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El Sereno - Recap

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The scene opens with Dante Rojas, Jorge Santiago, Nancy Jiminez, Pablo Bolano and Lisa Perez working hard. The head of the firm, Armando Vela, meets with Jose and Maria Cruz, a couple who is hoping to buy a home that is in foreclosure. Debbie Beltran comes in and says that there is a church picnic that she has to get to. Later that evening, Maria and Jose get a call from Armando. They hear multiple shots from a gun. They hear Armando yelling and call 911. TJ and Rex get on scene and find six people dead. They realize that the shooter came in and took their wallets and watches. The notice that in old apartment building overlooks the main buildings back entrance. The detectives walk over there, but no one is saying anything. Anna, a resident, says that a man named Eddie Ramos has been showing money around and asking every woman to go out with him. TJ and Rex easily find Eddie. They see that blood is on the money and immediately arrest Eddie. He takes the detectives to an alley where he found the wallets, watches and cash. The take him down to the station and Rex tells Lt. Gonzalez that Eddie is not the killer.

TJ and Rex interview Felipe Pena. He says he didn’t show up to work because the traffic was bad. They interview Al Hayes, who went home as well. He says that Armando was getting yelled at by Danny Choi, a businessman who was trying to borrow money so that he can buy a strip mall. They interview Choi, who says he wasn’t being unreasonable and that he got upset when the bank rejected his loan application. He says after that, he went to Southland Pacific Savings and Loan. They told him that Armando’s applications were full of lies and that they are not working with them anymore. The detectives get to the bank and talk to Larry Phillips. He doesn't want to cooperate with them, but TJ and Rex tell that it is bad PR to slow down a murder investigation. Larry brings up Armando’s applications and says that in play income and hidden debt up all over the contract. They tell that Choi’s application was fine, but ever since working with Armando, the bank told him no. Back at the station, Rex tries to put the pieces together. They look at the traffic data and find out that Felipe was having a fling with Debbie. TJ and Rex decide to track down denied applications. They start with Sarah Mitchell, a single mother. They see that her credit is horrible, but Al Hayes said life isn’t fair for the black people and so they spiced up for a loan application. However, the bank turned down the mortgage application. TJ and Rex talked to Soledad, Al’s girlfriend, at her office. They arrive to find a repairman fixing a paper shredder.

They sit down and talk to Soledad who tells that she was having lunch with her parents when she saw the shooting incident. She says that she called right away and that Hayes had a tough time when he started working. She says that he didn’t come to lunch because her parents don’t like that Hayes is divorced with two children. However, she says that things were getting better and that he was thinking of opening up his own firm and get married. TJ and Rex go outside and TJ says that Hayes was more likely about to get fired. Rex asks to have the broken paper shredder. Back at headquarters, TJ and Rex go through the case with Stanton. They tell that they found paper that would match the folders from Armando’s office, but they are not sure yet. They feel that Hayes was shredding folders that contained his bogus loan applications at Soledad’s office. They find that the bank that Hayes worked for was robbed two years ago. At the time, the detective on the case said that Hayes was scared and claimed that he is going to get a gun for protection. Lt. Gonzales warrants that for a search and they toss Haye’s place. TJ finds a box of 9mm rounds in the closet that is half full. They tell Soledad and she is worried. She says that he was supposed to pick the kids, but he hung up the phone and won’t pick up the phone.

They find Hayes at his ex-wife Vanessa’s home with his two sons locked inside. They have Vanessa call him and Rex tells that he wants to get the kids out of there and doesn’t want this to end badly. Hayes agrees and sends the two kids out and surrenders his gun and gets arrested. TJ says that they have the right guy, but wrong gun. Hayes has his lawyer Brian Spicer with him and at arraignment, Dekker demands that he be held without bail. Spicer stands and gives a press conference and plays the race card with the fact that Hayes was the only black man at an all-Hispanic office. He says that the investigation was full of institutional racism and that he is going to file a Pitchess Motion and demand that personnel records of the officers involved be brought forward. Dekker meets with Morales and the other detectives that were involved. TJ and Rex tell that they have nothing to hide. Dekker sees that Hayes is using the race card and says that he is going to have to prove that is what drove him to murder.

Stanton talks to Vanessa and she is not willing to try to put Hayes into prison. However, she says that Al stopped sleeping after the robbery at the bank and that he started escalating what he saw. She tells that he was obsessed with protecting the family and that he had bought a gun. That was when she changed the locks and filed for divorce. However, Vanessa says that he was himself and that he went by Griffith Park to remember when he was with her and the kids. Later, Detective Kavanaugh pulls everyone over to a video. It is Lt. Gonzales. She tells that she profiled a black motorist on time. She admits that the scared look on his face “felt good” and that she felt powerful. Dekker is brought into the office where Hardin and Chief Thompson are there. They tell that Lt. Gonzales is on administrative leave and that she will have a hearing soon. Dekker can’t believe that Gonzales would be a bigot, but Hardin agrees with Chief Thompson. Stanton races in and says that Spicer just served a motion to traverse and a search warrant that was on racial bias.

Later, Gonzales meets with her lawyer Stuart Lohman and Dekker and Stanton. She tells that the video is a hack job and that the story is something that she regretted doing when she was fresh out of the Academy. She defends herself and Lohman says that the union will push back. Lohman says that the case should be about the investigation and the investigation is clean and not lies where Gonzales planted the shredded loan papers. Gonzales stalks out and Dekker is more determined to see the entire video. In court, the judge rules out all the evidence against Hayes. The detectives look over the evidence again and realize that they never found the murder weapon. Stanton remembers Vanessa telling that Hayes went to Griffith Park. They search there to find the magazine from the 9mm Glock with only a few rounds left. The attorneys meet with the judge and present the new evidence. The judge allows it and also Gonzales’ video. Dekker meets with Rex in his office and Rex is ready to testify to Gonzales’ character. Dekker tells that Gonzales is stonewalling and that Rex needs to talk to her. He tells him that the LAPD is trying to run her out and take away her pension. Later, Dekker goes to Gonzales’ home and says that her silence is killing the case. She tells that she only cares about her son and says that he is already having issues at school. The next day, Gonzales takes the stand and says that in the video, she was addressing gay and lesbian recruits and that she was explaining the prejudice that they’re going to have on the job. She admits that she is a lesbian. She says the video they see has been edited. She apologized to the motorist and wrote a letter. She even reported herself to the commanding officer. She says that she was protecting her son.

The jury comes back and on the six counts of murder in the first degree and find Hayes guilty of all of them. Dekker and Morales meet with Hardin and Chief Thompson. Morales asks why Gonzales hasn’t been reinstated and Chief Thompson says that Gonzales is “damaged goods”. Hardin says that he is prepared with a statement for the press commending Gonzales for her professionalism and that he will continue to work with her. Thompson says that he is off to “fix” things and Dekker commends Hardin for having a backbone. The episode ends.

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Warning: Law & Order: Los Angeles season 1 episode 20 guide may contain spoilers
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