Law & Order (1990–2010)
2 user

Double Blind 

A schizophrenic chemistry student is on trial for killing a former school janitor, but a professor claims that he is part of one of his drug studies and that his sickness is under control.


Dick Wolf (created by), Jeremy R. Littman | 1 more credit »


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
Carey Lowell ... A.D.A. Jamie Ross
Steven Hill ... D.A. Adam Schiff
John Bedford Lloyd ... Dr. Christian Varick
Mark Bateman Mark Bateman ... Alan Sawyer
Tom O'Rourke ... Defense Attorney Peter Behrens
Richard Hamilton ... James 'Jimmy the Pin' Poulos
E. Katherine Kerr ... Mrs. Sawyer
Dan Ziskie ... Fred Sawyer
Jennifer Van Dyck ... Jill Perry
Vivienne Benesch Vivienne Benesch ... Lori Franklin
Randle Mell Randle Mell ... Aaron Blum


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Detectives Briscoe and Curtis investigate the murder of a building janitor Greg Franklin who is found shot to death in his apartment. Franklin was relatively new in that particular job and had previously worked as the night janitor at a local university for 9 years. The autopsy shows that the bullets used had been treated with fulminate of mercury and the evidence leads them to a student, Alan Sawyer who eventually confesses to the crime. When Alan tells them voices told him to kill Franklin as the janitor was a 600 year-old Templar knight they learn he is schizophrenic and the question becomes whether he should be committed. Alan was part of a study run by psychiatrist Christian Varick who it seems is more interested in keeping his grant money coming in than the health of those in the study group. Written by garykmcd

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Did You Know?


Mercury fulminate is highly sensitive to heat and friction, which is what causes it to detonate on impact with objects. Throughout the 19th and mid-20th centuries it was used as the explosive component of black-powder firearm caps as well as rifle and pistol cartridges and shotgun shell primers. The primer is the component of a cartridge that is responsible for initiating the combustion of the primary explosive charge (the gunpowder) in the cartridge. When the primer is struck by a firearm's hammer, the friction caused by the impact causes the mercury fulminate to undergo a exothermic reaction (detonation), and the combustion then in turn ignites the gunpowder. Mercury fulminate was replaced as the main component of primers in the late 20th century becauset it tended to degrade over time: it would break down into its constituent elements, and the mercury in it would react with the brass in the cartridge weakening its structural integrity. It was replaced with less toxic and more stable chemicals like lead azide, lead styphnate, and tetrazene. See more »


During her visit to Fred Sawyer's home in Baltimore, Jamie Ross tells Sawyer that, as a lawyer, he should know that "the law requires him to report a lost or stolen weapon", and Sawyer says he knows the law. In fact, the state of Maryland has no such law. See more »


D.A. Adam Schiff: A manic-depressive commits suicide: somebody call Ripley's.
See more »


Remade as Law & Order: UK: Trial (2011) See more »

User Reviews

Utter callousness
11 July 2018 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The killing of a former janitor at Law And Order's Hudson University is the case that Jerry Orbach and Benjamin Bratt catch in this episode. It's hard to believe that this rather innocuous man would be the target of a quite deliberate homicide.

It all goes back to student Mark Bateman who was having some real psychological issues. This is one where the forces of mental illness may be in control of Bateman and his punishment might be better worked out in some kind of mental health facility.

It turns out also that Bateman was a test subject for some psychotropic drugs in a study by psychology professor John Bedford Lloyd. Who has a good reason for dragging his feet in the investigation.

That reason is what you watch this episode for as all is revealed in the last five minutes of the story. The utter callousness of Lloyd leaves Sam Waterston, Carey Lowell and even semi-regular defense attorney Tom O'Rourke reaching.

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Release Date:

6 November 1996 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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