Forced to attend mandatory counseling after shooting the serial killer Danny Jones in self-defense, Brenda isn't extremely forthcoming. She denies that she is having any repercussions from the event, leaving the shrink to enumerate a long list of personal problems the Deputy Chief is facing, in hopes that Brenda will reach out to her at a later time. Brenda exits the office with relief, expecting to be cleared to return to duty...and dreading the arrival of her parents. Dr. Leonard, the department psychologist, is left alone in her office, looking at the single word she has written on her pad: Daddy.
In Pope's office, Brenda assures him the session was helpful, and she is ready to return to work. Pope asks if that is what the psychologist told her. "More or less," she hedges. Opening his laptop, Pope reads Brenda the e-mail received from Dr. Leonard, saying, among other things, that Deputy Chief Johnson is exhausted, disconnected, distracted, and in denial of deep emotional issues. The memo adds that should Brenda be returned to active duty, it might put both herself and other LAPD members lives at risk. "Well, that's just...NUTS!" storms Brenda. Smiling, Pope replies: "According to the department shrink, so are you." Acknowledging that sitting home won't help her, Pope has an assignment for her. A local reporter wants to do a story about how the woes of the understaffed and overworked LAPD, and the politician in Pope wants that story to be written. Brenda takes the reporter's card, griping about doing an interview. Pope corrects her; the reporter, Greg Pierson, is to get a ride-along. And he has one final word for Brenda: "Try not to make news." She stomps out of his office, her mood improving only as she unlocks the door to her own, and slides a sweet out of the top drawer, tearing off the wrapper.
Fritz calls, asking where she is. Hearing she is at work and might be delayed, he panics. The house isn't straight, and he needs her help. Brenda soothes him, saying she will do it when she gets home, there is no hurry. Sensing the trap being laid for him, Fritz tells Brenda there is no way he's going to the airport alone, reminding her that he has never even met her father. "You met my mother, she'll introduce you." Brenda states. Detecting signs of activity in the murder room through her office window, Brenda completes her brush-off of Fritz. Ignoring his desperate protestations, she interrupts, asking that he not mention the engagement, and disconnects the call, heading toward her team.
Gabriel springs out of his chair, and Brenda peeks around him. "Yoo hoo, Lieutenant Provenza!" Provenza is standing and putting on his jacket, along with other team members. Sounding a bit desperate, Gabriel gets between Brenda and Provenza, telling her that Pope has asked him to drive both her and the reporter around, so that she can concentrate on the interview. Brenda knows a babysitting assignment when it's being forced on her, and ignores Gabriel, asking where the rest are going. Tao, Flynn, Sanchez and Provenza all look like schoolboys who have just been caught peeking into the girl's locker room by the principal. She is dogged, asking if there has been a homicide. Provenza admits there has been, and after pulling her chain a bit with fake facts, he finally admits they've been called to investigate the death of an Academy Award winning writer in Hollywood Hills, adding that it's probably just an overdose. Tao is compelled to clarify; the guy was only nominated, and hadn't won the award. A grinning Flynn asks Brenda if she'd like to go along. She would. Gabriel is firm, if Flynn gives Brenda that address, he will tell Pope about it. His grin even larger now that he's pulled Gabriel's chain, Flynn shrugs, "Sorry, Chief."
In a car and now accompanied by the reporter and his cameraman, Brenda is clearly unhappy with the situation, snappy with the reporter and uncomfortable with the camera being trained upon her from the rear. Upon hearing that the reporter merely wants them to go about their business as if he weren't there, Brenda decides to take this literally, asking Gabriel if they couldn't just stop by the murder scene. Gabriel refuses, Brenda pouts. The tension in the air is palpable, and the reporter casually offers that he's looking for some sense of how outnumbered the LAPD truly is. He shows Brenda a slip of paper, confessing that he's done a bit of research and has heard that these are addresses for two places reputed to be hangouts for local gangs. Snatching the paper from his hand, Brenda reads off the first address, and suggests the route Gabriel should take to get there. Gabriel knows two things, his way around Los Angeles, and the determination and manipulative abilities of his Chief. He points out that the road she has suggested goes not to the location requested by the reporter, but rather into Hollywood Hills, the one place in LA he isn't taking her.
The group re-enters the car. There was nothing of interest at the first address suggested by the reporter. Addressing the camera, Greg Pierson suggests to his audience that perhaps there will be more excitement at the next address. Turning back to Brenda and Gabriel, Greg asks how homicides are prioritized, or what makes a case a 'Priority Homicide'. Gabriel fields the question as Brenda sits in uncooperative silence. "Three bodies or more, critical missing with children, and homicides involving high profile individuals. Actually, you guys sometimes have more to do with that determination than we do." he answers. Brenda grabs for the radio, suggesting they simply see if they can find a 'Priority Homicide' case and take the reporter to the scene. She is making no effort to hide her contempt for the outing, complete with body language and facial expressions worthy of any petulant 5 year old child; she is still trying to circumvent her orders and get to that murder scene. Gabriel refuses. Pearson continues smoothly, ignoring the squabbling detectives, "So, essentially, rich white people are considered more important than poor minorities?" Brenda is silent no longer. "No, Sir." she says sweetly, "It just seems that way because of the media coverage." Pierson, undeterred, asks if there is such a thing as 'Priority Theft' or 'Priority Rape'. Brenda declares herself unqualified to answer many of his questions, again suggesting it would be simpler to take him to a PHD crime scene, asking Gabriel sweetly if he knows the address. Holding fast to both his temper and his determination, Gabriel nevertheless slams on the brakes, halting the car. Sternly he reminds her that Chief Pope had suggested that Mr. Pearson be allowed to dictate the day's route, asking if she'd like him to call Pope and clarify that for her.
Multiple shots ring out. "DOWN!" screams Gabriel, trying to see the direction from which the shots are coming. Greg Pierson receives a shot to the neck, the cameraman is also hit. Shattering glass explodes all around, and still the shots continue. The window at Brenda's head disintegrates, and as she slumps to the seat, Gabriel protectively throws his body across hers. The attack continues; the reporter, hit a second time, takes a round to the chest. The bullet-riddled car slowly rolls to a stop against the curb as the street is finally silent. A shaken Gabriel rolls out of the driver's side door, weapon drawn, as Brenda does the same on her side of the car. Grabbing the radio, Gabriel calls out the words no police dispatcher wants to hear: "Officer needs help!" He looks for the street signs to give their location. Identifying no further threat, Brenda takes her sweater and attempts to staunch the blood flow from the reporter's chest would, as arterial spray covers her face from his neck wound. Jerking open the other rear door, Gabriel renders aid to the cameraman, looking across the back seat, calling to Brenda: "Chief!" Softly, Brenda speaks to him, "I know Sergeant,' she says, turning her attention back to the reporter. Gabriel keys the radio again. "We need help NOW! Send paramedics!" and repeats the address. He returns to assisting the cameraman as sirens are finally heard in the distance.
Fritz and Willie Ray Johnson enter a darkened house, calling out for Brenda. She is supposed to be there, Fritz declares, she must have been held up by traffic. He dives to the floor and kicks the front door shut, a pre-emptive strike on an escape attempt by Kitty. Unfortunately, he has also slammed the door in the face of Brenda's father, Clay Johnson. Upon being let indoors, he gives Fritz and the cat a scathing look, muttering loudly "A man ought to have a dog. You can talk sense to a dog" as he walks past. Attempting to change the subject, Fritz asks if the Johnsons would like something to drink. Clay asks for iced tea, and he and Willie Ray heatedly debate whether or not iced tea is available in Los Angeles. Fritz interrupts, declaring that he has ice, and thinks he has tea. Willie Ray suggests a bourbon instead. "I bet they don't even have bourbon." Clay Johnson grumbles. Willie Ray, completely undaunted, rolls her eyes at Fritz and adds: "Make it a double, he's driving me crazy."
The door swings open to reveal a blood-soaked Brenda Leigh. Her parents are speechless, Fritz wants to know if she's alright and what has happened. Gathering her Southern manners, Brenda says simply that it's not her blood. As two young police officers enter the house, Brenda introduces them as Chad and Roy, saying simply that they will be staying with them a bit. Willie Ray wants explanations, Brenda wants a shower. Clay Johnson grabs his wife by the arm, telling her to let Brenda go. As she disappears, the stunned Fritz, Clay and Willie Ray watch as the two young police officers set up and check their weapons.
In the shower, Brenda is slowly washing away Greg Pierson's blood. The shower curtain is jerked open, startling her. "There are two SWAT guys in the living room and a black and white out front. Tell me what happened," Fritz demands. Brenda wearily says: "There was a shooting. I tried to help the victim. But he didn't make it." Gathering herself, she scolds him, telling him that she doesn't want her parents to worry, and that most importantly, he shouldn't be in the shower with her when her parents were in the living room.
Willie Ray is moving in on one member of the unsuspecting SWAT team, and perhaps reveals a bit of background illumination on why Brenda is such a skilled interrogator in the process. Armed with a beverage, she approaches her target, Clay watching with amusement from the sofa. Willie Ray has chosen Roy, asking him to please tell her what's going on. Roy is sorry, he's not allowed to say. "Say what? That somebody tried to shoot my daughter?" Never seeing what hit him, Roy replies: "So, you already know?" Willie Ray assures him that she does, she just needs details. Roy supplies these: Brenda and Gabriel weren't hit, one passenger died, the other is going to make it. Clay smiles, knowing that no amount of SWAT training could ever have prepared this young man for Willie Ray.
In the bathroom, Brenda assures Fritz that she is fine, what she is concerned about is whether Fritz and her father are getting along. Fritz isn't sure. Looking at her hand, he demands to know where her ring is. At first she can't recall, then admits it was in her purse, which is now in Evidence. "Look" she begs, 'please don't leave my parents alone out there. And please don't tell them I got shot at." Fritz erupts. "You got SHOT at?" Brenda continues, "Yes, but they missed, and now we have the SWAT detail, everything is gonna be fine. Please, please, just look after my parents." Giving in, Fritz kisses her and walks out. Brenda's face changes immediately, the shock returning.
Entering the living room, freshly showered and dressed to go out for dinner, Brenda is fired upon for the second time that day, this time by her mother. "Roy says someone tried to kill you." Brenda gives Roy a look that would peel paint. Too late, the young officer sees the snare he stepped into, but Clay defends him: "You had no choice, son." Willie Ray announces they are staying in; even Fritz thinks taking it easy is not a bad idea. Brenda counters that this is unnecessary, and her father delivers the day's final blow. They have canceled their hotel reservations, and are staying with Brenda. Roy has sent a black and white to pick up their luggage. Whether from the back-to-back work related traumas, the early-onset menopause, the unwelcome announcement that her parents were staying under her roof, or the combination of all these things, Brenda becomes quite emotional, declaring in tears that a silly SWAT detail isn't going to mess up the visit. AS she is listing all the planned outings, Clay interrupts to say that only thing they have come to see was Brenda herself.
Giving in, Brenda assigns her parents to sleep in her bedroom. Clay isn't quite finished. "Oh, no. You're the one who got shot at. We'll sleep on the fold-out." he declares, crossing the room to hug his daughter. He turns to glare at Fritz, "The only question is, where's Fritz gonna sleep?" Fritz meets Clay's stern gaze as Roy and Chad's heads swivel back and forth between father and secret fiancée, as if at a tennis match. Fritz begins to stammer, when suddenly, Clay breaks into laughter at his obvious discomfort. The entire room, from the SWAT team to Brenda and her mother get a laugh at poor Fritz' expense.
In the murder room, Brenda's team has started a list of potential enemies, headed 'WHO WOULD WANT TO KILL CHIEF JOHNSON?' This is Flynn's assignment and though his writing is tiny, he announces they will need a bigger board. Pope enters, announcing that the suicide of the writer has been handed off, Chief Johnson's shooting is their priority now. "Chief Johnson believes you are the best detectives in the building. So, prove her right. Lieutenant Provenza, you're in charge. Whadda ya got?" Pope challenges Brenda's team. Once again, Provenza provides an impromptu imitation of Brenda, calling first on Tao. Tao says Ballistics has identified the shell casings as 223 rounds, likely from an M-16 or an AR-15...gang weapons. Again, Provenza points and calls on Sanchez. Sanchez announces that the corner where the shooting took place isn't really gang territory, but acknowledges that gangs do travel, and Chief Johnson has angered plenty of gang members in the last couple of years. Commander Taylor, present in the room, stares down, knowing it was he who had involved Brenda in each gang-related investigation. Sanchez adds that he has contacted special investigators and detention officers, everyone is asking their snitches if there's any word on the street about a hit on a cop. Provenza waves at Flynn, indicating it's his turn to contribute. The switch from partner to supervisor isn't going down too well with Flynn; Provenza is enjoying himself a bit too much. Flynn's assignment is massive. He is looking at every person Brenda has interrogated or convicted since arriving in LA. He is expecting another huge list from Atlanta as well. Pope asks about D.C., adding "There were a lot of people who hated her there." Nodding, Flynn thumbs through the few hundred pages he's holding in his hand; he already has the list from D.C. Pope wants to know if that's all they're doing. "Oh, no sir," Provenza says, "in about twenty minutes, we're interviewing the witnesses." The identity of the witnesses he's referring to sinks in with Pope, who nods in resignation.
Gabriel is sitting in the hall as Brenda arrives for her interview, SWAT detail in tow. Each asks how the other is doing. Brenda is fine, Gabriel admits he's pissed at being made a target. Emotionally, Brenda tells him she is sorry. Gabriel protests that she had done nothing. Shocking him, she throws her arms around his neck: "I almost got you killed." she says tearfully. Gabriel begs her to forget it, but she hangs on tightly, "And I have been so mean to you." The tears are coming in earnest now, but she lets go abruptly as Provenza and Flynn round the corner, ready for the interviews. Brenda pulls herself together, and enters an interview room at Provenza's request.
In the hall, Flynn asks Provenza who is interviewing who. Provenza offers to flip for it, pulling a coin from his pocket, and tossing it in the air, covers it on the back of his hand. Flynn calls 'Tails'. Provenza, shoving the coin in his pocket, sys "Heads. Come on, Gabriel." and leaves Flynn the less-than-desirable assignment of interviewing Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson.
Buzz, Commander Taylor, Sanchez and Pope all gather at the monitors to watch the interviews. Beginning with Flynn and Brenda, Flynn is mumbling about the awkwardness of this. Brenda says sweetly, it's nothing to apologize for, he should just go right ahead. Before he can draw breath, she fires first: "When do I get my purse back?" Flynn reminds her it is in Evidence. "So, do you have any leads? Anyone see the shooter's car?" Flynn is desperately aware he has to get control over this interview, reminding Brenda that he really needs to know what she recalls, beginning with the route they took.
In Gabriel's interview, he is answering the same question. They were heading west on Santa Fe, and Brenda wanted to go to the writer's crime scene, but he wouldn't take her. Asked if he saw where the shots came from, a thoughtful Gabriel replies that it was more as if he felt them, they came from his right side and felt close. He saw nothing, and has been trying, but can't recall a face, the color of a car, even whether or not there was another car. He is wretched, admitting he should have been paying closer attention. Provenza soothes him, asking if he's had any death threats, unusual contact with gang members...the usual list. All are answered in the negative. Continuing in the standard vein, Provenza inquires if Gabriel is seeing anyone who might have a jealous ex-boyfriend. Clearly uncomfortable now, Gabriel hesitates, choosing his words carefully. He denies there are any angry ex's that he is aware of. Provenza pursues this. "But, you are dating someone?" Glancing toward the location of the hidden camera, Gabriel says yes, for about a year. Provenza wants to know if this person has a name.
Those watching the interviews are speechless as Gabriel, resigned that there is no other way to handle this, states, "Irene Daniels." Pope breaks the silence. "Detective Daniels? Who knew about this?" Sanchez and Commander Taylor don't move a muscle, but Buzz slowly raises his hand, admitting he saw them at the movies together.
Provenza asks about how long...and is interrupted by Gabriel. Speaking firmly now, Gabriel says it has been about a year, asking if they could move on to a different topic.
Brenda, in her interview is now answering questions rather than asking them. She is definitive in her answers, there appears no room for doubt. They were pulling away from a stop sign, and she heard a 'loud report', so she dropped to the floor of the car. When asked about the number of shots, Brenda is once more certain. She heard five shots.
Gabriel, answering the same question, says he isn't sure, but thinks it was 15 or 20 shots.
Brenda is snapping at Flynn now: "How many times do I have to say it? I heard five shots. I remember counting five. I told myself to be sure to count."
Gabriel's answer is more cautious. "It seemed like it went on forever. And there were some other noises, some screaming..."
Flynn persists; "You're sure?" Brenda is very sure: "I'm positive" Flynn is positive as well, positive he is miserable.
Everyone now gathered around Buzz's consoles, Commander Taylor asks he if she is sure she is ready to see this tape; the cameraman, Vince Kimble, had never turned off the camera. Brenda is sure, Gabriel is less so. She asks Buzz to play the tape. The clip is short, brutal, and directly contradicts Brenda's recollections, as multiple shots ring out, far more than five. Her jaw drops. Flynn states facts: 21 shots were fired within 4.3 seconds. Taylor asks Buzz to play the tape he'd made at the crime scene once the PHD team had arrived. He talks Brenda through it, saying that all the shot appeared to have come from a single position. Brenda studies the tape intently. The car is riddled with bullet holes, there is blood covering the back seat. On tape, Provenza is noting that while the Chief and Gabriel were both covered in blood, none of it appeared to be their own. As Brenda watches still, Flynn adds that it looks s if the guy had been lying in wait, all the casings were found in one area. The tape continues to roll, and Pope looks very uncomfortable as the crime scene tape has him arriving at the scene, screeching to a halt and running from the car, doubling over and nearly falling to his knees as he realizes Brenda Leigh isn't dead. Or perhaps he's relieved that both of his detectives are alive. Both stare at him. Quickly changing gears, Pope asks Provenza to keep him updated on the progress, and quickly exits the room, after ordering Brenda and Gabriel to go home. As further camouflage for his video performance, he adds: "I'm sure you both have significant others who are worried about you." Brenda returns her scrutiny to the crime scene tape, noting as always the gathering crowd.
As gently as a hammer, she tells Provenza that if she were running this investigation, she would have the witnesses look at the car itself, in an attempt to jog their memories. Provenza says that he was thinking that exact thing.
They group approaches Tao, who is inserting rods into bullet holes to determine trajectory. He's shocked to see Brenda and Gabriel, looking to Provenza for an explanation. Brenda asks how many casings were recovered. Tao is speechless, giving in when Provenza nods to him, an indication that some battles aren't worth fighting. Still, to avoid the appearance of impropriety, Provenza knows Tao will need some reasonable explanation for the huge departure from normal procedure. "We're trying to jog the witnesses' memories." This is good enough for Tao. Brenda asks how many bullets hit the car. With his usual precision, he explains that he can't be exact, a couple might have gone through windows. Gabriel is slowly circling the car, stunned to see the extent of the damage. Tao, still addressing Brenda, says there are 17 bullet holes. Brenda thinks aloud: "17 out of 21, all concentrated in the same area. That's pretty solid marksmanship." Still stunned, Gabriel all but whispers; "Yeah. But he missed." Brenda contradicts him. "He didn't miss. I wasn't his target." As the team takes a fresh look at the car from this new assumption, it's clear that Brenda might be onto something. All shots are angled toward the back seat.
She sails into Pope's office, explaining that since she has determined that she wasn't the target, could he please remove her silly security detail and let her get to work solving the murder. Pope reminds her that she isn't cleared to solve any murder, not until Dr Leonard is willing to return her to active duty. Pulling him aside, she begs, saying that nobody had to know. He sarcastically inquires if this is the same logic that led her to keep secret the relationship between Gabriel and Daniels. "Well, it's not like they're partners," she counters. Pope reiterates that he should have been informed. Once more, he tells her to go home, adding that it's an order if need be. She turns her baleful look on the nearby SWAT team member, Chad, who says in a hurt voice that he hadn't realized how much he was bothering her. Brenda rolls her eyes, she has dealt with people who are much more gifted in the guilt department.
Entering the hospital room to talk with Vince Kemble, the cameraman, Brenda pauses to once again apologize to Chad for hurting his feelings. He accepts. "Now," Brenda asks, "what are you going to tell Chief Pope?" The charm has worked, Chad will report they went straight home. "Thank you. Thank you so much." Dismissing him, she enters the room.
Kemble says he thought Greg Pierson was destined to make network television, and had thought the kid might just take him along. Brenda apologizes to Kemble, saying she is sorry he lost his friend, it's just so unfair, that Greg was such a good person... Kemble nearly chokes on his juice. "You're pulling a 'Pierson'." Gabriel asks "Excuse me?" Kemble continues; "You know, kiss ass and lie to your subject till they tell you the story you want." Brenda denies she is doing any such thing. Kemble counters that he'd worked with Greg long enough to recognize the technique when he saw it. Brenda clarifies what she's being told. "You're saying Greg lied to people? Who'd he lie to?" The answer is surprising. "Everyone. He lied to you guys. Greg wasn't doing a feature about the overburdened LAPD. He was about to expose how incompetent you are." The cameraman runs it down for them. Greg felt there were thousands of fugitives in Los Angeles, all of whom the LAPD said they couldn't locate. So, the reporter had done a bit of basic research, taken a couple of tips, and had located a bunch of these fugitives. One of them crashed at the two addresses the detectives had been given. The plan was for a mere reporter to locate this fugitive, making Brenda and Gabriel look foolish on television. Summing up, Kemble states, "Like Greg used to say, sometime you have to lie to tell the truth." Brenda observes aloud that in her experience, people didn't like being lied to. She asks the name of this fugitive. Kemble doesn't know. Brenda orders Gabriel to have Provenza look into the two addresses, and see what a bit of their own 'basic research' turned up. Addressing Kemble again, she inquires as to background information on anyone else who had a 'Pierson' pulled on them.
Brenda is watching tape of Greg Pierson's television 'exposes' at home. The room is crowded, as her parents and the SWAT team are all in her living room. Fritz has been assigned the role Buzz usually plays, which is to say he has the remote and obliges when Brenda says stop, fast forward, or go back. Clay, lounging on the fold out sofa with one of the SWAT guys, can't resist a dig at Fritz: "Fred, did you know that Roy here raises German Shepherds?"
Ignoring the mild uproar in the background, Brenda has Fritz go back so she can look again at footage of an angry restaurant owner who was one of Greg Pierson's targets. As the multiple stories are being viewed, Chad comments his mom is real sad, she liked Pierson's stories. Willie Ray thinks he looked like such a nice young man. Clay Johnson can't help but add that Greg was "...the first person he'd encountered that seemed to realize that LA was nuts, who'd want to kill him?" Brenda rattles off a quick list of folks who might want to do just that. As the tape continues, she orders Fritz to pause, staring at Greg on the steps of the courthouse. There are other people in the shot, and Brenda jumps up, she thinks she might know where the 'tip' with the two addresses had come from. Calling Tao, she looks at her watch and apologizes for calling so late. But, persisting, she wants him to pull some phone records for an 800 number. Willie May is aghast at Brenda's lack of manners.
Tao has gone a step farther. The station kept a recording of all it's tips. As he goes to play the recording for her, Commander Taylor enters, and seeing Brenda, Gabriel and the entire squad in Brenda's office, he reminds them that Pope wouldn't be too happy to find out Brenda's team was circumventing procedure by working with Gabriel and herself, particularly on a media-involved crime. Brenda agrees, standing and collecting the hideous purse she's been using while her normal one remains locked in Evidence. The rest of the squad stands as well, and Commander Taylor exits. Wordlessly, Sanchez closes the blinds and they all go back to work. Tao resumes playing the tip line call, both addresses given her by Pierson are clearly specified by the caller. Flynn points out that the caller set Pierson up, while they were checking out the first address, the shooter had time to get set up at the second. Sanchez adds that the second address doesn't even exist, but is near the place the shooting occurred. Brenda inquires as to the fugitive Greg Pierson was looking for, Alberto Ramirez, only to be informed by Sanchez that the man had lived at the first address, 549 Ridgeley, but he'd been in prison for the last 2 months. Brenda asks where the tip line call came from. Yao has this information, a private residence belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Deke Hawthorne. This rings a bell with Gabriel, who refers to him as 'the Hawthorne Lodge guy'. Flynn chimes in to say how much he loved that restaurant. Brenda wants to know more, and Provenza tells her the restaurant is an old LA institution, one of the oldest steak houses in the city. Flynn disagrees, it's not a steakhouse, but more of a 'wild game restaurant'. Brenda murmurs the name 'Hawthorne Lodge'...Sanchez adds that it has been closed for about a year. Flynn demands to know why, but Brenda think she might know.
Giving Buzz the footage she'd obtained after taking to the cameraman, she has Buzz play the clip she'd watched the night before, something about a restaurant and rats. When Brenda orders Buzz the stop the tape on a frame that includes Greg Pierson, the restaurant owner and a younger, unidentified male, Flynn ID's the restaurant owner as Deke Hawthorne. He gives Brenda what he knows of the family background, grandfather, father, etc., all were big game hunters, and they had turned their hobby into a legendary restaurant by having the week's special at the Hawthorne Lodge be whatever they had killed. Brenda asks Buzz to replay the film he'd taken at the crime scene on another monitor, as Gabriel begins to piece together a theory aloud: Pierson does the expose, the health department closes the restaurant down about two months later. Sanchez reminds them that many viewers trusted this reporter. Tao thinks losing a family business might just be motive, suggesting they talk to Deke Hawthorne. Brenda is listening to all this, but is eyeing the crime scene tape. Finding the place she is seeking, she has Buzz freeze it. Side by side on the monitors the PHD sees the same face in both videos, once outside the restaurant in Pierson's film, and once at their own shooting, standing in the crowd Buzz had filmed. Only her dogged SWAT detail says the obvious aloud, earning derisive looks from the room of seasoned homicide detectives. Brenda asks Provenza to locate Deke Hawthorne and find out who the young man is, asking that he bring both in for an interview, in hopes of matching the voice on the tip line tape. Provenza asks if she is planning on interviewing them herself. She is. Then it hits her, she is 'not allowed to participate in any investigation'.
Stuck at home, Brenda is annoyed by the cheerful presence of the SWAT team drinking coffee at the kitchen table. Flouncing around in flannel pajamas, she is restless and snappy, prompting her mother to offer to make pancakes, once her suggestion of having Brenda's work friend over for a cookout is shot down by Brenda, who points out that they are working on the shooting. Willie Ray nudges Clay's foot as she rises, calling Roy and Chad to assist her in the kitchen.
Alone with her father, Clay wastes no time, asking if having them there is upsetting her. No. Brenda says, she is "angry with that stupid psychiatrist woman who won't let her go back to work", adding that he's probably happy, since he'd never supported her decision to be a cop in the first place. Clay Johnson moves to sit beside his daughter on the sofa, one arm around her shoulders, and says his piece: "When you wanted to go to Georgetown, I said 'No'. You went anyway. When you wanted to go to work for the State Department, I said 'No', well, you did it anyway. Then when you called and said you were going to work for the D.C. police, your Mama nearly had to sit on me to keep me from driving the van up there and kidnapping you. Over the years, I've tried to stand in your way several times, and you always ran right over me. You wanna go back to work? You go back to work. I've always found that it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, you know what I mean?" Brenda smiles for the first time all day.
Dressed and determined, with poor Chad on her heels, Brenda strides up to Lieutenant Provenza at Parker Center, who asks her if she isn't supposed to be at home. She replies that she is just checking in, asking the SWAT member to please wait in the hall. As she enters Buzz's room, Tao asks if she has talked to the psychiatrist. "No" is all she says, asking what she's missed. Provenza is unfazed by Brenda's appearance or her participation. He tells her that 2 months after Pierson's 'rat expose', the restaurant closed and 6 months later, Deke Hawthorne died. Their chief wants to know how. Sanchez gives the short version: "Pills. Twenty of them." Brenda looks at he monitor, asking the identity of the man in the interview, their 'friend' from the news video. She is told he is Bill Hawthorne, son of Deke, who used to work in his father's restaurant, and now is a waiter in a restaurant downtown. He lives at home with his mom, and might have been the person who called the tip line. Brenda asks if the house was searched. Tao speaks up, telling her that the Hawthorns have 8 registered rifles, seven were at the house, but there's a missing AR-15, which the mother claims is at the family hunting lodge.
Brenda asks if Flynn read Bill Hawthorne his rights, only to receive an indignant "Of course he did!" from Provenza, who says the kid waived them, but hasn't said much. He adds that their evidence is circumstantial. Brenda goes on the offensive, telling her team that they have no evidence, no murder weapon, only coincidence and conjecture. As they look at each other in bemusement - she really has not been herself lately - she orders that Bill Hawthorne be let go. They protest, she is firm. Grabbing the hideous bag she's been using since her everyday purse has been locked up in Evidence, Brenda heads out the door, stopping abruptly and choosing a different door by which to exit.
Chad is getting fidgety in the hall outside. He never sees Brenda as she tiptoes out of the door behind him. He's too busy trying to peek through the blinds of the door she'd entered. Brenda closes in on Bill Hawthorne as he heads for the elevators, intent on the cell phone in his hand. Catching up, she claims he looks familiar, asking where she knows him from. Barely glancing at her, he thinks she is mistaken. As they reach the elevator, she pushes a button, asking if he's going down. He is. The elevator arrives and the pair get on. There are two other passengers with them. Just as the doors are closing, Gabriel walks into the hallway, seeing Brenda and she pushes the 'Close Door' button firmly, denying him a ride. He takes off running, this can't be good. The doors close and Brenda feigns dismay, she has gotten them on the elevator going up. Bill is still focused on the cell phone, barely listening as she keeps saying that she can't believe he doesn't remember her, she surely remembers him. The elevator arrives at the top floor, and the other two passengers get off. A steely-voiced Brenda tells the people waiting for an elevator going down to 'take the next one', again pressing firmly on the 'Close Door' button, leaving her on the elevator alone with her suspect. She confronts Bill Hawthorne in earnest. She says she realized how she knew him; he tried to kill her. He looks away from the phone, denying he'd done so. Brenda says he did, and she can prove it. She rattles through her list of 'evidence'; he knew she'd be with Pierson that day because he was the voice on the hot line. He had called in with two bogus addresses so he could lure her to that street corner where he was waiting to kill her. "But you missed," she whispers. He denies this. She pulls out the tiny recorder she had taken from Tao, and starts to play the tip line tape for him.
Gabriel rushes up to the Security Desk, jumping over ropes designed to keep people in line. Frantically, he asks the female security officer to pull up the video on the elevator Brenda is in, asking if they had audio as well. They did, and obligingly turn it on. As Gabriel can only watch and listen helplessly as his Chief has locked herself in an elevator with the man who tried to kill her, Pope passes by, asking Gabriel why he wasn't taking the week off as ordered. Hearing the audio feed from the elevator, he pauses, and for the second time in three days, he turns pale due to Brenda Leigh Johnson. He, Gabriel and the female security officer stare at the monitor as Chief Johnson does what she does best, close her case.
She has played the tape from the tip line, and she tells him that she match his voice, being recorded in the elevator, with the voice on the tape in her 'Voice Recognition Lab'.
The female security officer looks at Pope. "We got a Voice Recognition Lab?" she asks. "No," says Pope.
Brenda continues listing her 'evidence'. She tells a slightly frightened Bill Hawthorne that she can match gunpowder residue on his hands and face, even though he has doubtlessly washed them thoroughly by now. But, she adds, if he hadn't used a mixture of iodine and bleach, the residue would remain on his skin for five days.
The security officer looks again to Pope. "It doesn't." he assures her.
Brenda is still listing 'evidence', telling her hostage that she can also match the powder residue on his body to the AR-15 that his father had owned, and that she knew he'd converted it to an automatic using a twenty dollar kit bought online. Bill insists he knows nothing about this matter. In desperation he tells her she is crazy. Wrong choice of words, and Brenda Leigh has had it: "I. Am. Not. Crazy." She stops the elevator, setting off the alarm.
Chad has been waiting by the doorway where Brenda left him all that time ago. Hearing the alarm, he opens the door to find an empty room, and rushes off toward the alarm bell.
Brenda is in full swing, and it is a scary thing to see. "I am not the one who shot 21 rounds into a police car. I am not the one who tried to make it look like a gang drive-by. I'm not the person who killed one person, wounded another and returned to the scene of the crime to admire his handiwork." He tries to talk, telling her she doesn't understand. She is advancing on him now, coming ever closer. She isn't finished. "Do you have any idea how the LAPD feels about someone who tries to kill one of their own? Two of their own? My partner, my friend, was in that car with me, and it doesn't end with the police, Bill." Brenda is shouting now, as Pope and Gabriel stare. There is an especially odd look on Gabriel's face. "Judges, juries, prison guards, they all share a special contempt for someone who tries to hunt down and murder a police officer. That's a capital crime, Bill. You think this elevator is small? Just wait until you step into the gas chamber." He shrinks away, asking "Why are you doing this to me?" Brenda is still yelling, "You're the one who tried to kill me!" "No, I didn't. I swear," he pleads with her. "Yes, you did. I was there Bill, a bullet went into the back of my car seat and if I hadn't ducked I'd be dead, and what did I ever do to you? What did I ever do?"
Nearly a foot taller and about 100 pounds heavier, Bill is nevertheless intimidated and tries to explain. She did nothing to him. She drills him some more, as she has yet to hear the magic words. "Why did I deserve to sit curled up in the foot well of my car while blood and glass rained down on me? Why me, Bill, why did you try to kill me?"
Bill Hawthorn can no longer stand this verbal assault. "I wasn't aiming at you. It was him. Pierson. He killed my father." Brenda disagrees, pointing out that his father committed suicide. Bill denies this, saying Pierson had killed his father with that story about the restaurant. The restaurant had been his father's life, and Pierson took it away. Bill is sure Pierson planted the rats. "So, you shot him?" "Yeah." Brenda has her confession.
Gabriel can only shake his head as he watches Brenda turn the elevator back on, silencing the alarm. The lobby is filling up. Pope and Gabriel, realizing the doors are about to open, rush toward the elevator, joined by the anxious Chad. Bill isn't finished, he needs her understanding now. "I never meant for anyone else to get hurt. I know how to use a gun, okay? I was careful not to aim at you. And I came back, I came back to make sure you were okay. I did. And you are, you know. Okay." Exhausted, he sags against the wall of the elevator. He just wanted people to know the truth. Brenda promises him that they will. The elevator door opens and Gabriel handcuffs Bill Hawthorne a bit roughly as Chad holds his weapon on the confessed murderer. Bill is confused. "I don't understand, you're okay." Brenda has one more thing to say to this man: "I'm alive, but I am NOT okay."
She steps out of the elevator in front of the cuffed man, being hauled away by Chad and Gabriel. Tao and Flynn are there to meet her, but it is Will Pope she encounters first. He orders her to never again do such a thing. She demands her purse from the Evidence locker, and walks past the late-arriving Provenza and Commander Taylor. Pope finally takes a breath.
Chad and Roy are out of uniform, but back at Brenda's kitchen table. Willie Ray has invited them for dinner, as a thank you. There is general chatter, and mentions of tourist attractions the two SWAT officers have recommended. Brenda isn't interested in this. Abruptly, she announces "Fritz and I are engaged," effectively silencing the table. Willie Ray swears she knew it, because Brenda kept caressing her ring finger, as if something were missing. Brenda admits it had been locked up in her purse after the shooting, but she takes it out of the box and slides it on, for all to admire.
Clay Johnson has yet to say a word, but he does finally speak up. "Well, Agent Howard of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, did it not occur to you to pick up the phone and ask for my blessing?" Fritz stammers something about he and Brenda both being adults, as the older man rises from his seat and heads for Fritz. Now Chad and Roy both look as if they wished they still had their guns. Clay opens his arms and says, "Relax, son. I'm just joshing with you. You do hug, don't you? I mean, you do have a cat."
Fritz rises and hugs Clay Johnson, whispering in his ear "It's not my cat." Clay, much like his daughter, needs the last word: "It is now, son, and you'd better make that cat very happy."