Case #2.12: "Fear & Loathing With Russell Buckins"

When the episode opens, Tom's car is being worked on in a body shop. Doug pulls Tom into the garage office to talk to Fuller. Tom's Mustang is being rebuilt as a hotrod to bust an illegal drag-racing operation. Tom is not at all happy that the car he inherited from his dad has been chosen for this assignment. (For some reason, they couldn't just grab a car off the impound lot).

When the mechanics start the rebuilt engine, Tom complains that the Mustang is making his ears ring. He and Doug drive off in it.

At Tom's apartment, his friend since kindergarten, Russell Buckins, is crashing on his couch. He and Tom do a secret handshake. Russell, interestingly, bears a passing resemblance to Doug. Tom learns that Russell has been fired from a job yet again. Russell explains the reason for his unexpected visit: Tom's high school girlfriend Debbie is getting married.

The same Debbie wrote something vaguely romantic when she signed Tom's yearbook. Tom is over Debbie; after all, high school was a long time ago and they only dated for 3-and-a-half weeks. Russell's thinks that Tom's fear of commitment kept him from making any more moves.

Tom and Doug leave for the drag race. On the ride over and at the race, Doug asks Tom a laundry list of questions about high school: Did Tom ever shoplift? Get detention? Drag race? "Borrow" someone's car? Get in a fight after a football game? Not surprisingly, the answer to all of the above is "no."

Tom finds the main drag racer and places his bet: his pink slip against $500. Doug doesn't think Tom can win, but they can't arrest the kid for drag racing if he doesn't actually do it. Fuller and the rest slip into the crowd.

Tom is up against a red car and doesn't look worried. He reaches down to turn off the walkie-talkie he was issued to communicate with his backup. Naughty, naughty, you'll get caughty. When the flag drops, Tom floors it, racing the red car. Doug screams, "What the hell?"

Tom pulls over when he sees the police cars in his rearview mirror. The other driver doesn't and runs into a truck.

At the hospital, the father of the red car's driver raises holy hell. Cap'n Rufus is uncharacteristically cold and tells the father that his kid shouldn't have been drag-racing in the first place. He will be charged with that offense if he recovers.

Doug and Tom are both in serious trouble. In addition to an Internal Affairs investigation, they're both being sent back to the police academy for a refresher course. Doug is upset and says, "Since when did I become my partner's keeper?" Cap'n Rufus responds coldly, "The day you were sworn in."

Doug still thinks it's unfair; how was he supposed to know Tom would actually race the kid? Tom tries to help his best friend by saying Doug didn't do anything. That's the whole problem. Doug (in theory) could've stopped Tom, but he didn't. Someone else will have to take Tom home because his beloved Mustang has been impounded as evidence.

The next morning, Doug sits in an academy classroom. His patrol uniform and sticks out like a sore thumb next to the cadets' uniforms. The instructor calls roll and pauses at Doug's name. He tells the cadets that Doug is a prime example of what they don't want to become. None of them should ever have to be recycled through the academy.
The instructor calls Tom's name next, but Tom isn't there. Doug nervously looks down at the tabletop.

Russell's Jeep speeds down a back road somewhere. They're taking a road trip to Debbie's wedding. Russell wonders aloud what the police department will do to Tom for blowing off the academy refresher course. "Fire me," Tom answers simply.

Cap'n Rufus tells Judy and Harry that the academy called to say Tom never showed up. He wants them to find Tom. Harry informs their boss that he and Tom have been subpoeaned to testify at a hearing the next day. Just wonderful.

The cadets do push-ups on the floor of a basketball court that, for some reason, is part of the police academy. The instructor comes over to pick on Doug: "You were a screw-up the first time you were here and you've been a screw-up since you left." Doug is clearly angry but trying not to let himself be provoked. The instructor accuses Doug of acting like a low-life due to his undercover work.

Doug has been partnered with another cadet for the academy. Said cadet asks to work with someone else, but the instructor refuses; Doug isn't the first lousy partner the kid will have. The instructor thinks Doug isn't being a team player and tells him to stay in the gym doing push-ups while his classmates get a coffee break.

Harry and Judy arrive. Judy asks Doug if he knows where Tom is; they've already checked Tom's place, his mom's house, and Amy's. Doug takes a wild guess that Tom is with his old friend Russell Buckins.

Tom is driving Russell's Jeep now and admits to still fantasizing about Debbie. He wonders if the real thing could match his expectations. "It was better," says Russell, who had sex with Debbie while they were both in college at Michigan State. He adds that Debbie moaned Tom's name during their encounter.

The two stop at a bar, where Tom hustles Russell in a game of pool. Russell dares Tom to wrestle Sheila the grizzly bear; if Tom lasts 60 seconds in the ring, he'll get a $500 cash prize. Tom agrees to wrestle the bear, but doesn't go the distance.

At the academy, Doug and his cadet partner Pryor go through a training scenario about clearing a building. They are berated by the instructor for botching it. Pryor blames Doug; he thinks Doug should know better since he's already been through the academy. 

Judy has been calling hotels trying to find Tom but without success so far. Harry testifies in court and the judge decides to continue the case at 9 A.M. the next day.

Back in the Jeep, Tom is sleeping off a hangover on Russell's shoulder. He wakes up when Russell hits a bump. Russell is proud of Tom: "You blow off your job, you wrestle a bear, you get a tattoo." Tom looks horrified and pulls up his right shirt sleeve, revealing Johnny Depp's real tattoo of an Indian chief's head. Tom demands, "Why did you let me get a tattoo?"

Russell starts scheming up ways to crash Debbie's wedding. Tom has changed his mind about going and they start to argue. Russell doesn't notice the cow in the middle of the road until it's too late. They run it over and end up at the local sheriff's office, charged with "vehicular cowicide." The sheriff has contacted Fuller so that Tom can go back to testify in court.

After Tom testifies, Cap'n Rufus bitches Tom out about running off with Russell. At 22, Tom is too old for such childish rebellion. 

Elsewhere, Debbie is getting ready for her wedding. When she answers a knock at the door, she finds Tom. Tom suggests that she dump her fiance and leave town with him. She refuses and can't believe what Tom is saying. Tom can't believe it either and wisely decides not to stay for the ceremony.

Russell announces that he's decided to be a writer. He thinks their brief road trip has given him enough material to write a book and says he'll make Tom famous. 

End of episode.

Case #2.11: "Christmas In Saigon"

In the Chapel loft, Doug and Harry quote the famous "I coulda been a contender" scene from On the Waterfront. It's unbelievably funny to see an Asian guy doing a basically dead-on Marlon Brando. Doug's in his usual letterman jacket, Harry a suit. When they finish, an assembled crowd cheers and applauds. 

There's a large Christmas tree in the corner. "Not bad, not bad," says Blowfish, who's dressed like Santa. A girl dressed like Mrs. Santa passes carrying a tray; Harry and Doug each snag a cup of eggnog from it. He compares Doug's impression of Brando to its intended target (On the Waterfront) and Harry's to "late-model Brando" circa The Godfather.

They all toast with their eggnog, except Tom because Blowfish left him out. Judy didn't want to miss "Dueling Brandos" at the office party, but she has to leave. She's flying home to Chicago to spend Christmas with her parents. 

Doug pulls a brochure out of his jacket and asks Tom, "You comin' with or not? $800 and all the single women you can..." He trails off. "" Tom shakes his head vigorously. Judy kisses Doug, Tom, and Harry on her way out. 

Tom tells Doug he already has Christmas plans: going to his mom's and decorating the tree. Doug asks if Tom will be bringing Amy; Tom thinks so. Blowfish cries, "Watch this! Watch this!" and does his infamous party trick against a glass tray.

Harry asks if the captain's going back East for the holidays. Cap'n Rufus plans to "spend a traditional Christmas watchin' college football players kick the hell outta each other in meaningless Bowl games." Blowfish asks Rufus to place bets for him; his in-laws are coming so he won't be able to watch.

A man and middle-aged woman enter, both wearing trenchcoats; they're Miller from Internal Affairs and Hogan from Immigration & Naturalization. They're looking for Harry. They tell him that he has to accompany them downtown. Cap'n Rufus asks what's going on. 

"Merry Christmas, Captain," says Miller, handing over a folder, "We have reason to believe H.T. Ioki is an alias." Doug cries, "What are you? Nuts?" Miller believes Harry committed fraud when he applied to the police department. "You're not Harry Ioki?" Doug asks. There's a long pause before Harry admits he's not.

Miller explains that H.T. Ioki is deceased; Cap'n Rufus knows that because Harry received some death benefits by mistake. Miller informs Rufus that the real H.T. Ioki has been dead since 1967. The department discovered this during a routine check through the new Social Security database. 

"Who the hell are you?" the captain demands of Harry. Harry doesn't answer. Rufus goes on, "Where the hell are you from?" Harry, who'd been staring at his lap, sits up straighter and says, "Vietnam." He was born in Saigon and lived in a neighborhood near the central market. It wasn't a good area back then. 

Someone knocks. "Come in!" Cap'n Rufus snaps. Miller tells Harry that his best chance to help himself is telling them everything. Miller turns on a tape recorder. Harry stands up, takes a deep breath and says, "My real name is Vinh Van Trahn. I was 14 years old in April of 1975 and I lived in Saigon. It was 5 days before the fall of the city."

NOTE: Harry narrates the flashbacks, which will be summarized because young Harry also speaks during them. Harry will also always be referred to as Harry.

Flashback. Harry is sitting on a floor watching S.W.A.T. on a black-and-white TV. An older Asian man, presumably Harry's father, comes down the stairs and pushes back the beaded curtain to enter the kitchen. He talks to a woman (probably Harry's mother) in Vietnamese. All Vietnamese conversations in the episode are subtitled in English.

Harry's dad went to the American embassy and they were packing all the equipment. The family has to leave the city and not tell anyone. Harry's mother doesn't want to leave her siblings, nieces, and nephews behind. Harry's dad agrees that his wife's mother may accompany them. Harry overhears the conversation and heads for the door. Back in the kitchen, Harry's grandmother refuses to leave the country; she's old, will slow them down, and there's no time to argue. 

Harry goes to find his best friend Tai to let him know the Van Trahns are leaving Vietnam. He finds him at the market, where Tai's mom had been a baker. Tai's father was killed in the war and Tai was passed around to various relatives after his mom died. 

Harry and Tai walk to the hut where Tai lives. There's a Star Trek poster on the wall. Harry tells Tai that he's leaving the country. Tai says that his family probably will too. The teens make a plan: If Saigon is overrun by Vietcong, they'll seek shelter near the tanks at the presidential palace.

Back to present day. Blowfish, Doug, and Tom are in the squadroom and they've been listening to Harry tell his story. "I still don't get it," says Blowfish, "If you're Vihn Van Trahn, who's H.T. Ioki?" Cap'n Rufus explains, "He's an infant. Died in San Francisco 20 years ago." He knows that Harry went to Frisco right before applying to the police department and wonders how Harry got access to death files. Harry posed as a reporter for a student paper and then used the dead infant's Social Security number on his police application.

Blowfish asks Harry why he did that. Harry thought the department might be prejudiced against a Vietnamese refugee since a lot of police officers are military veterans. Blowfish wonders why Harry didn't legally change his name. Harry planned to and even filled out the paperwork. 

Blowfish leaves for an early dinner at home. He happily tells his coworkers that his in-laws are currently snowbound in New Jersey. Miller returns with good news and bad news. Good: Harry's not suspended. Bad: There'll be an internal investigation to determine if a review board will be necessary.

Cap'n Rufus gets a little hostile and leaves. Miller warns Harry not to be late to his hearing. Doug points out the bright side, "They can't take Christmas away from you. Come on, you're gonna be late for Hanson's mom." Harry doesn't want to go. Doug and Tom drag Harry out of his chair. They have a funny exchange:

Tom: What are you gonna do? Wander the streets on a cold, dark night, desperate and lonely?
Doug: Only to find yourself drinking alone in a bar.
Tom: Hitting on some strange woman who has nowhere to go for Christmas.
Doug: Who charges you for her company. I think I saw this movie. Ioke...or whatever your name is, it's Christmas and Mrs. Hanson has a tree to trim.

Tom parks the Mustang in front of Widow Hanson's. The outside of the house looks festive with Christmas lights around the gutters and a wreath on the door. Tom gets out of the car holding a present for his mom. Amy is worried about not getting Widow Hanson anything. Tom solves the problem by removing the card on the box that says "Love, Tommy." Harry and Doug playfully scrap in the yard, Doug poorly singing: "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire!"

In Widow Hanson's living room, Amy hands over the present. Tom fibs that he hasn't gotten his mom anything yet. Widow Hanson sets down the present without opening it and turns to Harry. "I heard about your problem with the department," she says. Tom scolds her.

Widow Hanson asks what they're supposed to call him now. Ioki says that Harry is fine. "Can they deport you, Harry?" asks Widow Hanson. For the second time in a minute, Tom sharply says, "Mom!" Widow Hanson plows on, "You told me he was depressed. He doesn't look depressed." Harry explains he can't be deported because the refugees were all given resident alien status and green cards.

Doug makes the politically incorrect comment: "Here's your green card; go open a restaurant." Tom changes the subject by asking Harry about what they watched on TV in Vietnam. Harry rattles off the list: Wild Wild West, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Combat.

Flashback. Harry's dad tells Harry to pack 2 bags because they're leaving in the morning. Harry can't tell anyone they're fleeing the country. Father and son hug. Harry goes to the market and gets bad news from Tai: his family will remain in Vietnam. The next day, Tai slips into line with the other refugees and gets through the gate of the American embassy.

Back to present. Miller says this is the most interesting Internal Affairs case he's ever seen. But Harry lied on his application, which is a fireable offense. 

A lawyer named Jeff shakes hands with Harry and Cap'n Rufus. Jeff tells Harry, "A high-profile case puts more pressure on the review board not to make an unpopular decision." Jeff also defended Rufus during his recent DUI case. Cap'n Rufus is still a little hostile: "I spent 13 months over there. We don't know who you were then and I still don't know who you are now."

Flashback. Refugees gather on a riverbank to be evacuated by boat. A translator tells everyone to stay with their families. Tai has slipped in by putting on an American uniform. Harry's parents are elsewhere gathering the family's belongings. Tai and Harry hug. VC soldiers begin firing on the beach. Tai is gunned down. Harry runs for the safety of the water and starts swimming.

Present day. Harry tells Cap'n Rufus the hardest part was climbing the ladder when he got to the boat. He searched the boat for hours but didn't find his parents. He later learned that they were both killed on the beach. It was the first time Harry had been on a boat. Their destination was a refugee camp. 

Flashback. Title card reads ANDERSON AIR FORCE BASE, GUAM. A burly, mustached cook brings a big pot of rice out to a serving line. Harry compares the food situation to "having 150 people show up for dinner at your house on a Tuesday." Harry bypasses the line, approaches an airman, and says "Hello" a few times; he learned English from the sailors on the ferry and from watching American TV. The airman introduces himself as McCay.

For reasons not sufficiently explained, Harry ends up being allowed to serve food to the other refugees. Harry visits McCay at his desk and asks if he has food. McCay interprets the question wrong and replies that he already ate. Harry grabs McCay's arm and drags him outside.

McCay asks where they're going. Harry points toward the mess tent. "You're still hungry? You've been eatin' on the line all day." says McCay. Harry repeats, "Hungry" and points in the opposite direction of the mess tent. McCay gets the picture. He could get in a lot of trouble for feeding refugees after hours. McCay unlocks a supply truck and gives Harry a big can of something to hide. Harry serves whatever's in the can to the people in his tent.

Present day. Judy calls Harry from a payphone and says he should stop blaming himself for Tai's death. Judy's having a lovely trip to her hometown: It's raining, Dr. and Mrs. Hoffs are fighting, and her best friend is getting divorced. 

Tom thinks Cap'n Rufus should be more supportive of Harry. Rufus is upset that Harry lied to all of them. He tells Tom about his Army buddy Reggie, who was killed in Saigon when a 14-year-old boy rolled a grenade under their Jeep. Rufus chased the kid but couldn't find him. Tom still thinks Harry had good reason to lie. When Tom leaves, Rufus angrily knocks over his coffee mug. 

Flashback. Harry's green card was sponsored by a Methodist church in Saint Louis. He lived with a woman named Bessie Mason, who liked to be called Grandma Bessie. 

She comes into the living room while he's watching S.W.A.T. and asks, "How are you ever gonna learn English watching policemen shooting each other?" She changes the channel to Sesame Street. Harry went to high school in Saint Louis. After graduation, he applied to the police department under his assumed name. 

Present day. Cap'n Rufus wakes up in a cold sweat, his dog tags around his neck. At Harry's review board hearing, Jeff lauds Harry's exemplary police record and numerous commendations. The department has 2 pending discrimination lawsuits. He calls Rufus to testify. Rufus has sympathy for Harry and fully supports him.

At the Chapel, Cap'n Rufus hands Harry a sheet of paper. It's one of Harry's name change applications; Rufus found it in Jenko's old fie cabinet. Jenko stamped and filed it before he died, which shows Harry made an effort to correct the error on his application.

Doug cheers, "Ioke! You're as good as back! Now gimme the 10 bucks you owe me." Tom elbows Doug in the stomach. Miller says, "Happy Ho-Ho-Ho" as he leaves. Cap'n Rufus admits he would've done the same thing with his department application if he'd been in Harry's shoes.

In Cap'n Rufus's office later, he has his feet up on his desk and is watching a Bowl game on a miniature TV. Tom comes in and says, "I'm not one to be cynical, Captain, but a Christmas miracle?" Jenko never filed things. Tom and Rufus share a look. 

At Widow Hanson's house, it's a Jump Street family Christmas dinner. Blowfish is there with his wife; the baby Blowfish are wreaking havoc somewhere in the house. Tom goes in the kitchen to stop the madness and the elder Blowfish boys throw food at him. Harry calls for a toast. Doug salutes Tai, Tom mentions Rufus's friend Reggie, and Cap'n Rufus adds: "To everyone else we left over there." They all clink their champagne glasses together.

End of episode.