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Rubbing One Out
Episode 1.3 - Aug. 14, 2005

As Eve says in her splendid, snarky re-cap, "This episode has more meat, but a little less Lee. But they pair him with Gary Cole, and the two have a great rapport."

The episode opens with Rose (Gary Cole), Drake (Lee) and McGloin (Ryan Hurst) giving chase to a long-haired fugitive. This must be one of those scenes that prompted Lee to comment in a TNT publicity interview:

"It’s like when I was 8 or 9 years old, running around my backyard with a fake gun. It’s really funny to be older and to be playing it out in a much grander scale. When I’m working, I really get in touch with that. It’s so real and at times scary and physically demanding, but when I was a kid, I wouldn’t have stopped until my mom called the third time for dinner."

There’s a point in the chase where a bunch of kids point Lee in the direction the fugitive ran. Next thing you see is Lee running down the sidewalk, big grin on his face, with his tongue fully unfurled, just having a hoot!

The scene culminates with Rose, McGloin and Drake lamenting that the bad guy must’ve gotten away. But they’re just goofing around,  having a laugh at the dumb criminal’s expense. The bad guy’s hair is sticking out the door of a shed. They yank the guy out, cuff him, and bond over the capture of Wanted Man No. 28.

Later, there’s more bonding as the team gives advice to the heartsick Gronbeck (Josey Scott), who has the hots for the lady D.A., Mariah Belichek (played by Karen Sillas). "You look like you could bite the head off bats but when you get around her, you’re all Jell-O. That’s bad.” Merced (Rashida Jones) actually agrees with him. “Women like power. Period. Hunters not gatherers. … It’s all about confidence.”

Enough levity, it’s time to chase another bad guy. This time it’s Jin-Lee, the leader of the K-Town Warriors (a gang in Los Angeles’ Koreatown). He has been arrested and jailed for rapes and burglaries, but he escapes while being transported in a police van that’s ambushed by other K-Town Warriors.

Drake surmises that someone at the courthouse tipped off the gang about the route the van would take. With glee, Drake suggests, “I say we pull all the guards and clerks in a room. Get creative. See who wets their diaper first.”

Rose: “Sounds like fun. You and I’ll take that.”

So Drake and Rose round up a roomful of nervous-looking guards. Drake is intense, prickly and pacing. Rose is calm yet intense. Trying to sniff out the snitch, they tell the guards that the gangsters are planning to kill the one who leaked the information. Drake, dripping with false sincerity: “If you were involved, better step forward now for protection of you and your family.”

Later, a guard comes forward and tells Drake and Rose that the bad guys paid her $1,000 to tell them the route the police van would take. She’s on the verge of hurling, worried that the gang has put a hit out on her. Drake and Rose assure her she’s not a target, but Drake says, “You are under arrest.” For second-degree murder in the death of the two guards in the transport van, Rose tells her. The guard has a nauseous look on her face. Drake has a maniacal look on his: “Are you going to puke?” Apparently so. As the guard dashes off, Drake is not sympathetic. “Jiggle the handle! It sticks!”

Drake and Rose head to a shop in Koreatown to follow the guard’s tip. The escaped bad guy is headed that way, too, but a kid warns him the cops are around. The chase is on. 

They catch up to him in a crowded marketplace in a narrow alleyway. The bad guy turns and starts firing, mowing down everything and anyone in sight. Drake’s on a fire escape and has a clear shot, but Rose calls him off, worried about the civilians.

Back at headquarters, Rose gets into it with Drake. “You disobeyed my orders in a stand-off and I shouldn’t even be giving you a warning.”  Drake is (rightfully) incredulous: "I could’ve taken him down without incident!" Doesn’t matter, according to Rose: "It’s not your decision to make! I say, ‘Back up,’ you back up."

After a few more in-your-face, teeth-gritting exchanges, Rose softens and Drake surrenders. Rose: “You’re a hell-of-a-cop.” Drake: “And you’re the boss.”

But that’s not quite the last word. Rose says, “This is the only way I know to run a team.” Drake snarks back: “The way you’re talking, it doesn’t feel much like a team, lieutenant.”

The final bit of action comes when Rose hatches a plan with the bad guy’s father. They fake his death to set up an ambush at the funeral home. Drake is undercover, washing a car across the street.

When the bad guy shows and the tear gas and bullets are about to fly. Drake and the crew don gas masks. Their plan works and they round up the bad guy and his cohorts.

In a show full of light moments and heavy action, the wrap-up features a quiet montage of individual members of the task force reflecting on the conflicts of the day. Drake is seething by the roadside on a busy city street, brooding over his run-in with Rose.

It was one of several questionable decisions and actions by Rose in the episode. Undoubtedly, these will be fodder for conflicts to come.

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