It’s a Manhattan Love Story reunion!
This time last year, you could’ve tuned in on a Tuesday night to see Jake McDorman romancing Analeigh Tipton in ABC’s short-lived rom-com. Unfortunately, Manhattan Love Story was the first show to get the axe last fall, but fortunately for us, that freed both of them up for Limitless, and Tipton shows up as a guest star in tonight’s episode as Brian’s pre-NZT girlfriend.
Now that Brian doesn’t have to spend his waking hours locked in an FBI storage room studying Farsi, he’s permitted to take his daily pill at home — courtesy of his bodyguards/babysitters Mike and Ike — and spend his morning commute brushing up on some research. But on his way into the office, he runs into his ex-girlfriend Shauna, and by the time their subway ride is over, they’ve already reconnected. “If you ever do bump into the one that got away, I highly recommend doing it while you’re on NZT,” he says.
Brian’s happiness, however, is short-lived, as his next case is a murder, and it’s one that hits close to home for the FBI. Ray Dixon, a retired special agent in charge of forensic accounting, was found shot in the head by a sniper, with only a mysterious Post-it note found in his hand. Dixon’s post-FBI career involved vetting potential CEO candidates, and the night before he was shot, a virus wiped his computer, which suggest he uncovered something bad about one of them.
The good news? Dixon was an old-school investigator, who also kept extensive paper records. But the bad news? He was also a devout believer in shredding every piece of paper he ever used, which means Brian has a lot of paper strings to sort through. With a little help from Mike and Ike, he manages to narrow it down to one potential CEO candidate, who’s been mysteriously moving some money around and may be having affair, suggesting blackmail.
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But though, the potential CEO had an affair with a summer intern — and fathered a kid with her — he didn’t order a hit on Dixon. Those payments weren’t blackmail money but secret child support, and although Dixon figured it out, he promised to keep quiet. So strike him off the list of potential murderers.
The other CEOs are a dead end, but Rebecca does manage to track Dixon to a storage unit in Long Island, which reveals Dixon’s serious obsession with catching one of his old foes from his time in the FBI: Marcos Ramos, the head of a bloodthirsty drug cartel. Even if he never actually fed anyone to piranhas, he ordered a lot of assassinations, courtesy of a sniper nicknamed La Cebra, and it looks like Dixon’s obsession with catching him got him killed. Even Brian’s scale Post-it note recreations of the shooting doesn’t reveal more than the fact that La Cebra is at least 6-foot-5. Which is not super helpful.
But before they go pick the brains of the NYPD, Brian tries to have a little heart-to-heart over beers with Rebecca. Although Brian really wants to rekindle things with Shauna, their first post-NZT dinner didn’t go so well, and he’s worried that he can only make things work if he’s on NZT. While Rebecca is clearly uncomfortable with feelings/talking about feelings, she does give some pretty great advice, telling him that regardless of his NZT status, he’s a decent guy and that people should like him for who he is, instead of for what he can do. Awww.
NEXT: Rebecca and Brian find a corpse-sicle
After all the mushy heart-to-heart stuff is over, the two of them get back to solving murders, and after Brian impresses the NYPD with his perfect recall and Sherlock Holmes skills, the task force assigned to taking down the Ramos cartel shares their files, and he immediately singles out a former Olympic biathlete from Finland — who just happens to be 6-foot-6. Brian isn’t allowed to go bring the guy in, so he dreams up “Rebecca’s Awesome TAKE-DOWN!” (exclamation point!), complete with dramatic chase scenes and badass lines like, “You ran like a rabbit, and now you’re going to die like a snake.”
La Cebra fesses up, but there’s a wrinkle: He lost his hand in a gunpowder accident, so there’s no way he could be the sniper who killed Dixon. He did commit the earlier murders for the cartel, but although he’s retired, Ramos is still using his name. Apparently La Cebra is like the Dread Pirate Roberts in that regard. Here’s the weird thing, though: Last time they talked, Ramos said he wanted to get out of the murderous cartel game and start cooperating with the U.S. government. Apparently he changed his mind.
While the FBI is busy chasing down cartel records for further leads, Brian takes advantage of his remaining NZT high to solve Shauna’s apartment troubles. Although her new landlord wants to raze her building and kick her out, Brian does a little snooping and figures out that the lobby of her building is actually home to a historic mural — one that can make the building a city landmark. Shauna is rightfully impressed, and the two end up reconnecting after all — even after the NZT wears off.
The good news keeps coming, as Rebecca and Brian manage to track Ramos’ last known location to an area not far from where Dixon was killed. There, they finally find the legendary Marcos Ramos, although he’s looking a bit frostbitten. It turns out that the shell company owned by the cartel has not only been paying off La Cebra, but they’ve also been paying off the NYPD task force. The reason the NYPD has been so inefficient at catching Ramos is because they’re the ones who killed him in the first place, taking him out when they learned that he wanted to go to the FBI and come clean. The task force is already long gone, but Brian takes a page from the Miami Vice playbook and figures out that they’re hiding in a charter plane, flying directly under a commercial flight on its way to Caracas.
With a murder solved, a cartel disbanded, and a group of dirty NYPD cops apprehended, Brian is free to pursue his newly rekindled romance with Shauna — until, once again, Bradley Cooper meddles in his personal relationships. While Senator Edward Morra is off running his re-election campaign, he’s sent the menacing Mr. Sands to check in on Brian and tell him, in his Bond villain British accent, that if he doesn’t do exactly as Morra says, he will kill his father and Shauna and every person Brian holds dear. “You belong to Mr. Morra now, which means you belong to me,” Sands helpfully reminds him.
As long as Mr. Sands is in the picture, it looks like Brian can’t allow himself to get close to Shauna — or anyone, for that matter. So we have a new big bad! And a scary British one, at that.