Thursday, March 26, 2009

Law & Order “Anchors Away” TV, Money, And Murder (Recap & Review)

All photos from NBC

This week’s episode of Law & Order (NBC) “Anchors Away” provided us with 2 murders, with a competitive newsroom and a fraudulent hedge fund as backdrops. I actually liked this episode because there wasn’t just one murderer here, and they blended in the newsroom angle and the financial scandal very well. I admit that at first I though Frederic Matson was going to have some sort of mental incapacitation as he seemed a little dense, but he was really only protecting his wife. But, both he and his wife showed very clearly that besides loving each other, they loved their money and their lifestyle just as much, and their daughter seemed to be inconsequential. The ending was sad, as it was the daughter, who had put all her trust into her parents, was ultimately left her high and dry by them in more ways than one.

I was actually chuckling at the news anchor Joe Delaney who seemed have a little bit of the “Ted Baxter” flair (from the old Mary Tyler Moore show). He seemed more comical and played the pompous jerk very well. It seemed clear that he wouldn’t be the murderer, as he seemed too inept to have been able to pull it off. Granted, the self-absorbed male anchor and the overly competitive female anchor were stereotypical.

The case was a little unusual in the fact that they spent very little time in court. It actually seemed to make the episode move very quickly. I think this season the writing has greatly improved, with the dialog seeming very natural and many times enhancing the chemistry between the characters. I thought that Bernard's banter with the female computer tech seemed well placed and natural. Lupo and Bernard are turning into a comfortable, albeit low-key team. The dialog with the prosecutors is also working well, and I think that I am enjoying Jack McCoy - and Sam Waterston - even more in his new role as DA. Cutter seemed much more on the ball in this episode, although Jack still seems to need to nudge him into the right direction.

Here is the recap:

At a zoo, a reporter, Dawn Prescott (Audra Blaser) from Channel 8 News, is doing a live story. The TV anchors make some comments after her story. After the story is over, she seems annoyed at the anchors. Walking out of the zoo with her cameraman, he offers her a ride home but she says she will just hop a cab. She sees something, and then asks the cameraman if he minds walking with her, and she looks off, worried. Cut to her blood spattered apartment, the police and Detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) on the scene. Dawn is dead, shot in the head, the cleaning lady finding her body. The blood is not dry, so her death is recent, maybe about 11:00 PM. No forced entry. Bernard finds a jewelry box on the floor but it does not appear a much is missing from it. Her computer is missing. Bernard thinks he sees a palm print on the desk where the computer had been. Bernard quips that now she’s the story.

At Channel 8 News, news anchor Joe Delaney (David Rasche), his co-anchor at his side, report Dawn’s “shocking” murder, and express their sympathies. They ask viewers with any information to call the NYPD tip line. Off camera, the detectives speak with the director; he tells them how much viewers loved Dawn and that she was the “total package.” He said there didn’t seem to be any dangerous stories she was working on. He didn’t think she used notebooks any more since the “suits” put her on the cute and fuzzy beat. Before that she was covering places like City Hall. When Lupo asks her why she was demoted, the director asks them if they are kidding, hadn’t they seen the pictures?

Back at the 2-7, they are looking at pictures of Dawn in a bathing suit, and when Lt. Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) sees the picture, she asks them to tell her it’s evidence. Lupo explains the pcitures are of the victim. She emailed some photos of herself to Al Lee, a reporter at another station, and didn’t realize that Lee shared his email address with his wife Sharon. Sharon answered back with a terse response, threatening Dawn that she would strangle her if she contacted her husband again. The pictures and email got leaked to a gossip website. Bernard says Prescott’s boss said she had brains too, and Van Buren says she thinks she sees them.

At the apartment of Al and Sharon Lee, Al says there was no affair, it was a misunderstanding. She may have had a crush on him. Sharon believed him, and she and Dawn cleared the air after it got on the web. Al said it hurt his career as well. When his wife overhears Al say that he had a drink with Dawn at a liquor company press conference, Sharon gets very agitated. He says they only talked for a minute. She got a phone call and she had rushed out, she wouldn’t tell him. She called the guy she talked to “Steven.”

Outside, Lupo is asking someone to check all Dawn’s call records for anyone named Steve or Steven, but she made 100 calls a day so it may take some time. Bernard thought Mrs. Lee was going to commit a homicide right in front of them but they don’t think she is the killer. Lupo says whoever leaked the stuff to the web site messed up Dawn’s career.

At the apartment of Stan Berry, who has a gossip web site, he says he doesn’t know who sent the information to him and he is protected by the First Amendment and he has press credentials from the police department. Lupo gets mouthy with him, telling him those credentials can be taken away at any time. Berry says he doesn’t know who sent them, it was sent anonymously. Bernard wants the date and time of the email and the name of the account.

Later at “News on 8” they question co-anchor Sue Martin (Jennifer Mudge) and they tell her the emails came from her computer. She is shocked and said she never saw those photos. The photos were sent on January 19, and she was in Washington covering the inauguration. She hardly uses her computer because it has a virus and locks up and eats files, and Bernard asks to borrow it, and she lets them.

A female forensics person comes up to give them information about the computer, and Lupo ribs her that Detective Bernard has a special interest in the case. She said there is no virus on the computer but there is a sophisticated keystroke logger which tracks everything the person enters, which could allow someone to get access to her computer. They suspect this program was also on Dawn’s computer and that is how they got the pictures. The passwords were sent to the person’s email address.

They are at the office of Joe Delaney, confronting him about the spyware. He admits what he did was stupid. He got carried away, he said it was self defense. He has been anchoring for 32 years and has won every award in town. When he went in for cocaine rehab in 1986, the station got 12,000 letters asking for him to come back. But Lupo reminds him this is the present, and Dawn and Sue are fresher, younger faces. Joe adds they are also cheaper, and his contract renewal is coming up. He wanted to know what they were saying about him. He said Dawn was stupid to send out the pictures. He deleted a few emails off the computers but he also printed them off, and he hands a huge folder to Lupo.

Back at the 2-7, they look through all the emails. Lupo finds one to Dawn from someone saying he never heard from Sue, and he had a tip that Frederic Matson, a seemingly successful man on Wall Street, but his hedge fund is a fraud. The write of the email says if Dawn responds, she can refer to him as “Steven”. He told her to be discreet, as breaking the story will make some people broke and very angry.

At the offices of Frederic Matson, they speak with his daughter (Maggie Lacey), and she brings them in to her father and his wife is also there. Matson (Edward Herrmann) suggests that his wife Irene (Jill Eikenberry) leave. They ask him about Dawn and tell him she may be working on a story, but she never spoke with him. He seems to think this just a typical accusation. The only Steven he knows is Spielberg, he is on the board of his foundation.

Back at the 2-7, they see a list of complaints made by people to the SEC. There is no one on the list named Steve. Lupo sees a name – Vince Decker – that is on the SEC list and on Dawn’s call records. Bernard says he was a former employee of Matson’s company, and Decker alleged wrongdoing at the firm, but Matson filed a cross complaint accusing him of embezzling. The SEC referred it to the Distinct Attorney, and Lupo searches their records. He finds the case, the embezzling charge was never pursued, but it was just enough to undercut Decker to the SEC. There is a flag next to Decker’s name from Hastings PD – Vincent Decker was murdered last week.

At the Hastings Police Department in Westchester, NY, a detective tells them Decker was shot by a 9mm in his own back yard but it did not seem to be a robbery. Prescott had called him asked about Decker and said she was going to do a story on him but he never saw the story. Back at the 2-7, the detectives review what they know with Van Buren. They can’t tell if Matson knew about her story. They find that Sue Martin had recently pulled her account from Matson’s company, so they wonder if Dawn told Sue, but Lupo doubts it. They watch a video on line of Joe Delaney doing an interview with Matson. Later, in Delaney’s office, Lupo questions him on his contact with Matson. He asks if he knew Dawn was working on the story, but he says no. Bernard is talking with Sue, who also denies knowing anything, she says she pulled her money out of her account because she is remodeling her kitchen. Bernard sees a story on the screen saying that Matson’s fund is now suspending withdrawals. Lupo walks in with Joe, and asks her if she saw the story. He asks Sue if Joe told her that story was supposed to be hers. He hadn’t. They tell her about the keystroke program on her computer and that Delaney did it. She gets upset with him. She admits that Delaney told her that Dawn came to him and she was working on a big story about Matson and he didn’t want her to be a hero. Delany said she had agreed. Joe told Sue he would make it a “non-story” and that he warned Matson what Dawn was up to.

Later, at Matson’s office, things are in frenzy. The detectives ask to see Matson, and his daughter takes them in to see him. He is there with his wife. He says he confesses – to fraud. His wife is stunned. He says it is all a sham, and they should arrest him, so Bernard cuffs him.

At the 2-7 in interrogation, Matson says he never met Dawn and he didn’t kill Decker. He says his company was a ponzi scheme. Matson’s attorney (Christopher Evan Welch) arrives and asks to be left alone with his client. On the other side of the glass, Van Buren tells ADA Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) that Matson begged the detectives to bring him in. Rubirosa tell her to book him on the fraud, for now.

In arraignment court, and Matson’s lawyer says Matson does not want bail, so the judge remands him. In EADA Cutter’s (Linus Roache) office, he wonders what Matson is trying to pull. He wonders if Matson is going into jail for protection. He may know who did it and is afraid he will be next. They decide to look at Matson’s investors, and Cutter sees the name Livan Santana, the front man for the Columbian cartel.

At Santana’s (Felix Solis) office, they ask him about Decker and Prescott. He said Decker and Prescott were both a pain in the ass. He would like to strangle Matson.

In jail, Cutter and Rubirosa talk with Matson, and they tell him the think Santana is why he wanted to be in protective custody. His lawyer asks them to pretend that is all true, and it Matson testifies that Santana was aware that Prescott and Decker were jeopardizing his investments and Santana would take care of it, what happens to the fraud charge, Cutter says it could be reduced. Matson also asks for protection for his family.

Later, in DA Jack McCoy’s (Sam Waterston) office, he says the deal is out of the question. Citizens would be outraged if they made a deal, and Cutter should find another way. McCoy asks them what is Matson’s soft spot, and it seems to be Matson’s family. McCoy suggests they arrest them, and if they give them what they need, to let them go. They were both involved in the business, and they need to find some evidence.

At Matson’s townhouse, they are searching the home. Bernard sees Matson’s checkbook and Mrs. Matson wrote some of the checks. Even though they were Christmas checks, it is good enough so they can arrest her. Later in jail, Cutter tells Mrs. Matson and her attorney the checks make her an accomplice in her husband’s business, but her attorney says they should be ashamed. He knows they just want her to pressure her husband to testify without the deal. Rubirosa gets a message, shows it to Cutter, and Cutter abruptly ends the meeting.

Back at the 2-7, Van Buren tells them they got Irene Matson’s prints when she was booked. They match the prints found in Dawn Prescott’s apartment – where someone leaned over to unplug Dawn’s missing computer. Van Buren says there is more. They checked Mrs. Matson’s cell phone, and its GPS chip puts her on Prescott’s block at the time she got a call – from her daughter.

Later, Rubirosa and Cutter talk to the daughter about her about her call to her mother, and she says this is not a good time. There are other people in her apartment, they are other investors. She says this whole thing has to be a mistake, his father would not steal their money. They ask her about the call she made to her mother, and she said her mother had felt ill and she was just checking up on her. She said her mom was in bed with a good book. Her mom’s house phone didn’t answer so she called the cell phone, and what difference doe sit make?

Later, Irene Matson is being arraigned for conspiracy to fraud, and Cutter and Rubirosa enter, Cutter telling the judge they are withdrawing those charges as they now intend to charge her with murder.

Back in McCoy’s office, they suspect Irene killed to protect the family business. But, she has an alibi for when Decker was killed, so Santana may have done that one – and he’s fled the country. Did Irene know Prescott was working on an expose? Rubirosa says that Sue Martin had told them Joe Delaney had warned her, and when McCoy asks who that is, Cutter turns on the news, where Joe and Sue are on, and Cutter says, “Those idiots.”

At the Channel 8 news studio, Cutter and Rubirosa talk with Delaney. They tell him Martin said he ratted to Matson but he denies it. He tries to claim that his confidentiality is protected, but Cutter reminds him that HE was the one talking to Matson. Delaney still refuses to discuss it. Outside, they speak with Martin, and she says Delaney was trying to screw up the story, and why do they need to know this for their case for Mrs. Matson? When she asks if they spoke with Delaney off the record, Cutter says no, and she says that Delaney is now obstructing a murder prosecution and what are they going to do about it? Cutter asks if they can go on background now, and tells Martin they are considering prosecuting Delaney for murder as his talking to Matson put Dawn’s life in danger and that is reckless endangerment - homicide. Rubirosa asks if Dawn told Delaney her source had been murdered, and Martin says that he is sure she did, she was running around looking upset. Martin asks if anyone else knows about this, and Cutter tells her it’s an exclusive. Martin seems thrilled.

Later, Delaney storms into Cutter’s office, demanding to know what Cutter told Martin. Cutter says it is journalistic privilege. Delaney is enraged and wants to know what Cutter wants from him and that a murder case won’t hold up. Cutter says it would be fun to try. Delaney sits down, and talks about an award he won for the fall of Saigon, and now he makes happy talk with morons in low cut dresses. His career has been dead for a long time, he just hasn’t had the decency to bury it. He asks Cutter what he needs him to say.

Outside, Rubirosa and Cutter walk with Jack. Cutter tells him they have Delaney’s testimony. He told Matson what Dawn was working on and there is no doubt he passed that along to his wife – no reasonable doubt. They are checking her wardrobe for traces of blood and the homes for the gun. McCoy quips, “So, she goes up for 25 to life, for piling accounts on Matson, two of his investors killed themselves, he’ll do a thousand years.” Cutter responds, “That love story ends at Sing Sing..” Rubirosa gets a call - it’s Matson.

Later, at Rikers, Matson is prepared to testify about Santana, saying Santana killed Decker AND Prescott. Cutter seems to think this testimony is convenient. Matson says Santana said that Dawn would be dealt with. He says his wife Irene knew nothing about Dawn’s story.

As they leave, Rubirosa says they still have the evidence against Irene – cell phone the palm print. And Santana can get people killed even in prison and Matson knows this, his testimony could be suicide. Rubirosa adds Matson must really love his wide and it’s touching, Cutter notes that Irene loves her husband too.

Later, in Cutter’s conference area, they have Matson, Irene, and their lawyer present. They tell Irene that Santana made incriminating statements to her husband about both murders. Cutter says he needs Matson to sign a statement, and Irene wants to know what he is talking about. When Rubirosa tells her Matson agrees to testify against Santana, Irene becomes very concerned. He says he knows what he is doing, but she says they will kill him. She says Santana never said anything. She sat in on every meeting with them and Santana never said anything like that. He tells her to let it go, and he won’t let her go to prison. She tells them she went to see Dawn, she knew what she was doing, she offered her money but she just wanted the story and wouldn’t listen to reason. She just wanted to destroy them and she could not let that happen, confessing.

Afterwards, it’s Delaney and Martin on the TV news again, and Martin is telling Delaney he is going to be missed. He says he will miss the news too, he says he is thinking of writing a book about the justice system. McCoy turns off the TV, saying that’s a book he is not going to read. As Cutter leaves McCoy’s office, he sees Rubirosa who is there with the Matson’s daughter. She says she is being threatened but doesn’t know by whom. McCoy hears this, and suggests maybe she needs to get out of town. But she had no money, it was invested in her father’s hedge fund. Rubirosa says she will walk her down to victim’s services. As they both walk off, McCoy says, “Nice parents, huh?” Cutter responds, “They love each other, but they don’t love anyone else” as we fade to black.

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samfan said...

I LOVED this episode!!! The writers are doing great, and I think the cast is doing really good as well. I thought the detectives did a good job as well as the 2nd half. I really liked Jack's lines in this one, it seemed much more, Jack. Great review, thanks for posting the pictures this time. Is there going to be a new episode coming soon?

All Things Law and Order said...

Nothing new on the horizon as yet, they have repeats scheduled for the mothership for the next two weeks!

Wallyhorse said...

Besides Bernie Madoff, this episode was based in part on a scandal at CBS-Owned KYW-TV ("CBS3") in Philadelphia with former co-anchors Larry Mendte and Alycia Lane. They did an excellent job in accurately portraying most of what happened in that real-life case.

As for repeats, looks for a lot of them now because in addition to the "May Sweeps," NBC is actually saving an episode for June 3, as NBC is having new episodes of all of their 10:00 PM ET shows that week in order to help maximize Conan o'Brien's ratings.