Case #5.05: "Poison"

Sadly, I don't think the episode title is referring to the hair metal band. A woman, Tracy, is dressed like she stepped out of one of their videos. She seems to be in a warehouse or storage shed. A mulleted man, Chuckie, leers and says she oughta to wear shorter skirts to show off her legs. Tracy tells Chuckie she's not there for compliments. Chuckie's been cooking up some drugs and wants to split a syringe-ful with her. Tracy shakes her head.

Chuckie grabs her by the arm and backs her into some shelving, accusing her of being a cop. Tracy says he can frisk her for a wire if he wants. Chuckie changes his mind about forcing the syringe on her and hands her a bag of drugs. Two scruffy cops kick the door in and arrest Tracy and Chuckie. When Chuckie is loaded in the paddy wagon, Cap'n Rufus cuts Tracy loose. She asks who he is. "I'm your new boss," Rufus replies. Theme song.

Case briefing time! A kid named Howard, street name Jam, is selling heroin to his high school classmates. He's smart and patient enough not to get busted. Tracy is going undercover in the school; she's one of the city's top narcotics officer. Doug smiles when he's told he will be Tracy's primary backup. I smile too. I love a good Doug-centric episode. 

Tracy announces she doesn't want to wear a wire: "You'll hear me if anything goes down." Doug reminds her it's procedure. Tracy threatens to walk away from the case if she has to wear a wire. After a long beat, Cap'n Rufus reluctantly agrees. He asks Tracy for a minute to speak privately with his team. Judy immediately jumps in that Cap'n Rufus would never accept that kind of ultimatum from any of them. Rufus tells them to cut their new partner the same slack they cut each other.

Tracy acts very standoffish to Doug in the squadroom. Doug, poor thing, is going to the school under the guise of the new chemistry teacher. That'll work about as well as Channing Tatum trying to learn chemistry in the movie version. Tracy being kind of a bitch doesn't stop Doug from flirting with her.

At the high school, a black kid who vaguely resembles Lionel Richie watches Tracy struggle to dislodge a candy bar from the stubborn vending machine. He makes the same remark as Chuckie did about Tracy's legs. The boy smacks the side of the vending machine and the candy bar lands in the tray. He introduces himself as Jam. He initially refuses to sell drugs to someone he doesn't know, but then tells Tracy to meet him after school with $40. He knows a junkie when he sees one.

Tracy goes to a diner, presumably after her meeting with Jam, and sits with Doug and Mac. She doesn't trust Fuller's intelligence but doesn't go into why; she just feels it in her heart. Doug usually feels his intuition a little lower. Mac snorts with laughter. Doug glares at him: "I meant my stomach. Of which there's a lot less lately." He brags that he's recently lost a lot of weight. Mac makes a few fat jokes.

Doug grabs Mac by his letterman jacket and drags him over to the counter. He wants Mac to leave. Mac knows what Doug is thinking about Tracy: "She isn't the girl you wanna get up tangled with." Tracy sees them bickering and says she just wants to do her job and get out alive. She tells Doug they have to leave; she's meeting Jam in 15 minutes.

It's not Jam who shows up on the corner, though, it's a redheaded girl. She tells Tracy the price has gone up to $50 and shows her a bag of pills. Tracy tells Ginger that's not the deal she had. Ginger was told Tracy asked for something, but Jam didn't say what. Tracy pays up. Next time, she wants heroin and she wants to buy it from Jam.

At the Chapel, Doug logs the bag of pills into evidence. When she signs the report, Doug sees her name is really Hilda. Tracy explains she was named after her grandmother and yearned for a normal name, hence Tracy. They flirt. Doug invites Tracy to come to dinner with him and Clavo. Tracy says yes. I wouldn't turn down the invitation myself.

Doug tucks Clavo in and tells him about meeting Tracy. Clavo giggles that Doug likes her. Very perceptive, kid. Meanwhile at the motel where Tracy is staying, the female cop mixes herself a syringe full of drugs. She shoots up in her thigh so the track marks won't show; this also explains why she doesn't wear short skirts.

The next morning, Judy and Tracy primp themselves in the Chapel's women's room. Judy notices her fellow cop's tired expression. Tracy says she's okay. Judy asks for help fastening the clasp on her bracelet; Tracy's hands are shaky so it takes a while. Tracy lies that her hands always shake before she has her morning coffee.

That night, Tracy comes over to Casa de Penhall for dinner. Clavo is impressed that she speaks Spanish. Tracy and Doug talk nonstop over dinner. He tells her that his father died when he was a teenager and describes his brother as "a real punk." Doug even tells her about his brief marriage to Marta. He tries to kiss Tracy, but she doesn't think it's a good idea to get romantic while they're working the same case.

Doug is dismissive when Judy voices her suspicions about Tracy's drug habit. I've seen this episode before, except it was Miami Vice. Don Johnson's playboy character Sonny fell deeply in love with a doctor played by Helena Bonham-Carter; unbeknownst to Sonny, she was stealing narcotics from the hospital where she worked.

At school, Jam gives Tracy an address of where to meet him for their next deal. When she meets up with Doug later, she puts an unusually high amount of sugar in her coffee, another mark of the TV junkie. Tracy says she's just trying to get an adrenaline rush before the bust. Doug thinks they should date after the case is over. Tracy tells him her life is too complicated. Doug just wants to hang out a few times to see if there's any potential for romance there. Tracy starts to shiver and Doug puts his coat over her shoulders.

At the stash house, Jam wants Tracy to shoot up in front of him: "I know you're a junkie, but I wanna make sure you ain't no cop." When Tracy sits down, Jam notices the track marks. Tracy wants to put together a large order; she has some friends from her old halfway house coming to visit soon. Jam will see what he can do. Tracy wags her fingers, asking for the syringe.

Tracy hands Doug a baggie of drugs she bought. In a stoned voice, she tells him the deal was smooth sailing. Doug notices Tracy's pinpoint pupils, a classic sign of opiate use. He asks how she could be using and if she gets high at work. Tracy claims she shoots through the vein into tissue to fake getting high and sometimes it gets in her system. Doug wants to tell Cap'n Rufus. Tracy begs him not to cost her job.

Cap'n Rufus tells Doug that narcotics officers are poison. Doug is sure it was a mistake. Rufus guesses she gave Doug the standard "occupational hazard" speech that all dirty narcotics officers give. If it happens again, Tracy will be busted and sent to detox. From now on, Tracy will also wear a wire.

In the school hallway, Tracy gets angry about having to wear a wire. Doug pulls her into a classroom because she's so loud. She goes on and on about not knowing what's real because she spends so much time undercover. Eventually, she calms down and promises Doug she'll make changes. Doug tells her that he believes in her. Meanwhile, Jam is asking guidance counselor Judy about Ivy League colleges.

The moment is cut short by a loud scream that brings Doug and Tracy out of the classroom and Judy out of the guidance office. They find Lisa, Jam's right hand woman, lying on the hallway floor bleeding. She's been stabbed.

Judy tells Cap'n Rufus she thinks that Jam came into her office to alibi himself for Lisa's stabbing. She doesn't think Jam made her. Lisa had been skimming money from Jam's drug business. Mac thinks a kid named Davy actually stabbed Lisa; he left school right after the incident. Tracy promises she can nail Jam; they just have to show up.

Tracy gets out of the surveillance van after they finish adjusting her wire. She knocks on Jam's door, calling, "Trick or treat!" Doug and Cap'n Rufus listen in. They bolt from the van when Jam says, "I don't think you got no friends from Minneapolis." Jam hasn't made her; he just thinks she's a rival dealer trying to steal his customers. Jam hits her and pulls a knife. Then he decides to sell her what she asked for. Doug and Rufus arrive to arrest Jam.

Doug advises Tracy to take her phone off the hook and get some sleep. He and Clavo will stop by her place later with a pizza. Back at the Chapel, Mac still hasn't managed to find Davy. Doug gets worried because Davy does all of Jam's dirty work and will likely blame Tracy for the bust. He tries to call her. "Damn, it's busy," Doug says, evidently forgetting he told Tracy to take the phone off the hook. He races out of the squadroom.

When Doug arrives at Tracy's motel room, he finds her with a belt around her leg and a syringe in hand. The phone receiver is in the nightstand drawer. Doug asks if Tracy refuses to wear a wire to hide that she steals evidence from every bust. "Not every bust. I need it, I need it," Tracy whines. She slaps Doug in the face when he takes the syringe away. Cap'n Rufus calls the room to let them know he found Davy. 

"I thought I knew you, I thought I actually found somebody," Doug says when he hangs up. Tracy whimpers that he did. She promises to quit after she does one last dose. Doug arrests Tracy for narcotics possession and reads her the Miranda Rights.

At Casa de Penhall, Doug can't sleep and is channel surfing. Clavo comes out of the bedroom because he had a nightmare. Doug has Clavo sit next to him on the couch. It must be a few weeks down the road, as Clavo inquires why Tracy doesn't visit anymore. Doug explains that work took Tracy away. "Why does God take people away?" Clavo wonders, "Will Tracy ever come back?" Doug doesn't know. The two of them prepare to go to sleep on the couch. End of episode.

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