Law & Order

Season 14 Episode 9

Compassion

1
Aired Monday 10:00 PM Nov 26, 2003 on NBC
7.9
out of 10
User Rating
32 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Compassion
AIRED:
When a con man passing himself off as a grief counselor is poisoned by a respected doctor he victimized, McCoy must determine whether revenge or insanity prompted the crime.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Very memorable episode. Twists and turns made sense.

    9.0
    It seems a lot of crime-shows today are either drama or detective-work. However, episodes of Law and Order, like this one, set themselves apart as being both. And any case that makes no-nonsense Jack McCoy show empathy toward a wrongdoer is unforgettable. Great beginning, followed by the detectives interogating the same suspect multiple times questioning if and why she did it. Seems like an open and closed case until McCoy examines the defendant and is thrown for a loop by her rationale for killing the victim. The doctor character is so well-written and convincing as a martyr, it's really hard to dislike her. In the end, even McCoy is forced to pursue a lesser charge.moreless
  • An emotionally unstable doctor takes life and death into her own two hands, and shakes up McCoy.

    9.4
    It is not often you see McCoy crack. His black and white objectivity make him a fine prosecutor, but only occasionally does his humanity show through. The defendant is a woman accused of poisoning a con man who manipulated her out of a quarter of a million dollars. She claims no prior knowledge of this act, that it happened on paper and she wouldn't have known him if she saw him, but is it merely coincidence that this suffering pediatrics doctor wound up involved in his latest scam, a self-professed "communicator" with the dead? The fingers all point to her with financial motivations, but the twist comes when her lawyer asks for a psychological evaluation, claiming that his client killed the victim in order to "comfort" the children he communicated with.



    The emotional hocus-pocus talk in the courtroom leads up to a mighty moment in which we see the doctor's true pain, the self-bereavement she has for not being able to help more of her terminally-ill patients (three out of fifty survive), and her genuine faith that the victim would be better off in the afterlife than serving fraud sentences in the local penitentiary. As her tearful speech tugs at the hearts of compassionate viewers, it also ignites sympathy in McCoy's normally stone-cold constitution, enough to offer a plea bargain. The several not-so-subtle digs by coworkers and colleagues as to his rare show of compassion cannot help but strike a chord. The audience has grown so fond of McCoy, so used to his hard-nosed intolerance for criminal behavior, that it's both an insult to what we know of his emotional involvement, and a reminder that sometimes the defendant didn't do it maliciously ... they just did it. If nothing else, it opens the floodgates for consideration of the insanity plea.moreless
Elisabeth Rohm

Elisabeth Rohm

ADA Serena Southerlyn

Jerry Orbach

Jerry Orbach

Det. Lennie Briscoe

S. Epatha Merkerson

S. Epatha Merkerson

Lt. Anita Van Buren

Sam Waterston

Sam Waterston

Exec. ADA Jack McCoy

Jesse L. Martin

Jesse L. Martin

Det. Ed Green

Fred Dalton Thompson

Fred Dalton Thompson

DA Arthur Branch

Ann Dowd

Ann Dowd

Dr. Bethany Allison

Guest Star

Bernadette Quigley

Bernadette Quigley

Mrs. Padgett

Guest Star

Lawrence Arancio

Lawrence Arancio

Dr. Matthew Allison

Guest Star

J.K. Simmons

J.K. Simmons

Dr. Emil Skoda

Recurring Role

Leslie Hendrix

Leslie Hendrix

Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers

Recurring Role

Fran Lebowitz

Fran Lebowitz

Judge Janice Goldberg

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Goof: After interviewing Dr. Bethany Allison, Dr. Skoda mistakenly refers to John Edward (who has had TV shows where he tells the living what the dead say to him) as John Edwards. This is a common mistake and was even featured on the American version of The Weakest Link. The contestant also got it wrong.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • (Police are searching the suspect's apartment)
      Dr. Bethany Allison: Does it really take a platoon to search my small apartment?
      Lennie Briscoe: Well, it won't take long.
      Dr. Bethany Allison: I'm telling you, you're wasting your time.
      Lennie Briscoe: Oh, I made a career out of that.

    • Detective: Good news is no one named Gideon Blake ever had so much as a parking ticket.
      Anita van Buren: And the bad news?
      Detective: No one named Gideon Blake ever had so much as a parking ticket?

    • Arthur Branch: Sometimes the good you do doesn't do you any good.

    • (The police have trouble finding records on Gideon Blake)
      Anita van Buren: Your man still a ghost?
      Lennie Briscoe: If he was alive, I'd hire him to talk to himself.

    • Cop: Sorry detective, but that dining companion you was asking about -- she's here. She says she's a doctor.
      Lennie Briscoe: Tell her she's too late.

    • A.D.A. Jack McCoy: You killed a man and I'm offering 8 1/3 to 25 years.
      Dr. Bethany Allison: Well, if you're referring to Gideon, I helped him and he thanked me for it.
      A.D.A. Jack McCoy: Excuse me?
      Dr. Bethany Allison: I spoke to Gideon this morning and he thanked me.
      A.D.A. Jack McCoy: He did what?
      Dr. Bethany Allison: Gideon sounded very happy.
      Attorney: Jack?
      A.D.A. Jack McCoy: If this is an act . . .
      Attorney: Fooled the hell out of me. My notice papers will be on your desk before end of business. See you in court.

    • Det. Ed Green: You gotta admit that you showing up at Gideon's Center right after he ripped you off is quite a coincidence.
      Dr. Bethany Allison: No I have a friend who works in a hospice and she told me about a seminar on crossing over. I didn't even know who Gideon Blake was. I certainly didn't know he was Lee Mapes. I was just interested in doing research for my next book.
      Det. Lennie Briscoe: Of all the gin joints in all the world...

    • Off. Brady: All I know is he has a reservation for two at 1:00.
      Det. Ed Green: So where's the companion?
      Off. Brady: A no show.
      Det. Lennie Briscoe: Welcome to the case of the killer shell fish.
      Uniform Officer #2: One oyster and he dropped like that.
      Det. Ed Green: Since when did we become the food police?
      Uniform Officer #2: Take a smell.
      Det. Lennie Briscoe: We know what oysters smell like.
      Uniform Officer #2: I mean him.
      Det. Lennie Briscoe: Smells like bitter almonds.
      Uniform Officer #2: Which aren't on the menu.
      Det. Ed Green: Cyanide, right? This dude's been poisoned?
      Uniform Officer #2: I'll take them to forensics but the smell test tells me they are clean.
      Det. Lennie Briscoe: So he picked a winner on the first try.

  • NOTES (0)

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

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