Welcome to week two of what looks to be, should it survive through the end of the season, the longest-running TV show set in Ocean Beach. I don’t think it’s going to overtake Almost Famous as the most prominent showcase of our town on film, but it’s still garnering some attention. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, and whether we the townspeople as a whole benefit or suffer as a result is certainly debatable, but for right now I’m focusing this article series on the show itself, for those that would rather just catch Cliff’s Notes on the storyline.
One thing that I thought might help out as I was writing last episode’s recap of “Britt said to Katie, who turned to Hank and asked about Mickey talking to Gustafson…” was a basic character list. So for now, here you go (maybe this should be a part of every post, or a separate post to click through to – we’ll figure it out):
Hank Dolworth – our main character, played by Donal Logue. Think of the Dude, if you added ‘recovering’ to his preferred title of ‘alcoholic.’ Kicked off the police force, he now operates on the fringe of law enforcement society as an unlicensed private dick.
Britt – ostensibly Hank’s partner, he serves a role more along the lines of a sidekick portrayed by Michael Raymond-James. He’s a late twenties/early thirties rough-hewn gentleman who seems like he’d be very much at home in OB and could even be any one of the guys in my apartment complex, or even me 50 pounds lighter. We learn as the series progresses he comes to his crime-fighting career by way of a stint of burglaries and a layover incarcerated.
Gretchen – Kimberly Quinn is Hank’s ex-wife, whom Hank has an obvious difficulty letting go of. Hank’s boozing finally drove her away, but now that he’s cleaned up it appears to be a day late, dollar short effort, as she’s now engaged to someone else.
Katie – Britt’s girlfriend is played by Laura Allen. Likely the most mature character still a part of Hank’s life, she’s ready to marry and settle down, pursuing a veterinary degree and hoping Britt will acquiesce to her desire to have a child.
Mark Gustafson – usually just Gustafson (Rockmond Dunbar), Hank’s old partner has risen through the ranks of the Ocean Beach Police Department. He’s tasked with keeping his ex-comrade in line and out of trouble, and has an unusual penchant for chewing on plastic cigarette holders as a result of his difficulty giving up the smoking habit.
Robert Lindus – “Ocean Beach’s Favorite Son” is a real estate magnate and decidedly shady character. He’s working on developing the Montague, a massive resort property that ultimately drives a large portion of the drama and mystery driving the storyline. Implicated in the murder of a semi-pro golf instructor formerly in his employ.
There are quite a few more minor characters that deserve their own blurbs, and these biographies will need to be updated as the plot thickens, but the aforementioned bios should suffice for now.
You’ll kindly remember that we left off with the police searching Lindus’ mansion and recovering the gun that killed his son’s golf instructor, apparently taking the heat off prime suspect Ellie, daughter of Hank’s best friend Mickey who was just found dead, apparently of a heroin overdose.
And away we go…
We open with our haphazard heroes being deposed regarding the evidence found from the search and their brief employment by Lindus for the purpose of recovering the sex tape on Ellie’s phone. Betwixt wisecracks, the duo are each forced to lie under oath regarding the planting of the murder weapon Britt carried out just before tipping off Gustafson.
It’s also disclosed that the $30,000 check Lindus used to pay off the boys has been seized and his assets have been frozen. This poses a problem for Hank, who needs the money as it constitutes the remainder of the deposit due to buy his house back from Gretchen. I don’t even know who puts a $50,000 down payment on a house, let alone a deposit, and I’ve been selling used houses for over a decade. But that’s beside the point.
Needing to score some quick cash, Hank and Britt improvise a ruse to get Gustafson to abandon his files long enough for them to steal the wanted bulletin on a fugitive named Montel who’s jumped bail and is believed to be hiding in La Mesa. Paying a visit to his girlfriend, they throw down some tough-guy antics in order to lure their prey to his lady’s rescue. It works all too well, when the 6’1”, 210 pound felon from the poster turns out to be a 6’5”, 280 pound behemoth who proceeds to inflict grievous injury upon our leads.
On the way to delivering their initial threat, Britt proposes that the two are forming a legitimate business and as such, need a mascot. Unfortunately, the Trix rabbit and Tony the Tiger are taken, and though dragons “kick ass,” they’re not stealthy enough to work as private eyes. Trying to think of a tenacious, tireless pursuer, they’re on the cusp of referring to themselves eponymously as Terriers, but neither actually does the cheesy deed of voicing the show title.
Hank attends an AA meeting, which provides an easy forum for the script writers to explain to us that he credits Gretchen as his motivation for cleaning up, that he’s long held a desire to win her back by proving himself a changed man, and that this is the motivation for buying the house where he spent his married life. We also learn that the rest of his support group finds this a thoroughly shitty idea.
Meanwhile, Britt is at home with the dog he’s gotten for a ‘trial run’ of life with a baby. He freaks out after being fellated mid-coitus by a dachshund. Katie’s reaction seems to tell us she’s rethinking the whole ‘have a kid’ thing.
After a brief jail stint where they have to be rescued by an irate Gustafson and shooed off the trail of Montel, a.k.a. “The Hulk,” the boys track down his half-brother David Bradley, who lives in what looks to be the boring inland part of La Jolla or Del Mar and has recently filed a restraining order on Montel. They leave, unconvinced with David’s story that he hasn’t seen or heard about Montel being in town, and find Gustafson’s crony Reynolds setting up a wire tap on David’s house.
Britt and Hank then visit a pack of hyper-intelligent nerds living communally in a Bluebird bus, enlisting their help in overriding the police wiretap. They pick up a conversation where they learn Bradley owes Montel a significant amount of money, and head out to the pier to snoop on what appears to be ‘the exchange.’
Along the way locals are treated to another ridiculous montage of downtown OB that concludes with Hank pulling the Courier right up the cul-de-sac at the end of Niagra and having no problem finding a parking spot right at the base of the pier. Instead of a bag of cash, however, Bradley feeds a point-blank bullet to Montel’s arm at the base of the stairs and flees. At least Hank and Britt are thus able to subdue and capture the beast, taking him back to Britt and Katie’s place after he promises info on the great Del Mar Racetrack heist in lieu of being turned in for his bounty.
Katie uses her skills honed in veterinary school to patch up Montel’s wound. He then discloses that he, in concert with Bradley, stole $100,000 from Del Mar earlier in the year and Bradley is trying to get him locked up for petty crimes in order to pocket the whole take, rather than splitting it as agreed. Britt’s dog then shits on the rug.
Fast forward to the track – Hank and Britt corner Bradley, who agrees to pay them Montel’s half of the heist if they’ll murder his brother. Hank flashes a digital recorder, and Gustafson pops out of a potted plant to slap cuffs on Bradley. After begrudgingly admitting the boys have earned their reward money offered up by the track, Gustafson pulls Britt aside and implies he knows they’ve planted the gun at Lindus’ house. He tries to offer Britt a chance to throw Hank under the bus, which is snidely declined.
Britt and Katie give their dachshund to Montel, who’s taken a liking to it while held captive at the couple’s apartment. They instead adopt Winston, the bulldog stolen last episode and whom they have a considerably lessened urge to strangle.
The scene shifts to Hank, alone in his new, old house, experiencing a flashback to moving in with Gretchen some five years prior. She waxes poetic about her love for the house, with the exception of one wall she just can’t stand. He’s jostled from his reminiscence by the appearance of real-life Gretchen. She takes his deposit check, shows him a box of his stuff she’s found while moving out, and reminds him he’s got 3 days to change his mind, so long as he doesn’t do any structural damage to the property. We fade to black as he heaves a sledge hammer into the wall slated for removal years ago.
There’s another new show on tonight, on FX [ch. 43 on Cox Cable] check it out at 10 or 11! If you’re new and completely lost, I’ll be posting spoilers on all the other episodes through the next week…