FBI: Most Wanted recap: Jess faces an empty nest and a strange killer

Julian McMahon
Jess (Julian McMahon) is on the hunt for a dangerous fugitive in FBI: Most Wanted. Pic credit: CBS

Often, hiding a truth just leads to more chaos, especially on FBI: Most Wanted.

After Gaines opened up on her past last time, the team tracked a fugitive who had a few skeletons driving him on. 

Meanwhile, as the clock counts down to Julian McMahon’s exit from the series, Jess made a big move in his personal life to make Overlooked a notable FBI: Most Wanted case.

Beware of the quiet ones

At a Maryland investment firm, Daniel Osterholm (Christian Campbell) was told by his boss that a client was worried about discrepancies in her statements, which Daniel brushed off. His boss warned him the woman was asking for a full audit. In private, Daniel made a frantic phone call to someone on needing $10 million right away while he looked up air fare.

Daniel’s daughter, Darcy (Natalie Shinnick), was reading when a man (Glenn Flesher) attacked her at home. She fought him off as her mother, Jeanine (Katie Letien), raced down to attack him. The man smashed her over the head with a decoration and chased Darcy up the stairs where he ended up throwing her over the balcony. 

At home, Jess mused to Sarah on how quiet the house was with Tali gone. Jess headed to the office to report Barnes was out with the flu for this case. The son Craig found the bodies with Daniel running amid a fraud scheme, so the team wondered if this was a “family annihilator” case.

Sheriff Matt Lewis (Ross Degraw) was upset about this as he’d known the family, and Jeanine was his wife’s cousin. Craig (Andrew Kai) showed up, obviously heartbroken and refusing to believe his dad would do this.

That was echoed by Daniel’s partner, Tucker (Bob Ari), who was amazed at how $10 million was stolen from clients. He revealed Dan had been using a score of opioids, his grandfather founding the firm and his family “basically owning this town” so no one would think to question him. 

At a yard, a disheveled and hard-drinking Dan was on the phone begging someone for help as “our daddies were friends,” and he needed a gun.

Hana shared that Daniel was deep in debt as all the stolen funds were put into cryptocurrency. Daniel had bought a plane ticket but never showed up for the flight. Jess found Daniel’s car abandoned with Daniel’s dead body in the trunk. 

Who’s the real killer?

With Daniel now a victim, the team tried to find out more about the case. They mused he might have had an accomplice killing his family who turned on him but still a lot up in the air about what the motive was. 

Driving to Delaware on a lead, Jess shared with Hana how it felt being more alone at home with her suggesting he take advantage of this to enjoy time with Sara. They tracked Daniel’s cell phone signal to a farmhouse owned by Homer Cortland (Josh Clark).

Meanwhile, the medical examiner let Ortiz and Gaines know that Daniel couldn’t have killed his family, leading them to conclude he was a target and not the killer. 

Ortiz and Gaines went to see Craig, who was staying with his aunt Laine (Laurie Wells). The killer showed up first with a gun, demanding to see Craig. He ranted on how Craig knew how it felt to “have your family ripped apart,” and forced Craig to tie up his aunt before dragging him off. 

Cortland confessed he’d helped Daniel with his embezzlement scheme, but the man could never have killed his family. He’d found their bodies and ran, believing he was being punished for his crimes. Daniel had forced Homer to shoot him in hopes Craig could collect the insurance, earning him an arrest.

The team realized this was far more personal than just an embezzlement case. The killer returned to his own home where his wife, Michelle (Millca Govich), was cooking a birthday cake for their daughter, insisting the girl was only missing, not dead. After a brief argument, the man went to his car, where Craig was howling for help inside the trunk. 

The team talked to some of Craig’s college friends, who revealed the man had a reputation as a womanizer but also controlling and was basically “canceled” for his actions. 

Stopping a tragic hunt

Hana finally discovered the killer was Caleb Walsh, whose daughter Brittany had dated Craig but then vanished. The local cops admitted that in a “he said/she said” situation, they were pressured to drop it for the local sheriff.

Lewis was evasive, obviously affected by his personal relationship with the Osterholms to ignore Brittany’s accusations. He was struck when Gaines said his refusal to look into the case started this whole mess. Jess told Lewis he should resign before he was reported for his inaction.

A bartender told Gaines and Ortiz how Brittany and Craig had a tumultuous relationship. She finally went with him for a trip to his family’s lake house and never came back. 

At the lake house, Caleb had Craig tied up in a shed, demanding answers. All he wanted was to know where Brittany’s body was so his wife could be at rest. Craig kept claiming he never hurt Brittany. Caleb was soon resorting to torture for answers.

Craig finally brought Caleb to another shed where Brittany’s body was hidden in a freezer. An outraged Caleb put a bullet in Craig’s leg and was ready to finish the job when the team showed up. 

Using his own experience as a father, Jess talked Caleb down, Caleb saying he just wanted to use Daniel’s daughter as leverage, but it got out of hand. He finally surrendered himself, Craig arrested for Brittany’s death, with Jess musing on how one family’s entitlement ended in so much tragedy. 

Coming home, Jess surprised Sarah with a new dress and suggested they “freebird” rather than be empty nesters with an actual date night. The pair shared a dance at a fancy restaurant as Jess said he wanted “more of this.”

It was a hard episode with a killer who never meant to be one, while the ending may be a clue as to how Jess leaves the team. 

FBI: Most Wanted Season 3 returns with new episodes Tuesday March 8 at 10/9c on CBS.

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