Season 3, Episode11  “Strays”

Air date: 5-18-04   

Directed by David Mamet

Man, but Dutch gives good psycho!  

He's been so intent on understanding the motivations and feelings of killers, and was set back by Will Falk (the "cuddler rapist" turned killer) when he asked him if he'd ever killed anything.  He struggles as the killer essentially looks to him as a therapist.  Falk tries to talk as frankly as he can, smashing most of Dutch's likely profile assumptions.

Dutch concentrates very intently on his description of the moment of death, struggling to understand what he was feeling.  Not Freudian mother issues.  Not power.  Dutch offers Falk possible explanations for what he sees when he looks into the eyes of the dying.  

Falk gives up and ends the interview when Dutch suggests "compassion."  He wasn't getting it.

All this weird gears are whirring in Dutch's head, then that damned stray cat in the alley squalls too loud in the middle of the night one time too many.  Soon we've got Dutch in his boxer shorts choking this cat to death.  It wasn't drawn out and sadistic particularly.  I didn't time it, but he probably choked the cat for not much more than a minute.  It clawed him early on, which would only have reinforced his will.

They get a lot of psycho drama out of relatively little psycho material.  Stray cats are a nuisance, and they bear diseases.  In our part of the country, strays can come up dead real easy.  It's arguably a good thing to take out an occasional stray. 

It might be considered questionable by some PETA pukes, but most people in our parts would not see it as anything bad or abnormal if he had just SHOT the nuisance cat.  Euthanizing the animal in itself was not a bad thing.  He could go to the Barn tomorrow and tell Vic in conversation that he'd killed a stray cat in the alley, and it would be so what?

It's the manner in which Dutch did it that made it so damned freaky.  He choked the cat by hand, staring intently into its eyes.  He was anxious to somehow share that moment of death.  

His calmness was the unnerving part.  He wasn't releasing some inner rage, or in some out of control frenzy.  There was nothing Bacchanalian about the scene.  It was all Apollo, a seeking after wisdom and understanding seemingly gone horribly wrong.

It was Johnny Cash killing a man in Reno just to watch him die.  At least Dutch limited himself to making it a mangy alley cat.

Then when he was sure the cat was dead, he just dropped it on the lawn, and stood for the closing seconds of the show with a nearly clinical look on his face, actively trying to taste the moment carefully.

Take the big fancy poll on this incident:  That Darned Cat!


Dutch has all these weird man issues, anyway.  Odd but understandable that Dutch is a 40ish detective with a distinguished record- yet he's never killed anything more than one sick bird in life.  Even Aceveda has personally killed at least a couple of bad guys.

It's not by being some punk, either.  Dutch has been as successful in his own turf as Vic has been on his.  He brought in Shawn the serial killer who slaughtered 23 people.  Vic would never have found this guy.  Dutch did.



At this point, Claudette is not in charge of squat, but just the thought that she might be captain in a few months has turned her quite wicked with a quickness.  Witness her harassment and bullying of Julien.

Now, she presented herself as just trying to lift Julien up.  She laid on a good schtick about the black folk coming up with her as a young policewoman.  Blah, blah, blah.

Then she drums up some half-assed excuses to call him to task, most recently that he hadn't bent over quite far enough backwards above and beyond the call of duty to help some crazy quasi-violent homeless guy.

No is not an acceptable answer to her demands.  She made it clear that he is expected to join the Black Officers Association, and start sucking up to HER pretty much right away.  Otherwise, he could find himself "flushed" when she becomes captain in a couple of months.

The best and kindest way to describe Claudette's words would be to call her a civil rights union thug.  You're going to fall in with the black officers gang, and accept her godship.  Or else.


The REAL psycho in this crowd seems just about ready to check out at the depot.  De-construct a conversation wherein Shane privately seeks Lem's assurance that he'd let him know if Vic was considering him a "problem" cause one thing Vic was good at was solving problems.  

Then there is Lem's third hand report back to Vic something that Shane had been muttering something about not protecting Terri.  

WHOA, NELLY!  Suddenly Vic's original sin comes back front and center- the assassination of a snitch officer in the pilot of the series, with Shane as the only witness.

Apparently he's got it half in mind that Vic is considering killing him and Mara?  Yowsa!  That's dangerous.


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