S1:E21 – Secrets and Lies

Content notes: domestic violence, torture, suicide, gun violence


Greetings!  Hope everyone’s summers are going better than ours here at Casa Ethyl.  On top of the injuries and illnesses of our human and furry family members (oh yeah, Spousal Unit broke a finger last Thursday!), it’s fully one zillion degrees here, and we have no a/c, which makes recapping on my laptop incredibly unpleasant!  Let’s get going while it’s still rainy and cool outside!

We open with a shot of a factory as seen from across the water, and we’re told we’re in Baltimore.  A taxi drops off a dark-haired, dark-skinned woman and two children with a suitcase.  The woman tells the children in accented English that she has to meet a friend, and a car pulls up.  A middle-aged white man gets out and loads the family into his Volvo, one of those really boxy ones that some people like.  We then see the man getting ambushed in his apartment (or maybe a hotel room), then the next scene is him tied to a chair, being tortured. He says “you’ll never find her!” and then we cut to his body being untied and a suicide being staged, complete with a note.

Cut to Gideon making a call to a mysterious someone about the “death of our mutual friend.”  Gideon arrives in the BAU conference room where a grizzled old white man is waiting for him.  Gideon tells him that he doesn’t believe it was a suicide, and the other man tells him that the dead man was in the CIA, and that he believes there is a mole in his unit who had him killed.  He asks for the BAU’s help to find the mole, but to keep things “strictly in-house,” i.e., no judge or anything, and I guess no oversight.  Super.  Cut to credits.

The team, including Garcia and JJ, arrive at the BAU at 2:30 am, wondering what is going on.  Hotch and Gideon update the team: The dead man was a CIA agent, and we learn it was the CIA who made it look like a suicide.  He was protecting a witness, the woman we saw earlier, who was violently assaulted by her Saudi diplomat-slash-terrorist bankroller husband.  The wife gave the CIA information on the terrorist connections, and the CIA extracted her by faking her and her children’s deaths in a car accident, but the husband found out from the mole and is looking for her.  Hotch tells the team they need to get this mole as soon as possible without anyone figuring out what they are up to.  We get a glimpse of them hiding in a shipping container, then the team arrives at the CIA.

We meet the older wrinkly grizzled guy, then a couple of other CIA folks whose names I can’t get down quickly enough — two thin black women, and a stocky balding white guy.  Back at BAU, Garcia and JJ have the CIA in Garcia’s office, where her computers have been taken over by CIA computers or something.  The CIA guy tells her “she’s on a list” so she can’t go with the rest of the team to I guess CIA hq.  Garcia tells JJ she wants to find out the truth about Princess Di’s death, which JJ says may just be the kind of thing they mean when they say she’s “on a list.”  Heh.  The CIA guys will be hanging out with them while they work the case to make sure they don’t misuse the CIA computers, which I’m sure Garcia will love.

Gideon profiles the unsub, saying that this person has no respect for their own life or anyone else’s, and that something significant must have happened to them to get them to turn away from their country, their career, and everything they believe in.  Garcia videos in and shows Gideon some surveillance footage of Gideon and the dead undercover agent from 3 days before he was killed.  They watch for a minute, and the undercover agent is asking who called the meeting, and what they wanted.  Reid non sequiturs to say that the mole list has been narrowed down to 16 candidates, all of whom are in the unit they are with (counter terrorism maybe? I don’t know.).  Hotch says that the mole must have an exit strategy, and that now the BAU is blocking the exit, so they had better work fast.

Gideon has a confrontation with one of the CIA agents, a thin black woman, who says his evaluation took her out of the field.  Gideon stands behind his evaluation, and tells her there will come a time when she can’t follow orders, and she says he’s wrong and storms off.  Back in the conference room, Morgan notices in the videotape of the discussion between Gideon and the undercover guy that the informant is sitting with her kids in a nearby car.  Gideon notices he says that only 4 people could have called the meeting, and Gideon notes that that isn’t true, and wonders if that’s a clue about the mole.  Garcia tells Gideon that only 4 agents were in Saudi Arabia, the 4 agents we met when they arrived at the unit — the grizzled director guy, the woman who talked to Gideon about her eval, the heavyset white guy, and the slender black woman with curly hair.  The team goes through the four candidates, and it doesn’t sound like we learn much to lead us to the mole, since everyone sounds by turns suspicious and heroic.

We see the family in the shipping container again, almost out of water, and then their lantern goes out.  Back at the CIA, Reid tells the CIA folks that they may want to not profile the woman and instead profile the guy who hid them, which honestly sounds like a good idea to me.  Reid says he’s a control freak who would have put them somewhere that he could control access to.  Morgan talks to the woman who had an issue with her evaluation, and she shows off the powers of the CIA satellites by peering in at Morgan’s house and his dog, who is named, seriously, you guys, his dog is named Clooney.  This fucking guy.

Anyway, Morgan talks to her about how she felt about staging the suicide and she gets kind of annoyed, and says she is totally fine with her job, thankyouverymuch.  Elle talks to the other woman agent, who gets angry and hostile when Elle asks her about her recent divorce, losing custody of her kids, getting taken hostage while on assignment, etc.  Elle tells her that the mole would have to have some kind of triggering event, like, oh, whatever happened to her when she was taken hostage that didn’t get written down.  The white agent steps in to say she was with him during the death of the undercover agent, and his wife will confirm he got home late that night.  Wooof, I guess being in the CIA together creates a level of intimacy or something irresistible, because this dude is WAY out of her league.

s1e21 out of her league

Anyway, director tells them this isn’t the time to discuss this but that they will be hearing from him about it.  They wander off, shamefaced.  The woman goes into I guess the server room, where she sits down at a computer to look up something, which apparently upsets her.  Suddenly, all the screens go blank, and her neck is snapped from behind by hands wearing white gloves!

So now we have 3 agents who are possibly the mole — one guy having an affair with the dead woman, the director, and the woman who had been taken out of the field.  Hotch calls them into the conference room and tells them what happened.  White guy gets pretty het up, and the woman gives him a pretty suspicious look.  The director tells them to try to focus and get back to work.  The two of them storm off, leaving Gideon and the director alone.  Gideon profiles the guy a bit, in a goodnatured way; they’ve known each other for 20 years so Gideon has a pretty good line on him, blahblah father issues, loves his kids, etc.  Director isn’t sure what to think, since he’s so close to the unit, and they talk a little about losing agents under his command, which he honestly doesn’t seem that sad about.

The woman agent is being hostile and aggressive with Hotch and Morgan, and basically tells them to get lost.  They take a call at her desk from Garcia, who tells them that the virus that blanked out the CCTV monitors originated from the white guy’s computer, which he claims was planted.  Garcia calls back and tells them that the undercover guy, John Summers, ordered his own psych evaluation from Gideon.  The team discusses this, and figures that he must have known he was in danger and was specifically trying to get Gideon and the team in.  Maybe they have missed something said on the tape of him and Gideon.  We cut to the informant, who is leaving the shipping container to find water, with scary music.  She tells the kids no matter what do not leave the container.  Uh oh.

Back at the CIA, the team is watching the tape.  John is telling Gideon about how he has to hide things from people he thinks are friends, and uses a lot of boat metaphors.  Garcia and JJ think this might be a clue, and figure out a connection between John and a shipping company, and locate the shipping container yard near Baltimore.  Suddenly, Garcia says that someone has hacked into the feed!  Someone else knows where the woman is!  Cut to the woman, Aliyah (sp?), arriving back at the container to find a man holding her kids at gunpoint!

At the CIA, all is hustle and bustle, how can we figure out which container, can we send in a SWAT team?  No, because this guy has diplomatic immunity so this mission has to fly under the radar.  Gideon says it’s not the other woman agent, Gina, and sends her with Morgan on a chopper to the shipping yard.  Gideon hands Hotch a note while he reassures the director; Hotch asks the white guy to come with him and takes his weapon.  The director is surprised, and Gideon tells him that it’s not surprising since he betrayed his wife and his unit so betraying his country was easy.  Back in the conference room, the white dude, apparently named Kruger?, sits, looking upset.  Reid takes over one of the satellite stations from the woman working it and locates the family in the shipping container, noting four hot blobs, and says they are too late.

Ok hang on here.  There’s thousands of containers at this shipping yard, they say so.  It takes our team a while to find the right one even with heat-sensing satellite assistance.  So how does the husband/terrorist/asshole guy find them before the CIA/BAU team?  Huh?

Back at the shipping container, the guy threatens the woman and she tells him not to hurt the kids.  Morgan, Gina, and some other agents split up to find them.  In the conference room, Hotch shows the white dude the note, and says “this is our one and only offer,” and the guy says they’ll have to do better than that because he’s not the mole.  Morgan and Gina call Reid to get him to direct them so they don’t keep running in circles.  They finally locate the shipping container, and Gideon tells Morgan it’s FBI jurisdiction and he’s in charge and to go ahead and make the arrest.  Inside the shipping container, the husband has a gun at his wife’s head.  Morgan and Gina storm in and he puts the gun down.  Morgan tells him his diplomatic immunity is worthless since the container hasn’t passed through customs and they aren’t officially on US soil.

Suddenly, Gina pulls her gun on Morgan and tells him to disarm!  Gideon talks to Gina over the comm link, and Gina asks the Director what to do.  He tells her she knows what to do, as she has the gun pointed at the man.  Gideon argues with her, while the director argues with Gideon about who’s in charge.  Morgan tells the mom to cover her kids’ eyes, and Gina asks her boss to make sure he cuts the feed, and says all she’s waiting for is an order.  He gives the order to cut the visual feed and “take him out,” and we hear four gunshots.  The director turns and thanks Gideon, who asks him why he turned against everything he believes in.  Gideon tells him that his answer to his question about losing his team members gave him away.  He says but I thought it was the other guy, and Elle shows him the note Gideon gave Hotch, which says “we know it’s not you, Bruno is the mole.”  Bruno says “yeah but without the Saudi guy, you have nothing on me.”

Cut to the shipping container, where the Saudi guy is being taken away in handcuffs while Gina apologizes to Morgan, saying she had to figure out if she was right.  Just like the old gypsy woman said!  Just like what Gideon said about following orders!  Gina says she knew it was Bruno because Gideon believed in her (ok?), and because she knew there was no reason to kill someone who knew as much as the Saudi guy unless it was to protect the mole.  Reid tells Gideon and Bruno that Mr. Saudi Wife Batterer is alive and well, and Bruno gets all assholey and cocky, dropping all pretense of concern for his team and the woman, and says there’s no way he’s going to prison with all he knows.  Gideon isn’t convinced, and takes his gun.  Bruno tells him the consequences will be harder to live with than he thinks, and saunters off.  Asshole.

Back at the BAU, Garcia is hoping to use the last few minutes of her access to the CIA’s computers to find Prince William’s phone number.  WTF, why would she want the weird-looking one’s number??  (This was, of course, years before his fairytale wedding to the beautiful and glamorous Kate Middleton, who is wayyyyy out of his league.)  She gets close but can’t find a pen before the access is shut off, awww, poor baby. The team packs up at CIA and reviews that the undercover guy was basically the one who called them in and the director had to go along with it to see how much everyone knew.  Morgan flirts with Gina some, then we see Gideon back in his office picking up a newspaper with news of the director’s “car accident” (just like Aliyah!).  We get a quote about telling the truth being a radical act, then we cut from some basic adult contemporary music to some very heavy metal stuff for some reason.  Shazam couldn’t pick it up so I don’t know if it was an actual song or just a sting written for the segment.  It was weird.

I really, really enjoyed this episode despite some logical inconsistencies.  Kind of a play off the “closed room” mysteries, where everyone is potentially guilty, lots of intrigue, double-crossing, misdirection, coded clues, and suspense.  Lots of representation from women of color being awesome, too.  And, with as much Gideon as we got, he was pretty likeable and un-assholey and insufferable, so that was nice.  Reid’s hair, alas, continues weird.

The next two episodes are the Fisher King episodes, which I have kind of a love-hate relationship with.  They’re pretty thick so I’m not sure how long the recaps will take me.  Stay tuned!


Reid’s hair floppiness rating:  3 out of 10, this kid needs to look into some different product and maybe some dry shampoo I’m telling you.

Even Reid wonders WTF is up with this.

Even Reid wonders WTF is up with this.


1 Comment

  1. I liked this one too. I’m always a sucker for a well done locked room mystery, or any sort of puzzle where the solution options are radically limited, and appear impossible. They’re hard to pull off well, but this one didn’t do badly at all.

    Our summer is officially over, since our kids have started school again. I hope you can get through the rest of yours without any more injury/illness for you and yours.


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