Penhall-isms: Best of Season 5

Double your Penhall, double your fun. These boys definitely got Dom's gift for delivering comedy.

1. Joey (after Judy apologizes for thinking he's a homeless person): No apologies needed. I like churches.

2. Joey (on whether he's lying about being related to Doug): I don't think so...unless my dad lied.

3. Doug: I never wanted to hear that knock again.
Joey: You shoulda put in a doorbell.

4. Doug (while posing as a drill instructor at a boot camp for out of control teens): Drop and give me 50!
Joey: I didn't bring any money! 

Case #5.23: "Second Chances"

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we made it. This recap is the final episode of 21 Jump Street. Thank you for everyone who's taken this TV nostalgia trip with me, whether you've read every single review or just once in a while.

A car fishtails out of an alley, a police car in hot pursuit. The driver pulls into a warehouse/garage bay and someone in a mechanic's jumpsuit close the door. The young driver, who looks like my buddy Dave, fumbles trying to get the front bumper off as the police approach. When they slide the door open, the car's bumper is missing and the suspects are nowhere to be found.

At a community group called Each One Reach One, a ponytailed young man details the lessons he learned after being sent to a ranch for juvenile delinquents. How to smuggle drugs into prison, how to make shanks, and that he never wanted to go back. He knows most of the kids in the room were given jobs by their mentors. His is a cop and knows he "ain't exactly police academy material."

Judy, watching from the rows of folding chairs, smiles. When the meeting ends, Judy and the kid, Nick, help themselves to the free snacks. She hopes he's taking the program seriously because he tends to turn everything into a joke. Nick swears he is. He's trying hard to get a job. Judy suggests he focus on bettering his grades for a while.

Nick wants money to go to the movies and take girls on dates; his mom hardly makes enough to pay rent. Judy tells him she has a friend who runs the Rocket Dawg restaurant downtown. He should call and see if there's an opening. Nick isn't interested in fast food work.

Cap'n Rufus fills Judy and Mac in about an auto theft ring specializing in expensive German imports. The uniforms who chased a stolen Audi saw a teenage boy driving. Mac will be going undercover at his school as a kid fresh out of juvie for auto theft. The captain will find another case for Judy. She's immediately suspicious.

Rufus tries to play it off, but breaks down. Mac is going undercover at Westin High, Nick's school. Nick is the only student with priors for grand theft auto. Mac is confused about who Nick is to Judy. Cap'n Rufus explains that Judy mentors him. Mac is surprised Judy is involved with something like that; she knows little cons grow up to be big ones. "Not Nick," Judy insists.

Rufus asks, "Can we get back to the case?" They have to start with Nick because he has the knowledge and skills to do this. "I know this kid and he didn't do it," Judy repeats. Once Nick knows he's being investigated, he'll stop trusting Judy as a mentor. Mac promises the kid will never know he's a cop. 

At Rocket Dawg, Nick nervously plays with a salt shaker shaped like a Dalmatian. I know a lot of firefighters who'd love to have one of those. The napkin holder looks like a dachshund. Judy introduces Nick to Randy the manager. Randy asks if Nick has ever cooked food or worked a cash register before. "No, but how hard can it be?" Nick asks.

Understandably, Randy is not impressed by this answer. He says he knows Randy has been to juvie before: "You gonna be responsible for any losses?" Nick gets angry. Randy insists he has nothing against ex-cons, but he has to protect his business. He doesn't want Nick taking money from the register. "If I was planning on stealing, I wouldn't need a job at a hot dog stand," says Nick. I'd say this job interview is pretty much over. 

In a completely unrealistic turn of events, Randy says Nick can start work the next night at 6:00. He'll make minimum wage. To Judy, he adds, "We're even, Detective." I wonder if we ever find out what that remark means.

Nick goes home and tells his mom the good news about his job. Nick's Mom pretty much says, "Oh, that's nice, dear. Now be a good boy and go buy me some cigarettes." She notices Judy and is all, "What's she doing here?" Nick explains that Judy helped him get the job. Nick's Mom thinks she could've gotten him a better one.

Judy promises the woman that she's not trying to take her place. Nick's Mom starts to close her bedroom door, but he pushes it open and notices a man in the bed. "What happened to Jimmy?" Nick wants to know. Mom says he took off. Nick shakes his head: "You sure work 'em fast, Ma." "Don't forget the cigarettes!" Mom calls as he leaves.

Mac is placed in Nick's auto shop class. Did they even still have those in 1991? Mac endears himself to the teenager by mouthing off to the teacher Mr. Blake. He claims that he went to a juvie ranch for stealing Porsches. Nick informs Mac that he's not interested in being friends if Mac is planning on getting himself back in trouble.

After school, Nick's friend introduces him to a shady looking guy in a tow truck. "My ma told me not to talk to strange old men," Nick sasses. Floyd tries to offer Nick a job making a lot more than he does at Rocket Dawg. Nick agrees to go for a ride to discuss the job with Floyd, even though his initial answer was no. Mac sees Nick get in the tow truck.

Judy visits Nick at work. He doesn't say much except that the job is going well. He keeps staring at his classmate Vicki who's eating there. Judy suggests he ask her out. Nick wouldn't know where to take her. Vicki turns and we see she's wearing a Bon Jovi tank top. A solid choice, girlfriend.

Judy points out her taste in music and asks, "Isn't Bon Jovi in town this week? And don't you get paid tomorrow?" Dumb move. She knows damn well Nick can't afford tickets. Nevertheless, Nick approaches Vicki. He tells her he's thinking about going to the Bon Jovi concert and asks if she'd go with him. Say yes! I saw them 3 years ago and they put on one hell of a show.

Vicki hesitates; she's heard rumors that Nick has done time. He tells her the truth. He got arrested for stripping parts off a stolen car. Nick asks about the concert again. Vicki isn't sure it's a good idea. Nick apologizes for bothering her, then goes back to the table. 

He tells Vicki that he's not dangerous and she shouldn't be scared of him. It's not like he killed or raped anyone. He knows what he did was stupid and he doesn't plan on doing it again. He walks away. Miraculously, Vicki calls after him, "I'd love to go to Bon Jovi with you." Nick goes back to his table, smiling widely at Judy.

At the Chapel, Mac lays Floyd's mugshot on Judy's desk. He says the guy's been talking to Nick. Floyd used to own a body shop in Oregon and got arrested for using stolen parts on the cars. He recently opened a new shop that's only 2 blocks from Nick's school.

Mac likes Judy's optimism, but he's scared it'll wind up hurting her in the long run. Judy asks if he really thinks there's no such thing as criminal rehabilitation. Mac's never seen it happen. "Maybe I should just let you go out and bust Nick. Put him behind bars and set the cycle in motion again," says Judy. Mac isn't saying that; she just needs to be prepared for the possibility that Nick is guilty. Judy coldly thanks him for the advice.

It's payday at Rocket Dawg, but Nick is disappointed. He worked 22 hours and still doesn't have enough for Bon Jovi tickets. Welcome to life on minimum wage. Nick thinks someone shorted his check. Randy the manager explains to him about the taxes that were taken out.

When Nick gets home, his mom is passed out on the couch, liquor bottles all over the kitchen counter. Nick checks her pulse, then calls Vicki. Too embarrassed to say he has no money, he tells her that he can't take her to see Bon Jovi because his mom is sick. That's sort of the truth anyway. Nick suggests making it up to Vicki by taking her out the next weekend.

At the high school auto shop, Nick again turns down Floyd's job offer. Floyd tells him opportunity only knocks once and hands him an envelope. Inside, there's a $100 bill and a note reading "8 PM for the other half." Mac is watching from inside the car they're both working on.

Judy brings a rose to Rocket Dawg for Nick to give Vicki. Judy thinks he's still going to the concert. She tells him to have fun and she wants a full report. When she's gone, Nick asks Randy if he can leave early. The manager agrees. Nick throws the rose in the trash.

A thief drops off a car in a garage. He only wants the front end and it has to be done in 15 minutes. Nick says he'll only need 10.

Mac and Judy bicker some more in the captain's office. Cap'n Rufus gets a phone call and hangs up with news: "Another BMW was stolen last night. A jogger found it minus the front end." Judy says it couldn't have been Nick; he was on a date at the Bon Jovi concert. Mac decides to ask the supposed date.

At school, Mac approaches Vicki. He asks if she went to a house party last night; he likes her and was hoping to see her there. Vicki didn't even know about the party and was home alone watching Arsenio Hall. 

Nick brings Mac along to the Second Chances meeting, where Mac has to pretend he doesn't know Judy. Judy can't believe Mac is there. Mac tells her about Vicki being home alone the night before. She's sure he broke the date for a reason. 

The next day, Mac skips auto shop to steal a planted Corvette from the school parking lot. Nick watches it through the window. Later, Vicki approaches him and asks how Nick's mom is. Nick lies and says she has the stomach flu. Vicki went to his house with a container of chicken soup for mom because she knows Nick works along. When she got there, Nick's mom was dressed up to go out.

Nick wants to explain. Vicki tells him not to bother. If he doesn't want to go out with her, he should've said so. She's upset because she was looking forward to getting to know Nick.

Mac goes to Rocket Dawg on Nick's lunch break. He acts like he went to the park when he skipped class. Nick says, "Most 'Vettes got a decent stock alarm, which I didn't hear go off." He knows what Mac was up to. If Mac didn't already ditch the car, Nick could help him strip it for parts. 

"Sometimes, I really hate this job," Mac sighs. Nick is confused. Mac flashes his badge, reads the Miranda Rights, and cuffs Nick right in front of everyone in the restaurant. Judy comes in, looking shocked and hurt.

At the police station, Judy plays the tape from Mac's wire and asks if Nick has anything to say. "It's entrapment," replies Nick. He lies that he was talking to Mac about getting him a job at a body shop. He can explain everything. Judy doesn't want an explanation; she wants the truth. "You can't handle the truth!" shouts Nick. Oh, he does not.

Judy confronts him about the Bon Jovi concert. "The truth is that I just make it on the outside," says Nick. Seriously, how long was his sentence in juvie? He thinks working at a hot dog stand sucks.

Judy points out he doesn't have to do that for the rest of his life. Nick could go to college. He asks if she knows how many college guys come into Rocket Dawg every week looking for an assistant manager job: "Don't run that American Dream hustle on me." Judy is disappointed in him. "It's not about you, it's about me," says Nick.

Mac tries to comfort Judy. Maybe she'll have better luck with the next kid she mentors. Judy started hating her job because all she did was arrest kids. She thought she could break the cycle by helping with Second Chances. 

Cap'n Rufus tells Judy that Nick wants to talk to her. "Tell him I went home," she says coldly. He's surprised; last week, she was defending the kid. Judy says Nick decided he doesn't want her help. His mom will have to. Rufus says Mom wouldn't take Nick's call.

Judy goes back to the interrogation room. Nick apologizes for losing his temper and letting her down. "You let yourself down," Judy corrects. She can't trust him anymore. Nick asks if Mac still has the Corvette; he knows some people who might want it.

Nick is outfitted with a wire and the Corvette. Judy and Mac tail him in an unmarked car. She finds out Nick wasn't offered a deal for helping catch the car thieves; he's doing it out of the goodness of his heart. 

Floyd offers Nick $1,500 total for the doors and interior. Nick knows he's being lowballed; a new Corvette costs $25,000. Floyd tells him to shut up and take the money. Judy and Mac burst in and chase the thieves through the garage. Floyd manages to get down the block before Mac catches up. "Damn, I gotta start running again," Mac pants.

Mac comes to a Second Chances meeting, now mentoring a kid named Darrell. "What was that you said about teen ex-cons growing up to be adult cons?" Judy asks. Mac thinks the chance to help just one kid is worth it. End of episode, end of series.

Case #5.22: "Homegirls"

Judy is browsing through jeans at a clothing store when a little girl named Tiffany, maybe 5 or 6, runs up to her. "Are you Whitney Houston?" she asks sweetly. Judy chuckles that she's not. "You look like Whitney Houston," says the girl. Bear in mind, this was 1991 and that was still considered a compliment.

Tiffany's teenage sister Teresa appears with shopping bags, hoping Tiffany isn't bothering Judy. She ruffles the kid's hair, kisses her, and says, "You're my main girl." They leave and so does Judy after she buys new jeans.

Tiffany asks when the bus is coming. Teresa says it will soon. "Can I try on the lipstick when we get home?" Tiffany chirps. Teresa agrees if she'll clean her room. A black car is approaching the bus stop and I'm suddenly uneasy. My suspicions are confirmed when Teresa shouts, "Tiffany, get down!"

Judy is nearby and scoops up the little girl. The two duck behind a parked car. A passenger in the black car shoots Teresa twice. When the shooting stops, Judy asks a female bystander to watch Tiffany. Tiffany yells for her sister.

Judy flashes her badge and tells another bystander to call an ambulance. She covers Teresa with her coat and holds the scared teenager's head in her lap. We hear sirens approaching, but it's already too late. "Teresa," whimpers Tiffany. Not even 3 minutes in and I'm about to cry. Theme song.

At the Chapel, Judy is frustrated that she couldn't help the homicide detectives. She didn't notice the car's make, model, or license plate. Cap'n Rufus reminds her that it would've been a lot worse if Judy hadn't been there to protect Tiffany. Teresa was a member of the Howard Street Girls' Gang, a terribly uncreative name. Judy wants to go under with them, since their rivals are probably responsible.

If Judy goes under, headquarters also wants her to take down Raghib Moore, head of 16th Street Gang. He also deals guns illegally. Moore is connected to the Howard Girls, but sells guns to anybody.

At Teresa's former high school, several Howard Girls are being made to paint over graffiti they put on the walls. One girl points a gun at the principal's retreating back. Another tells her to put it away before they get in more trouble. They're meeting with Raghib later about doubling their coke sales. So much gang terminology is thrown in this scene.

Enter Judy. She wants to join the Howard Girls because she "was in a big set in Portland." One of the girls points out that you can't exactly quit a set. Judy doesn't really answer that, just talks about doing 6 months in juvie for grand theft auto. They never found the dope she meant to sell because it was sewn into the upholstery. 

One of the still unnamed gangbangers (my long running pet peeve with the show) says, "We ain't gonna just jump you in." She's referring to a form of gang initiation in which the wannabe is beaten without mercy by current members of the gang. Anyway, the gangbanger who told Judy they won't jump her in is Joann. Her unnamed companion gives Judy to sell some dope for them and she wants to make at least $ 6 PM that night.

Judy calls Cap'n Rufus from the school payphone to get the flash money, an astonishingly stupid move for someone who's spent the last 5 years on an undercover team. She doesn't know anything about their gun business.

When they make the money drop, it's arranged for Judy to get rousted by the police. Mac asks about the cash in her pocket. Judy sasses that she made it selling Avon. She claims she doesn't know Raghib or Joanna and the Howard Girls. Sounds like a girl group from the '60s. Mac chases them off the corner. 

Unnamed Leather Hat Gang Girl collects the $800 from Judy and hands her a green bandanna, Howard Girls colors. She needs to wear it because nobody outside the set knows where Raghib lives. Joann threatens that she'll make sure Judy's do-rag is tight.

Turns out they wanted Judy to wear the bandanna as a blindfold. Unnamed Leather Hat Gang Girl is now known as Shawanda. A guy named Cee Jay opens the door (any relation to Cee Lo Green?). He lets the girls in, saying Raghib's on the phone. Shawanda leaves Judy in the living room while she talks to the big boss. 

Cee Jay tries to get the girls to do cocaine with him. One, Nicole, refuses. Cee Jay uses a persuasion line straight out of a DARE program: "Come on, it'll make you feel good." Shawanda says Nicole is still being a crybaby over Teresa. Judy heard about Teresa and asks where the bathroom is. 

Judy peeks into one of the bedrooms and sees an arsenal on the table: handguns, rifles, shotguns, and even something that looks like a rocket launcher. FIRE IN THE HOLE! Oh, sorry, wrong show. Raghib enters with Shawanda behind him. Judy repeats the lie about looking for the bathroom. 

Raghib asks how dedicated Judy would be if she got jumped in right now. Would she die for her homegirls? If a rival gangbanger said "To hell with your dead homegirl" and used Teresa's name, would Judy be willing to kill? Judy would. Raghib thinks Judy talks a good game and suggests they all go to her house sometime.

Out in the hall, Shawanda threatens Judy, "You ever knock boots with Raghib, it'll be the last time you ever get it on with anyone." No fear of that. The Howard Girls blindfold Judy again as they prepare to leave the apartment. Raghib tells Joann to let Judy in and "let her trip herself up." Judy's babbling about wanting one of his guns got her made.

At the Chapel, Cap'n Rufus bets headquarters will love to hear about Judy being blindfolded and thus not knowing where Raghib lives. Judy thinks there must be a bigger weapons cache elsewhere, but I don't quite by that. There was a lot of firepower in that bedroom. 

Judy doesn't know who killed Teresa, but it seems like the victim's best friend Nicole wants to talk. Joann won't let Nicole do that until Judy is jumped in. However, in the Jump Street universe, jumping in requires Judy to kill someone. Cap'n Rufus expected that and gives Judy a single blank: "Use it wisely." So apparently she's Jack Sparrow, single shot and all. 

Joann, Shawanda, and Nicole take Judy to Teresa's house so they can pay their respects to their dead homie's family. Judy wants to stay in the car because she wasn't in the Howard Girls when Teresa died. Also because little sister Tiffany knows she's a cop. But in the end, she stupidly follows the gang up to the porch.

When Teresa's mom opens the door and sees who's outside, she tries to slam the door in Shawanda's face. Shawanda asks about Teresa's funeral. Can the gang wear colors? Leave Howard Girls mementos in the coffin? 

"I want you to be as far away from Teresa's funeral as possible," Teresa's mom says tearfully. "You forced her to be in your gang and now I'm burying her because of it." Joann argues that they're Teresa's family too. Nicole goes to wait in the car.

Tiffany appears in the doorway and asks who's there. Judy turns her head so the kid won't see her. That doesn't work as planned. "Mama, it's the lady from the store," says Tiffany. Judy says she doesn't know the kid from Adam. "There's nothing more to say to her kind," Teresa's mom tells her daughter.

"Raghib called it," Joann says after the door closes. Shawanda shrugs.

The Howard Girls park their car at the docks. Judy asks why they don't go after the set that killed Teresa. Nicole thinks it could've been Euclid or the 40-Treys. The Howard Girls are suspicious that Tiffany seemed to know Judy. "You ever play Russian roulette?" asks Joann, holding up a 1911. Well, you can't play it with that; it's not a revolver.

Joann asks the name of Judy's set in Portland. Shawanda is still concerned about Judy's loyalty. Judy thinks the Howard Girls should stop fronting and avenge their dead homegirl. She might as well not be in a set.

Judy gets out of the car and Shawanda follows. "What are you gonna do without a set?" asks Shawanda. Judy wants to go solo and get out of the 'hood someday. Shawanda makes a tired speech about the gang lifestyle being the only way for a black person to make money because the institution of honest work is irreparably, inherently racist.

Judy wants to know how she can set things straight with Joann. Shawanda thinks she should be more worried about Raghib. He doesn't believe Judy was ever in a set and "he's even crazier than Joann." 

At school the next day, Judy notices a cut over Nicole's eyebrow. The girl is looking sadly at Teresa's yearbook photo; Teresa is smiling and wearing a floral dress. "You can't even see the scar," Nicole sighs. Teresa got cut up in a rumble with a rival set. Now this is starting to sound like Johnny Cade's backstory.

When it happened, Teresa cried all night, scared her school picture would be ruined. Nicole did Teresa's hair so the cut wouldn't show. Teresa and Nicole had been thinking about going to beauty school. Nicole has lost interest because of Teresa being killed. 

It's okay, though, because a gang is forever. Judy has a feeling Shawanda got to her. Nicole insists she doesn't know who killed Teresa. The others don't know either.

Judy calls Cap'n Rufus from the guidance office and tells him about Nicole's cut. The Euclid Girls and 40-Treys are possible rivals. Raghib won't get close to her. Cap'n Rufus advises her to make a gun buy ASAP, even though he lectured her on having patience.

Raghib walks in and sees Judy on the phone. She acts pissed, pretending she's talking to her dad. She puts the phone down on the desk but doesn't hang up so Cap'n Rufus can hear what's going on. Shawanda just found out that the 40-Treys killed Teresa. When the Howard Girls retaliate, Judy will be the shooter. She has to be at a restaurant on Elm in an hour.

Raghib has a .45 for her, but Judy says she has her own piece. Raghib tells her to use the one he gave her or she won't be going anywhere. Cap'n Rufus hangs up and Raghib hears the phone beeping that annoying hangup tone. At least he can't push 'Redial' on a rotary phone.

In the car outside the restaurant, the girls tell Judy that 40-Treys wear yellow. Judy has chosen her victim, a girl that supposedly eyeballed her at the music store. They offer Judy some drugs. Judy says, "I don't wanna miss." Shawanda says they'll meet at Raghib's if they get separated. Nicole thinks the whole thing is crazy. Judy says they don't need her anyway.

Judy, Joann, and Shawanda go into the restaurant. A mother sitting with her little girl senses danger and bolts. Judy fires at a retreating 40-Trey: "This is for Teresa." Her round hits an abandoned chocolate milkshake, which explodes in spectacular fashion. Eventually, Judy hits what she's aiming at. Shawanda hustles her to the door.

When the coast is clear, Mac emerges from the back. "I want my hazard pay," coughs the female undercover in yellow. Mac thought Judy had blanks. No, because Cap'n Rufus was an idgit and didn't give her more than one.

At Raghib's, they have a party. Shawanda toasts Judy, now officially a gangster girl. Judy puts on her green bandanna and tells him she has customers who want guns. "Why don't you and I get together and...discuss things?" Raghib's tone and facial expression show he's thinking of something else entirely. Shawanda looks pissed. Judy would rather talk at Shawanda's house. She leaves. Shawanda again expresses her concern that Judy isn't what she appears to be, but Shawanda always has a plan.

At school, Shawanda asks if Judy's seen Nicole. She hasn't. Shawanda tells Judy the two of them are going to Raghib's to make a deal for guns. Joann will meet them later. Judy calls Cap'n Rufus to let him know about the gun deal; she'll get back in touch when she has the address.

Mac questions Nicole about Teresa's death. Unexpectedly, she shouts, "They did it! My set did it!" Nicole wasn't in on it; she and Teresa didn't even want to be Howard Girls. Shawanda talked them into it by saying it was just for pride and protection. For Raghib, it was all about the dope trade. Teresa wanted out and had threatened to tell the police about murders the Howard Girls had committed. They made it look like a drive-by.

Mac asks if Nicole is willing to testify. She doesn't want to end up like Teresa. Even if she gets protective custody, she eventually has to go home. Mac informs Cap'n Rufus of the situation.

Tiffany, carrying her lunchbox, happens upon Joanna on her walk home from school. "Mommy says I'm not supposed to talk to you," she says. Joann asks about the girl that Tiffany said she saw in the store. Tiffany explains that Judy was in the store when Teresa got shot and adds, "She's a police lady." Joanna asks if the phone in Tiffany's house works.

At Raghib's, Judy is ordering guns when Shawanda gets a phone call from Joanna. Shawanda tells Judy there's been a change of plan. Judy wants to call her buyer, but Joanna says no way.

Mac tries to get Nicole to tell him where Raghib keeps his weapons stash. She won't have to testify about his address in court and Raghib will kill Judy if they don't find her in time. Nicole says he uses one of the warehouses on the East Side Pier.

At the warehouse, Judy says she really has to call about her buyer. Joanna tells Judy to worry about herself: "I'm taking you to the grave." Inside, Joann checks Judy's pockets. Outside, Cap'n Rufus parks his unmarked car.

Raghib holds Judy's handcuffs and reads her name off her police ID. Joann wants to kill her right now. Shawanda aims a gun at Judy. "Killing a cop is murder one," Judy says, trying to talk her down. Shawanda doesn't care.

A gunshot attracts the attention of Mac and Cap'n Rufus as they do a floor-by-floor search. Fortunately, the bullets in Shawanda's gun are blanks. No idea why a hardcore gangbanger would even touch a box of those. Mac and Rufus arrest Joanna and Raghib. Judy gets a gun and goes looking for Shawanda. She shouts that she knows Shawanda killed Teresa. Shawanda tries to pin the blame on Joann.

Judy tries in vain to make Shawanda see that she and her homegirls are killing for no reason. Cap'n Rufus tackles her as she's about to shoot Judy. Shawanda doesn't care if she goes to jail; she'll just "rule from the inside," which actually does happen quite a bit with gangs. Everybody from the Crips and Bloods to the Hells Angels has someone calling shots from prison. Cap'n Rufus bets Judy is glad she didn't use all her blanks. Oh, that explains it! Shawanda was gonna kill Judy with her own gun.

Judy stops by May's Beauty Salon. Nicole works there as a shampooer; the owner offered her a shot at cutting hair when she finishes beauty school. She walked away from the Howard Girls and hasn't had a problem with them since. Also, it turns out that Judy helped Nicole get her job at the salon. She doesn't know how she can ever pay Judy back. End of episode.

Case #5.21: "A Bad Day at Blackburn"

There's a prison close to my hometown by that name, so I think it's safe to say every day there is a bad day. Anyway, we begin with Cap'n Rufus enjoying some free time in the department gym. While he works out, he catches up with George, a buddy of his from the police academy. George seems to be feeling unwell but trying to act like nothing's wrong; he suggests they go out for steak so Rufus can meet George's new lady. George gets a cup of water from the cooler and suddenly collapses. "Call 911! He's having a heart attack!" shouts Rufus as he starts CPR. Theme song.

At Blackburn High School, Coach Coswell finishes up a practice for the boxing team. I know schools do wrestling, but boxing seems like a no-go, what with the possibility of early-onset Parkinson's and/or pugilistic dementia. Coswell counsels an athlete named Jamie, telling him to stick to the sport. He asks if the bullies are leaving Jamie alone. Jamie plays dumb. "You're gonna stick with not bringing charges?" asks Coach Coswell. This must be some Cobra Kai level bullying. Jamie puts on his coat and leaves.

A guy with pantyhose over his face slowly exits the coach's office. There are two other guys with pantyhose masks waiting by the gym entrance. One cuts the lights and they rush into the gym and catch Coswell by surprise. They start beating the daylights out of him with their fists and what appears to be a billyclub.

The next morning, Mac rifles through Rufus' papers looking for his evaluation form while Judy tells him to quit. Enter Cap'n Rufus. Judy, sporting a hideous side ponytail, is sorry to hear about George dying. Cap'n Rufus reveals that George was only 45. He assigns them to investigate the beating of Coach Coswell, who's currently in a coma. Blackburn High isn't in gang territory and nobody reported anyone suspicious hanging around the school. Coswell had reported concerns to the principal about the possibility of an extortion ring on campus, but there wasn't enough evidence to talk to any of the kids.

At school, the 3 guys from the school gym harass a girl named Sandy. They reason that if she has enough money to put gas in her BMW X7, she's got enough to give to her "old pals." "It's a black one, parked third row from the end, right?" asks the heavyset guy in a hideous Cosby sweater. Hey, It's That Guy! Sweater Boy is Michael Cudlitz, perhaps best known for playing "Bull" Randleman in HBO's classic miniseries Band of Brothers. More recently, he played pill-popping Officer John Cooper on Southland. According to IMDb, his character's name here is Dennis.

Sandy can't believe they're threatening to vandalize her car. "We'd just hate to see you walking home at night," says Dennis/Bull in a falsely casual tone, "You know, it gets so dark so early." "Bad things can happen after dark," adds another guy. Dennis/Bull snatches Sandy's purse right off her shoulder. Cap'n Rufus orders him to give it back. 

Dennis/Bull claims Sandy agreed to loan him $10. Cap'n Rufus asks if that's true and of course Sandy says yes out of fear. Dennis/Bull is careful to take no more and no less than $10 out of the purse. Sandy leaves, so does Dennis/Bull. You know what? I'm just referring to him as Baby Bull from now on.

Cap'n Rufus introduces himself to the other boys as Mr. Coswell's replacement. "We'll be seeing you around," says Maroon Shirt Jerk in a tone that carries just a hint of malevolence. 

In history class, Mr. Fulton AKA Cap'n Rufus gets ready to lecture on the events leading up to the shelling of Fort Sumter. Jamie is in the class. Mac and Judy are students too. Baby Bull and Company look bored in the back row. Rufus gives the class a pep talk. Mr. Coswell was a popular teacher and they must all be upset. The best get-well present they could give their absent teacher is high test scores. 

The principal's voice comes over the intercom with sad news: Mr. Coswell has died. His funeral is on Friday and students who want to go will be excused from school. Jamie turns around to glare at Baby Bull. The principal encourages anyone who may have information about who killed Mr. Coswell should come to him or any other teacher. Baby Bull looks bored blows a bubble with his pink gum.

At lunch, Baby Bull and friends go over to Jamie's table, accusing him of staring at them in class. "Didn't your mother ever tell you it's impolite?" asks Baby Bull, which is such a Biff Tannen line. Jamie glares at them; he knows they're the ones who attacked Mr. Coswell. The other boys start pushing Jamie and throwing the contents of his lunch tray on the floor.

"Think I better get over there?" Mac asks Judy. Uh, yeah? Judy reminds him they have to keep a low profile. Cap'n Rufus comes into the cafeteria and asks what's going on. Baby Bull makes out like Jamie is just clumsy and spilled his lunch, then doubles back and says it was an accident. Rufus sends Jamie to get another lunch tray. He orders Baby Bull and friends to clean up the mess.

Friend A argues that they have class. "Then you'll do it after class," says Cap'n Rufus. Friend B says they all have after school practice. "Then you will do it after practice." Rufus isn't accepting any excuses. He's even writing their names in his appointment book.

That night, Rufus is sitting alone in the cafeteria when Mac joins him. "You're here late," Cap'n Rufus observes. There's a mop bucket waiting for Baby Bull and the others. Mac doesn't think it's smart to be around suspects without backup. Cap'n Rufus appreciates the concern, but he's been doing this a long time. As Baby Bull approaches, Rufus pretends Mac was just asking him questions about today's homework.

The third boy isn't with Baby Bull, supposedly due to a family emergency. Cap'n Rufus expects the absentee to bring in a note from his parents. "His folks are divorced," says Baby Bull. Rufus will accept the note from either one of them.

Before the boys can start mopping, the fire alarm starts ringing shrilly. I have no doubt that Mac pulled it, but, no it's the missing cafeteria bully. Cap'n Rufus chases him down the stairs. The kid plows right into the janitor and his cart, though he manages to untangle himself and get out the door. Rufus follows and is stopped by the chainlink fence the kid easily scaled. As Danny Glover once said, "I'm getting too old for this shit."

Back at the Chapel, they try to figure out their next move. Cap'n Rufus is upset that Judy and Mac think they're his babysitters. Baby Bull and his friends are the best suspects they have. Mac asks the obvious question: What if they're innocent? Then Mac is free to look for other suspects. Cap'n Rufus can handle himself even if he's outnumbered. He goes into his office and looks sadly at the framed picture of his academy class.

During a stupid montage set to a country song, Judy and Mac have no success getting other students to talk about who might have killed Mr. Coswell. The cops talk it over in a bar. Classic nobody knows nuttin'. Judy remarks that she hasn't had so many doors slammed in her face since she sold Girl Scout cookies. 

Cap'n Rufus hasn't had much better luck with the teachers. Mr. Coswell started a boxing club mid-semester and had talked about the extortion ring to his coworkers. The other teachers won't name any of the suspected students because they don't wanna get sued. Cap'n Rufus plans to take over as the new boxing club coach. 

At boxing practice that night, Cap'n Rufus puts Mac in the ring for a demonstration. Baby Bull wants a turn. His friends help him glove up. Rufus thinks the kid look like he's sparred before, but they're just going over basics tonight. Baby Bull gets increasingly frustrated that he can't hit the older man.

Cap'n Rufus works Baby Bull's mistakes into the lessons. Moving too fast in one direction makes you predictable. Ducking a wild haymaker, Rufus remarks, "See, throwing wild punches is the worst thing you can do." Baby Bull is knocked into the ropes. He sneaks up behind Rufus and his next several punches connect. 

Cue the slow-mo fight scene. Cap'n Rufus has a fiery look on his face. Baby Bull finally has the sense to look intimidated. Rufus connects with the kid's face, but you can't bring down a bull that easily. Mac jumps into the ring to break it up. Baby Bull angrily tosses his gloves to the gym floor.

At the bar, Judy is concerned. She's never seen Cap'n Rufus like this. Baby Bull went to the principal and the principal wants Rufus out of the school. He doesn't seem to have a choice, so the rest of the investigation, they're going totally rogue.

In the school hallway, Mac puts on a show like he's shaking Judy down for money. Judy, near tears, says she left her wallet at home. Mac doesn't believe her. Baby Bull observes from a distance. Mac decides to accept Judy's heirloom watch in lieu of cash; he might even let her buy it back. Judy runs off.

Baby Bull asks what Mac thinks he's doing. It's a nice school and that kind of thing is frowned on. "Not by you guys," says Mac, "That's what I hear." Baby Bull tells Mac he heard right; his crew doesn't have any competition. Mac will keep doing what he wants. Baby Bull says kicking his ass isn't worth it, at least not this time.

Jamie asks Cap'n Rufus when the next boxing club meeting is. Rufus doesn't think the club is such a good idea anymore. Jamie disagrees; things changed for the better after Mr. Coswell started the club and changed for the worse until Rufus taught Baby Bull a lesson.

Cap'n Rufus says that what he did to Baby Bull was wrong; he's just a kid. Jamie argues that Baby Bull hurts people...and worse. Rufus asks if Jamie can connect Baby Bull's crew to Mr. Coswell's death. Jamie won't testify. Cap'n Rufus can protect Jamie. Not according to what Mr. Coswell taught the boxing club: You are your own best protection. Cap'n Rufus needs to keep teaching the students how to defend themselves.

Cap'n Rufus hosts another boxing club practice. Judy and Mac come into the gym after the boys leave. The captain expects them to stick to their assignment and not hang around looking for Baby Bull. 

When Cap'n Rufus goes out to his car, he finds Jamie in a bloody heap on the ground. In addition to the nosebleed he got during boxing practice, Jamie's got cuts on his face and one arm is broken. Cap'n Rufus asks if Baby Bull did it. "If it was, he's in jail tonight," Rufus promises.

At the squadroom, Cap'n Rufus gives Judy an update from the ER. Jamie should be fine, but they're keeping for overnight observation due to the head injury. He wouldn't say who did it, but Rufus knows who it was. Judy thinks Rufus's edgy attitude has to do with the death of his friend. She knows he feels out of control and is sure he'll find a way to help the kids.

At school, Cap'n Rufus puts up a flyer advertising the boxing club. Baby Bull doesn't think he'll have much of a turnout: "Word is you can get hurt. Boxing's a dangerous sport." Rufus wants to have a word in his classroom. 

Cap'n Rufus pushes Baby Bull into the wall. Baby Bull threatens to pursue charges. Cap'n Rufus responds by grabbing the kid by the throat: "No witnesses, man. Just like Jamie Barkley and Brian Coswell." Tightening his grip, he adds that he'll get Baby Bull and his friends sooner or later. He'll find somebody who's not scared to testify. Cap'n Rufus lets go and shoves Baby Bull out of the room.

Mac witnesses the tail end of this. Baby Bull is pissed that Cap'n Rufus wants to shut down their "collection business." He doesn't plan on letting that happen. Mac offers to help. "This might get rough," warns Baby Bull. Mac doesn't mind. Bull agrees to meet him at 7:00 that night.

In the gym, Cap'n Rufus gets his backup gun ready. Elsewhere, Mac checks his watch. It's 7:20 and Baby Bull still hasn't shown up. Baby Bull parks where Mac can't see him and gloats that he'll be waiting there all night. He doesn't trust the kid; he's too eager to get involved in their "business." 

At the school, Cap'n Rufus practices with the speed bag. Downtown, Mac jogs over to Judy's unmarked car. He knows they've been made. Judy heads in the direction of the school.

Back to the gym. Enter Baby Bull and the Unnamed Accomplices. 3-on-1 may have been tough odds for Jamie, but not for Cap'n Rufus. He asks about Mr. Coswell. One of the guys says it wasn't supposed to go that far. Baby Bull barks at him to shut up. The Unnamed Accomplices hold Cap'n Rufus up while Baby Bull punches him.

Suddenly, the gym door opens. It's Jamie, armed with a baseball bat. "You gotta be kiddin' me," chuckles Baby Bull. Then he looks around and sees a dozen other boys holding bats. Jamie smiles proudly at Cap'n Rufus. That's pretty much the end of the plotline, so I'm not bothering to recap the Chapel scene where Judy wants to box.

Case #5.20: "Wasted"

Yet another Mac-centric storyline. This one has him undercover with a football team to investigate extortion and the illegal dumping of toxic waste near a high school. How are these things even thematically related? I have a strong dislike for Mac, so I don't even wanna find out.

Case #5.19: "Crossfire"

On a sleazy downtown street, Judy is working undercover as a prostitute. A john offers her $50 for sex. Judy tells him to meet her in an alley. Mac tries to head the guy off, but the john knocks him down. There's a brief foot chase during which the guy almost gets hit by a semi. Mac arrests the john. Theme song.

Judy is still wearing her hooker garb as she stands in her boyfriend's bedroom. He comes in with a breakfast tray, but Judy seems more interested in sucking on his face. Judy puts on her coat just as a voice squeaks, "I'm late for school." It's her boyfriend's daughter Christa. The boyfriend tells Christa the school bus won't be here for another couple of hours. Run along downstairs, kid, and Daddy will make breakfast. Judy regrets not leaving before Christa got up.

Downstairs, Christa has spilled her milk. Judy's boyfriend says she has to use plastic cups from now on. But Mommy lets her use real glasses. Daddy doesn't care; his house, his rules. He arranges a lunch date with Judy. Christa chirps that Mommy left a message on the answering machine. Daddy reminds Christa that she's not supposed to talk about her mom in front of Judy. It could ruin the future he's planning with Judy. He even takes it a step further: "Mommy doesn't exist, especially not in front of Judy." I bet he's still married to Mommy...

Mac and Judy arrive at the Chapel. Cap'n Rufus informs them that the D.A. threw out the case of the john from yesterday. Judy can't believe it. The john is claiming entrapment. Rufus hopes they were both wired so they can clear this up, but Judy couldn't have worn a wire with her sexy lingerie. Judy thinks the john running is proof enough of his guilt. Judy's boyfriend Josh arrives with roses to take her to lunch. He asks if she can drive; his car was towed. Josh shrugs that he must've parked in a red zone. "Must have," says Cap'n Rufus, giving him the stink eye. 

Judy wants a word in the captain's office. She asks why Rufus doesn't like Josh. Rufus thinks he comes up with too many stories. Last week, he wanted to use Judy's mailing address. Judy argues that he's trying to start a business. Cap'n Rufus asks if Judy's ever heard of sweetheart swindlers. We call those catfish nowadays. Judy says she's too smart to fall for that. Rufus hopes she's right.

Judy and Josh go to a very nice restaurant. He wonders why Cap'n Rufus doesn't like him. Judy says Rufus is just protective. All that matters is she likes him. Josh says there are other considerations for their future, like his daughter. He's only been divorced for 6 months and claims he can't remember anything before he met Judy. Judy points out that they've only been seeing each other 2 months.

Judy suggests that they invite Cap'n Rufus to dinner so he can get to know Josh. The waitress comes to let Josh know that his credit card was declined. She called the credit card company and was told to destroy the card. Judy gives the waitress her card. Josh explains that his ex-business partner likes to cancel his credit cards at random. He hired a lawyer, but this kind of crime is hard to prove. 

Judy says she can deal with anything except lies. Josh insists he's not lying. They leave the restaurant. Judy's bouquet is still lying on the table.

Back at the Chapel, Judy is served with a subpoena. Robert the john has filed a civil suit against her for entrapment. Judy can't afford a private attorney to fight the charges. She won't get any help from the police union because it's not a criminal case.

At Josh's, he can't believe Judy has to pay for her own defense plus court costs. Josh starts giving her a leg massage to loosen her up. They kiss. Christa is asleep, so Judy suggests taking the party to the bedroom. Suddenly, there's a knock on the door. It turns out to be a police officer; Josh is being arrested for kidnapping. 

Another officer carries Christa out of the bedroom. Judy tells Josh not to resist arrest. He tells Judy where to find his lawyer's phone number. He also needs bail money.

When Judy picks Josh up from jail, his ex-wife Yvonne is there with Christa in tow. Yvonne says she's heard a lot about Judy from her daughter. Josh wants to talk to Judy tomorrow. Judy will think about it; she wants a check to repay her for bail. Yvonne promises Christa she'll see her dad on his nights. Josh argues that it was his night.

Outside, Josh says Yvonne asked him to watch Christa that night. Judy tells Josh she can't handle the stories anymore. He insists Yvonne is setting him up; it's been a bitter custody battle. Yvonne is also the person who's been canceling his credit cards. He was just trying to protect her from his crazy ex. Judy repeats that she wants a check for bail.

In a conference room, Judy is getting ready to sit down with her lawyer, Robert, and his lawyer. Cap'n Rufus got Judy's lawyer to work pro bono. Judy can't believe Robert's suing her for $250,000. Her lawyer explains there's no limit for punitive damages. Robert is a wedding photographer and has been dropped by several clients since the arrest. 

Judy is worried; she'd have to sell her house to make that payout. Her lawyer describes Robert's lawyer as "the best trial attorney I ever lost to": Yvonne. As in Josh's ex. Yvonne enters with her client and says she has a few questions for Judy.

Later, Judy asks if it's a conflict of interest for Yvonne to be representing Robert given her history with Yvonne's ex-husband. "If you wanna get rid of the conflict, you quit dating the man," says Cap'n Rufus. Judy doesn't want to do that. Enter Judy's lawyer, telling her how unprofessional it looks for her to walk out of a deposition. He's not pleased to learn that Judy is dating Yvonne's ex; he didn't want a guaranteed loser of a case. Cap'n Rufus sends Judy back to her deposition. Alan the lawyer says they need to find a witness to Robert's arrest. They already have one: Mac.

Mac goes downtown and pumps a watch thief for information. Mac remembers seeing a teen prostitute when Judy made the bust, "a country club type". He needs to know how to find her. Her name is Blair and she's a private school student who takes the bus into the city to turn tricks. I'm sure that extracurricular would look great on an Ivy League application. The watch thief thinks Mac is good-looking enough that Blair would approach him.

In Josh's living room, he and Judy have finished putting up a pup tent. Judy asks if he's sure he doesn't want a Club Med vacation instead. Josh is concerned about Judy's upcoming hearing. Christa pipes up that Mommy said she's working with Judy. Judy tells the little girl it's not a good idea to talk about it. To change the subject, she brightly suggests going out for hot chocolate and dessert.

While Judy helps the little girl into her coat, Christa says Mommy was gonna give Judy wishes. Judy isn't sure what that means. "Um, one was you will wish you never knew Daddy," the kid says shyly. Josh, oblivious, asks if his favorite girls are ready to go.

At the hearing, the judge is none other than Cigarette Smoking Man from The X-Files. Yvonne points out that Judy hadn't made a bust in 5 weeks and was below the department's quota, implying that she wrongly accused Robert of solicitation to get her numbers up. Judy tells her that she doesn't have quotas. Robert approached her first and Judy didn't mention a specific sex act. 

Yvonne dredges up the time Judy dated a married man who she then successfully sued for sexual harassment. Judy didn't even know Marcus was married. Judy's lawyer Alan objects; this has nothing to do with the current case. Yvonne also asks about the time Judy was raped. She brings this all up to prove Judy is biased against men and used her undercover role as prostitute to her advantage. Judy sasses, "You're just messing with me 'cause I'm seein' your man. Tell the judge."

Judge Smokey threatens to have Yvonne disbarred if he finds out she's prosecuting Judy for malicious prosecution. However, he does believe there's sufficient evidence to go to trial. Yvonne barely conceals her triumphant smirk.

At the Chapel, Judy frantically searches for her keys. Josh is supposedly at a business meeting; if she's 5 minutes late picking up Christa, it'll go in the custody papers. She tells Cap'n Rufus about Yvonne airing her rape and sexual harassment suit. Alan called Rufus about what happened in court and told him Judy is impossible to represent. He wants to see her the next morning. Judy leaves.

Mac tells Cap'n Rufus he's going to look for Blair. This time, he'll actually wear a wire like he was supposed to in the first place. Mac greets Blair when she gets off the bus and asks if she wants to party. Blair immediately makes him as a cop. Mac offers to make her more recent solicitation charge disappear if she agrees to testify about Judy and Robert. Blair doesn't think so.

"Well, then maybe I'll tell your parents where you're spending your school nights," Mac says evenly. Blair doubts he'd catch them at home; they're always in the Hamptons. She adds that her parents are the annual hosts of the policeman's ball.

When Judy arrives at Christa's kindergarten, Yvonne is already there. Judy is confused; she thought it was Josh's night. Yvonne hopes she wasn't too hard on Judy in court. What a joke. Judy sends Blair to the water fountain. She requests that Yvonne not use her daughter against her. As Dr. Phil always says, "Children should not be involved in adult issues."

Yvonne is very bitter. She was pregnant with Christa when Josh started his first business. As soon as it got profitable, he sold the company and divorced her. Yvonne is determined to keep him from getting custody of their daughter. When they were married, Josh always had a woman on the side. Josh can be convincing about his lies.

Josh's car wasn't towed recently; it was repossessed. Yvonne is sure Judy is driving him around until he gets it out of impound. She asks why Josh said he couldn't pick Christa up. She guesses it was an unexpected important business meeting.

Judy brings Christa home. Josh is getting ready to make dinner for three with a wok. Christa goes upstairs to take a bath. Judy asks where Josh's meeting was. He claims it was on the west side of town and that he made enough money to start a college fund for Christa.

"Enough to get your car out of hock?" asks Judy. She lets him know that Yvonne told her everything. Josh lies that Yvonne stops payments on his checks to the finance company. Judy confronts him about his mistresses. Josh swears he never cheated.

Judy feels like he's playing games, which he totally is. Josh starts in with the "oh, baby, you're the best thing that's ever happened to me" garbage. Everyone is wrong about him. Judy walks out while Josh runs Christa's bath.

In their meeting, Alan tells Judy not to have another outburst. He suggests she break it off with Josh until the case is over. Rumor has it Yvonne dumped him for his career and keeps using Christa as ammunition against him. Judy wouldn't be the first relationship she's ruined. 

At the Chapel, Cap'n Rufus and Mac play darts. Judy is talking to her real estate agent. Even though she bought her house just last year, it's not worth anywhere close to $250,000. Judy gets hostile enough that the realtor hangs up. Cap'n Rufus quietly reminds Mac that Judy's house is literally riding on Blair's testimony. The girl better show up.

Mac takes Blair out for hot dogs. He tells her about Judy, not much older than Blair but without the rich parents. She worked hard to buy her little house and could lose it if Blair refuses to testify.

Yvonne asks if it's true Judy suggested a specific sex act to Robert. Alan objects to how Yvonne is phrasing her questions. "No more wordplay," Judge Smokey tells her. Judy denies approaching Robert first. Yvonne claims Judy had personal and professional reasons to entrap Robert. Alan requests a recess and is shot down by Judge Smokey.

Enter Mac and Blair. The teen is still in her hooker garb. Alan's request to confer with his material witness is granted. He asks to put her on the stand. Yvonne wants to talk to Judge Smokey in chambers first. 

That night, Judy sits at her desk looking over the real estate section of the newspaper. Josh comes in and congratulates her on winning the case. He got them theater tickets to celebrate. Then they can go back to his house. Judy doesn't think that's a good idea; Yvonne will twist their relationship during custody hearings. She wants to do what's best for Christa.

Josh argues that Judy is good for both of them. They're letting Yvonne win if they break up. Judy asks who he'll blame if he loses Christa. Josh thinks they can pick things up after a long break from each other. Judy doesn't think so. She wishes it could have been, but doesn't sound like she means it.

The next morning, Mac comes in disheveled. Cap'n Rufus asks if he enjoyed the policeman's ball. In exchange for her testimony, Mac went as Blair's date to piss off her rich, uptight parents. He tries and fails to hide a huge hickey on his neck. Mac explains. He danced with Blair's mother and she asked if he's ever seen a little movie called The Graduate. Cougar alert! Blair's mother then gave him a hickey along with her phone number. When Mac calls, he's supposed to ask for Mrs. Robinson.

"You just be glad you gotta outta there alive," chuckles Cap'n Rufus. Mac isn't sure how to tend his wound. Judy offers up some of her concealer. End of episode.

Case #5.18: "Under the Influence"

From the title, this will be another chapter in the "Drugs and underage drinking are bad" book. The episode opens at a homeless encampment. One of the homeless men hears a cat's screeching meow, followed by a thud. He heads to the darkened alley to investigate. Clearly he never saw a horror movie in his more fortunate days.

Several guys in black ski masks suddenly appear and force the homeless man to the ground. A girl in a ski mask uses the tip of a knife to trace a circle around the dogpile. She watches the boys hit the homeless man with a disturbing smile on her face and chants, "666." Of course! In the era of the McMartin Preschool trial, no cop show would be complete without an episode about Satanism.

Anyway, a second homeless man with a ginger cat stumbles onto the scene. He's horrified by what is happening. The teens force up their victim's shirt and spraypaint a pentagram on his back. The second homeless man goes to the encampment for reinforcements. One of the men shouts "Hey!" and the teens disperse. Their victim, nicknamed Sports, is unconscious. A homeless man who looks suspiciously like Captain Rufus tries to go into the nearby Hope Mission for help, but the door is locked. I guess it's the captain's turn to see how the other half lives. Sports' friend is holding him in a semi-sitting position. Rufus steadies him and finds the pentagram. Theme song.

Thunder rumbles ominously as Mac and Rufus enter the Chapel. Sports is not the first homeless person to have been attacked by this gang. All the prior victims reported the gang comes out of nowhere, the members don't say a word, and then they disappear. Mac makes a spooky noise. "Is that your professional opinion, Officer McCann?" asks Cap'n Rufus, "I don't care if they dress up in black robes and run around reciting incantations. They're attacking people." He reminds Mac that the homeless population makes for perfect victims; nobody to notice they're missing, much less report it.

Mac will be going undercover at Douglas High, which runs an outreach program that provides teen volunteers for Hope Mission. Maybe the junior Satanists have a key to the shelter or they're just using their volunteer work to look for victims. Cap'n Rufus tells Mac to be subtle about his interest in devil worship. Mac has a plan: During the first assembly he has to attend, "I'll fall to my knees and proclaim I'm Satan's child." "Excellent," Cap'n Rufus whispers sarcastically.

At Douglas High, a jock named Alan presents a girl with an illustration he mounted on cardboard using a glue stick. It depicts Priscilla James, a witch who lived in Boston during the 17th century. Is he sure he doesn't mean Salem? Alan asks if he can come to that night's meeting. "I said I'd think about it," says the girl. Alan reminds her that he did a big favor by getting her the key to the mission. She agrees to give him a chance. The unnamed girl is pretty average looking and not wearing over-the-top Goth fashion. Not even black lipstick. Alan throws away the Priscilla James picture.

In English class, the teacher discusses how the themes in Paradise Lost mimic those found in the original Star Wars trilogy. You'll have to draw your own conclusions about that; I've never read the book nor seen any of the Star Wars saga. The book, according to the teacher, features the Devil trying to get "back into Heaven, just like the rest of us." Mac disagrees, "The Devil doesn't wanna get back into Heaven; he's got the whole damn world in his hands." He lays out his proof that the devil's having fun in the 1990s: drive-by shooting, babies with AIDS, crack, and "worse, fat chicks in tank tops."

Mac's classmates snicker. Mac speculates that the Devil doesn't have horns or is actually female. The unnamed Satanist girl from earlier watches him interestedly. "I don't why anyone's planning for tomorrow when they can party today," Mac concludes. A few kids clap. The bell rings. Satanist Girl follows Mac to her locker and introduces herself as Stephanie AKA Stevie. Given that my Big in my sorority was named Stevie, this girl will be known as Stephanie in this recap. She invites him to come to an abandoned warehouse on 5th Street that night. Stephanie guarantees Mac the time of his life.

Alan asks if Mac has a crush on Stephanie. Mac likes them "a little less man-eater." Who can blame him after the crazy chick? Alan thinks Stephanie is perfect and asks if Mac was invited to the meeting. Mac wants to know what goes on at them. Alan has no idea; tonight will be his first time. 

At Hope Mission, Cap'n Rufus sits down to dinner with Sports' friend Paulie and the ginger cat. Creatively, its name is Cat. Alan comes in and greets his mother, who's serving food. He asks for an advance on his allowance; his mom gave it to him 2 days ago. Alan cryptically tells her he had surprise expenses. She agrees to give him $20. Alan tells his mom he'll be out late with friends.

"Not those awful people I saw you with at school?" asks Mom. Alan tells her about his new friend Tony AKA Mac. Mom wants the new friend to come over. "So you can pass judgment on him?" asks Alan. Mom won't give him $20 until Alan agrees to bring his friend over, so he caves.

At the abandoned warehouse, the meeting begins with the teens sharing the worst thing they've heard or done that week. A girl gleefully describes a case of a mother running over her own baby with a car. A boy told his father about his mother having an affair. Another girl happily chirps that she read about a girl who died in a drive-by at her own 4th birthday party. It's Mac's turn: "In the last 5 minutes, there's been a rape, a murder, and a drunk driving violation." Not sure if those are daily time-based stats or what he heard on the police scanner driving over. Stephanie wants it to be more personal. Mac changes the story so that he was the one who committed rape/murder and a DUI.

Stephanie tells him that's not funny. Nothing anyone else said at the meeting has been remotely funny, so what's the big deal? Mac assures her he wants to be at the meeting.

Moving right along, it's time for old business. Nice to know that even Satanists follow Robert's Rules of Order. Stephanie reminds the group that their last spell was interrupted. The Stanford Admissions Committee is meeting this week, so their next mission has to be soon "or else I won't get into Stanford early." Mac asks if he'll be on the call list. "Such an eager little beaver," Stephanie says creepily. Mac and Alan can't go because they haven't been initiated yet. Both boys request to be initiated that night. 

Everyone has to cut their finger with a ceremonial dagger while chanting "666." The dagger blade is run through a candle flame in between members. Mac looks deeply weirded out by the whole business and I don't blame him. Mac is second to last. Instead of cutting himself, Alan opts to burn his hand on a lightbulb. Mac knocks Alan's arm away. "Hey, I decide when it's enough!" says Stephanie, kissing Alan's burnt palm.

In Cap'n Rufus' office, Mac tells him these kids are sick, not to mention stupid. He can't understand what makes people do things like that. "A cult wants to mark you, make you do something you can't take back," says Cap'n Rufus, adding more grey to his beard for his undercover work. Mac says that papercuts heal. Rufus recognizes Alan's name. His mom volunteers at Hope Mission, so she must have a key. He tells Mac to get close to Alan and Stephanie. Mac doesn't want to get that close to her. 

Mac parks his Jeep in front of Alan's house. From outside, he can hear Alan's mom, Mrs. Michaels, screaming at her son. It's not too much to ask that she knows where he is and when he's coming home. Alan argues back that he's a grown-ass man. Mrs. Michaels confronts him about the burn. Alan wishes his dad had better taste in women. Mrs. Michaels slaps him.

The doorbell rings. Mrs. Michaels lets Mac in and tells him, "Alan doesn't think it's appropriate that I meet his friend." Mac wishes his parents were like that and instantly wins Mrs. Michaels' approval. She leaves. What the hell was the point of making him come over if she's not gonna stay?

Alan gripes about his mom. She got a kit from "the tough love people" that supposedly allows parents to dust their kids' things for drug residue. She even wanted him to do a drug test last month. She also went through his tape collection. Mac suggests Alan let his mom in on some things to build trust. They leave for school.

Alan shares another story about his mom. During freshman year, he had a friend named Clay. Hopefully his last name wasn't Morrow. Alan and Clay were inseparable until the day Mrs. Michaels called Clay's parents and told them Clay was a bad influence. Clay's parents told him to stop hanging out with Alan because his mom was crazy. Clay told everyone why he wasn't allowed to hang out with Alan anymore.

Alan has a reoccurring nightmare about his mother following him everywhere until she's the only person who'll have anything to do with him. "She at it again?" Stephanie has joined the conversation. She says Alan's mom doesn't love him, just wants to dominate him. Alan agrees with Stephanie. Stephanie says Alan needs to take his power back and "the group can help you if you help the group. We need a sacrifice." They'll do it tonight at the warehouse.

Mac thinks what he said in English class is a long way from getting involved in a blood sacrifice. Stephanie tells him that he'll be at the warehouse or he'll have to quit the group. She also warns, "Don't keep Alan from attaining what he wants." 

Stephanie finds Alan moping by himself in the English classroom. She acknowledges that what she's asking him to do is scary. Sacrifices gets easier, she promises. Alan will have to do the sacrifice himself. She says it's no different than swatting a mosquito. Alan can have anything he wants. She kisses him.

At Hope Mission, Paulie is worried because Cat is missing. Oh God no. Cap'n Rufus thinks "she probably found some tom to make whoopie with." If only. After dinner, Cap'n Rufus will help Paulie look for Cat.

As a cat lover, I can't bring myself to transcribe what will probably happen next. The cat scratches Mac when he takes it out of the pillowcase and runs away, escaping with her life. "Damn you, damn you to hell!" Stephanie screeches at Mac. But to you people, isn't hell a good thing? 

At school the next day, Alan apologizes about the cat. Stephanie doesn't want to hear it; she got wait-listed by Stanford. If the sacrifice had happened, she would've gotten an acceptance letter. Stephanie needs someone she can count on. "You can count on me," says Alan. Mac tries to apologize about the cat; he didn't want Alan doing someone he didn't want to. Alan argues that he wanted to do it.

Chapel. Cap'n Rufus hopes the case will be over soon; he can't stand how bad his clothes smell. Mac suggests Judy can fill in after her vacation. Rufus doesn't plan on being on the streets that long. Mac tells the captain he's trying to keep Alan from being sucked any further into the cult. Cap'n Rufus reminds him that he's not a psychiatrist or a social worker. Juvie will see he gets the mental health help he desperately needs.

Stephanie is what's luring Alan into the cult and Mac is "afraid she's offering something I can't." Cap'n Rufus has a way around that: get Stephanie to offer herself to Mac. "She's a high school kid," Mac protests. Cap'n Rufus never said he had to accept the offer. After all, he's not running a stud farm.

At school, Mac tries to get Stephanie to give him another chance in the group. "That's the difference between leaders and sheep. I do what the others won't," says Stephanie. She doesn't want to end up like her parents. Her mom and dad both work hard, go to church, and are model citizens, but they aren't rich or powerful: "It's boring. It's like being with the living dead." Stephanie doesn't want to wait to get to Heaven to be rewarded; she wants an Oompa-Loompah now, Daddy, now!

Stephanie tells Mac he has to decide what he wants. Mac wants her. She'll meet him at the warehouse tonight, just the two of them. What a romantic date!

Mac drops by Alan's house. Mrs. Michaels answers the door and greets him pleasantly. Mac asks if Alan is around. Mrs. Michaels hasn't seen him all day and asks if something is wrong. She tells him that he's moody and distracted. She's glad he has a friend like Mac.

At the warehouse, Stephanie pours something flammable in a circle around where she and Mac are standing and drops a match. She tells him to take off his shirt, then traces one of her long red nails down his torso, stopping at his belt buckle. Stephanie wants Mac to take his pants off. Mac hesitates, but eventually does. "I'm in control. Are you?" Stephanie asks creepily. She shrugs off her long black robe. She's naked underneath. Stephanie wraps her arms around him. Unseen by both of them, Alan has come to the warehouse and caught them together.

Mac fills Cap'n Rufus in on the night's events, calling it "a valentine from Dracula." When he gets to the disrobing, Rufus asks, "I'm not gonna have to arrest you for statutory rape, am I?" Mac says no. Rufus tells him to stick with it; sooner or later, she'll do something illegal. 

At Mac's locker, Stephanie asks if he dreamed about her. Mac did. In the dream, they were married with kids and a station wagon; Stephanie was PTA president. To her, that sounds like a nightmare. She kisses him. There's another meeting tonight. Mac tries to talk to Alan. Alan insists there's no hard feelings and will see him at the meeting.

Alan goes outside and tells Stephanie he wants to do something different, something nobody in the group has done before. Stephanie purrs that she underestimated him.

Paulie and Cap'n Rufus eat at Hope Mission. Paulie is overjoyed that he found Cat.

Alan is absent from the warehouse meeting. Stephanie explains that he's on his own special mission tonight. I've got a bad feeling about this. So does Mac. They all don black gloves and ski masks. The teens head to the alley to beat up another homeless person. They're surprised when their intended victim pulls a gun; it's Cap'n Rufus. Mac takes off his own ski mask, then Stephanie's: "Looks like you're not going to Stanford. Looks like you're going to jail." 

Stephanie is angry about the betrayal. Mac asks where Alan is. Stephanie laughs maniacally: "Who does he hate? Who does he want to harm?" Mac races to Alan's house and gets out of the Jeep with his gun drawn. Mac has to force the door.

Inside, Alan is sitting next to the fireplace, holding a revolver. Alan can't decide what's a greater evil: committing murder or suicide. Alan is leaning toward killing himself; he doesn't want to go to prison or see a shrink. He wanted to show Stephanie how much he loves her. Alan considered killing Mac, then switched to his mother. But he decided "acting like a mom" wasn't enough to die for.

Alan mopes that Stephanie is "just like all the other organized religions. She makes promises but never delivers." He asks why Mac has a gun. Mac explains that he's a cop. Alan wants to know if Stephanie was arrested. Mac confirms. Alan drops his gun. Mac tells the teen that he didn't have to prove anything to Stephanie; she used him. 

Mac turns in the paperwork on the case to Cap'n Rufus. Rufus asks if Mac wants to join him for pizza and beer. Mac would rather see a movie, escape from reality and all the demented things he witnessed. Cap'n Rufus asks what movie Mac is planning to see. "Triple feature. Nightmare on Elm Street 1-3," Mac says. Ironic because Johnny Depp was in the first one. Cap'n Rufus is up for it. When they open the Chapel doors, they're blasted by wind and blowing leaves. Spooky organ music ends the episode.