Friday, January 30, 2009

Law & Order Episode Information Week Of February 1, 2009

We have new episodes for both Law & Order and Law & Order SVU for the week of February 1, 2009. The episode information is below.

By the way, various sources are reporting that NBC has confirmed its episode commitment for the 2008-2009 season. These sources stated that Law & Order SVU is committed to 22 episodes with the season finale date of May 19. Law & Order is committed to 22 episodes with the season finale on May 20.

Law & Order SVU “Snatched”, Air date February 3, 2009

When young girl Rosie Rinaldi (guest star Daisy Tahan) is kidnapped, the girl's mother, Liz Ranaldi (guest star Michelle Ray Smith) immediately points Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) in the direction of her ex-husband, Geno Parnell (guest star Ron Eldard), a recently paroled convict. When Parnell's alibi checks out, a fight erupts between Parker and Detectives Stabler and Odafin Tutola (Ice-T), which in turn unveils some knowledge on Parker's ex-wife. Parker admits Liz's father is Frank Hagar (guest star Dabney Coleman), a master thief with a lot of enemies. The detectives pay a visit to Hagar, but are surprised to find he has a severe case of Alzheimer's disease. With the help of Dr. George Huang (B.D. Wong), the detectives are able to put together a few clues to solve the case, but must pair up again with Parker in order to find Rosie. Also starring: Richard Belzer (Detective John Much), Dann Florek (Captain Donald Cragen), Ice-T (Detective Odafin Tutuola), Michaela McManus (A.D.A Kim Greylek), Tamara Tunie (Dr. Melinda Warner), and B.D. Wong (Dr. George Huang).

My recap and review of “ Snatched “ can be found here.

Law & Order “Illegitimate” Air Date February 4, 2009

An NYPD officer troubled over mounting financial difficulties is killed by fellow police officers after taking hostages at gunpoint. As detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) look into the incident, they discover valuable stolen documents hidden in the officer's apartment, along with a dead body. The search leads the detectives to John "Jay" McIntyre (Guest Star Christopher McDonald) who is trying to establish that he is the illegitimate son of a famous President and is searching for the proof. With a robbery and two murders to solve, the detectives aren't sure if they are searching for a single killer or multiple killers as they try to unravel the facts of the cases. Also stars S. Epatha Merkerson, Sam Waterson, Linus Roache and Alana de la Garza.

My recap and review of “ Illegitimate “ can be found here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Law & Order “Lucky Stiff” Brings Out A Vulture (Recap & Review)

All images from NBC

This episode of NBC’s Law & Order, “Lucky Stiff” had plenty of twists and turns. What seemed to be Russian mob hits were all murders at the hand of two men in the Klein family. Maybe criminal behavior was inherited in this case, because it seems that’s all that Chad Klein seemed learn from his father Stan.

It looked like this would be a simple case of a murder that occurred as a result of a biofuel scam. But things turn much darker when the murderer – and his innocent bystander wife – are murdered themselves at the hands of the man’s own son. And what originally looked like a murder to cover up a secret relationship, it turns out that it’s all about money. It seems that Chad Klein’s “Vulture Investing” techniques involve killing in order to make his own money.

The episode, while somewhat predictable during the last 15 minutes or so, was interesting and again they are making good use of the cast. It is almost as if they are going out of their way to bring the detectives and the DA’s office together more often than we used to see in years past. I think this makes the teamwork, and sometimes even the conflicts, between them seem much more credible. But there is one problem – it seems that Michael Cutter is getting a habit of having to result to trickery to win his cases. I can understand why Rodgers was concerned that he used a phony ME report to force the truth to come out, but she also knows how these things work and I figured she would cut him some slack. I had to chuckle, though, when she made the comment about her last name being spelled with a “D” because I am sure I have spelled it incorrectly many times myself.

Noticeably absent was Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston), who we are told had been off in Washington for his campaign kickoff. If he is running for the position of New York County DA, why does he need to go to Washington? Even though Jack McCoy is almost as important on Law & Order as breathing air, it is understandable that he not always appear front and center. But as ME Rodgers would say, “Don’t do it again.”

Here is the recap:

After we see Vic Russell getting upset with an employee about getting his truck fixed at his Westside Express trucking firm. Apparently they are going through too many fuel filters, and Russell tells the mechanic to go back to using the “regular stuff”. We later see Russell dead at the trucking company. Detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) are on the scene. Russell has been shot with a 42-caliber gun, his wallet is still there but his watch is missing.

Questioning his secretary, they find Russell had no family, so the secretary wonders what will come of the company. Russell had left early for work the day he was killed; he had a meeting with a business associate, Stan Klein, the night before. They meet with Klein (Adam Grupper) at Zero Sum, Inc., who is a client of Russell’s, and he sells carbon offsets to local companies. Vic had received money from him so he could change his trucks to biofuel. They had talked about renewing Russell’s contract, and Russell said he was supposed to go to dinner after their meeting. Russell invited Klein to come but he couldn’t, as it was his wife’s birthday.

Back at the 2-7, Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) tells the detectives that Russell’s last meal was expensive; his stomach was full of caviar and some kind of dumpling. Lupo states that Russell’s real name was Vladimir Rezanov, that he came in to the country from Russia 15 years ago and that OCID has had their eye on him for a while. They also find his “dinner date” was a member from the Russian mob named Alex Arshavin (Michael Aranov), a loan shark who works out of Samizat Restaurant, which is very close to where they found Russell’s body.

The detectives go to the restaurant and talk with Arshavin. He says he did see Vic at dinner last night and that Russell owed him money and they were talking about repayment – but nicely. Russell was getting money soon, and Arshavin he had no reason to kill him. He tells him as Russell left and that who he though was cop followed him in a black SUV. With the looks on the detectives’ faces, Arshavin realizes it was not a cop.

They bring him to the 2-7 where they make a composite sketch of who Arshavin saw. Van Buren tells Lupo that no one or agency has been trailing Russell. Lupo comments that Arshavin has been going around in circles on the sketch, but when Arshavin finishes, they realize the person in the sketch is Stan Klein. The payments from Klein to Russell don’t appear to be showing up in Russell’s financials. Van Buren tells the detectives to follow the money trail first before they confront Klein. The detectives meet with some of Klein’s clients, and in doing so realize that Klein is running a scam with his biofuel company. The individual businesses were paying Klein to have trucks converted to biofuel, more trucks than Russell has in his company.

When the detectives meet with one of Russell’s employees, they are told that Russell was bringing people in all the time to see his “green” operation. He also tells them about the clogged fuel pumps, and that they stopped using the biofuel. He heard Russell was getting $20 per converted truck. Russell and Klein got a long OK until a few days prior. When someone had asked how much it costs to convert a truck, he told them it cost $2,000 per truck. Russell was standing right there and heard the comment, and he was surprised when he heard that figure. Russell took Klein into the office and he heard them argue.

Back at the 2-7, Lupo and Bernard tell Van Buren and ADA Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) that Klein had been selling the same carbon offsets to several people. Russell/Rezanov wasn’t getting anywhere near what Klein was taking in for the offsets. They think that when Rezanov found out, he may have tried to shake down Klein, who didn’t take to that very well. Klein’s wife had a black SUV, and after Rubirosa calls Klein a “hypocrite AND a crook,” says she will get warrants to search their home and car. Van Buren states dryly, “Two warrants in one trip? That’s fuel efficient.” Later, they arrest Klein in his home. Klein’s son Chad (Robert Iler) enters and asks what is going on and is upset they are searching his room and taking his computer.

Back at the 2-7, Lupo tells Van Buren they found no gun and the SUV was clean. Klein’s thumbprint did match a latent print on Rezanov’s wrist. In a line up, Arshavin picks Klein out of a lineup as the man who was following Rezanov.

Rubirosa and EADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) meet with Klein and his attorney in jail. They tell him about their theory of the fraud and murder and thumbprint and that it proves Klein grabbed Rezanov. Outside the conference room, Cutter says he can prove the conspiracy with Rezanov and the murder and fraud were part of the same scheme, so they take the case to trial for enterprise corruption so they can freeze Klein’s assets. It would also mean that Rezanov would be implicated in his own murder.

At arraignment court, the judge tells them that if they fail to prove enterprise corruption, they will be subject to double jeopardy and won't be able to try Klein for the underlying offenses. Bail is $1 million and Klein is allowed to remain under house arrest, but he says he now lives at a different address because his wife filed for a separation. Rubirosa wonders why the wife is throwing him out, not giving Klein an alibi. Later, they meet with her and she says they separated so that Stan can concentrate on his defense. When Cutter asks if Klein was home on the night of the murder, Mrs. Klein (Alexandra Neil) says she took a sleeping pill that night and went to bed early. Her daughter Alicia tells them says she wasn't home. Chad enters and says he wasn't home either.

At the Supreme Court, Arshavin is on the stand and identifies Klein as the man who followed Rezanov. But Klein’s lawyer Mr. Feldman (Bruce Altman) shows that Arshavin was too far away to see clearly, and then presses him on his loan business. Cutter asks how much Renisov owed him and that he will never get it back. He adds he will send Klein a bill.

Rezanov’s mechanic takes the stand and talks about the problems with the trucks using the biofuel. He also tells them about Rezanov finding out how much Klein was getting for the conversions and Rezanov told the mechanic he was going to get a lot of money to fix the trucks. He later admits that Rezanov never mentioned Klein’s name as the source of the money. He also states that Chad Klein brought the SUV to the truck shop the day after the murder and had it cleaned. Cutter and Rubirosa looks slightly concerned at this revelation. They think Chad had the SUV cleaned up and got rid of the murder weapon. Cutter tells Rubirosa to get a warrant.

Lupo and Bernard question Chad about getting the SUV cleaned. He says he doesn’t like to drive a dirty car. He said he wouldn’t be stupid enough to take it to the truck place if he had to wash brains off the dashboard. He took it there because it was free. They see information on a business that Chad was starting called “Vulture Investing.” Bernard then finds a watch, and Chad says he bought it used. Bernard notes there may be blood on the watch, and that the inscribed letter “B” is actually a “V” in Russian, and a “P” is and “R” so it could be Vladimir Rezanov’s watch. Chad then says he found the watch in his dad’s car.

On the stand, Chad admits he found the watch in his dad’s car. He didn’t know about their murder, he just took it. He apologizes to his dad. Later, the jury finds Klein guilty of conspiracy and murder, and bail is continued.

Afterwards, Cutter and Rubirosa have a drink to celebrate. But Rubirosa gets a call and meets with Lupo and Bernard at a crime scene. It’s Klein and his wife, and they have been murdered, their bodies in the home that Stan Klein was renting, but his wife had been visiting. Alicia had found the bodies.

The detectives talk with Chad and Alicia, who had to be sedated to calm her. They talk with Alicia alone. She says her mom wanted to talk with her stepfather so she went to his place. She found the bodies but saw no one else around. The door was shut, but she also had a key. Before he died, Stan Klein said “The Russians…it was the Russians” and then he stopped.

Later at the 2-7 Lupo and Bernard talk with Arshavin and ask his help to find who killed the Kleins. But he says his mother told him never talk to the police. Outside the interrogation room, Van Buren says it’s not Arshavin, he has an airtight alibi –OCID was watching him at the time of the Klein’s murder. Bernard gets information that shows that the same gun used to kill Rezanov killed the Kleins. Cutter is certain that Klein killed Rezanov, and they wonder if Chad picked it up at the Rezanov crime scene. They also suspect that Chad may have coached Alicia to say her stepfather said the Russians did it. Van Buren tells the detectives to talk with the ME to see if Klein really could have been talking.

Lupo and Bernard talk with the ME Rogers (Leslie Hendrix) who says Klein could have said something as he had been shot in the torso and it would have taken time for him to bleed out, enough time for him to talk for a short while. So they go back to Alicia, who sticks by her story. She says he only said it once, then adds maybe twice. She doesn’t recall even dialing 911. She may have discussed it with Chad. They ask if Chad was having problems with his dad, and she says she didn’t see Chad much so she didn’t know. Lupo sees a book of Chad’s company, Vulture Investing, but she says it belongs to a friend of hers but she can’t recall who.

When Lupo and Bernard talk to Sarah, a friend of Alicia’s, she said she didn’t know Chad and Alicia were brother and sister at first – they were dating but kept it quiet. Chad was 20 and Alicia 14 at the time it started. She said Alicia told her parents would have “disinherit” them if it was discovered.

Later at the 2-7, they show Chad surveillance camera footage of him and Alicia kissing. Chad admits Rezanov saw them fooling around and told his father about it. He said his dad didn’t care until Rezanov threatened to tell Alicia’s mother. He didn’t want anything to upset his marriage.

In Cutter’s office, with Rubirosa and the detectives, he is surprised at the news that they apparently had Klein’s motives for murder all wrong. The wonder if Chad decided to kill his father and his stepmother was in the wrong place at the wrong time. As they discuss theories, Cutter receives a motion from Klein’s attorney to void all proceedings against his late client. Since Klein never had a chance to appeal, the argument is that only fair thing is to throw out his indictment and conviction. This would mean the money could be kept – and Chad Klein would inherit, a clear motive for murder. Cutter says, ‘I think we can get our story straight now.”

Later in court, Cutter argues the point with the judge, but he disagrees and orders the charges dropped. Cutter and Rubirosa now wonder if Alicia was in on the murders with her stepbrother. They decide to look at the parents’ wills. They meet with Alicia and tell her that her mother left the house to Stan, not to her. And, since Alicia said her mother died first, this means everything would go to Stan’s heir, Chad. She doesn’t care because she and Chad love each other.

Cutter and Rubirosa show up in surrogate court for the reading of the will. They argue that Chad shouldn’t inherit the money. Cutter asks for a fact-finding hearing. The judge agrees take the matter to court. Chad is on the stand and Cutter asks him if he killed his father and stepmother. He denies it. He also said his father didn’t care that he and Alicia had been intimate. He found out they were dead when Alicia called him. Cutter asks Chad if he took some law classes and he says yes. He also asks if he studied abatement, and Chad says he stopped going to class by the time they covered that subject.

Alicia then takes the stand and Cutter pressures her about her account of finding her parents dead. The judge stops Cutter, and says that he hasn't heard anything that bars Chad and Alicia from inheriting the money, and the only thing left to determine is who died first. Alicia's lawyer speaks up and says he has a preliminary medical examiner report that indicates Alicia's mom lived longer than Stan. Her lawyer says it’s clear that Alicia inherits the entire estate. Chad whispers something to his lawyer, who says the matter will have to be litigated. Alicia is stunned. Cutter suggests that they just split everything in half, and Alicia is agreeable, but Chad disagrees, his lawyer saying Chad wants what is rightfully his. Alicia is upset, but Chad says he'll share everything with her. She can’t believe he wants to fight her in court. Cutter eggs them on, saying it is Chad’s right, and that he has a good case, especially with her own testimony. Chad tries to calm her, but she pulls away. Alicia then admits that Chad asked her to lie, and said otherwise the police would suspect him. He says she is confused. The lie he asked her to tell was that Stan was talking when she arrived when in fact they were both dead when she got there. She realizes that Chad killed them both and says that out loud. Bernard enters and arrests Chad for murder. Alicia shouts “I hope he rots!”

Later in Cutters office, ME Rodgers asks if the papers she is holding is the draft medical report that was leaked to the attorney. He answers, “Apparently.” She says her name isn’t even spelled correctly, she had a “D” in Rodgers. She seems upset that he forged a report. But he says the report was from Rogers – without a “D”, essentially admitting it was fake. He adds it never went into evidence nor would he have let it get into evidence. Connie then walks in and tells them that McCoy just got back from Washington for his campaign kickoff and they are having cake for him. Rodgers asks if McCoy knows about the faked report, and Cutter says , “He has so much on his mind.” When Rodgers asks what happened to Chad, Rubirosa says Chad will be put away for two murders because of Alicia's testimony. The medical examiner slaps the report on Cutter’s desk and tells him, “Don’t do it again” and she leaves. Once Rodgers is out of earshot, Rubirosa adds, “Unless we have to.” Cutter responds, “Right.” She asks him if he wants cake, and he says, “In a minute.” Cutter seems to be thinking as we hear the staff yelling, clapping and cheering, singing “Happy days are hear again” for McCoy’s return as they fade to black.

“Lucky Stiff” Episode Clip

All Text Content (Recaps, Review, Commentary) © unless otherwise noted

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Law & Order “Crimebusters” Episode Information

NBC has released information on another February new episode for Law & Order titled “Crimebusters.” Here is the information:

Law & Order “Crimebusters” Air Date February 11, 2009

A war widow with a possible grudge against the Army, Carly DiGrappa, is found unconscious in the rubble of an Army Recruitment Center along with her lifeless infant. As detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) search for the bomber, they encounter Megaphone Bob, the leader of a group of war protesters, including Charles Cavell, whose sister was killed in Iraq. The detectives must also deal with the confusion that arises when "Operation Molly," a couple of fanatic citizens who like to work with the police to solve cases, gets involved. ADA's Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) and Connie Rubirosa (Alana de la Garza) efforts to bring the bomber to justice are complicated by potentially compromised evidence, reasonable doubt and public sentiment. DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) must make one of the most unpopular decisions of his career. Also stars S. Epatha Merkerson.

My recap and review of Law & Order "Crimebusters" can be found at this link.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Law & Order SVU “Transitions” Episode Information

NBC has released information on another new February episode for Law & Order SVU titled “Transitions.” Here is the information:

Law & Order SVU “Transitions” Air Date February 17, 2009

When a man is found badly beaten with no memory of what happened in a strip club parking lot, Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) are at a loss for evidence as a rainstorm washed away any clues. A fake fingernail embedded in the victim's back leads the detectives to believe that the attacker is female. Detective Benson and Stabler turn to the female dancers at the club for questioning, but a homeless man, Sid Gabbert (guest star Paul Lazar), points the detectives to the victim’s truck. Using evidence found in the truck, the detectives learn that the victim, Mark Van Kuren (guest star Frank Grillo), was sent to repossess the car of strip club dancer, Molly “Misty” Lambert (guest star Heidi Marnhout). After questioning “Misty,” Van Kuren awakes in the hospital with no memory, but brings the attention to his ex-wife Ellen (guest star Wendy Makkena) and their 13-year-old transgender son Henry (guest star Bridger Zadina). Also starring: Richard Belzer (Detective John Much), Dann Florek (Captain Donald Cragen), Ice-T (Detective Odafin Tutuola), Michaela McManus (A.D.A Kim Greylek), Tamara Tunie (Dr. Melinda Warner), and B.D. Wong (Dr. George Huang).

On February 6, NBC changed the air date for "Transitions" from February 10 to February 17.)

My recap and review of “ Transitions” can be found here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Major Problems With Law & Order Criminal Intent

Fox News has some news on what is causing all the grief and delays with the premier of season 8 of Law & Order Criminal Intent. Fox reports:

The problem: recently appointed producer Robert Nathan, who was brought in to run the episodes featuring newcomer Jeff Goldblum, is out after shooting two chapters. There’s word that Ed Zuckerman, producer of the original "Law & Order," is taking his place.

But things are not that simple. According to sources, Goldblum’s character has not really emerged yet on screen. "The two episodes they have are terrible," says an insider who says that everyone who worked with Nathan is gone as well.

The result is that USA Studios, which airs the show before it goes to NBC, has postponed the season premiere for a second time. The original premiere was set for last November, then moved to March. Now it might be in the late spring or early summer.

The irony is that the eight episodes featuring Vincent D’Onofrio are moving along pretty well, and should be finished on time. The hold up is all with the eight starring Goldblum. They simply don’t exist so far.

Did the people at LOCI put the cart before the horse when they signed on Goldblum, getting the star first but not having anything else to back him up? It’s sad really, because I think people are very pumped about Goldblum being on the show. Let’s hope they work things out soon so we can get going with the show – before the end of the decade!

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Law & Order SVU “Snatched” Episode Information

NBC has released some episode information for the February 3, 2009 episode of Law & Order SVU titled “Snatched.” It looks like it has an interesting cast. Here is the info:

Law & Order SVU “Snatched”, Air date February 3, 2009


When young girl Rosie Rinaldi (guest star Daisy Tahan) is kidnapped, the girl's mother, Liz Ranaldi (guest star Michelle Ray Smith) immediately points Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) in the direction of her ex-husband, Geno Parnell (guest star Ron Eldard), a recently paroled convict. When Parnell's alibi checks out, a fight erupts between Parker and Detectives Stabler and Odafin Tutola (Ice-T), which in turn unveils some knowledge on Parker's ex-wife. Parker admits Liz's father is Frank Hagar (guest star Dabney Coleman), a master thief with a lot of enemies. The detectives pay a visit to Hagar, but are surprised to find he has a severe case of Alzheimer's disease. With the help of Dr. George Huang (B.D. Wong), the detectives are able to put together a few clues to solve the case, but must pair up again with Parker in order to find Rosie. Also starring: Richard Belzer (Detective John Much), Dann Florek (Captain Donald Cragen), Ice-T (Detective Odafin Tutuola), Michaela McManus (A.D.A Kim Greylek), Tamara Tunie (Dr. Melinda Warner), and B.D. Wong (Dr. George Huang).

My recap and review of “ Snatched “ can be found here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Law & Order “Pledge”: I Promise It’s Good (Recap and Review)

Again, the Law & Order franchise comes through with another solid episode. While it didn’t have the excitement of week’s past, it still presented a solid story with great acting to back it up.

I have to admit that I thought the ending was a little predictable, but I didn’t mind. It was great to see Cutter find a creative way to win his case. I guess Jack’s comment that if Cutter was going to try to drag the case out by other means would have meant he’d get fired for prosecutorial misconduct, and with Connie’s lucky find of the fate of the real Susan, really lit the creative light for Cutter. But I did wonder why it took them so long to find the real Susan to begin with. I guess in this day and age of virtual instant information and detailed record keeping that maybe it wasn’t so easy for them to go back all those years, when records may not be so quickly accessed, to find her.

It was interesting to hear Jack warn Cutter about the repercussions he may have to face if he used the law in the wrong way to keep Lasky locked up. I wonder what Cutter would have done if Connie hadn’t brought in that important piece of information? I guess we will never know – at least, not in this case.

And what’s the deal with Lupo's reference to the “two kids” in his car? And really, does anyone believe the real Jack McCoy would say they had a “mud sandwich?’ I can think of a better descriptive word, but I guess it isn’t appropriate for network TV.

Here is my recap:
Two young boys walk into a house, and they want to play video games. Their housekeeper tells them to remove their shoes. The boy's friend then leaves and tells the other one that he will see him at school.

Later, with police on the same scene, Detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) question a delivery man who said he got no answer at the home and found blood seeping under the door. He also saw someone leaving the home that rushed by him, a white man in a business suit with a brown briefcase. It appears the housekeeper and the young boy have been murdered, someone cutting off some of the boy’s hair, maybe taking it as a souvenir.

At the 2-7, the detectives, along with Lt. Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) interview the boy’s parents, Harold and Joyce Foley (Stephen Kunken and Erin Dilly). They are both neurologists, conducting research in pain management at Hudson University. No one has threatened them. No drugs are kept in the house, everything is at the lab. The parents were in their offices all day. The housekeeper had been a schoolteacher in Poland, her husband is dead and she lived alone in Brooklyn. She wasn’t supposed to be there that day, she was supposed to be taking care of another family. But she called them and said she had to switch days. Normally their son would have been home alone.

Outside the room, they assume the Foley boy was the target and Van Buren tells them to check with the school. At Crest Point School, Lupo and Bernard talk to Eric's friend. He says he was only at the house for about two minutes and saw nothing. He wonders what would have happened if he hadn’t left the house. He tells them they were going to play video games, but they didn't because the maid was there and was going to tell Eric’s parents if they did. He says Eric worried about letting down his parents, and he looked up to them, Eric saying they were genius mad scientists and did top secret stuff, experimenting on people’s brains, and said it was “totally psycho.”

At the lab, the detectives talk to the Foley's boss who says there is nothing pyscho about what they are doing. The university is putting up a reward. The Foleys do drug trials, and he has no knowledge of problems with any of the subjects. They speak with Foleys’ assistant, who says that the test studies are all students with chronic pain. One was a writer for Contemporary Science named Ned Lasky (Matt Malloy) who had been bugging Joyce for an interview for the last month. She says the magazine is like “Science for Dummies” and Joyce and Harold are very busy. The assistant says she went on the interview as Dr. Voss but the squeeze on Joyce to show up, and Joyce sent her. Ned nearly had a fit when she showed up in place of Joyce.

At Ned Lasky’s office, Lasky tells the detectives he was insulted when the intern showed up. He thinks the Foleys are stonewalling about a study and thinks the study went wrong and they are burying the results. But he is speculating. He hasn’t written the article.

Later, talking with Joyce, she says they aren’t hiding anything and the man was a pest, a “gotcha” journalist. As far as the study, the drug did not perform better than s the placebo, and the pharma company owns the results and it is up tot hem to publish them. As they are talking, Joyce opens an envelope and card and they find hair inside – Eric’s. The detectives tell her not to move and grab up the evidence. Bernard reads from the card, ‘In your time of loss, here’s something to remember your son by. His pain is over. Yours has just begun.”

Later at the 2-7, they discuss the case with Van Buren. Forensics confirmed it is Eric’s hair. Since the card was addressed to Joyce, they now suspect she may be the target. The card was postmarked in Amherst Massachusetts, and they Foleys have no ties there. Van Buren, suspecting they are dealing with a sadist, tells them to stay close to Joyce Foley, and that they go to the service for Eric being held that day.

At the service, Lupo and Bernard observe Lasky grab hold of Joyce's hand, talking to her about the pain that no one can soothe. When she tells him to let go, they pull him aside. He apologizes for losing control. The detectives ask Lasky what is going there and where he was when Eric was murdered. He says he was at his office or home working, he doesn’t recall. When asked if he has been to Amherst Massachusetts lately, he says he won't answer anymore questions. The detectives let him go, telling him to stay far away from the Foleys.

At the offices of the magazine, the detectives find that Lasky was a fact checker, not a writer, and the Foley article was Ned's first assignment. His boss says Lasky went to college at Amherst, he has a degree in chemistry. They get Lasky’s home address. Later, at the home of Ned and Nora Lasky, they talk with Ned's wife Nora (Julia Gibson) and his daughter Molly, under the premise of investigating a fender bender in Amherst involving Ned's car. When Bernard mentions Amherst, both mother and daughter seem to give pause. Nora said this must be a mistake, they never really drive much. She tells them she has to go and shuts the door abruptly. Outside, they look at Ned’s car. When Lupo says he wishes his car were this clean, Bernard comments that Lupo has two kids riding around with him now. He said “Jenny” keeps letting them eat skittles and every time he gets out of the car he has skittles attached to his ass. They notice that the car’s last inspection was three weeks ago, and they get the mileage. Back at the 2-7, Bernard finds that there was 400 miles put on the car since the inspection. There are no forensics on the card mailed to Joyce. They decide to talk to Molly Lasky (Brooke Bloom), Ned’s daughter.

Molly tells them she knows the detectives lied about the accident, and they tell her they are investigating two murders. They tell her about the mileage on the car, but she says they are just picking on her dad because he never fights back. He sees a shrink, Dr. Doland, for depression. Bernard gives her his card, and tells her there is a $100,000 reward on the case, adding it would be a shame if they arrested the murderer, but no one got the money. As she leaves, Lupo said Bernard just offered her a bribe. But Bernard says no, that’s what a reward is, but if Lupo feels guilty about it, to talk it over with Lasky’s shrink.

At the office of Dr. Arlene Doland, she stands on doctor/patient confidentiality. They show her pictures from the murder and mention the reward. Doland then admits that Ned missed his session and they had a phone session instead, circumstances indicating a phone session would be more “suitable.” Speaking hypothetically, she confirms she didn’t want to be in the same room with a man who just slit two people’s throats.

Back talking with Molly, they thank her for the tip, and they tell her Doland explained a lot. She says she is already in enough trouble with her dad. Because of his depression he is always criticizing her, saying she is not pretty enough for acting classes and that she is plain. They dangle the fact that the therapist may be able to claim the reward, so she tells them he took the car Tuesday. He left really early and she found a receipt in the car for gas in Massachusetts. When she read about the murders, her father matched a witness description, she saw a brown briefcase in the trunk of her father’s car and hasn’t seen it since. Later, the detectives arrest Ned outside his home. Lupo opens Lasky’s shoulder bag and Ned says they can’t do that. Lupo finds driving directions to Vermont, all college towns. Ned says they are going to be sorry, he says he is a journalist and has rights.

At arraignment, Lasky pleads not guilty and says he has freedom of the press. He is remanded anyway. His lawyer asks to allow his client to keep his writing materials in custody so he can continue his writing, and the judge allows it, providing he doesn't contact the Foleys.

ADA Connie Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) and EADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) talk with the Foleys about Ned to determine if there was a connection with Amherst. They don’t recall meeting him. Molly Lasky went to Seldon College but they don’t know her either. Joyce Foley went to Dartmouth, but her roommate’s brother played football for Amherst and she went there for the games. She doesn’t think she ever met Lasky. They didn’t mix with kids from the state school.

Later, Cutter tells Rubirosa that there must be something wrong with him, he went to state school. Cutter thinks that once he hears his daughter will testify against him, he may reach out for a plea. Rubirosa, looking at her desk, sees a pro se motion from Lasky, but she can hardly read the handwriting. It looks like a motion for dismissal, alleging a conspiracy between Hudson University, the AMA, and the DA’s office. He is also asking for Rubirosa’ college records.

At the motion hearing, the judge tells Lasky to have his lawyers write his motions in the future. But his lawyer wouldn’t do this one. Lasky says the medical establishment is paying witnesses $100,000 to frame him, and now they have the DA in on it. She denies the motion, and when she moves to dismiss the information on Rubirosa’s college records, he tells her he is amending it to include the judge’s college records as well. When she asks how this is relevant, he says he will not reveal his strategy. She denies his request anyway, and Cutter and Rubirosa wonder what is the root of Lasky’s obsession with colleges. When Lasky was arrested he had college directions on them, but Lasky seems only concerned with the college backgrounds of the women involved in the case.

Later, Rubirosa talks with Molly who is upset. When Rubirosa tells her she will get her reward if her father is convicted, Molly seems upset at the “conviction” part, and Rubirosa hopes Molly did not lie about her father for the reward. She also asks why her father is obsessed about women and colleges. Molly is silent at first, and then says she doesn’t know and tells Rubirosa to leave her alone.

In Jack McCoy’s (Sam Waterston) office, Cutter suggests they amend the reward but McCoy says that would make the reward a bribe, and he worries that it already looks like they are trying to buy Molly's testimony. He wants to know who dangled the money in front of her in the first place, and Rubirosa says it was the cops. McCoy mutters, “What a mud sandwich this is turning in to.” Rubirosa sees a message from Van Buren; Lasky had sent another condolence card.

At the 2-7, Van Buren tells Cutter and Rubirosa who tells them Lasky sent a card to a woman, the mother of a coed at Duke University who was killed in a bus crash in Spain last week. The woman does not know Lasky. Rubirosa recognizes the phrase “hearts and hands in service” that Lasky wrote. Looking it up on the computer, she finds it is the Kappa Delta Alpha motto. Mrs. Foley belonged to the same sorority at Dartmouth.
In checking the sorority's website, they found the site was frozen by the administrator due to vandalism. Someone has been posting false information about them. All the postings are from the same IP address, which is Lasky’s. Van Buren tells him they have Lasky’s credit card charges for 5 years, and find charges in all college towns with Kappa sorority locations. They think this is why he wanted the women’s college information, but Rubirosa said they didn’t have sororities at her college.

Talking with Lasky’s college roommate, he tells Rubirosa and Cutter that Lasky and women really wasn’t a happening thing. Lasky went to a party once. He went out and bought a blue blazer with gold buttons, but Lasky wouldn’t talk about the party, and his roommate found the jacket in the trash. Lasky never came back junior year, and he think Lasky went back to Pittsfield. Cutter and Rubirosa go to Lasky’s parents home - Saul and Lana Lasky in Pittsfield. Lana says that one day when she came home, Ned was on the phone in his room, running up a huge phone bill to hundreds of calls to places in Illinois – all college towns. Lana listened at his door one night; every time he called he was asking for a girl – Susan.

Later, Rubirosa is asking Joyce Foley who doesn’t place anyone by the name of Susan. Cutter tells her that Ned was looking for someone by that name, maybe as a result of a party at Dartmouth that didn’t go well. But that triggers something with Joyce, she recalls a boy that she made leave a sorority mixer, and she recalls the blue blazer with the gold buttons. A sorority sister, she can’t recall who, had met him at a football game at Amherst, and invited him to the mixer but never thought he would show up. Joyce was the president of the sorority and the girl asked her if she could squash a bug for her – their code for getting rid of somebody. They show her a picture of a young Ned, and she says it looks like him. They were trying to meet boys they wanted to marry, and when Cutter seems to show disdain for this, Joyce adds that it would have been worse to encourage him.

Later, Cutter and Rubirosa review what they know with McCoy. Rubirosa said it was “blue collar versus cashmere sweater”. McCoy knows the territory well. Cutter thinks the murder is revenge for Lasky being hurt years ago. McCoy thinks they should withdraw for now until they get better evidence. But after McCoy walks out, he says they aren’t withdrawing anything.

Cutter and Rubirosa go back to Molly, asking if she was trying to join Kappa Delta Alpha. They explain that her father killed the son of a mother who went to the same sorority and who once threw him out of a party. They tell her what he wrote about the sorority on their Wikipedia page. Rubirosa begs her to help.

Later on the stand at a preliminary hearing, Molly testifies that her father made her take ballet and French lessons and volunteer so she could pledge Kappa Delta Alpha. He said their motto was “hearts and hands in service” and that she’d better learn it. Molly said she wasn't good at being sophisticated and was a B- student in a public school. She wasn’t tall and graceful, and her father was disappointed, and said she was too plain to pledge. He said Kappa Delta Alpha girls were the best, but that he had to settle on marrying her mother. He called her a second rate choice who gave him a third rate daughter.

Under cross, the defense attorney Mr. Olson (Jefferson Mays) asks about the gas receipt from Amherst and the briefcase in her father’s car, but she doesn’t know what happened to it. He questions her about the $100,000 reward, but she contends she is telling the truth. He says the witness has nothing to offer but greed and spite. The judge tells him he can finish arguing his point after Cutter finishes presenting his evidence.

Joyce Foley takes the stand and tells the story about the sorority party and the part about “squashing a bug”. Lasky calls her a liar and is told to be quiet. She was sure she asked Lasky to leave politely, but when she asked him to leave, he turned red and sputtered, but just stood there, playing with the buttons on his blazer. She said if he wouldn’t leave she would call campus police. She thought he was going to cry, but he called her a name and ran out. She recognized his younger picture and now knows he is the same man who tried to interview her and frightened her at her son’s funeral.

Under cross examination, Lasky’s attorney reminds her she told the police she never met Lasky before and she only had her “epiphany” when the prosecutors showed her the old photo. He challenges her that she would recall an encounter of 60 seconds from 30 years ago where the cocktails were flowing. She says she knows it sound snobby and she’s sorry feelings were hurt but that these were girls from good families, and tells Lasky “You didn’t stand a chance.” Lasky jumps up, and says that was not true. His attorney gets him to sit back down. But Cutter looks at Lasky with a questioning face, and requests an adjournment until the morning to prepare their arguments. Judge Cates (Deborah Offner) says, “If you think it will make a difference, we are adjourned.” Lasky looks stunned at the comment.

Back in his office, Cutter expresses concern to McCoy that this judge is not buying their evidence. He wants to keep Lasky locked up until he can convict him at trial. But McCoy has some concerns – the testimony can’t be corroborated. He thinks Cutter doesn’t have much, and if plays hardball and keeps Lasky tied up in appeals and the like, he would eventually have to fire Cutter for prosecutorial misconduct. When McCoy leaves, Rubirosa enters and said they found Susan. It’s Susan Walden, a Kappa Delta Alpha from Dartmouth, until she transferred. When Cutter asks where she is now, she hands him a piece of paper and asks what he wants to do. He says there is only one thing to do – put Susan on the stand.

Back at the preliminary hearing, Cutter is arguing to be able to present a witness, Mrs. Susan Grayson (Lara Harris). Lasky looks stunned, but he says he wants to hear what she has to say, instructing his lawyer to withdraw his objection. The judge agrees. On the stand, she says she does not recognize Lasky. She recalls going to Amherst for football games, and does not recall inviting him to a mixer. She said it was a “thing” to see who could invite the most. Sometimes the snobby girls asked some of the girls asked the boys to leave. When Cutter states that wasn’t she also being elitist by belonging to the sorority, and she said she joined because her mother was a member, but she wasn’t hung up on money or junior league stuff. She said she would have thought Lasky not having money and having to hitchhike all the way to the mixer would have been sweet. She would have dated a blue-collar boy. She said she married one. Her husband is a truck driver and they have been married over 20 years and have three kids and a great life. Lasky stands up, angry, and points to Joyce Foley, saying he knew it was her who wanted him thrown out of the party. He calls her a bitch and leaps over the seats into the gallery at Joyce. He is restrained as he continues his rant. He said he showed her what it’s like to lose someone she loves. They get him seated back down and cuff him. Cutter makes a motion that he has sufficient evidence to proceed with the trial, and the judge agrees. As the judge excuses Susan, Lasky says pitifully that he loves her; he never blamed her and still wants her. Cutter tells Lasky for the record, the witness’ maiden name was Susan Laramie and she was at Dartmouth two years AFTER that party. His Susan – Susan Walden - she was murdered 8 years ago in the Bahamas by her trust fund husband during a drug fueled argument on their yacht. As Lasky looks devastated and shocked, Cutter turns coldly to Lasky’s attorney and says, “If you want to talk plea, call us.”

Later, walking in the halls at the DA’s office, Rubirosa mentions the 30 to life plea agreement to McCoy. He says he read the transcript, saying it was very “elegant” that they kept Susan Grayson just this side of perjury. Cutter says, “That was the easy part, the hard part was finding a Kappa Delta Alpha who married a bug instead of squashing it” as they fade to black.

All Text Content (Recaps, Review, Commentary) © unless otherwise noted

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Law & Order Criminal Intent Moved to Summer Premier For Season 8

TV Guide reports that USA is moving the season premier of season 8 of Law & Order - again. Criminal Intent will not begin airing until the summer of 2009. If you recall, season 8 was supposed to premier in November 2008, then was moved to the spring 2009.

What’s the problem with NBC Universal and the USA Network? Will we ever see Jeff Goldblum in his new role of Zach Nichols on the show? Do the networks even care about the fans anymore? Are there problems with the show or the cast? Let the speculation begin!

The TV Guide story can be found here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Monday, January 19, 2009

NYSDAA To Honor Law & Order

The New York Post reports that The New York State District Attorneys Association will be honoring my favorite TV show, "Law & Order" on Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. Linus Roache, who plays EADA Michael Cutter, will be representing the show and will be accepting the honor. If I can get my hands on some pictures from the event I will post them!

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Law & Order Episode Information, Week of January 18, 2009 and Beyond

There will be no new episode of Law & Order SVU this week, which is being preempted for inauguration programming. We will have a new episode of Law & Order, titled “Pledge.” NBC has also released information for a February Law & Order episode, titled “Illegitimate.” Along with the January 28 episode of ‘Lucky Stiff”, here’s what the schedule for Law & Order for the next few weeks looks like:

Law & Order “Pledge” Air Date January 21, 2009

Harold and Joyce Foley (guest stars Stephen Kunken and Erin Dilly), both well-known biologists at a local university, come home to find their young son Eric (guest star Timothee Chalamet) and the housekeeper brutally murdered. Detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) believe that the Foley's work on a controversial pharmaceutical study made them targets for the killer. Ned Lasky (guest star Matt Malloy), a reporter for Science Today who may have some serious emotional issues, has also been harassing the Foley's. Lupo and Bernard take Joyce on a trip down memory lane to a sorority party 30 years ago to find some answers. With very little evidence to work with, A.D.A's Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) and Connie Rubirosa (Alana de la Garza) work diligently to track down a key witness who was there.
Also stars S. Epatha Merkerson and Sam Waterston.

My recap and review of “ Pledge “ can be found here.

Law & Order “Lucky Stiff” Air Date January 28, 2009

Vic Russell, a trucking company owner, is found murdered after a business meeting with a partner, Stan Klein (Guest Star Adam Grupper). Detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) discover that Klein may have been involved in an illegal scheme to defraud Russell and others. As the investigation continues, the detectives also uncover a trail that leads them to believe that Russell had ties to the Russian mob and Alex Arshavin (Guest Star Michael Aranov), a loan shark. The key to the murder is an expensive watch stolen from Russell's dead body. As A.D.A's Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) and Connie Rubirosa (Alana de la Garza) bring the case to trial, they discover that their star witness, Klein's son Chad (Guest Star Robert Iler) may be involved in a secret love affair and have his own motive for murder. Also starring S. Epatha Merkerson and Sam Waterston

My recap and review of “ Lucky Stiff “ can be found here.

Law & Order “Illegitimate” Air Date February 4, 2009

An NYPD officer troubled over mounting financial difficulties is killed by fellow police officers after taking hostages at gunpoint. As detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) look into the incident, they discover valuable stolen documents hidden in the officer's apartment, along with a dead body. The search leads the detectives to John "Jay" McIntyre (Guest Star Christopher McDonald) who is trying to establish that he is the illegitimate son of a famous President and is searching for the proof. With a robbery and two murders to solve, the detectives aren't sure if they are searching for a single killer or multiple killers as they try to unravel the facts of the cases. Also stars S. Epatha Merkerson, Sam Waterson, Linus Roache and Alana de la Garza.

My recap and review of “ Illegitimate “ can be found here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Law & Order “By Perjury” No Lie, It’s Excellent (Recap & Review)

Law & Order continues to surprise me. It seems to be getting better with each passing week. This episode, “By Perjury” was excellent, with only one glaring flaw. The story was fantastic, even though it seemed obvious early on how some of it would play out. What made it work so well was the tension between the key players, with Lupo’s law studies causing a case to be botched, and Cutter’s frustrations with him rising to the surface. As always, Connie is the great equalizer, managing to get everyone to calm down. And so as not to spoil it too much for anyone who hasn’t seen the show, let me just say that Lupo seems to have buried the hatchet at the end when he and Bernard help to save Cutter from a tragic fate in that surprise ending.

The series is also establishing Linus Roache as the central character in the second half of the show, and I like it. Sure, I will always remain a huge Sam Waterston fan. And while Sam is getting lot less screen time than normal, they still make his appearances meaningful and important to the story. But I feel very comfortable with the character of Michael Cutter and Linus Roache, a lot more so than I did than in his first appearances on the show.

It also seems clear that they are establishing Bernard and Rubirosa as the cooler heads in their working partnerships. One or both of them are always trying to get Cutter or Lupo to settle down. And Connie is always the one who seems to find the angle than saves the day. Alana De La Garza continues to command more respect in her role, and Rubirosa is a much more confident character than in her first season as well.

But at the end of the day, while the team has their disagreements, they all know they have a job to do and they support each other in doing so, even to the point of protecting each other’s life.

Dallas Roberts helped make the character of Winston seem absolutely loathsome, by the way.

OK, the glaring flaw. It was Judge Lloyd, played by Mercedes Ruehl. Just exactly what kind of accent was that supposed to be? I swear it came and went and sometimes changed. Regardless, it was awful and forced. Sometime she sounded like she was a little drunk. It just did not play very well with me and while I think she is a very capable actor, the way she played this role was a poor fit. If the story wasn’t as good as it was, this could have been a big turn off for the entire show.

And, I just have to say this. Does anyone really believe Cutter would have said “wee wee” instead of some other euphemism or formal term? I just laughed at that. I hope if/when the show makes the move to an earlier time slot we won’t get more of these childish terms.

Here’s the recap:

Charlie Sawyer (Adam Mastrelli), is eating pie at a diner. Later, he’s found shot to death in his car clutching an oxygen canister. Detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) find there are two 9mm shells there, one shot is to the head. There are three shots in all, but only two shells. Charlie’s divorce papers are also there – unsigned. Lupo sighs, “the divorce is final now.”

The detectives talk to Charlie’s wife, who says Charlie has had the divorce papers for three weeks, and he called her yesterday and said he needed her to sign the papers right away. She said his contracting business was having problems and he had to borrow money from “some people.”

Later at Sawyer Contracting, the detectives find some men fighting. Some are trying to repossess equipment to get paid back for the money they loaned to Charlie. Charlie’s partner tells them they had an appointment yesterday to bid on a job and Charlie blew it off. He offers no information about Charlie's death.

Back at the 2-7, Lt. Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) wonders if the story that Charlie was coming into some money is just a story. Raspberry pie was found in Charlie’s stomach contents. She suggests they look at Charlie's cell phone records. They see calls to two law firms, neither of which was handling the divorce. The last call came in 11 minutes before he was shot, from a phone booth two blocks from the crime scene. There is a diner across the street. Talking with the waitress, she said he was very “flush” and happy, maybe from sucking on the oxygen tank next to him. She said he commented that he was going to stick it to the guy who was sticking it to him. He was waiting for someone and he got a call and then he left.

The detectives go to the first law firm (Tang & Butler) that Charlie called. They find Charlie and his mother was part of a class action suit against an airline company, Pan World Airlines. It was about a crash 7 years ago, flight 33 from Miami. The lawyer on the case said the original judge on the case was killed two years ago, which delayed the case. Charlie called the attorney out of the blue and told him that he had important evidence that could help the airline win the case and maybe to cut a deal for himself. He told Charlie it was improper for him to speak to Charlie without the permission of his lawyer.

The detectives speak with the other lawyer, Martin Winston (Dallas Roberts) who said Charlie called every week to find out when he was going to get money from the class action suit. Winston says he didn't know anything about evidence that Charlie had already mentioned to the other law firm. He indicates that conspiracy nuts have gotten involved in the case as well.

At the apartment of Peter Belander, Lupo and Bernard asks him if he knows Charlie. He knows of him. The families say Belanger is harassing them, and he says they are harassing him. He says Charlie was posting anonymous things about him on his blog, and Lupo wonders if it was anonymous, how did he know it was Charlie? He says he keeps records of every IP address of comments, and finds Charlie posted some things the day he was shot. He gives them the log and says he will call his lawyer. The find that the computer Charlie was using was located at his parent’s home in Henryville. They decide to check out the home of his mother there, Bernadette Sawyer. When they arrive at the house, a for sale sign is up and there had been a fire there. Bernard says “looks like Charlie’s good news blew up on him.”

Later, when questioning someone from the fire department, he tells them the fire happened last Monday and was caused when oxygen tanks that Charlie's mom used for her emphysema exploded. The detectives speculate that oxygen tanks exploded in the plane, and that one was likely in his mother’s luggage - or they assume Charlie thought that they did and that’s what he wanted to tell the lawyers in the class action suit. Charlie may have been looking for a payoff, putting the other plaintiffs out of the money.

The go back to Charlie’s lawyer and ask for his alibi at the time of Charlie’s murder since he had a financial stake in the case. He was at home, and he lives alone.

Bernard also gets a message saying Winston had an arrest in Henryville on Wednesday, and the disposition was sealed. Going to Monroe County Municipal Building, Sheriff Bainbridge tells them they need an unsealing order from the county judge. They decide to talk to a female police officer that Bainbridge has just been yelling at. Flirting, Lupo admires her patrol car. Lupo gives her his number and tells her he can take her out to a place where a mobster had been killed, and she asks if she can bring her husband along. Bernard says sure – “we’re not jealous.” As they go to walk away, she calls out to them and helps them with information about Martin Winston's arrest. The deputies has responded to a prowler call at Bernadette Sawyer’s house and arrested Winston for criminal trespass. The sheriff voided the arrest after finding Winston was the Sawyer’s attorney. Lupo also sees an entry on her screen for a Black Lexus, a vehicle Winston was driving, which was registered to a James Hewitt.

At Hewitt’s apartment, he says Winston did not have permission to drive his car. They check out the vehicle when Hewitt says one of the wipers isn’t working, they find the missing 9mm shell casing is jamming it. Later, they arrest Winston on the courthouse steps.

At arraignment, Winston enters a plea of not guilty and says he will represent himself. When the judge hears he is working on the case from Flight 33, she sets bail at $1 million. He says it won't be a problem, and then asks for a gag order and a closed court so that his case won't be affected. ADA Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) argues this is against the first and sixth amendments. The judge thinks Winston has a better point and grants his motion.

Later in EADA Cutter’s (Linus Roache) conference room, Winston asks Cutter and Rubirosa for financial disclosure affidavits for each of them. If they own stock in Pan World Airlines it would be a conflict of interest. Cutter jabs at Winston, asking if he is laying the foundation for an ineffective assistance of counsel. They continue to jab back and forth. Cutter says considering the evidence they have on him, Winston should “stop strutting and start dealing.” He then gives them a motion to suppress the evidence.

At Supreme Court, Lupo is testifying on how they obtained Winston’s arrest information. He said Deputy Ryan overheard their discussion with the Sheriff and offered the information, which gave them information about his neighbor’s car that led to the bullet. They did not ask or suggest that she do it. At cross, Winston asks if Lupo was aware the deputy didn’t have the authority to give him the information. He said he didn’t know it for fact and acted in good faith and thought the suspect would flee. He calls Lupo on his use of legal terms, and Lupo admits he is a law student. As Winston questions Lupo on law details, Cutter objects, saying that this isn’t a bar exam. Judge Lloyd (Mercedes Ruehl) stops Winston and excuses Lupo. Cutter argues inevitable discovery, but Winston says it is illegal behavior. She grants Winston’s motion to suppress the car and the shell casing. Winston moves for a dismissal, and Cutter objects. She asks if Cutter has any admissible evidence, but as a dismissal for insufficient evidence triggers double jeopardy, and he begs for more time. The judge tells Winston he’s gotten “obscenely lucky” but not to get greedy. She gives Cutter three days, and if he can’t do it by then she will dismiss the charges – with prejudice.

Later, Cutter, Rubirosa, Lupo, and Bernard review their options for more evidence. There is an FBI file on Winston, he was vetted when he was a prosecution witness in the murder of the first judge on the panel for the case. As Lupo and Bernard leaves, Cutter tells Lupo the next time he is on the stand, try not to play lawyer. “you’re not that good.” Lupo gets upset, and approaching Cutter says, “What? What did you say to me?” Cutter answers, “You heard me.” Lupo adds, “Maybe a real lawyer wouldn’t have let me flap in the wind while I was being cross examined. Maybe a real lawyer would have shut Winston down!” Bernard moves in to break them up, but Cutter goes on, telling Lupo that his actions put the case in the crapper. Rubirosa chides Mike and he stops. Bernard gets “Lupes” to leave. After they leave, Rubirosa tells Cutter the murdered judge’s case was tried in Federal Court, and one of Winston’s clients was convicted of the crime. Winston was the main witness against him – testifying against his own client. Two murders have come from the Pan World case and Winston has a “starring role” in both of them. She doesn’t think this is a coincidence, but Cutter is distracted by having to be in the judge’s chambers. He says if she thinks of something brilliant to say to text him, and he walks out.

Judge Lloyd voices her disappointment with Cutter’s office. He asks he if she must dismiss to do it without prejudice. She dismisses the case, with prejudice. Winston asks for the record to be sealed and a permanent gag order places on the DA. Cutter is outraged and he and Winston continue to spar. When Winston threatens Cutter with defamation, the judge shuts them down and fines them $1,000 each for contempt. She grants Winston’s request to have the record sealed.

In the offices of the U.S. Attorney Mr. Tyler, Rubirosa confers with the lawyer for the defendant in the murder of the first judge – Judge Davis - from the Flight 33 case. Winston thought he would soften up if the grieving family showed up in court. Davis threatened to toss the case on summary judgment, and two nights later, one of the plaintiffs, Victor Cruz shot him in the doorway of his brownstone. The only evidence against Cruz was a cigarette butt with his DNA, found in the judge’s doorway. Cruz’s own lawyer – Marty Winston - testified that Cruz threatened to kill the judge. When Rubirosa says she’s like to talk to Cruz, she is told he is dead – executed for the murder 6 months ago.

Back in Cutter’s office, Rubirosa tells him Cruz swore he was framed, that someone set up a fake job interview in the area and planted the cigarette butt.

DA Jack Mc Coy (Sam Waterston) knocks on the door, and asks Rubirosa to excuse them and she exits. McCoy asks Cutter if he is getting enough sleep, reaming out police officers, screeching at opposing counsel, and a contempt citation. Cutter says, “ You want a diplomat? Look elsewhere.” Jack says they are not getting results. McCoy asks Cutter to tell him what he needs – a day off, a lighter caseload? He can’t have Cutter flying off the handle. Cutter says he got the message and thanks McCoy. He says Winston is the adversarial system gone haywire – even if you have to kill, win at all costs. McCoy states dryly, “Sounds like somebody’ evil twin.” Cutter says Winston has gotten away with three murders, the judge, the executed man, and Sawyer. McCoy tears up the papers he came in with, says he has work to do, and leaves.

Later, at the gravesite of Victor Cruz, Cutter and Rubirosa talk with his wife, and she says he did not kill that judge. She said Victor was angry with the judge but said they had to trust Winston to get justice from the airlines. When asked about the cigarette butt, she said she made him quit smoking but he only did it occasionally. She said Winston let him smoke in his office, maybe someone took the butt there? She said Winston treated them like family and every year he sent them $100.

Cutter and Rubirosa go back to the US Attorney Mr. Tyler, who tells them there was nothing to the frame up allegation. They point out that Winston had more to gain that anyone else in that murder. Tyler tells him to play it out - they already executed someone for the crime and now Cutter wants to execute someone else for it. He makes it sound like Cutter wants to make his beating in court Tyler’s problem.

Later, outside, Cutter tells Rubirosa that anyone who stands between Winston and his payday gets killed. Rubirosa agrees but says it is over. Cutter walks over to an outside vendor and asks Rubirosa, “If I smoked, what would I smoke? ” and grabs a pack of cigarettes.

Later, in Winston’s office walking down a hallway with Winston, Cutter moans that he has to pay his own contempt fine. He adds he wrote a letter apologizing to the judge and thought it would be more effective if it came from both of them. Winston agrees and signs it. Cutter says, “I got my wee wee slapped pretty hard for botching your case. “ Winston blames the "dumb cops". Cutter pulls out a pack of cigarettes and asks for permission to smoke and Winston lets him. Cutter talks about trying to quit. They talk the airline case. Winston says he plans on moving into the Woolworth building after it is all done.

Back in McCoy’s office, McCoy questions Cutters approach , arresting Winston for code violations. Cutter explains that in Cruz’s trial, Winston said he doesn’t allow anyone to smoke in his office – ever. It’s perjury – in the Victor Cruz case. His false testimony got Cruz executed. “Murder by perjury?” McCoy asks, incredulous. There is no case law on it, though, and Cutter wants to go for it. McCoy likes it – it’s never been done before, adding “All the more reason to try it! If we can’t find new ways to protect people from murderers, what the hell are we doing in this job? “

At the Federal Courthouse, Lupo and Bernard walk into the airline trial in progress with an arrest warrant for Winston. The warrant is given to the judge who looks at it, and tells the detectives to do their job, and they arrest him.

Outside walking with McCoy and Cutter, Winston’s lawyer Mr. Phillips (Ned Eisenberg) is stunned at the “murder by perjury” approach. McCoy says there is nothing wrong with creative lawyering to lock up a murderer. The attorney says he is moving to dismiss the case. Cutter tells him to do a good job or Winston may kill him too.

Later in Supreme Court, Phillips argues his case for dismissal. Cutter says his perjury was a reckless act. Cutter thinks Winston knew his lies would result in Cruz’s conviction with the death penalty. Phillips argues this assumes the jurors based their conviction on Winston’s testimony as a key factor, and the judge says they will find out if his assumption is right.

At a later time, a juror is being questioned on the stand, and says that Winston’s testimony was crucial and found Winston was credible as he seemed to care for his client. Judge Lloyd asks the juror to clarify that if Winston said he allowed Cruz to smoke in his office they would not have found Cruz guilty, and Winston objects. Phillips tries to get him to settle down. The juror admits that this would have given them reasonable doubt. Cruz’s wife cries in the gallery. The judge rules that the people can make a viable case, and denies Winston’s motion to dismiss. Cutter asks for his bail to be revoked and that he be remanded. She allows him to remain out on bail. Afterwards, Winston tells Cutter he is not a good enough lawyer to pull it off. He says Pan World is ready to make an offer and he will have the check cashed before this even goes to trial. Cutter says, “Don’t be so sure. Miss Rubirosa is filing a complaint with the grievance committee as we speak. We’re seeking to have you removed immediately from the Pan World litigation.” Winston argues Cutter had no standing, but Cutter gleefully says Victor Cruz’ wife does.

In the hearing room for the grievance committee, the committee states that the evidence supports and indictment against Winston for the murder of Charles Sawyer and they find reasonable cause to believe he perjured himself to frame one of his own clients, and they now suspect him of the murder of Judge Davis. Whether he is guilty or not is for a court to decide. Convicted or not, he manipulated the legal system with lies and apparently murders. As he took the Pan World case on contingency, there was never a payment guarantee. He is very upset. The committee rules that he is disqualified from representing the case and will be denied any compensation from outcome of the case. He says this is a sham, saying they can’t do it an it is not fair. He points to Cutter, Rubirosa, Lupo and Bernard and says “Shame, shame on all of you!”

Outside, Winston has waited for Cutter. Winston asks Cutter if he is happy now that Winston won’t get his money. Cutter tells him not to worry about his money, he will send him $100 on his birthday that he can use in the prison canteen. As Cutter walks away, Winston follows him, and Lupo and Bernard take note and follow as well. While Cutter is in the bathroom at the urinal, Winston walks in, saying Pan World was his whole life. When Cutter says they can talk outside, Winston pulls a gun on him and says “Talk to this.” Cutter pulls back in horror, as Lupo and Bernard barge in, Lupo grabbing the gun and Bernard helping to subdue Winston. Cutter thanks Lupo and Cutter zips up, his "wee wee" intact. Lupo moves to get Cutter out of there, while Bernard cuffs Winston.

Later in McCoy’s office, he tells Cutter the matter would have made for some pretty ignoble crime scene photos – another reason to be grateful to Lupo and Bernard. As he sits on the couch with McCoy, Cutter picks up a glass of the alcoholic beverage du jour, and toasts, ‘Here’s to earnest civil servants. “ McCoy clicks Cutter’s glass and they drink together as we fade to black.

By Perjury - Clip

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Law & Order SVU “Hothouse” Grows On You

It’s not often that I watch an episode of Law & Order SVU where I can’t find anything wrong with it. I think this episode was near flawless, with great acting on the part of the guest stars. It’s amazing how quickly Law & Order SVU can improve in quality once it moves away from the personal drama of the detectives and focuses more on the cases. I also have been trying very hard not to pay too much attention to the promo teases shown on NBC the week before, because I think that not seeing them adds more to the suspense of the case.

It was interesting that the detectives thought at first that this was a case of a girl being used in a sex trafficking ring, and it turns out it was just a girl who was trying to excel at school, forced by her father’s greed, and who was killed by another out of jealousy. It could be that working with sex crimes so often makes the detectives see sexual abuse everywhere, when there are a lot of people out there who are mentally or physically tortured at the hands of another that doesn’t have anything to do with sex.

I thought that the girl who played Jennifer - Sarah Hyland - did an exceptional job at playing the overly pressured, sleep deprived student. Some of the pressures on students these days to perform are great. Adding to the stress is the ease in which some kids can obtain drugs, which they think can enhance their mental performance. While I believe that there is a true medical conditions of ADD and ADHD, I also see these meds prescribed far too often. I do think that over the years, the medical profession is getting wise to how these meds are used and hopefully they will not be so quick to prescribe.

It seems that this week Michaela McManus’s screen time was limited again, which hints to me that she may be on the way out with Stephanie March’s stint on the show. It’s too bad that they decided now to show her with her hair down, which seems to soften that cold, hard, wooden look on her face (still not enough for me, though). I also noticed that it was Benson – not Greyleck – who went to argue to the NJ prosecutor to have Jennifer not tried as an adult. This also signaled to me that they might have already decided to cut McManus out of the show, since I would think that should have been the ADA’s place.

Here is the recap:
Some women are doing Tai Chi along the waterfront when one spots a body in the water. When Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) and Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) arrive on the see with ME Warner (Tamara Tunie) they discuss the body, which is of a young girl, no ID and it didn’t seem like she had been in there long. But they do find her head bashed in and it looks like she’s been beaten and tortured.

Later, with further examination of the body, Warner tells them the girl is 14 years, 2 month old that she was able to get by carbon dating crystals in her eyes. She notes that the girl had no water in her lungs, which indicates that she was dead before she went into the river. The girl also had a number of injuries that have occurred over the years; old cigarette burns on her arm, broken bones and dislocations. The head injury and the puncture wounds in her breasts were recent. Warner found evidence indicating the girl was recently in New York for the last few months, before that in the Ukraine, and the detectives assume she was trafficked for sex. Warner refers the detectives to Grace Metcalf, who works with women that were trafficked.

At the Center for Abused Woman, Metcalf tells the detectives she does not recognize the girl. The women that she sees with were promised good jobs, but ended up living as prostitutes and a life in hell. Metcalf knows a girl from the Ukraine named Veronica that is running from her pimp. Benson and Stabler later meets with Veronica at a laundry where she works, and Benson shows Veronica a picture of the victim and ask her if she knows her. Veronica doesn't. Veronica is concerned that if Benson found her, “they” will be able to find her too. People are watching everywhere. Benson tells her they will relocate her if she cooperates. Veronica says that her pimp's name is Alik and that gives them his cell phone number, saying he will never speak to a cop.

Benson decides to go undercover (with Fin in tow) and meets with Alik at the Little Odessa CafĂ©. She tells Alik (Misha Kuznetsov) that she needs 8 girls to service some local men, the younger the better, and he says he has some who are looking for work. He takes her to a room with girls, and she moves to “inspect” them. She sees that one of them is using drugs. She takes two of the girls and asks for four more. When Alik completes the deal, the police burst in and arrest him. When Alik shouts out “Bitch! You’re dead!” to Benson, Fin twists his arm and tells him he has the right to remain silent.

At the squad, the detectives question Alik. He doesn't know the victim, he was in Miami. He says he gives his girls nice clothes food and a place to stay. He says the girl did not deserve to die like that, and that the girl didn't belong to him. But he does admit he knows her and asks for a deal – he doesn’t do American time, he wants to do his time in the Ukraine.

But ADA Greyleck (Michaela Mc Manus), looking on from outside the interrogation room, tells Capt. Cragen (Dann Florek) Alik would get out of the Ukraine too easily and just come back here and continue his work. She thinks giving a deal will make them look soft, Cragen thinks not doing so makes them look incompetent. She comes in to interrogation and says there is no deal unless his information an be verified. He says her name is Elsa Lychkoff and she was a good kid. She was in a Ukrainian newspaper – she was a genius math kid.

Later in the squad room, they discuss Elsa. She went to the Morewood School, which Fin says is is a “genius factory” where the graduates often go on to prestigious schools including MIT, Cal Tech, etc.

When the detectives question the dean of Morewood, she says Elsa was about to be accepted into MIT. She is a US citizen and boards at the school. She was in the Ukraine a while ago for an extended family trip to visit a dying grandmother. She signed herself out for that weekend as was due back that night. They ask about her parents and tell the dean of Elsa’s injuries. There are no problems with the other students and Elsa, she says they may be competitive with each other but they are loyal. She refers them to Elsa’s roommate, Jennifer Banks.

In speaking with Jennifer (Sarah Hyland), she says everyone loved Elsa. She says Elsa didn’t need to study, and that Elsa frequently snuck out at night and flirted with boys, often dressing provocatively. She shows them Elsa's clothes, and adds that the school has a dress code and Elsa would have received a demerit if the school knew that she had these clothes.

Later, Benson and Stabler meet with Elsa's parents at the Lychkoff residence. They are stunned to hear of her death. Joseph (George Tasudis), Elsa's father, says that he was the only one who understood Elsa. Joseph says that Elsa had to have her mind nourished by experts only. He says mothers coddle too much. Elsa’s mom said she needed a mother’s care. Stabler notices that Joseph is a smoker and asks about Elsa's cigarette burns and her injuries. Joseph denies ever raising a hand to her. Stabler asks Elsa's mom about what happened to Elsa but she knows nothing. Joseph is very angry, and in a raised voice says that he loved Elsa and it was all he lived for and they need to find her killer.

Back at the squad, they are looking at Joseph Lychkoff’s mug shot. He was fired from Boeing after 6 months and another job shortly thereafter. He has 13 open fraud cases against him. Just then, one of Joseph’s other daughters arrives, Katrina (Aya Cash), saying her father tortured both of them, and she says she’s the one her father “threw away.” Later in the interrogation room, she tells them how her father had high expectations for her. She thinks her father had something to do with Elsa's death. She says there is a place in the house where their father used to “teach” them but it was not a classroom. She says she can show them.

She takes them to the room, which Benson notes it is very cold. Katrina said her father called it “hothousing”, to concentrate their learning. Benson notes it is like raising an orchid in a hothouse to grow. Katrina’s father said cold stimulated the mind. Katrina imitates her father's behavior, and they see injuries on her arm. When Stabler sees rice on the floor, she says her father made them kneel on it. She said she went to school there until she was 16 until he kicked her out of the house. She wanted to get Elsa away from her father. She said Morewood also paid her father to enroll her and that they entered Elsa into competitions for prize money. Benson comments that Elsa was the family cash cow. Joseph and his wife arrive and he says Katrina is dead to them, and they are trespassing. They arrest him.

In the interrogation room, they question both parents separately. Joseph's wife tells Stabler he told everyone about a PhD that he had, to which Cragen alerts Benson to question Joseph on the PhD that he didn’t have. She calls him a liar about the degree and she says he was only trying to provide for his family. The wife tells Stabler he was always gambling and losing money, and Benson questions Joseph about his gambling. He still insists he never hurt Elsa, but his wife says she saw bruises. While Benson continues to hammer on Joseph, her gets up and begins to beat his head into the wall. Cragen yells for someone to call a “bus” as Joseph collapses.

As they take Joseph away, Fin tells Benson and Stabler that he found surveillance video that shows that Joseph was at the casino when Elsa was killed. They decide to look more at the school. Cragen tells them not every star there shines so bright, and shows them three rap sheets. At the Morewood School, they talk to the three students in question. The find that Elsa hung out with a older guy named Danny Burke. They meet with Danny who says that he treated Elsa like he was her big brother. He added that Morehouse is “toxic” and that they even feed the students a special diet to increase their brain activity. He says that Elsa hated school and wanted to be a kid, she wanted a way out. They ask Danny about Elsa's clothes, and he says that the clothes did not belong to Elsa and that she would not even wear makeup. Danny says that Elsa hated her roommate Jennifer and Jennifer was jealous of Elsa. He said that Jennifer asked Elsa to fail a test so she could be number one in the class. Elsa asked for a new roommate and the headmistress said no.

Back at the school, they meet with Jennifer and tell her they know she lied about Elsa’s clothes. She seems to be ignoring them, playing chess. She seems stressed and said they put her in a tournament and she doesn’t have time for this. She says, “I want my mom.”

Back at the station, Suzanne Banks, Jennifer’s mom, arrives. In interrogation, with her mother there, Jennifer says she is glad Elsa is dead because she got all the attention and scholarship offers. There is no second place. Jennifer is highly agitated. When she said she followed her to the ferry when she went to see Danny, that Elsa couldn’t run from her in the Hudson River, her mother tells her to stop talking. Jennifer gets more crazed, exploding, saying she is sick of anyone telling her what to do. She just wanted to talk to her, but she screamed at her and called he a loser. She shouts that Elsa tried walking away so she grabbed her arm and Elsa pushed her, so she jabbed her with her pen. He mother shouts for her to stop. She screams that she slammed her into the railing over and over again. Stabler asks if anyone saw them fighting, and Jennifer said everyone was inside because it was raining. She said no one could hear Elsa screaming because of the ferry horn so when Elsa fell down she pushed her into the river. Turning to her mom, she says, “I’m number one now, Mom. Aren’t you happy for me?”

Later, with Greyleck, the detectives tell her Jennifer made a full confession with her mother present. The detectives think Jennifer needs help and want the case to go to family court because she is 14. Greyleck said it is not her call, the body went into the river off Hoboken, NJ, meaning it is in New Jersey jurisdiction and they try kids her age as adults.

At the Hudson County Courthouse in Jersey City NJ, the detectives argue their point with the NJ prosecutor, Miss Gill (Gretchen Egolf). She doesn’t agree with Benson and Stabler, saying Jennifer knew what she was doing and she is calling the detectives at witnesses.

In New Jersey court, Stabler and Benson are questioned on the stand and they recount Jennifer’s confession and they talk about how Jennifer cracked under pressure. Gill thinks Jennifer is bright enough to be able to fool the detectives. The judge decides to hear the case in adult court. When Stabler is told to step down, Gill tells him “game over” and this enrages Jennifer. She yells that the game is never over, she begins to shout and climbs on the table, clearly losing it. They take her away as she screams. She continues to scream and yell as they lock her in the cell. Asks, “why am I here?” When Benson tells her it’s because she killed Elsa, she asks, “Did I?” she says it is all blank and she is trapped in a horrible chess match, she says she never sleeps. She goes for days before she crashes. It is her secret weapon. She takes Provigil to help her study. She gets it from kids with ADD, all the kids are on drugs at school to help them focus. She says she has been up three days but it is not working this time. She needs her drugs and asks Benson to bring her some. She tells Benson where it is, hidden in one of her books. Benson finds the pills and also Jennifer’s journal, where she sees some writing but then some pages that look overly scribbled.

She takes it to Warner, who calls the scribbles “hypergraphia” and is common with Provigil abuse. She adds that a person who has been up for 17 hours is equivalent to a person with a .05 blood alcohol content and it is possible that Jennifer became crazy.

Benson meets with the New Jersey prosecutor, she doesn’t want to buy an insanity plea. Benson argues sleep deprivation is a clinical condition. Benson tells her that she knew a cop who worked 3 days straight and after his shift he went home and went to bed. During the night he has an asthma attack and went for inhaler and grabbed his service revolver instead and blew his brains out. The prosecutor asks what Benson wants from her. She hands her Jennifer’s journal and tells her to “sleep on it.”

At a later date in the courthouse, the judge sentences Jennifer to seven years in prison in accordance with a plea agreement. Jennifer is remanded to the department of juvenile justice . He asks Miss Gill is she had a change of heart, and she says that new evidence shows that Jennifer's mental status at time warrants leniency. As Jennifer is taken away, Stabler tells her that she will be out when she turns 21. She thanks them. Gill approaches the detectives and says her next case involves a 15 year old who raped and killed with no remorse. She asks, “You want him out at 21 too?” As they bring the kid in and he gives them a sick grin, they fade to black.

Hothouse Two Minute Replay

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