305 Traffic

Weird? Yeah.  Unlikely? Yeah.  Impossible … no …

Summary: The FBI is called in to investigate a series of incidents on the LA highways

Original air date
: October 20, 2006 (US)

Written by
: Cheryl Heuton and Nicolas Falacci

Directed by
: J Miller Tobin

Opening numbers:

12 million: Motor vehicles
9,096: Miles of freeway
5,339: Accidents
7: Freeway attacks

Family Concepts: (character development)

  • Megan listens to ZZ Top
  • Don is letting cases get to him
  • Amita is having trouble adjusting to being a professor after being a student
  • Megan says her father has anger management issues
  • Don is still seeing Robin
  • Larry has had his super gravity theory challenged

Episode Quotes:

  • Larry [to Amita]: CalSci made you an offer you couldn’t refuse?
  • Colby [to Megan]: You’re looking for a pattern in a series of random event?  Oh dear.  Professor Eppes wouldn’t approve.
  • Colby: Ahh man, I just had this suit cleaned!
  • Megan: You got a lot of buttons, eh?
  • Charlie: No Larry, even the FBI can’t stop meteors.

Episode Synopsis:

Jeff Kinkirk is driving home from a movie with his two sons when he is shot.  This is the seventh seemingly random freeway attack in eight weeks, four of them have been fatal.  Megan looks over the cases and thinks they are almost too random.  None of them seems to fit any sort of pattern for road rage, which she thinks is odd.  Charlie however points out that there’s no such thing as too random and the attacks need to be investigated as separate events.

One of Kinkirk’s sons thought he saw a white pick-up truck behind them just before his father was shot.  Megan starts a search for white trucks in LA and finds over 100,000 such vehicles.  Colby and David help her with the truck search but also start looking for other similarities in the seven cases.  They find one such link leading to a local car wash but it’s a dead end.  Colby then finds that five of the thirteen victims had been in a car accident in the last two years.  When Don questions Jeff Kinkirk, he finds Kinkirk was a witness in another accident.

Megan does some checking and discovers five other cases where there were no injuries or police reports that could be linked to the current group.  While discussing this with David and Colby, Charlie comes to the office to apologize for his previous idea that the cases couldn’t be random.  He and Megan discover the five new cases do tie in with the other seven and that the attacks fit the model of a classic serial killer.  One that is due to strike again.

Another woman is found shot in her car; she worked for the city of Bellehaven in the city managers office.  She turned down a request from a neighborhood group for a traffic light at an intersection where two people were later killed.  David and Colby go to arrest the survivor thinking they have their suspect only to discover the man is physically unable to fire a gun or lift heavy objects.

Charlie uses traffic data to see if he can define patterns in the flow and surprisingly finds areas soon after each shooting where the traffic flow is off.  David and Colby take a map of the areas Charlie indicates as possible escape routes and finds a crossing guard who saw a white pick-up truck nearly run a red light soon after one of the shootings; he noticed the truck only because he thought the driver would run the light when in fact the light changed just before the truck went through.

Using that added piece of information the FBI is able to track traffic signal tampering near where the attacks take place, they get a picture of a white truck going through an intersection mere seconds after the light was signaled to change from red to green.  A decal on the back of the truck leads the team to a head trauma support group and Mitchell Mackenzie, a victim of a hit and run accident.  Mackenzie feels he needs to right the wrongs of the members of the group by making sure the people responsible for various accidents pay for what they did to innocent people.