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"Suspect" is the thirteenth episode in the second season of Smallville, and thirty-fourth episode overall. It aired on January 28, 2003.


When Lionel is shot, Jonathan is arrested, but after Clark and Pete perform their own crime scene investigation, they realize that more than one person had the opportunity to kill Lionel - including Lex. Meanwhile, Lana is suspicious after she asks her father to take on Jonathan's case and he declines for mysterious reasons.


→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 2x13

That which is done out of love always takes place beyond what is good and evil. - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Lionel is shot in the library.

At the Luthor Mansion, Lionel is reading in the library and making plans to return to Metropolis. He indicates that Martha Kent is no longer in his employ. Someone enters the room without identifying himself (but Lionel seems to know who it is) and shoots Lionel twice in the chest. He falls from the balcony and crashes through a glass table below. Sheriff Miller finds Jonathan Kent passed out in his truck with a bottle of tequila and pistol in his hand. He is placed under arrest and taken into custody.

At the county jail, Martha and Clark visit Jonathan. Jonathan says he only had half a beer the night before, but he started to feel sick as soon as he got in his truck. Then he doesn't remember anything until the police pulled him out. Clark says that the gun they found is the same caliber as the one that shot Lionel. Martha offers to ask her father to defend him, but they decide to ask Henry Small instead.

At Smallville Medical Center, Lex arrives to check on his father. He finds Dominic Sanatori instead. Dominic thinks Lex shot Lionel.

At the Talon, Henry Small refuses to represent Jonathan saying only that he isn’t the right man for the job. Lana tells Clark that she was at the mansion yesterday, and she overheard Jonathan arguing with Lionel about the watch he gave Martha. At the Kent Farm, Sheriff Ethan is serving a search warrant. He finds that the watch that Lionel gave Martha has been smashed. Martha admits that she hid it from Jonathan. Sheriff Ethan also says that the bartender at the Wild Coyote told him that Jonathan was berating Lionel Luthor and doing double shots of tequila last night before he bought the whole bottle and left. His blood alcohol level was 2.0 and there was gunpowder residue on his hands. Eyewitnesses at the mansion say they saw Jonathan's truck leaving the mansion after the shots were heard.

Clark and Pete go out to search the site where the police found Jonathan's truck. Clark uses his x-ray vision to find a bullet in a shed. He guesses that someone drugged his dad, followed him until he pulled over, put the gun in his hand and fired it at the shed, so that he would have gunpowder residue on his hands.

At the hospital, Lex has just learned that his father remains in critical condition. Clark arrives to tell Sheriff Miller about the bullet in the shed and the theory that his dad is being framed. The sheriff promises to follow up on it, but he doesn’t seem enthusiastic. Dominic Sanatori also approaches the sheriff with his version of events. He tells the sheriff that Lex and Lionel had an argument the night before. Lionel has been approaching the Smallville residents who invested in LexCorp and buying up their shares. Lex is furious at the prospect of losing his company to his father. Lionel seems to think of it as another training mission to make Lex a sharper and more ruthless businessman.

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Chloe and Lana at the Torch.

Lana finds Chloe at the Smallville Torch making up the front page featuring Jonathan Kent's arrest. Chloe also tells Lana that she did some investigating of Henry Small. It turns out that he used to work for a firm that provided criminal defense for LuthorCorp. He lost his job at that firm when LuthorCorp filed a complaint against him.

Clark goes to the mansion to confront Lex about the fact that he was also arguing with his father the night before. Lex refuses to discuss it with him and throws him out. Martha visits Jonathan in jail, and Jonathan laments that no jury is going to believe he is innocent.

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Clark and Pete escape the explosion.

The next day, Clark and Pete drive out to the Wild Coyote to ask the bartender a few questions. Clark thinks that someone drugged his father here at the bar, but the bartender is no help. He seems pretty sure Jonathan did it, and Clark gets pretty mad at him when he says so. On the drive back to town, an unknown assassin in a big rig ambushes Clark and Pete. He runs them off the road, and then he shoots the gas tank, blowing up the car. Clark uses his super strength and super speed to get them out in time.

At the Smallville Medical Center, Pete gets checked out while Lex talks with Clark about his theory of who shot his father. Dominic Sanatori was not at all happy last night when he found out that Lionel was going to take Lex back into the company after he bought out LexCorp. Dominic was under the impression that Lex would be out and he would be in, but Lionel made it clear that, although Dominic has been loyal, Lex is family.

Henry Small comes to the Talon to see Lana. She confesses that she has been looking into his past and learned about how the Luthors had him dismissed from his firm. He's upset that she went snooping around, but he tells her that the real story is that the Luthors complained about him because he wouldn't go along with an unethical scheme. The real reason that he refused to take Jonathan's case is that he lost a capital case in which the defendant was innocent, but the defendant was executed before his family could get the evidence retested.

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The bartender sleeping with the fishes.

When Clark arrives at the jail to visit his dad, he finds Lana, who has convinced Henry to take the case. Henry has a plan to get Jonathan out on bail by the end of the day, but he can't keep the case from going to trial without poking holes in the testimony of the bartender. But he has disappeared, so Clark and Pete go back to the Wild Coyote to see what they can find out. They find the bartender dead and packed in a freezer, but they also find another clue that gives Clark an idea for laying a trap for the shooter.

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Lionel's shooter is revealed to be the Sheriff.

First, they put out the word that Lionel was getting better; then they move him to another floor. Sheriff Miller shows up and shoots Lionel's empty bed. Clark disarms him and confronts him with everything he knows: the sheriff had a business arrangement with the bartender at the Wild Coyote, which is how he got away with repeatedly violating the law against serving minors. The sheriff also faked Jonathan's blood alcohol test.

The next day in the loft, Clark shows Lex his dad's old yearbook. Ethan and Jonathan had been friends. Lex has to decide if he's going back to work for his father. At the Smallville Medical Center, Lionel explains to Lex that it was the sheriff who got him the dirt on the LexCorp board members. Lionel used that information to blackmail them into selling their shares to him. He then threatened to expose the sheriff if he didn't continue to do favors for LuthorCorp from time to time.



Guest Starring[]



Featured Music[]

  • "La Wally (Ebben Ne Andro Lontana)" - Alfredo Catalani
  • "The Tequila Don't Kill Her" - Tim Buppert and The Nashville Six


  • A suspect is someone accused of being involved in a crime.
  • The title refers to Jonathan being accused for the attempted murder of Lionel Luthor.


  • Antagonist: Ethan Miller
  • Clark uses the following abilities in this episode: super strength, super speed, X-ray vision, and telescopic vision.
  • This is the last appearance of Jason Connery as Dominic Sanatori.
  • This is the last appearance of Mitchell Kosterman as Sheriff Ethan. His last name is never said on-screen, but the online Ledger states it is "Miller."
  • At 14 episodes, Ethan was the single most frequently seen recurring character of the first two seasons. Overall, he's the 5th most frequently seen recurring character in the series after Jor-El, Nancy Adams, Brainiac, and Emil Hamilton. He appeared in as many episodes as series regular Major Zod and more episodes than series regular Davis Bloome. This episode, his last, is the only one where his actor, Mitchell Kosterman, received "Guest Starring" billing right after the Opening Credits.
  • Jonathan Kent mentions both the Wild Coyote (as do many others) and Highway 91. The Wild Coyote is an actual bar in Vancouver, and Highway 91 does in fact exist as well (and would likely be the route that Jonathan would take to get from the Wild Coyote to the Kent Farm).
  • The State of Kansas has gone back and forth on the death penalty over the years. From 1859 to 1907, Kansas had the death penalty, then revoked it until 1994, when it was reinstated. Kansas State.
  • When Clark reads the yearbook to Lex, the sheriff wrote "To Jonathan...a great quarterback, a better friend, Ethan". However in Season 1's episode Hothead, Clark tells Jonathan that the coach gave him his old tailback position. This could mean that Jonathan was originally a tailback, then a quarterback. Alternatively, it could simply be a mistake.
  • When Sheriff Ethan fires the gunshots at Lionel there are 3 gunshots and Lionel only suffered from 2 bullet wounds, but originally there was only 2 shots fired.
  • Lana considers Clark to be one of her closest friends.


  • Clark mentions he has seen Lex shoot someone before, referring to when the latter shot Roger Nixon in Vortex.


  • When Chloe is working on the issue of the Torch featuring Jonathan on the front page, there are some streaks of pink and black in her hair, which she does not get until the next episode (Rush). This scene was obviously filmed out of order.
  • In the aftermath of Jonathan being held as a suspect, Lex and Clark have a conversation about the attempted murder on Lionel at his loft in which Clark wishes he could help Lex with his father. Lex says that he can take on Lionel, which becomes reality in Descent.
  • This episode demonstrates Clark's serious temper while questioning the bartender at the Wild Coyote, as does in Phoenix when Morgan Edge threatens to call the police, in Pariah when Clark finds out Tim Westcott killed Alicia, and in Vengeance when he nearly kills the mugger who stole his father's watch. Also in Rogue, Clark almost kills Sam Phelan for putting Jonathan in jail.
  • Dominic Sanatori makes his last appearance in the Smallville comic book story Chimera, Part 2.



Lionel: (the moment before he's shot) Didn't I make myself clear? The conversation is over.

Jonathan: Martha, he has never believed in me before. I don't see any reason why an attempted murder charge is gonna change that.

Lex: You know what I find so amusing about you, Dominic, is that you actually believe my father is grooming you.
Dominic: It's unfortunate that they already have a suspect in custody. I can't think of a person with a better motive for killing your father than you.

Jonathan: You know the worst thing that ever happened to my family was getting involved with yours.
Lionel: Oh, now, I seem to recall that the benefits to our families were mutual. Are you forgetting the circumstances of Clark's adoption?
Jonathan: You poison everything you touch. This town would be a whole lot better off if you weren't in it.
Lionel: But you're as much to blame for that as I am, aren't you?

Clark: (to Lex) It's not like I haven't seen you shoot someone before.

Sheriff Ethan: Don't you see, Clark? It's not just about me. It's the Luthors. They're like a cancer destroying everything they touch.
Clark: The Luthors didn't kill anyone. The Luthors didn't frame my father.
Sheriff Ethan: (breaking down in tears) What have I done?

Lex: It’s hard to imagine working for a man who could enrage four people to the point where any one of them had motive to kill him.
Clark: Even you.
Lex: You know that darkness you were talking about? I don’t think we’re born with it, I think people like my father find a way to bring it out. So are we okay?
Clark: I wish I could help you with your father.
Lex: I can take him.

Clark: We have an advantage, they don't. (X-rays the area)
Pete: (refers to Clark's X-rays) You doin' the eye thing? Yeah, I need you to check my backyard sometime. I buried a jar of quarters when I was 10, never could find it.

Pete: (to Clark) I don't mean to rain on your CSI Parade but-- the only thing that bullet proves is that someone shot a shed.

Pete: (sees the dead bartender) Talk about sleeping with the fishes.

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