Law & Order Season 21 Episode 9
The Great Pretender
A woman makes a toast at some sort of club, to someone who is uncomfortable being in the spotlight. She responds in kind. She's lucky to have such wonderful friends. The paprazzi interrupts.
Next thing you know, the woman, Ella, is dead. She fell from a high height, probably while fighting for her life. She had invitations to the opening of her nightclub on her.
No witnesses or surveillance cameras. This was a sketchy part of town. Ella was there scoping out areas for her nightclub. They are waiting for phone/text data. The only contact they have for her is a lawyer's card in her purse.
The lawyer says that Ella was very hard working especially for an heiress but she wasn't a good businesswoman. She had creative energy but couldn't raise capital on her own. He doesn't know who her parents are.
The cops go to Ella's apartment. She had no recent visitors but there is a photo of her with her parents. (The last name had already been said to be Whitlock so the cops should have been able to find them that way).
Mr. Whitlock refuses to go in private when the police make the notification. He says he has no daughter and has no idea who Ella is.
The cops have found out that Ella's real name was Mary Costello and she has a record for theft. They go to talk to her parents and find out that Mary told her parents she was working in the fashion industry in Paris. They didn't notice anything strange. She had a new diamond necklace someone gave her that cost $200k. They didn't ask who gav eit to her. The father asks what do we do now? He wants to bury his daughter.
Cosgrove thinks what Mary did was twisted. Bernard thinks it's sad that she hated herself so much that she created an alternate persona, Cosgrove has a random story about once lying and saying he was a doctor. Anyway, Mary was in a lot of debt. Credit cards maxed out etc. She dropped 7 grand on credit the night of her death.
The cops talk to Reese, the woman who toasted to Ella. She has no useful info. They ask about the diamond necklace, which was not present on the body. Reese also doesn't know if Ella was dating but they used the same matchmaker.
The cops talk to Tiffani, the matchmaker. She only matchmakes people who are worth 200 million or more. She said Ella had met someone special from a prestigious, old-line family.
The cops talk to the guy, Wyatt, who seems shocked Ella/Mary is dead. He says they were sort of dating. He talked to her on the phone about the club yesterday. She couldn't wait to open her club. The cops tell him that Ella was really broke and her name was Mary Costello. Wyatt had no idea. He is surprised when they ask where he was. He says they can check with the doorman if he was home. They are able to get Ella's personal data because she charged her phone in Wyatt's car. There was a creditor who was aggressive about wanting his money and sent threats. The guy's name was Matthew Dooley and he was arrested five months ago for aggravated battery.
The guy says that he went to Istanbul with "Ella" and ended up paying 40K. She said the other night she was getting money from her trust fund. He knew she was a fraud so he told her to get lost. He knew what she was doing but that didn't mean he killed her. He says he was working here til 3 AM. He claims some Mexican guy connected to a drug cartel was threatening her too. Turns out the Mexican guy was also pretending to be something he wasn't to get his money back.
Anyway they've found footage of Ella getting in a cab two nights ago. The cabbie claims not to remember Ella. Not to worry, the cops have GPS data and the cabbie dropped her off at the warehouse where she was killed. The cabbie says nothing weird happened. He gave her a ride and she paid him. He watched to make sure she got safely in the warehouse. He saw a nice car parked across the street.
Wyatt is arrested and insists he didn't kill Ella. He wants a lawyer.
Maroun argues Wyatt is a flight risk. His lawyer claims that Wyatt has an opioid addiction and thinks he should go to inpatient rehab instead of Rikers. Nope, the judge doesn't buy it.
Price delivers the news to McCoy that Wyatt is trying to claim his opioid addiction is responsible -- e.g. not guilty by reason of insanity.
Maroun talks to an addiction counselor who worked with Wyatt in the past. The guy also says Wyatt planned to propose to Ella.
The judge denies the defense attorney's motion to plead insanity. She wants to make a deal with the prosecution. She says they have a recording of Wyatt talking to his uncle about opioid addiction and his uncle not caring about anything but making a profit. This conversation took place 5 years ago and the uncle's marketing strategy was to get people addicted. Wyatt says he wants to turn on his uncle. His treatment counselor OD'd and died so he wants to end the pain and suffering.
Price tells McCoy that their case is full of holes, including the fact that the victim was conning the perp. Price thinks they should take the plea. Maroun thinks not. McCoy says this is beyond the scope of their jurisdiction. They are not the FDA. Price insists they should be prosecuting a CEO who is defrauding the public and people are dying. 75k people died of opioid overdoses last year alone, and they have an opportunity to save hundreds of thousands of lives. McCoy says okay, take the plea, and bring enterprise corruption against the uncle. Price wants to try the SOB for manslaughter (did he learn nothing from last week's failure?)
Defense is tryibg to suppress the tape. His lawyer claims he was in Boston at the time so therefore there was no consent to the tape persuant to MA law. The judge agrees.
Maroun and Price argue about whether they can win this case. Price says he is trying to hold a bad man accountable. Maroun doesn't seem to be buying it. He says for their purposes, a guy who died named Eric Howell is the victim. Show the jury who he was.
The doctor testifies that the medication in question was touted as the best on the market and the company paid him to go on trips around the world. The more he prescribed, the more he earned. Almost half a mil in the end.
Defense points out the doctor never met his client and tries to pin the death on the doctor. Court is adjourned for th day. Nolan tells Maroun that Wyatt needs to knock it out of the park.
Wyatt shows up and says he can't testify. He appears to be high on opioids and adits he started using at Rikers. He is suffering from withdrawal and not feeling good. He wants Maroun to get him some pills from his house and bring them to court in the morning.
The next morning, Wyatt testifies. Defense tries to object to hearsay but is overruled because it's an exception. Wyatt shares everything, including that his uncle said addicts choose to do drugs.
Defense cross examines and asks about the murder and the deal. Also that Wyatt is a drug addict and asks if he is high. Wyatt says no. Defense tries to ask about a woman getting drugs for Wyatt yesterday.
Price is angry at Maroun. She says she did what she had to do to make sure Wyatt delivered.
CEO Ackerman testifies. He claims the drugs are legal and he never marketed them to addicts. He did market to veterans, so Price points out that veterans die of opioid overdose at 2x the general population. Ackerman tries to claim that addicts dying is not his fault. Defense wants to go to chambers. He claims Price can't be impartial because his brother died of opioid abuse 9 years ago. He wants a misttrial. Price says he has followed the facts and the law. The judge says there is no reason for a mistrial.
Price does his closing. He points out heroin dealers get life and oxy dealers get stock options. He says drug companies have caused more carnage than street dealers. He knows how easy it is to blame addicts butt he implores them to get past that way of thinking. He says that Ackman knows people will die but only cares about profits.
The jury is back. The defendant is found guilty.
- Law & Order
- Law & Order Season 21
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