Deadline
Perception

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Police Brutality

La Raza Youth Center, according to the Murphy Brown graphic. A bunch of youths are playing basketball. A priest asks Wallace why he would assume there's any clues at the center, to which Wally responds that a pack of cops were indeed there early that morning, and he surmises that Manny is there. "I wanna talk to the kid," Wallace insists. "Look, if he didn't do anything, what's there to hide?" The priest stops. "When you saw the assault after the Puerto Rico Day parade in Central Park, did you see a few bad seeds or an entire community out of control?" he thunders. Wallace recognizes the priest as Fierce Felix, a walking oxymoron who was a boxer. Then, he discovered God, and his record improved to thirty-eight wins and three losses. Figuring life couldn't get any better than that, Felix went ahead and took the vow of celibacy. Wallace notes that Felix was an honest fighter, so he shouldn't be trying to hide an eyewitness. "Keep Manny out of it," Felix urges. "This is between him and the cops, not him and the city." Felix walks away and leaves Wallace staring after him. I feel like every scene ends this way.

Beth is on the phone in Benton's office. On the corner of the desk, I think I see the thirty-five cents she had to pay for the privilege. Beth's asking the district attorney's spokeswoman what happens if Braxton dies, a metaphysical can of worms that I don't think said spokeswoman is qualified to open. I suspect her answer is something in the realm of, "Well, if Braxton croaks, she won't have to file for bankruptcy again." Beth slams down the phone. Wallace saunters in with coffee and is amused. "Always go to the horse's mouth, not ass," Wallace says. I love that. The most realistic thing about this show has been Wally's full embodiment of the disdainful attitude journalists have toward many PR people. Beth says the D.A. is slapping Roth (the tourist) with Criminal Possession of a Weapon, and nothing else. Wallace says things like this tend to boil down to perception -- "If I believe I'm in danger, I'm justified in defending myself." We see a black-and-white shot of Roth drawing his gun. And when he's done, he drops the picture, pulls the gun out from his coat and fires it.

Benton gets a crack at interrogating Roth. "Cop killer," Wallace says. "That's a tough spot." They look at each other. Roth icily reminds Wallace that the cop is still alive, which Benton waves off as only a temporary situation. "You may not believe this, but I'm a people person," Roth says, leaning forward. "That's why I got into the medical-supply game." Step off, Rene Descartes, because "I think, therefore I am" is a pittance compared to "I like people, therefore I sell syringes." Wallace mouths off about why Roth isn't getting slapped with police-brutality charges, then moves swiftly onto probing why Roth was in the meatpacking district at 3 AM. Perhaps it's the same reason the He/She Hooker was hanging out in the "meatpacking" district at 3 AM. It's all there. Roth claims he smokes expensive French cigarettes -- is that what the kids are calling it these days? -- and couldn't get them at the hotel bar. He then laughs that Wally's third-degree is worse than the one the police gave him. That's probably true, because questions about trivialities like motive and whereabouts are just so hard to remember to ask during an interrogation. "I heard it was a questionable neighborhood. That's why I was packing heat," Roth explains in all seriousness. Can people who carry guns actually say "I'm packing heat" with a straight face? Roth tries. Benton snipes that Roth's gun permit is only good in Florida. We see Roth shooting Braxton again, which is a relief, because I'd forgotten whether Roth was wearing a necktie that night, and it's wonderful to confirm that yes, he was. He brings style to felony.

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