Hey, it's Warrick! Only twenty-one minutes into the episode, even. Which reminds me: Where is Nicky? Where is Catherine? Are we going to cut to Catherine on the phone, listening to some know-it-all in Miami talking her ear off about an old case while she writes "GET ME OFF THE PHONE" on old reports, makes paper airplanes of them, and throws them at passersby? Anyway, Warrick comes by and asks, "You working that case where some mob beat up an Indian cab driver for hitting a kid?" Sara clarifies, "Cabbie didn't actually hit the kid -- he was in the wrong place at the wrong time." Warrick then asks, "Do you think [the mob scene] was racially motivated?" Is it somehow going to make the bruises hurt less if it's not? Sara replies, "I do. White mob. White kid. Dark-skinned cabbie. I don't like the math." Warrick looks away, brooding -- please, God, not the brooding -- then says morosely, "We've got to wait for the science, don't we?" Sara smiles ruefully as she says, "I'm trying." Warrick, who really seems shaken up, says, "That's the job. Good luck." As he leaves, you can practically see the thought bubble over Sara's head reading, Well. That was awkward.
And now, it's time for Brass's day to get a little worse as a deputy escorts grieving mother Ms. Branson in to see him. She marches in and demands, "Have you arrested that taxi driver?" Brass replies, "He's in intensive care." Also, why is she not asking whether they've arrested whomever stabbed her kid, since that would seem to be a contributing factor to his death? Ms. Branson rants a little bit about the taxi driver -- understandable -- and Brass gently reins her in before buckling down to the truly unpleasant part of the conversation: "Your son was stabbed in Haskell Park, and you live on Loring Avenue. My best guess is he was on his way home when the accident occurred...the taxi didn't kill your son, but someone did. Did Todd have any problems that you were aware of, any problems at school?" Ms. Branson cuts him off to deny any problems: "He's a great kid. He's athletic, he's popular, he's a good student. We moved here from Portland nine months ago. He fit right in." We find out that Todd had told his mom he was going to a friend's for dinner, but hadn't called, which had raised alarm bells later. Man, if it were my parents, they would have been calling over to the house in question if I didn't check in: I wasn't allowed to leave the house until I had debriefed them on where I was going, who I was going with, what I would be doing, how I could be reached, and when I would be home. I had to call in if I was traveling somewhere or changing plans, and any failure to comply led to restriction. The first weekend I was in college, I nearly passed out from the giddy freedom of being able to go somewhere without factoring an extra half an hour for the parental pre-departure routine. Anyway, Ms. Branson, who's clearly more lenient than MaBell and PaBell were, says ruefully, "You know teenagers." Brass replies, "Yeah, I do. And they often don't confide in their parents, I know." Ms. Branson decides to confide in Brass: "I've been on the run from my ex-husband. He's threatened to kill me and my boys. I just try to stay one step ahead of him." We find out that Mr. Branson showed up outside Todd's school in Portland; the Branson family boarded a bus out of town that evening. We also find out that Mr. Branson called a few days ago, and she was planning on disappearing again this weekend. Brass asks, "Why didn't you call the police?" There's a long minute where she looks at him, agonized, and he says resignedly, "Because you knew we couldn't protect you." She nods almost imperceptibly. The Piano Of Police Futility tinkles in the background.