Longshot is the sixth episode of the third season. It was released on 26 October 2006.
Don and the team investigate a suspicious death at a horse track. When Charlie starts looking into the crime, he uncovers something that will send the investigation into an entirely different direction.
At the race track a man named Danny Roberts is placing a bet. The teller taking the bet mentions how he’s on a streak. When he walks away the teller closes the betting window and talks to a man, who talks to another man, who sends somebody away from their table. Roberts goes to the track and watches the race when two men come up. One holds him while the other stabs him in the chest.
Charlie bursts into Larry’s office because Larry is beating a drum. Larry is grieving the loss of his inspiration. He’s also got a dilemma. His relationship with Megan, such that it is, is impacting his work.
At the track Colby brings Don up to speed on what he knows. He suggests giving Roberts’ work book to Charlie as it is full of equations. Don wonders why they were given the case. There’s already an FBI investigation into the track due to suspected ties to organised crime (OC). Liz Warner, the agent temporarily running the OC team had Don as a tactical training instructor at Quantico. He brags about how good of a teacher he is. He gets Liz to read him into OC’s case. Ivan Tabakian is suspected as being the man behind a series of scams. She thinks Roberts may have been working for Tabakian.
Larry takes his drum into Charlie’s office, much to Charlie’s surprise. Don and Megan join them. Don gives Charlie the notebook. Larry apologises Megan as they haven’t been out in a long while due to his busy work schedule. Charlie asks Larry to take a look at the notebook and they recognise that it’s very sophisticated math. Larry believes that the approach is counter intuitive for somebody betting at a track as the equations ignore the winner. Charlie gets a brainwave. He believes that Roberts was trying to pick second place rather than first.
This confuses Don as you get more by picking the winner. However, Megan points out that consistently picking out the winner looks more suspicious. Colby comes in – Roberts’ apartment has been broken into. Megan and Colby go and take a look. The landlady hasn’t seen Roberts since the day before. Colby finds a picture of Roberts and a woman – his girlfriend who is in computer science. He spent most of his time there.
Charlie is in the dining room looking through the book. Alan comes in offering him lunch. He talks about raspberries being so cheap because everybody wants blueberries, giving Charlie another brainwave. He rushes out to see Don.
Don and Liz are at the track musing over the past before discussing the case. They talk to the track manager, Maurice Connors. They ask him about Roberts’ death and Tabakian. Don gets a call and they have to leave.
Colby finds out that he’s called two numbers repeatedly – his girlfriend and an off-track betting place (OTB). To get information from the betting place they need a subpoena. Megan says they’ll go talk to the girlfriend.
Charlie tells Don and Liz about Roberts’ betting strategy. He was betting on horses that nobody was really betting on where the reward outweighed the risk of placing the bet. Liz points out that he won 30 in a row. Charlie thinks that something either changed with his system or at the track, but isn’t sure where. He asks for all of the race results from the last year.
Megan and Colby are at Sharrlyn Smith’s place. She was Roberts’ girlfriend and doesn’t know of anybody who would want to hurt him. She is very upset and walks away. Colby calls to find out about the subpoena while Megan has a girls only one-on-one with Smith. She asks about an upcoming wedding due to the engagement ring on her finger and then asks if Roberts could have been cheating at the track. She doesn’t think it’s possible since she had to pay his rent most of the time and is surprised to find out that he had won 30 bets this week.
Don and Liz think that Roberts could have been hiding his overall winnings from Smith, but Megan doesn’t think so due to the landlady’s comments about the couple. Colby finds out that he was hiding another bet from Smith. At the OTB Roberts had played a pick-six (picking the winner in six straight bets) and did it five days ago, winning $500,000. He never cashed the ticket though.
Colby and Liz talk about Don back in the day and he asks for advice about coming back from his recent screw up. She believes that he won’t be forgiven twice. They talk about the case. Colby thinks it’s weird that he placed his pick-six bet at an OTB until they realise that it was potentially risky bet to at a place where all of the tellers know you. Liz doesn’t think that he worked for Tabakian anymore, but they do think that he may be behind the murder.
At the Eppes’ house Charlie and Larry are trying to figure out Roberts’ system when Alan comes into the garage to do laundry. He reveals he used to go to the track before he was with Margaret. Alan suggests they go to the track to get some ideas. Larry declines – he saw a man get crushed by the horses on the merry-go-round and so doesn't like them.
Liz comes into the break room and gets coffee from Don. She doesn’t see any reason to hide money from a creditor so she thinks they may be right about him not having ties with Tabakian. She’s surprised Don is relying on Charlie’s intel as he was never open about his personal life at Quantico. She brings up Robin. They go back to the case. She tells him about a trainer that was set to testify against Tabakian in front of a Grand Jury, but was killed before he could.
Charlie and Alan are at the track discussing how betting works. Alan tells him there’s a bias against second place and you can get quite a lot from that. Charlie still doesn’t get why the algorithm was done the way it was until Alan mentions cheating. It’s what it was designed to take into account. Alan dials Don for Charlie.
Larry is shaving in his office when Megan comes in. She has surprised him. She wonders why Larry didn’t go to the track with the others and then asks about the unstructured nature of their relationship as he likes structure in his life, which is surprising to her. She isn’t opposed to a bit more structure to their relationship and suggests a date night before leaving.
Don has joined Charlie and Alan at the track. Charlie tells him that somebody has to be cheating at the track. Alan thinks that that is what got Roberts killed. For the past few months the algorithm was able to predict every pick-six winner. Five people won each time which is all but impossible without cheating being a factor.
Colby and Megan talk about her and Larry, the former thinking they’re an odd pair. Megan looks at the file that Colby has handed her. She sees that the last payment from one of the winner’s account went to an rstate. They’re dead. Colby looks into the other winners. They’re all dead.
Two people overdosed, one was killed by a hit and run, and the other two drowned after falling. The odds of all of them dying are about as good as all of them getting the pick-sixes all the time. Colby goes to check in with the ME. Liz thinks Tabakian is behind all of the deaths. She is worried that if they go after him too quickly that more people will be killed.
Larry comes out of the bathroom and thanks Alan for the use of the tub. He also offers him condo brochures if he wants to find a permanent residence. Larry is considering it.
Megan and Colby look at the financial records of the five victims. They cleared their accounts with cashiers’ cheques which were then cashed overseas. The money is a dead-end. There’s nothing that links the victims. Two of them weren’t employed and Colby realises that that they must all be unemployed. They head to the unemployment office.
Charlie is in the garage working on the case. Larry joins him, pensive. He gives him some advice on the case before wondering if he likes things too structured. Charlie believes that there’s no unifying theory for Larry between his paradoxical extremes and that maybe Megan could be a grounding force for him.
Megan and Colby are at talking to a woman from the unemployment office. They all went to different job centres and pulls up their files. They all interviewed at the race track. They ask for more specific files, but tha will take some time.
Charlie is in his office agitated when Don and Liz come in. He looked at the algorithm Roberts used. It appears as though other races had been fixed before the pick-six at a more frequent rate as time went on. There’s a potential for 18 other murders based on the fact they won on these random fixed races.
Colby finds out that six people, not 18, had won the bets that Charlie singled out, but not all of them are dead. Don gets him to look into their backgrounds.
Larry is back in the bathroom at the Eppes’ house when Alan comes in. He gives Larry some advice. Charlie rushes in and asks Larry what Roberts’ notebook looks like to him outside of the context of the murder. It looks like a TA’s bluebook. Somebody who was good at math was helping him with his algorithm. Colby and Liz are discussing this new info. They realise that Smith wrote software and could be capable of helping him.
Connors is in interrogation with his lawyer. Don is watching from the viewing room. Colby and Liz come in with the unemployment records. Connors was the one who interviewed them all. He probably sent them all to Tabakian. Liz would like to see the files on the six other people who won the pick-six. Colby says he’ll give them to her now as he has to leave. Don goes into interrogation and shows him the files of the people he interviewed. He denies knowing about any murders. The lawyer orders him to keep quiet. They’re about to leave when Don tries to stop them and makes Connors think about who is paying his lawyer’s bills. Connors starts to talk and the lawyer walks out, rescinding his representation. He fingers Tabakian as the person he sent the victims. Liz knocks on the window. Don steps out. A drug supplier was on the list that Colby gave her. She believes Tabakian was fixing races and laundering the money to pay for drugs.
Megan and Colby head to Smith’s place. The door is open and the place has been ransacked. Megan finds blood all over the place. Tabakian beat them there. Colby tells Liz that there was no witness. Megan finds out that she had a math degree from Stanford. She was the accomplice. Colby gets a call – the bet Roberts won at the OTB was cashed. They trace it to a hotel. Megan and Colby enter the room and find Smith alive and well. She admits to helping Roberts with his algorithm. She faked her death after Tabakian’s men left her place so she wouldn’t be followed. Megan convinces her to be a witness for the case.
The team heads to the track and approach Tabakian. He refuses to get up until the rest of his team are detained. He is arrested.
Megan and Larry leave a showing of The 400 Blows. They discuss the movie and then their dating schedule. They have specific date nights and Megan gets a wild card once a month to throw a spontaneous aspect into the relationship. Larry dubs it ‘structured complexity’.
A longshot is a horse with little or no chance of winning a race, usually reflected in betting odds of 15 to 1 or higher.
This is the first episode with Liz Warner.
In the first scene with Agent Liz Warner, you can see her microphone for most of the scene.
[This appears at the beginning of the episode.] 6 Furlongs, 6 Winners, 6 Bodies, Pick 6