by L.T. Milroy
It’s the dog days of August and near the end of season five. All of our favorite public servants are looking the worse for wear. They’re coping with a heat wave and sweating incessantly this week. Of course, for at least two of them, that look is, if not an improvement, at least rather provocative. Yes, a certain detective and ME don’t look all that bad when they’re all hot and bothered. Ma Rizzoli, however, continues to be omnipresent and annoying. But on the plus side, Susie is back, so there is that. Entirely without explanation, so we don’t know where she disappeared to for the past several weeks. Explanations? This show doesn’t owe you any stinking explanations!
But enough of that. On to this week…
Someone scales the outside of a building to get in a window, dragging along a box. Once inside, the person opens the box to reveal it contains ice, which is loaded into a bathtub containing a body.
Jane and Maura are having a morning run, and Jane is bitching, as usual. I’m sure Dr. Isles doesn’t consider her day has really started until she hears Jane whine about something; it’s like her first cup of coffee. This time it’s about the heat wave currently gripping the city and that her A/C is broken. It’s interesting that normally an episode airing in August on a show located in the Northeast would reflect reality in addressing a heat wave, but this summer has been remarkably cool. Beantown, much like everywhere else, has likely not experienced a heat wave yet. Regardless, Maura geeks out by explaining the science of sweating.
They come upon some kids trying to open a fire hydrant and instead of arresting them, Jane helps them do it properly.
See? Kids love her. What will she do next to get them to like her? Buy them beer? Maura picks up on the vibe and assures Jane she’ll be a great mother some day. Sorry, they can keep whacking away at this Jane/motherhood thing, but it all rings false to me. Jane showed no interest in her pregnancy and finally lost it. Let’s drop it show, huh?
Ma Rizzoli waits outside the station with sweat tea for the ladies. No, not sweet tea. Sweat tea, which, like the great lefty hurler Grover Verben, appears to be another invention of the show. The writers are creative in building alternate realities this season. Ma gushes about the advantages of sweat tea but is interrupted by twin phone calls for the gals to report to a crime scene.
Jane grouses about the heat some more and asks Maura if she has central AC. Maura says she does, but she doesn’t use it because she sleeps in the nude. There’s some geeky explanation for why these things are related, but nevertheless, it’s been established that Maura has central AC. Jane files the info away. Korsak is at the crime scene with a shih tzu he found wandering the streets, and Frankie says the victim, Richard, is dead on the third floor. Frankie doesn’t look out of shape but is winded from climbing all of those stairs. To be fair, he’s been climbing three flights of stairs for an hour, and this building also doesn’t have A/C. He sits down for a rest while Jane, Maura, and Korsak brave the steps.
Korsak says the loft is located in SoBo, which Maura insists is “a thing.” She’s been invited to galleries here. The landlord tells them Richard was a bartender and has been living there for eight years. Jane immediately complains about how hot the apartment is and goes to open a window, until she spots drag marks on the sill. Thinking there might be evidence, she asks to have a sample taken and puts up with the heat. In the bathroom, Maura takes a sample of the water in the tub. She says the water temperature is way too low, considering it was in the 90s. They guess it must have been ice water. Maura says if the victim had been drunk, he’d be less likely to feel the temp, and hypothermia is a possibility. Jane notes the irony of freezing to death during a heat wave.
Maura is at the lab doing an autopsy on the body when Jane walks in and notices two people watching.
She recognizes them as co-workers from elsewhere in the building. Maura says they’re interested in autopsies and are there to observe. Then a few more people, led by the long-lost Susie, come in for no real reason, and Jane realizes they want to be there, because the lab is the only place in the building that’s cool. The A/C is on the fritz there as well. But Maura doesn’t care why. As long as these people are in her lab, nerd Maura is glad to try and teach them.
She starts the autopsy, but when one of the guests has a question, Susie quiets him. She’s acting rather bossy for someone who just disappeared without explanation for half the season. Maura says the cause of death is strangulation. Fibers from the window sill were left by a heavy-duty rope. Jane goes on to speculate about what the ice was used fir, when a member of the audience speaks up again. There’s an exchange that gets shut down once again by bossySusie, which leads Jane to call her Maura Jr. Jane glares at Maura, who gives Jane a shocked look, and Jane leaves.
Maura then resumes teaching class, with the next lesson being organ weighing. She grabs a liver and throws it on a scale. This clears the room of heat wave refugees rather quickly.
The sweaty detectives try to focus on the case, even though there’s still no AC. Jane complains the fans are merely pushing the hot air around faster. True that, although psychologically it’s better than having no fans, but Jane apparently disagrees with me and turns one off.
Korsak says Richard was arrested when he was in college but has an otherwise clean record. He didn’t have much of a social life, but the landlord mentioned seeing a red-haired girlfriend. Jane then decides to try to beat the heat with an iced coffee, which surprises Korsak. Seems Jane claimed in the past she’d only try something as jazzy and trendy as iced coffee when hell froze over. She doesn’t care about past claims, though. She’s hot and leaves for the forbidden frosty brew. Really, how silly is it to have Jane treat iced coffee like it’s something exotic? Go have your delicious iced coffee, Jane, and enjoy it. And don’t talk so silly. It doesn’t become you.
Frankie returns from walking the dog that Korsak has temporarily adopted and named Sipowicz. Shouldn’t it have been something like Lacey instead, given this show’s core audience? Korsak removes Sipowicz from his kennel, and he takes off through an open door, with Korsak right behind yelling things the dog totally ignores, even “treat.”
Frankie goes into the next room where Nina is on the computer. She finds that Richard had a lot of money put away, since he was a millionaire. They wonder who else knew about the money.
Sipowicz leads Korsak on a chase that ends at the feet of an officer who is on his cell phone speaking Spanish. It looks like Sipowicz understands.
Korsak realizes this and tells the dog to come, only this time in Spanish. The dog happily trots up to Korsak.
Frankie tells Jane that the broker on all of Richard’s accounts was the same: Alex, from Fisk Financial. Frankie says he called Alex’s office and Alex is supposed to meet him and Jane at the café. But Alex turns out to be a her, and she has red hair.
Jane and Korsak take her to an interview room to break the news about Richard. Alex last saw him two days ago. She’s known him for five years and tells the story of their meet-cute in a cemetery. She says he was very private and was a novelist in addition to a bartender (me too, only I’m an undiscovered genius in addition to a recapper). When asked if she knew where Richard’s money came from, she pauses before saying he found it after a drug-related shooting in a local park.
He kept tending bar, because he didn’t want to spend the found money until he was done writing his book. She figured he must have finished it, because he asked her to send monthly transfers to a new checking account. Jane says Richard had no will and no family and asks where his money would go. Alex says it would go to a trust, and she’s the trustee. That leads Jane to ask for an alibi, and Alex says she was working. She says Richard deposited the money in installments, she has the last one at her house, and she’ll bring it in. She wouldn’t hurt him and wasn’t interested in his money.
Korsak looks into it and finds the drug-related shooting story checks out. Cash was involved but only twenty grand, not nearly the kind of money Richard had. Jane says it was all a big lie, and Korsak thinks the source of the money might be even dirtier. Jane wonders if Alex might be involved. Frankie and Nina walk in, and Frankie reads the “novel” Richard was supposedly writing. The whole thing is only a few sentences. Jane says Richard was making up everything, and they still don’t know where his fortune came from. Korsak thinks maybe Richard was the one who was dealing drugs.
Ma Rizzoli is outside the station when Maura walks up. Ma’s waiting for Korsak and Sipowicz, since she’s on dog-sitting duty. She’s all hopped-up on sweat tea and hands Maura a cup. Korsak and doggie arrive. As Korsak and Ma talk, Maura pours out her tea into the gutter. Korsak breaks out a little Spanish for Sipowicz, and Ma is impressed. She flirts with Korsak and can’t seem to stop touching him.
Sipowicz drinks the tea Maura threw away. Korsak looks kind of stunned after Ma leaves. Maura just shrugs.
Korsak and Frankie interview the bouncer in the club where Richard worked. He’s a writer, in addition to being a bouncer, and says Richard was a nice guy who helped him with his writing. He says no way Rich was into drugs and the way he describes it, Rich was almost too law-abiding, which tweaks Frankie’s interest. When Frankie asks if anyone had a problem with Richard, he says there was a guy at the club the other night who wanted to get in and said Richard would vouch for him, but Richard said not to let him. The guy left angry. The bouncer would recognize the guy and says he’ll sit with a police sketch artist.
Word has gotten around that the lab is the only cool place in the building, and they’re lining up outside to get in. That’s live people, for once, waiting for their chance to be in Maura’s autopsy chamber. Jane needs some info, some actual work-related stuff, from the ME but must first get past Todd, who’s guarding the door.
He’s a sleazeball who predictably flirts with her and seems to think he’s getting somewhere even though she shuts him down immediately. Yeah, Jane’s a badass, we know, but Todd’s not even a formidable opponent. She could eat him for breakfast with room left over for a pound of bacon and a pot of coffee.
It’s so hot, even proper Maura is wearing Capri pants.
She’s been analyzing the cash Alex brought in and says it’s unusual in that it contains no drug residue. She says ninety percent of U.S. bills have cocaine in the fibers. Wow, ninety percent? I would have guessed that might be the case back in the 80s but now? Maura says that there are traces of arsenic, mold, and dried flowers. She says arsenic has many uses, including embalming, which sends Jane to the computer.
Jane and Korsak are in the cemetery where Alex says she met Richard. Richard’s family crypt is there, and they find the doors open. A broken lock is discarded nearby. They draw their guns and enter. Ick. A coffin is open, with just a few bills sitting in a bag on top of grandma.
The cemetery caretaker identifies a photo of Richard that Jane shows him and says he came around every Friday. The caretaker noticed the lock was broken on Sunday and gave Richard a call, but he never called back. Korsak lifts a partial print off the lock.
Nina has been looking into the cash Alex the GF dropped off, and says it wasn’t reported stolen. The first bank account started in ’09, and more had been opened since. Nina and Frankie calculate what the original amount he deposited was before Richard accrued interest, etc., and the amount they come up with is two million.
Susie now stands guard outside autopsy. She informs Jane that Todd is on a break, freshening up because he found out Jane was coming down. That could take the rest of the week in his case. Maura has tested water samples from the loft and found the tap water is normal, but the bathtub water lacks sodium. It’s desalinated water, used in a variety of things.
They start to discuss the possibilities, but Jane is crazy from the heat and is having a hard time concentrating. Maura suggests she go home and cool off, but Jane says she also has no A/C. What’s with the A/C in Boston? Is everybody’s busted, or are there rolling blackouts or something? That whole plotline was never really explained, which is significant, because the everybody’s-hot thing is a running theme through the entire episode.
Then Jane, of course, remembers that Maura has A/C. Maura reluctantly agrees that she does but reminds Jane that she never uses it. Jane begs her to break a rule and please turn it on that night. Maura gives in. How can she say no to a pleading Jane? Then the show again shamelessly yanks the chain of its core fanbase, as it’s wont to do, when Jane says over her shoulder on her way out, “I’ll bring you some pjs”, a not-so-coy reference to Ms. Isles’ penchant for sleeping au naturale. Then Jane adds that if Todd comes back, to be sure to tell him she’s staying at Maura’s in a tone that makes it sound suggestive.This is all said with meaningful smirks between the two ladies.
Or is it just my overactive imagination? Gosh, this show. So deep and yet so shallow.
At the station, Korsak and Frankie have an odd conversation about Frankie wanting a convertible, and Frankie holds up his phone with the AUTO TRADER app clearly visible. Frankie mentions it by name, in case it wasn’t obvious enough. I don’t recall him ever mentioning a convertible before, but he’s adamant about wanting one, even though Korsak says they’re impractical in Boston.
As she’s coming out of the elevator, Jane is still bitching to Maura about the broken A/C. They walk in the squad room to the sight of Sipowicz yapping at Frankie and humping his leg. Quite aggressively.
We can’t have Rizzles, but we can have bestiality? Awesome, thanks a lot, show. Maura gets the humping to stop by speaking to Sipowicz in Spanish.
While trying to regain the feeling in his leg, Frankie says that Richard didn’t have any job experience that would make him the kind of money he had. When he says that Richard used to work in the mailroom at Chen Industries, Jane recognizes the name. She says the CEO’s son was kidnapped six years ago. Korsak says the case ended when the ransom was paid and the son released, but it was never solved. Jane bets Richard’s fortune is the ransom money.
Outside the station, Maura digs through a trash can and takes out what looks like one of Ma’s many cups of sweat tea then puts it in a baggie.
A cop sees her and wonders why she’s dumpster diving, but Maura cheerfully talks about the heat and how hot it is.
Nina has looked up the details of the Chen kidnapping. After the original phone call, the family stopped cooperating with the police. Richard was the inside man but must have had an accomplice. Korsak says maybe Richard had an agreement with someone else to keep the money in his family mausoleum for six years until the statute of limitations expired. But Frankie says the statute doesn’t run out for three more days. Apparently the killer wanted an early withdrawal, and the victim didn’t agree. Nina can’t find any information on Eric, the kid who was kidnapped. There are no DMV records or bank accounts. Jane says the father, Harold, might be able to help.
Jane and Korsak stop Harold outside his office on his way to a waiting car with his daughter. They try to get him to talk about the kidnapping, but he’s not interested. Jane says the ransom money has been found, but Harold doesn’t care, though he does confirm that he paid two million.
Frankie has learned that Richard and Eric both started at Chen Industries at the same time, but Eric was an executive while Richard was in the mailroom. Korsak is happy, because he found Sipowicz’s “people” is doing a little happy dance when the Chen daughter shows up. She wants to know if there’s any new information on her brother’s kidnapping. Jane tells her what they’ve got and says they’d like to hear Eric’s side of the story. Jane asks where he is, and she finds out in the next scene, which is at a hospital. Eric checked himself in five years ago and has never really recovered from the kidnapping.
The sister takes Jane and Maura to a visiting room where Eric is sitting on the floor in a hoodie with earplugs in his ears. Maura tries to bond with him and doesn’t have much success, so Jane tells him one of his kidnappers is dead, probably killed by an accomplice. She asks for help finding the accomplice, but Eric isn’t sure. Jane eventually persuades him to talk. He doesn’t remember much about the ordeal, other than he heard horns where he was kept and it sometimes smelled like sewage.
Nina has been tracking down old phone records of Richard’s and found lots of contact with a guy named Billy, an old roommate. Billy has a record and matches the bouncer’s sketch. He works as a fisherman, and his prints match those found on the broken lock. It’s the last five minutes of the episode, so everything’s coming together. The detectives go down to the pier and find Billy, who takes off. Jane goes after him and seems quite fit for someone just out of the hospital. I bet she doesn’t even remember that whole thing. Frankie corrals Billy and slaps on the cuffs.
At the hospital, Jane tells Eric the kidnapper has been arrested. Maura says there are outpatient facilities ready for him when he’s ready. The sister shows up for a celebratory hug.
Jane and Maura have their own celebration, with beer and wine, at the Dirty Robber.
Maura breaks the news that after noticing signs of arousal in both Ma and Sipowicz after drinking the sweat tea, she ran some tests and found that the main ingredient is a potent aphrodisiac. Great. All Jane needs is a horny Ma on her hands. Right on cue, Ma breezes in, on her way to a date and wearing a tight red dress. Maura tells Ma the tea is “chemically enhancing” her, but all Ma wants to know is how long it will take to wear off. Maura says two days. Cougar Ma takes another sip as a young guy arrives for their date. She says she might as well make it count, just before she hornily waves goodbye.
Maura looks at the tea Ma left behind, and takes a sip. She snaps her fingers, gyrates, and says, “Caliente!”
How thoughtful of her to finally give in and drink the disgusting tea, not only after confirming that it’s an aphrodisiac, but also when she’s alone in the company of Jane. The woman knows how to pick her moments.
Maura hands Jane the cup and tries to get her to imbibe, too, but Jane ain’t playin’. She puts the cup aside. Far aside. She might present a bit of a challenge later on. Looks like horndog Maura will have her work cut out for her…
The season finale is next week! With so much drama already this year – Frost’s death and its aftermath, Jane losing the baby – what else could they have in store? I think they should take it easy. It’s been a rough few months…