Internal Affairs investigates the shooting death of Det. Terry Crowley, while Captain Aceveda starts his own investigation. Meanwhile, Wyms and Wagenbach investigate the shooting of a "churro" vendor that leads to the Strike Team busting up a gang initiation.
A 911 operator takes a call from Vic Mackey, informing that Detective Terry Crowley had been shot. After Crowley is taken to the hospital, a group of police officers gather outside to wait for information. Mackey is telling Officer Paul Jackson what had happened, while he assures Mackey that Terry will make it. Danny Sofer arrives and tries to comfort Shane Vendrell, while Detectives Ronnie Gardocki and Curtis Lemansky wonder what went wrong. At this point, Captain David Aceveda and Assistant Chief Ben Gilroy walk out of the emergency room, and Aceveda informs that despite the efforts of the surgeons, Crowley died at 2:13 AM. In anger, Lem breaks the glass of the Strike Team van with a punch. Mackey steps forward to Aceveda and tells him that he is responsible.
Back at the Barn, Internal Affairs investigator Frances Housely interrogates Mackey about the incident. During his statement, Mackey claims that Crowley asked him to be put in front of the operation, and he did despite claiming he wasn't ready. Meanwhile, at their clubhouse, Lem, Shane, and Ronnie wonder why it's taking so long. At this moment, Mackey enters and Housely calls Shane for interrogation. Mackey stops him and tells him to just say what happened.
As Shane is being led to interrogation, Aceveda notices Detectives Claudette Wyms and Dutch Wagenbach arriving. He goes down and asks them why they aren't at the scene of Crowley's murder. Wyms tells him that IAD dismissed them, on orders from Assistant Chief Gilroy. As he asks them why they didn't fight back, Gilroy arrives and asks Aceveda to talk with him at his office. As they head upstairs, Danny Sofer sees her partner Julien Lowe and asks him where he was last night. He tells her that he should've been at the hospital, just like the other officers. Julien simply says that he didn't knew Crowley but that he said a prayer for him at the moment.
At Aceveda's office, Gilroy assures him that he shouldn't have his detectives investigating the Strike Team because it'll cause tension. He also tells him that he should speak at Crowley's funeral. Meanwhile, Housely interrogates Shane about how Crowley was perceived by Mackey and the team. Shane assured her that, despite being the new guy, Terry was part of the team.
Back downstairs, Danny comments to Dutch about how the team is getting blasted by IAD. She then asks him about the investigation, and he tells her that he thinks Mackey went "undermanned, with a half-ass plan and managed to get a guy killed". He then tells her that they were pulled off the case by IAD. Danny goes on to talk with Mackey and tries to comfort him, telling him that she's available if he needs to talk about it. As they talk, Dutch watches them suspiciously from his desk. Danny then walks out with Julien and tells him that whenever an officer is killed, they need to re-establish their dominance on the street letting criminals know who's in charge.
Back inside, Housely is interrogating Lem, asking him about his hand. Lem tells her that he cut it when he found about Terry's death. When she asks if Mackey had sent Crowley to get killed, he assures her he didn't telling her that cops get killed in the line of duty. Meanwhile, Aceveda meets with his friend from the Department of Justice, Moses Hernandez, at a park. Aceveda asks him if he told someone about Terry's deal to bring down Mackey. Hernandez assures him that he followed protocol, but that he had to send Terry's requests through the appropriate channels. When Aceveda tells him he has to tell IAD about the deal, but Moses stops him from doing it telling him it'll ruin his career.
Later, at Crowley's funeral, Aceveda is doing the eulogy. Amongst the crowd are the members of the Strike Team, the officers and detectives of the Barn, and Crowley's mother and brother. As Aceveda speaks, Mackey starts having flashbacks of the moment when he shot Crowley. As the guards give Crowley a gun salute, the American flag is folded and handed to Crowley's mother. At the same time, a reverend speaks at the funeral of Two-Time. At the side of the casket are his girlfriend and his mother. After fellow gang members pay their respects, his mother goes on crying and stumbles upon the casket.
After the ceremony, Shane steps aside to smoke a cigarette, affected by seeing Crowley's mother there. Vic goes with him and tries to keep him calm assuring him that they did what they had to protect the team. As Aceveda hands Terry's police badge to his mother, he looks at Vic and Shane on the distance.
Back on the streets, Officers Julien Lowe and Danny Sofer tend to a call and they find a street vendor lying on the floor, while another man looks on his pockets. As the officers step out, they order the man to step away from the body but he refuses to claiming that the man owed him money. As the officers insist, Julien grabs him and throws him against the cart knocking it down. Julien then handcuffs him, as Danny notices the vendor is still alive and calls for an ambulance.
At Mackey's house, Vic is watching his son, Matthew, arranging the table cutlery. Corrine walks in and comments how stricken Shane looks, but Vic assures her he'll be okay. As he looks at Matthew, he has another flashback of the moment when he introduced Terry to the other members of the Strike Team. He reacts as Matthew starts jumping and screaming and takes him away to get ready.
Claudette and Dutch arrive at the scene where the street vendor was shot. Danny tells them that the paramedic said the man was critical. As Danny gives them a briefing of the scene, Dutch inquires why the rookie doesn't talk. Julien then explains how they found a man going through the victim's pocket and he pulled him away, knocking the cart, and damaging the scene. Claudette gives him a slight reprimand, but Dutch tells him not to pay attention because "she's in a pissy mood, cause it's her birthday."
Back at the Barn, Frances Housely and Gilroy walk into Aceveda's office to give him a preliminary report on the investigation. She tells him that she thinks Vic and the Strike Team are clean, although the operation was far from being exemplary. Aceveda thanks her for her job, but then tells Gilroy his worries of how she reached a conclusion so fast. Gilroy assures him it's just a preliminary report and commends him on his eulogy at Crowley's funeral.
Downstairs, Yancy Gonzalez, son of the injured street vendor tells Claudette and Dutch how guilty he feels. When they ask why, he tells them that his father had stopped paying for protection to pay for his college expenses at Stanford. He then tells them that the man his dad usually paid was Marlon Demeral. Detectives send Julien and Danny with a warrant for the arrest of Marlon. As they take him out of his house, his wife and another relative walk out and blast the officers for arresting him. They take out a camera to record the arrest as they drive away.
At the Barn, Vic is weight-lifting while having more flashbacks of Crowley as they were playing cards at the clubhouse, and of the moment he shot him. Julien and Danny bring Marlon to Claudette's desk and she takes him upstairs to interrogation. At the kitchen, Officer Paul Jackson asks Julien if he'll have a beer with them that night. He refuses telling them he's going to church. However, Jackson tells him that church can wait because he has to get his first "b-and-b". Julien asks Danny what's that about and she tells him that's just some sort of initiation with the officers and that he should get over with it quickly.
As Claudette is interrogating Marlon, Aceveda asks Dutch for help on an investigation. Meanwhile, Marlon assures Claudette that he didn't kill Nivan. He tells her that he had a deal with the vendors where they paid him for protection, but that some time ago, a Mexican gang called Los Magnificos moved into his business.
On the other interrogation room, Aceveda calls Mackey to ask him some questions. Mackey threatens to bring his union representative, but eventually agrees. Aceveda asks him why they didn't ask for back-up, but Mackey tells them they needed the element of surprise. He then dismisses him. As Dutch asks him if that'll be all, Aceveda assures him that would make him feel safe while they move to a weaker member of the team, like Shane. As Vic returns to the clubhouse, Claudette walks in and asks them for information about Los Magnificos. She tells them that one of them allegedly shot her victim, and asks them to look for information. As they are about to walk out, Aceveda asks to talk with Shane.
Mackey and the team visit one of their informants, Van Bro, a street vendor. After they pay him $100, he tells them that the shooting was an initiation for a gang member. As they investigate further, they find a young kid being beat up by gang members as part of his initiation. Mackey waits until they've finished beating the kid, and then orders the Strike Team and the officers to move on him. They end up arresting the kid while Mackey leaves one of his cards in front of the gang leader.At the Barn, Dutch and Aceveda are interrogating Shane and asking him how Crowley got killed if they were supposed to back him up. As he answers, Dutch remarks that Shane squints when he is lying. They ask him about their involvement with drug dealer Rondell Robinson, and Shane starts contradicting himself when Aceveda tells him he has a witness that saw him and Mackey acting friendly with Robinson. As Aceveda presses on him on how Crowley represented a threat to the team, he remembers that Two-Time's girlfriend testified hearing one last shot after the first barrage. Shane tries to convince him that Vic shot Two-Time again to be sure. Aceveda doesn't believe him, though, and tells him that if he gives him Mackey, they'll leave him. At this moment, Mackey comes in and blasts Aceveda for having Shane for more than two hours. As Shane walks out, Mackey tells Dutch to leave as well. He then threatens Aceveda if he doesn't leave his men alone. Aceveda, now sure of what happened, simply tells him that he knows what he did. Mackey leaves the room as Aceveda smiles.
On the other interrogation room, Claudette is interrogating Olman with his mother, Ramona. Claudette tells him that if Nivan dies, he runs the risk of being judged as an adult. Olman denies the charges and says that if he would've shot him, he'd be dead already. Claudette walks out for a moment, and Dutch informs her that Nivan is stable. When he tries to tell her what happened between Mackey and Aceveda, she rebukes him. When she returns to the interrogation room, she tells them that Nivan died and that Marlon had taken credit. Olman then starts taking credit for the shooting and Claudette then presses him to reveal who told him to do it. Olman refuses to do so and tells her that this means he earned his way in the gang.
Gilroy arrives at Aceveda's office and blasts him for bringing up charges against Mackey and the Strike Team. He then tries to persuade him from continuing this investigation as it can only harm his career. As Gilroy walks out, Vic goes out with him and thanks him for the help. Gilroy then asks him to be more careful next time. Gilroy then asks him what happened with Crowley, since he was the one that told him about his deal with the Department of Justice. Mackey tells him that the raid went the wrong way and that was all.
As Claudette walks down, she finds that the officers left a tube of denture cream on her desk for her birthday. As they laugh, her friend Ida, walks in and asks her to come dancing with her. She tells her that Franklin Green will be at the Crimson. They agree to go get ready and leave.
At a nearby bar, Jackson and the other officers are cheering Julien to drink a whole jar of beer as part of his initiation, as Danny looks from the far end of the bar. After he does, Jackson calls for the second part of the initiation. He then introduces Julien to Betty, telling him that she likes cops. Betty kisses him and takes him to a back room. After kissing him, she starts giving him oral sex, as Jackson and the others look from the door. Danny then walks away.
As Aceveda is walking out of his office, Dutch approaches him and asks him not to bring him into an interrogation room again if he's not giving him all the details. Aceveda assures him it was a tactic against the Strike Team. As they talk, Vic is walking out with the Team. Aceveda looks down on him, and as Mackey looks at him, he smiles and walks out.
- Michael Chiklis as Detective Vic Mackey
- Catherine Dent as Officer Danny Sofer
- Walton Goggins as Detective Shane Vendrell
- Michael Jace as Officer Julien Lowe
- Kenneth Johnson as Curtis Lemansky
- Jay Karnes as Detective Dutch Wagenbach
- Benito Martinez as Captain David Aceveda
- and CCH Pounder as Detective Claudette Wyms
- Reed Diamond as Detective Terry Crowley
- John Diehl as Assistant Chief Ben Gilroy
- Guy Torry as Marlon Demeral
- Frank Grillo as Officer Paul Jackson
- April Grace as Frances Housely
- Iona Morris as Ida
- Cathy Cahlin Ryan as Corrine Mackey
- David Rees Snell as Detective Ronnie Gardocki
- Juan Garcia as Moses Hernandez
- Juan Diego as Yancy Gonzalez
- David Raibon as Van Bro
- Joyce Guy as Nadine Demeral
- Dianna Miranda as Betty
- Nate Reese as Reverend
- Valeri Ross as Two-Time's Mother
- Joel Rosenthal as Matthew Mackey
- Jorge-Luis Pallo as Gang Leader
- Roberto Montesinos as Felix Contreras
- Monique Lea as Gladys Demeral
- Marisol Ramirez as Ramona
- Pablo Santos as Olman
- Marita De Lara as 911 Operator
The title might refer to the feeling of belonging and protection between gang members, highlighted by the initiations shown in the episode. It might also be a reference to the same feeling of protection felt amongst the members of the Strike Team, which led Vic Mackey to kill Terry Crowley. Julien Lowe also goes through a process of "initiation" within the officers of the Barn.
- International airdates:
- Germany: August 11, 2004
- France: June 28, 2007
- This is the first episode to feature the Strike Team's trademark presentation card. Vic Mackey leaves it in front of the Gang leader of Los Magnificos after the raid.
- This is one of only three instances of The Shield to feature a flashback scene. The others are in the Season 2 episode "Co-Pilot" and in the Season 6 mini-episode "Wins and Losses". The scene in this episode shows the moment when Vic Mackey introduces Detective Terry Crowley to the rest of the Strike Team.
- Matthew Mackey screams "To infinity and beyond!" which is a reference to the character of Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story series.
- Most of the officers are seen wearing a black tape across their badges because of Terry Crowley's death. In reality, the tape remains on the badge for at least three days.
- Officer Julien Lowe tells Danny Sofer that he's been on the job for three weeks. However, in the Season 2 episode "Co-Pilot", which takes place at the inauguration of the Barn (four months before the "Pilot" episode), Julien was already working with Danny.
- The first words of David Aceveda's eulogy at Crowley's funeral are taken from a poem from Mary Elizabeth Frye. At the same time, the reverend at Two-Time's funeral first quotes from John 11:25 and then recites the Psalm 23.
- While at the clubhouse, the Strike Team are joking about a transvestite called "Frank". In the episode "Dragonchasers", Officers Julien Lowe and Danny Sofer arrest a transvestite called Frank Gilmore. However, it is unknown if it is the same person.
- The Strike Team is playing "pitch", which is a betting card game.
- Upon receiving a quick preliminary report from IAD regarding the murder of Terry Crowley, Aceveda makes a reference to the Rodney King and O.J. Simpson cases as examples where the police might have rushed to conclusions.
- While arresting Marlon Demeral, his relatives call Julien an "Uncle Tom", in reference to the black character in the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. When Julien objects to the epithet, one of them also tells them that "If the Oreo wrapper fits, wear it, brother". This is a reference to the popular Nabisco cookie.
- Terry Crowley says he was "like Gene Simmons on that" when telling of how he gave oral sex to a woman. Simmons is the bassist of heavy metal band KISS, popular for his long tongue.
- Frances Housely: What could you have done differently?
- Vic Mackey: Terry asked me to move him up.
- Frances Housely: He was part of your team.
- Vic Mackey: He wasn't ready for this.
- Frances Housely: Eight years as a cop, a stint in Robbery, two commendations. Sounds to me like he was ready.
- Vic Mackey: Strike Team's different.
- Frances Housely: Really?
- Vic Mackey: We knock down the doors other cops don't want to. My guys accept the risk because they know I will take care of them. We go out on a mission, I expect every single one of them to come home. Anything else is unacceptable.
- Shane Vendrell: Aceveda's a water-boy. He can't do dick.
- David Aceveda: Why'd you go in without more backup?
- Vic Mackey: A battalion of cops makes noise. It's called the element of surprise.
- David Aceveda: lmagine my surprise when I heard your guy died.
- Vic Mackey: Those of us who venture out past our desks sometimes get shot at.
- David Aceveda: More firepower wouldn't have tipped him off.
- Vic Mackey: Who should I have had watching our backs? You? I'd hate to have to change your diaper afterwards.
- David Aceveda: Better than burying one of your own.