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Recap / Law And Order S 2 E 3 Aria

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Directed by Don Scardino

Written by Christine Roum & Michael S Chernuchin

At a prestigious drama school, a student named Priscilla Blaine collapses and dies from a drug overdose. Logan and Cerreta learn that Priscilla's mother had pushed her daughters into a stage career, and the pressure on Priscilla increased when her more talented sister decided to quit. Furthermore, Priscilla had been working in porn at the behest of her mother. Another porn actress ultimately confesses to giving Priscilla the drugs that killed her. Priscilla had thus far been just stripping on camera and refused to have sex, but Mrs. Blaine pushed her into a starring role in a hardcore movie that was just about to start filming. Stone reluctantly agrees to bring charges of criminally negligent homicide against Mrs. Blaine, on the grounds that Priscilla wouldn't have killed herself if not for her mother forcing her into porn.

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The DA's office must now prove that Mrs. Blaine knew her actions were making Priscilla suicidal. In order to get vital testimony from Priscilla's psychiatrist, they successfully petition a probate judge to appoint Priscilla's sister as executor of her estate in place of Mrs. Blaine. At trial, Stone produces a tape that Priscilla recorded before her death, in which she performed a dramatic monologue where her character tells her mother of her intention to commit suicide. Mrs. Blaine had seen the tape a week before Priscilla's death, evidence she knew her daughter was suicidal. Robinette recalls that at the probate hearing, Mrs. Blaine stated that she had encouraged Priscilla to ask her co-worker for drugs in order to relax her enough to have sex on camera. The judge admits Mrs. Blaine's testimony from the hearing as evidence, and her lawyer agrees to a plea deal for manslaughter. Later, Stone and Robinette reflect that Mrs. Blaine did love Priscilla but will probably never realize why she was wrong.

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This episode contains examples of:

  • Ambiguous Disorder: Mrs. Blaine appears to have some sort of mental disorder or deficiency, most likely sociopathy, but it's never definitively mentioned.
  • I Have This Friend...: Since Priscilla's psychiatrist refuses to break with patient confidentiality (and her mother, who would need to give consent for a warrant, refuses to do so), Robinette uses this trope to encourage him to speak about a "hypothetical" patient.
  • Important Haircut: Priscilla did this as a way of rebelling against her mother.
  • Lesser of Two Evils: The probate judge deciding Priscilla's estate says that he doesn't think either side has the moral high ground; but, given the murder charges against Mrs. Blaine, reluctantly grants the DA's office their request to have the sister take over.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: Invoked Mrs. Blaine believed that the controversy from having starred in porn could help her daughter launch a mainstream acting career.
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  • Stage Mom: Mrs. Blaine was a very dedicated example.
  • Technician vs. Performer: Priscilla was a technician when it came to acting, while her sister is said to have been a performer (before she gave it up altogether).
  • The Unfavorite: Priscilla's older sister became this to their mother when she quit acting, to the point where she was kicked out of the house and had not spoken to her mother or sister (the latter likely at the mother's insistence) in years.
  • Vicariously Ambitious: It is mentioned that Mrs. Blaine had wanted to be an actress, but had to give up her dream when she had children.
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