Law & Order (season 1)

The first season of Law & Order premiered on NBC on September 13, 1990, and concluded on June 9, 1991.

Law & Order
Season 1
LawAndOrder S1.jpg
Season 1 U.S. DVD cover
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes22
Original networkNBC
Original releaseSeptember 13, 1990 (1990-09-13) –
June 9, 1991 (1991-06-09)
Season chronology
Next →
Season 2
List of Law & Order episodes


One future core cast-member actress made her first appearance in the episode "Mushrooms". S. Epatha Merkerson appeared as Denise Winters, the mother of the victims. She, of course, would later appear in Season 4 as Lieutenant Anita Van Buren, commander of the 27th Precinct Detective Squad, and play the role for 17 seasons from 1993-2010.


No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
US viewers
11"Prescription for Death"John P. Whitesell IIS : David Black;
S/T : Ed Zuckerman
September 13, 1990 (1990-09-13)6620914.00[1]
Suzanne Morton dies after a visit to a hospital emergency room during a hectic night shift. Her father, a former army medic in Vietnam, accuses the hospital of negligence and demands a police investigation. Logan and Greevey question a doctor who made adjustments to her chart, but are soon led to the respected Dr. Edward Auster, who they feel may have been drunk on duty. The other residents are reluctant to speak for fear their jobs may be in jeopardy, and Stone is faced with the awkward job of prosecuting a revered physician.
22"Subterranean Homeboy Blues"E.W. SwackhamerRobert PalmSeptember 20, 1990 (1990-09-20)6620515.50[1]
A white woman, Laura di Biasi, shoots two black men in a crowded subway. The shooting at first appears to be self-defense, but further investigation shows that the motive may be revenge. Logan and Greevey argue about di Biasi's guilt, especially after learning that the dead man has a substantial record, and the living one cannot control himself in court. Laura di Biasi tries to make her case to Robinette, but he distances himself from the issue. Stone has trouble with the case, both in dealing with di Biasi's public defender, Shambala Green, and with the fact that the district attorney's office is divided over the issue.
33"The Reaper's Helper"Vern GillumT : David Black & Robert Stuart Nathan;
S/T : Thomas Francis McElroy
October 4, 1990 (1990-10-04)6621514.60[2]
Construction worker Bobby Holland is found shot to death in his apartment. Logan and Greevey investigate and soon learn that Holland was gay. After reading a magazine article, Greevey connects the death to others in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The detectives arrest Jack Curry, who is connected to all three cases. Curry admits his involvement and claims that each man asked him to help them commit suicide because they had AIDS. Stone is troubled about prosecuting the case because of his doubts that Curry did anything wrong.
44"Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die"Charles CorrellS : Dick Wolf;
T : Robert Stuart Nathan
October 11, 1990 (1990-10-11)6621016.80[2]
Paige Bartlett is found beaten severely in her Upper East Side apartment. She dies in the hospital. Greevey and Logan investigate her boyfriend Steven Feinstein, but find that they broke up the evening before she was killed. The detectives locate another boyfriend, Ned Loomis, and learn that he has a history of violence after another former victim comes forward. Stone is frustrated when he is not able to use Loomis' former crimes against him in court.
55"Happily Ever After"Vern GillumS : Dick Wolf;
T : Robert Stuart Nathan;
S/T : David Black
October 23, 1990 (1990-10-23)6621619.40[2]
Alan Ralston is shot to death and his wife Janet wounded inside their building parking garage. In hospital, Janet identifies the alleged attacker from a police photo. One witness questioned early in the investigation is Gil Himes, a business associate of Alan. Police eventually piece together that the crime was not a random act of violence by the identified attacker. Rather it was the intentional murder of Alan and equally intentional wounding of Janet. Stone tries to get one of the suspects to testify against the other.
66"Everybody's Favorite Bagman"John PattersonDick WolfOctober 30, 1990 (1990-10-30)8354318.20[2]
After local councilman and former bagman Charles Halsey is mugged and his throat slashed, Logan and Greevey investigate the case and the two young black male suspects initially caught. Their suspicion turns to organized crime when they link the victim to Masucci soldier Tony Scalisi. As Stone and Robinette continue their investigation, they uncover a corruption scandal involving Councilman Halsey; the collection of parking meter violation fines has been awarded to a firm connected to organized crime. To avoid the appearance of impropriety, District Attorney Wentworth won't allow Stone to offer Scalisi immunity. However, in order to win their case, their only option might be to make a deal with the mobster. Stone discovers that the case involves not only organized crime, but also elected city officials and a deputy police commissioner whom he accuses of changing his testimony and doctoring evidence in a past case. Stone is unable to use the police because of suspected corruption within the department, so he consults Assistant U.S. Attorney John McCormack.
77"By Hooker, By Crook"Martin DavidsonDavid BlackNovember 13, 1990 (1990-11-13)6620317.70[3]
The discovery of an unconscious man named Diamond in Central Park leads Greevey and Logan to Diamond's previous activity and locale—with an escort named Jolene in a hotel room. Greevey poses as a "john" looking for Jolene. When she stipulates her fees and services, Greevey arrests her for solicitation. When Diamond dies, the investigation leads to Jolene's superior, Jasmine, then to Jasmine's superior, Laura Winthrop. Winthrop claims that she runs a catering service, but when Jolene's blood tests HIV-positive, the case takes a sharp tack questioning the safety of the escort service industry.
88"Poison Ivy"E.W. SwackhamerS : Jack Richardson;
S/T : Jacob Brackman
November 20, 1990 (1990-11-20)6621115.00[3]
During a routine drug arrest, a veteran police officer, Freddo Parisi, kills a young African-American man named Tommy Richardson, who may have been unarmed. Parisi is accused of planting a gun on the victim to justify the shooting. Moreover, Parisi has a similar incident already on his record. Richardson was a student at Princeton University who was well respected for his contributions to his community in terms of time, energy, and money. But the investigation reveals that he sold drugs to get the money.
99"Indifference"James QuinnRobert PalmNovember 27, 1990 (1990-11-27)6620717.60[3]

Greevey and Logan discover that an abused child has a cocaine-addicted mother, who is also being abused by her drug-addicted psychotherapist husband. The detectives investigate the doctor's checkered past, while prosecutors take a new tactic after the child dies.

  • Based on the Lisa Steinberg case; for the first (and only) time during the show's run, a disclaimer at the conclusion of the episode explicitly stated that the case was only an inspiration for that specific show.[4] After Joel Steinberg was actually released from prison, a direct sequel of this episode entitled Fixed aired in Season 15.
1010"Prisoner of Love"Michael FrescoS : David Black;
S/T : Robert Stuart Nathan
December 4, 1990 (1990-12-04)6620816.80[5]
The apparent suicide of a controversial bisexual artist, who died while engaging in an apparent act of auto-erotic strangulation, leads Detectives Greevey and Logan into the city's bondage/S&M subculture. The initial explanation for the artist/victim's position is that he was involved in a "performance art work." Further investigation reveals that, in fact, he was one of a sadomasochistic trio that included the head of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and his "mistress," a wealthy socialite dominatrix who instigated and monitored the S&M scene that led to the artist's death.
1111"Out of the Half-Light"E.W. SwackhamerMichael DugganDecember 11, 1990 (1990-12-11)6620219.80[5]
A teenaged African-American girl claims to have been raped by white police officers. Police and prosecutors struggle to get the truth when an ambitious African-American congressman claims the investigation is a racially motivated cover-up. However, when the rape kit tests negative, the prosecution suspects the case may be a hoax. The conflict heats until Robinette learns from the girl's parents that she and her boyfriend had sexual relations. The family fears an unwanted pregnancy, so, with the urging of the congressman, they claim the girl was raped by police officers. Having admitted the hoax, the family avoids the congressman whose campaign has been destroyed. Prosecutors devise a solution involving all-round gag orders. They concede that reputations were seriously damaged, but they reason that, with its impetus deflated, the case will fade quickly from people's memories.
1212"Life Choice"Aaron LipstadtS : Dick Wolf;
T : David Black & Robert Stuart Nathan
January 8, 1991 (1991-01-08)6621319.20[7]

After Mary Donovan, an anti-abortion protester, is killed in an abortion center bombing, detectives search for all of her potential co-conspirators. The victim's parents and brother prove to be as committed to the pro-life movement as the victim. The first defendant arrested is Celeste McClure, who purchased the fertilizer to be mixed with the diesel fuel to create the bomb. Police determine that the central figure in the plot is Rose Schwimmer who is arrested. Detectives discover that the victim was pregnant and was secretly seeking an abortion. At trial, Schwimmer attempts to use her witness testimony to preach against abortion. Stone stops the attempt by asking Schwimmer that, if abortion is murder, is Schwimmer not guilty of murdering Mary Donovan's unborn baby. Schwimmer is visibly defeated by the question and remains silent for the remainder of the trial, including her conviction.

  • In 2009, TV Guide ranked this episode #62 on its list of the 100 Greatest Episodes.[6]
1313"A Death in the Family"Gwen ArnerT : David Black;
S/T : Joe Viola
January 15, 1991 (1991-01-15)6620417.80[7]
NYPD officer Pete Rennick is shot to death on a rooftop in the dark; Logan and Greevey believe that a crook known as Brutus Walker is responsible for it, and the NYPD initiates a citywide manhunt for him. However, it later turns out that Walker was not the one who shot Rennick; it was his partner, Nicki Sandoval. Investigation reveals that, after displaying many blatant examples of his corruption to his partner, he was afraid that she would report him. So he lured her to the rooftop and tried to kill her, but she killed him first in self-defense. She is cleared of the shooting, but since policy dictates that she should have reported him, she will lose her job.
1414"The Violence of Summer"Don ScardinoMichael DugganFebruary 5, 1991 (1991-02-05)6621916.20[8]
Stone temporarily dismisses rape charges against three defendants because the victim is a journalist of questionable character whose testimony has too many flaws. Greevey and Logan's subsequent reinvestigation uncovers a possible fourth assailant. This is one of the few episodes where the trial segment preceded the police investigation segment.
1515"The Torrents of Greed"E.W. SwackhamerS : Michael Duggan;
S/T : Michael S. Chernuchin
February 12, 1991 (1991-02-12)6622216.60[9]
Detectives arrest three members of the Masucci crime family involved in a fatal assault, which leads to Stone attempting to use the arrest as a means to take down the entire Masucci crime syndicate via charging Mafia chieftain Frank Masucci. However, the plan backfires when Stone discovers that his chief witness (one of the three charged in the fatal assault) perjures himself on the stand, leading to Masucci's acquittal.
1616"The Torrents of Greed (Part II)"E.W. SwackhamerS : Michael Duggan;
S/T : Michael S. Chernuchin
February 19, 1991 (1991-02-19)6622513.60[10]
In the wake of Masucci's acquittal, ADAs Stone and Robinette intensify their investigation with the mob boss. Their investigation leads them to bust Masucci's brother-in-law, who the mob boss promptly has murdered. The murder leads to the discovery of the dumping ground for victims of Masucci's crime syndicate. As they re-arrest the mob boss, his grieving sister supports her brother in court by putting up the money for his bail. However, within hours of leaving the courtroom, Frank Masucci is killed by an unknown hitman. Robinette and Stone speculate that Masucci's sister as the one who ordered the hit, but are unable to prove it. The two men, along with Adam Schiff, take comfort in the fact that in spite of their failure to bring Masucci to justice through the legal system, that his death will severely cripple the crime family.
1717"Mushrooms"Daniel SackheimRobert PalmFebruary 26, 1991 (1991-02-26)6621815.60[11]
A 12-year-old boy is injured and his infant brother is killed by gunshots. The investigation reveals the children were the accidental victims of a hit ordered by a drug dealer against a real estate broker. Tragically, the murders prove to be the result of an adolescent gunman targeting the wrong address because he knows more about operating automatic weapons than about basic reading.
1818"The Secret Sharers"E.W. SwackhamerRobert Stuart NathanMarch 12, 1991 (1991-03-12)6622113.20[12]
Stone faces a Texas cowboy lawyer and a hostile community as he tries to prosecute a young man accused of murdering a drug dealer. He discovers two truths-that the drug dealer raped the defendant's sister, and that the community views the murder as retribution.
1919"The Serpent's Tooth"Don ScardinoS : I.C. Rapoport & Joshua Stern;
T : René Balcer & Robert Stuart Nathan
March 19, 1991 (1991-03-19)6622419.30[13]
A businessman and his wife are murdered; initially, the couple's two sons are treated as suspects. As the investigation develops, detectives discover that, in order to obtain financing for his business, the man took on a partner who was connected to Russian organized crime.
2020"The Troubles"John P. Whitesell IIS : Dick Wolf;
S/T : Robert Palm
March 26, 1991 (1991-03-26)6621417.40[12]
A truck with three handcuffed federal prisoners arrives at the 27th precinct. FBI and NYPD officials discover that one of the prisoners has mysteriously been murdered. The FBI officials assert jurisdiction and transport the other two to a federal prison. One of the two is a suspected IRA member who has been detained in the U.S. for five years without charge, bail or trial. Shortly afterwards, the remaining prisoner is discovered hanging in his federal prison cell. A prison guard is discovered to be an IRA member; he confesses to the prisoner's murder. Detectives and prosecutors face resistance from federal authorities as they pursue murder charges against a suspected IRA member serving time in federal prison, after he is suspected of killing another federal prisoner.
2121"Sonata for Solo Organ"Fred GerberS : Michael Duggan;
T : Michael S. Chernuchin;
S/T : Joe Morgenstern
April 2, 1991 (1991-04-02)6622618.00[14]
Greevey and Logan discover that an apparent mugging victim found unconscious on a park bench has had his kidney removed. The case leads to a powerful man whose daughter desperately needed a transplant and the doctor who may have helped him.
2222"The Blue Wall"Vern GillumS : Dick Wolf;
S/T : Robert Stuart Nathan
June 9, 1991 (1991-06-09)6622012.20[15]
Suspicion grows in the department after incriminating evidence is erased. Captain Cragen is implicated in the internal affairs investigation. The detectives and prosecutors work together to get his name cleared.


  1. ^ a b "Ratings Archive - September 1990, Pt.2". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2019-12-29.
  2. ^ a b c d "Ratings Archive - October 1990". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2019-12-29.
  3. ^ a b c "Ratings Archive - November 1990". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2019-12-29.
  4. ^ "Although some aspects of this story may remind you of the Lisa Steinberg case recently adjudicated in New York City, this episode and its characters are fictional and the events and actions portrayed do not reflect the actions of any principals involved in that case. In the actual case, the male defendant was convicted of manslaughter, while all charges against his female companion were dismissed. There was no evidence of her involvement in physical abuse of any child, or that any child was sexually abused by either adult."
  5. ^ a b "Ratings Archive - December 1990". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2019-12-29.
  6. ^ "TV Guide's Top 100 Episodes". Rev/Views. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 4, 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Ratings Archive - January 1991". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2019-12-29.
  8. ^ "TV Ratings" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-04-05. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  9. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-04-05. Retrieved 2018-04-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2018-04-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2018-04-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2018-04-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2018-04-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-04-05. Retrieved 2018-04-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-04-21. Retrieved 2018-04-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Preceded by
List of Law & Order seasons
Succeeded by
Season Two