Riptide - Season 1, Episode 9
Recap: Nick is piloting a helicopter tour aboard the decrepit Mimi for a terrified looking couple whose terror mounts when the chopper starts making choking sounds while smoke billows out the back. The husband begs Nick to land his hunk of junk, and Nick's like, "We don't have much choice" and somehow manages to return the chopper to its regular landing spot. He apologizes for the "wind current" they must have caught - but the husband snarks that he'll be hearing from his lawyer, then storms off with his ashen-faced wife.
Cody and Murray rush over to excitedly inform Nick that they have a case - and that it was referred to them by their newest frenemy, Myron Bell. Nick rails about how much he hates Myron and all the shitty clients he's been throwing their way...but when pieces of Mimi start falling off and clattering to the ground, Nick concedes that they could definitely use a payday. Get that dilapidated thing serviced already!
The Riptide trio meets up with Myron, who tells them that their prospective client is a creep named Roger Ramsdale who wants them to get hard proof that his estranged wife is a money grubbing whore.
The Riptide trio + Myron head over to Roger's house and find Roger lounging by the pool, barking at someone named Craig Walters over the phone. Myron introduces him to Nick, Cody, and Murray...and Roger scowlingly says, "I want you to prove that my wife is a slut", then orders the willowy blonde who's hanging around nearby to fetch him a beer. He glares disdainfully at Nick, Cody, and Murray and growls at Myron for bringing him three such obvious lightweights...and when a fed up Nick says he's ready to walk, Myron stops him and tells him that Roger, while an undeniable douchewad, is an important client who throws a lot of lucrative business his way...then adds that he's prepared to pay the Riptide Detective Agency $5,000 to dig up proof of his wife's sluttiness. Murray asks Myron if he's absolutely sure that the woman is a slut, and Myron's like, yep, she's the supreme queen of all slutbags, then points out that any woman who would debase herself by marrying Roger has to have at least a few screws loose. Fair point. Nick says he hates the way this job is starting to shape up, but agrees to work the case, given their dire financial situation. Myron's like, "Yay!" and gives them the name of their target: Joan Ramsdale.
The Riptide trio heads over to Joan's suburban house and stares confusedly at her lovely flower garden and white picket fence.
Inside, Joan is meeting with her own PI, an attractive brunette named Tracy who will soon demonstrate her annoying habit of saying 'get outa town!' whenever she hears something that displeases her. The trio appears on Joan's doorstep just as Tracy is on her way out, and they decide it'd be plausible to pretend to be vacuum cleaner salesmen and pretend that Roboz is a convincing vacuum cleaner prototype. Joan smiles warmly and graciously invites them inside while Tracy climbs into her car and gets a call on her car phone from her PI partner Jane, aka the willowy blonde woman who was just hanging out undercover at Roger's house. Sneaky! Jane tells Tracy that Roger just hired three detectives - two hot guys and a bespectacled dork - to dig up dirt on Joan. Tracy shrieks, "Get outa town!" and tells Jane she's pretty sure she just encountered them on Joan's doorstep.
A stern looking man pastes a photo of Roger on his calendar, then glares stonily at it before drawing his gun and aiming at it.
Joan allows the Riptide trio to dump dirt on her carpet so they can demonstrate Roboz's vacuum cleaning abilities - even as Roboz is roaming around the house, snapping photos that might provide evidence of Joan's slutty lifestyle. Cody apologizes for their non-functioning vacuum cleaner and says they'll bring it back to the lab to make the necessary tweaks...and Joan's like, "No problem!" She says she sees Roboz's potential and would like to put down a deposit on the contraption, then smilingly says she's confident they'll get it working. The trio stares at her in stunned disbelief, agrees to put her name on a nonexistent waiting list, then beats a hasty retreat. When they climb into their car, they notice that Joan is on her way out and decide to follow her. Tracy, who's watching them surveille her client, calls Jane and tells her to get over here pronto so they can launch a tag-team tailing operation.
The Riptide trio follows Joan on her wholesome errands, which conclude at the Children's Hospital...and the photos Roboz snapped at her house prove to be just as fruitless in revealing her to be a shameless harlot. They decide their next move will be to head back to Roger's house to tell him they're no longer going to spy on his squeaky clean wife - but only after they corner Tracy and Jane and call them out for tailing them...then invite the two ladies to join them for lunch.
Tracy and Jane advise the Riptide trio to dump Roger as a client on account of what a ginormous asshole he is, and Tracy expresses her exasperation with anyone who'd ever agree to work for Roger with another 'get outa town!' Jane explains that around the time Joan left Roger, she noticed some oddities in his finances...so she hired her and Tracy to look into it. Nick and Cody says they're A-OK with throwing in the towel on this dead end spy job and invite Jane and Tracy to come along to Roger's house so that all five of them can participate in the [spoiler] impending car chase.
As Tracy waits in her car, Nick, Cody, Murray, and Jane enter Roger's house - but when they call out his name a few times, he doesn't respond. Nick quickly discovers Roger's bullet riddled body in the bathroom - just as Jane spots an armed man, who's clutching a silver briefcase, race out of the house and into his car. The four run out after him and pile into Tracy's car so they can pursue the likely killer...and Nick and Cody unleash a string of misogynistic insults at Tracy to loudly express their disdain for her sub par driving abilities, then groan in incredulity when she dutifully stops at a red light. As Nick and Cody rail about her deficiencies as a female PI, she and Jane snap at them to shut it, and smugly tell them that they both managed to get the killer's license plate number.
The Riptide trio + Jane and Tracy arrive at the Children's Hospital to inform Joan about her husband's death, and are stunned to see that Lieutenant Quinlan and his team have already arrived and are in the middle of arresting Joan. Jane and Tracy run over to ask whassup with him arresting an innocent woman...and when they identify themselves as private investigators, Quinlan laughs condescendingly and says, "Lady investigators, that's all I need." When he asks them if they're on The Case of the Stolen Recipes or Knitting Needles, Jane gets all in his face and calls him out for his ridiculous-even-for-'80s-TV-standards misogyny while Tracy wearily mutters another of her 'get outa towns!'. When Nick and Cody rush over to break up the altercation, Quinlan derisively asks them if siccing a couple of lady PIs on him is their idea of a joke, then informs all of them that Joan Ramsdale has just been arrested for conspiracy in her husband's death. And that if they have a problem with his impetuous-to-the-point-of-unlawful style of policing, they can suck on it.
Over dinner at Straightaways, the Riptide trio + Jane and Tracy discuss the latest development in the case: the authorities are suspicious about a $5,000 check that Joan refuses to explain, so they're leaping to the assumption [with absolutely zero proof] that she used the money to hire a hitman to kill Roger. Jane proposes they all work together to solve this case before the end credits roll, and Nick says he's willing to try - but only if they refrain from hitting them over the head with their "women's lib stuff". Tracy wryly tells him that women in the U.S. have been liberated for quite some time...then says, similarly, that she and Jane won't put up with any idiotic, testosterone-fueled competitions that men of their ilk like to engage in. Murray laughs aloud at the many pissing contests he's seen between Nick and Cody over the past eight episodes, then contorts his face into a serious expression when he informs everyone that he just recalled a critical piece of information that could crack the case wide open.
Aboard the Riptide, Jane and Tracy gush to Murray about how impressed they are with all of his fancy computer equipment. Murray says he suddenly remembered that when they first arrived at Roger's house, he was having an argument over the phone with someone named Craig Walters...so he figures that maybe that guy could be the murderer. He then punches Craig Walters into his computer and finds a profile on the man, which somehow indicates that he's the owner of a 7mm gun. [Interesting that a person's gun purchasing history would be available online in 1984.] Jane remarks that 7mm is a very unusual size for a gun...and when Cody snidely asks her if she's a gun expert, she shrugs and says she can hold her own at a gun range. Tracy proposes they drop by Craig's house first thing in the morning to follow up on this lead.
The Riptide trio + Jane and Tracy head over to Craig's place, and we learn that Craig was the stern looking man from earlier who had pointed his gun at Roger's photo...which, jackpot! After rifling through his stuff, they find photos of a pregnant woman named Ellie Thompkins...and a few seconds later, Murray spots Craig running towards his car, then leaps inside it and squeals off. Nick smugly tells Tracy, "Now you'll see a proper car chase!" before he and Cody race out of the house and jump into his red Corvette. When Nick runs a red light, he's promptly stopped by a traffic cop, and he and Cody sheepishly agree to not mention a word of this humiliation to Jane or Tracy.
The next stop for Operation Solve Roger's Murder is the restaurant where Ellie Thompkins, who's visibly pregnant, works. The Riptide trio + Jane and Tracy ask her if she knows Craig Walters, and she's overly forthcoming about how he quickly became her more-than-just-platonic friend and Lamaze coach, and that he's been a UGE help to her ever since getting knocked up by Roger Ramsdale, her douchebag ex-lover who was recently killed. She adds that when she told Roger about the baby, he became enraged and ordered her to get an abortion - but she refused. When she ambles off to wait on other tables, Cody wonders aloud if the $5,000 check Joan refuses to account for was her way of helping out the woman her moron of a husband so carelessly knocked up.
Jane and Tracy visit Joan in jail to ask her about the $5,000...and she admits that, yep, since Roger refused to take responsibility for the sweet, naive woman he impregnated, she decided to help her out with a little spare cash. She then checks the time and says she needs to go now 'cause she promised her cellblock-mates she'd teach them how to knit.
The Riptide trio mulls over everything they've learned this episode, then theorize about the series of events that likely led to Roger's murder: Roger refused to pay for the baby he knocked Ellie up with and ordered her to get an abortion...and when she refused, he hired a hitman named Craig Walters to kill her - but Craig promptly fell in love with Ellie and decided 'why not just kill Roger instead?' Seems like a reasonable change of plans. Nick and Cody decide that their next step will be to ambush Craig at Ellie's next Lamaze class, and enlist Jane and Tracy to give them cover by posing as their pregnant wives.
Ellie squeals happily when Craig makes an appearance at her Lamaze class. She gabbles about the people who dropped by the restaurant where she works at the other day to ask questions about him...and when Nick, Cody, Jane, and Tracy enter the room, she's like, "Hey, there they are!" Craig's all, "Ack!" and makes a break for the exit and manages to climb inside of his car...and after Cody misfires at the car a few times, Jane grabs the gun out of his hand and shoots out one of Craig's tires, then smugly tells Cody that she's an expert marksman...er, markswoman. A few seconds later, they get the news that Ellie has just gone into labor, and they all start scrambling around to get her to a hospital, stat!
After what seems like a pretty short labor, Craig enters the waiting room to announce to the Riptide trio + Jane and Tracy that Ellie just had a baby girl. He says to pass along to Ellie that he loves her, then allows the police officer, who's been waiting politely inside the hospital this entire time to arrest him (LOL), to handcuff him and lead him away. Everyone looks bummed at the arrest and hopes that the judge will go easy on Craig, given that he only killed Roger to protect Ellie. With that said, they all decide to celebrate the successful wrap-up of this dreary case by heading over to Straightaways for some sustenance.
Jane and Tracy tell the Riptide trio that St. Joan is now interested in doing whatever she can to help Craig and Ellie...and also that she's eagerly awaiting her robot-style vacuum cleaner from the three charming salesmen who dropped by her house earlier in the episode. As the trio chortles at the impossible naivete of the woman, Myron pops up from out of nowhere and tells Nick and Cody that he has a new client for them: a man who wants to get hard proof that his daughter's punk boyfriend is a transvestite. I'm sure that the daughter will discover that for herself in due time - but that's all I'm going to say 'bout that.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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