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Who Burned Mr. Brinker's Store?
Season 1, Episode 6, 7, 8, 9
Who Burned Mr. Brinker's Store
Air date Pt. 1, November 1, 1992
Pt. 2, November 8, 1992
Pt. 3, November 15, 1992
Pt. 4, November 22, 1992
Written by D.J. MacHale
Directed by Nell Cox
Episode guide
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"Ghost Story"
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"To Catch A Creep"
An F.B.I investigator presents electronics shop owner Milo Brinker with a sheet of paper informing him that his store is under investigation. Meanwhile, Jamal is playing a computer game within the store. Whereas Mr. Brinker who had been kind to Jamal earlier, suddenly becomes irritated by the youth's very presence. Jamal promptly warns the shopkeeper that he will lose business if he keeps this up.

Later that evening, Jamal goes to deliver a letter to Mr. Brinker telling him how badly he treats his customers. While Jamal is doing this, someone throws a firecracker behind him. Also, two men are making late night deliveries into Mr. Brinker's store via the back door. Afterward, the store back room begins to fill with smoke.

The following day, Lieutenant McQuade is outside talking to Mr. Brinker about what happened to his store. When Jamal and his friends arrive, Mr. Brinker begins accusing the young man of burning his shop in effigy

What will happen to Jamal? Who threw the firecracker behind Jamal's back? And who were those two "mysterious" fellows dropping off supplies so late at night?

Plot

Part 1

Intro

This arc doesn't have an introduction, but a few things happen in this arc that never happened in the series again:

  1. Ghostwriter being able to see and hear a few things.
  2. The mentioning that Ghostwriter might be a she, when in the previous arc he told them he was a he.
  3. Rally calls being made by just writing RALLY but no name initial to say who called it.
  4. The recruitment of Craig Mitchell on the Ghostwriter team.

Story

One afternoon while walking home from school, Lenni and Jamal have just gotten their school pictures. Lenni complains because apparently she feels her pictures look awful. Also, her dad is going to send copies of them to all her aunts. Jamal teases her and chases her in circles as they both laugh and he grabs them out of her backpack. However, the photographer did not get Lenni's good side or the lighting was poor and Lenni looks very unpleasant in the pictures. Jamal can't help himself and breaks out laughing much to Lenni's embarrassed chagrin. Lenni now insists on seeing his pictures, but he doesn't want her to. While he is still distracted laughing she grabs them out of his backpack. Jamal is smiling a really big smile in the pictures and she starts laughing too, saying he's bad. Jamal then chases Lenni to get the pictures back laughing all the way.

Then at an outdoor basketball court, a young tall blonde boy named Craig Mitchell is impatiently waiting to be allowed to play a game of basketball with a group of other boys. The team captain Momo is really good and he and his team (which they have been doing the past hour) all ignore him as he asks to join their next game. When the game ends, frustrated Craig throws the ball back at them and approaches him and they break out into a little argument. Momo is rudely telling Craig that he thinks he doesn't have what it takes to play the game with his team. Before they break into a fight, Jamal cuts in a stands up for Craig he tells Momo that Craig is cool. Momo asks Jamal who said he was cool. Jamal reminds him that Momo once said he was cool in the second grade. Jamal asks what the problem is, Momo explains that he doesn't think Craig has what it takes to play with his team, and all the other players he already has are fine athletes. Craig tells Momo he can take him, Momo doesn't believe him. Jamal splits them apart and arranges for them to play a one-on-one match to settle their dispute to see who wins fair and square. Momo has to work a part-time job Saturday morning, so they agree to have their match Saturday afternoon. Momo leaves coldy bumping into him as his team are laughing thinking Craig has no chance.

Next we Tina Nguyen, doing a video documentary for school, she is using a camcorder for her scenes and Gaby is really getting on her nerves. Tina annoyed complains to Gaby that she doesn't need a reporter and marks the take in her book of the shot in front of Brinker's Store as no good. Seeing this Gaby complains asking why it's no good. Tina says she is doing a video about what kids like to do after school and she only needs the facts. Lenni passes by and she agrees to be interviewed for Tina's video, excited Gaby says she'll be the reporter. Tina tells them to stand back as she takes a shot of a cab stopping. She films the cab, Fiore Cab Co. #224 opening the door to let the passenger out. The passenger is a man in a business suit, he tells the driver he'll be right back and runs into Brinker's Store.

Inside Mr. Brinker's Store, Jamal is relaxing playing a computer game and compliments Mr. Milo Brinker (the store owner) about how great the new game is. Mr. Brink appreciating the comment nicely says he knew the kids would enjoy it. The man in the business suit comes into the store with a bag full of VHS movie rentals. Mr. Brinker chuckles a bit saying he thinks he watches them on fast forward. Meanwhile, Jamal has hit a highscore and is really enjoying the computer game, he takes off his cap and puts it on the monitor screen. The man in the business suit, then tells Mr. Brinker he has something for him too. He gives him a blue note and a very stern and serious look. Mr. Brinker looking at it gets furious saying he thought he was his best customer, but all this time he had set him up. Then Suddenly the computer screen goes blank and Ghostwriter gives jamal a message "WARNING". Mr. Brinker furious asks the man to leave and goes to the backroom. Ghostwriter tells him "Copyright Infringement!" asking what it means, Jamal tells him he doesn't know what it means and he asks him where he read it from. Ghostwriter tells him from the blue note that Mr. Brinker was given.

Then outside Mr. Brinker's Store, Tina begins to videotape her interview of Lenni asking her what she likes to do after school. Lenni is about to answer when Gaby rudely cuts in asking her where she goes to school. Tina frustrated and annoyed again snaps at her and reminds her that the documentaty is just supposed to be what kids like to do after school and she scolds her reminding her that she doesn't need a reporter and to stop bothering her. Tina annoyed, tells Lenni she's been wasting a lot of tapes and needs to buy a new tape.

Inside Mr. Brinker's Store, Tina passes by Jamal who is still on the computer,  She opens the door of the backroom as Mr. Brinker is coughing and smoking a cigar, as the cigar smoke sets of the smoke alarm it blares full blast. She calls to him and Mr. Brinker stressed and mad asks her what she wants. She wants to buy a blank VHS tape, so he goes to the front to get her one and the man in the business suit is still there who still tries to give the blue paper and he rudely tells him to leave. Then at the till, he gives her a VHS tape for $3 but Tina complains because it's not new and unsealed. As Mr. Brinker puts his hand out for the money, the man in the business suit puts the blue paper on his hand and gives him his card and tells him if he has any questions he can call him anytime and leaves.

Ghostwriter once again messages Jamal telling him "WARNING!" he writes to it asking what kind of a warning. Ghostwriter tells him "F.B.I" and asks what an F.B.I is. Jamal is puzzled. Then in the front of the store, Tina complains again because the tape isn't new because it's not sealed. Mr. Brinker in a stressed mood, yells at her saying that he doesn't care, and if she doesn't like it then she can shop somewhere else and it's $3 and to take it or leave. Tina reluctantly pays for the tape and leaves, hearing the noise Jamal asks Mr. Brinker what the problem is. Mr. Brinker is rude to him, and tells him all the kids do is hang around like they own the place. They play the computer games all day and all they buy is cheap things. Jamal tells him to watch how he acts or they will boycott him.  He tells Jamal not to threaten him and shows him the door. Jamal leaves telling him he'll be sorry.

That night, Jamal is still furious about how Mr. Brinker treated them. So first he wants to write him a nasty letter to give him a piece of him mind. The letters says "Brinker you stinker! You're a nasty old geek! Ghostwriter tells him not to hold back, so next he writes a message saying "You're mean! Your Cigar stinks! You're selfish! You treat your customers horrible! You make me so mad! You can't treat us this way! You have no right! We'll boycott! You better watch out! Yuck! Yuck! Yuck! After reviewing the message, Ghostwriter makes Jamal realize that if he wants Mr. Brinker to be nicer to them, then he must be nice to him too. Jamal with advice from his grandma, rewrites another message that says "Dear Mr. Brinker, the way that you treat some of your best customers is unjust. If you we're nicer, we would buy more things from you. We don't want to make trouble. We just want to be treated fairly" and he signs it "Sincerely Jamal". He then places the note in the envelope that his school pictures came in.

Grandma Jenkins gives him permission to quickly go to the library, but to be back by 7:30pm. When he gets to the library, it's closed. He did not know the library closes at 6:30 p.m., so he just goes over to drop off his note to Mr. Brinker in the mail slot. The security camera captures him on film, but since it is dark, it only captures the scene of someone dropping something off at the door. Then suddenly some firecrackers go off and some kids run off laughing. Startled he pulls his hand out of the slot fast and tears his orange jacket sleeve. Also inside the store it can be seen that the back door is opening and someone is there. Jamal looks to the side confused, and can see that a late night delivery is being made to the store.

When Jamal gets home, Grandma Jenkins stitches up his torn sleeve. Then later that night in the backroom in Mr. Brinker's Store, machinery in the backroom begins flashing and sparkling huge sparks. Then it catches fire and the back room goes up in flames and smoke (the smoke alarm doesn't go off for some reason). The next day Tina is once again filming something, when Gaby shows up and interrupts her shot again saying that it's Saturday and there is no school that day. Tina annoyed walks off and Gaby follows her soon followed by Alex, she asks Alex to tell Gaby to leave her alone. He tells Tina to give her a chance, and Gaby teases them telling Tina that he likes her.

Meanwhile at Mr. Brinker's Store, there are firefighters and police officers everywhere. Inside the store, Mr. Brinker is still trying to run his store, but the lead officer Lieutenant Isiah McQuade is searching for evidence. Lt McQuade finds an orange thread in the mail drop slot and writes the clue down. Also in a nearby pile of trash and rubble is Jamal's note in the envelope. Ghostwriter finds it and senses trouble and goes off to warn the team. As Alex, Lenni and Tina are walking by, a mesage on top of a trash can spins around. The message from Ghostwriter tells Alex and Gaby that Jamal needs help and to head over to Brinker's Store at once, Tina is confused and has no clue what's going on.

At Lenni's loft, she is playing her keyboard working on her song "Friends are Forever" and she is rehearsing it and she makes it up. Suddenly Ghostwriter rearranges the lyrics in her notebook to say "Don't spare the horses!" She is confused what he means by this. When she tells him she doesn't get it, he tells her to head over to Brinker's Store right away, because Jamal needs her help. Inside Brinker's Store, Tina tries to ask a firefighter for an interview for her school's action news team and if she can ask him a couple questions. The Firefighter tells her he's too busy and leaves. Next she asks Lt McQuade, but he is also too busy at the time being to speak to children. Then Gaby writes a note to Lt McQuade, and gives it to him, after reading it he agrees to do a quick interview.

Tina is impressed that she got them the interview and gives her a chance to finally be her reporter. The note explained that fires are scary with all the flames and heat and smoke. To PLEASE talk to them so that he can show kids that he has things under control and the everything is safe. Tina films the interview with Gaby asking him the questions. He introduces himself and explains that the fire in the backroom of the store happened the night before around 7pm. Gaby asks how he knows what time it happened at.  He says because, the fire knocked out the electricity and the clock in the window is still stuck at 7:05pm. Also he explains that he and his fellow officers believe it was set on purpose which is called arson. Also he has a suspect, a person caught on the front doors security camera (it turns on when sensing movement) who dropped something in the mail slot and ran off. The interview raps up with him telling the kids that they'll catch the person on the video camera soon, and he will be setting no more fires. Tina, Gaby and Alex are all pleased and excited over how well their first interview went.

Lenni, then stops by asking them if Jamal is all right, they explain to her what happened to the store. Then Jamal who passes by is pointed out by Mr. Brinker who tells Lt McQuade that he threatened him, because according to him he's a troublemaker who he kicked out of his store the other day. He mentions that Jamal told him he would be sorry and says that he bets that Jamal is the one who burned his store. Hearing this Jamal gives a shock and confused reaction.

Part 2

Rewind

The show's narrator explains to the viewers in case they have forgotten what previously happened in the arc. The facts are: 1. A strange man in a business suit delivered a blue letter to Mr. Brinker, which made him really mad. Ghostwriter checked it, out and sent Jamal a message about it saying it was a copyright infringement warning. A warning which Jamal has no clue of what it means. 2. Jamal got into an argument with Mr. Brinker about, Mr. Brinker being mean and nasty to the kids shopping in his store. This argument ended with Mr. Brinker kicking Jamal out and Jamal threatening Mr. Brinking, telling him he would be sorry. 3. Then Jamal decided to write Mr. Brinker a note to convince Mr. Brinker to be nicer to his customers and drop it off at his store that night. 4. While Jamal was at Mr. Brinker's store delivering the note, He saw some very strange things such as a kid playing with firecrackers, and a man delivering boxes at the back of the store. That was when the trouble started, the next day it was reported that someone burned the whole backroom of Mr. Brinker's Store. The police found someone on the stores security camera and suspected the the person purposely set it on fire, which is a crime called arson. Then to top it all off, Mr. Brinker accused Jamal of setting the fire, because when he kicked Jamal out his store, Jamal did threaten him saying he'd be sorry. Will Jamal be convicted of burning the store? Or will Ghostwriter save the day? Who really did it? Was it the strange man in the business with the blue letter? The kid playing with the firecrackers? The mysterious man who was delivering boxes to the store later at night?

Story

Jamal shakes it off saying he didn't do it and asks Mr. Brinker why would he burn down his store? Mr. Brinker reminds him that he said he'd get people to boycott him, and put him out of business but it didn't work. Jamal claims his innocence, saying that would be stupid and he didn't do it. Also his friends all back him up. Lt. McQuade asks to have a word with him in the store, Jamal says he has nothing to hide, and goes in followed by his friends. In a nearby pile of trash and rubble, Alex points out someone lost something. Lenni examines it and says that someone lost their school pictures, Lenni curiously takes the envelope.

Lt. McQuade, shows them the tape from the security camera that filmed what happened at 6:59 pm, just before the fire. He explains to them that it caught on film, a person dropping off something in the mail slot. He suspects that person is the one who set the fire. The clue left behind is a strand of orange thread that must have ripped off from their jacket when running off in a hurry. Mr. Brinker stressed, smokes another cigar and points at Jamal, says that's proof enough.

Lt. McQuade asks Jamal his name and Jamal tells him his full name. He asks Jamal where he was the other night around 7:00 pm. Jamal explains that he went to library and says that his Grandma can back him on it, Lt. McQuade sternly tells him he well. When asked if ever plays with firecrackers, Jamal says no. Alex backs him up saying he knew a kid who burned his hand off. Lt. Mcquade stressed from the day gives them all copies of his calling card. Then tells them that they can call him if they hear anything more about what happened. Then he leaves promising Mr. Brinker they'll catch the person in the tape soon. Jamal seems nervous hearing this, Gaby and Tina decide to film another video called "Who Burned Mr. Brinker's Store? to find out who really did it, and show it to the police and clear Jamal's name. Then they head off to quickly find the clues and suspects.

Back at Jamal's house, he realizes his sleeve was stitched up, and stresses over the big trouble he might be in. He sits at his desk and writes "HELP" on a piece of paper. Ghostwriter appears and lifts the word in the air, then enters Jamal's computer. He asks Jamal "What is an F.B.I.?", confused he tells him he thinks it's sort of like the police. Ghostwriter, then asks him "What is copyright infringement?", Jamal confused again tells him he doesn't know. Ghostwriter reminds him that it was on the blue paper, the one that man in the business suit gave to Mr. Brinker, that made him so mad. Jamal then tells Ghostwriter he lied to the police. He said he wasn't at the store the other night when he actually was, but he didn't set the fire. Ghostwriter tells him that wasn't a smart choice, and he must go to the police and tell the truth. Jamal decides he will but has to prove his innocence first.

In the equipment room at their school, Tina and Gaby start with what they know first. Tina starts a casebook for them to keep track of all the stuff they find out, such as clues and suspects. They write in their casebook, their first suspect being the kid in the video who is believed to be Jamal (unknown to anyone that it really is him), as Kid in video and the evidence is that he left a note and tore his jacket at the door. Their second suspect is the man in the business suit. The man gave Mr. Brinker a certain letter that made Mr. Brinker furious, so possibly this man might have done it as payback.

They write the man in the business suit as a suspect, and evidence is that he gave Mr. Brinker the blue letter. They decide to find out more about the man. Possibly he was not working for Mr. Brinker's store, but doing his own job as Mr. Brinker's store. Also he arrived to store by a cab. Tina checks through her record book, of all the video clips she took and finds out which shot has the cab in it. Tina finds the tape she filmed it on and the segment shows the cab that the man came in. The taxi says Fiore Cab Co. #224, they decide to go and find the driver and ask him where the man was taken to after he left the store. Therefore find out if he was close by when the fire happened.

Jamal takes Alex with him to the library, where they beging to research F.B.I and copyright infringement. They each take out a big pile of books and begin checking through them. Jamal finds out that copyright is the legal right to be the only one to reproduce, publish and sell the contents and form of a literary or artistic work. Still a little puzzled Alex suggests that maybe it means to sell something. They figure out that if someone writes a book or create an artwork, then legally they are only ones who can sell them. Alex finds out infringement means to break a law, and they keep track of all the new clues they find. Then to Alex's delight and surprise he finds out that John Dillinger was a real person and not just a character made up in the movies.

At Lenni's loft, Lenni is practicing keyboard while working on her song "Friends Are Forever". She begins singing the lyrics she has so far, when she can't remember the rest, so she looks through her papers to see where she wrote it down. Then to her surprise, she find Jamal's letter in the pictures envelope, she reads it and she is shocked and furious because Jamal lied to the police.

Then on Saturday around 2:30 pm, Alex and Jamal head over to the basketball court to watch and supervise Momo and Craig's one-on-one match. Craig is practicing impressively and they wish him luck. Jamal notices some electronics magazines and Craig informs them that he's a big electronics expert and it's his hobby. He likes learning how things works by taking them apart and putting them back together.

Momo shows up with his team, telling him he didn't think he would show up. They play their game and Craig comes close to nearly winning. Then and there he earns Momo's respect and Momo welcomes him to his team as his new friend. Meanwhile Gaby and Tina interview the Taxi Driver, who checks his records book. Then he informs them that after the man in business suit left Mr. Brinker's store, and took a 6:30 p.m. flight to Washington D.C. Gaby and Tina then realize that he couldn't have possibly been the one to set the fire. Jamal then sees a park rules message board rearrange to says "Jamal get home now", Jamal leaves in a flash. Momo is puzzled and wonders what it's all about. Alex's excuse is that Jamal forgot to take his garbage out.

When Jamal gets home, Granda Jenkins points over to his Dad Reggie, accompanied by Lt. McQuade. His dad tells him that he's been talking to him and heard about what happened the other night. Grandma Jenkins backed him up saying he did go to the library, but Lt. McQuade tells him that it closed at 6:30pm. Jamal says he didn't know it closed at that time so he went back home. Lt. McQuade asks him if anyone can prove exactly where he was at 7:00 pm. Jamal says there isn't, but he gives his word he didn't set the fire and his dad backs him up saying he's not a liar. Lt. McQuade, leaves saying he'll be in touch.

Reggie, talks to Jamal mentioning he's never lied before, and wants to know what happened. He explains he and Mr. Brinker had an argument because he was being mean to Tina and he wouldn't set fire to the store. Reggie believes him and warns to just stay away from Mr. Brinker. Gaby and Tina, thinking they're getting nowhere with not enough clues. Ghostwriter then messages Gaby telling her "Gaby look here!" on a newspaper, which Tina is confused about. They look through the newspaper and the paper says Mr. Brinker was at a parents' meeting at 7:00 p.m. when the fire started and they write it down as evidence.

Back in Lenni's loft, once again she is practicing keyboard, when Jamal stops by and he tells her that he tells her that Lt. McQuade was at his house and suspects he's the one who did it. He tells her no one can prove he was there when the fire started. Lenni gets mad and shows him she found his note to Mr. Brinker and says "Don't be so sure!" he admits he was the person in the video, but only wrote that message for him to get of their cases. He informs Lenni other people were there too, such as the kids playing with firecrackers (one who wore a blue bandana) and the man at the back of the store doing the late night delivery, who could have set the fire easily being so close to the back.

Lenni tells Jamal to tell the police, but being nervous and scared he can't because it would prove he was there when he said he wasn't and the police already suspect him. Lenni then a little mad tells him, he did have a fight with Mr. Brinker saying he would be sorry. Then asks him to tell her truthfully if he was the one who set the fire. Jamal tells her he wouldn't lie to her, she asks him if he didn't do it then why has he been lying. Jamal explains it happened all so fast and he was confused and scared, and the note is the last thing that would prove he was there. Lenni realizes that the note is evidence and by law she should give it to the police. He begs her not to and to give him more time to prove his innocence and find the other people. Then tells her just to do what she has to do it with it and he can't ask to do something wrong. All he wants is more time, after leaving she looks at Lt. McQuade's calling card and considers phoning him.

Part 3

Rewind

The show's narrator explains to the viewers in case they have forgotten what previously happened in the arc. The facts are: 1. A strange man in a business suit gave Mr. Brinker a blue letter. Ghostwriter sent Jamal a message about it, mentioning that it's a Copyright Infringement warning. 2. Jamal had an argument with Mr. Brinker. Then he decided to write him a note, asking him to be nicer to his customers. Jamal decided to drop it off around 7:00 pm, that was when all the trouble from someone burning the backroom of Mr. Brinker's Store started.

The police believe that someone set the fire on purpose committing the crime arson. Because Jamal threatened Mr. Brinker saying he would be sorry, The lead detective Lieutenant McQuade and Mr. Brinker believe Jamal to be the prime suspect. The new facts from part 2 are, 1. The security camera video Lt. McQuade found in the store. The police suspect Jamal is the person in the video (though unknown to them he is, but can't admit it) they are very suspicious of him.

2. Tina and Gaby are making an investigation video to help clear Jamal's name. Also they're keeping track of all their clues and suspects in a casebook. 3. Alex and Jamal did some research in the library, and they found out what copyright infringement means. What it means is that it's against the law to sell something the someone else has made, unless you have their permission. 4. After Lenni found Jamal's note in the rubble in the store, she talked to him about it. Now she suspects he might not be so innocent, since he threatened Mr. Brinker and has been lying all this time.

Can Ghostwriter and the Ghoswriter team clear Jamal in time? Who really did it? 1. The Taxi Driver revealed that the man in the business suit had a 6:30 pm flight to Washington D.C. and was nowhere around when the fire started. He stilll may have an alibi who did it for him. 2. The kid in the security video was just Jamal. 3. Was it the kid playing with firecrackers? 4. Was it the mysterious man who was delivering boxes late at night?

Story

Continuing from the last episode, Jamal tells Lenni that the note he wrote to Mr. Brinker is the last thing to prove he was there when the fire happened. Lenni gets upset and tells him that if the not is evidence, she doesn't have to keep it and has to give it to the police. Jamal tells her No, fearing that they'll bust him for the crime. But she tells him that it's the law. Jamal decides to leave to check out other suspects connected to the fire. Before leaving, Jamal tells her what to do with the note, but he doesn't want her to do something that's against her good judgement, but asks her to give him more time. Lenni vents her anger and frustration by playing her keyboard, and making up a rap song about Jamal called "You got me in trouble!". Meanwhile, Jamal is running down the street and as luck would have it he sees The Firecracker Kid in the blue bandanna, about to ride off on his bike. Jamal calls out to the kid, to try and reason with him, but the Kid speeds off and Jamal loses him leaving him frustrated.

Jamal, tense and stressed, walks by another house and Craig sitting on the porch calls out to him. Jamal asks Craig if he saw the where the Kid in the blue bandanna went. Craig says no, and telling he's stressed,asks him what the problem is. Jamal explains to him that the police suspect that he's the one who set the fire at Mr. Brinker's Store. Jamal explains that he and his friends are trying to figure out who really did it. Craig feeling grateful for him helping Momo get to know him and join the basketball, offers to do anything he can to help him.

Tina and Gaby review the interview video with Lt. McQuade, and the progress of their case so far. Then Tina and Gaby are reviewing the part of their video where they interview the Taxi Driver. The Driver revealed that the man in business the suit couldn't have set the fire because he had a 6:30pm flight to Washington D.C., but he was the one who made Mr. Brinker very angry when he gave him the blue letter. So they keep track of the mention of the letter as evidence. Then suddenly their VHS tape fuzzes out, and a Wild Western movie is playing. Tina is shocked, because Mr. Brinker told her the tape was brand new, but as it turns out it isn't. However the tape isn't isn't labelled as an authentic movie and seems very suspicious.

Suddenly, green flashing balls of light come flying out of the television. Tina is shocked and asks Gaby what the deal is. They land onto a piece of paper leaving a message saying "Video, yes?". Gaby replies to it writing down saying that yes it is a video. Then suddenly the paper flashes lime green and says "Strange Doings", Tina is shocked and confused asking what's going on. Gaby writes to Ghostwriter, to ask if Tina is on the team, Yes or No? Ghostwriter replies saying: Yes. Gaby is thrilled and says all right!, Tina asks how it happened, and Gaby goes off to explain it with her.

Then Jamal comes home, his Grandma seems concerned and asks to have a word with him. She explains to Jamal that she's been hearing many different things about what happened at the store the other night. She then wants him to be honest with her and tell her what really happened. Jamal, tells his grandma the truth, that he wrote Mr. Brinker a note to ask him to be nicer to his customers. Then he dropped it off on his way home from the library. The security camera got footage of him being at the front door, hinting that he might have also been the one who set the fire. Jamal tries to tell his Grandma that since the police weren't certain it was him, that he lied and said it wasn't. Hearing this his Grandma expresses concern. Jamal tries to reassure her that he didn't set the fire, and it wasn't even on fire when he was there.

Grandma Jenkins reveals she has the note, he is shocked and asks her who she got it. Lenni comes in saying she gave it to her because she didn't what else to do, especially after she found out he lied. Jamal explained he was scared and didn't what to do. His Grandma explains that it's wrong to lie, because it makes one look guilty even is they aren't. Grandma Jenkins then advises him to wait until his parents come home on Monday. Then after school he'll go with them to the police station and show them the note and explain the situation. Grandma Jenkins gives him a sign of relief, when she says that his note is so reasonable that it's sure to exonerate him. Jamal then apologizes and makes amends with Lenni.

That night, Jamal messages Ghostwriter on his computer. He tells him he's scared and asks him if he can still write to him when he's in jail. Ghostwriter tells him he can write time him anytime and anyplace. Ghostwriter then tells him not to give up, because Courage in danger is half the battle.

Then The Ghostwriter Team, have an initiation meeting for Tina their newest member. Jamal explains that they don't where he came from, or why he's here, all they know is that he's picked them to talk to. So now he's also picked her, Tina is confused asking how he knows. Gaby says because they are the only ones who can see his writing, and if you can see it, then it means he wants you on the team. Lenni explains he can see things, but he can't hear and he can't talk. So if you want to talk to him, you must write to him, because he can read anything. Jamal then gives her an official Ghostwriter pen. Jamal explains to her that they each have one, and they use them to communicate with Ghostwriter anytime and anyplace. All she needs to do, is promise to never tell anyone about Ghostwriter. She promises and Jamal gladly welcomes her to the team. Tina practices by asking Ghostwriter a few questions, like who he is and why he picked her to be on the team. She is told because he likes her stories, which she realizes he means her videos logs.

Jamal, then explains to Tina that Ghostwriter is trying to help them find out what really happened at Mr. Brinker's store. Alex explains that Ghostwriter gives them clues and hints by be able to read anything, including stuff people don't even realize is there. Jamal asks Ghostwriter for any new ideas, Ghostwriter then tells them that "Videos are the key!" Lenni is confused, but Gaby realizes it's another clue and adds it to her casebook.

Then later on Gaby and Alex are working in the Bodega. While waiting for customers at the cash register, Alex reads the book about the F.B.I., he learns their office is in Washington D.C. Then he remembers Gaby mentioned something and with her permission checks her casebook. He finds out, that the reason the man in the business suit took a flight to Washington D.C. is because he possibly works for the F.B.I. He then rushes off to inform Jamal.

Then over at the basketball court, Jamal is talking to Craig who is about to play basketball with Momo. Momo is thrilled to see Craig and insists he play on his team, which Craig gladly does. Then Alex and Gaby stop by, Alex informs him that they found out that the F.B.I's headquarters is in Washington D.C., and they now believe that the man in the business suit at Mr. Brinker's store was an F.B.I Agent and something really big is going on at the store.

Then suddenly, a police car stops behind them. They're all tense up when Mr. Brinker, an officer and Lt. McQuade come out of it. They show Jamal that they found his ball cap, Jamal remembers that he forgot it in the computer room the other day. Craig comes by and says that if his name isn't in it, then there is no proof. Jamal admits that it's his but he just forgot it. Mr. Brinker then demands they arrest Jamal, but Craig then reveals it's just circumstantial evidence. Evidence that doesn't prove someone positively did something wrong. Lt. McQuade realizes they are right and can't just arrest Jamal with what they found.

Lt. McQuade then tells Jamal, that he believe he's a good kid, but everything seems to point to his direction. So he gives him his card, to call him if he can find a way to prove his innocence. Then suddenly Lt. McQuade is mad when he notices a big stitch has been made on Jamal's orange jacket, and tells him he'll be in touch. Then they decide it's time to organize a rally. Craig is interested and wants to take part, they reluctantly tell him that it's just for their friends and no outsiders.

Craig is thanked for all his help, as he disappointingly understands and leaves. They feel bad, because he's a great guy, but he can't be on the team unless Ghostwriter chooses him. Then on the sidewalk Alex writes "RALLY", Gaby who is spraying vegetables, gets the message and goes. Lenni is walking by, when the words on the back of a garbage man rearrange to say Rally, so she heads off to it.

They have their Rally in Jamal's bedroom, Jamal leads the Rally. He explains to them all that it's gotten very serious now, because the police are now only looking for clues to prove that he did it. Jamal then comes clean to the rest of them, and explains that he was the guy in the video. He explain that he just wrote a note to ask Mr. Brinker to be nicer to them and shows them the note. They're all mad at him, until they realize how positive and convincing his note was. The rest of them all forgive Jamal and agree to keep helping him. Jamal explains that he's going to do what he should have in the first place, he's going to bring the note to the police and explain the situation.

They then review if they have anymore suspects. Gaby reveals that Jamal was the last one because they now know he was the person in the video. Jamal makes a new list of suspects, including the delivery truck man making a late delivery at the back of the store. Also the Kid in the blue bandanna who played with firecrackers. Jamal thinks it might be the right kid and asks them all to go find him.

Lenni then suggests that perhaps Mr. Brinker burned his own store for insurance or a cover up. However it was reported that Mr. Brinker was at a school meeting at 7:00pm. Alex then mentions they believe that the man who came to Mr. Brinker's store who gave him the note, was really an F.B.I. agent who gave Mr. Brinker a copyright infringement warning. Tina mention that she got a blank VHS tape from Mr. Brinker, but when they played it a movie was on it. Lenni now realizes what Ghostwriter meant, when he told them that videos are the key. Jamal then says he'll asks Craig to look at the video tape, since he's an expert on electronics and can figure it out for them.

Ghostwriter suddenly sends them an urgent message that says "TROUBLE!", on the computer a message is played that Ghostwriter read from the police station. The message is an arrest warrant that is issued for the next day. The culprit is Jamal Jenkins and the charge is Arson. Jamal is terrified because now he knows for sure they're going to arrest him. Jamal guesses it's because the circumstantial evidence and the exposing of the stitch on his sleeve are now enough proof to arrest him now. Jamal tells them to hurry or he'll be going to jail soon!

Part 4

Rewind

The show's narrator explains to the viewers in case they have forgotten what previously happened in the arc. The facts: First a fire burned the backroom of Mr. Brinker's Store. This happened at 7:00pm, on the same night Jamal dropped off a note to Mr. Brinker's Store on his way home. Then Mr. Brinker accused Jamal, and the police have been hard on the case.

Also Jamal's friends have been hard on the case to clear Jamal's name. Gaby and Tina have been making a video and keeping track of all the clues and evidence in a casebook. Also, Ghostwriter saw a message at Mr. Brinker's Store. The Message that was given to Mr. Brinker was a Copyright Infringement warning. Alex and Jamal went to the library and did extensive research. They learned that Copyright Infringement means, "It's against the law to sell something that someone else has made, unless you get their permission."

The new facts are: the blank VHS tape Tina bought from Mr. Brinker turned out not to be blank. When she and Gaby played it, halfway through they realized there was also a Wild Western movie recorded onto it, but the tape wasn't labelled as an authentic movie.

Also Ghostwriter has chosen Tina as the newest member of the Ghostwriter teams. Also they've now found a new clue that "Videos are the key".

The police still think Jamal is guilty. They tried to nab him by showing him that his ball cap was found in the backroom of Mr. Brinker's store. However, Craig Mitchell stood up for him and made the police realize that it was only circumstantial evidence and nothing that can prove he positively did it.

The Ghostwriter team, then had a rally meeting and discus the case, and they now think Mr. Brinker may have done it himself and has an alibi. Then Ghostwriter sent the team an urgent message onto Jamal's computer, he read at the police station, the police are now convinced he's guilty and are planning to arrest him the next day on charges of arson.

Will Jamal take the heat? Or can the team find out who really set the first in time? Could it have been The kid who was playing with firecrackers outside of the store? Or Mr. Brinker Himself? The team now suspects he has an alibi. Or was it, the man who was delivering boxes at the back of the store on the night of the fire?

Story

Alex and Jamal are walking along, while trying to figure out why Mr. Brinker had a copy of a movie recorded onto a blank VHS and what does it has to do with the fire. Then up ahead, Jamal recognizes the blue bandanna of the firecracker kid riding a bike. Jamal points him out and they call out to him, while running after him. The kid speeds away to avoid them.

Both Alex and Jamal run after him at full speed, but the Kid has the advantage speeding away on his bicycle and they lose him. They spot him and they both split in different directions to catch him, running in the opposite directions until they run into each other realizing they've lost him. Jamal believes the kid must have done it, if he just abruptly rode away from them. Then Alex says they need to go find Craig, who is sure to have some ideas.

Then at the back of Mr. Brinker's Store, Tina and Gaby are spying on the delivery man who was at the store before the fire started. They are curious about why he was making a delivery after the store was closed. They head into the store to talk to him. They do an interview with him, and learn his name is Tony. Tony explains that he works for his own company "Tony's Central Park Video" and Mr. Brinker has been buying thousands of blank VHS tapes from him.

Tina asks him when he made his last delivery, he says on friday night before the fire started. Gaby asks him why he made a delivery at nighttime. He says he always does it at nighttime, because Mr. Brinker doesn't want him disturbing the customers and he has his own key. Tony gets a bit exasperated, saying that Mr. Brinker owes him a lot of money for the blank VHS tapes. Then on Camera he threatens Mr. Brinker calling him a deadbeat, telling Mr. Brinker he hopes he watches this and if he doesn't pay him soon, he might find more of his store damaged!

Then afterwards, both Gaby and Tina believe that Tony must be the culprit, because Mr. Brinker owes him a lot of money and he was at the scene of the crime when the fire started. Therefore they write him down as a suspect thinking he set they fire as revenge because Brinker wouldn't pay him back. After doing this, Tina believes they've finished their video.

While having berry ice lollies, Jamal and Alex explain to Craig they believe something illegal involving video tapes is happening at Mr. Brinker's Store. Alex explains that the tape their holding, was supposed to be a new blank tape, but it had a movie recorded on it. Craig being the electronic's expert isn't to sure, and needs a way to look at the equipment in the backroom of Mr. Brinker's Store.

The three boys all snoop around the store, while Mr. Brinker is defensively talking on the phone. Mr. Brinker tells a person he's never heard of anyone named Gregory Gargantua and he cuts them off and hangs up. Mr. Brinker then returns to his cash register and rents a woman a movie. After the woman leaves, to cause a distraction Alex purposely tips over a rack of movies. He apologizes profusely while Mr. Brinker keeps telling him just to help him pick them back up. While distracted, This gives Jamal and Craig the chance to sneak into the backroom.

The backroom is full of nasty cigar smoke, Craig carefully examines all the equipment and says he has feeling what it might be and he'll know it when he sees it. Mr. Brinker has finished picking up the dropped movies, and is about to go to the backroom. So Alex distracts him by asking to rent a handful of movies, which Mr. Brinker is glad to do.

In the backroom, behind a hidden panel, Craig finds multiple VCR's hooked up to connect to one another. This causes a noise which gets Mr. Brinker's attention. Alex distracts him by asking to rent a couple more movies. In the backroom Craig has carefully figured out the setup for the multiple VCR's. Meanwhile Jamal is disgusted by Mr. Brinker's nearby smouldering cigar which for some reason isn't setting off the smoke alarm. Then finally Mr. Brinker hears another sound, this time Alex fails to distract him and goes back to investigate. When he gets there, Jamal and Craig already snuck out the back door.

Alex catches up with Jamal and Craig on their way home, and Craig explains that what he saw was just incredible. The way the VCR'S are set up, a person could make multiple copies of one movie. Craig explains to them that it's illegal for a person, to take big time movies and copy them to sell for money. However they don't have enough evidence to prove it, because they only have the one tape Tina got. They still can't figure out what it has to do with the fire and it doesn't help Jamal out as well.

Tina and Gaby, meet very early the next morning before school to work on their videos script. When setting the scene and time for their video, Tina notices the clock on the store next door is one hour ahead then the clock in Mr. Brinker's store. Then they review the newspaper and notice the clock's differences again, therefore they call a quick rally before school. Tina shows the team the video, explaining at the beginning the clock next door, and the clock in Mr. Brinker's Store read the same time. Then the next morning, when they interviewed Lt. McQuade Mr. Brinker's clock was one hour behind then the clock on the store next door.

Tina and Gaby then come to the conclusion, that whoever set the fire actually did it at 8:00pm. Then they set the clock back to make it look like it happened at 7:00pm, and this should prove Jamal's innocence because at 8:00pm Jamal was at home with his Grandma. The team all cheers when hearing this. Then they hit a snag, because according to the newspaper at 7:00pm Mr. Brinker was at Hurston Middle School speaking to the parents group. Then they realize that if the fire began at 8:00pm, then Mr. Brinker's alibi doesn't hold up and he could have done it himself.

They're confused as to why Mr. Brinker would burn his own store. Gaby reminds them Ghostwriter told the that the videos are the key. Jamal reviews to the team everything they've found out. Jamal mentions that he and Craig checked out Mr. Brinker's backroom of his store and Craig found out Mr. Brinker has machines capable of copying video tapes. Alex then figures out it since Mr. Brinker is copying them, then it must be copyright infringement which was on the blue letter from the F.B.I. agent. Lenni realizes what copyright infringement meant. She explains to the team that every movie that people buy or rent has a copyright warning on it, that states federals laws prohibits the duplication of copyrighted videos. The example Lenni gives is that if you make something, such as writing a song then it's yours and only you can sell it, if someone else sells it's like stealing from you.

Alex realizes that by making copies of movies and selling them, Mr. Brinker stole from the movie makers. Tina presents the one Mr. Brinker sold to her by mistake as proof. Lenni comes to the conclusion that Mr. Brinker burned his store to destroy the evidence. Realizing that they got him, they cheered until Alex reminds them that they don't by telling them that with only one tape, and the backroom burned down, they won't have enough evidence to prove it. Then Ghostwriter, hears them and summons from the flyer from "Tony Central Park Video", he tells them to take the receipts of the VHS tapes from Tony's video store to the police to prove that he bought them.

Then walking home, Jamal is approached by Lt. McQuade's cruiser. Also he's brought Jamal's dad with him. Reggie is furious stating that not only has Jamal lied to him, but the police have enough evidence to arrest him for arson and demands to know what's going on. Lt McQuade says he has a warrant for his arrest, but Jamal comes forward and gives him the note, admitting he was the one on the camera. Then he tells them not to jump to conclusions because he and his friends have figured out who really committed the crime. After reading the note, both Lt. McQuade and Reggie seemed convinced enough to give Jamal the benefit of the doubt.

The team then begins to corner Mr. Brinker at his store. Tina complains to him that when she bought the VHS tape he, said it was new but there was already a movie taped onto it. They ask him if he copies movies in his store, and they head for his backroom. Mr. Brinker tells them to get out or he'll phone the police. Tina presents the receipts from Tony's store which reveal he bought over 200 blank VHS tapes, and ask him what he does with them. Mr. Brinker gets very nervous and rips it up. Then Jamal and Lenni enter with more receipts of proof that reveals he bought over 5000 blank tapes.

Mr. Brinker tries to leave, when he's stopped by Lt. McQuade and Craig. Mr. Brinker thinking the law is on his side, asks for Jamal to be arrested. Lt. McQuade reveals he can't because he's no longer a suspect. Because he was at the door at 6:59 to drop off a note and asks Jamal to read the note. Jamal reads the note out loud and Mr. Brinker feels a bit bad, Lt. McQuade confirms it certainly doesn't sound like the kind of note a kid would drop off who was about to burn down a store.

The note proves he was there at 6:59pm but according to Gaby and Tina's video, he set the clock back an hour and the fire really happened at 8:00pm. Thanks to the team, the police found out a lot about Mr. Brinker. According to the F.B.I, he was involved in one of the biggest videotape pirating rings in New York history. The blue letter from the F.B.I agent is now revealed to be a notice for Brinker to testify against the pirating ring leader Gregory Gargantua (aka Mr. Big) and the same night his store caught fire. Also thanks to the team, the police found out where he bought his blank tapes from. McQuade asks Alex to remove the thing hiding Brinker's burnt VCR set. McQuade tells Brinker that destroying the VCR set was a felony as the set was evidence.

Being very defensive, Mr. Brinker states they still can't prove he started the fire. Then Jamal asks him why nobody heard the smoke alarm, Mr. Brinker states because it's burnt out. Craig suggested that they should open Brink's fuse box. Being devensive again, Brinker says that searching in the fuse box is an violation of his privacy, but McQuade shows him that he has a search warrant. With that, Brinker opens the fuse box and it's revealed that it's not burnt out, he just turned it off and only he has the key to it. Mr. Brinker tries to leave but is stopped by the police is arrested, handcuffed and taken away. Brinker promises that he'll fight it.

The teams rejoices, then Lt. McQuade shakes Jamal's hand applauding the great detective work. Then he reminds Jamal that hiding evidence is just as bad as destroying it like Mr. Brinker did and to never do it again, Jamal promises and they nod to each other. Then, Reggie is most proud of his son, stating he's like a natural born detective and now they'll have time to discuss things as a family since he's not going to jail anymore.

Then later a party is held at Lenni's loft to celebrate Jamal's exoneration. They review Gaby and Tina successful video and then have some frosted lemon cake that Lenni's dad baked. Craig is still confused asking them how they got all their hidden clues and hints that helped them. They still feel they can't disclose it to him, until suddenly Craig watches with confusion as the letters on the cake start scrambling about. They rearrange from "Cheers! Congratulations to Jamal" to "Call to Craig he's on our team!" Craig is confused asking what it means. Jamal tells him it's means he's on the team now. Then Lenni plays her keyboard while singing her song "Friends are Forever", then the rest of them all begin dancing the running man dance, eating the cake and Craig is given his official pen.

Cast

Ghostwriter Team

Co-Stars

  • Marcella Lowery as Grandma "CeCe" Jenkins
  • Mike Hodge as Lieutenant Isiah McQuade
  • Eddie Townsend as Momo
  • Ira Hawkins as The FBI Agent
  • Armand Schultz as Tony
  • Jesse Wollman as The Firecracker Kid

Special Guest Stars

  • Samuel L. Jackson as Reggie Jenkins
  • Max Wright as Milo Brinker
  • Jeremy Miller as Craig Mitchell
  • Captain Lou Albano as The Taxi Driver

Notes

  • Momo next appeared in "Over a Barrel".
  • This was originally intended as the pilot arc until the last minute when they decided to open it up more and do "Ghost Story" first. Much existing evidence points that out:
    • There was no introduction before the beginning of the episode.
    • The cast members all look a couple months younger, possibly because this episode was shot first and way ahead of time.
    • Jamal, Lenni, Alex and Gaby already know about Ghostwriter with no mention to his origin or where he came from and Ghostwriter invited Tina to the team.
    • Jamal saying Ghostwriter could even be a she when in Ghost Story he confirmed to them that he was indeed a he.
    • Some of the settings look different, such as the inside Lenni's and Jamal's homes, despite being the only time an episode was filmed in the rooms of real houses and other buildings instead on sound stages.
    • Ghostwriter being able to see and hear a few things, such as knowing that the note the FBI agent gave to Mr. Brinker was blue. When later it is confirmed he can only read and write and not see or hear.
    • No one ever calls a rally meeting putting the first letter of their name; they just write "Rally."

The Full Story Arc

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