"Law & Order" Scrambled (TV Episode 1998) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • In a fertility clinic, an employee called Sarah is found murdered. The room she was working in was locked so the person who killed her must have known the combination. Frozen embryos are also found tipped down the sink. Sarah's murder is pushed aside to a dispute over the ownership of the embryos. It is discovered that those particular embryos were destroyed deliberately. Some of the embryos were biologically a woman called Arlene Galvin's but after Arlene and her husband Joe's divorce, and his death, they were bequeathed to Coral Galvin, his young second wife. Coral was planning to be implanted with one of those embryos because Joe's will stated that his $11 million would be shared between his biological children, so Arlene's son would have to share it with this child and Coral would get control of this child's money, even though it would be Arlene's technically. It is implied that Coral only wanted a child for the money and wouldn't care for it. Arlene said she wouldn't be able to bear seeing one of her biological children suffer from neglect in Coral's hands, so she made her chauffeur, a former police officer, destroy the embryos. Sarah interrupted so she was killed. At the end, Arlene is sentenced to 5-10 years and the last 2 of her embryos are protected from Coral, although Arlene will probably not get to use them.

  • Detectives Briscoe and Curtis investigate the murder of Sarah Purcell, an embryologist found at th fertility clinic where she worked. They find the her attacker was most likely destroying frozen embryos and suspect that Sarah likely interrupted him. The clinic's owner, Dr. Rutland, admits that they've received hate mail and the detectives focus on anyone who might have objected to the work being done there. They eventually focus on someone going by the name of Wilson who bribed a clinic employee to gain access. They identify the man as Francis Curran, an ex-cop who worked as the wealthy Arlene Galvin's chauffeur. It seems that Curran and her then husband Joseph had embryos frozen there and these went to her husband in the divorce. He recently died and his much younger second wife Coral planned to use them. ADA Abbie Carmichael learns that the dead Mr. Galvin had left an $11 million estate to his children, born or not yet born, which would give the first Mrs. Galvin a motive. Ownership of the embryos is central to issue but it becomes even more complicated when the clinic finds two embryos intact.

  • A murder at a fertility clinic leads to a complicated, bitterly-contested case involving frozen embryos, a wealthy man, his widow, and his ex-wife.


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