- "I could swear to be the King of England. It doesn't make it true."
"Risky Business" is the eighth episode of the first season of Scorpion. It aired on November 10, 2014.
Team Scorpion enlists the help of a musician who created a controversial algorithm that generates hit songs to help find the murderer of a music blogger.
On an empty street late at night, Walter prepares to street race a dude for his car. Walter insists he's calculated every variable and the other guy has no chance. They tear off into the night and Walter splits off and takes an alternate route to get in front of the guy. He's almost there when a truck pulls out in front of him and Walter has to slam on the brakes.
The guy is ready to collect, but Walter has to explain it's a rental. The next day at HQ, the team enjoys that Walter owes a Lamborghini to a guy named Slavomir with a Russian gang tattoo. Paige prepares Ralph to go a baseball game with his newly returned father, Drew. Toby suggests to Walter that it's no coincidence his street racing interest began when Drew showed up.
Paige brings Walter Ralph's recent algebra test—he got a D+. Walter tries to talk to him and ask what's going on. Ralph looks at his dad struggling to make sense of a Rubix cube and suggests failing was a good thing. Cabe calls the team.
They report to a murder scene where a music industry blogger named Harold Reed is dead in his apartment. They meet detective Jim Archer. Happy quickly deduces the suspect came in the door and knocked Reed out with it. The team was called because of a math problem half wiped off on a dry erase board. Sylvester quickly gets to work filling it in. They also have scraps of paper with notations on them. It's an optimization algorithm with computer code repeated throughout as a signature. It stands for PT. Archer says Peyton Temple was a name found on Reed's phone records.
Outside Temple's apartment, they find references on Reed's blog to an upcoming post about something called the Hit Wizard. Toby finds that Temple was a musical child prodigy. He also finds that Reed's phone records put him at Temple's house for three hours last night. Archer says it's not enough for a warrant and they'll have to come back. When he leaves, Walter starts to go to Temple's house. Toby intercedes, telling Walter he's hunting "big adrenaline game because of your high intelligence."
Walter counters that high risk activities are distracting because they take up his entire brain, freeing him from other thoughts. Walter hops the fence to Temple's house as the team watches. He doesn't get far before he hits a trip wire and is knocked out. He comes to with Temple and his angry dog standing over him. Inside, Cabe and the team talk to Temple who insists Reed was his friend. Temple says Walter was the second person to sneak on his property today. Temple explains he invented a program to aggregate data on every hit pop song from the last 50 years. He says it could be used to make the perfect pop song. "Macklemore. That's the only explanation," Toby says.
Temple says he heard a few songs on the radio a couple weeks ago that he's sure used the technology. His house was broken into 10 months ago and a laptop with the program on it was stolen. He says there are six hit songs using it now. He's concerned about putting more people in danger by sharing the names of the songs, but Walter suggests they'll work in secret and only he will know the names. Downstairs, Toby is sure that Kesha is on the list. He's waiting for the right moment to ask Happy on a date to a monster truck show, but he's waiting because she thought Temple was cute. When Paige says music is sexy, Sylvester suggests jokingly that she was a groupie. She admits there may have been a time she gave singing a shot.
Walter and Temple come down with a possible suspect, a hip hop producer named Lucky with two hits on the list. His whole roster is about street cred and his business would be ruined if it came out a machine was making his music. He's also crazy and has been shot three separate times. Toby suggests getting in his face to accuse him after planting a listening device in his office. Toby suggests he'll go as his lawyer. Outside Lucky's office, Walter notes that Lucky owns a Lamborghini.
In his office, Toby, Temple and Paige accuse Lucky of stealing the software. Temple asks to talk to Lucky in the hall. He tells him he called the lawyer out of the Yellow Pages just because he knew Lucky wouldn't see him without one. He tells him about Reed's murder and that he doesn't want anything to do with it and that Lucky can just keep the program. Toby tries to plant the bug Lucky's security guard won't look away. Finally Paige is able to get it in a CD near his phone.
When they leave, Lucky's first call is to his internet service provider. In the van, it makes a weird noise when Walter tries to start it. Happy suggests they discuss it outside the van. The team piles out and a few seconds later the van explodes. Later, Lucky is in custody but has an alibi for Reed's murder. At the baseball game with Drew, Ralph is in his own world. Back at Scorpion HQ, Walter gets a text from Slavomir giving him until tonight to come up with the car or lose a kneecap.
Drew calls Paige for help and Toby challenges Walter to step up. He tells Drew to buy a program, show him the player's stats and challenge him to improve them. Reviewing security footage of the van before the explosion they see a man planting the bomb. In his car they see a logo for Night Ridge security, which provides security in the music business. Sylvester hacks the employee files and IDs him as Dustin McBride. Cabe takes the information to give to the LAPD.
The team stays put to figure out who hired McBride. Happy takes Temple to show him the synthesizer she built from parts. Temple declines playing it and suggests it's time he head home. He and Walter are talking privately when suddenly McBride jumps out and Tasers Walter. He injects Temple with something and drags him away.
They have a list of 20 clients of Night Ridge and need to narrow it down, so Toby convinces Walter to hand over the hit list. They find that three acts are all managed by Owen Sugar. They head to his high rise apartment. From across the street, they see McBride talking to Sugar on his balcony. Temple is knocked out in the bedroom. They use a listening device and hear Sugar telling McBride to interrogate Temple about who else he told then take him out. Walter finally says it's time to call Cabe and the team springs into action to save Temple.
Happy breaks into Sugar's apartment with Walter and Toby and they find Temple ziptied in the bedroom. Happy and Walter sneak Temple out while Toby provides the distraction. He tries to beat box for Sugar and ends up hung over the balcony. Walter goes back to get him and offers to take them to Temple at their headquarters. In the elevator on the way down, Toby and Walter use their belts to get a firm grip on the elevator railing. Happy rigs the elevator to drop in starts, throwing Sugar and McBride around like rag dolls. When the doors open, Cabe and the LAPD are waiting.
Down in the garage, Toby points out to Walter that Sugar also owns a Lamborghini. Cabe shows him a hard drive with Temple's name on it. Back at HQ, Happy tells Toby she's glad he didn't get dropped off the balcony. Toby is about to seize the moment to ask her out when Happy joins Temple at the keyboard. He starts playing and Paige (American Idol winner Katherine McPhee) joins in. Drew comes back with Ralph. Drew thanks Walter for his idea about the program, but says he and Ralph still seem to be speaking different languages.
Walter has an idea. They film Drew pitching to Sylvester. Walter explains the physics as Drew tells him the baseball lingo. Walter tells Paige privately that he thinks Ralph failed his test to connect with Drew. He says he'll help Ralph connect with Drew as best he can. Temple asks Happy out and Toby listens with chagrin as they make plans for a funny car rally.
Walter gives Temple his hard drive with the program on it back. Temple tells Happy he wrote it when he was angry and disenchanted with the music business. But he doesn't want to be a fake. He smashes the hard drive. Walter circles back to the issue of needing a Lamborghini. Sylvester suggests he won't let Walter borrow it unless he has something he wants. Cut to Walter fixing Lucky's internet and making it free. He lends Walter his car til the morning. Walter heads back out to race Slavomir, double or nothing.
- Elyes Gabel as Walter O'Brien
- Katharine McPhee as Paige Dineen
- Robert Patrick as Cabe Gallo
- Eddie Kaye Thomas as Toby Curtis
- Jadyn Wong as Happy Quinn
- Ari Stidham as Sylvester Dodd