In 1990, following an apparent suicide, the Purcell case is deemed solved, but Wayne and Roland have other ideas, which leads them to a defining course of action.
Wayne Hays drops his daughter Becca off at a college dorm, he thinks back...
In 1990 they find Tom Purcell dead at the top of the fire tower, a gunshot to the head and a suicide note. At home Amelia is anxious, mentions the black man with one eye at his reading as Hays returns home. Wayne is interested, then tells her Purcell is dead, suicide after he and Roland "went after" him. In 2015 Elisa wonders if it really was a suicide, Purcell had a contusion at the base of his skull. Elisa says it's the same as 1980 when an act of violence closes the case. Hays feigns ignorance but...
In 1990 he tells West "they" will hang it on another dead man. West disagrees saying they drove Purcell to his end. Hays is eager to keep following leads, Roland is angry, saying he brought Hays in to help his career. Roland storms off with an f-bomb.
In 1980 West arrives as Purcell is packing up, leaving town. West gives him his business card and personal number, he says to call if he ever needs help.
1990 Amelia goes to the ruined neighborhood, then visits a woman, Lucy Purcell's old best friend. She asks if Lucy had a friend, a black man with one eye? No, Lucy never was with a black man. Amelia mentions Hallowe'en 1980, the woman finds a old snapshot with figures in the background. Amelia asks for the pic, the woman gives it reluctantly. The woman says she stays there so someone will remember what happened.
Elisa asks Wayne what happened to Amelia's sequel book? He says she decided not to do it. Elisa presses Wayne, did Amelia look into a cover-up or conspiracy? He doesn't think so. Roland West arrives.
Hays and West arrive at a Motel, O'Brien's car is there. They check the room, it is empty but signs of a fight and his wallet. Outside West thinks O'Brien is gone.
Kindt holds a press conference, Woodard's conviction will be overturned and Purcell's note taken as a confession. Elisa plays the recording for Hays, he says he was never satisfied with that announcement or any aspect of the case.
1980 Hays and Amelia are living together, Amelia has started writing about the case, she mentions Capote's In Cold Blood as an inspiration. Wayne, washing dishes, encourages her to write about it, to get the truth out, even if he gets in trouble for it.
Elisa brings up a black man named Watts who was asking about Julie in 1990 after Purcell died. She thinks Watts was a procurer, Hays seems interested. Elsewhere in the house Roland talks to Henry, saying he warned his father about the media and mentions the gun Wayne keeps close.
Elisa shows Hays some info on her tablet, little straw dolls are used in pedophile rings. She mentions briefly the Cohle-Rust case in Louisiana in 2012. Hays wants Elisa to show her cards now. Roland tells Henry Wayne needs someone to look after him. Elisa says the pedo rings buy poor kids, Lucy, Tom and the cousin O'Brien were involved and now dead; also kidnap runaways and orphans, high level politicians and authorities are involved. She is surprised Hays never came across any such evidence He laments, as police they rarely have clarity. Elisa is disappointed Hays hasn't been forthcoming, Hays calls off the interview, the story is over. Wayne then goes to see Roland, eager to look into Watts.
In 1990 Hays gets Nevada Bell 1988 phone records from Lucy Purcell's last motel room. He pours over the records looking into the phone calls. He ignores a pager call.
Amelia gives up phoning and takes the kids for a ride, Wayne was supposed to be home.
Wayne pretends to be Lt. West and requests flight records into McCarran Airport in Vegas in 1988.
Amelia visits a roadhouse to see a man who knew Lucy. He did see Dan O'Brien talking to the one-eyed black man once. Amelia notices her car and runs outside, relieved to see the kids asleep in the back seat.
In the morning Hays wakens West with a sheaf of papers, he has solved it. Wayne has proof Harris James as a Hoyt employee, spoke to Lucy Purcell and flew to Vegas around the day Lucy died. Roland is hesitant, Hays wants them to bring in Harris and get him to turn on his bosses. Roland wants to just pass it to Blevins, Hays says they need to do it for Tom Purcell. Roland gives in.
In 2015 Hays and West interview a retired Hoyt housekeeper, the woman is curious why they are still police at their ages. She knew about Harris James, said Isabel Hoyt had no luck, her husband and kids dying in a car wreck in 1977. She had another wreck, then the Hoyts had a one-eyed black man named Mr. June to look after Miss Isabel. Hays gets confused when a young girl approaches the old woman, he thinks it is his daughter Becca. Roland gets him refocused. In 1981 the Hoyts restricted servant access around the house and something odd was happening with Miss Isabel. Later, Wayne apologizes to Roland for getting him to go after Harris, Roland says he is past it.
At night West and Hays follow James leaving the Hoyt plant. On a deserted stretch they pull him over. James is nervous and wary as West orders him out of the car, they have to physically pull him out. The cops take him to their deserted barn. After awhile James is handcuffed, beaten bloody. He still refuses to turn over or admit anything, laughing the two don't know what they are into, dismissing the Purcells and O'Brien as trash. After a few more kicks he weeps and pleads for relief. Hays kneels to loosen the handcuffs, James has a go for Hays' gun. He gets a hand on it but Roland shoots him dead. The two cops bury him out in the woods. West is absolutely livid now, having murdered a man with no new evidence.
Forward to 2015, West says Harris could have started working for Hoyt after the Isabel car crash in '77. The two men start to talk about Amelia, her investigative skills. Hays says they had made a deal back in 1990 to stop looking into the case. Roland is skeptical as Wayne says Amelia spoke to him recently to finish it now. Wayne goes to the window, he calls West over to see the dark sedan. Hays approaches the car with a baseball bat, it starts up and peels off, West comes out from behind the car with a clear photo of the license plate. Walking back to the house Hays recalls...
The night in 1990 when he burned his bloody clothes in a garbage can after the Harris killing. Amelia comes to see him in the backyard, he will talk to her in the morning. At breakfast Amelia says it's time for a real talk to turn around their marriage. The phone rings, Wayne answers, the voice is Edwin Hoyt who wants to discuss Harris James and the events of the previous night. Hays sees two black Cadillacs outside, Hoyt hints at possible menace to the Hays' family, but wants to talk. Wayne tells Amelia he will tell her everything after this one last time, he nervously goes out and gets into a black car, it drives off.