Battle Creek Recap Episode 105: “Old Flames”

Crime hits (really) close to home for the BCDP on last night’s Battle Creek.

battle-creek-guziewiczThe detectives and a couple of officers of the BCPD (at least the male ones) are still whooping it up at Detective Funk’s bachelor party, hours after the strippers have left for the night. Russ hits the stage with sexy cowboy duds over his suit, but before he gets to kick off his routine, a call comes in. The detectives, after ribbing the patrolman for bringing his police radio to a strip club, cab it over to the crime scene. Commander Guziewicz’ house has gone up in flames.

The detectives quickly sober up and do a search of the house. A walk through with the fire investigator shows some suspicious glass shards, an open window and a likely point of ignition. The conclusion is that the fire was arson, likely a Molotov cocktail through the window.

The following morning at HQ, Russ gives the order that, until it’s solved, the arson investigation is the ONLY CASE (that, and who sent flowers to Holly). While handing out the various tasks to the different detectives, Guziewicz makes the observation that her dog, Jasper, didn’t bark, so it’s likely the arsonist isn’t a stranger. Russ has a couple of side jobs for Jacocks: track down the flower sender, and look into Guziewicz’ estranged son Danny, who went to juvie, years back, and should be in Florida. Guziewicz comes back with a list of recent lovers who might have felt poorly about the way their relationship had ended. It’s a good-sized list.

Milt and Russ go over some old case files and come across another suspect, Mike Rossi, a recent arsonist and jailbird who seems to have skipped some parole dates. They pay a visit to Rossi’s cousin, Vito, who is installing bars over his windows because he testified against Mike who is “not the forgive and forget type.”

Various old flames on Commander Guziewicz list are interviewed back at the station. The guys were, to a man, dumped, though none seem particularly hostile towards the Commander, just mystified and maybe a little sad. Two suspects do emerge: the neighbor, who called 911, and Joe, a live-in (?!) drywall contractor. The neighbor is ruled out specifically because he did call 911. Detective Font goes to Joe’s job-site to have a look and discovers some burned drywall in the dumpster. The house was burned about a month prior. Font suspects that Joe might be burning houses to make work for himself.

Milt and Russ track Mike Rossi’s whereabouts to his old girlfriend Tina, who claims that while Mike was abusive, he was cool with her baby not being his. The detectives are highly skeptical and assume that the baby daddy is another likely target.

Back at the precinct, Guziewicz gets on Jacocks’ case for looking into her stepson’s background. While they are estranged, the Commander assures Jacocks that Danny is in Florida, which is immediately proven false by his various Parole officers. The commander and Jacocks decide to pay Danny a visit.

They watch him play basketball, at the halfway house where he’s staying, while Guziewicz tells the story of how she came to raise Danny. She was a rookie, and a 3-year-old toddler, Danny, was found at the scene of a murder, tucked away in a closet. Her CO handed her the baby and she raised it. Danny was out of control by age 12 and at 16 put a kid in the hospital. Guziewicz decided to let him go to juvie to straighten him up and get him off drugs. It failed.

All pasts aside, Guziewicz approaches Danny but it’s clear that he resents her and the fact that she thinks he might be guilty of burning her house down. He’s also plenty pissed that he brought another cop along. To be honest though, Danny is just angry. Jacocks does interview his alibis.

Russ and Milt pay a visit to Tina’s baby daddy. Just as they reach the door to knock, a blue Camaro burns rubber up the street, The boys notice the house is on fire. The detectives rush the place, Russ grabs a fire extinguisher to try to get the blaze under control, while Milt searches for the victim. He finds the guy in a back room, knocked out cold and duct taped to a chair. Russ manages to put the fire out while Milt gets the victim out safely (and gets the hero credit to Russ’ dismay). The house had been Molotov cocktailed and the victim beaten with a brick. They soon find the blue Camaro abandoned.

Font’s follow-up on Joe’s background has provided enough material to make Joe a strong suspect and candidate for a warrant and some further questioning, despite Guziewicz’ skepticism.

Russ and Milt, along with at least one SWAT looking dude, are staking out Tina’s place in hopes that Rossi will show himself. Milt gets a call that there is a disturbance at Vito Rossi’s. At Vito’s they discover an officer down outside, still breathing but unconscious. The Detectives bust in and catch Mike taping up his cousin. They bring him in.

Back at the station, Rossi is confronted with the evidence found on his person: duct tape, a bloody brick, kerosene and rags. He doesn’t seem phased, or even deny anything, until the Detectives try to make him for the Guziewicz arson which Rossi denies having anything to do with.

Font has had his own setback. While Joe is guilty of something it definitely isn’t arson. He’s been working for free repairing houses that were recently burned when his stoned nephew improperly installed materials created the fires.

Danny is once again the main suspect despite the Commander’s protestations. Russ meets the kid at home and serves him the search warrant but not until he’s given the kid a piece of his mind about gratitude and love and that Danny should consider himself lucky to have a mom like The Commander. They then go downtown for questioning.

Russ’ chat reveals little except that Danny is still angry and that, while he claims that he doesn’t care about his mom, Russ is sure the kid is lying. Unfortunately, his alibis don’t mesh and he is forced to confess that, while he isn’t an arsonist, he did go to a crack house.

Which leaves the detectives with no leads until a reexamination of the evidence points to the fact that the fire wasn’t cause by a Molotov cocktail but some candles. It turns out the neighbor wasn’t trying to burn the house down, he was trying to get Guziewicz’ attention. Trying to be bold and romantic, he had placed two candles with a note that she was supposed to find in the morning, the anniversary of their first date. Sadly, in his haste, he knocked over a candle and the fire got out of control too quickly. He ran across the street and called 911.

Guziewicz admits that she didn’t dump the guy because things were bad, she dumped him because it was good and she likes to leave before it goes bad. I don’t think he was satisfied by that answer considering he was probably facing breaking and entering charges on top of the arson stuff.

Guziewicz, goes back to where Danny is staying to try to patch things up. She tells him that she’ll be dropping by every day to check up on him and remind him that someone still cares, and that she always has.

The Case of Holly’s Roses:

Throughout the episode, Russ has been concerned with who sent Holly roses and, as I mentioned earlier, put Jacocks on the case. Throughout the episode she dropped hints that it was probably Russ himself who drunkenly did it and Russ honestly can’t say for sure. She even claimed that the phone call to the florist came from the strip club. It turns out that the owner of the coffee shop Holly frequents sent them and that Jacocks was lying about the phone call because it was more romantic her way. The dude meets Holly at the station for a date while Russ watches on, burned again. There will be no shipping this week.

The Case of Milt v. Russ:

We still don’t know why Milt is exiled to Battle Creek, but their conversation is more concerned with the themes of the show, love, romance and how we show or don’t show our feelings. Milt is convinced that Russ is hiding his feelings and behind all that angry, cynical bluster lies the heart of a romantic. Russ isn’t convinced that Milt has ever been in love or been jealous or has ever put himself out there. Milt, again, tells Russ to be honest with Holly. Russ, again, is left to suffer.

That’s the end of that chapter. Until next week!

New episodes of Battle Creek premiere Sunday nights at 9/8CT on CBS.