Law and Order: Criminal Intent, the long-running spinoff of the recently canceled TV crime drama mainstay Law and Order, has on fairly regular occasions manifested the overt progressivist and anti-Christian bias of its forebear Last night’s episode is one of the most blatant instances yet.

It’s a pity because the show has interesting story lines and the central characters, NYC police detectives played by Jeff Goldblum and Saffron Burrows, are intelligent and fairly likable.

Unfortunately, last night’s story line is neither. In “Palimpsest,” detectives Nichols and Stevens investigate a case involving two wealthy Manhattan antiquarians who apparently killed each other in a sword-fighting duel. (That kind of insanely bizarre situation is common for the show.) Also involved in the story is the schizophrenic adult daughter of one of the dead men, whom Nichols used to date before her illness became manifest.

The story centers around the search for an ancient book purported to be a contemporary Roman account of the trial of Jesus Christ, which we are told is believed to contradict the Gospel narrative by absolving the Jewish religious hierarchy of any responsibility and suggests the trial was entirely political in intent. All of this, we are further given to believe, will destroy the case for belief in the divinity of Christ.

Powerful stuff, though of course merely a fever dream on the part of the show’s writers and producers. And as if this sub-Da Vinci Code conceit were not sufficiently hostile toward Christianity, (note: plot spoiler follows) the murderer turns out to be a disguised Catholic priest intent on possessing the book so that he can destroy it and prevent the world from knowing that Christianity is all a big, horrible lie.

The incorporation of a premise intended to cast doubt on the foundations of Christianity is entirely unnecessary as a means of generating interest or suspense: anything that any character might find important could have motivated the murder. Consequently it’s obvious that the producers chose this story element because they liked the idea of imagining that some long-hidden document will prove Christianity a myth.

Of course they have every right to follow their imaginations down whatever path they wish—and we have the right to judge them for the messages they choose to send thereby.

The producers of Law and Order: Criminal Intent can do better, and they have done so in the past. Let’s hope they choose to stop the anti-Christian propaganda and concentrate instead on the important business of creating interesting mysteries.

—S. T. Karnick