Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 22, Episode 3 - Law & Order - full transcript

A 31yo white male mass murders 7 Asian-Americans in the NYC subway by firearm. The prosecutor opposes the death penalty, but is enough by the case that he is willing to advocate for capital punishment.

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In the criminal justice

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.

Call you later?

That's OK.

It was fun, but...


Hey, what's happening?
What's happening?

What's going on?

Someone's shooting
down there! Leave!

Help me.
Someone, please help me!

Try not to move.

I don't know.

This should help
with the bleeding.

- Am I gonna die?
- No.

Help will be here soon.

Can you tell me what happened?

This man,
he pointed his gun at people,

and he just kept pulling
the trigger over and over.

It really hurts.
Please help me.

Hey, over here!

I got this.

You're gonna be OK.
I'm applying pressure.

- Hold it right there, sir.
- Whoa!

Oh, right.

Nolan Price,
Manhattan DA's office.

How many?

At least seven.

One of them
was just a young kid.


No, I'm here.

I'm here already.

It's a nightmare.

It's an absolute nightmare.

It looks like a hate crime.

According to the ME,

all seven DOA appear
to be East or Southeast Asian.

And the injured?

I'm not sure.
Numbers are still coming in.

There's at least...
11 are critical.

But yeah, from what I'm told,
most of them are Asian.

So all the shell casings
were 9-millimeter,

so I'm guessing
the shooter was using a TEC-9.

- Anyone get a look at the guy?
- Not a good look.

He was wearing a mask,
but multiple witnesses said

that he was short,
medium build,

white male,
wearing a baseball cap,

and had a camouflage gym bag
with him.

Did they see a label
or any brand in particular?

No, but they said
one of the straps was broken.

That's good.

It gives us something
to work with.

one of these cameras works.

Hold it right there.

Zoom in on the bag.

That strap definitely
looks broken to me.

All right, keep rolling.
Let's see where he goes.

Where the hell is he?

Not sure.
He didn't go up the stairs.

He's probably
still in the station.

Frank, it's me.

We're on it.

Check it out.

That's blood, but there
were no vics down here.

And there,
that's a spent shell casing.

Looks like he fired one off

right before he ran
down the tunnel.

We're at marker IRT-44.

Have units cover Spring Street.

Have sector cars cover
all emergency exits.

Cosgrove, Shaw, I just got
off the phone with dispatch.

He didn't make it
to the next station.

He's got to still
be in here somewhere.

That gate should be locked.

He didn't just stumble
on this gate.

Where the hell
did he get a key?

He must have
taken it off someone,

a conductor or a worker.

That, or he is
a transit worker.

Where the hell did he go?

Back into the melting pot.

Hey, Lieutenant.

I think I found something.

Cameras picked up a man,
masked, wearing a gray hoodie,

carrying a camouflage bag
over by Canal Street.

Do we know where he goes?

Northbound on Baxter.

And here on the northeast
corner of Columbus Park,

he removes his sweatshirt,
tosses it in a trash can.

Call CSU right away.

- I already did.
- Did they find it?

It's on its way to the lab
for DNA analysis.

20 minutes later,
cameras picked him up

on Front Street.

And this is definitely
the same bag.

It means he's headed
toward the docks,

probably trying
to board a ferry.

That's what I thought,
but then watch.

He turns right on Fletcher.
That's where I lose him.

I used to walk a beat
in that neighborhood.

I'm pretty sure
I know where he went.

This is
a person of interest.

He was involved in
a subway shooting this morning.

I can't really see his face.

But maybe you recognize
the body type or the gym bag.

One of the straps is broken.

We think
he might have come in here,

possibly to buy a weapon...

A gun, a knife, a machete.

Maybe he's looking
to buy some ammo.

Well, I don't know
if it's the same guy,

but somebody did come in
with a green gym bag.

Only they weren't looking
to buy ammo.

They were looking to sell it.

He sold you his ammunition?

No, he tried.

- What caliber?
- 9-millimeter.

Said he had 50 boxes.
Told him take a hike.

Are you sure about that?

'Cause now would be the time
to come clean.

I run a legit shop.

I'm not out there
buying ammo off the street.

All right.
Good to know.

So you don't mind
if we look around?

Be my guest.

Hey, buddy.
Can we ask you some questions?

Hey, where are you going?

I don't know anything.

Oh, 'cause we haven't
asked you a question yet, so...

I meant I didn't see that guy
you were just talking about.

You realize
the guy you didn't see,

the one that we're looking for,

shot up a subway this morning,

killed seven people?

Yes, I do.

You interact with him?

Yes or no?

I didn't know who he was.

I swear to God,
I was just looking

to make a quick score,
you know?

Ammo's been selling
at a premium these days.

He was offering
to sell it real cheap.

So you bought it off him.
That's what you're saying.

Not yet.

I was gonna do it
on my lunch break.

Is that our guy?

Definitely the same bag.

NYPD, don't move!

Why did you make me run?

I got ammo,

water bottles...


Where are the guns?

I don't have any guns.

Picture of a little girl.

Who's this girl?

- How the hell do I know?
- What's this girl's name?

I'm telling you,
I don't know.

It's not my bag.

I told you
I didn't shoot anyone.

- I don't even have a gun.
- So you just happened to be

walking around lower Manhattan
with 50 boxes of live ammo

a few hours
after a subway massacre?

Man, do yourself a favor
and tell us

where you found that gym bag.

I found it on the street.
It was just laying there.

What street, Aaron?

Maybe there's something
I could sell.

- I got a drug problem.
- Answer his question.

Where exactly
did you find the gym bag?

- In a dumpster.
- A dumpster?

I don't know
the name of the street.

here's what's gonna happen.

Take a look at this map.
You're gonna tell me

where you were this morning.

Rossi's story checks out.

There's the racist son
of a bitch dumping the gym bag,

and here's Aaron Rossi
picking up the bag.

Facial recognition
give you anything?

He never took off the mask.

Great, so we're nowhere.

How are you holding up,

I'm just sick
of all the hate.

I get it.

Hey, I found eight schools
in the neighborhood

that use that uniform
the little girl

in the photo was wearing,
so let's find her fast.

Before he does.

Hi, Lacey.
I'm Kate.

She can't hear you.

Oh, well, did we call
for an interpreter?

- Yes, we did.
- Great.

Do you prefer to sign?


Your mom, she's gonna
be here soon, sweetie.

But I just need to ask you
a few questions, OK?

This picture.

Does that man
look familiar to you?

I know that the picture
is really blurry,

but this is really important.

Have you ever
seen that man before?

You know, your school,
the people there,

they didn't even know
your father's name.

Can you tell me his name?

Can you tell me where he lives?

Where he works?

Can you tell me
what he looks like?

His hair color?
Or is he tall?

"You told me my mom
was gonna be here soon."

Yes, yes, yes, yes.

Your mom is...

She's on her way right now.

Where's Lacey?
Where's my daughter?

Hey, it's OK.

She's fine.
She's safe.

She's with the lieutenant.

What the hell happened?

No one will tell me anything.

We're investigating
the shooting that happened

in the Canal Street Station
this morning.

Your daughter's photo was found
in the shooter's gym bag.

What? Lacey's photo
was in his gym bag?

- Why?
- We don't know.

Hoping you can help us
with that.

You recognize this man?

I can barely
see the guy's face.

Yeah, I get that, but is
there anything familiar at all?

I want a lawyer.

You're entitled to one,
but this is not that.

I'm just trying to figure out
what's happening here, OK?

Your daughter's photo was
in the suspect's gym bag.

- Do you know him?
- Like I said, I want a lawyer.

Lady, seven people
were killed this morning

because of their race,
and you're pulling this?


What we know is
she's married, one kid.

No priors.


Guy named Michael Farrell.

The girl is hungry.

She wants pizza.


No, no, sausage.

- How do you know how to...
- My son's deaf.


They're both scared.

She thinks her father could
be involved in the shooting.

Nah, I checked.

Michael Farrell
is a metalworker.

He's been at the factory
since 7:30 this morning.

He hasn't left yet.

"Because we both know

John is really, really mean."

Who the hell is John?

I thought the father's name
was Michael.

Husband's name is Michael.

It doesn't mean
it's the girl's father.

DNA results are back
from the gray sweatshirt.

Profile's not in our system.

Do we have any idea

why Jessica Farrell
is refusing to cooperate?

the million-dollar question.

We'd like to compel her to go
in front of the grand jury.

Listen, that way,

she might tell them
what she's refusing to tell us.

If we go that route,
we have to immunize her.

- It could backfire.
- Got a better idea?

Not at the moment,
but I'm not excited

about giving someone
a free pass on a mass shooting

without more information.

The entire city
is at a standstill,

waiting for us to get off
our asses to do our jobs.

What if he goes out
and kills again?

You want that
on your conscience?

I don't need a lecture,

I am fully aware
of what this man is capable of.

Well, her lawyer is
in interrogation room two.

Why don't you go in there
and see

if you can work something out?

My client will cooperate,

but she isn't looking
for immunity.

We're not concerned
with criminal liability.

- Then why won't she talk?
- Fear.

Your suspect is part
of a white supremacist group.

What if we put her
in Witness Protection?

She's got a kid
and a sick parent.

Can't uproot her family.

She wants to help,
but she needs some assurances.

- She'll give us his full name?
- Yes.

Can she lead us
to where he's hiding?

She believes she can.

If Jessica Farrell gives a
complete and truthful statement

and is not involved
in criminal activity,

we'll keep her identity

No one will know
how you found him?

You have my word.

His name is John Nelson.

We were together
for a couple of months.

I got pregnant.
He split.

Date of birth?

He's 32.

His birthday's in June.


He worked
for the Transit Authority

up until a couple months ago.

You know
what he did with Transit?

He was, like, a mechanic.

Have you ever heard him
express anti-Asian bias?

He's got this thing
against Asian people.

It's, like, totally crazy.

- He blames them for COVID.
- Hmm.

Started going up
to Asian people,

telling them
they couldn't get on the train.

It's why he got fired
from his job.

Are you aware
of any mental health issues?

Is being a mean, nasty son of
a bitch a mental health issue?

Do you know
where he is right now?

we can keep her out of it

if she gives us all the
information she has right now.

I've been on his ass
for child support.

Found out he's been crashing
with a friend in Rock away.

Have you been there recently?

I was there two days ago.

Do you believe that
he's keeping his guns there?

It's where
he keeps all his crap.





John, make this easy
on yourself.

Shots fired.

He's going out the back.

Throw that!
Throw that gun!

You drop that gun right now!

Don't you get it, man?

I'm doing you a favor.

Put the gun down!

These people are ruining
the country... our country!

You drop that gun right now,

or I swear to God,
I'll blow your head off.

They're killing
innocent Americans, man!

Drop the gun now!

They need to be shipped back
to China, where they belong!

You are under arrest.

That means
you're going to Rikers.

Where you belong.

Nelson was a no-show
at arraignment.

I have no idea
where the hell he is.

The FBI pulled him
from the Tombs.

They just swooped in
and took him?

Hit him with a federal
detainer and hauled him off.

The U.S. Attorney wants
to take over the prosecution.

- What?
- I can't say

I appreciate their approach,

but their interest in the case
is understandable.

- That doesn't mean...
- No, I agree.

investigated this case.

They put in the sweat.

They consoled
the victims' families.

They took the heat
from the press.

This happened in our city,
New York.

Hell, I was there. I...

I saw what this man did.

No way
I'm letting this case go.

I'm on board,

but there's a few more people
you'll need to convince.

You could have called,
Monica, given us a heads-up.

I apologize, Jack.

I should have given you
fair warning,

but Main Justice wants us
to take over the case.

I'm sure they do,
but this is a local crime.

Doesn't mean
it's not federal too.

Do you really want
to do this?

Have a turf battle
over jurisdiction?

Argue who's best equipped
to try this case?

Like I said,

Main Justice wants us
to take the lead.

I'd like to suggest
a compromise,

something I think
we can both live with.

It's a little unconventional,
but it's been done before.

How would it work?

You and Ms. Maroon
will be appointed

special assistant
United States attorneys.

Who calls the shots?

You'll be lead counsel.

They'll agree to this?

Why not?

If they win,
they get the credit.

If they lose...

I shoulder the blame.


Which means me.

Yeah, let's do it.

There's a catch.

The deal is predicated

on your agreeing to ask
for the death penalty.

I'm not sure I can set
my personal beliefs aside.

Your personal beliefs
are not part of the equation.

If you don't want
to go down that road,

if you're not willing

to follow the federal statutes
and DOJ mandate,

just say so.

I'll hand the damn case
back to the U.S. Attorney.


How are you doing?
Haven't seen you since...

Our law school reunion.

Nolan and I volunteered for
the Innocence Project together.

We used to fight like hell
to keep people off death row.

Are you really doing this?

You're going
for the death penalty?

- Under the law.
- The law?

We're talking
about the death penalty.

Next time,
tell your client

not to kill
seven innocent Asian Americans.

Before you walk away
in a righteous huff,

I'm gonna need the name
of your confidential informant.

See what I mean
about that righteous huff?

It's a simple
discovery request.

Simple but outrageous.

The defense is asking us

to disclose the identity
of our confidential informant.

I'll hear you, Ms. Rankin.

The prosecution's entire case
is built on a house of cards.

Their so-called
"confidential informant"

provided the information that
led to the defendant's capture

and the seizure of a gun.

The gun was analyzed

and determined
to be the murder weapon.

And it was obtained
with a lawful search warrant.

Not necessarily.

It could be fruit
of the poisonous tree.

We have a right
to challenge the basis

of the informant's knowledge.

We want to test
their credibility

and assess whether or not
the information was reliable.

Frankly, we don't know
if this person even exists.

Your Honor,
that is a baseless

and defamatory accusation.

It wouldn't be the first time
NYPD made up an informant.

This is nothing more
than a thinly veiled attempt

to intimidate our informant
and expose them to danger.

The defendant is a killer.

He's part of a network
of white supremacists.

OK, not so simple.

The defense has raised
a legitimate concern,

and this is a capital case.

I'm granting
the defendant's motion.

You're ordering me to reveal
the informant's identity?

Disclose their name
or I'm dismissing the case.

We promised Jessica
we'd protect her.

We can't just renege on that.

Judge doesn't see it
that way, Nolan.

It's a dangerous precedent,

forcing confidential informants
to testify in open court,

reveal their identity.

It's hard enough
to get witnesses

to come forward these days.

You're absolutely right,
but once again...

I know, I know.
The judge doesn't care.

So what do we do,
appeal the ruling?

We could, but we'll lose.

So... just roll over?

Throw Jessica to the wolves?

There is a way out.

Offer Nelson a plea.

A plea?

He killed seven people.

If we take the death penalty
off the table,

maybe they'll bite.

Jessica doesn't need
to testify,

Nelson does life in prison,

and you won't have
to live with the fact...

No, no, no, no.
Don't do that.

Excuse me?

This is not
about my beliefs

or me having to live
with my choices.

Jack made a deal
with the U.S. Attorney.

We can't walk that back.

Like it or not,
under federal law,

Nelson qualifies
for a death sentence.

Then Jessica Farrell
needs to testify.

- You're a liar.
- The judge left me no choice.

You promised.

You said
no one would know my name.

Now my face is
all over the Internet.

And what about my daughter?

She has to grow up
with everyone knowing

her father is a racist killer?

I apologize.

We all want the same thing...

To keep John Nelson
off the streets,

to punish him for what he did.

I'm not gonna do it.

your testimony is mandatory.

I don't care.

You're under subpoena.

If you don't cooperate

you will be arrested.

I'll be arrested?

Is this some kind of joke?

I'm sorry,
but it's the law.

It's the law?

That's how you guys justify all
your lies and manipulations.

You just blame it
on the damn law.

Ms. Farrell, could you
tell the members of the jury

how you know the defendant?

I just do.
I don't remember where we met.

Were you two
involved romantically?

Not how I'd describe it.

Do you have a child together?

Objection. Relevance.

I'm trying to establish
her basis of knowledge,

her connection
to the defendant.

Can you leave my daughter
the hell out of this?

Let's keep moving.

Your Honor,
I'd move to have

Ms. Farrell declared
a hostile witness.

I believe you've laid
a proper foundation.

You may proceed
with leading questions.

Thank you.
Did you meet

with Detectives Cosgrove
and Shaw

and tell them
where the defendant was living?

You told me
I'd never have to testify.

Your Honor,
may the witness be ordered

to answer the question?

Ask another one.

You told detectives

that Mr. Nelson was living
in Rock away, didn't you?

I don't recall.

You told them
he was keeping weapons there.

I don't remember saying that.

Your Honor, given
that the defendant's arrest

and the seizure
of the so-called murder weapon

were predicated
on the information

provided by this witness,

I move to suppress the TEC-9.

Your motion is allowed.

Members of the jury,
you're not to consider

any mention of the gun
being found

in the house
where Mr. Nelson was living.

You lost the murder weapon.

It was excluded, but
the jury isn't gonna be able

to wipe it
from their memory.

The U.S. Attorney called.

They offered to send in
an AUSA to help.

I don't need any help.

It might not look that way
to those watching the trial.

I have other evidence...
The video, the gym bag, motive.

You asked
for this case, Nolan.

I went out on a limb,

worked out a deal
so you could be lead counsel.

If Nelson walks,
everyone in this city

will lose faith in our ability
to serve and protect.

We're good, Jack.

You have my word.

I don't care about your word.

I care about the verdict.

Were you on the 6 Train
at the Canal Street Station

on August 16?


Can you tell us
what happened?

I was on my phone,
doing the Wordle,

when all of a sudden,
I heard these loud noises.

At first,
I didn't know what it was.

They were gunshots?


People started falling
to the ground,

diving under their seats.

Some of us got hit.

Were you struck
by the gunfire?

In my leg.

I'd probably be dead
if it wasn't for you.

Please tell
the members of the jury

what happened
after you were shot.

I fell to the ground.

I just remember looking
at the filthy floor.

And I saw a pool
of blood forming,

and I realized it was my blood.

He was moving up the train
like he was hunting us.

I closed my eyes, and...

I pretended I was dead.

The train pulled
into the station,

and he stopped shooting.

The doors opened,
and everybody ran out.

People were screaming
and pushing.

Somehow, I managed to drag
myself onto the platform.

Do you believe you were
targeted because of your race?

Objection. Relevance.


The witness may answer.

He aimed his gun
at the Asian people.

He moved past people
who looked white,

and he shot at anybody
who appeared to be Asian.

This is what it's like
to live in America these days.

What do you mean by that?

I was born in this country.

Not that it should matter,

but I've lived here
my entire life.

And I've seen hostility before,

but not like this.

COVID and the lies

that are being perpetuated
about its origins,

it's unleashed a hate
like I have never seen before.

Every time
I leave my apartment,

I worry that someone might bash
me over the head with a rock

because of how I look.

My parents are afraid.

My... my grandmother...

Do you see the man who shot
you in this courtroom today?

I can't be 100% certain
because I didn't see his face,

but he looks like him...

His height,
his weight,

his eyes.

May the record reflect

that the witness indicated
the defendant, John Nelson.

The record shall so reflect.

Thank you.
Nothing further.


The defense has no questions.

In fact, we stipulate
that this was a hate crime.

Why would she agree
that this was a hate crime?

Well, it makes our lives
a hell of a lot easier, though.

Yeah, rolling over

and agreeing to a crucial
element of the offense

is not Andrea's style.

- Well...
- What?

You're right.

She's agreed
to the hate crime theory

because she wants
to use it against us.

- How?
- They're changing their plea

to not guilty
by reason of insanity,

claiming pathological bigotry
is a mental disease or defect.

Mr. Nelson blames
Asian Americans

for the spread of COVID,
for the pandemic,

for pretty much
everything that followed.

So he blames people who have
never stepped foot in Asia

for all of that?

His thought process
is not rational.

Dr. Thibodeau,
do you believe him

to be suffering from
a mental disease or illness?

I do.

in your professional opinion,

was he able to distinguish
between fact and fiction

on the day of the murders?

I believe he was unable
to understand

the wrongful nature
of his acts.

Thank you.

The defendant was organized
and rational enough

to figure out how to purchase
an assault weapon.

And he knew how to fill out
the requisite paperwork,

how to find a store that sold
the type of weapon required

to carry out such a massive
and destructive assault.

- Doesn't mean he's sane.
- He figured out

how to obtain the ammunition,
load the gun,

- hide it in a gym bag.
- I suppose.

Got himself to an area

that has a disproportionately
high concentration

of Asian Americans.

Again, doesn't mean he wasn't
suffering from mental illness.

No, it means he was
able to think clearly.

He was also able
to figure out an escape route.

- Yes.
- He even brought a key

with him so he could
unlock a gate in the tunnel.

- Yes, but...
- You answered my question.

Nothing further.

Mr. Price just cut you off,

but I would like to hear
the rest of your answer.

I was going to say,
in my expert opinion,

Mr. Nelson's pathologic desire

to eliminate
an entire race of people

would qualify
as a delusional disorder.

I further believe that
his extreme racist beliefs

are evidence of psychosis.

So what you're saying is

my client may be
a despicable human being,

- but he's still a human being...
- Objection.

And sentencing
a mentally ill person to death

is nothing short of barbaric?

Your Honor, objection.

Nothing further.

Are you really trying
to execute my client?

Please, Andrea,
don't do this.

- Do what?
- This.

I was feeling nostalgic
last night,

so I pulled out
an old law review article.

The first sentence
went something like this:

"Capital punishment
is barbaric in theory,

"indiscriminate in practice,

"and an intolerable denial of
the fundamental civil liberties

under the Constitution."

You wrote that, Nolan.

You did.

And now you're trying to put
a mentally ill man to death.

This isn't about me

or about some article
that I wrote 20 years ago.

It's about the law.

No, that's a cop-out.

You are choosing to do this.

Don't ask me why,
but you are.

I hear the psychiatrist
was pretty effective.

I wouldn't go that far,

but Rankin knows
how to put on a show.

A few of the jurors
seemed intrigued.

You need to put on a show
of your own.

Bring home who this man,
Nelson, really is,

that his decisions were those
of a lucid, hateful monster.

Is there another witness
you can call,

perhaps an exhibit
or a piece of evidence

that can bring them back
to the scene?

I think I can do one better.

You saw his escape route.

Now please take note

of where the victims
were situated.

You heard
that the train was packed...

A variety
of ethnicities and races...

And yet,
he was able to locate

and gun down
those who appeared to be Asian.

Kimmi Hsu testified
that she was over here

when a bullet
struck her in the leg.

Nicked her femoral artery.

Almost ended her life.

And you heard evidence

that 12-year-old Jimmy Park

died right here,

clutching his baseball mitt,

after a bullet pierced
his lung, lodged in his heart.

72-year-old grandmother,

died first.

She was sitting on that bench,
right there...

When three bullets hit her
in the head and chest.

According to Jimmy's father,

they were on their way
to Yankee Stadium.

Consider the planning
and the concentration

that went
into this horrific crime,

the decisions and the choices
the defendant made

in order to carry out
this despicable act.

If John Nelson
was really suffering

from the acute mental illness
that Dr. Thibodeau described,

there is no way in hell

he'd ever have been able
to pull off a crime...

A crime of this magnitude.

We'd all like

to make sense of what happened,

chalk it up to mental illness,

but the hard truth

is that some people
are just evil.

John Nelson opened fire
in that subway

because he is a hateful,


evil man.



Hey, you good?

Jury's back.

Fiat iustitia,
et per eat mundus.

May justice be done,
though the world perish.

Mr. Foreman,

having previously
found the defendant guilty

of seven counts of murder,

have you agreed
upon a sentence?

We have.

What say you?

We sentence the defendant,
John Nelson,

to death by lethal injection.

- Join me for a drink?
- Rain check.


Hey, you did a nice job.

I can't believe you actually
went through with it.

You sent a man to his death.

I did my job,
just like you.

You've changed, Nolan.