Law and Order
"Fico Di Capo"
CI, Episode 3.19
Production number: E4518
First aired: 9 May 2004
  {{{nNthProducedInSeries}}}th of 195 produced in CI  
{{{nNthReleasedInSeries}}}th of 195 released in CI
  {{{nNthReleasedInAll}}}th of 1271 released in all  
Deakins Fico di Capo.jpg
Teleplay By
Stephanie Sengupta

Story By
Stephanie Sengupta & René Balcer

Directed By
Alex Zakrzewski


When a witness under police protection is murdered, Goren and Eames first concentrate on the officers who were assigned to protect him. They soon uncover evidence suggesting that one of them was in the pay of the Damiano crime family, but further investigation reveals that he has been set up to look dirty. However, the district attorney who had been prosecuting the original case still wants to make an example of the officer and get a murder indictment against the Damianos. His wife, an undercover officer, is outed in a newspaper column and then brutally stabbed in her apartment. The nature of the wounds leads Goren to believe that the assailant's goal was not to kill her, but rather to start a war between the police and the D.A.'s office.

In the meantime, family boss Mario Damiano is in a hospice, dying of lung cancer, and receiving visits from a stranger who brings him his favorite black figs. His youngest son Mikey, the only other family member who is not dead or in prison, has shown his incompetence in looking after the family's estate and criminal operations. The stranger is Rickie "Chops" Cozza, who had staked out both the witness and the undercover officer. His uncle had helped him kill the witness, while his associate Louis Versini took part in the officer's stabbing.

Goren and Eames learn of Rickie's identity and contrive to run across him in order to see how he reacts to pressure. They visit his birth mother, who gave up her parental rights shortly after his birth. He had been born with a full set of teeth in his mouth (natal teeth). When she tried to breast-feed him the first time, he bit her. (This was the reason why "Chops" is Rickie's middle name, as listed on his birth certificate.) As Rickie's mother grew terrified of her baby, Rickie was given up for adoption and subsequently raised by his uncle. The detectives soon found the uncle in his own basement, stabbed to death in order to keep him quiet about the murder of the witness. Goren deduces that Rickie's behavior and use of intimidation to get what he wants are the result of his mother's abandonment of him. He is now trying to work his way into the family he looked up to as a child, even if he has to oust its leader in the process.

Amid the growing chaos, Rickie persuades Mario Damiano to approve his son's killing, saying that this is the only chance for the Damiano family to ever regain its greatness. Goren and Eames pay one last visit to the hospice, where they learn that Mario has known about these events all along and has set Ricky up to take control as his final act of vengeance: "As I leave this world, I unleash him on yours."

Ricky and Louis lure Mikey to Rickie's mother's house, but are interrupted by the arrival of the detectives and other officers. Goren reveals Rickie's plan to kill Mikey, notes a hidden gun discovered by Eames, and suggests that Mikey has made his own plan to kill Rickie--leaving Louis at the mercy of both of them. While frisking Louis for weapons, Goren "finds" bits of fig residue in a pocket (which he had planted them there during an earlier pat-down). Rickie snaps, thinking that Louis has gone to Mario behind his back. This enraged outburst scares Louis so badly that he asks for witness protection in exchange for testifying against Rickie, and all three are taken into custody.


Main cast

Guest cast



Robert Goren: He felt anger, he just knew better than to show it. Instead he-he went blank, like he was flipping through an emotional Rolodex, searching for the socially appropriate response. But anger...that is his only true emotional response.

Background information and notes

  • The episode title, "Fico Di Capo", refers to a variety of Sicilian medium-to-large black figs with dark-red pulp, and the dying Mafia don Mario Damiano and his particular addiction for this juicy fruit.
  • Another episode in the Law & Order franchise that features a mob hit at a resturant is the Law & Order episode "Everybody Loves Raimondo's".

Episode scene cards

1 2 3

Isabella's Italian Bakery
39 Ridge Street
Tuesday, March 23

Apartment of
A.D.A Geraldo Perez
Brooklyn, New York
Tuesday, March 23

Forest Hills Hospice
Queens, New York
Wednesday, March 31

4 5

Home Of
Eddie Cozza
New Rochelle, New York
Monday, April 5

Home Of
Gina Rigatello
Queens, New York
Tuesday, April 6

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