house, it's empty. At least of people. All the furniture and their belongings are still there.

Tom and Doug ring the doorbell to the place that's home to one of the delinquents. Bald Dad invites the cops in and offers them a drink. Doug asks who the men sitting around the table are. Apparently, they're Bald Dad's lawyer and a couple reps from a movie studio. He's been getting a lot of offers to turn the boys' story into a movie. Bald Dad giddily says this is the best thing that's ever happened to him.

Doug has some bad news for Bald Dad. According to state law, any personal gain due to the commercialization of a criminal act must be turned over to the state. Bald Dad is disappointed.

In the backyard, Jordan and Dylan are wrapping up an interview with a local news crew. They greet Doug and Tom warmly. Doug is glad to see probation hasn't cramped their style. The cops are still 5 grand short of the robbers' take. Jordan suggested the ATM bandits still have it. Doug says the robbers didn't spend a dime. Tom wants the kids to get in touch if they ever find out what might have happened to the rest of the money. They leave.

"What do you think?" Dylan asks. Jordan replies, "There's always a possibility they believed us."

"What do you think?" Tom asks Doug in the front yard. Doug answers, "There's always a possibility they might be tellin' the truth." They look at each other for a moment before saying "Nah" in unison. End of episode.

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