Case #3.06: "Hell Week"

At a college campus, Harry, Booker, and Tom are all wearing suits and ties, approaching the Pi Nu fraternity house. A banner on the porch reads OPEN HOUSE. Classical music plays as they step inside. A guy with a mullet and goofy glasses introduces himself as Kevin Davis, offers them sparkling apple cider, and hands them a rush book to sign.

Kevin sees Booker write that he's a premed major and tells him that he'll get a lot of studying done in Pi Nu, but the guys also like to have fun. "Excuse me," Tom interrupts, "Pi Nu Fraternity?" "Since 1919," Kevin says proudly. Tom tells Booker they're in the wrong house; they're looking for Delta Rho Chi.

Kevin looks disappointed and tells them it's next door. He asks them to stay and meet the rest of Pi Nu. "You can look at our new mainframe," Kevin offers, "It's state of the art." Tom shoves Booker forward, saying he'd love to look at the mainframe. Harry and Tom leave. Booker apologizes and promises he'll come back. A Pi Nu brother thinks Booker is nice. "Yeah, seems real interested," Kevin says sarcastically.

At Delta Rho Chi, a party is in full swing. Everyone is dancing except two blond guys hanging out by a table laden with booze. "I like the guy with the dark hair," says Blond In Sweater, pointing out Booker. Blond In Suit is dismissive: "He's Jewish." Sweater points out Tom; they both think he looks like a druggie. "What about his friend?" says Sweater. Suit almost laughs: "The Chink?" What a pair of fine young gentlemen...

Booker is enjoying himself entirely too much. He tells Tom and Harry to pick up some girls "not only are they hot, they're legal." This pig would fit right into my ex's frat. Tom jolts Booker back to reality with a stern reminder: "We're on a rape case." 

In the Delta Chi Rho living room the next day, the brothers tell Tom and Harry they're lucky and both on the fast track.

Elsewhere on campus, Judy sits on a bench talking to two girls. One in a brown sweater is dating a Delta Rho. Judy asks what they're like. Brown Sweater describes them as "the coolest. They're the kind you can bring home to meet your parents and they don't worry about leaving the two of you alone together." Her friend with slightly curlier hair adds that "they're mostly law and business majors, a few jocks, and no nerds." 

In the Chapel, Booker angrily tells the captain he's "not joining a nerd frat." "I think you're gonna have to," says Tom. Rufus says the members of Pi Nu might know something about the rape because they live next door to Delta Rho. Delta Rho also terrorizes Pi Nu. "They're nerds, they deserve to be terrorized," says Booker. 

Harry deadpans, "What a guy." Cap'n Rufus tells Booker to look at it differently: "You can't blame them for wanting one cool guy in the house." "You'll be just like Fonzie," says Tom, making an obvious dig at Booker's leather jacket.

Judy is undercover in one of the sororities; Doug is stationed in the dorm where the victim's brother lives. Cap'n Rufus wants a clean bust. "Cindy Wilson says she was raped," says Booker, "The frat boys say she pulled a train." Rufus says the majority of gang rapes on college campuses take place in fraternity houses: "You're gonna have to become one of them to get them to confide in you." Problem is the Delta Rhos don't think they did anything wrong. 

Harry and Tom will go through the entire initiation process to prove they're trustworthy. Booker wants Doug put in the nerd frat instead. Cap'n Rufus says it's too late because Booker already has a bid from Pi Nu.

Doug plays a lively game of hallway soccer with his dorm floor mates. Doug's roommate comes out and steals the ball, saying that he can't even hear himself think. Doug gripes that his roommate hasn't said 3 words to him. "He's real upset about his sister," Blue Polo explains, "She dropped out the first day. Night before, she was at some frat party. Ended up with her back on a pool table, if you know what I mean." Doug asks if it was rape. Blue Polo doesn't know because he wasn't there.

At the Pi Nu house, Kevin asks Booker if he's coming to the disc-copying party that night. They're getting a program that will let them copy protected discs. Booker says he has to study. Kevin invites Booker to join them later for burgers and beers. Booker agrees, but has a concern: "I heard when a guy pledges a house, he has to go through all these tortures like drinking out of a toilet bowl and eating raw eggs." "We're above that kind of gratuitous degradation of our friends and colleagues," Kevin assures him.

The Delta Rho Chi pledge class stands lined up in the parlor, all wearing white T-shirts. Sweater lays out the responsibilities of pledging: learn the history of the fraternity, memorize the names and bios of every active and pledge brother. Sweater wants it done by 9 AM the next morning. Sweater says it's not difficult and rattles off Tom and Harry's fake backstories. Sweater leaves them in the hands of their pledgemaster Michael: "Welcome to Hell Week, gentlemen."

Michael instructs the pledges to look at the portrait of their founding father, a Confederate general. They will go through tests of their mental attitude and personal character, a really nice and roundabout way of saying "hazing." The pledges won't sleep. The brotherhood of Delta Rho is supposedly all about honor, trust, and friendship. The pledges must do anything an active asks them to and dress identically on and off campus. They also have to carry "pledge change" (3 dimes and 3 quarters) in their right pocket. 

Tom gets in trouble for having his shirt sleeves rolled up. He watches as the rest of the pledge class does 50 push-ups. They go to the frat house kitchen. Harry has to load the silverware compartments while keeping inventory of how many utensils are in each spot. Michael calls out alternately "knife, spoon, fork." Harry messes up and Michael tells him to concentrate. If Harry makes another mistake, Tom will have to rub a chili pepper on his lips.

When Harry makes another mistake, Michael changes his mind. He cracks a raw egg into a glass and tells Tom to drink it. Tom does. Michael says they have all day and all night to get the silverware drawer right. Tom ends up having to drink 3 more eggs.

In the parlor, Michael announces the pledges have been awake for 48 hours and are doing well so far. In fact, they'll be rewarded by getting to sleep on the living room floor. Michael leaves and tells one of the brothers standing outside the door, "Get everyone ready in 45 minutes." On cue, the brothers come in the door, banging on pots and pans and waving flashlights. 

It's Tom's turn to sort the silverware. Michael says Harry will have to eat liver because Tom is wrong about how many knives there are. Tom makes a bet: If his count is correct, Michael has to eat the liver. I can't see a sadistic pledgemaster actually agreeing to this, but Michael, of course, does. Tom is right, but Harry is told to eat the liver anyway.

The brothers drink beer on the porch while Tom shines Michael's shoes. The brothers then turn their attention to the sidewalk below. They start hooting at passing girls and holding up numbers like Olympic judges to rate the girls' attractiveness. Judy passes and the boys rank her on a scale ranging from 7.5-9. Judy looks disgusted and throws a wadded-up piece of paper at them. 

Meanwhile, Kevin gives the Pi Nu pledges a tour of Frat Row and accidentally backs into one of the Delta Rhos. Jackson tells Kevin to bring them back tomorrow because this is their day to give the tour. Booker steps out to ask if there's a problem. After a brief exchange that doesn't make much sense, Booker punches Jackson square in the jaw, causing him to drop the six-pack of beer he was holding. The Delta Rho brothers hold up numbers to rate Jackson's fall. The Pi Nus continue their tour, stepping over Jackson as they go. 

Doug's roommate is unnoticed as he walks up the front steps and in the door of the Delta Rho house. He walks downstairs to the basement, where there's a full bar set up and a couple of pool tables. He grabs a stack of videos from atop the VCR. At that moment, a Delta Rho in an argyle sweater appears. Doug's roommate drops the videos and runs out the back door. "Intruder!" shouts Argyle Sweater as he chases the other guy down Frat Row. A few more frat boys join the chase.

Doug's roommate makes it to his dorm through the back door. The Delta Rhos tackle him to the ground, drag him to his feet again, slam him against the wall, and start hitting him. Doug hears the commotion and dashes out of his room, roaring "GET OFF HIM!" He tosses the frat boys away like rag dolls and tries to pull his still-unnamed roommate behind him. "Nobody breaks into our house!" shouts Argyle Sweater. 

Somehow, the Delta Rhos recognize Roomie as Cindy's brother. Green Sweater says, "I'm sorry. I know what you must be feeling." "You don't know nothin', man!" says Cindy's bro. Green Sweater rubs salt in the wound: "You got the wrong idea. Maybe you don't know your sister like you think you do." 

Cindy's Bro tries to lunge at the Delta Rhos, but Doug gets between them. He warns the frat rats, "You better take off before you get hurt." Argyle warns Cindy's Bro to stay away from "where he doesn't belong." When the Delta Rhos leave, Doug turns to his roommate: "I don't suppose you wanna tell me what's going on."

In Doug's dorm room, he gives Cindy's Bro a Ziploc full of ice to put on his black eye. Cindy's bro explains that he heard a rumor from another fraternity that the Delta Rhos set up their basement "to tape guys getting it on." Doug thinks it's far-fetched. Cindy's Bro thinks they're capable of anything and I have to agree. He was trying to steal the tape with Cindy on it, which he planned to give to the police to prove it was rape. Cindy's Bro then contradicts himself by saying the secret sexy time room is "probably just another fraternity legend."

Doug asks how Cindy is holding up. Her brother tried to convince her not to drop out, but she didn't want to face the humiliation of walking down Frat Row on her way to class. "All she wanted to do was go to college," Cindy's Bro finishes sadly.

For a dork frat, there seem to be a lot of girls chanting "Pi Nu" in the house. It's probably Booker's doing. The Pi Nus are fixing something in the basement and Booker is trying to convince them to get the party started. Kevin thinks Booker is sure to be elected pledge class president. The repair project turns out to be a stereo that came from next door. Pi Nu does a lot of "high-tech stuff" for Delta Rho, even though they're assholes. 

Booker asks if it's true that Delta Rho has a spot in the house where they "videotape their dates." Kevin says they just have a peephole. Another Pi Nu chimes in, "They're too stupid to run a camera." He gets the stereo working and loud generic rock music comes out. Booker coaxes the brothers to dance with the girls he brought over. I wonder if he paid them like he did before.

In the Delta Rho parlor, Tom answers fraternity history questions and gets spanked with a paddle if he's incorrect. Ouch. I have pledge paddle from my sorority, but it's really small and strictly symbolic. Tom is dismissed and shuffles back to his place in the pledge line. An alumni in a suit tells the pledges that the paddling will transfer any evil spirits to the wood, which makes the whole process sound more like a messed-up religious ritual than hazing. The alum burns the paddle that the pledges were just spanked with.

The next pledge activity is climbing a ladder and taking a drink on every rung. If you fall back even a step, you have to start over. The first pledge starts and is heading up the ladder at a pretty good speed. The problem is the ladder gets shakier the higher up you go and the kid is getting progressively drunker. Near the top, he loses his grip and slides all the way down to the floor. Tom checks on the fallen pledge and tells him, "You don't have to do this."

"Who the hell do you think you are, mister?" asks the irritated alumni. He tells Tom this is a tradition that he did when he was a pledge. He wants Tom to put the drunk kid over his shoulder and climb up the ladder. Tom does; the wooden ladder creaks ominously under their combined weight. Tom downs a shot on each rung and makes it to the top of the ladder, then starts back down. The Delta Rhos and pledges cheer. As the other pledge vomits noisily on the parlor rug, the cheers turn to cries of disgust.

Tom lies on the couch in Rufus's office with a wet washcloth over his eyes. The captain notes that Tom looks a little green. He adds that Tom was right to step in because a lot of kids have died in hazing incidents. "Is this crap legal or what?" asks an equally tired-looking Harry. Rufus says it's illegal in every state, plus each fraternity and sorority has rules against it. My college sure as hell doesn't play around when it comes to hazing; one fraternity lost their charter permanently for doing it.

"They say hazing builds character," Cap'n Rufus continues grimly. Judy chimes in with her sorority experiences: "Last night, they lined us up in the chapter room according to breast size." My sorority never hazed; in fact, the only real differences between pledges and actives were that pledge meetings were on a different night and pledges couldn't wear our letters until after initiation. 

Harry has heard Delta Rho has a similar lineup and the winner gets to wear a fireman's helmet, loser wears a caboose hat. Tom chuckles. Judy thinks it's disgusting.

Jogging through the quad, Michael stops to talk to Judy and a girl named Grace. He asks Judy if they've met. "I scored an 8.5 on my way to the library yesterday," Judy says. Michael apologizes because he had no idea she was a Kappa Psi. He wants to make it up to her by taking her to dinner anywhere she wants. Judy rattles off something in French. "In Paris?" asks Michael. Judy counters, "You said anywhere." He agrees it's a date before jogging off. Judy and Grace giggle.

Tom and Harry sneak into the Delta Rho basement. Harry searches for places they could've hidden a camera. Tom notices the videotapes on the VCR. Harry finds a peephole behind a painting. They go into the room on the other side of the hole.

Judy and Michael enter the basement. "This doesn't look like Paris to me," Judy says a little uneasily. Michael sets up a game of pool; Judy asks what the stakes are. "I wouldn't bet anything you mind losing," says Michael. I know where this is going. He kisses her neck. "Isn't this a little fast?" says Judy. Michael thinks she can keep up. Judy wants to set the pace. He offers her a drink. Judy claims she doesn't drink. Michael says they have orange juice. The door to the room with the peephole opens. Sweater catches Tom and Harry.  

At an indoor pool with a waterslide, the pledges march in wearing what look like white Stormtrooper boots; they also have mittens on and ski masks over their faces. A Delta Rho says they're in if they pass this final test. They herd the pledges up the stairs to the waterslide. The one at the head of the line is shoved down it (feet first, thankfully). We see a POV shot of the slide's course.

"Please don't make me do this! I can't! I can't!" says one terrified pledge. He too is pushed down the slide. More POV of the ride down. One by one, the pledges land in the pool. Underwater, they struggle to remove all their gear. The Delta Rhos applaud and whistle. They pull Tom and Harry onto the pool deck. One pledge is having trouble with his mittens and doesn't surface. Harry and Tom jump in after him. 

They each grab an arm and drag him up. They carry the other pledge between them, swimming toward the wall. Surprisingly, the brothers help lift the still-mitten-and-boot-clad pledge to safety. Tom rolls the kid onto his side and tells the Delta Rhos to call an ambulance. Harry can't find a pulse, so they start doing CPR while the rest of the fraternity looks on. 

Finally, the pledge comes to and starts coughing up water. Sweater asks if the pledge, Kerry, is all right. "I'm okay," Kerry chokes. Sweater tells his brothers to cancel the ambulance. He cheers that Tom and Harry are heroes and begins a chant of "Delta Rho!" 

In the parlor, all the Delta Rhos and pledges are wearing tuxedos. Kerry steps forward to receive his pledge pin, then Harry, then Tom. Sweater, who's presumably the president, reminds them that they're sworn to secrecy. He repeats the supposed values of Delta Rho Chi: honor, trust, and friendship. He congratulates them and leads a round of applause. It's time for another party. The brothers show the newly initiated Tom and Harry pictures of previous pledge classes.

From somewhere in the house, you can hear a woman's voice screaming, "No! No! No!" Tom goes to investigate. Sweater asks, "Michael, is that the tape I think it is?" On the fraternity's TV, we see Michael kissing a girl who wants nothing to do with it. He pushes her against the table to a deafening chant of "Delta Rho!" Sweater thought they agreed to destroy the tape. Michael says they can't because it's a piece of history.

Harry looks sick but asks who the girl is. Michael explains the tape was made at a party the night before school started and the girl had sex with 3 of them. Tom asks if they raped her. Of course, Michael's answer is no. Cindy is still shouting "No" on the tape and Tom points that out. "Look at what she's wearing," says Michael, "She wanted it." God, those phrases get under my skin. Michael then uses my most hated one: "When it comes to 'no,' they mean 'yes'."

Tom doesn't think it sounds like Cindy is saying yes. "You're an active for 5 minutes and you're giving me a lecture?" Michael asks, raising his eyebrows. Tom, practically in his face, yells, "This is wrong!" Harry adds that Kerry almost died during the waterslide stunt. Kerry has a look on his face that has "guys, don't bring me into this" written all over it and reminds them that he didn't die. "Because his brothers were there to save him," Sweater says. Kerry agrees.

"Your brothers didn't save you." Tom says, "Your brothers didn't move." "You were saved by two cops," adds Harry. Tom tells Michael that he's under arrest for raping Cindy. Harry shows them his badge. I like to imagine that contributing to the delinquency of a minor and reckless endangerment charges will be added.

Doug sits on a bench in the quad and tells Cindy and her brother some good news: The college is shutting down the Delta Rho house and the chapter will be dissolved by the national organization. The rapists will probably go to prison if Cindy testifies against them. "One step at a time," says Cindy's Bro, "I just got her to re-enroll." Cindy wants to testify. Doug is proud of Cindy for having the courage to come back to school.

In the gym, Kevin is lifting weights. Even though the case is over, Booker spots him. The Pi Nus have started working out because "you gotta be a stud to be respected." "Why would you wanna be like those meatheads?" asks Booker. Kevin thinks guys with muscles have all the fun. The Pi Nus will never have anything except other geeks. 

Booker gives Kevin some encouragement: "In a couple years, these grunts will be fat ex-jocks spendin' all their time talkin' about the good old days...The girls who thinks these slobs are so great are gonna become women who'll appreciate guys with brains and a little class." (Plus Booker knows where he can hire a prostitute). He invites Kevin out for a beer. On that heartwarming note, end of episode.

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