Follow TV Tropes


Recap / Law & Order S2 E4 "Asylum"

Go To

Directed by Kristoffer Tabori

Written by Kathy Mc Cormick & Robert Palm

Nathan Robins is stabbed to death after disturbing a homeless person sleeping in a box. Logan and Cerreta arrest a suspect, a homeless man known as Lemonhead, when they search his room at a temporary shelter and find a valuable engagement ring that Robins had planned to give his girlfriend. Lemonhead says he's just an accomplice to the killer, "James." Logan and Cerreta are not sure whether they believe Lemonhead; he is severely mentally ill and suffers from psychotic delusions. Olivet thinks he's telling the truth, so Logan and Cerreta ask him to take them to James. Lemonhead shows them a space where someone has been sleeping in Central Park, and they find the murder weapon and an ID for James Polasky. The detectives return to the park at night and arrest James. He and Lemonhead are both charged with murder.

Stone agrees a plea deal to arrange appropriate help for Lemonhead in exchange for his testimony. James is convicted, but appeals on the grounds that the park is his home and the police didn't have a search warrant. Stone and Robinette lose the appeal. Since the knife can't be used as evidence in a re-trial, they plan to use the ring as the key piece of evidence. But Lemonhead, who's been institutionalised, has deteriorated mentally and is no longer fit to testify. The judge allows Stone to use a recording of Lemonhead's testimony at the first trial in evidence, which the defence does not like. Stone reaches a deal with James's lawyer for a maximum sentence for manslaughter, and they reflect that this case hasn't ended happily for anyone involved.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Crazy Homeless People: Lemonhead and Polasky both fit this trope.
  • Death Glare: James Polasky is prone to giving these.
  • Downer Ending: Lampshaded by Stone. Robins is dead; the previously genial Lemonhead is being held in an institution where he's restrained and his condition has seriously deteriorated; and James finally has a home, but only because he's going to be in jail for the next 25 years.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Based on the case of David Mooney, a homeless man released after being held on murder charges when his defence successfully argued that his Fourth Amendment privacy rights extended to the park where he slept rough.