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MC403
Title Open Line
Series Major Crimes
Season 4
Episode 3
Airdate June 22, 2015
Viewers 4.24 million
Written by Ralph Gifford and Carson Moore
Directed by Rick Wallace
Guests Jamie Bamber
Previous episode Sorry I Missed You
Next episode Turn Down
Episode list Season 4


Major Crimes investigates the murder of a super model with close ties to a pompous celebrity photographer with boundary issues. Meanwhile, Raydor and Rusty give Assistant Chief Taylor a headache when they are both served subpoenas for their entanglement in the Alice murder case.

The VictimEdit

  • Christa Cook
    • 24-year old model originally from Buffalo.
    • Been in LA for about six years.
    • Removed from a dangerous family situation as a teenager and raised by Melissa Zara, her agent.
    • Planned to leave modeling to go to college.
    • Cyberstalked by photographer Malcolm Rich who was obsessed with her.
    • Dated MMA fighter Felix Kosta who is implied to have been abusive towards Christa.
    • Beaten to death by Felix after Malcolm sent him a text implying that they were sleeping together.
  • Rosario Moore
    • Malcolm Rich's ex-girlfriend.
    • Stalked by him and filed a civil complaint against him.
    • Complaint dismissed when Rosario was arrested for cocaine possession.
    • Is implied to be one of Malcolm's cyberstalking victims.
  • 42 women
    • Presumably includes Christa Cook and Rosario Moore.
    • Cyberstalked over the course of years by Malcolm Rich.
  • Lieutenant Michael Tao
    • Computer accidentally infected with Malcolm Rich's spyware.
    • Spied on by Malcolm afterwards at least long enough to see Tao's reaction to his spyware.
    • Forced Tao to shut down the LAPD Intranet.
  • Two LAPD patrol officers
    • One knocked to the ground by Felix Koster.
    • A second held hostage and strangled by Felix resulting in him needing medical attention afterwards.
  • Felix Koster
    • Goaded by a text from Malcolm Rich into attacking Christa, resulting in her death.
    • His actions after getting the text resulted in his own death.
    • Listed by Lieutenant Michael Tao as one of two people who died as a result of Malcolm Rich's actions.

The SuspectsEdit

  • Felix Koster
    • MMA fighter training for a big title.
    • Christa Cook's ex-boyfriend who is implied to have been abusive towards her.
    • Attacked Christa in a rage after receiving a text from Malcolm Rich claiming that he was having sex with Christa.
    • Claims to have not intended to kill Christa with Julio Sanchez believing he went so far as Christa fought back.
    • During a standoff with the LAPD was shot dead in self-defense by Lieutenant Michael Tao.
  • Dillon Koster
    • Felix's older brother and trainer.
    • Claimed he was with Felix training at the time of the murder.
    • Discovered to be in Santa Monica at the time of the murder.
  • Melissa Zara
    • Christa Cook's agent who sent her the picture with the spyware.
    • Former model who raised Christa after rescuing her from a bad family situation.
    • Disappointed when Christa wanted to go to college and tried to convince her to stay.
    • Hates Malcolm Rich.
  • Malcolm Rich
    • Described by Melissa Zara as "great photographer, awful, awful human being."
    • Has a bad reputation amongst agents.
    • Cyberstalked 42 of his models over the years including Christa Cook and presumably Rosario Moore.
    • Has three months of recordings of Christa Cook through her webcam on his computer.
    • Sent a text with a lewd photo to Felix Koster to incite him to attack Christa, leading to her murder.
    • Claims he didn't intend Christa to be killed but was prevented from explaining his reasoning.
    • Is responsible for the deaths of Christa Cook and Felix Koster through his actions.

EvidenceEdit

  • Christa's cracked computer.
  • Picture containing Malcom Rich's spyware.
  • Malcom's statement of facts.
  • Malcolm's video of Christa's murder, possibly inadmissible in court.
  • Malcolm's three months of Christa videos.
  • Images taken from Sykes' cell phone recording of the original meeting with the Koster brothers.
  • Security video of Dillon Koster buying coffee in Santa Monica at 7:25am.
  • Edited version of Christa's murder shown to Dillon Koster.
  • Dillon Koster's testimony.
  • Malcolm Rich's antagonistic text to Felix Koster.
  • Malcolm not adding Lieutenant Michael Tao to his list of spyware victims.

Closing the CaseEdit

After Melissa Zara points to Malcolm Rich as the one most likely responsible for the spyware on Christa's computer, Flynn and Sykes serve a search warrant for his computers and bring Malcolm in for questioning.

In interrogation, Tao and Sharon bring up Malcolm's lack of alibi and his forceful attempt to get Christa to have sex with him. They also mention a previous girlfriend, Rosario Moore, who claimed Malcolm was stalking her before the police found cocaine in her apartment. This draws Julio's interest and makes him wonder if Malcolm had cyberstalked Rosario as well and thus knew about the cocaine to alert the police. After bringing up Malcolm's spyware on Christa's computer, which Tao has traced to Malcolm's computer with the help of the LAPD's Internet Crimes Unit, Sharon orders his arrest for spying on Christa and threatens to expose his actions to the press.

Desperate, Malcolm tells the detectives that he didn't kill Christa, but he did watch it happen through her webcam. Malcolm's lawyer tries to leverage the situation to get Malcolm off completely, but Sharon refuses, stating that unless he provides her with verifiable information on Christa's murder, she is arresting Malcolm for murder. Malcolm describes how the killer was wearing sweatpants like Felix Koster used to when he picked Christa up, brutally pummeled her into the floor and how the computer got knocked sideways. He also describes Tao picking up the computer and Tao's reaction when his own computer got infected. Malcolm tells the detectives that he has it all saved in a password protected file on his computer and that he recorded Christa for the last three months.

In return for the recordings, Malcolm's lawyer demands that no charges be filed against him for the cyberstalking. Sharon and Tao demand that Malcolm give them the names of every single person he is stalking or there will be no deal. Sharon warns that if Malcolm leaves off a single name, his deal will be voided. Malcolm agrees to the deal and gives the LAPD the names of forty-two women he has been stalking for years.

After learning of the number of women victimized by Malcolm, DDA Hobbs is enraged and more interested in prosecuting Malcolm for his crimes than getting his statement of facts. However, Sharon and Provenza point out that if Malcolm really did watch the murder through Christa's webcam, he obviously didn't kill her. Malcolm has pointed the finger at Christa's ex-boyfriend Felix Koster, but Malcolm's video was made illegally and the defense could attempt to exclude it. Buzz also reports that a search by patrol of security cameras in the area turned up nothing that would break Felix's alibi. However, Sharon notices that in one of the photos from Sykes' camera, Dillon Koster is holding a coffee cup. Sykes decides to follow up on Dillon's coffee while Hobbs reluctantly agrees to accept Malcolm's deal, turning over the names and passwords for all of Malcolm's protected files to Tao.

On Tao's instruction, Buzz opens the folder with three months of recordings of Christa and quickly finds the video from the morning of the murder. The squad, Hobbs, Rusty and Assistant Chief Russell Taylor watch the video of the murder, but can't find anything that would allow them to positively identify the killer. Noting that Malcolm had believed it was Felix, Sharon orders Buzz to look through it some more, thinking that Malcolm might've heard something that they missed. After briefly talking with Rusty about his own troubles, Sharon comes up with the idea to take Malcolm's computer into electronics and look through the three months of videos in order to listen to Christa's conversations.

Despite Dillon's claims that he and Felix were training since 7:00am, Sykes is able to locate security video of him buying coffee in Santa Monica at 7:25am with Christa's attack taking place at 7:34am. As a result, Dillon could not have been telling the truth about Felix's alibi. Confronted with the video, Dillon claims that the two took a break from training and Felix was waiting in the car as he couldn't leave him at the gym. Sykes points out that Dillon only bought one coffee which Dillon claims is because Felix can't drink coffee while he's training. Flynn and Sykes then show Dillon the video of Christa's murder which now features Christa demanding to know what Felix is doing there and to get out when she opens the door. Sharon and Buzz explain that they pulled the audio of the recording of an argument between Felix and Christa, gotten from the other three months of recordings and set it to play when Christa opened the door off-screen.

As Dillon gets emotional, Sykes expresses understanding of his attempt to protect his brother and promises not to charge Dillon as an accessory after the fact to murder if he withdraws his statement. Dillon finally admits that Felix lost his temper for a moment and hit Christa, but he hadn't meant for it to escalate so far. Julio realizes that because Christa fought back, Felix went so far. Dillon states that it all started when Felix received a weird text in the middle of the night that he wouldn't show Dillon, but that had enraged him. Felix had claimed to Dillon that he shoved Christa and that it was an accident. As Dillon tells them that Felix is currently at the gym training for a big upcoming fight, Tao is confused as to the origin of the text as he knows it wasn't from Christa.

Arriving at the gym with several patrol officers, Sykes, Flynn, Tao and Julio clear out everyone else before confronting Julio. After Sykes announces that Felix is under arrest for Christa's murder, Felix agrees to go quietly, but attacks two patrol officers when they go to handcuff him. Felix grabs one as a hostage, but drops the officer's gun when Julio threatens to shoot him if he doesn't. Holding the officer in a position that he can easily break his neck, Felix angrily insists to Tao that he never meant to kill Christa as he loved her. As Felix's attention is on Tao, Julio puts away his weapon and tackles Felix to the floor, freeing the officer. Grabbing the officer's gun from the floor, Felix takes aim at Tao who is forced to shoot Felix dead in self-defense.

The next morning, the LAPD's network is back online while Tao, traumatized by having to kill someone, searches through Felix's phone for the text Dillon mentioned. Tao finds the text which he traces to a burner phone bought by Malcolm Rich. The text is a photo of a partially-dressed Christa stolen from her webcam with the caption "look who I've been bangin." The squad realizes that Malcolm sent the text to provoke Felix into attacking Christa, leading to her murder.

When confronted with the evidence, Malcolm's lawyer dismisses it as conjecture and reminds Sharon and Hobbs of their deal which prevents them from using the webcam against Malcolm. However, Malcolm did leave a name off of his list: Michael Tao. Even though it wasn't an intentional spying, Malcolm did spy on Tao and the LAPD and as such, per Sharon's warning, leaving off Tao's name invalidates Malcolm's deal. Hobbs reveals that under the Patriot Act, spying on a police station is considered an act of terror and comes with an automatic sentence of ten years. Hobbs offers that if Malcolm signs a new statement of facts confirming he sent the text to Felix with the intention of him attacking Christa, he can have a deal of involuntary manslaughter with a sentence of eight years in prison, reduced to six for good behavior. Malcolm's lawyer recognizes the seriousness of what Malcolm is facing and pushes him to take the manslaughter deal despite Malcolm's assertions that he never intended Felix to kill Christa.

After Tao reminds Malcolm that two people are dead because of him and reiterates how serious they are with the terrorism charge, Malcolm's lawyer agrees to take the manslaughter deal.

Guest CastEdit

  • Kristen Kassinger (Christa Cook)
  • Chastity Lynn Dotson (Melissa Zara)
  • Sean Harmon (Felix Koster)

RecurringEdit

LocationsEdit

Episode NotesEdit

  • Rusty's visit to Slider to find out any information he knows about Alice Herrera in the last episode leads to him and Sharon being subpoenaed in this episode. Eventually Judge Grove decides that Rusty was just acting as a journalist and though warning him not to visit Slider again (and over Hobbs' protests), agrees to let him post his video of his interview with Slider on his video blog.
  • Judge Grove returns. He previously appeared in Backfire where he forced the LAPD to figure out all the details of a murder before he would accept a deal and earned Rios' ire due to his actions getting someone else killed. He also appeared in Return to Sender Part 2 as the judge in the Phillip Stroh trial. He recognizes Rusty from the trial and asks him how many murder trials he plans to get involved in. Apparently he's an old friend of Sharon Raydor as they have a casual conversation at the end where he gives her advice as a friend.
  • Following Judge Grove's advice in this episode, Raydor stops paying attention to Rusty's blog to the point where she removes herself from his investigation entirely, though Buzz still helps him with camera work and he, Tao and Julio give him advice in Turn Down, showing that the rest of the squad is not affected by this restriction. Like Judge Grove suggests, she is completely surprised when Rusty finds Alice's real name in Hostage to Fortune and brings her brother to meet her.

TriviaEdit

  • Mary McDonnell (Captain Sharon Raydor) and Jamie Bamber (Malcolm Rich) previously starred together in the series Battlestar Galactica as President Laura Roslin and Lee "Apollo" Adama respectively.
  • During the episode, Michael Tao's picture is posted on the murder board as one of the episode's victims. This is because of Malcolm Rich's inadvertent hacking of Tao's computer, making Tao technically a victim. Tao's listing on the board is spyware "expert".
  • The episode title comes from the fact that Christa Cook's 911 call was an "open line" call. During the opening scene, Detective Amy Sykes specifically refers to it as such.

Episode MediaEdit

What's in a Name Pt04:36

What's in a Name Pt. 3

Identity by Rusty Beck

Start a Discussion Discussions about Open Line

  • Discussion for Episode 403: Open Line (June 22, 2015)

    6 messages
    • Rusty is a MAJOR part, to be sure. He's long since used up his usefulness, and now with the Jane Doe storyline it just proves it. It...
    • I liked the episode as a whole, the case was good. Rusty doesn’t bother me now, I’ve learned to tolerate him and ignore him when I need to ...

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