Law & Order

Season 2 Episode 5

God Bless the Child

2
Aired Monday 10:00 PM Oct 22, 1991 on NBC
8.4
out of 10
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42 votes
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EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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A couple faces trial after they deny medical help to their daughter based on their religious beliefs and their daughter dies of strep throat. Stone's prosecution hinges on whether or not the parents wanted to call for medical help. Things take a turn when the investigation uncovers another child that died under similar circumstances.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
    Dann Florek

    Dann Florek

    Capt. Don Cragen

    Richard Brooks

    Richard Brooks

    ADA Paul Robinette

    Michael Moriarty

    Michael Moriarty

    Exec. ADA Ben Stone

    Steven Hill

    Steven Hill

    DA Adam Schiff

    Paul Sorvino

    Paul Sorvino

    Sgt. Phil Cerreta

    Chris Noth

    Chris Noth

    Det. Mike Logan

    Henderson Forsythe

    Henderson Forsythe

    Lucius Carpenter

    Guest Star

    Marian Seldes

    Marian Seldes

    Sharon Barlow

    Guest Star

    James Noble

    James Noble

    Judge Nelson Kurland

    Guest Star

    Susan Blommaert

    Susan Blommaert

    Judge Rebecca Steinman

    Recurring Role

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

    FILTER BY TYPE

    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (6)

      • Don Cragen: So, you wanna send it to social services? It's your call.
        Phil Cerreta: The most we can get her for is endangering the welfare of a child.
        Mike Logan: No, no. What we get her for is manslaughter.
        Don Cragen: Whoa, Mike. Slow down. We don't get her for anything you don't prove she knew the kid was seriously ill.
        Mike Logan: All right. The housekeeper. What's her name? Uh, Amado. She knew damn well the kid was sick enough to get two cops.
        Phil Cerreta: Oh, that'll put the parents away for sure. She was fired. She'll say anything.
        Mike Logan: Getting fired? You think that's a reason to lie about the kid? (to the captain) You believe this?
        Phil Cerreta: Hey! What I think, what you think, what he thinks don't mean diddly-squat! Because in court, she's not a credible witness!
        Mike Logan: Credible?! The kid died!!
        Don Cragen: Well, well, what's this? Honeymoon over?

      • (Ceretta and Logan are listening to tapes of 911 calls.)
        Phil Cerreta: Grandma fell down a flight of stairs. Daddy's beating up Mommy.
        Mike Logan: Car Accident. Boiler explosion.
        Phil Cerreta: Wanna move to a small town in Jersey? They got a nice police chief there.

      • Ben Stone: They want to martyr themselves to religion, fine. They don't have the right to martyr their child.

      • Cora Amado: When my children are sick, I pray for their souls. For their bodies, I get a doctor.

      • Paul Robinette: What do you think Judge Kurland will give them?
        Ben Stone: My guess? They won't spend a night in jail.
        Paul Robinette: Then what the hell's the point?
        Ben Stone: Well, it's on the books, it got press. Maybe next week, next month, three years from now a parent will call a doctor 'cause they remember this conviction. And a child won't die. That's the point.

      • Ben Stone: It never ceases to amaze me.
        Paul Robinette: Juries?
        Ben Stone: To weed through a complicated legal minefield, get bad instructions from the judge, and still come up with the right verdict.

    • NOTES (1)

    • ALLUSIONS (4)

      • Phil Cerreta: These people aren't Moonies.

        "Moonies" are members of Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church. Many people consider the group to be a cult that brainwashes people.

      • Adam Schiff: Oh, by the way, Judge Kurland thinks he's William O. Douglas. Make your motion simple, or he'll never understand it.

        Appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt and at one point almost his running mate, William O. Douglas (1898-1980) is, to date, the longest serving justice of the U.S. Supreme Court: 36 years and 7 months. Douglas' opinions were characterized by a fierce commitment to individual rights, the First Amendment, and a distrust of government power. In more than 300 dissenting opinions, for over half of them he was the lone dissenter.

      • Ben Stone: 'U.S. versus Ballard.' The Supreme Court says the truth of their religious beliefs should not be submitted to a jury.

        In the case of U.S. v. Ballard (1944), Guy Ballard was a follower of the "I Am" movement, and claimed that the words of a saint were transmitted through him and that he had the power to heal people. He solicited contributions for his healing through mass mailing, and was arrested for mail fraud. The government held that Ballard knew very well that his religious claims were false. Ballard contested that the government had no right to judge his religious beliefs. In U.S. v. Ballard (1944), the Supreme Court upheld the position that juries should only consider the sincerity of religious beliefs (e.g., if Ballard truly believed he had the powers he claimed) rather than their content (e.g., whether or not Ballard's beliefs made any sense). In delivering the majority opinion, William O. Douglas wrote: "Heresy trials are foreign to our Constitution... Religious experiences which are as real as life to some may be incomprehensible to others."

      • This episode appears to be ripped from the headlines of the Alex Dale Morris case. Morris was 4-years-old in February of 1989 when he began complaining of fever and congestion. The child was anointed with holy oil and the members of the Church's congregation prayed for Alex for 46 days. Even though a police officer, acting on an anonymous tip, had stopped by the check on the boy, everyone kept insisting he was fine. Alex died on April 15, 1989, of a lung infection that could have been easily cured by antibiotics.

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