Law & Order: Season 20, Episode 5

Dignity (23 Oct. 2009)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 76 users  
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A late-term abortion doctor is killed, which leads to the emotionally-charged trial of a pro-life advocate, and threatens to drive a wedge between Cutter and Rubirosa.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Roger Jenkins
Kevin Morton
Expert Doctor
Colleen Werthmann ...
Mrs. Grogan
Jennice Morrow
Jill Casey
Lisa Barnett
Tracy Sallows ...
Francis Benning


When Dr. Walter Benning is killed in church, Detectives Cyrus Lupo and Kevin Bernard arrive at the scene and are informed a white male was seen fleeing in a dark sedan. The minister, tells the detectives that Dr. Benning was a late-term abortion doctor and had been shot at before and threatened many times; and his wife, Phyllis Benning, is convinced it is a pro-life zealot who is responsible. While the detectives scan the several protestor suspects, Lieutenant Anita Van Buren gets more bad news and ADA Connie Rubirosa faces a moral dilemma causing tension among the team. Written by NBC Publicity

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Release Date:

23 October 2009 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ripped from the headlines about the shooting of notorious late-term abortionist George Tiller "The Killer". See more »


Executive A.D.A. Michael Cutter: I'd like to show you something... People's 32 this is the wallet that Walter Benning was carrying when he was shot. And I want to show you these photos of his children and grandchildren. Photos that are stained with... I can't, I can't do this there's, there's been too much heartbreaking testimony. Just too much. We're dealing with an issue here that goes to the very mystery of our existence. What is life? When does it begin? At conception? At viability? At birth? And in good faith, we seek ...
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User Reviews

Is Roe v. Wade the final word on abortions?
16 February 2013 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Mentioned by Linus Roache in passing this case involves the execution style murder of a late term abortion doctor who does illegal third trimester abortions. Everyone weighs in on the issue, it comes between Anthony Anderson and Jeremy Sisto as they work the case and arrest right to life activist PJ Sosko for the crime.

But their disagreements are nothing compared to what is happening in the prosecution team. Linus Roache is not crazy about abortions, but he's a determined prosecutor who focuses on his job. Alana Dela Garza grew up in a house where Roe v. Wade was gospel truth. Yet during the course of the episode she undergoes an agonizing reappraisal of the issue herself.

Sosko has a really good attorney in Richard Thomas who is a lawyer in the right to life cause and volunteers his service to help Sosko. In his defense he brings out some gut wrenching testimony from a late term abortion survivor. Which is an ironic twist because in the days before Roe v. Wade the gut wrenching testimony was likely to be from the survivors of woman who met agonizing deaths as a result of back alley abortion providers.

The episode is a thought provoking one, one of the best in that category that Law And Order ever had.

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