Sunday, March 20, 2016

Log 66: The Vandals (Season 3, Episode 17)

Episode 69

There are a lot of cars in Los Angeles, but the one that has just run a red light in front of 1-A-12 is from Nevada. Reed checks that it's clear on the right, Malloy turns on the reds, and the chase is on. It's a brief chase that ends after the Mercury Cougar turns a corner onto a residential street. Much to Malloy's satisfaction, the Cougar pulls over to the curb after he sounds the horn. 

Reed and Malloy get out of the patrol car and approach the coupe from either side. The driver admits he ran the red light and has no problem handing his license over to Malloy. So far the traffic stop seems to be going pretty well.

Well, at least it is from Malloy's side of the car. On the other side, Reed stands just behind the window and watches as the guy sitting next to the driver pulls a gun from his jacket. As soon as he sees the firearm, Reed springs into action."Malloy, gun!" he shouts. Both officers scurry behind the Cougar and aim their weapons at the back window.

"Alright, drop the gun! I wanna see four hands up on the windshield! You got that?"

The driver tells the passenger, "Drop the gun, stupid" and two pairs of hands slowly appear in the windshield. When the passenger tosses the gun out of the window, Malloy deftly hops to the right side of the vehicle. He instructs the man in the green windbreaker to reach out of the window and open the door from the outside.

Pete then orders both men out of the car and on to the ground. He keeps his revolver trained on them as they climb out of the passenger side. Jim covers them from the back of the car.

Once both men are face-down on the turf, the passenger wants to know why the officers got so excited.

"Suppose you tell me," counters Malloy.
The driver acts like he didn't know that his friend had the gun. The passenger claims he just panicked. Pete doesn't buy either of their stories. Both men continue to beg for clemency while Reed runs the plate. The RTO answers his query with some interesting information on the car: it's stolen. 
Malloy has also uncovered something attention-worthy: the trunk key is missing.
Reed attempts to tickle the driver, William Berry, until he tells them what happened to the trunk key.
Meanwhile, both Reed and Malloy have missed that fact that the passenger, Thomas Moore, has stolen former officer Tony Johnson's green windbreaker.
Malloy tells his partner to stop the tickle torture, it's weird and most likely not legal.

Reed and Malloy take Berry and Moore to the police station, the busiest place in town on a Saturday night. The detective is too busy to talk to them when they first arrive and Mac is busy with an irate "customer" who's been arrested for assault with a baseball bat.

After Mac has another officer take Miss Sunshine to his office. Malloy gives him the rundown on Berry and Moore. Moore was traveling light, he only had the gun on him; Berry only had his driver's license, and neither one of them had the trunk key. 

After the suspects are booked, Reed and Malloy take them to the detectives' room. While they wait for Det. Stone the former friends begin bickering and fighting as best they can with their hands cuffed behind them. Reed and Malloy restrain the two men then move them farther apart. When Det. Stone enters the room, he wants even more distance between the two. He asks Reed to take Moore to the holding cell. 

With Pete listening, Stone begins questioning Berry. He asks him about the car and what happened in Reno. Barry claims that the car was borrowed and that nothing happened in Reno. He then adds "If something's wrong, I don't know anything about it." This last statement piques Stone's curiosity. 

Over at the jail, Moore is anxious about what Berry is telling the detective. He calls Reed over to the cell demands to know what Berry is telling the detective. He's afraid his former partner is placing the blame on him for whatever went down in Reno. Reed assures him that his turn is coming up. Moore wonders if it will be his turn to talk or hang when he gets to the detectives' room. Reed gives him a profound piece of advice.
"Hey, man, if you're clean, you got nothing to worry about. If you're dirty, you're better off copping out."
This hits a chord with Moore. He decides he wants to talk now, he's got something to say. 
Reed shows off his talent of raising one eyebrow before unlocking the holding cell.

Later that night a tow truck arrives at the garage with the stolen Cougar. Reed and Malloy watch as it is lowered from the hoist. Once the car is on the ground, they finally have their chance to see what is in the trunk. They've recovered the missing key from it's hiding spot in Berry's shoe. Malloy unlocks the trunk and lifts the lid. What they find inside offers some explanation to Berry and Moore's behavior, and raises a lot of additional questions.

"There must be a million dumping places between here and Reno," says Pete.

["I mean, I should know. You never saw Penny Lange again did you?" he adds.
"What was that?" asks his shocked partner.
Pete, realizing that he said aloud what should have remained an internal thought, quickly tries to cover up his error by saying, "Nothing...uh, nothing. Hey don't you have some reports to finish?"]

At the report desk Reed can't help but wonder about the girl and how she ended up in the trunk of that Mercury Cougar. He's upset that he won't be able to take statements from Berry and Moore. Mac and Malloy think Reed should be happy, he was the one who persuaded Moore to talk. Both of the senior officers want to know how Reed did it.
"Sorry, professional secret."

That night, when they are back in the patrol car, Reed is still not talking. His partner can sense that his thoughts are preoccupied with what they found in the trunk. Malloy asks Reed if  is still uptight about the girl. Reed is still thinking about her, and so is Malloy. They both believe Berry and Moore must have picked her up somewhere, robbed her, then killed her. The younger officer then asks a rhetorical question of his partner that reveals how deeply this case has affected him.
"Things like that scare you to death, don't they?"
Before Malloy can say anything else about the girl or Berry or Moore, the radio interrupts with the call of a malicious mischief report at 2221 Wismer Ave.

1-Adam-12 rolls up to what could be 2221 Wismer or a Charmin factory that has just exploded. The sight of all that toilet paper brings a smile to Reed's face.

"Get a load of that," he says to Malloy 
On the porch a man in a tuxedo examines a broken window and a pretty, blonde teen-aged girl begs him, "Please, Daddy, let it go." He reminds her that he was not the one who called the police before descending the stairs to greet the officers. 

While John Herman is talking with Pete and Jim, Mrs. Jones, the neighbor who called the police, comes over to find out if John is mad at her for calling them. He's not, he knows she did it out of concern for him and his daughter. John's not really mad at anyone for what happened to his home. He knows the broken window was just and accident and his daughter, who's a popular high school sophomore, tells him all of this is an honor. 
Jim agrees, the same thing happened to his sister once.
Mr. Herman makes a deal with his daughter, Vickie, he'll forget the whole thing if she cleans everything up. Since teenaged girls always follow through on their commitments, Pete and Jim leave knowing a report won't be filed.
This "girl" is a sophomore in high school? Did she get left behind for ten years!?

At the end of their shift that night, Pete and Jim enter Mac's office looking to find out what happened with Berry and Moore. Mac tells them the sad story.

The girl was a runaway from a girl's school in Reno. She stole the car from a teacher and headed towards L.A., Mac guesses to strip. Berry and Moore are escapees from a mental institution, their real names are Kenyon and Marshall. They were hitchhiking when the girl picked them up about twenty miles outside of Los Angeles.

Reed asks which one killed her. Mac can't give him answer on that, Berry and Moore can't seem to agree on that detail. Malloy wants to know if robbery was the motive for the killing. That much Mac can answer. The girl had $7.40 in her purse, she fought them for it and ending up taking a bullet.

At the start of their next shift, Reed and Malloy find Vickie Herman waiting for them at the front desk, She wants to rap. Malloy directs her to a nearby bench for their conversation.
Miss Herman looks fetching in her golden yellow, drop-waist mini-dress accessorized with a fringed, suede shoulder bag and black boots. 

She's there to tell them that the boys who performed the toilet paper prank are making noises that they want to get even with her father for calling the cops. Vickie's tried telling them that her father didn't file a complaint, but they don't believe her. She's heard they're coming back tonight and when something gets broken this time, it won't be an accident. 

Her father doesn't realize that the boys can be dangerous. He thinks they're nice boys, he's been conned with their polite "Eddie Haskell" routine. In reality, one of the boys is an acid head and the other is a sexual predator with a short fuse.
He wants to make out with Vickie and the more she ignores him, the madder he gets.

I can't decide if Sherry Miles, the actress playing Vickie, is really good or really bad. On the one hand, her gestures are overly dramatic and goofy. On the other hand, the then-nineteen-year-old, Ms. Miles is playing a sixteen-year-old girl and most of them are overly dramatic and goofy.
Reed asks if she's talked this over with her mother. Vickie would love to, but Mrs. Herman died ten months ago. She hasn't talked to her father about the boys' true nature because he looks at her and sees what he wants to see, which is "Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Orphan Annie all rolled into one".
"Have you thought about restoring his vision?"
"I don't want it restored."
[I don't think this is the last we'll see of Miss Herman, partner.]
[I think you're right.]

Later that day, in the black and white, Pete asks Jim how old he thinks Miss Herman is. Jim figures that she is sixteen going on thirty, with all of the problems that affect girls who are sixteen and pretty. 
"And then some," adds Pete.
Speaking of problems, the driver who just pulled out in front of 1-Adam-12 without signaling  is about to have some of his own. They pull him over to the curb a short distance from where they first "met".

Reed keeps careful watch of the driver as he comes up to the car. When he sees the man reach into his jacket laying on the passenger seat, he decides not to take any chances. He immediately draws his gun and tells him to "Hold it, mister!".

The confused the driver then does as he is told when Malloy instructs him to put his hands in the windshield.

Reed reaches into the passenger window and retrieves the jacket. After he inspects it and finds there are no weapons hidden inside, he returns it to the driver and explains why they acted as they did.

He tells him that under similar circumstances, a man pulled a gun on them. He cautions the driver the not to make sudden moves when he's been pulled over by the police. The man tells Reed that he doesn't like it "one little bit". Based on this statement, Reed and Malloy think they've found a citizen sympathetic to the dangers the police face. 

That is until he launches into a tirade about how he should not be treated like a common criminal.

[I guess we should be thankful that he's only assaulting us verbally.]

Later in the night, Pete and Jim are once again called to 2221 Wismer. Only this time it's not rolls of toilet paper that are being thrown, it's rocks. And this time trees aren't being decorated in paper, they're being ripped out of the ground. When John Herman sees the boys uprooting a small tree in the front yard, he rushes out the door yelling at them to put it down. His wife planted that tree.

Herman begins fighting with the boys.  After a few swings, he falls to the ground clutching his side.

As the police sirens get louder, we see that the boy fighting with Herman has a knife in his hand. All the boys run off when the black and white stops in front of the house. Reed takes off after them. 

Malloy goes to Mr. Herman and Vickie runs out of the house screaming. She's seen the whole attack from the window and knows that Bob North was the one who stabbed her father.

By the time the ambulance has arrived, Reed has returned from chasing the boys. He chased them for over three blocks and caught them when they were trying to go over a fence. Backup found Bob North in a gas station restroom on Cofax. 

Mrs. Jones then comes over to tell Reed and Malloy that Mr. Herman must have fought the boys because they were pulling up the tree his late wife planted. She planted it for luck. 

Malloy leaves his partner to ride in the ambulance with Mr. Herman. A solitary Reed tells backup to take North to the station. He then tells the crowd to go home. After everyone has left the scene, he walks up the Herman's porch and grabs a spade. He descends the front steps and walks towards the spot where the tree used to stand.

He begins digging a hole to replant the tree when Mrs. Jones appears and tells him that she would like to help. Reed would be glad to have her. As she brings the hose over to the hole, she tells Reed that Mrs. Herman planted the tree on their wedding anniversary. 

"When was that?"
"A year ago tonight."

The End

This episode is pretty neatly bisected between the case of Berry and Moore and the Herman case. Although these cases have their differences, they do share some similarities. Both involve pretty teenaged girls trying to navigate the world on their own. We're not told why the girl in the trunk was at the girls' school in Nevada, but we do know that she has decided to strike out on her own. We do, however, know more about Vickie Herman. Her mother is dead and she's unwilling to be honest with her father and ask for his help in dealing with unwelcomed advances from the boys at school. Both girls, lacking in adult supervision or guidance, choose the wrong male company and the results are dreadful.

These two tragic tales also seem to shake Officer Reed. When the other, more senior officers are telling him to rejoice in the fact that he got the suspect to talk and break the case, he can't stop thinking about the girl they found in the trunk and the circumstances that put her there. I'm haunted by his statement to Malloy that "Things like that scare you to death, don't they?". It's a sobering glimpse at the vulnerability behind the facade of a big, strong police officer. Then after Mr. Herman is taken away in the ambulance he attempts to set things right in a small way for a family that has already suffered a great loss by replanting the tree.

I find myself thinking about episodes like this long after the credits end and the Mark VII logo appears on the screen. The ones where we get to see not only the procedural aspects of the case, but also the emotional reactions of the officers are among the most interesting episodes of the series. "Log 66: The Vandals" shows us the procedures, especially during the traffic stops, and the emotions so it earns high marks from me. I give it a rating of:

Do you agree? Let me know in the comments. I'll see you next time with "Log 36: Man Between".



  1. This ones sad for me. I can remember being that 16 old school girl looking for my place in this world only to find out I should have stayed home and just been a little girl! I feel sorry for the child that lost her life. She never even gotten started to have one and now it's gone. Maybe the guys should talk to miss snotty pants and tell her about this little dead child so she hopefully won't end up like her.

    1. Diane, I'm touched by your comment. This episode must have really resonated with you.

  2. You are not sure about the girl's acing? Let me help you, it is awful! Lol
    I agree, mostly good episode, good cases, the guys are good, of course, just the bit in the middle with the girl's first and second appearances are a little painful to sit through. Webb and his whiney, breathy, young actresses. Reed is kind of the hero of the day and then that whole scene when he replanted the tree with the nice lady is great. I like how Malloy tries to always be a heard ass example, but gets obviously effected, just like Reed. Nice review Ms Keely. B) thank you, girl.

  3. Oh and if I never mentioned it, you are the screen cap God!!!
    Yes, I know I have said it before, but it is true!