Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Season 5 Episode 18

Careless

3
Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Mar 02, 2004 on NBC
8.7
out of 10
User Rating
98 votes
3

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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The investigation into the death of a foster child, who passed out at a midnight exorcism, leads to charges of neglect and murder for the foster parents and the social worker.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A 6 year old boy dies at the hands of his abusive foster parents. the foster parents and their social worker are arrested for contributing to the boy's death.

    9.9
    A 6 year old boy named Jamie Semple is brought to a hospital by his foster paents Sam and loriAnn dufoy who claimed he passed out during an exorcism at their church. The church pastor is questioned and suspected of causing Jamie's death because his ring matched a mark on Jamie's body. However, forensic evidence suggests Jamie was smothered by a pillow at home then brought to the church. Sam is suspected of killing Jamie bacause the boy who was hyperactive was out of control. He is arrested and charged. The boy's natural mother tells the detectives the Dufoys' social worker Mariel Plummer is partly to blame since she neglected Jamie. Fin and munch learn that on the night Jamie was killed, Plummer was called by Sam but she did not answer him or visit him but she claimed in her records she did. She is arrested for altering records and endangering Jamie's life. Novak decides to put Mariel on trial and have Sam testify against her although he had been charged with killing Jamie. Mariel claims she had another more tragic case to work the night Jamie was killed but Novak does not buy it. However, Mariel is cleared of the reckless endangerment charges. Later on, Warner tells teh detectives that blood stain evidence from the pillow used to kill Jamie and a cheese grater proves a teenage girl was also living with the DuFoys. Fin confronts Mariel about the girl living with the DuFoys but she kills herself after a threatening phone call. Fin questions Sam about the girl but he denies it. He is accused of taking other foster kids in them neglecting them and letting them run away. LoriAnn is also questioned and she too denies having a foster child. Sam breaks down and tells Fin they had a foster daughter named Megan who they commited to a mental hospital. Fin visits Megan and she tells them she was sent to the mental hospital after LoriAnn killed Jamie with a pillow and then scraped Megan with the cheese grater. In the end, LoriAnn, not Sam, is arrested for killing Jamie. This episode was sad, emotional, and proves that not all foster parents and social workers can be trusted.moreless
  • Law and Order Special Victims Unit!

    8.5
    Sam Dufoy rushed into the emergency room with his foster son Jamie when he stopped breathing during a healing session at their church. After being pronounced DOA, the doctors notice signs of abuse on his young body. The Detectives of the Special Victims Unit suspect Sam of abusing Jamie, because according to his and his wife, Lori-Ann's statements, he was the only one alone with the boy. The Detectives then question his ACS case worker, to see if she had ever suspected that Jamie was not safe living with the Dufoy's. What they find is that Jamie's case worker never visited and did not keep an eye on the situation like she should have. And because of her negligence, Lori-Ann not only killed Jamie, but had several other foster children that are unaccounted for. This was a really good episode. It is sad, but true that there are a lot of children in the foster care system who do not get the check up and the attention that they may need. It is a really screwed up system and something needs to be done about it. These children are the future of our world and they deserve the best chance at living a great life.moreless
  • A young african american boy in foster care dies after a midnight exorcism!

    8.5
    The boy had health problems that didn't allow him to communicate very well and was always very hard to handle because of hi issues which led the immature foster father to take the boy to a midnight exorcism. The detectives first think the xorcism might of gone wrong and the boy died but the case takes a twist. When the detectives find blood on a pillow at the foster home, they start to suspect the foster parents. They also find out the boy was killed by a cheese grater. They charge the father but soon learn he had called the social worker many of times asking for her to take the child away because he couldn't take care of him. The social worker never answered the calls which led the police to arrest her and charge her for depraved indifference. The social worker somehow gets off but feels so bad about what she did that she commited suicide. The detectives then learn that the foster parents had stuck one of their former foster children in a mental institution to hide her away when she saw the murder of the little boy. The detectives track down the girl and she tells them that the foster mother killed the little boy.moreless
Dann Florek

Dann Florek

Capt. Donald Cragen

Richard Belzer

Richard Belzer

Det. John Munch

Mariska Hargitay

Mariska Hargitay

Det. Olivia Benson

BD Wong

BD Wong

Dr. George Huang

Christopher Meloni

Christopher Meloni

Det. Elliot Stabler

Ice-T

Ice-T

Det. Odafin 'Fin' Tutuola

Malinda Williams

Malinda Williams

Lori-Ann Dufoy

Guest Star

Cress Williams

Cress Williams

Sam Dufoy

Guest Star

Julie Hagerty

Julie Hagerty

Mariel Plummer

Guest Star

Audrie Neenan

Audrie Neenan

Judge Lois Preston

Recurring Role

Mike Doyle

Mike Doyle

Forensics Tech Ryan O'Halloran

Recurring Role

Tamara Tunie

Tamara Tunie

Dr. Melinda Warner

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Goof: When the social worker shoots herself there is only a small amount of bleeding shown coming through her shirt. As soon as Fin puts his hand on her chest there is tons of blood. There was obviously a bag of fake blood under the shirt.

    • Nitpick: During cross-examination of the social worker during the trial, we learn the reason she didn't return distraught calls from the foster parent of the child that died. She states that she was busy aiding two other children, who witnessed their father beating and shooting the children's mother, before turning the gun on himself. This is a very dramatic moment, as it is presented as though the prosecution was not aware of this. This makes absolutely no sense. For starters, it's certainly one of the first questions that would've been asked, or offered by the defense prior to trial, particularly in light of potentially reaching a plea bargain in the case. Secondly, the defense most certainly would have asked the question on direct questioning knowing that the jury would be looking for the answer, and that the answer was highly favorable to her case. While it may have made a more dramatic moment as written, it's simply illogical to think it would have happened this way.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Maddox: (her closing summation) A social worker's job -- poorly paid, usually thankless. They work in the most deprived and violent parts of our cities, where they can be assaulted, raped, even murdered. Burnout's common. Many don't last 5 years. Mariel Plummer has worked for eighteen. When Jamie died, she had nearly 20 cases. The recommended caseload is 12. This tragedy isn't Mariel's fault. It's the fault of an overburdened system. Too few case workers, too few dollars, too many children in need. Out of grief and panic after Jamie's death, Mariel altered her official records. She admits it; she's sorry for it. Find her guilty on that charge. Not on the charge of endangering Jamie's life. Jamie slipped through a crack in the system. Blame the system. Blame the man who killed Jamie. But don't blame the social worker.
      Novak: (her summation) Mariel Plummer was the crack in the system. She was the one person whose job it was to look out for Jamie, and she failed to do her job. If she made any one of the visits she fraudulently claimed to have made, or returned any one of the phone calls, Jamie would be alive! She turned her back on him. That is child endangerment. This time, you must blame the social worker. Find Mariel guilty, and send a message to her, and to her supervisors, and to the city, and to the state, that the death of even one child is unacceptable.

    • Mariel: (on the phone): Just stop calling me!
      Fin: (takes the phone): Who the hell are you calling a bitch? This is the police. Call here again we're gonna bust your door in.

    • Fin: You raked her face with a cheese grater.
      Lori Ann: She raked herself, she's psychotic.
      Fin: Yeah, and Jamie smothered himself.

    • (Munch busts social worker Mariel Plummer for illegally altering paperwork.)
      John Munch: We were just admiring how you were writing up six months' worth of records in one day.

    • Fin Tutuola: (to Lori Ann) That was smooth. Shutting a murder witness up in a loony bin.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Company Credits: Lynn Kressel Casting (Casting), Grant Wilfley Casting (Background Casting), Panavision (Panaflex Camera and Lenses)

    • Crew Additions and Clarifications: Bobby Mancuso (Assistant Cameraman)
      Keri L. Lederman (Assistant Property)
      Jessica Burstein (Still Photographer)
      Alana West (Set Costumer)
      Mick Rossman (Scenic Charge)
      Kevin Brink (Leadman)
      Kevin Fitzpatrick (Best Boy)

    • International Air Dates:
      Finland – October 14, 2009 on YLE TV2

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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