Recap / Law And Order S 16 E 5 Life Line

A man argues with a hooker at a party. When he won't even buy her a drink, her pimp intervenes. All the guy has is $20, and the pimp ejects him. Later, the man and the prostitute enter a trash-strewn vacant lot to have sex, but they flee when they see a body.

Fontana and Green approach the scene. A uniformed cop says that the party building is abandoned — everyone there was an illegal immigrant, and they fled when they heard the police coming. The CSI guy says that the dead body was shot three times at point-blank range and has no ID. He did find a purse, which contains high-grade cosmetics and other items, including an iPod, which Fontana is too old to recognize.

"One of those... music players."
—Joe Fontana

The CSI guy and Green find gang tattoos on her body. The tattoos indicate membership in Locotes Doces, a prominent Latino gang. Fontana suggests that they contact the Gang unit, but the CSI guy is able to wipe off some of the tattoos — they were fake.

ME Rodgers says that the bullets were what killed her. The body had few defensive wounds, and no signs of being a hooker.

"If she was a hooker, she's the first one I've met who wears better underwear than me."
—Elizabeth Rodgers

She identifies the fake tattoos as being made of henna, and notes that the corpse had very expensive dental work. Judging by the teeth, the victim was 24 years old when she was killed. Fontana gets a call — the victim's prints were in the system.

Van Buren reads the victim's record. Teresa Richter, arrested four years previous at an activism protest. She showed the arresting officers a Yale student ID. Unfortunately, her photo doesn't look very much like the victim's body. She called her parents after being arrested; Van Buren sends the detectives to the address that she called.

At the apartment, Doug and Estela Richter aren't concerned about their daughter — they think she's touring the world. Fontana just says that Teresa's name came up in an investigation. Doug says that Teresa usually calls home, and doesn't live there — she has her own studio apartment elsewhere in the city. Estela shows the police a photograph of Teresa, and the family mentions that, after Yale, Teresa went to Columbia for her graduate work. She was studying to be a journalist. She was doing fact-checking at the New Yorker, but quit when she felt that she wasn't doing enough. Estela demands to know what really happened, Fontana tells them to sit down.

At Teresa's apartment, the super says that Teresa comes and goes at all hours and hasn't been around in a while. The super never saw anyone else in her place. Fontana remarks on the piles of papers and photographs, scattered on a desk and pinned to a posterboard. Green finds a huge filing cabinet and a cellphone. Several of the articles Fontana sees are about Locotes-Doces, or L-12. Green exposits that L-12 is involved in a lot of crimes, ranging from drug running to extortion. Fontana wonders who Teresa was doing the story for, and Green finds a newspaper number on her cell phone — the Village Weekly.

An editor at the Weekly repeats what he told to Teresa — that she should write the story while she's still young and idealistic. He didn't hire her, but did tell her to write the L-12 story and send him the first copy. The detectives chew him out for sending a young reporter to write about L-12. The editor is dismissive — he says that Teresa was an adult professional, and he didn't even hire her, just put her on spec.

"Who knows? If they're as dangerous as you say, maybe she'll get a book option out of it!"

Green eventually tells him what happened, after asking for all the stuff she sent him.

"What's going on here, is she under arrest?"
"She's dead, jackass."
—Editor and Ed Green

The editor gets them the files, and says that Teresa's link to the gang was a girl at a church outreach center.

At St. Luke's, the outreach coordinator says that a lot of girls come to her center when they are scared or threatened. She is upset that Teresa may have used her to get access to the gang. Teresa got on well, and may have been going into business with, a girl named Lola, who was selling goods illegally (she had no vendor license). The detectives go to Lola's clothes stall, but when asked she denies going into business with Teresa, she denies it. She won't answer her cell phone with the cops watching.

"She might help me get my stuff out here, but she ain't into clothes, like me."

After seeing a picture of Teresa's body, she asks who did it. They ask her to go to the precinct with them, and she says yes, then takes off into the racks of clothes. The detectives chase her all the way into a clothing store and lose her. Fontana dials Lola's cell phone number and hear it ring, and they find her in a dressing room.

"Really ought to change that ringtone."
—Joe Fontana

Van Buren interrogates Lola, but she won't give up any information. Van Buren tries asking about her personal life, saying that she knows her boyfriend (and father of her child) Alberto Torres is currently in jail, and points out that the boyfriend will be out of jail soon and will want to be back in Lola's life, even though Lola obviously doesn't want that. She also threatens Lola with a conspiracy charge. Lola denies even knowing that Teresa was a reporter. Lola eventually breaks down, insisting that she didn't blow Teresa's cover and demanding a lawyer. Outside the room, Green tells Van Buren that lawyers are already on their way, and Van Buren identifies the law firm as catering mostly to a rich clientel. Since the interrogation's basically shut down, the cops go to Sing Sing to look up information on L-12.

At Sing Sing, a guard says that L-12 is really well organized. Alberto Torres rules the prison gang, with Oscar 'Diablo' Morales his number 2. But Torres hasn't done much lately — he's up for parole soon, and Morales has been doing all the dirty work. Talking to Torres, he denies that he knows anything about Teresa. When the cops spell out exactly what Teresa was going to do — name the heads of L-12, and enumerate their activities. Torres tries to take the photo they show him.

"Mind if I keep this?"
—Alberto Torres

Fontana snatches the photo back, and the cops say that unless Torres spills the beans, they'll take his and Lola's kids. Torres says that he wouldn't do anything with parole coming up so soon. Torres has the interview ended.

At the precinct, Van Buren tells the detectives to head out to Long Island. It turns out that Teresa received a call from a disposable cell phone shortly before dying; the cell was purchased at a Long Island gas station. At the station, the clerk says that the buyer was a middle-aged white guy with brown hair, and he spent over $300 in cash for the phone. He identifies the time of the purchase, and Green notices a security camera. The detectives look at the feed and see the guy, and then the clerk remembers that the guy paid with a credit card for his gas.

The cops identify the buyer as Kevin Drucker, and go to his home. They meet his wife, Mrs. Drucker. When they identify themselves as police, she asks if this is about a stolen car. Fontana lies that, yes, this is about the car, and Drucker exposits that her husband said that his car was stolen and he claimed to file a report. His wallet was also taken. She adds that his cell phone wasn't stolen, which is good because he works in real estate. They get his work phone number and address.

Drucker tells the cops that it's been a nightmare having his car stolen. He denies buying a disposable cell phone, even when Fontana names the store where Drucker bought it, but Drucker doesn't blink. The cops ask if he recognizes Teresa; he says he doesn't. He objects when they accuse him of having an affair with Teresa. They ask if he has a rental car, and when he says yes they ask to inspect it. He eventually agrees, and offers his train pass too.

"Go ahead. Check out the damn car. You want my metro card too?"
"No, but if you could get the number off of that, that would be fine, thank you."
—Kevin Drucker and Joe Fontana

Van Buren tells the cops that his rental car was clean, and nothing unusual was on his train ticket. Just as they're complaining that they have no evidence, Green comes in — Drucker switched out his rental car, and the old car hasn't been cleaned yet.

"Too clever by half."
—Joe Fontana

CSI technician Julian Beck reports that they found blood matching Teresa's blood type on Drucker's car. Drucker is arrested at home.

In court, Judge Mark Calhoun presides over the arrangement. Drucker and his lawyer, Mr. Klein, are arguing quietly, but the lawyer eventually pleads 'not guilty.' Borgia asks for remand, and Klein asks for $50,000, citing Drucker's family, lack of criminal record, and minimal liquid assets. When Borgia objects, Drucker explodes.

"How much do you want?!"
—Kevin Drucker

Calhoun tells Drucker that he shouldn't have another outburst or he'll be remanded, and sets bail at a half-million dollars.

Borgia tells McCoy that Drucker doesn't want any deal that involves jail time, and McCoy says Drucker is delusional. Borgia points out that they have little evidence and no weapon, witnesses, or viable motive. McCoy guesses that it was an affair with Teresa, but Borgia says that Drucker received some collect calls from jail. It turns out that his son, Patterson, is in jail doing a drug charge. Drucker has been visiting prison every two weeks, and Van Buren says that Drucker was probably smuggling cell phones into prison for his son.

McCoy tells Patterson what happened to his dad. Patterson doesn't want to talk about his father, but Borgia points out that Patterson is in a cell block with L-12. They theorize that Patterson was smuggling contraband in for L-12, but say that Patterson's been to the infirmary several times to have wounds treated, so L-12 isn't providing any protection. Patterson essentially admits what's going on, but says that protective custody won't help.

"People like you should spend one week in here. Then maybe that would actually mean something."
—Patterson Drucker

Patterson says he wants to be released from jail; only then will he help them.

Borgia finds that Oscar Morales's sister, Josephina, got a $50,000 cash advance on Drucker's credit card before it was confiscated. The gang was bleeding him dry, taking his money and his car. Borgia says that Drucker had to do whatever the gang wanted or they would hurt Patterson; she theorizes that he killed Teresa on their orders.

"So they trust a commercial real-estate broker from Long Island with a hit?"
—Jack McCoy

McCoy says they should just keep prosecuting Drucker, and when Borgia wants to go after L-12, McCoy says that Drucker can argue duress if he wants. Borgia points out that Drucker might not let his lawyer do anything, for fear of upsetting L-12. She says they need to ensure Patterson's safety.

Talking to Drucker and Klein, McCoy and Borgia explain that they know about the extortion. Drucker won't say anything. McCoy offers a 20 year sentence in return for testimony, but Drucker says that he'll be killed in prison before he testifies. Drucker refuses to say anything unless his son is released — while in prison, Patterson will be doomed if Kevin testifies. McCoy protests that there's no better deal, but Drucker doesn't care.

"Do you understand what you're facing, Mr. Drucker? Life in prison?"
"Actually, I think I understand it better than you do, Mr. McCoy."
—Jack McCoy and Kevin Drucker

McCoy delivers his opening argument, alleging that Drucker shot Teresa three times. Klein waves his opening argument after Drucker whispers to him. Judge Donald Karen tells McCoy to present his first witness. Julian Beck testifies about the blood in the car matching Teresa's. He gives the odds as the blood belonging to another person as a trillion to one, then elaborates.

"There haven't been that many people on the planet since the beginning of time, dead or alive."
—Julian Beck

Klein makes Beck admit that nothing of Drucker's was found in the car — no prints or DNA — only Teresa's blood, and that anyone else could have driven the car, since it was a rental. When he keeps going in this vein, elaborating that there's no evidence in the car connecting Drucker to the crime, Drucker explodes again.

—Kevin Drucker

Karen tells Klein to talk with Drucker, and after doing so, Klein sighs, then ends the cross-examination.

Borgia complains that Drucker is sabotaging his defense, saying that Drucker was probably told to lose the trial by L-12.

"I don't even know who's driving the bus any more."
—Alexandra Borgia

McCoy doesn't want to ask for a plea again. Later, in court, McCoy rests, and Klein waves a defense.

"Your Honor, the defense rests."
—Mr. Klein and Donald Karen

In chambers, Karen demands to know what's going on. Klein says that their defense is just 'reasonable doubt,' and McCoy wants it recorded that this move is a strategic one — he doesn't want Drucker to appeal based on incompetent counsel. Klein says that he has a defense, but that Drucker ordered him not to present it. Karen confirms that Drucker knows his rights, then allows the trial to proceed.

Outside, McCoy offers the 20-year sentence again, as well as a transfer of Patterson into protective custody. Klein says that there's no deal unless Patterson is released. McCoy threatens him with dying in prison, but Drucker says he doesn't care. As everyone else leaves, Borgia sees a man with gang insignia watching.

McCoy talks to Branch, who doesn't want to release Patterson. Branch says that he doesn't want drug dealers on the streets, and points out that Patterson may have started everything by getting involved with L-12. McCoy says that Drucker won't testify against L-12 unless Patterson is released.

"L-12 is becoming as big a menace as the mob."
—Jack McCoy

McCoy says they can nail Oscar Morales if Drucker testifies, and with Morales they might be able to destroy Torres's parole chances. Branch finally goes along with it.

McCoy and Borgia say that they're willing to terminate Patterson's sentence and get him out of jail, but only after Drucker testifies. Drucker agrees to go along with it. He says he just wants the nightmares to stop, and to apologize to the Richters. He wants to talk to Patterson.

Kevin and Patterson Drucker meet in jail. McCoy, Borgia, and Klein are also there. Kevin tells Patterson what's going on and what he agreed to do. Patterson is upset about Kevin testifying, until Kevin says that Patterson will be released right after Drucker testifies. Patterson asks how the lawyers could let his father risk his life like this, but McCoy says that Kevin killed someone and was goign to jail no matter what. Patterson says that Kevin will be killed in jail, but Kevin says that he doesn't care. He tells Patterson that he can't do anything else for him, and begs him to make something of himself.

"Try to do something with your life, will you?"
—Kevin Drucker

At Morales's trial, Drucker testifies that Morales called him once and after that he recognized Morale's voice. Morales stands up menacingly, but Judge Anna Shiro threatens to eject him from the courtroom. As Drucker continues to testify, elaborating on how L-12 ordered him to kill Richter and threatened his son if he didn't, gang members get up in the courtroom to yell at Drucker. Eventually, Shiro clears the courtroom. Later, McCoy offers a plea to Morales, but the attorney says that all McCoy has are phone calls and Morales dismisses the deal. He says he doesn't care if he's in prison or not, since he can have anything he wants in jail.

"I can get to anybody, inside or out."
—Oscar Morales

McCoy shows Morales and his lawyer Teresa's transcripts of L-12's activities. She had lots of interviews with Lola, including one where she admits that Morales, not Torres, is the father of her baby. Lola realized that Teresa was a reporter, feared what Torres would do to her if he found out that she'd cheated on him with Morales, and so called Morales, and that was why Morales had Teresa killed. McCoy comments that Morales has no future in L-12 once Torres finds out what's going on.

Later, Borgia asks why McCoy offered the deal if he didn't want Morales to take it, and McCoy says he figured he'd offer Morales a chance. They talk about how Teresa's story will finally come out. After McCoy goes into the subway, a gang member shows up and briefly grabs Borgia's lapels.

"Tell your boss, we were that close."
—Gang member