Law & Order (1990–2010)
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Causa Mortis 

Jack McCoy and his new assistant, Jamie Ross, get off to a rocky start together as they try to prosecute a carjacking/murder suspect after the judge excludes a cassette tape that could prove his guilt.


Edwin Sherin (as Ed Sherin)


Dick Wolf (created by), Rene Balcer


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jerry Orbach ... Detective Lennie Briscoe
Benjamin Bratt ... Detective Rey Curtis
S. Epatha Merkerson ... Lieutenant Anita Van Buren
Sam Waterston ... E.A.D.A. Jack McCoy
Carey Lowell ... A.D.A. Jamie Ross
Steven Hill ... D.A. Adam Schiff
George Martin ... Abe Mercer
Cyndi Cartagena Cyndi Cartagena ... Anna Galvez
Louise Sorel ... Marcy Fletcher Wrightman
Lawrence Arancio ... Ian Rankin
Ted Kazanoff Ted Kazanoff ... Judge Daniel Scarletti
Víctor Sierra Víctor Sierra ... Fernando Salva
Tiffany Fraser Tiffany Fraser ... Susan Bayer
Hugh O'Gorman ... Chuck Rodman
Divina Cook ... Mrs. Galvez


Detectives Briscoe and Curtis investigate the murder of Maureen Rankin who is found on a deserted tract of land. She died from a blow to the head though death was not instantaneous. The police believe she was the victim of a carjacking. They track the car and arrest the carjacker but a key piece of evidence is ruled inadmissible and his new assistant, Jamie Ross, is all for transferring the case to Federal jurisdiction when the death penalty will apply. The DA's office is batting zero after the judge in the case rules a second key piece of evidence inadmissible. It's left to McCoy to start playing hardball with the carjacker's fiancée if they want to have any hope of getting a conviction. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

latin phrase | See All (1) »





Release Date:

18 September 1996 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


"Causa Mortis" is Latin for "Cause of Death." See more »


The tape that was found is central to the plot, but it was not found in the tape recorder in the victim's purse. It was found days later, mashed into the mud at the crime scene. The recording goes right up until the time the victim is killed. When was it taken out of the tape recorder? The victim couldn't have done it. If the killer knew about it, he'd have taken the whole thing, not taken out the tape and thrown it away. See more »


D.A. Adam Schiff: You're taking the Salva case.
Jack McCoy: Salva will plead out. An answering machine can handle it.
D.A. Adam Schiff: Nothing on the front page of The Post is that easy. You'll need a second chair.
Jack McCoy: I'm doing fine on my own.
D.A. Adam Schiff: You're not getting paid all that money to look up cases in the library.
Jack McCoy: If I need somebody, I can borrow Crocker for the afternoon.
D.A. Adam Schiff: Crocker... What do you know about Jamie Ross?
Jack McCoy: Not much. She used to work at Gorton and Steinhart.
D.A. Adam Schiff: She was married to Neal Gorton. She asked to stay on the case.
Jack McCoy: She's been ...
See more »


Referenced in Law & Order: Showtime (1997) See more »

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