Ending a demon of the past is never as easy as it seems.
Even as Bell worried about the Task Force perhaps being shut down, they still needed to stop these criminals before things got worse.
The case was personal to Reyes as the team leader, Vaughn, along with aides Dante and Manny, were all in the same foster home as Reyes.
This had him facing a dark trauma of his past that led to a sad conclusion for at least one of his “brothers.”
Thus, Blaze of Glory closed out this storyline but set the stage for more drama to come.
A war on cops begins
The cops raided the mansion that Robin Hood had used. As they looked it over, Reyes remembered growing up in the foster home.
A cell phone rang, and Reyes picked it up to hear Vaughn taunting him. Reyes told him he needed to give up as Jet realized Vaughn was watching them on a camera. Vaughn said he had enough money, now he was out for payback, including the “Bald pig” that shot Dante.
As Vaughn declared, “Time to start killing cops,” Stabler found a bomb hidden in the room. They all ran out, with Jet staying behind to grab the camera. They realized too late it was a distraction as the real bomb went off in the car behind them.
The cops were okay as Reyes wanted to talk to Dante. Bell pointed out it could be seen as biased in court, but Stabler let Reyes do it. Stabler also told Bell never to pull a stunt like that again.
Vaughn was watching the whole thing as he and his team prepped for war.
Reyes went to Dante’s hospital bed with Dante not knowing about the bomb. He just felt he had to go along with his brothers. Reyes said that Vaughn was going too far and offered to help Dante in exchange for any aid.
The pair remembered their foster father abusing them and how each of them tried to help the others. Goldfarb seemed unsure of this as Deputy Chief Levitt was worried about Stabler saying all cops were being targeted.
He said he’d run it up the chain, but they needed to keep this quiet for now. He threw in a meaningful statement on the team not getting the help they needed at the moment.
Stabler knew Vaughn had to have a connection to the NYPD to get all his equipment and had Jet look into it. He and Whelan left as Jet was annoyed there were no clues to the camera and she almost died for nothing.
Manny’s lawyer was reluctant to help without a deal. Reyes called in to say Dante was also a bust while surprised to hear Leonard was still running the foster home. Hearing the man had kids with him, Reyes hung up on Stabler and took off driving in the opposite direction.
Across town, two patrol officers were grabbing a meal when Vaughn drove up and fired a machine gun, wounding one cop before driving off.
The cops were okay, as Stabler knew it was Vaughn starting his vendetta. Jet discovered Vaughn had been kicked out of the police academy over something in his sealed records.
Reyes’ past comes to the present
Reyes pulled up to the foster home, where a kid opened the door for him. He found another kid passed out on the couch with bruises. Reyes found the cigarette burns on the first child and showed he had the same on his own body. The boy admitted Leonard had been abusing them all.
Reyes promised the kid it would be okay as he saw a burning cigarette and heard sounds upstairs. Getting out his gun, he headed up as Leonard fled the house to his car.
The academy training officer Cabrera (Bruce Kirkpatrick) said Vaughn wanted to be a cop but didn’t have the right attitude for it. Often, some hazing could take care of that, but it didn’t take for Vaughn. He was kicked out and vowed they would be sorry one day.
Cabrera shared that Paul Fink had been close to Vaughn and also dropped out of the academy. A member of the crew told Vaughn they were all over the Internet with huge heat. Just as he suggested he and a partner should lie low, Vaughn shot them both dead.
Stabler and Whelan checked on Fink’s girlfriend, who told them he was at a pool hall. Reyes was in his car when Bell called, trying to brush off just looking for a lead. Instead, he was following Leonard.
Fink (Jeff Adler) was hustling guys at the pool hall when the cops came up. He tried to attack them with a cue, only for Whelan to toss a ball at his head.
Fink tried to play dumb with Whelan saying Fink’s girlfriend would be pretty upset about his getting arrested. He gave up another Academy classmate, Nate Reynolds (Josh Davis).
Reynolds claimed to have never even heard of Vaughn or Fink. Stabler let Whelan take more of the lead on doing whatever it took to prove Reynolds was lying. They figured there had to be a reason why the narcotics detective was riding a desk.
Bell was about to check with Internal Affairs when Goldfarb entered to remind her of lunch. Bell blew it off because of the case, as she wasn’t interested in her political future.
As Bell wondered where Reyes was, he was blowing off Jet’s call to continue following Leonard. Meanwhile, Stabler and Whelan saw Reynolds leaving his office and tailed him to a nearby construction site.
A sad takedown occurs
They saw Reynolds placing a bag with some weapons and equipment into a garbage bin. Whelan wanted to chase him, but Stabler pointed out Vaughn was likely coming for the gear, so they should wait.
Reyes knocked on Leonard’s door and pulled a gun on him when he opened it. It took Leonard a moment to recognize him, and he acted happy until he realized why Reyes was there. He tried to say the boys were lying, but Reyes recognized the same tricks as being used on him and the others as kids.
Reyes was irate as he confronted Leonard about the abuse. Leonard claimed he was merely providing “comfort” for the broken boys, but Reyes was different. Reyes snapped it was going to stop as Leonard pointed out no one would believe a bunch of foster kids over him.
Reyes said they probably wouldn’t believe him or the boys as he aimed his gun right at Leonard’s face.
Bell talked to Fink about attacking a cop, and Fink talked about Vaughn meeting Leonard in private a lot.
Stabler and Whelan saw a car pull to the construction site, and they moved in. It turned out to be a terrified kid who’d been paid to simply drive up. Stabler and Whelan realized it was a setup just as Vaughn opened fire on them.
As Stabler and Whelan moved in on Vaughn, he called Reynolds to say that if he was caught, he was going to give Reynolds up. Across town, Bell arrived at the apartment to find Reyes with a handcuffed but alive Leonard. It turned out Leonard and Vaughn were still carrying out their relationship, and Vaughn was ready to go out in a blaze of glory.
Seeing a car coming up, Vaughn thought it was Reynolds, but it was really Stabler and Whelan. He pulled a gun as Stabler shot him, only to find Vaughn was wearing a vest, and arrested him.
As he was pulled up, Vaughn said to tell Reyes, “He was the lucky one.”
Reyes arrived at the hospital, where his wife Tammy (Carmen Zilles) had to break the news Dante had died from a freak blood clot. Reyes collapsed into tears as Dante died without knowing Leonard had been arrested.
Stabler and Bell were happy to close the case, with Stabler crediting Whelan. He and Bell opened a bottle in the squad room to toast good cops.
Stabler got a phone call from Pearl, who told him she had some important news to share.
Thus, the Robin Hood case ended with a hard blow for Reyes even as the storyline involving the Silas family and their casino is set to continue.
Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 3 airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.More: Law & Order: Organized Crime