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In Los Angeles, Matt Parkman is helping secure the crime scene of a double serial killing/abduction. He complains to his coworker that he'd rather be helping the investigation than running interference. Matt's coworker mentions that the detective exam test scores have been posted and consoles him about the results. Matt begins to hear a little girl's frightened voice. He follows it into the house, where a woman's body is pinned to the side of the staircase with a variety of sharp objects. Matt follows the voice to a small hidden room under the stairs where the missing girl is hiding. Matt finds the missing girl inside the hidden room and also overhears FBI members thoughts about the Sylar investigation. FBI Agent Audrey Hanson asks Matt if his anger at failing the detective exam would drive him to set himself up as a hero, and he tells her that Sylar is responsible, not him. Audrey tells him only six people even know Sylar's name and arrests him.
At FBI Headquarters in Los Angeles, Audrey Hanson questions Matt Parkman about his discovery of Molly Walker at the crime scene. When Matt manages to convince Audrey that he can hear thoughts, she asks for his help on the Sylar case. Matt accepts and Audrey takes him to speak to Molly Walker, hoping he can use his powers to get more clues about Sylar.
As Audrey and Matt approach the safe room, they hear Molly screaming and see a shadowy figure Audrey presumes to be Sylar dragging the girl off. Matt sees an agent's body pinned to the wall by a chair. He comforts the girl while Audrey pursues the suspect. She draws her gun on him, but he somehow forces her backwards and makes her point her gun at her own head. Before he can make her fire, however, Matt arrives and fires several shots at the suspect, who drops. As he checks on Audrey, the man rises to his feet unharmed, and promptly disappears.
In a Los Angeles bar, Matt reads the barman's thoughts and, realizing he doesn't want to make small talk, orders a drink. He begins to overhear the other patrons' thoughts, but eventually notices a mysterious man whose thoughts he can't read. As he gets up, he collapses to the floor.
Matt Parkman wakes up in a bed in some kind of medical lab. Mr. Bennet walks in. Matt's confused and thinks he's at a hospital initially or that it's part of some FBI or CIA operation, but Mr. Bennet tells him that's he not part of any organization that has initials. It soon becomes apparent to him that he's in some kind of danger. Mr. Bennet had Matt drugged at the bar the previous night. Mr. Bennet knows of Matt's powers and, glancing at a brainwave readout, muses that Matt is trying to read his thoughts. However, the The Haitian, the man whose thoughts Matt couldn't hear at the bar the previous night, appears to have some power that hinders telepathy, and keeps Mr. Bennet safe. Nevertheless, Matt is able to read at least one of Mr. Bennet's thoughts — he asks his captor who Claire is. Mr. Bennet muses that Matt is farther along than they thought. He asks the man from the bar to erase his memories of what happened, saying "go deep and clean him out".
Matt wakes up on his sofa, and patches things up with his wife Janice, who has been on the phone trying to locate him. She tells him he's been gone for a day, and he tells her that he doesn't remember what happened. Later, Matt goes to a convenience store to pick up some ice cream and thwarts someone from robbing the store. However, Matt gets overwhelmed by all the thoughts of the people in the store and collapses.
At the morgue Matt sees the severely burnt corpse of Robert Fresco on the examining table. Audrey believes this is another victim of Sylar, but Matt points out that there's nothing out of the ordinary with the corpse. Audrey tells Matt that the corpse is putting out a large amount of radiation despite no radioactive material having been found at the scene. All they found was a fingerprint that was seared to the bone that matches Theodore Sprague. Audrey believes this is Sylar.
Matt and Audrey arrive at Theodore's residence alone. They search the house and find radiation damage in many places. After entering the bedroom, Audrey finds extremely high radiation levels and they both leave quickly.
Matt gets a call from his wife, which he ignores. He tells Audrey that he doesn't believe the man they're following is Sylar. Matt found an anti-cancer drug prescribed to Karen Sprague by Robert Fresco in the bedroom. Matt and Audrey take a trip to the hospital to visit Karen and find Theodore Sprague at her bedside. Ted tells Audrey that he didn't mean to kill Dr. Fresco. He lost control when the doctor claimed he couldn't help Karen. Matt relays Karen's final thoughts and memories to to Ted before she passes away. The FBI place Ted through decontamination and into a special cell downtown.
Matt learns from his former partner Tom McHenry that Audrey put in a request to have Matt retake the detective exam in a series of interviews to accomodate for his dyslexia. Matt risks losing the opportunity, however, after punching Tom for sleeping with his wife and getting temporarily suspended.
After Matt Parkman punches his partner Tom McHenry for having an affair with his wife, he finds himself questioning his reaction: is it fair to rush to judgment based solely on a stray overheard thought? He decides to go on patrol in his car to blow off steam. He hears a dispatch for a suspect fleeing an armed robbery and begins pursuit. The other driver tries to lose him by driving in a park, and then by driving through a pedestrian-only promenade, but Matt secretly uses his powers to avoid pedestrians and to anticipate the suspect's moves, eventually T-boning the suspect's car and arresting him.
Audrey yells at Matt for jeopardizing her investigation by hitting his former partner. She asks Matt if he's suspended, and he tells her he'll work it out.
Audrey and Matt interview Theodore Sprague. Matt learns that Ted also had a black-out after which things started dying, and that he shares the same mark on his neck from the experience. Ted explains that he was in Kansas a few months back having sold a dialysis machine to a university hospital. He went to the hotel bar where he saw a couple from Wyoming, a few professors, and a student from Haiti. The next thing he knew he woke up in his car two days later in Arizona with cuts and bruises on him. Matt realizes that the same Haitian was involved in his black-out, and then several other FBI agents arrive and escort Ted away for transport. One of the agents tells Matt and Audrey that Matt shouldn't be there since his badge was suspended.
At a traffic stop, Matt Parkman approaches the car he stopped. In the car is Eden. He asks her for her license and registration, but she tells her it's not her car and that she stole it. Matt notices an open bottle of alcohol in the passenger seat and tells her to get out of the car. Eden refuses and suggests that he get back in his car and eat a dozen donuts. Matt repeats his demand and this time Eden repeats her suggestion using her powers. Affected by her suggestion, he gets back into his police car.
Tom McHenry pulls up alongside Matt's police cruiser and asks why he's out eating donuts when his detective's exam is in an hour. Matt tells him that after today he's going to be a different man and they both depart.
At Union Wells High School, Audrey and Matt discuss the crime scene. Matt tells her that it fits Sylar's M.O. and they find a separate trail of footprints and theorize that Sylar may have had accomplices. Audrey tells Matt that they have a suspect, Peter Petrelli, in custody, and they decide to go speak with him.
Peter tells them that he didn't kill Jackie. Audrey tells him that the blood they found on him was his own but asks him to explain why he doesn't appear to have any injuries. Peter refuses to answer their questions and asks if he can go since he's not being charged with a crime. Matt tries to get inside Peter's head but both Peter and Matt experience a disturbing feedback loop from tring to read each other's minds. Peter tells them that if they want to catch Sylar then they need to protect Claire. Matt and Audrey leave and Audrey tells Peter that he'll get out when she gets some answers.
Claire and Mr. Bennet sit in an interrogation room speaking to Audrey. Claire tells Audrey how Sylar killed Jackie and Peter saved her life. After Claire leaves, Matt tells Audrey that he wasn't able to read their minds and that there was a static that interfered with his telepathy. Matt tells her that he heard this static once before at a bar the night before he can't remember the following day. As Matt and Audrey enter a different room, the Haitian, who had been standing nearby, glances around before walking away.
Matt and Audrey stake out Primatech Paper Co. They see Mr. Bennet leave the building and start talking to the Haitian. Matt recognizes the Haitian as the man he saw in the bar before he lost track of the next day. Using a lot of effort, he tries to enter their minds. The effort causes Matt's nose to begin bleeding. He's able to get a single word: Sylar.
On a hunch from Matt, Audrey directs a FBI SWAT team raid on Primatech Paper Co. but fail to find anything incriminating.
Mr. Bennet gives Agent Thayer a parking lot surveillance tape showing that Matt was there every day for two weeks. Agent Thayer scolds Audrey for placing the FBI in a precarious position and tells her that she's going to make sure she is reprimanded for her actions. As Matt and Audrey go to leave, Audrey tells Matt to go home and that they're done.
After the failed FBI raid on Primatech Paper Co., Matt Parkman returns home to Los Angeles, where he faces a disciplinary review for his actions. The review is conducted by Captain Baldwin and two other LAPD captains. Initially, he files a truthful statement, detailing his belief that Mr. Bennet has Sylar in custody, but when he hears the captains' thoughts that they plan to write him off as crazy and kick him out of the department, he recants his statement and claims to have made the whole thing up. He then hears Captain Baldwin think, regretfully, that Matt's just a liar, not insane. The captains suspend Matt for six months.
When Jessica attempts to kill Aron Malsky at Ridgway Jewelry, Matt Parkman calls for police back-up. When the police arrive, they find Aron Malsky bent in half, the diamonds missing, and no sign of the assassin. The LAPD detective questions Matt about what happened, but finds his story about a super strong assassin and her unseen partner hard to swallow. Later, Matt overhears the detective thinking that Matt's a joke and will never work as a police officer again.