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Human Target “Dead Head” 

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/FOX

Forgive me or straggling, y’all. I’m catching up now. In “Dead Head,” the Human Target episode from December 15th, the whole gang is along for the outing when a potential new client is rescued from a car bomb by Winston and Chance. They were waiting to meet him at an outdoor cafe, Chance noshing cannoli and Winston grousing about the runaround the client had given them, when his car exploded on the street. The victim, dubbed J.D. (for John Doe) by the team, is rendered amnesiac by the explosion, so the crew has to piece together who he is, why he wanted to hire them, and now, who wanted him dead. Since J.D. is played by Roger Bart, who rarely rolls up the middle, there’s a degree of doubt about the amnesia, but J.D. genuinely is a guy who doesn’t know who he is but hopes he wasn’t a schmuck, and is actually disappointed to find out that he was.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. So, Winston and Chance take J.D. back to the office and Ilsa is alarmed that she’s “adopted an adult male,” and the boys clarify that it’s just “custodial guardianship,”  since he was discharged from the hospital without family. In the other room, Ames is trying to see if J.D. is conning a con, and he insists he really doesn’t know who he is. Guerrero swaggers through, asking what she’s doing and she plays innocent.

Ilsa departs, leaving it in the boys’ capable hands, handing out paychecks as she goes. Chance and Winston laugh at their newfound legitimacy and when Guerrero comes in, he has a mild freakout about the envelope with his full legal name on it. He launches at Ilsa, who says to consider the amount a bonus, if that’s his issue, and when he says the issue is the paper trail and potential ID theft of a paycheck, and he only gets paid in cash, she essentially pats him on the head and says no.

While he ponders that, the team is visited by Broward (Nick Chinlund), a cop from Winston’s past, who we learn was integral to Winston no longer being a cop, and that’s enough of a flag for Winston that J.D. was up to something.  They track the car rental to a flop motel (that I’m pretty sure has been used on Supernatural and Stargate SG-1), and while Ames and J.D. look around the room, a biker gang descends on the place and starts shooting. Chance (with Molotoved beer bottles) and Winston (with a shotgun) intervene just as nearly all of SFPD come roaring in.

A rattled J.D. goes off with Broward, and Winston, Chance, and Ames follow and break him out of the car just as Broward is about to shoot him because he really has amnesia. A key they found in the motel leads them to a rental unit that’s set up like an office, with a closet full of smart suits, computers, and a van full of $10 million. They also find a passport with a name, David Jarecki, which means nothing to J.D. but Guerrero clues them in that J.D (Jarecki) is the Cleaner, the premier money launderer on the West Coast.

While Ilsa’s back at HQ wondering why they sprung J.D. from police custody, Broward’s posse arrives and begins breaking down the front door. Chance phone-coaches her in how to get out of the building via the elevator shaft. First step: lose her heels. Then she sits outside, shoeless and coatless at a bus stop waiting for Guerrero to pick her up. When he tells her she can’t use her credit cards because they’ll track her, he’s unhappy to realize that means he’ll have to float her a loan for shoes and a coat.

Everybody gets brought up to speed and the plan is set in motion to entrap Broward. First, Winston has to go home to retrieve a box of evidence from his cop days. Chance, and we, are startled to learn that Winston is referring to the home he shared with his (now ex-) wife, who still lives there. There’s a hint of longing on both their parts, but when Winston is all business, the moment passes. Back at the storage unit, Ames realizes Jarecki is a savant with numbers and that all of his records are in his head, so that gives them leverage on Broward. Ilsa, with Guerrero and Ames in tow, goes to set up a phony bank account and she charms her way to an immediately-available $2 million transfer, which Jarecki will use to bait Broward. When they start to leave the bank, the cops show up, so Guerrero tells Ames to lose them any way she can, and she crunches the Eldo, which he handles surprisingly well.

At police HQ, J.D. and Chance start to bluff Broward, and when it goes south, J.D. offers him the $10 million cash instead, and Broward says yes, leaving Chance to take down the rest of the squad by himself. J.D. and Broward head to the storage unit, where Winston charges in, gleeful to finally be taking Broward down (and pocketing his badge). Even though the wire transfer ruse failed, J.D. had seen Broward’s bank account number, which finally gave them their evidence.

When the smoke clears, it turns out that J.D. had enlisted the guys to help him fake his own death. They suggest he go into witness protection, and Ames and Chance counsel him about second chances. Guerrero finally gets his cash but complains about the amount, saying it’s not enough for the damage to the Eldo and the clothes he had to buy her after the bus stop pick up. He softens a bit before he leaves, though, gifting her with retired U.S. Treasury paper for her check writing. Winston makes amends with his ex-wife and then has a scotch and commiserates with Chance about putting the past to bed.

All in all, another speedy outing, and everybody genuinely played a part. I like that they’re integrating the ladies as functional members of the team without shortsheeting the guys, and that Ilsa is learning to just roll with it when the guys throw her procedural curves. And kudos on the continued great guest casting. I can always watch Chinlund, and I enjoyed the toned-down Bart here.

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