Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 20, Episode 4 - Reality Bites - full transcript

When Larry Johnson drives home from picking up his adopted, physically disabled children from school, he discovers his wife's dead body on the floor of their home. Detectives Cyrus Lupo and Kevin Bernard question Vaughn, who explains that he and his wife had adopted a child with special needs and felt it was their calling, so they adopted nine more children. While the detectives question the children for suspects and a motive, they uncover an affair and an offer for the Vaughn family to appear in a reality show causing tension in the household and with another family.

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it -
In the criminal justice system

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

the police who investigate crime

and the district attorneys
who prosecute the offenders.

These are their stories.

So, how was school today?


Only good?

No! It was great!

And tomorrow will be?

Even better!

Hang on, guys.
I'll go get Mommy.



Joy Johnson. Blunt
force to the head.

Based on lividity and body temp,

I put time of death
between 12:00 and 2:00.

Looks like a palm print
in the blood over there.

The trophy's the murder weapon?

Looks like.

Special Athletics.

I left work at 3:00
to pick up the kids.

On Thursdays we put
the young ones in day care

so my wife can
have a few hours off.

Was anything missing
from the house?

I kept some money, maybe
$8,000, in the desk for emergencies.

A neighbor told the
responding officers

that he saw a bouncy Hispanic
woman leaving the house around noon.

Bouncy? What does
that even mean?

Excuse me. I'm sorry.

Larry, I can't find
Olivia's ladybug pillow.

She's throwing a fit.

Look in the van.

Or sometimes Henry takes it.

She's our babysitter.

She's got the kids
stashed at a neighbor's.

Did your kids see any of
what's inside, your wife?

No, thank God.

I went in ahead.

They waited in the van.

Your kids, they're
all special needs?

Yeah. When we realized
we couldn't get pregnant,

we adopted a beautiful little
girl with Down Syndrome.

We just kept going.

Nine times?

Ten. Our oldest,
Tim, is in high school.

He's autistic, high-performing.

He should be home by now.

Looks like he's
been home already.

There's a yellow book bag
in there with his name on it.


Mom's dead.

I left school after fourth
period and walked home.

It's eight blocks, two long
ones and six short ones,

so it took 14 minutes.

I saw my mom on the floor.

I tried to wake her
up, but she was dead.

Is that how you got
blood on your hands?

Yeah, because I
tried to wake her up.

Why didn't you call the police?

Because the police always suspect
the person who's close to the body,

or sometimes the boyfriend.

Or sometimes the person
who didn't call the police.

I didn't see that one.

He loves cop shows on TV.
He wants to be a detective.

If this wasn't what it is,

coming here would be
the greatest day of his life.

Has he ever been violent

towards anyone in the family?

No. No. Never. He's a good kid.

The thing is, Tim,

we were wondering
why you left school early.

Other kids pick on me.

They move my things around,
and I have to put them back.

Or they take my things even.

Is that why you were
throwing pencils?

We talked to your school, Tim.

We know they sent you home because
you were throwing pencils at other boys.

Why were you doing that?

Maybe when you got home,

you told your mother what
happened and she got mad.

I didn't talk to her.
She was dead.

How did you get in the house?

Do you have a key?

My father gave me one
because I was trustworthy.

Look, Tim, this could've
been an accident.

Now, if something bad happened,

this would be a
good time to tell us.

I don't have
anything to tell you.

You could tell us why
you were mad at school.

Okay. I did it. I killed her.

No, he wouldn't...

Okay, we just need you to
tell us exactly what you did.

I told my mom what
happened and she got mad.

Tim, why don't you want to tell
us why you were throwing pencils?

We're police detectives.
We need your help.

You do want to
help us, don't you?


Then answer my question.

Yesterday, after second period,

D.J. asked if he could
look at my fanny pack.

It was a trick. He
wouldn't give it back.

Why didn't you want to tell us?

My key was in the
left compartment.

Dad said I was
trustworthy. But I wasn't.

I let it get taken.

D.J. Lovell?

You know him?

His parents are friends of ours.

He's always been kind
to Tim, to all our kids.

So he's been in your house?


I can't believe my friend's
son would kill my wife.


D.J. Lovell, he's got a
record. Petty theft and assault.

I didn't steal Tim Johnson's
gay-ass fanny pack.


So if we look around,
we're not going to find it?

Why do you care
about a fanny pack?

Joy was murdered.

Tim Johnson had a key in there.

Whoever killed Mrs. Johnson might
have used a key to get in the house.

You think... D.J...

I didn't even know
there was a key in there.

Yes, I took the fanny pack.

But it was just a joke
that got out of hand.

Where is it?

I threw the pack
in the dumpster.

Then you don't mind
if we look around for it,

or for the $8,000 that was
taken from the Johnson home?

Go ahead. Let them look.

Wait. I was over there Tuesday.

Joy got into a fight with
someone on the phone.

Who? I don't know.

But when Joy hung up, she
said the woman was a psycho.

She seemed afraid.

Nothing's there. No
fanny pack, no cash.

We're checking dumpsters.

Well, he could have
hidden it someplace else.

The Johnson home phone records.

There were three incoming calls

around the time Mrs.
Lovell was there on Tuesday.

One from the
younger kids' school,

one from the Fraternal
Order of Police,

probably asking for money.

Those people never
take no for an answer.

And the third from a Belinda
Alvarez, Sunnyside, Queens.


The woman seen leaving the
Johnson home was Hispanic.

Right. And bouncy.

Belinda Alvarez?


Do you know Joy Johnson?

Oh, my God, yes.

Poor woman, I can't believe it.

Do you want to come in?


You'll have to forgive the mess.

It's been one of those days.

They want to play with every
toy for about one second,

usually just to hit
each other on the head.

Good thing they got
thick skulls, right?

Is this a day care?

I wish I could send
them home at night.

Nope, they're all mine.

Three singles and
a set of septuplets.

I was hoping for octuplets,

but God decided to bestow
that blessing on Nadya Suleman.

Mom, say hi to the police.


Ten kids, just
like the Johnsons.

Only mine are biological,

which is why I thought
I should get the show.

Plus I'm a single mother,
so it's more dramatic.

The show?

A new reality show. Like
Jon and Kate, you know,

only less depressing.

You and the Johnsons were
involved in a reality show?

One of us was going to be.

And I needed it way
more than they did.

I'm by myself, barely
surviving, on assistance.

They're rich.

So you called Mrs.
Johnson the other day.

Just to lay out the facts.

I explained to her that I'm much
younger and prettier than she was,

and that my personality will
come across on TV, don't you think?

And you went to
see her yesterday.

Yes. I must have just
missed the murderer.

It's frightening.

How did Mrs. Johnson
react to your arguments,

about you being younger
and prettier and all?

We didn't argue.

We heard you
argued on the phone.

On the phone, yes.

And I was ready to argue
again when I went to see her.

But she said they weren't
going to do the show.

As far as she was
concerned, the show was mine.

So you're saying when
you left her, she was alive?

Of course! And I was ecstatic.

My own show!

Hence the bouncy.

I don't think anything that woman is
involved with could be called reality.


When this is all over, I say
we find her fertility doctor

and arrest him on
general principles.

Let's see if Johnson
backs up her story.

Hey, is Mr. Johnson around?


Shh. If you're going down there,

I'm going to need
you to sign a release.

What for?

So that we can use
your image on the air

for merchandising, rebroadcast.

We'll think about it.

All right, let's see, does
everybody have milk?

I want Or-Juice!

Or-Juice it is! Anybody else?

Okay, I'll have to get
more out of the fridge.

Looks like Belinda Alvarez was lying about
the Johnsons dropping out of the show.

Or his wife wanted to
drop out, but he didn't.

The trick is, you've got to shake it up
or it will just turn into one big orange.

I've had that
happen to me before.

I love these kids, but
they sure make a mess.

My wife was so patient.

Can we maybe talk to
you without the cameras?

I'm supposed to let
them film everything.

I signed a contract.

So, no time off for mourning?

Look, I know this seems
odd, with Joy just dead,

but without her I'm gonna
have to stay home with the kids.

And I don't have any way to
pay for that without the show.

Maybe we could
talk to you out there.

Um, yeah, sure, I guess.

Okay. So, what's going on?

We talked to a woman named
Belinda Alvarez. Do you know her?

She was a candidate
for the reality show.

The producer said
she was kind of nuts.

Turns out she was over here
around the time your wife was killed.

She killed Joy?

She says she didn't.

She says she didn't
have a reason to

because your wife told her that
you weren't going to do the show.

Joy wouldn't say that.

Joy wanted this show.

She wanted the world to
see our beautiful children.

When do I get to see
my detectives on TV?

Lupo didn't want
to be on camera.

I was having a bad beard day.

I wasn't going to say anything.

Paying bills, Loo?

No, checking our insurance
plan. The lifetime cap.

Is it enough?

Well, if I'm cured in the
next three months, it's fine.

Otherwise, I know where you can
get a good deal on a used Toyota.

All right, so someone's lying.

Is it the husband
or the Septomom?

I'm liking the husband. His
wife didn't want to do the show,

he was trying to convince her.

With a Special Athletics trophy?

Mmm. I don't know.

The Septomom's brought so
many extra people into this world,

she might feel
entitled to take one out,

especially one standing
between her and her own TV show.

Yeah, right, but it didn't work.

I mean, Mr. Johnson
got the show anyway.

So she wasn't thinking
like a television producer.

She didn't see the appeal
of the single dad angle.

What's next?

We're going to go see
the actual producer.

Ask him if Mrs.
Johnson was in or out.

All right.

Having cameras
follow you around 24/7,

some people aren't comfortable.

Yeah, how about Mrs. Johnson?
How comfortable was she?

She had questions, concerns.

But Larry assured me
she was totally on board.

Larry did?

I mostly dealt with him.

After we picked his
family for the show,

I faxed the
contracts to his office.

The contract needed to be
signed by both of them, right?

Husband and wife?

Originally, sure.

But after she died,
it only needed his.

Did Mrs. Johnson ever sign it?

No, just Larry.

I didn't get it back until
after she was killed.

It kind of went
down to the wire.

So she was dragging her feet?

Or he was.

He wanted a higher cooperation
fee, plus more of it upfront.

He has 10 kids to take care of,

plus he's a real
estate developer.

We all know how
that's going nowadays.

Things are slow. That's
not exactly a secret.

How slow?

Well, there used to be
people at some of those desks.

You're still here.

Visiting. I'm
Mr. Johnson's accountant.

And why are you...

There was a rat.


Over there, and
then it ran over there.

Can you hand me that file?

I've been here all week, going
through Mr. Johnson's books.

He's shutting down
a couple of projects

that looked great on
paper, two years ago.

Now, he's just trying
to salvage some equity.

You were here all week?

Including the afternoon
Mrs. Johnson was killed?


Was Mr. Johnson here all day?

He said he had
to be with his kids.

He was gone when I
got back from lunch.

We were at your
office this afternoon.

We picked up this picture
of you leaving the building

the day your wife was murdered.

12:15. You told us
you left work at 3:00.

Larry, are you
coming? It's your turn.

Just a minute.

My sister flew in from
Chicago to help out.

We're playing Twister.

Look, I can explain this.

I should have just
told you before.

Not now.

I lied to you about
what I did that day.

That's right. You came home,

you tried to convince your
wife to sign the contract.


I went to see my girlfriend.

What's her name?

I started working for
them three years ago.

I baby-sit, sometimes I cook.

I help Joy out if
Larry has to work late.

Except the times he's working
late, when he's actually here.

It just kind of happened.

Joy went to bed early.

It was raining, Larry
offered to drive you home.

His wife was too
busy with the kids

to pay much attention to him.

Was he here on Thursday?

He came over about 1:00.

He left at 3:00 to get the kids.

But his office is what,
like, five minutes from here?

I guess.

Did he happen to mention if he
stopped by home on the way over?

No, he loved Joy.

He did. He just...

He loved me, too.

Okay, so, Joy and you,

two women, one man.

As hard as it might be to
understand, I loved Joy, too.

And I would never take
her away from those kids.

The way that
they felt about her.

When Larry brought them home,

they'd jump out of the car
practically before he'd stopped

and run in to see her.

Is that a laundry hamper?


Man's shirt. Larry's?

He keeps some stuff here.

He always changed
shirts after he visited me.

His wife wouldn't notice

if he left the house in one
shirt and came back in another?

He always wears blue.

You left your office at 12:15,
you got to your girlfriend's at 1:00.

It's plenty of time to
stop by home on the way.

I stopped for a coffee.

I had a lot to think about.

The shirt you wore to
your girlfriend's house

had specks of your
wife's blood on it.

You get that from
the coffee shop, too?

No. I don't know how.


My daughter, Olivia, has
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

She has trouble
speaking and seeing.

She gets easily frustrated,
she has seizures.

Thursday morning, she
lashed out at breakfast

and cut my wife
with a grapefruit knife.

I must have gotten
blood on my shirt.

This guy has
answers for everything.

What do we have on him?

Well, he cheats on his
wife with the babysitter,

and then signs
up to be a TV star

the day after the wife
is bludgeoned to death.

Okay, I'd convict him,

but what evidence do we
have that he's the killer?

The blood on the shirt.

Which he just explained with a
heart-rending story about his daughter.

He lied about his alibi.

He still doesn't have one.

He needed the money he'd
get for going on the show,

but his wife wouldn't sign on.

Yeah, but that's according
to the Septomom?

I mean, not the
world's greatest witness.

You guys have anything else?

What about this?

His babysitter-mistress told us
the kids always run in the house

the second they get home.

The day of the murder, Larry
made them wait while he went in first.

What if he held them back
because he knew his wife was dead

and he didn't want
them to see it?

That would be the nicest thing
I've heard about this guy yet.

Enough to arrest him for murder?

If you can confirm it, yeah.

The kids are at home
with the sister right now.

Well, take a ride and I'll keep
Mr. Johnson company for a while.

Are you sure this is okay?

My brother will be
home any minute.

We're trying to solve
their mother's murder.

Anything they know.

When your dad takes
you home from school,

what usually happens
when you get to the house?

My dad is going
to bring us pizza.



How about you?

Do you know what happens
usually when you get to the house?

Darnell helps Amy
with her seatbelt.

Then Freddy opens the door and
Amy gets out, then lifts Jane out.

And they all go inside
the house and hug Mom,

except Angie, who
always waits for Dad.

So your dad comes in
the house after you guys?

I don't know.

Yes, you do,
squirt. You just said.

Hey, hey, Tim,
maybe you should...

Maybe you should
help us out here.

Help you detectives?

That's right. Do
you think you can?


Squirt, you said Darnell
helps Amy with her seatbelt.

Then Freddy opens the door
and Amy gets out and lifts Jane out.

And you all run inside
the house and hug Mom,

except Angie, who
always waits for Dad, right?

Okay, so on the day that your
mother got hurt, what happened?

I don't know.

You do, squirt. You're smart.

I am smart.

So tell the two detectives.

Darnell started to unbuckle
Amy and Dad said, "Stop."

So, what you usually do,
your Dad said don't do it?

Yes. He said, "Stop."

He made us wait.
He went in first.

That's confirmation.

Yeah, what the lady asked for.

Anybody home? Hey,
the pizza man is here!

I got a pizza for everyone!

Now who wants a pizza?

Amy, remember,
no pepperoni for you.

Hey, what are you
guys doing here?

I got some pizzas.

Larry Johnson, you're
under arrest for murder.

That's a wrap.

"Case number 1-6-7-2-4-9.
People v. Larry Johnson.

"Murder in the Second Degree."

The plea is Not
Guilty, Your Honor.

And we're requesting ROR
for humanitarian reasons.


Your client's charged with
murder, not healing lepers.

He has 10 special
needs children at home

who need his care since
his wife is deceased.

Since he smashed in her head
with a Special Athletics trophy.

The People request remand.

He has ties to the community,

both personal and professional,

and he cannot afford high bail.

If he's jailed pending trial, then
he's not the one who'll suffer,

it's his children.

All right, we'll hold him
for now on $500,000,

but I'll review pending a
report from Children's Services.

Thank you.

Hey, the pizza man is here!

I got a pizza for everyone.

We were just trying to have fun.

Just trying to survive
after my wife's tragic death.

I had no idea what
was about to happen.

Hey, what are you
guys doing here?

I got some pizzas.

Larry Johnson, you're
under arrest for murder.

That's a wrap.

I don't know what's
going to happen now.

The kids cry all the time.

They're acting out.

They need their father back.

We miss you, Daddy.

Very entertaining.

Whatever happened to the Cosbys?

They didn't have enough kids.

Children's Services
just weighed in.

If Mr. Johnson makes bail, the
family stays together pending a verdict.

And if he doesn't, the kids get
split up and sent to foster homes.

It'll be ugly.

And our fault. "Heartless
Prosecutors Break Up Happy Family."

It'll poison the jury pool.

Lower the bail to $100,000.

But make one condition that he
stop appearing on that damn show.

Ms. Rubirosa?

Connie, right?


You lived with Susie
Nevins, senior year.

I dated Karen Lazar,
drove a yellow Geo Metro.

And sold rides to
New York. Artie...


The reality show producer.


Hey, I can guess what you probably
think about a show like Larry Plus Ten,

but do you know how many special
needs children all around the country

are being adopted
after one episode?

Well, hopefully by better
parents than Mr. Johnson.

The show's dead, Connie,
because of your bail condition.

We need Larry on camera.

It's not going to happen.


Well, what about you?

What about me?

Well, the sister's a stiff,
but we've still got the kids.

We can keep it alive
by focusing on the trial

and contrasting that with
her struggles inside the house.

Cameras aren't
allowed in the courtroom.

So outside the court.

D.A. doing prep, D.A.
briefing us on developments.

The D.A. telling you
you're out of your mind.

It's an opportunity to take
your case to the public.

Plus, I have tapes of
Larry Johnson and his wife

when they were being
considered for the show,

talking about whether or not to
do it and not always agreeing.

I can subpoena those tapes.

We'll fight it. First Amendment.

Or, you could get
them hand-delivered.

The tapes could help.

So we'll fight in
court to get them.

But how do we make a
showing they're relevant

if we haven't seen them?

Without our point
of view on the show,

it's all propaganda
for acquittal.

We'll pick jurors
who haven't seen it.

Or we can embrace it. Argue
our case and get the tapes.

What's the downside?

Fine. Why don't
you be on the show?

He didn't ask me.

Hold it. Sorry. I've got
a white balance glitch.

Listen, can you arrive again?

Arrive again?

Just drive around the block.

Look, I'm a little late. Why don't
I just get in and get out again?

Okay. We can cheat it.

Thank you.

Okay, stop there.

Now, can you tell what you're
going to be doing in there today?

Tell who?

The camera, like it's as if
you're talking to a friend.


You having fun?

I am going to kill you and
then I'm going to kill McCoy.

On camera?

I don't care. I'd be
better off in prison.

Where are you?

I'm in the courthouse.

Are you almost here?

Yes. Uh-huh, except, first, I
have to tell my friend, the camera,

what's going on.

What are you going to say?

Don't worry, just
the party line.

Today we're going to
begin to prove our case.

Larry Johnson may look admirable

because he's surrounded
himself with needy children.

But the evidence will show...

that Larry Johnson,
his business failing,

desperately wanted to
appear on a reality show.

He needed the money,

and cared nothing about
exposing his children

to public scrutiny
and humiliation.

When his wife
refused to go along,

he argued with her
and then he killed her.

The only person in that family

that Larry Johnson
really cared about

was Larry Johnson.

No one saw
Mr. Johnson kill his wife.

No one even saw them argue.

What people did see,
as the evidence will show,

was another woman who
desperately wanted to be on that show,

leaving the Johnson house
at the time of the murder.

And that a young man
with a criminal record

stole a key to the
Johnson house.

And that one of the
Johnson's adopted children,

a troubled young man of 16,

actually confessed
to killing his mother.

Who killed Joy Johnson?

I don't know.

And you know what?

Neither do the authorities.

There's no real evidence
against those others.

The Defense is just throwing
spaghetti against the ceiling,

hoping something sticks.

Exactly what I would be doing.

And some of it
sounds pretty sticky.

The jury's not going
to like Johnson.

Less than a day after
his wife is murdered,

he goes on a reality show to
exploit his disabled children.

This is the video we got in
exchange for peddling my ass on TV.

We're very excited about this.

We can't wait to
share our family

with as many people as we can.

We still just need to discuss it
a little more among ourselves.

Do you have any questions
I can answer for you?

My husband and I should
probably talk privately.

Honey, you may
as well get used to it.

The camera's going
to be on all the time.

That's what I want
to talk about, Larry.

You know the kids get
teased enough already.

Some of them don't have the
judgment to control what they say.

We really need
to talk about this.

Does that have to be on?

The seed of the argument
that led to the murder.

I don't hear her saying
she won't do the show.

We have a witness
who she said it to.

Mrs. Johnson was very gracious.

She offered to make
me tea, but I couldn't stay.

I had 10 kids waiting with
my mom at a McDonald's.

Before she offered
to make you tea,

what did she say
about the reality show?

That I could have it.

She thought it was deleterious.


I had to look it up, too.

Like it would damage the kids.

She didn't like it. They
weren't going to do it.

Thank you.

Isn't it possible that
Mrs. Johnson told you that

just to get you
out of her house?

Why would she do that?

Because you'd argued with
her on the phone, made threats.

I never made threats.

You thought you deserved
to be on that show, didn't you?

I did. The Johnsons didn't
even have those kids themselves.

I had mine the
old-fashioned way.

With fertility drugs
and a stranger's sperm.

How badly did you
want to be on that show?

A lot. But I'm not
a violent person.

Didn't you tell the show's
producer that you would kill someone

to be on that show?

No. Me? Never.

Your Honor, I'd like to play an
audition tape Ms. Alvarez made

when she applied for the show.

Objection. We have no
idea what that DVD is,

or who made it, or
where it came from.

Ms. Alvarez can
authenticate it for us.

She was there.

Very well, subject
to authentication.

I know, maybe you're
thinking about other people,

but there's nobody
as good as me for this.

My septuplets
are very hilarious,

and I'm already getting
them used to being on camera.

Is that you, Ms. Alvarez?

Yes. It's me.


It's really about
the parent, Belinda.

We need someone
who's passionate.

Passionate? You think I'm maybe
one of those wise Latina women?

Not me.

You're not wise?

Not boring. I've got the fire.

You have no idea. I swear,
to get on this show I would kill.

Thank you, Ms. Alvarez,
you may step down.

I guess your friend Kramer
made a deal with them, too.

We'll take a 15 minute recess.

When Ms. Alvarez told you that
she would kill to be on your show,

did you take her literally?

Of course not. No, I think she
was just trying to impress me.

Because that's the kind of
thing you look for, isn't it?

Exaggerated fake emotions?

Well, they're
called reality shows.

That's what they're called.
But they're scripted, aren't they?

Based around manufactured
emotional situations?

We take what's there
and we amplify it.


For example, a simple
desire to be on the show

into a bogus
willingness to kill?

That's the kind
of thing you want.

Ms. Alvarez was showing you
that she knew how to play the game.

Something like that.

Now, did Mrs.
Johnson ever express

that kind of eagerness
to be on the show?


Did she ever even tell you
she wanted to be on the show?

Not directly.

I only heard
through her husband.

Her husband.

How long before her death

did you send him the contract
that needed to be signed?

About a month.

And when did you tell
him you needed it back?

Right away. He kept
saying, "No problem."

It kept not coming.

And what did you tell him

the last time you spoke to him
before Mrs. Johnson was murdered?

I said I need it back,
signed, in 24 hours,

or I'm going to have to do
the show with somebody else.

Thank you, Mr. Kramer.

So, no one ever got
killed over a reality show?

I don't know about ever.

Would you be
surprised to hear that

there have been reports
of a dozen suicides,

or suicide attempts made
by reality show contestants?

Well, people can
get highly wrought,

and so we try to weed out the
ones that we think are unstable.

Is that why you didn't
go with Belinda Alvarez?

In part.

Because she's a
high-strung erratic woman,

who, as far as you
know, got herself pregnant

with septuplets
she couldn't support

just to get herself
on a show like yours?

Objection. There's
no basis for any of that.

We've seen the woman.

Sustained. Move on, Ms. Nuvell.

As for the delay in
getting the contract back,

did you know it was because Mrs.
Johnson was reluctant to sign it?


Isn't it just as likely
it was because

Mr. Johnson was negotiating
for a higher payment?

I don't know. I told him
I couldn't go any higher.

But he was trying, wasn't he?

He asked.

He even had his
accountant call me.

He said he was doing
some tax planning

and wanted to know

how much money Mr. Johnson
could expect to earn from the show.

Thank you.


The police talked to Johnson's
accountant. She's a woman.

Then who called Kramer?

I never expected it, but I've been
drawn into this bizarre murder trial

involving two of our
very special families.

Ms. Rubirosa, how did I do?

You were fantastic.

Can I have a word
with the cameras off?

Only if you promise to give us
your full impressions afterwards.

We're airing a very
special edition Sunday night.

Artie, I think the lines are
getting a little bit blurred here.

Can I talk to you, please?

Kramer had a callback number
for Johnson's so-called accountant.

It's a finance company that's
a front for Sammy Shiner.

The loan shark?

If Sammy Shiner wanted to know
how much money Johnson had coming,

it was because Johnson owed him.

And Shiner is not someone
you want to keep waiting.

OCID has him listed as a
suspect in at least four murders.

Johnson's business is failing.

He borrows from Shiner.
He can't pay it back.

He really, really needs
that reality show gig.

That amps his motive 20 fold,

if we can get Shiner to testify.

We get a material
witness warrant,

give him transactional immunity.

It's doable.

I'll start the application.

No, no. Not yet.
It'll tip them off.

Johnson's taking the
stand on Monday, right?

He's going to have
the jury in tears.

His grief for his wife,
his beautiful children...

Let him. All I have to do is get
him to say something, anything,

about not needing money.

Then we bring
Shiner in for rebuttal,

the jury will see Johnson's a
liar who's played them for fools.

My wife was concerned about
our children's well-being, of course.

We both were.

So we got assurances
from the producers

that we could review the tapes,

that we could protect them.

I was satisfied and so was she.

Then why did she tell
Ms. Alvarez otherwise?

I don't believe she did.

We've heard testimony
that on the day of the murder,

when you returned
home with your children,

you altered your usual routine.

My wife had been
tired that morning.

I thought she might be
napping, so I held the kids back.

It wasn't that unusual.

So you didn't kill your
wife, Mr. Johnson?

Of course not!

I thanked God every day that
he had brought her into my life,

and into our children's.

She literally saved their lives.

They loved her for that.

So did I.

Thank you.

If you loved your wife,
what emotion exactly

did you feel for
your babysitter?

I'm not perfect.

I never said I was.

I may have strayed,

but that doesn't
make me a murderer.

On the day your wife was killed,

you left your office at 12:15,

but you didn't arrive at your
girlfriend's apartment until 1:00.

I stopped for coffee.

I was thinking about
what I was doing.

You were thinking that you
shouldn't go to see your girlfriend

and then you went
to see your girlfriend?


You didn't stop in
first to see your wife?


To try to convince her one
more time to sign that contract?


Because business was
terrible and you needed money.

I didn't need money that badly.

To do something that
would hurt my children?

To kill my wife?

It was a desperate situation.

Your projects were failing.
You were deep in debt.

I could do other projects,
I could do something else.

I might have owed
a little money,

but it's not like it was
a matter of life or death.

Thank you.

Get that material
witness warrant.

It's not what I ever expected,

but I've been drawn into
this bizarre murder trial

involving two of our
very special families.

Ms. Rubirosa, how did I do?

You were fantastic.

Can I have a word
with the cameras off?

Well, only if you promise to give
us your full impressions afterwards.

We're airing a special
edition Sunday night.

Artie, I think the lines are
getting a little bit blurred here.

Can I talk to you, please?

How much longer must this go on?

Not much.

Johnson stepped right
into it on the witness stand.

The loan shark, Shiner,
will demolish him.

He'll testify? He's gone.

The cops just called. Shiner
seems to be out of the country.

Somewhere in the Caribbean.

His associates don't know
where he is or when he'll be back.

When did he leave? This morning.

They knew.

The Defense somehow
knew you knew about Shiner

and tipped him off to
get the hell out of town.

How? How did they know?

Oh, God.


This aired last night.

That's my pad. I carried
it out of the courtroom.

I was taking notes
while Kramer testified.

The Defense did
what you just did.

Now that's reality television.


As our planned rebuttal
witness is unavailable,

I have a few more questions.

Mr. Johnson, when did you first
become acquainted with Sammy Shiner?

I'm sorry, who?

He's a principal
at Uptown Finance,

a company you owed $400,000.

I don't think I met anyone
there named Shiner.

But you are aware that
the phone call to Mr. Kramer

that was supposedly from your
accountant asking about your earnings,

was actually made by
someone at Uptown Finance.

I don't know
anything about that.

You didn't know
you borrowed money

from a notorious loan shark,

who was now taking a close,
personal interest in your finances?


Uptown Finance came
highly recommended.

It was a normal
business transaction.

A normal business transaction

with a man whose
nonpaying customers

have a habit of winding up dead.

You had to get your
wife to sign that contract

or you risked being murdered.

Objection! Your Honor, if
the Prosecution wants to

put someone named Sammy
Shiner on trial for loan sharking,

I suggest they launch the
appropriate prosecution,

or at least bring
him in to testify.

I agree. Mr. Cutter,
that's enough.

Do you have anything else?

No, Your Honor.

Has the jury reached a verdict?

Still no progress, Your Honor.

I'll send you back one more time

if you think there's any chance
of reaching a unanimous verdict.

I don't think so.

People aren't budging.
We're deadlocked.

Very well. I have no choice
then, but to declare a mistrial.

I thank the jurors
for their service.

The terms of Mr. Johnson's
bail are continued

while the state decides
whether or not to retry this case.

We're adjourned.

We're searching the Caribbean
to rebut Johnson's perjury.

Last we heard, Shiner was
either in Anguilla or Antigua.

Meanwhile, the producers have
made some changes to Larry Plus Ten.

They're moving his
family with the Septomom's

into the same
mansion on Long Island.

Along with a human lie detector.

You know, one of those guys who can
tell if you're lying by the way you blink.

The idea is to have both
families compete for prizes,

and to figure out which head of
household murdered Joy Johnson.

The television
audience gets to vote.

And they've asked Arthur
Branch to be the judge.

You're kidding, right?