Taylor and Raydor are reviewing a 9-1-1 recording made the night prior. A man called about his missing daughter.
Flashback to last night: The detectives interview the father and son. He says his daughter was at the mall and called Mom to pick her up, but when she got there, their daughter was nowhere to be found.
Jump with me to read more.
Their daughter, Michelle, was bullied multiple times at the mall by a group of boys. Michelle was born Michael. They took her into the bathroom, pulled down her pants, and took photos. He says that his daughter begged them not to report it.
The father thinks that the bully is responsible for her disappearance. Michelle’s mom arrives home and thinks that calling the police was a mistake. Seriously?
Tao locates Michelle’s laptop and finds that the bully uploaded video of the encounter. While Tao works to track the source, Michelle’s parents argue about what Michelle has done to their lives.
There’s a large park in between the mall and the family’s home. The usually stingy Taylor approves the use of evidence dogs and any other resource to cover the large area.
Tao tracks the source of the video to Lewis Gates, who bolts as soon as he sees the cops at his front door.
Michelle’s purple scrunchie is found in the park.
Gates, now at the station, adamantly denies being at the mall last night, but isn’t remorseful about the video he posted.
Thanks to Tao’s new facial recognition software, Buzz is able to find Lewis on the mall’s security cameras at 7:09 p.m.
The dogs have found something in the park, and it isn’t good news. They find Michelle’s lifeless body in a makeshift grave. The placement of her body troubles Flynn; whoever buried her took great care, leading them to suspect that the murderer may be a family member.
Provenza has Sykes check the house while the family is brought to the station. When there, they each go over the timeline for the night. Dad says he was stuck on the freeway, the brother—Matthew—says he was watching a football game while Mom was cooking dinner.
While they’re talking, Matthew sees Lewis outside of the office and pummels him, accusing him of hurting his sister. (Sanchez waits a few moments to break up the fight.)
Dr. Morales notifies Emma Rios and Sharon of Michelle’s injures. Fortunately, there were no signs of sexual abuse, but her attacker struck her in the head three times with a bat.
Sharon wants to document each family member’s reaction when giving the notification. Once they hear it, the parents start to argue, and Matthew leaves the room.
For some reason, the detectives are convinced that the father is responsible for his daughter’s death. He insists on seeing her body.
Back at the Raydor home, Jack is curious about Rusty’s sexuality, but Sharon wants him to stay out of it.
They’ve got one reason to mistrust Michelle’s father: he lied about his alibi. His boss said that he took the afternoon off, and they find his name on a lease to a new apartment, along with an $80,000 withdrawal from the bank.
In order to get to the bottom of this, Sharon decides to let him see his daughter in the morgue and then ask him about the new apartment.
It works. He didn’t tell his wife about the apartment because he was just trying to establish residency so that Michelle could transfer schools. And the money, that was for hormone replacement therapy for Michelle.
Michelle’s mother thought that she should wait until she turned 21 to make that life-altering decision. While she’s going on and on about what a good mother she is, Provenza shows her the shovel used to bury her daughter. It’s got her fingerprints on it, and the dirt on her shoes matches the dirt from the crime scene. At first, she claims that the shovel is from work and couldn’t have possibly been in the park—only, no one told her where they found Michelle’s body. Mommy Dearest lawyer’s up.
In one of the lighter scenes of the night, Rusty introduces Kris to Creepy Emma. His words, not mine!
Creepy Emma complains that the shovel and shoes aren’t enough to convince a jury that the mother’s guilty. While she and Provenza argue, Sharon is looking over phone statements and notices an anomaly.
She takes these phone records to Matthew and his father. Matthew hasn’t called Michelle in over a month, yet, since yesterday, he’s called her a hundred times. Matt admits to picking Michelle up from the mall. He says she was bragging about the move to the new apartment and the new school, and he was upset about the possibility of his parents divorcing. When Michelle asked to be let out of the car, he chased her with his bat, followed her into the park, and beat her to death. When he got home, he told his mother what happened, and she went out to bury her daughter.
Lewis isn’t home free. He committed sexual battery and will be put away until he’s eighteen.
At the end of the day, Jack convinces Sharon to double date with Rusty and Kris to see Shakespeare in Love.
Different from the recent light-hearted episodes, this heartbreaking episode was well done. Initially, I was so sure I had pegged Mom as the killer, and I was very wrong.
This new side story—Rusty’s reactions to Michelle and her bully, Kris’s persistence that they find some way to date, and Jack’s curiosity—are an interesting development. I too have wondered whether he’s actually attracted to Kris (though, to be quite honest, she’s creepier than Emma). We’ll see how it plays out!