"American Dream"
L&O, Episode 4.08
Production number: 69018
First aired: 9 November 1993
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Phillip Swann
Written By
Sibyl Gardner

Directed By
Constantine Makris

The discovery of a decomposed body at a Manhattan construction site leads to a new trial for a prisoner who is serving time in the victim's murder.



Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast


  • People v. Rodriguez
  • Justice Marshall
  • Judge Richard Mounteney (indirectly)
  • People v. Serrotti
  • Buckley v. Fitzsimmons


Phillip Swann: So, who makes the first move?
Stone: I want a confession. Not only for the murder of Russell Bobbit, but for the murder of Sid Cohen as well.
Swann: And give away my greatest victory?
Stone: Take this man back to his cell.
Swann: You give up so easy? It doesn't make any sense, Ben; you're being totally impractical… and it's not like you.
Stone: Obviously you don't know never did.

Stone: I guess you just weren't clever enough...
Swann: I got this far, Ben.
Stone: A lot of effort to wind up right back where you started. And in polite society, sir, you don't call people by their first name unless they ask you to. I didn't do that. You're not a friend, and you're certainly not a colleague.
Swann: I spent eight years earning the right to call you whatever the hell I want.

Swann: Mr. Swann, do you routinely list killing people as part of your daily calendar?
Stone: Mr. Stone, do you routinely lack a sense of humor?
Swann: About murder, I have none, sir.

Background information and notes

  • This episode is based on the Ron Levin case, which was also the subject of a 1980s telemovie, The Billionaire Boys Club. The plot even includes a scene of Swann making a note in his planner to commit the murder, just as Joe Hunt penned "Kill Ron Levin" in his daily agenda. (Source: Billionaire Boys Club at Wikipedia)
  • This episode was later adapted into the Law & Order: UK episode "Unsafe".

Episode scene cards

1 2 3

Queen Anne's Buttons
518 Madison Avenue
Monday, May 17

Apartment of
Beverly Dorfman
2327 Park Avenue
Tuesday, May 18

Chip Rafferty
Former V.P. Swann's CO.
Wednesday, June 2

4 5 6

Forensics Laboratory
One Police Plaza
Friday, June 4

Supreme Court
Trial Part 73
Tuesday, July 20

Supreme Court
Trial Part 73
Monday, August 9

7 8 9

Swann V. Stone
Monday, October 4

Correctional Facility
Tuesday, October 5

27th Precinct
Interrogation Room
Wednesday, October 6

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"American Dream"
Law & Order
Season 4
Next episode:
"Born Bad"
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