The Real Thing

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Daniel: B- | Grade It Now!
Savino and Lamb: Together At Last!

But she brings the chip to Savino, who says it's good work. He tells his men that the only person he knows capable of this kind of work is a slot cheat named Jackie Sullivan, who is either behind this or knows who is. But the larger problem is the "thugs" in the count room (Savino counterintuitively does not mean his employees). That's going to be trouble back home: "Who cares about some fake chips if there's no more casino?"

So he's roaring off across the casino floor on the way to give the mayor a piece of his mind, but is stopped by his wife. He forgot all about the lunch they had planned. He promises to make it up to her, and this is a song and dance she has clearly heard many times before. "I made an art form of dining alone in Chicago, Vincent. You said it'd be different here," she tells him. There's only so much groveling even a relatively progressive mobster like Savino will do to a woman, and he snaps, "I told you I had business. I'll see you tonight."

Back over the dentist's office now, where we uneasily await the showgirl's waking up to find she's been violated. Instead, she wakes up and finds herself alone. She calls out Dr. Safran's name several times as she wanders through a strangely huge office, but it seems to be to give us a moment or two to admire her showgirl qualifications. Then it's not Vegas: SVU anymore, but regular Law & Order. She finds him dead on the floor.

After the opening credits, the Lamb brothers are on the scene, finding traces of gold under the dead man's fingernails, and a black book full of gambling debts. The ex-wife shows up, who -- after her shock at seeing the body -- tells Jack and Ralph that she divorced Saffran when his gambling problem caused him to lose their son's college fund. She'd initially thought he was cheating on her (at least, in a more traditional sense of that word). Jack brings up the "You'd get more out of his will than a divorce" angle, which is dumb considering we're already pretty clear on Howard being skint. "All of nothing is no more than half. Howard was broke." She is surprised to find out the sum total that Howard owed, however: nearly $40,000. As for the gold, she says there wouldn't be enough -- maybe a hundred dollars -- in the office worth killing over. They also ask if she knows the bookie, a guy named "Pollack" in Howard's black book. She wryly informs them that Safran's poor spelling may mean that he's talking about an actual Polish person.

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