Law & Order

Season 9 Episode 5

Agony

2
Aired Monday 10:00 PM Nov 04, 1998 on NBC
8.6
out of 10
User Rating
46 votes
5

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Agony
AIRED:
After the detectives find a murdered postman and a woman who was left for dead in her apartment, the investigation leads to a serial killer and a surprise.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • One of the best episodes of Law & Order... Great acting and storyline, keeps you glued to your seat...

    9.8
    This is one of my favorite L&O episodes. I just love watching Abbie Carmichael - she's definitely the strongest character they had in the role of the female A.D.A. Her acting is fabulous, it feels like she's geniunely passionate about getting the guy convicted and overcome with all the obstacles that stand in the way. I also love the plot twists - they really keep you guessing! And Birkstrom is a true creepy, one of the creepiest killers they ever had on the show. Fine acting there as well. The scene between Carmichael and McCoy at the end ("I'm just taking a page from the Jack McCoy playbook"...) was one of the highlights of this episode and L&O's run overall. Season 9 was where it was at. I wish more of the later episodes could have been this well done.moreless
  • Law and Order at it's best.

    10
    I know a lot of people will agree with me when I say that Angie Harmon really did play possibly the best ADA in Law and Order's nineteen year history. And this episode perfectly demonstrates that. After a postman is murdered and a woman is brutally tortured in her apartment, Briscoe and Curtis initially suspect her abusive ex-husband. But after a similar woman's experience comes to light, the investigation turns to a possible serial killer. For me, the Law half of this episode was superb. We had ADA Carmichael visably disgusted by the killer, in such a way she was willing to break the law to keep him behind bars. Once again, Jack and Abbie fought over which was the best path to follow, which eventually led to a great scene with Carmichael using an appropriate amount of aggressiveness to trick the perpetrator into confessing to one of his many murders. She used his attraction to her and his hatred for strong women in such a way that he would rather spend the rest of his life in prison than be beaten by a woman. In the end the original crime itself seemed almost like fate as had it not happened, the police would never have been led to the serial killer, and ended his 5+ year long killing spree. Great episode, with a great debate between our ADA's. And with us as viewers egging Abbie on to get justice in some form for the victims involved.moreless
  • Great plot, even better ending.

    8.5
    The episode begins with the discovery of a mailman stabbed to death in the hallway of an apartment building. When canvassing the building, the detectives discover a woman who's been brutally attacked to within an inch of losing her life. The assault to days, the perpetrator left no trace of his presence beyond the injuries on the victims, and according to the living victim, spoke a total of three words during the entire period. While there are no less than three murderous whack-jobs in this episode, the truly terrifying moment was brought about by Abby Charmichael(Angie Harmon). During plea negotiations with the guilty party she gleefully describes the assembly line that is capital punishment in Texas and says, " And if they let me do it, I'd press one of the plungers and pray that it's the one that delivers the fatal dose." Chilling. A+.moreless
  • Nicely crafted with a smart plot with a cruel serial killer at the center.

    9.5
    The murder of a postman and a woman mutilated and left for dead lead the detectives on a trail that leads to an apparent serial killer. Carmichael is determined to bring the defendant to the harshed punishment under law. The serial killer offers McCoy and Carmichael a deal to give them the location of many different bodies, and Carmichael is disappointed that he is about to get away with four murders. Unfortunately evidence does not hold up to implicate him in the current crime and the detectives discover that another killer was responsible.



    Carmichael takes advantage of the original defendant\'s revelation of the bodies and cancels the deal since he can\'t plead guilty to a crime he didn\'t commit, and that leaves him wide open for extradition to Texas, a death penalty state, for the murder he had committed there.



    The episode is well written and suspenseful, as it almost occurrs that this serial killer will walk away from four murders after making the deal. The episode concludes in a powerful scene where the killer accepts McCoy\'s offer of life without parole, but not before he insists to explicate to Carmichael the cruelty he inflicted on his victim. Carmichael\'s look of sheer disgust and anger at the serial killer lingers in the viewer\'s memory.moreless
  • A brilliantly freaky episode with one of the worst villains in L & O history! Spoilers attached.

    9.5
    Agony starts with the discovery of a murdered mailman, but takes a turn for the worse when a badly tortured young woman is found in her apartment, and it appears the mailman killing was the result of a panicked escape attempt and the real target was the woman, who is now in hospital.



    Detective Briscoe and Curtis began to investigate her abusive ex-husband, but when he is alibied, they discover a lead to a computer programmer in Seattle who frequents New York. When he is arrested, various methods of s & m are found, but he denies any involvement in sadomasochism and the crime. The police are able to get a women who was attacked to press charges, but they discover he may be a serial killer with many bodies in his name. They make a deal in order for them to be able to find their remains, but realize they have been played.



    This is definitely one of the most freaky episodes. The way that the main suspect coldly acts during interrogation and his sheer repulsiveness is a brilliant acting job, based off the sensational Ted Bundy case. And Angie Harmon is great as A.D.A Carmichael, whose hatred for the suspected serial killer makes her go to lengths to get him convicted for the crimes that he cannot be tried for because of the plea bargain. And the final scene where he reacts in a violent outburst truly signifies the deep terror of his psyche.moreless
Jerry Orbach

Jerry Orbach

Det. Lennie Briscoe

Benjamin Bratt

Benjamin Bratt

Det. Reynaldo "Rey" Curtis

S. Epatha Merkerson

S. Epatha Merkerson

Lt. Anita Van Buren

Sam Waterston

Sam Waterston

Exec. ADA Jack McCoy

Angie Harmon

Angie Harmon

ADA Abbie Carmichael

Steven Hill

Steven Hill

DA Adam Schiff

Mark Blum

Mark Blum

Frank Lazar

Guest Star

Christina Haag

Christina Haag

Kitty Lansing

Guest Star

Barbara Andres

Barbara Andres

Anne O'Brien

Guest Star

Larry Clarke

Larry Clarke

Morris LaMotte

Recurring Role

J.K. Simmons

J.K. Simmons

Dr. Emil Skoda

Recurring Role

Leslie Hendrix

Leslie Hendrix

M.E. Rodgers

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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