Presumed Innocent (2024) s01e06 Episode Script

The Elements

[REPORTER 1] Was it, uh,
Mr. Sabich's pattern
[REPORTER 2] As day two
of the trial begins,
the courtroom remains
abuzz with anticipation.
[REPORTER 3] The prosecution's
strong start has set the stage
for a riveting legal battle.
[REPORTER 4] Molto's opening statement
was nothing short of compelling.
With a commanding presence and
unwavering conviction,
he set the stage
[REPORTER 2] beyond
a reasonable doubt.
[REPORTER 5] Tommy Molto delivered
an impassioned opening statement
that resonated with both the jury
and the public.
[REPORTER 3] going head-to-head
against renowned defense
attorney Raymond Horgan.
[REPORTER 2] or will Tommy Molto's
captivating opening statement
continue to resonate,
securing what appears to be
a solid foundation
for the prosecution's case?
Oh, you're a fucking asshole!
[TOMMY] Doctor, can you describe
what we're seeing here?
[KUMAGAI] The blunt force wounds
that resulted in the death of
the victim, Carolyn Polhemus.
Struck three times by a thin,
heavy object
resulting in laceration of the scalp,
severe contusions, skull fractures,
brain herniation.
[TOMMY] Herniation?
Cranial pressure
forced sections of her brain to shift,
seek an exit.
So that's her brain
seeping through the fractures?
Correct. What the photos don't show
is that it also
pushed through the foramen magnum.
That's where the spine enters
the base of the skull.
[TOMMY] And this was the cause of death?
It would have been,
but she bled to death
before the herniation could kill her.
What was the estimated time of death?
[KUMAGAI] Body temperature
and stages of rigor and livor mortis
put it between 10 p.m. and midnight.
And the markings on her face?
[KUMAGAI] They indicate a fall.
She was struck once
on the back of the head,
falling face forward, breaking her nose,
thus the markings
under her eyes and on her cheeks.
She was then struck two more times
in the back of the skull.
The contusion on her face occurred
while she was still alive.
The fatal blows came after.
Is there any evidence
that she tried to defend herself?
[KUMAGAI] There were no
conclusive defensive wounds.
Traces of the defendant's skin
were determined to be present
under one of the victim's fingernails.
Is it possible she scratched him
as she was trying to defend herself?
[KUMAGAI] It's possible.
More likely, she never saw it coming.
[TOMMY] And you stated
that the blow didn't kill her,
- that she lay there, bleeding out?
- [KUMAGAI] Yes, sir.
- She suffered.
- [RAYMOND] Leading.
- Did she suffer?
- I cannot conclude that.
She was most likely unconscious
from the blows to the skull.
Can you rule out that she was conscious,
that she suffered?
[KUMAGAI] I cannot rule that out, no.
[TOMMY] Doctor,
do you have any other findings
in regard to Ms. Polhemus?
Yes. She was six weeks pregnant
at the time she was killed.
[TOMMY] Your Honor, at this time,
I would enter the parties' joint
stipulation as to the DNA analysis,
which confirms the
defendant's paternity.
[LARYN] So noted.
So the defendant impregnated the victim?
[KUMAGAI] Yes, he did.
[TOMMY] That's all I have.
[LARYN] Mr. Horgan.
Uh, the defense will not be challenging
this witness, Your Honor.
- Dr. Kumagai
- Actually, I'm old and I
[CHUCKLES] better make sure
that I didn't miss anything.
You said, "A thin, heavy object."
As I understand it, you make no findings
as to who swung this thin, heavy object.
- In fact, they don't even suggest it.
- [KUMAGAI] Correct.
[RAYMOND] You make
no medical determinations
as to who killed Carolyn Polhemus.
I can only state
with an absolute certainty
that this was a homicide.
[RAYMOND] Uh-huh.
And no thin, heavy object
or murder weapon
of any kind has been recovered?
Thank you.
Mr. Molto. Redirect?
Do not.
We got what we needed.
Doctor, after you completed the autopsy,
did you have chance
to encounter the defendant?
Yes, he came to our office and
aggressively demanded to see the body.
Is that typical, for a district attorney
to show up like that?
It's been known to happen,
but it's certainly not routine.
Did Mr. Sabich have a pattern
of showing up to view victims?
- Did Mr. Sabich ever show up
- to personally view a homicide victim?
- [KUMAGAI] Never.
[TOMMY] But he showed up on this day.
What was his demeanor?
- He was agitated, erratic, even scared.
- [TOMMY] Scared?
Which I didn't understand then.
But you do now?
My sense, he didn't want
to just know my findings,
it was as if he was scared of them.
There was something off about him.
That's all I have.
Doctor, do you have any psychological
to render behavioral diagnosis
when it comes to agitation, fright or
I have a history with the defendant,
one that allows me to form lay opinions
based on his behavior,
and he was acting out of the ordinary.
You have a history with him.
Are you two friends?
[KUMAGAI] Colleagues, not friends.
Not friends. In fact,
you consider my client to be an asshole.
- Objection.
- [RAYMOND] Offered to show bias.
I'll allow it.
Uh, things get heated sometimes,
and I do regret calling him that.
You don't have any bias,
say, against district attorneys?
Of course not. That's preposterous.
- You ever call me an asshole?
- Objection.
Your Honor,
if there is prejudice at play here
Short leash.
Uh, you and I have gotten into it
a few times as well.
I mean, it happens in our line of work.
It is a very contentious,
high-pressure process
and sometimes we decompress
by blowing off some steam.
But I certainly do not have
a bias against prosecutors,
and I take extreme offense to that.
Did you ever call
Tommy Molto an asshole?
- Objection.
- No more than you.
[LARYN] Dr. Kumagai.
[KUMAGAI] Maybe this is why
you didn't get reelected.
- Doctor.
- [KUMAGAI] Don't quit your day job.
Oh, no, that's right. You got fired,
- right? Yeah.
- [LARYN] Dr. Kumagai.
[OFFICER] We've got to go. Head down.
[OFFICER 2] Copy. He's in the car.
[NICO] We had what we needed.
We had it, but you couldn't let it sit.
That's what I said I told you.
Just get Kumagai up there,
and, uh, get him to establish
the time and cause of death
and the paternity of the baby.
but you couldn't just leave it there.
And now we have an ME
that comes across as an aggrieved,
- grudge-bearing "dis-grunt."
- It was important testimony.
The Rusty Sabich that everyone
knows and loves wouldn't have done this,
so we have to establish
wherever and whenever possible
that at some point
he stopped being that Rusty Sabich.
It was a net win.
I'm gonna call this a net fucking loss.
It's a circumstantial case that's
gonna be built on bits and pieces,
the tiniest and smallest of increments.
Kumagai is just the first piece.
Rusty Sabich was unhinged, other.
The skin under Carolyn's fingernail
wasn't in the initial report.
FSC is backlogged.
Kumagai just took a little longer
with that part of the analysis.
The forensic pathologist,
he figures to be a lot tougher.
Jeremy Buck.
He's probably the best. He was
always my go-to. Yours too, Rusty.
He's as precise as he is graphic,
so we think it's best
if neither of you
actually look at the photographs.
Just straight forward, neutral, numb.
Can we talk about
body language for a sec?
What about it?
we didn't love what we saw today.
You guys need to look together.
The jury's going to be taking cues
from you,
and they need to see "I love him.
I believe in him" at every turn.
[RAYMOND] And if the media,
they swarm again like they did today,
maybe, Rusty, you could put your arm
around Barbara and shield her.
we want the jury to believe
that he's my protector.
Yeah, in a sense. In that situation.
Raymond, I
can't claim to know your job,
but I think insulting
the jury's intelligence
is not the best path.
What they're likely to see on my face
is going to be shock.
My husband's on trial
for a gruesome murder.
How could I be anything else
but fucking shocked?
Trials often come down to storytelling.
Best version wins.
And you are part of our story here,
and your fury
isn't going to carry the day.
It is very difficult for me
to be in that room,
to have to bear witness to all
the things that are gonna be said,
all the images depicted.
That I am there at all
that tells the jury that I believe
in my husband's innocence.
I need to be credible.
But for me to be credible,
I need to be truthful.
And that is what I will be in that room.
I will let them see my truth.
That I am horrified, that I am
that I am repulsed by such depravity,
that I am offended by the mere notion
that the father of my
children could be
responsible for such depravity.
This is the darkest hour
of my fucking life.
I will not pretend otherwise.
Not for you two. Not for that jury.
[PATHOLOGIST] We found skin cells
under the fingernails
of her right hand,
a DNA match for the defendant.
We also found traces of saliva
on the victim's face
and on the collar of the shirt
she had been wearing.
DNA match for the defendant.
Curiously, we found no DNA whatsoever
on the rope used to bind the body.
Why do you say "curiously"?
It was fastidious.
The perpetrator was careful
not to leave any evidence.
It's rare to find a scene
so bloody and messy,
yet so sterile
from an evidentiary standpoint.
[TOMMY] What does that tell you?
That great pains were taken to clean up,
to cover up.
[TOMMY] Based on your nearly 20 years
as a forensic pathologist,
what is your opinion
about what happened?
My opinion is we had a sudden act
of murderous rage
followed by a very meticulous,
methodical, postmortem act
of tying her up.
[TOMMY] That's all I have. Thank you.
Have you ever seen a body
tied up like this before?
I had a homicide case several years ago
where the body was bound up
in an eerily similar fashion, yes.
And who was the district attorney
in charge of prosecuting that homicide?
There were two,
Carolyn Polhemus and Rusty Sabich.
And the killer in that case,
his name is Liam Reynolds.
- He was convicted.
- [PATHOLOGIST] Correct.
[RAYMOND] Convicted by the prosecutors
- Carolyn Polhemus and Rusty Sabich.
- [PATHOLOGIST] Correct.
And upon being convicted
by Carolyn Polhemus and Rusty Sabich,
he threatened to get even with them.
- Are you aware of this?
[RAYMOND] Now, I am no expert on
the science of getting even,
but I suspect
- killing one while framing the other
- Objection.
- would be very
- Sustained. Bring it up here right now.
We discussed this.
This office never really investigated
Mr. Reynolds
They never investigated me,
far as I know.
Their burden isn't
to investigate everyone.
- They have no duty to prove a negative.
- He made a public threat
- to Carolyn and Rusty.
- Yes, he made a threat
- I thought it important the jury know.
- an empty one.
- Why I should not have this
- One you will not be milking.
entered into the record.
Give me something tangible
and I'll let you explore it.
Otherwise, none of your nonsense.
Now step back.
Mr. Buck, you've been made aware
that my client and the deceased
- were romantically intimate.
- [MR. BUCK] Yes.
[RAYMOND] And when you say,
"skin was found under her fingernails,"
do you mean actual skin,
as in pieces of skin,
like he'd been scratched?
No, not visible pieces of skin. Cells.
If I scratched my face like this,
one might find skin
cells under my nails?
It's possible.
So, if Rusty Sabich kissed
Carolyn Polhemus, and while kissing,
Carolyn happened to run her fingernails
along his neck or on his back,
could that not account for the
traces of his saliva found on her
and the DNA found under her fingernails?
Is that not possible?
I suppose.
[RAYMOND] So the DNA you say
suggests he killed her,
it could just as easily say and suggest
he kissed her.
You do get the distinction?
You gotta go. [SIGHS]
Were you aware that the defendant
and Ms. Polhemus
were having an affair?
- [EUGENIA] I became aware, yes.
- How'd you become aware?
Well, I had, um,
various reasons to suspect.
Um, as for when I actually knew
I needed to drop a file off
in Rusty's office.
It was late.
I thought he was gone. He wasn't.
I walked inside.
He was kissing Carolyn. Um
[RUSTY] Yeah?
- Uh, I got the, um, Roberts case.
- Yeah.
- Yeah, yeah.
- Yep.
- Thanks. Yeah.
- There you go. I will see you tomorrow.
I bolted and, uh, she followed me.
And, um, it was incredibly embarrassing
and I I left.
- [TOMMY] When was this?
- [EUGENIA] Last February.
[TOMMY] Were there any other incidences
that you observed?
Not overtly sexual, just office gossip.
But, um, I mean, sure,
there were undercurrents.
Such as?
Uh, one time in the, um,
underground parking lot, I saw them.
They were I-I think, I don't know
I think they were arguing.
- [RUSTY] together. I don't know. What?
- [CAROLYN] Stay away.
[RUSTY] But all I'm doing is asking you
a question. So if you can just
That's it. Fuck's sake.
[EUGENIA] Uh, she was in her car,
he was banging on her window,
and she sped off.
[RUSTY] Fuck.
[TOMMY] Did you have the opportunity
to discuss any of this with Mr. Sabich?
Mm-hmm. What'd you say?
[EXHALES DEEPLY]I told him that I
that I was worried that he was, um,
I don't know, losing himself.
- Losing himself?
- [EUGENIA] To her.
He, um, was becoming a little undone,
You didn't approve of this relationship
between Mr. Sabich and Ms. Polhemus?
- You didn't approve?
- No, I didn't.
And you didn't really approve
of Carolyn Polhemus, did you?
It's not about that.
It was unprofessional.
You didn't like Carolyn, did you?
No, I didn't.
[MYA] Did you ever report your concerns
about it being unprofessional to HR?
I did not, no.
And to your knowledge,
Ms. Polhemus never made a
complaint to HR about Mr. Sabich?
That's correct.
To your knowledge, did she ever
make a complaint to HR about anyone?
Tommy Molto.
Do you have any knowledge of me
acting unprofessionally or untoward
with respect to Ms. Polhemus?
I have no actual knowledge, no.
And do you have any knowledge
about the complaint
that was filed at human resources?
All I know is that she
didn't want to work
on any cases with you.
She said that you gave her ick.
Okay. Did you ever witness me acting
unprofessionally toward the victim?
Not really.
[TOMMY] How about Rusty Sabich?
- Yes.
- Yes.
The defendant seemed obsessed,
losing himself to her.
That's your testimony?
That is my testimony.
Thank you so much.
Mmm. Aw.
It's okay.
I almost feel sorry for him, Tommy.
[RAYMOND] Mmm. Mmm.
- I almost did too
but then I remembered
he's a fucking cockroach.
You can't squish him.
He keeps coming back.
And he's made his points.
You're worried.
Well, if the jury they [SIGHS]
sticks with the burden of proof,
I like where we are, but [SIGHS]
if they need someone to pin this on,
it'll be Rusty.
You okay?
Mmm. You okay?
In my psych class,
we've been reading some stuff
about trauma and disassociation.
How the brain can protect people
from themselves.
Like an involuntary
detachment from reality.
You ever feel that?
How do you mean?
People can disassociate
from their memories.
If it's
If they do something
that they can't reconcile with or
what they perceive themselves to be
it can cause a disassociation.
My memory is fine.
Rusty, I need to talk to you.
So a a couple of months ago, um
uh, around the time I got fired
from the gallery,
I started going to a bar
in the day. [CHUCKLES]
And, um
the bar had a bartender and he
had a PhD in art.
And so we got talking and, um
we actually really connected, and
we kissed. I kissed him.
But that was all that happened.
It was It was
It was just a distraction. It was
It was just a kiss. [SIGHS]
Where did it happen?
Um, at his apartment.
- I wanted to see his art.
- At his apartment?
- That's all.
- You wanted to see his
piece of his art? [CHUCKLES]
- Don't, Rusty.
- Did you fuck him?
- No.
Why are you telling me this now?
to be honest with you.
I thought we were being honest
with each other.
I'm on trial for my life.
I know.
You come in every day and you grind me.
You grind me.
"What happened here?"
"What happened there?"
"Why didn't you tell me this
about you and her?"
Question after question.
And when I tell you,
"I'm just trying to be honest,
I'm just trying to [BREATHES SHAKILY]
tell you what happened
the best I can remember it.
I I can't give you the reasoning
all the time,"
you just You just grind me
over and over again.
- That is not fair.
- Over.
It's not fair?
It's not fair, Barbara? What's fair?
What's fair now?
How does it feel?
How's it feel?
To make a fucking mistake?
Fuck's sake.
- Fuck you, Rusty.
- Fuck me? Fuck me?
- [KYLE] I'm out.
- [BARBARA] Are my keys in the kitchen?
Can you clean your bowls, please?
- I will.
- They're right here.
- Don't forget your geometry homework.
- [KYLE] It's in my bag.
- Are you coming?
- No, I'm meeting Lorraine.
- And I'm late.
- Barbara?
[BARBARA] Kyle, you got your lunch?
[KYLE] Yeah.
I could go. I'm a good seat filler.
Oh, honey. No, that's all right. I'm
I'm I'm okay. Really, I'm good.
I'm sorry if I upset you last night.
[LORRAINE] Now, why would you tell him?
- I don't know, Lorraine. [SIGHS]
- That was a terrible idea.
I know.
It's just that lately we've [SIGHS]
I thought
I felt we were connecting again.
- I felt
- Uh-huh.
close and safe.
- And
- Okay.
[SIGHS] the whole Clifton thing
just suddenly felt so oppressive
and [INHALES DEEPLY]I needed
I just
- Blurted it out.
And it didn't go well?
Which is why you are not
going to court alone anymore.
I will be there next to you.
I'll go back, just not today.
Today, they've got all the stuff
they pulled from his computer
and hers.
- Yeah.
I don't think I can sit through that,
listening to all his
declarations of love
- Oh, God.
- et cetera, et cetera.
You know, the night she was killed,
he texted her 30 times?
Oh, my God.
Honestly, I think it's the most
damning part of the whole case.
Thirty times?
And the father
has just filed for a protective order,
trying to prevent his
son from testifying.
- [NICO] You gotta be kidding me.
- I'm denying the motion.
But I'm mindful of
where he's coming from.
This day threatens to wreak
a lot of emotional havoc
for a kid who's already had too much.
- [NICO] He's a material witness. So
- [LARYN] Let me finish.
I'd like to spare this family
any more unnecessary pain,
whether it's unnecessary or not.
Now, this case is murder two at best
and you know it.
Even your own witness testified
that it was likely an unplanned killing.
You'll never get murder one.
And my instruction
won't help you up that hill.
You walking free strikes me
as a bit of a stretch as well.
Voluntary manslaughter
seems like a good place to land.
- Not a chance.
- No.
You get a conviction.
You get to resume your life
in eight years.
- That seems like a bargain.
- I'm not accepting any conviction.
A dismissal and an apology
is the only thing that I will accept.
Last off-ramp, boys.
Anybody care to blink?
You'll both tread
with care with the boy.
Hey, sweetie.
Hey. Hey, sweetie.
You wanna go upstairs to bed?
- Run upstairs to bed.
- Mm-mmm.
[RUSTY] You remember when they were
they were little and they would sleep,
we would watch them for hours.
Angel mode.
Why do you stay?
The same reason you do. [SIGHS]
Michael, you and I met before,
where I extended my condolences.
I'd like to do so again now.
Both for the loss of your mother
but also for the trauma
- of being here in court today.
It's a terrible thing
we're asking you to do,
but it's because a terrible,
terrible thing happened to your mother.
Mr. Molto.
I'd like to direct your attention to
the night
that your mother was murdered.
Can you tell me where you were?
I had dinner at home.
I watched some TV or something.
Maybe played video games.
I left the house later and went there.
So just to be clear,
you went from the house
where you live with your father,
Dalton Caldwell,
and then you said you went there.
Where Where is there?
[MICHAEL] To my mother's house.
[TOMMY] To do what?
My mother and I didn't get along much.
She didn't want me around.
I was not invited.
It caused me some confusion.
And sometimes I would just go
to the house to watch.
To see the life that
she preferred that I'd not be a part of.
Which I think I've explained
all of this to you before.
Did you go to your mother's house a lot?
Every now and then. I don't know.
Like, once or twice a month.
What would you do when you were there?
Mainly, I'd just stare at the house
from a distance in the dark
so she wouldn't see me.
Sometimes I would see people come in.
Mostly him.
Note that the witness has indicated
the defendant, Rusty Sabich.
I knew what they were doing.
- Objection.
- [LARYN] Uh, sustained.
Just answer the questions
you're asked, Michael.
And if at anytime
you feel like you need to take a break,
just let me know, okay?
- Yeah.
- [LARYN] Let's get to it.
So you took these videos?
June 16th.
And can you read the time stamp
at the top of the video?
[MICHAEL] Yeah. "9:49 p.m."
[TOMMY] And again, was this
the video you took at 9:49 p.m.,
- the night your mother was murdered?
- [MICHAEL] Yes.
Subsequent to your mother's death,
you texted the defendant?
What did you text him?
[MICHAEL] I texted him,
"You were there. I saw you."
I saw you what?
At the house when I took that video.
[TOMMY] Did you ask to meet
with the defendant?
- [MICHAEL] Yes.
- Why did you ask to meet with him?
Well, because I wanted to look into the
of the man who murdered my mother.
- Objection.
- [LARYN] Sustained.
So after you asked for the meeting,
did you and the defendant in fact meet?
- [MICHAEL] Yes.
- [TOMMY] What did you talk about?
[MICHAEL] He He asked me why
I wanted to meet, and I told him
because I wanted to look into the eyes
of the man who murdered my mother.
Objection, Your Honor.
The witness is stating his opinion only.
[TOMMY] Did you accuse the defendant
of murdering your mother?
- [MICHAEL] I did.
- [TOMMY] How did he respond?
He denied it.
But I could see he was lying.
- [RAYMOND] Objection.
- [LARYN] Sustained.
Michael, you can state your impressions
but please don't offer them
as facts, okay?
Did you ever have a conversation
with your mother about the defendant?
Like I said, we weren't very close.
She didn't share much.
But about two weeks before she died,
she told me that she was having
some trouble with a man at work.
It was my impression
that it was the same man
she was romantically involved with.
[TOMMY] Did she say anything else?
That she was becoming afraid of him.
You have any idea who that might be?
- Objection. Speculation.
- I'll allow it.
My impression was it was the same man
- I had the impression murdered her.
- Objection.
The same man I took
pictures of the night she was killed.
- Objection.
- [LARYN] Sustained.
Only questions asked, Michael.
Please, don't volunteer.
Thank you, Michael. That's all I have.
You have a lot of impressions,
don't you?
You have an impression
that your mom was scared.
You have an impression that it was
the man that she was sleeping with
that she was afraid of.
That's a funny word, impression.
Let's talk about that word for a minute.
What does that word mean? It means
[SIGHS] the belief or the faith
in something that is unseen,
[LARYN] Counsel?
[DISTORTED] Mr. Horgan,
do you have a question?
- Ray? Ray?
- Ray? Ray? Ray, Ray, Ray?
- I'm his wife. I'm his wife.
- [EMT 1] Still no pulse.
- [RUSTY] Again.
- [EMT 1] Ready?
- Three, two, one, clear.
- [RUSTY] It's okay. It's okay.
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