Case #4.22: "New Breeze Blowing" AKA "Shirts and Skins"

A young man gives a graveside eulogy at his father's funeral. Doug is in the crowd. The young man's grandfather says his son was dedicated to preserving America's values. People no longer see the difference between right and wrong, but the deceased was fighting to make that clear again. The camera pulls back and we see a large swastika flag draped over the casket. And it looks like our Issue of the Week will be neo-Nazis.

Neo-Nazis in a hall pledge allegiance to Adolf Hitler, "the immortal leader of our race." Everyone does a Nazi salute.

Elsewhere, a group plans to picket the murdered neo-Nazi's place of business. They're concerned about retaliation, but an overwhelming majority votes to go ahead with the demonstration as scheduled. Judy and Harry are in this group.

The young man who delivered the eulogy runs the neo-Nazi meeting. Doug sits in the back of the crowd, which is surely uncomfortable to the half-Jewish officer. The leader says they have to be cautious. Nazi Grandpa arrives and says, "Your father wouldn't have cared what anyone else thought." Young neo-Nazi says the days of wearing white sheets and "dunce caps" and burning crosses are over. A skinhead tries to attack Young Nazi. Young Nazi promises to get the group where they want to go.

Harry reads the ballistics report on the dead Nazi (Richard's) body. The weapon used was an odd caliber, possibly an antique. I'm guessing early 1940s Luger. Joe, the leader of the anti-racism group, collects antique guns. The case is bothering Judy's conscience because she agrees with Joe's beliefs. I could get into the Kim Davis debacle gripping my home state, but I won't. Harry reminds her that murder is illegal, no matter who the victim was. It's their job as cops to find out what happened.

Young Nazi misses his father Richard. Grandpa Nazi couldn't have guessed the way he talked at the meeting. Young Nazi loved Richard, but Richard wasn't a good leader. Young Nazi points out that Gramps is out of touch because he hasn't been to one of the group's meeting in 5 years. Grandpa Nazi wants to help and is coming back whether Young Nazi likes it or not. My long-term readers know how much it annoys me when the show takes upwards of 20 minutes to reveal a character's name. I looked up this episode on IMDB; Young Nazi will henceforth be referred to as Lance.

The anti-racism protesters stand outside Schalin's Auto Salvage, chanting, "Take their business, shut it down! No more Nazis in our town!" A crowd of police officers in riot gear is on hand to keep things under control. Lance and Gramps wedge their way through the crowd to the trailer that serves as the office. It's also decorated with Nazi memorabilia. Gramps is angry, "40 years ago, this wouldn't have happened." Lance reminds him that MLK hadn't been campaigning for civil rights then. 

The neo-Nazis have slogans of their own, mostly one-word insults like "pigs" and "Attica." They want to attack, but can't until Lance says so. Gramps tells a crowd of reporters that they have a right to free speech. Lance steps in to add that Hitler was "horribly misguided." "Then why is he still the figurehead of your movement?" asks a reporter. Gramps says Hitler had the ability to dream a new vision and put it into action. Lance claims his organization doesn't believe in violence.

The crowd is getting even more unruly now. Cecil tells Judy to go back to Africa and punches her in the face. Harry steps in to shield her. The cops in riot gear push the Nazis back with their shields.

Judy frets that she had to get 8 stitches. Harry asks, "Are you gonna tell your grandchildren that you kicked some skinhead butt or that you incited a riot?" Judy doesn't appreciate the remark, even though it's basically true. Harry tells her that other people could have gotten hurt. And sticks and stones may break her bones, but words may never hurt her. He suggests she try not hearing the insults.

Gramps is upset that the neo-Nazis aren't donating more money to their cause: raising bail for the members who were arrested. He tells them that their skinhead brethren have trouble finding jobs because of their haircuts. It kind of reminds me of a guy I knew in college. I wrongly assumed he was a skinhead because his hair was so short. He wound up being a nice guy and we're still friends to this day. 

Lance knows they're frustrated; that's why they're uniting and they can't take a stand if they start fighting amongst themselves. He tells a skinhead and a uniformed neo-Nazi who were arguing to shake hands. They grudgingly obey. Lance offers promotion within the movement's ranks in exchange for bail donations. Doug offers up money he made working in Idaho. Lance asks if Doug went to the Aryan Nation Church while he was there. Doug says he set up the reverend's computer system. 

Doug and the skinheads pick up Cecil from jail. Walking back from the police station, they happen upon several black men. Astonishingly, they don't decide to double back and beat them up.

Judy jokes to the racism protesters that she used her head. Joe passes out sodas to the group. He announces that every demonstration gets them one step closer to a Nazi-free city. Harry doesn't join in the merriment. He goes downstairs to look over Joe's gun collection. He can't get a close look because the guns are in a locked cabinet. Joe catches Harry. Harry says he was just admiring the collection and pretends he doesn't know anything about guns.

Joe unlocks the cabinet and shows Harry what looks like a Colt 1911. He tells Harry that he's a champion shooter at the local gun club. He asks about Harry's nationality and Harry claims to be Japanese. Joe admires Asians for their industriousness, well, except for the lazy Vietnamese that come over. 

The skinheads explain to Doug the significance of different colors of bootlaces: red is for white power, white is for white pride, and yellow laces mean you killed someone. Whoever did this did a lousy job with research. According to various Gangland and National Geographic documentaries I've seen, red means you've spilled blood for your race. Cecil has yellow laces and prefers to be called Bane. 

Another skinhead, Blitz, tells Doug he can't be one of them until he cuts his hair. Cecil refers to the neo-Nazis as "brown shirt femmes" who aren't the same as them. Doug will have to get comfortable with busting heads because they're waging war. One asks why Doug hates Jews. Doug says his parents raised him right. One guy's family fought against the Nazis. When he said Hitler should have won, his mother threw him out. The skinheads sit Doug down and turn on an electric razor.

Harry is frustrated that he can't get Judy to see Joe is dangerous. He says Joe is also a hypocrite. 

Doug tells Lance about his encounter with the skinheads; he didn't want to shave his head without talking to Lance first. Lance says he could use Doug as part of a plan to pair educated people with skinheads, most of whom are high school dropouts. The educated people can make better arguments to get others to join the white power movement.

Outside a grocery store, Harry gets accosted by the skinheads. They call him various names, then throw a punch. Harry disables the skinhead. An older man praises him for standing up to the skinheads.

The next day, Harry learns he put Bane the skinhead in the hospital. Fuller tells him all the non skinhead witnesses said Harry was just defending himself; he won't get in trouble with the department.

Lance opens up a box of brochures titled HITLER WAS RIGHT. He gets angry, crumples one up, and yells, "This is crap!" Gramps asks if there was something wrong with taking initiative. Lance explains no one will admit to being sympathetic to Hitler; they need to find another way. Gramps says Lance uses the skinheads to fight his battles and ignores them "just like every other politician." Doug suggests Lance go to the hospital and "at least pretend to care" about Bane.

Harry meets up with Joe at a restaurant. Joe wants to hear about his tussle with the skinheads and wants to reward Harry for being a hero. The skinheads' leader is dead and 2 are in the hospital; the movement is weakening. Joe wants to deal with the problem "more directly" now.

At the hospital, Bane is upset that his roommate changed the channel from Green Acres to Love Connection. Lance asks what happened. Bane claims that Harry kicked him while he was down. Lance steps out to make a phone call. Bane's nurse told him that his mom came to the hospital, but then she left. He calls her a bitch. Bane is angry that the other skinheads ran away while he was getting beaten up.

At Lance's house, a group of neo-Nazi moms are disturbed because they caught their kids watching Sesame Street, which featured interracial play. Gramps suggests they put together their own kiddie show. Lance thinks it's a dumb idea. One of the kids finds an antique Luger somewhere. Gramps tells him to put the gun down. Gramps disarms the kid. 

Thankfully, the gun isn't loaded. The kid tells Gramps he found it under the house behind some boxes. The kid promises to put it back. Gramps says the gun will be their secret.

Gramps goes out to his white car. What other color would it be? Doug happens by and picks up Gramps' keys when he drops them. Doug offers to drive the old guy home. Gramps sobs that Lance killed his father with Gramps' gun. There's a plot twist I didn't see coming.

Harry asks why Doug didn't take the gun. Doug explains that he couldn't risk blowing his cover and doesn't totally believe Gramps. Harry gets testy with Doug about how easily he goes along with the Nazis. Duh, that's his job. Doug advises Harry to figure out what's eating him.

Lance burns the HITLER WAS RIGHT pamphlets in the fireplace. Doug asks how Richard's ideas differed from Gramps'. Lance says they're both old and outdated. Gramps is violent and still living in 1941; violence isn't the way to take over in the 1990s.

Joe never had Harry pegged as a hero. The neo-Nazis eat up the publicity of Joe's methods. Joe wants to learn to defend himself. He says he's not a gloryhound; Harry will get credit and Joe will get the leftovers. Joe wants to "take care" of the skinheads as they come down to the block. Harry has other ideas, namely driving away.

Doug meets Lance at the salvage yards. The other skinheads aren't coming because Gramps bought them beer, which they decided to take to a park. Lance is upset that Gramps is undermining him. He thinks America has gone downhill since the civil rights movement. Lance thought Cecil was the person to take things to the next level, but Cecil doesn't have the brains. Lance doubts Doug has the...erm, guts. Doug asks how to prove he does.

Harry doesn't think Joe is their man. He admits that he did attack the skinheads out of anger and wanted to really hurt them. He worked hard to become part of America and the insults got to him. 

At the Nazi meeting hall, Gramps is preparing a new batch of flyers. Gramps kicks Lance out of the movement. Gramps knows the skinheads will follow him as long as he supplies them with beer. He confronts Lance about killing Richard. He tells Doug not to listen to Lance because "he's not one of us." Doug disagrees. He flashes his badge.

Doug watches from the edge of the cemetery as Gramps visits a grave. Lance is dead. Harry thinks the family will never believe that Lance hanged himself in jail, but they're entitled to that belief. Doug gives us the moral of the episode, as if we didn't already get the point: "Beliefs can hurt a lotta people."

In the final and completely unrealistic scene, Harry visits Bane in the hospital to apologize. Bane is so moved that he almost cries. Yeah, right...

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