When the son of a murdered high-school basketball star receives a death threat, Rush and Valens reopen the 1987 case of Herman Lester who was stabbed to death only hours after leading his team to win the state championship.
The episode opens on March 11, 1987. There’s a high-school basketball final going on, with ”The Saints” playing. The game is near the end the Saints are down one point. Their coach calls for timeout. He talks to the team, saying they need a score and they should get the ball into Herman’s hands. They go back to the game. Herman scores. The Saints win the state championship. Later that evening, we see Herman’s dead body lying on a playground court, with blood all around him.
In the present, Stillman and Lilly are at a high-school basketball court. There are a few boys training. Stillman asks Lilly if she has heard about Herman Lester. She hasn’t, and Stillman explains that Herman was one of the best basketball players that ever lived, and that he died on a playground court in 1987. He points out one of the boys on the court — it’s Lester’s son, Ray, who is an excellent player like his father. The team’s coach sees Stillman; it looks like they already know each other. Stillman introduces him to Lilly. They talk about Herman’s son, and how he is as good on the court as his father was. It seems the boy got a phone call threatening him, and that’s why Lilly and Stillman are there. The coach calls Ray to come up to them. Lilly asks him about the phone call he got. He tells that when he picked up the phone, the other person said that if he played Friday night, he would take the screwdriver, like his dad. A screwdriver was the weapon used to murder Herman. Lilly asks Ray what’s happening on Friday night. The men exchange looks and try not to laugh at Lilly’s question. Stillman explains that Friday is the day of the state championship game. Ray says that it was a man who called, and that he has no problems at school. Ray goes back to the court. The coach says he needs Ray to play on Friday, and asks if they think there’s a connection between the call and Herman’s murder. Stillman and Lilly say they are going to trace the phone call and pull Herman’s case.
Scotty and Elisa are leaving a cafe. They stand in front of it, and Elisa says that there’s a giant behind Scotty. He’s disturbed by that remark, but when he turns, he sees Will (who is a tall man) standing there. Still disturbed, Scotty asks Will what he is doing there, and Will says he is getting a coffee. Will introduces himself to Elisa, and Scotty explains that they work together. Will enters the cafe, and Scotty calls a cab for Elisa. At to the office, Stillman, Scotty and Lilly are checking out what they have on Herman’s case. The suspects are Billy Berkenpass Jr., one of Herman’s teammates, who had been thrown off the team. Additionally, Billy’s girlfriend Tanya Williams, who had dumped him to be with Herman a few months earlier, is also worth looking into. Another possibility is that Herman was killed by people from one of the colleges that wanted him. The detectives seem to believe that Billy was the one who did it. He wasn’t arrested at the time because there was no evidence and Billy had an alibi: he claimed to be home with his dad. It appears that the threat that Ray got is connected to Herman’s murder. The call came from a phone at the City Center, where Billy Berkenpass Jr. plays basketball everyday. Will and Nick are talking to Billy Berkenpass’ father, Billy Berkenpass Sr. They ask about Billy’s alibi, and Mr. Berkenpass confirms it. He’s really annoyed to be talking about that one more time. Will and Nick ask about Billy being thrown off the team and losing his girlfriend to Herman. Mr. Berkenpass says his son got screwed, but he was better without the girl. He’s angry because since Herman died, cops have been after his son. He opens the door for Nick and Will to leave. Lilly and Scotty go to the Lesters’ house.
Tanya thinks it’s better to leave Herman’s story alone. Herman’s uncle, Freddie, who claims to be the one who helped raise both Herman and Ray, steps in and asks how this is going to help them. Lilly says they think Billy Berkenpass made the call to Ray. Lilly gives Ray a picture of Billy and asks if he recognizes the man in the picture. Ray says it’s ”the ghost”, a guy who watches him play basketball. Ray says it’s been happening since he started to become famous, about two years ago. Billy never talked to Ray, though. Freddie says Ray isn’t playing on Friday. Tanya asks if they’re sure Billy was the one who called Ray; she never believed Billy killed Herman. Scotty asks Tanya to tell them what she remembers about that night.
In a flashback of 1987, Herman, Tanya and their friends are at a party after the game. Billy arrives and tries to get into a fight with Herman. Herman doesn’t do anything. Billy gets angrier and Herman’s friends hold him. Herman tells them to let Billy go and asks if Billy wants to talk. Billy says no, since he’s on Herman’s ”home court”. He says he’ll catch Herman later and leaves. In the present, Lilly asks Tanya how Herman ended up on the Player’s Park (the place he got killed) that night. Tanya says Herman used to go there to clear his head. Lilly and Scotty leave. Lilly and Scotty are now talking to Billy Berkenpass. Billy says he knew they were going to come, because of the phone call Ray got. They say the call was made from the place where Billy plays everyday. Billy says someone is trying to make him look bad. Lilly asks if he was hurt about Tanya leaving him, and he says it was his first heartbreak. Billy says he didn’t call Ray and he didn’t kill Herman. Scotty asks who killed Herman then, and Billy says recruiting was out of control over Herman. In a flashback of 1987, Billy watches two men hand Herman car keys. Herman takes them, sits in the car, turns it on and seems very happy. It seems like they’ve made some kind of deal. In the present, Billy says that maybe Herman took gifts from many people, but a player can only make one school happy. Lilly says that’s a far-fetched theory, but Billy says they wouldn’t believe what the people from the schools could do.
Lilly and Scotty talk to the coach, Bobby Lein, again. He confirms the car story, but he says he made Herman give the car back the next day. He also says that Billy is trying to muddy Herman’s name since he kicked him off the team. In a flashback to 1987, Billy and Herman are fighting in the locker room. Billy is accusing Herman of making a deal with Big Ed Brown. The coach walks in and says that if Billy talks to Herman like that, he’s off the team. Billy takes his shirt off and walks away. In the present, the coach says Billy would do anything to take Herman down. Lilly asks if there was anything true about Billy’s allegations, and the coach answers that Herman won the game for them, and that’s the end of the story. At the office, the detectives are watching Herman’s final game. Stillman tells Scotty to freeze the image at the moment the game ends. They all notice that, in spite of having won the championship, Herman looks really sad. Lilly says that maybe Herman agreed to throw the game, but in the end he couldn’t do it; what would explain why Herman wasn’t smiling and why he got killed.
Later, Scotty is putting his gun in his locker. Will arrives and asks if Elisa is the girl who keeps calling Scotty. Scotty tells Will not to sneak up on him, especially if he’s with Elisa. Will is speechless. Nick asks Will what that was about; Will says Scotty is losing it. Meanwhile, Stillman hands Scotty a profile on Big Ed Brown, the bookie with which Billy accused Herman of making a deal. Scotty is going to try to find out more about him. In the meantime, Lilly goes to talk to Ray at school. She asks him if anyone offered him money to lose the game on Friday, or any other games of the season. Ray says ”no way”. Rays asks why she wants to know that, and Lilly says that the college recruiting was crazy on his dad, so she figured he might be going through the same stuff. Ray asks if Lilly’s saying that Herman made a shady deal, or if he didn’t, that’s why he got killed. Lilly says she doesn’t know yet. Ray says he thought Billy Berkenpass had killed his dad. Lilly agrees that Billy was the primary suspect. Ray can’t believe his dad got killed because of basketball. Lilly asks him to be patient, because she’s looking at all the possibilities.
Scotty talks to Big Ed Brown, who says he never met any Billy Berkenpass or Herman Lester. Scotty says that if Big Ed doesn’t talk, he’ll have his friend at the IRS come and check Big Ed’s income taxes, and knock him out of circulation. Big Ed says that maybe he remembers young Herman, but that he was better acquainted with Herman’s uncle Freddie. In a flashback of 1987, Big Ed Brown arrives in a car and Freddie comes to talk to him. Big Ed asks Freddie about the $5000 that Freddie owns him, and Freddie says that there have been some complications. Big Ed starts to get angry and Freddie says he’s got a plan. Freddie shows Herman playing basketball in a court in front of them. Big Ed asks if Freddie could really make Herman turn up the state championship, and Freddie says that Herman loves him and would do anything for him. In the present, Scotty asks if Freddie had that kind of influence over Herman. Big Ed says he wasn’t sure, so he went to talk to Billy Berkenpass. Since he didn’t get anything from Billy, he decided to stay out of that game. Scotty says that from the way Herman played, it seemed that Freddie really had him on strain. Big Ed says that all he knows is that when the game was over, Freddie still owned him money.
At the office, Lilly and Scotty are interrogating Freddie. They ask if Freddie is trying to keep Ray out of the Friday game so that he could score some bets, like he did with Herman in -87. Freddie says that if he did that, then why Herman would still win the game. Lilly says that the fact that Herman won doesn’t mean Freddie didn’t ask him to lose. Scotty says that Big Ed told him Freddie promised Herman would lose the game. Lilly asks Freddie for the truth. Freddie says that it wasn’t his proudest moment. In a flashback of 1987, Herman and Freddie are arguing on a street. Herman says he can’t believe Freddie is asking him to do that. Freddie says he’s embarrassed to be asking that. Herman says that Eddie should work it out with Big Ed Brown. Freddie says Big Ed is going to hurt him. He says God didn’t give him Herman’s talent and that’s OK, but Herman has to help him. Herman says he’s sorry, but he won’t do it, and walks away. In the present, Scotty says that when Herman started to play really bad on the final, Freddie had hopes that he Herman was going to help him, but when he won the game, it made Freddie furious. Freddie denies it. Scotty adds that maybe Freddie was the one who killed Herman. Freddie says that’s an outrage for him to say that.
Stillman enters and calls Scotty and Lilly. They go out and find Tanya and the coach there. Tanya says Ray’s missing. They talk about where Ray could have gone. Scotty says he’s going to see Billy Berkenpass, and Tanya asks to go with him. Freddie follows them and Lilly tells him to stay close. The coach says the timing couldn’t be worse. Stillman asks if Ray had somewhere to go, and the coach says Ray had two colleges to see today. Lilly asks him what’s more important, and the coach says he doesn’t expect her to understand. Lilly says she understands a 17-year-old is missing, and that’s important. She goes out to look for Ray. Scotty and Tanya are going to meet Billy. On the street, there are several posters of Ray announcing Friday’s game. Tanya says her son is all over the place and she can’t find him. She sees Billy and runs to him, asking where her son is. Billy doesn’t know what she’s talking about, and Scotty explains that Ray has been missing all afternoon. Billy tells Tanya he wouldn’t hurt her kid. Tanya says she was the only one who believed he didn’t kill Herman, and Billy says that she should keep believing. He hugs her and says he would never do anything to hurt her — not then, and not now.
Lilly arrives at the Player’s Park and finds Ray. Ray asks Lilly about the spot Herman died. Lilly points the place. Ray goes there and shoots the ball, dedicating it to his father. Lilly picks up the ball and says he makes it look easy. She shoots the ball and misses the basket. Ray says he’s happy that Lilly is nvestigating his father’s death. Lilly asks Ray if he’s playing tomorrow, and Ray says he’s starting to believe that the call he got wasn’t a joke. Lilly says no one could blame him for staying out of the game. Ray says that the coach will, but Freddie doesn’t want him to play. Lilly asks why, and Ray says Freddie got him connected with all the shoe companies, and if Ray goes to the League, Freddie gets taken care of. Lilly says Ray thinks he owes Freddie. Ray says he owes the coach too. Lilly asks what the coach wants Ray to do. Ray says that there are two or three schools that want both him and the coach, and if he signs the letter of intent, the coach will go along in the package deal. Lilly looks thoughtful as she hears that. At the office, Lilly tells Stillman and Will about the talk with Ray. They wonder if coach Lein put the same pressure on Herman. Lilly asks if Herman ever said which school he had chosen. Stillman says that no one knew. Will points to Tanya, who’s sitting outside the room with Ray and Tanya thanks Lilly for finding Ray. Stillman asks Tanya if Herman had decided where he was going to college. Tanya says Herman was going to Temple, and that he was going to announce it the day after the game. Stillman says that Temple wouldn’t want coach Lein. Tanya says the coach wanted Herman to go to Florida.
In a flashback, Tanya overhears a conversation between Herman and coach Lein. The coach is saying Temple isn’t the right place for Herman, and that if they go to Florida, he could look out for Herman. Herman says he’s got responsibilities there, and that Tanya is pregnant. Coach says they could take Tanya with then, but Herman says no. The coach says he and Herman should stay together, and that he was always there for Herman. Herman doesn’t answer and walks away. In the present, Stillman is now talking to coach Lein. Stillman tells him that in the last 24 hours, they’ve been investigating him for Herman’s death. The coach can’t believe it. Stillman says that they were going to talk to him anyway, so it’s better if he talks to him now. Stillman says he knows the coach has a deep drive, and that could make you a winner or take you down. He says he needs him to tell him everything. The coach says he and Herman had a moment of truth.
In a flashback of 1987, Herman is sitting in the middle of the court, alone. Coach Lein walks in, and he’s angry. Herman gets up and starts to leave. The coach says he can’t just go, not after all he’s done for him. There’s a moment of silence and the coach says Herman just won the state championship for them, and that what he’s doing to Herman now is wrong. He shakes Herman’s hand and wishes him good luck at Temple. In the present, coach Lein says he never saw Herman again after that. Stillman gets up and leaves. Outside, he meets Lilly, who’s talking on the cell phone. She says there was a match from the fingerprints on the payphone on the City Center. Stillman guesses they’re from Billy Berkenpass. Lilly says they’re from Billy’s father. Scotty and Lilly go look for Mr. Berkenpass at his house. He says the call wasn’t a big deal. Lilly asks if Mr. Berkenpass used the phone at the City Center because his son was there. Mr. Berkenpass says his son didn’t know he was there, and that they don’t have a relationship. Scotty asks why, and Mr. Berkenpass tells him how much he trained Billy to be a basketball player. Lilly asks what does that have to do with their lack of relationship, and Mr. Berkenpass tells that’s because Billy quit on him.
In a flashback of 1987, Mr. Berkenpass fights with Billy because Billy didn’t tell him he was off the team. Billy says he was embarrassed, and Mr. Berkenpass says he could’ve helped him. Mr. Berkenpass says they could be back on top in two years, but Billy says he’s done, and he just wants playing to be fun again. Mr. Berkenpass tells Billy to go home, get his suitcase and only come back when he’s done having fun. Billy walks away. In the present, Mr. Berkenpass tells Scotty and Lilly that sometimes he goes to watch Billy play at the City Center. Lilly asks why he called Ray. Mr. Berkenpass says that when he saw Ray’s picture all over the place, he knew he had to stop it. Scotty says they have to arrest him for the threat. At the office, the detectives are talking about Mr. Berkenpass. Lilly says Billy’s alibi covers him and his dad, and Mr. Berkenpass won’t say anything. Nick tells them to work on Billy, then.
Lilly and Scotty are now interrogating Billy. Scotty says they’ve got a new suspect and that they need a straight story on his alibi. Billy says he was watching TV with his dad. Lilly tells Scotty that they have to tell Billy the truth. Scotty tells Billy that his father was the one who called Ray. Lilly says Billy looks surprised, but at the same time he’s not surprised. Scotty says he thinks Billy didn’t know his father killed Herman, but in that moment, he knows it. Lilly adds that’s because he wasn’t home with him on that night. Billy asks to leave, and Lilly says they will walk him out. Outside, Lilly shows Ray, who is inside Stillman’s office, to Billy. They ask if Billy wants to meet Ray, and he says he doesn’t. They tell Billy that Ray is walking away from the game, because he’s confused about his father’s death. Billy says he wants to say hi to Ray. Inside the office, Billy tells Ray that he was with Herman the night he got killed.
In a flashback of 1987, Herman is at the Player’s Park, after the game. Billy arrives and asks Herman why he played so badly. Herman says it was because of Billy, because when they were playing together, Billy always handed him the ball the right way. But Billy wasn’t there tonight. Herman says they haven’t been friends, but they have been a team. The boys shake hands. In the present, Billy tells Ray that Herman was a good man. They shake hands. Now Lilly and Scotty go interrogate Mr. Berkenpass. Lilly says Billy ruined his alibi, because Mr. Berkenpass was the one who killed Herman. Mr. Berkenpass asks if Billy said that, and Lilly asks if he wants them to bring Billy in. Mr. Berkenpass says no, and starts to tell that things were awkward between Billy and him, and that basketball was their whole relationship. He says that on that night he followed Billy and watched Billy and Herman shake hands at Player’s Park. Mr. Berkenpass says that was Billy giving up basketball forever.
In a flashback of 1987, Billy is leaving the Player’s Park. Mr. Berkenpass is inside his car, parked in front. After Billy leaves, Mr. Berkenpass goes to talk to Herman. Herman says Mr. Berkenpass doesn’t look good. Mr. Berkenpass says it was a good game tonight, and then stabs Herman with the screwdriver. In the present, Lilly and Scotty go to the Lesters’ house to talk to Tanya and Ray. Billy visits his dad in the jail. Mr. Berkenpass looks ashamed. It’s the state championship final. The narrator announces Ray. Everyone is there to watch him — Tanya, Freddie, Billy, Stillman, Scotty and Lilly. Ray looks at Lilly and then looks at his father shirt which is framed on the court’s wall. The camera goes back to Ray’s place, but now Herman is there. The episode ends as Herman looks at Lilly, thanking her.
- 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
- Marisol Nichols as Elisa
- Mehcad Brooks as Herman Lester
- Tyrone Burton as Ray Lester
- Tommy Hinkley as Billy Berkenpass Sr. (1987)
- Charles Hoyes as Bobby Lein (2004)
- Jo D. Jonz as Freddie
- Rick Kelly as Billy Berkenpass Jr. (2004)
- James Martin Kelly as Billy Berkenpass Sr. (2004)
- Monnae Michaell as Tanya Williams (2004)
- Sam Scarber as Big Ed Brown (2004)
- Shawn Woods as Big Ed Brown (1987)
- Kyausha Simpson as Tanya Williams (1987)
- Jamison Haase as Billy Berkenpass Jr. (1987)
- Ray Clay as Announcer
- Mick Orfe as Bobby Lein (1987)
- During the ending scene, Herman's son Ray looks proudly to his father's jersey. In the next shot, Herman's apparition takes Ray's place, and he points at Lily as a way of showing thanks for solving his murder. Lily proceeds to wink at him as the episode fades to black.
- Tyrone Burton, the actor who plays Ray Lester, is actually one year older than Mehcad Brooks, the actor who plays Ray's father Herman Lester.
- The case appears to be loosely based on the murder of Chicago high school basketball star Benji Wilson in 1984.
- Aerosmith & Run-D.M.C. "Walk this Way"
- Cameo "Word Up"
- Peter Gabriel "Big Time"
- Mase "N****z Wanna Act"
- Salt-N-Pepa "Push It"
- Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush "Don't Give Up"
- Closing Song: Bruce Springsteen "Walk Like a Man"