320 Burn Rate

How many times have you seen this much data, and nothing’s out of place …

Summary: The FBI investigates a series of bombings possibly instigated by a man currently in prison.

Original air date
: April 6, 2007 (US)

Written by
: Don Magill

Directed by
: Fred Keller

Opening numbers:

680: Million pieces of mail
240,000: Postal delivery routes
15.9: Ounces
1: Manifesto

Family Concepts (character development):

  • Millie buys designer purses
  • Millie listens to Vivaldi
  • Alan and Millie have a bet to not buy any consumer items for 30 days; they soon give up on the bet
  • Don played hockey as a kid
  • The address on a letter bomb for Judge Prodeman is the same address used for the Craftsman house

Episode Quotes:

  • Colby: Anyone need a back issue of Popular Bomber?
    David: The man has maintained an unhealthy interest.
  • Don: How soon?
    Charlie: A day … more or less.
    Don: How about less.
  • Don: Tea?
    Megan: Yeah I saw Granger make that coffee.

Episode Synopsis:

Charlie is called in to consult on a letter bomb investigation by ATF agent Jessica Malloy.  The bomb killed John Walton a reporter for the Los Angeles Ledger.  His widow states John has never had any enemies but was sued by an Emmet Glaser for a series of research lab bombs three years before; Glaser claimed he was being wrongly accused of those crimes.  Agent Malloy was part of the DNA bombings and feels Glaser got away with the bombing by having one of his students, Jason Aronow, take the fall in his place.  Malloy also has a person interest in the case as a friend of hers, Bill Reagan, was the last victim of the DNA bomber when the bomb he was trying to diffuse exploded.

Don isn’t convinced Malloy has any case against Glaser, then or now; before they can get to far with the case, another man, Leonard Tobin, who worked with Glaser at the Department of Defense at the same time Glaser, is found dead from a letter bomb. Determined now to talk to Emmett Glaser, the FBI gets a warrant to execute a search of Glaser’s father’s home. They find drawings of the bomb used three years ago and again now to kill Walton as well as a “wall of shame” of people involved in the DNA bomber case, including Agent Malloy.  Glaser’s father doesn’t know where to find his son.

David and Malloy go to see Jason Aronow in prison to see if he knows where his former professor is hiding.  Aronow is not cooperative states Glaser is a man of ideas while he, Aronow is a man of action.  He tried to blow himself up the first month he was in jail but failed because he didn’t have the correct supplies.

Charlie is able to track Glaser down to an area around Lake Arrowhead, and he is arrested.  He again states he is not involved in the bombings, telling the FBI to consider coherent states.  Charlie sees Glaser’s point but has a difficult time convincing Don he has arrested the wrong man.  Don does eventually agree with Charlie’s assessment and reopens the investigation.  He also sends Charlie out to talk to Glaser to see if he will talk to Charlie even if he won’t talk to the FBI.  Glaser suggests Charlie look at a paradigm shift in the victims of the bombings.

David finds out Aronow tried to flush a flash drive that was encrypted with a series of online conversations Aronow had with another user called BurnRate20.  David and Colby go back to the prison to ask Aronow about the drive only to see him successfully blow himself up this time.  Charlie’s examination of the new bombing victims shows they all were somehow connected to Glaser escaping conviction in the previous bombing case.  Colby also discovers Malloy was the only visitor Aronow had the day before he killed himself.  When Don accuses her of giving Aronow the bomb making materials he needs for his bomb, she denies it and tell him the only person she blames for Glaser getting away the first time is herslf as she leaked information to the press about the case and was reprimanded.

Liz Warner does a background check of prison employees and finds Lee Kettrick, one of the guards on Aronow’s cell block used to work for Bill Reagen at the San Francisco Bomb Squad.  He is arrested and admits he gave Aronow the bomb materials but also states there will be at least one more victim this time.  Don and Liz figure out Kettrick’s last victim will be Malloy; unfortunately they are a little too late as Malloy has already discovered her car has been wired with a bomb.

Charlie convinces Glaser to help him diffuse the bomb in the car and the two of them succeed is tricking the bomb long enough for Don to get Malloy out of the car.