Ripped From Which Headline? "For the Defense"

Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 16 2009 11:15 AM

Ripped From Which Headline? "For the Defense"

We all know that Law & Order rips its stories from the headlines--but which headlines? Every week, Brow Beat matches L&O 's plot points to the events that inspired them.

Nov. 13, 2009: "For the Defense"

These Are Their Stories
The episode begins when Maggie Hayes is killed before she can testify in a murder trial. The detectives discover that Hayes' employer had mob connections and convince Paige Regan, a co-worker with whom Hayes was romantically involved, to testify against their boss. While Regan is in hiding, an attempt is made on her life. Eventually, the detectives and attorneys realize that the common element in these and other cases involving violence against potential witnesses is the involvement of defense attorney Marcus Woll. Woll, who started out in the ADA's office, was the lawyer whose drug-cartel-connected clients were freed after a witness was intimidated in the Nov. 6, 2009, episode " Boy Gone Astray ."

This Is the Real Story
On May 20, 2009, the Newark Star-Ledger reported that Paul Bergrin, a former-federal-prosecutor-turned-defense-attorney, had been indicted for orchestrating "a racketeering operation out of his Newark firm that regularly intimidated—and, in at least two cases, plotted to murder—witnesses scheduled to testify against drug dealers and gang members" whom he represented." According to the story, Bergin's mantra was "No witness, no case." The charges filed against Bergrin included witness tampering, racketeering, mortgage fraud, and murdering a federal witness.


June Thomas is a Slate culture critic and editor of Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section. 



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 5:30 AM MAVEN Arrives at Mars
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.