Whew! Regina still has a job.
There wouldn’t be much of a show if she didn’t, but she took some big risks on East New York Season 1 Episode 8.
Even though she got the leaders of a notorious crime family off the streets, she pissed off a DEA agent while proving herself to an obnoxious police chief. This could have gone very badly very quickly.
The Comp Stat meeting was a sobering reminder of what Regina’s up against.
Chief Donaldson resented the reforms Regina’s made, including no longer harassing neighborhood residents over stupid stuff instead of focusing on making the streets safer.
He thought the conservative, politically savvy Suarez was a “woke diversity hire.”
He was trying hard to make the case that Regina was a maverick whose disregard for the rules was causing chaos.
If Donaldson got enough people on his side, Regina could have been sanctioned or even removed from her position. He also might have gotten the other chiefs to order her to enforce quality-of-life statutes that she knew did more harm than good.
And amid this pressure-filled meeting, Regina chose to defy a DEA agent who, at least according to his undercover agent, cared more about photo ops than catching drug dealers. That took guts!
DEA Agent: Agent Dryden belongs to me.
Regina: So that’s what this is about. Who gives the order. Who stands where at the press conference.
Suarez knew better than to try to stop Regina, especially after her reaction to his attempt to defend her. But he did warn her she was taking a considerable risk, and it might not have been wise to disregard that warning.
Regina didn’t care what the risks were, though. She took an oath to protect and serve the people of East New York, and she didn’t have time to worry about the DEA agent’s need for positive press.
That’s what makes her a badass, but she couldn’t have pulled this one off alone. If Sean hadn’t been disgusted enough with the DEA inspector’s orders to rebel against them, Regina would have had no case.
Regina: What do you want?
Sean: I don’t usually get asked that, but since you did, I want to get the hell out of undercover work.
Regina: Two and a half years is a long time to be someone you’re not.
Sean wasn’t used to anyone caring about his opinion. The DEA expected him to follow orders even if they made no sense and didn’t ask for or want his input.
He has a bit of a crush on Regina, but regardless of that, if the DEA fires him for his insubordination, he might end up with a position at the 7-4. That would be a better fit for him since he seems interested in actually arresting the bad guys.
It’s not realistic that Regina could bring down a crime family that’s operated with impunity for decades based on one tip from a DEA operative, but it got her a badly-needed win.
Donaldson looked like a fool after questioning her about why she’d defied the orders of a DEA inspector only for her to announce an extremely successful raid. Men like Donaldson don’t take humiliation well; will he be back again to cause more trouble for Regina?
The DEA agent was the second person to threaten to go over Regina’s head to get their way. What happened with that father who threw a tantrum about not being allowed to take his daughter home?
Regina: How did you get in here?
Man: I’m her to take my daughter home.
Regina: I’m afraid she’s going to have to be here a while.
Man: Who are you?
Regina: I’m Deputy Inspector Regina Haywood. There have been four deaths from overdoses and your daughter may be a witness, so nobody is going in or out right now.
Man: Well, Deputy Inspector Haywood, what chief to I have to call to reverse this? Because I know them all.
He threatened to sue when Regina wouldn’t back down, disappeared, and was never seen again. While the scene demonstrated that Regina doesn’t let anyone intimidate her, it felt like a pointless conflict because nothing further happened.
This guy is another person who could reappear later on to cause trouble. I kept expecting Donaldson to bring up the man’s complaints to bolster his case against Regina.
There was only one case this time; instead, many of the officers had more personal storylines.
Yenko’s story with his wife was the most compelling, but unfortunately, it also got the least airtime.
I wanted to know why she was afraid to leave the house or even get dressed. The scene at the end between her and Yenko was sweet. It also sent a message that viewers with serious mental health issues needed to hear: you can still be loved despite your struggles.
Still, it felt a bit unearned. Yenko’s wife went from lying to him about leaving the house to showing up at the bar, with nothing in between to raise the stakes or change her mind.
Hopefully, this story will begin an arc that stretches throughout the season. I look forward to learning more about Yenko’s wife!
Richard Kind is such a multi-faceted actor, too, who deserves a dramatic storyline. I loved how his wife’s refusal to leave home tied into his earlier, sillier story about studying Italian.
Far less compelling: Killian and Corinne’s continued conflict over George. Killian didn’t care about the negative press the bar was getting or how George could help the community. All he cared about was that George had a criminal record.
It’s a tired complaint by now. Let’s move on already.
Finally, Bentley and Quinlan are doing the typical couple-at-work dance, with Bentley deciding he needs to back off because Sandeford knows he and Quinlan kissed.
Sandeford is preoccupied with his own love life; why should he care who Bentley dates?
In any case, backing off never works out on TV. Eventually, Quinlan will likely want to go public with their relationship or at least not be afraid of sitting next to each other at a restaurant table.
Usually, this type of story leads to one partner issuing an ultimatum: go public or break up. East New York is too good a show to go down that well-worn path, so let’s hope they don’t!
The East New York winter finale airs on November 27, 2022. What do you hope happens? And what did you think of Regina’s battle with the DEA and the powers that be in the NYPD?
Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know! And don’t forget that you can watch East New York online.
East New York airs on CBS on Sundays at 9 PM EST / PST.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.