Southland cops know that when the Santa Ana winds blow, you learn just how close you are to the edge.
Josie and Lydia seem to be working together a little better in the rape case. My spidey sense is already kicking in about this case though. Sex assault cases are never easy to investigate. The trauma manifests itself uniquely in almost every victim. Some are angry. Some become withdrawn, or even suicidal, thinking they’ve been so dirtied or shamed that they can never recover. I thought the victim interview was very well done, especially at the hospital about the victim showering. Yes, victims do it all the time, and it’s understandable. They want to wash the shame or smell or feeling away. But in the process, they also wash evidence away. There are ways around that, but sperm or DNA collection directly from the victim generally makes the case airtight. I know there are people who think Josie weakens Lydia, or they plain just don’t like her, but I really like seeing the two of them work together.
John is obviously in a lot of pain, and his alternative treatments aren’t working. What risks will he be willing to take? And what kind of risks does Ben think he’ll take? Ben may be beginning to wonder if he can trust John, and if your partner loses trust in you, it’s all over.
Throughout the episode, they catch all sorts of calls that are perfectly normal in the course of a month or so. A suicide. Being flagged down for an emergency. A burglary. Granted, being flagged down because your neighbor’s boa is killing your dog is a little different. But any public safety worker will tell you that there are certain times when the stars align and all hell breaks loose. Some claim it’s during the full moon. In California, they blame the Santa Anas. I’m not talking about a riot or some sort of mass chaos. But there are days or nights where the crazies seem to come out and all go nuts at the same time. When I was an MP, payday weekends were crazy, but that was generally explainable because troops were suddenly flush with cash and traded it for booze. It still makes for an interesting shift and a bunch of interesting stories.
Why did John warm up to the boy in the apartment, then suddenly turn cold? John’s past is still a little shadowy, although at the end of the episode we learn a lot more about him. We already know he’s gay, and he’s hinted at a rough childhood. Perhaps it’s as simple as not wanting to risk exposing the boy to his past, because he’s not sure he can be a good father? He’s already turned down fathering a child with his ex-wife. Maybe this is just an extension of that feeling.
Cops get emotionally involved with cases occasionally. It’s not that unusual for a guarded sort of friendship to develop. But cops develop such an emotional armor to protect against being hurt that they have to be careful who they let in, and how much access they give people. That’s one reason so many police marriages end in divorce. Sometimes it’s simple adultery, like Detective Salinger. Sometimes it’s that the spouse can’t handle being a cop’s spouse, like Russell’s estranged wife. But that citadel that many cops build up usually has some bearing in every situation.
And now I know why my spidey sense was kicking in on the rape case. Something just didn’t feel right about it. The “victim” was having an affair when the husband came home early. He apparently wasn’t exactly pure as the driven snow either, but he didn’t file a false police report. He seemed to be as surprised as the attorney, so he probably won’t face charges.
Procedurally, there wasn’t a lot to comment on this week. When John taps the back of the van in the traffic stop, he’s not marking the van in some way, he’s making sure the doors are latched, since he can’t see inside the back of the van. I was “killed” that way during my academy training; I didn’t check the trunk as I approached the car, and someone jumped out and “shot” me.
Ben does the same thing as they enter the apartment. He pushes the door all the way open to make certain no one is hiding behind it. It’s not common that cops are killed that way. The training is done though to keep the officer aware of their surroundings. Situational awareness will save your life.
The scene at the prison was just right. Weapons don’t go into the facility, and anything that the visitor officer doesn’t absolutely need stays in their car.
John really is right on the edge. Is he nearing bottom? Was he screaming because he lost the pills in the dirt, or because he realizes how low he’s sinking? Has he realized he’s no different from some of the guys he’s arrested?
Another emotionally gripping episode, this one written by Heather Zuhlke. This is her first full episode, although she has staff writing credits for five other episodes, most in Season 1. Well done. I hope we see more from her.
Here’s a video interview with Heather about this episode.