L&O, Episode 17.09
Production number: 17009
First aired: 17 November 2006
  th of 456 produced in L&O  
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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

Recurring 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

  • The case is apparently based on the Allan Legere case. Legere was a Canadian convicted murderer who, in 1989, escaped from prison during a transfer. Much like Leon Vorgitch, he did not attempt to immediately get out of the country, but rather embarked himself on a revenge-driven killing spree, targeting people living in the community who had originally convicted him. He murdered five people before his eventual recapture.
  • Vorgitch's original crime appears to have been based on the Wendy's massacre. In May 2000, John Taylor and Craig Godineaux entered a Wendy's in Flushing, Queens, to commit a robbery, but ended up killing five people and injuring two others. Taylor was condemned to death, but his sentence was eventually reversed in 2004, when capital punishment was deemed unconstitutional in New York.
  • Robert Purcell's murder of Vorgitch while he was being escorted out of courtroom is reminiscent of the Gary Plauche case. In March 1984, Plauche shot the man who had sexually assaulted his son while the latter was being escorted to face trial.

Episode scene cards

1 2 3

Apartment of
Nikki Hale
82 Avenue D
Monday, September 7
9:46:35-9:46:38 AM

500 Block
West 50th Street
12:16:02-12:16:05 PM

Home of
Mia Alvarez
Forest Hills, Queens
Tuesday, September 8
10:06:43-10:06:46 AM

4 5 6

Apartment of
Rex Mays
168 West 129th Street
2:38:26-2:38:29 PM

United States
Supermax Penitentiary
Allenwood, PA
Wednesday, September 21

Supreme Court
Appellate Division
Tuesday, October 4

7 8 9 10

Criminal Courts
Friday, October 14

Chambers of
Judge Harold Gordon
Monday, October 24

Supreme Court
Trial Part 68
Monday, October 31

Supreme Court
Trial Part 68
Wednesday, November 2

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Law & Order
Season 17
Next episode:
"Corner Office"
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