Battle Creek episode 11 recap: “The Hand-Off”

battle-creek-milt Lori Acken

On the first of Sunday night’s Battle Creek double header, Russ and Funk are in uniform on their way to a “community outreach” event. Of course, Russ is complaining the whole way and Funk’s attempts to cheer him backfires. Funk gets a text that there’s been a shooting in McKinley Park, so Russ turns the car around glad to have anything else to do besides yammer in front of a crowd. They arrive on the scene to find a woman, who tells them she’s a doctor, giving CPR to the gunshot victim. Russ and the woman race the victim to the ER while Funk stays behind to watch the woman’s daughter. On the ride, Russ notices that woman seems to know the man bleeding out in the back seat.

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At the hospital, they manage to stop the guy’s bleeding and move him upstairs to surgery. The woman, Rita, tells Russ that the victim’s name is Derrick and that he her husband, before breaking down in sobs. Russ tries his best to comfort her. As Russ is washing some of the blood up, he’s approached by the victims physician, Dr. Owens who tells him, to his surprise, that she’s impressed by his sensitivity.

At the crime scene, Funk is giving Milt the run down: they have five witnesses with five different descriptions of the shooter. They do however agree on one thing: the street and direction that he drove away. That seems to be enough for Milt.

Russ questions Rita, Derrick’s wife, about the shooting. She admits that they were estranged, but have recently begun reconciling. She claims to have not seen the shooting, and that her husband, a radiologist, didn’t really make enemies on the job. She does mention that her husband did have a beef with a neighbor over a tree.

Milt meets with a man jogging in a park, who turns out to be an old NSA connection. Milt basically blackmails to guy into getting him the cell phone number of the shooter based on the time and location of the crime.

In Guziewicz’s office, Russ is telling the commander that he thinks the neighbor, Ken Glower, is their prime suspect. It seems Glower cut down a tree that was on Derrick’s property and Derrick took him to court, and Glower lost. Milt comes in with the name of the shooter, Bennet Kowalski, unfortunately they can’t use his illegally obtained intel for a search warrant, and since they don’t know the connection with the victim, they’re going to have to connect the dots themselves.

At the hospital, Russ is showing Rita a picture of Kowalski, trying to get her to ID him but she can’t. Milt pulls Russ aside to tell him to stop coaching the witness, which causes a little argument. Milt wants things by the book while Russ insists that every minute they waste, evidence is being cleaned up.

Russ’ argument wins the day, and they raid Kowalski’s apartment with an FBI tactical squad. The apartment is empty but they catch Kowalski coming up from the laundry room in the basement. Russ races to the laundry where he finds a bloody shirt in one of the machines.

On a lighter note – Holly admits to Jacocks that her cruise was remarkably sex free, meaning that not only did nothing happen, but her date slept on the couch. Holly can’t figure out what’s wrong and Jacocks’ only suggestion is to sex up her attire a bit.

Russ and Milt are having a rough day in court as the DA and Kowalski’s attorneys argue over the validity of the search warrant. Judge Warren agrees to accept the confidential informant’s word if she can meet them, but Milt insists that he can’t bring the CI in due to national secrecy issues. The judge, realizing that the NSA provided the intel making it illegal, tosses out the warrant as well as any evidence collected in the illegal search.

Later, Milt is in his office taking the heat over the phone. He smashes it and tosses the pieces in a desk drawer already full of busted phones.

Guziewicz informs the detectives that Milt has been suspended and she had to call in some favors so he didn’t get transferred. She gets on Russ’ case about getting back to connecting the dots. Holly comes to Russ with a lead: Kowalski recently bought a ticket to Mexico, making Russ anxious that he’s skipping the country before they can make their case. Holly also tells Russ about a piece of FBI tech he could use to connect cell phone calls. She also thinks he should apologize to Milt for his own sake.

Russ finds Milt in a kitchen where he’s spending his suspension learning to make jam. Milt accepts Russ’ non-apology. Russ asks for Milt’s help in using the FBI software on the computer Russ stole from Milt’s place. They discover, in the cell phone records, that the victim, Derrick, had called Kowalski’s wife several times, leading the detectives to suspect that they might have been having an affair. Funk calls with news that he’s following Kowalski who is headed to the hospital, possibly to finish the job on Derrick.

At the hospital, Niblet is taking Derrick’s place, as the comatose victim is wheeled out of the room, in anticipation of Kowalski’s assault. Funk follows Kowalski but is confused when he walks past Derrick’s room to the Oncology department where he receives a stack of files that he places in a FedEx box.

The reason, the detectives learn back at the station, is that Kowalski’s wife has cancer, and Derrick was her radiologist, and when her treatment options ran out, they found a clinic in Tijuana, where they hope for a miracle. While that explains Derrick’s phone calls to the wife, it doesn’t explain the deposit of $50K into Kowalski’s bank account on the day of the shooting. Could he have been hired to kill Derrick?

Guziewicz has Kowalski and his lawyer in for questioning, but Kowalski isn’t talking. Guziewicz offers him a sweet plea deal and a reduced sentence, but because the cops have no solid evidence, the deal is rejected.

The detectives need to know a) who wanted to kill Derrick, and B) who knew Kowalski needed money for his wife’s treatment? Again, Russ insists that the neighbor, who has a shaky alibi is the likely suspect, but Niblet points out that a guy who hired a killer is going to have an iron-clad alibi. This leaves Rita, the wife, as the only person privy the the necessary information. Russ maintains she’s innocent, reasoning that she saved his life and spent every available moment at Derrick’s bedside.

Russ runs into Milt outside the office. Milt gives him a jar of jam. Milt is also sure the wife did it and wants to tag along, but Russ resists until Milt makes a wager of $100 as to who’s right.

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Russ tells Rita that she’s now a suspect and that she can’t be in the hospital with her husband until they can clear things up. While he believes her that she and Derrick on good terms, she needs to provide witnesses to corroborate her side of the story. She mentions Gino’s where they had dinner to hash out the division of property, but instead talked about getting back together. Russ is heartened by the news, and Dr. Owens tells Milt she’s impressed by Russ’ compassion. Milt is incredulous.

Holly is still having trouble with her date and his complete lack of interest in her. Jacocks suggests that maybe it’s not the dress, but that while she looks willing, her pheromones may tell a different story.

Russ and Milt talk to the waitress at Gino’s who served Derrick and Rita that night. She confirms Rita’s story, that the two appeared to be close, not acting like two people in a fight. She then hits on Russ. Outside the detectives are sticking to their respective guns. Russ thinks the waitress confirms his theory, while Milt can’t be sure Rita wasn’t playing up to her audience.

Back at the station, Guziewicz presents the detectives with a photostat of a check for $10K that Rita had withdrawn from her daughter’s college fund a mere two weeks before the shooting. The Commander also plays them a recording of Derrick and Rita in a bitter fight — he accuses her of being a horrible mother and she calls him a gambling addict. The tape was recorded by a social worker because they were each suing the other for sole custody of their daughter. Russ gets a call that Derrick is awake and wants to see Rita.

The couple seems affectionate on their visit, but the visit doesn’t last since she’s still a suspect. Russ shows Kowalski’s photo to Derrick, who admits to knowing Kowalski’s wife because of her treatment, but says he doesn’t recognize the man in the photo. Derrick doesn’t believe his wife would have him killed.

Guziewicz is having a chat with Rita in the interrogation room. She presses Rita about lying about the couple’s fights, and Rita contradicts herself first saying they only fought sometimes, then saying they fought all the time. Russ still believes she’s innocent. Guziewicz breaks out the copy of the check, but Rita insists she never wrote it. During the questioning, Rita mentions her husband’s gambling, and Russ notices that it was the second time she brought it up. After all, he points out to Milt, gambling can get you killed. Russ double checks Milt’s phone software and catches a break, recognizing the name of a bookie he knows, Nickey Long, who was recently paroled.

They question Nickey who, despite his recent parole, is still running illegal card games and Derrick was one of his frequent guests. When they press Nickey on how much Derrick lost, Nickey tells them that the last time Derrick played he actually won $50K.

At the hospital, Russ and Milt confront Derrick with the check and the fact that FBI’s handwriting experts will confirm what they suspect, and his visits to Kowalski’s will back it up. They realized that Derrick had hired Kowalski to kill Rita, but when things started to improve between them, he tried to stop the murder, but it was too late. Instead, he had to take the bullet intended for his wife. Russ tries to get Rita to forgive Derrick, but that doesn’t look likely.

Outside the hospital, case wrapped up, Milt settles $100 wager. Interestingly, Dr. Owens comes out and gives Russ her phone number, explaining how hard it is to meet a nice guy on a doctor’s schedule.

Russ returns to the office after a long day. He sits at his desk, then hesitates a moment before dialing the Doctor’s number. As the phone rings, Holly comes in complaining to Jacocks about another failed date, while Russ gets the Doc’s answering machine and hangs up. Russ grabs an evidence box and heads out while Jacocks gets Holly to realize that her date isn’t the guy she wants to have sex with.

Holly meets Russ down in the evidence locker and plants a steamy kiss on him. He tries weakly to resist, she tells him to shut up, and they get busy right there on the table. Bam!

Photos: Photo: Michael Yarish/CBS ©2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.