I used a very similar blog title for another original Law & Order episode that aired this season, the episode also called “Betrayed.”. While they both involved betrayal, this story line was quite different.
I liked this episode because it seemed to keep the tension between Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Eames (Kathyrn Erbe) at a perfect level, with just the right undercurrent. What was interesting was the more obvious tension between Goren and Captain Danny Ross (Eric Bogosian). It also showed that Goren seems to have rebooted himself and is back to being the Goren that we may have seen in earlier seasons, albeit a lot more world weary and maybe worn out.
Here’s what happened in this episode:
At some sort of fitness club, we see 2 people having sex in utility closet (we later find out their names are Woody and Avery). Later, Woody is at an apartment, with a picture of him and what looks like a spouse. He grabs money out of a duffel bag, in a car, Avery gets in the back seat under a blanket. A picture of her and what looks like a spouse (we later find his name is Roy) is shown, and we see Roy smashing his hand on mirror in anger, Cut back to Woody in the car, who says to Avery “We’re Mr. & Mrs. Woodly now,” showing 2 new passports. Avery notices that Roy is calling her on her phone, but doesn’t answer. Woody asks if she took all her jewelry, he asks her for it and her rings. He gets out of car, says he’ll be right back, and Avery locks car door. Later, we see someone taking off license plate “Woodys Toy,” putting on a new plate.
We also see a woman in her apartment, which looks like is undergoing some renovation, her face on the back a book. It’s author Kathy Jarrow (Brenda Strong). She makes a call, saying “Woody, it’s 2 AM. I just woke up on the couch. Where are you? Later, at a police academy dinner, Captain Danny Ross (Eric Bogosian) is there, sitting two chairs away from Kathy Jarrow, it appears she is the guest of honor for donating 2 million to the police academy. While making a speech, stops her speech, checking her cell phone. Looking upset, she says she’s sorry, and says to Ross she can’t find her husband, and she sits back down. Danny consoles her.
Ross brings in both Goren and Eames, and when Eames asks why they need both of them, Ross explains that Kathy is a friend of NYPD and his, and he trusts her instincts. When Goren says, “So she’s... a... good friend," Ross retorts that’s “that’s none of your business, and that’s not what this is about,” and that she was a former cop before she started writing crime books,
Goren and Eames are introduced to Kathy, who explains that her husband was missing since Thursday morning and that nothing usual happened at that time. She gives them a picture of her husband, and said he called her cell Thursday at 5 saying he picked up some extra sessions. He was a personal trainer and a much younger man – 23 but an “old soul.” His gym is on the Upper East Side, he drives a 2008 white range rover, and she confirms for Goren it was an anniversary gift. There is concern the car could have been carjacked. It has GPS, so the detectives decide to try to track the car.
Kathy tells Ross that Goren and Eames seem out of synch (I am not sure how she could get that from that brief encounter) and Ross says they’re working things out since Goren had just come off suspension. After commenting about Ross’ current position, and a long stare at each other, Ross says he’ll have someone drive her home. She’s concerned about the carjackings, but he says they’ll find him.
There were lots of calls from Kathy’s cell phone to Woody’s, but none from him to her. They can’t find the car in chop shops, nothing has turned up elsewhere. The GPS was shut off Thursday at 10 PM. But from 10 AM until the GPS was off, Woody left TriBeCa, went to his gym, and then to Hell's Kitchen. His car detoured to the South Bronx where he made two stops, then to and industrial wasteland where his GPS was deactivated. They don’t think Woody drove there on his own. They go to the site, and find lots of broken glass, but since it’s a chop shop transfer station a lot of glass would be expected. Goren bends down and finds the “Woodys Toy” license plate Eames thinks he was jacked in the city and then the plates were switched out there. Eames thinks it will be tough trail to follow but Goren suggests they track back; the white rover with a white driver should stick out,
They stop off at a small store, Goren flips the closed sign, and says there are multiple violations in the store just to get information. The store clerk says he saw someone go into abandoned storefront across the street, and left the woman who was with him in the car. He said when he went to take the garbage out, he smiled at her and she freaked and beeped the horn until the guy came back out. The detectives later search the abandoned store and CSU found empty watch boxes, indicating it may have been some sort of illegal jewelry front. Eames thinks the car was hijacked, but Goren thinks it’s a cover story and asks if they should tell Ross. Eames wants to confirm it first, and he says. “OK exactly right...I'm just sayin’...you’re... right.”
They go to Woody’s gym, and find Woody wasn’t on the schedule next week, and that he’s popular with the clients but keeps it professional. When Eames asks for clarification that Woody met his wife here, she’s told that he and Avery weren’t married, that she’s still lives with her husband Roy. Clearly this is a big clue for them. Goren is doing what Goren does well, playing around with something on the counter, either as a distraction or to be an annoyance. The woman asks if he not do that. They find that Avery is a massage therapist, that she’s been seeing Woody since last summer, and that she also canceled all her appointments, and her husband Roy doesn’t have a clue about the relationship. Goren, looking at Avery’s picture says that it’s Avery Hubert, the woman spotted in the Ranger Rover. Eames also hears from CSU; there are only one set of prints on the license plate – Woody’s - and that this looks like this whole thing was set up.
At a restaurant or bar by the waterfront, Roy is sipping a drink and flirting. Back at Kathy’s apartment, Ross is there, and Kathy notices the cash stash is gone from her "go bag" she put together in case of another attack in NYC. There was $5 thousand there, and feels Woody ran off with Avery. Ross seems surprised she knows Avery, and Kathy says Woody recommended her when went she went for a massage. Danny asks “ He sent you to her?” and then apologizes for the comment. When asks if she suspected anything, Kathy said Woody seemed detached last summer but they decided to have a baby, She was scheduled for invitro Friday morning. She can’t seem to understand the need for the staged hijacking, but Ross reminds her she’s an ex cop and they probably wanted a head start. She questions what they thought she would do when she found out they’d left…and then asks Danny to apologize to the detectives, that they’re major case not “house dicks” as if to close out an investigation any further. She also says “I always get it wrong, don’t I Danny? Chase the bad ones and let the good ones get away.” Danny smiles, looking slightly embarrassed.
Meanwhile, back at One PP, Ross states that they are done with Kathy’s case. But Goren still is undeterred, showing video footage of Avery at an ATM at the night she went missing, she’s rubbing Buddhist beads on her wrist, maybe praying. Ross is skeptical, saying she’s probably praying she won’t get caught, that it was a ruse. Eames shows Ross a missing person’s report filed by Avery’s parents and she was expected in Maine and never showed. Ross is still skeptical, and when Goren questions that they haven’t heard from Avery’s husband, he tells them to go talk to him, and he’ll check with her parents.
Questioning Avery’s husband Roy (Eric Roberts), he says she was off with her parents, but he also has a bandage on his hand. When he doesn’t seem alarmed that she hadn’t returned afterwards, he says he was busy and wants to know what this is about. Eames tells him about the missing person’s report from her parents, and Goren says but you know that she missing because “you did something her.” Roy admits he lied, that she ran off with that trainer, and for them to check the answering machine message, When Goren asks what he did to his hand, he admits he punched the mirror and when Eames asks where he was Thursday night, he says he was at work, and he’s late now. He walks off.
But, Goren finds that Roy checked out of work at 5, and Ross finds that Avery’s parents already met Woody, they liked him, and that they thought Avery was already separated form Roy, who was over-controlling. His first wife had took out a restraining order out on him, Goren thinks that maybe the carjacking was staged by Woody so Roy could not find them .
Eames questions Roy at One PP, and pokes holes in his alibi. She tells Roy he’s a wife beater and maybe a murderer, His alibi is he was with another woman, and he says he was just having an affair, but won’t give her name. Eames says they’ll hold him, and Roy, perturbed, wants to know for how long. He says his friend is married, and if he gives Eames her cell number, she has to promise not to call her at night. Eames laughs, asking what is more pathetic, that they would actually believe him or that a woman would willingly sleep with him, He gets agitated, saying, “what’s a matter baby, You so used to ground chuck that you don’t know filet mignon when you see it ? (EW!) She comes back with the issue that since he took a lot of steroids, his filet mignon wouldn’t please one woman let alone two. He throws the table aside and moves to Eames, which is what she was hoping for. It gave them the excuse to hold him for a long time. Goren thinks that since Roy knew about Avery’s affair, he could have tracked them to the Bronx and killed the couple while he was switching the plates.
At a press conference at Avery’s parent’s home, they plead for information from Roy. Ross, watching the coverage from Kathy’s apartment, consoles her when she thinks Woody’s is just gone. But, he can’t discus the case with her. She continues to press on whether Roy has an alibi, and Ross says they’re checking it out.
Back at One PP, Goren and Eames question a woman named Trina who says Roy was with her that night But she paid cash for the hotel, and Eames dismisses it, asking for more solid proof. Trina says to check the room next door, they must have heard them. She says to Goren, who is standing quietly in the back of the room, “Catch my meaning, Bullwinkle?” ( I don’t get why she called him Bullwinkle. Was Eames Rocky?) But Eames doesn’t let Goren answer, pressing the woman, who we find is Roy’s ex-wife. Trina says that Roy knows how to make a woman purr, but Eames is still not satisfied. Trina offer up something else and provide a sex tape with Roy, the Mets game in the background.
Roy is coming out of One PP, released from holding. He has a video camera in hand to tape all the media waiting there for him, saying he will sue NYPD and the networks for damage to his reputation. Cut to Avery’s parents house, who are upset Roy is being released. One of their sons walks in, saying he got a message from Avery. The message said that she and Woody are OK, they eloped. The family is elated.
At a window of the “Quick Send” place, Kathy Jarrow has put down $10 thousand asking if it will be in Guadalajara by tonight. She’s told it will be there right away, but Kathy is shocked to find that “he” (whoever is picking up the cash) will need ID in order to pick up the cash, like a driver’s license or passport.
Goren and Eames are at Avery’s parents, looking at the text message from Avery. When Goren questions her writing style on the text, and Eames also asks to borrow the phone, the kid is wise that the message may not be real. Goren and Eames do think it’s faked, and back at One PP, Ross seems to think Woody sent the fake text. Eames finds the signal was sent from JFK, and they find the cell in the trash there. They also found Woody’s car, which seemed to have been well cleaned. The entry ticket show that the car came in at 4, at the time the text was sent. Goren finds some of Avery's prayer beads in the car, with blood on them.
At One PP, they review the evidence with Ross. Was Avery getting cold feet? Did Woody snap? But Goren still thinks something is not right. He also refers to Ross as sir, which seems to momentarily stun Ross. Goren asks if Kathy has a beach house, and Ross says she’s not harboring him. When Goren continues to press the issue, Ross becomes agitated and tells Goren he’s out of line. But Goren is undeterred, “Am I, Captain? We don’t know if he’s a missing person or a murder suspect.” Ross argues back with Goren, and Eames asks them to move on.
Woody, though, has no record. Did he lie to Kathy about other things, Goren wonders? Ross says he’ll talk with Kathy, but Eames says "With all due respect Captain, it’s our turn." An uncomfortable silence follows.
At Kathy’s apartment, Goren questions Kathy on what little evidence there is of Woody’s own prior life. Eames presses too, asking what could have been on Woody’s blank slate in his past. Goren says they believe her husband is in the run from killing Avery. Suddenly, Kathy caves in and says that was “the mistake”. Woody called her two days ago, and Eames is annoyed that Kathy is just telling them this now, seeing that Ross put himself on the line for her. She says she’s “malfunctioning.” She thought the mistake he said he made was in leaving her, and Goren ask is he asked for money, Kathy gives a sigh of admission.
At One PP, Goren and Eames fill in Ross about Kathy wiring the money to “Scott Woodly” which they find is his real name. His father is not dead, his dad is a grifter in prison, Woody’s cell phone was still on, and they tracked it to Macon and then the airport in Mexico City. But, it appears none of the JFK commercial flights flew into Macon, but it was a hub for a commercial shipper. They believe that the phone was shipped to Mexico City, giving him a few more days. They are skeptical that a personal trainer could have masterminded such a plot, and Ross thinks that he’s using his wife for help. We see Kathy preparing the nursery.
They bring Kathy into One PP for questioning, and she indicates she thinks Woody is making her look like a fool, that he resented her success. When Eames doesn’t understand why he killed Avery, Kathy says that they were both in a bad marriage and they made the same mistake, they both asked a sociopath to give us what they needed. Goren presses her, saying a week ago she called him and “old soul” and now he’s a sociopath? She thinks he was just hiding his real self. When Goren seems suspicious that Kathy never looked into his past, she produces a juvenile record of his that she just happened to get from Ohio, alluding that maybe Woody is the one who killed his mom and his dad took the rap. Goren is more skeptical now, and Eames continues to press her. Danny watches from afar.
Later, Eames and Goren are discussing the matter with Ross, who said Kathy old him her blinders are off. Goren, however, is not satisfied, and asks Ross, “What about your blinders?” and says she used Ross and his connection to the department to lead them around. Ross says he’s been a good friend and colleague for 20 years, and Eames asks Ross if he also knew her second husband, Judge Feld. He does, but Eames presses that Felds obits were sketchy about the details of his death. Behind closed doors, Ross tells them that Feld died in a fleabag motel – and the combined ages of both boys present with him were under 40. It looks like NYPD covered it up to protect the family. Goren implied Kathy killed both, Ross is incredulous, but Eames asks to get the body exhumed.
ME Rodges was able to do a full tox screen on the body, and finds an excessive level of a performance-enhancing drug. But, the judge also took blood pressure meds, and with a triple normal dose of the performance drug, it would have caused a sure heart attack, something that would have been obvious if an autopsy had been performed the first time. As Goren and Eames talk things over, Ross looks reflective and concerned. When Goren asks for Ross’s decision, he says to look closer into Kathy’s cell records and GPS and find out what she knew about Woody’s plans, and when.
Eames and Goren bring her out to the area where they felt the GPS was turned off, and Eames says they found a body nearby. Goren asks her to help them figure out what was in Woody’s head. While talking, the ME van pulls up, with Ross in tow. Ross chides Eames for giving him the wrong directions, and Eames said Kathy had no problems with them. Kathy said she double checked with her GPS, but Eames said the lot is not on the GPS grid. Goren asks if he has the same GPS as Woody’s, and Kathy looks to Ross, annoyed at the attempted trap with the wrong direction the detectives seemed to have used. Ross says to Goren and Eames that they previously checked Kathy’s GPS, she wasn’t there, but Goren says she could have turned it off. Kathy is getting angry. Goren, though, says she’s very systematic; cleaning the car but leaving just a few beads, the text message from the airport, shipping the cell phone that just happened to be left on. Eames also continues to press, saying that she took him to the water and shot him there so they’re be no blood. But Ross said Kathy would have cut his stomach so the body would sink. She says there should be blood, but Goren thinks she used a tarp, Ross thinks like one in her nursery,
But Kathy says they have no body, and Eames says they do. Kathy say she would know if they found a body, since their department leaks like a sieve. But Eames lets out the surprise…it’s the judge’s body they have on her. Goren lays on the issue with the young boys and the judge, and she pleads for help from Ross. He’s not having any of it, saying she used him to cover for three bodies. She accuses Ross of betrayal, but Goren says, “You’re used to that, right?” because of the type of men she’s chosen. Kathy says to Ross “And some of them are just fools,” to which he responds “Go to hell.” And walks off. And so, she is arrested, saying this is not how this is supposed to end.
Goren goes to speak with Ross, who says “Not now detective, not one word” and walks away.
So, it looks like Goren is back in his rare form, although he clearly seems rerstrained in his approach, almost as if he is walking on eggshells with Eames. But, he doesn’t seem worried that way about Ross, challenging Ross on more than one occasion. Does he care more about mending his relationship with Eames than with Ross? Does he think that Ross is fostering dislike of Goren with the squad, thinking of the rat in his drawer? Does he think that Ross also betrayed him where Eames stood beside him at every step? Clearly, we’ve come back to a more introspective Goren like the one we saw in the first season, but also one who is a little more careful. I also thought it was his way of attempting to patch things up with Eames when he said he was right about getting more information before talking to Ross. It seemed he really wanted to know he was taking her lead.
Eames, on the other hand, didn’t really seem to have a glimmer of forgiveness for Goren. While complaining at first that they had to be both called in on the case, she still did her job and did it well, and they acted like partners for the most part, In a way, it was good that Goren continued to press this case despite Ross’s involvement, it may have shown Eames that Goren still has the knack for ferreting out the details and not wanting to give up.
And while this was a good case to give Ross some exposure, Eric Bogosian only delivered about half the time. I can’t help but imagine how Deakins (Jamey Sheridan) would have handled this case, and how Jamey himself would have acted it. Bogosian still seems to be a bit flat and almost monotone at times. It seems the only time Bogosian can pull out all the stops is when he has to seem angry or enraged. I think there is more to his acting ability, but I can’t tell if it’s the role, the writing, or if he’s just calling in his performance.
The story itself, while engaging, seemed to have a obvious conclusion. Still, the story provided a good backdrop to show the tension with Goren, Eames, and Ross. It looks like “major” problems may continue.
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