Law and Order
"Death Roe"
CI, Episode 4.15
Production number: E5405
First aired: 13 March 2005
  th of 195 produced in CI  
th of 195 released in CI
  th of 1271 released in all  
Deakins Carver Death Roe.jpg
Teleplay By
Warren Leight

Story By
Warren Leight & René Balcer

Directed By
Rick Wallace

When a female restaurant critic is found beaten to death, Detectives Goren and Eames are called in to investigate.


A female restaurant critic is found beaten to death by an Israeli diplomat. At first, a missing upcoming chef and restaurant owner named Joshua Mailer, is suspected. He had previously served the slain critic intentionally tainted white abalone. This gave her food poisoning and seemingly motive for Joshua to murder her. His restaurant was new and struggling and so, a bad review would have ruined him.

Goren and Eames interview his wife, Beatrice Onorato Mailer at Joshua's restaurant. She initially believes that they're there to talk about the missing persons report that she filed about Josh. She kept eye contact with Goren throughout the interview even when answering questions that were asked by Eames. She even kept her back to Eames so that she couldn't take her gaze away from Goren. During the interview they find out that Josh always wears metal tipped cowboy boots and left his wedding ring at home.

Hours later his motorcycle is found on the beach, it looks as if he is a fugitive or committed suicide by walking into the ocean. The nearly pristine condition of his motorcycle made Goren and Eames doubtful of the latter. None of his credit cards are used during this time making both detectives skeptical of their fugitive theory. They then talk to Beatrice's father, Tommy Onerato, a successful chef, restaurant owner and Josh's former boss. After some more interviews with Sally's friends, M.E. Rodgers and a shady seafood salesman, they discover that Tommy tainted the white abalone and gave it to Josh.

Goren and Eames then begin investigating Tommy and discover that he had been trying to sabotage Josh ever since he married his daughter, Beatrice. Goren notices how clean the kitchen and the equipment is then deduces that everything was replaced after Tommy killed and butchered Josh. The detectives conduct some more interviews with Tommy's assistant, Duke, and Beatrice's OB/GYN, Dr. Miller. Dr. Miller reveals that he informed Tommy of Beatrice and Josh's efforts at conceiving a child. To prevent this from happening, Tommy gave Beatrice a ridiculous work schedule so that she wouldn't see Josh and gave her soy desserts hoping to make her infertile.

Suspecting that Beatrice and Tommy have/had an incestuous relationship, they speak to Duke's wife. Duke and his wife briefly became her legal guardians after her mother's death. She revealed that a teenage Beatrice was emotionally unstable acting out in various ways like shoplifting. One minute she tried to seduce Duke and the next she would inexplicably breakdown into tears. Goren and Eames believe that Tommy began sexually abusing Beatrice when she was twelve, right after her mother died. Since that day, he has Beatrice treated like a sexual possession and not as his daughter. Duke's wife also admitted that Tommy had once attacked her in his restaurant which is why she has never returned to it.

After having a third and strange conversation with Beatrice, the detectives learn that Tommy transferred ownership of his restaurant and apartment to her. They then learn that Tommy's meat grinder had titanium abrasions caused by the surgical screws in Josh's legs. Beatrice had discovered the screws after her second conversation with Goren and Eames. She used that as leverage against her father to takeover his restaurant, demote him and taunt him in front of his staff.

Goren and Eames returned to the restaurant and successfully tricked Beatrice into thinking that the screws weren't viable evidence against her father. Feeling vulnerable and scared, Beatrice saw a now embolden Tommy preparing to retake the restaurant. When Goren tells her Tommy's real reasons behind murdering Josh, particularly, his intent on stopping her from getting pregnant, she tearfully broke down. At that moment, she told her father that all she and Josh wanted was a baby. She became even more devastated when he answered, "Kids just ruin everything, I could've told you that!" Eames then asks her for the screws which she hands over, to match their serial numbers to the hospital records. After revealing that they're a match, Tommy is arrested. While in cuffs, Tommy confirmed his sexual abuse of Beatrice and said that no one will want her when it becomes public knowledge.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast




Alexandra Eames: Gluttony. Now I know why it made the short list of deadly sins.

Robert Goren: Half an hour. The chef that I talked to said that's what he'd need to dress a human, and then another hour to grind the meat and bones.

Background information and notes

  • The title of the episode, "Death Roe", is a pun on the term "death row". Roe are a set of fish eggs used as an ingredient in various foods.
Previous episode:
"Sex Club"
"Death Roe"
Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Season 4
Next episode:
"Ex Stasis"
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