There Goes the Neighborhood
Original Airdate: March 11, 2002
Director: David Petrarca
Written by Andi Bushell & Jim Praytor
Mike's in the forest interviewing a metal-detector toting man for a human interest story for the paper. He's obviously bored by the assignment, and as they walk away from where the man finds a watch, the camera cuts to a man buried underground - who's alive.
Sporting a pair of binoculars in her living room, Sam spies on new neighbors moving in as Mitzi walks over a cake. As she talks to them, they accept her invitation to an open house/welcome party. We meet Beth and Calvin Jarrett, and their son Conrad. Back at the house, Mike fights with Sara over her assigning him lame human-interest stories. She tells him she wants him to do a story on the new family in town.
Sam and Zane introduce themselves to Conrad, and he takes a quick interest in her. Conrad tells them he's going to be home schooled, and borrows Zane's pocket knife. At the station, Rudy and Tim exchange witty numerical police code banter, and Mike arrives to invite Rudy to a Sonics/Wizards game to see Michael Jordan play. Rudy declines because: 1. He's busy; and 2. he's the town sheriff in case Mike didn't notice.
Mike and Ellie flirt at the diner while he works on his metal detector story. They exchange questions with questions. Later that day, he helps Mitzi and Sam get ready for the party. Mitzi tells Sam to go after Conrad because he has a cute ass. They look out the window and see Conrad heading toward the woods. Cut to the woods, where the metal-detector guy is scouting treasure. He hears the dad screaming for help, drops to his knees, and when he looks up he sees his metal detector crashing down upon him, causing immediate death.
Mitzi's out jogging in the woods and comes across his dead body. Rudy questions her at the station, then lets her go when she says she has to get home to plan a party. Mike's insistent about helping Rudy, but he tells Mike it was an accident and to let it go. Sam visits the diner to pick up Zane, and then talk in Dawson's speak before Sam leaves. Back at the station, Ellie tells Rudy the metal-detector guy was murdered, and Rudy hates it that Mike was right. Ellie and Rudy decide to keep their work lives separate from Mike.
Mike's researching the new family story and makes a call to Conrad's former employer - only to find out Conrad was terminated and Mr. Levy, the pharmacist, has gone missing. At the party, Zane asks for his knife back. Conrad is all evasive. The Jarretts seem uncomfortable at the party, and Mike notices that Calvin spends most of his time flitting back and forth between his wife and his son. Conrad flirts with Sam, and asks her to go upstairs. Calvin questions him before he goes upstairs. Conrad sneaks out the front door, and Sam follows him into the woods. Mike interviews Calvin, asking him why he wants Conrad to be home schooled and why little Mr. All America was terminated from his last job.
Out in the woods, Sam closely follows Conrad, until they both notice the Sheriff, at which point Conrad grabs Sam and kisses her. Rudy takes the pair back to the Dolans, and as the Jarretts leave Sam tells Calvin it was her fault he was irresponsible. The next morning, Mike voices concern over Sam's actions from the previous night and she gets all indignant and leaves.
Mike tells Rudy he thinks that Conrad killed Mr. Levy, who went missing two days after Conrad's termination. He also thinks Calvin is hiding something from the police about Conrad. All signs, up to now, point to Conrad being the Big Bad. Rudy tells Mike to let it go. Rudy does, though, ask dispatch to look up a missing persons report. Calvin visits Mike at the paper to talk about Conrad. He says Conrad was fired for drugs, and says he wants to start a new life. Mike apologizes to Calvin, then asks him about the missing Mr. Levy. Calvin claims no knowledge of the man.
At Ellie's place, Mike tricks Ellie into discussing facts surrounding the case. Zane keeps an eye on Sam, which ticks her off so she says she's going to head upstairs. She really goes across the street, though, and discovers Beth passed out on the couch with track marks on her arm. Upstairs she finds Conrad lying in bed in a room that has "I promise to obey" scrawled on all the walls. Calvin comes in, and Sam hides under the bed. He discovers her under there, and ties her up in the back of the U-Haul. Mike finds out that the missing Mr. Levy looks exactly like...Calvin. Zane frees Sam, Conrad breaks free from his bed restraints, and Mike rushes to the Jarretts. In an ensuing argument on the lawn between Mike and Levy-as-Calvin, Conrad comes running out and pushes L-a-C onto the picket fence, killing him. Conrad says L-a-C kidnapped his father and said he would kill him if they all didn't play along.
They rush out to the woods to find Conrad's father, and he's still alive. Rudy finds out that Frank Levy was engaged to Beth right after high school, and she had him committed. He was in and out of mental institutions all his life. Rudy tells Mike he was right, and they decide to go to the Jordan game. The real Mr. Jarrett is alive and well, and Ellie decides to have coffee and a date with Mike.