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Black Bird (2022): Episode 1 Recap

Black Bird (2022) is a crime drama miniseries based on the autobiographical novel In with the Devil: a Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption by James Keene. The series spans 6 episodes and tells the story of James “Jimmy” Keene (Taron Egerton) as he helped the authorities find the hidden body of a murder victim of Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser) in exchange for his freedom.

Streaming on Apple TV+

Black Bird (2022)- Episode 1 Summary & Recap

Day everything came crashing down

James “Jimmy” Keene is a son of an ex-policeman. Despite his background and charming mannerisms, Jimmy is a drug dealer and on the day everything went wrong, Jimmy went to meet Roger, one of his drug dealing partners. Turns out, one of Jimmy’s men who happened to be his childhood friend, Danny, tried to smuggle some drugs and pinned the blame on Roger. Roger was angry but he let them go. The next morning, the FBI raided Jimmy’s mansion and found drugs, loads of cash and AK-47s. Hence, Jimmy was sent to prison.

Before his trial, Jimmy was advised to take the plea because he would only be sentenced to 5 years of jail. He was supposedly able to get out in 4 years if he showed good behaviour. However, turns out, his prosecutors wanted to make an example of him and he was sentenced to 10 years of jail, instead of 5. Naturally, Jimmy was shocked and yelled all the way as he was dragged away from court.

Scene from Black Bird Episode 1 to illustrate recap
Jimmy was arrested by the FBI. Photo: Apple TV+

The deal

After 7 months in prison, Jimmy was visited by Beaumont, his prosecutor and Lauren McCauley, a detective. Lauren started off by telling Jimmy that she knew that Jimmy was thriving in prison. Jimmy was renting porno magazines for 30 minute intervals in exchange for money to get better food. Then, Lauren cut to the chase and offered Jimmy a deal. They are offering Jimmy freedom from jail in exchange for his help to get some information from Larry Hall, a murderer in the Springfield, Missouri prison. Larry supposedly killed 14 women, but only one of the bodies were found. Lauren wanted Jimmy to find out the location of a victim, Patricia Reitler’s body. Although Jimmy initially declined, he took a look at the files again and considered it.

Larry Hall

Flashback to four years ago in Perrysville, Indiana, Detective Brian Miller received news about Jessica Roach’s body. A witness saw a grey Dodge van on the day of the murder. After few more months, the detective received reports about the owner of the van, Larry D. Hall, reportedly harassing young girls. Brian then called one of his cop friends, Chris Drysdale who happened to know Larry. Chris told Brian that Larry was into Civil War reenactments and the could explain his van being seen in Indiana. Using this information, Brian found out there was a Revolutionary War reenactment on the day before Jessica’s disappearance.

Scene from Black Bird Episode 1 to illustrate recap
Detective Brian found out about complaints regarding Larry

Detective Brian tried calling Chris again, but once again, Chris was confident that Larry was innocent. He described Larry as a harmless weirdo who grew up on a graveyard. Larry would confess to crimes to make himself bigger than he is. However, Brian still wanted to bring Larry in for questioning. 

When Brian reached Chris’s office, he found out that Larry was already brought in for questioning for Patricia Reitler’s case. Apparently, Larry wasted the police’s whole morning because he confessed to the case, but he couldn’t show them where the body was buried, and so the police believed he was playing them.

Brian was then brought to interview Larry where Larry sort of remembered that he was in Indiana for the Revolutionary War reenactment. Larry also confessed to having dreams where he killed women. However, he claimed that they were only dreams.

Scene from Black Bird Episode 1 to illustrate recap
Larry Hall questioned by Detective Brian.

Push to accept the deal

Meanwhile, in the present day, Jimmy was visited by his stepmother, Sammy. Sammy told him that his father had a stroke and did not have 10 years more to live. After this push, Jimmy agreed to taking the job from Detective Lauren. However, Lauren told him that he had to apply for the job as they were considering more than one person. Jimmy made sure to study the case so that he would pass the interview.

Additional Observations From Episode 1

  • Jimmy asked his father James about the detective’s deal. James advised Jimmy against going to Springfield because it is known to be a very dangerous prison.

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