Michael comes into his mom's front door, and she disgustedly holds up a mixing bowl filled with what looks like a failed grade-school volcano experiment. "Cookies!" she spits. "After your birthday cake, I thought I'd take up cooking. It's supposed to be relaxing. So far I'm not convinced." Hey, you know what I hear is relaxing? Smoking. She should give that a shot. As she dumps her cigarette butt in the bowl preparatory to dumping it all down the kitchen drain, Michael asks her a favor: "If the cops out front ask, tell them I've run to the store." She gives him a familiar motherly guilt trip: "I'd appreciate it if when you stopped by it wasn't only to lose your police tail." I think we've all heard that from our moms. But she does let him out, with a request to get eggs and cigarettes. If those are the only two ingredients she's using, I think I figured out why her cookies went wrong.
Michael's sitting in a nondescript dark sedan outside a graveyard. Well, it's not entirely nondescript; the ceiling liner is hanging down in tatters. So that's descriptive, I guess. From this vantage point, Michael can see Detective Paxson, apparently off stakeout, back in her grown-up pantsuit and now talking to some people just after a burial. You can tell by the hearse in the background. Sam hops into the shotgun seat and asks about Michael's new ride. "Three hundred bucks," Michael says. "Statistically, it's the second-most popular car in Miami. Should make tailing me a little more challenging." And statistically, it's likely to belong to Sam by the end of the season. Sam hands Michael a copy of the police dossier on someone else Paxson has been after, a guy named Rick Matheson. According to the photo (okay, and the opening credits), he's played by Erik Palladino, formerly Dr. Dave on ER. "Got a habit of ripping off drug dealers," Sam says. "Left a trail of bodies across Miami." Including the one currently being planted, an innocent bystander who got caught in the crossfire, of course. Michael asks about Paxson's case against Matheson, which is presently dick. Apparently she took a few runs at him and then had to back off after he filed a harassment complaint. See, Michael, that's how you deal with Paxson. But rather than stealing an excellent idea, Michael explains the plan: they help Paxson with her case. "We take Matheson down the right way, she'll have no choice but to get off my back." No choice? Really? As Paxson goes and gets in her car, she gets yet another subtitle, this one reading, "Detective Paxson -- The Client." You knew that was coming. With the A-plot for the week laid out, Sam's off to his B-plot audit, which he's feeling pretty good about. "The I.R.S. agent's name is Stacey Connolly," he tells Michael. "Time to deploy the Sam Axe arsenal." Let's hope that wink he tips Michael isn't the best weapon in there. It's a bit too "Bad Ash," if you get my meaning. [Good Ash, bad Ash -- he's the guy with the chin. - Zach]