Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–…): Season 4, Episode 14 - Mercy - full transcript

When the body of a baby girl is found inside a cooler, the detectives need to investigate just who she is and how she got there. They soon learn that the little girl had a genetic disorder known as Tay-Sachs disease, and that her name is Sarah Brown, and she is the only daughter of Andrea and Daniel Brown. When Andrea admits to having killed her daughter, Alex has to put aside her own feelings of sympathy to prosecute Andrea Brown for the murder of her daughter.

In the criminal
justice system,

sexually based offenses are
considered especially heinous.

In New York City,

the dedicated detectives who
investigate these vicious felonies

are members of an elite squad
known as the Special Victims Unit.

These are their stories.

I'm freezing.

You want to warm up?
Paddle harder.

I must have been crazy
to let you talk me into this.

Got to train early to be in shape
for the class 5 rapids this summer.

It's the middle
of winter!

Hasn't stopped anyone from using
the Hudson as a garbage can.

Must've fallen
off a boat.

Maybe they left us
a couple of brews.

Oh, my God!

We got a call
for child abuse.

Hope you haven't
had lunch yet.

There's a special place
in hell for whoever did this.

How old?

Haven't seen it,
but I heard newborn.

Anyone touch anything?

Guy who found it
closed the lid.

I know it's evidence, but
thank God for small favors.

You can buy this cooler anywhere in town.

Look at this.

Perp must have put something
heavy in the bag to weigh it down.

Bag breaks, the cooler floats up.

Got a partial logo. Probably be
able to find the store from this.

Please tell me this
isn't what I think.


Give me a minute.

Cooler could've been dropped off
the dock or from a water taxi.

If you don't want your baby,
there are other options.

Not for a girl who throws
her newborn in the river.

She's not a newborn.

How do you know?

Umbilical stump's gone.
She's at least a month old.

One-month-old white female, eight
pounds, two ounces, dead about a day.

She appears
well cared for.

Body scan shows no sign of abuse or neglect.

What was
the cause of death?

A lethal dose of
tricyclic antidepressants.

Mother could have been taking
those for postpartum depression.

Except that tricyclics aren't
prescribed to nursing mothers.

There was breast milk
in the baby's stomach.

So she breast-fed
and bonded with this child.

That doesn't sound like
a woman who would do this.

You got anything that
can lead us to the perp?

The cooler
can help.

No damage, so it wasn't dropped
from a great height, like a bridge.

Take a look at this.

What is that, algae?

Or some other plant matter.

I also found
this on the corpse.

Sodium hypochlorite, an
industrial-strength cleanser.

So where do we
find that with algae?

No place I know of.

When we find the source,
maybe we find the dump site.

ID'ing this
was a no-brainer.

It's Enteromorpha,
a common type of algae.

Very nutritious. You can
get it at sushi restaurants.

I'll stick with burgers and fries, thanks.

Seaweed's healthier.

Come, take a look at this.

It's a map of
the lower Hudson.

This is where Enteromorpha likes to grow.

So the cooler had to float through
one of these places to pick it up.

And the sodium hypochlorite,
any idea how it got in the water?

It's used by sewage treatment
plants to disinfect waste

before it's put
into the river.

Well, there's a treatment
plant on the Hudson,

right under the Riverbank State Park.

West 137.

Now, the cooler was found all
the way down here in Battery Park.

Could it have
traveled that far?

Without a doubt.

These are the current patterns
the day the cooler was found.

I'll bet the cooler was
dropped into the water

somewhere along
this stretch of river,

and floated along this
current to Battery Park.

We're talking a mile or two stretch
with direct access to the river.

People come from all
over to picnic there.

Well, the bag on
the cooler narrows it down.

It came from The Bountiful Earth
health food store about ten blocks away.

Perp probably stopped there,
maybe lives nearby.

People who murder their children
usually report them missing,

deflect suspicion
off themselves.

Any chance
it's a kidnap?

The infant was wrapped in a blanket with
the weights on the outside of the cooler

to keep them form
crushing the baby.

This perp is definitely someone
with an emotional connection.

Newborn murders are
usually the mother.

A one-month-old could
just as easily be the father.

If he had a reason to conceal the
pregnancy, say, because of incest,

I doubt he would have taken
so long to commit the crime.

I'm leaning
towards the mother.

Where would she have kept
the baby hidden for a month?

Student away from
home fits the profile.

Hudson University.

It's just down the road
from the health food store.

We know roughly when the baby was conceived.

College is the best
lead we've got.

I'm very sorry, but our students
have a right to their privacy.

Who administers the pregnancy tests here?

Doesn't matter, because you're
not going to talk to them.

You really want us
trolling your hallways

asking everyone until we
find who we're looking for?

Our patients are usually
referred to the S.H.A.R.E. desk.

S. H. A. R. E?

Sexual Health and Reproductive
Education, staffed by student volunteers.

They collect urine samples and
then they send them to the lab

for pregnancy tests.

So, they would
have all the names.

No, they'll have
the numbers.

It's anonymous.

Okay, so who
has the names?

I do.

So come back with a court
order or don't come back at all.

We don't even have any proof the
victim's mother went to health services.

We understand that, Alex,
but this is our best shot.

Well, I need more evidence
before I can get a subpoena.

Sounds like you're
stonewalling us.

Yeah, what is this
really about?

Olivia, would you want somebody
digging through your medical records?

I had a pregnancy scare in
college. That was bad enough.

I can't imagine the
police knocking at my door.

But this is
our best lead.

Health Services at Hudson has
students giving pregnancy tests.


Judge in Iowa ruled
confidentiality does not apply

when tests aren't performed
by doctors or nurses.

And Planned Parenthood fought
the case so hard on the course

that the county
finally had to drop it.

Still worth
giving a try.

All right, I'll run it by my boss,

but I can tell right now
what she's going to say.

Someone killed a child. It's
our duty to speak for the victim.

So now we're
the pregnancy police?

We're violating a woman's rights
for what amounts to a Hail Mary.

This isn't about
abortion rights, Alex.

We are talking about
a one-month-old infant.

Okay, so what if that doesn't
work, what are we supposed to do?

Question every single woman who
bought an EPT kit at the drugstore?

I'm afraid you're
missing the point.

We all worked hard to pass
the Baby Safe Haven law.

That mother could have dropped
her child off at any fire station,

any hospital, without fear of prosecution.

she chose to murder.

So you're going to make an example
of her by taking away women's privacy?

I'm not painting her
with a scarlet letter.

I'm just trying to
find this child's killer.

Well, a judge might
not see it that way.

Most still place a pretty
high value on privacy rights.

We'll keep our
scope narrow.

Limit it to test results
from a two-month period.

Stipulate we'll rule out women who
already have documented births on file.


I want that list of names.

I don't like it.

The only reason we got
this list is because

Judge Hill is slightly to
the right of Attila the Hun.

Why don't you give it
a rest? How many you got?

Twenty-four pregnant
college girls.

And excuse me if I'm alarmed by the total
disregard for human rights in this country.

If you got a problem with it, why
don't you get your bony ass out of here?

Okay, out of two dozen women
with positive pregnancy tests,

16 were issued
birth certificates.

That leaves eight suspects
with no reported baby.

Let's go invade
their privacy.

Can I help you?

Detectives Tutuola and Munch.
Is Angela Savvas here?

Angie's my wife.
What's this about?

We really should be
talking to both of you.

She's not feeling well so
you'll have to speak with me.

Is your wife a student
at Hudson University?

A grad student, yeah.

We understand she found out she
was pregnant nine months ago.

Unless that's a crime, I don't
see how it's any of your business.

You remember that abandoned
baby they found in the river?

We have reason to believe that
the mother attended Hudson.

So now you're interrogating
every woman on campus?

Just those with positive
pregnancy tests and no child.

You're right,
we don't have a child.

My wife had
a miscarriage.


She went to
Presbyterian Hospital.

You want to see
the discharge papers?

That won't be necessary.

Then get the hell
out of here.

Cheer up.
Only three more to go.


Find what you're
looking for?

Actually, we were
looking for you.

Ellen Swanson?

I'm Detective Benson. This is
my partner Detective Stabler.

We'd like to talk
to you for a moment.

Sure. How did
you find me?

The Registrar said this is
where you do your work-study.

Probably be best if we went
somewhere more private.

This is a mistake.
I've never been pregnant.

Health Services says you tested
positive eight months ago.

They're wrong. I was in Paris for
a study abroad eight months ago.

I just got back.

Could somebody in your dorm
have borrowed your ID

and then returned it
without your knowing?

I live in an
apartment alone.

I really have to
get back to work.

Just one more thing.

We'd like a DNA
swab to rule you out.

No way.

You can't just go prying into my private
life and then expect me to cooperate.

INS confirms Ellen was
in Paris eight months ago.

Another necessary
invasion of privacy.

Well, not exactly.

She flew back here for two weeks
shortly after she got there.

Let me guess. She had a pregnancy
test as soon as she got home.

The day after.

Probably realized she was pregnant
and came home to deal with it.

Boyfriend says all
the right things,

she goes back to Paris thinking
they're one big happy family.

When she returns,
he's changed his mind.

Too late to get an abortion,
afraid to tell her parents.

So she has the kid at home,

she spends a month trying to
figure out how to get rid of it.

Does that play?

Enough to get
a warrant.

You're wrong about this. I told
you, I've never been pregnant.

Just like you told us
that Health Services

never gave you a pregnancy
test because you were in Paris.

Why won't you believe me?

Because your story
doesn't match the facts.

Look what we have here.

She shops at The Bountiful
Earth. Very health-conscious.

Everyone on campus
shops there.

Dumbbells usually come in pairs.
Where's the other 20-pounder?

I lost it moving in.


From Conception to Delivery:
A First-Time Mother's Guide.

This receipt shows
that you bought that book

the day after that pregnancy
test you never took.

I haven't done
anything wrong.

Then take a DNA test and
clear this whole thing up.


We have enough evidence
for a court order.

Positive pregnancy test, a
how-to book for expectant mothers,

a bag that
matches the bag...


Used to weigh
down the cooler.

Oh, my God.

What happened, Ellen?

I don't know...

Just tell us.

I'm telling you, you'll
feel better. Just tell us.

It wasn't me.

who was it, then?

My sister, Patty.
She's only 15.

So, you gave her your college ID to
get tested so no one would find out.

She panicked.
She needed me.

That's why I came
back from Paris.

Why didn't she
go to your parents?

You don't know my dad.

So what did she tell you?

That she was going
to have the baby.

Did she say
who the father was?

Her ex-boyfriend,
Paul Howley.

He's older, works for
some maintenance company.

So you went
back to Paris.

And what happened
when you came home?

There was no baby.

Patty said
the test was wrong,

that she never wanted
to talk about it again.

Then when I heard about
the baby in the cooler...

You have to understand, she was
so scared, and she's just a kid.

Patty could have kept her baby
at her boyfriend's apartment.

Until playing daddy
lost its novelty.

Then she had to
figure out what to do.

She's a minor. Bring
her in with her parents.

Father's some
corporate big shot.

He's flying in from D. C. Mother's
a homemaker. Still no answer.

Ellen says she runs
errands this time of day.

Thank you.

Teacher at Patty's school says
she got an emergency page,

left the classroom to answer,
never came back.

Big sister Ellen
must have warned her.

School's faxing
over a yearbook photo.

Maybe Patty's boyfriend
can help us find her.

I haven't seen Patty in eight
months. She broke up with me.

She dumped you or did
you kick her to the curb

when you found out she was
going to make you a daddy?

She was pregnant?

Let me guess, you didn't
always practice safe sex?

We never had sex.
She was too young.

How old were you
eight months ago?


Well, that wasn't
statutory rape, so spill it.

Did you have
sex with Patty?

You hit it raw?

Well, a couple of times
we didn't use protection.

But she never said anything
about being pregnant.

What did I do?

You heard about that baby
we found in the river?

You think she was mine?

We can find out if you'll
let us run a DNA test.

No problem.

I would have supported Patty and the baby.

I got a union job now,
I make a good buck.

If you would have stepped up, why
do you think she didn't tell you?

Her father. The guy's a world class jerk.

He hates me because
I'm a dropout.

Any idea where
we can find Patty?

If she's not at home or at
school, I really don't know.

How about paging her?
You still got the number?

Yeah, I remember it.

Call it. Tell her
to meet you.

Patty Swanson?

Please don't tell
my parents.


You're pregnant?

No, Daddy.
Not anymore.

You stupid slut.

Mr. Swanson.

What, you just
spread your legs

for the first dropout punk
who comes sniffing around?

Sir, calm down.

Calm down.

We know you didn't
mean to hurt anyone.

For God's sake,
Patty, what happened?

I killed my baby.

God, I killed my baby.
I'm so sorry, Daddy.

What did you do?


I went to this place
on 96th Street.

A clinic?


I'm so sorry. I just didn't
know where else to go.

You had an abortion?
Without my permission?

The law says that
she doesn't need it.

Like hell she doesn't!

I've asked you to calm down.
Now I'm telling you to sit down.

Sit down.

Patty, we're going
to need your okay

to check this story with
the clinic, all right?

All right.

How'd it go?

Only crime here is
that her father's a prick.

And a wife beater.

What did you say?

Swanson has half a dozen
domestic violence collars.

His wife never
pressed charges,

but the local precinct
knows their address by heart.

Listen to me, Detective.

If you ever speak
to me that way again,

I'll make damn sure the Police
Commissioner hears about it.

We play golf together.

Does he know
about your handicap?

My handicap?

The one that makes you
slap your wife around.

Well, good, I've got your attention.

You raise your hand to her
or your daughters again,

I'll be paying
you a visit.

Is that a threat?



Clinic confirmed
Patty's abortion.

So we turned her world
upside down for nothing.

Another good
day's work.

I heard what you
said to the father.

I meant every
word of that.

Wow, you look like you left
somebody alone at a very nice place.

My husband will wait. This
couldn't. It's about the baby.

What's wrong?

During the autopsy, I noticed her
retinas had a reddish discoloration,

so I ordered several genetic
tests. One came back positive.

What for?

No treatment or cure.

She'd have died a horrible
death by the age of five.

This was a mercy killing.

So, this changes the profile.

Instead of looking
for one parent,

we're probably looking for a
couple, reasonably well-off,

responsible enough to get
medical care for their baby.

Explains why
she's a month old.

Mother probably never thought of doing
this until she found out the baby was sick.

People like this, they wouldn't
have kept their kid a secret.

No, but they're probably
covering up her disappearance.

They might have relocated
at the time of her death,

or reported her
missing in another state.

I'll check with the Center for
Missing and Exploited Children.

In the meantime, any idea how
we can pick up their trail?

Yeah. Tay-Sachs is most common
among certain ethnic groups,

the Jewish community.

Same old story. When all
else fails, round up the Jews.

It's also common among
French-Canadians and Cajuns.

Genetic screening has drastically
reduced the number of Tay-Sachs babies.

Both parents need to carry the gene
and they were probably never tested.

If I had a kid with
some rare disease,

first thing I'd do is find a
doctor who specializes in it.

It's a horrible disease, worse
than most parents can possibly bear.

And how close
are you to a cure?

Years away.

Tay-Sachs patients
are missing a key enzyme.

Without it, a fatty substance
builds up in the brain,

causing progressive loss of
function and eventually death.

Would our victim have
shown any symptoms?

Nothing the parents would have
noticed until about six months.

Then why did they
have their baby tested?

The cherry-red spots
in the eyes your M.E. found

can appear as early as
two days after birth.

Any pediatrician could have spotted
them during a well-baby checkup.

Do you have any patients
who died suddenly

or missed appointments,
haven't come back?

My work is in research. I don't
treat these children myself.

But even if I did, you know I
couldn't tell you about them.

Okay. Are there any places
the parents can go for help?

this disease is rare.

There's only one
support group in the area.

Not everybody
comes to every meeting.

We get people from
as far away as Maine.

But these parents would probably be
local, child born about a month ago.

There was a woman
from Manhattan.

Came to a meeting a few weeks
ago, but never came back.

Any idea why?

She seemed disturbed when she saw
the child of one of our parents.

Can't say I blame her.

Do you
remember her name?


Well, what about a list of
members or a sign-in sheet?

Can't give that out.

Rabbi, we're pretty
sure that the parents

that we're looking for murdered
their baby because she had Tay-Sachs.

Oh, God.

And with all due respect,

there is no law protecting the
confidentiality of support groups.

I'm only trying to protect what little
solace the members of this group have left.

I'm sorry, we'll have to get a subpoena.



Here's the list. I'll fax
you the sign-in sheets.

But there's no guarantee the woman you're
looking for is going to be on any of them.

We don't require parents to sign
in, or even tell us who they are.

Do you remember anything
else about this woman?

Where she lived,
who referred her?

Now that you
mention it, yes.

Her pediatrician,
Judah Platner, sent her.

He belongs to
our congregation.

We're not asking for records. We're
asking for the name of the woman

you referred to
the Tay-Sachs support group.

That's the same thing,
isn't it?

Besides, I haven't had a Tay-Sachs
patient in a couple of years.

Rabbi Birnbaum
mentioned you by name.

Yes, I know. He visits
patients here all the time.

It's easy enough to mix me up
with another pediatrician.

Dr. Platner, a child has been
murdered. If you know anything at all...

I would tell you.

The law requires me to
report any abuse of a child.

Have you had any
patients die recently?

Yes. A five-year old boy.

Just last month.

It doesn't happen often
but it never gets any easier.

Any you've sent
for genetic testing?

Detective, stop wasting
your time and mine.

Believe me,
I'd help you if I could.

National Center for Missing and
Exploited Children came up with squat.

Same with Missing Persons in all five
boroughs and the rest of the Tri-State.

Mother goes to a support
group. She gets the kid tested.

You've got all of
this media coverage...

Someone who knows them is not suspicious
that this baby is gone missing?

I mean, why hasn't
anyone reported them?

Because everybody knows the baby
died. They just don't know how.

Yeah, and somehow
they covered it up.

Maybe with help from
your Dr. Platner.

What'd you find?

Vital Stats had the death
certificate on a cancer patient,

but he signed one just last
week on a month-old girl.

Funny how he forgot to tell
us that. Cause of death?

Asphyxiation Pneumonia.

Little girl's name was Sarah
Brown. Parents, Andrea and Daniel.

The funeral was Wednesday.
We're still sitting shiva.

We're very sorry
for your loss.

We'll take as little of
your time as possible.

Dr. Platner was Sarah's
pediatrician, wasn't he?

Yes, but how would
you know that?

We have a list
of all his patients.

What exactly
is this about?

We're investigating a
complaint against Dr. Platner

and we're following up with
all of his patients' parents.

I'm sorry, may I use the bathroom?

Sure, it's through the
bedroom. Pardon the mess.


Not in the medicine cabinet, but there
was an empty vial in the garbage can.

Something called

I've never heard of it.
When was it filled?

Last week, two days
before the baby turned up.

For Andrea Richman.
Must be her maiden name.

Prescribed by Dr. Platner.

Well, how often does a pediatrician
write a prescription for the parents?

The M.E. Confirmed Imipramine
is the tricyclic antidepressant

that caused
Sarah Brown's death.

Parents probably used what they
needed to put the baby to sleep

and flushed the rest
down the toilet.

If the doctor gave
them the pills to do this,

he's just as guilty
as the Browns are.

I'll get a warrant to
pick up that pill vial.

Our baby was
found in a cooler.

Are we saying these parents
buried an empty casket?

I checked out the funeral
home that the Browns used.

There are multiple Health
Department violations.

The Browns could
have paid them off.

Why dump the body in the
river? Why not just bury it?

We're not going to know
until the parents give it up.

We can't prove the Browns are
the parents without their DNA.

Which we can't get
without more evidence.

We got the pill bottle.

Is that enough to
dig up the kid's grave?

I'll run tests
on the lining,

but I'm pretty sure there's
never been a body in this coffin.

I see a selfless act
of mercy, not a murder.

The law doesn't make that
distinction, Counselor.

The jury will.
They'll never convict.

Juries don't like defendants
who kill their own children.

If this was Dr. Platner's idea and
you agree to testify against him...

It was my idea. But I
couldn't bear to hurt Sarah.

So you had your
husband do it?

He had nothing
to do with this.

Andrea, please,
don't say anything else.

No, I need to tell them.
I didn't know what to do,

so I asked
Dr. Platner for help.

And you wrote
Andrea the prescription.

Nothing could
have saved Sarah.

I've seen many
children die.

Children born without brains,
riddled with cancer.

This time, at least I
was able to do something

before that
little girl suffered.

What about your oath?

To do no harm? I couldn't
even make Sarah comfortable.

Her mother wanted to spare
her years of torture.

Now, would it have been less
harmful to make her go through that?

The jury will see him
as an angel of mercy.

Or an angel of death.

Our version goes
down a lot smoother.

We'll consider a plea
if there's no time involved.

Your client provided
the murder weapon.

We're not going
to send the message

that you can kill
a terminally ill child

and get off with
a slap on the wrist.

You're looking
at 25-years-to-life.

Not after
the jury hears her story.

You fed Sarah the drugs.

DNA proves that little girl
in the river is your daughter.

She was my baby.

You could never
know how hard this was.

Instead of suffering,

she just went
peacefully to sleep.

It's still murder.

You're not testifying?

I have a personal interest.

Sitting on
the defense's side?

Oh, ye of little faith.

I assumed that you
were pro-euthanasia.

Yeah, for adults who are
competent to ask for it.

But not for children?

First kids with incurable diseases,
then the disabled. Where does it stop?

Defense is going to argue that
Andrea did this out of love.

It doesn't matter what intentions
this road is paved with, Alex,

it only leads
to one place.

I was Andrea's pediatrician
since the day she was born.

But you were more than just
her doctor, weren't you?

Well, Andrea's father, Joel,
died when she was about 12.

I was sort of her surrogate
father while she was growing up.

We lost touch from the time she
went to college until Sarah was born.

How did you learn
that Sarah was sick?

At her two-week checkup, I
saw the red spots in her eyes.

I told Andrea she had
to get the girl tested.

And when the results
of those tests came back?

I told Andrea and Daniel
their child had Tay-Sachs.

They felt terrible guilt because
they had not been tested themselves.

Did you tell
them what Sarah faced?

Yes, I did.

Would you tell us?

At about six months, Sarah
would start having seizures.

Her vision would progressively
deteriorate until she went blind.

Her brain function
would slowly disappear.

She would lose the ability
to sit up and swallow.

She would need a feeding tube to stay alive.

I told Andrea and Daniel that
their beautiful little child

would die a terrible death
before she was five.

How did they
take the news?

As bad as
you would expect.

They couldn't stand the thought of
Sarah suffering and then losing her.

Doctor, at any time
did you advise Andrea

or Daniel Brown to
euthanize their daughter?

Absolutely not.

Then why did you
prescribe the tricyclics

that Andrea used to
put Sarah to sleep?

Andrea said that she was going to
euthanize Sarah with me or without me.

You see, I knew what Sarah
was going to go through.

I just wanted it to be as painless
as possible for both of them.

Thank you, Doctor.

No questions
for this witness.

Dr. Platner, when you agreed to help
Andrea Brown kill her daughter...

No, no, no.
That's not what I said.

Please let me finish, Doctor.

Did you ever talk to
her husband, Daniel?

No, I didn't.

But he was Sarah's father.

Andrea would have never done this
if it wasn't what they both wanted.

You also falsified the death
certificate, didn't you?

Yes, I did.

Did you also advise Andrea to dump
Sarah's body in the Hudson River?

No, no, of course not.

Then why did you arrange for the
funeral home to bury an empty casket?

Andrea was supposed to call me when
Sarah had gone to sleep. But she panicked.

She didn't come to me until after she
had already put Sarah in the river.

And you helped
her cover it up?

Yes, I did.

Dr. Platner, do you
think that children

who have no chance of
survival should be euthanized?


Have you ever seen
a child with Tay-Sachs?

Or any fatal disease?

And how would we determine the
criteria for killing a child?

Those born with half a brain?

Deaf children?
Blind children, maybe?

Is this necessary,
Your Honor?

You've made your point,
Miss Cabot. Move on.

Dr. Platner, for how many other
patients have you ended the suffering?


Then why did you
do it in this case?

Sarah was hopeless.

I was like
a father to Andrea.

I couldn't let this
destroy her, too.

Nothing further.

Daniel had to
work late that night.

I crushed the pills,

I put them in some formula.

I nursed her one last time,

and then I gave
Sarah the bottle.

And I...

I held her and I watched her as
she peacefully drifted off to sleep.

Tell the jury
what happened next.

I lost it.

I was supposed
to call Judah...

Dr. Platner, but...

I put Sarah in the car
and I just drove.

I went to the river
and stopped at a place

where Daniel and I
used to picnic.

Did you call your husband?


I didn't want him
to see our baby like that.

What did you do?

I put the

tire iron into the grocery
sack, I tied it around the


I wrapped Sarah

in a blanket and I...

And I put her inside and

I placed it on the water

and I just... I watched while it disappeared.


you had other alternatives,
didn't you?

There was a support group
that Judah recommended.

And I went and I listened to
the parents discuss their kids.

They can't move.
They can't see.

It made me even more
determined to do what I did.


Because I loved
Sarah so much.

I could not stand
to see her suffer.

Nothing further.

Sarah wasn't showing any
symptoms of Tay-Sachs.

Why didn't you
wait until she did?

I didn't want her
to be in any pain.

Wasn't this as much about
your pain as it was Sarah's?

I did it to spare Sarah, not me.

I will be in agony
for the rest of my life.

You testified that you went to
the support group by yourself.

Where was your husband?

I didn't think he
could handle it.

Dr. Platner said that you
both wanted to end Sarah's life

and yet you told detectives that
your husband wasn't involved.

Why did you make this decision on your own?

I didn't want Daniel
to be the one who did it.

I know what I did
was against the law.

But I believe
in a loving God.

And I cannot believe
that a loving God

would want an innocent child
to suffer so horribly.

Miss Cabot.

Your client seems upset.
What's going on?

Dr. Platner asked
me to talk to you.


He wants to make a deal.

In return for what?

I've already testified,
Ms. Cabot.

Believe me,
I'm not hiding anything.

I did what I had to do
for Andrea and Sarah.

What happened to
your noble intentions,

alleviating the suffering
of dying children?

I've been taking care of
children for almost 40 years.

If I'm convicted,
I'll die in prison.

What are you looking for?

Man two, five-to-15.

And this doesn't have anything to do with
the fireworks I witnessed after court today?

There isn't anything
that my client knows

that he hasn't
told you or the jury.

And he may very
well be acquitted.

You didn't let Platner
cop a plea, did you?

We told him
we'd sleep on it.

All that posturing about euthanasia
and now he just wants to give up?

What's he
really afraid of?

I'm not sure, but Platner
looked pretty surprised

when Andrea testified she never told
her husband what she was going to do.

This was the most important
decision of their lives.

How could she
not include him?

She said she didn't want
Daniel to be the one who did it.

Maybe she was
protecting him.

Not from us.

Even if he was involved, the only proof
of that would be Andrea's testimony

and spousal privilege
puts that off limits.

Well, maybe Andrea was
protecting him from the truth.

About what?

Every Jewish couple I know
got tested for Tay-Sachs

before they walked
down the aisle.

Why would an educated
couple like the Browns

roll the dice and
take those chances?

Because they thought there was no
chance they could have a Tay-Sachs baby.

If Danny wasn't born Jewish, he'd
got better odds at hitting the lottery

than carrying
the Tay-Sachs gene.

What kind of offer
requires the presence

of the defendant's
husband but not her?

No offer.

We have a court order for
a DNA test for Mr. Brown.

What the hell for?

We checked your
birth certificate.

You were born Catholic.

Yes, but I converted to Judaism before
Andrea and I got married. So what?

So there's very little chance
that you carry the Tay-Sachs gene.

You can't do this.

I know my rights.
Spousal privilege.

Husbands and wives can't
incriminate each other.

Well, that's not
entirely true.

Communication between
spouses is protected.

But the privilege
doesn't cover DNA.

We can take you to the M. E.'s
office right now for the DNA test.

Don't waste your time.


not Sarah's
biological father.

Andrea told you,
didn't she?

About the affair.

After she was arrested.

But I suspected something
when Sarah was diagnosed.

It was with some
guy in her office.

How do you know
she wasn't just trying

to cover up the affair
when she killed Sarah?

Because she loved that child
more than anything in the world.

Please state your
name for the record.

Steven Kellerman.

Mr. Kellerman, how do you know the defendant?

I worked with her.

What was the extent
of your relationship?

I'm not sure
what that means.

Did you have sex
with Andrea Brown?

It only happened once after we'd
worked late. Her husband was away.

After that, you transferred to
a different office, didn't you?

To Boston, yes.

When did you become aware that Andrea
Brown was pregnant with your child?

When I read about
the case in the newspaper.

So you're saying you never even
knew about your own daughter?


Nothing further.

Who ended the affair?

Andrea did,
immediately after it began.

I loved her, but she loved her husband

and she had
a moment of weakness...

Objection! Mr. Kellerman is
not here as a character witness.

Jury will disregard.

When you read about Andrea in the
newspaper, why didn't you come forward?

Because I had a brother that died of
Tay-Sachs and I've seen what that does.

And if I'd been in Andrea's position,
I would have done the same thing.

I'm very sorry.

Andrea Brown's actions
had one purpose.


To spare the child she loved
years of horrible agony,

leading to
an inevitable death.

When you go into the jury
room, ladies and gentlemen,

you must decide if this woman deserves
to go to prison for at least 25 years.

But before you
answer that question,

ask one of yourselves,

"If this were my child,

"what would I do?"

And if that question
gives you pause,

I pray you decide that Andrea
Brown has already suffered enough.

Andrea Brown ground up a lethal dose of
antidepressants and fed it to her baby.

The defense doesn't dispute
these facts, but they argue

Mrs. Brown acted out of
the noblest of motives.

Let's examine these motives.

Andrea Brown had an extramarital
affair and got pregnant.

When she found out the baby wasn't
her husband's, did she tell him?


Did she tell Steve Kellerman
that he was the father?


Did she tell Dr. Platner, when
pressuring him for a prescription,

an act she knew
could land him in prison?


From the start, Andrea
Brown's primary concern

was preserving her
marriage, her image,

and her lifestyle by hiding
at all costs her affair.

She knew that the longer Sarah was alive,

the greater the chances
someone would find out

that Daniel Brown
was not the father.

So she killed her daughter,

a helpless child who had not yet begun
to suffer the effects of Tay-Sachs,

all of this to conceal the fact
that she'd slept with another man.

The defense would have you
believe this was an act of mercy.

It wasn't.

This was a clear-cut
case of murder.

On the sole count of murder in the
second degree, how does the jury find?

We find the defendant guilty.

Good work, Counselor.

She didn't
deserve 25-to-life.

Jury thought so.

Because I turned
her into a whore.

It doesn't matter.
She killed her child.

What if it was
your daughter?

What would you
have done?

Whatever I could.