Season 4 Episode 11

The Experimental Job

Aired Tuesday 10:00 PM Nov 27, 2011 on TNT

Episode Recap

A man in a brick room hears voices in his head and screams for help. He finally breaks down the door, runs upstairs, and finds himself in an expensive house in the middle of a party. He begs for help and then collapses of a heart attack. The student in charge, Travis Zilgram, has two of his friends take the man to a bridge and dump him over the edge into the river, telling them to get the rest of their test subjects out of the farmhouse and into the psych building. Nate and Eliot meet with Miss Schavel, the daughter of the dead man, David. She informs them that she paid for an autopsy and confirmed that he died of a heart attack, and the police consider the case closed. However, Schavel says that her father volunteered for sleep-pattern studies on those suffering post-traumatic stress syndrome. The experiments are run by undergrads, and Schavel thinks that the kids panicked and tried to hide the body because her father was homeless, and asks the team for their help. Hardison briefs the team on Travis and his postgrad thesis on sleep disorders. The experiments were held at a private farm facility and then moved them to the university psych building. Hardison has also confirmed that Travis is the president of the Order of the 206, a secret college society who call its members "dustmen." Eliot notes that a number of dustmen are members of intelligence agencies. The file on Schavel's death was closed within an hour and Eliot figures that someone is covering up Travis' illegal activities. Sophie calls Travis to ask him but is put on hold. In the psych building, Travis shows the CIA interrogator one of his subjects, who is being exposed to loud music and freezing temperatures to keep him awake for over 72 hours. He assures the interrogator that his job is to soften them up so that the interrogator can break them. Travis finally gets the call from Sophie, who says she's a cop holding a warrant with his name on it. When Travis says that the case is closed, Sophie says that it's been reopened. Travis hangs up and then calls Mr. Conrad. Back at headquarters, Nate explains that their plan is to startle Travis into making a move. He sends Sophie and Eliot to Boston PD to get in trouble while he takes Hardison with him. At the police station, Eliot and Sophie meet with Lt. Grayson and claim that their true-crime novelists asking for records on the Schavel death. Grayson tells them that it's under a Federal seal, but that she figures that someone dumped the body to hide something. Eliot invites her out to dinner and unofficially discuss the case, but Grayson suggests that Sophie would have better luck with her and "accidentally" leaves her the Schavel file. Nate and Hardison follow Travis to an empty field and are surprised that he's not panicking. A helicopter arrives and three men emerge to meet with Travis. Nate realizes that their CIA agents and warns that they're dangerous. Back at headquarters, the team figures that Travis' contact is highly placed in the CIA. Nate figures that they need to become the people that Travis will tell his secrets to, and tells Hardison that he's up. Hardison soon arrives at college, posing as a student in a game-theory class with Travis run by substitute teacher Nate. He invites Travis up front to participate in his class. Parker volunteers for experimental treatments and is taken to the upstairs area. She memorizes the security code as the professor brings her in. Nate has Travis pretend that he's a killer that has been arrested, and presents the Prisoner's Dilemma to him. When Travis refuses to give up his accomplice, Nate tells him that Travis' accomplice will rat him out and send him to jail for a long time. He then sets out to prove that it's already best to betray the accomplice. Hardison applauds and starts discussing contradictory reports, putting down Nate. He walks off and Travis goes after him. Outside, Travis congratulates Hardison and asks where he learned everything, and Hardison says that he made it up to screw with Nate. When he sees that Travis has got a ticket for parking in a handicapped spot, Hardison hacks the police computers and fixed it for him. Travis invites him to a party at his farmhouse and Hardison agrees. The professor explains that they're testing negative reinforcement and shows Parker a test subject wired for electricity. She administers a shock to the volunteer and Parker starts shocking the volunteer even before they ask the questions. Parker steals the professor's security badge before the guards escort her out, and she steals their keys as well. The thief then dons a wig, puts on a lab coat, and goes back inside. Using the memorized security code, she goes down to the restricted basement area and flirts with the guard while stealing the list of patients. Back at headquarters, Nate and Eliot review the list and determine that all the volunteers came from the same homeless shelter. The next trial starts in a couple of days, and Eliot says that he'll do what he can do. He goes to the shelter posing as a homeless man. Meanwhile, Hardison and Parker as his guest go to the farmhouse for the expensive party. Sophie walks Hardison through the process to be recruited and tells him to mingle with people other than Parker. He hesitates, saying that he's used to playing stereotypes, but he can't fake cool. Parker talks him through it by comparing the situation to fantasy role-playing and persuading him that it's cool. As Parker leaves, Hardison admits to Sophie that her advice didn't work, but the fact that she thought it would work did convince him. Travis talks to Hardison and asks why he hasn't been mingling, but Parker comes over, fakes being drunk, and kisses Hardison. After she wanders off, Travis congratulates Hardison and they share a drink. At the homeless shelter, Eliot spots recruiters and sits down at a table. One of the vets, Mac, orders him off and Eliot grabs him and shoves him down. Impressed, Mac says that he was a Marine but his country let him down. He and Eliot bond and the ex-Marine offers to get Eliot in on the recruiting. Hardison fixes jaywalking tickets for the guests and Travis finally gives him a society token. Eliot calls to tell Nate that he's in. They're taken to the psych building and Travis explains that they'll get food and $50 a day, but if they walk away then they don't get paid. Eliot signs up and the others follow suit, and they're placed in cells. As Eliot settles down, heavy-metal plays over the speakers. That night, Hardison attends the 206 meeting and Travis explains that it's a brotherhood and they will go through initiation for the next seven days. The new recruits are ordered to strip and send one recruit back for wearing briefs. Travis sends the others to run across the campus to a plaque to memorize it and return in an hour. The homeless vets all start to crack except Eliot. The guards escort him to the interrogator, who gives Eliot an envelope with a word inside. He tells Eliot to read it and then explains that he's going to do everything he can to get Eliot to give up the word. Every day that Eliot doesn't give away the word, he gets another $100. The interrogator promises that he won't physically harm Eliot but anything else is fair game. He then gets in Eliot's face, but Eliot is unimpressed. Hardison and the other recruits run across campus and go back to the order house. Travis tells them to do it again. As he's taken back to his cell, Eliot tells Nate that the interrogator is a professional interrogator and figures that they're trying to cause PTSD, not cure it. Later, the subjects gather for food in the mess hall. At his dorm room, Hardison jailbreaks phones for attractive young girls. At the psych building, Eliot helps one of his fellow subjects and stops a guard from tasering him. When he realizes that it's not worth the effort to blow his cover, Eliot lets himself be tasered. Sophie talks Hardison through wine-tasting parties. The interrogator meets with Eliot and asks for an estimate of how many people he's killed. He figures that Eliot is trying to punish himself for the things he's done, and Eliot offers the names, dates, locations, and eye colors of every person he's ever killed. He says that there's nothing the interrogator can do to him that's worse than what he lives with every day, and the interrogator says that they're done for the day. Nate goes over the photos of the CIA agents from the helicopter, and Hardison confirms that one of them is Mr. Conrad, Travis' contact. They realize they have to convince Conrad that it's not worth his effort to protect Travis. Hardison complains about rush week while Eliot reminds them over the earbuds that he's freezing. Back at the fraternity house, the brothers call on the recruits to play in a clan match of Black Ops, and Hardison volunteers. Meanwhile, Parker breaks into the psych lab and gives blankets to Mac and the others. Hardison rules at Black Ops, winning the admiration of his peers. The interrogator brings Eliot in again and offers him a glass of water. Eliot refuses and leaves, and the interrogator complains to the guard that Eliot is too smart to leave fingerprints. The guards give the interrogator the taser that Eliot touched earlier. Alec meets privately with Parker, who isn't happy that he's so popular. She gives him the 10-page paper that he said he needed, and he reminds her that it's just a cover. Disgusted, Parker tears up the paper and leaves. The interrogator meets with Travis and shows him the dossier that he's requested on Eliot. It includes photos of Eliot's known associates and Travis recognizes Alec. Alec is at his dorm room and takes out the earbud so he can call Parker privately to apologize. He gets her voice mail and starts to leave her a message, but Travis comes in and he hangs up. Travis shows him the dossier, draws a gun, and gives Alec a hood to put on. Parker comes in a few minutes later to apologize for overreacting and finds the discarded dossier on the floor with Alec's photo. She contacts Nate, who tells Eliot that they need him on the outside. Eliot is with the interrogator and easily subdues the man, and beats Alec's location out of him while the other homeless subjects listen. He then frees the subjects and they charge out, overwhelming the guards. Travis is hosting another exclusive party at the farmhouse. He talks to Mr. Conrad and assures him that he has everything under control. He starts to introduce the new recruits, but the police come in and arrest Travis. Grayson and Sophie are there and travis tells them that he'll be out in an hour. At the frat house, the brothers start beating Alec. Parker arrives and takes them out, and then helps Alec to the door. As he goes, one of the brothers screams that Alec was a geek and they never would have taken him, and Alec kicks him in the face before leaving. Travis wakes up at the interrogation room at the police station, handcuffed to a chair. Grayson and Sophie show him footage from the hidden cameras on the blankets that show Travis and the others beating their prisoners. Travis boasts that he has highly-placed friends, but then sees two officers take Mr. Conrad past the open door. Sophie explains that they arrested Conrad and the fraternity brothers and that now Travis has to decide whether he'll betray his accomplices before they betray him. He says that he made recordings of all of his conversations with Mr. Conrad. Sophie unlocks his handcuffs, tells him to think about it, and then leaves with Grayson. Travis paces the room nervously and remembers what N ate was saying earlier in class about how it's always best to betray the accomplice. Travis looks around, he finally checks the door, and discovers that it's unlocked. He goes outside and discovers that he's on campus in a building closed for fumigation. Earlier, Grayson drugged him when she arrested him, they took him to the building, and had the homeless men set up the fake interrogation room and pretend to be police officers. Stunned, Travis can only stare around as the police arrive to arrest him. The team is watching from nearby and Nate notes that Mr. Conrad was in on it, and watched from the other side of the one-way mirror as Travis said he had recordings. The CIA operative dropped his protection of Travis once he realized that Travis was a liability. Much later, Travis has gone on trial, and Mr. Conrad calls Nate at the bar to tell him that Travis will be convicted on all counts. He asks Nate if it was worth attracting his attention and hangs up. After Eliot says goodbye to Miss Schavel, he shares a toast with Nate.

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