Law and Order
CI, Episode 4.17
Production number: E5418
First aired: 27 March 2005
  th of 195 produced in CI  
th of 195 released in CI
  th of 1271 released in all  
Frank McNare Eames Shibboleth.jpg
Teleplay By
Stephanie Sengupta

Story By
Stephanie Sengupta & René Balcer

Directed By
Darnell Martin

When a young woman is murdered during an emergency phone call to the operator, Detectives Goren and Eames are called in to investigate.


When Phoebe Morton is murdered while on the phone with a 9-1-1 operator, Goren and Eames take the case and soon realize that Morton is one of five women murdered by a serial killer known as Body By Jake (B.B.J.), who has been inactive for several years. Their investigation leads them to Keith Durbin, a parolee who appears to be a perfect suspect. Goren, however, has his doubts. When they learn there are similar earlier murders, Goren and Eames focus their attention on a new suspect, and realize that, although he's not guilty, Durbin is the key.


The killer turns out to be Keith's estranged father, Frank McNare. When Frank took him to work one day years earlier, Keith found a Polaroid of Frank's first victim. Keith became sexually fixated on the image, and as a result has believed for years that he will kill someone unless he suppresses his sexual feelings. Goren and Eames allow Keith to watch his father's interrogation, during which Frank mocks Keith and denies being his real father. Goren tells Keith that he is nothing like his father, which gives Keith the courage to identify Frank as the killer.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast



Frank McNare: Your own father. How could you?
Keith Durbin: How could you, Dad?
Frank McNare: Dad? You're no son of mine.
Alexandra Eames: (to Goren) That's the nicest thing he could have said to him.

911 Operator: 911, what is your emergency?
Body By Jake: She's not breathing.
911 Operator: What is your location, sir?
Body By Jake: Send someone to 90-- Wait, wait.

Phoebe Morton: Stop! I can't... don't kill me, I don't want to die. (choking, gasping sounds)
Body By Jake: Now she's not breathing.

Background information and notes

  • A shibboleth is a common pronouncion used by a social group, which can be used to identify them as a member of a particular group.
  • This episode seems to be based on the Dennis Rader (aka BTK killer) case. Rader is an American serial killer who murdered 10 people in Sedgwick County (in and around Wichita, Kansas), between 1974 and 1991. He was known as the BTK killer (or the BTK strangler), which stands for "Bind, Torture and Kill," which describes his modus operandi. Letters were written soon after the killings to police and to local news outlets, boasting of the crimes and knowledge of details. After a long hiatus, these letters resumed in 2004, leading to his arrest in 2005 and subsequent conviction. The serial killer in this episode, eventually identified as Frank McNare, was known as Body By Jake (BBJ).
  • Deakins mentions that one of the Body By Jake victims was an aerobics instructor and hence where the nickname came from. Body by Jake is a real life fitness brand of Jake Steinfeld.
  • When Goren and Eames visit Keith Durbin's place of work, his co-worker says of him, "He reminds me of that guy from the space movie...y'know, where the thing comes out of his chest?" This is a reference to the 1979 film Alien, during the infamous scene when the creature bursts from the character Kane's chest. Also, Vincent D'Onofrio, who plays Goren, starred in the 1997 movie "Men in Black" as Edgar the Bug, an alien who wears a farmer's skin that he eventually comes out of.
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"Ex Stasis"
Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Season 4
Next episode:
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