Real-life news stories are gifts that keep on giving to Law & Order SVU. In “American Disgrace,” the story draws from the May 2014 news story of Solange Knowles and her elevator fight with her brother-in-law, Jay Z. It also used the April 2014 news story of an audio recording of Donald Sterling, owner of the LA Clippers, making racist comments. (The writers may be saving the Ray Rice domestic violence elevator story and the ensuing NFL handling of that incident for a later time. After all, only so much can happen in a short elevator ride. And why load in yet another good stand-alone ripped from the headlines story into an episode that already used two?)
In this episode, star basketball player, Shakir “The Shark” Wilkins (Henry Simmons), and his partnership with the Orion Bay corporation for a clothing line, is derailed by a very public rape accusation by a female press rep. An elevator scene depicting security camera footage has no audible dialog, and viewers can only guess what’s being said. (I found this scene slightly amusing, probably because it was so blatantly lifted from the Solange/Jay-Z altercation.) Clearly something has happened which sets off the female press rep, and when the elevator opens to a gang of waiting reporters, we hear her making a rape accusation against Shakir. The SVU team gets involved, and later find themselves sucked into a set-up perpetrated by Orion Bay’s owner, Orion Bauer, a bitter, racist man. Stacy Keach was excellent as Bauer, playing a borderline feeble old man and the scheming, manipulative racist.
In a twist, it’s the accused sports star who is the real victim, the rape accusations being orchestrated by Orion because his daughter Cordelia (Teri Polo) had a fling with Shakir and was pregnant with his child. It’s Orion’s own racism which eventually causes the set-up to be exposed; he paid one of the rape accusers – a black store clerk – less than he paid the others two accusers, who were white. The greedy store clerk, upset over the inequity, inadvertently spills the beans. As Barba’s case unravels, the full extent of the set-up is exposed. It's too late for Shakir, whose reputation has been destroyed, and for Cordelia, whose pregnancy is no more.
During the initial stage of the investigation, Benson cautions the detectives about their biases, telling them she does not want to hear that a woman lied and Shakir is a hero and he never could have done such a thing. In this case, it’s Benson who is biased, favoring the approach of the women being victims, causing a wrongly accused man to have his life ruined. I also find it hard to believe that the Manhattan justice system can move so fast that Shakir would be in supreme court – with a fully seated jury no less – within a few days from the start of the investigation. Maybe if the detectives and prosecution spent more time investigating this case, and the defense doing the same, the credibility of the witnesses would have been flushed our sooner.
I’m also liking Sonny (Peter Scanavino) even more. He’s unafraid to say what’s on his mind and gives unfiltered opinions. Benson could be discounting his opinions because he is so forward. Maybe after this case, where his instincts seemed right on the money, she will pay attention to his input.
This case also gave Rollins an excuse to visit her former precinct in Atlanta where it appears she had some issue with the deputy chief, indicated by the fact that the deputy chief made himself scarce during her visit. Also in this episode, Rollins tells one of the girls who claimed rape that, from personal experience, pretending something didn’t happen doesn’t make it go away. We can only guess from this comment that something happened in Atlanta which may have had a lasting effect on her. My guess is this scene was a set up for a personal Rollins story line in some later episode.
The writers built a solid, yet somewhat predictable, story around real life events. At times, with the focus on Bauer's motives for the set up and the ending scene with Shakir and Cordelia, "American Disgrace" felt like a Law & Order Criminal Intent episode.
Amaro was missing in this episode but the extra Barba time, and his expensive suits, made up for it.
Are there any lessons to be learned from this episode? First: cameras and recording devices are everywhere, and there is no such thing as a private moment – anywhere - so watch what you say. And don't always take what you see on security cameras at face value. Second: before you accuse your staff of being biased, be mindful of your own biases. Third: take more than a few days before you prosecute your case in supreme court.
Here is the recap:
Mariska Hargitay – Sergeant Olivia Benson
Ice-T – Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Danny Pino - Detective Nick Amaro
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Peter Scanavino - Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi Jr.
Stacy Keach - Orion Bauer
Teri Polo – Cordelia
Henry Simmons - Shakir “The Shark” Wilkins
Elizabeth Marvel – Counselor Rita Calhoun
Kelley Missal - Carla Cannon
Lakisha May – Tiana Raynes
Patricia Noonan - Macie-Lynn Pearce
Myk Watford - Captain Sam Reynolds
Sandy Duncan - Judge Virginia Farrell
Al Trautwig – as Himself
At Orion Bay corporation, a press conference lead by Orion Bauer and his daughter Cordelia, is held to announce Shakir “The Shark” Wilkins new clothing line, “Sharkwear MVP” and that Shakir’s contract has been renewed.
Meanwhile, Rollins and Fin watch the event on TV in a bar and Rollins comments she never lost a dollar bet on Shakir.
After the press conference, Cordelia is on the phone, asking where is it? Bauer asks what is going on, and Cordelia says Shakir’s driver has gone AWOL. Bauer tells her to Uber it and looks at Carla and says she can go in. Carla asks if someone else can do that. He asks her if there is a problem. Cordelia calls over to Shakir and says Carla will get him out of there. They all move to the elevator as the reporters continue to snap photos.
In the elevator, from the vantage point of the security camera, Shakir, Cordelia, Orion Bauer and a bodyguard are in the elevator as Carla walks in. While Cordelia moves toward her father to show him something, Shakir moves over to Carla and touches her arm. She looks shocked and pulls away, and he backs off. Then she lunges at him and starts to hit him, the bodyguard moving in to restrain her while Bauer and Cordelia watch on in shock. Cordelia moves in to intervene. The elevator opens, with reporters standing outside, their cameras filming as Carla is pulled out of the elevator by the bodyguard. As Carla kicks and fights being restrained, she yells for them to get off of her, they can’t shut her up and she is not their “thot” they can’t just make this go away. She says he know what he did. Bauer yells that is enough, and Carla continues to scream that his life can go on, more money, more fame, no responsibilities? Cordelia tells to get Carla out of here. Shakir asks what the hell is she talking about as Cordelia moves him off and tells her father to go. Reporters continue to record the event.
Back at SVU, the whole squad is watching the video of the altercation as Benson walks in and asks what is going on? The group breaks up and Sonny says there is breaking news at Orion Bay and asks if she knows Shakir Wilkins. Benson comments he is America’s hero, and Sonny states, “Not anymore.” He shows her the video of Carla being taken away, shouting at the cameras that he is not a role model, he is a rapist, and that he raped her. Benson asks when did this happen, and Sonny explains it was a half hour ago, and asks if she wants him to talk to this girl. Benson asks where is Fin and Rollins, and he explains they are at a working lunch. Benson asks him to tell them to get them back in there. Sonny picks up the phone to call them.
Later, at SVU in the interview room, Benson and Rollins speak with Carla who is reluctant to talk about the situation. She explained the rape happened on Memorial Day – 3 months ago. She explains it was the summer kick off in the Hamptons and she drove Shakir back to the city and he invited her to his hotel. The last thing she recalls is having one drink with him at the hotel bar and woke up in his room, in his bed, naked and sore. She did not go to the hospital or a doctor. She confronted him today as there was a problem with his car and she was told to get Shakir back to his hotel and it triggered her. She is worried she is going to lose her job and when Benson asks her to explains, Carla says Shakir is the face of Orion Bay and it is like peeing on Mt, Rushmore. She said Mr. Bauer said it back then that nothing good can come from this. When Benson presses on this comment, Carla admits she told Bauer about the rape, who suggested she was confused or that her feelings were hurt because Shakir didn’t sent flowers. He said if she kept the conversation between them, he would recommend a bonus any time her name came up. Rollins asks if she can prove that, and Carla says last week she got $5,000.
Later, at Orion Bay Headquarters on Tuesday, August 19, Rollins and Fin discuss the matter with Orion Bauer and his daughter Cordelia. Rollins thinks he is just protecting his interests. Rollins would prefer to speak to Bauer alone, but he informs them Cordelia is also his attorney. They ask about the money paid to Carla and Bauer says they are family and they take care of each other. When she came to him, she said she did not remember all the details . She is a good kid and maybe she got drunk and he didn’t want any hard feelings. Fin states the problem is it looks like Bauer is covering up a rape. Cordelia portrays Carla as being unstable and wonders why she did not report it to the police. Fin replies that she has now. Bauer states Shakir is like a son to him and he would not do something like this. He suggests he talk to him but Rollins cautions him not to, saying it is an official police investigation and any conversation could look like conspiracy.
Later, Shakir is playing basketball with some kids for his summer youth program and Fin and Rollins question him. He thinks Carla has emotional problems and does not want to press charges, but they inform him it is about her accusation of rape. He says she has emotional problems and hope she gets the help she needs. He has only known her about a year. Rollins asks about Memorial day and going back to the hotel, and Shakir says his town car overheated and she drove him back to the city. They had a drink at the bar and a bite to eat and she left. Rollins explains the rape accusation and Shakir says that did not happen and thinks this is a shakedown. He is going through a divorce now and there is a custody battle and she knows about it He feels badly for her and is trying not to overreact but if anyone was assaulted it was him, in that elevator. Rollins asks if he will press charges, and Shakir decides to talk to his lawyer and says he needs to get back to the kids. Fin asks how long he will be in town, and Shakir says just for the week. Rollins says if he leaves, he needs to tell them where he is going.
Back at SVU, the detective watch the elevator footage and Benson wonders what set off Carla. Sonny is suspicious, staying she waited 3 months until all the hotel video was erased and she had a lobby full of press. Fin thinks she put on a show for the security cameras and Shakir thinks it is a shakedown. Benson says she does not want to hear that a woman lied and Shakir is a hero and he never could have done such a thing, adding this is SVU and they take disclosures seriously. Rollins replies copy that but adds for what it is worth, Shakir has been a public figure for 20 years and there has never been a whisper about anything like this. Sonny adds this girl can’t remember any details, and Fin agrees. Benson reminds them they’ve had cases where athletes have drugged women, and when she sees Rollins distracted by her phone, she asks Rollins if she is with us. Rollins explains she has a message from her old captain in Atlanta; a girl down there claims that Shakir did the same thing to her,. After seeing him on the news. Sonny comments that they are piling on now. Benson tells her to go down and talk to the girl and not to let her hero worship blind her. Rollins says “will do” and then adds she may check on her mom while she is down there.
At the Atlanta Police Department, Precinct Zone 8 at 205 Spring Street NW in Atlanta GA on Wednesday, August 20, Captain Sam Reynolds asks Rollins if she is going to see her mom. She says no, then asks him to tell her about the victim. He is not sure she is one, she claims Shakir raped her 6 months ago and there was no outcry and no physical evidence. They are not pursuing. Rollins asked why he called her, and he thought she may wanted to know and maybe he just wanted an excuse. She asks if he is separated again, and he says this time it is for good. His little girl is in college and asks her if she is up for a beer later. She asks for a rain check and explains she has to catch the 5 o’clock back to New York. She adds they work her hard up there. He suggests next time. She asks if the deputy chief is in, and he explains she just missed him, he said he knew she was coming and he extends his regards.
Rollins speaks with Macie-Lynn who says she was Shakir’s stylist on a shoot. She was thrilled to meet him at first. He invited her to his hotel and they had some wine. The next thing she remembers she was in his bed, naked. She says he raped her like the other girl said./ She didn’t tell anyone, it is a small town and people talk. She called Mr. Bauer and he told her the same thing the captain said = no good can come from making a complaint. Rollins asks if Bauer offered any other help, and she says he didn’t want any hard feeling so if she let it go, he would see that he got a bonus. She supports her family and her daddy lost his job and she needed the money.
Back at SVU with Bauer and Cordelia in the interview room with Fin and Barba, Bauer is flip about giving her 5 grand but she had no memory of what happened. It was the same story Carla told. Barba reminds him he hadn’t heard Carla’s story yet and Macie-Lynn was 6 months ago. When Bauer says he may have the time line confused, Cordelia jumps in and says he runs a multi-million dollar company getting hundreds of emails and phone calls and they can’t expect him to remember who said what and when. Benson and Sonny observe from the other room. Fin asks Bauer if he would remember of somebody else came to him about Shakir, and when Bauer asks how is that, Barba explains that Bauer is looking at witness bribery and to think hard. Bauer glares at him and when Cordelia tries to cut the interview short, Bauer stops her and said there was a gold digger, a black girl who works in retail and he did not believe a word she said.
At the Sharkwear Flagship Store at 17 Times Square on Thursday, August 21, Rollins and Sonny speak with Tiana about Shakir and she is reluctant to talk. She said Bauer explained that Shakir is the golden goose and a role model for the community and they all have their jobs because of her. She is on the store manager track here. Rollins asks if he told her that after she went to him and explains Bauer sent them here. Rollins adds that from personal experience, pretending something didn’t happen doesn’t make it go away.
Later, Rita Calhoun is with Shakir in Barba’s office with Rollins also in attendance. Calhoun asks what are they talking about now, and Barba explains it is Tiana Raynes. the Sharkwear salesgirl. Shakir asks that she kept her panties, and Rollins replies that they had semen on them and on her dress. Barba mumbles to Calhoun that is better than an autograph. When Calhoun asks when she alleged this took place, Barba replies It was when Shakir was in her store for a March Madness event. Shakir states he was everywhere for March Madness - 16 cities in 16 days, Rollins shows Shakir a selfie that Tiana took with him and his cutout in the Sharkwear flagship store, where she is also wearing the dress. Calhoun comments so Tiana met him, and Rollins counters that Tiana says he did more than that so they will need a DNA sample today. When Calhoun begins to object, Shakir stops her and admits he was in a bad place, he had just lost his marriage and he and his wife separated on New Years and he has been dating since. Barba asks if Shakir “dated “ Tiana, and he replies that they hooked up, one time after hours in a dressing room. It was her idea. Rollins raises her voice and counters that is not her story, saying Tiana told her he drugged her and woke up the next morning in t he store, her dress stained. Calhoun questions that Tiana says this now, 5 months later , and she just happened to save the panties, adding this is well-times blackmail. Shakir states she is lying about the rape. Rollins counters with the examples of Carla and Macie-Lynn, who all say Shakir bought them a drink, and, as Rollins begins to yell at Shakir, adding the next thing they remember they were naked and had been violated. He shouts back that they are lying. Barba asks about what - that Tiana is lying about being raped but he did have sex with her and the other two are lying about everything? Shakir replies that he does not know what is going on here but Carla and the other one – Rollins reminds him it is Macie-Lynn – that he may have had sex with them also. Calhoun adds that if he did, it was consensual, asking Shakir isn’t that right? He says yes, absolutely. He comments so he wasn’t all warm and cuddly afterwards, he likes sleeping alone. Spending the night and spooning is not part of the Shakir Wilkins experience. Rollins glares at him and says quietly, “Can’t blame you there.” She asks if he has a prescription for Ambien or Xanax? He says of course he does, he can’t sleep most nights because his wife is trying to take his son. This is why he could not admit to the sex; she will crucify him with it in the custody battle. Barba tells him he has bigger problems than a custody battle.
Back at SVU, the detectives review this new information and Sonny continues to be suspicious, citing a previous case on which he worked. Fin is surprised Barba is going forward, with no rape kits or outcry at the time. Rollins tells the guys to give it a rest. She didn’t want to believe it either but they have 3 consistent stories and there is no evidence the women compared notes. Fin counters they may be after money, they already got it from Bauer. Rollins reminds them it was to keep quiet about being assaulted. Benson asks if they want an outcry witness, Bauer is their guy. Sonny says good luck if they think Bauer will tank Shakir, predicting health problems. Benson states they have him on witness bribery charges. And that gives them leverage. In the meantime, she tells them to vet the three complainants – money issues, personal histories, and any previous false accusations.
Back in the SVU interview room, Bauer says he won’t testify against Shakir, saying it is not just the money, he has been loyal. He asks if they have read Shakir’s autobiography – commenting he doesn’t know if Shakir has even read it – but the point is, he is an inspiring story. Cordelia reminds her father they are on their court now and suggests they listen to what they have to say. Sonny tells them they have three credible vics with consistent stories and Bauer is an outcry witness in all three cases. Bauer asks what the hell does that mean, and Cordelia explains this means they all came to him. He says it’s because he is like a father to everyone in the company. Sonny counters that like a father, they came to him and said they’d been attacked, and he gave them money and he told them to keep quiet. Sonny adds that Bauer is on the hook here, and to ask his daughter. Meanwhile, Benson and Barba are observing the questioning, and hear Cordelia ask that if her father testifies as to what these 3 women said, is that in exchange for charges not being filed against him. Bauer loudly asks charges for what? Rollins raises her voice and reminds him he paid them. He states those were bonuses. Rollins counters a week before Shakir’s contract was to be renewed? Bauer says Shakir renewed his contract two months ago, the only reason they kept it secret because they wanted to announce in the fall. Cordelia, in a calming voice, tells him as painful as this is, he has to let Shakir go, no matter what happens. He cannot work for Orion Bay any more. Bauer looks confused and says he did not see this coming, and Cordelia states she knows. He comments she must think he is an old fool and she whispers no he doesn’t.
Later, Fin speaks with Macie-Lynn separately who is worried they will have to testify. Benson speaks with Carla who also has concerns about testifying and brings up Tiana keeping her panties. Benson comments that evidence is a start but if Carla has or can get anything else to corroborate her story that would be a big help.
Sometime later, Carla meets with Shakir at a park bench. He is glad she called and is sorry if he hurt her but wants to make this right before they all get hurt. She asks if he is threatening her and he says he knows she is not the only athlete she has been with. He tells her if she takes the stand, it is fair game. He says they don’t have to go down that road, they can make it go away.
Back in Barba’s office, this conversation was recorded and Shakir is heard offering Carla a condo. Rollins is there, as is Shakir and Rita Calhoun, who is livid they staged a controlled meet. She says they can’t do that once Shakir is represented by counsel. Rollins explains it wasn’t their idea, it was Carla’s and it is her phone. Calhoun adds it is not probative. Barba counters that pleading the alternative is not a sign of strength. Shakir states he was just trying to find out why she was lying and shouts that Shakir Wilkins is not a rapist. Barba calmly replies Shakir will get his opportunity to tell his side of the story to the jury. Rollins arrests him and reads him his rights.
Later, Bauer has a press conference to announce Orion Bay is terminating the relationship with Shakir, stating Shakir is entitled to due process and only Shakir and these women know what transpired. Cordelia stands by her father’s side, stone-faced. As Bauer continues to talk about what happened, Shakir arrives at the courthouse to a gang of reporters, The press conference also is on TV in the flagship store while Tiana sadly watches. Shakir’s poster at the kids basketball court is removed while the kids look on sadly. Bauer adds that they have always celebrated role models but no matter what the court decides, Shakir has forfeited the privilege of representing Orion Bay.
In Supreme Court on Monday, August 25, Bauer is on the stand and Barba questions him about the bonuses and the appearance of buying their silence. Bauer said he could not reconcile his knowledge of Shakir and what these women were saying and that they were false allegations. After seeing how upset Carla was upset in the elevator and the other girls, it began to gnaw at him. He recounts a saying that when three people at a party tell you that you are drunk, don’t drive home. Calhoun cross examines him and suggests he is only testifying to avoid being charged with bribing a witness. He says he made the wrong decision at the time and apologizes but admits no charges have been filed. He did not believe their stories at first as he could not believe Shakir was capable of what they said he did, but now does. After the scene in the elevator without the blinders on, god help him, he does. Calhoun asks if this sudden change in beliefs gives him the right to invoke his morals clause and terminate his contract with Shakir, saving his company roughly half a billion dollars. He says yes but that is not why he terminated it. She asks if it provided him with long term relief, and when Barba objects to the question, she withdraws it.
Carla testifies about her assault and her pieces of memory. She did not go to the hospital or police for fear of what people would say or her job. She came forward now because she was asked to work with Shakir again at the press conference for his re-signing and she could not hold it in.
Macie-Lynn is on the stand, testifying she blacked out and when she came to, her clothes were off and she was bruised and she knew she had been raped. Calhoun brings up that she did not call friends or family, and Macie-Lynn states she comes from a good Christina home and she went to a hotel room with a black athlete and her mother could have blamed her, the same way Calhoun is blaming her now.
Later, Tiana is going through a dry run with Barba and Rollins in the court room and she starts complaining about being there and taking an express bus and taxi to get there. When Rollins says she will be reimbursed, Tiana asks if that is it. They can tell something is wrong and when Barba questions if everything is alright, Tiana asks what they and Mr. Bauer want her to say. Barba wants the truth about what happened, but when Tiana wants to see what she said before so she can get it right, Barba starts to ask about why she wanted to say what Orion Bauer told her to say. She starts to squirm and as Barba continues to question her, she asks how much is his suit, estimating it at about 2 grand and also questions the tie. She says she works retail and asks if they don’t think she knows. When Rollins asks what that has to do with this, Tiana says, “Oh hello white girl” and said Bauer paid her half what he paid those other girls, she heard it on LMZ, asking Barba if he thinks she is stupid. Barba starts to calmly fume as Tiana said Bauer paid them 5 grand and said maybe they call him and make it right and then she will remember better. Barba asks if Bauer paid her for what, to keep quiet about the rape? Tiana scoffs and says all she knows is she got paid to say Shakir raped her. Rollins walks away, shaking her head, and Barba asks if she is saying Shakir did not rape her, and Tiana says she is saying he gets Bauer to give the right amount – the fair amount – and she will say whatever the two of them want her to say. She tells Barba she will do him nasty like she did Shakir in the dressing room but he has to man up and pay up. Barba looks to Rollins who looks less than thrilled.
Afterwards, Barba is in Judge Virginia Farrell's chambers with Calhoun who reviews the new allegations of witness tampering and false accusations and Calhoun is asking for a dismissal. Barba asks for more time to investigate this witness’ story. Calhoun asks how much more does he need to investigate, and he wonders if Tiana is lying now to extort Bauer for more money. Calhoun thinks the whole case has been a shakedown from the get and Tiana's credibility is shot and so are the other two witness. The judge says they don’t know that and gives Barba 48 hours to sort it out. She tells Barba to get his facts straight now.
Back at SVU, Sonny speculates to the others that if Carla and Macie-Lynn aren’t changing their stories, they did get more. He pays for a pizza delivery for a goat cheese and sun-dried tomato pizza. When Fin says he made Sonny for a pepperoni guy, Sonny says he is full of surprises. Rollin, Fin and Sonny discuss the latest information and Sonny thinks the whole case is a crock, saying he called it. When Rollins says they don’t really know what happened, Sonny asks how do they ever know? Benson walks in as Sonny says with a man and a woman alone in a room, there are 100 different stories that play out and most of these stories aren’t criminal. Benson walks up and asks Sonny to remind her why he is SVU. Sonny explains he worked homicide a couple years and it is the women who get you. They are dead but their hair is clean, they are nicely dressed and they are made up. This means the boyfriend or the husband did it and they knew it was coming. They didn’t even look surprised, just finished. The group is silent as Sonny explains it doesn’t make him treasure every moment. Benson says okay then tells them Carla is on her way up. Sonny brightens up asks if she will hold or will she fold, saying he has this.
With Carla in interrogation, Sonny ramps up the questions and says she is in a lot of trouble if she is lying. Benson says no she is not, but says the important thing is that she comes clean now. Carla sticks to her story. Meanwhile, Fin and Rollins put the squeeze on Macie-Lynn who sticks to her story. She says if that black girl says different then she is lying.
Later, Barba and Rollins explain this to Bauer in his office who is livid, saying Tiana is shaking him down. She came crying to him and he gave her $800 and now she wants more, saying that is ingratitude. He denies he gave her money to claim rape and says it is an outright lie, not that he should be surprised. When Barba asks why is that, Cordelia tells her father to stop. But Bauer continues to rant, saying Tiana didn’t even graduate, he was the one that made her assistant store manager because when he grew up, background didn’t matter it was about character and integrity and loyalty. Cordelia tries to silence her father but he says it is a long path and a strange journey they are all traveling with their tribes and families and it is just the damn way of their culture. Barba states this is very simple, asking if Bauer did or did not pay Tiana to make false allegations. Bauer state emphatically the hell he did not. He asks if they asked the other white girls, and Cordelia tries to again stop him. He goes on to say they would discover they didn’t change their story. Rollins asks how does he know they didn’t asking if Bauer is in touch with them. Cordelia tells her father he has to stop now, but he yells at her that he is in charge here. He says he loves her but she has no more sense than her mother did, she’s blind. Cordelia tells Barba and Rollins they are done here and all of that was off the record and she asks them to leave. Bauer asks her if she is now worried about him and the company, asking if now she is a good girl? He says that’s good because he forgives her for everything. He glares at her and she looks back at him with a cold face. Rollins picks up on it. Cordelia looks at Rollins and Barba and says “please” for them to leave. They do so.
Outside the building, Barba asks Rollins what was that, wondering if that was dementia. Rollins doesn’t know. She sees Cordelia exit and tells Barba to go on ahead and moves to catch up with Cordelia. Barba reminds her Cordelia can’t talk to her about the case, she is Bauer's lawyer. Rollins says they CAN talk about fathers. She catches up to Cordelia, asking if she is alright. Cordelia says she is fine as she walks quickly. Rollins asks if her father is always like that, and she says he is larger than life and loves him for it, he’s old school. Rollins asks if she can help her understand something; she doesn’t think her dad is the kind of man that would completely destroy someone’s reputation to void a contract. Cordelia comments he raised her to believe that your word is your bond and used to say that if you ever betray that, you were dead to him. Rollins asks what Bauer meant when he said Cordelia was blind and he forgives her for what, Cordelia pauses, then says she has no idea. She says she and Rollins shouldn’t be talking and she races away.
Elsewhere, Fin speaks with Shakir with Calhoun present. Shakir says this doesn’t make any sense that Orion paid the store clerk to say he raped her. Calhoun says the other two still claim he raped them but he says he didn’t. He says this can’t be about the money or the contract, Bauer makes a fortune off him. Fin asks if he knows of any reason why Bauer would want to destroy him, and Shakir thinks about it.
Later, Cordelia enters her father’s office and she tells him the police are asking all kinds of questions and she can’t be his lawyer, she may be involved. He says he will get himself a real lawyer and when he asks what this is about. She tells him to tell her, and then asks what did he do. She reminds him a few months ago he asked her to stay away from Shakir as he was married and a player. Bauer said he was right, Shakir is a bad guy and it breaks his heart. He trusted him and she shouldn’t have, because she screws anything that moves. Cordelia asks if the girls came to him or if he found the, that it couldn’t have been hard as Shakir’s bodyguard and driver report to him. She wants to know if he set this up, had Shakir followed and paid the girls to lie. He says no they came to him. She asks why he framed Shakir after all he has done for him. Bauer questions all that Shakir has done for him, asking what about what he did for Shakir? He gave him millions and the son of a bitch repays him by screwing his only daughter. Cordelia looks upset as Bauer accused Cordelia of lying to him and carrying on behind his back. He admits he did have Shakir followed as he knows he parties and those three girls he paid off, he could have found a dozen more, and she was lucky she didn’t get "the AIDS." Cordelia counters that she knows about his acting out and she confronted him a month ago and he knows that has to stop. Bauer says he said that because he wants to keep his little bastard baby. Cordelia looks stunned and asks what is he talking about. Bauer asks if she expects him to stand by and be the laughing stock of corporate America while this son of a bitch knocks her up, adding it is all over her health insurance. Cordelia is angry, saying he is not allowed to look at that. Bauer explains he is a trustee but what does that have to do about the price of beans? He says the point is, she lied and if she wants to make a fool of herself and be his whore, go right ahead but what is she going to do when she walk into the club with a little black baby clinging onto her? Bauer asks when he goes to Dalton, what does she think they are going to say, “oh, here comes the scholarship boy?” Cordelia replies that he can’t say these things, but he says oh yes he can. He adds that these people come into their homes and into their families and they are animals.
Later, Barba plays back a recording of this conversation for Benson, Rollins and Fin, as Bauer says he did what he had to do to protect her from making the biggest mistake. Barba stops the recording as Fin questions the word “animals” noting that Bauer makes his living off athletes and he talks like that? Benson speculates he is senile or crazy. Rollins comments she feels bad for Cordelia and he was probably just a narcissist and she fell for another one. Benson asks how did they get the tape, and Barba says he can’t tell them, and he promised it would not be used against Orion Bauer. He says they know what this means.
In supreme court part 17 on Thursday, August 28, Calhoun asks for a dismissal in light of the new evidence and Barba does not object. The judge agrees and lets Shakir go, who sits down, stunned. Calhoun shakes Barba’s hand, saying win some, lose some, then says “nice tie.”
Barba steps out of the courtroom and tells the waiting detectives he is going to go upstairs and duck calls. Fin wonders that Bauer just gets away with this, and Benson bets that a tape like that – sooner or later – comes out. Sonny asks about the three girls who lied under oath, asking that they just skate? Benson explains that general policy with the DA is when you go after girls when a case falls apart, it can prevent real victims from coming forward. Sonny says he gets that. Rollins comments usually she does, but this time..telling Sonny he was right about those girls all along. He says not really, he missed Bauer paid them off. Fin says they are just his pawns, like Shakir and his daughter. Rollins says she should have seen it, it’s right in her blind spot. Benson comments Bauer was good, the old man act of his, he played them. She asks what is that expression, “There are no accidental billionaires.”
The reporters and photographers become active as Shakir walks out of the courtroom and sees a waiting Cordelia. As everyone watches, they have private conversation where she apologizes. He says he lost everything and she tells him he has a case against the company and her father. He shouts he will never get his name back and he is a punch line now. If she googles him the first thing that comes up is “accused rapist.” He says she should have trusted him, but she said he lied to her about the other women. He says he did not rape them. He says she is right, and he is sorry, it was old habit, he was on the road and lost his marriage. He says he wants to be in her life if she can forgive him, he will try and start over a new life and they can raise the baby together. She laughs and cries, and says it is too late. He asks what she means, and she explains there is no baby, not any more. After Tiana came forward, she…She doesn’t finish the sentence and he begins to cry and sits down in tears.
The detectives look on, and Fin comments that with all that hate, they are still talking. Sonny says it has to be a tough conversation, Rollins wonders where do they begin. Benson thinks one of them is saying “Let’s start over” and the other one is saying “It’s too late” as she shakes her head. As Benson looks on as the photographers continue to get photos, we fade to black.
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