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My daughter is a lovely, sweet woman who is very disturbed. Don't make her worse.
~ 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 molested and murdered a six-year-old boy, Tommy Keegan, in 1961, and got away with it until the boy's remains were discovered 30 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: he was a pedophile who preyed on young boys. He was also a heavy drinker who often committed his crimes while intoxicated.

In 1961, he befriended Tommy Keegan, the six-year-old son of his widowed neighbor Doris Keegan, and took him to baseball games with Julie in tow to earn his and Doris' trust. One day, he lured Tommy into the basement of his apartment building, where he molested the boy. When Tommy threatened to tell his mother, Messimer panicked and hit him on the head with a wrench, killing him, and buried him behind a wall. That night, Julie saw him washing Tommy's blood out of his clothes, and was so frightened and confused that she blocked out the memory. Tommy is presumed dead, and 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 teenage 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 "In Memory Of"

In 1991, Tommy's remains are found by a construction crew renovating the building, and NYPD detectives Mike Logan and Phil Cerreta investigate his death as a homicide. 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 out they are innocent.

Cerreta and Logan interview Julie, as well, but become concerned when she faints while describing her childhood friendship with Tommy. While talking to police psychologist Elizabeth Olivet, 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 Olivet, however, Julie discovers that her memories are real, and finds the courage to finally stand up to her father and become a witness for the prosecution.

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, Messimer pleads guilty to murdering Tommy, and is sentenced to eight-and-a-third to 25 years in prison.

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