Case #4.21: "Unfinished Business"

At a packed nightclub, everyone is rocking out to a live band. We zoom in on a blond young woman who's dancing enthusiastically in her wheelchair. A guy in a suede jacket and bolo tie is dancing more or less with her. The song ends and Suede Jacket wheels the girl to the table where her friends are sitting.

One of Blond Girl's friends tells her they should leave because they have an early class the next day. Suede Jacket goes back to the dance floor as the three women leave.

The next time we see Blond Girl, she's pulling into a gated parking garage, her wheelchair behind her seat. She gets the chair out and unfolds it as the gate closes. Someone approaches the car and shoves her wheelchair aside. The terrified woman screams, "NO! NO!" while a man pushes her into the car. We see her wheelchair roll away and bounce off a nearby wall. Theme song.

Cap'n Rufus reads over a file and doesn't seem to hear his phone ringing off the hook. Doug opens the door and asks why he didn't answer. Rufus replies, "I'm not in." Doug has a stack of phone messages. A woman named Rebecca has called the Chapel repeatedly. Doug asks, "What's with this Rebecca girl? She talks funny." The look he gets causes Doug to, wisely, leave the message slips and retreat.

We learn that a rapist has been targeting disabled women. One of the victims is in a coma and another has withdrawn into herself so far that she won't even use sign language. Judy volunteers to take on the investigation. Cap'n Rufus is concerned it could bring back bad memories of Judy being a date-rape victim while undercover at a medical school. Judy insists, so Rufus will send Harry as backup. While undercover, Judy will be in a wheelchair.

In a karate dojo, the wheelchair-bound instructor shows he's still fully capable of defending himself. Students of various ranks watch the demonstration. Several of them are also in wheelchairs. Sensei explains how to use various parts of the chair as a weapon. I'm not entirely sure any of these techniques would work. I'd have to defer to my mother, who has a black belt in various styles and is literally a karate master. Anyway, Sensei invites Judy to try out the techniques. She has trouble moving her chair and Sensei kindly points out the brakes. 

Back at the Chapel, Rebecca is still calling. Blowfish gets Cap'n Rufus to join his team for a run benefiting the local food bank. The captain hands over some cash for the entry fee. Blowfish is excited about his first 10K, though he admits he's "more of a waddler." Doug informs the captain that Rebecca's last call was made from her car in the Chapel parking lot. She got tired of waiting for an answer, I guess.

The infamous Rebecca appears. She has an odd, jerky gait and some speech difficulties. Rebecca, it turns out, is also a police officer. She worked for Cap'n Rufus, "but, unfortunately, not for very long," leading me to think her disability is the result of an on-the-job injury. 

Rebecca informs Cap'n Rufus she still works out every day and resents that she isn't the one investigating the rapes of disabled women. Rufus tells her he isn't allowed to send her back in the field. He reveals Rebecca has spent the last 4 years working in the records division on a computer. He's concerned that Rebecca would get hurt.

Rebecca thinks his concern is purely because she's disabled. Cap'n Rufus is always concerned about sending any of his officers out; bad things can and do happen. Rebecca tells Rufus he owes her. "That's not fair," says the captain. Rebecca argues that what happened to her wasn't fair either. Rufus, working off guilt, agrees to let her have the case. Rebecca triumphantly leaves. That was real smart, Rufus...

It's snowing on the college campus. Judy snaps at Harry when he offers to push the wheelchair for her. Harry reads her class schedule and remarks that Library Research Methods and Microeconomics sound boring. Judy tells him that Gloria and Lisa, 2 of the victims, both took those classes. Their rapist could have been a classmate.

Judy is upset that Harry thinks she's fragile and wants to be treated normally. She then asks him to return a book because she bought the wrong one for her history class. Harry says, "Do it yourself." He reminds her that she wanted to be treated normally, but does take the book.

Almost as soon as Harry walks away, Judy's wheelchair gets caught in a crack in the sidewalk. She's tilted to one side and no matter how hard she tries, she can't get the chair loose. Nobody passing by offers to help her. I kind of understand how she feels. Thanks to a foot injury, I spent my recent trip to Disney World in a wheelchair. I'm so grateful to all the nice cast members who carried my food trays to the table so I didn't have to awkwardly balance them on my lap.

Doug has been given the task of riding along with Rebecca so that she won't suspect she isn't really helping the investigation. Doug wants to know why Cap'n Rufus doesn't tell Rebecca the truth. Rufus answers that Doug doesn't know Rebecca very well, which really doesn't make a lot of sense. Doug sure will know her soon!

At the college's Disabled Student Services office, Doug pretends to paint the room while Rebecca goes through student files. She accidentally knocks a stack off the desk and almost falls out of her chair. Doug comes down from the ladder to help, but a loudmouthed guy in a black and red windbreaker says, "She can get it herself!" He asks Rebecca for the tennis tournament flyers. Of course, she has no clue where they are. Windbreaker is not happy about this.

Doug tells the guy that Rebecca is new. "I think what you mean is, she's disabled," says Windbreaker nastily. He wants to know why Rebecca should get special treatment; he's worked with disabled students for years and they want to be treated like regular people. He leaves. "Nice pecs on that one," Rebecca remarks.

Meanwhile, Judy approaches a building and has a hard time opening the door. After a couple of minutes, she finally gets inside. A man in a wheelchair follows close behind her and tells Judy that she's pretty. Judy thanks him and says she'll see him around. With a somewhat creepy smile, the man replies, "I certainly hope so." Harry arrives, later than he was supposed to, evidently. If Judy can't count on him, she'll ask Fuller to send someone else over.

At the hospital, Judy sniffles and cries as she stands beside the bed of the comatose rape victim. She exits the room and leaves her card at the nurse's station. Rebecca arrives and asks for a status report on Gloria. The nurse asks if Rebecca is with the other officer. Rebecca has no idea what she means. The nurse points out Judy, who's just getting on the elevator.

In the campus dining hall, Judy has trouble reaching some of the items of the buffet. Windbreaker Guy helpfully gives her tips on how to position herself in the wheelchair. He explains he's in charge of equipment at the physical therapy center and organizes events for disabled students. He introduces himself as Pete and offers to eat lunch with her. She accepts.

Judy puts her tray on her lap and wheels herself to a table. Pete invites her to the upcoming tennis tournament. From across the room, the man who flirted with Judy earlier is now scowling at her. Judy is visibly uneasy and asks if Pete knows him. Pete says the guy's name is "Bert something" and that he keeps to himself. That's never a good sign. Whenever they talk to people who knew a serial killer, someone always says, "He or she was so quiet."

At the disabilities office, Rebecca is still angry about not being in the field. Doug reminds her that it's not her job. Later, Rebecca and Doug find pink pieces of paper under their respective windshield wipers, an advertisement for that night's dance at the student union.

Doug sits in his truck watching as Rebecca gets in her car. She gets indignant again because he has the nerve to be concerned about her safety. Doug drives away. Once he's gone, Rebecca gets back out of her car, presumably headed to the student union dance. She sees Judy making her way down the sidewalk in her wheelchair.

Rebecca angrily tells Cap'n Rufus that she may "walk funny and talk funny," but she isn't stupid. She saw Judy pretending to need a wheelchair. Rufus tells her it's not her business why he assigned Judy. Rebecca feels Fuller has been patronizing her. Rufus doesn't have to justify himself to her; if she doesn't like her role in the case, she can go back to the records department. They have a stare down before Rebecca says she's going to campus.

Judy, Doug, and Harry talk at a table in a nightclub Doug has to leave because he's taking Clavo's babysitter home. Judy wants to stay; she thinks a guy at the bar is checking her out. "In or out of a chair, you're still a looker," Doug tells her. Harry gets up from the table and Judy warns him not to go far.

Doug spots Rebecca waiting in line to get in the club. They go to Doug's truck, where he tells her she's a pain in the ass. She wonders why Doug never asked why she's disabled. Doug, correctly, didn't think it was his business. Rebecca tells him that she was shot in the line of duty and, of course, Cap'n Rufus was the one who sent her on the assignment that forever changed her life.

Rebecca wants to do everything an able-bodied cop would during this investigation and asks Doug to look the other way. "Life with a disability is bearable, life without dignity isn't," she says. Doug stupidly agrees to not tell Cap'n Rufus she's doing fieldwork. He asks why she brought her crutch. Rebecca wanted to look more vulnerable. She assures him she knows how to use it as a weapon. Doug says they might get in his way, meaning he's not willing to sit on the sidelines. Rebecca agrees to leave the crutches.

Judy comes into Fuller's office. He's concerned that nobody's approached her yet; she has to start staying on campus later and appearing to be by herself. He tells her Rebecca knows about her. 

Pete gives Rebecca a flyer for a swim meet. She says she's too busy. Pete flatly states that she must be self-conscious about wearing a bathing suit. Rebecca retorts that she looks good in one and she's a good swimmer. Pete says she'd be a good role model.

Elsewhere, Judy tenses up when she hears a man jogging behind her wheelchair. The man changes course to pass her. She sighs when she realizes Harry noticed her panic.

Doug and Rebecca go to the nightclub. Judy sits in the student union, looking nervous as she reads a book. At the club, Doug is ready to go home, refuses to leave without Rebecca, and actually stands his ground. 

Doug picks up Clavo because the babysitter's place is on the way to Rebecca's. He climbs in the truck and Rebecca introduces herself. "Hi, I'm hungry," says Clavo. He asks in Spanish for ice cream. Rebecca agrees that ice cream sounds good, even though there's snow on the ground. 

Judy packs up to leave the student union. 

Doug gets a chocolate ice cream cone for Clavo and tells him in a bad mix of Spanish and English how not to get brain freeze. Rebecca tells him that being overprotective of Clavo will only hurt the kid in the end, which is true up to a point. Doug has clearly never thought of it that way.

Back on campus, Judy can't get her wheelchair into the handicapped stall for some reason. She turns down another girl's offer for help. When she leaves, Judy spots Bert lurking outside the women's room. The girl asks Bert if he's with Judy. "I certainly hope so," Bert answers creepily. Judy takes a small gun out of her bag before cautiously wheeling herself to the door. The hallway seems clear, though the ominously squealing synthesizer suggests otherwise.

Suddenly, Bert wheels himself out of the men's room. He says he's been waiting for Judy. He also partially blocking the hall with his wheelchair. Judy tells him to move. He grabs at her, saying he just wants to talk. Judy hops out of the wheelchair and draws her gun. Bert is, quite understandably, freaked out. Harry appears along with a crowd of students. He takes the gun away. Judy sits against the wall looking like she might cry.

Judy officially meets Rebecca at the Chapel. She's unnerved by Bert. Rebecca wisely points out that being handicapped doesn't make someone a saint. Fuller tells Rebecca he's sending her in for real; he can't stop the investigation because of Judy's episode. 

Judy and Cap'n Rufus talk alone. She thought she was over the rape, but apparently she isn't. Rufus admits to drinking more every time someone in his command gets hurt.

At the disabilities office, Pete talks Rebecca into participating in the swim meet. In the hospital, Gloria comes out of her coma. I realize for the first time that she's the girl in the wheelchair from the opening scene. Gloria can't remember what happened to her.

Doug sits at the campus indoor pool watching Rebecca practice for the swim meet. He quickly becomes distracted as a water aerobics class splashes in. He finds the girl in a bikini particularly attractive. So unrealistic. A water aerobics is way more likely to have middle-aged to elderly women participating. Doug watches Bikini Girl lead the exercise class, taking his eyes off Rebecca. 

Rebecca swims up to him with a theory. Pete said the athletic events for disabled students attract curiosity-seekers, one of whom could be the rapist. Gloria was attacked after going to the club and Lisa was raped the same night she did a music performance. "I think active disabled women trigger something in him," says Rebecca. Doug sums up my thoughts by saying, "That's really sick." This is starting to remind me of the SVU episode where a psychiatrist abducted women and amputated one of their legs.

Rebecca wants to finish swimming a mile and tells Doug not to wait up for her. Doug doesn't want to leave her alone. Rebecca points out the water aerobics class and says she isn't alone and promises to have campus security walk her to her car. This sounds eerily like conversations I've had with my own mother during occasions I've been on campus for long periods of time at night. Doug agrees to leave.

Just as the aerobics class ends, Pete enters the pool room. Pete approaches Rebecca and tells her he has to lock up, but she can finish her laps. 

Doug tells Judy about Rebecca's theory. Judy agrees that it makes sense.

Back at the pool, the lights go out. Rebecca frantically swims to the side of the pool where she left her gym bag.

Judy tells Doug what little Gloria remembers about her rape. When it was over, her rapist said she wouldn't be a good role model anymore. Doug jolts, realizing who's said that several times.

Pete pulls Rebecca out of the pool and roughly pushes her down onto the deck. Rebecca struggles and knocks them both into the water. She manages to get out and get to the gun in her gym bag. Pete is shocked, especially when she adds, "Freeze! Police!" Doug and Judy come in.

Doug, Judy, and Rebecca wrap up their case by getting lunch together at a diner. Doug and Judy place their order. The waitress sees that Rebecca is disabled and asks, "What would she like?" Doug suggests asking Rebecca that question. End of episode. Not the best episode of this show I've ever seen, but far from the worst. 

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