Friday 26th June 10.00pm
Continuing this week is the sixth season of the ‘Law & Order’ spin-off following New York’s Major Case Squad. This week, detectives arrest a man after he confesses to a 14-year-old murder. However, when Goren and Eames pick holes in the man’s story, they are forced to sift through a range of other suspects to find the true culprit.
Goren and Eames travel to Vietnam to arrest a man who has confessed to the murder of ten-year- old Amberleigh Harner. Simon Fife, who was a nurse at Amberleigh’s school, claims he is guilty of sleeping with the girl and then killing her in her parents’ basement 14 years earlier. On the flight back to New York, Goren studies his suspect and concludes that Fife is a disturbed individual who was most likely abused by his own parents.
Captain Ross wants his officers to prove that Fife is guilty of the crime beyond all doubt, and the DA grants them a day to interview him. “A 14-year unsolved case, 24 hours to solve it?” Eames complains. When questioned, Fife insists that he had a relationship with Amberleigh. “She was my girlfriend,” he says. When Eames queries details of his account, Fife responds by supplying information about what Amberleigh ate on the day she died. These details were never released to the public and could only be known by the killer.
Goren and Eames pay a visit to the crime scene with Linda Bonnardi, the rookie officer who found the body. Bonnardi was much criticised for her handling of the case. She believes that Amberleigh’s mother, Beth (Liza Minnelli), killed her daughter – based on her strange behaviour that day. Goren, however, remains doubtful. “It’s a rookie cop’s mistake to think that strange behaviour equals guilt,” he says.
The Harner family’s neighbour, Nate Royce, finally puts the detectives in touch with Beth, who has refused to help the police since they first suspected her of the crime. Beth takes a shine to Goren and soon lets slips the fact that Amberleigh was away from school when Simon Fife was working there – proving that the pair never met. Fife is clearly delusional – but when asked how he knew intimate details about the crime, he suggests that Beth may have told him in one of her emails to him. “She made me promise not to tell anyone,” he says.
Goren and Eames are stunned to learn that Beth emailed the alleged killer of her daughter. With the case against Fife dropped, they now turn their attention to Beth. “You gained Fife’s trust, now gain hers,” Ross tells Goren. The detective duly pays Beth a visit at her house. Over the course of dinner, he learns that Beth does not have an email account. So who emailed Fife using her name?
Suspicion falls on Jamie, the son of Nate Royce and a childhood friend of Amberleigh. Questioned by Goren and Eames, Jamie confesses that he was with the girl in the basement on the day she died. He claims that he hit her by accident and then smothered her to stop her crying. His late mother then helped clean up the crime scene. Ross believes they have finally cracked the case – but once more Goren has his doubts. “There’s a piece missing,” he says. Does Jamie’s father, Nate, hold that missing piece?