By Alan Eyerly
6:30 AM PST, December 19, 2013
To save his sexy ex-wife Jasmine Fontaine (Alexa Davalos) from a hit man’s bullet, LAPD Det. Joe Teague (Jon Bernthal) resorted to murder once again as TNT’s “Mob City” concluded its rookie season with Episodes 5 and 6, “Oxpecker” and “Stay Down.”
The series got off to a bloody start when Jasmine’s boyfriend Hecky Nash (Simon Pegg) tried to blackmail gangster Bugsy Siegel (Ed Burns). Jasmine covertly snapped photos of Bugsy killing a mob informant, and Hecky demanded $50,000 for the negatives.
But extorting money from Bugsy amounts to a death sentence, Joe realized. That’s why he shot Hecky, returned the money and offered to hand over the incriminating pix in exchange for Jasmine’s life.
Bugsy wasn't appeased, however. His final offer? Joe lives, Jasmine dies.
“You want to join her in a coffin?” Bugsy asked angrily as his goons pummeled Joe’s face.
Not even Joe’s World War II comrade, mob fixer Ned Stax (Milo Ventimiglia), can fix this situation.
“She’s got a target on her now,” Ned said of Jasmine. “Stay down,” he warned Joe. “Fight’s over.”
In fairness to Bugsy, Joe approached him with the photos-for-Jasmine deal at a terrible time. That’s because gangster Meyer Lansky (Patrick Fischler) just traveled 3,000 miles to deliver some bad news.
The East Coast crime syndicate financing Bugsy’s construction of the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas isn’t happy about massive cost overruns, Lansky warned. This means “not another dime” is coming.
“It’s a license to mint money,” Bugsy exclaimed, assuring Lansky that billions of dollars will soon flow into the gambling mecca. But his protestations were in vain.
Bugsy can at least take solace in being cleared of homicide charges due to a lack of evidence. His henchman Sid Rothman (Robert Knepper) was also set free.
Restaurant busboy Carl Steckler (Gordon Clapp) was prepared to tell all in court about Bugsy's and Sid’s murderous ways. But a crooked cop revealed the location of Carl’s safe house and Bugsy sent over his hoods.
Now Carl is dead, and no one can identify the shooter.
So what’s Joe going to do about Bugsy? Knowing Jasmine’s days are numbered if he doesn’t act fast, Joe followed Bugsy to Beverly Hills and removed a 30-caliber military rifle from his trunk.
Peering through a window, he spied Bugsy sitting on the sofa. Joe paused for a moment then fired 11 rounds at Bugsy, literally shooting his eyes out.
In real life, incidentally, Bugsy was murdered in 1947 in Beverly Hills. The crime has yet to be solved.
As for Jasmine? She fled to Arizona, where she spotted a newspaper headline proclaiming “Bugsy Siegel Murdered.” So Jasmine’s safe -- at least for now.
By killing Bugsy, however, Joe has ignited a mob war between Siegel’s second-in-command, hotheaded Mickey Cohen (Jeremy Luke), and rival gangster Jack Dragna (Paul Ben-Victor).
“You just created a power vacuum,” Ned cautioned his war buddy. “Good old Joe. Always putting out the fire with gasoline.”
With the exception of Ned, no one else knows who killed Bugsy. But that will change if Lansky has his way. In embracing Cohen as the new L.A. crime boss, Lansky ordered him to discover who shot Bugsy and why.
“You are going to cut us the pound of flesh we’re owed,” Lansky said ominously.
With Bugsy dead, many questions remain.
Will Capt. William Parker (Neal McDonough) and Mayor Fletcher Bowron (Gregory Itzin) reform the corrupt LAPD? Will Cohen or Dragna prevail in the mob war? And will Joe and Jasmine rekindle their troubled relationship?
We’ll likely find out if “Mob City” returns for Season 2.
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