Law and Order
L&O, Episode 10.06
Production number: E1105
First aired: 17 November 1999
  {{{nNthProducedInSeries}}}th of 456 produced in L&O  
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Van Buren Marathon.jpg
Written By
Matt Witten

Directed By
Jace Alexander


When a woman is shot down in the street over a petty purse snatching, Briscoe is frustrated when the gang member who did it manages to elude justice again and again.


A woman is shot and killed on a residential sidewalk in the middle of the day, following a failed purse-snatching. Witnesses inform Briscoe and Green their suspect is a young Hispanic man on an expensive silver mountain bike but further descriptions (clothing, facial hair, the direction he rode off) are vague conflicting. The suspect eludes an intensive police search, to the frustration of the woman's husband and Van Buren.

Briscoe and Green interview children playing outside a housing project near the murder scene regarding the owner of the expensive bike and, for $20, a girl identifies "Danny Ruiz in the east tower". When Briscoe comments on not having the full names of the six Ruiz's living in the tower, the building supervisor responds "They breed like roaches". The sixth Ruiz has the bike, claiming he found it abandoned behind the building. As he arrests Ruiz, Briscoe makes a comment about "the rest of the roaches".

Ruiz has an alibi and is released, but fingerprints on the bike suggest convicted felon Bobby Sabo as a suspect, Briscoe, Green, LaMotte and another detective go to arrest Sabo at his grandmother's apartment but he eludes them by running up the stairs and escaping across the roof. Briscoe, out of breath from climbing the stairs, admits he "messed up" by not covering the roof. Van Buren is unhappy with her detectives. They then discover Sabo's cousin Victor has driven him to Port Authority bus terminal. At the bus station, Briscoe observes Bobby Sabo entering the lavatories and bursts in, gun drawn, to make an arrest while Sabo is urinating. Sabo ignores several commands to "put your hands up and turn around" before finally turning and waving his genitals at Briscoe, as Green enters. Sabo makes several disparaging remarks towards Briscoe as he is handcuffed.

Sabo participates in a line-up but two witnesses from the murder scene fail to identify Sabo as the shooter and the police are forced to release him. Victor Sabo mentions an old crminal friend of Bobby's named Diego Garza. Garza confirms Bobby stayed at his apartment recently and borrowed clothes and money before leaving the next day, Bobby also had a gun which Garza told Sabo to "ditch". Searching Victor's car, Briscoe and Green find a gun of the same caliber used on the victim. Bobby Sabo's fingerprints are on the weapon. Briscoe, Green and uniformed police arrive at a basketball court and Briscoe arrests Sabo again while Green and the uniformed police shepherd the other basketballers to one side. When Green asks Briscoe if everything okay, Briscoe says "Bettter than okay - he just confessed."

Back at the precinct Sabo denies confessing to the murder and accuses Briscoe of trying to frame him, angering Lennie. In Van Buren's office, Green says he was too far away to hear Sabo's alleged confession. Outside, Green asks Briscoe how he got Sabo to confess so quickly. Briscoe becomes angry with Green "second-guessing me". Ballistic tests don't match the recovered gun to the murder and Sabo is again released.

Van Buren and Briscoe are called to the office of Borough Commander Dietz, who is furious over their failure to charge Sabo. Van Buren summarizes the weak evidence before Briscoe mentions the confession. Dietz regards this as sufficient for an arrest but Van Buren responds an uncorroborated confession "won't stick". Briscoe leaves and Van Buren defends him in the face of questioning from Dietz. Back to the 27th, Briscoe expresses disappointment with Van Buren for not supporting him. Briscoe mentions the gun they found was in a Pizzaland bag and he and Green leave to investigate.

The detectives track down a Pizzaland worker who admits Selling a handgun to Bobby Sabo in exchange for another gun and some cash, saying he on-sold Sabo's traded gun to "some Dominican down the street." Cruising in an unmarked car, Briscoe observes a likely suspect on the street with a suspicious bulge in his jacket pocket. Green cautions Briscoe but Briscoe says his experience and intuition tell him "this is our guy". The detectives find a gun in the man's jacket pocket and arrest him. Ballistic tests confirm it was the gun used to kill the woman and the arrested man, Flaco Ochoa, agrees to testify he bought the gun from the Pizzaland worker. For the third time, Briscoe and Green arrest Bobby Sabo for the woman's murder.

Ochoa's attorney moves a motion to suppress the gun evidence, on the basis that Briscoe lacked sufficient cause to detain and search Ochoa. The judges agrees and the gun evidence is suppressed. Ochoa then refuses to testify in the murder case against Sabo. Briscoe yells "we had a deal" and attacks Ochoa, having to be restrained by Green. As they leave the remand cell Briscoe angrily warns Green never to restrain him again while Green responds Ochoa's co-operation is their only chance of convicting Sabo and "you just blew it".

Sabo's attorney now moves a motion to suppress the confession. In response to a query from Carminchael, McCoy responds "Detective Briscoe has kicked the ball onto the fairway before". In the motion hearing, Sabo's attorney describes Briscoe's animosity to Sabo, the illegal gun seizure and previous investigations into Briscoe's conduct. She suggests the aging Briscoe, under pressure from his superiors, can't cut it and is breaking the rules. Briscoe responds he is proud of his record, has the support of this superiors and maintains his story regarding the confession. In his testimony, Sabo says Briscoe has a personal grudge against him and forced him to "piss on my new AJs" during the bus station arrest. McCoy brings up Sabo's lengthy criminal record (12 arrests) and points out Sabo's running from the police. But the judge allows the motion, finding animus from Briscoe towards Sabo and describing the confession as uncorroborated. Briscoe storms out as Sabo's attorney asks for the case against her client to be dismissed. McCoy is given 24 hours to find fresh evidence.

As Briscoe returns to the station, he and Green engage in a heated argument. Briscoe says his partner hasn't supported him. Green suggests Briscoe has a racial problem with him (bringing up the "roaches" comment), which Briscoe strongly denies. Green points out Briscoe's mistakes in the case, prompting Lennie to mention Green's "tossed evidence" since moving to the 27th. Van Buren intervenes, bringing Briscoe into her office. Briscoe demands a new partner. but Van Buren refuses. Calming down, Briscoe admits suggestions he is too old to do his job have upset him. Van Buren pledges her full support. Emerging back into the office, Briscoe mentions Sabo's testimony about the new sneakers; he and Green realize the clothes (and shoes) in which Sabo committed the murder must have been dumped at Garza's apartment.

The detectives recover Sabo's discarded sneakers from Garza's aprtment. Forensics discover spots of the murdered woman's blood on them and witnesses confirm the sneakers belonged to Bobby Sabo. McCoy and Carmichael confront Sabo and his attorney with the new evidence, McCoy telling Saboy "you've run out of miracles". Sabo requests a deal, saying he has information on the notorious (fictional) Murray Hill rapist. The attorney asks for a charge of first-degree manslaughter and a sentence of 6–12 years. McCoy and Carmichael take the proposal to Schiff. Carmichael disagrees with the deal, pointing out the callous nature Sabo's crime and that he "put Briscoe and Green through hell in this case". Schiff responds "That's their job. Make the deal." Sabo confesses to the murder as part of the deal. McCoy adds Sabo "went one-on-one with Detective Briscoe and you beat him...What did you say to him when arrested you?" Sabo says "The old cop? I told him that white bitch got what she deserved," exactly as Briscoe had claimed.

At the 27th precinct, Van Buren informs Briscoe and Green of the case's outcome, adding the Murray Hill suspect was arrested two hours ago, and that Sabo admitted to the confession. "My old pal Bobby finally came clean, huh? You can tell him I'll be doing this job from a wheelchair," responds Briscoe. As Green makes to leave, he transfers cash from his wallet to a shirt pocket. "Don't draw to any inside straights," says Briscoe as Green departs self-consciously, to a concerned look from Briscoe.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast




Green: I heard the news. We get the gun, they toss it. We get the confession.
Briscoe: We?
Green: I've been sayin' "we" to cover your ass, outta respect for you.
Briscoe: I don't need that kinda respect.
Green: Good, 'cause I've been walkin' on eggshells ever since we caught this case.
Briscoe: 'Bout as long as you've been pissin' me off.
Green: Pissing you off?! Why? 'Cause I don't blend in with the rest of the roaches?
Briscoe: Oh, is that what this is about?! Because you know that's not how I meant that!
Green: No, no, no. I will tell you what I know. If it wasn't for your screw-ups, we'd have nailed this guy a long time ago!
Briscoe: My screw-ups?! Your stuff's been gettin' thrown outta court ever since you got here!
Green: Well, maybe I take chances, because my partner can't get it up!
Briscoe: [throws the transcript at his partner] Maybe you just get off on takin' chances!
Lt. Van Buren: BRISCOE!
[Briscoe turns to the angry lieutenant]
Lt. Van Buren: In my office!

[Briscoe enters Van Buren's office after his clash with Green]
Lt. Van Buren: What's goin' on?
Briscoe: I'm done workin' with Green.
Lt. Van Buren: The hell you are!
Briscoe: I don't need him second-guessing everything I do.
Lt. Van Buren: Green's not your problem.
Briscoe: Then what is my problem? You tell me.
Lt. Van Buren: That's what I'm tryin' to figure out.
Briscoe: You think I'm too old to cut it?!
Lt. Van Buren: Whoa! Now, where's that comin' from?
Briscoe: From the flavor of the month out there.
Lt. Van Buren: You've been here 6 years. You know I don't play favorites.
Briscoe: Well, 6 years should count for somethin' more than my pension.
Lt. Van Buren: Look, I'm behind you, Lennie. But I believe this case is messin' with you.
Briscoe: This case pans out the same whether I'm 25 or 75!
Lt. Van Buren: Right. I'm glad you feel that way. So, pull yourself together, because it isn't over.

Background information and notes

  • The episode was adapted into the Law & Order: UK episode "Repeat to Fade".
  • This is the only episode where the scene cards correctly state the Borough Detective Commander Michael Cullen portrayed to be "James Dietz".

Episode scene cards

1 2 3 4

Community Center
73 Manhattan Avenue
Thursday, September 17

Apartment Of
Bobby Sabo
32 West 128th Street
Friday, September 18

Apartment Of
Marisol Benitez
559 West 48th Street
Friday, September 18

Apartment of
Diego Garza
Castle Hill, The Bronx
Saturday, September 19

5 6 7 8

Office Of
Borough Detective
Commander Dietz
Monday, September 21

Rikers Island
Correctional Facility
Saturday, September 26

Supreme Court
Trial Part 36
Motion Hearing
Wednesday, October 14

Supreme Court
Trial Part 36
Motion Hearing
Wednesday, October 14

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