Case #5.11: "Number One With a Bullet"

In a small room in the courthouse, Doug loads his gun's magazine. He and an older man (presumably another cop) dress a ponytailed male witness in a bulletproof vest. Ponytail says he isn't scared of mobsters; Doug thinks the guy should be. They all go out in the hall to wait for the elevator. It's taking too long to arrive, so they walk to the other end of the hall.

Doug advises Ponytail to stay behind him with his head down when they get off the elevator. They're immediately swarmed by reporters shouting questions about the payola trial involving mobsters. "GUN!" Doug shouts as a suspicious man emerges from the crowd. The shooter fires and takes off with bailiffs close behind him. The older cop bends over Doug, who's lying motionless on the floor. Uh-oh...

Next we see of Doug, he's sitting against the wall, holding a handkerchief to his bleeding forehead. Cap'n Rufus firmly tells him to get that taken care of and helps Doug to his feet. "Just winged, I'm all right," Doug says a bit woozily. Cap'n Rufus tells Doug to go home for the day and spend some time with Clavo. Doug asks Rufus to forget his name the next time the state police want volunteers for special assignments. A blurb on the screen tells us this episode was directed by the man himself Peter DeLuise.

Doug, sitting in his truck outside, sees a strange woman walking up the street. She's holding Clavo's hand. "But I want my Uncle Doug," the kid protests, "He told me to never go anywhere with people I don't know." The woman reassures Clavo by saying she's a social worker. Doug approaches the woman, asking, "What's going on? That's my kid." The social worker doesn't acknowledge that he's even there. Given the odd haze around everything, I bet Doug is having an out-of-body experience, Bruce Willis style. Clavo pipes up from the backseat that he wants Uncle Doug. 

I'm right. Doug is in the hospital hooked to a ventilator. Joey and Clavo are standing by his bedside. Clavo asks what people think about when they're in a coma; Joey doesn't know, but maybe Doug is dreaming. Clavo wonders when he'll wake up. A female doctor comes in the room and asks to speak to Joey in private. Clavo holds Doug's hand.

In the hallway, the doctor asks Joey, "Mr. Penhall, can your parents be reached?" Joey tells her that they're orphans. The doctor explains that Doug's brain is swelling dangerously, which could kill him; there's a possibility he'll die during the surgery needed to relieve the pressure. Joey looks scared: "You're saying that either way he could die, that I have to decide?" The doctor says yes; Joey is, after all, next of kin.

Joey wants time to think about it. The doctor wants to do the operation within the next 24 hours if that's the option Joey chooses.

In Cap'n Rufus's office, Judy asks what happened to the DJ who witnessed Doug getting shot. The DJ went home and is now refusing to testified. In fact, no radio station employee in the area acknowledges the payola allegations. Mac is angry that Doug is in the hospital after trying to protect the DJ. Rufus will be sending Mac and Judy to a college radio station for a sting, even though it's not their jurisdiction. The case is now Extremely Personal.

Joey goes to see a priest. "I've never made an important decision in my life," he tells the man, "I always buy things in plaid 'cause I can never decide on one color." Doug always ran the house. Joey wishes he could talk to their father again despite the fact that Old Man Penhall was "usually so sauced he didn't even know who I was." He's afraid that if he makes the wrong decision "Doug will beat the crap outta me in hell."

The priest asks why Joey assumes he and his brother are both going to hell. Joey asks if the priest ever actually hears God; if he sits in the church long enough, will Joey know what to do about Doug? The priest advises Joey to listen to his heart. "I'd rather listen to God," says Joey, "I came all the way over here in crosstown traffic." "God speaks to us through our hearts," the priest explains.

At the college radio station, Mac is DJing and Judy is posing as the station manager. A guy comes in asking for the manager, saying he's an independent promoter. Judy claims the flowers in the office are from a record label in New York, attempted bribery to get their songs played. Mr. Wells the promoter chuckles that some people have no sense of professionalism. He has a tape by a band called X Ray Gorillas. Judy doesn't think much of the band and won't play it. 

Mr. Wells offers to buy her dinner. Judy says no. Mr. Wells changes his tactic: "Play this tape if you wanna stay healthy." Judy orders him out of the office.

Joey drops Clavo off at school. The kid is upset about being late; Doug always gets him there on time. Joey apologizes. He didn't know it was so hard to make a left turn near the school. "Doug always takes the back way," says Clavo. This is starting to remind of the Two and a Half Men episode where Alan and Charlie were left in charge of Jake for a week. Clavo wants to go to the hospital. Joey promises to come pick the kid up if Doug has an operation.

Joey starts to walk to the truck. Clavo calls after him that Doug always watches until Clavo gets up the school steps, then they wave at each other and Doug leaves. Joey is sorry. He should've stayed anyway because there aren't any teachers outside. Joey doesn't know about the routines Clavo and Doug have; he wishes he did. If something happens to Doug, Clavo will have to be more patient with him. "Okay," Clavo agrees.

In his coma dream, Doug is wearing his suit from court. He gets out of his bed, which is in the middle of a golf course for some reason. Cap'n Rufus is there. Doug is glad to see him. "Everyone always says that," Rufus says serenely. Doug thinks he was more than just winged and wonders where he is. Rufus tells Doug to relax and enjoy the club, then he claims to be Saint Peter. Doug asks if he's on Candid Camera.

Rufus tells Doug he'll be in the clubhouse when Doug finishes walking the grounds. At the closest hole, Doug sees an older man unsuccessfully attempting to whack a ball out of a sandtrap; the last person he saw golf so badly was his father. "What the hell?" asks Doug, realizing it is his dad. Papa Penhall corrects that they're in purgatory.

"How can you be talkin' to me? You're dead!" Doug cries. Papa Penhall grouches, "Don't rub it in." Doug asks if he's dead and in purgatory too. "I got my own problems," says Papa Penhall, who clearly subscribed to the John Winchester method of parenting. Doug says, "Just like when you were alive."

Papa Penhall tells Doug to let his selfishness be a lesson. Doug doesn't think his old man is in any position to give advice on fatherhood. 

A horn honks in the distance. It's Doug's dead wife Marta, driving a golf cart. Doug kisses Marta, telling her how he much he's missed her. He gets in the golf cart and says, "You look good for havin' been dead 2 years." Marta ignores this: "You were supposed to be taking care of Clavo. This is what will become of him." Clavo is playing on a tire swing when a social worker and an INS agent arrive. "You can't take him back to El Salvador!" Doug shouts desperately, "His aunt's an enemy of the government! They killed her 2 years ago!"

Doug's headache gets so bad that he collapses on the ground. Marta holds him.

Joey and Clavo come to the hospital to say goodbye before Doug's surgery. Clavo kisses his fingertips and gently touches them to Doug's forehead. Joey leans down and says, "I was just getting to know you again." Doug is wheeled into the operating room.

At the radio station, Mr. Wells successfully bribes Mac into playing the X Ray Gorillas tape. Mac will see him when the promoter has the rest of the money. Mr. Wells leaves. Mac asks Judy how Doug is, but she doesn't know. Doug not being around is hard on her because they've known each other and worked together for 5 years.

In the waiting room, Clavo tugs on Joey's shirt. He's tired and wants to go home. "But Doug might wake up," Joey tells him. He promises to see what he can do.

Back at Club Coma, Cap'n Rufus waylays Doug at the clubhouse entrance and says he can't let Doug in. Doug explains that he needs to use the phone; INS has Clavo. Rufus still refuses. Doug isn't on the list of new members; he needs to walk the grounds some more. Rufus cautions that some people never get into the clubhouse. Doug asks if he's going to hell. "You're asking all the wrong questions," says Cap'n Rufus. Doug pleads that Clavo needs him. "All the more reason to remember everything you see here," says Rufus before disappearing.

Doug spots a woman gardening at the 18th hole. "Douglas James," she greets. It's Mama Penhall. Doug asks if having to keep the grounds with a pair of cuticle scissors is Mama Penhall's punishment for committing suicide when he and Joey were kids. "The hell was being away from you boys," she corrects.

Mama Penhall remarks that Doug has gotten mouthy. Doug tells her it was the only way he could keep Papa Penhall from walking on him. She tenderly reaches for her son's forehead, asking, "Did you hurt yourself?" Doug wishes she'd stuck around. "Just don't make the same mistake with your boy," says Mama Penhall. She places her hands on Doug's head. When she lets go, the bandage is no longer there. Doug floats away.

When Doug opens his eyes, the first thing he sees is Joey napping in a chair by his bed. "Joey," he murmurs. His brother can't hear him because Joey is asleep and snoring; he also has a stethoscope in his ears for some reason. Doug says, "Thanks for waiting up for me," then he loudly calls, "Joey!" Joey looks over. "Hey, ya little runt," says Doug.

Joey is ecstatic. Doug asks about Clavo. Joey assures him that Clavo is home with the babysitter. "No, no, something's wrong," Doug insists, "He would be here. You were never good at lying to me." Joey explains that Clavo is scared that Doug will die. He doesn't want to see Doug, even if Doug lives.

"He saw an ad on TV for foster parents," Joey hesitantly goes on, "He wants me to find him a new home." The big guy is close to tears. And so am I! What an episode!

Later, with the aid of a gait belt and a walker, Joey gets Doug into a chair. Doug asks him to send Clavo in. When the kid arrives, Doug asks how he's doing. Clavo shrugs. Doug is glad Clavo came to see him; Clavo must be angry with him. "I'm not," says Clavo, "Everybody at school says that you're a hero."

Doug modestly says he's not a hero. He admits he would've been angry if his own dad's job had involved being shot at. Clavo walks up to the chair and confesses to being real mad at his uncle. Doug sits Clavo on his lap and says he has news: "I think it's better for both of us if..."

Joey is in the hall drinking a soda and wanders past Doug's room. He catches the tail end of the conversation, Doug promising to do what he has to in order to make Clavo happy. "Things sure look a lot better since I left," Joey remarks. He asks if this story will end happily ever after. Doug thinks so.

Mr. Wells comes to the radio station with more bribe money. Mac and Judy reveal that they're cops. They have the payola conversation on tape. Judy and Mac have a good cop/bad cop conversation. Mac wants 5 minutes alone with Mr. Wells. Judy says that if Mr. Wells gets disabled, she wants her name off the arrest report. Mac promises not to do permanent damage. Mr. Wells agrees to give up the shooter. It was a guy from Miami named Levinson. When the squad car arrives, Mac laughs triumphantly.

The Jump Street team, minus Joey, gathers in Cap'n Rufus's office. Doug thanks them for finding the guy who shot him. He has something to say before their morning meeting. Doug is taking early retirement. He turns in his badge and gun, saying it's been an honor to serve with everyone. Nobody knows what to say.

Cap'n Rufus breaks the silence by saying he has a rule against saying goodbye and is leaving for an early lunch. Doug shakes his hand. Mac wishes he could've worked with Doug longer. Doug already has a new job, partial ownership of a bowling alley with an academy buddy. They do a complicated handshake. Mac leaves.

Doug is now alone in the office with Judy. He tells her they've been through a lot together, personally and professionally. They joke about how Doug still can't program his VCR, even though Judy showed him how and even drew a diagram. "On my worst day, you can still make me laugh," she says, "I really hate you for leaving. I hate you." "I hate you too," Doug says softly.

At this point, you could cut the sexual tension with a knife. They share a platonic hug. Judy cries.

Up in the locker room, Joey practically tosses a duffel bag loaded with Doug's locker contents at him. "You always said that I ran out, that I quit. Look at you," Joey snots. Doug reminds him that it's not just about him anymore; he has to look after Clavo. Joey says the two of them would've been fine together. 

"I love you, Joey, but you could barely keep the two o' you in clean socks," Doug disagrees. Joey pouts: "You can't leave. You're my brother." Doug tells Joey to man up. He adds that Joey can "drive down on weekends between commendations." Joey feels like he was just getting to know Doug again after 5 years apart. "I'm always gonna be your brother," Doug tells him.

"Uncle Doug!" Clavo chirps, running in. Doug picks up Clavo so he can kiss Joey on the cheek. "I have to kiss you now?" Joey sasses his brother. Doug takes off his St. Michael medal and gives it to Joey. Joey tries to decline the gift; Doug was almost never without it. "It's good luck. Mom would've wanted you to have it," Doug insists. End of episode, end of an era for the show. I'm gonna miss Doug!

Case #5.10: "Diploma For Sale"

This episode addresses an issue that is even more prominent on college campuses these days thanks to the rise of the Internet: buying term papers. Just Google "academic ghost writer" and you'll find a number of good articles on the subject. Anyhow, the episode opens with a gun-carrying college guy in a ski mask robbing a store. "Don't look at me!" he orders the clerk, even though his face is covered. The clerk empties the register into a paper bag and discreetly hits the silent alarm.

The kid is barely a step outside the door when he decides now would be a good time to remove the ski mask. He doesn't even look like he's trying to hide the money in his coat. A police car appears. The kid tries to get away. The uniform orders him stop where he is. The kid nopes his way into the street, right in the path of an oncoming truck.

Cap'n Rufus shows the Jump Street team a picture of the dead college student, who's been identified as Steven Campbell. Steven was the valedictorian of his senior class and about to graduate college with honors. Not the kind of kid who usually holds up liquor stores. Judy asks if she's going back to college. Joey pipes up that he wants to see what college is like. "You want to see what high school is like," sasses his insensitive big brother. (Joey presumably dropped out when he ran away at 15).

Turns out, Joey is exactly who Cap'n Rufus had in mind. The Penhall Brothers will be moving into Steven's old off-campus house, more specifically, his old room. Judy and Mac will join the investigation if the boys find a lead.

Doug and Joey go to the rental house. Joey asks if Doug thinks it's creepy that they're taking a dead kid's room. (Rufus could tell him that someone actually has to have died in a room for it to be haunted). Doug agrees that it's creepy, but somebody has to take the case. Steven's roommate Dave lets them in.

Joey starts looking through a collection of cassette tapes. When he finds out they belonged to Steven, Joey looks like he wants to wash his hands. Dave reiterates that armed robbery was very out of character for Steven. He doesn't like moving somebody else in so soon, but he needs help with the rent, griping, "My parents can barely afford my half." Joey and Doug can move in today if they want.

On campus, Joey comes out of the administration building with a girl named Melinda. He gleefully tells his brother Melinda is his new informant. Doug isn't sure she knows anything. "You're wasting taxpayers' money," he says before asking what information Melinda had. Melinda let Joey know that if he takes English For Boneheads, he can sleep in and have his nights free, presumably to date Melinda. Doug will be taking the same classes that Steven took: chemical engineering, Renaissance Thought, and calculus. He's sure he'll never sleep again.

At the kitchen table that night, Doug gripes about being assigned a 15-page paper in his Renaissance class. He's sure it's impossible. Dave is in the same class and already has his paper finished. We learn that Dave is pre-law and his dad is a police officer: "We kid around, say we're gonna be a two-stop justice system." Steven was also pre-law. Doug wonders aloud what led Steven to rob the store. Dave doesn't know and hurriedly leaves for his study group.

When Doug's Renaissance class ends, the students turn in their papers and collect their graded essays from the previous week. Dave doesn't get his back; the professor wants to talk to him privately. Dave asks what's wrong with his paper. The professor doesn't believe that Dave actually wrote it. He challenges Dave to use the terms from his paper in a sentence. Dave can't, confirming the professor's suspicions. The professor is willing be lenient if Dave tells the truth. Dave tells the professor to prove he cheated.

Melinda is waiting outside the professor's office. "Does he know?" she asks Dave in a panicky voice. Dave cryptically responds: "He knows, but he doesn't know 'it.'" Doug appears and Dave lies that the professor wanted to tell him how brilliant his paper was.

Back at the off-campus house, Joey reads a textbook while listening to his Walkman. The phone is ringing off the hook, driving Dave crazy, so he answers it. He tells the caller, "Look, I told you I'd get it. No, don't. I'll get it, I'll get it." Joey eyes him curiously, then asks if he and Dave are still going out for pizza. Dave replies that he's not hungry and leaves the house.

Doug and Joey follow their roommate to a nearby ATM. After Dave gets cash from the machine, he pulls on a ski mask and retrieves a gun from his backpack. Doug and Joey run towards him; they restrain Dave, who protests that the gun isn't loaded. Doug wants an explanation. Dave sasses that Doug isn't his father. Joey advises Dave not to make another incredibly stupid decision.

Back at home, Dave admits to buying his Renaissance paper. Somebody's blackmailing him about it and demanded $500 by that night. Dave would be expelled if anyone knew about the plagiarism. Steven was the person who told Dave about Chadway Academic Research, a local place that sells everything from term papers to science projects.

Doug goes to Chadway the next morning; it's a legitimate enough looking storefront. He explains to the man at the counter that he's having trouble with his Renaissance Thought paper: "Every time I sit down to write, my mind goes blank." The man smirks: "Somehow, I believe that." Doug reads off the description of his assignment. The man checks the computer; there's a paper in stock that got an A.

Doug inquires, "How do I know you didn't sell that paper to everyone in my class?" According to the computer, nobody has ever used that paper at the college Doug is attending. Doug asks if there's a lower quality paper available; he only has a 2.0 GPA and doesn't want his professor to get suspicious. "You're not as dumb as you look," says the worker.

At the Chapel, Doug shows Cap'n Rufus a receipt; he can't believe Chadway let him pay for a stolen paper with a credit card. Rufus says they can't do anything because selling term papers isn't illegal. Doug tells Rufus that Steven was connected to the term paper operation and someone might have been blackmailing him. It might be the same someone who's blackmailing Dave. Doug asks who's writing a term paper to help them get in good with Chadway. Judy arrives. All eyes immediately are on her.

Judy goes to Chadway to sell her paper. She starts to explain the topic, but Mr. Pax the worker cuts her off: "I don't care what it's on anymore than the students who'll buy it do." He gives the paper to Mac to copy. Judy heard you can make more money writing papers on order. Mr. Pax has a customer who wants a project done for a statistics class.

Mac whispers to Judy that he can't find a list of students who bought papers, just files of credit card numbers. Mr. Pax reveals that he used to be a professor.

Dave meets with his Renaissance professor again, swearing his paper was an original work. The professor found a paper identical to Dave's in his mailbox, except it was written by a girl who went to University of California in 1987. Dave says he needs this class to keep up his GPA and better his chances of going to law school. He offers to retake the class and sink or swim on his own. He begs the professor not to expel him, but the professor has already talked to the dean. Dave will have to go before the academic standards commission on Friday.

Cap'n Rufus gives Mac a printout; he managed to trace the credit card numbers to their owners. He's sure someone on the list must be a victim of the same blackmailer. Joey looks over Mac's shoulder at the list and sees Melinda's name. Mac calls the registrar's office to see if he can get Melinda's schedule.

Mac finds Melinda on campus and makes up a story about how he needs a tutor. Melinda is on the dean's list, so she seems like a good candidate. Mac wants tutoring for 5 hours a week and offers to pay her. Melinda agrees.

At the off-campus house, Dave packs up his things in case he's expelled. Doug tells Dave to fight like a lawyer, pretend it's his first case in the courtroom. The phone rings. Doug picks up the extension. A breathy voice on the other end threatens to tell Dave's professor if Dave doesn't leave $500 in a bag on the south quad by the next day.

Cap'n Rufus gives the Penhall brothers the blackmail money. Judy and Mac will watch people leaving Chadway to see if any of them pick up the money. Rufus cautions them that blackmail is hard to prove.

On campus, Doug hides the money bag under a bench. Mr. Pax and the other clerk leave Chadway, presumably on lunch break. Melinda arrives at Chadway just as Mac is leaving. Mr. Pax and the other man get in separate cars. Judy doesn't know which one to follow, so she stays put.

A bald man sits down on the bench to tie his shoe and finds the money bag. Before either of the Penhalls can do anything, Dave tackles Baldy. Joey arrests Baldy.

At the Chapel, Cap'n Rufus exposits that Baldy was released; he's a local drunk who just stumbled into their sting operation. Doug and Joey talk to Dave. The kid is sorry about assaulting a random stranger. Dave asks the Penhalls to come to his academic standards hearing. They won't be going, but they wish Dave luck.

At the hearing, Doug and Joey sit in the back. It doesn't go well. Dave is expelled from school and it will be on his record why that happened. Melinda looks sad. Afterward, Melinda tells Joey that what happened to Dave isn't fair. Dave wants to tell Steven's parents why they son was killed. Doug suggests that Dave involve his father.

Doug's Renaissance professor confronts him about plagiarizing his paper. Doug flashes his badge and tells the professor he's investigating a blackmail case involving students. The Renaissance professor talked to the same mystery caller, but couldn't even tell if the caller was a man or woman.

Mac goes to Melinda's apartment for their study session. Once he walks in, Melinda starts unbuttoning her blouse. "I hope you don't think I'm gonna enjoy this," she says tearfully. Mac assures her that he really just wants to study. Melinda is embarrassed and covers herself. Mac reveals that he's a cop.

Melinda is working two part-time jobs and taking 18 credit hours. She couldn't handle the workload, so she bought some term papers. Melinda didn't have the $500 hush money, so the blackmailer said she could pay him off with sex. The blackmailer is due at the apartment any second. Mac calls Fuller to request backup.

Someone knocks on Melinda's door. The blackmailer is Austin, the previously unnamed clerk at Chadway. Austin pushes his way in. Mac grabs him, but Austin breaks free. Mac chases him through the halls of the apartment building. Mac catches up and arrests him.
Doug and Joey are waiting outside. "Blackmailing out of your own company, you must be dumber than you look" is Doug's parting jab.

Mac catches up with Melinda. She turned herself in and is retaking the psychology class she cheated in. She thanks Mac for encouraging her to admit the truth and kisses his cheek. Judy goes to Chadway to buy her paper back. End of episode.

Case #5.09: "The Girl Next Door"

The final season brings us yet another episode centered around the American institution that is high school football. This tale takes place at Woodrow Wilson High, home of the Wolverines, a mascot which will forever make me think of Red Dawn (the Patrick Swayze version). A glasses-wearing football player named Dell tells his girlfriend that he just got a full ride to State next fall. She doesn't seem enthusiastic about the idea, but she'll let him decide on his own whether to take it. She promises to visit him if he does.

Shortly after his girlfriend leaves, a red car tears through the high school parking lot and runs over Dell. His glasses fly through the air before shattering on the asphalt. We jump to Dell's girlfriend giving a speech at his graveside memorial service. Joey and Mac are hiding at the edge of the crowd.

At football practice, one of Dell's teammates seems to be a little too cozy with Dell's cheerleader girlfriend Suzanne. Mac walks over and introduces himself as her new biology tutor. His rate is $5/hour. Their first lesson is over DNA. Suzanne's behavior is way too flirtatious for a girl who just buried her boyfriend.

Joey walks through the high school parking lot leaving flyers on windshields. He stops to examine a red car with a large dent in the hood; Vince, a football player confronts him, thinking Joey is casing cars. Joey shows the Vince the flyers, which advertise an upcoming football pep rally.

Joey learns from Cap'n Rufus that Vince assaulted Dell on the field during one of Woodrow's recent games. Rufus glares at his constantly ringing phone. It seems a beeper company accidentally displayed The Chapel's number on a lot of beeper screens in the area. Joey answers the phone and pretends to the woman on the other end that his name is Rod. He tells the woman he heard she's "a red-hot mama looking for a good time." Apparently sexually harassing women also runs in the Penhall clan. Joey goes on, "I'm a 6'2" lovemaking machine--She hung up!" "Go figure!" Rufus deadpans. Judy giggles. Pretty sure Joey fudged that height by a bit. 

Mac interrupts Doug's game on the squadroom pinball machine to ask him for advice. He knows Doug has been with Jump Street for 5 years; he wonders if Doug has ever become attracted to a good-looking girl he had to get close to while undercover. Doug tells Mac not to get involved. There's nothing morally wrong about dating an 18-year-old high school cheerleader, but it poses a huge ethical problem. 

Mac goes to Suzanne's house for another tutoring session. Suzanne's father is suspicious and asks what they're planning to do. Suzanne makes a lame joke about blowing up the microwave with lighter fluid. When her dad leaves, Suzanne explains that he's been overprotective since her mom died. He's also probably wondering what she's up to given how recently Dell died. Suzanne claims to have inherited good dancing skills from her dad. Mac turns on some music so she can show them off. Mac's moves are terrible.

Suzanne reveals a surprise: she and Dell weren't actually boyfriend and girlfriend, just good friends. "We should study," she says quickly as a generic slow, jazzy number comes on. They start to slow-dance. Suzanne abruptly stops dancing, grabs her stomach, and starts crying. She asks Mac to drive her to the hospital.

In the emergency room, the nurse asks if Suzanne is taking any prescription drugs. She doesn't want to answer in front of Mac, but the nurse presses for the information. Suzanne mumbles that she's on AZT, a drug prescribed for AIDS. Hours later, Suzanne rejoins Mac in the ER waiting room. She asks him to be honest about his feelings toward the AIDS issue. The only people who know about her diagnosis are Mac and her father.

Suzanne explains that she got AIDS from a needle that was passed around at a party. She claims it's the first and only time she ever did drugs. She's sorry she got romantic with Mac and says he doesn't have to see her anymore; she won't let her disease hurt anyone else. She doesn't mean sex; she means dying.

Back at the Chapel, Doug talks to Mac about Marta. He knows how it feels to wonder what someone did to deserve to die so young. For a while, Doug hated himself for falling for Marta. Eventually, he realized that he gave Marta happiness that she might not have otherwise had.

Suzanne's father brings the family car, a red Thunderbird, back from the shop. Suzanne immediately notices the broken grille work and asks what happened. Her dad sighs that he was trying to read a map, stopped paying attention to the road, and hit a tree; a couple of branches fell off and dented the hood.

At the high school football field, Vince taunts the male cheerleaders; Joey is among them. Vince purposely bumps a cheerleader's arm, causing the pyramid to collapse. Gerald, one of the male cheerleaders, goes over to the sideline and hands Vince some money.

Mac invites Suzanne to go out for dinner, but she has a study date with Gerald. Mac wants a chance to help make her life happy. Suzanne repeats that she doesn't want him to get hurt. Montage of Mac and Suzanne having a picnic in the park, playing on the swings and basketball court, getting ice cream, and walking along the nature trail.

At the morgue, Mac and Judy learn that Dell's blood tested positive for HIV. Judging by the state of Dell's organs, he'd been sick for at least a year.

Mac confronts Suzanne, telling her that he found out about Dell's condition from the morgue and Dell's mother. He knows how she really got AIDS. Suzanne denies it at first, then realizes Mac is a cop. Mac asks the girl who she's trying to protect and insists that his feelings for her are real. Suzanne's father comes in. She sobs, "Daddy, please make him leave." 

Suzanne's dad threatens to call the cops if Mac won't leave. Mac flashes his badge. He asks if Suzanne's dad knows how his daughter got AIDS. Dad says they don't keep secrets from each other; he found out last Tuesday. Dell was murdered last Wednesday. Dad orders Mac out.

In the driveway, Mac inspects the front end of the Thunderbird. Suzanne comes outside and repeats the story about the dent being from a tree. Suzanne begs Mac not to arrest her father, insisting he didn't do it. It could take months for him to make bail; Suzanne might not have that long.

At the Chapel, Mac fills Cap'n Rufus and Judy in; he doesn't think they have enough to go to trial. Rufus disagrees; means, motive, and opportunity are the holy trinity of homicide investigation and they have all 3. He reminds Mac that it's not his job to determine guilt or innocence; it's his job to arrest if there's probable cause. Mac thinks Vince might be involved. Vince also drives a dented red car. Rufus agrees to let Mac bring Vince in for questioning; if Vince didn't do it, Mac has to arrest Suzanne's dad.

Cap'n Rufus and Mac ask Vince why he and Dell fought during the football game. Vince shrugs that he lost his temper. Mac questions him about the money exchange. Gerald owed Vince money to fix Vince's car. On Wednesday, Vince loaned Gerald his car so Gerald could pick up mats for the cheerleading squad. When Gerald brought the car back, there was a dent in the hood.

Joey and Mac go to the high school. Gerald asks why Joey isn't dressed for practice. Joey arrests Gerald for Dell's murder and reads Gerald his rights. "You killed him?" asks Suzanne. Gerald claims he didn't mean to; he's had a crush on Suzanne all through school. But Gerald couldn't be with her because Dell was in the way. Dell walked in front of Vince's car and "it was like he was on a silver platter or something." Suzanne looks nauseated.

Later, Suzanne thanks Mac for finding out the truth. He wants to see her again, but she's moving to San Francisco, where there's an AIDS clinic with a new specialized drug regimen. They share a parting hug.