Law & Order

Season 14 Episode 11

Darwinian

1
Aired Monday 10:00 PM Jan 07, 2004 on NBC
7.8
out of 10
User Rating
30 votes
2

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Episode Summary

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Darwinian
AIRED:
The apparent hit-and-run of a homeless man send the detectives on a search for the driver, a high profile female publicist, which fuels the fire for the prosecutors to obtain a murder conviction. Forensic evidence given during the trial reveal that the victim was severely beaten before being hit by the car which leads to a suspect within the homeless community.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • When is a man not a man?

    9.4
    When is a man not a man?



    That is basically what it all boils down to in a case of street violence. After finding a homeless man dead in the park, the ME cites the cause of death as trauma resulting from a car accident. Briscoe and Green trace the crime to a wealthy publicist, whose white-collar attorney has the body autopsied and proves that the cause of death was actually the result of a beating the man received earlier that day on the street. This leads them into a tooth-and-nails world where you can be killed for refusing to share a piece of orange with your neighbors. It seemed a straight up conviction until a public defender attempts to prove in court that since the homeless have been rejected by society, they should not have to live by society's rules.



    It makes for a compelling argument. Viewers are witness to numerous arguments even among the prosecutors as to what the appropriate solution to the problem is. Serena, ever the "bleeding heart liberal," as her boss puts it, believes more should be done for the homeless; her boss Arthur Branch believes it's throwing good money after bad to try and help people who don't want help, and McCoy maintains the truest statement in the episode -- that simply because society has rejected them in everything else, we shouldn't deny them justice as well. It's a moral quandary in which we see our beliefs shaken because humanity itself is at issue. If a man goes to the bathroom behind park benches and in doorways, does it make him any less a human being? Or has society really turned its back on the "vagrants" among its lower Manhattan bridges?



    Walking away from this episode without considering its deeper ramifications is impossible. That's what makes L&O work. It's a brand of justice that doesn't offer all the answers.moreless
  • Nothing to shout about

    7.5
    Though the central theme - different between the rich and poor/homeless in the eyes of the law was covered really well, I didnt feel there was any real substance to this episode.



    Sure there are wealthy indivuduals that put more value on their possessions than vagrants, but would they break the law if they hit someone? Those that do and there are many (footballers spring to mind) should be chased down and face length jail terms. I thought they missed a big thing in not tackling this problem headon, but rather focused on the legal issues of one homeless man tackling another.



    Why did the rich publicist get to plead out? Why didnt they do jail time? This was more important to me than seeing the judicial system put up against the rights of the homeless. Yep thats important to, but just as important as injustice. Failing to report a crime is just as bad! At least in my eyes.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

Kate Burton

Kate Burton

Erica Gardner

Guest Star

Reg E. Cathey

Reg E. Cathey

Gerald Tollers

Guest Star

Christopher Donahue

Christopher Donahue

Max Edgars

Guest Star

Leslie Hendrix

Leslie Hendrix

Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers

Recurring Role

Dylan Baker

Dylan Baker

Sanford Remz

Recurring Role

John E. Cariani

John E. Cariani

Julian Beck

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Goof: The clinic worker directs Briscoe and Green to Stuyvesant Town at 15th and First Avenue, an address which doesn't exist. If you're at 15th and First, you're not in Stuyvesant Town, which is bordered by 20th Street on the north, Avenue C on the east, 14th Street on the south, and First Avenue on the west.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • (During his summation)
      Jack McCoy: The law exists to protect as well as to punish, so if you say that society's laws don't apply to defendants like Max Edgars, you're also saying that society's justice doesn't apply to victims like Alan Fisher. If that's your verdict, then society truly has turned its back on these people. They have no food, no shelter, no money ... don't deny them justice as well.

    • (Witness is testifying about the life on a street)
      Defense attorney: So when you're living on a street, not in a hotel, what do you do when you have to go to the bathroom?
      Witness: Wherever I can, sometimes behind a car, in a doorway, in a park.
      Defense attorney: Like a dog?

    • Serena Southerlyn: So it's the survival of the fittest?
      Attorney: Go ahead, make fun, it only shows how ignorant you are.
      Jack McCoy: Fortunately we have laws that prevent man from descending into a Darwinian society.
      Attorney: Except we've evicted the homeless from our society, we've made them into outcasts.

    • Lennie Briscoe: Max, I got bad news and worse news. A witness identified you introducing Alan's face to the sidewalk.
      Ed Green: And two cops picked you out as the one who'd been fighting with him.
      Lennie Briscoe: I know math's not your strong suit but even you can see how this adds up against you.
      Ed Green: Only question is who's the judge gonna believe our version or yours?
      Lennie Briscoe: Our version is you attacked some poor defenseless kid who was a little touched in the head.

    • Ed Green: I think I'm coming down with whatever everybody else has. (Coughs and sneezes.)
      Lennie Briscoe: (Looking down at the dead body.) He was dumped here late last night or this morning.
      Ed Green: Man, he took a beating.
      Police Officer: Of the vehicular variety. Safety glass like from a windshield and paint flakes. He's got tib and fib breaks in both legs.
      Ed Green: Bumper fractures?
      Lennie Briscoe: (Looks at Green.) And you thought you were feeling run down.

  • NOTES (0)

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

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