Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 5, Episode 21 - Law & Order - full transcript

When the man who killed and robbed a cabbie turns up dead, detectives uncover a connection between the victim's wife, the killer, and the murder weapon.

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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.


I go out with my friends,
you get mad at me.

So, now I take you
along, and you get...

You actually like
these people? Yeah.

I grew up with those guys.

You got bigger.
None of you grew up.

Just get me a cab. At 2:00 a.m.?

We have to walk
over to the avenue.

There's a gypsy.

I know how to handle this.

Hey, pal.

Oh, jeez.

9 mm to the head,
blood all over the car.

(SIRENS WAILING) And we found
this in a puddle on the backseat.

Well, you got the shell
casing. How about the slug?

They're digging it out of the dash,
along with half this guy's brains.

Chauffeur license.

"Daniel Johnson, 111
West 114th Street."

That's it for ID. Wallet's
gone and cash box is empty.

I'm gonna hold onto this.

So, how long has he been dead?

Well, the way the blood's
settled, about four hours, tops.

Around midnight.

Hell of a way to greet
the new day, right?


Anything in there?

Well, that guy wasn't.

Bartender says he would've
remembered a black customer.

Are those the two kids
who found the body?


Hiya. How you
doing? You all right?

Yeah. Sandy's a
little shook up. Yeah.

When you came out, did you see
anybody at all out here on the street?

No, no one.

All right, now, did either
one of you touch that cab?

I knocked on the window.
Tommy opened the front door.

Okay, if you think of anything.

These radio cars, they pick
up fares that Yellow Cabs won't.

Hey, Logan. Found
this stuck in the visor.

"Daniel Johnson, Corporal.
Awarded the Purple Heart."

Desert Storm.

Compared to this, driving
across the sand in Kuwait

must've been a piece of cake.

Johnson's the 43rd cabby
killed in the last 12 months.

These guys have shorter
lifespans than fruit flies.

Especially the gypsies.

This one leaves behind a
wife and a six-year-old son.

You talk to the
driver's last fare?

Yeah, 69-year-old lady. Takes her home
from her bingo game every Monday night.

That was at 10:00, and the dispatcher
said he was headed home after that.

He was killed around midnight?
What was he doing for two hours?

Rickie, honey, go in Momma's room.
You can watch cartoons. Come on.

Come on, Rick. We're just gonna talk to
your mom for a couple of minutes, okay?



I told him his
father's on a trip.

Do you ever catch
any of these robbers?

Well, that would depend on
the circumstances of the robbery.

What do you mean?

Well, for instance,

the dispatcher said your
husband quit work at 10:00 p.m.


Well, we were wondering,
do you have any idea

what he might have
been doing at midnight?

Same thing he was always doing.

He was working.

Radio cars aren't supposed
to pick up street fares.

But they do, huh?

I opened a
restaurant a year ago.

It's not making any
money yet. So, Danny...

We needed every
dime he could bring in.


Now, could you describe
any valuables he had with him?

There's a chance
that they'll turn up.

They said you'd need this.

His watch, ring, credit cards. It's
all there. BRISCOE: Thank you.


Cab robbery, huh?

That narrows it down to
anybody who went out last night.

Yeah, if it was a cab robbery.

Well, you heard her. They
needed the money. He was working.

He was driving the company
car around for a couple of hours

late at night.

What he was doing and what he told the
wife are not necessarily the same thing.

He told me he was going home.

His wife said he
was picking up fares.

The drill sergeant?
She says a lot of things.

She called here yesterday during
Johnson's break and bit his head off.

Maybe he didn't want to go home.

So, the Johnsons
weren't getting along?

Money problems. The guy was
always nosing around for an advance.

Okay, so, to make ends meet, he picks up
a couple of fares after his shift is over.

No, we don't do street
fares. Radio calls only.

Look, Bryant, we are
not the Hack Bureau.

All we wanna know is what
Danny Johnson was doing last night.

I wanted to help the guy out.

I told him, "Keep the car. Earn
what you can. It's your license."

Isn't that a little dangerous?

BRYANT: Danny knew the risks.

Two months ago, some
punk pulls a gun on him,

and by some miracle
a cop catches him,

and he gets off with two
years for attempted robbery.

We'll talk to the governor.

Their car-wash policy must
be once every leap year.

There's a million
overlapping prints on that cab.

Well, what about
the ones on top?

Funny. I got some partials.
Bring me somebody's fingers.

This from the victim's
pocket? "3RF"?

HOECK: Yeah.

Three is the coat, right? Right.

What are the keys
doing in his pocket?

If a robber pulls you
over, even if you kill

the engine, the keys
stay in the ignition.

Well, he must have been
parked, and he was getting out.

There's nothing to get out on
the block for, except Noonan's.

A black guy'd have to be awful
thirsty to walk into that bar at midnight.

Unless he's meeting somebody.

I already told you yesterday, I
didn't have a black customer last night

or the night before that
or the night before that.

Yeah, well, we were just wondering if
maybe somebody here was waiting for him.

I pour drinks and listen to gripes.
I don't get their social calendars.

Danny, two drafts. Irish, neat.

Okay, about midnight,
was anybody sitting alone

like they were waiting
for somebody to come in?

Sorry. Yeah. Steve

When he come out of the can, asked if
anybody was looking for him. You know.

Steve what is his name?

You know how many
Steves we get in here?

You wanna give it a shot?

I don't know. I might've been
thinking of somebody else.

Okay, well, I guess we'll
camp out here a few nights.

Let's interrogate anybody
coming through the door.

I wouldn't expect
much of a cash flow.

Steve Breck,

but you didn't hear it from me.

Buddy of mine was a no-show.

Took a dump, then I left.

Nice detail.

So that puts you outside
Noonan's around midnight, right?

I wasn't wearing a watch.


Mr. Breck here's a lonely guy.

He goes to bars and
hangs out in the men's room.

He's about to
become less lonely.

Your fingerprint matches a
partial on the cabby's door.

The front driver's side.


So, that could be a lot of guys.

Yeah, but you're the one with a
record for assault and loan sharking,

so it might as well be you.

I was waiting for
Johnson. He doesn't show.

So, I go outside.
There's his cab.

I open the door to
check. He's already dead.

How much was he
into you for, Mr. Breck?

You think I'm gonna whack a guy, so
I meet him at my neighborhood bar?

Maybe he promised to pay you
and then showed up empty-handed.

Yeah, so I kill him?
That'll make him pay.

How much, Mr. Breck?

Fifteen grand, but I
never saw any of it.


The 2-0 has got a guy trying to use one
of Danny Johnson's credit cards right now.

Urban Footwear.

Well, I guess it's not
him, 'cause he's here.

He looked like a homeless.
You should see his socks.

His credit card lit up my machine.
Past due, over limit and stolen.

What did this guy do?

We'll let you know. Thanks.

I just wanted a
pair of wingtips.

Where'd you get the
credit card, Ronald?

It's mine. Sorry it's overdue.

No, Ronald, the man whose name is
on that card was murdered last night.

I found it after the
man threw it out.

It's mine. What
man threw it out?

The big man. In the dumpster.

Ronald, now, think hard,
what did the big man look like?

He had a snake. I saw it
when he took off his jacket.

He was carrying a snake?

On his T-shirt.

It said snake.

It said a snake,
or it was a snake?

I don't know.

Ronald, can you take us
where this dumpster is?

Last time we sifted a dumpster, the
investigating officer got in here himself.

That's fascinating. I think
you missed a spot over there.

Santana, Abraxas. Who would
wanna take a bite out of that?

Hey, what's that there?

Extra-large, green plaid

with lots of dried brown.

The blood on the jacket is a
96% match with Johnson's.

Figures. Any hints
about the jacket's owner?

The trick was sorting through
the crap from the dumpster.

Most of that was on the surface,
but ingrained in the fibers, grease.

So, he spills his french
fries when he eats.

Industrial grease,
and something else.

Bits of this in the pocket.

Kind of looks like Silly Putty.

Great. We look for a
gigantic first-grader.

It's plumber's compound.
Seals pipe threads.


That thing they clean out
drains with is a snake, right?

A picture of a snake
that said "Snake."

Big and bald? That would be
Charlie Kovac. Good plumber.

You know where we can find him?

The pain in the ass calls me Tuesday
morning and says he's not coming in, ever.

Did he happen to
mention if he hit the lotto?

Maybe he's looking for
better health benefits.

He didn't share it with me.

Well, why don't you share
his home address with us?

The super says he saw
him go out about an hour ago.

He keeps this place
about as clean as his jacket.



You know anybody that
eats their Corn Flakes frozen?

Whoever told him to hide stuff
in the freezer got it mixed up.

It's supposed to be
diamonds in the ice tray.

And what have you
got, about $15,000?


If I'm not mistaken, Ben Franklin's
face is covered with blood.


The personal touch.

It's not easy, all
things considered.

Mrs. Johnson, you
recognize this man?

His name is Charles Kovac.

We think he killed your husband.

So, then, you got him?

No, but we're looking for him,
and we're watching his apartment.

We thought maybe
you could help us.

Your husband ever mention him?

You think Danny knew
the robber who killed him?

That doesn't make any sense.

Actually, what doesn't
make any sense

is that your husband had
$15,000 on him when he was killed.


He was carrying it to
pay off a loan shark.

This has to be a mistake.

Forgive me, Mrs. Johnson,
but I look around at this place,

it must've been pretty
expensive to open.

Maybe your husband
borrowed the money for you?

I saved eight
years for this place.

I've got budget to
work through till 1999.

Until my name gets around, I'm lucky
if I clear a few hundred dollars a week.

So, maybe you
needed a little help.

You think a loan shark would
wait five years for his money?

Well, you were married
to him, Mrs. Johnson.

I mean, you didn't
know what was going on?



Did your husband have any friends
who might've known what he was up to?

Danny had a lot of friends.

Yeah, I'm gonna miss the guy.

You couldn't be unhappy
when Danny was in the room.

What was it, his sense of
humor or his winning smile?

Danny was generous.

You ever hear how he
got his Purple Heart?

He's over in Kuwait

with a truck of Chinese-smuggled
beer that he's bought for $1,000.

He's got it sold to an
officer's mess for $2,000.

Meanwhile, I'm lying in a
hospital bed 10 miles away,

so Danny detours to
drop off some freebies.

This takes him through a
minefield. Boom! Shrapnel in the foot.

Not much of a
business head, huh?

Danny would've made it someday.

Problem was, he was
living like he already had.

One Saturday, when his wife was still
working at Contini's, Danny has the kid,

and the kid wants to go fishing.

So, wife says take the two-hour
cruise off Sheepshead Bay.

Not Danny. Danny
charters a boat.

I caught six bluefish.

He was the Miller High Life guy.

Never an empty glass when
Danny Johnson was in the bar.

It doesn't take too many boat
charters and rounds for the house

to run up some debt.

You think Kovac was hanging
around and saw the goodies flowing?

None of Johnson's friends
recognized the photo.

Kovac's only priors are
small-time possession.

Maybe there's a drug dealer
out there who connects them.

You know, as far as we can tell,

the only thing that Johnson
was addicted to was a good time.

Anybody turn up Kovac?


He must've spotted
our stakeout and run.

Here, Kovac was arrested
twice last year at the same place.

A drug alley off East
110th Street. What?

The guy lives in Chelsea.

He can get a fix a lot
closer than East Harlem.

Maybe he has a
home away from home.


Come here. Come here.
Get against that wall.

Time to get up, Charlie.

LOGAN: Listen up, everybody!

We are conducting a drill.

And this is your
get-out-of-jail-free card.

It's good for your next bust to
the first camper who can tell us

where to find Charles Kovac.

How about you?

Come here.

I heard of Ernie Kovacs.

Cuff him. Operating heavy
machinery under the influence.

You. You got
something to say, huh?

I got a probation
hearing next week.

And you want them to know
what a good citizen you are, right?

I pledge allegiance every
morning. Me and Kovac.

Oh, yeah? Come
on, I'm listening.

a lady. Melanie something.

Yeah? Where?


I tell you, nobody's there.

The girl who live in this
apartment was away for weeks.

You got the keys? Yeah.



Okay, ready?



You think a lug like Kovac would
blend in with this color scheme?

He's blended into
the rug, all right.

I think Mr. Kovac has
snaked his last drain.

LOGAN: Oh, yeah.

Looks like they got him right in
the heart. Small caliber. Maybe a .22.

All right, seal up the building
and get CSU over here.

You go knock on some doors, huh?

Somebody just saved the
taxpayers a lot of money.

Another dead body? Don't
plan on any long lunches.

Hey, I'm looking on the bright
side. We just solved the cabby case.

We're pretty sure Kovac
killed Danny Johnson.

Who's Kovac? The new stiff.

So, who killed him?

Well, he had a lot
of junkie friends.

I mean, these guys kill
each other all the time.

So, don't you think the cabby
murder and Kovac's are related?

She's got a point. I was thinking
about our leg-breaker, Breck.

Johnson's brains
are all over the car.

You think that mook had to open
the door to see that he was dead?

He was looking for his $15,000.

Which wasn't there.

If it was me, maybe I see
somebody booking down the street,

I'd want to find them,
get my money back.

So, why haven't
I heard from you?

You sick? Should I
have sent flowers?

You, go away. You...
Don't be a stranger.

Took me two days
to find that weasel.

A friend of yours
sent us to say hello.

Charles Kovac. Name ring a bell?

He's tall. He's ugly. He's
got a hole in his chest.

Is this supposed
to mean something?

Yeah, he's the guy who stole Johnson's
cash right from under your nose.

And we think maybe
that made you mad,

and you went and
tracked him down,

same way you found
bozo over there.

Yeah? Well, I never
found this dead guy.

Well, we're still wondering
how Kovac got so lucky

to hit that cabby
when he was flush.

Why are you guys on me?

Johnson said he was getting
the money from his wife.

I tied her corporate checking to
a non-collateralized credit line.

She had a strong business plan,
and character still counts for something.

This jumbo credit
card you gave her,

did she withdraw
$15,000 on Monday?

No, actually, her husband came in.
Said they were redoing the electrical.

And you just handed
over $15,000?

In exchange for a
check signed by his wife.

Can we see it?

Of course. I have a photo image.

Do you have any previous checks?

Of course.

Look at that. Go
back to the first one.


Not even close. What, did she
write that one with her left hand?

Guess it is a little bit off.

Yeah, by about 15 grand.

He wiped her out, and
she never even knew it.

Actually, I saw some
activity later that day.

Mrs. Johnson tried
to withdraw $200.

There's only $22
left in the account.

She knew, all right.

Johnson wipes out his wife's
working capital. She finds out.

An hour later, she calls him
at work and rips his head off.

And that leads you to murder?

This does. We
pulled up some LUDs.

Kovac called Mrs. Johnson three
hours before her husband was killed.

If they weren't talking murder,
it's a hell of a coincidence.

You think the wife told Kovac
where to find her husband?

How did she know?

Johnson's last
fare was a regular.

Every Monday night, from the
bingo parlor to Lenox Avenue.

Now, the wife might
have known about it.

So, Kovac followed him from Lenox
Avenue to Noonan's Bar, and bang.

Then what happened to Kovac?

Maybe he tried to shake her down

after we took the
money out of the freezer.

Or the grieving widow didn't
want to leave a loose end.

Nice theory. You got
a witness? A weapon?

Kovac was shot with a .22.
Nothing registered to the Johnsons.

So, the whole thing
hinges on that phone call.

You ever consider that Kovac
could have been calling Mr. Johnson?

You better find out if he and
the wife ever crossed paths.

Maybe he fixed her leaky faucet.

I got two busted drain
pans, a leaky water heater,

and some genius tried to flush
his kid's Nintendo down the toilet.

All we wanna know is if Charles
Kovac did a job for the Johnsons.

My kid tells me to computerize.

I don't see it.

Well, maybe he did some work for
her restaurant. A place called Dee's.

Doesn't ring a bell.

Wanna read the book
yourselves? I got things to do.

Hey, what about this job?
Did Kovac work on this?

Yeah, that was him.

Contini's, the restaurant where
Mrs. Johnson used to work.

Eighteen years I'm here,

and all of a sudden they say
my sprinklers are not up to code.

That must have set you back.

Worse than the
money, those plumbers,

they had my kitchen
torn up for two weeks.

And Denise Johnson
was working here then?

Yeah, she was here till
she opened her own place.

I've been helping her out.
Giving her some advice.

This is for the night
deposits, right?


You carry it out of
here without protection?



I have a license.

Yeah, but let me get this.


Did Mrs. Johnson have
a key to that drawer?

She was my
hostess. I trusted her.

And did she return that key?

We've been through all this. I've
got to pick up my son from school.

You looked right at a picture of Kovac
and told us you'd never seen him before.

You know how many repair
people go through a restaurant?

But how many of them
end up killing your husband?

You don't believe I
loved my husband?

What do you want us to
believe, Mrs. Johnson?

You lied to us about Kovac.
You lied about the $15,000.

Now we found out you
had access to Contini's gun.

Maybe this man met my husband at
the restaurant when he picked me up,

and they got mixed up
in something together.

You told us all your husband
did was work driving the cab.

I didn't follow him around!

I have to pick up my son.

I'm telling you, she's
got ice water in her veins.

Maybe she just knows we
don't have enough to arrest her.


It's a positive match. The gun
from Contini's killed Charles Kovac.

That ought to be enough.

For Kovac. What
about her husband?

Well, it's sort of a
boxed set, isn't it?

She knew her husband stole her
money. She had contact with Kovac.

We don't know what went
on between her and Kovac.

Yeah, because the best witness
is dead because she killed him.

We let her shoot her way
out of a murder charge,

we're setting a pretty
bad precedent. Do it.


Mrs. Johnson.

What now?

This is Mrs. Lawson
from Children's Services.

She'll take care of the boy.


We'd just as soon not
arrest you in front of your son.

Rickie, Mommy
has to go out tonight,

so this lady, she's gonna
baby-sit for you, okay?


It's okay.

Denise Johnson,
you're under arrest

for the murders of Daniel
Johnson and Charles Kovac.

You have the right
to remain silent.

Anything you say can and will be
used against you in a court of law.

Do you understand that? You
have the right to an attorney.

If you cannot afford...

Two victims, two
distinct crimes,

and you come up
with one suspect.

Do you people get tunnel vision
from breathing the air down here?

It doesn't take a genius to connect
your client to both these murders.

Eight other people had access to
the gun that killed Charles Kovac.

Five of them met Kovac while he
was repairing the sprinklers at Contini's.

Only one of them has a husband
in Greenlawn, put there by Kovac.

That's right. He was
put there by Kovac.

Three hours after Kovac
talked to Mrs. Johnson.

I never talked to that man.
My machine must have picked...

That phone call
lasted 10 seconds.

Enough time to hear
the greeting and hang up.


"Denise? Kovac. Where and when?"

"Noonan's Bar, midnight."

Four seconds.

ELLIOT: As long
as you're fantasizing,

you wanna tell me again
why she killed Kovac?

He wanted more money?

He tried to blackmail her?

I see.

She had motive to kill Kovac because
she hired him to kill her husband,

and you know she hired
him to kill her husband

because she killed Kovac.

You're driving in circles, and
the jury's going to be very dizzy.

You might want to lend
them your adding machine.

JACK: As long as we lay
out the whole package, Adam,

her motives and means
are perfectly clear.

Right. You're gonna
bring charts and diagrams

and the dead junkie accomplice,

while Elliot shows the jury
a hard-working black woman

who's just become
a single mother.

She really can't complain
about being a widow

after murdering her husband.

I'm sure the jury'll appreciate
your sense of humor

while they're
trying to figure out

why Mrs. Johnson
wanted her husband dead.

Even when we were kids,
Danny was the smart one.

I used to read to him at night,
till he started to correct me.

But your brother's the one who
ended up behind the wheel of a cab.

Anything else
might have required

concentrating on one
thing for two weeks in a row.

Danny didn't have
much follow-through.

His wife seems
pretty disciplined.

She wants what she wants.
Up the ladder, one rung at a time.

And Danny didn't
fit with the program?

Denise was the program.

Danny should have got
out of there a long time ago.

Why didn't she just divorce him?

When she was getting started, she needed
his signature for the lease documents.

If she divorced him, she probably
would have to give him half the place.

Now she doesn't have
that problem, does she?

Look, Denise is a businesswoman.

She finds business solutions
for her problems, not murder.

Her husband was a problem?

The last time he was here,
we had to ask him to leave.


If you don't tell me,
someone else will.

Danny sunk some money, Denise's
money, in a pyramid scheme.

He was supposed to get rich
quick by selling distributorship.

Danny lines up half
a dozen prospects,

brings them and their
wives here to close the deal.

Runs up a $1,500 tab.

Pulls six bottles of Château
Margaux from the wine closet.

$300, our cost.

And his prospects
still didn't buy?

They got too drunk to talk.

We had a restaurant critic
here from The Times that night.

Danny's party made
so much noise, she left.

Mr. Contini, when the
New York Times critic

walked out of her restaurant
because of her husband,

did you see the
defendant shortly after that?

Yes. The next day.

In fact, I've never
seen her so upset.

And she did have a key to the
drawer where you keep your gun?

Yes, but so do the day
manager, the night manager

and my bookkeeper.

You don't think any of them
killed Charles Kovac, do you?

Of course not.

Thank you.

Day manager, night
manager, bookkeeper.

You left out owner, didn't you?

I have a key to my own desk.

You also had an
argument with Mr. Kovac

that was so loud, one of your customers
called the police. Isn't that true?

The man was a pig.

I was losing enough business
because of the repairs.

I didn't need the mess
spilling into my dining room.

So, in effect, Mr. Kovac was
taking money out of your pocket.

To some people,
that's motive for murder.

Objection. This is not cross
examination. It's pure speculation.

Let's move on.

Was Danny Johnson what you
would call a regular customer?

He borrowed money
maybe half a dozen times.

At first, a grand or two.

Worked his way up to eight.

And how was Mr. Johnson
able to repay these loans?

Last time, I said,

"Eight grand is a major
obligation, Danny."

He says, "Don't worry.
The wife is good for it."

Thank you.

You said Danny
Johnson borrowed $8,000,

but the night he died, he was
supposed to repay you $15,000.

Well, there's interest.

Almost 100%?

Well, that's not legal, is it?

I don't know. I didn't
go to law school.

ELLIOT: I see.

When someone doesn't
repay an illegal loan,

what do you do?

I convince them it's in
their interest to make good.

Come on, Mr. Breck. What
you do is break people's legs.

Objection! Mr. Elliot
has no basis for this...

The People are not the only ones
with a theory here, Your Honor.

Overruled. The
witness will answer.

Break legs? No,

but a person could get hurt.

Okay. Did you ever
hurt Danny Johnson?

I never laid a hand on him.

On the night he was killed, his
payment was how many weeks overdue?


$15,000, three weeks late,

and you never
laid a hand on him?

Two murders, two

and this defense lawyer makes
suspects out of your own witnesses.

Aren't we lucky
this isn't on TV?

Elliot's just blowing
a lot of smoke.

I don't think it's
gonna go over.

Well, that's fine, but
you two are not the jury.

If any of them
thinks for one minute

that the restaurant
owner killed Kovac...

Or how about this?

A loan shark killed
Danny Johnson.

Now, that's called
reasonable doubt. Offer a plea.

I already did. They
turned it down.

ADAM: Of course they did.

Well, at least you've
got one redeeming factor.

And what's that?

Saving the citizens
a little money.

Losing two cases
for the price of one.

We've got Detective Logan
coming up on the stand.

He'll link Denise Johnson to
Kovac and the gun that killed him.

Mr. Kovac was
behind the couch here.

He'd been shot once in the
chest with a .22 caliber pistol

which we recovered
at Contini's Restaurant.

Did you obtain phone company
reports from Mr. Kovac's apartment?

Yes. They showed a phone call
from Mr. Kovac to Denise Johnson

on the day of Danny
Johnson's murder.

Thank you, Detective.

Did the police department make
a recording of that conversation?

We usually don't investigate
before a crime is committed.

Then you don't actually know that
Mrs. Johnson and Kovac ever spoke.

Detective, would you read the
highlighted portion of People's Eight,

your activity report.

"Mr. Johnson's death occurred in the
course of an apparent armed robbery."

A robbery.

And did you find the money
taken from Danny Johnson

during the commission
of that crime?

Yes, it was in
Mr. Kovac's apartment.

And that money, in a sense,

belonged to
Mr. Breck, didn't it?

Well, it was being repaid to
Mr. Breck's employers, yes.

At one point, didn't you suspect
Mr. Breck of killing Kovac?

We did talk to him.

In fact, you accused
him of being the killer.

That's a common
interrogation technique.

Sounds like a good one.

Detective Logan, why did
you stop pursuing other leads

in the murder of Charles Kovac?

Because the phone
call from Mr. Kovac

and the gun we recovered
at Contini's Restaurant

both point to the
defendant, Denise Johnson.

JACK: Thank you, Detective.

Your Honor, at this
time the People rest.

The Defense moves,
pursuant to CPL Section 290.10,

for trial order of dismissal.

I'll hear from
counsel in 15 minutes.

A motion to dismiss at the end of the
People's case is pro forma, Your Honor.

If you think I'm wasting your time
by asking to hear this one argued,

you don't have to say anything.

I've seen some blatant bootstrapping,
Your Honor, but this takes the prize.

Johnson's murder explains
Kovac's? Kovac's explains Johnson's?

So the evidence overlaps.
Since when is that a weakness?

Without calling
a single witness,

I've established alternate
theories for both murders.

Right. Dead-ending in
the police investigation.

Our theory is the only one
that explains both murders.

If you assume the existence of
the very plot you need to prove.

Jack Ruby guns down Oswald.

It might seem like whoever killed
Kennedy wanted Oswald silenced,

but only if you've already come
up with a conspiracy theory.

I have more than theory.
Two men are dead.

The defendant had access to
the gun that killed one of them.

KAYLIN: May I say something?

You're right, Mr. McCoy, the gun
killed one of them, Charles Kovac.

But regarding the murder
of Daniel Johnson, however,

the People have not
made a prima facie case.

I'm dismissing that
count of the indictment.

Now, that's the post holding up
the People's entire tent, Your Honor.

Without that charge, they don't
have any case against my client

for the Kovac killing, either.

Hold it. Ruby did kill Oswald.

Point taken.

The Kovac matter
will go to the jury.

Thank you, Your Honor.

Don't thank me yet.

You're gonna have to make
your case without any hint

that Mrs. Johnson was involved
in the murder of her husband.

I will so instruct the jury.

But, Your Honor... What?

So, now we're trying a
woman for the murder

of the hit man she
hired to kill her husband,

but we can't
mention the husband.

Beef up the rest of the story, and dig
up some hard evidence on Mrs. Johnson

linking her to the
murder of Kovac.

To use how? We rested our case.

At least we'll be ready
to punch holes in theirs.

Go over the ground again
with Briscoe and Logan.

What am I looking for?

An eyewitness would be lovely.

Nobody saw Mrs. Johnson with
Kovac. Nobody even heard the gunshot.

Okay, what else have we got?

We've got phone records, just
that one call, the gun at Contini's.

She was in the office,
but no one saw her take it.

Yeah, what's this?

It's an old attempted
robbery against Johnson.

Two months before he was killed.

Okay, the robber put a gun behind
Johnson's ear and pulled the trigger.

The gun jammed. The robber took
off on foot with the gun in his hand.

He was caught by a
passing anticrime car.

Don't these guys usually ask for
money before they pull the trigger?

This one didn't.

It was a Monday night.

The shooter flagged down Johnson

right after the bingo lady,
his regular Monday night fare.

Just like Kovac. What
are the odds of that?

We always figured Mrs. Johnson
tipped Kovac to the bingo lady.

Yeah, well, maybe she
tried this once before.

I tried to take that cabby down,

and it didn't go right.

Just like I said when I
made my plea agreement.

Are you certain, Mr. Lattimer, you weren't
trying to do more than just rob him?

I would've played gin rummy with
him, except I didn't have the time,

you know what I'm saying?

We think you may
have wanted to kill him.

Read my label, miss.

Attempted armed
robbery, two-to-six. That's it.

If you were hired to kill that cab
driver, and you can tell us by whom,

we can change those numbers.

You want me to cop to
attempted murder, man?

No, that's all right.

That ain't good for
this black man's health.

We're not after you. We
want the person who hired you.

And if I give it up?

You can call a cab and go home.


The cabby's wife.



She gave me the address
to his last fare. Some old lady.

I waved him down.

I think I'm gonna make
that phone call now, all right?


Get this kid to confess
to a more serious crime,

and you reduce his sentence.

He gave us Denise Johnson.

Denise Johnson.

You're gonna charge her

with attempted murder for
the first try on her husband?

CLAIRE: I know, a tough sell.

All we have is the uncorroborated
testimony of an accomplice.

Johnny-come-lately, you should have
connected her with this punk hit man

before you rested your case.

We'll petition the
judge to reopen.

Judge Kaylin, yeah.

Dismissed half your
case in the first place.

If I can't reopen, I'll put the hit
man on as a rebuttal witness.

Rebuttal to what?

I'll drag some statement out of
Mrs. Johnson on cross-examination

that he can rebut.

What cross-examination?

Your case is such a shambles

that the defense attorney would
have to be brain-dead to put her on.

She doesn't take the stand, your
witness doesn't take the stand.

Then, I'll just have to
convince the defense attorney

that it's in his best interest
to call Mrs. Johnson.

Best interest.

I see no grounds to reopen,
Mr. McCoy. The People have rested.

We'll hear from them
again in closing arguments.

Will Your Honor
please remind counsel

that those arguments may not
refer to any alleged conspiracy

between my client and Mr. Kovac?

Don't worry, Brian.

We've changed our
theory of the case.

We'll be arguing that Mrs.
Johnson killed Kovac for revenge.


He killed her beloved husband.
She wanted to get even.

That's fiction,
and they know it.

We don't need your permission to
present a different motive to the jury.

The Court's already ruled that
you can't mention any testimony

regarding the murder
of my client's husband.

The jury must disregard
Mrs. Johnson's role

in the murder of her
husband, not Kovac's.

He's right, Mr. Elliot.

But there's no evidence that Mrs.
Johnson knew Kovac killed her husband,

so how can she avenge
something she didn't know about?

JACK: Black letter law.

The jury can infer that she
had the requisite knowledge

if they believe she
committed the act.

Right again. If
you'll excuse me,

I've got a jury sitting
on its thumbs in Part 27.

That's very cute, Jack.

But you forgot one thing.

Revenge only makes sense if my
client was sorry her husband was dead.

Well, the jury's going to
hear that that's not the case.

It was like living in quicksand.

The more I tried to raise us up,
the more Danny dragged us down.

ELLIOT: You mean into debt?

Not just that.


Danny's habits made
home life pretty shaky.

Mrs. Johnson, in all honesty,

how did you feel when you
heard your husband was dead?

I felt terrible.

He was my husband.

And how else did you feel?


And were you angry at
the man who killed him?

God help me,

I was not.

Thank you.


your husband's
murder was a blessing?

No, of course not.

But you were better
off with him dead.

All I wanted was to
make something of myself.

For myself and my
son and my husband.

But your husband
was hardly helping.

He was the father of my
child. I did not want him dead.

I see.

You just didn't care
much one way or the other.

Redirect, Mr. Elliot?

No, Your Honor.
The Defense rests.

The People would like to call
a rebuttal witness, Your Honor.

Your Honor?


What's this witness, Jack?

He will refute the defendant's testimony
that she didn't want her husband dead.

Now, how can he
possibly know that?

Because Mrs. Johnson
hired him to kill her husband.

Well, now, even if
that's true, it's irrelevant.

My client is no longer on
trial for killing her husband.

It goes to Mrs. Johnson's
credibility. That's always relevant.

Your Honor, this would
be extremely prejudicial.

Call your witness.
Now, just a minute.


Jack, can we meet?

This so-called hit man can take
the stand for one reason only,

to challenge my
client's credibility.

Judge Kaylin can instruct
the jury any way he wants.

They'll hear what they
need to, and you know it.

If they convict, I've
got grounds for appeal.

JACK: Mrs. Johnson,

nobody likes to
let a murderer walk.

The appellate judges
will know what you did.

What are my choices?

Man two. She does three-to-nine.

She's lucky the death
penalty isn't the law yet.

Murder two. 15-to-life.

If you wait for the jury
to convict, it'll be 25.

I grew up in a
two-room apartment.

My mother sent me
and my sisters to school

with mashed potato
sandwiches for lunch.

I pulled myself above that.

No one helped me. Not Danny.

People thought he was charming.

When he took that $15,000
from me, it was not charming.

Kovac, or the deal's off.

After the police found
the money, he called me.

He wanted cash
to get out of town.

I took the gun

and I went over to
his girlfriend's place.

He would have been on my
back forever, just like Danny.



She killed two men. Still
believes they're the bad guys.

They interfered
with her cash flow.

No, it wasn't about money.

Maybe it wasn't the motive,
but it was her cue for passion.