A chaotic scene where people appear to be being evacuated from a college. A cop radio says the shooter is still at large. Julio says there's only one victim so far, a professor in the Media Arts building. Campus is mostly empty because it's so close to Christmas. Local police are working with MCU.
There's opera music playing at the crime scene. Provenza removes his hat as they walk down the hall. He uses a tissue to turn off the music.
Flynn and Sharon interview a witness, Holly. She says the victim was teaching a screenwriting class. She edited a short film and brought it to Professor Ashby's office because she was late turning it in. She saw a man leaving the office, filming on his phone. He said Merry Christmas. He was in his 30s.
Sykes and Tao find 38 mm bullets and casings.
Holly worries that she's next. Flynn says if the shooter wanted to kill her he would have that morning.
Tao finds video footage of the professor watching a video of the shooter threatening a woman. The shooter then kills the professor by shooting him in the back of the head, then films himself. He brags about how the cops think it's a school shooting.
Holly is given some video footage of evacuation to try to find the man she saw.
Sharon says that this is no ordinary school shooting. Julio agrees. Another woman was murdered earlier, a realtor. It is the woman from the video Ashby was watching at the time of his death. The realtor is showing the shooter a house when he pulls a gun on her. She is crying and begging. He tells her to step forward and beg him not to shoot her. Then he shoots her anyway.
The shooter is filming himself at a pool and talking about how gross the fancy houses that Hollywood hacks live in are. He has someone bound and gagged on the couch while he inventories all the stuff in the house that he thinks are excessive. He tells the bound person he can't wait to show them the movie and that they will both be stars.
Rusty is in court when the jury is back with its sentencing decision. Slider is sentenced to death. Gus is looking at the ground. Monroe tries to waive review but Judge Grove isn't having it. Slider looks at Rusty as he is taken away.
Gus asks if Slider could get a lighter sentence. Rusty stammers that Grove never vacates death penalty sentences, but Monroe will appeal forever. Gus says he will wait it out. Rusty invites him to have lunch, but he says he has to be somewhere else. Rusty invites Gus to a Christmas party at Sharon's office the next day. Gus doesn't feel like doing Christmas right now.
Holly has ID'd the shooter. They are trying facial recognition to find him. Realtor's husband is in Interview 1. Provenza suspects the husband did and that the realtor was having an affair with Ashby.
Husband can't get why his wife was hurt when she never cheated anyone, was good to everyone, and was popular lat work. He doesn't recognize the suspect or Jeff Ashby. Husband says his wife was used to high maintenance clients. She has been in the Hollywood business for 15 years, realtor for 5, literary agents for 10. The cops take her contact list.
The shooter shows his hostage the video of Lisa Green's death and Ashby's, claiming it's a great movie and that Ashby was wrong. The captive is scared. The shooter calls a toast for his mom even after Ashby gave him an F. He says the captive didn't stop by to see Mom so he wouldn't know. Shooter keeps babbling. Capitve tries to escape, gets himself onto the floor but shooter catches him. He takes off the tape and captive says he can help him escape.
From the contact list, the cops have gotten three suspects. One of them is Brad Powell, whose description is similar to the shooter's.
Tao and Julio go to Powell's mom's house. They knock on the door and break in saying they are concerned for her safety. Nobody seems to be home. There is a huge film collection and a bunch of meal replacement cans. Julio finds a door duct taped shut. They knock then break in and find the mother's decomposed body and the TV on.
Rusty is sleeping and dreams that Slider accuses him of wanting to hook up with him and of dropping people once he gets what he wants from them.
The next minute Sharon comes in and tries to help Rusty wake up after his alarm goes off. He says he's mostly okay. Sharon reminds him about the Christmas party.
The ME says the mother died of breast cancer. She was not murdered. Powell's brother Ryan is missing, as is his wife.
Ryan's wife is found and called into the station. She is surprised that Ryan and Brad are missing, that they had nothing to do with each other. Ryan didn't show up to a divorce mediation meeting but she's sure he's angry about the mediator giving her their Jeep. The Lexus Ryan has, has tracking. Flynn is not allowed to go along because of his medical condition.
Brad makes Ryan get in the car. He makes him wear dark glasses so he can't see what's going on and drives away with him.
Chopper is looking for the Lexus. Ryan tells Brad he wants to help him edit the movie he's making. Brad asks him if he really means it. He says he just didn't know how to get started.
Cops are moving in on Brad's car.
Brad pulls into a gas station and puts gas into a canister. He sees the police chopper in the sky, while the cops on the ground are beginning to give chase. Brad speeds down the road. He is pulled over. He does not come out of the vehicle as ordered. Brad is found tied up in the driver's seat. Brad is in the gas station mumbling that Ryan is a liar. Brad steals a car.
Buzz has security footage of the gas station. There is now an alert out to the fire department as well as the local police.
Sharon asks Ryan what the rift was about. Brad had directing talent but a bad temper and couldn't take criticism. Ryan dropped out of film school when he realized it was untenable to work with Brad. Brad never forgave him and he started killing people who he felt got in the way of his dream..
Tao finds a house Lisa green didn't have on the market.
Brad is filming at the house. He says this is the climax as the doorbell rings and puts his gun in his back pocket.Brad's ex-wife Sarah is at the door. She gives him permission to film their consult.
Provenza and Sykes hide behind the jeep. Sykes is sent to help out Julio and Mike while Provenza covers the front door.
Sharon tries to call Sarah, who says that she shines under pressure and can put together a party quickly. She ignores the phone when Sharon calls.
Brad says he had to cut and asks Sarah to redo. He is annoyed by the ringing phone. Sharon gets her to go outside, just as Brad is about to pull out his gun. Sykes and Provenza get Sarah safely away. Ryan is thrown off. He decides to burn the house down. He has a lighter and has doused himself in gasoline. He tells them to stand back. Julio tackles him and pulls him into the pool as he sets himself on fire, while Tao stomps out the fire. Brad complains that his phone has been ruined. It sinks to the bottom of the pool.
Gus comes to the Christmas party but Rusty says there are too many hurdles, like Gus not living there. But Gus says that he is moving to LA. Rusty has to focus on college. Gus says he has benefits and may go to college someday. Rusty admits he doesn't know how to date anyone. He's afraid it won't work out. He admits he's afraid Gus might not like him once he gets to know him.
Provenza calls Patrice and says he'll be home soon. He's wearing a Santa hat. He gets another call and beckons someone over.
Gus and Rusty come in together and everyone shakes hands with Gus. Sharon is surprised Gus is there. Rusty asks if Gus can be invited for Christmas. Rusty thinks something good may be about to happen.
Provenza lets Sharon know that Rusty's mother is out of rehab and is doing well but has not contacted Rusty. She is living in an apartment nearby. Sharon says she is done interfering and wants to see what's going to happen. She throws the report away. Provenza looks at Tao, who walks away, while Sharon laughs with Rusty and Gus