Law & Order (1990) s04e16 Episode Script

Big Bang

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.
Where's the regular guy? He sick? I don't know.
His mother didn't give me a note.
These boxes are not regulation.
He owes me $5 on the Knicks.
You have to replace them.
I do? I look like I own the building? Mailman.
Tell your boss.
Be right there- Sure.
As soon as I tell him to replace the lock, ten 40-year-old refrigerators a dozen faucets, and give me that raise that he promised- Yeah, tell him to repaint the hall.
Give it some color.
Here you go.
So, what time you finish? See you later.
You want to see the neighborhood? I've seen the neighborhood.
Yeah, but have you seen it with an Italian? The victim is Florence Manning, 48.
They took her to St.
Mary's in bad shape.
Burns? That's the least of it.
Looks like she opened up an explosive package with a letter opener.
Blew into her neck.
What do we got? Confetti.
Piece of the stamp.
A young Elvis.
That might be the postmark.
Yeah, Grand Central Station.
That's gonna be a big help.
She delivered the package an hour ago.
You remember anything about it? It didn't fit into the box.
I was bending it.
It could've gone off.
A return address? Do you know how much mail I carry? Yeah? Okay.
Your route just got one stop shorter.
Florence Manning didn't make it.
One of the nurses called me at work.
She said Florence asked her to.
I figured if my sister was talking She gave them my number.
She must've been awake.
Has anybody spoken to you since you got here? She's dead.
I mean, how can things change so fast? Look, I know it's not much consolation, Mr.
Rossi but we do want to catch whoever did this.
I'll kill him.
You catch him, I'll kill him.
You have some idea? It's got to be some psycho.
I don't know.
Did anyone ever threaten your sister? Harass her? She taught third grade.
She collected recipes.
How about her personal life? She live alone? She got separated from her husband about a year ago.
Where can we find him? Hudson Polytech.
He's a big deal over there.
Edward Manning.
She was going to move out to the West when the school year ended.
She hadn't wanted to come to New York when I got this appointment.
When did you last speak to her? Three weeks ago.
We spoke mostly through lawyers.
We were getting divorced.
And how was that going? Divorce is painful.
Ours was as amicable as could be expected.
What do you do here.
Is it doctor or professor? I'm a high-energy physicist.
Director of the nuclear reactor laboratory here.
Reactor? Like in Chernobyl? No, like a hundred safe ones you never heard of.
Do you have any idea who killed my wife? Do you, Professor? I thought no one used regular mail for packages anymore.
I guess the junk mailers are still loyal.
So are the Mad Bombers.
What, you think it's a nut? How about a scrambled egghead? The husband? Listen to this, courtesy of the University Press Service: "Prof.
Edward Manning, BA, Cornell, PhD, MIT "when he was 26, co-discovered the omega-minus particle.
"Beginning in 1981 "led an experiment seeking evidence of proton decay "which, if established, would demonstrate "that all matter in the universe will eventually disintegrate.
" Yeah, but who's that lady I saw him with last night? Guy like this could commit a murder then jump in the time machine to cover his tracks.
Let's start with our kind of science.
Go see Forensics.
The explosive was plastique.
Military stuff? Once upon a time.
Now about as hard to get as illegal guns.
From the radius of the damage, I'd say it was a small charge.
A lot of smoke but not much power.
Tell that to Florence Manning.
The letter opener was a fluke.
By rights, the bomb should only have wounded her.
And scared the hell out of her.
So our bomber got lucky, huh? Or unlucky, depending on whether he felt like being a murderer.
Firing pin? Yeah.
Opening the package released it.
Allowing a spring to push the nail against a metal plate completing an electrical circuit, and Merry Christmas.
Classic design.
Handsomely executed.
Your man has some technical sophistication.
Like maybe a physicist? Experimental or theoretical? I never liked the guy.
I mean, unless you could talk about nuclear molecules he'd treat you like a moron.
Your sister keep up her end of the conversation okay? For the first 20 years, I guess.
You think Edward did it? He said the divorce was amicable.
Like a weekend in Bosnia.
Florence was a little more open with me than you, honey.
Frank has a temper.
Open about what? Edward's mid-life crisis.
He decided to recapture his youth by sleeping with one.
Before they separated? He told Florence he wanted to marry the girl.
How did Florence like being tossed out with the garbage? After following him around like an army wife? This university, that university.
Son of a bitch.
He took her to Geneva once for two years.
The scientists he worked with spoke English, not the people in the stores.
She spent the whole time feeling lonely and miserable.
So I guess she felt she deserved a little more than an honorable discharge? He wanted a divorce.
She made it as long, as complicated, as expensive as possible.
There are no secrets in a divorce.
My personal situation is documented in a stack of court filings this high.
You did say it was amicable.
No, I said it was as amicable as could be expected.
Your girlfriend, she one of your students? Does she have to be involved in this? No secrets in a murder investigation, either, Professor.
She's a chemist.
A very bright young woman.
And your wife was keeping you from this bright young woman? Florence and I were married 22 years.
Because I wanted a divorce doesn't mean that I hated her.
And it certainly doesn't mean I killed her.
Look at it from our side.
She was killed by a bomb.
Physicists make bombs.
Given enough time and money, I could possibly build you an atomic bomb.
I know nothing of conventional explosives.
Our reactor is behind this wall.
A shield is being lowered in order to conduct a diffraction experiment on that target.
I'm going to leave before I'm bombarded with neutrons.
I suggest you do the same.
We talked about marriage at one point.
But I don't see him right now.
Did you change your mind when the first Mrs.
Manning went up in flames? Please.
Do you know what kind of man Edward is? The things that he's working on? Well, we know he's working on getting a new wife.
He's investigating the fundamental nature of matter.
How the universe began.
How the universe will end.
Well, we're just a couple of simple city boys, Miss Thomas but we know that you and Edward were planning on getting married and Florence was standing in the way.
I told you that's on hold.
Yeah, that's because Florence Manning put it on hold.
I didn't realize how complicated divorce could be.
I thought it'd be over a long time ago.
You give him a message, "It's now or never"? No, it wasn't that simple.
And the delay gave us some time to think about what we really wanted.
He still gives the impression of really wanting you.
Yeah, well I guess he thought if the divorce went through You know, we did stop by Florence's apartment a couple of weeks ago.
He had some papers for her to sign and I waited in the car and there was this man who was looking through one of her windows.
A man? With a beard.
I don't know, maybe she has a boyfriend.
Or maybe she had a peeping Tom.
He went to ring the bell as Edward was coming out and I couldn't hear what they were saying, but it looked as if they started to argue.
Did Edward tell you who he was? No.
He just said he was some nut.
Now, if Florence Manning did have a boyfriend it'd be the best news her husband ever had.
He would've sent champagne, not a bomb.
What's the matter, you hungry? What's that guy working on? The end of the universe? Life.
It's here, everything falls apart, and it's over.
You actually think the universe is gonna end? Usually I'm just hoping the week'll end.
Well, I mean, if it's all just gonna disappear what does it matter if you make Sergeant or what kind of car you drive? I mean, all the things we worry about? You wanna tell Florence Manning's brother it doesn't matter if we find her killer? You think Van Buren will buy it? Let's go see Manning.
A man with a beard? I really don't remember.
Your girlfriend remembers him pretty well.
And she's not the one whose face he got in.
There might have been someone.
A street person.
You remember if he said anything to you? Spare change? He didn't say anything about your wife? Come on.
Your wife didn't mention that she was expecting anybody? A bum? I'd help you if I could.
This is the first time you haven't accused me.
Nobody? Never? Yeah.
She would've told you, right? Okay, thank you.
Florence Manning never told her sister-in-law about any new man in her life.
No boyfriends, no stalker, no psycho.
Yeah, Manning's girlfriend saw the guy on the 21st about 10:00 a.
Florence Manning's datebook.
"Toast and coffee, "9:30, manicure.
"Noon, lunch with Anna.
" She kept a very neat diary.
She'd be upset to see what a mess her place got into.
What now? Another insight into the nature of time and matter? Maybe.
Look at that.
Is that on the negative? Something twisted, like a spring.
Like the spring in that bomb.
It's radioactive.
When the spring was collected at the crime scene it must've been placed in a bag next to the unexposed film.
See? Its image was imprinted before the picture was taken.
Is it safe to stand here? If I was a man, I wouldn't carry any of this in my front pocket.
What is it, uranium? Nope.
My car is steel.
It doesn't set off a Geiger counter.
This stuff didn't start off radioactive, either.
Some of its atoms must have been converted to unstable isotopes by exposure to high-energy particles.
Suppose the bomb was built or stored in a room next to a nuclear reactor? That could do it.
You got any suspects with nuclear reactors in their basements? As a matter of fact we do.
So now you suspect me of murdering my wife because the bomb that killed her was radioactive? Our expert says it was stored near a source of high-energy particles.
Like those things that chased us out of here yesterday.
Can I assume that the bomb components were steel? See, our point is, Doc, maybe you don't have to assume.
Maybe you know.
I'm assuming.
If they're steel and they're going radioactive then you're probably talking about cobalt 56.
Did your expert take a gamma ray spectrum? Well, the Geiger counter was pretty convincing.
I'll make it simple for you.
This reactor could not irradiate that bomb.
I'm afraid that's a little too simple, Professor.
The iron atoms in steel are converted to cobalt 56 by collision with high-energy protons.
A reactor like this one produces low-energy neutrons nothing above We're going to need some documentation on that.
I'll lend you a freshman physics textbook.
You didn't bother to run the super-framistan test or whatever the hell it is, and we end up looking like idiots.
It's a gamma-ray analysis, and you didn't ask for it.
Since when do we tell you how to do your job? Since every time you walk in here.
The energy signatures of the isotopes in the bomb.
These are the spectrum lines from cobalt 56.
Multiple peaks.
Then there's no way Manning's gizmo could make this stuff? No.
But a particle accelerator can.
There is one in the area, at Manhattan University.
That's why we call it an accelerator, Detective.
It accelerates protons.
So when one of them slams into an iron atom, it automatically becomes cobalt 56? Sometimes.
I didn't know the police investigated particle interactions.
You know Edward Manning over at Hudson Polytech? He ever come over here? Dr.
Manning? This is one of the last places on Earth he'd set foot.
No scientific cooperation? He never drops by to borrow a cup of protons? Our director is Arthur Stedman.
Twenty years ago, he and Manning were both chasing a new nuclear theory.
Manning proved it two weeks after Stedman did.
Stedman got the Nobel Prize.
And Manning got sore.
There's no prize for second place.
Where do these accelerated protons run free around here? In the accelerator chamber, where the researchers set up the experiments.
These researchers, we're gonna need a list of their names.
Well, I don't really like going down there at night.
I mean, it's all locked up and everything, but, you know Any other grad students work late? I don't know, Barry Ramsey.
He practically lives there.
He's always doing something with the tools.
What tools are those? Well, they're supposed to be just for the experiments but Was something stolen? Did Barry know a woman named Florence Manning? The woman that was killed? Did he know her? I don't think Barry Ramsey has noticed that people come in two sexes.
He calls me "fella.
" This is the way it is, fella.
If I don't finish my thesis this year, I'm ruined.
The accelerator's a quiet place to work.
Cocoa? No, thanks.
You need tools to write a thesis? No.
I use a laptop computer to write a thesis.
I use tools to fix my VCR, my toaster.
Any other night owls at the accelerator? Not really.
Except when it's running, then everybody's there.
And Max Weiss.
Max Weiss.
He's not on the list.
He's not on staff anymore.
His post-doc ran out.
But he still hangs around, plays with the atoms? He still has a desk.
He's a good scientist.
He just hasn't found a new job yet.
He's working on something.
Does he ever work alone? Sure.
Nights I play Mah Jongg, but I haven't seen him in three or four days.
Maybe he got a job.
Maybe he finished one.
Okay, listen, you be good, okay? And you go in there and watch TV and take your little sister, all right? Okay, there you go.
And I promise I'll come in and read you a story.
When Max is here, he likes to read to them, but Max is always at work.
At the lab? What is this about? It's just a routine inquiry.
He can tell you.
Is it a security check? He applied for a job at Los Alamos, and that would be- I'm sorry, the FBl does those.
I see.
Is this your husband? Yes.
Well, I don't think they're hiring, anyway.
Budget cuts.
I think my husband was born about 20 years too late.
For the arms race? Well, to get the kind of job doing the work he likes.
And you said he was working now, right? Yes, he is at work.
It's just in another field.
Can you excuse me for a minute? I'm sorry.
Good night, Max.
Thank you.
You went to my apartment? Well, we didn't know to look for you here.
We thought you were a scientist.
I am a scientist who has to support five people without a permanent position.
Did you know Florence Manning? I read about her.
Yeah, but did you know her? I've heard of her husband.
Did you ever have words with him in front of his wife's building? I don't think I can help you.
Actually, you can.
If you don't mind, we'd like you to come down to the precinct.
Take part in a line-up.
Do I have to? It really might be in your best interest.
I don't think I have to.
Just keep your eye on the door.
Tell us if you see the man you saw outside Mrs.
Manning's apartment.
It was a couple of weeks ago, you know.
Do the best you can.
And I didn't really get a close The man with the beard.
Is that him? You're supposed to tell us.
I don't No, I don't know.
Listen, I got to get home by 5:00, okay? Don't worry, we'll give you a lift home.
Wait a minute.
That's him, the doorman.
Only he wasn't dressed like that.
Excuse me, we're getting ready to run an experiment here.
Hey, Ramsey.
How's your toaster? We have a warrant to search any premises occupied by Max Weiss including any storage areas pertaining thereto.
I think it would be in your best interest to show us what's his.
I'm not sure I can do that.
Okay, we're going to have to take this whole room apart including the accelerator and you can have Gyro Gearloose here glue it back together.
He uses that drawer.
Wait, fella.
Recognize that wire? Merry Christmas.
You think Max Weiss was planning to re-grout his bathroom tiles? I think we better call the Bomb Squad.
I want you to run the scientific method on these, Dr.
The plastic explosive found in your drawer matches the explosive in the bomb that killed Florence Manning.
The wire in your drawer matches the wire in the bomb that killed Florence Manning.
You were seen acting a little strange outside Florence Manning's apartment.
Am I under arrest? We can't afford a lawyer.
If you want a lawyer and can't afford it, one will be provided at no charge.
That is what they said at the college clinic.
There's a $20 deductible.
Do you want a lawyer, Dr.
Weiss? I don't know what to do.
I just don't know what to do.
Do you want a lawyer? This guy plotted a bombing? The evidence nails him.
But no motive.
Yeah, you want motive, the husband's loaded with it, but no evidence.
What about putting the two together? It's worth a shot.
Meanwhile, what do we do with Albert Einstein here? Arrest him.
We looked for connections.
Manning told us he never heard of Weiss.
Weiss told us he read about Manning in the newspaper.
But Weiss got his PhD at the University of Wisconsin.
Until five years ago, Manning taught there.
It's a big campus.
Weiss called Manning's office eight times in the last four months.
Before or after the bombing? Before.
And three weeks ago Weiss, who if he had a nickel, it would die of loneliness deposited $3,500 in his checking account.
Manning hired Weiss to kill his wife? I know of one way to find out.
I think it's clear Mr.
Weiss does not wish to make a statement.
Yeah? Well, we do.
You're nailed, Max.
You're going away.
No more bedtime stories for the kids.
We know you made the bomb small, Max.
We don't think you were trying to kill her.
And that can work in your favor.
If you tell us what happened.
Did someone hire you to do it? I would never kill anybody.
Is this train going somewhere? Max, you told us you didn't even know Edward Manning.
You called him 12 days ago, you called him 10 days ago.
He was my thesis advisor at Wisconsin.
Did he tell you about his problems? Did he tell you about the divorce? I didn't know about Max, you got one way to help yourself.
What did Manning ask you to do? Wait a minute.
Just let me think.
Will you leave me alone with my client? You, too.
If I had a client charged with murder who was willing to testify that someone hired him to commit the crime what could be worked out for this client? Manning? I'm speaking hypothetically here.
Hypothetically, if your client's testimony was truthful and productive his charge might drop to Manslaughter One.
Hypothetically, he might accept.
Manning? Hypothetically, yes.
I never meant to kill her.
What's on the table, Ben? You tell me.
We don't need a plea to convict Mr.
The FBl raised saliva from the stamp on the bomb.
It matches his DNA.
I needed the money.
I only meant to scare her.
Let me get this straight.
Manning came to you? I asked him for a job.
At Wisconsin, years ago, he wanted to hire me as part of his proton decay project.
I was up for a tenure-track position at Oberlin, I said no.
Then they asked Manning for a reference.
He blackballed you? He never answered the letter.
I found out about that.
I would have been an associate professor by now, instead of a You know what they pay post-docs? Sir, there are other ways of making a living.
I went to Manning.
He knows my work, he knows I'm good.
Good at what? Good at physics? Good at murder? He knew I was in the Army Reserve.
That is how I paid for Wisconsin.
So Prof.
Manning hired you to kill Florence Manning? Kill.
That's what he said.
Call off your dogs, Ben.
The police are turning Prof.
Manning's life upside down.
He's a murder suspect, Bill.
They're not going to invite him to a dinner dance.
Max Weiss is looking at 25 years in Attica, cold.
Anyone would make up a story to cut a deal.
The police won't find any evidence to support it because there isn't any.
The $3,500 dollar deposit to Weiss's account was a check from your client.
Give me some credit.
I almost won the Nobel Prize.
You think I'd pay a hired killer by check? With your attitude, sir, you might think yourself too smart to get caught.
I know what's going on here, Ben.
The law says you can't convict a man on the uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice.
If you believe that check would stand up as corroboration you'd have arrested Prof.
Manning by now.
I hired Weiss to do some research.
I knew him from Wisconsin.
He was a good man.
I thought he was.
If you knew him from Wisconsin, why did you tell the police that you didn't recognize him when you saw him outside your wife's apartment? He also knew my wife from Wisconsin, too, and I never thought he killed her.
It didn't seem right to get him involved.
Awfully kind of Manning to protect Weiss from the police.
I gather he's not the kindly type? His story might explain why he told the police he didn't know Weiss but it doesn't explain why he lied to his own girlfriend.
So, Ben, do you believe Weiss? The check is the only evidence he has to support his story aside from the fact that he had no motive to do it on his own.
He had no motive, or you haven't found it yet? Max liked Florence Manning.
Her husband treated his grad students like slaves.
She baked them cookies.
How much did your husband like her? What do you mean? Max and Mrs.
Manning in a lover's quarrel? Oh, God, if you knew him at all.
He loves me, and the children, and subatomic particles.
Weiss he's admitted he sent the bomb.
Well, then he's lying.
I mean, he couldn't have.
He's covering up for someone.
I don't know, maybe Manning? I know my husband.
We've talked to people who worked with him.
They say he's been erratic, moody.
A couple of months ago he got an idea.
A breakthrough idea I don't know, don't ask me, I don't understand it.
He applied for a research grant.
He was so excited.
It was going to launch him, it was going to save us.
I was just afraid.
Of being saved? No.
Of what happened.
Of what always happens.
He didn't get the grant.
He was devastated.
You say he's been moody lately.
He can't support his family doing the work he loves.
How would you feel? Miss Kincaid, what's gonna happen to him? What's going to happen to us? "Potential Super Symmetric Models for Higgs Scattering "an Experimental Overview by Max Weiss.
" You know what I took for my science requirement? Physics for Poets.
Geology 101, Rocks For Jocks.
Weiss's notebooks.
His papers.
If he was doing research for Manning, here's no indication.
That's good.
That means he's telling the truth.
Not according to his wife.
She swears the only thing on Weiss's mind lately was this.
"An Alternative Mode for Proton Decay.
" His rejected grant application.
Proton decay? That's Manning's field.
Edward Manning and his team filled a vat with 1,000 tons of fluid containing 100 billion quintillion protons.
They surrounded it with detectors, computers.
They studied it for eight years at a cost of three million dollars and they never saw a proton decay.
Maybe they proved that protons don't decay.
That's not what they wanted to prove.
Manning was unfulfilled severely.
Last time I talked to him he had some new idea, some new approach.
Could he be working on it with Max Weiss? Weiss has a reputation as a murderer, but not as a physicist.
He has some new idea about proton decay.
Applied for a grant from the American Science Foundation.
Rejected? No doubt deservedly.
I served on the Foundation's peer review panels.
You should see some of the garbage that comes in.
Peer review.
Did Manning do that? Of course.
Especially in a field like proton decay.
It's his specialty.
Weiss applied for a grant to look at old data from Manning's experiment.
Weiss's theory was that protons had decayed, but hadn't been detected.
And if Weiss was right, Manning'd look foolish.
Now, Manning headed the panel that reviewed Weiss's proposal and he rejected it.
He's the expert in the field.
That's the way the system works.
The panel's confidential but I figure that Weiss put this conflict of interest together and he starts calling Manning.
By that time, Manning was working on his new idea about proton decay.
Now, these are his laboratory logs.
Manning requested copies of the same data Weiss wanted to look at.
First he torpedoes Weiss's idea, then he steals it.
It still doesn't link to the murder.
Weiss had reason to hate Manning, not Mrs.
It's not unheard of to take revenge on a man by killing his wife.
But Adam, it doesn't make sense.
This man and wife hated each other.
They were separated.
But maybe Weiss didn't know they were separated.
He hadn't seen them in years.
If Weiss didn't know that they were separated maybe we're wrong about this case from the beginning.
But then we found this in your apartment.
Last year's Hudson Polytech Faculty Directory.
Fascinating, Ben.
You find any old phone books? Back issues of National Geographic? It lists Prof.
Manning's old address.
The one he shared with his wife before he moved.
You addressed the bomb to Dr.
Manning and you didn't know that he'd moved.
Substitute carrier didn't know that, either.
I've been to the Foundation.
We know what Manning did to you.
So you killed his wife by mistake.
But then you realized that you could still hurt him and help yourself by claiming that he hired you, right? This interview is over.
We have an understanding.
We don't need his testimony.
Deal's off.
I prefer an acquittal, anyway.
Cynthia Thomas's identification of my client was bogus.
I'm going to get it thrown out, and all the evidence it led you to.
The State's witness did not pick Dr.
Weiss out of a properly constituted line-up.
Your Honor, Dr.
Weiss declined to participate in that line-up.
So the police took Miss Thomas to a place where she could see the defendant among many other people.
Yes, but those many other people wore business suits.
My client was dressed like an organ grinder's monkey.
Does look conspicuous, Ben.
That's a posed photo.
In context, as a doorman, he blends in with the background.
It's reasonable to assume that Miss Thomas would have overlooked him because of that.
In a get-up like this? There should be a door.
In front of a door he looks like a doorman- Ben.
How many men with beards walked out that door? At least one.
The witness identification is excluded.
The identification led to the search warrant which led to the bomb materials.
It should all be excluded.
Your Honor, I'm sure you realize that the police could have obtained that warrant on other unrelated grounds.
But they didn't.
But they could have.
I would have issued one.
The identification is out.
The bomb is in.
Thank you.
So, what? Dr.
Manning the link between Dr.
Weiss and your wife we lost it.
Now you're the only person who can testify that you saw Dr.
Weiss at your wife's apartment.
And you're also the only person who can supply a motive.
Can I? What motive is that? I don't want to play games with you, sir.
Don't play games with me.
We know what you did to Dr.
I see.
So you want me to announce to the world that I'm a scientific thief and a fraud.
No, sir, I want you to tell the truth.
The truth, Mr.
Stone, is that I'm near the end of a career that I had the good fortune or misfortune to begin very brightly.
I used to look around at meetings in laboratories.
I was always the youngest person in the room.
Then one day at a conference I looked around, and I was the oldest person there.
Thirty years had slipped by.
People were gathered around one of the stars.
He was 29.
I was the fourth speaker on the 5:00 panel.
I know I have something more to contribute to physics.
Something you stole from Max Weiss.
I'll not end my career in disgrace.
I understand, sir, but the alternative is letting your wife's murderer go free.
One single human life on the time scale of the universe.
You and I have different priorities.
He's an aging boy wonder, and he wants the glory days back.
And it's no coincidence he picks up someone else's hot idea and a young girlfriend at the same time.
I sure thought he'd testify against the murderer of his own wife.
We've threatened him with a subpoena, with contempt he swears he'll stand mum.
Scientists have a star system makes Hollywood look like a socialist love-in.
Only they don't keep score in money or starlets.
It's reputation.
If he's worried about his scientific reputation, let's attack him there.
Aren't you being a little inconsistent, Ben? Unless your client testifies fully and freely, he'll be indicted.
Haven't you just finished proving Weiss lied about my client hiring him to kill his wife? I didn't say he'd be indicted for murder.
I'm going to indict him for larceny.
Larceny? What larceny? Grand Larceny in the 4th degree.
"Theft of secret scientific material.
"Any article, device or substance which constitutes, represents, evidences "reflects or records a scientific or technical process "invention or formula.
" And that's basically what Prof.
Manning did when he stole the idea from Max Weiss's proposal.
You know that law applies to computer programs.
Secret formulas.
Plagiarism isn't larceny.
I'll let a jury decide that.
But don't think I won't show that jury every detail of Prof.
Manning's deceit.
Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't a charge of larceny presuppose that the thing allegedly stolen have value? Weiss's idea was flawed, amateurish and worthless.
That's why I rejected his proposal.
No serious physicist would have wasted an hour on it.
That's awfully convenient for you to say that, sir.
Yes, quite convenient.
I'll be happy to testify about this at length.
I'm the leading authority in the field.
Ask anyone.
If Manning swears that the theory is worthless you gotta prove that it isn't.
Now, what the hell's the theory? That protons eventually fall apart.
Is this something I need to be worried about? It means all matter in the universe will eventually disintegrate in a certain way.
Now all we gotta do to win a larceny trial is prove how the universe will end.
No, all I do is get my own group of expert witnesses.
Who you going to get, the Almighty? Physics professors.
That's all Manning is.
Oh, physics professors.
Better get a jury of insomniacs.
We want an expert who'll keep the jury awake? We've already got one.
You got to be kidding.
You want Dr.
Weiss to testify that Manning stole his theory? It's your decision, Dr.
He'd be establishing a motive you'd nail him with at his own murder trial.
He'll be convicted no matter what he does.
He'd be out of his mind to help you.
Doctor, you and I both know that no one takes you seriously as a scientist.
Now, isn't this the only possible chance you have to make your reputation? You had an insight into proton decay, and Edward Manning stole it.
Do you want the rest of the scientific community to know this or not? You don't understand.
I don't care about scientific reputation.
I care about science.
Max, this can't help you.
Nothing can help me.
Manning says your theory is flawed.
I don't care what he says.
Amateurish, worthless.
He has no imagination.
Do you know how he set up his experiment? Max.
This room is about the size of the vat he used to fill with fluid.
Manning put photomultiplier tubes there, there, there linked to a computer programmed to pick out signs of proton decay.
But do you know what he looked for? One mode only.
A positron track going one way.
The other way a neutral pion.
But what if protons don't decay that way, but into a positron and two neutrinos? Manning's computers never would have found them because they weren't looking for them.
Protons could have been decaying every day.
Do you know what that means? We can synthesize three of the basic forces of the universe.
We would be on the verge of reading the mind of God.
He'll testify, won't he? Yeah, I think he will.
He'll put a noose around his own neck to defend a theory that maybe 500 people in the world understand.
I don't know, I'm beginning to think I understand it.
Our murderer is one hell of a teacher.
Am I supposed to be impressed? Go ahead.
Tear down his theory.
Max Weiss will defend it.
And I'm sure the jury will find it compelling.
I know I did.
He's a scientific nobody.
He's not the only one who'll testify, sir.
Stedman is a somebody.
We've been rivals for 30 years.
Jacob Munson at Princeton finds Weiss's theory interesting.
So does Chadrasan at Michigan.
We're still sending the documents around.
You're flying in witnesses from all over the country to prosecute a Class E felony? If your client doesn't testify in a trial involving the murder of his wife I'll fly them in from Jupiter.
And tell him he can't worry about his reputation anymore.
He doesn't have any.
You're ruining me as a man of science.
Sir, you did that yourself.
I'm just asking you to tell the jury how you did it.
I was close to the answer.
I'd been working on proton decay for 10 years.
Doctor, isn't that the reason that you were chosen to chair the panel that actually reviewed Dr.
Weiss's research proposal? I'm acknowledged as the leading authority.
When I saw his idea, everything snapped into place.
I believed, I still believe, I would have seen the thing myself in a week or a day.
So what did you do about that? I rejected his proposal.
There were some errors in it.
How did Dr.
Weiss react? He called me.
He threatened to go to the Office of Research Integrity.
I told him he'd be wasting his time.
I had status, he had none.
Did he believe that? It was true.
I sweetened it by saying I'd put his name on the paper I was writing as co-author.
He'd be able to get a job then.
I gave him some money to tide him over.
Sir, were you gonna put his name on that paper? His proposal was a guess.
I'd been working on the problem for 10 years.
I told him I'd changed my mind.
So you told the man who came up with the crucial idea that he was not going to get any credit or any recognition.
I didn't think he earned it.
How did he react to that, sir? He got very angry.
He said he would go to the Office of Research Integrity and take his chances.
And what did you do? I knew his post-doc was up.
He was being considered for an assistant professorship.
I saw he didn't get the job.
Someone in the department owed me a favor.
If Weiss wasn't on the faculty, then his complaint would carry no weight.
Did he know that you'd done that? He called me.
It was frightening.
What did he say? That I was starving his children.
That he would make me pay.
Foreman, has the jury reached a verdict? We have, Your Honor.
On the sole count of the indictment Murder in the 2nd degree how does the jury find? We find the defendant, Max Weiss, guilty.
The jury is excused with thanks.
Weiss is remanded to Rikers Island pending sentencing.
This court is now adjourned.
Your Honor, my client wishes to make a statement before sentence is imposed.
I want to apologize to Mrs.
Manning's family with all my heart.
I am so sorry.
All that's ever mattered to me is my family and my work.
All I ever wanted to do was physics.
When I saw I was losing it, I couldn't stand it.
If I could do it over again I would be a bus driver an accountant, anything, my whole life without science if I could take that package back.
Yes, Dr.
Weiss, but it's too late.
Your actions were callous and deadly.
I sentence you to an indeterminate term of imprisonment of from 25 years to life to be served at a facility selected by the Department of Corrections.
But on the other hand, he killed a woman, so I had to play it by the book.
You feel bad about that? Twenty-five years.
He's not your typical killer.
He is.
He killed somebody.