A forensic pathologist from the Millennium Group and a puzzled detective work with Frank Black in a desperate effort to determine the identity of a kidnapper who abducts teenage boys and makes them pay for the hidden sins of their fathers.
In the gated community of Vista Verde, teenager Josh Comstock is riding his motorcycle, unaware that he is being followed by an unseen man driving a van. He is later stopped by the driver and pacified with a cattle prod. The following morning, Comstock's mother finds a corpse in his bed—but it is not that of her son.
Sheriff Paul Gerlach (Ryan Cutrona) seeks the aid of private investigative firm the Millennium Group, who dispatch offender profiler Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) and pathologist Cheryl Andrews (C. C. H. Pounder) to help the investigation. Gerlach reveals that the dead boy, Kirk Orlando, had gone missing previously, and feels that Comstock's kidnapping is his fault, as he did not alert the wider community about Orlando's disappearance.
Orlando's father comes forward with a piece of evidence—his mailbox had been stuffed with shredded banknotes. That evening, Black and Gerlach visit a town meeting organised by Edward Petey (Josh Clark), where another of the residents, Bob Birckenbuehl (Terry David Mulligan), accuses Gerlach of knowing more than he is letting on. Gerlach tells the assembly that the killer is from the community.
Comstock's parents return home after the meeting to find the number 331 daubed on their son's bed in blood. The father, Tom Comstock (Michael Tomlinson) confides in Black that the number is that of the hotel room he had been using to carry on an extramarital affair, which Black persuades him to come clean about with his wife.
Birckenbuehl's son Charlie is kidnapped from his bedroom, again subdued with a cattle prod. Andrews and Black discover that the boy's goldfish had been poisoned with whiskey, which they believe to be another message like Comstock's number. The town's swimming instructor, Adam Burke (Brian Taylor) is interviewed, as he had contact with both missing boys through his coaching. Black discovers that Burke's son had been killed in a hit-and-run accident; Black also receives post containing a paint swatch with the number 528 on it, but he is unsure of its meaning..
Tom Comstock comes home the next day to find his son returned, alive but shaken. Black deduces that the paint swatch matches paint used on the vehicle that killed Burke's son; he also realizes that the boys are being kidnapped to force their fathers to confess hidden sins—Comstock's son was returned after he revealed his affair, while Orlando's son was killed because he kept a crime, involving money, a secret. From there, Black sees that Charlie's kidnapping means that Birckenbeuhl is the hit-and-run driver.
Black convinces Birckenbeuhl to confess publicly to the hit-and-run, in order to have his son returned. Birckenbeuhl does so, but continues to maintain his innocence in private. Charlie is not returned, however; instead, a cassette is sent to Birckenbuehl by the killer, who explains that since Birckenbeuhl took a life, one must be taken from him in return. Black is able to deduce from the background noise on the tape that Charlie is being held near the local high school's swimming pool. The boy is rescued, and killer—Edward Petey—is found and arrested. However, the elder Birckenbeuhl is found hanged in his bedroom, having committed suicide in his guilt.
Cast and CharactersEdit
- Terry David Mulligan (Bob Birckenbuehl) previously played Mission Controller in The X-Files episode "Space".
- Paul Batten (Priest) previously played Brother Wilson in The X-Files episode "Gender Bender" and Dr. Seizer in "Piper Maru".
- Andrew Johnston (Coroner John Tasini) previously played Lt. Colonel Robert Budahas in The X-Files episode "Deep Throat" and Special Agent Barrett Weiss in "Colony" and "End Game".
- Fred Henderson (Lawyer) previously played Agent Thomas in The X-Files episode "Beyond the Sea" and Special Agent Rich in "Duane Barry".
- Karin Konoval (Woman) previously played Madame Zelma in The X-Files episode "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" and Mrs. Peacock in "Home".
- Ryan Cutrona as Sheriff Paul Gerlach
- Michael Tomlinson as Tom Comstock
- Josh Clark as Edward Petey
- Terry David Mulligan as Bob Birckenbuehl
- Brian Taylor as Coach Adam Burke
- CCH Pounder as Cheryl Andrews
- Don MacKay as Jack Meredith
- Joy Rinaldi as Linda Comstock
- Paul Batten as Priest
- Andrew Johnston as Coroner John Tasini
- Fred Henderson as Lawyer
- Karin Konoval as Woman
SEMICOLON-SEPARATED LIST OF ITEMS/LOCATIONS REFERENCED IN EPISODE (BUT NOT LINKED TO IF ALREADY LINKED IN SUMMARY OR GUEST STARS SECTIONS)
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