We open in the garage of the Cascade Police Department, where Jim and Blair are strategizing about how to approach Simon and ask him to allow Blair to ride along with Jim as an observer. Blair is confident that he can “thesis-speak” Simon into agreeing, but Jim isn’t so sure. He also again tells Blair not to tell anyone about the senses. As they leave the garage, Jim tells Blair that he smells blood. Blair thinks it’s due to the fact that he cut himself that morning making breakfast, but we see that there are two dead policemen in the trunk of one of the cars, and two suspicious-looking guys wearing police uniforms.
Then we move to Simon’s office. Blair is giving his spiel, telling Simon that he wants to shadow Jim because he’s studying how evidence-gathering affects the outcome of arrests, but Simon doesn’t seem to be buying it. Blair then goes for his “thin blue line” idea, which Jim had specifically nixed in the garage. Jim rolling his eyes isn’t really helping Blair’s case with Simon here. Simon asks Blair to give them a moment, and he and Jim discuss it, and Jim tells Simon that this is a family thing (which is interesting given what we find out about Jim’s family later on). After some persuasion by Jim, Simon reluctantly agrees to their proposal, provided that Blair can pass the security clearance.
Before Jim leaves, we get a chance to meet Daryl, Simon’s son. We learn that Simon and Daryl’s mother, Joan, have recently divorced, and Simon is taking Daryl on a fishing trip so the two of them can spend some time together. But Simon has just found out that he has a lunch meeting, so he tells Daryl to stay in his office until he gets back. Daryl doesn’t seem all that interested in the trip, but he’s 14 and giving off a typical adolescent I’m-not-interested-in-anything-and-my-parents-are-so-uncool vibe. He does interact pretty positively with Jim, though.
Jim takes Blair down to Personnel to get started. Blair is astonished that his mention of “thin blue line” didn’t have Simon convinced, and is dismayed that Jim went with the “cousin story”. Jim lays out the parameters of their relationship in no uncertain terms: “From now on, when I tell you to do something, you do it; when I tell you to say something, you say it, the way I tell you to say it, okay? Are we clear?”
Blair says they’re clear. Note that he doesn’t say that he agrees or that he’ll obey. :-)
There’s a brief interlude where Blair goes to use the bathroom and Jim goes back into the Major Crimes bullpen. Joel Taggart comes to tell him that two of the Sunrise Patriots have gotten life sentences for a bombing. Jim doesn’t seem very enthused by this news, and says that as long as Garrett Kincaid, their leader, is still at large, then the group is still active.
In Personnel, Blair is given a pile of things to read and forms to fill out, as well as the obligatory drug test, and Jim demonstrates that he’s not very suave with the ladies. And then he goes off to have lunch with his ex-wife. They have some more expository conversation about the Sunrise Patriots and Garrett Kincaid; as they leave the PD garage we see someone in a van who identifies himself as “Kincaid” giving the go signal over a walkie-talkie.
The suspicious policemen we saw earlier have gotten into the main communications room, killing the staff there and broadcasting a message that sends most of the police force far away from the central PD office. The van with Kincaid enters the PD garage and another group of men come out of that. They sweep through the building, herding all the remaining people, including Daryl, into the Major Crimes bullpen. Joel Taggart, who we met at the end of Switchman as well as earlier in this episode, gets shot in the leg in the process.
Blair, who is in the bathroom with his drug test kit, hears the shot. He looks out, sees Taggart hurt and Kincaid’s men rounding people up, and decides the wisest course of action is to hide in a stall. He puts his feet up so that when one of Kincaid’s men comes in to check for stragglers, he doesn’t see Blair.
Meanwhile, Jim and Carolyn are on their way to lunch, but Carolyn is concerned because she can’t get into her voicemail. When she can’t reach 911 either, Jim knows something is wrong. He makes a swift U-turn and they return to the station, where Jim uses his hearing to discover that the building has been taken over by Garrett Kincaid and the Sunrise Patriots. Simon joins them, having been unable to raise anyone on the radio on the way to his meeting.
Blair is still hiding in the bathroom stall, but when one of Kincaid’s men comes in to wash his hands, he slips and the toilet flushes. The guy heads for the stall but Blair, thinking quickly, kicks the door out, knocking the guy unconscious. Blair then runs out of the bathroom.
As Simon, Jim, and Carolyn are trying to figure out what to do, Kincaid calls Simon on his cell phone. He issues his demands – he wants his men who were given life sentences to be released; they’ll be picked up from the roof of the jail by helicopter. Simon, stalling, tells him he has to release some hostages. Kincaid, showing a particularly grim sense of humor, agrees – and two of his men shoot out a window and dangle Daryl out of it, in full sight of Simon. Simon, horrified, has no choice but to agree to relay Kincaid’s demands to the governor.
Jim, Simon, and Carolyn set up a command center of sorts in the store across from the PD, as the Cascade Fire Department goes about evacuating the area. Simon talks to the governor, who refuses to release the convicted men. Both men are worried about what will happen to the hostages – including Blair, Joel, and Daryl – when Kincaid’s demands are not met.
Meanwhile, Blair is still at large in the PD. He’s hiding behind a vending machine when one of Kincaid’s men comes in to get something to eat. When the machine fails to give him what he wants, he gets angry and starts shooting at it. Blair panics and shoves the machine, which topples onto Kincaid’s guy. Blair runs out of the room.
Jim comes up with a plan for getting into the building through the sewers. He and Simon suit up in Kevlar (fortunately Simon’s got a small armory in the trunk of his car) and head out. It takes Jim a while to adjust to the smell of the sewers and Simon gives him a funny look. They can’t find the entrance they were originally looking for, but Jim smells gas, so they realize they’re right under the PD garage, and they find an exit. Unfortunately, Jim is spotted on the security camera by one of Kincaid’s men. Kincaid sends a guy to kill them, but Jim is able to hear him coming, and warn Simon. Jim takes Kincaid’s guy down, but does take a bullet in the vest, and Simon is smart enough to respond on the dead guy’s radio, so Kincaid and the others think Jim has been killed.
Meanwhile, Kincaid gets word from his helicopter pilot that their men have not been released from jail. He retaliates by firing a TOW missile into the building next door. At this point, it’s pretty clear to everyone watching that Kincaid is completely insane.
Jim and Simon are doing their commando thing. They go up to the lobby, only to find that the elevators aren’t working and the door to the stairs has been welded shut (something that Jim is able to tell with his enhanced sense of touch), so they go back to the garage to rig a police motorcycle to be a bomb and blow the door open. While Jim is doing this, Simon is talking to the governor, who now is agreeing to release Kincaid’s men – the TOW missile convinced her. Simon tells her he thinks they can stop Kincaid, and she gives her blessing, but says she’s still going to release the prisoners.
Blair, meanwhile, is still evading Kincaid’s men, who are searching for him from floor to floor. He hides in an office and, seeing a window-washer’s scaffolding on the side of the building, breaks the window and jumps down to it. Unfortunately, though, the noise attracts the attention of one of Kincaid’s men on the roof, and Blair is captured.
He’s brought to Kincaid, who is about to kill him for taking out his men. But Blair runs a quick line of BS that he’s a narcotics cop sent in by Simon, and therefore has value as a hostage. Joel backs him up on this, and Kincaid buys it, but then there’s an incredibly creepy and intense exchange where Kincaid grabs the front of Blair’s jacket, looks him up and down, and says “I could use a man like you.”
Jim and Simon successfully blow the door open and head up the stairs. The explosion has not gone unnoticed by Kincaid, however, who sends a guy to find and kill whoever’s responsible. Jim gets the drop on the guy because he can smell his cologne through the door. He also hears the chopper as it approaches, and tells Simon they have to get moving.
They get into the communications center and Simon gives the order for all units to return to the PD. Jim, meanwhile, has heard that Kincaid is planning to escape on the helicopter, and has given the order to kill the remaining hostages (except for Blair, whom Kincaid is taking with him as insurance). Jim and Simon bust in to the bullpen and surprise Kincaid’s men, and, with Joel and Daryl’s help, manage to take them down. Simon has an emotional reunion with Daryl while Jim yells that he’s heading for the roof to get Kincaid.
The chopper has landed and Kincaid shoves Blair inside, despite Blair’s protests that he’s not really a cop, just an anthropologist. They take off; Jim arrives on the roof just in time to make a flying leap for one of the helicopter’s struts. At first the people in the chopper think it’s just a wind gust, but Kincaid soon realizes that Jim is hanging on to the chopper as it flies over the city. He opens the door to shoot Jim, but a well-timed kick from Blair sends him falling, and he has to grab on to Jim’s leg to save himself. Blair, meanwhile, has found a flare gun, and uses it – and some more bravado – to force the chopper pilot to land back on the PD roof, where Simon and the other police officers are waiting, having caught the rest of Kincaid’s men.
Kincaid is captured and taken into custody. The cops are about to arrest Blair, as well, but Simon stops them and tells them “he’s on our team”, which thrills Blair. Carolyn shows up and is relieved that Jim is okay.
Simon takes Jim off to the side and asks him what the hell is going on. He hasn’t failed to notice that Jim’s senses were operating outside of normal range today. Jim confesses the whole sentinel thing, including that the real reason Blair is asking for an observer pass is because he’s trying to figure out how to help Jim control his senses. Simon is surprisingly accepting of this – or maybe he’s just too exhausted by the events of the day – and he tells Jim that he wants a full briefing in a couple of days when everything has calmed down, which Jim agrees to do. The episode closes with a cute tag where Jim reassures Blair about telling Simon and Blair realizes that he’s in for an adrenaline-filled ride.
Why this episode is essential:
Although the pilot introduced us to the main characters, this episode is essential for the way it extends and provides detail about them. We see Jim continuing to use his senses actively to help him do his job – I think he uses all of them except taste in this ep. We also see Jim using his Army Special Forces training in terms of the infiltration of the besieged PD. And, finally, we see Jim in full action hero glory, racing across a rooftop to leap onto the departing helicopter to save his buddy… er, catch the bad guy. I can’t help but hear “I Need A Hero” every time I watch this part of the ep.
We knew that Blair was smart from the pilot, but we really get to see him shine in Siege, despite the fact that he and Jim are apart for most of the ep. He’s verbally clever and resourceful, both in his attempts to convince Simon to let him ride along with Jim, as well as his attempts to save himself when in peril. The “thin blue line” idea, as well as the “quality of evidence gathering” one has come up as an alternate dissertation topic for Blair in a lot of fic. And he’s not just verbally resourceful – despite being outmatched as far as weapons, he finds a way to overcome two of Kincaid’s men and avoid being caught for a significant period of time. He’s also brave, and he thinks on his feet.
Simon, too, reveals hidden depths in this episode. He’s clearly not the kind of guy who commands from behind a desk, but is both willing and able to go into the field when needed. He and Jim work amazingly well together as they infiltrate the PD – he defers to Jim’s expertise as an Army Ranger, but also knows when to take the lead.
We also get some really nice backstory on Simon in that we get to meet his son, Daryl. We knew from the pilot that he was getting a divorce, but this ep fleshes that out more, and gives the siege a human element for Simon because Daryl is one of the hostages.
Another essential element is the introduction of Garrett Kincaid, one of TS’s favorite villains. His megalomania, his ruthlessness, and his penchant for terrorism make him a good foil for Jim’s selfless heroism and concern for others. There’s also enough undercurrent in his interactions with Blair to make that something intriguing to explore.
This is also the episode where Simon gets let in on the Sentinel secret. In retrospect, this is something that had to happen. Both Jim and Blair needed someone in the PD to know what was going on, to be able to run interference and support them if needed. It would have been impractical, if not impossible, for Jim to have kept this from his boss for long. But it’s interesting how this gets played out in the episode. Jim hardly thinks twice about using his senses around Simon, despite having told Blair at least twice that he doesn’t want anyone to know about them. He readily uses smell, touch, and hearing, and deals with Simon’s questions primarily by ignoring them, which may also be one of the reasons he needs Blair around – Blair is good at thinking up stories to explain Jim’s unusual abilities. And at the end, he’s able to explain it to Simon in a clear and uncomplicated way, which Simon accepts, although, as we’ll see, he’s never very comfortable discussing the “Sentinel thing”. This is all in contrast to how Jim deals with potentially “being out” for most of the series, especially towards the end.
Finally, there’s a handful of fan favorite bits and information in this episode, including:
· Jim’s brief mention of his mother and cousin (when, as we learn later, he’s actually quite estranged from his family)
· Jim’s banter with Carolyn about lunching at Wonderburger
· Joel’s heroism and strengthening of his role as a support to Jim, Simon, and Blair