Law & Order

Season 18 Episode 15

Bogeyman

1
Aired Monday 10:00 PM Apr 30, 2008 on NBC
8.5
out of 10
User Rating
46 votes
5

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
A novelist's apparent suicide changes to a murder investigation. The suspects include a cult and her husband. Cutter's case is jeopardized by the defense attorney's indirect juror tampering tactics of scaring the jurors.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A scientology-like cult is an ominous distraction to the investigation, then prosecution, of a paranoid man who shot his wife and tried to disguise it as a suicide.

    7.3
    I found this episode to be a pleasant surprise.



    Halfway through, I thought "ehh". They had used suicide as a plot device twice in this season (in Called Home and Political Animal, the latter actually involving a gun murder disguised as a suicide). Also, they used the concept of somewhat fanatical-followers of a belief before (Angelgrove comes to mind first, although I suppose one could bring up the Dr. Death groupies in Called Home and that silly-as-hell Judge in Executioner).



    So thus, I was pleasantly surprised when the cult didn't do it!



    Cults are pretty scary. We think of the followers as insane robots under the spell of a charismatic Jim Jones and more than happy to do their bidding (which they kinda are). Part of the fear comes from the air of mystery that surrounds cults.



    This episode shows how an over inflated fear of them can be as bad if not worse than not knowing they exist.



    1- The jurors, and the witness are terrified of the cult. Interestingly, we never know if the woman the juror saw in the park was a cultist. Is the man taking pictures of children at the playground a predator, or is he a parent, photographer, ect? However, we know what the juror thought. Some of the jurors were so scared they refused to deliberate. 2- The civil-attorney made a very nice living by suing the cult at every turn.



    3- The husband happily blamed all of his faults and failings on the cult. I am somewhat on the fence about his character. He seemed so one sided, his character had no other factor in it other than his fixation. I mean, the guy was more of a fanatic (murder, near-suicide) than his enemy.



    The other thing that I'm on the fence about is the ending. It seemed so Deus Ex Machina. I can't imagine that it would go down so well in real life.moreless
  • Cult!

    8.2
    Last week we were introduced to Anthony Anderson's character as an Internal Affairs cop. This week it's turned around and he's been added to Van Buren's squad to team up with Lupo. If past performance is an indicator of future work, they made a good choice.



    Anthony Anderson has made his bones on several shows, both comdeic and dramatic and can handle both deftly.



    Here they investigate a purported cult kiling. This is a good episode for the twists and turns we've come to expect with ADA Cutter having the last laugh. Not only that, we're shown how brainwashing can take over a person's psyche.moreless
  • Cult on trial; where have we seen this before..

    7.8
    An ok episode with the detectives investigating an apparent suicide turned murder. Lupo decides not to go by the book and takes his former sister in law undercover to expose this cult that the husband says is behind the murder which does not go over well with his boss. They try to break up a purification process that supposedly killed one baby before but they left us hanging on that one; never did get back to it. Just as well I guess. The defense tries to scare the jury into believing this cult can do anything but Cutter cleverly turns the tables at the end which was a bit on the whimpy side. Oh well, there is always next week.moreless
  • Paranoia concerning a cult surround both Lupo and his new partner Bernard's investigation into the apparent suicide of an author and the ensuing trial.

    9.0
    One insurmountable advantage i believe older episodes of Law & Order have over the current ones is that 18 years ago, the proportion of content to advertising was much larger. The detectives had more time to run down false leads than they do today. "Boogeyman" tries to overcome that handicap by being almost nothing but false leads. The episode doesn't focus on new cast member Anthony Anderson too much, although long-time L&O scribe Richard Sweren's brisk teleplay hints at a little antipathy on Lupo's part toward his new partner. The focus (as it should be) is on the investigation and the prosecution of a case. A woman is found dead in her car, the victim of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. The woman's husband tells the detectives his wife was working on a book concerning a secretive cult following the death of her friend's baby during a purification ritual, but Lupo can't find anything on her computer. In some ways, the weakest part of this episode is the first half, because it seems like the police don't really have anything to investigate. But the writer has to have the detectives do something until some lab results come in, so he has Lupo run an unauthorized undercover operation into the Systemonics cult, a move that probably ranks up there on the bonehead scale with Mike Logan coercing a confession out of Max Greeley's murderer at the end of his gun. It gives an opportunity for Van Buren to chew him out for a mistake, contributes to the overall sense of paranoia permeating the episode, and (at least for this episode) gives us a contrast between Lupo's and Bernard's personalities, but it still feels like a holding pattern despite some great lines.



    For once, the actual meat of the episode is the trial. The defense attorney is one of the more charismatic to appear in a while. Like the defense attorneys in Law & Order's early days, he's dynamic (in his John Kapelos-like haircut) without being overly preachy or over the top, as his alternative theory exacerbates both the jury's and our paranoia about Systemonics to the point of threatening a mistrial. I actually was having doubts as to the defendant's guilt, which usually isn't the case with me.



    Director Tim Hunter deserves special notice for his work on this episode. There are parts that are reminiscent of Ed Sherin's cinema verite approach and there are elements that seem distinctly Hunter's own, for example, the scene in McCoy's office that begins with a broad view of the whole room before cutting into close-ups of the DA and Cutter. And how about that climax, where Connie initially seems caught off-guard by what Cutter is doing, but then plays along (although if the defendant was that suggestible, I question whether he was fit to stand trial)? This was much more than a journeyman's effort.



    This episode was much better than I expected from the previews. After all, Law & Order had an episode involving a religious cult just two episodes ago ("Angelgrove"). Thankfully, however, Lupo doesn't do a weird dance at his desk, so maybe this is a case of the coming attractions not doing the actual episode justice.moreless
  • This show would have been a great example of a late season cliffhanging two parter. They took on "Scientology" but the names as always are changed :) but not so much you notice, I love this show.moreless

    7.8
    It started off brilliant, they didn't do anything special to introduce Detective Bernard, they just gave him to us and he came along with the case. You can feel the awkward beginnings of the relationship with Detective Lupo, especially since he came from the "rat squad", but they do have a charisma. It was interesting how it all played out, and even I myself was thinking they could be setting up an elaborate conspiracy, and if they'd wanted to they could have ended it that way. The twist was shocking but on par with what this show can do. The ending was a bit abrupt, it felt rushed, but it was solid.moreless
Anthony Anderson

Anthony Anderson

Det. Kevin Bernard

Jeremy Sisto

Jeremy Sisto

Det. Cyrus Lupo

S. Epatha Merkerson

S. Epatha Merkerson

Lt. Anita van Buren

Sam Waterston

Sam Waterston

D.A. Jack McCoy

Linus Roache

Linus Roache

Exec. A.D.A. Michael Cutter

Alana De La Garza

Alana De La Garza

A.D.A. Connie Rubirosa

Daniel London

Daniel London

Bradley Cameron

Guest Star

Peter Francis James

Peter Francis James

Judge John Laramie

Guest Star

Nicki Lynn Aycox

Nicki Lynn Aycox

Kate Westwood

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (10)

    • (An assistant brings a stash of the defense motions)
      Connie Rubirosa: Looks like Bradley finally found a lawyer he could trust.
      Jack McCoy: One who charges by the motion. I'll turn on the coffee machine on the way out.

    • Bradley Cameron: I don't know who to trust.
      Cyrus Lupo: I don't know about him (Bernard), but you can trust me.
      (Bernard shrugs his shoulders and smiles, unimpressed)

    • (Discussing Systemotics)
      Michael Cutter: A religion? Have you read their literature? It's pretty out there.
      Jack McCoy: More out there than eight-armed deities or a Supreme Being who descends from the heavens?

    • Anita van Buren: (reading Sophia's notes) People who write stuff like this usually line their hats with aluminum foil.

    • Kevin Bernard: A writer who doesn't leave a suicide note.
      Cyrus Lupo: On the other hand, three chapters in five years, it would make me suicidal.

    • Kevin Bernard: What's the rule on bringing cupcakes to a suicide?

    • Jack McCoy: (about Bradley Cameron) He killed his own wife? Just to frame Systemotics?
      Michael Cutter: A man who can throw himself off a balcony is capable of anything.

    • Cyrus Lupo: Dr. Landry, you're under arrest.
      Dr. Landry: Arrest? For what?
      Cyrus Lupo: Let's start with steaming a kid like a hot dog, and work from there.

    • Anita van Buren: (about a Systemotics self-help book) How did I get through life without reading this?
      Cyrus Lupo: Well, I couldn't get through it without aspirin.

    • Kevin Bernard: A lot of women suicide with a gun? (pause) I'm just asking.
      Cyrus Lupo: There's no hard and fast rules.

  • NOTES (2)

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

    • Jack McCoy: When it comes to faith, whatever gets you through the night is fine with me.

      McCoy paraphrases John Lennon's Whatever Gets You Through the Night from his 1974 album, Walls and Bridges.

    • This episode appears to be ripped from the headlines of the current scandals involving Scientology. The recruiting posters look like the Dianetics posters. Like L. Ron Hubbard (who was a sci-fi writer) the founder of Systemotics is portrayed as someone who has no background in what he teaches. Other similarities include: the secrecy, supposed power/influence of the group, the propensity to sue any critics and the group being regarded by many as a cult -- while members view it as a religion.

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