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You can't forgive your own mother?
~ Watkins manipulating Mike Logan.

Chesley Watkins is the main antagonist of the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "To the Bone". She is a foster mother who manipulates her foster sons into committing robberies and murders on her behalf.

She was portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg, who also voiced Shenzi in The Lion King.


Early Life

Watkins once worked for a foster care agency, but quit when her husband, Kenneth, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She began taking in foster children, all boys, to pay for Kenneth's treatment. She continued taking in boys after Kenneth died, and raised several of them into adulthood. Eventually, however, she could no longer take in boys because of stricter rules regarding foster parenting, which cut off her main source of income.

She contacted four of her foster sons, Antonio Mattini, James "Jimbo" Duncan, Floyd Bolton, and Carlos Espilla, and told them to rob people's houses so she could sell their valuables. She also told them to kill the occupants so there would be no witnesses, and to mutilate them with machetes beforehand to get them to comply.

"To the Bone"

After her boys commit two invasions in which they kill eight people, NYPD detectives Mike Logan and Carolyn Barek discover that Watkins was their foster mother, and briefly question her. When she finds out that the police have Mattini's DNA, she goes to her old friend Lieutenant Roger Lemoyne's office and steals the confidential cell phone number of another of her foster sons, undercover cop Bone Tarkman. She calls him and tells him that Mattini is in trouble and that he has to save him; she knows full well that Mattini will resist, and one or both of them will get killed.

Logan and Barek arrive at the scene of the planned massacre, and a gunfight ensues in which Logan is forced to shoot Tarkman, who did not identify himself as a police officer, to which Tarkman he later dies of his injuries. Watkins plays the part of the grieving mother, but Logan suspects that she orchestrated the shootout and the home invasions.

Meanwhile, Watkins manipulates Mattini into turning himself in to the police, and then has Bolton stab him to death. Logan and Barek arrest Watkins, Bolton, Duncan, and Espilla, and tell them that Watkins has turned on them. Bolton confesses, but the others prove harder to crack.

Logan interrogates Watkins, who knows a victim of child abuse when she sees one. She senses, correctly, that Logan's mother was abusive, and plays on his guilt by asking him to forgive his mother and her. When Logan asks her to own up to her own part in the crimes, however, she shows her true colors by putting all the blame on her sons, and coldly demanding a lawyer.

The following day, she and her sons are arraigned, and they all plead not guilty. As they are being transferred to jail, Lawton commits suicide, with Watkins looking on with a cruelly satisfied smile. Her lawyer then files a motion to dismiss the charges against her, which is granted now that there is no longer a witness to testify against her.

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