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FBI: International – Left of Boom – Review

Now that we have learned a bit more about Raines, this episode allowed us to dig a little deeper into the past of Cameron Vo. While many things about her are still a bit of a mystery, we are able to see a bit more about her character and loyalty to her friends, which we have already seen glimpses of so far with Raines.

The episode opens with Vo checking out gyms and she is approached by a man. They hug and it is clear Vo knows him. She asks what he is doing in Europe. They decide to go get a drink and catch up.

At the bar, we find out his name is Nick Thorpe and they are old friends from Westpoint and Quantico. He tells Vo he is there for business. He tells her that he left the Bureau and is in the private sector as a man comes into the bar and appears to be watching him. He tells Vo he needs her help but he needs to take care of something and he has to go but will reach out and when he leaves, the man follows him out. As Vo is paying the bill, she hears two gunshots, and runs outside. She finds the man who was following Nick lying dead on the ground.

The team arrives and Vo tells them she was having a drink with her old friend, who is a former agent, when the victim followed him out and then she heard shots and came out. Kellett asks if Vo thinks her friend could be involved and she says she does not know. Forrester tells Vo not to speak to the police without him present, because the victim is Roland Torok, and he is a local gambling regulator.

Back at the office Vo arrives and is greeted by Scott and Jamie who are meeting with Erin Padilla who is the local Legat in Budapest. She wants to speak to Vo and Forrester joins in on the meeting. They ask her what her relationship is to Nick Thorpe and she says they have known each other since they were kids and went to Westpoint together, and were in the same class at Quantico. Padilla asks if Thorpe knew Torok and Vo says she is not sure but that is the way it looked by their body language. They ask if there is any reason Nick would be mixed up with a gambling watchdog and Vo says that perhaps they crossed paths when he worked for the Vegas office of the FBI. Erin says there are no cameras there and asks Cameron to confirm she was the first person on scene, and she asks if she is being questioned as a person of interest. Padilla says that she was in the pub with the victim and Hungarian ambassadors are breathing down her neck and if she cannot clear things up with them, the Fly Team will have to find a new home in Europe, and Forrester says that will not be happening. Scott asks Cameron about Nick mentioning an overseas job and Erin asks who he is working for and Cameron says they never got that far in the conversation. Padilla asks if he said anything else significant, and Vo says Thorpe says he quit the Bureau which does not make sense because it “lives in his DNA” and Forrester tells her he did not quit, he was terminated 10 months ago. Vo asks for what and Padilla tells her he falsified information in order to get a search warrant, and so he lost his credibility and was fired. The Ambassador has asked Scott to “put Vo on ice” until this is settled, and he says no problem.

Vo leaves the meeting and is clearly upset. Scott approaches her and asks if there is anything else he needs to know about Thorpe because now would be the time to tell him, and Vo tells him she gave him everything. Forrester tells her to type up a “302” accounting for every minute of her whereabouts and then to go home, but if she hears from Thorpe, to notify him immediately.

Forrester and Kellett go to meet Katrin Jaeger and she introduces them to Akos Valko from the Hungarian Bureau of Investigations. He reviews with them what they know so far about Torok’s death and the ballistics. He was shot in the temple with a 9mm and he had a ghost gun on him. Kellett asks about Torok’s phone, but it was not on his body and she asks if they tried tracking it, but it is turned off. Valko says that his team will search Torok’s apartment and Forrester asks for Raines to be there. Valko says that it is a Hungarian matter but Forrester points out that it involves one of their former agents, so he would like one of their agents there in case they need to track down any leads in the US, and Akos agrees.

Vo arrives home and hears someone in her apartment. It is Thorpe, and he tells her he did not kill that man and he says she is the only person he can trust. Cameron says she is breaking a handful of international laws just speaking to him, and Nick says that a man he works for had Torok killed for skimming cash and he came to her to try to get on top of it and things went sideways. She asks who he works for and Nick tells her his name is Paul Kovacs. He tells Vo that after he left the Bureau, he took up a private security gig with Kovacs in Las Vegas. Vo says she heard about him and that he is a Hungarian American who inherited a casino in Budapest. Nick says she likely did not read the part about him being in bed with the Russians. Kovacs had a plan to build a luxury casino in Vegas and use his chain of low rank casinos in north Vegas as collateral. Kovacs ended up upside down for 450 million dollars, so he started a partnership with the Russians through an old family friend. They provided him with the money to finish the project if he agreed to launder their cash through his casino in Budapest, but once the new casino is built in Vegas, they will use it to clean cash from Eurasian organized crime networks that are expanding in the US. Vo asks Thorpe for his version of why he left the Bureau and he says they pulled him from an undercover operation when his CI changed their story. The Bureau accused him of falsifying information on an affidavit. Kellett arrives and Cameron tells Nick that she will not be arrested for obstruction of justice and so if he trusts her, he needs to also trust Kellett. Kellett is there to ask Vo some questions about Thorpe’s background and Vo lets her know he is there and he runs.

Vo explains to Kellett that he was there when she got home and Jamie asks why he has a key to her apartment, and she tells her that he was in the Bureau for 6 years and he knows how to get into an apartment. Jamie tells Cameron that he just put her in a vice with the Hungarians, Bureau and State Department and Cameron says that he is wrapped up in some shady business at a casino in Budapest and he wants help. Jamie says she is betting he told her that he didn’t kill Torok and wants immunity, but Cameron says she knows Nick and if he pulled the trigger he would be on another continent by now. Jamie explains to Cameron the circumstances of how Nick was fired from the Bureau and Nick calls. Vo says he is dragging her down with him and he says he never wanted that so she tells him he needs to speak to her team. He agrees to meet her team if he can have protection and immunity and tells them to meet in the control room at the abandoned power station.

The team arrives and Scott frisks Thorpe. Vo introduces Jaeger who says she spoke to the Hungarian prosecutor who is willing to grant him immunity if he testifies to what he knows. Thorpe tells them that he told Kovacs that Torok was skimming cash from the casino, and he went to Vo because he had a feeling something bad was going to happen. Scott says that he put a bullseye on Torok, and Nick says that Torok made his own bed when he skimmed cash from the Russians. Vo asks how long he has known Torok was skimming cash and Nick says since Kovacs asked him to do the books and records when he moved there 6 months ago. Torok offered Thorpe a cut of the money to keep him mouth shut, and then he was killed by Kovacs “muscle”, Istvan Benko. Katrin asks if Benko saw Thorpe with Vo and he says he saw them and told Kovacs, so he told Kovacs she was a contact from back in his Vegas days, looking to clean some money. Vo asks how that is a solution, and Thorpe says he can now slide her in. Scott tells him he will go into FBI custody until they determine how to play this.

Kellett says they will have to confirm Nick’s story or the defense will tear him to shreds, but Vo says she will do it because he saved her life once and she owes him this. Raines asks how he saved her and she says she will tell him over a beer sometime. Raines has finished the analysis on the laptop and it looks like it was accessing an external harddrive frequently, perhaps to hide things he did not want on his work computer. Scott says he will have Lieutenant Valko do another sweep of the apartment to look for it. Raines asks Forrester about his take on Thorpe and he says he is “very punchable”. When he asks if he trusts him, Forrester says it doesn’t matter, because Vo trusts him. This was such an adorable scene, because you can see how much both Raines and Forrester care about Vo and are protective of her, but also that they do trust her judgement.

Thorpe fills Vo in on the details. He says Torok pocketed about six million and that Kovacs is paranoid and desperate to begin with. She asks what led him to find out Torok was stealing the money and he tells Vo that Kovacs knew his background in finance and asked him to set up the casino shell accounts under fictitious names. He tells Cameron that he knows she is pissed at him and he wants to know she believes him. She tells him she believes him, and then Jamie joins them. They work out a cover story and decide Vo will go in undercover and Raines will go posing as her security. Thorpe says he and Vo have it, but Forrester tells him no and that he is no longer part of the Bureau and he will do what he is told or they will hand him over to the Hungarians.

Vo goes under cover at the casino and Thorpe introduces her to Benko and Kovacs. Vo asks about his casino that he is building in Vegas and makes a deal with Kovacs to launder seven million dollars. They agree to meet next day and work out the details of where.

They arrive at the office the next day and Raines tells Vo she did good work, but she is disappointed because they still have zero on Benko to prove he is complicit. Scott asks to talk to Cameron, and says Thorpe is still involved in a homicide investigation and he is taking her word on trusting him, so he needs to know if they were ever involved, while at or before the Bureau. Vo says she does not date within the Bureau because it gets messy when it does not work out and they have never been involved at or before the Bureau. She says they are close friends and that is all and she would have told him if that was the case. Scott warns her that people can get blind spots for people they care about and the trick is “not to let them send you over the edge”. Forrester seems to be making sure that Vo possibly does not make some of the same mistakes he has made. This really shows how much he is developing as a leader for this team, and really wanting the younger agents to become the best team members they can be.

Katrin comes in and says she needs to show them what Valko’s team just found. They have video footage of Benko near the bar on the night of the murder. They gear up and decide to take a run at Benko after the bust.

The rest of the team is in the van and Raines and Vo are in the truck waiting for Benko. Raines thinks something is up because Benko and Kovacs are late. Benko gets in the back of the truck and pulls a gun on them and tells them they are going to a different location for the drop. They are going to an old train depot, and the team worries that they will not be able to have proper communication. Raines and Vo enter the warehouse, and their wires go down. Kovacs team searches and disarms them, and Thorpe says it is okay. They show Kovacs the hidden compartment with the cash in it and set the deal. Kovacs says he has no service on his phone and he has to go outside to make the transfer while his team counts the money. Then Benko and the others pulled guns on Raines, Vo and Thorpe. Thorpe asks Benko when this was part of the plan and he says that Torok stole over six million from the casino so Kovacs is not going to make a deal for 50% when he can take 100%. Jamie sees Kovacs leaving in a white escalade and Thorpe, Vo and Raines disarm the other men and Vo and Thorpe run after Benko.

The team stops Kovacs on the road, and Vo and Thorpe pursue Benko and shoot him – he pretends to be dead and then tries to come up behind them and Scott kills him with a sniper shot.

Back at the office, Scott questions Thorpe about knowing Kovacs plan to try to kill them and steal the money and he says he swears he knew nothing about it. Scott warns Nick that Cameron really stuck her neck out on this for him and he says he knows. He tries to ask Nick about he and Vo dating and he says they never did, but it was not for a lack of trying on his part, and Scott says that is the first thing out of his mouth he believes. It is unclear if Scott asking about Nick’s past with Cameron was a test to see if he could trust Vo or was it a test for Thorpe.

Katrin tells them Lietenant Valko is a bit upset that Benko is dead, but they were able to match his gun to the bullet that killed Torok. They took a run at Kovacs but he will not speak until his attorney from Nevada arrives, and Katrin says they have plenty on him from the wire from his initial conversation with Vo. Nick and Scott join them, and they go over what was recovered from the sweep and they found two sets of books, burner phones and ghost guns and the missing hard drive. Raines is still working on the encryption for the files, but the drive has ledgers from the shell accounts on it. Kellett says the Hungarians are going to put Nick up in a safe house until the trial and then cut him loose with a new identity and a clean record. Nick says he wants to clean out his room at the hotel and he has some files for them that they can use for the prosecution, and Vo says she will take him.

On the car ride over, Vo tells Thorpe how upset she is that he was in town for six months and did not try to reach out, and he says he was ashamed. He felt he let her down, and he says he never falsified any information. He says there will come a time in her career where she will have to make an impossible decision in order to do the right thing. Forrester calls and tells Vo she needs to bring Nick in asap, and Thorpe ditches her at the elevators. She tells Forrester that Thorpe is in the wind.

Vo returns to the office and Raines says that he has encrypted the files and what Thorpe told them was not the whole truth. Torok was not the one embezzling from the Russians, Thorpe was. They both had access to the money but when the numbers were not lining up, Torok started doing a forensic analysis. Thorpe was diverting additional money to a shell account, and then running a Ponzi scheme. Raines thinks that Thorpe ratted out Torok before he could tell Kovacs about what he was doing and then checked out of his hotel and went to Vo to try to bring down the whole operation, but things went south. Vo says they cannot prove anything from a few files, but Raines says he has confirmed everything against the casino ledgers and also Thorpe has fled. Jamie also tells Vo that he worked in white collar crimes before he transferred to Vegas. A little over 6 million was in the shell account but it has all been transferred out, and Vo confirms that is the same amount Thorpe said Torok skimmed off the cash accounts. Cameron asks if the Hungarians know, and Forrester says as far as they are concerned they owe Nick a medal. They have searched all the flight and transportation records and are not finding Nick Thorpe’s name on any travel manifests yet. Scott says to put out a BOLO and then take off as they will be notified if he tries to leave the country.

Vo is furious and Jamie finds her working out at Raines’ boxing gym. She asks her how she is holding up and she says she feels like a sucker. Kellett asks her if she has ever heard of the military term “Left of Boom”, and explains to her that the boom is when the guns go off, and the damage is done, and that you want to be left of boom to get ahead of it. She tells her you cannot make a case personal and miss the warning signs. This was a great scene where we can see Jamie also trying to impart her knowledge and experience to Vo to help her continue to grow and develop, which really shows how the Fly Team wants to mentor and improve the new members of the team.

After Jamie leaves, Vo contacts Raines about names used to set up foreign accounts. They find a plane ticket under one of the alias names he used to create the shell accounts. Raines finds a ticket to a country that does not have an extradition treaty with the US. Vo approaches and Nick at the airport bar, and tells him they know what is on the hard drive and that he stole the money. He says she could let him go and she says that unfortunately sometimes they have to do impossible things to do the right thing. Then she arrests him. Forrester says Nick created the whole house of cards based on Vo believing him, and Jamie asks if he thinks she will ever forgive him. Scott tells Jamie the most painful betrayals never come from your enemies, they come from the ones you trust the most. Clearly this seems to be eluding to things that have happened to Scott in the past, and perhaps what has happened with his mother. It certainly speaks to Forrester’s experience in balancing work and relationships and how to remain impartial, and shows what he hopes to mentor and develop for his team moving forward.

Let us know what you thought about this episode in the comments below.


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