Monday, May 11, 2009

Law & Order CI “In Treatment” Recap & Review

Photo from USA

Last night’s episode of Law & Order Criminal Intent (USA) “In Treatment” was a real treat. This was a far better episode for Jeff Goldblum and it provided a great opportunity to provide some back story for his character. It also provided a great excuse to bring out Wheeler’s pregnancy. I was amused when Nichols asked her early in the episode if she wanted to remover her coat, clearly he knew she was covering up something. But it was Nichol’s back story of a genius psychiatrist father that brought real depth to the episode. Apparently when Nichols was a child and his father was doling out psychobabble over his corn flakes, Nichols must have been paying close attention, seeing that he was able to out-psych the doctor in this case. This was the Zach Nichols that I expected to see in Goldblum’s first appearance. While Goldblum himself did shine through on many occasions, I thought that we actually saw more of who Zach Nichols is.

The case itself was very well done, and a much more interesting take on the “corrupt financier” storylines that we’ve seen of late. It was an interesting twist having the doctor be the one who was manipulating things from the sidelines. Dennis Boutsikaris, who often has played an attorney on the original Law & Order, did a great job as the murdering and manipulating doctor. I did find myself wondering though, was it the securities company that was making deals in advance of them being announced and profiting from them, or were we to assume that was the doctor who was doing that? I am not quite sure they closed the loop on that end of the story.

All in all, I think this was an excellent episode and one much more worthy of the talents of Jeff Goldblum. The dialog was much improved over the previous Goldblum episode, and it seemed to solidify the working partnership with Nichols and Wheeler. I wonder, though, will Danny Ross really help change diapers?

Here is the recap:

There is a very fancy high class private social event going on. One man is trying to get in, but he can’t get past security. He calls them a bunch of crooks. People are gathered to hear Archie Beuliss (Norbert Leo Butz), who is the CEO of Beuliss Securities, give a speech. He is there with his wife, his CFO Frank Hatcher. His wife Elaine (Alexa Havins) introduces to him to Ron Hemmings (Wass Stevens), who thanks Archie for allowing him into his fund. Ron invested over a billion dollars. As everyone sits down for the speaking to start, and while Archie is being introduced, Archie’s and Frank’s cell phones ring. They leave the room to take the call, and Archie begins to get crazed with anger, apparently there was a news release that his company is under investigation by the SEC and people are trying to redeem their securities. Frank tells them they have to stall and put on a good face. Meanwhile, many other cell phones begin to ring at the dinner, and outside the room, Archie goes into a rage and throws things. Frank says he has to go to the bathroom. When he gets there and tries to calm himself, he turns around to see something. Back at the dinner, Archie has returned and gets on the stage and begins to speak, telling everyone that they should be calm, that they understand that temporary market retractions are meaningless. The man who just introduced Beuliss leaves and gets on his cell phone, and tells the person on the other line to try to redeem his securities with Beuliss’ company in Singapore. He walks into the men’s room and finds Frank Hatcher collapsing, a knife stuck into his chest.

Later, on the scene, while Detective Megan Wheeler (Julianne Nicholson) scans the men room, Captain Ross (Eric Bogosian) tells Detective Zach Nichols (Jeff Goldblum) if he says something and he’s wrong Wheeler will never forgive him. Nichols asks doesn’t he thinks it’s obvious, and Ross says he thought it was obvious with his cousin Rita and for 19 years yet she has given him cat toys for Christmas. She notices them watching and asks, “What?” and Ross responds, ‘Nothing.” When Nichols asks ‘How’s the body” she states the obvious to him, ‘Dead.” She adds he has a knife in his chest, it’s a hotel steak knife, and there was a banquet there with big shots from Wall Street. Ross adds that the victim was one of them, his name Frank Hatcher, CFO of Beuliss securities, and Archie Beuliss was the guest of honor. Nichols comments that someone stole the silverware –“A high class crowd like that.” Wheeler wonders if it was a spur of the moment murder, and Nichols agrees, saying that with premeditation, you bring your own cutlery.

Back at Major Case, Wheeler tells Ross that half the people at that banquet had means, opportunity, and motive, and they were going broke between the dessert course and coffee service. When Nichols states that is it so hot in there and asks Wheeler if she wants to take off her coat, she says no. Most of those in attendance at the banquet collected funds from their clients and then funneled their money to Beuliss. Nichols states that until last night, the fund was netting 15% a year, Ross stating that this is not possible. Ross suspects someone realized this and “pops a vein” and killed the Beuliss #2, but why Hatcher? Wheeler thinks they could have been sending a message, trying to intimidate #1. Nichols adds that maybe somebody didn’t like Frank Hatcher. Ross tells them to go see the guest of honor, maybe he has an idea.

At Beuliss’ office, he says the death is terrible and the killer must have been a lunatic. Nichols wonders if that is really the case, that a lunatic just happened to be passing by the men’s room, containing his right hand man at that moment when word was spread that his company was collapsing. Beuliss says he doesn’t see it collapsing, and shows an adjoining room where people seem to be busy. He says he sees an emotional reaction to a speculative news report about an unconfirmed investigation. Wheeler states that the SEC confirmed it this morning. He says he has been investigated virtually non-stop by the SEC since 1996 and he has given depositions so many times he swears to tell the truth when he orders dinner at a restaurant. He states Beuliss securities is sound. But Nichols questions that they have stopped their redemptions. Beuliss says that is temporary, his customers understand – or they should - that the company is not a piggy bank that they can break open whenever they get a funny feeling in their tummies. He says he stays calm and he convinces them to do also. He says if Nichols is suggesting that someone worried about his or her investment in Beuliss Securities that they murdered Frank Hatcher, maybe they can tell him why. Wheeler says maybe it’s because they lost all their money, and adds “just off the top of my head.” Beuliss says, “And killing Frank Hatcher was gonna get their money back? How?” Someone walks in, and tells Beuliss Dr. Ernst is calling, and he tells her to tell him to reschedule for tonight and he will meet him at the Southampton house, he’ll book a car and send him a helicopter. Wheeler asks if Beuliss knew anyone that had a grudge against Hatcher, and he points them to a staff accountant that made accusations against Frank that did not make sense so Beuliss fired him and he didn’t take it well.

At the home of the fired Mr. Cramer, he explains that somehow someone always knew what Beuliss’ company was going to buy in advance and was taking advantage of the information. He said someone inside is getting ahead of the trades and making a profit on every one and he thought it was Hatcher but Beuliss didn’t believe him. He went to the SEC but had no proof. He went to se Beuliss to beg for his job back and surrender but they would not let him in.

Outside, they talk about Cramer and try to rationalize if he could have killed Hatcher, thinking he could have picked up the knife off a tray. When Wheeler thinks that some may think that the murder did them a favor, Nichols says, “which by your logic would be a good things since they were doing a bad thing?” She asks, “Since when did you become such an expert on vulture funds anyway?” He answers, ‘Since I live in the land of the vultures. No, it’s the psychology to me, just interesting, for these guys good news is bad, bad news is good, you gotta feel you’re right and everybody else is wrong.” Nichols says when Cramer went to the SEC he had no proof but now the SEC is pursing an investigation someone must have gone there with proof.

At the office of a US attorney, she gives them the brush off. As she tries to walk up the stairs, Nichols grabs her hand on the railing and tries to talk his way into getting the answer out of her. As he talks, she pulls away her hand. He says the target must have been Beuliss, who was swindling with Hatcher’s help. The attorney says nothing and Nichols says if they are on the right track to blink her left eye. She does not, and says that the investigation has been hampered but it is ongoing. Nichols suspects Hatcher was the snitch. As they walk off, Nichols turns back to look at the US attorney, and winks his left eye at her.

Back at the office of Beuliss Securities, Beuliss’ wife Elaine is talking to Martin, Beuliss’ attorney, about her credit cards and what money she still can access. Nichols and Wheeler arrive and when they ask to see Beuliss, Martin tells them Mr. Beuliss checked himself in to an inpatient treatment facility for a psychiatric condition and his therapy requires a total break with the outside world. We then see Archie Beuliss entering a building, asking if there is a massage room, and to start with a massage.

Back at Major Case, the detectives bring Capt. Ross up to speed. Beuliss is at a place called “Pledges” and when Ross asks what is Beuliss’ alleged affliction, Nichols says “Umm, I’m guessing it’s a bad case of the SEC is up my ass for fraud and I’m preparing a psychiatric defense-itis.” Wheeler says it is a financial Twinkie defense. The rehab has a strict no-contact policy. Ross tells them to find a way to ask Beuliss if he new Hatcher was screwing him and how he felt about it.

Later, at the office of Dr. Ernst (Dennis Boutsikaris) they try to talk about Beuliss but the doctor won’t give them anything. Nichols tries to “take a crack” at what Beuliss’ problem is, and the doctor says it is very impressive and asks if he learned that at the police academy. Nichols says no, he thinks he say that on a TV show. Ernst asks him is he is always this hostile, and starts to psychoanalyze Nichols, and tells him his insistence on putting things in his own terms, his need to know more than someone who is clearly an expert, his twisting conversations to control them, if he were a child, his behavior would be oppositional defiance disorder, and in some sense, Nichols still is a child. He asks if Nichols thought about seeking professional help, and Nichols says if this is a speech to recruit new patients it’s very good. He says he doesn’t accept union insurance so Nichols couldn’t afford him

Outside the doctor’s office, when Wheeler comments that Nichols didn’t seem crazy about the guy, Nichols says he hates him. When Wheeler comments that Nichols father was a shrink, he says he used to get that every morning when he was a kid with his corn flakes. He also hasn’t see his father in decades, even though he lives on West 64th. When he asks if she is giving a joint diagnosis, she says she has just been thinking of fathers lately. Nichols states, “You’re pregnant, aren’t you?” She says, “Yeah.” Nichols asks, “The father?” Nichols says, “Lied to me, made me a fool, is in a federal prison for 12 years, otherwise perfect.”

We then see Beuliss talking to Dr. Ernst. Beuliss seems bored, but Ernst tells him Archie has issues. Beuliss feels like everything is coming down on him, and Ernst asks him about his business liquidity. He says only if people would just continue to invest, and Beuliss says that would be nice.

Back at Major Case, when Ross asks how things went with the shrink, Wheeler takes off her coat and says, “I’m pregnant. “ Ross quips, ‘That well?” He congratulates her, and she says that he knew. He says they are detective my dear, and she says they are male detectives, a female would have figured it out weeks ago. Nichols hands her a pair of yellow baby socks. He says she can continue to perform her duties. They talk about the lab report from the knife but the blood wasn’t Hatcher’s. Nichols asks if it was the cow’s and Ross says it was human so it would be nice to get a DNA sample from Beuliss. Wheeler tell him they can’t get anything out of Beuliss, but the doctor told Nichols he has authority issues, and apparently he needs therapy. Nichols gets and idea, and says maybe he does.

Elsewhere, Elaine Beuliss and Ron Hemmings are arguing about his investment, and she tries to calm him. He says he can’t talk to Beuliss about the business, only their mothers. She says she is leaving, and he should grow up.

Later, in a group session with Dr. Ernst, Beuliss is there, and so is Ron. Nichols barges into the group, and Ernst tells him to leave but Nichols announces to the group that there are police officers waiting outside to take the names and addresses of those that are outpatients about the murder investigation. Beuliss isn’t buying it. Ernst pulls Nichols aside and tells him his father is Dr. W.P. Nichols, and Ernst studied with him at Columbia, he was one of the most brilliant psychiatrists of his generation. He says he had a son who was admitted to medical school but dropped out to join the police force. Nichols says the pension plan was great. But Ernst adds that he rebels against his father and gives up a gold opportunity to spend his days as a civil servant, he says it is fascinating. He tells them if he calls off the troops he will let them talk to the group. He agrees.

Nichols sits down next to Beuliss, and he says he feels a compulsion to judge people, to solve puzzles , to assign blame, but others find he is being hostile and it ruined his marriage. He continues to talk and engages the group about betrayal and tried to get Beuliss to talk, and Ernst gets him to stop. But Ron shouts out, looking at Beuliss that he trusted someone and was betrayed. Ernst tries to get him to stop. Ron pushes Beuliss and Ernst tells Beuliss to go to his room and ends therapy session. Nichols reaches over and takes Beuliss’ coffee cup. Nichols says he feels better already and can’t wait for his next session.

Back at Major Case, they find the DNA from the coffee cup doesn’t match what was found on the knife. Nichols says that Ron Hemmings that had a strange outburst to Beuliss, and a week ago he invested all his family money with Beuliss just a week before the bad news and he was also at the dinner. Ross tells them to go see him.

When they go see Ron, he says he hadn’t lost anything yet, and says even if it is all true he made a mistake and has to take responsibility for it. He made his own decision to invest. Failure can be a part of success. He says his family is in Texas and he will be flying home this weekend to explain. Later outside, Wheeler says it seems Ron took a crash course in Zen and art of losing every penny he has. Nichols thinks Ernst may have had him on the couch. Wheeler thinks someone else had him on the couch, she smelled very expensive perfume on Ron, Elaine Beuliss was wearing it the other day.

At the home of Elaine Beuliss, she says she is “screwing” Ron, assuming Ron already told them this, which he had not. She says she picked Ron to have a fling with and she told Ron thanks but now Archie needs her. Nichols asks that if Ron is talking about being betrayed, it wasn’t about the money? Elaine says it is about her, and their undying love. Nichols tells her Hemmings didn’t mention her at all. She asks then why are they here? She says he was with her when Hatcher was killed, he was at her table begging for another chance. She tells Wheeler to “never give a man another chance, Honey.”

Later, Elaine is in Ernst’s office, telling her about the police coming to her apartment and about Ron. She asks why no one takes her seriously. He begins to analyze her. She asks is it the way she talks, or the plastic surgery. He thinks this is something they need to work on.

Back at Major Case, Wheeler is looking at Elaine’s high school picture and what she wrote in her yearbook. Nichols is doodling a picture of a huge eye. Wheeler wonders if Elaine suspected that Hatcher was going to kill her golden goose, Nichols says she gave Hemmings an alibi for the murder, maybe she was giving herself one? They decide to check with Hemmings, but when they get there, police are on the scene. The find Hemmings is dead in the bathtub, cuts in his arms, in an apparent suicide. They scan the room. The bathtub water is ice cold. Nichols finds many bottles of drugs, and picks up a paper from the trash and asks for it to be checked out.

Later, at the ME’s, Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix) says the cuts are consistent with suicide. His blood did not match the blood on Hatcher’s murder weapon. Nichols wonders if he was helped to suicide, but Rodgers says there was no sign of struggle. Tox scan is still in the works. Nichols thinks something happened after they last saw them. As Nichols walks out, deep in his own thought, Wheeler asks Rodgers if Nichols ever played well with others. Rodgers says she’s not even sure he is even fully aware they are there.

Back at Dr. Ernst’s’ place, Nichols says Ernst seems surprised that Hemmings killed himself. He says he is not a physic, and he thinks when wealthy people find their money collapses, so do they. The detectives question him about his specialty with wealthy clients. He says the super rich are more resistant to opening ups. Nichols wonders why they would accept help from him, a “relative pauper.” Ernst seems offended, but Nichols continues to harp on him, indicating that Ernst is nothing more than staff help, like a gardener or manicurist. Ernst says he helps them achieve their goals, like make another billion dollars. Nichols picks up on that comment, saying happiness and money are two different things.

Back at Major Case, Wheeler tells Ross that Nichols seems more interested in the shrink than the murder, maybe because of his father. Ross cautions her not to go there. She says she already did, she has father issues of her own. Ross asks her if she told the ex-fiancé and she says it’s none of his business. Ross says if she ever needs a had, and she comments about changing diapers, Ross says “whatever.” She thanks him. Nichols enters and says he has been going over Ernst’ patients list that he got from a birthday party Ernst’s patients had a year ago that made the society page. Nichols asks Wheeler if she has a list of Beuliss investors, and she says she’ll get that for him, and adds that the tox report came in and Hemmings was a walking pharmacy. Nichols looks at the file and shows that two drugs setraline and meclobomide he was taking were contra-indicated, the side effects of seizure, delirium, high heart rate and raised body temp. Ross comments suicide and Nichols says “Evidently.” Ross wonders that if he put himself in hot water to save himself. Wheeler thinks the delirium happened after the hot flashes. CSU found that the setraline was prescribed by a doctor in Houston where Hemmings was from, but found no bottle labeled meclobomide – there was no prescription. They suspect someone gave it to him, maybe on purpose.

Back at Dr. Ernst’s office, he is in a group session, and Nichols arrives, and begins to ask how many of the invested in Beuliss Securities, and they all had. The doctor had given them the advice to invest there. Nichols begins to hammer on this conflict of interest and mentions Ron Hemmings’ death. Nichols brings out the fact that Ernst was “fundraising” but Beuliss says he didn’t know what Ernst was doing. They did talk about the business in his sessions, though – that took place on his flight to Southampton on his yacht. All the patients begin to look at the doctor as Nichols continues to point out the doctor’s involvement and the doctor begins to talk about the business using the word “we.” Nichols says that Hemmings was unwilling to invest only on Ernst’s word, so Ernst sent over Archie’s wife as a convincer.

Wheeler brings in Elaine and she admitted she had an affair with Ron, saying Ernst encouraged her. Archie is shocked when Nichols says Ernst “pimped out his wife” to get more investment money from Hemmings. Nichols brings out the paper found in Hemmings trash that had Ernst’s fingerprints and traced of meclobomide, and tells him about the bad side effects. He serves Ernst with a warrant for the patient file, and Ernst says there is such as thing as doctor/patient privilege, Wheeler reminds him the privilege belongs to the patient, and Ron’s heirs will be happy to waive it. Nichols comes back to Frank Hatcher, who was also a patient. The presume Frank told Ernst he was going to the SEC, and when Archie says Frank was his best friend, Ernst says Frank was going to bring “us” down. Archie wants him to stop the “us” thing but Ernst continues to dig himself deeper, saying he helped guide some decision making. Archie is incredulous saying he didn’t take the advice he gave him, he humored him because he was bringing in money from the other people. He adds if a dog walker told him to invest in other dogs he would have dropped Ernst in a second and gotten a real psychiatrist, his dog walker at least got his dogs to stop pissing in the sunroom. Ernst is enraged, trying to say that Archie’s distractions were a problem and Frank was going to destroy them. Archie admits that Ernst was there that night, he came to buck him up for the big speech and he didn’t see him for the rest of the night. Wheeler says they will need a sample of the doctor’s DNA to match to the murder weapon, and he says fine, and then he will tell the SEC everything that Archie and Frank told him about their scheme to swindle the investors. Nichols says this is very much appreciated and says maybe the two of them can continue their therapy sessions in prison. As the police lead Ernst off, he tells the patients not to say a word, he forbids it. As they patients all look on, and as Elaine consoles Archie who is holding his head in his hand, Nichols dryly states, ‘I think that’s all for today” and 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.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you there. I enjoyed this episode as well.

Goldblum was terrific and I was just cheering his character on during his encounters with the Doctor; who I might add I was starting to suspect was the real bad guy around the same time Nichols had.

Sara said...

Another excellent review. My favorite show in the franchise!