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Episode 205: Bury the Lede

The news is filled with stories about the mayoral race between councilman Ed Griffin and Assistant D.A Landon Walker. Reporter Maxine Angelis has information about one of Griffin's money men cooking the books.

Maxine goes to the hotel room where Paul Hix is preparing to meet a hooker. She wants to know about his illegal fundraising for Griffin and promises not to reveal that he's with a hooker. Hix gives in and Maxine questions him about his fundraising, while Reese watches from across the street. Finch admits that Maxine is a dedicated reporter and has penned exposes on some of New York's most dangerous criminals, including Carl Elias and HR. They figure that one of her stories will get Maxine killed. Meanwhile, Maxine finishes getting a statement from Hix and leaves. Her editor, Glen, calls to tell her that they've got word that the Feds are indicting dozens of NYPD officers associated with HR.

Across the city, the FBI makes arrests. At the precinct, Carter congratulates Fusco on secretly getting the information to bring down HR. He tells her to keep her voice down because his record isn't clean. Special Agent Nicholas Donnelly is among the officers and Carter congratulates him. He assures her that he'll get back to hunting down Reese once he finishes with HR, and Carter realizes that he doesn't have the big boss yet. Donnelly figures that it may not be a cop and tells Carter that he's moving in on him. Once Donnelly leaves, Detective Kane comes over and warns Carter that she'd better stay clear because the cartels will want the big boss of HR dead along with anybody close to him. Carter tells Fusco that she still wants to catch the boss even more.

As Fusco goes down to his car, he leaves a message for his son. When he gets in, Simmons holds a gun to his head and says that he knows that Fusco was helping Reese. He figures that Fusco was the one that took them down but Fusco insists that he isn't. Simmons informs him that HR is down but not out and that his boss is pulling strings to save the upper management. They want Fusco to find out what the FBI has on HR's upper management because he has Carter as a partner, and Carter is in with Donnelly. If Fusco doesn't find out, HR will reveal that Fusco is involved, he'll end up in prison, and his ex-wife will take his son away. Simmons asks who Fusco can count on: him or Carter. Once Fusco does it, HR will let him out.

The next day, Maxine meets with Alonzo Quinn, Griffin's campaign manager. Quinn admits that Maxine is making things tough for him after her newest story but assures her that the two of them will always be around. The campaign manager says that hasn't found anything on Walker but Maxine figures that he has something in his closet, and Quinn warns her that Griffin plans to bring her down. Unimpressed, the reporter walks away while Reese listens in on the exchange. While Finch figures that Griffin is their next suspect, Bear interrupts him by chewing on a squeaky doll. He tosses the dog a ball in the hopes it will stop and tries to access Maxine's cloud storage site.

Maxine returns to the office and tells Glen that the real story is the head of HR. Glen instructs her to go with the story once she has a name. Reese, listening in, wonders if they should look into Simmons but Finch factors in Fusco's information and figures that there's someone above Simmons. Finch then picks up a blocked call to Maxine from a man saying that the head of HR is Christopher Zambrano and the FBI is arresting him tonight. The man refuses to give his name and hangs up, and Finch confirms that Zambrano is the son of a Mafia don that Reese dealt with a year ago. (“Flesh and Blood”) Zambrano has kept his reputation clean and runs an import-business. Meanwhile, Maxine calls her FBI contact, Agent Clark, and asks if he can confirm the FBI is going after Zambrano. He goes on deep background and confirms that Donnelly has been talking about Zambrano. Finch tells Reese to check in on Zambrano while Maxine heads out to talk with the man.

At the docks, Maxine approaches Zambrano while Reese clones Zambrano's phone. Zambrano tells Maxine that he's clean but she says that he's the head of the HR and asks if Donnelly visited him. The man says that he's never seen Donnelly but Maxine has talked to the guard and confirmed that the FBI agent was there and they argued. When she persists, Zambrano tells her to shut up and warns that she's going to get in trouble if she keeps pushing. He complains that people never look at the good things he does, like bringing in a children's carousel. Reese starts to move in, but Finch tells him that Maxine is working another story about the mystery man in the suit: Reese. Finch tells Reese that he has to protect Maxine without giving her more evidence that they exist.

Back at the Library, Finch tells Reese that he hasn't found anything to connect Zambrano to HR. He figures that Zambrano will have Maxine eliminated if he is the head of HR. Finch suggests that Reese gets backup and he meets Fusco and Carter in the park. As they discuss the situation, Fusco sees the photo of his son on his phone and hesitates, and Reese asks him if anything's wrong. The detective says that he had some bad food and claims he hasn't seen Simmons in a while. Reese tells him to find and tail Simmons while Carter talks to Donnelly and sees if he has any leads.

Later, Maxine is at her office watching as Griffin donates the illegal funds to charity. She tells Glen that she has confirmed Zambrano is the head of HR and Glen agrees to run the story on their website and back-edit it once the FBI pick Zambrano up. When the story goes public, Finch figures that Zambrano may order her execution for revenge. Reese says that he can't protect her from a distance and Finch says that he hacked Maxine's online dating account and back-engineered the perfect man for her. He's been sending flirting text messages to her posing as Reese, and tells Reese that he has a date with her that night. When Maxine checks her messages and smiles, Reese asks what he just said to her and Finch just smiles.

That night, Reese pulls up in a new $100,000 sports car that he stole. Finch reviews his fake background and tells him to wear glasses so he can be the intellectual type that Maxine likes. They go to a restaurant and Reese stumbles through a conversation with her because he didn't review the notes on his background as an actuarial. Finch realizes that he's blowing it and sends in Zoe Morgan to hug Reese and make Maxine interested. Once Zoe leaves, Maxine admits that she's impressed that Reese dated an important woman. Reese cuts Finch off and asks her what her most important story is, and she describes her investigation into the man in the suit. He dismisses the story as an urban legend and switches the conversation to Zambrano and suggests that he might take her away for a weekend to let the heat die down. Maxine thanks him for the thought but says that she finds out about people in power and makes sure that everyone knows about what they don't want them to know.

They both get calls and go off to take them. Carter warns Reese that Maxine's story isn't true and that now that the story is out, all of the criminals and cartels that HR screwed are going to go after Zambrano. Meanwhile, Glen calls Maxine and tells her the same thing. She realizes that Zambrano is in danger and asks Reese to give her a ride to the man's company. When they get there, Maxine tells Reese to wait in the car and goes in to find Zambrano. Some criminals arrive outside and move in, and Reese drops two of them when they go after Maxine. However, Maxine finds Zambrano, dead, and Reese realizes he didn't get there in time.

Carter brings Maxine and Reese in and take their statements. Maxine blames herself and asks for a minute, and Carter talks to Reese privately. He admits that it's complicated and tells Carter that the Toreros Cartel were the ones who killed Zombrano. Reese says that he's not leaving Maxine alone and Carter agrees to let him take the reporter out. However, Donnelly approaches Maxine and takes her into custody for interrogation. He wants the name of the man who tipped her off and Maxine admits that she doesn't know who it was. She points out the number on her call list and Donnelly tells Maxine that Zambrano was their witness against the HR boss. Zambrano's father had a ledger of HR's payroll and he found it after his father was killed. Zambrano called the FBI and Donnelly argued with him to turn over the ledger. The mobster's son was afraid people would think he was a crook but agreed to turn over the ledger once the immunity deal came through. Donnelly warns Maxine that he'll lock her up if she prints anything about what he's telling her. They confirm that the call was made from a cell phone and Donnelly tells Maxine that the real boss of HR played her.

Fusco watches the exchange through the one-way mirror and turns to see Simmons watching him.

The next day, Reese and Finch realize that Maxine was the instigator of the violence crime. The HR boss managed to kill Zambrano and destroy Maxine in one stroke. Finch starts looking for the ledger electronically while Reese calls Fusco and tells him to find out from Simmons who the head of HR is. Fusco says that Simmons won't tell him. However, Reese tells him to try anyway and Fusco agrees.

Maxine goes into work and her co-workers stare at her. Quinn calls her and warns her that they're going to throw her under the bus to save Griffin's career. She asks Glen what she can do and he says that she won't be writing anything until they go over her situation with Legal. Finch monitors her phone and discovers that she's calling the disposable cell phone number. She gets an answering machine and promises to put the boss on the front page in handcuffs. Reese and Finch realize that she's going for the HR ledger and Reese calls and suggests that they go out for a drink.

That night, Reese takes Maxine to a bar and he offers to help. She asks him to go through Zambrano's records but Reese suggests that they leave it to the authorities. Maxine admits that her arrogance cost a good man his life and now she can't do anything to fix it. However, she wants to catch the man involved and leaves. Reese goes after her and tells her that he knows to do things that can't be taken back, and tells her that she doesn't want her to think she's alone. He sees a laser site on her chest and shoves her behind a car as gunmen open fire. Once he gets her inside his car, he returns fire and then drives off for his place.

When Finch realizes that Reese is heading for his apartment, he realizes that he has to get Bear there since he claimed that Reese was a dog lover for the dating site. He gets Bear there but is forced to hide in a closet full of firearms, much to his discomfort. When Reese and Maxine come in, Bear goes to the door but Reese says its treats are in there. Reese suggests that they go to the police but Maxine points out that they don’t who they can trust. She's impressed with his expensive apartment and Reese says that he won't leave her side until it's over. Maxine says that he's a good man and Reese says that he'll sleep on the couch. He directs her to the bathroom and Finch comes out and warns Reese that the longer she stays, the more questions Maxine will have. Reese ushers him out and Finch promises that he'll check the bar's security footage.

The next morning, Finch calls Reese and confirms that the shooters, Craig Bogle and Leonard Pitt, were ex-FBI agents who took early retirement. They figure that the agents used their contacts to find out about the ledger and then told HR's boss. Finch tells Reese that he's sent the same information to Maxine, and she comes out and asks for a meeting with Zoe.

When they meet, Zoe says that the two agents were forced out for harassment and malicious prosecution. She admits that she doesn't know who the head of HR is, but points out that political campaigns buy disposable cell phones by the hundreds. Maxine notices an ad on the TV for Walker and realizes that Zoe is suggesting that one of the two candidates is the boss. Zoe tells her that officially they've never met and walks away.

Back at Reese's apartment, Maxine makes some calls and confirms that one of Griffin's old opponents was harassed by Bogle and Pitt. However, she assures Reese that she isn't going to publish a story on Griffin until she has the ledger. As they share a glass of wine, Maxine remembers what Zambrano said that no one looks at the good things he does and figures he hid the ledger in the carousel he was shipping.

Reese and Maxine go to the dock and break in. They search the carousel and Reese finds the ledger inside a horse. However, before she can read it, Bogle and Pitt show up and thank her for finding it. While they beat Reese, Finch tells him that he's notified Carter and help is on his way. He warns Reese that he can't take action without blowing his cover. Bogle boasts that they'll make it look like Reese and Maxine killed each other in a love-murder argument. Carter and Fusco break in and Bogle claims that he's with the FBI. They try to bluff but Bogle realizes that there are no sirens and they have no backup.

The two sides open fire and Reese turns on the carousel. Maxine grabs the journal and discovers that Walker is the boss. While she sends the pages to her boss, Reese frees himself and knocks out Pitt, and then shoots Bogle in the shoulder.

Carter calls in the arrest while Reese steps out and claims that he hid the entire time. Fusco takes the ledger as evidence and goes outside. He pulls out the pages about himself and Simmons and walks away.

The next morning, Donnelly and his men arrest Walker.

Maxine files her story and Glen shows her the front-page story as she smiles in satisfaction.
POI 0205 HR1

Fusco meets with Simmons and gives him the pages, assuring him that they're both off the hook. When Fusco asks if they're done, Simmons warns him that once he's in, he's never in. Fusco tells him to never mention his son again and Simmons tells the detective that Fusco is the threat to his son.

Reese meets with Maxine for a normal date. She tells him that it will be their last because even though she likes him, she's married to her work. Maxine also figures that he's still hung up on Zoe. She gives him a friendly kiss and admits that she figures the man in the suit is just an urban legend. If he did exist, Maxine figures he would have helped her. As she goes, Finch tells Reese that he doesn't think they have the right guy. He's sure that Walker hired the two FBI agents to kill Maxine, but doesn't believe that Walker was dumb enough to expose himself. When Reese asks who HR's real boss would be, Finch looks at Simmons' photo in speculation.

As Griffin wins the election, Simmons meets with the real boss of HR... Quinn. Quinn echoes his words to Maxine earlier, saying that people like him will be around forever.

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