Don’t Say Her Name Again
Episode 2 of FBI: International opens with an online predator texting young girls and harassing them online. The online predator believes he can get away with it since he doesn’t live in America.
At their office in Budapest, Vo notifies Kellet that she is unable to get out of her apartment lease early as she had hoped. Smitty says that she can move in with Kellet and be her new roommate instead. Kellet is hesitant and wants Smitty to take a personality test first. Smitty is okay with this as long as she can give Kellet a personality test too. I think they will get along just fine.
The team gets called in to handle the online predator case that is extorting teen girls in the US. He has already released private and compromising videos of 5 girls to their families and friends. The suspect going by different aliases has victimized more than 30 teen girls with the youngest ones being 12 years old.
The suspect slipped up and mentioned an online screen name and accidentally texted a teen named Charlotte who alerted the authorities. The cybercrime team was able to trace the screen name to dark web activities based in Budapest. The team is therefore in charge of identifying the suspect and arresting him.
Kellet gets a call from the Cyber Crime Unit informing her that Charlotte just landed in Budapest and is hoping to help the team in their investigation. It is a bit off but let’s see how this plays out. After getting assistance from the Budapest local police, the team get a lead to a man named Andor Molnar.
They find him and threaten to file heavy charges against him if he is uncooperative so Molnar agrees to give them information on the suspect. According to Molnar, the suspect has a bunch of chat rooms with invitation-only access and uses military-grade encryption. He is not in for the money but for the sadistic pleasure he derives from the online sexual exploitation of children.
Kellet has a sit down with Charlotte and she narrates her experience with the suspect. Kellet is naturally taken in by her story and says Charlotte seems strong and determined. As they are discussing the case, Charlotte’s mother gets in touch with Forrester through the help of the Cyber Crime Unit. Her mother drops a bombshell on the team that threatens to change the direction of the case.
Charlotte’s mom claims her daughter is in a relationship with the suspect and is not telling the whole truth. As Charlotte is 17 years old, her mother denies them permission to talk any further to her without her being present. She is at the airport on her way to Budapest and asks the team to keep her safe and not to use Charlotte in her investigation.
Kellet and Forrester talk to Charlotte and she denies the allegations and thinks her mother is crazy. She says she was simply playing into the suspect’s ego to try and lure him out. Her mom read her messages and thought she is in a real relationship with the suspect. Kellet informs her they can no longer work with her but Charlotte insists she is not a minor according to Hungary laws and wants to continue helping with the case. Charlotte hands over her laptop to let the team go through her messages with the suspect. Kellet says she believes Charlotte as she reminds her of herself at 17.
Smitty argues that they might be adding to her trauma by pushing her towards something she is trying to get away from. Kellet says that Charlotte is driven and that is why she travelled to Budapest to seek justice. They need to help her and Forrester says he will take the heat from the Charlotte’s mother.
The team asks Charlotte if she is comfortable taking a video for the suspect. Charlotte takes a video of her boots and they attach malware to it before sending it to the suspect. They think the suspect is close once he opens the video and they can trace his location… but it is a dead lead. The suspect had hacked a young woman’s phone (Maya) to make it look like he was nearby.
They are finally able to get a trace on his location because the suspect slipped up again while hacking Maya. They head out to arrest him but he manages to escape. They breach his room but the suspect had automatically set up a kill switch to erase the data from his computer and encrypt the data. To access the encrypted data the FBI will need the key from the suspect.
Charlotte steps up one more time and thanks to her bravery, they are able to arrest the suspect and close the case.
The Episode Review
This case reminded us of the reality faced with dangers on the internet and it terrifies me to think about the number of creeps online who are sexually exploiting young people. The case took an emotional toll on Vo and we can understand why she needed a minute. The case also stirred up memories for Kellet. It reminded her of her younger self and the sister she lost. It explains why she felt protective of Charlotte and believed her.
It looks like Smitty is invested in creating a good work relationship with the team and is trying to build rapport with her teammates. Hopefully, they will continue to get along.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|