510 Frienemies

Looks like we got ourselves a feud …

Summary: Charlie must rely on the help of Marshall Penfield to help the FBI with a case of vigilante violence

Original air date: December 19, 2008 (US)

Written by: Cheryl Heuton and Nicolas Falacci

Directed by: Steve Boyum

Opening numbers:

51: Robberies
9: Cloned cell phones
2: Frienemies
1: Deep Current

Family Concepts: (character development)

  • Charlie is the last to know Don is going to Temple
  • Charlie and Marshall Penfield took classes from Larry while at Princeton
  • Larry’s biggest rival is Al McNabb, a member of Larry’s classic car club
  • Don admits Charlie can intimidate him
  • Marshall has a reaction to adrenaline (it makes him itch)

Episode Quotes:

  • Marshall Penfield: [to Charlie] How do you not have your own show on PBS?
  • Nikki: You don’t want us making life miserable for innocent grad students.
    Marshall Penfield: That’s what professors are for.
  • Larry: Boys don’t make me pull the math car over.
  • Colby: it takes a nerd to catch a nerd, huh.
  • David: In a world where mathematicians go mano a mano against a killer …
    Colby: This time it’s personal.

Episode Synopsis:

Teenagers are hitting various targets around the LA area, the latest one being a high school.  When LAPD calls in the FBI to help investigate Don’s team finds a vigilante group calling itself Vanguard is responsible for catching the kids and calling the police.  The teens are told by the leader of their group that as a first offender they would not go to jail but they are too scared to tell anyone who the mastermind behind the robberies really is.  Nikki discovers the kids all live in an area of LA the police have nicknamed “Tunerville” as Victor Tuner seems to have the whole area terrorized.  The police know he’s been involved is various crimes, but don’t have enough evidence to actually prove it.

Charlie, Amita and Larry offer to help with the case and Larry suggests an analysis of deep current sets within the problem might be useful and it just so happens Marshall Penfield is on campus doing a series of guest lectures.  Colby digs up a photo from three weeks ago shows a group of teens trussed up for the police with some interesting graffiti on the wall behind them.  Marshall points out the symbols are actually computer symbols and Amita is able to decipher the symbols and the code to reveal a web site maintained by Vanguard showing all the of locations Tuners kids have been hitting and when they were hit.

The FBI stakes out the next targets on Vanguards web list and arrests several kids in the act of stealing electronics, they also arrest Oliver Mayo a member of Vanguard who filmed the robbery from a nearby roof top.  Mayo refuses to answer any questions about the group says they never used anything other than code names; all of the members of Vanguard however seem to be college age and have skills in engineering or computers.

Colby and David take a trip into “Tunerville” only to discover Victor Tuner ready,waiting and willing to come in for an interview.  Tuner claims he is nothing more than a concerned citizen and doesn’t see any reason to get upset about Vanguard’s activities as since the members are all college age, anything could happen to them over time.  David is uneasy about the way Tuner talks about accidents and the FBI is soon called when the body of a Vanguard member is found in a college library, a suicide victim eerily similar to the way Tuner described an accident for one of the Vanguard members.

Charlie and Marshall decide to recheck one of the past crime scenes, only to discover Tuner in the process of robbing it.  They escape unharmed, though Tuner knows Charlie is Don’s brother. As a result of their mutual scare, Charlie and Marshall call a truce and work out a way to catch both Tuner’s group and Vanguard at the same time.  They set up a phony transport company and feed a cargo manifest into the data stream both Tuner and Vanguard are mining for targets.  Tuner and Vanguard take the bait and are caught by the FBI.  Tuner however chooses to suicide by cop instead of actually being arrested. The head of Vanguard, Clayton Caswell is also arrested at the scene.  He started Vanguard as a way to seek revenge against Tuner for the rape and murder of Laurie Sanchez, a girl Caswell had a crush on.