I feel like I may have been a little rough on the first episode of Law & Order: True Crime because of the sometimes bad acting, bad wigs and overall cheap look of the show. And a few people agreed. This week, things took a little bit of an upturn, at least in the look of the show. Perhaps after NBC saw the pilot, they gave Dick Wolf more money for the rest of the series.
This week’s episode focused more on the friends and family members surrounding the brothers as the police investigation into the parents’ murders intensifies. I don’t know if I lost focus of if the show lost focus, so I don’t know if it was made clear that at one point Lyle and Erik were in different places, with Erik even being in Tel Aviv at one point for a tennis tournament. People come and go around here in the blink of an eye. But while Erik is away, Lyle becomes the main focus of the investigation since he’s the one who has been making one expensive purchase after another. People grieve in different ways, I suppose.
While their friends are being interviewed and all but implicating Lyle, who can speak with admiration about his father one moment and then with abject hatred the next, their aunt really gave the police something to think about. In a flashback scene to a family dinner when the brothers were just young children, she recounted how Jose berated Erik for playing with his food at the dinner table (more like pushing it around because he didn’t like what was on his plate). There was quite a shocking moment when Jose yelled at the boy and telling him that “only faggots play with their food.” Twice! If that behavior carried over into their adult lives, the police may believe that $14 million was not the only reason the brothers wanted their parents dead.
And actually, Erik was having serious regrets about his mother, so much so that he had to speak to his therapist Dr. Oziel. With doctor-patient confidentiality, Erik knew he could really unburden himself and he did. He admitted to the doctor that he and Lyle murdered their parents, but his mother didn’t deserve to die. She had been in an emotional downward spiral since learning of Jose’s affair, and had attempted to take her own life, but Erik still felt she didn’t deserve to die in the manner she did.
Of course Lyle was not happy when he learned Erik had spilled the beans and he also refused to join Erik to talk with the doctor for fear that he would tell the police. Unfortunately for them, they had no idea that the doctor was having an affair with one of his patients, Judalon, who seemed like a very random character in the first episode. With her own issues, including the threat of suicide, Dr. Oziel agrees to let her stay at his home … with his wife and kids under the pretense that she’s a danger to herself.
This woman is a danger to everyone. First she tries to initiate sex with the doc in his house, then she tells his wife that they’re having an affair and that he doesn’t love his children. None of that sat well with him, and he packed her bag and tossed her out. But he didn’t count on one thing — Judalon telling the police that Erik had confessed to Oziel and that he had tapes of their conversations. Whoops. This was just what the police needed since putting a wire on one of Erik’s friends yielded zilch.
With this evidence now in the possession of the police, it took no time to corner Lyle and arrest him. Erik was in Israel when he got wind of the news and an arrangement had been made for him to return to Los Angeles and surrender to the police. With the brothers separated, Lyle had his own lawyer and Leslie Abramson was asked to have a talk with Erik. Leslie had always felt the brothers did it, but she’s putting all judgment aside to hear Erik’s story. Knowing he’s an athlete, she even brought some trail mix to nosh on. Abramson also asked to speak with the brothers together to get a feel for the case, and by the end of the episode, she’s preparing to make this less about the Menendez brothers and more about the supposedly out of control prosecutor who, conveniently, will be running for office in the next election. What we’ll be waiting to see is how the brothers’ legal teams handle each case and if the brothers will slip up with their stories.
What did you think of the second episode? Tell us what you think!