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.