Law & Order: Publish and Perish

Saturday 6 June 10.10pm

The 15th season of the veteran crime drama continues. In this week’s episode, Fontana and temporary partner Falco (guest star Michael Imperioli, ‘The Sopranos’) find themselves entangled in a sensational case after the murders of a porn star and a high-profile publisher pit them against a powerful enemy.

With Detective Green laid up after being shot in a recent case (see last week’s episode, ‘Tombstone’), Fontana is working with Brooklyn detective Nick Falco. The pair’s first case together involves the murder of Samantha Savage, a famous adult-movie star who has been shot dead in her apartment.

The evidence suggests that Samantha knew her killer. Hearing that there was bad blood between the victim and her father, Elston Norrell, Fontana and Falco ask him a few questions. His alibi checks out, but he does give the cops a new lead by revealing that he was told to stay away from his daughter by another pair of detectives. It turns out that these cops had been asked to ‘lean’ on Norrell by Arnie MacLaren (guest star Kevin Dunn, ‘Transformers’), a police commissioner who is in the running for the nation’s top security post.

MacLaren explains that he and Samantha Savage had the same literary editor, Helen DeVries. Phone records show that DeVries repeatedly called the victim on the day of the murder, which she explains with claims that the “home-video hooker” had ditched her for a rival publisher. “I took that silicone-stuffed bimbo and turned her into a best- selling author,” spits DeVries, but refutes the suggestion that she killed Samantha in revenge. Nevertheless, the detectives still like DeVries for the murder, given that she has motive and a reported propensity for violence.

Things get even worse for DeVries when a detective by the name of Pete Milligan (Paul Schulze, ‘24’) brings in a witness who puts her at the scene. When a search of DeVries’s home turns up the victim’s blood, she is remanded in custody – still vigorously protesting her innocence. “Other authors have left Helen,” points out her lawyer. “And lived to tell about it,” adds DeVries.

The case takes a strange turn when it emerges that the victim and accused had both visited the same apartment on numerous occasions – and that none other than Arnie MacLaren uses the property as an office. It transpires that MacLaren has been having an affair with DeVries, but he denies also seeing Samantha Savage at the apartment. He is concerned that being connected to this sordid case will harm his bid for the prestigious job he is after, but McCoy reminds him that “we’re investigating a homicide, Commissioner. It takes us where it takes us.” Branch warns McCoy that MacLaren has powerful friends: “Make sure whatever you’ve got on him is rock solid.”

Helen DeVries is later released on bail, but pays for her freedom with her life when she is shot dead in a car park. CCTV footage shows the killer making sure to conceal his face from the cameras, before leaving a note that reads: ‘For Samantha. RIP.’ The bullet is traced to a gun used in an old case… which was headed up by Pete Milligan, the cop who brought in the witness against DeVries. It turns out that Milligan blackmailed the ‘witness’ – and that he is the man who shot DeVries. But why? A trawl through Milligan’s murky past provides the answer… and brings Arnie MacLaren kicking and screaming into the courtroom.

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