Kids are trick-or-treating. Woman, later identified as Liz Garner, can't answer door because she's bound and gagged. Her face is wrapped in plastic to smother her.
A woman is seen starting dumpster on fire. They find her. Donna Kale is suspected of Liz's murder. Ray points out it takes a lot of strength to choke someone but Det. Pitts says she's a meth head. Donna was burning Liz's clothes and pocketbook. She claimed she found them in the park. Donna has a long record of drug crimes.
Donna's lawyer says all they got her on is misdemeanor arson. He wants 3 months of drug rehab. Annabeth points out that Liz's 1-yr-old was in the room when Liz was murdered. Annabeth says if Donna didn't actually do it then she's protecting the one who did. M.E. says Liz was almost certainly strangled by a man. And Annabeth notes it's 20 mi from Liz's to Donna's.
They show Donna's mug shot to Liz's husband. He knows her. She grew up down the street. He says he did see her the day after Liz was murdered. She was talking to dad, Gene, while he was taking down Halloween decorations. Donna's mom died when she was born. He mentions Donna's scary boyfriend.
Eugene Kale says Donna doesn't steal. He gives her money, sometimes. He insists she never hurt anyone. He says she broke up with boyfriend, Tim Veeter.
Tim is brought in and he calls his AA sponsor to alibi him. Then Tim says Donna told him something in confidence at AA mtg. Sponsor says it's OK to tell if it get Donna out of jail. Tim says Donna said she thought her dad killed someone. And she named Liz is the victim.
Donna denies telling anything to Tim. Jimmy says Tim's statement is corroborated by Donna's actions of burning the evidence. That's enough to get the search warrant from a friendly judge.
Ed finds a 3-ring notebook filled with photocopies of souvenirs of many murders between '84 and '97. It was sitting on bookshelf where anyone could see it. Ann Blackwood was the last victim. Perp sent letters to police and called himself "The Professor". Everyone was strangled, allowed to revive and then suffocated. Ed was on Blackwood case but the scene was nothing like Liz's. It was always pristine. Annabeth figures Gene was interrupted this time. Professor's victims were washed and naked on clean white sheet. Not rapes. Letters said the killings were about science. He claimed he was doing research on a book.
Jimmy says photocopies of driver's licenses are not enough. But they did find Liz's blood on something in Gene's basement, so that's enough to prosecute him on Liz's murder. But they know the basis for the search warrant will be challenged. Annabeth figures the notebook might convince Donna to stop protecting dad. It doesn't work.
As expected, Gene's lawyer, Paul Bosco, submits motion to suppress the search.
Ed goes to talk to Ann Blackwood's father. He doesn't recognize older photos of Gene, but the uniform from a more recent picture reminds him. He says Gene, a neighborhood security guard, cited them once for letting dog off leash. They find he cited Liz for a trash can violation one week before the murder. Neighborhood records only go back to '89, but he ticketed all victims since. But Jimmy says Bosco will say it's a coincidence.
They look at detailed records of citations and the notes in margins when put all together show he was stalking them.
The records are showed to Gene and Bosco. Gene is smug, accusing Annabeth of wild imagination. He says the notes help convince the town magistrates when the people make excuses.
In meeting, Jimmy points out that the notes are not enough to prove murder. But Ed is furious. He believes the families deserve a conviction. Jimmy challenges Ed to find real evidence and gets right in Ed's face, pointing out he's done 43 murder trials. Ed thinks Jimmy just wants to keep a perfect record. Ray pulls Ed away.
Judge suppresses the blood evidence. Annabeth lets Donna out of jail, hoping she'd talk. She doesn't.
Jimmy decides to charge Gene with the serial murders, saying his hand was forced. He accuses Ed of leaking the story to the press. Ed insists he didn't do it. Annabeth suggests that Gene may have leaked it. His fantasy might be to be indicted but acquitted. Maureen figures that Gene thinks he's so smart that it's not a gamble at all. Annabeth says Gene sees it as an ultimate victory.
Gene pleads not guilty on the serial killers. Jimmy argues for remand and judge grants it. Maureen says Gene was eating up the attention. Maureen thinks there might have been an assault that didn't result in murder.
Ed talks to Charlene Darcy about her 1994 assault. She identifies Gene from photo. He asked her questions. What did it feel like to die? He choked her 3 or 4 times. She figures that the last time he must have thought she was dead. But she saw him doing, you know. Ed figures that she means he was masturbating. Her husband was feeling ill at work and came home early, so Gene left when he heard the car pulling into driveway.
Annabeth figures this will embarrass Gene enough to make a deal. Gene is willing to confess to the nine murders if this new information is kept secret. He wants to speak at his plea allocution for as long as he needs. Annabeth resists agreeing. Gene names each of the victims to show how much each means to him. He says he wants to share what he learned from them. He has so much to thank them for.
Annabeth discusses it with Jimmy. He says it's disgusting, but he is willing to accept Gene's requirement. He doesn't want to risk a trial. Annabeth is sure Gene won't risk letting the details come out. She also wants to make one more pass at Donna. She suspects Donna may not even realize how much she knows. She might even lead them to the actual trophies. But Jimmy wants the confession on his desk by 5 pm tomorrow.
Annabeth goes to Donna and tells her that Gene confessed. But he wants to enjoy killing the women all over again at the expense of their families. Donna talks. She saw dad with first woman and found her scarf in his closet. She even told her friend that she'd soon have a new mommy. But then the woman was killed. Annabeth asks if there is someplace else the trophies might be hidden. Donna says Gene has no friends and hates the relatives. He spent all his time at home working on weird hobbies. They had searched to house but they now figure the trophies are hidden in plain sight.
Annabeth thinks a quilt is all made up of victim's clothing. Ed finds a pocket with the drivers' licenses.
Annabeth says the allocution will be closed. Bosco points out that it's a public procedure. She says he can sue but it will be over by then.
Gene pleads guilty without making statement. Ed compliments Annabeth.
Later, Donna thanks Annabeth. Mr. Garner thanks Donna by taking her hand.