FBI: Most Wanted recap: It’s a harsh holiday for the team

FBI Most Wanted
Barnes (Roxy Sternberg) Jess (Julian McMahon), and guest star K. Todd Freeman handle a deadly shooting on FBI: Most Wanted. Pic credit: CBS

Most people would enjoy living out a Christmas movie. Unfortunately for the FBI: Most Wanted team, they ended up with Die Hard. 

Just as Jess was handling a visit from his father, he and Barnes, along with their families, found themselves in a deadly hostage situation that put a damper on the Christmas spirit. 

Yet, in the end, all that tragedy wrapped up with a holiday miracle. 

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The world’s worst shopping trip

Run-Hide-Fight began with Jess and Barnes, both surprised to run into each other while their families were doing some last-minute Christmas shopping at a Brooklyn mall. Charlotte was prepared to head home with Barnes musing on her wife so close to pregnancy. 

Tali was happy to hear she was accepted into the boarding school she wanted, with Jess clearly uncomfortable. Before he could say anything, the sounds of gunfire and screams cut through the mall. 

Jess sent Byron to get Tali and Sarah out while he and Barnes headed to confront the situation. They were about to round a corner when a woman was shot dead before them. They then saw Jess’s family among the customers running back into the mall to realize there was another shooter. Byron led Sarah, Tali, and a gun-toting man to a store for safety.

A man in body armor and a machine gun stalked the store while his partner was shooting down other customers. Tali was horrified seeing a pair of hiding customers murdered before her eyes before the shooter exited. 

Jess and Barnes got to the store where the man revealed himself as Linwood Williams (K. Todd Freeman), a retired cop visiting his NYPD son. A clerk tried to activate the exit doors, only to find them jammed shut. 

Ortiz and Hana were talking about Crosby when they got the call from Barnes with TV news discussing the crisis. Gaines also got the call with her daughter thrown she was jumping into this. 

Hana was already trying to hack the card, but the cops held back as the mall’s doors were chained up and lined with explosives. The cameras were also cut, with the NYPD afraid of going in blind. 

Fighting back hard

Hana managed to hack the door to access the back areas of the mall, Jess getting them and a few stragglers to a back room. Jess was ready to go out with Linwood insisting on going with, while Byron volunteered to watch Barnes. Jess wasn’t happy with that but agreed while telling the others to fight dirty if the gunmen showed up. 

While worried about Charlotte getting out, Barnes and Jess each promised to watch the other’s families if the worst happened. Jess set up a pair of phone cameras to keep an eye on the break room door.

The rest of the team arrived on the scene to meet Captain Tim Taylor (Frank Deal), who was surprised to hear two agents already inside and giving them whatever they needed.

As they made their way through the mall, Linwood and Jess talked about their kids, with Linwood noting he was harder on his son than he should have been and Jess shouldn’t make that mistake. 

They found an elderly man trying to find his wife just before one of the shooters opened fire at them. They exchanged fire across the mall, with Linwood running out of ammo before being grazed in the arm. As the shooter came down the escalator, Jess was able to take him down to steal his machine gun.

 Hana talked Barnes to the security room, where a guard told them that the security system had been down most of the day with the implication of an inside man cutting it. However, they still had the old system in storage. 

Ortiz said that they had a video of that inside man putting up the chains and bombs on the mall doors. He wanted to go in and was joined by Linwood’s son, Officer Eddie Williams (Reggie Talley), with Taylor refusing until the bomb squad cleared them. The suspect was identified as Rob Murphy (Lucas Kane), with Ortiz told finding him was more important. 

Gaines and the bomb squad used a robot to realize the bombs were boobytrapped so the slightest touch could set them all off and thus, they had to breach through the roof.

Hana managed to get the screens online to reveal there were three shooters, not two. Barnes was horrified to see footage showing that Charlotte was still trapped inside the mall. 

Now I have a machine gun, ho-ho-ho….

Gaines contacted Barnes to relay that someone needed to open a hatch on the roof, astounded at how many family members were inside. Byron volunteered to head to the roof so Barnes could find her wife.

It seemed the mall had fired Murphy and three other guards for stealing, with Ortiz astounded this was all about losing jobs. He and some cops raided Murphy’s house to arrest him, Murphy refusing to confess. Right on cue, someone on his radio boasted of shooting someone who looked like Murphy’s ex.

Back at the mall, Linwood raced to draw out the fire of a gunman so Jess could shoot him. Linwood shared a bottle opener from a bar he and his wife had visited before her death from cancer, and it was a reminder to “focus on what really matters.” Jess mused on that as he took the radio from the man’s body.

Gaines and a SWAT team were on the roof, with Byron using a magnet to get the door open for them. Barnes reunited with Jess and Linwood to find Charlotte hiding with other customers in a store. 

Jess’ camera showed the third shooter was headed toward the break room. Thankfully, the cops arrived to help him and Barnes on a rescue mission, the pair heading off…without realizing Charlotte’s water had just broke.

 A final death but a brighter birth

Sarah encouraged Tali to be brave, with Tali apologizing to Sarah for her behavior and that she loved Sarah as a second mom, with the two embracing. 

Gaines joined Jess and Barnes to share the news on another bomb hidden in the mall. The final shooter was making his way toward the break room, gunning down a random shopper. Everyone inside was worried as they heard gunfire, only for Jess to call out it was okay with the shooter dead. 

Ortiz told Murphy that this would all be on him with the other gunmen dead, but Murphy still refused to talk. A cop discovered timers to the bombs, with one still counting down with Murphy saying it was a failsafe for the person who fired them all. 

As the cops started to evacuate the mall, Jess, Barnes, and Linwood headed to the storage locker where Murphy had hidden the last bomb with only 20 seconds left on the timer. Before they could stop him, Linwood grabbed the bomb and took off running down the hallway. 

The bomb went off but fortunately, Linwood had thrown it far enough to only be mildly wounded. Eddie showed up to see to his father, with Jess praising Linwood’s heroism.

As the escaping shoppers reunited with families, Barnes complained she was “tired of all the hate.” Hana called her to the ambulance while Jess told Tali he was proud of how she’d handled this situation and getting into the school. Jess added Ortiz should be happy with his own help.

The gang gathered around the ambulance with Barnes announcing Charlotte had given birth to a boy to applause. 

Thus, a brutal and dark hour ended on a happy note of a new life welcomed into the world and the reminder that it takes just one act of love to fight back against hate. 

FBI: Most Wanted Season 3 returns with new episodes Tuesday, January 4, 2022, at 9/8c on CBS. 

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