Detectives Briscoe and Curtis are called to what they're told is a murder only to get there and find the victim is an expensive show horse. Curtis thinks it's a waste of time but Lt. Van Buren insists they investigate the possibility of insurance fraud. The horse was owned by Richard Brandson and the investigation leads him to his associate Lyle Christopher who has a history of being sued by former clients. When they try to locate one those dissatisfied customers, Ruth Thomas, they learn she was supposed to be on a three month cruise. She never made it to the cruise ship and the police and the ADAs are convinced Christopher he killed her. Without a body and a generally weak case, Executive ADA McCoy is going to have to play with an ace up his sleeve. Written by
Did You Know?
The episode is inspired by the Helen Brach case. Many elements from her disappearance (and presumed murder) in February 1977 were used in the episode. The investigation into Brach's disappearance uncovered a conspiracy to murder her to prevent her from cooperating with federal officials in Chicago investigating the horse-breeding trade.
Richard Bailey, with whom Brach was romantically involved and from whom the character of Lyle Christopher is based, was the only one of the alleged conspirators to face any charges- 29 counts, including fraud and murder. He was convicted on the fraud charges and has been serving a 30-year sentence since 1995.
The investigation into Brach's disappearance subsequently led to the conviction of over 50 individuals involved in the fraudulent horse trade: with charges ranging from murder, fraud, arson, and obstruction of justice. However, and unlike the episode plot, Brach's body was never found and she was legally declared dead in 1984. See more
When the detectives finish shooting at the firing range, they take off their hearing protection while still in the range. A police officer would not remove his hearing protection until after leaving the range. See more
Detective Rey Curtis
I didn't become a detective to investigate dead animals.
Detective Lennie Briscoe
[voice imitating Mr. Ed, the talking horse of the eponymous 1960's TV series
Oh come on, Wilbur. Somebody killed a horse. You're not going to let him get away with it, are you?
References Star Trek