In a day at school, Light is called by his teacher to translate a sentence and does it easily. After class is over, Ryuk asks him how he can take the boredom of school, but Light tells him not to talk to him in public as people will think he's talking to himself. When two students ask him to hang out with them, Light refuses as he has plans of his own: continuing his massacre of criminals. When his younger sister Sayu comes asking for help with homework, Ryuk warns Light that anyone who touches the Death Note would be able to see him as well, drawing Light's chagrin at keeping such an important fact hidden until now. To that end, he builds a fake bottom in his drawer to hide the Note, and concocts a mechanism in his desk drawer that would ignite flammable liquids, destroying the note and possibly killing whoever opens it unless a secret lock is used. Ryuk is impressed by Light's forethought and ingenuity.
Meanwhile, Interpol convenes for a meeting regarding the rash of deaths of criminals the world over. Accusations and speculation fly over how so many criminals could suddenly die in such a short time, with no known cause of death other than heart attacks. One representative at the meeting suggests contacting "L"; a world-famous private detective who has solved every case given to him. There is doubt as to whether "L" would take the case, as they only took cases that interested them. A representative of "L" called Watari, however, announces that they have already begun their investigation. Watari then produces a laptop to allow "L" to address Interpol; they state that they would need Interpol's complete cooperation to conduct their investigation. What they know at present, however, is that the party or parties responsible for the mass murders is most likely based in Japan. They couldn't say much else at present, but they planned to reveal how they came to this deduction by directly confronting the killer(s).
The deaths continue and are noticed by the public; many are impressed that criminals are dying en masse, while also fearful of what may happen to them if they find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Rumors spread about the one responsible for the deaths: "Kira", a name derived from the Japanese transliteration of "killer". The media hasn't named "Kira" as a possible cause of the deaths, but the public are aware of his work. Light explains to Ryuk that if people were asked if criminals deserved to die, most would argue that it was wrong on a moral level, but deep down inside, they favor Kira's justice. The rumors and support on the internet for Kira speak to this truth.
Suddenly, a worldwide broadcast from the Japanese ICPO office is shown live on television. A man introduces himself as Lind L. Taylor, head of the investigative task behind Kira, and also known simply as "L". The Japanese ICPO representatives are surprised that "L" would show his face; having done exactly as "L" had instructed, they are anxious to see if the gambit "L" proposed would pay off. "L" condemns the deaths of the criminals and calls Kira out. Light is smug about his ability to evade capture, but when "L" calls his acts evil, Light loses his composure and declares that any who would oppose him are just as deserving of death as any criminal before scrawling his name into the Death Note. Moments later, Lind L. Taylor suffers a heart attack and dies on live television.
As Light celebrates his victory over "L", however, the actual "L" interrupts the broadcast; they were genuinely shocked that their attempt to coax Kira into action actually bore fruit. Lind L. Taylor was actually a criminal who had been arrested secretly and was on death row, and his death confirmed that Kira can kill remotely. When Light cannot kill "L" due to never seeing his face or knowing his name, "L" finds this interesting. They further announce that this "international" broadcast was actually confined to the Kanto region of Japan, thus confirming the fact that Kira operated out of Japan, further confirmed by the fact that Kira's first victim was a Japanese criminal whose crimes were never broadcast internationally. With these clues, "L" is confident that he will eventually catch Kira.
Light is infuriated that he could be outwitted so easily, but nonetheless accepts L's challenge. It's a game of cat-and-mouse where the victor is whoever can deduce the other's identity, and the other will die. Ryuk is excited at the prospect of this confrontation...
Tropes used in this episode:
- All According to Plan: Light says this right before L challenges him.
- Artistic License Chemistry: Light booby traps his desk in order to hide the Death Note by using an electric current, and gasoline in a plastic bag. In real life however, the gasoline would dissolve the bag as it is made up of organic compounds and the gasoline contains non polar solvents.
- Badass Boast: L's speech to Light/Kira after Light kills his stand-in. It really deserves to be transcribed in all its glory.L: I had to test this, just in case, but I—I never thought it would actually happen. Kira...it seems you can kill people without having to be there in person. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't just witnessed it. Listen to me, Kira. If you did, indeed, kill Lind L. Tailor, the man who you just saw die on television, I should tell you that he was an inmate whose execution was scheduled for today. That was not me. [...] The police arrested him in absolute secrecy, so you wouldn't have heard of him on TV or through the internet. It appears not even you have access to information about these types of criminals. But I assure you, L is real. I do exist. Now... try to kill me! [...] Can't you do it? Well, Kira, it seems you can't kill me after all. So there are some people you can't kill. You've given me a useful hint. A dealer to a saver. I'll tell you something that I think you'll find interesting. Although this was announced as a worldwide broadcast, the truth is, we are only broadcasting in the Kanto region of Japan. I had planned to broadcast this message around the world until we found you, but it looks like that won't be necessary. I know now where you are. The police treated your first killing as an unrelated incident, but in actuality, the first of your victims was a suspect in Sinjuku. Of all the criminals that recently died of heart attacks, this one's crime was, by far, the least serious. Furthermore, his crime was only ever reported inside Japan. I used that information to deduce this much: you are in Japan, and your first victim was little more than an experiment, which means you haven't been killing for very long. We decided to broadcast in Kanto first because of its large population, and, luckily, we found you. To be completely honest with you, I never expected it would go this well. But, it won't be too long now before I'll be able to sentence you to death. [...] Naturally, I am very interested to know how you're able to commit these murders without being present... but I don't mind waiting a little bit longer. You can answer all of my questions when I catch you. Let's meet again soon, Kira.
- Berserk Button: Light snaps when Lind calls him "evil", and not before, raging that he is justice and that anyone who opposes him are the real evil ones.
- Blinding Bangs: L is seen as this before his face is finally shown in episode 6.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: This is how L is introduced. He basically goes on television and tells Kira through his stand-in Lind L. Tailor where he can put his justice. Kira, of course, kills Tailor immediately, thinking that it's L. Then, L keeps on taunting him anyway!
- Disproportionate Retribution: Light kills a man for insulting him and challenging his authority and he writes the name really big in the notebook.
- Establishing Character Moment: L establishes himself as a badass when he tricks and challenges Kira.
- The Faceless: Watari and L.
- Face Palm: Light does this after L tricks him on live TV, informs him he's narrowed down his location, and promises he'll be sentenced to death.
- The Ghost: L, initially.
- G.I.F.T.: In story with the Kira fansites and the little girl texting "Kira, please kill them all."Light: ...But on the Internet where you can remain anonymous, support for Kira is growing... Human beings are like that... Though this would probably never come up, suppose we discussed in class whether bad people deserve to die. 'It's just wrong to kill people,' that's what they're bound to say. Of course, that's the appropriate response to give, right? Human beings must always maintain appearances in public, that's just how we are. But this is how they really feel.
- Great Detective: L.
- Hypocrite: Light explains the G.I.F.T. to Ryuk, telling him that humans are hypocrites by nature.
- He then murders the first person to publicly denounce Kira as evil immediately after explaining how people should be allowed to express honest opinions without fear of retribution.
- L declares that what Kira is doing (killing criminals) is evil and so vows to hunt him down and have him sentenced to death.
- Interpol Special Agent: "We have no choice but to bring in L."
- I Resemble That Remark!: Light is so outraged at L calling him evil that he decides to kill him.
- Kubrick Stare: Light does this after L humiliates him on TV.
- Naïve Newcomer: Matsuda.
- Not So Different: Kira and L.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Both Kira and L's philosophy.
- Psychopathic Manchild: How Light reacts when Lind L. Tailor calls him out on eliminating criminals by killing them. His response can be summed up like this: "I'm not evil! You're evil for saying that! I'm gonna kill you now because you disagree with me!"
- Serial-Killer Killer: L makes it very clear that even though Kira is only targeting criminals, he's still a Serial Killer and the police are still going to hunt him down and have him executed.
- Strange Minds Think Alike:Light: L,...L: Kira,...Both: I will hunt you down wherever you're hiding and I will eliminate you!Light: I AM...L: I am...Both together: JUSTICE!
- Tautological Templar: Light. How dare L call him "evil!" He is good and he will prove it by killing the guy calling him evil.
- Tempting Fate: After killing Lind L. Tailor, Light comments that had he been smarter, things could've gotten very interesting. Then the L symbol appears on the TV...
- Terror Hero: Light sees himself as one. (Type 3)
- Vigilante Man: Light and his in-universe fans see Kira as such.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Kira is already really popular with a lot of people and people are already making him fansites.
- Who's Laughing Now?: After supposedly killing L, Light breaks out into a fit of insane laughter while taunting L if he has anything else to say.
- Worthy Opponent: After Light's initial Villainous Breakdown after L one-ups him, he becomes intrigued with playing against L.Light: He's going to sentence me to death? Sounds interesting. I accept your challenge, L.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Lind L. Tailor.