206 Soft Target

The same lapses in security that he saw there, he sees here …

Summary:  An FBI investigation of threats against training drills for Homeland Security are hampered by a consultant who doesn’t believe there is a threat.

Original air date: November 4, 2005 (US)

Written by
: Don McGill


Directed by:  Andy Wolk

Opening numbers:

28350: Chatter intercepts
15000: Soft targets
11: Anti-terror exercises
1: Mistake

Family Concepts: (character development)
  • Don and Charlie are five years apart in age
  • Don and Charlie went to the same high school and were in the same class
  • Charlie did not have a good experience in high school
  • Don drove a VW in high school
  • Megan loves cafe lattes
  • According the Charlie’s yearbook*:
    • favorite color – gray
    • favorite season – fall
    • favorite person – Galileo
    • favorite artist – Tolechuck
    • favorite writer – Washington Irving
* information is from a prop and can be different from dialog.

Episode Quotes:

  • Don: Oh see, I’m sorry I didn’t realize the FBI takes orders from Homeland Security.
  • Charlie: I’m providing house, you provide labor.
  • Charlie: Isn’t it nice having the living history of embarrassing moments from my childhood?
  • Don: I want to stop something terrible from happening.  I don’t want to clean up after.
  • Megan: Emotions aren’t rational, Granger. Revenge is just an emotion.
  • Larry: None of this explains why I always get stuck sitting between the great aunts and cigar smoking cousins.
  • Megan: Cowboys like this don’t take $10 an hour McJobs.
  • Megan: You dont’t think a bomb going off is enough motivation?
    Don: What part of his personality says he can take a suggestion?
  • Don: He [Alan] would be happy if I married someone with a pulse.
  • Alan: That’s all he needs a seminar from the dateless wonder.


Episode Synopsis:

Homeland Security is running a test of systems and personnel in the LA subway when the exercise turns real with an unknown gas released into a subway car.  Don and Megan are on the scene, however the head of HS in LA, Peter Housman, refuses to stop the exercises on what he considers a non-threat. Charlie works out an analysis of the gas dispersion and concludes the gas was intentionally released not accidental.

Don goes back to Homeland Security with this information, but Houseman still refuses to stop the practice sessions, as he points out they are needed to ensure LA and other cities where he conducts such tests are safe from terrorist attacks.  Megan is convinces the attackers will try again, and unlike the subway where no one was seriously hurt, the next time the attack could be deadly.  A review of security tapes of the subway reveals the man responsible for the gas release and also that he is trained in counter intelligence through the Army.

While Don and Charlie work out another possible attack, Alan is busy planning a wedding for Val Eng, a girl both Don and Charlie knew in high school.  Charlie and Don have a chance to talk about their high school experiences and are able to start working out some of the issues that resulted from the two graduating from the same school in the same year.

A review of Army personnel shows a team led by Glen Nash could be responsible for the subway attack.  Nash has written several threatening letters to Houseman about his security tests.  Colby also pulls the files on Nash’s team members and finds that Nash lost two members of his team on a base Houseman had security tested while stationed in Iraq.  Charlie works out a threat assessment based on Nash’s past work both in the Army and as a security consultant once discharged and thinks Nash’s next target may be City Hall, the next location for Homeland Security to test.

A breach is reported at the Homeland Security office but it appears nothing was taken or hacked, Colby points out the “attack” did succeed in getting the FBI to the offices and Don realizes the attack was a way for someone, probably Nash to watch their response.  Don finally succeeds in getting Houseman to postpone the rest of the security drills but is suspicious how easily Houseman concedes; while reviews the security tape at Homeland Security, Don finds that Houseman received a threat on his laptop.

Nash is found at his sister’s house but denies he had anything to do with attacks on Houseman or Homeland security.  His sister points out he has been out of the country for the last month.  While talking to Nash, Megan realizes there is another person close to Nash who was also in the Army and lost people at one of Houseman’s supposedly safe military bases: James Grace, Housemen second in command at HS.  Grace and Houseman are found on the roof of the Homeland Security building and Grace has strapped a bomb to Houseman, he wants Houseman to feel the terror his men felt when they were attacked.  Megen tells him he has succeeded and Don realizes it’s another drill, the bomb isn’t real.  Don defuses the “bomb” and Grace is arrested.