Jim is in his hometown of Norville at his dead father's tackle and boat rental store, and his old friend Connie Hastings drives by. Down the road, her tire blows out and she pulls over to replace it only to discover her spare is flat. She starts walking down the road when a man's voice whispers from the woods, calling her by name. She starts running down the road, screaming, as the man chases after her. Jim finds her just in time as the man runs off.
The town authorities meet, as there have been two previous strangulation deaths. They suggest that the sheriff, Brad Owens, might resign as he hasn't solved the case. Jim supports Owens and the sheriff is called off to check with Connie, who has revived. Jim explains to a reporter he's turning over his family property to the state for a park. Connie isn't able to say anything about her attacker except the fact he was wearing thick glasses, and Owens suggests she leave town for now. Meanwhile, Jim meets with Owens' wife Cynthia and remembers back to his childhood, and how all three women were his childhood friends.
Barney meets the other team members at a party to let them know Jim has called him in as a criminologist, and the rest of the team offer to help if they're needed.
Jim goes to the local bar and meets with childhood sweetheart Midge Larson, then notices Seth Morley sitting in a corner. Midge explains that the boy lost his entire platoon in Vietnam and his eyes were badly burned. Jim talks to Seth who is clearly traumatized and accuses them all of being murderers. He lashes out at one of the businessmen, Joe Keith, damaging his own glasses in the process, then leaves.
Connie is having an affair with Joe Keith and calls his house, disguising her voice for the benefit of his wife, then ends up talking with Joe to warn him she's leaving town and wants to meet him. As Connie goes out to the car, the killer whispers at her from the darkness and she runs off. He traps her in an alley and strangles her.
Jim checks out Seth's home and finds a decapitated toy soldier, as well as a list of women including the dead women. Sheriff Owens comes in and Jim disarms him before knowing who it is. Owens reveals Connie is dead and he found the earpiece from Seth's broken glasses by the body. Owens puts out an APB on Seth and admits to Jim he's in over his head.
The next day, Barney examines the body and determines the killer had small hands. Jim calls in the rest of the team, with Dana getting a job as a waitress and Paris in reserve. As they figure out more about the killer, Dana will take on the characteristics and make herself a target.
While Jim talks to two the remaining women on the list, Julia Keith and Cynthia Owens, Dana arrives at the bar and gets a job with Midge. Joe Keith introduces himself to her. Cynthia Owens goes to Jim's house where Seth is hiding and takes her prisoner, and holds Jim at gunpoint when he arrives. Jim plays along with him and gets him to go to the sheriff, while Cynthia calls her husband. At the sheriff's office, Brad Owens disarms Seth and they arrest him, but Barney notes that Seth is too tall and has hands too large to be the killer. Further, Jim notes that the earpiece broke off at the bar and went missing then.
Joe Keith directs Dana to a boarding room and asks for a date, admitting he's a married man. She flirts with him briefly and he agrees to meet her later. Meanwhile, Cynthia explains that she knew about the list but didn't know why he had made it.
At the bar, Deputy Karl Burroughs comes in to talk to Keith and the others, and reveals that Seth will be transferred to a state mental hospital. Julia Keith notices her husband flirting with Dana and goes to Jim and mentions the call from Connie Hastings, who she recognized. She admits that Joe was having an affair with all of the dead women.
Willy pretends to be Connie Hastings' out-of-town cousin, and Jim passes on the news to Dana. Joe Keith approaches Jim and warns that trouble will happen if Owens tries to take Seth out of town.
The next day, a crowd is outside of city hall and Willy arrives to pick up Connie's body. Owens refuses to back down and Jim is dismayed at how the town has changed. Once alone, Willy releases Seth then drugs him unconscious. Jim and Barney offer to be sworn in as deputies, while Willy puts Seth in Connie's coffin. Owens and the others realize Seth is gone.
Jim and Barney are at the bar and realize anyone at the bar could have picked up Seth's earpiece and planted it at the murder scene. Paris arrives as Dana's drunken boyfriend and stages a scene with Joe Keith. Owens is furious that he was deceived and is concerned about Dana. Barney suggests they use Dana as bait and the sheriff reluctantly agrees.
Midge leaves Dana to close up the bar with the reporter as the last man drinking. He asks Dana to get him a drink from the cellar and she goes downstairs, but hears someone come in. The lights go off and the killer starts whispering at her from the shadows. Outside, Jim remembers back to his childhood and one of the girls wearing a hat, looking like a boy, and being able to run very fast.
Jim runs into the bar where the killer has cornered Dana. They pull off the killer and reveal that it's… Midge. It turned out Joe refused to have an affair with her so she killed the other women for revenge, when she was really in love with Jim.
Later, Jim meets the rest of the team at his house and the team leave town.