“What Devil Do” plunges straight back to where we left off last week, with Donnie and Wozniak coming to terms after their lovers quarrel. Harlee, of course, is surprised to discover Woz’s secret, but she doesn’t have much time to contemplate this revelation because Stahl sends her right back into the station. She returns to her desk, where Woz casually intercepts her like he didn’t just conspire to commit crimes with his secret lover. They’ve gotten a call from a laundromat, one of the businesses they protect for a payout. The detectives arrive to find a homeless man, drunk out of his mind and beating a washing machine with a mop. Harlee has more important things to be dealing with right now.
But for once, Woz shows some compassion. The homeless guy is a former Marine, as is the lieutenant. Woz doesn’t feel good about leaving a brother behind, as he puts it. He lets the man sober up in a cell. The next morning, however, the veteran is a wreck. He can’t remember what he did the previous night, but he’s wearing someone else’s shoes, and he doesn’t know how he got them. In another precinct, a detective finds a dead body stuffed in a dumpster, missing his footwear. That’s one mystery solved — or is it? The Marine is led away in handcuffs, but Woz and Harlee aren’t convinced they know the whole truth yet. Their suspect’s knuckles aren’t bruised, and he had no blood on his clothing or memory of killing anyone.
As Harlee leaves the station, she catches a glimpse of someone out of the corner of her eye: it’s Zepeda, free after a decade and now lurking on street corners outside her workplace. Harlee chases after him, but her ex hops on a subway car and avoids that awkward conversation. Harlee immediately calls Cristina to deliver the news: The guy who thinks he’s her dad is out of prison, so look sharp, kiddo. (Through all the striking coincidences, conveniently uncovered clues, and general sensationalism of Shades of Blue, the most unrealistic moment of the series is that our girl would get perfect cell service in a subway station.)
As Harlee is doing her best to pretend she knows nothing about Woz’s double life; Stahl does the same with Donnie. He stops the Internal Affairs agent outside the courthouse — remember, they met once before, back when Stahl didn’t realize Donnie was involved in his boyfriend’s illegal activities. Stahl feeds him some lines about how the FBI wants to unofficially hand their investigation over to IA because, without Sap, they can’t tie Woz to anything. Gleefully, Donnie runs to Woz with the news: the Feds are packing up their operation, leaving the coast clear to finally do the “job” they’ve been teasing for the entire season. Donnie sets up a meeting with their mysterious partner in crime for that evening.
NEXT: Speak of the devil
Harlee emerges back onto the street and hides out in her car. Eventually, Zepeda comes to her. She plays it cool like she totally wouldn’t rather see him back rotting in a jail cell, and he acts like he doesn’t suspect her of putting him there in the first place. They make a great team. Zepeda asks to see Cristina, but Harlee’s like, “Lol you wish.” He’s less than happy with that response, but he lets Harlee go, for now. (Side note: Zepeda says it’s been a decade since he’s been free, but Cristina is 16. Am I missing something?)
Spooked and fearful for her daughter’s safety, Harlee storms into Nava’s office and reams him out, believing he must have set up Zepeda’s release to spite her. Taken aback by her accusation, Nava sets her straight, saying he recused himself from the case. Well then, Harlee wants to file a restraining order against her ex. But Nava tells her that’s unrealistic: No judge is going to prevent a man who’s done nothing wrong from seeing his daughter. I would think the past abuse and now the stalking would be enough to at least bring the matter to a judge’s attention, but Harlee doesn’t question the ADA.
Let’s take a look at how this week’s Guilt-O-Meter is shaping up:
Zepeda: 7 out of 10, Quite Guilty
So far we’ve got stalking and intimidation. The guy’s only been out of the clink for 12 hours, and he’s already preying on his former victim.
Woz doesn’t want to believe that the Marine they picked up the previous night killed the shoeless man, so he brings Tufo and Loman along on a fact-finding mission. (With so many extracurricular operations going down, how does anyone in this crew have time for actual police work?) The boys find a potential witness who may be able to help: he’s Moses, and he is the worst caricature of a mentally ill homeless person I have ever seen on television. Moses speaks only in all caps, only refers to himself in the third person, is incapable of forming full sentences, and will do anything for a hamburger. When provided with said burger, he tells the crew, “IT WAS THE DEVIL KILLED FATHER TIME.” Apparently, Moses sees the devil frequently riding a city bus.
Because this all seems like a perfectly credible lead, Espada and Tess take their deranged witness on the bus, hoping to locate Satan. Instead, they find a poster advertising a sex club — the theme of the ad is hell, featuring a lascivious Satan, surrounded by sexy she-devils. Later, Tufo and Loman investigate the club, looking for the owner whose image graces the poster. They find him in a back office, asphyxiated and hanging from the ceiling. At least he died wearing his favorite nipple clamps. “What Devil Do” leaves the Marine’s story line there, marking the first time a B-plot investigation has lasted more than a single episode.
Harlee’s talk with Nava did little to quell her fears — probably because he shot down her one legal method of ensuring her daughter’s safety — so Harlee turns to Woz. He brings her up to speed on Donnie’s talk with Stahl. They both believes the investigation into their crew has run its course, so it’s time to get back in the game. He argues a big pay day could help them deal with both Zepeda and the Feds. (What exactly does this mean? That they’re going to collect their winnings and make a run for Tijuana? That they’re going to put a hit on Zepeda? How exactly is a pile of cash going to make either of those problems disappear?)
NEXT: Best laid plans
Later that afternoon, the pair finally make contact with the other half of Donnie’s operation. In a stable, they meet Joaquin, the driver who dropped off their kidnapping victim (remember him?) the day before. With Joaquin is an older man, the brains of this whole operation. The nameless man lays it all out for them: they’re going to steal $12 million…from the DEA. Specifically, money the agency confiscated in a drug bust the week prior. The money needs to be transferred into evidence via armored truck. The kidnapped man’s wife is a truck dispatcher, so they will force her to send Joaquin on the job. Woz and his crew will box the vehicle in, give Joaquin a few bruises for realism and make off with the dough. Hmm, what could possibly go wrong?
Harlee returns home to Cristina. She again exhorts her daughter not to make any contact with Zepeda. Speak of the devil. As soon as she heads out, who should come knocking but dear old dad. At first, Cristina doesn’t want to let him in. He turns to go, but conflicted, Cristina tells him Harlee’s lie: He’s not her real father. She doesn’t know it, but she may have just put both herself and her mom in real danger. Zepeda doesn’t take kindly to being written out of his daughter’s life.
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Before the heist the next day, Harlee stops by Stahl’s apartment to get a new wire after throwing her old one in the trash. She lets him in on the crew’s plan to steal $12 million. Now that the moment of truth has finally come, she’s feeling some serious guilt that all the other detectives will be brought down along with Wozniak. She asks Stahl for amnesty for her friends. Stahl says that was never on the table…and then steals a kiss (interesting choice of foreplay). Harlee doesn’t break it off, which Stahl takes as a sign that his advances are wanted. Practically clicking his heel in the air, he makes a call to Baker, asking that Harlee’s request be met.
While Harlee is dealing with her No. 1 fan, Zepeda returns to her apartment, again trying to see Cristina. This time, he has a plan to win his daughter over. While Cristina can hear him via the intercom, he calls Harlee. He demands to see Cristina, saying he’s her father and it’s not right to keep them apart. Harlee doesn’t deny his parentage, she just tells him Cristina is still a little girl and she’s not yet ready to see him. That is enough to push the teenager into a dumb decision. She opens the door and steps out to meet her father.
Harlee: 7 Out of 10, Quite Guilty
Surprise, Harlee wasn’t blameless this episode. For the crew to commit to robbing the DEA, they had to hold a unanimous vote. Harlee could have opted out, and the job would have been quashed. But she voted in favor, and thus the plan is going ahead, and the other detectives are all unknowingly just a day away from imprisonment. Harlee agreed to take down Woz, and she’s working to get him to confess to killing Saperstein. But she didn’t have to bring the rest of the detectives into this mess. In fact, she was presented with an easy out not to.