Case #4.01: "Draw the Line"

The episode opens in a hospital room decorated with a Bruce Lee poster and Polaroid photos of the Jump Street crew. Harry lies in bed, comatose but no longer on a ventilator.

In a prison, the cons locked in their cells are taunting someone: "Hey, fish! We're gonna kill you, fish! We know who you are and we know what you are!" A prisoner with a beard and a Bob Ross haircut tells the others to shut up. A chant of "Skin the pig!" begins. The Bob Ross clone warns his cellmate that he's on his own if he gets attacked. Tom is lying on the bottom bunk. Apparently I was wrong about us having seen the last of Johnny Depp... Cue theme song.

At Casa de Penhall, Doug is trying to hook up some electronics. Cap'n Rufus tells him that he's trying to put a cord in the phone jack. "The VCR don't take messages?" Doug quips. Judy wants to leave because visiting hours end at 8:30. Doug has to set up the VCR first; his building just installed cable and he wants to tape the Outlaws vs. Vikings football game. 

Cap'n Rufus asks if Doug saw the Vikings beat the Saints. "Don't tell me! I haven't watched the game yet!" says Doug, his hair shorter this season. Fuller says, "That game was last week." Doug defensively tells the captain that he's a little behind on his home viewing. He adjusts a few more wires on what looks like a sophisticated (by 1989 standards) entertainment system. 

"Can we go?" Judy asks. Doug hands Fuller a Polaroid of Harry and Tom that he promised to bring to Harry. Judy asks if they should invite Booker. Cap'n Rufus wants to ease Booker back into the Chapel. Judy isn't sure Booker will want to come back. Rufus wants to talk to him about it. "Don't bother," says Doug as they all leave.

In his apartment, Booker's listening to the half-time report on the Outlaws/Saints game on headphones that are plugged into the TV. The cord is ridiculously long; it goes all the way into the kitchen where he's finishing cooking. Booker goes into the living room with his TV dinner.

In the prison dayroom, the same football game is on TV. Tom is playing pool with his cellmate. The cellmate advises Tom to come to terms with the fact that he killed a cop. "No, I didn't," Tom argues. Cellie points out that everyone in prison says they're innocent. Out of nowhere, another inmate tries to attack Tom with some kind of blade; Tom hits him with a pool cue. The rest of the inmates cheer on the fight. It takes quite a while before the guards are able to push their way through the crowd and stop it.

In Harry's hospital room, Cap'n Rufus tells Doug and Judy, "The doctors said it's good to talk to him. It stimulates brain activity." Judy holds Harry's hand. Rufus tells Harry that he missed him at the first Outlaws game of the season. Doug tells Harry about getting a good deal on his VCR. Judy misses Harry being at work.

Booker and his new partner Frank are hanging out in a parking lot watching some Gangsters (a local gang) party around a fire. Booker remembers a cop he knew being killed in a drive-by in this area. Frank announces that he's leaving the force; he got a job offer to be head of security for the Crane Company, which also owns the Outlaws football team. 

"Crane told me to always listen to your gut, no matter what your mind says. Your gut is telling you police work is all BS, I know it," says Frank. Booker asks Frank if he's gonna leave him "alone in this jungle." "Something tells me this place won't be a jungle for long," says Frank. Booker wonders if that's Frank's gut talking again. Frank doesn't answer. 

Booker goes into the Chapel squadroom and stops by Judy's desk. She asks if he's coming back. Booker admits that he's been avoiding Fuller's calls. Doug offers to give Booker the message: "Get the hell out of here." "Doug!" Judy chides. Booker wants to talk to Doug. Doug says he won't until Tom is free. They start yelling at each other. Judy tells them to stop. 

Booker has a gut feeling about Tom's case. "So do I," says Doug, "It makes me sick." Booker is sure he did the right thing and reminds Doug, "at least I didn't lie on the witness stand." That was the wrong thing to say; Doug calls Booker a son of a bitch and hits him in the face. Judy tells them to stop it. Booker claims he took the assignment to protect Tom from Frank. 

In case you didn't read the last couple recaps, Tom went undercover with a gang and wound up being found guilty of murdering a dirty cop who supplied the gang with weapons. Doug covered for Tom while he was a wanted fugitive. Frank was the dead cop's partner.

Anyway, Booker does leave the Chapel.

Booker and Frank go to what looks like the prison. Frank wishes he'd gotten to his former partner's house earlier; he could've shot Tom and his partner would still be alive. Booker later goes to the hospital and sits by Harry's bedside. Flashbacks of things Frank has said play. "It was Frank's gun," Booker says to himself.

Booker goes to visit Tom in prison. Tom punches Booker right in his rat face. For reasons unknown, both of them end up in the warden's office. The warden is 'Hey, it's that guy!' the principal from the Disney Channel movie Kidz in the Wood. The warden tells Tom that the state can furlough prisoners in special circumstances. Tom is being released into Booker's custody for 24 hours, supposedly to go to a funeral. How convenient!

Tom asks if it's Harry's funeral. Booker says yes and that Tom was listed as Harry's next of kin. Cut to them driving around, Tom still in his denim prison uniform, a look Johnny Depp would rock the following year in his spoof of '50s teen movies Cry-Baby.

At Casa de Penhall, Doug settles onto his couch with a large bowl of chips. He watches one of his taped baseball games. Booker knocks on the door. Doug calls, "I'm watching the game!" When Booker persists, Doug tries claiming that he isn't home. Doug hears Tom's voice and decides to open the door.

The three of them take a seat in Doug's living room. Tom's sorry about Harry. "It's okay, he'll snap out of it," says Doug. Tom looks at Booker and asks, "He doesn't know?" At this point, I have a flashback to being 16 years old and finding out my beloved grandma had died due to a conversation quite similar to this one. Doug's reaction is also quite similar to mine: a quiet, shocked "No."

Booker tells Doug that Harry is really still in the hospital. Doug is understandably pissed about the lie. Booker had to lie to get Tom out of prison. "What for?" Tom asks. They all bicker for a minute and Tom leaves to get a beer from the kitchen. Doug sums up Booker perfectly in one sentence: "You have no regard for anybody but yourself." 

Tom interrupts the argument to ask if the beer bottlecap is a twist-off or does he need a bottle opener. Booker repeats that he broke Tom out of prison to clear his name; the fake funeral was the only way: "Hanson didn't kill Buddy. It was Frank." Tom leans toward him interestedly.

At a bar, Booker goes into further detail. Yeah, that's not too public a place for that. They've thrown a baseball cap and jacket on Tom to disguise his prison duds. Doug wasn't the only person who lied at Tom's trial; Frank did too. Frank was paranoid about waiting in a parked car by himself, so there's no way he was in his car when Buddy was shot. 

Doug and Tom don't understand why Frank would kill his own partner. Booker suggests that Frank was in on the gun-running. He might've killed Buddy to take over the illegal operation or to shut him up. Frank's cushy job at Crane pays better than the police department and also gets him out of a war zone. Tom says it doesn't make sense for Frank to want out of a war that he kept going. Booker mentions Frank's comment about the neighborhood not being a war zone for long. Tom remembers seeing Crane on TV during the Outlaws/Vikings game.

At Casa de Penhall, the boys go through Doug's unlabeled VHS tapes, trying to find the right one. The first is a monster truck rally, the second a female bodybuilding competition, the third is Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. The fourth tape is the charm. Crane talks about his plans to build a new 70,000 seat stadium that would double as a convention center.

Tom asks if Doug still has the list of names that he got from Bud's house. Doug tells him it's in the desk. Tom looks at the list and draws something in a different book. He announces his discovery. The list contains addresses of where Frank and Bud were selling guns. When you connect the dots on a map of the city, you get an area big enough to build a stadium.

The next day, Tom, Booker, and Doug drive around. Doug thinks the idea makes sense. If Tom was in jail, nobody would think to run ballistics tests on Frank's gun. Booker checks his watch; they have 8 hours until Tom has to go back to prison. Doug can't believe two cops would start a gang war that killed kids and innocent bystanders just so a stadium could go up. Booker comes up with an analogy about streets and beggars being like choosing right from wrong. Tom and Doug are as baffled as I am.

Booker gets out of the car and goes into some kind of police evidence room. He tells the property clerk about his partner retiring and turning in his gun, lying that Frank turned in Booker's gun by mistake: "If I don't get my gun back, my ass is grass." The property clerk advises Booker to get a lawnmower because the gun's been reissued. Booker asks who has it now. The computer is down, but Booker is free to look through a huge stack of paper forms.

The clock in the room reads 9:30 as Tom, Booker, and Doug go through the reams of paper. Tom finds a form with Frank's name on it and the gun's serial number. All they have to do is cross-check it against another huge stack of forms, which Booker divvies up. 

Booker tells them they're looking for serial number 9923532. Doug thinks aloud about how to remember it. I have to chuckle because it reminds me of how my dad would go about this: "99, Wayne Gretzky. 23, Michael Jordan. Who's a famous 5?" "Johnny Bench," Tom answers. Doug mutters that there's a lot of famous athletes who wore the number 32. "Why don't you just write it down?" Tom asks, annoyed. Doug ignores him and decides his 32 will be Magic Johnson. 

"Gretzky, Jordan, Bench, Johnson," Doug repeats. When you're trying to memorize something, it's actually a really good idea to come up with a way for the information to make sense to you, even if it makes sense to no one else.

The clock now reads 11:10. Booker finds the serial number and learns the gun was reissued to a cadet named Mortalaro. In the car, Doug tells Booker the fastest route to the academy. Booker's police radio crackles; Fuller wants him to report to Jump Street immediately. Booker replies that he can be there around 6:00 that night. "You can be here in 10 minutes. And that's an order, Officer," says Cap'n Rufus. Booker tells Doug and Tom he'll be in and out in 5 minutes.

At the Chapel, Doug's desk clock reads 1:07. He toys with a pencil. In Rufus's office, the captain is asking Booker why he was at headquarters looking up gun serial numbers. Booker doesn't answer.

Tom is outside in the car by himself. Blowfish comes out of the Chapel to throw some trash in the dumpster. Tom looks eager to call Blowfish over, but seems to think better of it. 

Judy asks if Doug wants to visit Harry later. Doug agrees, nervously clicking a pen cap over and over again. She asks if something is wrong. Doug says no. Booker comes out of the office.

The three of them file down the police academy hallway. Doug peeks in the window of the administrative office. "Damn, it's Winegate, he'll remember us," says Doug. It's not clear if that's good or bad. He and Booker go in. Doug greets Winegate with a friendly long time no see. Winegate is considerably less friendly, asking, "Who the hell are you?" Doug smiles. Meanwhile, Tom wanders the halls and finds the graduation photo of his academy class. He stares broodingly at it.

Back in the administration office, Winegate tells Doug and Booker that the cadets have all been dismissed for the day. They inquire about Mortalaro's home address. Winegate can't give it out without a form signed by their superior officer, even though Doug explains they're investigating a homicide. Outside in the hall, Doug checks out the phonebook hanging from a payphone but doesn't find the name Mortalaro listed.

Booker suggests they wait until the office closes and then snoop through the file cabinets. Tom sighs, "Take me back." Doug says Tom would only be a couple of hours late. "I can BS the warden, no problem," Booker assures him. Tom insists that the unofficial investigation has to stop now. He gestures at his slightly younger self in the academy photo: "I feel sorry for that stupid kid up there. He had no idea." 

Tom's drawing the line. Oh, he said the thing! (Episode title reference). Tom gets dropped off at the prison in handcuffs. Back in his cell with the Bob Ross clone, Tom asks, "Why don't they just come and do it?" It's not clear what he means by "it." Not Bob Ross says, "Anticipation is half the fun." Someone taunts Tom and tosses a live fish down from an upper tier. Where the hell did that guy even get it from?

Booker and Doug meet with Cadet Mortalaro and ask for his service revolver. Mortalaro says they'll have to pry it from his cold, dead hands. They tell him that his service revolver may have been used in a murder. He unholsters it. The serial numbers, of course, match. Mortalaro grins, twirls his revolver like a Wild West gunslinger, and holsters it. "Let's go get the collar," the cadet says, putting his sunglasses back on.

In the gang neighborhood, there's a fairly nice house with a SOLD sign on it. Frank confronts the old lady living there, saying she has to vacate or she'll be removed by force. He purposely breaks her candy dish. Booker comes in and says he had a gut feeling that led to a sticky situation. "You're under arrest for the murder of Bud Tower," says Booker. Frank insists that Tom killed Bud. Booker tells him they have ballistics evidence. Frank's sure they can work out a deal.

Frank and Booker start fighting. They end up rolling all the way down the front porch stairs. That's a couple of cracked ribs at least. Frank gets up first and runs. Booker follows. Doug is waiting around the corner; he ambushes and tackles Frank. Frank gets away. Booker catches up and fires a shot. 

Frank freezes with his hands over his head. Doug handcuffs him. In an interrogation room, Booker asks Frank why he killed Bud. Frank's lawyer arrives and says his client will be exercising his 5th Amendment rights. 

At the Crane Organization, Doug in a suit and tie walks past a model of the proposed stadium. He goes to the front desk and demands to see the man in charge Raymond Crane. Another suit approaches Doug. Doug says he wants to talk to Crane about one of the employees, Frank Farrell. The suit says nobody by that name works there, but Doug is free to check the records for himself.

Doug asks if the records show how many guns were sold or if it was all Frank and Bud's doing. The suit insists, "We're not familiar with their alleged crimes." The company believes people are innocent until proven guilty. Doug breaks an expensive-looking vase and insincerely says, "Gosh, I'm sorry."

In court, a judge grants the petition to release Tom. Doug cheers. In Fuller's office, the captain reads off a long list of department rules that Booker broke. The review board has reassigned Booker to be the microfilm clerk in the basement of headquarters. "That ain't being a cop," says Booker. No, but you should consider yourself lucky that they're not kicking you off the department.

Booker reaches into his pocket, takes out his badge, and lays it on Booker's desk. He also hands over his gun. Fuller feels that Booker thinks rules is a dirty word, but "it's not the rules that are dirty, it's the people who abuse them for their own gain." People like Booker, in other words. Fuller goes on, "But for every Farrell and Crane, there's a Booker and a Hanson." "There's a Penhall too," says Booker, also admitting, "This whole mess was my doing. I worked totally alone." 

In prison, the inmates taunt Tom as he walks out of his cell. Things like "Y'all come back now, ya hear?" and veiled threats from inmates who are getting out soon. Tom goes down the front steps of the prison, wearing the suit from his trial. Doug is waiting in the parking lot and gives his best friend a bear hug. "Can I drive?" Tom asks. Doug holds up the keys and says, "It's your car."

Doug adds that Tom owes him money for getting the Mustang washed. Tom gets in the driver's seat, cranks up the radio, revs the engine, and peels out of the parking lot.

Cap'n Rufus seems to have informed everyone that Booker resigned. He asks Tom if he's sure coming back is what he wants. Tom nods. Fuller asks if Doug taped the Yankees vs. Orioles game. Doug did, plus Jets vs. Bills and preseason hockey. Judy starts talking about how the Yankees pulled off their victory. Fuller wants to watch the game anyway.

Doug asks Tom if he wants to come over too. Tom just stares morosely at Booker's newly vacant desk and sees Booker's nameplate has been thrown in the garbage.

At Booker's apartment, the disgraced cop is eating a bowl of Captain Crunch. A news anchor announces that the mayor has finalized plans with the Crane Organization to build the new stadium. 

In the hospital, Harry is starting to stir and twitch. Finally, he opens his eyes. It's not clear if anyone from Jump Street is there. End of episode and also the run of the most loathsome character in the series. So long, Booker. This recapper won't miss you a bit.


  1. Love this! I was sitting here and for some reason the number scene popped in my head and I was trying to remember what name came after gretzky, jordan, bench....
    Lol, so random, but glad this post was so thorough!

  2. Love this! I was sitting here and for some reason the number scene popped in my head and I was trying to remember what name came after gretzky, jordan, bench....
    Lol, so random, but glad this post was so thorough!