"Poison Ivy"
L&O, Episode 1.08
Production number: 66211
First aired: 20 November 1990
  th of 456 produced in L&O  
th of 456 released in L&O
  th of 1229 released in all  
Robinette Poison Ivy
Teleplay By
Jacob Brackman

Story By
Jacob Brackman & Jack Richardson

Directed By
E.W. Swackhamer

The shooting of a black honors student stirs up racial tensions, especially after it becomes apparent that the cop responsible for the death may have planted a gun on the body to excuse the shooting.


A routine drug arrest turns deadly when a veteran officer kills an Ivy League honors student. Greevey and Logan trace a gun back to its original owner, who provides new evidence. Stone and Robinette build their case against the veteran cop.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast




"It's the last one, no more cops, it's too hard."
"Know why I wouldn't let go? Because there but for the grace of God go I, or any cop. You get caught, you get prosecuted."
"Didn't know you were a philosopher, Max."
"Just an ex-altar boy with a gun."

- Benjamin Stone and Max Greevey

"Max, you're drawing conclusions."
"Let's just say I heard a dog bark."

- Mike Logan and Max Greevey

"Somebody heard that shot?"
"In this neighborhood? You couldn't get a witness to a sunrise."

- Mike Logan and Police Officer

"We're all one family here, Sergeant."
"You an only child? I got people in my family, I wouldn't believe 'em they told me the sky was blue."

- Lieutenant Gowdy and Max Greevey

"If you're wrong, and you go after cops..."
"If I'm wrong, I'll go to the grand jury and say I killed the kid."

- Donald Cragen and Max Greevey

"The truth will set you free. It won't always make you happy."

- Benjamin Stone

"Now is the time to remember the real Tommy Richardson, and what he meant to this community. He was a symbol of what every child born into poverty could achieve. He gave back to his people his time, his energy, his love. And he tried to help even more. He tried to help others by giving money. But to get that money, he sold drugs. And he was shot to death in the gutter because of it. What Tommy Richardson wanted to do for his people was right! But he did it the wrong way! And the policeman who shot him, that was wrong, too! But it would not have happened... without drugs!"

- Reverend Thayer

Background information and notes

  • This episode is based on the Edmund Perry case. Perry was a 17 year old Harlem resident and graduate from Phillips Exeter who was shot to death by undercover New York plainclothes police officer, Lee Van Houten, on June 12, 1985. Van Houten maintained that Perry and another black youth, later identified as Edmund's brother Jonah, attempted to mug him and that he shot in self-defense. The case briefly generated a firestorm of protest in New York City when it was revealed that Perry was an honor student and was enrolled to attend Stanford on scholarship; however, witnesses backed up Van Houten’s claim that Perry and Jonah had attempted to mug the officer and the shooting was ruled as justified. Jonah was then arrested and charged as an accomplice for the mugging, but was found not guilty at trial. (Source: Edmund Perry at Wikipedia)

Episode scene cards

1 2 3

Office of the
Chief Medical Examiner
Tuesday, July 21

Doris Carver
124th St. and
Lennox Ave.
Friday, August 7

Patrolman Freddo
Parisi's Home
Brooklyn, New York
Monday, August 10

4 5 6

.38 Special Bar
506 E. 32nd Street
Wednesday, August 12

North Presbyterian
Rev. Thayer's Office
Thursday, September 3

Supreme Court
New York County
Criminal Term
Tuesday, November 17

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