408 Tabu

I think they’re gonna do something sudden, something violent, something completely unexpected …

Summary: An extremist group kidnaps an heiress and getting her back is only one of a series of problems for the FBI

Original air date: November 16, 2007 (US)

Written by: Sekou Hamilton

Directed by: Alex Zakrzewski
Opening numbers:

2: Demands
40: Million dollars
2271: Satellites
322: Emails

Family Concepts: (character development)

  • Liz has had a key to Don’s apartment, a key she returns as they separate.
  • The case brings up issues for Megan regarding her relationship with her father.
  • Megan decides to go back to New York to talk to her father and invites Larry to go with her.
  • Amita built her first computer at the age of thirteen.
  • David is getting a reputation as a “cowboy” within the FBI.

Episode Quotes:

  • Don: Let me ask you something, not about this.
    David: About Liz?
    Don: Yeah, how did you know?
    David: You asked permission to ask.
  • Amita: If we had a DTMF decoder … that’s a dual-tone multi-frequency.  It’s touch tone.
    David: What you couldn’t have just said that to begin with?
    Amita: Yeah, but it wouldn’t have been as much fun.
  • David: Any hunch from Charlie is kinda like a hunch plus.
  • Don: Megan’s on a little bit of a time out.
    David: Again?
  • Charlie: Knocking on the door from 300 miles above Earth.
    David: Well we’re about to knock a lot harder.


Episode Synopsis:

Ella Pierce, billion dollar heiress, is out nightclubbing and having a good time when she is kidnapped at gunpoint from the entrance area of a club.  FBI agent Jeff Upchurch is called in to assist with the case as he’s had a lot of experience dealing with high profile kidnapping cases in Mexico and around the world.  The van used in the kidnapping is found abandoned with a DVD inside of Ella and one of her captors, putting Warren Pierce, Ella’s father, on notice that she was kidnapped because of his business practices.

Pierce gets the ransom call and makes a counter offer, the kidnappers immediately hang up and Megan gets angry.  She thinks Pierce sees his daughter as nothing more than a commodity to be bargained for; Upchurch however states the tactic was the right call.  Charlie tries to predict the next move of the kidnappers using game theory and a tabu search.  His predictions however are thrown when the kidnappers decide to rob one of Pierce’s offices and then rob and attempt to kidnap Harper Simms, one of Ella’s friends.

Harper is able to identify one of the kidnappers as Steffen Cavani, a boy she and Ella went to high school with, and someone Harper and Ella felt was a “loser”.  Don begins to wonder what roll Ella is playing in the kidnapping when she is seen at the office robbery, but Megan thinks she’s was put in a dangerous situation as pay back to Warren Pierce.  However, Ella is one of the gunmen shooting at David and Upchurch when Harper is almost kidnapped as well.  Don is convinced she is a willing participant, but again Megan thinks she is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.  It’s not until Megan is reading emails from Ella and Steffen that she realizes Ella planned the kidnapping from the start as a way to hurt her father. This is further confirmed when Warren Pierce is kidnapped and Ella is seen in a recording making threats and demands.

Amita is able to find their base by decoding video transmissions sent using a satellite phone.  The FBI and LAPD move in and using tear gas flush out most of the kidnappers; however as Steffen is releasing Warren Pierce, Ella shoots him.  As a result of the case, Megan decides to go back home to talk to her own father and try to resolve some of their issues.