Deadline
Perception

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Police Brutality

Enraged, Nikki runs into her office to kick Wallace out, nervous that Oliver Platt discovered the shelf under her desk where she hides the Emmy and Tony awards that remind her of better days. Wallace is just stealing a printout from Nikki's desk, which makes her irate. "What are you doing...in that sorry excuse for a brain? What were you thinking?" she rails at him. Wallace explains that "Phil" told him she had a story on her desk about a kid being killed by a police officer. Oh, Phil. Every show has a "Phil," it seems. Phil is never right. Phil is never clever. Phil never has a home life, never gets laid, always has a pot-belly. Other characters behave badly and blame it on Phil. Just once, I wish Phil would change his name. Or buy an Uzi. Nikki tells Wallace that Si Beekman wants the shooting to read like a hero-cop story. "Beekman is an agent of the multinational police state!" shouts Wallace. He can't believe no one cares that the teenager is dead. Aggravated, Nikki throws the information back at Benton and says he can have it.

Wallace enters a hospital ward and buttons his coat, having decided that his cleavage isn't appropriate here in the face of death. Oliver Platt's breasts might, however, be the only human flesh that could stare down the Grim Reaper and win. Wally is trying to visit Officer Braxton, the fallen cop. An Officer Brady stops him, saying he was Braxton's partner and that the family only wants to talk to one reporter. Wallace spies Brooke pampering the Braxtons, and he frets that his ex-wife might scoop him. Brady is surprisingly jolly considering his partner's in critical condition. Maybe he never got to play with the radio when Braxton was in the car with him. And I know for a fact Braxton always ate the last chocolate-glazed donut without asking. Benton demands an official account of the story. "Which part? When Ed was trying to stop gang-bangers from mugging a tourist, or how the tourist is in a hotel ordering room service while Ed's in ICU?" Brady asks, patting Wallace on the shoulder and leaving.

Mrs. Braxton asks a harried nurse why she can't get in to see her husband. "As soon as he's strong enough..." the nurse begins, stopping her sentence conveniently so that Mrs. B. can interrupt her in a panic and insist she deserves a visit. Brooke notices the commotion, and since neither next of kin nor in any way related to the family -- oh, but in ten minutes they've grown very close -- Brooke decides it's okay to step in and "handle this." And why not. Once you've handled a horny, drunk Wallace in the sticky summer heat while you're standing downwind and trying not to notice the chunk of bacon in his teeth, you can pretty much handle any situation with grace. "She's frantic and the kids are hungry, so if you don't get that doctor off her duff and get her in to see her husband, then you, the doctor and this hospital will be plastered all over the Ledger in a most unflattering light," Brooke says. Not only does Brooke pull a Quasimodo in stooping to Wallace's low level of integrity, but she delivers her threatening speech with all the menace of a socialite asking for some butter for her toasted crumpet. Irritated, the nurse still obeys. "Twenty-two years I've been married to that man," muses Mrs. Braxton, "and they won't even let me in there." After twenty-two years, maybe he wants a night off. Brooke soothes her by saying Braxton "seems like a fighter." In the background, the Braxtons' daughter -- we'll call her Toni -- peers toward the camera with a serene smile on her face. She looks at peace with the idea of life seeping out of her father, but deep down I know she's in emotional turmoil and singing "Breathe Again" by way of prayer. "You know, he turned a promotion down three times for Detective," Mrs. B. says. Toni, in obvious grief, laughs over her mother's shoulder and continues staring blissfully at the camera. My, her wound is deep. "The brass were killing themselves for a black detective, but no, he thought it was more important to walk a beat," sighs Mrs. B. Brooke nods.

Wallace visits a crime scene elsewhere in the city. "I have a delivery for Detective Schnell," Wallace says. "[I'm his] common-law wife." Shit. I snickered just then. Benton pokes around the scene and asks Schnell what he's investigating. Schnell schpins an intoxicating tale of love, schex, death and the schupernatural -- boy meets girl, girl meets psychic, psychic busts adulterous boy, boy admits folly to girl, girl schtabs boy in the neck with a bread-knife. Pretty schtandard. Then, Schnell tells Benton about the case he's working. "So, do you know officer Braxton?" Benton asks. Schnell implies Braxton is a great cop, and that the whole ugly Washington Street crime was a tragic misunderstanding. Benton doesn't buy it. "Every time one of you gets shot, you're usually jumping out of your skin and shaking your fist at the heavens," he tells Schnell. The detective is annoyed that Wallace tries to sniff out conspiracy everywhere.

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