"The Serpent's Tooth"
L&O, Episode 1.19
Production number: 66224
First aired: 19 March 1991
  th of 456 produced in L&O  
th of 456 released in L&O
  th of 1229 released in all  
Robinette The Serpent's Tooth
Teleplay By
Robert Stuart Nathan & René Balcer

Story By
Joshua Stern & I.C. Rapoport

Directed By
Don Scardino

Two brothers appear to be the logical suspects in the murder of their wealthy parents.


In another case ripped from the headlines, a wealthy couple's teenage sons are the prime suspects in their murders. The detectives soon learn that the boys were victims of abuse by their father. Prosecutors are convinced the brothers are solely to blame, but Detectives Greevey and Logan continue their investigation over the D.A.'s objections.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast




"What about the kids?"
"They're either innocent, or well-rehearsed."

- Donald Cragen and Max Greevey

"The family that kills together..."

- Max Greevey

"Some of my money in the bank, yeah."
"Some? Now, the bank records show that there was, last month, $6,011,301.26."
"If you say so."
"And the month before that, $9,615."
"Sounds right."
"A six million dollar difference, uh ... good month at the discount store, sir?"

- Sasha Osinski and Benjamin Stone

"He ain't heavy, he's my brother."

- Max Greevey

"A prosecution based on debt re-financing. That’s going to get you real far with the jury."
"I’ll lay it out for them. I'll draw them a Monopoly board."
"Yeah, I’d like to see them get from 'Park Place' to 'Go.'"

- Adam Schiff and Benjamin Stone

Background information and notes

  • This episode was based on the Menendez brothers case. In August 20, 1989, the two brothers murdered their parents then went to the movies to give themselves an alibi. Lyle and Erik Menendez were later convicted in a highly publicized trial for the shotgun murders of Jose and Kitty Menendez which The brothers claimed they were driven to by a lifetime of abuse from their parents, including sexual abuse from their father. Despite the excellent defense for Erik by Leslie Abramson and a competent defense for Lyle by his attorney, after two lengthy trials, a jury convicted the brothers of first-degree murder and sentenced them to life without parole, after the judge limited much of their abuse testimony during their second trial. (Source: Lyle and Erik Menendez at Wikipedia)

Episode scene cards

1 2 3 4 5

Embassy Row
75 St. and Fifth Ave.
Wednesday, February 21

Ballistics Lab
Thursday, February 22

Residence of the late
Karl & Evelyn Jarmon
6.E 75th Street

Jarmon Printing Co.
235 Varwick Street Tuesday, March 6

Supreme Court
Trial Part 45
Thursday, August 9

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"The Secret Sharers"
"The Serpent's Tooth"
Law & Order
Season 1
Next episode:
"The Troubles"
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