"Teenage Wasteland"
L&O, Episode 11.12
Production number: E1315
First aired: 7 February 2001
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Mitch Regan
Written By
Barry Schindel & Aaron Zelman

Directed By
Constantine Makris


After a group of teenagers are arrested for the murder of a Chinese restaurant owner, the DA must decide whether or not to seek the death penalty against the eldest teenager of the group.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast



Hey, check it out. Here comes Sergeant Slaughter.

–Lennie Briscoe spotting Marvin Warner

Charge him with murder. A person doesn't lose the back of his skull unless his killer intends him to.

–Jack McCoy

Lewin: Which should be the standard to take the life of a teenager?
Carmichael: Where I come from, it's when what a person's done is so vicious, so cruel, he forfeits the right to get any older.
Lewin: Where I come from, a person can't forfeit that right. We can only take it from him.

My decision today continues this office's tradition of objectively applying the laws of this state to the cases it's charged with prosecuting in this great city. Ours is an island but we are not untouched by the national debate or its dictates concerning the death penalty. That being said, my decision goes against my personal feelings, but as District Attorney, I took an oath to uphold the law which includes applying the death penalty fairly with due process of law. To do otherwise would be to substitute my own judgment for the judgment of those the people elected to make such decisions. Accordingly, I am forced to conclude that notice to the court of our intention to seek the death penalty in the case of the People v. Mitch Regan is appropriate.

–Nora Lewin to the press

  • Jury Foreman: As to the first count of the indictment, murder in the first degree, the sentence of this jury is death.
  • Mrs. Regan: No! No! Please! Don't kill him! Don't kill him! Oh my God!

With any luck, we'll be able to strap him to a gurney before he's 21. God have mercy on our souls.

–Nora Lewin

Background information and notes

  • The story was inspired by the Jin-Sheng Liu case, in which a Chinese deliveryman was lured to his death by five Queens teenagers. None of the teenagers were charged above murder in the second degree, and therefore none were facing the death penalty.

Episode scene cards

1 2 3

Forensics Lab
One Police Plaza
Monday, November 22

Apartment of
Carol Warner
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
Wednesday, November 24

Chambers of
Judge Marilyn Haynes
Appellate Division
Tuesday, December 14

4 5 6 7

District Attorney's Office
Conference Room
Wednesday, December 22

Supreme Court
Trial Part 78
Tuesday, January 25

Chambers of
Judge Walter Schreiber
Tuesday, January 25

Supreme Court
Trial Part 78
Wednesday, January 26

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"Teenage Wasteland"
Law & Order
Season 11
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