Law & Order (1990) s21e06 Episode Script

Wicked Game

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.
Yo, check out this fool's Yeah, come here, come here.
Are you deaf or somethin', bro? Hey, hey, I'm talkin' to you! You're disgusting, you know that? Hey.
What's goin' on? None of your damn business.
Try again, dumbass.
Kiss my ass.
- Stop walkin'.
- You got no right to tell me what to do.
- I got all kinds of rights.
I said stop walking, or I'll arrest you.
- For what? - For being a punk, and I'll arrest you too for being an accomplice.
You guys think you're so tough, just pickin' on some dude who's down on his luck.
Why don't you pick on me instead? Sorry, we were just playin' around.
- Get the hell outta here.
- Okay.
Sir, you okay? You need anything? All right.
'Kay, we're on it.
Here you go.
Hey, Frank.
It's me.
We just got a body.
DOA is a black male, late teens, early 20s.
No name, no ID.
Found him naked in the trunk.
Of a car? No, luggage.
- How'd he die? - Uh, not sure.
Any obvious injuries Contusions, cuts, scratches? No, nothing like that.
Time of death? Ballpark, between 1:00 and 5:00 a.
Who found the body? She was walking to work, saw the fancy trunk, tried to wheel it off, realized there was something inside, opened it up Wasn't expecting to see a bare-ass dead dude, I'll tell you that much.
Mama always said, "If you see something in the street, leave it be.
" Still waiting on tox report.
But cause of death appears to be a drug overdose.
No petechiae hemorrhage, and his hyoid is intact.
So he definitely wasn't strangled.
What else do we know? Found a tiny puncture wound on his left arm.
Guessing that's where he shot up.
Also found ligature marks on his wrists and some trace evidence of gold polyester fibers.
- Somebody restrained him.
- Looks that way.
So the kid was having some fun in the bedroom, decides to shoot up and ODs And somehow ends up in a damn suitcase.
Maybe somebody he was partying with panics, sticks the dead kid in a trunk, and dumps him on the street.
That's possible, but there's no sign of recent sexual activity.
No DNA on the body either.
Look at this.
I'm gonna run this through ECMS.
Yeah, that's Darien Wilson.
- Are you saying that he - Yeah.
We found his body this morning.
What happened? How did he die? Drug overdose.
Drugs? I find that hard to believe.
He took such good care of himself, had a lot of pride in his body and in his craft.
He used to come here for rehearsals three or four times a week.
He was so talented.
Darien have a girlfriend, boyfriend? I'm I'm not sure.
I knew he was gay, but What about his family? Do his parents live in the city? Yes, in the Bronx.
I told that boy he was too young to move out and live on his own too many temptations.
When was the last time you talked to Darien? It's been a while, over a year.
And how about you, ma'am? When was the last time you talked to your son? A month ago.
I just said hi, asked how he was doing.
Young man.
Um not really sure.
Last year? Is there a reason for this lack of communication? Darien chose to pursue a lifestyle that conflicted with our beliefs.
Oh I see.
When he told us that he was a homosexual, I said we'd get him some counseling, give him a chance to get himself right with God.
But he wasn't interested, and that was that.
Do you know where Darien was living? No, I I don't Thank you for your time.
I can't believe what I just heard.
What is this, 1954? Kickin' a kid out because you think he chose to be gay? Crazy, but it's still a thing in my community, especially among the religious folks.
I don't get it.
- Get what? - People Black people.
Here you are marching the streets for police reform, all these progressive laws, but if your kid turns out to be gay, well, he needs counseling.
You need to make him right with God.
You ask me, that's what you should be marching about.
Okay, you're right.
But don't act like your people are much better, all right? Because you still can't have pre-marital sex, for God's sake.
Reason number 36 why I don't go to church anymore.
Detective Bernard.
Go on.
Hey, write this down.
124 East 9th Street, apartment 2C.
Appreciate you for reaching out.
Kid brother.
Said he went to visit Darien two weeks ago.
Was afraid to say something in front of his father.
I spoke to Darien's roommate Young lady by the name of Sophie.
She said Darien was there most of the day yesterday.
Left at 6:00 in an Uber to attend a fancy "soiree.
" Dani's trying to track down the destination now.
What else do we know? Any interesting texts, emails? - Any talk of drug use? - No.
Did he mention any new friends, a new boyfriend? Uh, best I could find is this Sent two days ago: "TBM is trippin', like, for real.
But he's still kinda dope.
" I have no idea what that means.
Some dude named TBM is acting weird, but Darien still thinks he's awesome.
called ten minutes ago, said the official cause of death was acute methamphetamine toxicity, said they found 2 milliliters of concentrated meth in Darien's vein, meaning it never metabolized into his bloodstream.
Meaning someone shot him up again after he was already dead.
So let's keep working this case until we figure out what the hell happened.
Hey, just got access to Darien's Uber account.
So his last destination was 321 Green Street, an art gallery downtown, and it looks like there was a fundraising event there last night for Senator Jack Nathan.
Okay, let's track down this host.
It was a great event.
I raised $2 million for Senator Nathan.
- From Connecticut? - Mm-hmm.
If he plays it right, he could be president Smart, handsome, charming.
His politics transcend party lines too Strong family values, moderate on economic issues, yet still viewed as a progressive on social issues.
Did this young man attend your event? Uh you'd have to talk to the catering company.
You know, they're in charge of hiring the staff.
Young and Black Gotta be hired help.
I wasn't suggesting that I mean, most of the invitees were between 50 and 60, you know, people I know.
Is it possible the man was a guest of someone you know? - Sure.
- How many people - were at the event? - A hundred? You know, not including help.
Did this event space have security cameras? Yes, but I insisted that the gallery owner deactivate them.
Why is that? Well, because I want people to feel comfortable, to enjoy themselves, not to have to worry about saying or doing the wrong things.
It's how you raise money, Detective.
I'll keep that in mind.
Before we go, do you mind giving us the name of that catering company, if you don't mind? Mm-hmm, okay, thanks.
Just talked to the caterer.
They didn't recognize Darien's photo.
So contrary to Swanson's belief, he was not a waiter.
He was a guest.
Any luck? Yeah, I just found video of Darien a few hundred yards away from the art gallery about 8:45 p.
Can you zoom in on that other guy? It's pretty good resolution.
I'll send it over to Facial Rec.
No need.
That's our guest of honor, Senator Jack Nathan.
- Oh, that was great.
- Yeah.
Thanks a lot, thank you.
Senator, excuse me.
Take it easy, guys.
- We just wanna talk.
- About what? Last night's fundraiser.
Or we can take a ride up to your home in Connecticut, if you'd prefer.
No need.
It's all good.
Come on, let's walk.
- So what can I do for you? - You know this young man? - Looks vaguely familiar, but - How 'bout now? He look more familiar? That's you, isn't it? Like I said earlier, the senator is willing to answer questions off the record.
- No such thing.
- Then he's not talking.
Choice number two.
We do a deep dive on the senator, start asking lots of questions lots.
- We open a grand jury - Is that a threat? No, it's a statement of fact.
This is a homicide investigation.
Do you understand? Okay.
I met Darien last night.
But hold on a second.
You said he's dead? - What are you talking about? - Died of a meth overdose.
A woman found his naked body on the street this morning.
I had no idea.
- Oh, that's terrible.
- Sure is.
I left the fundraiser at about 8:45, and then I went uptown to Kyle Swanson's townhouse.
He was having a few people over for drinks.
- And you took Darien with you? - Yes.
So you and Darien drove uptown to this after-party.
What time did you get there, 9:00 or so? - Something like that.
- How many people were there? - Ten.
- Boys and girls, or Just boys.
How long did you and Darien stay? About an hour, maybe a little bit more.
But I wasn't with Darien.
Like I said, I just gave him a ride.
- What'd you do at this party? - Drinking, socializing.
Care to be more specific? People were, you know, hooking up with each other.
- Did you hook up? - I did.
- With Darien? - No.
Someone else.
- His name was Walter.
- Were there any drugs? Absolutely not.
There's no way I'd stand for any of that.
But cheating on your wife, that's no big deal? Look, I'm sorry this young man is dead.
But I didn't see any drugs.
I don't know what happened.
When I left Swanson's townhouse, Darien was still there and still very much alive.
Thank you, Ms.
Swanson, we have a few more questions we'd like to ask you.
Are we really still talking about this drug addict? - Yes, we really are.
- This is absurd.
Oh, it gets even more absurd.
We have a search warrant, which means we don't even need your consent to be in here.
So what's going on here, boys? Boys? Hell no.
- We're men.
- It's just a word, a colloquialism.
A colloquialism I don't like.
I'm not a big fan either.
But as for your question, what's going on here is you lied to us, Kyle.
You said you didn't know Darien.
Yet, in fact, he attended a party, an intimate gathering here, in your home, after the fundraiser.
- What are you talking about? - You can save it, Kyle.
We've already spoken to Senator Nathan.
I'm calling my lawyer.
Yeah, that would be a good move.
Hey, Kevin.
Come here.
- Find something interesting? - Yeah, sure did.
I'm sure I'm not the only guy with Marcel Dupont luggage in New York.
But I'm guessing you're the only guy in New York with Marcel Dupont luggage who happened to be entertaining the dead guy in his house a few hours before he died.
Plus, you lied to us.
You said you had no idea who Darien was.
Okay, I knew Darien.
We were dating very casually.
So why not tell us that in the first place? Because I don't like publicizing my sex life.
We're police, not paparazzi.
And the man is dead.
You're right.
I screwed up.
I I apologize.
So what did you do that night after the guests left? I went to sleep Around midnight.
And Darien, he was alive and well? Yes.
- Was he doin' drugs? - Not to my knowledge.
So how did he end up dead and naked in your MD suitcase? Not sure.
He could've gone out after I fell asleep.
Like I said, it was a very casual relationship.
Yeah, and then what, huh? Hooked up with somebody else who just happened to have an MD suitcase? We might not be rich, but we ain't dumb.
My client doesn't know what happened.
So if there are no other questions, we'll be leaving.
Sit your ass down.
Who the hell do you think you're talking to? You wanna lie? That's fine.
But at least you can show the courtesy of pretending that Darien's death actually mattered.
A young man, barely 20 years old, is dead.
You're right.
It is a tragedy.
But it is a tragedy of his own making.
He was an addict.
That's on him, no one else.
Did you talk to the other men at the after-party? Yeah, and all of them confirmed what Senator Nathan said.
People were drinking and hooking up, and there was no over-drug use.
Party ended pretty early too.
Last guest left at midnight.
- Was Darian still there? - Yes, and the last guy to exit was an art dealer named Robert Harper.
He said Swanson and Darien were the only ones in the house when he left and that they were sitting on a couch - drinking wine.
- So from midnight on, it was just Swanson and Darien in the townhouse.
And then he probably wheeled him down 10th Street and then dumps the body.
Time frame works, but we still don't have anything that proves Swanson shot him up, and since it was just the two of them, we may never find it.
This isn't Swanson's maiden voyage.
He gets off on shootin' dudes up like Darien.
- Trust me.
- How do you know? It doesn't matter.
I know.
I got a feeling.
So talk to Darien's friends.
Find out how he and Swanson met.
There's a good chance that he met other young men the same way and shot them up too.
I can't believe he's dead.
I talked to him a few days ago.
Sounded like things were going really well.
You and Darien, you would text back and forth, correct? Yeah, we were friends.
And Darien sent you these, correct? - Yeah.
- So the person, TBM, he's referencing in the text, is that Kyle Swanson? He used to call him The Big Man 'cause he was rich and important and all that.
- Do you know Swanson too? - No.
I never met him, but I saw him around.
He comes here a lot.
He only talks to pretty young Black men, like Darien.
- They met here? - Yeah.
You know anybody else Swanson would party with? Um yeah.
His name's Andre.
Used to be a bartender here.
That man is pure evil.
He almost put me in the ground.
How? Would shoot me up with meth.
He wouldn't stop either, no matter how many times I asked.
He just kept on goin'.
It was like the more I said "Stop," - the more excited he got.
- You shoot him up too, - or was this one-way traffic? - Nah man, he didn't get high.
He gets off on power and the abuse.
What kind of abuse? He'd, uh, tell me to take off my clothes, and he'd tell me to pretend like I was his servant.
He would use a different word, of course.
But I refuse to say it out loud.
Then, uh, he'd tie me up and start to shoot me up with meth.
He would just watch you get high? That was exciting to him? No, man.
It was way more screwed up than that.
It was like he would walk your ass up to heaven's gates and decide whether or not you get to live or die.
Sick son of a bitch thought he was God or something.
How many times did he slam you? Four times.
The last time, I was in the hospital for six days in a coma.
Why didn't you alert the police? He's rich.
He has all kinds of important friends.
I'm just a brotha from Georgia.
I gotta ask if you hated it so much, why'd you let him do it to you? I have a mother and three little sisters back home.
He paid you.
10 grand per session.
But, look, man, no more.
I'm done with all that.
No more drugs, no more crazy old white men.
Sounds like a good plan.
Andre, I appreciate you coming down here and sharing your story.
With your help, we are gonna nail this bastard.
If you need anything, call me.
What's up, Frank? Look, I don't mean to get personal here, Lieu, but we've known each other for, what, seven years? Is there a question here? Yeah, what the hell is goin' on with you? 'Scuse me? I've never seen you this fired up before.
I mean, Darien's case it's sad, I get it.
This isn't the first sad homicide you ever worked.
I caught a case about two years ago.
It was similar to this one.
Kid's name was Louis Knight.
I found his body at a construction site naked, just lying there on the ground.
I remember it was raining too, you know? One of those really cold rains that just wants to turn to sleet, but it never does.
I chased a couple leads.
It didn't go anywhere, and then a bunch of new cases started coming in Real homicides, gunshots, stabbings, you know, the kind of cases you like, Frank.
So we closed the case Accidental overdose.
But now now, with what we know about this Swanson guy, I know that he was involved in that kid's death too.
There's just too many similarities.
I can't prove it, but I need you to do me a favor.
I need you to keep working this case hard, because people like Swanson, bullies who prey on the weak, they need to pay.
They need to go down.
His name is Andre Walker.
He's 21 years old, Black, "dated" Swanson on and off for three months.
Swanson injected him with meth? Four times, and the last time that they were together, he almost died.
He told Swanson to stop.
He wouldn't Just kept pushing that needle, and Andre ends up in a coma for six days.
Swanson tried to kill him, almost did too, so I know where you're going.
But under New York law, if you inject someone with drugs, and they die, it's negligent homicide.
If they accidentally die, yeah.
But if you want them to die? You don't care if they die? That's murder.
Swanson gets off on bringing people to the brink of death.
He gets off on all of that.
So if someone actually dies, he's gotta pay the check.
This all comes from Andre's statement, correct? - Yeah, that's right.
- So this twisted game that Swanson likes to play, that's all based on Andre's experience.
I get it, Sam, and you're right.
But Andre wasn't a one-off.
It is more like the tip of the iceberg.
What are you talking about? We dug into prior meth overdoses in the last five years.
Five DOAs All young, Black, and poor, and all of them had ties to the bar that Swanson loves to frequent The same bar where he met Darien and Andre.
- If that's true - He's not only a killer.
He's a serial killer.
Other than the bar, where he met the five alleged victims, is there anything else connecting Swanson to five dead men? No, but it's not a coincidence.
That may be true, but it doesn't help us with the present case.
Those five bodies are inadmissible, irrelevant.
They may be inadmissible, but they are definitely not irrelevant.
This is a murder case, Nolan.
I'll talk to McCoy.
If what you're saying is true it's horrific beyond comprehension.
But can we prove that's what actually happened with Darien Wilson? Can we actually put the needle in Swanson's hand that night? Can we prove he was playing the same twisted game he played with Andre? We're still looking for more evidence, but I think it's worth a shot.
Swanson is a very dangerous and evil man.
But at the moment, he's still a very well-respected, very well-connected businessman with ties to some of the most influential politicians in the country.
Not to mention, he supported my opponent in the last election, so he'll claim we're biased - That this is all payback.
- What are you saying? If we're gonna try to kill the king, we can't miss.
So work closely with Dixon, build a strong case and take the son of a bitch down for murder.
Your Honor, this is preposterous.
The victim died of an accidental overdose.
My client had nothing to do with his death.
But for the sake of argument, even if he admitted to injecting the victim with drugs, which he absolutely does not, the correct charge for such a crime is Man Two.
Only when a crime involves an accidental overdose.
The defendant's actions in this case showed a depraved indifference to human life, which is why we are charging him with murder.
- But there's no evidence.
- Bail is set at 3 million.
Your Honor, this is outrageous! If it's so outrageous, file a motion to dismiss.
Next case.
You'll never convict me.
You know that, right? First thing we need to do is nail down all the evidence, and all the supporting documents.
I want credit card receipts for the Marcel Dupont luggage.
If he bought it in a boutique, then find me video of him in the actual store.
Pull the M.
files, tox reports, lap reports We found another witness.
Name is Jalen Brooks Hooked up with Swanson three weeks ago.
Same story as Andre, same profile too Young, gay, Black, and poor.
This bastard is clearly targeting these men based on their identity, their demographic profile.
- Are you suggesting - Oh, damn right, I am.
This is a hate crime.
If we add that as a kicker, he's staring down a 20-year minimum.
Nothing his lawyers or his fancy friends can do about it either.
Kyle Swanson targeted Darien Wilson, and two other young men, Andre Walker and Jalen Brooks, based on the beliefs he held about race, age, and social status Namely, they were Black, young, and poor.
To the extent he targeted them for anything, it was sex.
He was attracted to them.
He finds Black men beautiful.
That is the opposite of hate.
Actual animus is irrelevant.
How can it be a hate crime without actual animus? How can that possibly be irrelevant? According to a recent New York case, People v.
Cooney, the Court held, "If someone intentionally selects a victim "because of a belief or perception "regarding their race, color, gender, gender expression, "or religion, it's a hate crime, "regardless of whether or not the defendant actually hates the victim.
" We're talking about a middle-aged man attracted to young Black men.
No, I agree with Mr.
Motion granted.
One night, I was at his house, and he just started pulling out all this meth.
I was like, "Yo, wassup with that?" He just smiled.
He said it'd be fun.
Then he started peeling off $100 bills and told me to say when.
- How much did he give you? - $12,000.
Almost killed me.
I'm sorry you had to go through all that.
So I have to tell this story in court? Like in front of a bunch of people? Yes, it will help the jury understand what Swanson did to Darien, that he likely played the same disgusting game with him that he played with you.
Except he wasn't as lucky as you.
He died.
As long as you can lock this dude up.
We'll do our best.
The defendant shot up Darien with a lethal dose of methamphetamine for his own perverse pleasure.
He loved the power, the control.
He liked the feeling of playing God, determining whether someone got to live or die.
He used his syringe as an instrument of death to kill an innocent 20-year-old man.
Now, the evidence will show that he enjoyed this twisted, perverse game, and that he played it quite often.
Sometimes, people died, like Darien Wilson and sometimes they almost died, like Jalen Brooks or Andre Walker.
But the uncertainty, the possibility Is what made it exciting.
And that's also what made it murder.
Darien Wilson had a drug problem.
On the night of the 23rd, he overdosed and died.
Swanson found his dead body in his bathroom, tried to revive him, but quickly realized he was deceased.
Swanson did not inject Darien Wilson with meth.
He did not kill Darien Wilson.
He merely disposed of his dead body.
- Mr.
Price? - People call Jalen Brooks.
- What's going on? - I don't know.
I'm gonna check.
Your Honor, may I approach? We can't locate our witness.
Well, I suggest you find him fast.
You have one hour.
Hello? Yeah, lookin' for Jalen Brooks.
Nah, he ain't here.
Who is this? Police.
We need to ask you a few questions.
Be right there.
We wait.
So Jalen's not home, huh? Are you sure about that? Yeah, he left this morning.
Gave me 300 bucks for the rent he owed, then he took off.
- Where did he go? - I don't know.
He say when he'd be back? Yeah, never.
Said New York was sucking the life out of him.
Do you mind if we take a look around the apartment? Just to confirm all this with our own eyes.
You can't track him down.
In 2022, that's hard to believe.
Can't buy a cup of coffee without leaving a digital footprint.
If you're in the system, you have credit cards, bank cards, registered cell phones.
That's why Swanson targets guys like this in the first place.
Problem is we now have only one witness who can establish Swanson's pattern of conduct.
That's an anecdote, not a pattern.
I know, but it's all we have.
Then your one witness better be persuasive.
His story needs to be filled with vivid details, specific moments, and facts.
The jury not only needs to believe him, they need to feel sick to their stomach that someone like Kyle Swanson actually exists.
What's up? You said if I ever needed anything, to reach out.
How can I help? I talked to my old lawyer today, told him what's going on with the trial and all this Swanson stuff.
He told me not to testify.
I'm on parole, so if I admit to doing drugs with Swanson, they'll send me back to jail.
Andre, I get it.
But we need your testimony.
- I can call your parole officer.
- I can't go back to jail.
I finally got a good job, a good life.
If I go back inside, I'll lose all that.
I won't ever get it back either.
I'll talk to the parole officer, explain that I already did.
The guy is a real hard-ass.
He follows the rules and he doesn't make any exceptions.
Well, I feel terrible about that, but he has to testify.
We can't win the case without Andre.
- Can we win it with Andre? - Sorry? Look, if we're gonna jam this kid up, we need to know that we can actually win this trial.
- I can't predict - I just can't blow up this kid's life for nothing.
Send Andre back to jail and have Swanson walk free.
It's not a slam dunk, Kate.
It's just not.
Then maybe we let Andre slide.
Hell, we're doing this to help the victims, right? We're doing this to get justice for the men that Swanson abused Men like Andre.
We can't just victimize them all over again.
If Swanson walks, he will be even more emboldened.
He will continue to prey on more vulnerable young men.
So what, we're just gonna sacrifice Andre for the greater good? I don't wanna hurt this guy any more than you do.
But he is legally obliged to testify regardless of his personal circumstances.
With all due respect, it's not my fault that he chose to violate his parole, that he chose to do meth with Kyle Swanson.
Really? You're blaming him now? I'm not blaming him.
I'm just speaking the truth.
You're the one who pushed me to go for broke go for murder.
You don't get to walk that back now in the middle of the trial.
It's not how this works.
But we need to win.
I begged him to stop told him my heart was racin', that I was gonna die, but He just smiled, said I didn't deserve to live That I was useless.
Wait, he said that? The defendant said you don't deserve to live? Yeah.
What else do you remember about that terrifying moment? He had this crazy look in his eye.
He was smilin' like he was enjoying it.
What happened next? I woke up in the hospital six days later.
Some doctor was there, said he couldn't believe I was alive, said he was convinced I was gonna die.
Nothing further.
You like to date older, rich men, correct? Objection, relevance.
Who goes to the defendant's character, Your Honor.
Overruled, but be careful, Mr.
Get to the point.
When you date these older, wealthy men, you accept gifts, correct? - Sometimes.
- And money? Yeah, every once in a while.
- So you're a prostitute? - No.
I'm not a prostitute.
But if a guy wants to give me money, I take it.
In exchange for sex, which I believe is the literal definition of prostitution.
- Objection.
- Sustained.
Move on, Mr.
You said earlier that Mr.
Swanson injected you with meth, that you didn't inject yourself.
- Right.
- But you're a drug addict, correct? I mean, you've been convicted two times for possession and once for distribution.
- Objection.
- Goes to credibility.
Answer the question.
I did drugs, but I'm not an addict.
And I never shoot up Only with Swanson 'cause he paid me.
He paid you? So you not only have sex for money, but you do drugs for money? Is there anything else you do for money? You know what, let me rephrase that.
Is there anything you wouldn't do for money? - Objection! - Sustained.
Nothing further.
- Have you reached a verdict? - Yes, Your Honor.
Accused and Counsel, please rise.
What say you? On the count of Murder in the Second Degree, we find the defendant guilty.
This is outrageous! I am innocent! I am innocent! Order! Don't you touch me.
Don't you touch me.
Get your hands off me! Get your hands off me! - I will have your job! - Order! - You're finished! - Order! You're done! I will take his job! I know people! Keep your hands off me! Don't touch me! Nice job, Nolan.
Can I buy you a drink? Celebrate our victory? Thanks, but I'm meeting up with the head of parole.
I wanna put in a good word for Andre.
Probably won't make a difference, but it's worth a shot.

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