L&O, Episode 8.20
Production number: K2526
First aired: 24 April 1998
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Written By
David Shore & I.C. Rapoport

Directed By
Constantine Makris


A 12-year-old quadriplegic dies at home, and paramedics claim he was poisoned. The suspects include the boy's parents and sister.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast



[Briscoe and Curtis question Joe Sutter, who is suspected of killing his quadriplegic son]
Briscoe: Look what's happened to your beautiful family. Your wife is sleeping with some dance instructor, your daughter is one step away from living on the street, and you have no money and it's all because of that kid!
Joe: You don't know me, if you knew me, you would see...
Briscoe: Oh, I know you. If you had the stones...
Curtis: You don't know this man, Lennie. This isn't about money or adultery or anything like that, is it, Joe? My wife's got MS. I picture her life 10 years from now, and it kills me because it might not be a pretty picture. You picture your son. He used to be strong. Played soccer, yeah?
Joe: Yes.
Curtis: My wife used to run 3 miles every morning. Did you imagine Michael at 20 years old, 40 years old, still in the same bedroom, still in the same tortured pain?
Joe: [choked up] Yeah.
Curtis: Me, too. And you wanna know the worst part? I know why it's happening. It's my fault. God is punishing her for something I did.
Joe: No, you can't think that way!
Curtis: I try to tell myself that. I try to think that. But every time I look at her, I feel the guilt. Every time I look at my daughters, and think about what they're going to lose... Someone you love is in pain. They have no hope. What can you do to help this person? How often have you asked yourself this question? Every time you bathe him?
Joe: [in tears] Every time I kiss him goodnight.
Curtis: And you knew there was only one way out. You had to do it. You had to do it because you loved him. Let it go. It was an act of love, Joe.
Joe: [sobs] I love Michael! Maybe I... but I didn't do this. I didn't kill him.
Joe: Can I leave?
Van Buren: Not for another 30 years.
McCoy: This case is not a debate about euthanasia. It's about a thrill-killing by a monster masquerading as an angel of mercy. Michael Sutter is dead. He was murdered. That's all that matters.

Background information and notes

  • This episode appears to be ripped from the headlines of the Dr. Jack Kevorkian case. Kevorkian faced four felony counts for the assisted death of Loretta Peabody.

Episode scene cards

1 2 3

Stapleton's Dance Studio
2184 Broadway
Monday, January 8

Hudson Terrace
Medical Center
Wednesday, January 10

C&A Garden Depot
125 West 22nd Street
Tuesday, January 16

4 5 6

Hudson Terrace
Medical Center
Friday, January 24

Apartment Of
Dr. Lyle Semenko
32 First Avenue
Monday, February 5

Supreme Court
Trial Part 84
Tuesday, April 2

Previous episode:
Law & Order
Season 8
Next episode:
"Bad Girl"
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