Recap / Law And Order S 19 E 7 Zero

Nancy Hartwig turns off a phonograph in a darkened apartment. She takes a couple of stuffed animals out of an old TV case, then puts some milk bottles into a carrying case. There is no noise from a refrigerator or other electronics, but someone is splashing in the bathroom. Her husband, Joe, and son, Zach, are stomping on sudsy clothes in the bathtub to wash them.

"Daddy says this is how they make wine!"
"Out of dirty laundry?"
—Zach and Nancy Hartwig

Nancy says that she's going on some errands, including to the Farmer's Market and the community garden. Joe calls Nancy a 'trooper.' Nancy looks to see that there is no toilet paper and hesitates. Joe asks if they need to leave the bathroom so that Nancy can use it, but Nancy says that it's alright. She reminds them that Zach has to attend a birthday party at 3.

Later, an officer shows Lupo and Bernard to Nancy's body. She's lying on their garden patch in the community garden. The victim was heard arguing with a man at about 3:30. Nancy has her cash and credit cards, and was killed by a blow to the head from a shovel. Bernard finds the shovel, but Lupo says that the tools are all communal, so there will likely be many prints on the shovel. Bernard remarks that the killer might not be a regular gardener.

"First rule of gardening? No meat."
—Kevin Bernard

Joe Hartwig, with full bottles of milk, almost collapses when the detectives tell him that Nancy was killed. They are in the lobby of the apartment building where the Hartwigs live. Lupo says that they can go up Joe's apartment. Joe agrees and heads for the stairs. Bernard asks why Joe isn't taking the elevator, and Joe says that they don't use it. After confirming that it's a ninth floor apartment, Bernard tells Lupo that he'll see him upstairs.

In the apartment, Bernard says that they're sorry that Nancy died. Joe confirms that he saw her at about 1 to do errands. Joe took Zach to a birthday party later. Lupo asks to turn on the lights, but Joe says that they shut the power off. Bernard finds a working computer; Joe says that it's run by solar power. Joe says that he's trying to have a carbon emission footprint of zero; he writes a blog about it and he just got a book deal. Joe asks how Nancy died; upon learning, he's stunned. He says that he needs to call Nancy's sister.

Lupo tells Van Buren that Nancy worked at home as a designer. She was seen at the Farmer's Market at 2, and was dead an hour later. Van Buren confirms Lupo's guess that the shovel has over a dozen sets of prints. Bernard is reading Joe's blog; the Hartwigs don't eat anything that was grown over a hundred miles away, and don't use cell phones, cars, paper, plastics, or the elevator. Van Buren points out that this means that they don't use toilet paper.

"Left hand and a bowl of water."
—Cyrus Lupo

Van Buren reads Rodgers' report that Nancy had martinis in her stomach — she had olives in her stomach. Lupo points out that there aren't any olive trees within a hundred miles of the apartment. Van Buren sends them to check bars where Nancy may have picked up a martini. On the way out, Bernard asks if Lupo had access to toilet paper when he was abroad working for the NYPD intelligence unit.

"Left hand and a bowl of water."
"That's nasty."
—Cyrus Lupo and Anita Van Buren

The bartender at the Bronte Hotel Bar says that Nancy is a regular; she stops by and has a martini or water. The cops ask if Nancy used the bathroom, and then if it has toilet paper.

"Don't they all?"
"You'd be surprised."
—Bartender and Kevin Bernard

The bartender remembers that she met up with a guy sometimes; they last met the week before. The bartender doesn't know his name. He does recall that the man may have paid with a credit card, so he gets the cops a list of customers who paid that way. He warns them that there's a few hundred names on the list; Lupo is nonplussed. After the bartender leaves to get the list, Bernard and Lupo wonder if Nancy was having an affair with the man.

Nancy's sister says that Nancy was not having an affair, but that she had doubts that going zero-carbon was such a great idea. They talked a few weeks ago; the sister had a medical problem and Nancy watched her kids. Nancy drove to her place. Bernard wonders how Nancy drove since it wasn't allowed.

Joe, chipping an ice block, insists that Nancy would have taken the train. When the cops don't believe him, and Bernard adds that Bernard was breaking more of Joe's rules, Joe protests that it wasn't just him.

"Nancy was with me on this."
—Joe Hartwig

Lupo asks if Joe knew that Nancy was using the bathroom at the Bronte Hotel bar. Joe is stunned. Bernard brings up the male friend, but Joe doesn't believe that Nancy would have an affair. When asked, he says the cops can look at the car, but the keys are missing from the drawer that they're usually in.

At the lot, the car itself is missing. The attendant says that he doesn't know anything, then leaves. The cops ask Joe what to do, and when Bernard says that they'll put out a bulletin, Joe says that the car has a tracking system. Lupo says he'll get on that.

Van Buren is surprised by this development.

"Electronic car tracking? That's pretty high tech for a couple living off the land."
—Anita Van Buren

The tracker was a gift from Joe's father. Then Bernard gets a call — the car has been found in Jersey, with a dead body and a large quantity of cocaine.

The detectives arrive in Jersey to find a cluster of police vehicles. A local cop tries to send Lupo and Bernard away, but a senior officer overrules him. He says that the car was used in a cop-killing. He shows the detectives the car and the dead body, saying that the guy in the car killed a cop at a traffic stop a few days prior. The cop shot the man back, and the driver fled in the car. The driver then drove into the woods, abandoned the car and the dead friend, and vanished. Bernard says that the same man who killed Nancy probably drove the car, and the senior officer agrees to share information.

The officer shows the detectives video shot from the dead policeman's car video camera. The officer, Dale McCloskey, approached the car, got into an argument with the occupants, and then exchanged fire with the guy who later wound up dead in the passenger's seat. The driver yelled at the passenger to stop and not shoot, but in vain. The driver's face was never seen. Lupo says that the driver doesn't sound like Joe Hartwig, meaning they don't have many leads. The only prints were from a kid, presumably from Zach. The dead man was a drug dealer named Wayne Jankins.

The cops next search Jankins's apartment. They don't find much, but Bernard does locate a baseball cap for Burns-Fisher, a finance company that recently underwent a messy bankruptcy. Lupo notes that there are no suits, implying that Jankins didn't work for Burns-Fisher, but Bernard finds a jersey.

"Maybe he played on the softball team."
—Kevin Bernard

Jim Dooley confirms that Jankins was their third-baseman. He's in the middle of closing down their office, which is full of shredded papers and boxes of documents that need to be sent to the legal division.

"Does the police department need a specialist in mortgage-backed securities?"
—Jim Dooley

Dooley confirms that Jankins didn't work at the company; some of the bond traders knew him and brought him onto the team. Bernard asks if Dooley bought from Jankins. Dooley admits it, saying that he can't afford it anymore anyways. He gets excited at the questioning, wondering if Jankins is some sort of exciting criminal, but Bernard quashes that when he says that Jankins is dead. Dooley says that a Chris Mason, another employee at Burns-Fisher, recently asked if he (Dooley) wanted to buy cocaine from him and Jankins. Chris Mason was on the Bronte Hotel bar credit-card list — he bought two martinis recently. The detectives conclude that he was probably the man who met Nancy at the bar.

Chris admits that he knew Jankins, but says they haven't met in six months. Lupo points out that Dooley's story contradicts this, but Mason says that this is revenge.

"Jim Dooley's a little mad at me, because I helped his department lose three billion dollars."
"We had kind of a bad year."
—Chris Mason and Kevin Bernard

Mason has no alibi. He claims not to know Nancy Hartwig, but when the detectives say that they know he was with her at the Bronte, he claims to realize that Hartwig is her married named — he admits to knowing Nancy. He admits to seeing Nancy at the hotel bar a lot.

"She was a friendly ear."
—Chris Mason

Mason was recently divorced and fired; now he substitute teaches mathematics.

Lupo tells Van Buren that Mason had everything and then lost it all. Bernard says that the ex, Ann, has custody of the kids, but Chris has visitation upstate. New Jersey is on Chris's way to his ex's house. Chris used to rent a car to get up there, but stopped a few weeks ago. Van Buren thinks that Nancy might have lent Chris her car.

Outside, Ann says that the kids were home by 1. She didn't see the car that he was driving. The daughters Jill and Maddy, who are outside too, recall that their dad was driving a green car. Ann sends them inside. The detectives want to take their daughters' fingerprints to try to match them to the ones found in Nancy's car. Ann refuses and goes inside. Bernard sums up the timeline — Chris had his daughter's home by 1 and had time to go to New Jersey on the way home. Lupo wishes they had the prints. Bernard sees a ball the daughters abandoned and grabs it.

"It's a crying shame."
—Kevin Bernard

Judge Malcolm Reynolds talks to the detectives about their search warrant request — they want to search Chris's apartment. Reynolds doubts that Mason would have taken his kids along to a murder, so Bernard explains that the prints would just establish a connection between Mason and Hartwig. Lupo sums up the case, and adds that Mason knew that only Hartwig could connect Mason to the car and Jankins. Reynolds remarks that it's quite a story, and his clerk, Carly, agrees. Carly says that the affidavits establish probable cause. Reynolds recalls that the case was in the papers, and signs the warrant.

"Here. Go and search!"
—Malcolm Reynolds

Mason complains about the search, but Lupo blows him off. He finds a shoe that smells of compost, and Mason is arrested.

A New Jersey prosecutor tells Cutter and Rubirosa that they want Mason extradited. Cutter says that New Jersey may have to wait. The prosecutor complains that Mason was involved in a cop killing.

"I don't know how you feel about that kind of thing in New York City."
"How do you think we feel about it? He murdered a woman with a shovel here; we're not too crazy about that either."
—Prosecutor and Michael Cutter

The prosecutor says that they have a videotape, but Rubirosa points out that the videotape doesn't clearly show Mason. She adds that the tomato seed is of a rare variety found in the garden where Hartwig died. The prosecutor argues that Mason's motive was to conceal the crime in New Jersey; it all comes back to that murder, so he should be tried for it first. Cutter points out that Mason didn't kill McCloskey. The prosecutor says they have a felony murder case, but Cutter references New Jersey law: felony murder only applies where the felony is robbery, arson, sexual assault, or kidnapping. A drug charge does not qualify. The prosecutor says they might be able to convict Mason anyway.

"Are you planning to try him or lynch him?"
—Michael Cutter

Rubirosa adds that Mason yells for Jankins to stop on the videotape, and Cutter says that they're going to try Mason in New York. The prosecutor requests that Cutter not tell Mason's lawyer that the felony murder charge is toothless, since they might still extradite if New York doesn't get a conviction.

"I wouldn't dream of it."
—Michael Cutter

In jail, Cutter tells Mason that he's guilty of felony murder in New Jersey. His lawyer, Estelle Adams, says that she knows that charge is unsupportable. All New Jersey has Mason for is leaving the scene and a possible drug charge.

"Are you sure?"
"Yes, Mr. Mason, I'm sure."
—Chris Mason and Estelle Adams

Cutter's offer is that Mason does twenty years to life for murdering Nancy. Adams passes, adding that the tomato seed could have gotten onto Mason's shoe weeks ago. Mason won't take the deal.

Later, Cutter complains that Adams is a seasoned public defender. McCoy comes in, complaining about the lighting conditions.

"Can anybody read around here?"
"I believe that's a requirement for graduating from law school."
—Jack McCoy and Michael Cutter

He gripes that the new energy efficient light bulbs are so low-powered that he can't see. Carly comes in and greets Cutter by his first name, saying that Reynolds took the case. Cutter introduces McCoy and Rubirosa to Carly, and then the two of them go to work out scheduling issues. McCoy and Rubirosa are amused.

Adams tells the judge that the motion she's filing is simple.

"If it was simple, you wouldn't need a judge, would ya?"
—Malcolm Reynolds

Adams wants to exclude testimony about McCloskey's death. She says it's unproven and prejudicial. Cutter argues that the New Jersey murder is Mason's motive and they need to be able to present it. Adams says this is true only if Mason really killed Nancy, and she's claiming that he didn't. Reynolds says that he has to weigh the probative values of the two crimes. Carly gives Reynolds some papers and cites a precedent that would allow the testimony. Adams argues that the precedent does not apply because that case involved co-defendants; Cutter says that this is not relevant.

"This one is simple, Miss Adams. Your motion is denied."
—Malcolm Reynolds

Outside, Adams jokes that they can't blame her for trying. Rubirosa smirks and teases Cutter about his relationship with Carly; Cutter says that they are just friends. Rubirosa asks if there's a conflict of interest they need to worry about. Cutter says no, and wonders if Rubirosa is jealous of Carly. Rubirosa dismisses this.

Joe testifies that Nancy never told him about lending the car to Mason, but that she wouldn't have; it would have violated the zero-emission rules. Cutter asks if Nancy would have helped out a friend in need. Adams objects on the grounds that this assumes facts not in evidence; Cutter argues that it's a hypothetical. Reynolds overrules the objection. Joe says that Nancy would have helped Chris.

On cross, Adams asks what would have upset Joe. Cutter objects on the grounds that the question is too general; this is sustained. Adams says that Nancy drank with Mason, and when Joe says that Nancy only went there to use the bathroom, Adams points out that Nancy never told Joe any of this. She argues that Nancy might have been seeing Mason.

"Isn't it possible that… she was breaking another kind of rule?"
—Estelle Adams

She asks how jealous Joe would have been had he known of an affair. He says he would have been jealous, but insists that Nancy wasn't having an affair. Adams wonders what Joe thought of Nancy sneaking out at odd hours; Joe says that he never noticed this. When Estelle tries to pursue this, Cutter objects and says that the question was already answer. The objection is sustained.

Bernard testifies about the car, but before he can talk about the fingerprints, Adams asks to approach. Reynolds is confused.

"I can hear you from there."
"I don't want the jury to hear, your Honor."
—Malcolm Reynolds and Estelle Adams

Adams, Cutter, Rubirosa, and Carly approach. Adams wants the fingerprints excluded — she argues that Bernard stole the children's ball to make the match, which isn't allowed. Rubirosa argues that the ball was lying in the street, but Adams says that the ball wasn't abandoned property. Cutter then says that the evidence isn't being used against the children, so Mason has no standing to object. Carly begins to agree with Cutter, but Reynolds cuts her off. He finds the stealing of a toy reprehensible, and so excludes the evidence.

Carly approaches Cutter outside and apologizes. Cutter is upset that Reynolds made a terrible call. Carly says she'll get it fixed.

"He acted in haste without considering the precedents..."

She promises that Reynolds will reconsider, then leaves as Rubirosa arrives. Cutter is confused.

In chambers, Reynolds reverses his decision.

"I acted in haste, yesterday, without considering the precedents. I'm reversing my ruling…"
—Malcolm Reynolds

Adams starts to complain, but Reynolds cuts her off. He leaves, followed by Adams and Rubirosa. Cutter stays to talk with Carly. He wants to know why Reynolds reversed himself using the exact same language that Carly did the day before. He wants to know who's making his decisions, and wonders if Carly is leaning on Reynolds because of her friendship with Cutter. She insists that she can maintain objectivity and that she has not done anything improper or influenced Reynolds in his decisions. She leaves to take a call. Cutter sees a piece of paper on Reynold's desk. Reynolds comes back in, and Cutter tells him that he's leaving.

"Too bad. I was gonna charge you rent."
—Malcolm Reynolds

Cutter goes to talk to Rubirosa, who teases him about his relationship with Carly. Cutter worries that Reynolds is having a problem. Rubirosa acknowledges that he always rules their way, and Cutter adds that Reynolds is always checking his computer before making rulings and that he relies heavily on Carly. He wonders if Carly is sending him Instant Messages telling him how to rule. He then shows Rubirosa the paper he found; it's the exact words that Reynolds spoke at the chambers session, plus a chart stating who was sitting where. Cutter also says that Carly was the one who seated them. He says he wants to talk to Reynolds without Carly, and enlists Rubirosa's help.

At Oden, Carly and Reynolds eat lunch. Across the restaurant, Reynolds and Cutter do the same.

"Well, I wish I wouldn't have skipped that course in law school. You know the one about spying on judges."
"You're doing great."
—Connie Rubirosa and Michael Cutter

Carly goes to the bathroom, and Cutter sends Rubirosa to trap her in there. Cutter sits in Carly's seat. Reynolds can't remember Cutter's name, and when Cutter asks which precedent Reynolds found to be the most persuasive, Reynolds can't seem to remember that either. The waitress brings Carly's food, and Reynolds asks if Cutter ordered it — and when Cutter says no, he wonders who did.

Cutter tells McCoy in a dim room that Reynolds couldn't remember his name, Mason's, or what Mason was charged with. Reynolds is suffering from senile dementia. McCoy points out that Reynolds is over 70 and thus has to apply for recertification every few years, but Cutter says that this is a rubber stamp. McCoy says that Reynolds used to be an amazing defense lawyer.

"I once heard him convince a jury that a double murderer couldn't have formed the requisite intent because he was distracted by a swarm of bees."
—Jack McCoy

McCoy points out that Mason is guilty and Cutter is winning, and that some prosecutors would be okay with the situation. He then asks for Cutter to turn on another light; he can't see with just the one lamp.

Carly finds Cutter and asks him what's going on. Cutter says that Reynolds should retire, and that he knows that Carly has been doing all the work so far. He wants to know why Carly is helping him. Carly says that she was a mediocre student at a mediocre school, and she needs the prestigious internship with Reynolds. If he retires, she loses her position. She doesn't see why Cutter is upset — he's winning, and all of Reynolds's decisions have been legally valid. Cutter says that he's going to intervene and try to get Reynolds removed. Carly threatens Cutter, then leaves.

In an appeals course, Judge Mark Brannigan hears Cutter's case. Cutter has to cut off another petitioner, arguing that he filed an emergency petition and should be heard first. Brannigan can't find the papers, so Cutter says that he gave them to Brannigan's clerk two hours ago. Reading them, Brannigan becomes hostile at the implication that Reynolds is unfit. He says that all Cutter has is his own affidavit. Cutter says that this should be enough for a medical hearing, but Brannigan says that it's an issue for another committee. Cutter says that there isn't time and that Reynolds is serving. Brannigan tells Cutter that Reynolds seems to be doing a good job, but he's heard rumors that Cutter himself has been behaving inappropriately. He warns Cutter that these kinds of motions can become very dangerous, and then dismisses Cutter's application.

Later, Cutter is irate. Rubirosa says that everyone thinks Carly and Cutter collaborated to take advantage of Reynolds. Cutter doesn't get why Carly is spreading that rumor, as it makes her look bad. McCoy says that Carly is gambling that Cutter will drop the matter so he doesn't get disbarred. Rubirosa wants to know what Brannigan said.

"He blackmailed me in open court!"
—Michael Cutter

McCoy says that all judges know that they might go senile next, so they protect each other from unfitness charges. Cutter wants to know if the judges just want to be revered until they collapse on the bench; McCoy thinks this is an accurate assessment. Cutter then complains that, if Carly's story were true, he wouldn't be trying to throw Reynolds off the case. McCoy says he should talk to Reynolds.

"Tell it to the judge!"
—Jack McCoy

Cutter catches Reynolds outside his house. Reynolds still can't remember his name or which case he has, so Cutter tells him. Cutter says that he's trying to get Reynolds fired.

"Because I think your mind is not as sharp as it used to be."
—Malcolm Reynolds and Michael Cutter

Reynolds asks if he's harmed Cutter in any way, and Cutter has to admit that Reynolds hasn't. Reynolds says that he tries to be fair. Cutter argues that the fair thing is for Reynolds to quit.

"And do what?"
—Malcolm Reynolds

Reynolds says that he has no hobbies and no family.

"I am doing what it is I want to do."
—Malcolm Reynolds

Carly arrives in Reynolds's limo, and the two get inside. Reynolds has already forgotten that Cutter has a case with him.

Outside the courtroom, Rubirosa comments that, on top of everything else, Carly and Reynolds are sure to rule against Cutter now. She says that it might have been better to not say anything; now there's risk that Mason will get off. Cutter says that Mason is guilty but the next defendant might not be, and that Reynolds and Carly need to be stopped. Adams shows up and jokes that Reynolds will rule for her today. Cutter says that he's still winning the trial and that Reynolds doesn't get a jury vote, and when Adams says that she'll appeal based on Reynolds's incompetence, he points out that she'll be appealing to the same people who shot down Cutter's attempts at getting Reynolds removed from the bench. Adams admits that Cutter has a point. Cutter says that the two of them need to set things right.

In court, Dooley testifies that Mason sounded desperate after he was fired. He adds that Mason offered to sell him cocaine; he was trying to make some money with the known dealer Jankins. Cutter nods at Adams, who moves to strike Dooley's testimony on the grounds that she wasn't notified that Dooley would be testifying. Cutter was required to tell her so she could have time to prepare a defense. Cutter says that the name was added a week ago and that a form was filed with the court; Adams says she never got it. Carly types, and Reynolds overrules the objection. Adams insists, and Cutter says that he doesn't object. Reynolds still tries to overrule, but Cutter says that there's nothing to rule on — he's consenting to the inquiry. Carly, he says, can testify about whether notice was sent or not. She says it was, but Adams insists that Carly testify on the record. Carly sends Reynolds instructions, which he reads; the jury will leave the room and Carly will take the stand.

Carly is sworn in and begins to testify. She finds the receipt indicating that Adams got the form, but Cutter objects.

"Objection, the witness has failed to lay a proper foundation."
"…The objection doesn't make any sense."
"Please, we're waiting for the judge to rule."
—Michael Cutter and Carly

Reynolds stares at his computer screen, but Carly can't send him messages. He can't figure out that the objection is baseless, or that Carly can't send him anything. Carly says that Cutter is out of order, but Cutter points out that she doesn't decide that. She turns to Reynolds and says that Cutter is out of order. Reynolds sighs.

"He's the one who's been telling the lies about me, isn't he?"
—Malcolm Reynolds

Carly tells Reynolds to tell Cutter that he's in contempt, and he does so. Cutter apologizes and sits down. Reynolds stares at his screen.

"Now what do I do?"
—Malcolm Reynolds

Carly looks crushed.

Later, McCoy says that Reynolds is on a medical leave and that Carly has been fired. He adds that Mason is almost certainly going to get a new trial. Cutter is confident that they can win.

"Now we have to try every case twice? I'm not paying him double."
—Jack McCoy

Rubirosa and Cutter leave, and then Reynolds comes in. He recognizes Jack. He insists that he's not sick, and he begins to reminisce. He says that he wants to see the office one more time. He begins to chatter about Schiff, and how he kept sandwiches in the room in case he had to work late. He remembers the sandwiches down to the finest detail, but then gets confused.

"How long have you worked here?"
—Malcolm Reynolds

He can't remember Jack's name. After McCoy tells him, Reynolds winks, wishes him good luck, and slowly walks out. McCoy remains standing, watching him go.