Bob Lee Swagger (Ryan Phillippe) is trying to heal and move on, but the fact that Solotov knew details about his father’s murder doesn’t sit right with him. He starts digging with the help of Sheriff Justin Brown (John Marshall Jones) and quickly runs into people who would like Earl Swagger to remain buried in the past.
The life and crimes of Jimmy Poole
Swagger visits the Wilson penitentiary, where Jimmy Poole escaped from 30 years ago. The warden Rick Culp is evasive and Swagger is suspicious when he sees provisions from the Bama Cattle company everywhere; he remembers hearing they were hiring undocumented labor and cut a deal with the Feds. The warden abruptly wraps things up, then calls Bama Cattle to report Swagger was poking around. Next, Swagger meets Sheriff Brown at the now-closed bank that Jimmy Poole robbed the day he escaped. Poole’s case file only leads to more questions, like where did he get the gun he used, and why did he shoot a security guard on his way out when he already had the cash? Even stranger, he left the money in his stolen car then walked down the street and ate a cheeseburger as the sheriff’s deputies closed in. Brown suggests Jimmy was waiting for a gunfight, but left when Earl didn’t show up. But Swagger thinks he was waiting for a ride.
Atlas didn’t end with Addison Hayes
Nadine Memphis (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) and Isaac Johnson (Omar Epps) pressure Harris Downey (Jesse Bradford) into using his security clearance to get access to Hayes’ office safe. While he’s cleaning out the top secret files, the police arrive and arrest him. But it turns out Team Swagger staged the arrest to sneak the files past Atlas. Going through the contents of the safe later, they find a kill list with all of their names on it, plus Solotov, Martin Jacobs, and Carlita Cruise with the Department of Agriculture. Johnson and Memphis visit Cruise’s apartment and find it empty. Memphis finds her “go bag” under the sink and accidentally sets off the flash bangs at the bottom of it. Memphis is dazed but OK. They’ve found another member of Atlas. Meanwhile, “the Jackal” visits Hayes’ office on the trail of the files.
Swagger goes looking for answers and finds trouble
Swagger pays a visit to the Poole farm. Jimmy’s mother Adele and nephew Johnny aren’t Swagger family fans. Bob Lee wants to know why Jimmy would run if he only had two weeks left on his sentence. His mother says he had a job lined up at Bama Cattle. They tell Swagger that Jimmy’s wife, Edie, ran off after he was killed. On his way out, Johnny’s teenage daughter Suzy tells Swagger her aunt sends her a birthday card every year. He notices the bruises on her arms. On his way home, Swagger stops to fill up his car and hears gunshots coming from inside the station. He investigates and sees second gunman covering the entrance. He goes around back and has a clean shot at the first robber, and hits him in the hand. He tackles the second robber, demanding to know why the man was waiting for him. When Sheriff Brown arrives later, he tells Swagger the men worked for Bama Cattle. Swagger thinks the hold-up was a set-up for him.
Taking the bull by the horns
The next day, Swagger barges into the office of Red Bama Jr. at Bama Cattle and confronts him about the hold-up. Red plays dumb. Swagger isn’t having it. “When I hunt, I like to look at my prey up close, to see what I’m dealing with,” he says. After Swagger’s visit, Greg starts doing lines of cocaine and freaking out. He wants to gas up the jet and leave, but his henchman Bert lets him know is dad is on the way and gave strict orders for them to proceed as if everything is normal. Greg is clearly afraid of his dad.
Digging for answers
When he comes home, Swagger finds Sheriff Brown waiting for him. Red Bama filed a restraining order against him. When Swagger says he won’t quit ‘til he knows the truth, Brown brings him back to his office and plays him a tape of his dad’s radio from the night of the murder. The final shot doesn’t sound right to the sniper’s ear. The shot report comes over a full second later, which means it couldn’t have been Jimmy, who was only 20 feet away. There was a second shooter. Swagger visits his lawyer Sam Vincent (David Andrews), with Brown and Julie backing him up in his request to exhume his dad’s body. As they stand over the gravesite later, Bert observes from afar. Before the excavator starts digging, Swagger realizes they’re in the wrong place – his dad was buried next to veterans. They Earl’s headstone was moved, but they find the right spot and dig. After examining the body, the coroner reports he found three bullets and a patch with an eagle and stars and stripes on top of the body. The bullet he found in the chest wound was a rifle round. “My dad was killed by a sniper,” Swagger says.