The prospect was crushing to O'Mara, who'd done the dirty work of the Gangster Squad. He'd taken out-of-town hoods up to Mulholland Drive for a talking-to and a gun in the ear. He'd helped plant bugs in Mickey's shoe closet and TV. Now they were going to have him writing tickets for double parking.
O'Mara figured he might as well make one last run at Mickey. He had seen an opening when he discovered that one of the security guards at the Cohens' Brentwood home had a warrant hanging over him. So he "encouraged" the guard to quit and recommend "a buddy" to Mickey as his replacement. The "buddy" was Neal Hawkins, who'd been a munitions expert in the war, a credential sure to appeal to Mickey. But he also was a certain cop's paid informant.
Hawkins earned his money that summer by alerting O'Mara to comings and goings at the house. He thus reported when Mickey planned a trip to Texas with, of all people, Florabel's husband, Denny Morrison, a former newspaper copy editor and film publicist. When O'Mara tailed them to the airport, he found that they had registered for their flight as Denny Morrison and Denny Morrison Jr.
O'Mara cabled the Texas Rangers that Mickey Cohen was headed their way under an alias. Then he left a note to the Gangster Squad's morning shift and went home to bed.
The Texas Rangers treated Mickey's arrival as akin to Bonnie and Clyde coming back from the grave. They rousted him big-time, then called the press to show off their catch.
O'Mara was awakened by a call from a supervisor: "Your ass is in a sling." The publisher of the Mirror, Virgil Pinkley, was getting calls asking what the spouse of his star columnist was doing with the city's most notorious hoodlum. But when he phoned Florabel, she denied her hubby was in Texas. As it was explained to O'Mara, Pinkley asked, "Well, where is your husband?" and Florabel replied, "He's asleep -- you want me to get him?" The publisher took her word for it, then phoned Chief Parker to complain about that damn squad that couldn't get anything right.
A crowd was waiting at the L.A. airport when Mickey returned, quipping about his ill-fated visit to the Lone Star State: "Well, the food was good." Then who should get off the plane, trying to slip away, but Mr. Florabel Muir.
Florabel tried to shrug off the incident, saying her husband was only helping Mickey search for one of his missing henchmen -- nevermind that Mickey gave a different explanation for the trip, some story about an oilman and a lucrative card game.
What counted to Parker, one month on the job, was the praise he got from the head of the Texas Rangers and the apology he got from the publisher of the paper that had been clobbering the LAPD.
Parker and Hamilton held off on disbanding the squad. Oh, they did give it a sanitized name, the Intelligence Division. But under their watch, it would grow to 60 investigators, and the mission of many -- and the obsession of a few -- would be taking down Mickey Cohen.
Times researcher Maloy Moore and former researcher Tracy Thomas contributed to this series.