In this episode, the team investigates the murder of Archie Bloom, a nineteen year old kid, who was handcuffed to his car and burned alive. At the scene, Jane notices a woman’s heel which leads them fully down the alley to the stage door of a cabaret group, performed by drag queens. The broken heel in question, happens to belong to Glenda Snow, the lead stage act of the cabaret group. Glenda does confirm their presence in the alley, but according to them, it was before the fire took place. They state that they witnessed a man inside the car, while they were in the alley, but felt uncomfortable like they were being stared at so they left. Lisbon is able to confirm that the incident took place fifteen to twenty minutes later, so this confirms the theory that murder had taken the time to wait after Glenda to leave to set the car aflame.
Van Pelt and Jane talk to Archie Sr. and for a man who just recently lost his son he does not seem that upset. According to Archie Sr. he says that his son was always “soft” that made him a target for others to pick on, so he something like this could happen. The father also confirms that he and his son did not get along very well and basically he paid for his son’s education so that Archie could leave the house. After speaking to the father, Van Pelt and Jane visit the son’s room, which seems very minimalistic and void of all fun due to the room being decorated by his father. Jane believes Archie was gay and probably was being pressured by his father to “butch up,” but when the father’s methods seemed not to work he decided to have his son leave the house all together. Van Pelt tries to search the computer but with the hard drive password protected she need to bring it back to the CBI .
Meanwhile, Rigsby and Cho investigate the store in which the gasoline tanks were purchased. There they find out that Archie was an employee at the store and was being harassed by another employee, Rick Hughes, a typical homophobe who liked to harass and bully Archie. While Cho talks to Rick, Rigsby searches through Archie’s locker and finds a camera with a roll of undeveloped film. Cho on the other hand is taking none of Rick’s crap of him trying to downplay the taunts and the supposed bruises he was accused of giving Archie. Ultimately, he claims he had no involvement with Archie’s death, but with Rigsby he acts differently.
Back at the offices, Van Pelt is able to hack through Archie’s hard drive and finds some disturbing videos of Archie’s father handcuffing him to the chair in his bedroom and ordering him to do his homework and “toughen up.” At the end of the video, Archie is pleading for help which only leaves the team wondering how a father can act this way to their own child. As the team inspect the video further, they notice handcuffs in the video seem to be the exact match as the one used to cuff Archie to the car. Finding this new piece of evidence, Archie Sr. is brought into questioning and he agrees that his method does seem a bit harsh to an outsider, but it was only to help “improve” his son, but he denies having any involvement in the killing.
Cho on the other hand decides to investigate where Archie was staying during the period he was living away from home. Thus, Cho comes across a man named Gabriel. He happens to be the man who rented out a room to Archie. Gabriel claims he took the boy out of pity after hearing the way the boy’s story. He does explain that Archie up and left one day without any word, but to say if anyone was to get Archie, he has no idea.
Meanwhile, Rigsby comes across some new information thanks in part to the camera that was found in Archie’s locker. The pictures taken by the camera depict Archie’s coworker Rick stealing baby formula so that he could sell it on the black market. Rigsby decide to bring in Rick for questioning. Once at the station, Rick confirms that Archie did catch him stealing items from the store while Archie was looking for items for his new place, but he says that he never did anything to Archie besides locking him inside a dumpster. Rick then decides to make light of his actions which pisses off Rigsby no less and causes him to get into a tiff with Rick. This whole scene is caught by Lisbon and Jane who are watching behind the two-way glass. Even with Rick’s carefree attitude of his actions toward Archie, Jane still cannot confirm or deny that Rick is their murder leaving their suspect pool still at two people with no hopes of narrowing it down.
Jane has another idea and decides to visit Glenda or as they are known at theur day job Glenn to discuss what really happened that night. Jane knows that Glenn saw more than they did and Glenn confirms his suspicions saying that they did see someone pour the lighter fluid on the car, but they are too scared to come forward. Jane tries to push Glenn a little further to come clean, but Glenn explains that they‘re staying out the matter to protect themselves.
Cho still trying to find out where Archie's new place of residency was as mentioned by Rick, he decides to search local halfway houses and hits the jackpot when he comes to the North Valley Halfway house. The local counselor informs Cho that Archie moved in quite recently after leaving an abusive relationship with a man named Gabriel who was a meth addict and drug dealer. Cho while searching Achie’s room for any clues, finds a notebook detailing the abuse he dealt with while staying with Gabriel. After informing his team about this new piece of evidence, Cho arrests Gabriel on suspicion of murder and possession of meth-amphetamines. This new arrest doesn’t clear the other suspects of the murder, but it does help the team understand the possible motives for the murder.
Finally in the end, Jane with the help of the other cabaret group members are able to convince Glenda to come forward and identify the murder, but when the time comes none of their suspects are a match to the figure that Glenda saw. This only confirms Jane suspicions as it was Archie who doused his own car in lighter fluid and set his car a blaze and when Jane shows Glenda the photo Archie, his unfortunate suspicions are deemed correct. Archie killed himself after being abused and bullied for most of his life by the three suspects the CBI came across, but before he took his own life he left clues for the police to point out his abusers and the heinous crimes he witnessed and endured while alive.
After all the suspects are booked on crimes Archie lead them to, Lisbon talks to Jane about the case. She feels like nothing was really resolved because even though all the suspects were arrested for crimes they had committed, none were charged for Archie’s murder since it was Archie who took his own life. Jane decides to take Lisbon back to the cabaret club where he introduces Lisbon to the newest member of the group Fifi Nix or the boy formerly known as Archie Bloom.
Lisbon is shocked as is Fifi aka Archie who is surprised their identity was found out. Lisbon then comes to understand the whole “murder” was a ruse. She wonders how they were able to get away with it since dental records confirm it was Archie and that is when the other members of the cabaret come forward. Glenda says the whole group witnessed what Archie was about to do and talked them out of it. Glenda who works for a funeral home stole a body and with the help of the girls they made it look like it was Archie who was in the car. Plus with one of the members of the group being Archie’s dentist it was easy to falsify dental records. The group just wanted to help Archie and give them a new life, free of the abuse they were dealing with on a daily basis. Lisbon agrees to keep mum on the information of Archie’s non-untimely death to protect Archie from htheir previous tormentors, but also more importantly to give Archie the opportunity to have a second chance at life to be who he is.
- Simon Baker as Patrick Jane
- Robin Tunney as Teresa Lisbon
- Tim Kang as Kimball Cho
- Owain Yeoman as Wayne Rigsby
- Amanda Righetti as Grace Van Pelt
- Nicholas Grava as Archie Bloom Jr.
- William R. Moses as Archie Bloom Sr.
- Wilke Itzin as Rick Hughes
- Hillary Tuck as Kelly
- Carlton Wilborn as Glennda Snow
- Don McManus as Gabriel Lamb
- Candice Afia as Katie (Ruby Slippers)
- D.J. Pierce as Shangela
- Shawn Ryan as Miss Labelled
- Jeremy Guskin as Pizza Delivery Man
- Damien Leake as High Powered Attorney
- David Aranovich as Low Powered Attorney
- Steve Humphreys as Stage Manager
- Brian Treitler as Fritta People
- Adam Christy as Brave Student