Law & Order: Season 2, Episode 21

Silence (28 Apr. 1992)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 70 users  
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A councilman is found dead on a street, and the investigation reveals that he was being blackmailed because he was gay. However, the councilman's very powerful father is reluctant to cooperate because he doesn't want his son outed.

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(as Ed Sherin)

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(created by), (teleplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: Silence (28 Apr 1992)

Silence (28 Apr 1992) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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George Martin ...
Edward Vogel
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Peter Colson
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Malcolm Barclay
Jimmie Ray Weeks ...
George Harris
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Judge Steven Strelzik
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Brewer
Billie Neal ...
Rhoden
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Joe Aufiery ...
Harold Dwyer
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Storyline

Detectives Cerreta and Logan investigate the stabbing death of Councilman James Vogel who is found lying in the middle of the street. Vogel had been on city council for many years and was well-liked by everyone. They learn that he had received a large sum of money from his father who acknowledges giving him the money but insists he didn't ask him why. They quickly conclude that Vogel was being blackmailed and that a local newspaper was going to out him as being gay. He had been corresponding with a prison inmate who has just been released on parole but it's his lawyer that they focus on. For ADA Stone, the challenge will be to find someone who is willing to admit in open court that they too were being blackmailed. For his part, Vogel's father is doing everything he can to protect the family's reputation. Written by garykmcd

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28 April 1992 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Being Outed.
11 December 2010 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

This is precisely the kind of story that made this series a legend during its early years.

A politically weighted Councilman is found murdered in the streets. It doesn't take long for Serreta and Logan to determine that the man was gay and that he was being blackmailed. The pol had exchanged graphic letters with an inmate at Sing Sing and the letters had been sent to some newspaper dedicated to gay rights and outing those in the closet.

The prisoner and his accomplice are nailed apace, but their conviction turns on the testimony of two witnesses. Neither witness is willing to testify about the blackmail business in open court. One of the witnesses is a victim of the scheme who, like the politician, exchanged overly friendly letters with the gay man in prison. The guy has played pro ball but was never a big star, and now is reduced to running a sports equipment store in New York, a business which would collapse if it were ever made known that he was gay. He'd rather go to jail.

The second witness is the father of the murdered politician. He knows about the blackmail and has even paid off one of the demands out of his own pocket. He won't testify either. It would involve an admission that his son was gay. He'd rather see his son's murderers walk.

These are personal stories, of course, but lurking behind them are a few more general issues. One, for instance, is the question of free speech. Can a newspaper devoted to the welfare of gay men and women publish the names of gays who don't want their identities revealed? Isn't there something a little ironic about an organization that promotes collective welfare by destroying individual lives? I mean, is it okay? Then, too, if you love someone -- say, a son -- should your own shame prevent you from seeing to it that those who murdered your son are properly dealt with? Stone, the DA, strides through the entire affair in pursuit of what he is certain constitutes justice -- but that doesn't make the issues any less complicated.


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