One of these is a first for Bones: A dead reporter who knew too much, powerful men in suits trying to regulate the Jeffersonian’s investigation, arguments about national security, Thanksgiving.
If you guessed Thanksgiving, congratulations! Political intrigue is par for the (very elite) course in Booth and Brennan’s life, but having a community of family and friends to welcome to their table? That’s new — which is why I almost wish that this week’s case could have done us the courtesy of not being quite so important and maybe wrapping up a little bit faster…or maybe not happening at all. I’d watch these people have dinner together for an hour any time.
But it wouldn’t be a Bones holiday without a dead body, and we’ve got a significant one tonight. Vivian Prince, the foremost political reporter in the country, is found dead at a golf club not long after breaking a Snowden-like story about invasive NSA surveillance tactics. Booth finds her actions unacceptable — the story outed countless operatives and made them targets — but Hodgins and Brennan think it’s possible that, in the long term, history will be on Vivian’s side. It’s been a long time since a case stirred up serious political tension within the team, and to be honest, I’ve kind of missed the heavy-handedness.
Subtlety is not in the cards for anyone today. Booth and Brennan question the head of Greystream Solutions, the organization that Vivian exposed as an NSA hit squad, and — throwing in the occasional “if” to keep it all hypothetical — he admits not only to running a hit squad, but also to listening in on the entire investigation. Hodgins, whose paranoia is finally justified (Justifiably Paranoid Hodgins is my favorite Hodgins), suspects that Ryan Gill, the NSA agent who stopped by the Jeffersonian earlier, never actually expected Cam to allow him access to the case. He was just there to plant bugs.
Gill shows up again at the Bureau, where he tells Aubrey that he wants justice as much as anyone. Aubrey doesn’t trust the pretty-sounding words, but he does accept Gill’s tip: Kate Kolfax, the up-and-coming reporter who was so eager to cover Vivian’s death, has an encryption key that she’s trying to use to decode emails between Vivian and her source, who was known only as The American. Aubrey agrees to do an interview with Kate, then flips the script on her and gets her to admit that she broke in to Vivian’s apartment. Kate took Vivian’s laptop to learn more about The American, but she couldn’t crack the code. She swears that’s all there is to it.
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Kate had no idea how hardcore Vivian’s security protocol really was: It wouldn’t decrypt without a drop of Vivian’s blood. Intern-of-the-week Rodolfo manages to extract some from the marrow, and they’re in business. Vivian was supposed to meet The American at an inn that caters to the Washington elite. Everyone pays cash, there are no phones or WiFi, and all signals are jammed. I’m a little bit concerned that an inn has better signal jammers than the Jeffersonian Institute, but it definitely doesn’t have a better cleaning crew; Brennan finds blood spatter on the curtains. A staffer also remembers seeing Vivian at the hotel about six months ago. Her husband caught her in an affair, and he seemed ready to kill her.
Nothing we know about Vivian’s interactions with her ex-husband, Sal, makes it seem like they had a good relationship. For one, there’s the divorce. There’s also the fact that he shoved her into a table. Vivian was amending her alimony to cut off Sal entirely, but he insists that he’d asked her to do it and continues to claim that they were in a good place when she died. Sal suggests that they look at the man she was cheating with, but he never saw the guy’s face; all he knows is that the guy had really nice shoes.
That guy was Ryan Gill. Hodgins figures it out when they comb the room at the inn for fingerprints and other DNA; Gill’s are the only prints they find. He was in the room when Booth and Brennan got there, and although he claimed to be carrying out his own investigation, he was actually covering his tracks. But here’s the twist: Gill wasn’t sleeping with Vivian. Gill was The American. When Vivian’s ex-husband caught them together, she destroyed her own marriage in order to protect her informant.
NEXT: Faux-furkey for one