Dr. Alan Walker gives a briefing on a serial killer, “Magic Man,” to FBI agents. The killer has murdered four women, late 290s to early 30s, with dark brown hair and glasses. The bodies have never been found and the killer scrubs the crime scenes clean. Afterward, Alan demands a sketch of the killer from the new agent, Stuart Brownsteen.
A man inspects himself in a mirror and admires the woman’s earring that he’s wearing.
Alan is in his office meeting with his PR agent Xxx, about the release of his new book. Stuart comes in as Xxx tells Alan that if he doesn’t get Magic Man then he might not get top sells. Once xxx leaves, Stuart says that the killer left blood at the last abduction and they have a boot print. They’ve found traces of an insecticide the city sprayed a week ago. The compound was only used in one city block. Alan is soon telling the agents that he cross-referenced purchases against credit card records and got a hit: The FBI break into the man’s apartment and his elderly mother screams. Alan clubs the suspect, Joe Riley, down when he tries to stop the agents.
The real killer, Claude Doyer, is in a bar watching the news as they run a report on the FBI arresting Joe. He starts a bar fight and is soon arrested.
In Joe’s trial, Alan presents the forensic testimony and Joe is found guilty. A short time later, Stuart shows Alan the arrest report on Claude. Claude lived a short distance away from Joe and they both have the same physical description and shoe size. Stuart found boots matching the print and woman’s earrings among Claude’s personal effects. The blood on the earring matches the DNA of the last victim. Stuart reports that Claude got into a fight with a guard and was shot dead. Alan tells him that he’ll take it from there.
Later, Stuart approaches Alan and asks what he’s doing to exonerate Joe. Alan tells him that he misinterpreted the evidence and he’s doing nothing, and he’s making Stuart his new second in command. He warns that Stuart wouldn’t like the alternative and leaves him.
KC tells Chapel that she’s heard rumors that Joe is the wrong guy. Her contact in the FBI told her not to mess with Alan. Chapel is reading Alan’s new book and Chapel agrees to look into it. Chapel soon sends Joe clippings of his previous cases and a phone number. Joe calls him and Chapel offers him freedom in return for a future favor. Chapel then steps up to Alan at a book signing and says that he’ll soon be the most famous FBI agent ever. As Alan does so, Chapel promises him that he’ll remember the day the rest of his life, gives him a thumbs up, and leaves.
Alan is soon doing the talk show circuit on The Andy Horn Show.
Chapel approaches a drunken Stuart as he leaves a bar. He takes him to a surveillance van and Stuart sees all the photos that Chapel has taken of him. He assumes that Chapel is Internal Affairs and knows what Alan has done, and says that Alan threatened him. Chapel gives him hidden cameras to plant it on Alan and Stuart refuses, explaining that Alan beat Joe during his arrest. Unimpressed, Chapel tells him to do it anyway or face a 20-year stretch in prison.
Next, Chapel visits a nurse, Tilly McGinniss. She assures him that she hasn’t heard from her ex-husband since Chapel “persuaded” him to leave her alone, and confirms that she’s there for the favor. Chapel says that he wants the walls covered with her blood.
The next day, Stuart nervously plants the hidden cameras. At the motel room, KC and Chapel watch the monitors and see Alan watching Stuart as he plants the second camera. Stuart hastily says that they got a call from Missing Persons on a new Magic Man disappearance. Alan points out that it’s impossible and insists that Stuart come with him.
The CSI techs are checking Tilly’s apartment and find blood splatters on the wall. There’s also a handprint, and Alan says that they have a copycat. The phone rings and Alan answers it. It’s Chapel, who reminds Alan that he had Alan sign his book earlier and now he’s the copycat.
Later, Stuart meets Chapel and KC outside a factory. He’s sure that Chapel isn’t IA, and figures that he killed Tilly. Chapel suggests that he arrest them, and when Stuart draws his gun, Chapel plays a recording of their earlier conversation. Realizing that he’s trapped, Stuart asks what Chapel wants him to do. Chapel tells him to tell Alan the truth for a start.
Stuart pulls Claude’s death certificate for Alan. Director Bobbi Green comes in and asks if they have the right man on death row despite the lack of evidence. Alan insists that the new killer is a copycat and promises that he’ll get him. Soon, Alan is presenting his agents with a preliminary profile of Chapel. Chapel calls on Alan’s private line and the agents go to work tracing the call. Meanwhile, Chapel puts Alan on hold and calls Stuart. He tells him to give him the codes for the computer that traces the calls. Alan asks who Stuart is talking to, and the agent claims that it’s the lab. Meanwhile, Chapel switches back to Alan and says that he’s going to be a star, and puts him on hold again. Stuart agrees to meet Chapel with the codes, and then Chapel calls Alan and says that he’ll call him back.
At the factory, Stuart gives Chapel the trace codes. Chapel tells him to investigate Claude and try to find the bodies and trophies. When Stuart says that he can’t do it, Chapel tells him that he’ll get help from KC and drives off.
Stuart and KC go to Claude’s locker where he worked as a janitor. They find a false floor containing a photograph of Claude as a child with a woman, and a boat in the background. There’s a numbered key on the back and Stuart says that he’ll run a search on it.
At his home, Alan finds Chapel watching the Three Stooges on his TV. When Alan goes for his gun, Chapel easily disarms him and shoves him into a chair. He says that Alan has put away a lot of bad guys and Alan’s father worked for Hoover. He promises that Alan will be famous and leaves... and Alan calls Stuart.
The next day at the office, Stuart reports that there Chapel didn’t leave any prints. Alan profiles Chapel and figures that he had a searing personal loss in his past. KC, listening, looks at Chapel. Meanwhile, Alan figures that Chapel stays in the hotel chain and has local units doing door-to-door searches. The police pull up outside and Chapel admits that Alan finding them wasn’t part of the plan.
Two police officers knock at the door and break in when they get no answer.They find KC in the shower and she angrily yells at them to get out. Once they leave, Chapel steps out of the shower and calls Stuart. Stuart soon tells Alan that his profile must have been wrong and suggests that they draw Chapel out. He suggests that if Alan goes on TV to do so.
Joe records a statement for The Andy Horn Show insisting that he’s not a killer. On-air, Alan asks Alan for his opinion. Alan insists that Joe is a textbook psychopath and the new killer is a copycat. Chapel calls in and asks Alan why he’s such a great big sissy. He starts talking about Alan’s father and how Alan is a coward, and Alan loses his temper. Meanwhile, Stuart traces the call just as Chapel hangs up. He then calls a news director and says that he wants to report a false arrest that is going to happen.
FBI agents pull up to a phone booth and arrest Leonard Sharp, the elderly man inside. A news crew pulls up and gets it all on film. Soon, Bobbi is complaining to Alan about the false arrest. Alan insists that Chapel rerouted the call and tells Bobbi to kiss her ass. She tells him not to do any more interviews and either catch Chapel or step off.
That night, Stuart and KC break into a boatyard and Stuart cheerfully relates how Alan was speechless. They enter the boat and find a bear trap set to catch any searchers. Stuart disarms it and removes a tackle box containing all of the earrings Claude took from his victims.
In his office, Alan finally notices the hidden camera. He calls Stuart in, and KC takes the tackle box and assures the agent that he’s doing the right thing. Stuart thanks her for getting him to do the right thing, and KC takes the tackle box to Chapel. Chapel tells her to call Alan in 20 minutes and claim that she’s a news producer, and say that Bobbi is holding a press conference at his house accusing him of dereliction of duty. With that, Chapel walks out with the tackle box.
When Stuart arrives, Alan knocks him out.
Chapel calls Bobbi and claims that he’s a news reporter interviewing Alan at his house. He’s filing charges of mismanagement against her, and Bobbi insists that she’ll be there. Once he hangs up, Chapel mixes a bucket of blood.
KC calls Alan but discovers that both he and Stuart are unavailable. She calls Chapel and warns that neither one is available.
In the basement, Alan ties up Alan and prepares to torture him with electrical cables. He demands answers but Stuart doesn’t answer. Chapel calls Alan’s cell phone and Alan angrily answers it. When he does, Chapel says that Bobbi is on her way over to Alan’s house. Chapel warns Alan that if he gets there before her then everything will be okay. If not, the whole Joe/Claude thing will come out.
Alan returns to his home using Stuart as a shield. Chapel turns on a UV light, revealing blood splatters on the wall. He explains that he’s framed Alan as the Magic Man. When Alan says that he’ll kill Chapel and Stuart and claim it was self-defense, Stuart disarms him. Chapel explains that Stuart found the evidence incriminating Claude and exonerating Joe, and tells Alan that the earrings are hidden in the room. Alan has two minutes to find them before Bobbi arrives, and Alan starts desperately searching.
The doorbell rings and Chapel tells Alan that time is up. He says that Alan will be the most famous FBI agent just like he promised, and Alan asks what Chapel wants from him. Chapel tells him that it’s about time he started caring, and if he did then it would all go away. He walks out as Bobbi comes in and demands an explanation. Stuart tells Alan to fill her in.
Later, Stuart is giving a press statement that Alan confessed to concealing evidence to get Joe convicted. Alan resigned from the FBI and pled guilty to perjury and obstruction to justice. Joe has been exonerated released. Tilly returns from a camping trip and tells the reporters that she doesn’t know why people thought she was dead. Chapel is waiting in her apartment and tells her that they’re even and he’s out of her life forever.
Chapel calls Joe and confirms that he and his mother are okay. He tells Joe to live his life and he’ll be in touch about the favor.
Written by Gadfly on Sep 10, 2016