Recon By Fire
S1 episode 5 Aired on December 13, 2016

Warning: Recap Contains Spoilers

Bob Lee Swagger (Ryan Phillippe) continues to try to track down the real shooter to prove his innocence, starting with finding the real bullet. The cat-and-mouse game between Agent Nadine Memphis (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) and Jack Payne (Eddie McClintock) continues, but it’s not entirely clear which is which.

Romantic weekend getaway

Julie Swagger (Shantel VanSanten) manages to sneak off to meet Swagger at yet another remote cabin, for some much-needed time to reconnect. She had set up an email address so they can communicate and appears prepared to be separated from her husband for the long haul while he works to prove his innocence.

Scientific exploration

Swagger goes back to the Science Center where the assassination took place to calculate where the real bullet could have ended up. The feds have the one that was planted, but he’s figuring that, in the chaos after the shooting, nobody had time to collect the real thing. Comparing trajectories and photos from the day, Swagger realizes the bullet hit a police car. He texts Memphis for help finding the car.

Thorn in her side

Memphis comes in to work the day after her attack by Jack Payne (Eddie McClintock) and finds roses on her desk -- from Payne. She immediately dumps them in the trash. She also pulls all her files on her informant, Dimitri Voydian.

Grease monkey

Swagger goes to the police garage. He scours the car from the scene for the bullet and finds a dent in a wheel well. He’s trying to get the bullet out from behind the tire when the manager notices him. Swagger talks and walks in circles staying a step ahead just long enough to remove the bullet and run. He meets up with Memphis. He recognizes the bullet as master armor work, and illegal.  Memphis calls a guy with ATF, David Hall, who has a crush on her. Hall says the ATF thinks similar bullets are being made by a 2nd Amendment group called Tree of Liberty outside of Spokane.

Cleaning house

After telling Isaac Johnson (Omar Epps) that Meachum has ordered more “wet work,” Payne consults Memphis’ files and heads to a Russian restaurant. When Memphis stops by later with a partner to check up on all of Voydian’s connections, she finds a blood bath inside and a body with a single red rose on it -- just like the one Payne sent her.

Bullet holes

Swagger rides out to the Tree of Liberty compound, where he pretends to sympathize the militia’s cause. They are only too happy to listen to his talk of the conspiracy against him, until he pulls out their red bullet. But it turns out it isn’t theirs. A man in Idaho makes their bullet materials for them, but they won’t say more. Swagger notices bags of fertilizer being loaded into a van.

Compound interest

Johnson follows Swagger’s trail from the police garage to the Tree of Liberty, where he heads into the woods with his rifle and camouflage. Inside, Swagger gives a 17-year-old named Joey a few tips on long-range shooting and swipes a cell phone. When he sees Joey getting picked on, Swagger stops to encourage him to find his own path. Then Swagger slips away to poke around and finds the van is rigged with ammonium nitrate, Oklahoma City-style. The group has dangerous plans. Swagger calls David Hall at ATF and pretends to be a disillusioned follower. Joey finds him and holds a gun on him, but they’re called by the leader. They caught Johnson in the woods and have him strung up. Swagger prevents them from killing Johnson on the spot, saying they should use him for target practice.


Payne gets Memphis alone in the FBI garage and taunts her from the shadows, lobbing various threats at her, including that he’ll hurt Julie and Mary Swagger. Memphis visits Julie to warn her that Payne is getting bolder. Memphis wants them to hide, but instead Julie marches outside her front door to the waiting news vans and holds up Payne’s picture, saying the FBI believes he might be the real shooter. She urges people to call Memphis with tips and Memphis is caught totally flat-footed and can only say “no comment.”

Eye in the sky

Acting on Swagger’s tip, the ATF arrives near the compound and launches a drone. Back in the compound, Swagger walks Johnson out to a tree a mile away and quietly explains he can’t let the militia go through with their bombing plans; he’s stalling. But he isn’t about to let Johnson go, given that Johnson came to kill him. Swagger misses his first shot and lets a militia man take the second, which comes up short. When Swagger lines up to take another one, instead he shoots the ATF drone out of the sky. Johnson uses a rock to cut his ropes and escape. Joey jumps in the van with the bomb and starts to drive off, but Swagger shoots out the tires and stops him. He lets Joey go, laying down cover fire as the ATF storms the compound. By way of thanks, Joey tells Swagger the name of the man in Idaho who made the bullet before he runs. Swagger recognizes it as Rathford O’Brien, but we have to wait to see why it’s familiar.

Bad day at the office

At FBI headquarters, Renlow calls Memphis on the carpet for Julie’s news stunt, making clear that Memphis is alone in her belief in the conspiracy. Memphis goes to collect herself at her desk, but is shocked when Payne waltzes right up to her. He’s quickly put in cuffs.