Law & Order: Season 3, Episode 6

Helpless (4 Nov. 1992)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 86 users  
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Dr. Olivet accuses an esteemed gynecologist of rape. However, when she loses her case, the DA's office resorts to a new strategy to bring the doctor to justice.

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Title: Helpless (04 Nov 1992)

Helpless (04 Nov 1992) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Paul Hecht ...
Dr. Alexander J. Merritt
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Diane Perkins
Tracey Ellis ...
Nurse Miriam Gregg
Howard Witt ...
Judge Keith Silver
Michele Pawk ...
Donna Marks
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Dr. Helman
Michael Levin ...
Dr. Reitman
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Storyline

After Dr. Elizabeth Olivet is assaulted by her gynecologist, Dr. Alexander J. Merritt, she turns to Detectives Cerreta and Logan to have him investigated. They certainly believe her story but getting evidence that would stand up in court is another thing. The one woman who made a similar claim against Merritt has serious psychological problem and would unlikely make a good witness. Olivet returns to Merritt but this time records their encounter, where he rapes her. With this evidence, ADA Stone feels he has a strong case but Olivet's close working relationship with the police dooms them. He does come up with another way to get evidence against the doctor. Written by garykmcd

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4 November 1992 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Goofs

Speaking about Dr. Elizabeth Olivet, Detective Logan remarked: "She's a psychologist . . ." Dr. Olivet has been portrayed throughout the series as a physician, board certified in psychiatry. In order to function fully within a large metropolitan law enforcement's jurisdiction, a physician is required to speak to both psychiatric as well as psychological disorders. Psychologists cannot treat mental illnesses that fall into the category of medically managed psychiatric illness. See more »

Quotes

[Dr. Olivet has been raped while on an undercover mission]
Dr. Elizabeth Olivet: You have no idea what it's like to be victimized by a powerful man.
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Connections

Remade as Law & Order: UK: Alesha (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Difference Between God and a Doctor.
18 December 2010 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

As you probably know, Elizabeth Olivet (Carolyn McCormick) is the in-house shrink for the NYPD. I've never figured out exactly what KIND of shrink but in this episode she's clearly described as a psychologist with a PhD rather than a psychiatrist with an MD. She's pretty much at the center of this story. She visits a gynecologist, a nice slimy performance by Paul Hecht, and in addition to being routinely examined is non-routinely felt up by the doc. "It should feel GOOD," he observes about whatever it is he's doing down there. When Olivet objects he threatens her by bringing up cancer.

Her friends at the precinct, Serett and Logan, feel they can't do much because it's merely her word -- she who works for the police -- against that of a high-status doctor. So Olivet returns for another exam, this time with a hidden tape recorder. But Dr. Croesus is a step ahead of her. With the aid of his nurse, he injects her with a disabling tranquilizer instead of lydocaine and indisputably rapes her, muttering insults into the recorder.

Prosecutors Stone and Robinet win the case but the judge nullifies the jury's decision, arguing that they were inflamed by prejudice and some gruesome pictures of bruises. He dismisses the case.

What to do? And this is where it helps to be creatively manipulative. The bad doctor likes to brag about his misdeeds. He wears this smile of self satisfaction as he lies to everyone, knowing that he's getting away with Assault With A Friendly Weapon. A bitter Olivet tells Stone that this is part of the doc's enjoyment, that his crimes represent conquests and he's proud of them. The victims usually blame themselves and are too ashamed to come forward with complaints.

Stone is stricken with an idea. He re-indicts the doc -- or whatever the legalese is -- and makes sure the press knows about it. The case is all over the evening news, with the doc smiling into the camera and explaining that he's never done anything unethical in his life and, if necessary, he can bring in his Mama to testify that he was always a good boy.

As in a Shakespearean play, his vanity and superiority undo him. Having heard him boasting on the telly, fifty-two of his victims come forward to testify, hitherto silent out of shame. Doctor Hecht is headed towards a place where a urologist would feel more at home than an OB-GYN man.

I kind of enjoyed it. As usual, the performances are fine and the legal and ethical questions provocative. Exactly what, for instance, is "entrapment"? And as usual the episode really rather leaves the questions hanging without answer.


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