Numb3rs S5E2 Script

The Decoy Effect (2008)


I'm walking on the southern street

Cut to the river 'fore I run too low

I'm walking on the southern street

Cut to the river 'fore I run too low

Old gypsy woman spoke to me

Said, "You're a wolf, boy, get out of this town"

Old gypsy woman spoke to me

Said, "You're a wolf, boy, get out of this town"

"You're a wolf, boy, get out of this town"

(gunshots, screaming)

"You're a wolf, boy, get out of this town"

"You're a wolf."

So, wideband mixer-circulator retro-reflector.

Obviously not.


How about ternary computing?

Nah. No.

Nanometer fabrication using sacrificial spacer layers.

Nah... You've got to be kidding me.

Nanometer fabrication!

Hey, nobody kids about nanometer fabrication.


You guys still going through CalSci's consulting projects?

Oh, yeah. My NSA clearance is suspended, so, all really get to do now is... look.

My next paper's going to be titled "Our Friend the Triangle."

Actually, John Conway and Steven Sigur already wrote a great book about that subject.

LARRY: You know, it is surprising to see how much of our work actually intersects with top-secret government research.

You know, CalSci has even limited his access to the supercomputers.

ALAN: Am I going to sound too much like your father, Charlie, when I suggest that, um, after time for principle, there be occasion for a strategic, insincere apology?

I wish it were that simple, Dad.

I... I have to petition to get my security clearance back.

Step one of that is an interview tomorrow at the FBI, with someone called a security officer.

AMITA: Charlie, you do have a connection or two at the FBI.

I don't want to drag Don into this one.

The facts are on my side.

None of the information I sent to Pakistan was a threat to national security.

ALAN: Listen, Charlie, when you're dealing with the government, it doesn't hurt to have more than just the facts on your side.

(siren whooping, indistinct chatter)

What do you say, Nikki?

Alice DeMaire, 33.

An I.T. worker at a small day trader office off Figueroa.

Two in the back -- a .38 or a nine.

Oh, yeah? The lab boys been here?

No, but I know bullet holes.

Yeah, perp was described as male, white, 30s, dark suit and sunglasses.

Fled in a brown truck.

And the witnesses say, a flower truck, bread truck.

You know, like that. So it was stolen, right?

Unless we're looking at a gang of rogue bakers.

ATM is this way.

NIKKI: You know you're not in East L.A. when $20 bills hit the ground and stay there.

What do you say, Colb?

This is our best photo of the shooter.

He slid back in line twice.

Staying out of camera?

This guy might have known where to stand, but he wasn't so careful about where he ran.

Parking garage right here has a camera pointed toward the street.

Give that to LAPD? Yeah, ten minutes ago.

NIKKI: New guy question.

But what are we doing here?

I mean, this seems like a straight-up LAPD shoot.

DON: You got a woman who's kidnapped 23 hours ago, and her husband was told to make sure he has $3,000 in his bank account.

DAVID: They're called express kidnappings.

I saw a few of them when I was stationed in Tel Aviv.

People are grabbed off the street, and held for a couple of days; they're forced to drain their bank account before they're released.

(phone rings) Our victims' families are scared, but the dollar amounts are so small, they pay up, and, uh, report it after the fact.

It's the fifth in seven weeks, and they're all middle income working women, raped, assaulted, and then dumped off.

It's the first time they've killed.

First time anyone ran.

NIKKI: You run from somebody with a gun, maybe you figure they're going to use it anyway.

New guy, you're with me.

Why do I have a feeling that's going to stick?

A male, white, NFD dumped the truck.

A gray four-door picked him up and took off.

Where'd they see it from?

Far side of the roof.

Hence the "no further description."

Firemen found evidence of a Molotov in the cabin.

Another new guy question.

Yeah. How bad are the bad guys that kill their own partner for screwing up?

NIKKI: Joey Herman -- frequent flyer with the California Department of Corrections.

Discharged from Chino last May after a three-year bid for hitting a jewelry exchange.

Guy's a high-end thief, but no mastermind.

Might explain the bullet in the head.

It matches the Suspect Three description and composite sketch the other victims gave us.

Only three more to go.

Whoever was on the other side of the gun knows their business.

Lab says the inside of the van was washed down with bleach before it was torched, so, whatever forensic evidence we do recover probably won't work for us until after we catch them.

All right, in five robberies, these guys have pulled down less than 20 grand.

Kidnapping, two homicides -- that's a lot of exposure for not a lot of money.

In East L.A., people get stabbed over a six-pack.

COLBY: Yeah, but this isn't East L.A., and these guys aren't meth heads on a tear.

M.O. says it's a serious crew.

DAVID: These express kidnappings -- they make sense south of the border, or in Third World countries where a little bit of money's gonna take you far, but, uh, nobody moves from six-figure jewelry hits to low-take thugging for no reason.

We're missing some pieces.

But a guy like this -- there's always an ex-cellmate or a known associate somewhere in the picture.

Yeah -- it sounds like a lot of grunt work.

Yes, it does.

I wonder who's gonna get stuck with that.

DAVID: It'd probably be a seniority thing, I think.


That's going to get old fast.

Yeah, maybe for you it will.

MAN (on TV): The facts of the shooting are still under investigation at this point in time, but it appears to be connected to...

Hey, hey, I'm glad you're here.

So, I'm watching the news here, and I see these...

I mean, is this your case? DON: Yeah.

I know you can't talk about it.

Just what you see there.

It occurred to me -- and-and, you know, it's just an idle thought -- that a point-by-point analysis, using the math that I've already refined for you guys...

You just plug that data in and-and run with it.

Yeah, we're already on that. You are?

Mm-hmm. Good.

I mean, they aren't leaving us much.

We're gonna have to get them on the street.

Doesn't that mean that you're waiting for another victim?

Or a decoy.

I mean, we could put ten, 20, 30 women out there.

See if maybe they pick one up.

You know, in marketing, there's something called the decoy effect.

It's like when you went out to buy that watch you got on there.

You had a choice between a more expensive, higher-end, waterproof, scratch-resistant watch with a tachometer, and a less expensive watch that does nothing but tell time.

And you made your choice by how you balance function and cost.

But let's say, a third watch is put on the market.

More expensive, but no tachometer.

Most buyers will gravitate toward the original, higher-end product, regardless of their prior preference.

So, that third watch is the decoy.

It exists solely to steer buyers to the bigger sale.

And that's called asymmetric dominance.

So, how...?

Well, you can't just put targets out on the street that you want kidnappers to attack.

You can create conditions that make them more desirable.

A distribution of police patrols, inspection points --

I mean, this is stuff you would normally do anyway, except funneled through a series of algorithmic...

You think it's something Larry or Amita could do?

Well, yeah. No, sure. I...

Sure. Larry and Amita are very, highly skilled...

I just... I'm just saying that I could come up with some very loose expressions and give them a push in the right direction.

Hey, so, what do you know about this FBI Security Officer, uh, McGowan?


Yeah, Carl McGowan.

He's tough, but-but he's fair.

More tough, more fair?


You know, you'll be fine.

That's not an answer. (phone ringing)

Yeah. Eppes.

We put out a five-county alert for any missing persons reports that match our victim profile.

I started with today's, figuring these guys don't snatch more than one vic at a time.

(computer chirps)

Popped Janet Gerber, office manager at an HMO in Hollywood.

Left her job at 4:30, reported missing at 8:00.

That's pretty fast.

News has everyone on edge.

She is right in the sweet spot of our profile.

Female, 25, middle income.


Yeah, I wouldn't have dragged you back here in the middle of the night if there wasn't more.

Oh, damn.

Their M.O. holds up, they'll dump the van, switch to a delivery truck again.

Right, sure. Blends in more, easier to control, or...

I'm thinking, press conference, right?

Put her face on the news.

Maybe these guys get rattled, let her go.

Only when things went bad before, that's exactly what they didn't do.

What am I looking for?

Credit card bills, bank statements -- anything that might help us track her.

She's never home past 6:00.

But when I called the police, I was hoping...

Then they told me they'd kill her if I called you, but I already had.

They're going to tell you what helps them, not what's going to help Janet.

You did the right thing.

(crying) Janet isn't reckless.

She's careful about where she goes.

She pays attention to everything around her.


If they can just grab you off the street, no rhyme or reason...

(sniffles) do you protect yourself from that?

The woman on the TV -- they killed her.

The ones before -- they beat them, they raped them.

We're going to do everything in our power to bring Janet back here safely.

Hey, guys, thanks for stepping up here, huh?

Yeah, well, we're still getting up to speed.

Um, asymmetric dominance is pretty basic stuff.

Yeah, but Charlie's applications of it are anything but basic.

DON: Well, we're in the middle of a kidnapping right now, so it may end up being for nothing, but thanks.

AMITA: All right. I would remind you that the planet known as rho-1 Cancri e was discovered purely by accident, when scientists were modeling the motion of its home star.


There is no wasted work.


Nikki, what do we got?

Uh, the National Bank Network gave us access to SPIDER -- a tracking program for ATM usage that they use to detect fraud.

Almost every ATM in the country is on the system.

It provides real-time transactions at 400,000 cash machines nationwide -- check this out.

It even shows how much cash is available in any machine at any one time, and that's how they know when they have to be refilled.

Okay, so...

Every time you use an ATM card, SPIDER calls the bank to make sure you have enough cash available.

We have three hits already on Janet Gerber's cards.

Here, here, and here.

The last one was two hours ago.

You get units in there?

I notified LAPD.

Colby and David are cruising the area.

Do we have any shots of her?

We're running facial recognition for the other customers.

Oh, what's that?

Right there.

Staying just outside of camera range.

That's the guy.

We got a hit.

Someone's using one of her cards at...

COLBY: It's Fifth and Alameda.

(engine revving, tires screeching)

COLBY: In one piece, please.

Hey, you know the rule: you complain, you drive.

Too late?

Unless that's him.

Doesn't look like any of these sketches.

Do they ever?

DAVID: That matches the description of the kidnapper's van.

(engine roaring, tires screeching)

(tires screeching)

(tires screeching)

(horn honking, tires screeching)

Hey, look out!

(tires screeching)


Stay in the truck!

Yeah, I didn't see him.


He's pretty damned dead.

Van's empty.

That leaves two at large.

And they still have Janet Gerber.

WOMAN: I've already told you everything that I remember.

There have been new developments, Ms. Mooney.

We've got another victim out there.

I'm sorry.

I've been trying to forget what happened.

This one.

He'd get out of the van with me when they told me to get money.

He had a gun. He didn't... he wasn't a part of the rest of it.

You recognize anyone else?


You're sure?

I spent 38 hours with those...

Yes, I'm sure.

NIKKI: In the report, you said there was a fourth man, one they met in the parking lot?

He just talked to them for a few minutes, and then he left.

They called someone every few hours after that.

I got the sense that it was him.

What did they talk about?

Which banks to go to, maybe.

I think... I... I don't remember.

They had me on the floor most of the time.

This woman, the one that they have now...

We're gonna do everything we can to get her back safe.

NIKKI: Zack Talling.

He was in County on a drug charge, during three of the five kidnappings.

DON: Okay, so they do Herman for screwing up, and then they bring in Talling.

NIKKI: The minivan was scrubbed clean, and we figure Talling was supposed to dump it.

He decided to stop and buy a case instead.

He pockets one of Janet Gerber's ATM cards, decides to skim a little cash for himself.

Definitely hit the discount rack with Talling.

Liquor stores, carjackings...

There's no more activity on her other cards?

No, they've gone cold.

When Talling doesn't come back, they gotta be nervous.

They should have closed up shop when they lost Herman.

Herman didn't participate in the rapes.

Maybe he was the alpha dog, then they turned on him.

That's the alpha.

He doesn't ride with them, he tells them where to go, he tells them what ATMs to hit.

And he doesn't care what his guys do to the women, but he's meticulous enough to scrub down the evidence.

He makes their ransom calls from burner phones, kills off his weak link.

So why is this professional pulling high exposure for pocket change?

They don't even max out the withdrawals.

It's all these weird amounts -- $420, $340.

Best guy to answer a strange digit question...

Can't do that.


(knocking on door)

Agent McGowan?

Have a seat, Professor.

So, um...

Just a second.

You didn't bring an attorney with you?

I didn't realize I needed one.

All the charges were dropped.

To avoid a black eye, I know.

Black eye?

An FBI consultant sends classified and potentially dangerous information to an unauthorized foreign group.

I assume that a multiple Ph.D. can infer the potential for embarrassment.

That information was for growing crops.

An embarrassment to the Bureau, the United States Government, and to your brother.

My brother...

He probably committed a slow-acting career suicide the day he brought you in to work on that first case.

But that's on him.

You know, I get the impression that your mind is already made up.

The FBI's guidelines very specifically prohibit me from applying my personal opinion to the review of a suspended security clearance.

And I wouldn't be so unprofessional as to ignore agency guidelines.

You know, I've given a lot of my time and work to the FBI.

But that isn't why you're here, is it?

You're here because a loss of clearance keeps you from making money off some big government research projects.

Just saying that betrays how little you know about me.

Maybe not yet, but I'm going to.

Your life's going to become transparent to me.

I'm going to ask you about things you're going to think I have no business asking you about.

And given the slenderness of the thread on which your professional future hangs, it will behoove you to answer every one of them completely and honestly.

Then I will talk to my lawyer.

(indistinct radio communication)


Couple of homeless guys were doing their weekly scrounge.

We didn't get her home.

One bullet to the back of the head.

No signs of assault, no indications of rape.

They were trying to get rid of her in a hurry.

They're getting sloppier.

And more violent.

Check this out.

Techs say these and these are fresh.

Two sets.

They dump one truck, have a backup ready.

They're not done.

Using asymmetric dominance, we built a consideration set on the framework of the prior abductions, and then we filtered all of that through a very powerful regression analysis.


You'll say that for about three or four months, then learn to go along with it.

AMITA: Let's call it decoy math.

It's a way of building optimal conditions for an off-the-street kidnapping by the strategic placement of not only the decoy, but of additional police patrols and checkpoints.

We begin with the police patrols and the presumed boundaries created by those patrols, and then we factor in all of this publicity surrounding the kidnappings, and then we can factor all of that onto the target pool.

Most women are being more careful now.

So, the red zones are optimal, with the orange zones as secondary targets.

And all of this presupposes that you will be following our methods of shaping these target zones: disabling street lights to create darkened conditions and diverting traffic to isolate certain streets...

Yeah, but you got like 50 places there.

Uh, no, we... actually 43.

You got a favorite?

A favorite? No, but I tell you what.

I would incorporate, in any distribution, the corner of Wilshire and Grand.

That's based on...?

A hunch, I guess.

Guess I'm on the corner of Wilshire and Grand.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, who said you're anywhere?

You need 43 decoys.

There more than 42 other female 20s agents hanging around the office?


CHARLIE: You see it in academia all the time.

A petty bureaucrat mired in 20 or 30 years of mindless habit, an axe to grind.

And that axe is what, exactly?

Any non-traditional investigative technique or any alternative point of view.

Who the hell knows? Who the hell cares?

Well, you should, you should care.

What did your lawyer have to say?

Same thing as McGowan, in that I have no real option but to cooperate.

He's gonna go through the motions, but he's already closed the book on me.

Well, even if that's true, you have to fight it as if it isn't.

Yeah, you know what he said? You know what he said?

Actually, he pretty clearly implied that I'd ruined Don's career.

What does Don have to say about that?

I don't know, I haven't talked to him about it yet.

Besides, you know, he'll just grunt and change the subject.

When I sent that research to Pakistan, I was well aware of what it might do to my future.

I didn't stop to think of what it would do to Don's.

Not really.


You got to love that federal budget.

LAPD Comtecs are the size of a small brick.

That's right, you're in the majors now.


Look, you know all that "new guy" stuff's just part of...

Being the new guy?


It's when they stop busting your ass, that's when you really better start worrying.

Nah, I'm not sweating it.

I... I was just out of Quantico, and they sent me to Detroit.

Right? So I gotta answer phones for three weeks, which felt like three months.

One day, they... they're shorthanded, so they sent me out on this no-knock warrant to these biker outlaws, right?

The Ugly Bastards.

I, uh, volunteered to take point.

Yeah? So how'd that work out for you?

I got my ass handed to me pretty damn good.

I was right back on the phones.

Wild guess -- there's a point in there somewhere?

You got a long career here hopefully, so, you know, you don't have to prove everything in the first month.

My straight out of the Academy?

Some Parker Center genius decides to dump me in Knickerson Gardens, doing buy and busts.

You know, he figured fresh face, no cop habits --

I'd be the perfect undercover.

Never mind that I hadn't learned to find my ass with both hands yet, you know.

Day five, citizen named Latwan Rivers sticks a .22 in my face.

Tries to stick something else somewhere else.

After medical leave, psych evaluation, and a piece of paper that has me promising not to sue the city for stupidity.


They offer me any assignment I want.

Next day, I'm back in Knickerson Gardens doing buy and busts.

This is a wild guess -- is there some point there somewhere?

Yeah, I know there're a lot of answering phones and DMV checks in my immediate future.

You give me a chance to get dirty, I'm there.

All right, noted.

MAN (over radio): Decoy Nine, we're turning the starting point.

Decoy 18 heading north on Euclid.

DAVID (over radio): Decoy Five taking another pass.

(softly) And around the block again.

You can back off a little, guys.

You're ghosting me a little tight.

All right, thanks for that, new guy.

Aw, you know how it is. Yeah.

I know Betancourt can notch it back a little bit.

Right, 'cause it was somebody else who nearly got me shot his second week showing tough to a Vietnamese biker gang?

Decoy Five is moving south on Grand.

DON: Hey, Billy, you better tell Hollywood patrol to back off another block, all right?

And Joan, have 14 slow down on the next pass.

Okay. Hey, 14? Copy that.

Guys, I think we got a bite.

(typing rapidly)


Plates come back to a Volkswagen Beetle.

COLBY: So what do you think?

I say we take that right.

Not a sound. (grunts)

Get into the van, you might get out again.

We have a hit; we're on.

Five is active. I repeat, Five is active.

I want units rolling to Broadway and Ninth, await further.

Get me eyes and ears.

MAN: Down on the floor! You do not look up!

NIKKI: I'm not going to fight.

Keep your mouth shut!

Take whatever you want (grunts).

I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I'm scared!

There're two of you. You have a gun.

You deaf, bitch?

Hear that, everyone? Two in the truck.

Surveillance Five, what's her distress word?


You gave her our distress word?

DAVID: Truck's pulling over.

(door opens and closes)

One and Two.

We have visual confirmation on Suspects One and Two.

AGENT: S.O.G. Eight is two blocks away.

S.O.G. 22 is four.

All right, everyone stand by.

MAN 2: Lisa Hillman, 2527 Tujunga Ave --


(over radio) 460, 340, 280, 480, 120.

(truck engine starts)

DAVID (over radio): We're moving.

All right, you better break off and run parallel.

Got it.

And Eight, pick it up at Grand.

AGENT (over radio): S.O.G. Eight, we've picked up the subject.

(phone ringing)

Quiet, everyone.


MAN (distorted): We have your wife.

Lisa Hillman, driver's license V72533849.

(normal voice) Don't do anything stupid, we drop her off in 12 to 15 hours.

Can I... let me talk to her.

(distorted) Being stupid would be calling the police, (normal) canceling all her credit cards.

Just make sure there's $5,000

(distorted) in all three of your bank accounts.

$5,000? I don't have that kind of money.

Please let me talk to her.


Disposable phone, calling from a two-mile tower zone in West Los Angeles.

All right, push the three nearest units in that direction.

And Five, you copy that?


You're hoping they lead us to the alpha.

Right, unless Nikki calls it off.

(engine roaring)

(brakes squeaking)

MAN: You are going to go take out $460.

You are going to walk back to this truck.

You are not going to talk to anyone.


You are not going to make eye contact with anyone.

Nod yes.

Get up. Get up!

Have you tried revisiting the Yukawa potential?

The exponential gives the interaction finite range.

Oh, and then you're back where you started.

Charles, as much as we appreciate your help...

Oh, please, non-collider related Higgs-Boson physics, one of my few pleasures these days.

(whiny) I'm just so tired.

I want to go home.

(lilting flute ringtone playing)

Okay, that's me.

I thought you got rid of your cell.

Yeah, I did.

But your brother shoved another one at me.

(ringtone continues)

Yes, Don?

I am on my way.

(phone beeps off)

What is that, the ATM kidnapping case?



You know, I suspect we're looking at a combinatorics problem -- would you mind?

Sure. Uh, do you...?

No. Of course.

Don't wait up.

(door opens and closes)

Third bank, still no sign of our alpha.

DON (over radio): All right, keep it tight.

(Nikki gasping)

If you have, have the Internet, I can just transfer you the money.

MAN 1: Get back down!

NIKKI: You have a laptop.


Spider something...

(grunt, clattering)

Can we just do this one and get another?!

Don, we've got to go. On my signal! On my signal!

Sorry, really.

Sorry. I got $15,000.


$15,000 that my husband doesn't know about.

It's in a safe deposit box.

I can get it for you when the bank opens.

You wouldn't lie to me just to keep yourself alive, would you, babe?

I would.

But I swear I'm not.


All right.

Buckle up.

DON: All right, stand down.

Everyone just stand down, but stay tight.

Mirror everything into the Tech Room for me.

AGENT: Yes, sir.


Is a real-time ATM tracking program.


Yeah, Charlie and I did work on its Distributed Neural Network along with half the CalSci Math and Computer Department.

And Nikki tells me they can run the thing on a laptop.


And they're taking odd amounts.

Instead of like a hundred or $200, it's like $460 or $340.

That's right, atypical amounts, but combined with specific knowledge of both nodes of the transaction.

The Hall effect.

He's tapping off a gold leaf, he's applying a magnetic field perpendicular to the electrical current in order to uncover the potential difference on opposite sides of the conductor.

Hold on, I don't have a clue what you're talking about.

Okay, I have lost you. Help me out here.

Okay, by knowing the amount, the card, the ATM, the bank -- he's able to watch the way money flows through SPIDER.


He's trying to find a way deeper inside the program.

To divert the flow, I suspect.

And also, it does refills. Yeah, sure.

Every four or five days, when the ATM gets low, SPIDER sends a message to the armored car servicing it, telling it to deliver a refill.

Okay, so if he can jack his way into the program...

He could schedule the delivery of large sums of money to the most vulnerable of locations, and at a time of his choosing.

Then what's the possibility of us hacking our way to him?

It's not easy.

All right, well, then... get working on it, okay?

DAVID: Fifth and last one, Don.

They've maxed out her cards.

MAN 1: What time you got?

MAN 2: Almost 4:00.

We're supposed to dump her before dawn.

Doesn't give us much time, does it?

COLBY: This is going bad.


NIKKI: Bank opens in four hours.


I swear to God.

You're right about that.

You will swear to God.



Go, go, go, everybody get in there!

Let's go, move! (tires screeching)

FBI! Give me a damn reason.

FBI! Don't move! Show us your hands.

MALE AGENT: Get 'em in the air!

Got one on the right side!

AGENT: Turn around.

AGENT 2: We got both!

She okay?

Yeah, she's okay.

AGENT (on radio): Two suspects under control...

(elevator bell dings)

DON: What's the distress word?

Mexico. Why didn't I hear it?

We didn't have the alpha, and I had everything under...

Took me five seconds to send them in, just enough time for you to get your very undisciplined head shot off at least five times!

Boss, I was... Get changed and start writing!

And when you're done writing, you can start getting to know the P904!

That's the telephone.

That's the only piece of equipment you're going to be using for a long time!


It's too late for breakfast, but there's still some coffee.

No, thanks.

I owe Amita these lesson plans for our CBME seminar.

She's probably already waiting for me at CalSci.

Actually, when I left her at 4:00 a.m. this morning, she was still at the FBI.


Was there a break on that case?

A break, yes. A conclusion, no.

Okay, well, then I'll probably drop these off on the way to campus.

(door closes)

Now, he sure seems to have lost a step or two off his stride.

Yeah, it's this NSA clearance thing.

I guess there were more eggs in that basket than he realized.

Well, than any of us realized.

You know, as scientists, we tend to take our relationship with the government pretty much for granted... tend to forget just how much our work depends on their wallet.

Charlie's struggle is nothing short of existential.

Well, I guess we have nothing to worry about, then.

Charlie's always at his best when his back's against the wall.

So two more off the low end.

Gang affiliations, petty crime jackets.

Chaney, the one in the middle, did time with Talling.

These guys were prepped.

They both lawyered up as soon as we got bracelets on 'em.

Yeah, we got a death penalty here.

You tell Robin we want to cut a deal to get the alpha.

COLBY: It's in the works; it's just going to take some time.

DAVID: Rape, kidnappings, now two murders.

This guy has got to be rolling up his operations by now.

Or skipping ahead.

So Joey Herman screws up.

He kills him, replaces him.

Zack Talling goes down, he powers through the two guys he's got left.

Changes up his M.O., ramps up the timetable, only makes contact by phone.

I mean, he's smart, but I don't see him going this far and not getting paid.

AMITA: There's no indication of intrusion into the system.

SPIDER's administrators have changed the pass codes, locked up the back doors.

It could take him days, weeks even, to find a new way in.

But he could still be watching?

Passively? Sure.

So Alpha Dog sees every ATM reorder in the city.

AMITA: In the country.

It's a real-time shopping list for armored car robberies.

Hey, wha-what...? Look, I got the visitor's badge.

Jimmy walked me over. These are for you.

How's it going, guys? Thanks.

And SPIDER is an independently owned and operated program, so there's no clearance issue there.

At a glance, I can tell you that the ATM kidnappings are a way to map into the program by locating known transactions -- a back door, by the way, we mentioned to the programmers two years ago...

Charlie, stop. Come on, you can't.

Y-You can't do this. No, I can help, all right?

And McGowan -- McGowan can go to hell if he doesn't get that.

Look, you don't understand the politics here.

I'm beginning to.

You have a guy who's kidnapped and murdered and facilitated rape.

He's smart, he's going to do it again.

If it were you, would you let the rules get in the way of stopping him?


Let's do this.

All right, he's gonna move fast.

He's gonna hit once in the next day or two.

That is if he can put together another crew that fast.

Yeah, but maybe he already has one.

I mean, Herman was the only high-end guy.

DAVID: Maybe that's why he brought in Talling.

I mean, after losing Joey Herman, he wasn't willing to risk any more of his real talent.

But why risk Herman on the kidnapping in the first place?

CHARLIE: He's probably running his own version of a scheduling algorithm.

Yeah, computers use them to weigh the duration or difficulty of certain tasks against the system's resources and then allocate them accordingly.

You know, your Alpha Dog has finite resources -- weapons, money, vehicles, manpower.

Now, some of these resources can be used for more than one job and others only have one function.

Because time is his greatest enemy, he's going to try to schedule his tasks for maximum efficiency, so that no resource sits idle if it doesn't have to.

All right, so...

The interesting thing about scheduling algorithms is no one has come up with a perfect one yet.

AMITA: No, there are thousands.

The Smith rule, the O2, the Beam search.

Any programmer can design one, test it, and name it.

CHARLIE: And just like a programmer's design or a guitarist's signature riff or a painter's brushstroke, a scheduling algorithm is the expression of a unique mind.

It not only shows us the choices that have been made, but it hints at the choices to come -- how he'll play that next chord, what brushstrokes will follow.

MAN: Faster, come on, go!

(tires screeching)

Where's the money?!

Get down on the ground!

FBI! Don't move!

AGENT (over radio): All units, move in.

AGENT: Get your hands up now!

Drop your weapon!

(indistinct radio communication)

Get down on the ground!


Let me see your hands! Drop it!

AGENT (on radio): All units, stand down.

Suspects in custody. Over.

How'd it go?

Should have been there -- bullets flying, cars crashing. (phone ringing)

(phone ringing)

FBI, Betancourt.

Yeah, one minute, please.

(phone buttons beeping)

So how long am I in trouble for?

Well, um, pre-therapy Don, I think about three months, easy.

You got post-therapy Don, so...

Yeah, then ten weeks -- 11 tops.


Listen, figure out how to forward the calls to the switchboard and we'll take you out for a beer.


Hey. Hey, Don.

Didn't think you came up to the 11th floor without an ADIC directive.

Actually, I want to talk to you a little about Charlie, if that's okay.

No kidding.

But I think it'd be better if we wait for the formal interview.

I'm not here to defend him or anything, but you know what I mean, what the guy does for us around here...

A lot of people can do.

Not as well, maybe, but... maybe more reliably.

Yeah, Carl, you've been out of the field a long time.

And you've been in it a long time.


Just because it isn't papered doesn't mean I don't know about it.

Some questionable tactics, bureau-mandated therapy, one of your agents quitting her job.

Now this thing with your brother.

I kind of have to wonder what the hell is going on down there.

Well, an 85% clearance rate.

By any means necessary, because that's the Eppes way.

Don't think I didn't hear about you and your brother playing cute with the rules today -- and last week.

But the rules are for everyone else, aren't they?

You know, Carl, you want to come after me, fine, come after me, but just don't make it about my brother, okay?

Nothing's ever about one thing, Don.

If you can't see that, maybe that's where the problem begins.

I could write.


My, my publisher's been bothering me to do a follow-up book anyway, so...

(Amita chuckles)

You hated every minute of it.

Not every minute.

Yesterday, when you and Larry left me to go work on that case, it felt like when I was a little kid, and I stayed home sick from school.


I always liked sick days.

Game shows, soap operas, chicken soup.

Chicken soup?


Yeah, really.


You worked with Don for four years, Charlie.

You know, of course it's gonna feel a little bit weird.


I used to --

I've always looked at my work for the FBI as... an avocation, you know?

An occasional detour from... that grand destiny that people have been predicting for me since I was seven years old.

I even suspected that it was my excuse for not fulfilling that destiny.

I honestly never thought...

I'd miss it so much.

You're gonna get your clearance back.

I know.