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Other than Paul Newman playing Fast Eddie Felson in The Hustler and The
Color Of Money with a 25 year gap between those two feature films, I
can't think of any players doing their roles 14 years apart as David
Groh and Marcia Jean Kurtz as those battering and battered Lowensteins
in different episodes of Law And Order 14 years apart.
Back in 1990 in an episode based on the Joel Steinberg case, David Groh was found guilty and went to prison for the murder of his little daughter and child abuse of his son. Marcia Jean Kurtz repeats her role as the battered spouse for whom the question of guilt and complicity still remain.
As Jacob Lowenstein, David Groh is run down in the street and Accident Investigation leaves no doubt this was quite deliberate. He loses a leg and eventually dies.
But even a public service homicide, a phrase I heard cops use about certain victims in real life, Jesse Martin and Dennis Farina still have to find the doer. It turns out to be a prison therapist Tracy Thorne who believes that Groh was conning her to get release. She's got good reason to think that it is so and she decides to do something about it.
No doubt she's one appealing defendant and Sam Waterston is going to have one huge task to get any jury to find her guilty.
You'll have to see this 14 year gap sequel to find out. It's an episode worth the wait.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One has to wonder if anybody involved in the production of "Law &
Order" even bothered to watch the original episode for which "Fixed" is
based. Not a single character or plot point properly follows the
continuity of "Indifference." This includes: 1) Did the lawyers even
read the case file? At one point, one of the District Attorneys
mentions that Dr. Jacob Lowenstein pleaded to first degree
manslaughter, which is why he was out on the street so early. They even
go so far as to say that they offered a plea because they didn't want
to "gamble" on the jury. Of course, anyone who saw the original episode
knows that the jury convicted Dr. Lowenstein to second degree murder,
for which he was sentenced to 25 years to life.
2) Why is Jacob Lowenstein even out of jail? He was sentenced to 25 years, yet he was out in less than 15! Actually, this one is easily answered: The real life Lowenstein, Joel Steinberg, was convicted of manslaughter and was released in 2004 for good behavior. This episode aired in 2006,which of course, fits with "Law & Order's" penchant for "ripped from the headlines" stories.
3) Why did they whitewash the role of the mother? The episode makes it sound like Jacob Lowenstein went around abusing children on his own, when the original episode is very clear that Carla Lowenstein killed her daughter in reaction to her own abuse. Did everyone forget Det. Logan's heartfelt story of the abuse he received from his own mother? She received manslaughter as part of her own role in the murder of her daughter, and yet the episode makes it sound like she was merely a victim.
4) Why does Jacob Lowenstein act so strange? Did David Groh even watch his old performance? The Dr. Lowenstein in this episode acts more like Marlon Brando meets Woody Allen than the narcissistic monster we saw 10 years earlier. The videotaped interview shown during the trial has him acting in a manner that is completely unrecognizable from the character he portrayed 15 years earlier.
5) Why are the police officers making stuff up? Captain Cragan's rant about how heinous Lowenstein is involves almost no truth. "Tied to the radiator?" When did that happen? "When we got to Carla her jaw was so swollen she could barely talk." Was this before or after she killed her daughter? The Lowenstein's were bad people, no need to alter plot points to fit the new narrative. Cragan's glee in describing the crime in new ways sounds like he's been spending too much time over at SVU.
In the end, "Fixed" is a disappointing bookend to one of "Law & Order's" most well respected episodes. It's a sequel that had no reason to be made.
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