"Prescription for Death"
  L&O, Episode 1.01
Production number: 66209
First aired: 13 September 1990
9th of 456 produced in L&O
  1st of 456 released in L&O
  1st of 1106 released in all
Logan Greevey Prescription for Death
Teleplay By
Ed Zuckerman

Story By
Ed Zuckerman & David Black

Directed By
John Whitesell

After a young woman dies suddenly in an Emergency Room, detectives Max Greevey and Mike Logan discover that the chief resident, Dr. Edward Auster, may have been drunk at the time.


After Suzanne Morton dies during a visit to the emergency room to pick up some antibiotics on a hectic night shift, her father, a former medic in Vietnam, demands the police charge the hospital with murder, stating they were negligent. Logan and Greevey investigate the doctor who had made some adjustments to her chart, but are soon led to Dr. Edward Auster, a respected doctor. The other residents are reluctant to say anything for fear their jobs may be in jeopardy, and Stone is faced with the awkward job of having to prosecute a man who appears to be a living saint.

Cast Edit

Main cast Edit

Recurring cast Edit

Guest cast Edit

References Edit

36th Precinct; Emergency Room; Suzanne Morton; Urban Medical Center


"Look! Someone's lying! Whether it's Gunja Din or Doctor God, we don't know."

- Max Greevey

"You solve every case you work on?"
"We can tell a felony from a traffic ticket."
"Look, a patient walks in with a headache. She could have a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a berry aneurysm, a retro-orbital tumor... or does she just have a headache? Do you give her an aspirin? Or do you saw open her skull?"
"You make this speech at funerals?"

- Dr. Edward Auster, Mike Logan, and Max Greevey

"My children want to stay in this country, my wife wants to stay, and to stay, all I have to do is to be perfect all the time!"
"Well you, uh, fell a little short of perfection on Suzanne Morton's chart."

- Dr. Raza and Mike Logan

"Isn't it possible that pneumonia killed Suzanne Morton?"
"It's possible that death rays from Mars killed her. But I don't think so."

- Phillip Nevins and Medical Examiner

"Well, people like to believe that medicine is pure science. Medicine is a science. But doctors know it's also a lottery."

- Dr. Edward Auster

"We got what we needed from Dr. Simonson."
"An intern, Mr. Stone. Are you planning on asking the cleaning lady to testify, too? About the time I threw the tissue into the wastepaper basket and missed?"

- Benjamin Stone and Dr. Edward Auster

"When you practice medicine, Mr. Stone, sometimes the patient dies."
"And when you're a lawyer, Dr. Auster, some of the people you prosecute are convicted."

- Dr. Edward Auster and Benjamin Stone

"You know the difference between Auster and a serial killer?"
"The weapon."

- Benjamin Stone and Paul Robinette

Background information and notes Edit

  • This was the first aired episode of Law & Order. The episode, "Everybody's Favorite Bagman" (1.06), was the pilot episode for the series. Although originally produced for CBS in 1988, it never aired on that network. In syndication and on the first season DVD, the episodes are shown with "Prescription for Death" as the first episode.
  • This episode is based on the Libby Zion case. Zion was an 18-year-old woman who died six hours after being admitted to New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center with a high fever. A grand jury determined that the long hours of often unsupervised interns and residents contributed to her death. Although her father, an attorney and writer for the New York Times, claimed inadequate care resulted in his daughter's death but the hospital was cleared of criminal charges. An appeals court exonerated the doctors, the subsequent investigation led New York State to form the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Emergency Services, more commonly known as the Bell Commission. This committee developed a series of regulations that addressed several patient care issues, including restraint usage, medication systems, and resident work hours. One aspect of these regulations is commonly referred to in the medical community as "the Libby Zion Law" and "the Libby Law," setting limits to working hours for medical "post graduates" (commonly referred to as interns and residents). (Source: Libby Zion law)
  • Actor Chris Noth supplied his own brown leather coat for this episode, after buying it from a second-hand clothing store.
  • In this episode we learn that Executive Assistant District Attorney Benjamin Stone's father was an alcoholic, and drank every day at lunch. We also learn that Captain Donald Cragen has a drinking problem, and that he was partnered to Detective Max Greevey.
  • Detectives Max Greevey and Mike Logan have very different opinions about health care. Logan is glad that his father is still alive because of a heart transplant, but Greevey despises doctors because a simple subdural hematoma was once misdiagnosed as a brain tumor.
  • Actors Bruce McCarty and Daniel Benzali will later star together in the CBS drama The Agency.
  • According to one of the scene cards the Detectives are stationed at the 36th Precinct. In later episodes the Homicide Department will be working from the 27th Precinct.

Episode scene cards Edit

1 2 3 4

36th Precinct
Midtown Manhattan
Thursday, March 29

Urban Medical Center
Friday, March 30

The Office of
Suzanne Morton's
Personal Physician
Tuesday, April 3

Dr. Robert Abraham's
Wednesday, April 4

5 6 7

Office of
Executive District Attorney
Benjamin Stone
Wednesday, May 2

Manhattan Superior Court
Tuesday, June 14

Manhattan District Attorney
Adam Schiff's Office
Friday, June 15

Previous episode:
"Prescription for Death"
Law & Order
Season 1
Next episode:
"Subterranean Homeboy Blues"
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