Open and Shut Case
Original Airdate: January 31, 1983


(Mary Beth is giving evidence)
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: And could you tell us what you saw?
MARY BETH: May I please refer to my investigative report?
MARY BETH: I saw the defendant leave the residence at ten eighty-two Broome Street, walk approximately half a block to a nineteen-eighty sedan, New York licence plate three-five-two two-A-V, which I took note of. The defendant got into the car at which time Officer Johnson, who has already testified, approached him and put him under arrest.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Thank you. No further questions.

[Detectives' Squad room]

(Mary Beth returns from court)
MARY BETH: I spent two and a half days hanging around that courtroom waiting to testify. I'm on the stand less than five minutes, and everybody complains there's not enough cops on the street.
CHRISTINE: Did you nail him?
MARY BETH: No, they knocked it down to possession of stolen property. He copped a three and I wasted two and a half days. How we doing on that Masterwood thing?
CHRISTINE: They picked him up in Jersey. (picking up a form and handing it to Mary Beth) Here. Believe it or not we are all clear.
MARY BETH: Oh yeah.
(Petrie and Isbecki have been looking at photos. Chris picks one up and holds it up for Mary Beth to see) Now come on, tell me what do you think?
(it's of a black MGB MkII)
CHRISTINE: Too fluffy for my image?
MARY BETH: Oh, I don't know. If it doesn't have four doors I've never heard of it.
ISBECKI: Pretty macho, isn't it? Shifting your own gears.
PETRIE: Now if I remember correctly I saw one of these on Sausalito Boulevard.
SAMUELS: Are you still trying to decide on that car? ...Cagney, Let me give you a suggestion. Studebaker. I've had mine for twelve years now and never had a day's problem. Why don't people buy American anymore? No wonder the whole country's falling apart.
CHRISTINE: Studebaker? I don't know, I... I was just thinking of something that maybe had a little more sex appeal.
ISBECKI: Well, if you're thinking of something with a little more...
SAMUELS: Don't even say it, (to the duo) and don't say that I never do you two favours.
(Samuels hands a case form to Cagney)
MARY BETH: What is it?!
CHRISTINE: Homicide! All right!
SAMUELS: Open and shut case. All you gotta do is fill in the blanks.
MARY BETH: (shouting after Samuels as he returns to his office) Thank you, sir!

[Menukians' apartment]

MENUKIAN: A Turk. A bloody butchering Turk. At an Armenian party. What would you smart ladies think what happened?
MARY BETH: A fight breaks out.
MENUKIAN: You call it a fight when a bloody, butchering Turk, totally out of a blue sky, pulls a knife and kills my cousin.
CHRISTINE: This was totally unprovoked?
MENUKIAN: Totally! The Armenian Massacres all over again.
MARY BETH: And you yourself witnessed the stabbing, Mr. Menukian.
MENUKIAN: Of course! Of course! I saw the whole thing. My sister, she saw the whole thing. My brother-in-law, he saw the whole thing. My son saw the whole thing. (indicating the woman in the kitchen) My wife saw the whole thing. That's enough!
CHRISTINE: Well, we'd like to talk to everyone who's a witness.
MENUKIAN: (with a hint of worry in his voice) Well, ...OK. (quietly) My girlfriend, she saw the whole thing too.
(Chris turns to see if the wife is still in the kitchen. She's not there)

[Detectives' Squad room]

(the duo returns)
PETRIE: How was it?
MARY BETH: We got six eyewitnesses champing at the bit to testify.
CHRISTINE: Not to mention, we go to arrest this alleged knife-murderer and he's got a ten-inch switchblade in his pocket.
MARY BETH: And a rap sheet as long as your arm.
LA GUARDIA: Did you get a signed statement?
LA GUARDIA: I only get confidence when I have a confession.
PETRIE: Six eyewitnesses? I think I might be inclined to feel confident.
ISBECKI: Well, it's quite obvious why the ladies on the Squad have the highest conviction percentages. Lieutenant Samuels keeps giving you these easy shouts.
CHRISTINE: Oh, right. The Dock Street burglary. That was a real piece of cake.
PETRIE: One thing you'll admit. Nailing a homicide collar like this isn't gonna hurt your chances for sergeant any.
CHRISTINE: (sweetly) I hadn't thought of that. (showing Petrie a photo) What do you think of this for police art?
(just then Elizabeth Carter comes in. Mary Beth spots her)
CHRISTINE: (looking at the photo) Nice bubble hair.
ISBECKI: (pointing to Elizabeth Carter) She should be police art.
MARY BETH: Elizabeth!
MARY BETH: How are ya? ...What's the matter?
ELIZABETH CARTER: Could I talk to you alone?
MARY BETH: Of course. Sure. We'll go inside. ...Are you all right?
MARY BETH: Sure. Come on. Come on in here.

[Samuels' office]

MARY BETH: Sit down.
(Chris joins them)
ELIZABETH CARTER: I didn't know where to find you.
MARY BETH: Well, we made detective.
CHRISTINE: Do you want coffee, or we have hot water for tea?
ELIZABETH CARTER: Tea. Yes please. Yes. Thank you.
CHRISTINE: Sit down.
MARY BETH: Sit down there.

[Detectives' Squad room]

CHRISTINE: La Guardia.
CHRISTINE: Can I have one of your tea bags? We're all out over there.
CHRISTINE: Thank you. (about the tea bag she is dunking in a mug of hot water) What is it?
LA GUARDIA: It's one hundred percent organic. ...No caffeine. They did a study at the University of Massachusetts Medical...
CHRISTINE: Isn't that great. That's great. Thanks, La Guardia.
PETRIE: (indicating Elizabeth Carter) Chris, who is she? I don't remember seeing her around.
CHRISTINE: From when Mary Beth and I were in uniform. A group assault.
PETRIE: Sexual?
PETRIE: What a lady.
CHRISTINE: I'll say. Thanks to the lousy defence they had all the cases severed. First she had to face The Grand Jury, and then four separate trials. She went through absolute hell. We should have put every one of those bastards away.
PETRIE: Something happened now?
CHRISTINE: I'm gonna find out.

[Samuels' office]

MARY BETH: So how is that nice man of yours? What? Peter? Right?
MARY BETH: I remember he was so good with you, going to trials and everything.
ELIZABETH CARTER: Yes. Yes, he was.
CHRISTINE: (giving her the tea) Herbal OK?
ELIZABETH CARTER: Yes, thank you.
ELIZABETH CARTER: He really was cut up about er, you know, about my having to talk about all that. We split up.
MARY BETH: Oh, I'm sorry.
ELIZABETH CARTER: Two years in court, telling that horrible story over and over again. And, you know, I started to hate Peter, just for being a man. I cringed when he touched me. Well finally he had enough and left me.
MARY BETH: Well, you were... were nice together. Maybe you could talk about it. Work it out.
ELIZABETH CARTER: He got married last month.
ELIZABETH CARTER: (suddenly shouting) I lost my job too! I missed so many days for court appearances that they said they finally had to let me go. ...Was there really a point to all of this?
MARY BETH: Yes! Without you we would never have been able to convict those guys. They would still be on the streets.
ELIZABETH CARTER: I was starting to get my life together again. ...Really. And now... And now I've got to start all over again.
CHRISTINE: What do you mean?
ELIZABETH CARTER: They overturned Sordell's conviction ...and there's gonna be a new trial.
ELIZABETH CARTER: (breaking down) I can't face it. I can't. ...Mary Beth. ...Please. ...You have to help me get out of this. ...Christine. ...Please.

[Locker room]

(Chris bursts in)
CHRISTINE: ...lousy technicalities! A woman's life has been ruined. Does anybody care? Hell, no!
MARY BETH: I think Elizabeth is right. I think she's done enough already.
CHRISTINE: Do you intend to tell her that.
MARY BETH: Why not?
CHRISTINE: What? And get Sordell off, is that what you wanna do?
MARY BETH: No! Don't you try and twist me around like that. I'm saying the woman should not have go through all that again.
CHRISTINE: Well, she doesn't have much choice, right. If she refuses to show up, she'll be held in contempt of court.
MARY BETH: Well then, could she say she er, lost her memory.
CHRISTINE: You're not serious!
MARY BETH: Let them prove everything.
CHRISTINE: That's perjury! I can't believe you suggested it.
MARY BETH: Damn it, Christine, you've seen what defence lawyers can do. Hounding and harassing and all the lawyer tricks. Their smarty little insinuations. Think how she feels!
CHRISTINE: I'm sorry for her.
MARY BETH: It's her dignity, her job, her boyfriend, her ...self-esteem have all gone down the tubes. What for?
CHRISTINE: So Sordell and his scud ball friends don't rape another woman!
MARY BETH: All right. So what is your solution? What do you wanna tell me? Do you wanna tell me to go back there and tear herself apart again!
CHRISTINE: No, I just don't wanna talk about it anymore. So why don't you save it for tomorrow.
MARY BETH: Yeah. OK. Sorry.
CHRISTINE: Do you and Harvey still wanna go and look for cars?
MARY BETH: Oh ...yeah. I couldn't talk him out of that if I wanted to.
CHRISTINE: Thanks. I'll see ya tomorrow at ten?
MARY BETH: Yes. (as Chris goes to the door) Have you got a date tonight?
CHRISTINE: Yeah. ...Well, I'm gonna cancel. It's not really something.
MARY BETH: Yeah, I know what you mean.
CHRISTINE: I'll see ya.

[Lacey's lounge]

HARVEY: (to Harvey Jr.) Hey, fella, what are you doing? Get ready. We're gonna buy a car!
CHRISTINE: (looking at the ad in the newspaper) I'd really appreciate your opinion on this.
MARY BETH: He really knows his cars.
HARVEY: Yes, well, I really wanna make sure no one pulls a fast one just because you're a woman.
HARVEY JR.: (to Harvey) Have you got the keys?
HARVEY: The keys? The keys. Yeah, I'll get the keys.
(Michael mentions California to Chris and she and the kids chatter about California)
HARVEY: All right, lets go!
MARY BETH: All I know about California is Fred Astaire.
CHRISTINE: (dancing out of the door) Fred Astaire!!!
MARY BETH: I love Fred Astaire.

[Street outside a residential property]

(they are looking at a red two-door coupé)
CAR OWNER #1: (giving the keys to Chris) Here, take it for a test drive.
HARVEY: Here, maybe I should do this first.
CHRISTINE: (to Mary Beth) What do you think?
MARY BETH: It's very cute. Kids, you're not gonna get in.
(Harvey and the owner get in)
CHRISTINE: (to Harvey) Don't hurt it! ...Wait!
(she takes the newspaper off the car roof. The car drives off)
MARY BETH: So, ...I don't think that we can avoid it much longer, do you?
CHRISTINE: Elizabeth Carter?
MARY BETH: I've promised I'd call her this afternoon.
CHRISTINE: Don't you think she has the responsibility? Mary Beth, it's wrong to encourage her to quit. For God's sake it's illegal, come on.
MARY BETH: I've had another idea. What if we promised her we'd go with her? To the trial.
CHRISTINE: It's not our case anymore. We haven't even been subpoenaed.
MARY BETH: We take a vacation day.
CHRISTINE: Or two, or three!
MARY BETH: She needs somebody there, Chris.
CHRISTINE: Mary Beth, I feel for her. Really I do! I hate that, when you think I'm such a hard case!
CHRISTINE: We simply cannot baby-sit the whole world.
MARY BETH: It's not the whole world. It's Elizabeth Carter. She needs somebody in her corner. I don't think she's gonna be able to do it ...and another rapist'll take the walk. ...Now if you don't wanna do it, I'll go myself.
CHRISTINE: Now you're mad.
MARY BETH: I'm not mad. We're not the Brady Twins, having to do everything together.
(the car returns)
MARY BETH: Michael, get over here!
HARVEY: (getting out) So, er...
HARVEY: (to the owner) Doll, isn't she?
CHRISTINE: What do you think, Harvey? Is she OK?
HARVEY JR.: I like it.
CHRISTINE: (to Michael) Do you like it?
CHRISTINE: Wanna talk money?
HARVEY: Don't buy it, Christine, it's a perp.
CAR OWNER #1: What do you mean, man? It's a great little car.
HARVEY: If you look real close, the paint don't match between here and the doorplate.
CAR OWNER #1: That's no problem. If you don't like it, you repaint it again.
(Chris is looking carefully at the mismatch)
CAR OWNER #1: I'll take off fifty bucks.
HARVEY: Hey, look here. See those ripples on the door? This car's been in a head-on collision. (to the owner) Do you wanna put it on jacks to take a look at the underside. ..It shimmies when you drive. I bet anything you like the frame's bent.
CAR OWNER #1: Listen, lady, if you don't want the car, it's fine with me but you're missing a real good buy, I'm telling ya.
CHRISTINE: I'll recover. Thanks anyway.
HARVEY: (tossing him the car keys) Thank you pal.
MICHAEL: (to the owner) Piece of junk!

[Coming down a staircase to the Coroner's Office]

MARY BETH: This is not my favourite thing, coming here.
CHRISTINE: Don't look at me. I invited him out to lunch. Anywhere he wanted, our treat.
CHRISTINE: He says he likes to eat on the job.
MARY BETH: (passing a sign 'MORGUE') Oh, that's disgusting.

[Coroner's Office]

DR. SINCLAIR: You're in here about...?
CHRISTINE: Aaron Raposian, the stabbing.
DR. SINCLAIR: Right! Interesting case. (pointing to a gurney being wheeled past outside the office) Another intriguing case, that one. Death by crushing. ...You don't see many of those. Are you sure you two wouldn't like attend an autopsy while we confer?
MARY BETH: No thank you.
CHRISTINE: Sounds fascinating. Really. We're just a little pressed for time.
DR. SINCLAIR: (sitting down and chuckling) If you'll excuse the expression.
DR. SINCLAIR: Death by crushing. Pressed for time. You like puns too.
CHRISTINE: It was unintentional. Believe me, it was unintentional. Er, Dr. Sinclair, we don't wanna waste any more of your time. Is it fair to say that the cause of death was the puncture you get from a switchblade knife?
DR. SINCLAIR: I like the way you plunge right in, if you'll excuse the expression. ...But that's not exactly the truth.
MARY BETH: It isn't?
CHRISTINE: Well, what is ...exactly the truth?
DR. SINCLAIR: Exactly, I would have to say, that Mr. Kamal could not have directly caused the cessation of life processes in Mr. Raposian.
MARY BETH: The victim was not killed by the defendant?!
DR. SINCLAIR: I would say not.
CHRISTINE: Why did he die?
DR. SINCLAIR: Don't you wanna take a stab at it? If you'll excuse the expression!
CHRISTINE: Er, Doctor, I just don't have time to play games. Do you, or do you not know how Mr. Raposian died?
DR. SINCLAIR: Well, I'd have to say the Emergency Room doctor killed him.
MARY BETH: The Emergency Room doctor! The doctor killed Raposian?
DR. SINCLAIR: That's what I'd say. You see when he first went into the Emergency Room, Mr. Raposian was suffering from no more than a puncture wound to the left lung.
MARY BETH: Is that serious?
DR. SINCLAIR: Oh, serious, but not life-threatening. In fact, some years ago the quarter back of Los Angeles Rams played an entire game with a collapsed lung.
CHRISTINE: Great. So what happened to our victim?
DR. Sinclair: Well, God knows why, but for some obscure reason the good doctor got it into his head that Mr. Raposian needed open-heart massage. He was a fine physical specimen. You should see his organs. Very clean.
CHRISTINE: Are you saying the doctor killed him giving him open heart massage?
DR. SINCLAIR: Most assuredly. You see, in opening him up, he punctured the aortic wall. Drove right into the heart. Killed him instantly. That's what happened! ...Cutting right to the heart of the matter. If you'll...
DR. SINCLAIR/CHRISTINE: ...excuse the expression.

[Hospital office]

REGISTRAR: Dr. Rokshok is no longer associated with this hospital, I'm afraid.
MARY BETH: I'd be more afraid if he was.
CHRISTINE: Could you tell us how we could get hold of him?
REGISTRAR: We, er... I think he went back to Pakistan.
MARY BETH: You think! Don't you know for sure. The man should not be let anywhere near a scalpel!
REGISTRAR: I guess you'll read about it in the news tomorrow. There's a good chance that Rokshok is not a doctor. We have indications that his credentials were forged.
CHRISTINE: Oh, great.
MARY BETH: Do you realise I gave birth to Harve Jr. in this hospital!
REGISTRAR: I can assure you, we revoked his privileges as soon as we found out. Nothing like this has ever happened here before.

[Manhattan street]

MARY BETH: If I ever get pregnant again I'm looking at a home delivery.
CHRISTINE: I don't believe it. Our 'Open and Shut Case' is falling apart, right before our eyes.
MARY BETH: I've gotta check in. I had Elizabeth on hold.
(Chris sees an Austin-Healy 3000 at the next junction and runs up to it)
CHRISTINE: How much you asking?
CAR OWNER #2: Five even.
CHRISTINE: Too much.
CAR OWNER #2: Hey, make me an offer.
CHRISTINE: What, right here?
CAR OWNER #2: I'll drive you round the block.
CHRISTINE: No, I gotta be somewhere. I'll call you.
CAR OWNER #2: OK. Yeah, do that. ...Hey, I'm sure that we can work something out.

[Lefler's office]

IRA LEFLER: Hey, this is my first big homicide case. It's a dead-bang winner which pleases me very much. (to Mary Beth) There's no extra charge for sitting down.
MARY BETH: Oh, sorry.
IRA LEFLER: What does not please me however is getting these negative waves from my investigating officers.
MARY BETH: (standing up) It's not a negative wave, sir, it's evidence. Relevant evidence concerning the cause of death.
IRA LEFLER: And where did you go to law school, Detective Lacey?
MARY BETH: I didn't, sir. But it would seem to change things.
IRA LEFLER: Not in the least.
(he indicates to Mary Beth to sit down again. He is now sitting on the corner of his desk directly in front of the duo)
IRA LEFLER: The principle is called 'proximate cause', Detective Lacey. (handing Mary Beth an open book from his desk) Even though the immediate cause of death was an Emergency Room procedure, The stab wound was inflicted by the defendant, which in turn necessitated a visit to the Emergency Room, and thus it was the 'proximate cause'.
(he drums his hands on his desk)
CHRISTINE: So you're saying it's still a homicide?
IRA LEFLER: Absolutely. As far as I'm concerned this is an open and shut case.
(he snaps the book closed)

[Staircase and corridor between Lefler's office and a courtroom]

CHRISTINE: Where is she?
MARY BETH: I don't know. I should have called earlier. Do you think it's fair?
MARY BETH: Proximate cause, immediate cause. Do you think it's murder?
CHRISTINE: Well, if he hadn't stabbed the guy in the first place he wouldn't have put him in the position of being killed. That seems to be their point.
MARY BETH: If you'll excuse the expression.
CHRISTINE: Don't do that to me!
MARY BETH: What's been happening?
(Chris opens a door and has a quick peek into the court)
CHRISTINE: They seemed to have adjourned.
MARY BETH: What happened?
ELIZABETH CARTER: Nothing out of the ordinary. Yesterday the DA called me in. I sit here all day from eight o'clock in the morning and she doesn't have enough time to talk to me.
CHRISTINE: Very nice.
ELIZABETH CARTER: At four-thirty the defence lawyer asked for a containment, and of course the judge adjourned the court.
MARY BETH: Four-thirty!
MARY BETH: Well, you know their game plan, Elizabeth. Harass the witness bad enough, she gives up and the judge dismisses the case.
ELIZABETH CARTER: Mary Beth, I really hate being a burden to you, I really do. I don't know how much more of this I can take.
CHRISTINE: Why don't we just forget all this, huh? Let's get silly!
CHRISTINE: Silly! Come on! Here!
(the duo pulls Elizabeth to her feet. The three go off down the corridor chattering)


(with disco music and dancing going on, Elizabeth is enjoying a meal and some drinks with the duo. the three are chattering and laughing)
CHRISTINE: ...I showed him my badge and told him to follow me!
(they all collapse, laughing)
CHRISTINE: He turned out to be a PhD from Columbia.
MARY BETH: She has all the luck in the world, I'm not kidding.
CHRISTINE: Say, the worst thing about taking home a stripper, at least you know what to expect.
(more raucous laughter. Mary Beth has noticed something)
MARY BETH: (to Elizabeth) There's a man at the bar looking at you.
(Mary Beth indicates him)
CHRISTINE: (to Elizabeth) Don't look around. ...Yes, he's very nice. Very nice. ...Three women are very intimidating.
MARY BETH: I'll go home.
ELIZABETH CARTER: No! Stay! Stay, Sit down.
MARY BETH: No, I'm going home because I feel silly! I'm here and Harvey's at home, and I feel kinda...
CHRISTINE: Guilty! We're having a good time!
MARY BETH: That's it! Guilty for having a good time.
CHRISTINE: Married life!
MARY BETH: What do you know about married life?
CHRISTINE: Absolutely nothing. (to Elizabeth) She's fine.
(Mary Beth is laughing)
CHRISTINE: Thinking of married life. Remember this. I've been thinking...
ELIZABETH CARTER: Great. Just stop. That's good.
CHRISTINE: I don't need it. All right. (to Elizabeth) I've been thinking about you.
CHRISTINE: I have something for you. A great guy!
ELIZABETH CARTER: Oh. No. Pass. No date.
CHRISTINE: What's wrong?
MARY BETH: Give me one good reason.
ELIZABETH CARTER: Listen. I just don't have the right attitude. Forget it.
CHRISTINE: Wait a minute! All right. He's fine. You cannot crucify the entire male population because of the actions of four sub-humans.
CHRISTINE: Anyway, this guy is terrific. He's wonderful. I used to go out with him!
MARY BETH: Which one?!
MARY BETH: Oh, he is a doll. (Chris lets out a yell) This is a very nice man, and besides what, you have to do it anyway, because it's part of Christine's philosophy of dating, which is 'Never throw out a man if you can recycle him to a friend'
CHRISTINE: That's it!
(they all talk at once)
CHRISTINE: ...Now I want you to think of this as a sacred trust. There are not that good many men..., Hello! (slapping her own face as she stumbles over her words) There are not that many good men to go around, do you hear me?
CHRISTINE: So when you find a good one and tie him up...
MARY BETH: Christine!
CHRISTINE: owe it to the women of New York to circulate him.
(the man at the bar comes over to the table)
MAN AT BAR: Excuse me.
MAN AT BAR: (to Mary Beth) Would you like to dance?
MARY BETH: Me?! ...No, I can't dance, I'm married.
CHRISTINE: What is that?!!
(Chris starts cackling)
MARY BETH: What did I say?

[Outside the restaurant]

(the three stagger out still laughing and chattering. Chris whistles a cab)
ELIZABETH CARTER: Thank you. No, really. For everything. I mean, I guess you know I couldn't go through this thing without you guys' support.
MARY BETH: You got it! We are there for you. Well, I mean you can call... call me up anytime.
(Chris whistles for a cab again)
CHRISTINE: What?! What?! You can call us up anytime! We will be there for you! (a cab honks. Chris calls to it) Wait a minute!
(the three embrace, stagger towards the cab and literally pile into it)
ELIZABETH CARTER [OC]: I wish I could whistle like you.

[Squad car]

(Mary Beth is driving)
CHRISTINE: (pulling at the sleeves of her costume jacket) My arms have grown. I don't think I've worn this stupid suit since a sorority rush.
MARY BETH: It looks nice.
CHRISTINE: Well I feel like I'm going to a costume party.
MARY BETH: Harve, kinda likes the one I dress in for parties. Says I look like a lady.
CHRISTINE: (still pulling at the sleeves) Yeah, real uncomfortable, too. ...Credibility clothes. You remember the Esteban case?
CHRISTINE: The Assistant DA told me that I would have more credibility with the jury if I wore nylons.
MARY BETH: What, stockings?
CHRISTINE: Stockings. And then he told me, and I'm quoting him verbatim 'Listen Cagney, could you frump it way down'.
(Mary Beth goes quiet)
CHRISTINE: What is it?
MARY BETH: He never told me that.
(they both laugh)
CHRISTINE: (picking up a newspaper) Oh well. Oh, Mary Beth, I get tired of looking at car ads. You remember that little green sports car we saw near the hospital?
MARY BETH: Do you like it?
CHRISTINE: I'm about to do something very impetuous. ...(getting out a piece of paper) If he hasn't already sold it, I'm gonna buy it.
MARY BETH: Congratulations.
CHRISTINE: I'll call from the courthouse. I'll pick it up tonight. When do you think we'll be through? Five, five-thirty.
MARY BETH: Five o'clock the latest. Did you ever see a judge be late for dinner?
MARY BETH: You don't think Elizabeth will be mad, do ya?
MARY BETH: Well, our murder case coming up the same day as her case. I guess we couldn't help it.
CHRISTINE: No. She'll understand.
MARY BETH: So, I guess, I will stay with her and you can help the DA on Mr. Menukian. OK. Unless you'd rather be with her.
CHRISTINE: No. She's probably more comfortable with you anyway.
MARY BETH: Well.. Well I don't know. Maybe we oughta let her decide.

[Courthouse canteen]

MARY BETH: Anyway, you get first choice. Do you want (indicating Chris) blonde or brown?
ELIZABETH CARTER: Would you Chris?


(the court is not in session)
IRA LEFLER: OK. You all ready to testify?
MARY BETH: Me? What now? What happened to jury selection and opening statements and all that business?
IRA LEFLER: Oh, we did all that last week. I didn't call you until I was ready for you.
IRA LEFLER: Oh? What's wrong with that? Isn't that what you're cops are always asking for? You don't wanna waste the taxpayer's money, sitting round in a courtroom all day. Right?
MARY BETH: Right. But...
MARY BETH: Well, Mr. Lefler, I know that this is gonna sound ...stupid to you but I get right nervy. I get stage fright.
IRA LEFLER: Oh. Really?
MARY BETH: No I'm OK. I just need to work my way up to it for a day or so.
IRA LEFLER: No can do. You gotta go today.
MARY BETH: All right. Give me an hour or two and I'll be fine, I know I will.
IRA LEFLER: Nope. Sorry. You're on first. I need you to testify and then help me, assist me for the rest of the day.
MARY BETH: Well, the assisting part, there's no problem with that. It just the testifying without the working up to it.
IRA LEFLER: I understand stage fright. Just forget anything unimportant.
MARY BETH: Unfortunately, sir, that has never stopped me from getting nervous before.
IRA LEFLER: Look, I'm telling ya, you erase 'nervous' from your memory banks. Juries don't trust the guy.
MARY BETH: Aha. Right. I don't know if you've thought about that, Mr. Lefler, but that does not make me feel any calmer.
(Lefler puts his arm around her shoulders)
IRA LEFLER: You'll be fine. The defence attorney's a real bozo.
(later the court is in session. The defence attorney is questioning Mary Beth)
MORLEY PRESSMAN: You say, Officer Lacey, er, that you were at the alleged scene ...of the alleged murder person.
MARY BETH: Yes sir,... (she pushes the microphone away because of a loud feedback screech) ...that is correct.
MORLEY PRESSMAN: And what did you find at that time to be er, the dimensions of the alleged room in question?
MARY BETH: I have a diagram (turning to the judge) sir, if I may refer to my report of the investigation.
MORLEY PRESSMAN: From your memory, Detective Lacey.
MARY BETH: From memory?
MORLEY PRESSMAN: Are you trying to tell us that you don't have any independent memory of such an important piece of evidence?
IRA LEFLER: Objection. The witness should be allowed to refresh her memory without Mr. Pressman impugning her credibility.
JUDGE: Can't we get on with this, please? (to Mary Beth) Do you have any memory without your notes?
MARY BETH: Yes sir, I do have some memory but I've always been allowed to look...
JUDGE: Well, try it without.
MARY BETH: Your Honour...
JUDGE: Just try it. Let's do it fast and get on with it. Objection overruled.
MORLEY PRESSMAN: Thank you, Your Honour. ...Dimensions, please.

[Courthouse corridor outside another courtroom]

ELIZABETH CARTER: So the guy's gonna sell it to somebody else?
CHRISTINE: I don't know. If I get there by five-thirty...
ELIZABETH CARTER: (looking at her watch) Oh.
CHRISTINE: No problem. Come on. (looking at her watch) We have here plenty of time.
ELIZABETH CARTER: Well, I hope so.
CHRISTINE: Oh, wait 'til you see it. ...British Racing Green. ...gearshift on the floor. Wire wheels. ...It's very sexy. And the guy's coming down five hundred bucks on the original price.
ELIZABETH CARTER: That sounds wonderful.
ELIZABETH CARTER: But you know, to tell you the truth, if I could afford a car like that, I'd be so nervous to drive it...
(just then Rhonda Gallegos, the prosecution attorney in Elizabeth's case, bursts out the courtroom)
CHRISTINE: (jumping up) Miss. Gallegos!
RHONDA GALLEGOS: I'm sorry, I've only got a five-minute recess. We'll get to you, Miss. Carter, I promise I will. I appreciate your patience.
CHRISTINE: So, do you wanna hear about the cars I didn't buy? (Elizabeth gives her a strained smile) There was one sweet one. Honest to God. The guy wasn't ready to sell. But the car was so cute...


MORLEY PRESSMAN: Now,... (mounting some sheets of flipchart paper) Officer Lacey, if you'd be so kind as to er, step over to this board and attempt to recreate for us the er, alleged scene of the alleged murder. (handing up to her a marker pen) Doors and windows. Furniture. The works.
MARY BETH: You mean, draw it? (to the judge) I have a diagram, ...right here.
MORLEY PRESSMAN: Does the court note some reluctance to be cooperative on your part, Officer?
MARY BETH: No sir. It's just that I'm not much of an artist.
MORLEY PRESSMAN: Ah, ha, ha. Yeah. You're not much of a memory expert either.
IRA LEFLER: Objection. Mr. Pressman is deliberately trying to confuse the witness and the jury.
MORLEY PRESSMAN: And perhaps, Mr. Lefler and his representative from the Police Department are deliberately trying to keep something from the jury!
MARY BETH: Your Honour, could I just refer to my notes?
JUDGE: The witness is admonished to give only direct answers to the questions placed before her.
MORLEY PRESSMAN: (holding out the pen again) Thank you, Your Honour.
IRA LEFLER: Your Honour, all Officer Lacey is doing is trying to do is be exact in her answers. Isn't that what this court is here for, to find the exact truth? So that justice may be served, and I believe that truth and justice might best be served by Officer Lacey, if she's allowed to be as exact as possible.
JUDGE: Mr. Lefler, you've been watching too much Perry Mason.
(Pressman sniggers)
JUDGE: Can we just get on with it?
MORLEY PRESSMAN: Thank you, Your Honour. (handing her the pen) Officer.
MARY BETH: Thank you.
MORLEY PRESSMAN: You're welcome.

[Courthouse corridor outside another courtroom]

(the coffee cups are accumulating)
CHRISTINE: Have you called Barney yet?
ELIZABETH CARTER: Chris, I could not call up a guy I didn't even know.
CHRISTINE: I'm telling ya, you wait around for some jerk to ask you out...
CHRISTINE: How's it going?
MARY BETH: Awful. Those guys, lawyers, playing games, you know. Trying to confuse me. Making me feel I'm the one on trial. Oh boy. Elizabeth, I've got a big mouth...
ELIZABETH CARTER: Mary Beth, it doesn't matter, really. (handing Mary Beth the coffee she is holding) Do want some coffee?
CHRISTINE: So, you blew the case, huh?
MARY BETH: No! No it just the kid DA's put me up without letting me warm up, so I got a little rattled. I'll be fine.
(Rhonda Gallegos comes out of the courtroom)
RHONDA GALLEGOS: Miss. Carter, can I talk with you?
ELIZABETH CARTER: Are they ready for me?
RHONDA GALLEGOS: Soon. No, I just want to check something out with you.
(Elizabeth and Rhonda move down to the end of the corridor)
MARY BETH: How's she holding up?
CHRISTINE: She's all right, as long as we're not talking about the trial. We've been going through cars, clothes, men and movies. I'm running out of subjects. Do you have any suggestions?
ELIZABETH CARTER: (from the end of the corridor, shouting) No!!! (running back to the duo) No.
RHONDA GALLEGOS: I thought she knew.
CHRISTINE: Knew what?
RHONDA GALLEGOS: I've gotta go back to court. Can you handle her?
CHRISTINE: What is it you want her to do?
RHONDA GALLEGOS: The appeals court has overturned another one of the convictions.
RHONDA GALLEGOS: The retrial is set for next month.
ELIZABETH CARTER: I won't! ...I can't.
RHONDA GALLEGOS: I know it's upsetting.
ELIZABETH CARTER: I cannot do this.
RHONDA GALLEGOS: One more. Just one more trial.
ELIZABETH CARTER: It's just one more trial for you! ...But I can't sleep. ...I can't think. ...I can't do this anymore. ...And you ...You are not going to make me!
MARY BETH: Can we talk about it?
ELIZABETH CARTER: Mary Beth, I'm must go.
(Elizabeth backs down the corridor. The duo begins to follow her, entreating her)
COURT OFFICER: Detective Lacey! Court's back in session. The District Attorney's waiting for ya.
CHRISTINE: (to Mary Beth) I'll take care of it.
(she goes after Elizabeth)
MARY BETH: I'll be all right!
RHONDA GALLEGOS: (as Mary Beth goes to return to her courtroom) If your partner doesn't bring her back I'm gonna have to issue a bench warrant.
MARY BETH: You would arrest her! After what she's been through!
RHONDA GALLEGOS: I need her, as a witness.
MARY BETH: Well, aren't you all heart? (to the officer) I'm coming.

[Main staircase and foyer of court building]

(Chris comes down the stairs. Elizabeth is at the kiosk in the foyer. She has bought a packet of cigarettes and is lighting up)
CHRISTINE: Hi. I didn't know you smoked.
ELIZABETH CARTER: A habit. Don't lecture me. It's not even by your car.
CHRISTINE: Just come back upstairs, would you.
ELIZABETH CARTER: It isn't fair. It just ...not ...fair!
CHRISTINE: No, it isn't. But nobody ever said life was fair.
ELIZABETH CARTER: Well then, what's the point of it?
CHRISTINE: The point of it is that it's still good ...if you stop being a victim.
(Elizabeth heads off back up the stairs)
CHRISTINE: Wait a minute, Elizabeth. (as Elizabeth runs up the stairs) Wait a minute!
ELIZABETH CARTER: (stopping half way) Stop being a victim? I am a victim! Four men raped me!
CHRISTINE: I know it. And until you stop running away, one of the consequences of that is you're gonna stay a victim. Until you go up there again, and you face him down. In court! You're gonna stay a victim!
ELIZABETH CARTER: I have faced that scum in court over and over and over and over again!! What the hell do you want me to do!!!
CHRISTINE: You ask me as a cop, because, as a cop, I want you to go up there and face him again! 'Til it sticks!! If you're asking me as a friend, as your friend I want you to go up there and fix him.
(they look at one another for sometime)
(with that she moves off)


PRESSMAN: When did you first become aware of Mr. Kamal's presence in the house?
MENUKIAN: As soon as he come in. No! Before. You can smell a Turk downwind at two miles.
(the court laughs)
MENUKIAN: Make that three and I'll swear it on oath!
PRESSMAN: (as the court continues to laugh) Objection! Objection!
JUDGE: (striking his gavel) The witness will be admonished. Just answer the questions. No politics.
PRESSMAN: This is outrageous.
JUDGE: Continue Counsel.
PRESSMAN: Now then, would you describe Mr. Kamal's appearance on the night in question?
MENUKIAN: Just like now, (pointing to the dock) ...greasy. So greasy, his hair was shining in the dark! Like patent leather shoes.
(more laughter)
PRESSMAN: Your Honour, Please!
(Mary Beth has made a note and shows it to Lefler. It says 'IN THE DARK')
PRESSMAN: Please! ...Could you admonish the witness again?
JUDGE: The witness is admonished a second time. Go on , gentlemen, please.
(Pressman's assistant has also written a note which he shows Pressman)
PRESSMAN: Er, Mr. Menukian, you said er, his hair was shining in the dark. What do you mean by 'In the dark'?
MENUKIAN: What do you think I mean? Dark! No light!
PRESSMAN: No light! What d'ya mean by that?
MENUKIAN: Sure, sure. Music goes on, lights go out. (indicating close dancing) People have a good time. You don't know nothing about hanky-panky? Don't look like you do!
(more laughter, more raucous than before)
PRESSMAN: How can you be so sure once it's dark? If it's so dark! Ah?!!
MENUKIAN: How?!!! How?!! No problem. If I say I can see, I can see! Now, what, do you think, you don't pay any attention when three guys just stab people?
(Mary Beth writes Lefler another note)
PRESSMAN: Mr. Menukian, have you ever had your eyes examined?

[Lefler's office]

(Mary Beth and Lefler come in. The 'Proximate cause' book is still open on his desk)
LEFLER: Close the door. In the dark? Three stabbings? Why wasn't I made aware of these little problems before they cropped up on the witness stand, or don't they teach you how to interview witnesses?
MARY BETH: They do, sir, and I did. I specifically asked Mr. Menukian about the lighting. He said it was good. he also said nobody else got hurt. I have it here in my report. He's changing his story, sir.
LEFLER: Well, we're just lucky that old Morley Pressman's such a bozo. He scored, maybe, one point on the lights but missed the significance of the other knifings completely. As long as there are no other surprises I can still pull this one out.
MARY BETH: You're gonna try and convict a guy for murdering someone in the dark? I mean, three people got knifed and in what sounds to me like a free-for-all. Armenians against the Turks.
LEFLER: Listen, Detective, there are six witnesses willing to swear in court that he did it. Now don't tell me how to do my job and we'll just let the jury do their job. Now, if you'll just ask Mr. Menukian and his clan to come back in here before we go back in court, I'll try and make sure we keep the damage to a minimum.
MARY BETH: Yes sir. ...Mr. Lefler, what ever happened to the search for truth and justice that you were instructing the judge about before. I mean, I know there's a lot of Armenians that don't hold with their historical grudge that they've got against the Turks, but this one family, I think they're trying to railroad the guy.
LEFLER: Thank you for your theory, Detective Lacy but it's my case now. Just ask them to come in. All right?
MARY BETH: All right.

[Courthouse corridor outside another courtroom]

CHRISTINE: Maybe. Enough is enough. What's gonna happen when they turn over the other two?
(just then Mary Beth comes round the corner)
RHONDA GALLEGOS: I'll be here to put them right back in, but I cannot do that without Elizabeth Carter.
CHRISTINE: Well, as far as I'm concerned, that woman has been raped twice! Once by those creeps and once by the courts. And are you gonna do it again?
RHONDA GALLEGOS: That's an old argument, Officer.
CHRISTINE: Well, forgive me.
RHONDA GALLEGOS: We are doing the best we can! ...If she is not back when I need her, I will ask for a recess and issue a bench warrant. She will spend tonight in jail, but she will take that stand in the morning.
(Rhonda Gallegos goes back into court)
CHRISTINE: Well, should I go to her apartment?
MARY BETH: I've just called her. She's not there.
CHRISTINE: I tell you what, I will speak to the DA again. I'll ask her to hold the warrant. You and I can go and pick Elizabeth. She can spend the night in my apartment.
CHRISTINE: (as Mary Beth goes to walk away) So, what's going on at that murder trial?
MARY BETH: That's a good idea. Do you think the DA will offer it?
CHRISTINE: I don't know. I'm gonna try. So, what's happening with Menukian?
MARY BETH: What are we gonna do about your car?
CHRISTINE: Mary Beth, you're being evasive.
CHRISTINE: Do you do something to screw up our collar?
MARY BETH: Oh, thank you very much! I appreciate that vote of confidence.
(Mary Beth walks away)
CHRISTINE: Well, did ya!
MARY BETH: Can't hear ya!


LEFLER: Now on that date in question, Miss. Burnham, you were the night-duty nurse in the Emergency Room, right?
MISS. BURNHAM: Yes, I was.
LEFLER: And did you have occasion to see Mr. Raposian on that evening?
(Pressman is writing a note in conjunction with his assistant)
MISS. BURNHAM: Yes. Several members of his family brought him in for treatment.
LEFLER: About what time was that?
MISS. BURNHAM: Could I look at my notes?
PRESSMAN: Objection! It hasn't been established that the witness doesn't have an independent memory.
LEFLER: Oh, for Pete's sakes, Pressman, are we to start all that again!
JUDGE: The District Attorney is admonished to refrain outbursts of this sort. (to Miss. Burnham) Do you have any independent memory without your notes?
(Pressman and Lefler are conferring)
MISS. BURNHAM: Well, yes. I think it was about one AM. No, that's not right. It was the defendant who came in with a stab wound in his arm about one. Mr. Raposian came in about an half an hour after that.
(Pressman has handed Lefler the note)
LEFLER: Your Honour, the People would ask for a recess at this time.
JUDGE: This court stands recessed for twenty minutes.

[Lefler's office]

(Pressman is in the doorway)
PRESSMAN:I want you to know, Lefler, I want you to know I appreciate everything you've done.
LEFLER: I'll see you back in the courtroom. As you know, you've done the right thing.
(Pressman leaves)
MARY BETH: Did you dismiss the case?
LEFLER: What are you talking about!
MARY BETH: The nurse's testimony! She say's the defendant was treated for stab wounds half an hour before the victim.
LEFLER: She did! I didn't hear that.
MARY BETH: Mr. Lefler, would you agree with me that it's kinda hard to murder someone when you're in the emergency hospital? At the least, it's self-defence. At the worst, it looks like the family's railroading the man.
LEFLER: Maybe Raposian got lost on the way to the hospital. Maybe the nurse was wrong. Maybe a million reasons. Who knows ...or cares? The point is his lawyer didn't catch it either. And now he's offering to make a deal! He'll plead the second-degree. Ha. What a bozo.
MARY BETH: Well, you can't let him do that Mr. Lefler.
LEFLER: Of course I can.
MARY BETH: The defendant suffers because his lawyer is a bozo!
LEFLER: Come on. You've seen Kamal's rap sheet. He's as dirty as they come. If he didn't do this one he did something else. Let us be happy we can get him off the streets for a few years.
MARY BETH: Well sir, I'm not gonna be happy if I don't think he's guilty.
LEFLER: Well, don't be happy, just be a cop.
MARY BETH: I'm sorry sir, but three stabbings in the dark and a fifty-man free-for-all, with the defendant in the hospital half an hour before the victim. I know, I didn't go to law school, but that sounds a lot like 'Reasonable doubt' to me.
LEFLER: Officer, you and I are supposed to be on the same team.
MARY BETH: With respect, sir, I don't think this is supposed to be a team sport.
LEFLER: Are you threatening me?
MARY BETH: Well, yes sir, I guess I am, and if I don't get satisfaction through the proper channels, I've got an old friend at The Times who would, I am sure, be very interested in hearing this story.
LEFLER: I can't believe this. You're actually willing to let this sleaze bag just skate out of here.
MARY BETH: That's how unhappy I am with this particular feature, sir. Unless you wanna work out something else. Something a little more fair.

[Another courtroom]

RHONDA GALLEGOS: And The people will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on the date in question Elizabeth Carter had the bad fortune to be waiting for a cab outside the place of business Thirty-third and First Avenue, and at that time the defendant, Sordell and three other men approached her, brandished a knife and threatened to...
(Mary Beth has put her head round the courtroom door and Chris goes out to join her)

[Courthouse corridor outside another courtroom]

MARY BETH: How we doing?
CHRISTINE: She didn't get the recess.
CHRISTINE: Elizabeth could be called any time now.
MARY BETH: Well, I've just tried to call her again and she's still not home. So I guess we did what we could.
CHRISTINE: How's the murder? Recessed?
MARY BETH: Done! It's over.
CHRISTINE: Really? Did they nail him?
MARY BETH: He called the plea.
CHRISTINE: He went for manslaughter, huh?
MARY BETH: Possession of a switchblade.
CHRISTINE: Possession of a switchblade! Are you serious?! Mary Beth, you're not being serious. You're joking with me, you're...
ELIZABETH CARTER: I've got to do it for myself. You were right, Chris. I can't run away anymore.
CHRISTINE: I'm glad.
ELIZABETH CARTER: I don't know if I can do the next one. But I can do this one.
MARY BETH: No, we do 'em one at a time.
ELIZABETH CARTER: Yes, one at a time.
CHRISTINE: The Three Musketeers, huh.
(they put their hands on top of one another's)
MARY BETH: All right, we'll go in with you.
ELIZABETH CARTER: No! Thank you. I have to do this one myself. If I lean on you two anymore I might fall flat on my face and never get up. I really do have to do this myself.
CHRISTINE: I really think you're a terrific lady.
ELIZABETH CARTER: So are you, ...both of you.
CHRISTINE: You'll call us, huh?
(just then Rhonda Gallegos comes out the courtroom)
RHONDA GALLEGOS: Well! Good. We're just about ready for you.
ELIZABETH CARTER: And I'm just about ready for you.
(Elizabeth comes back and embraces the duo and goes into court)
CHRISTINE: Wanna get a car?
MARY BETH: Who's buying?
CHRISTINE: Me. Come on.

[Squad car]

CHRISTINE: What kind of lousy DA would settle for possession a lousy switchblade!
MARY BETH: It wasn't his idea. It was my idea.
CHRISTINE: Mary Beth, you're really kidding me. Right?!
MARY BETH: It was the right thing to do , Christine.
CHRISTINE: Oh, Mary Beth, what are you? Taking bribes from the ACLU.
MARY BETH: There's your fancy car.
(Mary Beth covers her eyes as Chris makes U-turn)

[Manhattan street]

(as the Austin Healy drives off, the Squad car roars to a halt and the duo jump out)
CHRISTINE: Hey, that's my car!
CAR OWNER #2: Oh, listen, I told you five-thirty, sweetheart. His money's just as good as yours.
(just then the Austin Healy turns at the corner of the next block and blows up)
MARY BETH: Isn't that a shame? Ha, ha, ha, ha...
(Chris smiles)

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