Season 7

Episode 713: “A Death In The Family”

Episode 713: “A Death In The Family”
Original Air Date:February 4, 2001
Written by::Allen Estrin & Joseph Telushkin
Directed by:Stuart Margolin
Produced by:

Martha Williamson
Jon Andersen
R.J. Visciglia, Jr.

Guest Cast:
Frank Scott Baio
Reverend Davis Isaiah Washington
Daniels Larry Joshua
Jan McCovey Mary Ward
Doctor Phil Riesen
Madeline Cythnia Martells
Brian McCovey Jeffrey Schoeny

Detective Frank McCovey and his narcotics team obtain a warrant to raid the house of an elusive drug dealer based on a tip from his informant.  The targeted address is an African-American neighborhood known for its criminal element.  McCovey leads the raid, ignoring the signs that indicate they may be at the wrong house.  McCovey charges through the apparent empty residence and mistakenly shoots an innocent eleven-year-old boy, Jamal Griffin, who is hospitalized in critical condition.  Reverend Davis, hardened by the social injustices perpetrated on his community, proclaims that this one will not be ignored.  Andrew, an Internal Affairs agent, suggests the truth behind the tragic event lies with the accidental death of McCovey’s ten-year-old daughter’s by a black man.  McCovey refuses to discuss the matter, insisting that he followed proper procedure.

Meanwhile, Jamal’s mother begins her vigil beside her unconscious son and is joined by the police department’s community relations officer, Monica.  McCovey’s suspension does not appease Rev. Davis, who skillfully uses the media to further his own agenda of social unrest, under the guise of protecting the Griffins’ wishes.  McCovey wrestles with his own conscience as he reflects on the circumstances of the shooting.  News of the drug dealer’s apprehension at a different address only pushes McCovey to blame his informant.  McCovey insists he correctly wrote down the relayed information, but is unable to recover the piece of paper to aid his case.  His wife and his partners try to help him realize that he may be pushing himself too hard and making mistakes, but McCovey refuses to listen or apologize.  Tess, a new parishioner to Rev. Davis’ church, warns the reverend that his call to arms may incite violence against the police department.  Rev. Davis refutes Tess’ claim until proven wrong when a brick, bearing the words on Rev. Davis’ flyer, is thrown through the McCovey’s window, injuring McCovey’s son.

The next day, Jan confronts her husband with the piece of paper indicating he communicated the wrong information on the arrest warrant.  Overwrought with the guilt of shooting an innocent child, McCovey goes to his daughter’s grave prepared to end his life where Andrew reveals that he is an angel and was with his daughter when she died.  Andrew helps McCovey face his racial prejudice stemming from the accidental death of his daughter by a black man.  This subconscious racism is what made McCovey less careful in an African-American neighborhood.  Andrew tells him that God loves him and forgives him, but now that he is aware of his prejudice, he must conquer it.  Rev. Davis’ parish disapprovingly receives the contrite McCovey and Rev. Davis refuses to listen to his apologies.  Monica, Tess and Andrew reveal themselves to convince Rev. Davis that he must forgive McCovey.  McCovey remorsefully apologizes to the congregation and Rev. Davis offers his hand in peace.  Jamal’s mother praises God as her son regains consciousness.

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