Bitch (Law & Order)

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Law & Order episode
Episode no. Season 13
Episode 15
Directed by Constantine Makris
Written by Michael S. Chernuchin
Roz Weinman
Original air date February 26, 2003 (2003-02-26)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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List of Law & Order episodes (season 13)

"Bitch" is the 292nd episode of the NBC legal drama Law & Order and the fifteenth episode of the thirteenth season.


A man's body is discovered in his luxury apartment, his head beaten in with one of his own golf clubs. The victim, stockbroker Joe Oosterhouse, has several messages on his answering machine, all from women.

Briscoe and Green visit Oosterhouse's most recent caller, a rich woman named Cece Vandeveer. From her they learn Oosterhouse maintained a list of wealthy female clients with whom he socialized. Ms. Vandeveer directs the detectives towards a boutique.

At the boutique the detectives discover Oosterhouse purchased three gifts of lingerie the day of his murder. One of the recipients, fashion photographer Lindsay Tucker, says she and Oosterhouse were in love and likely to be married. Ms. Tucker's alibi is she was on a fashion shoot for cosmetics mogul Jackie Scott on the day of the murder.

The detectives discover Jackie Scott (who, it turns out, is Tucker's mother) was having an affair with Oosterhouse. Briscoe and Green interview Ms. Tucker at her apartment, where Green discovers a photograph taken on the day of Oosterhouse's murder which conflicts with Ms. Tucker's alibi. Brought in for questioning, Lindsay Tucker admits to the false alibi. The detectives interview Ms. Scott in her office, when Tucker bursts in with the lingerie intended for Ms. Scott but sent to her by mistake. Lindsay Tucker immediately confesses to killing Oosterhouse through jealousy. She is arrested and charged with murder.

Ms. Scott meets with DA Arthur Branch. It is soon apparent that she and Branch are old friends. Jackie Scott asks Branch to have McCoy drop the charges against her daughter. Branch meets with McCoy and Southerlyn. He finds Tucker's confession unconvincing and tells them Jackie Scott worships money above all else. Branch suggests the ADAs look into Ms. Scott's business dealings with Mr. Oosterhouse. McCoy instructs Southerlyn to have Ms. Tucker released, but to have wire-taps placed on her phones.

Investigating the business dealings, Southerlyn discovers an oil stocks sale which cost Ms. Scott $32,000. Southerlyn establishes Ms. Scott sold her Skinner Oil stock on the basis of proprietary information, but evidence of insider trading would be concealed through a stop-loss order. Southerlyn later discovers the Skinner Oil trade had no stop-loss order. The DAs theorize Ms. Scott pressured Oosterhouse to authorize a post-sale (and illegal) stop-loss order on the Skinner Oil trade. When Oosterhouse refused to do so, she killed him.

Shortly, the phone taps record a conversation between Ms. Tucker and Scott which implicates Ms. Scott in the murder. Briscoe and Green arrest Ms. Scott and she is charged with Oosterhouse's murder. In a meeting with McCoy and Southerlyn Ms. Scott's attorney, Helen Brolin, says Ms. Scott is pleading not guilty by way of temporary mental impairment. She claims withdrawal from cessation of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drove her to kill Oosterhouse. McCoy has psychiatrists Liz Olivet and Emil Skoda both interview Jackie Scott but they produce conflicting opinions in testimony; Olivet dismisses Ms. Scott's theory while Skoda hesitantly supports the possibility HRT withdrawal could have played a role in Ms. Scott's actions.

In her testimony, Ms. Scott states that the return of menopausal symptoms following HRT cessation, specifically night sweats, resulted in significant sleep deprivation leading in turn to mood swings and periods of 'blackout' and memory loss. She says the murder occurred during one of these blackouts. When McCoy points out Ms. Scott had the presence of mind to wipe the golf club clean of fingerprints, attempt to establish an alibi and even remembers tipping a cab driver after leaving Oosterhouse'e residence, Ms. Scott says this is evidence of her mind switching between lucid and blacked-out states.

McCoy is concerned their case is floundering. He suggests they offer Ms. Scott a deal for manslaughter. Branch instructs them to make the offer. Brolin and Scott reject the offer of manslaughter at which point McCoy and Southerlyn leave the room to be replaced by Branch. He asks to speak with Ms. Scott privately. Branch informs Jackie Scott that unless she accepts the offer of manslaughter, he will take over the prosecution himself and ask Ms. Scott questions about her entire business and personal history. Jackie Scott is initially defiant but eventually gives in.


The plot was inspired partly by the Martha Stewart insider trading case, made explicit when Jackie Scott says "First Martha, then me" when first interviewed by McCoy.


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