Law & Order: Trial by Jury

Season 1 Episode 1

The Abominable Showman

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Mar 03, 2005 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • That the pilot deals with a Broadway related case is interesting. Bebe Neuwirth is a two-time Tony Award winner, and Jerry Orbach was also a Broadway legend.

    • The opening narration: "In the Criminal Justice System, all defendants are innocent until proven guilty, either by confession, plea bargain, or trial by jury. This is one of those trials"

  • Quotes

  • Notes

    • When originally aired, Fred Dalton Thompson was credited as Fred Thompson. The title cards were corrected on the first re-airing of the episode to Fred Dalton Thompson.

    • With this premiere episode, this marks the third spin-off of Law & Order, the fourth show overall.

    • Despite having starred together for two seasons, this is the first time that Jerry Orbach (D.A. Investigator Lennie Briscoe) and Fred Dalton Thompson (D.A. Arthur Branch) have shared a scene together. In fact, this is the second time in which Orbach has shared a scene with a District Attorney, after over tweleve years on Law & Order.

    • The theme is actually a spin-off of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent"'s theme, which would be a spin-off of a spin-off of the original shows.

    • This is the only Law & Order series where the opening narration does not end with "These are their stories".

    • This is the second Law & Order series where the characters are not walking towards us in the opening.

    • Like all the Law & Order spin-offs, the opening theme is a variation of the Law & Order theme.

    • When this episode aired, Jerry Orbach (Lennie Briscoe) had already passed away on 28 December 2004 at the age of 69.

    • Jerry Orbach is only one of the few actors to play the same role on 5 different TV Series. He played Lennie Briscoe on Law & Order, Homicide: Life on the Street, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: CI, and now Law & Order: TBJ. One other actor do accomplish such a feat is Richard Belzer, star of Law & Order: SVU.

    • Every first episode of a new Law & Order spin off features a cameo by a character from the Original Law & Order series. In Special Victims Unit, it's Angie Harmon playing A.D.A Abbie Carmichael. In Law & Order: Criminal Intent, it's Dianne Wiest as Interim D.A Nora Lewin and in this first episode of Law & Order: Trial By Jury, it's Sam Waterston as E.A.D.A Jack McCoy.

  • Allusions

    • The title of this episode is a play on words and allusion to the mythical mountain creature the Abominable Snowman.

    • Penny Sterba: I want to see your badges.
      Lennie Briscoe: (In his best bandido accent) Badges? We don't need no stinking badges.

      This is an allusion to the famous misquote from the 1948 film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

    • Felix Dzerzhinsky:

      While waiting for the grand jury decision, ADA Tracey Kibre (Bebe Neuwirth) says, "No wonder Russians hate jury trials. Imagine twelve Dzerzhinskys trying to reach a verdict."

      This is an allusion on two levels. Felix Dzerzhinsky was a Bolshevik revolutionary, a close associate of Lenin, and the founder of the Cheka, which later evolved into the NKVD, then the KGB. He was notorious for imposing sentences without trials, and would have had no patience for a jury trial as depicted here.

      She is also punning on the similarity between the name of the suspect, Dushinsky (Lev Gorn), and Dzerzhinsky.