Thursday, December 4, 2008

Law & Order ‘Knock Off” a Knock Out

This episode of Law & Order, “Knock Off” was no counterfeit. It was a riveting story with great acting and good use of all the key players. It also featured some excellent guest stars. I wondered, though, did they make Katee Sackhoff wear her same clothes from Battlestar Galactica? Most satisfying was when McCoy gets the upper hand with Shalvoy, even though Shalvoy tries to stick it to him at the end. I am really enjoying Jack as District Attorney, and I am looking forward to him running for office. My first question is – where can I sign the petition for Jack for DA? If NBC was smart, they would get one going today, just for fun. A few notes of humor that Sam Waterston fans probably enjoyed were the Hamlet references. I’ve done a few pieces about Sam and Hamlet - I call it “Samlet” when he’s in it – on my companion blog,These Are Their Stories, here, here, and and here if you are interested

All in all, this was an excellent episode and left me wanting more. As usual, here is the recap, and my review will follow.

A tour bus is unloading, and one of the tourists asks what time they need to be back, and is told they have about 3 hour. The bus driver is on the phone, when he sees one of his passengers approach, looking intoxicated. The man is at the door of the bus, and then he collapses and dies.

Detectives Lupo ( Jeremy Sisto ) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) are at the scene and are told that the bus drive identified the dead tourist as William Timmons, from a church group upstate – in Dargerville. He wasn’t robbed, but he was shot twice up close, but no one heard anything. A blood trail leads to the alley and find that Timmons was by a dumpster. No shell casings are there, and they wonder why he was by the dumpsters.

Lupo and Bernard interview the bus passengers and the bus driver. The bus driver says that Timmons sat up front, all by himself, and asked how much time he had before the bus left. St. Giles up in Dargerville hires the bus driver to take members up there every couple months to take a group in to town but it was Timmons first trip. One couple says Timmons was not a regular on the shopping trip, but they also are found to have knock off designer goods, and say the bus driver suggested where to go to find the items because he knows the best deals. Lately, he’s been steering them to Ming’s, and before that it was a place called Y.K.’s, but the last time they were there, the driver got into an argument with the proprietor, where he got a black eye.

Later at the 2-7, the detectives question the bus driver about him steering people to shops that sell counterfeit goods. He admits that Timmons told him where to send people for the best deals. The detectives tell him by switching to Ming’s that t he may have put himself in the middle of a turf war. Killing Timmons was a warning to the bus driver. The Bus driver asks what the detectives want him to do.

At Y.K.’s, the detectives, with police support, are rounding up everyone in the store. Lupo tell Mr. Y.K. he is under arrest for assault for the bus driver, but he denies it. Another woman begins to speak in what I believe is Chinese to Mr. Y.K. saying it’s about the man who got shot the day before, and says the man was in the store that day and asked about the subway. Lupo brings out a picture and asks Y.K. if he recognizes Timmons, and he denies it, but the woman nods yes. Y.K. asks Lupo if he speaks Chinese, and Lupo says if he keeps lying to him, his Chinese this will be the least of his worries. Y.K. admits Timmons asked him how to get to the subway, and he tells him “You buy map!” he bought a paper map, not laminate.

Back at the 2-7, Lupo and Bernard tell Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) the ME pulled two slugs out of Timmons, both from a 38. Van Buren sees puncture marks on the victim's arm. Lupo speculates they are track marks, maybe Timmons has been off the needle about a year. But she means other marks, some that look like pin pricks. Bernard tells them the transit authority found Timmons on their cameras coming out of the subway and heading north on Broadway. . Anita realizes that the flower district is in that area, and pinpricks on his arm could be from thorns.

The detectives find a flower shop employee, Cesar (Ivan Quintanilla) in the area who recognizes Timmons. He says that another employee, Dianne got in a fight with Timmons the other day, but he doesn't know what about. He came in and asked for her, he went in the back to get her and when he came back, she was screaming at him and hitting him, knocking him into some flowers. When Lupo seemed surprised Timmons was just taking it, he says Dianne has some moves on her. Timmons is on the ground, and Dianne said she’d be right back, but she split. She lives right around the corner. When Lupo asks the shop owner if he then handled Timmons, he said, sarcastically, “Sure, I put him in a headlock and I made him my bitch. What do you think?” and says that Timmons split too. Dianne never came back and called in sick that day.

Lupo and Bernard are questioning Dianne Cary in her apartment. They show him a picture and she says it’s not him, that Cesar (the shop employee) gets his people mixed up all the time. Lupo asks who was the guy she tossed into the flower a cart? She said it was some creep who thought he knew her. When Lupo challenges “and that gets him a beat down?” she responds that he tried to touch her. Bernard states that she ran out side and told Cesar to keep him there until she came back. She needed to get away, she was upset. Bernard questions if she is still upset now and is that why she called in sick? She snaps back that she doesn’t think she likes the tone of his questions. Lupo asks if she does martial arts, that Cesar said she has some moves. She said she is trained in jujitsu, and Lupo points out her certificates, saying that they are impressive, intimidating. Is that the idea, he asks, in case one of her guests gets and idea in his head? She states she wants them to leave, now, but Lupo continues. He holds up a certificate from the NRA, for marksmanship, and that would make a guy think twice. She raises her voice, and states forcefully, ‘I want you to go!” and Bernard responds, “Yes, m’am.” He calls for Lupo to leave also. As Lupo is walking out, he passes Cary, purposely bumping her arm. She reacts quickly, and uses her arm to push his arm out of the way and hold it down. He responds as well, by grabbing her arm and restraining her. Lupo comments “You really don’t like people touching you. “ She says “you did that on purpose,” to which Lupo responds, “Shame on me, now you’re under arrest.

At the 2-7 Bernard is telling Van Buren that the flower shop employees are positive it’s Timmons, and Dianne’s prior address at Dargerville was the same town as Timmons. Did they have a relationship? Bernard says Timmons has some dope beefs, the last one six years ago and an arrest three years ago but no charges were filed. Did he drop in on Cary to “rekindle and old flame” and Cary wasn’t thrilled about it? They can’t find that she has a gun, though. Lupo enters and tells them her sheet is clean, but their was a lien against her from a hospital in Dargerville from 3 years ago, June 8. Timmons was arrested June 9 but they don’t know why she was in the hospital.

At the 2-7, Cary is being held in an interrogation room, and Van Buren walks in with Lupo and Bernard and introduced herself. Cary says she wants to file a complaint as Lupo touched her “inappropriately.” Van Buren says they’ll get to that, and proceeds to ask her if she knows William Timmons when she lived in Dargerville, and she offers a vague response. When Van Buren asks her what happened to “you two” in Dargerville, Cary says nothing happened there. Van Buren points out that a code on an itemized bill is for her hospital visit 3 years ago is for a rape kit. The doctor took evidence in a rape investigation and William Timmons was arrested the next day, but no charges were filed and he was released. She asks if he raped her, and is that what this is about? Cary says no, she won’t talk to Van Buren and she wants a lawyer. She begins to get very upset, she says she doesn’t want to talk to the police at all, and as she continues to raise her voice, tells them to get the hell away from her. Van Buren moves away and she and the detectives leave the room.

Outside the interrogation room, Lupo says the DA in the county couldn’t find any record of a rape case for Cary or Timmons, but he said he was only in the office a few months and his files were a mess. Bernard speculates it didn’t happen, but Van Buren thinks Cary’s behavior says she was raped. They decide to hit the road and make a visit to Dargerville.

At Dargerville Community Hospital, a woman finds Dianne’s file. She says the rape kit result won’t be there, but reads back the information the duty nurse wrote: multiple contusions, to the face vaginal tearing, sounds like forcible intercourse. When Lupo asked if anyone called a cop, they are told that she was released to a friend, Layla. She also says the deputy sheriff was called to the hospital and took a statement from Cary.

At the sheriff’s office, Sheriff Burkhart tells them that the deputy sheriff was probably deputy Linz who will be in later that day. Burkhart recalls the case very well, that Cary was hurt badly, and they arrested Timmons the next day. Burkhart knows Timmons had been shot and killed. When they heard he was killed, they secured Timmons' place in case they wanted to take a look at it. He also tells them Timmons was not prosecuted for the rape because he had “kind of an alibi.” He says “the young lady’s” information was weak, the attack took place at night, lights were off, she didn’t see him, but recognized Timmons voice in a bar where she worked as a hostess, and he was arrested. He then says that after the charges were dropped, Dianne went all around town bragging about how she was going to get him. Burkhart had to send a man over to have a talk with her. Bernard notices an article on Burkhart’s wall, and notes that his little town has seen a lot of action, and was Timmons a part of that drug problem? Burkhart says he was, and the night of the rape, Timmons alibi was another meth head. Burkhart gets a phone call, and says he has to take it, meaning the detectives need to leave. Outside, Bernard and Lupo say that the case just doesn’t add up. They decide to talk to the friend who drove Dianne home after the rape.

Later, Lupo and Bernard talk to a Dianne’s friend Leila (Jessica Dickey), who runs AA and Narc Anon meetings. She says that she hasn't talked to Dianne since she moved to New York, and Dianne was a very angry person then. She says that Timmons was in her NA class and she thinks that he may have been making amends and he may have been seeking out someone he hurt. She tells the detectives that after Diane was raped, she took up martial arts and self-defense, she just wanted to hit back. She says that Robbie (Deputy) Linz also taught Dianne how to shoot after the incident.
Later, in a restaurant, Bernard tells Lupo that Dianne Cary made bail on her “assault beef” against Lupo. Lupo ignores the comment, saying the chili is great. Bernard asks “You expect me to ride in the car with you after having two bowls of that stuff?” He asks if Bernard really expects they’ll get out of Dargerville by 6. Lupo says he wants to stick around for dinner, he loves small towns, and Bernard asks Lupo of he knows how many serial killers got their start in small towns. Lupo notice Deputy Linz entering and motions for him to come over. The make their introductions, and Linz says Burkhart radioed him and told him they had questions about Dianne Cary, and mentioned that they were looking at Cary for Timmons’ murder. The deputy says that when took her statement the night of the rape, she was in a “bad way” and she had no doubt it was Timmons. He admitted he helped her in self-defense because he felt bad for her, he never thought she would use it. When Bernard asks, “Use it? What do you mean? You gave her a gun?” Linz tells him that he has to understand, but Bernard interrupts and asks him what kind of gun it was. It was a 38, which was an old piece that had been in the gun locker forever. He taught her how to use it in an area behind his house. Later. at Linz’s yard, he points out the tree they used for target practice. There was a slug still in one entry hole, and they pull it out. They think ballistics will be able to make a match.

Later, the detectives enter a flower shop, and move to Dianne Cary who is toward the back of the store. She is working on flowers, and Bernard tells her to drop the shears. She does so, but says it’s harassment, she’s out on bail. But he says not for murder, that she I under arrest. Lupo says “do this easy” but she reaches back for the shears and moves to attack Bernard. They struggle and Bernard is able to subdue her and he cuffs her. Lupo asks if shooting Timmons was as easy as shooting that tree?

Now in jail with her attorney, Cary is being questioned by Rubirosa and Cutter. Rubirosa says they are not without compassion for what happened to Cary, or for the fact that the system let her down, and they are willing to take this into account. They offer her 15 years to life. Cary says no, she won’t go to jail for something she didn’t do, and she didn’t kill that bastard. Cutter counters that she followed him back to the bus and hunted him down, but she denies it. Cutter says they matched the bullets they found in Timmons' body to the slugs from a tree used for target practice when the deputy taught her to shoot. She tells them the deputy taught her to shoot, but he never gave her a gun. Her attorney asks for more information on the deputy’s gun. When Rubirosa gives her the information, the attorney says that she has Cary’s gun, Cary gave it to her when she heard Timmons was shot and knew she would be suspected. Given how her rape case was bungled, she was wary about turning it over to the police. The attorney shows them a picture of Cary’s gun, the only gun she has ever owned, a 9 mm glock 26. It does not match the murder weapon.

At the 2-7, Van Buren tells Cutter (Linus Roache) that ballistics says that Timmons was not killed with Dianne’s glock. Cutter says that Dianne turned that gun over to her attorney as she was worried the police would use it to implicate her in the murder. Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) thinks it’s because she didn’t know what caliber of the fun killed Timmons, which means she’s not the killer. Van Buren thinks it may be a distraction so they don’t look for the 38 the deputy gave her. “Says he gave her” Rubirosa corrects. Cutter wants Linz brought down and put in front of a grand jury.

At Linz’s home in Dargerville, he tells Lupo and Rubirosa says he already told them everything. Lupo tries to entice him with taking him out for a steak afterwards, but Linz says his shift starts in two hours and his wife needs help from the kids. But Rubirosa says he doesn’t have a choice in the matter, and hands him a witness warrant. He says he has to clear this with the sheriff, and Lupo tells him to call him from the road. They get into the car and begin to drive away with Linz, and they are stopped by several sheriffs’ cars which surround them. Lupo and Rubirosa exit the car, and ask the sheriff if there is a problem. Burkhart tells Robbie to get out of the car, but Lupo tells him to stay there. Rubirosa identifies herself to Burkhart and tell him she has a material witness warrant for Linz. Burkhart disagrees and tells her she needs to file that with the county clerk. When Rubirosa tells him that by she has 24 hours to file, Burkhart tells the deputies to move her away, and they begin to physically pull her away. Lupo moves in to assist and it told to stop and the deputies move for their guns. The sheriff instructs them to arrest Lupo for interfering with a police officer. The sheriff gets Linz out of the car, and tells him to get in his car. Burkhart tells Rubirosa, “Next time Miss, show a little respect for our procedures “ and walk off. Rubirosa moves to her car, and makes a call to Mike Cutter.

In the county courtroom in Dargerville, the assistant DA Mr. Silver (Rob Campbell)for the county sticks up for his deputies, and she says Lupo was protecting her from the deputies manhandling her. He says she has not standing, and why is he even talking to her? He filed a motion to quash her witness warrant, he sniffles and walks off. As she moves to leave, Cutter and Bernard enter. She comments that they cut it kind of close and Cutter says they were pulled over for speeding, Bernard was doing 110 mph on the thruway. When Cutter asks what’s on the calendar, she says an arraignment (Lupo’s) that they can’t participate in, and a motion. As Bernard comments on the smallness of the courtroom, the judge (James Murtaugh) enters, dressed in informal clothing. The first case is 8-9, The People Vs. Lupo, interference with government administration. Lupo is led in, says he will represent himself as he’s a New York City detective and is in law school first year. He pleads not guilty. The says he in inclined to release him his own recognizance, but Sheriff Burkhart coughs and his lawyer says that the judge has never released on non-resident of the county on his own reconnaissance, and doing so would set poor precedence and may give rise to bias. The judge asks Silver for bail suggestion, who asks for $20,000. Lupo says he doesn’t have that but the judge sets it at $20,000 anyway.

The clerk tells the judge that Mr. Silver also has a motion to quash the material witness warrant, and Cutter approaches, identifies himself and states his case. Silver says the warrant wasn’t filed with the county clerk before they served it, but Cutter says he believes it is registered now. The judge looks over to the sheriff and asks if he wants to be heard on this. Burkhart says they want Linz for three days and he can’t even spare him for one. The judge grants the request to quash the warrant and adjourns the court. As Bernard leaves, disgusted, he says he will call the lieutenant to postpone. Cutter asks Silver why the sheriff is interfering in the murder investigation. Silver acts ignorant of it and says the sheriff is just being diligent. He uses the fact that he was with the sheriff when he got word Timmons was shot and moved to secure Timmons’ residence, all for the benefit of the investigation. He sniffles, clearly having sinus problems. Rubirosa tell Cutter that Burkhart knew Timmons address right of the top of his head, the town is small but not that small. Cutter tells her to compute to see what they can find on Burkhart’s court cases and he will see if he can use the court’s library.

Later, over coffee, Rubirosa says the Burkhart has made a name with his drug busts and has become the state’s poster boy for small town proactive law enforcement. And no surprise, thanks to the governor, a lot of state drug money interdiction money flowing in to the sheriff’s office. Bernard and Lupo arrive, Lupo has been “sprung”. He asks for a bowl of the turkey chili. Cutter tell them that 6 years ago, Burkhart registered a confidential informant, and that same CI testified in three quarters of Burkhart’s drug cases. Six years ago is about the time Timmons was busted for dope. They believes that Timmons was the informant and Sheriff Burkhart was protecting him from the rape charge. Cutter tells Connie and Bernard to go back to the city to start writing subpoenas for all of Burkhart’s drug cases. Lupo asks, does that mean he has to stay here? Bernard says that seeing that he likes the chili so much – and he moves to leave. Lupo asks Cutter what’s the plan, and he says they track down Timmons’ lawyer from six years ago.

Cutter and Lupo go to Timmons former lawyer James Currer (Glen Fleshler) and he is reluctant to help. Lupo tells him the only person in town who had balls was the woman who was raped by his client. Talking hypothetically, the lawyer tells them that “this informant” made a ton of arrests for Burkhart and was given a free pass to sell dope. He says that since he had guardian angel following him to make everything disappear, anything was possible. But Timmons got remorseful, and put it all out there in the open. He told Timmons that was not a good idea. He caught himself, noting he just said Timmons, he meant the informant. Lupo and Cutter now see that Burkhart, probably fearing prison time and overturning of all his convictions, had motive.

At their hotel room, Cutter and Lupo go to their hotel room and work on Lupo's case. They find an argument to help them, and they decide to talk to the judge, Cutter telling Lupo to make the application himself. At Judge Samuel Sorotsky’s home, Lupo present his case which indicates they were in the right when they took the deputy. The judge asks if they are telling him his judgment was wrong, and when he asks if the Sheriff was OK with this, Cutter says “he didn’t raise a single objection.” The judge drops the charges against Lupo, and Cutter also asks him to sign a release form for county records for Linz’s files, so they don’t have to bother him again on his day off. He signs the form, they thank him and leave. While walking away, when Lupo asks if they now talk to Linz, Cutter says no, now they pull the duty records for the sheriff’s department.

At the sheriff’s department, they are going through the records. On the day in question, they think Burkhart had plenty of time during a “long lunch break” to follow Timmons to New York and follow him to the flower shop, shooting him after he saw what a loose cannon Timmons was. But Burkhart wouldn’t have used his own car or a patrol car, so they look at the local sheriff’s department’s unmarked cars. Lupo asks for a mileage log for the two cars on record for September 20. The SUV showed 463 miles driven. Now all they need to do is prove that this was the car Burkhart used to get to New York and back, and Lupo says he didn’t spend 4 years in intel for nothing.

Back at the restaurant, Lupo and Cutter are reviewing the thruway tollbooth security cameras. They see the bus, but it seems that one minute of the video is missing. They notice the same thing on another toll both camera. They check a third, and still the same, one minute missing. It seems that the timing of the missing video would be about the time that Burkhart’s car would have appeared on the video. Could Burkhart have had them erased? But Lupo says this would have to be done at the source, with someone with access to the state thruway’s computers. Lupo says “Some one big just pulled up a chair and joined the game.”

Later, in Cutter office as he makes notes on the whiteboard, he comments to Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) that as confidential informant, Timmons put away over 100 people in prison, McCoy says that every one of those convictions will be in jeopardy once word gets out that Burkhart let Timmons rape and deal drugs. Cutter thinks that Burkhart didn’t care much about those convictions as he did about going to jail. But McCoy disagrees, he thinks someone somewhere would care about 100 overturned convictions. He asks what Cutter is doing about Dianne Cary, and Cutter says she is out on bail, they thought they would leave things as status quo until they find they are sure about Burkhart. Mc Coy says to get her some protection and he leaves.

Rubirosa enters and says that the thruway authority narrowed down when the video files were erased, and gave her a list of 11 people that had access to a terminal in that window of time. There are three state troopers on the list, one of which is Thomas Volcheck (Matt Walton), who worked with Burkhart in joint drug interdictions together.

Later, Cutter and Rubirosa question Volcheck at what appears to be his office, who says he goes there several times a month for official business. When Rubirosa asks him what official business he was doing 2 weeks ago when he accessed he terminals, he said he’ll get back to her and check out his notes. Cutter tells him to be sure to bring those notes when he testifies in front of a grand jury, and if he thinks he’s taking the fifth, they will nullify it with a grant of immunity. As he moves to enter a locked door, he says “sorry, authorized personnel only” and leave them standing there. Cutter notices a sign next to the doorway, which is marled “Executive Services Division.”

Back at McCoy’s office, McCoy says that the Executive Services Division is the governor’s personal security forces within the state police, and there are rumors that they perform “other services.” Was Volcheck acting on his own for Burkhart, or under Governor Shalvoy’s orders? Jack can’t believe Shalvoy would protect a murderer. But Cutter reminds him that Burkhart is the Governor’s favorite drug warrior, and reminds McCoy that somebody somewhere would care if over 100 drug convictions were overturned. Shalvoy would look like an idiot. McCoy defends Shalvoy, saying “Sometimes loyal surrogates go off the reservation if they think they are acting in the boss’ interest.” Rubirosa phone rings, and Cutter says that only Volcheck can answer that question. Connie says they have to get him to testify first, Volcheck is now exerting executive privilege. Cutter thinks this verifies the Governor is backing it up.

At the office of Governor Shalvoy (Tom Everett Scott), McCoy tells him there’s only one conclusion to draw, that the trooper erased the video with Shalvoy's tacit approval and now he is protecting him. When he asks if that is McCoy’s conclusion, McCoy says he doesn’t think his recklessness extends beyond his personal life, he’s too smart a politician. When Shalvoy says he got that right, McCoy demands that Shalvoy lift the executive privilege. Shalvoy says that he was “born at night, but I wasn’t born last night.” He thinks that McCoy is making him a “political football” in his campaign for re-election. He refuses to let any of the executive service take the stand in this or any other proceeding. McCoy says it’s about prosecuting a murderer, the campaign is the last thing on his mind. But Shalvoy isn’t buying it, citing some of McCoy’s recent actions. He tells him to “quit playing Hamlet,” declare himself a candidate, and get it over with. McCoy sits, silent. Shalvoy asks him if he knows Joe Chapelle in the attornet general’s office. McCoy does; Chapelle investigated corruption in state hospital contracts. Shalvoy says that the Children’s Aid Society is honoring him next month, and McCoy should go, pushing what looks like an invitation to McCoy. Shalvoy says that Chapelle is going after the pirates on Wall Street next – and digs at McCoy, saying Chapelle is a real reformer. McCoy looks calm, saying “meanwhile here, it’s politics as usual” and leaves.

Back at McCoy’s Cutter tells him that the governor is worried, and McCoy counters that once they have a member of his personal guard on the stand, we’ll ask about prostitutes, dirty tricks, and whatever else they have been handling for Shalvoy. Cutter suggests they forget about Volcheck, and give Linz full immunity for his testimony. McCoy agrees, but says to make sure this time the cops bring plenty of backup.

As Lupo and Bernard arrive at Linz’s home in Dargerville, they find him sitting up against a tree, dead, shot in the head. A 38 Smith and Wesson is near his hand. A woman’s loud shriek “NO!” is heard, and they see Linz’s wife approach, screaming. Inside her home, she speaks to the detectives, saying Burkhart came by in the morning, and he and Robbie went to the garage to talk. Robbie looked upset after the sheriff left, but he told her not to worry and then he went to the woods.

Later, in Cutter office, while McCoy looks at the newspaper headlines, Rubirosa tells him and Cutter that the 38 that Linz shot himself with was the same gun that shot Timmons. They believe they are being led to believe that Linz killed Timmons - "very neat and tidy” as McCoy states. But they can’t Burkhart without those videos that Volcheck could testify to erasing, if the Governor wasn’t shielding him. McCoy says “round and round it goes” and leave the room.

Back with the Governor, McCoy tells him the deputy's suicide is tantamount to admission of guilt. Shalvoy indicates that is the end of it, and half questioningly says that the erasures on the thruway video were glitches, right? McCoy responds with a gesture of half hearted agreement. Shalvoy says he won’t have thing hanging over Volcheck's head, and McCoy says the subpoena will be withdrawn tomorrow. When Shalvoy said he told him there was no need to be concerned, McCoy says he won’t go that far. Those video glitches got him thinking, what if we had been tracking a terrorist or suicide bomber instead of a simple murderer? Shalvoy says that would be terrible, and McCoy says he knew he would agree. McCoy says he is impaneling a blue ribbon grand jury to look into it, that we ought to know who is monitoring our roads and bridges, and how secure those systems are. He will be calling Trooper Volcheck as an expert. Shalvoy sits uncomfortably silent. McCoy says “ Of course, executive privilege won’t apply to testimony about technical matters. But then, you wouldn’t actually assert the privilege in matters of national security, would you? Who wants that kind of publicity?” Game, set match to McCoy. AT least for now.

The next day, Mc Coy enters Cutter’s office with an envelope, saying it was in his mailbox at home that morning,. It looks like a disk. He tells Cutter to withdraw the subpoena for Volcheck. Later, while looking at the missing video footage with Burkhart, and his attorney, they show him the video of Burkhart entering the New York thruway, September 20th at 10:17. They also have him at the Tappen Zee bridge toll and at Yonkers. Cutter reminds him that nothing disappears in the digital world, nothing except his friends, which are in short supply. The attorney asks what he is offering, and Cutter says the opportunity to serve is 25years in the safety of a segregated unit. Burkhart says he was a good sheriff and put away a lot of bad people.

Later, on a TV press conference, Governor Shalvoy, with someone standing next to him, calls Burkhart’s methods “repugnant” and condemns his actions, while McCoy and Cutter watch. Shalvoy is ordering a review of every drug conviction that Burkhart was involved in and ordering a special commission to investigate the use of confidential informants. To head the commission, he is appointing Joseph Chapelle (who is standing next to him) from the attornet general’s office. McCoy turns off the TV. McCoy says “Politics as usual” and turns to open a desk drawer. Pulling a paper out of the drawer, he tells Cutter, “Here. I’d like you to be the first to sign this. “ It a nominating position form for the office of the New York County District Attorney. McCoy needs 10,000 signatures. He adds, “I’m too old to play Hamlet.” Cutter signs while McCoy looks on with a smile on his face.

This episode was excellent, probably one of the best in a few years. It had everything: great guest stars, a great use of the cast, politics, cover-ups, DRAMA! Yes, there was actually drama. I can’t recall the last time that I watched a Law & Order where I actually cheered. I was applauding Jack at him getting back a Shalvoy. OK, maybe for Jack he only made more trouble for himself, but he made his point to Shalvoy that he is not one of Shalvoy’s boys who are there to just do his bidding. It also showed the Jack McCoy that we all know and love, the one who is willing to take big risks, especially when the stakes are very high. I also chuckled about the references to Hamlet, which of course Sam has been in the lead role and in supporting roles in the past. I also liked when Jack reminded Cutter about loyal people going off the reservation, which is a clear reference to the previous episode “Falling”.

But while the episode finished with Jack drama, it also was filled with drama for many of the others. This was a great episode for Sisto and Anderson, who seemed to be very conformable as Lupo and Bernard. It was also good to split them up on occasion with the Cutter and Rubirosa, just to mix things up a bit. Getting Lupo into trouble with the sheriff’s office while he attempted to protect Rubirosa served as the perfect opportunity for Lupo to use what he is learning in law school, and maybe Cutter has come to the realization that some real life use of Lupo’s schooling may do Lupo some good.

Katee Sackhoff, who I have come to enjoy over the years from Battlestar Galactica, seemed to be channeling her inner “Starbuck”, but it played very well for the character she was portraying. And Clancy Brown was well cast as the murdering, scheming sheriff. I always worry about “small town” law, and this only reinforced my bias.

But, what I most anticipate is a much bigger butt kicking hopefully some time down the road to be administrated by McCoy to Governor Shalvoy, being played by the boyishly pretty Tom Everett Scott. I still think he was miscast in this role, but hopefully it won’t matter because I suspect that Jack McCoy will somehow have a hand in getting Shalvoy out of office sometime down the road.

All in all, a great story. While it had a somewhat obvious ending for the sheriff, I didn’t care. I was more interested in this case to see HOW they were going to get him. If you haven’t seen “Knock Off” yet, make sure to catch it the next time it comes around on NBC. It will knock your socks off.

“Knock Off” Clip

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samfan said...

I couldn't agree more! I LOVED this episode and I thought this was the best episode by far for the past couple years. I loved how the detectives seemed a lot better this episode and I really enjoyed how they split them up. I too thought the hamlet references were funny. I am so happy because they finally showed the true McCoy, it has taken a while, but it showed him true to himself, yet still playing politics, but in his way. I hope the rest of the season is this good, because this was truly a great episode. I can't wait until next week!

Animelee said...

Just a great episode!

My younger brother is actually making vegetarian chili right now. I think you can guess why.

I loved everything about this episode.

samfan said...

I wonder who wrote this episode because whoever it was should be given a huge bonus, because they really brought out the characters, and they finally got Jack being Jack. Whoever it was awesome job!

jhjenn said...

It had all the little touches... I loved Cuter barefoot on the bed, washed socks and shirt hanging from the bathroom shower.