Parental Alienation: Law & Order Tackles The Topic
Parental Alienation doesn't often make it to Prime Time.
The term--which is well known in child custody circles, and refers children who internalize one parent's attacks against the other parent and become negative toward the hated parent in turn--showed up on last night's episode of NBC's "Law & Order: Los Angeles", where it was used as a motivation for murder in a criminal trial.
On the show, Deputy District Attorney Jonah 'Joe' Dekker (Terrence Howard), argues that a wife poisoned her son against her golfer husband so virulently that the son actually murdered the husband's alleged girlfriend on the mother's behalf.
In the first clip, Dekker introduces the argument, to which the defendant's lawyer is incredulous: "Parental Alienation Syndrome? What the hell is that?"
To which Dekker responds, "In layman's terms...it's one parent brainwashing the child into hating the other parent. In this case hating to the point of committing murder for the other parent."
In the second clip, the wife and son are questioned during trial. The judge later throws out the argument: "PAS is off the table," she says.