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Writer: Mark Wilding
Director: Leslie Libman
Airdate: 05/20/04 (UK)

Christopher Gorham...Jake Foley
Keegan Connor Tracy...Diane Hughes
Philip Anthony-Rodriguez...Kyle Duarte
Judith Scott...Louise Beckett

Guest Stars:
Miranda Frigon...Tech Agent Susan Carver
Rachel Hayward...Valerie Warner
Clayton Rohner...Alex Brandt
Cameron Bancroft...Ben Wilton
Karen Holness...Jennifer Brandt
Manoj Sood...Dr. Vikram Taleek
Craig Harrison...Hernandez
Matthew Harrison...Tech
Sean Carey...soldier

The show opens with Jake and Diane in the medlab. Diane has purchased a new espresso machine with a phone-book-sized instruction manual. Jake, using his nanites, makes a double-shot and asks if she's been busy. The two of them are awkward around one another, as they have not really discussed what happened between them in Philadelphia. "You were not yourself, and I was..." Diane says with a shrug. "We don't need to be awkward now because we've talked about it."

Since Diane is obviously uncomfortable discussing it, Jake moves on, asking her what Lou and Kyle think about his "going rogue." Diane explains that they understand that he had amnesia, and that it'll be fine. He's the only nano-enhanced agent they have, so they're stuck with him.

In Sat Ops, Lou and Kyle are extolling the virtues of an agent to Warner. Jake eavesdrops, smiling as he thinks they're talking about him until he realises they mean a new member of the team, Agent Ben Wilton, whom Jake fears will replace him.

Meanwhile, in a prisoner of war camp in Mitrovica, Serbia, an American prisoner breaks free of his captors and, falling to his knees in the snow, looks skyward, mouthing the words "Help me."

Jake approaches Lou and Kyle, who are annoyed that he eavesdropped and found out about Ben before they could tell him. Lou tells him he's not being replaced. It's their way of keeping the project under their control, by bringing in an agent whom they know and trust. Kyle assures him that there is no timetable for Ben getting the nanites. He's just joining the team to get to know him. Jake is worried that Diane is going to be furious. However, Diane and Ben appear, joking and laughing. Jake can't help but be charmed by Wilton, who seems to be a really great guy. Lou tells Jake to meet her in her office, so they can get Ben up to speed. Jake says he'll be with them in a minute and ducks into the men's room. Diane follows him, and he assumes she wants to talk about Philadelphia. He tells her that he's been thinking about what happened between them, and that he thinks she's beautiful, but they work together and they both know they can't. Diane tells him that's not why she followed him into the men's room. She wants to talk about Ben. Jake has cutting edge technology inside him, but the minute they decide to upgrade a soldier like Ben, Jake will become obsolete overnight. For the sake of the project, Jake has to prove he's the better agent. And he thinks she's beautiful? Before Jake can reply, Kyle enters the men's room. Looking back and forth between Jake and Diane, Kyle asks if they've gone unisex. Diane ducks out, and Kyle motions for Jake to zip up his fly before they go to Sat Ops.

In Sat Ops, Carver brings up the satellite images taken over Serbia. Lou and Kyle recognise the prisoner as Alex Brandt, an NSA weapons technician who was presumed dead in 1998 and left behind—by Lou. Lou, obviously shaken, immediately launches a rescue operation. She'll notify Alex's wife herself. Flashback to Belgrade, Serbia in 1998. Lou is leading a team, which is under heavy fire. Alex disobeys a direct order, trying to retrieve two members of their team. There's an explosion, and Lou is told that Alex is dead. She reluctantly retreats with the remaining members of her team.

Back in the present day, Kyle finds Lou in her office, going over Alex's file. He reminds her that everyone thought he was dead, and that the remaining members of her team survived because of her actions, which a board of inquiry deemed reasonable and courageous. She's not so sure about the courageous part. Kyle tells her Jennifer Brandt is waiting, and Lou composes herself, telling him to show her in. Lou tells her that they picked Alex up on satellite the day before, and she's going to try and bring him back. She wants Jennifer to be prepared for the worst, as he was in a notorious prison camp for 5 years, most likely beaten and tortured. Lou will lead the rescue operation herself. She was the one who left him there. She's the one who's going to get him back.

In Sat Ops, Lou, Kyle, Ben and Jake are going over the specs of the camp, which is decidedly low tech. Frustrated, Jake finally says "How hard can it be to break into a Serbian prison camp?" which gives Ben an idea. They'll purposely leak their plans to the Serbs, and allow Jake to be taken. Once inside, Jake can bust Alex out, and Ben will handle the extraction. The plan goes off without a hitch—until Jake hands Alex off to Ben, and stays behind to hold off the prison guards. Using the nanites, he holds them at bay, until a grenade is tossed into the tunnel. Jake tries to out-run it, but is engulfed in the resulting explosion.

Jake fades in and out of consciousness, seeing Ben and Diane, who tell him he's home. both Alex and Jake are in the secure hospital wing of the NSA only accessible via a retinal scan. Alex is disoriented, not even recognising his own wife. However, he becomes agitated when he sees Lou. Meanwhile, Jake has third degree burns over 50% of his body and is in a tank full of blue goo called Poly 3. Diane insists to Dr. Taleek that the high doses of morphine the doctor is administering are keeping the nanites from healing him. The doctor insists that the nanites have had 24 hours—Diane has her speciality, and he has his, and she should let him do his job. Kyle and Lou ask Diane if he's going to be able to breathe on his own. Diane tells them she just doesn't know. All Lou wanted was to bring them both out safely. Instead, now she may lose them both.

In the medlab, Ben tries to comfort Diane, who is running tests with the nanites and morphine. Ben just thought, since she and Jake are so close, that she might need the company. As he gives her a sympathetic hug, the video camera in the lab picks them up. Ben leaves, and Diane drops a glass microscope slide, cutting her finger. Angry, frustrated, and afraid, she's spooked when her espresso machine whirs to life. The video camera monitors the whole thing. She goes to the hospital wing, and asks the unconscious Jake if he just made her a cup of coffee. Feeling foolish, she doesn't see Jake's face appear on the monitor behind her. She tries to go back to her lab, but the door of the burn unit won't open. Her cellphone rings, and she drops it when she gets a burst of high-pitched noise, and the text message ZT408-90.

In Lou's office, Jennifer confronts Lou, saying Alex isn't getting any better. Lou tries to explain Alex will need time. She shouldn't give up hope. Jennifer says he doesn't even recognise her, but he recognises Lou. Lou asks her if they can not do this. Jennifer reminds her that Lou had her time with Alex—and Alex chose her. When Jennifer leaves, Lou walks over to the shelf in her office and picks up a tiny chair fashioned out of the wire and cap found over champagne bottle corks. Flashback to Belgrade in 1998, as Lou and her team prep for the mission. Alex refers to her by her nickname "Bullet" which Lou deflects by asking if anybody there is named Bullet? As the team disperses, Lou takes Alex aside and tells him the nickname is a sign of disrespect. She offers to transfer him, and he asks her with a smile if it's because she still has personal feelings for him. She reminds him that it's been over a year. He asks if she wants a kiss for luck. She coldly tells him he should get that from his wife.

Lou is brought out of her reverie by the arrival of Kyle and Diane, who asks if they've noticed anything unusual. She explains the coffee machine, and the doors, and she shows them the message on her phone. Neither Kyle nor Lou recognise it, and ask her if it's possible that she's imagining Jake is trying to subconsciously communicate with her because she wishes it were true. The camera on Lou's desk starts picking up the conversation, as Diane leaves, upset. Kyle asks Lou what she thinks is going on, and she says she doesn't know. She gets an email from Jake's nurse, summoning her to the hospital wing. On her way, she's joined by Ben, who wants to talk to the comatose Jake, to see if it will help at all. They reach the retinal scan, and Ben offers to go first. As Lou looks on in horror, a beam from the retinal scan drills a hole straight through Ben's head, killing him instantly. Ben's death is also witnessed by a security camera.

Warner, Lou and Kyle listen as a tech explains how the retinal scan was tampered with, as Diane looks on and Ben's body is photographed. It was obviously sabotage. Warner wants to know who did this. Meanwhile, Jennifer wants Alex to leave the hospital. Alex says he wants to see Lou. In the empty hospital canteen, Diane, Lou and Kyle discuss the possibility that Jake could have somehow subconsciously been responsible for Ben's death, while a security camera in a corner monitors their conversation. Diane is certain Jake would never do such a thing, but Lou and Kyle are worried that Jake felt threatened by Ben's presence—and that on the amount of morphine they have him on, it's a possibility. The code Jake sent Diane on her cellphone turned out to be the bypass code on the retinal scanner in the medical wing. Diane thinks the code was a warning. She wants to move Jake to a secure location—away from electronics of any kind—and try administering Nalaxone, an opium antagonist to give the nanites a chance to heal Jake. There are risks however. He could have a pain crisis and die.

Alex, in street clothes and wearing an NSA badge, walks into Lou's empty office. He finds the champagne chair on her desk, and we flash back to Vienna in 1997. Alex and Lou are on a mission. They make sure the room is secure, and start making out like crazed weasels. Later, as they bask in afterglow, Alex tells Lou he wants to leave the NSA, get a job in the private sector where the money is better. Lou, however, doesn't want to go. The NSA is her life. Alex admits that he put in for director of field operations and didn't get the job. Lou admits that she got the job—she was waiting to tell him until it became official. She asks him if the situations were reversed, and he had gotten the job and she asked him not to take it, what would he do? He says that would be entirely different. She observes that he's funny and smart, but he's not very nice.

In the present, Alex leaves Lou's office, and the automated doors try to close on him. As he gets into the elevator, it drops six stories. Lou, Kyle and Diane rush to the burn unit where Warner is next to Jake's comatose body with Dr. Taleek. Lou tells Warner she has no proof that Jake is behind the incidents. Warner counters that the surge that dropped the elevator originated in the burn unit. Warner insists that Jake is a threat and it's her responsibility to neutralise that threat. Lou insists that it's her team, and if anyone will pull the plug on Jake, it will be her people. Diane asks Dr. Taleek to turn off the ventilator. She tells Jake she's preparing a strong shot of morphine so that he won't feel any pain—however, the vial she picks up is the Nalaxone. Jake convulses and then flat-lines. Taleek is about to call time of death when the entire lab goes dark, and klaxons start sounding. The liquid in the tank starts to literally boil, circuits start blowing in the burn unit and Warner gets cut on the cheek by flying glass from a thermometer. Lou orders everyone out, but she will stay. Jake is her responsibility.

In Sat Ops, Warner orders the blast doors to be closed on the east wing and the burn unit contained. Carver disables main power, but can't shut it down. All the screens in Sat Ops come to life. In the burn unit, Lou pleads with Jake not to hurt anyone else. What happened was her fault. If he's angry with anyone, it should be her. Warner continues to bark orders, but Carver tells her it's out of her hands. The screens in Sat Ops suddenly fill with images—transmissions from Jake of Alex Brandt telling his wife that it was Lou's fault. That Lou destroyed him. Jake shows them images of Alex sabotaging the retinal scanner, not trying to kill Ben but Lou—Ben just got there first. Alex has also planted a bomb in Lou's keyboard in her office. Jake wasn't trying to hurt anyone—he was just trying to protect Lou.

Alex breaks into the burn unit and attacks Lou. When he comes at her with a scalpel, Jake sits up in the tank, his burns beginning to heal as he grabs Alex and Lou knocks him out. Jake falls back into the tank, passing out. A day later, Jake is conscious and almost completely healed, in the recovery ward as Diane tries to feed him blue Jell-O. Lou asks how he's feeling, and Jake tells them sore, but free. He felt trapped before, and thanks Diane for getting him "out."

Next door, Lou stares at Alex' empty hospital bed. Back in her office, Jennifer pays her one last visit to say Alex has been taken away. Lou says there won't be any criminal charges as he's not fit to stand trial. He'll receive the best psychiatric care. The NSA takes care of its own. Jennifer wants to understand what happened, and Lou tells her that he fixated on Lou as a way to escape his surroundings in prison. Jennifer blamed Lou too, because Alex never really got over her. She asks for Lou's forgiveness, and Lou tells her there's nothing to forgive. Lou picks up the champagne chair.

Flashback to a Georgetown bar, 1994. Lou is having a drink when Alex congratulates her on graduating at the top of her class. She says that and a nickel will get her a beer. He smiles and says at those prices, they should be drinking champagne. She reminds Alex that the NSA frowns on fraternisation. He counters that the NSA frowns on heavy drinking. That doesn't mean they're not going to do any, he says as he sets the champagne cap—now twisted into a tiny chair—on the bar. Lou remarks that he must be the life of the party. "Like you'll ever know," Alex says as they toast to God and country—until something better comes along.

Guest cast

In the first episode since "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" to focus on Lou, the audience gets some fantastic back story that shows how much Lou gave up in order to get where she is at the NSA—and how her decisions have at times haunted her. Her relationship with Alex Brandt is complex, and while it shows that Lou has a sensual side that may not be immediately apparent, it also shows that she is ambitious, driven, and unwilling to compromise who she is. Not for a man. Not for anything. At the same time, those decisions do not come without a cost. Lou could have had the life Jennifer Brandt has, had she wanted it. And there is a sense in many ways that Jennifer is in fact doomed to be forever in Lou's shadow—second choice, second best—and that Lou was very right to break it off with Alex when she did. Clayton Rohner plays Alex with just the right mix of charm and smarm. It's easy to see why Lou was drawn to his sense of confidence and easy-going manner, because beneath it there is still a slight edge. He also plays haunted particularly well, and that helps draw out the tension, keeping the audience guessing as to the real villain well into the third act. Consciously, we know Jake wouldn't really murder anyone. However, the structure of the script sets up enough plausible reasons why Jake might, before all the clues are revealed.

Also? FOr the record? The smoking exit wound? Hella cool. The moment stands out as truly shocking.

Given Jake and Diane's relationship post-"Get Foley" it's interesting to see a story which illustrates exactly why the NSA frowns upon fraternisation. As in "Blackout" and "Get Foley", Lou and Kyle are forced to play Devil's Advocate, while Diane remains 100% true and loyal to Jake. However, in this case, the real Devil of the piece remains Warner. Poor Ben Wilton was just cannon fodder. Cameron Bancroft was likeable as Ben, and it's almost a pity his character was killed off. However, given the limitations of the script (the episode, which was shot in early January 2004 was structured in such a way as to give series star Christopher Gorham time off to spend with his wife as their second child was born) Ben was an excellent red herring because all the signs could have pointed to Jake's subconscious mind perceiving Ben as a threat to his position on the team. Not to mention, Ben was cosy-ing up to Diane. It's telling that Diane is the first person Jake attempts to communicate with. It's a testament to their relationship that even doped up on opiates, Jake knows Diane is in his corner and has his back.

Knowing only one episode remains in the series, fans may be frustrated that, except for two scenes early on in the episode, there is little reference to the events of "Get Foley." However, at the time this episode was written there had been no hint that the production would be shut down after episode 16, and the two part series finale—which no doubt would have given the fans the closure they craved—would not be shot. So in context, the forward motion of their relationship is perfectly in keeping with the patterns established thus far. The good news is, Jake remembers everything, and wants to discuss it with Diane. Diane admits that while Jake might not have been himself, she was, which is a major turning point given she had never articulated her interest in him to Jake himself thus far. And the scene in the men's' room, although partially played for laughs, is touching. Television conventions means of course they must be interrupted before they can actually finish their conversation. But that doesn't make what was said any less important.

Lastly, thought he is not given too terribly much to do in this episode, "Dead Man Talking" does a nice job of showing how loyal Kyle is to Lou—and how, in his own way, he is there for her every bit as much as Diane is for Jake. While Alex Brandt was threatened by a woman being more driven than he was, Kyle has nothing but admiration and respect for Lou, and that clearly comes through in all their scenes together throughout the series.

Quotes of the Week:
Jake: So.. ah... been busy?
Diane: Yeah. Yeah. Yourself?
Jake: Yeah. Same old. Ran away. Had a shoot to kill order out on me. Almost slept with my best... colleague. [Pause] Had a nice Ethiopian meal.
Diane: Well, you have been busy.

Jake: Diane! Men's room! What are you doing?
Diane: We have to talk.
Jake: Okay. Okay. Okay. Look. I've been thinking about this a lot. That kiss was—well... I know things were crazy, but I meant it. You're beautiful. But I just keep coming back to the fact that we work together, and it's the NSA, and I think that we both understand that... that we just can't. Ah... what?
Diane: I didn't come into the bathroom to talk about that.
Jake: Oh.

© Tara O'Shea 2004

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