The Key Suspect
The Jones and Parker Detective Agency meets its match with a perplexing case involving open lockers and a rival detective.
Emily Jones and Matthew Parker attempt to solve a mystery that starts with all 300 lockers at Odyssey Middle School standing open one early morning, with none of the contents disturbed or stolen. Dion Farkus walks up, asking why all the lockers are open and saying that he’s at school early for reasons that are “none of your business.” He is Emily’s first suspect, and her initial theory is that he opened the lockers and just pretended to be arriving. Matthew is obliviously staring at Morrie Rydell’s adopted sister, Suzu, saying that she just moved to Odyssey, he thinks from Japan. Suzu introduces herself, telling Emily that people have said that Emily is very clever and has done very fine work as a detective.
Later, Morrie tells Emily (“our new student body president”) that he loves watching detectives “put the pieces together” and is impressed by Emily and Matthew’s work. He says that although he’s not good at solving mysteries, his sister is. He bets that they’ll find out what’s going on with the lockers.
The two gumshoes learn from Principal Vogler that there are two ways the lockers could have been opened: a list of combinations (guarded by the school secretary) or a master key. Two master keys exist: he has one and Mr. Redekop, the janitor, has the other, and both were accounted for. The school alarm system didn’t go off, either.
The next morning, all the lockers are open again, with nothing stolen. Emily thinks that the perpetrator is telling them, “I’m smarter than you. Try and catch me — if you can.” They skip lunch to talk to Mr. Redekop, who is already talking to Dion, telling him about his cleanup schedule and that he leaves work at 8:00 P.M. Dion scuttles off. Mr. Redekop says that the security system is sets of contact sensors on the doors and windows. He also recalls that Morrie suggested that a hidden camera be set up on a locker at the end of a hallway near the back door in order to catch the locker-opener. He then hands Emily an envelope addressed to her that he found by her locker. It says:
|“||There the pale night queen,
so patient, ever watching,
she sees the pane yawn.
Matthew and Emily decode it to mean a window opens in moonlight, deciding that it’s a message from the mischief maker and that there’s no way Dion could have come up with it. They find a window in a storage room with a broken lock and fiddled-with sensor. They hide as Suzu opens and closes the window. Emily decides that Suzu is the culprit, seeing as their clue was a Japanese haiku. After school, Suzu buys key blanks, a combination lock, and a dial caliper at a hardware store before heading home.
The next morning, many (but not all) of the lockers are open, disturbed, and stolen from. Principal Vogler talks to Suzu, who explains that she solved the locker incident: she created a master key for the lockers with the items she purchased, to see if it was possible. She had found footprints outside the window, and the previous night, she watched Dion enter by it and followed him in, seeing him open several lockers with a key and steal some items. Dion protests that the key was put in his locker yesterday and he was just trying it out.
Principal Vogler declares the case closed, but Emily believes that there are too many unanswered questions.
That evening, Suzu confronts Morrie, asking why the lockers would be open but not stolen from the first two nights and who really did it, if not Dion? “Beats me,” he replies. Suzu counters, “A great deal can be learned from examining a person’s possessions… but what could be done with such knowledge? …Please tell me you had nothing to do with the locker incident at school.” “All right,” he answers, “I’ll tell you that.” “We don’t want things to… go awry again?” Suzu warns. “I want to do what is right, for our new friends, for our family.” Morrie assures her that everything’s good.
- There are no discussion questions listed for this episode. »
Heard in episode
|Emily Jones||Cristina Pucelli|
|Matthew Parker||Justin Felbinger|
|Henry Vogler||John Rubinow|
|Dion Farkus||Alex Polinsky|
|Suzu Rydell||April Hong|
|Morrie Rydell||Atticus Shaffer|
|Mr. Redekop||Bob Hoose|
- This is the first episode which demonstrates that Morrie has some long term agenda in Odyssey which continues into later episodes.
- It is established Morrie's plan in Odyssey does not directly involve Suzu but a previous incident in their lives may have involved her.
- Dion Farkus may have been blackmailed to take the fall based on something found in his locker by Morrie or whoever he maybe working with. Whether Dion will continue to be blackmailed after his change of heart in a later episode is unclear.
- In this episode, Emily tells Suzu that Matthew is her mystery-solving 'partner', even though in the past she has insisted that he is her 'sidekick'.
Morrie Rydell: Hey! Great job on that locker mystery today, sis! You showed everybody how good of a detective you are.
Suzu Rydell: Morrie, why do you suppose someone would open lockers for three nights but only steal on the third?
Morrie Rydell: Uhh… hum. Beats me.
Suzu Rydell: <exhales> And I heard someone left a poetic clue for Emily Jones. It’s too clever for Dion; who would do such a thing, and why?
Morrie Rydell: Maybe… someone was trying to throw Emily and Matthew off the trail somehow.
Suzu Rydell: Or onto one. I have been thinking: there seems to be a number of puppet strings here, strings left dangling. A great deal can be learned from examining a person’s possessions, don’t you think? But what could be done with such knowledge?
Morrie Rydell: Well, people’s secrets are… powerful things.
Suzu Rydell: Perhaps a secret is what kept Dion from protesting that he was accused unjustly.
Morrie Rydell: What are you getting at, sis?
Suzu Rydell: Morrie, please tell me you had nothing to do with the locker incident at school.
Morrie Rydell: Alright. I’ll tell you that.
Suzu Rydell: We don’t want things to… go awry again? I want to do what is right, for our new friends, for our family.
Morrie Rydell: Don’t worry. Everything’s good. ’Night.
Suzu Rydell: Good night, Morrie.