Morgan strides through the controlled turmoil of the scene, eyes hidden behind dark sunglasses, never looking left or right at the officers, the flashing lights, the emergency workers. He radiates focus, unhurried deliberation, and exhaustion. Rossi waits at the yellow tape, mirroring his uncertainty as to why they'd be called to a crime scene when the team is not working a case. Prentiss sneaks under the tape and can only repeat that JJ said they were needed - urgently. Morgan's jaw clenches. A mere four hours sleep between the horrors they'd witnessed at the Turner farm in Canada and another case. But it's their job, and someone is dead, and the three BAU agents walk wearily into the building to meet Reid and JJ in the dead man's apartment.
Detective Walker stands beside the yellow tarp that doesn't hide the shape of a dead man and murmurs his thanks as Reid flips through the case file. The Metro detective explains that Nelson Martinez was forced into his home and shot in the chest. It's not the kind of case the profilers usually handle, Morgan reminds him, but there's more. A local doctor recently received a note stating that the writer was going to kill his son, and if Dr. Barton attempted to keep his boy hidden an innocent person would die every day in his place. Reid explains that the killer's note is signed "LC" - initials that were scrawled in white chalk next to this body, and next to the body of another murder victim the police found yesterday. If Dr. Barton continues to protect his son, there will no doubt be more.
JJ tells the team that Dr. Barton is at his home, and doesn't know about the current victim - and she's been unable to reach their Unit Chief, Aaron Hotchner, on either his cell or his home phone. She's left a message that she assumes he will get when he wakes up. As the team heads out, Rossi tells her to leave him another message with the Barton address - Hotchner can meet the team at the doctor's house.
In the Unit Chief's apartment, his PDA lies beneath a chair, JJ's voice sounding clearly in the silence.
Dr. Barton stands nervously in his foyer, explaining to the agents that he'd told his son that there was some kind of threat against his own life to keep the fifteen-year-old boy at home. He's worried, appalled that someone might actually hurt his son. As Rossi explains that two men are already dead, and that the killer will presumably continue to target the innocent, the soft footfalls on the landing above them go unnoticed. More people will die.
The silent witness turns away.
Prentiss assures the worried father that they do not intend to put Jeffrey into any danger, and that they would not want him to go to school and risk endangering the other students. Rossi tries to get Dr. Barton to focus, explaining that they will need to go over his life carefully in order to determine who is trying to kill Jeffrey. Prentiss gently tells the doctor that this killer has made it personal - that he wants Dr. Barton to remember who he is. The doctor has looked everywhere for a connection to the letters LC, but he cannot think of a single person he knows with those initials. There's been no one watching him. When Det. Walker tells him that both victims were Hispanic men in their 40s and asks about patients, Dr. Barton snorts, reminding the man that he's a trauma surgeon in DC - he works on all demographics. As JJ walks off to contact Garcia for records of all of the doctor's recent surgeries, Barton demands to know why this killer wouldn't just want to kill him and leave his son alone. Prentiss hurries after her teammate to ask for news about Hotchner, but there is none.
Dr. Barton's cell phone rings and he answers - it is his son, Jeffrey. "Please don't be mad at me," the teen asks. Morgan rushes upstairs to the boy's bedroom and sees the open window. Jeffrey heard the conversation and has walked to school. "Please tell the police that I'm okay," he says, and then tells his father he loves him as he walks into the school.
"Karl Kraus said, 'A weak man has doubts before a decision; a strong man has them afterwards.'"
Amid the sea of students, teachers, faces have lost all meaning for Jeffrey. He walks slowly, nudged here and there by figures scurrying around him, his eyes wide in fear. He slows, looking back and forth, until he finally comes to a halt in the middle of the crowded hallway, alone.
Prentiss rushes from the doctor's house in pursuit of the anxious father who has followed the team to the sidewalk. She tells him to come back inside, words echoed by Rossi who assured Dr. Barton that the team will find Jeffrey and keep him safe. Now that his son has made it to school that is the safest place for him to stay, with controlled access during the day, and a safe, carefully executed evacuation at the end of the school day. Panic may mean more lives lost. "Let us do our job," Rossi insists. Morgan tries to get the doctor to see that Jeffrey is just trying to do the right thing, to save lives like his father does. With messages of love and pride for his son, he agrees to stay behind.
On the phone with Reid, Garcia is swamped by medical files - Dr. Barton is a trauma surgeon at a major hospital, there are thousands of surgeries to go through. When Reid questions if the analyst can get the full medical charts, she reminds him that "For smart boy you still ask a lot of dumb questions." Before she hangs up he asks if she's heard from Hotchner, and Garcia is surprised to find out that Unit Chief is not with the team. When Prentiss and Dr. Barton return to the house, he opens his email and begins to print out the files Garcia is sending.
Principal Sheila Findlay is shocked, insisting that she must contact the parents of all of her students. Morgan is less than gentle as he tells her that the killer might be watching, waiting for an opportunity to hurt more innocents, and, as his shooting skills are not precise, that many children may die if he targets Jeffrey here. Rossi quickly explains their plan to lock all outside doors except one, to filter all visitors through it, and to calmly behave as if everything is simply school policy. He continues to go over details as the principal moves to a file cabinet nearby to obtain employee records for every adult in the building. Her hands busy, Principal Findlay nods and agrees to what the agents tell her, doing her best to stave off her own horror at what could happen in her school.
At Morgan's request, the principal goes to Jeffrey's classroom and calls him out into the hallway. The other students mutter, clearly wondering what trouble their classmate is in. Outside the classroom door Morgan waits. He makes sure that Jeffrey has told no one about the situation and reassures the young man that he will be there every time the classes change, ready to keep him safe. Jeffrey has questions, questions about why someone would be targeting his father, and him, but Morgan does not have those answers - yet. Morgan quietly assures the teen that he has his back.
Medical files are piled in an organized mess on the Barton's table, and Reid and Prentiss explain how they will narrow the search. They give Dr. Barton some insight into their profile of this killer - a male who is currently not employed and is more likely a father himself who is grieving and wants Dr. Barton to feel his pain. Reid suggests they narrow the files to someone who has lost a child or who had a strong family presence at the hospital. The doctor wants to know how any similar cases the team has had ended, and Reid reluctantly admits that the most likely outcome is "suicide by cop" - this will make their point while also ending their suffering.
Barton glances at the clock, nervousness increasing. There are too many files, and, working in the ER doesn't allow him to remember names - he is trained to operate and move on. Prentiss rises, knowing that they need more eyes to go through the medical files. She can be at Hotchner's and back within half an hour. Reid looks up as she hurries off.
From outside, the school closes down, doors are locked, and security guards are briefed. Inside the classrooms, students raise their hands, chat, take notes, but Jeffrey Barton sits anxiously and looks around, dazed, feeling detached in such a familiar place. When the bell rings and classes change he sees JJ, seeks out Morgan's dark gaze and enters his next classroom.
Prentiss parks in front of The Langham, Hotchner's apartment building, and walks quickly inside. She knocks and calls out, but there is no answer. Dialing his cell, she hesitates when she hears the loud ringing through the door. Placing one hand on the wooden door she is startled that the door gives - it isn't locked. Weapon out, she bursts inside, eyes flashing into every corner. A large bullet hole at head height catches her eye. A dark red pool of blood. Broken glass. And Hotchner's abandoned PDA beneath a kitchen chair. Hotchner is gone.
The phone is ringing as Garcia enters her office. It's Prentiss. She tells the analyst to send the FBI and crime scene techs to Hotchner's apartment as quickly as possible, and to put out an APB for the missing agent. Garcia is shocked, stammering, but is ready to send an army. Prentiss pointedly tells her that noone on the team is to be told - she'll tell Reid as he was expecting her back, but the rest of the BAU agents must be clear to focus on saving the life of Jeffrey Barton.
At the Barton home, Reid's cell rings and, as he listens, tension is visible in the young agent's body. Barton is concerned - worried that the call is about Jeffrey, but when Reid mutters that it is about an unrelated matter, the father is angry, insisting that Reid concentrate on his son. Reid is firm but compassionate, explaining quickly that he has to take this one phone call. Barton slams a file down on the table and storms off. Prentiss is already describing the scene at Hotchner's to the other agent, telling him about the large caliber bullet hole in the wall but the lack of blood spray around it. He asks her to detail everything - that they will go over her notes when she returns, and, when she asks about Barton, admits he is daunted by the number of medical files.
Calling Barton back into the room, Reid tells him that Prentiss was "called away on an emergency," and then goes on to say that he is "confident that the two of them can do this together." He begins to ask the doctor questions, trying to narrow the search to operations on Hispanic males, and then to dates where the doctor may have operated on another patient as well, especially to cases where one of the two patients died on the table. From hundreds, to eighty, to eleven cases - this is where the two will start. "This whole thing is about choice. He's forcing you to play God with your son because the last time you had a choice your decision devastated him."
Prentiss pulls on her gloves and begins processing Hotchner's apartment, checking for prints, for any evidence. She finds an open address book on his table - the entire "B" section has been removed.
Focusing the doctor further, Reid asks him to concentrate on operations on Hispanic males when the other patient died. And then on patients under twenty who died. There are only six dates on which that occurred. Reading out the names, Reid urges Dr. Barton to remember. Names. Injuries. Diagnoses. Faceless patients draped in sterile dressings, hidden by ventilators and tubes. Family after family in the waiting room. He shakes his head - he'd certainly remember being threatened. "Did any of them ask you about your family?" Reid wonders, but Barton looks at the clock.
It's almost noon, and the evacuation plan is in place for the final bell. Morgan and JJ tell the principal that a SWAT team will escort students from the building at 3:10 PM. They advise her to call for a full assembly at 2:45 to organize students and staff. Principal Findlay wants them to move up the schedule and evacuate now, but Rossi and the others convince her it is safer for Jeffrey and for other innocents to use this time to try to find out the killer's identity. JJ advises the team that Garcia is cross-checking all school employee files against Dr. Barton.
When Penelope Garcia's phone rings she assumes it will be Prentiss and calls out her name. Morgan is taken aback for a moment at her breathless hurry, but she assures him that she is just tired. There were no connections or red flags on the school employees, and Morgan doesn't have time to ask for any further explanations - he simply agrees that they are all tired and would like to assure Jeffrey's safety by finding the killer. She tells him to be safe.
Another bell and Jeffrey is in the hallway. The students seem to press around him more tightly, isolating him, keeping him from seeing if Morgan is still there. He looks around, panic flaring inside, and moves quickly, shouldering into other students in his hurry, trying to move, to get away. Suddenly JJ is there, smiling, face friendly can calm, asking him where the principal's office is. Jeffrey stops, almost panting, relief washing over him. He turns and sees Morgan waiting at the other end of the hall.
Garcia is busy, dialing ER after ER in the District, Maryland, and Virginia, asking for word on possible admissions of FBI SSA Aaron Hotchner. She calls again and again, and is startled when one hospital has news. She makes a note and calls Prentiss. St. Sebastian hospital just advised her that an FBI Agent Derek Morgan dropped a John Doe patient off at the ER early this morning. The two women are confused, Garcia asking if the two men got their credentials mixed up somehow. Prentiss stops, eyes wide. "The Reaper," she mutters. The Boston serial killer stole Morgan's credentials during their investigation. She rushes off to the hospital.
Dr. Barton lets Reid know that even the days he performed two surgeries, the operations themselves were hours apart - he never made a "choice" between two patients. Reid has him look at the note again, wondering if the unsub has unconsciously mirrored any information that could have been written on a patient chart. The doctor's eyes are drawn to specific phrases: "nothing you can do," "on your hands," and the signature, "LC." He remembers.
Weary, he'd come from the operating room to speak with the patient's family, his nurse, arms full of charts at his back.
He tells Reid he remembers a case just after the New Year. He'd worked on an accident victim that was Hispanic. Reid finds the file and reads off the patient's name.
"Ms. Ledezma?" The entire family stood there, waiting for him to tell them if the patient would live or die. This time he'd live - he'd repaired the kidney damage and the family was hugging, crying happily, thanking him. "What about my son?" A man stood before him, face devastated. He asks about another boy in the accident, his son, Jason Meyers. He'd turned to the nurse and she held out a chart. Oh. This one wasn't so lucky. "Your son was dead when he arrived here."
He'd never operated on the boy. He had to tell the father that, even though his son had been put on a ventilator, he no longer had brain function. It was too late to save him.
"You didn't even know who he was - she had to give you the chart!" The father's voice was thickened by grief, by anger. Tears stood in his eyes. He'd asked he had children and he told the man he had a son. "Well what would you say to a doctor who didn't even try to save him?" He'd told the father there was nothing he could do.
Reid calls Garcia to get further records regarding Jason Meyers. Garcia finds that the boy was taken off life support and declared legally dead three days ago. She brings up records of his father, Patrick Meyers and gets the information to the school.
Prentiss eyes the medical monitors as Dr. Zwerling assures her that Hotchner will be fine. The BAU agent lies pale and motionless, his arms swathed in bandages. He has just returned from surgery to repair the damage from nine knife wounds - none of which hit any major arteries. The doctor replaces his chart and walks out as Prentiss pulls the chair closer to Hotchner's bedside.
SWAT units have arrived at the school and the students are lined up, silent now, anxious to be ushered to safety. JJ sits on the steps with Jeffrey, telling him that they will wait until all of the other students have been evacuated safely before he gets his own escort home.
Prentiss can't help but check Hotchner's chart, and a handwritten note at the top catches her eye: "Aaron Hotchner- LC." She steps into the hallway to try to get someone's' attention. She finds the doctor and points to the letters LC, asking for an explanation.
At the Barton home, Dr. Barton puts on his coat. The killer's note advised him not to deviate from his routine, and he always picks Jeffrey up at school on his days off. As Reid moves to go with him his cell phone rings. Prentiss explains that an administrative "LC" on a patient's chart means "Living children." It is a note put on a chart when a patient does not have a Living Will or DNR order. Reid immediately suggests that it was the Patrick Meyers' way of telling Dr. Barton that he, the doctor, was the real target, and that he was going to leave his son without a father. Reid hears the door of the Barton residence open and races out.
Patrick Meyers is waiting. He stands in the street and aims his gun at Barton just as Reid flies out the door and tackles the doctor to the ground. The gun fires. Reid's cell phone and weapon land in the grass.
Just outside Hotchner's room, Prentiss has called 911 to send backup to Reid at the Barton home.
Reid clutches the bullet hole in his leg and urges the doctor to grab his gun from where it has fallen. Still shielding Barton with his body he points his weapon at Meyers who is advancing across the lawn. Meyers is shouting, distraught, claiming that Barton killed his son. Reid, his aim steady on the armed killer, calmly reminds Meyers that his son was killed in a car accident. "I do not want to shoot you, please drop the gun," he states. As Reid talks, Meyers arm wavers, the gun lowers, the young agent's words penetrating, telling him that this is not what his son would want. Reid watches the man's hand shake, sees his head turn towards the sirens that are getting louder, and under his breath he whispers, "Don't do it." Meyers hand steadies and he cries out, "I'm sorry!" as he brings the gun up again. Reid shoots and Meyers crumples.
The doctor immediately kneels by Reid but the agent motions him away to Meyers, insisting that he is all right. Barton rolls Meyers over, peels off his own jacket and wads it up to press it against the wound on Meyers' abdomen. The emergency responders arrive and the doctor gives orders to stabilize Meyers' condition as police clean up the weapons. Barton moves away and glances down at killer's blood all over his hands. He hurries over to Reid just as the other BAU agents and Barton's son drive up. Reid urges Barton to his son as his teammates hover around him. The young agent is agitated, insistent that he is fine, frantic for the team to call Prentiss. "Something's happened to Hotch," he pants through the pain.
Hotchner is still unconscious when Rossi, JJ, and Morgan arrive and Prentiss hurries into the hallway to speak with them. She found footage on the hospital security cameras which shows Foyet dropping Hotchner off, but could not see which direction the attacker drove off in. Rossi theorizes that Foyet acted out of character - leaving Hotchner at the hospital for treatment, because he lives for power and control and wants Hotchner to know that his life was in Foyet's hands. The doctor lets them know that Hotchner is waking up.
The team speaks quietly, telling Hotchner that he is in the hospital where Foyet left him. Hotchner's eyes blink as he tries to focus, tries to remember. He flashes on Foyet, masked, in his apartment, on the killer's voice, his gun.
"What did he take?" Hotchner whispers, reminding the team that The Reaper always took something from his victims. Prentiss remembers the missing section from Hotchner's address book - the Bs were missing. The agent's breath hitches painfully. "What did he leave?" Again he must remind his colleagues that The Reaper leaves an item that belonged to a previous victim. Prentiss shakes her head - nothing in his apartment seemed out of place. He asks for his clothes and they begin to go through the bag. Hotchner reaches for his wallet and sees a photograph wedged into its folds. It is a picture of his ex-wife Haley and their son, Jack. He leans back, panting, gritting his teeth. Haley's maiden name is Brooks, and she's listed there in his personal information. The Reaper knows where they live.
The agents hurry to their car, advising Garcia via telephone to send SWAT to Haley's house. Rossi takes a moment to warn his colleagues about what they might find when they get there: Foyet wouldn't have kept Hotchner alive without a reason.
In his hospital room, Hotchner studies the picture the killer left. He remembers.
"You should have made a deal," Foyet whispers before he puts a bullet into the wall beside his head. He hadn't flinched, and Foyet noticed. He wasn't afraid of Foyet, and Foyet thrived on the fear of his victims. The killer had reached for his mask and he'd attacked, struck his hand away, but Foyet was fast and rested - obsession giving him strength. He'd fallen to the ground. Foyet kicked him, hit him with the gun. The fog descended, his vision graying around the edges, his heartbeat deafening in his own ears. Foyet spoke, crouched over him, and two bright, cold, hot flashes of pain erupted through his belly.
The monitors shriek and the doctor hurries over. "Agent Hotchner, can you hear me?" Hotchner's vitals stabilize and he opens his eyes. The doctor tells Prentiss to step out.
There's a bike in the yard but no little boy. The house is still, the door unlocked when SWAT and the team rush inside. One booted foot kicks a stray action figure from the stairway. Upstairs there is no sound, no sign of life. The door bursts open and Haley screams, flinging the earbuds from her ears as the agents rush in. JJ speaks to her, calming her, telling her it is okay. Haley is alone, Jack's at a friend's house for a play date. Rossi tells her to call and tell Jack that Morgan is coming to pick him up from his friends' house. She wants an explanation, wants to know what happened to Hotchner.
Foyet's face fills his vision, the bloody knife near his chin. He brags about how much he had to study the human body before he could stab himself repeatedly and not die. The knife penetrates more slowly now, and he feels his breath gurgle in his throat. The killer's eyes are burning above him as he straddles him, pulling off his coat, his gloves. He feels Foyet rise, the pressure easing, and then he's back, bare chest exposing his scars proudly. He wants to tell the monster that his team will come for him, but the words are mumbled. Foyet crouches closer, his breath hot against his face. "Now try to relax. Your body will go numb and it goes in so much easier if you relax." Pain. That's all there was, all there would be. Vision blurs.
The face above him is distorted, smudged, Foyet's voice seething, intense. The knife is back. He talks about stabbing, about profilers believing it is a substitute for sex. "That if somebody's impotent that he'll use a knife instead." The killer is sweating, breathing hard, close, too close. "Maybe this will change the way that you profile." No. Not numb enough. There's so much pain.
Hotchner's eyes flutter open at the shrill of a cell phone and he looks out at Prentiss. Her face shows her relief. "They're safe," she tells him.
Haley is arguing with Rossi and JJ over an open suitcase when Morgan carries Jack into the bedroom. Jack is excited about getting to play with the siren. JJ moves to Jack's room to start packing.
Sitting up now, Hotchner asks Prentiss if she found out how Foyet got into his apartment, but she doesn't know. "Do you want to talk about what happened?" she asks. Hotchner hesitates. After a long moment he tells her that he doesn't remember, that it wall went blank after he was stabbed the first time. Prentiss leaves when Haley walks in. He assures her that he will be fine, apologizes that she and Jack have to be taken into protective custody by the Marshal Service. She can't have any contact with anyone, including him. She's angry, and Hotchner understands, telling her that they will catch Foyet and he will spend the rest of his life making it up to her. He explains that Foyet wants him to suffer, and separating him from all contact with his son will do just that. She breaks down, wondering how she can do it, but he reminds her that she is strong. "Can you catch this man?" she asks. "I will catch this man."
She brings Jack in to sit on his daddy's bed and say good-bye. Jack is quiet, sad to be going away. Hotchner tells Jack that he's proud of him and kisses him on the forehead. "Take care of mom," he tells his son.
In the corridor U.S. Marshal Sam Kessmeyer waits to take Haley and Jack away, promising to look after them as if they were his own. JJ assures Prentiss and Morgan that Reid called and he will be fine, even if he will need crutches for a while. "Kicking down doors is Morgan's job anyway," she jokes. Morgan is pensive, the lines of exhaustion clear on his face as he watches Haley and Jack walk away from the hospital. Prentiss tries to tell him that Foyet's use of his credentials doesn't have anything to do with what happened. Morgan understands - he understands that Foyet loves power and control and wanted Morgan to fall apart. Now he wants to destroy Hotchner. And the team will fight.
Hotchner lies motionless on the hospital bed, staring at the ceiling. After a while he notices a presence - Rossi stands at the door. Rossi wants to know if Hotchner heard about the other case - Dr. Barton and his son. He quickly explains how the killer wanted Barton to use his son as bait. "It was a happy ending," Rossi smiles. Hotchner knows Rossi is trying to remind him that their team - the BAU team - did what no other team in the world could do. "We'll get Foyet." Hotchner thinks back on the way Foyet waited ten years to start killing again just to watch another agent's life fall apart. Tears fill his eyes as he thinks about what Jack will remember about his daddy after ten years. Rossi moves closer, determined. "Hotch - look at me. I'm telling you - we'll get him," he promises.
[recap written by Finnegan77]