Taking justice into your own hands is almost never a good thing.
It looked like a straight-up case only to lead to a surprising perp of someone with a twisted view of “justice.”
Meanwhile, Cannon was distracted by aiding a young woman and her son in a tight spot of their own.
That brought up memories for Cannon that reflected on the perp pulling these murders.
This made Appeals a strong episode to close out 2022 as FBI: Most Wanted prepares for the new year.
Some prosecutors rest their final case
At a courthouse, some prosecutors were waiting on a verdict. It ended up being in their favor and to celebrate, they went to a bar. They left with two making out as they headed out. A car pulled up, a man calling for the woman and then gunning all three down.
Hana and Cannon talked on the way to the office, passing a woman (Caroline Harris), yelling at her landlord about still having time on her lease. Cannon got in the man’s face before Hana told him they had a call from Remy. Cannon followed while looking at the woman and her young son.
Remy told the team the entire district attorney’s office for the tiny town of Forrest City, Arkansas, was wiped out and the local PD needed help. It was clear Katherine Sloane, Peter Hill, and Johnnie Mow were targeted, although main D.A. Skip Hardy (Kevin Dean Williams) was absent.
A guilty Hardy blamed himself for not being there as he was attending a bible study class with the mayor. He considered all three like family and that there was a surprisingly high crime rate in the area for plenty of suspects.
Hana was appalled at the local cameras still using videotape as the team saw the shooting and figured Kat was the target and Hill and Mow were collateral damage.
Kat’s parents were rocked as they talked about how successful the woman was. She had a boyfriend who seemed not to know Kat and Pete were together.
Gaines and Barnes found Eli Dorflinger (Jordan Morgan), who had blood on his clothes. They pulled their guns, but he was skinning a pig he’d caught hunting. He was stunned to hear about Kat’s murder and had no idea she’d been cheating on him.
In another town, a lawyer named Scott Thomas (Chris Gross) was heading to his car when another man (Fidel Vicoso) approached him, then knocked him out.
The team couldn’t find any leads on suspects just as Hana got a call about two gang members bragging about the deaths of the people who put their boss in prison. The waitress at the diner the call came from was wary of talking, but Cannon charmed her into order.
Cannon told Remy and Hana they had to charm folks in a town like this. He was proven right as the waitress was far more open to talking while handling the gang’s order and supplied a tattoo of one gang member.
Cannon admitted to Hana he was still bugged by the woman he saw before as he had experience with that type of landlord. He wanted to help and Hana offered her own aid.
The true surprising perp revealed
The tattoo matched the Seven Street Serpents, a Memphis gang whose boss, Luis Trevino, had been recently convicted on federal charges with the local D.A.’s office involved. They speculated Luis struck back in revenge.
Luis had called his lawyer, who happened to be Scott Thomas, with Luis calling his brother-in-law Javier for what they realized was a hit on Thomas for losing the case.
The team raided Javier’s home as he tried to run, firing at Cannon only to be gunned down by Remy. They also found Thomas’ body inside and figured the case was wrapped up.
However, that wasn’t the case, as Hardy was dead in his office while another man robbed his safe.
Cannon was trying to call Thomas’ partner Dale Torres, but there was no answer. Hana had found Javier’s weapon didn’t match the one used to kill the other prosecutors, which meant it was possible Javier didn’t kill them.
They then got word of Hardy’s murder, with Cannon summing up, “this case just got weirder.” Sheriff Long (Jerry Dixon) wasn’t happy about losing so many prosectors.
The safe was missing a bag of drugs meant for the trial of a petty dealer. Gaines figured the killer had to be someone who worked for the courthouse, with public defender Johanna Orr the last one to log out.
A security camera showed the same vehicle used in the earlier murders at the courthouse that was owned by Judge Howard Roarke (Anthony Reynolds).
Why a respected judge would turn into a serial killer against prosecutors was baffling. They found a video of Kat insulting the judge to the press and Roarke giving a convict a much lesser sentence than he deserved.
Roarke called a man (Liam McKenna) at a diner on how they weren’t finished yet as the youth begged to be let out of this. Roarke said, “they thought I’d sit back and take it, but I’m not taking this sitting down.” The youth tried to back down until Roarke threatened his family and boyfriend.
Roarke’s wife, Cynthia (Emily Dorsch), said her husband had changed, becoming angrier over the years about being stuck in the circuit court system rather than rising up. He turned more abusive until she threw him out. She said Roarke was meeting old friend Arthur Hobbs.
Hobbs (Paul DeBoy) had to break the news to Roarke he wasn’t getting a coveted promotion to a state appeals court. He was vetoed because of reports about his abusive behavior toward women and in the court, along with some bias toward minority defendants.
It turned out Hardy was on the shortlist for that very judgeship. With Roarke’s divorce from the most well-connected woman in the county meaning he’d lose reelection, Roarke snapped. He went after Hardy for “stealing” his job and those prosecutors for speaking out against him.
The final verdict is rendered
The team figured Samuel Gray (who Roarke had once sentenced to jail) had hacked the files for info on the prosecutors.
Gray confessed he’d been blackmailed by Roarke to hack the files but had no idea what he was up to next. Roarke had already killed a guy named Chip Fox, a local hospital worker who had personally COVID-19-tested Arkansas Governor Nancy Novak (Anne Bowles).
The team noted the resemblance between Roarke and Fox and realized the governor was next on Roarke’s hit list.
Roarke was already posing as Fox to administer the “test” to Novak and her bodyguard. The guard started coughing and hacking, with police tending to him before Novak also collapsed while Roarke fled.
As they raced over, the team realized Roarke was using the stolen fentanyl to poison the testing swabs. They arrived in time to help the paramedics save the governor’s life.
Roarke was running to his car to escape before Remy gave chase. A state trooper managed to shoot Roarke, who crashed the car and was dead on impact.
Cannon shared with Hana how it’d felt to put up with bigotry in his life and career and said, “I had to work twice as hard to get half as far.” He’d known a dozen guys like Roarke, which also reminded him about that landlord.
Cannon had been a teenager when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and put up with being a refugee in his own home.
Hana had dug up some dirt on the landlord but Cannon didn’t feel right using it. Hana said at the least Cannon could try to help one family.
Cannon saw the woman and her son loading up their car as he confronted the landlord on his tax evasion and gave him a choice of giving them a new lease or Cannon would call the IRS.
The woman thanked Cannon, introducing herself as Cora with her son Trey. Cannon and Trey threw a football around as Cannon was happy to have changed at least two people’s lives for the better.
While the chase for a corrupt judge was troubling, at least Cannon was able to help someone in the end.
FBI: Most Wanted Season 4 returns Tuesday, January 3 at 10/9c on CBS.