The death penalty has just been passed in New York and prosecutors must decide whether or not it is appropriate after an unlikely suspect murders an undercover police officer.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jenny Sandig
Ted Quinlan
Leon B. Stevens ...
Judge Albert Parsons
Marcie Donner
Mary Byman
Joe Gonzalez ...
Sergeant Gilbert Gonzales


Detectives Briscoe and Curtis investigate the murder of an undercover policeman, Bobby Croft who worked in the Intelligence Division. He was investigating a phony antiques dealer, Ted Quinlan, who he thought was actually dealing heroin. There is little evidence against Quinlan but the investigation leads the to his accountant, Paul Sandig, who had hired an investigator to find out just who Croft was. The real debate isn't about Sandig's guilt but whether they should seek the the recently re-instated death penalty. They go forward and obtain a guilty verdict but the question then becomes whether New York's law is constitutional. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

18 October 1995 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Victor Garber and Lynne Thigpen previously costarred in the 1973 movie, Godspell (1973). See more »


The date of the sentencing hearing is February 11. The date the sentence is handed down is February 17. However, everyone from Jack, Claire, the defense, and even the jury forewoman is wearing the exact same clothes, right down to the jewelry, from six days previously. It's clear both scenes were shot the same day, then just had different dates added in. In addition, it states that February 17 is a Monday. That would make it President's Day, a Federal holiday, and court would not be in session. See more »


Judge Albert Parsons: Morality is not now and never has been a significant part of the criminal justice system.
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User Reviews

A real legal drama
1 June 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In "Savages" we quickly learn that an undercover cop, posing as a stolen goods salesman, has been murdered. Briscoe and Curtis discuss their "blue collar" feelings about the newly-instated death penalty for cop killers in New York, setting the stage for an episode that is big on the legal and philosophical story and nearly omits the whodunit.

The cops quickly find damning evidence that a white guy did it (3 for 3 on the season so far) and even though there's the nearly obligatory throwing-out-of-the-damning-evidence-on-a-technicality, McCoy cannily sidesteps that and all we see of the trial is the guilty verdict being delivered.

This all makes for a boring whodunit but the legal story makes this one worthwhile. This episode is all about the moral and legal argument over the death penalty. We get a genuinely good scene where Schiff has a soul-searching session with a retired judge friend, and a legal challenge of the state's right to take a life, which has surprising legal depth to find on a network TV show but I'm not sure how much I could take away from it.

It's okay as a legal drama. Not a lot of suspense, unfortunately, but the legal and moral questions raised are surprisingly decent for network television. Season 6 is, if nothing else, striving to be different and innovative at the cop show format.

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