"The Cleaner" The Things We Didn't Plan (TV Episode 2009) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • William and his team set out to help the people who have no one to go to bat for them. William tries to help an addicted police officer facing review from Internal Affairs--and harboring a dark secret. Swenton aids an alcoholic man and his high-functioning 10-year-old daughter, while Akani tries to convince a homeless addict that getting clean is worth the effort.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • We open inside a coffee shop, where the Cleaner sees the "faces of addiction all around me ... and I can't look away." Arnie, boarding a bus, also sees these faces -- specifically, a drunken middle aged man with a young daughter named Sarah. So does Akani, who gives dog treats to a homeless dog owner bleeding from her nose. But back to William: he wanders out into the parking lot and spies a police officer snorting something. An older man approaches. "That's my son," dad says. "He's getting drug tested on Wednesday." Something tells us he needs a little tutoring from the Cleaner. Dad, also a cop, no longer speaks to drug-addled offspring. "I need my son to get clean so he can pass that test," he says.

    Back inside the diner, the Cleaner meets the waitress, who quickly confesses to being a former addict herself. She then proceeds to hit on William, who seems receptive. The Cleaner then introduces himself to the addicted cop, who promptly drags William outside and pats him down. "I'm not looking for some holy roller!" the cop screams. "Who sent you?!" The cop, Leonard, is less than pleased to hear that it was dad who cared enough to send the Cleaner. "You stay as far away from me as possible!" yells the bloodshot cop.

    Arnie and Akani, in the meantime, pull up to homeless dog owner. "I've been walking by that woman for nearly two years," Akani explains to Arnie. "Today, somebody beat her up." She suggests bringing the woman in for help -- without Williams permission. Just then, a bus pulls up -- the same bus with the drunken dude and his daughter! Arnie climbs aboard to find young Sarah, a music student. Dad is clearly wasted and immediately begins to drink from a Thermos. Arnie introduces himself and hands the man a card. Wouldn't you know it? Dad doesn't like the idea. "I'm your best chance to get your world together before it falls apart!" Arnie says. Guess Arnie and Akani have decided to do a little freelance cleaning.

    William returns to the garage to find Leonard waiting. "You're right: I couldn't do it alone," he says. Cut to Arnie and Akani, who watch Sarah practice piano inside a small apartment. She explains that mom died years ago. Dad, who goes by the name of Harrison, is back at the garage, shaking and muttering through the early stages of withdraw. William comforts the man before heading into another room where Leonard lies groaning in bed. The Cleaner is a busy man this afternoon. "I just need you to do your job and flush me out," the cop says. He has no interest in going clean past the drug test -- yet. But what happened to the homeless woman, called Sunshine? She is taking a bath under the watchful eye of Akani. Sunshine refuses to go to rehab because she can't bring her dog. Akani tries to talk some sense into the woman, but Sunshine suddenly becomes angry.

    But it's about to get even MORE complicated. Daddy cop shows up, trying to pay William. The Cleaner accepts $600 for "just expenses." William pleads with the father to keep his son in recovery. Dad refuses and the two, still not talking, exit the garage. Drunken dad, meanwhile, is sweating like crazy. "I know I can't stop drinking!" Harrison yells. Arnie explains that the man has no other options if he wants to keep his daughter. "What are we going to do with Sarah?" William asks. Harrison suggests sending the daughter to her aunts in Valencia. But what about angry Sunshine? She's still angry -- especially now that she is going through alcohol withdraw. "I got less than nothing, but it's mine!" she screams. "My dog and my white wine and the ocean and my car!" William responds by taking the battery out of the woman's junker. That oughta keep her at the garage for a little while longer. Akani suggests taking the dog, Scooter, to Sunshine's long lost daughter for safe keeping.

    Later that night, the Cleaner meets the waitress at the diner for drinks (tea, naturally). They swap horrible addiction stories. The waitress wins when she confesses that she was shot in a bust gone bad. Afterwards, William returns to his truck to find Leonard waiting. "What'd she say about me!" he demands, pulling his gun. The Cleaner explains that they were only having tea. "You're too high, Leonard!" William says. So the Cleaner does the only thing he can: punch out Leonard and take his gun. Our hero then hears shocking news. "I shot that woman!" Leonard confesses. Turns out he has been going to the diner everyday out of guilt.

    Sometime later, Leonard is throwing up in a bucket inside William's garage (and, currently, home). The shaking cop tells the Cleaner the whole sordid story about dodging Internal Affairs and living life as a strung-out officer of the peace. He has been avoiding his father out of guilt and shame. We almost start to feel sorry for poor 'ol Leonard. Sarah, meanwhile, is freaking out over the idea of going to live with her aunt. Long story short: she wants her daddy, even if he is a useless drunk. "I have to go into sober living for just a little while," Harrison explains. "You're doing better than good, sweetheart, but you've been doing everything!" Sarah turns on Arnie. "You acted like you were my friend!" she cries. Arnie is hurt, but he knows that he is doing the right thing. Sarah's aunt pulls her away. Off to Valencia. And off to sober living for dad.

    Cut to Akani, who strikes out with Sunshine's daughter. The woman refuses to take the dog. "She doesn't even care about her mom," Akani tells Arnie. Back at the garage, Akani volunteers to take care of Scooter, but Sunshine refuses. "If you can tell that handsome gentleman to put the battery back in my car, I would like to go now," she quips. "Scooter is the only thing in the world that I need to take care of. It's the only thing in the world that needs me." Akani is crushed. On the other side of the garage, William urges Leonard to talk to the waitress to assuage his guilt. "Tell her the truth," he says.

    The next morning, Arnie arrives at the garage with bad news: Sarah didn't show up to school. He heads out to look for the girl. Elder cop, meanwhile, has dropped by the garage to have a chat with his son. Leonard confesses that he is guilty of everything Internal Affairs accused him of. "Dad, I did what they said," he explains. "That woman? Dad, I shot that woman. And I lied to my superiors, the investigators, the lawyers ... you." The pair hug. "I'm sorry, father," Leonard sobs. Cut to Akani, who arrives at Sunshine's car to find the woman drinking heavily once again. Only now, Sunshine is a bit more receptive. "Will you help me?" she whimpers between pulls from the bottle wrapped in a paper bag. Akani smiles. But what about Arnie's charity case? Our wisecracking sidekick goes to the piano shop where Harrison works to find father and daughter playing a beautiful tune together. They finish and Sarah takes Arnie's hand. They're apparently friends again.

    Cut to the diner, where Leonard confesses his sins to the waitress. "All I ever wanted was the truth and you just gave me that," she says. "The real truth is that I would've died a drug addict if I hadn't got shot that night ... in a way, you took me out of my old life and you forced me into a new one." So, really, she is kind of happy to have been gunned down. She even thanks Leonard. William sits at the counter and smiles.

    The Cleaner and his gang went 3-for-3.

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