Air date: December 27, 2020
[dark, suspenseful music]
[somber, dramatic music]
We’re gonna, we’re gonna be all right, uh, but the, um… the boy that they arrested, he… he died.
I don’t know.
But what I do know is this didn’t have anything to do with what you’ve done or… what I’ve done.
D-Did he kill himself?
How do you know?
How? Y-You just said that you didn’t know what happened to him.
Adam. Bad stuff happens in jail.
It just does.
Right. Of course.
[slow, solemn music]
[whispers] The fuck did you do? Huh? The fuck did you do? Days left on your sentence and you do this?
Fucking motherfucker killed my brother. My baby brother.
I was taking care of it!
That’s not what Mom said.
Do you know what the consent decree is, Mr. Baxter? We allow one of our inmates to be killed at the hands of another, and the federal government can come right on in here and take over. I am not turning over my jail to the goddamn District of Columbia. That would be, uh–
Yeah. There’s no homicides in my jail.
Fuck you mean “homicide”?
You’re well enough, I suggest you go on back to Angola and serve out the remainder of your sentence. And this never happened.
He’s well enough.
Then do that. Better go.
Lee Delamere. Seems about right, day I’m having.
I saw Kofi Jones last night. Today he’s dead. What happened, Royce?
Oh, you back working for the working man? I thought you moved to greener pastures.
He’s my client.
And when I say “working man,” in this instance, I mean “drug-dealing man.”
Why would that be the first thing you want to say to me?
Yeah, I’m kind of busy, Lee, so… [clears throat] Looks like some sort of trauma.
Was he on suicide watch?
Oh, yeah, you and suicide. You have that little thing.
Don’t you fucking dare.
Look, I told you what I know. Don’t start getting creative.
So he didn’t do it to himself.
All I can give you is what I got. A dead kid. It’s a tragedy. We’re getting to the bottom of it. Yeah, fine. You want to do something for your client? Jones’s intake property.
Wait, you haven’t even spoken to the family yet?
[slow, somber music]
You want to talk about it?
Whatever you’re feeling.
You said it didn’t have anything to do with us. I-I don’t want to be late for school, Dad. I have a history test and some new pictures to develop–
I’ll see you later.
[door opens, closes]
[camera shutter clicking]
What’s his name?
Serious blunt force trauma to his skull, bleeding in his brain, brain swell is putting pressure on the skull, like the brain is trying to get out. No puncture wounds, so… looks like someone beat the crap out of him.
Well, that’s sure a headline I don’t like. It seems like there’s a better one. Mm?
To the living, we owe respect.
To the dead, we owe only the truth. Voltaire.
Well, Voltaire didn’t live in New Orleans.
JK10181, pending tox screen. Preliminary findings listed as undetermined.
[dark, solemn music]
♫ Baby, that’s my love ♫
♫ Oh, honey, that’s my love ♫
♫ And anything you ask me ♫
♫ I want you to know… ♫
♫ I’ll swim the deepest river… ♫
[distant siren wailing]
♫ One more time ♫
Please tell me this wasn’t us.
♫ That’s my love, that’s my love… ♫
This wasn’t us.
Okay. Do you think, do you think it was the Baxters? Killed him?
Jimmy Baxter’s a serious man. Kofi Jones killed his son…
We put him there, Charlie.
What-what do you want us to do, Michael, huh? Go to the cops? Is that what you’re saying?
‘Cause otherwise this is all just a bunch of hot air.
Fuck! Sometimes you just… take my breath away.
I’ll tell you exactly what takes my breath away. I’ll tell what damn near stops me breathing every day. The Lower Ninth looks like Eritrea. Why do you think Robin was always photographing it? I win this election…
I’ll make the Lower Ninth Ward look like it belongs in America.
This is not about your fucking election! This is about your conscience!
I had no more of an idea of the consequences than you did. You asked me a favor. I didn’t say no.
We agree to hurt someone– one person, even if it’s for the greater good– everyone pays, Charlie. We’re all diminished.
You want to take your conscience down to the police station and check it in, well, hey, go ahead. Just know you’re gonna be bringing me down with you and every other poor family in the city, too.
[phone ringing, vibrating]
I-I need to… Lee.
Michael. I need your help with something.
Yeah. No, ju– yeah, I’ll, uh– yes, of course, of course. I’ll-I’ll be there. Give me 20 minutes. Bye.
So… so you and Lee, y’all…? Y’all got a thing going?
Well, that’s good.
[chuckles] There’s worse things, right?
Uh, yeah, she is. So don’t get stupid.
What do you, what do you…? What does that mean?
Falling for her could get in the way of you paying attention to how dangerous she is to us.
[exhales] [smacks lips] I got a fridge full of shrimp I need help with tonight.
[chuckles] Get in here.
Adam? What are you doing?
Uh… it’s called lying, Frannie. I mean, my-my whole existence is a fucked-up lie, I…
Please don’t be like this.
You just… You have to be very careful what you say.
‘Cause you love me, right?
‘Cause you’re scared?
You think I’m vulnerable and because I blabbed to you, I might blab about you?
Doesn’t sound like love to me, Frannie.
Look, I hate it that we have to lie. But… there’s no choice. And sometimes… there are truths worth lying for.
Thank you… Ms. Latimer.
We good on this thing?
Yeah. Kid’s dead, no backsplash on us.
Never should’ve gotten this far, Rudy. What are they doing?
Next to jail, basketball courts have the highest density of criminals talking about how to do crime. Take the hoops down…
Put them back up.
No disrespect, but–
No disrespect, but if you want to be my chief of police when I win this election, the hoops stay up.
[slow, intriguing music]
Here. I’m sorry.
[train horn blows in distance]
I got it.
[Female] He came. Look, look there. Look there. That’s my angel from Tulane and Broad. You see him? You see him?
Yes, he came for you. Nothing that happened to Kofi was right. Not from the start.
Wh-Wh… Why they have to do that to him? You know why? God knows. God always knows. God and His blessed angels. Right? It’s a secret. The police… …they kill n*ggas.
Uh… I know he repped Desire. Do you think they could have done this?
[Female] Desire come through for us. They fam. It was them people put him in jail behind some bullshit.
[Lee] The police?
[Female] He knows! How they lie. How they don’t give a damn when they lie, ’cause they know they safe.
Get out of that lady’s things!
Yeah. The police.
[dog barking in distance]
[screen door creaks]
Come-come here. Come here, baby. Come on here. [crying] Kofi dead.
Kofi is… [crying]
[Female] No! No! No! No!
Who’s M… Mariano “Riviera”?
He’s the greatest closer in the history of the game.
[Female continues sobbing in distance]
You seem a little nervous. You went to Angola? Disingenuousness doesn’t suit you, Joey Maldini. With Gina, for Carlo’s bail hearing.
Who’s your boss?
Only you seem a little confused about who you’re taking orders from.
Thank you, Joey.
You talk to Frankie behind my back, too?
So that we can help you know your own mind. This is New Orleans, Jimmy. Everything connects. Everybody connects. The graves are above ground so the dead can hear what’s being whispered about them. We have stoops in front of our houses so that what passes down the street can be heard. This is the easiest town in the world to send a message. The one thing you can’t do is nothing. The city is waiting. What is Jimmy Baxter gonna do?
[siren wails in distance]
Let me see that right quick, youngin?
[dogs barking in distance]
How’s your mama?
[Eugene] She’s all right. You know?
A little lagniappe. You know what that is?
[train horn blows in distance]
Read a book, n*gga. Use that money, get you some new tennis, some groceries for the fam. Then I’m-a put you on. You hear me?
Ole Boy, you know, it’s a long life out here for a n*gga of few words.
[slow, somber music]
So, is Rocco in heaven?
What kind of question is that?
Of course he is.
What does it look like?
We don’t know.
Why don’t we know? I mean, the Koran knows. Men get a busload of virgins to hang out with. You know what Muslim women get? Their husbands back. So while the men are busy with the virgins, their celestial laundry gets done and there’s food on the table.
Where is she getting this?
[Fia] She’s right here, Mom. Why don’t you ask her?
Where are you getting this?
What does that mean?
It’s making me think.
[scoffs] There it is. You said it. Stop thinking. Open up your heart to not thinking. Is that what you want? Is that what you want for me? [scoffs]
You said nothing.
[chuckles softly] I’ll talk to her.
You bought the motorcycle. He died. You did nothing. She’s turning away from God. She’s killing me, and you–
I said I’ll talk to her.
Yeah. No. [exhales] That was dreadful. I’m so glad you were there. Let me give you a chance.
After Robin, the way… you and Adam must be– are… I’d understand if you… wouldn’t want to do this with me. But you need to tell me soon. Now, really. It’s very nearly too late.
Adam has to be the first thing that I think about.
Always. I mean, that’s a given.
Yeah. Well, I understand.
No. No, no, I… I-I don’t think you do. You make me happy. And that’s good for Adam.
And what’s good for Adam is… Um… Aw, shit. I– This has been so long. I… Come to bed.
You think if I sent her a dick pic, I could say it’s part of my portfolio?
I think she’d love it.
Ms. Frannie, with my dick in her hand.
Whoa. What the hell? No.
Get up. Get up. Get up.
Get off me, man.
What the fuck did you say?
Adam, get off me, man.
What the fuck did you say?!
What the fuck?!
[Frannie] Adam! Hey!
Fuck did you just say? Fuck!
Excuse me! Adam!
Fuck did you say?!
[phone ringing in distance]
Adam, what’s going on?
No, it’s not nothing. Ms. Latimer–
Adam’s pickup is here.
[Elizabeth] Uh, wh… You okay, Adam?
We have a rule here, that once violence has entered into it, then expulsion is mandatory. And in this case, that is exactly what has happened–
My jurisprudence professor handed ’em out at the start of class one day. He said rules are like doughnuts. They have holes in ’em. The holes are where discretion lives. You’ve known Adam since the sixth grade. You know what he’s been through, what his… family’s been through. I don’t think one incident should ruin a young life just because some rule tries to say it should. Do you?
You didn’t have to drive me home.
I don’t mind.
I do mind that I haven’t heard from you or your father in weeks. The anniversary, for example. It would have been good to see you. Be together on the day. How’s your father?
No. We’re not doing that. You and I do not not talk. If I ask you how your father is, I want an answer. You hate him? He’s pissing you off? He cries every night like I do? We talk. “Same”? No, we’re talkers in this family. So talk.
I-I’m sorry. Dad and I just… wanted to be together. We-we went to the cemetery and laid flowers. I had the first cup of coffee I ever liked. We talked to the Vietnam vet by the gate down there.
Never really noticed him before.
What kind of flowers?
Her favorite. From the stall by the gate. Yeah.
Mm. And the coffee?
That Italian place.
The best. Seat belt.
Your mom– can you still hear her voice?
Uh, yeah, how she used to answer the phone like she was amazed when somebody called her. “Hello?”
[laughs] Oh, God. That’s right. “Who could this be calling me?” Like she wasn’t a wonderful human being with a million friends. [sighs] But where are they now? And the cops…
I-I mean, she hasn’t given up.
Do I know her? What’s her name?
Nancy. N-Nancy Costello.
Do you have her number?
Does she like shrimp?
[whispers] Jesus. God.
Very funny. Yeah. Very funny. You know how jumpy I am.
[chuckles] What do you want me to do?
I want you to wash up some shrimp.
Elizabeth. Well, I didn’t know you were stopping by.
Well, if I waited for the Desiato men to invite me, I’d be in my grave.
Senator Guthrie, as I live and breathe. You look wonderful.
[Elizabeth] Uh, charm is overrated, Charlie, except by voters. Remember to turn it down while you’re with family.
[Charlie] Hey there, boy.
[Adam] Hey, how you doing?
[Charlie] Good, good.
[Michael] Oh. Hello.
[Elizabeth] Uh, Detective Costello and I have been having a talk.
[Michael] Oh, so you… two haven’t met before?
[Elizabeth] No, one of the many communication failures I’m going to remedy. Would you like to stay for dinner, Detective?
Oh, that’s-that’s so kind. I…
Sure. Of course.
[Elizabeth] Uh, there’s, uh, rum punch on the back porch. Adam, take Detective Costello and Charlie and offer them some.
Think I’m gonna need something a little heavier than the punch.
Nancy, how you been?
Oh, you know, I’m doing okay.
Adam was suspended from school.
Three days home. I’ll be making sure it doesn’t go on his record.
No, wait, wait. What happened?
He and Wesley got into a fight.
No, I-I dropped everything, brought him home, cooked for him, paid attention to what he was saying and not saying any…
You’re a saint, Elizabeth. Got it.
Why didn’t he call me?
Yeah, wh-why do you think he didn’t call you?
I don’t know.
Why don’t you know?
Oh, Jesus Christ. Really? A fight with Wesley? I-I mean… Did he-did he say why?
Yes and no.
What the hell does that mean?
Well, on the surface, uh, an argument about photography. Underneath, a child boiling up with a lot of pain and anger.
[groans] You see? Bang, in the middle of a conversation about your son’s suspension from school for violence, and you really want to take that call? Let me ask you again. Why do you think he didn’t call you?
I d-I don’t… What-what did… what did you and-and… Detective Costello talk about? Hmm?
[crickets chirping outside]
I was disappointed you didn’t call. On the anniversary. But you didn’t, so… at the end of the day, I went to see her. No flowers. No cards. Nothing. [whispers] Nothing. Only a year, and sh-she’s forgotten.
Okay, look, look, what… what does that have to do with Adam?
Oh, well, let-let’s ask him.
[Elizabeth] Did you leave a note for your mom at the grave on the anniversary?
[Adam] Uh, yeah. A… a card.
Uh, did you write it or did your father?
What’d you write?
“I love you and always will.”
And you left it there for her?
The soup’s cold.
I don’t care what it’s called. It’s cold.
You want me to heat up your gazpacho?
Why does she believe you when you pretend you don’t know what gazpacho is?
My Scottish tenement childhood.
[Jimmy laughs] Porridge with salt, haggis, neeps and tatties, ketchup with everything. I have come a very long way to, uh… soup with ice in it. Your mother wanted me to talk to you.
Dad, I got to tell you, that’s a pretty weak opening.
Confessing to being only the messenger.
Your confirmation. Mom says…
There you go again.
Why not just decide to believe?
Believe in God, the all-powerful, narcissistic cynic? I’m not even sure I like him, Dad.
Dad, what do you want me to do? This god, who knows everything and decides everything and a week ago woke up and thought, “Oh, I know, let’s kill a 17-year-old boy in New Orleans just for the hell of it”– I have to love him?
Don’t-don’t-don’t do this to her. Not now.
Do you love him?
It’s not the right time.
Dad, I’m jus…
Just do what I fucking say!
I’m, like, trying to get a little bit more specific on the girl and who and when and wh… When-when was it?
Eighth grade. Jennifer St. George.
Oh, my God. Jennifer.
[chuckles] She was–
Worth fighting for.
First and only fight.
Who do you think?
Who do you think?
My money’s here.
Did I ever tell you how much I love you?
No, Charlie… Wh… Get your sticky hands off me! And get me some bourbon.
[Charlie] You want ice?
[Elizabeth] No I… No, no. No ice.
Okay. No, I got-I got it.
I’ve been trying to call you. I-I didn’t mean to disturb you.
[Nancy] I have the DVDs. You probably don’t even know what that is, either.
Can you explain that one?
We used to put things in a machine…
VHS. Oh, my gosh.
Lee Delamere. What you doing hanging out here like a Jehovah’s Witness? Get in here before the Neighborhood Watch shoots your Creole ass.
[whispers] Oh, Christ.
Come right on in.
I-I don’t want to intrude.
Let’s, uh, we’ll sit you right here.
[Elizabeth] I-I don’t believe we’ve met.
Uh, Lee Delamere.
Elizabeth is my mother-in-law. Here.
Uh, I-I didn’t want to interrupt a family dinner.
[Elizabeth] Well, here you are, so… sit.
Adam was discussing his future.
[Lee] Well, that’s… that’s great. Um… any ideas?
Yeah. Uh, my mom was a photographer. So I think I’d like to try it.
I’d love to see some of your work.
Nice to meet you. Michael forgot his manners.
Yeah, sorry. No, in case you change your mind.
[Nancy] Oh, it’s so delicious. You really should have some.
I’ll get you some wine, huh?
It looks amazing. It smells amazing.
You should try the sausage.
Some of these, actually, are Mom’s.
Let me see those.
Thank you, honey.
Well, I’ve never seen these.
Uh, they were in Mom’s Leica.
So her last photographs.
God, she was good. Have you seen these?
[Nancy] May I?
Oh. Yeah. Of course. Yeah, pass those over.
Don’t get your…
Oh, I remember you now. Yeah, yeah, the intern.
Long time ago. [chuckles]
But now here you are.
Just, uh, wanted to pick Michael’s brain about a case.
At night at home?
Some things can’t wait.
Okay. A kid I was representing… well, he died in OPP. Actually, he was murdered, uh, after being tortured by the NOPD.
[Elizabeth] That’s a big word. Is that the right word?
Um… Yes, it-it… it looks that way.
[Lee] The world is working very hard to describe this child’s death as something of no interest. Him as someone of no value. But the world’s doing that because it’s frightened. I can smell the fear. That’s a good thing, ’cause I can work on fear. And with a little help from our friends…
When did you start calling him Michael?
What kind of torture?
I don’t think we should be talking about him like this.
[Lee] Really? We’ve done 400 years of not talking. Kind of in favor of getting it out there.
[Adam] What’d they do to him?
CS gas pumped through a hose into a locked vehicle with him hog-tied inside.
[Elizabeth] What did this young man do?
What, to get tortured?
To get arrested.
He stole a car.
Wait, you knew about this? He stole Robin’s car, then he was tortured, then he was murdered?
The car was used in a hit-and-run.
[Elizabeth] Well, you know what they say. Crime in this city.
[Charlie] Vote for Charlie Figaro. Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime.
[Elizabeth] Big on plagiarism. That’s Tony Blair you’re not attributing.
[Adam] Everyone keeps calling him a kid, but… what was his name, Dad?
What was he like?
We were just at his home this morning.
I didn’t know that.
Your father and I, uh, to give the family the news of his death.
Django. God… Goddamn it. Come on, get out of there. Damn it, come on, get out of there. Go on. Get out. Out. Go outside. The hell is so important back here? Huh?
[slow, somber music]
Is that blood?
Uh, look, I-I, um… I-I have something to say. Elizabeth, you’re right. We haven’t been talking to all of you, and… both of us, we’ve… been going inward because of what happened to Robin, and… I’m sorry. It’s the last thing she would have wanted. We are family.
Adam. Adam. What the hell was that? Huh?
What do you mean? What–
You see what happens when you don’t listen to me?
Oh, you mean when you’re not in control of every little thing?
Yes. Yes. I need to be in control. Listen… buddy, w-we… we have to… we have to be tight. We have to be an alliance. You cannot just invite people over for a chat. One phone call to your grandmother, and look at the consequences.
Are you telling me I can’t even talk to my own grandma without getting your permission?
No, no, you know I am not–
Nancy Costello. She’s not a friendly police officer to us. Not anymore. She’s a detective, and she can destroy us.
And what about your new girlfriend, Dad?
No, that… We’re not–
She is a lawyer who could destroy us.
That is not what it is. Look, Adam… you’ve got your whole life ahead of you. And I know–
But you didn’t even tell me that he was tortured.
I-I couldn’t. I-I thought it was best I didn’t tell you all the sordid details…
How? How? Okay, yeah, no, I get it–
…because you don’t need to know.
What, so you get to decide what I get to know, when I get to know it?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
I decide what the truth is. That’s right. That’s exactly right.
I get the lying. But can you j-just, one time, just say it, just admit that you know what happened?
You want to know the truth? A gang member stole our car and was involved in a hit-and-run and killed a boy. That gang member was tortured by the police. He pled guilty and went to jail… and he died in jail.
I am your father. I am being your father.
Dad, I can Uber.
Drive her. Watch her. Bring her back.
Why don’t you just buy her a motorcycle?
[tense, sinister music]
[jazz music playing]
It’s my fault that Adam lied. People lie for all sorts of reasons, Elizabeth. I see it every day. And not all of those reasons are bad ones. I know my son. And he just didn’t want to hurt you by our failure to mark the day. His lying couldn’t be better motivated.
[chuckles] Uh, is that a sentence you’re proud of– well-motivated lying? Is that something you want to teach your son?
You know, there’s this thing that I do. Right at the end of a run. The last 400 yards, as I turn down Seventh Street, I count the parked cars I sprint by. And the number of parked cars that I pass before a moving car passes me– that’s the number of years Adam has to live. It’s stupid. I know. But I give it everything that I have. Every time.
[tense, percussive music]
Hey, little man. You getting some food for your family?
Okay, baby. Thank you.
You’re welcome, baby. You have a blessed one, now.
Yaka Mein Lady is ready to serve.
Th-That’s okay. Um…
[dog barking in distance]
[percussion music playing]
[melancholy piano music]