L&O, Episode 2.10
Production number: 67415
First aired: 26 November 1991
  th of 456 produced in L&O  
th of 456 released in L&O
  th of 1229 released in all  
Robinette Cragen Heaven
Teleplay By
Robert Palm & Nancy Ann Miller

Story By
Robert Palm

Directed By
Ed Sherin

An arson at an Hispanic social club that killed 53 people is related to a powerful Cuban, an INS agent, and the sale of fake green cards.




Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast




"What is less than square one? Minus zippo? Negative bupkis?"

- Donald Cragen

"Not for long, I'm afraid. Anyway, I don't smoke, and neither do you in my office."

- Benjamin Stone, after he is offered a Cuban cigar.

"Why would a man in the position to help his people do something like that? What the hell happened to 'give me your huddled masses?' What the hell happened to this city?"

- Adam Schiff

(on seeing dozens of dead bodies outside the club)

Mike Logan: I've never seen this many. You?
Phil Cerreta: Not in civilian life.

Judge Waxman: This is a difficult decision. It brings the rights of the individual to head-on conflict with legitimate governmental requirements. However, I'm inclined to grant the people's limited request.
Pescador: What?! [gets out of his seat] This is worse than Castro, man!
[everyone in the courtroom goes berserk as the judge continuously bangs his gavel]
Pescador: You can't cut my leg without my say-so! I'm not going to no hospital! I'm not going to no hospital!
Judge Waxman: All of you, sit down! Quiet in this courtroom! Quiet! I said quiet, or I'll clear the court! [bangs gavel again] Excuse me! [bangs again, silencing the crowd] Excuse me, Mr. Pescador. We can and will. Now, sit down!
[Pescador sits down]
Judge Waxman: The defendant will submit forthwith to the surgical procedure, which shall be conducted in the manner consistent with this court's written ruling.

Robinette: Attempted homicide?! Those 53 people are homicides. They're dead.
Attorney: He didn't mean to kill anyone, Paul!
Robinette: Don't tell me you're even thinkin' about negligent homicide. Now, look, if he's only a messenger boy, he'd better start namin' names, or he's goin' down alone.
Attorney: He says if he goes to prison, the man'll have him killed.
[Robinette pins Pescador against the wall]
Robinette: Listen to me, man! You don't go to jail, there's about 500 grievin' relatives out there who'd be happy to kill you! You hear what I'm sayin'?!
Pescador: I'll take my chances with them.
Robinette: This is a ridiculous exercise. No matter what, he's goin' down. We send him upstate, downstate, it doesn't matter. Somebody'll get him. This is not a perfect world, Cesar, but then, you already know that.
[Pescador tries to stand up on his incapacitated leg, but cannot and hits the ground]
Pescador: It ain't fair! You know, that assassin didn't even pay me. I get nothing for the deal.
Robinette: What assassin? And what's the deal?
Attorney: Tell him, Cesar. Tell him!
Pescador: A lot of people give the Cubano a lot of money for their micas. 5, 6,000 cash. And then they find out they're bogus. A bunch of paper, man. So they start making noise.
Robinette: What kinda noise?
Pescador: Lot of lawyers telling them, "Hey. You got rights, too". So the people, they want to turn the Cubano in. So he come to me, and he says, "Cesar, Cesar, I tell you what to do. You send those people a message. You put the fear of God into them".
Robinette: By burning down the club?
Pescador: It was supposed to be a warning! Like what they do in El Salvador. The Cubano, he says, "So some people burn, then so what? There's a whole lot more where they come from." The people in El Cielo... Lot of Salvadorans. They got the message. They got the message.
[Robinette helps him back onto his wheelchair]
Robinette: The Cuban. What's his name?
Pescador: Guerra. Domingo Guerra. He owns a club himself. The Del Mundo. Del Mundo.

Background information and notes

  • This episode is based on the The Happy Land Social Club Fire caused by Cuban refugee Julio González. On March 25, 1990, Julio Gonzalez poured a gallon of gasoline at the only exit to an illegal social club, which resulted in the deaths of 87 people in the Bronx. The few who survived jumped through the flames, one of whom was the intended victim of the crime, Gonzalez's girlfriend Lydia Feliciano. (Happy Land fire at Wikipedia)
  • This episode won the 1992 Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Editing for a Series. This marks the first Emmy for the series.
  • The episode title "Heaven", or "El Cielo", was the name of the club that was burned down.
  • This episode was remade as the Law & Order: UK episode "Paradise".

Episode scene cards

1 2 3 4

Office of Captain
Donald Cragen
Sunday, August 12

Marcos Securities
536 Lafayette Street
Tuesday, August 14

Pre-Trial Motion
Part 48
Wednesday, August 29

County General
36th & 12th Street
Tuesday, September 4

5 6 7 8

Club Del Mundo
745 West 135th Street
Thursday, September 6

Department of Immigration
Broadway & Worth
Monday, September 10

Executive Assistant
District Attorney
Benjamin Stone
Wednesday, September 19

Supreme Court
Trial Part 52
Friday, January 11


"Following a six week trial
James Collins and Domingo Guerra
were convicted and sentenced
to twenty-five years to life in
Ossining Correctional Facility.
Cesar Pescador, on a plea bargain,
was sentenced to fifteen years
in an undisclosed prison."

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