Law & Order (1990–2010)
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Loco Parentis 

A school bully is accused of killing a classmate. The killer's father is found to have helped foster his son's violent behavior, so the DA's office charges him with murder on account of depraved indifference.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ed Green
Anita Van Buren
Julie Boyd ...
Sandra Telford
John Carter ...
Max Ligosh ...
Ryan Velardi
Rebecca Nelson ...
Mrs. Skinner
John Telford
Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers


Detectives Lennie Briscoe and Ed Green investigate the murder of teenager Chris Skinner who was found dead on 56th St. His throat was slit and the medical examiner estimates a 6 inch blade was used. He also had bruises that were a couple of weeks old. They learn that he was out selling chocolate bars as part of a school fund-raiser with fellow student but they split up after a half hour or so. From students at Chris' high school, he appears to have been the victim of bullying and evidence points to John Telford, a student. The prosecutors have trouble linking the boy to the killing and DA Adam Schiff orders that the boy's father, Robert Telford - who ignored his son's violent behavior - be charged with murder as a result of depraved indifference. Evidence comes from an unexpected source. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

5 January 2000 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


This case states that a parent has never been charged with a crime committed by their child. As of the year 2015 many parents have now been held responsible, and legally charged, for crimes committed by their children. See more »


One character refers to a plastic garbage bag as "three millimeter". He means "three mils". A mil (in this context) is 1/1000 of an inch of thickness; three mils would be typical for a medium-duty plastic bag. Three millimeters would be about 1/8 inch, or 118 mils. See more »


[last lines]
A.D.A. Abbie Carmichael: Sandra Telford had her husband served with divorce papers at Rikers.
Jack McCoy: Sacrificed her marriage to save her son's.
D.A. Adam Schiff: She spoke up sooner, she might have saved Chris Skinner.
Jack McCoy: Want to put her in jail, too?
D.A. Adam Schiff: Don't tempt me.
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References Star Trek (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

"Bad Parenting In The First Degree"
6 September 2011 | by See all my reviews

This episode of Law And Order has Sam Waterston and Angie Harmon trying to convict young Jacob Pitts of murdering one of his classmates. Young Pitts has been encouraged in the use of martial arts weaponry by his capital letter Alpha male father Robert Clohessy. The weapon that Pitts uses on the victim is a ninja style sickle like weapon called a comma. Not the usual kind of thing that juveniles possess, but Pitts is encouraged in that by Clohessy.

In fact Clohessy has a policy of teaching his kid to do the first strike. If you don't want to be bullied, than you be the bully.

As Jack McCoy before he became DA himself, Waterston was always willing to try and stretch the law to accommodate certain situations. But what's unusual in this episode is that DA Steven Hill is the one who suggests indicting the father as well as the kid to get around some roadblocks that defense attorney Ned Eisenberg has thrown up. It might get overturned and it could set a bad precedent, but if anyone ever earned this kind of treatment it's Clohessy.

Who really dominates this episode is Clohessy with his portrayal of an egomaniacal Alpha male blowhard who can't fathom that it's his own bad parenting that has put his son in this jackpot. Check this one out.

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