Law & Order: Season 13, Episode 13

Absentia (12 Feb. 2003)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
7.7
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A man scheduled to testify in a murder trial disappears. The DA's office discovers that he's actually a radical who disappeared 20 years earlier after being charged with killing his girlfriend.

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Airs Sat. Nov. 29, 8:00 AM on TNT

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Title: Absentia (12 Feb 2003)

Absentia (12 Feb 2003) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Cast

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David Chandler ...
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Jordan Charney ...
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Shannon Burkett ...
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Storyline

A man scheduled to testify in a murder trial disappears. The DA's office discovers that he's actually a radical who disappeared 20 years earlier after being charged with killing his girlfriend.

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12 February 2003 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Trivia

Despite its opening disclaimer that the story is fictional, the second half of the script is reminiscent of the Philadelphia murder of Holly Maddux by hippie ''guru'' Ira Einhorn. See more »

Connections

References Starsky and Hutch (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Framed to silence
25 May 2014 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The plot of this Law And Order episode radically shifts. At first we're dealing with a robbery of a jewelry store where the owner is killed and a customer wounded. Jerry Orbach and Jesse Martin arrest a Ukranian immigrant Gene Farber. But when the witness Mandy Patinkin bails on Sam Waterston and Elisabeth Rohm at trial, the result is acquittal.

Patinkin had good reason to split before the publicity of a trial. He's a wanted murderer himself and he was a rather notorious and iconoclastic public figure at the time of the disappearance of his wife some 20 years earlier. Orbach and Martin go on the trail and they catch him in Canada with a new wife played here by Christine Rouner.

What I couldn't buy is the gimmick of trial in absentia. Patinkin jumped bail and was tried in absentia. It's not illegal, but it's done rarely and is foolish. That trial is declared null and void and the New York District Attorney has to retry him again with whatever witnesses and evidence is still available.

The gimmick was bad, but the performance of Mandy Patinkin as a colossally arrogant egomaniac is something to see. He's innocent because back in the day he was exposing all kinds of nefarious goings on by the powers that be. He was framed for the murder of his wife to silence his heroic voice. Charlie Sheen would love this guy.

In the end a bit of his own hubris trips him up. Rather beautifully done I'd say, you have to see it.


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