Law & Order: Season 6, Episode 20

Girlfriends (1 May 1996)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 71 users  
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The death of a college student at her school library appears to be connected to her involvement in a co-ed prostitution ring.

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Title: Girlfriends (01 May 1996)

Girlfriends (01 May 1996) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Ms. Shore
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Shelly Taggert
David Little ...
Mitch Weiss
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Donna Richland
Doris Belack ...
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Jonathan Freeman
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Barry Taggert
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Jim Bracchitta ...
Jerold Spector
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Storyline

Detectives Briscoe and Curtis investigate the murder of college student Bridget Kaylin who is found dead in her school's library. They learn from campus authorities that there have been a number of attacks on female students recently and they check out an ex-boyfriend and several of her friends, but it leads to nothing. A credit card receipt leads them to a posh restaurant where one of the workers recognizes her photo - and who is convinced that she working as a high-class prostitute. The detectives set up a sting and one of Bridget's classmates admits that several of them have been working as high class call girls organized by Shelley Taggert with the tacit approval - if not more - of her father, businessman Barry Taggert. ADA McCoy uses racketeering statutes against Taggert when he's obviously helped his daughter run off to Europe. Shelley returns but getting a conviction will not be easy. Written by garykmcd

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1 May 1996 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Quotes

Jack McCoy: [confronting Barry and Shelly Taggert on the courthouse steps, after Shelly has been acquitted and implicated Barry in the crime] I'm afraid your celebration ends now, Mr Taggert.
Barry Taggert: You're arresting me for murder?
Jack McCoy: I would, if I thought you were guilty.
Detective Rey Curtis: Barry Taggert, you are under arrest for enterprise corruption.
[cuffs Taggert]
Detective Rey Curtis: You have the right to remain silent...
Barry Taggert: [referring to Shelly] You dropped all that after I brought her back.
Jack McCoy: That was before you took part in this charade.
Shelly Taggert: Daddy, I'll get ...
[...]
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User Reviews

 
The World's Oldest Corrupt Enterprise.
23 December 2012 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

This is an unusually absorbing episode, not just because of the peculiar legal shenanigans, which are instructive in themselves, but because of the interpersonal dynamics.

A young woman is found dead on the floor of a college library and Brisco and Curtis uncover a prostitution ring in the course of their investigation. The victim was one of four college girls selling their wares for four hundred dollars a pop.

It began when the ring leader's father, who owns a high-end shoe store, began sending the girls to his clients to provide entertainment for them. The ring leader, played skillfully by Cara Buono, reasoned -- quite logically -- that what usually happened is that the buyers took them to an expensive play, bought them and expensive dinner, and then bedded them. So why not "skip the boring play" and just get the four hundred up front? Buono's father, James Naughton, a face familiar to television commercial aficionados, "is cool" with all this because, what the hell, the girls all wear his Chinese red Gucci Puccis when they go on their dates. It's good for business. Moreover it's bringing in some money for Cara Buono, who splits the four hundred with the other girls, and Naughton himself had been boffing the murder victim while buying her expensive chingaderas. This gets the daughter a little jealous -- or something. The motives get a little murky hereabouts. In any case, Cara Buono has a spat with the victim in the library and one of them winds up accidentally dead. PS: It is the victim who winds up dead.

Buono, now a suspect, flees to Switzerland overnight to escape arrest. But because the shoe company has been providing the girls, Naughton is arrested on charges of enterprise corruption, which is evidently a creative application of the act. It gets a little more twisted. Buono is tried and released for the murder of one of her hookers, but Dad is arrested once again for enterprise corruption and is about to be sent to prison. I know. It's confusing in print. McCoy remarks to Naughton that if his daughter is as generous with him as he's been with her, maybe she'll visit him in the slams. Buono turns to him and says earnestly, "Dad -- you know I will." And when Dad and the cops are gone, she smiles after them, satisfied with the outcome, with having put one over on the justice system. It's a very neat and ambiguous final shot, one of the things that made this such an unusual series.

Final observation. Okay, these girls are being paid $400 for a night's work. When I was in high school, I approached two similar stunners of college age in Greenwich Village and, out of curiosity, asked the going price for the same service. It was $50 each, which was a lot of cash in 1952. However, I just looked this up on the US Census site, and the price of a working girl's services has gone up eightfold in the intervening years, while the Producer's Price Index has risen by a factor of only 4.3. In other words, the girls in this story were charging almost double in 1998 what their counterparts were charging in 1952. Well, of course we were just a bunch of working-class hoodlums, not shoe buyers. Yet, I'm now happy that that filthy ring of wholesome-looking whores was broken up. They should all go to jail and be expelled from college. Nobody should be permitted to charge that much, legally or otherwise. Shoe buyers may disagree.


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