Air date: January 10 2021
[low, suspenseful music]
You never see it coming.
[radio playing softly]
You can go for months, months and months, and then there’s one that just… just hits you right in the belly, you know? Single mom, mother of four, two completely unmanageable, two jobs, rescue pit bull. I mean, she’s a good person, which makes her a mark. So, some guy comes sailing in, claiming to be the man that this family has needed, and then starts punching her.
Ever call it in?
Oh, no. No, she doesn’t, because of course he comes groveling back, promising to change, doesn’t, happens again.
God, I’m sorry. Uh… You, of course, know better than anyone.
NOPD doesn’t get involved. They can’t. It’s… they’re unaware. Until one night, when Mom decides to fight back. And he calls it in.
Now, you all haul her away on assault. Her PD suggests that she pleads out, and she does. And so, by the time that she’s released, she’s lost her jobs, her home, her kids are in temporary custody, veering on permanent, and that loser ex has left with the dog and every penny in her account.
Oh, my God.
Yeah. Now, that’s not even the good part yet. So, when she files a report for the theft, she learns that this guy has been using a fake name the whole time. I wrote down what she has. A-And I wrote it down because I thought that s… maybe somehow I could, I could help her.
Wrote down what?
Oh. Um… Here. Yeah.
Green Toyota Camry.
Yeah. That’s all she has.
And these are the first three numbers of the license–
Right, that’s all she could remember. And I don’t even know if that’s enough to trace the car or… You know?
You know, I bet if I punch this in, it’ll spit out five names, give or take.
How much you want to bet one of them has a record?
[radio continues playing softly]
[Nancy] Hmm. Squeaky clean, all four of them.
Um… Could I have them anyway?
They’re private citizens–
And one of them is a violent, woman-hating piece of crap who’s probably just smart enough not to get caught so he doesn’t have a record. Nancy, this poor fucking woman just doesn’t have a chance. But we can give her a-a leg to stand on in-in family court and maybe she doesn’t lose her kids.
[Michael sighs] Jesus, listen to me. Holier than thou. Asking you to bend the law I’m complaining no one upholds? God, what a hypocrite.
[Nancy] No. Hypocrisy is probably the last thing anyone would ever accuse you of.
[exhales] I got to go to the bathroom. Keep an eye?
[radio continues playing]
[somber, suspenseful music]
Are you sure about this, Jimmy? A judge?
[dog barking in distance]
Are you looking at my cool T-shirt or-or at my breasts?
It’s Rocco’s. He loved it. [inhales] Here.
[slow, solemn music]
There he is.
Huh. W-What was the last big conversation you had with him?
Um, he had a plan, for his life, really. He told me about it.
What was the plan?
Shoot for the moon, basically. Um, Paris for the summer. And then, uh… and then art school in London, probably living in Clerkenwell or Hoxton with the French girlfriend he probably met at some Left Bank Café.
He was planning that?
Some of that’s me… keeping his future going. Um, what about you?
Last big conversation.
Uh, we never really got to talking like that.
No, I-I mean with your mom.
Oh, uh… Yeah, I’ll-I’ll always remember the last thing she said to me. We were in the car, and sh-she turned to me all solemn and she lowered her voice a little bit, and she said… “Did you fart?”
[laughs softly] What?
And I-I got out of the car and went into school, and… never saw her again.
[Fia] So, did you?
Did you fart?
[chuckles] No. It was, uh, my dog. Django.
My mom just liked messing with me.
Maybe it was her.
You mean the-the last thing my mother did in my presence before she died was fart? Is that what you’re saying?
I’d give anything to have been with him. I keep replaying his last morning. I don’t want it to, but it… forces its way to the front of my mind, and stays there… like that’s all that exists in his 17 years of life. All the moments before, thousands of moments we shared, just get squeezed out like they’re not important. That’s what the guy who killed Rocco did. He didn’t just kill my brother. He killed my life with my brother.
I’m just delivering groceries for apartment 200. Edward or Edouard Lincoln, I believe. I’m with Good Egg. It’s a nonprofit providing healthful foods for those in need.
Those in need? Sounds like you write hymns in your spare time.
I don’t have any spare time. This is my whole life.
You got some grub, bub.
Hey. Uh… Edouard, I-I.. I’ve got some groceries for you.
Danny? Well, I’ll be dogged! Nobody told me you were coming.
Uh… Yeah, well, I-I tried to call, but then I thought I’d just… show up.
Was that phone busy or just ring e-eternally? They wheel me out to the phone once a week, but the nurses are always tying up the lines jabbing with their boyfriends.
Oh, uh… Hot as all get out.
Well, the Lord done rain down his wrath on our little armpit, don’t he? [laughs] You talk to the other cousins? I don’t much. They tell me I got the dementia, so I probably wouldn’t remember even if I did. How’s Tampa?
It’s hot, Ed.
Now, look, uh… You got everything now, so I’ll… I’ll-I’ll see you some other time.
You’re leaving? Jesus H… Danny, you just got here. Look, rest your bones. And how you been?
Well… To be honest, Ed… I’ve been better.
It’s hard all over. But if you can’t bare your soul to family, then I don’t know what’s what.
I just… [sobs softly] I just… feel so much pressure, you know? [sighs heavily] [inhales deeply] [exhales heavily] [mumbles] It’s like a 100,000 fucking pounds of… steel just pressing down on my shoulders. I’ve got a man trying to ruin my life. I’ve got secrets I can never tell anyone. My son… My son. [sighs heavily]
Children are God’s gift.
Yeah. But that level of love can just crack you open. Make you someone you never thought you’d be.
You remember when Trevor was born? Everything about him was wrong, even in the womb. Kicking like he couldn’t wait to get out of there. What’s that term for wrong way round? Lorraine, she had a terrible time getting him out ’cause he was ass first. Sixty-seven cigarettes.
I counted every one of them. Pacing in the hall outside the delivery room… till someone come and said I was a father.
Uh-huh. Your son.
My one and only son… fucked up before, during and after he was born.
Yeah. And ever since.
He’s still troubled?
Dolly Parton sleep on her back? Though I wouldn’t know. He don’t visit. I talk to the nurses, but–
Ed, Ed. He-He’s living in Algiers now, right? Got a job driving?
He stole my Camry. If you see him, you tell him I’m calling the police,
the real police.
I liked that dress she wore to the Grammys in 1977. Pink was pink back then, and nobody did pink like Dolly.
Ed… why don’t we get you in this chair, huh? And, I don’t know… have a little outing?
[chuckles] Thank you!
There we go. There we go. Oh, geez, Ed. Wait a minute, I’ll be right back. I-I forgot my keys.
[Edouard] Sixty-seven cigarettes, and that ass-first motherfucker steals my Camry.
[dark, suspenseful music]
[car door closes]
[Fia] Turn off your phone. No phones in Wonderland.
[camera shutter clicks]
You good? Hey, so, um, I’m sure you checked me out online. Don’t lie. Don’t ever lie to me.
He came from nothing. He started working when he was nine years old to support his mom and his younger brothers and sisters and he made it. Now he own restaurants and hotels and sell oysters to every oyster joint in the city. When we were young, he used to wake us up every morning with the same words: “The world is your oyster.”
[somber, cerebral music]
You love him.
Whatever you read about him is lies. My older brother…
Thanks, man. Have a good night.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Hey, hold on, hold on. Listen, sorry, I called for a car, but, uh, my phone died, and, anyway, I-I’ve got a 50, and I j… I need to get to a place called Buffa’s, on Esplanade, or Esplanaid, or….
[slow, suspenseful music]
You know what I’d really like to do with my time while I’m here? Fish.
Yeah. Are those boat tours worth it?
Eh, most of them are scams, but I know a few guys. What, uh, what you want to fish?
Oh, I-I don’t know. I’m-I’m an amateur. You know, maybe some, just, deep water.
Hell yeah, man. Deep water’s where it’s at. You got your yellowfin out there, you got you marlins, your wahoo. I’ll tell you what, you get a guy with a boat knows what he’s doing, get some… some cold beers…
They get pretty big. You ever catch one of those?
Oh, yeah. Course I have. Biggest I ever caught was about 168 pounds, but my friend set the record last year with 242.
Yeah. And I’m gonna break that record, once I get my own boat.
You’re getting a boat?
Yep. She’s sitting down at Boat Stuf in the marina right now. 2020 Sea Fox 328 Commander, in Bahama Blue. Talking about 32 feet of featherlight fiberglass. And when I’m not in this seat, I’m gonna be sitting in that one.
Wow. What’s that gonna set you back?
Over 200 grand.
Uh, listen, w-we must be getting kind of close, right? Why-why don’t you just pull over and I’ll-I’ll walk the rest of the way?
Oh. Hey, Ms. B.
Hey, Mom. Veggies, for Chef from the farmers market.
I’ll make sure no one bothers you, sweetheart.
[eerie, suspenseful music]
It’s gonna be the hottest shit in Nola. Period.
We’re gonna turn 150 grand into half a mil.
Then we’re gonna do it again and the whole waterfront and every casino will be Baxter-owned and my father will see that I was fucking right.
Try this. You’re my guinea pig, Joey.
[slow, tense music]
Um, are you gonna get that or what?
It’s not mine. I… I think it’s coming from…
[Michael] Trevor. Noon tomorrow. Venice Marina. If you want your money, you’ll be there. Unarmed and alone.
[slow, tense music]
[slow, haunting music]
[Adam] Y-You can drop me here.
Is this your house?
So which is yours?
It-it… it’s around the corner, but–
Wait, wait, wait.
What, are you, like, embarrassed? You don’t want your dad to see me?
Oh, my God. Oh, my God. I’m right. Okay, I’m gonna do this.
I’m gonna stop right in front of your house, lean on the horn and kiss you like you’ve never been kissed before in your life. Right or left? Right or left? Don’t lie to me.
[slow, intense music]
Both of them?
I ever tell you the time when I first met your mother in New York? She was at NYU, living in the West Village, and I was at Columbia, in a two-bedroom, sharing it with three other guys, six-floor walk-up in Harlem.
But for some reason, we found ourselves studying at the same café in the East Village. And, oh, boy, I wanted to talk to her. I really did, but I-I thought maybe I never would.
I don’t know, maybe it was… shyness or… I was intimidated. She was so beautiful. One day she walks in, and she is wearing this blue knitted scarf, and she’s so poised. And suddenly it was possible. So I just walked right up to her table, and I said what I had to say. “I like your scarf?”
It came out like a question.
Wha… I-I don’t know. Don’t ask me. But she starts… laughing uproariously, and when she stopped laughing, she looked at me… with a look… that was the sweetest… most perfect thing I have ever seen on a human face before or since. Kindness and… promise. I asked her if she… knitted the scarf herself… and the next 30 years began.
[Adam] You remember that game we used to play on long car rides where you’d have to pick a couple and try to say which one of them scored?
So… you and Mom?
[scoffs] What do you think? That would be me. You never know when… life is gonna line up just perfectly and walk you right into your future. That’s what I want for you. That’s what New York can be.
New Orleans can’t do that?
Leaving will be good, Adam. Really good.
We should get a dog.
Seriously? I’ve been begging you for one for years, and you want to get one the year before I leave for college?
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. What do you mean, leave? Leave?
Huh? No, no, no, no. You’re gonna go to Tulane,
and live here, and then you’re gonna graduate and get married, have kids, and still live here…
[laughs] Okay, stalker. Rottweiler or Chihuahua?
Do I look like a Chihuahua guy?
Um, Great Dane or Newfoundland?
Mm… maybe cross the two.
Leonberger or a sh…
What’s a Leonberger?
It’s, like, a lion, only a dog.
Ooh, ooh, let’s get a lion dog. [chuckles]
I love you.
So, who is this guy?
Adam… That’s it?
I don’t know that much about him.
What does his father do?
Dad! Are you serious? Oh, what are his prospects? Is that your next question?
What are his prospects?
Why don’t I just get him over here so you can call him into your office for a man-to-man?
[“Smokestack Lightnin'” by Howlin’ Wolf playing]
♫ Shinin’ ♫
♫ Just like gold ♫
♫ Why don’t ya hear me cryin’? ♫
♫ Whoo hoo ♫
♫ Whoo hoo hoo hoo ♫
♫ Whoo ♫
Meet My Lai. Fresh out the Golden Triangle. I’m asking 100 a kilo, and I got six to sell. Shit’s so dope, you’ll double your bills. So try it, spread it around, let me know when you’re ready to buy in.
♫ Whoo hoo hoo ♫
Y’all ain’t the only one uppin’ your game. That’s 200 Gs.
[Little Mo chuckles]
Why we need samples when your boy’s all muddied up here?
♫ Whoa oh ♫
[Carlo] Cool. I’m not carrying product.
♫ Where did ya ♫
♫ Stay last night? ♫
Come back in a few hours?
♫ Whoo hoo ♫
We know where to find your shiny white ass if you don’t show. [chuckles]
♫ Whoo ♫
♫ Whoa oh ♫
♫ Stop your train ♫
♫ Let her ♫
Father and son. Divide and rule.
♫ Whoo hoo hoo… ♫
I could have sworn my lawyer was a fat white lady.
Kofi Jones. I’m his attorney.
What’s that got to do with me?
According to the coroner’s report, you were interviewed by SID.
Yeah, and I already told those pigs I don’t know shit.
I’m asking again. For the family.
Way I hear it, ain’t nothin’ left of that family.
Wait a second, you’re not…
Nah, what I’m not is a snitch.
Yo. I’m done here.
[mid-tempo R&B intro plays]
[chef] Here you go. With grits.
[waiter] Thank you.
[music continuing indistinctly]
[Charlie] Morning, Louise.
[Louise] Morning, Charlie.
One too many last night? Jesus. It’s a… big day for your godson.
You got him… right, Charlie? I mean, if… something should ever happen to me.
‘Course I do.
You good, Michael?
Yeah. I’m good.
[song continuing indistinctly]
If someone killed you in here wouldn’t you want someone like me to
find out how and why? So your family could have peace?
But I got to live, yo. I talk to you, I’m asking for trouble.
Danavian Lewis, 36. Two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm,
armed robbery with a firearm, illegal possession of stolen…
Jack one car, they charge you with all that. Land of the free.
So let’s see. We’re looking at 15 for the robbery, five for the firearm, plus up to ten for each assault.
I was messed up.
You got anything else I could give the judge at your sentencing? So we could get your years down?
My firm charges about $1,000 an hour I might be able to do this for about $1,000 cheaper than that.
[exhales] My cell… my cell’s by the door to C Block. I saw Jones pass by that night, and, uh… I heard he was supposed to be meetin’ up with another inmate. Few minutes after he passed, I heard the guards yelling. Jones was dead.
Do you know which inmate he went to meet?
See, at mess, I like to be by myself. So I could read. There’s one guy, he come up to me real quiet, asking me if I know who Kofi Jones is. I just look at him and get back to my book.
White dude. He was just there for the night, passing through.
Do you know his name?
Can you give it to me?
[exhales] [breathes deeply] Carlo. Carlo Baxter.
You’ll be great.
Actually, no. You’ll be inarticulate as hell. They’ll probably take you anyway ’cause of your good, clean, all-American looks.
Hey, I’m not sure I want to do this.
Here’s what you do. When they ask you a big question, you stare at the ground. Like, forever. Like, let the silence run until it’s actually uncomfortable. And then, you say you’ve never been able to talk about the thing you love. In fact, it’s really important not to talk about it, for fear of losing it. Then you quote Robert Frank. Uh… “Things move on, time passes, people go away. Sometimes they don’t come back.” Only the pictures remain.
Yeah, but if I get in, if I go, I… I mean, I’d miss New Orleans.
Sure. But you got to, you know, shoot for the moon. Right?
[Grether] You have a suspect yet?
Yeah. Not enough to make anything happen.
Would DNA help?
Hello, this is Lee Delamere calling for D.A. Robinson. Okay, can you please tell him that I called? And I need him to call me back immediately.
[up-tempo string music playing]
[phone rings, buzzes]
Lee? Yeah, look, I can’t talk right now.
We got him.
We got Carlo Baxter’s DNA on Kofi.
Oh, that’s great. That’s great. Look… [stammers] I got to call you back.
Okay, come on, come on. Go on. It took time to figure out how to deal with a lowlife like you. Someone who takes advantage of other people’s pain. A child’s pain.
Wait a second.
What-what is she doing here?
I had it brought down.
Holy shit, you bought me the boat!
Trevor, I’m a judge. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about blackmailers is they always come back for more. So, no, I didn’t buy you a boat. I financed it.
But it’s mine?
If you stick to our agreement, I will make the monthly installments. If you ever come back to me for more money or that video sees the light of day, the payments will stop, the bank will repossess the boat and you’ll go back to living your selfish little life. While your lonely demented father wastes away in his room. Do we have an agreement? Trevor, do we have an agreement?
Fuck yes, we have an agreement.
Paperwork’s in the car.
[Trevor] [whispers] Paperwork’s in the fucking car. You know what, you should, uh, you should come out with me sometime, man. No, I’m serious, I mean, we-we’ll, uh, uh, we’ll get good beer and everything. It’ll be frigging aw– -[gasps]
[dramatic music playing]
Uh, there-there must be a misunderstanding here.
No. No. No, the only misunderstanding is that you left my son to die alone… in the gutter. What I can’t understand is how anyone in their right mind could do such a thing.
[stammers] I don’t-I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Here’s-here’s what I know, Judge. I know your car was stolen the day after you killed my son. I know you deleted the gas station footage. I know you had the car crushed. So let’s just skip you’re denying everything and get to where I shoot you in the fucking head.
No, no, no, no, no no, no, please, no, no, no… Carlo! Carlo. He’s… he’s about to be arrested for the murder of Kofi Jones.
It’s… Yes. And he’s-he’s going to stand trial for murder. They-They’ve got video evidence…
[Frankie speaks indistinctly]
…and-and-and DNA… No, no, and…. I-I can make sure that… that hi-his case is in my court. I can make sure that he walks out a free man!
You– shut up! Shut up. Let me think. What does this person know?
[somber piano music playing]