The team reopens the case of Matthew Adams, a 20-year-old cult member who apparently committed suicide back in 1978 when his sister comes forth with new evidence about the deprogrammer her family hired to rescue her brother. Meanwhile, Scotty learns his girlfriend Elisa has died in an apparent suicide.
Dec. 11, 1978. While it is snowing on the streets outside, inside a glamorous looking house, a young couple are getting pretty close to each other. The girl tells the guy that there’s no one but them, no yesterday. The guy then say promise? Just then a voice outside the house starts yelling for the young man, Matthew Adams. It's is father, Stewart Adams. A smug looking guy by the name of Maurice tells Dr. Adams that Matthew doesn’t know him. But Dr. Adams wants to see his son, and he knows that Maurice is a manipulating type of person that screwed him up. Maurice is quick to question just who screwed up Matthew. Dr. Adams tries to get into the house, but Maurice blocks his way. Call to him, Matthew has free will. A few more shouts, and Dr. Adams admits that he and Beth wants Matthew to come home. Finally, Matthew appears at the window, eyes full of sadness. A split second later he closes the curtain. Maurice tells him that Matthew has a new father now. Dr. Adams has no choice but to leave. The snow has fallen, blanketing the ground in a beautiful layer of white. On the front porch of the Adams’ residence, lies Matthew. In his hand, he clutches a piece of paper. ”Father. I’m free. Goodbye.” A detective types up the cause of Matthew’s death. Suicide.
Present day. Beth, Matthew’s sister is now talking to Lilly and Scotty, saying that since she and Matthew were only a year apart, people used to think they were twins. After Matthew’s first year of college, their mother had committed suicide, Matthew ended up drifting for awhile before finally joining this ”cult”. First Generation, cut off all ties sort of thing. Well, she and her father were scared, since this was 1978 and the Jonestown massacre had just occurred, so they hired a deprogrammer. Bill Crawford. Bill took Matthew to a hotel room, but two days later he escaped. Beth and her father had left Bill alone with Matthew. The next morning Matthew was dead on their porch from cyanide. Suicide? Well, that’s what they had thought, there was even a note, but then Beth pulls out a newspaper clipping and hands it to Scotty. So Crawford is still in business huh? Beth explains that last week, Crawford was working with a girl that died from an asthma attack. He had tried to cover it up and make it look like a suicide. Crawford had dosed her with poison, then forged a note. Also said the girl had escaped from him, just like Matthew had supposedly done.
A detective by the name of Anna Mayes enters Stillman’s office; she used to work with Scotty at his old precinct. That morning they found a body in the river and it's somebody they know: Scotty’s troubled girlfriend, Elisa. Stillman looks outside, to where Scotty is still questioning Beth.
Lilly and Jeffries read over Matthew’s supposed suicide note. Could be your standard suicide note. Or not, since Lilly has just heard of Beth’s suspicions that perhaps Crawford wrote that note after Matthew died. Vera approaches the two and asks what Stillman wanted with Scotty. Dunno. But have you got anything on Matthew? 20 years old, mainline kid, was pre-med for a year, then dropped out. His father was a surgeon...he couldn’t have liked that. Especially not after Matthew died his hair black, started hanging out at the Arsenal, aka a punk spot. Matthew joined the cult in June of 1978. After he died, the place was stormed, and a vile of cyanide was found for every member. So they were going to pull their own Jonestown. Jeffries remembers those first generation nuts. Leader was named Warfield; preaching stuff like erase the past, come start a new generation with him as their father. Warfield is in prison now.
Stillman and Scotty are walking along the water. Scotty jokes that Stillman is here to break the news to him that Anna has taken over his job. Stillman tells him they found Elisa's body in the river, an apparent suicide.Scotty is in denial, and shock and says it's impossible: she's afraid heights, and was getting better. The only thing Scotty can think of to do, is walk, leaving Stillman alone.
Lilly and Jeffries visit Bill Crawford, who claims that it was all an accident. "So, do you remember Matthew Adams? Was that an accident too, using cyanide to cover your tracks?" Crawford tells Lilly that she’s off by a mile. He was one of the good guys.
Flashback: The door of the house is busted open and a rough looking Bill Crawford comes in wielding a shotgun, calming asking for Matthew Adams. He goes into the living room, asking for Matthew. Maurice stands confident, telling Bill that there is no Matthew Adams here. But Bill knows better. He cocks the gun and points it straight at Maurice, demanding to see Matthew. In the next instant, Bill drags out Matthew and hurls him into the waiting van, into the arms of Beth and her father. As the van spins away, Matthew demands to know what is going on. Beth is nearly in tears as she tries to get through to Matthew. "Don’t you remember who you are? You’re Matthew Adams. You love the Sixers, but you cheer for the Nixs just to piss off dad." For a split second Matthew seems to understand, until his father yells at Matthew to look at his sister. His expression changes and he calmly states that it will be ”three days till zero hour. No more.” Then motions for them to be silent.
Flashback to Present: Jeffries asks just what was zero hour. The cult’s plan for mass suicide. That doesn’t make sense to Lilly. Then why did Matthew kill himself two days later, which would have been a day early? Bill doesn’t know. Maybe so that they wouldn’t be able to stop him. Bill also points out that he has a 90 percent success rate, and that Warfield character really messed up Matthew’s head. Lilly and Jeffries pay a jail visit to Maurice Warfield. He jokes about how ”the faces of the law” are so serious, trying so hard to hide that they’re still the same scared children they always were. Maurice remembered Matthew Adams. According to him, Matthew was an artist; his father tried to fill his head with science. Maurice only suggested to Matthew that he had a choice; there’s no crime in that. All Maurice ever preached about was that you could erase your past, choose your family; he loved children. So how did you find Matthew? Like how you found any lost soul in ’78; in a lost place.
Flashback: Inside the Arsenal, Maurice and his henchmen are standing close to the bar, enjoying the music and carefully eyeing the crowd. Maurice eyes Matthew bouncing up and down with the rest of the crowd, his hair spiked, piercings, chain necklaces and a leather jacket. Suddenly Matthew pushes another guy out of the way only to have the guy push him back to the bar counter. Maurice comes over and intervenes before the fight starts to really get out of hand. Fear creeps into the guy’s eyes and he backs away. Maurice gives Matthew a look before walking over and slinging his arm around Alison. Curiosity gets the better of Matthew and he approaches Maurice. Do I know you? No, but I know you. Rebel boy, ”combat boots and Gucci socks. Poor little rich kid.” Matthew retorts that Maurice doesn’t know anything about him. Maurice knows that Matthew is bitter because he stole his thunder, that Matthew did want to get his ass kicked. World’s full of pain, and Maurice knows Matthew wanted to control how he gets hurt, but he can’t. Matthew tells Maurice to get lost, and Maurice complies, stepping aside to let Alison work her magic. The two exchange a smile before Alison tells Mathew that Maurice sees things in people. Like what?
Flashback to Present: Maurice tells the two detectives that Matthew needed a place to crash, so he came home with them. He doesn’t know how Matthew ended up dead and suggests that Lilly and Jeffries ask the commando who held a gun to his head. Bill took Matthew away; Maurice never saw him again. But you heard he died from cyanide right? Which you just happened to have stashed at your cult for your mass suicide? Maurice tells Lilly and Jeffries that those were just ghost stories; there was no mass suicide plan. Heck, there wasn’t even a cult; just an ideal. And now, it is a thing of the past. Vera tells Lilly that an autopsy done on Matthew showed that he had abrasions on his back; he was probably dragged. So that means the case has just gone from a suicide to a homicide. The programmer? Nope, Crawford has records that prove he got on a plane to Miami that night. Just then, Stillman and Jeffries approach the desk. Well, Crawford’s in the clear. Then Jeffries tells them the news about Scotty’s girlfriend. Lilly wants to go visit Scotty at home, but Jeffries tells her that he needs time alone; that’s what he wants.
Late that night, Lilly returns to her apartment. As she picks up the phone, she notices that her kitchen window has been broken, and the words ”Obey the First Generation” have been handwritten on her wall. The cops have come onto the scene, along with Jeffries, Stillman and Vera. We see Lilly's cats, one is missing an eye, the other missing a leg. So much for First Generation being a thing of the past. Warfield must still be running his cult from prison. Jeffries assures Lilly that they’ll check the visitor logs tomorrow, and see who went and paid Warfield a visit. Jeffries returns and tells Lilly that she has nice neighbors, but they didn’t see anything. Jeffries points out that Warfield told them about two other characters: Nick and Alison. Vera pipes up and asks Lilly what is wrong with her cats, to which she replies ”nothing.” Stillman asks her if she’s okay, but Lilly is still worried about Scotty.
Next day Scotty goes to see Anna to pick up Elisa's things, only to receive sympathy looks from everyone that knows. He also wants to see the scene photos when they come out. Oh yes, there was also a note that was addressed to Scotty. They’re supposed to hang onto the note, but Anna got him a copy. Where was it? On her bed. Anna wants to help Scotty, but he keeps on insisting that he’s good.
Down at a local church, Jeffries and Lilly see Nick who has now become a minister. We heard you were Maurice’s muscle, back in the day. But Nick tells them that he washed Maurice out of his system 25 years ago. He’s baptized himself in the name of the Lord. So did anyone have a motive to hurt Matthew? No one except Warfield himself because Matthew crossed him after his three days. That was his initiation: Matthew had to spend three days in total darkness, and he came out knowing exactly what he wanted.
Flashback: As Nick watches, Maurice goes over and unlocks a door. Matthew stumbles out, blinded by the light. Maurice tells Matthew that he doesn’t have to be alone anymore; he can let it all go, his past, his memories, his pain. Maurice leads Matthew into the living room where all the other members have gathered. Maurice tells Matthew that everybody wants him to stay, only if he wants to. Matthew is beside himself with joy, and accepts Maurice’s offer to show him what a family is, what love is. So Maurice tells Matthew to choose someone, anyone. Finally, Matthew chooses Alison. For a split second, Maurice doesn’t look too happy, but tells Alison to come on up. Is it ok Maurice? Well, Matthew’s chosen you. He gives Alison’s hand to Matthew and tells Matthew that they’ll be together for one month, no more.
Flashback to Present: Nick tells the two detectives that Alison was Warfield’s squeeze, and Matthew wanted that. The two also went past their one month rule; they fell in love. All Nick is trying to say is that Matthew went and defied Maurice, and Maurice did not like to be defied. Stillman and Lilly visit a tattoo shop that Alison now owns. She proudly tells the two that all of the designs are hers. Lilly asks Alison if she ever thinks about Matthew. The love of your life gets snatched at gunpoint and you never see him again, what does Lilly think? Well, we heard that you were Maurice’s girl. Well, Maurice had a lot of girls. Alison knows that she was not special because it was more important for Maurice to be a father figure than anything else. He said that she and Matthew could stay together, when his month was up. Any idea who could be running the cult for Maurice now? No...the guy had a lot of sway over a lot of people; he could make you follow him into a burning house. Alison admits that Maurice got her because she had been at the end of a bad marriage, and he had made her feel special. She got out when Matthew died; it was the biggest loss of her life. Lilly asks Alison if she believes that Matthew killed himself. She honestly doesn’t know; they were all pretty messed up. Alison asks the two detectives if they’ve looked at Matthew’s dad.
Flashback: Alison and Matthew sneak into Dr. Adam’s lab. Matthew unlocks a cabinet full of chemicals. After some time, he finds what he’s looking for. Cyanide. He takes the bottle and hides it and closes the cabinet. A second later Dr. Adams wanders into his lab and sees the two kids. He was hoping that Matthew had come to talk, but Matthew insists the two of them ran out of things to talk about a long time ago. Then what are you doing here? Matthew gives him a sarcastic smile. Dr. Adams suggests maybe they’re looking for narcotics. Why? Because he thinks Matthew is a dope fiend? Alison suggests that they leave, but Dr. Adams asks if Alison is one of them. Dr. Adams tells Matthew that those people are controlling his mind. No father, that is YOUR specialty. Dr. Adams replies that Matthew is just like his mother, a total head case. Matthew doesn’t want to talk about her, but Dr. Adams is persistent. You take after her in all the worst ways. Matthew tells his father that he will never forget the secret, before he grabs Alison’s hand and the two walk out of the lab.
Flashback to Present: Alison never found out what that secret was, but Matthew hated his dad for that. She also tells Stillman that Maurice had a plan, Zero Hour. But Zero Hour wasn’t going to be a suicide. The plan was going to be the ultimate loyalty to Maurice; they were all going to kill their fathers. Back at the station, Jeffries is informed of Zero Hour being a mass patricide. Thirty vials of cyanide, for 30 dads. Perhaps Dr. Adams knew what Matthew was going to do, and killed Matthew instead. Jeffries got back a long list of all the people that are allowed to see Maurice; supposedly he fathered a lot of kids back in the day. Stillman tells Jeffries to go and talk to Dr. Adams, perhaps he knew in advance about Zero Hour. Beth shows up and Lilly informs her of Zero Hour. Lilly also asks if Beth knew anything about the secret that Matthew was hiding. Finally, Beth breaks down. Turns out Dr. Adams wanted his children to follow in his footsteps. When Matthew was in pre-med, everything was good. When Matthew dropped out, Dr. Adams blamed his wife and they fought. The secret was about her.
Flashback: At the family dinner, Dr. Adams tells Matthew that he’s going to be working at the lab this summer, so all that ”garbage” has to come off. Well, maybe I’m not working at the lab this summer. Mrs. Adams happily replies that her friend needs an apprentice to stretch the canvas and mix paint, but Dr. Adams shoots her down. Med school’s not really impressed with mixing paint all summer. Finally Matthew breaks the news that he’s dropped out of med school and is applying for art school instead. After a moment’s silence, Dr. Adams asks his wife if she knew about this, is this what she wanted? All she wants is for Matthew to be happy. Beth speaks up and defends her brother, saying that he is a great artist. Matthew soon breaks down and says he’ll go back to med school. Dr. Adams has a ”I told you so” look on his face. But Mrs. Adams has had enough. If she is supposedly so awful, why don’t she just go and kill herself? But Dr. Adams sees it as all talk. If she is really talking the truth, then she’d better go and kill herself already. Mrs. Adams throws her napkin down onto the table and storms out of the dining room, followed soon after by Dr. Adams. Alone at the table, Beth tells Matthew to forget their parents and go to art school. But Matthew has another idea. He wants to find a quiet place in the middle of nowhere. Beth asks her brother if she can come. A gunshot is heard, and the two siblings give each other worried looks.
Flashback to Present: Beth tells Lilly that when the police came, Dr. Adams made Beth and Matthew say that they all saw it. That’s why Matthew hated his father so much. But Beth, she was the ”good girl”, went to medical school, tried to forget. But she doesn’t think her father killed her mother, then finally breaks down and says she doesn’t know. Jeffries pays a visit to Dr. Adams, who said that he didn’t want his family to be exposed. Or...maybe he didn’t want the police checking the prints on the gun. Dr. Adams sarcastically notes that he’s a lucky man, having two of his three family members checking out on him. But his expression turns to shock as Jeffries tells him that Matthew was planning to kill him. A little suspicious to Jeffrey...Matthew dying saved Dr. Adams’ life. Well, Dr. Adams tells Jeffries that watching his wife shoot herself in the face almost killed him. He also asks Jeffries if he’s every looked into the eyes of someone he’s loved, and realized that they were gone. Jeffries finally admits that he has.
Flashback: In the motel room, Matthew sits still in a chair while Beth begs with him. I know you can hear me Matty, I know you’re there. Bill tells Dr. Adams that they’ve been at this for 48 hours; maybe he should take over. Matthew insists that his ”father” will rescue him. Beth points out that his ”father” is just like their real one; both want to control him, tell you how to live. Beth reminds Matthew about the quiet place in the middle of nowhere. She is certain that Matthew remembers, but lets her father lead her out of the motel room. Once outside, she quickly walks away. Dr. Adams takes out a cigarette before Matthew tries to walk past him. Where do you think you’re going? Home. Matthew wants to know why he was never good enough, why his father hated him, just because he was like mom. No. You killed her. Dr. Adams asks Matthew what he wants. Matthew just wants to forget his father, he doesn’t want to feel bad anymore. Finally, Dr. Adams backs down. Fine, it’s you’re life, you win. He tells Matthew to get into the car; he’ll take him wherever he wants to go.
Flashback to Present: Dr. Adams points out to Jeffries that he’s a surgeon; he knows when he’s lost a patient. He drove Matthew back to that place, he got out of the car and never looked back. For certain, he saw Matthew go back to the house and get welcomed back by Warfield. He never told Beth because he knew his daughter would hate him as well, and he couldn’t afford to lose anyone else. Back at the station, Lilly finally runs into Scotty. He got her message, couldn’t get back, sorry. What can Lilly do to help? Well, tell me where we are on this job. Lilly suggests that maybe Scotty shouldn’t be here right now, but Scotty tells Lilly to tell him where he should be. Down at the prison, Lilly is interrogating Maurice. They know Maurice is still running the cult on the outside, and they also know about the mass patricide, and the fact that Matthew did make it back to the house. Says who? His dad. That doesn’t mean I killed him. Well, Scotty points out that Nick seems to think that Maurice did. Finally, Maurice understands what Nick is trying to do. He tells Lilly that Nick is the keeper of his congregation. Maurice put Nick in charge until he is supposed to get out, but Maurice speculates that Nick is trying to keep him locked up forever. He tells the two that when Matthew came back, everybody was thrilled, except for Nick. Because with Matthew gone, Nick could try and get his wife back. Wife? Alison. And Nick did not like sharing her. Maurice knows that the police said Matthew’s death was suicide, but no, he believes that suicide is for cowards. Matthew was brave.
Suddenly, Scotty is intrigued. Talk more about suicide. Well, according to Maurice, suicide is a ”screw you” to the world, and an ”I never really loved any of you.” Lilly suggests that the two of them go, but Scotty makes her sit back down and tells Maurice to continue. Maurice believes suicide also proves that the individual has defective thinking, narcissism, and also that your so called loved ones have failed. Scotty snaps and grabs Maurice’s head and slams it into the table a few times before he is restrained by the guard. Back at the station, Jeffries finds a list of Nick’s congregation. It is the exact same list as the ”family members” allowed to visit Maurice. Lilly goes to talk to Alison, and Jeffries and Vera go and visit Nick.
There is a knock at the door of Scotty’s apartment; it is Stillman. Scotty knows that he snapped, and he’s sorry. Stillman comments that most people wouldn’t be back to work two days after something like that has happened. Well, Scotty insists that he’s not most people and it won’t happen again, but Stillman still needs his gun, but Scotty can keep his badge.
Though Stillman tells Scotty that Elisa was in a lot of pain, Scotty insists that it was not suicide. Wasn’t there a note? But Scotty says it wasn’t like that. If Elisa had truly jumped, the note would be more apologizing that she couldn’t make it. But Elisa’s note was about the good stuff, from when they were kids. Elisa wrote about a birthday party where a friend was turning 14. Scotty and Elisa were both there, sneaking looks and Elisa was waiting for the lights to fade so that Scotty could hold her hand and nobody would be able to see. Scotty's voice cracks and he starts to cry. He refuses to believe that the note is the end: it’s the beginning.
Down at the church, Jeffries and Vera tell Nick that they know about him watching over Maurice’s flock and also about Alison being his wife. Maurice let them stay together. Sure, it made Nick angry when Matthew came back two days later, but he didn’t kill him. Then who did? A real psychopath.
Flashback: The door of the house opens and Maurice and Nick step out. From the car, Matthew gives his father a final look before getting out. Maurice asks Matthew who is the man in the car, but Matthew replies that it’s no one. Welcome home son. Alison appears at the front door and gives Matthew a big hug. But Nick is practical. They took Matthew away to be brainwashed, so we have to make sure if they got to him. But he came back, he’s pure isn’t he? Matthew insists that he is ready for tomorrow, and for Zero Hour. Maurice tells Matthew to go upstairs and wait for Alison there. As soon as Matthew leaves, Maurice tells Alison that Nick is right. If Matthew is tainted, then he could ruin the plan. Alison replies that since she’s in charge of Zero Hour, she should be the one to decide if he’s okay. And if he’s not? Alison takes out a vial of cyanide. It will be the biggest loss of her life. Maurice agrees and sends Alison back into the house.
Flashback to Present: As it turns out, Alison was in charge of Zero Hour; Maurice gives her all of the important assignments. Gives...present tense? Yes. She’s diehard, just like him. Down at the tattoo shop, Alison is fixing Lilly something to drink. She got married when she was 18; smart, right? That marriage lasted less than a year; she was all too glad to forget her past when she met Maurice. Was Nick the jealous type? Because it takes a lot of rage, to dump a kid’s body on his father’s doorstep. Lilly tells Alison that Nick made it back to the cult that night. She can’t believe it; she would have seen him. His father drove him there. Lilly goes to take a drink, but stops short as she notices the handwriting on Alison’s designs. It is a perfect match with the writing found on her wall. She lowers her drink. Is it too hot? No, but Lilly could use some honey. As Alison goes to get the honey, Lilly draws her gun. Hands behind your head. Alison complies and slowly turns around, telling Lilly that it is a mistake. On your knees. All the designs are yours, right? Just then Vera and Jeffries appear on the scene. Lilly tells them that it was Alison who broke into her apartment. Vera adds that Alison also killed Matthew. She had the cyanide, and had promised to kill Matthew if they got inside of his head. Alison replied that it was his sister that ruined him. Lilly realizes that Beth had gotten through. Alison had no choice.
Flashback: Upstairs, a kettle of water is boiling as Alison grabs Matthew’s hands. Matthew swears she’ll never lose him again. Ready for Zero Hour? That’s why Matthew came back; he and Alison have to get out of here. What Maurice wants them to do, Matthew now realizes it’s crazy. Alison realizes that they got to Matthew. Maurice wants us to kill people, but Alison points out that they’re wiping out the past. As Alison goes to fix a cup of tea, Matthew tells her that he has plans. They can move on, to that quiet place in the middle of nowhere, just him, her, and Beth. They’ll go to the police, tell them about Zero Hour. Then, they’ll be free. He doesn’t notice when Alison slips the cyanide into the tea. Does your family know about this? Matthew admits that his father drove him back, but they didn’t say a word the whole drive. Alison agrees to go with Matthew, but they have to leave Maurice a note. Matthew drinks the cup of tea as he writes the words down onto a piece of paper. Matthew replies that he doesn’t need a father anymore: only her. Alison asks if he feels it yet. Matthew’s world becomes fuzzy and she tells him that it’ll just be a minute now. Now in pain, Matthew realizes what Alison has done. She assures Matthew that she’ll leave him on his father’s doorstep. With his last breath, Matthew tells Alison that he came back to save her. She replies that now, she is saving him.
Flashback to Present: Lilly lowers her gun as Vera puts handcuffs on Alison and the three escort her out of the shop. Lilly gives one last glance at the drink before leaving. Two guards escort Maurice Warfield back to his jail cell. At the hospital, Dr. Adams comes out of the operating room and shares a hug with Beth. Lilly files away the closed case file. She looks around the corner and ”sees” Matthew smiling back at her. In his office, Stillman puts Scotty’s gun in his drawer. Scotty is packing away all of Elisa’s clothing in a box. He comes across a red dress and chooses to hang it in his closet instead.
- Kathryn Morris as Lilly Rush
- Danny Pino as Scotty Valens
- John Finn as John Stillman
- Jeremy Ratchford as Nick Vera
- Thom Barry as Will Jeffries
- Johnny Whitworth as Maurice Warfield (1978)
- Polly Cusumano as Alison Ray (1978)
- Paul Gleason as Stewart Adams (2005)
- Bug Hall as Matthew Adams
- Madison Mason as Maurice Warfield (2005)
- Kate McNeil as Beth Adams (2005)
- Franc Ross as Bill Crawford (2005)
- Jason Matthew Smith as Bill Crawford (1978)
- Katie Walder as Beth Adams (1978)
- Bruce Wright as Stewart Adams (1978)
- Robin Weigert as Anna Mayes
- At the beginning of the episode, Beth mentioned Jonestown and that her family was trying to get Matthew out of the cult he was in, fearing that the same will happen. The Jonestown suicide happened on November 18, 1978, which would happen a little less than a month before Matthew's death (who was murdered on December 11, 1978).
- Cheap Trick "Surrender"
- The Ramones "I Wanna Be Sedated"
- The Cars "Moving In Stereo"
- Elvis Costello & The Attractions "Accidents Will Happen"
- Nick Lowe "Cruel To Be Kind"
- The Buzzcocks "Why Can't I Touch It?"
- Closing Song: Elvis Costello "(So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, And Understanding