Susan Parker harangues a receptionist and demands to be let in to see her husband. The receptionist says that her husband, Brandon Parker, is not in, but Susan insists that the receptionist is lying. A security guard, Wallace, approaches but then passes by, and Susan exclaims that Brandon is leaving her.
"That SOB is walking out. Sixteen years and he's taking a hike!"
The receptionist begs her to calm down, but Susan rants that Brandon killed her baby. She becomes more and more irate.
"Please, lower your voice."
"I wanna scream, I'll SCREAM!"
—Receptionist and Susan Parker
She walks past the receptionist and says she wants the whole world to know about how her husband wronged her. Wallace grabs her to stop her, but Susan pulls away, then draws a handgun. Then Brandon comes out from his office, having heard the commotion. At first he demands that his wife leave, but when he sees the gun he stops short. Then he calls her crazy. She yells that he's a murderer and killed her baby, and demands that he tell everyone what he did. She turns away to talk to everyone else, and Brandon goes back into his office to call the police. Susan hesitates, then shoots through the frosted glass window in the door. It shatters. Susan hesitates, and then Wallace guard shoots her in the back. Brandon, who wasn't hit, goes to his broken door and looks out.
Wallace tells Briscoe that he was a cop for twenty years but never had to draw his gun. He tries to justify the shooting, saying that Susan was insane and out for blood. When prompted, he says that Susan wanted to kill Brandon. The receptionist tells Logan that Susan was out of her mind and screaming. Logan asks what she was yelling about.
"Something about Brandon killing their baby. I didn't even know they had a baby."
She also brings up the divorce.
At the station, Brandon says that he wouldn't have left his wife if he'd known she'd have a psychotic breakdown. He says that he was happy for the first ten years of his marriage, but not as happy for the last six. He moved out three weeks before the shooting. Briscoe brings up the baby, and Brandon says that they'd been trying to have a baby for five years, but Susan had a miscarriage once they finally conceived. He says that Susan blamed all the men she met for that miscarriage, and insists that he really didn't have anything to do with Susan losing her baby. His attorney served his wife with divorce papers the day before the shooting.
Briscoe tells Van Buren that the shooting was justified, and says that there's not really any room for debate on the subject — thirty eyewitnesses confirmed that Susan was shot by the guard to defend Brandon. Van Buren wants to know about the dead baby. Logan thinks it's nothing, but Van Burne thinks that Brandon had to have done something to cause his wife to shoot up a bank. She tells the detectives to check with the medical examiner. Logan and Briscoe are confused and say they don't know what to talk to the ME about. Van Buren clarifies that she wants to know if Brandon really did kill her baby or not.
Heather Coyle, the medical examiner, tries to shoo the detectives away. She says she hasn't conducted a full autopsy but knows that Susan died from being shot. They ask about bruises, but Coyle says that any bruises could have been caused by hitting the bank floor. She snaps that she has to be in court in two hours, but Logan says that it'll only take two seconds to look at Susan's chart. She does so, and finds that Susan had contusions consistent with a beating.
Back at work, Brandon threatens to get his attorney involved if the cops keep bothering him. Briscoe brings up the bruises, but Parker claims he doesn't know anything. He says that, after her kid sister had three children, Susan became completely obsessed with having a child. Logan says that they did manage to conceive once, and Parker says that a fertility specialist, Dr. Jordan Gilbert, found something that would work. Logan eventually says that Susan claimed that Parker killed her baby, and Coyle found bruises on Susan's body.
"Tell us what it's about, Brandon."
Parker says that his wife was crazy, and then when Gilbert pumped her full of hormones for fertility, she got even worse. After the miscarriage, Susan snapped even more. She wanted to try again with Gilbert, but Parker couldn't take Susan's mental state and moved out. He says that Susan attacked him when he was leaving, and that he shoved her away in self defense.
Outside, Logan doubts that Parker would have to hit her hard to shove her away, but Briscoe points out that Susan was crazy and full of drugs. Logan mocks this as a sexist attitude. Briscoe says that Susan was on fertility drugs for a long time; maybe Parker lost his temper with her more than once. They decide to talk to Gilbert.
Gilbert leads the detectives through his crowded fertility clinic, showing them a posterboard of healthy babies that were conceived with his help. He says that he knows about the miscarriage, and that there was nothing he could do.
"Susan had a tendency to overreact."
He says that he felt for Susan. He doesn't know what caused the miscarriage, but says that, since the fetus was only eight weeks old, there was less risk of harm to Susan than if the fetus had died later. Logan asks about extra bruises, but Gilbert says he doesn't think Brandon would hit Susan — Susan would have told him. Briscoe doubts this, but Gilbert says that he's the last resort for his patients, and so his patients trust him intimately. He details how his patients tell him every detail of their lives.
"Everything is important when you're trying to get pregnant. Keeping secrets from me would be counterproductive."
He compares his role to that of a priest, and says that omitting something when talking to him would be like only giving a partial confession at church.
Outside, Logan is unimpressed.
"The ones at my school were less sanctimonious than that guy."
Logan says that a fetus isn't considered a person at eight weeks, so even if Brandon beat Susan, it's not murder. He wants to get onto another case. Briscoe says that Van Buren will want them to investigate for spousal abuse.
"Think of it like a vacation."
Logan says they have no witnesses and that Dr. Gilbert vouches for Brandon. Briscoe says that something had to have caused the miscarriage, and recommends that they talk to Coyle again.
Coyle says she finished the autopsy, and that Susan was in a fight. She pretends to charge at Logan, who grabs her wrists to stop her, and then she says that Logan's next move would be to knock her on the floor, where she'd hit her butt and her elbows. The contusions match up with these locations — wrists, elbows, and butt — so it's likely that Brandon was telling the truth about Susan attacking him. There aren't any other injuries. Logan wants to know if something else could have happened to cause her to lose her baby. The question surprises Coyle.
"Baby? What baby? This woman was never pregnant."
Later, Brandon sees Van Buren and learns about Coyle's findings. He's angry and stunned when he hears that Susan wasn't pregnant. Briscoe and Van Buren say they aren't lying. Brandon wants Gilbert arrested, but Van Buren says that simply lying to Susan wasn't a crime. Brandon says that it was at least fraud, but Van Buren says this is only true if Gilbert knew in advance that the treatment would fail.
"Doctors make mistakes."
"Oh, some mistake! First he makes her crazy, then he gets her killed!"
—Anita Van Buren and Brandon Parker
He leaves in a huff. Briscoe then comments that, if this is a scam, it's a good one — Gilbert takes people's money, gives them hormones that don't actually induce fertility, lies to them that they're pregnant, then later tells them that they had a miscarriage. Van Buren points out that Susan can't testify to this. Logan says they can interview Gilbert's other patients, and when Briscoe says that Gilbert won't be forthcoming, Logan says they can get a subpoena.
Kincaid tells the story to Judge Jean Bryant. Bryant is skeptical, wondering if Gilbert made a mistake, but Kincaid points out that Gilbert had to make up a sonogram to show the Parkers. She explains that Gilbert might be defrauding people. She says she wants all of the medical records of Gilbert's patients. Bryant says that this would violate privilege. Kincaid argues that, if Gilbert is defrauding people, his records aren't actually privileged. Bryant is unhappy.
"So I have to violate privilege, to prove criminal activity, in order to destroy privilege."
Kincaid says that the patients will probably be willing to talk to the cops, so Bryant says she'll grant a subpoena for the sole purpose of finding the names of women who miscarried while under Gilbert's care.
Briscoe reads off a list of names. All of the women are in their mid-forties.
"Nothing like waiting until the last minute!"
"Maybe they had something better to do."
"You know, if I didn't know you don't have kids, I'd know you don't have kids."
—Lennie Briscoe and Michael Logan
Logan says that women are allowed to have priorities besides having kids. Briscoe, going back to the case, says he's found twenty-three patients with miscarriages in the files. Logan has twenty-six. The cops decide to start interviewing people.
A clerk, Christine Kennedy, at a boutique says that she loved to party and kept putting off having kids. Logan jokes about waiting for Mr. Right, and Kennedy says that Mr. Right is just whoever's nearby when you run out of energy and want to settle down. She says that her husband wanted a son, but they couldn't conceive for a long time. Kennedy finally did conceive but then had a miscarriage, after which a friend of hers named Clara Brock referred her to Gilbert. Gilbert had, she said, helped Brock become pregnant after Brock had had a miscarriage. She went onto Gilbert's hormone regimen, but had another miscarriage. Logan asks if she's still trying to have a baby.
"I'm forty-two years old. What the Hell — selling expensive dresses is plenty fulfilling."
The detectives next talk to Beth Kellner and her partner, Carol Miller. Beth is currently in her eighth month of pregnancy. She explains that, while she did miscarry, she was not on the hormones. Fertility was never her problem; she and Carol needed a sperm donor. Carol says that Gilbert found them one, a donor 21-33x. They don't know the donor's real name, and don't care to know either. Briscoe says that they should be worried about their son running into an unknown sibling, implying that there's a risk of an incestuous relationship (because the sperm donors are used up to four times each, so there's a small chance that their son could meet another child of his father). Carol says that this is extremely unlikely, and Beth adds that the donor's name is confidential anyway. They do know that the donor is healthy, with no criminal record and no drinking or smoking habits.
Outside, Logan and Briscoe joke about the couple, wondering which parent will teach their son to do stereotypically masculine activities such as smoking. Logan makes a sardonic remark about his abusive mother. Briscoe suddenly realizes that Clara Brock's name isn't on the list of Gilbert's patients who had miscarriages, even though Kennedy said that Brock definitely had one. They go to see her.
Brock says that she went on Gilbert's treatment plan, but it took her a long time to conceive and she had several miscarriages. She finally had a child after stopping the treatment. Briscoe asks if Brock used artificial insemination, but Brock says that it was in vitro fertilization instead (the sperm and egg were combined outside of the womb, then inserted manually). She leaves with her kid. Logan notes that Brock took the treatment for two years, but only became pregnant once she stopped.
"I'm starting to wonder if this stuff ever works."
Late at night, the detectives try to find someone who conceived through Gilbert's treatments. Logan jokes about a patient who has been on the drugs for three years with no results. Briscoe finally finds someone who got pregnant while on the drugs, but Logan points out that this might be luck. Briscoe then notices something — several of the patients seem to have the same donor, 21-33x. This goes against what Gilbert said about only using each donor four times.
Kincaid complains that the case sounds like a bad science fiction movie. Logan just repeats that there are forty-two women artificially inseminated with the same donor's sperm. Van Buren says that it's a clear fraud case, but Kincaid points out that the files could only be used to find the patient's names; they can't use them in court to determine this kind of fraud. She says that what they have is inadmissible. Van Buren tells Kincaid to find a sensible judge.
Judge Michael Ianello hears the motion, but says that even if he granted it, it would quickly be reversed. Kincaid tries to argue inevitable discovery, but Ianello says that no one would have noticed this if the cops hadn't unlawfully searched the records for information they were not entitled to. Kincaid says that most of the babies are living in the same general area, there's a serious risk of accidental incestuous relationships.
He says that he's generally right-leaning and prone to allow cops and prosecutors substantial discretion, but he won't touch doctor-patient confidentiality. Kincaid looks defeated, but then has an idea. She says that she is the only one in the prosecutor's office who knows what Gilbert did. She says she's set up a 'Chinese wall' — she'll have someone else handle the case and won't communicate with them at all. If the other person finds out what's going on, that proves inevitable discovery, and the records can be admitted. Ianello doubts that she can avoid talking about the case.
"...I will sign an affidavit swearing not to communicate in any way with the new attorney..."
Ianello threatens to have her license to practice law revoked if she violates the affidavit.
Schiff is amused that Ianello went for it. Kincaid points out that, if Ianello finds that she violated the affidavit, she's done as a lawyer. McCoy asks if it's worth it, and she says yes. McCoy wonders who the new lawyer will be, remarking that it's a wild goose chase.
"Well, I don't remember seeing any vacation memos with your name on it."
He remarks that Kincaid wagered her career on this, and that she deserves McCoy's full support. McCoy, resigned, gives Kincaid his current case, and she leaves.
"And I'll go chase my tail."
Schiff points out that the cops were investigating another fraud when they found out about something important (that Kincaid can't tell either McCoy or Schiff about). Schiff asks what the first thing to look at in a fraud case is, and McCoy realizes that he needs to see Gilbert's financial records.
Gilbert says that, even though McCoy has a subpoena, he won't turn over his records until his attorney, Michael Aronson, arrives. McCoy threatens to have Gilbert held in contempt. Gilbert says he feels bad for Susan, but he doesn't want his business disrupted. He adds that his patients expect privacy, and rely on it. Aronson shows up, and Gilbert asks him what's going on. McCoy reiterates that he wants the records, and Aronson says that they already gave records to Kincaid. McCoy clarifies that now they want financial records. Gilbert complains that he's been practicing medicine for over twenty-five years, but Aronson cuts him off.
"We'll give him the documents. And while they're reading them, I'll be drafting my complaint for harassment."
On his way out, Schiff tells McCoy that Kincaid was successful in the case she argued that day. McCoy says he hasn't found anything, except that Gilbert made a lot of money — but even then, he's still in the same ballpark as other infertility specialists. Then he notices something — Gilbert made $650,000 three years ago, but is only making $580,000 this year.
"Recession's been rough on everybody."
McCoy continues that Gilbert's net profits still went up. Schiff says this means that Gilbert cut costs, and McCoy notes that the biggest drop was in laboratory costs. Gilbert stopped HIV tests on donor sperm, saving him $75,000 a year. Schiff says that the labs might just be billing the patients and not Gilbert, but McCoy guesses that Gilbert just stopped the tests and was hoping that none of the donors had HIV.
At the laboratory, a tech says that the lab does tests on donor sperm for every reputable fertility clinic in the five boroughs. The lab used to run a lot of samples for Gilbert, but then Gilbert stopped submitting samples for tests. The tech assumed that Gilbert found a lab from out of town to do the work. McCoy says that Gilbert may have just stopped bothering to test, but the tech replies that this would be crazy. The odds of having an HIV positive baby are very high when the sperm is from an HIV positive donor. McCoy asks why the tests are so expensive, and the tech admits that it's pricy, but that their method (freezing the sperm for sixty days, then testing) is the safest way known to medical science.
Judge Rebecca Stein also doesn't want to violate doctor-patient privilege, but is convinced by McCoy's argument that Gilbert might have been using HIV positive sperm. Stein is stunned, but points out that, if none of the babies are infected, there's no crime (even though Gilbert just got lucky) and they've violated privilege. McCoy says that the parents will probably not mind.
McCoy talks to Mary Cooper, who gave birth after going to Gilbert's clinic. She doesn't want to give a blood sample — Gilbert said that the donor was healthy, and she takes him at his word. McCoy, though, convinces her to submit a testing sample. At Hudson Laboratories, though, a technician confirms that all the samples are HIV negative. McCoy is happy, and the technician says that the parents are also happy and sent him gifts. He notes, though, that a lot of the babies are carriers of cystic fibrosis. It's not common for so many babies to have the disease, and if two people who are carriers of cystic fibrosis have a baby, there's about a 25% chance that the child will have the condition. McCoy notes that it's odd that so many of the babies are carriers, and realizes that the babies are all related.
McCoy finds Kincaid at a restaurant.
"Looks like the Chinese wall just came tumbling down."
McCoy says he learned that at least twenty-five of Gilbert's patients were inseminated with the same sperm. Kincaid confirms that this was what she knew; she can talk freely now that McCoy found the same information independently. She is confident that they have a fraud case. McCoy says that he found more, noting the lack of an HIV test. He wonders why Gilbert would take such a huge risk — a single infected baby would ruin his practice. Kincaid says that Gilbert was lucky he found a healthy donor.
"Or he was sure."
Kincaid says that there's no perfect test for being HIV positive, but McCoy points out that Gilbert could be sure of one person — himself.
Kincaid finds Ianello at a bar.
"I just bought a round for two justices of the court of appeals. This better be good!"
She says that McCoy found evidence that twenty-five babies were conceived by the same donor. Ianello doesn't see the relevance, and wants to wait until morning to do anything. Kincaid says they think Gilbert is the donor. Ianello asks if Kincaid told McCoy anything, but McCoy gives him affadavits swearing that no such conversation between them occurred. Ianello then says that he'd love to see Gilbert arrested, but Gilbert hasn't committed a crime.
Later, Schiff says that Ianello is right — Gilbert did a horrible thing, but not an illegal one. He shoots down McCoy's ideas for linking Gilbert to Susan's death. Kincaid realizes that one of the patients, Clara Brock, didn't ask for an anonymous donor — her contract specifically required her husband's sperm to be used. Schiff says that the Brocks will be unhappy.
At her house, Clara is disbelieving. Nathan becomes angry, especially when he hears that the lawyers have no direct evidence. McCoy wants a blood test of Nathan Brock to run against the sample they took (for the HIV test) from the Brock baby, Bobby. He adds that the Brocks can testify to help imprison Gilbert. The Brocks still refuse to testify or give the sample, saying they don't want to hurt their family.
The next day, McCoy says they need proof that Gilbert lied. He doubts that the Brocks would respond to a subpoena. The two are upset that they can't arrest Gilbert for anything. Kincaid doesn't want to give up, though. McCoy leaves, then comes back — he's realized that, if they can get a blood test from Gilbert, they can prove that he's the baby's father with Nathan Brock's help.
At the motion hearing, Aronson wants the motion dismissed on 4th amendment grounds. McCoy says that society has a compelling interest in the search. Aronson says there's no probable cause. When McCoy brings up that the same donor was used over twenty times, Aronson says that there's no evidence that Gilbert was the donor. Judge Stein agrees with Aronson, and says that she needs evidence. She grants Aronson's motion to quash McCoy's motion.
McCoy complains about Gilbert being immune to the law. After the lawyers all talk, he comes up with another idea — if Gilbert really is the father of Bobby Brock, his contract with them is null and void. Under civil law, if Gilbert's the father, he has legal obligations, such as child support. If Gilbert is not fulfilling those obligations, he could be liable. Schiff points out that the Brocks still aren't going to testify, and asks how McCoy will get around that. Kincaid says it no longer matters — child support is the right of the child, not the parent, and even if the Brocks object, the state can argue that Bobby's interest is compelling enough to require a paternity test. She also points out that the burden of proof in family court is lighter than in criminal court, so they're more likely to get the test granted. Schiff likes the idea. He says that Kincaid should be appointed to be the baby's legal guardian, at which point she can sue for paternity.
In family court, Judge Marc Kramer hears the motion, and McCoy testifies as to why they think Gilbert is the father. He says that they know that, in all probability, only one donor was used, and that as Gilbert had stopped paying for tests, he had to know that the donor was healthy — and the only person he knew for sure was healthy was himself.
On cross-examination, Aronson asks where Clara is. McCoy says that her testimony is not relevant — the suit is on the baby's behalf.
"Oh, I see. Is the baby lacking for money?"
McCoy has to admit that the baby is fine financially. He says, though, that it's not relevant. Aronson disagrees.
"On this side of Center Street, all that's relevant are the baby's best interests."
Aronson asks if the baby's welfare would be improved by the litigation, and McCoy says that it would be. Aronson says that, since Clara doesn't care, it's ridiculous and arrogant for McCoy to just assume that the baby's welfare would benefit from the test.
"Arrogant? Arrogant is trying to start your own race of people!"
The comment is struck from the record.
Gilbert testifies that he helped 300 babies to be conceived in his office, and no one has ever wanted to know the identify of the donor. Furthermore, no one has ever questioned paternity in cases where the sperm of a specific person (such as a husband) was to be used. He says that, due to confidentiality, he cannot testify as to whether or not Nathan is Bobby's biological father.
On cross examination, Kincaid asks if HIV tests are run on donor sperm when a specific person is to be the baby's father. Gilbert says that, instead, tests are run on the father before the sperm is drawn. Kincaid asks about cystic fibrosis tests, and Gilbert admits that he doesn't run those. He says that this isn't negligence; he doubts that any of them would avoid the procedure even if they knew for a fact that the donor carried the cystic fibrosis gene. He adds that cystic fibrosis is so rare that there's little point in running tests. Kincaid points out that most of the babies are carriers. She asks for an explanation, but Gilbert doesn't have one to give. Kramer orders him to undergo a paternity test.
Outside, Aronson complains about forum shopping.
"Whatever it takes."
Aronson says that they'll stipulate that Gilbert is the baby's father. McCoy says that Gilbert will be arrested for larceny by false promise, but Aronson says that the charge is a joke. He promises to file a motion to dismiss.
Aronson argues to Stein that the motion is insufficient. McCoy points out that a Grand Jury liked it.
"Twenty-three blind men following the pied piper out of Hamlin."
Stein comments that Aronson is cynical, and Aronson says that it's na´ve to think that the Grand Jury would go against what McCoy wanted. After more bickering, Aronson says that the charge is larceny by false promise, but McCoy has provided no proof that Gilbert lied about anything. Stein is surprised that the parents didn't testify.
"It's a difficult situation, Your Honor."
"You're damn right it is. And it's getting more difficult for you."
—Jack McCoy and Rebecca Stein
McCoy claims he doesn't need their testimony to have a legally sufficient case. Stein agrees in theory, but says that, realistically, without testimony from the victims there will be a mistrial. She'll dismiss the charges unless the Brocks testify. McCoy says that the Brocks have a right to privacy, but Aronson says that Gilbert has a right to confront his accusers. Kincaid says they'll agree to close the courtroom and seal the records to allay privacy concerns. Aronson disagrees, but is closed down. Stein says she'll schedule the trial, but the Brocks have to testify.
In the Brock's house, the Brocks are adamant that they don't want to testify. McCoy assures them that they will be anonymous.
"If you prefer you can wear disguises."
Clara demands to know why they can't use someone else, but Kincaid says that they can only establish a fraud case with the Brocks. Nathan says that this will destroy the lives of his family. McCoy, losing his patience, says that it's more important to stop Brock, and that it doesn't matter if Bobby is adopted. Clara rants about doctors claiming to know what's best for people, but Nathan tells her to be quiet and orders the lawyers out.
On the way out, Kincaid gripes that the Brocks will not testify. McCoy says that he saw them, and that he thinks something else is going on. He wonders why Clara ranted about doctors, and asks Kincaid to talk to the doctor that sent the Brocks to Gilbert.
Dr. Michael Lang says he wishes he could have helped the Brocks. When Kincaid asks what help they needed, he says that the Brocks had a daughter who died of leukemia the previous year. He explains that the Brocks desperately needed a bone marrow donor for their daughter, so they tried to conceive at Gilbert's clinic so they could have a child with compatible marrow (neither of the Brocks had compatible marrow, but if they had another baby there was a chance that the marrow would have matched). Unfortunately, Bobby's bone marrow didn't match their natural daughter's, and she died. Kincaid is stunned that the Brocks had their second child just to try to save the first one, but Lang says that were just trying to save their daughter.
Schiff notes that it's not surprising that the Brocks will not testify.
"They don't want their son to discover one day that they just bought him for the parts."
Kincaid complains that they have no fraud case because the Brocks feel guilty. McCoy says that they now have a murder case — not against Susan Parker, but for the Brock's daughter. If Nathan had been the father of the baby, the bone marrow might have matched. By using his own sperm, Gilbert made that impossible. Schiff points out that there was no guarantee that there'd be a match anyway, but McCoy says that, if you say you're going to save a life (and thus preclude other rescue efforts) but don't, you're guilty of murder. He uses the analogy of a man telling a lifeguard that he'll save a drowning person, all while knowing that he's a bad swimmer. If the drowning man dies, the man is guilty of murder for inducing the lifeguard not to do anything. Schiff says it's a longshot, but the other two lawyers want to try it.
The next morning, Aronson is amused.
"Murder 2? You're on drugs, right?"
McCoy outlines their case. Aronson says he'll get experts to say that there was no direct effect between Gilbert's actions and the death, so he'll have reasonable doubt. McCoy responds by saying that the jury will hate him once they learn that Gilbert was using his own sperm to impregnate all his patients. He adds that he'll bring up Susan Parker.
"And how will the jury react to the news that the Brocks might not have had to bury their eight-year old daughter were it not for your client's gall, or ego, or disregard for human decency."
Aronson points out that McCoy still has no witnesses. McCoy berates Gilbert.
"You're a doctor. You're supposed to help these people!"
"These women come to me barren. Starved for the feeling of life growing inside their bodies. Their husbands can't give it to them; neither can their lovers. Just me."
—Jack McCoy and Jordan Gilbert
He says that the women would probably be happy to have his children.
"I think you flatter yourself."
Gilbert rants about his motivations.
"I create something, where nothing was before. God doesn't make babies, Mr. McCoy. I do."
Gilbert and Aronson leave. McCoy has to admit that Aronson is right; they have no case without a witness. Kincaid asks they'll ever find someone to testify against Gilbert.
"Jesus had his Judas. And he's not Jesus."