In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups: the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.
[Two maids from a New York cleaning service enter Andrea’s home for their weekly appointment. They are carrying supplies and are in the middle of a conversation.]
MAID: … and so I said, “That’s not a stromboli. That’s a calzone.”
OTHER MAID: The whole city’s going down the drain, if you ask me.
MAID: Not like when we were growing up.
OTHER MAID: You said it.
MAID: Okay, I’ll take the bedroom next if you can take the kitchen.
OTHER MAID: Fine, but I’m not doing the bathroom then.
MAID: We’ll see about that.
[The camera stays on OTHER MAID as she heads to the kitchen. Suddenly there’s a scream from the bedroom. OTHER MAID rushes in to see MAID standing over the bed, staring at Andrea’s bloody nude body. Both recoil in horror.]
[Detectives LENNIE BRISCOE and REY CURTIS enter the house to begin their investigation. They are extremely casual about a mutilated body being a few feet away. LENNIE is drinking coffee.]
MEDICAL EXAMINER: Victim is a young woman, age 20. Twenty-plus stab wounds. Looks like drugs were involved. We’ll know more once we do an autopsy.
BRISCOE: Any sign of a weapon?
MEDICAL EXAMINER: Not yet.
BRISCOE: Thanks, doc.
CURTIS: Wow, this creep really did a number on her.
BRISCOE: I’ll say.
CURTIS: We got any leads so far?
BRISCOE: Not much. Couple witnesses on the street think they saw a guy walk in with the vic last night. Dusting the surfaces for prints now. But that’s it.
CURTIS: And a cold, lifeless woman in a bed.
BRISCOE: Cold and lifeless? Sounds like my ex-wife.
[After BRISCOE and CURTIS talk to the witness who saw Naz walk in with Andrea (and you should really watch the Law & Order bit from John Mulaney’s stand-up special, The Top Part, if you haven’t already), the detectives track him down and find the knife still in his jacket. They bring him to the station to be interrogated.]
BRISCOE: You realize how bad this looks, right?
CURTIS: [like 30 percent angrier] Yeah, looks real bad.
NAZ: I just…
BRISCOE: What happened? Things turn south on the way to Love City? You have trouble performing and she make fun of you, so you just blanked out and lost it? I’ve seen it happen. Come on. You can tell us.
NAZ: No, it wasn’t l-…
CURTIS: [getting angrier] Couldn’t perform? Huh?
NAZ: I’m trying to tell you, I-…
BRISCOE: Well, then how did you end up with the knife?
NAZ: I d-…
CURTIS: [rage now boiling] Where’d you get the knife, Naz?! Answer him!
NAZ: I h-…
BRISCOE: Look, this will be easier for you if you talk to us now. Tell us your side before the D.A. comes in and things get too far down the line to slow down.
NAZ: Okay, here’s what I rem-…
CURTIS: [just picking up a chair by the arms, lifting it two or three inches, and slamming it into the ground over and over] Start talking!
NAZ: I think I want a lawyer?
[Lieutenant ANITA VAN BUREN opens the door, leans into the interrogation room, and says “Okay, that’s enough” before summoning Briscoe and Curtis behind the double sided glass.]
VAN BUREN: Kid lawyered up. We’ll have to take it to the D.A.
CURTIS: He was stonewalling me, anyway.
[Assistant District Attorney JACK MCCOY is having a drink by himself at a Manhattan restaurant. Suddenly, defense attorney DANIELLE MELNICK walks in and joins him.]
MELNICK: Hey, Jack.
MCCOY: Danielle. To what do I owe the pleasure?
MELNICK: [flags down waiter and orders a white wine] Oh, you know, I was in the area, and I figured I’d ruin the day of my favorite prosecutor.
MCCOY: We’ve got your kid dead to rights, Danielle. The witness, the knife. We’re looking at Murder I.
MELNICK: [pulls blue papers out of her purse] Well, then I have bad news for you. Motion to exclude the knife.
MCCOY: [does that thing where he scoffs and bugs his eyes out a little like it’s the first motion he’s ever received, even though he’s been a prosecutor for like 20-30 years]
MELNICK: Sorry, Jack.
[After the judge excludes the knife based on very questionable grounds, JACK MCCOY and his assistant prosecutor ABBIE CARMICHAEL meet with District Attorney ADAM SCHIFF in his office.]
MCCOY: This is still a winnable case, Adam!
SCHIFF: [waves hand dismissively] Make a deal.
MCCOY: I can take this to trial!
CARMICHAEL: Adam has a point, Jack. Without the knife, it’s a weak case.
MCCOY: Oh, not you, too, Alexandra.
CARMICHAEL: I’m Abbie.
MCCOY: … Then which one is Alexandra?
CARMICHAEL: She’s the one a few seasons from now who gets murdered and stuffed in the trunk.
MCCOY: Ahhh. That’s right.
SCHIFF: [puts on fedora and shuffles out of the room]
MCCOY: I’m not making a deal!
[JACK MCCOY is at trial questioning his witness, one of the men who identified Naz going into Angela’s apartment. The judge has already told him to watch himself three times. DANIELLE MELNICK and Naz are sitting at the defense table.]
MCCOY: And you were standing across the street that night?
WITNESS: I was.
MCCOY: And you saw someone enter the house with the victim?
WITNESS: I did.
MCCOY: And do you see that person in the courtroom today?
WITNESS: [squints really hard and looks at Naz, then around the rest of the court] Nah.
MCCOY: Let the record show that the witness identified the def-… wait. What?
WITNESS: Don’t see him.
MCCOY: But you identified him earlier! Him!
WITNESS: Dunno what to tell you. Not him, I guess.
MCCOY: [flabbergasted] Your Honor, I request a 10-minute recess to confer w-…
MELNICK: [shoots up] Your Honor, the prosecution now has no weapon, no motive, and no witness. We ask for an immediate dismissal.
JUDGE: [bangs gavel] Dismissal granted. The defendant is free to go.
[NAZ turns and hugs his family. JACK MCCOY does that thing he does when a surprise happens during a trial, where he kind of plants his feet and makes a face like a ghost just appeared and silently whips his upper body around at the torso, looking back and forth at the judge and his defense table.]
JUDGE: I told you to watch yourself, Jack.