Man Hunt is the thirteenth episode of the first season. It was released on May 6, 2005.
A prison transport bus crashes after maneuvers by two other vehicles, and several inmates escape, including the dangerous McDowd. Charlie gets on well with CHP Officer Morris on the scene and works out mathematically it was no accident; statistically, both other drivers were in the game. Dad is worried Don might be returning to the period when he regularly worked in fugitive retrieval, especially now a former colleague, burly Federal Marshal Cooper, is on the same case. After finding a lesser fugitive, Charlie's mathematical probabilities approach helps to reconstruct the remarkable movements of McDowd in LA, which leads to a worrisome motive relating to a DEA case and likely further accomplices...
A prison bus is involved in an accident and two of the inmates escape in a truck they hijack. Don is called in on his day off for the investigation and he also requests help from Fugitive Recovery in getting the prisoners back again. Alan is not happy with Don working a recovery case again; it seems when Don worked such cases in the past he would disappear for weeks at a time and the family had no idea where he was or what he was doing.
Agent Billy Cooper from FR arrives and its revealed he and Don were partnered when Don also worked recovery cases. Cooper states the best chance they have is to investigate the family and friends of Williams and McDowd as their best chance to recapture the two men. Cooper and David stake out Williams girlfriend while Don goes to talk to a witness in the murder McDowd serves a life sentence for; Don thinks McDowd will take the opportunity to kill her before moving on to another area.
Charlie and Larry have been working the math regarding the accident itself and come to the conclusion the accident was no accident, the drivers of the other two vehicles involved had to be in on the escape otherwise there is no reason for the crash to even have occurred. A search for those two drivers turns up the body of one man and evidence the other flew to Mexico the night of the accident.
A series of tips leads the FBI to a bar where McDowd is, but the attempted arrest is blown when an LAPD narcotics officer goes in early; McDowd manages to escape. Charlie tries to use probabilities as a way to narrow down the search area but is having difficulties because of the number of tips the FBI is getting from the well-meaning public. Williams is caught at his girlfriend’s house and he tells Don and Cooper that McDowd was planning to kill someone, that’s why he escaped. Don insists the witness go into protective custody until McDowd is caught, and she reluctantly agrees.
Charlie has narrowed the tips down to an area that is outside McDowd’s usual haunts, and it appears he is hunting for someone, but it’s not the witness. The area is controlled by one of the local gangs, but McDowd has no ties to the gang. A closer look at the map and the area shows McDowd seems to be circling a particular dock held by the gang. Don and Cooper go to the dock and find several members of the gang dead, including the leader.
Don is suspicious as to how McDowd really could have escaped if he was shackled at the time. In talking to the officer in charge of the prison transfer, he states he was coerced into helping with the escape because an LAPD narcotics officer had framed the officer’s brother on drug charges, the same officer who blew the arrest at the bar.
As Cooper is packing up to leave, Don suggests he put in for a transfer to the LA office, Cooper turns him down and asks if Don ever misses the thrill of working recovery cases. Don answers he misses the thrill a little but isn’t at all sorry he moved on from working Recovery cases, he likes being able to see and talk to his family.
- Man Hunt is the deployment of mass resources to swiftly capture a wanted fugitive.