"American Dream"
L&O, Episode 4.08
Production number: 69018
First aired: 9 November 1993
  {{{nNthProducedInSeries}}}th of 456 produced in L&O  
{{{nNthReleasedInSeries}}}th of 456 released in L&O
  {{{nNthReleasedInAll}}}th of 1229 released in all  
Phillip Swann
Written By
Sibyl Gardner

Directed By
Constantine Makris

The discovery of a decomposed body at a Manhattan construction site leads to a new trial for a prisoner who is serving time in the victim's murder.



Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast


  • People v. Rodriguez
  • Justice Marshall
  • Judge Richard Mounteney (indirectly)
  • People v. Serrotti
  • Buckley v. Fitzsimmons


Phillip Swann: So, who makes the first move?
Stone: I want a confession. Not only for the murder of Russell Bobbit, but for the murder of Sid Cohen as well.
Swann: And give away my greatest victory?
Stone: Take this man back to his cell.
Swann: You give up so easy? It doesn't make any sense, Ben; you're being totally impractical… and it's not like you.
Stone: Obviously you don't know never did.

Stone: I guess you just weren't clever enough...
Swann: I got this far, Ben.
Stone: A lot of effort to wind up right back where you started. And in polite society, sir, you don't call people by their first name unless they ask you to. I didn't do that. You're not a friend, and you're certainly not a colleague.
Swann: I spent eight years earning the right to call you whatever the hell I want.

Swann: Mr. Swann, do you routinely list killing people as part of your daily calendar?
Stone: Mr. Stone, do you routinely lack a sense of humor?
Swann: About murder, I have none, sir.

Background information and notes

  • This episode is based on the Ron Levin case, which was also the subject of a 1980s telemovie, The Billionaire Boys Club. In 1984, Joseph Henry Gamsky, also known as "Joe Hunt", was believed to have murdered Ron Levin, a con artist who had allegedly swindled Hunt and other members of the Billionaire Boys Club (BBC) out of over $4 million. In 1987, Hunt was found guilty of Levin's murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Hunt remains in prison but maintained his innocence. The plot of this episode even includes a scene of Swann making a note in his planner to commit the murder, just as Joe Hunt penned "Kill Ron Levin" in his daily agenda. (Source: Billionaire Boys Club at Wikipedia)
  • This episode was later adapted into the Law & Order: UK episode "Unsafe".

Episode scene cards

1 2 3

Queen Anne's Buttons
518 Madison Avenue
Monday, May 17

Apartment of
Beverly Dorfman
2327 Park Avenue
Tuesday, May 18

Chip Rafferty
Former V.P. Swann's CO.
Wednesday, June 2

4 5 6

Forensics Laboratory
One Police Plaza
Friday, June 4

Supreme Court
Trial Part 73
Tuesday, July 20

Supreme Court
Trial Part 73
Monday, August 9

7 8 9

Swann V. Stone
Monday, October 4

Correctional Facility
Tuesday, October 5

27th Precinct
Interrogation Room
Wednesday, October 6

Previous episode:
"American Dream"
Law & Order
Season 4
Next episode:
"Born Bad"
Seasons 1234567891011121314151617181920
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.