Last week, we met Dan’s former partner. This week, The Good Guys evens things out by introducing Jack’s uncle – who just so happens to be a con man. He’s also played by Ed Begley, Jr. This ought to be interesting. Especially since he’s breaking into Jack’s apartment.
Fourteen hours earlier, Jack is enjoying the newly refurbished Dallas PD squadroom, but Dan isn’t so happy. The two of them meet the new lab assistant, Samantha, when she accidentally hits Jack with the fridge door. Both of them are a little weirded out by her. After that, Jack gets home to find his uncle Nate on his couch, saying that he believes he witnessed an arsonist in action. Oh, and he just so happens to have an outstanding warrant. Jack is not forgiving, and arrests Nate on the spot. So much for the family reunion.
Liz is surprised that Jack would turn on his uncle. Jack gives her a litany of what Nate has done, but she tells him that if Nate is telling the truth, they could bust a major arson case. When Jack goes back to talk to Nate, he finds him getting chummy with Dan. The three of them sit down so Jack can determine the veracity of Nate’s claims. Nate tells them that he overheard something about a big fire on the exact same street that a house was reported burned down on the next day. Not only that, but he got Jack a dog, whether he wants one or not.
When Jack and Dan get to the scene of the arson (with two dogs), Samantha is already there poking around. She tells them that she’s sure it’s arson. They’re further confused by why the entire neighborhood seems to be deserted. There’s only one apparent resident of the neighborhood, and she tries to run them over with her car. Not to mention that she has a shotgun. Jack is terrified; Once they get her to put the gun down, she tells them that someone has been forcing out all her neighbors. “They slashed my tires, cut my phone line…last week, somebody killed my cat,” she tells them. “About six months back, I got a call. Somebody asking if I’d be willing to sell the house.” We find out that a day earlier, the Kettleman Corporation hired a man named Kenny (played by Method Man) to force out the homeowners so they can develop the land. Yes, it’s another one of those dastardly real-estate capers.
Jack is on the case, but Dan is getting overly friendly with his new acquaintance. When Jack comes to pry him off, he finds another random guy pouring gasoline all over the backyard. They manage to keep him from lighting anything on fire, although Jack gets an eyeful of Dan.
The guy says he was hired to do the deed, and Jack finds that all the houses in the neighborhood were sold to the Kettleman Corporation. Not only that, but he realizes from what Dan’s new “friend” told them, his own uncle was in on the scheme all along. Confronted with this information, Nate tells everyone about Kenny. “You broke into my house and lied to me,” Jack tells his uncle, and he is not thrilled when Liz suggests using Nate in a sting operation to catch Kenny. At least she makes up for it by showing up at his apartment later with booze. Of course, she’s only doing it to get him to see things her way.
Everyone’s in on the party: Dan takes Nate to the bar at which Julius works for a few drinks. Julius overhears them talking about Kenny and freaks out, telling them Kenny once lit his own eyebrows on fire and burned down Julius’s cousin’s garage (twice). This only makes Dan more determined to take down Kenny.
Jack is not sold on Dan and Nate’s sting operation, especially since Dan’s undercover pitch is completely underwhelming, and part of it has to do with Chuck Norris and gelato. Dan tells him he has everything under control, which is Jack’s sign to come with them lest Dan get into trouble. He watches from across the street as Dan and Nate meet with Kenny. When Kenny asks where they’re trying to burn down, Dan blurts out the name of Julius’s bar. Needless to say, Julius panics when he realizes what’s about to happen. Kenny walks in and, in front of Dan and Nate, intimidates Julius, who wavers so much that he confuses everyone. Kenny doesn’t like Julius, so he agrees to do the job as long as the guys pay him at a fundraiser he’s hosting.
Everyone anticipates getting the drop on Kenny at said fundraiser. They slip into the party, where Dan and Nate go to give Kenny the money. However, Kenny is very sly, refusing to incriminate himself in front of them in case they’re wired up (which they are) until Dan badgers him into it. When Kenny looks for the money, however, he finds out that it’s gone; at the same time, Jack discovers a note from Nate saying that he stole it. I saw that coming, but it’s still a disappointment.
Kenny tries to flee the scene, and ends up getting into fights with both our detectives. He handcuffs Jack and steals his gun, aiming it at Dan. Stuck on the ground, Jack does what his dog might have done and sinks his teeth into Kenny’s ankle, allowing Dan to get the upper hand on him. Afterward, Jack laments about the missing money, and Dan tells him that he swapped it out before they ever left the police department. It was his plan all along to get close to Nate and see what his game was. The two of them hug, but Jack refuses to call him “Uncle Dan.”
Nate finds a note from Dan: “Stay the hell away from my partner. He’s my family now.”
It’s tough to follow up an episode as good as “Dan On The Run,” but I still like “Old Dogs” anyway, mostly because it shows us Dan and Jack continuing to become not just partners, but friends. In these two episodes we’ve gotten big hints that they have finally come together as a professional and personal team, and have accepted each other’s quirks and difficulties. That’s heartwarming and engaging. They don’t lose any of their interesting characteristics, but we also know we’re not going to be treated to the same rhetoric every week like other shows might fall into. Plot-wise, it’s nothing new, but I couldn’t help but smile at the end of the episode, and I think that was the larger point.
I’ll see you next week for another case. Until then, I’m off to go see if I can adopt a dog that won’t shred my ankles.