Signals and Codes
Season 3, Episode 5
Air date July 9, 2009
Written by Michael Horowitz
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 FactsEdit

  • 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 RecapEdit

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  • 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
  • When Spencer is frantically talking to Sam and Michael in the cafe, he refers to two alien races fighting, and that three are already dead. This is likely a reference to I am Number Four, where there are two alien races fighting, and the protagonist is the fourth being hunted down.

Continuity ErrorsEdit

  • 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.