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Signals and Codes
Season 3, Episode 5
Air date July 9, 2009
Written by Jason Tracey
Directed by John T. Kretchmer
Episode Guide
Fearless Leader
The Hunter

Signals and Codes is the fifth episode of the third season and the thirty-third episode overall.


  • Clients: Spencer Watkowski
  • Bad Guys: Shannon Park


Michael helps a mathematician with preventing the firm he works for from selling government secrets.

Spy Facts[]

  • Nobody wants to hear from a burned spy. Your old handlers send your calls straight to voice mail. Your appeals are filed in the trash. Your old contacts are worthless. Your best bet is to find an active field operative who can't hang up on you. If you're on domestic soil, the airport's not a bad place to look. Intelligence agencies are like amateur magicians. Watch closely, and you can see how they set up their tricks. It doesn't matter how good they are at misdirection and sleight of hand. They can't make a covert ops supply plane disappear.
  • When you get cornered, there's a rush of adrenaline as the fight-or-flight response kicks in. In those moments, you can't listen to your body. There are some circumstances when flight just isn't the right option. Fortunately, with a little training and the right kind of hitch knot, all that adrenaline can make you capable of something pretty close to flight. Doesn't help the landing though. 
  • There are times in any spy's career when someone, somehow figures out who you are. Usually the best approach is to just put on a good poker face and deny everything. 
  • A money launderer's natural habitat is near rich people. What they save by avoiding taxes, they usually spend on overpriced drinks. But meeting with them is never boring. 
  • Whether you're infiltrating a cartel or spiking a chemical weapons sale, the most dangerous people in any covert op are the ones on your side. If they crack, you end up in a shallow grave. That's usually a good enough reason to avoid working with crazy people. But sometimes you have no choice.
  • In medieval Europe, spies used to pose as lepers and plague victims so they could snoop around without being bothered. In today's corporate office, posing as IT works the same way. It's the perfect cover if you need to linger without being bothered, and it gives you a pretext for talking to almost anyone. 
  • All you need to beat a modern tumbler lock is a little information and some Stone Age tools. If you know the basic type of key you need to spoof, pick out a matching blank, file down the valleys to the center ledge and you have a bump key. Apply torque, whack it with anything handy, and you're in.
  • Drug cartels aren't the only organizations who use import-export businesses as fronts. Intelligence agencies like them because they make it possible for missions to finance themselves. They send out guns and supplies and get back goods to sell. Native antiquities are favorites because their subjective prices make money laundering easy. 
  • Doing a job in broad daylight means easier access but more witnesses. You can walk right in with your unwanted audience, but you better have a plan to entertain them.
  • Cell phones are basically wireless computers. Upload the right program and you've got a roving bug you can turn on remotely. 
  • Front companies generally make easy targets for burglary. They don't want people wondering what they have to hide so they tend not to install a lot of lights, alarms and security cameras. And, of course, they'd never invite the police in to investigate, so there's really no need to be shy about leaving clues. 

Full Recap[]

Michael and Sam staked out the Miami airport logging all the flights and tail numbers until they found one that had to be black-ops.

Fiona appeared at the loft in a completely see through dress expecting Michael to take her to the Delano for lunch, but he was making a driver’s license for Duane Winger with his photo on it. He said he had a tail number and was going to go get some information from the F.A.A. about the plane.

He sweet talked Linda, the clerk, into letting him make a copy of the file for ExecuTransport LTD, pretending to be a Private Investigator hunting a sleazebag hubby’s shell company. While copying them, Duane Winger was paged overhead and Michael overheard people talking about the file being red-flagged. He used an extension cord to hang out the window and half-way down the side of the building before trying to fall into the bushes.

Michael and Sam were talking while they were at the shooting range hitting targets. Sam said that Barry wanted $1,000 just to check into the owner of the plane, "mostly an annoyance tax,” he said, "because Barry would have to go to the capital and would have to see his mother while he was there.” Michael's shots were 10% in the center of the target; Sam’s, on the other hand, were a perfect replica of a Mojito, complete with the olive.

On the way out of the range, Spencer Watkowski (a sort of rain man) accosted Michael, all the time jabbering about having "tracked him down" and “special ops guy.” When Michael tried to deflect him, Spencer began “outing” him in the parking lot which required them to stuff him in their car and take him somewhere else to talk.

At Carlito’s Spencer said he was a mathematician, M.I.T., with doctoral work at Duke, worked at Stone Kittredge (who did government contracts) and saw things that he shouldn’t have… so he needed their help. "One of the VPs is a killer," he said, who had killed three times and was "going to do it again, probably in Malaysia." He said that he had used is friend Brad’s computer to dig around and 3 days later Brad's gas line blew up, killing him. Michael asked him for proof and Spencer began talking about “Guardians” and "aliens" so Sam called “Bellevue” who said they knew him well -- a schizophrenic in and out of the hospital for over 4 years. Back at the airport, ExecuTrans is a shell company whose registrants don’t exist; however, North Andes Distribution was tied to the plane and had a hanger at the airport.

Back at the loft, Spencer had escaped and there saying that he had hacked the DMV and found Ms address, thanks to a parking ticket. He escaped from the ward and said his mind was right about this, even though people thought it wasn't. He begged to show them what he had learned and Fiona said "he doesn't seem all that crazy to me." At Spencer’s house, every square inch of floor, wall and ceiling was covered with articles and photos. It turned out that “aliens” were American spies who had been “outed” by Stone Kittredge. One of the articles was about the death of Ronald Papa who Sam knew. Spencer said The pattern showed a galactic war between the bad ones and the Guardians and those who get in the way and it is up to you to stop them, before the darkness comes.” Sam found a clipping about a diplomat just found dead in Malaysia like Spencer said would happen. In 2007 Stone Kittredge was given the contract to provide secure communications between US Embassies. They developed a code called Zydeco, which is a 4 kilobyte algorithmic code. Someone is intercepting encrypted emails then selling the names of American Spies, Spencer said.

Spencer then pointed out Shannon Park, who was on the team which created Zydeco, as the culprit; and said that she was a little out of Sam’s league. M asked Spencer to get them access at Stone Kittredge so they could catch Shannon with the illegal copy of Zydeco. M went under-cover as Jeremy Dresner, an I.T. Person from the Alexandria Office, to talk to Park saying that he was doing an internal audit of security procedures. All the while Spencer was sneaking in and out of her office and planting a key-logger monitoring code. M made a bump key for the bathroom on Park’s floor. Fiona, yet again, tried to turn the conversation into a referendum about M getting back in to the spy business and finally, FINALLY he’d had enough and told her that he’d go to the airport alone! M bluffed his way into the hanger and asked if a man was the manager. The man recognized him however and said: “No, Mr. Westen. I’m Diego Garza. I’m the spy you’re looking for.” However, even though he seemed amiable, he refused to make any contact in the agency on behalf of M; because, if he did he would most assuredly be reassigned away from this Miami position, which he really liked after many years of service and being shot. Sam went into Stone Kittredge pretending to be Charles Finley, the “dreaded teamwork consultant,” in order to provide a diversion for M and Spencer.  He made everyone go to the conference room -- even Ms evil, Shannon Park. Once inside her office, Spencer fell apart babbling about stolen emails, erased records after payments, sending out two more names but finally revealed that Zydeco wasn’t on her computer. "She must check out the copy from the scif room and put it back when she’s done," he told M. Park got fed up with Sam's double-talk and left his lecture early and Spencer nearly got M caught. M then decided that plan "B" would be to use some emails as a prop in order to scare Park that someone was onto her; so, the FBI could catch her when she tried to cover her tracks. M went back in as the same person but claiming now to be a “cleaner for the people we both work for” and said he was hired to clean up Parks mess about Zydeco being compromised. M gave Park a private (bugged) cell phone in case she needed to contact him, also a commanded appointment for the morning where she would take him to the scif room to show him the logs.

That night, while Fiona was staking out Parks office to catch her altering the logs, M went to the airport to motivate Diego into helping him by stealing an artifact out of a box and leaving a note for Diego. However, Sam heard Park talk over her bugged phone to a wet-work guy about Spencer’s address, claiming that someone at that IP address had tried to hack into her computer remotely (in spite of the fact that M had told him not to.)  The guy told Park that A bomb was set to go off under his house at midnight; so, Fiona had to leave Parks office un-watched and go rescue Spencer, hoping that Park wouldn’t wipe the logs while she was gone. Fiona arrived at Spencer's first and shot the door down but Spencer was just fighting her, jabbering away. M arrived and just knocked Spencer out, saying: “you can’t talk to him when he gets like that!”

The escaped from his house mere seconds before the explosion. They found that while that was happening, Park had gotten in and wiped the scif log. M decided plan "C" was to go back to Shannon and claim that Spencer had called him claiming to know about Zydeco and demanding to meet with Shannon in attendance. M said that Spencer was really only pretending to be crazy in order to obtain information. Then, M told Spencer to "stick to the script" and got him dressed up in a tie.  Spencer said he knew about Zydeco, that Shannon was the traitor then demanded $5 million to keep quiet. In order to "sell it" they revealed Park's password to her and showed copies of Zydeco encrypted emails Spencer had obtained. Shannon called Spencer's bluff and was walking away until Spencer blurted out he knew about another deal she was making to sell names to the Venezuelans. That got her attention and she agreed to the $5 million. M told her that now she needed to take him with her into the vault where they could get a copy of Zydeco that he could plant on their bodies the next day when he killed them. He also told her that this was her last day working because now she needed to run. After she had gotten the copy of Zydeco, M handcuffed her to some grating and locked her in the scif room to await the feds. He said he’d say hello at her trial. Spencer called the feds and reported the crimes.

Later at the Carlito, Spencer told them that his new meds made  him foggy, but it came with the job – Sam’s buddy has a tech firm and had a “crypto gig” for Spencer. Spencer told M that he had known when he saw "the pattern" that he should have told someone; but, he said, he didn’t have anyone he could trust. M was lucky, he said, "to have people like that."

Back at the airport, M had gone on eBay to bid on the bowl he had stolen using the screen name: “michaelheartsdiego@aol.com”; which, had been noticed by Diego’s boss. Diego revealed that now M was getting what he wanted and that he had been assigned to be Ms contact person in Miami – and his first contact was to tell him that "the Company is not interested in your services at this time!" Diego also said that they did already know about Ms Stone Kittredge involvement; but, "they want to sweep it under the rug, they're not about to give credit to someone for something that never happened." Disappointed, M said “get to know me Diego, I’m not one of the bad guys.” He responded with “they did say they’d review your file, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.” In the inevitable hash-out with Fiona afterwards, M asked why she couldn’t be whit him on this. She said that M was like Spencer – "too focused." He agreed that he was like Spencer in some ways, "We both see the world in a certain way and we both have skills to make it a better place."  When she looked disgusted, he again got stern and to the point. He said "let me be straight with you! What we just did, saving American lives, is what I was made for. It’s what my old job gave me the chance to do every single day, so NO getting back in isn’t just a way to survive, to protect the people I love, it’s.. what.. I.. want! And if you truly care about me, you should damn well want for me what I want for myself." Finally, she said: "If that’s what you want… I’ll be with you"; but, then she got up and dramatically left!





  • Michael Weston as Spencer Watkowski
  • Katherine LaNasa as Shannon Park


  • When Spencer calls the FBI, the agent who answers is called Special Agent Johnson. This could be a reference to Die Hard, where there are two Special Agent Johnsons.
  • Sharon Gless does not appear in this episode.
  • The client Spencer Watkowski is played by real life actor "Michael Weston", a homophone for Michael Westen

Continuity Errors[]

  • When Sam lures Shannon away from her office to go to the conference room, she closes her door and jiggles the handle to make sure that it is locked. However, the door didn't lock by the handle, it had a dead-bolt above the handle, and the swing-style handle moves freely.