Law & Order: Season 12 (2001 - 2002)

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Season 12
Law & Order

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Episodes

Air date: Sep 26, 2001

Season 12 of Law & Order featured a new face in the D.A.'s office: feisty young A.D.A. Serena Southerlyn, played by Elisabeth Rohm. The opening episode, based on a real-life California case, gets under way when a jogger and her pet terrier are mauled by a vicious pit bull. Further investigation reveals that the attack dog's original owner, now serving two life terms in Attica, bred the animal for illegal dog fights. It is up to the D.A.'s office to prove that the pit bull's current caretakers, Sherri and Roger Quinn (Melissa Leo, Bruce McCarty), were fully aware of how dangerous their "pet" was when they bought it. Originally slated to air on September 19, 2001, this episode was moved forward to the following week.

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Air date: Oct 3, 2001

The detectives' investigation of a stabbing murder reveals that the victim, a derelict, served in Vietnam. Following the trail of clues, the authorities learn that the dead man was one of three soldiers who were involved in the same wartime incident. One of these three, a high-ranking municipal official, is clearly harboring an unpleasant secret. Originally scheduled to air on September 26, 2001, this episode was delayed until October 3.

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Air date: Oct 10, 2001

A paroled hitman turns up murdered. The detectives have every reason to believe that the victim had been hired by wealthy widow Lorraine Cobin (Cathy Gentile-Moriarty) to kill an unwanted relative. Once the case goes to trial, the D.A.'s office is presented with seemingly irrefutable proof that they've been barking up the wrong tree. The viewer is advised to pay close attention to this episode until the very last scene.

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Air date: Oct 24, 2001

A diamond dealer is kidnapped in broad daylight, with the assailants leaving two dead men -- a jeweler and a banker -- in their wake. The detectives' subsequent investigation leads to a family-controlled "diamond dynasty," which in turn is linked with a civil war in a faraway country. Originally scheduled to air October 17, 2001, this episode was moved forward to October 24.

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Air date: Oct 31, 2001

A woman living in a rent-controlled apartment on New York's fashionable Upper West Side is murdered. Inasmuch as the victim had been holding up the sale of the apartment building, the landlord appears to be the most likely suspect. But further investigation reveals far more personal and deep-rooted reasons for the killing. Onetime Avengers leading lady Linda Thorson is a standout in a key supporting role.

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Air date: Nov 7, 2001

A well-publicized murder case involving a former TV detective-show star was the blatant inspiration for this episode. It all begins when the wife of has-been singer Tommy Vega (Gary Busey) is shot to death a few blocks from the couple's favorite restaurant. Early suspects include Tommy's manager and his estranged, embittered son. But several credibility gaps lead the detectives and the D.A.'s office directly back to Vega himself.

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Air date: Nov 14, 2001

A jailhouse murder confession raises doubts over the guilt of two other convicts, one of whom died in custody. As the detectives and the D.A.'s office pursue the investigation, it becomes painfully apparent that a former police fingerprint examiner (Diana Scarwid) may have provided false testimony to assure convictions in several court cases. Especially vexing is the fact that police lieutenant Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkeson) earned her promotion thanks to two of these fraudulent convictions. Originally slated to air on October 3, 2001, this episode was bumped forward to November 14 of that year.

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Air date: Nov 21, 2001

The charred body of a young girl is found in the rubble of a fire at a new West Side apartment building. Once the detectives have identified the body, the trail of evidence leads to a group of environmental extremists. It then falls to the DA's office to convict the perpetrators -- and to do battle against an onslaught of media publicity.

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Air date: Nov 28, 2001

It is extremely likely that this episode was inspired by the real-life romance between a prominent rap singer and a famous Hollywood film star. A fatal shooting at an exclusive Manhattan nightclub involves a number of celebrities, including popular hip-hop artist G-Train (Cyrus Farmer). The subsequent investigation is complicated by a distinct lack of cooperation amongst the parties involved. Once the case gets to court, it is clear that G-Train is more concerned with shielding a very special person in his life -- and his carefully cultivated "gangsta" public image -- than in preserving his own freedom.

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Air date: Dec 12, 2001

The black CEO of a magazine publishing firm is murdered. The detectives put the pieces together and collar a rabidly racist suspect. After the D.A.'s office takes over the case, the suspect's defense attorney serves up a curve ball by arguing that racism is a "mental defect." This is the first Law & Order episode in which the terrible events of September 11, 2001 were acknowledged.

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Law & Order: Season 12 Photos

Tv Season Info

Series Twelve of NBC's blockbuster procedural drama "Law and Order" resumes its chronicles of the NYPD detectives in charge of investigating the most brutal murders, and the DA's office that prosecutes those crimes. This series introduces a new member to the team in the form of the new A.D.A Serena Southerlin . Returning are Senior Detective Lennie Briscoe (Jerry Orbach), detective supervisor Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson), Detective Ed Green (Jesse L. Martin) and Executive ADA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston).

Critic Reviews for Law & Order Season 12

All Critics (2) | Top Critics (1)

Jerry Orbach and Jesse L. Martin haven't established any appreciable rapport; it's only when a patented "ripped from the headlines" script is juicy that the series sparks.

Apr 21, 2020 | Rating: B | Full Review…

It is essential viewing if for no other reason than it reaches through the desensitising lens of media frenzy to the human cost that lies beneath.

Sep 26, 2001 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Law & Order: Season 12

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