Thursday, April 30, 2009

Law & Order “Promote This” Mis-titled But Excellent (Recap & Review)

All Photos from NBC

This episode of Law & Order was tagged with the name “Promote This!” but I contend that was only the moniker they gave the episode when NBC moved it up on the schedule. That name clearly doesn’t fit this episode, which covered bigotry, hate crimes, and Jack’s political issues as he runs for re-election as District Attorney.

We got a few tidbits in this episode about Jack's past. One of his wives names was Ellen, and while they were going through their separation in 1991, she unwittingly hired an illegal housekeeper. Clearly, someone is really trying to dig into Jack’s personal life and find any dirt that they can.

I found the evidence in the case very weak, however, and thought that they really didn’t have much to tie the suspects to the actual crime. There seemed to be no real talk about forensics, with the exception of ME Rodgers being able to match the brand mark on both victims. Still, the only thing that they seemed to have on the assault case was the broken glass on the victim and the car. It is no surprise to me that they were found not guilty of all except the assault charge.

But, with the concern over illegals, it was a perfect backdrop for them to bring out Jack’s past problem. He had a rational explanation for it all of course, because we all know that Jack McCoy is the original Teflon Man – nothing sticks. I wonder if/when his drinking will ever come in to play. After all, Jack McCoy probably single handedly accounted for the majority of New York City’s scotch consumption for many years.

At the end of the episode, when Connie wonders if someone tipped off Morales’ mother that additional charges could be filed upon Morales’ death, I wondered if maybe somehow Jack was the one to tip her off, either directly or indirectly. I wouldn’t put it past him.

On a side note, I found some of the camera work and lighting in this episode excellent. Some of the camera angles were different and I enjoyed the way that it featured the main characters, especially while they were in Jack’s office. I swear at one point Sam Waterston looked like he was glowing. Since McCoy has no halo, I had to assume it was good lighting.

Here is the recap:

Detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) are called to the scene of what looks like a hit and run. The man is barely alive and may not be for long. There is auto glass on the scene but also in the man’s pant leg. There is no ID on him

The trial of broken glass is 20 feet long, and thinks that he may have been dropped out or thrown from a moving car.

At the hospital, they are told the man is in a coma and not likely to come out of it. He has fractured arms and ribs and bruises and scratches that appear to have been caused by when he hit the roadway. He has a burn on his cheek the size of quarter. There is also auto glass embedded in his shoe. He has a can of juice and smoked sturgeon in a bag that was found with him. They think he works in the kitchen at Irv & Sons Deli, the name on the bag containing his food.

They head to Irv & Sons Deli and are told the man is their dishwasher, Oswaldo Morales (Hector Javier Munoz). His frienf who works there last saw him in the morning, he got him up to go to get some day work, he waits under Highway 155 and waits for the cars to come to give him a job.
They head over to that area with soem food, and ask the waiting workers for help in finding who had hurt Oswaldo. One person says he saw him, and said Oswaldo went into a dark green Toyota with three white kids, which he thought was odd because they only wanted on man for their job. One of the kids took a picture of them with his phone. Bernard suspects the pictures may end up on the web.

Back at the 2-7, they talk to Lt. Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) about what they know. It seems that the burn on Oswaldo’s face was some sort of branding. Bernard has found a video on line called “beaner hunt – taking back America one street at a time.” They can hear the voices of three boys, and they also see them shoot at someone with what seem like a BB gun. They see a mail truck in the video and Van Buren suggests they check with the lab to see if they can pick up the ID on the mail truck to find out where the video had been taken.

At the Peconic Police Department, Lupo and Bernard tell them that the mail truck came from their town. They are also told that the town had nine bias incidents in town in the last month. After talking to a local auto glass dealer about someone who brought in a car for a window repair, he says he has no records as the person didn't have the money for the work. They take the repair guy down to the high school – he’s not happy about it - to see if he can ID the kid who brought the car in for repair. He identifies the boy as Tony Stratton.

The detectives head to the Stratton residence, and Lupo sees a green car in the garage with plastic over the window. They go to the house and a woman answers the door and she seems to not speak much English and she doesn’t know Tony Stratton. As they walk away, the detectives note that her shoes don’t look like ones that a housekeeper wouldn’t wear. Lupo gets information that the car is registered to a Juanita Stratton (Rosa Arredondo), likely the woman they just spoke to, and she must be Tony’s mother. They wait in their car until she makes a move to leave, and when she does so, they stop her and indicate they know she’s trying to fake them out. They tell her that interfering with a criminal investigation is a felony and she denies interfering with anything. She said the window form her car got broken at the Tastee Freeze on Hempstead Turnpike. Tony opens the front door and calls out to his mother and she tells him to go back inside, which he does.

The detectives head over to a local judge to get a warrant for the car, but he calls them on the fact they picked him to get the warrant because he is Hispanic and that he won’t give them the warrant. He thinks the case is too important and he doesn’t want any perceived bias or impropriety to hurt it.

Back at the 2-7, Van Buren agreed what the judge did was the right thing. Lupo looks through the yearbook trying to identify anyone that could be friends of Tony Stratton, and they are able to pick out a blond basketball player on the same team as Tony, someone named Timothy Moore.

At the Moore residence, the detectives speak with Tim’s mother. He is not there, he is upstate visiting colleges with his father. They ask him about a BB gun that they heard he had owned but sold to someone else. She tries to cover for her son as far as his whereabouts the night of the crime. She tells them she and her husband were visiting friends in Maryland for the weekend, and she will write down his number and from now on they should talk to him. As she walks off, the detectives decide to head over to the high school as the video was uploaded from a computer there. It seems that the computer belonged to the basketball coach, and they find that the video had been deleted but there the AVI footprint shows that video was in fact on that computer. The coach says he does not tolerate any racial stuff and makes the kids do laps if they talk that way. He tells then that his team manager Kyle Chase also has access to the computer, he uses it to keep the kid’s stats.

At arraignment court, the three boys involved are arraigned and held on $150,000 bail each, the courtroom crowd protesting. Afterwards, the defense attorney Mosley (Josh Pais) serves ADA Connie Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) with a motion to suppress the video. Later, she breaks the bad news to the detectives that the video was suppressed because it would be prejudicial to the defendants. This would hurt their hate crime charge, so they need better evidence. While she is talking to the detectives they both get a call – another body has been found having similarities to Oswaldo Morales. This time, however, it is an American man, an unemployed autoworker from Detroit, with a Hispanic background. He also has the same burn on his cheek, but Lupo has found the branding iron on the scene – a metal rod with a Mexican Peso on the end.
In the office of DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston), he and Rubirosa and EADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) are watching a new conference featuring Joe Chappell (Tom Galantich), McCoy’s opponent for the DA spot. Chappell goes on about how badly McCoy’s office is handling the case and that he has made the city a sanctuary for illegals. McCoy turns off the TV and asks for an update on “these deplorable events.” They tell him the out of work autoworker as living with his sister and since found a job as a night watchman. He seems to have been killed 24 hours after Morales. The kids seem to be escalating. There are no witnesses and no forensics. Cutter thinks they have a better case for the assault, but McCoy wants the to enjoin the two cases and prove the victims were burned by the same device. But Cutter worries the murder case may tank the other and wants to proceed with the assault case and hold off on the murder and see what the police turn up. McCoy says, sarcastically, “I say we prosecute the assault of an illegal alien while we backburner the murder of an American citizen...I can write the editorials myself.” When Cutter argues that political image trumps legal reality, McCoy responds, “Here’s the legal reality. We’re joining the two cases. Clear?”

When Cutter and Rubirosa try to get the cases enjoined, the judge turns them down until they can show her that both cases involved the same branding device. Later, when Rubirosa, along with ME Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix) try to get access to Morales in the hospital, they are told that the hospital medi-vacked Morales out of the hospital and back to Honduras.

Back at McCoy’s office, he is amazed the hospital would just send Morales back in this way, but Rubirosa explains is was cheaper for the hospital to medi-vac him home than keep him on life support. McCoy tells them to bring him back and they will cover the costs. Cutter thinks McCoy will take a political hit for paying for an illegal's medical bills while many American taxpayers can’t afford care, and McCoy asks “Since when are you worried about my political image?” Cutter tells him he wants him to win the election.

At the health clinic at Puerto Lempira, Honduras, Bernard, Rubirosa and Rodgers convince Morales’s mother and wife that they should allow him to return, and Rubirosa tells his mother they will even pay for her to come back. She agrees to let them take Oswaldo back to the US.

At the motion hearing, Rodgers testifies that the burns from both victims were created by the same tool and that an indentation on the coin lines up perfectly with both victims. The judge grants the people’s motion to consolidate the indictment for the assault of Morales and the murder of Mr. Alvarez.

On the courthouse steps, the parents of the defendants are talking to the press. As McCoy, Cutter, and Rubirosa leave the courthouse, a reporter confronts Jack and asks him about a complaint that was filed with the Attorney General about him using public funds to fly in an illegal. He tells them that Morales’ presence serves the defendants’ rights to confront his the witnesses against them. The reporter makes and argument about the expense and most people in the city can’t afford that kind of medical care, and McCoy says that bothers him too. The reporter also asks him about a Ledger report which claims that McCoy hired an undocumented alien as a household worker for his children, and would he care to comment? McCoy responds he will comment after he reads the story, he is here to talk about the case. He intends to make justice available to everyone in his jurisdiction. If it is given to one, it does not mean it will be denied to another. But if it is denied to one, it is denied to all. As he walks off, Cutter complements him on his answer, and then asks “What about this nanny?” McCoy looks at him and doesn’t answer, and Cutter says, “Oh great.”

Later, in his office, McCoy is watching a news report with Chappell talking about the report of McCoy’s undocumented worker, and Cutter walks in. McCoy tells him when he was going through his divorce in 1991, he and Ellen were separated and she hired a nanny. She was also very stressed out and overwhelmed by everything, she never thought to check the woman’s papers. They didn’t find out until a year later, they let the woman go and paid her taxes. When Cutter says someone is going through his divorce records, McCoy says his problems are his problems, the work here goes on regardless. Cutter gets a message saying that Kyle Chase, the kid that uploaded the video, wants to talk and he has a new lawyer.

Later, Kyle Chase tells them he won’t go to prison for a murder he did not do. He tells Cutter and Rubirosa he did not want to go with the guys that night because of what they wanted to do so he stayed away. His attorney says he will plead to the assault and testify against Moore and Stratton, if the offer is good. But Cutter says they only have his word, but he has to testify first before the sentence recommendation.

Chase testifies about the assault, and then implicates the other two for the murder. The defense attorney Mosley, however, picks his testimony apart, saying that he is just saying all these things for a lighter sentence. But under redirect, Kyle confirms that he did tell the truth about what happened to Morales.

Later, they bring in another Hispanic witness who identifies the Moore and Stratton as people who had also attacked him, but the defense says that he is a liar because he is in the country illegally and not paying taxes. As he leaves the stand, Immigration arrests him, much to the outrage of Cutter.

Mosley calls his first witness, who is Juanita Stratton. During the cross examination with Cutter, she uses a derogatory term “grancho” used by upper class people which refers to a poor, unemployed person. He tries to portray her also as a bigot who taught her son how to be a bigot.

Back In McCoy’s office, he is getting off the phone with his ex, Ellen, trying to calm her on the recent press accusations, telling her to just tell the truth and he is apologizing for her getting dragged into this mess. Cutter enters and tells him the jury is still out, four hours and counting. Rubirosa arrives and says that the jurors where caught watching a Len Pewl special on illegal immigration – on someone's iPhone. In the judges chambers, the judge watches the video, confronts the juror and dismisses him, refusing to allow a mistrial, saying the jurors swore to maintain their impartiality, despite what they heard from that “race-baiting gas bag.”

The verdict is later read – they are found not guilty of the murder of Alvarez, not guilty of attempted murder of Morales, but just guilty of assault on Morales. Cutter, along with Morales’ mother, are dismayed.

Later, at Morales beside, Cutter tells him the boys will only get 6 years. She is distraught, and Rubirosa suggests a possible a civil case. But she wants her son to wake up, not the money. Afterwards, in McCoy’s office, Cutter gets a call from someone who tells him that Morales was taken off life support by his mother and he died shortly thereafter. McCoy tells them to send Mrs. Morales their condolences, and they can recharge Stratton and Moore with first-degree bias murder. Cutter adds that since they were found guilty of his assault, they should convict him of his murder. Rubirosa asks if someone tipped off Oswaldo’s mother that his death gave them a new cause of action. McCoy says, “Why not? Everyone games the system.” As they all go back to work, we fade to black.

Preview of Next Week’s New Law & Order Episode

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

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jeff Goldblum Media Q&A Session

As I mentioned when I posted the transcript from the media Q&A conference call with Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe from a few weeks ago, a separate call with Jeff Goldblum was going to be scheduled. Unfortunately for me, I was travelling that day (Tuesday) and couldn’t get back in time for the call. (I was very bummed to say the least.) But, the host of the conference call was kind enough to send me the transcript for all of Jeff’s fans – and fans of Law & Order Criminal Intent (USA) to enjoy.

Here it is – in its unabridged glory! But before you start reading, please don’t forget that we have another new episode of Law & Order Criminal Intent (USA) that will be airing this Sunday at 9:00 PM EDT on the USA Network. I think that Jeff is a great addition to the series and I am looking forward to seeing more of his episodes.

Jeff Goldblum Q&A Transcript

Moderator Our first question comes from the line of Jamie Ruby with Media Boulevard. Please go ahead.

J. Ruby Hello, thanks for taking our call.

J. Goldblum Thank you for calling in; I appreciate it.

J. Ruby I actually am not that far from Pittsburgh myself so I’m curious, since I’m interested in it, too, how did you get started in acting?

J. Goldblum Hello to you from almost Pittsburgh. I always wanted to do it; my parents took us to see some children’s theater I remember, early on at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. Even though I was very little I got kind of the bug. I was very excited being around theater and wondered what are those actors doing backstage and I was very excited about it.

And then there’s this thing in Pittsburgh, I think it’s still going on. It’s at Chatham, Music Day Camp it’s called; in the summers for six weeks between fifth and sixth grades and another year, maybe the year before that, too, during the summers I had the most magical time ever going to this thing and going from softball to arts and crafts and piano. I already had started playing piano then to this drama course. At the end of this drama course actually I took part in this recital and my father, my parents had already wisely said if you find something you love to do that might be a key to your vocation. After this show they cast me as this kind of lead in this funny little show and after that I had such an exhilarating time of it I remember, they were there. They said, “How did you like that?” I was like yes, that was really something and I kept it secret to myself just how much I loved it, but I think from that time on around fifth grade I thought to myself that’s what I want to do.

Then between ninth and tenth and tenth and eleventh grades I went to Carnegie Mellon University and they had six-week sessions for people and I remember looking through the catalog with my parents. They said, “What do you want to do?” There was art and I had painted and taken some art classes and had some talent in that. And I was playing piano. They said, “What do you want to do, this music program here? Do you want to do the art program?” I was like, “What if I did the one for actors?” It had kind of been a secret.

And so I did that, fell wildly more in love, several steps down the road in my soul and heart and blood and system toward being obsessed with and convinced and passionate about being an actor. That kind of stuck and then right after high school went to New York when I was still 17, just before I turned 18 and joined the Neighborhood Playhouse with Sandy Meisner, the great acting teacher, where he was still teaching. That’s how it all started. I started to do plays and movies and like that.

Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Jamie Steinberg with Starry Constellation Magazine.

J. Steinberg Hello, it’s such a pleasure to speak with you.

J. Goldblum My pleasure entirely, thanks.

J. Steinberg You’re known for your dramatic roles and also for your dry sense of humor. I was wondering why you chose to be on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Do you at least get to express some of your sense of humor while you’re doing the show?

J. Goldblum Yes, such as it is. Maybe I’m funny sometimes, maybe not so funny other times, but yes. They actually write, Dick Wolf has been fantastic, kind, cordial and brilliant, I think. And they have a brilliant staff of writers and producers and they have intendingly built a part that is suited for some of the things that I like to do and can do. That’s what they’ve tried to do and after seeing the first episode that was aired I think there’s some humor in there. Along with the solving the crime and the very passionate part of this character and serious part of the character, I think there’s some humor in it; I’m enjoying some of the funny parts of it.

Moderator Our next question comes from the line Sheldon Wiebe with, please go ahead.

S. Wiebe Hello, Jeff, I just want to say first I’ve been following your career since Tenspeed and Brown Shoe and enjoyed practically everything you’ve ever done. Detective Nichols seems to work from an observational point of view, where he’s working on motivations more than just the facts. So he’s kind of intuitive a bit. How would you describe your character if you were actually Nichols describing the character?

J. Goldblum I’ll take a crack at it. Yes, I think you’re right. I am an intuitive fellow. Of course people know that both my parents were shrinks so I was sort of raised in an atmosphere where there was that interest in the human mechanism and the human psyche and what makes people tick. And yes, I think I’m particularly creative and adventurous and improvisational and spontaneous in my inner impulses and patterns and deeply curious and appetized in the unfathomably mysterious and delicious phenomena that is the human being and who we really are.

And why certainly people go off the rails and commit murder here in New York City, that interests me particularly, and oftentimes I find it’s a mistake of identity and having their ego built around mistakenly and their sense of identity built around some aspect of form, if you will, in their lives, either their careers or their reputations or their bank accounts. That mistake gets them into trouble and they wind up doing risky and awful things in order to pursue that mistaken notion and defend it and help that survive. It’s a bad, but not uncommon disease of the psyche that I find results in murder sometimes. I’m a humble student of that whole subject.

Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Julie Kissane with

J. Kissane Hello, Jeff, pleasure.

J. Goldblum Hello, Julie, my pleasure.

J. Kissane You actually touched on this before, that you are a skilled piano player. Were you nervous when you were being filmed during a scene where you got to play the piano in an episode?

J. Goldblum I don’t know how skilled I am, but I did take lessons. Our parents gave us music lessons early on in Pittsburgh and I took to it and loved it. I kind of guess it’s a hobby of mine. I’ve always played piano … I decided on being an actor, I played the ragged cocktail lounges here and there, a couple of jobs while I was still in high school in Pittsburgh and then have always had a piano where I am, where I live and now where I work, too. I just love to play all the time. For the last several years I’ve had a jazz band called the Mildred Spitzer Orchestra in Los Angeles and when I’m off work we book ourselves into places and play gigs around town.

Then, yes, they knew about it a little bit and worked it into the character so my character, Detective Nichols, is able to play a bit and in these couple episodes, one that you saw already, maybe that first episode, and there’s another one where I play. No, I’m not particularly nervous. I get excited and I got excited about it, but I always was sort of thrilled to play. Even when I play gigs these days I have no career aspirations or no fear of criticism. I really do it because I love to do it. Whenever I do it I love to do it, so it was particularly enjoyable for me having it be part of a scene or two.

Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Christine Nyholm with Examiner. Please go ahead.

C. Nyholm Hello, Jeff, thank you for talking to us today. Touching back on expansion of your first question I’m just wondering what you advise young actors today if they wanted to get into the field of acting. How would you start and where would you go?

J. Goldblum Very good question, advice to, you know I teach, for the last, I’m a humble student of acting myself and part of that studentship is teaching, in fact, I feel like I learn a lot from it. I just love doing it; I could teach every day. I haven’t done it for a while because I’ve been working so often, but one of the things I feel like is relevant and practical to tell my students sometimes, and anybody interested in getting into it, is to, well I like what Stanislavsky said. He said, “Love the art in yourself; not yourself in art.”

So in fact you can begin to discover and investigate whether you are an actor or not, whether you’re in my view, qualified for a life in this profession or in this endeavor by checking yourself out and acting every day, getting plays and scripts and getting together with people and divvying up the parts and acting in one way or another, or writing things. But an actor wants to get up every day and they can’t think of anything particularly more fun to do than getting into a made-up situation and living it out as if it’s real. And having people watch it perhaps and thereby telling those people a story, by acting out these characters in a story. That’s what actors want to do; they don’t necessarily want to be famous or rich or anything else. It’s a very bad gamble if that’s what you’re after. But if your heart is wildly in it so that you can’t think of anything else that could possibly make you happy or happier than getting up every day and acting, playing this crazy game that you make something up and playing pretending as if that’s true; if that’s for you you should start to do it.

And it’s not rocket science. There are a lot of books about it. I had a great teach Sandy Meisner and there’s a book that he wrote kind of chronicling a class that he, his two-year program takes you through. And you can learn many things, but it’s really doing it. If you have a feeling to do it that’s what you might do. And that’s what you start to do. If you make acting a part of your daily life, first of all, that’s a satisfying end in itself. But you might find that you start to get good at it and opportunities may come. If you’re of that sort of temperament you may investigate how to study formally and pursue the profession if that’s of your temperament and all of that.

But I’d say start to act; be a fan. See if you’re a person who loves, is a fan of and a lover of it, a devotee of literature, of material and you say, “I’ve got to do that.” Then start to do it anywhere you can that’s what I would say.

Moderator Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Joshua Fulghum with Please go ahead.

J. Fulghum It’s an honor to speak with you today.

J. Goldblum It’s a greater honor for me. That’s a line from a movie; do you know what movie that’s from?

J. Fulghum Not right off hand.

J. Goldblum A Woody Allen movie, Love and Death. “It’s a greater honor for me. No, it’s a greater honor for me. No, you must be Don Francisco’s sister.” Yes, that’s from Love and Death. But in fact it’s a greater honor for me.

J. Fulghum Throughout your career you’ve starred in movies that feature incredible and even monstrous creatures like Jurassic Park and Incident at Loch Ness. Do you have any interest in cryptozoology, which is the study of hidden animals?

J. Goldblum Not particularly. I don’t have much of an interest in Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster or dinosaurs that actually might be running around, no. I’ve never heard anything credible that would make me think that any of that stuff actually exists. Even though I love playing in those stories including the dinosaurs, no, in real life I’m not particularly interested in Big Foot or the Loch Ness monster.

Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Troy Rogers with Please go ahead.

T. Rogers Hello, Jeff, thanks for taking the time.

J. Goldblum My pleasure.

T. Rogers How would the Jeff Goldblum of 20 years ago approach Zach Nichols?

J. Goldblum Jeff Goldblum 20 years ago might have been, but I was playing that Tenspeed and Brownshoe so I would have been the actor involved perhaps, this is hopefully I wouldn’t have any business with doing anything wrong that would have gotten me involved in a guy who’s investigating murders. But I’ve always been involved with crime stories and if I had been, for instance 20 years ago not inconceivably involved in a part where I might have been playing a detective like this I would have been very interested to talk to Zach Nichols, who’s ostensibly a real and a uniquely brilliant detective, for research purposes.

Here on our set, Criminal Intent we’ve got a guy like that, so the current Jeff Goldblum can talk to this fellow Mike Struck who’s a brilliant real-life detective. I love hearing all his stories and he’s on the set when we do our stories here and he tells us what’s real and if he were playing the part and he were in the actual situation what he’d be thinking, what he’d be doing, how he’d be doing it, and that’s thrilling and fascinating to me. So that’s how I can imagine Jeff Goldblum of yore talking to Zach Nichols if he were real.

Moderator Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Zach Oat with Please go ahead.

Z. Oat I’m a big fan of Raines and I don’t know if this has been touched on already, but were you disappointed when the show got cancelled and did that influence you at all in considering this part on Law & Order?

J. Goldblum Let’s see, I have a very, at this point maybe I have a philosophical approach that allows me here and there to be satisfied with whatever happens, believe it or not. Yes, I have my ups and downs and I can be disappointed in one thing or another, but generally speaking whatever happens I will mostly, and you can, it’s not strange to think to look at my life and go, “You’re a lucky guy,” and to mostly feel incredibly grateful. So even during a period when for instance Raines came and Raines went, I just felt incredibly grateful. If they had told me in fact that Raines would have been a six, seven-part miniseries I probably would have signed up and been very happy to do it like that too. I would have been very happy. But I’m always interested in the unexpected and know that things, especially in show business, but in life generally, are inevitably fleeting to one extent. It may be short, it may be long, but there’s no such thing as long. I think all of life is a fleeting proposition, so I’m sort of happy with whatever comes and goes in fact. And I think in loss and in the goings is sometimes the greatest opportunity for expansion.

Anyway, in another way it did give me, it whet my appetite for more cop parts, it’s true, and even before I did Raines I did this … show called The Pillow Man, where I played a detective, a homicide detective in fact. And I had a great time doing that. It was this Mike McDonough play and I was in it with Billy Crudup and Zeljko Ivanek and we had a great time for six months at the Booth Theater in New York. After that I was still very appetized when Raines came along, and after Raines, to do this, and there was sort of some kind of appetizing continuum for me in those things, that’s right.

Moderator Our final question comes from the line of Jamie Ruby with Media Boulevard. Please go ahead.

J. Ruby So out of all the roles you’ve played, because there’s been a lot, what’s been your favorite and why?

J. Goldblum My favorite and why. Maybe it’s because I’m trying to get better and I feel like I am, but I currently am pretty in love with this part that I’m doing now. Then I’ve got a couple of, I like the parts at the stage when they’re at the stage of development, so I’m doing a couple more movies right after this, this summer, one called The Baster with Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman, and I’m at the stage where I’m rehearsing it and trying to figure out who the character is and what the part is, and I kind of love that. And then I’m doing this movie with Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams called Morning Glory right after that, and I’m a bit in love with that. I think you have to be. That’s part of the criteria and qualification for taking a part. It has to be a passion and something you’re in love with.

But besides that, having said all that, I did love very much Adam Resurrected that I did this last year with Paul Schrader directing that Willem Dafoe was in and it was a wonderful movie and experience for me. I loved doing that movie, Pittsburgh that I think you can still get on NetFlix, a very handcrafted affair that I sort of cooked up over several years. Besides that, holy cats, many things that I could think of, but those are a few that come to mind.

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

Law & Order “Selfish” Recap & Review

(Stabler, wondering if he can get away with murdering someone in public)
All photos from NBC

This episode of Law & Order SVU (NBC) “Selfish” was highly hyped and publicized because it featured Hillary Duff as a guest star. But, all we got was a weak, predictable episode from the “ripped from the headlines” playbook.

The story was clearly patterned from the case of the murder of Caylee Anthony and the case surrounding her mother, Casey Anthony. The only twist was the throwing in of a twist with the death really being from a case of measles and the whole vaccination debate. Even the segments of the epsiode where the players debated the merits or downsides of vaccinations, everyone seemed to be going through the motions. I think they missed a great chance to bring in Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) for a guest shot in this episode, seeing that Alex Cabot mentioned that the lawsuit against the city came during an election year and that it was causing a flood of calls to City Hall. She also mentioned the DA wanted Monica Stewart charged. It would have added a spark to this otherwise mediocre episode by having McCoy give that order to Cabot directly.

I am officially putting in a request for the writers to have CSU tech jerk Dale Stuckey (Noel Fisher) killed on the show. I think they are making him annoying on purpose, but they are doing it very badly. Maybe just want us all to have Stuckey be the one who gets killed off in the season finale so we will be happy about it. On the scary side, they could be getting ready to kill off CSU tech O’Halloran (Mike Doyle) so we would be “stuck” with Stuckey. If they don’t kill off Stuckey or make him go away very soon, I think fans will “bing bang bong” SVU off their watch list. The character is so stupid, so annoying, and so "sucky" that someone should have had him fired already.

Again, the SVU detectives get lucky when a suspect in the disappearance of the baby just happens to be fleeing the police and headed right in their direction. To me, this is just lazy writing. And isn’t it odd that they put out an Amber alert for the baby, but Stabler had no picture to take with him when he checked out the baby that the suspect had in his car? Why did he have to send a photo back to the squad to ID the child? Why couldn’t he just have a picture of the baby on his cell phone in order to make the comparison? This whole scene should have just been cut out altogether as it added nothing.

Since original story of Caylee Anthony also involved a suicide attempt by the grandfather, it seemed obvious that once we see that Ralph Walker is off the wagon that something very bad would happen to him later.

As far as I am concerned, this episode provided mediocre acting from the guest stars and the regular stars, mixed in with an annoying CSU person and a weak story, giving us a marginal episode.

Here is the recap:

At the SVU squad at their desks, Stabler (Chris Meloni) announces, “That’s it, I’m done.” When Benson (Mariska Hargitay) asks - what do you mean, done? – he responds “Paperwork. It’s like the first time in 5 years. “ Benson wonders if this means they can actually leave the squad early, but Stabler, looking around, cautions her to move slowly so nobody notices. But their happiness is short lived, as someone walks in, saying she was told by the guy downstairs that she needs to talk to a special cop. Benson tells her they are special victims, and the woman says she has not seen her granddaughter in four days. Her daughter went to Atlantic City with some girlfriends for the weekend, and she’s been home for a day and she has not seen her grandbaby since. The woman, Ruth Walker (Gail O’Grady) , said her daughter used her car while she was away, and now Sierra is gone, and her car smells like a dead body. Benson and Stabler give each other looks of concern.

Elsewhere, Ashlee Walker (Hillary Duff) is hosing down the inside of the trunk of a car. Benson and Stabler exit their car, with Benson calling to Ashlee, telling her to put the hose down. Ashlee asks her mother, “You went to the cops?” When Stabler asks for the whereabouts of her daughter, she says to her mother she is such a bitch, she told her she was at the babysitter. But Ruth is not buying it, saying she is full of crap, she knows that she is Sierra’s babysitter. Ashlee said she was until she was drunk and left Sierra in the bathtub. Ruth and Ashlee continue to argue, but Benson cuts them off, telling Ashlee she just wants to know is Sierra is OK. As Ruth and Ashlee continue to shout at each other, Benson pulls Ashlee’s mother way, and Stabler asks Ashlee why she is cleaning out her car. Ashlee says she was on a trip, a cooler tipped over and some meat must have spoiled or something. When Stabler questions “or something?” Ashlee pulls out a package of ground chuck from the trashcan and shows it to him, saying they were going to grill burgers. She says her mother is so paranoid. When Stabler continues to press on Sierra, Ashlee says she told him she is with Maria, her sitter. She decided to do chores instead of getting her this morning. She’s going to get her right now, and Stabler says he will go with her.

But, when they get to the address where Sierra and Maria are supposed to be, neither are there, just an older woman. Ashlee shows concern and thinks she has been set up and someone took her baby, but they take her down to the SVU squad instead to start the search for Sierra. Captain Cragen (Dann Florek) tells the detectives to tread lightly. Benson and Stabler speak to Ashlee and Ruth and tell them there is an Amber alert out. They ask her what she recalls about Maria and Ashlee says that Maria picked Sierra up on Friday in a red 4-door car. Fin (Ice-T) gets a call and tells the detectives that there is a car on the run, red four door, driven by a Hispanic male with a white baby in back. Lucky for them, he is headed right in their direction. But, when the detectives get to the suspect's car, Stabler has to take a cell phone picture of the baby and send it back in so they could determine it was not Sierra. Cragen sends Munch (Richard Belzer) and Fin top Tompkins Square Park where Ashlee said she met Maria.

Fin wonders how he can get out of this case...

When Munch and Fin get there, they finally find a woman who knows Maria, and she points her out. Maria (Marilyn Torres) is pushing a stroller, but in it is a doll, not a real baby. They bring her in anyway but it is clear this woman is just a little nutty over the death of her own child. They also tell her they have her financial records of her buying a shovel and tarp at the local home improvement store, but Maria says her Visa card was stolen. Cragen comes in and tells them they have a picture of who made the purchase – and it is clearly Ashlee. When Ruth sees the picture of Ashlee she goes a little nutty on her.

Later, Benson is questioning Ruth, who says Ashlee was a bad mom and it was just a matter of time before something bad happened. When she smelled something in the car, she believed the worst happened. Stabler questions Ashlee, who says she bought the shovel for her father and she denies doing anything. But Stabler arrests her anyway for the credit card theft and fraud.

Afterwards, when ADA Cabot (Stephanie March) arrives, she tells Stabler that the charges are thin but to keep working on a confession before Ashlee lawyers up. But it’s too late, Ashlee’s attorney Sofie Devere (Annie Potts) arrives, and tells them they should be ashamed of themselves arresting an innocent mother. She also tells them tat Ashlee's father Ralph retained her.

Stabler heads over to talk to Ralph Walker (Mike Pniewski), who tells Stabler that Sierra was his reason for going sober. But, he also produces a shovel that Ashlee gave him, which he said looks used. Stabler notices that reporters have arrived at the Walker residence, and find that Devere is holding a press conference outside the home. The reporters see Stabler putting the shovel in the trunk of the car and question him about it, and he says it is just part of an ongoing investigation and they are tracking down everything.

Back at the lab, Stabler goes over what CSU tech O’Halloran (Mike Doyle) has found on the shovel. There is no DNA, or hair or tissue, just fingerprints from Stabler, Ashlee, and Ralph Walker. CSU tech Dale Stuckey (Noel Fisher) arrives and annoys everyone, including viewers, with his inane questions and comments. O’Halloran finds an excuse to get rid of him, and Stuckey says he is on it, “bing bang bong.” When Dale leaves, O'Halloran says, “Now you know what I have to deal with.” He adds that there are traces of gasoline on the shovel which may mean it was used near a gas station. But there are a lot of gas stations in the area. Stabler thinks that Ashlee probably went to someplace very familiar where she felt safe.

At the Walker home, Stabler knocks and finds the door open. Ralph is there, watching home videos and drinking beer. Stabler is concerned, and cautions Ralph in his drinking. He shows Ralph the map of the gas stations, and Ralph tells him that he used to pick up Ashlee at the Hamilton Fish Park where the kids went drinking. Stabler gets out a team to check out that site, with CSU tech Stuckey yelling out to the gathering crowd that they are looking for a “deceased.” Stabler tells him to lower his voice, but he tells Stabler he thought Stabler would like the glory. Stabler is shocked at this and asks Stuckey if he tipped off the press, and Stuckey said he was just trying to make them look good. Someone shouts out that they have something, and Stuckey grabs a shovel and begins to dig wildly, to Stabler’s dismay. When he hits something, Stabler pushes him off and gently brushes away the dirt to find a doll – and a baby’s body. When Stuckey yells out “We got a body here,” Stabler is incensed and asks Stuckey repeatedly “What’s the matter with you?” and Stuckey timidly apologizes.

We are then at Ashlee’s arraignment, with Cabot texting on her cell phone. Ashlee is being arranged for the credit card charges to which she pleads not guilty. But Cabot continues to text, and the judge becomes annoyed with her. Cabot requests remand as Ashlee is a flight risk, and Devere is shocked at this since Ashlee has no criminal record. Cabot continue to text and the judge calls her out for it threatening to hold her in contempt, telling her that the behavior is unlike her. She tells the judge she is also charging Ashlee with murder and the Devere is outraged. The judge says Cabot seems off her game, and she apologizes, but said they just found the body of the victim. While Ashlee seems shocked, the judge allows the additional charge, she pleads not guilty and the judge sets bail at $1 million. Devere says to Cabot, “You’re full of surprises today” and Cabot responds, “And you’re full of the usual.” Cragen approaches Cabot, and tells her there is a problem.

ME Warner (Tamara Tunie) breaks the bad news to Cabot and Cragen – Sierra was not murdered, she died from encephalitis, brought on by the measles. There are no signs of abuse or neglect, and Cabot is shocked at how this could happen. Warner tells her that Sierra was not vaccinated.

At Rikers Island, Cabot pulls a slight of hand and says they will reduce the charges to negligent homicide if Ashlee makes a full confession. Ashlee tells her that Sierra had a fever and rash and would not stop crying, and she spanked her and she got quiet. She went back to sleep and the next morning Sierra was cold. She panicked and buried her. She think she killed her by hitting her too hard. Cabot tells her that she didn’t, and then tells her about the measles, to the shock of Ashlee and the attorney.

Back at the SVU squad, Cabot tells Stabler and Warner she thought Devere was going to blow a gasket. But they tell her the case isn’t closed, they have a bigger problem – measles. There were two cases reported and someone is still spreading it. One of the kids has returned to their home county, the other is Dennis Faber from Watertown NY. He’s Amish. When Stabler gets to the Faber residence, his father is upset that Dennis went back into town after he already recommitted to the Amish life. Dennis seems fully recovered now, and his father says the Amish do not vaccinate. Dennis said he wasn’t doing anything wrong, he was just hanging around the park.

Fin goes back to that park – the same one where Sierra and Ashlee had been at. Fin talks to the woman who had previously pointed out Maria and she tells them there was one boy who was a no-show at a kid’s party because her son had the measles. The mother in question is Monica Stewart (Anastasia Barzee), and Benson and Stabler go to her residence to question her. She says she made the choice not to vaccinate her kid. He kid is fine, but they tell her Sierra is not fine, now dead after being infected by her son. She says she is not responsible and they should lecture someone else.

Back at the SVU squad, they all discuss the issue of vaccinations, clearly with differing opinions. Cabot enters and tells them that Ashlee Walker is suing the City of New York as Sierra was infected in a city park. They watch Devere in a news conference talking about why they are suing for $100 million. Stabler thinks there is no case, but Cabot reminds him it is an election year and the phones are ringing off the hook at City Hall. The DA wants the public to feel safe, and they have to arrest Monica Stewart. They do so, much to her surprise.

At trial, Cabot makes her opening statement, saying that one parent can’t make a choice for another child. But Stewart’s defense attorney Langan (Peter Hermann) says it is about choice, Monica Stewart’s choice to immunize her own child. ME Warner takes the stand, and explains how contagious measles can be, and now there is an epidemic in England because people refuse to immunize their children. There are people who refuse to vaccinate over religious beliefs, some over the suspicions over the science behind it. She says Stewart’s negligence caused Sierra’s death. But Langan asks about the side effects of the vaccine, and brings out the fact that it can bring on death, and there is also an agency set up to compensate victims of serious vaccine-caused side effects. He asks about the laws in New York about vaccinations, and brings out the fact that to attend school you must be vaccinated (unless the child is home schooled or has religious issues), but since Monica’s son was not school age, she was not breaking any laws by not having him vaccinated.

Monica Stewart is on the stand, and says she read everything she could to make the most informed decision about the issue. Cabot hammers her, asking if she thought about how her choices affected other people, and said her choice caused Sierra’s death. Cabot asks if she has a medical degree, and Stewart says she does not need one to make choices for her child, and science is just another opinion. When Cabot says she is trying to show that if Stewart had vaccinated her child, Sierra would be alive, Stewart says she is not sure that is true, calling out Ashlee for being a horrible mother and it was just a matter of time. She says Ashlee buried her daughter in a small grave, and Cabot said that she buried the child that Steward murdered.

Afterwards, back in Cabot’s office over Chinese food, Cabot tells Benson and Stabler that they should have seen the look on the jury’s face when Stewart started playing the blame game. They continue to argue the whole issue of vaccinations over their meal.

Back in court, the jury finds Monica Stewart not guilty. Ruth Walker goes crazy and begins to yell out, calling Stewart a bitch, and the police try to restrain her. When Stewart says it is Ashlee’s fault, Ashlee rushes out of the courtroom, her parents looking on dejectedly.

Benson follows Ashlee into the ladies room and tries to talk to her. She says she loved her little girl. Her father comes in, and he hugs his daughter, trying to console her. She asks how she could have been so selfish, and Ralph says that he was the same way when he was young, and he is here for her now. She should make it up to Sierra by being the best woman she could be. But Ruth enters, stirring up the pot, saying it is not over. When Ralph tells her to calm down, she tells him not to tell her what to do, and just because he doesn’t have the balls to fight doesn’t mean that bitch will get away with killing her granddaughter. She leaves with Ashlee.

Back at the SVU squad, Cabot comes in with the Ledger, with the headline “Anti-Vaccine Mom Gets Victory Shot” and saying that this one hurt. She spoke with the jury after the trial, and they all felt that Monica should have vaccinated her child, but that she did not cause Sierra’s death. She tells them that Ruth has now filed a civil suit against Monica. Benson gets a phone call, and says Ashlee and Ruth aren’t waiting for their next court date to get justice.

At Monica Stewart’s residence, the police are there, along with Ruth and Ashlee. They threw a brick through her window. Ashlee yells out that Stewart is a bitch, and tells Benson her mom set her straight – that the courts aren’t going to do it right. As they lead away Ashlee and Ruth in cuffs, Ralph runs to Stewart’s home, Ruth egging him on to teach her a lesson. Steward runs in to her home, and Ralph follows. As the detectives follow, they hear a gunshot. As they enter, guns drawn, they see Ralph dead on the floor. Stewart says she begged not to shoot, and Ralph told her “Now you’ve killed two people” and put the gun in his mouth and shot himself. Stabler looks over at Ralph’s body, which is lying in a pool of his own blood. He is holding a picture of him and Sierra in his hand, and Stabler picks it up. As he looks at the picture, and then to Benson, we fade to black.

Law & Order SVU “Selfish” episode clip

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Law & Order CI “Rock Star” Recap & Review

All photos from USA Network

This episode of Law & Order Criminal Intent (USA) “Rock Star” marked the long awaited premiere of Jeff Goldblum as Detective Zach Nichols. Fans of the show know that this premiere had faced a few delays, and eventually it was announced that Law & Order CI producer Robert Nathan bowed out after shooting two episodes and insiders said Goldblum’s character wasn’t developing properly. (USA).

This first episode was passable. It didn’t have the usual Criminal Intent “feel”, and the case was simply uninteresting and uninspiring. Even the criminals were boring. I was also disappointed in the character of Zach Nichols, who at times actually seemed a little too much like Jeff Goldblum. No offense to Goldblum – he’s an excellent actor and I think he did very well with what was given to him. But, it actually can be distracting when you see more of what seems like the actor’s personality than the personality of the role he is playing. In further defense of Goldblum, it is always been difficult for a new character in the Law & Order franchise in their first outing because the show sometimes tries too hard to establish the new character. I always felt that Law & Order works well with a “less is more” approach, and in this case we got too much Goldblum-isms and not enough of Zach Nichols. Goldblum is a great piano player, and the word “quirky” was probably already imprinted on his backside when he was born. We got to see both of these traits in this episode. I think at least for the first episode I would have liked to see a little less of Goldblum’s strengths, and more of a more challenging or intricate crime. While I would not want Goldblum’s personality to be erased on the show – after all, this is his big drawing point – in future episodes I would like to see a more of what makes Zach Nichols tick - and hopefully he will not be just like Goldblum.

So while I wasn’t thrilled with this episode, I also recognize that having problems with the Goldblum episodes on the production side (not with Goldblum as I understand it), it seemed evident this episode was short on substance and seemed thrown together. I believe that both Jeff Goldblum and Julianne Nicholson make an interesting pair, and hopefully once the production issues have been worked through completely the series will be just fine. Possibly once Kathryn Erbe steps in to replace Julianne Nicholson while she is on maternity leave will bring yet another interesting dynamic to the show?

Here is the recap:

A group of musicians are walking along the street, talking about their manager and possible gigs. The neighborhood that they walk through also contains Orthodox Jews and blacks. Arriving at the building where the musicians are all housed in some sort of communal area, the building manager shows one new musician the open area where he will be living. Later, as he strums on his guitar, another musician gives him pointers, which seems to annoy him. Later, after some members of the group go out for a beer, one of them stays behind to make a phone call. The next morning, one of the Orthodox Jews in the neighborhood makes a call on a cell phone – despite the fact he is told it is forbidden – and calls 911, as the man who we saw stay behind from the bar is dead on the street.

With the police on the scene, Detective Megan Wheeler says there is no wallet on the body, and a gash on it that looks like it was made with a knife. She asks if anyone found a knife, and Captain Danny Ross says ESU is looking. Wheeler wonders why this is a major case, saying she is going to go out on a limb and say someone stabbed this guy and stole his wallet. Ross says it’s not the crime, it’s the neighborhood, and there are worlds in collision – Orthodox Jews, urban blacks, punk rock stars of the 21st century – not a lot of love. But when Detective Zach Nichols arrives on the scene, he says the neighborhood is amazing; in his block walk, he picked up all kinds of ethnic foods and a tantric charm from a new age boutique. While Nichols continues to go on, Capt. Ross interrupts and introduces him to Detective Wheeler. She says, “My new partner,” and Nichols says, chewing his food and with a bagel in his hand, “It’s a pleasure. Can we shake hands later?” She says yes, and asks him if he wants to take a look at the crime scene. He looks over, and says, “It looks like somebody stabbed him and stole his wallet.”

Back at the Major Case squad, Capt. Ross tells Wheeler that he and Nichols were partners back in anti-crime. Wheeler asks how Nichols did when he wasn’t having breakfast. Ross says Nichols was amazing, he was a brilliant cop, very perceptive, and both his parents were shrinks. When Wheeler says shrinks' kids are crazy and that’s an establish fact, Ross says Nichols is not crazy... exactly. He says her that it was a loss to the department when he took his 7-year leave, and when Wheeler asks where he went during that time, Ross says, vaguely, “Sent me a postcard from Cleveland once. “

Later, Nichols and Wheeler talk to “Teeter’s” – the victim – parents. Teeter wanted to be an MC, and Nichols tells them that an MC is different than a rapper, the MC can rap but also run the show and leads the crowd – he must be someone special. He called his parents a week ago and said everything as great.

At the building where Teeter lived, the manager, Phillip (Daniel Gerroll) takes the detectives up the elevator. Wheeler asking him if the place is up to code, and he says it is. When they get to the living area, Nichols comments that he smells incense, urine, beer, and pot – a great place for a guy to fry his brain. Phillips reminds them they are kids and when he asks Nichols what he was smoking when he was young, he says “Bananas.” They take him to Teeter’s living area, where Hank (Ashton Holmes) is the next to move in. Wheeler notices a bed bug. Hank a says they were with Teeter before it happened, at a “Spelling Bee.” He clarifies this is a bar, and he was with Rafe, Teeter, Sue Smith, and Helen. Nichols speaks to Rafe, who tells them that it was nostalgia and beer, and says Teeter competed and lost. He tells him Teeter stayed behind to make a call, and Nichols adds that Teeter used his ATM card afterwards, withdrawing $400 at 2 AM. When he asks Rafe if he knew why, Rafe doesn’t know, but Nichols doesn’t believe him, saying he’s getting stoned just breathing in there. Rafe admits Teeter was into pot, and probably went to his dealer, named Dix.

Nichols and Wheeler talk to Dix, and when Nichols begins to scare off some of his customers, he tells him that Teeter newer showed up, he called and wanted to buy a lid but he never showed.

Back at the musicians’ commune, a makeshift memorial is set up for Teeter, while Hank strums his guitar. Phillip is consoling Sue (Gillian Jacobs) who says maybe she should just go back to Wisconsin. Rafe shows up and seems drunk or stoned. He hears Hank play and tells him he is definitely not sucking, and when Hank says he’s not getting anywhere, Rafe tells him it is tough out there. Rafe tells him he just got a real gig and it could be really big. He tells Hank that he has the goods, and is he after his spot in the band? Hank says no. Rafe leaves a flower for Teeter and tells Hank to hang in there, he is going to make it. As Rafe leaves, Hank says he knows it.

As Sue is telling Phillip that she just can’t do this tonight, he tells her she just can’t roll up into a ball and hide, but she says again not tonight. A loud scream “Rafe!” is heard, and we then see Rafe’s body lying at the bottom of the elevator shaft.

The police and Nichols and Wheeler are on the scene. They are told Rafe was drunk, and he just got a really great gig, the elevator was broken. Phillips says someone just didn’t shut the door and Rafe was drunk. Hank tells them that Rafe must have been drunk, because he told him how well he was playing. He didn’t see anything. Nichols announces that they are taking statements from everyone.

Back at Major Case, Wheeler says they took 27 statements and no one saw anything. When Ross reminds them this is an open loft, Nichols says it’s more like a rabbit warren with partitions, and smoky. But Nichols thinks someone waited until no one was looking and someone was in the wrong spot, and he seems to be unsure of the theory. When Ross asks "Then what," Nichols responds "I don't know, " clearly trying to think things through in his head. Ross tells him that he suggests “while you’re trying to figure out what’s on your own mind, you resume the investigation of the actual murder on your plate – the kid who got stabbed.” Ross gives him the ME’s report, saying the kid was stabbed with a knife with a serrated blade with a chip in it, and one dull edge. Nichols stands up and says “You are the boss.” When Nichols leaves, we get this exchange:

Wheeler: When does the brilliant part start?
Ross: Not big on trust at the moment are we?
Wheeler: I’m not talking about me.
Ross: One partner quits on you…
Wheeler: Quits on ME?
Ross: After saying your ex-fiancĂ©’s about to go on trial, someone else you trusted?
Wheeler: Okay. Thank you Captain Freud. (Wheeler gets up and leaves.)

Later, Nichols and Wheeler head to the place where Rafe’s band was supposed to perform. They are surprised when they see Hank filling in for Rafe’s big spot. Afterwards, Nichols complements Hank on a nice set, and says he hopes this doesn’t break his heart. He cites a bunch of numbers of how many people try to come to the big cities to try to make it big, and only a tiny number of them actually make it big is only about 10 out of 50,000. Hank thinks he can be one of them, and says some people make their own breaks. Nichols decides to show Hank his point, and gets up on the stage and plays the piano and does an excellent job. When the crowd applauds and Nichols steps of the stage, he reminds Hank he is just a cop. But Hank asks him if he is one of the losers in the 50,000, and walks off. When Wheeler asks him why is he a cop, Nichols says it’s because he likes it, he’s good at it, and “that kid is a killer.”

Back at Major Case, Nichols is on a phone call, and when he gets off, he says it was the Utica PD, Hank had a stepfather he didn’t get along with and there were allegations of abuse but not enough to make a case, When Hank was 16, his stepfather had a fatal accident while fixing his roof and Hank’s problem was solve. When Ross questions Nichols if he thinks Hank killed Rafe for his spot in the band, Nichols thinks it fits, but Ross says, “If you’re a homicidal maniac.” Nichols thinks Hank would kill to succeed. But Wheeler wonders how Teeter’s death would fit into his theory, and Nichols said it got him a better apartment.

At Phillips apartment, Nichols notices that Phillip was in “Speckled Stallion” and played at Woodstock, Phillip saying they had the third longest set there. Nichols said they were “something.” Phillip tells him in those days it wasn’t about talent, you had to suck up to the executives. When they asks about Phillip managing Rafe’s band, and that he put Hank in there to replace Rafe, he says Hank is raw but good. Wheeler seems annoyed that Nichols is making small talk, and steers the conversation back to Hank, asking if Hank knew that he was in line to replace Rafe, and Phillips says yes. Phillips then wonders if Hank pushed Rafe, and Nichols says it is a motive.

Back at Major Case, Nichols is working on a chart showing everyone’s location in the loft at the time of Rafe’s death. He was also listening to “Speckled Stallion” and says those guys suck. When Wheeler says he told Phillip they were great, Nichols corrects her and say he said that they were “something.” They take his chart and head back to the loft to see Hank. He brings out his chart, and shows him where everyone was located, He drops the chart on the floor, and picks something up with a handkerchief. He shows Hank the chart and asks him what is wrong with it, and when Hank doesn’t know, Nichols tells him that Hank is not there – none of them saw him. He asks Hank to point out his location, and Nichols puts down a tag and asks Hank to sign it. He then “remembers” that a few others were missing from the chart, and places two other people in that area, and puts two more tags down, and none of them saw Hank. Hank tells them he is late for rehearsal and moves to leave, saying that he had too much to drink that night and has no idea where he was.

Back at Major Case, Wheeler tells Nichols and Sue Smith is also missing from the chart. When Nichols asks her why she would kill Rafe, Wheeler says she doesn’t know but she seems to keep popping up. When she mentions that Nichols chart was wrong, he says he wants Hank to think they caught him in a lie, it’s as stressor, and it may have him do something else, but hopefully not kill someone. Wheeler asks him what he picked up, and he shows her some bedbugs in a handkerchief, and he hopes the blood in them will be the DNA of anyone that may have been “sleeping” in that room. Later, one to the lab tech tells them that bedbugs have a slow digestive system and the blood can be in there for as long as two months. In one of the older ones they found Teeter’s blood, and from the same time a woman’s blood. The newer bug had the blood of a new man – but the same woman. It seems that Hank also got a pretty girl with his new room. They both begin to speculate that Hank killed Rafe because he wanted to be in the band, and killed Teeter because he wanted the girl, wondering who is in Hank’s way now.

Back in Hank’s room, Sue is there, and she is talking with Hank about her father. He asks her if he will see her tonight, and says it depends on how stoned Phillip will get. She complains that Phillip acts like she is his girlfriend but she is not, he just pays her rent. She compliments Hank and says they could have something good – except for Phillip. Later, Phillip tells Hank he is not ready to step up to a bigger gig, and then asks if he has seen Sue. Hank says no.

Back at Major Case, Wheeler and Nichols goes over the case with Ross. Ross asks exactly what the motive is as all kids sleep around. But Nichols is still wondering – they are looking at two different murders, one seemed planned, the other, spontaneous (Rafe’s). When Wheeler asks if he is saying they don’t fit, Nichols says they do and they don’t – does she see what he means? She pauses, and looks to Ross, asking “Do you see what he means?” Ross says, “Not a clue.” But Ross adds that in theory, Hank had motive and opportunity to kill Rafe and possible motive to kill Teeter, but what was the opportunity? Wheeler reminds him Hank was with the group right before Teeter was killed. Ross asks if he stuck with them, or slipped away?

Nichols and Wheeler question on of the women who was with the group when Teeter was killed, and she said everyone split up. She also said Sue said she had to get back with Phillip, and adds that Phillip pays Sue’s rent. She also said Rafe seemed to have big plans for his band, talking to record companies and big time managers about it. This seems to pique Nichols’ interest. Later, outside the building, they speculate about who had the motive, and Nichols says he has to make a call.

Hank is on stage with the band again, and after his performance, he heads to the bar and someone there tells him he was fantastic and he could be playing better venues than this. He hands him a business card, and Phillip sees it. Hank is surprised the man is Joe Lazar, who manages another big band. He says he was ready to sign him but Phillip wouldn’t let him go. He said maybe Hank can talk some sense into him. Outside the club, Lazar walks by a waiting Nichols, and tells him that Hank bought it, “hook, line, and sinker.”

At a later time, with Phillip, Nichols talks with him about Hank, Phillip complaining about Hank, and Nichols says Hank has an attitude. He tells him that Hank said some “hot shot manager” was after him. He thinks he is really going someplace, unlike Phillip, who went from rock star to landlord. Phillip says that it is a boarding house and he takes in talented musicians that he can help. Nichols says that Hank doesn’t see it that way, he needs a manager that is not a fossil, someone from the actual current century.

Later, Hank is on the phone with Phillip, and Hank wants to be let go, but Phillip says he will let him know when he is ready – and he is not ready. Hank says he can break his contract, Phillip says he can’t, but Hank tells him Lazar will pay for a lawyer. Hank asks of they can talk about it – is Phillip upstairs? He tells him he is in a park, and they can meet at the factory they scouted for a music video. Meanwhile, Nichols and Wheeler are listening in on a phone tap. Wheeler comments that Phillip is taking a hard line, and Nichols says someone must have gotten under his skin. Wheeler realizes the park Phillip was in was close to where Teeter was killed, and Nichols comments, “dangerous neighborhood.”

At the empty factory, Phillip calls out “hello” and Hank approaches. Hank says this isn’t working out. Nichols and Wheeler step out as Nichols yells “Hi” and tells everyone to hold it. Hank asks what is going on, and Nichols says a murder, but not anymore since now that they are there. When Hank asks what he is talking about, Nichols says, “Oh, life, death, unqualified success, abject failure, naked ambition.” Nichols continues to play off both Hank and Phillip, telling them that they are both sleeping with Sue, and Phillip acts surprised. When Hank indicates Sue is sleeping with everyone, Nichols says this is a powerful motive. Hank questions murdering over a “piece of ass” and tells Phillip if he wants her, she is his, he doesn’t care. Nichols seems surprised at this, and Hank confirms he doesn’t care about her. He says if he wouldn’t kill for love to forget that motive, but that Phillip would, as Phillip thinks she is his girlfriend. When Phillip says she is his girlfriend, Nichols says he is just “the rent” and tells him women actually like sleeping with guys about 30 years younger. Phillip says that rule doesn’t apply when you’re famous, and Nichols ridicules Phillips band at Woodstock, saying they wouldn’t get off the stage, that Speckled Stallion always left its audience wanting less. When Phillip reminds him he has a Grammy, Nichols taunts that Milli Vanilli also has a Grammy, and that Phillip is a has-been, adding “viva Viagra.” Nichols says when Sue started fooling around with Teeter, Phillip went nuts and killed Teeter. Hank seems stunned. Nichols brings up Rafe, but Phillip says he was in full view of other witnesses when Rafe was killed, and Nichols says Hank did that, because Phillip told him that Rafe was standing in his way. Nichols said Phillip wanted to get rid of Rafe and he knew Hank would do it because he saw that Rafe would do anything to get ahead. He says Phillip suckered him because Rafe wanted to escape so he could succeed, and Phillip’s ego could not stand that. Nichols approaches Phillip and finds the knife that likely killed Teeter, and Wheeler thinks out loud that Phillip was going to use that same knife on Hank. When Hank realizes this, he becomes enraged and has to be restrained, saying that Phillip told him that if Rafe was gone, he could get Hank to the top. Hank says he did it for nothing. As Hank and Phillip are led away in cuffs, Wheeler asks Nichols, “So the next time we go on a bust, you maybe wanna tell your partner who we’re busting?” Nichols says, ‘I was exploring options.” Wheeler, closing her eyes, adds “God almighty.” Nichols says, “Oh c’mon it was great. It was a two-fer. I would have been happy taking one scumbag suspect off the streets but two for the price of one, oooh, you know, maybe I should have come back sooner. This is, ah, sweet.” As Nichols chuckles happily, we fade to black.

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Law & Order Episode Information Week Of April 26, 2009

We have a full plate of episodes for all the shows in the Law & Order franchise this week. The new episode of Law & Order Criminal Intent marks the much-anticipated introduction of Jeff Goldblum as Detective Zach Nichols (a promo clip is below). The episode of Law & Order SVU includes the much-hyped appearance of guest star Hillary Duff. (A video clip is below.) Law & Order is just, well, new – and that’s enough for me!

PS - after I released this listing, NBC made a programming change. The episode originally scheduled to air on April 29 for Law & Order - "Exchange" - has been removed and another new episode has been inserted. But, the episode name on the NBC release looks odd to say the least and I don't think it is correct. I listed the episode information below and have left the episode title blank for now. ("Exchange" has been moved to May 13.)

A special note – my recaps for SVU and Law & Order may be a little late for this week.

Law & Order Criminal Intent “Rock Star” Air date April 26, 2009

Wheeler (Julianne Nicholson) and her partner, Det. Zack Nichols (Jeff Goldblum), investigate the stabbing of an artist, who was found in a neighborhood rife with ethnic tensions.

My recap and review of Law & Order Criminal Intent “Rock Star” " can be found here.

Law & Order SVU “Selfish” Air Date April 28, 2009

When it is reported by Ruth Walker (Guest Star Gail O'Grady) that her two year-old granddaughter, Sierra Walker, is missing Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) investigate. After rounds of interrogation and a failed Amber Alert, Benson and Stabler believe that the prime suspect is none other than Sierra's young and irresponsible mother, Ashlee Walker (Guest Star Hilary Duff). Also starring: Richard Belzer (Detective John Much), Dann Florek (Captain Donald Cragen), Ice-T (Detective Odafin Tutuola), Michaela McManus (A.D.A Kim Greylek), Stephanie March (ADA Alexandra Cabot), Tamara Tunie (Dr. Melinda Warner), and B.D. Wong (Dr. George Huang).

Law & Order "Promote This" (?)Air Date April 29, 2009

Detectives Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) and Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) investigate the case of Oswaldo Morales (guest star Hector Javier Munoz), an illegal immigrant found unconscious but still alive on a service road. When the detectives find a possible link to Oswaldo's attack and nine recent bias-related incidents, they uncover a deep-seeded, dangerous bias against Hispanic men within the community. Also stars S. Epatha Merkerson, Sam Waterston, Linus Roache and Alana de la Garza.

My recap and review of Law & Order "Promote This" can be found here.

Law & Order Criminal Intent Promo – Introducing Zach Nichols

Clip – Law & Order SVU ‘Selfish”

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

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

Monday, April 20, 2009

Law & Order CI "Playing Dead” (Recap & Review)

All Photos from USA
Season 8 of Law & Order Criminal Intent (USA) gave us the return of the show that we all know and love – where it’s about the crimes, the criminals, and the skills of the detectives. It also brought back the return of the more grounded Robert Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio), who seems more focused than he has in the last few seasons. It was also great to see a bit of a twinkle in his eyes when he made the crack to the wine merchant using a fake French accent, and when he needled the councilman’s mother Camille (Kathy Baker) on hitting a raw nerve. It was also great to see Eames (Kathryn Erbe) getting to push a few buttons as well.

The episode itself, however, was very complex, the first few minutes almost a little too confusing. As viewers were taken farther in to the disgusting life of Councilman Neil Hayes-Fitzgerald (Scott Cohen), the case seemed much clearer and much easier to follow. Scott Cohen did a fantastic job as the creepy, perverted, depraved (did I leave anything out?) councilman. Die-hard Law & Order fans will recognize Scott as being a Law & Order “repeat offender.” He guest starred in the rare, 3 episode storyline of Law & Order titled “Showtime,” “Turnaround,” and “D-Girl” and also starred in the short-lived Law & Order Trial By Jury as Detective Chris Ravell.
Despite the drama of the final interrogation, I chuckled at the line from Stacy that Sofie was Stacy’s sister and her daughter. Anyone who has ever seen the movie “Chinatown” with Faye Dunaway and Jack Nicholson will recall the scene where Fay’s character goes through the “she’s my sister, she’s my daughter, she’s my sister AND my daughter” lines amid slaps from Nicholson’s character. In this episode of Criminal Intent, it seemed like a very lame parody, making what should have been a tense scene almost seem funny. I think I would have found another way for Stacy to bring that tidbit to the forefront. Kathy Baker and Scott Cohen both did a fantastic job in the interrogation scenes.

All in all, an excellent episode, probably the best I have seen from this show in a long time. I think the new writers are doing a great job at getting back to the basics with this show, and I am looking forward more than ever to see how the rest of the season plays out.

Here is the recap:
The episode opens outside the Courthouse on 60 Centre Street, with Councilman Neil Hayes-Fitzgerald (Scott Cohen) and his mother Camille (Kathy Baker), standing by a plaque of a former NYC mayor and talking about the councilman having his own plaque someday. Councilman Hayes-Fitzgerald says he has to get over his current bump in the road, and he reminds his mother that she always said that today’s headlines wrap tomorrow’s fish. As reporters begin to gather around, Camille sees Chris Palerno (Stephen Gevedon) arrive, and she wonders aloud who invited him. Neil says he did, they have nothing to hide. Camille reminds him that she is his campaign manager and he should have told him. As the councilman hands off his umbrella to someone else to hold over his mother, he moves over to greet Palerno, who has his arms open wide in welcome. Reporters ask if Palerno remodeled the councilman’s house in exchange for city projects, and another asks if it was a bribe. The councilman says no on is hiding from a full explanation as to why a tabloid made headlines of some accounting errors.

Meanwhile, watching all this on television is Councilman Neil Hayes-Fitzgerald’s daughter Stacy (Betty Gilpin) who is in her apartment, lighting up a crack pipe. Her boyfriend Rick Siebert is on the phone, telling someone that the bribery scandal is just the sizzle, next comes the steak unless he is made happy. He demands 50 G’s by tomorrow, and there is no way he lies his way out of the next headline. He throws down the tabloid, which has the headline “The Councilman and the Contractor.” He tells the caller he wants his money now. Stacy says she thought they said no more, and he says they gotta bluff him. They hear knocking at the door, with someone yelling for them in Spanish to open the door.

Back in the councilman’s office, Palerno is also there, telling Neil he turned the heat down with one press conference, and a couple more and it’s gone. Palerno point back at him, saying he still gets his big meaty projects, but he adds that whoever hacked into his emails is stealing money out of his pocket and he doesn’t like it. Both Neil and Camille reassure him there will be other things in the private sector, and remind him to do nothing rash.

Back at the home of Councilman Hayes- Fitzgerald, his wife Josie is getting ready for a night out, the babysitter also there. Josie worries that he daughter hasn’t called in days. Stacy is at her apartment, and she says she can’t believe that they are going to get the cash. They are removing their clothes, and she says she is so glad they didn’t have to do the “other thing.” There is a knock at the door, and when Rick opens it, a masked person with a gun pushed the door open, knocking Rick down. Both Rick and Stacy move to run, but the intruder shoots Rick, and the bullet passes through him and also hits Rick. They both go down, and it appears both are dead.

It seems many hours have passed, and Josie arrives at Stacy’s apartment, and when she finds the door open, enters and is shocked to see her daughter on the floor, with her boyfriend lying on top of her, both appearing dead. But as Josie approaches, she sees he daughter move her head and open her eyes – she is alive.

Later, a detective on the scene is telling Detectives Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Eames (Kathryn Erbe) that she called Major Case when she realized the injured girl was the councilman’s stepdaughter. The boyfriend was Richard Siebert, 25 and unemployed. The apartment belongs to Stacy and her parents pay the rent. Eames notices the crack pipe, and Goren tells them to take the computer they find in to be downloaded. Eames asks if Stacy talked to anyone before being taken to Bellevue, and the detective said Stacy was already in the ambulance. Goren also finds newspaper clippings about the councilman and comments that it looks like they were interested in her stepfather’s problems. One article had a note written in the margin that says “screw the bastard!” and Goren thinks it looks like they enjoyed them. ME Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix) is on the scene, and tells them that she spoke with the ER and as the bullet passed through Rick first and then to Stacy, it was deformed. Goren notices the deadbolt is not broken but the jamb is splintered, so Goren walks through what he thinks happened – that the door was kicked open and Rick may have moved to protected her and they both got shot. They are also told that Rick’s body had been moved because Stacy was pinned underneath him, possibly for three to four hours. Rodgers speculates she may have saved herself by playing dead – but Goren wonders if maybe the killer only wanted Rick. Goren says they will do a vehicle canvas of the area.

At the hospital, Stacy is upset because they will not give her any painkillers, and her mother Josie said they were told no more pain medication. Goren tells her she is experiencing withdrawal, and they need her to remember what happened while it is fresh in her mind. She says she doesn’t remember anything. But when Eames continues to press, Stacy adds that after she was shot she still heard the intruder in the room so she “went away”, like she was watching it but she wasn’t. She insists she is in real pain now.

Back at the Major Case squad, Goren and Eames tells Captain Ross (Eric Bogosian) what they have found. Ross hopes for quick resolution that doesn’t antagonize a powerful politician over an errant family member. He also tells them the Chief of Ds is coming. Eames said it could be a drug deal gone bad, they were packed for a flight to Aruba with new clothes and new luggage, maybe they stiffed the wrong dealer.

At a diner, Goren and Eames are talking to the man who we earlier saw banging on Stacy’s door. They tell him the landlord said that he was seen banging on Rick Siebert’s door, screaming threats. Eames asks if that was for drugs, money, or both. He says he’s got nothing to say, but Goren asks if he’s not worried about threatening a murder victim, he whispers, “Guys, I’m on the job.” He tells them to check with OCCD, his name is Ruiz (Otto Sanchez ). Goren thinks about it, and then tells Ruiz to give him a shove. Ruiz pushes him, saying that he’s out of here, but Goren forces him to sit down, and says he wants to talk about Rick Siebert? Ruiz says he bought Siebert’s debt, and they put him into play in this neighborhood. But Eames counters that he wouldn’t buy a debt knowing it was bad, that would make him look stupid. Ruiz says he’s a dumb kid from Jersey hooked on drugs, always skimming but they fronted him because he said family money was coming. But Eames comments this was from her family, and Ruiz says everyone knew who she was and the Seibert side of the family owed them - whatever that means. Eames looks questioningly at Gore.

Back at Major Case, Eames has been looking over the computers, and found that Rick had Hayes-Fitzgerald’s personal emails on them. Rick had hacked in and got emails between the councilman and his contractor Palerno, the story that fed the tabloids. Was the killing revenge, or did Rick threaten something bigger?

At the office of Councilman Neil Hayes-Fitzgerald, Neil tells Goren and Eames that Rick Siebert wasn’t welcome in his home, unfortunately, and that meant they didn’t see much of Stacy. Eames noted that he paid her rent. He responds that they knew he was going to sponge off of her, but it kept her from sleeping in the streets. Goren comments that even with Siebert’s failings, he was a computer whiz, and hacked into his emails. Neil seems surprised, and questions that Siebert sold that stuff to the tabloids? Eames asks if Siebert ever made demands on him – for a bigger payday than what he got at The Ledger? Neil says these stories were fabricated from accounting errors and he would have never given them anything anyway. Goren states that Rick told people he had more money coming, maybe from material of an even greater value. Neil says he’s a delusional cracked, why would they listen to him? Goren asks “And Stacy? “ Neil says to leave Stacy out of it, he doesn’t think she had anything to do with it. Goren challenges, “And you honestly believe that?” Neil asks if Goren can prove otherwise, and is met with silence from Goren and Eames. He comments, “I didn’t think so” and gets up to leave, saying he has a meeting.

As Goren and Eames leave, Eames comments that Neil is very forgiving to a stepdaughter who nearly got him knocked out of a mayoral race. Goren adds they should talk to the contractor who stood to lose millions from the city project.

They question Chris Palerno, and he says he has an alibi, and he would have no reason to kill Rick, saying the stories were “sticks and stones.”. Eames reminds him that he told the reporters that he would find who did this and deal with him, but Palerno he said he was mad, maybe he meant it a few days ago but providence stepped in. Eames suggested that providence was the man he hired to kill Siebert, but Palerno still denies it all. Why would he compound his problem by ordering a hit?

Back at the hospital, Stacy is getting ready to leave the hospital and her mother tells her she is coming to stay with them, and not go back to her apartment. Stacy says she can do what she pleases, but Neil’s mother Camille steps in, and continues to pressure him to come home, telling her that Sophie is doing a hunger strike, and her mother says she misses her, both kids want her home. Camille says there could be drug charges, and she will need them, just like before. She nods her head in agreement.

Neil is being questioned again by reporters, as Ross, Goren, and Eames watch on TV. Eames says he is slick, the way he tap danced to the tune of Siebert’s death. Goren tells him he’s like his great grandfather, and Tammany Ward Healer, who was made building commissioner when his predecessor was found floating under the 59th Street Bridge. When Eames asks about Neil’s “fancy hyphenate”, Goren tells her that the name Hayes comes from his mother’s side of the family, and they have run city hall on three occasions. Eames looks at the files that Siebert hacked into, they were the councilman’s emails on a chat room for rare wines. Eames doesn’t think oenophiles would be of any use to the Ledger, but Goren thinks they way Rick put his files together, that he had something of real value.

Goren and Eames go to the councilman’s home to speak with Stacy, with Camille present. Goren questions her about the articles and the note in the margin on one of them saying to “screw the bastard.” She says she is home now and won’t talk about that, and Camille supports her. Camille says Stacy went through a rebellious phase but they are all back together now. Goren asks about information on the shooter, and she says he had on a hat but his sleeves were pulled up and he had tattoos – snakes or barbed wire. She says he just shot, looked them over, and left.

Later, Goren and Eames think this is not about a drug debt, as they would have both been killed, and the place would have been torn apart looking for drugs or money. Goren speculates that the wine chat sounds like old mob code, so Eames said they will check on the councilman’s “true passion for the grape.”

At a wine shop, they talk with the snooty proprietor, who tells them that the councilman leaves the wine selection to him. Goren tells him about a wine that the councilman keeps going on about, but the wine dealer says the councilman wouldn’t order that wine now. When Eames asks why, Goren tells her that the wine is best enjoyed in its youth. Goren says they would like to look at the councilman’s purchases for the last 6 months, and when the man balks, saying it is confidential, Eames threatens shutting him down for a forensic audit. Goren says in a fake French accent, and smirking, “A printout would do, ah?”

Back at Major Case, they look over the wine records, and find many of the wines mentioned were never purchased. Goren says it is a code. Eames gets a message saying the vehicle canvas paid off, and they found a black van that was ticketed for blocking a driveway in the area of the shooting that also later made an illegal port entry nearby, probably to dump the gun in the river. They decide to send out a search team for the gun. The van is registered to a Toscano Trucking.

Goren and Eames head to Toscano Trucking, and find it on the third floor of a building, which is empty except for a porta-potty, a desk and a man – Mr. Duraga (Brian Tarantina) sitting at it. They bring him in for questioning. In interrogation with his attorney, they question him about a boat he bought, and where he got the cash for it. He says it was a token of appreciation. Goren brings in a evidence box with a gun in it and asks to see Duraga’s hand. He sees a cut on one of his fingers, and comments that it was likely made by loading the clip in gun they recovered from the river, nearby his van where he made an illegal entry. The attorney ends the interrogation, but Eames asks for him to pull up he sleeves. He shows his arms – no tattoos. After he leaves, they speculate the tattoos were temporaries, used to distract the victims from the shooter’s face.
Back at Neil’s residence, Neil and his mother talk about Stacy. Camille says Stacy needs and anchor and there is only one person who can do that. Josie enters and She asks if he is coming up, and he asks her if she has taken her pill, and she says yes. He says he will be up in a minute. When Josie leaves, Camille asks why Neil picked her and not the girl from the upstate family. He says Josie has been very accepting. Camille laughs and they smile at each other.

Later, we see Neil enter the bathroom where Stacy is bathing. He says she should not be there alone, she is on medication. She says she will get out, but he makes no move to leave. She says she needs a towel, but instead he approaches her and grabs a sponge, and reaching deep into the water, he gets it wet and squeezes the water onto her back. He asks if she remembers when she liked that, and she says, “Please don’t.” He touches her hair and moves closer, whispering, ‘You will always be my girl.” He continues to whisper if and moves in closer. Later, we see Stacy wiping the steam off the mirror, and, opening a drawer, finds scissors and cuts her wrists, blood dripping to the floor. The next we see of Stacy, she is being rushed to the hospital, with Josie, and Neil and his mother, close behind.

Later, as a nurse tells Stacy she is on suicide watch, Goren enters to question her. He thanks her for the information about Rick, saying it was helpful. He asks her to look over some photos. As Goren lays out the photos, Neil moves into the room, Stacy’s monitor indicating her pulse is racing. Goren notices that this coincides with Neil’s entry, and he asks Neil to go back over to the waiting area. As he leaves, her pulse drops back down, and she tells Goren she is not ready to do this. He sits down, saying that it must be tough to be in that situation at home. She says he doesn’t know anything about that, but he says that is not true, he came from a bad home. He reminds he she say when bad things are happening, she needs to “take yourself away to another place”: and that is what he used to do, so he can see things from somewhere else. She says maybe it was just the crack, but he says they both know that is not true. She says she knows what he is thinking, and he’s wrong. He nods his head, but looks out to Neil in the waiting area.

In the waiting area, Josie talks about her life being about saving Stacy from herself. She home schooled her in the ninth grade, and Neil said they were all in Europe that year. Josie takes Sofie away from Neil, and Neil’s mother comments that they can’t hold Stacy to anything she’s said after what she has been through, and she will be home soon and part of the family again, like their time in Sienna – that was real happiness. But Josie looks far from happy.

Back at the Major Case squad, Ross says that the move to Europe was an odd choice for a politician with a hot career. Goren informs him the subpoenaed her records from the high school, and she had been acting out, they recommended therapy put her parents pulled her out for home schooling. Goren thinks there is a bigger reason- sexual abuse by her stepfather. Ross comments that would be a headline to die for of Siebert knew about it. Goren says they don’t have direct evidence but they think Rick was on to it. Josie may be covering. They also have Camille’s laptop, and there are cryptic messages about a volatile situation, and Ross tells them to use it, and find the raw nerve that breaks through the family wall.

Back at the councilman’s home, they speak with Camille about her laptop. And they tell her about the volatile situation, and she says they are a daily thing in politics. Eames tells her they found that she raised money for the Hayes-Fitzgerald Library, the beautification of Van Cortland Park, and St. Leoba’s – a shelter for runaway teens, the shelter getting three times what the others got. Camille wonders why this should be of interest, and when they tell her that her giving to St. Leoba’s occurred after Stacy left high school, Camille ends the questioning, acting insulted, and saying she is calling the commissioner. As Eames and Goren moved to leave, Goren turns back and smiles at her, commenting “It’s a…raw nerve.”

Later, Camille is telling Neil that they have nothing but they are fishing. Neil seems to think if he took a job in the private sector he would be immune to their grief, but she says that is not who he is, or who they are. She thinks he is in a position to grab real power.

Back at the hospital, Neil tells everyone that Stacy is coming home. Neil tells Sofie to tell her how she feels, and Stacy tells Sofie she loves her. Goren and Eames enter, and Neil complains that this is becoming harassment. Goren says they are looking for the man who shot Stacy, why would that be a problem? Neil picks up Sofie and tells Stacy they will be in the hall, and as he touches Stacy, she recoils. Goren moves in to question her. She said she saw Neil touch her and her response, she doesn’t wan him touching her? He begins to talk about Rick being on to what happened with her and Neil, and she admits it. She says he didn’t know at first, but he asked her a lot of stuff, like why she ran away and what the shelter was like. Goren states that Rick may have threatened blackmail far beyond any political scandal, which could have meant jail time for her stepfather, Eames says that is why Rick was killed.

Back at Neil’s home, he brings the babysitter, Jessica into his wine cellar. She seems amazed by it, like it is his own private club. When she appears cold, Neil strokes her shoulder and apologizes, saying he keeps it that way for the wine. He asks to “do her up” and moves to button her sweater. Later, as Stacy comes down the stairs, she hears Jessica thanking Neil for the tour. He says he will talk to someone at City Hall about a summer internship. Stacy looks on as Sofie runs to Neil, and he asks “Who is my girl?” When Sofie replies “me,” he adds, “My girl and no one else’s!” Stacy sits down on the steps with a mixture of concern and horror.

Later, Neil is telling Camille that Stacy has taken off. Camille is worried about what Stacy will say to the police. She says he went to far, always been lead around by your…. (not finishing the sentence). Neil says why assumes that he…and she cuts him off, saying “because I know you.”

Back at the Hayes- Fitzgerald residence, Goren and Eames talk with Josie. They continue to pressure her about Stacy and bring up Neil, and Josie indicates Stacy makes things up. But Eames says, “At what point do you stop lying?” They keep the heat on Josie, and she breaks down and seems to admit to knowing what was going on. She says it just happened, and when Josie says Neil loved her, Eames said she paid for that with access to her daughter. Josie says it is not just her, Stacy is unstable and Rick was her hero. Josie breaks down, and says it is true, she was afraid of losing everything. When Eames asks her when she ran away before, where did she go. Josie says to Rick, always to Rick.

Goren finds Stacy at Rick’s grave. They talk about Rick, and Stacy tells him she had to get away. Goren reminds her about Sofie, and she said Neil wouldn’t/ Goren says people with his sickness, they have patterns and they don’t change and he will molest other girls and he will hurt her. She says Sofie is his blood, but Goren asks if she wants to take that chance, and abandon Sofie like her mother abandoned her? She asks Goren, “You know?” and he nods his head.

Back at Major Case in interrogation, Camille is brought into the room, Neil is already there. They seem shocked to see each other. Camille seems unphased. Goren tells Neil about Rick being interested in Neil’s conversations with his wine pals, and they bring out the whole story of the wine talk being code for young girls. He mentions one of the codes is the birth year for his babysitter, Jessica, and that he brags to his buddies that he would have sex with her. Neil says Stacy’s brain is damaged by drugs and they couldn’t make a case with her testimony. Goren opens the door, and Stacy enters. Neil seems incensed, saying she lied to them. Stacy tells them she told them what he did to her in the wine seller, and Camille says they took her from nothing, fatherless and said she would turn on them with these disgusting fantasies. Eames states that the teen shelter didn’t think they were fantasies, especially when they found out she was pregnant. Goren says this is why they took her to Europe. Stacy drops the bomb that Sofie is her proof, she is her daughter…her sister and her daughter. Neil stands up and makes a move to her, Goren stopping her. He blames Stacy, saying she should accept blame for what she did. Stacy leaves the room, saying she can’t, leaving Neil and Camille in there with Eames. Outside the room, Stacy says she can’t do it, but Goren tells her the shame will be Neil’s, and Ross says she can trust them.

When Goren returns and Neil says he guesses the interview is over, Eames says he can go but he will be back, the next time in handcuffs on a perp walk. Goren begins to work on Camille, saying that all this work she put into him has been cursed by this weakness of his. Neil becomes more agitated, and says they are out of this. Goren says “You’re not out of this. All the dreams that your mother had for your future, that’s all gone. You just threw all that away. You're not outta this.” Neil continues to beg to Camille, and Goren taunts him over this. He continues to work on Camille, that her sacrifice has been wasted. When Neil reaches for her arm and asks what sacrifice, she recoils and stands up. Goren tells her that her phone records show calls back and forth to Rick Siebert on his disposable cell phone, she did all she could to meet his demands. She said she only made calls to determine Stacy’s well being, but Eames tells her about her doubling back charity contributions to get the payoff money for Mr. Duraga – that she did for her son. Camille says, “You’re better than I thought.” Neil shouts, “Better at what? Meaningless allegations? Mom?” He says he will go to the right people and get this turned around, he’s always been able to do that. But she counters that he didn’t deal with Rick Siebert. When he seems confused, Goren tells him that Camille hired Durago to kill Siebert, and when he still doesn’t believe it, Camille says he thinks he got lucky and that one more time, everything just worked out for him. As Neil continues to deny any involvement, but Camille comments how quickly he scrambles to distance himself. She says his life is blessed because of him, she dared to hope and dream he’d have the stones to go the distance but she was wrong. AS Neil wails out at his mother, he begs her not to say these things in front of them. He sobs as she reminds him she had to repeatedly cover for him and there is nothing more she can do for him. As he continues to sob, she screams at him to stop crying, but she strokes his hair, and says she still loves him. Goren looks to the reflective glass window with Stacy on the other side, with a relieved look on her face, as we fade to black.

Clip from “Playing Dead”

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