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Season 1, Episode 3:
Reese and Finch try to figure out how to help Joey, an Iraqi war vet that's fallen in with a group of ex-military bank robbers. Their middleman, Latimer, enlists Joey's gang to steal a single item from a police lock-up: a box of evidence from the murder of "Elias, M." Reese infiltrates the gang for the heist and Finch tries to intervene, getting caught as one of the hostages. When they return with the evidence, Latimer tries to kill the gang but Reese manages to save Joey and convinces him to leave town.
In the coda, Latimer delivers the evidence to his mysterious employer: crime scene photos from the 1970s of a woman found dead in her home, along the murder weapon, a kitchen knife. Latimer demands his payment, but when Reese tracks him down, he finds Latimer's dead body, killed with the kitchen knife.
In flashbacks to 2006, Reese is on his way through an airport when he runs across Jessica, his former lover; she's currently engaged to someone else, while Reese is on his way to some top-secret deployment. Jessica is still in love with Reese and offers to stay if he asks her too, but he can't, not until she's already gone.
Tropes present in this episode include
- Framing the Guilty Party: How Finch creates an opening in the gang for Reese to fill.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Captain Montgomery as Latimer, the gang's ringleader.
- Honor Before Reason: Joey robs banks, putting his life and liberty at risk, to provide for the family of a deceased Army comrade.
- Innocuously Important Episode: "Mission Creep" isn't the most stellar offering, but the case files of the "Elias, M." murder kick off one of the major arcs of the first season.
- It Works Better with Bullets: Joey and the gang have a hard time fighting back against Latimer when their guns have no firing pins. Luckily, Reese brought a spare.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The gang of robbers, and later Elias.