The Good Cop season 1, episode 1 recap: ‘Who Framed the Good Cop?’


The first episode of The Good Cop displays all the best hallmarks of the Andy Breckman drama, with quirky, distinctive, and relatable characters, complex relationships, and an unsolved personal tragedy.

Detective Anthony Caruso Jr. (Josh Groban) is the good cop of the title, a brilliant cop but a compulsively nit-picky rule follower. He’s overcompensating for the sins of his corrupt father, ex-cop and con Anthony Caruso Sr. (Tony Danza), who has recently been released from prison after seven years. His charismatic charm ironically makes him more popular than his uptight son, despite his corruption.

We are introduced to Anthony Jr. (TJ) as he completes his yearly re-certification exam, scoring an impressive range record. Later, as he waits at a red light with his father Tony, we get our first taste of their relationship and a succinct description of their general characters. Even though the light is broken, TJ refuses to run it. Tony gets to the heart of the matter, asking if he’s afraid of running the red light is going to “turn you into me.”

Meanwhile, the rule-bender Tony has been in contact with Chet Finch, an old department buddy, in direct violation of his parole. As they berate each other for either following or breaking rules, it is clear there’s a lot of love behind the nagging.

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The case of the week is a body discovered in the park by two skateboarders. TJ arrives on the scene to find his partner, Burl Loomis (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.), napping in the car. He’s just over a year away from retirement and is just passing the time until then. The victim was drugged, suffocated, and then shot, dumped in the park out in the open to be found. TJ hands out some tasks and tells the officers to stay away from a tree nearby, identifying it as poison sumac.

Tony’s parole officer Cora Vasquez (Monica Barbaro) stops by the house. She’s a bit of rule breaker herself, putting a trash can over the fire hydrant she parked next to. She confronts Tony about missing his job interview. It turns out he used to know the manager’s wife really well and so decided to bail.

Tony is someone Cora is taking a chance on and someone she cares about, so she goes out of her way to keep him in line. On the mantel is a photo of a man named Jack Livingston, the man whose testimony sent Tony to prison. He hates him and keeps his picture as a reminder to outlive him. Turns out, he’s the dead guy in the park.

Jack Livingston had a lot of enemies on The Good Cop. He testified against a lot of corrupt cops and a lot of them hold grudges. Livingston’s wife makes the point that Tony once threatened his life, making him one of the suspects. TJ talks to Tony about the case and asks for pointers on where to start. It doesn’t matter though, because soon the suspects are narrowed down to two. It was TJ’s gun that was used to shoot Livingston, and since he never lets it out of his sight, the only people who could have done it is TJ or Tony.

When TJ meets with Tony to talk, he finds him at the sight of TJ’s mother’s unsolved hit-and-run accident four years ago. Tony says he didn’t kill Livingston but based on the evidence it had to be one of them. At Livingston’s wake, TJ notices that Chet Finch has a poison sumac rash and that the protective dog likes him. Later, he catches Donna Livingston and Chet making out in the bedroom. As TJ begins to break the case, he learns that Tony has turned himself in and signed a confession. He didn’t do it but thought he was protecting TJ by taking the rap.

Next. The Good Cop season 1, episode 2 recap. dark

Later, TJ realizes that he recognizes the bullet pattern on Livingston – its the same pattern from his re-certification earlier that week. Chet and Donna killed Livingston and then propped his body behind the firing range target. It was TJ who shot him after all. When TJ and Cora go to find his target to prove the match, Chet arrives and tries to kill them.

TJ uses an empty water bottle to simulate the sound of an empty gun firing, then shoots Chet when his guard is down. Tony is released from jail and TJ picks him up. Tony jokes that its one of his favorite father/son activities. Before long, they’re stuck at the same broken red light, bickering like before.

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