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Millennium 1x7

Blood Relatives

“This generation is a wicked generation;it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign shall be given to it…” Luke 11:29

At a Seattle cemetery, James Dickerson, a handsome 20-year-old, lurks outside the chapel during a college football player’s funeral. After the mourners leave, James approaches the deceased’s mother and sister. Calling himself “Ray Bell,” he gains their trust by pretending to be a friend from college. He hugs the boy’s grieving mother, savoring the hug in an unsettling way. That night, the mother visits the open grave one last time, when suddenly hands reach out of the grave, and drag the terrified woman inside.

Her corpse is discovered the next day. Bletcher asks Catherine, in her capacity as a Victim Services Department counselor, to talk to the victim’s husband. He is angry and refuses to cooperate with the police because they won’t let him see his wife’s body. Bletcher reveals the reason to Catherine: the body is shockingly mutilated.

At the crime scene, Frank is able to feel the rage of the killer. He senses the rage is not directed toward the victim but toward someone else. Perhaps her late son? Frank interviews the family at the chapel. His obvious sympathy reaches them. They realize the stranger calling himself Ray Bell is most likely the killer. Frank discovers that the dead boy’s football team pin is missing from the body.

Inside his spartan, institutional bedroom, James wears the missing pin, as Connor, older and tougher, bursts in and berates him for blowing curfew. Connor tells James he won’t cover for him any more, and orders him to stay inside. After Connor leaves, James circles an obituary in the paper.

After finding the name Ray Bell in the same newspaper as the football player’s obituary, Frank realizes James must have attended other funerals before, befriending mourners and taking souvenirs. Last night he crossed the line into murderous violence, possibly for the first time. Next time will be easier for him.

James attends another funeral, and he convinces one of the mourners, Tina, that he was a childhood friend of the deceased. He takes her to the lake shore, where he pretends to share memories so convincing that Tina breaks down in tears. He hugs her…savoring the moment beyond all reason. Sensing something is wrong, Tina pulls away. Reacting to her alarm, James apologizes and leaves her. Soonm afterward, while grieving alone, Tina is viciously attacked.

Tina’s mutilated body is discovered in the lake. When they find a message carved on her abdomen (“Stop Looking”), Frank realizes there must be a message on the first body too. He asks Peter Watts to look for it. Frank finds Tina’s barrette, and Watts is able to lift fingerprints that identify James Dickerson: a recently paroled convict with a sealed juvenile crime record, now living in a group home. When the police surround the house, Connor–the trustee–secretly helps James escape.

They search James’ room and discover his secret stash: a journal and pen, newspaper obituaries, and small souvenirs he’s taken from funerals. Catherine analyzes James as a classic lost child. In and out of foster homes, abused and neglected, James raised himself. Going to funerals is his attempt to connect with the world, to find emotional contact and family. Previous foster families described James as a loving kid. What pushed him over the edge to violence?

Meanwhile, James hides out at Skorpion Salvage, a junkyard patrolled by vicious dogs. Connor brings James food and comforts him when he denies murdering anybody. Connor’s feelings for James obviously go beyond mere friendship.

Frank notices that the “S” carved on the first victim’s stomach is the same stylized design as the “S” on the Skorpion Salvage giveaway pen found in James’ stash. He realizes James must be hiding at the junkyard. But when Frank and the police move in, the dogs viciously maul James and Connor escapes.

Catherine interviews Mrs. Dechant, James’ birth…

Dec. 06, 1996

Millennium season 1