Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers Review: The Defense

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After the events of Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers Season 1 Episode 4, we now have an adequate defense. Erik and Lyle murdered their parents because they were in such fear of their lives, they had to kill or be killed.

The leader of the Menendez defense, Leslie Abramson, searched high and low for the reason the brothers shot their affluent parents. Erik and Lyle's stories weren't matching up, and she wouldn't be able to work her magic if they kept lying to her.

The detectives continued to look for evidence of the crime. They find the missing car, but no remnants of the murders are located in the vehicle. The murder weapons are gone without a trace, so the prosecution's entire case rests on the confession tapes.

Kitty in Therapy - Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers Season 1 Episode 4

Prosecutor Pamela Bozanich claims that children in poorer neighborhoods kill their parents too, and this case is no different than that. But, it seems that the District Attorney's office isn't asking WHY these kids killed their parents.

Erik and Lyle's aunt is right. It doesn't seem like the boys knew much about money. If you dig deeper into the evidence, killing their parents for inheritance doesn't make sense as the sole motive.

This is just a domestic murder with a bit of glitz.

Pamela Bozanich

Lyle continues to admire his father, even quoting him to the new therapist. The brothers continue to hold their father on a pedestal, despite alleging that he sexually molested them as children. What was unexpected was the revelation that their mother was complicit in the abuse. 

Kitty Menendez as a character has yet to be fully fleshed out. Hopefully, the trial will divulge more of her secrets. 

My father had this creed he had us learn. 'Today I will be master of my emotions. If I feel depressed, I will sing. If I feel sad, I will laugh. If I feel fear, I will plunge ahead. I will be master of my emotions.'


Lyle and Erik concoct this "brilliant" plan to confess to the murders to everyone they know. They might as well walk around with "KILLER" stamped on their foreheads. It'll be quicker for them. I understand wanting to own what they did, but they could do that in therapy (with a real psychiatrist, not Dr. Oziel). 

This begs the question, why is Leslie so hellbent on getting the confession tapes kicked out of court, but happy at the brothers telling their families the truth? Wouldn't they all just be called into court as witnesses by the prosecution? 

Family Confession - Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers Season 1 Episode 4

Leslie knows that Erik and Lyle are basically screwed, so she must figure that her only hope is to prove that the brothers were so psychologically tortured, that they snapped and killed their parents. She gets some confirmation of their allegations in the form of cousins from both sides of the family.

Lyle's lawyer heads to New York to find Glenn Stevens, hoping he will corroborate the statement that Lyle confessed to him that he was abused by his father. Stevens refuses and rebuffs the idea that Lyle gave him a good job. Glenn claims that Lyle used him, but he seems to be the selfish one in this situation.

How can I help someone who did that to his parents.


Leslie fears that her clients will receive the death penalty. She tries to cut a deal with the prosecution, but they are refusing. Not only do they dislike Leslie, political pressure following the Rodney King verdict is pushing the prosecution to seek some form of justice for the public.

It's funny because it seems that the District Attorney's office just couldn't get a conviction around this time. Another case involving a teenage girl also sparked public outrage. It seems that the D.A. is pushing for a win more than a just end. 

Leslie Pleads For Her Clients - Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers Season 1 Episode 4

It feels like The Menendez Brothers Episode 3 and The Menendez Brothers Episode 4 could have been combined, with the abuse allegations being revealed at the end. 

Lyle finally expressing that his father also molested him was like pulling teeth, but maybe that's the point. Lyle is so concerned with controlling the situation that he continues to put up a guard.

Lyle says that he just wants to protect Erik, but he doesn't succeed since Erik claims to have been molested up until two weeks before his parent's deaths. It was a good opportunity for the show to divulge into the psyche of sexual abuse victims, but instead, the best parts of the episode was Leslie cursing out Dr. Oziel.

Lyle's Confession - Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers Season 1 Episode 4

We knew they were going to kill us. Dad always threatened that. That he could kill us and get a new family


I'm still waiting on the drama to ramp up as everything feels like backstory, rather than actual action. It is possible for a true story to have some suspense. Maybe as the trial officially begins, the courtroom will provide more tense scenes. 

What did you think of Episode 4?

  • As a juror, would you believe Leslie's theory of self-defense?
  • With the siblings in jail, will Kitty's family and Jose's family fight over control of the estate?
  • Will we ever learn how Erik and Lyle planned the murders?
  • Will Judalon Smyth ever go away?

Catch up on the show via TV Fanatic, where you can watch Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers online.

Episode 4 Review

Editor Rating: 2.8 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (4 Votes)
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