Sabotage is the sixth episode of the first season, and the sixth episode overall. It was released on February 25, 2005.
An unidentified terrorist is re-enacting horrendous train accidents with mass fatalities and leaving a number code at the scene, which Charlie must race to crack before more people die.
A train is going down the tracks. One of the engineers is talking to his son. The other sees a vehicle on the tracks and try to stop. They try to stop, but collide with the vehicle (a school bus) even though they did everything they could to avoid it. The son survives, but his dad doesn't.
A note consisting of a series of random numbers is left at the scene. Don gets a cryptic call saying everything he needs to know is in the note. The NTSB agent Mark Sutter says that if there is a code it's unbreakable.
Sutter briefs the team on four other wrecks that mimic past crashes that came down to railroad negligence. Charlie and Amita show up to take a look at the note. He puts forward various ways that they could crack the code. A trainspotter comes forward with footage of the crash. David and Terry talk the man. Two men can be seen running through some of the footage. They are the most likely suspects and they track down one of the men based on his license plate number.
Larry joins Amita and Charlie and offers his help with their work to avoid Professor Wilson, a fellow CalSci professor that he slept with the night before (until then they had a very platonic relationship). He is afraid that the great night they had together cannot be replicated and so is hiding there due to it being 'the least libidinous' place on campus.
Don and his team are staking out the suspect's (McDonald) home. Terry goes to the door as a lure, but they find that he is dead at his kitchen table. In processing the scene they find a large number of electronics in his garage that had been stolen from the past four orchestrated crashes. The man who called Don earlier calls him again congratulating him on finding McDonald, but drives it home that Don got there too late.
Alan is coming into the house and sees Amita sitting in her car outside while Charlie is looking up something in his books. Alan isn't impressed considering she's been out there for 15 minutes. Charlie and Amita go and talk to somebody at a local train museum about past crashes. He let's them know that they're missing one : The Cajone Pass Derailment where a train carrying hazardous material derailed and 30 people were killed including the engineer, Frank Milton.
McDonald was working undercover with the Frieight Train Raiders of America. The 'Hells Angels of the rails'. In going through files about the FTRA they find out about a man named Horizontal Bob. They raid a tent city asking about Horizontal Bob. One of the men - Cricket - at the raid points them to look at the Sacramento rail yard.
The dosund leaves a note in the files he gave to Amita and Charlie asking Amita out after she told him no in person. They come across Larry looking forlorn at a fountain on campus. He had been cornered by the professor from the night before. She was heartbroken because he had been avoiding her. He wanders off and Charlie and Amita get back to the office to work. In going through some of the numbers of the NTSB report of the Cajone Pass Derailment, Charlie recognises the numbers from the note. In two days it is the fourth anniversary of the accident.
Don and Terry go to talk to Milton's widow about the derailment. He sees an old picture of Milton and his wife and recognises him as Cricket. Milton calls Don again. He had been falsely accused of causing the Cajone Pass Derailment after pointing out flaws in the maintenance of the train. He jumped out just before the impact and survived and went underground with the FTRA until he could find a way to force the railway companies to fix the flaws in the system. They track the cell signal to the San Bernardino rail yard. The FBI works to figure out what train Milton is targeting to recreate the derailment. Milton's wife comes in and tells them that he said goodbye.
The FBI go out to the switch yard to monitor the rails. Charlie and Sutton give the most likely candidates for Milton to target. He has disguised himself as a member of the Railroad Police to get close. Don spots Milton who has strapped himself to a bomb. Don, Terry, and David work together to deactivate the bomb before it goes off.
Amita and Charlie leave the FBI office. She is happy because they not only stopped somebody from blowing up a train, but she also convinced Larry to pursue a relationship with Professor Wilson using Game Theory. Charlie is about to ask Amita out when Don interrupts to thank him for his work.
Back at the Eppes' house, Alan, Charlie, Don, David, and Terry are celebrate their win.
Beyond the literal, there is the matter of self-doubt which is so destructive to Charlie's process, and perhaps office politics.
- Don Eppes' driver's license lists his birthday as July 15, 1967.
- Don's shirt changes color during one scene. Well, actually in one moment he wears a brown shirt, in the other moment, he wears a black jacket over it. You can see this between the close-ups on the other guy's face and his.
[This appears on the beginning of the episode] 101,424 Train Accidents, 2,112 Derailments, 29 Sabotage Incidents, 1 Unbreakable Code