Law & Order (1990) s01e05 Episode Script

Happily Ever After

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.
Attendant: Must've been a good party.
All parties are good after 12:00 and before 3:00.
woman: You think Sara-Louise drinks too much? You were counting? Just jealous.
I can't touch a drop if we're really going to start trying.
You really want to? Don't you? As long as I don't have to do the 2:00 feeding.
Honey, the flowers.
My brother, he said ain't no woman good enough for him.
Including his wife.
Attendant: It came from the garage.
Can she talk? Yeah, at the hospital.
Yeah, the good citizens outside, they heard screams.
And they fell all over each other trying to help, right? Robbery? Her purse was empty and his wallet's gone.
It's probably in a garbage can a block away.
ID? Car registration.
Ralston, Janet, Alan.
They live a block away.
In the stairwell.
Crack pipe.
Still warm.
witnesses? all blind.
Car like that? Should've bought a clunker, spent the money on a better neighborhood.
Or one at least more than a half a block from a police precinct.
Those people, how much paper they got? A couple of hundred grand? I was them, I'd have me a driver.
You don't even have a car.
If I had a car.
And if I did, it wouldn't be no Lincoln.
Ladies, you see anybody at all? No, I ain't hear nothing, I ain't seen nothing.
That's what she's good at- nothing.
Man: He was black.
A kid.
Came out that door running.
Max: You get a look at him? The designated driver says he saw a kid.
How many fingers? Three.
Ralston was very lucky.
Lucky? She lost her husband.
Let's say her children were lucky then.
At least she's still around.
when can we get a description from her? As soon as she wakes up, I would think.
So the wounds weren't serious then? A defense wound to the forearm one to the left gluteus maximus.
Last year, Janet was mugged.
Central Park.
Ardsley, Hastings - she wanted to move somewhere up the Hudson.
Someplace with a backyard.
The city's no place to raise a family anymore.
Just last week I was getting their finances in order.
They wanted to move before the third kid.
Alan's mother.
I called- I called Denise, the babysitter.
She's taking care of the kids.
You were with the children last night, ma'am? Those poor babies.
without Alan Excuse me.
Himes, could you get a list of the stuff they were carrying? Jewelry, credit cards I'll have it to you first thing in the morning.
$50,000- for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever killed Alan Ralston.
I'll have my lawyer notify the papers in the morning.
If that's what it took to get a killer, they'd get rid of us and use our salaries as rewards.
Couldn't look worse.
Max: It could've happened in front of the precinct.
Half a block away.
Two cops.
Logan: They don't issue telepathy with badges.
Oh really? well, I'm telepathic, and this is the message I'm sending- I don't like looking like a freaking incompetent.
The message I'm getting is that we're at a dead end.
The only good citizen to come forward is a wino.
Then you squeeze him for everything he's got.
Then you interview everybody who was on the street that night, then you interview everybody who lives on the street- Are you getting the picture? Shelters rather sleep on the street.
Company's better.
No room service, though.
Yup, same guy.
Max: Willie Tivnan.
You want to buy me a drink? Mr.
Tivnan has a scar on his thumb.
Cut himself deep once.
Logan: One thing crack stems are good for- clear prints.
Marks on the shell casing says it's probably a Beretta.
Fancy gun for the street.
My guess? He didn't go to Italy to buy it.
willie got an armed robbery? Twice with knives, Plead down to misdemeanors.
Breaking and entering, Four hotel burglaries.
Hotels? Nowwe know where he got the Beretta.
Nothing with guns.
Four juvenile detention facilities- Sing Sing, Attica Hey, at least willie visits all the best vacation spots.
The last three busts popped at the same location.
Let's go book him another trip.
Did she call? Oh yeah.
Oh yeah.
Man: Sully, wait up there! "Principles of Eastern Philosophy.
" How much? Man, I didn't know cops could read.
I can read a rap sheet, willie.
Just words, man.
That's all I sell.
Magazines and books.
Law says you can sell them on the street without a license.
what were you selling Saturday night, willie? Man Hey, man, what are you doing? Man: Watch out, man! Hey, you jerk! Your car, willie.
willie: A garage? Man, I ain't got no wheels.
what am I gonna park in there, except my butt? Your fingerprints.
The ones you left on the crack pipe that you left in the garage.
Okay, man, look, I was there, all right? But see, I was just smoking, that's all.
where'd you get the Beretta? Man, I told- I hear somebody coming down, right? I figure it's the Rican.
But then I hear shots.
You know, one, then two more.
Bam! Bam! So what, you going to arrest me? Better get me a lawyer.
Janet: Alan was coming around the front of the car to open my door.
I got out of the car, I gave him a kiss.
I noticed there were some flowers in the back seat.
I asked him to get the flowers.
He opened the back door.
He was looking for something in his pocket.
He said, " Did you lock it?" The car, he meant.
I turned to look- he went towards the stairwell.
The door opened.
A man came out- black.
I didn't see a gun.
I heard the shot saw the look on Alan's face, like he'd been punched.
Look at these carefully.
Janet: Number three.
I don't Logan: Take your time.
Or number five.
Thank you.
Cragen: They're still crawling out of the woodwork.
Eight mugging victims and the paper's only been out for four hours.
They all give positive I Ds? Logan's finishing up the last one now.
The first seven- if willie didn't do them, he's got a twin.
Number eight, same MO.
Six-inch switchblade.
what? This kid, he never killed anybody, and his MO uses a knife.
what, he was in there smoking crack, but he didn't kill Ralston? we don't tie him to a gun, we got no case.
we don't arraign him, he's out in 48 hours and we'll never see him again.
Call the DA.
Judge: willie Tivnan.
The charges are murder in the second degree, attempted murder, and assault in the first degree.
Does the defendant wish to enter a plea? Not guilty.
The defendant is indigent, Ms.
Strickland, is that right? Yes, Your Honor.
The Public Defender's office feels strongly that the facts in the case do not warrant these charges.
without an indictment- Your Honor, we feel there's sufficient evidence.
Also, the defendant has previous convictions, and has missed two previous court appearances.
He has two violent felonies, Your Honor, one of them a homicide.
And the defendant has no known residence.
Bail is set at $100, 000.
Next case.
Clerk: Docket number 9462-A where's your boss? You think he shows up for the arraignment of every two-bit crackhead who's dead-bang guilty? No one's dead-bang guilty until the verdict comes in.
Look, I talked to Tivnan.
He's copped to the eight muggings.
He did those, he admits it.
But he didn't kill Ralston.
Come on, Elizabeth, come on.
You don't have a positive ID from Janet Ralston.
He doesn't use guns.
Stone's not going to deal on this one.
The public doesn't like getting killed coming home.
I do this a lot.
This kid's telling the truth.
I hope for your sake you're wrong, 'cause everybody else on Manhattan Island thinks he did it.
wrapped up.
Another killer off the streets.
Hey, Max, we'll find the gun.
willie Tivnan's got a rap sheet as long as the "Encyclopedia Britannica.
" And no mention of him ever j using a gun.
You just think I'm wrong because I'm sure I'm right.
You think- I think that he's a streetwise little kid- who shot two people for the price of a couple of grams.
- who knows the difference between mugging and murder.
when Marie was mugged, you know on the East Side last year, what was the first thing that I did? You picked up your gun and went looking.
You been mugged.
Your wallet's gone.
After you call the cops, the first thing you do is what? willie shoots the Ralstons, cleans out her purse, takes his wallet Sells the credit cards.
It's been three days, but not word one from the banks.
Nobody's used the Ralston cards.
Didn't even try.
An ad in "The Times Sunday Magazine.
" A 10-room house, good schools.
Alan always said we weren't the kind of people who lived in the suburbs.
what kind of people live in the suburbs? The kind that are still alive.
The night it happened Alan was coming around the front of the car- to open my door.
I got out of the car, I gave him a kiss.
I noticed there were some flowers in the back seat.
I asked him to get the flowers.
He opened the door.
He was looking for something in his pocket.
He said, "Did you lock it?" I tumed to look, he went towards the stairwell.
A man came out- he was black.
I didn't see a gun.
I heard the shot, and I saw Alan's face.
He looked like he'd been punched.
You know, that's amazing.
She repeated her story perfectly.
Yeah, word for word.
You know, I took the kids to Duchess Stables last weekend- I hate horseback riding.
Scares the hell out of me.
Scary for the horse, too.
You know I last in the saddle maybe two, three minutes.
I get off, I can't remember one second.
Her husband gets shot, she gets shot, she sees the black guy, gets scared, she remembers every second.
I know cops been in shooting cases, lucky if they can remember their badge number.
willie: I didn't take no ring.
Logan: And the wallet? willie: I didn't take no wallet.
Come on, where did you unload the credit cards? Look, the light went off and I ran.
Light? Yeah, in the stairs.
That's why I couldn't find my stem.
Okay, willie, one more time, real slow.
You light up a rock - Right.
The lights went off in the stairwell, and then, you know, bang, bang- shots.
I ran.
willie, you may just have bought yourself a ticket out of here.
The light went out, huh? where's the switch? I think willie's jerking us around.
See if it screws in.
whoa! That's my foot.
How may killers does it take to screw in- Take the bulb, huh? Uh-huh.
Yeah, thanks.
Nothing on Janet.
Himes, the Ralston's financial advisor? Public lewdness.
He a kinko? Last January he's coming down the Saw-mill, 00 at night, stops at the toll booth.
He's half-naked and some woman's got her head in his lap.
She was probably napping.
He's in the automatic lane, tosses a token.
Guy in the next booth looks over, sees him, he calls a cop.
PO'd because they didn't drive through his booth.
State trooper stops them, j j issues a warning, but makes out a report.
Janet Ralston.
Brenda Smith.
Cop describes Brenda.
Brenda sounds a lot like Janet.
And guess what? I can hardly wait.
The car.
The Ralston's? That big shiny Cragen: Reopen the case? I love this.
I really love this.
Just before willie ran, he said the lights went out.
In his brain.
The bulb.
we got there today, it was still unscrewed.
So? willie got a reason to lie about this? So? Logan: Look, there were two sets of prints on that bulb.
One of them- Gil Himes.
Janet Ralston was shot twice.
So you're telling me that Gil Himes shot her husband, then shot her twice, and now she's covering for him? She's out of the hospital.
I want to put everything on hold and just stick to her.
On a hunch? On a hunch that Gil Himes doesn't change light bulbs on his day off.
It's not even Himes' garage.
There's no possible explanation for his prints being on that bulb.
Anybody finds out we break this case and then want to unbreak it- Somebody wanted that hallway dark.
Three days, and you don't tell anybody.
You're going to be happy you did this, Captain.
No, I'm not.
Good boy.
Good boy.
weather report.
No rain.
Last 24 hours, she's been to the butcher, the florist, the greengrocer.
The dry cleaner's, the beauty parlor, and she took the kids to school.
Leads a rich and full life, this lady.
Logan: Male visitors? No visitors.
A regular nun.
And Detective Vitello should know.
He worships me.
He thinks I might be able to raise the dead.
You two do this routine every shift? Only on stakeouts.
Cragen: No, Max, no more time.
Two days.
How does this sound? widow, two kids, victim of a horrible crime, and the police department spends 2000 bucks a day to find out when she goes to the can.
You want to read that in tomorrow's "Post"? One day.
What's it going to buy? Maybe it'll buy me a good night's sleep.
One freakin' day.
Cragen: What? Hold on.
They're together.
Hamstead Hotel.
what's she doing? It's four hours.
Serving him Clams Casino? Looks like he ate well.
Let's pick him up.
No, no, no.
I want to talk to her first.
Excuse me.
Could you help us out here, Mrs.
Ralston? Mr.
Himes was in the garage that night.
He got home late.
Logan: You know what I think? I think you and Mr.
Himes are having an affair.
I think your boyfriend shot your husband.
I think the DA is going to charge you as an accessory to the crime.
I think you're too smart not to cooperate.
Oh God.
I was having an affair, but I broke it off.
Something must have happened, because he got really enraged and he snapped.
He came after Alan and I, and he shot us.
Judge: The charges are murder in the second degree and assault in the first degree.
Does the defendant wish to enter a plea? Lawyer:.
Your Honor, if we may, we question whether the prosecutor's information merits our client being held.
Shell, you got to the door, but you didn't knock.
If you're questioning the merits, does that mean you want a hearing? No.
No, Your Honor.
Then let's have the defendant enter a plea.
Himes? Not guilty.
Shell: Your Honor, Mr.
Himes is a substantial member of the community, and has no criminal record.
we ask that he be released on- If you're suggesting "own recognizance," the answer is no.
This is two felonies, one of them a homicide.
Stone? we'd like to guarantee Mr.
Himes appears, Your Honor.
Bail is set at $200,000.
Cash or bond.
Murder in the second degree, Stone? You have to show the public you go after the rich? Your client killed in cold blood- I don't care if he's homeless or owns Grand Central Station.
You get murder two from the grand jury - it's abusive.
Under extreme emotional disturbance, you're lucky if you get manslaughter two, and you know it.
Emotionally disturbed do not plan as well as Himes did.
It's a crime of passion, Stone.
Pure and simple.
A crime of passion j is never pure, and it's certainly not simple.
Gil was like the guys I dated in college.
The ones you didn't marry? The ones you met after your respectable dates dropped you off.
How long had this been going on? Do we have to go into this? Mrs.
Ralston, you're going to be a witness against Mr.
Three months.
I loved Alan.
I didn't want to throw that away.
How did Mr.
Himes react when you told him? He said he understood.
why did you lie to the police? He tried to kill me.
I was afraid.
He was crazy, irrational.
He looked at me like he didn't even know who I was.
He was a completely changed person.
The Ralstons? The night of our party they were getting along fine.
Until he wanted to leave.
to go home.
Janet says she's having too good a time.
Milton: Dorothy.
Dorothy: Alan's got a second wind.
She dragged him out of here like she had a plane to catch.
You never liked her.
That's because she's a bitch, darling.
But I always liked him.
The evening ran on Janet's schedule.
He wants to go, she says no.
She wants to go, they leave.
Stone: She had an appointment.
Run a gun check on Himes and Janet.
Registration, out-of-state sales.
It's still thin.
Make it stronger, make it fit.
I want a conviction on this.
On who? The only one on trial here is Himes.
But I'd love to get her too.
A little blood-lust, Adam? You ever look at a calendar? Oh, next year's an election year.
It's easy to buy a gun, it means they don't have a lot of paperwork.
A state requires a lot of paperwork, then it's not so easy to buy a gun.
we need a place, no waiting time, but where they still keep accurate records.
That leaves Kentucky, Delaware, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina.
That's it? Logan: we strike out with those, we're in trouble.
Maybe we can get Himes' credit card stubs, her credit cards stubs, going back a year, year and a half.
Business trips, vacations - did they hit any of those states? The guy offered a $50,000 reward.
Crime of passion.
Short of a mob killing, I'm beginning to think this is the most dispassionate murder I've ever seen.
That hump Himes- acting like their Dutch uncle, helping the Ralston's look for a new house, checking out the schools in the suburbs for the kids, clearing the decks for their new baby.
One hell of a financial advisor.
what about their finances? This woman, right? Smart looking broad.
She comes in here five, six, seven times a day.
Each time with a different guy.
Turns out she's using the booth over there to turn tricks.
And when we caught her, she said, "Hey, it's a hell of a lot cheaper than a hotel.
" Find what you're looking for? woman: There are standards, but it's up to the individual insurance agent.
Just tell me about the standards.
Before the new policy was issued, the Ralstons already had $2 million in life insurance.
All on him.
Two million? Most couples now, they also insure the wife.
Her role costs money to replace.
Child care, housekeeping.
Not the Ralstons.
What about the new policy? An additional three million.
Let's say that's borderline excessive.
So the agent shouldn't have written it? The agent should've wondered what was going on.
On top of the personal, four million more paid for by the business.
Is that unusual? Not if the partners are collecting.
Alan Ralston's beneficiary? His wife.
This wasn't life insurance, it was the lottery.
Ralston hits the right number? She collects nine million.
what does it look like to you? Looks to me like Himes was interested in seeing Ralston overinsured.
After Janet broke his heart, cut off the affair? That guy is a positive humanitarian.
Candidate for Best Friend of the Year.
what if she didn't break off the affair? Nope, got nothing on the girl.
The gun? we got word from Kentucky, Tennessee, Delaware and North Carolina.
No luck.
And that leaves? we'd better get lucky with Virginia.
A year ago, right after Janet was mugged.
Richmond, Virginia.
Tracy's Field and Sports Shop.
A sporting gun? If you're hunting people.
Beretta model 94, blowback semi-automatic.
Sold to Himes, Gilbert? And not to Ralston, Janet, either.
Ralston, Alan? They stick to their stories, the worst we get him for is maybe man two.
She still gets a walk.
She's already set up a diminished capacity defense for him.
She said he looked crazy.
Stone: You used Alan's gun, didn't you, Mr.
Himes? I love Janet Ralston.
Shell: You want to talk a deal? I want to talk guns.
How'd you get the Beretta? Did she give it to you before the party? No more questions, Stone, till you put a proposal on the table.
He rolls on Mrs.
Ralston, comes up with some evidence, manslaughter one.
That's not a proposal.
That's an insult! Come on, Gil.
Himes really does love her.
Maybe he loves manslaughter two more.
we don't find out how it went down, we may have to offer it to him.
Then let's find out how it went down.
Max: Let's start over, Willie.
Look, how many times I got to tell you? Max: The lights go out, then what? I hear a scream, then a shot.
Right after the lights went out? Huh-uh, same time.
Run that past me again.
Look, the lights went off.
I hear a shot.
The door opens, what, a couple seconds later? I hear two more shots, I get the hell out of there.
If the light was out, how do you know the door opened? 'Cause light came in from the garage.
After the first shot? Am I talking too fast? That's what I said.
Lights off, then bang.
Door opens, bang, bang.
Logan: willie fires up a rock, the light goes out.
The first shot came before the door opened.
Then the door opens, then there's two more shots.
But if it's Himes coming down the stairs, and it is, he goes to the light- He unscrews it.
Stone: He hasn't opened the door yet.
A gun goes off.
So who shot Alan Ralston? Max: Is Willie a good enough witness? Good enough for me.
Pick her up.
Janet Ralston, you're under arrest for the murder of Alan Ralston.
You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions.
Anything you do say may be used against you in a court of law Stone: So you're saying the first shot came before the door opened.
Lights out, bang.
Then door opens.
But after the lights went out, a couple of seconds later, another two shots.
Bang, bang.
Thank you.
No further questions, Your Honor.
Tivnan- what were you doing on the stairs of the garage? Smoking crack.
Your habit, how much does it cost? $200 a day.
Do you have a job, Mr.
Tivnan? Objection, Your Honor, his employment has nothing to do with his testimony.
Tivnan's state of mind is at issue here.
The witness will answer.
I sell books, magazines on the streets.
Does that pay for your crack habit? People do a lot of reading.
Thank you, Mr.
In your autopsy, you examined the entrance wound on Mr.
Ralston's body? Yes, I did.
what were your findings? Light powder burns on Mr.
Ralston's tux indicated the gun had fired at a distance of approximately three feet.
The bullet entered Mr.
Ralston at the bottom of the Thorax.
It traveled upward.
It pierced his right lung and then entered his heart.
From that description, Mr.
Borak, can you tell the height of the person who fired the gun? Yes, I could.
From the angle of the bullet's entry, The person who shot him would have to be no taller than 5'6".
In other words, someone shorter than Mr.
Yes, that's right.
Nothing further, Your Honor.
If I told you the floor of that garage slopes, would that affect your estimation of the height of the gunman you described? Yes, yes, it would.
It slopes.
So it's possible Mr.
Ralston was shot by a 6' man standing at the bottom of a sloping floor? Yes, that is possible- Thank you.
Nothing further, Your Honor.
Stark, this was some months ago.
Do you remember the Ralstons? Yes.
They were a nice looking couple on vacation.
Just come from the mountains.
Did Mr.
Ralston knowwhat kind of gun he wanted to buy? He didn't know anything about guns, so I showed him some nice personal weapons.
And he picked one out? The missus, she kept telling him that they had to have it.
He told her he did not want the gun in the house- that one of the kids might get his head blown off.
She kept reminding him that she had been mugged on the street.
So Mr.
Ralston didn't want to buy a gun? No, it was Mrs.
Ralston who was all steamed up.
She insisted that he buy the Beretta.
Thank you.
No further questions.
It's your meeting.
Himes battered Mrs.
Ralston emotionally, but she never believed him when he said he would kill her and her husband.
After he shot you, Mrs.
Ralston, you didn't go to the police.
I told you- I was frightened.
The only thing Mrs.
Ralston might've done wrong was to mention where Mr.
Ralston kept his gun.
Nevertheless, we will plead criminal facilitation four, conspiracy five, and she'll testify against Mr.
You got to be kidding.
This lady's on trial for murder.
You're offering us two misdemeanors? I don't joke about plea bargains, Mr.
If you want to think about manslaughter one we might have something to talk about.
well, I guess we have nothing to talk about.
They're not biting.
She doesn't think we can j j convince a jury.
Then plea it out at man two.
A slap on the wrist? Since when's two acquittals better than one? Take one more run at them.
Don't blow this.
I'll take man two.
Stone: Mr.
Himes, she's getting ready to burn you.
That testimony about how tall the gunman was? Your lover's lawyer is trying to make it look like you pulled the trigger.
Janet's lawyer was trying to prove neither of us did it.
Listen to this.
This is a transcript from one of the interviews of Mrs.
Ralston after you were arrested.
"I loved Gil Himes, but he turned out to be weak and pathetic.
The only solution he found to his unhappiness was to get a gun.
" That's how she depicts you.
You're playing a bad hand, Mr.
Himes, and the dealer's crooked.
Suppose the murder weapon should happen to turn up? Mr.
Himes, you are now skirting obstruction of justice.
Don't push it, Stone.
He said "suppose.
" And he's on trial for murder.
Suppose we add obstruction? Suppose you never get the gun? Manslaughter one.
You'll lose.
That jury will never convict.
True love.
They'd sell each other for a nickel.
Give Victor Norris a call.
You said you had something we'd want to hear? Rumor- Mr.
Himes is thinking of producing the murder weapon.
Auction block.
Going, going Two misdemeanors, and she'll take a year in jail.
Manslaughter one, j j going, going No way.
You don't scare me, Mr.
Oh, yes, I do, Mrs.
I scare you a great deal.
And I should.
There's another offer on the table from Mrs.
This is an idiotic game.
She's up from two misdemeanors to jail time.
we'll take manslaughter two.
You'll have to do better than that.
Manslaughter one, he produces the weapon, and he tells the jury how he planned it.
whoever gets to my door first.
You knowwhy we're here.
You can't do this, Stone.
Last chance, ladies and gentlemen.
You've got nothing.
Manslaughter one.
You damn fool! we would've been acquitted.
They've got nothing.
God, you are a pathetic, limp- Oh God! You are a such a gutless-! Himes: She came to me with the plan.
Stone: What did Mrs.
Ralston suggest? Himes: She would tell Alan she had been mugged- would force him to buy a gun.
was there more to the plan? Yes.
She told me I would have to shoot her, too.
I said, "what?" She said I would shoot her after she shot him.
Stone: On the night of the shootings, did the plan go awry? I was supposed to be there before she shot Alan.
But he saw the gun in her hand, so she had to shoot him before he came into the stairwell.
who shot Mrs.
Ralston? I did.
Is this gun, marked "People's Exhibit 26," the one you used the night of the shootings? Yes.
Now, Mr.
Himes, please tell the jury what happened after Mrs.
Ralston talked to the police at the Hamstead Hotel.
She called me - Janet called me from a payphone.
Told me I was going to be arrested and I should go along with it.
I said she was going to hang us both.
Stone: What were her exact words? She said, "You dumb son of a bitch.
You'll get manslaughter two.
Minimum sentence.
Out in a third.
Less than two years.
" "we'll have each other, " she said.
"And the money.
" Has the jury reached a verdict? we have, Your Honor.
will the defendant please rise? On the first count of the indictment, the charge of murder in the second degree, how does the jury find? we find the defendant guilty.
Judge: On the second count of the indictment, j conspiracy in the first degree, how does the jury find? we find the defendant guilty.
Janet Ralston's planning to sue her lawyer.
She doesn't quit.
You reach any conclusions? I'm trying to forget her.
Two men in love with her.
Kills one, ready to sell out the other.
what is it? Greed? Power? Evil? I thought you didn't believe in evil.
I never met Janet Ralston before.
She's either evil or she's two years old.
She wants what she wants when she wants it.
That's cute.