|"House of Cards"|
|←||L&O, Episode 16.07||→|
|Production number: 16008|
First aired: 9 November 2005
| Written By|
Fontana and Green investigate when the body of a young mother who had recently cleaned her life up is found in her apartment, with her five-day-old infant son Nicholas missing. Detectives soon track down Arlene Tarrington and ascertain that the infant she is claiming is hers is really baby Nicholas, but after her lawyers make a claim of post-partum psychosis and another man comes forward claiming to be the child's father, McCoy and Borgia are forced to decide which of the two they would rather lock up for the crime. Eventually, they learn the man really was the child's father and had sold the baby to Arlene. McCoy strikes a deal with Arlene to testify against the man in exchange for 15 years on a kidnapping charge rather than murder, but the defense is able to make it look like Arlene was the killer and the man get off. Shortly afterwards, its discovered that the man who had believed Nicholas to be his fled town with the baby as he knew the father would try to get custody and then sell the baby again. Though the police have good leads on where to chase him down, a sympathetic Branch orders McCoy and Borgia to tell the police to "take the weekend off and start fresh on Monday", thus giving the man a chance to get away since they can't help him legally.
- Dennis Farina as Detective Joe Fontana
- Jesse L. Martin as Detective Ed Green
- S. Epatha Merkerson as Lieutenant Anita Van Buren
- Sam Waterston as Executive A.D.A. Jack McCoy
- Annie Parisse as A.D.A. Alexandra Borgia
- Fred Dalton Thompson as D.A. Arthur Branch
- Becky Ann Baker as Defense Attorney Carolyn Walters
- Tricia Paoluccio as Jeannie Scott
- Victor Verhaeghe as Frank Stoll
- Carolyn McCormick as Dr. Elizabeth Olivet
- Wendy Moniz as Arlene Tarrington
- Lauren Chapman as Gina Devore
- Christine Evangelista as Lindsay Doyle
- Patrick Holder as Vincent Keys
- Anthony Holds as Steve Monroe
- Elaine Hyman as Matilde Schweidenback
- Selenis Leyva as Detective Rivera
- David Little as Judge Michael Schneider
- Craig Mathers as Stuart Tarrington
- Dan McCabe as Jay Gilbert
- Chris McGarry as Daniel Trager
- Pippa Pearthree as Judge Esther Morrow
- Shelley Williams as Beverly Doyle
- Charles Pistone as Richard Turino
- William Peden as Assistant M.E.
- Doug Olear as Craig
- Richard Litt as Super
- Kevin Kane as Uniform #1
- Todd A. Horman as Uniform #2
- David Sajadi as Uniform #3
- Suzie Cho as Tina
- Brielle Barbusca as Little Girl
- Charisse Brown as Social Services Worker
- Jeannine Comeau as Paralegal
- Sydney Davis as Foreperson
- Judy Del Giudice as Manager
- Maximillian Sherer as Little Boy
- Bea Soong as Beth
- Stewart Summers as Detective (uncredited)
- Andrea Yates
- Nicky Haggerty
- Alexandra Borgia: I had a friend who lost twins in her seventh month. She didn't leave her apartment for weeks. I don't know if she was depressed or crazy or what, but I think it's safe to say she wasn't thinking straight for a long time.
- Arthur Branch: But your friend didn't kill anybody, did she?
- Mr. Terrington: I am Arlene's best and closest friend.
- Alexandra Borgia: Mr. Terrington, you didn't even know that she'd miscarried.
- (After Dr. Olivet's ambiguous description of the defendant's state of mind)
- Jack McCoy: Thanks for nothing, Liz.
- Dr. Elizabeth Olivet: It's a subjective science, Jack!
- Carolyn Walters: Post-partum psychosis. Makes post-partum depression look like a day at the beach.
- Alexandra Borgia: Her neighbor says they were near divorce, until Arlene got pregnant. It's kind of sad, don't you think?
- Jack McCoy: This woman did a murder-kidnapping. Breaks my heart.
- Landlord: (about an abandoned apartment) This is what God invented security deposits for.
Background information and notes
- This episode appears to be ripped from the headlines of the Bobbi Jo Stinnett case. Stinnett was pregnant when she was murdered by a woman named Lisa Montgomery who cut the baby out of her body. Like Arlene, the killer had been pretending to be pregnant for months. In another high-profile case, a woman named Sarah Brady killed an attacker who was trying to stab her and steal her fetus; again, her attacker had falsely claimed to be pregnant.
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