The team investigates the murder of Chad Raber, a personal trainer found dead in his gym. Though his wife, Annette, says she doesn't know who might have wanted him dead, it turns out that Jim Martino had only recently filed a complaint with police accusing Raber of raping his daughter, Amanda; however, as evidence gathered against Martino comes by too easily, the squad begins looking into other possibilities. Captain Raydor must, in addition, deal with a number of issues, having trouble balancing the demands of work with having to care for Rusty, and dealing with Lt. Provenza, who still has a huge chip on his shoulder.
Studly personal trainer Chad Raber was found by his wife with his head smashed fatally with a dumbbell while hanging upside down in his gym. She and initial evidence point to vindictive father Jim Martino whose teen daughter Amanda was the only of his female clients who wanted to file a sexual abuse claim. Erased by cloud-retrievable videos point to nine other presumed victims, which looks like a set-up. Rusty protests and rebels the teen-way against his de-facto fostering by Raydor, but she raised two before and child services tell him to be happy it would be much worse elsewhere, office detective Buzz Watson is saddled with 'babysitting' him in the precinct. Provenza plans to resign as Raydor, who got his dream promotion, eagerly pushes on the deputy chief's plea bargain policy. .
Growing pains within Major Crimes become apparent as the division works to obtain justice in a brutal homicide that turns out to be more complicated than expected. Raydor struggles to gain the respect of her colleagues while also trying to supervise Rusty 24/7. The changes within the department may become more than Provenza can accept.
As Major Crimes deals with a slain fitness trainer, Captain Raydor contends with a surly teenage house guest, a highly disgruntled second-in-command, and a hypocritical superior.
- The Major Crimes detectives arrive at a crime scene in a gym. A popular personal trainer named Chad Raber was found hanging from an exercise machine with his head smashed in. Someone used a kettlebell to bludgeon him to death. The crime scene becomes a mess when Chad's wife is accidentally let into the room and DDA Hobbs shows up to start a case.
Meanwhile, Raydor tries to get the basics of the case over the phone while a social services agent inspects Rusty's living conditions. The agent tells Rusty that he's got it pretty good and warns him not to mess it up. Rusty's still upset that nobody seems to care about finding his mother. Since he can't be left alone until after the trial, Rusty has to study and entertain himself at the Major Crimes office during the day.
At the Major Crimes office, the investigation into "Hanging Chad"'s death is under way. A not-so-subtle power struggle continues between Provenza and Raydor as Provenza keeps giving orders to Sykes.
Raydor and Flynn interview Chad's wife Annette about her husband's death. They find out Chad's iPad and phone are missing. Sykes interrupts the interview and spills the new information that Chad Raber was a suspect in a rape case. Annette throws a fit and swears her husband was not a rapist.
Skyes hands over a month-old police report that accuses Chad of raping a client. She apologizes for blurting out the information but Provenza ordered her to do so. Provenza doesn't deny it and tells Raydor that Sykes has to "choose sides" between them.
Raydor takes her complaints about Provenza to Chief Taylor. She presses him on why they have yet to fulfill their promise on promoting her to Commander. Taylor claims promotions have been frozen in the department and that her ability to hold the team together will prove her "fitness for the job".
Sanchez brings in a report that the rape victim's father threatened Chad Raber not long before he was found murdered. The group debates how to prosecute someone who murdered a rapist.
Sykes chats with Tao about why Provenza doesn't like her.
Sanchez visits Amanda Martino, the woman raped by Chad Raber, while Flynn and Provenza question her father Jim Martino. His aggressive attitude and obvious hatred for Chad make Martino a top suspect. Further, the detectives find Chad's missing iPad in Martino's dumpster.
Raydor interviews Amanda Martino about the rape. Amanda had been taking Chad's fitness lessons and he attacked her. Afterward, he forced her into recording a statement about his amazing fitness program. Skyes suspects that Chad preyed on insecure women like Amanda.
Tao searches Chad's iPad and finds nine other recently deleted videos just like Amanda's. Each new rape victim presents another possible murder suspect, which weakens Raydor's case against Martino. "That's her problem. Not ours." Provenza says.
At home, Raydor has a tough time getting Rusty to adjust to living by her rules. She promises that they have done everything possible to track down his mother.
The detectives interview the nine other women Chad Raber raped. There's no doubt that Chad was a serial rapist. The evidence points to Martino as the murderer but the detectives are convinced that someone was trying to frame Martino by deleting all the other victims' videos. The team can only come up with one suspect who would know to frame Martino: Annette Raber.
The detectives bring Annette in for questioning and pretend to be on her side about the rape charges. They return Chad's iPad and let her go. Back in the surveillance room, the team watches as the iPad camera records Annette trying to delete the rape victim's videos except for Amanda Martino's. After they record Annette saying the magic words "I'd kill you again if I could!", Sanchez arrests her.
DDA Hobbs argues that she doesn't have enough evidence to convict Annette of first degree murder. Provenza balks at the possibility that Annette could walk away with no time served if they make a deal for manslaughter.
Provenza drags Taylor into the surveillance room to complain about the case. Taylor has no problems with it because settling will prevent a costly trial that might not turn over a conviction. He tells Provenza to give Raydor a chance.
Raydor and Hobbs sit down with Annette and her lawyer to haggle over the charges. They accuse Annette of framing Jim Martino and deleting the videos from the rest of the rape victims to save her husband's business. One rape accusation could be fought but nine of them would bankrupt the company. She deliberately killed her husband and deleted the videos from his victims in order to frame an innocent man.
Annette Raber appears in front of a judge in a courtroom. The Major Crimes team watches as she pleads guilty to manslaughter and agrees to serve the maximum 11 years in prison.
Provenza's irritated that a premeditated murder case received only 11 years. Taylor is thrilled that their suspect was found guilty just two days after discovery of the body; they saved hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"I can't tell you for sure if this is how it's going to be, but I certainly hope so." Taylor says. "Then I quit." Provenza counters.
Provenza packs his desk and the room clears once Raydor walks in. Provenza says that after so many years in the department, he feels insulted that anyone else should be head of the department. He can't stick around because it isn't fair. Raydor asks him to think it over. "Why don't you agree to stay on at Major Crimes only 'till you find someplace completely fair to work?"
Back at home, Raydor puts her foot down with Rusty. "I'm here. And your mother is not. And you're gonna have to try and make the best of it."