Criminal Minds

Season 5 Episode 3

Reckoner

6
Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Oct 07, 2009 on CBS

Episode Recap

A woman walks into her house to find her husband tied to a chair in their As Heather Vanderwaal enters her dark apartment, there is a strange flash of light. Her argument with her ex-husband over her cell phone distracts her and she calls out to her husband, Ben, before hanging up abruptly. She calls out again, and notices the flash of light coming from behind the partially closed bedroom door. She walks down the hallway and pushes the door open. Ben is slumped in a chair facing the door, blood trailing down from a hole in the side of his neck. A bright flash of light surprises Heather and she flinches, and a man grabs her roughly and smashes her face into the wall. When she regains consciousness, Heather hears a strange raspy sound. She blinks her eyes open to see someone working over her husband's body. The man is using a saw, sawing off her husband's hand. He places the hand in a plastic bag and walks towards her. Jack Hotchner loves the swings. He's watching his feet as they go down and up, down and up, down to the grass, up to blot out the bright sun. Two agents watch him, making sure that Jack is safe, and the small surveillance camera attached to their car's visor shows the happy little boy at play. Back in Analyst Penelope Garcia's office, the image is clear - Jack playing on the swings. She can't zoom in any further on Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner's young son or the image will distort. He asks US Marshal Sam Kassmeyer how his son is, and the Marshal smiles, explaining how smart and wonderful Jack is. His smile fades as he explains that they will be moving Jack and Haley to a halfway house as Haley made some calls to her mother from their last location. They can't be too careful with Hotchner's family's safety. Hotchner thanks the Marshal, and Kassmeyer promises that no harm will come to Hotchner's family. "You just concentrate on getting Foyet," he states. Hotchner turns back to the video feed and watches pensively as his son walks towards the car, smiling. "Happy birthday, buddy," he whispers. Later, Hotchner is watching the rain run down his office windows when SSA David Rossi comes in. Rossi wants to talk with Hotchner about their new case located in Commack, Long Island, Rossi's hometown. Rossi would like to sit this case out - he left Long Island 30 years ago and is in no hurry to go back. Hotchner would love to help him, but he's just found out some news about one of his agents, and he's going to need Rossi to travel with the team. He hands a file to Rossi to explain himself. In the conference room, JJ explains the case. Ben Vanderwaal was killed in Commack last night, shot once in the heart and once in the head, beneath the ear, with a .22 caliber. They found trace evidence that his wife, Heather, was also injured, but she is missing. The MO matches two previous killings - Rita Hazlet went missing from her home in New Jersey eight months ago and then was found four weeks later emaciated and dead in a trash bin. She had been restrained, and shot. The third victim, Bill Levington, was also shot, but his genitals were removed post-mortem. All three victims were mutilated after a fashion, they must figure out the significance of this signature. As Hotchner rises, advising the team they will be leaving in twenty minutes, he tosses the file folder he'd shown Rossi at SSA Dr. Spencer Reid. The doctors never cleared the young agent for travel since his injury. Reid argues, saying he'd cleared himself, but Garcia, standing in the doorway tells him, "You're my bitch, now." Morgan laughs. A dark figure sits before his computer flicking through photographs of Ben Vanderwaal, tied dead to a chair, his right hand removed. He takes a piece of paper from his desk and looks at the list of names written there: Rita Hazlet, Bill Levington, Ben Vanderwaal, Dan Patton, and Boyd Schuller. The first two have lines drawn through them, and he carefully does the same with Ben Vanderwaal's. "Justice without force is powerless. Force without justice is tyrannical." Blaise Pascal Aboard the BAU jet, Prentiss explains the different tortures for the three victims, that Vanderwaal's hand was removed after death, as were Levington's genitals, and how Rita Hazlet was starved before her death. Hotchner wonders why the killer would suddenly take Heather Vanderwaal instead of killing her. His MO tells the BAU profilers that he is efficient, a no-nonsense murderer. They must determine what these acts mean to the killer or perhaps the victims. At the Vanderwaal home, Det. Gil Hardesty goes through the scene with agents Prentiss and Hotchner. He tells them that Heather's daughter, Allison, has recently returned to California to live with her father - Ben and Heather have only been married a few years. They walk through Heather's actions, and Hardesty tells them the phone and electricity were cut. Walking into the bedroom, Hotchner notices three round voids in the pool of Vanderwaal's blood that resemble a camera tripod. Prentiss explains that serial killers often document their kills. The police have found no prints, no fibers, and no one heard any shots. Hardesty receives a call and tells the agents that Heather Vanderwaal was just found wandering the streets and is in the hospital. Hotchner advises Prentiss to get Agent JJ Jareau over to speak with her. The killer left Heather alive for a reason. Heather Vanderwaal's face is swollen, bruised, and she's tearful as JJ pulls a chair up to her bed and introduces herself. Heather reaches for JJ's hand, telling her she saw a light flash and she opened the bedroom door. She saw Ben and realized he was dead. Another flash blinded her so she didn't see her attacker. She remembers hearing the noise, the sound of sawing, and how she saw him cut off her husband's hand. "Why didn't he kill me?" she cries. JJ gets a call and excuses herself. The call is from Garcia and Reid. Garcia neatly snatches one of her toys from the young agent's hands and tells JJ they've been studying Heather's life. Heather was unhappy - her ex-husband took their daughter, Allison, out of school mid-term and Heather has retained a divorce attorney. JJ asks Heather about the information, telling her she needs to know how it is all connected. Heather tells JJ that she found a picture of Allison on Ben's phone a few months ago - Allison was naked. She confronted him, but Ben said that Allison sent it to him by mistake - she had been 'Sexting' with a friend from school when it happened. Allison denied it, said Ben took it, but Allison is a known liar and caused a lot of trouble. "She wasn't lying about this though, was she?" JJ asks. Heather begins crying. The medical examiner tells Morgan and Rossi that the killer was not a surgeon - he used a basic saw on Vanderwaal's hand. Morgan examines the small bullet holes, and notices from the ME's report there is little gunshot residue. There is another anomaly - ballistics has found no rifling on any of the bullets. At the Commack police department, Det. Hardesty tells the agents that the person with the best motive for killing Ben Vanderwaal is Allison's father, Drew Sandweiss. Hotchner reminds the detective that Drew was in San Diego with many witnesses at the time of Ben's death. When he sees Rossi and Morgan walk towards them, Det. Hardesty strides towards the veteran FBI agent and sticks out his hand - he's very excited to meet SSA David Rossi. Rossi smiles awkwardly and shakes the detective's hand. Morgan and Rossi explain the lack of rifling to the team, telling them the killer is using a zip gun, a homemade gun that had to be used a point blank range. One in the heart and one in the head tell them that the kills were strictly business - the work of a hit man. The mutilations can be a part of the contract hit - "extras." The camera is for proof of death. There could be two people, or maybe more, involved with this hit man. Rossi believes some contacts of his from his life in the area might help. At a local Irish bar, a horse race is on the large plasma TV. Rossi walks in, and a large man with a distinct Irish accent tells him the bar doesn't open until 5:30 PM. Rossi points to a sports jacket across one chair and asks to see the man who owns it. The Irishman, Sean, walks towards Rossi and pats him down, pulling out Rossi's weapon and pointing it at the agent. Sean asks him if he's a dead man or a cop, and Rossi replies that he's just an old friend. Behind him, Ray Finnegan states that Rossi gave up that right when he became a Federal Agent. Rossi turns and greets Finnegan by name. The two sit down to talk, and Finnegan tells Rossi he thought he retired to write books. Rossi points to a half-finished crossword puzzle on the table and says some habits are hard to break. He picks it up and smiles, telling Finnegan he has a young colleague who can solve the whole thing in five minutes. "He must be smarter than both of us," Finnegan comments. It had been 33 years since they saw each other - Finnegan is surprised Rossi didn't show up for Emma's funeral since they loved each other so much. Rossi changes the subject and asks for a favor. Finnegan is appalled that Rossi thinks he could be involved with the local killings. Rossi explains that it is a professional hit man who uses zip guns and "throws in extras." He reminds Finnegan that his buddy Sean at the bar is currently on trial for trafficking weapons, probably for Finnegan, and that there is a RICO indictment hanging over his own head. "You help me," Rossi says, "and you'll be assisting in a Federal investigation." If he doesn't, he won't have any kind of reputation to protect as the FBI organized crime unit is very close to shutting down his business for good. The team discusses what message there might be in the mutilations of the victims. As the agents talk, Garcia and Reid call in using video conferencing. Garcia is quick to tell them that Ben Levington was involved with a number of underage rape cases that never went to trial. Reid all but cuts her off to tell the team that Rita Hazlet was fired from Social Services for gross negligence - in one of her cases a seven year old boy starved to death. Both the removal of the genitals and the emaciation fall easily into line with this information. Perhaps all of the victims were implicated in crimes against children. Hotchner mentions that the killer, or the one who hired him, has access to the criminal files of the victims and may work in the justice system. Hotchner looks at the video screen and says, "Garcia," and Reid and Garcia reply in stereo "I'm on it!" trading glares with each other. Prentiss reminds the agents that although Hazlet and Levington's alleged crimes were a matter of record, Vanderwaal's assault against his step-daughter was not. Det. Hardesty will arrange to have Allison Vanderwaal brought in for questioning. Hotchner calls Rossi to fill him in. At the bar, Finnegan offers Rossi a Cuban cigar. He tells Rossi that "some laws are simply unjust," saying that the victims seem to all have gotten what they deserved. He explains that his concept of justice hasn't changed since the two were kids - "you do what you got to do to survive." Rossi hands Finnegan a picture of Ben Vanderwaal's dead, mutilated body. Finnegan believes he knows who did it - a hit man named "Bosola." Allison sits quietly, hands folded, as her father demands to know why she didn't tell him about this. Prentiss tries to calm him, reminding him that Allison is the victim here. Immediately, Allison denies knowing anything about pictures, but when Prentiss tells her that they have the pictures she stills, staring in fear at her father. Upset, almost crying, Allison tells the agents that Ben only wanted to talk at first, and she didn't tell her mother because she would have told her father who had said he'd kill anyone who laid a hand on her. "And did he?" her father asks. Allison lowers her head. Finnegan goes on to say that Bosola has been operating for 20 years. The name comes from the play, 'The Duchess of Malfi' - Bosola brutally slays the Duchess. Finnegan gets down to business. He doesn't want any help with the RICO indictment; he only wants Rossi's help with Sean. Rossi looks down the bar at the young man and offers two years in Federal Prison. Finnegan agrees. He tells Rossi he'll bring him Bosola tonight, but Rossi had better bring a lot of back-up. Morgan asks Allison if she'd ever told anyone about what her step-father was doing. She says she only told her therapist. She tells her father she's sorry, and he comforts her. Morgan and Prentiss interview the therapist, Jerry Sorum. He believes that there was no question that Allison was sexually abused by her step-father. He reported it, the police had it reviewed by the state, but when the police interviewed Allison she wouldn't confirm anything and wanted nothing to do with it. Sorum is resigned, saying that it is no different from the other 380,000 cases of child abuse reported each year - less than 1% goes to trial. Morgan asks if that makes him want to even the odds. "Every time I listen to a child vividly recount the most horrific acts of abuse done at the hands of a father, an uncle, someone they're supposed to trust? It's all I can do not to break down." After that, he says, he has to trust in the justice system. Finnegan calls Rossi to set up the meet - midnight at the restaurant. He warns Rossi that if Bosola suspects something Finnegan will end up dead. When he hangs up, Finnegan calls Sean over to him. The young man helps Finnegan on with his coat, and then hesitantly wonders why Finnegan is ratting someone out to the Feds. Finnegan merely tells Sean that he's closing the restaurant and he wants Sean and the boys to take the night off. Sean doesn't want to, but Finnegan turns to him and tells him he won't be helping 'the Feds,' but helping an old friend. That night Rossi and Hotchner wait in a dark car along the street, looking for Finnegan's sign. Rossi brings up Jack, Hotchner's son, who is four years old today. "And I literally have no idea where he is," Hotchner states. Encouraging him, Rossi tells him that his son is safe. He looks out the window at another plain car and, knowing it isn't Morgan and Prentiss, asks Hotchner about it. Hotchner tells the older agent that it is counter-surveillance in case Foyet is watching Hotchner, for which, apparently, there is no more money. Rossi actually knows all about it - people are concerned. He tells Hotchner what he's told the FBI brass - an attack against Hotchner is an attack against all of them. He answers his phone - it's Finnegan, wanting reassurance that Rossi has brought out the big guns for this. He's still struggling with one clue in his crossword puzzle "crater creator." He wants to know if the "smart one" can help. Listening in on the line, Reid preens, knowing he's the one Rossi referred to, but he doesn't immediately get the answer - Garcia does. "Arctangent," she supplies, grinning at the stymied genius beside her. "Damn she's smart," Finnegan comments and hangs up. As Finnegan reaches to light his cigar, the barrel of a zip gun is placed beneath his ear. Hotchner isn't looking when Rossi sees the first flash, but he notices the second. The agents converge on the restaurant, guns drawn, but it's too late. Finnegan is dead, shot once in the chest and once in the head, slumped across his crossword puzzle. Rossi is angry - he can't imagine anyone getting through the number of police he had surrounding the place. Prentiss has gone through Finnegan's phone records and found a call made to a pre-paid cell phone seven hours ago. Bosola was probably already in the restaurant when the agents arrived, waiting. Rossi blames himself. Bosola knows they are on to him, and so does his client. Back at police headquarters, the team briefs law enforcement agents concerning the case, explaining the situation. Unsub A is The Planner who works in the criminal justice system, possibly as an attorney, a judge, or a cop. The Planner has experienced a personal tragedy of some sort, is sophisticated, and is in his fifties or sixties. He probably met unsub B, The Enforcer, within the criminal justice system. The Planner would have to have access to substantial cash. The Enforcer should be considered armed and extremely dangerous, but The Planner might be expecting to be caught. The Planner sits at his desk, watching the last of the wire money transfers go through. He places a call and tells The Enforcer that all final payments have been made and the final tasks should be completed. He pulls up a mug shot of Dan Patton and tells The Enforcer to pay special attention to him. After he hangs up, The Planner fingers a gold locket and opens it to reveal the face of a beautiful woman. Garcia and Reid have been going through the Long Island court system's records and have found that hundreds of people have had access to thousands of cases. Rossi tells them to change tracks and begin to look for the hit man - for mob related murder trials on Long Island. They manage to narrow the searches from the 93 mob trials to three, and then Garcia finds a vital clue. In the mistrial of Tony Mecacci, the photo of the victim shows a small caliber bullet hole beneath the victim's ear. As Reid reads off the names associated with the trial one pops out at Rossi - Judge Boyd Schuller. Rossi knows that the judge lost his wife to a drunk driving accident two years ago, and she was the love of his life. Twelve months ago Judge Schuller was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given six months to live - that's when the killings started. Schuller is The Planner, and mostly likely, Tony Mecacci is Bosola, The Enforcer. Garcia tells them Mecacci went off the grid after his last trial. Hotchner tells JJ to get Mecacci's picture out to all law enforcement. Det. Hardesty is concerned - Judge Schuller is a respected member of the community - they won't just be able to go out and arrest him. Rossi realizes that won't be necessary as the Judge is now standing in the open doorway. "I believe you're looking for me," Schuller states. Morgan and Rossi interrogate the judge. The judge doesn't deny anything - he sees all these 'crimes' as justice. When Rossi tells him that Ray Finnegan was a friend, Schuller tells him he should choose his friends more wisely. Rossi pauses for a moment and then asks the judge how he felt when Ray showed up to his wife Emma's funeral. Schuller is thrown. Prentiss suggests that Bosola has probably already received a list of names from the judge, and will finish the kills if he's been paid. Hotchner tells her to have Garcia hack into the judge's finances. Hardesty tells the agents he had already called the judge's office, so, Hotchner believes, Schuller is at the police station to stall them while Bosola finds his last victims. Schuller checks his watch. When Morgan tells him to call off Bosola he refuses. Rossi sits close to the judge and begins telling the man facts about his own wife - when and where she was born, her maiden name, that her father brought her a black and white homeless kitten when she was six. She named it Oscar after Oscar Wilde. The judge's eyes are wide, disbelieving. Rossi continues, shaking up the man, asking him if it was Emma's death that started all this. The judge stands and leans over, stridently stating that it was the 35 years behind the bench, watching the guilty go free. "I wonder what Emma would make of all this," Rossi goes on. The judge states that everyone on that list has evaded justice, and Morgan smiles. "So, you do have a list," he says. The judge is rattled. With Reid looking over her shoulder, Garcia is quickly finding money transfers from Schuller's account to the Cayman Islands before the tech can be bounced out of the connection. Withdrawals in the amount of $9999 have been made very few weeks- an amount, Reid is quick to note, that will go under the IRS radar. They determine that $50,000 is the price of a kill, and the judge has just funneled $100,000 to the Cayman account - two more kills are in the works. The connections shut down. She tells Hotchner and he replays the video of the interrogation. The judge is anxious, looking at his watch. Whatever he's waiting for is about to happen. In the interrogation room, Rossi tells the judge he didn't know Emma the way Rossi did. He didn't feel welcome at her funeral, but at least he and Ray could see her death as a tragic accident. The judge disagrees, yelling, saying that Dan Patton was drunk when he hit her. Hotchner sends the team out to find Dan Patton. Patton is just returning home after a day at work. He turns on the television. Rossi wants to know how many other people are targeted, but the judge won't say. Rossi goes for the jugular, telling Schuller that he ran into Emma at a hotel in New York a few years ago, and although she was married, he slept with her again. The judge is almost in tears, telling Rossi he's lying, demanding the truth. Rossi wants the truth about the list first. Schuller tells him Dan Patton's was the last name. Morgan watches as Rossi leaves the interrogation room after confirming that he slept with Schuller's wife. Patton hears a car alarm and looks out the window. When he turns around Bosola is standing there with a baseball bat. Patton holds up his wallet, but Bosola merely smiles and tells him that this isn't about money, but the murder of Emma Schuller. Patton pleads, but Bosola uses the bat again and again. The judge tells Morgan that he is tired of watching the guilty go free of their sins. Morgan asks him about his sins. The judge tells him he got cancer for his. Agents approach Dan Patton's home and see that the door is open. Prentiss, Hotchner, and Hardesty clear the home and find Patton's bloody, beaten body on the floor, with one gunshot to the heart and one to the head. They get the call that they are moving Judge Schuller to a Federal location. Hotchner wonders if Bosola is really finished - the judge gave away his entire estate before he turned himself in. Why is he paying all his bills off? Why did he pay for two kills if Patton was the last one? JJ, Morgan, and Rossi walk next to the judge as he exits the police department, surrounded by reporters, cameras, and lights. Morgan's phone rings and he tries to hear what Hotchner is telling him but it's too loud. Judge Schuller walks down the steps, eyes scanning the crowd and then turns to Rossi on his right. "I lied," he says. As Rossi begins to pull the judge down a shot rings out and blood splashes all over JJ's face. Reporters scream and run, and, in the confusion, the agents can't find the shooter. Judge Schuller is dead, shot in the heart. The golden locket falls from his hand. Rossi picks it up, opens it, and looks down on Emma's face. On the BAU jet, Prentiss sits next to a silent JJ, and places a comforting hand on her knee. Morgan sleeps. Hotchner reads over the Foyet file. Rossi can't help smiling at Emma's picture in the locket. He tells Hotchner that, when he first met Emma at twelve years old, he knew he would love her for the rest of their lives. She said they were doomed to be star-crossed lovers. He tells his colleague that he never slept with her; he just told Schuller that to get under his skin. But he should have married her. He was recruited by the FBI right out of the Marines, and, "before he knew it, a lifetime had gone by." He's trying to make a point, telling Hotchner he missed a life with Emma because he was caught up in the chase. Hotchner reminds him that Foyet is threatening his family. "And we'll get Foyet, Aaron," Rossi assures the agent. "When all this is over, what are you going to do to make sure that you're not a lonely guy wondering why you let the purest thing in your life get away." Bosola leaves the golf course in Florida and stows his bags in the trunk of his car. An Irish voice calls out to him and he turns to see Sean pointing a gun at his chest. Bosola laughs and begins to tell a joke about two Irishmen when Sean shoots him twice in the chest. "Yeah, I heard it" Sean says, looking down at him, "I didn't find it funny the first time." He puts a bullet in Bosola's head. "I have always found that mercy bears richer fruit than strict justice." Abraham Lincoln [recap written by Finnegan77]
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