Law & Order: Season 4, Episode 5

Black Tie (20 Oct. 1993)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Briscoe receives an anonymous 911 call saying that a prominent millionaire has been murdered. However, the investigation is thwarted by the wife and family attorney, who claim he died from natural causes.



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Airs Tue. Oct. 28, 6:00 PM on WE

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Title: Black Tie (20 Oct 1993)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Elizabeth Olivet (credit only)
Danielle Keyes
Helga Holtz
Marcela Di Partagio
Kathy Rogers (as Heidi Leick)
Gerald Austin
Lance Keys
Richard Bright ...
Mr. Quinn


Briscoe and Logan get an anonymous call that a Manhattan millionaire playboy has been murdered. But his widow and her lawyer claim that the death was natural causes, and the detectives are getting nowhere, until the dead man's son produces evidence he says proves that his stepmother committed murder. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

20 October 1993 (USA)  »

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,  »
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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode, along with Law & Order: The Torrents of Greed: Part 2 (1991), are the only episodes that do not have the following statement appearing at the beginning of each episode: "In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime, and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories." See more »


[an elderly witness has called the police department]
Lt. Anita Van Buren: [Hangs up phone] Any one of you have a girlfriend in a nursing home?
Det. Mike Logan: That would be Lennie.
See more »

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User Reviews

Dressed to be killed.
1 December 2010 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

This is a particularly interesting episode because it hews as closely as it does to events in the Claus von Bulow affair of some twenty years ago. (Cf., "Reversal of Fortune.") In this instance, instead of Sonny Bulow, the spoiled wife, being found in an insulin coma, the philandering husband is found dead at home. A phone call alerts the police to the possibility of murder. Brisco and Logan find the corpse on the bed, dressed neatly in a tuxedo, and quickly embalmed.

The dime, it turns out, was made by the maid, ever loyal to her rich master, and played by Viveca Lindfors, who is now no longer the gorgeous Queen sought by Errol Flynn, but a magnificent wreck who gives the best performance in the story.

At any rate, the cops get a warrant to dig up the body and find it "swimming in insulin." Neither the husband nor his wife were diabetic but both shot up insulin in order to avoid becoming unfashionably overweight. They were introduced to the practice by an effete writer named Gerald Austin (read "Truman Capote"). Arrested for murder, the wife hires a very high-end lawyer, Professor Norman Rothenberg (read "Professor Allan Dershowitz".) The evidence may all point to the wife as the culprit but it's ruled out by the appellate court because the initial search was done by a private investigator, as happened in the original case.

Moriarty wants to switch tactics and try the case again but the DA puts the kibosh on it, shrugging with resignation and acknowledging that money buys innocence.

Aside from this being an episode a clef, it's an interesting story in itself, and one in which the side of justice loses. I got an additional kick out of it when it occurred to me that two of the stars -- Moriarty and DeMunn -- were my supporting players in the sublime miniseries, "Windmills of the Gods."

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