Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 22, Episode 7 - Only the Lonely - full transcript

- 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.

- Hey.

- DOA was James Pell, 25.

He was a law student at Hudson.

- Time of death?

- Based on body temp, I'd
give it a two-hour window

between 5:00 and 7:00 a.m.

- Cause of death?

- Best guess is, he was
struck with a blunt object.

Techs haven't found the murder
weapon, but take your pick.

- Get a dive crew down here.

Have them search
around the docks.

- Who's got his cell phone?

- He didn't have one on him.

- Well, this had to be
connected to something.

It could be that the killer
tried to take his phone.

- DOA puts up a fight,
ends up a floater.

Who found the guy?

- Maintenance worker.
Name's Larry Brand.

- I showed up to do repairs
on the dock at 7:30.

Dead guy was floating
right next to it.

I called 911 right away.

- You recognize him?
- Nope.

All these Hudson kids
look the same to me.

- Did you see anything
unusual when you got here?

- Yeah.

A dead guy.

Nothing else.

- Yeah, well, if you remember
anything else, give us a call.

Had a lot going for him...

Handsome, athletic, the best
law school in the country.

Who would want to
kill a guy like that?

- Today? Pretty much anybody.

- Well, the boathouse
cams were useless.

Paint crew moved
them during repairs.

- Dive crew struck out too.

Didn't come up with a
phone or a murder weapon.

- Did you reach the
parents in Ohio?

- Yeah, I just spoke with them.

Told me how proud they
were their son had made it

all the way to Hudson.

It was his ambition
since high school.

- Did they know if anything
unusual had been going on?

- They said they didn't
speak with him much.

Said he was super focused,
dropped ties with everyone

from his hometown once
he started law school.

- Tale as old as time.

- Someone just turned
on Pell's phone.

I've got a location.

- I'll get a warrant.

- Hello, ma'am. We're
investigating a homicide.

We have a warrant to
search this apartment

for the victim's cell phone.

- Do I look like I killed
someone and took their phone?

- No, ma'am. But we
still need to come in.

- Sebastian, you know anything
about a missing cell phone?

- Police!



- Police!

Hey, Sebastian.

I know you're in here.

Let's do this the easy way, huh?

- Stay down. Give
me your hands.

- I see you chose the easy way.

- Like I keep saying, I
didn't do anything wrong.

- Then why'd you run?

- I was scared.
- Of what?

- The police.

- You're scared of the police?

- You know what it's like.

- And you don't think
it had anything to do

with all those stolen
cell phones you had?

- To be honest, we don't
care about the phones.

We care about murders.

We're homicide detectives.

- What are you talking about?

- One of the phones we
recovered from your backpack

belongs to a guy we found
floating in the river

up by Hudson University.

- I got nothing to do with that.

- Where were you this morning
- between 5:00 and 7:00 a.m.?

- At home sleeping.
You can ask my grandma.

- You're gonna have to do a
lot better than that, bro.

- I had a girl
with me... Denise.

She lives on the sixth floor.

- Okay, well, I'm gonna
need Denise's full name,

her phone number,
and for your sake,

she better have been there.


- Where'd you get all
those stolen phones?

You steal them?
- No.

I buy them off some
dude over at Hudson.

Works at the boathouse
down the river.

- This the guy?

- Yeah.

His name is Larry.

- Looks like the kid
was telling the truth.

His girlfriend, Denise,
backed his alibi.

- What about Larry Brand?

We check his alibi?

- Yeah, he was on the
BX19 bus, got off at 7:30.

Video confirms that.
- Okay.

So he's not the
killer, but he just

steals stuff from dead guys.

Hey, any luck on getting
info off of Pell's phone?

- He really cares
about security.

There are multiple firewalls.

- Well, that's odd. I
mean, for a law student.

- Anything else?
- Yeah.

I just got access to
the keycard records

at the boathouse.

Pell swiped in at 5:00, but
he wasn't the first one there.

This is Jordan Tyler.

He swiped in 20
minutes before Pell.

- Looks like a choirboy.

- He is, literally.

- I didn't see
James this morning.

I was on the water
before he got there,

and I left before he came back.

- You seem pretty
sure about that.

- It's not a coincidence.

He rode at the same
time every morning,

and I did my best to avoid him.

- Why's that?

- I don't like to
speak ill of the dead,

but James wasn't someone I
wanted to associate with.

- How come?

- We used to train together,

but there was something
off about him.

- Off? Off how?

- The first sign was,

he'd put all his rowing
times on social media.

And for some reason,
he felt the need to lie

and make them better
than they were.

One day he showed
me some photos.

They were intimate
pictures of a woman

who had broken up with him.

He said he was going
to post them online.

- Revenge porn.

- Do you know this woman's name?

- April.

I don't know her last name,
but she works at the bar.

- Excuse me. April Parks?

We'd like to talk to
you about James Pell.

- I've got nothing to say.
- Wait. Hold on a second.

I just want to ask
a few questions.

- I told you, I've
got nothing to say.

- Which means you
got a lot to say.

- You're right. I do.

I hate that son of a bitch.

- Is that why you, uh, you
broke into his apartment

the other night?

We read the police report.

- There a problem here?

- Yeah.

You margaritas are too sweet.

- You're right.

I tried to break
into his apartment.

Like I told the cops
who arrested me,

he had naked photos
of me on his laptop.

I... I wanted to delete them.

- Can you tell us what you
were doing this morning?

- Why?

What's this all about?

- James is dead.

Someone killed him.

- Where were you this
morning around 6:00?

- Sleeping.

You can ask my roommates.
- Yeah, we will.

How long were you
and James together?

- Two months.

- During that time, did
you hear about anybody else

who might hate James
as much as you did?

- April Park says that you
got into a little scuffle

with James Pell a month ago.

- By which you mean I
tried to shove his face

through a plate glass window?

Well, now that he's dead,
can't press charges, right?

- Wow, that's cold-blooded...

Cracking jokes about a dead guy.

- It's karma, man.

- Why don't you have
a seat and tell us why

you tried to shove Pell's
head through a window?

- Because he was
named editor-in-chief

of the "Law Review."

- And that made you angry?
- Yeah.

'Cause he didn't deserve it.

- Says who?
- Says me.

He stole that vote.

He manipulated the
outgoing editors.

Pell was an average student.

I mean, he shouldn't even
have been in the mix.

But this professor...
Ezra Nichols.

He's like a legend around here.

He went to bat for him.

He convinced the editors
they needed to pick Pell.

- And why do you
think Ezra Nichols

would do something like
that for someone like Pell?

- Well, there's
obviously something

going on between them.

- Do you think they
were having an affair?

- It seemed that way.

- Do you have any proof
other than this editor thing?

- Yeah, I saw them walk into
Nichols's office a few times.

- So?

- Nichols shut the
door both times

the second they walked inside.

No professor does
that these days.

- So Pell is messing
around with his professor.

Things go south.

He threatens to go
public with the scandal,

and the professor kills
him to keep things quiet.

- I mean, it's possible, but...
- But what?

- Ezra is married to a woman

and has an impeccable

- I got some bad
news for you, James.

Sometimes people lie,
even law professors

with wives and
impeccable reputations.

- Yeah, well, thanks for
the life lesson, Frank.

But this is not
just some professor.

This is Ezra Nichols.

He's the reason I
became a lawyer.

He argued against the voter
suppression laws in Arizona,

got all the way to
the Supreme Court.

And before that, he's out
there fighting for gay rights,

minority rights, the disabled.
- I get it. He's a saint.

Doesn't mean he didn't
kill James Pell.

- James was truly talented
and a good person.

- We've talked to a few other
people who feel differently.

- I can't speak to that.

- How well did you
two know each other?

- He was in two of my classes.

And he worked as a
research assistant

on one of my most recent books,

so we knew each other
reasonably well.

- How would you describe the
nature of your relationship?

- I'm not sure I
know what you mean.

- Were you two cordial?

Were you pleasant
with one another?

- I suppose.

- Anything else between you two
you'd like to share with us?

- Excuse me?

- Were you two
romantically involved?

- No.

Of course not.

Why on Earth would
you think that?

- We just keep hearing how
fond you were of James.

Everybody we spoke to at
the "Law Review" board

said that you strongly advocated

for him to be editor-in-chief?
- I did.

He was an exceptional student.

- Who was ranked 83 out of 230?

- Numbers don't tell
the whole story.

- I agree, but I
still find this odd.

Out of all the
students you have here,

out of all the gifted, diverse
men and women at this school,

you still pushed for a white kid

in the bottom 2/3 of the class.

Make it make sense.

- I think we're
done here, fellas.

- Where were you yesterday
morning between 5:00 a.m...

- I told you we're done here.

I'm no longer willing
to answer questions

without a lawyer present.

I can assure you,
Detective, I know my rights.

So, please, direct
your gaze elsewhere.

- I found security footage
of Nichols and Pell

walking out of Nichols' office
last week around 11:00 p.m.

- So they were having an affair.

- No. I don't think so.

I've gone through Pell's laptop,

looked at every
communication between them,

and there's nothing the
least bit affectionate.

- I hate to break it to you, Vi,

but not all men are
good at intimacy.

- Really?

Never noticed.

But that's not
what's going on here.

This wasn't about two
closed-off dudes hooking up.

- What do you mean?

- Pell's emails were
increasingly aggressive

and demanding.

"I'd hate to see your
reputation tarnished."

"I'm done asking.

It's time for you to deliver."

- So Pell was threatening him.

- Which means sex or no sex,
he had leverage over him.

- I think I know
what it was too.

Pell sent this clip to
Nichols ten months ago

when the threats started.

It's from a dinner
at the law school

honoring Malcolm Sanders...

The first gay person
to be nominated

to the Supreme Court.

- I guess even I'm not
diverse enough to be

on the Supreme Court these days.

Not enough to be
Black, gotta be a f...

- Need I say more?

- Too.
- Shh.

- Turn it off now.

- But I only played 12 seconds.

- I know what I said.

- And we know who heard it...

James Pell.

He was working there that night.

He was coordinating the event.

- Which explains how he
caught your comment on video.

And then he wanted you to
know about it, didn't he?

Which is why he sent you
the clip ten months ago.

- That's when you started
helping him out, right?

Look, Professor, we
know plenty of good men

have lost their
reputations, their careers,

for saying stupid things...
Things they didn't mean,

things they used to
say on the playground

when they were ten years old.

- And we understand
the type of stress

that something like
that can cause.

I mean, you probably woke
up every single morning

wondering if today was
the day this poor guy

sold you out, leaked
it on Twitter,

called "The New York Times."

- And that kind of pressure
can cause really smart people

to make really stupid choices.

- I appreciate your
concern, Detective,

but I'll cut to the chase.

I didn't kill James Pell.

- But if you did,
we'd understand.

- Gentlemen, I presume
Professor Nichols

is not under arrest?

- Correct.

- Then please, get the
hell out of my office.

- I gotta be honest.

This is a little surreal for me.

- Why's that?

- Ezra Nichols...

Always a big inspiration for me.

I just... he's the guy
that made me want to be

a lawyer in the first place.

I just can't believe he's
mixed up in all this.

- Right now, he's just a guy

who used a word he
wasn't supposed to.

- Which is depressing enough.

- Yeah, a bad word,
no doubt, but...

- But what?

- Nobody's above
having a bad day.

The only difference between you
and him and anybody else is,

he got caught on camera.

- We found something
in the doormat.

- What? Dirt?

- Dried mud, and there's
cattail fluff in it.

Those grow by the riverbank.

- That would put him
by the boathouse.

- He came in through the
back entrance, which means

he didn't want to be seen.

- Maybe he had blood
on his clothes.

Do we know where
the laundry room is?

- Already checked it. Nada.

- So if he didn't
wash his clothes,

maybe he threw them away.

So where does he
keep the trash bags?

- Over here.

- Check it for blood.

- Nothing.

- Check the inside flap.

- Bingo. We've got
some blood here.

- Get that to the lab.

- Hey, the lab says
the blood is Pell's.

And the mud on the doormat
matches the riverbank

at the boathouse.
- Hell of a start.

- But we still can't place
him near the crime scene

or even prove that he left
his house that morning.

- He's right.

I've scrubbed all the
video I could find.

- But we still got
the dead guy's blood

at the Nichols' house.

They can't walk that back.

- It's not impossible.

Let's keep digging.

They got kids, right?
- Mm-hmm.

- A 14-year-old
and a 5-year-old?

- Yeah.
- And both parents work?

- Yeah.
- That means...

- They have a nanny.
- Yeah.

Let's track her down.

Find out what she knows.

- I can't get involved.

I'm applying for
a visa right now,

but I'm a little behind
on the paperwork.

- We're not ICE, Magda.
We're not gonna report you.

- We just need to know
if you were working

at the Nichols'
house that morning.

Yes. I got there at 5:30.

Michelle called me.

Said she needed me to
watch their youngest.

- And when you got
there, was Ezra home?

- Yes. He was asleep upstairs.

- You sure?

- Yeah.

He came down around 7:00.

I made him breakfast.

- And Ezra didn't leave
the house before that?

- No. Like I said,
he was sleeping.

- Where was Michelle?

- If I say anything that
gets the Nichols in trouble,

I could lose my job.

- Magda, this is a
murder investigation.


We need to know what you know.

- Michelle Nichols.
- What is this?

- You're under arrest for
the murder of James Pell.

- What? Babe...

- Going to take
care of this, baby.

You'll be home in no time.

Promise you.

Don't say a word.
Understand me?

Tell them you want a lawyer.
Now! Say it out loud!

- I want a lawyer.

- Watch your head, ma'am.

- Calling docket ending in 8733,

People v. Michelle Nichols,

charging murder in
the second degree.

- How does the defendant plead?

- Not guilty, Your Honor.

- People on bail?
- People request remand.

We have evidence that proves
the defendant was aware

the victim, James Pell, was
blackmailing her husband

and that she murdered
him to stop it.

- Your Honor, Mrs. Nichols is
anything but a flight risk.

She serves on the boards of
the Children's Defense Fund,

America Reads, and the
Riverdale Country School.

She's never had so much
as a speeding ticket.

- Given her significant
financial resources

and extensive
international connections,

she may be accumulating funds
in order to flee the country.

- Okay. Enough.

Bail is set at $500,000,
and Mrs. Nichols

is to surrender her passport.

- Motion to exclude.

- The video clip of
my client's husband

expressing his
displeasure to her

is protected by
marital privilege.

The jury shouldn't
be allowed to see it.

- Privilege doesn't
apply in this situation.

Professor and Mrs. Nichols
were in a public setting,

which means there was no
reasonable expectation

of confidentiality.

Ezra Nichols was
sitting in front

of a microphone, for God's sake.

- The comment was made after
the speeches were finished.

The microphone was disconnected
from the public address system.

He was completely unaware
he was being recorded.

- Michelle Nichols
literally shushed him.

That proves that...
- That proves nothing.

My husband shushes
me in my living room,

the doctor's office.

Based on the facts,
it's clear that

this was meant to be a personal
and private conversation.

Motion granted.

- We need some sort of
evidence to establish motive,

something to make
the jury understand

why Pell was blackmailing
Nichols in the first place.

- Yeah, that's what
I've been working on.

I think I might have
found something too.

- See Ezra Nichols' wine glass?
- Yes.

- When Ezra moves the glass,

he's motioning to a
waiter for a refill.

- Play it one more time.

- If the waiter was
close enough to pour,

they would have been
close enough to hear

what Nichols said to his wife.

- Can you tell us
where you last saw

Ezra and Michelle Nichols?

- I was a server at their
table at a law school dinner.

- And can you please
repeat the comment

that you heard Ezra
Nichols make to his wife

about Supreme Court
Justice Malcolm Sanders?

- Objection... hearsay.

- It's not being
offered for the truth

of the matter asserted.
- Overruled.

- Then it's protected
by marital privilege.

- Privilege doesn't apply when
there's a third party present.

- I agree.

- Mr. Price, ask
your question again.

- Ms. Zinkow,
what did you hear

Ezra Nichols say to his wife?

- He was talking
about Justice Sanders,

and he used an offensive word.

- What word?

- It starts with F, and
it refers to gay people.

Do I have to say it?

- No. No. I think
we get the idea.

Did you tell anybody
what you heard?

- Yes, I told one of the
student coordinators,

James Pell.

- How did Mr. Pell respond?

- He thanked me for
telling him this.

Then he took the video
card out of the camera

that was recording
the speakers' table.

- Thank you. I have
nothing further.

- Are you familiar with
who Ezra Nichols is...

Of all he's done for
the LGBTQ community?

- Not really.
- Ah.

Then let me educate you.

He is one of the most...
- Objection.

Professor Nichols' résumé in
this regard is irrelevant.

- Sustained. Move
on, Mr. Seaver.

- The room was filled
with people, correct?

- Yes, there were
about 80 people there.

- So there was lots of noise.

People were eating, drinking.

- Yes.

- So it was obviously
hard to hear.

- I suppose.

- So you can't be
sure what Mr. Nichols

said or didn't say, correct?

- No. That's not true.

I heard
him use that word.

I'm positive.

- Nothing further.

- Mr. Price?

- Nothing further, Your Honor.

- Witness is excused.

- The people call Magda Chezlak.

- Is Ms. Chezlak here?

- What's going on?
- I don't know.

We talked to her last night.

- The Nichols'
nanny skipped town?

- Her roomie thinks she
flew back to Poland.

- Can you confirm that?
- No.

We checked all the flight logs.

There's no record of
her on any of them,

and she's not answering
calls or texts, either.

- So she's in the wind?
- Sure looks that way.

- Well, the woman was
terrified and thought

ICE was gonna grab her up.

- Or Seaver convinced
her that was the case

and arranged for her
to get out of town.

- Which is obviously
witness tampering.

- It sure is, but good
luck finding a paper trail.

- So now what?

And the nanny was
the only witness

who could establish
Michelle was at home

the morning of the murder.

- No.

That's not true. We
have another witness.

- Good.

Just make sure that
this one shows up.

- Detective Cosgrove, in the
course of your investigation,

did you meet Magda Chezlak,

the Nichols' nanny?
- Yes.

- Did Ms. Chezlak tell
you that Michelle Nichols

left the house the morning
of James Pell's murder?

- Objection, hearsay.

- Ms. Chezlak's statement
falls under an exception

to the hearsay rule.

It's a declaration against
pecuniary interest.

- What exactly is Ms.
Chezlak's pecuniary interest?

- Her job.

She told Detective
Cosgrove she was afraid

she'd be fired if she
said anything that

got the Nichols in trouble.

- Objection overruled.

- Yes, Magda Chezlak told me

that she saw the defendant

leave the house at
5:30 that morning.

- And what time was
James Pell killed?

- The medical examiner
determined that

it was between 5:00 and
7:00 in the morning.

- Did Ms. Chezlak
say anything else

about the defendant leaving
home so early that day?

- Yes, she said that
was highly unusual.

She seemed in a hurry
and extremely upset.

- Thank you, Detective Cosgrove.

I have no further questions.

- How many years have you been

with the New York City
Police Department, Detective?

- 23.

- And in those
years, how many times

have you been called as a
witness in a criminal case?

- I... I wouldn't
know the exact number.

- Public records show
that you were called

to testify in 208 cases.

- Really? That many?

- In how many of those
cases was the defendant

African American?

- Objection, relevance.
- It goes to bias.

- Overruled, but be
careful, Mr. Seaver.

- I don't keep track.

- Maybe you should...

Over half,

and 85% of those cases
resulted in convictions.

That is well above the
statistical average.

Did you know that?

- Like I said, I don't
know the exact numbers.

- You should. It's
in the public record.

It seems whenever a person
of color is on trial,

you always seem to bring
in some extra evidence

to the equation.

- Are you trying to
say I make things up?

Because that's not how it works.

- Quite the contrary...
It's simple math.

And it adds up to you having

a racially-motivated
axe to grind.

There's no other
way to explain it.

- I'm pretty sure there is,
but I'm not a sociologist.

I'm a homicide detective.

I follow the evidence,
and I arrest bad guys

regardless of their race.

That's what I do.

And in this case, the evidence
points at Michelle Nichols.

- A Black woman.

- No. A murderer.

- Says the man who only
arrests Black people.

- Objection. The
defense is out of line.

- Sustained.

- No further questions.

- Witness is excused.

- Mr. Price?

- The People rest, Your Honor.

- Mr. Seaver, call
your first witness.

- Defense calls Ezra Nichols.

- Where were you on the
morning of James Pell's murder?

- I got up early and went
to the Hudson boathouse.

- Why did you go
to the boathouse?

- Because I knew
James would be there.

- And what did you do
when you found him there?

- I killed him.

- Request to meet in
chambers, Your Honor.

- We've already established
that Ezra Nicholas

was at home asleep when
James Pell was killed.

The defense is clearly
using his testimony

to create a false narrative.

- The People have no legal basis

to exclude his testimony.

- Ezra Nichols' so-called
confession is an act

of perjury designed
to create confusion

in the minds of the jurors.

- Creating confusion is what
defense lawyers do, Mr. Price.

That's not a basis
to exclude a witness.

- No, but creating a mockery

of the criminal
justice system is,

or at least it used to be.

- Watch yourself, sir.

Ezra Nichols is free to testify.

And you, Mr. Price, are free
to accept his confession

if you so choose.

Court is adjourned for today.

- Is there a chance Ezra Nichols

actually committed the murder?

- Sure. It's possible.

Just like it's possible someone

not named Lee Harvey
Oswald killed Kennedy.

- What does the evidence say?

- That Mr. Nichols
was at home sleeping

when the murder was committed.

I don't... maybe we should
just accept his confession,

charge him with murder.

At least somebody will
go to prison for this.

- I assume you're just venting.

- I am.
- Then let's move on.

Let's view this
confession for what it is,

a stunt designed to
distract the jury

and create reasonable
doubt, nothing more.

So let Nichols spin his tale...

Then bury him on the
cross and expose his lies.

- Pell started out by asking
me for a few thousand dollars.

Then he wanted me to
make sure he was named

editor-in-chief of
the "Law Review."

- He was using your
reputation and influence

to bolster his own résumé.

- Yes.

And I succumbed to his demands.

- Why is that?

- Because I'm ashamed
of what I said, deeply.

It's not who I am.

If I'd heard another
man say that,

I'd be the first
person to speak up,

denounce his homophobia.

So I was terrified.

I knew the significance
of the tape

and the greed and ambition of
the man in possession of it.

- Can you elaborate on that?

Tell us why you
were so terrified?

- Because we live in a
society where people...

The press... want to
crucify public figures

for making a mistake.

There are no second chances.

One bad moment, one wrong
word, and your career is over,

no matter who you are or
what you've accomplished.

It's become a sport, a game.

Who can we cancel next?

So I gave James Pell
everything he asked for

to protect myself and my family.

- Were there any other demands?

- Yes.

He wanted to clerk
for the Supreme Court.

That's where I drew the line.

- How come?

- Those clerks go
on to be professors,

judges, politicians.

They become thought leaders
for the next generation.

I wasn't giving James
Pell that kind of access.

- And how did Mr. Pell react
when you told him that?

- He said he'd
release the video.

- And what did you do?

- I told Pell we needed
to talk in person.

So I met him down at the
boathouse that morning.

I told him he needed to
stop what he was doing,

that I was done with his
demands, his threats.

- And how did he react?

- He laughed in my
face, said he owned me.

That's when I lost my composure.

I picked up a pipe, and
I swung it at his head.

- Where was your
wife at this time?

- She was home
with our children.

She had nothing to do with this.

- Thank you, Professor Nichols.

No further questions.

- Mr. Nichols...

When you allegedly
killed James Pell,

where did you strike him?

- On the side of his
head above his right ear.

- Do you recall what Mr. Pell
was wearing that morning?

- A light blue athletic
shirt with dark blue markings

on the sleeves.

- Side of head, above right ear,

light blue athletic shirt,

dark blue markings
on the sleeves.

Professor Nichols, have you
read the crime scene report

for James Pell's murder?

- No. I have not.

- Yet, your so-called memories

are word for word identical
to what is written here.

- Objection.
- Sustained.

- Professor Nichols,
do you love your wife?

- Of course.

- And you would do almost
anything to protect her,

including lying about a murder

to stop her from
going to prison.

- Objection!
- Sustained.

- You now claim you
killed James Pell,

even though you were at home
the morning of the murder.

- That's not true.

- But no one else can verify

your account of events, correct?

- That'snot true.

My wife and two children
were home having breakfast

when I returned
from the boathouse.

- They saw you return
home that morning?

- Yes.

- And what time was this?

Approximately 6:45 a.m.

- They saw you...

Thank you.

No further questions
at this time.

- You're excused.

- Subpoena the son.

The kid already told the police
he left home at 6:45 a.m.

He said he didn't see
his parents that morning,

didn't even know
if they were home.

- Which means one
of them is lying.

- I know which one
my money is on.

- Your Honor, given
that this witness

is the defendant's son, I'd ask
that you declare him hostile,

allow me to ask
leading questions.

- Granted.

- Where were you the morning
of James Pell's murder?

- I was home.

I left home for water
polo practice at 6:45 a.m.

- And did you see
your mother or father?

- I saw my mother.

She made me breakfast.

And I saw my father,
too, briefly.

He came home at 6:30,
right before I left home

for water polo practice.

- Really? You saw
him come home?

- That's correct.

- But you originally
told the police

that you didn't see either
of them that day, correct?

- Yes. I... I was confused.

- But you're not confused now?

- Correct.

- So your father wasn't in his
bedroom sleeping that morning?

- That's right.

- Well, that morning when you
saw your mother, when she...

She made breakfast for you?

How did she appear?

Was she rattled, disoriented?

Was she acting in a way
that seemed abnormal?

- Um...

no, she seemed very normal.

- What about your nanny, Magda?
See her at home that morning?

- I... I don't recall.

- Your father told you what
to say today, didn't he?

- No.

- He told you to lie
about seeing him at home

that morning in
order to perpetuate

the lie that he killed Pell.
- Objection!

- Sustained.

- Nothing further at this time.

We need to poke holes
in this kid's testimony.

Check with the coach.
Pull phone, internet data.

If we can prove he was
telling the truth then...

- We can prove he's lying now.

- I dug up everything I
could on Cyrus Nichols.

He seems like a
really good kid...

Straight-A student, debate
team, varsity water polo,

literally feeds the
homeless on Sundays.

- Does his story track
the day of the murder?

- I talked to his
water polo coach.

Confirms Cyrus was at
practice at 7:15 a.m.

And I found video of him a
block from the school at 7:12.

Doesn't really prove
that he saw or didn't see

his father that morning,

just means he went to
water polo practice.

I know.

We're looking for a
needle in a haystack.

- I might have one.

- What do you mean?

- Cyrus used his cell phone
to call his parents' landline

that morning at 5:49 a.m.

- What? Why would he...

Get a ping order right away.

- On it.

- What the hell's going
on? What was so important?

- We looked into your
son's version of events.

And we learned that he
called your landline

the morning of the
murder at 5:49 a.m.

So we pinged his cell.

- And we eventually
discovered this.

This is Cyrus at 5:09 a.m.
on the morning of the murder

walking down 122nd Street,
two blocks from the boathouse

where Pell was killed.

And this is Cyrus at 5:44 a.m.,

throwing away the pipe
used to kill James Pell.

- If you tell us
everything that happened...

we will do the best
we can for your son.

- Whatever they say,

it can't be used
against the child.

- Agreed.

Cyrus knew the
pressure I was under...

That we were under.

He overheard us arguing the
night before about James Pell

and how he was threatening
to destroy our lives.

- He knew the agony
that this was causing.

And Cyrus is a sensitive boy.

He carries the weight of
the world on his shoulders.

He always has.

- I told him we would
take care of everything,

that this was not his problem.

But he...

- He killed James Pell.

- It wasn't his fault.

He was afraid.

He was just trying to help.

- Your Honor, the
People have agreed

to drop the murder charges
against Michelle Nichols.

We have also agreed
not to charge

Ezra Nichols with perjury.

- The Nichols family understands

that it is in the best
interests of the child

to plead guilty in family court,

and the record will be sealed.

- Cyrus...

Do you understand
what this means?

A judge in family court will
be sentencing you for murder.

- Yes, ma'am.

I understand.

- The case against Michelle
Nichols is dismissed.

Court Officer, please take
Cyrus Nichols into custody.

- He's just a boy.

For God's sake, he's barely 14.

- You okay?

- A man is dead and a
family's been destroyed,

all because a good man blurted
out a stupid, hateful word.