Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 7, Episode 22 - Past Imperfect - full transcript

Detectives Briscoe and Curtis investigate the murder of one-time supermodel Christine Sandal who is found dead by her next door neighbor Craig Holland who was waiting for her to arrive for a surprise party he was hosting in her honor. Holland tells the police she had epilepsy but the medical examiner is doubtful having found no evidence of a seizure. There was bruising on her upper arms however. Blood evidence leads them to believe a close relative was also at the crime scene and they focus on her son Douglas Burke. A canceled bank check however leads them to Sonja Harlann who turns out to have a special relationship with the dead model. When she's charged with murder it turns out that her lawyer may also be her co-conspirator in an attempt to claim a very large inheritance.

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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.

They wanted Mark Messier
for the Tommy Boy spread.

Can you imagine?

I mean, Messier's a hunk, but he's
way too butch for that market.

Now, Gretzky...

For her entrance,
Hello Dolly or Mame?

Oh, don't be so obvious.
Can't we just get by with Happy Birthday?


Everybody, in the kitchen.

False alarm.

Come in.

Everybody, Richard.

ALL: Hello, Richard.

God, where is she? Probably trying
on every outfit in her closet.

ELAINE: Good to see you,

Chrissie? Dinner's ready.


I'm sure your hair's perfect
and your outfit's to die for.




Dear God, no!

The Christine Sandler.

You remember her?

(SCOFFS) Who wouldn't?
Twiggy was all bones.

This one was all there.
I always wanted to meet her.

Well, you're about
six hours too late.

And she didn't look
like that anymore.

Yeah. I heard she fell on
hard times for a while there.

No harder than the edge of this table.
Looks like she took a header.

Probably took half an hour to bleed out.
Check this out.

Dried blood smudge, under here.

From somebody
grabbing the table.

BRISCOE: She tried to
pull herself up?

No. No blood on her hands.

But there's no way to know how
long that blood's been there.

Half a day, half a year.

Very helpful, Ed.

Dilantin. Hundred milligrams.

Anti-seizure medicine.

She was supposed to
come over at 8:00.

I was busy cooking.
If only I'd got there sooner.

When was the last
time you saw her?

This morning,
on my way to work.

She was going for her jog.
She looked fine.

Rey, found these
in her apartment.

Anti-seizure pills.

Chrissie had epilepsy.

She had a grand mal seizure
once in my apartment.

That's why she gave me a key to her door.
Just in case.

And the pills weren't helping?

When she took them, Chrissie
was a very energized woman.

Dilantin slowed her down.

Craig, what's going on?

Is it my mother?
Is she okay?

You're Miss Sandler's son?

Yes. What happened to her?

Doug, why don't we
go into my apartment?

No, I want to see my mother.

Your mother's had an accident.
I'm sorry. She's dead.

Why don't you take Mr.
Holland up on his offer?

Some surprise party.

I don't get it.

My mother said she had the
seizures under control.

Did she live with anybody?

No, nobody.
She was alone.

How about your dad?
He around?

Not around here.

He divorced her when I was 10.

I went to live with him.
My choice.

But now you've been seeing
her pretty regular?

Yeah, for about
the past six months.

We were just getting
to know each other.

Did she have any
problems with anyone?

A boyfriend, maybe?

No, there was nobody.

I thought you guys said
this was an accident.

Sure, but there's always a possibility
it might be something else.

Something to do
with drugs, for instance.

I don't mean to be insensitive,

but your mom did get
into trouble over that.

No, it was old stuff.
She's been clean for the last four years.

She went straight and
she was getting work.

This was a stupid seizure because
she wouldn't take her pills.

I worked up a Dilantin blood
level for your model.

She had an eight point nine.

On a scale of what?

Well, 10 to 20
is the safe range,

but an eight could've
kept her seizure-free.

So she could have
seized, or maybe not.

What about other drugs?

The tox screen
will take a week.

If she had a seizure, there'd be
biting on the lips or tongue.

There'd be signs of choking
and flailing injuries.

I didn't see any of that.
But I did find bruises on her upper arms.

Christine Sandler
had type B blood.

The blood on
the table was type O.

And it could've been left there

by the guy who made the table.

Or the perp who cut himself on
the broaches on her jacket.

There were traces of that
type O blood on her lapel.

Diamond broaches
from Tiffany's?

Didn't Christine Sandler hit the
skids with a cocaine habit?

Well, she just
signed on as spokesmodel

for New Beginnings Face Cream.

Well, it's comforting to know even
50-year-old models have groupies.

Drugstore in my neighborhood's

had her picture in the window
for the last month.

Mmm-hmm. I'm very sorry
for your loss, Lennie.

So, aside from bruises and
dried blood, anything else?

Maybe a suspect?

Nobody that sticks out.

VAN BUREN: Well, she ran
with a wild crowd, right?

She used to. According to her
son, that was all behind her.

Well, maybe that's what
she wanted him to believe.

What did she tell her friends?

Wild? Come on!

You saw the people at my party.
That was her crowd now.

Just your ordinary,
everyday folks, huh?

Lucille and Sara
knew her from A.A.

James and Laura
were from C.A.

She met Elaine, that's her bookkeeper,
at some Buddhist retreat.

Chrissie used to
chant every day.

She got into it
because of Tina Turner.

Now, when she moved in across the
hall, she was a very lonely woman.

Not much money
except for some residuals

from a series
she did in the '80s.

One season, then out.

How'd she get back on her feet financially?
A fairy godmother?

Well, you're half
right there, Detective.

One of the agencies I work
for was looking for someone

for their New Beginnings

I looked across the hall,
and there was Chrissie.

She was lucky to have you.

I was her only family.

What does that
make Douglas Burke?

Family in name only.

Don't get me wrong.

She wanted to make it all up to the
kid, but they argued all the time.

BRISCOE: About what?
Old issues.

He caused her a lot of pain, and
I don't mind sharing the news,

but what can you expect?
An acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.

I assume you're
referring to his dad.

Jimmy Burke.

Chrissie told me some
stories about him, too.

Poster boy for Wife
Beaters Anonymous.

Jimmy Burke.

Wasn't he in that old band,
China something?

China Creek.
Listen to you. Old band.

They were playing on my 8-track
when I lost my virginity.

Is that right?

I never heard of them.

Did Burke ever drop
in on Miss Sandler?

I doubt it.

He was the one that started
her on drugs and booze

and then dumped her
when she reached 40.

Guys like him
don't die, you see.

Just people like Chrissie.

Tommy Lee has Pamela,
David has lman,

and I had Chris. You're a rock
star, you gotta have the model.

You guys thirsty?
I know I am.

No, thanks. So this is how
a rock star lives, huh?

Yeah, when they play bass
and don't write the songs

and don't get royalties.

You sound real broken up
over Christine's death.

Well, I suffer
in my own way, man.

I internalize.
You understand.

It's a curse.
Chris was a fine woman.

So what did she see in you?

I was "it," man. Dig this.

I started the whole
tattoo thing,

and Chris had some exciting
tats in some exciting places.

When I first met her,
she was a sweet piece, man.

She was only 22.

And what happened?
She didn't age well?

Well, women in their 40s,
you know, it's like money.

You change them for two 20s.

CURTIS: When did
you see her last?

JIMMY: Not for a long time.

Which for you could've been
about five minutes, right?


What about last Thursday?
Where were you?

Uh, last Thursday, man.
I had some gig to go to.

And did you?





2:00. See?
I worked a session.

Some mattress company
jingle. I was there.

For how long?

Forever, man.

I needed the money.

And the name of
the recording studio?

He was here. Barely.
I was lucky he showed at all.

I mean, he can play, you know,

but the man does
not own a watch,

and his answering machine's,
like, always broken.

How close to
2:00 did he show?

FOX: 2:00?

Burke didn't get
here till, like, 4:00,

moaning and groaning about how

some chick
wouldn't let go of him.

What chick?

Sheila Mullins.

Anyone with a guitar
knows her, man, and I qualify.

You want to hear
me play Louie Louie?

He was there, at my place.
He's helping me get my break. I sing.

Do you remember
what time he left?

Is this about his ex?
The dead model?

Miss Mullins...
He didn't have anything to do with that.

We have a saying in Meadville,

"Never kick a gift
horse in the mouth."

Whoa, whoa, wait a minute.
She was supporting him?

I guess she helped him out.

He said he was gonna get some
money from her that day.

So, what time did he leave you?


He didn't kill her, you know.

Maybe once he tore
up a few hotel rooms,

but he's way too
screwed up to hurt anyone.

WOMAN: Miss?
Excuse me a sec.

He showed up with
his bass at 4:00.

Screwed up or not, even he could
land a punch in two hours.

What two hours?

What, are you brain-dead?

You were two hours
late for your gig.

I got there, didn't I?

I didn't have enough money
for a cab, so I walked.

People still walk, you know.

You walked over to
your ex-wife's place,

you hit her up for
a year's worth of carfare.

Yeah, when she turned you
down, you got pissed off!

You think I killed Chris?

I don't think you'd
remember if you did.

JIMMY: That is
such a lie, man.

Look, we're just
wasting our time, Rey.

Why don't you take a walk and
leave me alone with him, huh?

Jimmy, you don't want to be
left alone with this guy.

He had a big
hang-up on her once.

But I didn't kill her!

You didn't mean to?
You lost your head? Is that it?

I'd go with losing my head.
You could sell that to a jury.

I wasn't there. I didn't kill her.
That part's all true.

And what part isn't?

She was giving me money, okay?


Yesterday you said you hadn't
seen her or talked to her.

You're lying again, Jimmy.

JIMMY: I hadn't talked
to her in years.

My kid Doug asked her
to loan me some money.

She gave the money
to him to give to me.

Not a whole lot.
Two hundred bucks.

Once? Twice? What?

A couple of times.

Doug was supposed to ask her
for a couple of grand

so I could get
myself out to the coast.

Turn myself around.
The way she did.

But I'd never kill her.

Maybe we are
making a mistake, Jimmy.

Take a blood test,
prove us wrong.

If this guy Burke says he wasn't
in the victim's apartment,

believe him.

Nothing matches.
Not his blood, hair, or prints.

Well, not to sound
ungrateful, Ellis,

but you could have told
us that over the phone.

That's not why I
called you down here.

Those two blood
types we lifted?

The B and the O?

They may not be the same type,

but they share
one common allele.

And in human talk that means...

It's a DNA pattern.

The donors may be related.

Very good, Detective.

After I spotted
the similarities,

I ran five different markers
to eliminate any coincidence.

The donors are related.

The type O blood comes from
a relative of the victim?

Blood relative, yes.

They always argued,
and he was late to the party.

Sounds like Douggie still
had issues with his mama.


First my father, then me.
You guys think murder runs in our family?

Well, so far, mooching from your
mother seems to be genetic.

It's hard being
a musician, okay?

Dad thought Mom was loaded.
He said she wouldn't mind helping out.

But I wasn't gonna
ask her for the money.

So, are you calling
your father a liar?


I gave him my own money.
I just told him it was from her.

Oh! That's sweet.

But see, we found blood
all over her dining table,

and you got cuts
all over your hands.

I install custom stereos.

Digging around behind walls.
I'm always cutting myself.

Doing what?
Bouncing your mom off the walls?

What'd she do,
tell you the well ran dry?

That your old man was gonna have
to pay for his own damn drugs?

That's a lot of crap, and if you think
I killed her then you're full of crap.

CURTIS: Tell me something.

You have aunts and uncles
on your mother's side?

There's my grandmother.
She's sick. It's Alzheimer's.

She's in some home in Jersey.
We haven't seen her in a while.

Well, then we got
a big problem, Douggie.

See, there were two types of
blood found at the crime scene.

Now, through the miracles
of modern medicine,

we know that the two people they
belong to have to be related.

So, unless somebody else falls
out of your family tree...

You're it.

Take a blood test, you can
be cleared in a minute.

I cannot believe this.
It's not my blood.


I think I better get a lawyer.

We went through
Christine's apartment,

her personal belongings,
talked to her friends.

Unless Grandma got out of her
rubber room, Douggie's our boy.

Well, here's something.

Latent found some unidentified
prints all over the kitchen.

Five-to-one they're his.

I'll add it to our application.

Okay, so you do the dance with his
lawyer, what do we do with Douglas?

Find out what other
lies he's telling.

Well, he said he never took
money from his mother.

Let's check it out
with her bookkeeper.

ELAINE: I told you on the
phone, she never talked

about giving money to Douglas.

But she might
have helped him out.

Nickels and dimes, maybe.

I kept Christine
on an allowance.

I knew exactly what she spent
and where she spent it.

What about this
check here for $2,500,

made out to cash
a few weeks ago?

Oh, yes. I asked her
about that.

What was her story?

I was worried she was going
back to her old habits.

She swore it was
nothing like that.

Said some old friend of the
family turned up out of the blue

and needed some cash.

What about the canceled check?
It had to be endorsed.

Check number 1356.

I can't read the endorsement.

ABRAMS: I don't
understand this.

The teller who
cashed this check

is usually very efficient,
and very careful.

We don't want to get her in any trouble.
The check was good.


ABRAMS: This is Sonja Harland.

They're with the police, Sonja.

Is something wrong?

It seems you cashed a check
drawn from another bank

without taking proper ID.
The endorsement's illegible.

This is not the way
we conduct business, Sonja.

It didn't bounce, did it?

That is hardly the point here.

HARLAND: I'm really sorry,
Mr. Abrams.

I'm sure I called the issuing
bank and got an okay.

What's this about?

These are detectives.
What do you think?

Excuse me, Mr. Abrams.
This isn't about fraud or anything like that.

We're just trying to find out
who cashed that check.

Do you remember
if it was either of these men?

No, I don't think so.

I made a mistake.

I'm sure I saw some ID, I
just forgot to write it down.

I'm sorry.
It won't ever happen again.

We'll talk later, Sonja.
Thank you.

Well, I guess she's not gonna
make "Employee of the Month."

Why would Christine
lie to her bookkeeper

about giving
the check to Douggie?

I mean, the bookkeeper knew
they were trying to make up.

She gave 2,500
bucks to an "old friend."

Wish I had an old
friend like that.

Yeah, an old family friend.
Let's ask her family.

Who? Her ex-husband?
He barely remembers being married to her.

No, I mean Christine's mom.

Oh, even better.
She's got Alzheimer's.

I hate going to Jersey.

Does Mrs. Sandinsky know
about her daughter's death?

We told her right away.

Sometimes she remembers,
sometimes she doesn't.

It goes with the territory.

Sarah, these gentleman
are here from the city.

They want to ask
you a few questions.

CURTIS: How are you,
Mrs. Sandinsky?

How nice of you boys to
come for a visit. So nice.

Are you here about Chrissie?

Yes. We're sorry
about your loss, ma'am.

MRS. SANDINSKY: Thank you.

We were wondering if you
knew of any old friend

who might have been
in touch with her lately?

CURTIS: Or have any family friends
come by to visit you lately?

Yes. Could you tell
us who that was?

Oh, certainly.
It was Chrissie.

Chrissie? Are you sure?

Oh, yes! It wasn't
very long ago.

Oh? We heard that she hadn't
been by to see you in awhile.

that's just not true.

Oh, she looked so young,
so pretty.

What a lovely...

What is that you're wearing,
with pockets?

My husband had so many.

A jacket?


I'm getting tired.

Is that okay?

Yes. That's just fine.
Say goodbye to the gentlemen.

Thank you.

I was hoping
she'd be more helpful.

Did you see Miss Sandler
when she came here?

No. The last time was
just around Christmas.

But I've talked to her on the
phone a few times since then.

She never said anything
about coming to visit.

Well, maybe Mrs. Sandinsky's
confusing her with somebody else.

Well, we had to sign in.
Maybe we could take a look at the book?


CURTIS: Well, look here.

Our "Employee of the Month,"
Sonja Harland.

The bank teller?

Two months ago.
Gee, you think there's more than one?

Good night, Sonja.

Miss Harland.
We need to talk.

Talk about what?
About that check you cashed.

I'm sorry. I made a mistake.
It's really no big deal.

It really is a big deal.

So why don't you
tell us about it?

What are you doing to me?

What was going on between
you and Christine Sandler?

Christine Sandler? Nothing.

You can cut the Meryl Streep, Sonja.
We know you knew her.

I cashed her check.
That doesn't mean

we had a relationship
or anything.

Right, and my banker
visits my mom in Florida.

What are you talking about?

Your visit to
Mrs. Sandinsky in New Jersey.

BRISCOE: Maybe we ought to talk
about it down at the precinct?

I didn't do anything wrong.

she was killed,

Christine Sandler wrote a
check and you cashed it,

violating about a half a
dozen banking regulations.

Then we find out you visited the
victim's mother in a nursing home.

You think I killed her?

What? You knew her and you just
forgot to tell us about it?

You can see why
we're concerned.

Look, I didn't kill her.

Well, what was going
on between you two?

She was my mother.

I couldn't tell you. I couldn't tell
anyone, out of respect for my mother.

What? She told you to
lie to us in a séance?

She was 18 when she gave
me up for adoption.

It's not something
she was proud of.

She wasn't ready to
tell her family yet.

Then after she died, I...

After she was murdered.

I just didn't want to cause
anyone any embarrassment.

I'm sorry.
It was stupid of me.

No. Stupid is
lying to us now.

I'm not lying.

That's why Christine
wrote the check to cash.

That's why she wanted me
to disguise my signature.

She was afraid her bookkeeper
would find out about me.

Then you were afraid somebody would
find out you were blackmailing her.

Why would I do
that to my own mother?

I don't know, those 20 wonderful
years in foster homes?

No. I loved her.

I don't know,
Lennie, I believe her.

I mean, why would she go to all
this trouble of finding her mother

just to kill her?
Assuming, of course, you are her kid.

I can prove it.
I have my birth certificate at home.

It says Christine
Sandinsky's my mother.

Give me 50 bucks.

I'll bring back a birth certificate
that says he's my mother.

I did not make this up.

What do you do? Cruise rest
homes, chat up the old ladies,

find one with a daughter
who has a kid out of wedlock?

Believe me, it's been done.

I don't care what you think.

I am her daughter.

Well, there's one
sure way to prove it.

We put your blood
under a microscope.

CURTIS: Forget it, Lennie.
She was running a scam on this woman.

That's not true.
I'll do the test.

I'll take her to the lab.

Nice. You must have sold
bridges in a prior life.

She's gonna kick herself

when we match it to the
blood in the apartment.

What's the backup at the lab?

It's a few days for
the full DNA screen.

In the meantime, track her
movements the day of the murder.

BRISCOE: That's her in the
middle, in the white blouse.

CURTIS: The side angle
camera shows her

leaving the bank
a minute later.


An hour later, she's back.

BRISCOE: New blouse
and a purse.

So? She went
shopping at Saks.

She went shopping at Mom's.

We showed a still of the tape to
Christine's neighbor, Craig Holland.

He said she owned
a purse just like it.

It's missing
from her apartment.

JACK: Who's he?

BRISCOE: Grant Silverman.
A loan officer.

The rumor around
the coffee machine

is that he's been stamping her
bankbook for the past few months.

CURTIS: The other camera shows him
leaving the bank at 4:00 with the purse.

I hope I'm not the only one who thinks
there was a white blouse in it.

A white blouse
stained with blood.

Get a search warrant for the
girl's place, and Silverman's.

ROSS: The time she was
absent from the bank

roughly corresponds
to the timeframe

during which the ME says
the victim was killed,

and we can reasonably assume she
changed blouses to conceal evidence.

Or mustard stains from the deli special.
But I see your point.

You're good for
the Harland premises.

What about the Silverman place?

On what basis?
She gave him the purse, Your Honor.

The inference is obvious.
The blouse was in it.

I must've left my x-ray
glasses in my other suit.

I saw a purse.
I didn't see a blouse.

For all we know, she went home to
change before coming back to work.

Your Honor, the purse
belonged to the victim.

Why else would
Sonja Harland take it

if not to put the blouse in it?

Can you positively identify
the purse from that tape?

Not positively.
It's similar.

Similar to the one
my wife bought at Bendel's.

Your application for the
Silverman premises is denied.

It's been a pleasure.

Same here.

She had a chain letter going with every
children's agency in the tristate area,

starting eight years ago.

Sandinsky, state by state.
They were fruitful, they multiplied.

Letters from detective agencies,
county clerk's offices.

No wonder the post office
has been turning a profit.

She had a dozen light-colored
blouses in her closet.

None with blood-red accents.
This was in her laundry hamper.

This is a size 10.
Sonja Harland's a size six, if that.

You know who was a size 10?

Excuse me.

Miss Harland, you mind coming
out from behind there?

Don't make me come
back there and get you.

Excuse me.
Someone else will help you.

BRISCOE: Grant Silverman?

I'm Detective Briscoe.

We'd like you to come down
to the 27th precinct.

Are you arresting me?

No, but we need to talk to you.

About what?


Sonja Harland,
you're under arrest

for the murder of
Christine Sandler.

CURTIS: You have the right to remain silent.
BRISCOE: Mr. Silverman?

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

Uh, yes. Let me
get my coat.

CURTIS: You have
the right to an attorney.

It was gym clothes.
They were drenched in sweat.

She was working late.
She wanted me to take them home.

Did you see what was inside?

No. She told me.

So, she went to the gym
during lunch, is that it?

Maybe she went in the
morning on her way to work.

I don't know.
You don't know?

You don't sound very close.

Well, we're not planning on getting
married or anything like that.

Well, what did she do
with the purse later?

I don't know.

Again with "I don't know."

Look, if I thought
that that bag

had something to
do with a murder,

do you think I'd be stupid
enough to take it from her

in front of a security camera?

Doesn't look to us like she
gave you much of a choice.

This doesn't prove anything.
I went shopping.

I found something on sale.
I felt like wearing it.

We found that blouse
in your apartment.

You were in my apartment?

It was a size 10.

Are you planning
to put on weight?

That's not the same blouse.

That blouse was a gift from my mother.
She didn't want it anymore.

What about this purse?

She gave me that, too.

CURTIS: She didn't want it anymore?
That's right.

What she didn't want was you.

That's not true.
She was glad I found her.

She gave you money to
go away, didn't she?

No. CURTIS: It must've
been very painful.

Being tossed back twice.

Mothers are supposed
to love their daughters.

You had to be angry...

No, she did love me!

BRISCOE: Let me explain
something to you.

There's maybe a dozen reasons why
your girlfriend killed her mother.

Some of them could get her
a few years in jail,

some could get her life.
Now, you can help her. And yourself.

See, this picture doesn't
make you look too good.


I mean, you're not
under arrest, but that,

(CHUCKLES) that could
change in a second.

You're gonna make a very sympathetic
defendant, Miss Harland,

but they will convict you.
Now, if you'd give us a statement,

I'm sure the D.A.
Can be persuaded to go easy on you.

And Mr. Silverman.

I'd jump on it, Sonja.

The D.A. S haven't been
very generous lately.

I want to talk to my lawyer.

VAN BUREN: If that's the way you want to go...
I want my lawyer.

Give me his number,
I'll call him.

You've got him down the hall.

I swear to God, I did not
know what was in there.

She never told you?

Not at the bank.


When I went home,
I looked in the bag.

It was her blouse,
and it was covered in blood.

What did she say about it?

She said her mother
had an accident.


Did he tell you
he was her attorney?

Him? No.

Mr. Silverman,
are you a lawyer?

Yes. I mean, I passed
the bar nine years ago.

But you work as a loan officer?

Yeah, for the last
couple of years. So what?

Are you Miss Harland's

Yeah. I represent her.


She wants to talk to you.

This should make
Albany think twice

about opening up
birth records willy-nilly.

Nine out of 10 kids
find their parents,

say hello, and
get on with their lives.

And we have to deal
with the tenth one.

What do you want first, the
bad news or the worse news?

Work your way up.

Sonja Harland
retained Marjorie Larson.

Good choice.

She'll convince the jury
that Christine Sandler

took parenting lessons
from Susan Smith.

I guess Sonja gave Silverman
his walking papers?

Which brings us
to the other news.

Larson is moving to exclude
everything Silverman told us.

Yeah, sure. Attorney-client privilege.
Good luck.

Grant Silverman graduated from
New York Law School in '88.

He was admitted in
the first department

in the spring of
the following year.

And he stopped paying
his bar dues in 1994.

That's of no consequence,
Your Honor.

Short of disbarment,
he's still an attorney.

And by the way, as of yesterday,
he's current with his dues.

Nice of you to
lend him the money.

Nachman v. Nachman.

The only relevant fact is what
the client believed to be true.

And Miss Harland thought
he was an attorney?

She knew it for a fact.

They were coworkers, Your Honor.
They were lovers.

So she knew he wasn't
a practicing attorney.

Quite the opposite, Miss Ross.

Miss Harland actually benefited

from Mr. Silverman's
legal expertise

in tracking down
her long-lost mother.

This is ridiculous, Your Honor.

If Silverman
thought for a second

that he had
confidential information

he would have kept his mouth
shut from the get-go,

or he would have
told the police

that he was
acting as her attorney.

Unfortunately, he doesn't
have as sophisticated

a legal mind as those present.

It doesn't take a sharp legal
mind to lie to the police.

I am sorry, Mr. McCoy.
Whether you or I think this is bootstrapping

or plain old unethical
behavior is irrelevant.

All that matters is what
Sonja Harland thought,

and if she thought
she was communicating to him

as her attorney,
then it's privileged.

ROSS: Without
Silverman's statement,

the case is all circumstantial.

Even after finding
Sonja Harland's blood

in Christine
Sandler's apartment?

That's a hell of a circumstance
for her lawyer to deal with.

She cut herself helping
Mom bake an apple pie.

Everything points to her, and
everything can be explained away.

Except for one thing.

Well, we still
think it's blackmail.

That's why I'm here.

Hey, guys.
Tell me you've got something.

Well, other than the 2,500, the
rest of her money looks legit.

Yeah, and she hasn't been
wearing out the plastic either.

If she got any other money from
Christine, she didn't spend it.

Unless she paid cash.

BRISCOE: Well, if she did, we'd know.
I mean, look at this.

Taxi receipts from 1994.
Who keeps taxi receipts?

Same person who keeps
five-year-old Christmas cards.

Check this out.
Old valentines, thank you notes.

Here's a sweet 16 card from her
caseworker at the foster agency.

Looks like Silverman
really was her attorney.

He's been writing
letters to hospitals for her.

Let me see that.

It's dated last month.

"Dear Mr. Silverman,

"We are in receipt of
your letter with regards

"to your inquiry
about tissue biopsy.

"We have referred your letter to St.
Marks Legal Department.

"Please address all further
correspondence to them."

CURTIS: You think
she was sick?

St. Marks, right?

She had a whole collection of
clippings about Harold Lancer.


You know, Profaci worked security
at his funeral last year.

Profaci and the Forbes 400?

And all of them on a boat.

The guy was cremated and sprinkled
over Long Island Sound.

Right, right.
St. Marks Hospital.

That's where Harold Lancer
died from melanoma.

Too many vacations in the sun.

Yes. Mr. Silverman called me a few
days after he got our letter.

What did you talk about?

Well, specifically,
he wanted to know

about the biopsied tissue
taken from Harold Lancer.

What about it?
Whether the tissue had been preserved.


I referred him to the firm representing Mr.
Lancer's estate.

We have to be very careful about
inquiries like Mr. Silverman's.

We never know where the next
lawsuit's going to come from.

You mean, you do actually preserve
tissue from your patients?

That's where our labs get cancer
cells for their research.

When Lancer died, he left an
estate worth nearly $250 million.

I'm ahead of you.
Harold Lancer and Christine Sandler?

Christine apparently told Sonja
she was Lancer's love child.

How convenient for Christine
to say it was a dead man.

Silverman's legal advice?

He was all over this one.

He went and informed the
attorney for Lancer's estate.

Since Lancer was cremated,

the only way to prove paternity
is to test the biopsy tissue.

Lancer didn't have
an ironclad will?

No. He left his entire
estate to a few charities,

his wife and quote, "my
children," end quote.

He didn't specify
his kids' names?

No. Amazing what a poor
choice of words can open up.

The girl had him
up against the wall.

She probably expected them to
throw her a few bucks to go away.

Silverman told them his client
wanted the paternity test.

She was going
for an equal share.

She would've needed her mother's
help to pursue her claim.

Maybe they
couldn't come to terms.

Only three people would know.

One's dead, one won't talk, and
one can't, courtesy of Judge Yee.

When the jury hears
about the $250 million,

they'll draw
their own conclusions.

Through her lawyer,
Grant Silverman,

Sonja Harland contacted me as the
attorney for the Lancer estate.

They claimed Harold Lancer was
Miss Harland's biological father.

What, if anything,
did you reply?

That paternity could only be
determined through a DNA test

of the tissue at
St. Marks hospital.

JACK: Did Mr. Silverman
ask you to arrange

for such a test
to be performed?

Yes, but if we acquiesced, we'd
be opening the floodgates.

Fortunately, the law provides
that no test be granted

without a viable
legal basis for a claim.

Can you give us an example?

I'll tell you what
I told Mr. Silverman.

The estate requested an affidavit
from the biological mother

as to the details
of conception.

Did you ever receive such an
affidavit from Mr. Silverman?

No. I never
heard from him again.

Thank you.

Mr. Arbitman,

wouldn't it be stupid
to kill the only person

who could provide the legal
basis for your claim?


I withdraw the question.

Mr. Arbitman, how many heirs did Mr.
Lancer have?

Legitimate heirs?


He left two adult
children and a widow.

And if Christine Sandler
had provided an affidavit,

by how much would
Miss Harland's claim

have reduced their
share of the estate?

If the claim was successful?

LARSON: Of course.

$53 million.

LARSON: Were the legitimate
heirs aware of that?

ARBITMAN: Yes. I told them.

Please tell the court
how they took to the news.

They were less than thrilled.


They must've been relieved when
Christine Sandler was found dead.


Thank you, Mr. Arbitman.

Well, of course I wanted
to know who my father was,

but it was easier
to trace my mother.

And when did you find out who
your biological father was?

My mother finally told me, and
she told me exactly who he was.

And how soon after
that did you decide

to pursue a claim
against the estate?

HARLAND: Maybe a week.

LARSON: And whose
idea was that?

My mother's.

She said that I was entitled to
something, after all I've been through.

Did she know that she'd
have to sign an affidavit

in order for you to prevail?


She wanted to tell her son
Douglas about me first.


She would've signed it.

She would've done anything to help
me, if someone hadn't killed her.

Thank you, Sonja.
Your witness.

I'm sure everyone
in this courtroom

understands the hardship you've
been through, Miss Harland.

Hasn't been easy.

JACK: I bet it hasn't.

Miss Harland, were you aware

that once Mr. Lancer's will was
probated and the assets distributed,

it would be near impossible
for you to win your claim,

with or without the affidavit?

Mr. Silverman told
you that, didn't he?

Yes. He said we had
a few months left.

JACK: You were getting impatient.

It had been two weeks
since you'd been told

that you needed the affidavit.

Why hadn't your
mother signed it yet?

I told you, she was working
up to telling her son.

How long were you
willing to wait?

It was up to her.

If she didn't sign it,

you were ready to walk away
from $50 million?

First of all, as my lawyer,
Mr. Silverman gets a third,

and I would've been happy to
have given some to my mother,

and yes, if I had to,
I was ready to walk away,

but there was no reason
why she wouldn't sign.

I can think of two.

She didn't want to alienate her
son, or she asked for more money

than you were willing to pay.
That's not true.

That's what you argued about
that afternoon, isn't it?

No. You went to see
your mother that day

to get her signature on that
piece of paper, no matter what.

She refused,

so you became enraged and so you
killed her, isn't that right?

No. My mother loved me!


You were nothing to her.
You were an accident.

No. Stop.

She loved her son. Not you.

Your Honor, this is cruel.

Mr. McCoy.

She's performing, Your Honor.

The jury will disregard that.

Mr. McCoy, if you have any
actual questions, ask them.

I'm through, Your Honor.

Nice going.
You made her cry.

That should win you points
in the jury room.


She had a rotten childhood
and I feel sorry for her.

If she hadn't left her mother
to bleed to death on the floor,

I'd give her a big hug.

She's a fraud.
ADAM: Yep.

You know it, she knows it.
Doesn't do you any good.

You forgot Silverman.
I almost feel sorry for him.

He was one signature away from
collecting a $17-million fee.

I wonder what he thinks
of his girlfriend now?

ROSS: Even if he wanted
to tell us, he can't.

What's the exception
to attorney-client privilege?

The communication took place in
front of a third party or...

The lawyer was
an accomplice to his client.

Right. Silverman
conspired with the girl?

How you gonna prove that?

He's gonna help us. Call the police.
Have him arrested.

Mr. McCoy, I don't know where you
came up with this murder charge.

It's ludicrous.

Your client had
a vested interest

in having Christine Sandler
sign that affidavit.

Sonja told him she was
gonna get her signature

by whatever means
necessary, even force.

He did nothing to stop her,
and after she killed Sandler,

he helped dispose
of the evidence.

The more I hear it,
the better it sounds.

At minimum, it's attempted
grand larceny.

Sonja never told me anything of the sort.
Grant, please.

Mr. McCoy, I assume
you have some evidence.

He's going to testify to it
at Miss Harland's trial.


Even if it were true,
which it isn't,

why would I do something
as stupid as that?

I can think of 17
million reasons why.

What're you talking about?

Your contingency fee if Sonja gets
her share of the Lancer estate.

Our theory of the crime
is based on the belief

that she is Harold
Lancer's daughter.

As soon as she's
convicted of murder,

that belief becomes fact, as far
as New York state is concerned.

Her conviction would
provide the legal basis

you need for her
paternity test.

You get your money,
we get our conviction.

One problem.
There's not much to buy in Attica.

I'd let him plead to misdemeanor,
attempted grand larceny.

Five years probation.

He could still practice law in
his spare time if he wanted to.

Give us a minute.

All this time, I thought it was
defense attorneys who were sleazy.

It's buying his testimony.

I just motivated
him to tell the truth.



Against my advice,
Mr. Silverman

wants to take you
up on your offer.

Sonja's mother had no idea what she's
like when she doesn't get her way.

She had so much
hate inside her.

Her mother should've just
signed the damn papers.

LARSON: It's very interesting.
And it's still privileged.

No way a jury hears any of it.

He stopped being her attorney the
minute he helped her destroy evidence.

That's what he says.
My client sees it differently.

The only thing that matters
is how Judge Yee sees it.

That stupid weakling!


What's the offer?

Man one, 12-and-a-half-to-25.

LARSON: Man two.

Go home, Marjorie.
Start preparing your cross of Mr. Silverman.



What happened, Miss Harland?

She wouldn't sign the paper.
She wouldn't give me a reason.

That's why you killed her?

Then why?

When I was in foster care,
no one wanted to adopt me.

People were afraid I inherited
my mother's epilepsy.

It wasn't my fault.
People didn't want me.

She finally told me that
afternoon why she wouldn't sign.

She was a call girl
when she met Lancer.

That's how she
supported herself,

before her
modeling career took off.

She was an 18-year-old
hooker who got knocked up.

She thought she'd
gotten rid of me for good.


She was afraid everyone would
find out, especially Douglas.

I even told her there was
enough money for everyone.

She didn't care.

Can you imagine?
Dangling all that money in front of me,

and not lifting
a finger to help me?

So you hit her.
She wanted me to leave.

It was her birthday.

Her friend Craig was making her dinner.
Of course, I couldn't come.

But Douglas, he was invited.

He walked out on her
to live with his father,

but that's who she wanted.
Him! Not me!

That bitch.

Silverman got
the paternity test.

Turns out Sonja Harland
was Lancer's kid.

She gets her $50 million.

Good for her.

ROSS: And Silverman collects
his $17-million fee.

No wonder everybody hates
the legal profession.

Make sure Douglas Burke
gets a full transcript

of Sonja Harland's allocution.

This way there'll be
something to collect

when he sues her
and Mr. Silverman

for his mother's
wrongful death.