A small open-air tour bus rolls through a tiny town, dotted with cottages, parks, a post office and a main street. The tour guide welcomes everyone to Gibtown, noting that its official name is Gibsonton, but that the locals always refer to it by its much more famous name, Gibtown. The town was once known as "The Strangest Town in America," where old carnival sideshow performers came to retire. The tourists look around at the people in the town, who are going about their normal morning business, taking photos.
Moments later, the bus arrives at a gift shop and the tourists pile out. One woman stays behind to have a cigarette and hears a disturbing moan coming from the bushes. She walks towards the bush and pulls it back. Fear and disbelief wash over her face.
Detectives Jim Longworth and Sam Harper enter the station, both sweaty and in running shorts. They've just come from a run. Sam teases Jim about his lack of stamina and they share a flirtatious smile. Callie Cargill walks in and catches them in mid-flirt. Callie tells Jim that Manus has been trying to get ahold of him all morning because there's a crime scene to investigate. She says she's probably going to the scene too because there might be a victim there with special needs. Jim tries to leave to go wash up, but Sam tells him she needs his declaration on the Kevin Fowler murders. He says he'll get to it later that day. He leaves and Callie and Sam stand around looking at each other awkwardly.
At the crime scene, Jim and Callie join Medical Examiner Carlos Sanchez, who is standing over a baby stroller. Callie stops short when she sees the stroller, worried there might be a baby inside, and sees the body of a three foot tall woman.
Carlos determines that the cause of death appears to be blunt force trauma to the head. He tweezes out a bloodied fragment and shows it to Callie and Jim, and says the object she was hit with was likely made of wood. Callie takes it into evidence.
Jim says the killer used the stroller to transport the body. Callie tells the team that strollers often have serial numbers on them and if they trace the number, they might be able to find the buyer.
Jim reads from a brochure about the town's former inhabitants - the Human Unicorn and the Lion-Faced Boy were among those who called Gibtown home.
Carlos says he needs to take a print and then Jim makes a joke about whether they could even find a print on the victim, since she's so short. Callie, disgusted, walks off as Ben Pershing walks up to the crime scene and identifies the victim as Enid Grainer. He tells Carlos and Jim that he and Enid were business partners and were trying to put Gibtown back on the map. Pershing, whose grandfather was Percy the Monkey Boy, tells Jim that he and Enid have spent the last two years expanding the Gibtown museum and were starting to build an old school circus on Enid's property. It was a dream of both of theirs and there was going to be a party that night to celebrate the opening. Pershing says that half the town was against their plan, especially Rebecca Thornquist, who is the town's Medical Examiner.
Jim and Carlos approach Rebecca Thornquist's house as Jim admits to Carlos that circuses have creeped him out since he was a kid, which thoroughly amuses Carlos. The door opens and Jim and Carlos are greeted by Rebecca Thornquist, who is about 6' 4", with a very serious demeanor. She's a relative of Al Thornquist, an eight and a half foot tall giant, one of the town's original inhabitants. As Jim questions her, making jokes about her height, Thornquist tells them that she has a right to her opinion and privacy and didn't like Enid's plans for the town. She says even though she didn't like her, she never personally attacked her. Thornquist tells Jim that he should look into Pershing as a suspect. He was desperate for money and would do almost anything for a buck. Thornquist gets into her car and Jim notices the broken taillight in the back. He tells her to get it fixed.
Jim pulls up to Enid's home, an upscale house on the edge of the Everglades. As he exits the car with Carlos, Jim gets a text from Sam, reads it and chuckles. Carlos takes note, clearly thinking that something physical is going on between the two. The two walk to the back of property where they see construction workers breaking ground on over 10 acres of land. One worker suddenly stops, moves to the bushes, where he doubles over and throws up. Jim takes note, but doesn't think much of it. Carlos says it must be heat exhaustion and that it's good the guy is rehydrating with water.
Jim breaks through the glass of the front door so they can enter. Jim and Carlos bump into the ceiling and other items in the home, not used to the low ceilings and small items. They have a laugh. Jim then tries to flip on the light switch to get a better look around, but the lights are out. There must have been a power outage. With enough natural light, Jim and Carlos begin to look around. They walk over to a wall of old photos of the human oddities of past carnivals. Jim stops on the photo of Greta, The Mule-Faced Woman, who, according to Carlos, had the reputation for being a kind and gentle soul, despite her disfigurement. Carlos says she must have been really into the history of the town and Jim adds that perhaps she liked to surround herself with people who were stranger than she was.
At the station, Jim slowly types on his computer as Sam sits on the desk, amused and slightly annoyed that Jim is taking so long. She holds up a six-pack, hoping to motivate Jim a bit. They share a playful look and Sam's cell phone rings. Sam, gets off the phone, in shock, and tells Jim that Kevin Fowler waived extradition and that now she can go back to Chicago. They stare at each other as Carlos enters and tells Jim that he found traces of mercury and arsenic in Enid's system. Jim wonders if she was getting ready for the locals-only event scheduled for that night. He says he is going to head over there to see if there's anyone suspicious hanging around there, and tells Sam he will talk to her later.
Jim, in his car, gets a call from Colleen Manus, who tells him that Pershing was arrested twice in the last decade for suspicion to commit insurance fraud, but was never convicted. A blaring fire truck whizzes by Jim. He flips on his sirens and follows the truck to the Gibtown Museum.
The fire engines and Jim pull into the parking lot. Part of the museum exhibit is on fire and in chaos as students and adults try to escape the smoke and flames. Jim jumps out of his car and hurries to help. A young girl outside the building says that Mrs. Henley and one of her students were still inside. He rushes into the building and sees a female teacher trying to lift a display case off of one of her students. Jim picks up the display case and cradles the kid in his arms as he and the teacher run out of the burning building.
After the fire is out, Jim walks through what is left of the museum, looking at some of the historical items. A firefighter shows Jim a burned electronic timer that set off a bomb, which caused the fire, and tells him that he will need to run some tests. Pershing enters and examines the damage, saying that the museum's opening was supposed to be a special occasion. Jim questions him, letting him know that he's aware of his insurance fraud past and that since Enid's part of the financing was in escrow, the entire insurance payout would belong to him. Pershing insists that he had nothing to do with the fire and that he didn't even have insurance because he couldn't find an agency that would give him a policy. Pershing claims the fire/bombing must have been started by someone who wanted to intimidate him and didn't want him to go ahead with his development plans. He says the same person who started the fire must have killed Enid.
Callie and Daniel enter and Jim tells Daniel to get him a list of all things in the exhibit, both destroyed and salvaged. Callie tells Jim that the teacher and student are fine, but his attention is elsewhere as he sees an angry, rugged man approach Pershing, getting in his face. The man, Kyle Bertram, shoves Pershing as Jim comes between the two and drags Bertram outside. Bertram tells Jim that he's the county biologist and he doesn't agree with what Pershing and Enid were doing to the town. He says he is anti-development but he didn't kill her. He also says that he didn't start the fire and that all of his mothers' keepsakes and belongings (his moms were the Siamese Twins), which she donated to the original museum collection, were lost in the blaze. Jim tells Bertram to stay away from Pershing.
Jim enters a studio filled with beautiful woodcarvings. Gwendolyn Henley, the pretty teacher who Jim pulled out of the fire, enters, surprised to see Jim. Recognizing him as the officer who saved her from the fire, she thanks him, trying to conceal the burn on her neck. Jim reassures her that it's not too bad, but she seems especially self-conscious about it. Jim asks her if she's from Gibtown originally, obviously struck by her beauty, but she says she's from "all over" and moved to the town when the art teacher position opened up. Henley tells Jim that right before the fire she heard a "pop" and flames started rushing into the room. She also says she saw somebody leave the building who looked calm, which was odd considering everyone else was rushing out, looking scared. She can't provide details as to what he looked like, since she only saw him for a flash. Jim asks if Mark, the student he saved, might remember more about the person. Henley says he might.
Jim enters the Gibtown Medical Center and is met by Callie, who tells him that Mark was up and talking two hours ago, but that she hadn't spoken to him yet because she wanted to wait until Jim arrived. Thornquist, walking down the stairs, tells Jim that Mark isn't available to talk because he suffered a cerebral edema and is being transported to a larger hospital for an operation.
Jim and Callie leave the Medical Center as Jim gets a text and chuckles to himself. Sensing the text is from Sam, Callie calls him out on it and all of the time he and Sam have been spending together. She says it's none of her business who he texts or "rolls out of bed with." Jim tells Callie that he and Sam are nothing more than friends and that Sam is going back to Chicago now that Fowler has waived extradition. Callie calms down and apologizes. Jim glances up and sees Rebecca Thornquist's car in her designated parking spot, her name placard reserving her spot. He steps closer and notices two long scratches on the passenger's side of the van. He glances up and notices that there's a conveniently placed security camera right where Thornquist's car is parked.
Jim walks into the station where Daniel shows him the footage he retrieved from the security camera. On the screen, they see Enid taking a bat to Thornquist's taillight. Daniel rewinds the footage to just moments before where Enid and Rebecca are having a heated argument in the parking lot. Manus walks in and tells Jim that the fire marshals found traces of powder magnesium in the wall timer. It was used as a timed incendiary device. She says it was set to go off during a time when the museum would be crowded, but Jim says there was a power outage that may have affected the time it was supposed to go off. Jim tells Daniel to see if any hobby supply stores or wholesale suppliers have sold powdered magnesium to anyone from Gibtown. Daniel then tells Jim that the serial number they found on the baby stroller can be traced back to Rebecca Thornquist.
Jim and Callie stand over Thornquist as she removes her (large) shoe. She explains to them that they baby stroller Enid was found dead in was hers and that she received it as a baby shower gift. She would sometimes leave it on the porch in the middle of the night, but it was stolen. She didn't tell the cops about it because she was afraid it would make her look suspicious. She continues that just because Enid was small doesn't mean she was intimidated by anyone. She was aggressive and combative. Jim tells Thornquist that they found arsenic and mercury in Enid's system and Callie points out that medical centers stock arsenic for use in cancer treatments and mercury is found in medical lab kits. Thornquist swears she didn't kill Enid. Jim and Callie take Thornquist's shoes and leave.
Outside of Thornquist's office, Callie asks Jim again if Sam is really leaving. Jim, defensive, says she is. Callie says there was definitely something "there" between him and Sam and Jim doesn't ague that. Instead he reminds Callie that her situation with Ray hasn't changed. But she says she'll make an appointment for her and Jeff to see Ray. Before Jim could respond, he is distracted by the construction worker from Enid's property, who is in medical center's waiting room and about to vomit. Jim asks Callie to try and get permission to view his medical records and he heads back to Enid's property. He has a hunch.
Jim approaches Enid's front door. Instead of going in, he eyes the property, and spots a dead squirrel near her front door. Suspicious, he walks to the back. Jim carefully pads his way through the lush foliage of a clump of mangroves. He looks at the swamp in her back yard and notices tons of dead animals floating in the water. He takes a step closer and out of a tree a dead snake falls on top of Jim. He quickly brushes himself free of the snake and pulls out his gun, panting heavily.
In the autopsy room, Daniel examines the snake and tells Jim it was dead when it fell on him. Carlos tells him that the snake, along with squirrel Jim found on the property, died from arsenic and mercury poisoning. Jim concludes that Enid wasn't poisoned deliberately, just bashed in the head deliberately. Jim asks Daniel to find out which environmental agency handled surveying the land. He then looks out of the autopsy window into the main office and sees Sam packing up a box full of her belongings. Jim approaches her and Sam asks him what's next for them. She can see the uncertainty in his face, convinced it's now Callie, not her fiancÃ�Â©, that may come between them. Jim tells her the distance (1,500 miles) is also an issue. Daniel enters the room and tells Jim that a guy named Kyle Bertram was responsible for signing off on the environmental impact analysis and that he had just resigned unexpectedly.
In the middle of a vacant area in the Everglades, Bertman hurriedly packs up his research camp into his SUV. Jim approaches him, blowing his cover. Knowing that he's caught, Bertman viciously throws a heavy backpack full of gear at Jim and runs to his car. Jim takes off after him, tackles him to the ground and arrests Bertman for the murder of Enid.
On Enid's property, Jim watches, with a handcuffed Bertman at his side, as workers in Hazmat suits lift toxic barrels out of the ground. Jim tells Bertman that he knows that when he did the environmental impact study, he must have discovered that the land was contaminated. So Bertman either had something to gain by signing off on it or something to lose if it ever got out that toxic waste was dumped there. Bertman tells Jim that a couple of years ago he went out with an old friend who was the head of operations at a local coal power plant. The friend paid him to dispose of a few barrels of waste. Bertman agreed, thinking they were leak proof, and, while Enid was out of town, buried it on her properly by a lake. Before Bertman is taken away by police officers, he swears to Jim that he didn't kill Enid and that he actually really liked and respected her. He says "If all I cared about was money, I could have sued the museum to recover my family's heirlooms and sold them a long time ago. They're worth a lot more than what I got for this."
Bertman is led away by cops. Jim is left pondering what he just said. He calls Daniel and asks him to check with any curios buyers and sellers to see if anything from Gibtown is suddenly on the market.
Jim hurries to the hospital's nurse's station and approaches Callie, who holds out the construction worker's medical records for him. She tells him that the patient was suffering from Stage 3 arsenic and mercury poisoning and that for him to be suffering from levels like that, exposure must have been going on for years. But luckily they caught the poisoning in time because after another few weeks he would have died from liver and kidney failure. Jim realizes this weakens his murder case against Bertman. Switching topics, he asks Callie if she called the Marshals about Ray. She did, but it wasn't a priority for them to set up a meeting. Jim offers to help her with getting through to them, but she tells him she'd rather handle it herself. She then escorts him to another room so they can have more privacy and asks him point blank if he was sleeping with Sam. Jim gets defensive and Callie storms out just as Jim gets a call from Manus. Manus tells him that Daniel found out that a curios seller received an anonymous email offering some old relics from Gibtown. A meeting has been set up for later that day.
Manus, wired up and acting as the curios buyer, approaches a park bench where she's supposed to meet the anonymous seller. Thornquist, pushing a baby stroller, sits on the bench near Manus. Thinking she is the seller, Manus begins to talk to her, asking "Are you her?" Thornquist, annoyed, gets up and walks away. Jim, who's in his car, begins to follow her. At that moment, Pershing approaches Manus from behind. He's the seller. They get in Manus' car and drive to where he's keeping the valuables. Manus and Pershing pull up behind a blue van and get out. Pershing opens the van door and takes out a very old dress. He unfolds it to reveal holes for two heads. It was the dress belonging to the Siamese Twins, Bertman's mothers. He says that the twins donated it to city of Gibtown 60 years ago and it comes with a certificate of authenticity. Pershing tells her the dress would be a quarter million dollars. Manus, buying time, agrees to buy it but tells him she'll have to wire him the money. Pershing, visibly upset, says the deal was for $250,000 cash. He realizes she's not the real buyer. Before he can react, Jim comes from around the van, gun out, and arrests Pershing.
In Gibtown Park, Pershing stands with his hands cuffed behind him. He admits to placing the timer in the museum, but swears that he didn't kill Enid. He then tells Jim he was trying to sell the dress to make up for the profits he lost when Enid was killed. He says most of the items in the museum were either cheap replicas or worthless and that he figured he could make some money off of the Bertman twins' dress if it was saved from the fire. He needed the money to help finance his project. The bomb was supposed to go off at three, while nobody was in the museum, but the power outage messed up the timer. While Pershing is being led off by the officers, he tells Jim he'd never do anything to hurt the town he loves.
Jim stands there, clearly affected by Pershing, as a mini tour bus rolls by. He looks down and sees a beautiful wooden sculpture with the inscription "Dontated to the City by Gwendolyn Henley." Jim calls Daniel and tells him to check and see if anything from the museum wasn't claimed after the fire.
Jim arrives at Gwendolyn's studio. She works a large chunk of wood, pounding at it with a mallet. Jim enters, holding an old ratty hat and veil. She admits that the hat belonged to her grandmother, the Mule-Faced Woman. She would wear it during her performances and at the end lift up the veil, getting shrieks from the audience. Shame fills her eyes. She admits to taking the stroller. Jim, now realizing Gwendolyn is the one responsible for Enid's murder, takes the mallet from her hands. That's what she used to kill Enid. Gwendolyn admits that she went to have a civil conversation with Enid about not turning the town back into a sideshow. Their conversation turned into a heated argument and when Enid called her a "freak," she killed her.
Outside of her studio, Gwendolyn is taken out in handcuffs by a police officer. Jim follows them. Some townspeople gather around to watch the spectacle. Just as she's about to be placed in the police car, she glances up at the second story of the house that adjoins her art studio. Jim follows her line of sight and sees Greta, the Mule-Faced Woman, peering out her window at her granddaughter. Her facial disfigurement is severe. Upon seeing Jim looking at her, Greta leans back into the shadows of her room.
Jim enters his office, flips on the switch, and puts his belongings on the table. He turns around to see Sam curled up on the couch. She wanted to wait for him so that they could finish their earlier conversation. Jim says maybe things would be different if he still lived in Chicago. Distance would be an issue even if they decided to continue something romantic. Sam agrees and tells him she's considering a transfer to the FDLE's homicide division in Sugarloaf, which is within driving distance. She asks Jim what he thinks of her possible transfer. Jim's phone interrupts them. Callie's calling, but he lets it go to voicemail. Callie tries his home number and gets his voicemail again. Callie, looking defeated, hangs up.