Law & Order: Season 3, Episode 18

Animal Instinct (17 Mar. 1993)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 63 users  
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A university scientist is murdered, allegedly over an affair her husband was having. However, Stone later suspects that the alleged "mistress" may actually be delusional, and that there was actually no affair.

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Title: Animal Instinct (17 Mar 1993)

Animal Instinct (17 Mar 1993) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Susan Boyd
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Donald Walsh
Charles Brown ...
Riggs
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Dominick Keith
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Lab Technician
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Professor Wesley Burke
David Schechter ...
Dirk Chesney
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Storyline

Detectives Briscoe and Logan investigate the death of Dr. Faye Walsh, a genetic researcher who is found shot in the back in her university laboratory. The killing has all of the hallmarks of animal rights activists with lab rats having been released and slogans written on the wall. They arrest one activist but he has a alibi for when Walsh was killed. The case takes a sudden turn when they learn the victim thought her husband, Donald Walsh, was having an affair and had even hired a private detective to look into it. An administrator at the lab, Susan Boyd, admits to the affair but flatly denies having anything to do with Faye's death. She agrees to a plea bargain offered by ADA Stone and testifies against Walsh. Afterwards however, Stone begins to wonder if Boyd is a fantasist who has made the whole thing up. Written by garykmcd

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17 March 1993 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

 
Rats!
25 December 2010 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

Up to par, but not beyond it. A researcher is found shot to death in her laboratory, with dozens of rats scurrying around the body. The rats are the albino strain of the ordinary rat, Rattus norwegicus, that's used in scientific research and the dead prof had been experimenting with them and then killing them. (It's officially called "sacrifice" in the trade.) Suspicion immediately falls on a group of animal rights activists, whose motives may be compassionate but who haven't been taking the long view of things. B. F. Skinner was a rat runner too. And without him, we wouldn't have "time outs" in Kindergartens. We wouldn't know that pigeons can play ping pong. We wouldn't know that when a baby cries, he or she shouldn't always be picked up and comforted. Not that he or she should be BEATEN, just not always picked up. We owe all that and much more to albino rats.

Okay, so some animal rights slogan are painted on the walls of the abused laboratory and the rats set free. Obviously some activists are involved. But the detectives pick up the leader of the group that's been leaving threatening messages and find out that he has an alibi, although he's as freakish as can be. Some conservative critics of the show have been calling it, and its creator, Dick Wolf, "liberal." They ought to get a look at the nut who represents the animal rights people, a liberal cause by most measures. They ought also to check Wolf's background: roomie of George W. Bush at a fancy prep school, Bush supporter in 2000 and 2004, supporter of (and contributor to) the campaign of Fred Thompson in 2008.

Your honor, I object. How long are you going to allow me to ramble on like this?

The animal rights business may be ripped from the headlines but it's quickly established as a red herring and dropped from pursuit. Instead, suspicion focuses on the husband of the lady prof. He appears to be having an long-term affair with a lawyer in his building, Frances Fisher.

The husband steadfastly denies any such affair, or even any interest in the lady in question. There's a lot of weak circumstantial evidence and Stone loses the case against the husband. However, as it turns out, the husband is in fact innocent. His wife was shot to death in her laboratory because Frances Fisher was suffering from erotomania and thought that the husband loved her and wanted her to get rid of his wife so they could be together. Ergo: Bang.

"Erotomania" has a curious history, having been in and out of professional recognition over the years. Right now it's accepted as a kind of monothematic delusional disorder. It's in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, or it was, last time I checked. It's disproportionately a female disorder, especially among the young, who believe that rock stars are secretly communicating with them and so forth. It can all sound more plausible than that.

And, when you come right down to it, it doesn't take all that much to convince some people around you that some hidden relationship between you and a celebrity exists. During the Clinton/Lewinsky matter, the media were reporting that in one of his public appearances, President Clinton was secretly signaling his love and reassurance for Monica Lewinsky by wearing a dull yellow necktie of a common type that she may have given him for a present once. Here we have responsible journalists reporting rumors that would require a master of illogic to make credible.

What poor taste Lewinsky had. Is there anything that enchants a man less than getting a necktie from his lover? Can you imagine someone claiming to be in love with you, then giving you a necktie or a pair of suspenders or a box of cookies from Figi's? At least he had the good taste to give her Whitman's "Leaves of Grass."

Anyway, Farmer is adjudged nuts and sent away for refurbishing.


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