Law & Order: Season 8, Episode 13

Castoff (28 Jan. 1998)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
6.8
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A serial killer who targets the New York S&M crowd claims that television is responsible for his violent behavior.

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Title: Castoff (28 Jan 1998)

Castoff (28 Jan 1998) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Neil Pressman
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Eddie Chandler
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Charles Thatcher
Jon DeVries ...
Doug Gaylin
Edmund Genest ...
Warren Stevenson
Jerry Mayer ...
Defense Attorney Greenwald
Gene Saks ...
Judge Carl Samuel
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Congressman Maxwell
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Storyline

Detectives Briscoe and Curtis investigate the murder of Jennifer Gaylin who was possibly the victim of a drive-by shooting. She was a social worker and quite popular at the community center where she worked. Her father Doug Gaylin is convinced the killing was racially motivated but the detectives learn she may have been using drugs to boost her sex drive. It turns out the victim was heavy into the S&M scene and had a partner, TV reporter Stu Steiner. When the police find him dead in his apartment they learn from the FBI that there have been 3 other very similar killings in other cities. From another participant in the S&M scene they learn that Eddie Chandler might be behind the killing. Chandler is arrested and charged with first degree murder. His lawyer, Al Archer, will argue that prolonged exposure to TV violence led to his sociopathic behavior. Written by garykmcd

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28 January 1998 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the trial, Eddie Chandler lists The A-Team (1983) as one of the 'violent action shows' he grew up watching. "The A-Team" (1983)_ was notorious for having massive gunfire, multiple explosions and numerous car and aircraft crashes, but nobody ever died. Despite being a #1 show in America during the 80's, the show came under fire by parental and political groups alike for being too violent, and was even frowned upon by their own network, NBC. Reportedly, Robert Keeshan blamed the show for America's drug problem. By vast comparison, in the Netherlands in the 1980s, the show was widely loved because 'there was no violence'. See more »

Quotes

Eddie Chandler: When I was a kid and I'd come home from school, I'd watch TV for hours on end, straight through till bedtime.
Neil Pressman: What kind of shows did you watch?
Eddie Chandler: Cop shows, action shows: The Mod Squad, The A-Team, Starsky and Hutch.
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Connections

References Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brainwashed by Media Violence?
9 December 2011 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

This episode is about as skillfully executed as any of the others in the first decade but is more than usually interesting because of its subject. A charming serial murderer is brought it, defended by a famous Harvard law professor (read Alan Dershowitz)who claims that his client was driven to homicide by lengthy exposure to violence on television when he was growing up.

McCoy's counter argument is that the majority of kids grew up with violent images but became decent citizens or even conscientious objectors.

The story raises two important questions. One is whether exposure to violence in the media prompts us to behave violently. Of course it does. Every social psychologist would agree to that. But it only affects some of us, not all of us, in such a way as to lead to violent behavior on our part. Any two matched cities across the northern border from each other are likely to watch the same shows, but the American city is likely to have eight time the homicide rate of the Canadian city.

There may be a dozen or more easily identifiable things that create a predisposition to violence, and the media is only one of them. McCoy's position is that TV is unimportant; the Dershowitz figure's position is that it's the main determinant in the case.

That brings up the second important question. McCoy's position depends on free will. Some of us choose to follow the models we see on TV, while others choose not to. This gets us into metaphysics. (What the heck is free will?) And, if we dismiss free will, it gets us into a conundrum of a different color. If we can explain a behavior by identifying its environmental causes, is there any such thing as "guilt"?


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