A man and woman smooch outside a swanky-looking restaurant on Bedford Street. A homeless guy in a red cap asks them for change, they brush him off. The lovebirds go into an alley and begin undressing, but the woman notices another homeless person. On closer examination he's badly injured.
An EMT talks to Briscoe; it took three hours but they stabilized the homeless person. Briscoe exposits that he has several broken bones, and the EMT says he was beaten with a pipe. He can't guarantee when (or if) the man will wake up. Briscoe checks the guy's pockets and finds an appointment card for a psychiatrist with the victim's name on it (Roland Kirke), as well as several thousand dollars in cash and a crack pipe.
"So who says clothes make the man?"
The next morning, Logan and Briscoe go looking for the guy in the red hat. A local cop says that Kirke wasn't dealing and had no friends; he'd beat up anyone who went into his alley. The detectives do find a bloody rebar pipe, as well as a nightgown. Other police show up with George Siddell, the guy in the red hat. Siddell is quickly exonerated when the cops reveal that he was too terrified of Kirke to attack him.
The cops begin interviewing the neighbors. First up is a dentist, Dr. Steven Crighton, and his wife. The dentist says that they don't even call the police anymore since they can't do anything about Kirke, and that Kirke was a big problem. A womanm Mrs. Bundy, and her daughter say they learned to ignore noises from the street. A cafe owner, Leon Prosky, says that he was long gone by the time of the attack (midnight). No one saw the crime or cares.
"Was [Kirke] a problem to anyone in particular?"
"Yes, the people of New York City."
Van Buren reads off Kirke's rap sheet, which is quite long; he kept getting pled out for insanity. Van Buren advises them to figure out how Kirke got over two thousand dollars, and tells them to look into his psychiatrist appointment. Briscoe deduces that, to get pills, Kirke needed a Medicaid card, which he no longer has; they figure that Siddell took it. Sure enough, Siddell has it, but he says that Kirke gave it to him. He says he used the card to buy Lithium pills several days before the crime, which he sold for liquor.
At Friedland Psychiatric, it turns out Kirke was in and out of the psychiatric system the whole life. The attending doctor says that they have to release anyone who is no longer a danger to himself or others, hence, once Kirke was on pills and no longer a danger, he would be released, and they could no longer make him take his pills. Siddell's story about using the card a week ago checks out. The doctor confirms that Kirke had no friends, but he did have a sister, Sharon Kirke. The detectives talk to her, but she just tells him that, while he took his pills, he was perfectly fine, but when he didn't, he went back to living on Bedford Street. She has no idea how he got that money, but does recall him sending her a check for a broken doll.
At the bank they find out that the check account contained $15,000, and was set up as a trust with a daily limit (which Kirke always withdrew). He already took out $7000. The trustee was Richard Gillrich, a mental health advocate. Gillrich gives a speech about the plight of the homeless, and says he sued the residents of Bedford Street. They tried to get Kirke classified as a repeat offender and have him involuntarily committed, Kirke and Gillrich thought this was harassment and a judge agreed. They won $30,000 plus costs, to be paid in 2 years. Gillrich says it was a civil rights issue and, according to the minutes of their Block Association meetings, the residents of the street were pre-meditating harassment. They had to pay the money out of their own pockets.
The Block Association leader says that they tried to be nice but Kirke wouldn't listen, and that the whole block was outraged by the ruling. They wanted him in a hospital, but the doctors said Kirke had no mental problems, and the judge said Kirke didn't break the law. The leader shows them a video recorded by a private detective of Kirke harassing, screaming at, and attacking passerby on the street. The leader mentions that Kirke then pushed a child into a busy intersection. The night Kirke was attacked, he put Irene Morrissey into a hospital while mugging her.
Irene, arm in a sling, says that Kirke attacked her and took her bag. It contained the nightgown they found in Kirke's alley. Harold Morissey, Irene's husband, says they didn't call the police because the police keep releasing Kirke. She says she didn't notice if anyone saw this. Later, Logan complains that no one called the cops about the mugging. They get a call; Kirke is awake. They talk to him, but he's in pain and seriously medicated. He says a bald woman with a flower dress, jumped on his chest, pounding on him and kissing him. The doctor says this was probably the paramedics resucating him.
Van Buren says that, beyond being insane, Kirke had just been hit in the head with a metal bar — he's useless as a witness. Briscoe recalls that Gillrich subpoened the minutes of the block association, so they go look at those. 260 complaints were filed about Kirke, who had, among other things, smashed someone's window and urinated into the car. The block association tried numerous strategies to get rid of Kirke, one guy thinking that perhaps they could seed the alley with broken glass. They learn that Mrs. Bundy complained about Kirke's noise 6 times, even though she claimed she heard nothing the night of the assault. Later, Bundy is perplexed that the detectives learned this. She admits that she saw two men leave the alley that night, one was Dr. Crighton. Crighton was wearing a bathrobe.
"We're detectives, Mrs. Bundy. We know how to find things out."
Crighton says that Bundy must be mistaken, and when pressed, admits that it was his son that Kirke shoved into traffic. He says he didn't attack Kirke. The detectives think that maybe Crighton did CPR on Kirke, which would explain Kirke's story (except that Crighton's not a woman). Van Buren says they don't have enough evidence to arrest anyone, but Logan wants to search Crighton's — if he did CPR on Kirke, his bathrobe is probably bloody. They discuss the available judges, and Van Buren says to pick Judge Reisman, who is very easygoing about signing search warrants. Reisman does point out that you can't charge someone with performing CPR, but when Logan says that Crighton's an oral surgeon, Reisman agrees to sign the warrant. They find blood on Crighton's slippers. Kincaid doesn't think this is enough, because they have no proof Crighton hurt Kirke and they have evidence Crighton tried to save Kirke's life. Van Buren says he probably knows who the other person in the alley was. Crighton is arrested and picked out of a lineup by Kirke.
Stone allows Crighton to plea to a reduced charge of failing to report a body, and Crighton says Leon Prosky (the restaurant owner) was already there and Kirke was already in trouble. Crighton adds that Prosky said he'd call the paramedics and that he'd wait for the paramedics, and that he, Crighton, saved Kirke's life. Crighton says he couldn't stay because, if Kirke knew that he'd been involved, Kirke might sue him. But, later, Prosky says that he never said he'd call the paramedics.
Stone says they don't have enough to prosecute, especially with Kirke incapable of standing trial. He says he's sympathetic for Crighton and Prosky, but Schiff blasts this attitude. They have Olivet talk to Kirke. Kirke remembers both Prosky and Crighton in the alley, but says that the man who beat him was the husband of the woman he stole the bag from (Harold Morissey). Olivet notices that Kirke is drawing; he's done an excellent portrait of Olivet during their talk. Olivet tells Stone and Kincaid that no one can take Kirke; psychiatric wards don't take addicts and addict centers don't take the mentally unstable.
Harold throws Kincaid out of his office without answering questions. The hospital is more forthcoming; in addition to saying when the Morisseys were there, the nurse adds that Harold made multiple calls on the pay phone. The calls, it turns out, went to Prosky's cafe. They think Harold assaulted Kirke and checked with Prosky to see if Kirke was in the alley. They decide to arrest Prosky. Prosky says that Harold grabbed the rebar before entering the alley, then assaulted Kirke. Harold Morissey is arrested for attempted murder.
Stone reports that Harold is using a justification defense. Schiff thinks it has weight, but Stone says that a two-hour delay destroys the idea that Harold's actions were necessary to defend his wife Irene. Stone says that Harold got the rebar before entering the alley, making it pre-meditated, but Schiff says that Harold was just preparing for the worst. Stone says he's still uncomfortable with the case, since it could easily be him in Harold's spot; Schiff says Stone could also be in Kirke's.
"I'm not saying I'm comfortable prosecuting a man who, but for the grace of God, could be me."
"If the Almighty looked away for half a second you could also be Roland Kirke."
—Ben Stone and Adam Schiff
Crighton testifies to Harold's anger. He says that the mugging happened at 10:30, two hours before the assault. Harold's attorney points out that Crighton neither waited for the paramedics nor treated the bleeding, and that Kirke pushed Harold's son in front of a moving car. Prosky says Harold called to see if Kirke was in the alley; Prosky followed Harold once Harold went into the alley; he says that Harold starting beating Kirke on the legs and head with the rebar. He says that Kirke deserved it. Stone makes him say that Harold got the rebar before entering the alley. Harold's lawyer leads Prosky into saying that Kirke attacked first, this is an obvious lie but Stone can't do anything about it. Stone is forced to call Kirke.
Judge Rebecca Stein listens to the lawyers and Olivet; they convince her that Kirke is competent to stand trial so long as he's not on drugs. Kirke is lucid when he talks to the judge. She allows the witness.
Kirke says that he was beaten while he was still asleep; he woke up to see Morissey standing over him with a metal bar. He tried to give back the bag but Morissey kept beating him. Harold's lawyer points out that Kirke's story has changed; Kirke says that he was high on crack the first time. The lawyer says that Kirke has been committed many times, and he gets Kirke to admit that he plans to return to Bedford Street and get high again. The lawyer pushes Kirke until he exclaims that he'll sue the Bedford Street residents again and use the money to buy all the drugs he could want, then will harass Harold forever after. Stone looks defeated.
Morissey testifies that he just wanted the bag back; he brought the rebar because he was scared. Stone gets him to admit that he kept swinging even after he'd broken Kirke's legs and Kirke couldn't move any closer. Stone gets Harold to exclaim that he blames the system and jokes that he's thought of assaulting the court people as well.
In closing, Harold's lawyer says Kirke deserved it, but Stone says that Harold's assault is more of a menace to society that Kirke was. Harold is found innocent of attempted murder, and assault 1, but found guilty of assault 2, the least of the offences he was charged with. Judge Stein decides to sentence him immediately, instead of waiting for sentencing recommendations, as is required; assault 2 carries mandatory jail time, but the Judge says that the two days Harold was in jail waiting for bail qualifies. Harold gets time served and two years probation and is released immediately. Stone objects and wants to appeal; Stein overrules the objection.