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FBI: International – Don’t Say Her Name Again – Review


This episode of FBI: International was absolutely exceptional, dealing with an ever present issue in today’s world of children and young adults being victimized online, often through social media. The acting and how they dealt with the reality of this situation was so brilliantly written and portrayed in such a real and sensitive way. Dick Wolf and the FBI: International team, you really outdid yourselves on this one!

The episode opens on a dark room where a man is typing to multiple young women on his screen. He is telling each of them if they do not send him a video, he will release pictures to everyone they know. Each one is upset and distressed, not understanding why he is doing this to them. One of them threatens that she will call the police and he tells her to go ahead, because he is not in the USA and they cannot touch him. He then gets up from his screen and walks over and opens the curtains to reveal the skyline of Budapest. This was an especially eerie touch to this scene, and demostrates the real threat of online predators and how they can be anywhere, including in your own backyard.

We then move to the office where Vo is worried that Kellett will be upset with her, because she is not able to get out of her lease and become her new roommate. Megan overhears and says this is perfect, because she is looking for a place and asks to come have a look. Jamie tells her she needs to do a little application with her first and Megan asks if she means references, but Jamie says more like a personality quiz, and Megan agrees but only if she can give Jamie one too. This was a fun interaction in such a deep episode and seeing how Megan banters back to Jamie is a sign that she will fit in well with this team.

Forrester and Raines enter and tell them they have a case. Cybercrimes out of the Washington Field Office (WFO) is asking for there help with a major case of sexual extortion. The suspect is posing online as Chet Manning, who has been chatting with young girls on various social media platforms across the USA, and encouraging them to download the Signal app to communicate. This app is notoriously difficult to trace and monitor. Once he got one compromising photo from them, he would exort them for increasingly more graphic photos and videos, threatening to distribute what they sent to their family and friends if they did not comply. In five cases, he did distribute the images as he had threatened. So far they have found 30 teenage girls and counting across the USA that he has victimized, some as young as twelve years old. He had mentioned an online name to Charlotte Weston, a 17 year old girl in Tallahasse, Florida. She alerted authorities yesterday, and authorities were able to track the screen name to a dark web chat room in Budapest. Forrester says he is currently active, and that they need to identify the suspect and bring him in. Forrester, Vo and Raines head over to the local police to see what they have, and Garretson stays with Kellett to link up with WFO to set up communications with their team.

At the precinct, Scott links up with Lt. Laszlo Lakatos, and asks him about the Mennokid screenname and what he knows about this person being active in Budapest. He tells him that he is actively extorting young women and they cannot wait. This interaction showed Forrester and that he was developping some friendly relationships with local authorities, which is so crucial to his successul work with the FBI. Lakatos sends one of his officers, Detective Beatrix Toth, with them to review the information they may have. Toth tells them they do not have a lot of information because unfortunately cyber crimes are not a high priority with Hungarian authorities, especially when the victims are in another country. Raines and Vo review the logs, and see that the Mennokid screen name is very active in several rooms for revenge porn and trading underage sexual imagery. Vo finds another screen name, BlakPenj, which belongs to someone who has been arrested named Andor Molnar. They see that he is completing community service locally. Vo and Raines go to speak with him, and say they want to know who Mennokid is, but he says he does not know him, but tells them what he knows about him. He says the chat rooms he uses are invitation only with military grade encryption. He also tells them he has at least ten or fifteen different aliases online that he uses to get the photos from the American girls.

Jamie receives a phone call and is told that Charlotte Weston has just landed in Budapest, and that she hopped on a plane to come and help them. Forrester arrives back at the office just as Charlotte arrives and Jamie goes in to speak with her. She tells Jamie that she met who she thought was Chet online 8 months ago. She said he started flirting with her and it progressed to him asking her for sexy photos, which then escalated to him threatening her that he would send what she sent to him to her friends and family if she did not continue to send him increasingly graphic items at his request. Jamie tells her they are aware of how he operates and she is very sorry that it happened to her. Charlotte tells Jamie that he was bragging to her about how many girls he controlled and slipped up telling her the screen name, which she then turned over to the cybercrimes detectives she was working with at home. She asks if it was helpful, and Jamie says so far yes. Charlotte wants to know if they are close to catching him, but Jamie tells her not yet as these cases take time. Jamie tells her she appreciates her being brave enough to come forward and goes to check in with the team. This scene was beautifully portrayed by these two actresses. It is clear that Jamie is very empathetic to young woman, perhaps because of what happened with her sister, and Charlotte’s angst and fear of what happened to her was palpable.

Megan runs down the other aliases they got for Mennokid and there are over 200 victims in the USA. Suddenly Charlotte’s mother Mimi Weston calls, and tells Scott not to leave her alone, and that she is in a relationship with Mennokid/Chet, that they are not getting the whole story and that they do not have permission to speak with her. Scott asks Jamie if she has any idea what that was about and she says no, but she will find out. Charlotte tells them that her mother is crazy, and would she really be in an FBI office trying to catch this guy if she was in love with him. Scott asks why her mother thinks she is, and she tells them that when she was in a very dark place with this situation, she was in a World History class, where they were learning about the hostage crisis in Peru, and learning about Lima syndrome, where the captors develop sympathy for their victims. She said because she knew wherever this person was that they were likely a lonely loser, and she figured the only way to possibly catch him would be to lure him into communicating with her more, so she played it up, playing into his ego. Her mother went on to her computer, read the messages and thought they were real. Jamie tells her that her mother has forbidden them to work with her any further and Charlotte says she looked it up and that she is considered an adult in Hungary. Scott tells her that she is correct but that they are a branch of the FBI and governed by US laws. Charlotte begs to be able to help them, and says they do not understand what he took from her. Scott says that she can give them access to all the communication she has had with him, and she tells him that it is embarassing because it looks like she likes him but she does not. She gives them access to her laptop. This scene really showed the bravery and intelligence that Charlotte had to try to assist authorities to catch Chet and definitely made the viewer feel for her and want them to catch this criminal even more.

Vo is going through her laptop and asks if there is any chance she is playing them to get access to him, but both Scott and Jamie believe she is sincere, and that everything was contrived by Charlotte to try to catch him. Vo points out that there have been cases like this before and Scott says just to be safe, they will take everything off the screens in the office. Raines is tracking Mennokid online and he hides behind an anonymous proxy, making it almost impossible to identify his IP address without some help. Megan asks if they are okay with this, because they do not know how deep her trauma is already, and is worried that they are pushing Charlotte toward something she should perhaps be trying to move away from, but Jamie says Charlotte wants and needs to help, and Jamie says she thinks them pulling the rug after she came all this way would be more likely to add to her trauma. Andre says they need to make a move now, and Scott says he will take the heat with Charlotte’s mother, so they ask her for help to send Mennokid a video with malware attached so they can identify his real IP address. Vo clones her phone, and Charlotte sends the video and a message.

Raines is following Mennokid in a dark web chat room where he says the topic is grim. Vo comes to tell them they sent the text, he has opened it already, and they identify a location across town, and the team minus Kellett goes to move in while Jamie waits with Charlotte, and tells her it worked and they are heading to the IP address right now. The team moves in to the location of the IP address, which turns out to be a bar. They find a woman on a laptop, and it turns out she is the bar owner, and that she just took over the bar and her friend did the computer system for her, who according to Raines, did it horribly. Mennokid took control of the network over Wifi, and has been routing all his internet traffic through the bar’s IP address. Megan asks if she might be involved but Vo says she gave her full access to her laptop and she is clean. Scott says their search radius is now much smaller.

Jamie tells Charlotte that they did not get him, and that if this is to much for her, to just tell her. But Charlotte tells her that she won’t stop until he is behind bars. Suddenly he sends Charlotte a text asking if she is working with the police and asks for proof by sending a full nude video. Jamie and the team wonder why he suddenly asked about the police and if someone tipped him off about the tavern or if he was watching the place. They start to narrow down suspects within a one mile radius of the bar, and also consider that he likely hacked into the security cameras. Vo suggests after reading their interactions that Charlotte push back, and she does, telling him to relax and she will send him a video when she gets home. Charlotte then gets a text that her mother has landed.

Megan asks to speak with Scott and tells him that the cameras were hacked, and Raines tells him that he was able to identify the address of the source of the hack, and it is three blocks from the tavern. They go to the apartment and a woman answers the door. She tells them she lives there with her 23 year old son. They search the apartment, and break down the door to the son’s room, but he had set a motion sensored trap that encrypted everything from his system when they triggered the kill switch. His mother tells them he spends all his time online, but he is a good boy, and they tell her that is not the case. They identify Mennokid or Chet Manning as Deko Horvath, and his mother is not able to get ahold of his cell phone. Scott holds off sending out his photo to all local authorities so that they can hopefully catch him with something incriminating on his phone. They discuss having Charlotte send him another video so that they can get the malware on his phone. Raines says he was probably notified on his phone that they triggered the kill switch and asks why he would open another text from her, and Vo says it is because he is in love with her.

Charlotte’s mother arrives and Scott invites her in and says they will give her an update. Jamie tells Mimi that her daughter has been incredibly brave and because of that they are very close to catching the man who victimized her and hundreds of other girls. She asks if they know about their texts and Jamie says yes, and that it was Charlotte who was conning him, but she doesn’t believe them. Charlotte tells them that she is not going anywhere and she wants to help. They have her film another clip, and she makes a video saying she is in London. They send him the clip. Jamie finds Vo in the stairwell and she says she needs to take a breath and that as adults, they know these creeps are out there, but Charlotte is only 17 and does her whole life have to now pivot because of this scum bag. They both agree that they have to catch this guy. This is the first time we have really seen a case get to Vo, and it will be interesting to see as the season goes on if there is a reason why this case and the age of this victim in particular hit a nerve with her.

They get a location when he opens the video, and they go to the bus station and capture him getting ready to board a bus to London, where he thought Charlotte was. A chase ensues and Garretson and Forrester run him down and capture him. They are able to obtain his phone before he could delete anything, and he had kept all correspondence and images from Charlotte on his phone. Raines says it is enough to cook him to a crisp. Forrester and Kellett go in to speak with him, and tell him he will be extradited to the USA, but Horvath says that he has an enticing offer for them.

They go to speak with Charlotte and let her know they caught him. She asks if he confessed and they tell her that he has not confessed yet, but he has told them he knows the identities of the other men in his chat rooms, who are extorting other girls. He wants a lesser sentence and to serve his sentence in Hungary for providing this information. Charlotte asks how much time he will get and Jamie says probably not as much as if they took him back to the USA to charge him with what he did to her, but she says if they can bring justice to other girls, then it is not even up for debate. But she asks to speak to him face to face. This once again shows the immense bravery of this young character. The emotion felt raw and real and really encompassed the victimization that online predators create.

Vo and Raines are going through Horvath’s files, and Forrester tells Vo to take a break. Horvath asks how Charlotte is, and Kellett tells him not to say her name again. They were able to get 15 names from him, 3 locally in Budapest and the rest they are having warrants drawn up for their locations. Charlotte goes in to see him. Forrester and Kellett tell Horvath that Charlotte is coming in and he is to listen to everything she says and not to say one word. Charlotte goes in and tells him that she survived and is still standing and that when she walks out the door, she is leaving him and the past year behind her, and that her future starts now and he can’t touch it. Kellett goes out to see her and hugs her while she cries. This scene was so incredibly powerful, and the acting by Ruby Jay who played Charlotte was absolutely spot on – we will see big things from this young lady in the future.

Team members then disperse to the 3 locations in Budapest and arrest the men who Horvath identified. Charlotte prepares to leave and the team thanks her for her help and Jamie gives her a hoodie that says Budapest on it to remind her when the rest of her life began. Jamie tells her about the FBI witness advocacy program and tells her that she could be a big help to others who have been through what she has, and Charlotte says she is 100% in to help others heal.

The team says they could use a drink and Raines says he knows just the place, and takes them back to the bar from earlier. Raines flirts with the owner and offers to redo her computer and security system and she accepts. Megan also asks Scott about how to get in with Jamie to become her roommate and when he asks how she knows about their past, it is revealed that Vo cannot keep gossip to herself. There is definitely so much more that the team has to learn about Vo. Jamie gets a call from Charlotte and she tells her she did not get a chance to say thank you and wanted her to know how much she appreciated all they did. Jamie tells her she wishes her sister had been as strong as her and she needs to know how much she has done for girls like her. Charlotte says that means alot and Jamie tells her to take care of herself.

This episode I am sure will hit home for many viewers as victims of cybercrimes, especially young ones, are unfortunately a growing reality as our world explodes online. The brilliant acting and realism of this case was an excellent choice by the Wolf team, and a very strong start to the season. It also had some fun moments as we get to know more about the new and older members of the team. I cannot wait to see what the FBI: International writers come up with for next week. How about you?

Let us know what you thought about this episode in the comments below.

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