There is trouble in Crane Creek, California and the smell of politics is in the air. Director Bertram wants regular updates from Lisbon on how the case proceeds. We find out that the victim, Amber Sutherland, is a documentary filmmaker who was making a campaign video for Mayor Bagshaw, who is making a run for a seat in the House of Representatives – hence Bertram’s interest in the case’s outcome.
Jane has not made an appearance yet, but that is because he is at the side of the road, pulled over for speeding. He appeals to the cop’s sense of camaraderie, citing, “Would Aquaman give Batman a ticket?” The cop seems attuned to this, as he doesn’t bend and insists Jane get out of the car. He doesn’t, of course, arriving at the crime scene with the cop in hot pursuit.
In the end, Jane is issued a speeding ticket and if he pays it promptly that will be the end of the matter. The entire force of cops cast their suspicions on Ron Crosswhite, a man who was indicted for his wife’s murder two years ago but walked because of a technicality. Specifically, there was some security tape footage that showed him arriving home a whole hour earlier than he said he did which destroyed his alibi and the warrant paperwork was filed late. Interestingly, Amber was not only in town working on the campaign video, but she was also working on a documentary about Ron and his wife’s death.
Lisbon and Jane pay a visit to Crosswhite, but it’s a short lived visit. Jane comments that Crosswhite is the guiltiest person he’s ever seen, living in theatrical squalor and alienating himself from the rest of the community. Crosswhite tosses them out for the insight and they go along on their merry way.
Grace is talking with the mayor’s wife, Mrs. Bagshaw, and it’s all very bland and inoffensive. Don’t know why someone would want to hurt Amber and what no of course her husband wouldn’t be having an affair with the beautiful young dead girl. She had been dating a guy at City Hall, though, named Zach Gladden.
Cho and Rigsby talk to Gladden, who is undoubtedly bummed out about Amber – but he does have some useful information; that Crosswhite had freaked out in his last interview with Amber. They obtain the footage from a friend that she had e-mailed it to, and truly, Crosswhite goes postal when she asks about the discrepancy in the timestamp and when he says he came home and found her dead. With this, they obtain a warrant to search his home and find the expensive video equipment that was missing from Amber’s residence in his garage.
Meanwhile, Jane is at City Hall to pay the speeding ticket when Crosswhite blunders in, firing off shots into the air. Before we know it we have a full blown hostage situation on our hands. Crosswhite is angry, but obviously new to this. He doesn’t shoot anyone, lets Jane answer his phone when Lisbon calls – although admittedly, he does then throw the phone against the wall.
Lisbon meanwhile, is facing resistance outside. Director Bertram has given the Mayor and Crane Creek police authority, since Bagshaw is undoubtedly showing his political muscle. She uses an anonymous statement to the press to reach the director, and in turn pressure him into getting the power back to her.
With words flying around inside City Hall and Feelings getting hurt, Jane uses his Soothing Voice Powers to calm Donna, a paralegal who had been set off into a crying jag, but what he is actually doing is hypnotizing Crosswhite, who is of course listening. Right as Crosswhite is going under, Officer Rowley of the esteemed Crane Creek police force takes a sniper shot at Crosswhite, except he misses and grazes Donna in the shoulder instead. Cho and Rigsby take him down, but the damage has been done.
Crosswhite sends Jane out to speak for him, with the message that if he’s not in contact with the governor and attorney general in an hour he’s going to start shooting hostages. Jane is pretty disdainful towards the cops, going so far as to say he sympathizes with Crosswhite. Still, having won his trust, Jane manages to get what he was guilty about out of him – Crosswhite had lied to his wife about quitting smoking. He would take long drives and smoke to clear his head, and this is where he was when she was killed.
Jane starts making promises: he can get Ginger Crosswhite’s killer arrested for Ron, if he follows his requests. Donna gets to leave to get treated, everyone gets to go to the bathroom, and Jane needs pen and paper. When Donna leaves, Jane sneaks out a note with her saying that he saw something in an envelope on the mayor’s desk which must have been what Amber was looking for.
Then Jane and Crosswhite walk out, and even as Crosswhite is cuffed and being led off, the police chief reports that there wasn’t anything on the desk. But of course there was – because Jane put it there, and it was now in the chief’s vest because he had taken it to protect himself from what he believed to be evidence against him. Lisbon insists he show it, and inside the envelope is a little note: “Arrest me.”
In custody, the chief admits to basically what amounts to “I forced myself on Ginger and she refused me and was going to tell, so I shot her but she did it to herself.”He then hacked into the security footage and changed the timestamp to frame Ron Crosswhite.
While Crosswhite is still going to end up in jail for the hostage SNAFU, he thanks Jane. Lisbon manages to avoid trouble for her stunt with the media, and even Jane is getting his ticket taken care of at the end of the episode.