Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 1, Episode 11 - Law & Order - full transcript

A young black girl claims to have been raped by white police officers. Police and Prosecutors struggle to get the truth after an ambitious black congressman claims the investigation is a racially-motivated cover-up.

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it -
Narrator: In the criminal justice
system, the people are represented

by two separate yet
equally important groups...

The police who
investigate crime,

and the district attorneys
who prosecute the offenders.

These are their stories.


Man: Hey, what's happening?

(distant siren wails)

(dog whimpers)

(dog barks)

Come on, baby.

Riles...? Come on!

(dog whimpers)

Oh my God!

(staff chatter)

What do we got? 16-year-old
found next to a dumpster.

Disoriented, racial stuff
scrawled all over her.

Rape? Not sure yet.

I'd say more than likely.

She's been pretty
unresponsive so far.

You get EMT results?
They're finishing.

Got a name? Astrea Crawford.

Thanks. Excuse me.

Who was at the scene?

Patrini and Hanson.

Max: Anybody get
pictures of that?

Logan: Hey, you
want to hold on those?

We're gonna need to bag them.


I'm Sergeant Greevey,
this is Detective Logan.

We're here to find out
what happened to you.

It's okay. It's all right.

Astrea, can you open your eyes?


I think you can if you try.

No one here is
going to hurt you.

Honey, they can't help you

if you don't tell
them what happened.

Now come on, open your eyes.

You did it once before.

Come on.

Logan: Okay...

Okay, that's a start.


do you know who attacked you?


Can you tell us who it is?


Astrea, I'm gonna
give the nurse my pad.

She's gonna hold it for you.

All I want you to do

is to write down who did it.


(theme music playing)

No discernible contusions,

traumatized, disoriented.

EMT's original
Glasgow coma was off.

It should be about 10 to 12.

Did you administer a rape kit?

I didn't see bleeding or
bruises in the perineal.

Humor me, just do one.

She hasn't stated
she's been raped.

She hasn't stated

that she hasn't been, either.

Max: FBI should be notified,

at least to cover
the civil rights vios.

Media catches a sniff... whew!

If these guys turn out to
be ours, I want them fast.

You order a kit? Yeah.

Good. What else?

I requested a rape
intervention specialist.

She's already there.
What about parents?

The mother arrived
just as I was leaving.

Mike's with her
and the specialist.

Nothing more from the girl?

No, I figured to give her a
day and let her calm down.

I just knew something
bad had happened.

Did she stay away from
home before, ma'am?

Usually only for a night

if things were bad at home.

Were things bad?

We just didn't want her
seeing this particular boy.

Who is that?

Don't know. Only Hill...

Max: Mike?

Excuse me.


She didn't even file a Missing
Persons Report until last night.

Three days?

One of my kids
is 15 minutes late

I go through the roof.

Are you finished? I'd like
to get her with her daughter.

How long can you stay?

As long as it takes.

If she comes out
with anything at all...

Location, names... even if it
sounds like nonsense, call us.

I know the drill, Sergeant.

And when the press comes
sniffing around on this,

nothing goes to them

that might jeopardize
this investigation.

In other words,
don't say anything.

I didn't know she was gone.

They pretty much
keep to themselves.

You don't know of any fights

or arguments they
may have had lately?

Why? You ain't got
none in your house?

Ma'am, do you know a young man,

last name Hill,

that Astrea was
supposedly seeing?

Never heard.

Do you know the friends
she hangs out with?

I got enough taking
care of my own.

She did used to run
with this girl down the hall.

But they moved

to the projects up on 109th.

Do you know her last name?


Leona, I think.

This one fits.

Leona Hardison!

Hey, hey, come on.

We just want to ask
you a few questions.

I don't talk to the Man.

Logan: Do you know
Astrea Crawford? Maybe.

You know she's been missing?

What kind of "missing"?

Attacked missing.

Maybe raped missing.

So you say?

You don't seem
too upset by that.

Me and her... we
don't hang no more.

Still... No still,
"Bill." We fell out.

Over a guy?

Do I look like I would
lose a guy to her?

Do you know her friend Hill?


Logan: Want to give
us his first name?


Where can we find
Mr. Jordan Hill, Leona?

Well, if he's out of jail

he'd be doing community service.

"Remember a kid
named Jordan Hill?"

You gotta be kidding.

Any given day, I
get 175 actives.

If it ain't multiple homicide

the best I can do maybe

is notes on the day of the bust.

If we're lucky,

we're given a run-through
of the day or days

prior to the crime, see
where they screwed up.

You saw Hill after
the arraignment.

Yeah, I managed to slide
him into a detox space.

He ever mention
anything about a girl

named Astrea Crawford?



Says he spent the
early afternoon with her

the day he was arrested.

That's him over there.

Worker #1: This isn't coming
off, man. Worker #2: Scrub harder.

Got a good job here, Jordan.

500 hours of community service?

Hell of a job. What do you want?

Seen Astrea lately?

Why, is she in trouble?

When was the last
time you saw her?

Four or five days.

Look, I want to
know if Astrea's okay.

Where was that?

Some hanger on 103.

Specifically what day, Jordan?

I don't know.

Hey, don't grease us, okay?

I am not in the mood.

Now, was she with you

the day you got
busted in the sweep?

I don't know.

You know, we pulled
your yellow sheet, Jordan.

The last time you
got busted for crack

you got a nice little program.

Court's full of people
who'd like to take your place.

Mike, Mr. Hill's
had a tough week.

Give me your hand.

What? Give me your hand.

Remember today, Jordan

and call me...

before quitting time.

Logan: 12 people
arrested in this dump?


Snow cone in hell we find
anything to place her in here.

Might as well call
Forensics in anyway.

What do you expect to find, Max?

This is gonna be a
nightmare for a team.

You got prints in here
going back to the Civil War.

Maybe we'll get the goods
on the guy who killed Lincoln.

Anyway... that's all
we got... procedure.

Let's go see if the
girl's calmed down any.

P.A.: Dr. Miller. 3-5-4-1,

Dr. Miller, 3-5-4-1.

Guard: Sorry, gentlemen.
No visitors at this time.

Consider your job well done.

You got a second?

The family has
hired itself an advisor.

Everything's got to run
through him at this point.


You may have some trouble

getting statements
out of the girl.

Why is that?

Are you familiar with
the good Ronald Eaton?

Congressman Ronald Eaton?

Oh, great.

No crime scene, no
physical evidence.

No witnesses, holes
appearing by the hour,

a mute vic, and now we've got

"Mr. Civil Rights Soundbite"

putting on his make-up.

Problem, Detective?

Sergeant Greevey.

This is Detective Logan.

And yes, I have problems

when prevented from
doing my job, Congressman.

I suffer the same
frustrations, Sergeant.


My concern is with the girl,

That her cries for justice
are not steamrolled

by the old white-boy
power structure.

Logan: Well, it's a
little premature to be

shouting cover-up, isn't it?

Eaton: Premature? Yeah.

How many black homicide cases

does your precinct
not clear every year?

And how many white cases?

Now, you've seen the numbers.

Don't tell me what
"premature" is.

And you think withholding
pertinent information

in this case is going
to change all that?

I think it'll get the attention

of state and
federal authorities.

The FBI has
already been notified

about any potential
civil rights violations.

That just means they'll be
looking over your shoulder.

I want them staring
you in the face.

Keep away from us. We don't
need help from no white cops.

Wife: Lester, please.

Excuse me.


One "g" in Logan, am I right?

Yeah. Why?

Hate for you gentlemen

to see your names
misspelled in the papers.

P.A.: Dr. MacKenzie, 2-9-4-3,

Dr. MacKenzie...


Messengered in this morning.

Eaton wants a photo array.

Max: "All the white cops

working or residing on
the Upper West Side"?

He can't be serious.

This guy has got stones, huh?

Stone: Except for his mouth,
the Congressman's got squat.

If there are wrong
cops in this precinct

I want them as bad as he
does, but I will be damned

if he's going to put
every cop on trial.

What if he goes over your head?

He probably already has,
but until I hear differently,

we conduct this like
any other investigation.

We got anything on the parents?

Model citizens.

Mother's an x-ray technician.
Father's a cab driver.

Deacon of his church.
Not even a traffic ticket.

What about the FBI?

They're monitoring. Waiting
on the results of the rape kit.

When's that girl
due to be released?

Tomorrow morning.

I want her in here before
noon for questioning.

With or without Eaton?

Without. He is not her lawyer.

He has a problem with that,
he takes an obstruction charge.

Let him see what his spin
doctors can do with that.

Ooh, man.

You care to elaborate
on that, Detective?

I'm just wondering how
much gas this fire can take.

Meaning what?

Meaning she's the victim.
We're treating her like a suspect.

Max: Let's keep
this low profile.

I don't want you out of the car

unless a riot's about to start.

She already told
you, she's not here.

Mr. Crawford, come on, we
just want to ask a few questions.

The longer we wait,
the greater the chances

of her forgetting details.

Good. I'm glad to see

you got her best
interests at heart.

The congressman told us

that you'd be coming
here to get her.

Told us that you
would grind her up

so you could bury her story.

He told us. It's okay, baby.

Mrs. Crawford,

I'm sure that whatever
Congressman Eaton told you

was well-intentioned but...

Well, you can't get to her now.

You can't touch her.

The police raped my baby...

Killed her inside.

He told us that
you'd be coming here

with your filthy hands
to protect your own.

Well, you can't get her.

She's safe now,
do you understand?

You can't get her!
She's safe, you hear?

Lord, I just can't take no
more...! Are you satisfied?

You think you got some kind of
license to come and do this crap?

To rip open people's lives?

Max: The parents
don't trust the police.

Of course not.

That's 'cause Eaton's involved.

I give the bastard an hour to
have the press out in full force.

Didn't know you knew the man.

Since the King assassination,

back when he was "Uhuru" Eaton.

He staged a sit-in at City Hall.

Demanded 100 buses to
take people to the funeral.

Not the worst reason in
the world to have a sit-in.

That's what I thought,
until he told me

he was going to burn the place
if he didn't get what he wanted.

Things got out of
control. People got hurt.

The man is dangerous.

See what...

The rape specialist's got.

I'm out of the loop.

Your choice?

Let's just say

I'm not about to jump
on Eaton's bandwagon.

Where's he taking
this thing, you think?

Off the record?

I'm sure he's got
some political agenda.

He always does.

Whether Astrea was raped
or not has taken a back seat.

You don't know if she was raped?

You got the lab
report, you tell me,

End of business today.

Something happened to her,

but I'll be surprised if the
kit comes back positive.

All right, suppose for whatever
dimestore psychology reason,

it is a hoax.

She had to stay
somewhere for three days.

I know where you're going, Max.

And if you're
thinking the boyfriend,

I'm telling you, the crack house

is going to get us nowhere.

Even if we're lucky
with Forensics.

I doubt they'll be
able to timeframe it.

At best, it'll be weak,
circumstantial evidence.

How about we get on the board

before we start second-guessing
evidence we don't have?

(radio chatter)

(cameras snap)

Logan: Max, I was up till
2:00 in the morning last night,

watching one of
those old Chaplin films,

"Modern Times."

No wonder you drag
your butt until noon.

What do you want?

I only had half the bed.

You still dragging things home?

Hey... this one's
different, man.


She's an NYU film student.

She's really, really smart.

Right, let me guess...
She wears a lot of black?

She likes cops.

She says it makes her

feel connected to real life.

Oh, she loves guns.

Snubnoses, too?

(both chuckle)

Captain Cragen
just called. He said,

quote, "Get in, it's
really hit the fan."

Reporter: to a live minicam
where Congressman Eaton

has declared the former
Baptist church a sanctuary.

Cragen: So Eaton
has no legal ground?

No, sanctuary doesn't apply.

It certainly doesn't apply if
the building isn't a church.

That doesn't change
people's perceptions.

It used to be a church.

You yank her in
for questioning now,

we'll have a massive
backlash on our hands.

(phone rings)

What? Yeah, put him through.

Max, what the hell is going on?

10 minutes.

I think we better
get over there.

Eaton: You've
heard the expression

"taking the law into
your own hands"?

These are your hands. (cheers)

Is this a government of
the people? Crowd: Yes!

Are you the people? Yes!

Logan: And you
are the government...

Three rings.

Eaton's doing his
"Barnum" imitation.

3:00... just in time
for the evening news.

Why don't we lose the squad cars

and downplay the entire thing?

That solve your
perception problem?

I say we go up
and haul her butt in.

We don't, it's going to
look like he's got the names

and the entire
force is on the run.

Eaton has named cops?

Teal and Rudolph, a couple
of night shift uniforms from 7-3.

Don't know them.

I'm advising you
not to go in, Captain.

Max, go make the
congressman an offer.

Let him know you're
here only to talk.

We're offering to hear
Astrea's side of the story.

But it's got to come
from the girl. Nobody else.

You know him. You
should go talk to him.

Max, I hate the man.

Captain... Forget it.

I want you to go on in.

But no arrests and no
removal for questioning.

You're making a mistake.

Eaton: by laziness,

by acceptance
of the status quo...

Those changes were
prompted by a call to action!

(crowd cheers)

We're not here to take her in,

we just want to hear
her side of the story.

Astrea's presence here
signifies her recognition

that any relief that
she is to receive

will have to come
from a higher authority.

I cannot stop them
from entering this church

but I will lay down my life

to protect the rights of
black women everywhere.


Be it from you... From
your uniformed brethren,

or an entire city.

(crowd cheers, shouts)


Eaton: Do you hear it?

That is the sound
of rage, gentlemen.

And it's a rage that will
be louder in 24 hours,

and louder than that in 48.

And that is the fault

of the New York City
Police Department,

which doesn't even
have the sensitivity

to send a black
investigator up here.

But it's also the fault...

of corrupt and
crumbling black officials

who will sell their very soul

in the betrayal of
their own people.

It will not stop...

until the fires of oppression
have been quenched.

Until the racial inequities

and the sexual
abuses of white...

Stop! Stop it!

Astrea, do you
want to talk to us?

The child is traumatized. I
won't allow her to be badgered.

Stay out of this.

Mike... Understand
something, Detective.

You are dangerously
close to a civil suit.

Oh, that's fine, Congressman.

While you're hunting for
some ink, what about her case?

Hey, come on now.

Let's please stick to the
point. We're getting nothing...

You're getting nothing?

You got no business here.

You're just trying to
break her emotionally.

I can't do this! I don't
want to hear it. Please!

Oh, my God. My baby!

Oh. my baby... Please, oh, God!

Reporter: What's going on,
Detective? Is the ambulance for Astrea?

No comment. How come white
cops are here to interrogate her

when there have been accusations
that white cops raped her?

The department has no comment

other than to state that
we were there only to listen.

We're not asking Ms. Crawford
to accompany us to the station.

There aren't even
any black uniformed.

What message is the city trying
to send to the black community?

(reporters shout)

Terrific, exactly what we
needed. She accuses a white...

Cragen: You saw the statement.

We did not go
in to take her out.

The statement means nothing
when she's carted off in an ambulance.

She accuses white cops
and I don't even see...

Damn it, don't come into my
office and accuse my people.

Use your head.
You jumped into this

like it's some
by-the-numbers rape.

It's a whole collection
of unverified accusations,

news flashes and
soundbites. Fine.

You got anything under
your hat besides speeches?

Yeah, your people are
yanked off this case as of now.

This is no longer
a police matter.

"Police drive Crawford
girl to breakdown."

Nothing like starting
in your own end zone.

Nine yards in.

Cragen's office
called last night.

The two uniforms Eaton named

have substantiated alibis
for the time in question.

Did you see this?
FBI's rape kit results.

No indications: gynecological
tests, forensics, all negative.

She faked it.

At this point all we
know is what's on paper.

You think Eaton is willing to
stake his political future on this?

If this plays out,
he's a genius.

He goes from gang member
to rabblerouser to congressman

to spokesman for the
entire black community.

He's an urban Horatio Alger.

"Go militant, young man."

Or it turns south and he
loses whatever credence

he has on both
sides of the track.

Do you see any indication
of it turning south?

Because the whole
burden of proof is on us.

And he's put the
whole system on trial.

So this isn't enough, then?

If we don't disprove a cover-up

every minority in this city
will assume Eaton is right

no matter how many
lab reports we publish.

So how do we counter
the momentum?

Call Eaton.

An interesting
place for a meeting.

I thought you should see
first-hand what it's all about.

Maybe the cobwebs will fall.

From our eyes?

From your heart.

My best wishes for
the girl's health aside,

I didn't come here for a speech.

I know that, Mr. Stone,

or I wouldn't have
agreed to see you.

You want to know where
I'm planning on taking this.

You want me to give you

a free glimpse of the future.

It's fairly obvious you
have a private agenda.

Of course I have an agenda.

Your system isn't serving the
African-American segment of the population.

Let's dial this back a a second.

Does your system have any
evidence the rape was committed?

My system has found nothing to
suggest a crime actually took place.

Nor do I have
access to the victim.

And you won't.

I believe Astrea completely.

But if I give you
what she's got,

I run the risk of it
being squashed.

You think I don't
know how many people

would like to see
this thing disappear?

Even if there was a cover-up

the press have made
that impossible to stage.

That's not a risk
I'm willing to take.

We've come too far.

But you are willing to risk

the emotional
health of a teenager

and my ability to
try the perpetrators?


I'm only here to
help the Crawfords.

Look... you want to do

your Martin Luther King
imitation, be my guest.

Don't think for one
second that I'm giving up.

I don't care if Astrea is black,
white, yellow or polka-dotted,

if she was raped,
I'll find the cops

I'll prosecute them
and I'll convict them.

White cops, black girl?


Who are you kidding?

You don't want me
to find them, do you?

Why shoot rats when you
can go big-game hunting?

And whose heads do
you want on your wall?

Cragen's, the Police


There he is. Can you a
give us statement, Mr. Stone?

We are trying to
investigate a crime

without any assistance
from the alleged victim.

"Alleged"? Does that mean the DA

does not believe
Astrea Crawford's story?

The temperature on the nights
in question was in the low 30s,

yet emergency room personnel
found no evidence of exposure.

The FBI... not the
NYPD ran a rape kit.

The results were negative. You
can draw your own conclusions.

Why was the request for a
photo array of the cops denied, sir?

The police have adhered to
normal investigative procedure.

Eaton: What if the
girl had been white?

Would you have released
photos of black cops?

ADA Stone and I

have just concluded a meeting
on Astrea Crawford attack.

Unfortunately, Mr. Stone's
myopic view of the case

only served to dampen
any hopes I had harbored

of a fair investigation

into the action of this city's
law enforcement officers.

Do you believe the DA is capable
of an impartial investigation?

I believe there is
a tacit agreement

running through the
power structure of this city.

If Astrea Crawford had been
white and her attackers black...

Stone: That's not the point,
Adam. I know the facts...

You do, he does... I'm
certain Eaton knows the facts.

But the press and thus the public
hears what he wants them to hear.

Is he lying?

I think he believed her at
first. Even if he doesn't now

it's too good an
opportunity for him to let go.

Every move we make rings
cover-up... we go too slow,

we're dragging our feet;
too fast, we're after the girl.

I can read a lousy hand.
Now, what do you want to do?

I want a grand jury
impaneled. I want to run it.

Last shot out of the gun.
If it doesn't turn there...

Stone: We're dead, I know.
But we're face down as it is.

And it could get worse
before it gets better.

The one hope is the boyfriend.
If he admits she was with him...

I'll take a shot.

That's different than what
you had told your youth officer.

Plus, you told the police you
had seen her a few days previous.

Maybe. Which is it?

I didn't see her any of the
three days before I got busted.

We have hair and fiber samples

from the crack house
that say otherwise, Jordan.

I don't care. I didn't see her.

Has anyone spoken to
you about the three days?

Some. Eaton?

My nephew does
not lie, Mr. Robinette.

And certainly not to a man

as esteemed as Mr. Eaton.

Thank you, ma'am.
That's very helpful.

If he told Mr. Eaton
that's what happened,

then that's what happened.

I'll be in touch with Jordan if
I need him for the grand jury.

I'm assuming you'd be willing
to state the same under oath?

You got that right. Watch
your mouth, young man.

Are you going to
subpoena him? No, he'd lie.

We'd prove he perjured himself,

he'd lose his work
program. What for?

Oh, the faint rumblings
of a heart in there.

No, that's a brain

and it's decided to
subpoena Ms. Crawford.

Whew! Talk about backlash.

What choice have we got? If we don't
let her testify, they'll scream "cover-up."

If we do, what do you
think Eaton will scream?

I don't know. We'll find out.

I think I'll subpoena him too.

Stone: And in your
expert opinion, Mrs. Wilkes,

would you say there are
characteristics associated

with false allegations of sexual
assault in the Crawford case?

There are certain
characteristics present in this case

that tend to appear more
often in false allegations

than in the case of
true sexual assault.

In the case, specifically, are
there physical characteristics

that match established
guidelines for false allegations?

Yes, there were. Would
you list them, please?

Mrs. Crawford's
damage to her clothing

was inconsistent
with that of her injuries.

Writing on the body
is also very common

in false allegations
as is self-mutilation.

And probably,
most important of all,

the expected laboratory
findings of rape are absent.

Eaton: The District
Attorney office has,

in an attempt to
fracture our resolve,

issued subpoenas for
myself and my clients,

Astrea Crawford and her mother.

I've agreed to testify to show

the vicious indifference

within this city's
lily-white power structure

as young Astrea's cries
for justice go unheeded.

(crowd cheers)

So upon hearing of Mrs.
Crawford's alleged rape in the papers

you contacted her family
with an offer of your services?

My help to a
constituent, Mr. Stone.

I supply no "services."

This help was in the
form of a suggestion

to Ms. Crawford and her family

that she not cooperate
with the duly-constituted

authorities in
this investigation?

I embraced the
family's hope for justice.

Only in subsequently
bonding together as a whole,

our desires for justice
for Astrea the individual

were only surpassed by those
issues lying on the larger plane.

Which are?

Four centuries of
oppression, Mr. Stone.

We became front-line
activists in the struggle

to uproot a system of injustice

through this particular case.

Congressman, the
purpose of this grand jury

is to determine whether
a particular crime

has been committed, and if so,

was there an attempt to bury it,

as has been charged
in various public forums

by yourself.

Therein lies, the
problem, Mr. Stone.

For the real agenda
here should be

the American system of justice

and its treatment of black
Americans versus that of whites.

For better or for worse, it's
the only system we've got.

Circumventing it, sir,

no matter how noble
the perceived ends,

cannot be justified.
And if you persist

in preventing Ms.
Crawford and her family

from testifying
before this jury,

I have no other
alternative, sir,

but go to warrant
for their arrest.

We must have the truth, not
only for the black community

but for every one of
the citizens of this city.

You leave me no other option.

Then you'll have to
excuse me, Mr. Stone.

I can find no justifiable reason

to be party to this mockery
of truth and equality.

Robinette: Your Honor, as the
evidence of this hearing establishes,

the defendants were served
subpoenas 10 days previous

to the notice date of
grand jury appearances.

They have, as the
evidence shows,

willfully and deliberately
failed to appear.

The People request immediate
determination of contempt

and ask the Court to impose

the maximum sentence
provided by law.

Mr. Gaines?

The defendants' stated position has
been clear for some time, Your Honor.

The DA's issuing
of said subpoenas

was a clear attempt
to break the resolve

of this girl's stance
on racial justice.

Spare me the
diatribe, Counselor,

this is a hearing, not a trial.

While there is
unfortunately much truth

in the stated position

that minorities in this city
often fall onto uneven terrain

within the Court system,

that is not reason
enough for your clients

to ignore the lawful
mandates of this Court.

Is it your intention

to show any
pertinent information

in the defense of
this contempt citation?

Apparently, none that would
do any good, Your Honor,

as it is becoming
readily apparent

the Court's mind
is already made up.

Tread lightly, Mr. Gaines.
I'm becoming annoyed.

Given the legal documents
submitted by the People

and the lack of any
substantive defense,

this Court finds both
defendants guilty of contempt.

You are hereby
sentenced as followed:

Mrs. Thelma Crawford,

$250 fine along with
30 days' incarceration;

Miss Astrea Crawford,

30 days in a suitable
juvenile facility.

At the end of that time,

or before, if they
wish to cooperate

I will see them
in this courtroom.

Your Honor, request
incarceration be delayed

until immediately after
the next grand jury date

so that defendants can reflect
upon the Court's decision.

So ordered.

Yes, Mr. Gaines?

Congressman Eaton would
like to make a brief statement.

All due respect to
Congressman Eaton,

he has no business in
this Court, Mr. Gaines.

Justice silenced is
justice denied, Your Honor.

Eaton, go ahead, sir.

Your Honor, for the
record I'd like to state

an overwhelming
sense of disappointment

at the Court's
handling of this affair.

Excuse me... sir.

Yours and Mr. Gaines'
clear implication

is that I have been sitting here
oppressing black Americans,

and I will not have it.

And while I'm on the subject,

this Court would like to
advise the defendants...

In my legal opinion you
have had reprehensible

and irresponsible advice

from their retained counsel.

I hope you take what
time has been granted

to fully examine the situation

and purge the contempt citation.

This Court does not relish

having you spend
one hour in jail,

for what it perceives to be

the self-serving
actions of others.

If Eaton convinces the girl
and her mother to be martyrs

and take the 30 days,

we're dead in the water.

Now suppose that Angela
Wilkes' theory is right,

that this thing
started as a child's fib.

You think you could prove
that Eaton took the ball,

orchestrated it for the media,

and keep the mother
and the girl out of it?

I don't think that'll fly.

It'd be like a witch hunt. We're
jumping around, looking for a villain.

And I actually think Eaton
might still believe the girl.

We may have one more shot.

Gimme the day.

Warren: Why me?
Robinette: He'll see you.

Just your presence
will defuse the situation.

I'll do all the talking.

Paul, I just know the man
from the "rubber chicken" circuit.

Look, I know I
can cut this short.

He's got to be feeling
pressure at this point.

If I provide him with a
graceful exit he might take it.

Or he eats you for lunch...

Holds you up to the press

as a "Tom" messenger, sent
by the white establishment.

So what? So what, we sit back

and watch him
tear the city in half?

He's already set back
race relations 30 years.

I work with these people.
I know how they feel.

There is no cover-up.

You know me. You
think I'd be a party to it?

This is unbelievable.

I become a lawyer,
turn down Wall Street,

go into the one area
I think I can help,

and everybody thinks I'm a
damned "Oreo." Excuse me, Father.

Maybe there's another way.
Have you talked to the mother?

Eaton's got his
hand in her back.

She's talking, but
he's pulling the strings.

The Crawfords are parishioners.

If I can get her to
talk to you alone...?

I'll take a run at her.

Mrs. Crawford: Mr. Robinette?

You okay?


Father Warren said
you wanted to talk to me.

How about we go get some coffee?

I can't stay long.

This thing has gotten...

I don't know what to do.

It's gone too far.

Did it happen?

Did any of it happen?

She's pregnant.

The Hill boy?

But we're Catholic.

She was terrified.

Her daddy, he has
a terrible temper.

She wanted to have an abortion.

She thought by saying that
white cops raped her that...

He'd let her have it.

I never thought it
would get this big.

This is a part of it?

I had to tell him the truth.

Robinette: That's not the point.

You give me the view from
where you sit, "Mr. Jive DA,"

and tell me I got no
reason to be up behind this?

I'm saying there's no
reason to go on with it,

and I'm giving you an out.

The city will drop
the cross charges

and the gag order
will work both ways.

No quotes, no
fingerpointing from anybody,

including us.

And it'll just disappear
from the papers?

No fuel, no fire, Mr. Crawford.

The press will print other
people's speculations,

but they're not going
to print their own.

Look, I don't know
what you need me for.

She's already agreed to it.

It won't work unless everyone's
in agreement. And Eaton?

That'll be my problem.


I'm sending a social worker by.

Mr. Crawford: Look, we don't
need any more help from you.

That's not an option, Lester.

You beat her again,

I'll come at you
every way I know how.

If what you're
telling me is true,

you may be the
most simplehearted,

nigger ever to wear a tie.

You want to call them?

They won't pick up the phone.

Don't you have any sense
of connection to your people?

Cut the crap, Congressman,

there are no cameras here.

The thing was a hoax.

It's over. Let it go.

A hoax?

You know that now,

I know that now...

but does it really
make a difference?

What do you think the point
of all this madness was?

Besides the obviously
self-serving aspects?

How long do you
think it will be again

before our entire society

is focused on an
issue of racial equality?

Ends justifying the means?

You look me in the eye

and you tell me
this system is just...

This system is equal.

At times, the
system stinks, Eaton.

I know that as well as you do.

But don't for one damn minute

tell me that your
self-aggrandizing polarization

is going to solve the problem.

Don't tell me that tearing down
a 200-year-old justice system...

No matter how flawed...

Is going to alter the
consciousness of a society.

We're past the separate-
drinking-fountain stage.

We're past legal discrimination.

We're at the hearts-
and-minds stage.

And believe me,

there's no quick fix.

Your intentions

might have been good...

but your execution stunk.

Another zombified soul

casts his vote for order

rather than justice.

Negative peace
over positive peace.

Paraphrasing Martin
Luther King's thoughts

won't lend credence to yours.

King walked with the angels.

You'd slide in
slime on your belly

to get what you want.

Adam: So, he said we're out?

And they agreed to what?

Gag orders all around, we
drop the cross complaints...

Drop the... what the
hell does that get us?

"Get us"?

Granted, it's not the
best deal on the surface,

but it's livable, it'll work.

It'll help the press
deflate themselves.

Cops were named.
Records maligned.

What, you want no casualties?

Six months and people
will know it was a hoax.

It'll be back page news.

He'll live with it. By
morning he'll probably love it.

You think I sold out?

Does it matter what I think?

If it does, I'll tell you,

but it's something
you decide for yourself.

You got a "shave yourself
in the morning" speech?


Do you think of yourself as a black
lawyer, or a lawyer who's black?

Depends on the context.

You made a decision based
on something from within.

You live with it,
examine it. It's all you got.

You think by morning
I'll come to love it?

No, but I don't think
you'll have any problem

with the guy in the mirror.

I'll see you tomorrow.

(theme music playing)