The central mystery of “Alert” gains impetus by the end of the third episode, although very little attention is given to it in the context of how influential it has turned out to be in most of the characters’ arc. In the last episode, we saw Jason getting restless over finding Keith’s captor/s, as Nikki tries to strike a balance between her love life with Mike and getting thrown into old family dynamics with Jason after Keith’s return. Sidney, Keith’s sister, strongly believes that the “returning” member of the family is impersonating her brother for some reason. At the end of “Alert” Episode 2, it was revealed that Sidney knows what happened on the fateful day of Keith’s abduction six years ago.
What Happens In ‘Alert: Missing Persons Unit’ Episode 3?
The third episode of “Alert” wastes no time with establishing the central case of the episode, as we see the perpetrator holding a woman inside his car trunk as he parks at a gas station. After drowning her screams out with loud music, the perp ventures inside the gas station. The imprisoned woman breaks open a piece of taillight and, seeing an opportunity, throws her ID outside through the opening. The ID reveals her name to be Zoey Roth.
Back in Nikki’s household, Jason tries to deduce the identity of Keith’s captors by showing him probable matches of suspects, but to no avail as Keith simply refuses to elaborate. Nikki interrupts and takes Jason away to stop further interrogation. She states that Keith is trying to reconnect with his past life by going through his childhood objects and therefore asks Jason to refrain from bringing up the mentions of abduction as it may hinder the progression of his moving on. Sidney enters mid-conversation and asks her parents to install a lock on her room, as she does not trust this “new” Keith at all. As the family is having this conversation about Keith, Nikki receives the MPU alert about Zoey.
The team finds out that Zoey, a college sophomore, has been missing from a house party since the previous night and decides to interrogate her roommate/friends who were present at the same venue. From them, the team gets to know Zoey was a bright student and a talented digital artist who suddenly stopped her pursuits regarding art and study a few months earlier. The team is left in the dark, as one of Zoey’s close friends, Sarah Marks, acts sketchy about sharing information with them. From a social media post of the party, the footage is shown where it seems Zoey was having an argument with someone whose face is not visible. Using her roommates’ phone, the team deduces the identity of the arguer to be a student named Matt Calvin, Zoey’s ex-boyfriend. His social media posts contain a vindictive tone against Zoey, and the team thus gets an warrant to interrogate him on the grounds of suspicious activity. However, upon inquiring, Nikki comes to know that Matt had nothing to do with Zoey’s problems, as she was having an argument with Sarah regarding the substantial amount of cash the latter received.
Meanwhile, Nikki arranges Keith’s re-admission to his former school by talking to the principal, who insists on taking a test. However, instead of completing the test, Keith goes to Sidney to show her that he has tried to help her in her studies by completing her assignment. Nikki and Jason discuss having Keith’s DNA test conducted to convince Sidney, and Jason wonders whether Keith’s result will affect Nikki’s decision (given the fact during his childhood, Keith was a terrible student).
Kemi goes to Zoey’s art studio and has a conversation with her art dealer, who seems unaware of the reason why Zoey stopped her artistic pursuits. Jason contacts one of his private security-related informant to find out about the source of the transaction to Sarah’s account. They discover the sender deposited through a Swiss bank account, and that the same account pays rent for Zoey’s art studio. Kemi questions Sarah about the entire situation regarding Zoey, but she seems too afraid to spill the beans. After Kemi leaves, however, Sarah is visibly conflicted, and she calls someone to let them know that she agrees to their terms if they let Zoey go. On the other hand, Kemi deduces from the art dealer’s ID that the Swiss bank account holder is a billionaire named Harry Schleierkraut. Nikki and Jason pay Harry a visit and interrogate him about his connection with Zoey and Sarah. After Jason presses him about his connection in blackmailing Sarah, Harry directs a personal remark regarding Keith at the former couple and dismisses them.
On the other hand, the abductor locks Zoey up in one of Harry’s mansions, where she is seen to be having a conversation with her art dealer. Turns out, the dealer tried to exploit the teenagers for Harry’s perverse interests, which made Zoey quit her artistic pursuits and studies. Later, Sarah, pressurized to enroll in med school, sought Harry’s help and received a huge donation which made that possible—which made it easier for the nefarious duo to blackmail these hapless teenagers. From traffic security footage, the current location of the abductor is known, and after a brief gunfight that results in the abductor’s death, Nikki and Jason manage to rescue Sarah to safety. Sarah finally confesses about her agreeing to take money from Harry and that later, after being blackmailed, she asked for Zoey’s help, which was the reason for the argument during the party, and later Zoey’s eventual abduction.
After Sarah, too, turns out to be unaware of the location of Harry’s secretive mansion where Zoey is held, the team seeks out Zoey’s father, Paul, who turns out to have introduced Zoey to Harry in the first place so that the latter’s affluence might help his daughter in establishing a strong career. Now, after realizing he has failed as a parent by prioritizing his ambitions for his daughter over her safety, he is deeply aghast and feels vengeful against the person in question.
Meanwhile, Zoey is being used as an escort for a minister in Harry’s mansion. Kemi uses her tech wiz cred to deduce the location out of thin air, apparently, and the team manages to rescue Zoey from the clutches of the pervert minister. However, the situation has gone haywire at Harry’s house, where Paul has cornered Harry at gunpoint. Jason and Nikki arrive and share their own story as parents, and the fact that the decision to kill Harry as a form of making amends will only distance Paul from his daughter forever. A distraught Paul shoots Harry a couple of times but spares his life. Jason tells him that he will talk with the DA to reduce Paul’s sentence, as being a father who had lost his son earlier, he can empathize with the feeling of failure. Later, after the teenagers are reunited with their families, Jason shares with Nikki that he feels that sense of responsibility towards Keith too—he failed; he could have done more only if he were present. Nikki, replying to him, shares that she, too, forgot to turn on the alarms on that fateful night, so even though they tried to do everything they could, perhaps neither of them did enough. As the former couple comforts each other, Mike has once again been given the role of a silent spectator, but this time his insecurity is given brief respite over a gesture by Nikki.
As Keith’s test results come in, Jason and Nikki see Keith has performed brilliantly despite the gap of several years. At their household, Keith tries to form a bond with Sidney once again after seeing her getting good results from the assignment he wrote for her, but she says, on the contrary, she changed the narrative herself and knows his ruse all too well, unlike the rest of the family. After another vague conversation with Keith, Nikki hesitantly collects Keith’s hair sample from his baby book and his currently used toothbrush to match DNA samples. “Alert” Episode 3 ends with Sidney, who is installing locks on her room door herself, seeing this, and thanking her mother – Nikki, for finally believing her.
Although the case of “Alert” Episode 3 was decent and consisted of strong character moments, there were some glaring problems that totally took away the immersion. The first of which is a recurring problem, which is reducing the character Kemi Adebayo to a caricature. Nothing against her using elements of personal faith as a method of comforting people in distress but rubbing eggs on parents who have lost their daughter and are unaware of her fate distracts a bit too much. Also, in all of the cases, her tech gizmo doing all the heavy work while the rest of the team remains distracted enough to tend to their personal problem is ludicrous, to say the least. This brings us to another problem, which is relating their personal story to the associated victim or perps as a method of talking them down feels repetitive and heavy-handed. Yes, the point of the series seems to be a form of making amends for losing their kid by helping other parents, but there should be better ways than narrating their experience in public aloud in the midst of tense scenarios. Seeing Nikki and Jason sneaking off and having enough time to get intimate in the midst of an ongoing case is plain unethical, hilarious, and sad. The character C and Jason’s current partner June, who had interesting parts to play in the previous episode, are inexplicably absent in this one. However, the central mystery of Keith gains momentum as Nikki finally decides to take a good look at the obviously flimsy ruse.
In “Alert” Episode 2, there were plenty of indications of something fishy happening with Keith, who has refused to answer questions regarding his abduction multiple times. Perhaps due to motherly feelings convincing Nikki otherwise, or simply due to bide her time, she didn’t budge. After Keith’s result turns out to be surprisingly good on the admission test, which was unlikely for the son they once knew – not to mention the possible trauma wouldn’t have allowed for the continuation for his studies, Nikki strengthens herself finally to get answers of her own. Sidney has not shared what secret she knows about Keith’s abduction, and we speculate now that she knows Nikki kind of trusts her instincts – she’ll tell. But whether or not Nikki has been late in her decision on casting a doubt remains to be seen, as Keith’s baby book in his room can also indicate him being able to manipulate the piece of the evidence beforehand. Jason acting mostly hotheaded and one-directional about his son’s incident might have to adjust himself once the truth is unraveled to be way sordid than he imagined.