Recap: Ted and Carla Dollinger are sailing aboard their lovely boat, The Morning Rose, when another boat comes motoring towards them. An armed man hops aboard The Morning Rose and promptly shoots the couple...and a few seconds after that, a young blonde woman emerges from the ocean, sees the carnage that's just occurred, and loudly shrieks in horror before disappearing underwater. The shooter aims his gun in her direction and opens fire, and looks satisfied when the water quickly turns red.
Arnie, who is playing the role of the Riptide trio's newest sidekick this episode, is peacefully fishing aboard his little motorboat when the young blonde woman, who's now injured and bloody, pops up from the ocean and clutches the side of his boat. She stammers, "Trouble...the Morning Rose...east of Neptune's Trident.." before disappearing. Arnie's all, "Wha-a-a-a?" and becomes very freaked out about having squandered the opportunity to pull the woman aboard and get her some much needed medical treatment.
Aboard the Riptide, Murray is railing at Nick and Cody about how angry he is for letting himself get talked into being interviewed by Tawny Clark of Spotlight magazine, and complains that she made him look like a loser when she [aptly] titled her article 'It's Geek to Me'. Heh. Nick and Cody explain that they invited her over to interview them for a feature in Spotlight 'cause of how desperately their feeble detective agency could use the publicity...and a few seconds later they hear her arrive and head up to the deck.
In the next scene, Tawny Clark is holding up her tape recorder while accusing Nick and Cody of "sucking air as private detectives" prior to recruiting Murray to the agency, but then goes on to say that they still pretty much suck air - as evidenced by their total lack of ambition in bidding for lucrative jobs, such as security contracts for large companies. Nick explains that their agency focuses more on solving personal problems, and Tawny rolls her eyes and asks if by personal problems does he mean The Case of the Missing Shih Tzu that they recently cracked for an elderly woman. Murray's like, "Well d'yuh" - just as a flustered Arnie arrives at the pier in his fishing boat and informs the Riptide trio he just encountered an injured woman in the ocean who needed help, but that she disappeared under the water and never reemerged.
The Maritime patrolman, Lieutenant Wilcher, wryly informs Nick and Cody that Arnie identified the injured blonde woman he saw in the ocean as a mermaid, derisively says that this "case" isn't worth a minute more of his time, and that he's considering charging the dimwit with filing a false report. Nick urges him to not do that and explains that Arnie has a learning disability, makes his living doing odd jobs, and really doesn't need to be in trouble with the law. After they leave Wilcher's office, Cody asks Arnie why in blazes he didn't mention the part about the woman being a mermaid, so Arnie says he was so anxious about the encounter when he returned to the pier that it completely slipped his mind. Nick points out that mermaids are fictional, but Arnie insists, "I saw what I saw", then laments that he let down whoever might have needed help on The Morning Rose. Tawny, who's been following the trio around through all this, privately admonishes Nick for allowing Arnie to be made a fool of, and Nick snaps back that the last thing they'd ever intentionally do is make their slow-witted friend look foolish.
In the next scene, Murray has cobbled together a makeshift lie detector test by placing electrodes on Arnie's head, which are connected by wire to the Roboz, along with a record player that's programmed to start playing if the answers Arnie gives are deemed truthful. Sounds like a contraption that's just crazy enough to work! Murray begins the truth-seeking session by asking Arnie if a woman in the ocean told him that The Morning Rose was in trouble, and he says yes, resulting in the record playing kicking in. When Murray asks him if the woman was a mermaid, he says yes to that too, and once again the record player deems his answer truthful. Tawny rolls her eyes, calls this exercise a farce and, that she's not buying any of it.
Murray announces that he looked into The Morning Rose and discovered that it's a boat owned by Ted and Carla Dollinger and has occupied a slip at the Freeport Marina for the last ten months. The trio (+ Arnie) decides that's where they're off to now, and Tawny insists on tagging along 'cause she's kinda interested in what the search will turn up. As they pile into Tawny's ginormous station wagon and drive off, an ominous looking blue car follows them.
The Riptide trio et. al. learn that the Dollingers went out for a sail earlier this morning, and that it's unclear how long they intended to stay out at sea: a day? a week? Nick tells Arnie they all believe he thinks he saw a mermaid, then points out that there's actually no such thing. Cody suggests that they split up and question the locals about Ted and Carla...and after a few minutes of that, two beefy guys pop up out of nowhere and confront Nick about all the door-to-door questioning. Nick puts his hand in his pocket and tells them he has a gun, then lunges at one of them - just as Cody rushes over to help out with the asskicking. After subduing both of the men, Nick grabs one and dunks his head underwater for a few seconds and demands to know what he knows about Ted Dollinger, so the guy recalls that Ted mentioned that someone might come looking for him for something drug-related. Nick looks satisfied with the response, then needlessly pushes the man off the pier and into the water.
As soon as they hit the road, the ominous looking blue car that was following them collides with them and forces them off the road, causing them to fly off a short cliff and into a body of water. The same gunman who killed the Dollingers nods approvingly at the sight of the overturned car and assumes the occupants are drowning, but decides to shoot at it for good measure, which results in an implausibly massive explosion. The camera then pans over to the Riptide trio et. al., who are huddled together against the concrete wall of the underbelly of a nearby overpass.
Tawny informs her publisher that the company car got blown up after a bad guy machine-gunned it to death, and that she'd like to stick around to see this case through. Arnie tells Nick, Cody, and Murray that, after his monthly expenses, he has a spare $222 he'd like to offer for their detective services, and Murray graciously accepts the money and assures him they'll do their best to get to the bottom of the mermaid sighting/Dollingers' fate. Tawny tears up and tells Nick she doesn't know what to say, then explains she's so choked up 'cause of how shocked and sickened she is about what they're doing to poor and defenceless Arnie in taking his money. Nick explains that Arnie is a person with a life, job, and friends...and that they accepted his money the way they would with any other client. He points out that if they had refused to accept his cash, he'd know it's 'cause he's special...and that that would hurt his feelings soooooo much more. As he storms off in disgust, Tawny blinks back tears and looks suitably chastened.
The five board the Riptide and motor over to the location on the ocean where Arnie encountered the mermaid. They happen to spot a tourist, glass-bottom boat floating nearby, which they quickly motor over to and board. When they see a blonde mermaid frolicking beneath the glass bottom part of the boat to amuse and delight the tourists, Arnie goes, "See? I was right!" and the Riptide trio grins smugly at Tawny.
Nick, Cody, and Murray find themselves in the dressing room of the blonde mermaid, a busty gal named Kelly who's skimpily dressed in panties and a boob baring crop top. She tells the trio that her co-worker and fellow mermaid Debbie didn't show up for work today, chides Murray for touching her fins without permission, then gives Nick a flirty once over and tells him she sings at a club called the Sand Crab. Mmm hmm...can't fault a gal for having good taste. The trio decides that the next step in unraveling this oceanic mystery will be to ask the glass-bottom boat owner for Debbie's home address and keep their fingers crossed that something useful comes of that.
Arnie tells Tawny he knows that people look down on him for his slow-wittedness - except for the Riptide guys, who pretend as if they have no idea he's different and treat him like a regular person. Nick, Cody, and Murray emerge from Glass-bottom Boat headquarters and inform Arnie that the mermaid he saw in the ocean is a different person than the woman they just talked to. They announce their plans to head over to Debbie's place, and Tawny offers to catch a cab with Arnie and return to Pier 56.
Nick and Cody notice that the front door of Debbie's house has been forced open and pretend to leave. They quickly sneak around the back of the house and peer through the windows and see that two gunmen are inside the house, aka the same gunmen who exploded Tawny's ginormous station wagon. Cody catapults himself through the living room picture window (!) and tackles one of the men, while Nick bursts through the front door and tries to subdue the other. The gunman that Cody tackled fires off his gun and accidentally shoots his partner in crime, then runs out of the house and escapes via the ominous looking blue car.
Back aboard the Riptide, Arnie talks about how Debbie had babbled something like 'trouble east of Neptune's Trident', and then the trio recalls that the glass-bottom boat tour offers sightings of cute underwater treasures for tourists to marvel at.
The next morning, Nick flies Mimi over the place where they encountered the glass-bottom boat, and Cody dives into the ocean to look around. He finds the underwater statue known as Neptune's Trident and then quickly locates the sunken Morning Rose and places a tracking device on it. He extracts a bullet from the boat's exterior before encountering the icky sight of Ted Dollinger's lifeless drowned body.
Later, the Riptide trio (+ Arnie and Tawny) wonder what Ted might have done to bring on his killing. Cody says it's almost as if Ted knew the person who was boarding his boat and didn't think he needed his gun to protect him, then thinks that the best course of action at this point is to hand over the case to Maritime Patrol, along with the location of the sunken Morning Rose.
Lieutenant Wilcher tells his boss, Captain Chuck Reavis, that the people who were peddling the mermaid story earlier are back...and when the captain turns around we see that it's - ack! - the head gunman who escaped Debbie's house three scenes ago! Chuck tells Wilcher they're going to have to head out to the wreckage site with the mermaid story peddlers and "put the mermaid story to rest for good".
Murray learns from Lieutenant Quinlan (who mercifully does not make an on camera appearance in this episode) that the bad guy who was shot at Debbie's house was an employee at Maritime Patrol. Murray mulls that over and comes to the obvious conclusion that that there must be a connection between Maritime Patrol and the killing of the Dollingers.
Cody, Nick, and Tawny are sitting aboard Chuck's patrol boat with their hands tied behind their backs. Nick and Cody ask Chuck to confirm their suspicion that anyone who wants to run drugs through his territory has to pay him off, and he's like, "Yep" and adds that contraband of any kind is A-OK with him. He reveals that Ted Dollinger had gotten behind on his payments and therefore had to be snuffed out...and that he'd planned every detail of the killings, but didn't account for a mermaid popping out of the ocean and witnessing the murders. Cody points out that people are going to notice that they've suddenly disappeared after filing various reports with Maritime Patrol, and Chuck chortles and motions at Lieutenant Wilcher, who's driving the boat and grins back at Chuck while mockingly retorting, "What reports?"
At Maritime Patrol, the desk officer tells Murray and Arnie that no reports about a mermaid sighting were ever filed, then tells them that Lieutenant Wilcher is currently out on patrol with Captain Chuck Reavis. Murray's all, "Ack!" and hustles Arnie out of the building.
Lieutenant Wilcher straps on a wetsuit and dives into the ocean to plant a bomb on the sunken Morning Rose in order to destroy all evidence of the Dollinger murders. He also finds the tracking device Cody had placed on the sunken boat and quickly removes it.
Murray and Arnie take the Riptide out to sea, and a few seconds later, Murray realizes that the tracking device Cody placed on The Morning Rose is no longer giving off a signal.
Lieutenant Wilcher brings the tracking device aboard the patrol boat, and Captain Reavis destroys it just as they notice the Riptide advancing on them. An armed Murray orders Arnie to ram into the patrol boat, then tries to leap aboard it, but misses the mark and ends up plunging into the ocean. LOL. Nick and Cody use the chaos to attack the bad guys - but Captain Reavis recovers his gun and yells at everyone to freeze. A few seconds later, the underwater bomb planted on The Morning Rose goes off, and Cody leaps atop Captain Reavis and snatches away his gun.
At an outdoor restaurant, Murray reads Tawny's latest Spotlight article and dismayingly says she made them all look like morons. Cody just kind of shrugs and says she's just a bitter journalist, and that positive stories don't make compelling headlines. Arnie, meanwhile, is reading the letter that Tawny sent along with the magazine, in which she explains that her first draft was a puff piece about the awesomeness of the Riptide Detective Agency - but her publisher hated it and ordered her to pepper it with trashtalk. Her first draft includes the dickish way people laughed at Arnie for claiming he saw a mermaid - except for the saintly Riptide trio. They all agree that that's one heckuva complimentary article and raise their glasses in a toast.
It remains unclear if there's even a half-hearted effort underway to locate poor Debbie, who's likely dead somewhere in the ocean.
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