"Madness" is the second episode of Season 3 of Mr. Mercedes. It aired on September 17, 2019.
Morris meets with the woman who told him about John's money, and Antonio convinces Bill to take on a new case. Judge Raines makes an unexpected ruling in Lou's case.
Bill drives out to John's cabin, listening to the radio report about John's murder. He goes into the bedroom where Antonio is going over the coroner's file, and the ADA tells him what happened. Antonio notes that both of the dead robber's hands proved positive for powder, and Bill wonders who shot first. When Antonio insists that Bill was never officially there, Bill says that based on the trajectories of the bodies and the shell casing, a third man shot John. Antonio figures the third man has the money, and Bill asks if the ADA made any progress with Sarah on Lou's case. The ADA warns that 15 years is the best Sarah will offer, and Bill asks him what he thinks of Bernard. Antonio admits that Bernard is a bit crazy, and Bill says that Bernard called him into chambers. Bill figures that if John had written any new material, it would be worth more than the stolen money.
At his apartment, Morris watches a video of John talking about murderers. Danielle Sweeney arrives and tells Morris that she got him some more bandages. She asks why he hasn't been sleeping, and complains that he's been up all night watching the TV. Morris says that he can do whatever he wants, and tells her that he almost died in a car crash and wonders what she expects of him. Danielle asks him what is wrong but he ignores her.
Bill tells Holly and Jerome that they need to find out who sells Rothstein memorabilia, figuring the third man took John's stuff. Holly says that Bill should get to court, and Bill asks Jerome if he read John's book The Runner. Jerome admits that it's pretty good and complains about the sentence structure.
Tom tells Marjorie that he has a responsibility to ask Peter, and she agrees but tells her husband not to accuse him. Peter comes down from his room and Tom tells him to sit down. Once Peter does so, Tom asks him how he afforded a new $300 pair of sneakers. Marjorie says that she found them when she cleaned up his room, and Tom figures that Peter is dealing drugs. Peter says that he earned the money from working all summer, but Tom doesn't believe him. As Peter goes, Tom yells at him to take Boogers out. Once Peter goes, Marjorie tells him not to take out his misery on Peter or she'll leave him.
Bernard tells Bill, Sarah, and Roland that he's not satisfied and tells them to bring him a plea. Sarah says that they can't force them to reach a plea deal, and Bill asks why he's there. Bernard tells him that he signed an affidavit claiming Brady could kill people in a coma or locked up in prison, necessitating Lou to kill him. He wants Bill to recant, and Bill tells Bernard that he's got his money's worth if Bernard files him for contempt. Bernard isn't impressed, invites Bill to the parking lot, and Bill tells him he's a bully and a power junkie. Bill doesn't back down, bemusing Bernard. The judge tells the attorneys that they have one last pre-trial date, and he expects a plea from them. Bernard warns that if goes to trial, it will go badly for one of them.
Out in the hallway, Roland tells Bill that his attitude didn't help. He says that they want Bernard as the judge because he's damned no matter what he does. Bernard is up for election, and Bernard figures that the polls favor Lou going free. Roland warns that Lou committed premeditated murder and Bernard being nuts works for them.
Peter walks Boogers through the woods back to the car wreck. Peter hesitantly looks inside and sees Stan's body. He calls back Boogers and runs to the house.
Morris drives to a trailer home and knocks at the door. Alma Lane answers the door, and Alma tells him that he's been AWOL. He says that he was in a car accident but is okay now, and Alma invites him in. Inside, Morris looks at her many paintings and Alma dishes him some stew. He admits that he screwed up big-time, and she worked out that he killed John. Alma reminds Morris that she told him about the manuscripts John had stashed, and now that John is shot dead and Morris is hiding she figures Morris killed the author. Morris insists that it's self-defense, but Alma says that the law will consider it felony-murder. He explains that while he was in the hospital, somebody came across the car and took the money and the manuscripts.
Alma is not amused, and tells Morris that he did John a favor by letting him go out in a blaze of glory and he couldn't write anymore. She says that John was a mean old man, and she loved him and knew he had it coming. Alma tells Morris to find who took the manuscripts and get them back, and Morris insists that she will. She says that she'll help him but she'll need "full circulation" to do her best thinking. A minute later in the bedroom, Morris has sex with Alma. When he complains about his recently-dislocated shoulder, Alma slaps his shoulder and tells him to continue.
At Finders Keepers, Bill returns and tells Holly and Jerome to dig up everything they can on Bernard. He then asks Jerome if he thinks John was just "pretty good". Jerome says that he liked the Jimmy Gold character but there was too much anger. After Jerome read The Runner, he thought of Bill and his anger and figured the book cultivated some of it. He then says that he knows the bar where Bernard drinks and gives Bill the name. Jerome suggests that Bill could go in, order a drink, and influence Bernard.
Antonio calls and tells Bill that they got an anonymous tip on Stan's body. Bill goes there and Antonio figures that Stan is the third man because the tire tracks match what's outside John's house. There are no signs of the stolen manuscripts and money, and figures Stan was ugly. Bill wonders if there's a fourth man, and Antonio tell him there's no evidence of it. They figure someone unrelated took the money and manuscripts after stumbling over the wreck.
Roland tells Lou that Bernard is nuts, and warns that Bernard won't allow a change of venue of the political pressure. He asks Lou if she would take seven years, warning that Sarah is excellent. Lou refuses to do seven years and tells Roland to get her out of prison. She says that Brady "finds her" in there and talks to her.
Marjorie makes supper and discusses John's death with Tom. Peter sits down with his parents and Tom talks about all the hoarding John did. They discuss banning guns with Peter saying that government is the enemy. Tom disagrees and Peter argues with him. Marjorie finally asks them to drop it and they do so.
Ida comes over to Bill's place and they play trivia over John's three novels. Bill says that it's hard to believe John is dead, and Ida tells Bill that John's character Jimmy is alive forever and lives a little in Bill.
Back at his apartment, Morris puts up maps of the area trying to figure out where the money went. Danielle asks what he's doing, and Morris claims that he's looking at developing the unclaimed land. He writes down the names of the people who live there, and Danielle figures that he's up to something. Danielle turns on the news, which is running a report on Stan's murder and the stolen car. She turns off the news and tells Morris that they need to talk. Danielle figures that Morris is grieving his hero, John, and Morris plays along.
Tom goes into Peter's room, and Peter hastily puts away the manuscript he's checking on line. His father apologizes for accusing him of selling drugs, and Peter quickly says that it's okay. Tom continues, wondering who the smart kid at his table is. He talks about how after Brady ran him down, he walled everyone out and stopped being there for Peter and Marjorie. Tom says that he's coming back but he has a long way to go. He notices the manuscript and asks what Peter is reading, and Peter dismisses it as school stuff. Tom leaves it to him and goes.
Bill goes to the bar, Burton's, and approaches Bernard. Bernard tells him to beat it, but Bill sits down at the bar with him. He asks Bernard how nuts he is, and the judge tells him that he's just the right moment. Bernard tells him to advise Roland to plead it out, and chuckles when Bill says that he seems nuts. The judge says that he has to play the populace to get reelected, and he lets his conscience be his guide. He warns that doesn't bode well for Lou, and tells Bill to tell Roland to plead it out.
Later, Bill calls Roland to Finders Keepers and passes on Bernard's message. Roland says that Lou won't plead it out, and warns that Lou is regressing mentally. Lou is losing her relatability and believes Brady is visiting her. The lawyer says that they need to get Lou out of the courtroom for good, and quickly.
Morris shows Alma the families that live near the crash site. He figures that the Saubers are young enough that they might go out walking, and Alma suggests she go door to door and see if she can sniff out the thief. Morris insists that he's not a thief, and Alma wonders if he's okay. He tells her that he can't shake what he did and who he did it to, and is offended that the newscasters are saying that he "murdered greatness". Alma says that when she got diabetes, she went to John for financial help. He told her to go to India because the medical treatment was cheaper and she resembled a cow. Alma explains that she had a great hatred for John after that, but she realized that he was just a representative of society. She insists that there comes a time of reckoning, and tells Morris that he's a hero for killing John. Alma says that Morris is the new Jimmy Gold and all revolutions require bloodshed. Next he has to kill the thief who took his books and money.
The next day at the courthouse, townspeople are protesting for Lou's release. A reporter spots Bill and Holly as they arrive, and asks Bill if he's hoping for justice. Bill tells her that the people's hearts matter in the voting booth. Bernard is in his chambers watching the newscast. Bill talks about how people are no longer afraid to gather in cars because of Lou, and he's glad to see Lou's heroism recognized by the will of the people. He hopes that legal justice will match the people's will.
In the courtroom, Bernard comes into the courtroom and says that it's great to be living in Ohio. Sarah says that she stands ready for trial, much to Bernard's irritation. Roland tells Bernard that they're amending their plea to include necessity, and Bernard has Lou rise. He tells her that he's excluding self-defense because of the lack of evidence, and overrules Roland when he objects. Bernard tells him that if Roland suggests Lou acted in self-defense, he will hold him in contempt. He asks if Roland wants to consider his necessity plea, and Roland tells him that he remains ready for trial.
Bernard asks Lou if she agrees, and Lou stares off in space. After a moment she tells Bernard that she agrees, and Bernard asks if she's all right. Lou says that she's had better days, and Bernard tells the court that he says that he is ordering her to be transferred to a medical facility to make sure that she is mentally competent. Roland and Sarah both object, and Bernard tells them that he doesn't need their permission. Lou asks what Bernard's source, and he says that Lou doesn't look right. Roland tells Lou that he'll get her out of the institute, the bailiff takes her away, and Bernard adjourns the trial.
Peter returns home and goes up to his room, telling his parents that he has a lot of homework. Once alone, Peter opens a wallboard and confirms that the money and manuscripts are still there. He puts a gun on top of the objects and goes down to dinner when Marjorie calls him.
Bill, Holly, and Jerome have dinner, and Jerome wonders if what Bernard did is good for Lou. The older man explains that Lou can be kept locked up in perpetuity and her case will never come to trial. Holly says that it's worse than prison, and mental institutes are about sectioning off the undesirables from society. She insists that "we" aren't sick, and tells them that she used to be in such a place so she knows. Bill and Jerome assure her that it's okay, and Bill assures her that she's the most human of them and they look to her humanity and feed off of it. He says that he's going to be there for Lou, and Holly insists that they have to get Lou out or she'll become what they say she is.
Antonio calls Bill to the morgue and says that the autopsy showed a bullet going into Stan's brain. The assistant coroner explains that they believe Stan was fatally shot and then someone used a power drill to excavate the bullet. There's no traces of bone in the truck, meaning that Stan's body was planted there. Antonio asks if Bill wants to see John's body in one of the drawers, and Bill finally agrees. They look at the author's body, and Antonio says that it's like a calling for them to catch the killer. He tells Bill to touch him, saying that when he did it inspired him. Bill does so and stares at the corpse.
Bill returns home and his phone rings. It's Donna, who asks if someone is dead when she picks up on his tone. Bill claims there isn't and he's just tired. He finally says that John is dead and figure Donna knows and called Bill. Bill says that he's just missing his wife and daughter, then says that there's another case after Brady that he has to solve.
After he hangs up, Bill puts a record on the record player and drinks.
The van takes Lou to the institute. and a guard takes her to her new cell. Lou turns and sees Brady standing in her cell, and screams.
- Brendan Gleeson as Bill Hodges
- Justin Lupe as Holly Gibney
- Kelly Lynch as Deborah Hartsfield
- Jharrel Jerome as Jerome Robinson
- Scott Lawrence as Peter Dixon
- Robert Stanton as Anthony Frobisher
- Breeda Wool as Lou Linklatter
- Justine Lupe as Holly Gibney
- Mary-Louise Parker as Janey Patterson
- Holland Taylor as Ida Silver