Holden interviews the eerily articulate murderer Ed Kemper, but his research provokes negative feedback at the Bureau.
The episode opens In Wichita, Kansas, with a man trying to get a new roll of electrical tape at an office. Another employee tells him that can't give him one unless he brings back the paper tube at the end of the old roll. Exasperatedly, the first man says "whatever, Dennis," and walks away.
On a plane, Bill and Holden talk about Holden wanting to meet Manson while they are in California. They get their car at the airport, and Bill tells him that nobody can talk to, or wants to hear about Manson. They drive to their next stop. which is Santa Cruz, California.
While Bill lectures the local police, Holden sits at the back of the room and talks to a cop who confirms to him that seeing Manson would be impossible, but that, if he does go to Vacaville, he needs to visit Ed Kemper. Kemper is known as the "Coed Killer," as he murderer six young female coeds, as well as his mother.
Later, at a bar called the Jury Room, Holden and Bill talk to two cops who knew Kemper well. One was the arresting officer, but also enjoyed Ed's company when he used to hang around the police officers. They tell Holden that Ed will definitely talk to him, and Holden decides to go.
As Holden and Bill are in their motel room, Holden prepares for his interview while a newscast about the Son of Sam is on the television. Bill disagrees with Holden going to see the killer, refuses to go with him, and goes to play golf instead.
In Vacaville, Holden pays a visit to Ed Kemper at the prison. He tries to make the criminal comfortable by allowing him to be interviewed without his handcuffs on, eating with him, and asking for his opinions and insights. He learns a lot about how criminals think and how Ed got away with his crimes. He tells Ed about his idea of interviewing people like him, and proposes that they continue talking.
Back in Virginia, Holden can't stop mentioning Kemper to Debbie, and she suggests that, in order to get him to open up, Holden needs to make him feel at ease, and use what Holden calls "feminine wiles."
Holden returns to talk to Kemper again, and is much more relaxed, talking about his life and his relationship with Debbie. Holden starts talking about sex, and Kemper veers off into some disturbing details about his crimes. He then talks about his mother's abusive behaviour towards him, and his hatred for women in general, which seems to stem from that relationship.
When Bill picks him up, Holden also tells Bill about his conversations, and how they could use Kemper and people like him for their knowledge, however, Bill is concerned Holden is just being manipulated, and tells him as much.
They proceed to travel much more together, driving and flying across the country, and staying at countless motels. In Sacramento, as they are leaving the police department, a local detective, Roy Carver, stops them and asks them to consult on a case of his in which an elderly woman was viciously attacked and groped, and her dog killed. The next day, Holden, Bill, and Roy visit the victim of the assault, who has no recollection of the incident. The agents give Roy their profile of the attacker, and he agrees to talk to the neighbourhood kids.
Bill is upset, as he and Holden cannot get a flight back home until Sunday. Holden wants to go see Kemper again. Bill refuses to come, initially, but ends up visiting with Holden. Kemper goes into more detail about his background, time in a mental institution as a youth, and the killing of his mother.
On their flight home, Bill tells Holden that they need to tell Shepard about their going to see Kemper, as he will certainly find out anyways. In Quantico, Shepard is annoyed that Holden and Bill are helping out in Sacramento, and Bill does not tell him about the interviews with Kemper.
At Debbie's apartment, she invites Holden to come out to Detroit to visit her mom sometime, and explains that her mother will ask Holden about his mom to get a sense of his character. He says that he enjoys talking to his mom a lot, and really likes her.
Holden then shows up outside Bill's house and picks him up. He tells Bill that they should tell Shepard about Kemper and make their conversations official. Shepard is upset, especially at Holden, but Bill defends him to the Unit Chief, risking his job in the process. Holden tries to reason with Shepard, and Bill finally brings him around by asking how they could possibly get ahead of crazy if they don't know how crazy thinks. Still annoyed, Shepard allows them to continue with their interviews, on the conditions that they relocate and work in the basement below the Behavioural Sciences Unit, that they report directly to him, and that nobody else finds out about the project.