Thursday, February 5, 2009

Law & Order “Illegitimate” A Complicated Conspiracy (Recap & Review)

Image from NBC

This episode of Law & Order (NBC), “Illegitimate” was one of the more complicated that they’ve had in a while. At one point, where Lupo, Bernard, and Van Buren were outlining the details of all the crimes, I thought my head was going to explode. I must have watched that scene 4 times before I was able to follow their trail. Sometimes I don’t care for overly complex scenarios because it just makes it so much harder to follow all the players and how they fit in to everything.

I know that it’s probably hard to find an actor that looks exactly like JFK, but frankly I didn’t see any amazing resemblance like they implied. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen that actor so many time before and never thought once that he resembled anyone in the Kennedy family. But, I suppose that if Linus Roache can play Robert F. Kennedy in a movie and there is no resemblance there either, anything is possible.

I felt a little sorry for Connie, who had to take the fall for Lupo and Bernard’s mistake. Of course, Jack was probably right when he looked at the matter from the detectives’ point of view and said that had the detectives got some information that would have helped them, they’d be looked at as heroes. I loved the glare that Connie gave Lupo and Bernard in the courtroom, but I was also good to see them all “kiss and make up.”

I found myself wondering how the Kennedy family would feel about this episode, which paints them as over controlling secret keepers. They could very well be that way, but sometimes who can blame them? It is as if their lives have been fodder for the media for the last 40+ years. Of course, they do a good job on their own of keeping themselves in the news with all their antics. Still, since the Law & Order franchise has often used Kennedy-like characters or families in several episodes over the years, I was surprised they actually used their names this time.

And are there people out there like Waylon’s wife who would fork over $62,000 based on an unsolicited email from Nigeria? If so, I’d prefer they send their money my way if they wanted to part with it so badly. I would put it to good use! ; )

All in all, not a bad episode, just one that was a little too complicated for my tastes.

Here is the recap:

A man is drinking at a bar. He gets a call from a police negotiator who is outside. The negotiator tells "Scott" to let the hostages go. Scott points his gun to a couple and motions for them to get out of the bar. After the couple takes off, the negotiator tells Scott to walk out, nice and easy. He lays a badge down on the bar and moves to leave. Even though he is instructed to drop the gun he doesn’t do so, and the police shoot and kill him.

Detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) arrive at the scene and are told Scott’s gun wasn’t even loaded, at was a cop suicide - by cop. Bernard volunteers to help canvass witnesses, but they are told by the Lieutenant on the scene that they have it covered. When they continue to press, the Lieutenant asks if they know who they are talking to. Bernard says he just needs to explain to their own Lieutenant why they aren’t working their normal cases. They are asked to check out Scott’s apartment, as the address he has on him doesn’t match his primary residence. Lupo and Bernard check out the apartment, and smell decomp. They find a dead body in Scott’s closet.

Later, Lupo discovers that Scott Waylon had sublet his apartment but he was going to be evicted at the end of the month as the person he sublet it to left a few months prior. Scott couldn’t find another renter and he got behind on the rent. Bernard suspects that the dead person may have been rich, based on the quality of his clothes. When the local detectives arrive and say they will take over the case, Bernard says sorry, they caught this one and they will handle it.

Later at the 2-7, Lt. Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) is mediating between the two groups of detectives, and she confirms that the case is Lupo and Bernard’s to investigate. When the other lieutenant says he is not sure the brass will agree, she says she’ll ask, she’s having drinks with the deputy commissioner later. After they leave, she tells Lupo and Bernard to tell her they can close the case. Bernard states the John Doe they found is still a John Doe, and the cause of death was a skull fracture. They found that Waylon had a debt with a strip club. Van Buren asks them to talk to Waylon’s widow.

Lupo and Bernard question Waylon’s wife, who is caring for her young baby, and ask about the strip club, but Patricia Waylon says they aren’t supposed to talk about it because it was against the department rules. She says Waylon worked as a bouncer. When Lupo asks why he needed the money, she says it was all her fault. She was scammed out of $62,000 via a Nigerian email scam, but Waylon forgave her. She doesn’t know who the man is that was dead in the apartment. Bernard, looking around, sees something taped under the baby’s crib, and finds an envelope with old letters by Ulysses S. Grant to Jefferson Davis, and a deed of trust for Woodrow Wilson.

When they later check out the letters by an expert, they find they are genuine. They show him a picture of the man who was found dead in Waylon’s apartment and the man knows him. He was an auctioneer named Norman Lukovitch. The detectives are at Lukovitch’s apartment. The doorman doesn’t recognize Waylon. Saying that Lukovitch liked his men younger and more buff. The detectives find someone had already been through things. They suspect that Waylon lured Lukovitch to his own apartment and killed him, took his keys and cleaned the place out. But Lukovitch had a safe.

Back at the 2-7, they assume that Lukovitch was gay and that is how Waylon lured him to the apartment. All the good stuff was in Lukovitch’s safe. They also wonder how Waylon got in to the business of dealing in these specialized goods – unless he already had a buyer. They decide the answer may be at the strip club, and, going there, they learn that Waylon was fired a month ago when he found he was bodyguarding for one of his customers, Ian Dryden.

The detectives go to Dryden’s yacht at the Chelsea Piers Marina. When no one answers their calls or knocks, they climb aboard, and find another dead body, Dryden. Later, talking with a neighbor, they are told that Dryden had a lot of girls on his yacht. Waylon was Dryden’s new bodyguard, he was the last person he say at the yacht, two days ago, around 8:00, just before Waylon took hostages at the bar. Lupo finds a calendar that shows Dryden had a meeting with Lukovitch. Back at the 2-7, they find that Dryden was killed while Waylon was on duty, and wonder who killed Dryden. When Van Buren points out a notation in Dryden’s date book, Bernard matches it to Lukovitch’s client ID number at Southington’s auction house. Van Buren points them to talk to the auction house to find out who has been nosing around Lukovitch’s accounts.

Ay Southington’s Auction house, Lupo is looking at some of the auction items, and seems stunned that they are selling Alexander Hamilton’s penis (!), which she says is not worth as much as Napoleon’s. When they ask for information on inquiries to Lukovitch's account, the secretary tells them that there were four. Meanwhile, Bernard comments that he can see the reflection of the computer screen in her eyeglasses. He asks if any of the people who inquired did so in person, because they could have also seen what he was seeing in her “big, beautiful” glasses. She says a man named McIntyre made a bid, who Lupo says was a Dryden client.

At the office of John Jay McIntyre (Christopher McDonald), he tells them he came up short at the auction and lost the bid to some lucky fellow. He did try finding who it was but Southington’s would not release the information. But, he found another letter signed by Ulysses S. Grant on the Internet that day. McIntyre confirms that Dryden was his business manager – and he heard one of his girlfriends did him in. When Bernard asks him where he was on Monday morning, he said he was late leaving the house, his dog took off after a squirrel. Lupo comments on McIntyre’s business of airplane toilets, and he says it’s the family business, it’s really “not me.” Lupo says he knows what he means, he gets a cramp just thinking about them. They also notice what Lupo thinks is a pool cue, but McIntyre says it is a martial arts weapon and he knows Jujitsu.

Back at the 2-7, they think McIntyre’s knowledge of jujitsu means he could have snapped Dryden’s neck. His alibi really can’t be confirmed, and he wasn’t seen at the marina on Monday morning. They see that the same day Dryden withdrew $6,000 from McIntyre’s account, and that same day Waylon paid off his debts, all in cash, $5,000 total. They speculate McIntyre got Dryden to hire Waylon to rob Lukovitch, and Waylon probably didn’t know he was actually working for the “king of flying toilets,” who all of a sudden decided to kill Dryden with his bare hands. Because Waylon killed Lukovitch, McIntyre is liable for felony murder, he probably thought that by killing Dryden, Lukovitch’s murder couldn’t be traced back to him. McIntyre has a boat, and once a month Dryden cut a check on his behalf for rent to the Westside Marina.

At the Westside Marina, they discover that McIntyre has a boat and he took it out Monday morning at 7:30 AM, back 30 minutes later. The detectives realize he had enough time to make it to Dryden’s boat and back. Back at McIntyre’s he seems to be fleeing to Morocco, which has no extradition treaty. The detectives stop him and arrest him for Dryden’s murder.

In interrogation, McIntyre admits he was on his boat but didn’t tell them because his registration had expired. He went up to the Tappan Zee and back. Meanwhile, ADA Connie Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) is listening to the questioning, and asks Van Buren why the detectives are talking to him – didn’t he call a lawyer? Van Buren states he waived his rights. When Rubirosa hears the Lupo bring up Lukovitch’s name, she seems alarmed, and she bursts into the interview, stopping it. McIntyre’s lawyer arrives, Nolan Farver, who wants to know why they are talking to his client. Rubirosa says to blame McIntyre, as he didn’t invoke. The lawyer tells them to leave.

Outside the room, Van Buren is livid and chastises Rubirosa for interrupting. She says they arrested him for the Dryden murder, she didn't want to tip him off that they are looking into implicating him in Lukovitch's murder.

At arraignment court, McIntyre is remanded. But Farver makes another argument that Rubirosa is planning to introduce as evidence in McIntyre’s trial an uncharged homicide that the police questioned McIntyre about. Rubirosa explains that they haven’t’ set the trial strategy as yet, and they only asked McIntyre one question. She says she has a right to fair notice. The judge says Rubirosa should have thought of that before she was shucking and jiving her. Rubirosa glares at the detectives, who are sitting in the gallery. The judge bars Rubirosa from mentioning Lukovitch at the trial. Farver argues that since the basis of the current charge is Lukovitch’s murder which she cannot mention, the charges should be dropped, with prejudice because of prosecutorial misconduct. The judge agrees because Rubirosa misrepresented the evidence in court and drops the charges with prejudice.

Back in EADA Michael Cutter’s (Linus Roache) office with DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) present, Rubirosa is still livid. She never misrepresented anything. McCoy tells her to hand the appeal off to a rookie, but she is still angry because she took the hit for the detective’s mistake. McCoy seems a little more forgiving, saying that they had a talkative suspect that could have given them something incriminating. He says the Dryden murder wasn’t the main course anyway, he wants to see McIntyre go down for Lukovitch's murder and to make that happen. After he leaves, Cutter wants Rubirosa to work to figure out what it was that McIntyre wanted so badly.

Back at the 2-7 with the detectives, they go through the case and everything seems accounted for. They believe McIntyre wanted Waylon to steal something but he never got it, it was probably in the safe. The detectives also seen to try to apologize to Rubirosa, and she seems to accept it. They see that McIntyre billed his insurance for several tests from an endocrinologist, and since he looks healthy they decide to look into those tests.

Rubirosa and Bernard visit McIntyre’s doctor, Dr. Michael Di Reggio, who won’t give them any information. Rubirosa counters that maybe they need to look into insurance fraud, she believes he could be billing insurance companies for tests or illnesses people doesn't really have. The doctor admits that McIntyre is convinced that he has Addison's. He’s run all the tests and McIntyre does not have Addison’s. He adds McIntyre came to him with some hair that he claimed was his father's and he wanted a comparison DNA test to check for Addison's. The hair had no follicles so he told McIntyre he couldn’t do a DNA test but McIntyre insisted, so he just put it under a microscope to take a look and humor McIntyre. When the doctor told McIntyre that the hair was dyed from white to brown, he said McIntyre was furious that the hair had been dyed. When the doctor steps out, Bernard mentions that Waylon charged $40 at a barbershop the day before McIntyre went to his doctor.

Bernard and Rubirosa talk to the barber. He said he told Waylon not to take the hair off the floor but he told him not to. But he did anyway.

Back at the 2-7, Rubirosa tells Cutter that Waylon gave the hair to Dryden who gave it to McIntyre, and that McIntyre freaked out when he found the hair wasn’t really brown. Lukovitch had a lock of hair in his memorabilia – JFK’s hair – which was in the locked safe. Bernard walks in with the hair that is supposed to be JFK’s. They think when Waylon couldn’t get the hair from the safe, he just got some from the barbershop. They assume this is why McIntyre wanted the Addison’s tests, since JFK had the disease. McIntyre told the doctor the hair belonged to his father who had Addison’s, and Cutter thinks that McIntyre wanted the hair to prove he was JFK’s illegitimate son.

Later in McCoy’s office, McCoy is looking at pictures of JFK and McIntyre and sees a resemblance but doesn’t believe the rest. Cutter argues that all that matters is that McIntyre believed it. Rubirosa indicated the hair is believed to be authentic, that it was harvested on November 22, 1963 by nurse Betty Wilson at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, where they took JFK after he was shot. McCoy tells them before they go forward, they have to verify that McIntyre really believes his is JFK’s kid.

Cutter and Rubirosa talk with McIntyre’s mother Lois (Rue McClanahan). Cutter says her son John seems to have a fascination with JFK, to the point he has convinced himself he is JFK’s son. He asks her if there is any basis in truth. She dances around an answer. Rubirosa asks if she had an intimate encounter with JFK. She says she knew him but he wasn’t the president when she met him. She says she can’t imagine anyone saying no to him, but evades a direct answer, saying he was irresistible. Cutter asks bluntly if she had sex with John Kennedy. She says it isn’t proper for him to ask. Rubirosa says they can compel her to answer. She doesn’t seem ruffled by this.

Back at the offices, Cutter and Rubirosa meet with Farver and McIntyre. Cutter tells them this is about the robbery/murder of Lukovitch. They confront him with the safe and the lock of hair, his mother’s comments of a relationship with JFK, and his resemblance to JFK. Farver tries to end the conversation, but McIntyre says he has a “striking resemblance” and says his father - his real father - was. He said Dryden screwed with the wrong guy, and Farver tells him to stop. McIntyre said they can’t touch him on Dryden as the case was dismissed with prejudice. Cutter asks if he got mad when he was given the fake hair sample and pushes his buttons, implying that Kennedy men take action and McIntyre did what he needed to get what he wanted. McIntyre says. “nice try” and they leave. Cutter tells Rubirosa that all they need is one overt act by McIntyre to further the conspiracy and they will have him. He sees that McIntyre called a banking firm at Rockefeller Center five times the day he had the hair tested.

At the banking firm, Jarvis Management, Cutter and Rubirosa ask Mr. Lundy why McIntyre called so frequently. He tells them the bank can’t confirm or deny it, but they are told the bank has only one client. Cutter threatens with a court order. Lundy says it is a policy set by the family, and Cutter asks if this is the Kennedy family. Lundy says he can’t help them. Later, Cutter takes the information to a judge who denies Cutter’s request to compel the bank to discuss the conversations with McIntyre.

Back at the DA’s office, Cutter expresses his frustration to McCoy. There is a knock at the door, and McCoy is served with a court order from the Department of Justice to turn over evidence relating to the McIntyre case, as it relates to the on-going investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy. McCoy says “ On going? You have to be kidding. Who put you up to this?” McCoy is told the evidence has to be turned over immediately after the disposition of the criminal case, and that there is a gag order and all records pertaining to the case are to be sealed. McCoy says, ‘It’s the family, isn’t it? They want to bury Mr. McIntyre and his paternity issues.” When the man who served the court order leaves, Rubirosa says she is starting to feel bad for McIntyre, and they think the family is trying to hush things up. McCoy says since their case isn’t going anywhere, to give them the hair. Cutter ask if they know the joke about the rabbi playing golf on the Sabbath, and McCoy says for God to let him make a hole in one, Cutter adds, so who is he going to tell? He says to get McIntyre in there.

Cutter and Rubirosa meet with McIntyre and his lawyer. They tell him about the court order and gag order. They tell him that in order for the Feds to claim a property interest in the hair, the Kennedys had to admit the hair was authentic. McIntyre asks if they admitted it and Cutter says they did. Since they don’t have to turn the hair over until the case is over, they decided to run a comparative DNA test on the hair against a cup that McIntyre left the last time he was there. When McIntyre asks about the results, Cutter says McIntyre has known the results all along. He says he wants to hear it, and Cutter tells him he is JFK’s son, and McIntyre is happy. Cutter adds that unfortunately, no one will ever know because of the gag order and since the case is closed, they can’t talk. He is livid. His lawyer tries to quiet him but he can’t hold it in, he says people have to know. He thinks they have an angle with the cop’s wife, since Scott's wife since she lost all her money in the scam and she pushed her husband into the robbery. When Cutter asks how McIntyre knew about the email scam, he said he must have read it in the paper. Cutter says it wasn’t in the papers, the police withheld the information, and that Dryden told him. McIntyre doesn’t get it, and his lawyer tells him to shut up. Cutter says that Dryden told him this was why Waylon would do the robbery for him. He tells McIntyre yes or no – yes, the case stays open; no, the case is closed and the hair goes away. McIntyre admits that Dryden told him, just put out a press release and work out a plea. The lawyer wants to talk about it, but McIntyre says he wants to handle it like his real father would, taking responsibility as a Kennedy. Cutter says he will leave them alone to discuss it. He asks if they will start working on the press release, and Rubirosa says, right away.

Outside the room, Rubirosa asks Cutter when do they tell him there was no DNA test? Cutter says “Not today. He’s too happy.” Rubirosa is amazed that he would rather be in jail as a Kennedy than out in the world as a toilet salesman. Cutter says, “In either place, he’s a murderer” as they fade to black.

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Clip from Illegitimate

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Anonymous said...

Yeah, there are people who would give $20,000 or more to a phony Nigerian letter person. Just like there are people who would give money to Bernard Madoff, or buy badly-made fake bags from a guy in an alley, or respond to phishing emails...

Lisa R. said...

I really liked your analysis of this episode. I agree that it was a little too complicated, at least for my tastes. But still top notch entertainment! Cutter's line, "OK, now that we're all friends again..." was very cute!

samfan said...

Liked this episode. Good to see Sam back! I thought it was a little hard to follow, but still good