Graceland – Episode 03 – Recap – Heat Run
This week’s episode picks up right where last week‘s ended, with undercover FBI agent Paul Briggs (Daniel Sunjata) pointing a gun to the back of his rookie partner Mike Warren’s (Aaron Tveit) head. Warren’s been talking to his superiors in the FBI about Briggs, who he is secretly investigating. The little cliffhanger last week was a red herring, though. Briggs was pointing the gun as a fake-out. Turns out some mobsters from last week’s episode suspect (rightly so) that Paul and Mike sold them out (they did) and are meeting to accuse the pair. After some quick thinking on the part of Mike, they get out, and it seems that all is well with the federal agent beach house base known as Graceland.
The plot that’s been bubbling under from the past two episodes, with DEA agent Lauren Kincaid, former partner of Donnie (the injured agent our boy Mike replaced in the pilot), is still trying to get Donnie’s spot in Graceland reinstated. She’s learned that there’s one Russian mob guy who wants to kill Donnie, and the team embarks on a takedown mission, to bring this guy in on a motor vehicle smuggling operation. The bust ends up going bust; Lauren breaks cover against orders (by letting the mob truck driver see her) and the team confiscates an empty truck. Again against orders, she goes back into her undercover role with the Russian mafia to try again to bust the bad guy. She comes back to Graceland with a black eye, tells Briggs she got it from the Russian mobster, while snooping for the stolen cars, and another op is put together. They get the Russian mob villain-of-the-week, and all seems fine. Momentarily. Briggs and Paige suspect the mob found Lauren out and are using her to locate Graceland. Paige finds a GPS transmitter under Lauren’s car, and Briggs sees that the mobster’s hands have not been hitting anyone lately. Lauren is removed from Graceland, and admits she faked the black eye and the story about finding the cars in the warehouse just to get back at this guy for Donnie.
Meanwhile, Charlie’s got a criminal informant who she’s giving a shakedown, a meth addict named Whistler with a carpentry hobby and a shaky demeanor. He clues her in on a big deal (of which Whistler gets a 20% cut), and the team gets ready to drop some dealers. The bust goes off nearly without a hitch, but idiot Whistler tries to drive the price of the sale up so his cut increases in step (he’s getting kicked out of his sister’s house). Charlie has a visit with Whistler the next day to tell him his services as a snitch are no longer required, that the FBI thinks Whistler is too much of a risk. Charlie tells him to get to rehab and bids him farewell. She eventually returns and sets him up to buy a really crappy house with his snitch cash, to give him something to do to overcome his addiction, and to give him a place to live. When she drives by in the episode’s closing shots, a family is closing a deal on the house instead, much to Charlie’s disappointment.
In a little plot peppered throughout this episode, Mike is beginning to get frustrated by the Bureau’s refusal to be more open about why Briggs is under investigation, so they open up; the FBI suspects Briggs is skimming money off the top, as his lifestyle strikes them as slightly above his pay-grade. To find out more, Mike gets Briggs’ credit card number during one of the many carousing-between-missions scenes (there’s a surprising number of these scenes). In the episode-ending tag, we see Mike investigate an errant charge on the card, tracking it to an auto parts store. He goes there, and finds out Paul bought the tracker that was on Lauren’s Jeep!
Briggs is ruthless about protecting Graceland, and set Lauren up because he saw her as a threat. It seems Mike agrees with the mission statement, but his angry face says he disagrees with the methods. That disagreement seems to be at the core of the show’s movement; Briggs is a brilliant agent who gets the job done while skirting the rules, while Warren is a by-the-book company man who is having his preconceived notions challenged at every turn during his stay at Graceland. This show has a lot of stuff happening, a lot more stuff than had been happening the last two weeks. If it continues to ramp up for the rest of the season, we’re in for seven more weeks of excellent TV. Check back here this time next week for another recap! In the meantime, here’s a preview of this week’s: