Criminal Minds

Season 2 Episode 2

P911

9
Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Sep 27, 2006 on CBS

Episode Recap

The scene opens to black-and-white with a young boy in a small room that appears to be soundproof. The boy is standing in front of a camera and holding an action figure. As the shot gets wider, the camera becomes visible and is located inside the mouth of a mask hanging on the wall. The boy talks to the camera, and says the name of his action figure is Jack. Jack is a soldier and he protects him. He then says he will be a good boy and begs to be let out.

At the Crimes Against Children Unit in College Park, Maryland, Amanda Gilroy is sitting at her desk, watching the video of the boy on her computer. There is no audio. She quickly walks to her boss's office, telling Katie she thinks Peter is back. Katie follows her back to watch the video, asking if she's sure it's a new image. Gilroy explains she got it from someone with the screen name "Hugz" while she was fishing in a chat room. The time and date are stamped an hour ago. Katie tells her to send Hugz the message "VN-HO" [very nice, how old], and they receive a URL to a website with a live feed of Peter, with a clock counting down underneath it. It's an auction. Katie tells her team to get Aaron Hotchner on the phone.

At the BAU, the team is assembled in the conference room watching the video of Peter. Reid says there are 40,000 images of child porn posted every week on the internet - about 20 new faces per week. Some of them are only months old. He says many of these children have been kidnapped and sold into pedophile rings.

Gideon explains that one year ago, the same boy appeared on several websites used by pedophiles. He was a new face then. After a massive hunt led by the Crimes Against Children Unit, the boy disappeared.

Hotchner adds by saying the boy disappeared until Katie Cole called them. Reid asks if she used to be in the BAU. Gideon confirms and says she is one of the first profilers. Hotchner adds she now a member of the Crimes Against Children Unit in Maryland. Morgan says he's always wanted to meet her. At that moment Katie walks in saying, "Really? I heard she's a bitch."

She walks to the monitor showing the video and explains the first time she ever saw him, he appeared in a series of photos. She'd named him Peter. Now he's being auctioned off when the clock runs to zero. Gideon points out Peter's face isn't pixilated. Hotchner says that's probably because the unsub is confident they are not going to be able to identify him in time. JJ wonders if they can't just track the origin of the server, but Katie says it's routed through a proxy server in Belarus. Even if that government were friendly, Peter would be gone before they finished the paperwork. JJ assures her they don't need to worry about the paperwork. They have Garcia.

Hotchner asks Katie what happened a year ago. She says they had cross-referenced the images of the boy and talked to known offenders nationwide. They had narrowed the location down to the eastern United States and even had some suspects in, but the trail had gone cold.

Morgan asks her how this time will be any different. She answers this time they have a starting point: The location where the image was first discovered - a chat room hosted by an independent web company in Cleveland, Ohio. And also this time she is bringing all of them in with her.

The countdown clock reads 17:26:25

Elle steps out of the elevator into the BAU office. Reid greets her awkwardly and Elle comments on Reid's new haircut. He asks her if she is okay. Hotchner joins them, saying to Elle he didn't think she would be back till next week. Elle avoids his stare and says she got a text message. Hotchner tells here that was a mistake, and there is no case for her until she's healthy. Elle protests, saying she actually was looking forward to watching a soap opera, and that she wants to work. Hotchner says she needs more time, but eventually gives in and tells her to accompany Reid to the Crimes Against Children Division. When Elle protests, Hotchner tells her the alternative is to go home, so she gladly joins Reid.

On the plane, Kate briefs the team. As she reacts to the movement of the plane, Gideon asks her if she has a fear of flying, indicating lengthy, deep-rooted issues of control. She eyes him and answers she thinks better on her feet. She explains they didn't run a linguistic analysis on the chat room because it doesn't work like real written language. Instead, a lot of abbreviations are used [called leetspeak]. She says pedophiles can be divided into two categories. The plane lurches and Hotchner offers her his seat as she finishes her sentence, "situational and preferential." Hotchner continues to explain situational offenders rarely seek out children, but they'll take advantage of a situation when presented with it. Preferential offenders actively target children by age group, hair color ... they'll seek out jobs that give them as much access to children as possible. Katie takes over again and adds they often trawl residential neighborhoods, hijacking home wireless systems, and communicating with children, often outside the very house the child is in. Or they'll simply use a wireless coffee shop to find, locate, and arrange a meeting. They're getting smarter and smarter, and all the security in the world can't stop them from coming through our doors. They're already in our homes. Hotch returns to the current case, saying if the unsub has had this kid for a year, it makes him preferential. Morgan asks why he is selling the boy, and Katie thinks he may be losing interest. Maybe Peter's getting too old or too tall. Preferential offenders are very specific about their preferences. Hotchner adds if he can't sell him, he won't just let him go. JJ asks if they should release Peter's picture to the media. Katie immediately opposes, explaining if the unsub thinks they're on to him, he may make a run for it and dispose of the boy. These predators have a fairly closed society. The way they run these sites gives them the expectation of anonymity. He probably doesn't know they're on to him yet. Hotchner orders Reid and Elle to check the live feed, the boy, and everything around him to see if they had missed anything.

At the BAU, Gilroy meets with Reid and Elle. They talk about the case and Elle asks her if she calls her boss Katie. Gilroy says everyone does.

At the Online Listing Service in Cleveland, Ohio, Dan Ash, the owner of the company, is seated behind his desk talking on the phone as Morgan and the team walk in with a warrant. They order everyone to stop what they're doing. Katie says they want access to their chat room databases.

The countdown clock reads 13:25:19

At the CACU office, Elle and Reid watch a live feed on the wall monitor. Elle points out the walls are padded and Reid comments on the strange dimensions of the room. He says it looks like a hall, but smaller. Gilroy joins them saying Katie just got us access to the original chat room's database. They watch as the names scroll on the screen. Elle points at the one they are after: Hugz.

Back at the Online Listing Service, Dan Ash is complaining the FBI is interfering with the right to free expression. Katie tells Morgan to pick a random chatroom and pretend to be a 12-year-old girl. He instantly gets a lot of messages. Katie turns to Dan again and tells him that's the sound of pedophiles looking to hook up with a 12-year-old girl named Suzy. And since he runs everything through SSL connections from proxy servers in offshore countries, they can't trace them in 12-1/2 hours. Dan backtracks and finally offers to help. In a threatening tone Gideon tells him there's a little boy for sale on one of his sites. "What can I do" just isn't good enough.

Back at the BAU, Garcia is unsuccessful at tracking down Hugz because of the proxy routing. She can, however, track the credit card he used to pay for the account. JJ reads what's on the screen. "Well, well, well. Graham Rose, 15 Hauser Lane, Richmond, VA." Garcia points out he also used the same card to pay for a web domain. She browses to that address and gasps as JJ phones Gideon to tell him they just found another child. On the screen, an older boy is sitting in the middle of a bedroom with bare torso, and his hands are tied to the chair behind his back.

The team is about to storm into Kevin's room where he is tied to a chair. A man is telling him he's a bad boy, and he wants to see him struggle. Kevin complies and then the team rushes in, asking Kevin where he is. Kevin has no idea what they're talking about. Everyone who was watching him and talking to him is instantly logging off. Gideon turns to Kevin and tells him he's safe now. Kevin unties himself and walks to the bed, "Safe?" Hotchner asks if the man who did this is still there. Kevin tells him this is his house and he walks to the keyboard about to type something. Katie tells him to not to do that and asks where Graham Rose, the owner of the house, is. She asks him if that is his father. Kevin scoffs, "Yeah, sure. You can call him that. I just call him a bastard." As they walk down stairs again, Hotchner says to Gideon the father's been in jail for the last eight months. Kevin's been selling the only thing he's got - himself. Gideon says his client base spans the globe. Morgan says Kevin was the one who uploaded Peter's video to the chat room, but he said it came from one of his clients. It was a shared file. Katie tells them it is possible. That buyers and sellers routinely trade files because the act in itself is an illegal act, which proves they're not the police.

They go back up to talk to Kevin. Katie is trying to get into his laptop. She recognizes what she's looking at are dummy logs and asks him what the password is that will get her into the real transcripts. Kevin tells her to figure it out herself, after all, she's FBI. Hotchner says to Kevin that they are trying to help him, but Kevin says that everything he does is consensual. Morgan says it is prostitution. Kevin points out that he's a minor, feigning ignorance. Also he never leaves his room, so no one, no one ever touches him. Gideon notices the scars on Kevin's chest and adds, "Anymore." He says his father's probably been beating you since you can remember. He never knew why he was hurting him. At night you'd cry yourself to sleep, hoping someone would come and save you. No one ever came. Hotchner tells Kevin that now he has the chance to be the one who saves someone. "You can't get to your father, but you can get to the guy who's hurting this boy." Kevin thinks for a moment, then tells Katie to move. He lets the computer back-up the transcripts and tells them the screen name of the guy who sent him the file is Mehtevas.

Peter is still talking to the camera, asking if he please can get out anytime soon.

Elle, Reid and Gilroy watch the live feed.

The site clock reads 09:29:48

Reid finally realizes what he finds odd about the room. It has no door. Elle notices there also are no windows, so he can't be seen, and the walls are padded so he can't be heard. Reid concludes the unsub's anticipating becoming a suspect, so he has hidden the boy and built the room around him.

Kevin tells Katie Mehtevas has been a client for about six months and he knows he's a local because he always is asking to meet, which Kevin never does. Katie tells him this time he has to because it's the only way to find Peter. She assures him he will be fine. Kevin still has some doubts, and asks if he won't be suspicious if he suddenly wants to meet with him. Kate and Gideon explain he's a need-driven offender, so he won't be able to resist. Kevin sets up a meeting.

The site clock reads 08:10:43

Elle is discussing the case with Gilroy. Peter first appeared a year ago, but he was in a normal room so something changed. Reid is still watching the monitor as Peter gets up and puts on a jacket. Gilroy says there must be something telling him what to do.

Garcia is also watching the live feed and recognizes a Tadpole shirt that Peter is putting on. When JJ asks her if she's sure, she explains she has four brothers. Garcia enhances the image to try and read the numbers on the badge. "Three, something, something, six?" JJ suggests. Garcia is already on it.

At the CACU, Reid tells Gilroy the team is heading to Alexandria and they want to know what's at the address. Gilroy looks it up and says it's right outside of an elementary school. As Elle grabs her things, Reid tries to stop her, but she warns him and they are off.

At Mark Twain Elementary School, Mr. Rawlings (aka Methevas) is watching the children on the playground. Kevin is leaning against a wall asking if he's Mehtevas? Rawlings doesn't deny it, and says his friends call him Hayden. Kevin gets too scared and runs away. Rawlings wonders if he said something wrong as Morgan and the other agents rush in to arrest him. Katie warns him to be a bit less rough. Hotchner checks Rawlings' wallet and asks him what the principal of a school is doing hooking up with a 14-year-old boy.

(later)

Hotchner tells Katie that Social Services is picking up Kevin at the Alexandria field office. He will go with him and he will be back as soon as he can. He asks if she's okay, and Katie replies she is. Elle and Reid also have arrived. Elle tries to blame Reid for dragging her along, but he denies it. Hotchner informs them the school district has given them permission to search Rawlings' office. They go there and Elle notices he's got a doctorate in child-psychology. "Well-prepared pedophile." Reid notices there is no computer and they look for one. Elle notices photographs on Rawlings desk, and tells Reid that Rawlings is a family man, so if he does have Peter, he's not keeping him at home. Reid finds a closed drawer. Elle forces it open with a pocketknife, and takes out a laptop.

Rawlings is taken to the administrative offices to be interrogated. He claims innocence, while Morgan assures him he will be charged with anything he can possibly stick to him. Katie shows him a picture of Peter, asking where he is. Rawlings looks at her and says he wanted to save this poor boy and he thought Kevin might know him. No one believes him. Gideon notices Morgan is becoming too involved and tells him to help search Rawlings' office. Morgan leaves, although reluctantly.

Katie continues the interrogation and goes along with the lie, asking him how he was going to save Peter. Rawlings says he wanted to save Kevin too. Gideon tells him to sit down.

Elle is working on the laptop, a login screen appears on screen. They need a password. Calling Garcia would take too long. Morgan tells Reid to do something genius-like. Reid tells him that if they type in the wrong password, it could trigger a virus that wipes the entire hard drive. But then he finally thinks of reversing M-E-T-H-E-V-A-S, which then reads S-A-V-E-T-H-E-M.

Garcia finally has narrowed down the Tadpole unit designations to four possibilities. JJ picks one: "Mount Pleasant, Virginia, 3446. That's it, right?"

Katie, Rawlings, and Gideon join Morgan Elle and Reid. They show him his laptop, and he claims it's research for a book. Katie tells him that's not research. That's a hundred years in a federal penitentiary. Rawlings tries to make a deal with Gideon. He tells him the man selling Peter is called Manchild and admits to bidding $8,000 on Peter – he's pretty sure he's the high bidder. He's still pretending to want to save the children until Katie asks him if, in his pursuit to save them, he thinks he could have avoided having sex with them. Gideon presses Rawlings for the password and Rawlings gives it: "Butterfly."

Katie logs in, and a chat window appears on the bottom of the live feed. She starts typing pretending to be MEHTEVAS, "No one is going to outbid me. I'd like to see my friend now."

Outside Peter's room a man is sitting on the floor, his back to the wall. He is watching the news showing the Mark Twain Elementary School principal being arrested. He immediately goes to his laptop where a chat window with messages from MEHTEVAS is showing. He mutters, "Hello, Agent Cole," and taps some computer keys.

On the other end of the screen, an HTTP Error 404 page replaces the live feed and chat window. Katie and Gideon are stunned, not knowing why he cut them off. Garcia is as well. Morgan breaks the news, "We got reporters outside of the schools. This thing is all over the news."

Elle, Reid, and Morgan are in an SUV tracking the Tadpole lead from Garcia. Reid says Garcia had better be sure. Mount Pleasant is 60 miles away and there's only two hours left on the auction clock.

Hotchner, Gideon and Katie Cole are in another room. JJ is making a plans with the media. Katie says she hopes the unsub will fall for it. She says she can't lose Peter again.

The unsub paces as he listens to the news. This time he learns the FBI is looking for a missing seven-year-old child believed to be somewhere within Alexandria. The members of the Crimes Against Children Unit are coordinating a door-to-door search. The boy is described as approximately three-feet tall with sandy brown hair.

He turns his laptop back on.

The site clock reads 1:05:21

Gideon and Hotchner are pleased he believed the story JJ fed to the media, but they only have one hour left. Gideon says when they get to Mount Pleasant, Elle and Morgan should go to the church. They'll take the school. Peter may be registered there. Katie admits she gave up looking for him one year ago.

Morgan, Elle, and Reid follow Reverend Jackson Harris through the church foyer into the back office. He doesn't recognize Peter, but he does recognize the shirt. He says the division disbanded six months ago, before he took over the congregation. There wasn't enough interest. He then remembers there may be a photo of the Tadpoles.

Hotchner, Gideon, and Katie talk with Gracie Hendricks at Fairvale Elementary School. She looks at the photo. She says she doesn't recognize him either, but she will check her records.

Reverend Jackson Harris returns with a framed photo. Morgan recognizes Peter, and Elle sees there are names listed on the back: TADPOLES 3446 TONY, MARK, CHARLIE. "His name's Charlie."

Gideon asks Hendricks about the first-grade kids who didn't register for second grade. Hendricks looks it up and says there were two transfers: Ashley Waters and Charlie Sparks. It doesn't say where Charlie went. Hotchner asks if she can describe the father, but before she has finished saying 'no' they leave her office.

The site clock reads 00:00:58

The team now is trying to track down Charlie Sparks. He's not in the phone directories and Garcia can't even find a Sparks within a hundred miles for the last 10 years. It's probably not his real name.

Reid ponders that his behavior is odd. The unsub apparently listed this kid in school and the Tadpoles until about a year ago. At that point, he had photos of him online in a regular-looking room but now he's in a prison-like room with no windows or doors, and is completely hidden. Katie agrees and adds preferential pedophiles don't change overnight. Hotchner wonders what happened a year ago to make him change his behavior so much. Gideon answers, "Katie almost caught him." He tells her she probably talked to him. The unsub is in her records.

JJ and Garcia watch the live feed, sitting quietly as the site clock counts down: 07 ... 06 ... 05 ... 04 ... 03 ... 02 ... 01 ... 00

Morgan's watch beeps. They just ran out of time.

The unsub gets out of his chair. He reaches under the couch, takes out a sledgehammer, and swings at the wall. Peter is scared and shouts, "Dad!" The unsub had told him he's his father.

Katie calls Gilroy and tells her to pull all of the original files on Peter's case. Morgan tells Gilroy to call Penelope Garcia at the BAU. She'll be able to tell if she can cross any off. Gilroy and Garcia work together and start crossing off names of suspects who now are in prison or deceased or don't fit the profile.

The unsub grabs his keys off the hallway side table and puts them in his pocket. He wears a baseball cap and dark glasses.

Morgan gets off the phone with Garcia. "Twelve men were interviewed. Eight are back in prison, one is dead. One lives in California, and two have last known addresses within 10 minutes of us - a Patrick Forest and a Michael Earlson." Katie says Patrick Forest isn't smart enough to put this all together.

The unsub locks his front door. He drags a large storage container along with him, puts it in the trunk and drives off. Just as he pulls out of the driveway, his SUV is blocked by several dark SUVs. He tries to make a run for it, but Morgan grabs him, pulls him back and slams him onto the car hood and handcuffs him. As the team rushes into the house, Katie looks at the storage container in the trunk. She opens it with frightened anticipation, and is relieved to find Peter inside, alive and screaming for his dad.

Back at the BAU, Earlson sits in an interrogation room. Katie and Gideon are in the room with him, Hotchner is watching through the one-way mirror. Morgan joins him and a moment later Katie and Gideon enter as well. Katie says Peter's real name is Dustin Powers. He was abducted in Newark, New Jersey. Morgan says JJ traced his mother and she is on her way. They leave the room, and Hotchner and Katie stay behind. He tells her no one has ever done the job she's doing as long as she's been doing it. She sighs, "I know." Hotchner suggests maybe it's time to get out, but she says she doesn't know if she can anymore.

Gideon and Katie escort Peter's real mother into the room, who thanks them profusely. Gideon reminds her that her son doesn't know who she is. "You can say hello, but don't say anything about being his mother. That'll just scare and confuse him." They all watch as she approaches the boy. As she kneels in front of him, he tightly holds on to the action figure. She asks the boy the name of the figure. Peter says "His name's Jack. He's a soldier. He protects me." She begins to tear up, gently shaking the action figure's hand. "It's nice to meet you, Jack. My name is Jackie." Peter looks up at her, "Really?" She smiles and nods. "Really." She asks if she can hold Jack. He hesitates, then believes he trusts her enough to hand him over to her.
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