Recap / Law And Order S 19 E 17 Anchors Away

Dawn Prescott, a news reporter for Channel 8, reports on a polar bear exhibit at the zoo.

"Zoo officials say they are acclimating well, and have asked for a tour of Radio Music Hall. Kidding about that."
—Dawn Prescott

The lead anchor, Joe Delaney, asks a few questions, and then cuts away from her. He and the co-anchor, Sue Martin, banter as the station breaks for commercials. Prescott vents to her cameraman about being stuck on the human interests stories, and declines his offer to walk her to the office. She pauses, though, and asks if he could walk her part of the way home.

Detectives Lupo and Bernard discover Prescott's body in her home. She was killed at about 11 PM and died from a bullet to the head. Bernard notes that Dawn's computer is missing. Lupo theorizes that the murder was over a story Dawn was working on.

"Now she's the story."
—Kevin Bernard

Delaney and Martin address their audience, saying they mourn Prescott's death. After the broadcast, the stage manager talks to the detectives. Prescott had no known stalkers, and was relegated to fluff stories, so the manager can't think of anything she was working on that would cause someone to attack her. He says that he was forced to reassign Prescott due to pressure from upper management. When asked why, he is surprised that the detectives didn't see 'the pictures.'

Van Buren walks in on Bernard and Lupo examining photos of Prescott in a bikini.

"Tell me that's evidence."
—Anita Van Buren

Lupo exposits that Prescott emailed them to a colleague at another station, not knowing it was shared with his wife. The wife threatened Prescott, and both the pictures and email got leaked to a gossip website.

"Of course, I treasure my photo of Ed Bradley in a Speedo."
—Anita Van Buren

The detectives talk to the collague (Al Lee) and his wife Sharon. Al says that there was no affair, even when Lupo reads passages from the email inviting him (Al) on a cruise. In another room, Sharon backs up Al's story. She claims that she and Prescott made up after the leak. Lupo asks Al when he last saw Dawn, and when he says they shared a drink at a press conference, Sharon storms in and begins to argue with him. He protests that it was a liquor company press conference, and then tells the detectives that Prescott left after getting an important phone call from a guy named Stephen.

Lupo has the precinct check Prescott's phone records for a Stephen. The detectives discuss if Sharon killed Prescott but decide she probably didn't. Lupo says that Prescott's career was damaged by the leak, and they decide to look into that.

They find Stan Berry, the gossip site owner. He doesn't want to talk, saying his source is confidential and he has 1st amendment protection. Lupo confiscates his journalist pass.

"Ah yes. May be taken away by competent authority at any time."
—Cyrus Lupo

Berry says he really doesn't know who sent the tip. He eventually gets the detectives the email.

At Sue Martin's office, Martin asks the detectives for a scoop. Lupo says that the photo leak came from Martin's computer. Martin protests that she not only didn't see the photos, but was covering the Presidential Inauguration in Washington when they were sent.

"Is there anything else you'd like to accuse me of?"
—Sue Martin

Martin says her computer is virused and practically unusable. The cops take it.

At the office, Detective Jasmine Burton flirts with Bernard as she discusses the findings. The computer isn't virused, but has a key-logger. It captures passwords, logins, and emails. It could have been used to access Martin's computer. Bernard guesses that Prescott's computer had a similar logger, enabling the leaker to get the photos in the first place. The detectives guess that it was someone with newsroom access who wanted to spy on colleagues. Burton says that the key logs were sent to an email account, and she knows whose it was.

Delaney confesses to the cops.

"Well, that was pretty stupid, wasn't it?"
—Joe Delaney

Delaney rants about how he's a news institution.

"I have won every award in town. I have an air of authority. When I went into rehab for my cocaine problem, the station got twelve thousand letters asking them to bring me back."
—Joe Delaney

Delaney says that his colleagues are younger and cheaper than him, so he wanted to know what they were saying about him. He sent out the photos to hurt Dawn's career. He is adamant that he didn't kill her — all he did was read their emails and delete a few. He gives the cops printouts.

"I don't suppose I could ask you to keep this quiet... of course not."
—Joe Delaney

The cops read through the huge stack of emails. Lupo finds an email from a Stephen. It says that he emailed Martin but she never responded (Bernard thinks this is because Delaney was deleting emails), so he's telling Prescott the scoop. Said scoop is that a certain hedge fund run by Frederic Matson is a fraud. The email says that breaking the story will bankrupt and anger several people.

Ms. Matson, Frederic's daughter, says that her family supports the police. She leads the cops in to see Frederic and his wife Irene. They banter, and then the female Matsons leave. Frederic claims no knowledge of any of Prescott's stories, and claims that his business is suffering like all others, but that there's no fraud in his business. He says that the SEC has checked several fraud cases against his company and found nothing. Lupo asks if he knows anyone named Stephen.

"Stephen Spielberg? I'm on the board of his foundation."
—Frederic Matson

Bernard and Lupo go over the complaints about Matson to the SEC. Matson always supplied documentation when asked, so no one ever subpoenaed him. Lupo sees a name — Vince Decker — that leaps out at him. Prescott's phone records included a dozen calls to Decker. Decker used to work for Matson, and he alleged that Matson was committing fraud. Matson countersued, claiming Decker embezzled. The case was sent to the district attorney, but when Lupo checks the records, he finds that the case was dropped due to lack of evidence — but not before the charge sank the SEC complaint. Lupo sees a flag next to the name, and reads that Decker was killed the week before.

Detective Jim Pedreza tells Lupo and Bernard that Decker was shot in his own backyard. The house was ransacked, but some valuable silver was left behind. The gun was different than the one in the Prescott shooting, but Pedreza remembers Prescott calling him and asking about the murder. She said she wanted to do a story on it, but the story didn't run.

The detectives sum up the case for Van Buren. Decker was Stephen, and once the SEC ignored him he went to Martin, then Prescott.

"And the story was that Matson's hedge fund was a fraud. Aren't they all?"
—Anita Van Buren

Van Buren wonders if Matson knew about the story. Lupo says that Prescott may have talked to an investor who tipped off Matson, and Van Buren thinks that the tipster, if he existed, would have withdrawn his money from the fund. Bernard looks up a list of recent withdrawals, and finds Sue Martin's name. Lupo doesn't think that Prescott would just have told Martin, but finds an interview that Delaney did with Matson. The two seemed very friendly.

"What is the secret of your success?"
"Support of my family, Joe. And, uh, compound interest, of course."
—Joe Delaney and Frederic Matson

Delaney protests to Lupo that he has to seem interested in his interviews. He says he didn't know anything about the story, and thought Prescott was still doing stories on cute animals. Martin tells Bernard the same story, claiming that she pulled the money to fund a remodeling project. A news report comes on — Matson's fund just suspended withdrawals. Lupo and Delaney comes in. When Lupo brings up that Delaney deleted Stephen's email to Martin about the hedge fund fraud, she turns on him.

"You despicable washed-up haircut!"
"Yeah, like you would have known what to do with a real story anyway. Botox in the brain."
—Sue Martin and Joe Delaney

After some insults, Martin admits that Delaney told her what was going on, and they agreed to bury the story. Delaney additionally said that he'd warn Matson.

The Matson suite is awash with people. The detectives push their way through to find Matson. He denies killing Prescott and confesses to fraud.

"I confess... to fraud. To very big fraud... this is all a sham. This doesn't exist."
—Frederic Matson

He asks to be arrested.

At the station, Matson denies killing anyone. He admits that he ran a Ponzi scheme. Old investors were paid with money from new investors, but the economy crash reduced the supply of new investors. Matson's lawyer, David Haig, comes in and asks for some time alone with Matson.

Van Buren tells Rubirosa that she's confused — Matson is acting unusually for a criminal. Rubirosa says they should indict for fraud. At the bail hearing, Matson does not ask for bail, and he's remanded.

"Maybe he can get the penthouse at Rikers."
—Judge Allister Delaney

Cutter thinks that Matson is acting more like someone who knows who killed someone rather than a killer, and Rubirosa adds that he requested protective custody. He and Rubirosa try to figure out if any of the investors might have killed so that the story would be delayed until he or she could extract his or her money. They find a name on the list — Livan Santana. He's a front man for a huge drug cartel.

The lawyers go talk to Santana. Cutter brings up that Santana lost a hundred million dollars, and accuses Santana of murder.

"Of course. You hear Santana, you think drugs, guns, I kill everybody all the time, you two, better be careful when you leave."
—Livan Santana

He claims not to have killed either Prescott or Decker.

"...although, I would like to strangle Matson."
—Livan Santana

Matson talks to the lawyers. Haig asks if Matson could get a sentencing reduction in return for information on Santana. Cutter says that it's possible, but later, McCoy vetoes that. He says that Matson's crimes are too great to allow for leniency. He tells the lawyers to have Matson's family arrested, and to offer to free them if Matson comes forward with information. Both Matson's wife and daughter worked in the family business, so they probably both could be charged with fraud. When Cutter protests that there's no evidence, McCoy tells them to find some. The detectives find a checkbook showing that Irene Matson wrote some of the employee's Christmas bonuses, which is enough for her arrest.

Haig tells the lawyers that there won't be a deal — Matson won't testify to have the charge against his wife dropped, since he (Haig) will have the charge dismissed anyway. Rubirosa gets a page, and the lawyers leave, cutting off Haig's speech. Van Buren reports that Irene Matson's prints, taken when she was booked, match the ones found in Prescott's apartment. The GPS in her cell phone puts her at Prescott's house at the time of the murder. It triggered when Irene called her.

The lawyers talk to the daughter. She doesn't want to talk to them — she's at a meeting of people who lost their money in the fund. The daughter does recall that Irene Matson left a meal early, and she (the daughter) called her at 11 to make sure she was okay. In court, Cutter and Rubirosa hurry in to withdraw the fraud charge and add a murder charge.

Cutter tells McCoy what's going on. Irene Matson killed to save the fund. She was elsewhere when Decker died, so Santana probably killed her, and he already fled the country. McCoy points out that Irene Matson only had motive if she knew about the expose. The lawyers bring up Delaney and Martin, and that Delaney said he would tell Matson about Prescott's report.

Delaney says he won't testify about ratting out Prescott to Matson.

"Yeah. That, that would be the end of my career."
—Joe Delaney

Rubirosa mentions that Martin said Delaney did talk to Matson, but Delaney tells them that Martin is an idiot. He refuses to confirm or deny anything based on journalistic privilege — he can't be compelled to say anything a source tells him. Cutter points out that he was telling the source something, not the other way around, but Delaney blows them off.

Cutter and Rubirosa talk to Martin. They say that they want to prosecute Delaney for murder — he endangered Prescott by telling Matson. This only plays if Delaney knew there was danger, but Martin says that Prescott probably knew that Decker was murdered — she looked very upset. She goes off to do the report.

Delaney comes in and yells at Cutter.

"She comes running in to the news director with a big scoop! I'm being arrested for murder! She wants to lead the broadcast off with it! Without ME!"
"What's more upsetting? The story, or the fact that she's delivering it?"
"A murder charge against me will never hold up!"
"Maybe not, but it would be fun to try."
—Joe Delaney and Michael Cutter

Delaney collapses into a chair. He says that he used to tell real news, and now he just banters with his co-anchor. He says that he realizes now that career has been dead for a long time, and promises to testify.

Cutter tells McCoy that Delaney confirmed telling Matson about the scoop; unfortunately, there's no evidence that he told his wife. Rubirosa suddenly gets a call from Matson.

Matson and Haig tell the lawyers that Matson is willing to testify that Santana killed both Decker and Prescott.

"The timing of this is a little, uh, convenient."
—Michael Cutter

Matson says that Santana said he'd kill Prescott and had already killed Decker. On the way out, Cutter says that Santana's involvement could get Irene an acquittal. Rubirosa says that testifying against Santana could get Matson killed, so he must really love his wife to do it. Cutter wonders if perhaps her love for him could be useful.

In Cutter's office, the Matsons talk with the lawyers. Cutter asks for Matson to sign a statement against Santana. Irene objects, knowing that Matson could be killed. Haig won't intervene — it's what Matson wants to do — so Irene begins contradicting his story. When she can't derail it, she begins tearing up.

"For the rest of your life, Irene. I can't stand to think about that."
"So you'd rather be dead?"
—Frederic and Irene Matson

Irene confesses.

On TV, Delaney quits his job. Ms. Matson, the daughter, comes by, saying she doesn't know where to go — she's been threatened, and lost everything in the fund collapse. Rubirosa takes her to Witness Services.