Sure, Balcer and Company may think they wrote the definitive episode with "Under The Influence," but everybody knows there has to be much more to the story. This's how we think Jack'd really get over Claire...
Monday, January 5
Jack awoke from his dream shivering, covered in a thin layer of cold sweat, and violently shaking. Someone was banging on his door. "Damn, they're loud, they're gonna wake up the whole fuckin' building," he thought angrily. As Jack began to get dressed scenes from his dream came flooding back to him. Graphic images so powerful and disturbing he had to sit for a second and catch his breath. In his dream he saw her face, her smile and heard her laughter. Then he heard screeching tires, crushing metal and her laughter stopped. The banging resumed, louder than before. "Just wait one damn minute," he yelled in the general direction of his front door. Jack yanked on his shirt and opened the door. "Who the hell --" he began "Oh, it's you, come on in. What happened?" Detectives Rey Curtis and Lennie Briscoe entered the apartment and took seats at Jack's kitchen table.
Jack joined them a moment later. He looked at their somber expressions and worried glances and instantly knew something was very wrong. "What's the big secret?" he asked the detectives.
Rey cast a worried look at Briscoe and said, "He ran down another woman."
"Who ran down another woman?"
This time Briscoe answered. "Michael Anderson." Briscoe said quietly. No further explanation was needed. Jack knew exactly who Mike Anderson was. In the spring of 1996 Mike Anderson had killed the woman from Jack's dream, his assistant Claire Kincaid, while driving under the influence. She had been driving Briscoe home when Anderson broadsided her. She died instantly, while Briscoe got off without a scratch. Rodgers, the medical examiner, told Jack she died of massive head trauma and severe internal bleeding.
"Son of a bitch," Jack said as he buried his face in his hands. "What happened to her?"
Curtis stated the case matter-of-factly, as if he was on the witness stand explaining it to a jury. As Jack sat there he wondered how Curtis could just talk about him like he was an ordinary, everyday killer. Then Jack realized, Curtis hadn't loved Claire with all his heart and soul. He didn't think about her every day and dream of her every night. He was an outsider as far as Jack was concerned.
"Elena Hoover, 27. She came out of the corner store and was crossing the street back to her apartment when Anderson came tearing around the corner and slammed her body into a lamppost. He knocked himself unconscious in the crash and when he came to in the hospital we had arrested him. He confessed and he had a blood alcohol of .19. Very drunk." Rey read from the police report. Jack was still contemplating the kitchen wall when Lennie said something that snapped him out of his trance.
"Hey McCoy, you okay?" Briscoe asked as he snapped his fingers in Jack's face.
"Yeah I'm fine. Just thinkin', that's all. When's the arraignment?"
"Ross is arraigning him at one. She's askin' for no bail because of his prior." Cutis replied.
Again Jack wondered how Rey could just refer to Claire as 'his prior' like she was just some other stiff, no different from the rest of them.
"We gotta go," Briscoe interjected "I guess we'll see you later. You gonna be okay?"
"I'll be fine. Bye, thanks for telling me."
"No problem," Curtis said as he shut the door behind him.
In a daze Jack showered, shaved and got ready for work. In the garage he put on his helmet and hopped on his bike. As he rode down the street he began to think of Claire again. He remembered the last time they rode together. He remembered the way she clung to his waist and pressed her slender body against his back. For a second Jack thought he could almost smell her perfume. Eternity, no that wasn't it, White Diamonds, yes, Claire always wore that one when they went out. He had given it to her for her birthday. He smiled inside his helmet, a sad smile, but a smile all the same.
The blaring sound of sirens snapped him back to reality and he almost crashed into a parked car. Jack pulled over and removed his helmet. A thin, blonde officer stepped out of the car and approached him. Jack couldn't help noticing how attractive she was. He was busy staring at her large, full breasts when she said, "You just ran two red lights. Have you been drinking, sir?"
"No," Jack responded angrily. "I haven't. I was just thinking about something else, that's all."
"Well, I'm still gonna have to write you up."
"Fine. Just hurry it up. I'm late for work."
After a moment Jack felt her eyes penetrating into him. He glanced up at her with a questioning look in his eyes.
"License and registration."
"Here," he said as he yanked them out of his back pocket.
"Are you Jack McCoy the DA?" she asked as she smiled down at him.
"Guilty as charged."
"I've testified for you before in a kidnapping case."
"You'll forgive me if I've forgotten, won't you?" Jack asked with a grin.
"Tell you what, Mr. McCoy. I'll let you off with a warning this time. Next time try to be more observant."
As she walked back to her car Jack jammed his helmet back on and rode off. He made it safely to the office just in time to catch Jamie getting out of her car.
"Morning, Jack," she said in her perky, upbeat voice. "Did the cops come by?"
"Yeah, I talked to Briscoe and Curtis this morning."
"Are you gonna be able to handle this?" Jamie seemed genuinely concerned as she said this.
"I'll be fine. Just make sure this bastard doesn't get bail."
"I'll do my best. Come on, Adam wants to see us first thing."
They arrived in Adam Schiff's office five minutes later. Schiff was one of the few people Jack had ever spoken to about Claire's death and he was sure to be concerned about Jack's ability to handle this case. Jack himself had had some doubts about being able to prosecute this case, but they all vanished the minute he sat down in Adam's office. He could tell by the expression on Adam's aging face that something had gone terribly wrong.
"The dead lady, Elena Hoover, is councilman Edward Hoover's wife. This case is extremely politically sensitive. She was also the mayor's daughter. You will give this investigation top priority. Ms. Ross I want you to work on keeping this son of a bitch in jail." Adam stated this as he paced behind his desk.
"I'm working on it," Jamie told him.
"Well go work on it some more. Now, get out of here."
As they got up to leave Adam called out to Jack, "Not you, just her."
Jamie smiled at Jack as she closed the door behind her. Jack knew exactly what Adam wanted to say to him. He was going to try and remove him from this case. Jack decided that he would stand his ground. He was prosecuting this bastard come hell or high water.
Adam cut right to the chase. "Can you handle this case?"
"The first fuck-up I see you're off this case. And I suggest that you not mention your relationship with Anderson's previous victim to anyone."
"Try and get Claire's death admitted as pattern. It's at least worth a try."
"I'll get right to work on it," Jack said on his way out.
Jack got in the vacant elevator and leaned his head on the soft, cushioned wall. There it was again. Adam talked about Claire as if she was just another fact in another case. He fought back tears as he saw her face. In his mind she was untouched by the accident, she was peacefully asleep beside him. He stroked her hair and she smiled at him in her sleep.
Her face faded from his mind as the elevator doors opened. Jack stepped out and into his office. Jamie was at the table writing something.
"You better get going, it's almost one," he said to her back.
"I'm on my way. I'll let you know how it comes out. Curtis is coming by with the ME's report and crime scene photos in an hour."
"Thanks, I'll take care of them." Jack said as she left.
In Jamie's absence Jack began to think about how he could get Claire's death admitted against Anderson. He had been reading through old cases for an hour and still hadn't found one like Anderson's when there was a knock at the door. Curtis entered the office and dropped a large manila folder onto the table.
"ME's report, photos it's all there. Cause of death was severe head trauma. Plus, all her ribs were broken and so was one of her legs. Rodgers figures he had to be going sixty when he hit her."
"That's it?" Jack asked as he prayed it was.
"Yep. What are you workin' on?"
"Adam wants me to try and get Claire's death admitted against Anderson. Did you hear who this victim was? Councilman's wife and mayor's daughter. This is going to be a fuckin' media frenzy."
Rey looked concerned as he asked, "You gonna be able to handle this case?"
"I'll be fine."
"Do you think you can get her death admitted?"
"I'm sure as hell gonna try."
"I have to meet my wife for lunch, see ya later."
"Bye, have fun." Jack called after him.
About an hour after Rey left Jack found a case that was similar to Anderson's. People v. Smithe. A judge had allowed a drunk driver's previous conviction into evidence even though he had only done it once. Normally only one prior wasn't enough to establish a patter, but this just might work. Jack was on his way up to tell Adam the news when Jamie returned.
"How'd it go?"
"Bail one million." She stated proudly.
"Way to go."
"What's that." She said indicating the case he'd been looking at.
"I think I may have found a way to use Claire's death against this guy."
"Read this case file." He handed her People v. Smithe and she skimmed through it.
"This just might work," she said with a smile, "I'll work on the motion tonight."
"Good. When is Anderson's lawyer coming in?"
"Wednesday, nine a.m. He's got a public defender."
"Goody," Jack said with a grin.
"I'm going to go work on this." Jamie said as she left.
Tuesday January 6
When Jack arrived at the office Jamie had the motion on his desk. As he read through it he realized they had a very good shot at getting this admitted, especially against a public defender. He buzzed Jamie and asked her to come into his office.
"What's up?" Jamie asked as she entered his office.
"We need to confer about this meeting tomorrow. Do we want to offer a plea?" Jack had no intention of pleading Anderson, but he decided to ask.
"Nope, we've got plenty to convict on. We've got witnesses, evidence, a confession, and hopefully a prior." Just then Jack's phone rang. He picked it up expecting it to be his secretary.
"Hello, Jack McCoy."
"Jack, it's me, Sally. I'm Anderson's attorney. I want to move our meeting to four this afternoon. That okay with you?"
Jack was shocked. He was not expecting Sally to defend this guy. Sally Bell had been Jack's assistant for a few years. He had had an affair with her that had ended badly just before she left for the public defender's office. Jack wondered why Jamie hadn't mentioned this. Then he realized Jamie probably didn't know about Sally.
"Sally," he began "that's fine with me. I'll see you then. Bye." Jack sighed as he hung up the phone.
Jamie looked up at him inquisitively, "What was that. Why did Sally want to change the meeting."
"Got me, but she'll be here at four so lets get ready."
He and Jamie spent the next few hours preparing for their meeting with Sally. At about 3:30 Jamie interrupted his thoughts with a question.
"Did you have a thing with Sally?"
"Yes. You heard rumors I take it."
"Oh, do tell."
"I heard you had affairs with all your female assistants."
At this moment Jamie realized the full effect Claire's death had on Jack. She was just about to ask about this when there was a knock at the door. Sally Bell entered the office. She had wavy blond hair but that was the only remotely attractive thing Jamie could see in her.
"Hi," Sally said as she took a seat at the table.
"No plea, Sally," Jack interjected abruptly. Jack handed her a folder and said, "Motion to admit Anderson's prior homicide."
"You'll never get that in."
"Watch me," Jack began to get angry as he said this. "We can argue it in front of Judge Miller tomorrow at eight a.m. sharp."
"Fine, see you there." Sally said as she got up and stormed out the door.
That night Jack went home and began to prepare his argument. He had pulled the file on Claire's death before he left work, as he sat on his couch reading it and sipping scotch straight from the bottle his thoughts again drifted back to Claire. In his head he saw her sitting next to him in his office. He remembered their first date. They had been prosecuting a young woman with multiple personalities who had killed her psychiatrist. They were on their way out for a drink, nothing unusual, when Jack got enough nerve to ask her to dinner.
"Claire, instead of a drink would you like to grab a bite instead?"
She smiled at him and said, "Yes." Jack had expected her to say no or that it wasn't a good idea, anything but yes. He had been ecstatic. They had eaten at a little Italian restaurant near the office. They talked about where they had gone to school, vacations they had taken, and of course the ever-present topic of work came up. Neither one was aware of the vast age difference between them. To the casual passer by it would have seemed like they had known each other for years. After dinner they had walked back to the office hand-in-hand. As they approached Jack's bike in the garage Claire looked a bit apprehensive.
"Have you ever ridden on a motor cycle before?" Jack asked her.
"No. Why, are you offering to drive me home?"
"Yep. Hop on." He said as he handed her his spare helmet.
On the ride back to Claire's apartment Jack drove slower than normal to avoid frightening her. She clung fiercely to his waist as if she was terrified of falling off. When the bike came to a stop in front of Claire's apartment she was still hanging on for dear life.
"You can let go now." He said with amusement.
"Sorry." Claire looked a bit embarrassed.
"It's okay. Think you can make it upstairs okay?"
"Maybe you better help me" She grinned as she pulled off her helmet spilling her dark hair over her shoulders.
"Yes. Come on, pull into the garage."
After Jack parked the bike they got into the vacant elevator. Claire stood against the wall and pulled Jack to her. She slipped her arms around his neck and he leaned down and kissed her. They held the kiss until the elevator stopped on Claire's floor. Claire grabbed Jack by his tie and led him into her apartment. As soon as they entered the apartment Jack took control. He had no clue where Claire's bedroom was so he guessed a direction and led her there. On the way they began to shed their clothing. First Jack pulled Claire's silk blouse off over her head, and then she undid his tie and threw it off to the side. It was at that moment that Jack realized where they were.
"Claire, we're in the kitchen," he mumbled as he worked at getting his shirt unbuttoned.
"So we are. Well, this will have to do." She climbed up onto the counter and sat on the edge. "I can't make it to the bedroom."
Jack stood between her legs as she removed his shirt and unbuckled his pants. He then reached around her back and removed her silky red bra, accidentally tossing it into the sink. Neither one noticed it. He then slid her pants and panties off. Claire then hopped off the counter and slid Jack's pants and boxers down his legs. As she climbed back up she pulled him with her. Soon he was on top of her. As Jack thrust into her he heard a pan clatter to the floor. Claire began to giggle. She had a beautiful laugh. When they were done they made their way to the bedroom where the slept the remainder of the night.
Wednesday January 7
Jack and Jamie arrived in Judge Miller's chambers right on time. Sally arrived a few moments later. Jack was thankful Anderson wasn't with her. He had doubts that he could control himself around Anderson after reading Claire's file last night. Two minutes later Judge Miller entered, as she sat down she began the meeting.
"First I'll address the motion to admit Mr. Anderson's prior conviction. Mr. McCoy, do you have something to say on this topic?"
"Yes, your Honor. In People v. Smithe a judge allowed the use of only one prior in a case. The Supreme Court upheld the judge's ruling on appeal."
"So they did. Ms. Bell, your thoughts please."
As Sally got up she smoothed out her skirt and tucked a lock of hair behind her left ear. Jack had always loved to run his fingers through her soft blond waves. As he watched Sally move he began to realize how lonely he had been since Claire's death. He couldn't remember the last time he really looked at another woman.
"Your Honor, admitting this evidence would be prejudicial. One prior conviction is not enough to establish a pattern of criminal behavior. We can't change procedure based on one judge's ruling."
Judge Miller cleared her throat and made her ruling. "Normally, Ms. Bell, I would agree with you, but in light of the Supreme Court's decision to uphold People v. Smithe I'm going to grant the prosecution's motion to admit Mr. Anderson's prior conviction. I'm setting a trial date of March third."
Jack left the judge's chamber in triumph. He hadn't felt this good in a long time. He and Jamie had a drink to celebrate then he went home. He slept a heavy and dreamless sleep for the first night in a long while.
Sunday March 1
Jack and Jamie had finished putting the final touches on their case that evening and Jack had gathered up all the files from Claire's case and gone home to study them. As he sat on the couch he realized he was going to have to look at the pictures from the crime scene and Claire's autopsy. He took a deep breath and a long drink. He dumped the pictures onto the table. Jack picked up the first one. It was from the crime scene, all he could see was Claire's car. It was severely dented and both the driver's side windows were shattered. In the next one he saw Claire's body slumped behind the wheel and he had to look away for a second. As he was quickly skimming through the rest of the pictures one caught his eye. It must have been taken during her autopsy. In it he saw the left side of Claire's head, it was almost completely bashed in and covered in blood. With this he threw the pictures down and stood up so quickly he knocked his chair out from under him. He downed the bottle of scotch he'd been sipping, walked over to the kitchen counter and with one quick sweep of his arm cleared it off. As papers and books crashed to the floor Jack began to sob freely. He slid down the wall and buried his face in his hands. Morning found Jack asleep on the kitchen floor. The ringing phone had woken him from a deep sleep. He had been dreaming all night. In his dream Claire was telling him to let her go and to not screw up this case. She begged him not to lose control. Just as Jack reached out to hold her the ringing phone woke him. He grabbed the receiver and pressed it to his face.
"Jack, it's Sally. Can we meet? Mike wants to deal. He's afraid of the outcome of a trial."
Jack was almost grateful to hear this after last night he realized he couldn't tell a jury about Claire and show those pictures without killing Anderson. He decided to deal Anderson, but he'd still make it a severe punishment.
"Sally, when do you want to meet?"
"I'll be there."
Jack realized he needed to shower and change. He started the shower and sat on his bed to remove his shoes. As he looked into the bathroom he could see her standing there wrapped in a towel beckoning him to join her for a hot shower. After the image faded Jack got in the shower. As he stood in the stream of hot water he leaned his head against the wall and began to think of Claire again. She was standing next to him in the shower holding a bar of soap.
"Want me to wash your back?"
"Yes." She lathered up his back and rinsed it clean. He turned around and kissed her soft lips, and she smiled up at him.
"Jack, I love you."
"I love you too."
That image was shattered like breaking glass; it was replaced by an image of her slumped behind the wheel of that car. Still, unmoving, dead. He saw her face asleep safely beside him, and then he saw her skull bashed in by Mike Anderson.
Jack dried off, shaved and dressed, still shaken up from his memories. He grabbed the photos of Claire and the photos of Elena Hoover's body and headed for Rikers.
Once at Rikers he took a moment to collect himself. When he entered the room he was poised and ready to be tough. Sally and Mike sat down across from him. Sally put the first offer on the table.
"Vehicular man one, five to fifteen."
"Murder two, twenty-five to life." He retorted.
Jack smirked at her and said, "You'll have to do better than that."
"Man one fifteen to twenty-five."
"He does the max."
"Deal." Sally said ruefully.
Jack turned to Anderson and his mind was instantly flooded with images of Claire, but mainly with those horrible autopsy photos. He pulled them out and laid them on the table.
Jack turned to Anderson and said, "I want you to take a good look at what you did. You killed two innocent young women."
Anderson smiled smugly at Jack as he looked through the stack of pictures. He picked up the one showing Claire's skull fracture and held it up. He leaned over to Jack and whispered, "I like this one the best. You can really see what a number I did on her. You know what else, it felt good bashing her skull in, almost erotic."
This was all Jack could take. He jumped to his feet and decked Anderson square in the jaw with all his strength. He watched with satisfaction as Anderson flew back against the wall and slid down to the floor. Jack grabbed the front of his shirt and slammed him against the door. But before he could land another punch a guard entered the room and he and Sally separated Jack and Anderson. The guard took Anderson back to his cell as Sally pulled Jack to the side and let him have it.
"Have you lost your fucking mind? You could have killed him. Since when do you let criminals get to you like that?"
"I'm sorry Sally, it's just that -- oh never mind, it's not important."
"Are you okay? You've been acting strange about this whole case."
"I'm fine. Adam's going to kill me when he hears about this."
"Probably right. Want me to drive you back to the office?"
Jack sat at his desk and waited for the inevitable, Adam's wrath. It came an hour later when Adam called Jack into his office. He decided it would be safest to let Adam do the talking.
"Remember when you said you could handle this case?"
"Yes" Jack said carefully.
"Have you lost your head? You can't hit a defendant just because he brings back bad memories for you. I've been thinking and I decided you need to talk to Dr. Skoda about this."
Jack jumped to his feet and yelled, "I'm not crazy."
"Nobody said crazy, but don't come back to this office until you've talked to him."
Jack realized he had lost. "Yes, Adam. I'll go tomorrow."
Jack went home and fell instantly asleep. He began to dream a new dream that night. In his dream he was standing on the street corner where Claire's accident occurred. He could only stand and watch her die, he couldn't move to help her, he couldn't even scream for help. He woke up and did not sleep the rest of the night.
Monday March 2
Jack sat in Dr. Emil Skoda's office drinking a cup of coffee; they had chatted all morning about this and that. At about noon he got down to business.
"Tell me about her." Dr. Skoda said as he took a seat at his desk.
"She was the most incredible person I've ever met."
"Did you love her?"
"More than anyone I've ever known."
"Tell me more about this dream."
"I want so badly to save her, but I'm powerless."
"You blame yourself."
"It wasn't your fault."
"I know, I just can't help it."
Dr. Skoda refilled their coffee cups and sat down next to Jack on the couch.
"Have you had any other dreams?"
"I have one where Claire is telling me I have to let her go and get on with my life. She says that she loves me and doesn't want me obsessed with revenge. She tells me to say goodbye, but I never can. Just as I reach out to hug her she vanishes."
They chat for the rest of the afternoon about Jack's childhood and education. At the end of their session Dr. Skoda left him with a few parting words of wisdom.
"Say goodbye and let her go."
Jack went home and opened his closet and dug through it. In the back he found it. Claire's bracelet, she had left there the night before she was killed he sat down and looked at it for a long while, then he fell asleep. There she was again telling him to say goodbye, but this time he did.
"Goodbye Claire. I'll love you forever."
After he said this he reached out to hold her, and to his surprise she didn't vanish. He held her for a long while; finally he let her go. She waved at him, smiled, and then she was gone. Jack went to work bright and early the next morning.