On Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers Season 1 Episode 2, Lyle and Erik are officially the only suspects in the case. Detectives gain enough evidence to put the brothers behind bars for their parents' murders.
It is probably the first time the boys have felt their freedom completely taken away. Although their father seems to have been very demanding (the way he spoke to Erik as a child was abhorrent), Erik and Lyle continue to hold their dad on a pedestal. It's like they respected their father and hated him at the same time.
Detectives Zoeller and Lineman start to receive a few gems of evidence against the Menendez boys. One of Lyle's best friends from Princeton offers incriminating evidence when he tells the police that Lyle once stated he wanted to kill his father for destroying his mother by having an affair.
Erik, who seems to be in the middle of a mental breakdown, asks the detectives what would happen if he walked outside of a crime scene with a gun in his hand. That exchange at the dining room table was bizarre, to say the least.
Erik probably wanted to turn himself into the authorities at that point. He could barely focus and had to be rescued by Lyle before he gave too many details away. He even gave the detectives permission to talk to his psychiatrist, Dr. Oziel.
Erik: I keep thinking of him, sitting there, encouraging me.
Lyle: Yelling! He was yelling at you Erik.
Erik also finds himself with a "friend" problem of his own, as one of his dearest pals works with Zoeller and Lineman to try to catch Erik confessing to killing his parents. This plan ultimately fails, but the brothers are way too trusting of their friends, who turn on them every chance they get.
Eventually, Erik snaps and confesses to Dr. Oziel. When Lyle shook Oziel's hand as he left the office, the menacing tone in his voice would have prompted anyone to call the cops immediately.
Just remember what dad taught us, master of our emotions. If I feel fear, I will plunge ahead. You're a Menendez. You're going to do great things.Lyle
Lyle is so focused on his grand idea of opening up a chain of hot-wing spots that he does not even notice the walls crashing down around him. Lyle's ego may be the reason he doesn't realize all the evidence, other than the confession, piled against himself and his brother.
Erik keeps repeating that his mother didn't deserve what happened to her. If Erik and Lyle were that upset at their father only, why didn't they just ensure that their mother was not home when their father was killed?
The fact that their mother was also murdered makes it seem like they didn't care about her enough to ensure she wasn't around. Was she just collateral damage for them to get the inheritance?
Erik and Lyle continue to see Oziel as evidence of their remorse. At $7,000 a month for Dr. Oziel, you'd think that amount would at least buy some discretion. The therapist breaking doctor/patient confidentiality himself by spilling information to his mistress was just stupid.
Even on Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers Season 1 Episode 1, when he informed Judalon that Erik was his patient, that was a breach of confidentiality. Oziel deserves to have his tapes surrendered as evidence, but maybe a little part of him wants them to go to the police.
Everybody thinks we were this perfect family, but we were a disaster.Lyle
Speaking of Judalon, it's always the mistress who causes the most destruction. Who lets their crazed lover (who was found with her head stuck in an oven) sleep anywhere near their wife and children? Why would a wife let a patient stay in their home? I guess people really believed nothing bad happened in Beverly Hills back then.
One interesting fact that came out of this episode was the introduction of Robert Shapiro as Lyle's initial lawyer. Robert Shapiro is best known as a member of OJ Simpson's legal defense team that ultimately got an acquittal.
Leslie Abramson points out how Shapiro made a mistake by not insisting the death penalty be off the table when negotiating Erik's surrender. She's right. Shapiro made some of these same mistakes in OJ's trial.
Leslie's personality as a defense attorney shines through this episode. No wonder she finds a way to get her client's off on their charges. She sees her clients as troubled people, rather than monsters.
This was apparent when she personally wipes contract killer Roberto's face after he is injured in jail. Bringing her clients some of their favorite foods is a nice way to gain their trust, so she can defend them adequately.
Leslie playing the case in the court of public opinion through the press is also a smart move. She's turned the siblings' defense into a case about a violation of privacy rather than it being about spoiled kids who slaughtered their parents. Leslie seems to be the best person for the job in carving out some sympathy for Lyle and Erik.
Mr. Reiner, who wants to be our attorney general, is at war with the most basic social contract we have, the doctor-patient privilege. Anyone of you who sees a doctor, or consults a lawyer, or confides in a priest, minister, rabbi, had better be worried, cause Mr. Reiner doesn’t give a damn about your privacy. Someone has to stop him, and we will.Leslie
This episode definitely picked up the pace compared to the premiere. The detectives riding in a smoke-filled plane was a nice touch as a callback to the 1980s. Although Judalon and Dr. Oziel's storyline seemed too fantastic to be true, maybe little nuances like that are what caused the case to be such a sensation.
If you missed the first episode, you can catch up on Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers online via TV Fanatic.
How do you feel about the second installment of the season?
- What exactly didn't Erik tell to Dr. Oziel?
- Will Erik and Lyle's family give up on the boys?
- What is the real reason the boys hated their dad so much?
- What ultimately caused the boys to snap and commit murder?