Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–…): Season 4, Episode 21 - Fallacy - full transcript

At a party, a young woman is assaulted in the bathroom, and her assailant ends up dead. The girl leaves the ambulance before SVU can talk to her. Is this a case of self-defence, or something far more complex?

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.

What in the hell
were you thinking?

You said to invite people.

I said bring "a friend,"
not 25 slobs.

You're out
of cold beer.

Oh, guess you should
go home then.

You've got a phone call.

Whoever it is,
I'm busy.

It's your neighbor.

It's something about
music and the cops.

Mrs. Grenis.

I'm turning it down.

Believe me, I'd love
for these parasites to leave.


(glass breaking)

Oh, my God.

What are you doing to my house?

Open the door.

Open the damn door.

What the hell

He, he tried to rape me.

Rape victim's
a Cheryl Avery, 19.

Medic's checking her out
on the bus.

She hurt bad?

Got a bloody hand
from crowning

her alleged attacker
on the head with a vase.

Where is the alleged

Oh, he's on the way
to Cabrini.

His name's a Joe Capilla.

Miss Avery claims
he tried to rape her.

Well, sounds like
you think she made it up.

Well, her blouse
is torn,

and her face
was bruised,

but she refuses to go
to the ER to get checked out.

She was violated,
doesn't want to be poked at.

Detective Benson, SVU.

Where's your patient?

In back.

No, she's not.

She was here a minute ago.

Must have bailed.

Son of a bitch.

Looks like they struggled.

See these black scuff marks?

Perp was wearing sneakers,

so these probably came
from Cheryl Avery's heels.

He shoved her backwards into
the window, the glass broke,

she grabbed the vase
and whacked him with it.

Went down and banged
his head on the tub.

Find Cheryl yet?

Nope, neither did the sector car
I sent to her house.

The address she gave
the uniform was phony.

I wouldn't be surprised
if her name is, too.

Well, this is a party.
Somebody had to invite her.

I invited five friends
over for pizza and beer.

That Joe and Cheryl, they
weren't even on the list.

Do you know them?

No, I don't hang out
with rapists.

And the first time
I saw Cheryl

was in my bathroom,

So who invited them?

Name's Ricki.

Freaking social director.


What can you tell us
about Joe?

Met him at a club,
thought he was cute,

till he showed up high

and started hitting
on every girl in the room.

Joe hit on Cheryl?

Didn't see it,

but maybe that's why he was
fighting with his brother.

Joe's brother
was here?

Yeah, name's Eddie.

Cheryl's his girlfriend.

You have any idea
where Eddie lives?

With Joe
and their mom.

23rd and 9th.


Cheryl going
to be okay?

No, Joe's dead.

My mom called from the hospital

and told me everything, so...

We're so sorry
for your loss.

Eddie, we need
to find out

what happened at that party.

Um, my brother
tried to rape my girlfriend.

That's what
the hospital told my mom.

What did you see?

I left early.

How come?

I started having my,
uh, palpitations.

From fighting
with your brother?


Got a heart condition,

so I came home,
to, uh, take my medicine.

You didn't take
Cheryl with you?

I told her to stay.

She's dancing,
having a good time...

Bum leg keep you
from dancing with her?

Yeah, I sprained my ankle
playing hoops.

I know, with
a heart condition,

it's stupid.

Eddie, why were you
and your brother fighting?

He's a punk.

He treated women like dirt.

He ever get rough?

Yeah, when
he got high,

which was all the time.

That's what
we were fighting about.

Cheryl is the nicest girl
I ever met.

She wouldn't hit Joe unless...

he provoked her.

I mean, she says it
was self-defense,

then it was.

She ran away.

That looks real bad.

You want
to help her?

Tell us
where she is.

I wanted to tell Eddie
what happened,

but I didn't think
he'd understand.

We're having a hard time
ourselves, Cheryl.

Why did you leave
the ambulance?

I thought you wouldn't
believe me.

It'd be Joe's word
against mine.

All we've got is your word.
Joe's dead.

Oh, my God.

Oh, my God... I...

I didn't...

I didn't...
I didn't mean to kill him.

Cheryl, tell us what happened.

Will I go to jail?

Not if he attacked you,
it's self-defense.


I, uh...

I went to the bathroom,
and Joe followed me in.

I try to be nice to him
for Eddie's sake, but...

God, he's so disgusting.

He's constantly
putting Eddie down.

And I told him to get out,
but he wouldn't leave.

Did he touch you?

He put his hands
on my, on my breasts.

I tried to yell
for help,

but the music was too loud.

He ripped my shirt,

and he punched me in the face,

and I grabbed something and
I hit him, but he fought back.

So I...

I pushed him off me,

and that's when
he fell and hit the tub.

So, are you going
to indict Cheryl,

or give her a pass?

No, I'm in no hurry
to convene a grand jury.

If the crime lab confirms
Cheryl's account,

it's justifiable homicide.

What else
have we got?

Tox screen on Joe
positive for crystal meth.

That explains
his pugnacious personality.

Yeah, still here.

Those bruises are real, Alex.
He definitely hit her.

Does Cheryl
have any priors?

She's clean.

But Joe isn't.

2-6 has a sexual assault

filed by a Paige Salinsky.

Was Joe arrested?

Miss Salinsky dropped
the charges.

So Joe has a habit
of getting high,

abusing women, and his own
brother thinks he's a hump.

Well, don't forget his brother
just happens to be

the victim's boyfriend.

Joe's the only one
who can't speak.

Maybe his wounds still can.

If Joe did attack Cheryl,

he may have injuries
to show for it.

Check with EMS
and the Medical Examiner.

Yeah, I remember.

Got him stabilized
halfway to the hospital

when he seized, went
into cardiac arrest, DOA.

Doc told us later that
the blows to the head

caused a subarachnoid

Well, did you notice
any other injuries?

Scratches, swelling?

Three knuckles on his
right hand were cut up.

Bruise on Cheryl's face
was on the left side.

So he punches her
with his right,

he cuts his hand on her teeth.

Hey, you remember
anything else?

Before the seizure,

the guy was rambling.

Any of it make sense?

You tell me.

"Get Eddie. Get Eddie.
He did it. He did it."

Are you sure that he said,

Anything the patient says,
I write down.

Sounds like Cheryl
didn't tell us everything.

May I help you?

We're looking for Cheryl.

In back.

She's got company.

Looks like
we're interrupting.

Guess they had to get
their story straight.

What do you mean?

Stop screwing us around,
the both of you.

I told you what happened.

Yeah, you left out
a few details.

Like what?

That bathroom window
was broken out.

It's a 15-foot drop
to the ground.

How'd you really sprain
your ankle?

Wait, Eddie, Eddie had
nothing to do with this.

That's not
what Joe said.

What are you talking about?

In the ambulance,
before he died,

he said he did it.
"Get Eddie."

Joe tried to rape me.

I hit him, he fell,
and he banged his head.

Cheryl, you're hindering
a murder investigation.

Now Joe said that Eddie did it,

and I understand that
you're trying to protect him.

Eddie went home.

We know that,
but we have witnesses

that saw Eddie and Joe fighting,
and then Eddie left.

But he came back,
didn't he?

No. No.

If Joe was attacking you,
and Eddie walked in

and came to your defense, then
Joe's death is an accident.

You tried to stop him.
It got out of hand.

You didn't mean
to kill anybody.

That's not what happened.

Eddie, no one's going
to put you away

for protecting your girlfriend.

I swear, I never
touched Joe.

Ah, Eddie...

Okay, Eddie.

Okay, so,
I've got this all wrong.

Maybe Joe didn't try
to rape Cheryl, huh?

Of course he did.

No, you know
what I'm thinking?

You caught Joe and
Cheryl getting it on

behind your back
in that bathroom.

The betrayal.
No! No!

The blind rage.

Cheryl loves me.

Were you making
out with Joe?

Oh, my God, I would...

No, I would never do that
to Eddie.

Of course you
didn't mean to,

but Eddie left you alone
at a party with Joe,

so he starts making the moves
on you.

You got caught up in the moment.

Wait, wait, no, no,
no, you're wrong.

So you didn't want
Eddie to know.

So when he walked in,

you said that Joe
was raping you.

And he responded
like any good boyfriend would.

You hit Joe.

No, I didn't.

You went back
to the party to
bring Cheryl home.

You find her in
the bathroom...
Don't do this! What?!

...with your brother's
hands all over her.

Come on, Eddie.
Be a man.

Don't let your
girlfriend go down
for something you did.


I was in the room.

I was there.

Just tell me
what happened.

He was being a prick
to some of the girls

at the party,
and I told him, "Stop."

He got pissed, gave me
a shove, then... I left.

I know.

To go home and get your pills.

We've been through that!

Why are you
telling me that?

I want to know,

why did you come back?

I felt bad 'cause I
had left Cheryl there.

Joe was already
on the floor

when I walked
into that bathroom.

Cheryl locked the door,
said Joe tried to rape her,

just like she told you...

So, you didn't see anything?

That's awful convenient.

Why would you jump out
the window?

She said that people
would think

I did it because they saw
Joe and me fighting earlier.

(frustrated groan)

Cheryl was only trying
to protect me.

Eddie says he was
in the bathroom.

Eddie says he wasn't.

I can't tell
who's covering for whom.

Eddie fought
with his brother

in front of a
dozen witnesses.

His brother
winds up dead.

What if the rape
itself is the lie?

Do you think Cheryl
made the whole thing up?

To cover for Eddie.

He kills Joe
in the bathroom.

Cheryl walks in,
tells Eddie

to go out the window.

She'll say Joe was trying
to rape her.

Well, then they're

and I can't use anything
either one of them says

against the other without
independent corroboration.

We canvassed everyone
at the party.

Nobody saw anything.

Let's see whose story the
physical evidence supports.

We're not done with
the reconstruction yet,

but I can tell you
that everyone's prints
are in that bathroom.

Eddie admits he was there.
There's no surprise.

This will be.
This is Joe's shirt.

Blood on it only belongs to him.

This is Cheryl's.

Two different blood types,
both male.

One matches Joe.

The other's unknown.

So it's got
to be Eddie's.
It's not.

Y chromosomes from the DNA say

the samples come
from two unrelated males.

So now we got
another guy

in that bathroom
with Joe, Eddie,
and Cheryl?

That's what
I thought

until I tested this.

You get that out
of the bathroom?

No. From EMS.

Medics used it to wrap
Cheryl's bloody hand.

Then we collected it
for evidence.

It's called a control sample

because the only blood on it
is Cheryl's.

Well, what's that
going to tell us?

I compared the blood

on the bandage
to our unknown male.

It was a match.

Cheryl's a man?

What in the hell
are we dealing with?

a pre-op transsexual.

If she's still
got her package,

it explains why she didn't go
to the hospital to be examined.

I've seen plenty
of trannies, but
she is amazing.

She's got to be
taking hormones.

Boys with breasts get
more money on the street.

Ah, I don't make her
for a pro.

She's got a straight job.

Probably saving up enough money
for the surgery.

Well, none of this
changes the fact

that Joe still
tried to rape her.

She's got the bruises
to show for it.

Maybe he got violent
when he discovered her secret.

Or Joe threatened
to tell Eddie,

giving Cheryl motive
to kill him.

Eddie's got to know.

He and Cheryl have been going
out for a couple months now.

They were all over each other
when we picked them up.

So they're both covering up
Cheryl's secret.

Who do you think
we should try to break first?

Cheryl's pulling
all the strings

telling Eddie
what to say.

My guess is he's
the weaker link.


I know you've been
through a lot.

I don't want to
make things worse.

What do you mean?

I'm not here
to judge you.

You know that, right?

I just want to find out what
happened in that bathroom.

I already told you. Mm.

I walked into the bathroom.

Joe was on the floor.

Cheryl, uh, was beat up.

You didn't tell us
about Cheryl, though.

What about her?


What you do in your private life
is your business.

You got to start being honest
with me.

I am being honest.


I-I don't understand
what you're talking about.

I'm talking
about Cheryl being... a man.


What kind of sick joke is this?

I'm sorry you had to f...
find out this way.

Uh... you're crazy.


I have... I've seen her...
I've seen her breasts.

Female hormones.

They can do that.

Look, Eddie, she
had us all fooled.

We did a blood test.


Oh! What are you saying to me?!

I held her!

I... kissed her! I wa...

I-I wanted to spend my life
with her.

What are you...?


She wouldn't have sex.

She said... she wanted to wait.

She would just...

push my hands away.

Oh, God.

I need to see her.

I need to see her.

I got to talk to her.



Don't. Mm.


What's wrong with you?

Wh-Why are you looking
at me like that?

Say something.

Come here.


Ah... (gagging)


You are a freak!


Eddie... Eddie.

Eddie. Eddie!


Look, I was going to tell you.


After I had the surgery.

Oh, you make me sick!

Oh, God!

Why did you do this?


Cheryl, stand up. Come on.

It's okay. Come on. Come on.

We thought that Eddie knew.

We thought that

he was protecting you.

How long did you think

that you could keep this
a secret?

I just thought if I could
make him love me enough,

he'd understand.

Okay, well, let's sit down.
Come on.

Come on. Sit down.

But you were also afraid
that he wouldn't understand.

For the first time in my life,
I've had someone who loves me.

And if Joe was to tell Eddie,
that would be over.

My life would be over.

So what happened?

Joe was walking
out of the bathroom,

so I... I picked up the vase,
and I hit him.

And then Eddie walked in.

I never meant

to kill Joe.

I just didn't want him to talk.

You'll have to tell Eddie
that I didn't mean to do it.

I mean, please,
make him understand that.

(water running)

You okay?

Ugh... I'll never be okay.


This wasn't your fault.

Yeah, it was.

My brother's dead because
my girlfriend's a... guy.


No one knew.

What if, um, I did know...
deep down?

You were in love
with a woman.

That's what you knew.

You sure you're okay?



I need some air.

I need some help in here!

What happened?

He just collapsed.

He's got
a heart condition.

Call an ambulance.

Hardly has any pulse.

This is empty.

Digoxin-- it's
stopping his heart.

We got a drug overdose.

I'm losing his pulse.
You better start CPR.


Come on, Eddie!

Come on, Eddie!

He was pulseless
for ten minutes.

I pronounced him at 18:15.

Got the pill bottle?

Yeah, it's right here.

I'll do the autopsy.

I'll get you the results
as quick as I can,

but it don't look to me like
anything other than a suicide.

It's a death
in custody,

suicide or not.

You guys from
Internal Affairs

are like sharks smelling
blood a mile away.

Save it, Captain.

I got an investigation
to conduct.

You think we forced the pills
down his throat?

No, but you left
a lethal dose of

in the possession of
a distraught suspect.

Talk to me
through my delegate.

That "distraught" suspect

needed those pills
for a heart condition.

That still doesn't mitigate
your failure

to supervise Detective Stabler
and Agent Huang.

IAB doesn't
have jurisdiction
over Dr.Huang.

We'll refer
his conduct

to the FBI's Office
of Professional Responsibility.

I hope your med-mal insurance
is paid up... Doc.

All rise.

The honorable Judge
Seligman presiding.

Now in session,
docket ending 5971,

People v.
Cheryl Avery,

one count, murder
in the second degree.

Morton Berger for the defense,
Your Honor.

We all know

who you are, Mr. Berger.

How does your client plead?

Not guilty.

Miss Cabot?

Uh, remand.

My client is not a threat
to the community.

She has no prior
criminal record, Your Honor.

And you can't hold a press
conference in a lockup.

She's out of line,
Your Honor.

Oh, come on, Morty.
You wouldn't have

taken this case if you didn't
smell the publicity.

Bail is set at $200,000.

(bangs gavel)

Mr. Berger,

are you going
with an insanity defense?

Absolutely not.

This case is

about society's

Miss Cabot?

...towards the trans...
Ms. Cabot?

A few questions, please.

Miss Cabot,
hold on.

The DA's office will
try this case

in the courtroom, not the press.
Thank you.

Miss Cabot,
give us a break.

Help us out here.

Just something, huh?
Come on.

Don't want your 15
minutes of fame, Alex?

I heard
you paid Cheryl's bail.

That's a nice touch.

I can't take
the full credit.

That was the
generosity of my firm.

Cheryl makes a lovely
poster child,

so I'm guessing
you're doing this pro bono.

And you work
for a pittance,

so we're even.

You're wasting your time.

Judge is never going
to suppress Cheryl's confession.


I need it to support
my argument

that she acted
in self-defense.

Joe Capilla

was leaving the bathroom.

The threat had abated.

Her life was no longer
in danger.

Yeah, until Joe told
a waiting lynch mob

she was transsexual.

Predictions of violence are

notoriously unreliable.

Nobody can say
what Joe might have done.

Come on.

We both know what people do

when they find out the truth
about the transgendered.

They kill them.

Now Cheryl's

not responsible
for beating Joe to death

because she's transgendered.

Well, that's an excuse?

It is,
and it works.

You mean she's going to walk?

I doubt it. The irony is

Berger's argument may
actually work for our case.

People are generally hostile
towards the transgendered.

So a jury
will be, too.

Berger's going to put witnesses
up there for Cheryl,

or whatever his name is,
to tell us all about

how he grew up tormented,

and-and treated
like a freak.

You know, it sounds like
you have a problem with Cheryl.

My problem is

this he/she
and her lies are the reason

we got two dead bodies
on our hands,

and I'm the one
who's all jammed up?

Look, I need background
on Cheryl now.

Look, all we know
so far is that

she changed her name
when she was 18 years old.

She used to be
called Charles Avery.

Her parents still live

in Alphabet City.

Why don't you go
talk to them?

Maybe they can undercut
Cheryl's abuse story.

I don't know, Alex.

Italked to her.

And unless she's a damn
good actress,

she was completely
in love with Eddie,

and was afraid of losing him.

So she kills Eddie's brother?

True love doesn't
mitigate murder.

I don't think
she's a violent person.

That's fine.

Prove it.

Charlie was 16

when he started
growing breasts.

Stole the hormones

his mother was taking
for menopause.

We couldn't take it anymore.

Is that when she left?

We threwhim out.

You think we're cruel,

but we'd already
lost our son.

There was nothing else
we could do.

What about therapy?

Charlie refused to go.

He insisted that inside
he felt like a woman

and nothing was going
to change that.

God doesn't make mistakes.

We got two younger sons
and a daughter.

Now how could we explain

Charlie waxing his legs
and wearing makeup?


Sarah, honey, go to the kitchen.

We'll be done soon.


How did Cheryl
get along with
her siblings?

They stopped hanging around
with him because...

they were getting teased
at school.

Oh, how did Cheryl
do in school?

Did she have
any fights or...?


His name is Charlie.

Was he ever
violent, Mr. Avery?

He beat a kid
with a baseball bat,

put him in the hospital.

That violent enough?


Sarah, right?

My parents
are wrong.

You still talk to Cheryl?

Yes, but if my parents knew,
they'd kick me out, too.

Your parents said

that Cheryl once beat somebody
with a baseball bat.

She cut through the field
one day after school.

The baseball team saw her
and chased her.

She had to grab a bat

to defend herself.

This kind of thing happen a lot?
All the time.

I mean, kids made fun of her
like she was a big joke.

Anybody ever hurt her

They beat the
hell out of her

whenever they could.

I mean, she had to go

to the hospital three times
for stitches.

I don't care what anybody says.

She's the bravest person I know.

I talked to her teachers.

The sympathetic ones suggested

that she transfer
to Harvey Milk,

an alternative public school
for gay and transgendered kids.

So why didn't she go?

Because her parents
wouldn't let her.

Where are you
going with this?

All I need to know

is whether or not
Cheryl's been violent.

Only in self-defense.

One time, two
boys held her up
against a wall

and pulled her
pants down.

Alex, this girl has
been through hell.

I know she's been a victim,
and I know she's suffered,

but that doesn't give Cheryl
the right to kill Joe Capilla

for threatening to expose her.

Then at least
offer her a plea.

Not until I know her intent.

If Berger will agree
to a psych evaluation,

I'll have Huang talk to Cheryl.

Yeah, when I was seven,

I knew I was different.

Every night I'd go to bed
dreaming about being a girl.

Well, how did you handle that?

Forced myself to be a boy.

That must have been difficult.


I'd play with G.I. Joes

when I wanted
to dress up Barbies.

When was the first time

that you tried
to become a woman?

Can you remember?

Yeah, I was ten.

And my father caught me
putting on my mother's makeup.

And what did he do?

Well, he beat the crap
out of me,

and he called me a pervert.

Did that change
your feelings any?

It's not something
you can change.

I mean, it's-it's me.

It's how I feel.

And I can't be anything else.

But I wanted to
be a whole woman.


And I needed

the surgery,
especially after I met Eddie.


Had you ever considered
telling him?


I... I figured I'd lose him.

I mean, Eddie was the...

was the best thing
that ever happened to me.

I mean, he was the first man
that loved me as a woman.

And I figured
if I had the surgery,

I wouldn't have

to tell him.

But Joe was going
to tell him, right?

How did that make you feel?


I saw fists punching me like
all those other times before.

Anytime Cheryl's been violent,

it's been in response
to a perceived threat.

Joe had stopped the attack
and was leaving the bathroom.

The threat was over.

Not in her mind.

She feared what those
drunken partygoers

would do to her
when she left
that bathroom.

Boy, you'd make a great witness
for the defense.

I'm just calling it
like I see it, Alex.

I don't think she
intended to kill Joe.

All right.

If you're convinced,
I'll drop it to Man One.

I told Cheryl about your offer.

But she, uh...
she wants to go to trial.

She does, or you do?

Do you know
why I became a lawyer, Alex?

Uh... to see your face on TV?

To change society's

about what's normal.

I'm here for the underdog.

You're here

for yourself.

No. I'm here
for a cause.

Gender is not always binary.

People are afraid
of what they don't know.

Cheryl's case can change that.

Are you so sure

of this that you're willing

to serve up your client

as a sacrificial lamb?

She could spend the rest
of her life in prison.

Not after
this is tried

in the court of public opinion.

Joe Capilla sexually assaulted
Cheryl Avery

and threatened to out her.

She fought back
to save her life.

She's not going to prison.


Thanks for
meeting me.

Well, I shouldn't be speaking
to you without my attorney.

I shouldn't
be asking

you to, but I'm very concerned

about how Mr. Berger
is handling your case.

You're the one
prosecuting me.

Why would you care?

Because I think
you're getting
bad advice.

No, he's...

No, he's the only one
who's been on my side.

No. He knows
what I've been through.

Then he should the first one
to tell you

that your chances
of acquittal are slim to none.

I was attacked and almost raped.


He says the jury
will take my side.

I think a
jury is going

to have some trouble

separating the facts
of the case from who you are.

Well, if you're so sure
I'm going to lose,

then why are you here?

Because I want
to know why

you won't
take the deal.

What deal?

I told Berger I would plead down
to first degree manslaughter.

He never told me.

You had no right to speak
to my client without me.

I'm taking this to Judge Larsen
and the disciplinary committee.

Go ahead. They'll love the part

where you ignored
your obligation to bring my deal

to your client,
and then lied to me

and told me you had.

I've done hundreds of trials
and made new case law.

I think I know
what's best for my client.

Doesn't Cheryl have a right
to decide?


Cheryl, I have your best
interests at heart.

Go ahead, take the deal,

and you go to prison
for at least five years.

And if you don't take the deal,
and you get convicted,

you'll go for a minimum
of 15 to life.

Well, do you think
we'll lose?

You're not
guilty, Cheryl.

Answer her

Look, she's trying
to scare you.

Yeah, there's a
chance you'll lose,

but think of
everything you're
going to gain.

He's trying to make you a martyr
for the cause.

I'll take the deal.

You're making
a big mistake.

How'd it go in court?

Cheryl pled out.

You know that the only person

that came to support her
was her sister.

And you.

Yeah, but
I'm not family.

Excuse me.

Detective Benson.

Mr. Berger,
how can I help you?

Cheryl wants to talk
to you about her plea.

She needs to speak
to the ADA about that.

My client's not a big fan
of Miss Cabot.

Why not?

Well, Cheryl feels

she was tricked
into pleading out.

Well, why does she want
to talk to me?

She thinks
you'll understand
the situation.

What situation?

Her accommodations.

Look, you have to help me.

I cannot stay here.

you pled guilty.

You knew that you were going
to prison...

I'm a woman, and they put me
in a cell with men.

You didn't tell her?

I told her to go to trial.


You set her up
for your own career.

What, the murder case
wasn't enough for you?

The civil rights issue
is more pressing.

You're going
to ride it

all the way to the Supreme
Court, aren't you?

Why not?

This could be
a precedent-setting case.

Yeah, not to mention
a juicy story.

A woman in a man's prison?

You'll have the media drooling.

I'm sorry.

Just help me.

My hands are tied.

I can't move Cheryl
to a woman's prison.

Look, she was going
to have surgery.

Unfortunately, she's still
anatomically male.

New York State determines
a person's gender

based on their genitals,
not their feelings.

What, so you're not
going to do anything?

There's nothing I can do.

The law says she's not entitled
to special treatment,

and I can't put a man
in a woman's prison.

But Cheryl is not

a man anymore.

Legally, she still is.

Look, Berger has to fight it out

with the Department
of Corrections,

and I have to make
an appearance.

I will see what I can do.

Cheryl Avery is a woman.

State of New York
doesn't see it that way.

The medical community
would side with
the defendant

in the matter
of her gender.

This hearing is not about
the politics of gender.

It's about where to house him.

It's extremely derogatory
to refer to my client

using male pronouns.

You have my sincere apology.

But biologically,
your client is a man.

My client will be
singled out for abuse

in a male facility.

What if she stops
taking hormones?

Federal prison
guidelines state:

"The pre-established hormone
levels of transsexuals

must be maintained."

When prescribed
by a physician.

Your client was

with a friend's
birth control pills.

Look, I'd rather die
than stop hormone therapy.

What about protective custody?

23 hours a day

without human contact.

That's cruel and unusual.

I'm generously giving
your client a choice.

Either stop the hormones,

or go into
protective custody.

There's nothing else
you can do?

The defendant has not yet been
sentenced, Your Honor.

All right.

Ask Judge Larsen to vacate
the guilty plea,

take this to trial,
hope for an acquittal.


What's this I hear about you
wanting off the Avery case?

I just don't think I'm
the right person to try it.

That's not what I heard.

You've made several impassioned
arguments on her behalf.

Perhaps you'd like
to defend her instead.

Well, she could use
better representation

than that self-serving
snake Berger.

Reptile though he may be,

Morty Berger
is a damn good attorney.

He deserves
a worthy adversary.

I think I'm more sympathetic
to Cheryl

than a prosecutor should be.

A good ADA
has to think

on both sides of the fence.

Your empathy is a strength,
not a weakness.

You know, if Cheryl
had been born a woman,

a jury would have no problem
acquitting her.

She killed a man.

What do you care
what sex she is?

Because that,
and not the evidence,

is what's going to convict her.

No, what's going
to convict her

is a jury of her peers,

not, uh, angels,
or divine ethical beings.

I suppose it bothers me
more than it should.

Well, I'll reassign the case
if you like,

but you might want to consider,

who's going to give Cheryl Avery
the fairest treatment:

you or some other prosecutor

who will put her gender
on trial?

Gender identity dysphoria

occurs when a woman feels
trapped in a man's body.

These feelings are centered
in the hypothalamus gland

in the brain, specifically,
the stria terminalis.

Please describe
the exhibits, Doctor.

The first photo is the stria
terminalis of a male brain.

The second is that of a female.

The stria terminalis
of the male brain

is much larger
than the female's.

The third appears
to be the same size

as the female
stria terminalis.

It is,

but it is actually
the stria terminalis

of a biological male
who is transsexual.

Are you saying, Doctor,

that despite being born
with male genitals,

a portion of this man's brain
is identical to a woman's?


And, in your
expert opinion,

explain what this means
in Cheryl's case.

Cheryl feels like a woman
because her brain

is physiologically female.

Thank you, Doctor.

Uh, referring to the defense's
exhibit three,

the stria terminalis
of a male-to-female transsexual.

Is that a picture

of the defendant's

No, these are photographs
of cadaver brains.

Why didn't you photograph
Cheryl Avery's brain?

The stria terminalis is only
accessible post-mortem.

So, as far
as you know,

Cheryl's stria terminalis
is the size of a man's

and she's not a transsexual?

Object, Your Honor.

Overruled. Answer
the question, Doctor.

I can't respond
with certainty either way.

Nothing further.

Let's talk about the first time

you were assaulted
for dressing as a woman.

How old were you?

And what happened?

I was in my, um, my room,

wearing my mom's
bra and skirt

when my brother's
friend walked in.

What did he do?

He laughed.

And he said he
would tell everyone.

Did he?


Uh, in fact, the next day
at school,

three boys came in the bathroom,
and they, uh,

hit me, kicked me,
and, uh, spit on me.

How many times
have you been assaulted?

I had my nose broken,

and my, uh, my
shoulder dislocated,

and once someone set
fire to my hair.


how have these repeated
attacks affected you?

I was scared to
leave the house.

But I, I had no choice
when my parents kicked me out.

You know, and every time
someone looked at me,

I wondered, are they
going to hurt me?

Are they going to...

is this going to be the time
that someone kills me?

When Joe Capilla

assaulted you, this is
what you were feeling.


Your witness, Miss Cabot.

So you thought your life
was in danger that night.


Did anybody at the party
threaten you?

No, no.

Did anyone make derogatory
remarks about transsexuals?

No, but why would they?

Nobody knew.

Had anyone
at the party

ever hurt you before?

No. The only people I
knew there were, um...

were Joe and Eddie.

How long had you
been dating Eddie?

Two months.

Were you intimate?

Yeah, we, uh...
we kissed and fooled around,

but we never had sex.

Why not?

Because I didn't
want Eddie to know

I hadn't had my surgery yet.

So you deceived him.

I had to.

What do you think
Eddie would have done

if he'd found out
the truth?

I don't know.

Don't you?

You told Detective Benson

that you were afraid
Eddie was going to leave you.

In fact, Eddie

committed suicide
when he found out.

And I blame myself for that.

Do you blame yourself
for Joe's death?

I was protecting myself.

All I wanted to do was
hit him over the head.

If you hadn't killed him,

he would have told everyone
your secret when he came to.

Well, I wasn't thinking
that far ahead.

Weren't you?

Joe was going to tell Eddie,

and you couldn't
take that chance.

You were finally happy.

Eddie loved you.

Joe was going to ruin that.

He was going to ruin it, and I,
I couldn't let him do it.

I could not let him do it.
I had to stop him.

You did.

Nothing further.

Has the jury reached a verdict?

We have, Your Honor.

Will the defendant
please rise.

On the sole count of murder
in the second degree,

how does the jury find?

We find the defendant...


Wait, please.

Please don't do this.

Please look, you can't
put me in that place!


Help me, please... somebody!

You can't put me in that place!

Hey. I'm heading out.

You want to grab
a drink?

Thank you, but, you know,
I'm just not in the mood.

Well, neither am I, but I don't
feel much like going home.

Do you think
I pushed Cheryl too hard?

You did your job.

Then why do I feel so lousy?

Because you look at Cheryl,

and you can't imagine
what it's like

to feel that your own body
is a mistake.

(cell phone rings)


We'll be right there.

What's up?

I got to go to Bellevue.

You should come with me.

Special Victims Unit.
Called about a rape victim?

They're taking him
up to surgery now.

What happened?

Cheryl Avery was
gang-raped at Rikers.