"No Good Deed" is the first episode of Season 3 of Mr. Mercedes. It aired on September 10, 2019.
The murder of iconic local author John Rothstein devastates Hodges. Lou will be tried for killing Brady Hartsfield. High schooler Peter Saubers makes an overwhelming discovery.
Morris Bellamy and Carl Fenten drive through the rainy night, and Carl says that he's having second thoughts. Morris tells him not think about it and to shut up so that he can concentrate. He assures Carl that their intended victim has money, figuring that "he" hates banks and has made lots of money. Carl says that he can handle breaking into cars, but robbing an old man isn't something he can do. Morris tells him that they can handle an old man.
They arrive at the turnoff to his house and Carl drives in, killing the lights. They coast to a halt and Morris tells Carl that he's going to meet a great American author. He says to put on his mask, and Carl starts confessing his sins in case something happens. Carl reminds Morris that they agreed that four years ago at the job fair, God spared them for a reason and it wasn't to rob an old man. Morris tells his friend that they were God-forsaken then and still are, takes out a gun, and says that God helps those who help themselves.
The two robbers make their way through the woods to the house and find the porch door unlocked. They go inside and search the house, going upstairs. They find the owner, author John Rothstein, asleep in his bed. Morris puts his gun to John's head and tells him to wake up, and John jerks awake. He turns on the light and tells John that he's a huge fan, and he will kill him if necessary. John demands to know who he is, call him a dumb shit. He says that he's had a grand life and refuses to take them to his safe. He tells Morris that he doesn't have a proper ending, and he's been waiting for the moment for years.
John tells Morris to pull the trigger, and Morris says that he's going to shoot him for being a hypocrite. He figures John fears going out small, and talks about John's character Jimmy Gold and having him go into advertising. John tells him that Morris never understood a word he wrote, and yells at him to pull the trigger. He flinches when Morris shoves the gun in his face, and Morris says that he's afraid to die.
Carl searches the room and finds John's safe, along with the combination written on a piece of paper and taped to the wall. As he opens it, John tells Morris to do him a favor and take his mask off so he can look into the eyes of the man who is going to kill him. Inside the safe, Carl finds a dozen manuscripts journals and bundles of bills. John insists that they're just ramblings, but Morris thumbs through them and realizes that it's more writing about Jimmy Gold. As he says that there's no money in selling them, John reaches for a gun in his dresser. He shoots Carl in the neck, and Morris shoots John dead. Shocked, Morris removes his mask and stares at John's corpse, sobbing in denial. He considers shooting himself, but can't bring himself to do it.
Morris confirms that Carl is dead and curses, then puts his gun in Carl's hand and fires a shot. He then takes Carl's gun, making it look like Carl and John shot each other, tosses the money and manuscripts in a suitcase, and goes back to the car. Morris then drives off, pounding on the wheel and yelling that John didn't give him a choice. He swerves to avoid a car and hits a deer in the road, and the car goes off the road into the forest and rolls over repeatedly.
The next day, Bill drives to the courthouse and a reporter, Sam, asks for his impressions on the case. Bill refuses to say anything and Lou's attorney Roland Fineklstein joins him. As they go in, Roland says that Lou has good days and bad days, and warns that they may not let her have other visitors. The defense attorney advises against Bill visiting Lou, saying that she's emotionally fragile and he needs her stable for the trial. Roland says that it's going to trial because the DA is tough and he's hoping they'll reach a deal.
The trial begins and Judge Bernard Raines orders everyone to be quiet and keep their cell phones put away. Lou looks over at Bill, and Raines asks why there are no outstanding motions. ADA Sarah Pace confirms that there are none from her and Roland says that there are no affirmative defense. Raines calls the counsels into his chamber and the three of them leave the court.
As they go into Raines' office, Raines tells Sarah that Lou is a folk hero and the ADA won't get a conviction. The ADA insists that the facts support murder 1 so that's what she's going for. Roland says that Lou isn't insane. Raines is angry they're going to make him convict Lou, and tells them to plead it out. Neither one says anything, and Raines does it, proposing murder 2 for eight years. Sarah points out that it was an assassination, and Roland wants five years credit for time served. The ADA refuses and suggests that Raines should recuse himself on the grounds because he has a bug up his ass. Raines still isn't happy.
In the forest, Morris wakes up and moans in pain. He climbs out and then tries to get the suitcase out of the jammed-in trunk.
Bill meets with Roland and Lou, who warns that Sarah won't budge. He tells Lou that she's going to trial, warning that no one knows what a jury will decide. Roland warns that if Lou pleads insanity, she could end up locked up for the rest of her life. The best they can do is argue that Brady deserved to die. Bill doesn't believe it will work, but Roland says that it might. He claims that Raines said that he considers Lou a hero, and hates Sarah more than Roland. Bill suggests that they plead self-defense because Brady killed people when he was in a coma, but Roland warns that "Ohio folks" won't believe it. Lou tells Roland that she needs to think about it.
Later, Bill meets with Jerome and Holly at the agency and tells them what they discussed. He isn't convinced that Roland's strategy will work. Antonio comes in and talks to Bill privately in his office. He says that his office would rather celebrate Lout than prosecute her, but Sarah is on a rampage. Antonio notes that it was textbook malice of forethought, and Bill reminds him that what happened is on them because they set up Lou. The DA finally agrees and says that he'll talk to Sarah. Then Antonio tells Bill that John was murdered the previous night. Shocked, Bill says that he was a fan of John's writing. Antonio tells him that he's expecting the U.S. government to get involved so the local police make the arrest and he prosecutes. He asks Bill to bring anything to him that he hears on the side.
Unable to get the suitcase, Morris staggers through the woods. He comes to the road and collapses as Stan McNair, an appliance repairman, drives by and then stops. Stan helps Morris into his truck.
Tom Saubers is in the dining room when his son Peter comes down and asks where his mother Marjorie is. His father says that Marjorie is at work and asks why Peter isn't in school. Peter explains that it's teacher conference day, and asks if Tom is doing okay. Tom says that he's fine and asks Peter to take the dog out.
Bill breaths into a bag, and Jerome and Holly watch him from the office window. Holly tells Jerome that John was Bill's favorite author.
Peter takes the dog Boogers out into the woods and it runs off when it smells Morris' car. The teenager goes after it and sees the wreck, and checks it out. He finds a bill sticking out of the suitcase and pulls it out, and manages to get the suitcase out.
Stan takes Morris to the ER, and Nurse Scanlon finds a fake ID on Morris identifying him as "Michael Lee'. When he wakes up, Morris plays along. He claims that he was hitchhiking and a car hit him. The doctor assures him that he'll recover, but says that he needs to stay and let himself heal. The doctor doesn't know the name of the man who brought Stan there. Scanlon says that someone found Morris on the road and brought him in.
Peter takes the suitcase home and hides it in the bushes. He then goes inside and sees his father asleep in his chair. The teenager then brings the suitcase in and takes it up to his room. Peter briefly thumbs through a manuscript but is more interested in the money. When Marjorie comes in downstairs, Peter hides the suitcase in his closet.
At home, Bill puts on a record and has Ida over. She says that John was foundational to a lot of people, and Bill tells her that he came to Bridgton because John lived there. He says that he met John once when he was an officer, arresting him for disorderly conduct, and shows Ida a framed note that John sent him the day he retired. Bill figures that John was half dead already, and Ida says that she felt the same when JFK died. Bill tells her that he wants to get the man who killed John, and Ida realizes that he's serious.
Peter and his parents have dinner and Marjorie says that her friend's realty office is expanding. She glances at Tom as she says that her friend might be looking for brokers. Tom says that they won't hire him, and Peter mutters that he has to do something. His father tells him to say it out loud, and Peter finally says that Tom feels sorry for himself because he lost his leg when Mr. Mercedes attacked the job fair crowd. When he reminds his father that he always told him to overcome diversity, Tom tells him that he has no comprehension of his diversity and leaves the table. Peter says that he's sorry but Tom ignores him. Marjorie tells her son that it's okay.
At the hospital, the doctor discovers that Morris has left. Scanlon tells her that Morris left and no one noticed.
The next morning, Bill arrives at Finders Keepers and finds Holly leaving her apartment next door to go to work. He says that he wants to open up a file on John and he's the client. They go inside and Bill asks Jerome if he knows Jimmy Gold. He gives Jerome a copy of one of John's book and mentions him going back to Harvard, and Jerome isn't impressed. Bill tells him that people are often killed by someone they know and tells Jerome to read the book and see if there are any clues to John's killer.
Morris drives to where he went off the road and goes to the car wreck. He discovers that the suitcase is gone but finds some of the money on the ground and figures that Stan took it before finding him. Morris gets his gun from the front and pockets it.
Roland tells Lou and Bill about Sarah's offer of 15 years, warning that he didn't ask for it. Bill says that he did, warning that the trial will be a slow empty plea. Roland doesn't think the jurors will convict, and Bill says that the defense attorney is bringing it to trial for his own reasons. The lawyer insists that he's doing his job despite Bill's guilt, insisting that it's not personal. Bill warns Lou that she won't win, and Roland admits that he can't guarantee it. Lou tells Bill that she can't survive 15 years in prison, and Roland suggests that they go for an insanity defense. However, he warns that Lou will never be free if enters an insanity plea. Roland figures that he can win the case, and Lou says that they'll go for it. She tells Bill that if she goes to prison then Brady wins.
Morris drives past Peter playing with Boogers outside of his house. Disinterested, Morris continues to Stan's yard and gets out. Stan comes over and Morris thanks him for his help. The repairman invites Morris in for a beer and Morris accepts. As they go in, Morris asks why Stan didn't take credit for him and Stan says that he's not looking for publicity. He admits that sometimes he supplements his income with extracurricular credits, and Morris mentions finding money. Morris then asks if Stan has ever found any money, and stares at him. When Stan asks why he's staring, Morris tells him that there was a car wreck and he had luggage in the truck but it isn't there. He figures that Stan took it, and Stan denies it. Morris insists that it was valuable luggage and he may have to report the loss to the police and they'll investigate Stan. Stan asks if he's threatening him, and Morris figures a deal can be worked out. He offers Stan a reward if he gives him the luggage, and Stan says that he has no idea what he's talking about.
Stan figures that Morris broke into John's house and tells him to leave, reaching for a pair of pliers as a weapon. Morris points out that if he broke into John's place, that makes him a killer, and advises Stan to give him the luggage. Stan tells him that it was taken by someone else, and Morris asks for just the manuscripts. When the repairman refuses and throws the pliers at Morris, Morris shoots his gun and hits Stan, killing him. He confirms that Stan is dead, grabs a hand drill, and cuts the bullet out of Stan's head.
- 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