We open with an exclusive interview, from prison, with Oscar Keaton. Jake gives him a few last minute tips on how to handle himself while Julia goes over the interview strategy with Louise.
Right out of the gate Louise brings up Sarah’s death and the accusations against Oscar that landed him in prison in the first place, but he twists the narrative, implies it might have been his business partner Levi that orchestrated the whole thing. After all, he’d have “a lot to gain” with Oscar out of the picture.
During the interview, something comes through on the scanner and Megan lets Julie know. A body has been found. It’s a star college football player that has been missing.
As the news breaks, on campus of California University an app used for sharing secrets targets Dax Edwards (Zak Henri) and his picture goes viral. He is arrested for the murder by nightfall. His sister, Chloe (Monica Barbaro) and their friend Finn (Keean Johnson), bring the cast to Jake, who went to school with their mom.
They explain that Dax, Finn and the deceased were friends since childhood. Dax’s mother has paranoid schizophrenia and kids have teased him about it for much of his life. Jake agrees to go to lockup and talk to him.
Julia apologizes to Louise about airing the tape of the beheading last week. Louise says its water under the bridge and asks what the real problem is. Julia explains it would have been her anniversary with Eric soon and she misses what they had, or rather what she thought they had.
Jake talks to Dax and gets his albeit sketchy alibi before leaving. In the hall he is stopped by Det. Matthews, who tells him that charges are being filed for murder one. Jake says they have online chatter but no motive and Matthews responds, “It’s murder one. We have motive.”
The school holds a press conference during which Coach Phil Ryder (Dylan Bruno) completely vilifies Dax. Jake calls Julia. Chloe will be on air tonight. Meanwhile, Levi is up to something as well. His paperwork checks out. He is now a gun owner.
Jake recruits Ella and Bradley to help with Dax’s case. He has Ella try to confirm the alibi and Bradley is on a mission to find out which app user posted Dax’s picture in the first place.
Julia has booked Ryder for Chloe’s taping as well and “the gloves come off” during their mutual segment. Chloe calls him a bully and says he doesn’t know anything about her family. He accuses her brother of being a cold-blooded killer. There’s a development in the case. A nasty voicemail Dax left the victim. When questioned on it, she flees.
Turns out her alibi isn’t quite so legitimate. She claimed that she was at work at the diner during the murder. As it turns out she hasn’t worked there in six months. Jake and Finn track her down. She comes clean about where she actually was. She was fired from the diner and now works as a dancer to make ends meet. The victim had come in with his football buddies and tried to get a lap dance. She refused and he got physical before a bouncer tossed him out. That’s what the voicemail was about, but it blew over she says.
Jake gets a call during the meeting. Dax was in fight in jail and ends up with a broken rib and a black eye. Ella can’t corroborate his alibi but enlists Ryan for an afternoon stakeout.
Bradley comes up empty with the app creator and is trying to find a judge that will force his hand. No luck so far but Jake has an idea. He goes to Julia about asking Eric. She shuts that down but gives him a heads up that Ryder will be back on the show. Jake goes for the hard sell to get her to ask Eric for help, telling her about his own past and she relents.
Eric agrees because how could he say no to Julia “today of all days.” It would’ve been their anniversary and though she is taking the favor she won’t get back together with him. He tells her he’s in therapy and just wants her in his life so she can see that he’s a changed man. He invites her to dinner.
Ella and Ryan are chatting about their high school experiences waiting for the memorial pep rally to start. When everyone is inside, they use the app to their advantage. They post that Dax was released because authorities identified the real killer and are headed to the pep rally to make an arrest. Sure enough, two football players try to run.
Ryan and Ella corner them and they say that they didn’t mean to kill the victim and bring them to Jake’s office where they explain what happened. They saw him leaving a frat party drunk and decided to “have a little fun with him.” They blindfolded and put a helmet on him before taking turns tackling him like a practice dummy. It was hazing gone too far.
Ryder is on with Louise and he is “telling it like it is.” Viewers love him. He is a “straight shooter” and “should run for office.” Jake calls Julia to tell her what he knows. He’s on his way into the station when Julia alerts Louise as to the new developments.
The interview takes a turn when Louise starts pressing Ryder on the hazing issue. Did he authorize it? Did he pull his captains aside to encourage it as a way to “toughen up” the new freshman? As she pushes, Ryder snaps and calls his players “idiots” and says that “if they took it too far, that’s on them.”
Not everything is working out for Dax though. The football players are charged with felony hazing but Dax still looks good for the murder. The victim’s phone records show he tried to call Dax after the hazing.
Julia and Louise go out to dinner. For dessert they purge Julia of her Eric hangup by burning all of her mementos.
The app owner is backed into a corner thanks to the court order. He has to give up the user ID but he doesn’t want his app compromised so Bradley strikes up a deal. The user that pointed a finger at Dax? None other than his best friend Finn.
Jake makes Finn tell the whole story in front of Chloe. The victim called for a ride home after the hazing and when Finn got there, he was happy. He finally felt like he was part of something, that he had “real friends.” Then he called Finn a loser and still tried to get in the car. Finn was angry and he snapped. He threw a rock, which turned out to be the fatal blow. As for blaming Dax? he knew everyone would believe that.
Ella calls Ryan to finish their date. She tells him about her past, how she soent most of her childhood moving around with her mom and even after she passed the bar she couldn’t live in an apartment. It felt too permanent so she’s lived in a hotel for three years. She’s only ever told him that. She trusts him.
Chloe and Jake go to pick Dax up just as Finn is being led inside. Julia goes back to the office after a “cathartic” dinner and finds an e-mail from Levi. It’s a video of him blaming Julia and Jake for everything. They twisted the story but if they want the truth they can come and get it.
She goes to his house to talk to him. He tells her he was protecting Oscar, watching over him, because Sarah was no good for him. Julia figures something else out. Levi has feelings for Oscar. That’s why he had the fake relationship with him online. Julia tells Levi she knows he would never hurt Oscar. Levi picks up his gun and walks closer to Julia. She tells him that she believes him and he has a chance to set the story straight, then asks him to put down the gun. He asks her to tell Oscar that he’s sorry, then shoots himself in front of Julia. She is splattered with blood.
I don’t know if I like this show or not. The weekly ins and outs of the broadcast news show are interesting. I like that part but the overall Oscar story line just annoys me and I hate the way they played out the Levi part of it. He was secretly in love with his best friend so he stalked him and his wife and catfished him to protect him? No. That’s messed up. I’m not about that at all. The whole episode was about people, both Finn and Levi, ultimately being really crappy friends.
Notorious airs Thursdays at 9 p.m.