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.

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