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FBI: International - Secrets as Weapons - Review

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If you are a viewer who has been enjoying FBI: International so far, or have been caught in a “love/hate” cyclone about team leader Scott Forrester, this is an episode you do not want to miss, as we see dimensions of his personality that we have seen glimpses of further developed as only Wolf writers can.

When the episode opens we are in the Swiss Alps, with two people driving in a convertible down the road. I just want to acknowledge the Wolf team for the beautiful selection of this location and how this scene was filmed because this backdrop was breathtaking, and definitely added to the realism of the story of where they were supposed to be. There are cars in front of them, some honking and trying to pass, and when they pass the car in front of them cuts off the road and several masked men emerge. They ask the man where they are and when the man does not immediately tell them, they kill him. They then ask the woman “Where are they”, and she says “they” are in the lining of the suitcase. The assailants cut open the lining of the suitcase and take out what appears to be four cartridges of some kind and then the man in charge says to kill her but she manages to escape by jumping over the edge of the embankment and rolling away injured as they shoot at her. However a car is coming, so they leave before ensuring she is dead.

We then move to Forrester and Jamie, who are snuggling in bed. They are talking about her leaving and we see a very vulnerable side of Forrester. He tells her how much he cares about her, that he has let people he cared about get away before and tells her how much he wants her to stay. It was a very tender moment that concludes with a kiss, and I feel this was such a nice way to show us a new side of Scott that we have only seen glimpses of so far, and a definite contrast to his no-nonsense approach when solving a case. We are able to see more of his heart, and how much he really does care for Jamie, even though they have to hide it at work. Sadly, and as it appears much to Scott’s dismay, she tells him that she is leaving and wants to go somewhere where she feels she can be permanently until she finishes her career, New York is closer to home and that she wants them to enjoy the time they have left together, but she appreciates him saying what he said. Scott then says that before she goes he has an idea…he wants them to get away for a weekend in another city where they don’t’ have to hide being together. I think this again shows how much he really does care for her, and that this relationship runs much deeper than what we have seen so far. Suddenly their phones buzz – they have caught a case.

We then move to Raines and Vo. They are in the Budapest office and Vo is preparing for taking a GS14 qualification exam. They begin some fun banter back and forth and we find out Raines just did the same exam. I really enjoy the conversations we see between these two characters and the emerging friendship between them.  I am also excited to see exactly where the writers may take this relationship, and also how the danger of their job may affect it and how it develops and changes. Forrester arrives at the Budapest office and alerts the team that there was a request from the federal police in Switzerland for a robbery homicide. Melissa Miller and her partner Chet Lewis are PI’s and former cops, who were hired out of Dallas to move cryptocurrency wallets (four) to a cryptocurrency vault in Switzerland. Most of the team is unfamiliar with what cryptocurrency is and how it works and Raines shows his technical knowledge and expertise and explains what it is, and how the crypto-wallets work. I always enjoy scenes where we are able to see what Raines really brings in expertise to the team, and I do hope we will learn more about his character and backstory this season. The team then prepares to go to Zurich.

When the team arrives in Zurich, Katrin and Scott meet with Captain Dante Graf from the Swiss Federal police. This time, we see a very different Forrester when dealing with the local law enforcement. He is very polite and lets them know he will do whatever it takes to help, and that he and the team will not act without including them and keeping them informed. This was a very interesting contrast to what we have seen before with local authorities, which makes me think that there is definitely a strong underlying reason to why we have seen the reactions we have before. Perhaps because they were invited in by local authorities this time and not dictated to work with them, it created a new dynamic. Or perhaps they have had good experiences working collaboratively with the Swiss before, but the other departments we have seen so far have a history of the corruption or incompetence we have witnessed, which has soured the team on feeling confident including them. Regardless, it was nice to see that while there are a few little bumps along the way, they had some nice collaboration for this case.

They interview Melissa and learn that she and Chet were hired by a security consultant Gene Pruett, to pose at tourists and deliver the Crypto wallets to the Swiss bank vault. They had no idea the amount of currency on the wallets or what it was to be used for but they were supposed to meet Pruett and bank manager to make the deposit. She asks for their help to bring these people to justice and tells them she and Chet were dating, both coming off divorces and he had 2 daughters and died for $500/day plus expenses.  

Jamie tells Scott that she is going to speak to an informant who knows many of the robbery crews and who may have some helpful information and Scott says she should take local police as he promised Captain Graf. Jamie says not with this informant, as she feels this could compromise his cooperation. Before she leaves she says they should go to Portugal for their weekend away together, and Scott says he will make some calls.

Forrester goes with Captain Graf to meet Pruett and Steve Webb, the man who the wallets belong to. Pruett says he meets with couples and makes the arrangements to have the cryptowallets delivered. The Swiss bank manager Leland Schmid says he does not know what is on the wallets, that they just store them and they want to remain their reputation. Steve says wallets are password protected so good luck to the thieves trying to get the money and they are also equipped with a tracking devices.  Scott says if they are contacted for a ransom, to let him handle negotiations.

Jamie arrive to see Hoschi (informant), but prior to going in she sees a car on the road that makes her suspicious and writes down license plate on her hand. Not only did this moment provide some foreshadowing that something ominous may happen, but it also showed that she is a good investigator who has good instincts about when things that may not look quite right. When she is inside speaking to Hoschi, there is a man in apartment that is one of the people in robbery crew, and based on the scar on his neck we also know this is the man that executed Chet.  Before she puts her phone away as she is ordered to do by this man, she hits the redial button and the phone calls Scott. She tells the gunman she is FBI and can help, but he and Jamie fight and Jamie gets shot in the abdomen and the man also kills Hoschi. Scott hears the entire altercation and is very upset, screaming for Jamie as he hears the gunfire.
We next see Scott arriving to the scene as the ambulance is taking her away. Katrin is also there and she provides support to Scott who is visibly shaken. While Katrin heads to the hospital with Jamie, Scott goes in to investigate the apartment with Vo.  He tells the team that he wants to know everything about this dirtbag (Hoschi), and the clear determination to solve who shot Jamie and catch them is palpable. When he sees a blood spot from Jamie on floor, the pain and worry is evident. The Swiss police captain wants to talk to him and he says not now, seemingly to distraught to talk at that moment.  The episode felt very balanced in my mind, showing the effectiveness of the team, but weaving in these moments of seeing this more emotional and caring side of Forrester that we until now have just seem glimpses of, and really starting to explore the depth of his relationship with Jamie.  

Scott begins questioning Steve Webb, asking about crypto currency and the details surrounding it. The man does not seem to care about the investigation and is more concerned with the messages on his phone and Scott tells him to put phone down. Scott advises him that his insurance contacted him as lead investigator to ensure this was not insurance fraud. He also tells him that they traced the time stamp of the transactions and that bitcoin was purchased and stored before he had filed for divorce. Scott tells him that if he did not disclose those assets as part of the divorce and was hiding assets, he could be prosecuted for that and his ex-wife would be able to have some of that money. The man calls Scott a cynic and he says he is today. Webb leaves and Pruett tries to explain Webb's behavior by stating self-made millionaires live in their own world. However Scott issues him a warning, and that if this is an inside job he will bury him.

When they continue to questions the Swiss bank manager (Leland Schmid), he says that it was Pruett’s idea to move the crypto-wallets to the Swiss vault. Vo and Raines question Schmid about the details of the transfer of the wallets and who made those arrangements, and also get a list of all the staff who work at the vault/bank. The team is anxiously awaiting news about how Jamie is, and it is making them realize the dangers of their job. Vo tells Raines that if anything ever happens to her, her list of family contacts is on her desk and Raines says he will get one ready and tell her where it is. Again, I love this budding friendship and camaraderie, and I am excited to see how the Wolf writing team intends for this friendship to grow between them.

We then move to Katrin at the hospital speaking with the doctor. He advises that Jamie is seriously injured. They have already given her 5 units of blood and she needs an aorta repair and exploratory surgery, and when asked, he tells her he would not make any predictions on if she will survive. Katrin calls Scott, and relays this message, and Scott updates the team that she is going to surgery and that is all they know.

They begin reviewing the facts and evidence so far. Melissa and Chet are clean and the bullets that hit Chet mushroomed on impact, so no ballistics matches would be possible. They also begin to look at Jamie’s informant Hoschi and try to figure out if the shooter being there was intentional (did he know Hoschi and Jamie would both be there) or was Jamie simply in the wrong place wrong time. They also find out that one of the neighbours had a doorway camera, and they are able to get an image of shooter, but it is very grainy.

Scott finds out that Pruett was approached for ransom, but when he wants to assist him with the drop, Webb says he is under no obligation to cooperate and that he can see Scott is out for blood and this could screw up his chances of getting his money back. Scott is upset and says to Captain Graff "Are you gonna let him do this" and he says they are Swiss and they do not usually get involved. This is the first time in this episode where it seems that how this foreign police service works is not in line with how the FBI would handle the situation, and it really brings forward the question of how often do police protocols in foreign countries contradict or create difficulty for flight teams of different law enforcement agencies abroad to solve crimes in an effective and timely manner.

The team heads to the hospital, and find out that Jamie survived surgery, but is still sedated, intubated and unconscious. They are trying to track Webb and Pruett but their phones are dead. Scott goes in to see her and he tells her he is there and she is the strongest person he knows and he doesn’t know what he would do without her. This is such a heartfelt scene, and really shows the loving side of him we had not been able to see yet as he has been such a tough team leader when they are working. Scott sees the number written on her hand and thinks it may be a clue to hunting down who did this to her so he writes it down and gives to Vo and Raines to track down. They wonder if it is a phone number or part of an address. Then when looking at the image of the suspect on the neighbour's camera as he is leaving the building, Scott realizes it may be a license plate. They do a search and find out who rented the car. We get a nice cameo of Isobel, who speaks to Scott and asks if Jamie has spouse or family or boyfriend and Scott has to lie and says he doesn’t think so.

The team discovers that the license plate is for a rented car and they find the car burned out, and it turns out the car was parked outside the home of the Swiss bank manager Schmid in the last few days. Scott grabs him and says they are going for a ride, taking him in for questioning.  Schmid tells him that Hoschi is how whole thing got started. They met through a mutual friend and he found out what he did for a living and about the crypto vault, and he started making overtures about robbery. After 5 years, when he was passed over for yet another promotion, he went to Hoschi and told him about the couriers from Texas.  Hoschi brought in 2 other men, and Kristian Hess was the one who did all the talking.  He worked back from when the couriers were supposed to arrive and they were not involved in the crime, and he gave the details as to where they would be, but insists he was assured no one would be killed.

They decide to try to catch them in the act and Captain Graf says text him to ask if everything is ok, but Scott says no, they need to get him upset. He says to text asking “Where is my money and where is my cut”! They also take the photo of Hess to Melissa and she identifies him as the man who ordered Chet’s killing.  Hess calls the manager back and tells him they are getting a ransom as the devices are password protected and he didn’t tell them that and his cut is that they don’t kill him. While on the call, the Swiss team gets a trace on the phone and they go to pursue the suspects.

At the drop location for the ransom, Raines and Forrester on scene. Raines has eyes and they are in park. The suspects are only answering the phone for a few seconds, bouncing them around area until they feel safe to move in for the ransom.  Raines sees Pruett and Weber sitting at patio and one suspect sits down with a laptop. Suddenly his partner alerts him as he sees team is moving in and they take off. Vo and Scott and Tank jump into a car and are in pursuit and Raines pursues on foot.

They block in the suspects car, and Vo, Scott and Tank take off on foot after the suspects bail out of their car. Tank catches Kristian with the bag and tackles him and holds him until Scott comes, and the bag has the crypto currencies inside. This was definitely one of my favorite scenes of the episode as I love how they integrate Tank into these storylines and chases. He is definitely a highlight of every episode for me. Vo chases after other assailant but he gets away in the crowd.

As they question Kristian and ask for his cooperation, he says he wants a guarantee for citizenship for his girlfriend and her son who are Turkish and says he wants to know they will be safe or no deal. I found this an interesting development and that he asked for nothing for himself but rather the girl he loves, especially considering the current storyline with Scott and Jamie that was infusing the background of this episode. Captain Graf says that he will put in a request but Kristian says they get nothing from him without a guarantee. Katrin says to Graf and Scott that as long as she doesn’t have warrants and he gives full confession this can likely can be arranged. As he gives the details of who his partner Ulrich Zimmerman is, he warns them that Ulrich has said he is not going back to prison many times, and to be careful. The team and Swiss version of SWAT move in, and capture Zimmerman packing and Scott has one of his most quotable lines of the episode “You know what I love – telling people who say they are never going back to prison, you are going back to prison”. During the arrest Forrester gets hands on with the suspect, and it is clear he is upset with the fact that this man shot Jamie.

We then have a short scene where Vo follows up and tells Melissa they caught all of them. She is so grateful and I think this was very respectful to close the loop and allow her to know justice had been served for her partner and his family and that she was safe. 

We then move to Weber, who is furious and says Scott almost got him killed and Scott responds by punching him.  He becomes enraged and says he wants Scott arrested and Captain Graf says they are Swiss and won’t get involved.  I thought that this was very poetic justice since the last time they said they would not be involved was when Weber was not cooperating to solve the crime and catch the thieves at the ransom drop. I will be honest that this made me crack a smile.

We then jump to the team at the hospital. Jamie is awake and says thanks and she knows they all went above and beyond to find the person who shot her. The rest of the team leave Scott with her and he tells her she will be here a few more days and then can go back to Budapest and he is going to stay with her and the nurse will bring in a bed. At this point, Jamie says that when you look over a cliff and come back, you don’t think about your career accomplishment and you focus on the people who mean something to you and she has decided that she wants to stay. She tells Scott she wants to see where it goes with him if that is what he wants. Scott tells her it is. She asks if they need to keep hiding their relationship and he says if they were in Washington yes but since they are in Europe they should make the most of it. The scene ends with a tender kiss, and was a lovely conclusion to to this episode.

Well this was definitely an episode that was not just a roller coaster of the usual police action and drama we come to expect with the FBI franchise, but also many emotional ups and downs as we were able to uncover many new layers to these characters we had not yet been able to see.  I know that I am definitely ready to see what comes next for the this team, their FBI work and also their camaraderie and personal relationships.  How about you?
Let us know what you thought about this week’s episode in the comments below.

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