When a mob arsonist is arrested, he wants to make a deal for a lighter sentence. He tells the police that the vicious rape and assault of Cookie Costello 30 years before was not committed by the man who confessed to the crime, Sal Munoz, but by a mob enforcer by the name of Mike Farina. The claim is credible and the Costello case is re-opened. They eventually conclude that Farina had an alibi for the time Costello was assaulted but that doesn't stop an aggressive lawyer, Teri Marks, from seeking a new trial for Munoz. When her appeal is granted, she also manages to have Munoz's confession thrown out leaving ADA McCoy to prosecute a 30 year-old case with witnesses, those who are alive at any rate, with at best faded memories.
Did You Know?
The case this episode is based on, the Kitty Genovese murder, was the first widely known example of what came to be known as "the bystander effect." Kitty Genovese was a 28 year old woman who was murdered in front of her apartment in the early hours of March 13, 1964. She was stabbed to death in front of her apartment within sight or earshot of 38 witnesses, none of whom tried to stop her attacker, one man shouted at the attacker to "leave the girl alone" but did nothing else, despite them all hearing her shout "Oh god! He stabbed me, someone help me!" after she was stabbed in the back twice. Of the 38 people that heard her call for help only one called the police but the call was given low priority, the dispatcher thought it was a prank. Upon hearing the man shouting at him the attacker fled in his car, but returned a short time later and found Genovese, who managed to crawl inside the lobby of her building. She was still conscious but was weak from blood loss, he stabbed her several more times, proceeded to rape her, then afterwards he stole the cash from her purse. The police never arrived on scene until a neighbor found Genovese lying in the hallway and called them, she was still alive but barely, she bled to death on the way to the hospital. When interviewed most of the 38 witnesses to the attack said they heard Genovese screaming but did not realize what the screams were about, they all reportedly used the phrase "didn't want to get involved." Those that actually heard her calling out for help said they figured that someone else would help her or call the police. One man who actually witnessed Genovese getting stabbed from his third-story window said that as soon as he realized that she was being attacked he ran over to his radio and "turned up the volume so I didn't have to listen to the bitch's screams." This collection of unwillingness to help and downright indifference to someone being murdered became collectively known as the "Geneovese syndrome." Although 10 years later the term "bystander effect" was coined after 25-year-old Sandra Zahler was beaten to death on Christmas morning in front of the same building Kitty Genovese was stabbed in front of. Neighbors once again reported hearing screams and sounds of a struggle but failed to do anything to help, in this case not even a single person bothered to call the police, putting their own selfish greed over another person's life when they decided opening Christmas presents was more important than picking up a phone and dialing 911. See more
[All goofs for this title are spoilers.