Case #3.12: "The Dreaded Return of Russell Buckins"

Jackie annoyingly clears her throat repetitively to get Tom's attention as they both read the paper over their morning coffee. Tom isn't ignoring her on purpose; reading is part of his daily wake-up routine. Jackie shows him a magazine article she found titled "Kiddie Kops Under Kover." The horrendously misspelled headline is followed by the byline of Tom's old friend Russell Buckins. It describes a program being run out of a former chapel and there's no question he's talking about Jump Street. Tom gets upset.

Harry has read the article and is not flattered that Russell described him as "Bruce Lee clone who swiped Don Johnson's wardrobe." He blames Tom for the article. Tom is on the phone with the magazine, trying to track down Russell; he claims he needs to get in touch because he's Russell's cousin. Doug's description was equally uncharitable: "a typical bruiser who's fallen off his motorcycle one too many times."

Tom gets called into Cap'n Rufus's office. Tom will be suspended while the department figures out how badly the program is compromised and he will have to go in front of a review board. Tom has flashbacks of the drag racing and bear wrestling that occurred the last time he and Russell crossed paths.

Tom takes a cab ride to what looks like a cross between a castle and a mansion. Its driveway is lined with limos. Louise, a congressman's daughter, is getting married there later in the week. It's a private party, but Tom gets in because an elderly British man mistakes him for someone he knows named Robert Wendell. It's a stereotypical TV rich-people party with a band playing classical music and people in fancy clothes drinking champagne.

Tom is introduced to Louise. She loves Russell's writing and knows Tom's not Robert Wendell, but lets Tom stay. She tells him that when she was a teenager, she dreamed of meeting a guy and "living off love and coconuts in a grass hut." When Tom finds Russell, he punches him right in the face. Everyone is shocked, but Russell waves off their concern, saying it's a fraternity handshake. Tom drags him down the stairs and outside.

Tom tells Russell his career is now on the line because Russell used him for a story. Russell asks for 2 days so he can finish an expose he's writing about the bride's father; he won't testify before the review board on Tom's behalf if he doesn't get to stay. Tom threatens to hunt him down "and perform voodoo rituals on your internal organs" if he doesn't keep his end of the bargain. He gets in the cab and sees Russell getting awfully cozy with Louise. Tom goes back to the party.

That night, Louise dances on a balcony with her father. The congressman notices she doesn't seem happy about marrying her fiancé George; he advises his daughter not to get married if she has any doubts.

Inside, Russell tells Tom that he's really there to do a story about George. Tom sees right through this. He thinks Russell is trying to break up the engagement because Louise is rich. Russell goes outside and dances with Louise. It's obvious that she likes him on some level. The congressman goes inside and tells Tom he's suspicious of Russell's intentions toward Louise, but he doubts she's interested.

While playing pool, Russell tells George that he has bad news. The congressman's companies have been selling placebo baby medicines to third-world countries. George still has a chance to shield himself from the scandal that will ensue when the story hits the papers. George leaves. Tom has overheard everything and tells Russell, "You make me sick to my stomach. You just want $20 million. Don't tell me you aren't trying to break up this wedding because I'm capable of uncontrollable violence." Russell claims that he loves Louise. Tom says, "Don't make me puke." Russell wouldn't love her if she wasn't rich.

In the courtyard, Louise confides in Tom that George has ended their engagement. She doesn't know why, but seems relieved: "I can enjoy the festivities now that I'm not getting married." George is better suited to her social standing, but she wants a guy like Russell, "someone who'll buy me a hamster for my birthday and mow the lawn in his underwear." Russell comes outside later and sees Louise thanking Tom for something. She kisses him.

Tom drops by Russell's hotel room. The journalist offers to drive him to the airport, but Tom isn't going anywhere without Russell. Russell says that nothing could tear the couple apart if Louise and George were really meant to be together. "That doesn't mean she's meant for you," Tom points out.

The next day, the rich people are dressed all in white and playing croquet on the mansion lawn. Tom says it's cold for that and offers to take everyone bowling. They all accept and soon have a grand old time. Russell tries to take credit for the bowling trip, but nobody is listening. He wants to take Louise to a nice restaurant for lunch; she'd rather stay and have a cheeseburger. Tom and Russell argue some more in the men's room. Russell says nothing he's ever done warrants Tom "moving in on the only girl I've ever loved." Tom asks how it feels to get stabbed in the back.

Louise is sitting at the snack bar when Russell comes out. She says Tom asked her to marry him and she plans to announce it at dinner that night. Russell decides to bring Jackie to the mansion. He says Tom has been cheating with Louise, motions to the other woman, and tells Jackie, "Go fight for your man." Tom apologizes for how Jackie found out. She accepts and Louise graciously invites her to stay for dinner.

In the dining room, the congressman toasts Louise's new engagement. Russell then stands up and proposes to her. Louise is onto him, however: "You don't care about me. You only want me because I'm a rich debutante." "I'll do anything," Russell pleads, "I'll even get a real job." Louise agrees to marry him. Louise's father asks her to reconsider.

The congressman takes Russell into the parlor. He offers Russell a check for $500,000 to walk out of Louise's life. Russell won't. The congressman asks him to name his price. Russell doesn't want money. Louise hears them arguing and is thrilled that he loves her. The congressman comes out and warns his daughter that he will cut her off financially if she marries Russell.

The next thing we see is a city hall. Jackie and Tom throw birdseed at Russell and Louise; he's in shirt and tie and she's wearing a white business suit. Jackie isn't angry with Tom because she knows the whole thing with Louise was a set-up to get revenge on Russell. At the Chapel, we learn that Russell took all the blame at Tom's review board hearing. Yay, Tom isn't getting fire! 

The final scene is of Russell and Louise living on an island surrounded by parrots, washing their clothes in the river, grass hut and all. A ridiculous ending for an equally stupid episode. I sincerely hope that the Russell Buckins story is not a trilogy.

No comments:

Post a Comment