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.
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.
Remade as Law & Order: UK: Trial