Hayes and Wallace are both walking the red carpet at a fancy event in New York. He insists on talking over her during most of the interviews. In the process he reduces the CIU to a “noble cause soundbite.” Hayes does not look pleased. She goes to the office to find a new case.
When the rest of the team shows up, the conference room looks ransacked. As they contemplate what to do, Hayes emerges from under the table, still in formal attire. She was asleep. She found a new case. A bigot that has been accused of bombing a mosque on the anniversary of 9/11. It’s a heinous crime for sure but one she is not convinced the man in jail committed it.
Sam and Maxine go to visit Rodney Landon (Mike Doyle) in prison. He claims to be a veteran opinionated professor that was seen walking his dog, not bombing anything. He maintains his hate for Muslims and Maxine thinks he is guilty. Sam, less so. He’s interested in pursuing the investigation. Hayes tells them to figure out how he got bomb residue on him, when he was picked up by police less than an hour after the bombing.
Frankie and Tess go to see Professor Peter Shaunessy (Thomas Mitchell), an expert that Frankie learned from.He’s created a replica of the bomb scene to see if residue matches, which would help prove
Hayes goes to see Wallace. She updates him on what case they’ve chosen. He doesn’t see how there could have possibly been a problem with that case. It was open and shut but he doesn’t try to stop her.
The bomber had to know the schedule of the imam and the mosque to be able to get in and out without being spotted. The bomb was rigged in a desk drawer, set to go off when the drawer was opened. When the imam came back to his office after lunch with his associates that’s exactly what happened.
Hayes visits the widows of the bombing victims to notify them of the investigation and talks to Kadisha Abdullah (Anna Khaja) about the Koran. Frankie’s test shows that the residue doesn’t match. He doesn’t think that Landon built the bomb. Tess is also skeptical though Maxine remains convinced. Sam looked into the police side of things and found one of the officers involved in the case sued the department due to pressure to close cases.
Sam and Maxine go to question the former officer Stan Sowinski (). He believes that Landon was a good collar. He actually lied in his lawsuit when he claimed he was pressured to plant evidence and rush cases. No one in the unit would’ve framed Landon, he says. They’d be more likely to bomb it themselves.
Maxine and Sam report back to Hayes. They believe him though. Hayes suggests looking into rivals that would’ve benefited from the death of the imam. Wallace storms into Hayes’ office and tells her to back of the police. As soon as he leaves, she tells the team to double down on the cop angle.
Maxine goes to see her father, John (Nigel Gibbs), and asks if he knows anyone in the unit involved. He tells her he doesn’t and she calls bull. She tells him she will find a source herself. John just doesn’t want to see a cop like her wasting her talent at CIU and while she admits it wouldn’t be her first choice, now that it’s her job she’s “not going to half-ass it.”
She is walking though a parking garage alone when a man in a ski mask approaches her from behind. She grabs him and pins him to a car before he tells her he just wants to talk. Her father sent him. He’s from the unit they are looking into.
The rest of the team can’t find a bad word about the imam anywhere. He was beloved by all. As they discuss it, Maxine comes in with inside information. The residue wasn’t planted but police had been trailing Landon for weeks prior to the bombing. At the time of the incident, they were searching his apartment without a warrant and found a journal detailing the bombing.
The journal led to picking him up so quickly, but because it was found illegally the journal, and everything that comes from it, is inadmissible in court. If they go public with this, Landon is guaranteed a new trial, without the most damning evidence, the residue.
Hayes confronts Wallace about the search. He tells her that she should have left well enough alone but she couldn’t do that. He says that Landon was picked up because he was on a watch list and was seen casing the mosque, not because of the journal. She doesn’t believe him and they argue about trust. She left him in Chicago not the other way around and he rips into her, saying she can’t trust anyone and just wants to get under their skin and be unpredictable for the sake of it. She tells him she’s just doing her job.
Hayes and Sam visit Landon in prison asking about the journal and he owns it. He says that he is protecting the country from enemies foreign and domestic. He wanted to build a bigger bomb and blow up a different mosque for a higher body count.
When the team meets, Hayes says that they need to find a way to prove that someone else is guilty because while Landon may have been planning something, it wasn’t the crime he is in prison for. Sam has had a change of heart. He sees that the unit is for “giving the finger to public opinion and defying all expectations” but Landon needs to stay in prison.
Frankie agrees with Sam and says he won’t help with this case. Hayes fires him and he says fine and starts to walk out. Tess tells him to stop. This is a good job for someone with his record and he shouldn’t lose it just because his boss is being a bitch. He sits back down.
Hayes goes to see Wallace about the team being right. Should she drop the case? He tells her that she won’t and that if they prove the conviction is wrong Landon will be released and be under 24 hour surveillance. She has an epiphany.
What if they were focusing on the religious side of things but the cause was something else? Much like Hayes’ father, the imam spent a lot of time mentoring the young women in the community, also like her father he could have cheated on his wife with them. Maybe this is not a hate crime but a wife scorned.
They get a warrant and search the house where Maxine finds the bag that Kadisha used to carry the bomb to the mosque in. There is still trace evidence. Sam goes to tell Landon what happened. As it turns out she used the guidelines on his blog for making the bomb. Landon leaves the room still ready to wage a war on Muslims.
Sam sees another prisoner when he is leaving the prison and asks to meet with him. Back at the office, Frankie thanks Tess for standing up for him. Hayes gets a call from the prison. Apparently a rumor circulated that Landon was getting out for snitching and when another inmate approaches him, Landon stabs him with a shiv. He commits a felony on camera. He’s not getting out of prison anytime soon.
Hayes thanks Wallace for his help and apologizes for “a lot of things including Chicago.” She kisses him and while they make out their phones start chiming. Hayes reads a text and tells him to put on the tv. It’s the reporter Lisa Crozier. She has footage from the holding cell the night Hayes was arrested for possession. The jig is up.
It was really predictable that Hayes would look into a bad guy after Wallace annoyed her and this vague “oh she ditched him in Chicago” thing isn’t all that compelling either. I like the rest of the team for the most part. I just don’t really like Hayes, or Wallace, which is a shame.
Conviction is new Mondays at 10 p.m.