Law & Order: Season 1, Episode 3

The Reaper's Helper (4 Oct. 1990)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 165 users  
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A gay man with AIDS is accused of murdering another gay man. However, he claims that the victim also had AIDS, and that it was a mercy killing.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John 'Jack' R. Curry
Tom Signorelli ...
Anthony Holland
Barbara Andres ...
Patricia Holland
Angel Suarez
Charlotte Moore ...
Neal Benari ...
Mr. Gordon (as Neal Ben-Ari)
Terry Roland
Millie Tirelli ...
Lois Rivera


Greevy and Logan investigate the shooting death of Bobby Holland who is found on the floor in his apartment. The scene has several characteristics of a burglary gone bad. The apartment is a mess but strangely, money was left in the dead man's wallet. From all accounts, the Holland was well-liked. They also learn that he was gay and had been meeting a man several times before his death. That man is Jack Curry who freely admits shooting Holland but claims that it was an assisted suicide as Holland had AIDS and had chosen to end his life. The case presents a dilemma for ADA Stone who isn't unsympathetic with the killer or the victim. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

4 October 1990 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


During the trial an 'expert witness', Mr Willmen, states Doctors have the right to assist their patients in dyeing in the UK. This in incorrect, it is permissible in the Netherlands however. See more »


Jack Curry: What gives you the right to decide how I should live the rest of my life?
EADA Ben Stone: Unfortunately, you did. Not once, not twice, but three times.
See more »


Featured in 'Law & Order': The Beginning (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

The past is a grotesque animal
25 May 2009 | by (Plymouth, England) – See all my reviews

This is a great piece of television. In three quarters of an hour "The Reaper's Helper" deals with casual homophobia, AIDS and euthanasia whilst remaining drama, not painful disquisition. What is close to painful is the unsettling nature of certain assumptions shared by the characters. After a point, when it becomes known that the episode's victim had AIDS, everyone shares the idea that killing sufferers is reasonable and unobjectionable. This came to me as quite a shock, but I think my experience of the rest of the episode was enhanced by my discomfort.

Nineteen-ninety and New York are so far from me in time and space that the episode has a science fictional quality to it. "An underground sect, rejected and ignored, with a terrifying mysterious disease only recently given a name, makes an unwelcome excursion into the public eye when the death of an infected sectator involves the law of the majority. There is no sorrow for the death, but from the parents, who are also embarrassed. The public at large hope the deaths will continue, and are angered greatly by the thought that their own laws might provide an obstacle." Arising from this repugnancy is compelling television, no criminal intention units of special victims or any of that nonsense.

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