Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–…): Season 4, Episode 18 - Desperate - full transcript

A boy is found with a dead woman who is assumed to be his mother. Later it is learned that the woman is not his mother, but she is married to the boy's father. They learn that the man is rumored to be abusive towards his wife and was also the same with his first wife, the boy's mother, who vanished a few years ago. But it seems like the man is friends with the police where he lives so they didn't really pursue the allegations. Stabler later learns that the boy's mother was taken away by an underground who helps abused women escape their abusers. Stabler finds the woman and tells her about her son, so she decides to return and face her husband.

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.

Please, honey,
open the door.

You can do it.
Come on.

Hurry. Hurry, there's a little kid trapped
in there and he can't reach the knob.

What's his name?

Mikey, fire department.
Can you hear me?

Mikey, I need you to
stand away from the door.

Get as far back
as you can, okay?

Take the door, guys.

Hit it.

You take the back.
I'll take the front.

food on the stove.

Roger that, 10-26.

We're clear.

Mikey? Mikey,
where are you?


The kid's injured. Come on.
Let's get you out of here.

Over here.
She's barely breathing.

I got him.

10-45. Code 2.
Start out a bus.

Bus is on the way.

The mother's critical.
Major head trauma.

CT shows multiple
subdural hematomas.

She gonna make it? It's hard to
say. She's in surgery right now.

And the sexual assault?

Genital trauma shows she
was raped and sodomized.

We didn't find
any fluids.

How's the boy?

No physical injuries.

All the blood on Mikey was his mom's.

He may have seen it. You
mind if I talk to him?

No. Go ahead.


My name is Olivia.
How old are you?


Mikey, I need to talk to you about
what happened in the apartment.

Did you see your
mommy get hurt?

Can you tell me
about it?

That's right, honey,
I'm a police officer.

And I need your help to find
the person who hurt your mom.


I'll be back in
a little while, okay?

This is gonna take
some time.

Maybe once he sees his mother.
She just died.

Anything on
next of kin?

Well, no handbag,
no wallet.

Perp took everything he could.
And this guy's very careful.

So far, no prints,
no semen, no hair.

Why target
this apartment?

Easy access.

Ground floor, no gates, the
locks are a piece of crap.

From the tool marks, I'd say he
forced the lock with a screwdriver.

The victim is
on her back.

He gets on the bed,
straddles her.

She struggles.

He grabs this lamp
from that table.

Knocks her out
with two blows.

Our victim's face
was a mess.

Are you sure that
he only hit her twice?

Blood doesn't lie.

See that single line on the ceiling? Yeah.

First blow starts the blood
flow, second makes that pattern.

After the rape, he beats her
some more, but it's overkill.

She's already

Well, how'd you get that?

Blood spatter on the sofa back
is concentrated in one area.

Doesn't look like she
moved to evade the blows.

All the damage was to her
face. This feels personal.

Maybe it's not some random
break-in we're looking at.

If she was knocked out
during the sexual assault,

maybe Mikey
slept through it.

I don't think so.
See the handprints?

Well, maybe Mikey tried to wake Mommy
up, he got his hand in the blood.

Could've happened
after the perp left.

Possible, but
see the urine stain.

Boy hid in the doorway, watching.

What he saw scared him
so much, he wet his pants.

So if Mikey woke up,
maybe somebody else did.

The walls are paper thin,
but I didn't hear nothing.

Smoke woke me up.

We're trying to locate family members.

What can you tell us about Mikey and his mom?

Said her name was Dana,
didn't give me the family tree.

Moved in a month ago.

Dana have any visitors,
maybe a boyfriend?

I didn't see nobody
except her and the boy.

Well, did she ever say
anything about family,

maybe mention where
they used to live?

The landlord might know.

Good. He around?

That bastard only
comes to collect the rent.

He's got an office
in midtown.

I bet you it's a hell of
a lot nicer than this dump.

Apartment 1-H. That would
be, uh, Dana McGuire.

Okay. We'll need the rental application,
credit report, any other papers.

Sorry, my secretary
called in sick.

I don't know where
she keeps those files.

A landlord who can't find a
lease? Hey, I'm a busy man.

I got better things to do than
listen to a cop crack wise.

I've got calls to make.

I'll have her
get in touch.

Friend of mine at the D. A.'s
office loves to prosecute slumlords.

Last guy, got sentenced to six months

living in his own
condemned building.

Look, I don't have any paper
on her. It was off the books.

Lady paid cash up
front for three months.

Which we'll be glad to pass on
to the IRS, in case you forgot.

Hey, I'm trying
to be helpful here.

So far,
you're coming up short.

Okay. Wait a minute. Um, she
showed me her driver's license.

Address was on Central Park West, 300 block.

Your memory's
a little convenient.

Names I'm not so good at,

but I never forget a
prime piece of real estate.

Can I help you? Yeah. NYPD, good afternoon.

Wondering if you
know a, uh, Dana McGuire?

Of course I do.
I'm her husband.

Mr. McGuire, when was the
last time you saw your wife?

About five minutes ago.

She's inside,
feeding the baby.

A dead woman
was using my ID?

That's so creepy.

Any idea how she got a hold
of your driver's license?

Uh, I was mugged on my way
back from Mommy & Me class.

In broad daylight on Columbus
Avenue. Not a cop in sight.

Mrs. McGuire, did you report the robbery?

Yeah, a lot of good it did.

Honey, they're just
trying to help.

They caught the guy maxing
out my credit cards at Macy's.

D. A. Plea-bargained the case.
He only got six months at Rikers.

Those yuppie moms,
pushing their strollers,

carrying diaper bags,
yoga mats and crap.

Easy pickings.

I checked your booking sheet.

Dana McGuire's
driver's license

was not on you when
you were collared.

What are you smoking? No way
I'm copping to another charge.

Leon, take a good look around. Do
you see your lawyer in the cell?

Did I Mirandize you?

Then nothing you
say is admissible.

A career criminal
should know better.

Hey, I ain't no
career criminal.

Look, we just want to know who
bought the ID, off the record.

On the record, you help us
out, we'll talk to the D. A.,

you finish out your sentence
in a halfway house.

Oh, yeah. I met this chick in a diner.

Said she couldn't find work
'cause she had no ID.

I felt sorry for her.

Okay. Did you
get her real name?

Said it was Jill.
Son's name is Tommy.

You sure that's
his real name?

Sure, I'm sure.
Same as my kid brother.

We'll talk to the D. A.

Open the gate.

Jill calls the kid Tommy to this
mope, but Mikey to the neighbors?

And he answers to both.

You add that to the fake ID
and that fleabag apartment.

You know, you break parole,
you run from creditors,

you change your name.

You change your kid's name, you're
hiding from something bigger.

Warner wants us
at the morgue.

Jill's head CT.

Two subdural hematomas,

consistent with the two blows
from the lamp found at the scene.

I thought you had
something new for us?

I've got a time frame
for the assault.


The brain shrank away
from the injury site,

and she bled out
into the skull cavity.

Now, based on
the amount of blood,

the attack occurred seven to nine
hours before these were taken.

So backtrack from
the hospital admission,

that puts it between
9:00 and 11:00 last night.

The fire department didn't
get the call till 5:00 a. m.

Tommy was alone for six
hours watching her die.

Tommy's the reason
I called you over here.

See these old surgical
incisions on her abdomen?

The one in the upper left
quadrant is from a splenectomy.

She had her spleen removed, so what?

I'd say she had Hodgkin's disease as a child.

The treatment also
includes chemotherapy,

which probably would have left
her unable to have children.

So I took a sample of Tommy's
blood from the hospital

and ran his DNA
against the victim's.

No match.

She's not his mother.

This kid has been living with a woman
who is not his biological mother.

he could be adopted.

Well, that doesn't
fit with the fake ID,

and changing his name
from Tommy to Mikey.

A kidnap?

Nothing came up in the
missing child databanks.

And let's hope
it's not a baby snatcher.

Trying to match
an infant's photo

with a 6-year-old,
that's impossible.

Is he any closer
to opening up?

We're making progress.
He likes to draw.

He's using his art
to communicate.

Look at this.

He drew the murder.

How do we get him to talk about it?

Well, he's identified you as
someone who cares about him.

Make him feel safe.

That's a great picture.

Got grass and trees,
a bright yellow sun.

You draw really well, Tommy.

Yeah, Tommy.
I know your real name.

And I know that
you're a very brave boy.

Don't be afraid, Tommy. It's okay. You
know why? 'Cause I'm here to help you.

See that?

That's what
police officers do.

They help little boys
that are afraid.


You want my phone?

Here you go.


That's exactly right.

That's who you call
when you want the police.

Good job.

Do you know your
home phone number?

How about...

Do you know any other numbers? Like say

a number that you would call in an emergency?

Good. You're so smart.
You know what?

I'm gonna be back
in a little while,

but I was wondering
if you'd do me a favor?

Will you draw me
another picture?


I'll be back in
a little bit, all right?

Let's see who he called.

It's a domestic
violence hotline.

Oh, God,
it's Jill Hoffman.

The bastard
finally did it.

Her husband?

Dan Hoffman.
Violent son of a bitch.

Jill wanted to leave,
but she had nowhere to go.

He isolated her completely,
drove all her friends away.

You place her
in a DV shelter?

Jill stayed in one of our safe
houses for three weeks, then she left.

When she found an apartment
in Hell's Kitchen?

No, she went back to
her husband in Rye.

She couldn't bear to leave
her stepson behind.

You mean Tommy?

She loved that child
like he was her own son.

Well, then why didn't Jill take
Tommy with her to the safe house?

She wanted to,
but we couldn't allow it.

Jill's his stepmother.

She had no legal right to
take Tommy from his father.

If she'd brought him here, we'd
be accessories to kidnapping.

So that's it?
You couldn't do anything?

Our hands were tied.

We told her to
fight for legal custody.

We even found Jill
a pro bono attorney.

I'll confirm Jill was my client,
but anything else is privileged.

She hired you
to help her protect Tommy.

We're trying to do
the same thing.

Where's Tommy now?

He's in the hospital,
too traumatized to speak.

Tommy saw the attack.

He spent the night trying
to help Jill as she died.

You sending him
back to his father?

Unless you give us good
reasons why we shouldn't.

Jill married Dan Hoffman
two years ago.

The abuse started
soon after.

What happened to
Tommy's real mother?

Kim left when
Tommy was three.

Hoffman probably
beat her, too.

Did Hoffman ever
abuse Tommy?

He terrorized him

but he had never
laid a hand on the boy yet.

Jill knew it was only a matter of time before
Hoffman turned his rage against his son.

Any official
complaints of abuse?

Against Dan Hoffman?

Respected member
of the community?

She thought no one would
believe her. You did.

I know the signs. Jill
Hoffman was definitely abused.

So what was your plan?

File for
emergency custody.

It was a long shot,
even with a good judge.

You knew she'd lose.

You told Jill to
take Tommy, didn't you?

I'm an officer
of the court.

If I abetted my client in the
commission of a felony, I'd be disbarred.

Tommy Hoffman? Dan Hoffman's son? Mmm-hmm.

No. You got
your wires crossed.

Tommy's down in Florida with his
stepmom. Little winter getaway.

Yeah? Anything go on in this
town that you don't know about?

I happened to bump into Dan last week
at the Elks Club, he mentioned it.

What kind of guy
is Hoffman?

Nicest guy in the world.

Successful real estate agent,

sells big houses to folks
escaping crime in your city.

Any history with
family problems?

Just that tramp
of a first wife.

Kim ran away with another
man, left Dan and the boy.

But Dan rose to the occasion,

never misses a soccer game or
a parent-teacher conference.

So your officers have never responded to
a domestic dispute over at the Hoffmans?

You're barking
up the wrong tree.

Dan Hoffman's done more for
this community than anybody.

Here. Picture of him
in the Rye Journal.

Go see those folks.

Not a week goes by, Dan's not in
their paper for some deed or another.

Take your pick. Hoffman's
a major player in Rye.

We've got lots of pictures.

Uh, we'd like some of his
son, too. Oh, all right, um...

Here's Tommy.

Tommy with Jill at the
school bake sale. Cute kid.

Do you have any
of Tommy's mother?

His real mother.

I don't see why I bother
to keep shots of Kim.

She'll never show her face
in this town again.

Why did you say
you needed these?

We are, um, trying to trace
the heirs to an estate,

so if this is the right Hoffman,
then the kid just inherited a bundle.

Hey, Tommy,
I made you a book.

See, it's got
your name on it.

There's you
playing soccer.

And there's you and Jill.

You know who that is, Tommy?

It's my mom.

That's right, Tommy.

That's your mom.

My dad said she ran away.

She didn't love us anymore.

But then Jill came
to live with you.

She made me cookies and
tucked me in every night.

But then Jill went away, too?

She came back for me.

We ran away from my dad.

It's okay, sweetie.

Tommy, it's okay.
You can tell me.

We were gonna get a new house. Uh-huh.

Far away, where my dad
can never find us.


Go on.

My dad, he's here.

Slow down. Hey!
What are you doing to him?

Tommy, come here. It's okay, Daddy's here.

I need to see my son.

You have had him here this whole
time and no one has told me.

Calm down.
You're scaring him.

I am his father.
He needs me. Tommy...

Hold on. Slow down.

Tommy, you do not have to
go with him, okay, honey?

Like hell he doesn't.
He's been medically cleared.

And you can't stop me
from taking him home.

Released in the custody of his father.

Oh, thank God I found you.

Everything's gonna be okay.

Dan Hoffman's
attorney called.

She's threatening to sue
for the emotional distress

of withholding information
on Tommy's whereabouts.

Distress, my ass.

Hoffman didn't even file a missing persons
report, and he's trying to jack us up?

We only delayed notification
by a couple of hours.

That's not the point.

You were playing fast and
loose, and you got caught.

Well, can you blame us, Alex? Now
the boy is in the custody of a killer.

Alleged killer.

All you have so far is your gut
instinct that Hoffman murdered Jill.

It could still be a burglary.

Tommy was about to tell me what
happened when his father showed up.

We need to re-interview him.

Hoffman's attorney
will fight it.

So get a court order. Tommy is
a material witness to the murder.

I'll try, but some hard
evidence on the homicide

would go a long way
with the judge.

Haven't you caused
enough trouble already?

Well, sir, we just came by to apologize.

We're very sorry
about the misunderstanding.

You have both of our
condolences on your loss.

Well, I appreciate
your sympathies.

But I'm still considering
a lawsuit.

As a father, I can only imagine
how terrible this is for you.

I'm glad you understand.

How is Tommy doing?

Well, I've consulted
a psychiatrist

who assures me that Tommy
will make a full recovery.

that's great news.

Mr. Hoffman,
would you consider

allowing us to
speak with Tommy?

No. Right now, I think time to
heal is in my son's best interests.

His best interests or yours?

You know what? I resent that, Detective.

My wife was murdered.

You, of all people,
should understand.

I'm only trying
to protect my son.

Well, how were you protecting your
son when he was gone for a month?

You didn't even
report him missing.

You told everybody that Jill
and Tommy were in Florida.

Okay. You're right.

I lied, but I was only trying
to protect my wife's reputation.

I didn't want anybody to know
how emotionally unstable she was.

I thought that I was
doing the right thing.

Didn't you want any help
in trying to find her?

Yes. Of course I did,

but I was afraid going to
the police would set her off.

Look, she's always
come back before.

So I waited.

I was worried, but I
didn't know what else to do.

Where were you
the night of the murder?

I was in the city at the
Realtors' Association dinner.

Five hundred of my colleagues
will support that.

Here for the open house?
You're early.

Actually, we're not
here about the house.

Now, you sat next to Dan Hoffman at
the Realtors' Association dinner dance?

How could I forget?

Handsome man like that,
and he came without a date.

Did he stay for
the whole event?

No, by the end of the awards he
was bored, so he went to the bar.

I would've gone with him,
but I was getting a plaque.

Well, congratulations.

Did you see him after that?

He promised me a dance, but he
never made it back to the table.

I thought he stood me up.

You thought?

Well, he showed up
later on.

I confess I was
a little jealous.

And why is that?

Well, he was all sweaty and
his clothes were all messed up.

I wish he had
danced with me that way.

Do you remember what time it
was when you saw him again?

Around 11:00.

I remember because I always
call the babysitter around then.

Oh, excuse me.
Come on in.

He had time to sneak out, do
the murder and get back to tango.

With his rumpled shirt.

What about the blood?

Coveralls worked
good enough for O. J.

This is a weak alibi.

Maybe Cabot can use it as
ammunition at the hearing.

A child's mental
health is at risk.

I'm ruling there be no further
interviews of Tommy Hoffman

until after a full
psychological examination.

Dr. George Huang
can do the evaluation.

He's worked
with Tommy before.

Please, don't do this. Dr. Huang
works for the police department.

You would be forcing my son to
endure another interrogation.

Is that true, Ms. Cabot?

Dr. Huang is
a consultant for the NYPD,

he also happens to
be highly qualified.

You're splitting hairs,
Ms. Cabot.

Look, I have already
made an appointment

for Tommy to start therapy
with a Dr. Mildred Souther.

All right? She's a child
specialist in trauma.

Why does Tommy have to see two psychiatrists?

I agree. The court will await
Dr. Souther's evaluation.

Then at least put the child in foster care
until after the evaluation is complete.

Tommy Hoffman is the only
eyewitness to a homicide

that may well have been
committed by his father.

There's absolutely
no evidence to suggest

my client had anything to do
with his wife's tragic death.

Mr. Hoffman's alibi for the
time of the murder is shaky,

and there's a history
of domestic violence.

That is a lie.
I would never hurt Jill.

Jill Hoffman was an unstable
woman making wild allegations

because Dan Hoffman
wanted a divorce.

She abducted the boy in an act
of revenge against my client.

The police have no evidence that my client
knew where Jill or the boy were hiding.

I've heard enough. The child will
remain in his father's custody.

Dan is a kind and gentle man.
He's incapable of violence.

How can I convince you?

Let the police interview him.

For starters, let's talk about
that 45-minute gap in your alibi.

It was a boring,
rubber chicken dinner.

I went to the bar
for a drink.

Try again. We checked. The
bartender doesn't remember you.

Well, why would he?
I mean, it was a mob scene,

so I went outside to get some
fresh air, chatted with some people.

Just give us their names
and we're done here.

I don't know their names.
I mean, you don't ask for ID

when you're chatting about
the Yankees' scouting report.

There you are,
at a dinner dance,

less than a mile
from Jill's apartment.

You jump in a cab, you're
there in less than five minutes.

If I had known where Jill
lived, I would've gone there

and I would have convinced her to come home.

I thought you
wanted a divorce?

I wanted my son back.

I mean, if Jill wanted to leave, that's fine,

but I wasn't going to
let her take my son.

You've got an answer
for everything, don't you?

I'm not buying your
loving father act.

Tommy is terrified of you.

My son is everything to me.
I would die for my son.

Tommy almost died for you.

You killed Jill, and then you
left him alone in that apartment.

And had firefighters
not responded so fast,

then you'd be burying him
along with your dead wife.

You wouldn't dare talk to me like that
if you didn't have that badge and gun.

You notice, in the interview, Hoffman
never called Tommy or Jill by their names?

It was always
"my wife," "my son. "

Possessions, not people.
Hoffman owned his family.

He had to punish
Jill for leaving.

Power and control. Two
classic signs of a batterer.

Well, so far we can't even
prove that he found Jill.

I may have something to help
you on that. Bring it on.

She opened a new checking account
under the name Dana McGuire.

I talked to
the real Mrs. McGuire.

It's not hers.

So it's Jill's.
She write any checks?

No. She made cash withdrawals

and deposited a couple of
paychecks from J. A. G. Enterprises.

Jill was working?

Yeah, as an entertainer
at Benny's Topless on 12th.

Jill was real sweet,
but she was a lousy dancer.

Why'd they hire her?

Lot of commuters stop in on
their way back to the burbs.

Jill looked like Susie
Homemaker, that turned them on.

One guy said it was like having
June Cleaver give you a lap dance.

Why did Jill quit?

I'm not sure, but she had a
major freak out about a week ago.

Over what?

Uh, she saw a guy in the crowd she
knew from the town she used to live in.

She mention his name?

But a couple of days
later she was gone.

What night was that,
that she, uh, saw the guy?

It was a week ago,
last Tuesday. Um...

I remember it 'cause that was the night
I introduced the cockatoo into my act.

Okay. Thank you.

Hey, nail the prick,
will you?

We'll do our best.

Let's check the credit card receipts,
see who came in here from Rye.

Mr. Rizzo, you're quite a big
spender over there at Benny's Topless.

Look, you can't tell my wife.

She thinks I work
a lot of overtime.

Well, so help us out here,

we won't have to take a drive up
to Rye and talk to you at home.

Whatever you need.

You know Dan Hoffman?

He's a great guy.

I handle a lot of his closings
out of my office in Rye.

Did you take Hoffman to the strip
club, you know, boys night out?

No, but I tried.

Especially after
I saw that stripper.

She's a dead ringer
for his wife.

Did you tell Hoffman
about this stripper?

I called him on my way home, you know,
thought he'd get a kick out of it.

Put her in an apron baking cookies,
half the town would swear it was Jill.

No one spotted Dan Hoffman
in the strip club,

but he didn't have to
go inside the joint.

Once he knew
where Jill worked,

it would've been easy enough
to follow her home.

The night of the dinner dance,
he slips out, he kills her.

I mean, it's almost
the perfect crime,

except for the fact that his alibi has
a hole you can drive a truck through.

Nobody at the dance remembers
seeing him for a full 45 minutes.

So, what do you say, Counselor,
we got probable cause?

It's all circumstantial, but
it's enough for an arrest.

Well, don't look so happy.

We may not survive
the grand jury.

Why not?

Dan Hoffman will testify.

His father-of-the-year act
has everybody fooled.

He's handsome, charismatic, and he
plays the grieving widower very well.

I think Mr. Wonderful is going to dirty up
the victim and the jury might not indict.

Stop him from testifying.

I can't. Once he's arrested, it's his right.

His attorney will serve
notice at arraignment.

So we're stuck.

I could do a silent indictment
without arresting him.

If I present
the facts to the grand jury

as part of an investigation
into the homicide,

I'm not obligated
to notify Hoffman.

If the defense is out of the loop, then
Hoffman can't assert his right to testify.

I'll indict him in the morning.
Then you can pick him up.


How you doing?

Tommy, come back inside.

Come on, buddy, you gotta pick
out which video we're gonna watch.

How about you show me some of
those soccer moves. Come on.

All right. That's it,
I'm calling my attorney.

Gonna file a restraining order against
you both and then sue for harassment.

You wanna make a call? Tell her
to meet you at Rikers. Turn around.

You can't prove anything.
Turn around.

The grand jury disagrees.

Dan Hoffman, you're under arrest
for the murder of Jill Hoffman.

You have the right
to remain silent.

If you give up that right...

It's okay.
It's okay, Tommy.

"Indictment number 4319,
People v. Daniel Hoffman.

"Murder in the Second Degree. "

How does the defendant plead?

Not guilty.

The People
request remand, Your Honor.

My client is a community
leader with no criminal record

and the sole
caretaker of his son.

Well, he wouldn't be a single
parent if he hadn't killed his wife.

Control yourself, Ms. Cabot.

Bail is $100,000,
cash or bond.

We request
a speedy trial date.

My client is eager to
prove his innocence,

an opportunity the A. D. A.
denied him in the grand jury.

The district attorney is under
no obligation to inform him...

I know the law, Ms. Cabot, I also
know your reputation for bending it.

"A child's mental health
is at risk. " Your words.

We didn't want to further
traumatize Tommy Hoffman

by having his father
arrested prematurely.

Anything else?

Motion to preclude
any witnesses stating

that Jill Hoffman told them
she'd been abused.

Jill Hoffman was
emotionally distraught

when she spoke to the domestic
violence shelter staff.

Her remarks clearly qualify

under the excited utterance
exception to the hearsay rule.

But, Your Honor,
admitting them

violates my client's
constitutional right

to confront and
cross-examine his accuser.

It's unduly prejudicial.

Those statements are a
key element of my case.

Well, your case is in
trouble. Motion granted.

We're screwed.

The defense will argue
that Jill Hoffman

was murdered during a home invasion gone bad.

There's no evidence Dan Hoffman
can use to support that claim.

But there's nothing
to disprove it, either.

Jill lived in an unsafe neighborhood,
and she worked as a stripper.

She was at a high risk.

Tommy's testimony
would convict Hoffman.

You give me a chance
and I know that

that kid will tell
me what happened.

Kid's been in foster care
since Hoffman's arrest.

Olivia can go interview him.

Judge Ridenour's order not to
talk to Tommy is still in effect.

Even if Tommy says
his dad killed Jill,

his statement would be precluded
because we disobeyed the court's ruling.

You could subpoena
Tommy for the trial.

It's a hell of a gamble
to put a traumatized child

on the stand unprepared.

Besides, Hoffman may have coached
Tommy to say that a stranger did it.

What about his biological mother?
She has rights to talk to him.

Kim Hoffman? Yeah, well, either
she fell into a black hole,

or he murdered her, too.

Now guess where I'm placing
my money on that one?

So far, no signs of activity
on her social security,

no tax returns since she
disappeared, no signs of life.

Find somebody who knew
the first Mrs. Hoffman.

Mr. Wheaten, how long have you lived
across the street from the Hoffmans?

Ten years,
before they moved in.

Did you know his
first wife, Kim?

Sure, but just to say hello.

You know,
we have been all over town

and nobody seems to know
Kim Hoffman well.

Well, I'm not surprised.

Her husband had her terrified
to talk to anyone.

I'd see her outside, wave,

she'd look over her shoulder

to make sure he wasn't
watching before she'd wave back.

Did you ever
see him hurt Kim?

Kim always had bruises,
one time a broken arm.

She said she'd tripped
over the stroller.

Did he ever say
anything after she left?

That she'd run off
with another man.

I didn't believe it.

So what do you
think really happened?

Hoffman killed her,
of course.

Especially after
I saw the black van.

Black van?
What van?

It pulled in late at night.

I saw this shadowy figure fill it
with garbage bags, then drive away.

Next day, Kim was gone.

I called the cops,
gave them the license plate.

Dan Hoffman's not a killer.

Well, did you investigate
Kim Hoffman's disappearance?

Did you check on
the neighbor's tip?

Oh, you've been talking
to Mr. Neighborhood Watch.

Wheaten thinks he's Columbo.

Did you run the plates?

Harry, would you please pull
the Kim Hoffman file?

Look, we may not be the almighty
NYPD, but we do our jobs.

Someone reports a murder, we check
it out, even if the guy's a crackpot.

So, yes, we ran the plates. Yes,
they came back to a Dawn Trent.

Soccer mom, Port Chester.
Yes, she was there.

Delivering Girl
Scout cookies.

May I?

The case is closed. You want
the file, you're welcome to it.


I'll brief Cabot, see if we
can get her to stall the trial.

And I'll try and find Dawn Trent.
She's got a lot of questions to answer.

I don't know Dan Hoffman. I
already told the Rye Police.

It must be some mistake.

Nice home you have here.

You seem to be a nice mom.

Lady like you is not the
usual accessory to murder.


We're re-investigating the
disappearance of Kim Hoffman.

I'm sorry,
I don't even know her.

You're a liar.

Lady, we've got a witness
who places you there,

at their house,
the night Kim disappeared.

Where'd you stash the body?

I don't know Dan Hoffman.

But I do know Kim.

I was there that night,
helping her leave.

Kim's alive?

Oh, she wouldn't be now
if I hadn't gotten her out.

It's the same old story,

Your husband's
the nicest guy in town,

pals with everybody,
including the cops,

but every night when he
comes home, he beats you.

He degrades you.
He terrorizes you.

Who's gonna believe that the
Man of the Year is a batterer?

And you can't leave him,
there's nowhere to go.

He'll find you.
He always does.

There's nowhere to
hide in a small town.

The only way is to get
far away and start over.

But that takes money.
And help.

And that's what you provide.

Well, it's not just me.

There's a group of us.

What is this, some kind
of DV underground railroad?

You could call it that.

I was Kim's first stop, and then
I passed her on to another helper.

You grabbed her
and took her away.

Why not the kid?

Kim was going to die,
Detective. We had to move.

Her hope was that
she could come back

for Tommy when she'd
gotten herself together.

I need to talk to Kim.

I don't know where she is.

All any of us know is the
next link in the chain.

I picked Kim Hoffman up
from the bus station.

From there,
we drove to Poughkeepsie.

After that...

Kim was living on a farm
outside of Woodstock.

I helped her move
to New Paltz.

Then I heard she moved
to Brewster.

I got her settled
in Torrington.

The last I heard she was still
there, working in a dry cleaner's.

Thank you, sir.
Have a nice day.

Can I help you?

I need to talk to you, Kim.

I'm sorry, you must have me mistaken
for someone else. My name is...

Kim Hoffman.

No, it's not.

It's about Tommy.

Is Tommy okay?

Physically, yeah.

He needs you.

I cry for him every night.

You must think I'm a terrible
mother for leaving him.

I know why you left.

Nobody knows how bad it was.

Dan used to beat me so
severely that I couldn't walk.

I had to get out.

Once I was safe, I was
gonna go back for Tommy.

Why didn't you?

I did.

Once I was settled,
I went back to Rye.

I saw him playing in the
front yard with some woman.

He called her Mommy.

He looked so happy.

I thought he was better off.

He had everything
I couldn't give him.

I can't face him.

I can't face him.
Yeah, you can.

He'll never understand
why I left.

He'll never understand.

What if he
doesn't love me anymore?

What if he doesn't...

Listen to me.

Your ex-husband is
about to be acquitted.

If you don't help Tommy,
he goes back to that house.

You have to risk your
pain to save his life.

Jill worked in my office.

She was so kind
to me when Kim left.

She offered to cook dinner
for Tommy and me, babysit.

So she pursued you?

I was on the rebound. She was a
beautiful woman, I was flattered.

Did the relationship change
after the wedding?

I saw another side of Jill.
She had a terrible temper.

One night I didn't praise
her cooking enough,

and she smashed the meatloaf
all over the walls.

Tommy was terrified.

I just realized that she
was emotionally unstable.

I begged her to get help.
She refused.

I just hoped with enough love and
support that things would change.

And did they?

Jill got worse.

I was afraid that she was gonna hurt Tommy,

so I told her that
I wanted a divorce,

and she said
she would make me pay.

The next day,
I came home, she was gone.

I mean, she'd left before,
but only for a day or two.

And I was... I was relieved, until
Tommy didn't come home from school.

And then I realized that
she had taken him with her.

Thank you, Mr. Hoffman.

So you're the victim here,
Mr. Hoffman.

My son was taken from me.

You have no idea
what I went through

wondering if
Tommy was all right.

You love your son
very much, don't you?

Yes, I do.

Then explain why you never
filed a missing persons report.

I was afraid to go to
the police. I mean...

I thought that Jill might do
something crazy if she were cornered.

So you didn't
go look for them?

Of course I did.

But when a neighbor told you that a woman
bearing an uncanny resemblance to Jill

was working at Benny's
Topless, you didn't go check?

I never thought that
that could be true.

Jill was so shy she wouldn't
even make love with the lights on.

So it's a total coincidence that within
days of hearing about the strip club,

your wife was
brutally murdered.

I wish that I would have gone there.
I wish that I would have found her.

If I had, Tommy would have
been home safe with me,

not watching Jill get
murdered by some maniac.

Thank you.


Do you know who I am?

You're my real mom.

You remember me?

I have your picture.

You missed my birthday.

I know.

I know and I'm so sorry.

But I saw your
soccer playoffs last year,

when you scored
that big goal.

You did?

Oh, yeah.

I cheered my heart out.

Then why didn't you
come and see me?

I was scared.

Of Dad?

Yes, honey.

He scares me a lot.

Me, too.

Are you gonna leave?


No, I will never
ever go away again.


I promise.

The People call
Tommy Hoffman.

Please state your name.

What is your name?

Can you tell us
your name, son?

This is brutal.
Please, stop this.

That's enough. This child is
clearly in no state to testify.

Thank you.

It's okay, Tommy.
You can go now.

I love you, Son.

You killed Jill.

Your Honor,
I move for a mistrial.


Tommy, you listen to me.
Don't do this.


Tommy, are you okay?

I'm ready.
I can do it now.