The team investigates the 2005 murder of an Army recruiter who was killed two days before his deployment to Iraq. Meanwhile, Lilly's father asks for her help when her half-brother Finn runs away, leading to Lilly finally having dinner with her extended family.
In March 2005, a soldier named Mike Donley kisses his wife goodbye before leaving to help a friend named Bobby Kerns workout. He gives Bobby a compass and explains it is a gift to help him find his way. Mike tells him that even though he is an Army recruiter, he is proud of him as a person. Bobby says he wants to sign his contract to join the military. Later, Mike is shot and killed in an alley.
During the present time, Bobby meets with Rush. Rush has pulled Mike's file and learned that Mike was shot outside a pawn shop which makes it look like Mike was part of a robbery gone bad. Bobby says the report was incorrect since Mike was seeing him off to Fort Bragg at a bus station when the pawn shop alarm was triggered. Bobby wants to clear Mike’s name since he changed his life. The team learns that Mike was a highly decorated soldier before he became a recruiter. Miller discovers Mike had a record of breaking and entering and petty theft. Rush's father comes to the station to tell her that Finn disappeared after taking some cash and his father's car. Paul asks her to find him.
Valens and Rush meet with Mike’s CO, Sergeant Gomez. He says Mike worked on getting students into the Delayed Entry Program during the Iraq War, which was unpopular. Gomez says Mike was distant before he was killed. Miller and Jeffries meet with Mike’s widow Kristen who also said her husband was distant before he died. She remembers a knock on the door during the middle of the night. A girl named Victoria entered the apartment and said her stepdad was going to kill her. Kristen tells the detectives she was worried that Victoria’s dad would kill Mike since he intervened in their family drama often. Valens and Rush meet with Victoria who became a soldier and now works at the recruiting office. Victoria says her stepdad loved having Mike at the house since he was a hero and that her mother wanted half of Victoria's $20,000 signing bonus. Victoria remembers when Mike tried to convince high school students to sign on with the Army at a school event. The father of a recruit named Kevin told Mike to stay away from his son. Victoria says Kevin enlisted and was killed in Iraq. Later, Valens reports that Kevin’s father Jerry Harkin went on a crime spree after his son was killed.
Valens and Rush visit with Jerry and ask to see the gun he owns. Rush tells Jerry they know he called the recruiting office and threatened them and they accuse him of going after Mike after his son died. Jerry says Mike went to the funeral and offered his condolences. Jerry remembers when he watched Mike tell Kevin’s younger brother that he shouldn’t feel sad that Kevin died since he became part of something that was bigger than himself and that Mike’s words helped him accept his son’s death. Valens and Jeffries tell Stillman that Mike kept meticulous records on his recruits. Jeffries and Miller meet with a potential recruit named Trey Newman who is now in jail for robbery. Trey insists he didn’t kill Mike since he pushed him into getting in shape. He remembers when a group of gang members of the Sixth Street Mafia told Mike that Trey was in for life. After one of the gang members pulled out a gun, Mike took down the thugs and put one of them in a choke hold. Mike was told to chill before he let him go and gave him his recruiting card. The detectives realize that the thug was Bobby Kerns who was known as Bumper at the time.
Rush reports that Bobby had a criminal record as a juvenile. Jeffries informs Stillman that Bobby took a bus that left later than he stated.
Later, Rush finds Finn at a casino in Atlantic City and picks him up with Paul. As Rush drives them home, Finn says he wants to be a police officer. Paul’s wife, Celeste, invites Rush inside to grab something to eat. Rush sits down for an uncomfortable meal. Celeste tells Rush she knows about her secret meetings with Paul. She says she is happy that she has been spending time with Finn, but she should become part of their family for all of their events.
The next day, Rush and Valens call in Bobby and tell him they know about his criminal record and that he missed his bus. They suggest he had enough time to rob the pawn shop. Bobby says Mike changed before he died. He remembers when he caught Mike drinking in the recruiting office. Mike told him about Roberto, the first recruit he signed, who recently lost his legs in an IED explosion. Mike told Bobby he doesn’t want to go to his funeral. Bobby says that he realized that Mike was living at the recruitment office. The detectives learn that Kristen stayed with another man in a resort.
After they bring in Kristen for questioning, they confront her about having an affair, but she initially denies it. She finally admits that she confessed to Mike about her relationship. Kristen told Mike that he shouldn’t feel responsible for the death of a teammate named Johnny. Mike told her that he uses the memory to recruit more men. Kristen says he told Mike she was having an affair with Gomez before he died. Valens brings in Gomez and confronts him about his affair with Kristen. Valens shows him the order he made to send Mike to Iraq. Gomez says Mike asked him to send him off overseas. He remembers when Mike beat him after he found out about the affair. Gomez told him he made a mistake. Gomez reminded him about the medal winning incident when he was pinned down by gunfire in Iraq. Mike remembers Johnny said what he saw was beautiful before he died from his gunshot wounds. Mike got an urgent call and left the office. They learn the call that Mike received was from a disposable phone that was purchased at a store where Victoria worked.
Rush brings in Victoria and shows her a piece of jewelry that was found near the scene where Mike was killed. Rush tells her that the pawn shop owner remembers her trying on the necklace. Rush says she knows she didn’t pass her first recruitment test and was denied entry. Rush accuses her of taking the necklace. Rush brings out a gun from the store that Victoria worked at and says it was used to kill Mike. Victoria admits she robbed the store, then called Mike after she realized she messed up. Victoria remembers when Mike met up with her in the alley. Mike told her to come clean, turn herself in, and he would clear things up with the Army. He told her he is going to deploy in Iraq, which upset her since she felt he was abandoning her. She pulled out a gun, accused him of lying to her, then shot him in the chest. Rush arrests Victoria for Mike’s murder. After the case, Rush brings dinner for Celeste, Paul and Finn.
- 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
- Tracie Thoms as Kat Miller
- Mare Winningham as Celeste Cooper
- La Monde Byrd as Bobby Kerns
- Brett Davern as Finn Cooper
- Veronica A. Diaz as Victoria Montero
- Jaime Gomez as Daniel Gomez
- Chris McGarry as Jerry Harkin
- Jamie Martz as Mike Donley
- Rosalie Ward as Kristen Donley
- Fred Berry Jr. as Trey "Meathead" Newman
- Zack Lively as Kevin Harkin
- Wylie Small as Mrs. Harkin
- Coley Mustafa Speaks as Creep
- Ryan Hartwig as Ethan Harkin
- Jeremy Ratchford does not appear in this episode.
- Fifth member of the military as a victim (Honor, The War at Home, Shore Leave, WASP).
- Jimmy Tully's case box is visible when Miller puts Mike's case box away.
- The 6th Street Mafia, the gang Bobby Kerns and Trey "Meathead" Newman were associated with, were also initially suspected in the murder of Dexter Collins, also in 2005, in "Street Money".
- Gavin DeGraw "I Don't Wanna Be"
- The Jayhawks "Stumbling Through the Dark"
- Foo Fighters "Miracle"
- Coldplay "Politik"