After a lackluster third episode that was bogged down by questionable character writing choices, “Andy” seems to pull the series back on track with a compelling central case and by shedding light on the mystery of Keith’s disappearance. The previous episode ended with Nikki taking Keith’s biological samples to conduct a DNA test in order to verify Sidney’s suspicion about Keith being an imposter. The fourth episode finally reveals the truth Sidney was hiding from her family all along, which confirms the ruse of the stranger living in their house and pretending to be Keith for some unknown reason. Jason and June’s relationship hit a roadblock after Keith’s return and the revelation of Jason’s attempts to sabotage the couple’s plan to conceive. The fourth episode of “Alert” addresses that and tries to untangle the complex relationships among the leads.
What Happens In ‘Alert: Missing Persons Unit’ Episode 4?
Like clockwork, once again, this installment wastes no time to kick off the case of the episode. It begins with a couple enjoying their time with their son as they teach him to ride a bicycle. As the boy banks down a curve, he is abducted, and the MPU (Missing Persons Unit) alert goes off, beginning the episode formally. The scene shifts to Nikki’s house as she and Jason discuss her decision to go through a DNA test to verify Keith’s identity. It’s Keith’s first day at school after returning, and the family seems excited. Even Sidney is unusually happy, although the reason is completely different, as now she is sanguine that the ruse will be exposed after the results of the DNA test come back.
The team gathers at MPU HQ as Mike brings them up to speed regarding the case. The parents of the missing six-year-old kid, Andy, are interrogated regarding any past occurrences that might be connected with their son’s abduction. Steve is Andy’s stepfather, and Andy’s mother, Pat, seems unwilling to share information regarding Andy’s biological father. In the midst of the conversation, Pat receives an anonymous text regarding the ransom amount and hides the fact from the team. Meanwhile, a pedestrian spots a person carrying Andy’s belongings and calls it in. Mike and Jason act quickly and capture the person, only to discover that the real perp has dumped the evidence and fled the scene.
The abductor takes Andy to a woman named Vicky, who seems to know the kid. Vicky tries to comfort Andy as the abductor reveals that he has demanded a ransom from the mother. Visibly shocked after knowing this, Vicky is unwilling to let Andy go. She threatens the perp with calling the police and gets her phone snatched in the process as Andy is taken away from her. Using a car’s security camera, the team identifies the perp to be a felon named Brad Skinner and questions Steve about a possible connection with him. Steve is unable to recognize him, nor does he know that, in the meantime, Pat has withdrawn the ransom amount in order to get Andy back. Kemi finds out about Skinner’s hideout, and the team busts it out. In the vacant motel, they find a candy trail instead, possibly led by Andy, and following that, they discover Brad Skinner’s corpse. According to an eyewitness report, Pat killed the abductor by slicing his throat, despite there being a fatal gunshot wound in Brad’s chest already, and the team finds Vicky’s phone while searching the body.
The autopsy reveals Pat was not trying to hurt him; she was performing a field tracheotomy on a gunshot-wounded Brad to save him. Jason tracks down Pat, who is on her way to the Bronx, where Vicky lives. To uncover the personal angle, the team looks into Vicky’s history and finds out that a missing person report filed by Vicky four years ago aligns with Andy’s actual age and the timeline of Pat’s IDs being issued. Upon interrogating Pat reveals the sordid truth about his history. Pat worked as a neonatal nurse and witnessed the utter neglect of Andy by Vicky, who is his biological mother and was a chronic substance abuser. Growing affectionate toward the kid after caring for him in his mother’s absence, Pat rescued Andy from Vicky and changed her identity to provide him with a better future. Investigating Vicky’s past, Jason and Mike find out she had installed a pacemaker after health problems caught up to her thanks to the rampant substance abuse. Jason seeks the help of the former private security associate (to whom the audience was introduced in the second episode) to track down Vicky by hacking her pacemaker. All the while, he tries to mend his relationship with June by talking with her.
Sidney and her friend observe Keith during his first day at school. Their conversation hints once again at the fateful incident six years earlier, and Sidney regrets not telling the truth to her parents back then and has become entrapped after the imposter Keith’s “return’. Kemi meets with Sidney as she gets a premonition in her dream about the impending danger lurking over the latter. She performs Hausa animism rituals to seemingly ward off the negative energy from Sidney and instructs her more about following some after returning home.
The team locates Vicky in the midst of crossing a bridge with Andy and surrounds her. After confessing to killing Brad, a neurotic Vicky jumps into the river with Andy. Nikki follows suit and manages to save Andy. In the report, however, being sympathetic toward the family’s situation, she deliberately falsifies it to let Pat and Steve keep Andy’s custody, which might give him a better future than Children’s Services ever could if the truth gets revealed. Mike is infuriated over this, as he prioritizes protocol over sentiment. He calls off the family gathering Nikki was supposed to host at her house to let her children know about her and Mike’s engagement.
The results of the DNA test confirm Keith’s identity to be what he claims. Jason and Nikki let Sidney know about this, and she seems to be bewildered and aghast hearing this. Their conversation is overheard by Keith, who distances himself after getting upset. Jason meets with June, who informs him that, fed up with his distrustful, irresponsible attitude, she has decided to have a baby from a sperm donor. As the episode draws to a close, we see Sidney going through Kemi’s rituals and calling 911 to let them know about a body drowned in the lake.
First and foremost, the discussion about the central case is necessary, given how engaging the themes were. Neglect from parents who were too busy intoxicating themselves into a dazed stupor instead of fulfilling their parental duty is a sensitive topic and something a lot of people can, unfortunately, relate to. The plight of Andy is tragic and horrifying, and an unfit guardian like his biological mother could have led him to his demise, as told by Pat. But the fact remains that what Pat did instead of letting the authorities know about the child’s circumstances is a crime in itself and not really justifiable when the law is taken into account. The fact also remains that the situations were set up for the audience to loathe Vicky, as her side of the story was not shown. Nikki making a judgment call about falsifying the report to let Pat keep custody over Andy is interesting, as her responsibility as a mother has convoluted her professional ethic. Mike is totally in the right in this context about letting the legal process take its course, and this uncalled-for decision by Nikki was enough to fire his insecurity regarding their relationship.
The way Nikki and Jason are preoccupied with neglecting their current partners, we can’t blame him. Kemi, once again, makes a grounded case feel like it’s losing its gravity by performing rituals inside the HQ, and these instances being repetitive reduces her importance as a character. Sidney is tormented as the past catches up to her. She was already hurting through those years after Keith’s disappearance and seeing her act of not letting her parents know the truth ultimately broke her family apart. The DNA test turning to imposter Keith’s favor is without question a huge blow to Sidney’s plan to reveal his ruse. The end of “Alert” Episode 4 finally reveals the reason behind Sidney’s mistrust of ‘Keith’ as Sidney confesses on a 911 call that the real Keith had drowned to death years ago. Hopefully, the next episode features this drama at its center instead of tiptoeing around it as an epilogue, like all of the previous ones did.