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» » Law & Order Vengeance (1990–2010)

Short summary

Detectives Cerreta and Logan investigate the murder of a young woman, Judy Bream, who is found bound and gagged atop an elevator car. In going through the records, they find at least two other cases of women who were killed and found in very similar circumstances. Clearly they have a serial killer on their hands. Two of the women had the same gynecologist, a doctor with many complaints registered against him. The third victim used a different doctor but there is a connection in that both doctors used the same accountant: Albert Lawrence Cheney, a convicted sex offender. The police question him for 12 hours non-stop and they eventually learn he has a storage locker. There they find photos and other evidence of his crimes. ADA Stone however immediately runs up against the admissibility of the evidence given the excessive interrogation techniques used by the police. With a shaky case, the dead woman's parents want him extradited to their home state which has the death penalty.

Based on the Albert DeSalvo case. DeSalvo was a criminal in Boston, Massachusetts, who confessed to being the "Boston Strangler", the murderer of thirteen women in the Boston area from 1962 to 1964. The M.O. of the Boston Strangler was to talk this way into victims apartments by pretending to be a maintenance man. The crimes were attributed to Albert DeSalvo based on his confession, though DeSalvo was not imprisoned for these murders, however, but for a series of rapes. His murder confession has been disputed and debate continues as to which crimes DeSalvo had actually committed. In July 2013, a DNA match between seminal fluid found at the scene of the rape and murder of Mary Sullivan and DNA obtained from DeSalvo's nephew linked DeSalvo to that crime and excluded 99.9 percent of the remaining population. Authorities exhumed DeSalvo's remains later that month and confirmed the DNA match.details revealed in court during a separate case, and DNA evidence linking him to the last murder victim. In the original investigation, parties investigating the crimes have suggested that the murders (sometimes referred to as "the silk stocking murders") were committed by more than one person.

At the end, Ben Stone mentions the death of a "Richard Speck" in prison. Richard Benjamin Speck was incarcerated at the Stateville Correctional Center in Illinois for the rape-torture murders of eight student nurses on July 13 and 14th, 1966. He died of a heart attack December 5, 1991 at the age of 49 while serving a life sentence that had been commuted from death.

Chris Noth (Mike Logan) & Matt Malloy (CSU Technician) also worked together on episode 2.21, Good Wife: In Sickness (2011), of Good Wife (2009) as Peter Florrick & Kevin Haynes respectively.

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Ericaz
    The nude body of a young woman is found atop an elevator in a New York apartment building. Serreta and Logan turn up two other cases with the same MO over the last six months. They do a comparative study of the victims, looking for a common link, and they find it in the accountant, James Rebhorn, who keeps the medical records for the gynecologist seen by the women. They further find in the accountant's storage bin photos of the victims before and after they were killed. Finally it turns out that he was convicted of a similar strangling in Queens years ago and spent five years as a model prisoner. There's no doubt about his guilt.

    But the case against the accountant remains weak. A judge rules that anything the accountant revealed during interrogation is inadmissible because the police browbeat the guy for twelve hours before he let slip the incriminating information. Moreover, his wife is willing to provide him with an alibi for the night of the murder, although she's obviously lying.

    It gets complicated when the last victim's parents attempt to have the case tried in Connecticut, the girl's home. Connecticut has a death penalty and they want the murderer dead. Robinet is pretty much for it. Let the guy hang. Stone wants to uphold the law of the state of New York and seek justice instead of vengeance.

    It's an interesting episode. Of course most screen time is given to unraveling the murder case and convicting the accountant, but the exchange concerning the death penalty between Stone and Robinet raises important questions. Stone points out that it costs far more to try a capital case than to imprison somebody for life.

    Yet, the argument doesn't quite click with Robinet. We can almost hear the wheels clicking as he thinks, "Well, why not reduce the cost of trying a capital case by eliminating all those time-consuming and expensive mandatory appeals?" A lot of people would no doubt endorse a speedier route to the gallows. But, then, if we eliminate the appeals process to save taxpayer money, why not eliminate the trial too? How about if the police officers themselves, if they're convinced of someone's guilt, carry out a summary execution on the street? Why can't experienced cops make up the law as they go along? It's not as if it weren't already being done in a dozen third-world countries.

    Why should the law interfere with the natural human desire for vengeance? As Stone asks, rhetorically, why not burn down the houses of arsonists and sexually abuse rapists? As I say, fascinating moral questions are involved.

    One performance deserves special mention. James Rebhorn as the serial killer and accountant. There are numerous ways Rebhorn could have rendered the character. Most people would have been tempted to put his evil foot forward, sneering, glancing slyly sideways -- that sort of thing. But Rebhorn -- a reliable featured player -- invests him with a kind of pathos. Not like Peter Lorre's child killer in "M," but like an accountant who has just spent too many hours straight at the job. Every movement is ennervated. He's just plain tired.
  • comment
    • Author: Insanity
    When a couple of parents think they've found a way to get the jurisdiction of their daughter's homicide transferred to Connecticut which is their home and has the death penalty this becomes a source of contention for the District Attorney. Connecticut has the death penalty and New York didn't at the time this episode was filmed. The ethics of it gets tossed around by Steven Hill, Michael Moriarty, and Richard Brooks. Besides Moriarty is convinced that these grieving parents aren't above a little perjury in their claims.

    This particular killer is played by James Rebhorn and he's in the normally non-violent producing occupation of accountant. He doesn't get much in the way of lines, but throughout the episode he carries a look of unredeemable sadness, like he was wishing it would all end. Something his very good attorney Allen Garfield is not about to see happen.

    I'd check this one, the episodes before Jerry Orbach are not generally broadcast. As much as I loved Orbach as Lenny Briscoe, I always thought Paul Sorvino had a lot to recommend him as the lead cop in the series.
  • Episode cast overview, first billed only:
    Paul Sorvino Paul Sorvino - Phil Cerreta
    Chris Noth Chris Noth - Mike Logan
    Dann Florek Dann Florek - Donald Cragen
    Michael Moriarty Michael Moriarty - Ben Stone
    Richard Brooks Richard Brooks - Paul Robinette
    Steven Hill Steven Hill - Adam Schiff
    Barbara Barrie Barbara Barrie - Mrs. Bream
    Allen Garfield Allen Garfield - Carl Berg
    Rutanya Alda Rutanya Alda - Sara Cheney
    Jay Patterson Jay Patterson - Conn. ADA Jack O'Connell
    Gerald Gordon Gerald Gordon - Mr. Bream
    Steve Ryan Steve Ryan - Brooklyn ADA Fleishman
    James Rebhorn James Rebhorn - Albert Lawrence Cheney
    Stephen Bolster Stephen Bolster - Dr. Phillip Banks
    Jerry Grayson Jerry Grayson - Superintendent
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