Thursday, May 26, 2011

Law & Order LA “Angels Knoll” Recap & Review

All photos by NBCUniversa

Law & Order LA “Angels Knoll” was an excellent episode that blended a brutal murder, a casino heist, and a Bernie Madoff-type swindler into a very intense story. While members of the regular cast were all impressive in this episode, the guest stars brought the story to life. Victor Garber and Titus Welliver were perfectly matched as swindler and swindler’s attorney, and it was gratifying to see both  characters being outmaneuvered by DDA Joe Dekker (Terrence Howard) at the end. Jessica Collins (who will always be CSI’s “Miniature Killer” to me) was exceptional as the clueless daddy’s girl who is in complete denial about her crook of a father. Jodi Lyn O’Keefe was also perfectly creepy in her role as a paid for hire mistress who has no problem with slicing off a man’s family jewels.

It was a nice twist to the usual murder investigation to throw in a casino heist, although it was predictable that the detectives would find the armored truck empty. Alfred Molina and Corey Stoll make an excellent pair of detectives and I think the loss of this pairing is what makes me sad most about this show being canceled. These two are fun to watch and I enjoy the little tidbits we learn about them in every episode. Is there no network out there that can save this show?

Here is the recap:
Casino worker George Patrick (Nick Kiriazis) has an argument with his cousin Billy about hitting on his bride to be, and then George storms off. At a later time, Billy walks past George’s room and sees the door ajar and enters to find George dead in a blood filled bathtub.

Coroner Nishizawa (Tamlyn Tomita) is on the scene with Detectives Ricardo Morales (Alfred Molina) and TJ Jaruszalski (Corey Stoll). George appeared to have been cut with a broken glass, his watch and wallet are gone. He’s also missing his “family jewels.”

The detectives speak with Billy about his argument over his bride, Abby. George told Abby that Billy was engaged before and she was upset because Billy never told her. Billy was in his own room and says he ordered room service and called his dad on the room phone. His brother and best man were with him. They confirm the alibi.

TJ thinks that George apparently called an escort service but Morales doesn’t think this is the case. They think the killers made the calls after the fact to cover their tracks.

They speak with George’s uncle who said George had money problems. George was hoping to bring Liz Bennett to the wedding but she did not show. There was a call on George’s cell to her around midnight.

The detectives speak with Liz (Jessica Collins), a teacher,  who didn’t want to go to the wedding with him. He was just too intense. She wasn’t crazy about his job and had problems with Chinese pawn brokers in the casino.

At the Wrangles Casino, the speak with the manager about the pawn brokers. The speak with one of them who said George was borrowing from her. He owed her $100K.

At George’s home, they go through his finances and found he put a down payment on a boat in Costa Rica. They wonder if George was planning a heist. They find a check to a medical supply company and the signature is George’s but all the rest of the writing is someone else’s.

Back at RHD, TJ is having trouble getting the medical supply company on the phone. Morales spoke with the boat builder who said George said he would be down there in two weeks to pay in full. They see a photo of the boat and it is called “Teacher’s Pet” and they think this means Liz was going to be a part of George’s world.

At Liz Bennett’s home, they find she appears to have cleared out. Someone took apart her internet routers, and theyfound a clip for a Beretta. They think she was George’s accomplice.

Back at the casino, Security Arms armored service heads into the casino with Liz in the front seat of the truck. The drivers get off schedule because of a printer problem and they have to get a hand written receipt. When they get outside, they see their armored truck is long gone.

Morales gets a message that an armored truck has just been stolen with $1.5 million dollars and Liz was the driver.

At the casino, they find that the printers, which were connected to a router, had been offline so the casino had to hand write a receipt. TJ thinks she hacked their printer systems. Morales finds Liz was on the job for three months, she drove to work and her car is still in the lot. The security company activated the truck's tracking device. TJ thinks George gave Liz the codes for the router and Morales said once George outlived his usefully they sliced him up. They hear that the GPS puts the truck two miles from there.

The detectives, along with a force of police, find the truck in a garage and it is already empty. They hope they can see something on a nearby security camera.

Back at RHD, they find George rented the garage a month ago. On the security footage, they see a woman zip by on a wheelchair and wonder if that was purchased at the medical supply company. The woman gets on a bus.

They check with the bus company to see where she got off, and track the suspect to a car in the park and ride that is registered to Dan Rathman (Patrick Heusinger). He said he sold the car 3 months ago to his sister – and his sister is Liz Bennett. They tell him what is going on and he refuses to say any more, and moves to make a phone call.

Back at RHD, TJ tells Morales that 12 minutes after they left, Dan called Liz’s cell and was on long enough to leave a message. Five minutes later he got a call from a no name cell. That same cell called Liz’s school two hours earlier and also Kennedy & Associates, a law firm in San Francisco. Morales says Charles Kennedy is a big time criminal lawyer. There was also a call to a Joseph Silman in Folsom.

At State Prison in Folsom, they find Silman is captain of A Block. Joe has been there for 10 years and is a clean record and his wife has MS. They also hear that another call to Silman was made  20 minutes ago and Morales asks when Silman gets off work.

At a restaurant where the detectives are watching Silman,  Morales moans about his marriage, saying it was cursed. They found a rattlesnake under a car in the church parking lot. There were a lot of cops at the wedding and many of them pulled out their guns to shoot it. He thinks it was an omen. They see Liz arrive in a blond wig and she passes an envelope to Silman. They follow Liz out of the restaurant and arrest her. Silman sees this and when he moves to walk away, TJ is waiting there and arrests him. TJ opens the envelope and it has a wad of cash in it. Silman asks for a lawyer. After they have the two of them taken away, they open the trunk to her car and it is empty. They do find a hotel room key, Silman’s phone number, and a CDC inmate number. She apparently was going to break someone out.

Back at the prison, the warden looks at his records and find the inmate in question is Walter Calvin (Victor Garber), a man who swindled $30 billion, and his oldest son committed suicide but also has another son Dan and a daughter – Elizabeth. Liz was going to bust him out of jail.

They speak with Calvin about it and he doesn’t believe it. His attorney Charles Kennedy (Titus Welliver) says their logic is wrong. He adds that Calvin cares for his daughter but he won’t let him talk his way into a maximum security prison for her. Calvin said whatever she did had nothing to do with him. TJ notices the cuts on his head and Calvin says he slipped in the shower.

Later, DDA Joe Dekker (Terrence Howard) and DDA Connie Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) speak with Liz who denies killing George. They ask about the robbery and mention the injuries on her father, and think she was buying him protection. Her lawyer (Melinda Page Hamilton) says Liz was told unless she paid Stilman they could not guarantee her father’s safety. She also said he has no money and he didn’t do anything.

Afterwards, Rubirosa thinks this threat against her father’s life could get her an acquittal. Dekker says for the truck heist, not the murder, and Rubirosa says they are a long way from proving that. Rubirosa says Liz is deluded about her father. Dekker thinks Liz makes a powerful witness for herself. He says they need to find the holes in her story.

Rubirosa speaks with Dan and she said Liz was always daddy’s girl. He says his father is toxic. People assumed his brother Alex was in on Calvin’s scam and he killed himself. His mother would not allow Liz to visit in prison and only allowed her to communicate through lawyers. They say a video of her father 3 months ago who looked like he had been injured and said he needed money for protection. Liz wanted Dan’s help but he just didn’t care.

Back at the county jail, Rubirosa and Dekker talk to Silman about the injuries Calvin had three months ago. Dekker said they checked that all the other injuries occurred all happened before his lawyer was to arrive and all reports were written by Silman. They think these injuries were deliberate and part of a shakedown for protection money. Silman says Calvin was shaking down his daughter as all his money was overseas and he needed he daughter to get fresh cash. The money was because even in prison, Calvin liked the good life.

At the apartment of Jenn Mackie (Jody Lyn O’Keefe) Dekker and Rubirosa press her about the nice things she got from Calvin, so she could share conjugal visits with him. She got $5,000 in an envelope in the back of the limo when she was ready to go home. She last saw him months ago and Calvin said cash was coming in and the little princess was getting it.

Afterwards, Rubirosa and Dekker talk about what they just learned and that Liz probably had no idea she was being swindled too. They think Calvin was the brains behind the heist.

In court, Calvin is being charged with conspiracy to commit murder and grand theft, and Calvin pleads not guilty. Afterwards, Kennedy says that piling on another 25 years won’t make a difference to Calvin, but Dekker counters that is make a difference where he spends it and that Pelican Bay supermax could house people that Calvin swindled. Dekker wants them to get the justice they deserve.

Back in the office, Dekker and Rubirosa try to enlighten the clueless Liz who is in denial. They make her an offer but she refuses to sell out her father. After Liz leaves, her attorney says they need to talk about her retainer. Calvin’s lawyer said he would take care of it. She got it a few days ago and it had been wired through a series of banks but something in the wiring instructions caught her attention. She did not want any tax trouble so she traced it back to the originating bank. The money is from an offshore account, the Commercial Bank Of Madagascar. She wonders if the money is what Calvin swindled and if they could aid in the recovery of that money, would it help Liz? Dekker says they will look into it. Dekker wonders if they can use this information to turn Calvin.

Later, they speak with Calvin about it who says he is broke. They discuss the money in the bank in Madagascar and Kennedy says they will never get that money unless they give Calvin consideration. Calvin says it will take time to unravel where the money ended up, it was a complex deal and many banks were in on it and they were greedy. Kennedy wants minimum security for Calvin and Dekker wants information on George Patrick’s killing. But Calvin won’t lie to help them convict Liz.

Back at the office, Dekker speaks on the phone to DA Jerry Hardin, and afterwards he tells Rubirosa that Hardin has the Feds salivating at recovering the money. Rubirosa says her old boss Jack McCoy would have gone ahead on principle and tell the Feds to screw themselves. Dekker say so would Jerry Hardin 15 years ago and he might again one day. Looking through stacks of files, Rubirosa notices that a bank account in Bermuda used to buy his wife a condo years ago is the same number as the bank in Madagascar.

At Mel Gardens, Rubirosa speaks with Mrs. Rathman – her maiden name, she took that name after she divorced Calvin and had her sons take that name also, Liz taking her grandmother’s name of Bennett. Rubirosa brings up the bank account numbers, and Rathman laughs about the Madagascar bank. Calvin once borrowed money against an non-existent coin collection at the bank. She says that bank will have them chasing their tail for years. She recalls a large garden they once had and said their life was built on lies.

Back at the prison, Rubirosa and Dekker confront Calvin and Kennedy on the bogus bank and says Kennedy participated in the deception. Calvin offers information on George’s murder case. Liz told him George was making problems for her by spending money that they did not yet have on a house and boat in Costa Rica. He was blackmailing her into marrying him. She told him she cut him with a broken champagne glass. Dekker says they need corroboration, and Kennedy says there is a recording between Calvin and Liz where she says she wants to make Patrick go away. They must agree to minimum security for Calvin in order to get the recording. Dekker says if the recording is everything they say, they are agreed.

Back in Dekker’s office, they listen to the recording of Liz and Calvin. Liz is afraid George will mess this up and says she just wanted George to go away. Calvin told her not to talk this way. Liz says ever since George found out she was his daughter, he calls her the little princess. They recall that Jenn Mackie used that same name to describe Liz.

They bring Jenn in to RHD for questioning. TJ and Morales confront her on a previous attack she made against a man 10 years ago that was similar to the one on George. Her cell phone also shows she was in the immediate area that night. She said she was in town visiting her sister. They accuse Calvin of putting her up to this but she says he is just a nice old man who is going to die in prison. Meanwhile, Dekker and Rubirosa think that Calvin masterminded the murder and think Liz got George into the tub and Jenn killed him. They need someone to break to prove it.

Dekker and Rubirosa play the recording back to Liz and tell her Calvin and his lawyer only kept the part of the recording that implicated her in the murder. She denies killing George. They play back the video of Jenn talking to the detectives about Liz's brothers and that her father said Liz was the “little monkey” because Liz would do whatever he wanted. She tells a story about when Liz was little her father had her on his lap and he sped up and went so fast that Liz peed her pants and he thought it was funny.  She adds that Calvin said if he could do it again he would not have kids. Liz demands they turn off the video. Dekker presses her on her humiliation that day, and Liz is still in denial. Dekker presses that Calvin sold her out for a larger cell and a softer mattress. Even her lawyer encourages her to talk. Liz talks about how her father took care of her when she fell in Yosemite and she will never turn against him. After Liz leaves,  Rubirosa thinks now the only person they have a case against is Liz but they don’t think she did the actual killing and all they can prove against Calvin is grand theft. Dekker says something you have to live with, and when Rubirosa moans about Calvin getting into a minimum security prison, Dekker adds some things you don’t.

In court, the Judge Dryer (Francesca P. Roberts) reads the new agreement for Calvin and Kennedy mentions they have an agreement with Dekker to serve the remainder of his term in a minimum security facility. But the judge does not see that in the paperwork. Dekker comments that the agreement is void and he spoke to the department of corrections who will be transporting Calvin to the maximum security prison in Pelican Bay. Calvin and Kennedy are shocked, saying they had an agreement. Dekker says they declined to prosecute Liz, but the attorney said that does not matter. They gave Dekker the evidence. Dekker said the evidence is misleading and given in bad faith and the deal is off. The judge tells them to take away Calvin and bring in the next case. Calvin is livid and yells out. He begs Liz to save him and tell them she killed that idiot. She is shocked. When she stands silent he yells at her and asks her what the hell is she good for. Liz remains stunned.

She approaches the defense table for allocution to grand theft, and Dekker is ready to proceed. Liz sits there sobbing as we fade to black.

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Esaul said...

I haven't watched the episode quite yet, but this makes me sad knowing that the show will be over soon. NBC made a terrible choice cancelling LOLA. I wonder how the ratings will be for last night's episode. I saw this interesting article about the upfront, and NBC had a pamphlet brochure flyer thing about a second season. Too bad they backed out on it.

Barry said...

whats the name of the actor who played walter calvin>??

windy city girl said...

This episode had a great guest cast (loved seeing Melinda Page Hamilton from Mad Men as Liz's lawyer). I loved Jaruzalski's reactions to the hooker's lies during the interrogation. This show was getting good. I'm going to be sorry to see it go.

All Things Law and Order said...

Barry - that was Victor Garber.

John said...

Pretty good episode. I enjoyed seeing the Man in Black fro. Lost playing walter calvin's lawyer. Still, it wasn't the right episode for the final one with the new cast, and wasn't the cliffhanger finale we were told about. I think Hayden Tract was originally supposed to be the finale.

John said...

Oops meant "from LOST".

All Things Law and Order said...

John, my guess was the episodes got aired out of order and the "cliffhanger" was probably the episode where TJ goes after Rex's killer. I think viewers may get even more confused when they begin to air those previously filmed Skeet Ulrich episodes.....

John said...

Yeah they didn't even bother trying to explain it. Hopefully when/if they put out a complete series dvd they will put all the episodes in the right order. (They made a dvd of trial by jury so hopefully they will create an la one as well.)

Esaul said...

Again reason they did that was to build hype for LOLA's return. It doesn't help that NBC rushed it to a full season pick up right away.

candycane said...

I wish there was a way to save this show. :( What a great show that does not get a chance to grow and evolve.

douglas said...

This was an excellent episode, LOLA was really hitting stride before it was cancelled.

NBC = morons

jemma said...

Really confused by the order, love the law and order programmes. Unsure of why the american network has dropped it, shame as I liked this one better than our britsh version.