Merit Badge
Season Episode
1 1
Air date September 26, 2007
Written by Rand Ravich
Directed by David Semel
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Tear Asunder



After spending twelve years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, Charlie Crews rejoins the force with a shiny new Detective badge. Crews, accompanied by his new partner Dani Reese, works to solve the inexplicable murder of a young boy. Crews' unconventional tactics put Reese on edge causing both Reese and Lt. Karen Davis to question his motives for rejoining the force. [1]


It is the first day back on the job for Charlie Crews after his exoneration and release from prison. He has been assigned Dani Reese as his partner. The body of a young boy has been discovered in a field.  His dog is some distance away from the body.  The bullet that killed him cannot be found.  Crews finds that the bullet passed through the boy's body and lodged just under the skin.  Crews is further intrigued by the fact that the dog is away from the boy he was obviously trying to protect, and discovers that the dog has bitten off a finger, which he buried and is now guarding.  The boy is eventually identified to be John Gibney, the son of Mark Rawls, who is in prison.  He has been adopted by his step-dad, hence his last name is now Gibney instead of Rawls.

While interviewing John's stepfather, Crews twigs to the fact that the man is holding weed, and all but tells him in plain English to flush it before uniforms get there to search the place as part of the investigation.  This upsets Reese no end, especially as she has been virtually ordered to spy on Crews by the captain, who believes Crews will be an agent of chaos in her department and is obviously looking for a way to legally kick him to the curb. 

Interviewing Mark Rawls in prison, Crews uses his experience as a prisoner to make a connection with Rawls in order to advance the investigation.  Walking out of the prison, the two guards who are escorting Crews and Reese harass Crews as they still see him as a prisoner, despite his exoneration and subsequent release and return to the police force.

Later, Crews charms Tyler, a friend of John's who seems to be holding something back. Now trusting Crews, Tyler tells Crews and Reese that John had been contacted online by a man identifying himself as a lawyer, who promised information that would get Mark Rawls released from prison due to a "technicality".  He demanded payment from John before he would release the information.  John steals cash and valuables from his parents to meet this demand, which was reported by his step-father as a theft by persons unknown.  The boy's mother knew that her son had stolen the items, though she didn't know why, and kept silence in order to protect him.

Meanwhile, Reese reports to the captain, who then reminds her that Reese is on thin ice due to her past drug problems.  The captain suggest in a vaguely threatening manner that Reese's career could be on the line if she doesn't cooperate and report on her new partner (Crews).  She grills Reese about Crews' behavior, and Reese reluctantly reports that Crews had warned the stepdad to get rid of his weed.

Using the finger to find a DNA match, Crews and Reese discover it belongs to a small time crook named Lonnie Garth. When they track Garth down to his hideaway, they find him nearly hysterical with grief and guilt over the shooting of the young boy.  Lonnie identifies the actual shooter as a man named "Arthur", but Reese and Crews are unable to get a last name out of the man before they are forced to carry out a suicide by cop as the guilt-stricken Garth fires off a shotgun at them, blowing a hole in the wall.  The shot hits a stash of a white powdery substance (cocaine or meth), releasing a cloud of drugs but missing hitting Reese.  As the cloud settles, Reese realizes she is covered in drugs and is desperate to get it off her.

Reassured by Reese that she has not been hit, Crews advances on the by now totally hysterical Garth, who is clearly attempting suicide by cop.  With no way to get around it, Crews is ultimately forced to fatally shoot Garth.  As Garth collapses, Crews catches him in his arms.  In an act of compassion in the face of Garth's contrition, Crews comforts the man as he dies and gently lowers him to the floor. 

Crews finds Reese desperately trying to get the drugs off her and helps her into the shower to rinse them off.  Reese refuses to talk about it.  Crews realizes that the only way someone was likely to have access to John Gibney's screen name and circumstances is if he knew the boy.  Crews suggests checking the parents of the boy's Cub Scout troop, which is composed entirely of young boys whose fathers are in prison, to find someone named "Arthur".  They find Arthur Tins, a small time conman, but have no solid evidence connecting him to the crime.  Arthur sneers at them, secure in his assumption that they can't arrest him for the murder - but they get him on a parole violation instead.  This sends him back to prison for a year - and Crews and Reese make sure to send him to the same prison where Mark Rawls, John's father, is incarcerated.

Walking Tins into the prison, Crews and Reese point out Mark Rawls, and Tins immediately begins to panic.  In exchange for a transfer to a different prison, Tins confesses to John's murder.

Later, the captain again approaches Reese and presses her for more dirt on Crews. Reese insists that she didn't actually witness anything illegal, she only assumed that Gibney had flushed drugs after being warned by Crews.  The captain threatens Reese with the fact that even though she has been in rehab and clean for almost 2 years, the department can let her go at any time.  Reese accepts the threat but does not give in to it - in fact it is increasingly obvious that she is, however reluctantly, beginning to see Crews as a real partner and a deserving member of the police force rather than an unwanted interloper.

Later we find Crews in front of his conspiracy board, studying his suspects and their connections, an activity which is specifically ruled out as part of his settlement. Thus he keeps all of this in a closet which he keeps locked.

The episode ends with Crews and Earley at the orchard Crews just bought.  Crews hands Earley the keys to a ginormous tractor, which Earley is obviously eager to drive.  Unfortunately, it is stuck in reverse and Earley drives the tractor up over the hood of Crews stupidly expensive sports car, crushing it in the process, while Crews polishes an apple on his shirt front.  As Earley apologizes and desperately tries to get the tractor back off the car, Crews just smiles and bites into his apple.


  • Melon, very fresh and juicy.
  • Grapes
  • Pears, which some people are allergic to.  It gives them a rash. Not Crews, though.
  • Mango, all the way from Guatamala.
  • An apple


Walking out of prison after questioning a prisoner, Crews is being harrassed by the guards escorting him out

Corrections Officer #1: You gettin' angry, convict?
Crews: [calmly] Anger ruins joy. Steals the goodness of my mind. Forces my mouth to say terrible things. Overcoming anger brings peace of mind. Leads to a mind without regrets. If I overcome anger, I will be delightful and loved by everyone.
Correctional officer #2: Are you making fun of us?
Crews: It is the universe that makes fun of us all.
[turns and faces other guard, walks away. Reese gives them both a look]

[as they walk outside the prison]
Reese: Why would the universe make fun of us all?
Crews: Maybe it's insecure.

Driving his stupidly expensive new sports car while popping grapes and listening to his tape on Buddhism

Crews: I am not attached to this car. I am not attached to this car. I am not attached to this car.
Hits the gas pedal and the engine roars
Crews: OK, I am a little bit attached to this car.

Interviewing the mother of the victim

Allyssa Gibney: So tell me something that means something. Tell me ANYTHING that means something.
Crews: The man who killed your son is out there, right now, inside this same moment we are in. As we sit here, as I look at you, the man who killed John is free. Now that means something, doesn't it?

(Intervening dialog snipped)

Allyssa Gibney: He's in the same moment that we are in, the man who killed my son?
Crews nods
Allyssa Gibney: Will you go get him - please?

After the shootout with Lonnie Garth
Garth: Uh, I'm goin' ... I'm going now ... I never ever killed that kid. I'm goin' ... I'm goin' now.
Crews: (Holds Garth and whispers) It was just a bad dream. Go back to sleep.

(Garth dies, and Crews gently lays him down.

Crews: It's all connected, Reese.
Reese: What is?
Crews: It is.
Reese: Ah. That's Zen.
Crews: Is it?
Reese: That's Zen, too. Isn't it?
Crews: Is it?
Reese: Say "is it" one more time and I'll shoot you.


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Conspiracy Q & AEdit

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  • Jennifer Siebel - Jennifer Conover
  • Matt Gerald - Officer Krebbs
  • Chad Lindberg - Lonnie
  • Michele Marsh - Juror #4
  • Monique Daniels - Female Cop Mid 30's
  • Michelle Wolff - Female Cop Mid 20's
  • Norma Michaels - Passenger
  • Dave Michael Beaudrie - Cadet
  • Michael Cudlitz - Mark Rawls
  • Cheryl White - Alyssa Gibney
  • Jon Sklaroff - Arthur Tims
  • Reno Wilson - Officer Zerco
  • Benjamín Benítez - Tito Juarez
  • Braeden Lemasters - Tyler Hawley
  • Larry Poindexter - Warren Gibney
  • B.J. Clinkscales - Crackhead
  • Rosemary Garris - Detective
  • Cali Sheldon - Darcy Gibney
  • Olivia Hardt - Very Pretty Girl
  • Linara Washington - Cop
  • DeLon Howell - Corrections Officer
  • Antonio D. Charity - Cop
  • Brady Smith - Man
  • Bob Rusch - Corrections Officer
  • Brynn Thayer - Grandmother
  • Chad Willett - Seth Griffiths
  • John Westernoff - Bartender
  • David Kagen - Tim's Lawyer
  • Tonita Castro - Housekeeper
  • Kendall Clement - Prison Doctor
  • Noelle Sheldon - Darcy Gibney
  • Martin Grey - Mark Conover
  • Melissa Sagemiller - Constance Griffiths
  • Anne Moore - Cop

External LinksEdit


  1. NBC Press Release – September 26, 2007