The Kingmaker

Season 1
Episode 120
Air Date 04/28/14
TV-14

In Prague, Czech Republic, Senator Emil Dusek is picked up by a town car. He instructs someone on the phone to inform Reddington that all is going as planned. The driver, Malcom Royce, offers Dusek bottled water. One sip and Dusek is out cold. Drugged. He wakes in a strange apartment near the lifeless body of a young male escort. It quickly becomes national news: Dusek, a member of Prague's parliament, now a murder suspect, is withdrawing from the senate. Back in the U.S., Red has been summoned to the sprawling estate of Nico Demarkis, who's concerned that the Dusek scandal is compromising their business in Prague. Red believes it's no coincidence and that Dusek was targeted and framed by a man known as The Kingmaker. But who hired the Kingmaker? Nico warns Red that their "friends" are talking. An unseen enemy is trying to take Red down.

Meanwhile, Liz has just opened the envelope Tom left her, which contains photos of Red at St. Adrian's hospital on the day her father died. Distraught, Liz shares them with Ressler, who questions the source of the photos - perhaps they're doctored. Liz doesn't tell Ressler about Tom but she's determined to find out if they photos are real. Just then she gets a text from Red and heads to Nico's estate. There Red fills Liz in on the Kingmaker, a man responsible for the rise and fall of some of the world's most pivotal politicians. He grooms his clients from an early age and eliminates all obstacles in their path, even if it calls for assassination. According to Red's sources, the Kingmaker is headed to the U.S. and Red wants him arrested.

Sure enough the Kingmaker, aka Royce, has just checked into a hotel in New York. On a causeway bridge, he meets with state assemblyman Patrick Chandler to discuss a ghoulish plan: Chandler is going to drive off the bridge. He's having second thoughts but Royce warns him that if he refuses the deal's over. He'll be doomed to an ordinary life.

Back at the post office, Meera and Aram identify Royce and track him to a midtown hotel room but it turns out to be a false lead. Meanwhile, Red crashes Alan Fitch's lunch to request his protection against his unknown enemy. When Fitch refuses, Red reminds him that they depend on each other for survival. Red has some incriminating information on Fitch that could be exposed should his enemy prevail.

Back at the bridge, Royce's plan goes into action. Chandler drives his wife and daughter on a detour over the bridge. A utility van jumps the divider and crashes into Chandler's car, sending it careening off the edge, into the water. Shortly after, Red and Liz watch the news footage of Chandler rescuing his daughter. His wife is dead but Chandler's a hero. Red senses this was a media stunt orchestrated by the Kingmaker and predicts there will be no tire marks at the crash site. Adding to the suspicion, a look into Chandler's past reveals a charmed career - he's clearly been groomed. Before Liz and Ressler head to the bridge, Aram shows Liz the surveillance footage she requested. It confirms that Red was at the hospital with her father one hour before he died.

Arriving at the crash site, Ressler asks Liz if she's okay. He knows she's been having problems with Tom. Liz evades his questions, sticking to the case. As Red predicted, there are no tire marks. Chandler didn't even try to stop. After questioning Chandler at his home and getting nowhere, Ressler tracks down the other driver involved in the accident: Arturo Ruiz. Unfortunately, Royce gets to Ruiz first, and after berating him for fleeing the scene of the crime, finishes off the man with a bullet.

Upon finding Ruiz dead, the FBI team traces his calls to a phone booth in front of Le Claire's Pawn Shop. Luckily, Red knows Le Claire's is the secret entrance to a decadent speakeasy. Following a lead from the owner (a personal friend of Red's), Liz and Ressler finally locate Royce's hotel room. There they discover a makeshift surveillance room containing blueprints and alarm codes for the private residence of the Kingmaker's next target: U.S. Senator Albert Mitchell. Banking information found in the room links Royce to Chandler, with payments going back to 2007; it's a plot that's been years in the making. Albert Mitchell wakes to his alarm clock and finds Royce in his living room. Royce wants Mitchell to resign from the senate. Liz and Ressler arrive to the sound of gunshots and find Mitchell dead. While searching the house, Liz is attacked by Royce who begins strangling her. Ressler appears and shoots Royce just in time to save her.

Back in the city, Red meets with Fitch. Fitch informs him that after a heated debate with his alliance, they've decided against intervening. Red assures him that when Red wins this war it'll be Fitch who is left alone in the dark. After Fitch leaves, Liz calls Red to tell him they nailed the Kingmaker. He instructs her to hold him there so that Red can interrogate to find out who hired him. Learning that Royce is dead, Red hangs up, visibly shaken. After arresting Chandler, Liz gets a call from Aram. He tells her that on a hunch he'd begun digging and found that by the medical examiner's estimate, Liz's father actually died an hour before he was found, which mean Red was there when he died.

Liz shows up at the estate to confront Red, demanding to know if he killed her father. Red finally comes clean, admitting that he did it - but only because her father asked him to. They were lifelong friends. Yes, he was trying to stop Sam from telling her something he didn't want her to know, but he was also putting Sam out of his misery. Disgusted, Liz severs their relationship and returns to her apartment, still in ruins from her fight with Tom. She's lost everything and everyone that was important to her. With nowhere else to go, she turns to the one person she can still trust, Ressler. She's finally ready to talk.

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