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Recap / Law And Order S 19 E 9 By Perjury

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The detectives investigate the shooting of Charlie Sawyer. He had been involved in the "Flight 33 case": a huge class action lawsuit brought by the families of 96 people who died in a plane explosion. Sawyer had discovered evidence which could absolve the airline of negligence, and intended to cut a deal with them in exchange for his testimony. Marty Winston, who represents most of the plaintiffs including Sawyer, stands to make up to $40 million from the Flight 33 case. A shell casing links Winston to the shooting and he is charged, but instantly gets that evidence suppressed because Lupo and Bernard didn't obtain it legally. The case is dismissed.


The detectives and prosecutors then begin looking into the previous murder of a judge involved in the Flight 33 case. Victor Cruz, another plaintiff that Winston represented, was convicted and later executed; but insisted he had been framed. Winston was the star witness against Cruz and had a motive to kill the judge, who was sympathetic to the airline. After Cutter proves that Winston lied in a key part of his testimony during Cruz' trial, Winston is arrested for Cruz' murder on the grounds that his perjury showed reckless indifference to life. The judge denies Winston's motion to dismiss the charges.

However, the airline is about to reach a settlement with the plaintiffs of the Flight 33 case. Rubirosa quickly files a motion on behalf of Cruz's family to have Winston disqualified as counsel. The Grievance Committee, unimpressed with his manipulation of the legal system, rules to disqualify him and prohibit him from making any profit from the case. Winston is so enraged that he corners Cutter in a bathroom and is about to shoot him; but Lupo and Bernard, who had noticed where Winston was heading, disarm and arrest him.


This episode contains examples of:

  • Acquitted Too Late: Cruz.
  • Camping a Crapper: Winston attempts this at the end. Lampshaded by McCoy who says the crime scene photos wouldn't have looked very dignified.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Cutter feigns this in order to ask permission to smoke in Winston's office - thus disproving Winston's claim under oath that he never allows smoking in his office, and couldn't have obtained a cigarette butt from Cruz to plant at the scene of the judge's murder.
  • Crusading Lawyer: Winston's view of Cutter, and not in a positive way.
  • Gotta Kill Em All: Winston's plan was simply to kill anyone who stood in the way of his big payoff from the Flight 33 case.
  • Frame-Up: Winston pulled this on one of his own clients to get rid of a judge who favored the airline.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Subverted. Despite a lot of people believing this, the plane explosion really was an accident - caused by Sawyer's father smuggling an oxygen tank in his luggage.
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  • Ripped from the Headlines: Based on the case of ValuJet Flight 592, where over 100 people were killed in an on-board fire and crash.
  • You Are What You Hate: McCoy points out that Cutter and Winston are very similar in their approach as lawyers.