Victim Dr. Dan Auerbach sits frozen solid in a chair in his vandalized lab. An oxygen mask is on his face, self-administered. "Animal Research is Murder" is scrawled in red on the wall. A few dead lab rats litter the floor.
Detectives Charlie Crews and Dani Reese examine Auerbach, whose skin is ice blue. James Brenford, CEO of the company, says Auerbach worked long hours and used oxygen to stay alert. He says someone switched the tanks because he inhaled pure liquid nitrogen, which is 320 degrees below zero. Brenford thinks the animal rights group "Ban Animal Torture" did it. Charlie sees Auerbach is starting to thaw and touches the body. It cracks, then crumbles into a thousand pieces. Reese asks Charlie, "Do you have to touch everything?"
Charlie questions Abel Bustamonte, a janitor who found the body. The janitor says he was home with his wife the night the victim died. Bustamonte asks if he has to clean up the pieces of Auerbach's body. Charlie says they'll do that, but the rats are all his.
Reese interviews Brenford, who notes Reese's healthy glow. He asks her if she's taking any prescription drugs. She asks Brenford about Deborah Leigh, Auerbach's former assistant who filed a sexual harassment suit, sabotaged his work, destroyed his records. He said he planned on paying her to go away but she disappeared before he could. When asked where he was the night of the murder, he says he was at a card game with the deputy mayor until dawn. He asks Reese if he could get a sample of her blood or urine if she doesn't like needles.
Charlie and Reese interview Jill Abraham, Auerbach's current research assistant. Jill paints him as a hero who dedicated his life to curing cancer. She says the animal rights people sent him hate mail and threats. Jill says she was at home last night, having to change clothes after working non-stop for days. Charlie asks if they both slept at the lab. Jill says they had a professional relationship. When Charlie says the study is all hers now that Auerbach is gone, Jill says she's not sure she wants it.
Reese and Charlie visit the Ban Animal Torture headquarters, replete with Bomba the rescued monkey, to talk to Billy Smelko and Betsy Borns. Charlie tells them about Auerbach. Billy's glad the "evil one" is dead, but Betsy isn't. Charlie asks about the hate mail. She says if they killed him it would be stupid to sign their name. He then notes her leather shoes. She says they're Jim shoes, made with leather from their founder's skin, who willed his body for industrial use to raise consciousness about butchering animals for food and clothing. When Charlie asks where both of them were last night, they won't talk without a lawyer.
Tidwell teases Charlie for "breaking the murder victim." He tells Charlie he might want to send forensics, who had to bag each piece, a nice note. They discuss the suspects. Reese thinks the former assistant or the animal rights group are the perps. Tidwell bets on the former assistant since they were lovers. Tidwell pulls out fragments of a note found on the body. Charlie pieces it together. It reads, "I hate you. We have to stop. But I can't stop. I never want to stop. - D" "D" points to Auerbach's first assistant, Deborah Leigh, who has disappeared. Charlie asks why his assistant who hasn't seen him for seven years wrote a love/hate letter last week.
Jack tells Connie he went to see Kyle Hollis. She tells him to let the DA's office take care of it. Charlie says he caught the killer but not the guys who set him up. Also, that Hollis said he never even heard of Jack Reese, and that he killed Charlie's friends on his own, not for Jack Reese. Connie says Hollis signed a statement, but didn't mention Jack. Charlie tells Connie she heard him confess that he was working for Jack Reese, that they are the only two people that heard it. Connie, obviously lying, says she heard Hollis confess, but never mentions Jack.
Jack Reese meets with a man in his car. Unbeknownst to both, a listening device is on Reese's rear window. From his mansion, Charlie listens as the man tells Jack they want to see the Seybolt girl. Jack says it's better for everyone if only he knows where she is. The man says everyone wants to see her. He asks Jack if he thinks they won't need him once they have the girl. Jack says he has her, and as long as he does, they have Charlie. The man exits the car with a warning, and Jack pounds the steering wheel in fury. Charlie wonders why Jack's lying and who he's afraid of.
Ted asks Charlie if he'll be there for his interview for a teaching position with the dean of the business school. It's obvious Charlie forgot, but he says he will, as he's Ted's reference.
At a Ban Animal Torture protest, Charlie tells Borns that his partner thinks she killed Auerbach. Charlie pulls out the pieced-together note and says it's the same handwriting as the hate letter to the lab. Charlie calls her by her former name, Deborah Leigh. Leigh is shocked and tries to run, but Reese stops her at gunpoint. Bomba throws a book at Charlie and hits him in the head.
An interviewer asks Mark Conover about marrying Charlie's ex-wife. He says he met her after she filed for divorce. When asked if his life has changed, he says he gets pulled over more than he used to. Cut to: Charlie pulls over Mark Conover. Conover asks him what he wants, to shoot him? Arrest him? Charlie says he'd like permission to sleep with Jennifer, his wife. Mark answers by clocking him in the face.
Charlie and Reese interrogate Betsy, with her lawyer present, and ask her why she changed her name. She admits to the sex with Auerbach and changing her name because she didn't like who she was. She left the lab because of the nature of the work, and changed her name because the animal rights group wouldn't accept her as Deborah Leigh. They asked if that's why she killed Auerbach, and her lawyer shuts down the interview.
Reese and Charlie work the love angle. Reese visits Smelko and sees he has a suitcase. Charlie hints that Smelko is in Ban Animal Torture because he was in love with Betsy Borns and now that he found she slept with Auerbach, he's leaving. Smelko doesn't admit he loves Borns, but it's obvious. At the lab, Jill Abraham tells Reese that she worked with Auerbach because he was a genius, but they didn't have an affair. She also says Auerbach was cruel to everyone, especially Bustamonte, the janitor.
Charlie and Reese interview Bustamonte. They heard that Auerbach threw his lab book at him when he broke a beaker, and slapped him when the lab wasn't clean enough. He admits that he saw a woman coming out of the lab around the time of the murder. From surveillance video, he points out Betsy Borns as that woman.
Charlie and Reese interrupt an argument between Smelko and Betsy to arrest Betsy for murder. Smelko calls Betsy a whore and reveals that he's in love with her. He almost lets them take her away, then he admits they were together the night of the murder, at a prayer vigil that he videotaped.
An unseen interviewer asks Jack Reese if his daughter ever talked about Charlie. He says no, why would he? He says they don't talk about the job. The interviewer says he must be proud of her, following in his footsteps. Reese doesn't respond. At a family dinner Reese asks her dad if she sent an innocent man to jail. He tells her to get out of his house.
At the lab, Charlie knocks some poison off the counter and has a brainstorm. He goes to Born's house and tells her she has a clean alibi. He then asks what the effects of inhaling the poison will be. He hallucinates, seeing his ex-wife behind Besty. He asks Betsy to drive him home and hallucinates again in the car. When they enter the house, Ted and the dean of the business school are in the living room. Ted watches in horror as Charlie answers his questions, high as a kite, and seeing three of his ex-wife instead of the dean.
An angry Reese drives to the station and like her dad, pounds the steering wheel in fury. She exits, sees Tidwell and tries to hide, shutting her hair in the car door. As he's helping her get her hair out of the door, he says he heard her pounding on the wheel and screaming no. He says if she wants to talk, he's there for her.
Reese calls Charlie and asks him if the video puts Born at the protest, why did the janitor lie about her being there? Charlie says you don't just see women who aren't there. They raid his locker at the lab and see that he's stealing pills. Charlie and Reese watch Bustamonte hand a woman pills as she gives him an envelope. They interrupt, thinking they caught him in corporate espionage, but instead of cash, there are pictures of a cancer-stricken boy in the photo. The woman is his ex-wife, to whom he gave the pills to help his sick son.
As Charlie and Reese take down the crime board, Charlie notices that all the rats with red tags are dead. They ask Betsy, who says that they are from a control group. She says that those rats were killed to cover up the fact that the drugs they were testing weren't working. When they mention they worked on Bustamonte's son, Betsy says he has a rare form of cancer; therefore the pills aren't a money maker.
Charlie and Reese pressure Abel to talk, saying that they'll shut the lab down and no more pills for his son. Abel agrees and takes them to the lab where he pulls out a hidden plastic baggie filled with shredded paper.
At the police station, Jill Abraham comes into a room and isn't happy to see Borns already there. Charlie says that they called them there to help them put the letter together since they are both scientists. On the table is the shredded paper, which they say is evidence. Jill says that the pieces are too small to do it by hand and agrees to take it back to the lab. Charlie tells her it's the lunch menu. He shows her the real pieced together note, which is a calculation of how much liquid nitrogen is needed to kill a man of Auerbach's size. In Jill's handwriting.
Jill says that she gave Bustamonte those pills. That she saved his son's life, which is why he took the fall for her. And, Bustamonte made sure she kept making the pills by keeping the note. Abraham admits that she killed Auerbach because he wanted to stop the study. She felt he stole seven years of her life and was throwing her away. Jill is arrested for the murder of Auerbach.
Charlie and Reese meet with Bustamonte. Charlie explains that Auerbach's lab is evidence, and that all those pills are evidence. Charlie says that sometimes evidence gets misplaced and hands him a box full of the lifesaving pills for his son.
Charlie, Ted and Dean Orton go for round two at the mansion. He thanks the dean for meeting with them again. The dean asks him the same question as he did when Charlie started hallucinating, and the doorbell rings. This time it's his ex-wife for real, and she slaps him hard in the face for asking her husband for permission to have sex with her.