Los Angeles, 1967. Old-school LAPD Detective Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) partners with a rookie cop (Grey Damon) to find a missing 16-year-old girl who's caught up in the world of young thug Charlie Manson (Gethin Anthony).
Los Angeles, 1967. With her parents drinking martinis and arguing, 16-year-old Emma Karn slips out of their Beverly Hills mansion and into the waiting car of 19-year-old frat boy Rick Zondervan. They're unaware they're being followed to record producer Steve Elmer's house party in Laurel Canyon, which is filled with two kinds of kids, straight-edge and hippies. When Rick wanders off to get a drink, Emma becomes the focus of a bearded man, whom we'll come to know as Charles "Charlie" Manson. Charlie sends his girl Sadie to seduce Rick, while Katie shares a joint with Emma. Pretty soon the stage is set for Charlie, who calls Emma by name on approach, putting her off-balance. Charlie likens the lights on the Sunset Strip to a snake that's coming to eat the world. But Emma is not to worry; where her father and boyfriend will fail to keep her safe, Charlie will succeed.
In a bare-bones apartment, Detective Sam Hodiak starts his day with coffee and a workout with a punching bag. The phone rings and the station transfers a call from Grace Karn; Emma's missing and she didn't know who else to call. Hodiak hotwires his car and heads to Beverly Hills to meet Grace and her husband Ken, an expensive lawyer with ties to Nixon and the Republican Party. That's why the search for Emma can't be official, since there's an election coming up next year. Grace walks Hodiak - her first boyfriend - to his car, asking about his son, who's now an Army corporal in Da Nang. Tearing up, Grace begs Hodiak to find her daughter, then collapses in his arms, a sight not lost on Ken.
Hodiak wastes little time tracking Rick Zondervan to a club. Rick threatens Hodiak - his father is a lawyer too - but you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Hodiak hauls Rick into the men's room and steps on his neck to question him about Emma. The only useful info Rick offers is the location of Steve Elmer's house, where he last saw Emma at the party - a party that seems to be a 24/7 affair. Steve wastes no time dispensing with Hodiak, a "pig." Meanwhile, Emma is at another canyon home (the Spiral Staircase House), where Charlie is playing guitar and singing his songs for a group of rapt young women. Katie tells Emma that "Charlie has a vision. Someday, he's gonna be more famous than the Beatles." Emma tells Sadie that Charlie told her she was special - but if she is, why are there so many other girls around? Sadie promises Charlie will teach Emma how to make her cravings for him die down. When Emma recognizes Sadie as the one who waylaid Rick at the party, Sadie cautions her, "Let go. Of everything." Later, when Emma's alone with Charlie, she asks how he knows so much about her, like that her dad's a lawyer. Charlie insists he sees Emma. She's not invisible, and she'll never feel alone again. They're going to change the world! Charlie unbuckles his pants and pushes Emma down on the bed as Katie and Sadie appear to take part.
That night on the Sunset Strip, cop Brian Shafe is undercover as a scruffy hippie, sitting at the counter of Gladner's Coffee Hut with his mark, petty drug dealer Mike Vickery. There's a riot brewing outside with cops and reporters, so Shafe wants to get going. After Gladner hands over $100 in a box of key lime pie, Shafe asks Vickery to walk him to his car, then flashes his badge. He's a cop trying to avoid the cops. But when he sees one of them beating a young demonstrator, he intervenes, and winds up bent over a police car himself. The paddy wagon heads to the Hollywood Police Station, where Hodiak and his racist, hard-man partner Cutler, and rookie Charmain Tully watch news coverage of the Vietnam War. In Lieutenant Priore's office, Shafe fights with the uniformed cop that hauled him in. When Hodiak sees Shafe take the uni down like a sack of potatoes, he arranges for Shafe to help with the Karn case. They're an unlikely pair from the jump: young Shafe stands against the reputation of old-school LAPD guys like Hodiak, who tend to punch first and ask questions later. With a laconic grin, Hodiak promises that Shafe's hair is going high and tight and he'll be back in a uniform tomorrow - unless...
The next morning, Hodiak and Shafe are on the UCLA campus playing good cop-bad cop and picking up Rick Zondervan. Shafe reminds Hodiak that he has to read Rick his rights - that new Miranda thing - and when neither of them can find the card, Hodiak goes to find a payphone, leaving the two young men alone to talk. Rick explains that he really doesn't know where Emma is. Once she saw him in flagrante delicto with Sadie at the party, Charlie's motorcycle gang friend Roy beat him up and Emma took off with Charlie. When Rick asked, Steve said, "Charlie gets the girls," but didn't mention his last name. Over lunch, Shafe tells Hodiak about his undercover drug work, which is off the books. He needs half a pound of good dope, and is surprised when Hodiak offers to get it from his dad. Instead, they go to Vickery's apartment in Venice to shake him down for his weed.
Back at the precinct, the guys ask Charmain, who's eager to stop making coffee and prove herself with some real police work, if she'd be willing to go undercover. Later that night, Shafe returns to Steve Elmer's house with Charmain to make new friends by handing out his purloined weed. Once Steve is good and high, Shafe starts asking about Charlie, finding out his last name, and claiming Charmain wants to see him. This gets the attention of Roy, who claims he knows where Charlie's crashing. And if Charmain wants to see Charlie, she's gonna have to have sex with Roy first. When it looks like Roy is going to get started right away, Shafe shifts the situation: they're going to get in the car to go see Charlie right now and Roy can do his business on the way. After toking on a joint to prove his mettle, Shafe trips Roy on the way down the stairs, and the fall crushes his knee. Back at the station, a bemused Hodiak comments, "The Love Generation plays rough," but Charmain is still shaken. When they're alone, she points out that Shafe is on drugs. He allows that going undercover gets weird sometimes, and she never has to do it again. "I loved it," Charmain says.
After poring over Manson's thick file late into the night - he's been in jail for 17 of his 33 years, with a long wrap sheet that includes rape and pandering - Hodiak visits his parole officer Bruce Tamminy in the morning. Tamminy suggests Manson may be intending to prostitute Emma, which was his thing before his last incarceration for felony possession of four ounces of marijuana in a national park. Word was he got girls for high rollers, and just before he went to jail one of them disappeared. Somehow, Charlie got an uptown lawyer and made the whole business go away. And the lawyer's name is Ken Karn.
That night, Hodiak declines Grace's offer of a martini, then shows her a photo of Manson, but none of her bells are rung. Hodiak thinks Emma's disappearance is about Manson and Karn, who is at present being accosted by Charlie in a parking garage. Charlie's pissed that Karn hasn't been taking his calls. Back in the day, Charlie couldn't supply Karn with enough girls, and he remembers everything that happened. Karn warns Charlie to stay away, but Charlie wants introductions to the right music industry people... But if Karn doesn't want to help, Charlie can just go home to Emma. When he describes the kind of noises Emma makes during sex, Karn starts punching wildly. Charlie quickly gets the upper hand, putting a knife to Karn's throat and taking his pants down. When another car drives by, Charlie buckles up, empties Karn's wallet. Maybe the next time they get together, Charlie can bring Emma and they'll get freaky-deaky...
Hodiak is still at the house when Karn gets home, bleeding from the neck, claiming he fought off his anonymous mugger with his briefcase. Hodiak is quick to notice no scuff marks on the briefcase, and Grace wants to know what happened to Karn's pants, so he changes the subject. Where's Emma? Hodiak doesn't know, but he knows Emma is with Charlie Manson - does that name ring a bell? Karn says no, until he understands that both Hodiak and Grace know Charlie was his client. When Grace says, "Just tell us everything," Karn shows Hodiak the door. Claiming he has the commissioner's home number on his desk, right next to the mayor's, Karn threatens, "We can sure do this." Undaunted, Hodiak tells Grace to ask Karn's secretary for a favor before driving off.
After Hodiak puts Tamminy on Manson's trail, Shafe asks for a favor. Vickery's been blabbing about his secret identity. On the drive to Venice, a call comes over the radio about a homicide in South Central: a white female. Since it's Hodiak's old beat, he takes a detour. Sixty-two-year-old Joyce Mankin took blunt force trauma to the head, and her husband Leo, a dance instructor, claims he was at the studio, which he was closing down. When Hodiak asks if there are any problems in the neighborhood, Leo outs himself as a racist, law-abiding citizen who "woke up one day in Africa." Yeah, there are problems all the time, but when Leo calls, the cops never come.
After a shower, Emma finds Charlie playing guitar. When she complains there's nothing to eat, he acknowledges that her hunger is real - but so is her power. Their collective dream is his music. Katie and Sadie are doing their part - so what is Emma doing? Charlie's going to grace album covers and he has to look good, so he packs Emma in the car to go shopping on the Sunset Strip. Meanwhile, in Beverly Hills, a shaken Karn and his hard-driving partner Hal Banyin drink and discuss Manson - a problem Karn has to make go away. They can't afford to get hurt right now, especially with the fundraiser this afternoon. When Tamminy calls Karn to talk about Manson, Banyin insists on handling the call.
Charlie waits in the car, watching a cop dispose of loitering hippies, while Emma prowls a boutique, stuffing a man's vest under her shirt. She's almost out the door when the store owner grabs her wrist. Charlie walks in just as he's calling the cops, telling Emma to "bite the hand that frees you." She bites the store owner and runs for the car, just as the cop drives off. Moments later, Charlie's back in the driver's seat with the vest, wiping the blood off his knife blade on the seat.
Hodiak and Shafe poke around the Mankin house to find an unopened birthday card and learn that Leo is heavily doped up and dying of brain cancer. Charmain calls to say that the Mankins have never been a victim of any crimes - so why would they be calling the cops? Hodiak works a theory; while Joyce enjoyed a pretty decent dancing career, a much younger Leo never made the grade. And the only calls to the police were from the neighbors, complaining about the couples' fights, Joyce calling Leo "talentless" and a "pansy." Outside, Shafe is questioning a neighbor, when clean-cut neighborhood Nation of Islam rep Bunchy Carter shows up. There have been 27 murders in the neighborhood this year, which makes the cops an occupying force until they withdraw, and no one's gonna talk to them. With no witnesses, Hodiak tells Shafe to follow his lead, then apologizes to Leo and arrests Bunchy. The cops continue on their way to Venice to pick up Vickery, who admits telling Art Gladner that Shafe is a cop. When Bunchy and Vickery start arguing about the Vietnam War, Shafe rolls up his sleeve to reveal his 173rd tattoo, pleasing Hodiak. Next stop is Gladner's. He takes Shafe in the back and hands over his lawyer's card. But he's not ready for Hodiak's physical tactics and quickly folds, promising to name the guy at the top of the drug-dealing chain. To seal the deal, Hodiak writes "snitch" on Gladner's forehead.
Karn makes good on his promise, setting up a meeting with record exec Matty Goldberg, who tells Charlie he needs to record a demo. Charlie moves on to the Karn mansion, where the fundraiser is in full swing. The two men speak in hushed tones in the foyer. Karn demands the return of Emma, and Charlie demands $2,000 to make his demo. He returns to the Spiral Staircase House to find Emma reveling in the triumph of passing her first test. She's found bags and crates of expired groceries behind a local supermarket, plenty of food for the whole family. When she asks Charlie if he likes cherries, she earns her new nickname, "Cherry Pop."
Hodiak is sleeping when his son Walt shows up, still wearing his uniform; is he AWOL, or...? In the morning, Hodiak interrogates Bunchy, who's already spent four years in jail. Leo's waiting in the anteroom, and he's already called his lawyer. Hodiak claims he has witnesses all ready to place Leo in his home at the time of Joyce's murder. But he doesn't want to arrest him, since he's almost dead already. When Hodiak pushes Leo to confess his wife's murder, Shafe interrupts repeatedly, so Hodiak shoves him in the hallway and locks him out. Hodiak pulls out the birthday card and tears spring to Leo's eyes; he's finally ready to write down the whole story. Once the confession is signed, Hodiak arrests Leo, and takes a stab at reading Miranda rights. Cops can't make deals, but people can't beat their wives to death either. Hodiak releases Bunchy, thanking him for his help, having earned a new enemy. Afterwards, Hodiak clears out the locker room to yell at Shafe for interfering with the case. Shafe's angry too, angry that Hodiak abused Leo and Bunchy's rights. Hodiak admits he's perfectly willing to bend the law when the situation calls for it. When Shafe insists he won't do the job the way Hodiak does, Hodiak says, "You don't even know what the job is." Afterwards, Hodiak drops Shafe at his home in the Valley, surprised to note that his neighbor Howard is sullen and silent... until he spies Shafe's wife, an African American woman named Kristin, and their daughter Bernadette. Shafe thought Hodiak should know, since they're going to keep working together, despite the tension.
Back at the station, Cutler tells Hodiak that he called a friend at Camp Pendleton, and none of them can figure out how Walt is stateside. Furious, Hodiak makes a beeline for his ex-wife Opal's house. What did she do to make their son go AWOL? Drunk and sarcastic, Opal already knows Hodiak intends to turn in his son, but Walt's already in the wind and nowhere to be found. Later that night, Grace shows Hodiak the call log she got from Karn's secretary, filled with unanswered calls from Manson, and one from Tamminy. One thing's for sure, even though she knows what her husband will say and do, Grace doesn't understand him. She married him because she was pregnant and her dad liked him. For his part, Hodiak can't remember why he married Opal...
Karn drives out to the Spiral Staircase House to give Charlie half his money. When Emma returns home, Charlie will get the other half. Softening, Charlie claims they were never enemies, then grabs Karn for a loving kiss. When Emma knocks on the bedroom door, Charlie tells her to come back later, then soothes a sobbing, wide-eyed Karn. Does he remember how free they were together on those sweet nights of theirs?[button color="green" size="big" link="http://www.nbc.com/aquarius/episodes" target="blank" ]Watch The Full Season Now![/button]