If Season Three Of ‘True Detective’ Were An Episode Of ‘Law & Order’


A couple is walking through Central Park. They appear to be on a first date. The man is wearing a leather jacket.

MAN: … and the whole bowl of soup spilled right on my sweater.

WOMAN: What did you do?

MAN: I looked at that waiter and said “Hey, at least I’m not a Mets fan.”

WOMAN: Haha, a classic New York story.

MAN: The Big Apple, baby.

WOMAN: Hold on. What’s … what’s that? Over there. It looks like…

MAN: Is that…?

The camera tilts down to reveal the body of Will Purcell, hidden among some leaves and staged in a religious-inspired prayer pose

WOMAN: [screams]



Detectives Lennie Briscoe and Ed Green arrive at the scene. Both are drinking coffee out of the small blue cups you get from hot dog carts. Neither seems all that impressed with any of this.

MEDICAL EXAMINER: Vic is Will Purcell. Young kid, maybe 8 or 10. Looks like blunt force trauma to the head.

GREEN: Did I hear something about a sister earlier?

MEDICAL EXAMINER: Yeah, the father said the boy and his sister, Julie, were riding their bikes, maybe going to a friend’s house. Girl is still MIA.

BRISCOE: There a Mrs. Purcell?

GREEN: Yeah, cops on the scene say she showed up drunk and belligerent after a night on the town.

BRISCOE: Oof, been there.

GREEN: We know why the girl went free and the boy ended up like this?


BRISCOE: [looking at Will] Shoulda pedaled faster, kid.



Briscoe and Green follow a few leads and interview various bartenders and longshoremen before being pointed in the direction of Cousin Dan. They meet him at a nearby diner.

GREEN: [shows picture of Will and Julie] You recognize these two kids, Dan?

DAN: Maybe.

BRISCOE: Yeah, and maybe you end up with a broken nose in a few minutes.

DAN: Okay, fine. They’re my cousin’s kids. Haven’t seen them in years. Why? Did something happen?

GREEN: Yeah, Dan. Something happened.

BRISCOE: The boy is dead. Girl is missing. And some people we talked to think you might have some information about it all.

DAN: What’s is worth to you?

GREEN: What’s that supposed to mean?

DAN: I’ll tell you what I know… but only if you give me $7000.

BRISCOE: Excuse me?

DAN: You get me $7000 and then we can talk.

BRISCOE: $7000 just to talk? Who are you, my divorce attorney?

GREEN: How bout you talk for free and we won’t haul you in on obstruction?

DAN: Okay, here’s all I know…



Briscoe and Green are in an interview room with their primary suspect, Harris James, a former police officer who now runs security for a lucrative chicken business. When the cops found him, he was in a pink room like the one Julie described. Anita Van Buren, the detectives’ boss, is watching from the other side of the two-way mirror.

GREEN: We’ve got you in the room, Harris. We know the girl was there. We’re pretty sure you planted the evidence to make it look like the Trashman did it. You better start talking now before it’s too late.

JAMES: I got nothing to say.

BRISCOE: Look, we’re trying to do this the friendly way here. Just a chat between cops. But I think you know what happens if I walk out that door and leave you with my partner here.

JAMES: You don’t understand. This goes all the way up. I can’t tell you anything. If I do, I’ll… they’ll…

FIN FROM SVU: Spit it out, punk.


GREEN: Wait a second. Wait, what are you doing here?

FIN FROM SVU: There’s a missing girl and a creep with a pink room in a dungeon. This is a crossover episode now.

BRISCOE: That’s fair.

VAN BUREN: [enters room] Green, Briscoe, a word. Wait a second. What’s Fin from SVU doing here?

BRISCOE, GREEN, AND FIN FROM SVU: [in unison] It’s a crossover episode now.

VAN BUREN: [makes that face she makes that says “I’m annoyed but too tired to do anything about it and if this is the weirdest thing that happens today, it’ll be okay”]

They all step behind the mirror.


VAN BUREN: Prints came back. His are all over the pink room but there are other sets, too. We can get him for being there but that might be it. You like him for the murder?

BRISCOE: If he didn’t do it, he knows who did.

VAN BUREN: Okay, let’s charge him and see what sticks.

FIN FROM SVU: We’ll see how he likes a few nights in Riker’s.

GREEN: That’s what I was going to say. Stop stepping on my lines.

VAN BUREN: Work it out, you two.



Assistant District Attorneys Jack McCoy and Claire Kincaid are in their office going over the case. Chinese food containers are everywhere.

MCCOY: So we have Harris James at the scene but nothing tying him to the murder itself.

KINCAID: Not yet. But having him in that room is huge. We can get him on conspiracy and use that to trade up for more.

MCCOY: Good point, Abbie.

KINCAID: I’m Claire.

MCCOY: Ah, sorry.

KINCAID: Yeah, you won’t even have her for another two years. After I die in that car crash. Jamie is in between us.

MCCOY: Right. I remember now. Well, at least we have him in that room.


DANIELLE MELNICK: Well well well, if it isn’t my favorite district attorneys.

MCCOY: Danielle, to what do we owe the pleasure?

DANIELLE MELNICK: [hands Jack a blue envelope] Oh, just dropping off some mail.

MCCOY: What’s this?

DANIELLE MELNICK: Motion to exclude the search and the discovery of the pink room.

KINCAID: It was a good search, Danielle.

DANIELLE MELNICK: We’ll see what the judge says.



Jack and Claire are in the office of Manhattan District Attorney Adam Schiff, who is sitting in his chair and looking just generally inconvenienced to be dealing with things that are very much within his job responsibilities.

SCHIFF: Where are we with the Purcell case?

MCCOY: The judge tossed the search.

SCHIFF: [kind of sighs and growls at the same time]

MCCOY: It’s still a winnable case, Adam.

SCHIFF: Make the deal.

MCCOY: I haven’t even said what they’re asking for yet.

SCHIFF: What are they asking?

KINCAID: Danielle wants immunity in exchange for flipping on people up the ladder. And he wants a new car. And $10,000 cash, tax-free.

SCHIFF: [waves hand dismissively] Make the deal.

MCCOY: [does that thing where he plants his feet and whips his entire torso around so he can look at people in shock without ever turning his neck] Adam! It’s a winnable case! We can get him and build from there!

SCHIFF: Make the deal.

MCCOY: Adam!

SCHIFF: The deal.

KINCAID: Listen…

SCHIFF: If someone doesn’t make a deal in the next 10 seconds, I am going to flip this desk.



Jack refuses to take the deal. Harris James never flips on anyone. In court, Harris James takes the stand in his own defense. We pick up mid-cross-examination.

MCCOY: … and you work in private security?

JAMES: Yes, I do.

MCCOY: And what do you do there, besides covering up child trafficking and murder?


JUDGE: Watch it, McCoy.

MCCOY: Admit it, Mr. James. You knew about the boy’s murder and the girl’s disappearance and you covered it up!


MCCOY: And that’s why you were in the pink room where Julie Purcell was kept!


JUDGE: Sustained. I will not have you turn my courtroom into a circus, McCoy.

MCCOY: [just slamming on the table like a lunatic] Guilty! Say it! Say “I’m guilty!” Say it! Tell the jury! Do it!


JAMES: Fine! I did it!

MCCOY: Say you di-… wait. What?

JAMES: I did it! I did it all!



DANIELLE MELNICK: I need a quick recess to talk to my client.

JUDGE: [banging gavel] Everyone quiet down for one second!

FIN FROM SVU: I knew that punk did it.

JUDGE: I said quiet d-… Wait, what is he doing in the courtroom. I thought this was regular Law & Order, not SVU?

EVERYONE: [in unison, tired] It was a crossover episode.