The Torrents of Greed

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"The Torrents of Greed"
Law & Order episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 15 & 16
Directed by E.W. Swackhamer
Teleplay by Michael S. Chernuchin
Story by Michael Duggan & Michael S. Chernuchin
Production code 66222 (Part 1)
66225 (Part 2)
Original air date February 12, 1991 (1991-02-12) (Part 1)
February 19, 1991 (1991-02-19) (Part 2)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"The Violence of Summer"
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"Mushrooms"

"The Torrents of Greed" is a two-part episode of NBC's legal drama Law & Order. It was the first two-part episode of the Law & Order franchise, and aired as the fifteenth and sixteenth episodes of the show's first season. The episode was directed by E.W. Swackhamer and written by Michael Duggan (story) and Michael S. Chernuchin (story and teleplay).

The episode's title is taken from Chapter 18, verse 251 of the Buddhist scripture The Dhammapada: "There is no fire like passion, there is no shark like hatred, there is no snare like folly, there is no torrent like greed."

Plot[edit]

Part 1[edit]

Isaac Skolnick, a store owner, is severely beaten. His daughter tells police that he was being threatened by a man named Pilefsky whom she suspected of being related to organized crime. Eye-witness Edgar Hoover, a homeless junkie identifies Pilefsky from a photo line-up, and Pilefsky is arrested. Logan (Chris Noth) discovers that Mario Zalta, a man with connections to the Masucci Family, was a co-defendant of Pilefsky at an earlier trial. On investigating Zalta, Greevey (George Dzundza) and Logan discover that the Masucci family is offering bootlegged cigarettes to store owners at lower-than-market prices and threatening store owners who don't comply. However, their evidence is obtained without a warrant and is inadmissible in court. They arrest a store owner selling the untaxed cigarettes, pressuring him into naming Zalta as another participant in the cigarette scam, and Zalta is arrested. While in temporary accommodation, Hoover accidentally dies and Robinette (Richard Brooks) tells the police that without the witness testimony they have no case against Pilefsky. Logan threatens to charge Pilefsky with conspiracy in the manslaughter of Hoover. Pilefsky panics and mentions the name of Harv Beigel as another name connected with the cigarette scam. Biegel claims that he makes his living in real estate and that he is not connected to organized crime; he simply happens to be married to Katherine Masucci, sister of Frank who is head of the Masucci crime family. Beigel is arrested in connection with the cigarette scam. In return for a lesser sentence, Beigel offers to testify that Frank Masucci ordered the murder of Russell Mackey, a missing union labor leader. On the basis of Beigel's testimony, police arrest Frank Masucci for Mackey's murder. However, the prosecution's case unravels at trial. Beigel testifies that he witnessed a meeting at which Mackey's murder was planned, Pilefsky claims to have been present at the murder, stating that Mackey was garotted. The defense counsel reveals that Pilefsky was in hospital with appendicitis at the time of the alleged murder. Pilefsky's perjured testimony results in charges being dismissed against Masucci and Beigel for Mackie's murder. Pilefsky's and Zalta's plea bargains are vacated, they are prosecuted and given long sentences for Skolnick's assault.

Part 2[edit]

After having their primary case dismissed against Frank Masucci and Harv Biegal for murdering labor leader Russell Mackey, prosecution and police place close surveillance on Masucci and Biegel. Greevey and Logan find out that Biegel has been paying off a city building inspections official for two years and avoiding paying substantial fines for building code violations. Biegel is arrested for a felony (bribing a public official); Biegel's wife Katherine warns Stone (Michael Moriarty) that Biegel's arrest (and likely offer of a lesser sentence in return for information on Masucci family operations) will result in his murder. In return for a lesser sentence, Biegel offers information about how murders are ordered in the Masucci family: Frank Masucci gives the murder target's name to Biegel; a car and driver is ordered for Biegel to pick up the hit man; in the car, Biegel gives the murder target's name to the hit man. Biegal emphasizes that he will not provide this information in court. After Biegel is released, police continue close surveillance on him. Shortly, Biegel is picked up by a Masucci family car. Police follow, but they are blocked by a traffic accident, and the Masucci car disappears. Masucci is arrested in connection with Biegel's disappearance, and high bail is set. Stone questions Katherine Biegal about her suspicions. She reminds him of what she told him in court the day Biegel was arrested; she also gives him the location of a "graveyard" in New Jersey for Masucci murder victims. At the graveyard, police and prosecutors discover the recently buried body of Harv Biegel with a gunshot wound in his head. Stone learns that Katherine Biegel has paid Masucci's bail, and he has been released. Stone instructs police to arrest Masucci for any reason. As they prepare to confront Masucci outside of a restaurant Masucci and his henchmen are shot dead on the sidewalk by an approaching group of men with machine guns. Stone theorizes that Masucci's murder was ordered by Katherine Biegel, his sister. Logan questions the logic of Katherine Biegel paying Masucci's bail and then murdering him, thinking that Biegel cannot recover her bail payment since Masucci cannot return to court. Stone states that, since the trial is no longer necessary, Biegel will have her bail payment refunded. Logan notes that Katherine Biegel has accomplished in short order what they had not been able to accomplish in several years; namely, put Masucci out of business permanently. At a formal dinner. Stone notes to Schiff (Steven Hill) that he fears a family war, resulting in many murders. Schiff advises Stone to wait a month and see who is left standing.

External links[edit]