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There Was a Major Betrayal on the Latest Episode of The Irrational — What Happened?

Behavioral scientist Alec Mercer, played by Jesse L. Martin, raced against time to find out who poisoned a reporter — and why. 

By Joe Dziemianowicz

As a renowned behavioral scientist, Alec Mercer (Jesse L. Martin) is used to fielding shocking questions and assignments.

How to Watch

Watch The Irrational on NBC and Peacock

One of the strangest requests came thanks to a recent encounter with investigative reporter CJ Right on The Irrational, airing Mondays at 10/9c on NBC and the next day on Peacock.

 “I need your help solving a murder,” CJ tells Alec.

“Whose?” he asks.

“Mine,” she says.

What happens to CJ Right on The Irrational?

Alec Mercer and Cj standing face to face having a conversation.

An award-winning journalist known for tackling hard-hitting subjects, CJ Right (Amy Aquino) is no stranger to Alec. They last met, he reminds her, when she was writing an article debunking his research as “pop culture junk science.”

RELATED: Psychology Tricks and Jesse L. Martin Are Front and Center of New NBC Drama The Irrational

“It's one of the few times I was wrong,” CJ says, adding that his “unimpeachable” work led her to him with her life-and-death request.

CJ has learned that she’s been poisoned with polonium 210, the same toxin used to kill a Russian spy. She covered that story in the past and as such, recognized she had the same symptoms. Now, she could be dead “in two weeks or two days.” And while there are experimental treatments, CJ is reluctant to go that route because they “turn your brain to mush.”

CJ prizes her mind and her work above everything, a fact that’s contributed to a longstanding wedge between her and her daughter, Nicole.

CJ and Alec discuss a possible tie between her poisoning and her current story about an oligarch with ties to the Russian mob. She suspects she was covertly slipped the polonium during lunch with an informant, Yuri.

But is Yuri the killer — or was he the target and CJ turned out to be collateral damage?

Working the case, Alec asks his ex-wife, Marisa (Maarha Hill), who works with the FBI, a different question: “Why use a barely detectable poison on one of the only people on earth who would be able to recognize it?”

In other words, was the assassin delivering a message with the death sentence?

Cj wearing a black and beige hate while staring out into the distance.

At this point, CJ’s writing partner, Gene, gets involved. He was at the same lunch with Yuri but has no symptoms, which would have appeared by now, so he asks for police protection.

But while working CJ’s case with his research assistants Phoebe (Molly Kunz) and Rizwan (Arash DeMaxi), Alec determines that Yuri was unlikely as either the poisoner’s target or administrator.

So, who could have done this? Alec circles back to CJ’s lunch with Yuri, and she recalls that a young man made a big scene when he asked a woman to marry him.  Alec confirms through a Facebook video of the proposal that it created a diversion, and the teapot on CJ’s table was switched.

“How can I not notice a teapot being replaced? My job is to be observant,” says CJ. “I pay attention for a living, I’m not the kind of person who misses things.”

Alec disagrees: “Trust me,” he says. “Everyone's that kind of person.”

Alec Mercer standing up and looking at Rizwan and Phoebe.

He ascribes it to inattentional blindness — the failure to notice something that is completely visible because of a lack of attention.

But it turns out she was blind to something else: The person behind the poisoning plot was none other than CJ's partner, Gene, who decided to get rid of CJ over professional jealousy.

With the killer caught, CJ chose to turn to experimental therapy for a cure, and has reconciled with her daughter. Will she return to The Irrational? Only time will tell.

To find out more about how Alec cracks the case, watch The Irrational, airing Mondays at 10/9c on NBC and streaming the next day on Peacock.