This week's number is Samuel Gates, a tough-on-crime judge with so many enemies JC has no choice but to stay close in case someone makes a move. Which is the set-up of nearly every episode so far: JC stalking our weekly number. But this one is different, because the judge's son (also named Sam) gets kidnapped, so JC reveals himself to the judge as the only person who can help him (the kidnappers already told him he can't go to the police or the FBI. When the nanny ends up dead, she's no longer suspected of being involved, but Carter ends up on her murder case (because someone saw JC leave the scene), with Fuscoe by her side.
JC tracks down a guy whose middle name is Josef with an F, and he quickly figures out it's a Eastern European street gang called -- I kid you not -- Szajka Pruszkow Dziewiec (SP-9). Yes, JC just knows that name by heart, apparently. That's what all those years in the secret Army will teach you. SP-9 tells the judge they don't want money; they want him to throw a case in his court, called "The People vs. Angela Markham." The judge is confused, because she's just some woman who mowed down a guy in a parking garage -- a simple hit and run. But JC knows these people are out to kill Sam Sr., and that Sam shouldn't cooperate. He asks him to stall the trial, and make it look like he's cooperating. While the judge stalls the trial by a day, Bench follows Angela Markham. He catches a phone call between her and an SP-9 guy in which she seems to holding all the cards in some sort of business arrangement. Meanwhile, JC tries to break the SP-9 member he's got locked in his trunk. He eventually gives him an address to the place he goes to get paid, and JC finds a room full of cash, which he steals to try to hurt them. He also kidnaps another guy, and the two fight it out until one reveals the name of the SP-9 boss, Koska.
Bench figures out that Angela's the key to SP-9 laundering millions of dollars every day -- their own money and that of many rich and shady clients. Before JC and Bench can find Sam Jr., the judge rules Angela Markham innocent and heads to get his son back from SP-9. Bench and JC know what's in store -- both of the Sams' deaths -- so JC takes Angela at gunpoint and follows the judge to the meet. In perfect TV timing, JC shows up just as Koska is about to kill Sam Jr. in front of his father. He has Angela at gunpoint, of course, but that's not all: He also comes bearing enough information about SP-9's scheming for Koska to know they're screwed. As they draw guns to shoot JC and the Sams, JC shoots them all instead. But he doesn't kill, of course. That's not his way. He takes Koska for a ride, as Bench slips the laundering information to the district attorney who'd been trying to prosecute Angela for DUI. JC leaves all the gang members and Angela tied up right where Fuscoe and Carter's search for the nanny killer has led them. He watches from afar as they arrest all the bad guys.
So it's another happy ending, especially for the Sams. JC stops by the park where they're happily playing ball together, and bids the judge goodbye. Sam gives him a heartfelt thanks, and tells JC that he won't be able to protect him when people find him out someday. And then JC pays forward the thanks by thanking Bench for giving him a job. So Bench reveals a little bit about himself: He likes eggs Benedict. Baby steps, right?
If you were hoping this episode might answer last week's cliffhanger, you'll be disappointed. Of course. So we're left to guess whether JC killed the bad man, or let him go. I'm voting he let him go. So far JC has not seemed willing to kill anyone unless it was necessary (he even said that once). Anyway, opening. Did you know the Machine can calculate your stress percentage? Maybe there can be a spin-off show where a team relieves stress for those folks that the Machine determines have too much.
We open this week with surveillance footage of a hit and run in a parking garage. Then, just like last week, what sounds like a phone call. An accented voice says, "We've got a problem." Cut to Reese eating in a diner when JC walks in and sits down. He asks "What's good here?" And Bench's reply -- "That won't work, Mr. Reese. Your interrogation technique." -- seems to imply JC wasn't invited to eat with Bench. JC says it was an innocent question, but Bench says it was a ploy to find out if Bench comes here often, and so he could try to figure out where Bench lives. Really, Bench, we know how good JC is at tailing people; if he wanted to know where you live, he probably already would. JC says Bench is paranoid, and Bench says he has good reason. JC smirks, "Maybe I just don't know what's good here. So I'm asking a regular." Bench hands JC the menu, puts some cash on the table, takes his copy of It Can't Happen Here, and leaves JC to figure that out for himself. JC's amused, but Bench clearly isn't.
When he opens his menu, though, I get the feeling he was invited to dine with Bench, because there's a picture of the Machine's latest number inside the menu. It's Samuel Gates. JC and Bench fill us in he was born in Boston; has a law degree from NYU; lives on the Upper West Side with his son, Sam; and his wife died of cancer last year. JC spies on them, and wonders about the nanny. Her name's Christina Rojas, and she was hired when the wife fell ill. The kid loves her, and she works long hours because of Judge Sam's long hours. JC psychoanalyzes (or self-analyzes) that he's putting in long hours to cope with losing the woman he loved. Bench says the Machine probably sent his number, because he works as a tough-on-crime city judge, and gets plenty of death threats. JC visits the courtroom and plants a camera on the way out. Bench says they need to determine which of the many death threats Judge Sam's gotten is real. JC says his best bet is to stay close until someone makes a move. Then he finds an envelope of threatening letters in Judge Sam's drawer.