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Whitney watches one of his carefully-set fires

SEASON: 6
EPISODE#: 6.2 < prev | next >

"Firefly"
AIRDATE: 09.20.86

WHAT WOULD HAVE SAID:  

When a series of run-down buildings go up in flames, Hooker and Romano track down an arsonist from the past named "Firefly".

SYNOPSIS:  

The episode begins with an exterior shot of a run-down office building. A woman locks the door to the building as she leaves for the night. Realizing she forgot something, she turns to go back inside. Suddenly the building explodes in flames. A dark, unidentifiable figure watches the fire from across the street.

The scene shifts to the LCPD Academy precinct the following morning. Romano, Corrigan, and Stacy discuss the fire around the water cooler. It's revealed that the fire is the third in that area in the past six months. Corrigan mentions that the Fire Department is almost certain that all of the cases were due to arson.

"At least they've all occcurred in Old Town," Romano comments, "most of that property is abandoned and worthless anyway."

Stacy remarks, "That's not what Carson says. He thinks that land could be valuable some day."

"Who's Carson?" replies Romano. Stacy proceeds to tell them about Carson Whitney, a lawyer that she's been dating for the last couple of weeks.

As if on cue, Whitney appears at the precinct, saying he was in the neighborhood and thought he'd drop by to see Stacy. He exchanges pleasantries with Romano and Corrigan and makes a good impression, enough for them to invite him to the department's annual Chili Cook-Off that Romano is competing in.

As Whitney heads out the door, Hooker finally arrives with the assignment: to investigate the fire scene and the surrounding neighborhood.

Inside 4Adam30, Romano & Hooker exchange banter about the Cook-Off. Romano wants to stop at a specialty market in Old Town, "I need some anchos, jalapenos, and a habanero for that extra kick."

"I didn't realize you were taking this so seriously, Junior," Hooker marvels.

"Hooker, when you come from an Italian family--ALL cooking is serious!"

At the fire scene, Hooker and Romano sift through the ash and rubble. Hooker is seen briefly speaking with a Fire Department official and then wanders over to Romano. In addition to confirming that the fire was the work of an arsonist, the official also released the name of a woman caught in the blaze who was taken to a nearby hospital. Hooker decides to pay her a visit but first radios 4Adam16 to ask Jim and Stacy to work on finding a connection among the burned properties.

The story then picks up at Valley Hospital, where Hooker and Romano discuss the case with the fire victim, now heavily bandaged in her hospital bed. With his wonderful bedside manner, Hooker is able to gather that the last person she saw that night was a janitor--but not the usual one. The sub seemed a bit odd, too, she avers. Hooker thanks her for the lead and reassures her that justice will be done.

Back at the precinct, the principles are starting to piece together the case. Some evidence has been sent to the lab for testing in hopes of discovering the burning agent. Corrigan reports that they did find a common thread among the buildings--they all used the same cleaning service, Tidy Time Maintenance.

Hooker: "Nice work, Jim--now if we could get an empl--"

Stacy: "An employee list? Already done." She hands Hooker the list.

Hooker: "Bingo! The two of you have earned your gold star for the day."

As the rest of the team goes off duty--including Stacy who has a date with Whitney, Hooker examines the list and takes special note of a name. Romano asks, "Something wrong, Hooker?" "Let's just say I've got a hunch we're about to hit paydirt."

At Whitney's swanky apartment, Carson and Stacy share a bottle of wine after an intimate dinner. Small talk brings them around to the case and Carson seems more than casually interested, not to mention somewhat relieved that they're apparently closing in on a suspect. Stacy excuses herself to powder her nose when the phone rings. Carson answers and carries on a very intense discussion with the other party--in fact he doesn't hear Stacy exit the bathroom. She overhears him say, "Be patient, Kincaid. We'll be able to close the deal soon at *our* price--just like the others. They're going to take the bait." When he hangs up the phone, he notices Stacy and appears agitated. Before she can ask him about it, he hushes her, "Shh...enough about the fires. Let's create some sparks of our own." They share a passionate kiss.

The next morning Hooker and Romano discuss the case in 4Adam30. Pete O'Brien radios in that the boys down at the lab have identified the agents used in the fires as commercial cleaning chemicals. Hooker seems pleased at the news and then tells Romano about his hunch: one of the names on the employee roster looked familiar. Years ago a small-time hood named Willie Floyd was convicted on multiple counts of arson. He was a textbook pyromaniac and had garnered the nickname Firefly. Hooker checked the records and discovered Floyd was recently paroled. He decides to pay a visit to one of Willie's favorite haunts: the video arcade on Santa Monica pier.

Hooker and Romano arrive at the arcade and spy Floyd from afar playing his favorite game. Hooker and Romano slowly approach him but he takes off running through Santa Monica pier. Eventually Hooker nabs him.

A panicked Floyd explains, "L-look, I swear I didn't mean any harm... I just wanted to have a little fun, y'know?"

Romano: "So you're *admitting* that you started those fires?"

Floyd: "Fires? I don't know nothin' about the fires. I was talking about the fireworks I bought."

Hooker: "C'mon, Firefly. You know what happens when a bug flies too close to the light? It gets burned. I want the truth. You had access to all of those buildings that went down, you had the tools to do it--and you still get your kicks watching things explode."

Floyd continues to plead his case that he's innocent. While Romano is ready to throw the book at him, Hooker isn't so sure. Reluctantly, they let Floyd go but not before warning him they might be back.

Back at the Academy, despite Romano's protests, Hooker can't help but feel that something's isn't quite right. O'Brien suggests that maybe the properties are connected in some other way--maybe as part of an insurance scheme. Hooker vows to look into it some more.

Stacy arrives from lunch with Whitney in tow. He inquires about the case in passing, and Romano informs him that Hooker's having some doubts about their original suspect. Whitney turns ashen at the news and abruptly excuses himself to get back to work. When Stacy asks if their date is still on after she gets off duty, he cancels because of an "unforeseen appointment."

Later that evening, just as Hooker is about to leave the precinct, he receives a phone call from Willie Floyd. Still trying to clear his name, Floyd asks Hooker to meet him at the arcade. When they meet, Floyd discloses how he got the job at Tidy Time, "Some suit came to visit me in the pen and told me I'd have a job waiting for me when I got out. No questions asked." He goes on to tell Hooker that the man was very familiar with Floyd's background and record as if he'd been studying him. Amazed by this stroke of luck, Floyd didn't get the man's name.

Hooker: "That's all you got for me, Firefly? I can get more information from a chewing gum wrapper."

Floyd: "Hey, nobody plays me for a patsy--so I did some asking around myself. You'd be surprised what you can learn from janitors, Hooker. They see everything."

Floyd proceeds to tell Hooker that the rumor is that all of the burned properties are being purchased by a guy named 'Kincaid', the head of the Globotech congolmerate,in the hopes of building a new entertainment district. Satisfield with the lead, Hooker dismisses Floyd and promises not to report the illegal fireworks.

Meanwhile, Romano returns to the precinct with the final ingredients for his special Five-Alarm Chili. One of the desk clerks asks if he wants to field a call for Hooker. The camera only shows the caller's mouth and a gloved hand holding a handkerchief over the mouthpiece. "This is Firefly. I'm ready to confess. Meet me at the Old Town Warehouse in 20 minutes." Click. The camera pans out to reveal the face of Carson Whitney.

Eager to make the arrest, Romano hustles out of the Academy, telling Corrigan and Stacy he's going to Old Town to bring in Firefly.

Unaware of the ruse, Romano arrives at the warehouse and is met by Whitney. Seeing the familiar face, he lets his guard down and is immediately rendered unconscious by Whitney.

Hooker radios Corrigan and Stacy and asks them to do some research on the Globotech conglomerate, specifically on a gentleman named Kincaid. The name triggers Stacy's memory of Whitney's earlier phone call. Horrified by the prospect of Whitney's involvement, she relays the details to Hooker.

"We're going to have to bring him in for questioning," Hooker states. "Have Romano meet me at Whitney's apartment."

"But we thought he was with you," Corrigan responds.

Realizing that Romano is in trouble, Hooker races off to Old Town. Corrigan and Stacy--still in shock over the revelation, follow suit.

When Romano awakes, he discovers he's been bound and gagged, while Whitney splashes flammable chemicals all about. "It's a pity. I was really hoping Sgt. Hooker would join the funeral pyre. He's so full of gas, he'd probably light up all of Los Angeles. Ah well, he's next on the list."

Whitney then lights a match and watches the flames grow, all the while taunting Romano, "Is it getting hot in here or is it just you?"

But when he turns to leave the warehouse he sees Hooker rush in. Whitney climbs a stack of crates to hide in the rafters, but Hooker gives chase after freeing Romano who is stunned, but otherwise uninjured. Trying to shake his pursuer, Whitney tries to leap from one rafter to another but trips, leaving him dangling from the ceiling by one hand. Hooker pulls him to safety, "What's the matter, has the heat gotten to you?"

As they exit the warehouse, fire crews have gotten started putting out the blaze. 4Adam16 also arrives on the scene with Stacy being the one to handcuff Whitney and lead him away, already emotionally detaching herself from the situation.

EPILOGUE: At the Chili Cook-Off the team is sitting around with their bowls and a pitcher of beer. Romano remarks, "From now on the only fire I want to experience is in this chili."

Hooker takes a bite of the chili, "We'll see about that, Junior." At first, he smiles and says "Not bad..." Pause. Then suddenly Romano's peppers kick in and he desperately grabs for his beer.

Freeze Frame.

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GUEST STARS:
Parker Stevenson
"Carson Whitney"
Michael J. Pollard
"Willie Floyd"
Hugh Farrington
"Det. Pete O'Brien"
BEST LINES:

"Hooker, when you come from an Italian family--ALL cooking is serious!"

- Romano

"Shh...enough about the fires. Let's create some sparks of our own."

- Whitney, during a tender moment with Stacy

"You know what happens when a bug flies too close to the light? It gets burned."

- Hooker interrogating Floyd

"Do you get the sense Floyd is being served to us on a silver platter? Only problem is the meal stinks."

- Hooker expressing his doubts to Romano

"That's all you got for me, Firefly? I can get more information from a chewing gum wrapper."

- Hooker to Floyd

"Is it getting hot in here or is it just you?"

- Whitney taunting Romano

"From now on the only fire I want to experience is in this chili."

- Romano


EPISODES : the formula | episode guide | the lost season

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