Angilbas is certainly making a name for himself with his unusual crossovers. Here he's written a story featuring the characters from the 1970's show Barney Miller. As indicated from the title, the story is set during the NYC blackout of 1977 but there's another meaning as well, one you'll surely get after reading the first sentence. Enjoy!
I was sure that Lennie Briscoe would drown. He was drunk when I first met him and he crawled right back into the bottle after the Blackout Night of July 13-14, 1977. I was very much surprised 22 years later when I met him sober and still a detective.
I'm Sergeant Ron Harris, a published author (but not a rich one!) and fellow detective in the NYPD. I work at the 31st Precinct in northern Manhattan. It's rough-and-tumble at times but far better than Flushing Meadows, where I was stuck for years after the old One-Two closed in 1982. Briscoe's been working Homicide at the 27th in East Harlem since '92.
Our paths crossed for the second time on August 25, 1999. Briscoe and his partner Rey Curtis were looking for George Sanderson AKA Pecan Sandy, a suspect in their latest homicide case and a guy I busted several times for various misdemeanors. Briscoe didn't recognize me when he came to my desk (although my name seemed familiar), but I remembered him at once even though his hair was grayer and the youngish bloodhound face of two decades earlier sagged like an old basset's.
I told Briscoe, "We worked together during the Blackout of '77."
He smiled, a bit embarrassed, and said, "My memory's not too good from that year."
Curtis said, "He can't remember anything from the Carter Administration."
Briscoe growled, "I know that the Big Apple glowed under a Beame of light!"
That snappy delivery made me laugh the loudest in 17 years. I'd almost forgotten about dour little Abe Beame, who was mayor of NYC during the mid-1970's. Late in his single term he had the Blackout to deal with -- and lots of angry constituents during that night and after. Briscoe didn't remember any other Beame jokes, but at least he recalled the man.
I took Briscoe and Curtis to lunch at Hoffman's, a slightly seedy diner which at least had a nice view of Inwood Hill Park. More importantly, Pecan Sandy sometimes ate there, and he had a girlfriend named Angelica "Cottage Cheese Buns" Rubens who lived a block away and worked the streets at night.
I ordered a Captain's Platter of seafood. The waitress brought an attractively laid out plate, but the food tasted too fishy. Briscoe had macaroni and cheese; he seemed to enjoy his dish, especially after slobbering it with ketchup.
Briscoe dabbed ketchup from his chin and said, "I remember this Ron Harris book called Blood on the Badge. Are you...?"
"Yes, I wrote that BOB. Poor fellow, he's been out of print for years...but last week I was in a second-hand bookstore and this slip of a girl found a copy and recognized me! I signed the book and she bought it for $2.99 but I bet she'd have paid a thousand." And for all I knew, Atlanta Willow still held the title of BOB's Latest Buyer.
I put thoughts of Bob aside as two of my 31st colleagues -- Rudy Sierra and Jasper Waterman -- entered the diner. They joined us and said that the surveillance van was ready.
Ten minutes later, we entered the van and readied ourselves for surveillance detail. Waterman kept his eyes on the monitor screens while the rest of us started a card game. There had been no time for games among NYPD members on a certain summer night many years earlier.
Wednesday, July 13, 1977
The detectives' squad room was hot as usual for this time of year, so I was glad when my boss,
Captain Barney Miller, called me into his air-conditioned office. One of my reports was open on his desk, and he looked a bit worried.
"Harris, there are a few discrepancies between what your witnesses said. Look here," said Barney as he touched a finger to one of my pages.
"I know. But I think we can drop that cokehead Shiehan; he went wacko in Bryant Park about an hour ago and some uniforms put him on the Disoriented Express to Bellevue. Arnold's solid, we can go with his..."
Someone knocked on the door; it was Stanley Wojiehowicz aka Wojo. He said, "Barn, we got a complaint of a drunk hassling people in the Flatiron. Danny's Bar and Grill."
"Okay, you and Harris."
And with that Wojo and I left.
As I drove north with Wojo, heat lightning flickered beyond the Empire State Building. Lights went out all around us, then came back on. The streetlights took their time rekindling.
"Con Ed ain't doing too well," said Wojo.
"Don't worry about it," I said. "'65's way behind us -- we're in a whole new era."
"I'm glad of that. In '65, I was in Camp Lejeune, training for 'Nam."
"You missed a fun blackout. Never be anything like it again." We arrived at the Flatiron Building and found Danny's. Inside, a fiftyish boss-type man and a large woman of about forty were facing down a white guy in a stained suit whose voice was a series of hoarse bourbon yells--"You tried to gyp me!"-- over and over.
The guy saw us and said, "Well well, the cavalry's here. I told them, I'm cavalry too!" He showed his badge, which was a genuine NYPD detective's gold shield. I told Wojo to look after him, then went to the complainants.
Danny and Carol Brown insisted on pressing charges. Mrs. Brown shouted, "He's a disgrace to humanity--and the police department!" Her husband had the look of an old-fashioned school principal; he said they would come to the precinct house later to give their statements. "We won't rest until that *dipso* is kicked off the force! I know Captain Miller!" he yelled. I sensed a *faint* possibility that the Browns might cool off and change their minds, but right now trying to persuade them to forgive our colleague would do more harm than good.
Things looked rather bad for our drunken friend. At least he was sensible enough not to argue with the hulking Wojo. The three of us went outside.
"Oh, I forgot to introduce myself. Defective Lennie Briscoe, at your service."
"I'm Ron Harris and this is my partner Stan Wojo-something." Wojo said his nickname was fine.
We drove back to the One-Two and took Briscoe to the squad room. Nick Yemana was standing beside the coffee machine. I said, "Hey Nick, I'd like you to meet Detective Lennie Briscoe. He's here to dry out."
The two shook hands. Nick said, "Coffee's ready."
"I'll have some," said Wojo. To Briscoe: "How about you?" Briscoe shook his head.
"Come on, it'll clear your system," Nick said.
"Smell makes me want to..." He covered his mouth, ran to the door marked MEN and rattled the knob.
A familiar voice from inside said, "Hold your horses!"
"Toss 'em instead," muttered Briscoe. He ran to the nearest wastebasket and lowered his head. Projectile vomit erupted with a roar.
The noise brought Barney out of his office and he took in the picture at once. Briscoe wasn't the first drunk to throw up in our squad room.
"I take it this is your drunk from the Flatiron?"
"Mr. Cast Iron Stomach himself," I replied. "Detective Lennie Briscoe, this is Captain Barney Miller."
"Pissed to meetcha," said Briscoe. He wiped his mouth with the back of his right hand, then extended the hand. Barney's mouth and mustache drooped and he said to me, "What's the story on him?"
"Drunk and disorderly at Danny's. The owners'll be along soon to give statements -- they want to press charges."
Barney jabbed a finger at Briscoe and said, "You get cleaned up! I want you in my office in ten minutes." With that he returned to his room and slammed the door.
Briscoe said, "I must look like hell."
And that's when the lights went out. The squad room became pitch black.
"Actually, Briscoe, right now you don't look like anything," I heard myself say.
Barney came out of his office with a flashlight and said, "Everything's blacked out as far as I can see." He aimed the light at the men's room door. "Fish, are you okay?"
"Fine as usual," replied Detective Phil Fish with a weary, sarcastic tone. He opened the door. For a moment the angle of Barney's light kept Fish's right eye in shadow and it looked like a hollow black socket. Even in good light Fish had a face which would almost credit Frankenstein's monster. His beetle brow, haggard complexion and long chin made an unforgettable combination. He was sixty, could easily pass for eighty, and was well-known in the precinct house for his frequent trips to the throne. On this night he had a streaming cold. But we treasured his street smarts. Unfortunately, he was about to retire and his know-it-all replacement was ready to take his desk.
"This'll be a long blackout," said a voice from behind. I knew that faint German accent only too well, knew without turning that Detective Arthur Dietrich, AKA Mr. Know-It-All, would be wearing his eternal self-satisfied smile.
I turned anyway. Dietrich had collared a young couple with the help of Carl Levitt, a uniformed cop who wanted to be a detective. Levitt was only five feet three inches high.
"What's the story, Little Levitt?" I said. Addressing Levitt in the diminutive sense was a long-standing habit of mine, and he hated it, but I figured that any cop who couldn't take a little hazing was unfit to brave the hazards of the Big Apple.
"Duncan and Marilee Willow ate at Profaci's Ristorante and used counterfeit money to pay for their -- ah -- conch-i-coney."
"That's conchiglioni," said Dietrich. "It's pasta in the shape of shells. The Willow couple had conchiglioni con spinaci, which..."
"Thank you, Dietrich," said Barney. "Write this couple up with whatever light you can find."
"Just a second, Arthur!" I snapped. "You seem to think this blackout will be lengthy. Would you mind enlightening the common people in this room as to the reasons why?"
"Certainly. You have to understand that the electrical system which serves New York City has state-of-the-art technology built in, with specially programmed computers to send electricity where it is most needed, and reduce the current to selected areas when demand exceeds supply. A lot of the equipment that carries and transforms the current is cooled by oil, which must be kept at high pressure. When the power stays off too long, the pressure drops and the system must be manually..."
"That's enough," said Barney. "There's work to do."
"I take it the pressure never falls here," Dietrich replied.
"You're a regular beacon of light," I snarled. In my book no other person on the planet was more smug. I gazed at Dietrich and thought, Wait'll you get in a situation where all your knowledge won't be worth the shit you speak.
The telephone in Barney's office rang. He answered and said, "How many? Anyone hurt?" while scribbling notes. He finished with, "We'll send a couple of people right now."
Barney re-entered the squad room and said, "Wojo and Harris, there's looting in progress at O'Brien's Radio and TV Store. Go!"
As we drove to O'Brien's, the city seemed okay apart from the lack of electricity. People were on doorsteps, chatting or hunched over game boards. Warm candle and lantern lights shone everywhere, and red aircraft beacons glowed as usual atop the skyscrapers. People were boarding a bus near Washington Square Park.
We saw a police unit with roof lights flashing, and a small crowd just beyond. I parked the cruiser and we leaped out. Two uniformed cops, Gutierrez and Molenaar, had four young men and three girls in custody. Several television sets lay on the sidewalk nearby.
"Got extra 'cuffs?" said Molenaar. Wojo gave him our spare sets.
Four boys emerged from the damaged store; each carried a portable radio. Wojo bellowed, "Hey!" and they ran like deer. Wojo and I chased them. "Stop right there!" yelled Wojo, but if anything his harsh voice lent wings to the looters' feet. One of them tripped and fell; the fine Grundig Satellite radio he was carrying chipped off some pieces on impact with the pavement. Wojo collared him roughly. "When I say stop you stop dead!" I mirandized our trembling suspect and we marched him to join the others.
"Where the fuck is that wagon!" growled Guttierrez. He turned on his police radio and we heard the chatter -- a lot more chatter than usual. Reports of break-ins and lootings seemed to be coming from everywhere.
I went to my cruiser, grabbed the mike, and informed Dispatch of our situation. We had eight in custody and a potentially unruly crowd. We needed immediate backup and transport.
A huge woman, who probably weighed as much as Wojo and myself combined, marched to us and screamed, "That my boy you busted. Why you hurt my boy! You let my boy go now!"
Wojo bellowed, "Ma'am, your boy stole a radio and ran from the law! We're taking him in!" Diplomacy was not one of Wojo's strengths.
"You release my baby right now or there be trouble fo' sure!" The crowd growled in assent. I felt my throat go dry. "My baby is hurt! You don't hurt my baby and get away with it!"
The crowd's voices became louder and its members moved closer to us with fists balled. Several men had crowbars and flashlights ready to be used as clubs.
Wojo reached for his gun. Quickly I put a hand on his elbow and said, "Easy, Woje."
The woman jabbed a finger at Wojo and yelled, "He was going fo' his gun. Big white bully with his gun an' his Oreo partner!"
The people paced and milled. Someone yelled, "Let them go!" and quickly the whole crowd took it up as a chant. This was the most difficult situation of my career! At the very least, a scuffle would dirty and damage my fine new suit.
The four of us stood with our backs to the cruisers and faced the crowd, which was thirty strong and gaining new members. My heart raced as my whole body steeled for trouble. This situation was dangerously close to a riot, and needed only a minor trigger. If one of the suspects tried to break and Wojo tackled him (Wojo just might have; he was not the sharpest joker in the deck), we'd have a pocket World War Three.
Finally the paddy wagon and a pair of cruisers arrived. Barney was in one of the cars. He got out, walked to the crowd with open hands spread wide and said, "People, may I have your attention please! I'm Captain Miller of the New York City Police Department, 12th Precinct." The way he emphasized New York City calmed the crowd -- sort of. The chanting stopped, but the people continued to murmur and glare at us.
Barney went on, "We have to take these people to the 12th Precinct station house. They will not be mistreated in any way. If any of your relatives have been arrested, please come to the precinct house and our desk sergeant will help you. Otherwise, please go home. If you have a crime to report..."
The woman who called me an Oreo (in my mind she was Mammy Whale) waved a finger at me and Wojo and yelled, "Those two hurt my baby, they need be kicked off the po-lice force!"
Barney said, "Madam, I will personally look into your complaint and take any disciplinary action that's warranted."
"Ma'am, I'm sorry about your son," said Wojo. "He fell, it was an accident." The woman continued to glare at us; behind her, the crowd's members were debating with each other. Their white-hot fury of a moment earlier was down to dull red coals.
Barney turned to us and said, "Let's get our suspects to the station. Quick and easy as you can -- no rough stuff."
I felt the many eyes of the crowd on us as we led our suspects inside. What a relief it was to get back in that cruiser with Wojo! "Glad that's behind us," he said as I drove back to headquarters.
The cage in our squad room was more crowded than I had ever seen it before. It held a dozen people, including the very frightened-looking Willow couple. Wojo and I began to interrogate our suspects, and we were about halfway through writing them up before the telephone rang. Looting was in progress at Gary's Food Mart on West 14th near Eighth. We let our suspects join the other cagebirds and headed to our cruiser.
People were giving an unlawful meaning to "take-out food." I chased and caught a young man who was carrying a ten-pound frozen turkey...well, it was frozen. Bloody fluid stained my suit and got on my badge. I got mad, almost mad enough to kick ass. As a black cop in a racist environment I wanted to look clean and sharp at all times. My fellow detectives at the 12th were okay, but lots of other people weren't.
Wojo had a much easier bust...a drunken young woman with a half-empty bottle of cooking wine. "Hey, I can't cook, might as well drink," she told us." We took her (and Turkey Man) back to headquarters and I invited her to swap drinking tales with Briscoe. By that time, Detective Briscoe was pretty sober. He had a headache but offered to lend us a hand. Barney arched a reserved eyebrow but said yes -- he was short-staffed, having sent the ailing Fish home. He'd spoken to the Browns and persuaded them not to press charges. He told me to look after Briscoe. Wojo would work with Nick.
The cage held eighteen now -- our fellow cops had been busy. Some of the prisoners were getting noisy, complaining of heat and thirst. The two young Willows (who were married earlier in the day) were weeping and pleading. "We'll apologize to Mr. Profaci, pay him for real, we promise! Please let us out!" said Marilee Willow.
I looked through Dietrich's report (he was assisting the arson squad and there was no telling when he'd be back), then telephoned Giacomo Profaci. A few minutes later I went to Barney's office.
Barney was speaking into the telephone, "...Yes, sir...I'll tell them...thank you, Inspector Luger." He hung up and said, "What can I do for you, Harris?"
"I just spoke to Mr. Profaci, he who received Monopoly money. He won't press charges if the Willows pay him for real. How about we let the Willows pass Go."
Barney said, "Dietrich's collar." He raised that eyebrow again as he looked at me. Then he sighed, "Turn 'em loose, might as well make room. Just got word of the Mayor's directive -- anyone suspected of looting or arson must be held to await bail. And he's reopened the Tombs."
"The Tombs" was an old jail that was almost as grim as its name implied. Quickly I released the Willows. I gave them a tongue-lashing, said they were lucky the Feds hadn't been told about the counterfeit money, then sent them out with a parting, "Maybe you can do us a favor someday." The other cagebirds were getting noisier. I barked, "Shut up or you'll end up in the Tombs!" I didn't have the heart to tell them that they would probably be sent there anyway.
The calls came fast and furious. For the rest of the evening, Briscoe and I shuttled between the station and various trouble spots. Our fellow detectives were just as hard pressed even though outbreaks of lawlessness were less extensive than in some other parts of the Big Apple.
Shortly before midnight, Nick and Wojo returned to the squad room. Wojo led a suspect while Nick held a large flask. "It's coffee, specially brewed by my mother," Nick said.
I accepted a mugful and tasted the same overtones of sulfuric acid, newspaper ink and roof tar that our squad room coffee always had. "I get it now -- all this time you were just carrying on a family tradition," I said to Nick. But I drained the mug, certain that its contents would give me the caffeine fix I needed. Wojo drank his share and Briscoe kept a few sips down.
The telephone rang and we were on the streets soon after. It was past midnight, but troubles were getting worse. We chased and collared suspects, talked to witnesses who preferred doorsteps and balconies to their stifling, airless apartments (although the outside air was not much better). Again and again we faced crowds, without Barney to bail us out -- he had his own chores. We relied far more on negotiation than force, and thank goodness Briscoe had street smarts. But as the night went on he showed signs of crankiness.
I couldn't blame him -- I was in a bad mood myself. My suit was a dirty, stained ruin. I've always wanted to look as sharp and smart as possible on the job, but the Blackout certainly didn't make my night.
At 1:50 AM Briscoe and I attended the cleaned-out Ferguson's Appliances. We talked to witnesses, two of whom mentioned an eleven-year-old boy -- George Blackstrap -- who had carried an air conditioner in the direction of his home.
We arrived at the street number, which was on a three-story brownstone. Someone was fitting a big box of an air conditioner in one of the top floor windows. From behind the box came an angry woman's yell, "Hey! This piece a junk don't work!"
"Course not, Ma," said a young boy's voice. "No juice."
"Don't you talk to me like that! This is what I do with junk!" A pair of thick dark arms hurled the unit. I yanked Briscoe back. The box parked and broke apart on impact with the sidewalk less than a foot from where Briscoe had been standing. The woman yelled, "Now you go out there an' don't come back with no cooler unless it's workin!"
We decided to wait for the boy, but heard a dispatcher's voice on the radio. All available units were to respond to a break-in at Helgesen's Fine Clothes. I acknowledged the call and we leaped back in the cruiser as a sweaty and nervous-looking lad matching young Blackstrap's description emerged from the brownstone's main door.
Helgesen's was in the Garment District. On arrival we found a broken window and three distraught young women. The largest of them was blonde and voluptuous, Wojo's kind of girl. She yelled, "Help us, we've been robbed!"
I said, "Calm down, miss. Tell us what happened."
"We busted in, picked out some clothes, and then these guys took them from us. They robbed us!"
The smallest girl was all carrot mop, heavy makeup and matchstick limbs. She wailed, "It isn't fair, it isn't right! We worked hard, you any idea how much clothing racks weigh?"
The middle girl was red-faced and I didn't think she was the perpetually florid type. I said to her, "Anything you want to tell us?"
"Uh...I just want to tell my friends we should all go home."
"Should've told 'em that a little sooner. Get in the car, all three of you!"
As the last of them climbed in, a pickup truck parked in front of the store just four or five feet from our car. Three men jumped out and rushed past us. The middle girl yelled, "That's them! They're the ones who robbed us!"
We watched in amazement as the trio entered Helgesen's. Maybe they thought our dashboard bubble was a Christmas ornament. I got the girls' identities, told them to scram, then led Briscoe into the store.
We found each looter pulling a loaded rack. They didn't notice us until I shouted, "Why steal good clothes when you can wear prison stripes for free!" They tried to split but we pounced on them and struggled in the dark. I got bruised and Briscoe took a pretty hard punch in the side, but we nailed two of the punks. "Cops 2, looters 1," growled Briscoe as we led them outside.
Three police units from Midtown South (whose turf we were on) pulled up. Two suits, one wiry and bushy-haired, the other stocky and baby-faced with a receding hairline, left the unmarked car and introduced themselves as Sergeant James Deitz and Detective Stan Oromocto. We conferred with them and I told about the girls. I was pissed -- my new suit was torn and dirtied beyond salvation! I jabbed a finger at my notes and yelled, "Six freaking looters and only one half-decent brain among them!"
Deitz was also in a bad mood and he seemed to have the sort of eyes which always carry hints of anger. The man had 'hard driver' stamped all over. When I offered to let him have our three perps, he looked at them as a hungry lion would. But he decided they'd be worse off with me -- that's how steamed I was.
I drove my crewmate and captives back to 12th Precinct turf, punching the accelerator pedal so hard that Briscoe urged me to let him drive. I agreed after he got carsick. I told him not to worry about cleaning up because I'd make our boys sick while driving them to The Tombs. And I did.
By dawn the arrest rate was still much higher than normal. The night owls were caged, but many potential jailbirds were creatures of daylight. The city still had no power, but the sun had plenty. My anger was ready to boil over under its hot rays. I was constantly tempted to go home, shower, and put on a clean suit, but with more rough stuff sure to come I didn't want to ruin any other clothes.
Just before 7 AM, Barney got Levitt to sign a battery-powered TV out of the evidence locker and bring it to the squad room to "see if we can raise more prints." The atmosphere became quiet and grim as we watched news footage of unruly crowds and flaming buildings. Whole blocks in Harlem and the South Bronx had been razed.
"Jesus!" said Wojo. "You'd think the whole city was burning down!"
"Dietrich couldn't have said it better himself," I said, although I'd have loved to hear his analysis. If he hasn't been cured of his smugness by now he never will be.
At 7:22 we were sent to Profaci's Ristorante to deal with a robbery in progress. We found that Giacomo Profaci and his chubby teenage son had subdued the two perps. Giacomo gave his statement, then looked over my shoulder. I followed his gaze; the son was reaching into a bin of bagels. Giacomo yelled in rapid Italian; the only clear word for me was "Tony!" Reluctantly the boy retreated.
Profaci's was open because natural gas was still flowing. Briscoe and I had hot pizza slices and coffee while our handcuffed prisoners sat in a corner. Tony chatted with us, correctly identified the perps' weapons, and said he'd be a cop when he got big. "You're already big," Briscoe said, patting Tony's ample breadbasket.
Briscoe went to the can for a "pit stop" and returned with peppermint on his breath. "Pocket flasks and breath fresheners," I muttered. Briscoe shrugged under my suspicious gaze.
We returned to the squad room and found Barney arguing with Lieutenant Scanlon of Internal Affairs. Scanlon was never without his ferocious grin and apart from a runny nose (as if he'd caught Fish's cold) looked the same as always. He was forever ready to shatter a cop's career at the slightest excuse, like breath which smelled suspicious.
Scanlon saw us and said, "Detectives! A cheery good morning to you!" His eyes and tone held no hint of cheer. He fixed his gaze on Briscoe, who was leading our suspects to my desk.
"Detective Lennie Briscoe," Scanlon said, pausing to blow his nose. "You wouldn't happen to have hit the sauce while on duty, would you?"
"No way. Scout's honor." But Briscoe had the look of a certain boy who'd been caught with his hand in the bagel bin.
"Maybe I should give a field sobriety test." With that, Scanlon let out a series of bellowing sneezes.
Barney said, "That's a nasty virus, Lieutenant. You taking any medication for it?"
"Yes, as if that's any of your damn business!"
"Oh, but it is. Many cold remedies have side effects that impair a person's performance. Why don't I give you a sobriety test."
"That's not going to happen!" barked Scanlon. He sneezed and coughed for a good fifteen seconds, then shook his head and headed to the exit. "Jesus, nothing's worse than a summer cold!" We heard more sneezes -- which made me smile -- after he left.
Cops were entering the squad room to report for duty. The weary-looking Dietrich returned from his stint with the arson squad; he looked cured to me. A few minutes later, Barney called us to his office.
"I want to thank you all for work well done," Barney said from beside his desk. "We busted the bad guys and kept our smarts. We prevented a bad situation from getting a lot worse. Harris, Briscoe -- stay here a minute. The rest of you can go home."
After the others left, Barney said, "Detective Briscoe, Mr. And Mrs. Brown are willing to forget about your misbehavior last night if you apologize. Promise me you'll do that."
"I promise, Captain."
"And be careful about those breath mints -- especially if they're Four Roses. Seriously Lennie, if you have a drinking problem, get help. Please. We don't want to lose you."
"Don't worry. I can quit whenever I want."
Twenty minutes later, I was driving Briscoe home. Traffic was slow because the lights were still out. My passenger reached into his jacket pocket, took out a tiny bottle of Four Roses, and drained it.
"Briscoe! I ought to run you in!"
"Hair of the dog."
I shook my head. "I won't tell my captain he has a dog's nose. But Lennie...please take his advice."
"Trust me, I'm fine. Let me off here."
Briscoe walked away, looking a bit tipsy. I was certain that if I saw him again, he'd be without a badge.
But Lennie Briscoe's dedication to the service won over his troubles. He was good company during that surveillance detail near Hoffman's. We nabbed Sanderson after a sweaty three-hour wait. Sanderson had mild withdrawal symptoms and was uncomfortable during interrogation. Briscoe and Curtis played good cop-bad cop, but I was sure that Lennie's compassionate tone was not an act (as for Curtis, I found him sanctimonious and probably the kind of parent who hectors his kids).
I heard about Lennie again one week later -- after he teamed with Atlanta Willow (who was the favor Duncan and Marilee gave us) to save 12-year-old Chelsea Patterson. She was a victim of Royston Kinbasket, who murdered her sister Fallon. I've got notes about Kinbasket's crimes, although Lennie advised me to leave the Patterson family alone.
I don't always let others tell me what or what not to write -- unless they work for publishers (and I haven't been able to sell any of 'em on getting Bob back in print or accepting a sequel). But Detective Lennie Briscoe is more than worthy of respect. I'm glad I saved his "Cops on the Beat" write-up and hopefully I'll meet him again.