Law & Order (1990–2010)
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Born Bad 

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The lawyer of a 14-year-old boy claims he is not responsible for the beating death of his friend because he has an extra Y chromosome and is genetically predisposed to criminal behavior.


Fred Gerber


Dick Wolf (created by), Michael S. Chernuchin | 1 more credit »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jerry Orbach ... Lennie Briscoe
Chris Noth ... Mike Logan
S. Epatha Merkerson ... Anita Van Buren
Michael Moriarty ... Ben Stone
Jill Hennessy ... Claire Kincaid
Steven Hill ... Adam Schiff
Carolyn McCormick ... Dr. Elizabeth Olivet
Maria Tucci ... Helen Brolin
Wil Horneff ... Chris Pollit
Helen Gallagher Helen Gallagher ... Flo Bishop
Barbara Eda-Young ... Judge Martha Kershan
Melissa Fraser Brown Melissa Fraser Brown ... Tracy Pollit
Lily Knight ... Tori Lasky
James Madio ... Andy Costello
Robert C. Wheeler Robert C. Wheeler ... Zack Mohr


Detectives Briscoe and Logan investigate after a teenage boy, 14 year-old Johnny Lasky, is found dead sitting on the sidewalk in a sleazy part of town. The autopsy reveals that he was severely beaten. They learn that his father is in Attica and his mother is a drug addict - currently in rehab. He's been living in a foster home with some other boys of the same age. They first focus on the mother's former boyfriend but he has an alibi for the time when the boy was likely beaten. They then turn their attention to the two boys in the same foster home, particularly Chris Pollit, who has a previous conviction in juvenile court. ADA Stone decides to prosecute Chris as an adult, particularly when he learns the earlier offense had him shooting a store owner during a robbery. Chris' defense is that he has an extra Y-chromosome which some studies have indicated means a predisposition to violence. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

16 November 1993 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Chris Noth (Mike Logan) & Vivienne Benesch (Delia) also worked together on episode 2.10, The Good Wife: Breaking Up (2011), of The Good Wife (2009) as Peter Florick & Eliza Symanski respectively. See more »


Helen Brolin: It's a lot easier to confuse a jury than it is to convince a judge.
See more »


Remade as Law & Order: UK: Unloved (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

An Uninspired Beginning Leads to an Interesting Nature vs. Debate
29 April 2018 | by Better_TVSee all my reviews

This is a good'un, but hardly "the best" Law & Order episode ever, as one reviewer before me has claimed.

This one starts out a bit plain, with a dead kid (sad, but we've seen it before) and some suspects with ties to male prostitution and the New York foster care system. The prime suspect/defendant ends up being another foster kid, and that's where the writers use this story to explore the question of nature vs. nurture.

It is a good, if somewhat introductory, examination of that debate, with a focus on whether or not males with "XYY Syndrome" (a real-life genetic condition) make one predisposed to aggressive actions - and whether or not that makes a person responsible for their actions. There's some nice small moments too, like when ADA Claire Kincaid meets with a cynical Wordsworth-quoting children's rights attorney who doesn't mind if some of the "little buggers" get locked up:

"I'm just being pragmatic," he tells her over dinner. "'The child is father of the man.' I gotta live in this city when these kids grow up."

Ultimately, the episode's ending makes very clear that, regardless of what a few scientific studies say, if you don't give someone hope in their life at an early age then they'll just be hopeless by default. It's a sad ending, though you might see it coming.

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