"The Reaper's Helper"
L&O, Episode 1.03
Production number: 66215
First aired: 4 October 1990
  th of 456 produced in L&O  
th of 456 released in L&O
  th of 1229 released in all  
Logan Robinette Greevey The Reaper's Helper
Teleplay By
Thomas Francis McElroy, David Black & Robert Stuart Nathan

Story By
Thomas Francis McElroy

Directed By
Vern Gillum

The death of a man with AIDS appears to be the work of a serial killer who may have been motivated by lust.


Construction worker Bobby Holland is found shot to death in his apartment. Logan and Greevey investigate and soon learn that Holland was gay. After reading a magazine article, Greevey connects the death to another in Los Angeles, which leads them to a similar murder in San Francisco. The detectives arrest Jack Curry, who is connected to all three cases. Curry admits his involvement and claims that each man asked him to help them commit suicide because they had AIDS. The idea of murdering someone with AIDS sounded very erotic to Curry - so he did as they asked. Stone is troubled about prosecuting the case because of his doubts that Curry did anything wrong.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast


Gay Men Allied Against AIDS; Paradise Lost Bar.


"Do you think a lot of cops are gay?"
"No way, man. The department's got a special test. They look you in the eye, and if your left eye blinks before your right eye, they know you're gay." [Blinks at Greevey with his left eye]

- Max Greevey and Mike Logan

"It only hurts when I prosecute."

- Benjamin Stone

"What gives you the right to decide how I should live the rest of my life?"
"Unfortunately, you did. Not once, not twice, but three times."

- Jack Curry and Benjamin Stone

"Who shoots in the head besides dealers?"
"A robber who gets surprised?"
"A burglar who's so surprised, he leaves behind a full wallet?"

- Max Greevey and Mike Logan

Background information and notes

  • The term "Reaper" stands for death, personified as an old man or a skeleton with a scythe, also known as the "Grim Reaper".
  • This episode is based on the Dr. Jack Kevorkian case. Dr. Kevorkian became famous in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a supporter of assisted suicide and he became most noted for publicly championing a terminal patient's right to die via euthanasia; he claims to have assisted at least 130 patients to that end. He famously said that "dying is not a crime." Between 1999 and 2007, Kevorkian served eight years of a 10-to-25-year prison sentence for second-degree murder. His trial was a lengthy one, because of several acquittals and a mistrial. He was released on June 1, 2007, on parole due to good behaviour. He died on June 3, 2011. (Source: Jack Kevorkian at Wikipedia)
  • During the trial an 'expert witness' claims doctors have the right to assist their patients in dying in the United Kingdom, but this is incorrect. As of 2013, euthanasia still isn't permitted in the UK, but some forms of euthanasia are legal in Belgium, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Switzerland, the U.S. state of Oregon, the Autonomous Community of Andalusia (Spain) and Thailand.
  • This is actor John Fiore's first appearance as Detective Tony Profaci.
  • The department's fax number is 212-555-8342.

Episode scene cards

1 2 3 4 5

The Home of Mr. & Mrs.
Anthony Holland
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Wednesday, April 15

Paradise Lost Bar
627 W. 57th
Tuesday, April 21

Offices of Gay Men
Allied Against AIDS
533 E. 66th Street
Thursday, July 9

Supreme Court
New York County
Criminal Term
Wednesday, August 22

Supreme Court
New York County
Criminal Term
Tuesday, August 28

Previous episode:
"Subterranean Homeboy Blues"
"The Reaper's Helper"
Law & Order
Season 1
Next episode:
"Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die"
Seasons 1234567891011121314151617181920
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.