Law & Order (1990) Episode Scripts

N/A - Swept Away - A Very Special Episode

NARRATOR: In the criminal justice system the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups, the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.
These are their stories.
I'm so sick of this mess.
DIRECTOR ON RADIO: Camera one, stay wide.
Hey, how do you justify not picking up your own things, Amber? DIRECTOR: Camera two, move in on Amber.
I'm just curious.
AMBER: I don't justify it.
I just have a lot of other things on my mind right now.
Is this about your cat? Yeah, it's about my cat.
He's been missing for three days and I'm really worried.
DIRECTOR: Okay, camera two, pick up Rocky.
ROCKY: So, why aren't you out looking for your cat instead of sitting on your ass reading magazines? Where do you suggest I look? If you want, I'll help you look for it.
You're sweet.
But what I really want is a little support.
Okay, two, follow Amber.
Where are you, Isaac? Come on, baby.
(SCREAMING) The kid's name is Wes Tatum, 20 years old.
It looked like he went off the roof.
ED: Jumped or pushed? Body's pretty mangled.
Hard to tell.
BRISCOE: So how long's he been dead? I'm gonna say two hours Give or take.
Who found the body? A group from upstairs.
What group? You know that show, uh, Deal With It? Yeah, I know it.
They live in a loft in the building.
Dead kid's a cast member.
Oh, yeah.
So, where are these kids now? They were gone when we got here.
What do you mean, "gone"? Some of the production people said the producers took them away.
Turn that light off.
We're taping.
You're not taping.
We just want to talk to you for a second.
I said, turn that light off.
Who are you? I'm the production manager.
Where are the kids who found the body? They were taken back to our offices.
On whose authority? The executive producer's.
Look, they were pretty upset.
We all are.
Oh, yeah, we could tell.
I'm sorry.
I was just trying to be journalistic.
Look, get on the phone and tell the producers we need to talk to those kids right now.
Sure, sure.
But if you wouldn't mind, first, we'd love to be involved in the investigation.
Maybe shoot some tape.
Hey, kid.
This is not show business.
This is police business.
I understand.
Sorry, Lennie, that could've been your big chance.
I'll wait for the musical version.
BRISCOE: Wes Tatum was from Upper Darby PA.
Two years of junior college.
Liked to skateboard and play bongos in the park.
He'd have been better off staying in Upper Darby.
Preliminary M.
report lists cause of death as a broken neck.
Internal injuries.
What about the tox screen? Came back clean.
So, probably not a slip and fall.
What about this TV show he was on? Deal With It? It's been on the air for three years.
Every season they go to a new city, they take seven kids, they put 'em in a house, they give them a soft-touch job, they pay all their expenses, and they videotape them doing everything except going to the bathroom.
Now, why stop there? Well, other than the kids who had access to the building? The production company and anybody they decide to let in.
Well, that's a fairly broad cross-section.
Well, we got a call in to those executive producers.
We'll try to narrow it down a little more once we talk to the cast members who found the body.
I wanna find out the last time that kid was on camera.
These are the tapes from that show.
Looks like you got your chance.
Hey, uh, aren't we gonna be late? Okay.
Deal With It.
Never seen it, already hate it.
COREY: We obviously feel terrible about what's happened, and as the executive producers, we'd certainly like to help in any way we can.
Like, by taking those kids away? These kids are very badly shaken, Detective.
We just thought a little time away from the cameras would do them good.
It's quite a thing to have had happened.
Oh, but I guess, TV show or not, we're all vulnerable in this city.
So, you don't think Wes' death had anything to do with the TV show? Anything to do with the TV show how? You know, cast, crew.
You got a lot of people coming in and out of this building.
MELANIE: Corey, let me take this one.
We screen applicants for our cast and crew like it was security clearance for a nuclear missile silo, so Missile silos can be pretty close quarters.
Maybe things changed in the course of living together.
Well, we're on top of everything that happens, so if a problem was developing, we'd know about it.
Look, I don't want to tell you guys your job, but this seems fairly straightforward to me.
Someone was on the roof, a junkie, a derelict, what have you.
Wes went up there, and an altercation occurred.
And why would Wes go on the roof? We need to talk to the cast members.
COREY: Can we at least suggest that you look to me and my wife for any preliminary information? We just did look to you and your wife for preliminary information.
Now we need to speak to the kids.
Which one of you found the body? I saw him out of the window.
It was pretty brutal.
So, you were all here? I had just gone out to get some food.
There's another kid on the show, right? Yeah, Jeremy.
Yeah? Where's he? TRENT: He went out.
Did he know we were coming? That's sort of Jeremy, you know? He likes to defy authority.
Now, what can you tell us about Wes? Have you watched the show? Assume we haven't.
Wes could be difficult.
Difficult how? Inconsiderate.
Like, oblivious to what anyone else was going through.
He talked about himself in the third person.
What does that tell you? I don't know.
He was a jerk.
Did any one of you ever have a physical confrontation with him? Guys? Jeremy might have had a problem with Wes.
So, uh, where does Jeremy go when he wants to defy authority? All right, you guys wanna talk about Wes, huh? Yeah.
We gather he wasn't particularly popular.
People made varying degrees of accommodation for his behavior.
Well, let's talk about you specifically.
Specifically? Oh, I couldn't stand him.
How come? Well, let's see.
Aside from his being a vain, shallow, passive-aggressive, he was bringing his lowlife skater friends into the loft, you know? They'd eat all our food, they'd hit on the chicks, I couldn't stand it.
Well, why didn't you tell the show's producers? What do you mean? Like telling the teachers? I'm not into that.
I confronted him myself.
Yeah? When? Let's see, the point at which I lost it was when Amber's video camera disappeared, you know? She's all like, "I don't wanna jump to conclusions.
"Everyone's always blaming Wes.
" You know? But, uh, I don't stand on ceremony.
I called him out, and we got into it.
Got into it how? Whoa, whoa, whoa.
I didn't hit him or anything, you know? I just told him how I felt and that I was onto him.
And since? We avoided each other, you know? Just out of curiosity, where were you last night? I was at a poetry reading, Saint Mark's Church.
(ED LAUGHING) Hey, it's on tape, fellows.
You can check it out 'cause the show sent a camera crew.
Amber's video camera ever show up? No.
You know, she was all mad at me, so I just let it drop.
But, I'm telling you, these skaters are the ones who took it though.
Mind if I go? Which one of you is Aaron? Who wants to know? Police department, tough guy.
Come on, step away from your friend a minute.
I'm watching for police brutality, you put a hand on him.
Oh, you do that, ace.
When's the last time you went to see Wes? Wes who died? Yeah.
Wes who died.
Man, I don't go around there with that lame-ass show.
Never? Right.
A little Abner Louima action, guys? I don't think so.
That's a nice camera.
Hey! The girl's daddy recorded the serial number of the video camera, then he reported it stolen.
Did Wes confront you about stealing it? No.
So you and your little thieving pals come around, terrorizing everybody, huh? We were there because Wes invited us.
And what about Monday? Did you receive an invitation on Monday? I should have a lawyer here.
That's no problem, man.
That's right.
You get together with your lawyer and figure out where you want to say you were on Monday, then when we catch you lying, you're gonna be that much closer to going to prison for the rest of your life.
I had nothing to do with this.
That's cool, bro, you just better hope that a jury agrees with you.
Look, man, I wasn't at the loft on Monday.
Where were you? Tompkins Square.
Doing what? Doing what, Aaron? Selling pot, man.
How much did you make? About 300.
Where's the money? (SIGHS) Spent about 80.
We got an admission that he took the video camera, but we also have a couple of witnesses that put him in the park at the time of the murder.
If we can believe what he's telling us, Wes helped him steal the camera.
Did anyone in the house know that? Nobody said so.
They covering? Well, according to these producers, none of these kids had a propensity for violence.
The things they complain about are more or less the little things that bother roommates.
These are what they call "one-on-ones.
" The kids speak directly to the camera.
WOMAN: How do you feel about Wes saying you have no talent as a musician? He said that? He said it stemmed from a lack of racial identity, that you were ashamed of having a white mother.
That that's what prevented you from getting in touch with your talent.
He dissed my mother? Now, where the hell does he get off doing that? PEREZ: Next.
He said he slept with me? WOMAN: Wes said your ambition was to be the girl all the boys in the audience wanted, and the most surefire way to accomplish that was to get something going with him.
That son of a bitch! And AMBER: He read my e-mail? WOMAN: He not only read it, he was posting it on the web.
And your picture.
Where? Pornographic chat rooms.
I'll kill him.
Now, that doesn't sound like little things to me.
The last time we spoke you gave us the impression that everybody more or less got along.
Everyone more or less does.
That's not what it sounded like in those one-on-ones.
Well, everyone gets along perfectly, you have a flat line.
And if by chance they do happen to get along, you turn them against each other? Well, I'd prefer to call it stirring the pot.
We take whatever conflicts are already under the surface and tweak 'em, that's all.
Well, do you think this stirring the pot led to one of them going off the roof? Absolutely not.
Well, we're gonna need to hear that from them.
COREY: You already talked to them.
That was when we thought everybody was being straight with us.
You know what? I'm done giving you guys free reign to talk to my kids.
I'm gonna be like a mother tiger with her cubs.
Does that mean you're gonna actively interfere with the investigation instead of just misleading us? No.
It means the kids are under strict instructions not to talk unless there's an attorney present.
Oh, and don't try and scare me with what's gonna happen if I don't cooperate.
I've been in network television for 18 years.
I don't scare.
ED: Kids are all lawyered up, producers aren't talking.
Who do we go to next? How about the grunts who actually do the work? Don't you think there's a chance that mother tiger's already talked to them? Hey, they're at the bottom of the food chain.
Chances are she's never talked to them.
Producers know you're talking to me? Why? You have to clear everything with them? I do if I want to keep working.
Nobody knows we're talking to you, man.
Look, there's a kid dead.
All we're asking is that you tell us anything about the cast that might help us.
I'm just a driver.
Hey, I hear the drivers know everything.
I know where they get picked up, I know where they get dropped off.
They give you a schedule? Once a week.
Anyone asks, you didn't get it from me.
Oh, hey, a stiff wind must've blown it out the window.
Well, after looking at all the tapes, we know everyone had something against Wes.
Well, we may know something more than that.
One of the drivers was a little bit more forthcoming than the Kaufmans.
He gave us a shooting schedule.
There's a camera operator, a sound man, a director, and a production assistant present at those tapings.
And they have three different crews, so they can either alternate or they can have the cast at three different locations simultaneously.
Well, how does that help us? Well, one of the camera operators that was working the night of the homicide, he hasn't been back to work since.
Yeah, maybe he caught a cold up on that roof.
Well, let's see how he's feeling now.
Gavin isn't here.
When'll he be back? Couple weeks.
I'm not sure.
What? He just picked up and left? He didn't pick up and leave.
He's in Montreal working for the show.
Montreal? Why? They always send the cast on some kind of trip, and Gavin's there scouting locations.
Don't they have somebody to do that? Gavin's their best cameraman, it makes perfect sense they'd send him.
Oh, perfect sense.
The day after a homicide? What are you thinking, he had something to do with that kid's death? Either that or he knows something.
CLAIR: You're wrong.
ED: Clair.
Gavin's been with the show since the beginning.
It's a little appreciation for the work he's done.
What you need to do is get on the phone and get your boyfriend here.
BRISCOE: If you don't, we're gonna have to contact the Canadian authorities and have him arrested.
This is so unfair.
They're always looking for interesting places to shoot, interesting things for the cast to do.
They sent me up there to set it up.
How long you gonna stick with that story, Gavin? 'Cause I'm just trying to plan my day here, you know? I don't appreciate your sarcasm, Detective.
We don't appreciate your client not telling us what happened on that roof.
GAVIN: I don't know what happened.
Only it seems like you do know.
Look, you're either the bad guy here, or you're a material witness obstructing a murder investigation.
How do you figure that? Your client ran away from the scene of a homicide.
Didn't even bother to call 911.
LAWYER: Which makes him guilty of absolutely nothing.
The law neither obligates him to report a crime he's witnessed or to stick around to wait for the police to show up if he had.
But whatever happened to being a good Samaritan? Victim of an overly litigious society, I'm afraid.
ED: Yeah, well, we got another victim, a 20-year-old with a broken neck who could've used a hand.
Gavin, you don't tell us what happened on that roof, I promise you, lawyer or no lawyer, I will make your situation very difficult.
LAWYER: Is that a threat? Mmm-hmm.
Oh, just consider it the rantings of an overly litigious detective.
We may not be able to charge your client, Counselor, but now that he's here, you and I both know the D.
's gonna be able to get a material witness order.
ED: Oh, they hold you in jail for that.
What does he mean, a "material witness order"? If the D.
believes you possess material information about a crime, he can ask the judge to detain you in order to compel your testimony.
I thought you said that I didn't have to report anything.
You didn't.
Now they know about you.
Sort of changes things a little.
Law's a funny thing, huh, Gavin? Look, what happened is this.
I was up on the roof, and then the two of them came up and started going at it.
The two of who? Wesley Tatum and Paul Wyler.
Now Paul confronted Wes.
ED: Confronted how? And then Wes slapped Paul, and things just got out of hand from there.
The next thing I know, Wes is going over the side.
BRISCOE: And you were doing what while all this was going on? I'm shooting tape.
You got this on film? No.
I don't.
Well, who does? I gave it to post.
To post-production.
The cameraman turned the tape in to post-production that same night.
Post-production? It's like the editors.
Well, how'd he wind up in Montreal? Hmm.
A producer said that he needed a break.
I bet they did.
Carmichael's faxing over a warrant for the tape.
Oh, I'm not waiting for a warrant.
We have an eye-witness.
You go pick up the kid, take Reina with you, and when the warrant gets here, go get the tape.
What, all by myself? I'm not supposed to be talking with you guys.
All right, let's dispense with the preliminaries.
I got a search warrant here.
If you don't cooperate, I'm gonna be forced to place you under arrest.
You're gonna place me under arrest? I make $7.
30 an hour, I log video tapes for the editors, the producers don't even call me by my right name, and you're gonna place me under arrest? Justin, right? Right.
All right, take it easy, Justin.
All I want you to do is tell me whether or not you logged in a tape the night of February 21st.
February 21st.
Gavin delivered a tape.
From the hand-held camera.
I logged it in.
Now I'd like you to get it for me.
Yeah, well, the Kaufmans said not to talk to you without a lawyer present.
Yeah? Well, Paul Wyler's the one we're looking for.
If he wants to have a lawyer present, it's his right.
We don't know where Paul is.
That goes for the rest of you? Come on, guys, there was a fight on the roof.
We don't know if Paul pushed Wes by accident, or if it was self-defense, but there's a whole bunch of ways that Paul can beat this.
You're not helping him or yourselves by not telling us where he is.
I know where he is.
Amber! It's enough.
The whole thing is enough.
I have a phone number where I can reach him.
ED: So, let's call him and arrange a meeting.
There's no chance the tape's just lost? I had the guy turn the place upside down.
The tape's not lost.
It's missing.
Somebody took it.
My money's on Fred and Ethel.
Stay where you are.
Get out of the car, Paul.
Put your hands on top of the cab.
How could you do this to me? I was trying to help you.
Oh, yeah? Yeah, you're doing a great job so far.
Paul Wyler, you're under arrest for the murder of Wesley Tatum.
AARONSON: This was an accident.
Then why didn't your client come forward right away? We have a cameraman who'll say your client pushed Wesley Tatum off that roof.
That is a total misconstruing of what happened.
CARMICHAEL: It's easy to say with the videotape missing.
I've never seen any videotape, and I resent the implication.
So you have no idea how it came to be missing? None.
But that doesn't change the fact that it's missing.
Meaning what? Meaning without it, you have a substantially weakened case.
Even without the videotape, we have an eye-witness.
With a camera in front of his face, paying attention to a hundred different things at once.
CARMICHAEL: Who viewed the murder through a lens.
You keep mentioning lenses, I'll keep asking for the tape.
You don't think I can punch holes in that, you are very much mistaken.
She's right.
If the jury hears there's a tape of the crime and we can't produce it They'll wonder why.
I wonder why.
You know, it wouldn't be pretty if that tape showed up in the middle of the trial.
Get an order to show cause.
Start with the producers.
As my responding papers indicate, Your Honor, neither myself, nor my clients are in possession of this videotape.
Your Honor, the People have provided the court with an affidavit from the editor of the show indicating there was a videotape made, that it was logged in, and that the only people who had the authority to remove that tape were the executive producers.
How about it, Mr.
Behrens? Did your clients remove the tape? Unfortunately, Your Honor, any response to the court's inquiry would constitute a breach of the attorney-client privilege.
Only if his answer is "yes.
" Judge, assuming arguendo that my clients, in fact, came to my office with this videotape, professional ethics would have precluded me from turning it over.
To do so might have incriminated them.
What did you do with it? Hypothetically? Hypothetically, this is a homicide, Mr.
Hypothetically, somebody took that tape, and whoever it was better tell me what happened to it or where it is, otherwise, hypothetically somebody's going to jail.
Judge, are you ordering me to disclose the location of this tape? Now you've got it, Counselor.
Well, in that case, at this time I would like to direct the court's attention to in rem filing New York State Supreme Court index number 75936.
What's the relevance of that? Well, the videotape's in the basement of this courthouse.
(SIGHS) I'd like to know on what basis a potentially crucial piece of evidence was concealed? Nothing was concealed.
I was merely safeguarding the confidentiality of a privileged communication by filing the videotape as an exhibit to an application seeking direction from the court as to how not to engage in an obstruction of justice.
Once again, in English, Mr.
Your Honor, uh, suppose your client comes into your office, drops a gun on your desk, and tells you he just used it to kill his wife.
Now, the disciplinary rules governing attorneys would forbid me from turning that gun over to the police because to do so would incriminate my client.
At the same time I, uh I can't keep that gun in my office.
So you filed the tape with the civil court? Yes.
It still constitutes concealment of material evidence.
And we still don't know who it was who turned over the tape to Mr.
Judge, again, as I said before, I'm not at liberty to reveal that.
Nor will I.
Careful, Mr.
I don't like being told what counsel will and won't do.
I apologize, Your Honor.
Trouble is, Judge, I'm not really sure whose interests Mr.
Behrens represents here.
Which is a clever way for Mr.
McCoy to access privileged information through a back door he wouldn't otherwise be entitled to through the front.
Relax, Mr.
I'm not going to make you kiss and tell.
However, I see no problem with the People now being able to view the videotape.
Judge, since my client is the defendant in this case, I'd like the opportunity to prepare a motion to suppress.
CARMICHAEL: On what grounds? Obviously it was someone from the show who removed the tape, which means there's no violation of the Fourth Amendment.
I agree.
There's been no search or seizure by the police.
In any event, you'd have no standing to contest it even if there were.
Now let's see what we're talking about here.
Judge, then I object to the court viewing the tape before I've been given an opportunity to do so.
Objection noted, Counselor, and overruled.
Now if there are no other lawyers who have something to say, the court wants to see the tape.
PAUL: Look, I just want to know, was it you that let Amber's cat out? What's it to you? Was it you? What are you, Amber's big, strong protector now? I want you out of the house Oh, really? Why? So you could tell Amber how big and brave you were? Oh, shut up.
Shut up.
Oh, maybe you'll get lucky.
Shut your mouth, Wes.
Hey, look.
You want to get in Amber's pants, you gotta do a little more than just talk.
Get off me, man.
That the best you got? You're not gonna mess with me, man, okay? Let's see, was it me who let Amber's cat out? Yeah, I think it was.
Oh, yeah? Let me go! (BOTH GRUNTING) (WES SCREAMING) Mr.
I think we're ready to talk about a plea.
I'm not sure there's anything left to talk about, Ms.
Trust me.
There is.
Dying declaration? Apparently, the fall didn't kill him.
At least not before Paul Wyler spoke to him.
What did he say? Wyler will testify that before he died, Wesley Tatum told him he'd been sent up on that roof to pick a fight.
It was staged? Only no one told Paul Wyler about it.
More dramatic if he didn't know.
Then who did know? Well, apparently they were smart enough not to put it in a production note.
Production note? Yeah.
It's how the producers know what's gonna happen from episode to episode.
They take each kid, talk to them once a week, find out what their plans are outside the loft, and then that helps them to decide which ones they're gonna follow with a camera crew.
And the night of the fight? They taped Jeremy at a poetry reading.
No mention of the roof.
So how'd this cameraman know to be there? Everyone in the crew is listed in their production reports.
Time in and time out.
to 12:00, 12:00 to 8:00.
That's eight-hour shifts.
Everything after that, time and a half? Yeah.
This cameraman on the roof worked 15 hours.
I went up there because I thought I might grab something.
The footage of an argument on the rooftop, the night sky, building lit up in the background.
So no one told you to go up there beforehand? Gavin's got pretty good instincts for where to be.
No one has to.
We're asking if anyone did this time.
Look, man, all I do is run a camera.
You put in for seven hours of overtime in a company where no one ever puts in for any.
Are you gonna tell me that wasn't by pre-arrangement? You can't pre-arrange what happened.
Are you really prepared to deal with the consequences of when we find out you're lying? I can't stand this.
GAVIN: Clair, I gotta work.
Not like this.
The producers knew that something was gonna happen between them.
They sent Gavin to get it on tape.
Okay? Done.
Amber, I was just COREY: I don't know, why don't we just trim the headshot and go directly to the kitchen? Well, still we're gonna be long 40 seconds.
That's a wrap.
How did you get in here? With this.
You're both under arrest for the murder of Wesley Tatum.
You can't arrest us.
We have a show to finish.
Consider yourself canceled.
We got your message, Mr.
Kaufman, but you're both represented by counsel.
If you have something to say to us, you need to go through Mr.
Behrens? His only interest is the network.
He doesn't care what happens to us.
He came down to see us.
To make sure we didn't talk to anyone.
We fired his ass.
What was Behrens afraid you'd say? First off, I want to be clear.
We never set our people against each other.
We watched those tapes.
That's exactly what you did.
Never like that.
We knew our kids, Ms.
Wes and Paul were both volatile.
It wasn't a situation we'd have allowed to happen.
We're not responsible for sending those kids up to that roof.
Who was? You have to understand, this was our first hit show.
After almost 20 years.
You pitch and you pitch, and then you go in and some kid with jelled hair says, "Sorry, we're going in a different direction.
" But not this time.
This time they said "yes.
" Who? MELANIE: Byron Stark.
He's the network vice president in charge of current programming.
The kid with the hair gel.
According to the Kaufmans, Stark didn't trust them to get a real fight going.
So he stepped in and started it himself.
Have you arranged to have him to come in? I don't want to do that.
Well, he's a network vice president, Jack.
Don't you think we should give him the opportunity to surrender? From the portrait the Kaufmans paint, I doubt very seriously if this man even believes he can be asked to surrender.
I don't want to give him the chance to destroy evidence when he discovers he's mistaken.
Pick him up.
BRISCOE: Byron Stark? Yeah? I told them to wait outside.
New York City Police Department, Mr.
We need you to take a ride with us.
That's funny.
(CHUCKLES) I beg your pardon.
No, that's good.
That's a great bit.
Who sent you over here? Is this Brillstein put you up to this? This ain't a joke, sir.
We need you to come with us.
Maybe we should come back later.
Stay where you are.
You guys are both terrific.
You should leave your head shots and resumes with my assistant outside.
Cuff him.
What? Are you kidding me? No, we're placing you under arrest.
All right, now I'm getting mad.
Call Brillstein.
Tell him this went way beyond funny, and then stay by the phone so when these idiots drop me off, you can have a car sent to pick me up.
Where are you taking him? You can't be serious about charging a network vice president? Do we look as if we aren't serious? Don't you people understand entertainment? Wes was playacting.
You forgot to tell that to Paul Wyler.
It's a reality show.
Understand? If Wyler had been told that it was fake, his reactions wouldn't have been real.
So you pit one kid against another in order to get better TV ratings and to hell with their well-being.
These kids want to be on the show.
They beg to be on it.
And millions of Americans watch.
How badly could I be treating them? JACK: Let me give you a quick sketch of what a manslaughter case might look like, Mr.
Someone incites someone else, over whom they have authority or influence, to commit an act of violence.
They arrange for the violence to occur.
It does, in fact, occur, and leads to someone's death.
I didn't intend any harm.
Your actual intent is irrelevant.
So, suddenly a television show's responsible when some kid goes nuts? Not a television show, Mr.
Who's after ratings now, McCoy? JACK: What was your relationship with Wesley Tatum? Wes would go out of his way to provoke people as a way of getting attention.
Did one such provocation occur sometime before the night of February 21st? Yes, sir.
Would you tell the court what that was? Amber, one of the girls in the loft, had a cat she was very attached to.
The cat disappeared.
Amber told me that Wes left her with the impression that he deliberately let the cat outside.
Did you say something to him? I told him I wanted to talk to him.
What was his response? He suggested that we go up on the roof.
And what happened when you got to the roof? He admitted about the cat, he taunted me, and then he slapped me.
And what did you do? I lost it.
I mean, uh, he said something about Amber, and I just snapped.
We started fighting.
Uh, then somehow I wound up pushing him over the side.
Would you tell the court what you did following that? When I got to him, he was lying there, his eyes looking right up at me.
I could see he wanted to tell me something, so I leaned down and Objection.
Dying declaration, Your Honor.
Which must be made by a person contemplating their own death.
There's no evidence Mr.
Tatum believed he was dying at the time he made the statement.
He'd just been pushed off a rooftop, Mr.
I'd think that qualifies.
Your objection's overruled.
What, if anything, did Wesley Tatum say to you? He, uh He just looked at me.
It was, uh It was hard for him to speak.
He said, "What'd you do that for, man? "Didn't you talk to 'em?" And I just looked at him.
Then he said, "It was an act.
" Did you ask him what he meant by that? Yeah.
What did he say? Nothing.
He died.
I have no further questions.
Did you ever meet Mr.
Stark before? PAUL: Once, at one of those network press things kicking off the new season.
I think he was at my casting session.
But did you know him to be involved in the day-to-day production of the show? No.
He ever give you any directions as to how to behave? No.
He tell you to go up on the roof with Wes? No.
Did he tell you to physically assault Wesley Tatum? No.
No further questions.
What was the role of the defendant in the production of Deal With It? He championed the show when we first got going.
When the show took off, he thought of it as his.
How frequently did he talk to you about it? Every day.
Did he ever talk to people on the show other than yourself? All the time.
He talked to directors, he talked to cast members, he'd show up when we were taping the one-on-ones.
JACK: How about casting? Was he part of that process? MELANIE: Bryon had the final word.
The final word? Then there was disagreement? I didn't want Paul Wyler or Wes Tatum.
Why not? Wes just wasn't a team player.
Conflict is one thing.
Perpetual obnoxiousness, that's an entirely different matter.
JACK: And Paul Wyler? He had a very questionable psychological profile.
Corey and I just didn't think Paul could handle the stress.
But the defendant thought he could? Oh, Byron Stark thought that would make good television.
Especially if Paul couldn't handle it.
Jury will disregard.
Did the defendant ever conduct an off-camera interview with any member of the cast? On one occasion.
With Wes Tatum.
Present at the time? Yes.
Would you tell the court what you heard the defendant say to Mr.
Tatum? He told him the show needed fireworks going into sweeps.
He told Wes he was our "go-to guy," that was the expression he used, and he wanted Wes to get something going physically with one of the cast members.
Did he specify with whom? He went through a list of possible altercations.
Was Paul Wyler among them? That was Byron's first choice.
JACK: Nothing further.
What else was on the list of possible altercations? MELANIE: Walking in on Amber while she was getting dressed and refusing to leave.
Hiding Rocky's insulin.
Telling Jeremy he questioned the historical accuracy of the Holocaust.
Did he do any of those things? No.
Are you aware of Byron Stark telling Paul Wyler to push Mr.
Tatum off a roof? No.
Are you aware of Byron Stark telling Paul Wyler anything at all? No.
I'm not.
No further questions.
I've worked in network television since I was 22.
It's a very competitive business, and I want to win as much as anyone.
Would I have someone physically hurt or placed in real jeopardy? Not for anything.
You did have a conversation with Wesley Tatum, did you not? Yes, I did.
What'd you say to him? I wanted to know how he felt about being the quote-unquote "bad boy" of the household.
How did he feel? I think Wes had a sense of humor about it.
He knew that as much as it was a reality based show, it was reality manipulated to make for good storytelling.
Did you suggest to Wesley Tatum that he instigate a fight with Paul Wyler? No.
I did not.
BEHRENS: Did you suggest to Wesley Tatum that a fight take place on the roof? No.
Well, what did you suggest to Mr.
Tatum? That provided he was comfortable with it, the petty squabbles, the interpersonal conflicts, "Who ate all the cookies and didn't say anything?" could make for good television.
Did you have any indication that this suggestion would lead to physical violence and ultimately to Mr.
Tatum's death? None whatsoever.
Nothing further.
No indication your suggestion could lead to violence? BYRON: That's right.
Had you read the psychological profiles of either one of these kids? No.
I did not.
But the executive producers objected to this suggestion, did they not? Melanie and Corey wanted to proceed more cautiously, but in the end they were on board with my decision.
So it was your decision? Yes.
What are sweeps, Mr.
Stark? November, February, and May, that's when ad rates are set based on ratings.
What affect does this have on programming? You try to put your best foot forward, event programming, special episodes of current series.
You try to schedule the most promotable shows you can.
That's not just me, that's everybody.
When did your conversation with Wesley Tatum take place? I'm really not sure.
Ask that the day-planner for Byron Stark be introduced into evidence as People's Exhibit 19.
JUDGE: So ordered.
Reading from the day planner.
"Meeting with Wesley Tatum, December 17th.
" Okay.
December is when you plan for February sweeps, is it not? I suppose so.
And was the altercation between Paul Wyler and Wesley Tatum part of that plan? Absolutely not.
Ask that this memorandum be introduced into evidence as People's Exhibit 20.
So ordered.
This memorandum says that it was issued by your office, does It not, Mr.
Stark? Yes.
Read us the title.
"Sweeps Dreams.
" Read us the entire title.
"Sweeps Dreams, Cleaning the Competition's Clock.
" Under "Proposed Programming for Sweeps Dreams," what's listed for the show Deal With It? "Wes takes on the world.
" It does not say, however, "Wes has a fight on a rooftop.
" It doesn't say, "Wes dies.
" But he did die, didn't he, Mr.
Stark? BEHRENS: Objection.
Nothing further.
I don't think that's what we're talking about.
I do understand what you're saying.
Thank you.
Fifth call from Hollywood.
Everybody's very concerned about the First Amendment.
More like their fall season.
Is it possible Stark was just talking? He knew that talking to Wesley Tatum, there was a better than 50-50 chance he'd be taken seriously.
I'm just not sure a jury's going to send this clean-cut young executive to prison on the basis of something he might've said casually.
Do they ever do that? Do what? Well, say things casually.
Whether it's missing children or triumph over illness or 20-year-olds hanging out at coffee houses, it just seems they adhere to trends in a pretty calculated manner.
Melanie Kaufman testified there was a list of possible altercations.
He had research done.
JACK: What is a media consultant, Mr.
Cardorette? I run focus groups, interpret data, and advise networks on programming.
Did you ever have occasion to advise the defendant? Yes.
Would you tell the court what it was you advised him to do? I said his demographics were skewing too far over to females 13-to-25.
I said the network needed to address an erosion among males the same age group, and also to broaden their reach by not conceding the 26-to-49-year-olds.
How, if at all, did that apply to the show Deal With It? Well, the show had, and has, an enormous untapped potential, in my opinion.
Since they change casts and venues every three months, I provided input on how they could help themselves by who they cast and where they shoot.
Also, in the kind of events our focus groups told us an audience wanted to see.
And what kinds of events were they? The data showed that the target audience for this show wants conflict.
Someone to root for.
Someone to root against.
And an escalating conflict between them.
And did you convey these results to Mr.
Stark? Yes, I did.
I have no further questions.
Is Deaf With It the only show of the defendant's on which you do research? No.
I do research on all his shows.
And have you advised him that conflict needed to be heightened on other shows? Objection.
Goes directly to the prosecution's theory of causality, Your Honor.
I'll allow it.
Cardorette? It's quite common for a focus group to come back with a stated preference for heightened conflict.
Did you advise Mr.
Stark of that on other shows? Yes.
To the best of your knowledge, was anybody ever killed or injured as a result? To the best of my knowledge, no.
Nothing further.
Re-direct, Your Honor.
Cardorette, did the defendant ever ask you to conduct specific research as to any members of the cast of Deal With It? Yes.
What did that entail? I was given a list of varying preferences, for example, least objectionable character, character most desirable to go away with for the weekend, things of that nature.
What about the character the death of whom would be most cause for celebration? Yes.
Was that the exact name of the category given to you by the defendant? Yes, but I don't think it was intended to be taken literally.
It's simply dramatic license.
Dramatic license.
Tell us, Mr.
Cardorette, who was it on the show the audience wanted to see dead? Wesley Tatum.
Hands down.
JACK: Nothing further.
What are you looking for, McCoy? Man two.
How much time? Two-to-six.
I've never gotten so much as a speeding ticket.
He is the vice president of a network.
Who set in motion events that led to someone's death.
Shouldn't make me responsible.
Which is a position you're certainly free to go to the jury with.
They'll decide whether or not you're responsible.
I'm not sure that being a network vice president is gonna help you there.
Take the offer, Byron.
Was it me who let Amber's cat out? Yeah, I think it was me.
Oh, yeah? Let me go! (BOTH GRUNTING) (WES SCREAMING) Pretty horrifying.
And the news organizations can't wait to get their hands on it.
I already have their subpoena.
You think they'll air it? It's reality television.
Truth is, when Stark gets out of prison, they'll probably make him a network president.