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FBI: International – Black Penguin - Review

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As we draw close to the end of the first season of FBI International, the Wolf team of writers are not prepared to disappoint, and continue to bring us new and exciting twists and turns every time we blink.

The episode opens in Berlin, Germany on a party happening in an apartment. There are many people dancing and drinking. A young man and woman begin to speak and go into a quiet room – their names are Thomas and Tanja. Thomas says he is a student and has been in Berlin for 2 years. She comments that he must have rich parents and he says he has been running away from that his whole life. He says he got into an art school but his parents are not happy about it, and she says he does not seem like he cares what his parents think.

Thomas’s parents arrive the next morning and go into the apartment and are initially upset with the mess, but then find Thomas chocking and foaming at the mouth on the floor. They yell for their help to call an ambulance.

We then move to Budapest, and Kellett and Jaeger walking and talking about Smit, and Kellett says they cannot just fire her, and asks why he has it out for her. Jaeger says that Smit did not need cause, he just needed an opportunity. Jaeger tells her they worked an organized crime case together that ended up being the case that made Smit’s career as he arrested the ringleader. Jaeger had reason to believe he was working both sides and she filed a report, and it was supposed to be confidential, but nothing happened after she filed it. She said she knew when he joined Europol a few years ago as a senior director that he was likely coming for her. Katrin says she has 2 weeks left and she is still fighting. As they approach the office they are greeted by 2 ambassadors, one that each of them knows. Frank Delillo is the US Ambassador to Hungary, and Amy Schwartz is the US Ambassador to Germany. They ask to speak to Scott Forrester right away, and the women take them inside.

Forrester says he has never had even one let alone two Ambassadors in his office, and they let him know that an American art student was found unresponsive that afternoon in Berlin with a drug overdose, and he is hospitalized at present in critical condition. Scott says he is sorry to hear that but it sounds like a job for the German police. They share with Scott that the father is Gabriel Watts, an American billionaire, who wants answers and Scott says he is sorry but they are not a rich man’s detective agency. Delillo says that the President of the United States called him personally that morning to request Scott’s Team, and would consider it a personal favor to him. He says he can also call the director of the FBI if needed. Schwartz says they will have any help they need from the German police and Scott reluctantly agrees.

The team is briefed and learn that the Watts found their son when they went to his apartment when he was late to meet them, and if they had arrived 5 minutes later, he would have been dead. Raines briefs the team on Thomas and Gabriel Watts, and comments that a rich kid OD-ing is not uncommon and asks why they are on the case. Scott says because of 62.5 billion dollars (Watts net worth). They head to Berlin and meet up with Inspector Leon Honsel, who is the Chief Inspector of the Berlin Police, and he shows them to the conference room where they can work. Forrester asks him how long he has been in Narcotics and he says 5 years and recently moved to chief inspector. Scott asks what Thomas’s toxicology report showed and he tells them Oxycodone with trace amounts of Fentanyl were found in Thomas’s blood, and shares with them that Fentanyl is quite rare there. Raines asks if there has been a spike in Fentanyl cases, and Honsel says no, that Thomas’s case was an anomaly for them.

Forrester sends Raines and Vo to Thomas’s apartment to see what they could find that might point them to a dealer and speak to any friends and neighbors. Scott says he and Jamie will go to the hospital to interview the parents and he asks Jaeger to contact any connections she has, and he feels Inspector Honsel was a little quick to deny Fentanyl overdoses are happening there. Katrin agrees and says she will reach out to her counterparts at Interpol.

Scott and Jamie meet with Gabriel and Marian Watts at the hospital. They also meet Mark Levinson, who is their personal security and been with them for 15 years and is cleared to hear anything they might ask or need to know by Mr. Watts. Marian says she knows what they must be thinking, that the affluent son is rebelling against his parents but that is not the case with Thomas. He never caused them troubled, dabbled in drugs or even asked them for a dime, even when they tried to give him more. Gabriel says Thomas rejected security and a private driver when he moved to Berlin because he said that he was an adult and could make his own decisions now. Scott said, “He craved normalcy”, and Gabriel asks him if he has kids. Gabriel says you would give every fiber of your being to keep your kid safe, and then they grow up and you can’t. They share about how Marian’s parents were very traditional, and when Thomas was accepted into art school, they agreed the right thing to do was let him go. Scott tells them they are just beginning their investigation but asks if they can think of anyone who would target Thomas specifically, perhaps a personal grudge against them or their money, and they say they cannot think of anyone, and that Thomas always makes friends wherever he goes.

Vo and Raines arrive at the apartment and meet Inspector Honsel there with his team. He indicates they have not found any evidence of opioids on site but they are sending samples to the lab for testing. He tells them there are three cameras and they have been using them to identify the guests of the party, who are enroute to give statements. Vo says they will explore the scene in the meantime, and Honsel says anything they need. Vo realizes there are very few items of clothing in the apartment. The witnesses are arriving and Honsel asks if they would like to help question them and they say yes. The first person they interview is Finn Mueller, who is a graduate of Berlin Art Institute and lives in Munich, and they ask why he was at the party. He works in a student exchange program and he advocated for Thomas so when he was accepted, he came to congratulate him. He says he only stayed half an hour as he was not going to hang around university students all night. Vo asks if he witnessed any drug use at the party and he says they were artists so it is always a possibility, but he did not observe anything directly.

Raines is interviewing Noah Bergen, a friend who said Thomas was so straight laced, one beer and he was passed out on the couch. He went to the hospital to see him and they will only let in family, but he is his closest friend. Raines asks how they met and he says the first week at school. He says Thomas never told any of them his last name or whose son he was, not that any of them would have cared, because he was just Tom. Eventually he admitted who his dad was to them, and made him swear to keep it a secret. Raines asks what he can tell them about the party and he says it was just a few friends celebrating, and they tried to keep things small to about 12 people but with social media, a party is a party and is this not the same everywhere. He looks into the room beside them, and says he was sure the canvas was blank before the party but now it has a drawing of a woman on it. Raines asks if he knows her and he says that Thomas was talking to a girl with dark hair like in the sketch. He says she was wearing black army boots and seemed older, maybe 25, and he saw them go in the room, but did not see them come out. He said for Thomas to be with a girl was so rare that he did not want to throw off his vibe. He says when he did not come home, he got worried and Raines says “Home?” Raines says he know he does not live there, and Noah tells Raines that Thomas has a flat in Kreuzberg, a quarter where he knows his parents would never let him live.

Jamie and Scott check it out and find the apartment ransacked and they come upon other men who pull guns on them. Levinson enters and says that they are all on the same team and to put the guns down and everyone lowers their weapons. He explains to Jamie and Scott that these people work for Grey Desert and that it is nothing personal but Gabriel has employed them for many years and is looking for safeguards and reassurances. He says he understands that the FBI are there as guests of the German government and if they need confirmation he would be happy to make a call, but Kellett explains they are contaminating an avenue of investigation. He says he is following Watts’ instructions, as they want to find out who gave Thomas a hot batch of Oxycontin. He says Grey Desert is to go through everything first as the devices are considered an extension of Gabriel Watts personal property, and when Forrester says they do not work for Watts, Levinson suggests they take that up with him. The men collect a variety of items and electronics and remove them from the apartment.

Scott confronts Gabriel at the hospital about the fact that he contacted every politician he knows to bring in the FBI, but then went and started his own private investigation. Gabriel says he will leverage all resources at his disposal to find out who did this to his son. Kellett tells him that by undermining their investigation, he is slowing them down. They explain that Grey Desert will send the laptop and phone to Tel Aviv and will crack it but it will take 3 days, but they have an agent on their team who could have it cracked in one hour. Watts tells Levinson to get Forrester what he needs, and when he objects he says to just do it now.

Katrin meets with a contact named Ilsa Meier. She was with Berlin Police before Interpol and Katrin asks her what she knows about Chief Inspector Leon Honsel, and she says he is not corrupt but in over his head and always desperate to please. Ilsa cross-referenced guests with previous hospitalizations because if the dealer is a user himself, he may have also been in hospital and might be able to lead them to the drug lord. Smit appears and says while she is a Europol investigator she reports to him, and he is missing her reports. He says the USA president is personally asking Europol for updates on the case and he has nothing to tell his supervisor. She tells him this is her last case and she intends to solve it, and walks away.

Raines has cracked the laptop and says while it looks “vanilla” and ordinary on the surface, there is one key partition with an active social media account he did not want his parents to see. They go through the social media for new followers and find the woman in the drawing. Her name is Tanja Kessler and she graduated from university 6 years ago and is an artist also, but has not had as much success as Thomas. Vo finds her address and she and Kellett head out.

Tanja tells them that Berlin is supposed to be a mecca for young artists but if you are not accepted into a residency program or have rich parents it is too expensive. They ask how she knows Thomas Watts and she says they met a couple of nights ago, at a party at his apartment. She says she was on her way out as the party was not her taste but then she looked over and saw Thomas and he was just as bored as her. She says they had a really nice time, and she thought she would hear from him after but has not, and Kellett tells her he is in the hospital, and that he overdosed and she is shocked. She is very concerned and asks if he will be okay and they tell her they do not know. He had told her that he got into an art program and she said let’s celebrate, meaning drinks, but he brought out drugs. Scott asks if she has done Oxy before and Tanja says she “won’t pretend to be a white flower”, but she was surprised when he brought them out as he seemed a bit square, and they each took one pill. She said he had one to start but then became manic and started saying he wanted to draw her, and then he took more and more pills. She said she kept asking him if he was okay but he just kept drawing like he was possessed. Scott asks her if she just left, but she says not until when the sun came up. Thomas said he was sleepy so she told him to call her and she left. Scott asks if he said where he got the drugs and Tanja says Thomas told her someone in town hooked him up.

They look into Tanja and see she has no record and inherited money when her grandmother died and has not worked since. Scott says she is pointing the finger at someone out of town who supplied Thomas with the drugs. Katrin suddenly makes a connection. Finn Mueller had said he came into town to congratulate Thomas but they discover he has been in Berlin before and overdosed 6 months ago. Finn says he did not disclose the information because he is not a “dope-head” and he knew they would overreact to the information. Katrin says he had enough opioids in his system to knock over a school bus but he survived because he had built up a tolerance. He says he was clean for a whole year but had a new job and stress triggers relapses, but there are artists that rely on him. Vo asks if he was at Thomas’s not just to congratulate him but to “help” him too, and he says he wakes up everyday just trying to survive and would never pull anyone into that. Vo says the information he has could help them find out who did this Thomas and he says that everything works through referrals only now through an App for high end stuff, but he would not give Thomas the referral code. Vo says they are going to need the App. He says it is called Black Penguin in English. It is useless without a code and the Access code changes weekly. Raines says there is no drug-ordering app on either partition of his laptop and Vo says the bodyguards only gave them the laptop and not the phone. Forrester says he is getting very tired of this.

Forrester and Kellett go to the hospital but Thomas is coding, and the medical team is trying to resuscitate him, but unfortunately, they lose him. Marian is inconsolable. Forrester speaks to Gabriel and tells him they are sorry for his loss and will do everything possible to find who is responsible, but he says his team will handle it from there. Scott goes to see Amy Schwartz who says that he thought he would be pleased and that E-pol would be fine leading the investigation moving forward and Jaeger tells her not with Honsel leading it. Forrester says he is giving her the respect (because he appreciates her collaboration) to tell her the team is not giving up on this case until they have a drug supplier in custody. Schwartz asks if she needs to get the director of the FBI on the phone, and Scott says to call him, as he is sure they would love to hear that a private firm is funning point on an international investigation, and Scott says he will call him himself. Swartz backs down and leaves.

The team is in the conference room reviewing the evidence when Honsel arrives asking for an update. Forrester says they have Tanja Kessler who was the last person to see him alive, but who denies giving him the drugs. She pointed the finger to someone out of town who supplied the Oxy’s, Finn Mueller, and he pointed them to a drug app, but because they do not have his phone, they cannot confirm it. Honsel says they are working on getting the phone, and that they welcome the assistance of outside organizations to help them bring the case to a close. Raines asks if they want to try the App and Forrester says to fire it up.

They get in with the access code Mueller gave them, Raines is chatting with the App online, and they ask for a menu. They order some drugs, and say they need it tonight, and they set up a meeting for that night. Scott says Raines and Vo will collect the drugs and Jamie and Scott will follow the dealers to the drug stash and make the arrest.

They call Vo’s phone and tell her to go to the park. The dealer sees Forrester and Kellett and Jamie tells Scott they are made as he turns to run. He is stopped by the private security company, and they find drugs in his pocket. The team tell them they compromised their bust as he is just the delivery man and they wanted him to lead them back to the source. Levinson says they should be thanking him for doing their job and that this man is the source. Honsel is there and sees what happened as he arrives with the police to take the man away.

The police are interrogating the drug deliveryman, and Scott says this is ridiculous, and wants to know how Honsel worked in narcotics for 5 years and does not know that you do not report a police operation to a private security operation. He tells them he was just keeping them up to date on the investigation. Katrin tells him that they understand a giant spotlight is being shone on the narcotics unit he runs right now in Berlin, and the quicker that spotlight goes away the easier to convince everyone he know what he is doing, but his incompetence has made things infinitely worse this time. He excuses himself and says he has a confession to go obtain and Katrin says of course.

Raines and Kellett come to update Scott and Katrin that they received the phone and the Black Penguin App was on it. They check and Thomas was on it last Friday night (the night of the OD) and ordered a dozen oxy. In addition, the pills the delivery person had on him were also cut with fentanyl, and the same kind as what killed Thomas. The deliveryman says the pills were planted, and he knows nothing of Thomas or the Black Penguin app. They see Levinson shaking hands with Honsel and he comes to see Scott and says they no matter how the goal was achieved, the Watts are happy that justice will be served and he hopes there are no hard feelings. Scott asks if they are heading back and he says yes, they want to get home and begin making funeral arrangements. Scott asks how many days they have been in Berlin and he says they arrived on Thursday. Scott says to give the Watts his sincere condolences. Scott then pulls the team in, and says that Thomas kept the secret apartment a secret from everyone, but the security team was there confiscating the laptop and phone before they even got there. Raines says that they know the police were sharing info with them, but Scott says that Raines and Vo got the info and gave it to him and Kellett who went immediately there, so how did they know about it when only the team knew the address. He says they checked the cameras outside of the party apartment and wants to know if there were cameras outside of the secret apartment and to find out who visited him up until he left for the party.

Scott stops the family and says he will need to speak to Levinson. He shows him a video of him approaching the secret apartment at 11pm on the night of the party. He says it is not him so they show him another angle to confirm it is he. He says so what, and that he has a great fondness for Thomas after working for the family for 15 years. They tell him that Mueller said he did not give Thomas the code and Tanja said he had someone in town who had hooked him up. Scott says that he took the phone and kept it until he knew the direction of the investigation and then downloaded the app on the phone to implicate Black Penguin. He says that they have the drugs they found on the dealer, and they point out he was the one that pulled them out of his pocket. Scott tells him he has the full resources of the FBI and how long does he think it will take until he knows when the App was downloaded onto the phone. Levinson says he wants a lawyer and Gabriel bursts into the room and attacks him. Levinson yells he is sorry and it was an accident, and Scott cuffs him.

Schwartz tells Scott she owes him an apology and he says no, she was doing her job just as he was, and that she had been caught in a tough position. She says if there is anything he needs to never hesitate to call, and he says there is one thing and asks how well she knows the higher ups at Europol.

Smit approaches Katrin in the parking lot and he says he does not know how she did it, and she says “Did what?” He tells her he was fired while she was reinstated and the executive director says there was political pressure to remove him and keep Katrin, and she says good. He asks what she did and she just walks away softly singing a song.

Kellett is on the phone thanking someone. Vo asks what is going on and Jamie says remember when we saved the Attorney General from the assassination attempt and Cameron says yes. She says she and Forrester were working on multiple fronts…but the conversation is interrupted when the Watts walk in. Jamie informs them that Thomas worked in a partition on his computer where he showed his art under a pseudo-name in order for the art to be seen for what it was and not his name. His paintings are all set up for them to look at in a gallery style.

We can only hope that we learn what Scott and Jamie were working on in the season finale. It will surely be an amazing ending to a landmark first season!

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

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