After a jokey intro that has Ralph threaten to shoot three thieves rather than do the paperwork necessary to arrest them, we meet a dentist who sends his assistant out of the office while he puts on the gas and turns on the radio to fix a showgirl's tooth, so it appears things are about to get rapey, except the showgirl wakes up and finds the dentist dead.
Through the Lambs' investigation, it turns out the dentist was using dental cement to make fake casino chips to pay off a $37,400 gambling debt, so Savino's glad he's dead, even if he'd have liked to be the person to make him so. But the Savoy's troubles aren't over, for a couple of reasons: One is that the person who killed the dentist looks to be continuing the fake-chip-making business, but an even worse one is that Mayor Bennett suddenly wants an auditor in the count room in all casinos. Savino suddenly decides that Bennett is a problem, so in classic mob style, he decides to champion an unknown challenger, one George Grady (played by slovenly Gil Bellows). Savino -- with the help of the already restless and dissatisfied Laura — INSTANTLY makes over Grady to help him resonate with voters better, as well as pulling dirty tricks like cutting the signal from the television station broadcasting the mayoral debate just as Bennett is about to rebut Grady. Bennett's not helping his cause any, first by apparently being as prone as any politician to favor his cronies with his political power, but also by refusing makeup for the debate, because he'd rather be a sweaty, untrustworthy-looking man than a woman with pancake makeup all over his face. Katherine is intrigued by Laura, incidentally, and is trying to get to know her while being less than forthcoming about how she's the assistant district attorney and all.
I guess Savino's plan to eliminate the mayor not with cement shoes but through democracy (albeit a corrupted form of it) is in keeping with the way he's trying to steer clear of the law, so that the money can keep flowing at the casino, which is why I don't understand (or buy) the way we arrive at this episode's Lamb-Savino Squint-Off. Working together, Lamb's and Savino's crews determine that a Savoy cashier was in on it, and it's her boyfriend who fabricated thousands of fake chips in order to scam his way right into the casino's vault. Savino finds him first, and like I said, I don't buy him exposing himself directly to trouble with the law by holding a man at gunpoint when the police are looking for that very same man.
Come to that, I'm a little confused about Grady's motivation. He seems awfully willing to give himself over to Savino the kingmaker, given that his seems to be running because Bennett's fond of patronage. Well, whatever. Ralph gets the forger, Savino's pulling the puppet strings on Grady and Laura has already soured on Vegas, given her husband's penchant for pulling out of lunches to go whack a guy, or whatever. Jack might even get to know Mia a little bit better, if he can stop acting like a raging douche when he talks to her (which might help her to forget her dad getting beat on and arrested by Ralph).
Daniel is a writer in Newfoundland with a wife and a daughter. Jack's not going to wind up dead or anything, but he really needs to stop flirting with Mia. Follow him on Twitter (@DanMacEachern) or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ralph's out on a road with a mileage sign for nearby towns in Nevada, Arizona and Utah, so it's in that place where the states converge. He arrives at the place, where Dixon's got his gun on three men with their pants down around their ankles. "You boys are going to get yourself quite a sunburn out here dressed like that," he says. Dixon explains that he only had the one set of cuffs and didn't want them running off.
Turns out they're on a tri-state minor crime spree, so Ralph growls that if he wants to arrest them in Nevada, he's going to have to do the paperwork necessary to extradite them from Arizona and Utah. "I hate paperwork," he tells them, and winds up taking Dixon's shotgun and pretending he's going to shoot all of them. "Out here, nobody's going to be the wiser," he says, pumping the gun and pointing it at them.
Naturally, it's all a con, and Ralph sends them scurrying off since the money's going to get returned, and he threatens to kill them the next time they show up in his state.
"Sometimes there's a difference between law and justice," he says to Dixon, and Dixon says he doesn't actually mind doing the paperwork. Nobody ever became a legend with paperwork, Dixon.
Over to a dentist's office, where a showgirl comes in with a missing tooth and a sob story about a collision with another showgirl, and the jovial dentist lets his hygenist go so they don't miss lunch, leaving him and the showgirl alone in the office. Then he gives her a whiff of gas, losing all humour in his demeanor and asks the showgirl if she minds if he puts on the radio. The scene definitely leaves a Vegas: SVU vibe to it.
Over to the count room at the casino, where some flunky named Frank is dropping a fizzy tablet of some kind into water. Mia warns him that if he's sick and makes everyone else sick, he's fired, but he claims it's just the pastrami he ate. Mia's suddenly got a bigger problem: representatives from the gaming control board stroll in, talking about a new city ordinance that Mayor Bennett signed just this morning, giving them access to all of their records. I don't buy the Savoy having no idea about the ordinance until now, but this is where we are. In the confusion, Frank's drink gets spilled, causing a five-hundred dollar chip to fizz suspiciously. Mia keeps her poker face in front of the board auditors -- who are portrayed as the villains, of course, horning in on the good honest mob folks running the Savoy.