The Irrational (2023) s01e04 Episode Script

Zero Sum

People are irrational,
but predictably so.
I'm Alec Mercer.
Welcome to Applied Psychology.
- You're the science guy.
- That's Bill Nye.
I'm actually the behavioral science guy.
It's called an auditory illusion.
Our eyes and ears
take in electrical signals,
which our brains interpret
based on our expectations.
This work can be surprising,
profoundly fulfilling,
but there's a cost.
You gonna answer these?
A couple say "urgent."
Well, any of them say I'm fired?
If not, they can wait.
No, but apparently you have
a meeting starting right now.
- That part's in all caps.
- Mm. Time is a construct.
I'm frying bigger fish.
I've noticed a lot of emergency texts,
and calls lately. What's up?
Maybe 1% of IT emergencies
are real security threats.
the other 99 are almost always PEBKAC.
- PEB-what?
PEBKAC, as in "Problems Exist
Between Keyboard And Chair."
- User error.
I swear, they ought
to make you get a license
to operate a computer.
Besides, suckers live to work
and I work to live.
Working and enjoying life don't
have to be mutually exclusive.
Mm-mm. Do not therapize me
this early in the day.
I haven't even had my coffee yet.
All yours.
I have a book signing today.
A bunch of folks waiting in line
just so some nerdy scientist
can write his name in a book.
Nothing irrational about that.
- Enjoy.
- Thank you.
Uh, excuse me.
Uh, Professor Mercer, I'm sorry.
I need to talk to you.
My man, there's a line.
If you want a book signed, you
can support local businesses
and buy one at the shop next door.
I'm not here for an autograph.
My daughter is missing.
I need your help.
- This is Veronica.
- Ah.
She left yesterday after dinner,
but she wasn't home
when we woke up this morning.
She didn't tell you where she was going?
She said she was meeting a friend.
She got a ride with someone.
The police don't care because
it hasn't been 24 hours.
And yeah, she's over 18
Are you sure she didn't run away?
Look at her. She's not that kind of kid.
She's an artist.
Look, I think something
is wrong and I need your help,
like you helped with that journalist
who was poisoned, or that hostage thing.
You know my work enough
to use my tricks against me,
like showing me pictures of Veronica
to invest me emotionally.
The Identifiable Victim Effect.
I listen to your books
while I work construction.
I know that you help police.
I know that your wife is FBI.
Ex-wife there's a chapter
about divorce in my new book.
My-my point is I know how
brilliant you are, brother.
your insights into how people think,
how you get them
to make better decisions,
you're my best hope
for finding my daughter.
Now you're using
the complimentary glow effect,
otherwise known as,
"flattery will get you everywhere."
I can pay.
Now, my wife and I, we can't
afford your usual rate,
but we have a few
thousand dollars saved.
Hear me.
The amazing thing about
the complimentary glow
is that it works even if the
subject knows you're using it.
I'll help you, man.
Free of charge.

That was the last time we saw her.
Do you recognize the car?
No. We've never seen it before.
Can you rewind?

Look how she's shifting
her head from side to side,
like she's
worried someone might see her.
She's holding her purse like a shield.
And that micro-hesitation
at the car door
it's as if she's not sure
she wants to get in.
This, too. Her sketchbook.
She takes it everywhere.

- Veronica, where are you?
[DISTORTED VOICE] I have your daughter.
If you want to get her back,
you need to do exactly what I say.
Please, please, don't hurt her.
We need proof of life.
Put Veronica on the phone.
Who is that? No police!
No, he's a friend, not police.
Can we please just hear Veronica?
Mommy! Daddy! Please, do what he says!
Enough! Quiet!
If you want your daughter back
alive, I want $2.7 million.
I'll contact you with details.
You have 48 hours.
$2.7 million?
We don't have that kind of money.
Do you have anything
that's worth that much?
No. This place is rented.
Keith makes all the furniture.
If my stuff was worth anything,
I wouldn't be framing houses.
So what's going to happen to Veronica?
Because we we can't pay.

Why kidnap someone
whose family couldn't possibly
afford the ransom?
I've been digging into the van,
the dry cleaning van
that Alec remembered,
contacted the owner's daughter.
Sioux City, right?
I always wanted to see Iowa.
But you're off the hook.
It turns out that she's bringing
her kids to DC in a few weeks,
- so I tried to set a meet.
- All right.
I'll take care of the arrest report,
so you can focus on this.
It's Alec.
He wants to talk. Says it's urgent.
So you all have your next kits.
Remember, this time you
get $5 for completing it.

Sorry, that's all the
time we have for today.
You can all go.
- Wow.
- What are you doing?
I was at the smashing.
That's the best part.
Yeah, well, our day has been smashed.
The professor texted. He's had an
emergency, and he won't be back.
So you're going to teach
Psych 30 this afternoon
- or
- Nope. You are.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
I don't want to step on your toes.
I [GULPS] You should totally do it.
Professor's orders.
The boss has me
pulling research on kidnappers,
so you're it.
He said to lecture
on the complimentary glow
and its opposite,
the humiliation shadow.
I've only ever taught TA sessions,
for eight or ten people.
Psych 30 has 200 students.
I guess it's time to level up.


Thank you for coming.
You had me at "kidnapping for ransom."
Keith, Tara, I'm Agent Clark, FBI.
First thing you should know
is that kidnappings
are an FBI specialty.
We will get Veronica back safely.
She's very good at what she does.
I have already had my techs
try to locate Veronica's cell,
but its signal is blocked.
I'll need one of you
to come back to my office
so we can tap your cell.
He called you, right?
He did.
- More agents?

Not mine.
Stay inside.

Agent Clark, FBI. You are?
Theodore Akehurst Jr. Call me Ted.
This is my son, Theodore III.
Akehurst? Like Akehurst Paper?
We have reams of your paper
in my office.
- Toilet paper, too.
- You called him?
- How could you call him?
- I had to.
He can help.

Tara used to work for me.
She told me that Veronica
had been kidnapped,
and we came as quickly as we could.
This is Rose Dinshaw from VSC.
She's an expert on corporate security,
and crisis management.
Corporate fixer.
With experience in kidnap and ransom.
The Akehursts will do whatever it takes
to help get Veronica home safely.
That's good to hear.
But I have to ask, why?
Like Ted said, I used to work for him.
- We're friends.
Given your guilty fidgeting,
Keith's hostility,
and Ted's inability
to look away from you,
I'm pretty sure you
and Ted had an affair?
Long term?
You ended it.
You and Keith stayed together,
but it's still a source
of tension in your marriage.
I guess having my family's
deepest secret called out
is what I get for asking for help
from an expert on human mistakes.
You and Mrs. Moore?
That's super messed up, even for you.
Don't talk about things
you don't understand.
I don't see how this is relevant.
I normally wouldn't have raised it,
but given the circumstances
I need to ask, are you
Veronica's biological father?
That would explain why she was targeted.
She's mine.
Believe me, I checked.
The affair happened
after Veronica was born.
Look, Mrs. Moore has worked at our house
for as long as I can remember.
Veronica and I
practically grew up together.
She may not be my sister,
but she's still family.
- Pseudo-family bond.
- Mm.
Mr. Moore, it sounds like
my dad really hurt you,
but let us help.


Mr. Moore, in my professional opinion,
you should minimize FBI involvement.
Let my firm handle it.
Akehurst Paper has used VSC
for this kind of thing before.
Sure, overseas,
retrieving executives
from professional kidnappers.
Those skills won't
necessarily translate here.
A lower-middle class victim,
an unreasonable ransom
those sound like
business as usual to you?
I'm sorry. I don't think the ransom
demand is unreasonable anymore.
$2.7 million is perfectly rational
if the kidnapper knows about
Ted's concern for Veronica
and knows that his guilt from the affair
would draw him into this.
So who knew about the affair?
I never told a soul.
He's not lying.
He sure as hell never told me about it.
Veronica knew.
She heard Tara and me arguing
about it, um, more than once.

You think she'd tell her friends?
She definitely told Corey Gibson.
Who is that?
Veronica's ex-boyfriend.
They dated in high school,
broke up after graduation.
But later, Veronica told me
that she dumped him
because he was dealing party drugs.
Weed, mushrooms, molly.
Do you have any way
to contact this "Corey"?
His number would be on Veronica's phone.
And she took that with her.
I can check in with the DEA,
see if they have Corey on their radar.
I have contacts there, too,
and with DC Metro Narcotics.
I've got him.
My colleagues are testing molly, MDMA,
as a psychotherapeutic.
MDMA isn't always available
through official channels,
so sometimes my colleagues
get it other ways.
So Agent Clark,
studies show that people trust
couples more than men on their own.
How would you like to do a drug deal?
You know I have
to get a sign off for that.
I don't.

You are beautiful.
Or handsome, whichever
you'd, uh, rather hear?
Beautiful and handsome.
But not in an inappropriate way.
Smart, too.
You're at Wilton,
so you're probably very smart,
um, and funny, and, um
yeah, never mind.
I it was to prove a point
about the [CLEARS THROAT]
complimentary glow.
[SOFTLY] Help me.
Let's let's, uh, start again.
You're all ugly, and I hate you.
It's just an example, guys.
That's like the opp
opposite of what I was doing.

He's late.
Drug dealers aren't known
for their punctuality.
Maybe he didn't buy our story.
Rich out-of-towners looking
to score in bulk for a party?
Still nothing.
You sound annoyed.
I don't like nature.
You know that. There are bugs.
How about I am not a fan
of corporate fixers like Rose?
They're almost always
former Bureau or police
who couldn't hack it
or decided to cash out.
Or both.
Rose definitely isn't FBI or police.
I'm guessing someplace
starting with the letter M.
You think she used to be a spy?
I can't confirm that.
Or deny it.
You're rather impressive,
the way you sniffed out the affair,
how you helped get to Corey
as a suspect.
Like how I know what you're doing?
You and Agent Clark
are in conflict over this case.
You want me to be your ally,
so you're buttering me up.
Or I'm just flirting with you.
Gray roadster.
Matches the vehicle
that picked up Veronica.
What are you doing?
We're supposed to be a couple.
I'm making it look good.

That's not a bug.
Damn cops.


- Go, go, go!
- U-turn.
- A what?
Trust me. U-turn.

Oh, man. Uh, a left turn coming up.
Turn left.

Oh, yeah. Nice.
Okay, go straight.

Here you go. Left.

Nice driving.
Okay, stop the car here
and block the road.
Brace yourself.

Out of the car, hands visible.
All right, all right!
How did you know where to go?
Corey was in fight-or-flight mode.
And people in amped-up, hot states
tend to react by reflex, which means,
in high-speed car chases,
Americans tend to turn right.
So you guessed.
He turned right.

What are the reviews saying? [GROANS]
They're not worth reading. [SCOFFS]
Studies show that online
reviews are self-selected
to be either highly positive
or highly negative,
with limited correlation
between ratings and quality.
Except mine probably say I was terrible
because I was terrible.
Damn. [CHUCKLING] One star?
"How can someone be both too loud
and entirely unintelligible?"
[CHUCKLING] Oh, that's just mean.
Can we help you, Kylie?
I was compiling some code at home,
and my computer got jammed
and Alec said I could work here.
And he said he's expecting
some research from you
for the kidnapping case?
Oh, I just sent it.
You go, Hermione.
And he wants you to do the
lecture again this afternoon.
Wait, what? Again?
- Mm-hmm.
- No! That's an awful idea.
Okay. So you gave a crappy lecture.
You got bad reviews.
And now, my mad scientist
brother wants you to go again.
Look, if you bomb a second time,
it won't be the end of the world.
AIs will be the end of the world.
And that's two,
three years away at least.
I'm just saying it's better
to live large and in charge
before the robots come,
because they're coming.
Waiting for the singularity
is not the answer.
It's a good thing you're upset.
It means you care.
- Oh.
- Caring's good.

Good morning, Corey.
I thought I would see if you
were ready to talk yet.
Got nothing to say.
All right? You've got me here on squat.
Plus, I can afford a good lawyer.
So you might as well just
let me go and avoid a lawsuit.
Interesting how Veronica drew you.
It's like she saw your best self.
She trusted you.
Was that a mistake?
I didn't know she kept any of this.
We searched your home
and your grow house.
She wasn't there,
but you're still our best
suspect in her kidnapping
maybe even her murder.
Whoa, whoa.
You think that she might be dead?
No one's seen her since you
picked her up at her house.
So either you did something to her,
or you're our best hope
in finding her alive.
When she called me,
I thought she wanted
to get back together.
It turned out she just
wanted to borrow money.
Money you made selling drugs?
That's why she broke up with you.
You must have been angry.
It wasn't like that.
Okay? I just told her how I felt
upset and used.
And by the end of it,
she actually apologized to me.
Then she texted somebody
for a ride and left my place.
Who gave her the ride?
No clue.
Honestly, I smoked a bowl
and went to bed.
How much money did she ask for?
200 Gs.
It was for NESD, the, uh,
New England School of Design.
It was some fancy private art college.
She got accepted there,
which is a pretty big deal.
Her family couldn't get aid,
her father wouldn't let
her take out student loans,
so she came to me.
I said no and that was it.
You knew about her relationship
with the Akehurst family.
So maybe you thought
there was a different way
for you to make a bunch
of money for the both of you?
Seriously, why would I mess with that?
Okay? I'm literally
making bank selling stuff
that nobody gets busted for.
I don't need the drama.
I'm beginning to worry that we
may have overlooked a suspect.
You think she kidnapped herself?
You heard Corey.
She's in desperate need of money.
This could all be a scam
to fleece Ted Akehurst.
The way he talks about Veronica,
he still cares about her.
I think he's telling the truth.
Then I defer to your expertise.
I told you you don't need
to flirt with me.
- I'm on your side.
Ever consider that you're a
handsome and intelligent man,
and that my flirting has
nothing to do with the case?
You only think I'm handsome because
you're standing on my good side.
Scars add character.
Then I have a lot of character.
All hands the father just
got a call from the kidnapper.
- Uh, a video call.
Take it.
Hold the phone close,
back against the wall.
So they can't see where you are.
- [CRYING] Daddy?
- Hey, Veronica, baby.
- Are you okay?
- [CRYING] Dad, I'm scared.
Okay. Hey, tell me where you are, huh?
Who took you? How can I get you home?
[CRYING] I can't tell you anything.
I'm supposed to say
he knows about the FBI.
So you have to stop working with them.
He wants his money by sunrise tomorrow.
And if you don't follow
his instructions
he's going to kill me.
So you think Veronica kidnapped herself?
Veronica needs money for school.
Corey said no.
Perhaps this was her solution.
If so, Veronica is not in danger
and Trey can stop
putting together the ransom.
Eh, Veronica didn't seem like
she was acting.
And she made it a point to call
out her kidnapper as a "he"
one person, armed and male.
But he didn't appear on the screen.
He could have been an
accomplice or not exist at all.
Okay, that's crazy.
Alec, tell her that's crazy.
[SIGHS] As theories go,
it is not without merit,
except Veronica's eyes.
In the video call,
they kept darting to one side,
especially when she mentioned
being shot or killed,
like she was looking at a gun.
I don't think she can fake that.
She wasn't faking anything.
If Veronica needed money from
me, all she had to do was ask.
What are you talking about?
I've always supported Veronica's art,
emotionally and financially.
Canvases, paints, life drawing classes,
the art camp that she went
to last summer.
Who do you think paid for that?
Because you didn't.
- You son of a
- No!
- Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
- I saw that coming.
- Let me go!
- Keith!
Keith, remember what you said,
"I was the expert on mistakes."
You're making one right now.
Let's get some air. Okay?
[Keith huffs]
Oh, you should have let me hit him!
Did you see the way
he lorded his money over me,
like I don't want
to give my daughter everything?
And his pet suit blaming Veronica.
To hell with the both of them!
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey. Getting
angry in this situation is natural,
but it isn't helping, bruh.
You don't understand 'cause
you don't have children.
You're right. And I can't imagine
what you're going through.
But pushing Ted right now
is not a good idea.
Veronica wouldn't need
a ransom if it wasn't for him.
Now, granted, I may have forced her
to go to Corey for that tuition money,
but do you really think anyone
would have kidnapped Veronica
if Ted wasn't in the picture?
No, I actually don't.
Now, your wife used to work with him.
From what you know,
is there anybody else who
feels about him the way you do?
Anyone who's ever met him.
- Hey, sweet one.
- Hey. You weren't lying.
Ted Akehurst is a real piece of work.
He stiffs contractors,
pollutes the environment,
stabs investors in the back.
He is B-A-D, bad.
Now, here are a list of
the Ted haters I found so far.
Now, if you ask me,
some of them legit seem like
they might murder or kidnap
to get their way.
Oh, which is a lot
more likely than Veronica
- kidnapping herself.
- Mm-hmm.
How do we narrow this down?
$2.7 million is super specific.
I can search the databases at my jobs.
They might have some
information that's not in public record,
see if Ted screwed somebody
out of that exact amount.
Hold up. Rewind.
"Jobs." Plural.
How else do you think
I pay for my product?
No, lots of techies have
multiple gigs these days.
It's no big deal. I got three.
Which explains the texts and the calls.
My bosses are needy
almost as needy as you.
Professor, can we talk?
I wanted to apologize
for tanking my lecture.
No need. I kind of expected
your lecture to go badly.
I wanted to give it to you
anyway and the next one.
You're okay with me being terrible?
Don't tell anyone,
but Phoebe's first big lecture
was atrocious, so was mine.
You were atrocious?
[LAUGHS] A big lecture hall
with a few hundred students,
half of whom don't
really want to be there?
Being terrible is the likely outcome,
even a necessary one, because
When an experiment doesn't go
your way, that's information.
Exactly. You don't fail if you learn
only if you stop.
So give the lecture. Learn.
- Hmm.
Nice pep talk.
I found something.
- Let's hear it.
- Mm.
According to this prospectus I dug up,
Ted founded a company
to develop micro-solar panels.
But his startup had
a crazy high burn rate,
so he went looking
for a capital infusion
to the tune of $2.5 million.
Which isn't far from $2.7 million.
Apparently, if he doesn't get it,
his investors are going
to lose their shirts.
Maybe one of them figured
this is a way to stay afloat.
I don't get it.
Ted Akehurst has plenty of money.
- Why not self-finance?
- It's a good question.
Ted is Theodore Akehurst Jr.
This startup belongs
to Theodore Akehurst III,
his son Trey.
Shoot. Wrong Akehurst.
But same issue, though.
Why Trey go begging for money
when he has a rich-ass daddy?
I'm betting his rich-ass daddy said no,
which means Ted is willing
to give Veronica
whatever she wants but
won't do that for his own son.
You didn't get the wrong Akehurst.
You got the right one. Rizwan,
pull every study we've ever
done on zero-sum bias.
- For the lecture?
- And for the case.


Dinshaw here. Ready for the exchange.
Rose, it's Alec.
Do not do the drop.
Trey is the kidnapper.
Repeat, do not do the drop.
Well, that was a disaster.
- Is Veronica okay?
- I hope so. I never saw her.
When Alec told me to cancel
the drop, I had to think fast.
I said I'd found tracking chips
hidden in the money.
I asked for them to reschedule.
- And the kidnapper bought it?
- He seemed to.
He was angry, but he said
he wouldn't hurt Veronica yet.
Though, he did move up the timeline.
- We now have until midnight.
- Mm.
You're sure this is Trey?
We're sure.
I pulled Trey's phone records.
His cell phone has
been going on and off line
for the past two days. When it's off,
it's completely signal-dead
like it's in a Faraday bag.
The downtimes match
with the ransom calls.
So he bags his own phone
when dealing with Veronica,
then uses hers to make ransom calls.
Then there's the ransom amount.
$2.7 million is exactly what Trey needs
to keep his business afloat
plus what Veronica wants for school.
You make it seem as if Trey and Veronica
- are working together.
- Come on now. There's no way.
Veronica dumped Corey for dealing drugs.
She'd never partake
in a fake kidnapping.
I agree. But I think that when
Trey came up with the idea,
he thought that Veronica
would go along with it.
That's where he came up
with the ransom number.
That's the, um, anchoring thing, right,
where one sets a
a set price in their mind,
and it's tough to change it?
Even after Veronica
refused to cooperate.
You truly believe
Trey might kill Veronica?
They're very nearly brother and sister.
Unfortunately, pseudo-sibling bonds
can also lead
to pseudo-sibling rivalries.
I assume that Trey picked up Veronica
after she argued with Corey.
Something set him off.
Best guess, she floated the idea
of getting the money from Ted
just two days after his father
refused to bail out his startup.
That would have made
Trey angry, jealous, wronged.
Because the classic sibling rivalry
is fueled by a predictable irrationality
called zero-sum bias.
Zero-sum bias is the misbelief
that non-material resources
like love, respect, even good grades
are finite such that if one person wins,
then another one has to lose.
The worst part about zero-sum bias
is that it can make a situation
where everyone could win
into a cutthroat competition,
making win-win into win-lose.
Today, we're going
to talk about zero-sum bias.
But first, prizes.
We have gifts for everyone
who did well on the last quiz.
Party streamers.
- Whoo.
Rondo, A-minus. You get a prize.
Morales, A. One for you.
Starks, A-minus. Catch.
Now it's Wu's turn. We've had three As.
So who thinks Wu will also get a prize?
- Only 20%.
And the correct answer is
- Wu also got an A.
- Streamers!
And that's zero-sum bias.
You made the mistake of
believing the first three As
meant there wouldn't be a fourth,
but the truth is most of you did great.
So streamers for everyone.
Now, for families,
zero-sum bias can make children believe
that their parents' love
is a limited resource
and the more one child gets,
the less there is for anyone else.
In Trey's eyes, Veronica
stole his father's love.
We believe that Trey just
did this spur-of-the-moment
after he picked up Veronica,
which means that she knows who took her.
Then even if he gets
the money, he can't let her go.
Please, we need to
find her before it's too late.
He's right. We don't have much time.
When Trey took Veronica,
he was in a hot state.
If we go back to the place
where he picked her up,
do you think you can determine
where he would have gone,
like what you did with Corey?
Maybe, but Onancock's a long way.
Wait. Corey lives in Onancock?
- That's on Cape Charles, right?
- Yeah, half way up on the 13.
[SIGHS] This is Rose.
Call me back. It's urgent.
What's wrong?
I did some preliminary security workups
to Trey's company,
including on a vacant factory
in Sheraton.
That's a straight shot
down the 13 from Onancock.
We should check it out.
Unfortunately, after Alec called,
I called Ted and shared with
him our suspicions about Trey.
Now his phone's going
straight to voicemail.
And he knows about
the factory in Sheraton.
Everything Trey's done was
triggered by his father's rejection.
And Veronica said Trey has a gun.
We need to get to that
factory before Ted does.
- I'll meet you downstairs.
- Yeah.

Please just let me go.
I won't tell anyone it was you. Please.
I wish I could believe you,
but you're terrible at keeping secrets.
You told everyone
about the affair, including me.
You won't be able to stop yourself
from telling your
psycho father what I did
or mine.
Who's there?
- Show yourself!
What are you doing?
- Veronica, are you all right?
Get away from her.

Stop, or I'll shoot her!
I just came to talk.
I feel like what's
happening here is my fault.
I'd have gotten here sooner,
but, you know,
there was so much snow.
Snow? It's not snowing.
Sorry, Eddy. I stand corrected.
My name's Trey!
What is he doing?
He's using absurdism.
He's saying weird things
to force Trey to correct him
and ground himself in reality.
It's a way to puncture his hot state.
Right. You're Trey.
Your father's Ted.
And your sister's Virginia.
Her name is Veronica,
and she's not my sister!
Great. We agree on the facts.
She's not your sister.
You shot your father
and he's bleeding to death.
Also, Agent Clark
is just beyond that door.
And there's more FBI on the way.
So let's look at your options.
You could try to kill
everyone else here,
but Agent Clark is a really good shot.
And the only reason
she hasn't taken you out yet
is I asked her to let us talk.
So if you choose that path,
you get shot and/or arrested.
You lose.
That's my only choice.
And there's no other way.
But that's not true.
There's always a way to improve
even the worst situation.
What does the best outcome
look like for you, Trey?
I get the money. And I get away.
Not realistic.
We need to think
of the best possible options.
Besides, the money's
not what you want anyway.
You want your father's love.
That's your win.
You thought Veronica stole it from you,
but love's not a limited resource.
Think about this.
When your father knew that
Veronica was in trouble,
he hired Rose.
He delegated.
What did he do when
he thought you were in trouble?
He came here himself?
[SOBBING] And I shot him.
I didn't mean to do this.
I didn't mean to do any of this.
I know.
And now you know
that your father loves you.
If he and Veronica live,
you'll find a way through this.
But if your father dies,
you go to prison,
maybe even for the rest of your life.
And you lose his love forever.
So please, Trey, put the gun down.

Put the gun down.

- Mom! Dad!
- Veronica!
- Come here, come here.
- [SOBBING] Oh, my God.
Come here. Are you okay? Huh?
- Okay, okay.
Oh, my God.
I'm no expert, but that
looks like a win-win-win.
You should let me buy you
a fancy dinner to celebrate.
I'll expense it to Ted.
You want to learn more
about zero-sum bias?
Among other things.
You got her back, and no one died.
Yeah, sometimes you win.
Maybe this is the start of a streak.
I came to tell you the
church bomber, Wes Banning,
finally responded
to your interview requests.
He's agreed to talk.

"Adequate." Three stars.
"Fun, actually." Four stars.
"Kinda interesting." Three stars.
It's still not great.
Better, though. Better is good.
The giveaway totally primed them.
Thanks for that.
Honestly, I wasn't expecting your help.
Because sibling rivalry?
Mm-hmm. [CHUCKLES]
Look, I'll admit I can
be prone to zero-sum bias.
But we study biases
in order to overcome them.
We're a team. We win or lose together.
Almost sounds like you believe that.
Yeah, I almost do.

Dr. Mercer.
Hey, uh, sorry to bother you.
But I made this for you as a thank you.
Wow. This is beautiful.
Hey, I tell you what. I'll trade you.
You didn't get your signed book.
So I take it by this beautiful gift
that things are well
now that Veronica is home?
She's been through a lot,
but kids are resilient.
None of this would have happened
if I hadn't screwed things up with her.
Well, you projected your
perceived failures onto her.
And I see now I have to let
her make her own mistakes.
Sadly [SIGHS]
Mistakes are often
the best ways to learn.
[LAUGHS] Then Tara and I have
learned a lot over the years.
It's good you called out the affair.
It helps us to remember
where we went wrong.
And where we went right.
Hey, why didn't you
and Agent Clark have kids?
You'd be a great dad.
We weighed the pros and cons.
And the whole endeavor seemed
entirely irrational.
Ooh, it is.
I mean, having Veronica
derailed our lives.
- Mm.
- I abandoned my art.
Ended up resenting Tara,
which led to the affair.
But, mm, I wouldn't
trade Veronica for the world.
Mm, heard that.
Mm-hmm. [CHUCKLES]

Run to the rock ♪
The rock was a-melting ♪
BOTH: Run to the rock ♪
The rock was a-melting ♪
Run to the rock [RHYTHMIC SNAPPING]
The rock was a-melting ♪
All on that day ♪
Oh, somebody is in a good mood!
Crawdad dinner for my brother
because your sister loves you.
- Wait a minute.
Your computer is off.
Your phone's not buzzing.
- Mm-hmm.
- What happened?
Rizwan happened.
You know, when I saw
how freaked out he was
over those bad reviews,
I realized he really cares
about what he does.
And I want to care, too.
So maybe I can stop having to choose
between work and my happiness.
He'll find the right job.
I can have both.
- Win-win.
- Mm-hmm.
So I quit my jobs.
All of them?
Working three jobs made it
so I could save a nice pile
and gave me enough time to figure out
what color my parachute is.
Meantime, you owe me
a Benji for groceries.
- It's worth it.
You doubled the spices?
Of course I doubled the spices.
Who you talking to?

Agent Clark, author of all my troubles.
You're a serial bomber.
That's the cause of your troubles.
I'm just the one who caught you.
I hear you're ready
to make a full confession?
Cassette tape-recorder.
I like that. Keeping it old-school.
It stops the defense from arguing
that your confession
is digitally altered.
Subject, Wes Banning.
Interviewer, Marisa Clark.
Session one.
Any time you're ready.
Straight to it then.
It was me.
I bombed the Methodist Church,
April 2002.
There was a big boom and then fire.
I like fire.
13 dead. Will that suffice?
You worked alone?
Of course.
Check my grade school report cards.
"Does not work or play well
with others."
For over a decade,
you refused to admit anything.
Then right when
you can walk free, you confess.
First the parole hearing, now this.
Why the change of heart?
Say I found religion.
Say I don't want to sin again.
I was at that hearing.
You said all the right things
until someone walked in.
Someone I didn't see.
Then you changed your story.
Who was it?
What do they have over you?
A dangerous mystery man.
that's quite the fabulation.
Or you're covering for an accomplice.
Maybe he was the one that
drove that stolen FedEx van
that you used to get away.
I drove the FedEx van.
I'm a lone wolf.
It wasn't a FedEx van.

And you would know that
if you had been at that church.
You may have made that bomb,
but you didn't plant it.
- Did you?
- It was me.
It was all me.
Then describe the getaway vehicle.
Color, company logo.
- Guards!
- Anything.
Get me out of here. I'm done.


- End session.
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