Warning: Contains Spoilers
The victim: A 30-something street artist named Perry Doyle, who presents himself as “Contagion,” and works in secret a la Bansky. Despite his everyman persona, Doyle is really a rich trust fund kid who went to art school, and is even willing to sell his services for a guerilla marketing campaign.
The Killer: Wesley Hillridge, a 14-year-old aspiring street artist who just moved to town with his mother, Nina, and authoritarian stepfather, Lance. Wes uses the name “Tricky” for his work and sneaks out at night, causing issues at home. When he meets Doyle, he’s thrilled at the chance to learn from his idol.
The Discovery: The murder is a hit-and-run, but the body isn’t found in the road -- it’s suspended over it by climbing gear. Doyle was working on a piece on an overpass and somehow fell or was pushed into the path of a passing semi-truck below, but his body also bears marks of an earlier fight.
Investigation: Det. Angie Flynn and Det. Oscar Vega quickly locate the semi that hit Doyle and arrest the driver for hit-and-run. The truck’s dashcam shows someone was with Doyle on the overpass and they discover Doyle had permits to be up there and was being paid for his work by an advertising agency.
Fingerprints in Doyle’s apartment lead them to Herman Caswell, who calls Perry Doyle a poseur but says Contagion is a great artist. They realize Caswell is Contagion, not Doyle. In addition to selling his art, Doyle apparently also had no problem ripping off other people. Caswell found out about Doyle stealing his Contagion identity and style for the ad campaign and got in a fight with him over it.
Looking up the gamer ID on a console at Doyle’s apartment leads the police to Wesley Hillridge, whose mother reported him missing the same night Perry Doyle died.
In a visit to Wes’s house, Angie quickly picks up on the dynamic with Lance and sees Wes’ packed bag. She also sees Perry Doyle’s hoodie on Wes’ bed and traps him in a series of small lies before arresting him for breaking and entering.
Backstory: Art is an escape for Wes, who is having a hard time living under his stepfather’s roof. Lance forces Wes to paint over a graffiti wall in his bedroom, then seals his bedroom window so he can’t sneak out to paint any more. Lance tells Wes he’s “pathetic.”
Meanwhile, Doyle takes Wes under his wing as his protégé. One night he takes Wes to a rail yard and promises to stand guard for him while Wes paints a train car, but a security guard busts Wes. Doyle was never looking out – he was using Wes as a decoy so he could do a piece on top of the train station.
After Wes is busted, Lance has had enough of his stepson and issues his wife an ultimatum, which Wes overhears.
The run: After the murder, Wes is scared to go home and hides out in Doyle’s loft. When Vega and the cops come to check it out, they barely miss Wes, leading Vega to presume by the obvious hiding place that they’re not dealing with a sophisticated killer.
Wes tries to leave town, but doesn’t have ID to buy a plane ticket. At the bus station, he’s robbed of all his possessions, even his shoes. With limited options, Wes goes home to try to find something to pawn, but Lance and his mom stop him. Wes packs another bag and is on his way out again when Angie and Vega show up.
The Motive: The night of the murder, Wes sees a post by Contagion about heading to New York and asks Doyle if he can come. But Doyle has no idea what Wes is talking about and Wes realizes it’s because Doyle isn’t Contagion. Wes is upset at the betrayal and Doyle mocks him, calling Wes pathetic. Wes shoves Doyle over the overpass railing into the truck passing below.
As Angie tries to understand what put Wes in the mindset to kill someone, we learn that he finally told his mom what he thought of Lance and she slapped him.
Angie sympathizes with both of them and gives Nina the name of a good lawyer.
Side investigation: Angie thinks Neville Montgomery paid Janet Wong, a guard at the mansion, to arrange to have Derrick Caster killed. When Angie takes her theory to Sgt. Mark Cross, he cautions her to tread lightly and steers her toward pursuing the question of how Caster ended up in a jail cell with a violent offender like Garvey. Angie and Cross pay Janet Wong a visit and find she has a nice new Mercedes. Later, Janet comes into the station and confesses to putting Caster in the cell with Garvey. A lawyer named Henry Guenther paid her $50,000 and she paid Garvey $5,000. She says she picked the money up from his car.
Angie talks to Guenther, who scoffs at the allegations and says the money was stolen from his car – he filed a police report. Cross tells Angie it means Montgomery gets away with murder.