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What a treat it was to see Lindsay Crouse and Carolyn McCormick, two actresses who should be more famous than they are, play a scene together. Lindsay has been great in everything I've seen her in, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer's fourth season to first season of Hack to theatrical film House of Games. I'll always remember Carolyn from a guest role on Star Trek: The Next Generation as a holodeck siren in first season. Boy was she hot! I felt Riker's disappointment when he couldn't get computer to reproduce her. But I digress. This was one of Law & Order's better efforts (not that I've ever seen a bad episode). Evidently, writers were giving Steven Hill better lines in third season because suddenly he's making me laugh out loud. Lindsay plays a psychiatrist who is accused of influencing a patient to kill his girlfriend. Her explanation on stand for behavior vis-a-vis patient is patently absurd, yet funny because she delivers lines so matter-of-factly.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A young woman is found bashed in Central Park and the detectives manage
to track down the killer, her boyfriend, but they also determine that
the boy's psychiatrist, Lindsay Crouse, may have encouraged the murder
or at least permitted it. Crouse, it develops, was making it with the
kid on the office floor in order to show him that, despite his low self
esteem, he could still be loved.
It left me a little bitter. If I'd had a sexy, good-looking shrink, I doubt that she'd have gone that far for me. As it is, she was pretty naive herself, almost as much as the boy she was manipulating. I've been a shrink and a client myself, and it's bad enough if you boff your own patients, and it's a monument to your stupidity if you think that, when the affair ends, there isn't going to be payback. In a class on ethics, I read a book about such a real affair involving a name psychiatrist in New York -- something like Rene Hartog or Hartzog, I forget -- back in the 60s. He had his patient typing his records and running errands while he used her as a sexual receptacle but when he lost interest in her, he wound up in the soup. The patient wrote a book about it -- all from her point of view -- and Hartog/Hartzog paid the penalty in civil court.
The high point of the episode is the encounter between Dr. Elizabeth Olivet and the doctor played by Crouse. You ought to see it. Two women shrinks pecking at each other. We never learn what Olivet's orientation is. Olivet claims she was never into Alfred Adler -- all that emphasis on power. Crouse may have gone too far in her exercise of influence over a callow boy but to the extent that she follows Adler she has nothing to be ashamed of. Freud thought that the engine behind neurosis was sex. Adler believe it was a striving for power. I leave it to the viewer to decide which motive seems dominant in today's society.
I will only point out that a recent cover illustration of Machiavelli's "The Prince" showed a giant hand, palm up, with a dozen tiny people standing on it. (Follow Machiavelli and you have the world in the palm of your hand.) From villainous manipulator to guru in about one generation.
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