Law & Order (1990–2010)
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Sixteen people die from influenza after they received counterfeit flu vaccine shots. New A.D.A. Alexandra Borgia helps Jack McCoy prosecute the responsible party for manslaughter.


Matthew Penn


Dick Wolf (created by), Nick Santora


Airs Mon. Nov. 19, 8:00 PM on WE


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis Farina ... Joe Fontana
Jesse L. Martin ... Ed Green
S. Epatha Merkerson ... Anita Van Buren
Sam Waterston ... Jack McCoy
Annie Parisse ... Alexandra Borgia
Fred Dalton Thompson ... Arthur Branch
Xander Berkeley ... Clay Pollack
Jordan Charney ... Judge Donald Karan
Leslie Hendrix ... Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers
Scott Decker Scott Decker ... Mike Bass
Robert Sedgwick ... Elliot Peters (as Rob Sedgwick)
Michael Ornstein ... Sklar (as Michael Marisi Ornstein)
Kelly Coffield Park ... Joanne Citron
Tim Donoghue Tim Donoghue ... Ron Wickham
Madison Arnold Madison Arnold ... Reimer


Dr. Rogers discovers that more than a dozen people have died of the flu after supposedly receiving a flu shot. The detectives' investigation leads to a career con man selling saline solution disguised as the flu vaccine. Annie Parisse makes her first appearance as ADA Alexandra Borgia Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

19 January 2005 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


It's actually a fairly common misconception that getting the influenza vaccine can give you the flu. The vaccine contains dead viral organisms, so it is impossible for them to cause an actual infection. However the immune system recognizes the dead virus as being alive and a threat to the body so it responds accordingly, meaning it attacks them and creates antibodies to prevent future infection by the same strain. This process can cause a person to experience some of the symptoms of influenza infection, since some of the symptoms (symptoms such as fever, swelling, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea) a person experiences while sick are caused by their immune system fighting the infection and trying to expel the pathogen from the body, only a few of the symptoms are caused by the pathogen itself. The symptoms caused by the immune system's reaction to the vaccine are often mild and last for less than 24 hours. See more »


The influenza vaccine does not offer the kind of protection that is implied in this episode. On several occasions characters in the episode refer to it as being a nearly foolproof method of being protected against the influenza virus. The vaccine offers protection against known, common strains of the influenza virus and it can offer some protection against possible mutations of the virus, but not all of them. In fact the effectiveness of the vaccine varies from year to year, sometimes it's at 70%, other years 40%. The reason for this is medical science currently cannot predict all the different possible ways the virus can mutate and it cannot offer protection against the less commonly encountered strains. So while getting the influenza vaccination does reduce the chances of being infected by the virus by a good amount and it often helps reduce the severity of symptoms if infection does occur, it is far from being the near guarantied method of avoiding infection it is portrayed to be in this episode. See more »


Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers: Cause of death, acute pulmonary edema. A direct result of the flu.
Detective Ed Green: So why'd you call us here?
Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers: His parents said he got a flu shot about a month ago, so I pulled his pediatrician's chart. According to the records, he was vaccinated, but when I ran blood titers, he had no antibodies.
Detective Joe Fontana: And he should have had?
Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers: If he'd been immunized, absolutely.
Detective Ed Green: I still don't get why we're here.
Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers: Well, there have been a lot of flu-related deaths in the past few weeks. I went through the autopsy records and found half ...
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References The Third Man (1949) See more »

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User Reviews

That Ferris wheel scene just popped into my head.
15 December 2017 | by CeccacciPaolo1977See all my reviews

A young boy was taken to the hospital due to high fever; he died shortly after. Detectives were surprised forensics called them for what seemed out of their jurisdiction; actually there had been several other victims connected to a vaccine. Due to a shortage in flu vaccine, local doctors bought it from suppliers not so reliable. Detectives needed much time to reach the top of the pyramid; anyway a warehouse by the sea contained a lot of packages of the fake vaccine (it was actually a saline solution). The perp (Robert Sedgwick) was locked up and the defense attorney at first claimed the warrant was not regular, because of the wrong address written in the paper. McCoy, with the support of the new assistant, managed to get above this technicality, but at trial anything could happen.

"The Third Man": a classic movie quoted during trial by McCoy: he wanted us (as well as the jurors) to believe that the defendant considered people such as dots you can see from the top of a ferris wheel. His new assistant was not as stubborn as Southerlyn, she still has to learn.

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