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We Need to Know: Will Golden Boy’s Walter Clark and Christian Arroyo Ever Get Along? 

Photo Credit: David M. Russell/CBS
Photo Credit: David M. Russell/CBS

My answer to that question will always be an emphatic “no.” Clark’s relationship with Arroyo is one of the strongest, most dynamic of the show. Yes, they’re adversaries in almost every sense of the word but, ironically, their need and desire to constantly one-up each other makes them good at their jobs – not all the time, but often. It gets their cases solved quickly and the guilty parties off the street.

Of course it all started as an issue of respect. As one of the senior, more experienced detectives in the squad Arroyo was looking for Clark to seek him out for guidance and maybe even advice. But Clark has never been that kind of person, even though he needs the experienced hand of someone like Owen to show him the right way to work and close a case. When Arroyo saw he wasn’t going to get what he was looking for from Clark, he decided to teach him a lesson. 

And Arroyo would’ve gotten his pound of flesh if Clark didn’t find out about his affair with McKenzie. We know Clark would never put McKenzie’s job or reputation on the line by exposing this inappropriate relationship, but Arroyo doesn’t. He thinks Clark is looking for any way to make him look bad. News flash: Arroyo can make himself look bad all on his own; he doesn’t need anyone’s help. Now don’t get me wrong, I think Kevin Alejandro‘s Arroyo is a great villain. I love that Clark has to watch his back on the street, at work, and even at home. I like that Arroyo is always looking for ways to bring Clark down a peg or two. But mostly I like that Arroyo doesn’t believe in all the hype surrounding golden boy Clark. Clark has to constantly prove his worth to the squad and to us, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If Clark ever turned into too much of a goodie-goodie, we’d lose interest.

In “Sacrifice,” deputy major Carlton Holbrook offers Clark a position as a liaison to the mayor’s office. Clark isn’t sure he deserves something like that, but Holbrook claims they’re both ‘climbers’ and needs an answer fast. Later we find out that Holbrook is Margot’s anonymous source and that he’s trying to make Clark look bad at work because he’s jealous. And Arroyo is the one who puts all the puzzle pieces together. I don’t know how I keep forgetting how smart he is. Arroyo has to be to have come so far so fast in his career. He wants to know why Holbrook would offer Clark such an important position. But more than that, Arroyo wants to know why Clark would leak information about their case to his secret girlfriend.  It’s not until Shana’s father shows up at the precinct with a loaded weapon that he gets it. He can’t believe Holbrook would put people’s lives in jeopardy because of his personal feelings. Holbrook seems to understand he’s gone too far, but we’ll see if that sticks. Of course Arroyo doesn’t tell Clark that Holbrook knows – because what’s the tactical advantage in that? But he does warn Clark that Holbrook has an angle.

Shana Taylor’s parents are distraught and blaming each other for the death of their child. Her mother made sacrifices to bring her to New York and help Shana pursue her dream, but her father thought she’s be happier back home living a normal life. She made friends with one of her more introverted neighbors, Neil Jacobs. But they only found out about this relationship because Shana was caught shoplifting and released into his custody. Now if Clark and Arroyo had actually worked together on this case and shared information like they were supposed to, Arroyo would’ve known Hank had that gun. And when Hank came into the precinct asking about Neil Jordan, maybe Arroyo wouldn’t have tried to talk him down even more. I can’t say Arroyo was irresponsible here, because I don’t think he was. He was trying to reassure a grieving father that they were doing everything in their power to find the person responsible for his daughter’s murder. Of course, at the time, he didn’t know they had the right person in custody.

Mini Moment of Goodness

I love that Owen calls Clark kid or junior all the time. It’s so rare to ever hear him call Clark by his name. My favorite moment this entire episode has to be when Clark wants to know how Arroyo found out about the job offer from Holbrook. Chi McBride‘s reaction is priceless. Owen says, “We’re in a building full of detectives, kid. There are no secrets in here.”

Other Random Tidbits

  • I still love the dynamic between Arroyo and McKenzie, even though it’s shifting. She was so smart to end the sexual part of their relationship, even though Arroyo still seems attached. It’s probably too early to start dating, but I like that McKenzie’s trying to move on.
  • Clark has no interest in re-connecting with his father. Agnes thinks things are going so well with her mom that she can’t see the harm in trying to reach out to her dad. As we see at the beginning and end of this episode, Clark is speaking at his father’s parole hearing and urging them to keep him locked up. I can’t wait to find out why.
  • Even though he’s loathe to admit it, we know Arroyo admires Clark in spite of himself. And even though he knows he owes Clark his due for saving his life, it’s funny to see just how hard it is for him to say “thank you.” In fact, he starts a fight with Clark instead of conveying his gratitude. But Arroyo also realizes that his ambition is hurting him and he’s been thinking about his recent choices. Are we going to see a new and improved Arroyo? I hope not.

Golden Boy airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on CBS.

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