"Is he saying we did it? That's a load!" - Steven Hanauer (Philip Seymour Hoffman), reacting to a police officer's assertion that his drug dealer boss has implicated him in a rape, in "The Violence of Summer,"the fourteenth episode of the first season of NBC's "Law & Order," which originally aired on February 5, 1991).
A decade and a half before he would win an Oscar for playing Truman Capote, a 23 year old Philip Seymour Hoffman earned his first television credit - indeed, his first credit of any kind, according to the Internet Movie Database, playing a low level drug dealer on "Law & Order."
The episode begins with Hanauer, Hoffman's character, on trial for the gang rape of celebrity journalist Monica Devries (played by Megan Gallagher, who would later play Catherine Black on "Millenium" and Jillian Wallace on "24"). Hanauer's co-defendant is the equally unsavory Howard Metzler (played by Gil Bellows, who would go on to play Billy Allen Thomas, the love interest of Calista Flockhart's title character on "Ally McBeal").
Hanauer and Metzler receive good news when they learn that the charges pending against them are to be dismissed due to a lack of evidence. There is no physical evidence which link them to the crime, and the memory of the traumatized rape victim is shaky under the circumstances. By taking her to a hypnotherapist, the authorities learn that Hanauer, Metzler, and third offender who is now cooperating with police were not the only offenders. Indeed, the ring leader, Tim Pruiting (Al Shannon), had eluded capture, and even identification. Ultimately, the two detectives, Mike Logan (Chris Noth) and Max Greevey (George Dzundza) pit the perpetrators against each other and trick Hanauer and Metzler into implicating themselves as participants in the rape. Once the new inculpatory evidence comes to light, their lawyer, Louis Taggert (played by Samuel L. Jackson) accepts his clients' fate. The episode closes by noting their conviction and ultimate incarceration.
The episode offers a strange bit of trivia. Philip Seymour Hoffman is actually credited in the episode as Philip Hoffman, while the hypnotherapist, played by a different actor with the same name, is credited as Phil Hoffman (but as Philip Hoffman in IMDB).