Law & Order True Crime (2017): Season 1, Episode 1 - The Menendez Murders: Episode 1 - full transcript

The Menendez murders that shocked Beverly Hills.



Hills Emergency.

ERIK: Uh, yeah,
yes, please. Uh...


OPERATOR: What's the problem?

What's the problem?
What's the problem?

ERIK: Somebody
killed my parents.

OPERATOR: Pardon me?

ERIK: Somebody
killed my parents.

OPERATOR: What? Who?

OPERATOR: Are they
still there? ERIK: Yes.

OPERATOR: The people
who... ERIK: No, no, no. No.

OPERATOR: They were shot?

ERIK: Yes, they're
dead. LYLE: No.

a hysterical person on.

I'm trying to get anything further.
I don't know what they're saying.

Is the person still there?

ERIK: Uh, no.

POLICEMAN: What happened? We
have units involved. What happened?

ERIK: I don't... I don't know.

I just came home.

home and found who was shot?

ERIK: My mom and my dad.

were in bed? ERIK: No.

OPERATOR: Do you know
if they're still in the house?

The people that
did the shooting.

ZOELLER: Chief said
this was a doubleheader.

Jose and Kitty Menendez.

Neighbors heard pops around ten.

Sons Lyle and Erik came home,

found the gate open
and the alarm off.

Where're the sons now?

Sarge brought
them to the station.

You run the plates
on these yachts?

The Alfa's Lyle's.

This Mercedes is
registered to Mr. Menendez.

The other's a loaner while his
wife's Rolls is being serviced.

A Mercedes loaner.

My wife takes the car in for
service, she gets a bus ticket.


Behold his mighty hand!


Shotgun. How many
shells recovered?

None. Shooter picked 'em up.

That's different.

LYLE: Well, I... I usually stay
in the guesthouse out back,

when I'm home from Princeton.

year are you there?

LYLE: Sophomore...

I'm supposed to go
back in September.

Joseph Lyle Menendez.

You're named after your father?


But I... I go by Lyle.

So, you and Erik
had plans for tonight?


To go see a movie, and
then meet up my friend Perry.

Perry Berman.

And what about your parents?

They were just staying in.

Watch TV.

It's Sunday.

Yeah. We went to the movies,

in Century City, we saw Batman.

We weren't even
gonna go out, you know.

There wasn't a plan where
we always go out on Sundays.

We should've just
stayed in... (SNIFFLES)

Oh, God. I saw smoke
and blood everywhere.

How could Dad let it happen?

(SIGHS) It's all right, Erik.


After the movies,
you went where?

Uh, the Civic Center,
in Santa Monica.

To meet a friend, Perry,
at this wine tasting thing.

We couldn't find him. So,
Lyle called him at home.

LYLE: I was, you
know, a little bit upset.

I told him to meet us in Beverly
Hills, at the Cheesecake Factory.

How come you went by the house?

To pick up this
ID that Erik had,

in case he had
to get into a bar.

But he doesn't
drink. He plays tennis.

Lyle, do you have
any ideas on this,

to help us solve it?

Well, this movie company
my father owns now,

the stories he brings home,
these are a real seedy group.

He basically just fired
a bunch of people.

He was a great man.

He was born in Cuba.
He did what he wanted.

My mother was the
great tragedy in all of this.

Only my brother and I know
this but she was very edgy

and suicidal.

She was more stable lately.

And my dad has been...

I never really got a
chance to sit down and talk.

LESLIE: The prosecutors want you
to send this boy to the gas chamber

for killing his abusive father.

You have to ask yourselves,

is the only good abused child, the
only one who deserves our compassion?

The dead one?

My client chose not to die.

He shot his father

because driven
by years of terror,

he was afraid his
father would kill him.

If you convict him now
of first degree murder,

it will be his father's
last act of terror,

with you as his accomplice.

REPORTER: 19-year-old Arnel Salvatierra
walks out of court today a free man

after a judge gave him probation
for the killing of his father.

The jury found him guilty
only of voluntary manslaughter

thanks to lawyer Leslie
Abramson's plea for leniency.


Leslie, what message
does this send?

This was a battered and abused
child whose judgment was not perfect.

Whose fault that was, I
think the jury figured it out.

What's next for you, Arnel?

Come on, guys,
give us some room.

Come on, Lesley.

Unless you want my
knee in your sack, back off.


You can't be on the property.

This is our house. We live here.

We just came to get our stuff.

I'm Detective Zoeller, I'm in
charge of the investigation.

You must be Lyle and Erik.

I'm sorry for your loss.

We, uh, we need to
pick up our tennis gear.

You're going to play tennis?

Yeah. My brother
has a practice today.

I can't let you in the house.

It's an active crime scene.

We can't run the risk you
might disturb something.

This is our house. You can't
keep us out of our house.


Come back in three hours.
I'll make sure you get in.

LINEHAN: Zoeller.

What the hell is that?

A ferret. There's two live ones
in a cage in the master bathroom.

It's why there's turds
all over the place.

Ferrets. I don't think
I've ever seen a ferret.

Found these back here.

Twenty-two caliber.
Never been fired.

And in here...


Anxiety pills,
sleeping pills, diet pills,

pills for depression...

All in the name
of Mrs. Menendez.

Guns, pills and money.

What could possibly
go wrong here?

couple was gunned down

at their Beverly Hills
Estate late Sunday night.

Menendez was the CEO
of LIVE Entertainment,

a corporation that
distributes top videos.

Although Menendez's family
suspects mob connections,

they could not name names.

GORSON: The former owner
of the company was Noel Bloom.

Jose never liked Bloom.

Jose was dead set
against pornography,

and that's how Bloom
got his start, selling porn.

There's also Morris Levy.

We heard that name.

He owned a chain of record
stores that Jose bought.

They say he's mobbed up.


We'll also want to talk to
Mr. Menendez's personal friends.

Oh, I don't know
who that would be.

The people closest to Jose were
the ones who worked with him.

How long have you
worked with him?

Since 1976, at Hertz.

I'll miss him very much.

Company's having a
memorial service on Friday.

How were things at
Mister Menendez's home?

The family was very close-knit.

Jose ran a tight ship.

How about Mrs. Menendez?

We noticed she was
taking a lot of medication.

For depression. She
was very insecure.

We found a property in
Calabasas in his name.

Were they separating?

No. They're building
a house together.

They used to live in Calabasas
before they had to move to Beverly Hills.

Why did they have to move?

Erik broke into a
neighbor's house.

TERRY: Oh, my poor nephews...

LYLE: We love you, Aunt Terry.

Oh, the whole family
loves you both so much.

You won't be alone.

Grandma will be here later.

We, uh...

We got rooms at the
hotel for everybody.

We can all be together.

Oh, Joan, I'm so sorry.

It's just horrible. Your
sister was so sweet.


The police have any suspects?

Maybe. People Dad worked with.

This is, uh, some
hotel you picked.

It's okay, Uncle Brian. Dad's
company's paying for everything.

Plus it's safer here.

Safer? Have you been threatened?

Well, Erik was at the house this
morning with our cousin Henry.

There was a van in the alley.

Like it was watching
the house, right?

It was weird, that's for sure.

Dad had some sketchy
business partners.


Oh God, Lyle. I'm so sorry.

You didn't have to fly
all the way out here.

No. No, I did.

I know how much you
looked up to your father.

He liked you so much.

It'd mean a lot to him
knowing you were here.

You know, Erik's in bad shape.
It'd be great if you could talk to him.

Yeah. Sure.


JOSE: I'm not paying
for any trip to Europe.

You have your studies. Study
or work, those are your choices.

Jamie'll be over
there for a year.

I have to go see
her. We're engaged.


She's five years older than
you. She's not appropriate.

She's a gold digger.

Dad, she doesn't need our money.

She'll get rich playing tennis.

That's why she's
in Europe. She...

She got sponsored
to play on the tour.

Are you that naive?

Who do you think paid
for the sponsorship?

I'm thinking about
your future, Lyle.

And so should you.

I'm so sorry.

Thank you so much.

Mister Chaleff thinks someone
should take charge and pay the bills

at least until we can
find your parents' wills

and, uh, we'll get
the estate settled.

Aunt Marta, um, Uncle Carlos,
this is my therapist Doctor Oziel.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Jose and Kitty were
amazing people.

You must be overwhelmed.

If you need an estate lawyer, I
know the top ones in Beverly Hills.

Thank you, Doctor. They'll let
you know if they need a referral.

He's the shrink Erik has to see
'cause of the Calabasas thing.

It's good that he has
someone to talk to.

Now, it's going to take a week
to straighten everything out.

Do you and Erik have enough
pocket money to tide you over?

Well, our allowance
is only a $180 a month.

Your father's wallet
was in his study.

You can use his company card.

I'll make sure
you're authorized.

LINEHAN: Ballistics
counted 15 shots.

But they can't tell if the
headshot on the male victim

was first or last, or if he
was standing or sitting.

It doesn't always
lay out nice and neat.

Point taken.


Just the folks who live here.

Sheriff County O.C. have anything
on Noel Bloom or Morris Levy?

Bloom's got no strong motive.

Levy's in a coma,
rotting from cancer.

This isn't organized crime.

A pro wouldn't waste time
picking up spent shells.

Wasn't Erik Menendez assaulted by some
gang-bangers in the Valley two years ago?

So they rolled into Beverly
Hills to settle a two-year-old beef?

Miss Ferrero, I've been
working this area 14 years.

And every time something
bad happens here,

the good citizens of Beverly
Hills say it's got to be the bangers,

or the Mob, or Charlie Manson.

Always an outsider, because
nobody bad lives in Beverly Hills.

I'm familiar with your work on
"Billionaire Boys Club", Detective.

I'll call you after
I brief Mr. Reiner.

Is this how it's
supposed to look?

Yes. We have to look
sharp for the memorial.

We'll be on stage speaking.

It just feels too tight.

That's the cut.

We'll take it. And the
two Armanis for me.

You can put it on this.

Gold, just like Dad's.

Come on, pick one.

No, I have a watch.

That's not a watch, it's a toy.

How about this
one, the sporty one?

The Submariner.

It's a classic.

He'll take it.

I'll take the gold and the stainless
with the diamonds on the dial.

And two gold money clips.



I told you, you
shouldn't wear that.

It's just a watch.

It's a gold watch you bought four
days after your parents were killed.

The family won't understand.

My father would.

Please, Uncle Carlos.
These are his colleagues.

I have to represent
him. I'm the oldest.

LYLE: I want to read from a
letter my father wrote to me

after I became engaged
to my fiancée Jamie.

"Family is the most
important thing in my life

"and I hope it will be in yours.

"We are heirs to a
very special heritage.

"With that comes
a responsibility.

"I urge you as you go through life to
think of your family and your country.

"I believe you and Erik
can make a difference.

"Work with honor and
challenge yourself to excellence.

"The future belongs
not just to the brightest

"but also to the
most determined.

"Love to you both, Dad."


My dad believed in me,

he thought that I could
be a tennis champion.


when I would get
discouraged, he would...

He would tell me

what Winston Churchill said,

"Never, never, never give up."

It's okay.

Laine is thrilled with the
idea of having a little sister.

Or brother. She doesn't think
we're too old to be changing diapers?

No. Why, do you?

I signed on to this job 12
years ago for better or worse.

I can stand a few poopy diapers.

Laine said when she's done with
Cal Arts, she'll come to our rescue.

I told her we don't have
an adoption agency yet.

It'll be okay, baby.

We'll be terrific parents.

Yeah. Not that we
had great role models.

We learned from
their bad examples.

Who's in your crosshairs today?

Usual suspects
living in Los Angeles.

Chief Gates, choke hold.

It'll run in Monday's edition.

(ON TV) There
are no suspects yet.

Family members
offered their own theories.

My brother made the
mistake of buying a business

that had been used before by
the Mafia. When he took over...

What does the brain
trust at the Times think?

Soble and Johnson think there's
something to this mob angle.

MAN: (ON TV) Their
deaths leave behind two sons

Lyle and Erik Menendez.

No. Those boys did it.

Seen here, attending their parents'
memorial service at the Directors Guild

shortly after their
parents were brutally slain.


Hey, Tom, check this out.

It was broken in the night of.

But with the front door
open, there'd be a draft.

Hey, Sergeant?


When you interviewed Erik Menendez,
he said something about gun smoke?

Yeah. He saw and smelled gun smoke
when he and his brother came home.

Two hours after the shooting.

Gun smoke would've
dissipated by then.

Especially with a draft.

When they brought those boys back
to the station, you run a G.S.R. on 'em?

Uh, well, nah, I mean
they were so broken up...

So, you gave 'em a pass.

The rich kids'
get-outta-jail pass.

You're my angel...

GLENN: Where are those guys?

LYLE: I told you
they couldn't keep up.

Ah, so how long you gonna
need these bodyguards?

I don't know.

I was at the bank in
Beverly Hills the other day,

a guy walked by me
and said, "You're next."

I need 'em for protection.


Here they are.

What about Erik?

He's okay. He's staying with
my loudmouth cousin Henry.

What the hell's
that all about, huh?

Yeah. We were
just in a hurry to eat.

Whoa, whoa, whoa,
whoa. We go in first.


BERMAN: I was supposed to
meet Lyle and Erik in Santa Monica.

They didn't show by
10:30. I went home.

Am I a suspect?

We're looking at everyone.

So what happened
after you went home?

(SIGHS) I went to sleep.

I already told Sergeant Edmonds.

Lyle called me about
a quarter past 11.

They said they got lost.

They say where they
were calling from?

No. But he said he
still wanted to meet up.

He wanted to discuss
Princeton issues.

What are "Princeton issues"?

Lyle was suspended
for plagiarism.

I used to be his tennis
coach. We remained friends.

I told them I'd meet them
at the Cheesecake Factory.

The one in Beverly Hills.

Yeah. But Lyle insisted he
wanted to meet at the house.

He said something about
getting an I.D. for Erik.

He insisted.

And I told 'em I'd meet
'em at the restaurant.

They never showed up.

He insisted you had to meet at
the house, that's what you said?

Yeah. He...

He sounded bad.

I need to make a call, tell
a student I'm gonna be late.


Sounds like they wanted Berman
there when they found the bodies.

A witness to their shock.

Yeah. They knew what
they were gonna find.

LYLE: So here's the plan.

How long have we been
coming here? Two years?

It's always busy. I
want to buy this place.

Make it the flagship of a
chain of hot wing joints.

Put one in every college
town in the Northeast.

Freaking brilliant.

And Glenn, I want you
to manage the flagship.

I'll make you a partner.

You serious?

I'm in. I'm in.

I really need this to work.

I want to move fast. A
lightning pace, like my dad said.

I want to make him proud.

Maybe he's watching me,

I don't know.


No, no.


Come on, Mom, I'm gonna
have practice. Come watch me.


Mom, you can't
stay in bed forever.

I know Dad cares about you.

We all care. We love you, Mom.







Hey, Erik. Did I wake you up?


Uh, listen, I found this tape
recorder in your dad's study,

wired to your line.

There's, uh, tapes
marked "Erik and Lyle".

Did you know your parents
were recording your calls?


I guess that's how Mom
always knew what I was doing.

I don't know, Erik, if it
was me I'd be pissed.

No disrespect,
but your parents...

You don't understand, Henry.

She was so unhappy.

She was defenseless.


I'll bring the cassettes home.


Doctor Jerome Oziel.

Doctor Oziel, uh, this is Henry
Llanio, Erik Menendez's cousin.

We met at the hotel.

Yes. Is everything
alright, Henry?

I'm worried about Erik.

He doesn't sleep at
night. He has nightmares.

He stays in the house,
in a dark room all day.

We're worried he'll
try to hurt himself.

Why? Has he said anything?

Well, no, but... I just think...

Henry, people deal with
grief in different ways.

Why don't you encourage
Erik to give me a call.

Okay, Doctor, thank you.

I'll do that...


Come on. I thought
you forgot about me.

If you don't stop camping
out in my waiting room,

I'm gonna have to call the
police and have you thrown out.

Who's gonna take
care of Doctor Daddy?


I have work.

Go sit over there.

You're such a control freak.

I heard the phone
ring. Was that your wife?

It was about a patient.

Erik Menendez.

The one whose
parents got killed?

You have such famous patients.

Extraordinary people with ordinary
problems. I help them get better.

You said you were
gonna leave her.


Jerry. I function
when we're apart.

But I live when we're together.

Laurel and I are
talking about what to do,

about the kids,
dividing everything up.

But you don't
dictate the timeline.

I feel bad, Doctor Daddy.

Make me better.

The Batman show
times fit their story.

Menendez let his kids
use his Sprint calling card

to charge toll calls
and payphones.

We get a warrant
for the records,

we'll see who they
called that night.


Detective Zoeller.

MAN: (ON PHONE) My name's
Richard Knox. I'm a lawyer.

I'm calling on behalf of a woman

whose son went to high school
in Calabasas with Erik Menendez.

She asked me to
pass on information.

She said you should speak to one of
Erik's classmates, a boy named Craig.

They wrote a
screenplay together.

Wild thing Please
baby, baby, please

Posse in effect Hanging
out is always hype

And when me and the crew leave the
shindig I want a girl who's just my type

WOMAN: He should
be here any minute.


Uh, these detectives are
with the Beverly Hills Police.

They want to ask you about Erik.

I told them you'd be happy
to answer their questions.

ZOELLER: Thank you.

I'm Les Zoeller. This is
my partner Tom Linehan.

We, uh, understand you
went to school with Erik.

Yeah, um, until he
moved to Beverly Hills.

I haven't seen
him in six months.

Did you and Erik write a movie script
about a boy who killed his parents?

Yeah, and inherits
millions of dollars.

We wrote it two years ago,
when he lived in Calabasas.

We'd like to read it.

Sure. Um, there's a...
There's a copy in my room.

Erik's mom helped us type it up.

Did Erik ever talk
about inheriting money?

No. I mean, we
talked about being rich.

You know, we'd go into the hills above
Malibu, to get away from everything

and, you know, dream up this
better ideology for the future.

You know, a lot of people looked
up to me and Erik in high school.

Like, we had this
aura of superiority.



You guys think Erik did it?

I mean, you know...
Killed his parents?

What do you think?

Well, I mean the... The
script was his idea, so...


"Hamilton Cromwell, 17,

"stands over the coffins
of his murdered parents."

"He says, 'My father was not
a man to show his emotions.

"'Sometimes he would tell me
I was not worthy to be his son.

"'Nothing I have ever done
was good enough for this man...'"

Out of the mouths of babes.

The Ford Escort the boys
were driving that night,

it's missing.


Detective Zoeller.

Yeah. This is Gerald Chaleff.

Yes, Mr. Chaleff.

Yeah. I hear you're talking
to Erik and Lyle's friends.

Are the boys suspects?

At this stage,
everyone's a suspect.

No one's been
officially eliminated.

Right. You let me
know if that changes.

How did you get to be the
Menendez family consigliore?

I represented Erik on some petty
burglaries in Calabasas. Teenage stuff.

Lyle was involved but
since Erik's a minor,

their father made him take the
fall so Lyle wouldn't get a record.

Erik got probation and
court-ordered counseling.

So, what're they like, the boys?

Very polite. Well-behaved
for the most part.

What is in the bag?

Chocolate-brownie Pogens.

Roberto's mom said
they're his favorites.

Even hit men have
mothers who love them.

Good morning, Roberto.

I got you a little something.

Miss Abramson, you're
too much. (CHUCKLES)


Judge Weisberg presiding.

Please sit down.

Miss Abramson, is
that a bakery bag?

Tell your client there's
no eating in my courtroom.

He knows, Your Honor. He
was raised with good manners.

Maybe you can
learn some from him.

Maybe we both can, Your Honor.

We got the warrant for
the calling card records.

Guess that officially
makes the boys suspects.

GLENN: Oh man,
this is so badass.

LYLE: If you want
success, you project it.

You want people
to be intimidated.

LINEHAN: We followed up on a call that Erik
and Lyle made the day after the murders.

It was to a bank.

They told us Lyle and Erik had
their parents' safety box drilled open.

That's right. I was there.

The bank also said the boys
insisted on opening the box in private,

with just the two of them.

Yes, in case there were personal
papers that might embarrass their parents.

How about a will?
Did they mention that?

No. We were all
looking for the will.

It wasn't in any of
the usual places.

Were Lyle and Erik concerned
you couldn't find the will?

They didn't seem interested.

They're immature about money.

We never found the will, but counting
the Calabasas house and this one,

your parents left you an estate
worth about 14 million dollars.

That can't be right, Aunt Marta.

We're not supposed
to get anything.

You're the direct heirs.
You'll inherit everything.

That's impossible. Dad said
he was taking us out of the will.

I'm sure my brother said
that just to scare them,

so they would listen to him.

Are you the executor?

No. My brother-in-law
is, Carlos Baralt.

Jose talked about cutting
them out of the will last spring.

He just went off on those boys.

I'm fed up. Lyle
is flunking out.

Princeton accused
him of plagiarism.

And these girls he's with.


Come on, Jose.
It can't be that bad.

My sons think they can sit back
and wait for their inheritance.

I've made a decision.

I'm changing my will.

They'll have to get by
on their own initiative.

Do you know if he told his sons?

No. I have no idea if
he even rewrote the will.

The one we found still
has the boys as the heirs.

You found a will?

Yes, in a drawer
in Kitty's bathroom.

It was dated 1980.

I looked for a new will. I
searched Kitty's computer.

I found a file named "Will".

I couldn't open it.

I called IBM to send a tech.

Um, a guy drove up from San Diego a
few days later, with his pregnant wife.

He searched the computer.

It's not here. No
file marked "Will".

How's that possible? It
was there five days ago.

Are you sure?

It's not on this computer. The
file must have been erased.

Where were Lyle and Erik?

Erik was staying with his cousin
Henry. Lyle was still in Princeton.

I have no idea who
could've erased that file.


The hard drive was wiped clean.

Can you get the files back?

We don't have that capability.
This technology's pretty new.

Maybe the Feds,
but it'll take months.

The monitor on the Menendez
bank account popped this out,

check dated August
31st for a 150 bucks,

to a computer firm in West
L.A., signed by Lyle Menendez.

And, oh yeah, the check bounced.

JAMIE: I thought you wanted
to open a chain of restaurants.

Well, that's just
part of the portfolio.

A trucking company'd
be another part.

Lyle, you need to focus.

I know that you have a
lot on your mind lately, but,

you're, kind of scattered.

Really? What do you mean?

Like your checkbook.

I heard the message
from the bank.

If you don't know how to balance
your checkbook, I can show you.

Okay. Look, I'm... I'm trying,
Jamie. I'm really trying. I...

I know.

Didn't your dad teach you
how to handle your money?

No, I...

He never showed me.

Good morning.

Lyle, we've instructed you on this. You
have to page us before you come down,

so we can secure the area.

Look, I heard through this friend that
everything's cool with the mob now.

So I won't need you anymore.


WITKIN: August 31, 1:30 p.m.

My company beeped me
about an urgent service call

from a Lyle Menendez
in Beverly Hills.

I called him back from my car.

Uh, he needed files erased
from his computer right away.

He'd flown in from New York and
he was flying back that evening.

I went right over.

Those four right there. "Erik",
"Lyle", "Will", "Menendez".

I'm selling the computer.

Can you make it look like
those files were never there?

If that's what you want.

Did you see what
was on those files?

No. Three'd been written over.

The one marked
"will" was corrupted.

But it only had
54K of data on it.

How much is that?

"Pastrami on rye with a side of
cole slaw and hold the pickles".

That's 29K.

Do you mind if I
visit the men's room?

You know, it looks like the parents started
on a new will but never finished it,

or they changed their minds.

Get rid of your parents,
get rid of the new will.

Sounds like a plan to me.

I was in high school when
Sharon Tate was killed.

But this is more shocking.
I mean, Beverly Hills,

five blocks away from Rodeo.

Goes to show, all the
money in the world, you're

only as safe at the
lock on your front door.

What makes you think
it wasn't an inside job?

What would make
you think it was?

Well, 15 shots from a shotgun?

Those poor people
were blown to bits.

Point blank to the face. Back of
the head. That is capital "A" anger.

There's only one thing that
can generate that level of anger.


I left the windows open
upstairs to air out the house.

I had the whole place
cleaned professionally.

Come on, Grandma, we'll get
you set up in the guest room.

The furniture, carpets,
it's all been replaced.

It's just like before.

When sky breaks

Time reaches for me

I'm awake for the first time

It's too late

I'm on the other side

Ooh, ooh

This is where it all begins

Grandma's taking a nap.

I'm glad you're both here.

You can look out for each other.


Where are you? Erik.


Erik, what's wrong?


What happened?


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