TV Recap: FBI – Identity Crisis

FBI
“Identity Crisis” (Episode 111)
January 15, 2019

Keep up with all of our FBI coverage here.

On to this week’s latest episode of FBI, “Identity Crisis.”

Two women walk down the steps of 128 Centre Street. The older woman, Judge Leslie Chapman (Nancy Lemenager), declares she’s starving. Her daughter, Sam (Alison Luff), is surprised her mother is still hungry after what happened.

Leslie dismisses it, stating she just did her job. Sam points out Leslie sentenced a twenty-four-year-old man to life in prison.

“I sentenced a twenty-four-year-old hitman to life in prison.”

The judge reminds Sam the man killed a rival gangster and his ten-year-old daughter. She’s okay with the young man being in prison for the rest of his life.  Sam laughs and tells her mother she is “such badass.”  Leslie laughs and suggests Chinese food.

As the two women walk towards Chinatown, across the street, a man in a hoodie watches them.

The mother and daughter proceed down Mosco street. Sam appears troubled. Leslie tells Sam that even though last night was tough, she’ll be fine.  Sam admits she knows; she just feels so stupid. Leslie reassures her daughter that it wasn’t her fault.

“Sometimes bad things happen to good people.”

Sam hears a noise and she spins around. She’s sure someone’s following them. Leslie turns to look as well, but there’s no one. Sam apologizes; she feels a little off today. Leslie tells Sam it’s okay. They continue walking, almost to their destination. Leslie says, to comfort Sam, life is short. She should find, “joy in every day, every moment.”

The man in the hoodie appears at the top of the street. He fires into the women.

Leslie and Sam Chapman fall to the ground.

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Agents Maggie Bell and OA Zidan arrives at the scene. Detective Tom Gomez (Shevy Gutierrez) meets them and walks them down to the bodies. His captain wants the FBI on the scene since it was a Federal judge. It’s only the fifth time this happened in the United States, Gomez adds.

OA notes the second woman by the judge and asks who she was. Gomez tells OA it’s the daughter.  Maggie asks if there are any witnesses. There aren’t any, at least not yet. NYPD are still canvassing the area and looking for video. He promises whatever they find, they’ll forward to the FBI.

There is a Gucci purse next to the judge and a Rolex watch on Sam’s wrist. This does not look like a robbery. Nothing was stolen.

Back in the ops center, Jubal and his team are pulling the crime scene up.

“Feels more like Juárez than Manhattan, ” Jubal comments about the execution of the judge and her daughter five blocks from the courthouse. Dana wants action.

“We need to move fast and make a statement: You go after a judge and their family, we will bury you by the end of the day.”

Dana stares at the images of the crime scene as Jubal reports they’re looking into Judge Chapman’s recent rulings, verdicts and threats. Dana starts to walk away, but she spins back around to Jubal. She’s known Leslie Chapman for a long time. The two of them knew each other when Chapman was a prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Dana tells Jubal Leslie was a great person: strong, honest, and independent.

“I want to nail the son of a bitch who did this,” Dana declares, visibly upset as she finally walks away with Jubal sympathetically looking on.

Maggie and OA arrive at the Chapman home with Dana.

Dana hugs the widow, Mike Chapman (Gerald McCullouch), and gives her condolences. Mike is visibly shaken; he’s having a hard time believing his wife and daughter are gone.

Maggie and OA trail behind as Dana and Mike proceed into the house. Dana promises they will find out who did this. Dana advises Mike to stay home; the FBI will provide security.

Mike is confused about why he would need security? He scoffs at Dana’s warning that it’s a strong possibility whoever did this might come after Mike next.

“Well, let ’em come. I’d be happy to stare down the coward who did this.”

Dana asks Mike if he’s all right for them to ask a few questions. Maggie asks about a Carlos Vertiz; he threatened Leslie in her courtroom three months ago.

His wife wasn’t easily intimidated, Mike says. Leslie didn’t think much “of some idiot jumping up and down in the courtroom spewing threats.” Leslie was never bothered by such things.

Dana agrees. She never saw Leslie ever get flustered or nervous.

OA asks if there was anything unusual in the past few weeks. Mike, getting distressed again, says there is nothing he can think of. When Maggie asks about his daughter, the husband starts crying once more. He can barely speak. He recalls Sam quit her job at Goldman Sachs a few months ago because she wanted to do something more meaningful, more fulfilling.

Maggie and OA sympathize with the increasingly upset husband. Maggie gently asks if Sam was in any sort of trouble or whether anyone was bothering her.

Mike denies any of the sorts. He says Sam was a good kid but breaks down in front of everybody, unable to continue. He cries he doesn’t want this to be his life right now. Maggie and OA quietly slip out as Dana tries to comfort the grieving husband and father.

The agents visit the late judge’s chambers and offices. The FBI is already there, processing the offices. Chapman’s clerk is packing up photos and personal items into a box. She says she’s not aware of any threats, but Judge Chapman was a private person; she never talked to her about personal or professional issues. Chapman wasn’t acting different or stressed as well.

When Maggie asks if she overheard any phone calls, the clerk recalls the judge appeared distracted yesterday. She was yelling into her phone, demanding to know how long it has been going on. After, she left the office for an hour or so.

Maggie asks what time it happened. Around noon, the clerk estimates, but she doesn’t know who Chapman was talking to or where she went.

Outside of the chambers, Maggie calls Kristen and asks if Kristen can find out who Judge Chapman was talking to yesterday around noon. She also asks Kristen to run Chapman’s credit cards and rideshare accounts around the same time as well.

Maggie and OA enter a dimly lit night club. It’s not open for business yet, but there’s staff around prepping the area. They spot two men, Ray Costa (Clayton Cardenas) and Jack Rossi (Zach McGowan), in the back working on what looks like receipts. They introduce themselves. OA passes Judge Chapman’s photo to Costa. Costa says he doesn’t recognize her; he gives the picture to Rossi. Rossi hasn’t seen her before either.

A car dropped Judge Chapman off at this club yesterday around noon. Rossi points out even though the judge may have been dropped off here, she could have gone somewhere else.

Costa wants to know what this is all about.

Maggie informs them they’re investigating a homicide. Double homicide, OA adds, and shows the men Sam Chapman’s photo this time.

Rossi studies the photo. He tells them a lot of people come in and out of his club. He says it’s hard to pick out faces. He doesn’t know if Sam Chapman was ever in here.

Maggie asks to look at their surveillance footage. Costa tells the agents they don’t have any; too many celebrities and VIPs come in here. Costa and Rossi aren’t bothered when Maggie tells them they’ll be executing a search warrant anyway.

Photo: Michael Parmelee/CBS

As the agents walk away, OA wonders why Judge Chapman would come here when it’s not even open at noon. Maggie thinks maybe to talk to one of the employees. OA asks Maggie if she thinks Judge Chapman’s having an affair with one of the guys here. Maggie agrees it’s possible, but there was no emails or texts to support it.

OA spot a bartender and heads over. He shows her the two photos. The bartender (Milauna Jemai Jackson) says no. OA points out she didn’t even look at the photos. She counters OA isn’t paying her to; she’s busy.

Annoyed, OA tries to stop her from walking away from him. The bartender tells OA not to touch her. She tosses a drink at OA. OA is stunned.

“Congratulations, badass, you’re under arrest.”

OA cuffs her, who immediately snaps out she wants a lawyer. OA comments this isn’t her “maiden voyage.”

Rossi sees the scuffle. He jumps in to defend his bartender; she probably didn’t see the badges. There’s no reason to do this over a simple misunderstanding.

Maggie tells Costa and Rossi to step back. She follows OA and his arrest out of the club.

The agents march the bartender to their vehicle. Maggie climbs into the back with the bartender, OA gets into the driver’s seat. The two women are first glaring at each other. Suddenly, the two start to laugh. OA looks back; he’s confused.

“What’s up, Maggie? It’s been a minute,” the woman greets Maggie.

Maggie agrees. She proceeds to unlock the handcuffs. “A little help here,” OA asks, still baffled. Maggie explains Gina is one of them, in the FBI. She and Maggie were in the same class at Quantico and worked undercover too. They even broke up a sex trafficking ring in New Jersey.

OA extends his hand and introduces himself.  Gina shakes his hand. She apologizes about the drink; she needs to maintain her cover.

The agents park by a bridge underpass for privacy. Maggie asks Gina how long has she been undercover. Fourteen months, Gina tells her. It took her four months just to get the job in the club, another five to work her way up to manager.  OA is impressed. They must really like Gina.

Gina is investigating Jack Rossi and Ray Costa, two of the biggest cocaine traffickers in the northeast. Rossi is the brains of the operation; he oversees the distribution and launders the money. Costa is the muscle and has the connections; he has a cousin in the Sinaloa cartel.

The murder investigation just got more interesting, OA remarks.

Or more complicated, Maggie complains. She explains to Gina the homicides involve a Federal judge. And for some reason, the Federal judge went to see Rossi and Costa yesterday, hours before she and her daughter were killed.

Gina takes a good look at the photo on Maggie’s phone. She hasn’t seen her but if she hears anything, she will definitely let Maggie know. The two women hugs. Maggie tells Gina when she’s finished with her current case, they should hang out and catch up.  Gina thinks it’s a great idea. She asks how they should play this arrest: assault and battery with a dangerous soft drink?

OA laughs. Gina’s lucky it wasn’t one of his fancy shirts.

Maggie offers a suggestion that they brought Gina in. They showed her some pictures, asked some questions, gave Gina a stern scolding, then told Gina to get the hell out.

Gina laughs; it’s a good idea.  The agents and Gina part ways.

Back in the Bureau’s conference room, Jubal, Kristen and Dana review what their undercover agent, Gina Pratt, told Maggie and OA. Costa has a cousin in the Sinaloa Cartel; maybe the hit was a favor to him?

Kristen says she went through every case Judge Chapman had for the past three years, including pending cases. Nothing is connecting her to the Sinaloa Cartel.

So much for that theory. Jubal moves on to the shell casings.  Kristen reports she ran the casings through NIBIN (the Natonal Integrated Ballistic Information Network). There are no hits. She also checked for DNA and fingerprints. No hits as well.

Dana asks if there is any video. Kristen confirms they do have one video that looks useful.  On the large screen, they show the man in the hoodie, turning into Mosco street. Kristen freezes the video and focuses on the hands in the pockets. It looks he could be concealing a weapon in his jacket.

Jubal asks if they can get a better look at his face. Kristen says she couldn’t; the man stares down in the video the entire time. She’ll send it to Quantico; however, she thinks it’s doubtful they can do anything.

A technician enters the conference room. They have been running Sam Chapman’s phone. Nothing stands out, but they did find cryptic texts that were sent through an anonymous messaging app.

“What do you mean “cryptic”?”

The messages read:

I’m not sure what to do.
Need time to process.
Don’t worry.
I won’t tell the police.

Another message goes:

Sorry, know I’m not supposed to text.
Just don’t feel like talking.

Unfortunately, Sam did not call the person by name. As for the other phone, it is a burner phone.

Jubal finds it odd; people like Sam don’t usually run with the burner phone crowd.  Good news comes in from the lab. They found trace DNA on Sam Chapman’s body. They got a hit as well.

“It’s not a good idea to lie to the FBI, Jack.”

OA chides Jack Rossi as he and Maggie enter the interrogation room. “So bad, it’s a felony,” Maggie finishes as they sit down.

They confront Rossi: they found his DNA on Sam Chapman’s body.  Rossi answers that makes sense; they had sex the night before she was killed.  Maggie, in disbelief, points out Jack Rossi had sex with Sam Chapman, yet he couldn’t identify her in a photo?

Rossi apologizes. His eyes aren’t great without his glasses; he’s farsighted.  That’s not a good answer, OA tells Rossi.  Maggie agrees; it’s an awful answer considering she’s dead. And because her mother is a Federal judge, Rossi faces the death penalty.

Rossi considers the two agents; he’s nonplussed.  Maggie asks where was Rossi yesterday afternoon around 5:00 p.m.?

Working at the club, Rossi replies politely. The agents could ask his staff, he has five bartenders and ten waitresses. He finishes by saying it’s all he’s going to say; if they want to talk some more, call his lawyer.

Rossi stares back unblinking. Maggie tells Rossi he’s free to go. As soon as he exits the room, Maggie tells OA to talk to Jubal. She wants two agents following Rossi at all times.

Out in the ops center, Kristen confirms Costa was telling the truth. There are no cameras inside the club, only surveillance cameras outside. Jubal is unsurprised.

“They don’t want to record their own crimes. Go figure.”

Kristen pulls up the surveillance footage. A car stops in front of the club. It’s Judge Chapman. The time stamp reads 12:07. Then, nine minutes later, at 12:16, she leaves.

Maggie wonders who did the judge talk to? What did they talk about? OA wonders if the conversation led to the murders?

Jubal spots something on the screen. He tells Kristen to keep the recording going. On the screen, there is a car parked behind the one Chapman arrived in. The driver was in the car the whole time. He saw the judge exit.

Kristen isolates the license plate and runs it.

The driver from the footage examines Leslie Chapman’s photo. He doesn’t recognize her. Maggie turns her laptop around and shows the driver the footage. He’s turning around and looking at Chapman entering her car. The driver confirms it’s indeed him on the video, but looking back at Leslie is just a habit. He can’t help it. When he sees something “that’s lean and mean,” it’s like an instinct. He was only checking her out.

The driver tells Maggie and OA he worked at the club as the doorman that day.  OA slides over Sam Chapman’s photo.

This time, the man recognizes the new photo. He saw Sam Chapman at the club a few nights ago. He even talked to her. She was yelling and crying, her shirt was ripped. He had asked her if she needed some help or for him to call the cops, but Sam Chapman just ran out.

Maggie and OA update Dana on their way to her office. On an older video, they verify Sam Chapman was at the club the night before her murder. She left around 2:00 a.m. and the doorman said she was crying, yelling, with her clothes torn.

Like she was in a fight, Dana asks.

More like sexually assaulted, OA replies.

Dana stops short. She’s shocked.  Maggie tells Dana about the lab finding Rossi’s DNA on Sam’s body. Rossi claims they had sex. Maggie thinks it sounds more like it might not have been consensual.

Dana agrees. It would explain why Judge Chapman was upset and went to the club the next day. She asks if Rossi’s alibi was good.

It’s airtight, Maggie reports. Rossi was at the club the time of the murder.

Dana has fifty agents on the street canvassing for witnesses, surveillance video, and forensics. Their best lead is Rossi and his nightclub. She wants Maggie and OA to focus on that.  Focus on what, Maggie asks.

The drug case, Dana says. She wants Maggie to tell Gina that her case is now their case. They were taking over.  OA gives Maggie a side look. Maggie appears discomfited but says okay. They leave to talk to Gina. Dana picks up the phone to make the call.

Under cover of darkness, under a bridge in Central Park, the agents meet up with Gina.  Gina is stumped. Did they want to work together on her case?

Maggie tells Gina that Rossi’s their best lead.  Gina says she understands, but she’s not getting why they’re taking over her case. OA sums it up for Gina.

“Murder of a Federal judge. Enough said. Trumps a drug investigation all day, every day.”

Gina says she understands that, however, she has been working this case herself.  Maggie cuts off Gina’s protests. Dana already called Gina’s supervisor. It’s done, Maggie told her.

Gina stops. She’s still unhappy but appears to acquiesce. She tells Maggie she should have led with that. With a grimace, Maggie apologizes.

Maggie lets Gina in on their plan: to accelerate the drug investigation and catch Rossi redhanded. They hope to flip him so that he cooperates with the murder case.

Their timing’s perfect. Rossi called Gina an hour ago. He wants Gina to grab a cute girlfriend and head out to Brooklyn tonight with him and Costa. Smart, Maggie notes, they want to make it look like a double date in case they get pulled over.

Or so they don’t get pulled over, OA says. Local cops are less likely to pull over a female driver for a traffic violation.

Totally sexist, but in a good way, Gina jokes. For her and Maggie anyway.  Maggie scoffs and grins at Gina. It appears there are no ill feelings over this.  Gina promises she’ll be in touch with the details. She’s going to need a cute friend to go with her, though. They have someone in mind, Maggie assures Gina.

At the front of the nightclub, Kristen is all dressed up. She exchanges a hug with Gina. Gina greets Kristen enthusiastically. She introduces Kristen to Costa and Rossi as Sasha.

Photo: Michael Parmelee/CBS 

Costa seems suspicious. He asks Kristen where she’s from. Kristen replies she’s also from Queens, two blocks from Gina.  Gina jumps in and reassures Costa he’ll like her.  Costa cuts Gina off; he wasn’t talking to Gina.

Rossi intervenes. He chides Costa for being rude. Gina’s just making conversation. Costa, after a look at Rossi, apologizes.  A silver SUV pulls up. Rossi suggests Kristen sits up front with Gina. He even opens the door for Kristen.  Kristen pretends to be impressed and calls Rossi a gentleman before climbing in.

During the whole time, Jubal was standing outside the nightclub watching the proceedings. He reports Gina and Kristen got into a late model SUV with New York plates that reads Papa, Kilo, 8, 1, 1, Juliet, 3.

Maggie and OA are parked at the location. She tells OA Gina couldn’t confirm if the product is in the car parked across from them. This could just be a cash pickup and delivery will be at a later time at a different location.

OA appears doubtful. Maggie tells him they’ll just have to see how it all plays out.

A parked vehicle is across the street. OA checks through his binoculars and confirms it is a black Escalade, New York plates, 2, 2, 6, 6, Charlie, Mike. It’s the arranged car Gina told them about.

In the SUV, Kristen pretends to be confused. She thought they were headed into the city.  They are, Rossi promises. He and Costa must run a quick errand first. It won’t take long.

But we are going out later, right, Gina jumps in? She promised Sasha a fun time. Gina draws their attention to Kristen’s attire. Sasha is all dressed up, looking fine!

Rossi, from the back seat, comments Gina is looking pretty fine herself. Gina appears touched as she thanks Rossi.  As they approach the destination, Costa tells Gina to do a U-turn and pull up behind the parked Escalade.

A silver SUV arrives. It’s Gina and Kristen. Maggie radios in that the target is landed at the location. She orders everyone to wait; they’ll move on her order. Maggie and OA sink lower in their seats to keep out of sight.

Rossi and Costa get out of the SUV. Costa pauses at the sight of what appears to be an empty dark vehicle across from them. But he says nothing and walks up to Rossi.

Abruptly, Gina sticks her head out the window and calls out to Costa. She thinks she sees someone inside the car in the alley. Maybe it’s cops, she suggests.

OA is stunned. Still slouched inside the car, he asks Maggie what Gina is doing. Flustered, Maggie answers she doesn’t know.

Costa and Rossi jump back in their SUV. Kristen gives Gina a look, which she ignores as she drives away.

The agents watch the silver SUV tear out of there, their bust a failure. OA asks Maggie why Gina blew the deal?

Maggie doesn’t know what to say.

The agents meet up with Gina and Kristen under a bridge. Maggie asks Gina what’s going on. Gina claims she saw Costa eyeing Maggie and OA’s car. He was getting nervous. Gina says he was about to call the whole thing off. Gina beat him to the punch to also win some “undercover cred” for herself.

OA isn’t so sure. He asks Gina if Costa really made them? Gina says Costa was about to, so she got in front of it. Besides, Gina adds, the coke wasn’t in the car. It was going to be a third party drop.

Had the bust happen, it would have been a tough bust. Is that what Kristen saw, OA asks, turning to Kristen who has been quiet the whole time.  Kristen couldn’t confirm; she was in the front seat and couldn’t see where Costa was looking.

Gina angrily asks OA if he doubts her. OA thinks it’s strange someone would blow up a deal they’ve been waiting to close for months. He believes the way Gina did it could have gone bad a thousand ways. But it didn’t, Gina argues back.

Maggie is caught between the two. She tries to make peace, telling them to move on. At least nobody got hurt and nobody got made.  The good news is Gina’s cover is better than ever now. Maggie thinks they should take advantage of that. They’ll introduce a new buyer, make a bust, and get Rossi to flip on the murders.

Gina thinks it’s a risky plan.  OA reminds Gina she claimed she was tight with Rossi.  Only because she didn’t push too hard, Gina counters.

Well, maybe it’s time to switch up her strategy, OA shoots back. Gina has been working the case for a long time.  Maggie fidgets, getting increasingly uncomfortable standing between her partner and Gina.

Insulted, Gina says she isn’t “some punkass rookie fresh out of Quantico.” She tells OA it took her a year to get this close. Before her “drug case turned into a murder case,” her assignment was to stay under until she could identify the cartel connect. That’s why it’s taking so long and there have been no arrests.

To Maggie, Gina promises she’ll introduce Rossi to Maggie’s people and storms off.  As Kristen, Maggie and OA walk away in the opposite direction, OA says he’s not buying Gina’s story. They were on the wire. Costa didn’t say a word about seeing a cop.

Kristen agrees. She supposes there’s a chance they could have whispered something to Gina on the way out the door, but she’s also doubtful.

Maggie interrupts the two. Gina says Costa saw something, not that he said something.  OA can’t believe it. Does Maggie really think Costa saw their cover car and thought they were cops?

Maggie defends Gina. She thinks it’s possible. She says they don’t know Gina the way Maggie does. Gina made the right move.  OA backs down. It is time to figure out who’ll be the buyer.

Jubal turns at the approach of Costa and Rossi coming up the stairs. Gina introduces Jubal as Jay. She tells them Jay lives in Connecticut and sells to “rich white folks in Fairfield County.” Gina walks away and leaves them to their business.

Costa hears Gina said Jay wanted five keys. Jubal tells them that’s all he wants for now, but if things go well, he’ll want more later.  Costa asks to see Jubal’s ID. Jubal hands it over while joking he looks much younger than his actual age.

“Don’t hate a brother for having good genes, all right?”

Rossi questions Jubal on how long Jubal knew Gina. He tries to trick Jubal by getting the name of the girl Jubal dated wrong. However, Jubal corrects Rossi: her name’s Kim Grace.

A man with a large suitcase walks in and starts setting up on a table behind Jubal. Costa tells Jubal this is their polygraph expert.

It’s no big deal, Rossi adds. He was going to just ask a couple of questions. However, now’s the time to leave if Jubal wants to bail. He invites Jubal to think it over carefully.  Jubal eyes Costa and Rossi. After a beat, he smirks and tells them to “Bring it.”

In the surveillance van outside, Maggie and OA are listening in.  “Bring it,: OA repeats in disbelief. Who does Jubal think he is?

“Apparently a badass FBI agent who thinks he can beat the polygraph.”

OA scoffs at Maggie’s reply.  He’s not so sure.  The problem is they can’t pull Jubal. It would blow their cover and Gina’s cover.  Reluctantly, OA agrees. They’ll have to let it play out for now.  Jubal’s all strapped in and the polygraph expert starts asking questions.

Is his name Jay Valentine? Yes.
Did he ever date a woman named Kim Grace? Yes.
Has he ever worked for the NYPD, DEA, or FBI?

Photo: Michael Parmelee/CBS 

In the van, Maggie and OA exchanges a look as Jubal replies no.  The expert scribbles some notes, tears out the readout and walks out.  OA notes there’s still no distress signal. No, he’s all in, Maggie says, but she’s squirming as they wait. She hopes Jubal knows what he’s doing.  After a wait, the expert comes in and releases Jubal from the straps. Costa and Rossi return. They tell Jubal he’s free to go. He’s passed the test. They’ll be in touch.

Jubal saunters out of the warehouse.

“It’s all about meditation, guys. Controlling your heartbeat.”

“Be honest,” Jubal asks as he looks directly into the camera, “you didn’t think I could pull it off, did you?” In the van, Maggie and OA chuckle, relieved.

The agents meet up with Gina again. She tells them Jack liked Jubal. The deal’s moving forward.  OA asks when it is going to happen. Gina isn’t sure, but she’ll talk to Jack later. She promises she’ll let them know and leaves.

Maggie notices OA staring after Gina. OA notes Gina called Rossi, Jack, twice. In his experience, when the undercover starts referring to the target by his first name, it’s a problem.

Back at Federal Plaza, Maggie walks with the SAC of Gina’s assignment, ASAC Joe Franklin (Alton Fitzgerald White). Franklin defends Gina; she’s one of the best undercover agents he’s ever worked with. Smart, resourceful, tough.  Maggie agrees. They’ve worked together before. She’s only wondering if there’s anything else she should know about her or the operation. She confides with the SAC, off the record, she wants to make sure that she’s solid. Gina’s a friend of Maggie’s. Maggie has a lot of respect for her. She’s only concerned.

Franklin is offended. They take over his drug case and now she’s questioning his ability to handle his undercover agents?  Maggie hastens to assure Franklin that isn’t what she means.  Franklin tells Maggie given the number of cases and agents he oversees, it’s not easy to meet face to face on a regular basis. They get together once a week at a diner in Connecticut. He’s seen no evidence that would suggest she’s under any unusual duress.

Relieved, Maggie thanks Franklin.

OA is waiting for Maggie when she returns to the Bureau. He asks what Franklin says about Gina. Gina’s the best undercover he’s worked with, Maggie reports.

“Well, she might be amazing, but I’m not so sure about her methods.”

Kristen arrives at their desks disputing it. She’s been digging around through footage near the club, the crime scene, Rossi’s apartment and found something.  On a desktop, Kristen pulls up video of Gina and Rossi standing very close and sharing a kiss.  OA checks with Maggie. Maggie looks on, speechless.

The agents walk down a dark path to meet Gina at their usual spot under the bridge. Maggie wants to talk to Gina alone. She’s known Gina a really long time. Maggie at least owes her that.

OA understands, but it’s why Maggie shouldn’t talk to Gina alone. Maggie’s too close to this.  Maggie agrees. OA is correct, she’s only asking for a little bit of rope in this.  OA promises he’ll hang back.

Gina is quick to defend herself the moment Maggie reaches her. She says it was just one stupid kiss. It just happened.  Maggie’s not buying it this time. Gina must give her a better explanation.

Gina and Rossi were both raised by a single mother. The night of the video, she and Rossi were talking about what it was like to grow up without a strong male role model. They both got emotional. Gina claims she took advantage of it to ingratiate herself to the target.

Just like they tell us to do in Quantico, Gina finishes.  The lines are getting blurry here, Maggie says. Gina argues it’s all part of the game.

“When you’re hanging out in those streets with a dude who’ll put a bullet in your head if they found out who you really were, you say what you have to say and you do what you have to do.”

Maggie gets that. She thinks Gina should step away. Gina protests she’s okay.  There’s a way they can do this without ruining her career, Maggie tries, but Gina will not listen. If they pull her now, her reputation will be destroyed. Gina begs Maggie to keep her in the case.

Maggie admits she doesn’t want Gina to get hurt. However, she’ll let it go.

How’d it go, OA asks when Maggie returns to where he waits. When Maggie only shrugs, OA asks what’s that supposed to mean?

“She kissed somebody she shouldn’t have kissed.”

Maggie thinks Gina is still fine to work the case. Gina’s been under a long time; stuff happens.  OA reminds Maggie he gets that. He’s been undercover too.  What is the alternative, Maggie asks OA. Blow up Gina’s career or her life? Does OA want to let the guys who killed Judge Chapman and her daughter go free?

OA relents. He’ll follow Maggie’s lead, but at “the next hiccup” they should pull her.  At next hiccup, Maggie returns, she’ll be the first one to do that.  Jubal is pacing outside a subway station, a train rumbling above him.  Maggie and OA watch from inside their car.  They’re an hour late, OA notes.

That’s on time, even early for most drug dealers, Maggie replies.  OA disagrees. Costa and Rossi have been pretty punctual so far.  Maggie says nothing.

OA is thoughtful as he studies Maggie. He starts talking about a time when he was under at a mosque. One night, he was having dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant in Queens with his target, Kareem.

“Halfway through, he just starts crying. Telling me his wife doesn’t love him, she’s having an affair with his cousin, and before you know it, we are pouring our hearts out to each other.”

For that one night, OA and Kareem were best friends. It didn’t matter they were on opposite sides of the law.  This job can get really complicated, Maggie sighs.  OA asks if there’s any word from Gina?

Maggie reports Gina sent a text fifteen minutes ago. She’s running late, but on her way. After checking her tablet, Maggie abruptly adds that Gina lied. They’re on their way to Jersey. Maggie has secretly activated the GPS tracker in Gina’s cell phone a couple days ago.  Maggie radios Jubal the deal is off.

“Agent Gina Pratt is on the run.”

Jubal copies. He’s heading back into Ops.  Sirens on, Maggie and OA’s SUV races to catch Gina.  Racing to where Gina is according to the GPS, Maggie advises all units to establish a blockade at the intersection of Route 46 and Huyler.  OA spots Gina’s car up ahead eastbound from Route 46.

The radio responds the blockade is in place with additional units standing by.  In the other car, Gina spots Maggie’s vehicle, she steps on the gas and pulls ahead. She spots the blockade and abruptly turns to a side dirt road.  Gina’s car stops in front of a yellow gate.  Maggie and OA’s car blocks the way out behind Gina.

Gina remains in her car. Maggie and OA hang back, their guns towards the vehicle.  On the side mirror, Maggie sees Gina’s reflection. She tells Gina to get out of the car with her hands up.  Meanwhile, in front of Gina’s car, officers begin to surround her.  Finally, Gina steps out of her car. She faces Maggie. Maggie tells Gina to show her hands.

“Or what?” Gina challenges.

“Or what?” Maggie echoes in disbelief. She tells Gina to look around.

Around Gina, officers have their guns aimed at her. Her eyes drift to OA; he’s not budging either. Maggie again pleas with Gina to put her hands up. Slowly, Gina puts her hands up.

As Maggie pulls Gina’s hands back to be cuffed, Gina feebly explains she was just taking a drive to clear her head.  No, Maggie interrupts, don’t lie to her again. Maggie turns Gina around and confronts her: what has Gina done?

Gina says she can’t betray him.  Betray him?!?, Maggie repeats. She asks Gina but what about the Bureau? What about her?

Gina’s voice wavers. She believes Rossi’s a good person. She knows he sells drugs, but he’s a really good person. She tells Maggie she and Rossi understand each other. They respect each other. They’ve gotten close. He sees something in Gina no person has. Maggie understands how confusing it gets when one’s undercover, but Gina’s relationship with Rossi isn’t real.

“He’s connecting to the person who you’re pretending to be.”

Gina needs to come clean and tell Maggie where they are and where is Gina meeting them. She swears to Gina if Gina tells her right now, she’ll do everything she can to help Gina.  After studying Maggie, Gina relents and tells her: they’re meeting at the Essex County Airport and then they’re going to Mexico.

Upon hearing, OA radios Jubal the location.

Back in Ops, Jubal reports they have four vehicles in pursuit heading north. Costa and Rossi are approximately two miles from the airport. Jubal advises OA to head west then south on Route 613 to cut them off before they hit the entrance.

Costa and Rossi spot agents heading towards them. They stop their SUV and bolt out on foot. Maggie, OA and the other give chase through the woods. When they realize they’re surrounded, Costa and Rossi drop to their knees and surrender.

Maggie drops in Dana’s office. She asks Dana how Mike Chapman is doing. The husband is grateful the killer is caught. However, he has trouble understanding how his daughter fell in love with a drug dealer.  Or how a drug dealer falls in love with a judge’s daughter, Maggie puts in.

Dana supposes there’s a silver lining with Judge Chapman finding out about the relationship, the drugs, and her later telling Rossi to stay away from Sam. The husband told Dana knowing his wife died protecting their daughter gives him something to hold onto.  It’s something, Maggie agrees. She asks if Dana has spoken with the U.S. Attorney’s Office about Gina? Dana confirms she did.

Photo: Michael Parmelee/CBS 

Maggie stresses Gina’s been under fourteen months and is suffering from Stockholm?  Dana promises she told them everything.  Relieved, Maggie asks if they decided on what to do with Gina yet. At Dana’s expressionless stare, Maggie’s hopeful look starts to fade.  Maggie greets Gina, who’s been waiting in Interrogation.

Sure enough, Rossi caved. He gave the FBI everything about how Costa killed Sam and her mother to protect the cocaine operation. Rossi even told them where to find the weapon.  Gina cheers. She asks if this means she can leave now?  Maggie pauses. Her voice cracks as she tells Gina it’s not that simple.  Gina sags at Maggie’s look.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is going file charges against Gina. Maggie’s upset for Gina.  Gina appears about to cry. She thought Maggie said that wouldn’t happen. Maggie gave Gina her word.  Near tears, Maggie apologizes; she did everything she could.  Close to tears herself, Gina meets Maggie’s eyes and tells her she knows she did.

Maggie waits for the elevator. On his way out as well, OA asks Maggie if she’s all right.

“Not really,” Maggie replies wearily.
“I’m actually a pretty good listener,” OA offers.
“Since when?” Maggie jokes.

Since now, OA tells Maggie seriously.  Touched, Maggie smiles briefly. She thanks OA just as the elevator dings its arrival.  The two agents enter the elevator and ride it down together.

And Scene.

Thoughts.

With eleven episodes in the can, we hit mid-season, which often lags in the kind of post-winter lethargy for a few episodes before revving up to whatever cliffhanger they can cook up. “Identity Crisis” was enjoyable, but I felt like there were a few notes they hit offkey, making it feel more like it’s an FBI episode-adjacent.

The case wasn’t one of the strongest ones of the season. The storyline of a compromised undercover agent has been done before. Adding to the fact the undercover was a former Quantico classmate of Maggie’s did include a bit of a personal investment. Sadly, I felt like it didn’t contribute to the episode, but rather hamper.

I thought the show should have taken advantage of OA’s experience. It’s already established that OA was undercover for quite some time before becoming Maggie Bell’s partner.

During the episode, OA contributed his opinion on Gina and shared some of his past with Maggie. Unfortunately, it was inadequate. The episode leaned more into Maggie’s skewed judgment regarding her friend Gina. OA conceded to Maggie’s lead often during the episode; too often. Maggie, on the other hand, didn’t fully utilize OA’s experiences to guide her decision making. At the end, when it turned out Maggie turned on GPS to track Gina, it was clear by OA’s surprise. Maggie never told him or that she finally realized Gina’s turned.

The strength of FBI laid within the partnerships and teamwork among the ensemble cast. Granted, Maggie and OA are at the forefront the most, I’ve come to also expect the rest of the cast would shore up the investigation.

The case had too much of a personal slant in it that made me wonder if it threw too many stones in the inner workings. Dana Mosier was understandably upset about her friend. She tried to stay professional with her full disclosure to Jubal about knowing Leslie Chapman.

However, in the end, Dana was rather curt with Maggie about Gina. You could see the anger still on her face. It wasn’t clear whether her own personal grief played a part on how it went with the US Attorney’s office. And I was taken aback how abrupt and borderline aggressive Dana was in taking over Gina’s drug case. It’s a tad out of character for our usually sympathetic leader. I understand the episode was trying to show how much Leslie’s murder affected her, but I thought it went too far.

Maggie has shown to be empathetic with the people she came across in previous episodes. It was no different in this episode. But I thought she needed to rein it in. There were parts in the episode where I felt Maggie came across too understanding, too sympathetic and gave Gina too much leniency. Maggie readily believed Gina’s explanations. In the end, when Maggie arrested Gina, she made it personal again by asking Gina how she could betray her?

This circled back to OA. There were opportunities here where OA should have stepped up, not step back. A part of me appreciated the implications of how much trust Maggie and OA have for each other. Yet a part of me wanted OA to be more assertive; he has the experience to base his advice against. Maggie needs hard truths sometimes, not just a sympathetic ear.

There were also fun nuggets throughout the show. It’s always nice to see Jubal and Kristen get out from behind the computer screens for fieldwork. Jubal’s scene with the polygraph machine and beating it was a favorite. And Kristen played it cool with Gina when things started to go sideways showcased her abilities as an agent.

Despite the new situations Jubal and Kristen were in, they were still primarily the same characters we know. Dana, Maggie and OA, on the other hand, swung from a shade too much from one side to another. There were a lot of emotional moments, powerful moments, but from characters I barely recognize in this week’s episode.

The episode was an interesting one, if not one of my top favorites. Coming back from winter break, this week’s case felt a bit off like I had to reacquaint myself again with people after not seeing them for so long.

A tad fitting. Unfortunately.

Author: YYB

I watch TV. Then make you read all about it.

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