Three people are killed when a possible drunk driver runs them over. A.D.A. McCoy is bent on getting a questionable death sentence in the case, but Ross believes that he is trying to get revenge for Claire Kincaid's death.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Susan Young
Det. Fred Norris
Melanie Rey ...
Mrs. Galvez
Claywood Sempliner ...
Mr. Fischer
Bernard Dressler
Augusta Dabney ...
Mrs. LaValle


Detectives Briscoe and Curtis investigate a hit and run accident in Harlem that resulted in the death of three people, one of them a child. They're not entirely sure it was an accident but can't find anyone who would do the victims any harm. They're able to identify the make and model of the car to high-flying executive Bernard Dressler who had returned to the USA on the morning of the accident. There is little doubt he was behind the wheel of the car but McCoy and DA Schiff decide to prosecute him for murder one. The central question is whether he was too drunk to form intent. Dressler's lawyer claims he was but McCoy very much wants this man - who had been involved in a previous drunk driving accident - to go to jail for a very long time. Jamie Ross thinks he's out for revenge of sorts over the death of Claire Kincaid. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

7 January 1998 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jack McCoy: Kills three people and hides behind the bottle.
Jamie Ross: The law says he can.
Jack McCoy: The law. Probably written on a cocktail napkin. Intent follows the bullet. It shouldn't matter if it was fired by a drunk or Carrie Nation.
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References From Russia with Love (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

Justice is not blind here
12 February 2012 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

On Law And Order District Attorney Adam Schiff's character is based on the long serving District Attorney of New York County Robert Morgenthau. In his life Morgenthau had the closest thing I've ever seen to a permanent job that an elected official could such was his popularity with the Manhattan electorate. Twice in his tenure which began in 1974, Morgenthau had two electoral challenges before he retired in 2010. This episode Under The Influence shows how politics does enter into the criminal justice system. Politics did enter into the first of Morgenthau's challenges, but the circumstances were totally different from those in this episode.

A hit and run driver runs down three people in Harlem and there is a hue and cry. A lengthy investigation leads Jerry Orbach and Benjamin Bratt to Daniel McDonald who is an arrogant piece of work. A rich executive he takes some careful steps to conceal his part in the crime, but he gets nailed anyway. He's the kind of defendant you truly love to hate. Some indication he may have deliberately run the victims down for kicks.

A solid case for Murder 2, but the DA's office goes for Murder 1 which means proving intent. And everybody's got an agenda. The judge is played by Cliff Gorman who would make the first of a few appearances as he later challenges Steven Hill in the primary. He's deliberately tilting against the defendant. Hill wants to show he's just as 'tough on crime' and against a loathsome defendant, who'll care. And Sam Waterston remembers the drunk driver who killed Jill Hennessy, he's ready to throw out the ethics on this one.

Carey Lowell proves to be the conscience of her office. She registers very strong in this episode and in many ways this is her finest hour as Waterston's second chair. You have to see how this one plays out and Cliff Gorman will be back.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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