Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 6, Episode 11 - Law & Order - full transcript

Detectives Briscoe and Curtis are called to what they're told is a murder only to get there and find the victim is an expensive show horse. Curtis thinks it's a waste of time but Lt. Van Buren insists they investigate the possibility of insurance fraud. The horse was owned by Richard Brandson and the investigation leads him to his associate Lyle Christopher who has a history of being sued by former clients. When they try to locate one those dissatisfied customers, Ruth Thomas, they learn she was supposed to be on a three month cruise. She never made it to the cruise ship and the police and the ADAs are convinced Christopher he killed her. Without a body and a generally weak case, Executive ADA McCoy is going to have to play with an ace up his sleeve.

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NARRATOR:
In the criminal justice system

the people are represented by two
separate yet equally important groups,

the police
who investigate crime

and the district attorneys
who prosecute the offenders.

These are their stories.

That's beautiful, Lennie.
A real antique.

Oh, yeah?

When that semi-auto of yours jams up,
this antique will still be firing.

Sure, until it runs
out of bullets. All six.

It's not how many, Rey, it's where they go.
Come on, reel it in.

Check it out.



These goggles, the lenses
are all distorted.

(PHONE RINGING)

Curtis. Yeah,
okay, we got it.

Where the hell is CSU?
You want to secure that door?

What are you doing here?

Investigating a homicide.
You called it in.

She called it in.
We responded.

Yeah, and you confirmed it.

Victim, Mr. Wickets.
You got a first name?

His first name is Mister.

He's a horse, Detective.

(CURTIS CHUCKLES)

What is this, April Fools'

No, we just thought
it was funny.



We thought that dispatch
would get the joke.

What joke?
We said, " Mr. Wickets,

"four legs,
1,100 pounds."

What did you think it was,
fat siamese twins?

Come on, Lennie,
let's get out of here.

Aren't you going
to do anything?

Look, miss, we're not the horse
police, all right? Come on.

I saw a man in a green
oilskin jacket walking out.

He turned his head,
so I couldn't see his face.

Maybe he was the one who did it.
Did what?

How do you know this horse didn't
expire from horse disease?

You see that manure?
Lennie, can we go now?

Well, wait a minute.
Yeah, all right, I see it. So what?

Solid fecal balls,
and it's warm.

BRISCOE: I'll take
your word for it.

The only natural cause that kills a healthy
young horse in its stall is colic.

That's a blocked bowel.
Mr. Wickets wasn't blocked.

I only left him
alone for an hour.

He was fine when I left.
He was a wonderful horse.

Miss, look, I'm sorry for your loss, but
this is really a case for the ASPCA.

You two, call somebody?
OFFICER: Okay.

And he was worth
half a million dollars.

Does that make him
important enough?

Look, miss, I thought these horses were
for giving kids rides in the park.

He was a show horse.

Our truck from the farm in Pennsylvania
broke down on the way to Massachusetts.

He was only here for the night.

New York really is
a rough town for tourists.

BRISCOE: The girl who
called 911, Susan Bauer,

she's an assistant trainer.
Works for the owner, Richard Brandson.

I didn't become a detective
to investigate dead animals.

Oh, come on, Wilbur.
Somebody killed a horse.

You're not gonna let them
get away with it, are you?

What am I, in some kind
of trainee program?

VAN BUREN: You've got your
assignment, Detective. Fine.

You want me to question the
horse's friends and neighbors?

Find out if maybe he was having
some problems in his love life?

It's a nothing case.

Say something one more time.

Rey, one beautiful
afternoon at Belmont Park

I wheeled an exacta, and a long
shot named Nooch's Dream came in.

Paid $1,211.
So?

So, after that, I took an
interest in his career.

He retired to stud,
and he died in a barn fire.

Killed for the insurance
money. It happens.

Do a background check
before you see the owner.

Members of our association
tend to be well-to-do.

Horse showing isn't
a hobby for postal clerks.

How about a postal clerk
with a great horse?

How's he going to feed it?
Train it? Transport it?

Richard Brandson had the resources, and he thought Mr.
Wickets had the talent.

You mean a horse isn't a horse?

Hardly.

This one had excellent confirmation.
Beautiful hip and shoulder angles.

Brandson bragged that he spotted him
across a field on a farm in Putnam County.

He bought him on the spot
for his daughter to ride.

Brandson is her coach.

Fine. So they lived
happily ever after.

Well, actually, no. It turned out that Mr.
Wickets had a habit of dropping a leg.

Took down rails at the jumps.

Wasn't this maybe a little
embarrassing for Mr. Brandson?

He predicted that Mr. Wickets would take
his daughter to the Junior Nationals.

He has other horses, but, still,
he had to be disappointed.

BRANDSON: I apologize for Ms. Bauer calling you.
She must have been hysterical.

Actually, she seemed pretty calm.
Really?

Well, how guilt-ridden
did she seem?

She was supposed to stay with Mr.
Wickets all night. Instead, she went to dinner.

She felt guilty, so she made up
this whole thing about the colic?

Well, she's a junior trainer,
not a veterinarian.

My horse died
of natural causes.

Seem pretty calm
about it yourself.

Well, I don't cry in public,
but my daughter is devastated.

Losing Mr. Wickets was like
losing a member of the family.

Mr. Brandson, Mr. Bennett said he needs to talk
to you before your board meeting tomorrow.

Yeah, later, Jennifer.
Anything else?

We heard Mr. Wickets
had some problems.

He was young, he was inexperienced.
He was getting better every week.

Could you tell us, sir,
was the horse insured?

Hudson Casualty.
Now, if you'll excuse me.

People who kill horses for insurance
money used to use barbiturates.

Then we developed
a test for that.

They switched to insulin,
we got a test for that.

What now, letter bombs?

Ping-pong balls.

They shove them up a horse's
nostrils so he can't breathe.

He kicks, thrashes, gasping for air.
It can go on for 10 or 15 minutes.

Or there's electrocution.

You wire them up with
one end up his rectum

and the other down his throat,
and throw the switch.

It's less painful,
and it looks like colic.

Do you think somebody threw
the switch on Mr. Wickets?

With the lawsuits today?

We're not allowed to operate on the basis
of what we think, only what we know.

The horse's remains are going to the
Cornell Veterinary College in lthaca

for a necropsy.

My father called
me with the news.

Took me an hour to stop crying.

Where'd he call you from?

Our farm in Pennsylvania.

We were both going to fly to Boston today.
The show starts tomorrow.

He was going with you?

Yes. I never compete
without him there.

Why?

Well, we just need to make sure of the facts.
Mr. Wickets was very valuable.

Well, they told me
it was colic.

CURTIS: Were there any
signs that he was sick?

No.

I should have noticed.

Mr. Wickets and I, we
communicated through our bones.

When was the last time
you rode him?

The day before he died.

He seemed fine.

(SIGHS)

I'm sorry. I guess...

It's just kind of hard for me
to realize that he's gone.

Well, I have to get
to class, so...

(SNIFFLES)

So you think Brandson
really killed her horse?

He figured he was
doing her a favor.

She was in love with Mr. Wickets.
Mr. Wickets was a loser.

So kill the horse and
put her on a winner.

Well, if he did it,
he ought to be shot.

Not for what he did to the horse,
but for what he did to her.

He did it.

She just told us he was gonna be
with her at the horse show tomorrow.

His secretary said his big
board meeting is tomorrow.

So what were you gonna do, conduct your
meeting on a cell phone from the horse arena?

Or are you so rich you can
be in two places at once?

You knew the horse
would be dead,

that's why you didn't worry about
the schedule conflict, right?

Thanks for coming by,
gentlemen.

I really am very busy.

Well, you're gonna be
a lot busier.

You and your defense attorney.

Now why would that be, Detective?
There's no possible crime here.

I believe insurance fraud
is against the law.

So what?
I'll withdraw my claim.

BRISCOE: As soon as we
started snooping around,

Brandson calls the insurance company
and says he doesn't want the money.

Necropsies are expensive,
so they called it off.

No necropsy, no proof Mr.
Wickets didn't die of natural causes.

You think the department
would go a couple of grand

to find singe marks
on a horse's ass?

To investigate no crime?
I can't even get pencils with erasers.

So the guy has a zillion dollars.
He just buys his way out of a beef?

Unbelievable in
the United States.

You know, conspiracy to commit
insurance fraud is still a crime,

even if Brandson backed out.

That's a tough case, Lennie.

Not if we find his accomplice,
and the accomplice rolls over.

We got the records from five
different insurance companies

that have dead horses
on the books.

Now, the farm where Brandson
discovered his horse

has had two colic deaths
in the last 18 months.

Plus, two more found in
horses that came from there.

It's owned by a guy
named Lyle Christopher.

Excellent work, Detective,
for a nothing case.

CHRISTOPHER: Of course I know Richard Brandson.
He's bought several horses from me.

I was hoping to see him again when
I go up to my farm this weekend.

I'm surprised anybody in the horsey set
gets anyplace near you, Christopher.

You're a regular Typhoid Mary.

I beg your pardon?

Mattawin Dancer, died May 1994.
Lord Dan, died August of '94.

Nathan's Folly, died July 1995.
Mr. Wickets...

Mattawin Dancer and Lord Dan
had serious health problems,

and Nathan's Folly, well,
his owners were sloppy.

Fed him moldy hay.

And Mr. Wickets? What, Brandson
couldn't afford the fresh stuff?

That was a tragedy.
Horses die.

BRISCOE: Yeah, eventually.

Just seems like the
well-insured ones

seem to go a little sooner
when they're around you.

I think we're done now.
Yeah, almost.

You want to tell us where
you were on Sunday night?

In the bar
at the Hampton Hotel,

killing dry martinis,
not horses.

You know how many bars won't
let you smoke cigars anymore?

Yeah. Not enough.

Well, Mr. Christopher,
he enjoys his Havanas.

Was he enjoying them
here on Sunday night?

Yeah. Yeah,
he closed me up.

BRISCOE: Was he alone?

No, he's not the solitary type.

There was a lady with him for
a while, then she went home.

Then some friend
of his shows up.

Maitre d' had to lend
him a sport jacket.

Why? What was he wearing?

I don't know,
something Field and Stream.

Green?

Yeah. It was totally
inappropriate.

We pulled some LUDs.

Now, as soon as he heard
his horse truck broke down,

Richard Brandson
called Lyle Christopher.

Christopher hangs up and calls a hotel
in Massachusetts near the horse show.

He talks to a guest
named Mr. Brown.

Now, five hours later,

just enough time for somebody to drive
down from Massachusetts to New York,

Mr. Christopher calls a hotel
here and talks to a Mr. White.

VAN BUREN: The same man?
Mmm.

Their descriptions match.

Two hours later, Susan
Bauer sees a green jacket

walking away from
the dead horse.

Thirty minutes after that, a man in a green
jacket joins Christopher for a drink.

To Mr. Wickets,
rest in peace.

So Christopher's
the middle man,

and the guy in the jacket
is the hit man.

And Brandson's the one who set
the whole thing in motion.

It's going to be fun
nailing his ass.

I hate to spoil your party, Lennie,
but the big fish here is Christopher.

He's linked to four dead horses, plus,
his out-of-state records just came in.

Indictments for fraud
in New Jersey and Virginia,

dropped when he made
restitution to the victims.

So they won't talk.

Well, if he ran two cons,
he ran 100.

Check the lawsuit indexes.
See who Christopher hasn't settled with.

My late husband was so careful
to be sure I'd be provided for.

My money was in bonds, but interest
rates were dropping, and...

And Mr. Christopher
had a suggestion?

Yes.

He sold me a retired thoroughbred
he said was a promising jumper.

It had a fraudulent
identification tattoo on its lip.

So when you checked it out, the
record of another horse came up?

A much better one.

Before I figured that out,
I was on Lyle's farm one day,

it really is a lovely spot, he
was showing me a maiden mare.

He said she had a sister who had
produced extremely valuable foals.

Just then, a man showed up,
demanding $50,000 Lyle owed on her.

Lyle told me he had
a cash flow problem.

He was desperate
to keep that horse.

He said he'd make
me a full partner.

I wrote the check.

It's an old game, Mrs.
Fairchild, because it works.

The District Attorney in Putnam
County told me it was a civil matter.

Probably going
to lose my house.

I was such a fool.

Well, we talked to three other people,
ma'am, they were fooled, too.

Women?

You see, Lyle and I were going to be
married until he took all my money.

Then he said he'd fallen
in love with somebody else,

that they were engaged.
God help her.

Do you know who she is?

Ruth Thomas.

I understand her late husband
provided for her very nicely.

Mrs. Thomas?
She's not home.

Do you know when she'll be in?

Three weeks.

She's on a cruise around the world.
She left two months ago.

Would you ask her to call
us when she gets back?

I'll give it to her.
Thanks.

Just got engaged, and she goes on a
three-month cruise without her fianc??

With this fianc?, she's better off
in a long-distance relationship.

You know, if she figured
that out for herself,

maybe she knows something
about him we can use.

And maybe she'd
want to tell us.

Time to haul out the
signal flags, matey.

(CURTIS CHUCKLES)

Yeah, the New York City Police Department.
We're looking for Ruth Thomas.

I'll hold.

It's amazing. You're talking to
some guy cruising off of Bora Bora.

We used to get dressed up just
to talk to my uncle in Buffalo.

Are you sure?

Well, this is very important.
Will you check again, please?

They can't find her.

Maybe she's on the poop deck.
They looking for her?

Yeah. Okay.
All right. Thank you.

She never got on the boat.

A man called their office the day it left
New York and said he was her nephew,

said that she was sick and
she wasn't going to make it.

They put someone in her
cabin at the next stop.

Who you calling?

Hello, is this Mrs.
Thomas' housekeeper?

Yeah, this is
Detective Briscoe again.

Yeah, can you tell me how to get
in touch with Mrs. Thomas' nephew?

Well, thank you. Thank you.

Mrs. Thomas doesn't
have a nephew.

I don't understand.

If Mrs. Thomas isn't on
that boat, where is she?

We don't know. Now, did she call
you after she left here that day?

No.

Has she been in touch at all?
She send you a postcard?

Mrs. Thomas wouldn't
write to me.

How do you get your pay while she's gone?
Your money for household expenses?

Mrs. Thomas's lawyer.
He takes care of everything.

Exactly when did
you see her last?

The day the ship sailed.

The limousine driver came to get
her, and she walked out that door.

I had this lady in my
car two months ago?

That's what your
dispatcher says.

Do you know how many people I've
carried in the last two months?

You picked her up on East 56th.

You might've taken her to the
passenger ship terminal.

Oh, yeah. Yeah,
the cruise-ship lady.

Yeah, she talked my ear off
about the Panama Canal.

She said the boat was going
through the Panama Canal.

But did you see her
actually get on the ship?

I don't wait around.
I'm not driving a school bus.

Did she stop or talk to anybody
when she got out of your car?

I have no idea.

I have access to one
of Mrs. Thomas' accounts

to cover her mortgage
and maintenance and so on,

but I wasn't expecting to hear from her
again until she got back from her trip.

Which, as far as you knew,
she was on?

Yes. This is
very disturbing.

Were you handling any unusual
legal matters for Mrs. Thomas

before she left,
besides paying her bills?

Well, she had talked to me
about a civil matter,

but I'm afraid that's
all I can tell you.

Even though she's missing?

Well, especially since
she's missing.

If she were here, she could waive
the attorney-client privilege.

So, you and us, we're going to go
around in some circles, aren't we?

There's nothing I can do.

All right, how about this?

If what she saw you about involved
a man named Lyle Christopher,

you scratch your ear.

You're interested
in Mr. Christopher?

Should we be?

Well, I don't think it would be
violating privilege to tell you

that Mrs. Thomas has
a very close friend

with whom she spoke about
the events of her life.

Her name is Judith Grayson.

(TREMBLING)
Oh, God, he killed her.

Mrs. Grayson, all we know so
far is she's not on the boat.

Do you know why
she booked that cruise?

To get away from
Lyle Christopher.

He threatened her?

No. She threatened him.

Oh, God, it's my fault.

What is?

After Ruth's husband died, she didn't go out for years.
She'd been so devoted to him.

I told her that she
had to have a life.

She was still a young woman.

And she took your advice?

And met Lyle
at some horse show.

Boy, did he see her coming.

Bogus investments?

And candlelit dinners, romance,

and expensive horses that
belonged in the glue factory.

CURTIS: When did
Mrs. Thomas catch on?

About three months ago.
She wasn't a stupid woman.

She told Lyle she wanted every penny
back, or she'd go to the police and sue.

She gave him until she
got back from the cruise.

And how did Lyle take the news?

He had an explanation
for everything.

This horse had a rare glandular condition.
That one...

Ate moldy hay?

Whatever.

She was his one great love.

He was still trying to convince
her the night before she sailed.

He took her to dinner.

He took her to Gaucheron.
Fixed price dinner, $100 a head.

Yeah, and they argued through at least 98
bucks of it, according to their waiter.

But Christopher took
her home afterwards?

Hey, why not? He knew where
she'd be the next morning.

The limo driver drops her off, she still has
a hundred yards to go to get on the boat.

And Christopher's there in the
crowd for a surprise farewell.

Probably brought her flowers.

"My darling, please forgive me.
Let's go sit in my car for a minute and talk."

It's beautiful. No one's expecting to
see her for the next three months.

Yeah, then he calls the cruise line
with some cock-and-bull story.

And by the time Ruth Thomas doesn't
come home, the trail is cold.

And that's where we are.

We'll heat it up.

Now you're taking interest
in my personal life?

Are you engaged to Ruth Thomas?

Yes. Why?

Have you heard from her lately?

Is that your business?

Yes, it is.
She's missing.

Well, just because she's not at
home doesn't mean she's missing.

She's taking a cruise
on the Royal Star.

Without you?

Do you mind telling me
what this is all about?

What it's about, Christopher,
is that she's not on the ship.

Don't be ridiculous.

Have you heard from her?

No.

Your fianc?e goes away for three
months, and she doesn't write?

We were having a separation.
We had some problems.

What do you mean,
she's not on the ship?

We called.
She's not there.

There must be some mistake.

There's a Venezuelan couple
living in her cabin.

Now, do you mind telling us
what you did the day she left?

I went sailing myself.
I have a small sloop.

I was very upset
that she had gone,

and being on the water, that's
my place to get away, to think.

And where do you think
Mrs. Thomas is?

I told you, we had some problems.
She must have changed her plans.

Ruth's a wealthy woman.
She could be anywhere.

Mr. C. Only used his boat a few times last season.
I remember that day.

It was blowing up a storm.

CURTIS: He went out
in a storm?

Small craft warnings.

He go out alone?

Yeah, I think so.

Remember anything else?

Yeah, he asked me if I could
open the security gate

so he can drive his
car onto the dock,

so he could get it
right up next to his slip.

Is that unusual?

Usually he parks in that lot across
there and just walks inside.

Why did he want to be next
to his boat that day?

He said he had some
heavy gear to load.

Did you see what it was?

No. I asked if he
wanted some help,

you know, to build up a little
goodwill toward the season-end tip.

BRISCOE: Yeah, and?

He told me not to bother.

You wouldn't, by any chance,
have any evidence?

He goes sailing in a storm
with a heavy load

he doesn't want anybody to see.
The same day the lady disappears.

That doesn't prove anything.

Christopher had damn good reason
to want Mrs. Thomas dead.

That's motive.

Christopher's right. She's a rich woman.
She could be anywhere.

The limo driver dropped
her at the pier.

Where she could
have grabbed a cab.

To where, Xanadu?

Christopher must have grabbed her
between the sidewalk and the ramp.

Must have? Are you going
to testify as a psychic?

CURTIS: How about we at least
get a search warrant?

To search what? Earth?

You're telling us there's no
way we can get this bastard?

Those lawsuits against him, the
bogus horses, the swindles.

Yeah, but some D.A. Told one of his
victims those are all civil matters.

Individually, yes,
but put them together,

you've got a scheme to defraud.

He probably jaywalked
a couple of times, too.

Pick him up.
For a low-grade felony?

Either we play it this way, gentlemen,
or we don't play it at all.

CLERK: " Docket 85694,
People v. Lyle Christopher.

"The charge is scheme to
defraud in the first degree."

JUDGE TORLEDSKY:
Do we have a plea?

We move to stay this
proceeding, Your Honor,

pending resolution of litigation
that is the basis of the indictment.

And what litigation would
that be, Mr. Linde?

Several civil matters that the People, for
some reason, are trying to criminalize.

The defendant beat us to that, Your Honor.
His crimes are specified in our complaint.

They're good-faith business disputes.
We're in the wrong courthouse.

Sorry, Counselor,
but it's the People's ball.

They get to decide
where to play.

Then we plead not guilty.

At last. I was beginning to
think you get paid by the word.

Bail's $25,000,
cash or bond. Next.

(GAVEL BANGS)

Is this prosecution an appropriate
use of your time and my budget?

It gives us some leverage.

What, to cut a deal
on a minor felony,

he's going to plead to the murder of
a woman you don't even know is dead?

You're reading your
law journal upside down.

Simultaneous with his arrest,

we got search warrants for
Christopher's car, apartment,

boat and farm,
and seized all his records.

Wonderful.

"Dear, diary, killed Ruth Thomas today
and threw her body into a cesspool."

You think he's that stupid?

No. But I'm sure Claire
will dig up something.

There's blood.

In Lyle Christopher's
Mercedes and on his boat.

Mrs. Thomas'

Her type.

We're getting hair from one of
her brushes to run a DNA match.

And in the meantime?

Christopher's horse-training
records are insanely complicated.

He covered his tracks.

He wasn't so cautious
about his mating rituals.

Should I be taking notes?

If you want to go broke.

Roses, lingerie,
three-star restaurants.

All for Mrs. Thomas?

Most of the goodies
went to a Susan Merriman,

starting three months before Mrs.
Thomas disappeared.

But Mrs. Thomas
was his one great love.

One out of two.

I don't understand.
Why are you persecuting Lyle?

Mrs. Merriman, a lot of people have
made charges against Mr. Christopher.

Some people want life guaranteed.
They buy a horse, it doesn't work out,

they think they have
a right to blame somebody.

Did Mr. Christopher
tell you that?

Yes, but it's true.

He's a very smart man.
I was lucky to meet him.

Did he ever mention
a Ruth Thomas to you?

Yes, of course. He was involved
with her before he met me.

He told me all about it.

Well, Mrs. Thomas seems to
have been under the impression

that she and Mr. Christopher
were still engaged.

Well, that's impossible.
Lyle is very honest with people.

Since he's so honest,
have you invested with him?

He never asked me
to buy anything.

Never asked?

I happened to be
on his farm one day.

He was showing me a promising mare
that he was planning to breed,

and a man showed up and...

And demanded payment on her, and Mr.
Christopher was having a cash-flow problem.

I resent your implications.

Lyle is only in this business
because he loves horses.

I was with him on his farm
the day that Lord Dan died.

Lord Dan? That was a horse
that died of colic?

Lyle cried like a baby.

Was there anyone else
on the farm that day?

Just us and friend
of his from Chicago.

Do you remember his name?

No. What could that
possibly matter?

The weekend Lord Dan
mysteriously died of colic,

there were five calls from Christopher's farm to a Mr.
Black at a local motel.

He must have been
the friend from Chicago.

You think he's the same as Mr. White and Mr.
Brown and the guy in the green jacket?

Makes sense. The motel took his
license plate when he registered.

The car was rented by a Tibor
Nichols of Sarasota, Florida.

It looks like
it's his real name.

If Christopher didn't want to get
his own hands dirty killing horses,

so he hired this guy,

what do you think he'd do when he
wanted to get rid of Ruth Thomas?

There were two calls between Christopher
and Nichols the week she disappeared.

Want to take a trip
to Sarasota?

I'd love to,

but Nichols isn't home and the local
police don't know where to find him,

and all I've got is his pager number
off Christopher's phone records.

Do you think he'll return a call from
the office of the District Attorney?

He killed a horse
for Richard Brandson.

He'll probably take
a call from him.

Can we cut the crap,
Mr. Brandson?

You know what you did,
we know what you did.

The police went
through all this.

There's no proof that my client's
horse didn't die of natural causes.

Oh.

You're aware we've indicted
Lyle Christopher for fraud?

We saw it in the papers.

JACK: We've got a strong case against him, too.
He's looking for a deal.

So?

Would I rather convict a two-bit
con man like Christopher

or use his testimony to convict half
a dozen society-page millionaires?

Are you saying that
Christopher's implicating me?

He's a liar, for God sake.
That's why you indicted him.

We can let
Mr. Brandson's friends

at the Horse Association
decide who's lying.

If you're suspended, you'll never
get near another show horse again.

It won't look good
for your daughter, either.

What do you want from me?
Richard.

No, no. I worked 10 years
to establish her ranking.

Is there some kind
of deal here?

Lmmunity.

All we want you to do
is talk to Tibor Nichols.

Who?
The man who killed your horse.

(PEOPLE CHATTERING)

Mr. Brandson?

You know, I saw your
daughter ride at Devon.

She has a wonderful seat.

Thank you,
Mr. Nichols.

Please, call me Tibor.

BRANDSON: I wish there were another
way to take care of this.

He's been a very fine
horse for me, until now.

NICHOLS: Trust me, sir,
the horses don't feel a thing.

I'd like to shoot 120 volts through
his rectum and see what he says then.

BRANDSON: He's at my
trainer's barn in Mendham.

I want it done off my
property, like last time.

Yeah, Mr. Wickets went
smooth as silk, sir,

until that crazy bitch
started yelling murder.

That's enough.
Take him, Rey.

Hey, let me get
another bourbon here.

He's had enough.

Tibor Nichols, you are under arrest
for conspiracy to commit fraud.

You have the right
to remain silent.

Anything you say can and
will be used against you...

Man, things must be
pretty slow around here

if you got the time
to put the sting on me.

Pretty good job,
don't you think?

Doesn't leave you
much room to wiggle.

You know what I think?
I'm not your boy.

And your gloomy friend there
is here to explain my options.

Lyle Christopher,
or you do four years.

Hey, you want him, you got him.
I like fresh air.

Complete cooperation.

No problem.

Where do you want to start?
Princess Louise?

She's the first horse
I did for him. 1989.

We'd rather talk
about Ruth Thomas.

Oh.

I never met the lady.

You and Christopher talked the
week before she disappeared.

Every other time
you two talked,

a few days later,
something died.

Yeah, he talked
to me about her.

See, she was going to scream bloody
murder about some horses he sold her,

and he was into a new lady
with 10 times the dough.

He didn't want his boat rocked.

And?

And he asked me
to take care of her.

I told him I draw the line at
animals with less than four legs.

So how can we be sure you didn't
just make this one exception, Tibor?

The weekend that
lady disappeared,

Sunnytown Farm in California,
Conundrum died of colic.

That was me.

(KNOCK AT DOOR)

Pretty good. I got better.
Claire just called.

You have a preliminary DNA match on the
blood in Christopher's car and boat.

I guess it's not a
low-grade felony anymore.

Go get the bastard.

Police. We're looking
for Lyle Christopher.

We're busy right now.

Lyle!

CHRISTOPHER: Now what?

Oh, please, let me take that.

Lyle Christopher, you're under arrest
for the murder of Ruth Thomas.

You have the right
to remain silent.

Anything you do say can and
will be used against you

in a court of law.
You have the right to an attorney...

Well, I'm sure Mr. Wickets'
friends and relatives

will be very pleased to hear you've built
an airtight case against his killer.

Keep reading, Adam. We've got Christopher
for the murder of Ruth Thomas.

You've got the word
of a horse hit man.

And her blood
in his car and boat,

his solo sail the day she
disappeared, a very strong motive.

And no body.

She vanished.
It's part of our case.

Well, today's juries, you better be able to
prove that she wasn't abducted by aliens.

SEFANSKY: At the conclusion
of the RFLP typing procedure,

I prepared these
autoradiographs.

The DNA fragment
patterns are identical.

What are the odds that the blood you
found in the defendant's car and boat

could have come from someone
other than Mrs. Thomas?

At best, one in 170 million.

Thank you, Doctor.

Dr. Sefansky, when did
those blood drops land

on Mr. Christopher's
car and boat?

I can't tell you that.

You mean all your scientific
tests and experiments

can't attach a date
to those specimens?

SEFANSKY: No.
No more questions.

What exactly did Mr.
Christopher ask you to do?

Make the lady disappear.

He said I could grab her
before she got on the boat.

JACK: Disappear. What did you
understand him to mean by that?

He wanted me to kill her.

Thank you.
No further questions.

Did Mr. Christopher tell you Mrs.
Thomas had broken their engagement?

Yeah, because she said that he...
Just yes or no, sir.

Yes.
Was he upset about that?

Well, I don't think he would have asked me
to kill her if everything was hunky-dory.

LINDE: But he didn't ask
you to kill her, did he?

Not in those words.

He said he'd be happier
if she would disappear.

That's right.

The woman broke their engagement,
quite possibly broke his heart.

Couldn't he have just been expressing
his pain at seeing her again?

I don't think so.
Really?

Did you kill Mrs. Thomas?
No.

Mr. Christopher ever
tell you he killed her?

No.
Thank you.

Mr. Nichols, why would you think Mr.
Christopher was serious

when he asked you, of all people,
to kill someone for him?

Your Honor, may we approach?

No way, Jack.

The District Attorney is
seeking to smear my client

by eliciting irrelevant testimony about
other alleged criminal behavior.

This witness will testify that the
defendant frequently asked him

to make horses disappear,
and he killed them.

It shows a pattern.
It's relevant to intent.

Horses and Mrs. Thomas?
It isn't even apples and oranges.

Why don't we let
the jury decide?

Because it would be grossly prejudicial
to let the jury hear anything about this.

He's right, Mr. McCoy.
Your Honor...

The objection is sustained.
Now, move on.

I have no more questions
for this witness.

JACK: What did Mr. Christopher do
after he parked on the dock, sir?

He opened the trunk, and he
loaded something onto his boat,

but I really couldn't
see what it was.

And he wouldn't
let you help him?

Nope.

Thank you.
No further questions.

When Mr. Christopher finished unloading
his car, he spoke to you, didn't he?

For a few minutes, yes.

What did he talk about?

Well, some of the boat owners
were organizing a petition

to protest the rise in slip fees, and Mr.
Christopher wanted to sign it.

He was worried about slip fees.

LINDE: Did he appear
otherwise agitated?

PRIESTLY: No.

Disheveled? Bloodied?
Scratched?

No.

Do you recall a time
last July, sir,

when Mrs. Thomas went sailing
with Mr. Christopher.

Yeah, yeah. They set out about 9:00 a.m.
, and they came back in less than an hour.

Do you know why they
came back so soon?

Seasick.
She was green.

The minute the boat hit
the dock, she jumped off

and put her head
between her knees.

Did she say anything?

She said this was
definitely the last time.

And she said she'd never
go on a boat again.

When Ruth figured out that he'd
made her fall in love with him

just so he could cheat her, she was furious.
She felt betrayed, humiliated.

Did she tell you what
she planned to do?

Objection.
Asks for hearsay.

Mrs. Thomas was furious, what she said
qualifies as an excited utterance.

Overruled.
The witness may answer.

She said unless he took
his worthless nags back,

she'd take every penny he
had and send him to jail.

And since she supposedly left on
her cruise a few weeks later,

have you heard from her?

Not a word. And I would have,
if he hadn't killed her.

LINDE: Move to strike!

Mrs. Grayson,
please control yourself.

No further questions.

Mrs. Grayson, didn't Ruth Thomas
disappear for two weeks in 1986?

She didn't disappear.
She was in Bermuda.

Yes, but no one knew that,
including her husband.

He came back early
from a business trip.

The housekeeper
was on vacation.

He called the police.

It was a misunderstanding.
Ruth was fine.

Of course she was.

You said Mrs. Thomas
felt humiliated

by what Mr. Christopher had done to her.
Is she a proud woman?

She was a dignified woman.

The kind of woman who would
be embarrassed to face people

after she'd been made a fool of by
a man who pretended to love her.

Objection.
Calls for speculation.

Sustained.

The kind of woman who might run and
hide from her devastating humiliation.

Objection.
Withdrawn.

By the way, Mrs. Grayson, that time Ruth
Thomas went to Bermuda, did she take a boat?

No, she flew.

Seasick.

He's got the jury thinking

that she came face to face with
a cruise ship and backed out.

Cruise ships have stabilizers.
I'll put on a witness.

Can you find one saying that Mrs.
Thomas didn't disappear for two weeks?

Are you even sure
that the woman is dead?

It's tough to prove
a negative, Adam.

This book here, prove to me you
haven't opened it in the last month.

The police ever find a murder weapon?
A witness?

Anyone on the boat who saw Christopher and Mrs.
Thomas at the dock?

They're trying. These passengers
are scattered all over the world.

It'd take months.
If I had more time...

You should have thought
of that before you arrested

Christopher without
sufficient evidence.

He knew we were on to him.
He might have flown the coop.

And now, after he's acquitted,
he'll just stroll.

I've got the addendum to the forensics
report on Christopher's car.

Did you give it to Linde?

I just got it, Jack.

Claire, help me here, please.

I'm sorry, my transporter
beam was down.

Great. I've got Adam
all over my back,

I've got a killer who's
about to bluff his way

into an acquittal with
a wink and a smile,

and you chose this moment to
go into your wiseass routine?

Excuse me?
Forget it.

Ruth was opening
a bottle of Chardonnay,

corkscrew slipped, she bled on the deck.
I thought I cleaned it all up.

And this emergency-room admission form,
is this the one Mrs. Thomas filled out

when you drove her from your boat
to the Westchester Hospital?

Yes, it's dated June 9th.

Months before
Mrs. Thomas disappeared.

That's right.

Before you saw him in this court, were
you acquainted with Tibor Nichols?

I've done business with him for
years, I see now it was a mistake.

What do you mean?

His reputation in the
horse world is unsavory.

I had always thought
people were against him

just because he
wasn't of their class.

But you did speak to him
about Mrs. Thomas?

I had to talk to him about a horse auction.
I mentioned Ruth.

I had just learned that
she was leaving me.

I was very upset. I was talking about
Ruth to waiters, to taxi drivers.

Did you in any way
suggest Mr. Nichols harm her?

Harm Ruth? Because of a disagreement
over a couple of horses? Of course not.

Has anyone,
except Mrs. Thomas,

ever been dissatisfied after
buying a horse from you?

Yes, people seem to need
to blame somebody

when an investment
doesn't work out.

And those people that blamed
you, did you kill them?

No, I gave them
their money back.

Thank you.
No more questions.

You couldn't afford to pay
Ruth Thomas back, could you?

Over time, I could've, yes.

Over time.

But she gave you
a 90-day deadline.

She's very emotional.

Our business difficulties were all mixed
up with our personal difficulties.

We were in love.

Then why were you sending expensive
presents to Susan Merriman?

My relationship
with Mrs. Merriman

was strictly friendly until it
was clear Ruth was leaving me.

JACK: Mrs. Merriman is
a rich woman, isn't she?

CHRISTOPHER: She's comfortable.

So how did you think
she would have reacted

to Ruth Thomas publicly charging
you with fraud and deceit?

Objection.
Calls for speculation.

Your Honor,
may I answer the question?

If you wish.

Ruth's charges have
surfaced now, haven't they?

And worse, and Mrs. Merriman
and I are still very close.

But you couldn't have known
that she'd be that gullible.

Objection.
JUDGE FILLMORE: Sustained.

She still doesn't know about all the
other women you swindled, does she?

LINDE: Objection.

The witness testified on direct that
he had other dissatisfied customers.

Dissatisfied, not swindled.

The objection is sustained.

The jury will disregard the District
Attorney's choice of language.

Mr. McCoy, watch yourself.

Mr. Christopher, your little story about
Ruth Thomas bleeding on your boat,

how did her blood get
into the trunk of your car?

Did she take a nap there while
you drove her to the hospital?

No. Her hand was
wrapped in a towel.

After we got to the hospital,
I threw it in the trunk.

But the blood wasn't on the trunk
floor, it was on the top lining,

where a body
might have touched it.

CHRISTOPHER: So would a towel,

if it had landed on
top of my golf bag.

Your golf bag?

Your golf bag just happened to
be in exactly the right place?

Isn't that convenient?
It's true.

Ruth Thomas still had some money left
after she was done being swindled by you,

didn't she?
Objection.

Sustained.
No more, Mr. McCoy.

So her threat to ruin you was something
you had to worry about, wasn't it?

Ruth never threatened me.

JACK: Sure she did.

And she had the resources to back
it up, unlike your other victims.

Your Honor, approach?

I move for a mistrial in view of the
District Attorney's persistent mentioning

of alleged prior bad acts.

You were warned, Mr. McCoy.

They're obviously relevant.

I said they weren't.

Then you can instruct
the jury to ignore them.

The jury's heard too much.
You can't wipe it out with an admonition.

If Your Honor would only...

Never mind, Mr. McCoy,
we're finished here.

A mistrial is granted.

JACK: I think Simmons will take a plea, and
I want to postpone the Horowitz trial.

The fish market case
has to come first.

ADAM: Okay.

What about Lyle Christopher?

I hope you've been putting
your extra time to good use.

The cruise ship's manifest.

The German police
talked to a man named

Burckhardt Klemstein
in Hamburg.

He says he thinks he remembers seeing
a man looking like Christopher

holding the arm of a woman
looking like Ruth Thomas.

(PHONE RINGING)

Yes?

Thank you, I'll tell him.

Your lucky day.

A fisherman just dragged Ruth Thomas'
body out of Long Island Sound.

Don't celebrate yet.

Christopher's lawyer is gonna
rake you over the coals.

If he can show that you
provoked the mistrial

to get a second shot
at his client,

the case gets thrown out no matter
how many bodies you dredge up.

Not unless I deliberately
provoked a mistrial, Adam.

If I just got carried away...

You did want more time, Jack.

It wasn't like that at all.
You know how emotional I get.