Riptide - Season 1, Episode 10
Recap: A rock band named Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), whose music seems highly derivative of the Beach Boys, is performing in a recording studio when their manager, a rude douchewad named Dell Turner, interrupts to snappishly tell them that their performing sucks and to take it from the top. A record company president, Alan Singer, drops by the studio for a one-on-one with Dell...and the two end up in an argument, after which Dell storms out and loudly declares that he has no intention of signing PCH with Alan's "chicken sandwich" label. One of the band members, Chip, races out of the building after Dell and asks him whassup with him walking out on Alan, and Dell snarks that he's sick of Alan's abuse...and if the rest of the band doesn't like it, they can find someone else to manage them. He climbs into his car and asks Chip if he's coming along or not, and Chip makes the fateful decision to jump into the passenger seat. Dell puts a PCH cassette into the tape player so the two can bop to their music during the drive...but a few minutes later, Dell realizes his brakes aren't working and crashes into a guardrail. Both men get thrown from the car...and while Dell looks relatively unharmed, Chip's lifeless body is laying face-down next to the crashed car. RIP Chip.
Two earnest looking dorks - Candy Lane and Gerald Smith - arrive at the Riptide Detective Agency carrying a large bouquet of flowers and a stack of get well letters. They tell Murray they're here on "a very grave matter", then explain that they're the executives of the PCH Fan Club and want to deliver these flowers and letters to Dell Turner...if only they had any idea where he was being hospitalized. There's been nothing revealed about his current whereabouts in the press, and the record company is being dickishly uncooperative, so they've decided they have no choice but to hire PIs to deliver the stuff...and also take a photo so they have hard proof that the delivery was made. Murray decides 'yep, this is definitely a case worth taking' not least 'cause the Riptide trio isn't in any position to be picky about whatever work happens to come their way...and he readily agrees to accept the job at the reduced rate of $200/day.
Nick is annoyed at Murray for putting them in "the flower delivery business", and at a reduced rate no less. As Cody grumbles about what a boooooring case this is going to be, Murray hits the ground running by punching Dell Turner into his computer. He quickly learns that Dell is in Room 309 at the Steinholtz Hospital, 'cause yeah...in 1984, hospital employees were diligently entering this type of information on computers so it could be accessed over the Internet in real time.
The Riptide trio is dismayed to learn that the Steinholtz Hospital has a scary amount of security. While parked across the street, they spot a pretty blonde nurse (Elizabeth Parker) making her way towards the security booth...so they quickly open up a briefcase filled with quasi disguises. Nick selects a blue bandana, Cody puts on a thick pair of bifocals and stuffs his breast pocket with pens so his aura screams nerd, while Murray decides he needs nothing to further emphasize his nerdy aura and chooses to adopt a 'come as I am' persona. The three rush over to Elizabeth...and Cody introduces himself as Wendell Wicks, while Murray calls himself Darly Smith and introduces Nick as Billy Buckwheat. Nick's like, "Billy Buckwheat..?", then decides it'd be extra realistic for a bandana clad man whose last name is Buckwheat to lapse into dumb sounding Valley boy lingo. They tell Elizabeth they're in charge of the PCH Fan Club and offer her a small payment to deliver a bouquet of flowers and a stack of get well letters to Dell Turner's hospital room...and then take a photo for proof she actually delivered the stuff. Elizabeth perks up and says she had no idea that Dell Turner was being treated at this hospital, then says she'll happily do the favor for free. They're like, "Great!", load her down with the flowers, letters, and camera, and tell her they'll wait for her here.
Elizabeth tiptoes into Room 309 and is putting the fan club loot on the night stand when a semi-conscious Dell starts mumbling, "They're trying to kill me.." She's all, "Wuh? Who's trying to kill you?" and hovers over him to attempt to hear his reply - just as a mean looking nurse bursts in and demands to know what she's doing here. Elizabeth relays what she thought she just heard Dell mumble, and the mean nurse snaps, "He's delirious!" and adds that he's scheduled for brain surgery in the morning. She grabs Elizabeth by the arm, but Elizabeth is able to break free and flee the room. The mean nurse promptly calls Dr. Baronson to report that Dell Turner may have talked to nurse Elizabeth Baker, and Dr. Baronson says he'll take care of this unexpected [but yet totally preventable] security breach.
As Elizabeth rushes toward the outdoor security booth, the guard receives a phone call, instructing him to detain her. He dutifully says, "I'm on it!" and grabs her - just as the Riptide trio races over in their vehicle, wrestles Elizabeth away from him, and squeals off. After a car chase involving two Hospital Security vehicles, a bewildered Elizabeth asks what's in blazes is going on, and they're like, "Uh...we have absolutely no idea."
Alan Singer demands to know how Elizabeth Baker was able to get into Dell Turner's hospital room so easily, and Dr. Baronson's like, "Dunno" and says he's pretty pissed off about it too...even though he's the one in charge of the hospital part of this criminal operation. Alan orders him to take care of Dell asap, and Dr. Baronson's like, "Can do" and says he's planning to perform Dell's life-ending brain surgery first thing in the morning.
Aboard the Riptide, Cody apologizes to Elizabeth for getting her tangled up in their mess, and that they had no idea delivering flowers to an injured rock star could become dangerous. Elizabeth's like, "Don't worry about it!" and says that something is clearly amiss at the hospital...but that she's not at all sorry this happened 'cause of how happy she is to have met them. Cody flirtily replies, "Me too" and promises to get her out of trouble asap, then waxes on for several minutes about how much he looooves being a PI and living life on his terms. Elizabeth looks intrigued by his self-absorbed nattering, and the two press up against each other and start smooching.
Murray has enlisted Roboz to start comparing the voice patterns from PCH's music on their older albums with that of the post-Chip memorial album. After that, he hacks into the hospital's records while Elizabeth informs them that there's a rumor about a team of researchers who have had their medical licenses revoked and are performing unauthorized genetic experiments on the second floor. Yeech. When Murray is able to access Dell Turner's medical chart on his computer, Elizabeth studies it and notes with alarm that there's no CAT scan on record, and says it's highly unusual for anyone getting a brain operation to not have a CAT scan. Murray says that, according to Dell's chart, the operation is scheduled for 6am (two hours from now), which means they're going to need to break into the hospital and save him from certain death by posing as garbage men making a 6am pickup. Yep, sounds like a plan that's just crazy enough to work.
Murray, who seems overly excited about driving a garbage truck for the impending rescue, is sitting behind the wheel, while Cody and Elizabeth are snuggled together in the passenger seat. When they arrive at Steinholtz Hospital, the truck gets waved past the security booth...and Nick and Cody leap out and dash inside the hospital, run up to the second floor operating room, and hold the surgical staff at gunpoint while they snatch Dell Turner from atop the operating table. Nick straps Dell onto his back (LOL) and manages to flee the building with Cody close behind. They leap into the dumped garbage part of the truck (yuck), seconds before Murray hits the gas and crashes through the security gate.
Nick and Cody call in a doctor friend to look over "their cousin" Dell, and he gives Dell a clean bill of health and says it's puzzling that he was about to have a brain operation when there's absolutely nothing wrong with him. After he leaves, Murray remarks on how grateful Dell is likely to be to them for saving his life, and Nick says he's mostly hoping for a cash reward. A few seconds later, a scowling Dell enters the room and snarkishly asks whose "chicken sandwich" shirt he's wearing, and why he was brought aboard this floating turd of a boat. [Incidentally, I wonder if Dell's repeated use of the phrase "chicken sandwich" is the writers' way of coming as close to saying "chicken shit" as was possible on an '80s network TV show.] A crestfallen Nick says that the t-shirt they so graciously lent him is one of his favorites, and Cody wryly says they're aboard the boat he spent his life savings purchasing - as Elizabeth watches this from across the room and shakes her head in dismay at Dell's rudeness. Dell rolls his eyes and is all, "Whatever" and asks them if they could please supply him with some grass and other illegal mood enhancements...and when Cody piously tells him they don't do that stuff, Dell gets on the phone with one of his flunkies and barks an order to score some weed and cocaine. He pauses to ask what the address of this godforsaken boat slip is, and Nick offers up the address of local police headquarters, much to the amusement of Cody and Murray. Haha! After that, Dell studies the memorial album for PCH that Alan Singer's record company must have released five minutes after Chip's death, then remarks that he has absolutely no memory of whatever horrendous things might have been done to him at Steinholtz Hospital.
Nick, Cody, and Murray go up to the deck to theorize that whoever tampered with the brakes of the Dell's car is most likely a part of the plot to finish him off on the operating table. They decide they have no choice but to report all this to Lieutenant Quinlan.
Dell calls Alan and smugly says, "Nice try, but I slipped the punch", and tells Alan he owes him for Chip's murder and his attempted murder...and by owes, he wants 100% of the sales of the memorial album, and wants it in writing asap.
Outside police headquarters, the Riptide trio draws straws to see who will have to go inside and deal with Lieutenant Quinlan...and Cody draws the short straw.
Dell meets up with Alan and a female notary in Ocean Park. Alan hands Dell a pen and invites him to sign the contract that entitles him to 100% of memorial album sales, then makes it a point to urge him to keep the pen. Dell ignores that red flag and unsuspectingly puts the pen in his shirt pocket...and a few seconds after he drives off, Alan hits the blow up button on a remote detonation device. Dell's car promptly explodes, killing him instantly.
While Cody is telling Quinlan that he knows the whereabouts of Dell Turner, a cop rushes into the room to report to Quinlan that Dell Turner and his car were just blown to smithereens near Ocean Park. Cody pales and mutters, "Oh shit.." as Quinlan glares at him and orders the cop to hold him for complicity in the murder of Dell - with, naturally, zero proof or evidence. Cody says he was joking just now about knowing the whereabouts of Dell, and that if he's detained at headquarters without cause, he's going to hire a shark of a lawyer and sue the fuck out of this police department. Quinlan rails to no one in particular about having to put up with the three Riptide stooges, then reluctantly tells the cop to release Cody back into society.
Cody rushes back to the parking lot to inform Nick and Murray that Dell just got blown up. Nick breathes a sigh of relief (LOL) and says they can finally drop this pesky case - but Murray argues that he's not ready to do that 'cause there's something very fishy about the memorial album Alan Singer's record company released so quickly after Chip's death.
Back aboard the Riptide, Murray uses Roboz to analyze the voice pattern differences between PCH's old albums and the memorial album and determines that neither Chip's nor Dell's voice is on the memorial album. He asks Roboz to compare the memorial album's voices with that of each band member, and Roboz quickly deduces that the singer on the memorial album is the band's third backup singer: Pete Frank, aka Hot Dog Pete.
Nick and Cody reprise their PCH Fan Club identities from earlier in the episode and pay Alan Singer a visit. They tell him that Hot Dog Pete called them to confess some wrongdoing related to the memorial album, and Alan says they really shouldn't rely on anything Pete tells them, given his drug abuse problems. He then urges them to quit fan clubbing and get a real life - but Cody solemnly retorts, "It'll never be over as long as their music remains." Alan's like, "That's nice. Off you two go now" ... and once they're out of earshot, he summons his flunky Bob and informs him that Hot Dog Pete has been blabbing to a couple of fan club nerds about his singing role on the memorial album. Bob shrugs and says they were going to kill him anyway, and Alan nods approvingly while muttering, "The hot dog's about to be roasted."
Alan and Bob arrive at Dell's memorial ceremony in the park, and Bob rushes off to locate Pete. The Riptide trio arrives a few seconds later, and Nick and Cody grab their guns and race into the park. Bob easily finds Pete in the crowd and tells him that Alan wants to talk to him, then lifts his jacket to show him he's armed. When Pete refuses to leave and tells Bob he knows that Alan killed Dell, Bob pulls out his gun and fires into the air. He then drags Pete over to Alan's car, forces him inside, and squeals off...and seconds later, Nick and Cody rush back to their vehicle and squeal off after them. A shootout breaks out in mid-chase, which causes Alan to lose control of the car and crash. Nick and Cody swiftly rescue Pete, then smugly tell Alan and Bob they're in a whole lot of trouble. Along with the evil Dr. Baronson, no doubt.
The Riptide trio + Elizabeth celebrate the resolution of this case with dinner at Straightaways. Max saunters over and hands them a bill, then says she'll give them a break on the amount they owe if they'd be willing to deal with a drunken Lieutenant Quinlan, whose drink was spiked by the bartender (for no explained reason). Sounds like the bartender should be forced to clean up his own mess. Nick and Cody head over to Quinlan's table, where he's drunkenly railing about how some joker delivered three ounces of cocaine to police headquarters, which somehow exploded and got everyone inside the precinct high. The higher ups suspended him for three days without pay (not sure why they figured this was his fault), and in mid-babble, he passes out and hits the floor.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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