Aquarius Recap: Being a Cuban Cop

by Rebecca Riley / July 26, 2015

There was no doubt that NBC’s drama Aquarius, set in the ’60s, was going to tackle the issues of the time. But on this week’s episode of Aquarius, the blatant and institutionalized racism against Latinos may have cost one officer his life. Meanwhile, Brian worked on an undercover assignment that may also end up costing him his job.

We open the hour with lead-detective Sam Hodiak taking an alarmingly intense trip on LCD (slipped to him by Charles Manson himself), which leads to some hilarious outbursts and a surprise stint of shirtless-ness. The morning after this debacle, though, things got serious as fellow detective Joe Moran comes to Hodiak’s apartment with a personal problem. He is not the Irish-born, fair-skinned cop that everyone thinks he is. His real name is Jose Moran and he’s a Cuban-American who has been hiding his ethnicity from family, friends, and coworkers for years. Unfortunately, a bureaucratic officer named Sanchez is threatening to expose this truth in order to garner acknowledgment of diversity.

This concealment of personal identity was mirrored with Brian’s undercover work this week, as he tried to connect with Guapo (a leading drug smuggler and associate of Manson’s). Brian gets invited to be a part of a shipment coming in later that day, so he informs his commanding officers who, in turn, say that they will set up a sting. However, things take an unexpected turn when Brian gives a signal to abort the mission just as the “stuff” is being delivered. The boys in blue think he has blown the operation, but back at Guapo’s it turns out that Brian’s instinct was right — that there were no drugs and the whole thing was a test to see if Brian was trustworthy. He passed.

Back at the precinct, because a case involving Latina women being robbed had escalated to a murder, Sanchez decides he couldn’t wait any longer to publish the article exposing Moran. The effect of the article is that Moran’s blue-eyed, red-headed wife Maggie threw him out, leading Jose to come into the bullpen drunk, and with a loaded pistol pointed at his head.

The fellow officers assure Moran that he’s still one of them, regardless of race, but it isn’t until Sam talks with him one-on-one about what it means to be American (along with a story about how his Jewish father committed suicide and its affect on Sam himself) that Jose puts the gun down. All seems well and Sam looks to be headed home after a heroic rescue, but before he does he requests a policeman bring in a man from a photo he is shown. With the last minutes of the episode winding down in an interrogation room, we hear Sam address the man as his father. So it looks like the story he told Jose is nothing but a lie.

Next week we might explore the Manson camp more, as Emma has returned to Charlie, bringing along her rich friend. She has also seemingly cut ties completely with her family as we saw Charlie, the girls, and Cherry-pop herself steal her mother’s jewelry while she slept.

If you don’t want to miss any of the drama tune in to Aquarius on Thursday, July 30 at 9:00 PM ET/PT on NBC.