A man opens fire during the docking of a dinner cruise boat. The Governor appoints a special prosecutor because Schiff refuses to seek the death penalty; McCoy helps Schiff appeal while ... See full summary »

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Jack Gilpin ...
Dani Klein ...
Susan Beckner
Lianna Pai ...
Carolyne Trang (as Liana Pai)
Kent Williams ...
Hank Coburn
Peter Jay Fernandez ...
Mr. Tyrell
David Cromwell ...
Mr. Veitch
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Victor Panatti
Charlotte Colavin ...
John Driver ...
Phillip Keenan
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A man opens fire during the docking of a dinner cruise boat. The Governor appoints a special prosecutor because Schiff refuses to seek the death penalty; McCoy helps Schiff appeal while Ross helps the special prosecutor at trial. Schiff's wife is hospitalized following a stroke. Written by Anonymous

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21 May 1997 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Despite appearing in the 1988 Law & Order pilot as District Attorney Alfred Wentworth, Roy Thinnes wasn't available when the series was picked up in 1990 and the role of D.A. Adam Schiff went to Steven Hill. In this episode Thinnes and Hill appear together (although on opposite sides of an issue) when Thinnes plays the role of Special Prosecutor Victor Panatti. See more »

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Mass Murder, Politics, Sickness.
24 January 2011 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

A man shoots into a crowd, trying to stop a woman from depositing a check he knows will bounce. He needs another few days to cover it. But the victim is only wounded, while two others are killed.

Given some murkiness about intent and circumstances, it's a clear case of second degree murder according to Schiff, McCoy, and Ross in the DA's office. The governor of New York, however, is displeased. (George Pataki was governor at the time but his name is never used.) The governor wants a first-degree murder charge, which carries the death penalty.

Well, the DA's office CAN work out a logical chain in which, yes, maybe one killing was part of the felony larceny involving that rubber check. The problem is that, in order to bring a charge of first degree, you have to connect a multitude of dots so distant from one another that they make the constellation Casseopeia look like a woman. They're reluctant to do it because it might lose them the case. On top of that, Adam Schiff simply refuses to do it, believing naively that politics has no place in law enforcement. He's removed by the governor and replaced by an incompetent toady. Schiff brings a civil suit against the governor.

Schiff loses the suit. He also loses his wife, brought low by a stroke. The governor's Gofer loses the case for first-degree in front of a jury, who convict the murder of second-degree homicide.

It's a believable episode, though I can't help being cynical enough to think that a real-life Schiff would promptly have yielded to the governor's demands. As it is, he realistically loses the civil suit. He gives his usual shrug at the news and remarks gruffly, "At least we made waves," which somebody named Schiff (German: "ship") ought to know about.

I was uneasy about Schiff's wife's stroking out. I always worry that a television series that is cleanly written and logically presented is going to be contaminated with all sorts of back stories that turn it into General Hospital. But, not to worry. The matter is handled concisely and with some delicacy. The series was later to jump the shark but not because it turned mopily sentimental.


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