May 262023

NYPD Blue S04E13 “Tom and Geri”, aired January 28, 1997

Geri, a police administrative assistant, has had an un-returned crush on Detective Andy Sipowicz. (In a previous episode, S04E06, she told him she was wearing rubber underwear.) The B story of this episode is that Geri tells Sipowicz that a friend she knows, Tom, has died in bondage gear in his apartment. Sipowicz, who wants nothing to do with Geri, hands it off to his superior, who in turn delegates it to a pair of female detectives, Russell and Kirkendall. Even at this stage, Geri seems distrustful of everyone.

The detectives investigate the scene. The officer on site says there was an anonymous 911 call reporting the death. They find a dead man in bondage gear, tied into a bondage rack and apparently killed by strangulation from a noose around his neck.

As we’ve seen before in this type of story, this death may be the result of a solitary accident, an intentional suicide, negligence from a partner, malicious intent from a partner, or just an unavoidable accident. In a police procedural like CSI, Bones or Criminal Minds, forensics is the source of truth, above the statements of witnesses or suspects. There would be graphics simulating putting the man in bondage and determining if he could have got into that position by himself. In NYPD Blue, forensics will only go so far, and the investigators have to dig through conflicting and often deceptive testimonies. The default assumption is that everybody is lying.

The building’s landlady mentions that the deceased was seen with Geri.

Landlady: “If it was my son, I’d want someone would lie to me about how they found him.”

One of the detectives finds the receipt for the restraints, and they head to the adult store.

Detective: “Slap me for saying those boots look kind of cool.” [Re the high heeled boots the deceased is wearing.]

The clerk at the adult store recognizes the customer as being with a woman who matches Geri’s description. She calls her a “heavy woman”, and recalls the name was “Geri”.

At the station, the detectives report the death as autoerotic asphyxia, but Geri was involved somehow. They state that somebody had to help him into that position.

Geri refuses to explain what her role was. The two female detectives, instead of getting her to open up as one might expect, make Geri even more stubborn and paranoid. She growls “Shut your pretty girl hole up” at them.

Geri finally says she will talk to Sipowicz.

The detectives go to their lieutenant. One says, “Feels like we think she’s a geek. We’re lording over being prettier than her.”

Sipowicz reluctantly agrees to meet with her. She admits to him that Tom got excited on the hook, and that she bound him and put on his blindfold, but didn’t put him on the hook. Sipowicz is skeptical that Tom got on the hook himself, but Geri says it’s possible if you know where it is. She says she was in the bathroom, crying, when he put himself on the hook. She was upset hurt by the fact he had his eyes covered every time.

Geri explains that she and Tom knew each other in high school, and met recently.

“I was interested in getting past sex restraints to be as good for him as I could, ‘cause I’m not pretty. And he seemed to like that ‘cause he was really shy. But then he got into it so much that he didn’t even look at me. He wanted to be blindfolded and have, like, private orgasms. And it broke my heart.”

Sipowicz asks her point blank if she killed him.

Geri says no, he started when she was crying in the bathroom. She reveals he was having other people dominate him too.

Sipowicz advises her how to make her statement to the District Attorney, specifically so there’s no hint of jealousy or coercion.

Geri’s candor with Sipowicz seems to be because of more than just her crush on him. Her reaction to the female detectives suggests a deep insecurity about her worth. As a fellow “non-pretty” person, she can open up to Sipowicz. This matters more to her than being the same gender as the other detectives.

The deeper implication is that BDSM is something that non-pretty people do, and that Geri mainly got into it because she wanted to be in a relationship with Tom, and that Tom was a selfish masochist who didn’t connect with Geri and served only his own desires.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.