Season 4, Episode 4 "Dog House"  

Air date:  4-05-05

This episode with the "drug dealer" Maurice Webster ranks as by far the worst thing Dutch has ever done.  By rights, both Dutch and Bess in the prosecutor's office should not just be fired, but criminally charged with witness tampering and obstruction of justice.  For that matter, Claudette isn't far behind.

Dutch has been in the dog house along with Claudette for six months because of her ridiculous wrecking ball act over the public defender who was on drugs.  By way of trying to get back in with the DA's office, Dutch has agreed to do favors.

For starters then, Bess sends them off to investigate a "drug dealer" named Maurice Webster.  Looking into it, Mr White is a quiet 60 year old man, and the only record he has is a misdemeanor marijuana possession from 1989.  Nonetheless, the prosecutors are anxious to take him down.

Turns out the guy has three lousy plants growing in his backyard for personal use, and he occasionally hooks up a buddy with a little.  To get him, they stake out his house, and make up the most marginal pretext to stop a visitor leaving the house.

This would be his friend Slick, a peaceable citizen with no record, now busted with four joints.  He's threatened now not only with a criminal charge, but asset forfeiture under Captain Rawling's new plan.  They're ready to seize his car, and if they find any weed at his house, they'll take that, too.  Now, how about setting up your friend?

Seeing how petty this all is, Dutch goes back to Bess demanding to know what they're after.  Turns out that Mr Webster is scheduled to be a defense witness in a murder trial.  The DA is anxious to shut him up, or undermine his credibility.  

Bess argues to Dutch that this supposedly isn't illegal, or even wrong.  That's nonsense on the face of it.  Every indication is that this is a decent and honest man.  They just don't want his decent and honest testimony getting in the way of a conviction, so they're going to intimidate and destroy this guy to keep him from telling what he knows.  If that's not witness tampering and obstruction of justice, then what is?  

Unhappy but anxious to get out of the dog house, Dutch went along.  He talked Claudette into going undercover with Slick to bust him.  Now, if she had known exactly the point behind it, she wouldn't have done it.  Nonetheless, she's guilty of extremely willful ignorance.  She KNEW this wasn't all on the level, and chose not to insist on answers.  She was beaten down enough that she was willing to go along with something she knew was wrong.

To top off the wickedness, Slick brought Claudette in with a story about her mother having cancer, and weed being the only thing that would help her tolerate her chemotherapy.  Well, ok, let me help you out.  Then besides selling her $20 worth of weed, he absolutely GAVE her another bag for her poor mama.  So they played on his sense of compassion for the afflicted to set him up. Nice work.

To say that this was an abuse of government power hardly begins to describe it.  This is 100 times worse than Vic cuffing some banger around a bit to get some info.  It's 1000 times worse miscarriage of justice than the doped up public defender that Claudette was so wrought up about last season that got them into the dog house.

Now Claudette might plead (willful) ignorance, but someone should explain to me why Dutch and Bess both should not be criminally prosecuted for this.

More Things correspondent Carl Vanney argues that what they did was not in fact illegal.  It might be bad, immoral and unjust, but they didn't break any laws.  "He sells pot, and that's all that matters in the bringing of charges which will in the end undermine his credibility."  He says that with the benefit of a criminal justice education, while my own legal training consists primarily of watching Perry Mason re-runs.  However, I'm saying that they weren't just trying to make him look bad, but to pressure him into silence.  Discuss amongst yourselves.


Aceveda may be a sick puppy, but his politician's concern for his constituents reaction represents a voice of moderation and reason again and again.  Yes, he wants power, and still wants to run the Barn even from his new perch on city council.  Still, his objections to the asset forfeiture program ring utterly true.  He argues to a fellow councilman in the first scene that these policies have led to increases in corruption in other cities.  You can see that following through right here already with this Webster case.  

This comes despite really, truly best intentions.  Glenn Close's Captain Rawling really means to make a difference for the community.  She really thinks her big forfeiture program will help fight crime, and make the neighborhoods better.  She clearly displays honesty and forthrightness, and absolutely the best of intentions.  "We're going to target the right people."  

Yet in practice, the pull of this kind of power and discretion immediately head into strong arm tactics like this Webster travesty, and putting women and children out of their homes and into the street, as per last week's "Bang" episode.  This asset forfeiture stuff is just inherently corrupt, and utterly begs for abuse.


Vic wearies me with his dumb schoolyard bully attitude towards Dutch.  He may not be a sexy rebel in a leather jacket, but Dutch solves as many crimes as Vic, including many that Vic would never figure out.  Nonetheless, Vic's constantly looking for ways to cut him and down and humiliate him.  Just this season, think back to the "bathroom monitor" business in "The Cure."  Tonight, he went out of his way to make petty criticism about the "Stay at Home Rapist" moniker that Dutch whipped up for their new perp.  

Going past the point of dumb pride into positively hurting the police work, Vic would not go to Dutch for advice about finding this guy even after Captain Rawling told him to do so.  Weird psycho sexual psychology like this is just exactly the kind of thing that Dutch is really good at.  Vic knows that as well as anyone, but wouldn't humble himself to talk to Dutch until he'd already screwed up with this vigilante street gang foolishness, and had the captain step down on him.

Eventually though, a maybe two minute conversation with Dutch gave Vic the answer to how to find the guy.  Following his binge habits led Vic to the pot pies at Clucky's and their waitress who was scheduled to be the next victim.


Vic whipped some particularly satisfying unseen brutality on this Stay at Home Rapist when they caught up with him.  The guy jumped down into the crawl space of a house.  At that point, they sent a dog in to subdue him.  We're seeing ie hearing it from the outside with Vic and the dog handler as this German Shepard starts ripping into him.  After ten seconds, Ronnie comes running up with the guy's gun, meaning that they now know the suspect is unarmed.

The dog handler then starts to call the dog off, but Vic notes that the guy has committed at least five rapes.  At that point, the dog handler opines that he might still have another weapon, and they just leave him go.  They stood there for another full 30 seconds, for a total of about 42, just listening to the attacking and the screaming in pain before calling off the dog.  That's a really long time on screen- and would probably be an even longer time in reality.  Somewhere in those 42 seconds, Rover apparently punctured one of the guy's testicles.  Too bad, so sad.


They have a modest, low key street gang with strong religious affiliation that shows up from time to time- not often enough for me.  Tonight, Vic went to them for help in locating the fugitive Ruez, the Stay at Home Rapist.  As he's walking away from having informally deputized them to look for this guy, one of the gang members asks, "Aren't you going to swear us in?"  This leads to Vic's best line of the night, "Blessed be he who delivers this asshole unto me."

Of course, this didn't work out so good.  Knowing that the rapist showed up at women's doors posing as a flower delivery guy, they mobbed and nearly killed the first guy they saw that had anything to do with flowers, an old Chinese dude driving an actual floral delivery truck.  Feel free to assume that the old Chinese guy is not the young Hispanic rapist.  

But, Vic brought that embarassment on himself fooling around like this, instead of going to Dutch for help like he knew he should.


Sure, Shane's a corrupt little thug, but I almost feel sorry for him going up against Vic.  A chess game between them just isn't evenly matched, yet Shane insists on thinking he's going to outfox Vic and use him.  Thus, he wants to hook up with Vic's newly forming anti-gang task force so he can tip off Antwon Mitchell, his dealer client, before he can be busted.  How many times does he think he's going to do that before his old partner Vic takes a clue?  Nor did Shane see the obvious strategery that Vic would want to bring him in close so as to keep an eye on him.  Shane's hardly competent to play tic-tac-toe, much less chess with Vic Mackey.

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