Thursday, March 19, 2009

Law & Order “Take-Out” A Full Menu (Recap and Review)

Photo from NBC

This episode had plenty of twists and turns. What turned out to be a simple murder led them to an old espionage case. The case offered a few points of excitement: Lupo and Bernard having to gun down someone, and McCoy giving Cutter a dressing down. The first situation told us that one – or both – of the detectives need to work on their aiming skills. The second situation makes me wonder if Cutter doesn’t “get it”, or if Jack is just starting to feel the pressure of his office. Every time McCoy and Cutter go at it, I wonder if Jack is getting payback for all the times he gave Adam Schiff grief. Of course, when Jack was in the EADA spot and when he butted heads with Schiff, I tended to always feel bad for Jack when he lost the argument. Now, I still feel bad for him because Cutter seems to not want to play along, and he also doesn’t seem to argue as well as Jack did when he was in that job. Since they essentially are the same type of situations, just with different people, I chalk it up to the fact that Jack McCoy will always be a favorite of mine, and that Cutter just doesn’t have the eyebrows to pull off the angry outraged look.

I have to admit that once Garvik’s daughter seemed to show such hatred for her father that I suspected she had more involvement in the case that the police and detectives thought. As a result, the ending almost seemed anticlimactic. It was good to see Jack and Mike do the old “kiss and make up” routine and seem to be on good terms again. Well, that is, until Jack needs to beat Cutter over the head for some other case.

If I get more pictures, I will add them later.

Here is the recap:
Two men are arguing at some sort of art show. Two men are arguing, one, Alex Boone (Neal Jones), refuses to help the other, the other man throwing wine in his face. An Asian woman offers to get the man more napkins. Later, Boone is found dead in the park, two shots to the head with shell casings from a 22. Detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) find that he has no wallet, there is a strap from a shoulder bag, and his hands and knuckles look all beat up. A witness who was out walking his dog ducked to avoid getting shot, and he only saw a blur as the shooter ran off.

Later, ME Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix) says the victim's hands appear to have had many breaks in them and he has scars down his back. Some of the breaks are old. Fingerprints have identified him as Alex Boone. They head to his last known address, the Ellesmere Hotel, where the find that his life is very structured and he hoards food as if he was used to life in an institution, but he has no prison record. He has some Chinese books there, and Bernard finds a napkin from the Sino-American Institute, and they head there. It is an art gallery showing all kinds of Chinese Art. The woman Miss Kang (Cindy Cheung) who offered to get Boone more napkins the day the wine was thrown at him, says he was there, arguing with another man wearing a sweatshirt that had the words “Concordia City College” written on it. They ask for a copy of the gallery’s invitation list. With what seems to be an interest that Boone had in China, they wonder if he had been over there.

Back at the 2-7, Lt. Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) tells them the sweatshirt is not much to go on, and Bernard tells her the other man seemed to be a walk in to the art showing. Lupo says Boone’s passport shows he had been in China for a while, returning in June ’08, and they suspect he may have been in a Chinese prison. Van Buren tells them to check with international legal aid

At the Lawyers International Assistance, they find Boone had been in a Chinese jail, officially for espionage, unofficially for writing a piece on the displacement of people from the Three Gorges Dam than the Chinese did not like. Boone wanted to sue the Chinese government, and they also find he had a wife, but they were separated. They head to her apartment and the landlord tells them she goes by the name of Lisa, and left the night before and she asked him to water her plants. They see a picture of her and recognize her as Miss Kang from the art gallery. The landlord says he thinks the woman got scared when he told her about the skip tracer. A man kept ringing for her, all he saw was a man with a mustache jump into a black town car. They find she has a cousin in Hackensack who always sends her some stinky herbs.

They bring Liu Kang in to be questioned. She seems worried and when she mumbles something in Chinese, she is surprised when Lupo understands her and says no one is going to kill her. She says she waited for Alex in China, they came back to the US and got married to start a new life, but he had anger issues and couldn't get writing jobs. He asked to meet with her the day at the gallery, and she was supposed to meet him the day she got shot, but she was late and when she arrived she saw him dead on the ground. She saw a man with a mustache flee. She says the Chinese government was after Alex for what he was writing and thinks they killed him.

From behind the interrogation room window, they suspect that Boone’s missing computer may support the story that someone didn’t like what Boone was going to expose. They think the man was a livery driver. Van Buren suggests that someone who would kill in broad daylight likely has a record and they should check that out.

Later, as they seem to be staking out a place waiting for whom they think is the driver in question, they see him walking out and they call out as they approach him. The man begins to cough and bends over, and the Lupo yells for him to show his hands. The man pulls out a gun and makes the move to fire, Bernard yells “gun!” and Lupo and Bernard take him down with several shots of their own. As they look at the man laying dead, Bernard states dryly, “Bad cough.”

Back at the 2-7, Van Buren returns the detectives' guns and tells them they were cleared in the shooting. The detectives found the limo driver was Mike Adams (David Shumbris), who has been in and out of prison for 20 years. His bullets match those that killed Boone. There is no trace of Boone’s computer. They checked Adam’s cell phone records the day before he killed Boone and they have a outbound call to a David Sutton, and his number comes back to student housing for Concordia City College – the same name on the sweatshirt of the man arguing with Boone at the gallery. Van Buren tells them to check him out. She also tells them that only four of their shots hit Adams, so one of them needs more time on the range.

They visit with David Sutton (Michael Esper) at the college, who says Boone called him about baseball cards. He was not at the Sino-American Institute. Lupo takes his picture before Sutton leaves. Back at the 2-7, Van Buren shows the picture to Liu Kang, who doesn’t know who it is, saying they all look alike. When she leaves, Bernard comes in with Lupo and tells her they found that David Sutton's name used to be David Garvik, his father was Martin Garvik, convicted of espionage in 1998 for passing defense software to the Chinese. He was convicted for life, and his wife committed suicide. He and his sister Tracey went to live with other relatives and their names were changed. They found he has a been on the web with a campaign to clear his father’s name. They wonder if this is what Boone was writing about. They also find that Mike Adams was arrested to assault in 1999 for hitting a news photographer who was trying to take pictures of the Garvik children outside the home of Martin Garvik, and Adams had said he was the friend of the Garvik family. Van Buren suggests they talk to the Feds to see if they can get in to talk to Martin Garvik.

At the medical ward of the Danbury Federal Prison, they meet with Martin Garvik (Keith Carradine) and his attorney Mr. Vick (Stephen Singer). Garvik is ill. Garvik’s wife was an attorney who helped Adams once pro bono, and Adams stayed in contact with his kids. He said that the Feds killed his wife and trumped up the espionage charges, ruining his life. When they ask him about Alex Boone being shot by Adams, and the day before Adams had called David, Garvik says now they are trying to frame his son. When Lupo refers to him as a traitor, Garvik says he did not turn on his country, his country turned on him. But he says he will walk out of jail an innocent man.

Later, Lupo and Bernard talk to David’s sister Tracey Meegan (Monica West), and she tells him her dad’s lawyer warned her not to talk to them. It is clear that she does not agree with her brother about her father’s innocence and blames her father for her mother’s death.

The detectives approach Judge Lasky (Iris Little-Thomas) directly for a search warrant for David’s dorm, using the fact that the judge’s daughter goes to the same college. She must grant it to them, because we then see them searching David’s dorm. They find a receipt for the Sino-American Institute, and David says he was there after Boone was killed. A flash drive shows pictures David had apparently taken of Boone and his wife. They arrest him.

At the jail, EADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) and ADA Connie Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) are there with David and his attorney (J. Smith Cameron). The attorney said David wouldn’t behave in the manner they suggest to protect his dad. But when Cutter comments that maybe there was more bad information about Martin Garvik, David becomes enraged, and Cutter implies that this behavior only proves the prosecution’s argument. He offers murder 2, 15 years to life, and the attorney declines, moving for an immediate trial.

Later Cutter’s office, over Chinese food, DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) voices concern that they don’t have enough to go to trial. Cutter says he can stonewall her, and that the evidence is overwhelming, and McCoy responds “ So why am I feeling underwhelmed?” Cutter thinks there won’t be direct physical evidence of his involvement with Mike Adams. McCoy wonders who else besides his sister he would have talked to about Boone, and they think that if David was talking to his dad with the attorney there, David would not feel if he was being monitored.

In the chambers of Judge Lasky, Rubirosa and Cutter show that Vick was in on phone calls with David and Martin all patched in together, which negates any attorney/client privilege. Vick admits he was on the line with both of them. The judge rules in the prosecution’s favor and orders Vick to answer questions about those calls. Vick makes an argument against it, and Cutter says if he stipulates he was not privy that anything that was said about the murder of Boone, he is OK with it, but Vick says he can’t make that claim. The judge wants to hear what was said about it. He said David was worked up about what Boone was writing and that it would undermine his efforts to clear his father. He said Martin tried to calm David, but that David said Boone should be “shot down like the dog he was.” He took that as a figure of speech not actual intent.

Outside the courthouse, Tracey approaches Cutter and Rubirosa and she asks to talk to them about David, that he couldn’t have killed anybody. She says she knows things about what her dad did, she has papers that the FBI never found and can prove her father was a spy. Cutter says the government already proved this and espionage is out of their jurisdiction. She knows her brother didn’t commit the murder, but Cutter says they can’t help her. She says he just doesn’t want to help, but the same people who convicted her father will help, and she walks off.

Later, at the offices of the US Attorney (Matt Servito), Cutter and Rubirosa are told that Tracey had called them that morning. She showed them what she had. Cutter is upset that they just want their hands on information for a man they already convicted. But the US Attorney reminds them about the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case from the 1950s who were executed for espionage, the case was controversial. They think that Garvik's death in prison will only bring out the conspiracy theorists. Cutter says they plan to proceed with their case, and that Martin Garvik is not their problem. But the attorney gets a message, and tells Cutter Garvik is his problem now, it seems his boss just had a conversation with Cutter’s boss.

Back in McCoy’s office, McCoy tells Cutter to make am offer tonight as his evidence is weak. They argue, and we get this exchange:

Cutter: You wanna tell me why we’re carrying water for the Feds?

McCoy: It’s called banking an IOU which I can use in the Delacroix bank fraud case, where we’ll need the Fed’s help. I don’t know how to break this to you Mike, but yours is not the only case on my plate.

Cutter: Trade leniency for a murderer for help with a fraud case.

McCoy, agitated: A 2 billion dollar fraud case, and your murderer still goes to prison. That’s the kind of math I have to do in this job!

McCoy’s phone rings, and he tells the caller he appreciates the heads up. He tells Cutter, calmly, that this could all be moot, David Sutton’s attorney is seeking a TRO in Federal court to prevent his sister turning over those documents. As he walks away, Cutter sarcastically comments that he guesses that means Sutton doesn’t want McCoy’s deal. Jack says, ‘I want that IOU, Mike.” When Cutter asks if that is an order, McCoy calmly says it’s an assignment.

In US District Court, the US Attorney and David’s attorney argue who has the right to the documents. David’s attorney said they were given joint custody, the US Attorney says that David “abandoned” the papers and left them with Tracey. Cutter argues that they are needed for evidence in a murder case. The judge rules that the papers are Tracey’s. Cutter then approaches David’s attorney, and he makes an offer which she refuses.

Later, in Cutter’s office, McCoy enters and tells him the US Attorney was very impressed, and Cutter says, “I live to serve.” Cutter tells him the attorney passed on the deal, but McCoy doesn’t care as the Feds still got the papers and he got his IOU. Rubirosa is looking at the papers and sees that they are the icing on the cake of his father’s espionage case. But Cutter is served with papers that tell him the defense is adding Martin Garvik to his witness list, stipulating it was he who hired Mike Adams to shoot Boone, not his son.

In court with Martin Garvik on the stand, it appears that the defense and Cutter, Rubirosa, and the US Attorney are arguing about Garvik testifying. There appear to be security issues about what Garvik can say, and even though the judge suggested the courtroom be closed, Cutter is worried that the jury will still hear it. He calls it perjured testimony, and when the judge says Cutter doesn’t know that it is perjury, he says a proffer is in order, that the judge should hear the testimony herself and then decide. She agrees with Cutter.

In the closed court, Garvik admits that he got a letter from Boone saying Boone had proof he was a spy, and Garvik confirmed he was a spy. It this got out, it would ruin his son’s efforts to free him from prison, so he got a prepaid cell phone and called Mike Adams to arrange to kill Boone, get his computer, and destroy the manuscript. Under cross, Garvik admits he flushed the letter and that he doesn’t recall who have him the smuggled cell phone. He admits he lied about not being a spy. Cutter says now he has nothing to lose by lying for his son. He says he did not make it up, his Chinese informant had a large port wine birthmark on his neck and his name was Wong Chu. Cutter continues to press Garvik about his motives. The judge then rules for Cutter and precludes Garvik’s testimony.

Back at the DA’s office, McCoy compliments Cutter for how he handled everything. When Cutter tells him David’s lawyer wants the deal, McCoy says it’s off the table, Cutter commenting he’s glad to hear it. Cutter walks over to Rubirosa, and tells her McCoy said the deal is off the table, and she says that’s good since that’s what Cutter already told the attorney. Rubirosa has been going through the papers David’s sister turned over to the Feds. In a page that was a fragment from a computer file, she found the initials WC (Wong Chu?) and a code which may the medical term for a port wine birthmark and a possible notation for his right hand. But Garvik testified the birthmark was on Chu’s neck. Cutter doubts Garvik would forget the location of that birthmark.

Cutter and Rubirosa visit Boone’s wife Liu, and they ask about the birthmark. She recalls a picture Alex had been looking at picture of a group of men with a trade delegation from China, and he said it was research. He pointed out an ugly man who had a face like a frog who had a stain on his hand. Alex asked a strange question, about why did the Chinese send such an ugly man to meet with a beautiful white lady, and Alex had added that the Chinese government was very smart and they did not want romantic complications. Alex did not give her the name of the lady, but that he met her daughter and she was very pretty like her mom – the looked like sisters.

Later, Rubirosa calls someone and tells them they are stuck in the subway (that doesn’t seem to be where they are really at) and asks the judge for a delay. They are told they have to be there by 1:00. Cutter is worried that they convicted the wrong guy, and that the murderer may not be a guy at all. He brings up a picture of Tracey and her late mother and there is a resemblance. Cutter decided to call the Feds and the Sutton’s lawyer for a plea conference.

In the conference room at he DA’s office, David and his attorney and David’s sister are there. They also bring in Martin Garvik. They show him a photo of a Chinese trade delegation with the man with the birthmark on his hand. Garvik says he has never seen any of these men. When they point out Chu, they also tell Garvik he can’t identify him because he never met the man or passed any secrets to him. When Garvik remains silent, Tracey tells her father to keep his mouth shut, and tells David not to believe what her father says. Garvik says that his wife's parents were missionaries and she had a great love for the Chinese. She felt sorry for them and took files from his computer and passed them to the Chinese. When he got arrested he and his wife decided it would be better if he took the rap. When he got sentenced to life without parole, it was too much for her and she killed herself. He kept his silence after her death. This is what Boone had found out – it was wife who passed the secrets. David, looking upset, says his father said Boone had evidence against him that would put the nail in his coffin. Garvik never thought he would kill Boone, but David said it wasn’t him, he thought his father killed Boone. Cutter adds that they think neither one of them killed Boone, and puts the focus on Tracey. Things begin to fall apart for Tracey as they present their evidence, and she admits that he couldn’t let Boone destroy everything about her mom. She sobs and apologizes to her father.

Later, Cutter tells McCoy he withdrew the charges from David Sutton and he passed along what he had to the US Attorney and they might review Martin Garvik’s case but McCoy may have to call his friend in Washington. McCoy says he will cash in his IOU. The daughter’s lawyer is pressing for a deal, and they are waiting for Jack’s instructions. McCoy tells him his instructions are for Cutter to do what he thinks is right. Cutter grins and walks out, leaving McCoy sitting on the couch as we fade to black.

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John K. said...

I need two more transcriptions, please.

I need the Lupo/Bernard exchange at the Museum over the Chinese art, the propaganda line.

I also need the exchange Judge Lasky had with the U.S. Attorney in the first courtroom scene, her "Hope and Change" line and his retort.

By the way, thank you for yesterday's transcript of SVU's line.

samfan said...

Really liked this episode! Loved the whole cast in this one. Great review! Really liked the story, it was complex, but really good. Thanks!!!

All Things Law and Order said...

John, I already deleted the episode from my DVR, and my on-line source hasn't uploaded it as yet so I don't have access to the episode any more. Sorry!

John K. said...

Nuts. Oh, well. I certainly can't complain, since you've been so helpful, lately. Huggles. Whenever something changes, let me know.

Thanks for the help, anyway.

(Leaving LiveJournal link, as that's the best way to contact me.)