If the series didn’t make a habit of naming each installment after the person they’re searching for, this hour could have been called “Sins of the Father.”
Not only did Jason lose his temper and misstep with his reaction to Keith on Alert: Missing Persons Unit Season 1 Episode 8, but Mike faced some hard truths about his father figure and a revelation about his actual father, which had him regretting the past two decades.
But within all the strife the hour brought forth, there was an open door for forgiveness and healing.
We spend a lot of time with Nikki and Jason on this series, and we’ve learned a bit about both of them via their family and follow them home often enough.
Although, there’s still an oddity to Jason’s relationship with June that was seemingly dropped along the way with no fanfare.
And we’ve also learned a bit more about Kemi via this situation with her father and had glimmers of insight into the forever quirky C.
But this was the first installment we got to peel back a few layers to Mike, the consummate straight-man in this office full of mavericks, eccentrics, and loose cannons.
The case got a bit convoluted as Mike’s mentor brought him something about a mutual friend and fellow cop, Craig, who had gone missing.
But somehow, it evolved into this conspiracy case full of corruption and deception. And Craig and Mike were the biggest victims of the situation.
It was interesting that Craig was an informant for his handler at the FBI. The downside to how they were going about things was that she didn’t ensure he would be protected if something happened to her.
The Feds immediately assumed that he was the one who murdered her, and they were practically on a full manhunt to find him and make him pay.
George: I raised you Mike. You know what kind of man I am.
Mike: You know the last thing I said to him was, “You’re dead to me.” Yeah, George. I know exactly what kind of man you are.
Mike was right about how they were on the verge of playing judge, jury, and executioner if given a chance. They lost one of their own, and they got blinded by that.
It led to the typical disputes about jurisdiction issues, and Mike and the MPU were technically supposed to stand down as the FBI took over and potentially railroaded Craig.
The case became a mess of itself as Mike and the others got around to clearing Craig’s good name. It took a bit before there was footage of what really happened to Craig, and we learned that he was a victim of a shady organization.
An inability to know who to trust while investigating a shady black-and-white dynamic caused so much mess. They couldn’t just turn to anyone, including law enforcement.
Keith wasn’t kidnapped. He died because of me.
The vendetta against Craig over his handler’s death clouded the FBI’s judgment, so they were in no place to provide much assistance. Mike and the others essentially stealing the case from underneath them worked well.
Except it ruined Mike’s relationship with George. Mike was too close to it, allowing George to cloud his judgment the whole way through. Fortunately, Kemi was not having it, nor was Nikki by extension.
She sensed George was a liar, manipulator, and cheat, and she was right. Trying to get Mike to see it was difficult, though.
Not only was George heavily corrupt and involved in this organization that Craig was investigating, but he was also behind framing Mike’s father.
Of all the offenses, leading Mike to believe for the past two decades that his father was a dirty cop while stepping in as a father figure, was as low as it gets.
And George wasn’t above framing or having Craig killed, too. And Craig was supposedly almost as close to George as Mike was.
The whole operation had Mike and the MPU racing against time and working against the Feds to get to Craig in time to protect him.
And then they did that, and Mike confiding in George is what nearly got Craig killed again.
Mike wasn’t himself the whole way through, but knowing his background and how he believed his father was a dirty cop for most of his life, proved enlightening in understanding his character and why he is the way he is in his approach.
He’s typically the one who wants to go by the book with everything and rarely missteps. His reaction to Jason’s ways and the times when Nikki gives into some of her more reckless impulses have proven to be rooted in something deeper, and now we know what.
Mike has spent most of her adult life trying not to be like the man he thought his father was, and he’s carried that into the field every day.
And yet this was a case that brought out the side of him that was ruled by emotion. Kemi did most of the heavy lifting in trying to rein him in.
She’s a good friend and colleague that way, although it was unusual that she took the lead on that because Nikki was too preoccupied with the Keith fiasco.
It was so unexpected to see Mike putting his gun in his mentor’s face and looking as if he was moments away from pulling the trigger. We’ve seen him well in control of his emotions throughout the season, but this was an incredibly badass, albeit unhinged version of him.
It was a version of Mike that you can definitely see being best friends with Jason, which is probably why the two of them having a conversation after the case was wrapping was so interesting.
Jason is self-aware regarding his behavior and how he needs to control himself better. He was in a decent position to give Mike advice because he knows what that’s like and had a nasty bout of letting his rage fuel him earlier with Keith.
Coming home, being with my family, it’s all I thought about when I was gone. Having Sid doubt me was hard; having you doubt who I am is a whole different gutpunch.
It was shocking to see Mike repeatedly punching the bad guy out until Jason pulled him off. It was another thing that I didn’t anticipate seeing.
But one of the most satisfying moments for Mike was when he got to talk to his father for the first time in years. He hadn’t seen or spoken to the man since he was a teenager, but there he was at his doorstep, ready to apologize for believing everything George had told him.
And Mike Sr. didn’t even need that apology. He just needed his son back. It’s too bad we missed out on the conversation afterward. Spending more time with the two of them would be nice.
And, good grief. How old was Mike’s father when he had him? He didn’t even look like he was old enough to have a kid in his 30s.
Mike: Hey, dad. I, um, I understand if you don’t want to see me.
Mike Sr: I think you everyday, youre my son. Every day for the last 20 years, I was hoping for this day.
In some ways, I wish this was a situation where Nikki could weigh in and support Mike more since they’re supposed to be getting married. Mike has felt so isolated from the family in all ways, and that’s been disappointing.
Kemi’s forgiveness ritual was definitely a necessity for this group of individuals who willingly partake in these things, even if they’re indulging Kemi.
But was anyone else chuckling at the irony of Kemi instigating a forgiveness ritual when she spent so long going off the rails over her father’s association with the man who kidnapped and assaulted her?
Perhaps it was her way of letting go of that too.
But the Bautiste Grant family desperately needed some healing since they had become almost irreparably fractured.
Unfortunately, most of Sidney’s conversation with her parents took place offscreen. But she got to reiterate her issues with Keith in front of him when she spoke about how he died.
And now that we know the context of it, there’s so much possibility. Most of Keith’s story has always been a matter of things being possible enough to have happened while still leaving room for doubt.
Sidney felt guilty that she pushed Keith away when they were on the frozen lake, and he fell through the ice. She couldn’t get to him and thought he had drowned and frozen to death down there.
It’s still bonkers that she never told her parents that, thought he was dead, led them to believe that he wasn’t for all that time, watched their entire family fall apart, and her parents suffer from a lack of closure while she kept her mouth shut.
And it was because she feared that they would send her back. It’s a genuine fear for a foster/adopted kid, but it’s still unfathomable that she managed to get away with this for six years.
The more time we spend with Sidney, the less likable she becomes, even if we can understand her position and her doubts.
And the worst part about all of this is that there were no real repercussions for her. Nikki and Jason barely batted an eye over the mere thought that she lied about what happened that night and Keith being dead and even went all this time not telling them the truth but wanting them to act on her doubts.
Nikki: Whoever he is, even if he’s not our son, there’s good in him. You know I can feel it.
Jason: I can feel it too.
Instead, she got the reassurance that they would’ve never given her back, and they moved on from that too quickly.
As for Keith, he always has an answer for everything. It’s equally bizarre that even when Sidney was at her worst, he didn’t mention that he fell into the lake and found a hole out, and got into the first warm car that would take him.
Everything Keith said felt reactionary to what Sidney presented to them.
And then he, too, forgave Sidney almost instantly after figuring that upon learning the truth, she felt guilty and blamed herself.
It was awful to see Jason confront Keith the way he did. Whether he knew for sure that was his son or not, he was still a teenager.
It would’ve made more sense if they had waited for official confirmation and identified the body before reacting. And Nikki was so busy playing defense to Sidney and Jason’s emotional reactions that we barely got to see her process her own or where she stood on the matter.
C’s work proves that even with all the science, things aren’t fool-proof and can be interpreted differently. Sometimes, people see what they want to see, and the presumed image of the lake boy looked close enough to Keith to give them pause.
But, weirdly, the realization that the lake boy had bone cancer came so late into the game. So much of this could’ve been avoided if they had led with that information.
It was used to make things more official and remove doubts that the body in the lake wasn’t Keith’s, but it came too late into the game and was a contrivance for drama.
So, after all that speculation, we’re supposed to believe with 100% that this kid really is Keith, and all the evidence supports it.
And now, with that mystery solved, we must face new ones about who held him for six years and how they’re stalking him and the family.
It took most of the season, but now Keith is going to tell his family what really happened to him in the years that he’s been away, and hopefully, by doing so, he’ll enlist his parents’ help in catching these people and protecting their family.
It felt like the catching the kidnappers portion got put on the back burner, so it’ll be nice to get back to that.
Over to you, Alert Fanatics. Do you believe that this is really Keith, like they’ve proven? Did you enjoy this Mike-centered episode? Sound off below.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.