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'Common Law' Episode 1.12 Recap: "GUN!"

For weeks we’ve wondered what happened that landed Wes and Travis in couples counseling. We know that Wes had pulled his gun out on Travis, but the thing they had driven Wes over the edge in the first place remains a mystery to us. However, in the finale of the first season of Common Law, we finally hear the background story that really kicked the series off.

Wes and Travis hate their new therapist. All he does his center activities around ways to express anger and relieve harsh feelings towards women. After all, the man is going through a rough divorce and probably doesn’t mean to take it out on his couples in therapy. But Wes and Travis won’t participate in the silly activities, so the therapist makes the guys a deal. They never show up and he’ll keep reporting to the captain what a wonderful job they’re doing. Everyone wins, right?

Later, the guys hang out in Wes car outside a small row of food tracks. They’re staking out the area with hopes they’ll be able to catch a couple of men that have been robbing food trucks in the area. While they wait, Wes and Travis talk about how nice it is to be done with therapy. Then, Travis lowers the mood when he brings up Pac-Man. Whoever this stranger is, it is clear that he was important to the guys before he passed and the fact that the birthday is approaching is hurting them. The duo stop talking about it when they see two suspicious looking men get out of a car and approach the trucks. Wes and Travis set to action and head out to follow the men and to make arrests. However, before they can do anything, men attack to the two robbers and arrest them. Wes and Travis recognize the guys as LAPD S.I.S. (Special Investigation Section). Wes gets a little sassy with one of the guys and tells them that they should of told Wes and Travis they were working the food truck case. One of the S.I.S. guys then comes up to the detectives and asks them about therapy. He makes fun of them and makes jokes about what they do in therapy. He ends his taunts with by saying that the guys are going to have a few drinks on Pac-Man’s birthday and Wes and Travis should stop by. Travis flips and lunges towards the man, but Wes holds him back and forces Travis to quit it. Maybe quitting therapy wasn’t the best idea.

The guys decide to head over to Dr. Ryan’s after her session that night. Wes and Travis want to try to convince her to take them back in. Dr. Ryan is reluctant and tells the guys that not only does she not trust them, they’ve been fighting about having to attend therapy in the first place. Wes and Travis admit that they haven’t been the best patients and Dr. Ryan has no reason to believe that they can be better. So they offer Dr. Ryan a proposal. If she takes them back, they’ll tell the story of why Wes pulled his gun out on Travis and the reason they were sent to therapy. The question we’ve been asking all season is about to be answered.

Pac-Man (his real name was David Pack) was actually the man that introduced Wes and Travis. Both of the men had the same theory about a case so Pac-Man thought they should work together. Wes and Travis ended up solving the case a capturing a man that was killing a bunch of prostitutes and they were promoted to Robbery and Homicide later that year. And for awhile, Wes and Travis were on a roll. They were solving cases left and right and they actually enjoyed each other’s company. Sure, they bickered but not to the extent that they do now. And when they did argue, Pac-Man was the only person that could stop the fighting. No matter what, Wes and Travis could always agree on Pac-Man. He was important to them, so after six weeks of being in Robbery and Homicide, the guys wanted to help Pac-Man. They began throwing cases his way since Pac-Man was still in Property Crimes. Wes and Travis figured they could boost his profile and get him moved up. S.I.S. then gained an interest in Pac-Man and so he moved up into the second best assignment in the LAPD (after Robbery and Homicide, of course). Next thing you know, Pac-Man is working cover ops missions and handling huge cases and the guys never see him as much. But then, about six months ago, while working a late shift, Wes and Travis gets a call. Pac-Man is on the line and he is frantic. He’s going on about how he thinks the S.I.S. are doing something bad and are taking their own jobs in order to fill their pocket books. He then rambles on about how he thinks they have a huge job planned on the day before his birthday and how he thinks the S.I.S. guys know that Pac-Man knows what’s going on. The last thing before Pac-Man says before hanging up was that the S.I.S. guys were talking about who they overturned Henry, which makes no sense. Wes and Travis hurry down to the Quickie Mart where Pac-Man made the call in order to help him. However, they get there too late. They arrive on the scene of a crime where an ambulance and the S.I.S. guys are already working on. One of the men from S.I.S. explains to Wes and Travis that Pac-Man was doing surveillance and was trying to stop a robbery at the Quickie Mart when he was shot and died.

 

Wes and Travis couldn’t let it go. They begin looking into the S.I.S. guys for any clues of how Pac-Man really died. They go talk to the captain and explain all they have found. Pac-Man was shot six times, but the fatal wound came from behind, meaning that a robber had to shoot him from behind. But how could that be if all of the robbers are inside raiding the Quickie Mart. Then. Wes points out that the houses the S.I.S. guys live in are way out of their budget and a lot of their financial records weren’t making any sense. While they’re talking to the captain, Travis gets text from the hospital. The witness, the man who was running the cash register at the time of the robbery, just woke up from his coma. He was shot during last night’s crime. Captain warns the boys about trying to accuse four highly decorated officers of a major crime before sending them away to talk to the witness at the hospital.

When Wes and Travis get to the hospital, a nurse updates them on the cashier’s state of health as she walks them to the room. The cashier isn’t awake yet, but he is responsive and has been mumbling about the night he was shot. Wes and Travis walk into the hospital room to find two S.I.S. guys in there with flowers for the injured man. A mini standoff occurs between the detectives and S.I.S. guys. One of them asks Wes and Travis if they’re paranoid about something, creating the idea that S.I.S. knows that Wes and Travis know something they probably shouldn’t. The S.I.S. guys then leave the room, ending the moment.

Eventually, the cashier woke up and told the guys that he saw someone sneak up behind Pac-Man and shoot him. He couldn’t give a close description of the guy, but what he was able to provide is close to John, one of the S.I.S. guys. It was enough for Wes and Travis to start a formal inquiry. But when the issue went to court, the witness went missing. He hadn’t been to work in a week, his apartment was empty. The man was simply gone, most likely paid off by someone from S.I.S. The judge dismissed the case and nothing ever happened. S.I.S. won.

One night, the S.I.S. guys came in and went to Travis’ desk to talk to him. The lead man, John, whispered that he killed Pac-Man in Travis’ ear before leaving. Something snapped inside of Travis. When Wes walked back to his own desk next to Travis, he saw Travis pulling out his gun and loading it with an insane expression on his face. Wes tried to stop him, but Travis only pushed Wes away. So Wes did the only thing he could think of, he pulled out his gun on Travis and told him that if he moved another inch, Wes will shoot. Activity in the office paused and everyone stared. The captain walked up and told Wes to drop the gun. Wes finally did and was arrested by a couple of officers while the captain walked over to Travis to deal with him. And that is how Wes and Travis ended up in therapy.

Wes was suspended and had to attend an administration hearing. When he told them that he pulled his gun out to stop Travis from shooting John, the board let both Travis and Wes back on duty under two conditions. They had to do therapy and they couldn’t go near S.I.S.

The whole episode the guys have been telling Dr. Ryan their story. Now that it’s over, Travis defended himself by saying he wasn’t going to kill John and that just because they’re not allowed to doesn’t mean they shouldn’t stop the S.I.S. guys from doing whatever it is that they plan on doing. Wes yells at Travis that he won’t let Travis throw his life away just so he can kill John. He continues to rip into Travis and gets mad at him for never saying thank you for stopping Travis that night which almost ruined Wes’ career. Dr. Ryan cuts into the fighting and asks Travis if he ever told Wes the truth about that night. Travis replies that he didn’t know what was going to happen, even though he did have his gun. He turns to Wes and gives him the “thank you” Wes has been waiting on for six months. He continues by telling Wes that the moment was six months ago, both Travis and Wes are different and Travis can now promise that he won’t shoot John. Dr. Ryan turns to Wes and asks him if he believes Travis’ promise and his statement that he has changed. Wes says yeah. Dr. Ryan leans back and smiles. She tells the guys that they are finally in agreement with each other and that they should go and take John down.

Wes and Travis leave and head to the Southern California Expo Center. Apparently before he died, Pac-Man had told Travis he wanted Travis to go and see it. Wes replies that the S.I.S. guys come here at night and walk around taking pictures of the place, casing the building. Turns out, Wes has been doing some side work and has been following S.I.S. around. Travis asks why the Expo Center and Wes points out a sign that says there is a jewelry convention going on that week. The detectives head back to the station and see that the captain is sleeping on the couch inside of his office. They wake him and up and tell him all about S.I.S.’s plan to rip off everyone and steal the gem stones. The captain warns the guys again that all of their careers are on the line before he gets up and grabs his clothes so he can get dressed. They’re finally going after S.I.S.

The captain works with the detectives to gather up a team to stakeout and watch the expo center. Wes warns them that the S.I.S. guys are vicious and that every participating officer’s job is on the line. Nobody backs down so the team heads out. While they’re waiting outside of the entrance, Wes and Travis watch S.I.S. enter the building and then hear the sirens go off. They run inside and start shooting at men in black with masks with the same build. However, Travis is able to take the mask off of one that is down (shot in the leg) and when Wes pulled out his gun on another, John comes out of nowhere and takes the guy down. Apparently the robbers are a gang called the Huns and S.I.S. has been tracking them and planning their arrest. John yells at Wes and Travis for being in the way of their case and tells the guys that their jobs are over.

Back at the station, the captain is yelled at and fired. Wes and Travis are given the choice to stay together and be kicked down to the Pawn Shop division or split apart and go back to the departments they worked at before Robbery and Homicide. The guys head over to Dr. Ryan’s office to talk to her and tell her that they decided to split up, so no more reason for them to attend therapy. They explain to her that they were wrong about this particular case. Before they walk away, Dr. Ryan reminds them that they have never been wrong about something dealing with their work, a thought for them to think about before quitting. Wes and Travis head back to the station to pack up their desks. Travis finds the slip of paper where he wrote down what Pac-Man said on that last phone call. We bought off Henry. Wes is about to walk away with his box of things when Travis speaks up, what if Dr. Ryan is right about them not being wrong? Wes replies that S.I.S. previous plan before Wes and Travis stepped in could have been to take the jewels away from the Huns after they arrest them, but Travis reminds Wes that those four men couldn’t live off for the rest of their lives on only a few gems. Wes walks back and sets in his desk and goes with the theory. All the jewels would have been given to the evidence locker, which can’t be accessed. Travis holds up the piece of paper with some of Pac-Man’s last words on and tells Wes that S.I.S. can get in there is they pay off the right guy. Wes turns to his computer and looks up LAPD officers with the last name Henry in the system. Eight cops pop up but one of them, Derek Henry, works with evidence. They’ve found S.I.S.’s real plan.

Wes and Travis walk into the evidence locker just as about the S.I.S guys, all dressed in black with masks, are about to walk out with the bag of jewelry. Everyone begins shooting at each other and Wes and Travis aim at cocaine bags above the S.I.S. crew’s head. The cocaine raining down throws the guys off balance and Wes walks up to begin making arrests. Travis runs after one of the men that runs away with the bag. When Travis knocks him down and takes off the mask, he sees it is John. Travis points his gun at him and hesitates. He doesn’t shoot though. He makes the arrest and Wes and Travis watch as officers escort the criminals away. They head over to Dr. Ryan’s to update her on the good news. They tell them how they are back in Robbery and Homicide and will receive commendations. One of the S.I.S. guys has already agreed to testify and confirm that John killed Pac-Man. And therapy is no longer required. But, Wes and Travis tell Dr. Ryan that if she’ll let them back in, they still want to come. Dr. Ryan is all smiles and the show and first season of Common Law ends.

First off, wow. This was most definitely an incredible hanging-off-the-edge-of-my-seat show. After such a great season, it’s sad to think that Common Law is done for the moment. The finale didn’t have as much as the usual humor it normally does, but the intensity of it all and finally learning why Wes pulled a gun out on Travis makes up for. There are not enough wonderful adjectives to convey how fantastic the season has been and how perfect the finale was. And I liked how there wasn’t much of a cliff hanger. Normally, people go insane when a finale ends because they leave off with so many unanswered questions its overwhelming. Instead, we have a simple open ended finale that allows room for anything to happen in the next season. Most definitely the best episode by far, though I wouldn’t be surprised if next season beats it.

Because who knows what crazy shenanigans will come out in therapy next?

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