Law & Order (1990–2010)
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Bitter Fruit 

Briscoe and his new partner, Rey Curtis, track down the man accused of kidnapping and killing a young girl. But before the suspect is arraigned, the girl's mother shoots and kills him in the courtroom.


Constantine Makris


Dick Wolf (created by), Rene Balcer | 1 more credit »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jerry Orbach ... Detective Lennie Briscoe
Benjamin Bratt ... Detective Rey Curtis
S. Epatha Merkerson ... Lieutenant Anita Van Buren
Sam Waterston ... E.A.D.A. Jack McCoy
Jill Hennessy ... A.D.A. Claire Kincaid
Steven Hill ... D.A. Adam Schiff
Richard Venture Richard Venture ... Douglas Greer
Tom Tammi ... Mr. Gaines
John Ventimiglia ... Nick Capetti
Marilyn Chris ... Mrs. Capetti
Tanya Berezin Tanya Berezin ... Judge Janine Pate
Ellen Greene ... Karen Gaines
Steven Stahl Steven Stahl ... Frank Sullivan
Joe Paparone Joe Paparone ... Charles Fleming
Leslie Hendrix ... Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers


Det. Lenny Briscoe and his new partner Det. Ray Curtis investigate the abduction and murder of12 year-old Jodie Gaines. She was dropped off by her school bus less than a block from her after school piano lesson. She never showed up. They get a lead from an ATM camera where they find a white van parked on the street where walked by. It leads to the arrest of Nick Capetti who is charged with murder. At his arraignment however the dead girl's mother, Karen Gaines, shoots him dead. She gets a sympathetic judge and a lenient sentence leading DA McCoy to have the case re-investigated. The new suspect in the case is Karen Gaines herself. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

20 September 1995 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


While complaining about the low image quality of the ATM camera the video tech says "the same goobers that built Hubble built this camera." She is referring to the fact that the primary mirror in the Hubble Space Telescope was ground the wrong shape due to a defective sensor that was built specifically to measure the thickness of the mirror which was the most precisely figured optical mirror ever made at the time, with a smoothness variation of less than 10 nanometers. The flawed sensor caused the mirror to be too flat around the edge by about 2,200 nanometers. This in turn led to images taken by the telescope to be out of focus, it could take images of local objects without much issue, but when it came to taking images of really bright objects like local stars, or really dim objects like distant galaxies, the images were too distorted. To-date it was the largest and most expensive blunder in NASA's history and Hubble became the butt of a lot of jokes at the time. NASA eventually found a solution, they designed special lenses to bring the light coming off the mirror back into focus, the lenses were installed during the first scheduled maintenance mission for Hubble in 1993, three years after its launch. See more »


A courtroom scene takes place on Monday, September 5th. That would be Labor Day, a Federal holiday, and court would not be in session. See more »


Detective Lennie Briscoe: The last original thought Capetti had, he left swirling in the bowl.
See more »


References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

All they've dedicated their lives to
6 February 2016 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Although Benjamin Bratt joins the Law And Order cast in this episode it's Sam Waterston who the spotlight is on in this story. Waterston likes to see justice even when he loses. And not only he but the justice system itself stood to lose here.

A young child is abducted by a man in a white glazier's truck. Jerry Orbach and Benjamin Bratt apprehend John Ventimiglia soon enough and he's a lowlife of sorts and they have a pretty good case on him. But as happened in real life in California, the victim's mother Ellen Greene brings a gun to court and shoots him during arraignment.

Like in California there's a wave of sympathy for her. But as we dig deeper all was definitely not as it seemed. The victim died while being held by Ventimiglia so it's murder any way you slice it via the Lindbergh law. As for Greene she and her former husband Tom Tammi used the child in real life as the rope in a tug of war.

Waterston steps ever so gingerly into the realm of perjury to get to the real story. But he and Steven Hill see the court shooting as an attack on all they believe and all they've dedicated their lives to.

Note also a really good performance by Marilyn Chris as Ventimiglia's mother. One to look out for.

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