Case #4.03: "Eternal Flame"

At a nightclub, a huge crowd has gathered out front. What looks like a limo pulls up. Tom is at the door of the club with a clipboard, choosing who gets in. A girl protests that Tom isn't being fair; Tom tells her, "Write your congressman." A ponytailed man with a British accent, Gavin, approaches Tom to tell him that he's obnoxious but he likes it. Gavin takes Tom's clipboard and tells Tom to come with him.

Inside the club, there's brightly colored spotlights flashing and generic techno-esque music playing. A couple of girls are dancing in large birdcages hanging from the ceiling. Tom is offered a promotion, which Gavin wants to toast in his office. This setup is starting to become seriously like the Walker, Texas Ranger episode "Undercover." Tom thought this was someone named Tony's territory. "He has other responsibilities," says Gavin.

In the club's soundproofed office, Gavin turns on some soothing, equally generic swing music and a floor lamp. "There you are," he says. "I thought you were afraid of the dark." This episode's femme fatale, a redhead clad in a low-cut strapless black dress, purrs, "Who me? I'm not afraid of anything." Tom is mesmerized. 

On close-up, I see the woman bears a passing resemblance to Jennifer Grey. Tom tells her that is name is Tom Hardigan. Gavin introduces the Jennifer Grey lookalike as "the best thing that's ever happened to him, Linda, my wife." If this were an episode of Miami Vice, Tubbs would fall for her and end up getting kidnapped and almost killed before the end credits. Theme song.

In Rufus's office, the captain says to Tom, "You knew her once? How well?" Tom asks Rufus what he means by that. He knew Linda well, but it was before he went to the police academy. The nightclub, Funhouse, is being investigated for the owners' possible link to drug dealing. Rufus asks if Tom is sure Linda won't blow his cover. Tom swears Linda doesn't know about his current job. As a precaution, Cap'n Rufus is sending Judy and Doug to Funhouse also: "If this girl gets hinky on you, you're gone, you understand?"

At Funhouse, Tom tells the other doormen that they're all kings and the people clamoring to get in are their subjects: "It's not about money, it's about attitude...those two got attitude." He motions to two people in the crowd, adding to Doug, "The Elks Club is down the block." Tom cautions the doormen not to let the girls next to Doug in, "They're jailbait." The other doormen do it anyway. The one with long blond hair says, "Gavin says little girls mean big business."

One of the jailbait girls in question is Judy. Her white companion's form of ID is a library card. "What is this, Russia?" Judy demands, "The girl showed you the proof. Let her in." Judy shows Tom her ID. He says, "Well, happy birthday." The girls go inside. Doug eyes his partner, like Tom is getting a little too into his role. Tom tells the other doormen the training is over and makes fun of Doug's penny loafers. He goes through the door.

Inside Funhouse, Judy asks the white girl if she's alone. The girl says yes, "Clubs always let in more girls than guys." When she sheds her jean jacket, she almost pulls her skimpy top right off. Her name is Stacey. Judy asks where they can score. "You mean, like, with the guys?" asks Stacey. The girls go into a bathroom where it seems everyone has a case of the sniffles.

Tom goes to the bar to collect a shoebox full of cash from under the register. He tells the bartender he's fired if he's skimming. Gavin asks if there's a problem. He tells Tom to put the money "in the usual place" and "get rid of all the illegal substances being consumed." The blond doorman passes out cards with smiley faces on them to various patrons, inviting them to a party the next night. "I'm in, I'm really in," Stacey says as happily as if she'd just been offered a sorority bid.

Tom pulls a loose board off Gavin's office wall, revealing a secret set of shelves full of shoeboxes. Try saying that 5 times fast. He adds the shoebox to the collection and replaces the board. Tom opens a large wardrobe and finds a safe. He's about to fiddle with the dial when Linda interrupts him. She's wearing another black dress, this one more modest and covered in sequins. 

Linda admires the painting on the wall and says Gavin is opening a gallery for her as a wedding present. I thought they were already married? It turns out she knows that Tom Hardigan is really Tom Hanson. Tom tells her about shooting Bud Tower and going to prison. "And I thought I'd hit bottom," says Linda. Tom reminds her that she married Gavin. "And you work for him," she fires back.

Gavin comes in and asks if he's interrupting anything. He's going away on business and will be back by breakfast. He wants Tom to keep an eye on Linda because "she's far too beautiful and independent to be left alone." They kiss goodbye and Gavin leaves. Tom tells Linda to behave. "I'll behave any way I want," she says snottily. "You work for my husband."

Linda goes out to the dance floor. Tom finds Judy. She asks if the boss broke up the party. Tom confirms it. Judy asks what Tom is doing next. "Babysitting his wife," Tom replies. Judy thinks Linda needs it. Linda is dancing in a somewhat seductive manner with a strange man. Tom wades through the crowd to break it up. He kinda nudges Linda on her way. "You into pushing women around now?" she asks. Tom retorts, "If I thought you were a woman, I'd treat you like one." 

Linda walks around him, challenging him. She demands that Tom treat her with respect "whether you like it or not." She asks her dance partner if he lives nearby. "Near enough," he says. Linda smiles, "Good. Night, Tommy. Sweet dreams." She goes back to dancing with the stranger. "Baby's got a new sitter," Judy observes.

Later at Tom's house, he flips through an old photo album. He finds a Polaroid of him and Linda with the following written on the bottom, "For Tommy...forever. (Heart) L." Tom sighs and looks broodingly at the picture.

At Funhouse, Tom counts down the night's profit. "You can't put a price on fun, can you, Hardigan?" asks Gavin. Tom's bothered by the scene in the bathroom; he's never worked at a clean club. Gavin explains that Funhouse isn't a club, "it's a business. Any variable that can't be controlled must be eliminated." 

Linda appears in the same dress she had on the night before. Gavin remarks that she's up early. "Didn't Hardigan tell you?" she asks, "I never went to sleep." Gavin asks if that's true. Linda goes on, "When you said keep an eye on me, he thought you meant all night." Instead of lying about sleeping with Tom, she lies that they went bowling at an all-night alley. Tom leaves.

Gavin asks what Linda thinks of "Hardigan." "I don't," she says, which makes no sense. Gavin thinks most women would notice Tom and he has no idea how right he is. He gives Linda a diamond tennis bracelet. She asks, "What about the gallery? I asked for that. I don't care about this stuff. All I want is a place to show art." Gavin promises to close Funhouse soon, cash in, and buy her a gallery.

At a diner, the Jump Street crew is gathered for lunch. Judy says running a trendy club isn't illegal. Tom insists there's something off about Funhouse, "$20,000 a night in unreported income." "We're here for drugs, remember?" she asks. She doesn't think they should be in the club. 

"Gives Hanson a chance to dress up like Don Johnson," says Doug. Tom protests that not letting Doug in wasn't personal: "I couldn't let you in looking like that." "You bought me that shirt for my birthday," Doug says, before calling Tom Sonny Crockett. Tom angrily wads up his napkin and leaves the table. Harry calls after him. 

Judy thinks something is going on between Tom and Linda and says Doug has to find out what. Doug wants to know how when Tom won't let him in. Judy says he would get in if he wore classier clothes. "You're his best friend, you have to find out what's wrong with him." 

That night, Doug accompanies Judy to Funhouse. He's wearing a suit and has teased the front of his mullet to Gerald Johansen heights. Tom lets them in. Judy says they should split up to see more. "I'm seeing plenty now," says Doug, looking at a girl dancing around in a bikini. She tells him she can't dance with customers. Doug just wants to get high. "Can't do that either," says Bikini Girl. We notice she has a smiley face button on the hip of her bikini bottoms. She does a few pelvic thrusts in Doug's face. "Thank you," he says.

Meanwhile, the blond doorman has given Judy her own smiley face button. "Hey, don't tease me. I need to score," she says. He ignores her. Judy pins the button to her dress and spots Stacey dancing by herself. Stacey doesn't seem to know who Judy is. The generic music has been swapped out for a bouncy revamp of "When You Wish Upon a Star."

In Gavin's office, Tom looks in the shoeboxes again. Linda is there, wearing white this time. "Your husband's not here," he tells her. Linda knows and adds that Tom doesn't know what it was like getting over him. "Who dumped who?" he asks. They broke up because Linda thought 19 was too young to get married. Tom asks if she loves Gavin.

"You don't know what it was like working in a gallery all day and still not having enough money to pay for school," Linda goes on. She tried to get over Tom by going to clubs to get free drinks and drugs from men. After being treated like a trophy instead of a person, "even a guy like Gavin starts to look like Mr. Right." She confesses that she doesn't love Gavin and never has. 

On the dance floor, Stacey is clutching her head. Everything seems to swim before her. She looks mesmerized by her own reflection. Stacey throws herself into a series of wild spins and crashes through the glass wall of Gavin's office. "Oh my God!" cries Linda. Tom tells her to call an ambulance. Stacey is still alive, but covered in small cuts. Doug and Judy come over and see what's happened.

Cap'n Rufus reports that Stacey took the equivalent of 3 hits of LSD: "It looks like your clean club was hosting an acid party." Judy doesn't think Stacey knows acid from aspirin. Rufus doesn't understand how they didn't see people doing drugs. "The only thing goin' around were those stupid smiley face buttons," Doug insists. Judy says, "Oh my God."

Judy digs in her purse and shows Cap'n Rufus the button she was given. There's a tiny pinprick in the front of the button. Rufus, a child of the '60s, guesses it was blotter acid. He tells her to get the button analyzed by the lab and asks if they saw anyone licking their buttons and who was giving them out. Judy says it was Tony the blond doorman. Doug wonders why anyone would just give away drugs. Rufus reminds him of the old "first taste is free" method of drug sales. Judy thinks it'd be hard to keep track of who is and isn't a repeat customer because there are so many people at the club every night.

Cap'n Rufus wants them to find out if Tony is in business for himself and if Gavin and Linda know anything about the drugs. "Oh, and, Penhall, I got an invoice here from Futuristic Fashions," he adds, "I'd like to know what entitles you to a $1,200 suit." Judy and Doug look guiltily at the floor. "Ask Hanson," Doug says. Rufus leaves. Doug is suspicious that Tom hasn't seen anything going on. Judy is sure Tom would've said if he'd seen something. 

Doug goes to Tom's apartment. Doug says he's supposed to be Tom's best friend, but he's never heard of Linda. "She was the one," Tom says. When things didn't work out, they blamed each other and now she's with Gavin. "Maybe they were meant for each other," Doug suggests. Tom can't get her out of his head. Doug tells him to leave the case. Tom is sure he'll be fine if he keeps his distance.

At Funhouse before opening, Gavin tells Tom to arrange daily flower deliveries to Stacey's hospital room. Oh, I'm sure her parents'll love that. Some workmen are replacing the broken window. Linda wants to visit Stacey. Gavin wants her and Tom to go together and take their time. He remarks they look good together. 

In the hospital, Stacey is unconscious and heavily bandaged. Linda looks like she wants to cry. Outside, she swears she didn't know what Tony was doing. Tom checks his watch and says they need to get back to the club. Linda doesn't want to go back.

They go to an art museum. Linda asks Tom what he thinks of a painting of a dog by a swimming pool. Tom likes it "because you can tell what it is." "Life doesn't always make sense, so why should art?" she asks, "A great painting isn't always a pretty picture." Tom thinks she'd be a good gallery owner.

Outside, Linda thanks Tom for taking her. They go bowling, then for a walk, then for ice cream cones. The whole time, they're flirting and having fun. During the drive back to the club, Linda dozes with her head on Tom's shoulder.

That night in Funhouse, Judy asks Tony for another button. He tells her they're just party favors and she has to ask the host when the next one is. Judy asks who the host is. "Patience is a virtue," Tony tells her.

Tom takes a shoebox of money to the wardrobe in Gavin's office and looks curiously at the safe. Linda asks what he's doing. Tom says he wanted to put the money in the safe. Linda tells him Gavin went to New York for business and won't be back until the next morning. She knows the safe combination, but "if Gavin didn't give it to you, I don't think I should give it to you either." "Why don't you open it yourself?" asks Tom. Linda agrees.

Inside the safe are stacks of cash and a stash of smiley face buttons. Linda wonders what they're doing in there. Tom tells her there's LSD in the pins and that he's a cop. She slaps to him and calls him a bastard. She accuses him of just using her as a way to get to Gavin. They end up kissing passionately. Tony opens the door just enough to see what's going on. They don't notice. Linda tells Tom to lock the door.

At Casa de Penhall, Doug is sleeping on a mattress on his living room floor. He wakes up startled when he hears a knock. It's just Tom. Doug lets him in and informs him peevishly, "It's 4 in the morning!" Tom asks if Doug remembers Tom promising to keep his distance from Linda. "Oh no, oh man," his partner groans. Yep, Tom pulled a Tubbs. Tom wants to know what he should do. Duh, stop working the case!

Tom felt like he had nothing when Linda left him and that's when he applied to the police department. He feels like everything has come full-circle. Doug doesn't get it. "She was the reason I became a cop. Maybe she's the reason I can stop being one," Tom explains, "I've been looking to get out, but I didn't know what for." Doug thinks Tom is being hasty. Tom has always loved her.

The captain tells Tom that Gavin has done time in England for drug possession and assault with intent (whatever that means) on a female victim. The IRS is interested in Gavin's unreported income. "How'd he get a liquor license?" Tom wonders. Gavin didn't and he doesn't even own the club; Linda does and her name is on the liquor license. Tom doesn't think she knows about the drugs. He knows how guys like Gavin work: "If the club gets busted, she takes the fall." Gavin does, however, own an art gallery. Tom guesses there's a million dollars in the safe. Cap'n Rufus tells him to find out if it's for drug's or art.

In Gavin's office, he's just agreed to buy something for $37,000. He tells Linda he's going to New York again. Tom comes in. Gavin asks Tom to watch Linda and take her bowling again. "He knows," Linda says. Tom says it doesn't matter because they're going to be together; Gavin and Tony are going down for drug charges. The feds are getting involved because of the money. Linda has taken all the money out of the safe. She swears she doesn't know what Gavin is up to.

Tom and Linda leave together and go out to the Mustang. Gavin is with Tony in his limo and tells the driver to follow them. Tom takes Linda to the art gallery and tells her it's a front for Gavin's drug business. Gavin enters: "Another moment longer and young Officer Hardigan would've ruined my surprise." 

Gavin lies and tells Linda that the gallery is hers. Tom informs her, "The gallery is his. You own the club." He adds that Gavin is under arrest. Tom and Gavin scuffle briefly, then point guns at each other. "I believe this is what you Americans call a Mexican standoff," says Gavin. Linda steps between them and tells Gavin that she thought he loved her. What he did makes her sick.

Gavin insists he did it for them and their gallery. "You took my dream," says Linda, "You ruined everything I ever cared about. How dare you say you did it for love? I never loved you, Gavin." Gavin grabs Linda and points the gun at her chin. He orders Tom to drop his gun; Tom does. "Love makes a man weak," Gavin continues, "I learned that early on. You never learned it at all." 

There's a gunshot. Doug comes in and asks, "Is it just me or does this guy sound like an old movie?" Two uniformed officers arrest the wounded Englishman. Tom asks how Doug knew where he was. Doug puts his gun in his jacket, insisting, "You don't have to thank me." He introduces himself to Linda. Looking at the paintings, he adds, "I like this stuff. Reminds me of kindergarten."

Tom goes back to Funhouse. There's a notice on the front wall that reads CLOSED BY ORDER OF THE COURT. With all the plastic sheeting and ladders around, it almost looks like it's under renovation. Linda is in the office; she came back to get her painting. She's leaving town: "Would it sound too corny if I said, 'It's the best thing for both of us'?" Tom has a career and a life; she's never been on her own. 

Tom wants her to stay. Linda says they both need a new start, but doesn't know where she's going. Tom asks if she'll tell him where she ends up. "What kinda new start would that be?" she inquires. She gently squeezes Tom's arm before she leaves. "Linda?" Tom calls after her. She doesn't turn around. 

"Gone for good?" Doug asks at Tom's apartment. Tom says Linda thought it was best. Doug thinks she may be right. "You don't leave someone you love," Tom disagrees. Doug says, "You do if that's the best thing for them." Tom tells him Linda said the same thing. "That's what she meant," says Doug. Tom nods and smiles sadly. End of episode.

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