Case #3.01: "Fun With Animals"

In a high school metal shop class, some genius kid is building a portable electric chair. It can run on household current or a car cigarette lighter. But not to worry, it's really only wired to a couple of radio batteries (so the kid says, anyway). 

The boys debate on who they will test their invention on when the teacher goes out for a smoke break. They mention the possibility of a Jewish boy, but decided on a boy named Tommy Hamburg that they call Hamburger. Hamburger turns out to be Tom. Once Tom sits down, the boys strap him to the chair while he protests, "This isn't funny, Dennis." The ringleader, Dennis, flips the switch and nothing happens, much to Tom's relief. When they release Tom from the chair, he punches Dennis in the stomach. 

Later, Tom leaves the school (Westside High)and Dennis almost hits him with his car. Dennis asks, "Are we gonna check in with Fuller or can I go grab a beer?" Looks like this asshole is the newest addition to Jump Street. Theme song.

The Chapel squadroom is buzzing with activity. Looks like the program got renewed after all. Harry arrives, now sporting a ponytail. "It's good to see you out of the milk carton," he greets Judy. She's chopped off the majority of her hair, not a good look for her. Dennis leers at her. Harry introduces her to Dennis, last name Booker, which he will be known as from now on. 

Blowfish enters and high-fives Harry. Booker sits down and Judy tells him, "That's Penhall's desk." The big guy is absent. Harry says that Doug is still working Intelligence and "I don't think he's coming back." Judy tells Booker that a desk near hers is empty and he thinks he could "get used to that view." 

Tom is talking to Cap'n Rufus: "You've partnered me with a psychopath with a license to terrorize. He hangs kids out windows, hits on every girl in school, and teaches kids how to build electric chairs. Who gave this guy a badge?" My sentiments exactly. Tom and Booker are trying to find someone who painted racist graffiti and flattened the tires of a visiting sports team's bus. "Any suspects?" Rufus wants to know. Tom says, "Besides my partner?"

Cap'n Rufus has to call for Booker twice because he's preoccupied with flirting with Judy. Rufus tells Booker about Tom's suspicions. Booker doesn't think the kids he pals around with are racists. "They make fun of blacks, Jews, Hispanics, people with glasses, whatever," Tom points out. Booker repeats that kids aren't racists, just bullies. Cap'n Rufus stops the bickering and tells them to get along and solve the case.

Booker cuts in line at the cafeteria's taco day. He and the gang bully an assortment of kids, including a white boy with glasses. Booker sexually harasses a black girl; like Judy, this girl is having none of it. She's more vocal about it, however. One of the bullies beckons Booker, Tom, and a mulleted kid named Marty over. "If you really wanna scare the broad, you gotta do it the right way," he says, pulling up his shirt to reveal a gun in his waistband. At his locker later, Tom sees Booker bothering the same girl. 

Tom goes to visit Doug in a shabby apartment where his former partner is on a stakeout. Doug has grown a goatee and is looking out the window with a telescope. Tom sounds a little jealous when Doug mentions his new partner Fitz. Doug hears that Tom and Booker aren't getting along. Tom asks Doug to look into Booker's background. Doug isn't supposed to, but agrees. Tom wants to know when Doug is coming back to Jump Street. Doug isn't sure. His new captain thinks he's great at what he does and Doug likes the intelligence division.

In the parking lot the next day, Booker is sunning himself on the hood of a car. Tom confronts him about not checking in at the Chapel. "I overslept," Booker says with a weasel-like grin. When they go into school, there's a commotion. A girl in gym shorts and a T-shirt shouts, "Tell the principal to call the police! And send the nurse right away!" 

A crowd has gathered around the girls' locker room. Tom and Booker press in for a better look. Someone has painted racial slurs on the shower wall. The black girl Booker had been harassing lies naked on the floor; another girl covers her with a towel. The girl's face is badly bruised.

Cap'n Rufus arrives at the home of a black woman where reporters are camped out on the porch. Booker, Tom, and company watch from across the street. "Hey, homegirl! Why ain't you home watchin' Cosby?" Booker taunts. Rufus gets up to the porch and won't comment on whether this incident is related to the bus graffiti. 

The loudmouth on the porch is Councilwoman Travers, who is shooting her mouth off about racial violence. She doesn't want the victim to be "harassed" by the police. She demands to know when Cap'n Rufus will have a comment: "After the next rape? Or maybe the rape after that?" Rufus reminds her that she's undermining a police investigation. Booker and his friends begin to pelt the reporters and councilwoman with food, then run away. A jelly doughnut splatters on Rufus's jacket.  

Tom and Booker discuss the case. Judy wants to be part of the investigation, not on racial grounds, but simply because a 16-year-old was brutally raped. "We don't know it was a rape," says Cap'n Rufus. Booker parrots that at her. "You probably think she enjoyed the whole thing," Judy says. The department wants the case handed over to the major case division. Tom asks for more time; he thinks they're close to finding out who did it. 

Cap'n Rufus can't give them more time. They're staying on the original bus graffiti case. However, they won't be able to access Major Crime's files about the girl's attack. Rufus asks if they know anything about people throwing jelly doughnuts the day before. 

Booker tells Judy that he didn't mean to be insensitive (a likely story). He claims he's just trying to keep the case in perspective. She buys his apology.

Booker asserts that he's doing all the real police work on their case. He adds, "Those boys may be jerks, but at least they know how to have a good time." In the cafeteria, Booker, Tom, and the bullies discuss the previous day's doughnut exploits. Marty brags that they were on the news. They plan on where to meet to cause mayhem that night. 

At a bar/pool hall, Booker wonders if they should ask Cap'n Rufus to send them with backup. Tom wants to wait and see what's being planned first. Booker doesn't think the kids would have the stomach to burn Tracy (the rape victim) with cigarettes. Tom says suspiciously, "I didn't read anything about any cigarette burns." Booker shrugs: "Cigarette burns, bruises, whatever." 

Tom comes in to Doug's garage. Doug is lightly coated with grease and fixing his motorcycle. He has information on the newest member of Jump Street: Booker went to the academy the same year as Tom, switched divisions a few times, and had minor discipline problems. "I think he raped Tracy Edwards," says Tom. He also thinks Booker is crazy and racist.

Doug points out that Booker isn't the only bigot on the force. "He has a thing for black girls," Tom says, "He was hitting on Judy." Doug doesn't think that proves anything, except that "he's heterosexual"; Judy is pretty and lots of guys flirt with her. Booker strikes me as more predatory than flirtatious.

Booker lays the blame on Tracy's mother's boyfriend, a younger guy with a history of violence toward women. "Everybody blames the wicked stepfather," says Doug. The mother's boyfriend can't be a suspect because he has a solid alibi. 

"He [Booker] let something slip," Tom goes on, "Someone burned Tracy with cigarettes." It wasn't in the police report or news coverage. How else would he know? They can't get into the files kept by the assigned detective. "Booker's Internal Affairs," Doug explains, "He's investigating Jump Street." The city wants to make sure Tom isn't guilty of entrapping the kids. Doug couldn't tell anyone because it's classified. As Tom starts to leave, Doug warns him to be careful.

Late that night, Tom and Booker sit in Booker's parked car. An ancient rusty pickup truck approaches with its lights off. The kids driving it stop and pull a large wooden cross out of the truck's bed. Three guesses what they're gonna do with it...

Booker hands Tom the matchbook. "Hamburger, light it!" Jim hisses. Tom does. Booker grins creepily. Marty and his merry band of future Klansmen hustle away. 

The kids, including Booker, have their mugshots taken. They're put in a holding cell. Tom shows them his badge, reads off the list of charges, and informs them that they'll be tried as adults. "4 of us and one of you, narc," snots Booker. Tom grabs him by his jacket and slams him up against the wall. He calls for a guard to take Booker to interrogation, along with the other two suspects.

One of the suspects, Marty, wants to call his dad and doesn't want to talk. Tom says teenagers tend to finger the guy they're least afraid of, which happens to be him. Tom asks about Tracy. Marty bellows that Booker probably did it: "I saw him follow Tracy to the showers." Tom comes tells Fuller that Marty didn't rape Tracy. 

The next day, Tom sits outside Booker's building, waiting for him to leave. When he does, Tom scales the fire escape and breaks into Booker's apartment. In his dresser drawer, Tom finds Tracy's case file.

Tom questions the school janitor. "I seen him and that colored girl gettin' hot and heavy in the bushes," the old man says, "You ask me, she had it comin'." He refers to Tracy as a "little whore." 

Tom visits Doug's stakeout spot again, where Doug is making himself a sandwich. Tom announces that he knows who raped Tracy: Booker. He tells Doug about breaking in to get the files. Doug can't believe what Tom did. Booker's car was seen in the school parking lot and he was spotted in the bushes with Tracy. "You're not gonna be no hero draggin' one of your own down," says Doug. 

Cap'n Rufus tells Judy and Booker that Jump Street's help has been requested because Tracy isn't talking. Tom walks in late. He shows Fuller the file on Tracy and tells him where he found it. "What were you doing in Booker's apartment?" asks Fuller. He also wants to know how Booker got another detective's file. "He's Internal Affairs," Tom explains, "He's trying to get us for entrapping kids." 

Tom asks where Booker was the night of Tracy's attack. "I was busy," Booker says coolly. Tom lays out all the evidence he has and finishes by stating, "He raped her." Judy stuns everyone by saying, "No, he didn't. I picked Dennis up after school and he was with me all night." What in the hell is Judy doing making out in the bushes with a creep like Booker? We all have lapses in judgment, but she didn't even seem to enjoy the attention from Booker.

Outside the Chapel, Judy advises Tom to straighten things out with Booker: "He could have your badge for what you did." Tom is still firm that Booker's racism isn't just an act. Judy thinks Tom is jealous. (So do I). She says that they went to a movie and talked, but nothing else happened.

Tom lightly dozes on his couch later and is interrupted by a knock at the door. It's Booker. He's not happy about Tom exposing him as Internal Affairs, but he wants Tom's help in finding Tracy's rapist. Tom voices his opinion that what Internal Affairs does (setting up cops to do the wrong thing) is no different than the entrapment they're accusing him of. Booker doesn't intend to get Tom in trouble for the break-in. Tom agrees to go back on the case. "But I'm not helping you," he states flatly, "I'm helping Tracy Edwards."

Tom and Booker enter the darkened school hallway and go to the crime scene: the girls' locker room. "When you knew about the cigarette burns, that's when I thought you did it," says Tom. Booker explains that after school, he just apologized to Tracy for giving her a hard time. He remembers seeing Tracy get upset in the cafeteria, yelling at someone he couldn't see. The only person who can tell them what the argument was about is the victim herself.

At Tracy's house, Mrs. Edwards tells Booker and Tom not to bother her daughter. They explain all they want to do is help her. Mrs. Edwards concedes, but stipulates that only one of them can talk to Tracy. Tom goes into Tracy's room and tells Tracy who he really is. He's done everything he can to find out who attacked her, but he's out of leads and doesn't know how else to find out who did it.

Tracy turns away and says, "Leave me alone and let this go away." Tom gently tells her that it won't go away; if the police have to subpoena her, she won't be treated like a victim. (Sadly, that probably was true in the 1980's).

"Did anybody rape you?" Tom asks. Tracy shakes her head no. Tom wants to know who she fought with in the cafeteria. Some girls Tracy knows were upset because Tracy had slept with one of their boyfriends. On purpose or not, who knows? We see in flashback that the fight continued in the locker room and a girl named Jackie put gum in Tracy's hair.

Tracy narrates, "When I hit her, they jumped on me and they kept hitting me and hitting me." They also cut her hair, ripped her clothes off, and burned her. Tom asks why she didn't tell anyone this in the first place. "I didn't know what to do," says Tracy, "I stayed there all night trying to make it go away. I don't want you to arrest them. I just want it to go away."

There's suddenly a jarring change of scenery: a strip club. Booker explains that Internal Affairs loaned him to Jump Street because he looks young. He wants to be partnered with Tom again, even though he knows that's the last thing in the world Tom wants. 

End of episode.

No comments:

Post a Comment