Sap's fate hangs in the balance as Wozniak contemplates completing his latest paranoid betrayal

By Ariel Kay
February 19, 2016 at 02:01 AM EST
Peter Kramer/NBC
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Last week’s attempted murder set the stage for Wozniak’s transformation into Shades of Blue’s true antihero. In “Undiscovered Country,” he completes the metamorphosis.

Upon hearing Tufo frantically calling that Sap is still alive, Harlee races out of the partially constructed building to meet them below. It’s a good thing she’s there, too, because Tufo can’t remember proper CPR procedure. How are any of these people still employed? An ambulance arrives, and Harlee clambers in. Woz urges her to remain behind with him, but Harlee practically spits in his face and tells her boss she’s not leaving Sap’s side. Meanwhile, Tufo collects a shocked, sniveling Tiffany. He tells her some officers are going to ask her how Kovach (Shuler Hensley) died, and she needs to tell them she knew he was planning to kidnap his son, so she specifically called the 64th precinct, not 911. (This plan seems destined to fail — phone records are very easy to check these days.)

Woz is waiting at the hospital when Harlee arrives. Sap is immediately wheeled into surgery, and once the room is clear, Harlee rounds on her lieutenant. Surprisingly, she’s already come to the correct conclusion. She thinks Woz pushed Sap, and with good reason: Three days earlier, he was ready to kill her, too. She’s not quite willing to bring her theory to the rest of the crew yet, though. They all know about the federal warrant by now, and it doesn’t take long before they begin turning on one another. Tufo believes Sap is a rat, but Espada fights him on it, and they wind up exchanging blows.

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Of course, Stahl and Baker have also gotten word by now that Kovach is dead and Sap is in critical condition and that both their statuses are connected to Woz. Baker is not happy, but Stahl is ready with his appeal: Now that Woz believes his mole is out of commission, he’ll be more likely to slip up. Grudgingly, Baker gives him the go-ahead to continue their sting and authorizes a back-dated immunity agreement for Saperstein so he’ll be free to speak with them if he recovers.

Following his tussle with Espada, Tufo is still seeing red. He storms out to find Sofia (Paloma Guzmán), Sap’s Portuguese tutor/escort friend. He thinks Sap is working with the FBI and that Sofia might be his handler. Tufo tears her place apart, while she pleads that she really is just a call girl. The detective says he’ll be the judge of that. If she’s a good enough lay, he’ll believe she really is just a prostitute. Undaunted by her pleas for mercy and completely willing to rape a woman to get answers, he pins her down and begins to shove off her clothes. When he pulls up her dress, he finds a large bruise covering her thigh. The sight of past abuse seems to shock Tufo out of his rage. He gets off of her and mumbles his excuses: An FBI officer “wouldn’t have to choose between bruises and rent” as he puts it. (This is Tufo’s second instance of illogical reasoning in just the first 20 minutes of this episode. Sofia could have gotten that bruise anywhere. But hey, whatever, at least we don’t have to watch another character rape someone this week.)

NEXT: Putting the pieces together

After an extremely trying day, Harlee lets Woz convince her to take a break from her waiting room vigil to grab a shower and a change of clothes. Once he’s out from under her watching eyes, he asks a doctor about Sap’s condition. The detective is currently in a medically induced coma, and they won’t know the damage to his neurological functions until the swelling in his brain goes down. He could remember everything, or he could be a vegetable. Woz leans in close to his squad member and whispers in his ear: Sap better hurry up and die already, or Woz is going to have to kill him twice.

While the cops have been threatening to re-murder their former friends and harassing innocent women, the Feds are out doggedly tracking down Harlee and Kovach’s last moves, in hopes of nailing Woz. They retrace Harlee’s steps back to her visit with Zepeda. They meet with the convict, who isn’t willing to give them zilch — but he does immediately pick up on Stahl’s crush on Harlee, which makes everyone in the room (and me, watching at home) very uncomfortable.

Time to bring out the Guilt-O-Meter:

Wozniak: 6 out of 10, A Tad Guilty

We’re thirty minutes in, and Woz has yet to kill Saperstein, but he has strongly hinted it would be in the man’s best interest to head toward the light. After last week’s attempted murder, I’m okay with that. We still have a half an episode to go, though, so there’s plenty of time for his Meter score to go way up.

Tufo: 9 out of 10, Super Guilty

What is with this squad’s love of sexual violence? I enjoy a good villain as much as next as the next gal, but it’s tough to stomach a series that contains no moral center. Tufo’s near-rape of Sofia is just the icing on this morally compromised cake.

Stahl and Chen’s next stop is to visit a friend of Rita’s (the woman Zepeda is in jail for killing). The friend has gotten her life together in the years since Rita’s death, and she’s not happy to be dragged back into a criminal investigation. When questioned, she says she only heard about Rita’s demise secondhand, but Stahl knows better. He whips out a recording of her calling the police to report Rita’s stabbing. For his final exhibit, he also hands her a photo of Kovach. The friend says she doesn’t recognize him, but Stahl senses she’s lying again. He begins to put the pieces together: Kovach was Rita’s real killer, not Zepeda. Who do they know who’s related to both men? Wozniak. Stahl is on a roll now, and he’s inching closer to uncovering Harlee’s part in her ex’s conviction.

Meanwhile, Tufo is still on his wild goose chase, trying to figure out if Sap was a federal mole or just an innocent man who appreciates the Portuguese language. He tricks his partner’s mom into handing over the key to her home, and then he raids Sap’s bedroom to look for answers. He finds the backdated immunity agreement, which makes it look like Saperstein has been working with the Feds for weeks. Tufo is furious.

NEXT: Boom goes the dynamite

Woz finds Harlee in the hospital’s chapel. Again, Harlee confronts him about his involvement in Sap’s accident, and this time, he comes clean. Woz tells her Sap confirmed he was talking to the Feds and he had no choice but to throw him off the building. He did it for Harlee and for Cristina and for every other member of their squad. Now, he wants Harlee’s help to finish the job. He asks her to distract the guard outside Sap’s door, so he can end him for real. Inconsolable, Harlee begs him to stop. This can’t go any further; Woz can’t hurt Sap again, not when there’s a chance he may not even remember how he fell. Push has come to shove, and she would rather face the consequences for her corruption than put her fellow officer down. Her misery gets to Woz, and he agrees to leave their futures up to fate and the fine folks at Columbia-Presbyterian. They both return to PD headquarters.

Back at the precinct, Loman rushes in with news: Sap’s doctors are going to reduce his medication, and he could come out of his coma as early as tomorrow. Tufo takes Woz aside and shows him Sap’s immunity contract. The lieutenant plays the understanding father figure and tells Tufo they’re not going to jump to any conclusions until Sap is able to speak for himself. But inside, Woz is filled with righteous fury. He’s just been handed all the evidence he needs. He makes a run to his storage unit and recovers the dynamite meant for Donnie’s security gig.

Harlee, who still believes Woz is sticking to their “don’t murder our friends” plan, is back hanging at the hospital when she gets a text from Stahl, asking to meet him across the street. She gets in his car, and he explains how he’s put it all together: Woz was the original arresting officer on Zepeda’s case, and Woz sent Harlee to find out Zepeda’s appeal strategy. Once she learned Zepeda thought Kovach was his ticket out, Woz had Kovach killed. All Stahl wants to know now is why. Why does Woz need Zepeda behind bars so badly?

Before he can get an answer, Harlee sees the entire hospital begin an emergency evacuation procedure: Woz has planted explosives in the building, and everyone is fleeing the premises. Leaving Stahl mid-sentence, Harlee rushes in. She’s already put it together that Woz created the massive distraction so he could kill Sap without anyone seeing. And she’s right. By the time she gets to his room, Saperstein is dead, and Woz is nowhere to be found.

Final Guilt-O-Meter:

Woz: 10 out of 10, The Guiltiest

You didn’t think we were going to get through “Undiscovered Country” without someone biting the dust, did you? Woz has committed the ultimate crime at last. There’s no turning back now.

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seasons
  • 1
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  • 01/07/16
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  • In Season
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