Warning Contains Spoilers
Motive Case Report #411
Victim: Liz Ker, a free spirited barista
Killer: Seth Armstrong, a conservative family man
The Discovery: The victim is found in her home dressed in full Live Action Role Playing wench regalia with a ye olde mace (medieval spikey ball thingy) lodged in the back of her skull.
The Investigation: The victim’s boyfriend, Ron, a fellow LARP-er, freely admits the mace belonged to him (and corrects that it’s a chain morning star, because that’s what’s important here). Ron does not do a very good job trying to look innocent.
The detectives find a Seymour University course catalog in which someone has written: “It’s never too late. Love, Me.”
Agent Jack Stoker and Detective Angie Flynn visit Liz’s fellow LARPers, including Fiona Murphy, who clearly had a crush on Liz. The detectives decide to bring in Ron for questioning after they discover lots of sexts to other people on Liz’s phone, thinking Ron might be jealous.
He’s assigned a lawyer from a big firm fulfilling his pro bono hours. He clearly sees Ron as a nuisance. In interrogation, Ron admits he found out Liz was seeing other people.
But then Dr. Betty Rogers says the angle of impact is consistent with a face-to-face attack and the killer was probably right-handed.
Staff Sgt. Oscar Vega confirms Ron is left-handed and probably not the killer. Then, Vega accidentally flips the audio switch in Ron’s interrogation room and hears his lawyer trying to pressure Ron into a guilty plea. Vega does not find this cool. He chews out the lawyer and refers Ron to another lawyer.
When Ron’s attorney complains, Vega gets a visit from Sgt. Saunders with Internal Investigations. Saunders gamely warns Vega that he’s going to have to do a formal interview and that Chief Wells isn’t going to let it go. Vega is officially on notice.
Meanwhile, the detectives interview Liz’s coworker at the coffee shop, her friend Rachel, Seth Armstrong’s daughter. They also interview three of the men Liz was seeing and one woman, none of whom seem very possessive and who couldn’t differ more.
Angie and Brian talk to Fiona the LARPer again and she admits she and Liz used to hook up as well. She mentions a cute brunette that Liz was close with and IDs Rachel. When Angie talks to Rachel again, she denies being one of Liz’s many lovers.
Going through Liz’s phone records, Angie sees that Seth Armstrong called Liz a few times, including after she died. Angie goes to the Armstrong’s house, where she learns Rachel was the one who called Liz, on the landline. Seth makes his disapproval of Liz clear.
Vega and Angie go talk to Ron again, who says Liz treated Rachel like a little sister and was trying to convince her to go to college. When Angie shows Rachel the course catalogue, Rachel is surprised they found it at Liz’s house, she thought it was at home.
Angie goes to her old friend Judge Natalie Rodman for a warrant. Rodman has to deny the request but suggests a legal ruse to get the evidence they need. Lucas poses as someone gathering signatures for a petition to get Seth’s prints on a pen. They confirm his prints were in Liz’s house.
On his way to the airport for London, Stoker goes with Angie to the Armstrong house. Seth sees them coming and hops in his car and drives off. He climbs over a gate to get away, but doesn’t get far.
Background: Rachel invited Liz over to her house for dinner with her family. Her square, traditional father and Liz clashed after he said the woman’s place was the home. Rachel’s mother didn’t disagree.
As Liz and Rachel became friends, Liz was aghast to learn that Rachel believed in saving herself for marriage. But then we see Seth take Liz, his own daughter, to bed. His wife sees and her only reaction is to shut her own bedroom door.
The Motive: Liz came to the house one day and urged Rachel to come with her, telling her what Seth is doing to her is illegal. Rachel insisted she loves him.
Seth visited Liz, with the course catalogue, and told her to leave his family alone. Liz laughed in his face then threatened to call the police over his “arrangement” with Rachel. She turned to get her phone and he grabbed the mace from the couch and swung it at her head.
Mrs. Armstrong knew what Seth had done and bleached the bloodstains out of his shirt, then convinced Rachel not to leave.
With Seth in custody, Angie runs a background check and learns that Rachel isn’t Seth Armstrong’s daughter – she’s was his wife, one of two. Awkward.
Viva La Vega: When Saunders comes to interview Vega, he finds Vega’s office cleared out. Vega turned in his retirement papers. Agent Jack Stoker suggested Angie for a posting in Paris tracking down war criminals and she’s considering it. Vega and Angie toast to new beginnings.