The holidays got tense on FBI: Most Wanted.
Not only has Jess had to deal with his rebellious daughter but got a visit from his always problematic father, Byron (Terry O’Quinn) in Sport of Kings.
Given his family’s issues, Jess welcomed the distraction of a case where one kidnap victim was given huge priority.
A bizarre kidnapping
On a Kentucky road, truck driver Buddy Wilson talked to trainer Tessa Sanders (Jamie Eddy) about working for Clyde Fogerty, a popular racehorse owner/trainer. The truck turned to a road where it was hijacked by some armed men who wanted the horse inside.
Tessa recognized one man as Willy (Michael Wartella), who worked at the Fogerty farm with her. His companion (Clint James) was upset as he figured they had to take Tessa with them now, insisting, “We got this.”
At home, Byron relayed that Maria had decided to take a church trip to Israel while Sarah was visiting her own mother. Jess was surprised his dad wanted to go all out with decorations, with Byron wanting to make up for the poor Christmases of the past. Byron was amused at Tali making herself look nice for the boy picking her up and that she was growing faster than Jess realized.
At a golf course, instructor Mike Udell (Ryan Black) was getting very close to his female student when they found that same truck on a path. Willy’s partner stepped out to shoot the pair and stole the instructor’s expensive watch.
The team caught the case as Mike had gotten photos of the truck matching the horse abduction, and that crossed state lines, which meant it was federal. The driver was identified as Solomon “Sol” Pensky, a low-level crook.
Gaines and Barne checked out Sol’s place in Cincinnati, the landlady relaying Sol had always talked of hitting it big one day. It looked like he was into gambling on horses and had a gun.
Sol was showing off the watch to Willy, who was shaken by Sol’s idea of “redistribution of wealth” as he insisted on making a video.
The team headed to the country club, where the manager confessed there were rumors of Mike sleeping around with the wives of some wealthy club members. Just as the guy was gushing on how exclusive the club was, Ortiz discovered Buddy’s body in a pond.
Is a horse more important than a person?
The team speculated that Mike and his student had stumbled on Sol dumping the body, which cost them their lives (Jess unable not to drop a “par for the course” joke).
Jess and Gaines met Fogerty (Mike McGowan), who shared the horse, Caliban, was worth almost $3 million. He was shocked to hear of the murder and shared Tessa being in the truck too.
Tessa was tending to Caliban as Willy related how he and Sol hit it off at a bar about feeling screwed by the system as Willy was an aspiring jockey who couldn’t make the weight limit. Tessa pressed that this was getting out of hand, but Willy couldn’t give up a dream of becoming a jockey. She figured out Buddy was dead and that she was likely next.
Gaines talked to Tessa’s parents, stepfather Chuck and Deb (Gregory Konow and Jenny Maguire), with it soon becoming clear Chuck had done something to Tessa in the past that drove her off. His refusal to pay a ransom also set off some red flags. Figuring this was a ransom attempt, they headed back to Kentucky.
Sol tried to put the moves on Tessa, and his “come to Daddy” line shook her. He attacked her, Tessa fighting back with Sol aiming the gun at her but stopping from pulling the trigger.
Jess and Gaines met Grace Roland (Jennifer Rozell), Caliban’s owner, who was confused about any robbery as she claimed Caliban was the horse right in front of them. A quick call to Byron about identification forced Grace to admit she’d been contacted about a ransom but refused any FBI help. She was flustered to hear about Tessa yet focused on getting her horse back.
The team couldn’t believe they were being held up rescuing Tessa because of the money involved with Caliban. They identified Willy by his fingerprints in the van as they put a wiretap on Grace’s phone.
Willy was troubled by Sol’s insistence they had to kill Tessa to cover all this up. Gaines heard Grace cashing out money that was likely for the ransom and only one bank in the area to do it.
As Grace exited the bank with the cash, the team tried to follow only to be stopped by Grace’s attorney, Steven Bishop (Tim Moriarty), and a bodyguard who claimed they were putting the “asset” in jeopardy.
Down the stretch
Jess mused that the most dangerous fugitives to catch weren’t the violent ones but the smart ones with all the money. Gaines observed that Jess and Grace hadn’t hit it off and he was letting personal feelings cloud things.
Tessa warned Willy that Sol was going to rip him off and that he was “a sleaze and half a moron” but that she could be a much better partner for him.
Gaines and Barnes saw Grace, pointing out it was better listening to professional agents rather than a corporate lawyer like Bishop. Grace showed a video of Sol demanding $2 million or he’d shoot Caliban. She was concerned over a huge deal that could salvage the farm her family had struggled for five generations to succeed.
Barnes railed on how Tessa had worked so hard for Grace and at least deserved the same consideration as the horse. Grace finally agreed to let the agents handle the drop.
Sol showed up in time for Tessa to smash him over the head with a shovel, and she and Willy chained him up. Then, seeing the message on the ransom drop, Tessa mused she had an idea.
As a disguised Ortiz headed to the meet site, the team received a video of Willy holding a gun to a seemingly helpless Tessa, demanding a new drop site or he’d kill her. Hana noted something was off with Willy doing the video as Ortiz dropped the money at a small house.
Willy and Tessa came up on a boat, the team stunned to realize their “victim” was now a perp. They moved in as Willy raced to the boat with the money, only for Tessa to kick him and take off with one of the bags. Willy was arrested as Tessa escaped, dumping the bag with the tracker in the lake.
Willy gave up Sol with Grace happy to see Caliban looking well. To Jess’s surprise, Grace was willing to write off the lost million dollars as a “reward” to Tessa for her hard work and hoped the woman made a new life for herself.
Jess was impressed by Byron’s tree as they and Tali decorated it, but Jess was jarred by Tali’s desire to go to a boarding school in Canada. He warned her it’d be hard to get in with Tali upset he was so down about it even as they topped off their tree.
It was an intriguing hour as a “victim” took a unique turn, and Jess handled a new family dynamic.
FBI: Most Wanted Season 3 airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on CBS.