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MC408
Title Hostage to Fortune
Series Major Crimes
Season 4
Episode 8
Airdate July 27, 2015
Viewers 4.39 million
Written by Adam Belanoff
Directed by Paul McCrane
Guests Jon Tenney, Alan Ruck
Previous episode Targets of Opportunity
Next episode Wish You Were Here
Episode list Season 4


New information prompts the re-opening of an old kidnapping investigation, forcing Captain Raydor and her Major Crimes Division into partnership with a potentially corrupt FBI agent. Rusty has a major breakthrough in his investigation on Alice Herrera, but discovers he and T.J. are possibly not the friends he thought they were.

The VictimEdit

  • Kevin Clark
    • Had a drug problem but was supposedly sober for awhile.
    • Faked his own kidnapping On June 4, 2013 with Michael Sparks, Jamie Wade and Daniel Morris' help.
    • Shot in the back of the head and buried in Michael Sparks' backyard.
    • Parents paid a three million dollar ransom.
    • Ransom money started appearing all over Europe and in LA, reopening the case.
  • Michael Sparks
    • One of Kevin Clark's killers.
    • Spent $10,000 of the ransom money at the Sultry Dolls strip club.
    • Murdered by Jamie Wade and Daniel Morris as a result

The SuspectsEdit

  • George and Janice Clark
    • Parents of Kevin Clark.
    • Despite previous financial troubles were able to renovate their home and travel the world.
    • Prime suspects for Jerry Shea in their son's disappearance.
    • Owned the gun used to kill Kevin.
  • Michael Sparks
    • Drug dealer with two convictions for possession with intent to distribute.
    • Old friend of Kevin Clark and complicit in his fake kidnapping.
    • Claimed by Jamie and Daniel to be the one who actually murdered Kevin.
    • Kevin's body was found buried in his backyard.
    • Spent $10,000 of the ransom money at the Sultry Dolls strip club.
    • Murdered by Jamie Wade and Daniel Morris.
    • Fingerprint report went missing so he spent a week in the morgue as John Doe #47.
  • Special Agent Jerry Shea
    • Investigated Kevin Clark's disappearance for two years.
    • Incredibly arrogant.
    • No longer trusted by the FBI.
    • Continually insists that the parents are responsible.
    • Writes a book on the case under a penname earning him a $100,000 book advance.
    • Attempts to steal credit for solving the case and makes a fool of himself.
  • Jamie Wade
    • One of Kevin Clark's best friends.
    • Is a "gofer" for a DJ that travels Europe.
    • Complicit in the fake kidnapping plot.
    • Used his job as a DJ's assistant to slowly trade in the ransom money in cities all across Europe.
    • Either he or Daniel Morris killed Michael Sparks.
  • Daniel Morris
    • One of Kevin Clark's best friends.
    • Law student.
    • Complicit in the fake kidnapping plot.
    • Had the murder weapon in his apartment.
    • Either he or Jamie Wade killed Michael Sparks.

EvidenceEdit

  • Video of Kevin Clark's fake kidnapping.
  • Statement by Jamie Wade.
  • Ransom money spent at the Sultry Dolls strip club by Michael Sparks.
  • Location of Michael's house from some of the Sultry Dolls he partied with.
  • Kevin Clark's body.
  • The unusual bullet from an FN Five-Seven that killed Kevin.
  • Michael Sparks' body.
  • A second bullet from the FN Five-Seven recovered from Michael's body.
  • Special Agent Jerry Shea's suspicious travels and $100,000 deposit.
  • Statement from George and Janice Clark.
  • Interrogation of Jamie Wade and Daniel Morris.
  • The cities Jamie visited matching up with the appearance of the ransom money in Europe.
  • The FN Five-Seven recovered from Daniel Morris' apartment.

Closing the CaseEdit

Having learned that the ten thousand dollars from the ransom money was deposited in a bank account belonging to the Sultry Dolls strip club, Sykes and Julio investigate. They learn that the man who paid the money, Michael Sparks, had some Sultry Dolls over for a party at his home and they are able to get the address. Checking out the house, they find signs that Michael hasn't been there for days and that someone ransacked it looking for something. Tao also finds a hidden potential stash spot in the wall. While searching the backyard, Flynn notices that the hot tub has been moved from its original position. Digging up the ground under the hot tub's new location, they find the body of Kevin Clark, shot in the head.

In autopsy, Doctor Morales states that he will need dental records to be sure, but believes that the body they found is likely Kevin Clark. Missing Persons is searching for Michael Sparks while Morales has recovered the bullet used to kill Kevin which he notes looks strange. While Sharon wants to alert the Clarks' to their son's death, Shea insists on not doing so as he still sees them as suspects despite the fact that they don't seem like the kind of people that would murder their son and bury him in a drug dealer's backyard under his hot tub. Snatching the bullet from Tao who takes a picture of it, Shea states that they don't need him anymore as its a murder and not a kidnapping. Provenza realizes that Shea always intended to take the case from them just as they were about to solve it.

Sharon has Deputy Chief Fritz Howard use his FBI connections to look into Shea's travels and finances and Fritz comes up with an unauthorized trip to Brazil on Shea's FBI passport and a $100,000 deposit into Shea's bank account that the FBI has no idea of the source of. Tao brings news that they have found Michael Sparks: in the morgue. Michael was shot in the head the week before and his fingerprint report went missing so he has been there the whole time as a John Doe. Tao had taken a picture of the unusual bullet that killed Kevin which can only be fired from one gun: a Fabrique Nationale Herstal, also known as an FN Five-Seven. The FN Five-Seven is a very distinctive weapon and Tao found Michael because he was also killed by an FN Five-Seven. Tao's analysis concludes that it was the same gun as well. The squad, Fritz and Assistant Chief Russell Taylor are left wondering at Shea's behavior in stealing the bullet and relentlessly pursuing the wrong information for two years. Taylor gives the squad permission to question Shea, but warns that they can't arrest or detain him unless Shea confesses to murdering Kevin and Michael.

Provenza and Fritz confront Shea with his travel history and finances. Shea arrogantly claims its retaliation for him asserting his authority, but Fritz points out his unauthorized trip to Rio the month before. Shea states that he followed the Clarks there in hopes of catching them in the act of making contact with their son and had done so on his own dime. Shea reveals that the money is an advance payment for a book his is writing on Kevin Clark's disappearance under a penname. Shea expresses a belief that the bullet he took from them is all he needs to arrest the Clarks and finish his book. Provenza brings up Michael Sparks' murder and how he's been "hanging out" in the morgue as John Doe #47. Provenza implies that Shea is responsible for Michael being labeled as a John Doe while Shea realizes that Michael was also killed with an FN Five-Seven. Shea reveals that George Clark owns a gun collection amongst which is an FN Five-Seven. Smug, Shea announces his intention to arrest the Clarks and "thanks" them for their help. Sharon sends Flynn, Sykes and Tao to get the Clarks "lights and sirens" while Shea gloats about the end of his novel that they have helped him write.

Flynn and Sharon bring the Clarks in for questioning while their house is searched for the gun. Flynn asks about George's FN Five-Seven before telling him that they have found Kevin's body, confirmed through dental records on file with the FBI. They inform the Clarks, who break down in tears, that Kevin died of a gunshot wound to the head from a gun like the FN Five-Seven owned by George. At the same time, Tao alerts Buzz who informs Sharon that the search of the Clark home failed to turn up the gun and they are moving on to their "second location."

Janice admits that the gun has been missing since Kevin disappeared. While they didn't notice its absence until after the ransom was paid, they are pretty sure Kevin took it. The Clarks admit that they knew all along that Shea believed that Kevin had planned his own kidnapping and walked off with the money and had believed that mentioning the gun's disappearance would cause the FBI to stop looking for Kevin. Upon being shown a picture of Michael Sparks, the Clarks identify him as an old friend of Kevin's from middle school. They never knew Michael's parents and Michael had always been closer to Jamie Wade and Daniel Morris than Kevin.

As the Clarks question what Michael has to do with anything, Shea arrives to arrest them for the kidnapping murder of Kevin Clark. Despite Sharon's objections, Shea makes it clear that he is going to arrest the two and take all of the credit for "solving the case" for himself. Sharon allows Shea to arrest them and suggests that Major Crimes continue on with the notification process without Shea since he has no desire for further cooperation.

Next, the squad pulls Jamie and Daniel into the conference room and inform them that their old friend Michael Sparks was found dead behind a building in Culver City. Sticking with their earlier story about Kevin meeting with a drug dealer for a kilo of cocaine, Jamie claims that it must be why Kevin didn't want them to look up during the meeting. As the two are interviewed, Fritz reminds Sharon that Shea won't be happy, but she and Taylor feel that he could've been there and they will give "a surprise ending to his novel."

Julio, Sykes and Tao inform Jamie and Daniel that Michael was shot in the back of the head in an execution and they are facing charges of double homicide now. Sykes informs the two that they have found Kevin's body in Michael's backyard. Provenza goes on to state that they have also looked into Jamie's career as a DJ's assistant. In this role, he plays "big dance parties" in Barcelona, Rome and Paris amongst others. As the ransom money has been showing up in European cities, Tao announces that they will check security footage from currency exchanges located in every European airport Jamie has visited for footage of him exchanging $100 bills from the ransom money.

While Jamie wants to call a lawyer, Daniel insists on finally telling the truth. According to Daniel, the fake kidnapping was all Kevin's idea. Kevin had planned out every step of the process and pulled in Michael, Jamie and Daniel in, mainly in order to get even with his parents. After Kevin had gotten out of rehab, his parents cut back on his allowance by a lot, making Kevin angry. However, Kevin ultimately wanted to back out of the fake kidnapping. Jamie and Daniel claim that Michael argued with Kevin as they'd go to jail, Kevin pulled out the gun, Michael got it and shot Kevin in the head.

However, while the story of Kevin's murder is potentially true, it doesn't explain Michael's murder. Julio points out that while Michael was supposedly calling all the shots, he ended up dead. The police also found the house torn up when they arrived as if someone was searching for something and Michael had an empty stash space. Michael's share of the ransom money has also disappeared. Tao points out that the two had always been so careful, slowly cashing in the money overseas whenever Jamie traveled, but it was blown by Michael's wild night at Sultry Dolls where he "was throwing around ransom money like it was no big deal." After that, Michael ended up dead, making their story fall apart.

While Jamie and Daniel were with the police, they conducted a search of the two's apartments and found the murder weapon in Daniel's. With the FN Five-Seven presented before them, Jamie and Daniel begin arguing with each other over who was responsible for what and who will make a deal with the police. Sharon decides that since the FBI started the investigation, they can leave it to the federal government to prosecute Jamie Wade and Daniel Morris for the murders of Kevin Clark and Michael Sparks. Agreeing with Sharon's suggestion, Fritz contacts the US Attorney to take custody of the two, the US Attorney being a friend of his. The two are placed under arrest for the double murder, arguing with each other still even as they are handcuffed.

In a fitting ending, Fritz notices that Shea intends to hold a press conference in five minutes announcing an arrest in the Kevin Clark kidnapping. Sharon and Taylor decide to hold off on alerting Shea that they actually solved the murder until after they watch Shea make a fool of himself in front of the media. Sharon, Taylor and Andy watch Shea claim that he has "overwhelming evidence" against the Clarks and has worked the case "more often than not" completely on his own. Eventually, they have enough and shut it off before the press conference is over. Afterwards, Taylor takes pleasure in informing Shea that they have caught the actual killers and he just made a fool out of himself.

Guest CastEdit

RecurringEdit

LocationsEdit

Episode NotesEdit

  • Flynn and Raydor officially announce their romantic relationship to Assistant Chief Taylor. While he warns them to keep things professional between them in the workplace, he allows it.
  • At 28:57, TJ Shaw's phone gives the date as Monday, July 27.
  • At the end of the episode, Provenza removes the picture of Alice Herrera from the murder board where it has hung since "Jane Doe #38". As the mystery of Alice's identity has been solved, it no longer appears there after this episode.

The Search for Alice HerreraEdit

  • Rusty meets with Alice Herrera's brother Gustavo Wallace and finally learns her real name: Mariana Wallace. Gustavo explains that the reason Alice was running from him was she was angry he abandoned her and Paloma to get away from their mother's abusive boyfriend as soon as he could leave. When Gustavo came back from fighting in Afghanistan, he found his family gone and has been searching for his sisters since. Gustavo proves that he was another victim of the abuse and not the abuser by showing Rusty his own scars.
  • Having identified Alice and not wanting to tell Gustavo about his sister's death himself, Rusty brings Gustavo to the squad. Raydor is shocked but pleased to discover Rusty has finally identified Mariana and takes Gustavo aside to inform him of his sister's death. The squad proudly congratulates Rusty though Flynn seems displeased he left the notification to Raydor.
  • A consequence of Rusty's search however is that his obsession with finding Alice's true identity gets in the way of his friendship with TJ who ensures his safety at his meeting with Gustavo and then departs once he's sure Rusty's safe.

TriviaEdit

  • On both the DVD title screen and the pamphlet that comes with the season 4 DVD set listing the episodes, this episode is titled "Hostage of Fortune" rather than "Hostage to Fortune".

Episode MediaEdit

What's in a Name Pt04:08

What's in a Name Pt. 8

Identity by Rusty Beck

  • Rusty discussed finding Alice's brother, Gus, and what he learned.

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