Law and Order
Law and Order
"Surrender Dorothy"
L&O, Episode 10.19
Production number: E1125
First aired: 26 April 2000
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Van Buren Briscoe Surrender Dorothy.jpg
Written By
Barry Schindel & Matt Witten

Directed By
Martha Mitchell


When a woman is found dead in the trunk of a car, detectives Ed Green and Lennie Briscoe follow a series of street art tags to a college student with whom the woman was having an affair. The victim's father-in-law, also her therapist, hired a private investigator to follow her and take incriminating photographs when he began to learn of the affair. The father was a proponent of surrendered wives as a form of couples therapy, and was concerned that the affair would hurt his professional image and sales of his book, which featured his son and the victim as an example.

Jack McCoy and Abbie Carmichael determine that the father used his influence as a therapist to convince the victim to commit suicide, complete with a suicide note, then covered it up to look like a murder. For this, McCoy and Schiff decide to try him for second degree manslaughter. At trial, the father testifies that he did not influence her to commit suicide, but in fact murdered her. Because the state already rested its case, it was too late to charge him with murder using the confession. McCoy used his closing to successfully convince the jury that the father was lying to protect himself, and won the manslaughter conviction. Afterwords, Schiff notes that the father either walked into a conviction on the stand, or bought a relatively light sentence (three years) for a murder.


Main cast[]

Guest cast[]





  • Detective Ed Green: The husbands called, they want to get this all settled out with their shrinks.
  • Lt. Anita Van Buren: Oh, good. One for each of you.
  • Jack McCoy: This man put all the ingredients together, Adam, we can't just let him walk away when the bomb goes off.
  • Abbie Carmichael (about Harlan Graham and Dorothy): I wonder what the ethics are of turning a patient into your daughter-in-law.
  • Harlan Graham: Perry and I have nothing to hide. We're therapists; we believe in the truth.
  • Lennie Briscoe: Yeah, so do we. But we rarely hear it

Background information and notes[]

Background information and notes

  • The "surrendered spouse" ideas in this episode are based on the controversial book The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle.
  • The episode title is a reference to the movie The Wizard of Oz.

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"Surrender Dorothy"
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