Law & Order (1990) s14e07 Episode Script


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.
What you fishing for? Striped bass, river cats.
You eat 'em? Clean enough to swim, it's clean enough to fish.
You're kidding, right? It's cleaner than it's been in 50 years.
God bless Pete Seeger.
Think of the shots you'd need tetanus, hep, rabies.
Whoa, mama.
Got something? Probablyjust a snag.
No, it's moving.
Big one.
I hear they got sturgeons run 100, 200 pounds.
That right? Yeah.
Hudson River sturgeons live to be 50, 60 years old.
What the That ain't no sturgeon.
Damn, I hate floaters.
They creep me out.
Oh, at least we're outdoors.
Could be worse.
Locked room, week-old body, middle ofJuly, no A.
All right, it could be worse.
Hey, what you got? Female.
Other than that Age, race? I'm barely sure it's human, Detective, body's so decomp.
Add in your fish and your crabs Is she young, old? Like I said, see for yourself.
Ohh! How long has she been in the water? A while.
Care to narrow that down a little? I would if I could, but Anything obvious? Bullet holes, stab wounds? Did I mention the eels? All right, all right, we get it.
Thank you.
We'll be lucky if we get an I.
If we were lucky, we wouldn't have caught this case.
White female, 5'7", early 30s.
Any prints? Fish ate her fingertips.
Have you got anything? Yeah.
Water in her lungs.
She was alive when she went in.
We were hoping for something more definitive, like maybe a bullet.
So what we talking about here? Homicide, suicide, accident, what? Look, what can I tell you? It's your classic CUPPl: Case "Case undetermined pending police investigation.
" Right.
I'm not ruling anything out yet.
I still need to do more X-rays, a tox screen, but don't hold your breath.
That's all I've been doing.
So how long was she in the water? More than a month, less than two.
I'm sorry.
I can't be more definitive.
However, see this? It's a hairline fracture, right cheekbone and eye socket.
Somebody punched her in the face.
Probably broke her nose.
At the very least, a hell of a shiner the next day.
Tough to swim with a broken nose.
No wonder she drowned.
You sure she didn't get that taking a header into the Hudson? No.
This is a blow, not a fall.
And a recent one.
It hadn't started to heal.
Well, until we hear different, we're gonna think of this as a homicide.
Can't hurt.
What'd you get from Missing Persons? There's a half a dozen cases that fit the timeline.
White female, mid 30s.
's trying to match their dental records to the victim.
What if she didn't get her cavities filled in New York? Maybe she's not even from New York.
Maybe she's missing from Santa Fe or Topeka.
The Big Apple, destination of choice for runaways of all ages.
If she's not a local, we'll circulate her description nationwide.
Well, it'd be nice to know where she went in the river.
In other words, a crime scene.
The body was found West 70s.
How long in the water? The M.
Estimates four to eight weeks.
Condition of corpse? You ever seen a floater? I know it was gross.
That's a given.
What I'm asking is are we talking skeletal remains and shreds of flesh or was there still a lot of soft tissue? The fish had been nibbling on her extremities, but other than that, she was more or less intact.
In cold water, decomposition takes two to three weeks to set in.
Body bloats up, becomes a floater, bobs to the surface.
She took a lot longer than that, so she must have got snagged on something.
Given tides and currents for the last eight weeks, I'd say as far north as Fort Tryon Park, maybe as far downtown as Grant's Tomb.
That's the best you can do? That's over a hundred blocks.
Who's buried in Grant's Tomb? Come on.
We'll start there and work our way uptown.
If we get any further north, we can call in the Mounties.
Hey, you find anything? Aside from a lifetime supply of what we used to call "Coney Island whitefish,"not much.
One of the unis found this locket.
It could belong to anybody, but we may as well check it out.
Cute kid.
The school uniform, is it private or parochial? What's it say on her sweater patch? I can blow it up for you.
What is that? Domini "Gratia Domini Nostri.
" Something like that.
My Latin's a little rusty.
Loosely translated, it means "Tuition starts at 20 grand.
" I guess we better start calling the private schools.
Is there some news about Lena's mother? You know this girl? Lena Marchetti, seventh grade.
She's actually on her way down here to talk to me about her schedule.
What about her mother? She's missing.
We're gonna need to talk to Lena's father about the locket.
Of course.
Are the parents together? Oh, very much so.
A loving couple.
A very happy family.
Lena's been very upset about this.
You can imagine.
I do hope nothing terrible's happened to her mother.
Riverside Drive.
Hi, Mr.
What's going on? Uh, hi, Lena.
We're from the police department.
This is Detective Briscoe.
I'm Detective Green.
Have you found my mom? Well, we may have found something that belongs to her.
Really? Ever seen this? It's my mom's.
She wears it all the time.
Where'd you find it? In the park.
So that's a clue, right? She might have been there.
Well, we're not sure yet.
Lena, did your mom have a favorite place she liked to go for a walk or exercise? Riverside Park.
She goes there all the time, practically every day.
Is that where you found it? Anyplace else? Sometimes she drives up to what's that place to watch the sunset.
With all the stained glass and stuff, like a castle.
The Cloisters.
She loves going up there.
Do you know what hap Do you know where she is? We're not sure of anything yet.
'Arianna Marchetti, 32, disappeared in broad daylight, last seen 92nd and Broadway.
" I remember that.
It was in the papers.
She went to the corner deli to get a quart of milk and never came back.
That's the one? I thought only husbands did that.
"5'7", 110, long black hair.
" Yeah.
That sounds like our girl.
Yeah, Green.
You sure? All right, thanks.
Arianna Marchetti.
Positive I.
From her dental records.
Oh, damn.
Marchetti told the guy at the desk that she was running down to the corner to pick up a couple things, she'd be right back.
Bloodhounds tracked her to the deli, then they lost her.
Do we know where she was going after she finished her errands? Work.
She's a was a clerk.
Family court.
Husband's a businessman, imports textiles or something.
Finances? They do okay.
Definitely in the black.
No gambling debts, no addictions.
You don't got that much.
Tell me about it.
Naturally, we looked at the husband first.
In the office, all afternoon.
Says who? Secretary.
Swears up and down.
Doesn't mean he didn't have it done.
No, it doesn't.
And nobody saw her after she left the deli? We got a witness thinks he saw her get into a brand-new black sedan a block from her apartment, The Marchettis own a car? Uh-huh.
Late model black sedan.
Surprise, surprise.
You search it? On what grounds? Till a couple of days ago, this wasn't even a murder.
It still isn't, officially.
And you don't like the witness.
Kinda squirrelly.
The woman he saw had on shades.
He didn't get a good look.
, she's on her way home.
Why would she get into a car anybody's, hers or anybody else's a block from her house? You know that insipid bumper sticker? "Practice random acts of kindness," whatever it is? What if this is just some random act of violence, a mugging? In the majority of murders, the parties do know each other.
Most of them get solved.
Well, what can I tell you? Two very ordinary people.
Boring, normal.
Whatever you want to call it.
Is that what you'd call your marriage? Boring? Have you ever been married, Detective? Once or twice.
Well, then you know what I'm talking about.
We worked at it for Lena's sake.
We had our ups and downs, our rough patches, but we were committed, in it for the long haul.
Did she have any outside interests? - What do you mean? - Boyfriend, girlfriend.
You know what I'm saying.
I'm sure of it.
How about you? No.
Definitely not.
Not even during the rough patches? Infidelity is the world's worst hangover, Detective.
Whatever the temporary highs, you pay for it the next day in spades.
Sounds like you're speaking from experience.
I'd like to think I'm a guy who learns from his mistakes.
How did this woman vanish in broad daylight? We're in the middle of New York City.
There's millions of people around.
Ain't nobody seen nothing.
You know, he did say it was his second marriage.
Yeah, I know.
You like the husband.
I always like the husband.
He seemed genuinely broken up to me.
You ever hear of"crocodile tears"? Yeah, man, but what is it you didn't like about him? Remember the thing he said He always learned from his mistakes? You handled the first divorce, right? First and only.
And how'd that go? Fine.
Nothing unusual.
Just the normal amount of acrimony? Did you ever notice how "acrimony"rhymes with "alimony"? Things are never easy, even when it's amicable.
And what rhymes with "amicable"? As I recall, there was a difference of opinion regarding custody.
Once bitten, twice shy.
When Mr.
Marchetti remarried, did he make his new wife sign a prenup? As I recall, it was pretty straightforward.
He keeps the apartment, the country house, reasonable alimony that doesn't last forever, uh, custody of the kid.
Wow, that's sweet.
I can see why he hired you.
Pretty good, if I do say so myself.
Not that they needed it.
And Mrs.
Marchetti were very happily married.
Yeah, that's what everybody says.
Not like the first time around, huh? Everybody deserves a second chance.
I caught Gene fooling around with his personal assistant.
He wanted to go to couples' counseling.
I told him, "Screw the shrink.
I'm not interested in working it out.
" I went straight to a lawyer.
And how did that work out? It was bloody.
Bastard fought me tooth and nail for the kids.
I take it you won.
Boy, did that chap his ass.
Typical alpha male.
Can't stand to lose.
How many kids? Two boys.
Freshman at Princeton, ninth grader at Riverdale.
They still hate his guts, and he blames me.
I tell him, "Look in the mirror, pal.
" Your ex remarried pretty quick.
He didn't exactly have to go to a matchmaker.
Who do you think he was fooling around with? Arianna? Leopard doesn't change his spots.
I don't care what they say.
I told her he'd do her like he did me.
I'm sorry.
I gotta get going.
Contrary to popular opinion, there's no such thing as an iron-clad prenup.
She signed it, right? Wasn't she stuck with it? Well, as far as alimony goes, maybe.
But the custody clause is irrelevant.
The court decides what's in the best interests of the child.
And ifhe was cheating on her, and she was thinking about divorce She could have contested the prenup and taken the kid.
And according to his ex, that would have put him into orbit.
Marchetti might think custody's worth killing for.
The office.
Isn't that where most men screw around? - Why are you looking at us? - Hey, Ed, as far as women are concerned, all men are guilty until proven innocent.
That sounds like gender profiling.
Fact oflife.
Men are dogs.
So why don't you all go sniffing around his office and see who's in heat? He called to say he'd be late.
He's having car trouble and wanted to have it checked out.
Well, we need to talk to him now.
I'll get you the address.
His wife is beautiful.
I'm sure he misses her very much.
Marchetti is a devoted family man.
He's a loving husband and father.
He's very upset about his wife's death.
She's his alibi? Secretary, personal assistant.
You noticing a pattern here? Woof.
I bet if we look at her cross-eyed, she'd give it up.
- Here you go.
- Thanks.
Oh! Lexus, huh? Brand-new, fully loaded.
It has this global satellite thing, so you always know where you are.
It's so cool.
Let me guess the color.
Uh, black.
How did you know? Clairvoyant.
Really? You've ridden in Mr.
Marchetti's car? Yeah, sure.
Sometimes he, like, gives me a ride home, you know? Man, I'll bet he gave her a ride.
Maybe we ought to get a search warrant before we go to the dealership.
Agreed, but what we got? Well, we've got a witness, a black sedan, a cheating husband and a dead wife.
That's enough for me.
I'll bet it's good enough for the lieu too.
The car's been detailed in the not-so-distant past.
That ain't a big surprise.
Interior's pretty clean in a crappy car wash sort of way.
Tires too.
We did find trace soil in the wheel wells and this under the front seat.
What is it? High end plastic, maybe optical.
Sunglasses? Be my guess.
We luminoled the interior.
Take a look.
I'll be damned.
Blood spatter.
Somebody got their nose broken.
Dirt in the wheel wells ties the car to the area where we found the locket.
The D.
's conclusive too.
The blood in the car was Arianna Marchetti's.
No doubt.
How much blood? How much do you need? A nosebleed is consistent with her facial injuries.
In other words, he punched her lights out.
That plastic shard was from a sunglasses'lens.
It's her prescription.
Broken sunglasses, broken nose.
An eyewitness saw a woman resembling Mrs.
Marchetti wearing sunglasses get into a car at 92nd and Riverside.
What's your theory of the crime? Okay, he picks her up on her way home from the deli.
- "Honey, let's talk things over"? - Exactly.
They drive up to the park, they quarrel, he hits her, she jumps out of the car, he runs after her, they fight, she ends up in the river.
- He has an alibi.
- His alibi is his secretary.
If we find out they're having an affair, how much is that worth? Can we prove that they were having an affair? Like I said, Marchetti's getting ready to split.
He pulled his kid out of school yesterday.
Well, then bring him down and we'll charge him.
Going somewhere? Europe.
We need to get away for a while, distract ourselves.
Well, I checked your horoscope.
It's not a good day to travel.
You need to come with us and answer some questions first.
You don't really want to do this the hard way, do you? No.
I love you.
I love you.
Don't forget.
Don't forget.
These ladies will keep her company.
Daddy? Don't worry, baby.
Don't worry.
I'll be back soon.
I'll be back soon, all right? People v.
Eugene Marchetti, murder in the second degree.
How do you plead, Mr.
Marchetti? Not guilty, Your Honor.
People on bail, Ms.
Southerlyn? The People ask remand, Your Honor.
Marchetti has ties to the community, a minor child in school.
At the time of Mr.
Marchetti's arrest, he was preparing to leave the country in the company of that minor child.
Your Honor, he and his daughter were going abroad to get away.
To grieve.
The healing process, Ms.
Southerlyn, you've heard of it? Your Honor He just lost his wife.
He just lost his wife? Careful, Mr.
You're treading dangerously close to the textbook definition of"chutzpah.
" All I meant, Your Honor, is Mr.
Marchetti wasn't fleeing the jurisdiction.
Shortsighted of him.
Bail is set at 300,000, cash or bond.
Defendant will surrender his passport.
We're prepared to see this as a domestic argument that escalated out of control, man one.
How about dismissing the charges and a heartfelt apology instead? If anybody should apologize, it's Mr.
Marchetti to his daughter for taking her mother from her.
That is outrageous.
How dare you.
I'm offering you the possibility of a future, Mr.
A chance to make amends.
You ought to take it.
We have an alibi.
Marchetti's lover.
My client denies having an affair with Miss Collins - Miss Collins already gave us a statement.
- Or that he was having marital difficulties.
We think we can prove that too.
If she's telling the truth about an affair, why not about his alibi? Go ahead, put her on the stand.
See if she can convince a jury that she's not covering for her married boyfriend.
We can establish where Mrs.
Marchetti went into the river.
Forensic evidence ties your automobile to the crime scene.
She liked to drive to the Cloisters to meditate.
It was one of her favorite places.
Her blood was found in your car along with a fragment from her sunglasses.
- Which proves what? - That your client struck his wife prior to throwing her in the Hudson to drown.
Arianna had a fender bender that week.
Air bag broke her nose, sunglasses, gave her a black eye.
We filed an insurance claim, for pity's sake.
The garage and the insurance company's police report all confirm Marchetti's story.
She had a fender bender.
Sounds like forensics is your Achilles' heel.
Better shore up your cheating husband, custody battle royal theory.
She worked in the courthouse, knew the judges.
Maybe Marchetti was afraid he wouldn't catch a break if she took him to court and contested the prenup.
Talk to her colleagues down at the courthouse.
Let's see what we can flush out of the alfalfa.
What, you've never gone quail hunting with a bird dog? He was having an affair with his secretary.
I mean, what would you do? You didn't mention the Marchettis' marital problems to Missing Persons.
Look, I really agonized about that.
She swore me to secrecy, and then when she disappeared, I didn't know what to do.
My husband told me not to get involved.
Look, nobody knew that they were having problems.
I mean, she said that if Gene found out she hired Patel, he'd he'd freak.
He'd take Lena and split the country or something.
- Patel? - Her lawyer.
This hotshot Indian guy.
A real smoothie.
- She was psyched.
She thought he was really gonna clean Gene's clock.
- She was pissed.
She wanted to strip him naked in court in front of God and everybody and send the bastard home in a barrel.
She must have changed her mind.
She never asked you to handle her divorce? Never came to see me.
Never made an appointment.
You know Judge Alexander? A.
Your Honor.
Southerlyn's working on the Arianna Marchetti matter.
It's terrible.
What a tragedy.
- Did you know her? - Not well, but we're like a family at the courthouse.
Everyone's just devastated.
We're counting on you.
Thank you.
Whose is that? Arianna Marchetti's.
I found it in the police property room.
Missing Persons took the contents of her office when she disappeared.
She kept her laptop in her office? Maybe she didn't want her husband to know what she was working on.
She did all of her finances online.
And? Three weeks before she disappeared, she sold some stock and wrote Ravi Patel a check for $5,000.
Sounds like a retainer to me.
Not only that, her computer calendar several meetings with "R.
" The last one was just a few days before she went missing.
Maybe you should have another chat with Mr.
I had to tell her I changed my mind.
I couldn't take her case after all.
Why? Once I read the prenup, I thought the parties were better off going to binding arbitration.
Why waste everyone's time and money litigating? But I hear you're the man who eats prenups for breakfast.
What about custody? She would've gotten custody.
Mothers always do.
Her concerns were strictly financial.
She had sort of a scorched earth attitude.
Take no prisoners.
I just thought it was in everyone's best interests not to go to trial.
What did Mrs.
Marchetti think? I really don't know what course of action she decided to pursue, if any.
Then why did you lie to me and tell me that she'd talked to you? Yeah, I'm sorry about that, but I just didn't want to discuss it in front of the judge.
"Take a retainer, that's it.
You're committed.
" She's old school.
We pulled Arianna's phone records.
You called her the night before she disappeared.
To tell her I was going to return her money.
Did you? It's still in the client's account, accumulating interest, but I'll send her husband a check in the morning.
I'm sure he could use it for his defense fund.
But thanks for reminding me.
How did you get my name? I Googled your lawyer.
Your divorce was in the Examiner.
Oh, God, that? Thanks, Laurel.
Patel appears regularly in that periodical, among others.
The price of a very high profile clientele.
Ravi does love the attention, not that I begrudge him that.
He deserves it.
Well, it looks like he did well by you.
Got me everything I asked for and more.
Just eviscerated my ex.
Still, those billable hours do add up.
I wouldn't know.
Let me tell you, darling.
It's the extras that kill you.
Extras? $3,000 for dinner at Le Cirque? I've never been.
He didn't even have dinner at Le Cirque.
It was lunch.
And I know for a fact the tab was 300.
The maitre d's a friend of mine.
That's quite a markup.
But then your ex paid your legal fees, right? Oh, Ravi's bills were so outrageous I paid them myself.
We didn't want my husband's lawyers pitching a fit.
And the judge signed off on it? Without batting an eye.
All ofhis clients say the same thing: They knew that he was padding the tab, but they didn't care.
It was worth it.
He delivered.
Unethical, but not illegal.
You can't get a contingency fee in a divorce case.
This is a way of picking up a performance bonus under the table.
Still, he could get disbarred for it.
Not much chance of that.
If the clients don't mind and the judge rubber-stamps it, who's to know? Yeah, but why take Arianna's retainer in the first place? She's not his kind of client.
Most ofhis clients are super wealthy.
The Marchettis just aren't in that league.
There's no big payoff at the end of the day.
Maybe he decided it wasn't worth the candle and dropped her.
Did he drop her? We only have his word for that.
What if she knew about the billing scheme? She threatens to expose him if he doesn't take her on as a client.
She writes him a check, he strings her along, she disappears, he's off the hook, and he gets to keep her deposit.
You think he might be involved in the murder? If she knew what he was up to.
Follow your nose.
What a coincidence.
I had a question.
You're, uh, very persistent, like a bulldog on a meat wagon.
What can I do for you? Judge Alexander.
Judge Alexander: Fair, impartial, tough.
An excellent jurist.
You sound like a bumper sticker.
Is she running for reelection? Always.
And I always vote for her.
I'm sure you do.
How is it you happen to draw her court so often? Actually, I don't think that's true.
Yeah, about three times more than most of your colleagues.
Courtroom assignments are picked at random by the clerk.
I mean, you know that.
Yes, they are, aren't they? A disproportionate number of Patel's cases, certainly the high profile ones, were tried in front of Alexander.
How'd he do with other judges? Well, according to the clients I've spoken with, in front of Alexander, he's Seattle Slew.
In front of anybody else, he's just another nag, an also-ran.
- He loses as many as he wins.
- How does he get on her calendar so often? A couple of other lawyers have also appeared before her way too many times in the past couple of years JeffThorsen, Raoul Welch.
You think the docket's rigged? It has to be.
It's notjust the luck of the draw.
The clerk would have to be involved.
It'd be interesting to see exactly how Judge Alexander ruled in these cases.
Matrimonial cases are sealed.
Only the parties involved can get them opened.
Or the court.
If she consistently favored Patel and his friends Lean on the other lawyers.
Find me more, we'll get a subpoena.
I can't afford to lose my license.
You're going to be disbarred, Mr.
Whether you go to prison or not and for how long, that's up to you.
Prison? What can I do? We could discuss a suspended sentence, probation.
Depends on what you give us.
I do what I have to do to get on Alexander's docket.
Why? She likes me.
Bends over backwards to give my client the benefit of every doubt.
- Get it? - Spell it out for me.
I jack up my bill.
Client pays a surcharge.
I grease the clerk to make sure Judge Alexander hears the case.
The clerk who sets her calendar.
Judge hears the case, my client wins the lottery, thinks I walk on water, doesn't mind paying a premium, especially if the ex gets screwed.
And the judge likes you because your winning personality, you went to law school together, what? - Come on.
- Mr.
Welch! I pay a lot of money to the clerk to get on the judge's docket.
You understand what I'm saying? A lot.
I'm not talking about slipping the usher a sawbuck for a better seat at the stadium.
And the clerk takes a piece and kicks the rest to the judge? I don't know that for a fact.
Not at all.
I don't deal with her directly, only with the clerk.
But I don't see her clerk driving a brand-new car every year, if you know what I mean.
Ruth Alexander was the brightest student I ever had.
I didn't realize you had a history.
Helped get her her firstjob.
I used to tell her she could become the state's first woman governor.
No, I just can't see how she could become involved in something like this.
There's got to be more to this than meets the eye.
- There might be.
- What's that supposed to mean? It may be linked to Arianna Marchetti's murder.
Dear God.
I know you don't want to believe it, Arthur.
But if cases are being rigged, Judge Alexander has to be involved.
Well, that's a big "if.
" Can Welch give us Patel? He can only put himself in.
And there are rumors that other lawyers have similar arrangements, but he has no firsthand knowledge.
With Welch's deposition, I can get a subpoena to open her cases, but I don't know what that's necessarily gonna tell us.
I mean, it's not like criminal court where a client's guilty or innocent.
Won't be clear cut.
She has to be able to defend her decisions on appeal.
It's like point shaving in basketball.
And subtle, open to interpretation, unless she made some really egregious rulings.
There's one way to find out.
Soon as I issue a subpoena, it's gonna be all over town before you can say "Jack Robinson.
" I don't want to drag her name through the mud unless there's something to this.
Why don't you askJudge Alexander to unseal her own cases? See how she reacts.
Arthur, what the hell? We need to look at those cases, Ruth.
Why? What's going on? Am I being investigated? Why would you think that? You tell me.
It has nothing to do with you.
Promise? Something's come up in a criminal investigation.
Your cases are tangential.
We're looking for something very specific.
Criminal investigation? I swear they're germane.
Well, I don't see how a bunch of old divorce cases could possibly They are.
Trust me.
Now, Ruth, I'm extending you a courtesy on this.
I could have gone to another judge for that subpoena.
You know the courthouse grapevine.
It's like kudzu.
Now, this way it remains between us.
I appreciate that.
Still, you might have at least given me a heads-up for old time's sake.
I'm sorry.
Didn't mean to ambush you.
Oh, you didn't? You want to unseal dozens of old cases out of the blue? Ruth, what have you got to hide? I thought we had a good case.
My ex-wife was an alcoholic.
She held down a good job? Well, she was functional, but Was she abusive? Not exactly.
Um, neglectful, more like narcissistic.
Terrible temper.
Kids were scared to death of her.
Not somebody that should ever have been a parent.
You had plenty of expert testimony.
Didn't seem to make a damn bit of difference.
I mean, that's that's the thing.
You wouldn't know it from the transcript, but she didn't even pretend to listen to it.
- Judge Alexander? - If you'd been in the courtroom, it was so clear.
She'd made up her mind long before we came in.
How are your kids? Ruined.
One's on drugs.
Uh The other's flunking out of her third high school.
She cuts herself to get her mother's attention.
Doesn't work.
Mothers almost always get custody.
It may not be fair, but That's what the judge said when we went back to see her.
We had all kinds of evidence to petition her, to revisit the question, and she wouldn't even hear it.
It's not blatant, but you can argue that there's a clear pattern of the judge consistently favoring this handful of lawyers.
Clear enough for Arthur? I'm afraid so.
What about her finances? She's living way beyond her means.
Between maintenance and taxes, she should be broke.
But she's not.
When did it start? Shortly after her divorce.
She got creamed on her settlement.
She had to sell her co-op.
So, she's strapped, she's scrambling to make ends meet One thing leads to another.
It's a slippery slope.
What if it wasn't the bill padding that Arianna knew about? What if it was the case rigging? She sees the same handful of lawyers going in and out of Alexander's courtroom, racking up favorable decisions time after time, puts two and two together.
She goes to Patel, she says, "Take my case or I'll blow the whistle.
" In that scenario, he's looking at prison, not disbarment.
Yeah, but why not just take her case to keep her quiet? Because Arianna wanted that prenup annulled.
But if Alexander throws out the prenup, it'll be so blatantly obvious, it could get reversed on appeal and the whole rotten arrangement might come to light.
Patel has an alibi for the day she disappeared.
I'm sure thejudge does too.
She has to have been downtown sitting on the bench.
Where does she live? - Upper West Side.
- Same as the Marchettis.
Have the cops check it out.
I remember one morning, could have been the day you're talking about.
And? Judge came back from jogging.
It was well after 9:00.
So what, she was running late? She's usually long gone by then.
Plus, she was kind of scuffed up.
Scuffed up? Nicks and scratches on her face.
Took a tumble on the jogging path.
So what'd she do then? Went upstairs to clean up, went to work.
How does the judge usually get to work? I don't suppose she takes the subway with the peasants.
A car picks her up.
Her car service never picked her up that morning.
She went out for her usual early morning run, stopped by her garage and picked up her own car.
Black sedan? A couple of hours later, she stops by her apartment to get cleaned up and changed, cancels her car service and drives herself to work.
In the interim, she meets Arianna Marchetti, drives her uptown Right, and things don't go exactly according to plan.
Or maybe they do.
You think it was premeditated? Only the judge can tell us that.
When she finally gets to work She's nearly two hours late, a courtroom full of angry litigants.
Get a search warrant for the car, subpoena her phone records.
I can talk to her clerk.
Her clerk can help us make the corruption case.
We'll need more than that for the Marchetti murder.
Patel, thanks for coming.
I, uh, thought about bringing an attorney.
Why didn't you? I think I can adequately represent my own interests.
Besides, why turn this into an adversarial situation? Any idea why I asked you here? You know how the courthouse is.
A hotbed of gossip.
A petri dish.
Rumors are flying.
's convening a grand jury, looking into allegations of corruption.
We may ask you to appear.
Then it's true then.
That would be premature.
I don't think I'd be of much use.
You're not aware of any irregularities? Not at all.
Do you know Raoul Welch? Yes.
He's confessed to bribing a clerk.
Why would he do that? To get his cases heard byJudge Alexander.
Southerlyn intimated she thought there may be something amiss with the judge's docket, but I didn't know what she was getting at.
You're not curious why he bribed the clerk to get on the judge's calendar? Judge Alexander is fair and smart, just what you want in a judge but don't often get.
Why wouldn't he want to have her? You appear beforeJudge Alexander quite often, more often than Mr.
Welch, in fact, or Mr.
Is that right? I wouldn't know.
Where's, uh, Ms.
Southerlyn? She's interviewing the judge's clerk.
We're working out a plea bargain.
Perhaps I do know something about this, more than I realized.
If I could be helpful in any way No, thanks.
We have all the witnesses we need.
Well, sorry I couldn't have been of more assistance.
Unless you have something to tell us about the murder of Arianna Marchetti.
I don't think I know anything about that.
Your phone records suggest that you do.
Am I a suspect? You made several calls toJudge Alexander the night before Arianna disappeared.
Official business, I'm sure.
After 10:00 p.
? And after speaking with thejudge for more than an hour, you hung up and called Arianna Marchetti, spoke with her briefly, then called the judge back again.
Well, the calls weren't related.
I told Ms.
I called Arianna because I wanted to return her money.
You called to set up a meeting between Arianna and Judge Alexander.
Once we lay out the magnitude of your corruption, the jury will find it easy to believe that you and the judge conspired to murder Arianna Marchetti to silence her.
I can give you the judge.
I thought you could.
Been reading this damn deposition all evening.
Can't seem to get past the first paragraph.
Patel? Full statement.
Any room for doubt? None.
Arianna Marchetti? That too.
Patel says the judge just wanted to talk to her, doesn't know what went wrong.
Well, something sure as hell did.
What a waste.
I think I can defend every decision from the bench that I have ever made.
I'm sure you can.
People can justify just about anything.
I've never been overturned on appeal.
Not once.
Do you know how much money I make? About 100,000.
Ninety-five before taxes.
That's more than most people.
More than me.
It's a lot of money.
In New York? And do you know what I pay my worthless jerk of an ex-husband every month? Between that and the taxes, I'm in the red before I even get out of bed in the morning.
We know how much money you have.
You're a rich woman.
No, I'm not.
Not like I should have been.
He ruined my life.
I wish to God I'd never met him.
Took me years to get back to where I started.
Then I have to sit here every day and listen to these spoiled rich people arguing about $50,000 a month clothing allowances, horseback riding lessons and Tuscan villas.
Why shouldn't I be compensated, having to listen to all that greed and spite and stupidity? "The best interests of the child.
" Doesn't that phrase mean anything to you? Of course it does.
I never made any ruling that harmed a child, ever.
You decided custody cases for money.
People at their most vulnerable and desperate.
You sold yourjudgment on the most precious thing in their lives.
That kind of corruption is unspeakable.
I never decided any custody case except on its own merits.
You took Lena Marchetti's mother from her.
What about that child? Lena Marchetti? What I didn't Am I What are you saying? Patel says he set up the meeting with Arianna the night before, per your instructions.
I may have talked to him that night.
I don't remember.
I'm sure you have the records, but let me remind you that Ravi Patel will say anything to save his own skin.
We have forensic evidence.
Hair, fingerprints.
We can put Arianna Marchetti in your car.
It was an accident.
It was an unfortunate, unlucky accident.
You just wanted to talk to her.
You never meant for that to happen, to harm her in any way.
No, I didn't.
I'm s-so sorry I can't tell you.
I never intended to I mean, I just wanted to talk to her.
I just wanted to reason with her.
I just wanted her to see what was best for everyone.
But Arianna was just She was fixated.
She just would not let it go.
She wouldn't think it through, see the consequences.
She was just so obsessed with sticking it to her husband.
Remind you of anyone? Don't beat yourself up, Arthur.
Ruth Alexander made her own bed.
I suppose.
Still, you know the old saying, "Even the wicked" No.
"Even the wicked get worse than they deserve.