A white teenager accused of murdering an African-American man claims that she was a date-rape victim, and racial overtones threaten to overpower the actual merits of the case.



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Airs Tue. May. 30, 10:00 PM on WE



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Chelsea Altman ...
Danielle Mason
Tommy Hollis ...
Ed Monroe
John MacKay ...
Mr. Mason (as John A. MacKay)
Gina Tucci
Robin Moseley ...
Dorothy Mason
Myra Lucretia Taylor ...
Jane Monroe


Detectives Briscoe and Curtis investigate the murder of Charlie Monroe who was stabbed to death in his apartment. He had been seen with a young woman and there is every indication that she was in the apartment with him. Monroe was a hardworking African-American student, an upstanding young man whose only mark against him was a juvenile conviction when he was 12. A library book in his apartment leads them to Danielle Mason. She admits to having met Charlie at the library and then going to his apartment where he attacked and raped her. The evidence doesn't add up but when McCoy hesitates seeking an indictment, the case takes on racial overtones with Mason's lawyer arguing his client is being railroaded under pressure from the African-American community. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

2 October 1996 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode inspired Law & Order: UK season 3, episode 6 "Masquerade". The facts are slightly different. Instead of being African-American, the victim is of Pakistani origin. See more »


Jack McCoy says, "They filed a writ of mandamus to force us to indict." However, he mispronounces "mandamus" with the second "a" short instead of long. (Same pronunciation in both US and UK English.) Even a 20th century Assistant DA, before the widespread use of the internet, would have been familiar with this term. See more »


Det. Rey Curtis: Hey, Lennie, look at this. "Mycenaean Amphorae, 1400-1375 BC."
Det. Lennie Briscoe: Yeah, I'm expecting my copy from the Book-of-the-Month Club.
See more »


Remade as Law & Order: UK: Masquerade (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Manipulate public opinion
19 September 2015 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

This episode of Law And Order finds Sam Waterston and Carey Lowell carefully negotiating the city's racial divide in order to try a young woman arrested for killing her alleged rapist, her black rapist.

When this story was filmed it was almost 30 years that interracial marriage bans were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. But making it legal didn't make it socially acceptable in some areas. Definitely not in the defendant's area of Queens where she was from. In fact it's her family that provides the key to the whole case, their own racial prejudices.

With Giancarlo Esposito as counsel for the victim's parents and Dennis Boutsikaris for the defense each is trying to manipulate public opinion for their client. Esposito in fact forces the DA to indict before they feel they have a case, a most reckless move.

John McKay as the defendant's father and Chelsea Altman as the defendant register well in this interesting episode.

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