Law & Order

Season 4 Episode 1

Sweeps

2
Aired Monday 10:00 PM Sep 15, 1993 on NBC
8.8
out of 10
User Rating
43 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Logan and Briscoe investigate after a convicted child molester, Dr. Joseph Vinton, is murdered on Rick Mason's controversial talk show. The shooter is easily identified -- he's Sid Fisher, the father of the dead man's victim from three years earlier. During the course of the investigation, however, the detectives find evidence that leads them to believe that Mason may have set up Vinton's murder so as to assure high ratings during sweeps period. Stone's case is made more difficult because Sid Fisher isn't willing to say anything that could put his son, Scotty, on the stand.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Best episode of the entire series!

    10
    This to me has always been the best episode of the entire series. The story itself does not make it such, but it was what the episode did do: Serve as a warning to the producers of what were back in 1993 (when this episode originally aired) the extremely popular tabloid TV talk shows that something like what happened on "Jenny Jones" (where a man was killed following a taping of an episode of that show in 1995) two years after this episode originally aired could if the producers were not careful. Rick Mason (Robert Klein) was a fiction version of your typical such show host back then from what I remember.moreless
  • Television blaming television? It is possible.

    7.5
    The story of a talk show host creating friction that leads to murder may have looked farfetched in the early nineties, but the producers/writers of Law & Order accurately predicted the future. I wonder how people watched this episode at its original broadcast. I saw it in 2007, with famous incidents such as the one on Jenny Jones in the back of my head. This meant that I could see through the plot a bit sooner than the original viewers, I guess. Putting the blame for a murder at a talk show's feet must have come as quite of a shock (or as completely unbelievable) to them.moreless
Carolyn McCormick

Carolyn McCormick

Dr. Elizabeth Olivet

Chris Noth

Chris Noth

Det. Mike Logan

Jerry Orbach

Jerry Orbach

Det. Lennie Briscoe

Jill Hennessy

Jill Hennessy

A.D.A. Claire Kincaid

Michael Moriarty

Michael Moriarty

Exec. A.D.A. Ben Stone

S. Epatha Merkerson

S. Epatha Merkerson

Lt. Anita Van Buren

Robert Klein

Robert Klein

Rick Mason

Guest Star

Melissa Leo (I)

Melissa Leo (I)

Alice Sutton

Guest Star

Steve Ryan

Steve Ryan

Sid Fisher

Guest Star

Susan Blommaert

Susan Blommaert

Judge Rebecca Steinman

Recurring Role

John Ramsey

John Ramsey

Judge Walter Schreiber

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (1)

    • This is one of only a handful of episodes in which the district attorney (Adam Schiff) shares a scene with a cop (Anita Van Buren).

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Adam Schiff: Who said all cases are won by prepping the witness?
      Ben Stone: You did. About 400 times.
      Adam Schiff: Oh.

    • Adam Schiff: I just hope we don't look ridiculous.
      Ben Stone: I'd wear clown makeup if I thought it would help us get a conviction.

    • (Briscoe agrees to investigate what seemed like a simple case)
      Mike Logan: I thought you said we had four open homicides?
      Lennie Briscoe: Those bodies are frozen. They're not going to thaw.

    • Lennie Briscoe: Who knows why she did anything? Who knows why she put her kid on TV -- 'Hello America, here's my molested son, watch him suffer'.

    • Mike Logan: Secret location, lots of security. How did Fisher get here?
      Lennie Briscoe: He shot the guy who molested his kid. I don't care if an avenging angel sent him. I might've done the same thing if it was my kid.

    • Adam Schiff: We look like carnival hucksters. Want a deal? Take a number. You too can have a piece of the movie rights.

    • Ben Stone: I'm a Catholic -- I can feel guilty about anything. But I bet my conscience is still easier to live with than yours.

  • NOTES (4)

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

    • Episode title: "Sweeps"
      The term "Sweeps" is used by television networks and Neilson ratings to describe the months of November, February, May and (of lesser importance) July, in which the networks air highly anticipated episodes or events in order to boost television ratings.

    • Lennie Briscoe: Are you listening to yourself? First Pop, then Mom, now Mason. It's an Oliver Stone movie.
      This is a reference to the 1991 movie JFK, directed by Oliver Stone. The movie is based on the theory that the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy was the result of a massive conspiracy and that the official explanation of Lee Harvey Oswald as a lone gunman is false.

    • This episode appears to be ripped from the headlines of a 1988 episode of Geraldo. During a show on Nazi skinheads, a brawl broke out between two of the guests, resulting in host Geraldo Rivera's nose being broken. This episode also seems like tragic foreshadowing for future events related to talk shows, including the deaths of Scott Amedure (Jenny Jones), Charlene Burkey (Forgive or Forget, hosted by Robin Givens) and Nancy Campbell-Panitz (Jerry Springer) shortly after they all appeared on the shows.

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