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"Empire" Law & Order episode Episode no. Season 9 Episode 20 Original air date May 5, 1999 (1999-05-05) Episode chronology ← Previous "Tabula Rasa" Next → "Ambitious" List of Law & Order episodes (season 9) "Empire" is the 201st episode of NBC's legal drama Law & Order, and the 20th episode of the 9th season. Plot The episode opens with a businessman, Gilbert Sanderson (Daniel Henry Murray) seen staggering into an Italian restaurant wearing boxer shorts and no pants. He collapses, asks for a doctor, and is taken away by ambulance. We learn later he has come from his townhouse next door. Detectives Lenny Briscoe and Rey Curtis find lady's underwear in his living room, and after he dies in the hospital, the medical examiner (Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers) discovers through an autopsy that he had ingested 1,000 mg of Viagra before his death, enough to kill him given an existing heart condition. The initial police investigation focuses on Mr. Sanderson's wife (Kathleen McNenny) (whose motive may have been retaliation for suspected infidelities), a business associate Julian Spector (Daniel Hugh Kelly), and Katrina Ludlow (Julia Roberts), a professional party planner who eventually admits to having had sex with Sanderson right before his death. The detectives discover that Spector had a motive to kill Sanderson if Sanderson was planning to downgrade the bonds necessary for Spector to build a multimillion dollar sports stadium. Spector is also found to have had means and opportunity – he had obtained Viagra from a drug dealer, knew of Sanderson's heart condition, and according to Ludlow, had asked her to give it to Sanderson as a "favor" to enhance their eventual sexual encounter. Ludlow asks to be put into witness protection in exchange for testifying against Spector, and Detective Curtis takes her to a motel in New Jersey. There, she turns over to him a small metal tin containing unused Viagra pills and with Spector's thumb print on the tin. Curtis reluctantly spends the weekend keeping Ludlow company at the motel. She attempts to seduce him, and the screenplay leaves ambiguous whether or not she succeeded. Carmichael, McCoy and the detectives meet in front of Spector's office building and we learn that the thumbprint was confirmed to be Spector's through a match with a state gaming license he applied for, and that the Viagra in the tin found by the police forensics laboratory was "consistent" with the Viagra in Sanderson's autopsy. Jack McCoy, assisted by Abbie Carmichael, first indicts and then prosecutes Spector for murder. He wins the conviction. During the trial, Ludlow attempts to undermine Curtis' testimony, by implying that they had sex while she was under his protection, and further suggests that he may have tampered with evidence. McCoy suspects that Ludlow is actually working for Spector, and Carmichael uncovers evidence that Spector may have paid Ludlow $5 million to act as a double agent, pretending to testify for the prosecution, but in fact sabotaging their case. Curtis swears under oath that the evidence was not tampered with, and that he had remained true to his wife during his protective custody of Ludlow. The screenwriters do not make explicit what occurred in the motel room, but in the final scene, Ludlow confronts Curtis on the courthouse steps and lectures him that one hundred years from now, no one will care "who slept with who." Her delivery, body language and tone of voice can be taken to inform the viewer that they did not in fact sleep together, and that she is angry for having been spurned. Trivia Benjamin Bratt and Julia Roberts were dating at the time of the filming.