When a college student is murdered in his dorm room Dr. Pierce (Eric McCormack) is forced to get closer to his students than he would like in order to help Kate (Rachael Leigh Cook) and the FBI, who agree to investigate the case as a favor for Dean Haley (LeVar Burton). Pierce also has to deal with a football star (Aaron Hill) displaying symptoms of subdural hematoma who turned in a paper he bought online and bright but disinterested student (Shane Coffey) who seems to be doing everything in his power to flunk out of college.
The investigation turns up three suspects in a disgruntled ex-boyfriend (Gabriel Basso) with a secret, a problem child of German nobility (William Moseley) who fled the country shortly after the murder, and a lovesick young girl (Christina Scherer) who is obsessed with the victim’s boyfriend. Meanwhile, Pierce makes a troubling discovery that the disinterested student he’s been dealing with is another of his hallucinations – one of himself in college before he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
The investigation also uncovers the grad student (Dov Tiefenbach) who has been writing and selling term papers for other students as well as the student (Basso) supplying him, and several other students, with methamphetamine stolen from a professor’s (Molly Hagan) failed experiment working on a drug for Defense Department. Understanding the drug’s side effects Pierce is able to finally discover the final piece of the mystery and uncover the murderer (Amelia Rose Blaire).
The mystery works well with plenty of red herrings as the episode keeps the real motivations hidden until the final act. The episode also puts character first in several scenes such as Pierce trying to connect with a student facing a life crisis not dissimilar to his own and working to understand why he’s being haunted by his younger self, and Kate breaking up with Dr. Hathaway (Jamie Bamber) who understands her reasoning far better than she does.