Law and Order
CI, Episode 2.01
Production number: E3202
First aired: 29 September 2002
  th of 195 produced in CI  
th of 195 released in CI
  th of 1271 released in all  
Deakins Goren Eames Dead.jpg
Teleplay By
Rene Balcer & Stephanie Sengupta

Story By
Stephanie Sengupta

Directed By
Darnell Martin

The apparent religious killing of an embalmer leads to the discovery of illegal cost-cutting procedures by a crematorium owner.



A blonde man and a brunette man are at a funeral parlor talking about a mix up. The brunette man wants the blonde man to fix it ASAP.

The blonde man is walking by the water with a different man, asking what to do about the situation. The other man tells him not to worry and that appearances count. He calls the blonde man Russell. Russell says it could be a big problem before leaving for a ferry but not before the other man tells him that "problems are just solutions in work clothes".

A young man is working suspiciously in a funeral parlor's embalming room and hurriedly closes a bottle of formaldehyde before his superior, Mr. H, comes into the room, asking what the young man, Scotty, is doing there alone when he shouldn't be. Mr. H is the same man who was telling Russell to fix the mix up. Scotty tries to explain himself but is obviously under the influence of something. Mr. H tells him to go home and that they'll talk about what happened next week.

Mr. H is working on embalming the body when he receives a phone call. The unnamed man who was talking with Russell by the water walks into the room as the phone call ends and greets Mr H. Mr. H asks if he knows him before the man attacks and strangles him. He lays Mr. H's body on the slab before laying out an unknown substance in a jar, a needle and starting up a blow torch.

A man walks up to a woman in a robe in a kitchen. It's Mr. H's killer, also in his robe, who kisses his wife. She mentions that he got home late and that he works too hard. Their kids run up to them and show off the Easter baskets the Easter Bunny brought them before Mr. H's killer asks them if they want to go on an Easter egg hunt.

A woman walks into the embalming room of the funeral parlor and finds Mr. H dead on the slab in his boxers with odd-looking bumps all over his chest.

[ Opening Credits ]

Goren and Eames are examining Mr H's body in the embalming room wondering why he was left in a crucifixion pose yet no other crucifixion related injuries such as holes in the hands and feet or a crown of thorns. Goren pushes one of the bumps on Mr. H's body until a pus-like substance comes out, disgusting Eames who says Goren must have been fun during biology class. Goren sniffs the substance and replies his biology teacher didn't find him much fun at all. They discover a marijuana seed floating in a bottle of formaldehyde near the body. Eames mentions that there was a young assistant working with the funeral parlor named Scotty Calderone.

The detectives have Scotty in a room at the police station. Scotty tells them that his mother was a cosmetician for Mr. H but that she got sick so Mr H had let him work part-time. Scotty is obviously under the influence of marijuana and embalming fluid. They tell him they know he's been using the embalming fluid from the funeral parlor to make "wet daddies", marijuana joints dipped in any liquid drug including embalming fluid, to sell on the streets. Scotty claims Mr H knew Scotty got high but had no clue he was using the embalming fluid for wet daddy purposes. He tells Goren and Eames how he was sent home early the other day and that he normally worked until 6 but he had been staying late because Mr H asked him to. Scotty continues that a message on the answering machine might have spooked Mr H, a message that was religious about "eating the bread" and returning to the earth. Scotty is released. Goren and Eames head to the library.

At the library, Eames reads the ME report. The bumps on Mr H's, Mr Hagman's, body were caused by a syringe and that he was burned by a lighter or torch. The bumps were filled with some sort of soap blend according to Goren. Goren deduces the killer was representing the sixth plague with Hagman's body. The plagues were used to discredit different pharaohs so the detectives come to the conclusion that perhaps Hagman was killed by a religious fanatic who opposes embalming.

The detectives visit another funeral parlor where another embalmer tells them about a call from possibly the killer who had a spiel advising against embalming who knew embalmer terms.

Russell and the Hagman's killer enter Russell's office. The killer asks about Hagman and Russell tells him he's dead. The killer spies some papers about advertising and asks Russell about it. Russell came up with the idea to play ads when companies put you on hold instead of music. The killer tells Russell that companies could get in trouble that way if they have no expertise with such things and that Russell should "stop dreaming and start reaping". The killer goes to take a look "out back". Russell asks if there's a problem. "Not yet" says the killer.

Goren and Eames interview the man who called Hagman and the other embalmer. The man tells them that any desecration of human remains goes against God's plan. This tells the detectives that the man didn't kill Hagman because he wouldn't have desecrated Hagman's body after he was dead. Goren finds it interesting how the killer threw them off with the religious style of the killing and can't wait to meet them.

At Hagman's funeral parlor, they go through the records and find a dissatisfied client, a Mr. Tyler, who was angered they lost his beloved's ashes and threatened the parlor. A worker tells them that the cremations occurred at a different crematorium on Staten Island. The detectives speak with Russell who tells them he sent the ashes back to Hagman's. Eames asks for paperwork and as Russell is getting it, Goren notices Russell's desk calendar that says "Problems are just solutions in work clothes." Goren asks how long Russell's been in the business. A couple of years, since Russell's dad died, Russell tells them. Goren seems puzzled that Russell claims you get used to the job of cremation. Eames asks if there was any reason Hagman wouldn't return the ashes. Russell replies that he sounded a little crazy.

Mr. Damon Tyler is visited and tells Goren and Eames that he threatened to sue Hagman after he didn't get his family's ashes back within three days. Goren finds out that Tyler's deceased mother had a heart condition and a pacemaker. He asks if Tyler knew if it was removed before cremation but Tyler doesn't know.

At the station, they find out Hagman didn't note that a pacemaker had been removed from the body. Goren's interested in the list of people cremated at Russell's crematorium.

Hagman's killer is shown getting ready to leave for somewhere. His wife worries about him driving at night but he assures her he's careful.

Goren and Eames find out that the only family who offered to have their relatives' ashes examined (ashes which had been cremated at Russell's crematorium) turned out to just be debris.

Russell is paid another visit. They're suspicious because Russell didn't have any problems cremating Tyler's mother, who still had her pacemaker when she was supposedly cremated and it should have exploded because of the lithium battery. Russell claims the last time they cremated someone was the day before but Goren notes there's a bird's nest directly downwind of the chimney suggesting there may have not been cremations for a while. He also notes the freshness of the air around the crematorium. Goren wants to investigate the land around the crematorium but Russell resists. Goren gets the DA to fax over a search warrant. They discover more than 30 dead bodies in the land behind the crematorium.

Russell is interrogated. Goren and Eames accuse him of defrauding the families who had wanted their loved ones cremated. They insist he had help keeping the books but he asks for a lawyer.

It's found out that more than 100 bodies had been found by Russell's crematorium and still counting. Carver believes they've got their murderer but Goren calls Russell a dreamer with no practical experience to pull off the murder. Looking through Russell's things, they find a connection to a consultation business which leads them to check out Harry Rowan, Hagman's killer.

Russell is Rowan's cousin, he claims, and advised him on book-keeping and marketing techniques. He says all this as he sharpens his lawnmower's blade. He seems to start sharpening it harder and faster as Goren attempts to provoke him with imagery of the scene behind Russell's crematorium. They move into Rowan's workshop. Goren "accidentally" and intentionally gets some grease and cleaning gunk from the workshop on his hand. He has the lab analyze it and it turns out that it has the same chemical composition as the stuff found in Hagman's bumps. They deduce that Rowan is the killer. Goren sees that the DNA of the bodies found behind the crematorium are being catalogued. He has them run through the database.

Goren and Eames present to Deakins a board linking the DNA of a few of the dead bodies found to DNA found at Masucci mob hits. Rowan worked as a hit man and did some jobs for the Masuccis, using DNA from people intended to be cremated to throw off the police investigations.

Rowan is seeing removing a body from the body of his workshop freezer to be put into the plastic-lined trunk of his car.

The detectives are brought to the attention of the corpse of one of the Masuccis' former hit men with the DNA of Russell under his finger nails. Goren notes the body looks well preserved and also notes a small patch of freezer burn on the body.

Goren and Eames interrogate Russell again and he maintains his innocence. They try to get him to admit information about Rowan and tell him it was most likely Rowan who framed him. Russell is adamant about not revealing anything about Rowan although he does mention that Rowan even went after his own younger brother. Goren theorizes that Rowan is extremely fearful and obsessive over ever making a mistake.

The detectives run into Rowan's wife outside a grocery store. They ask if he ever talks about his business. They show the wife photos of Rowan's victims. They insist he kills people for a living. She doesn't seem to believe them but the detectives tell her to ask him if he's really got nothing to hide.

Rowan returns the photos of his victims to the police station. Goren gets inside Rowan's wife's head by saying her husband shouldn't be afraid to talk to them. She waits at a police desk while the detectives question Rowan inside a windowed room. They interrogate him and show him photos of Hagman's body as well as Rowan's other victims. Goren calls Rowan's work a stroke of genius. Rowan says that as a concerned citizen, he wishes that the police were half as capable as the perpetrator of the murders Goren has shown him. Goren plants a seed inside Rowan's head, saying that perpetrators always have to worry about things that could give them away like the freezer burn on the Masuccis' hit man's body. He also asks Rowan's wife if she had seen any sort of porcelain cap from a tooth in the garage.

After being released, Rowan asks his wife what Goren talked to her about and she mentions the porcelain tooth. Rowan looks worried.

Carver tells the detectives they have a search warrant for the Rowans' garage but they tell Carver they're going to wait until Rowan has had a "good night's sleep" before they execute the warrant in the morning.

Rowan talks to his lawyer on the phone then proceeds to frantically search the trunk of his car, the freezer, the drain and all of his garage for the porcelain tooth cap Goren had told Rowan's wife about. As he's searching the drain, his wife walks in and asks what he's doing up so late but he yells at her to go to bed, as he's covered in dirt from the drain. He's just about searched everywhere as the detectives walk in on him in the morning. When Goren asks Rowan how long he thinks it'll take the police to find it, he replies that it can't be in his garage because he's looked and that he didn't make a mistake. "Sounds like an admission of guilt to me" says Carver. Rowan is arrested.

"A costly mistake" says Carver but Goren admits there was no mistake and that Rowan's victim didn't have any caps on any of his teeth.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast




(Goren is poking a corpse)
"You must have been so much fun in biology class."
"Actually my biology teacher, Mr. Dixon, didn't think I was much fun at all."

- Alexandra Eames and Robert Goren

"You don't know about fry sticks, clickums, wet daddies?"

- Alexandra Eames

"So that's what a brain looks like on embalming fluid."

- James Deakins

"I need to use my most important investigative tool. My library card."

- Robert Goren

"The fake boils, the crucifixion pose, it was all just to throw us off."
"It's impressive."
"It's demented."
"It worked."

- Alexandra Eames, Robert Goren and James Deakins

"Pacemakers have to be removed before cremation. Otherwise the lithium batteries explode. Gives off a toxic fume and could damage the cremation chamber."
"Yeah, I heard silicon implants had to be removed. My buddy Martinelli in the 3-7 married a stripper."

- Robert Goren and James Deakins

"Did the autopsy on Mr. Ferguson prove he'd been frozen, then thawed?"
"The autopsy proved when it comes to medical science, you're better off asking The Magic 8-ball."

- Ron Carver and James Deakins

Background information and notes

  • This episode was based on the Tri-State Crematory case. Over three hundred bodies that had been consigned to the crematorium for proper disposal were never cremated, but were dumped on the crematorium's site.
  • Actor Jay O. Sanders returned to Criminal Intent in the tenth and final season as Captain Joseph Hannah.
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