It's an opening scene sure to give every parent nightmares. We're all terrified of having our children kidnapped. We always warn them about "stranger danger." But even a Boston PD cop's daughter falls prey when she's lured into a car by a woman who claims to be a teacher. The 13-year-old Mandy doesn't stand a chance when a man hiding in the back seat suddenly rears his head. The only witness to the abduction is Mandy's brother, Joey, who watches in horror as the couple drives away with his sister.
For Boston PD, this case is personal, a tragedy that has struck one of their own. Jane once worked with Mandy's father, Dan, whose marriage has fractured under the strain of police work, which, as Korsak observes, :can wreck every relationship." Now Dan and his estranged wife must pull together for the sake of their family. They're all painfully aware of the "three-hour rule," the period beyond which a kidnapped child's chance of survival plummets, and too quickly that three-hour deadline passes. When a girl's body is discovered, still warm, they fear the worst.
But the dead girl isn't Mandy; it's a malnourished 17-year-old girl named Sophie who was abducted three years earlier. She died from a boot crushing her throat, and Maura's postmortem exam reveals that the girl died while trying to protect someone else, someone whose hairs still cling to Sophie's body.
The hairs are Mandy's.
Boston PD now knows they're dealing with a monstrous couple that imprisons their victims for years. With echoes of the Jaycee Dugard and Elizabeth Smart abductions, the story winds the tension ever tighter as the hunt turns frantic. The homicide team is a wonder to watch: Frost the techno-wiz at his computer; seasoned cop Korsak, who's seen his three marriages crumble; and Jane, whose fire and passion have never burned brighter than when a child's life is at stake.
This is a moving, not-to-be missed episode that now stands as my favorite this season so far.