Law & Order

Season 1 Episode 3

The Reaper's Helper

5
Aired Monday 10:00 PM Oct 04, 1990 on NBC
8.2
out of 10
User Rating
68 votes
1

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
When construction worker Bobby Holland is found dead in his apartment from a gunshot wound, Logan and Greevey investigate and soon learn that Holland was gay. Thanks to a magazine article, Greevey links the death to similar murders in Los Angeles and San Francisco. They arrest Jack Curry, the one man who is connected to all three cases, but rather than hide his connection to the three deaths, Curry admits that he was involved each time, and claims that each man asked him to help them commit suicide because they had AIDS. Stone has a hard time prosecuting the case because, deep down, he isn't certain Curry really did anything wrong.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Stone prosecutes a gay man who has been 'killing' other gay men dying of AIDS at their request, which brings up conflicting and emotional beliefs about assisted suicide.

    8.5
    The first gay episode" for the Law and Order series raises some very good ethical arguments about assisted suicide, which was illegal in New York and still is today.



    Jack Curry is a gay man who other gay men have sought out to help them commit suicide. All of these men were dying of AIDS. No cure exists and, in 1990, effective treatment options, even if you had great health insurance, were pretty much non-existent.



    Assisted suicide is illegal in New York and Stone must defend the law. Yet, Stone is also personally conflicted about the ethics of voluntary, assisted suicide and the case brings out strong emotions about not only assisted suicide but also some of the frustration that some members of gay community have with the government and medical communities response to the AIDS-HIV pandemic.



    This is a great, first season episode. Yes, some things are a bit dated, given the fact that this first aired in 1990, but most of the ethical issues raised are certainly relevant today.moreless
Chris Noth

Chris Noth

Det. Mike Logan

Dann Florek

Dann Florek

Capt. Don Cragen

George Dzundza

George Dzundza

Sgt. Max Greevey

Michael Moriarty

Michael Moriarty

Exec. ADA Ben Stone

Richard Brooks

Richard Brooks

ADA Paul Robinette

Steven Hill

Steven Hill

DA Adam Schiff

Peter Frechette

Peter Frechette

Jack Curry

Guest Star

Tom Signorelli

Tom Signorelli

Anthony Holland

Guest Star

Barbara Andres

Barbara Andres

Patricia Holland

Guest Star

John Fiore

John Fiore

Tony Profaci

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (3)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Ben Stone: (After being punched in the jaw by a gay rights activist) It only hurts when I prosecute.

    • Max Greevey: Who shoots in the head besides dealers?
      Mike Logan: A robber who gets surprised?
      Max Greevey: A burglar who's so surprised, he leaves behind a full wallet?

    • Max Greevey: Do you think a lot of cops are gay?
      Mike Logan: No way, man. The department's got a special test. They look you in the eye, and if your left eye blinks before your right eye, they know you're gay. (slowly blinks his left eye at Greevey)

    • Jack Curry: What gives you the right to decide how I should live the rest of my life?
      Ben Stone: Unfortunately, you did. Not once, not twice, but three times.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Paul Robinette says about an attorney, "She's the greatest Civil Rights lawyer since William Kunstler." Four seasons later, in the episode "White Rabbit", the late Mr. Kunstler appeared as himself, the only time in the franchise's history a real-life attorney had appeared defending a client.

    • This is actor John Fiore's first appearance as Detective Tony Profaci.

    • German episode title: "Sterbehilfe", meaning "Euthanasia".

    • This episode was the first "warm weather" episode (with no one wearing overcoats) of the series ever to air.

    • When A & E aired this episode of the series prior to TNT taking over the first eight seasons in September 2002, A & E would air a disclaimer at the end of the episode, noting it originally aired in 1990, and that AIDS research had greatly advanced since the episode originally aired. A & E also gave a number to call for more information on AIDS.

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • This episode appears to be ripped from the headlines of the Dr. Jack Kevorkian case. Dr. Kevorkian became famous in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a supporter of assisted suicide, and was lucky enough to have three acquittals and a mistrial before being convicted of the second-degree murder of Thomas Youk in 1999.

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