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General


Cause of Death episode
Mixed Messages
Volume 15, Episode 3
1378556 712022782160131 1639105445 n
Air date October 14, 2013
Volume 15 guide [v]
September 10, 2013 - February 6, 2014

1. Across the Pond
2. The Harrowing Truth
3. Mixed Messages
Int. The Days We Remember
4. Pretenders
5. Hanging by a Thread
6. The End of the Rope
7. High Crimes
8. Capital Punishment

Previous
Volume 14: The Firstborn
Next
Volume 16
Mixed Messages is the third episode of Volume 15. It was released on 14th October, 2013.

Synopsis

After uncovering a conspiracy to mask a series of murders, the team races against time to stop the next attack!

Plot

The episode begins on a night in London. Lucy Bassett, accounting phenom and rising star among Rockhound Armaments executives, has just returned home from a poor date with Peter Reynholm. He asks how much her flat goes for, and Lucy tells him she can't remember, to which Peter replies, "See, I told you you could pick up the check at dinner!" Lucy bids him goodnight, making him ask if she's going to invite him up, as it's still so early in the morning. She says no because she has meetings in the morning, but more than that, the two of them don't work. As she walks away, Peter starts sobbing and says that he's always loved her. Lucy tells him that they met last week. Peter asks why she doesn't like him, and she tells him she doesn't find him interesting while he find himself the most interesting man in the world. Though hurt, Peter thanks her for her honesty and the two part ways. 

Lucy tries to turn on the light in her apartment, but nothing happens. She finds a flashlight, but the batteries are dead, so she uses her phone instead, leaving her friend a voicemail asking her to come over when she gets it. She goes down to the basement and finds the fusebox, spotting the blown breaker and throws the switch, causing the overhead lights to blast on. When she turns around, a masked man in a hood greets her. Startled, she recoils back and snaps one of her heels, then crashes to the floor. She mistakes the man for Peter, making the man chuckle and say, "Whatever you did to this 'Peter' isn't why you're about to die, Lucy." He pounces on her, covering her mouth and slams her head into the floor. He ties a rope around her ankles and stuffs a rag into her mouth. Taking the end of the rope coiled around her ankles, he drags her up the stairs, Lucy trying to escape in vain. Outside, a block down the street, a dark sedan idles by the curb. Inside, a man hangs up a phone and watches patiently.

Earlier that day, Mal Fallon and Natara Williams join a murmuring crowd gathered outside Scotland Yard. Gareth Kelly, representative of Battersea in the House of Commons, addresses the crowd as cameras flash and news crews film. Inspector Micah Booker says the man is "utterly manufactured. He won't lift a finger unless cameras are rolling." Kelly recalls how he and his now kidnapped friend, Basil Frost, came up with anti-crime legislation and that would make them targets, and says they will not back down. Natara tells Mal they wouldn't even be talking about the rumours of Frost's abduction if Mal hadn't tackled that photographer and had their pictures all over the tabloids. They begin discussing Darren Crouch, wondering whether or not he's truly just a "clean-up guy" or he killed, too. Because of the other two people who have been killed, aside from Frost, the suspect pool is getting smaller. Kelly, done with his speech, leaves the stage, but stops when he sees Natara and Mal, saying he recognises them from the photos in the red tops. He asks them how the investigation is progressing, how are the chances of getting Basil back. Mal lies and says they're keeping their hopes up, to which Kelly says he can handle the truth. Mal says they don't know, but if anything verifiable comes up, they'll be sure to let him now. Kelly apologises for getting heated, explaining that Basil was a close friend and that he can't always pretend for the camera that everything is fine. Behind them, a short man in an expensive suit named Wayne Moreau strolls through the front doors of the building and trots down the steps. Booker tells him to go away, and Moreau asks if he's scared after last time. Mal asks who the man is, with Moreau replying that he's "just a friendly businessman," stopping by to post bail for one of his 'associates.' He puts a hand on Kelly's shoulder and tells him to be careful, as he wouldn't want to see anything happen to him. Mal orders him to leave, saying he'll make sure Booker's 'associate' is denied bail. Moreau leaves, and Booker seethes at Mal. Mal explains that if someone threatens a member of the government, he'll threaten him right back. Kelly asks if he's a suspect in the investigation, and Mal replies that he is now. Kelly shakes Mal's hand and tells him that if there's anything he can do to help, don't hesitate to call his office, and let him now if they get any word on Frost. Booker leads Kelly away, and Mal and Natara decide it's time to question Darren Crouch again.

Back at the interview room, Darren, who was apprehended by Jeremy Redbird and Reed, sits as Natara lays out a series of documents and photos  in front of him. He doesn't read, and instead looks at the clock. Mal tells him not to bother, as they rigged the clock to run slow, asking if it makes him feel crazy. Darren glares at him and says he wants his phone call. Mal says he'll get it eventually, but they're allowed to hold him up to three hours without processing him, and he's not entitled to a call until he's processed. Natara says they found traces of the chemicals used to purge the homes of MP Basil Frost and two others, but Darren insists he didn't kill them, explaining that he gets texted an address, arrives in exactly thirty minutes, dispose of the body, and wipe down the area quickly and properly. He adds that he's only telling them that because it's what he'll be saying in court. Beyond that, the two of them can 'sod off.' Mal says that he's their only suspect, so if they can't get him on murder, they'll be sure to get him on assault on federal agents, as he tried to kill two decorated federal agents (Jeremy and Reed), plus the conspiracy on top of that. Mal and Natara tell him that if he cooperates, they'll get their associates to say what he wants to hear. Darren still insists on his phone call; he's not a snitch.

In the crime lab, Jeremy and the rest of the Special Crimes Task Force await for news, but Mal tells them that Crouch isn't talking, sticking to his story of the text. Jeremy asks if they believe him, because while he respects Natara's profile, Crouch was absolutely willing to kill him and Reed, to which Reed agree; Crouch "tried exceedingly hard to avoid capture." Natara thinks Crouch believes he'll be permanently silenced if he cooperates, and asks if they got anything from the suspect's phone, but Amy says the phone has been wiped, though there are still fragmented segments of file's on the phone's memory. She's attempting to find the algorithm to piece them back together into something readable, but it'll take some time. Mal says, "Great work, Amy. Better than nothing." Meanwhile, Kai Kalaba sulks in the corner because he has nothing to do, but Natara assures him he'll get his chance. Booker enters just then, angry that Crouch hasn't been processed yet, suspecting it's Mal's doing and it's no surprise. Mal explains that they must keep Crouch off the books as long as possible, because once he can, he'll call his employer, let them know he's in custody and they'll change their pattern. If they don't know, they'll text him the address and the SCT can get there in time. In private, Booker says they should process Crouch, contact his lawyer and try to strike a deal, but Mal says they've offered him a deal but he's not talking. Booker says Mal doesn't care how things are done around here, and that he'll be left cleaning up his mess once the SCT leave. Mal empathises with him, as the same thing has happened to him, and as Booker leaves Natara comes. Mal says Booker is right, and while he has always gone with his gut, how would he know what that is there? Natara says that instict doesn't change, but gut also includes trusting when someone else knows better. A shout from Kai startles them and they go back to the crime lab, where they find that Crouch's phone received a message, but it's in code. Amy says she can decrypt it, but the computer would take a few hours. They don't have that because there's a good chance the attack is happening right now, so they must find out the decryption key from Crouch in the next thirty minutes. Natara goes to get the key out of him, while the rest get ready to move on a moment's notice.

Natara approaches Darren again, with a printout of the texted code, and offers one last chance to strike a deal, as long as he gives them the key to decrypt the message. If he doesn't, she'll make sure he spends every day of the maximum sentence behind bars. When Crouch still refuses, Natara confesses that without his help, they can't crack the code. As they converse, Crouch reveals that all the messages he's received from his employer use the same code. In the computer room, where Amy, Reed, Jeremy, and Mal are, they realise that the first four characters of the code they have is the same as a previous text, and the characters are cracked by an algorithm to find that they are "F-U-L-H", the same four letters as the previous text, and the street they victim lived on was Fulham. Mal takes off in a car with Booker, while Reed and Jeremy go together in a different car. Mal is driving crazily, aggravating Booker. There is a lot of traffic, and since it's been twenty minutes since they received the text, they may not make it in time. Booker tells Mal to take a left, and at first Mal doesn't want to as it's the wrong way, but he does and after another turn they end up on a clear westbound street. Mal lets Jeremy and Reed know, but they are stuck in traffic.

Back in the interview room, Natara laughs, and says that she knows one day there's going to be a movie about Darren, how he eluded them, how they could never crack his code, and how embarassing it's going to be, as she'll look like a nitwit on screen. Darren tells her there's no shame in being bested by the best, and getting him there was the closest anyone's ever come. Natara thanks him, then stands up and says Darren's employer is long gone by now. Confused, Darren looks at the clock and remarks that it hasn't been thirty minutes, as the clock is slow. Natara tells him that was a lie, and it's a psychological tactic they use on suspects. She says they'll have to let the computers do their cycle and go the scene in the morning, and gets ready to get him his phone call, when Darren says they could have figured it out, but they were just looking at it the wrong way. Natara, feigning surprise, asks what she was missing. Darren tells her that, while they kept calling it a message, that's not what it was, and Natara figures out it was a key, a text used to encrypt the message, so the actual message must be somewhere else, but Crouch wouldn't risk it being written out, while still having access to it whenever he wants. He remarks that the 'delicious irony' is that most people in that office could give it to them off the top of their heads. Natara leaves and speaks with Amy, and she figures out that it must be the British national anthem, God Save the Queen. Amy puts the lyrics into the computer and they figure out the address, which includes an apartment number. She gives it to Mal, but when they arrive they find that it's an apartment complex with multiple buildings. They can't figure out which building, A, B, or C, it is, so Natara storms back into the interview room, with Darren taken off-guard, and she demands the rest of the code, but he refuses. Remembering Darren's characteristics, Natara threatens him by saying she'll make sure every news station in Europe runs a story about how he's fully cooperating with their investigation, meaning Darren's employer won't be happy with them. Darren, however, says his employer would never believe them, because they could never figure out the code, even though it was right in front of them and laughs as Natara leaves the room. She tells Amy the phone number the text came from is the rest of the cipher, so Amy plugs in the phone number and the terminal computes the code, and they figure out it's Building A.

Mal and Booker enter the apartment, and try to locate the killer. Mal sees him briefly, and they go back-to-back. They see bloody footprints going up the stairs, so they go up as well. Mal orders Booker to go straight while he goes a different way, and lies in wait until he sees the killer, the masked man, sneak up on Booker. Mal sneaks up on the killer himself, and when the man pulls out a knife, Mal tackles him but the man stabs him in the shoulder and escapes. Booker charges at the man, but he is jabbed in the throat. Booker and Mal bicker for a few seconds over Mal using Booker as bait before following the man, who went up to the attic. Distracted by the lovely view, Mal turns to find Booker in a chokehold by the masked man. He threatens to kill Booker unless Mal leaves, but Mal bluffs and says he doesn't care. Calling his bluff, the man throws Booker over the edge of the roof, but Booker manages to cling to the gutter. Mal rushes over as the masked man bolts away. He grabs ahold of Booker's sleeve just as his fingers slip. Not having the strength to pull him up because of the gash in his shoulder from earlier, Mal tells Booker he's going to swing him into the dumpster nearby. Despite Booker's pleas, Mal swings him into the dumpster, and after a brief silence, he rises from the depth of the garbage, unharmed.

Reed and Jeremy arrived at the house, where Mal tells Reed to get the lights on again while him, Booker, and Jeremy search the rooms. Mal sees the outline of a frail hand in a room he checked, and claims he found her, but Jeremy and Booker think they see her, too. Reed turns the lights on, and the other three find that the body parts they found are just dismembered. Mal, shaking his head in disbelief, says they need Kai there now.

Bonus Scene

Gareth Kelly is in his apartment at dawn, a phone pressed to his ear. He argues with a man named Tom, saying they must compromise if they want amendments to a bill passed. Kelly hears voices, so he drops his phone and inches toward the front door, grabbing a snub-nosed revolver and loading it along the way. He yanks the door open, and instantly a stream of armed, black-clad men storm through the threshold, SWAT. Jeremy steps in and tells him he needs to come with them, explaining that they're taking him into protective custody, as they've received a viable threat on his life.

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