Law & Order: Season 12, Episode 10

Prejudice (12 Dec. 2001)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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The DA's office charges a racist who killed an African-American CEO over a taxicab with a hate crime. The defense responds by arguing that racism is a mental defect.


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Title: Prejudice (12 Dec 2001)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Arnold Acevedo ...
Danny Moreno
Roberta Shields
Pub Owner
Patti Chambers ...
Lauren Hughes
Amanda Marvin
Tony Freeman ...
Irwin Henshall


The DA's office charges a racist who killed an African-American CEO over a taxicab with a hate crime. The defense responds by arguing that racism is a mental defect.

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Release Date:

12 December 2001 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Courtney B. Vance guest starred on two earlier episodes of Law & Order but in this episode, Jack McCoy suggests that A.D.A Ron Carver should sit second-chair on the case. Vance played Carver on Law & Order spin-off Criminal Intent. See more »


Ray Burrows's lawyer claims that homosexuality was de-listed as a mental illness based solely on political grounds with no scientific research backing it. In fact, whether homosexuality was a mental illness was the subject of scientific inquiry dating to Evelyn Hooker's 1957 paper "The Adjustment of the Male Overt Homosexual". See more »


Ray Burrows: Do you know your ass from your elbow, detective?
Detective Ed Green: I know an ass when I see one.
See more »

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User Reviews

Waiting For the opportunity to use it
9 June 2012 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

A body dragged and dumped in the cellar entrance of a basement apartment is what opens up a new homicide to investigate for Jerry Orbach and Jesse L. Martin. The victim is the CEO of a publishing house and as it happens he's black. After going up a few false trails, the two detectives find it was a hate crime pure and simple. The victim beat a Ku Klux Klan wannabe for a cab and the perpetrator took it as some kind of affront. As he was known to carry a firearm, this was a man waiting for the opportunity to use it.

Use it Steven Rishard did. This man is one racist the kind you found loud and clear in the pre-civil rights era. His defense attorney puts up a defense that says irrational racism is some kind of mental disease. If the episode probed a little deeper I'm sure a rationality would have been found for Rishard's behavior be it an incident, general upbringing, et al. No justification, but in his mind a root cause.

Still the whole concept of what lawyer Dennis Boutsikaris is using is what Sam Waterston is fighting. An interesting essay into how much is environment and mental makeup and how much is personal responsibility. Waterston is right, just how much can be explained away and if all is justified, there is no personal responsibility.

Steven Rishard is chilling, I'd watch this episode for him alone.

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