L&O, Episode 17.09
Production number: 17009
First aired: 17 November 2006
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Leon Vorgitch
Written By
David Slack

Directed By
Alex Chapple


An ambitious defense attorney tries to use a murder case as a referendum on the death penalty, but Jack is worried that her client may not be getting the best advice.


Main cast

Guest cast




Clerk: Docket #48215. People v. Leon Wayne Vorgitch. Charges are 8 counts of murder in the first degree, escape in the first degree, and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.
Judge Bryce: How does the defendant plead, Mr....
Leon: Kiss my ass! That's how I plead.
Judge Bryce: Control your client, counselor.
Edlund: I'll do my best, your honor. He pleads not guilty.
Judge Bryce: And since he's already serving three life sentences for mass murder, bail's not an issue.
Connie: But which cell he's returned to is, your honor. The defendant obtained the tools for his escape while incarcerated at Green Haven. People ask that corrections place him in a federal super-max facility pending trial.
Judge Bryce: Mr. Edlund?
Edlund: No objection, your honor.
Judge Bryce: So ordered. [bangs gavel]
Leon: [as the court officers escort him out] You can lock me up wherever you want, bitch.
Judge Bryce: We're done! Get him out of here!
Leon: You can lock me up wherever you want, 'cause that's all you can do. And next time I get out, I'm comin' straight for you, bitch! [to the court officers] Get your hands off me.

[McCoy discusses a plea offer with Leon]
McCoy: Murder-2 on all 8 charges.
Leon: Go to Hell, McCoy. Murder-1, 2, 3. What's the hell's that even mean? I want somethin' real. TV time. Conjugal visits.
McCoy: We're not here to offer perks, Mr. Vorgitch.
Leon: I want one of them flatscreens. That's my price. Take it or leave it.
McCoy: We'll leave it.
Leon: Fine. But every day I get on that bus and go to court is another day I don't have to spend in here. Another chance to escape.

Robert: I did exactly what you were trying to do. Everyone agreed he should die.
McCoy: I was seeking to have Vorgitch legally executed.
Robert: And I executed him. How can you come after me for that?
McCoy: Because New York doesn't have a do-it-yourself death penalty, Mr. Purcell.
Robert: I don't care what the law says.
Connie: That's hardly a defense.

McCoy: [after Robert has agreed to a plea deal] Judge Gordon approved a sentence reduction in exchange for Robert Purcell's testimony. Down from 20 years to 10. Eligible for parole in 3.
Branch: What about Dena Carter?
[McCoy shows his boss the headline of the New York Ledger; Carter has been indicted for Leon's murder]
Branch: [satisfied] Now that's justice.

Background information and notes

  • When a convicted murderer Leon Vorgitch escapes custody, Green and Cassady must race to find him before he kills those who were involved in his case. Unfortunately, though he is found, he enters a school and takes a classroom hostage. A truck backfiring causes him to massacre the entire class before a negotiation can take place, and he is taken into custody.
  • Though it is generally agreed that he is guilty, a recent Court ruling does not allow the Death Penalty to be imposed, due to the manner in which it is applied. Just as Leon is being led back to jail, the father of one of his victims shoots him on the courthouse steps. He is arrested, claiming he was merely carrying out the sentence everyone wanted to give but could not. His defense attorney, a New York State Senate candidate, turns the trial onto Leon while using it to advance her candidacy. Rubirosa begins to realize, however, that the timing of the incident was not a coincidence.

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