Law & Order (1990) s20e04 Episode Script

Reality Bites

NARRATOR: In the criminal justice system the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups, the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.
These are their stories.
So, how was school today? ALL: Good! Only good? ALL: No! It was great! And tomorrow will be? ALL: Even better! Hang on, guys.
I'll go get Mommy.
Joy? Joy? Joy Johnson.
Blunt force to the head.
Based on lividity and body temp, I put time of death between 12:00 and 2:00.
Looks like a palm print in the blood over there.
BERNARD: The trophy's the murder weapon? Looks like.
Special Athletics.
I left work at 3:00 to pick up the kids.
On Thursdays we put the young ones in day care so my wife can have a few hours off.
Was anything missing from the house? I kept some money, maybe $8,000, in the desk for emergencies.
A neighbor told the responding officers that he saw a bouncy Hispanic woman leaving the house around noon.
Bouncy? What does that even mean? Excuse me.
I'm sorry.
Larry, I can't find Olivia's ladybug pillow.
She's throwing a fit.
LARRY: Look in the van.
Or sometimes Henry takes it.
She's our babysitter.
She's got the kids stashed at a neighbor's.
Did your kids see any of what's inside, your wife? No, thank God.
I went in ahead.
They waited in the van.
Your kids, they're all special needs? Yeah.
When we realized we couldn't get pregnant, we adopted a beautiful little girl with Down Syndrome.
We just kept going.
Nine times? Ten.
Our oldest, Tim, is in high school.
He's autistic, high-performing.
He should be home by now.
Looks like he's been home already.
There's a yellow book bag in there with his name on it.
TIM: Dad? Mom's dead.
I left school after fourth period and walked home.
It's eight blocks, two long ones and six short ones, so it took 14 minutes.
I saw my mom on the floor.
I tried to wake her up, but she was dead.
Is that how you got blood on your hands? Yeah, because I tried to wake her up.
Why didn't you call the police? Because the police always suspect the person who's close to the body, or sometimes the boyfriend.
Or sometimes the person who didn't call the police.
I didn't see that one.
He loves cop shows on TV.
He wants to be a detective.
If this wasn't what it is, coming here would be the greatest day of his life.
Has he ever been violent towards anyone in the family? No.
No.
Never.
He's a good kid.
LUPO: The thing is, Tim, we were wondering why you left school early.
Other kids pick on me.
They move my things around, and I have to put them back.
Or they take my things even.
Is that why you were throwing pencils? We talked to your school, Tim.
We know they sent you home because you were throwing pencils at other boys.
Why were you doing that? Maybe when you got home, you told your mother what happened and she got mad.
I didn't talk to her.
She was dead.
LUPO: How did you get in the house? Do you have a key? My father gave me one because I was trustworthy.
Look, Tim, this could've been an accident.
Now, if something bad happened, this would be a good time to tell us.
I don't have anything to tell you.
You could tell us why you were mad at school.
Okay.
I did it.
I killed her.
No, he wouldn't Okay, we just need you to tell us exactly what you did.
I told my mom what happened and she got mad.
Tim, why don't you want to tell us why you were throwing pencils? We're police detectives.
We need your help.
You do want to help us, don't you? Yes.
VAN BUREN: Then answer my question.
Yesterday, after second period, D.
J.
Asked if he could look at my fanny pack.
It was a trick.
He wouldn't give it back.
Why didn't you want to tell us? My key was in the left compartment.
Dad said I was trustworthy.
But I wasn't.
I let it get taken.
D.
J.
Lovell? You know him? His parents are friends of ours.
He's always been kind to Tim, to all our kids.
So he's been in your house? Sure.
I can't believe my friend's son would kill my wife.
LUPO: Sup.
D.
J.
Lovell, he's got a record.
Petty theft and assault.
I didn't steal Tim Johnson's gay-ass fanny pack.
D.
J! So if we look around, we're not going to find it? Why do you care about a fanny pack? Joy was murdered.
Tim Johnson had a key in there.
Whoever killed Mrs.
Johnson might have used a key to get in the house.
You think D.
J I didn't even know there was a key in there.
Yes, I took the fanny pack.
But it was just a joke that got out of hand.
Where is it? I threw the pack in the dumpster.
Then you don't mind if we look around for it, or for the $8,000 that was taken from the Johnson home? Go ahead.
Let them look.
Wait.
I was over there Tuesday.
Joy got into a fight with someone on the phone.
Who? I don't know.
But when Joy hung up, she said the woman was a psycho.
She seemed afraid.
Nothing's there.
No fanny pack, no cash.
We're checking dumpsters.
Well, he could have hidden it someplace else.
BERNARD: The Johnson home phone records.
There were three incoming calls around the time Mrs.
Lovell was there on Tuesday.
One from the younger kids' school, one from the Fraternal Order of Police, probably asking for money.
Those people never take no for an answer.
And the third from a Belinda Alvarez, Sunnyside, Queens.
Alvarez.
The woman seen leaving the Johnson home was Hispanic.
Right.
And bouncy.
(LOCK CLICKING) Belinda Alvarez? Yes.
Do you know Joy Johnson? Oh, my God, yes.
Poor woman, I can't believe it.
Do you want to come in? Sure.
You'll have to forgive the mess.
It's been one of those days.
They want to play with every toy for about one second, usually just to hit each other on the head.
Good thing they got thick skulls, right? Is this a day care? (LAUGHS) I wish I could send them home at night.
Nope, they're all mine.
Three singles and a set of septuplets.
I was hoping for octuplets, but God decided to bestow that blessing on Nadya Suleman.
Mom, say hi to the police.
(CHILDREN CHATTERING) Wow! Ten kids, just like the Johnsons.
Only mine are biological, which is why I thought I should get the show.
Plus I'm a single mother, so it's more dramatic.
The show? A new reality show.
Like Jon and Kate, you know, only less depressing.
You and the Johnsons were involved in a reality show? One of us was going to be.
And I needed it way more than they did.
I'm by myself, barely surviving, on assistance.
They're rich.
So you called Mrs.
Johnson the other day.
Just to lay out the facts.
I explained to her that I'm much younger and prettier than she was, and that my personality will come across on TV, don't you think? And you went to see her yesterday.
Yes.
I must have just missed the murderer.
It's frightening.
How did Mrs.
Johnson react to your arguments, about you being younger and prettier and all? We didn't argue.
We heard you argued on the phone.
On the phone, yes.
And I was ready to argue again when I went to see her.
But she said they weren't going to do the show.
As far as she was concerned, the show was mine.
So you're saying when you left her, she was alive? Of course! And I was ecstatic.
(SQUEALS) My own show! Hence the bouncy.
I don't think anything that woman is involved with could be called reality.
Septuplets? When this is all over, I say we find her fertility doctor and arrest him on general principles.
Let's see if Johnson backs up her story.
Hey, is Mr.
Johnson around? Downstairs.
Shh.
If you're going down there, I'm going to need you to sign a release.
What for? So that we can use your image on the air for merchandising, rebroadcast.
We'll think about it.
All right, let's see, does everybody have milk? I want Or-Juice! Or-Juice it is! Anybody else? (CHILDREN SHOUTING) Okay, I'll have to get more out of the fridge.
Looks like Belinda Alvarez was lying about the Johnsons dropping out of the show.
Or his wife wanted to drop out, but he didn't.
The trick is, you've got to shake it up or it will just turn into one big orange.
I've had that happen to me before.
I love these kids, but they sure make a mess.
My wife was so patient.
Can we maybe talk to you without the cameras? I'm supposed to let them film everything.
I signed a contract.
So, no time off for mourning? Look, I know this seems odd, with Joy just dead, but without her I'm gonna have to stay home with the kids.
And I don't have any way to pay for that without the show.
Maybe we could talk to you out there.
Um, yeah, sure, I guess.
Okay.
So, what's going on? We talked to a woman named Belinda Alvarez.
Do you know her? She was a candidate for the reality show.
The producer said she was kind of nuts.
Turns out she was over here around the time your wife was killed.
She killed Joy? She says she didn't.
She says she didn't have a reason to because your wife told her that you weren't going to do the show.
Joy wouldn't say that.
Joy wanted this show.
She wanted the world to see our beautiful children.
When do I get to see my detectives on TV? Lupo didn't want to be on camera.
I was having a bad beard day.
I wasn't going to say anything.
(ALL CHUCKLE) Paying bills, Loo? No, checking our insurance plan.
The lifetime cap.
Is it enough? Well, if I'm cured in the next three months, it's fine.
Otherwise, I know where you can get a good deal on a used Toyota.
All right, so someone's lying.
Is it the husband or the Septomom? I'm liking the husband.
His wife didn't want to do the show, he was trying to convince her.
With a Special Athletics trophy? Mmm.
I don't know.
The Septomom's brought so many extra people into this world, she might feel entitled to take one out, especially one standing between her and her own TV show.
Yeah, right, but it didn't work.
I mean, Mr.
Johnson got the show anyway.
So she wasn't thinking like a television producer.
She didn't see the appeal of the single dad angle.
What's next? We're going to go see the actual producer.
Ask him if Mrs.
Johnson was in or out.
All right.
Having cameras follow you around 24/7, some people aren't comfortable.
Yeah, how about Mrs.
Johnson? How comfortable was she? She had questions, concerns.
But Larry assured me she was totally on board.
Larry did? I mostly dealt with him.
After we picked his family for the show, I faxed the contracts to his office.
The contract needed to be signed by both of them, right? Husband and wife? Originally, sure.
But after she died, it only needed his.
Did Mrs.
Johnson ever sign it? No, just Larry.
I didn't get it back until after she was killed.
It kind of went down to the wire.
So she was dragging her feet? Or he was.
He wanted a higher cooperation fee, plus more of it upfront.
He has 10 kids to take care of, plus he's a real estate developer.
We all know how that's going nowadays.
Things are slow.
That's not exactly a secret.
BERNARD: How slow? Well, there used to be people at some of those desks.
You're still here.
Visiting.
I'm Mr.
Johnson's accountant.
And why are you (WHISPERS) There was a rat.
Where? Over there, and then it ran over there.
Can you hand me that file? I've been here all week, going through Mr.
Johnson's books.
He's shutting down a couple of projects that looked great on paper, two years ago.
Now, he's just trying to salvage some equity.
You were here all week? Including the afternoon Mrs.
Johnson was killed? Mmm-hmm.
LUPO: Was Mr.
Johnson here all day? He said he had to be with his kids.
He was gone when I got back from lunch.
We were at your office this afternoon.
We picked up this picture of you leaving the building the day your wife was murdered.
12:15.
You told us you left work at 3:00.
Larry, are you coming? It's your turn.
Just a minute.
My sister flew in from Chicago to help out.
We're playing Twister.
Look, I can explain this.
I should have just told you before.
(FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING) Not now.
I lied to you about what I did that day.
That's right.
You came home, you tried to convince your wife to sign the contract.
No.
I went to see my girlfriend.
What's her name? I started working for them three years ago.
I baby-sit, sometimes I cook.
I help Joy out if Larry has to work late.
Except the times he's working late, when he's actually here.
It just kind of happened.
Joy went to bed early.
It was raining, Larry offered to drive you home.
His wife was too busy with the kids to pay much attention to him.
Was he here on Thursday? He came over about 1:00.
He left at 3:00 to get the kids.
But his office is what, like, five minutes from here? I guess.
Did he happen to mention if he stopped by home on the way over? No, he loved Joy.
He did.
He just He loved me, too.
Okay, so, Joy and you, two women, one man.
As hard as it might be to understand, I loved Joy, too.
And I would never take her away from those kids.
The way that they felt about her.
When Larry brought them home, they'd jump out of the car practically before he'd stopped and run in to see her.
Is that a laundry hamper? Yeah.
Man's shirt.
Larry's? He keeps some stuff here.
He always changed shirts after he visited me.
His wife wouldn't notice if he left the house in one shirt and came back in another? He always wears blue.
You left your office at 12:15, you got to your girlfriend's at 1:00.
It's plenty of time to stop by home on the way.
I stopped for a coffee.
I had a lot to think about.
The shirt you wore to your girlfriend's house had specks of your wife's blood on it.
You get that from the coffee shop, too? No.
I don't know how.
Oh! My daughter, Olivia, has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
She has trouble speaking and seeing.
She gets easily frustrated, she has seizures.
Thursday morning, she lashed out at breakfast and cut my wife with a grapefruit knife.
I must have gotten blood on my shirt.
This guy has answers for everything.
What do we have on him? Well, he cheats on his wife with the babysitter, and then signs up to be a TV star the day after the wife is bludgeoned to death.
Okay, I'd convict him, but what evidence do we have that he's the killer? The blood on the shirt.
Which he just explained with a heart-rending story about his daughter.
He lied about his alibi.
He still doesn't have one.
He needed the money he'd get for going on the show, but his wife wouldn't sign on.
Yeah, but that's according to the Septomom? I mean, not the world's greatest witness.
You guys have anything else? What about this? His babysitter-mistress told us the kids always run in the house the second they get home.
The day of the murder, Larry made them wait while he went in first.
What if he held them back because he knew his wife was dead and he didn't want them to see it? That would be the nicest thing I've heard about this guy yet.
Enough to arrest him for murder? If you can confirm it, yeah.
The kids are at home with the sister right now.
Well, take a ride and I'll keep Mr.
Johnson company for a while.
Are you sure this is okay? My brother will be home any minute.
We're trying to solve their mother's murder.
Anything they know.
When your dad takes you home from school, what usually happens when you get to the house? My dad is going to bring us pizza.
Okay.
Uh How about you? Do you know what happens usually when you get to the house? Darnell helps Amy with her seatbelt.
Then Freddy opens the door and Amy gets out, then lifts Jane out.
And they all go inside the house and hug Mom, except Angie, who always waits for Dad.
So your dad comes in the house after you guys? I don't know.
Yes, you do, squirt.
You just said.
Hey, hey, Tim, maybe you should Maybe you should help us out here.
Help you detectives? That's right.
Do you think you can? Sure! Squirt, you said Darnell helps Amy with her seatbelt.
Then Freddy opens the door and Amy gets out and lifts Jane out.
And you all run inside the house and hug Mom, except Angie, who always waits for Dad, right? Okay, so on the day that your mother got hurt, what happened? I don't know.
You do, squirt.
You're smart.
I am smart.
So tell the two detectives.
Darnell started to unbuckle Amy and Dad said, "Stop.
" So, what you usually do, your Dad said don't do it? Yes.
He said, "Stop.
" He made us wait.
He went in first.
That's confirmation.
Yeah, what the lady asked for.
LARRY: Anybody home? Hey, the pizza man is here! I got a pizza for everyone! (CHILDREN EXCLAIMING) Now who wants a pizza? Amy, remember, no pepperoni for you.
Hey, what are you guys doing here? I got some pizzas.
Larry Johnson, you're under arrest for murder.
That's a wrap.
"Case number 1-6-7-2-4-9.
People v.
Larry Johnson.
"Murder in the Second Degree.
" The plea is Not Guilty, Your Honor.
And we're requesting ROR for humanitarian reasons.
Humanitarian? Your client's charged with murder, not healing lepers.
He has 10 special needs children at home who need his care since his wife is deceased.
Since he smashed in her head with a Special Athletics trophy.
The People request remand.
He has ties to the community, both personal and professional, and he cannot afford high bail.
If he's jailed pending trial, then he's not the one who'll suffer, it's his children.
All right, we'll hold him for now on $500,000, but I'll review pending a report from Children's Services.
Thank you.
Hey, the pizza man is here! I got a pizza for everyone.
LARRY: We were just trying to have fun.
Just trying to survive after my wife's tragic death.
I had no idea what was about to happen.
Hey, what are you guys doing here? I got some pizzas.
Larry Johnson, you're under arrest for murder.
That's a wrap.
I don't know what's going to happen now.
The kids cry all the time.
They're acting out.
They need their father back.
We miss you, Daddy.
Very entertaining.
Whatever happened to the Cosbys? They didn't have enough kids.
Children's Services just weighed in.
If Mr.
Johnson makes bail, the family stays together pending a verdict.
And if he doesn't, the kids get split up and sent to foster homes.
It'll be ugly.
And our fault.
"Heartless Prosecutors Break Up Happy Family.
" It'll poison the jury pool.
Lower the bail to $100,000.
But make one condition that he stop appearing on that damn show.
KRAMER: Ms.
Rubirosa? Connie, right? Swarthmore.
You lived with Susie Nevins, senior year.
I dated Karen Lazar, drove a yellow Geo Metro.
And sold rides to New York.
Artie Kramer.
The reality show producer.
Guilty.
Hey, I can guess what you probably think about a show like Larry Plus Ten, but do you know how many special needs children all around the country are being adopted after one episode? Well, hopefully by better parents than Mr.
Johnson.
The show's dead, Connie, because of your bail condition.
We need Larry on camera.
It's not going to happen.
Okay.
Well, what about you? What about me? Well, the sister's a stiff, but we've still got the kids.
We can keep it alive by focusing on the trial and contrasting that with her struggles inside the house.
Cameras aren't allowed in the courtroom.
So outside the court.
D.
A.
Doing prep, D.
A.
Briefing us on developments.
The D.
A.
Telling you you're out of your mind.
It's an opportunity to take your case to the public.
Plus, I have tapes of Larry Johnson and his wife when they were being considered for the show, talking about whether or not to do it and not always agreeing.
I can subpoena those tapes.
We'll fight it.
First Amendment.
Or, you could get them hand-delivered.
The tapes could help.
So we'll fight in court to get them.
But how do we make a showing they're relevant if we haven't seen them? Without our point of view on the show, it's all propaganda for acquittal.
We'll pick jurors who haven't seen it.
Or we can embrace it.
Argue our case and get the tapes.
What's the downside? Fine.
Why don't you be on the show? He didn't ask me.
Hold it.
Sorry.
I've got a white balance glitch.
Listen, can you arrive again? Arrive again? Just drive around the block.
Look, I'm a little late.
Why don't I just get in and get out again? Okay.
We can cheat it.
Thank you.
Okay, stop there.
Now, can you tell what you're going to be doing in there today? Tell who? The camera, like it's as if you're talking to a friend.
(CELL PHONE RINGING) What? You having fun? I am going to kill you and then I'm going to kill McCoy.
On camera? I don't care.
I'd be better off in prison.
Where are you? I'm in the courthouse.
Are you almost here? Yes.
Uh-huh, except, first, I have to tell my friend, the camera, what's going on.
What are you going to say? (SIGHS) Don't worry, just the party line.
(CLEARS THROAT) Today we're going to begin to prove our case.
Larry Johnson may look admirable because he's surrounded himself with needy children.
But the evidence will show that Larry Johnson, his business failing, desperately wanted to appear on a reality show.
He needed the money, and cared nothing about exposing his children to public scrutiny and humiliation.
When his wife refused to go along, he argued with her and then he killed her.
The only person in that family that Larry Johnson really cared about was Larry Johnson.
No one saw Mr.
Johnson kill his wife.
No one even saw them argue.
What people did see, as the evidence will show, was another woman who desperately wanted to be on that show, leaving the Johnson house at the time of the murder.
And that a young man with a criminal record stole a key to the Johnson house.
And that one of the Johnson's adopted children, a troubled young man of 16, actually confessed to killing his mother.
Who killed Joy Johnson? I don't know.
And you know what? Neither do the authorities.
There's no real evidence against those others.
The Defense is just throwing spaghetti against the ceiling, hoping something sticks.
Exactly what I would be doing.
And some of it sounds pretty sticky.
The jury's not going to like Johnson.
Less than a day after his wife is murdered, he goes on a reality show to exploit his disabled children.
This is the video we got in exchange for peddling my ass on TV.
LARRY: (ON VIDEO) We're very excited about this.
We can't wait to share our family with as many people as we can.
We still just need to discuss it a little more among ourselves.
KRAMER: Do you have any questions I can answer for you? My husband and I should probably talk privately.
LARRY: Honey, you may as well get used to it.
The camera's going to be on all the time.
That's what I want to talk about, Larry.
You know the kids get teased enough already.
Some of them don't have the judgment to control what they say.
We really need to talk about this.
Does that have to be on? The seed of the argument that led to the murder.
I don't hear her saying she won't do the show.
We have a witness who she said it to.
BELINDA: Mrs.
Johnson was very gracious.
She offered to make me tea, but I couldn't stay.
I had 10 kids waiting with my mom at a McDonald's.
Before she offered to make you tea, what did she say about the reality show? That I could have it.
She thought it was deleterious.
Deleterious? I had to look it up, too.
Like it would damage the kids.
She didn't like it.
They weren't going to do it.
Thank you.
Isn't it possible that Mrs.
Johnson told you that just to get you out of her house? Why would she do that? Because you'd argued with her on the phone, made threats.
I never made threats.
You thought you deserved to be on that show, didn't you? I did.
The Johnsons didn't even have those kids themselves.
I had mine the old-fashioned way.
With fertility drugs and a stranger's sperm.
How badly did you want to be on that show? A lot.
But I'm not a violent person.
Didn't you tell the show's producer that you would kill someone to be on that show? No.
Me? Never.
Your Honor, I'd like to play an audition tape Ms.
Alvarez made when she applied for the show.
Objection.
We have no idea what that DVD is, or who made it, or where it came from.
Ms.
Alvarez can authenticate it for us.
She was there.
Very well, subject to authentication.
BELINDA: (ON VIDEO) I know, maybe you're thinking about other people, but there's nobody as good as me for this.
My septuplets are very hilarious, and I'm already getting them used to being on camera.
Is that you, Ms.
Alvarez? Yes.
It's me.
Mmm.
KRAMER: It's really about the parent, Belinda.
We need someone who's passionate.
Passionate? You think I'm maybe one of those wise Latina women? Not me.
You're not wise? Not boring.
I've got the fire.
You have no idea.
I swear, to get on this show I would kill.
JUDGE DEVON: Thank you, Ms.
Alvarez, you may step down.
I guess your friend Kramer made a deal with them, too.
We'll take a 15 minute recess.
(GAVEL POUNDS) When Ms.
Alvarez told you that she would kill to be on your show, did you take her literally? Of course not.
No, I think she was just trying to impress me.
Because that's the kind of thing you look for, isn't it? Exaggerated fake emotions? Well, they're called reality shows.
That's what they're called.
But they're scripted, aren't they? Based around manufactured emotional situations? We take what's there and we amplify it.
Amplify.
For example, a simple desire to be on the show into a bogus willingness to kill? That's the kind of thing you want.
Ms.
Alvarez was showing you that she knew how to play the game.
Something like that.
Now, did Mrs.
Johnson ever express that kind of eagerness to be on the show? No.
Did she ever even tell you she wanted to be on the show? Not directly.
I only heard through her husband.
CUTTER: Her husband.
How long before her death did you send him the contract that needed to be signed? About a month.
And when did you tell him you needed it back? Right away.
He kept saying, "No problem.
" It kept not coming.
CUTTER: And what did you tell him the last time you spoke to him before Mrs.
Johnson was murdered? I said I need it back, signed, in 24 hours, or I'm going to have to do the show with somebody else.
Thank you, Mr.
Kramer.
So, no one ever got killed over a reality show? I don't know about ever.
Would you be surprised to hear that there have been reports of a dozen suicides, or suicide attempts made by reality show contestants? Well, people can get highly wrought, and so we try to weed out the ones that we think are unstable.
Is that why you didn't go with Belinda Alvarez? In part.
Because she's a high-strung erratic woman, who, as far as you know, got herself pregnant with septuplets she couldn't support just to get herself on a show like yours? Objection.
There's no basis for any of that.
We've seen the woman.
Sustained.
Move on, Ms.
Nuvell.
As for the delay in getting the contract back, did you know it was because Mrs.
Johnson was reluctant to sign it? No.
Isn't it just as likely it was because Mr.
Johnson was negotiating for a higher payment? I don't know.
I told him I couldn't go any higher.
But he was trying, wasn't he? He asked.
He even had his accountant call me.
He said he was doing some tax planning and wanted to know how much money Mr.
Johnson could expect to earn from the show.
Thank you.
Hey.
The police talked to Johnson's accountant.
She's a woman.
Then who called Kramer? I never expected it, but I've been drawn into this bizarre murder trial involving two of our very special families.
Ms.
Rubirosa, how did I do? You were fantastic.
Can I have a word with the cameras off? Only if you promise to give us your full impressions afterwards.
We're airing a very special edition Sunday night.
Artie, I think the lines are getting a little bit blurred here.
Can I talk to you, please? Kramer had a callback number for Johnson's so-called accountant.
It's a finance company that's a front for Sammy Shiner.
The loan shark? If Sammy Shiner wanted to know how much money Johnson had coming, it was because Johnson owed him.
And Shiner is not someone you want to keep waiting.
OCID has him listed as a suspect in at least four murders.
Johnson's business is failing.
He borrows from Shiner.
He can't pay it back.
He really, really needs that reality show gig.
That amps his motive 20 fold, if we can get Shiner to testify.
We get a material witness warrant, give him transactional immunity.
It's doable.
I'll start the application.
No, no.
Not yet.
It'll tip them off.
Johnson's taking the stand on Monday, right? He's going to have the jury in tears.
His grief for his wife, his beautiful children Let him.
All I have to do is get him to say something, anything, about not needing money.
Then we bring Shiner in for rebuttal, the jury will see Johnson's a liar who's played them for fools.
My wife was concerned about our children's well-being, of course.
We both were.
So we got assurances from the producers that we could review the tapes, that we could protect them.
I was satisfied and so was she.
Then why did she tell Ms.
Alvarez otherwise? I don't believe she did.
NUVELL: We've heard testimony that on the day of the murder, when you returned home with your children, you altered your usual routine.
My wife had been tired that morning.
I thought she might be napping, so I held the kids back.
It wasn't that unusual.
So you didn't kill your wife, Mr.
Johnson? Of course not! I thanked God every day that he had brought her into my life, and into our children's.
She literally saved their lives.
They loved her for that.
So did I.
Thank you.
If you loved your wife, what emotion exactly did you feel for your babysitter? I'm not perfect.
I never said I was.
I may have strayed, but that doesn't make me a murderer.
CUTTER: On the day your wife was killed, you left your office at 12:15, but you didn't arrive at your girlfriend's apartment until 1:00.
I stopped for coffee.
I was thinking about what I was doing.
You were thinking that you shouldn't go to see your girlfriend and then you went to see your girlfriend? Yeah.
You didn't stop in first to see your wife? No.
To try to convince her one more time to sign that contract? No.
Because business was terrible and you needed money.
I didn't need money that badly.
To do something that would hurt my children? To kill my wife? It was a desperate situation.
Your projects were failing.
You were deep in debt.
I could do other projects, I could do something else.
I might have owed a little money, but it's not like it was a matter of life or death.
Thank you.
Get that material witness warrant.
It's not what I ever expected, but I've been drawn into this bizarre murder trial involving two of our very special families.
Ms.
Rubirosa, how did I do? You were fantastic.
Can I have a word with the cameras off? Well, only if you promise to give us your full impressions afterwards.
We're airing a special edition Sunday night.
Artie, I think the lines are getting a little bit blurred here.
Can I talk to you, please? How much longer must this go on? Not much.
Johnson stepped right into it on the witness stand.
The loan shark, Shiner, will demolish him.
He'll testify? He's gone.
The cops just called.
Shiner seems to be out of the country.
Somewhere in the Caribbean.
His associates don't know where he is or when he'll be back.
When did he leave? This morning.
They knew.
The Defense somehow knew you knew about Shiner and tipped him off to get the hell out of town.
How? How did they know? Oh, God.
What? This aired last night.
That's my pad.
I carried it out of the courtroom.
I was taking notes while Kramer testified.
The Defense did what you just did.
Now that's reality television.
Yeah.
As our planned rebuttal witness is unavailable, I have a few more questions.
Mr.
Johnson, when did you first become acquainted with Sammy Shiner? I'm sorry, who? He's a principal at Uptown Finance, a company you owed $400,000.
I don't think I met anyone there named Shiner.
But you are aware that the phone call to Mr.
Kramer that was supposedly from your accountant asking about your earnings, was actually made by someone at Uptown Finance.
I don't know anything about that.
You didn't know you borrowed money from a notorious loan shark, who was now taking a close, personal interest in your finances? No.
Uptown Finance came highly recommended.
It was a normal business transaction.
A normal business transaction with a man whose nonpaying customers have a habit of winding up dead.
You had to get your wife to sign that contract or you risked being murdered.
Objection! Your Honor, if the Prosecution wants to put someone named Sammy Shiner on trial for loan sharking, I suggest they launch the appropriate prosecution, or at least bring him in to testify.
I agree.
Mr.
Cutter, that's enough.
Do you have anything else? No, Your Honor.
JUDGE DEVON: Has the jury reached a verdict? Still no progress, Your Honor.
I'll send you back one more time if you think there's any chance of reaching a unanimous verdict.
I don't think so.
People aren't budging.
We're deadlocked.
Very well.
I have no choice then, but to declare a mistrial.
I thank the jurors for their service.
The terms of Mr.
Johnson's bail are continued while the state decides whether or not to retry this case.
We're adjourned.
(GAVEL POUNDS) We're searching the Caribbean to rebut Johnson's perjury.
Last we heard, Shiner was either in Anguilla or Antigua.
Meanwhile, the producers have made some changes to Larry Plus Ten.
They're moving his family with the Septomom's into the same mansion on Long Island.
Along with a human lie detector.
You know, one of those guys who can tell if you're lying by the way you blink.
CUTTER: The idea is to have both families compete for prizes, and to figure out which head of household murdered Joy Johnson.
The television audience gets to vote.
And they've asked Arthur Branch to be the judge.
You're kidding, right?