One thing I like about this show is that it’s more about the why and the who than the what. Every episode so far ends with a scene showing that while Lake, the child captive, may be a little cranky, she’s alive, well, and decently-enough cared for. It appears we have nothing to dread about her being harmed , so we’re not dread-watching, we’re watching to see why she was taken.
Also, the revelation late in the episode that Casey – ! – is the abduction mastermind (or at least a key accomplice in an abduction gang), is big news for episode 3/10. Kudos to the show for upending expectations about how long we’d have to wait to find out who is involved, yet still hooking our interest.
The episode opens with Jane and John Bird reviewing the video sent to Jane on Day 2, of Lake on an outdoor swing. John asks Jane to look for identifying features in the background. All Jane can offer – because her showrunner skills include cinematography, apparently – is that judging from the way the light falls on Lake’s face, the video was shot late the day before. And that Lake is wearing a red hoodie that is not her own. We later learn that the hoodie is from the show’s wardrobe closet and was given to Lake when she recently visited the studio and went home afterwards with Pete. During that studio visit, Matt the head writer and co-exec producer played with her on-set because he is a nice guy dad, and Jane ignored her because she is work-obsessed. She feels bad about ignoring her later, though.
John Bird speculates that the video could have been sent to reassure Jane that Lake is safe, to establish she is alive in advance of a ransom note that will follow, or to torment Jane. Like I said – the why of the kidnapping is still unknown.
Jane assures her narcotics cop lover Gus that her computer contains no info that reveals that he is her source. She asks him what an IP anonymiser is (one was used to hide where the video was sent from). He explains, then exposits that the LAPD’s best team is on the case. When that team discovers that the video was sent from within the studio, Bird suggests that Jane could help him identify the culprit by assuming her staff are guilty, then work back one-by-one to figure out what each person’s motive might be. Problem is, too many people she works with have reasons to resent her. Starting with the show director Henry, once her peer, now her subordinate, and given to temper tantrums on set when Isabel, the demanding actress who is the show’s star, complains about her lines.
Bird and his team arrive with Jane at the studio, and ask everyone to hand over their laptops for examination. Cut to Matt watching the video on his computer in a back room and acting shady – he calls his husband (a stay-at-home dad with IT skills) to ask how to forever delete a file on his hard drive, he tries to hide his laptop among the prop ones in a storeroom. Under questioning, which for some reason Bird lets Jane watch on a computer monitor from another room (she’s so trustworthy?), Matt admits that with his husband’s help, he gained access to Jane’s laptop and emails a few months before. He needed to get into her inbox to delete an bridge-burning resignation message he sent when he got a new job that then fell through. He kept monitoring her emails after that because he thought they might give him ideas for how to curry her favour, and help him understand the workings of her brilliant showrunning mind. That’s why the video of Lake was on his computer; he saw it via Jane’s emails. So he is innocent, maybe, despite having much to gain if Jane leaves the show, even temporarily, and despite his resentment of her bossy and demanding ways.
Not anywhere close to being in the clear, still, is Pete, who a) recently sold his BMW for $18K cash – to cover debts?, b) has no idea what items of clothing belong or don’t belong to Lake, c) punches a random guy in the street because the guy posts flyers that cover Lake’s missing posters, d) calls Sheldon the Korean BBQ Taco King/Drug Boss and says, “Listen, for god’s sake, this is insane. Just call me,” e) acts defensive and tries to discredit Jane every time he’s questioned by police, and f) urges Casey to go to the station ASAP to reinforce his alibi.
Police Commander Gomez – so far more of an interested party than a suspect – spends the day playing golf with his brother, who is running for state attorney general. Police Gomez confides that a shoot-up of bad guy gangs that occurred some years ago might have been carried out by dirty cops who were robbing dealers. There were rumours then, but no hard evidence, so no case, but that’s what Jane’s TV show, “Internal,” is about, which is not good for either brother. Gomez asks John Bird to find out who Jane’s source is, and John delivers: he finds Gus’s name in Jane’s deleted emails (taken from Matt’s hard drive). To Bird, Gomez is like, it’s probably no big deal, but thanks. He immediately calls for all of Gus’s records and files.
Casey finally comes in for questioning by the police, and Bird figures out that she and this Kathryn Collins they’ve been waiting to see with regard to Pete’s alibi are one and the same. Casey/KC pretty quickly identifies PJ from the surveillance camera video as Jane’s drug dealer, and pretends to sympathetically excuse Jane’s drug use as being occasional and only when necessary due to overwork.
Bird confronts Jane with a Child Protection Services officer at his side, and threatens to charge her with obstruction of justice for lying about her drug use. She tries to tell him that Pete has Lake because of the red hoodie, but he cuts her off and tells her he doesn’t work for her, he works for her daughter. So I guess she won’t be watching anymore when he questions suspects?
Meanwhile, in a not very nice house, in back of which sits a beat-up car, Lake “doesn’t sleep, just stares,” and is creeping out her caregiver, a many months pregnant blonde woman who goes outside to complain to a waiting-in-the-shadows Casey. “It’ll be over soon,” Casey says. “We’ll end it tomorrow.”
Convincing behind-the-scenes TV show details this episode:
- the look of the wardrobe room, the writers’ room, and the offices
- the hairnet Isabel wears between shooting scenes
- Matt referring dismissively to the show he was asked to run as episodic and on cable, when “Internal” is on cable too
Less convincing details:
- Henry being “the show director” rather than one of several directors
- non-production staff hanging out on the set between shots – doing real work at a set desk, running around playfully with a kid, and generally dirtying up the joint
- the “Isabel wheel” in the writers’ room that indicates her diva behaviour affects the the writers’ room on a daily basis
- Jane having convinced Isabel to join the show by telling her they would “walk hand-in-hand toward the truth”– alrighty, then.
- the lack of any network or studio executives weighing in on how Lake’s disappearance is affecting production and Jane’s job performance/sanity, not to mention having an opinion about police detectives taking over the offices
Next week: follow the money! Pete owes Sheldon some cash, Jane buys more drugs, and the pregnant captive-minder wants thirty grand.
Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her most recent book is a suburban comedy of manners called The Oakdale Dinner Club. Coming in 2018: The Showrunner, a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz.