Case #5.08: "This Ain't No Summer Camp"

Open along a wooded trail. A man in a red T-shirt shouts at a group of backpacking-wearing teens to keep up. One falls back to catch his breath. The instructor asks what the kid's problem is. The kid pants that he can't go any further. The instructor hauls the kid to his feet by his backpack strap and growls, "You don't know what you can and can't do. That's why your parents sent you here, so I could teach you."

The instructors give the kids a 5-minute break. It seems a boy named Scott is planning to escape from this trip. A girl named Diane begs Scott to take her with him, but Scott says no. A boy named Tucker gives Scott his canteen. Scott makes Tucker and the other boy promise to take care of Diane.

When the break ends, O'Hanion the instructor notices that Scott is missing. He demands to know where Scott is. "He's gone and you'll never catch him," says Diane. O'Hanion tells the kids there's no escape from Survival Search, the camp name on their T-shirts. Suddenly, there's a loud scream in the distance. The instructors go to check it out, the kids following close behind. They see a rope bridge literally hanging by a thread.
"Oh no!" Diane shrieks, spotting Scott's lifeless body at the bottom of the ravine. Theme song.

At the Survival Search base camp, the teens are introduced to three new arrivals, one of whom is Joey Penhall. Doug stands behind him, wearing Army fatigue pants, boots, and a Survival Search instructor T-shirt. O'Hanion tells Joey and the others they'll be taught the meaning of the words "discipline" and "respect." The teens have to earn the right to go home.

During a bag inspection, instructor Brickman finds two packs of cigarettes hidden in Joey's socks. O'Hanion introduces Brickman to Doug and says Doug has had life experiences the kids can learn from. Brickman shakes Doug's hand: "Call me Brick. 'Nam, Rangers, '73." Doug responds: "Joliet, B&E, '84." They show Doug the confiscated cigarettes. 

Doug asks if Joey knows smoking is unhealthy. Joey snarks that it says so right on the side of the box. Doug thinks the two of them are going to have a lot of fun together; he'll run Joey's tail off. "Do your worst, doughboy," Joey taunts. Doug hustles Joey down the path, screaming at him drill instructor style.

Once out of sight, Doug asks for Joey's impression of O'Hanion and Brickman. Joey thinks O'Hanion could "give Freddy Krueger nightmares" and that Brickman "bites the heads offa live chickens." Doug checks a nearby tent to make sure it's unoccupied. He reminds Joey that he's supposed to find the staff intimidating. Joey mocks Doug's voice and says he sounds like Lurch.

The local PD ruled Scott's death an accident; Jump Street was sent in by the state to investigate the conditions at Survival Search. We learn O'Hanion has been brought up on child abuse 4 times, but never prosecuted. Doug reminds Joey that people are innocent until proven guilty. Besides, Survival Search has an 80% success rate. Doug hears the other instructors coming and tells Joey to give him 50. "I didn't bring any money," Joey replies dumbly.

Doug, of course, means pushups. He tugs on his brother's jacket, urging him to start. Joey reluctantly does so. Doug counts off the pushups. Afterward, Joey goes to his new cabin with orders to take Scott's old bunk. The boy who fell back on the run objects and starts wrestling Joey. The instructors arrive to break it up and order them both to do 50 pushups. "Maybe you'll be smarter than Stowe here and learn your lesson the first time," O'Hanion says to Joey.

Judy and Mac pay a visit to Scott's parents' mansion. Scott's mother says her son wasn't bad, "just headstrong." Scott's father says they're divorced but amicable. They share custody and the mother was upset about the hours Scott kept. Scott's father let the kid do whatever he wanted and had been out of the country on business: "I didn't know she sent him to be murdered in some high-priced concentration camp. And if I find something that proves O'Hanion killed my boy, I'll make sure he never hurts anyone again."

Back at Survival Search, Joey brings a wheelbarrow full of rocks to Stowe, who's stacking them into a crude wall or fence. O'Hanion criticizes the way the wall looks, kicks a section over, and tells Stowe to try again. Joey is assigned to help Stowe. O'Hanion says cheerfully, "Looks like you'll have to work through dinner to get it done."

Elsewhere, O'Hanion asks Doug's opinion of the program. Doug wonders how O'Hanion knows how far he can push a particular kid. O'Hanion replies that he has plenty of experience; the same methods he uses at Survival Search were the ones that helped his son grow up to be a decorated Marine. Doug reminds him that every kid is different. O'Hanion shrugs: "Close enough." He tells Doug it's beautiful to see the rehabilitated youngsters go home to their parents.

That night, Stowe wakes up with a scream. The noise also wakes his next door neighbor Joey. Stowe unconvincingly squeaks that nothing is wrong. 

At the mansion the next day, Judy and Mac watch as a local news crew interviews Scott's father. Interviews broadcast on TV get edited and they need the whole story. Scott's father felt betrayed when his son was sent to Survival Search. The reporter inquires about misdemeanor charges that Scott was arrested for, charges his father got dropped. Scott's dad insists that's just a rumor and ends the interview. Any further questions should be directed to his attorney.

Sexually aggressive Diane flirts with Joey while he's sawing up a fallen tree limb. Joey asks about Scott. Diane reveals that Stowe, first name Jeremy, helped Scott escape; the two boys were close friends. And Stowe will be referred to as Jeremy for the rest of this recap.

Doug calls Joey over and takes him to the place where Scott died. The teens had all been told that the rope bridge was off-limits. As if that ever stopped a kid who wants to escape badly enough. Joey tells Doug about Jeremy's nightmares. "Like the man said, this ain't no summer camp," Doug shrugs. He said the thing!

At base camp, Brickman orders Jeremy to mix some cement to make signposts with. Jeremy refuses. Brickman tosses the bag of cement at him; Jeremy tosses it back and stalks off. The signposts are now Joey's job.

That night in the cabin, Jeremy shows Joey a framed picture of his sister; she and their mom are Jeremy's whole family. Joey tells Jeremy that he has a brother. Jeremy asks if they're close. "Getting there," Joey replies honestly before asking what Jeremy is "in for." Jeremy evasively replies that he's tired.

In the middle of the night, Brickman comes in and tosses a blanket over Jeremy's head. He drags the struggling teen out of the tent. Joey has seen the whole thing and O'Hanion orders him to stay out of it. The next time we see Jeremy, he's tied to a tree a short distance from the boys' tent.

In the staff cabin, Doug asks O'Hanion if they tie kids to trees a lot. "Define 'a lot,'" says O'Hanion before admitting it happens about once every few groups. He assures Doug that Jeremy will be fine except for losing a night's sleep. Doug says, "I knew a lotta guys who were sent to the Hole. It didn't always do them a lotta good." Of course, Doug is referring to his meltdown during an undercover assignment in a juvie prison. Jeremy will be checked on every hour; sometimes it's best to leave a man alone with his thoughts.

Joey sneaks out of the tent and over to the tree. He tells Jeremy to keep his head down so the instructors can't see them talking. Jeremy talks more about his family; he's close to his sister Peggy and their dad sends them a postcard once a year. Joey promises to stay outside with Jeremy all night.

At the mansion, Scott's mother discusses "the incident" that led to her sending Scott to Survival Search. Scott and a girl stole things from a convenience store; Scott took her on a joyride in a stolen car. Hey, It's That Girl: The actress playing Scott's mom also played Mrs. Pagan God in the Supernatural Christmas special. 

Scott threatened to tell his father that mom was sending him off to boot camp. Mom paid an extra fee to basically have Scott kidnapped. Scott's Mom hugs a throw pillow to her chest, expressing guilt that she purposely arranged for him to go to Survival Search during a time he was supposed to spend with his father.

Doug calls the Chapel. Judy tells him about Scott's arrest for joyriding, endangering the welfare of a minor, and shoplifting. A judge expunged Scott's record in exchange for a heavy fine and full restitution. The named of the girl involved was Margaret; witnesses said she got in the car with Scott voluntarily. Doug whispers to Judy about Jeremy; he thinks there's a connection between him and Scott's death. He's not sure he can nail O'Hanion for child abuse.

Joey gathers up some rocks for the next fence. "There's better ways of workin' up a sweat, ya know," says Diane, "So how 'bout it? It's what makes the great outdoors so great." Joey asks if it's necessary for her to come onto every guy she sees. Diane learned it from her mother.

O'Hanion talks to Jeremy. He's sure that Jeremy will be the best graduate Survival Search has ever had, "even if it puts both of us away." That really doesn't sound good...

That night, Doug brings the daily reports to O'Hanion's office, which is a shrine to his son, replete with candles. Doug asks what happened to O'Hanion's son. O'Hanion had enough of the military after fighting in Vietnam; it wasn't the life he wanted for his son. He gave his son free reign and didn't know he was doing drugs until his son was beyond help. He died of an overdose. O'Hanion describes running Survival Search as "my penance, my atonement." Doug says it could also be O'Hanion's deliverance.

In the Chapel, Judy and Mac talk to Jeremy's mother. Her daughter Margaret goes by Peggy; her children have different last names because Peggy was from her first marriage. Peggy's counselor told Mrs. Stowe that Peggy is healing from her depression, but Peggy never revealed why she tried to commit suicide. Said suicide attempt took place shortly after joyriding with Scott.

Mrs. Stowe thinks Jeremy is in New Mexico at an archeological dig camp he's been saving up for. Judy tells Mac to call Doug right away.

Joey has discovered Jeremy is missing from camp; he's going to the ridge to look and asks Doug to bring O'Hanion up there too. Jeremy stands at the edge of the ravine where Scott died, holding his photo of Peggy. Joey arrives and tells Jeremy he's a police officer. "You've been onto me all along, haven't you?" asks Jeremy.

Joey says no, they were looking into possible abuse by Survival Search staff. Jeremy tells Joey that no one can help him. Joey guesses this is about Peggy. Scott, it transpires, raped Peggy and threatened to kill her if she told anyone. Peggy tried to commit suicide after finding out Scott had gotten her pregnant. Jeremy used his savings to enroll himself in Survival Search so he could get close to Scott.

Jeremy cut the ropes on the bridge the night before Scott tried to escape. He's coming apart because he can't live with the guilt. Jeremy thinks his mom and Peggy will be better off without him. "Wrong!" says O'Hanion, appearing suddenly with Doug, "My son thought that. He was wrong too." He wishes he'd sent his son to Survival Search.

Joey manages to grab onto Jeremy just as he steps off the cliff. Doug and O'Hanion help him pull Jeremy to safety. Jeremy begins sobbing in O'Hanion's arms. 

Judy and Mac come to pick up Doug and Joey. "So, Wally, Theodore, did you boys learn any new outdoor skills?" jokes Mac. Judy says Jeremy is undergoing a psych eval and might get a lighter sentence when Peggy corroborates his story. Social Services wants to temporarily shut down Survival Search until the camp overhauls its screening process for teens in need of help. O'Hanion smiles as he watches Tucker and Diane hug their mothers. End of episode.

Case #5.07: "Brothers"

In the Chapel squadroom, Peter DeLuise's real younger brother Michael, sporting almost-shoulder-length hair and old clothes, is sound asleep (and snoring). His feet are propped on Doug's desk. Judy pokes him in the shoulder a few times, but he doesn't move. McCann rouses their guest and asks what he's doing there. Michael rubs his eyes and gives the obvious answer, "Sleeping." McCann tells him he can't do that in the Chapel. "Why not?" asks Michael, "This seems as good as place as any."

Judy tells Michael there's a homeless shelter down the street with "clean beds and everything." Michael says he belongs here. Judy and McCann exchange a what-the-hell-is-this-guy-on look. McCann tells him the Chapel is only for cops and criminals. Michael flashes his badge and explains he was told to report to the Chapel. Judy is embarrassed and apologizes. Michael shrugs, "No apologies needed, I like churches." He introduces himself as Joey Penhall. Given this episode's title, there's no way that's a coincidence.

Judy says they already have a Penhall on staff. When Joey explains that he's Doug's brother, Judy's expression shows she's never heard of him before. She asks if he's joking. Joey says earnestly, "No, I don't think so. Unless my dad lied." Brains clearly do not run in the Penhall family, even though looks certainly do.

Cap'n Rufus comes in and shakes the hand of Jump Street's latest addition. Doug arrives and wants to know what everyone's looking at. "Hey, big brother, long time, no see," Joey greets. Doug shocks everyone present by punching Joey square in the face. Rufus catches the rookie before he hits the floor. Theme song.

At Casa de Penhall, Doug is cooking dinner and Clavo is coloring at the kitchen table when they hear a knock. Doug opens the door. Joey has a nice bruise on his jawline and admits he had "a knuckle tattoo coming." Doug wonders what Joey could possibly want; Joey wants to catch up. 

Clavo appears and asks who Joey is. Joey eyes the kid and asks if his brother has "a wife or two." "Not anymore," says Doug. Joey introduces himself to Clavo, shakes his hand, and asks what his name means. "It means...nail," Clavo says slowly, still unsure of his English. 

Joey's eyebrows almost disappear into his bangs: "Ya named yer kid Nail?" Doug shortly explains Clavo is his nephew. Joey asks, "Who named him Nail?" His mother did, obviously. Doug demands to know what the hell Joey is doing at his house.

Joey ignores him and keeps talking to Clavo. He asks what being Doug's brother makes him, relative wise. "It makes you nothin'," Doug says angrily. Joey asks to come in. "Like I got a choice," Doug responds. Joey steps inside. Doug gives Joey he has 5 minutes. Joey isn't sure he can fill his brother in on 5 years in that amount of time.

"Why don't you start with yesterday and work backwards?" Doug suggests. Joey recently graduated the police academy and requested Jump Street because Doug is the only family he has left. And let's be honest, with his baby face, Joey would've ended up there anyway. Doug understands, "All the bad stuff is over, [so] you wanna be brothers again...Pop was dyin' and you just left.

Joey protests that he didn't know how to handle it; he was 15 at the time, just a kid. Doug fires back that he was 17, AKA not much older. He grew up fast being left behind to watch their father die of alcoholism. Doug didn't know how to handle the situation either, but he didn't run away. Joey agrees that he was always the troublemaker, but he changed; he's a cop, fer cryin' out loud. Doug reminds him that a lot of cops aren't great at being people. Joey repeats that he wants to be back in his brother's life.

Doug sighs and delivers a nice monologue about how he's waited a long time for Joey to come back and tap his special knock on the door. After Joey ran off, Doug hardly left the house because he was afraid of missing it; he used to think about what kind of speech he'd give, then he decided he couldn't forgive Joey. He never wanted to hear his brother's special knock again. "You shoulda put in a doorbell," Joey sasses. Doug growls, "You're a riot. Get out."

As Joey is bodily pushed out of the apartment, he begs for another chance. He has nobody except for Doug. "You got no brother," Doug says before slamming the door in his face.

The captain meets with a worried father, Mr. Morgan. His teenage daughter Stephanie is missing and apparently "got sucked in with a group of crazies called Heaven's Family." Fuller understands they're a religious group. "They're a damn cult is what they are," says Mr. Morgan. Rufus explains that cults are protected under the law as religious organizations. Mr. Morgan asks if that rule applies when the group is involved in things like drug trafficking.

Cap'n Rufus assembles the officers in the squadroom. He needs a volunteer because the cult assignment will be a 24-hour-a-day role. Whoever goes undercover will have to completely give up their personal life. Joey offers to take the case, "seein' as how I got no pending engagements with relatives or friends." It's an obvious jab, but nobody comments. Rufus tells the rest of the team they'll be researching background information on Heaven's Family.

Joey enters the Heaven's Family house and is greeted by a brunette named Rachel, who looks a lot like the missing girl Stephanie. Joey explains that he saw the EVERYONE WELCOME sign. Rachel offers him a glass of punch and they go in another room to drink it. Did nobody ever teach Joey what can happen if you drink the literal Kool-Aid?

Rachel asks if Joey is from the area. "Sorta...If you call sleepin' in a doorway down the street livin' around here," says Joey. Rachel asks if Joey has any family. He honestly replies, "None that wants anything to do with me." Rachel understands and invites him to stay for dinner. Joey thinks she's asking him out and agrees.

Later, everyone sits in the living room eating fried chicken and mashed potatoes off paper plates. Rachel explains the Heaven's Family philosophy: replacing all the hate in the world with love. In their society, there's no hate, greed, or loneliness and "we give our love freely." Free love, huh? I'm getting a very Charles Manson vibe.

The next day, Joey calls Cap'n Rufus from a phone booth to say he's going to the Heaven's Family camp for a weekend retreat. Rufus doesn't think it's a good idea; nobody told Joey where the camp is. Rufus points out that's because they don't want anyone to go looking for him. Joey's no sucker and dismisses the Family's beliefs as "hocus-pocus, lovey-dovey crap." Cap'n Rufus tells him anyone can get lured in by a cult.

Joey reminds the captain he can't follow the narcotics lead if he doesn't go. Rachel comes over to say the bus is leaving. Joey quickly pretends he's talking to his Aunt Anne, hanging up with a sweet "Don't cry on the phone, it makes me ill." Like Rachel won't be suspicious after Joey told her that he's estranged from his whole family.

A school bus bumps its way down a country road, stopping at what looks like a sleepaway camp. A crowd of people swarm the bus and hug the passengers as they disembark.

In a dining room filled with long picnic tables, Heaven's Family chows down on rolls and salad. Joey asks, "When's the protein comin' out?" Rachel explains that they're vegetarians and grow their own organic produce. Is that what they call marijuana these days? Joey wants to know how the compound is paid for. Rachel says they sell flowers, arts and crafts, and clothes. A man named Joshua calls for attention and welcomes everyone on behalf of their spiritual leader David. Can anybody say "Waco"?

"It's hard to be a young person in this world today," he starts, "How many of our guests today can honestly say, 'I have love in my life?' I mean real love, pure love." Nobody raises their hand. "That's what I thought," says Joshua, adding that society and the planet cannot survive if people don't accept love and reject hatred.

At the Chapel, Mac brings Cap'n Rufus a computer records check on Heaven's Family. They're clean, except for one thing. It seems that Mr. Morgan filed a report at another precinct about the group running a prostitution ring. The investigation was dropped for lack of evidence. Rufus wants to talk to Mr. Morgan again. 

In the dining hall, the Heaven's Family members put their arms around each other and sway to religious music. Joey breaks away and sits down, fanning himself. He checks his watch. Rachel comes over to get him back in the circle. "It's 3 AM. Don't you people ever sleep?" Joey asks. Rachel chuckles that Joey's cute, kisses him, and pulls him to his feet.

Joshua enters the mens' cabin, singsonging, "Morning brings a new day! A new day brings more love!" The others join in as they wake up. Joshua tries to get Joey out of bed. "It's 5 AM!" Joey bellows at him. Joshua tells him that an hour spent sleeping is an hour wasted. "If you don't mind, I'd like to waste about 8 more hours," says Joey. Joshua practically dumps Joey out of his bunk bed.

Joey joins the rest of the cult on the lawn, where they're doing jumping jacks. Joey wears out faster than a recent police academy grad should, but I'll chalk that up to lack of sleep. There's a montage of them singing more hymns, playing Red Rover, and making wreaths.

The Heaven's Family kids sit in a circle on the grass and talk about their lives. Rachel's father never loved her, just his job. When her best friend died of a crack overdose, Rachel's dad said he didn't have time to help her deal with her grief. 

The others' stories are similar. A black boy describes being beaten by a gang. A redhaired boy with glasses was beaten by his father. A girl was sexually abused by her father.

Joey isn't sure he wants to unpack his emotional baggage just yet, but eventually starts talking: "My old lady died when I was 4, actually, she killed herself. Starting when I was about 6, my pop, he started drinkin'...boozin', uh, a lot. By the time I was 15, he was really sick. The doctor said it was too late; his liver was almost gone. Me and my brother, we didn't know what to do." No teenager would. Hell, sometimes people's adult children don't know how to cope. Joey ran away right after that.

Joshua asks if that's what led Joey to Heaven's Family. Joey goes on that he's been living in hotels or on the streets for the last 5 years, moving around a lot. He came back home, got a job, and tried to reconnect with his brother. The reunion didn't go as planned, which I'm sure they can tell by the nice bruise. Joey thought Doug would welcome him with open arms "instead of a clenched fist."

Joey wraps up, "When I was a kid, I thought the only thing family was for was to share pain. That was the only thing I knew growin' up. 5 years on the street changed my mind about that; 5 minutes with my brother changed it right back." Rachel comforts him that Joey has a new family now.

In Rufus's office, the captain questions Mr. Morgan about the false prostitution report. Mr. Morgan asks them to understand. Doug understands that he lied again to get Heaven's Family investigated. Mr. Morgan is upset because, "They took my little girl away." Cap'n Rufus is sympathetic, but, legally, there's nothing he can do.

Mr. Morgan blames himself: "All I was givin' her were material things. I wasn't givin' her love; no one was." Yeah, Rachel is definitely really Stephanie Doug asks what that has to do with anything. Mr. Morgan explains how cults "find some kid who isn't getting any love from her own family and then they take the place of the family." The significance of this statement is not lost on Doug, who immediately looks guilty. Cap'n Rufus is concerned too and orders, "Pull Joey outta there."

Back at the compound, Joshua initiates new members into Heaven's Family. They repeat after him that will symbolize their acceptance of love and rejection of hate by rejecting their old names. Rachel kisses Joey and says, "Welcome to Heaven's Family...Abel."

Doug and Judy arrive at the camp; Judy found the address by looking up the land deed. Doug tells Joshua they're looking for Joey Penhall. Joshua assures them they don't know anyone by that name. Doug asks if he has to tear apart all 20 acres to find Joey. Joshua says they're welcome to do so if they have a warrant; Heaven's Family isn't involved in anything illegal. He's sorry they wasted their time and wishes them a peaceful trip home.

Doug grabs Joshua and says they're not leaving without Joey. "What if I don't wanna leave?" Joey asks, appearing suddenly. He informs them his name is Abel now. Doug tells Joey to drop the act; these people aren't dealing drugs like they thought. Joey knew that from the start. He wants to stay there because he feels loved. Doug tells Joey they can still fix their relationship and tries to drag him to the truck. Joshua shouts that trying to kidnap Joey is a felony. Judy herds Doug back into the driver's seat.

Around the table in the Chapel, Doug asks if anyone has any ideas about getting Joey out of the cult. Judy asks how deprogramming works. Cap'n Rufus tells her the cult member is kidnapped and locked in a room with someone trying to get through to them. But kidnapping is still a felony and "we stop kidnappings; we don't do 'em." Mac asks what Rufus would do if it was Kip. "Whatever you do, I don't wanna know about it," says Rufus.
Doug tells Rufus he needs to use the interrogation room over the weekend. Judy already cancelled her weekend plans.

The next morning, Doug and Rachel stand in front of an office building trying to sell flowers to passersby. Joey's sales pitch needs a lot of work. Suddenly, a champagne colored panel van makes a screeching U-turn. Doug jumps out of the passenger. Joey tries to run to Rachel, who's on the next corner. Doug and Mac tackle Joey. Joey swings at them a few times before Mac can handcuff him. 

Rachel drops her bundle of flowers when she hears the commotion, crying, "Abel! Call the police! They're kidnapping him!" Mac and Doug toss the still struggling Joey into the van. Rachel puts her hands over her mouth in horror.

Doug fireman-carries Joey into the Chapel's interrogation room. Judy handcuffs the younger Penhall to the radiator. Doug requests that his coworkers go next door and get Joey a cheeseburger. Judy and Mac leave. Doug asks Joey if he's hurt. 

"Joshua warned me about you. He said you'd try to do this," says Joey, "He said you'd try to get me to reject David's teachings." "He's right," Doug says, "You're my brother, Joey." Joey retorts that his name is Abel and stares at the wall. "That's so intelligent," says Doug, "I say something you don't wanna hear and you just clam up and don't listen." Doug throws a chair against the wall, smashing it. 

His voice gets louder, "You are gonna listen to me. You are gonna talk to me!" Doug slaps his baby brother in the face. That'll get him to see reason, all right. Mac comes in just as Doug gets ready to hit Joey again; he tells Doug to take it easy. Doug gripes that he might as well be talking to the wall. Mac gives Doug a paper bag and suggests, "See if he's hungry. Give him somethin' to eat." He asks if Doug wants him to stay, but Doug says he'll be fine. 

Doug unwraps the cheeseburger and offers it to his brother: "Come on, I read about this stuff. That's how they weaken your mind; they deprive you of protein." Joey keeps looking the other way. Doug puts the burger back in the bag and leaves it in case Joey changes his mind.

In the squadroom, Judy and Mac play Go Fish. Fuller tells them that Heaven's Family has reported a missing boy whose description matches Joey. Mac hasn't seen Joey for a week. "Um...neither have I, I guess," mumbles Cap'n Rufus. Much like Art on Justified, he's probably wondering how he keeps getting himself in these situations.

Meanwhile, Doug tries another tactic, "You get sucked into that b.s. cult, it's just like runnin' away. You ran away from Mom's suicide, Pop's drinking, from me, from life. You're a coward." Joey glares at him and says, "I didn't run from anything; I ran to something. I ran to a better way of life. I ran to people who are capable of loving me." Also, to be fair, Doug also ran away for brief periods after their mom's suicide.

Doug asks who gets the money from the flowers Heaven's Family sells. Joey tells him it goes to the Heaven's Family Foundation to support its 5,000 worldwide members. Doug wants to know how many flowers they sell a day. Joey tells him most people sell 5 at $5 each. Doug does the math: 5,000 kids times $25 a day equals $125,000 a day (tax-free). Joey doesn't have to listen to this. "Not again," Doug mutters.

Joey is sleeping on the concrete floor and wakes up when the door opens. "Now that you got some sleep, you feel like eatin' somethin'?" Doug asks. He put the cheeseburger in the microwave and "it's better than fresh." He begs Joey to just have a little, kneeling down to his brother's level. Doug can't believe he's doing this.

"You know, Ma used to do this when you were a little punk just outta diapers," Doug tells him, "If it weren't for [Ma] force-feeding ya, you'd-a died of self-starvation by the age of 3." Doug jams the cheeseburger in Joey's mouth. Joey takes a bite but spits it right back out.

Doug sits next to Joey and decides to take a more sensitive approach. He tells him about what happened one morning all those years ago. Their father called Doug over to his bed, "tells me he loves me. That scared the hell outta me, Pop usin' the 'L' word. Then he calls me over closer, says, 'Where's Joey?' 'I dunno, Pop.' There's a long silence...just sittin' there...just him and me. 'You tell Joey, no matter where he is, I love him.' Those were his last words." Doug adds that he lost Joey once and doesn't want to lose him again: "I need my brother."

Joey finally speaks, "What was Ma like?" Doug tells him she was the best. Joey hardly remembers her, not surprising because she died when he was pretty young. He asks, "You bury Pop next to her?" Doug did. Joey wants to go visit their graves sometime. "Whenever you like, Joey," says Doug. Joey starts eating the burger.

This scene was absolutely beautiful. It has a lot of raw emotional impact. The love that Peter DeLuise has for little brother Michael really comes across. No high drama or hysterics, just slow realization on Joey's part that Doug really just wants the best for him. And Doug has realized how much he still loves Joey and needs to fix the situation so they can be a family again.

Joey makes a trip to the Heaven's Family house and sees the group leaving on another retreat. Rachel walks over to Joey and says she misses him. She invites him to go to the camp for the weekend. Joey suggests she stay in town with him, but Rachel says she can't. They share what will probably be their last kiss and Rachel hurries to join the rest of the cult. Joey watches sadly as the bus drives away. End of episode.

Case #5.06: "Just Say No High"

Two girls arrive at what looks remarkably like Turkey Point Swim Club from Cry-Baby. A rave seems to be in progress in that there are kids dancing around with glow sticks. My rave suspicions are confirmed when the girls buy ecstacy from another partygoer. The brunette pops the ecstacy. Before her blond companion can do the same, the drug dealer collapses on a picnic table. The brunette screams. Theme song.

Outside a high school, a male student hosts a JUST SAY NO rally. Free JUST SAY NO T-shirts are passed out. The students urges his classmates to vote yes to a drug testing policy at school. Judy meets up with Doug who's posing as the assistant basketball coach; she doesn't think drug testing will stop kids from getting high and she's right. My high school drug tested athletes and that didn't stop most of the football players in my senior class from taking steroids.

The principal announces over the loudspeakers that the universal drug testing policy passed the vote by a wide margin. Any student who tests positive won't be able to participate in extracurriculars and will have to attend drug counseling. In my experience, the kids doing drugs at school weren't usually involved in any kind of after-school stuff anyway. And drug testing works so well for people who are on probation...

After basketball practice, Coach calls the team into a huddle. The team is a few weeks away from winning the state title. Coach advises the boys to drink a lot of water before their drug tests and to use the bathroom before they come to school on test day. One of the players, Godwin, refuses to take the test. The head of JUST SAY NO tells Godwin he has to be a team player and that means taking the test. Godwin storms out.

Doug tells Coach he gave the boys some interesting advice. He hopes Godwin changes his mind about taking the drug test. Coach does too; Godwin is apparently Roosevelt's only hope of taking home the state title.

A girl asks Judy if she knows how long ecstacy stays in your system so she can beat the drug test. The girl doesn't know if there will be another rave because the police have been questioning everyone who was at the last rave. She gives Judy an address to send money to; with any luck, Judy will be invited to the next rave. I thought she just said there might not be another? Oh, forget it.

When Judy reports to the girls' bathroom for her own drug test, she's disturbed that the school nurse opens the stall door and insists on watching the, er, sample collection. A few days later, students who passed the drug test receive red armbands and the names of people who tested positive. The drug-free students are supposed to mentor the students on the list. Ecstacy girl tested clean, but Judy didn't. Uh-oh....

In Cap'n Rufus's office, Judy can't believe she tested positive for amphetamines. Rufus is confident it was just a lab error; however, he still has to suspend Judy until she tests negative. The sooner she goes to the hospital to undergo further drug testing, the better. "Why don't you just get out the cuffs?" Judy asks angrily, but agrees to get tested. Rufus tells her to brief McCann, who will be taking over her case. He also needs her badge and gun. "The truth will out," Rufus reassures her.

At basketball practice, nobody will pass to Godwin. Just Say No Boy pressures Godwin to take the test. Godwin leaves practice again. Doug follows him. Godwin protests the new policy: "I don't drive a bus, I don't fly a plane. I just want to play ball." 

McCann briefs Cap'n Rufus on what he knows. The address Judy was given is a PO Box registered to Party Dude Industries. According to the nightwatchman, a tall kid in a Roosevelt High jacket came by two weeks ago and emptied the box. They suspect it could've been the dead drug dealer, Godwin, or Jeff from JUST SAY NO. Apparently, Jeff is also good at chemistry, knowledge you need to cook ecstacy. Cap'n Rufus thinks it's like suspecting Nancy Reagan. McCann reminds him that Darth Vader turned out to be Luke's father.

Judy and Doug meet in Roosevelt's otherwise deserted gym. Doug suggests she hang around the Chapel even though she's suspended. At a clinic the next day, Judy learns there's only one test that can prove the one she received at Roosevelt wrong: a hair sample. The catch is Judy would have to pay for the test out of pocket because it's expensive. Judy agrees, desperate to clear her name.

While taking Doug's advice, Judy is introduced to Inspector Nickerson from Internal Affairs. He wants to talk to Judy about her file. He also heavily implies that Judy's been skimming drugs from her suspects. He outright accuses her of stealing from a dead drug dealer in January.

At the Chapel, Judy is frantic because she can't find her report on the drug bust in question. Doug calms her down. Back at Roosevelt, Godwin agrees to take the drug test. McCann meets up with Jeff in the chemistry lab. Jeff claims he stays after school a lot because he needs a 4.0 to get into MIT; he wants to be a chemical engineer. He informs McCann that you don't need a lot of chemistry skills to make ecstacy; he could whip up a batch right there. "Of course, I would never be slimy enough to do it," adds Jeff.

Leaving school, Jeff and McCann see Godwin acting erratically on the outdoor basketball court. Hmm, wonder what that's about? Jeff speculates that Godwin might even be dealing. Godwin calls Jeff a Nazi.

McCann tells Doug and the other coach about what he saw on the basketball court. Doug tells Coach that the ecstacy was homemade and asks if there's any reason why Godwin would refuse the drug test. Coach can't think of one. When the principal searches Godwin's locker, he finds one of the chemicals needed to make ecstacy. Jeff accuses Godwin of making the bad batch.

Doug and McCann tell Cap'n Rufus they think that Godwin was framed. The kid wouldn't be dumb enough to draw suspicion to himself by refusing the drug test. McCann suggests Jeff could've planted the chemical; Rufus tells Doug to visit Godwin as a concerned coach and see what he can learn. Judy races into the office, cheering that her drug test was negative. Fuller welcomes her back.

In jail, Godwin insists he's not a junkie; he's an epileptic. Yesterday's incident was due to the side effects of his anti-seizure medicine phenobarbitol. Its metabolites can come up as heroin. Coach knows about Godwin's epilepsy and why he refused the drug test. Doug immediately suspects that Coach is the dealer and wanted Godwin to take the fall.

Doug, Judy, and McCann stake out the PO Box rented by Party Dude. The runner turns out to be, not a basketball player, but a girl named Jeanine. Judy and Doug follow Jeanine's car to the RV that Coach is using to cook ecstacy. They arrest Jeanine. Doug just barely stops Coach from destroying the evidence by lighting the RV on fire.

At basketball practice, Jeff apologizes to Godwin for suspecting him of using drugs. End of episode.

Case #5.05: "Poison"

Sadly, I don't think the episode title is referring to the hair metal band. A woman, Tracy, is dressed like she stepped out of one of their videos. She seems to be in a warehouse or storage shed. A mulleted man, Chuckie, leers and says she oughta to wear shorter skirts to show off her legs. Tracy tells Chuckie she's not there for compliments. Chuckie's been cooking up some drugs and wants to split a syringe-ful with her. Tracy shakes her head.

Chuckie grabs her by the arm and backs her into some shelving, accusing her of being a cop. Tracy says he can frisk her for a wire if he wants. Chuckie changes his mind about forcing the syringe on her and hands her a bag of drugs. Two scruffy cops kick the door in and arrest Tracy and Chuckie. When Chuckie is loaded in the paddy wagon, Cap'n Rufus cuts Tracy loose. She asks who he is. "I'm your new boss," Rufus replies. Theme song.

Case briefing time! A kid named Howard, street name Jam, is selling heroin to his high school classmates. He's smart and patient enough not to get busted. Tracy is going undercover in the school; she's one of the city's top narcotics officer. Doug smiles when he's told he will be Tracy's primary backup. I smile too. I love a good Doug-centric episode. 

Tracy announces she doesn't want to wear a wire: "You'll hear me if anything goes down." Doug reminds her it's procedure. Tracy threatens to walk away from the case if she has to wear a wire. After a long beat, Cap'n Rufus reluctantly agrees. He asks Tracy for a minute to speak privately with his team. Judy immediately jumps in that Cap'n Rufus would never accept that kind of ultimatum from any of them. Rufus tells them to cut their new partner the same slack they cut each other.

Tracy acts very standoffish to Doug in the squadroom. Doug, poor thing, is going to the school under the guise of the new chemistry teacher. That'll work about as well as Channing Tatum trying to learn chemistry in the movie version. Tracy being kind of a bitch doesn't stop Doug from flirting with her.

At the high school, a black kid who vaguely resembles Lionel Richie watches Tracy struggle to dislodge a candy bar from the stubborn vending machine. He makes the same remark as Chuckie did about Tracy's legs. The boy smacks the side of the vending machine and the candy bar lands in the tray. He introduces himself as Jam. He initially refuses to sell drugs to someone he doesn't know, but then tells Tracy to meet him after school with $40. He knows a junkie when he sees one.

Tracy goes to a diner, presumably after her meeting with Jam, and sits with Doug and Mac. She doesn't trust Fuller's intelligence but doesn't go into why; she just feels it in her heart. Doug usually feels his intuition a little lower. Mac snorts with laughter. Doug glares at him: "I meant my stomach. Of which there's a lot less lately." He brags that he's recently lost a lot of weight. Mac makes a few fat jokes.

Doug grabs Mac by his letterman jacket and drags him over to the counter. He wants Mac to leave. Mac knows what Doug is thinking about Tracy: "She isn't the girl you wanna get up tangled with." Tracy sees them bickering and says she just wants to do her job and get out alive. She tells Doug they have to leave; she's meeting Jam in 15 minutes.

It's not Jam who shows up on the corner, though, it's a redheaded girl. She tells Tracy the price has gone up to $50 and shows her a bag of pills. Tracy tells Ginger that's not the deal she had. Ginger was told Tracy asked for something, but Jam didn't say what. Tracy pays up. Next time, she wants heroin and she wants to buy it from Jam.

At the Chapel, Doug logs the bag of pills into evidence. When she signs the report, Doug sees her name is really Hilda. Tracy explains she was named after her grandmother and yearned for a normal name, hence Tracy. They flirt. Doug invites Tracy to come to dinner with him and Clavo. Tracy says yes. I wouldn't turn down the invitation myself.

Doug tucks Clavo in and tells him about meeting Tracy. Clavo giggles that Doug likes her. Very perceptive, kid. Meanwhile at the motel where Tracy is staying, the female cop mixes herself a syringe full of drugs. She shoots up in her thigh so the track marks won't show; this also explains why she doesn't wear short skirts.

The next morning, Judy and Tracy primp themselves in the Chapel's women's room. Judy notices her fellow cop's tired expression. Tracy says she's okay. Judy asks for help fastening the clasp on her bracelet; Tracy's hands are shaky so it takes a while. Tracy lies that her hands always shake before she has her morning coffee.

That night, Tracy comes over to Casa de Penhall for dinner. Clavo is impressed that she speaks Spanish. Tracy and Doug talk nonstop over dinner. He tells her that his father died when he was a teenager and describes his brother as "a real punk." Doug even tells her about his brief marriage to Marta. He tries to kiss Tracy, but she doesn't think it's a good idea to get romantic while they're working the same case.

Doug is dismissive when Judy voices her suspicions about Tracy's drug habit. I've seen this episode before, except it was Miami Vice. Don Johnson's playboy character Sonny fell deeply in love with a doctor played by Helena Bonham-Carter; unbeknownst to Sonny, she was stealing narcotics from the hospital where she worked.

At school, Jam gives Tracy an address of where to meet him for their next deal. When she meets up with Doug later, she puts an unusually high amount of sugar in her coffee, another mark of the TV junkie. Tracy says she's just trying to get an adrenaline rush before the bust. Doug thinks they should date after the case is over. Tracy tells him her life is too complicated. Doug just wants to hang out a few times to see if there's any potential for romance there. Tracy starts to shiver and Doug puts his coat over her shoulders.

At the stash house, Jam wants Tracy to shoot up in front of him: "I know you're a junkie, but I wanna make sure you ain't no cop." When Tracy sits down, Jam notices the track marks. Tracy wants to put together a large order; she has some friends from her old halfway house coming to visit soon. Jam will see what he can do. Tracy wags her fingers, asking for the syringe.

Tracy hands Doug a baggie of drugs she bought. In a stoned voice, she tells him the deal was smooth sailing. Doug notices Tracy's pinpoint pupils, a classic sign of opiate use. He asks how she could be using and if she gets high at work. Tracy claims she shoots through the vein into tissue to fake getting high and sometimes it gets in her system. Doug wants to tell Cap'n Rufus. Tracy begs him not to cost her job.

Cap'n Rufus tells Doug that narcotics officers are poison. Doug is sure it was a mistake. Rufus guesses she gave Doug the standard "occupational hazard" speech that all dirty narcotics officers give. If it happens again, Tracy will be busted and sent to detox. From now on, Tracy will also wear a wire.

In the school hallway, Tracy gets angry about having to wear a wire. Doug pulls her into a classroom because she's so loud. She goes on and on about not knowing what's real because she spends so much time undercover. Eventually, she calms down and promises Doug she'll make changes. Doug tells her that he believes in her. Meanwhile, Jam is asking guidance counselor Judy about Ivy League colleges.

The moment is cut short by a loud scream that brings Doug and Tracy out of the classroom and Judy out of the guidance office. They find Lisa, Jam's right hand woman, lying on the hallway floor bleeding. She's been stabbed.

Judy tells Cap'n Rufus she thinks that Jam came into her office to alibi himself for Lisa's stabbing. She doesn't think Jam made her. Lisa had been skimming money from Jam's drug business. Mac thinks a kid named Davy actually stabbed Lisa; he left school right after the incident. Tracy promises she can nail Jam; they just have to show up.

Tracy gets out of the surveillance van after they finish adjusting her wire. She knocks on Jam's door, calling, "Trick or treat!" Doug and Cap'n Rufus listen in. They bolt from the van when Jam says, "I don't think you got no friends from Minneapolis." Jam hasn't made her; he just thinks she's a rival dealer trying to steal his customers. Jam hits her and pulls a knife. Then he decides to sell her what she asked for. Doug and Rufus arrive to arrest Jam.

Doug advises Tracy to take her phone off the hook and get some sleep. He and Clavo will stop by her place later with a pizza. Back at the Chapel, Mac still hasn't managed to find Davy. Doug gets worried because Davy does all of Jam's dirty work and will likely blame Tracy for the bust. He tries to call her. "Damn, it's busy," Doug says, evidently forgetting he told Tracy to take the phone off the hook. He races out of the squadroom.

When Doug arrives at Tracy's motel room, he finds her with a belt around her leg and a syringe in hand. The phone receiver is in the nightstand drawer. Doug asks if Tracy refuses to wear a wire to hide that she steals evidence from every bust. "Not every bust. I need it, I need it," Tracy whines. She slaps Doug in the face when he takes the syringe away. Cap'n Rufus calls the room to let them know he found Davy. 

"I thought I knew you, I thought I actually found somebody," Doug says when he hangs up. Tracy whimpers that he did. She promises to quit after she does one last dose. Doug arrests Tracy for narcotics possession and reads her the Miranda Rights.

At Casa de Penhall, Doug can't sleep and is channel surfing. Clavo comes out of the bedroom because he had a nightmare. Doug has Clavo sit next to him on the couch. It must be a few weeks down the road, as Clavo inquires why Tracy doesn't visit anymore. Doug explains that work took Tracy away. "Why does God take people away?" Clavo wonders, "Will Tracy ever come back?" Doug doesn't know. The two of them prepare to go to sleep on the couch. End of episode.

Case #5.04: "The Buddy System"

You will not be seeing Dean and Katie in this recap or any other. Did they die tragically in the line of duty? Did they elope to Mexico? I have no idea and I don't particularly care. I'm currently on fall break, so expect lots of bloggy goodness this week.

Mournful piano music plays over a clip of students filing out of a school. A kid with curly red hair talks to his curly-haired mulleted friend about music as they walk through the woods. Beethoven put Mullet to sleep. Curly offers him another classical tape. Mullet tells Curly he'll be back after Curly sets up their hideout. It's obvious Curly is socially awkward, so I have a feeling that Curly is about to be the victim of a very mean prank. Kind of timely that I'm reviewing this during Disability Awareness Month.

A police officer or security guard (I don't know which but the dude has a badge), Mr. Cousins, asks if Mullet has his money. Mullet swears Mr. Cousins will get it. The situation gets more hostile; Mr. Cousins starts punching the kid in the face. After the second hit, Mullet doesn't get up. Curly, hiding behind some trees, has witnessed the whole thing. He falls down a hill into view. Mr. Cousins chases him, but Curly gets away. Theme song. The opening credits reveal a new star has been added: Michael Bendetti. IMDB reveals 11 credits to his name, mostly guest spots on shows like Doogie Howser.

Next we see of Michael Bendetti, he's setting up his desk in the Chapel. Judy and Doug wonder who the new guy is. His desk, it transpires, will be next to Judy's. The officers introduce themselves; Michael's character is named McCann. Sidebar: That was last name of one of my favorite baseball players right up until he left Atlanta for the Yankees. McCann says he's from "here and there." When Judy asks about specifics, he responds, "Here, there, and everywhere." Wow, this guy's friendly...

Cap'n Rufus summons everyone to his office for a briefing. The only lead on Mullet's murder is Curly. Curly is mentally handicapped and part of a mainstreaming program called The Buddy System in which handicapped teens are paired with underprivileged ones. The goal, according to Rufus, is to give the underprivileged kids "a sense of responsibility and the mentally challenged one a sense of fitting in." The victim was Curly's Buddy.

Curly was noted as being terrified in the the interviewing officer's notes. He claimed he didn't see anything, but Cap'n Rufus thinks he did. In a rude tone, McCann guesses he's supposed to be Curly's new Buddy. Doug suggests he or Judy could do it. "No offense, but aren't you guy getting a little too old for that?" asks McCann and remarks Judy hasn't seen 10th grade in a while. I officially don't like this character anymore than Booker. Judy offers McCann some Buddy System brochures; McCann says he doesn't need them. He claims in a monotone that he's thrilled to be on Jump Street. Judy thinks McCann is prickly. "That's almost the exact same word I was thinking of!" says Doug. You and me both.

When McCann's gone, Judy wonders where Cap'n Rufus finds these people. Doug has a theory: "You look young enough to get carded, you get tagged for Jump Street." He jokingly asks how long it's been since Judy was in 10th grade. "About as long as you've got to live," she jokes back, tossing an apple at him. Doug easily dodges it.

At the high school, McCann gets interviewed by Ms. Kline, the Buddy System's coordinator. In my head, she has a son named Kevin. Curly AKA Christopher comes in. Ms. Kline introduces McCann as Christopher's new Buddy. McCann offers his hand, but Christopher doesn't shake it. He doesn't want a new Buddy. Judy enters, posing as Ms. Kline's T.A.

McCann runs downstairs and tries to talk to Christopher. Christopher doesn't hear him because he's listening to his Walkman. McCann tells him they're assigned Buddies, like it or not, so "why don't you try to like it?" Bullying the handicapped, lovely. Christopher gets upset about being called Chris; he wants to be called by his full name. McCann apologizes; he knows how Christopher feels because he likes Mac better than anyone.

Ms. Kline walks Judy to her car; the older woman doesn't feel safe on campus since the murder. Mullet AKA Gavin wasn't gang affiliated, wasn't part of any cliques really. She's grateful for the presence of the school's security guard Robert. He's instantly recognizable as Gavin's murderer Mr. Cousins.

Robert walks into the empty guidance office. He puts a tape that Christopher dropped in the woods into a tape player. Unsurprisingly, it's classical. 

Cap'n Rufus asks Mac how the case is going. Mac wants to know what the rush is; he's known Christopher for 2 days. Rufus is concerned that the killer may know there was a witness. Mac's strategy with Christopher will be turning up the charm. Doug laughs sarcastically. Rufus thinks they should talk to Christopher's parents; they're divorced and Christopher lives with his mom. Mac will talk to her under the Buddy guise. 

Judy suggests letting Doug do it. Mac wants to handle it; he knows the kid (yeah, after 2 days) and the mom might give up a clue that means nothing to someone who's never met Christopher. Doug promises to take detailed notes. Mac gets territorial; it's his case. Fuller tells the rookie they work as a team.

Doug and Judy want to know more about Mac's background. Mac was a beat cop in "New York, New Jersey, someplace like that." Doug thinks the boss is stonewalling them. Fuller tells them to go back to work. Doug wants to go back to the Chapel later and find out what Fuller seemingly doesn't want them to know.

Christopher admires some girls in the hallway. He knows their names are Claire and Tanya. Mac thinks Christopher should talk to them; knowing their names is a good start. Christopher says he gets nervous talking to girls. Mac has an idea: asking Claire and Tanya on a double date. Yeah, that oughta work. They catch up with the girls. It turns out they're both in the Buddy System too. Miraculously, they want to double date. Christopher looks like he doesn't know what to do now that they've said yes. He tells the girls he changed his mind and runs outside. Mac follows him.

Christopher is clearly upset and asks, "Why does everyone think I can't like regular girls?" Mac gets it; Christopher was more interested in Claire. Christopher describes Claire as prettier, nicer, and more fun. Problem is now she likes Mac.

Doug and Judy talk to Christopher's mom in the guidance office. They want to know how Christopher is doing at home after the shock of Gavin's death. Christopher's mom says he's been moody and withdrawn; Christopher really liked Gavin. She thought of Gavin as a good kid. He helped Christopher increase his mental age from 8 to 10. Christopher hasn't said anything about Gavin's death and stopped wanting to visit his friends at the school for "exceptional children" he used to attend. Mom asks Doug if Christopher will be safe. Doug says they'll keep an eye on him.

Robert goes to the music room where Claire and Tonya are doing homework. He asks if they know who the Beethoven tape he found belongs to. They don't, but will send the person to Robert if they find them.

At the Chapel that night, Doug and Judy tell Cap'n Rufus they're staying late to catch up on paperwork. Once the boss is gone, Doug picks the lock on the file cabinet in his office and gets out McCann's file. Judy opens the folder and finds blank paper. Doug wonders why Fuller had Mac's records sent elsewhere. Just then, Mac comes in to look at the report on Gavin's death again. He sees his coworkers looking at a file with his name on it. 

Judy swears they didn't mean anything by it. Doug thinks they're entitled to know who they're working with. Mac says they're only entitled to know if he's a good cop. Doug wonders why it's so hard for Mac to befriend one kid and wants him off the case. Mac, of course, refuses.

The next day, Doug and Judy find Mac shooting hoops in a park. Doug tells Mac he thinks that they both said things they didn't mean. Mac challenges him to one-on-one. Doug's playing style is a wee bit too aggressive. He starts throwing hip and body checks. By the end of the game, Mac has a ripped shirt and a bloody nose. He says he hasn't been beaten up like that by anyone sense his older brother. Doug hasn't dished out that kind of beating since his younger brother. This is only the second time in 5 seasons that Doug's ever mentioned having a sibling. Doug adds that he doesn't talk to his brother anymore.

The two sit down and discuss their jock pasts. Mac's game, of course, was basketball; he made the All-City Honorable Mention list his senior year, which doesn't say a lot about his talent. Doug, as long-time readers know, played football. He tried to play basketball but fouled out all the time. 

Mac opens up about his law enforcement career. He was a beat cop in the notoriously safe (read: crime-infested hellhole) of Newark, NJ. He got assigned to a precinct full of cops on the take who didn't appreciate having an honest rookie in the station house. Mac was the first one through the door at a domestic disturbance call that turned out to be a setup and "took 3 hits." Doug is stunned: "They tried to kill you." Are we sure Mac was a cop in Newark and not Farmington? Mac couldn't even bring charges because he didn't see who shot him. That prompted him to move and not trust anyone but himself, both of which are understandable.

Doug reminds him that dirty cops are the exception, not the rule. Mac asks Doug for advice about getting Christopher to talk. Doug tells him not to push the issue. He shouldn't act like he's on a case and instead should "just treat people like...people."

Through the music room door, Mac watches Christopher play the piano; the kid is listening to his Walkman at the same time. Christopher thinks Mac is hassling him and explains he's allowed to be in the music room during his free period. Mac is amazed that Christopher knows how to play songs just by hearing them. The two decide to take turns playing the piano. Think HORSE but with music. Pretty soon, they're both having fun.

Judy goes to the park with three mentally challenged boys who are in the Buddy System. They ask her a lot of questions about what it's like to be a cop so she obviously told them what she does for a living. She wants to know if Christopher's told them anything interesting lately. They haven't seen Christopher in a while; they met him in the woods behind his school near some boulders and he seemed sad. Judy offers them a tour of a police station on Monday. They eagerly accept, though a boy named Brian seems upset that he can't be a policeman.

Robert takes a break from patrolling the halls of Patrick Henry High to watch Christopher playing the piano by himself in the music room. After school, Patrick enthuses about a tape Mac gave him to listen to; he could play the songs while Mac sings them. Christopher thinks Mac isn't such a bad Buddy after all. Mac says Christopher must miss Gavin. Christopher does and supposes "Gavin must've got in really bad trouble with that policeman." He saw Gavin fight with a policeman and that's who killed him.

Unbeknownst to them, Robert's car is parked nearby and he hears everything they're saying. Christopher doesn't want to tell Mac the name of Gavin's murderer and darts away. Robert tries to run Christopher over with his car. Mac attempts to shoot out the tires and misses. Christopher has escaped injury and keeps running. Robert stops his car and chases Christopher into the woods. Doug happens to arrive with his truck and Mac gets in.

Doug parks his truck when Mac points out Robert's abandoned car. The cops run toward the woods. Christopher has hidden himself in what looks like a duck blind. Roberts calls for him, promising not to hurt the kid. "Stop! Police!" Doug and Mac shout. Mac trips and falls, then tells Doug to go on chasing Robert. Doug stops Robert with a flying tackle. Doug takes Robert's gun and sits on the ground trying to catch his breath.

Further in the woods, Mac clutches his hurt leg. He gets up and limps toward Christopher. He tells the kid it's safe to come out and that he didn't lie to him for a bad reason. Gavin's killer wasn't a cop; he was a security guard and "real cops are supposed to help people." Mac asks Christopher to trust him. He know what it's like to be scared, but Christopher shouldn't be scared of trusting Mac. Christopher comes out of hiding and takes Mac's hand. End of episode.

I'm still not sure if I like Mac, but he did kind of redeeming himself by being genuinely nice to Christopher. I work part-time with the disabled and I'm familiar with the challenges it presents. However, it's all worth it knowing that the person you work with has at least one person they can depend on for friendship and kindness. 

It's also disappointing that they didn't reveal what Gavin owed Robert money for. Drugs? Gambling? Bootleg Beethoven tapes? The world will never know.