Frank Black encounters a juvenile delinquent who takes advantage of families grieving the loss of a loved one to a murderous end.
At a funeral in Seattle, James Dickerson (Sean Six), approaches the mourning family. He introduces himself as "Ray Bell" and pretends to have known the deceased at university. He embraces the dead man's mother lingeringly, and leaves. Later that night, the mother is visiting her son's grave, and is pulled into an open grave as she passes it. Her body is found the next day, although the rest of her family have been told they cannot see it. Speaking to clinical social worker Catherine Black (Megan Gallagher), Seattle police officer Bob Bletcher (Bill Smitrovich) reveals that the victim had been graphically mutilated during the murder.
Catherine Black's husband, offender profiler Frank Black (Lance Henriksen), is asked to consult on the case as a member of the Millennium Group, a private investigative organisation. Black senses that the killer feels rage towards someone—not the victim—and is taking it out on strangers. Speaking to the family, Black finds that the victim's dead son has had a sports team badge taken from his body; he also realizes that the strange "Ray Bell" must be the killer.
Back at his halfway house Dickerson is wearing the missing badge, as the house's trustee Connor scolds him for breaking curfew—and threatens not to cover up for him any more. After Connor leaves, James finds an obituary in the newspaper and circles it. Elsewhere, Black finds the name "Ray Bell" in the same newspaper as the victim's son's obituary, and deduces that the killer may have been frequenting funerals before, probably taking souvenirs like the badge. He believes that the victim is his first, but that killing will become easier for him.
Dickerson visits another funeral, and befriends a mourner, Tina, by pretending to have been a childhood friend of the deceased. They visit a nearby lake to reminisce, but she feels something is wrong. Dickerson apologises and leaves; however, Tina is soon attacked from behind. Her body is found with the words "stop looking" carved into her stomach, and Black believes there may be a message somewhere on the first victim's body. He asks fellow Group member Peter Watts (Terry O'Quinn) to look for it; Watts is also able to find fingerprints on Tina's hair clip that identify Dickerson—a paroled convict. They track him down to the halfway home, although Connor secretly helps him to escape to a nearby scrapyard. In Dickerson's room, a hidden cache of souvenirs is found, along with a journal and a stack of letters marked "return to sender".
Catherine Black identifies Dickerson as an archetypal "lost child", raised in poor foster care and neglected. He visits funerals to connect with society, leaving her to wonder what has pushed him to murder. Meanwhile, Dickerson remains in hiding at the scrapyard, while Connor brings him food. Frank Black has noticed that the "S" carved in Tina's stomach matches that seen in the logo for Skorpion Salvage, the scrapyard Dickerson is hiding in. When he and the police arrive to find Dickerson, Connor is able to escape while the yard's dogs attack Dickerson.
Catherine Black has found Dickerson's biological mother, a Mrs. Dechant (Lynda Boyd). Having given Dickerson up for adoption as a teenager, she is now a suburban housewife. Dickerson had tried several years previously to reconnect with her, though she wanted nothing to do with him. Catherine asks her for help, and she begrudgingly agrees to see her son. She recoils when he hugs her, blaming the government for making him what he is. Rejected, Dickerson confesses to the murders. Connor is able to see all of this, his connection to it not yet uncovered. Frank Black is unconvinced that everything has been wrapped up, and realizes that Connor is involved—he wants Dickerson to himself. "Stop looking" was his message to Dickerson, to stop looking for affection anywhere else.
Mrs. Dechant returns home, and is about to take a bath when she is attacked by Connor. Black has followed her, and interrupts the attack; he and Connor struggle, with Black almost being strangled until he is able to hold Connor under the bathwater until he stops fighting. Connor is arrested and charged, while the now-cleared Dickerson resumes circling obituaries in the newspaper.
Cast and Characters
- Lynda Boyd (Peggy Dechant) previously played Kotchik in The X-Files episode "Fire" and Elizabeth in "F. Emasculata".
- Nicole Parker (Greer Cort) previously played Stoner Chick in The X-Files episode "War of the Coprophages" and "Quagmire".
- Lance Henriksen as Frank Black
- Megan Gallagher as Catherine Black
- Terry O'Quinn as Peter Watts
- Brittany Tiplady as Jordan Black
- Bill Smitrovich as Lieutenant Bob Bletcher
- John Fleck as Connor
- Sean Six as James Dickerson
- Brian Markinson as Detective Teeple
- Stephen James Lang as Detective Bob Giebelhouse
- Lynda Boyd as Peggy Dechant
- Nicole Parker as Greer Cort
- Diana Stevan as Mrs. Cort
- Bob Morrisey as Charles Cort
- Deanna Milligan as Tina
SEMICOLON-SEPARATED LIST OF ITEMS/LOCATIONS REFERENCED IN EPISODE (BUT NOT LINKED TO IF ALREADY LINKED IN SUMMARY OR GUEST STARS SECTIONS)
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