Law and Order
CI, Episode 6.06
Production number: 06007
First aired: 31 October 2006
  th of 195 produced in CI  
th of 195 released in CI
  th of 1271 released in all  
Beth Harner.jpg
Teleplay By
Gina Gionfriddo

Story By
Gina Gionfriddo & Warren Leight

Directed By
Christine Moore


Detectives Goren and Eames travel to Vietnam to bring back a suspect to New York for trial, who has confessed to the long-unsolved murder of a child beauty queen. Nevertheless, Goren finds the suspect's confession to be too predictable, even though it mentions facts only known to the police and the child's immediate family. The investigation reveals that the dead child's mother (Liza Minnelli), their next-door-neighbor (who has been making money off the murder with several books), as well as the next-door-neighbor's son all have possible motive for the murder. It is also revealed that the original investigation, fourteen years earlier, was botched by a rookie investigator. Adding to the drama is a new ADA who is pushing for a quick resolution to the long-cold case.


A suspect in the unsolved, decade-old murder of a famous child actress is wined and dined by Goren and Eames while they are bringing him back to the US from Vietnam. Holes in his version of the events surrounding the death of the young child actress, Amberleigh, force them to reinvestigate the case, which at the time was plagued with extensive publicity and a botched investigation. Despite the worldwide reach of the case, the evidence points much closer to home than was thought at the time.

Amberleigh's friend and neighbor, Jamie, confesses he unintentionally suffocated her while trying to quiet her after he had accidentally given her a bloody nose. He further confessed that his mother made a fake ransom call to throw police off the trail before disposing of the body in the laundry drying machine. However, Goren and Eames believe there's more to the story and at Jamie's request, arrange a meeting between him and Amberleigh's mother, Beth, at Amberleigh's grave site on the anniversary of her murder, Halloween.

At the grave, Beth forgives Jamie, telling him Amberleigh would too, but Goren and Eames reveal the truth: Jamie didn't kill her like he thought he did. She was just unconscious and it was really his father who went to get rid of her body, not his mother. Amberleigh woke up, and to save his own reputation, Jamie's father, Nate, was the one to kill her before stuffing her body in the dryer. He let his son believe he murdered Amberleigh all those years and had done everything he could to keep his son hooked on drugs so he wouldn't confess (Like making sure he stayed homeless during his time of drug addiction and calling his place of therapy to make sure he couldn't talk things out) Nate is arrested leaving a devastated Beth and Jamie with the truth and finally, closure.


Main cast

Recurring Cast

Guest cast

  • Bill Irwin as Nate Royce
  • Matt McGrath as Simon Fife
  • Dashiell Eaves as Jamie Royce
  • Kristin Rohde as Linda Bonnardi
  • Liza Minnelli as Beth Harner
  • Catherine Curtin as Jenna Switzer
  • Jay Russell as Marvin Sheppard
  • Kayla Vanderbilt as Amberleigh Harner
  • Tara Westwood as Jenny
  • Andrew Halliday as London Reporter
  • Doug Yasuda as Japanese Reporter
  • Sean Patrick Monahan as Young Jamie Royce
  • Peter Chan as Airport Traveler (uncredited)
  • Jonathan S. Kui as Vietnamese Army Officer #3 (uncredited)
  • Rebecca Merle as Ms. Taylor (uncredited)
  • Joe Huu Nguyen as Extra (uncredited)
  • Antonio San Miguel as Airline Patron (uncredited)
  • Yue Xu as Bartender (uncredited)



[When the detectives plead for the full 24 hours of investigation time]
Eames: You know the DA's office. This case collapses, they'll spin it so everybody thinks we botched it again.
Ross: And this case collapses how?
Eames: The ransom demand. The caller said, "We have your whore daughter." Fife thinks he made "gentle love" to Amberleigh. Different fantasy.

Eames: (about Royce's book) I stopped reading when I got to Fife's line about how he made love to Amberleigh while co-mingling their blood.
Gomes: There was no blood in the basement, except for Amberleigh's.

Beth Harner: (to Goren): You seem like a man who's dedicated to his work. Too much, maybe.
Goren: Like you were to Amberleigh.

Goren: Beth Harner's behavior was very, very strange that morning, but it's another rookie cop's mistake to think that strange behavior equals guilt.

Background information and notes

  • This episode is loosely based upon the JonBenét Ramsey case, which resulted in the detention of a suspect much like was depicted in the episode, who was also found to not be the killer as in the episode. Suspicion later fell on the family, but where in JonBenet's case it proved to be unjustified, in the episode a close friend of the family was eventually implicated.
  • Liza Minnelli and Bill Irwin both worked together in the film Stepping Out.
Previous episode:
Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Season 6
Next episode:
"Country Crossover"
Seasons 12345678910