403 Velocity

One thing about street racin’ those dudes crash …

Summary: The FBI is called in to investigate a car accident that may be more than it appears.

Original air date: October 12, 2007 (US)

Written by: Cheryl Heuton and Nicolas Falacci

Directed by: Frederick Keller
Opening numbers:

7000: Revolutions per minute
1200: Foot pounds of turque
420: Horsepower
7: Victims

Family Concepts: (character development)

  • Colby is offered a job with the Washington DC FBI office.  He is unsure if he wants it as he’d rather stay on Don’s team.  Colby turns down the DC job and Don promises to look into Colby staying in LA.
  • Colby’s father died when he was fifteen.
  • Colby is awarded the FBI’s Medal of Meritorious Conduct for his part in the spy case.
  • Charlie has been offered a book deal from McCadden Books for his Friendship Matrices paper; the deal is for a self-help book, not a textbook.  Charlie decides to take the book deal as it will get the math out to more people.
  • Amita plays chess very well
  • Alan was married and was a father by the time he was in his early thirties.
  • Alan took engineering classes when he was in college, but fears he has lost most of that knowledge now. He decides to audit an introductory mechanical engineering course at CalSci.
  • Megan knows about car mechanics and maintenence
  • The FBI keeps Amita’s image enhancement algorithms on hand

Episode Quotes:

  • Larry: Other things keep thinking me.
  • Larry: (on darts) Unfortunately, my bird keeps trying to nest in the hallway.

Episode Synopsis:

A quiet evening at a local LA coffee shop is shattered when a speeding car crashes into the building.  One man, Sam, is killed while saving a baby in a stroller and several others are injured.  One of the injured is Kyle Clippard, a seventeen year old kid and the probable driver of the car.  Kyle’s father has no idea his son is involved with street racing; the matter is further complicated when it appears Kyle was beaten, nearly to death after the accident.

Larry is finding the ability to think of nothing very complicated and refuses to help Charlie with a mathematical model of the crash.  He does suggest Ray Galinski, an Engineering professor to assist instead.  Charlie and Ray model the crash and find the model isn’t working, the car is now 260 pounds lighter than it should be according to the model.  Charlie suggests there was a second person in the car with Kyle.

While investigating the car itself, the FBI techs discover hair and blood on the grill of the car; samples that don’t match the current case, but do match an unsolved hit and run death of a couple from three years previous.  The team is convinced the two cases have to be connected.

Colby has been offered a position with the Washington DC FBI office; while deciding if he;s going to take the job, he offers to help with the case.  He first discovers a speed camera being tampered with on a regular basis.  Colby and Don stake out the camera to see if their saboteur makes another appearance and get lucky arresting Ernie Fuller.  Ernie claims he knows nothing about the accident he was home that night working on his own racer. Colby is also able to track down a video of the crash on an internet site.  This leads the team to a longer version of the film which yields a couple of surprises:  Kyle Clippard was in the trunk of the car and they are able to identify the actual driver, Frank Fisher, a man David had just released from custody for selling illegal auto parts.

Charlie and Ray continue to model the crash, and realize the extra weight they need to account for, isn’t something in the car, but rather the result of the car being hit during a race.  Don shows a video of the model to Ernie Fuller; Ernie thinking it’s actually a video of the crash admits he and Frank were racing that night but that he didn’t intentionally hit Frank’s car.  Ernie says Frank suggested the race and the location as a way to show off to someone else.  Ernie doesn’t know where Frank got the parts for his car, including the grill from the previous accident and suggests the team ask him instead.  When Megan tells Ernie Frank is dead, Ernie is shocked.

Tracking leads from the coffee shop crash, the hit and run case, and boot prints left on the body of Frank Fisher and on Kyle’s face all lead to Robert Lowell.  Robert is an ex-racer who quit racing after he killed the couple three years ago.  He chopped his car and sold off the parts to other racers, including the grill sold to Frank.  He was making deliveries to the newsstand the night of the accident and says he beat Kyle thinking the boy was the driver; he killed Frank when Frank told him the reason there was a race that night was so Frank could show off to Robert.