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Crime/Drama/Mystery/Thriller, USA, 2008, 43 min.

Synopsis Three rich boys in tuxes stand around sending messages to Tessa, trying to get her to strip on her web cam. She responds, telling "Joe" to wait for prom. Getting ready for prom, she's excited until she gets an IM from "Joe" telling her prom is off because he heard rumors that she's a lesbian. Paul, an awkward-looking boy, gets ready for prom and goes looking for Tessa. Her friend tells him she's not there and wouldn't look for him if she was. The next day at lacrosse practice, the friend tells Tessa that Paul started the rumor. She says he'll be sorry. Cut to Paul jogging on a path then getting jumped by the friend, Kyana, and what seem to be other girls, though they're wearing masks. They knock him down and kick him. Back at his house he says they're going to pay and pastes their faces onto cartoon bodies. Later in class, every kid's phone starts ringing - it's Paul's cartoon of Tessa and Kyana making out. Her mom, the teacher, goes to check on her. Tessa runs into the school's restricted area and the teacher follows. She finds a body - Paul's, hanging.Goren and Eames show up to the private school and meet the teacher, Mrs. Anna Nobile. Goren notices paint chips on her sleeve, from the boiler room when she tried to hold up Paul's body. Goren and Eames check out the tunnels where the headmaster says Paul didn't belong at the school.Goren looks at the scene and says there should be more paint chips if he struggled. The knot was a sailing knot. His cell phone and backpack are missing. He has fresh mud on his sneakers.They meet with his parents. Mom says he was looking forward to his prom, but she doesn't know how it went because they went out of town to a regatta. Goren finds the suit Paul wore to prom - his dad's. He notices it was washed. "How stupid can you be?" says the grieving father about his dead son.Mom says he was on medications, for depression and maybe schizophrenia. She says lately Paul seemed happy.At the morgue, Rodgers tell them the cause of death was asphyxiation by hanging, but his skull was bashed in. She shows them the two to three day old bruises all over his body.They tell Captain Ross about Paul. Dad is a corporate raider, known for toughness. Goren theorizes dad Bill was embarrassed by his son.They find Bill on the squash court. He tells them playing is how he deals with bad news. Goren insinuates Bill hit his son. Bill doesn't respond well, insulting them.The girls who beat up Paul erase files on their computer, lead by Kyana.Goren and Eames go talk to Jack, a boy the grief counselor said Paul might be friends with. They pull him out of class but he doesn't walk to talk because Kyana is watching.They talk to Jack at home. He shows them the make-out cartoon Paul made.Goren and Eames go to school and search the girls' lockers as crowds of students tape them on their phones. Mrs. Nobile intercepts her computer while Kyana puts on a brave front and says they already "Guantanamo'd" her locker, they can look at her computer because she has nothing to hide.At the station, a computer tech quickly finds the file Kyana thought she deleted. It's a video of the girls attacking Paul. They're wearing sports goggles but Eames notices the way the girls are running looks like how lacrosse attackers run.They pick up Kyana and show her and her dad the video. She says it's not her and her dad believes her. They show her dad the cartoon. She talks a big game. Her dad says she grew up on Park Avenue. Eames says they get it, her ghetto act only fools her private school friends.Kyana's dad takes his daughter away. Goren, Eames and Ross figure all the little rich girls will have lawyers by the end of the day except Tessa and her teacher mother.They go to Tessa's house. At the threat of looking through her IMs from Joe, she confesses those are her teammates in the attack video, but she wasn't there. She says they did it because Paul's lesbian rumor is why Joe dumped her. They ask her if she knows why Paul had it in for her. She says it turns out he didn't. She confronted him after he made the video and he professed his love for her. She told him he was the last person she could ever love and he ran into the tunnels.She told Kyana what Paul said later at practice and Kyana said she'd put a stop to it.At the station, Kyana's in interrogation. Goren's trying to figure out why Kyana was after Paul. It all comes back to dissing. She says she was late for practice because her way of getting back at him was to break his bike lock so he'd have to walk home. Her dad tries to protect her from a few questions and says his daughter is neither a murderer nor a lesbian. Eames asks which of those scares him most. Kyana says she didn't get to finish with the lock because Mrs. Nobile caught her. Kyana caught her up to speed on what Paul had supposedly done to Tessa.Mrs. Nobile gets a visit from Jack, who says that he used to protect Paul and he's still trying to. He warns her that he hopes Tessa wasn't involved, but if she was, she'll pay.Goren and Eames lay out the evidence against Mrs. Nobile. The fact she's a Renaissance art teacher helped them overlook her. They check out her resume. She agreed to teach at the snooty school to get Tessa a free ride.Goren and Eames go to search Mrs. Nobile's office. They find Paul's backpack. They lead her out and two hands high-five, recording her as she's being lead away.In interrogation, she finds it funny that they suspect her. She tells them if she was mad at anyone, it was Joe, not Paul. She never met Joe. It was a cyber relationship. But she read his poetic emails to her daughter and approved. The day after prom there was a note under her door from Joe with a picture of the girls attacking Paul. He said Tess was one of them and he'd post the video unless she resigned. She was being blackmailed but kept it to herself because she knew Tessa would get kicked out.They confirm Mrs. Nobile's story and trace "Joe Cardinal," from a Connecticut school, through his web page. They visit his school and are told the kid is a model for the school's bulletin, not a student.Back at the station they read Joe's poetry.They now know he's a fake, tailor made to appeal to Tessa. Goren thinks humiliating Tessa wasn't the aim, but a means to get rid of her mom.Goren and Eames visit the Nobiles again. Tessa says she met Joe at a party, but then admits she doesn't remember him, that he friended her the next day saying he saw her there. They ask Tessa to leave the room and tell her mom Joe was fake. She says Paul couldn't have possibly done it, he's no poet.At the station, they find photos from the party on-line. Paul was there, too, but they don't think he's Joe. They don't think they will get very far asking for info from the rich kids. They decide if Anna is the target and the scheme to take her down fails, "Joe" might try again. They rig a fake promotion notice.Goren waits in Anna's office and busts a young kid sliding a poster under her door. It's a threat, saying if Anna doesn't resign Tessa might get hurt. The kid says he did it for Scouts and Scholars, a future leaders club. They want names.At the station they have narrowed down the kid's list of 10 to three boys who filed grading grievances against Mrs. Nobile. Two other boys and Jack, the three from the intro.Goren talks to the rich kids, the boys who created Joe. One tries to claim that they created Joe to swap him with Paul and get him with Tessa. One rich kid gives up Jack.They visit Jack and his dad, telling them they're after Joe. When they tell him all they want is Joe, he smiles smugly. He says he won't rat out Joe. His dad yells at him to give up Joe. They bait Jack against his dad.Jack's dad calls Joe a moron and Jack starts bragging about how much his dad would like Joe. He tells them what "Joe" did to get rid of Mrs. Nobile. He rails against the average, dumping on Paul and Tessa.Jack says his dad should be thanking Joe. "He should be thanking you," Eames tells Jack and the jig is up. She tells Jack's dad there is no Joe, that his son created him. Jack's dad laughs at the idea. He says Jack isn't "sm...creative enough."Jack brags, proud of himself. His dad and lawyer try to shut him up, but he's too pleased with himself. He confesses every bit, saying he knew Kyana had a crush on Tessa so he played her against Paul. He's thrilled he got the girls to beat Paul.He says he didn't attack Paul, that he came at him.They arrest H. Jack Walker III for murder. Dad says he'll bail him out. "You still don't get it, do you?" Jack says, "You can't fix it this time."

Directed by Betty Kaplan  

Starring Vincent D'Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe, Eric Bogosian, John Shea, Anthony Carrigan, more...

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