The body of a young boy is found washed up on shore along the river. Da Vinci and Chic are investigating as Shannon and Kosmo arrive on the scene. The boy is Byron Mizlowski. Theories vary as to how he ended up in the water-suicide, being thrown in, falling in. A child's bike was found on the bridge above and Chic suspects Byron hit the water sometime in the middle of the night.
Elsewhere, Leary and a uniform arrive at the scene of what appears to be a grisly homicide in a fairly low-rent neighborhood. Blood is smeared everywhere, windows and mirrors are broken and signs heavily point to a struggle. There's just one problem: no body. Leary calls in the forensics.
Byron's step-father, Phil, and mother, Kate, are distraught as Shannon and Kosmo break the news to them that their son is dead. Nobody had seen Byron since the night before around dinner time. The parents had ordered pizza for Byron as they were going out with friends. When they came back Byron's door was closed and they assumed he'd returned from band practice and went to bed. The next morning, when he wasn't in his bed, they thought he'd taken off early for school because he had chess club. This wasn't normal for Byron, but he was a bright kid and very responsible. They had no reason to think anything was wrong. The only trouble they'd ever had was one time when he ran away from his biological father who had a history of abusing him.
In the morgue, Patricia has done preliminaries on Byron and aside from extensive trauma associated with the fall there are also signs of sexual/long term abuse.
Kosmo: You think a kid that age has the will to kill himself?
Patricia: He probably thought he had a good reason
Da Vinci: He was probably wishin' he could fly.
Shannon is at Byron's school questioning the last known person to see him alive, his band teacher Mr. Richard Zeto. Zeto is frustrated with the lack of warning the police department gave the school about Byron's death, but he's cooperating. Byron is part of a jazz combo of his best students. Zeto says that after practice the night before Byron left on his bike at the same time as the other kids.
Kurtz and Kosmo discuss Byron's parents. The father has a record of assault while the Phil is a hard worker who is between jobs. Kurtz sends Kosmo to question Kate about abuse.
Helen brings Det. Bobby Marlowe into Da Vinci's office. Bobby is very cagey, but he asks questions about Byron Myzlowski's case and whether or not the boy was sexually abused. Da Vinci keeps asking why he's so interested. Marlowe dodges the questions, but promises after he checks a few things he'll be back and they can talk.
Da Vinci: Are you referring that to an actual conversation where I ask a question and actually get an answer? That kind of a talk?
Chic and Leary are back at the bloody apartment, running through scenarios as to how so much blood ended up in the apartment. Evidence suggests that it started in the bathroom. Leary hypothesizes that a thief broke in, thinking the apartment was empty, but finds the tenant. They "freak each other out" and fight it out. The blood seems to be from just the tenant. The footprints are his. Leary doesn't necessarily buy the theory, but it's all they've got at the moment.
Back at the morgue, Sunny is presented with the mangled body of a man found stuffed up in the axel of a semi truck. No ID. Sunny can't get to it immediately.
After viewing Byron's body, Marlowe reluctantly agrees to give Da Vinci some answers. He brings Ryner Paget to Da Vinci's office and the young man proceeds to describe a childhood of abuse suffered at the hands of his choir director at church. Boys and girls were forced to strip naked, play with each other and then the boys were pulled into a closet and sexually assaulted by the choir director. For years Paget had repressed the memories, but they began to come back to him. He claims the choir director was Richard Zeto.
Leary reports to Kurtz that there's still no body in connection with the bloody apartment. The owner's name is Prashant and he's trying to track down the parents. The neighbor who found the blood and called the police, Trip Mesker, has a record of breaking and entering, assault and robbery. Leary is going to question him next.
Shannon, Kosmo and Da Vinci take Marlowe to the scene at the harbor where they found Byron's body. Marlowe wants the case to stay in sex crimes, Shannon and Kosmo want to continue their homicide investigation and avoid questioning Zeto's students. Kids are too unreliable and suggestible. They want to please rather than tell the truth. Marlowe insists he knows what he's doing. Da Vinci says everything is on hold until they have more evidence to accuse Zeto with and until the rest of the autopsy results are in.
Leary questions Mesker and after some dodging, Mesker admits to being in Prashant's apartment to get a VCR back.
Da Vinci and cops confiscate many of Zeto's belongings and back at the stations go through it. A copy of Alice in Wonderland is the most damning evidence until a series of photographs are found of young boys.
Zeto is hauled in for questioning and Kosmo and Shannon do the talking. Zeto claims photography is just a hobby and since he's around children all the time they're available subjects. Shannon holds up a nude photo of Zeto's fiancé which Zeto claims has nothing to do with anything. Kosmo leaves and Marlowe takes her place. Shannon and Marlowe start suggesting things to Zeto in an attempt to get him to admit to his pedophile ways. Zeto admits some odd things, but truly nothing damning. Zeto does admit that Byron didn't leave when he said he did. He thought everybody had left, but he turned around and there was Byron looking sad and lost. Zeto laments not even being able to put an arm around a child in encouragement because of how it can be misconstrued. Marlowe brings up Paget and Zeto demands a lawyer.
The cop with the unidentified body is interviewing the truck driver. Adamant that he's a careful driver, never cutting corners, the truck driver is mystified as to how the body ended up in the wheels of his rig. The incident is haunting him. Meanwhile, Sunny reveals that the man wasn't killed by the semi. There was evidence of previous trauma.
Because there's nothing concrete against Zeto-just suspicions and accusations-Kurtz is going to have to release Zeto. She's not going to talk to Zeto's students at the school until they have more to go on. The situation is too dicey. Marlowe and Da Vinci are furious. Marlowe is going to call the principal, but Da Vinci says he'll do it. Kurtz sends Shannon and Kosmo back out to get more info on Byron's parents. Shannon goes to Kate.
Patricia reveals another startling and unsettling detail about Byron's sexual abuse. There were tiny fragments of chrome in Byron's rectal tissue. Like a musical instrument, Da Vinci immediately surmises.
At Zeto's school, he's confronted by Marlowe who assures him it's "just a matter of time" before he's got enough evidence to arrest him. Zeto vehemently defends his innocence. Marlowe tells him he's been suspended.
Shannon waits for Phil to leave home before going in to talk to Kate. She's very cooperative and understands that the department needs to be careful and thorough. She can't believe that Zeto hurt her son, he doesn't seem the type, but she supposes they never do. Shannon starts to ask questions about Phil and how he disciplined Byron, when they met, etc. Kate starts to get very uncomfortable.
The principal at Zeto's school is less than discreet regarding the accusations brought against him and an all-out witch hunt has ensued. Helen brings Da Vinci a letter found in Zeto's belongings that just adds more crap to the pile. A Reverend Lyman sent Zeto a warning that a Ryner Paget had brought accusations of sexual abuse against them. This all happened four years ago. Before Paget contacted Marlowe claiming to not remember the names of his abusers, just the abuse. Paget lied to Marlowe.
Shannon: Oh boy, here we go. The black hole of therapy.
Leary reveals Prashant had epilepsy which explains all the blood, the single set of footprints, etc. There was no second party that caused the accident. He probably had a seizure, went to the bathroom for his meds and lost control, stumbling out into the street. Clark Drive is a major truck route. The one problem…where are meds? Mesker displays his perfect timing as he slinks out of his apartment looking guilty. Leary demands answers or he'll bust him for drugs. Mesker stole Prashants meds when he showed up for the VCR.
Sunny reveals that the victim bled to death, but not from being hit by the truck. The victim had an epileptic seizure. The only thing Sunny can't figure out are the glass and mirror fragments embedded in the wounds. Perhaps from the ground outside, suggests the cop.
Cop: Probably someone out there looking for him right now.
Sunny: Yeah, if he has somebody who cares.
Kosmo gives Marlowe the bad news about the letter Paget sent and the fact that he lied. Marlowe is understandably pissed. Paget swore that he hadn't come up with Zeto's name through therapy sessions, that it just came to him. The case against Paget is falling apart.
Shannon shows up at the Mizlowski's to find Phil dead on the floor, a knife in his chest. Kate is shell-shocked and reveals that she found one of Phil's tools when she was taking out the garbage and it didn't make sense because he was always so careful with his tools. She confronted him and he admitted that he'd used the tool to punish Byron when he was bad, but never to sexually abuse him. Kate didn't believe him. As she breaks down Shannon awkwardly tries to comfort her.
Da Vinci visits Zeto who is painting over graffiti on his garage door. Da Vinci tells Zeto that it was Byron's step-father who had been abusing him and offers to help Zeto in any way he can. Zeto is understandably unimpressed. There's no help for him, he says. Da Vinci nods and heads off down the block, pulling the pedophile alert signs fingering Zeto off the phone polls and fences.
Meanwhile, a depressed Marlowe is sitting with Paget who is recounting more tales of his abuse. There's a 4th person now, that he remembers. They all wore black robes and he knows one of them was Satan. He'll remember their names, he swears. Marlowe doesn't say anything and Paget ask "You believe me, don't you?"