Agent Jane had been up all night working on the recent Red John case in which Kristina Frye had been kidnapped and had gone upstairs to sleep for a bit when Agent Lisbon found him, woke him and as he groggily struggled to wake, she informed him about a shooting the night before in a motel: a recently released prisoner, Henry Dahl, in for murder had been found shot in the face eight to ten times, but with a large piece of the back of his skull missing also. Had he died of the blow to the back of his head or the gun shots? It wasn't known yet. Would Jane take the case? He thought a moment, then said he would decline, just wait this one out. At the scene, Jane perused the situation and said he didn't want to get involved, that this was just a scum bag drug dealer someone had killed, that he did not feel sorry for him. Lisbon said that he should take the case because Director Gail Bertram was there giving an interview to several tv stations there at the scene. Soon, Bertram strode over to the agents, exclaiming that he was glad Jane was on the case, that he hoped Jane would soon solve it. Jane took an instant dislike to the man, sarcastically speaking to him and then turned on his heel, Bertram staring after him.
Across the street, a young blond woman named Karen Cross, who had her own crime talk show, tried to interview a very tired Jane who refused her and climbed into a nearby SUV and promptly fell asleep on the back seat. Miffed, Cross had her camera man film a sleeping Jane, later showing the footage on her show, dubbing it a CBI officer sleeping on the job. Cross had a security guard give Jane a "summons" to be tried before a jury of his peers on her talk show. Two years before, Henry Dahl had been crucified by her on her show because she felt he was guilty of the stabbing murder of a young woman. Ironically, just recently, DNA had been found that exonerated Dahl and he was released. Cross wanted Jane to give his version of the case.
When Jane and Lisbon saw the footage of him sleeping in the SUV, Jane called on Cross at her tv studio, talking about the footage. While there, Dahl's mother showed up and Jane talked to her, not picking up anything new. Max Winter, widower of Dahl's alleged murder victim, Jenny Winter, sat calmly as Jane interviewed him, displaying a very calm demeanor, which Jane remarked upon. Winter said it was reconciliation that helped him to forgive Dahl, that nine years had passed and he invited Jane to accompany him sometime to a local firing range, which Jane did. While there, Jane remarked that he was impressed in the change in Winter and on his shooting prowess. Winter said that he didn't own a gun, but rented some, displaying the several rented guns and asking if Jane liked to shoot guns. Jane did not and didn't like guns, refusing to shoot one when Winter offered. At headquarters, Jane and Lisbon watched nine year old footage of Winter attacking Dahl in a prison hallway: it had taken three deputies to drag Winter off Dahl. Had Winter indeed changed all that much now? Jane doubted it, would watch for signs of change in the man closely.
Jane went to Winter's house the next morning, finding Winter away, but teenage son Jackson working on model airplanes in the open garage. As Jane talked to the young man, he saw that Jackson appeared very nervous, asking Jane to leave since his dad wasn't at home. Jane left, going to headquarters to check if Jackson had a rap sheet: he had a couple assault charges but nothing definite. In Lodi, where Dahl had spent two nights before his murder, the house manager told Jane that Dahl had had a female visitor named Betsy Meyer. Jane checked Dahl's room which had been rifled and a man burst from under the bed where he'd been hiding, the agents capturing him. The man, Artie Mock, said he and Dahl had been college buddies getting into selling drugs, that that was what Dahl had been arrested for before the murder rap and that Mock felt Dahl had drugs from that time stashed away because Dahl had been boasting that he and his new girlfriend were going on a long vacation when he got out of prison, but he'd been killed. Mock proved to be innocent and was released.
The girlfriend, Betsy, was married, had been a high school friend, had begun two months earlier to write to Dahl, and had slept with Dahl after his prison release. Betsy and her husband were interviewed by Jane and when Betsy's husband accused her of adultery, she began to cry, saying the marriage had been on the rocks for a long time. The two were cleared and released.
Karen Cross greeted Jane at her show the next morning, though she was sarcastic because he'd not shown up two hours early as she had requested. He handed out candles just before air time, making her very angry as she tried to tell him what she wanted. To the audience which included Max and Jackson Winter and several agents hidden round the audience, Jane announced that since Cross said he was psychic, he called upon the spirit of Henry Dahl to light the candle of his murderer who would surely be in the audience. Looking round the darkened room, a candle sputtered into flame. It was Jackson Winter's. He was nevertheless innocent. The show was a hit.
That afternoon, Jane was called to a scene on a very high overpass where Betsy Meyers stood crying, saying she was going to jump. Her husband was near her, frantically telling her not to jump. Jane grabbed a bullhorn from a police man and told her to jump, to make it quick and kill herself. He said afterward that he knew she would not jump and she did not. Betsy seemed to understand that her husband did love her and that he had wanted to kill Dahl out of jealousy, had had a good motive to kill him. Meyer admitted that he had bashed in Dahl's skull when he confronted the man in his hotel room, demanding money that Dahl owed him, but did that kill Dahl? Most likely not.
And Winter admitted that he'd gone to Dahl's room, finding his skull bashed in, had fired those bullets into his face, but he thought the man already dead. The lawyers for the two men accused the other, bringing everything to a stand still. They were released. After the legal proceedings, Jane found Winter in the hallway, gift box extended toward himself, smile on his face, Winter thanking him for work well done. Jane asked Winter if it had been worth killing Dahl for the murder of Jenny Winter: Winter nodded yes. Later in his attic getaway, Jane opened the gift box to find a nine mm handgun: the one used to kill Dahl.