The murder of Detective Terry Crowley was the first and arguably the most serious crime, committed by Detective Vic Mackey. It was one of the main factors that directly contributed to the Strike Team's downfall and eventual disbanding.
Prior to Season OneEdit
After Assistant Chief Ben Gilroy arranged for the Barn to start operating, a newly-formed anti-gang police unit known as the Strike Team was conceived. Members of the team included Detective Shane Vendrell, Detective Curtis Lemansky, Detective Ronnie Gardocki and Detective Vic Mackey, who was chosen as leader of the team by Gilroy himself.
Fully aware of Mackey's brutal reputation and seeing him as being unfit for his position, Captain David Aceveda (who was chosen by the Chief of police and not by Gilroy himself) brought in Robbery Division Detective Terry Crowley. Aceveda told Terry that he disagreed with Gilroy's decision about Mackey leading the team and offered Terry the opportunity to join the Strike Team.
Aceveda also tells Terry that he would replace Vic as leader of the team once Vic failed and if Vic still didn't fail, it would a better job for Terry with greater income. Terry agrees to join the team after much pressure from Aceveda and is later introduced to the rest of the team, who mock him because he is from Robbery, but they would soon get along and become close friends.
Even though he is a member of the Strike Team, Terry was not included in any of the team's busts and mostly drove them around to their missions or to meetings with drug dealers.
Season One Edit
Four months after being recruited in the team, Terry once again is driving the Strike Team around. Terry drives Vic and Shane to their meeting with notorious drug dealer Rondell Robinson. After the meeting, Terry contacts Captain David Aceveda to tell him the latest news as by that time Terry had become a spy for Aceveda.
Aceveda tells Terry to meet him at a park to discuss the current situation with Vic and the Strike Team. After Terry agrees to help Acevda build up a case against the Strike Team, Aceveda signals Moses Hernandez from the Department of Justice to cime. When Terry tells Aceveda about the meeting with Rondell Robinson, Aceveda begins talking about building a federal case against Mackey. Crowley relents, as his life would mean nothing and he is betraying fellow cops, effectively making him a stoolie.
Eventually, Terry agrees to be an informant if he receives a job with the Justice Department offices in Washington, DC., plus a new car, moving expenses and a fruit basket. Aceveda and Hernandez agree to Terry's demands. When Terry asks David what he (Aceveda) is getting out of all of this, Aceveda replies "I just want a dirty cop off the streets." To this, Terry responds "You wanna be mayor someday? You better learn to lie a hell of a lot better than that.", which implies that Aceveda only wants to leverage the situation to further his own political ambitions and is not really interested in justice.
Vic learns about Terry's status as an informant (off screen) through Ben Gilroy, who told Vic to take some (non-lethal) measures against Terry. Fearing that Terry would testify and send them behind bars for a long time, Vic conspires with Shane against Terry. Terry meets with the rest of the team at Vic's home, where Vic hosts a barbeque party. After some dialogue with Vic and convincing him that he can be a lot more useful as a Strike Team member, other than just driving the team around.
After the party ends, the Strike Team gather up and discuss the raiding of the apartment of drug dealer Two-Time, who is a rival with Robinson, who is partnered with Vic. When Lem asks what's so special about tonight, Vic explains that there are going to be drugs and prostitutes at the apartment which is a perfect chance for Vic to stop Two-Time and protect his partner Robinson. Vic also cheerfully announces that Terry is not just going to drive the time to Two-Time's home but that he will also join the team in their next (and Terry's first) major bust.
After preparing themselves, the Strike Team leave the Barn and raid Two-Time's apartment. While Lem and Ronnie are covering the other exit, Vic, Shane and Terry confront the dealer and start a shootout, which ends with Two-Time getting killed in self-defense by Vic and Shane.
Vic then uses Two-Time's gun to shoot Terry in the face. The bullet impacted Terry's face and exited out the back of his head. Terry remained conscious long enough to look up at a smirk-looking Vic and realize what had happened to him before closing his eyes and entering an unconscious state.
After Vic and Shane rigged the crime scene evidence at the apartment, Vic called 9-1-1 and Crowley was taken to the hospital. While Crowley was in the hospital, fellow colleagues, friends and superiors of Terry (including Captain Aceveda, Ben Gilroy, Danny Sofer, Lem, Ronnie, Shane, Vic etc) gathered outside the hospital, praying for Terry to live. After the doctors failed to resuscitate him, Terry died. He was pronounced dead at 2:13 AM.
Aceveda then sadly announces Terry's death. Upon hearing of Terry's death, Lem shouted: "NO!" and then punched the window of a nearby van. Vic then says that it was his fault that Terry died.
During interrogations, Vic and Shane claimed that it was Two-Time, who killed Terry and was then killed by Vic and Shane's return fire.
Aceveda is enraged because of Terry's death and promises to take down the Strike Team but is stopped by Assistant Chief Ben Gilroy. Vic and the Strike Team are quickly cleared by IAD since they are unaware that Terry was an informant and see the situation as a police raid gone bad.
Gilroy used his connections to facilitate an illegal real estate scam, and also ran over a Hispanic gang member and murdered the only witness who could link him to the hit and run. Stripped of his power and facing indictment, pressure and alcoholism led Gilroy to become mentally unstable. Gilroy threatened that he'll hurt Vic's family and also planted the gun he used to kill Jesus Rosales in Cassidy's room to frame Vic. Vic found about this and tried to kill Gilroy but could not bring himself to kill his friend and mentor and simply arrested him.
Season Two Edit
After Gilroy posts bail, he was sentenced to house arrest with an ankle transmitter. During this time, Lanie Kellis and the District attorney planned to use him to get Detective Vic Mackey. To achieve this, they sent him to meet with Vic to ask for his help to get out of the country.
Ben called Vic's house and told Corrine that he was going there. Corrine got scared and warned Vic. When Vic arrived at the house, Ben was already there banging at the door and asking her to forgive him. Vic pulled him away and asked him what he was doing. Ben told him that he had cut his ankle transmitter and was planning on leaving the country. Ben threatened Vic with telling the D.A. about all the things he did, if he didn't help him. Ben told Vic that his lawyer had promised to get him only an 8-year sentence, but he was sure he wouldn't hold that long because of his alcoholism. Vic then took Ben to his apartment.
After Shane Vendrell got him some fresh clothes, Ben asked Vic for fake ID's, passport and money. When Vic asked him about the money he took from his real estate scams, Ben assured him that Sedona had taken most of it. He told Vic he only had $75,000 left in a safe deposit box at Tellmare Savings in Vermont. He then gave them the key to the box so they could get the money.
After Vic and Shane left to get the money, Ben drank two beers Vic had in the apartment and left. After that, he met with a surveillance team that Lanie had planted outside Vic's apartment. They put a tape recorder on his thigh and sent him off. Ben then went to a local bar and continued to drink. While there, he started disturbing the clients and the bartender called the police. When Vic and Shane arrived, they took him away. When they arrived at the apartment, Quazi was already waiting there for them to start preparing Ben's fake documents. Although Ben was drunk, Vic told Quazi to start working with the pictures while they left.
Because of Ben's drunkness, Quazi was having a hard time taking his pictures. When Vic and Shane returned, they told him to take the pictures anyway and he left for the other room to start preparing the ID's. Ben then sat on the couch and told Vic that the D.A. had been asking questions about Terry's murder but he hadn't told them anything. As he continued to talk about it, Vic drew his gun on him and signaled him to keep silent. They forced him to stand up and Shane checked him again for wires, finding the tape recorder on his thigh. After taking it out, Shane drew a gun on him and forced him to talk. Ben then confessed that there was a surveillance van outside watching them. Ben then started sobbing and telling them he didn't want to do it. Ben also told them that he didn't have plans to leave the country. Mackey then arranges for Gilroy a fake passport, new identity and money and arranged for Gilroy to get to Mexico. Mackey also paid a hitman who would kill Gilroy if he ever returned or talked about their involvement. A year later, Gilroy's corpse was returned in Los Angeles. Gilroy had died homeless and destitute, due to alchoholism.
Season Five Edit
IAD Lieutenant Jon Kavanaugh used a brick of heroin that was found in Lem's car as leverage to make Lem wear a listening device, primarily to gather evidence about the Strike Team's role in the death of Terry. Kavanaugh stated he would imprison Lem for not only the drug theft but also for intent to sell the drugs, which would potentially land Lem in jail for 10 years. Kavanaugh also interrogated Lem about the murder of Terry. To Kavanaugh's amusement, Lem revealed that he was not involved in the plot, after which Kavanaugh tells Lem that Terry was an informant.
Kavanaugh decided to use this previously unknown information as a way to drive a wedge between Lem and Vic. Lem pretended to go along with Kavanaugh's plan, but managed to secretly tip off his friend Vic by staging a fight between the two that temporarily disabled the listening device and allowed him to inform Vic of what had happened. He also confronted Vic about Terry's death and when Vic hesitated before responding, Lem refused to let Vic answer the question, knowing that the answer would mean that Vic was responsible.
Despite this, Vic worked diligently to save Lem from Kavanaugh's clutches and ultimately convinced Lem that Terry's death was only indirectly Vic's fault due to him accidentally dropping his guard during the raid.
Later, Rebecca Doyle realizes the truth about Terry's murder and confronts Vic. Vic and Shane assume that Lem told her and suspect that he may have decided to testify against all of them. This leads to Shane killing Lem with a grenade. Vic believes that Lem was killed by Salvadorian drug lord Guardo Lima and immediately vows to kill him.
Season Six Edit
The team realizes that Lem never betrayed them and Shane is overcome with guilt. Vic eventually captures and kills Lima as "revenge" for Lem's death. After reading one of Kavanaugh's files, Vic realizes that Shane killed Lem and angrily confronts him. Shane replies that he was trying to protect the team just as Vic had when he killed Terry. Vic angrily replies that he should have made sure of the facts before executing their friend and that it is different, because Lem was still loyal to the team, while Terry was a traitor.
Later, Shane tells Ronnie about Terry's murder in an attempt to drive the two apart. Instead, Ronnie sympathizes with Vic and agrees the murder had to be done. Fearing that Vic will try to kill him, Shane writes a confession about the murder which he claims will be delivered to the authorities if he is hurt.
Season Seven Edit
Vic and Ronnie attempt to have Shane killed as revenge for Lem's death. Shane survives and in revenge attempts to have the two killed. However, Shane's plan fails when the convict whom he blackmailed into killing Ronnie failed to take him out and revealed the whole murder plot to the police. Shane then escapes with his family and they become fugitives.
Eventually, they run out of money after being robbed and Shane tries to rob some poker buddies, which has the opposite effect as they attempt to kill Shane. Mara accidentally kills a woman and gets hurt, while trying to save Shane. Fearing that Shane will tell the authorities what they did together, Vic strikes a deal with ICE and confesses to Terry's murder and his many other crimes (even telling them that Shane killed Lem) in order to obtain immunity and send Shane and Ronnie to prison for the rest of their lives.
Shane calls Vic for help, but Vic sadistically mocks Shane and tells him about his deal with ICE. Shane is crushed to learn about Vic's deal and realizes there is no hope now for him and his family. Shane then kills his family and commits suicide to avoid capture from the police.
Vic starts his new job at ICE, while Ronnie is arrested for every crime the Strike Team committed (including the murder of Terry, even though Ronnie was not part of the murder plot in the first place) and sent to prison for life.
Reactions to the Murder Edit
Strike Team Edit
- Vic Mackey: Vic adamantly defends the act and shows no remorse during the first season. However, he is seen regretting it during the fifth season, especially since he also forced the decision on Shane. ln the sixth season, he again defends the murder when Shane arrogantly compares it to how he killed Lem in order to protect the team.
- Shane Vendrell: Shane immediately regrets his role in the murder and begins showing signs of mental strain. However, by the end of the first season he begins to see the murder as an act of loyalty towards the team and in the fith season, murdered Detective Curtis Lemansky, believing (wrongly) that Lem was going to testify against the team and needed to be killed just like Terry.
- Curtis Lemansky: Curtis becomes emotionally overwhelmed upon hearing of Terry's death, especially since they were shown to be close friends. In season 5, he promises to turn on the rest of the team if he finds out that Vic killed Terry. However, once he realizes the truth, he decides to remain loyal anyway.
- Ronnie Gardocki: Ronnie himself was shocked and distraught upon hearing of Terry's death. Upon finding out that Vic killed Terry through Shane in season 6, Ronnie tells Vic that he always suspected him of Terry's murder, that he understands completely that the murder had to be done to protect the team and that he regrets that Vic did not share the secret with him, as he would have kept the secret better than Shane. Ironically, after Vic confesses to the murder about ICE agent Olivia Murray, Ronnie is sent to jail for covering up the crime despite not being involved in the conspiracy.
Other Police Officers Edit
- David Aceveda: Aceveda tries to obtain a confession from Shane but fails due to the intervention of Vic and Gilroy. Unable to prove the Strike Team's involvement in the murder, he resolves to link them to any crime he can, but regardless fails. Later, he forms a truce with Vic and doesn't raise the murder as an issue again.
- Lieutenant Jon Kavanaugh: Realizing the truth, Kavanaugh tries to link Mackey to the murder but is unsuccessful. Later, he suspects Vic in Lem's murder since Vic already killed Terry and tries to frame Vic for Lem's murder, but his attempts backfire and he is arrested and sent to prison.
- Most cops did not suspect Vic of Terry's murder and see Terry's death as part of the job hazards and as a police raid gone wrong. They start suspecting Vic of the murder, however, after Kavanaugh's incarceration and the end of his crusade against the Strike Team. In season 7, after Vic strikes an immunity deal with ICE and confesses to murdering Terry (and his many other crimes), he was ostracized by the rest who now regard Vic as a hypocritical "reptile" and scum.