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episode begins with Jarod hearing on a TV newscast that Secret Service
agent Todd Baxter's body was just recovered from the Potomac River, an
apparent suicide. It shakes Jarod up and he recalls meeting Todd
4 years prior ... on the night that he escaped from The Centre.
Jarod was running through the Blue Cove Woods in the middle of the night,
away from The Centre ... he was being chased by Willie and other sweepers,
who were closing in. Jarod reached the road and flagged down
a car - he told the driver that his car had broken down and pleaded
for a ride. The driver of the car was Todd Baxter and he drove
Jarod away - just as the sweepers broke out of the woods and onto the road.
Jarod credited Todd with saving his life for being kind enough to give
a stranger a ride on that night.
As Jarod prepares to pretend to be a Secret Service agent in order to find out what really happened to Todd, he hears on the news that Baxter is presumed to have killed himself by jumping out a window of a hotel, into the river after a night of depression and drugs. Jarod doesn't believe that the man who helped him on that night 4 years before would have killed himself or used drugs. He told Jarod on that night that he thought that if he worked hard enough, he could "change the world."
Jarod meets Agent Halder and introduces himself as "Special Agent Jarod Wilkes" - who works in behavioral science. Halder offers Jarod lunch - which Jarod declines. Agent Halder knew Todd and also could not believe that he would kill himself. Jarod meets Agent Talbot who is running the show. He was expecting Jarod, having received a fax containing Jarod's papers from "Seattle."
As Talbot is leaving, Bailey Malone from the Violent Crime Task Force enters the room and is introduced to Jarod. When Jarod last met Malone, he was using another name, and the two men look closely at one another, but neither says anything. He gives Jarod and Halder the autopsy report on Baxter and tells them that they have some catching up to do.
At The Centre, Miss Parker enters her father's office saying that she just heard ... Mr. Parker is playing with baby shoes - holding them up in the air by the laces and blowing on them. He tells her that there is nothing to worry about ... the doctors just wanted to keep her baby brother for observation. He's happy to be back at his desk and tells her that he's proud to be her father -- she brought her baby brother into the world and got her father back to The Centre. She tells him that it's been a tough couple of weeks ... Brigitte dying ...but he tells her that she needs to stay focused on getting Jarod back and that she should consider her life officially changed because it's a "brand new day at The Centre." He hugs Miss Parker affectionately ... but over his shoulder, her face is still troubled.
Their conversation is interrupted when Halder tells Jarod that they have located Baxter's girlfriend, Emily Sadler. Jarod says that he'd like to question her himself and tells Rachel that he'll keep her in the loop as he leaves. Rachel turns away from the autopsy pictures and tells Jarod that she'll look forward to that.
Emily tells Jarod that she met Baxter when she majored in journalism at Columbia and that he was a really nice guy, but that he had demons and that working in D.C. made it worse. Halder says that Baxter had a drug habit and Emily confirms it, saying that he was fighting a demon and it haunted him. Jarod is interviewing her, sitting in front of her, but Emily often looks at Halder as she answers. Emily says that Baxter started taking drugs and drinking that night - they fought - some things were said - so she walked out. Jarod wants to know how she could just walk out on someone she supposedly cared about and Emily replies that now it's her demon. Having just seen the autopsy photos that show without a doubt that Baxter was killed and did not jump - Jarod asks Emily if, in her opinion, Baxter was capable of jumping that night. She says that he was capable of it ... that's just how he was ... always going too far.
Emily is going home late at night and is alone on the street. She looks over her shoulder, but doesn't see anyone. When she stops in front of her building to get out her key, a masked man comes out of the shadows with a piano wire and attempts to strangle her. Jarod comes around the corner and rescues her - getting his hand cut in the process when the attacker pulls a knife. After they have both received medical attention, Emily prepares to go back to her apartment, but Jarod stops her. He tells her that it wasn't an attempted mugging and that he thinks she knows that. He finally gets her to tell him the truth ... she and Baxter were just friends. He told her that he was meeting someone at the hotel ... they met for dinner and she left the hotel right after dinner - never went to his room with him. She lied because she got an anonymous phone call from someone who put pictures of her father in her mailbox - and then told her that if she didn't lie, her father would be hurt. She tells Jarod that Baxter was never arrested for drugs in college - it's a lie. Jarod tells her that she did the right thing and tells her to stay at his place for the night so that she'll be safe.
In the office, Jarod suddenly turns playful with Rachel and offers to "cook" her lunch in the form of the Cup ‘O Soup of her choice. She doesn't find the thought appealing and turns him down. Talbot arrives and Jarod tells him what Emily said about Baxter telling her that his name was going to be in the newspaper for reporting something good. Several days later, the reporter that covers the Secret Service dies unexpectedly. It looks as though whoever killed Baxter to prevent him from giving out whatever story he had, also killed the reporter that he may have given the story to. Rachel disagrees ... she thinks that someone else is calling the shots and that the killer is killing for the purity of it. She and Jarod begin to argue and Talbot stops them and tells them that they'd better get on the same page. After Talbot leaves, Rachel and Jarod argue but it quickly turns playful again - with Rachel offering to make Jarod real soup so that he can stop drinking the processed kind.
Later Jarod is looking through Todd's briefcase again, thinking of things that Baxter said to him in the car the night he escaped from The Centre and of things that Emily said. None of what he sees makes sense. Jarod talks to Halder who tells him that the files in the briefcase look random - not connected - like someone just put them in there to replace what was taken. As Halder leaves, Jarod gets a phone call from Bailey, who tells him that the campus cop that supposedly arrested Baxter for the heroine possession doesn't exist -- the whole story is a fake. At that moment, Talbot and Linen walk up ... Talbot is pushing for Jarod to close the investigation and Jarod says that they should track down the officer that arrested Baxter on the drug charge in college. Jerry Linden says that he already has and that he interviewed him! Since Jarod already knows that the arresting officer does not exist, he is beginning to see the light about Jerry Linden.
Miss Parker confronts her father, reminds him that it's a brand new day at The Centre, doesn't let him get away with simply telling her that he doesn't want to talk about it, and insists that he explain the meaning behind the watch and Sydney's reaction. Mr. Parker tells her that years ago Sydney killed a woman and that The Centre helped him out.
Bailey Malone finally tracks Jarod down and "reminds" him that he worked with them about a year ago on a kidnap case - only under a different name. Jarod tells him that he works for a Congressional oversight committee but Bailey still has questions. Jarod convinces him that the most important thing right now is to find Baxter's killer.
At The Centre, Miss Parker has pulled the file on "the Sydney affair" ... in the early days of the Jarod Project, Sydney hired a college intern from France and became involved with her. They went to dinner one night and on the way home, Sydney lost control of the car and ran into a tree. According to the file, the intern died two hours later. Miss Parker tells Broots that they might find Sydney at one of the spots related to the accident since yesterday was the anniversary of the accident - and they head off to look for him.
Rachel is impressed that Jarod was able to piece together several documents from shredded paper. They all connected Jerry Linden to several illegal operations that had padded his bank accounts nicely over the years. In addition, there were several "suicides" that had taken place in relation to those operations that in retrospect were probably more murders. Jarod is still being playful with Rachel and says "How about those apples?" She corrects the way he phrased the saying and he looks a little embarrassed. She plays back, a little, by offering him a cup of her homemade soup, which impresses Jarod.
Miss Parker and Broots find Sydney at the restaurant where he had dinner with the intern the night of the accident. He's consumed half a bottle of whiskey and is working on the other half. Sydney tells Miss Parker that the watch was what he had given Claudia on her birthday, the night they were celebrating. He tells her that there was no affair but The Centre used the story they fabricated to force him to do their bidding. He also tells her that her father was running The Centre at that time.
Rachel and Jarod tell Talbot about Linden ... he wants to move on it right away. But for once, Jarod and Rachel agree -- Linden is the mind behind it all - he's not a killer. They want to use him to lead them to the killer.
At The Centre, Miss Parker is confronting her father again - this time with Sydney standing in the background. Mr. Parker says that he was only following orders and that he doesn't like Miss Parker's attitude. She relents a little and tells him that she just wants Sydney to have some closure. Mr. Parker says that can be arranged ... buzzes someone named Morgenstern and Claudia is brought in!! She didn't die in the crash after all ... she has been working as a ground-breaking psychiatrist for a Centre funded teaching hospital outside of Paris for all these years. Claudia is just as surprised to see Sydney as she is to see him, because in order to separate the two of them, they told her that Sydney had died in the crash. They speak endearingly to each other in French ... saying "Is it you?" since both had thought the other dead for so long. Sydney is very happy, but Miss Parker is clearly shaken by the extent of manipulation of someone's life that has taken place at the hands of her father and the fact that the deception would have continued had it not been for Angelo precipitating Sydney's reaction to the anniversary of Claudia's supposed death with that watch.
but then ...
PLEASE NOTE: THE SYNDICATED VERSION OF THIS EPISODE SHOWS IT AS A "STAND ALONE" WITH NO SECOND PART ... SEE THE SYNOPSIS ON TNT'S PRETENDER SITE - IT REFLECTS THE "STAND ALONE" ENDING.
This episode of The Pretender starred:
"Spin Doctor" was written by:
"Clean Sweep" was written by:
The Profiler portion of the show begins when ...
Agent Linden gets let out of the Arlington Correction facility, having had an "ace in the hole" in the form of someone in the U.S. D.A.'s office ... they won't prosecute. The VCTF hasn't found Halder yet, Rachel has left messages for Jarod, but he hasn't answered them. In the VCTF ‘control room' the pictures of all three men are up on the big screen ... Linden, Halder and Jarod Wilkes.
On a deserted road somewhere, Agent Halder is waiting in a parked car, checking his gun. Linden is dropped off on the road just behind the car that Halder is in. He gets into Halder's car and says "There's too much exposure on this, Theodore ..." and after the short explanation, pulls out a gun that was smuggled to him at Arlington and prepares to shoot Halder in the head. To his surprise, someone has already used a piano wire to strangle Halder and then does the same thing to him, from the back seat. Both Linden and Halder are now dead.
At the crime scene, Bailey says they have been requested to assist with the investigation - Talbot steps in and says that he'd like to have it wrapped up by the end of the week. Bailey chafes, but there's little he can do at this point. In her examination of the bodies, Grace determines that Halder was dead by the time that Linden entered the car. She finds evidence that his wrists and feet were bound - which indicates that he may have been held someplace else before being brought to the crime scene. Bailey tells her he doesn't want guesses ... he wants to know how it happened.
Bailey considers Jarod a suspect ... Rachel disagrees. Bailey isn't convinced and leaves him as a suspect. At the morgue, a man whose face we cannot see walks in to where Halder's body is being held, pulls Jarod's FBI file out of a briefcase, positions Halder's lifeless hand in a way to put his fingerprints on Jarod's file - then returns the file to his briefcase and leaves, undetected.
An examination of Baxter's body along with Linden's and Halder's indicates that they were all killed the same way - moreover Baxter and Halder both had scarring on their organs consistent with high fever and evidence of either having given blood recently - or had an IV inserted into their arms, which could have induced the fevers artificially. Grace will continue to check toxicology. Bailey tells her not to give the information to Talbot yet.
Rachel strongly feels that the killer has a "sense of duty" as a motive - she keeps flashing on military monuments - and she feels that these murders are "personal" to the person committing them. She has just finished telling Bailey this when she goes to answer her door - and finds Jarod on the other side. Jarod tells Rachel that Linden was booked on a flight to Austria under the name of Paul Purafoy ... she wants to know how he can still be investigating when his assignment ended and he tells her that he didn't know he needed an assignment to care if people's lives were being destroyed. He tells her that he only wants to finish what he started and find out who killed Baxter. Rachel tells him that she's not very anxious to end up like his last partner and Jarod says that Halder was playing both ends against the middle and promises to keep a better eye on her!! He gives her a folder of information and leaves. The file contains information on Emily Sadler - Baxter's good friend. Meanwhile Talbot has gone to see Emily - telling her that he needs a favor. She doesn't want to see him, but in the end, she leaves him little choice and buzzes him in through the doors.
Over coffee with Bailey, Rachel discusses Jarod's motives for giving her the file on Emily. Bailey still doesn't trust Jarod ... Rachel feels differently. The impasse remains.
Talbot never made it up to Emily's apartment ... he was apprehended by the same man who put Halder's fingerprints on Jarod's file and is being tortured in the basement. He is bound at the wrists and ankles, has a hood over his head and an IV in his arm that is inducing a high fever. He is being implored by his captor to confess to betraying his country and to tell were "he" is, but Talbot won't do it. Eventually his captor tires of the game, opens the IV completely up and the solution kills Talbot.
Upstairs, Emily Sadler opens her door, expecting to see Talbot there, and instead finds Rachel. While Rachel talks to Emily her partner talks to someone on the first floor who says he heard noises in the basement ... he investigates and finds Talbot's body.
Grace examines the body and says that Talbot boiled to death - from the inside out. Emily's father offers to say with her, but she tells him that she'll be fine. Rachel keeps flashing on military things ... this time firing squads with the people who are being shot wearing hoods. She keeps coming back to the feeling of a "sense of duty." Bailey asks Emily why Talbot was there and she claims not to know - saying only that she knew him from when she first moved to Washington. Rachel asks her if he was trying to find Jarod Wilkes ... but Emily will not say. She tells Rachel that Jarod saved her life - she won't say anything. Bailey places her under Federal protection and says she will be taken to a safe house. Emily protests, saying it will ruin her career if anyone finds out. Rachel reminds her that losing her career is the least of her worries.
Grace's final autopsy of one of the bodies reveals that the victims were being injected with horse serum ... the more you get, the higher your body temperature goes. Bailey gets a call that informs him that Talbot had several accounts - offshore, in Aruba - the deposits were made as a result of his involvement with Linden. All three of the agents with whom Jarod worked were involved in the scheme!!
He also learns that shortly before he died, Baxter took out a modest life insurance policy ... just enough to keep his Mother in comfort if something happened to him. The policy was issued over the phone - the tapes are being sent to see who ordered the policy. Meanwhile, Bailey and Rachel are going to see Baxter's Mother. She tells Rachel that in the past few months before he died, he seemed sad. He felt like people that he had once believed in had changed. She said that Emily was his biggest disappointment. She also said that it was ironic that he would die in that river, since he loved to swim and swam 3 miles every morning at the Veteran's Hall.
At her apartment, Emily is packing, but the agent "helping" her is taking her cell phone and pager back out of her luggage - saying they are a security risk. First chance she gets, Emily secrets the cell phone back in with her things.
At the Veterans Hall swimming pool, Rachel is still flashing on military scenes ... this time a small village being bombed. As she gets ready to leave, she runs into Jarod in hallway. Jarod has been following them and says that Todd Baxter was a good man and a good son. Rachel tells Jarod that Todd's Mother didn't trust Emily. Rachel says that there is an element of shame involved in the murders and tries to expound on that, but Jarod cuts her off and says that the killer wants to kill everyone who was involved in the corruption. Rachel says Emily is lying. Jarod says she may be a lair, but she's not a killer. Then he apologizes and says that he can't seem to stop defending Emily. Rachel says she understands ... she can't stop defending Jarod to Bailey. Jarod is intrigued by this. Rachel says she never gets involved with people she works with. Jarod reminds her that he's not working for anyone. Rachel says that's a technicality ... throughout it all, Jarod is closing the distance between then ... and he clearly intends to do more than talk.
When they are done kissing, Rachel asks Jarod if he could pretend that it never happened. Jarod replies that he can "pretend" to do a lot of things ... but forgetting what just happened between them would be difficult. Before they can go for round 2, Rachel's phone rings and she learns that it was Emily who ordered Todd Baxter's life insurance. She realizes that Emily has now become a "loose end" ... one that the killer will want to neaten up. Supposedly Emily is en route to the safe house ... but when the driver of her car turns around ... it isn't Agent Bergstrom ... it's ... TODD BAXTER!
Todd tells her that she was foolish to trust the agents ... they threatened to kill her Father if she didn't go along with them before - they were going to eliminate her now. He shows her papers that seem to confirm what he is saying ... she tries to say that Jarod saved her life, but Todd says that Jarod is one of "them" and that he probably just set up the attack in order to make it seem as though he saved her. He takes her to her Father's store ... and sure enough ... he's missing. Baxter convinces Emily that she can only really be safe with him, her only hope of getting her Father back is to trust Todd, and that together they can "get" Jarod who is a risk to national security.
Bailey, George, Rachel and Jarod are trying to narrow down the list of who the killer could be. George says he's been locked out of some files that he needs to see to help winnow down the list and Jarod asks him for a copy of the disk to see if he can't find a back door for him. Bailey okays it and George gives Jarod the disk. Jarod takes it and leaves, as Rachel watches him go ... a little starry eyed. About 9:30 that night, Jarod leaves a message for George, saying he's going to download the information to him - but before the download can complete, someone pulls the plug on Jarod's computer... Todd Baxter! 39 Jarod says he didn't want to believe it, but then he read his profile. Passed over for promotion, again and again. Todd just got more bitter. Jarod asks Todd what happened to him, tells him he used to be friends. Todd tells Jarod that he was in trouble and needed a ride ... that didn't make them friends. Todd tells Jarod to put on his shoes and then takes him away at gunpoint.
In her room, Rachel gets a package delivered from Jarod. It's a receiver - and there's a note with it that says, "if this activates - follow it." Rachel sees that it's active, calls Bailey and tells him that Jarod has used himself as bait to catch the killer. George is giving directions to Bailey in the car - and tells them that Jarod tried to give him a "heads-up" but the download was interrupted. Rachel tells Bailey that the killer wanted Jarod for stealing his thunder and because of Emily's feelings for him. She says that Jarod knew how vulnerable Emily was - that's why she turned himself over to the killer.
They follow the signal -- but find only Jarod's shoe -- in a dumpster. They've lost Jarod and have no idea where he is!!
Rachel and Bailey go over everything they know one more time and Rachel suddenly realizes that the profile of an unsung soldier fits perfectly ... what could be more heroic than to die for your country? They start checking on Todd Baxter, realizing that he probably isn't dead.
Meanwhile at some unknown location, Jarod is bound to a chair, like all the victims before him have been. Baxter has told Emily that Jarod took her Father so she asks him where he is. Jarod tries to tell her about Todd, but she doesn't want to believe it and Todd sends her out of the room and begins to kill Jarod with the horse -serum. Just as he's about to complete the deed, Rachel peeks in and realizes that it's all wrong, rushes in and knocks over the IV ... causing Todd to turn on her, too. Fortunately, Rachel, Bailey and the others arrive in the nick of time ... having figured out that Todd had taken Jarod to an old rental house owned by his Mother. Emily's Father is extracted from the trunk of the car ... Jarod tells the EMT's what to give him to counteract the horse serum - and all's well that end's well.
Later, Rachel tells Jarod that Todd's Father locked him in a hot attic all the time as a kid - then died when Todd was 10, making him "the man of the house." The experience permanently tweaked him.
Rachel and Jarod bid each other a fond farewell, kissing lovingly on the steps of the building and Jarod tells her that they next time they meet, he's going to tell her everything. She begins to walk up the steps ... Jarod begins to walk down ... and when Rachel looks back a moment later - there is no sign of Jarod anywhere -- he has managed to completely disappear again ...
And the screen fades to black ......
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