Saturday, January 16, 2010

Law & Order “Blackmail” Recap & Review

Say Goodbye to the Beards

Law & Order “Blackmail” was one of those episodes where one half seemed better than the other, in this case, it was the detectives portion that seemed far more interesting that the prosecution half. The episode seemed to be patterned after the recent David Letterman blackmail scandal, while also taking a swipe at The View with the episodes fictional woman’s show “The Sisters,” with, Van Buren saying “it’s a great way of turning off your brain for an hour.” Likewise, they also took swipes at gossip sites such as (which I don't care for either.)

After hearing the recent story about why he had to shave his beard from a clean shaven Anthony Anderson’s appearance on Jimmy Fallon and after seeing the new Law & Order cast photo with a clean shaven Jeremy Sisto spliced in, I wondered how they were going to work the whole beard issue into an episode. When Van Buren tells them that the bearded look is “not working” I suspect that it was some sort of oblique reference to the fact that either someone with the show “up high” wanted the beards gone, or they felt fans thought the beards weren’t working. My opinion is the only problem with the beards is that both Sisto and Bernard had the same kind of beards. But no big deal, now it will only be a problem for them when they want to go undercover or do surveillance in the open because now they will look like cops (that may not be a good thing).

I noticed one error in filming or editing in the scene where Bernard was eating a sandwich at Carville's home. He drops the sandwich back on the plate, and then magically a few seconds later at the end of the scene it is in hand again so he can drop it again.

The first half of the show had a lot of promise, with an interesting blackmail case and an interesting investigation. But I thought the episode took a wacky turn when it got into the whole issue with DiPalma being forced by gunpoint to pretend he was strangling Megan, the eventual victim. I found myself wondering how exactly did Megan get from a fake strangling to dead? As she wasn’t killed by his gun, then how did Derek manage to restrain her to strangle her? Did he have help? The ME didn’t comment about signs of a struggle. Did DiPalma assist in the manner? It’s the whole story where DiPalma said that Derek had taken care of it that left me feeling that there were still too many unanswered questions about DiPalma's involvement in the murder.

All in all, it was still a good episode, but it seemed a little dull as the episode continued to wind down. Despite that, I think that the writing on the Law & Order episodes is far better than what we are seeing on SVU as of late. The dialog with Law & Order seems much more realistic, natural, and even more amusing at times than SVU, the latter which seems like one can predict too easily what will be said next. SVU is getting almost as campy as the camp-fest CSI Miami. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Law & Order continues to get better with age, and this current cast has great chemistry and the writers have supported them with great dialog. I am hoping that all the details get worked out for season 21, but I won’t be celebrating until I see it on the fall schedule, and hopefully with the same cast.

Here is the recap:

In a restaurant, reporter Megan Kerrick tells another woman that she would be a totally anonymous source, but the other woman says she doesn’t understand the point in talking about it. She concerned someone would figure out her identity. She adds she has a new job and isn’t widely considered a slut and things are fine the way they are. But Megan argues that it is not right, and it keeps happening over and over. The other woman responds that she’ll think about it and will let her know.

Later, Detectives Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) arrive at the scene of an uncompleted building, the police officer saying that the developer ran out of money. Construction ended 6 months ago and security is “half-assed.” Someone called in finding the body using 911 at a pay phone and the caller left no name. They see a woman’s body lying underneath the metal; it is the reporter we saw at the restaurant. Lupo sees bruises on her neck, but there is no blood. The police officer tells them no purse or ID was found, and wonders if she is a “working girl” who brought a john up there. But Lupo says her clothes are clean, no track marks on her arm, and no chops in her manicure. The police office comments that she could have been there forever before anybody found her, and Bernard responds he thinks that was the plan.

At the morgue, ME Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix) tells the detectives the victim died last night, and she was strangled. There is no vaginal tearing and no semen so she hadn’t had sex recently or she used a condom, but Rodgers did find a public hair on her upper inner thigh that is not her. It’s the wrong gender, and Rodgers tells them to find the penis it belongs to and they will have a lead. Lupo says they will get right on that.

Bernard enters Lt. Anita Van Buren’s (S. Epatha Merkerson) office to tell her they got a hit, but she is distracted by her medical bills. She realizes she was charged $89 for a “mucous recovery system” – a box of tissues. The Jane Doe is Megan Kerrick, her fingerprints matched a set in the Pentagon’s database, she was a freelance journalist who accompanied the USO troops to Afghanistan. The Pentagon takes their prints and DNA in case they are blown up. Lupo enters and tells them they also list next of kin, and he just got off the phone with her sister in San Diego who told him Megan wasn’t married, she never heard of any boyfriend, and that Megan spent most of her time writing for a web site called, a site that digs up dirt on celebrities and others, the more embarrassing the more they like it. Van Buren tells them to find out who Megan has been embarrassing lately.

At the offices of, they speak with the editor Dennis DiPalma (Raul Esparza) who asks if Megan’s death has been reported yet. Bernard asks if he is looking for a scoop, and DiPalma says it depends on what she was working on. He calls in Derek and asks what Megan was working on but he doesn’t know, she was just working on a story about a big environmental movie star who sent her cocker spaniel to Paris. When DiPalma tells Derek that Megan has been killed, he asks if it has been reported anywhere yet. The detectives give each other a look. DiPalma says Megan wasn’t working on anything for them that would get her killed. Lupo asks if he figures the cocker spaniel is in the clear, and DiPalma laughs uncomfortably. DiPalma says Megan was a freelance contributor and they have hundreds. Lupo asks to look at her desk, but as far as DiPalma knows she worked from home.

The detectives search Megan’s home and the home is neat and tidy. There is no computer and a file drawer is unlocked with a big gap inside. Bernard thinks the killer took her purse and he had her keys. Lupo checks an answering machine and there is a message on there from “Sara” who tells her she is sorry but she doesn’t want to talk about this and she thinks she should forget the story.

At the home of Sara Bradley, she explains that she only met Megan that one time, she contacted her out of the blue and said she wanted to meet her about a story – people who sleep with their bosses, which she did. She didn’t want to talk about it because she has a boyfriend and a new boss, and she didn’t want them to know. Megan told Sara she talked to a woman who used to work where she used to work and had the same “position:” that she did with the boss. The problem is the boss is not a “he.”

In Van Buren’s office, Van Buren, Lupo, and Bernard are watching a woman’s show called “The Sisters” with Vanessa Carville (Samantha Bee) as host. Megan was writing about women who were sleeping with Vanessa, which could have included Megan as Megan had been a production associate on The Sisters. Van Buren says she loves the show, it’s a great way of turning off your brain for an hour. Lupo asks her if she’d still love it if she knew Vanessa was plowing through her female employees. They wonder as Vanessa is married with a family if she found what Megan was writing about…and Van Buren tells them to go see her. Before they leave, she tells them, “And one more thing. I don’t know what kind of downtown look you guys are going for with this stubble and all, but it’s not working.” Lupo chuckles and asks, “For downtown or for you?” She responds, “Both. Have you looked in the mirror lately detective? You’re not in Karachi anymore. Alright?” As Lupo looks a little stunned, Bernard smiles and says, “OK” and they leave her office. Lupo turns and looks back to her and she turns “The Sisters” back on.

At a restaurant, Bernard asks Lupo if he ever watches her show and he says, “Sure, when I’m not knitting booties for my cat.” The spot Vanessa sitting at a table and walk over to her and she’s dining with two men. Bernard wonders if one of them is her husband, and Lupo thinks this could be awkward. Bernard says that’s why they get paid the big bucks. When they address Vanessa, they find the man she is dining with is DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston), who seems just as surprised to see them. He tells they must be mind readers, he was just going to call One PP as Vanessa just came to him with her attorney as she is being blackmailed.

In McCoy’s office with her attorney, Vanessa tells McCoy and Van Buren she likes to leave for the studio early so she can read the papers before anyone gets there. She came out of her house at 6 AM and nearly tripped over an envelope of incriminating photos with her and other woman, plus emails and diary entries. She did not see who left it. The photos are real but she’d rather deal with it than pay $3 million to some blackmailer. McCoy tells Van Buren the cover letter asks for $3 million or this will all be published in a book. Vanessa is supposed to wait at home for a phone call at noon to arrange payment. Van Buren says this involves Megan Kerrick, and Vanessa says that things with Megan ended badly and wonders if this was revenge. Van Buren tells her that Megan was murdered two night ago, and Vanessa is shocked. When Van Buren adds that before Megan died she was working on Vanessa’s story, Vanessa concludes she is a suspect. She says she didn’t know Megan was working on the article, she hasn’t spoken to Megan in over a year. She asks what they do now, and McCoy says it can’t be a coincidence that the blackmail comes at the same time as Megan’s murder. He says they should play along with the blackmailer if she is up to it. Vanessa says she has to get to the studio but will be home before noon. Van Buren wants to get her people in there before that, and Vanessa says she will arrange that. After Vanessa leaves, McCoy asks what Van Buren thinks. She says she killed Megan to keep her quiet, coming forward with a bogus blackmail story would be a smart way to throw them off. But McCoy finds that hard to believe, but just in case – and he points to Vanessa’s coffee cup for Van Buren to take for fingerprints and/or DNA.

At the home of Vanessa Carville, Lupo and Bernard are there waiting for the phone call. Vanessa wonders if Megan was in on it and she tried to back out. Bernard says that’s a theory, and picks up a small sandwich to eat. Vanessa tersely asks if the other theory is that she (Vanessa) did it, and Bernard responds that’s a theory. She tells him, “No more sandwiches for you” and Bernard halts putting it in his mouth and taking a bite, and tosses it back on the plate. It is nearly 1:00 PM and no call yet, and Vanessa’s husband Wayne walks in, testy. She tells him he does not need to be there as they are handling it. Wayne says his wife’ affair with other woman and $3 million, it’s more interesting that what’s happened in the office. She tells them she is heading for the studio and they can stay if they want to, all of them/ After she walks out, Wayne, drinking, says, “Just us guys.” Bernard throws the sandwich on the plate (for the second time).

Back at the 2-7, Lupo tells Van Buren the blackmailer never called. She wonders if he knew they were there and was watching the house, but Lupo said they were careful, they came in the service entrance. Van Buren wonders is Vanessa made the whole thing up. Bernard said she didn’t make this up, and he reads an entry from the file, a steamy message from Vanessa to Megan. When Bernard asks if she has seen the stuff in the blackmail package, Van Buren says she would have paid the $3 million. He also reads something from Megan’s diary where Megan said she was nervous at first but they split one of her Vicodin and a bottle of wine. Bernard shows one of the photos to “Lupes” of a picture of Vanessa in what they recognize as Sara Bradley’s apartment – the girl who said she didn’t cooperate with Megan’s research. Van Buren wonders how that picture wound up in the blackmail surprise.

Back at Sara’s home, she admits she took that photo, but she never gave it to Megan. She also realizes that her back up hard drive had been stolen a few weeks ago. She filed a police report.. Lupo’s phone rings, and tells the caller they will set it up. He tells Bernard that Carville got the call and it is a go.

In a park area, Vanessa is going to meet the blackmailer as Lupo is waiting nearby watching and listening. Bernard is in a surveillance van doing the same. Vanessa is also wearing an earpiece so she can hear Bernard, and he tells hr to take seat on the bench. She does. Lupo sees someone approach Bernard tells Vanessa to stop talking. It is DiPalma, Megan’s editor, and Bernard comments that DiPalma said he had no idea what Megan was working on and Lupo says he guesses he lied. DiPalma asks Vanessa if she brought the check, but she asks who he is and why she is doing this. Bernard wonders what she is doing, and Lupo says she is conducting an interview. DiPalma sits down and Vanessa seems to be getting argumentative, and Lupo tells her to just give him the damn check. She does, and as DiPalma begins to walk off, Lupo stops him and arrests him.

In the interrogation at the 2-7, DiPalma is there with his attorney Mr. Baron (Jason Kravits), who says the whole thing is a misunderstanding. He says he had nothing to do with Megan but his Baron tells him to shut up and tells the detectives no more questions, and asks if he should try that in French. Lupo asks if DiPalma wants to give them a key to his apartment or would he prefer they take the door off its hinges – the search warrant is on it’s way.

McCoy walks into EADA Michael Cutter’s (Linus Roache) office, with ADA Connie Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) present, and asks if the police found anything. Cutter says the found enough to nail DiPalma on the blackmail 10 times over, Megan’s notebooks, diary, originals of the blackmail material, the stolen computer hard drive. When McCoy asks if there is anything tying DiPalma to Megan’s murder, Rubirosa says the pubic hair found on DiPalma’s sheets matches the one found on Megan’s body. Cutter comments it is obvious what happened: Megan felt burned by her relationship with Carville and was expecting a promotion at least, instead she got dumped for the next flavor of the month and then laid off, it is all in her diaries. She wanted to get even, and McCoy suspects that DiPalma highjacked her article and be turned it into blackmail. McCoy asks if they can prove that, and Rubirosa says that wasn’t in her diary. McCoy asks what they do have on the murder, and Cutter says enough to nail DiPalma on the blackmail 10 times over. McCoy says it is better than nothing and could be a lever to shake something lose, telling them to move on it.

At arraignment court, DiPalma is being arraigned for attempted grand larceny in the first degree. Baron enters a plea of not guilty, and Rubirosa requests remand as DiPalma is a key suspect in a related homicide. Baron says this is irrelevant to bail, and the judge asks if this is related to the blackmail of a TV personality for $3 million, but Baron says DiPalma is innocent . The judges suggests they pick a number for bail that is relevant, and sets it a $3 million.

On the courthouse steps, Baron talks to reporters about the case, saying they have only heard Carville’s side, which the police and the DA have swallowed whole. As Cutter and Rubirosa watch from a short distance, he says this case is also about the motive and intent of Carville, and DiPalma wants to tell the full story in court and if in defending his reputation other people are damaged, that’s just the way it’s got to be. He says he has a few questions for Carville, adding actually more than a few. Cutter comments to Rubirosa, “Now the real blackmail begins.”

In the judges chambers, Baron is seeking a long list of material and he argues that it is only fair as DiPalma has a right to get his story out and says the information is likely to lead to credible and relevant evidence for the defense. He wants tax returns for the last 10 years to see if she took any business deductions for incriminating material. Cutter sarcastically asked if he thinks Carville itemized previous blackmail attempts, and Baron says he want to know if she has bought any material similar to that offered to her by DiPalma. Cutter argues DiPalma was not selling a book, he was committing larceny by extortion. But Baron argues DiPalma was conduction a journalistic sting as he was going to publish an expose of Carville's behavior on his web site. But Cutter challenges why DiPalma demanded a $3 million check NOT to publish it? Baron says DiPalma was never going to cash that check, he was going to post a photo of it on his web site as proof she had something to hide. Cutter, smiling, says they are straying into absolute fantasy, but Baron counters asking what kind of blackmailer asks for a payment by check? Cutter responds, “A dumb one! This isn’t an intelligence test, this is a criminal proceeding, and these defense subpoenas are onerous, unreasonable, and designed merely to harass the victim of the crime. “ He goes on to read from the list, citing the defense wants the personnel files of 200 of her Carville’s employees going back to 1992, and Baron is looking for sexual harassment complaints, or if any have been granted special treatment ion exchange for sexual favors. The judge tells Baron that his requests are extraordinary but she will see the briefs on it.

At the TV studio of “The Sisters,” Carville is apoplectic about the possibility the judge will allow some of this. Rubirosa says the law is on their side, but Carville said she just had a candid talk with the audience about this and she hoped she wouldn’t have to say anything else. Cutter reminds her she will have to be a witness at the trial, Carville guesses she knew that but adds things are a little tense on the home front. Her husband or his attorney may end up at that trial taking notes if they end up fighting over child custody, and the things that could come out. Cutter promises her that he will fight to keep the trial as narrowly focused as they can. Carville says the other guy is the criminal, asking why are we doing all the fighting?

Afterwards as they walk down the street, Rubirosa comments that with child custody, Carville is probably wishing she paid the $3 million. Cutter says Baron is playing a game and nothing he is asking for is relevant, but Rubirosa says a judge might disagree. Cutter days they will handle adding, adding they should shoot down the claim that DiPalma was practicing journalism, not blackmail. He asks about the check DiPalma was never going to cash, and Rubirosa says that it was made out, at DiPalma’s request, to something called Feature Literistics, and Cutter asks what the hell is that?

Back at the offices of, Derek tells them he is busy because he is now acting editor. Rubirosa tells him he may be acting for 8 to 10. She asks him if he knows about Feature Literistics, and he says it sounds like a literary enterprise for someone who can’t read. He tells her he thinks she is on the wrong trail, DiPalma was never hard up for money, he has a nice apartment and car and tikes nice vacations, Rubirosa asks where.

Rubirosa returns to Cutter’s office and informs him DiPalma vacationed in the Cayman Islands, and Cutter thinks offshore bank account. Rubirosa said it was opened one month ago under Feature Literistics, a corporation registered to a Bahamas PO box. Cutter comments that DiPalma went to a lot of trouble to create an untraceable account for a check he wasn’t going to cash. Rubirosa tells him that DiPalma opened the account in person during a 3 day stay at a beach report with Megan. Cutter says, “ A little more public hair transferring going on?” Rubirosa thinks either they were doing the blackmail together and had a falling out, and Cutter finishes, adding or she was working on an article and he found out about it and decided to go the blackmail route, and she did not want to go along, and he kills her. Rubirosa adds, “Or his accomplice did.” When Cutter asks what accomplice, Rubirosa tells him the weekend they were in the Caribbean is when Sara’s hard drive was stolen. As they were found in DiPalma’s apartment, the police assumed he stole it, Cutter commenting that they all did.

At Rikers Island, DiPalma still denies he did anything, but Cutter says they have an opportunity here. Cutter tells him the murder has a higher priority, but Baron comments they have no evidence against DiPalma. Cutter clarifies that if another person was involved and DiPalma can help them find that person they can negotiate a plea. Rubirosa brings up Sara’s hard drive being found in his apartment after it was stolen from hers, and he said it was research for his expose and he got it himself. Cutter asks if he is confessing to burglary, and Baron quickly responds that he is not confessing to anything. Cutter insists that DiPalma is covering for somebody and asks why. When DiPalma doesn’t respond, Baron says they have nothing else to say, but hands him some briefs.

Back in the judge’s chambers, she says she has been reviewing the briefs, but denies Baron’s requests for Carville’s tax records and notes from her marriage counseling sessions. Cutter adds that the employee files are privileged and confidential. But Baron argues this case is all about Carville’s relationships with her employees. Cutter reminds him it is about blackmail, asking Baron if he lost his copy of the indictment he can take a look at his. Baron tells the judge that DiPalma got most of the information from Megan Kerrick, and Rubirosa interjects that they suspect DiPalma murdered. Baron says there was no mention of that in the indictment either. He goes on to say that Megan conducted research of Carville’s former employees, several of who are not named and they need to find them to find out what Megan told them about her project. Cutter argues that these women do not need to be dragged into the limelight. Baron pushed back, saying if they can shed exculpatory light on Kerrick and DiPalma’s intentions, it is not their choice, he has the right to compel their testimony., The judge asks him to draft his subpoena more narrowly to include the files only of those women who might have been candidates in Megan’s research. As they break up, Rubirosa calls it Carville’s former lovers on parade, wondering how Carville will feel about that. Cutter says he will go talk to her.

Later, Rubirosa comes into Cutter’s office as he is watching “The Sisters.” She asks how it went, and he tells her to see for herself. We see Carville on her show, bitching about how the legal system is handling this and how some of her ex-employees will be dragged through the mud. She doesn’t want this to happen to so many good people and good friends, so she announces she has not choice but to abandon her complains about DiPalma, even if it means a blackmailer goes free. Rubirosa adds, “Not to mention a murderer.”

In court, Cutter is arguing Baron’s motion to dismiss, calling it premature and the evidence hasn’t disappeared. He judge reminds him the complaining witness has. Cutter says the trial has not begun and it is too early to say she isn’t going to show up. But Baron counters that she just told 10 million people she wouldn’t. Cutter says that made good television. Cutter goes on to say that they are continuing communication with the victim and the judge says good luck to him. She won’t dismiss for now, but she will release DiPalma on his own recognizance as there is no sense in leaving him in jail for a trial that may never happen. DiPalma grins. But Rubirosa comments that is great, he an his accomplice can go out for a beer and have a big laugh over this whole thing. Cutter wonders that may not be a bad idea.

With the New York Ledger article titled “Blockbuster Bid for Carville Book" along with DiPalma's picture up on his computer screen, McCoy asks Cutter and Rubirosa if they saw what is on the internet, saying DiPalma just got a half million to write a book about Carville. When Rubirosa adds that his lawyer indicated it was a journalistic project but he is still 2.5 million short, Cutter reminds her of sales of paperbacks, movie rights and it could be as profitable as the blackmail. McCoy says that publishing it is perfectly legal, but threatening to publish it is a felony and it doesn’t seem to make sense but somehow it does. Cutter calls it coercion. McCoy nods and smiles, saying he’s glad they prosecuted for a reason.

Meanwhile, DiPalma is back in his office, and he gets a phone call. A man asks if it feels good to be back, and DiPalma asks what does he think. The caller says he heard that congratulations are in order, and DiPalma says he graduated at the top of his class in Rikers. The caller says he just read about his book deal and is surprised he didn’t call him to share the good news. DiPalma says no one has called him, it is just publishing gossip. The caller mentions the half million dollars, and he wants $250K. DiPalma says there is no money it’s just a rumor. Later, Rubirosa and Cutter are listing to the recording of that call, and the caller goes on to ask if DiPalma is hiding it the Caymans like he was going to hide the money from Carville. DiPalma says there is nothing to hide, he swears. Rubirosa stops the recoding, saying it worked, the phony book deal story. Cutter says he thought it would get DiPalma and his friends something to talk about. Rubirosa says the police found that the caller is Derek Fanning who works on the web site, she met him and he said he wanted to go to architecture school. Cutter quips he guesses he is raising tuition money. Rubirosa adds there were two calls made after that one, Fanning kept asking for money and DiPalma kept saying there wasn’t any, and Fanning kept calling him a liar. Rubirosa gets a phone call, and says they will be right over. It was Van Buren, the police just found Megan’s laptop.

At the NYPD Computer Case Squad, Van Buren tells Cutter and Rubirosa that it was dropped off in the lobby of Megan’s building with a note saying it had been found abandoned in a coffee shop. Megan’s address was on a sticker on the bottom. There was a video on it with what looks like DiPalma trying to kill Megan, and Van Buren says it could be rough sex. Megan did not die, not on camera Cutter asks for the date of the video and the computer tech it is the day of the murder, but it is not hard to fudge the date if you know what you are doing. Van Buren does not know who dropped off the computer as the note was unsigned and no prints. Rubirosa says if they arrest DiPalma for murder based on this video there is a providence issue. Van Buren says that is the least of it, adding that the ring on DiPalma's right hand would have left a mark and the ME found no matching marks on her neck. Rubirosa wonders if he took the ring off before he killed her, but Van Buren says if he is the one who did. The computer tech notices a reflection in the alarm clock and they realize someone else was in the room when the video was taken. Cutter says on its face the video is evidence that DiPalma is the murderer but it miraculously shows up right after DiPalma’s accomplice demands a quarter of a million dollars and DiPalma tells him he can’t pay. Rubirosa comments that the blackmailer was being blackmailed.

Later, in Cutter’s conference room, they show Baron and DiPalma the video. Baron says it is no secret DiPalma was dating Megan, and Cutter says , “Dating? That’s what you call it? Baron says if they thought this made DiPalma a murderer he would already be under arrest. Cutter says they haven’t given up the thought and says he hope DiPalma brought his toothbrush. Baron says they must be something wrong with the video or the wouldn’t be here. Cutter says they’d like to hear what DiPalma says about all of it or it will become people’s exhibit #1 and his murder trial and they can discuss what’s wrong or right about it there. DiPalma admits that Derek Fanning made him do it, he shot it while he was with Megan, Fanning had a gun on them and stood at the side of the bed. Baron realizes that they knew someone was there and they knew the video was fishy. DiPalma said Fanning made him pretend he was strangling Megan or he would shoot him, adding Derek was crazy. He adds that when Megan came to him about Carville, he though it was a great story and he asked Derek for help with research. Derek broke into Sara’s apartment and he said they shouldn’t publish the story and they could make a lot of money. DiPalma went along and he dropped the stuff at Carville’s door. That night Megan figured it out and she would call Carville or call the police, Derek made him do that. When he left Megan was alive and Derek called her later and said he took care of her and they could go ahead with the blackmail. DiPalma adds that he freaked and he didn’t call Carville like he was supposed to. Derek said that if he didn’t get back to it he would send that video to the police. He did what Derek said. Cutter says he thinks that is the craziest story he ever heard, and Baron said then it must be true, right?

At arraignment court, they are arraigning Derek for the murder in the second degree, and Derek pleads not guilty. Rubirosa says that Derek is accused of the murder of the source of the blackmail information when she threatened to call the police. The defense attorney says the people’s main witness is the former blackmail defendant and is hardly credible. Rubirosa disagrees, saying DiPalma was as shocked as anybody at the brutal and cold blooded nature of the murder. The judge says his credibility is for a jury to decide and he sets bail at $3 million, commenting “why break precedent.”

Rubirosa, Cutter, Baron and DiPalma are in Cutter’s office, Cutter saying the analysis of the video will lend some support. Rubirosa adds they also found Derek’s gun and fingerprints on Sara’s hard drive, and in Megan’s apartment, Cutter comments that the jury will be skeptical about DiPalma and they will have to work to convince them to trust his testimony. But Baron says that DiPalma has decided not to appear as it is not in his best interest to testify. Cutter, stunned, says they can still prosecute DiPalma for the murder instead, but Baron says that ship has sailed as Rubirosa already told the judge that Fanning is the killer and it would be easy to raise reasonable doubt if they try DiPalma. Cutter asks if DiPalma is afraid Fanning will be acquitted and come after him or is he holding something over his head, and DiPalma says he doesn’t think if he publicly swears he was blackmailing is the best possible career move, plus he could get sued or the Feds could come after him. Rubirosa suggest immunity and subpoena him and if he then refuses to testify they can charge him with contempt. He says contempt he can handle, and Cutter says not to worry, he already has theirs, and he opens the door for them to leave.

McCoy latter comments that it’s blackmail and murder and everybody walks, suggesting they should go into another line of work, dry cleaning. Rubirosa suggests they could charge them together for both crimes, and McCoy responds that they will both stay silent and they will be pushing two rocks up two hills. He asks about the blackmail victim, but she still will not get involved as there is too much that she doesn’t want people to see. Cutter says this blackmail thing really works, and McCoy wonders if they should try it.

Later, Vanessa Carville has arrived at the DA’s office, and says she could not let this go to trial . He says that is what he wanted to talk to her about, and leads her into the conference room where Cutter, Rubirosa, Baron and DiPalma are waiting. She asks if this is some kind of shock therapy to change her mind. Cutter asks her to remember how she felt when she was being blackmailed. She says it was awful but doesn’t want innocent friend to be hurt. McCoy says she is sorry, but they are going to charge her with criminal sale of a controlled substance for the ½ vicodin pill she gave Megan. She says he gave it to her, she didn’t sell it, but Rubirosa says the legal definition of sell means to sell, exchange, or give, and the law still applies and so does the penalty. Carville doesn’t believe it, and Cutter adds that the charge won’t help her in a divorce or in a fight over child custody. She calls them sons of bitches, glaring at McCoy, saying that they are no better than DiPalma is. She agrees to testify, saying sarcastically, :Sure, I can’t wait” DiPalma gets worried, asking if she still can do this. Barons says yes the case hasn’t been dismissed, but says he doesn’t think she ever will, asking that is not the plan, is it? McCoy says now that they have Carville’s cooperation, DiPalma is looking at 10 years for blackmail. Baron says if he changes his mind about testify against Fanning, he might let that slide. Carville gets a look of realization on her face as Cutter says they could probably work something out; if he nails Fanning for the murder, and takes a plea he can do two years. Carville comments that they screwed with her to screw with him, and McCoy nods yes, calling it a “bank shot.” She tells him, You’re still a son of a bitch” and McCoy smiles. Cutter asks if they have a deal, and DiPalma looks to Baron and Baron says deal.

Later, Rubirosa says to Cutter that it was a blackmail daisy chain, they definitely didn't teach that in law school. Cutter says, “Turn about, it was only fair.” Rubirosa comments, “So that’s the new game plan. We do what they do. Next time we try a murderer, we’ll kill somebody “ Cutter says, “I don’t know, we’ll have to ask the boss.” They walk off as we see the open door to McCoy’s office with the light still on, as we fade to black.

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Jojo said...

Totally unrelated to L&O, but I just have to say that it cracks me up when you call CSI Miami a camp-fest! Must agree.

Anonymous said...

I loathe CSI Miami and Campfest is the perfect name for it.

This episode pretty much just amused me for small moments. Such as the beard issue or the fact the prosecutors resorted to blackmail themselves (which can't you call everytime they threaten a witness/suspect, it's blackmail?)

I am glad, for once, the estranged husband had nothing to do with it. The twists and turns got confusing at the end which did hurt the ORDER part of the episode.

One thing that bugged me, during the sting, could Lupo look a little less obvious when Depalma walked up?

All Things Law and Order said...

JoJo, I also call CSI Miame a cheese-fest too, it depends on my mood!

tripp, yes, Lupo sure looked obvious sitting out there in the open like that. It screamed "cop." Just wait the next time he tries to do that without his beard. He'll stick out even more.

All Things Law and Order said...

JoJo, I also call CSI Miame a cheese-fest too, it depends on my mood!

tripp, yes, Lupo sure looked obvious sitting out there in the open like that. It screamed "cop." Just wait the next time he tries to do that without his beard. He'll stick out even more.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad L&O is good again. The show became unwatchable during the Rohm/Thompson era. It's still way off its peak from the mid 90s, but I too hope it comes back with this group in the fall.

Anonymous said...

In reviewing the episode, I see Connie and Cutter worked during Thanksgiving holidays. Dedicated of them!

Anonymous said...

(which can't you call everytime they threaten a witness/suspect, it's blackmail?)

I remember seeing an episode (it was Chris Noth's last episode) where he was actually accused of Coercion in the 2nd Degree for this exact same conduct.

Shelly said...

One has to wonder how Lupo managed to do all the good work in the Middle East that Anita talked about (when she was telling Ed his credentials during Called Home) if this was an example of his undercover technique lol. Could he have been any more obvious if he just wore a sign that said, Hello, I'm a cop?

And I don't understand the beard-stubble issue. Where was Anita the last couple of seasons when Lupo looked like he lost his razor? The last few eps, it's looked better. But now he and Anthony have got to be clean-shaven? And did this come from Dick Wolf or NBC? If it came from NBC, one would think they'd have more pressing issues to worry about... like you know, saving their network?? sigh...

Thanks as always for the recap!

Anonymous said...

And did this come from Dick Wolf or NBC? If it came from NBC, one would think they'd have more pressing issues to worry about... like you know, saving their network?? sigh...

Maybe it was the other way around. Maybe Sisto or Anderson wanted to get a shave for some reason of their own, so the writers decided to add it to the story as a little throwaway reference.

All Things Law and Order said...

Anderson said in the video on Jimmy Fallon that he was told to shave his beard, so I doubt it was his choice. Don't know about Sisto.