Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Season 1 Episode 7


Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Nov 11, 2001 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
120 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The detectives investigate a murderer who poisons hospital victims with cyanide. They suspect a nurse whose profile is typical, but when they discover more murders away from the hospital they have to widen their search.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Our detectives enter a time machine, to a time when aspirin didn't have tamper-proof packaging and hospitals can't deduce cyanide poisoning.

    The episode seemed rushed, with many flimsy details, especially near the end. Does anyone know why the suspect sent the letter full of cyanide to the newspaper, leading to the final arrest?

    I will add that the way the suspects plan was developed was great, but the execution of the investigation was anything but deductive.

    The red herring of the nurse was disposed of in the first 10 minutes, basically making the involvement of the hospital a complete waste.

    The tension of trying to pass the flimsy indictment by the grand jury would NEVER happen in a real court (I pray). Was this episode conceived before the invention of tamper-proof packaging? A serious supension of disbelief required here.

    I have no idea why anyone would say this is the best episode they'd ever seen, not one.moreless
  • A number of suspicious deaths at a hospital puts Goren and Eames on the track of an Angel of Mercy, but when more people outside the hospital die they suspect drug tampering. Reminiscent of the pain reliever scare of many years ago in the United States.moreless

    Another episode showcasing Goren's investigative skill and wide range of psychological profiling. He misses the mark at the beginning but they do catch a nurse who has caused over forty code blues, but no deaths. When the other murdered people start showing up it becomes obvious that a certain drug used in each case has been tampered with. Of course it is much more difficult to do this today as all pain relievers and over the counter drugs are tamper proof but this was a prevalent subject back in the early eighties. It is interesting that the killer who tampered with the drugs back then was never caught but seven people died and caused the industry to change their packaging completely. Seven people died in this episode reenactment of the poisoned drug.

    An excellent episode. Goren and Carver seem to be building a relationship as Carver does something Goren asks at one point that I'm not sure he would have done even two or three episodes ago.

    The team is stumped though until a seventh victim is found when the wife of the man who died filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the drugs. Now that wouldn't be strange by itself but in this case she just thought that maybe he had died from this cause and they exhumed the body to do an autopsy. Coincidentally she has a franchise she is buying already planed out with the money from the settlement. Once Goren and Eames have their perpetrator they do what they have to get her caught.

    One of Goren's "tree huger" friends finds out some cyanide was shipped to an address related to the woman in question and things snowball from there.

    Well thought out episode using factual history from a real case file. New York instead of Chicago and in this case they catch the villain. Thanks for reading...moreless
  • A suspicious death at a hospital, following an unusually large number of "code blue" temporary heart failures there, leads a doctor to blow the whistle and to a police investigation that turns up aspirin-tampering cyanide poisonings and a sinister lawsuitmoreless

    This series is at its best with signature stories about imaginative, clever, sophisticated, carefully premeditated crimes committed by dark, calculating personalities. There is a lot to like along these lines in this episode. The set-up was great. But the dramatic license taken with the ending undermined the episode's subtleness and credibility.

    As usual, the quality of the acting and production values was high. The story was detailed and well-paced. Goren's observations were sharp, clear, and on-point (although Eames was not used to particularly good effect). The motivations, characters, and murder plot were interesting. The killer's background and character were gems of vivid, insightful writing and acting -- cheap, homely, childish, slow-witted, but driven by a self-centered sense of entitlement, greed, and obsession to grab at her brass ring of a kids' clothing shop, without even worrying that it took seven deaths, including her poor slob husband, and a product tampering panic, to accomplish ("you're so negative," she brushes off her suspicious mother).

    Unfortunately, the episode hurt itself badly toward the end. The writers went to the extreme, at Goren's casual insistence and Carver's glib orchestration, of indicting the dottering mother, who they knew to be innocent, so as to trick the daughter into incriminating herself. There had to be another way -- more realistic and consistent with the characters -- to achieve the result. As Logan told his most recent partner, what is needed is "finesse."

    What this episode did -- hurling with formal criminal charges the old, recently hospitalized mother into a whirlwind of worldwide publicity and outrage about the product tampering -- would have been like the police and prosecutors, knowing him to be innocent, pinning the Olympic Park bombing on the Atlanta security guard or the BTK killings on some unwitting dupe, simply to try to get the real criminal to make a mistake, regardless of the consequences for the accused and the legal system.

    And to have this happen when in the very next episode Goren gets on his high horse about Carver threatening to indict a cooperating wife to get the drop on a fugitive moneybags responsible for multiple, cold-blooded killings, including a hit on a reporter and his girlfriend, is too much to take. Carver's so-called "wink and a nod" behavior to the grand jury comes off very badly, especially after just episodes earlier he acts rigid and unyielding about his legal duties, threatening Goren with losing his badge. What's more, how did Goren know the killer would not respond by planting new tainted medication (using the same poison included in the letter she instead sent to the police), instead of merely sending the letter? Dramatic license can only be taken so far in writing a clever, imaginative crime story before it damages the characters and the story.moreless
  • Wow what an episode.

    This so far was probably the best Law and Order Criminal Intent episode i have seen. The plot was fantastic. A women who is murdering people to claim insurance money from the insurance company-sick i know! Well i thought that this episode was really well written and it was very intense and i really hope that more episodes are like this because its fantastic. Law and Order:CI is turning into a great show so lets just hope it stays that way. Considering i have only watched a few episodes i am very impressed with the stories.I wonder what they wil do next....moreless
  • Law and Order Criminal Intent!

    When a patient is found dead, with signs of cynaide poisoning, Detectives Goren and Eames are on the case. They being by questioning the nurses that came in contact with the victim the most. They find that one nurse in particular had a thing for causing code blue situations, for which she would be able to save the patient and receive credit for. When she confesses to these crimes, they investigate her for the cynaide poisonings as well. They find several other cases in which patients who are recovering and should have been released from the hospital all died as a result of these poisonings. They then start to look for anyone who may have been supplying the cynaide, which has all come from the same batch.

    This was a great episode. It definitely kept my interest for the entire episode. Kept me guessing who the suspect was until the end. And I liked the guest appearances of Briscoe and Green! I love it when the different Law and Order brands cross over to the other shows.moreless
Susan Bruce

Susan Bruce

Colleen Braxton

Guest Star

Anne O'Sullivan

Anne O'Sullivan

Ms. O'Brien

Guest Star

Charles Dumas

Charles Dumas

Crisis Command Inspector

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

  • QUOTES (6)

    • (Goran and Eames discuss the case after Trudy Pomeranski's interview.)
      Alex Eames: No trace of cyanide in her apartment.
      Robert Goren: Something here stinks.
      Alex Eames: Too bad it's not almonds...

    • Lennie Briscoe: Okay, two questions. How long have you known about this, and just when were you planning to share it with the rest of the world?
      Alex Eames: That's up to the Commissioner's office.
      Lennie Briscoe: Those idiots.

    • (Trudy picks up a stick and starts poking it into the fresh dirt of her husband's grave.)
      Loretta Marlon: What are you doing?
      Trudy Pomeranski: Just want to make sure it's not all frozen.
      Loretta Marlon: What did you want to do, plant tomatoes?

    • Ron Carver: The evidence passed muster with the grand jury.
      Attorney O'Brien: Oh, right. Was my client indicted before or after the ham sandwich?

    • Robert Goren: Get an indictment against the mother.
      Ron Carver: For what?
      Robert Goren: Murder.
      Ron Carver: With what?
      Robert Goren: With whatever! C'mon, don't you have the grand jury eating out of your hand? I bet you can indict that clock.

    • Robert Goren: What about the great American pastime?
      Alex Eames: Which one, dieting or cheating on your taxes?
      Robert Goren: Suing.

  • NOTES (1)


    • This episode appears to be ripped from the headlines of the Stella Nickell case. After having been inspired by the infamous Tylenol scare in 1982, Nickell poisoned not only her husband's bottle of Excedrin headache medicine, but three other bottles that she placed in drugstores to make her husband's death look like the work of a serial killer. Nickell's motive, like that of the culprit in this episode, was to inherit nearly $200,000 in life insurance. She is currently serving a 90-year sentence for the crime.

  • 10:00 pm