Helping victims doesn’t fully prepare someone for becoming one themselves, as Agent OA learned this week on CBS’s FBI.
It opened with OA finding himself assaulted, and while he got through it okay physically, it left a brutal reminder on his mind.
This was bad enough on its own but also distracted OA from a serial killer who was ready to strike again.
OA had to reach another victim, which could only add to his own trauma, and he was unsure how to handle the effects of this attack.
Thus, the episode was not only a thriller but a study of how even the best agents can fall prey to fear after a brutal attack.
FBI Agent OA had a terrible morning walk
OA was walking down the street talking to someone on the phone when a woman called for help. Too late, OA realized it was a setup for her partner to pull a gun on him. OA gave them his watch and wallet before they hit him with the gun and kicked him when he was down.
The woman mocked OA for falling into her trap as they ran off. OA struggled to his feet just as his cell rang to call him into the office. OA simply said he was “Dealing with something personal” before running off.
At a park, Nina looked over a woman’s body as OA came up, trying to be professional. He brushed off his head blow as a trip while jogging.
The victim was Marta Munoz, a hairstylist with no record and a rather mundane life. She had been strangled and evidence suggested she’d been handcuffed and raped.
OA and Nina had the sad task of breaking the news to Marta’s mother, Anna (Kym Gomes). She related that she’d seen someone watching her at the salon but couldn’t answer who could have done this. She was devastated to hear of the attack as OA promised to find the man responsible.
Isobel talked to OA about the mugging, and he insisted he was fine. OA thought it was just a random attack, while the detective suspected the thugs of a lot more. OA asked her to keep this private as he went back to work.
Nina shared some footage of the man following Marta, Norm Carver (Nick Mathews), a security guard with a history of stalking. They went to his address just in time to spot him running off.
OA caught Carver, who tried to fight back. OA slammed him against a wall, showing uncharacteristic anger before Nina calmed him down and arrested Carver.
Carver didn’t help his case by claiming to have met so many women that he didn’t recognize Marta, which got OA riled up. When he realized this was a murder case, Carver dropped his cool to admit he’d followed Marta, but she seemed too scared to talk.
Jubal interrupted to report another body had been found just like Marta, which meant Carver was innocent of the murder but held on the warrants out on stalking.
The new victim was Andrea Morris. When Detective Harris (Joey Palestina) made a joke about the FBI forgetting how to solve a murder, OA yelled at him, with Wallace and Nina having to calm him down.
OA snapped, “You do not joke about stuff like this,” with Scola agreeing. Nina didn’t realize how her talk on Andrea being “So alone, so vulnerable” was affecting OA.
OA’s assault becomes a distraction
Isobel stated that someone didn’t just wake up and become a serial killer, he had to have worked his way up from stalking. The team began digging into cases as OA got a call.
OA met Detective Chavez (Carlos Gomez) about his mugging report. When OA said he knew how to handle a case, Chavez had to point out that it was different being the victim.
Gomez pressed on details with OA only able to give vague replies. He also claimed neither attacked him, but Gomez could tell he was lying. He reported the pair were escalating in violence and needed to be stopped. OA refused to look at any photos and “You can save this victim self-help crap for someone else,” before leaving.
The team found a report on Citra Susanti (Nuha Jes Izman), who’d been attacked like the other women but had been reluctant to file a complaint. Isobel gave OA a knowing look as she mentioned how hard it was for victims to come forward.
OA and Nina talked to Citra, who said a man in a ski mask had attacked her and claimed to get away, but that didn’t match her injuries. Nina pressed her for details as Citra said she knew he was white but couldn’t give more information.
Citra ended the interview with Nina unsure, as OA told her that Citra didn’t want to face the fear and humiliation of the moment again while obviously thinking of himself.
Scola and Wallace tracked the handcuffs to a surplus store and supplied a warrant to get footage and records when the clerk was reluctant. A pair of cuffs had been sold to a woman named Barbie Simmons, a previously arrested prostitute, who was into bondage and roleplay.
Wallace and Scola checked out Simmons’ apartment they found she had been dead for at least two weeks. They figured a customer had gotten too violent with Barbie and killed her, which may have set him off on others.
OA and Nina discussed the case as Chavez met with OA to tell him the same muggers had just shot their latest victim. OA apologized as he accepted a photo array from Chavez and promised he’d look at it after this case.
Nina pressed OA, who finally admitted what happened, still trying to brush it off, but Chavez had given him an idea on how to talk to Citra.
OA faces his trauma
OA used his experience to tell Citra how easily someone can repress memories so as not to feel the anger and judgment of such an attack. Citra blamed herself for wearing “sinful” clothing as OA quoted the Koran on how there was no shame in this.
Leading her to the crime scene, OA got Citra to admit how the man had tried to assault her but she had managed to cut him. His blood was still on her shirt, meaning she could give it to the agents for a DNA match.
OA admitted to Nina that he needed to try and remember his own attack as she talked of how being a victim wasn’t easy. OA felt guilty over not speaking before another victim was shot, but Nina told him not to blame himself.
OA managed to identify the muggers, as Chavez already had his suspicions about their identities. Nina then revealed the DNA matched none other than the clerk from the surplus store, Jason Tanner (Alexander Roberts).
The team hit the store, where the owner said Jason had left with a woman. They began to search the area with OA hearing a scream from an alley. Coming to a shipping container, he saw Jason attacking a woman.
Nina helped the woman as OA chased Jason into a warehouse. Jason tried to escape as OA attacked, beating him down before Nina pulled him off and the agents arrested Jason.
Nina told OA it was okay as he began gasping about Citra not giving the shirt earlier to stop three deaths. Nina said Citra had been too scared to tell anyone and shouldn’t be blamed for this. She talked of Citra working through her pain and anger, which was clearly telling OA how he’d done the same. OA accepted that to thank her.
OA checked in at the hospital on the other mugging victim, who was recovering from surgery. Gomez was also there to deliver the good news they’d captured the perps.
“At the end of the day, we’re just people. Badge or no badge,” Gomez assured OA. He left as OA saw the victim in his hospital bed with his family and let out a relieved sigh before leaving.
It was a powerful episode that put OA in an incredibly difficult spot and the mental scars may take a while to heal.
FBI Season 5 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.More: FBI