Cagney & Lacey

Season 4 Episode 1

Child Witness

Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Oct 15, 1984 on CBS

Episode Recap

An elementary school principal alerts Cagney and Lacey to a possible case of child abuse. Carrie Mitchel, a young girl, says she's been abused by her babysitter Neal Traeger. While the detectives look into Traeger's bakckground and his work for a babysitter service, the child's father brings Carrie to the precinct to tell them that she made up the story. Mary Beth can 't believe Carrie lied and when she confronts the child again at the school gate, Carrie tells them her father made her retract the story. Mr Mitchell is an attorney himself, and he knows how difficult these cases can be. The perpetrator might get off and the victim will be traumatized for life.

Petrie tries to pry open his locked car, parked outside his house, when two uniformed policemen stop him rather brutally, believing him to be a car thief. Convinced that they treated him that way because he was black (in a white neighborhood) Petrie files charges against them. Samuels tries to convince him to drop the charges, as the officers reacted to the sight of Petrie's weapon in its holster. When the two officers ask him the same thing, Petrie still refuses.

Without a witness Cagney and Lacey can't do anything about Neal Traeger. It especially eats at Mary Beth, who can't let go of the case, much to Harvey's annoyance. A second witness is found, but he's only three years old. Cagney and Lacey again beg Mr Mitchell to let Carrie testify. Mitchell changes his mind when he hears about the other victim.

Petrie talks to Claudia about his problem. To his surprise she backs the officers. As a policeman's wife, she'd rather he err on the side of caution. Petrie drops his charges.

In the hallway outside the courtroom Taeger's defense lawyer scares little Carrie and Mitchell changes his mind again. But then Cagney arranges it so that Carrie can tell her story in court to someone she trusts: Mary Beth. Carrie and Mary Beth walk into the courtroom to make a statement.