Law & Order: Absentia (2003)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Prime-Time Drama [TV]  |   Run Time - 60 min.  |  
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The recent, highly publicized arrest of a longtime fugitive from American justice was the evident source of this 2003 Law & Order episode. It all begins with a jewelry-store robbery in which the owner is killed and a customer (Mandy Patinkin) is wounded. A suspect is brought into court, only to be dismissed when the surviving victim fails to show up to testify -- and with good reason: The missing witness is none other than a notorious political activist, who had fled the U.S. years earlier to avoid a murder rap of his own. The question: Can a man who was tried and convicted in absentia still be sent to prison on the basis of the original trial -- or do the detectives and the lawyers have to reopen a case in which most of the evidence is cold and many of the original participants are dead?