Law and Order
L&O, Episode 4.02
Production number: 69017
First aired: 29 September 1993
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Van Buren Volunteers
Written By
René Balcer

Directed By
James Quinn

Detectives Briscoe and Logan investigate the brutal attack on a homeless man who had been terrorizing the neighborhood.


Roland Kirk, a homeless man, is found beaten up in an alley on Bedford Street, the middle class neighborhood he calls home. He has multiple fractures of the skull, broken knee cap, and a broken leg, and he's in a coma. The weapon used is a three foot long metal bar. Kirk was carrying $2,200 in cash, and witnesses say that Kirk was dangerous, because he was always high on crack. None of the neighbors heard or saw the attack.

Kirk has a rap sheet. The Bedford Street neighborhood's residents say that Kirk should have been in jail, but he was always released after a two week stay at Friedland psychiatric hospital. Kirk was carrying an appointment card from Friedland. Another homeless man, George Siddell, has Kirk's Medicaid card.

Siddell says Kirk gave it to him. He used it last Tuesday to get sixty tablets of Lithium. Friedland Psychiatric confirms Siddell's story, and says that Kirk had been a patient since 1977. In the past, the courts had ordered evaluations, but two weeks later, the Friedland psychiatric center would always release Kirk.

Kirk's sister Sharon says that Kirk was fine as long as he took his medication. He had recently started sending her checks. The bank account shows Richard Gillrich, of Mental Health Legal Advocates, as the trustee. Gillrich says Kirk was being harassed. The neighborhood's block association wanted Kirk committed. Gillrich won a judgement and settled the case for $30,000 plus costs. The neighborhood's block association members were clearly outraged by that.

Briscoe and Logan discover that Kirk had viciously mugged Irene Morrissey on the night he was attacked. Kirk comes out of his coma and says a bald woman was pounding on his chest, and kissing him. Briscoe and Logan check the ininutes of the block association. Mrs. Bondy says she saw Dr. Creighton in the alley. Creighton is bald, and he has Kirk's blood on his slippers. Kirk, who is no longer in a coma, identifies Creighton.

Dr. Creighton is arrested, and he admits that he tried to revive Kirk with CPR. He admits he was afraid of a lawsuit. Leon Prosky was suppose to call 911, but Prosky says that Creighton was supposed to call 911. Olivet believes that the drugs Kirk's on are causing Kirk's psychotic episodes.

The ER supervisor remembers Irene and Harold Morrissey, and telephone records prove that Harold Morrissey called Prosky twice from the hospital. Prosky admits that he witnessed Harold Morrissey pick up the metal bar, and then go into the alley and beat Kirk up with it. Harold was furious at Kirk for attacking Irene. Because of what has happened in the past, Harold believed that the system would do what it always did -- do absolutely nothing about Kirk.

Harold is arrested. Dr. Creighton testifies that Prosky was in the alley. Creighton administered CPR, but he didn't wait for the paramedics. Prosky testifies that Harold picked up the bar and attacked Kirk, but only after Kirk attacked Harold. That forces Stone to put Kirk on the stand. Kirk goes off the deep end, which is not what Stone wanted.

Harold testifies and he goes off, stating that he's thought about pounding Stone's head in because, for three years, Kirk has terrorized the Bedford Street neighborhood, and the system has never done anything about Kirk.

Harold's attorney argues the truth that Kirk has terrorized the Bedford Street neighborhood for three years, noting some examples: when Kirk threw a garbage can through a plate glass window, he was sent to Friedland psychiatric hospital and released two weeks later, and he went right back to Bedford Street. When Kirk pushed an 11-year-old boy right into the path of a moving car that, thankfully, did not hit the boy, Kirk was sent to Friedland and released two weeks later, and he went right back to Bedford Street.

When Kirk viciously mugged Irene Morrissey, Irene's husband Harold got fed up with Kirk, and he beat Kirk with the metal bar, much to the delight of the neighborhood's block association members, who were fed up with Kirk, and fed up with a system that wouldn't do anything about Kirk. Stone admits that, when it comes to Kirk, the system broke down.

The jury acquits Harold of all charges, except second-degree assault, and Judge Rebecca Stein sentences him to time served and two years probation.


Main cast[]

Recurring cast[]

Guest cast[]



Well, being homeless and crazy isn't against the law. Maybe the guy was a nuisance.

–Lennie Briscoe

Dr. Olivet: There's no place for him. Drug treatment programs won't take addicts who are mentally ill and psychiatric hospitals don't treat addicts.
Kincaid: So the system's crazier than the people it's trying to help.
Stone: I'm not saying I feel comfortable prosecuting a man who, but for the grace of God, could have been me.
Schiff: And if the almighty had looked away for a second, you could have been Roland Kirk.

Attorney: Mr. Kirk, when you leave the hospital, where are you going to go?
Kirk: My sister said I could stay with her.
Attorney: But things didn't work out the last time you stayed there.
Kirk: That was her fault.
Attorney: And when you left her house, where did you go?
Kirk: Where I live, Bedford Street. See, there's this sonic convergence...
Attorney: And when you go there, you get high, don't you?
Kirk: Yes. I have to. I feel better.
Attorney: And you buy the crack using money you won from suing the residents of Bedford Street, isn't that right?
Kirk: They harassed me!
Attorney: They say they're the victims.
Kirk: I'm the victim! He tried to kill me! I may never walk right again!
Attorney: You're gonna sue 'em again, Mr. Kirk?
Kirk: You better believe it! I'll get enough crack to last me a lifetime! And every time that son of a bitch walks out of his apartment, he'll see me, sitting in my Rolls Royce wheelchair, getting high and getting in his pudgy little face!

Background information and notes[]

  • Thsis episode is based on the Larry Hogue case. In the early 1990s, Hogue, a homeless crack addict known as the "Wild Man of 96th Street", terrorized the street for several years until being forced into treatment and extended state custody. In 2009, Hogue escaped from custody and returned briefly to West 96th Street before being found and returned to treatment.
  • This episode was later adapted into the Law & Order: UK episode "Community Service".

Episode scene cards[]

1 2 3

Westbury Apartments
122 Bedford Street
Friday, April 23

Psychiatric Center
2492 2nd Avenue
Tuesday, April 27

Roberta Lantos
Block Association
167 Bedford Street
Monday, May 3

4 5 6 7

Apartment of Mrs. Bundy
122 Bedford Street
Thursday, May 6

St. Mary's Hospital
620 West 12th Street
Wednesday, June 16

Office of
Harold Morrissey
16 Hannover Street
Tuesday, June 22

Supreme Court
Trial Part 60
Monday, August 3

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