All photos from NBCUniversal
I hate to keep repeating myself, but this season of Law & Order Criminal Intent has been the best in several years and I am really sorry to see the series end. “Cadaver” was an excellent episode that had me guessing as to who had the motive to kill; it seemed everyone connected to Ben Langston certainly had one. This was one of those cases where there wasn’t a lot of hard evidence to play with. There was no obvious crime scene and certainly no body – at least not the one they needed – to give them any clues about the killer. It was solid detective work, plain and simple, that brought Goren and Eames to the person who felt that they had the most to lose.
The last segment with Goren in his therapy session was excellent, with Goren finally getting fed up with his sessions and even more so with his therapist, who he thinks is toying with him. While Goren reaching this point wasn’t really too much of a surprise, I was impressed with the way that Vincent D’Onofrio handled the scene where Goren quickly goes from calm and collected to literally getting in the doctor’s face. Goren likes to solve a mystery by challenging others for the truth and I can understand why he wouldn’t take kindly to someone who seems to be evasive when he wants a direct answer. The door slamming at the end and the abrupt black screen said it all – Goren’s mind may now be closed for business as far as these therapy sessions. We can only wait and see in the final episodes if there is any hope of opening him back up again.
Here is the recap:
Ben Langston (Steven Weber), philanthropist and head of Langston pharmaceuticals, watches as a robotic surgical procedure takes place on a cadaver. As he tests the controls, Theo Kendall (Clayton Apgar) asks him if he read a proposal that he made on spinal cord regeneration. Later, Theo speaks with 2 of his colleagues, Maya Zhuang (Camille Chen) and Sam Harris (Charlie Barnett), about who will win Langston’s grant that night. Maya says she is going to the event with her mother. Later at home, Langston speaks with his wife Lauren (Jenna Stern) about the new equipment. She says she isn’t going to the event as she feels a migraine coming on. His daughter Stella comes in with a drawing for him.
At the Bedford Institute at the dedication of the DaVinci surgical training suite, Langston announces that the winner of the Langston research grant is Maya Zhuang. Later, Maya’s mother Joanne Zhuang (Rosalind Chao) tells Maya to thank Langston again, and they overhear Dr. Harris arguing with Langston. Later, when Langston’s wife comes home she finds that Langston is not there.
The next morning, a jogger find a body in the park – a body with no hair and huge surgical incision on his head.
Detectives Bobby Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Alex Eames (Kathryn Erbe) are at the home of Lauren Langston who has reported her husband missing for the weekend. His car is also missing. She tells them Ben dreamed of being a doctor.
Back at Major Case, Eames and Goren speak with Captain Hannah (Jay O. Sanders) about Langston’s disappearance. It does not appear to be a kidnapping. Langston’s Bentley was found in a parking structure at Pier 92 – a cruise ship terminal.
Goren and Eames head to the location to check out the car. Langston’s name was not on any of the lists for the cruise ships that left that weekend. The car entered the area at 2:40 AM Saturday but the driver was obscured.. Goren notices that the driver’s seat is set for a much shorter person than Langston. They open the trunk and Eames notices the smell of formaldehyde. Goren thinks there was a body in the trunk that was already embalmed. Goren recalls a John Doe that appeared in Riverside park with unusual cuts like a dissection.
Back at the lab, Theo speaks with Maya about Langston and tells her she should get out of the lab more. She says she would rather hang out with the rats. Harris also speaks with her about the other night and said what they said was between them. She tells him she has a lot of work to do.
At the morgue, ME Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix) tells the detectives that the body has already been dissected and has been dead for over a year. Eames thinks the Bedford Institute must use cadavers for their medical school. The body was propped up in the park wearing a suit. Goren notices that the clothes seem to resemble what Langston was last seen in.
At the institute, Goren and Eames speak with a man who work there who identified the body as “Popeye”, real name Joe Slobotnik a man who was in the navy and died of meningitis and his body was donated by the family. The guy thinks it may have been a prank. Slobotnik’s body was scheduled to be cremated that day and the coffin was picked up at 6 that morning.
At the funeral home, there is a service going on for Slobotnik. Goren and Eames tell the funeral director (Geoffrey Cantor ) the body that was cremated may not have been Slobotnik and ask for the remains.
Back at Major Case, Eames tells Hannah that there was a titanium pin in the remains that belongs to Langston. They think the killer dressed the cadaver in Langston’s clothes to buy time so Langston’s body can be cremated. Hannah wonders if one of the losers of the grant took offense.
The detectives, at the Bedford Institute Research Lab, speak with Dr. Harris who says he met Maya after the event. The detectives later speak with Maya about her meeting with Harris and she says she was him from about midnight until past one for a few drinks. Maya’s mother approaches and mentions an incident last year where one of the researchers, Theo Kendall, made a joke at the benefit last year and was reprimanded by Dean Johnson.
The detectives speak with Theo Kendall and the detectives bring up a harassment complaint Maya made against him. They also discuss a prank he played where he dressed up a cadaver as Lauren Langston and still has the photo on his Facebook page and this was the photo he slipped into a fundraising reel. He blows it off as a joke. Goren brings up that Kendall was passed over twice for the grant, and that Kendall has problems with authority, Goren notices a nice antique microscope and mentions that Langston collected them.
Back at the Langston home, the detectives ask Lauren about the antique microscope who says it may have been a gift from her husband. She thought the prank was funny. She does not think Theo Kendall killed Ben as he doesn’t seem the type. Eames asks to use her bathroom and uses that as excuse to talk to Stella. She asks about Stella calling her father that Friday night, and Stella said she saw her parent’s bed empty and when her mom came home, she knew her mom had a play date because she seemed fuzzy. She was always talking to Theo on the phone.
In the Major Case interrogation room, Theo is being questioned by Eames with his lawyer present who admits Theo was with Lauren. He says sex is fun but not killing someone. Meanwhile, Goren questions Lauren who says Theo did not do it, he was with her at a hotel. Her attorney says he can provide evidence. She says she is guilty of infidelity but not murder. Goren cynically says it’s another marriage built on true love, and adds they get a lot of that around here. Goren presses her on the relationship, and Lauren says Theo made her laugh. Eames continues to press Theo who says he last saw Ben with Sam Harris.
Goren and Eames speak with Harris who admits he argued with Langston but says he did not kill him. Later, Eames mentions to Goren that Harris and Langston have some history, Harris was arrested for trespassing at Langston Pharmaceuticals 6 years ago. It was a protest against animal testing. A woman, Clair Morton, was arrested with him. The charges were dropped.
They speak with Clair who said Sam was against animal testing and that they picketed the entrance. Langston never showed up and Harris would not leave, saying Langston could not treat them like that. She comments that Harris’ mother, who had died, used to work with Langston.
Back at Major Case, they find that Sam’s mother, Regina Harris, worked at a lab at the same time as Langston and they both left about the same time. Sam Harris was born 9 months later. They speak again with Sam and says that Langston was only a “sperm donor” and he mother was abandoned by Langston and that Langston denied them both. Sam says he is better than him and moves to leave but Goren tells him to sit down. Sam says he didn’t want his precious grant and that Langston was spewing lies. They tell him that his mother never made requests for child support, but Sam says Langston was a monster who used him and ran off and married someone else, and he hates Langston. Goren asks Sam why his mother never tried to get anything from Langston but she poisoned Sam against Ben.
Afterwards, the detectives discuss this with Cpt. Hannah who tells them to talk to Lauren Langston to see if she can shed some light. She is surprised at the revelation that Ben had a son. She does not think Ben knew. She adds Ben would have done anything for a boy, they tried. She thinks if Ben knew he had a son that was a doctor he would have given him grant money.
In interrogation, they question Harris again who insists his mother begged Langston to help them. He says his mother was not happy when he applied to Bedford. Goren thinks his mother was afraid Langston would take him away. Harris admits he told Langston that night he was his son, and Langston tried to hug him and would find all his research as a top priority, Harris called him a son of a bitch and left but did not kill him, and he tells them to ask Maya if they don’t believe him – he told Maya, just Maya - when he met her at the bar. She seemed to become affectionate to him but he thinks he misread the signals as a few days later they were back to being just friends.
Later, Goren and Eames wonder why Sam would confess to Maya that Langston was his father if he had killed him. Maybe he thought Maya was his alibi – but Goren recalls that Maya called him.
The detectives speak with Maya’s mother at her home, and Maya comes out of her room. She said she called Sam because things had been tense. She says was shocked when Sam told her Sam was Langston’s son. She went to a few more bars after leaving Sam and went to a few more bars to celebrate, and she shows them some photos she took. Goren also sees a photo of Maya’s sister and she says her mother took the photos down after her sister moved out.
Afterwards, Eames comments that Maya’s bedroom was a shrine to achievement, and Goren adds that Maya grew up in a house where failure was not an option. Goren wonders if Maya was afraid that Langston was going to change his mind.
The detectives speak with Maya’s sister who works at a bar. She says there is no way Maya did anything wrong and that Maya never flinched and never cried. They had a strict upbringing. Maya was living her mother’s life and was the classic good girl. She wanted to be an artist.
Back at the lab, Goren speaks with Maya about her medical research and the need to relax and have fun. He questions her going to 4 bars in one night and thinks the photos are phony and she overcompensated. The call to Sam was just an alibi. He says she knew Langston was Sam’s father before Sam told her because she overheard them arguing. Maya’s mother enters with Eames and tells Maya to stop talking and says they are leaving. Eames tells them they spoke with Maya’s sister and how her mother was and that her standards were unachievable. Goren says Maya is not a killer, she took the oath to do no harm, but her mother did not. Eames accuses Maya’s mother of killing Langston and then Maya switched the body with the cadaver to fix it. Goren also says Maya’s mother also overheard about Sam being Langston’s son, and that she heard Sam would get research money and she panicked that Langston would favor him. Maya blurts out that she killed him but Goren knows that is not true. Her mother admits that she did it and that Maya had no idea. She hit Langston with a centrifuge but that Maya would get rid of the body and switch it. Eames goes on about how Maya handled the cover up, and Maya says they can’t prove any of that. But Goren says she made a mistake by dressing the cadaver in Langston’s clothes. Goren thinks Maya wanted to be caught, because she is a doctor and she saves lives. Her mother says she will sign a full confession but Eames is not willing to let Maya off the hook. Her mother again says she will sign a full confession and will not contest the sentence. When she moves to hug Maya, Goren stops her. She adds her daughter is not going to prison because she is going to cure cancer. Goren cuffs her.
In Dr. Gyson’s (Julia Ormond) office for his therapy session, Goren talks about it being a beautiful day and asks to take the session outside She thinks there is more privacy in there and asks if this is why he wants to go out. He asks her if she always does that, to think that everything is about something else. She was just thinking about the lest session. He brings up that she had asked him if he ever felt lonely or if he had feelings for someone – she adds romantic feelings – and he goes on to say for someone he respects. He said she did not answer his question if it was too late. She asks if he is worried that he missed the boat. He says they don’t have a lot of sessions left and he is a big boy and a grown man. He said she told him his emotional drawbridge is up and he can take it. He asks her to tell him if she thinks he can have what other people have – a home and a relationship. She replies that if he wants to work towards those goals then yes. He asks what that means - no? or is it shrink speak? She asks where this is coming from, and he says he looks in the mirror every day and he sees what she sees. He says this is not working, he asks for her professional judgment and she turns it back on him. He says she is smart and she is someone he respects. She says he wants to know if she sees him as someone being capable of being in a relationship. He seems annoyed and asks if she thinks he is hitting on her. She says no, but he gets up and says he knows what she does, she seems open and empathic and she is beautiful so she gets her patients to trust her and then she pulls back and she toys with them.That is her game, and he gets very upset and says this is not working for him. She says she knows she has inadvertently told him…but he cuts her off and says she should call his captain or One PP or whoever that she reports back to and tell them he is not a good candidate for therapy, getting in her face as he says it. She says he needs to help her understand what she did wrong. As he opens the office door, he says if they want to take his badge away again they can. She says right when he feels the need to run...and he cuts her off to say this isn’t working, it’s not helping, and he slams the door behind him - we abruptly go 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.
Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.