|Season 5, Episode 14|
|Air date||November 10, 2011|
|Written by|| Ben Watkins|
|Directed by||Renny Harlin|
Damned If You Do
Breaking Point is the fourteenth episode of the fifth season and the seventy-sixth episode overall.
When the life of one of Michael's childhood friends is taken by gang warfare, things get personal as he decides to team up with the victim's brother to entrap the gang in a weapons scheme.
For spies, top secret clearance is just the beginning. S.C.I.- The right to view Sensitive Compartmentalized Information is reserved for the most trusted people in the intelligence community. That kind of access comes with fewer constraints, limited oversight, and a frightening ability to do real harm.
Stop lights are one of the worst places to approach a target trained in counter-surveillance. Without having to worry about driving, their full attention is on their surroundings. They can use their mirrors to pick up tails and check the area for surveillance teams. But if you need to plant a tracker on someone who's on the move, you have to go the extra mile.
The advantage of having a GPS tracker on a vehicle is it allows you to stay close to your target without being seen. The disadvantage of following someone without visual contact is that when they get out of their car, you've got to catch up in a hurry or risk losing them.
Whether it's espionage, international gun-running or managing a local street gang, the preferred method of communication used by people involved in illegal activity is the burner phone. Cheap and disposable, they can be used a few times and thrown away. Which means, if you're using one to trace someone, you've got to move fast.
It's a good idea to keep your initial contact with someone who might be dangerous, non threatening. You're a lot less likely to get shot at. Although just because something's less likely, doesn't mean it never happens.
A tough reality of surveillance is that no matter how many hours you spend outside of a building, you can't see through walls. So if you want to learn which unit in an apartment complex your target is using without raising his suspicion, you need to find someone else to go in for you. College campuses are a great place to find a highly intelligent and enthusiastic workforce. The student body may not get up before noon, but they'll be eager to give you their free time if you can come up with a worthy cause.
Like con artists, spies sometimes find themselves in the unique position of selling things they don't actually own. To close the deal, you just need a believable story and a lot of confidence. Of course when your cover I.D is a weapons supplier who's crazy enough to deal with a murdering gangster, it doesn't hurt to act a little crazy, too.
Whether it's getting a bureaucrat to hand over state secrets or a gangster to bring out the stolen money that will get him busted, spies know convincing people to take action when they don't want to is only half the battle. The hard part is making them do it on your schedule.
Part of being a good operative is knowing what to do when things go wrong. If an entire operation depends on a single witness to a crime, and that witness gets murdered, you've got a hard choice to make: risk more lives, or cut your losses while you still can.
As a spy, you get use to the idea that today's enemy could be tomorrow's friend. Unfortunately, it also works the other way around. Under the wrong conditions, your friends can turn into adversaries, and the closer they are, the worse it is.
A bomb's effectiveness comes down to two factors: the amount of fuel mixture used and the location of the charge. If you want to create the sensation of a big blast without the devastating effects, you need to reduce the explosives and place the charge in an open space instead of against a load-bearing wall. Do it right, and your explosion will still have all the bark, even if you take out most of the bite.
Breaking into a trained operative's place is an extremely dangerous thing to do. The consequences of getting caught range from jail time do death, making it crucial to protect your team at all costs. That's why it's best to schedule a break-in for a time when you're sure your target is going to be away from home, ideally because they're meeting with you.
Whether it's a stray hair arranged to detect someone's opened a drawer, or a cabinet booby-trapped with explosives, skilled operatives know how to secure their hiding places. So if you're searching a pro's home, you can't just toss the place like a cop with a warrant. If you don't find any measures taken to counter intruders, that tells you something too- usually that there's nothing worth finding.
Intelligence agency computers make use of the most sophisticated anti-hacking techniques on the planet. But any system can be compromised, if it's compromised from the inside. Hackers know you can't put a drive into a computer port without it registering. So if you need to sneak software into a system without leaving a trace, you need to hide it in another accessory. Wiring a thumb drive to the inner workings of a mouse gives you access without raising red flags after you're gone. Sometimes betrayal is as easy as pushing a button. But the hard part is being able to live with yourself after you've done it.
Michael finally has top secret clearance and Ansen wants him to use it to clear his name of all CIA databases. At the same time, Fiona wants to go after Ansen. She runs through traffic and dives under his car to plant a tracking device there.
Madeline delivers the bad news to Michael that his childhood friend, Andre, has been murdered. He had been the leader of a gang called the Magic City Overlords and had just been released from prison prior to the homicide. Andre's friend Dolly claims to have witnessed the new Overlords leader, Dion, murder Andre.
Michael and Jesse pose as weapons dealers to get a meeting with Dion and bring him down. Dolly gets dead shortly thereafter, but the weapons deal remains on. Elsewhere, Fiona and Sam plot entry into Ansen's apartment. So Sam poses as an environmental attorney to gain access.
Upset that Dolly has been killed, Ricky plants a bomb at Overlords HQ. Luckily, it doesn't go off until after Michael and Dion leave the building. Ricky puts Dion in a tough spot, fess up to the murders of Andre and Dolly and go to jail or suffer death by his gang.
Fiona and Sam get into Ansen's and find a high-tech satellite. Sam thinks he can use the lead. With Andre's case wrapped up, Michael heads to the CIA office to take care of Ansen's records.
- Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen
- Gabrielle Anwar as Fiona Glenanne
- Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe
- Coby Bell as Jesse Porter
- Sharon Gless as Madeline Westen
- Andre Holland as Dion Carver
- Indigo as Dolly
- Justin Smith as Blake
|Episodes | Season 5|
|Company Man • Bloodlines • Mind Games • No Good Deed • Square One • Enemy of My Enemy • Beseiged • Hard Out • Eye For an Eye • Army of One • Better Halves • Dead to Rights • Damned If You Do • Breaking Point • Necessary Evil • Depth Perception • Acceptable Loss • Fail Safe|