Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 2, Episode 21 - Law & Order - full transcript

Detectives Cerreta and Logan investigate the stabbing death of Councilman James Vogel who is found lying in the middle of the street. Vogel had been on city council for many years and was well-liked by everyone. They learn that he had received a large sum of money from his father who acknowledges giving him the money but insists he didn't ask him why. They quickly conclude that Vogel was being blackmailed and that a local newspaper was going to out him as being gay. He had been corresponding with a prison inmate who has just been released on parole but it's his lawyer that they focus on. For ADA Stone, the challenge will be to find someone who is willing to admit in open court that they too were being blackmailed. For his part, Vogel's father is doing everything he can to protect the family's reputation.

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it -
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.

- (car horns honking)
- (car alarm blares)

It doesn't bother you
at all, does it?

To you, it's like talking
about a new pair of shoes.

For God's sake,
she's family.

Do you think I would
discuss this with my sister?

- Sally's a therapist.
- The problem is not
with the big head, Jesse.

You're being childish.

You folks hear Howard
this morning?

He was really goin' off
on some poor broad.

You mind?

Look out!

What the hell
are you doing?

(police radio chatter)

All right, keep back, folks.


Yeah. No see
and no hear.

Eight million people
and you die alone.

- What's the morning headline?
- Man: Man kisses 10th Avenue.

Kiss of death.

But his face wasn't crushed
from a knife wound.

He must have come
from that bridge.

Let's see
what we got.

And the winner is...

James Vogel.


Make that Councilman Vogel.

16th District.
He's a long way from home.

20, 40, 60, 80...

83 bucks
and a full deck of plastic.

- Too busy to rob him.
- Disgruntled voter?

Or a contributor who wasn't
getting his money's worth.

It's a hell of a way
to leave office.

(theme music plays)

Vogel attended a benefit

for the New York Women's Foundation
at the Democratic Club.

The doorman remembers him leaving,
by himself, a little after 10:30.

Five minutes later,
a half-gainer off the high dive.

Now if anybody saw this hit, they didn't
stay around to tell us about it.

Word's out... maybe some
witness will show up.

Right, and maybe I'll
grow wings and learn to fly.

I sat on a panel
last year with Vogel.

Safe schools, juvenile violence,
that kind of thing.

A lot of grandstanding,
but not Vogel.

I'm telling you, this guy
is one of the good ones.

Sometimes the good guys
step on the wrong toes.

The family's been
in politics a long time.

There's bound to be
some sore losers.

Well, I want this one
in the win column.

In addition to the impact wounds
from the fall and the car,

the victim had
a number of blunt-force wounds
across the front of his body.

Started out
just wanting to hurt him.

In for a dime or a dollar,
it doesn't make much difference now.

We have a dorsal wound
beginning in the upper right quadrant.

One upward thrust.

The blade entered
the abdominal cavity
just under the ribcage,

proceeded up through the kidney
and transected the renal vein.

Two heartbeats and he's gone.

- Rodgers: The bleeding's
all internal... no pain, no stain.
- Cerreta: Mark of a craftsman.

Jim pushed for literacy programs,
rights for elderly tenants...

hardly anything
you would call controversial.

I know a couple of landlords
who might beg to differ.

He built bridges, not walls.

I ran his constituent office
for eight years.

I do not know a single enemy
that he didn't win over.

What about allies?
Did he owe any favors?

He didn't practice that way.
He said, "Favors will get you
in trouble."

- Cerreta: Was he ambitious?
- In right amounts, yes.

But nobody owned him.

Maybe they had
a short-term lease.

Here are two deposits
to his money market account.

One was eight months ago,
this one three months ago.

It's a total of 50 grand.

Did he win the lotto?

I wouldn't know
where that came from.

Well, we've got
the bank number.

If they're checks, we'll go
to the issuing account.

My hunch? Wherever it's from,
lotto would have been better.

I lent him the money.

A father is an easy touch.

In my family,
we don't write blank checks.

He asked and I gave.

If he'd wanted me to know
what it was for, he would have told me.

- Maybe he told your wife.
- Judith passed away
six years ago.

Was there anyone else
he might have confided in,
maybe a girlfriend?

James kept
his own counsel.

I don't see what this money
has to do with his death.

Some piece of filth
held him up.

No, we don't think
robbery was a motive.

You're looking
for a motive?

How about
just for the hell of it?

That's a popular one
these days.

Someone just doesn't
like the look on his face.

My family worked damn hard
to improve the quality of life
in this city.

And this...
this is how they pay us back.

Vogel wasn't
exactly a tightwad.

Tapped into his stash
every other Friday.

5,000 a month in cash.

Except for the last
couple of weeks.

Plenty of money left,
but no cash withdrawals.

Well, whatever he was paying off,
he changed his mind.

In hock to the bank
of broken legs?

I can't see how...
this guy was a monk.

He covered the basics
with his salary.

He paid his credit cards
every month like clockwork.

Maybe he's
a sports nut.

No, bookies collect
in cash, not bodies.

"Mullen's," in SoHo.

Charges every week.

Didn't Vice do a number
on them a year ago?

Your colleagues in the Vice Squad
had the wrong impression.

People come here
to feel safe, nothing more.

- And Vogel was a regular?
- Who is and who isn't
is nobody's business.

Unless it's a police matter,
Mr. Drotos, which this is.

He was already
halfway there anyway.

How's that?

The past few weeks
James was talking about
turning his life around.

- Taking the big step.
- The big step?

He was thinking of coming out...
of the closet.

He was wondering how well
he was going to handle it.

He was worried
about his family, his career.

He never expected
it would cost him his life.

What are you saying,
that this is a gay bashing?

In the past year, just the ones
that were reported...

30, 40 beatings?

Staying in the closet
isn't a matter of conceit.

Sometimes it can be
a matter of life and death.

You said he had been thinking
about coming out, but he hadn't
actually hadn't done so.

Someone was going
to do it for him.

Outing's a specialty.

James got a call
from them last week.

They were
preparing an article.

I'm sorry about
what happened to James Vogel.

I'm even sorrier he didn't come out
of the closet while he was still alive.

Stick around to watch
you do it for him, Mr. Barclay?

Outing is an act
of self-defense, Detective.

We're at war. The more of us
that come out, the stronger we are.

Well, who are you
at war with?

James Vogel could have been
a role model.

Don't you think
that should've been
his decision?

I didn't target the man,
but when the information
lands on my desk,

I can't ignore it.

Are you so sure
the information is reliable?

There's documentation...
personal letters
in Vogel's hand.

Good, do you mind
if we see those letters?

If I were running
a public library, maybe.

The person who gave you
those letters was probably
trying to blackmail James Vogel.

Much as I'd like to believe you,
the answer's still no.

I gotta protect my sources.

We'll probably have to get
a material witness warrant
and pull you in.

Which means you sit in a cell
until we get a look at those letters.

Then I'd better
pack my toothbrush.

As soon as you get
your warrant, let me know.

I met with his colleagues
on occasion, that's about it.

James moved out
when he was 18.

I haven't kept track
of his friends in a long time.

What about intimate friends...
did he ever talk about them?

There was a girl or two
at Columbia.

Mr. Vogel, the more open
you are with us,

the easier
this is going to be.

What do you mean?

We're already aware
of your son's sexual orientation, sir.

Do you know how many years
we've been subjected
to rumors like that?

Once you're in office,
everyone takes shots at you.

So you're saying
your son was not gay?

Of course he wasn't.

Those freaks in the West Village
would've liked nothing better

than to have claimed
James as one of their own.

Mr. Vogel, I don't know how close
you were with your son,

but our information
does seem reliable.

Oh yes, I'm sure...
reliable political sources.

We also suspect that your son
was being blackmailed.

- The $50,000.
- What about it?

We find it hard to believe
that you'd give him

all that money
without any questions.

- I told you, I trusted him.
- I understand that, but weren' t
you concerned?

I assumed he had some problem
he had to take care of.

You didn't ask him any specifics?

He was 41 years old.

I respected his privacy.

Or maybe you just
didn't want to know.

Your son ever mention
anybody named Harold?


Addressed "James V.,"
signed "Harold."

Letters dating back
a year and a half.

It's definitely
not business.

Look at the return
PO box... Ossining.

State penitentiary.

Your son's pen-pal is
a long-term resident.

Harold Dwyer served six years
in Ossining for grand larceny
and assault.

He was released two weeks ago.

Hobbies include
mail fraud, forgery,
receiving of stolen goods.

In 1983, Dwyer impersonated
a police officer

and stole two Porsches
out of the impound.

Plenty of moxie.

Basic requirements
for blackmail and murder.

Anything in the letters
he wrote to Vogel?

Nothing he'd lose sleep over.

Sounded like he was
one of Vogel's rehab projects.

Do you think Mr. Dwyer
would think of himself as "a project"?

Nickel and change is
a long stretch.

Checkers and Oprah
only eat up so much of it.

You look
for things to do.

- Like pen-pals?
- Like pen-pals.

How did you
meet James Vogel?

I put a personal
in "The Advocate."

He sent me a letter.
We started a little correspondence.

Casual correspondence?

Conversation... just like
two guys sitting at a bar.

We got the idea you talked about more
than just the latest scores.

So it went
a little deeper than that.

Whose idea was it to take it
in that direction, yours?

Man gets lonely.

You got
a problem with that?

I got a problem
when a man gets greedy.

What are you
talking about?

Vogel's money buys
your silence.

Come on...

I didn't even know
his last name.

You knew his mailing address.
You knew he was vulnerable.

Doesn't take long for a smart guy like
you to figure that out.

So smart that I'm taking
his shake-down money

and living
in a dump like this.

Guy said he'd help me
get back on my feet.

I look stupid enough
to blackmail him?

Truth or Dare...
you ever play as a kid?

Stakes keep going up
until someone opens up their
big mouth and steps right in.

The adult version starts
with an ad in the personals.

Vogel bites. Dwyer plays him
till the prose turns purple.

And the trap slams shut.

You think Vogel's
the only one who got caught?

As I recall, prisons keep
records of their prisoner's

Aside from his family
and legal representation,

Harold Dwyer
maintained a correspondence
with several other people.

- Did you inspect
his incoming mail?
- Only for contraband.

What about
outgoing letters?

- Were the contents examined?
- You mean read?

Prisoners are required
to submit outgoing mail to us

for inspection purposes.

We don't actually read
every word they write.

But you would keep a record
of the people he wrote to?

As a matter of routine,
along with his visitors, phone calls.

We'll take copies
of everything you have.

Harold Dwyer was
a model prisoner.

He even taught some of our
high school equivalency classes.

Didn't expect him
to get into trouble so soon.

Jeez, what a shock.

Six correspondents...
all male,

all in
the New York City area.

I saw his personal
in "The Advocate."

I felt sorry for him.

Every con
has a sob story.

I was curious.

Dwyer's letters
were very clever.

Not what I expected
from someone in jail.

Being clever is
what got him there.

Yeah, well, I told myself
at least he's not a murderer.

So you wrote.

And he started sending me
these... raunchy letters.

Wanted me to respond.

I wasn't into it.
I stopped writing.

That it?

A few weeks later,
I get a call at home.

No name, just said
he was a friend of Dwyer's.

I thought it might
have been him, but...

- Cerreta: Was the call collect?
- I don't... does it matter?

Inmates can only
call collect.

No, I'm pretty sure
it wasn't.

So what else did
this person say, Mr. Lingard?

He told me that he had the letters
that I wrote to Dwyer.

- Did he threaten you?
- Not directly.

He was slick...
slick and kind of pushy.

He wanted money...
$5,000 a month.

He said he'd have a courier
come by to pick it up.

So you agreed
to pay him?

Oh please!
I told him to get lost.

Even though
he had your letters?

Hey, I'm gay.

If he wants to broadcast it,
what do I care?

Yeah, but this'll only take a couple
minutes of your time...

yeah... thank you.

Uh-huh. Yes, sir, I do
appreciate your situation.

Well, if you could help me,
I cou... hello? He...

Mr. Harris makes

Three of these guys
are married.

You gotta love blackmail.

No one points the finger at you for
the same reason they're paying you off.

Maybe we can get
the blackmailers to point
the finger at each other.

We know that Dwyer had
somebody on the outside
helping him out.

Yeah, would've had to talk
to 'em before he got
out of the pen.

- What do you want to do...
phones or visitors?
- Phones.

Can't say Dwyer
didn't make an effort.

Called his wife in Binghamton
every Sunday night.

And twice a month he had
visits from a Lisa Torres.

Even money on which one
got the flowers on Valentine's.

Don't rule out
his lawyer.

Dwyer saw him
once a week.

He was already convicted.

And isn't six years
kinda late for appeals?

So why all the traffic?

The architect said
the guy on the phone
was slick and pushy.

Lawyer, slick and pushy?

Mr. Dwyer has legal problems
dating back 15 years.

It keeps me very busy.

Ossining is a good
hour and a half away.
You never use the telephone?

What, are you worried
I'm overcharging him?

You ever talk
to a Jay Lingard?

No, I never
heard of him.

He's an architect.
He was one of Harold Dwyer's
pen-pals while he was in prison.

Sorry, I don't get
the connection.

What about James Vogel...
I'm sure you've heard of him.

Vogel? You mean the councilman
who was mugged?

So someone
would like us to believe.

And you think, what,
my client's somehow involved?

He did exchange letters
with Mr. Vogel.

What a coincidence.
I'm sure Mr. Vogel

also wrote his congressman
on occasion. Is he a suspect, too?

If there were indications
of blackmail, mm-hmm.

And Dwyer
did all this when,

while he was in prison?
He's been out less than two weeks.

We think he had
an accomplice on the outside.

Clever boys.

Look, you want to play
"I Got a Secret"?

You play with my lawyer.
Name's Bowman.

She's in the phone book.

Vogel was paying out
five grand a month.

Then one day he stops.

He wants out,
starts making noise.

Dwyer and Colson
look to shut him up.

Or they send the letters
to the magazine.

The word starts
getting out about Vogel.

The hit looks like
a gay bashing.

Only we can't connect
Colson to Vogel.

We could check his LUDs,
but I don't think he'd
be stupid enough

to call somebody
from his own office
that he's blackmailing.

- What are you looking at?
- Mailroom.

Lingard mentioned
a courier.

I know the routine...
I blab to you,

Mr. Colson finds out, then what?
I come work for you?

You can can shoot a gun,
you got a job.

Yeah? You know where
I'd point it first?

Look, we play this
by the book, I gotta
get a subpoena,

you gotta spend the day
in the precinct while
I fill out forms.

Like I'd mind?

Like you'd lose
a day's pay.


This how
you get dates, too?

Mr. Colson has
a regular service.

Comes by once a week.

Bringing what?

What do you think,
they're transparent?

They go up to his office,
he signs for them.

What's the name
of the service?

Yeah, sure,
he has an account here.

Three or four pickups
every other Friday or so.

Pickups from where?

It depends. Upper Manhattan,
Brooklyn, Jersey.

What about a James Vogel
in Park Slope?

Is this guy Colson

in some kind of trouble?

Do you really care?

He tips... most don't.

Here. No name
on the pickup order,

but we did do Park Slope

every other week
until last month.

Next time you get
a pickup order from Colson,

you call us... but that's
before you deliver the package.

You gotta find
some other way.

I got...
I got a schedule here.

Come on, sweetheart,
you're too busy to make one call?

Or maybe we just have to get
a warrant on every package
that comes through here.

This isn't right.

I've cooperated
plenty already.

Yeah, okay, then one more
time won't kill ya.

The official line is,

Councilman Vogel was the unfortunate
victim of a common street mugging.

Anything else is speculation
we have no comment on.

If we make an arrest,
this story's gonna come out.

As long as it doesn't
come from us.

What are we hiding here,
the fact that he was gay?

- This comes from Division?
- Right from the top.

Let me just guess... Edward Vogel
pays a little visit to the chief...

One five minute
phone call.

What, he's doing his son a favor
by being ashamed of him?

How close
are we on this?

Oh, look, we get a hit
on this delivery...

The courier service
called this morning.

They have a delivery for Colson
from an address in Kew Gardens.

Dwyer was writing
to a George Harris there.

We're waiting for a callback
on the delivery time.

We checked Dwyer's alibi
the night of the murder.

He says he got tanked
in some dive on Mulberry.

Barkeep remembers him stumbling
out at half-past midnight,

but he doesn't remember
when he came in.

- (phone rings)
- What?



Okay, thanks.

Courier service will be
at Colson's in 20 minutes.

Get going. I'll cover
the warrant for you.

Mr. Colson, did you just receive
a package from B & C Couriers?

- What is this all about?
- Is that it right there?

- The warrant first.
- Cerreta: It's on its way.

Do you want to wait,
or do you want to open it yourself?

Would you please
accompany us to the precinct?

I asked my client
about a delinquent bill,

he says send a messenger.
I have no idea...

There's nothing illegal
about getting paid in cash, Detective.

That depends
on the source, Counselor.

We'd like to help you
with this investigation,
but any communication

between attorney and client,
including payment practices,
are confidential.

James Vogel...
did he pay you in cash, too?


Only if the payments
were for legal fees.

Why the hell else
would he pay me?

I don't know...
blackmail comes to mind.

You obviously don't have enough
evidence to arrest me.

Which means you don't have
enough to insult me either.


He's right, you know.

We can't tie him
to anything, ditto on Dwyer.

Somebody gave Vogel's letters
to "Outword" magazine.

It's fair to cloudy.
The editor's on a high horse
called the First Amendment.

His mouth is shut.

25 years might
convince him to reconsider.

You think he's
involved in the murder?

No, but he doesn't
know that.

We're not asking you
not to publish, Mr. Barclay.

We're asking for the sources
of your material.

I don't see
the difference.

No protection of sources
equals no free press.

- The Supreme Court...
- Has never said that.

And I doubt
if the present court ever will.

I'm not merely asserting
my rights, Mr. Stone.

Freedom of the press
is the public's right.

If sources
were fair game,

Anita Hill'd still be some
unknown professor in Oklahoma.

You're looking at jail time,
Mr. Barclay.

For contempt, fine.
It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

Not for contempt, sir.

For conspiracy to commit
blackmail and murder.

You have
got to be kidding.

I'm sorry, sir,
I lost my sense of humor

when I saw the photographs
of James Vogel.

I had nothing
to do with that.

Letters in your possession were
used to blackmail Mr. Vogel.

At a minimum, you're withholding

crucial evidence
to a murder investigation.

At a maximum, you're
part of the conspiracy.

Principles go a long way,
Mr. Barclay,

but if I were you,
I'd ask myself,

are they worth
25 years in prison?

The letters showed up
on my desk anonymously.

And you didn't
verify them?

Hey, I'm not
about to get sued.

Experts compared
Vogel's handwriting.

- I want those letters.
- Do I have a choice?

If you want to avoid an indictment,
no, Mr. Barclay, you don't.

- Adam: How bad?
- Bad enough to not
want them published.

All written by Vogel?

And all mailed
to Dwyer in Ossining.

I figure Dwyer is the point man,
he gave the letters to Colson,

who then handled
the blackmail.

What about the murder?

Maybe Vogel got tired of paying him,
threatened to turn him in.

Blackmail is thin.

The letters to Dwyer,
cash payments to Dwyer's attorney.

Still, unless one of the people
making those payments talks,

it all adds up
to nothing.

His father, Ed Vogel,
was the first one

who asked that I run
for this office.

It was a time when a nod
from him carried weight.

Get someone to testify.

I already told the police...

I paid a legal bill in cash.
What's the big deal?

No big deal, if it had
just been once.

The courier says you sent
packages to Mr. Colson every other week.

We spoke
to Harold Dwyer, Mr. Harris.

I was in pro ball
close to 11 years.

Nine of them
in the bigs.

This company hired me
for a reason.

They bought an image.


I was not
a Bobby Bonilla, Mr. Stone.

I need this job.

You paid
Mr. Dwyer and Mr. Colson
to keep your secret?

I paid them
to keep my life.

I have two sons.

Every year they come with me
to the Cubs' alumni day.

How much
did you pay him?

It was supposed to stop
at 50,000.

Colson came back
for more?

Colson, no...
I never heard of.

It was just a voice
on the phone.

Said that it was
gonna cost me another 25.

Would you recognize
that voice?

Well, there's no need...
I taped the call.

You know, just in case
anything happened.

There's no way I'm gonna say
any of this in public.

We can
subpoena you, sir.

I'd rather go to jail,
Mr. Stone.

You son was not the only victim
of this blackmail scheme,
Mr. Vogel.

We've located one other.

And he'll testify?

He's paid Colson a lot
of money to keep his secret.

He doesn't plan
on going public now.

In other words,
without this witness,
you can't go to trial?

I'm sorry.

What if we closed
the courtroom?

No press,
no cameras.

We assure him
his identity remains secret.

Can you get
a judge to agree to that?

Typically, no,
but this witness was a part
of the same blackmail scheme.

And given what happened
to your son...

We can certainly argue
his life's in danger.

So have Colson
and Dwyer arrested,

and let's hope we draw
a sympathetic judge.

Docket number 59422,

People versus
Peter Colson and Harold Dwyer,

one count each
murder in the second degree,

one count each grand larceny
in the second degree.

Parties ready to plead?

Not guilty,
Your Honor.

Not guilty.

Recommendation on bail,
Mr. Robinette?

500,000 on each.

It's excessive,
Your Honor.

In this economy, Your Honor,
the State might as well
ask for a million.

No way we can raise
that kind of cash.

This is America, Counselor...

Bail is set
at 300,000 each.

- (gavel strikes)
- Clerk: Docket number 60784...

Tomorrow, 2:30.
Preliminary conference,
Judge Strelzik's chambers.

Closed courtroom?

You gotta be kidding, Paul.
I just got my hair done.

Keep the reporters
out of the courtroom, fine.

I don't care.

But withholding the name
of a witness, that's absurd.

Not when there's
risk of retaliation.

One man is already dead,
Your Honor.

How can I prepare
a proper cross-examination

when I don't know
anything about the witness?

Tomorrow morning, 10:30,
in my chambers.

I want to hear
what this witness has to say.

No way, Mr. Stone.

You told me
complete anonymity.

Judge Strelzik will have
to know who you are.

There is no way
around that.

The judge we're
not worried about.

It's Colson's lawyer.
She'll be there, right?

So what's to prevent her
from revealing George's identity?

The gag order, for one.
He'll be a John Doe.

Do you want to go on paying
for the rest of your life, Mr. Harris?

I answered
an ad in a magazine...

"Prisoner lonely,
please write."

And that was Mr. Dwyer?


At first, it was just
a friendly correspondence...

about sports
and current events
and that sort of thing.

What happened then?

wanted me to get...

more graphic.

And did you?


He was a prisoner...
I felt sorry for him.

But it was all a con.

After about
a half a dozen letters,

they started asking me
for money...

over five months.

And then
they wanted more.

I have it recorded
on tape.

Is this the tape?


Sir, did the persons
blackmailing you

ever threaten you
with physical harm?


And the person who contacted you
for money, did he have a name?

He never used it.

So you were just assuming
it was Peter Colson?

Your Honor, the only issue
relevant to this hearing

is whether the witness
is in physical danger.

He just said
that he wasn't even threatened.

In any case, Your Honor,
this witness has given

no evidence whatsoever
concerning my client.

The voice on this tape
is clearly identifiable.

Well, fine,
let's hear it.

That alone is enough
to give the witness away,
put him in jeopardy.

Is his name mentioned
on the tape?

No, it isn't... but your client could
easily recall the conversation.

For Godsakes, Ben.

Peter Colson is an upstanding
member of the bar, he's not an animal.

Someone killed
James Vogel,

and I'm not willing to let
it happen to another life.

I'll listen
to the tape alone.

You'll have my decision
tomorrow morning.

Closing a courtroom.

minor miracle.

It's hardly
a burning bush.

Colson's lawyer didn't
put up much of a fight.

I guess she didn't want the press
feasting on his reputation.

Yeah, it's amazing...
a bunch of lawyers get together,

toss the First Amendment's right
to free press down the toilet.

Maybe it's the best way
to protect

the Sixth Amendment's
right to a fair trial.

With Harris on the stand,
at minimum, we get him on extortion.

If Harris takes the stand.
This just landed on my desk.

A writ of prohibition?

Barclay, the editor
of "Outword" magazine.

He's challenging the closed courtroom
on behalf of the media.

How much con law
do you remember?

Not enough.

A 50-page brief written in support
by Helen Murphy, Esquire.

The first lady
of First Amendment law?

Barclay's gotta have
some pretty deep pockets.

The right to a public trial
is guaranteed

by both the Sixth
and the 14th Amendments.

This is a balancing test,
Your Honor.

That right weighed against the harm
to this particular witness.

And the people's right to know.

Does the First Amendment
suddenly not exist, Mr. Stone?

This urgency to inform the public
as to the facts of this particular case

cannot outweigh the rights
of a poten...

Of one overly
paranoid witness? Please.

A real person's life
is in jeopardy, Your Honor.

Surely that outweighs
any intangible benefits

to a general public which is
in no way affected by this case.

So we rewrite the First Amendment,
freedom of the press,

but only when it affects
the majority?

- Your Honor...
- We are not asking
that the 11:00 news

be allowed to wheel in
a camera crew, Your Honor.

Why the hell not?

I empathize
with your witness, Mr. Stone,

but there's
a heavy burden you must meet

to deprive
the voyeuristic public

of their God-given right
to peek in on the woes of others.

- Your Honor...
- If your witness is
in that much danger,

don't put him
on the stand.

I'm sorry, Counselor,
but freedom

secret proceedings.

Your client may quote me
on that, Ms. Murphy.

Petitioner's motion
is granted.

The trial will be open
to the press.

I tried, Ben, I really did,

but George will not testify
in an open courtroom.

I can't win
without him.

He wants to see
Colson walk?

But he's entitled
to be a little selfish.

And I'll tell you what,
I don't know if I blame him.

What about the tape?

You can offer
that into evidence
without his testimony.

Without authentication,
it's worthless, right?

He did give a sworn statement
in Judge Strelzik's chambers.

And he was cross-examined
by opposing counsel, but...

The transcripts
never mentioned his name.
Are they admissible?

"CPL, Section 670-10:

Testimony given pursuant
to a conditional examination

is admissible when the witness
is unable to attend the trial because of
death, illness,

incapacity, or is outside the state
and cannot with due diligence

be brought
before the court."


This is outrageous. It's unethical,
not to mention prejudicial.

And screaming doesn't make it
inadmissible, Ms. Bowman.

We subpoenaed the witness
to testify, Your Honor,

but it seems he's relocated,
address unknown.

Attorney suspects
that he's gone out of state.

And I suspect we got major-league
manipulation goin' on here.

Then you're free to appeal.

As far as I can see,
the requirements

of CPL 670
have been satisfied.

The witness' prior sworn testimony
can be read into evidence.

Harris's voice:
I've already given you $50,000.
I can't afford any more.

Colson's voice:
I don't really give a damn.
It's another 25,

or that closet door
swings wide open, my friend.

Now the messenger will
be there tomorrow at 5:00.

First of all, you've got
to get a jury to buy it.

After the judge instructs them about
the weight this evidence
should be given...

Your client will be convicted
of several counts of larceny
by extortion.

And it won't take
a major leap of faith

to construct a convincing
argument for murder two.

You're dreaming.

Well, if you want something
badly enough,

dreams have a way
of coming true.

Do you want to take
that chance, Counselor?

What are you offering?

If he didn't know about the murder,
and he gives us Dwyer,

grand larceny three.

It was all Dwyer.
I never wanted to kill the guy.

You were part
of the blackmail.

Dwyer's brainstorming.
I was desperate.

The economy went south,
my business went with it.

I was in a hole...
mortgage, child support.

How much did you collect?

Six guys,
50 grand each.

And you and Dwyer would
split it when he got out?

That was the plan.

My ex moved for an upward modification
of our settlement agreement.

I needed cash...
I didn't expect Dwyer

to be released
until at least September.

I came up short.

So you went back
to Vogel for more?

But he wasn't buying.
He had enough.

- And Dwyer took care of him.
- Stone: You're still an accomplice.

I need more than
your testimony to convict.

You want corroboration?
You talk to the old man.


Dwyer made
a house call.

He talked
to Edward Vogel?

Daddy paid
the bill directly.

That's when junior went ballistic
and said he'd turn us in.

Next thing I knew, I was
reading about it in "The Post."

That son of a bitch.

- And you believed him?
- Any reason I shouldn't?

He's admitted
to blackmail, for one.

We've checked
your bank records.

We know you made
a large cash withdrawal

the day before Jim was killed.

You knew all along.

- With your testimony, we could've
gone to trial three weeks ago.
- Watch your tone, sir.

I pick up the phone,
and your license

to be holier than everybody else
on this planet

can be used
to wallpaper the sewer.

Your son is dead, sir,

and you're protecting
his killers.

That's my business,
Mr. Stone,

and I intend
to keep it that way.

Good day, gentlemen.

The bastard's done
everything he can to stop us.

It's his son.
I can't believe...

He paid
Helen Murphy's legal fees.

To open up a courtroom?
Doesn't make sense.

Think it through, Adam.

With the press in the courtroom,
there's no way George Harris testifies.

Without his testimony,
we can't go to trial.

And no one ever knows
that the boy was gay.

Vogel would rather see Dwyer and Colson
go free than tarnish his good name.

Sure, political necessity.

You don't survive
as long as he did

without keeping
your hamper closed.

It's about to open up.
I served him with a subpoena.

Ahh, that explains why
he's got a call in to me.

A subpoena?

Really, Adam.

Without your testimony,
the murder case disappears.

I'm familiar with how
city business is conducted.

Then you're probably
also aware

that my office doesn't service
anyone's personal agenda.

Not anyone's?

16 years ago, I pulled
your name out of a hat.

Save the backroom marker crap.
It's too late for that.

What you did had nothing to do
with my getting this office

and nothing to do
with my keeping it.

Fine. A favor then.

For a friend.
Call off the dogs.

I keep this picture
of Jim on my desk...

graduation day,

He's standing there
with his arms around his mother.

Damn it, Adam, he looks
just like everybody else.

I spent my life
protecting him.

From what?

Your shame...

put the knife
into Dwyer's hand.

And there's no way I'm going to let
that keep him out of jail.

I've known you
for 25 years, Ed.

And I'm telling you now,
you don't testify tomorrow,

you're going to go
to jail for contempt.

Mr. Vogel, when did you
first make contact

with the defendant,
Harold Dwyer?

Permission to treat this witness
as hostile, Your Honor?

Go ahead, Mr. Stone.

Mr. Vogel,
isn't it true your son
borrowed $50,000 from you?

I can enter the bank statements
as evidence...

Yes, he was my son.
I lent him money.

And did he tell you
what it was for?

This is ridiculous.
Your Honor, this witness
has nothing to offer.

We can hold you
in contempt, sir.

Did you love your son,
Mr. Vogel?


very much.

Were you proud of him?

Jimmy could have
been mayor.

He was smart,
everybody liked him.

I thought it would be best
if we kept it all quiet.

Quiet about what?

That he was gay.

I would have
paid any amount.

At first Jimmy
went along with it.

He wanted me to be proud.

I mean...

he didn't want me
to be embarr... embarrassed.

After all the...
(clears throat)

After all the years of pain,
he didn't care anymore.

He told me it was his life,
not mine.

And they...

they asked him for more money
and Jimmy refused.

And then what happened?

The defendant, Mr. Dwyer,
came to me.

50 grand or it's
all over the news.

And you paid him?

Yes. Yes.

How did your son
react to that?

He was angry.

He called Mr. Dwyer
from my office

and said he'd go to the police
if Dwyer didn't return the money.

Then what
did Mr. Dwyer do?

He said he'd been in jail for six years

and there was no way
he was going back.

The next day,
they found Jimmy.

Will the defendant
please rise?

On the first count
of the indictment,

grand larceny in the second
degree, how do you find?

We find
the defendant guilty.

On the second count
of the indictment,

murder in the second degree,
how do you find?

We find
the defendant guilty.

Deep down, Ed Vogel truly
believes that he loved his son.

And you don't think he did?

before love, right?

A son is not merely an extension
of his father's ego.

It's a law of nature.

Sons go to extremes
to please their fathers.

My father wanted me
to be a doctor.

I went so far
as to study organic chemistry.

- What happened?
- I grew up.

(theme music plays)