At the end of last week’s episode, the team finally managed to arrest Madeline Burke, but it came at a cost. Jane was kidnapped in the process by Madeline’s security expert Dominic. Video shows him leaving the hospital with a body under a blanket on a stretcher, taking an ambulance to the Barclays Center, and then switching to a car. The team knows that’s Jane, and right now Madeline is the only lead they have. Weller, heated because of how personal this is, questions her, but she’s not giving anything up. She has an elusive non-answer for everything.
Her stubborness only gets worse when her eccentric lawyer Richard Shirley shows up, clearly using his casual attitude to hide the fact that he’s a nefarious man who’s all too happy to provide safe cover for criminals. He says that Madeline has done nothing wrong, and that any link to Dominic is one from the past, as he no longer works for her. On top of that, the team technically has no evidence that Dominic is the one behind the kidnapping. The grainy hospital video isn’t enough, and when Dominic calls in to set up a trade — Jane for Madeline — he uses a VPN and voice scrambler.
Still, the team knows who they’re after. The question is, how much trouble is Jane in? Well, quite a bit. Dominic has buried her alive. She tries to punch her way out, but a bunch of dirt just falls through the cracks. She has a phone with her, but it can only be used by Dominic, who uses the connection to prove to the FBI that Jane is alive. So, Dominic wants Madeline on a plane out of the country, and when she’s safe he’ll hand Jane over to the FBI. Obviously Weller is eager to make the deal, but Reade isn’t so sure. He says the DOJ likely won’t sign off on it, which means the team is set searching a five-mile radius of wilderness looking for Jane after they get a single ping off a cell tower.
Patterson does some quick calculations and estimates that Jane has 39 minutes of oxygen left. So, not much time to save her. This is one seriously tense episode, and while no one is buying into the ideas that Jane could die, the cast sells the emotional stakes, so it’s impossible to not get wrapped up in the case. The team needs to narrow down the search radius, and they get an opportunity when Madeline agrees to give them some information that she “just remembered” in the conference room, away from the cameras of the interrogation room. The team wires the room to keep her words on the record, but Shirley is one step ahead, bringing along a frequency blocker.
It doesn’t matter much anyways, because all Madeline comes with is another demand. She wants to speak to her sons, to assure them that she is safe. Weller, once again, says they have no choice but to meet her demands, but this is where Reade draws the line. He refuses to keep playing games with Madeline, and his rationale is sound, even if Weller doesn’t see it. There’s no way she’s just going to give up where Jane is; she’s simply running out the clock with one demand after another. It’ll never end.
Zapata knows that too, so she’s ready to jump in and talk to Madeline instead. Reade has been avoiding that because of their history, but he’s running out of options. Plus, Zapata is right, she knows Madeline better than anybody. So, she gets into the conference room and uses Madeline’s family against her. She details the memory of Madeline admitting to poisoning her husband, and says that Reade is working on a warrant to exhume the body so they can test for chemicals, which are likely the same ones used in the deaths of the HCI Global board. Madeline doesn’t seem that concerned, until Zapata reminds her that her sons will hear all about her behavior, and in that process she’ll expose her youngest son’s DUI.
Zapata knows family is Madeline’s weakness, and the ploy works. She offers up the location of Dominic’s hunting cabin in exchange for keeping her husband’s body buried. With that information, plus Patterson and Rich being able to get to Jane’s phone and ask her questions about the soil in the coffin and the weird bugs biting her, they manage to narrow down the location a bit more. The problem is, the hunting cabin is empty. It’s clear that Madeline’s lawyer tipped Dominic off, so Weller pressures Reade into taking the deal and putting Madeline on a plane and setting her free. “If we lose one of us in the hunt for Madeline…she wins.”
Finally, after Jane gets her phone working again by using her bra wires to create a charge with a flashlight battery, Patterson and Rich are able to ping her phone off the phones of FBI agents in the area. They triangulate a location, and Weller starts digging. When he finally gets inside the coffin, Jane is passed out. He pulls her out, pounds on her chest, and she gasps a deep breath of fresh air. Once again, this couple has managed to fight through a life and death situation. Surely they’re going to need a lot of therapy at some point, right?
With Jane rescued, and the deal the FBI made not technically on the record because of Shirley’s frequency jammer, the FBI arrests Madeline again. They finally have her, even if she believes she’s taken down Zapata in the process, tainted her to the point where Reade will never take her back. She underestimates this team though. Weller’s words about losing each other and Madeline winning have him reflecting on Zapata, and how he doesn’t want to lose her again. With the CIA now off her back, she’s free to come back to the FBI, with Reade’s blessing too.
Not everything is rosy though. Dominic is still on the loose, and Shirley informs him that Helios, the plan to attack the eastern seaboard, is still on, and that he’s running things now. That means the celebratory drinks the team take at the end of the episode come a little early, because there’s still an attack to thwart in the very near future.