Anti-Thesis is a second season episode of the television series Law & Order: Criminal Intent. For the first time, character Nicole Wallace/Elizabeth Hitchens appears in the series.

Plot summary

In this episode, Detectives Goren and Eames investigate the murders of a university president and his assistant.

During the investigation, Goren and Eames focus their attention on a controversial African-American professor who wants a promotion for a department chairmanship. At first, the professor seems the most likely suspect because he had accused the victim of being a racist. But the team soon become suspicious of an underachieving grad student, who has had working for a long time on his grade thesis, which also benefits him if that professor gets the promotion. The short list of suspects include the student's girlfriend, a visiting professor with a shady element in her past.

As the campus investigation continues, Goren and Eames suspect that at least two of the possible culprits might be romantically entangled which results in a third murder. After that, they discover that the main culprit is a highly shrewd adversary who has more than these crimes to hide. This episode introduces ongoing character Nicole Wallace.


Vincent D'Onofrio Det. Robert Goren
Kathryn Erbe Det. Alexandra Eames
Jamey Sheridan Capt. James Deakins
Courtney B. Vance A.D.A. Ron Carver


  • Harvard University's undergraduate student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, suggested in October 2002 that the episode's premise was lifted from the nationally-publicized, real-life squabble between HU president Lawrence Summers and African-American Studies Professor Cornel West. In real life, West wears an afro haircut and goatee, teaches American Studies, and was criticized by HU president for releasing a rap music album. Like West, the fictional Professor Sanders of the history wears an afro haircut and goatee, teaches American Studies, and is criticized by fictional President Winthrop for releasing a rap album.
  • Sanders is the name of the largest lecture hall on Harvard's campus, while Winthrop is a traditional Boston family name with long ties to the Harvard campus. In the episode, Winthrop quotes a line of dialogue almost identical to a sentence attributed to Summers. According to the professor, the sentence reflects the charges of racism against criticism of the spoken word.

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