Law & Order: Season 7, Episode 2

I.D. (25 Sep. 1996)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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A woman is charged with murdering her sister, but prosecutors learn that the defendant is actually the other sister--who assumed the real victim's identity. Meanwhile, the judge becomes hostile to the prosecution during the trial.



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Title: I.D. (25 Sep 1996)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Judge Nathan Marks
Lt. Jeffrey London
Alan Manson ...
Chief Administrative Judge
Lucy Sullivan
Dicky Fine ...
Chet Carlin ...
Mr. Wilkins
Cordell Stahl ...


Detectives Briscoe and Curtis investigate the death of a young woman whose nude body is found in an office building elevator. She is eventually identified as Lucy Sullivan by her sister Joanne who is visiting from Indiana. Fingerprints and a report from New Jersey police reveal that Lucy and her husband were con artists who had recently been scamming casinos. The police develop the theory that Lucy may have been on the run from the mob but when they catch Joanna in an outright lie, they believe she murdered her sister. It's going to be a difficult case to prove as the judge, Nathan Marks, seems only interested in two things: ruling the DA's evidence inadmissible and making sexually suggestive comments to ADA Jamie Ross. Then there's also the simple matter of mistaken identity. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

25 September 1996 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jack McCoy: With all due respect, Your Honor, when you change the rules of the game in the middle of a trial, there ought to be at least the appearance of impartiality
Judge Nathan Marks: Officer, place Mr McCoy under arrest for contempt of court!
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User Reviews

Ingenuity and drama
15 October 2013 | by See all my reviews

This episode combines two brilliant ideas, either of which on its own would have been sufficient to make a great hour of TV. Put together, they make this one of the finest episodes of Law & Order ever made.

First, there is a devilishly ingenious murder plot. Joanne Sullivan is on the run from underworld casino bosses whom she has been cheating along with her husband. To escape her pursuers, she murders her sister, leaves her body naked in an elevator, and assumes her identity. Because Joanne resembles her sister, the plot succeeds: the police believe that she's really her sister Lucy Sullivan, who leads a quiet and unexciting life in their hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana.

However, it's easy to overlook the intricacies of the crime, because they are quite overshadowed by another drama: the escalating sexual harassment of new ADA Jamie Ross by Judge Nathan Marks. Jerry Adler's performance makes Marks, with just this one appearance, the most memorable judge of the entire series. In Adler's hands, Marks is supercilious, condescending, arrogant -- an easy character to hate, yet also brilliant in his wit and wordplay.

Carey Lowell, in just her second appearance as Ross, handles herself with aplomb, seemingly relishing much of the verbal combat. And McCoy gets to go to jail for contempt. The scene where he introduces DA Schiff to his new cellmates (including a murderer) is hilarious.

This episode also raises some worrying questions about the extent to which the human frailties of judges affect the integrity of the criminal justice system. In this case, the system works and Judge Marks eventually gets put in his place. In the real world, perhaps he would not.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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