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"3 Dawg Night"
L&O, Episode 12.09
Production number: E2203
First aired: 28 November 2001
  th of 456 produced in L&O  
th of 456 released in L&O
  th of 1185 released in all  
Lewin 3 Dawg Night
Written By
Aaron Zelman

Directed By
Steve Wertimer


Summary

After a murder is committed in a nightclub, McCoy and Southerlyn have trouble dealing with the case due to a lack of eyewitnesses and the fame of the defendant.

Plot

Two women are standing outside a nightclub while an usher insists that they are not on the guest list despite what they say. The usher then lets in some others and the women protest as to why he did not check them. Gunshots are fired as people flee from the club.

Briscoe and Green arrive as the officers on scene tell them that they arrived at 2:45 when EMS took the victim, who was shot twice in the chest, to Roosevelt, but he died on the way. The victim was identified as Jerome Cabey, a 24-year-old black male. He was found with bloodstained money scattered on the ground near him. Briscoe and Green head into the scene of the crime: the Mega-Fly nightclub. They talk to the floor manager, Lonnie Liston, who says they don't use metal detectors but rather a guest list for security but that Cabey was not on the list. Liston states the club is upscale and he is unaware of any potential drug dealings. He also states that he has never seen the victim before and that he is unaware of how he got in. Briscoe and Green then go talk to the usher and ask for a reasonable explanation for why Cabey was let in. The usher reveals he used to work with Cabey's older sister and that he let Cabey, also known as Bone, in sometimes to see the DJs. The usher also states that Cabey had a stubborn attitude.

Later, in the precinct, Briscoe and Green exchange information with Van Buren: Cabey has never been arrested, none of the 500 people in the club saw anything, and the employees only heard the gunshots. They then decide to examine the victim. The coroner states that the gun used was a 9mm or a 357. There were no drugs or alcohol in the victim's system and multiple items, including a two-way pager, were found on Cabey. The last page on it was at 12:40 AM, reading "meet you at Mega-Fly". Briscoe comes up with the idea to reply, saying to "meet Bone back at his apartment". Briscoe and Green next head to Cabey's apartment and talk to a maintenance person there. He states that Cabey lived alone and gave other tenants a lot of trouble with his music. The two detectives also notice a lot of expensive equipment and wonder how Cabey paid for it. Two people then walk in looking for Bone. They think they are in the wrong apartment and are about to leave but Briscoe stops the two, who realize that they have been set up. The two detectives tell them about Cabey's death but they do not know much about him since they claim they were not allowed in. They ask about relatives, and the two men provide them with his sister's address. 

Briscoe and Green notify Cabey's sister about his death. She states that Cabey did not know when to back down. When asked about how Cabey paid for his equipment, she reveals that when Cabey brought his laundry to her house, she saw little plastic bags, similar to ones used in selling cocaine. Back at the police department, Briscoe speculates that Cabey dumped or sold his drug stash beforehand. Anita reveals that the money had Cabey's fingerprints on it. Cordova comes in with a list of credit card users at Mega-Fly that night and from that, a list of names who have been arrested for drugs. She states that two people from that list were arrested for drug sale and one of them, Ernie Salerno, was arrested for selling coke.

Briscoe and Green confront Salerno, who states that he got on the guest list since he knows Liston. He then states that he saw Cabey doing business and him and Liston getting into an argument where it seemed like Liston was trying to throw him out. Briscoe and Green interrogate Liston in the police department. He states that no one buys drugs in Mega-Fly even if people bring them but the detectives state they have a witness testifying about how he had an argument with Cabey. Liston admits this and states that Cabey brought his demo so he could DJ at the club but Liston thought it was bad. He then states that Cabey mouthed him off and Liston moved him to the coat check and then went to his office and heard the gunshots a few minutes later. Briscoe and Green don't believe him and threaten to shut down and lock up the nightclub until Liston decides to properly testify. According to him, a famous hip-hop musician called G-Trane, a.k.a. Darryl Collins, was there with his people, Cabey threw some money in his face while calling him a sellout, and then it was chaos in Mega-Fly.

Collins' name is not found on the guest list but it is revealed that there is a secret list with an "Allie Lawrence" on it who was in the VIP room with Trane. Green speculates that even if Collins shot someone in front of 500 people, nobody would say anything. However, this is all based on Liston's testimony and so the detectives decide to talk to the coat-check girl, Amanda Reese, who supposedly told Liston what happened.  She states that Cabey was following Collins and Lawrence and then Cabey said something and threw some money in Collins' face, then his bodyguard pulled out what looked like a gun and a few seconds later there were gunshots. She also states that she never saw a gun in Collins' hand. The detectives go to see Collins, only to be told that he is busy, thus forcing them to see Collins' lawyer, Lawrence Garber, instead of him. Garber states that Collins has no obligation to speak to the police but Briscoe insists that he will go to the D.A. if a statement from Collins is not given. Garber agrees to convince Collins to speak but insists that it be in his own office rather than the precinct. 

Collins testifies that he, Lawrence, and his bodyguard were getting ready to leave when a person completely unknown to him threw money in his face. He then continued to walk out but halfway to the door he heard gunshots and then he left. Collins confirms that his bodyguard has a gun. Briscoe and Green then talk to the bodyguard, who states that the group was heading out, someone threw money in Collins' face, and the group continued to walk out until they heard gunshots halfway to the door. He too states that he has never seen Cabey. The bodyguard shows his 9mm gun to the detectives but refuses to hand it over to them. Briscoe points out that he is illegally parked and asks him to move but the bodyguard refuses to. Briscoe then arrests him for not obeying an order from the police and Green confiscates the 9mm gun. In the interrogation room, Briscoe states that they have eyewitnesses who saw him pull out a gun but he denies having done that.

Cordova comes in with a ballistics report that reveals that the bodyguard's gun was not the murder weapon. It also shows that the gun the bodyguard has is not the one he is registered for. Briscoe speculates that he discarded his registered gun after shooting Cabey. The bodyguard insists he did not shoot anyone and asks the detectives to check the sleeves of his suit at a laundry place for gunshot residues. When the detectives ask him how they would know it is the same suit he wore on that night, he states that Collins spilled cristal on his pants and it left a stain on it.

Testing of the suit reveals that there is a stain on the pants that smells like old wine and that there is no gunshot residue on either sleeve. It also reveals that there is gun residue on the outer right arm below the shoulder, despite the fact that the bodyguard is right-handed. This means that he was standing to the left of the shooter, who was very likely Collins. Briscoe brings up the possibility that the bodyguard was protecting Collins in his testimony and that Collins used the bodyguard's missing gun to Anita, who then asks why Collins could not have a gun of his own. Briscoe states that if he did have a gun, it would be illegal, but Green points out that that only holds true in New York. He finds out that Collins bought a 9mm Glock from a Los Angeles gun shop two years ago. The detectives go to Garber's office to ask Collins to submit his gun for examination but Garber states that Collins is done cooperating. 

In the D.A's office, Sutherlyn states that it makes sense psychologically since Cabey was challenging Collins' integrity and McCoy states that the reason is one that makes sense for Collins and his image. Lewin cautions against using the persona Collins uses on his records to make assumptions about him. Sutherlyn states that the evidence is clear: Collins had a confrontation with Cabey, forensic evidence cleared the bodyguard, and Collins refuses to submit his gun. Lewin points out that they cannot prove that Collins was carrying the gun on the night of the murder. McCoy flies to L.A. to speak with Lawrence while Sutherlyn tries to make the bodyguard James Wilson talk again. Despite the charges against him for an illegal gun, Wilson refuses to testify. Meanwhile, in L.A., McCoy meets Lawrence as well as her agents Sonya Bergman and Dennis Foster. Lawrence testifies that she did not see the shooting nor the argument between Collins and Cabey. Dennis implies that she does not have more to say but McCoy states that she can be given a subpoena or arrested for not complying. However, Lawrence states that she does not like to have her arm twisted and that she will testify in court. 

Back in the D.A.'s office, the attorneys go over their options. No eyewitnesses can be found as to the gun on Collins but McCoy states that they cannot run from the case since Collins would then continue to perpetuate violence for money. Sutherlyn aso points out that they nonetheless do have a decent circumstantial case. The downside is that someone is bound to make Collins seem like a martyr. McCoy suggests that they give Collins the chance to come clean. Collins states that he never shot Cabey while Garber states that turning over the gun is an unreasonable request, which McCoy disagrees with. He states that Collins being the culprit is the only theory that makes sense due to a motive, opportunity, and continued stonewalling and that the jury would not acquit him based on his popularity. Collins is given 24 hours to confess to a murder charge. 

An arraignment is held and Collins is charged with murder in the 2nd degree. Collins pleads not guilty. The bail is set at one million dollars, which Collins posts. A crowd outside the trial insists that Collins has been framed. Later, McCoy reveals that Lawrence is under subpoena. Lewin suggests Carver assist McCoy instead of Sutherlyn since Carver is more experienced and black, thinking that race will be an issue. McCoy insists that the case should be made about facts and that having Carver due to his race will undercut that. Lewin agrees to let Sutherlyn stay. 

The official trial begins and McCoy calls Reese testifies that she was at coat-check when Collins, Wilson, and Lawrence walked down the stairs, and then a man got in Collins' face as they walked away. McCoy shows her a picture of Cabey and the girl identifies him as the man who did that. He was waiting for his coat when Collins arrived but Reese helped Collins first. Reese testifies that Cabey then stopped Collins and Wilson as they were walking to the door and that she was 25 to 30 feet away. Cabey cursed at Collins, called him a sellout, and threw money in his face. Gunshots were then heard. McCoy asks if she saw Collins with a gun and about their positions. Reese states that she only saw Wilson with a metal object and that he was standing to Collins' left.

Garber begins his cross-examination and states that the club was dark and that there were several people between Reese and Collins, but she states that she could still see what happened. Garber states that she would then see if Collins pulled a gun and fired it. Garber states that she was paid $20,000 for an interview and that she would not be paid that much unless she was willing to provide dirt on Collins, to which McCoy successfully objects. The next witness called by McCoy is the examiner who states that gun residue was found on the right arm below the shoulder on Wilson's suit. McCoy asks where the shooter was standing and he states that the shooter had to be on Wilson's right and the muzzle was 1-2 feet away. Garber points out that the shooter could have been behind, and the examiner states that it is possible that either Wilson moved forward or the shooter moved backward. 

The next day, Lawrence is called to the stand and states that she and Collins are no longer seeing each other since she wants to focus on her career, but that she will always love him. McCoy moves to declare Lawrence a hostile witness based on her romantic relationship with Collins, and the judge agrees, giving McCoy more latitude to deal with her. Lawrence states that she has seen Collins with a gun occasionally. McCoy asks if she remembers a man provoking him in the club but she states that she was behind Collins and Wilson with people in between them and that she only heard the gunshots and then ran out. McCoy then asks her where did they drive after the shooting and she states that they went to Collins' house in Berkshire. Garber states that he has no questions for Lawrence. The people rest their case.

The defense calls Collins to the stand. He states that he was with Lawrence in the club at 12:30 and confirms that he was not drunk. He also states that he did not have the 9mm Glock on him that night since it was stolen from a motel in Detroit due to a show he did there last year. Collins then testifies that he and Wilson went down to get Lawrence's coat when Cabey approached them, taunted Collins, and then threw money in his face. He also states that he saw Wilson pull out a gun and stopped him from doing so. The gunshots were then heard behind them as they were walking to the door and the three of them ran in fear of their lives. 

Later in the D.A.'s office, McCoy wonders how Collins and Lawrence found each other in all the chaos despite the testimony that they were separated by some people. Furthermore, if they were walking out then Wilson's back would be to Reese, which would mean that she would be unable to see his gun. Sutherlyn points out that Wilson did not shoot Cabey and McCoy agrees, saying that Wilson was next to whoever shot him. McCoy and Sutherlyn talk with Collins, and Garber and McCoy propose a theory that Collins gave Lawrence the gun and for that reason was able to find her and leave together with her. McCoy states that he is covering for Lawrence, but nonetheless Collins is willing to go back to court due to, according to him, the image he has to portray on his C.D.s of a tough person.

McCoy then heads to Foster's office and states that he may have to call Lawrence to rebut, which Foster is shocked by. McCoy tells Lawrence the consequences Collins is facing and asks for the truth in order to exonerate Collins, promising that whatever she says is off the record. Lawrence decides that she does not want Collins to go through with his plan and finally reveals the truth. Cabey threw money at Collins. who tried to retaliate only for Lawrence to stop him. Cabey then touched her privates and became confrontational, stating that Lawrence was just another woman for him. Lawrence had Collins' gun in her purse and decided to shoot him. Collins then threw the gun off a bridge after they drove away from the club. Lawrence worries about going to jail but Foster states that without her statement they cannot make a case against her. McCoy, Sutherlyn, and Lewin are left with no choice but to let Collins and Lawrence walk free due to a lack of witnesses and it is revealed that Collins' CD dropped 10 places after people found out he was not the killer. 

Cast

Main cast

Guest cast

References

references

Quotes

"I'm surprised no one scooped [the money] up."

"Well, the place was pretty crowded. Four, five hundred people."

"Well, I'm glad they all stuck around to do their civic duty."


Briscoe and an officer

Background information and notes

  • This episode is loosely based on Puff Daddy and the shooting at Club New York in 1999.


Previous episode:
"The Fire This Time"
"3 Dawg Night"
Law & Order
Season 12
Next episode:
"Prejudice"
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