512 Jacked

Eighteen hostages.  We want eighteen million dollars …

Summary: Don’s team is called in when a Hollywood tour bus is hijacked

Original air date: January 16, 2009 (US)

Written by: Don McGill

Directed by: Stephen Gyllenhaal

Opening numbers:

24.9: Million tourists per year
128: Bit encryption key
18: Million dollars
4: Hours

Family Concepts: (character development)

  • Liz has been offered a supervisor position with the Denver office overseeing their organized crime division
  • Larry and Amita’s Higgs research is on hold do to complications with CERN
  • Amita likes Bugs Bunny cartoons
  • The think tank plans to consult with JPL on the next planetary rover

Episode Quotes:

  • Charlie: Nothing’s unhackable.
  • Charlie: Who elected me team leader any way?
    Amita: They did.  Don’t look at me, I voted for myself.

Episode Synopsis:

Don’s team is called when a tourist bus is hijacked by three men.  The men manage to override the security system by waiting to steal the pin codes when the bus company tries to remotely stop the bus.  Don calls in a SWAT unit to assist with the case and the FBI begins tailing the bus.  The leader of the group phones in to the FBI and tells Don and Len Walsh, the security head for the bus company that he wants $18 million dollars, one million for each of his hostages in four hours.  He states he will start killing hostages after his time limit is passed.

Charlie and Amita work to re-hack the bus’s security system in order to get the bus stopped.  Along with Larry they are able to break the system the hijackers are using and Charlie starts work to throw a remote kill switch and stop the bus.  Meanwhile, a police officer, Jack Shuler, from Miami is on the bus and is sending a video feed of events over his cell phone.  He has phoned his headquarters in Florida and texted his fiance, Caitlin Dawes, who decided not to go on the tour where he is and what’s going on.  Charlie throws the kill switch and the bus is stopped in front of an FBI blockade. The lead hijacked, now identified as John Buckley demands the bus be restarted or he will start killing people.  Tim King, the head of the SWAT team believes the FBI needs to go in, but can’t get any clear line of sight on the hijackers as the windows have been painted over and the heat turned, preventing the use of infrared targeting.

Charlie works out a way to target the hijackers, however while he’s working to give targeting information to the SWAT team, Buckley finds the cell phone still streaming video.  Just in time, Charlie is able to give targeting information on the last of the hijackers and the FBI moves in to re-take the bus.  However, once they get aboard, they find an empty bus and a terrified driver with a bomb strapped to his body.  King defuses the bomb and the driver explains there was a second bus waiting in an alley, the hijackers moved everyone to the other bus and ordered the driver to hit a panic butting and then lead the FBI on an wild goose chase.  They also discover a video camera running at the front of the bus and realize Buckley is watching them.   Buckley tells Don the FBI had been following the wrong bus and in retaliation, Buckley kills Jack Shuler who offered himself in place of another of the passengers.

Liz tries to comfort Caitlin by telling her Jack died a hero protecting the other passengers.  Caitlin seems in shock over what has happened and does not want to go back to their hotel room.  Liz gets suspicious as to why she would want to stay at the FBI building and sends a cup Caitlin had used to be fingerprinted.  It turns out Caitlin is not Shuler’s fiance, she’s a crook charged in the past working in an identity theft ring led by John Buckley.  David has done some digging as well and discovered the hijacking team was put together by Jack Shuler.  He had interviewed everyone in the ring while he was a police officer in Miami in during a drug bust. David wonders if Shuler had last minute second thoughts on the hijacking, but Charlie has a different theory.

Charlie explains that everything that’s happened so far was part of a carefully orchestrated plan.  Charlie doesn’t think any of the hijackers are particularly violent, something backed up by their arrest records.  It’s further proved when Don looks at the video footage of the shooting and sees the shooting was rigged. Liz, now knowing Caitlin is part of the hijacking team follows her when she leaves the FBI building for a bus station. There Caitlin and Shuler are both arrested. Don’s team finds out the location of the other bus with the passengers and surrounds it.  Colby and Tim take out the hijackers outside the bus and Don tells Buckley he’s surrounded it’s time to give up.  Buckley gets all of the passengers off the bus to act as human shields, but when Don shows them Shuler alive and well and explains Buckley’s gun only has blanks, the passengers scatter leaving Buckley alone and easily arrested.