Law and Order
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Law and Order
"Hot Pursuit"
L&O, Episode 6.05
Production number: K0110
First aired: 8 November 1995
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Written By
Ed Zuckerman & Morgan Gendel

Directed By
Lewis Gould

Summary[]

Following murders committed by a holdup team, the question arises whether the young woman involved was a willing accomplice.

Plot[]

Briscoe and Curtis respond to a shooting at the Vivant Room, a nightclub. A man and a woman in ski masks came in at closing time, robbed the bar, and killed two people. The manager, Helen Shane, is also missing. Then another call comes in: the perps just held up a nearby Korean deli and shot the clerk dead.

At the deli, a customer states that the getaway car was a gray American model; security camera footage shows the man did all the shooting. Van Buren notes that the woman is holding her gun like an amateur.

The detectives first visit a former bouncer who Helen Shane fired, but he has an alibi. He confirms that Helen drives a gray American car, meaning the perps’ vehicle should still be around. Sure enough, a stolen car with a flat tire is found parked near the club. Inside is a drugstore receipt for a $9.95 brownie.

Angela, the drugstore cashier, says that the woman wanted to get pesticide-free apples at “the square.” Curtis thinks this refers to the organic market at Union Square, but nobody there remembers the couple. Then the detectives get another call: Helen Shane’s car has been located. Her dead body is in the trunk.

The forensics lab combines partial prints from the cars and identifies Leon Trapp, an ex-con who hasn’t checked in with his parole officer. Angela picks his face out of a lineup. The police call on Michael Mirvis, a known associate of Trapp who lives near Union Square. His pregnant girlfriend has a teddy bear for her baby, yet Mirvis claims he hasn’t seen Leon.

On Rikers Island, Leon's unfazed ex-girlfriend Sally Napoli doesn’t know who the new girl is, but names his dealer, Dennis. They track him down, and after Curtis threatens to pin a baggie of baking soda on him, Denis confesses that Leon was looking for a gun dealer named Baboo. Then the detectives get a third call: a male-female pair was just caught at another store.

Unfortunately, the pre-teens in question were only shoplifting, but on their way out in a huff, the detectives spot a teddy bear identical to the one Mirvis's girlfriend had. Its name is Brownie, and it costs $9.95.

Back at Mirvis's apartment, Briscoe angrily realizes that none of the girlfriend’s clothes are there. The police rush to her apartment around the block and find ammunition, ski masks, and empty beer bottles—the pair ran out of booze.

The detectives make their way to a corner store where Leon and a woman are at the counter. As they sneak up behind them, Leon turns around and draws his gun. An old lady walks right into the standoff, but before Leon can take her hostage, the clerk pulls out his own gun and shoots him in the back.

As the detectives arrest the woman, she thanks them profusely and asks them to call her parents. Her name is Leslie Harlan, and she was kidnapped from outside her family's estate six months ago. She says Leon raped her and forced her to participate in the robberies. Her parents are dismayed that McCoy intends to charge Leslie with the murders.

McCoy reasons that Leslie could have simply walked out the door when Leon slept, so at some point she became a willing accomplice. Leslie argues that Leon threatened to kill her family if she ran away, and her gun wasn’t loaded. Her lawyer, Danielle Melnick, plans to pursue a duress defense.

Leslie meets with Dr. Olivet, and discusses her overbearing mother and distant father. She played along with Leon's desire to act like a normal couple, but is "not a criminal." Olivet concludes that Leslie probably enjoyed some of the crime spree, but Kincaid isn't convinced. McCoy comments that every criminal has a sob story.

Then Briscoe comes by with news: Trapp and Harlan have been connected to another robbery in Connecticut, in which she fired a gun in the air to subdue the victims.

Melnick moves to suppress the Connecticut robbery, since her client isn't on trial for that crime, but McCoy successfully cites case law allowing prior bad acts to refute an affirmative defense, like duress. Melnick tells the jury that Leon ordered Leslie to fire the gun that one time so she couldn't run to the police.

Michael Mirvis testifies that Leon and Leslie weren't always together, and when they were, they seemed affectionate. Melnick points out that he has a scar from when Leon stabbed him with a fork, proving how violent and controlling he was. Then Mrs. Harlan testifies that Leslie was depressed when Trapp kidnapped her, and was always afraid of guns.

On cross-examination, McCoy establishes that Leslie was a rebellious youth who had to transfer high schools twice after she secretly went clubbing in New York and tried to seduce a married teacher. Over dinner, Kincaid tells McCoy that she doesn't think it's right to bring up Leslie's past. McCoy replies that if every case was easy, they wouldn't get paid so much.

Finally, Leslie takes the stand and reiterates that Leon forced her to take part in the robberies. He gave her newspaper clippings showing that her family thought she was dead. McCoy points out that she went shopping for a baby gift with Leon. Leslie maintains that it was all just an act, and that she passed out when Leon shot "Willy" at the Vivant Room.

McCoy seizes on her use of the bartender's nickname. Leslie admits to being familiar with the club and says she might have told Leon about it to try and keep him from raping her, but the robbery was all his idea.

During a break, Melnick and McCoy discuss a plea bargain. He offers manslaughter one; Leslie would be eligible for parole in eight years. Mrs. Harlan begs her daughter to take the deal, but Leslie accuses her of being too eager to "move on" after the kidnapping, based on one of the newspaper articles she saw, and insists that she'll take her chances with the jury.

The verdict is guilty on all four counts. McCoy tells Schiff that the Harlans have retained psychiatrists to make the case for leniency at the sentencing. Schiff remarks that they don't have to oppose them.

Cast[]

Main cast[]

Recurring cast[]

Guest cast[]

References[]

Quotes[]

Background information and notes[]

  • In a possible goof, the dialogue of the episode mentions the shooting happening at the Vivant Room. However, the second scene card of the episode says Velvet Room.

Episode scene cards[]

1 2 3

Nam Sam Deli
420 Eight Avenue
Monday, September 11

Velvet Room
369 W 18th Street
6:11 am

Union Square Market
9 E 14th Street
10:40 am

4 5 6

Apartment of
Michael Mirvis
26 W 14th Street
1:23 pm

Marvin's Drugs
4186 Amsterdam Ave
3:44 pm

Office of
Dr. Elizabeth Olivet
Wednesday, September 27

7 8 9

Supreme Court
Trial Part 62
Monday, October 23

Supreme Court
Trial Part 62
Tuesday, October 24

Supreme Court
Trial Part 62
Thursday, October 26

10

Supreme Court
Trial Part 62
Monday, October 30


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Law & Order
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