Cut to Gil and Catherine showing the senior Stokeses their boy in the box. This will go a long way toward easing their feelings of anger, confusion, and helplessness. Unsurprisingly, everyone gapes at the screen. Gil and Catherine check out the Stokeses and look really uncomfortable. It's like they've just been forcibly reminded that Nicky actually has biological parents, and didn't spring from their foreheads fully grown. Mrs. Stokes eventually has to stop watching and she heads outside to sob in the hall. The judge finally groans, "Ah, Poncho. What the hell you got yourself into?" Cut to Gil looking inexplicably pissed. The judge heads outside to comfort his wife, and Gil and Catherine go back to gaping at the screen. Because that's an effective crime-solving technique.
Catherine gets a resolute look and strides out. She's wearing a face made for business, with cleavage to match.
Hey, it's some bureaucrat I don't care about. He's one of the sheriff's toadies, and Ecklie's just cornered him. The guy snaps, "Tell me you found [Nicky] so I can tell the sheriff when his plane lands." When his plane lands? What? Does the sheriff patrol the city by aircraft, hopping from shindig to station? Ecklie's all, "Um, no. I've been looking over my budget. There are a number of things we can do within the lab itself that can make the ransom." Bud the Bureaucrat says, "There's no way. Not even in a situation like this that's going to make the sheriff cut back services to our taxpayers." Ecklie implores, "We wouldn't have to. I'm proposing we eliminate all overtime on lab work except for priority cases, stop hiring based on attrition, reassign existing personnel based on peak staffing needs. In this fiscal year, that should clear at least a million." The bureaucrat's all, "Nice budget boogie, but you didn't really come here because you're gripped with the burning need to save money, did you?" Ecklie looks around, pinned. And then he sacks up, saying firmly, "I'll take the heat." Well, I'll be -- the paperweight reading "Leaders Keep Their Eyes on the Horizon, Not Just on the Bottom Line" finally sunk in. The sheriff's lackey isn't nearly so impressed by this show of mettle as I am, and says, "You want to do something for your people? Get 'em ready for a funeral." Ecklie looks defeated by the idea of getting Liam dressed appropriately, then brightens as he realizes he's no longer the biggest dick in the department.