A very well-done episode dealing with several sensitive issues (including some backstory on Diane Farr's character Megan Reeves) as well as balancing the criminal investigation and the personal drama (and the math, and this time a bit of physics) better than perhaps any other episode this season. And it just might be the last episode of the season...it seems to be the last completed episode. Co-executive producer Julie Hébert gets lots of points for writing and directing this one so well.
A woman (Andrea Anders, in a fine performance), somewhat inebriated, is pulled over just after she leaves a nightclub parking lot, by an unmarked car with a portable blue dashboard beacon, oddly enough coming from the same lot. The policeman orders her out of the car; we cut away at this point to Charlie and Amita discussing the possibility of teaching a class together, and Amita's tentative request that she might crash at Charlie's house while her apartment house is being tented for termites.
Megan presents Don and Colby with printouts of a complaint that a woman was raped by an LAPD police officer; however, even though the complaint was posted to a address set up by the FBI for anonymous communication, the complainant sent the email from a copy shop computer, where the staff took down her ID information. Don dispatches Megan to speak with the complainant, and for Colby, as liaison with the LAPD, to contact them (an oblique reference to the corruption scandals of the LAPD in the 1990s is made here: the consent decree that gives the FBI jurisdiction in this sort of case).
Megan finds Rena Vining, the woman from the opening sequence, relatively uncooperative; Vining, for her part, takes offense at what she sees as excessive skepticism on Megan's part. Vining has showered and scrubbed away nearly all the evidence of her rape that she hasn't partially burnt in her fireplace, and she refuses to testify...she lodged her complaint, she notes, so that the FBI could catch this cop before he rapes yet again. Vining is certain that the rapist has done this before, and the description of the event in persuasive to Megan.
There have been hints before in the series of a troubled past for Megan, who begins to confide in Larry how much she hates rape cases, in part because, she says perhaps not completely truthfully, that not she but her college roommate was raped, and she, Megan, had not coped well with the aftermath, and her roommate had dealt with it even worse. Meanwhile, LAPD Internal Affairs Detective Ivy Kirk (Aunjanue Ellis) is sent to work with the FBI unit on the case; she knows both her department, we're told, and has years of experience in the LAPD sex crimes division before joining IA. However, her briskness, particularly in dealing with the witnesses, annoys Megan.
Charlie's house has already become a bit crowded, with Amita's presence augmented by Larry's, who's letting someone else take his room at the monastery. Alan Eppes welcomes everyone at first, until the three academics set up their informal office in the living room. During a quiet moment, Larry, who's getting serious about his academic work again, makes a very serious offer to Amita: Larry needs a partner conversant in particle physics, computer science, and higher applied mathematics to help him with a project to find the Higgs boson (or bosons), one of the Holy Grails of modern physics, and he can think of no one better than Amita. Amita hesitates only on the count that she needs to talk to Charlie first, both because she'd need to withdraw from teaching the joint class with him, and to feel him out on, in a sense, replacing Charlie as Larry's primary go-to person for mathematical help.
Meanwhile, Charlie sets up a few regression analysis and similar algorithms to help narrow down the potential suspects; one of the most important bits of data is provided by Kirk, who notes that rapists (or "rapos") are consistent failures in life. After Vining makes a rather tentative identification of her rapist (she was both drunk and dosed with "date rape" drug rohypnol during the attack; the cop offered his victim a doped bottle of water before driving her home), another rape with the same M.O. occurs. This victim, younger and less aggressive than Vining, soon is taken away by her protective parents, but not before she gives a telling clue--the rapist's uniform had a bell-shaped patch on it. A nearby small suburban police force wears that sort of uniform, and the focus of hte investigation shifts there.
Meanwhile, Megan finds that the case is gettting ever more under her skin; she calls Larry over to her apartment, and warns him that she keeps running through scenarios in her mind wherein she kills the rapist; Larry, gently supportive, tells her that this is actually healthier than she thinks, an outlet for her anger that she doesn't need to act upon. Throughout the episode, the various rape survivors have almost subliminal memory flashes of their ordeal; Megan, too, has such flashes, which seem to feature a possibly younger Megan, or her college roommate, as the victim or as the murderer of the rapist, or both.
Despite at best grudging assistance from the suburban PD, the FBI agents and Kirk find their suspect, after rigorously interrogating his initially smug ex-partner; both these cops are misogynists of the worst sort, though the initially smug policeman differentiates himself from the rapist by the latter's attacking "regular" women, as opposed to simply "trading" favors with prostitutes. When captured, by Megan who is clearly trying to resist taking the rapist up on his challenge to kill him, the thug dismisses his multiple crimes, in his hometown as well as in LA, as "just sex."
Megan, visiting Vining to report the arrest, strongly encourages the survivor to seek counseling, citing her own experience and that of her old room-mate, who reportedly refused any professional help and self-medicated with drugs for years afterward.
Meanwhile, the Eppes household in the morning is a site of gentle teasing, as Amita and Charlie consider their romantic future, and Larry also feels Charlie out about his working with Amita instead of Charlie on the major project; Charlie is enthusiastic, if slightly bemused, by all the developments. Alan, meanwhile, has felt so crowded in the house that he has gone over in the night to stay at Don's apartment, to Don's mild dismay.
Diane Farr and Peter MacNicol often give the subtlest performances in any given episode, among the regular cast, and the interplay between them in this episode, particularly the things they don't have to say to each other in conversation, is particularly strong here; likewise, Megan's use of what increasingly seems like a psychologically convenient fiction about her past is very deftly handled by Farr, all reasonably-controlled ticks and twitches visible even in her professional and supportive (with the victims) or no-nonsense (with the suspects) demeanor when around everyone but Larry, with whom she lets her guard down.
Alimi Ballard got to sit this one out; no Sinclair...but there was a reference, at least, to Milly, Kathy Nijimy fans, so she might well come back sometime in the future. When
Numb3rs itself does...
In any case, an excellent episode to end the short season with, if the season is ended.
A very well-done episode dealing with several sensitive issues including some backstory on Diane Farrs character Megan Reeves as well as balancing the criminal investigation and the personal drama and the math and this time a bit of physics better than perhaps any other episode this season And it just might be the last episode of the seasonit seems to be the last completed episode Co-executive producer Julie Hbert gets lots of points for writing and directing this one so wellA woman Andrea Anders in a fine performance somewhat inebriated is pulled over just after she leaves a nightclub parking lot by an unmarked car with a portable blue dashboard beacon oddly enough coming from the same lot The policeman orders her out of the car we cut away at this point to Charlie and Amita discussing the possibility of teaching a class together and Amitas tentative request that she might crash at Charlies house while her apartment house is being tented for termites