Hanson (and by extension, Penhall) gets into trouble with the police department for participating in illegal street races while undercover when he wasn't supposed to. Hanson and Penhall both are sent back to the police academy. But then Hanson's friend from the past, Russell Buckins, shows up.
Instead of going to the police academy like he's supposed to, Hanson impulsively takes off with Russell to go to the wedding of Debbie, a former flame of Hanson's. Russell is pressing Hanson to seduce Debbie before she marries.
Meanwhile, Penhall, who does go back to police academy like he's supposed to, gets assigned a jerkass partner, and Ioki and Hoffs are trying to find Hanson.
This episode provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion: possibly. The hairstyle and outfit Hanson wears during the racing sequence is almost identical to how Depp is styled in the John Waters' movie Cry-Baby.
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Normally responsible Tom Hanson, in an Out Of Character moment, gets drunk and next morning doesn't have any clear recognition of the night before, but talking to his friend Russel finds out not only did he literally fight a bear in a bar, but he got a tattoo on his arm. Fun fact . He freaks out when he sees it.Hanson: I can't believe you let me get a tattoo, how could you let me get a tattoo!Russell Buckins: Look, will you forget about the tattoo...Hanson: That's the thing, you can't forget about a tattoo!
- Ambiguous Ending: So did Hanson sleep with Debbie? It is alluded to in a scene, but neither the audience nor, In Universe, Russell Buckins, ever finds out.
- Bootcamp Episode: Penhall spends this episode going through police academy again, and being drilled by a jerkass boot camp instructor.
- Coming-of-Age Story: An unusual one, since Hanson actually is in his early twenties. But it's heavily emphasized in this episode that he never had a rebellious phase as a teenager, and now is going through a belated one. He's dealing with it by drunkenly getting a tattoo and crashing a wedding.
- Curse Cut Short: At the end, Russell, having just been thrown out of a car by Hanson and like the audience wondering whether Hanson slept with Debbie, utters "You did, you son of a—" — cue end credits.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Though he possibly might have had sex with her (this is left ambiguous) before she marries someone else, Hanson doesn't win Debbie over romantically and she goes through with marrying someone else.
- Out of Character Is Serious Business: As Penhall, Fuller and Hanson himself remark a few times during the episode: getting drunk, getting a tattoo, skipping court and crashing a wedding is not like Hanson normally acts. In this episode, this is all chalked up to a belated "Coming of Age" phase for Hanson. However, starting from this episode up until late Season 4, Hanson gradually goes over more and more to the wild and cynical side, differing more and more from how his character originally was in the first season-and-a-half. It ends in him quitting the police force, and thus the series.
- Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: meta-wise. The shot where Hanson crashes his car during the credits was one of the most expensive ever produced for the show; this and the shot of Hanson dressed and hair-styled rockabilly style (although in the 80's it would have just been 'retro') was considered so iconic that when Michael Bendetti was cast in season 5, the establishing behind the wheel shot was re-done in identical style with Bendetti, despite the fact his character, Tony 'Mac' McCann never gets into anything resembling a car chase or race at all.
- Road Trip Plot: The episode is about Hanson going on a road trip with Russell Buckins in an act of rebellion.
- Shipper on Deck: Russell is vehement about that Hanson should get together with Debbie, whom Hanson used to have a crush on when he was young. It is not without some self-interest though, as it turns out he's mainly doing so out of guilt over having slept with Debbie himself.
- The Bro Code: Back in their late teens, Hanson had a crush on Debbie; his close friend Russell had sex with her knowing that. After that happened, Russell kept it a secret because he felt that isn't something a guy should do to his friend. In this episode, years after the fact, he still tries to hide this for the same reason, but Hanson finds out, and calls Russell out for not being a good friend for sleeping with the girl he had a crush on.
- "Walk on the Wild Side" Episode: The normally by-the-book and almost uptight Hanson, under the influence of his wild friend Russell, ditches his work without notice, decides to not show up in court where he is supposed to testify, gets drunk and gets a tattoo in that state, fights a bear, wants to go crash a wedding, and (himself a police officer) has a run-in with the police.
- What Did I Do Last Night?: Hanson wakes up in a car the morning after he went out with Russell, and is confused about what happened last night. Russell tells Hanson that he got a tattoo, to which he reacts in shock.
- Wrong Name Outburst: According to Russell, when he had sex with Debbie she screamed Tom's name instead of his. It's unclear if this is true as he's implied to be making this up out of guilt for violating The Bro Code.