Case #4.11: "Parental Guidance Suggested"

Judy is watching a house across the street from her through a pair of binoculars. Three guys are in the living room playing poker and drinking beer. A car pulls into the driveway. A couple of people get out, go around the side of the house, and find the spare key under the doormat. Judy hears footsteps behind her. "HELLO!" Doug and Harry shout. Startled, she drops her binoculars. The guys laugh. Cap'n Rufus comes in and informs Doug and Harry that they're late for their shift on the stakeout.

Harry says it's getting harder for them to sneak in because the neighborhood has a Community Alert group. There's been no suspicious activity in the house, but the neighbors think it can't be a coincidence that burglaries spiked after the Labrecques moved in. Harry thinks everybody is suspicious of new neighbors.

Judy goes to bed in the stakeout house. She can't sleep because the couple next door to the Labrecques are arguing so loudly that she can hear them across the street. She gets up and looks out the window. One of the couple's children tries to defuse the argument. The father pulls the living room curtains shut. She soon can't see their shadows because the father threw the lamp on the floor. The boy shouts, "DAD!" Theme song.

The next morning, Judy walks out the front door carrying a backpack. Cap'n Rufus, posing as her father, comes onto the porch to hand her a bagged lunch. One of the Labrecque boys gets on his motorcycle and rides away. Fuller tells her Mr. Labrecque probably cases the houses through his kids; they find out parents' work hours and vacation plans from their classmates. Maybe they'll get lucky and find out which house they're hitting next. "I hope so," says Judy, "I can't take much more of these bologna and cheese sandwiches you've been making." Next door to the Labrecques, a boy and a girl in a hatchback watch Judy walk toward school.

The science teacher announces that they'll be dissecting a sheep's eyeball the next day. The Labrecque kid isn't paying attention; he's wearing sunglasses inside and making the classroom skeleton put its arm around him. The teacher gives the class until the next day to find lab partners. The bell rings.

Judy goes to her locker. She overhears a teacher talking to the girl from the red hatchback. The teenager has a large bruise on her face. She tells the teacher that she fell in the driveway.

At the surveillance house that afternoon, Judy and Cap'n Rufus watch as another domestic scene unfolds on the front lawn across the street. The family members are screaming at each other about something. The father tells someone, presumably the daughter's boyfriend, that whatever is going on is not his business. He bodily drags his screaming daughter into the house. He slams the door in the boyfriend's face.

Judy and Cap'n Rufus exchange troubled looks. "We're to interfere with domestic squabbles," says Rufus slowly. He looks like he wishes they could. They turn their attention back to the Labrecques house.

That night, Doug and Harry attempt to watch what looks like a steamy soap opera or movie. I say attempt because the picture is scrambled pretty bad. Harry can't seem to fix it. Doug wishes they could call Blowfish; he's good with electronics and could get the cable unscrambled.

Judy comes in. Doug and Harry stand in front of the TV to block the screen. She asks them to turn the TV down because she works the day shift. Harry says they were going to because the TV is broken. "It's a good thing. You see that?" asks Judy. The couple onscreen look like they're about to have sex on a pool table. Doug and Harry play like the picture is still scrambled and they can't see it.

Judy watches the Labrecques neighbors; Dad is drinking a beer and smoking on the front porch. Three Labrecques hurry out of their house and get on their motorcycles. "They're either goin' shopping or about to commit a serial murder," says Doug. He gives Harry some money to buy more junk food, warning, "Don't let the neighbors see you." He hands his partner a walkie-talkie.

Doug asks Judy if she's been able to find out anything about the Labrecques from the older son Homer. She doesn't answer for a minute, then says she hasn't made contact with him yet. Doug asks what she's been doing. "The girl next door, she had a nasty black and blue mark on her face," Judy says. Doug isn't surprised; he saw the girl fall down in the driveway the night before.

"We're supposed to be watching the Addams family, not the Cleavers," he reminds her. Judy thinks the guy next door is abusing his family. Doug asks if she's seen him hit anyway. Judy hasn't, but she knows something isn't right. "There are a lot more kinds of abuse than physical, Doug," she says, "If I were those kids, I'd be at the breaking point." In their rooms that night, Cap'n Rufus and Judy lie awake listening to the yelling across the street.

At school, Judy approaches Rob, the mullet boy from the red hatchback. He asks how she likes her new neighborhood. She asks if he'll be her lab partner. "I'm ditching tomorrow," Rob says, "I don't like hurting things just to see what's inside." 

That night, Blowfish hooks some boxes up to the TV so Doug and Harry can watch Skinemax. He hears someone coming and flips the channel to a blender infomercial. Doug wonders what accessories come with the appliance. He comes up with a way to get into the Labrecques house: Blowfish will knock on the door and say the family won a year of free cable, but he has to come inside to install it. Blowfish thinks it's a genius idea.

They watch as Blowfish walks across the street. The Labrecques neighbors have another violent argument. Blowfish rings the Labrecques doorbell, but nobody answers. He starts peeking in their windows and gets caught by three guys in Community Alert jackets. Something breaks at the neighbors' and the teenage girl screams, "BACK OFF!"

Blowfish is escorted off the lawn by the Community Alert guys. "Should we go down there and help him?" asks Doug. Harry says, "No, we'd blow our cover." The neighbor girl runs out of her house crying. Judy leaves. "Good idea," says Doug, "Go down there and tell them he's your cable guy." 

Judy passes Blowfish, who shouts after her, "Hey! Judy, talk to 'em! Where you going?" Rob runs out onto the neighbor's porch. Judy asks if he's okay. The girl's mom joins them. Judy says, "I live across the street. I heard some noises and I thought maybe--" The woman goes back inside and closes the door.

In the kitchen, Cap'n Rufus tells Judy that all she probably witnessed was a normal domestic squabble. Judy's seeing what she wants to see regarding the Daniels family. Their difference of opinion turns into yelling. Rob across the street overhears as he's getting into his hatchback. Judy storms out of the house and slams the front door behind her.

Rob draws up level to where Judy's walking. He asks if she's okay. "I thought you were ditching today," says Judy. Rob is. Judy asks if he wants company. Rob has things to take care of by himself. Judy suggests she can drop by later. "No," Rob says quickly, "don't come over." He offers to drop Judy off at school.

That night, Blowfish is back to unscramble the porn channel. He's upset about spending the previous night "in a cell with guys named Bloody Eddie and Derek the Domino." Tom was supposed to identify Blowfish and bail him out, but he pretended he'd never seen Blowfish before. Doug thinks that's funny. "I was strip-searched, hosed down, and naked in front of grown men!" Blowfish shouts. Doug looks out the window and sees Harry being escorted down the street by Community Alert members. 

Cap'n Rufus goes across the street to introduce himself to the Daniels'. The wife's name is Pam. They banter about those crazy Labrecques. Rufus asks Pam if Mr. Daniels would mind helping him get a stubborn tree stump out of the backyard. He offers beer and a barbecue in exchange. "My husband's gone," says Pam. She adds quickly, "On business." Rufus asks her to send Mr. Daniels over when he gets back. Pam agrees.

That afternoon, Rob drops Judy off. Cap'n Rufus is sitting on the front steps. "His father's gone," he says. Judy knows; Rob and his sister seem happy about it. "The mother's not," says Rufus. Judy asks what he means. Rufus reminds her again that they're staking out the Labrecques, but he's okay with her keeping an eye on the Daniels family.

Judy sits down next to him. She thinks she could get Rob to open up to her about Mr. Daniels if they make him believe that Rufus is abusive too. Fuller tells her abused kids take a long time to open up. Judy is going to a school show with Rob that night; she asks Fuller to stage a minor incident with her: "This boy needs help now." Cap'n Rufus refuses and goes back in the house.

At the Carson High talent show, the boy onstage is trying his hand at standup comedy. Cap'n Rufus approaches Judy and Rob. In full dad mode, he says, "I don't recall giving you permission to go out tonight, young lady. You get your ass back home...Don't ignore me 'cause you know I can get your attention real quick." Judy hisses at him to stop it. Fuller grabs Judy's arm and yanks her to her feet. Judy shakes him off. She stomps out of the auditorium. Rob follows.

The next morning, Pam knocks on the door of the stakeout house carrying a plate of muffins. Cap'n Rufus invites her in. Pam gets teary eyed and tells Rufus she has nobody to talk to; her family is distant and she doesn't want her friends to know something. Rufus promises to help her. Pam tells him that Mr. Daniels has disappeared.

Cap'n Rufus asks if he took a lot of money out of the bank because he's heard of men who abandon their families doing that. "My husband..." Pam starts. Rufus asks if something happened, if Pam thinks her husband is dead. Pam nods. "Do you have any idea how?" Rufus inquires. "I think..." Pam sighs heavily, "I think my son did it."

Judy and Rob walk around a lake. Rob feels lame, "I'm 17 and this is the first time I've been away for 24 hours straight." Rob's had his escape planned for years. Judy asks if he dug tunnels in his backyard. "Everything else has crossed my mind," he answers cryptically.

They sit down on a bench together. Judy asks about Rob's favorite plan. It was to tie his father to the bedposts while his mom and sisters made sandwiches and grabbed clothes; they'd visit his grandparents in Maine, then go someplace where Mr. Daniels couldn't find them. Rob goes onto that he "really thought [Dad] was the devil. That's the only excuse for the things he did." Rob was so nervous he used to throw up every night before his dad came home.

Rob feels like he's being punished. Judy tells Rob it's not his fault. Rob likes to believe "some angel, some Jedi knight came and took him from our lives." He adds, "That angel will come to you too, Judy." Until that happens, Judy has Rob to confide in. 

Later at the house, Judy is upset with Cap'n Rufus for getting a bit too into his role. She asks why he did it. "'Cause I wanted to help him," Rufus replies. Judy frowns, confused. "I've tried to keep that part of me locked away all the years," Rufus goes on, "I remember praying for someone to help me when I was a kid." Judy is now officially the only Jump Street officer who's not an orphan or from an abusive family.

Cap'n Rufus tells her that once his dad drank and "got up enough hate for his own life, he'd take it out on us." His fear of becoming abusive caused him to keep his son Kip at arm's length. He can't remember the last time he talked to Kip. Judy looks out the window and observes that the Daniels' house is quiet. "Mrs. Daniels thinks that Rob may have murdered his father," the captain says. He thinks Mrs. Daniels is right and could understand why Rob would do it.

In Rob's room that night, Judy quizzes him over an anatomy assignment. "Did you know if you cut the jugular, the person only has 2 minutes to live?" Rob asks conversationally. She doubts that information will be on the test. He wants to know how Judy would kill somebody if she had to. Rob used to wish for his father's car to skid off an icy road in winter. When he got older, he knew he would have to wait until his father was drunk before he could do anything. The plan became to prop him up in the shower and use a towel to take his dad's legs out from under him. Judy looks more disturbed by the second. 

Judy reports to Cap'n Rufus that Rob told her how he would kill his dad. "Would or did?" Rufus wonders. Judy sighs that they should bring him in for questioning. Rufus wants to wait until the next morning so the family can have a last night of peace together. 

Pam knocks on the door again. Fuller opens it. "A mother is supposed to protect her son," Pam mutters. Cap'n Rufus invites her in, but Pam can't stay. Rufus repeats his offer of help. "You can't help anymore," says Pam. Mr. Daniels, it transpires, is alive, well, and back at home. 

Later, Cap'n Rufus and Judy talk more about the cycle of abuse. Rufus never hit Kip, but he still hurt his son by being emotionally distant. 

At the lake, Rob tells Judy how free he felt when his dad was gone. He doesn't want to go back home. The waiting is scarier. Judy suggests giving Mr. Daniels a chance; Rob says his dad's had too many.

Cap'n Rufus goes across the street to check on Pam. She thinks her husband just needed a weekend away to straighten himself out; he hasn't hurt them since he's been back. Rufus advises her to get out if the abuse starts again.

Upstairs in the undercover house, Doug thinks the Labrecques are nothing more than the neighborhood oddballs and they should go home. Harry agrees. Pam leaves the house with her two daughters and drives away. Fuller tells the boys to keep watch. 

Mr. Daniels gets drunk in the living room and slaps Rob around. Rob runs upstairs into the master bedroom, drapes a towel over the shower curtain rod in the master bathroom. Mr. Daniels bellows for Rob to bring him some ice.

Cap'n Rufus, Harry, and Doug are watching the Daniels' through binoculars. Mr. Daniels sees them. Doug gets startled and bashes into a floor lamp; everyone in the room hits the deck. Across the street, Rob herds his dad upstairs to the master bathroom. Next door to the Daniels', the Labrecque clan steps onto their front porch. They're armed and heading for the undercover house. The cops draw their guns.

Judy sees Rob start the shower. "Captain, this is just how Rob said he would kill his father," she says. Cap'n Rufus tells Harry to call for backup. The three men head downstairs. Judy watches as Rob closes the bathroom door. The Jump Street team surprises the Labrecques in the living room. A man who appears to be Papa Labrecque explains that they came over to stop the person breaking into the undercover house. Rufus tells Doug to handle the situation.

Judy and Cap'n Rufus run into the Daniels' driveway just as the police cruisers get there. Pam and her daughters are unloading groceries. Rufus tells her that he's a police officer and needs her house key. Pam tells the girls to stay put and unlocks the front door. She follows Judy and Rufus up the stairs. We hear water running.

When they open the bathroom door, Rob is soaking wet and sitting next to the bathtub. Mr. Daniels is motionless in the tub. Fuller checks Mr. Daniels' pulse and says he's still alive. "I couldn't do it, Mom," Rob sobs, "I'm too weak." Pam does her best to soothe him.

The next morning, Judy watches from across the street as the Daniels family hastily packs their blue Jeep. Rob gets into the driver's seat, Pam gets in the other side. I suppose they're leaving Rob's hatchback behind. Mr. Daniels comes onto the porch and we get our first good look at his face. Fans of '80s movies will recognize him as Principal Vernon from The Breakfast Club. He scowls, but doesn't appear ready for violence. Rob backs the Jeep out of the driveway.

Cap'n Rufus stares at the phone on his desk. Judy watches from the doorway as he picks up the receiver, dials, and says, "Hello, Kip. It's Dad. How've you been doin', son?" Judy smiles and closes the office door. End of episode.

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