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They were taking advantage of you!
~ Bennett justifying his crimes to his mother.

James Bennett is the main antagonist of the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "The Saint". He is a con artist who specializes in forged documents, and who is trying to discredit the Brother Jerome Foundation as revenge for them taking advantage of his mentally ill mother.

He was portrayed by actor/comedian Stephen Colbert.

Biography

Early Life

Bennett was raised by his mother Betty, who suffered from an undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Bennett learned to forge signatures as a child by faking hers in order to reacquire possessions that she compulsively gave to charity during her frequent episodes of mania.

Betty became fixated on giving to the Brother Jerome Foundation, a non-profit Catholic charity, so he got back at them by learning how to change the mint marks on ordinary coins and selling them to the foundation at inflated prices under the pretense that they were valuable antiques. A precociously talented chemist, he was arrested at 13 for trying to melt the store window of a thrift shop run by the foundation with homemade thermite in an attempt to steal his own electroplating kit, which Betty had given away.

As an adult, he works as a rare document and antique dealer, selling forged documents and fake antiques to the foundation, with the ultimate goal of discrediting and bankrupting them.

"The Saint"

When the foundation announces that Brother Jerome, the 19th century monk for whom the organization is named, is to be canonized, Bennett concocts a plan to discredit them once and for all.

He sets the plan in motion by killing social worker Louise Politano, whose claim that Brother Jerome healed her childhood polio in a vision is the basis of the canonization, by mailing her a lye bomb. He then forges a letter in Politano's hand "confessing" to making up her vision of Brother Jerome. Bennett tells NYPD detectives Robert Goren and Alexandra Eames that the confession letter is authentic in order to steer them toward investigating the foundation.

During their investigation, they find an antique letter in which a relative of Brother Jerome claimed that the monk had spoken to the Devil. This is in fact another of Bennett's forgeries, written to make Brother Jerome appear to have been insane or a con artist, or both, thus ruining the campaign for sainthood and, with it, the foundation. Goren and Eames eventually track down his forgeries, and begin investigating him.

Meanwhile, Betty gives away all of Bennett's money to the foundation during a manic episode. To recoup his losses, Bennett reluctantly forges a letter that "proves" that the story about Brother Jerome spoke to the Devil was a lie, and tries to sell it to the foundation.

Goren and Eames drop in on Bennett at the apartment he shares with his mother, claiming that the foundation had told them the letter was a fake. They confront Bennett about his crimes in front of Betty, who calls him "nothing but a common criminal". Desperate to redeem himself in his mother's eyes, Bennett shows her his talent by forging several signatures from historical figures, and finally hers. Beaten, Bennett confesses to killing Politano, and Goren and Eames arrest him.

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