While working a case, Detective Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) was thinking with a body part other than his brain, and it created a bunch of problems for the team in this epsiode of Law & Order “Just a Girl In The World.” And what I thought was going to be a dull episode turned strangely interesting, especially when the show went off formula. Law & Order rarely shows the personal side of their characters, but in this episode, the focus was on personal matters for two people – Lupo, with this ill choice of a romantic involvement, and Lt. Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson), who we see getting more information about her diagnosis of cervical cancer.
Lupo should have known better, but hey, detectives are people too. I felt no sympathy for him, however, when his partner Detective Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) gave him a verbal smackdown when Lupo’s bad decision threatened to get them both scrutinized by Internal Affairs. Likewise, I felt no pity when Van Buren took him behind a closed door and shut blinds to give him a similar dressing down, which we didn’t get to see.
S. Epatha Merkerson did a wonderful job in her the different role of being a patient hearing about her cancer diagnosis. The tough lieutenant is clearly rocked by the circumstances surrounding her illness, and we glimpse a side of Van Buren that we rarely see. When she finds out that she likely got the HPV - which caused the cancer - from her ex, she is worried that now that she found another man, her chances of keeping that man may have just gone out the window. My heart went out to her. I am glad to see Epatha get a storyline that can use her exceptional acting skills, but I have to admit that I feel awful that they had to make her ill to do so.
Taking a bit of a back seat in this episode was the prosecution, although EADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) got to play a game of his own on the defendant and handily exposed her as master manipulator. We all know that Cutter seems to enjoy playing games to win his cases.
The quality of writing is probably the best of all in the Law & Order franchise right now. The writers have a good feel for the characters and it makes it seem like we are watching a real investigation and trial, and not just actors playing a part.
One question: Why would they allow the same lab to run tests on the feminine hygiene wipe when that same lab was where the blood evidence was faked? I was surprised that Cutter and Rubirosa asked them to do so, I would have though they would have insisted on somone who wasn't compromised by the case.
Here is the recap:
A medical examiner’s office crew is on a scene of a dead body. Daisy Chao and Colin (Michael Crane) work to remove the body from the site, Daisy accidentally pulling the leg off the body as she tries to move it. The next thing we know, we see police on the scene of a murder, with a man sitting on the steps holding his head. The officer tells Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) that the fiancé said he was out of town for the weekend and found Daisy lying dead on the floor. She has been stabbed, at looks like she was killed 2-3 days ago, on Friday. She has defensive wounds. The ME on the scene recognizes her as “one of his” and when he excuses himself, Detective Bernard says, “You’re one of ours now, Daisy.”
They speak to Daisy’s fiancé Jim Anderson (Peter Scanavino), who says he left Friday night and Daisy was not home yet. He went to his parent’s place in the Adirondacks but his parents weren’t there, it was just him. His is a graphic artist and the quiet helps him work. He didn’t use the phone there to call anyone, not even Daisy. Daisy’s wallet was missing, so they ask him to get her bank and credit card information. He says she had one credit card and a $200 gift card from Victoria’s Secret that he got her so she could get something special for their wedding night.
We then cut to Lt. Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) who is in her doctor’s office and they discuss her diagnosis of cervical cancer as a result of the HPV virus. When Van Buren says she had only been with this man for a month, the doctor tells her she was infected long before that, and Van Buren bristles when she realized her ex likely gave it to her. She has stage 2 cancer, which responds well to chemotherapy. Van Buren mutters about “that no good son of a bitch” and she can’t believe he left her with this, and she just met the most wonderful man. The doctor tells her had she not just met that man, she may have never realized that she had cancer, as the first sign of the cancer is pain with intercourse.
Back at the 2-7, Lupo is trying to track down the $200 gift card. Bernard says the time of death was between 8-12 on Friday. The gift card was used on Saturday to buy a $90 red babydoll. There is no activity on her bank card, but she has a savings account that she hadn’t touched in a year, and Monday, $1,800 was withdrawn from an ATM at a bodega. Daisy was at work at that time.
At the Medical Legal-Lab, they talk to Colin and her boss, who confirms she was at work with him waiting to testify. Colin said she had pre-wedding jitters. Two weeks ago she brought in a feminine hygiene wipe she found in her bathroom wastebasket that Jim said he used to wipe gunk off his hands. But Daisy suspected he was playing around. Colin wanted her to test it, and Lupo tells him to go ahead and test it. Colin heard her arguing on the phone with Jim on Friday about missing money. She took a livery cab home.
Back in the 2-7. Lupo and Bernard question Jim and try to poke holes in his story. They tell him the crime lab has the wipe. He swears he loves Daisy. He says Daisy asked him to get the money for a day spa. But Bernard isn’t buy it, telling him they think he bought the size 2 red babydoll for his girlfriend on the side. He insists he did not kill her. Van Buren knocks on the interrogation room window to call the detectives out. She tells them the 4th precinct called and a young woman just reported that she was attacked outside her apartment by an assailant with a knife. She is Asian and attacked by a livery driver, and their current victim was driven home in a livery.
The detectives head to the 4th precinct, and are told the victim has some bruises and scratches and her blouse was torn, but she walked herself in and helped them with a sketch. The new victim’s name is Emma Kim (Camille Chen). They speak with Emma who says she went to see a band to write a review for a magazine, and when she left she couldn’t get a taxi so she tried the livery. She has only been in the city 6 months. The driver seemed to seem enamored with her, and she thinks he had “yellow fever,” meaning he had a thing for Asian women. When she got out of the car, she was getting her keys and he grabbed her from behind with a knife. A horn started honking as he was blocking someone so he took off. She recalls that he was wearing beach sandals like Tevas. Lupo says she will need to show them where it happened, and she said she will go, she wants to get the guy. When they leave, Bernard says the cheating fiancé just caught himself a break.
At Emma’s place with the detectives, she goes through the events of her attack. Bernard sees shoe prints that look like sandals. Lupo tells her the driver knows where she lives and maybe she should call a friend, but she says it is late and she doesn’t know anyone well enough. Lupo suggests that she stay at their precinct in the bunk room, and she accepts. Bernard gives Lupo a look.
At the 2-7, they discuss the fact that the livery driver database has 600 Latino drivers in their 20s. Van Buren is not sire the cases are connected. Lupo’s phone rings, and it is Emma telling Lupo she has something to tell them. Van Buren is surprised that Emma is there, and Lupo tells her she is in the bunk room, she didn’t feel safe at her place and she will call a friend in the morning. But Van Buren isn’t happy, saying as long as Emma doesn’t expect turndown service, and tells him not to make it a habit.
Emma recalls seeing a sticker of a yellow cartoon bird on the back window – Tweety Bird. Bernard says Tweety is popular with Dominicans. She tells them they are so cool about letting her stay there, and Lupo tells her to get some rest. As they leave the bunk room, Bernard says he sees where this is going and they next thing he’ll know she'll be friending him on Facebook.
At Los Hermanos Car Service, they find a driver, Nestor Maldonado, that matched the description, and he says the girl was never in his car. They tell him they are impounding his vehicle for unpaid tickets and they take his sandals too.
At the lab, they find the sandal prints are the same make, but they are only partials so they can’t make a match. Colin tells them that the found some of Daisy’s blood in the livery cab on he carpet near the break pedal.
Later, they have Nestor Maldonado in interrogation and he denies anything. Lupo starts to get a little unhinged as he questions him, but Nestor continues to deny it. He says they are trying to get him for something he didn’t do. He says he wants a lawyer – now.
Emma is at the line up, and while she is looking at the potential suspects, she takes Lupos’s hand, and the defense attorney Mr. Marquez notices. Emma identified Nestor as the man who attacked her. Later, Bernard tells Emma she will have to sign the affidavit. She tells Lupo she hasn’t been home yet because she is spooked and asks if an officer can take her home. Lupo offers that they can take her, and Bernard gives him an icy glare. Bernard pulls Lupo aside and asks if this is “Lupo dial a ride.” when Lupo asks what is the big deal, Bernard says other that it is 90 blocks in the wrong direction, he had plans for the evening. But he doesn’t think Emma will mind.
Lupo, walking her home in the rain, he talks to her about being in Marrakesh and that he was entered into a sheep shearing contest after drinking a lot. She tells him he makes it easy – he never really comes home. She invites him in for tea, and he does so.
Back at the 2-7 the next day, Bernard notices that Lupo is wearing the same clothes as yesterday, and Lupo quips that Bernard should have been a detective. Bernard says, :”You’ve got to be kidding me. Are you purposely trying to mess up this case? “ Lupo looks at Bernard and says nothing, then walks off.
At the Supreme Court motion heading, Emma is on the stand. She says she didn’t get much sleep as she has chronic kidney disease but takes meds and she is fine. She identifies Nestor as the man who attacked her. But under cross. Marquez brings out the fact that he took Lupo’s hand during the line up and maybe he did something to tell her which person to pick, like him squeezing her hand twice. ADA Connie Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) looks shocked and turns around to look at Lupo. Judge Maxson (Chris Mulkey) says he has heard enough and grants the defense motion to throw out the line up ID. Rubirosa tried to object, but the judge says he can’t abide by physical contact between a detective and witness during the line up. When they adjourn, Rubirosa tries to stop Lupo to talk with him but he says he has to go and he leaves.
Back at Emma’s place, he and Emma discuss what happened and Lupo says they have other evidence against Maldonado. He holds her and she puts some moves on him to get him to stay. She tells him she is not a delicate flower and takes her meds when she can afford to. The magazine she works for does not pay benefits. After a long kiss, he caves in. He says he needs to go wash up and while in the bathroom, he calls out that if she needs help with her meds to let him know. But when he goes into her closet for a towel, he sees a red babydoll from Victoria’s Secret. Now Lupo is starting to have worries. But, he comes into her bed, and says he is tired and he just wants to hold each other.
The next day, he and Bernard are at the hot dog vendor and Lupo tells Bernard about the red babydoll, the same model and size that was purchased with Daisy’s gift card, and the style is only a few weeks old. He says her story isn’t sitting right, but Bernard says they found Daisy’s blood in Maldonado’s car. Bernard says Lupo is feeling guilt for getting involved with Emma. Lupo tells him not to lecture him, but Bernard says he is not getting a pass on it. He says if this case goes south because of it, it falls on both of them. Lupo says Bernard’s buddies and IA can cover his butt, but Bernard says, “You see The Defiant Ones? Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier? “ When Lupo says yeah, Bernard goes on, ripping into him, “Well we are chained in this together partner. When you cross that line, you bring me with you. Not you may not have anybody depending on you anymore, but I do. Not only do I need this job, I like this job, and you cannot mess that up for me. “ He throws his trash away and walks off in a huff.
Back at the 2-7, the have Jim Anderson back in interrogation. They tell him they came across some of his illustrations in a music magazine and found that Emma Kim also works there. Jim admits that there was something going on with him and Emma, and one day she came to him about her kidney meds and he gave her money from Daisy’ s account. He and Daisy had a big fight and he told her about Emma being sick and giving her the money, and then he told Emma she would have to pay it back, and then went upstate to get away from the whole mess. Emma warned him not to say anything about the money, that she would get the detectives off their case. Lupo, looking uncomfortable, asks how Emma was going to do that. Jim says she did not say.
Later, Lupo and Bernard bring Van Buren up to speed, and she says to book Jim Anderson on larceny and obstruction. When she asks where is the nighty, Lupo tells her it is in Emma’s apartment in bathroom closet. When she asks how Lupo knows it was there, he admits he saw it. He tells Van Buren she invited him in. Van Buren says, “Invited you in. For what?” Lupo clears his throat and says, sheepishly, “For tea.” She calmly tells Bernard “out” and Lupo walks in for the smackdown he knows is coming. Van Buren closes the door, and as we see Lupo staring out the office window, someone quickly shuts the blinds.
Later, Lupo is at Emma’s place and he tells her he got suspended. He says he is right, he never really came home, and maybe he was better off working overseas. Maybe it would be better if he had company and suggests she come with him. He says he doesn’t care what they are saying about her. When she asks what they are saying, he tells her that they found out that they found out that she works at the same place as Daisy’s fiancé and they are trying to make something out of it. He asks if it is a fluke, and she say yes. But he says he can still fix things if there is something she hasn’t told him. He throws everything he can at her but she doesn’t budge and says she has never been with Anderson. Lupo says he doesn’t want to care about that he wants to protect her. He asks her if she has a red nighty and she says yes, she got it a while ago for when she met someone special and she thought she did. Meanwhile, Van Buren and Bernard listen in a surveillance van to the conversation as Lupo is wired, and they realize Emma is not going for it. W then here Bernard banging on the door announcing they are the police and to open up, and Lupo lets them in. Van Buren says they have a warrant for her arrest for obstruction, and she tells the officer that everything goes – clothes, shoes, the works. Lupo tells them the nighty is in the back on the second shelf. He finds the price tag form Victoria’s Secret and the inventory number matches the one bought with Daisy’s gift card. Emma tells Lupo, “You think you know, but you don’t.” Van Buren tells him he really knows how to pick them. Bernard also glares at him as he walks off.
In the DA’s office interview room, EADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) and Rubirosa speak with Emma with her attorney (Remy Auberjonois) present. She says she needs no deal and she will tell them everything. She said Jim was nice to her when he found out she was sick. She never slept with him and when he found out she was sick, he insisted on paying her medical bills. She told him she wouldn’t sleep with him as long as he was engaged and he told her he was going to break up with Daisy. After she died he was afraid he would be arrested. He begged her to make up the story about the driver. Cutter says so she agreed to commit a felony for him, and she answers that she felt she owed him. She never thought he killed her.
In DA Jack McCoy’s (Sam Waterston) office, Rubirosa and Cutter, along with Van Buren, bring him up to speed. Van Buren tells him there is no evidence implicating Anderson or Emma in the murder. Cutter says all of this would have been a lot simpler if Lupo wouldn’t have jumped into the sack with Emma. McCoy tells them that the bigger problem is the blood evidence implicating the driver, and tells them to sort that out.
When they go back to Colin, Cutter and Rubirosa find out that Colin faked the results. He said he took a sample from the murder scene and said it was from Maldonado’s car. Rubirosa mentions the feminine hygiene wipe that Daisy found in the trash, and they now want him to test it and compare it to Emma’s DNA.
Back at the 2-7, Lupo tells Bernard that Van Buren is not going to the Chief of Ds. He says no overtime for 6 months and that he is in the bag for every parade from Halloween to Memorial Day. Bernard tells him that forensics retested the wipe and it is positive for Emma’s DNA and for Jim Anderson’s as well. Bernard says Emma is a stone cold liar. When Lupo says that does not take Anderson off the hook, Bernard hands him a file and tell shim to read the find print – Emma’s DNA tested negative for the gene for chronic kidney disease. Emma conned Anderson for the money – like a pro.
At the Golden Brokerage Realty in Boston, a man looks at a photo of Emma and says that is Emily Kwan, and that she took him for $17,000 which he gave her to cover medical bills for a heart problem for tests and meds. He found she was also running a the same scam on a guy in Summerville. He said when they first met, she told him he made it easy, and he though he meant it was easy to fall for him. Now he knows it mean he was easy to con. He mentions he got a call from a police technician, Daisy, and she called her back on Monday but her extension was disconnected.
In Cutter’s office, the detectives tell her about the numerous warrants for a girl matching Emma’s description and MO. They think Emma knew Daisy was on to her, and likely saw Maldonado drop Daisy off at home and used him as the fall guy. They think Emma killed Daisy. Cutter tells them to release Maldonado and bump put the charges on Emma to murder. Cutter adds to Lupo that his partner will handle the police testimony,
But this becomes a problem when Emma’s lawyer, who says Lupo handled the evidence that led up to her arrest. Emma tries to play on Judge Maxson’s sympathy, but he tells her to let her lawyer speak for her. The lawyer states that Lupo’s was sleeping with Emma, but Cutter ads it was before she was a suspect. The judge decides that if Cutter wants the physical evidence, the dirty laundry comes with it.
In court, Lupo is on the stand recounting that he found the babydoll and admits the relationship, which he says he ended once he realized she was involved in Daisy’s murder. He apologizes for his bad judgment. Under cross, the defense asks about the livery car driver, and it is mentioned that the evidence had been fabricated by a medical legal investigator. The attorney tried to imply that Lupo seduced Emma to just get another fall guy, and made it sound like Lupo tricked her into inviting him in so he could plant evidence Lupo denies all of it. When the attorney asks why they should believe him, he tells the jury that there is no reason for them to trust him as he broke his bond with the people that he is sworn to protect but he is telling the truth. If they don’t believe him it is his own damn fault.
Emma is now on the stand, and she states the Lupo pressured her for sex. She says that he kept coming back and she felt sick. She says he got angry and tried to get him to say things to incriminate herself. She says Lupo lied to her and then planted the price tag. He even turned Jim against her, and that all these men try to punish her because she won’t give them herself to them.
Cutter cross examines, and brings out her previous testimony that Lupo was honest, and she said he had to, and admits it wasn’t the actual truth. He brings out the chronic kidney disease, and the DNA evidence says she does not. She says never had a DNA test and can’t afford fancy doctors. He mentions previous testimony from Josh Barton about a heart condition, and then goes on to mention several others of other conditions that the told to other men. When he asks her what disease she has or is it a pack of lies, she turns to Judge Maxson and says, “Why are you letting him do this Robert? You said you help me.” But the judge is stunned at this, and she goes on to say that he promised is she spent the weekend on his sailboat after the trial, he would help her. The judge calls for them to come to his chambers.
The defense attorney says he didn’t know she would do this, and the judge says he will declare a mistrial. But Cutter wants them to go on, saying that she would just do the same thing again to someone else at retrial and he would be rewarding bad behavior. Rubirosa tells Cutter she hopes he knows what he is doing.
Back in court, Cutter whispers to Emma that he couldn’t get her a mistrial, and let try harder. She looks at him blankly. But as Cutter continues to question her, she says that the judge forced her to have sex in the chambers, but doesn’t remember what day. He brings out the fact that there is a record of every time she was transported to the courthouse, and she says the judge got the prison people to conspire with him to make sure there was no evidence of her movements. Cutter mentions that the officers who drove the prison vans had to be in on it, and the guards, court clerks, etc. She says when men want, they will do anything. She brings out all these men that she thinks were only after her. She says her mother told her if they want milk, they have to buy the cow. Cutter makes her look like a woman who wants men to pay to get anything from her – even if she had to lie. She is stunned by his turn against her, and she starts to get upset and defensive. She yells that Cutter was going to help her, and this is not helping her. Cutter looks with a fake shock, and asks why would he help her? As Emma breaks down, she says that Cutter wants “this” as she moves her hand to her crotch. Cutter steps back, and she tells him not to walk away, he can have it if he helps her, and then says she is sick and weak. She begs someone to help her, looking like a crazy lady.
The jury finds Emma Kim guilty. Lupo gives a thankful look to Cutter, who nods back to him. Later, as they are taking to jail, Lupo watches as she tried to play the cute, helpless act with the guard, as we fade to black.
All Text Content (Recaps, Review, Commentary) © allthingslawandorder.blogspot.com 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.