02x01 - It's All in the Execution


- This ledge is taken.

- What?

- Who are you?

- Malcolm Bright.


- What the hell are you doing?

- Out here?

Oh, you know, ledge stuff.

It's been a hell of a year.

For all of us.

Got real dark for me, though.

Family issues.

Careful, man!



It's not really my thing.

It's my father's fault.

All of this is.

He's in my head.

Serial killers, they...

have a tendency to do that.

You might have heard of him.

Martin Whitly, The Surgeon.

- Whoa.

- Yeah.


Tried to run away from it, deny it.

You know, he's my dad.

I am The Surgeon's son!

You hear me, New York?!

That's me!

We all have our issues.

Right, Chester?

How do you know my name?

I profiled you.

That's how I knew you'd come here tonight.

To kill the Rose family.

Slit their throats, like you did the Catlins last week.

You're the Penthouse Slasher.

But when you got here tonight, something spooked you.

So you ditched the knife, climbed out here, onto my ledge.

Except you're smiling.


You didn't ditch the knife.

Bright, you were supposed to wait for us to anchor the tether!

Seems like you anchored the tether.

Anchor that tether, Edrisa.

On it!

I went through a light bondage phase back in Hoboken.

I'm great with knots.

Don't let me go.

Why shouldn't I?

You're a killer, Chester.

If I let you go, you'll never hurt anyone again.

Isn't that the right thing to do?



maybe right and wrong don't matter.

Maybe it comes down to...

what do I want to do?


Hold on.


Kind of busy.

My boy.


It-It's your father.

I have, uh...

I have sensational news.

Please say it's cancer.

I'm heading home!

Wait, what did you say?

What do you mean, home?

Well... well, not-not home home.

They're transferring me back to Claremont.

- Why?

- Well, I did single-handedly prevent COVID from ravaging the most overpopulated prison on the East Coast.

'Course, contact tracing is a breeze when your patients don't have rights.


I really have to...

I know, I know, I know, I know.

You're very busy.

Very busy.

But we haven't spoken in...

in-in months.

Uh, let me ask, how-how are you?

Are you okay?


...hanging in there.


You rolling?


You look...


Uh, ready?

I'm here with acting head of Major Crimes, Detective JT Tarmel.


is the Penthouse Slasher in custody?





So, what happened?

It was a good collar.

Proud of my team.

And my medical examiner's knot-tying capabilities.


Quite a picture you've painted for our audience at home.


I need Gil out of the hospital.

Your new boss has the razzle-dazzle of an Amish gigolo.

Gil needs time to recover, Ains.

And it's okay if you do, too.

I'm fine.

Honestly, I'm more worried about you.

I'm great.

Never better.

Don't let my hard-charging reporter act fool you.

I care about you.

Get some sleep tonight, okay?

- For me?

- Of course.

Anything for you.

What happened?

Oh, God.



- What happened?

- Ainsley.

Look at me.

Focus on me.

Ainsley, focus on me.

What happened?

Where am I?



All right?

You did nothing.

I did this, Ainsley.

I killed him.

♪ The moment I wake up ♪

♪ Before I put on my makeup ♪


♪ I say a little prayer for you ♪

♪ To live without you ♪

♪ Would only bring heartbreak for me. ♪

What an unexpected surprise.

To what do I owe... this?

I spent months cooped up with your sister in quarantine, practicing piano.

It felt unfair not to share it with you.

Oh, save some for Mommy.


I have all the pills I need.

And a few I don't.

I am reinstituting brunch.

You and your sister are healthy and safe.

Gil is recovering nicely.

I might even go pay him a visit.

Just a visit?

I am ignoring the insinuation, because there is more good news.

The Times is reporting that Nicholas Endicott's body has turned up in Belarus or some place like that.



Lake Peipus.

You went offline.



I finished a big case last night and I just...

need another one.

A new murder.

A new case to solve?

You know me too well.

Do I?


JT caught a body.

I'm in luck.

Everything's coming up roses.

Now, if one of those prisoners in jail with your father would just finish him off, we'd all be right as rain.


About that.

Oh, Mr. David...

...how I have missed you.

Uh, the food in gen pop was abysmal.

And shower time not nearly as lively as I'd been led to believe.

No, I did not like it in hoosegow one bit.

I'm excited to, you know, get cleaned up, return to normal.

I want to prepare you, Martin.

There've been some changes around here.

Well, this is new.


How you doing?

Oh, I'm wonderful.

Global pandemic.

Systemic racism.

It's the perfect time to be a young Black woman and a cop.

How are you?

I think things are looking up.



We get to catch a killer.

Millicent Lee.

Married a Texas oil tycoon years her senior.

After he died, she moved here to spend all that money.

There's a...

respectful quality to how she was placed.

Almost loving.

Question, how was she killed?

Answer, the 'Dreese knows.

Or Edrisa.

Maybe that's...

Do you think I need a nickname?

Because I liked it, but...

now it sounds weird.

I can fire these people, right?




How was she killed?

Well, not here, for starters.

She was moved postmortem.

As far as method, hold on to your hats.

Or heads.

She was decapitated?

That cut is...

Incredibly precise.

I know.

What does it mean?

Well, it means we can rule out a crime of passion.

This was... controlled, practiced.

No detail overlooked.

This was an execution.

This is your version of things looking up?

That's her.


- Ms. Lee.

- Thank you, Ms. Barba.

Anything else we should know about your client?

I was only her attorney here in New York.

You'll need to speak to her lawyers in Texas about her late husband's murder.

The rumors.


Well, we love rumors.

Official story is Millie's husband was killed by a caterer, a young kid looking for money.

There were whispers.

Millie had a relationship with a carpenter working on her house.

Boyd Hicks.

He followed Millie here, lived rent-free in her mansion.

I warned her it created the impression - that he...

- Killed her husband back in Texas.

Maybe Boyd killed Millie, too!

I'm sorry, I got excited.

I just...

I don't usually see this part.

As I said, they're just rumors.

Proving them is your job.

Does "homicidal boyfriend" - fit with your profile?

- Could be.

But beheadings are almost always a form of punishment.

This wasn't about the money.

Our killer is a justice seeker.

That's why Millie had to die.

He also wasn't a novice.

- Are we sure it wasn't done postmortem?

- No.

The decapitation killed her.

It was a single strike, high velocity.

Like the world's largest paper cutter.

That's got a name.


That makes sense.

I pulled wood splinters from the victim's neck.

A strain of French oak that's been extinct for over a century.

Millie was killed by an actual, historical guillotine?

Yeah, exciting.

So, how does someone acquire one of those?

Well, it's nearly impossible.

The French government destroyed most of them when they banned capital punishment in ' .

The last private auction of a functional guillotine was here in New York in, uh, ' , I think.



You guys know I collect murder weapons, and related ephemera.

That's not weird.

It's so weird.

Any idea who got this one?

Uh, well, that was before I started collecting.

Though I do know someone who dabbled in that world around then.


Run it down.

It's The Surgeon, isn't it?


It's so good to see...

Who's this?


Where's my manners?

Malcolm, Jerry.

Jerry, Malcolm.

Jerry here is my new roommate.

Good stuff, Jer.

Good stuff.

I'm in hell.


- Maybe we should reschedule.

- But why?

Oh, no, we're back together.

Finally able to really talk.

Commiserate about...

...you know what.

Actually, I'm here on a case.

Are you kidding?

I've waited months for this.

Come on, partner.

What's the hot goss?

I see they found his body.

Stop talking.


Oh, please.

It's cartoon time.

He's completely engrossed.

Also, he's a moron.

I think that Coyote has a solid chance this time.

I really do.

My victim was decapitated.

The killer used an antique guillotine.

I'm thinking it was the one sold in ' .

Well, uh, your theory is sound.

It's the only working guillotine in the tristate area.


Who won it?

Where is it?



Not feeling it.

What-what are you... what are you not feeling?


We were partners.

- There's a lot of blood.

- All right, forget the blood.

Deal with the body first.

Rigor mortis will make dismemberment a real bitch.

I'm gonna chop him up?

This is for your sister, son.

I don't want to talk about it.

I totally agree.

We should be singing about it, not whispering for Jerry.

- Like father, like...

- Don't say that!

Never say that.

Oh, I'm sorry, Jer.

I'm sorry.


Back to your toons.


"Meep, meep." Yeah.

That's it.


Note taken.

I won't gush.

But I got to ask.


How did you do that?


It's my turn.

- Who bought...

- The guillotine.

Right, fine.



Give me a pen.

He's a strange fellow, this collector.

You think he's a killer?

Well, anybody can be a killer.

Not anyone uses a guillotine.

You're looking for a student of the fatal arts.

Start with him, my boy.

- My boy!

My boy!

My boy!

- Mr.


- I should go.

- No, no.

Don't let Jerry spoil our good time.

Stay a little longer!

We're just getting to the good stuff!




Oh, I really wish you hadn't done that, Jer-bear.

Don't go too easy on him.

I need him back strong.

- How do you keep getting in here?

- I got moves.

It's why you hired me.

Don't let JT steal my job, now.

- Ah, he wouldn't dare.

- Oh, I know.

How's Bright?

Out of ten, I'd say .

He was on the edge last night.

Little more Brightish than usual.

Don't worry.

He needs to catch killers.

Keeps him sane.

And I'll be back any day now.

Don't rush it.

You got stabbed.

Multiple surgeries.

I mean, you almost...

Hey, it's me.

I'm good.

Apologies, for the mess.

Just flew back this morning.

Workers were supposed to be done with the new dungeon, but...

...guess not.

The new dungeon?


For s*x.

Come on.

Got my toys back this way.


There's my gilly.


She's a beaut.

Must be...

, pounds?

, .

Too heavy for our killer to move.

Maybe they didn't move it.

Izzy, could you turn the lights off for us?

Give us a tick to... find the switch.

This should pick up any blood spatter.

Can I...

can I ask you a personal question?

- Uh-huh.

- What's up with your mom and Gil?

Uh, nothing.


I don't know.

For the cocky profiler, you, uh, sure got blinders when it comes to your family.

Well, with my family, blinders are required.

Found it!

That's a lot of blood.

This is where Millie was killed.

What the hell?

- Is that blood?

- Izzy, where were you last night?

On a jet.

Look, I was Ambien'd up, but there's a dozen people confirm it.

What's beneath us?

s*x dungeon.


Bloody hell.

Where'd this come from?

Someone's back there.

Why is someone back there?

I think...

it's an immurement.

Another classic execution.

The victim is entombed alive and left to die a slow death.

Bright, what are you...


Go ahead.

Crawl right in.



Anyone there?

Hello, Boyd.

It ain't right.

It ain't right!

Easy, Boyd.

Bright, what's going on?

Found Boyd Hicks, Millie's boyfriend.

He's alive.

Call the EMTs.

Get bolt cutters.

And water.

- Lots of it.

- Izzy, come with me.

Easy, Boyd.

Help is on the way.


You're a liar.

You're experiencing psychosis brought on by malnourishment and dehydration.

Did you see who did this to you?

It was you.

You think I'm a killer?

You got death all over you.

Maybe I am a killer.

A justice killer.

You're here because you and Millie...

...did a very bad thing back in Texas.

You killed her husband.

I didn't.

I never...

What do we think Izzy plays in his s*x dungeon?


Don't lie to me, Boyd.

Justice must be served!

No, you're right.

I'm not really a whips-and-flogging type of guy.

Now, that's what I'm talking about.

So, why did you kill her husband?


Hair trigger on this.

Sorry, Boyd.

I told you.

I told you.

Okay, okay, he cheated on her, and Millie, she tried to get away, but he said that he'd see her dead before she got a dime.

That miserable old b*st*rd, he deserved to die.

So that's why I killed her quickly.


But I'm torturing you...

because you did something worse.

Hold that thought.

I love these.





Okay, it was the caterer.

It was the caterer.

The kid they arrested for your murder.

It was those cops, pinning the murder on some kid barely out of high school.

What happened to the kid?

Please let me go.

- Tell me, Boyd.

- It's Texas, man.

They executed him.

You let an innocent man die in your place.

That's it.

That's why I have to kill you.


Oh, you're back.

I was, uh...

freeing him.

You're welcome, Boyd.

Oh, I-I should take that.


Hello, dear, it's Mumzie.

I have never once called you that.

I know, but we're trying it on for size.

- I'm going for motherly chic.

- Right.

Got it.

- Not gonna do it.

- Ha, ha, ha.

Listen, I was talking to Gil, and he was asking about you.

- I think he's worried.

- About...

Wait, you were talking to Gil about me?

Honey, we've been talking about you for almost years.

But that wasn't the sole point of the call.


Your visit.

That's why you're trying on dresses.

I can hear the hangers, Mumzie.

Okay, I don't like it either, but apparently your partner told him, and I am quoting, that you were even more "Brightish" than usual.

And Ainsley said that I should drop it, which makes me more concerned, because...

I gotta go.

Oh, Malcolm.

"More Brightish than usual"?

Can you blame me?

And what did you do to Boyd?



Although he did confess to Millie having him kill her husband at her request.


Hicks, you're gonna need an attorney.

I want Millie's lawyer, Natalie.

Someone from back home.

Did we know that Natalie Barba was from Texas?

No, we did not.

Here are the facts.

Your real name's Natalie Vasquez.

And your brother, Diego Vasquez, was executed for the murder of Millicent Lee's husband.

The cops never even looked for another suspect.

But you knew he was innocent?

He was.

My family fought it all the way.

But it didn't matter.

So you moved here, worked your way into Millie's good graces, built up trust.

And then you killed her.

I didn't kill her.

I was searching for proof.

Anything to re-open the case and put them away.

Did you find anything?

I submitted a report to the state's attorney's office conclusively proving that Millicent Lee and Boyd Hicks were guilty.

What happened next?

It's Texas.

They buried it.

Sorry, Jer.

It's not you, it's me.

What's going on in here?


I don't know.


I felt a jolt.

And now I feel like the words that I'm saying make sense.

- Do they make sense to you?

- Uh-huh.

- Oh, my God.

Oh, my God.

- What happened here, Martin?

A miracle.

I gotta charge her.

She had access to both victims, more than enough motive and no alibi.

That doesn't mean she did it.

Dani, I know she's sympathetic.

That doesn't make her innocent.

Natalie is a justice seeker, but for her, that means clearing her brother's name, not murder.

Our killer is after a different kind of justice.

They're handing out death sentences like a judge, or...

We should run down everyone involved in the case.

Judge, prosecutors, even the jury.

Millie and Boyd made them all complicit - in Diego Vasquez's death.

- I'll check Texas DCJ.

Is there anyone else we should find?

- Warden?


- Yes.

Add them and everyone who...

What happened, his brain break?

Wait for it.

We've been trying to solve a series of execution-style murders.

What if the killer is the actual executioner?

- A student of the fatal arts.

- That would make sense.

If he found out about Natalie's investigation, he would know that he killed an innocent man.

For his justice to be served, Millie and Boyd have to die.

That's means and motive, but it'll take time to get his name from Texas, then we gotta find him.

I might have another way.

Detective Tarmel, you have an update - in the Millicent Lee case?

- Yes.

As of hours, we have taken Natalie Barba, also known as Natalie Vasquez, into custody in connection with the homicide.

If anyone has additional information, please reach out to the NYPD's major crimes tip line.

Thank you.

What are we missing?

I hate just sitting on my hands.

Bright's plan is smart.

This guy will come out sooner or later.

And remember, police work is Patience.

Bright's plan.

Here's the truth, off the record.

We know that Natalie Barba didn't kill Millicent Lee.

But she's agreed to work with us.

You ever notice how he gets crazier the closer we are to catching somebody?

The hunt.

Bright loves it.

He loves murder?

We're looking for a justice seeker.

If he hears we've got the wrong person, he'll have to contact us.

Stopping killers is how he makes sense of life.

- It gives him purpose.

- And you'll contact m?

Of course.

I'm a good big brother.

The best.

Surgeon really messed them up.

Something else is bothering you.

You saved me.

Risked everything, and...

you haven't been the same since.

Come on, pal, there's nothing we haven't talked about.

Jessica Whitly.

What about her?

Look, I-I know that you care about her, and... this is really none of my business...

You're right on both counts.

But that night at Endicott's...

you were careless, and it cost you.

Gil, you almost died.

And I-I hope that you don't take this the wrong way, but...

none of this had to happen.

You're saying it's my fault for getting stabbed?


No, you...

You are the best cop that I know.

The night that you got stabbed, you-you were not that cop.

Going in alone, playing the hero part.

And that...

That is because of her.

You're right.

I made a mistake.

I let my feelings for her cloud my judgement.

That's on me.

Jessica's a good person.

- She has a history.

- So?

We all have history.

And, Dani, I...

Look, all I'm saying is be careful.

You sound like my Jackie.

She thought the Whitlys were cursed.

I don't know.

Maybe she was right.

- What's up?

- Bright.

We just got the records from Texas.

The executioner's name is Tom Henry Glanton.

He's here in New York.


I think he might be closer than that.


He's there?

Bright, you need to get out of there.

- What are you doing here?

- I was watching Izzy's place.

Then you showed up.

You found the guillotine.

Found Boyd's immurement.

Got me thinking, this is a man I've got to meet.

Now what?

You have the wrong person.

Natalie Barba didn't kill Millie.

Let her go.

Problem is, she looks good for this murder.

Just like her brother did back in Texas.

You remember him, Tom...

the innocent man you executed?

That's why you murdered Millie, tortured Boyd.

They made you a murderer.

- This scimitar is exquisite.

- Thanks.

The weight's a little off-balance.

- Affects the swing.

- You use this?


Of course not.

Nobody actually uses a scimitar.

Now that is a work of art.

Nothing else compares to Norse craftsmanship.

Tenth century?

Ninth, technically.

Not to be that guy.

I'm only gonna say this one more time.


Natalie... go.

I'm sorry, Tom.

This doesn't fit your profile.

You're obsessed with justice.

That's why you're not gonna hurt me.

I'm innocent.

About that.

I've been watching you, Malcolm.

Even followed you up to that asylum where they keep your old man.

Got me thinking.

Jailing Natalie.

Visiting The Surgeon like a good son.

Surrounding yourself with the tools of his trade.

Maybe you're a killer just like him.

That's the third time this week.

I must be giving off murdery vibes.

Is it my hair?

The way I see it, if I kill you with this executioner's axe, Natalie goes free.

Got to be honest, Tom.

I wish that made a lot less sense.

I'm not a cruel man.

I can make it quick.

Do I have last words?

Of course.

All right.

Last words.


I used to think...

...I was nothing like my father.


...that's not entirely true.

Truth is...

my father is a part of me.

I can't deny it.

That's how I understand killers.

I'm like you.

Malcolm Bright...

I hereby sentence you to death.


Uh, sorry.

One more thing.

I never hung up the phone.

Damn it.

Which means that, well, you've confessed to a few murders.

JT, I'm here.

- There's no backup yet.

- Still a few minutes out.

I'm going in.

I have another confession.

All you do is talk!

I lied.

I'm great with a scimitar.

I'm serious.

Ask anyone on the Harvard fencing team.

I'm gonna butcher you.

Are we done?

Dani, I'm here.

Talk to me.

Hey, yo!

Up those stairs.

All right?

My guys are up there.

They're in trouble.

Drop the weapon.

He doesn't have a weapon.

I'm talking to you.

Hey, police!

Don't move!

Hey, hey.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, man.

I'm on the job.

- Uh, D-Detective Tarmel, Major Crimes.

- Hands up!

You heard him, okay?

Hands up!

Yo, I got my badge!

Hey, relax.

I'm a cop.

Stop fighting, boy.

Don't move.

Don't move.

Hands up!

You heard him, hands up!

Hands up!

Hands up!

Wait, wait!

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait!

What are you doing?

He's a detective!

- My hands are up.

- Stop!

Stop, stop, stop!

He's one of us!

He's a cop!

I'm not...

I'm not a threat.

Just wait.

This is gonna fall on me.

You didn't do anything wrong.

Doesn't matter.

I know how this is gonna go.

It doesn't have to.

You tell them what happened, and we will back you up.

They'll say I assaulted him.

I'm done.

No, you're not.

You've been running this unit like a pro, Tarmel.

I know what happened tonight.

And I got your back.


...you go home, you kiss that wife of yours and you tell her that you caught the bad guy.

You're a good cop, JT.

No matter what people say, those still exist.

I'm looking at two of the best.

And whatever Bright is.

Where's Jerry?

I took care of him.

No, I literally took care of him.

His doctors took my suggestion to try electroconvulsive therapy.

I don't understand.

You don't want to.

But all's well that ends well.

Jerry's off in the infirmary getting better, which means...

it's just us boys.

Let's talk turkey.

By which I mean murder.

I'm not feeling it.

I noticed.

What's wrong?

I covered up a murder.

Violated everything I believe in.

I stop killers.

I don't help them.

Ainsley killed a powerful man with powerful friends.

She wouldn't have survived that night without you.

She's not like us.

Said the serial killer.

Said the father.

Will you do something for me?

Come closer.

To the line.

What do you...

Thank you.

Thank you...

...for saving my little girl.

You realize that, don't you?

You saved your sister.

Please, don't torture yourself for that.

Or maybe that's not it.

Maybe there's another reason that you're...

full of so much pain.

What are you talking about?

Getting away with murder.

Walking the streets...

...knowing the truth.

It's intoxicating.

Tell me your imagination isn't stoked, knowing what it takes, what you are now capable of.

People think we're crazy.

No one in their right mind would be a killer.

The thing is, they don't know the truth.

Murder is the ultimate thrill.

Maybe you're all torn up inside because getting away with murder didn't feel bad at all.


It felt good.

Greg, move your head.