Law & Order Season 22 Episode 12
A boy and man are hanging out. The boy leaves when his mom texts. The man accuses him of acting like a child.
The child is found dead. He was 14 years old. Cosgrove wonders what he was doing when he should have been home.
The landlord says Eli was a good kid. There are 200 units and 360 people. He will give them security footage from the one camera in the lobby.
Cosgrove has to notify the mom that her son is dead. She is shocked. She checked on him when she got home at midnight -- why would he sneak out? She says he was in school earlier and had an algebra test. She doesn't even know the name or address of the friend he was staying with after school. She remembers the friend's name was Sean. Sean is the man we saw earlier and he is a photographer who had a previous name and record for child porn. they hear noise in Sean's apartment and a kid screaming for help. They break in. Sean claims he was rehearsing a scene with the kid. Shaw arrests him.
Brian is 15 and does not want to be an actor. He wants to be famous.
Sean says he is an acting coach and this is nonsense. He is shocked to hear Eli is dead. He also says he is not a pedophile. When he was in high school he was arrested for taking a photo of his topless girlfriend. He says Eli was alive when he left and he can prove it. He has video footage of the session. Shaw explains Eli was doing a scene from Catcher in the Rye. Cosgrove is not impressed as he does not like to read. Their conversation is interrpted by security footage coming. They find Eli let a delivery guy into the building who may have killed him and stolen his bike.
The suspect runs as usual even though Shaw hopes he isn't going to. He jumps after nearly falling off a fire escape and gets caught by Cosgrove.
The suspect says it's his bike and claims he ran because he was scared. He does admit to taking the bike once he learns Eli is dead,but denies he shot him. He says a Laino guy with a big key ring saw him take the bike.
Virgil says he didn't think it was important to mention he left his apartment to fix a washing machine. Shaw finds blood on his door. His teenage daughter says just tell them. Virgil confesses to shooting and killing Eli.
Virgil says he was at home and someone was banging on the door like someone was breaking in. So he grabbed his gun. He didn't realize it was Eli when he shot him. He didn't call the cops because he didn't have a permit for the gun so he moved the body before he called the cops. He said he didn't know why Eli broke into his apartment. There may have been a second person.
The cops discover that Eli was involved with an influencer who did stupid challenges online. The influencer told him to kick in a random door and he'd film it so that Eli would become a celebrity online.
Max lives in a party house. The cops insist on talking to him now. Cosgrove has a search warrant and wants the video. His manager tells him to ask for a lawyer. He is taken to the precinct.
Max stammers that he didn't... Price wants the video. The defendant says Max did nothing wrong. Price wants to charge with manslaughter for encouraging a child to do something reckless that led to his death. Cosgrove arrests Max, who is shocked.
Max's attorney wants to dismiss the case. Maroun wants Max held without bail. The judge agrees with Maroun.
Max's parents try to convince Maroun Max was only doing his job and that Jason is Max's guardian so he did what he said. Maroun says there are other kids living in the house that Jason is getting to do dangerous things.
Maroun talks to a former client who is in a wheelchair. She used to be a rock climber. He contacted her when she was 16 and there were issues at home so she moved in. He made her scale tall buildings and she broke her spinal cord. He threatened her with breach of contract if she didn'r do what he said.
Price talks to McCoy. The kids have to perform six dangerous challenges a month, Wheeler takes 70% of the royalties, and they have to have thousands of followers. Price thinks Wheeler is ultimately responsible and should be charged too.
The DAs offer Max a deal but he doesn't want to testify against Jason. The defense attorney wants all charges dismissed if he cooperates. Price says he wants the video then. Max says Jason isn't a bad guy and made him famous.
Price talks in his opening statement that Wheeler manipulated and coerced children into dangerous activity and that's why Eli is dead. The defense attorney claims Wheeler wasn't even in town and that Max is responsible, or Virgil, since he shot Eli.
Cosgrove takes the stand.
The defense attorney claims the video was obtained illegally and claims in chambers that Max couldn't give them the phone because Wheeler owned the phone and Max was a "government agent." For some reason, the judge agrees with the defense attorney.
Virgil testifies. The defense attorney tries to claim that Virgil was sexually abusing Eli and the idiot judge overrules all of Price's objections.
Max is supposed to testify tomorrow and his parents decide to take him back to Florida. The parents won't cooperate because the defense attorney told them they don't have to. Cosgrove and Shaw arrest Max as a material witness.
Price and Maroun discuss this development. Price has found out that Jason paid off the parents -- 1 million dollars. The defense attorney insists it's not a bribe, it's Max's earnings. She has a contract. Price wants to hold the defense attorney in contempt. Naturally, the judge is on the defense attorney's side.
Price tries to explain that Max will go back to jail and be charged. Max says everyone will turn against him. His parents say that the jury will see Max is innocent. Max doesn't care if he's prosecuted.
McCoy says they have to offer Wheeler a deal. Price says Wheeler may be acquitted at this point. McCoy says find leverage.
Amber says she signed an NA. Maroun says it doesn't matter. Amber says but Wheeler is paying for her health care. Maroun tells her to stop Wheeler from harming other kids. Amber says she doesn't understand how to help.
Maroun brings Amber's statement and the copy of the invalid contract that she signed as a minor and she has told them about other kids who have been injured. They have affidavits from the parents of a kid in a coma. They want to give him 10 years on manslaughter or they charge him in all the other cases and he will go to prison for life.
Wheeler takes the plea and he is given 5 - 10 years. Eli's mother thanks the prosecutors. Price intends to prosecute Max since he broke the agreement.
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