Tonight on TNT Major Crimes continues with an all new Monday January 12, season 3 episode 18 called “Special Master Part One” – Part Two will be here as well and we have your weekly recap below. On tonight’s episode, in part 1 and 2, killer Philip Stroh (Billy Burke) returns, seeking a deal in return for his cooperation about “future murders.” The unit scrambles to decode the source of Stroh’s information while trying to prevent the deaths of three women.
On the last episode Sanchez was put under the microscope when his mother’s (guest star Ana Mercedes) caregiver was found murdered… Rusty was forced to take on Jack (guest star Tom Berenger) when he showed up at Sharon’s condo acting recklessly. Ransford Doherty, Raoul Trujillo, Daniel Roebuck and Augusto Aguilera guest star. Did you watch the last episode? If you missed it we have a full and detailed recap right here for you.
On tonight’s episode as per the TNT synopsis, “Phillip Stroh (guest star Billy Burke) returns and is demanding a new deal from DDA Rios (guest star Nadine Velazquez) in exchange for his cooperation regarding “future murders.” In a race against the clock to prevent the deaths of three women, Major Crimes works to save the victims while decoding the source of Stroh’s information. Jon Tenney, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Brock Harris, Hampton Fluker, Ransford Doherty, Tuc Watkins, Jon Abrahams and Cara Santana guest star.”
Tonight’s episode is going to be filled with action and you won’t want to miss it, so be sure to tune in for our live coverage of the show tonight at 9 PM EST! While you wait for our recap hit the comments and let us know how excited you are about the third season.
Tonight’s episode begins now – Refresh Page for Updates
A guy runs through downtown with a backpack on his back. A van pulls up to the courthouse. The guy keeps running. The jogger heads up an overpass. The van pulls into an underground area where armed guards wait. The jogger heads up to the gate and flashes a badge and he’s let in. He goes up a flight of stairs. The prisoner, Philip Stroh, is pulled out of the van. He tells DC Howard that it’s nice to see him again. The guy goes into an office and enters a code to get into a room. He tosses off his jackets and pack and grabs out clean clothes to change into.
DDA Rios is there and Howard says she’s risking something each time she moves Stroh out of the jail. She says he fired his lawyer and that gives him access to the files. Howard asks how long this will go on and asks if she’s getting any information from open cases from him. Howard says she could give him life today and end this process. She says Stroh raped and murdered at least five women and needs to be on death row. She says that’s where she intends to put him unless he offers something actionable.
Stroh is cuffed to a table and the jogger, Judge Stephen Schaefer chats with him. He went to school with Stroh. They warn the judge not to give him any access he shouldn’t have and Rios says she wants him back in jail. Stroh takes the can of compressed air to clean the judge’s keyboard and he tells him not to try and creep Rios out intentionally. Stroh doesn’t care. Stephen asks if they are going to code his files and Stroh asks for a pen and pad to write down more terms for his deal with the DA.
He says he has information about future murders to offer. Stroh drops the pen and Stephen says he does it to make him pick it up. Stroh says he knows about three future murders. Stroh says he needs these modifications before he offers the information. He says he can let Rios know that three young women will die horrific deaths unless the DA’s office takes swift action. He says he will give the killer’s name and victim information as long as they accept these new terms.
Stephen looks at what he wrote and then Stroh says it may be too late for the first girl. He says Rios can see the girl at the crime scene that was a result of her inaction. He says first responders from another agency will lead them to the body. He says the killer will dispose of her in an abandoned building with electricity and her body will be hard to ID. He says she will no longer have fingerprints. He asks Stephen if that’s specific enough for Rios to act in time.
Provenza and Flynn are at a fire scene with Buzz. He asks who called in the fire and he says a passing driver saw the fire and called it in. Sykes says they’re lucky the whole place didn’t cave in. They tell Provenza the body is in the master bedroom. Sanchez heads in first and they’re all choking. Tao says he smells an accelerant. Sanchez says they may have to use dental records. They found a charm bracelet on it. Rios shows up then and asks if it’s a woman.
Kendall says it likely is and she asks if the LAFD reported it first. Provenza asks why so many questions and she says this may be her fault. Later, Sharon asks how they could have prevented it and she asks what else Stroh told her and she says three victims over the next three days. She says he wanted absurd new conditions like transfer to a minimum security prison and a pass on past crimes. She says he also asked for an interview with Rusty. Sharon asks why she’s just telling her this.
Rios says now that Stroh is pro per, he gets to talk to witnesses. Sharon freaks out because Rusty is on campus at school. She says he’s in sociology class and Sykes calls the college security office. Sanchez goes to pick him up. Provenza tells Rios that when a psychopath says there will be deaths, you should call someone. Sharon tells her that if Rusty is hurt, she will hold her personally responsible. Rios is visibly shaken at their anger.
She says the guy creeped her out and she turned him down so he took Cat. Provenza rages that the pimp is already screaming lawyer and now can’t talk to them. He wonders how many deals they’re going to have to offer to get this guy. The pimp, Fre$h, and his lawyer are at Major Crimes and Sharon says there are two missing girls connected to him. The lawyer asks why they’re holding him and Rios says pimping is now a sex crime.
She tells Fre$h to take the generous two year deal they’re offering. He sasses them and Sharon tells him to tell them about Cat. He says if she’s missing it’s her own damned fault and says he told them not to get into a car when Shyla got taken two days ago. He says Shyla Brunelle was the name she went by. He says Cat got into a gold Oldsmobile Cutlass but didn’t see the driver. He says he told them not to get into cars. They show him the bracelet and dress and he says maybe on the dress, no on the bracelet.
He says he doesn’t buy his bitches nice things and says it would be at the pawn shop. They found the symbol from the bracelet at three other crime scenes. At one scene, you can see it on the wall. There are a number of crimes with this same time pattern every two years. The Chief asks if they know what Cat looks like. Sanchez says she has a tattoo of a cougar on her forearm. Rios says if Stroh wants this deal, he’ll sign and help them soon.
Sharon says they can’t wait and need more resources. The Chief says he’ll have Howard’s people help out but tells Rios not to hold this up and says he wants this name from Stroh. Sharon tells Rusty not to ask about the case or try to help them. She says not to let Stroh try to talk him into crossing the room by angering him. She says not to let him make Rusty feel small. She says to walk out if it’s too much. Stroh is chained down. His SWAT guard says he can do this. Rusty takes a deep breath then goes in.
Stroh asks Rusty to take a seat but he says he’ll stand. Stroh asks if they end up in court, will he repeat his pre-trial testimony. Rusty says every word. Stroh asks if he’ll do it even knowing the state could execute him. Rusty tells Stroh he’s killed more people than the state of California and Stroh says it wasn’t personal him trying to kill him. He asks about his impact statement and if he’ll include some of the positive affects he’s had on his life.
Stroh says as a result of their interaction, he’s off the street and gained a mother. He says if not for him, no one would give a shit about him. Rusty reminds him about Wade Weller. Rusty says he changed Stroh’s life and Stroh says he’ll never forget it. Stroh says they changed each others lives as they were fated to do and they have the power to change each other again. Rusty asks how and Stroh says he can’t see that far ahead but says their lives are intertwined.
He says that pattern is destiny. Stroh says when you see destiny in all her glory it’s like an arrow pointing toward the end. Rusty asks what end and Stroh says – heaven knows. He says he’s done and Rusty asks what end. He won’t answer. Stroh says to get him the written deal and he’ll give the killer’s name. Rios says she’s sending him back to his cell. Sharon says they need to work the books form his cell and the Chief wonders if destiny is a clue.
Provenza, Howard, Flynn and the others are working the abandoned houses in the area. They are down to 49 houses. Sykes says Cooper found wires running into the house. Provenza says that’s their guy and tells them all to roll out. Chuck waits outside the house as the others arrive. Provenza tells Buzz to stay out of the line of fire. He organizes them and they all move in. Chuck kicks in the door of the house. Tao heads inside followed by the others. They clear the front rooms and then Tao finds the girl.
Provenza curses. Tao says she’s been dead for a while. She has the tattoo and looks to be strangled. They smell gasoline and Provenza says he’s coming back to light the match. They decide to move the cars and wait for him. They look around for the symbol he leaves. Provenza tells Buzz to video fast and they wonder if he leaves it after he starts the fire. He tells them to call Sharon and the others and Chuck has them move the cars. He sees the light bulb blow on the porch and wonders what the hell.
He runs in to warn them to get out now. They run back for her body and grab it up as the fire rapidly spreads. They bust the back door open and hustle out with the her dead body. Buzz videotapes as they go and sees the symbol appears in fire on the wall. They yell for Buzz to get out and Tao grabs him and drags him out at the last moment before the place goes completely up in flames. Tao says it’s clear and no one else is in there.
End Part One – Part Two coming up!
Sharon pulls up at the crime scene and looks at the burned out house. She goes to talk to her people in the tent they’ve set up nearby. She watches the video Buzz shot and then the symbol that burns into the wall. She asks them to pause there. Buzz says he wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t seen it. Chuck says maybe it was supposed to be the last thing they saw before they were trapped and burned up. Sharon asks to see the victim. They show her.
Kendall says she was strangled and sexually assaulted. Sharon looks at a tattoo on her arm – it’s a cat. Sykes says she was dragged into the house postmortem. She was raped and murdered elsewhere. Tao says the house was on a digital timer and would have gone off whether they found her or not. Buzz tells her the Chief is there and he says he’s down the street giving a press conference. She asks Sanchez what he’s doing and he says he’s making the problem worse.
The Chief gives info about the killer’s car and that sex workers should be on the lookout. Sharon says now the killer can shift his pattern and will ditch the car. The Chief says he did the right thing but Sharon disagrees. Howard says this may save someone’s life. Cmdr Ann Ginning says burning man has killed in other areas. Provenza says now the lunatic knows we’re on to him, he’ll look for hookers online and ditch the car.
Provenza says even if they do find burning man at the next house, the woman will be dead. Sharon says they need more resources and the Chief says that’s why he enlisted the whole city. Ann asks Sharon if there’s anything else they should know. She thinks about the symbol and says to leave the bodyguards on her son. Chief says he goes after women. Sharon says Stroh demanded to talk to Rusty then talked about their prostitutes are intertwined and says burning man kills prostitutes (which Rusty was).
Sharon leaves and Provenza asks what she’s holding back. She says he can’t believe that Stroh predicted this and he agrees. He asks if she thinks Stroh is communicating with the killer in the religious books or if he found God. She says no, she thinks he found Mars. Tao goes over the books and says one has been most handled and has to do with the planets in January. Mars is the sign they see and is the god of fire. Tao says the book says that Mars conjuncts Neptune in Pisces.
Sharon says that book tells him when murders will occur. She says Stroh figured out the past and it’s someone he knows. Provenza asks who would do this and sign the murders with the symbol of Mars. Sharon says the pattern is important. Sharon says we need an astrologer and says she never thought she’d say that. Provenza brings Rusty in a backpack and says he was trying not to wake him but Rusty says he couldn’t sleep anyway.
Provenza says that room has a weird energy and says sitting in that chair can change a person’s future. Rusty says his did and could again but Provenza says not to worry about it. He says Stroh is the one who has no future. The SWAT guys greet Rusty and make a plan for the morning. Rusty asks how you get into SWAT – he’s crushing on one of the cute guys. Provenza says you need a degree, then go to the academy, serve as an officer and pass a lot of tests.
[12:09:32 AM] Rachel Rowan: Rusty says he’s not interested but thought it would make it harder for Stroh to get at him. Provenza tells him not to give Stroh a voice in his destiny. Rusty asks if he should live his life without giving him another thought and Provenza says yes. He tells Rusty as soon as they have him locked up in federal prison forever, they can all celebrate. The astrologer shows up and it’s guest Annie Potts! She’s being a flake and hugs Tao. He says he and Clarissa worked on Badge of Justice.
Flynn is totally annoyed with the TV show talk. She points out the dates and Sharon asks if the alignment can tell them what the killer will do next. She says she has an expensive piece of computer equipment that could help. She asks them to plug it in. Flynn tells Sharon it’s a waste of time but she says it’s what the killer believes that matters. Clarissa pulls it up and reads them off Mars conjunct dates and they all align with killings.
She asks how she’s doing and they say she’s batting 1000. She finds another today and says no. Tao asks what no means. She says something flaky about an asteroid named Pallas. She asks by any chance if there’s someone in prison that the killer thinks is an ally but who is actually working to betray him. She asks why the killer would go ahead with these murders when authority is so strong. She says he may think Pallas is on his side.
Sharon asks if she may be able to predict where the next crime will be. She says she needs $185 an hour and a pot of ginger tea. Sharon says the deal is going forward but says to keep working the case as well to nab the killer. She says to use caution since he’s in an explosive state of mind. Rios tells Stroh that it’s now or never. Sharon says they know he’s been killing for 15 years and Rios says to give up his name now or the new deal will go away and he’ll be charged as an accomplice.
He doesn’t give an inch and says let him sign the new deal and pour his heart out to the special master. Alone with Stroh, Schaefer goes over the new deal and says it only goes into force when they give him the name of the killer. Stroh asks for the pen and the file then he drops the pen. Schaefer bends over to get the pen and Stroh chokes him and then uses the compressed air to freeze his cuffs which he then bashes and then picks the lock on the other cuffs. He drags Schaefer away.
Stroh takes a marker and writes something on the wall in marker then puts on the judge’s jogging clothes and heads down the back stairs. He jogs out and waves at the parking attendant but he attracts no attention because he’s in a hat and sunglasses. He puts up his hood and then jogs on down the street away from Major Crimes. Provenza goes to check out the abandoned gold Oldsmobile. Chuck says he was watching it and no one has come near.
Provenza wants them to wait til the bomb guy gives the all clear. He does and Sanchez finds an envelope on the seat. A note says that the police are welcome to the car and says he hopes they have as much fun with it as he did and it’s signed with his Mars symbol. Provenza calls Sharon and says it’s wiped clean and was registered to a dead guy. Sharon says she doesn’t know what’s taking so long. She asks him to hold while Sykes knocks on the door calling for Schaefer.
They knock down the door and find the judge on the floor, Stroh gone and then the Chief calls to lock down the building. The body is still warm. Sharon starts videotaping as Chief makes his calls. Sharon sees on the wall what Stroh wrote. It says – Find Jesus of Nazareth and then there’s an arrow. Tao says he mentioned an arrow when he talked to Rusty. Ann says Stroh waited until they were stretched thin chasing burning man so there’s no one to chase him.
Howard says they should focus on Stroh since they have no leads on burning man. They figure Stroh was over a mile away by the time they found the judge. Ann says they won’t catch him on a plane. Sharon wants to work burning man. Lim, Ann’s shadow is there and says Stroh is the sheriff’s problem. The Chief says they don’t even know who burning man is. Sykes says the Jesus clue means something or else he wouldn’t have taken the time to write it.
Sharon asks Rios to check all of Stroh’s clients to see if someone ID’d themselves as Jesus of Nazareth. Clarissa has an outburst and says she thinks she’s got it. She asks them to back off the map. She connects the dots of the dead bodies and then they see it’s the constellation Sagittarius. She says he’s missing just a few bits. Sharon thinks about all the things Stroh said to them. She asks Tao to extrapolate and he says he can approximate within four blocks.
They roll out to check abandoned houses in the targeted area. Sanchez finds something and gets Chuck Flynn and Provenza. They head up to the door and Chuck carefully picks the lock. They sneak in quietly. They clear room by room and then see the symbol painted on the living room ceiling. They creep around and see that he’s ready to go – he has another digital timer rigged set for three am. They also smell accelerant. Chuck says undercover can set up outside but the girl will be dead by the time he gets there.
Rusty and Buzz look at the map of the body dump sites and he asks now what. Buzz says the media is covering Stroh sightings and patrol is following up on calls. Rusty says there are more sightings than cops. Rios comes in with info on a juvenile suspect who had his record sealed. She says he said he was Jesus of Nazareth. Rios also says there are other Jesus’ in the records and says they need to make sure it’s him. They pull up the guy’s information. He has a van and a street address and Howard wonders if he works out of his house. He’s also a Sagittarius.
He tied up his victim and sliced her open with the symbol of Mars. They have his address but Buzz says it’s repossessed during the housing crisis and burned to the ground. Howard gets a call and Sharon thinks about what Stroh says. She asks Clarissa what the arrow is aimed at. She says it’s a red star named Antares. Howard says someone tried to use the judge’s card to buy a rifle at a mall. The suspect sounds like he’s in the judge’s car. They agree to shoot to kill and Rusty says he agrees.
The Chief sends out patrol cars. Ann pulls off his SWAT people to go after him. That means Rusty is unguarded. They find out burning man’s mom has a house and they go to check it out. They head to the house which is pretty run down and has a psychic business sign in the yard. They surround the house and find his van. Provenza says to use caution and says they want burning man alive. He tells Sanchez in particular not to get violent. They break into the can and find accelerant.
The others head inside and find a messy bed on the floor. Sanchez finds shackles in the van but no victim. Ann reports where the suspect is in the mall with the gun. They move to intercept. They run toward him and agree to put him down if he pulls the rifle. Howard watches from the roof. They clear the house room by room and then they hear a noise. They see who they think is Stroh near a school bus full of kids. The cops hear a noise upstairs.
The cops at the mall pursue the guy out of the mall and they see it’s clearly not Stroh. He says a guy gave him $40 and a credit card and asked him to meet him across the street with it. Burning man takes a shot at Provenza but he tells the others he wants burning man alive. Flynn finds the kidnapped girl on the bed tied up. He tells her it’s all right. Burning man jumps out a window and onto the van and then Sanchez tackles him and beats him down then jumps on the guy and beats him.
He chokes him and beats him until they drag him off the guy. Provenza arrests the guy and reads his rights to him. Sanchez still looks like he could kill the guy. They bring him back to Major Crimes and Sharon sees them perp walk him by. He stares at her and Rusty as he’s escorted past. She asks Provenza what happened to him and he says he jumped off the roof onto an angry Sanchez. The cops come in and Provenza asks what they want to know. He asks if they want to know how many women he killed.
He says not enough. They ask where Stroh is and he says he hasn’t seen him since he was 20. He says he would occasionally call to congratulate him on his good works. He tells them he’s Mars come to life and Provenza tells him that Stroh lead them to him. They offer to go easier on him if he helps and he says Stroh was merely an advisor and he thinks he did what he told him to do – to prepare for his escape long before he needed to.
He says Stroh told him to prepare cash, a new identity and to never leave a witness. Rusty tells Sharon this is what Stroh meant by changing his fate. Rusty says he’s not going to let Stroh escape and leave him locked up behind guards. Rusty says he can’t live his life afraid of Stroh. He says that’s like dying before he’s killed him and says he won’t do it. He says he’s going back to school tomorrow and will live his life like Stroh never mattered. He asks why Stroh would risk his freedom to come after him.
Stroh is picked up by his Uber driver and tells him he has several stops to make. The guy says he’ll get him there and Stroh says he likes that Uber drivers are always so reliable. He looks into his bag and we see a pile of cash and a huge knife. He says after he goes to Salton Sea he wants to go out to Palm Springs to the desert.
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