This episode takes us back 14 months, to the origin of the Strike Team. A less hardened Mackey (Michael Chiklis) convinces Gilroy (John Diehl) to let him handpick and run the team, which will be based in a new satellite precinct, the Barn. Aceveda (Benito Martinez) gives them their first case, a drive-by shooting of two prostitutes. Mackey's informant, Connie (Jamie Brown) tells him it was a pimp/drug dealer named Lionel Phipps (Dayo Ade). The Strike Team butts heads with Aceveda, who likes to do things by the book, but demands immediate results. Mackey finds himself forced to cut corners, using Connie and a dealer who works for Phipps, Rondell Robinson (Walter Emanuel Jones), to plant evidence and bust Phipps. Danny (Catherine Dent) and her new rookie partner, Julien (Michael Jace), find a bloody, naked woman who has been kidnapped and raped. Claudette (CCH Pounder), Dutch (Jay Karnes), and an old vet, Tom Gannon (Ray Baker), take on the case, which leads them to a kidnapping ring that targets illegal immigrants and to a "ransom broker," Latigo (Richard Yniguez), who claims to be helping the families in exchange for a cut of the ransom. Dutch has never heard of Claudette, but he's in awe of Gannon, who once solved a major murder case. Gannon gossips about Dutch behind his back and plays pranks on him. Dutch soon discovers he works well with Claudette anyway. Aceveda seems eager to replace Mackey, and convinces Gilroy to let him pick his own man for the Strike Team, the ill-fated Terry Crowley (Reed Diamond). This episode was helmed by actor/director Peter Horton.
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