Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Season 2 Episode 16

Cuba Libre

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Mar 09, 2003 on USA
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Cuba Libre
After the trophy wife of a recently released prison inmate is murdered, Goren plays on the man's paranoia to find a connection to another inmate with a hit list.

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  • The signficant others of a man who has just been released from prison (for plotting the murder of his ex-business partner) are being gunned down. It looks like pretty bad aim, and the ex-con is himself the target, until the detectives dig deeper.moreless

    The retail clothing business never looked dicier - and Joel Grey is very effective as the ex-con clothing empire owner born and bred to buy low, sell high, and get stiffed.

    First his gorgeous much younger wife and then his attorney are shot in broad daylight by what Bobby terms "a bold shooter", but the paranoid businessman trusted neither spouse nor counselor. The only person he does seem to trust is a man he served time with, still imprisoned.

    Goren and Eames discover the connection via a check made out by the dead attorney to the inmate's wife. The inmate himself is a violent cop-hating offender who offered protection to the mad merchandiser when he was locked up. He's a self-professed 'living legend', and the clothier had paid out over 200,000 dollars to him. And of course, the imprisoned hood has the connections to make folks on the outside go away, (the retailers 'enemies' as well as his)in addition to keeping his 'friends' healthy behind bars.

    This isn't the prison marriage made in heaven, tho. Unfortunately, the sentiment is all on one side - the old retailer's. Even his own son is about to be executed, "he's on paranoid fugue" says Goren, and the detectives decide to prove his buddy on the inside is both behind the killings and will sell the old man out.

    The main interest in the episode is the crazed old man's conviction those who loved him (or a facsimile therof) on the outside are traitorous, while his main man inside is a 'brother'. A brother who bleeds you dry, maybe, while offering protection from his own goons. And one who also has a few prison employees on his tab, and plans on escaping and retiring in Cuba. (hence the title).

    The story, tho, goes beyond the typical superficial examinations of institutionalized thinking, paranoid behavior, and misplaced loyalties, to examine, if all too briefly, a special connection made long ago in space and time between a reassuring elderly tailor and a troubled boy, and the retailer's present attempt to retrieve the past by projecting onto the con the integrity of the long dead tailor.

    To see the old clothing store owner "I know people!" realize he has not just been fooled, but has fooled himself, is saddening. Of course, Goren isn't about to pull any punches when letting you know you've been played like a "dummy", and the price was as inconsequential as a few more minutes of prison-time tv. :)

    Grey is marvelous in his portrayal of a man who has truly lost it...and God only knows how long ago.moreless
Clifton Powell

Clifton Powell

Dempsey Powers

Guest Star

Peter Marx

Peter Marx

Milt Winters, Jr.

Guest Star

Sean Nelson

Sean Nelson

Taye Powers

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Goof: Onlookers are clearly seen in many of the scenes in this episode. Two times at the pier: the guy with the hockey gear constantly looks back at what is happening, and when the hitman is brought to the pier a guy walks towards Goren and Eames. Just when you can almost see this person and he's almost to Goren and Eames he makes a sharp turn to exit the shot. In the scene outside the courthouse, where Goren explains Dempsey's plan, there's a guy in a black beret standing behind Goren, Eames and Carver. He just smiles and looks straight at the camera crew as the actors walk off to the left.

    • Eames's father was a police officer in the 40th precinct.

  • QUOTES (1)

  • NOTES (1)


    • Dempsey Powers: You're a devil.
      Alex Eames: You should see me in a blue dress.
      Devil in a Blue Dress is one in a series of books by Walter Mosley about private detective Easy Rawlins. The novels follow Rawlins as he solves cases throughout Los Angeles and deals with the prejudices faced by black men in the 1940s. It was made into a 1995 film starring Denzel Washington.

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