Criminal Minds

Season 3 Episode 9


Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Nov 21, 2007 on CBS

Episode Recap

Garcia lies on the steps in front of her apartment building, fading in and out of consciousness as the paramedics work on her. Her neighbor looks on, concerned – trying to help but only managing to get in the way. Garcia struggles to tell the medics her name as they load her onto the stretcher and wheel her towards the ambulance, leaving only a bloodstain on the cement stairs.

Hotchner hurries towards JJ at the BAU, and she can tell by his tone and the look on his face that something terrible has happened.

In the ambulance, Garcia is having trouble breathing and one of the medics begins bagging her. Arriving at the hospital, the medic tells the doctor that the patient is a 30-year-old woman with a single gunshot wound from the shoulder to the abdomen. They take her directly to the OR. Reid enters the waiting room and JJ explains that Garcia is in surgery and there's no word yet on her condition.

In the Operating Room, the surgeons are having trouble finding the source of all the bleeding.

When Rossi arrives, Hotchner tells him that the Metro Police believe the attack on Garcia was a botched robbery. Reid walks away to try Morgan, again, on his cell phone, but the calls are all going directly to his voice mail. Hotchner confides to Rossi that Garcia's chances do not look good.

The surgeons are working feverishly to find the bleeder before Garcia goes into cardiac arrest.

Frustrated, JJ turns away from the desk to tell the rest of the team that there is still no information from the surgeons.

Prentiss cannot believe that they can't reach Morgan – they need to find him.

In a dark, empty church, Morgan sits quietly in a pew. His eyes are closed, and he seems to be desperately seeking some connection with his faith.

James Colby Baylor walks along a bridge and leans nonchalantly against the rail before reaching into his pocket and dumping a gun and ammunition into the river below.

Garcia is losing a lot of blood from both her chest and abdomen. The surgeons conclude that the bullet must have ripped right through her diaphragm and nicked the splenic artery. Prentiss takes JJ's hand. One surgeon puts pressure on the bleeding artery as the other attempts to tie it off. Rossi takes the charm bracelet out of his pocket and fingers it. Garcia's heart stops, and the doctors begin defibrillation. As they work over her body, Garcia's mind races – it is filled with pictures of her as a child, dancing around her living room, coloring, and then driving away from home in her convertible when she was older. She thinks of herself in her office at the BAU, and then remembers the moment when Baylor took out his gun and shot her.

William Shakespeare wrote: "Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none."

Finally, Garcia's heart starts to beat again.

When Morgan walks into the waiting room, the team tries to reassure him that he could not have done anything had he arrived sooner. He is very upset, demanding to know if the police have found any leads. The appearance of the surgeon stops all conversation. The news is good – Garcia will recover completely. Had the path of the bullet been off by even a centimeter, it would have torn through her heart, but she will probably be able to leave the hospital in a few days. The relief of the team is palpable. Hotchner suggests that he and Rossi go to the scene while the rest of the team members wait at the hospital so that they can see Garcia as soon as she wakes up. Hotchner doesn't care what protocol would tell them – they will be working Garcia's case.

As Garcia struggles to wake up, she sees Baylor's face and relives the shooting.

Det. Walker of the Metro Police walks Rossi and Hotchner through the scene as he sees it. He believes the assailant saw Garcia enter her home and kicked the door in after her. He robbed her, and she chased him outside where he shot her. Evidence shows that the assailant stood about 15 feet away when he shot Garcia. The shooter took Garcia's purse and dumped half of it before he ran off. Hotchner walks down the sidewalk and questions how someone could be so accurate when he was running away. He also wonders what kind of criminal would attempt to rob someone whose apartment was in a closed courtyard. He answers his phone to find out that Garcia has awoken, and he and Rossi will head back to the hospital.

JJ is holding back tears as she comes up beside Garcia's bed and leans down to kiss her cheek. Morgan, standing at the other side of her bed asks her how she's feeling. She is groggy, and feeling incredibly stupid for believing that the man she met at the coffee shop could have actually been interested in her. JJ is quick to suggest they let her rest when Garcia begins to get upset, but Prentiss apologetically asks for the man's name before they go. Garcia tells her it is James Colby Baylor. Garcia asks that JJ stay behind for a moment.

Preceding Reid down the hallway, Morgan's tension gets the better of him and he slams one hand into the wall. He cannot remember anything Garcia told him about the man she met. Hanging up her cell phone, Prentiss advises the two that the shooter probably used a revolver in order to eliminate shell casings. Reid observes that the man is smart enough to use "forensic countermeasures" – he staged the scene to look like a robbery and he knew enough not to leave shell casings – that means that the name he gave Garcia is likely to be fake. JJ rejoins the team and lets them know that Garcia does not want to be talked about as if she were a victim.

Leaving Garcia's apartment, Hotchner and Rossi are doing just that – discussing victimology. Rossi describes Garcia as someone who "wears her individuality like a shield," which may prompt someone into choosing her as a victim. This unsub may be a sadist who likes gaining women's trust and then trying to kill them. Rossi explains that Kemper, Bundy and Robert Anderson all had an element of that in their profiles. But something is bothering him – it is too much of a coincidence that a sadist would just happen to choose someone who works as an analyst for the FBI.

Reid and Morgan watch over Garcia through the glass door of the ICU room. Morgan explains that he asked Garcia to go out the night before, but she was still angry with him because of his comments about the man in the coffee shop. He's trying to come to grips with the fact that the first time he was able to pray in 20 years, one of his best friends was on an operating table fighting for her life. The nurse tells them that Garcia is asking for them and they go to her, Morgan taking her hand. Garcia tries to tell the men what a strange experience it was to be shot and to be in and out of consciousness as the paramedics worked on her. When Reid tells her that they have a sketch artist coming in, she admits to being a bit hazy. She remembers that the man said he was a lawyer and took her to a restaurant that was half an hour away. His car was a white, American, four-door-sedan that smelled new. When Reid asks her if it could have been a rental car she tells him that she doesn't look at things the way the profilers do – she doesn't see danger everywhere. She does remember that he smelled good, and seemed to be afraid to kiss her goodnight. Her mind races back to the moment when he shot her, and she remembers that, after she fell, she heard him walking towards her. She held her breath so he would think that she was dead.

Baylor is crouched over the bloodstained cement outside Garcia's apartment building speaking with her neighbor. She tells him that a woman was shot and that she is in Intensive Care. Baylor is shocked that she survived. He asks the neighbor about the investigation, but she doesn't know anything else. He comments that the police can't seem to keep anyone safe.

Four days later there are still no leads on the case. Hotchner and Rossi walk through the BAU and discuss the situation – Garcia is out of ICU and can go home in a few days, and Reid and Morgan are trying to replay the crime with her to dig up other information. In the conference room, JJ is just hanging up with the police who have shown the sketch around the coffee shop and the restaurant but haven't met anyone who recognizes the unsub. Prentiss found no hits in VICAP, Hotchner can't find a matching vehicle with rental car companies, there are no shell casings and the cell phone Baylor used to call Garcia at work was disposable.

The unsub is purchasing a new revolver at a local gun shop. The shop owner is surprised that someone is interested in a revolver – most people want semi-automatics as they hold more rounds. Baylor insists that "you don't need more rounds if you don't miss."

Morgan and Reid continue to look for details in Garcia's memory of her date with Baylor. He tried to impress her by taking charge of ordering for her. He wore a fake Rolex watch which he played with in order to make her think that it was real. He asked her about her work with the FBI, and if she worked murder cases. When Garcia asked about him, he suggested that he went to school at Yale and Harvard, and then became a city attorney. After experiencing some of the incompetence in the system he went into private practice – he was tired of the murderers getting away with it because of ineptitude.

Back in the BAU conference room, the team members try to put the pieces together to come up with a profile of the unsub. Reid notes that he was able to use legal terminology, but that his story was bogus – city attorneys do not try murder cases. He may have failed out of law school or failed the bar exam. This could explain his anger – his criticism of others' incompetence could have been genuine. The unsub is definitely a narcissist – all of the clues point there from the clothes and the watch to the references to Harvard and Yale. Hotchner asks JJ to find another technical analyst who can put all of this information through the FBI's legal database.

Rossi and Hotchner escort analyst Kevin Lynch into Garcia's office. He is willing to help, but explains that computer techs are a paranoid bunch, because of the kind of information that goes through their hands every day. Hotchner asks him to look up the name James Colby Baylor to see if it shows up anywhere in the ABA data files. Lynch is immediately impressed by Garcia's system, and her use of open source codes – a rarity in government information systems. He cannot find the name James Colby Baylor, so Hotchner asks him to find everyone who failed the bar exam or who was fired from a law firm within the past five years. Lynch explains that this will give them thousands of names. Rossi suggests they narrow the search to people with the initials JCB – the unsub was wearing monogrammed shirts. When Lynch tries to access the data, new windows begin opening on the screen, until he's finally asked for a password. Something is definitely not normal.

Hotchner abruptly leaves the offices, and Rossi explains to JJ that he's probably regretting being the team leader right about then.

Morgan and Reid notice that something is wrong as soon as Hotchner enters Garcia's hospital room. He tells her about the encrypted file they've found on her computer, and asks her if she's involved in anything at the FBI that he needs to know about. She denies it, and denies that anything in that file could have any bearing on her shooting. She gives him the password: Gilman Street, and Hotchner tells the others that Internal Affairs has told him they must stop working the case, and that Garcia has been suspended. When Hotchner leaves, Garcia begins unhooking herself from the monitors, demanding that she be allowed to leave. Morgan tries to comfort her, telling her that he will get to the bottom of everything and that she needs to focus on getting well. Garcia insists that her life is falling apart, and she has to believe what she told Baylor right before he shot her – everything happens for a reason.

At the BAU, Agent Adam Fuchs is removing every photo and piece of evidence that the team had been collecting concerning Garcia's shooting. He explains that Analyst Kevin Lynch will do an audit of Garcia's computer, and Agent Fuchs will oversee an internal investigation of Garcia. Prentiss and JJ are adamant that Garcia could not have been involved in anything untoward, and they are worried that the investigation into the shooting of an FBI agent is being derailed into an investigation of that agent. Fuchs asks them if they have any idea how Garcia was recruited into the FBI.

Garcia is explaining to Reid and Morgan that her parents died when she was 18, and she immediately dropped out of college and went underground. But, wherever she was, she taught herself code.

Fuchs goes on to tell JJ and Prentiss that the FBI always kept track of computer hackers – people who could either be very useful, or very dangerous. Garcia was one of just a handful of people with the extremely rare computer skills they were looking for.

Reid recognizes the concept that the FBI has used before – if you can't beat them, join them. They once recruited the counterfeiter Frank Abagnale to help them in their fraud department. Morgan asks her what is in the encrypted file on her computer. She claims that, after her own system was hacked and Elle was shot over a year ago, she felt that she had to take steps to protect the team. Reid leaves to get the doctor to approve Garcia's release. Morgan drives her home, and the policeman on duty introduces himself to them before they go in. Garcia hesitates when she sees the remains of the bloodstain on the steps, but Morgan ushers her past. Morgan looks around her fantastically decorated apartment and can't help but chuckle at her quirky taste. He notices a Super 8 movie projector on a nearby table and she switches it on. The screen comes alive with a scene of an adolescent Garcia with her father. She explains that she always wanted to fight crime, and that worried her hippie parents.

Walking around, Morgan notices some scheduling calendars for an organization called "Volunteering for Families of Victims." Garcia tells him that she volunteers once a week, to counsel the families of victims of violent crimes – that's one way she copes with the crime scene photos she sees every day. He tells her that she should get some rest, and, when she tries to say goodnight he explains that her couch will be his permanent home until they find the man who shot her. As she turns to go into her bedroom, he stops her to tell her that he loves her.

Outside, Baylor steps out of the shadows behind the police car. Officer Matt Fleming gets out of the car and approaches him, telling him to stop, but Baylor pulls out his gun and shoots Fleming twice in the chest. The gunfire awakens Morgan and he's up off the couch in an instant. He calls to Garcia, and places her in a corner of the room. He hands her his second gun, and tells her to shoot anyone who comes through the door. Stepping outside, Morgan sees Baylor through the stairway railing. Baylor takes a shot at him, but Morgan ducks behind the wall. All Garcia can hear are the gunshots – she has no idea what is going on, so she frantically moves to another spot in the room, holding the gun in trembling hands. Morgan chases Baylor into the street, but Baylor slips away through the traffic. He kneels by the fallen officer and uses his radio to call for an ambulance. Re-entering Garcia's apartment, Morgan sees that she is no longer in the corner where he put her, and pulls out his gun again. Turning a corner, he comes face to face with Garcia, holding her own weapon in front of her. He is startled, but is able to calm her down and take her into his arms.

JJ, Reid and the rest of the team regroup at Garcia's apartment. Reid is sure that Garcia must know something about the unsub or have something that threatens him, but Garcia is positive that she doesn't know him. As the police work around the building, Baylor is in a car nearby, watching everything. Det. Walker stops Hotchner outside, telling him that he received a call that the BAU would not be working the case. When Hotchner tries to brush it off, saying they are just visiting a friend, Walker explains that he doesn't really care what the FBI has said; he'll take all the help he can get. Rossi explodes in frustration – they have to find a way to get ahead of the unsub and end this. When the team would have taken her to the BAU to ensure her safety, Garcia remembers something – when they were about to be seated in the restaurant on their date, Baylor insisted on sitting at the worst table in the place – one where he could have his back to a corner.

When Det. Walker and his team try to enter the room, Hotchner asks them for a few minutes. The profilers surround Garcia, intent on what she has just told them. Reid asks her about the man's car again – anything else she noticed. She remembers that the seat belt was buckled behind his back. The agents exchange glances – these two memories have given them some important information. Baylor was driving a surveillance car – he may be a fellow FBI agent. Rossi is the only one who can overcome his compassion for Garcia's feelings and demand her attention and he puts himself right in her face. He tells her to look at him, not at anyone else, and tells her that most people get shot for a reason. When Morgan tries to intervene, Rossi holds one hand up and continues, almost yelling. He wants to know everything she does on company time that they don't already know about. As the other team members object, he continues to probe for facts until Garcia finally admits that she counsels victims' families, and they know where she works so they ask her to look into cases. She then tags those cases so that local law enforcement will know that the FBI considers them a priority. Although she's not authorized to do that, she was just trying to help – to put pressure on law enforcement so they don't slack off. The people associated with those 7 or 8 cases believe that she's watching them. She can only see those files if they'll let her access her computer system.

Hotchner looks to Rossi, who reminds him that he's sick of the unsub always being two steps ahead of them. Hotchner, Rossi and JJ will go back to the BAU, while Reid, Morgan and Prentiss will stay with Garcia. Hotchner pointedly tells the three agents to make sure they log out of the system since Garcia should not have access. Morgan knows he is to read between the lines, and answers, "Understood." Baylor watches the agents drive away before starting his car and driving off himself.

Analyst Kevin Lynch is running an audit of Garcia's system when he notices she is trying to access her files. The two run dueling hacks to try to keep the other one from interfering, and, although Lynch is good, Garcia is better. She manages to lock him out of her system and access the accounts she needs. She sends the information to her home fax machine, and Morgan distributes the pages to Prentiss and Reid, asking them to look for agents who worked on more than one of the cases. Prentiss finds that the same Deputy Sheriff was first on the scene to three of the murder cases – all three were drive-bys, shot at close range with a revolver. The Deputy's name is Jason Clark Battle. Pulling up his file, Garcia sees that it is the unsub – Baylor. Battle was highly decorated but never promoted, probably because everyone around him could see that something was wrong with him. Garcia had stumbled upon an "Angel of Death" – someone who puts people at risk in order to save them. He shot people to save them, but when he couldn't save them he made it look like random murders. When Garcia flagged these cases, he thought she was on to him.

Not to be denied, Lynch manages to find exactly what Garcia's looking at on her computer, and Battle's photograph and file also appear on his screen. Lynch runs out of the office to tell the agents that he's found Garcia's shooter.

Morgan calls Battle's supervisor only to learn that the deputy is on duty until midnight. They cannot let Battle know they are onto him until they catch him, because he will definitely go out shooting.

At the BAU, JJ is heading to her office as Agent Fuchs is escorting a uniformed Deputy Battle into the bullpen area. Battle approached him to discuss FBI interference with his cases. Lynch walks past hurriedly, but Fuchs stops him to introduce him to Deputy Battle and ask him to access some files. Lynch hesitates, looking right into Battle's eyes for a moment before he precedes the two into the bullpen. Lynch sits at the first available computer station and keeps his back to Fuchs and Battle as he works at the computer. Battle keeps up a conversation with Fuchs about why an FBI Analyst would be keeping tabs on his murder cases. He asks if he can speak with Garcia, and implies that she might have something to do with the murder cases herself. Battle asks that his files be removed from the FBI computers until Fuchs' investigation of Garcia is completed. Lynch agrees to do it.

At her apartment, Garcia notices that Lynch is in the system, and he's putting files up on her screen at home. There are two possible explanations: either he's working with Internal Affairs and baiting her – waiting for her to log in with someone else's password, or he wants to show her something. Morgan asks her what her gut is telling her, and she replies that hackers have a code, and she has to trust it. He tells her to log in. Immediately, her screen shows the footage from the closed-circuit cameras inside the BAU, and they see Battle standing in the bullpen. Morgan calls Hotchner and hurriedly explains the situation.

Battle is watching everyone in the bullpen, and notices when Hotchner comes out of his office and heads towards Rossi's. They know that he will start shooting the moment he feels that his bluff has been called. Rossi believes Battle is trying to prove to himself that he's smarter than everyone in the FBI. They do not have a clear shot at Battle without putting someone else in the room at risk.

Garcia, Reid, Prentiss and Morgan feel helpless – they can see what's going on, but they cannot do anything about it. They know someone needs to get behind Battle, so they ask Garcia to access the cameras in the hallway outside the bullpen. She sends a coded message to Lynch and he gives her the access that she needs while continuing to stall Battle. Garcia's view changes and the agents see that JJ is at her desk – she's the only one in the right place to get behind Battle for a clean shot. Morgan calls her.

In the bullpen, Hotchner and Rossi have made their way down to the main floor, pretending to discuss a file, but Battle is watching them carefully. Lynch turns to Battle to tell him that all of his files are now erased from the FBI computers. Fuchs – the only man who doesn't know what is going on - moves to lead Battle out of the office.

Reid, Prentiss and Morgan know it will come to a shoot-out, and they head out to get back to the BAU offices. Garcia won't let them leave without her.

Battle grabs Fuchs from behind and pulls his gun. Hotchner and Rossi's guns are out a moment later. Rossi tells Battle that he doesn't want his decorated career to end like this, but Battle is arrogant. He believes that the best minds in the FBI cannot even stop him. Battle's back is to the glass doors into the hallway and he doesn't see JJ making her way carefully towards him, her own gun drawn. Rossi and Hotchner, standing directly across from him, see her clearly, and even though they make no moves, Battle senses something. He turns his head to look behind him and JJ never hesitates – she shoots him right between the eyes. The heavy glass of the doors crashes down on the floor.

Morgan lets Garcia see Battle's face before he pulls the yellow plastic sheet over the dead body. Her ordeal is really over. She notices a very emotional Fuchs speaking with Hotchner at the end of the row of desks, and Prentiss insists that he will sign her re-instatement papers as soon as his hands stop shaking. Garcia turns to JJ who is sitting quietly in the background. She tells JJ that she never wanted her to have to do something like that, but JJ shakes her head. She never hesitated – "you do whatever it takes to protect your family."

Rossi takes a moment to ask Morgan how his faith is holding up. Morgan honestly answers that he'll take it day by day.

JJ notices that Kevin Lynch seems to be staring at Garcia from a desk nearby. Garcia looks knowingly at her friend and asks, "Do you think everything happens for a reason?" She then strides confidently over and introduces herself to the awestruck analyst. [recap written by Finnegan77]