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My daughter is a lovely, but troubled, young woman.
~ Messimer trying to make his own daughter look insane.

Thaddeus "Thad" Messimer is the main antagonist of the Law & Order episode "In Memory Of". He is a pedophile who molests and murders a six-year-old boy, Tommy Keegan, in 1961, and gets away with it until the boy's remains are discovered thirty years later.

He was portrayed by the late Michael Higgins.

Biography

Early life

In the early 1960s, Messimer and his wife Catherine lived in an apartment building with their daughter, Julie. Thad worked as an insurance salesman and made a comfortable life for himself and his family, but he hid a dark secret, as he was an alcoholic and a pedophile who preyed on young boys.

In 1961, he befriended Tommy Keegan, the six-year-old son of his widowed neighbor Doris Keegan, took him to baseball games with Julie in tow to earn his and Doris' trust. One day, he molested Tommy, and when the boy threatened to tell his mother, Messimer panicked and hit him on the head with a wrench, killing him. He buried Tommy in the basement of the apartment building. Julie saw him washing Tommy's blood out of his clothes, and was so frightened and confused that he blocked out the memory. Tommy's murder went unsolved, although suspicion fell on a gay couple who lived next door to the Messimers.

A few years later, Messimer was quietly fired after he was caught propositioning a young boy. He drifted from job to job over the years, presumably molesting other children. He was also emotionally abusive to Julie, resulting in her developing severe depression as an adult.

"In Memory Of"

In 1991, Tommy's remains are found by a construction crew renovating the building, and detectives Mike Logan and Phil Cerreta investigate his murder. After finding out the boy's identity, they interview his former neighbors, including the Messimers, who had long since moved out of their old neighborhood. Messimer casts suspicion on the gay couple, but Cerreta and Logan soon find they were innocent.

Cerreta and Logan interview Julie, as well, but become concerned when she faints while describing her childhood friendship with Tommy. While talking to the police, Julie begins to uncover long-repressed memories of seeing her father washing Tommy's blood of his clothes.

Assistant District Attorneys Ben Stone and Paul Robinette look into Messimer's past and discover his history of molesting children, and indict him for murdering Tommy. Messimer pleads innocence, and manipulates Julie into recanting her testimony. With help from police psychiatrist Elizabeth Olivet, however, Julie discovers that her memories are real, and finds the courage to stand up to her father at last. Desperate, Messimer shows up at Julie's apartment and tries one last time to bully her into recanting, but Julie testifies against him nonetheless. Defeated, Messimr pleads guilty to killing Tommy, and is sentenced to eight-and-a-third to twenty-five years in prison.

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