L&O, Episode 20.05
Production number: 20005
First aired: 23 October 2009
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Written By
Richard Sweren & Julie Martin

Directed By
Jim McKay


When Doctor Walter Benning (Matthew Boston) is killed in church, Detectives Lupo and Kevin Bernard arrive at the scene and are informed a white male was seen fleeing in a dark sedan. The minister (Michael Hollick) tells the detectives that Dr. Benning was a late-term abortion doctor and had been shot at before and threatened many times, and his wife, Phyllis Benning (Tracy Sallows), is convinced it is a pro-life zealot who is responsible. While the detectives scan the several protester suspects, Lt. Van Buren gets more bad news and ADA Rubirosa faces a moral dilemma, causing tension among the team.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast


(After Cutter, who is pro-life, chides Rubirosa for aiding the defense)

Connie Rubirosa: I can't just leave my soul on the coat rack every morning!

Michael Cutter: We are united by a common belief - that each life is special and unique. And it is that belief which causes us to reject the violence and the chaos represented by Wayne Grogan's actions.


Late Term Abortion; Mission for Life; Hackensack, New Jersey; Topeka, Kansas; Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome; Daniel David Lester; Amanda Barnett; Meckel-Gruber Syndrome

Background information & notes

  • This episode was almost certainly inspired by the shooting death of Dr. George Tiller who, like Dr. Benning, provided late-term abortions and was murdered while attending church.

Previous episode:
"Reality Bites"
Law & Order
Season 20
Next episode:
"Human Flesh Search Engine"
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