After a cop is killed while trying to make a drug arrest the investigation reveals that some of his fellow officers may have stood by and let him die for reasons of their own.


(as Ed Sherin)


(created by), (teleplay by) | 2 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Elizabeth Olivet (credit only)
Captain Tom O'Hara
Craig McGraw
Sergeant Henry Rhodes
Ron Ryan ...
Sergeant Jack Harley
Lázaro Pérez ...
Nazarrio (as Lazaro Perez)
Jerry Kerwin


When patrolman Rick Newhouse comes under fire, he requests backup and two patrol cars are dispatched. Both arrive too late and Newhouse is killed. The subsequent investigation clears everyone involved but Detectives Logan and Briscoe smell a rat and get Captain Cragen's permission to investigate on their own. They find that both patrol cars arrived at the scene at virtually the same time though one was 20 blocks further away when they set out. When a passerby says he he saw a patrol car sitting around the corner while the shooting was going on, they know Newhouse was left on his own. What they find is that Newhouse was gay and his fellow officers were giving him a hard time about it making it clear he wasn't welcome in their precinct. ADA Stone charges three cops with second degree murder though he knows the odds are stacked against getting a conviction. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

12 May 1993 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Notable for a standout guest performance by a young Sam Rockwell. See more »


A.D.A. Paul Robinette: [after telling the defense attorney they are going to arraign the suspect and wait for additional evidence] Five days... From here to eternity.
Captain Donald Cragen: Maybe a little closer.
[holds up a folder]
Captain Donald Cragen: Call to 911. Somebody heard the shots. Maybe they saw a face.
Detective Mike Logan: Yes!
Captain Donald Cragen: No... First you have to find him. He didn't leave a name.
See more »


Remade as Law & Order: UK: Samaritan (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

Hate Crime.
29 December 2010 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

A cop is alone on foot patrol, his partner on leave attending some family function in Brooklyn. The cop happens upon a drug deal. A shoot out ensues with the cop calling for back up. Two squad cars respond to the call but take an inordinate amount of time to reach the scene, and they find the cop shot to death by one of the drug dealers, also dead.

It's the kind of tragedy that activates all police officers. One of their own has been killed on duty. Yet evidence accumulates that the two back up cars didn't exactly speed their way to the rescue. A witness claims he saw one of the car parked around the corner during the fire fight.

Brisco and Logan look into the dead officer's apartment and discover that he was gay. Further, they turn up indications that a good deal of hatred towards him existed in the precinct. A flyer, for instance, was circulating in the locker room quoting the Bible: "No man shall lie down with another man." It becomes apparent that the officer was deliberately left to die by his colleagues, who knew he was gay. The precinct captain, who has an impeccable record, denies any wrong doing on his own part and has suspended the officers who deliberately kept away from the scene.

The victim's partner, who was not on duty at the time, also turns out to be gay, one of the reasons the two men were made partners. ("Now there are two of you," said the captain.) The partner turns on his guilty fellows, Stone prosecutes, and the jury's verdict is "Not Guilty," so the anti-gay cops go free.

This episode has the advantage of not trying to sidestep the very real issues it raises. Police officers have well-defined social borders around their subculture. You're either one of us or you're not. It's like the Great Wall of China. Similar borders are found among doctors, airline pilots, stunt men, and some other occupational communities.

In this case, the question is whether a police officer owes his allegiance to everyone else inside those same borders, or whether a select few may be excluded for some characterological flaw, even if it doesn't affect their performance on the job. We can call it "the Serpico conundrum." The question has a good deal of resonance as I write this, since the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy governing the status of gays in the military has just been repealed. Gay men and lesbians can now serve openly. Polls show that this is good enough for a large majority of Americans, both in and out of the military, but it has left a number of us extremely unhappy. Legislators are now proposing separate showers for gays and straights. Some politicians are intent on bringing back the old arrangement, in which an admission of homosexuality in the military was a ticket to a court martial and then to civilian status. The jury in this episode, in excusing the officers responsible for the shooting death of the gay cop, represent that minority of Americans who believe homosexuality is a matter of free will, a choice of evil over good, and deserving of punishment, no matter how extreme.

I'm not so sure they'd get off so easily today, almost twenty years later. In diverse but limited ways, the public has become a little more sophisticated and tolerant.

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