Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 2, Episode 7 - Law & Order - full transcript

During a building renovation, construction workers find human remains in the walls of the building. The coroner estimates the remains are those of a 9 year-old male that has been inside that wall for over 30 years. Detectives Cerreta and Logan work their way through old missing persons report and identify the remains as those of Tommy Keegan who lived across the street from the construction site. The police in the original investigation suspected two men but just finding those related to the case proves difficult. They find one of the men alive, Ed Conover but he's not very cooperative. They also find Julie Atkinson, herself only a child at the time of Tommy's death who agrees to work with Dr. Olivet to see if any repressed memories might be found. What she remembers points to her father, Thad Messimer, as the culprit.

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.

(jackhammer pounding)

Look, getting permits
was hard enough.

Construction materials
behind the property line.

You got benefit tickets?
How many you want me to buy?

Reni, is he
offering us a bribe?

What the hell are you
trying to do to me?

Hey, you cops.
Come here!

(police radio chatter)

We pushed through this
sub-partition wall,

one of the guys freaks,
sees this.

It could be an animal.


An animal that walks
on two legs and talks.

Call it in, Reni.


Young... eight, nine.

What happened?
The kid crawl in and fall?

Massive skull fracture.

It doesn't sound like a fall.

Yeah, more likely hit.
And not a love tap.

So, boy,
girl, what?

Male. My guess...
nine years old.

And he had
a JFK for President
button on his jacket.

Kid's been inside that wall
for 31 years.

(theme music plays)

30 years?

Give or take.

Who kills
a nine-year-old?

Kid's fighting.
Something happens.

Some pervert
waving his flag.
Who knows?

When it's dead kids,
it's usually Mom or Pop.

Before '74 that building
was owned by a corporation...

out of business.
No rent roll.

You want to run with this?

Missing persons?
Worth a shot.

Take hand lotion.

Papercuts... no computers
before '74.

All missing children,

1958 to 1964.

That's a lot of kids.

You think that's a lot?
Take any two years
from the 80's...

that many
and then some.

What happened to them?

I'll tell you one thing,
they didn't fly out the window

with Tinkerbell and Peter Pan.


Seven years old,
June, 1962,

disappeared... PS 431,
Staten Island.

Oh God.

Time to call
the psychics.

Keep reading.

After six hours, I don't even
know what we're looking for.

You want a Danish
or a cruller?

You know,
you look at these,

you think people
misplace their kids

like they lose umbrellas.

Uh, give me
a Danish... strawberry.


Male, eight years old.

Reported missing
October 6, 1962.

Keegan, Thomas,

lives across the street...
596 E. 84th Street.

You got dental records?

Who were the detectives
on the case?

Sergeant Dominick

and Detective Joe Shelby.


Listen, an old
case of yours...

Tony DeCecco...
I saw in the papers.

His brother got whacked.

Missing child, 1962.

eight years old,

brown hair,
green eyes, 4'4",

scar over his left eye.

Fell on the concrete
steps when he was six.

You sound like you
just read the file.

You ever do
a missing kid?

Yeah, my partner, Shelby,
retired to Florida.

Once, twice a year,
he used to call about it.

Couldn't let it alone.

Good detective.
Prostate cancer...

only 68.

Case alive again?
We found the kid.

Bones in the basement
of a building.

Same block
as the kid lived on.

Yeah, we figured somebody
in the neighborhood.

You got a gay couple
in the file?

My notes should have
been in there.

Two guys...
30s, 40s...

lived on the block.

Connors, Conway,
something like that.

The other guy...

some German name.

Couldn't make the case?

Uh, father was dead.

You find the mother?

Yeah, she was a teacher.
High school, West Side.

Teachers now,
they take early retirement.

20 years, move to the house
in Woodstock, never look back.

Keegan, Beverly.


- (keyboard taps)
- Okay.

Keegan, Doris,
retired last year, full pension.


718 Penrose,
Fort Lee, New Jersey.

When Tommy disappeared,
that was hard.

But you know
what was even harder?

When I gave up hope.

Every once in a while
I figure out how old he'd be.

What would he be doing? Hmm.

Married maybe?

Kids of his own...

my grandchildren.

Do you remember
who lived at 583?

It's been a long time.

About that day...?

I was getting
my masters degree.

I left class.
I went to get Tommy.

He was in the schoolyard.

He said he was going
to play with his friends.

I didn't give him a kiss.

I didn't want
to embarrass him.

I never saw him again.

Did anybody walk
him home that day?


all the kids' parents,

the police, I called.

It took me
years to move.

Well, I wanted to be there.

He might come home.

Mrs. Keegan...

the two men
who lived on that block?

The ones the police suspected?

Did they do it?

Do you remember
their names?


I thought I'd never forget them.

But after a while I realized

if you keep remembering,
you can't live.

Yeah, yeah, thanks.

No reverse phone
directories before '65.

If we're going to find out
who lived in that building

we're going to have
to knock on a lot of doors.

Yeah, you have an address?

Thank you.

Okay, 1962,

Con Ed had one account
in the building.

Now there's a different address, still

Carl Lawler, Perry Street.

It was our first apartment.

- God, it was small.
- Barely room for a bed.

The police came
that night.

We were at work.
We couldn't tell them anything.

Who else lived
in the building?

Nice couple in the duplex.
They had a daughter.

You knew them, hon.

Yeah, he was
in insurance.

Catherine Messimer.
I don't remember his name.

What about the other
apartment on your floor?

Uh, Dorfman and Conover.

Not married?

Two men... a couple.

We wondered, but we thought it was awful
to suspect them at first.

Have you
seen them since?

Herald House... the publisher.
That's where they worked.

Ed Conover was an editor.

They used to bring us
books sometimes.

I don't know how
you'd find them now.

They'd be, what,
70, 75?

It's like chasing ghosts.

30 years,
people disappear.

Dorfman, one of the two guys,
died nine years ago.

Conover left,
publisher's got no record.

A lot of Conovers
in the book, but not our Ed.

- Yellow sheets?
- Cerreta: You were hoping
maybe for armed robbery?

- Nothing.
- Find the other couple.
Maybe they know.

no current listing.

Our friends at the phone company,
let's go see them.

Plaza 5.

Butterfield 8.

Elizabeth Taylor
and Eddie Fisher.

Numbers still had names
in those days, huh?

My parents were Lexington 2,
my uncle was Chelsea 3.

Here's '67 and '68.

Thank you.

Messimer, Thad,
still lived there in '65.

Not in '67.

391 Central Park West.

Messimer's gone
ages ago.

What did the Lawlers say?
He worked in insurance?

Great, there's only a couple
of thousand insurance agents.

The daughter...
she could tell you.

They gave her the apartment.
Miss Atkinson, 14A.

Atkinson is my
ex-husband's name.
I kept it.

You grew up
on East 84th Street?


This little boy,

Tommy Keegan.

Do you remember him?

For years after
he disappeared

I was afraid to go outside
without my parents.

Eight years old and still
holding a grown-up's hand.

You okay?

Yeah, I'm fine.

Excuse me, I need
a glass of water.

(glass breaks)

The paramedic can
be here in a minute.

Honestly, no.

Just looking at the picture
I felt sick,

thinking how
Tommy died.

Everybody assumed,
I mean...

it was logical
he was murdered.

Wasn't he?

Why are you asking
about him now?

We found his remains
in the basement

of the building
you grew up in.

Oh my God.

Can you remember
anything about that day?

The police talked to me
after he disappeared.

We must have
played together.

I'm sure I saw him, but...

it's very long ago.

Did you know the two men
who lived on the fourth floor?

Their names were Dorfman
and Conover.

I'm sorry.

I think they gave
Tommy some books.

Do you think your
parents might remember?

They moved out of the city
to Harrison.

They bought a house.

In the basement?

No wonder she fainted.

Maybe we should call her.

It was terrible.

You realized it could
be your own child.


- The couple upstairs?
- Thad: The Lawlers.

Carl and...

what was her name,
Julia, Jane?

The other couple.

Oh, in those days we didn't
call them a couple.

We wouldn't want
to speak ill of them,

the way they were, but...

Tell them, Thad.

Six months later,
the younger one...

what was his name?

Conover, Ed.

He worked for a youth group.

Church on 93rd.

St. Lucius.

We heard...

he approached the boy.

The boy who made
the accusation,

he was trouble.
I felt he was...

He had heard about
the other incidents,

was wanting attention.

So you think
Conover was innocent?

In the case
of the missing boy?

He was never charged...

my understanding of the law,
that makes him innocent.

Reverend, why don't you try
not to judge us, save us
a little trouble?

He was a good counselor
to those kids.

But in most people's eyes,
a lot of them,

he was automatically guilty.

Are you still
in touch with him?

30 years ago, suspicion almost
destroyed Conover's life.

- Do you want to put
him through that again?
- If he's guilty, yes.

- If he's innocent?
- As you said, he survived it once.

Three blocks away.
Carrington Nursing Home.

But you did know
the Keegan kid?

You think I don't know
what you're thinking?

All gays molest kids.

I think you will find that cops know most
child molesters
are straight.

So why don't you just
help us out here?

I don't have to tell you
one damn thing.

No, you don't,
but we could get a subpoena.

And I get a lawyer.

Let's talk
about the basement.

You want the truth?


we took him down there,
tortured him, killed him.

Used to do one a week.

You're a laugh riot, Mr. Conover.

You know what else
isn't funny?

You. Go to hell!

70? Last time we did
one that old,

it was a Nazi for the INS.

I'd say this one'd be
about as easy to convict.

You got his name
on the ace of spades?

He had access to the basement
and he knew the Keegan kid.

I mentioned him
to Julie Atkinson,

she got a funny look on her face.
She fogged all up.

So? Are you saying
she knows he killed the kid

but she's trying
to protect him? Why?

How did Conover react?

He told us to go to hell.

Well, at least he's
got a way with words. Ideas?

Let's see what Atkinson
comes up with.

Place him at the scene.


I don't understand.
The case must be closed by now.

Well, there's no statute
of limitations on homicide.

But you told me you didn't
know if it was murder.

That's why we'd like you
to come down

and spend a couple of hours
going over everything that happened.

You know, a lead
can come from anywhere.

I'm sorry.

It's a busy time of year.


Kid's been dead
for 30 years.

One more abandoned case.

Nobody really cares now
except the mother.

Thanks anyway.

Me? I can't contact her.
It's improper.

We pushed her.
It didn't work.

It's not only improper,
it's ineffective.

The woman
has to trust me.

I'll tell you something,
if we don't get Conover,

we can bury those bones
in the case along with it.

woman asking for you.


You said I could help.

Yeah, listen,

thanks for coming by.

There's someone
I'd like you to meet.

Miss Atkinson,
this is Dr. Olivet.

She's a police
department psychiatrist.



For the first hour she didn't remember
even seeing the boy.

- Logan: What about Conover?
- Nothing.

She has this
recurrent image...

red and blue.

She came back
to it twice

but she doesn't
know what it means.

What was
the Keegan kid wearing?

Green shirt, khakis,
black sneakers.

How screwed up is she?

I'd say severely.

And she says
she never saw a shrink?

She also says she's basically
a happy person.

What about hypnosis?

Unreliable and almost
impossible to get admitted in court.

Well, not if she doesn't
implicate herself.

If she gives us a lead
and we corroborate it,
we don't need her in court.

Yeah, but we put her under,

and then we end up
needing her,

we'll never get her
on the stand.

- Is she coming back?
- We opened a vein.

She might want to close it.

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

My feeling...
she wants to know.

Any idea what this
red and blue is?

Your guess is
as good as mine.

Red and blue?
You're joking.

In a murder investigation
I don't go for laughs.

Well, it could be anything.

Clothes, toys,
the American flag.

The day the boy
was missing,

do you remember
if anything...

unusual happened to Julie?

An ordinary night.

I had a PTA meeting.

I came home from work,
I put Julie to bed.

She had a cold.

If you could persuade her
to talk to us again...


I don't know
if we could convince her.

Our psychiatrist feels
that Julie may know something,

though not consciously.

We're not telling Julie
to do something

she doesn't want to do.

Dad says I had a cold,
I'm sure he's right.

Beautiful plants, orchids.

But they need a lot of care.

Maybe you could
give us another hour?

Detective, if you could say
an eight-year-old has a boyfriend,

mine was Tommy.
But I can't help you.

Julie, the red
and the blue you mentioned.

You asked me to meet
with Dr. Olivet, I did.

Mrs. Atkinson,
a little boy died.

30 years ago.

That's right.

But what if it
had been yesterday?

Will you do us a favor?
Will you try again?

Just one more shot.

Did you come here with Tommy
the day he disappeared?

On the way
home from school.

And then
you started walking?

I hid the candy...

because Daddy didn't like me
to eat them before dinner.

And Tommy
had a baseball.

No, a football.

And he kept
throwing it to Ed.

Conover was with you?

No. He was just
sitting on the stoop

when we got to the house.
I hated that.

What did you hate?

When he'd sit
on the stoop.

I'd always have
to walk around him.

Did he say anything?

No, he just...

I don't know.

It made me
feel creepy

and uncomfortable.

And then what happened?

We went into the house.

My room was
right over here.

My toy chest was
always by the door.

Do you remember
having dinner that night?

My mom probably
left something.

She always did
when she wasn't home.

And then you got sick

and you went to bed?

My pajamas were always hanging
on the back of the door.

I had to go
to the bathroom.

I wanted to brush my teeth.

Yeah, the bathroom...

was right down here.



Oh my God.

What is it, Julie?

Oh, oh!

The blue and the red.

What's blue and red?

The sweater.

What sweater?

Daddy's sweater.

He's washing it out
here in the tub

and it's all covered

with blood.


A daughter, some bones
in a basement, and that's it?

I'll bet anything
Dad's a kinko.

And no record.

The shrink believes
the daughter.

Indict him, maybe he wets his pants
and confesses.

And maybe he hits the city
with a false arrest charge,

and the Attorney General
has to settle with him.

I'm Messimer.
I got a 65-year-old wife,

a daughter who's not
talking to me,

and I'm possibly facing
25 years-to-life. What do I do?

You go to Costa Rica
and you drink pina coladas
with 20-year-old bimbos.

Pick him up.
Take his passport.

I want to talk with Olivet.

I'm not saying she's
a picture of mental health.

She's not committable?

From what I can tell,

this father jerked this woman
around like a yo-yo,

bartered affection,
controlled her like a robot.

But she's functional.

Building a case on her,

it's a thin tightrope, no net.

I've been wrong...
not this time.

- You want to take a pass on this?
- Not if he did it.

She's telling the truth.

And as a witness?

The jury might not
believe her.

What are we
talking about?

She'll fall apart
on the stand?

Anything's possible.

We're just trying
to make you understand

that being a witness
won't be easy.

Being me isn't easy,
witness or otherwise.

Please, Mrs. Atkinson,

pretend you're the jury.

What do you see?
A child attacking her parents.

How long have you been
estranged from them?

When I was 28,

I moved to Chicago.

I got married,
I got divorced.

I came home,
my father said,
"I told you so."

Then I moved
to San Francisco.

I got married, I got divorced,
and I came home.

My father said, "When are you going
to learn to listen to me?"

Two years ago,

the last time
I came home,

I stopped
talking to my father.

I didn't know why then.

Now I'm beginning
to understand it all.

My concern is not
only for you.

We prosecute your father,
it falls apart,

we look irresponsible.

I told you I'll testify.

You're going to be portrayed
in the media and the courtroom

as an unhappy, overwrought,
vindictive daughter.

Maybe I'm not the happiest
person in the world.

Maybe I won't be.

But I'll survive.

She imagined this,
Mr. Stone.

We have an obligation
to investigate.

At the expense
of my client's reputation?

This man has led
an exemplary life.

Or he hasn't,
and nobody caught him.

You can't believe I killed
an eight-year-old child.

We do love
our daughter,

but Julie's
had difficulties.

This gets out of hand,

you're risking a suit
for malicious prosecution.

If we feel we have a case,
we have to take the risk.

What about
the risk to Julie?

What's happening here

is an abuse of the system,

an abuse of your office,

and an abuse of my daughter.

And an abuse of a child,
Tommy Keegan.


If I read about this
in the papers,

if you try to smear me...


Try to keep
it out of the papers.

A civil suit could be
very messy in an election year.

What have you got?

Genuine Life and Casualty.

He got fired,
they won't discuss it.

I'll have Adam
talk with them.

Are you doubting
he killed the kid?

If I did, I'm doubting a lot less.

Vice president back then?

You must have been
pretty young.

How well did you
know Messimer?

You understand
this is off the record?

Subpoena me,
I won't repeat it under oath.

I don't want to be sued.


Not a water cooler man.

Kept to himself.

But you fired him

A couple of meetings,
major clients, you couldn't see it,

but let's just say the mints didn't
cover the smell.

He kept getting jobs.

Some men drown in booze,

some swim in it.

Who knew him well?

He had a buddy...
Gil Lindon.

Fired him, too.

They never said fired.

Not to your face, no.

They called it
"mutual termination."

Tell me,

is Messimer
in trouble, huh?

Was his a mutual
termination, too?

That man could sell
fire insurance to Eskimos,

even putting away
three or four at lunch.

He have any other problems?

What do they say?

Too late we grow smart.

We drank.

I took the 12 steps out of the bar. It's history.

Grow smart now, Mr. Lindon.

Tell me something,

what did Messimer do?

You know, right before
we were "mutually terminated,"

we were coming back
from a client.

Train station, Stanford.

Thad goes into the can,
doesn't come back.

I go in after him,
there's a cop in there.

Some kid, 14, 15,

says Messimer
made a pass.

That gives you motive.
He molested Tommy,
then killed him.

The Connecticut records
still there?

Get it unsealed.

Charges were dropped.

I sent up
a "show cause" order.

Boy's name,
Joseph Kelly.

He's an administrator
at Mercy Hospital.

Go see him.

It wasn't just him,

I must have
given him the eye.

I probably wanted him
to come onto me.

The case never
went to trail.

My parents suspected I was gay.

It comes out I'm hanging around
the station...

the neighbors hear about it, well...

So they said
you wouldn't testify?

When I was in my 20s,
I went to a shrink.

He said guys like that,
it's not about sex.

It's about power.

Lots of them don't even
care if it's boys or girls,

just somebody
they could control.

Mr. Kelly,

do you remember exactly
what Messimer did?

Offered me 20 bucks.

I almost said yes.

Something in his eyes,

even a kid can tell.

When I turned him down

he got real upset.

Grabbed my arm,
said 50 bucks.

The more I said no,
the crazier he looked.

Yes, well,
that's all very interesting,

and useless at trial.

Messimer wasn't
convicted of anything.

- I'll bring it in somehow.
- What, pattern crime?

It's not even close.

Even if he
had been convicted,

this isn't Palm Beach.

You can't use
previous history.

And without it,
you can't prove motive.

They've got to open
the character issue,

then we can bring in Kelly.

Messimer's reputation
as a totally respectable citizen

is their only card.

What's the operating
principle here?

Doug Greer is a fool?
Messimer is stupid?

Guaranteed he told
Doug about this.

They're not going to bring in
any character witnesses?

He won't defend himself.

20-to-one he never
tries to make a case.

How many times he did it
we'll never know about.

Maybe you molest once
and never again,

but twice, it's a compulsion.
We've got to nail him.

(phone buzzes)

Let me have that, will you?




It's Olivet.

Mother got to Julie.
She doesn't want to testify.

(heavy sigh)
Oh, man.

Liz, can you
bring her in?

Okay, two hours.

I know what I told you.
I made a mistake.

And what did
your mother say?

My memories
must be mixed up.

She says my father loves me
and can't believe I'm doing
this to him.


You two may
remember each other.

Mrs. Keegan.

You look wonderful, Julie.

Mrs. Keegan, l...

I need your help.

I can't.

He killed Tommy.

Julie, your father
can't hurt you anymore.

The only power he has over you
is the power you give him.


Docket number 45721,

the People versus
Thaddeus Messimer.

The charge is murder
in the second degree.

Is the defendant ready
to enter a plea?

Not guilty.

Mr. Robinette?

Your Honor, the defendant's
economic situation

allows for the real
possibility of flight.

The People request
$500,000 bail

and that the defendant
surrender his passport.

Your Honor, the prosecutor's
information is so...

shall we say perfunctory,

the People's request
seems extreme.

Mr. Greer, your client will surrender his
to the clerk.

Your Honor,
we have no objection.
But in that case, bail...

half in cash,

half secured bond.

This has gone too far.

The case is
preposterous, Ben.

Anybody could have
broken into that house.

Wait a minute,
you kill a child,

drag him to a stranger's house,
stick him in a wall?

I'm filing a motion
for dismissal.

We're presenting
to the grand jury.

I'll file to quash.

My daughter...

is a lovely,
sweet woman

who is very disturbed.
Don't make her worse.

Stop manipulating her,
maybe she'll feel better.

And disturbed or not,
a jury will believe her.

Do you know what a trial
does to this man's life?

Spare him the horror.

Manslaughter one,
eight and a third-to-25.

You can't be serious.

A 30-year-old crime,

and a case that doesn't
dignify the word evidence?

Doug, there is nothing
dignified about this case.

Not the evidence, not the crime,
not the defendant.

Your key witness...
I wouldn't count on her.

You know where she took her
summer vacation last year?

the psychiatric ward.

Every word,
your memories,

your attitude toward
your parents...

all of it comes into question.

I'm sorry.
A psychiatric ward
is embarrassing.

A trial can be embarrassing.
Not just to your father, to you.

I can handle it.

It was a transient episode.
She was there three weeks.

The jury hears words
like paranoia,

suicidal depression...

they are there
to be judgmental.

My breakdown helped me.

Everything I kept inside
started to come out.

Julie, if there is anything
else he should know...

And for your sake.

My father's on trial,
not me.

The credibility
of your testimony

is what is on trial.

All my secrets
are out, Mr. Stone.

And my parents', too.

The skull had a lateral unaligned fracture
12 centimeters long.

Could that have been caused
by a fall... an accident?

No, the skull was hit
directly by a heavy object.

Thank you.
Your witness.

Mr. Huston, if a boy
crawled inside a wall,

and an ordinary red brick

like the ones found
near the bones you examined...

if a brick fell eight or 10 feet,

could it leave a fracture
like you described?

- It's possible...
- Thank you, no further questions.

but extremely unlikely.

No further questions.

He never really had
much of a father.

Tommy was only four
when my husband died.

Did your son have a relationship
with the defendant?

I worried about the lack

of a father figure
for Tommy,

so I was happy

to see Thad
befriend Tommy.

What did you
personally witness

of your son's relationship
with the defendant?

Thad would...
tap him on the head

and tell him he was
big and strong,

grow up to be
a football player.

He took him
to a Giants game once

with his daughter.

Tommy came home

with one of the player's

Thank you.
No further questions.

Mrs. Keegan,

did you tell the police

about Mr. Messimer's
relationship with your son?

No. Why?

It didn't seem
unusual to you?


What made you
change your mind?


nothing made me
change my mind.

Did Tommy ever complain
to you after he spent time
with Mr. Messimer?

Did he seem troubled?


Did you have a close
relationship with your son?

Did he confide in you?

As much as children do.

Thank you,
no further questions.

No, wait!

You're trying
to make this seem as... as...

Your Honor.

The witness is excused.

But I trusted Thad.
I had no idea...

Mrs. Keegan, please,
step down.

Repression is
a well-understood

psychological mechanism.

Memories too painful
to bear

are excluded
from conscious awareness.

Can you explain
the appearance of memories

after being repressed
for so many years?

As a person grows up

and is psychologically capable
of coping with a painful event,

the memories break through.

Thank you.
No further questions.

Dr. Olivet,

don't we often think we remember
things that never happened?


But repressed memories
of traumatic events

are usually accurate.

Are you familiar
with the work

of a psychiatrist named
Abraham Trigonis?


Tell the court Dr. Trigonis's theory
of childhood memories.

Dr. Trigonis believes

that many adult
memories of childhood

are to some extent an amalgam
of fantasy and wish fulfillment.

And yet you just said adult memories
of childhood are accurate.

What I said was
repressed memories

of traumatic events
are accurate,

especially when remembering
brings on a new trauma.

Repressed memories?
Adult memories?

It's certainly
confusing and abstract to me.

No further questions.

This is blackmail.

No, this is
your meeting.

Spare his daughter
further suffering,

Mr. Messimer will consider
a plea with the record sealed.

I'm sure Mr. Messimer knows
all about sealed records.

Don't force this, Ben.
I'll demolish that woman
on the stand.

Oh, I get it.

He cares about her,
but you'll demolish her.

Criminally negligent homicide.
He does no time.

No time for killing a child?

Who's blackmailing whom?

Manslaughter one,
same offer.

I love my daughter,

but I'm not going to prison

for a crime
I didn't commit.

She'll be here, relax.

She falls apart
on the stand, she'll blow us
right out of the water.

What do you think
she does to herself?

Her breakdown was what...
a year ago?

Let's just hope
this doesn't give her another one.

(bell dings)

Are you okay?

My father was waiting for me
last night in front of my building.

He begged me
not to say anything.

He told me it would
be better for me.

Not him, me.

All those years...

and I wondered
what was wrong with me.

I'll be okay.

And why did you seek
psychiatric help?

I was depressed.
I had thoughts of suicide.

Were you ever hospitalized
for emotional problems?

About a year ago
for three weeks.

I suffered
from paranoid delusions.

Do you still
suffer from them?


Uh, Mrs. Atkinson,

please tell us
what happened

the day Tommy Keegan

Tommy and I left
school together

and stopped
at a corner candy store,

and then we started home.

Mom was at work

and my dad was waiting
at the front door.

And what else
do you recall?

I didn't feel very well,

so I went to bed early.

My dad brought me
some warm milk

and I fell asleep.

But I woke up
to go to the bathroom

and I wanted
to brush my teeth,

so I went
down the hall.

The bathroom door
was ajar.

I heard water running...

I pushed
the door open...

and I saw...

I saw...

What did you see?

My dad...

was kneeling at the tub

and he was washing out
a blue sweater.

The sweater was all bloody

and his hands
were bloody.

I said, "Daddy,
did you hurt yourself?"

I... wanted him

to tell me everything
was all right.

And what did he do?

He turned to me...

blood was smeared
on his face.

And he had a look

like he was going
to hit me.

He looked like
a monster in a movie

with his eyes
all bulged out.

Did he say anything?

I don't remember
anything after that.

Thank you.

Your witness.

Prior to the past
two months, Mrs. Atkinson,

when did you last
see your parents?

Two years ago.

Two years!
A long time.

Did your parents
treat you badly?

I didn't see them

because it was painful
to talk to them.

Oh, why?

You feel your parents
don't love you?

No, I'm sure they do.

With your testimony,
are you trying to get back
at them for some reason?


Maybe you made this up
to get their attention.

Sustained, Mr. Greer,

that's enough along those lines,
move on to something else.

Didn't you recall
the testimony you gave today

only with the help
of a psychiatrist

who works for the police
department of New York City?

I just took
a walk with her.

You just took a walk...

and suddenly you remember
what happened 31 years ago?

- Did your Bellevue delusions
include images of blood?
- No.

- Or bathtubs? Or your
father trying to hurt you?
- No, you don't understand.

Oh, I understand!

I understand that you've
always resented your father

because he told you hard truths
you didn't want to hear.
Isn't that the truth?

- My father and l...
- Oh, come on.

This is... come on, come on.

Didn't your father forbid you
to see a boy in high school

who subsequently
made you pregnant?

In fact, hasn't your whole life been a

Divorces, abortions...

Your Honor!

Mr. Greer!

No more questions.

He doesn't want her
on the stand again.

My heart goes
out to him.

on redirect,

I'm asking Julie
if he told her not to testify.

I'll object.

He tampered
with a witness, Doug.

If he even gets
near her again...

I was tempted
to revoke his bail.

That's a stretch.

He practically asked her
to commit perjury.

Forget stretch,

that's a leap across
the Grand Canyon.

I haven't changed
my mind, Doug.

Manslaughter one.

He still insists
he didn't kill the boy.


Does he want to let
a jury decide?

Mr. Greer?

Your Honor,
with the Court's permission,

the defendant wishes to withdraw
his previously entered plea

and plead guilty to the charge
of manslaughter in the first degree.

Mr. Stone?

The People agree,
Your Honor,

with a sentence of eight
and a third-to-25 years

as a condition of the plea.

Mr. Messimer, you are
pleading guilty

to manslaughter in the death
of Thomas Keegan.

Did you in fact
commit the crime

with which
you're charged?


For the record,

tell the Court
how you committed the crime.

I hit him.

It was a lug wrench
next to the boiler.

I hit him on the head.

I saw that he was dead
and I...

I put him
inside the wall.

I'm sorry.

The plea agreement
is so entered.

He would have
been convicted.

He'd have done 25.

He's 65 years old, and I didn't want his
daughter waking up

with nightmares
for the rest of her life.

And now she knows for sure...
she didn't imagine it.

(theme music plays)