Case 4.04: "Come From the Shadows"

In an auditorium, a group of people watches a slideshow. Black-and-white pictures of horrific things flash past. A priest solemnly intones about entering "this nightmare" and points to the picture of an injured child on the screen: "This little girl, Elena, died a couple of days after I took this photograph. 1 out of 4 babies starves to death in El Salvador. ...This is a desperate situation that your donations can help remedy." 

The priest discusses how foreign aid dollars from the U.S. government don't really help the people with their basic needs; the money goes to the military, the rebels, and the death squads. A young woman with long hair looks particularly affected by this speech.

Flash cut to a parking lot, where two people are exchanging money for a baby wrapped in a blanket. 

Back in the auditorium, the screen displays flyers with pictures of missing children from El Salvador. The priest asks for money to save them. The young woman sheds a tear. That's possibly the heaviest opening sequence in series history. Theme song.

In the Chapel squadroom, Harry is shooting wads of paper into a basketball hoop, or rather, trying to. One hits the newspaper Doug is reading. "Put more arc on it," he growls. Harry doesn't understand the appeal of basketball. Having just survived March Madness in basketball-crazed Kentucky, I have to agree with him. Doug says it's something you have to grow up around. I've grown up around it and you'll never see me wear UK anything.

Cap'n Rufus drops a case file on the table. Babies from El Salvador are being sold to American couples. None of the adoptive families will tell the police or INS where they bought their babies. The feds suspect a local priest named Jim Kelly is involved. He's been suspected of running an underground sanctuary for years and the theory is he wants a taste of the illegal adoption fees.

Father Jim is also a professor at Saint Brendan's University. "Brush up your Latin, guys," says Harry. Funnily enough, Father Jim happens to be the name of my local priest.

In a lecture hall at Saint Brendan's, Judy is sitting in front of the class blindfolded. "Tell me where your friends are, Judy," says civilian-dressed Father Jim, picking up a baseball bat. He screams, "You wanna live? Tell me where they are!" What the hell subject is this guy supposed to be teaching, anyway? Torture 101?

Father Jim runs down the lecture hall stairs toward Judy, holding the bat over his head. Doug stands up. "HEY, HOLD IT!" he commands. Father Jim thanks Doug, removes Judy's blindfold, and asks if she's all right. She says yes. Father Jim asks the class to think about why Doug was the only one who stood up for Judy. He says what happened in class today doesn't come close to what happens to people in Chile, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

After class, a student named Ron tells Judy, "I hope the padre didn't freak you out too much." He also admits, "Father Jim is basically a nut, but he's a lunatic whose heart's in the right place." This is Ron's third class with Father Jim. Judy wants to hear more about South America. Father Jim does a lot of seminars; Ron's sister Alice goes to most of them, works in his office, and volunteers for his refugee program. Judy thinks she'll check out a seminar.

At the campus dining hall, Doug tells Harry, "No priest I ever heard of ever talked that way. He doesn't deserve to wear a collar." Doug would be a little sensitive, considering his father was an alcoholic ex-communicated priest. Harry points out that Father Jim wasn't wearing a collar in class. Doug is suddenly captivated by the girl serving food, who we recognize from the opening scene. He and Harry get in line. "How's my hair?" asks Doug. Harry says, "You look great. Go get her."

When they get to her station, the woman is speaking Spanish to a coworker. Doug tries to break out his one semester of high school Spanish, fails, and points to a dish. "Can I have some of that?" he asks in English. "In Spanish, we call this dish lasagna," she says, smiling shyly, "If you come back tomorrow, I can teach you how to say 'hot dogs.'" "I'll be here," Doug promises, then walks off without his lasagna. 

Later, Doug jogs upstairs to some kind of library/lounge area. He sees the cafeteria girl sitting at a table by herself, joins her, and asks what she's reading. "El Mundo," she replies, "A newspaper from my country." Doug notices it's from El Salvador and introduces himself. Cafeteria Girl is Marta. 

Doug breaks out the best Spanish gaffe since Rob Gronkowski's "yo soy fiesta": "Usted tienes huevos muy bonitas." "I have pretty eggs?" Marta translates. Doug looks embarrassed; he meant to say Marta has pretty eyes. "Your eyes are better than the World Series going into 7 games, better than Batman comics," Doug goes on. Another student shushes them. 

Doug asks her to go to dinner with him. Marta can't; she's already late for a fundraiser at Father Jim's refugee center. She thinks the priest is a wonderful man. Doug asks if he could go to the fundraiser. Marta says yes. She's clearly smitten with the big guy.  

At the fundraiser, Doug and Marta dance to some salsa-esque music. Father Jim gets on a small stage and asks for the crowd's attention. Marta joins him on stage. Father Jim exposits that Marta has applied for political asylum and is still waiting for her hearing: "Please realize nearly every Salvadorean like her is refused and sent back." I have a hunch where this episode is going...

Father Jim gives Marta the microphone. She talks about how she used to be a teacher who traveled to different villages to bring literacy. Flashback of Marta in a dungeon-like prison cell with a bag over her head; a guard comes in and puts a gun to her temple. "This was unacceptable to the people in power," Marta continues at the fundraiser. She was kept in prison for 10 days, which seems like a light sentence for such a barbaric sounding country.

"I was raped," Marta says, "I was tortured with cigarettes." A couple of women in the audience start to cry. Marta was released as a warning to other teachers. Flashback to Marta bound and gagged, her face battered. "It is time for the blood to stop," Marta says to the crowd, "It is time to say enough is enough." The crowd cheers and chants passionately.

In St. Bernard's courtyard, Harry tells Doug some suspicions about the priest: "A kid in his class says Father Jim doesn't speak any Spanish. Don't you think that's weird?" Doug supposes so. Harry says the only way that Father Jim could run the baby selling operation is if he has someone to translate for him. That someone could be Marta. Doug doesn't think so. 

Harry knows Doug feels sorry for her. "No, that's not it," says Doug. Harry thinks Doug is letting his heart get in the way. The facts are that Father Jim needs money to keep his refugee programs going and might use unusual means for the cause. "That does not mean he uses Marta to sell babies," says Doug. Harry suggests Marta isn't being used; she thinks she's helping poor babies and couples who can't have children of their own. Doug tells Harry, "Good theory. Too bad you don't know what the hell you're talking about."

Judy goes to Father Jim's office to ask Alice about getting involved with the refugee program. Father Jim appears to say, "I wouldn't call Alice involved so much as deeply and utterly devoted." He's surprised to see Judy. Judy says she wants to volunteer. Father Jim cautions her that helping refugees can be "depressing, grim, ugly, and dangerous." According to him, the bottom line is "knowing in your heart that what you're doing is the only thing your conscience will allow you to."

Marta is standing by her van with the hood up in the parking lot. It should be noted that it's a panel van with no windows. Doug drives by and she asks if he can help fix it. Doug quickly determines it's the battery. "I'll jump ya," he says, "I mean, uh, I'll be right back." 

Doug takes a set of jumper cables out of his trunk; Marta backs away, breathing heavily. She assures Doug that it's nothing. Doug gently asks what's wrong. "They used those on me in prison," Marta explains. Doug assures her, "That kinda stuff doesn't happen here. And if it did, I wouldn't let 'em touch you." Marta seems somewhat comforted by this.

In Father Jim's office, Alice and Judy file some papers. Alice says, "If anyone is gonna change the world, Jim's gonna be the one to do it." Off Judy's look, she adds, "He asked me to stop calling him 'Father' a long time ago." Ron comes in and asks if he can help with any filing. Alice hands him a stack of folders, then Judy. 

Judy asks what the folders are. "Records on Salvadorean families seeking asylum." says Alice. They keep track of parents, grandparents, and children so they can "bring more people to freedom." 

On campus, Marta and Doug sit under a tree. She's practically drawn herself into a ball; it's hard for her to open up, but she wants to. Doug offers to drive her to get her battery charged. "Father Jim would like to do it," she says, "Besides, you've done enough already." Doug asks to see her that night. She has something to do, but promises to see him the next morning. Marta gives him a big hug.

At the sanctuary, Father Jim and Marta sort through donated canned goods and clothes. "How is the baby?" she asks. Father Jim replies, "Still sick. It's a long trip for a child that young." Marta says the baby will have a new home soon. Father Jim plans to leave after dark. Doug is in the shadows of the hallway and overhears everything. 

That night, Doug and Harry sit by the docks in an unmarked car. Doug can't stop thinking about Martha being tortured. Harry, who you think would be sympathetic because he is a Vietnamese refugee, advises, "Don't let a sad story take your eye off the ball." Doug says Marta must have a good reason for getting involved. 

Marta's van pulls up below them. She and Father Jim run out toward the water's edge. A small boat meets them. They help several people out of the boat. Harry radios it in. Police cars come out of their hiding place. Doug walks down the hill, holding his badge aloft. "Father Jim Kelly, you're under arrest for violating child transportation laws," he announces, "Get him out of here." Father Jim protests that the police are making a mistake.

Doug gives more orders: Read the refugees their rights, put the baby in a police car, and "turn off some of those damn lights." Marta asks what Doug is doing. Doug replies that he's doing his job. "These people are refugees. My God, you think we're selling this child?" she gasps. Pretty much, Marta. "This child belongs to that family. We would never sell her. They are coming here for asylum." She leaves Doug standing by himself on the shore.

The next day in the Chapel squadroom, Harry tells Doug, "I guess I was wrong about Marta." People weren't as sympathetic toward Vietnamese refugees when he came to the U.S. He's sorry he was hard on Marta. Harry thinks Doug should smooth things over with her; she'll understand Doug cares about her. Doug can't face her.

On campus, Doug sees Marta taking heavy trash bags to the Dumpster. He offers to help. She tells him it's not necessary. Marta gets upset because he takes the bag from her and throws it away. Doug apologizes. Father Jim calls Marta over. Her INS hearing has been rescheduled for that Friday and he thinks she has a strong case for political asylum. The priest is getting negative attention because of Doug's investigation. Marta doesn't trust Doug. Father Jim reminds her that Doug paid her bail. He leaves.

Marta asks why Doug paid her bail. "Because I care for you, because I--" "Feel sorry for me?" she finishes. Doug doesn't and he's not using a line on her. He can't understand why she doesn't trust him. Spending time in a box getting raped and tortured by the police might have something to do with her trust issues. Marta asks if Doug was pretending to be helpful when her van broke down. Doug says no. He didn't mean to hurt her, he's just trying to figure out who's selling babies. Marta understands.

"Peace?" Doug asks, making the peace sign. Marta returns the gesture. They touch fingertips. "You know, in this country, it's a custom to have a peace dinner," says Doug, "It's very bad manners to say no." He offers to make her lasagna. She agrees.

At Casa de Penhall, Doug puts some soft, jazzy music on the stereo. Marta is lying on his couch. She tells him about her crosseyed older sister Amalia. When they were kids, they loved to play with slingshots and Amalia could shoot better than anyone. Doug tells her that Texas has mosquitoes big enough to carry grown men away. Marta doesn't believe him and insists the story about her sister is true.

"Why are you making fun of me?" she asks. Doug says, "Because I'm a crazy American." Marta smiles and thanks him for dinner and paying her bail. Doug leans close to her. They start to kiss.

In Father Jim's office, Judy goes through some of the file folders. Alice asks what she's doing. Judy has a warrant. The files contain names of children in El Salvador, their ages, and particulars about their parents. "I told you we keep tabs on everybody," says Alice. Judy says, "Only you forgot to tell me about the babies. Or is that Father Jim's department?" Alice claims not to know anything.

Judy tells her the police know the refugee office is connected; if Father Jim forced Alice to help him, she might get leniency. "Father Jim never forced me to do anything, especially selling babies," says Alice. That would be against everything Father Jim believes in and is trying to do. Judy asks if anyone else has access to the files. Alice's brother Ron does. 

Doug goes to Father Jim's church. They talk on pews in front of some truly beautiful stained-glass windows. Father Jim explains that 90% of Salvadorean refugees seeking political asylum get sent home because El Salvador is considered a democracy. Marta will be in danger if she's sent home. "Damn, damn, I shouldn't have arrested her," Doug mutters. Father Jim says it's not his fault. Marta wanted to help other refugees and all they can do is stand by her.

At sunset, Doug and Marta walk along the beach. She points out two seagulls chasing each other. "Maybe he likes her tailfeathers," Doug suggests. Marta is chilly, so he gives her his jacket. "I've been thinkin' a lot about things, mostly about you," Doug tells her, "I wanna do this right."

Doug gets down on one knee. Marta asks what he's doing. "I'm proposing," Doug explains. Marta makes a Ziva-like comment: "Does that mean getting your pants dirty?" "No, it means that I'm asking you to marry me," he says. Marta's answer is a surprise: "Douglas, no. I'm sorry. I cannot marry you...because it's not right. Because you are only doing it to help a refugee you feel sorry for." 

Doug wants to save Marta's life and he also thinks there's a possibility they'll fall madly in love as they get to know each other. They could have children, grandkids, and a house with a sun porch. "I think we could be really happy together. I don't wanna lose you," Doug finishes. "...You're scared, I'm scared. We could be scared together." Marta says yes. They kiss. That was the most tender, convincing scene I've seen between a Jump Street cop and their love interest in the whole series. 

In Cap'n Rufus's office, Alice wants Ron to tell the truth. Ron gave the babies' names to a lawyer named Robert Mendez; in return, Ron got a 15% cut. He insists he was all about saving the children.

Judy and Cap'n Rufus go to Mendez's office posing as a married couple wanting to adopt a baby. Mendez tells them the process takes time. Rufus says he's not getting any younger. "We've been trying for so long already," adds Judy. Rufus asks if there's anything Mendez can do. "There are some ways we can speed up the process, but I don't usually recommend them," says Mendez, "It all depends on what you want."

Judy just wants a healthy baby. "You don't care about race?" Mendez inquires. Rufus asks, "Does it make it easier if we don't?" Mendez says there's a shorter waiting period for Hispanic babies from another country, but it can be expensive, up to $6,500 in advance. They could have a baby in 4 weeks. "What do you think?" Judy asks excitedly. Cap'n Rufus replies in the same tone, "I think Mr. Mendez is under arrest, honey." They show him their badges.

Mendez isn't concerned; the police have never been able to make a case against him before. Fuller has 2 expert witnesses who'll say Mendez sold babies. "Baby brokering is not illegal in this country." the lawyer replies. Fuller tells Mendez he exports illegal immigrants like a commodity. Mendez repeats the "save the children" speech we've already heard several times. Fuller puts the cuffs on. 

In the church, Doug is wearing a suit, Marta a simple white dress. Father Jim pronounces them husband and wife. They kiss. The only other person in the church is an altar boy.

In a courtroom, Marta is waiting for her asylum hearing to start. She's imagined this moment over and over again, but in her dreams, Doug was never there. "Reality is not so bad," she says. Doug kisses her hand, she kisses his. The bailiff calls, "All rise." A female judge, Irene, is presiding over the case. 

Judge Irene declares that Marta "has not met the requirements of the Refugee Act enough to establish a well-founded fear of persecution." She was also unable to establish clear evidence of physical danger to herself if she remained in El Salvador. Judge Irene denies Marta's application for asylum and her privilege of voluntary departure. She orders Marta to be placed into INS custody pending deportation. 

Doug stands up: "Your Honor, my name is Doug Penhall. And I think the court should be advised that Miss Cabarras and I recently married. Given that we are very much in love and now legally wed, we request that you reevaluate your decision."

Judge Irene frowns: "Aren't you the arresting officer in this case, Mr. Penhall?" Doug confirms that. Judge Irene asks how long he's known Marta. "5 days, Your Honor," Doug replies. She asks if they were married after Marta was arrested. Doug says yes. 

Judge Irene tells the court that according to the guidelines of the 1986 Marriage Fraud Act, Doug and Marta got married strictly to avoid Marta being deported. Doug argues that's not true. Judge Irene announces that the order for deportation stands. 

"You cannot send me back," Marta says, crying. The bailiff leads her out of the courtroom. Doug shunts him aside so he can hug Marta. The bailiff separates them. Marta blows her new husband a kiss. Father Jim pats Doug on the shoulder.

At what looks like a police softball game, Cap'n Rufus is catching and Harry is up to bat. Rufus advises Harry to just swing at the next pitch, whatever it is. Harry strikes out. Doug is up to bat next. "Last out!" Rufus calls to his teammate. 

Doug swings at the first pitch and sends it sailing into the outfield, way over everyone's head. He gets a double or a triple (can't tell watch) by sliding into base. Doug spots Father Jim in the crowd and goes over to talk to him. The priest tells Doug that he just heard from El Salvador that Marta and 3 other women were picked up by the government. "Is she okay?" Doug asks hesitantly. It's a minute before Father Jim responds, "She disappeared."

There's a montage of Doug walking on the beach with Marta, Marta working in the cafeteria, Doug introducing himself to her, arresting her, Marta imitating her sister's crossed eyes, them kissing at their wedding, and their courtroom goodbye. End of episode.

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