Finally, this week we get some insight into Operation Daylight, and for once, we can actually believe Bethany (sort of). The episode begins as a flashback of Bethany’s from five years prior, with Tom Carter, Bethany, and the Deputy White House Political Director Sophia Varma secretly meeting in a parking garage. They’re there to meet with the chief of staff (yes, as in the president’s), and they learn that the White House wants to have them come up with “creative ways” to use intel captured from the NSA’s tapping of citizen’s phones, computers, etc. It comes as no surprise that Carter is down to clown without question, but Bethany is hesitant to agree at first. Carter and Sophia convince Bethany that it’s all for the greater good, but it’s clear that in the back of Bethany’s mind, she knows that one day this will all come back to haunt her.
Back in the present, another crime lands at the team’s feet. Two NYPD police officers have been shot dead execution-style, and it all seems to be tied to an earlier crime. The two officers, Officer Schultz and Officer Garrigan, were present for a prior crime where one of their fellow officers shot and killed an unarmed teenager, causing major rifts and riots in the community. The police force was dubbed the “Brooklyn Butchers,” and at the crime scene where the two officers were killed, “Butcher the Butchers,” was painted by the bodies.
Surprise! This all circles back to one of Jane’s tattoos. She has a tattoo of a butcher knife surrounded by a circle, with the number “65” inside of it — the policeman killed were part of the 65th Precinct. Unsure of how Jane’s mystery tattoo artist would be able to anticipate the murders of the policemen, the team heads to the 65th Precinct to take over the investigation. When they arrive and the Captain tells his force the news of the FBI’s involvement, there is huge pushback. Because the police officers’ lives are at risk, they have no choice but to turn the case over to our Scooby Gang.
The team starts by first questioning one of the murdered officers’ partners, Tracey Dunn. Officer Schultz, according to her, was a decent guy and didn’t have enemies. She mentioned that he seemed a little off lately, like something was bothering him. The team notices that she has a body cam on, and they learn that it’s a part of an experimental program at the precinct. They immediately get Schultz’s footage and start to weed through it.
On the footage, they find that Schultz got into an altercation with an NFL player, Ricky Holt, who’s currently out due to an injury. Holt gets aggressive with Schultz in the footage, making him a suspect in their case. It turns out that Holt also has a gun with a similar caliber to the murder weapon registered in his name. They find out his location and head to bring him in.
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When they arrive at the party where Holt is, Holt sprints up and runs. Weller runs to keep up with him, and personally I’m glad that the writers didn’t have Weller catch him — the guy is an NFL running back. I’m sure Weller works out, but that would have been in the top three for most unrealistic things on this show.
Jane ultimately tackles Holt when he comes across her path, and the team takes him in. They question him about his relationship with Schultz, and they learn that Ricky was being blackmailed — but not necessarily by Schultz. Schultz arrived at an apartment where Ricky was because a neighbor called to complain about noise. A week later, Ricky received an anonymous letter in the mail with photos of him having sex that night and demanding $50,000 in blackmail money. Ricky is gay and not out for fear of losing his endorsements, so he paid his mystery blackmailer. It turns out, the blackmailer wanted $50,00 every month, prompting Ricky to attack Schultz because he thought the officer was behind it.
The team puts the puzzle pieces together and realizes that the circle in Jane’s tattoo represents a camera lens, calling out the corruption in the 65th Precinct. Jane’s mystery artist couldn’t predict the murders of the police force; they wanted to call out the blackmail the precinct was up to. Their next step is to question Officer Dunn again, now knowing that someone inside the force is blackmailing citizens using their body-cam footage. When they look for Officer Dunn, they find out that she’s been murdered, and the same “Butcher the Butchers” message is written next to her body.
NEXT: The team identifies the real butchers
The team discovers that all officer camera footage is accessible by the entire precinct, so any officer could be behind the conspiracy. There are only two logins available to view the footage, and the entire precinct has the login information. Since there is no way to track who specifically viewed the photos of Holt and blackmailed him, Patterson puts her brains to work.
She finds out that Schultz had drafted a letter to internal affairs, saying he believed someone was accessing his camera footage, but he feared talking to anyone about it. They trace the money being laundered to a dummy account (Holt wasn’t the only target) and find out that two other officers in the 65th Precinct, Costello and Johnson, are the two behind the conspiracy. They dig further into their purchasing activity and find out that one of them bought a burner phone and trace it to Schultz’s home, where his widow still lives.
Weller calls Schultz’s wife to warn her but learns that Costello and Johnson are already there. He and Jane rush to her home, and when they arrive they’re greeted by a shootout (it wouldn’t be a Blindspot episode without a shootout), and Jane is able to grab Schultz’s wife and escape from the house. Jane takes down Costello outside by shooting her in the leg, and Weller gets attacked by Johnson inside with one of those noise-bombs, ringing Weller’s ears so bad it takes him down. Weller is able to shoot and kill Johnson before he gets the same fate, and Jane rushes to Weller’s side once the scene is clear.
Jane is transparent about her feelings to Weller, telling him she couldn’t bear the thought of something happened to him, further reiterating how much she cares for him. Throughout the episode, Jane has been pushing Weller to put aside his obvious frustrations with Bethany (not knowing what they are). She’s becoming closer with the team, and she knows that they have to stick together if they’re ever going to find out her past and why she arrived at the FBI’s doorstep. Her intentions aren’t entirely selfish; she’s starting to genuinely care for the team, and her bond with Weller grows each week. She knows she has to continue to work through his stubbornness if they’re going to succeed.
Meanwhile, Bethany is with the captain of the 65th Precinct, who’s demanding to see Costello so he can “look her in the eye” about the crimes she’s committed. In the car on the way to the hospital, Bethany discovers the captain was involved in the conspiracy the whole time, and he pulls a gun on her. Being the badass that she is, she runs the car off of the road, knocking the captain out. She suffers some minor injuries and is surprised when Weller visits her at the hospital. He may not have forgiven her yet, but him showing up is a sign he might be willing to learn and understand why she went down the road of corruption herself.
In Bethany’s flashbacks throughout the episode, we learn that she was in a romantic relationship with Sophia, and as they continued to participate in Operation Daylight, Sophia fell deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of guilt. When the NSA’s activities were revealed to the public and the chief of staff stopped all communication, she fell off the deep end. She asked Bethany to leave the country with her and start fresh by taking refuge oversees. Bethany couldn’t bear the thought of all those criminals she indicted being released and told Sophia it was their duty to make sure that didn’t happen. Unfortunately, Sophia couldn’t live with what she had done and took her own life, leaving a letter for Bethany saying she loved her.
While Bethany reminisces about her love, Weller caves and shares a drink with his dad back at his apartment. We’re still not sure how he fits into all of this, but I’m guessing we’ll get more insight into that next week. Weller isn’t the only one letting off some steam; Jane goes for drinks with Zapata and Patterson. Jane and Zapata have a few female bonding moments throughout the episode, setting up for an even deeper level of betrayal when Jane ultimately finds out about Zapata’s side job of being Carter’s intel lackey.
The episode ends with Carter creeping up on Zapata on her walk home and telling her that she’s stuck being his minion (we totally called it). She pushes back saying she gave him Jane’s file, but he just laughs at her and says, “You’re mine now, Agent Zapata.” Could she really have been that naive and desperate to think that handing over Jane’s file would be all Carter would ask of her?
Theories and Questions:
- Where does Weller’s dad fit into this, and where is tree-tattoo guy?
- Knowing Bethany’s past with Daylight/Sophia makes us feel for her a little bit, but does it excuse her of all she’s done. She lost Sophia, but has she paid the price?
- We still need more about Jane’s tooth/DNA controversy — how long do we have to wait until we see what that’s all about?
- How long will Zapata work for Carter before she’s caught? All of the background we’re getting about her (she was an NYPD cop for five years and lost her partner in action) is brought up to build her relationship with Jane. Would it be possible that Jane would forgive her once she finds out what she’s doing for Carter? Jane did mention to Weller that she hasn’t been betrayed by the team (yet). Will she take her own advice and look at the situation from Zapata’s side? It’s inevitable she’ll find out.