Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Season 2 Episode 12

Suite Sorrow

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Feb 02, 2003 on USA

Episode Recap

Nan Turner, wealthy owner of the Townson Hotel, is found drowned in her bathtub. Her lungs are full of water, and her body sank instead of floating on the surface. Her throat didn't close, which the body would normally do to fight drowning. On her forehead are several blister and pinprick marks, which Eames guesses are from Botox shots. In Nan's bedroom are several prescription bottles, and her bed had been slept in. Goren and Eames meet Cooper, the hotel detective and a former NYPD officer. Ben Turner, Nan's husband, says that Nan took over the hotel after her father's death, and was determined to keep it in the family. There was industry talk that rival hotelier Helen Grimwald planned to make an offer for the Townson. Ben doesn't know much about that rumor, as the family trust passed the hotel directly to Nan and then to their daughter Julie. The next day Goren and Eames interview Julie and her fiance, Kenneth Rayfield. Julie says she'd seen her mother earlier that night, and Nan had been in good spirits. From there Julie went to Kenneth's home; he'd just returned from the gym. They spent the rest of the evening there. Helen Grimwald always had her eye on the Townson, but like everyone else she underestimates Julie. Julie isn't going to sell the hotel. Rogers finds a massive overdose of Botox in Nan's system, which left her paralyzed and defenseless against her killer. However, she didn't obtain her treatments from her doctors. Goren and Eames visit the Townson's beauty salon, whose manager points them to cosmetologist Jason as most likely to dispense Botox without a license. Jason admits he ran out of Botox the night Nan died, and that Helen Grimwald and Nan were both clients of his. Helen was always asking Jason about Nan's health, and told him that a little bird told her to be patient about making an offer for the Townson. Jason figures the little bird is the same person who saved her a lot of money when she bought the Baronet Hotel. When the Grimwalds bought the Baronet, they obtained a loan from Kenneth Rayfield's financial firm. It would appear that Kenneth was positioning himself to eliminate Nan, sweet-talk Julie into selling the Townson, and collect both a nice sales commission and a nicer marriage dowry. Goren points out only one flaw in that theory: Nan had been in frail health, and might have died soon anyway. Why would Kenneth kill her before marrying Julie and locking in the profits? To learn what forced Kenneth's hand, Goren and Eames go through Nan's business records. Ben Turner is present, and tells them that Julie is the type of person who if pushed one way, tends to go the other. She’d been engaged once before, to Junker Dalton whom Nan checked out and learned was a loser. Goren finds that a stub is missing from the trust checkbook. The checks before and after were written the day Nan died. Ben says the trust was strictly Nan's domain, so he doesn't know what the missing check might have been for. Nan's accountant tells the detectives that Nan transferred $100,000 into the trust account on the day she wrote the missing check. Three years ago she also paid Dalton $30,000 in "moving expenses" to go away. Goren and Eames visit Julie at home and question her closely about the night of Nan's murder. To test what Ben told them, they deliberately find fault with every answer she gives. Her account of her and Kenneth's activities the night Nan died, doesn't add up. Kenneth must have killed Nan and then raced around establishing his alibi, while Julie waited at his home alone. During this cross-examination, Goren observes homeopathic remedies for migraine headaches in Julie's living room. Under their relentless questioning she grows more and more agitated, eventually throwing a screaming fit. Julie admits that her mother gave Kenneth $100,000 to go away, but Kenneth told her about it and tore up the check in front of her. As Goren and Eames leave, they realize that Kenneth is covering for Julie, not the other way around. Jason, the cosmetologist, admits that Julie came to see him the day Nan died. Julie has prescription medications for her migraines, but she hasn't refilled them in several months. Smoothing wrinkles isn't the only thing Botox is good for. Jason sold Julie his entire Botox supply, and realized only afterward why she wanted it. Goren and Eames arrest Julie for Nan's murder, and take Kenneth in for questioning as well. Kenneth says he only told Helen Grimwald that Nan had concerns about Julie's ability to run the Townson. He confirms tearing up the $100,000 check, and adds that he also broke the engagement at that time. Nan would have been the classic mother-in-law from hell. Only then does he realize that Julie had't told them about the broken engagement. Kenneth then admits that on the night Nan died, he called Julie from his gym and told her to meet him at his home. She feared being accused of her mother's murder. He said they should just say that the two of them were together that evening. Julie says she bought only enough Botox for one headache from Jason. Goren and Julie exchange heated words about Nan's constantly undermining her. Nan let Julie indulge her passion for renovating even as Nan was planning to sell the hotel, paid the men in Julie's life to go away, and so on. Everyone in Julie's life has undermined her to the point that she's lost faith in her own judgment. Julie defends Nan, saying that her mother had been right about Dalton and had shown her the photographic evidence of his infidelity. If Nan had had anything on Kenneth, she'd have shown it to Julie. She didn't. Townson house detective Cooper says that he investigated Dalton for Nan, but not Kenneth. Nan turned down Cooper's offer to investigate Kenneth because she didn't want another incident. When Nan showed Julie the photos of Dalton, Julie slugged her. However, they apparently made up because the two of them went to Florida the weekend before Nan's death, and came back very happy. Convinced that someone is framing Julie, Goren persuades Carver to delay responding to her lawyer's offer for a plea bargain. Nan wrote the check to Kenneth after the trip to Florida; Kenneth must have committed his compromising act that weekend. Goren and Eames determine that Kenneth and a male guest visited a nightclub, where they had their photo taken and bought it immediately. Goren then has a new thought: If Julie goes to prison, who's left standing? At Carver's office to discuss the plea bargain, Goren and Eames show Julie and her lawyer the evidence against Kenneth. Nan had loved her daughter, enough not to show her the incriminating photo of Kenneth because it would have destroyed Julie. Kenneth's date at the nightclub, the man he was photographed kissing, was Ben Turner. Presently charged with her mother's murder, Julie can't administer or access the family trust. She's signed a power of attorney temporarily giving her father that authority. While pretending to believe in and support Julie, he’s been skillfully manipulating her to put himself in a position to sell the Townson. To prove Julie's innocence, the police have to make a case against Ben Turner. They find a clause in the trust agreement which may help, and Julie agrees to cooperate. Ben arrives home later to find Julie waiting for him in the parlor. As the police watch from another room through a hidden camera, Julie tells her father that she visited the doctor after leaving Carver's office. She's pregnant, and she and Kenneth are going to City Hall the next morning to get married. Ben takes the bait and reveals his firsthand knowledge of the trust agreement clause. If Julie becomes unable to administer the trust for any reason, that authority passes to her child or to her child's guardian. Ben insists that Julie can't marry Kenneth, and mentions the compromising photo of Kenneth kissing another man. Julie walks out of the parlor and out of camera range, which wasn't part of the plan. The police frantically race out of the surveillance room, through the parlor and into the study. Ben lies dead on the floor with a knife in his chest, with Julie screaming ferociously at him. Eames tries to console Goren, saying that if anyone deserved this, Ben did. Goren isn't comforted, saying he should have seen this coming. The scheming Ben Turner may have deserved his fate, but his mistreated and manipulated daughter does not deserve hers.