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General


Cause of Death episode
Head Case
Volume 2, Episode 2
Vol2Ch2
Air date December 24, 2010
Volume 2 guide [v]
December 17, 2010 - February 4, 2011

1. Tough Love
2. Head Case
3. Sins of the Fathers
4. Catching Fire
5. Missing Persons, Part 1
6. Missing Persons, Part 2
7. Old Wounds
8. Revelations

Previous
Volume 1: The Maskmaker
Next
Volume 3: The Hunter

Head Case is the second chapter of Volume 2: The Connoisseur. It aired on December 24, 2010.

Synopsis

Mal and Natara follow the trail of the Maskmaker to the mysterious Millbrook Mental Institute. Meanwhile, Officer Ken Greene investigates a body that's washed up on the docks... Missing its head!

Plot

Security guard Mike Parsons is working a night shift at the Chennowick Docks. His friend Tom Grayson arrives and pays Parsons to let him in, saying he is smuggling something in. Parsons  Later, Parsons hears a gunshot and screaming and goes out of his booth to find Grayson's headless body on the docks.

The next morning, Agent Natara Williams receives a phone call from her mother telling her that Neha had left a message saying she was fine. 

She meets Detective Mal Fallon outside, and the two drive to the Millbrook Mental Institute to investigate its connection to a potential benefactor behind the Maskmaker. On the drive, Fallon tells her about the Second Chance Initiative, a program run by Senator Jake Collins to rehabilitate mentally ill. Mal warns that they must be cautious since the investigation was not formally authorized.

Meanwhile, Detective Ken Greene is assigned to the murder at the docks, where the victim was found missing his head and right hand. The body has been identified as Tom Grayson, a customs officer, and the head was found in the water. Officer Anna Willis tells Greene that there were no witness reports, but Greene requests the name of the night guard. Forensic specialist Kai Kalaba says the beheading was done with one clean chop, possibly with a ceramic blade. Rolling the body over, he discovers the severed hand clutching a revolver, along with a shell casing. Greene theorizes that the perpetrator was well-trained at combat, since he was able to disarm Grayson faster than he can draw and fire. "Hehe, disarms." Kalaba cracks up, to Greene's ire. Willis returns with Parsons' name.

Williams and Fallon arrive at the Institute, where they must enter without their weapons. Inside, the area is fairly open, and patients wander outside their rooms. As they walk to the office of the institute's director, Rick Tanaka, a nearby patient goes on about how he cut women. Inside Tanaka's office, Williams explains that she wants a better understanding of the Maskmaker, Eric Mills and his real motive. She tells Tanaka someone had tampered with and severely redacted Mills's files, but he says that they need a warrant to look at his actual files. Tanaka tells them that Mills was a participant in the Second Chance Initiative program, which gave patients a new identity in order to begin new lives after recovery, leaving their old selves behind. Tanaka was Mills' doctor and deemed him fit for society. Mal remarks that it wasn't a very bright choice, leading Tanaka to kick them out of his office.

Greene arrives at Parson's apartment, where Parsons first asks to see Greene's badge before opening the door. Upon questioning, Parsons initially denies being at the docks until Greene slams him into the wall. Parsons admits he used to allow Grayson into the docks in exchange for a cut of the profit from his smuggling business, which involved Grayson's customs job and fake paperwork. Whe Parsons denies knowing any more, Greene threatens to arrest him for the murder. Parsons cracks and admits that Grayson was working for the Mexican drug cartels, creating false documents for their drug trade. Greene decides to take Parsons to the station for his own protection.

At the station, Greene goes to the lab and asks Amy Chen to search through the Interpol database, cross-referencing Mexican drug cartels with ceramic knives and decapitation. They find several drug-related murders with the victims killed by a ceramic blade, suspected to be the work of "The Ghost", Alejandro Perez, a freelancing assassin for various drug cartels. Amy also tells him the Ghost affixes a religious meaning to his killings and will not kill anyone besides the target, which explains why he let the guard live. Kalaba wonders if the cartels brought in The Ghost just to kill Tom Grayson, but Greene says Grayson was only a loose end, the cartels must have a bigger target in mind, and they need to find who it is fast. 

At Millbrook, as Williams and Fallon leave, Williams says Tanaka was deliberately stonewalling, but they don't have the authority to dig deeper. They mention the Maskmaker as they pass a patient, who recognizes the name, and Williams stops and asks about Mills. The patient tells them that Mills was his friend who was taken away because he was "fixed" after taking "special classes", but the patient says Mills still loved his masks. The patient recounts some names of his other friends that were "fixed", and begins to get angry about doctors taking his friends away. 

Suddenly, Tanaka steps into the hallway and angrily demands the detectives to stop interrogating his patient, revealed to be named Everett, and leave immediately. When Tanaka steps close, Everett angrily tells him they are his friends, suddenly jumps Tanaka, and holds a shard of glass against his throat. Williams inches closer while trying to calm Everett. She is successful at first, but an armed guard runs in and provokes him to attack Tanaka. Natara is close enough and disarms him before he can do so. As the guards drag Everett away, Tanaka furiously tells Williams and Fallon he'll be contacting their superiors.

On the drive back to San Francisco, Fallon commends Williams' on keeping her cool back at the institue. Williams is worried about Tanaka contacting their superiors about their investigation, but Mal reassures her that Tanaka would stay quiet, as allowing a patient to acquire a deadly weapon reflected more poorly on his institute. Mal express frustration not getting any leads, but Williams recalls the three friends that the patient had mentioned, and recognizes the names as Jonah Graves, Kenneth Gault, and Carl Voyer, all patients released from the Second Chance Initiative from 2004 to 2008. She says this might mean Eric Mills was not the only one helped by the benefactor, who might have trained other serial killers. Mal says that it's one hell of a thought, and then stops at his favorite bar and asks Williams for a drink. She accepts, and Mal tells her to wait while he gets money from his apartment around the corner.

Entering the apartment, Mal heads towards a dresser and notices a tall, lean man standing in the back corner, holding a long, ceramic blade behind his back. The man greets Fallon, saying that he has been waiting for this moment.

Bonus Scene

One night ago, at the Chennowick Docks...

After paying Parsons, Tom Grayson rushes to end of the docks, to an old boat with a shadowy figure standing in its entryway. The Ghost steps out under and tells him that he's late. Grayson apologizes and offers a discount, but the Ghost ignores him, asking him if he believes in God. Grayson is surprised and asks if something's wrong. The Ghost tells him two weeks ago his employers had bought a boat registration from Grayson, who told them it was flawless. The boat was stopped in American waters and the registration did not hold up, and they lost $20,000 in product. Grayson argues that he can't be held accountable, and the Ghost responds that no accountability is a lack of character, his employers do not like men of low character, and when they are wronged by men of low character, they respond with divine justice. The Ghost says he is their divine hand, then steps forward, again asking Grayson if he believes in God. Grayson begs him not to kill him and pulls out his revolver, but the Ghost steps forward and cuts off his hand as he fires harmlessly into the air. Grayson falls to his knees and The Ghost severs his head, sending it into the water. The Ghost smiles, wipes his blade, and then walks off.

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