2.07 The Usual Suspects

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2-07 The Usual Suspects.jpg
Title The Usual Suspects
Episode # Season 2, Episode 7
First aired November 9, 2006
Directed by Mike Rohl
Written by Cathryn Humphris
On IMDB The Usual Suspects
Outline Sam and Dean investigate the murders of a lawyer and his wife who, right before they died, claimed to have seen a ghost.
Monster Death Omen
Vengeful Spirit
Timeline
Location(s) Baltimore, Maryland
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Synopsis

In Baltimore, Sam and Dean investigate the murder of a lawyer, Tony Giles, who was killed in his office, although the security cameras show no-one either entering or leaving the room.

They interview his wife Karen, who reports that he had a nightmare or vision of a woman the night before he died. Breaking into his office, Sam and Dean find a printout with “danashulps” printed repeatedly on it, which they assume to be a name Dana Shulps. Sam stays to hack into the computer while Dean decides to return and ask Karen whether the name means anything.

At her home, Karen sees a ghostly figure and rushes to call 911. When Dean arrives, he finds her dead in a pool of blood with a pile of paper near her which also has “danashulps” printed on it. As he bends over to examine bruises on her wrists, the police burst and arrest him.

Sam is arrested at their motel room, and back at the police station Dean and Sam are interrogated separately. A lengthy police record has been uncovered for Dean, including suspicion in the murders in St Louis, where he was reported as dead (Skin).

Detective Diana Ballard interviews Sam, and he spins her a tale about Tony being an old friend of their father. Detective Ballard reveals she knows a lot about Sam’s history as well, and tries to get him to admit Dean’s involvement in the murders.

Detective Ballard leaves to confer with her colleague Detective Pete Sheridan, with whom she is having a relationship. Sheridan is convinced of Dean’s guilt, he appears particularly invested in the case because Tony Giles was a friend of his.

Dean’s lawyer, Jeff Krause, arrives but rather than speak to him, Dean borrows a pen and tries to work out if “danashulps” is an anagram. His lawyer helps by pointing out that one word it forms “Ashland” which is a nearby street. Dean gets Jeff to pass a coded note to Sam, which passes on the information and tells him to escape.

Dean announces that he wants to confess, thus diverting all the police attention on to him. He doesn’t confess to the murders, but says that he thinks a ghost is responsible and that the word “danashulps” is a message from her. Predictably, the police believe he is wasting their time, which he has been in order to allow Sam time to escape. Dean is cuffed and put in a cell.

Meanwhile the word “danashulps” appears on Ballard’s computer screen, and she sees the ghostly figure of a woman with her throat slit. When she returns to speak to Dean, he see bruises have appeared on her wrists similar to those he saw on Karen. He suspects she has seen something supernatural and tells her to go to Sam for help.

Together, she and Sam identify the woman she saw as Claire Becker, a heroin dealer who had worked as a police informant. She disappeared eight or nine months ago, but was last seen at 2911 Ashland Street. Sam explains to Diane that they need to find her body and salt and burn it in order to stop the killings.

While Sam and Diane are searching a building on Ashland, Claire appears again and points them to where they find her body hidden in a wall. Sam is bemused as to why the ghost would lead them to her body. Diana sees that Claire is wearing a distinctive necklace which is identical to one Pete has given her. Sam deduces that Claire is not a vengeful spirit, but a death omen who is trying to warn people who are about to be murdered.

Diane tells Sam that a couple of years ago some heroin went missing from the police lock-up. She suspects that Pete stole it and used Claire to fence it. They suspect Pete is the murderer.

Pete has taken Dean from the police station and driven out to the woods intending to kill him. Sam and Diane track the car via its lo-jack and arrive just as Pete has a gun to Dean. He admits that he killed Claire because she was going to turn him in, and then killed Tony, who had been involved in laundering the money, and was getting nervous, and Karen because he suspected she knew too much.

Pete tries to convince Diane that he can pin the crimes on Dean, but as he is about to shoot Dean, Diane shoots him. Claire appears again, and as Diane kills Sheridan, Claire disappears. Diane agrees to let the boys go, telling them she will feel safer knowing they are out there fighting the supernatural.

Characters

Definitions

Music

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Quotes

Dean: My favorite kind. What do you think, Scully? You wanna check it out?

Sam: I'm not Scully, you're Scully.

Dean: No, I'm Mulder. You're a red-headed woman.
Sam: I needed some time off. To deal. So I'm taking a road trip with my brother.

Ballard: How's that going for you?

Sam: Great. I mean... we saw the second largest ball of twine in the continental US. Awesome.
Lawyer: I'm Jeff Krause. I'm with the Public Defender's office. I'm your lawyer.
Dean: Oh, thank God. I'm safe.
Dean: My name is Dean Winchester. I'm an Aquarius. I enjoy sunsets, long walks on the beach, and frisky women. And I did not kill anyone. But I know who did. Or rather what did. Of course it can't be for sure, because our investigation was interrupted. But our working theory was that we're looking for some kind of vengeful spirit.
Sam: You know, this is bothering me...

Ballard: Well, you are digging up a corpse.
Sam: No, not that. It's pretty par for the course, actually.
Ballard: Then what?

Sam: It's just, I mean no vengeful spirit I've ever tussled with wanted to be wasted, so why the hell would Claire lead us to her remains? It doesn't make any sense.
Dean: Need a break? So soon? Might want to get your prostate checked.
Sheridan: This Dean kid is a frickin' gift. We can pin the whole thing on him, no trial, nothing. Just one more dead scumbag.
Dean: Hey!
Dean: I could really go for some pea soup.
- Added by Jensen in ADR (automated dialogue replacement) session.S2Com, p. 52

Trivia & References

The title of this episode is a reference to the movie The Usual Suspects, which itself references a line from Casablanca (See The Meaning of Episode Titles). The way this story progresses is similar to how the movie The Usual Suspects unfolds: told through a series of flashbacks during the course of a police interrogation.
Dean and Sam fight over who is "Mulder" and who is "Scully" - Mulder and Scully being the leading duo of The X-Files.
Dean refers to the lead male officer as "Ponch," a reference to his resemblance to Eric Estrada in CHiPs.
At the end of the episode, as they walk away, Dean says, "Does she look familiar to you?" Sam replies, "No, why?" Dean says, "I don't know. Are you hungry? For some reason I could really go for some pea soup." Dean's comment on "looking familiar" and mention of "pea soup" are references in homage to guest star Linda Blair and The Exorcist, the film that she is best known for, in which her character, a possessed teenager, at one point vomits pea soup.
Dean's note to Sam - addressing him as "Hilts" and signing off as "McQueen" is a reference to The Great Escape - Steve McQueen played the lead character, Captain Hilts. It is most likely that this is code meaning one brother will stall, buying the other enough time to make their "great escape."
Sam and Dean's practice of picking the first motel in the yellow pages and signing in as "Jim Rockford." Jim Rockford is a fictional private investigator from the 1970s TV series, The Rockford Files.
Dean references The Shining twice:
Both Sam and Dean jokingly call their lawyer "Matlock." Matlock was a TV legal drama that ran in the late 1980s-early '90s, "Matlock" being the name of the defense attorney the series focused on.
The episode takes place sometime between October 2006 and May 2007, as Sam is mentioned as being 23-years-old.
Sam was a straight-A student at school and got into Stanford with a full scholarship.
The apartment where Jessica died is confirmed as his (rather than hers), and Jess was the only fatality that day.
The shapeshifter and the murder that the police are referring to happened in the first season episode, 1.06 Skin.
Ballard: And then there's the case of your brother Dean, whose demise was well, just a little bit exaggerated.
This is a reference to the popular quote "Rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated," widely but erroneously attributed to Mark Twain. What Twain actually said was, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."
Keegan Connor Tracy who portrayed Karen Giles in this episode would later return as another character in 4.18 The Monster at the End of This Book (See Weren't you in another episode? and Weren't You On Another TV Show?).

Minutiae

When Detective Diana Ballard finds Sam he is staying at the Aardvark Motel. According to Dean, if separated he and Sam would meet at the first hotel listed in the phone book. The word "aardvark" is the first word (after "A") in an English language dictionary.
The starburst clock shows up in the motel room that Detective Diana Ballard finds Sam in. You can see it on the wall on the right side right before Sam sits down at the computer. It is the only episode during season two that it appears in. It shows up next in episode 3.02 The Kids Are Alright.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

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