Manhunt: Unabomber Lincoln Recap Season 1 Episode 7 – The previous episode of “Manhunt: Unabomber focused on the personal profile of Ted himself. Working from the future to his past life, we see Ted living a rugged existence in his lonely mountain cabin, bathing in creeks, tending a meager garden, hunting for food. He is in full retreat from industrial, mechanized, technologic civilization. He’s angry to the core when he begins a letter to his brother David in an attempt to understand himself and to provide justification for his actions. A voice-over narrator is accompanied by scenes beginning in Ted’s childhood, continuing through his brutal experiences at Harvard, and into adulthood. “I think it was Harvard that really did me in,” says Ted of his experience as a human guinea pig in a mind control experiment for the CIA.
Episode 7 begins in Lincoln, Montana in the year 1995. FBI agents have a problem. Profiler Jim Fitzgerald has convinced his fellow agents that he’s identified and located the Unabomber. FBI agents are busy installing surveillance teams in the woods near the Unabomber’s cabin. SAC Don Ackerman is in constant anxiety that the FBI teams will blunder in some way and tip off Ted Kaczynski to their presence. But there is a bigger problem.
While FBI agents have moved a small army into the woods of Lincoln, there is a constitution provision against illegal search and seizure. The FBI has put the cart before the horse, so to speak. The only thing that qualifies as ‘evidence’ is Jim Fitzgerald’s linguistic work on Kaczynski’s letters to his mother and his manifesto. This is circumstantial, at best. This use of comparative linguistics has never been used to obtain a warrant. An FBI lawyer thinks it’s untested, and too weak to bring before a judge. This sets ‘Fitz’ and his team of analysts scuttling to find the magic words which will allow the FBI to bring the warrant request before a judge. The magic words are the same ones teased so often in earlier episodes. The Unabomber repeatedly uses the phrase “eat your cake and have it too” rather than the more common and widely heard idiom “have your cake and eat it too.” Guess which one is the original correct usage? Yes, Ted Kaczynski with this 168 IQ had it right, of course. When the FBI agents show the judge those very same words in several of Ted’s writings, the judge signs the search warrant.
The FBI Plan
Agent Don Ackerman is in charge of more than a hundred agents dispatched to tiny Lincoln, Montana. Ted’s cabin is surrounded. TAC squads are waiting for orders. The situation is tense, with the FBI wanting to avoid public embarrassment after Waco and Ruby Ridge. Stan Cole dissuades the TAC squad from the frontal assaults often depicted in TV stories. He tells the troops he wants them to be low profile. Any overt or loud actions could tip the Unabomber off to burn evidence, set booby traps, detonate explosives inside the cabin.
The major news networks have gotten wind of the operation and are on scene. And yet the entire process is on hold because the field agents have not yet received the search warrant. The depiction of this siege highlights the excited, super-heated atmosphere with an enervating electronic musical score.
Jerry Burns, Forest Service Hero
Key to apprehending the Unabomber is to find a way to get him out of the cabin and into the open. The field agent in charge, Stan Cole, locates Jerry Burns of the Forest Service who has had some little contact with Ted. ‘Little contact” is as far as it goes with Ted who had, during the course of the surveillance, rarely ventured outside the cabin. FBI agents imagine he is stepping up his bomb factory. While the forest ranger first laughs at the notion the recluse is the Unabomber, the idea begins to make sense. Burns agrees to approach the cabin with Stan Cole and another agent beside him. The two FBI guys pretend to be surveyors working on nearby properties. Ted peeks through the doorway to the forest ranger who tells the concocted story about the surveyors. When Ted tries to duck back into the cabin, Jerry Burns grabs him by the arm and pulls him out and takes him down.
Crucified Genius or Serial Killer?
Paul Bettany does a stellar job of portraying Unabomber Ted Kaczynski as a persecuted genius with a Jesus complex. As the FBI agents walk him away from the cabin in handcuffs , we see a grizzled, emaciated, dirty man with stringy hair looking up at the sky. A robot goes inside the cabin first for an on-camera inventory of the explosive supplies. The bomb squad detonates one of Ted’s completed explosives packages. There is a virtual gold mine of explosives materials inside.
Celebrations at FBI headquarters and in a tavern later leave Fitz brooding on the sidelines. Attorney General Janet Reno praises SAC Ackerman with no acknowledgement of Fitzgerald’s work as a profiler. Fitzgerald is watching on TV as Unabomber Task Force second-in-command bureaucrat Andrew Genelli takes credit for Fitzgerald’s work. Hamming it up for the cameras, Genelli goes to far as to publicly brag that he “pioneered the use of linguistics” in the pursuit of criminals. The key to solving the Unabomber case, says Genelli with little respect for truth, was his discovery of the phrase “eat your cake and have it too.” Then Fitz goes to tavern where the FBI Unabomber squads are celebrating over drinks. Stan Cole is demonstrating to his drinking buddies how he yanked Ted out of the cabin. The bureaucrats at the top get the credit while Fitz, Tabby, the forest ranger, and others get ignored.
The episode ends with a sort of tribute to Jim Fitzgerald and other people working where the rubber meets the road. Fitz is proud of his achievement but finds himself alone. Yet success in the hunt provides its own satisfaction as Fitz goes to Ted’s cabin where forensics teams are still at work. In an introspective moment, he climbs up into the cabin where it seems he’s made spiritual contact with its former resident, now living in federal prison in Alameda, California. Ted’s manual antique Corona typewriter is on a table, along with a handwritten copy of his manifesto. An overpowering emotion seizes behavioral profiler and ad hoc linguistics expert James Fitzgerald. He goes to the typewriter and presses the single letter: “I”.
Other episodes of Manhunt: Unabomber reviewed on TV Eskimo:
Manhunt: Unabomber Lincoln Recap Season 1 Episode 7 characters and cast include:
Jim ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald – Sam Worthington (Avatar, Wrath of the Titans, Hacksaw Ridge, The Shack, Cake, Everest, Macbeth, The Debt)
Ted Kaczynski – Paul Bettany (Legend, Captain America: Civil War, Margin Call, Wimbleton, A Beautiful Mind, The Da Vinci Coe, Sharpe’s Waterloo, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World)
Sand – Elizabeth Becka (Nashville, War Room, Greenleaf, Secrets and Lies)
Theresa Oakes – Trieste Kelly Dunn (United 93, Banshee, Cold Weather, Blindspot)
Linda Kaczynski – Katja Herbers (Divorce, The Leftovers, The Storm, The Americans, Manhattan)
Janet Reno – Jane Lynch (Glee, Criminal Minds, A.C.O.D., Party Down, The Rocker, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind)
Tom McDaniel – Tom Nowicki (Never Back Down, The Blindside, Remember the Titans, Flight, Mr. Mercedes, Bloodline, Necessary Roughness, Trouble with the Curve)
Ernie Esposito – Curtis Wyatt III
Jerry Burns – David Jensen (Midnight Special, Queen Sugar, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)