Young Ned (Field Cate
) had convinced Eugene (Nicholas Khayyat) to play "war," and so they lurk through the woods, holding sticks. They come upon a hunter (Joel Shock), slumped over a fence. Eugene beats feet. Meanwhile, Ned resolves to solve the hunter's murder in the hopes the ensuing fame will bring back his father and so gives him a poke. But it turns out the man killed himself. Then when the sheriff comes upon Ned and saw the second re-dead poke, he thought Ned was the guilty party.
Off to kiddie jail, where his dad doesn't come for him.
In the present, Chuck (Anna Friel
) watches as her dad (Josh Randall
) drives off. More daddy abandonment issues. Chuck realizes she's been dumped by her own dad.
Emerson (Chi McBride
) doesn't understand why they're not mad at each other. He reiterates their various sins to prove his point.
Olive (Kristin Chenoweth
) wants to know what's going on, but they shut her out.
Chuck wants to include her.
"Oh, look at that, a dumb idea just found a friend," says Emerson.
Back at Emerson's office, in comes Vivian (Ellen Greene
). She wants to hire Emerson to find a missing person: Dwight Dixon (Stephen Root
). She suspects something terrible has happened.
As it happens, Emerson knows exactly what, having helped bury him when he became a victim of Ned's 60-second time limit proximity death while he was lurking to kill Ned (Lee Pace
) and Chuck for the watch he sought.
(It makes perfect sense if you read it twice.)
Emerson clarifies, asking how many times Dwight, gentleman caller, called. Just three. Emerson explains men are dogs and Dwight in particular was a bad man.
Emerson heads off to the Pie Hole, where he tells Chuck and Ned about the favor he just did for them.
But then, in comes a fedora-topped man, Magnus Olsdatter (Orlando Jones
). He says hello to Emerson, who doesn't exactly do cartwheels upon seeing him.
Magnus, a private detective, comes equipped with two sidekicks, Nils Nilsen (Michael Weaver
) and Hedda Lilihammer (Ivana Milicevic), Norweigan investigators who left their motherland when there were no crimes left to solve.
They attempt to grill Emerson, noting Dwight's credit card receipts show Dwight ate at the Pie Hole. They'll use their Mobile Investigative Lab Facility (check out that acronym), a souped up crime RV they call "Mother."
Before leaving, they pluck one of Olive's blonde hairs.
C, E and N huddle, leaving Olive out of it, trying to figure out what to do about the Norweigans. They need Olive to convince Vivian to call off her investigation.
But, even armed with pie, Olive gets a no from Vivian. Lily (Swoosie Kurtz
) is alarmed to hear Dwight might have been killed. She recalls the note she left, directing him to the cemetery and fears it'll be incriminating.
Olive tells Vivian that Dwight was menacing, he even menaced once to her face.
Lily also tells her to back off, but won't say why.
Then, upon hearing yet another secret being kept, Olive has a "I'm tired of being kept out of everything" moment and shares it with Vivian, telling her to go through with the investigation.
In Dwight's motel room, the Norweigans quickly find Lily's note and present it to Vivian, who presents it to Lily.
Lily tells Vivian that Dwight didn't show, but Vivian doesn't believe her. Vivian thinks Lily didn't like him because he made her happy.
Lily shows her Charles' pocket watch, which Dwight stole from Chuck's grave.
But being shown the truth only solidifies Vivian's belief Lily really doesn't want her to be happy.
At Chuck's childhood house, she finds a button on the windowsill and thinks it's a sign from her dad. She's convinced her dad wouldn't abandon her. Ned remains skeptical.
Meanwhile, the Norweigans stay on the case, spying on Emerson, who in turn spies on them and sees that they've welcomed a fourth - Olive.
They've found, by analyzing her hair, she's of good strong Norweigan stock.
The Norweigans have found Dwight was in fact a bad man and the dirt on his shovel came from the local cemetery. They have an exhumation order for both Charleses. But, those in the know know, they're going to dig up the graves and find, not Charleses, but Dwight.
Ned, Chuck and Emerson reassess, worried about how they'll be implicated when the Norweigans find Dwight in the grave.
At the cemetery, they are indeed shocked at what they find. Both graves are empty.
E, N and C are shocked at the news. Emerson thinks Dwight was moved. Chuck thinks it was her dad.
Emerson blames himself for ever bringing Ned into the PI business and allowing him to undead Chuck. Ned suggests Emerson tell the Norweigans everything he knows.
And so, Emerson unburdens himself, at length...as a decoy.
Outside Ned and Chuck prepare to steal "mother."
But Ned's driving solo, because he bears responsibility.
Inside he's busted by Olive...who turns out to be working deep cover. She'd never betray Ned. Although she does still have questions. He can't tell her what's going on, but he will answer yes or no. She lays them out as she and Ned drive off.
As the van leaves town, Olive's yes or no questions lead all the way to Ned revealing Chuck's dad is alive having faked his own death like his daughter and Ned had something to do with him leaving.
Suddenly, they come to a cliff. Ned and Olive get out just in time and hang from a branch over the edge. Apologies spill out, as Ned says he's sorry he excluded her and Olive says she's sorry Ned never looked at her the way he looks at Chuck. "I wouldn't say never," he says.
As they're about to fall, a mysterious masked man in a fedora (who bears a suspicious resemblance to Charles Charles - or Darkman), pulls them to safety.
Emerson tries to put things right with Vivian by telling the truth: both Chuck's and Charles' coffins were empty. He tells her, honestly, whatever was taken from that grave wasn't her niece. She assumes Dwight snatched their bodies.
In Olive's apartment, she guesses the masked man was Chuck's dad. Next she wants to know about Dwight, guessing he might have died of natural causes. She checks that they're not counting "murder" as natural causes.
At the Pie Hole, the Norweigans confront their former cohort, accusing her of killing their "mother."
But she says she was jumped, implying the thugs were Swedes. They're not buying it. Nils gets buzzed with a message Dwight has just checked back into the motel.
Off the whole crew (minus Chuck and Olive) races.
They find Dwight sprawled on the bed- still dead. Ned and Emerson wonder if Charles' dad could have staged everything.
The Norweigans examine the body and find only what they are meant to. His body is without injuries, indicating natural causes. A bag of booty under the bed suggests he was a grave robber and a can of accelerant implies he might have burned the Charles' bodies.
Exoneration all around.
Ned makes pies, having resolved not to touch dead things any more. He's using fresh fruit and won't be investigating murders either. "Waking the dead creates too many unfortunate variables," he explains,"I'm just taking myself out of the equation."
But, the narrator tells us, while Ned was right about the cause of some of the messes, he was wrong one thing. HIS dad was the mysterious person who saved them. Zoom to a man in the booth in the fedora. It looks suspiciously like (George Hamilton