Cagney & Lacey

Season 2 Episode 14

Open and Shut Case

Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Jan 31, 1983 on CBS

Episode Recap

These are stressful times for Cagney and Lacey: Lacey loses two and a half days waiting to testify in a case, and Cagney is trying to decide which car she is going to buy. Lt. Samuels gives them an easy assignment: a man was stabbed to death at a party in front of six witnesses, all of them Armenian. The witnesses show disdain for the alleged murderer, a Turkish gentleman.

At the precinct Cagney and Lacey notice Elizabeth Carter, a woman they remember from their days in uniform. Elizabeth was the victim of a brutal gang rape and now the conviction of one of the men has been overturned. She asks Cagney and Lacey to help her get out of testifying again. The detectives try to convince her that she should cooperate with the D.A. and promise to help her in court.

The investigation in the knife murder gets some strange twists and turns. The coroner points out that the victim did not die from the stabbing wound; an incorrect procedure at the emergency room caused his death. According to the District Attorney this does not make a difference. The defendant is guilty of 'proximate cause'.

The case in which Elizabeth Carter has to testify takes longer than expected and the young women is left waiting in the hall. Cagney and Lacey take her to a bar and try to cheer her up.

Then they discover that Elizabeth's testimony will take place on the same day that one of the detectives has to testify in the case of the knife murder. Eventually, it's Lacey who gets grilled by the defense attorney. The clever lawyer succeeds in confusing Lacey's testimony.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth hears that another man in the gang rape incident has seen his conviction overturned; there's going to another retrial. This proves to be too much for Elizabeth and she threatens to run away.

At the knife murder trial the first witness comes up with strange statements, continuously changing his story and blatantly showing his prejudice against Turks. Lacey begins to wonder whether the defendant might be being railroaded. Some further investigation brings out revealing new information. The alleged murderer was himself in the emergency room half an hour before the fatal stabbing. At the party some other people were stabbed too.

Just as she is explaining her doubts to the district attorney, the defendant's lawyer proposes a deal. The District Attorney is tempted to accept the deal and forget about Lacey's new information. Lacey threatens to go the press if he does so and eventually the district attorney changes the charge into "possession of a switchblade", for which the man is found guilty and fined.

Elizabeth returns to the court in time for her testimony, realizing that it is the right thing to do. Cagney and Lacey are there for her, which means Cagney is too late for her appointment with a man selling a sports car. She can just see the car driving off... and breaking down after a block or two.
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