Saturday, December 12, 2009

Law & Order “Fed” Recap & Review

All photos from NBC

Law & Order “FED” had nothing to do with the Feds, but instead spun a case that seemed at first to be motivated by political beliefs, which then led to an affair and cover up. It seemed that everyone was a little on edge in this episode because there were a lot of suspects but no concrete evidence against any front runner. This caused some friction between Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) and his staff, but also with Jack and Lt. Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson). Of course, Anita is in no mood to take any crap from anybody, and she really let loose in this episode. She let the group of protesters have the full force of her authority, and I found myself cheering that they finally gave S. Epatha Merkerson a scene and some lines where she could really show the tough side of her character. She also prepared to give it right back to McCoy when he chides the police for not delivering a solid case, but her experience and likely her long time work with McCoy gave her the power to hold back and not say what was really on her mind. It was a nice touch for McCoy to come back to her and apologize, of course, AFTER all the deals were in progress.

It was also heartbreaking to see Van Buren completely break down at the end of the episode, showing the toll that both working and trying to manage her illness is taking. She does not know if she is going to make it, and I find myself getting very worried that this show would actually consider having her become so ill that she can’t continue her job, or worse yet, allow her to die. I don ‘t think I would handle her death very well, and while I know people die all the time in real life, I would still like to have my fantasy that it doesn’t have to happen on television to such a beloved character as Anita.

The return of Benjamin Bratt was essentially a filler portion, with his wife finally dying of MS. It was a touching scene between Rey Curtis and Anita, and while I would have rather had Bratt come back to help work a case, it was nice to see him anyway, even if it really had nothing to do with the case at hand. I am sure fans appreciated the references to Lennie Briscoe, and also to find that Rey Curtis is now working in California, likely being bit by the California bug when he worked that Hollywood/LA case years ago.

Another face that was nice to see again is ME Rodgers, who provided her usual snarky commentary, such as her one word answer to Lupo on what kind of crud was in the guys hair (her answer – crud), and also getting snippy when Lupo had the nerve – the nerve! – to try to get some of that crud himself. Speaking of Lupo, his pretend phone call worked fine in the first scene but wasn’t as funny when he used the same tactic later on in the episode.

This must be political commentary week for the Law & Order franchise. With last Wednesday’s episode of Law & Order SVU "Anchor" causing a ripple in the conservative force so to speak, this one seemed to take a shot at liberals an libertarians, and even ACORN. Sure, there were the usual segment of veiled and not so veiled political commentary, but after all, this is Law & Order, which is known for having its own agenda. While it was very blatant and almost intolerable in Law & Order SVU "Anchor" , it seemed a little less heavy handed in “FED.” The only thing that seemed a little off was the McCoy town hall meeting, which seemed had absolutely no people in the audience that was in support of him, they were mostly protestors. It was no wonder that McCoy felt “like a corn cob in a pig sty, ” a line that made me actually laugh. But the lesson for this week’s episode of Law & Order SVU and Law & Order seems to be that right wingers are stupid followers who kill for their causes and toxic talk show hosts, and left wingers kill over affairs and cover ups.

While the story got a little confusing at times – too many people and too many names I couldn’t keep it straight – I thought it was very good and it finally gave S. Epatha Merkerson plenty of camera time. Her performance was excellent.

Here is the recap:
Two guys are out canvassing to try to get people to register to vote. One of the guys, Jim, is very pushy with a resident. He wants to keep working so he drives off while his work partner says he is going to take the ferry back into the city.

We then see this same guy laying on the front of a car nearly naked, with the word “FED” written in his chest. Detectives Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) . The license plates on the car belong to Nicholas Landy of Delaware. Bernard notices white gravel in the tire treads which is not from around there. There is a tarp covered in blood in the trunk. Bernard notices that the dumped body is in full view of the Federal Reserve Bank, Bernard thinks the body was dumped by a person who has a big one for Uncle Sam.

In the morgue, ME Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix) says that the time of death was between 7 and 10 last night. There were multiple contusions and broken ribs and jaw all inflicted within a half hour period, she calls it a “blunt force trauma party”. Lupo notices marks on the victim’s neck and comments he was Lupo comments that he was choked up, and Rodgers replies that it was someone with big hands. The inscription on his chest is in ink, consistent with a black marker. Lupo asks what is the “crud” in his hair, and Rodgers dryly answers, “crud.” Lupo says it is crud that may have been on the floor when he was killed, and as he moves to pull some off, Rodgers clears her throat and grabs his hand, moving it away, saying anytime he wants to switch jobs to let her know. As she walks off, Bernard enters and they chuckle over her attitude. Bernard tells Lupo that the fingerprints traced back to a James Landy of Delaware, he has a disorderly conduct from 2004. The car is in his father’s name and there is no record he ever worked for the federal government.

Back at the 2-7, Bernard tells Lt. Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) that the SUV’s EZ Pass has him leaving Staten Island at 9:30 last night. It could have been Landy driving the car or his killer, they can’t tell from the tollbooth camera. Van Buren asks about the iron oxide in his hair, and Lupo indicates it is probably from the crime scene, it’s a chemical used in explosives and cosmetics, Van Buren adding also in 100 other things. She asks if they contacted his next of kin, and Bernard tells her Landy’s father is deceased as of last year, and his mother lives in Arizona with his sister and the local authorities are contacting them. They have his last known address in Red Hook, and Van Buren tells them to get over there; One PP is talking to the FBI, Landy may have worked for the government off the radar. While she talks, Lupo looks down and sees a pamphlet on her desk titled “What you need to know about radiation therapy.” She notices them looking and picks up the brochure so they can’t dwell on it, and says if they want to help, get her some answers.

At the apartment of Jim Landy, a tenant tells the detectives last night there was a black girl outside trying to buzz Jim from downstairs, a little before 10. The woman notices the girl had her right hand was balled up into a fist. Lupo sees there is a laptop chord but no laptop and nothing else seems out of place. Bernard notices by Landy’s books that he seemed to be a political junkie. Lupo sees a pay stub from the Rights Alliance Foundation. Landy appeared to be no Fed but a community organizer.

At the Rights Alliance Foundation, the woman who runs the office, Courtney Owens (Danai Gurira), says that in her three years there she has never seen anyone with more passion than Jim. He was in the field all day yesterday in Staten Island and Bay Terrace, going door to door with John Munson, until late. The Rights Alliance (RA) had not been getting any unusual threats, and Lupo shows her Landy’s photo with the word Fed on it, which shocks her. She can’t imagine why anyone would think he was a fed as they tell all their employees to identify themselves as a non –profit. Lupo tells her to tell her people that for now to work in pairs and during daylight hours.

They speak with John Munson, who says he should have never let Landy go off on his own. Landy went to Richmond Valley. Munson tells him Landy learned the hard sell from working the Obama campaign. Munson is concerned if he is safe, and Lupo just tells him to mind the Jack Russells.

The speak to a person in the neighborhood who saw Landy come by yesterday. The notice the white gravel in the roadway, and find that a neighbor, Jerry Ganz (Boris McGiver, had a new driveway just put in. When the get to Ganz’s place, he is confrontational with them, going on about “big brother”. He says he did not talk to Landy. He tells them they have 5 seconds to get off his property, but when Lupo notices rat poison in Ganz's open garage, he tells him that in the hands of anti-government activities, possession of that amount of toxin falls under the terrorism laws. When he asks who do they think they are, Bernard tells him “big brother” and that he is under arrest,

Down at the 2-7, the question Ganz and he continues to be uncooperative. When Lupo says if he would just give them an alibi he can get back to his fortress of solitude, Ganz says he does not answer to a bunch of Obamabots. Lupo tells him to hold on pretends he is getting a phone call, saying it is a message from the boss. He "hangs up" and says after they book Ganz for possession of a chemical weapon they will get a warrant and go through all his stuff. Ganz caves and said he spoke to the guy and told him voting is an endorsement of a system that violates our freedom. He said Landy argued with him with the usual liberal claptrap. Landy dropped his bag and his video camera tumbled out and the red light was on. Ganz said he was going to get his gun and Landy picked up his stuff and beat it. He asks if he can go, and Lupo makes another pretend phone call and then says no.

In the observation area, they tell Van Buren that Ganz is a member of Patriot Rangers, a libertarian group active in those “tea parties” last summer. She asks if Landy had a video camera in his place, and Lupo said there was a manual but no camera. She tells them to kick Ganz back to Staten Island and let them hold him on the terrorism charge, and see if the RA knew Landy was moonlighting as Michael Moore.

Later, while they get ready to move Ganz, Bernard says that Courtney Owens at RA did not know about Landy’s videotaping. He had the Milford Delaware police fax over Landy’s disorderly conduct arrest report from 2004, and Lupo comments something does not make sense. But suddenly Van Buren runs in with a raised voice, saying she wants everyone outside and to grab their vests, they have a situation. Lupo wants to tell her the information about Landy but she tells him later. Outside, there a protesters with signs and guns yelling to free Jerry. Van Buren, in her “I’m not gonna take this crap” mode, says the prisoner is being transported to Staten Island, and anyone who interferes will be arrested; anyone who so much as reaches for a weapon is a dead man. As they take Ganz away, she says those of them carrying a weapon are in violation of administrative code 10-303 and they have 20 seconds to get them back in their carrying cases and into their vehicles or they will be booked for reckless endangerment. They go off with their tail between their legs. She turns to the detectives and asks what they wanted to tell her about Landy, and Bernard says Landy was booked in 2004 for picketing outside a law clinic in Delaware, and the arresting report said he was co-chair of his campus Bush re-election committee. Lupo wonders from militant conservative to bleeding heart community organizer sounds like a stretch. Van Buren says if they figure out which one he was it might tell them who killed him.

Later, they speak with a friend of Landy’s who last saw him a couple of weeks ago who told him to come over anytime and left his key in the stairwell so he could let himself in. He was conservative and hated liberals. Once Landy got the student paper to interview an Iraq war veteran turned peacenik who Landy set up as a fake and the paper was embarrassed by it. He thought RA was a bunch of socialists but never said anything about punking them in the same way. Landy did tell him he was working on something but didn’t tell him what As the detectives walk off, they wonder if Landy was working on something to make the RA look bad, he is killed and his camera goes missing, his apartment is cleaned out of his laptop and video, and if a girl who was let into his building knew where he kept the key, she could have taken all that stuff. They wonder if he was worked over to find out where he kept the stuff. The night he was killed, he got two calls from the RA office, the second one at 7:16 and they think whoever called from RA knows something about this.

At the RA, a woman tells them the calls were probably about the next day’s assignments. Bernard notices a wrist brace for carpal tunnel on a desk and remembers the woman sees at Landy’s with her hand all balled up. He asks to whom it belongs, and is told it is Courtney’s assistant, Marissa, who is in the break room.

They speak with Marissa, her hand balled up into a fist. She says she was at Landy’s but he did not answer his door. She said Courtney asked her to stop there on his way home because Landy failed to turn in his registration. She gets upset and says she is freaked out by it. She confirms she did not get into his apartment. She did not talk to him that night, but she did not know he worked for the Bush campaign in 2004, and said people can change their minds. She gets a text message from Courtney and says her break is over and she walks out. Bernard takes her can of cola that she left on the table.

The detectives enter Van Buren’s office, who is on the phone with the chief about the case. Lupo tells her Marissa’s prints. were not in Landry’s place but the key Landy left in the stairwell is missing so they can’t rule her out either. Bernard shows Van Buren Marissa’s phone activity which he says is hinky, she got a call from a RA cell at ;30 just before she went into Landy’s place but they don’t know from whom. She also called Red Hook Video Services the next morning and charges from them are on Landy’s Visa. Van Buren answers her ringing phone, and she is surprised by the caller. She asks the caller to hold on, she covers the receiver, and comments to Lupo and Bernard signaling them to go to the video place. They get up to leave and she goes back to her call. She asks the caller how he is and if he is in town, and then a sad look comes over her face, and she says, “Oh no, oh I’m so sorry.” She asks about something being this Friday, and then she says she does not know if she can get away, but asks for the address. She adds that she wants to be there, it’s just that there has been a lot going on. She repeats that she is so sorry, says goodbye, and hangs up. She looks at the sticky note with the address on it, and sticks it on her bulletin board, and leans forward, with her chin in her hands, looking sad.

At Red Hook Video, the detectives find that Landy dropped off 2 flash cards to have the audio enhanced, and the girl said she worked for him and would send someone by to pick it up. He says Roberto, a big Hispanic guy, picked it up, paid cash. He touched the counter so Bernard says they will send someone by to dust for prints. The video guy still had the files on his own computer.

At the 2-7, they watch Landy’s hidden camera video of a meeting with RA people, talking about the Pasta Plate franchises in lower Manhattan all run by white males, not representatives of the surrounding community. They wonder what if someone found something in the lasagna that should not be there, and Marissa asks, like what? Someone suggests a condom, and thinks that if RA makes a big stink about it, the company will do anything to shut them up, Marissa saying they could make them give three franchises to people that RA chooses. Lupo comments that Landy was trying to talk them into committing extortion and that’s how he was going to punk RA. Bernard thinks this is motive for Marissa. They also think she had help; they found prints at the video place for another RA employee, Arturo Ramirez, who had been arrested a few times at RA pickets for trespassing and assault, a prime candidate for killing Landry. Van Buren wonders about the iron oxide in Landy’s hair, and says it is used as pigment in paint. She notices the address on Staten Island where Ramirez was arrested for unlawful assembly six months ago there used to be a pig paint factory there. It’s Wetherbee’s, who “went bust” last spring.

The detectives are at Wetherbee’s in Staten Island and Bernard notices dried blood, and Lupo notices footprints. Bernard comments they are bigger than his, and he wears and 11, saying whoever dragged the body out of there had serious “boats.”

Back at RA, Arturo Ramirez is giving instructions to other workers when Bernard arrives with the police to arrest him for murder. Lupo also arrests Marissa Rumstead for murder. Courtney tells Marissa this is a mistake and not to worry, they will get Davis Webb involved. Other workers complain that this is about their protesting police brutality and it is a frame job by the police, and begin to yell “no justice no peace.” Bernard says, “Great. Now everybody hates us.

In DA Jack McCoy’s (Sam Waterston) office, EADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) and ADA Connie Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza),along with Courtney and Davis Webb (Sam Robards), watch Landy’s video. Webb tells McCoy he is just as horrified as he is but it is not a motive for murder. But McCoy reminds him she is on tape hatching a blackmail scheme that could land her in jail and that is motive enough . Courtney objects saying it’s just kids messing around blowing off steam, and Webb adds they are fired and they will issue new guidelines and training procedures. McCoy tells him he appreciates him coming in to defend his organization, but Webb says it is not just an abstract defense. Courtney says she can confirm that Marissa was at Landy’s apartment on her instructions to pick up registration forms and Arturo, she sent him to SoHo at 7. Webb asks McCoy not to rush to judgment, saying that the RA has worked across party lines for 20 years and why put those good works into jeopardy over a few dumb kids and some ambush video? McCoy tells him the chips will fall where they fall and thanks them for coming in. Owens and Webb leave, and afterwards, Cutter comments, “A few dumb kids. He’s kidding, right?” McCoy says the RA has a legacy worth protecting – predatory lending reform, housing, minimum wage. When Cutter says no one is disputing that, McCoy suggests they go the extra mile before they blow it all up. He asks about Jerry Ganz, and Rubirosa says they police have not eliminated him as yet. He motions as if saying, “well?” and she says, “Say no more.”

Jerry Ganz is back in interrogation, and Lupo shows him that they found the broken up video camera in his composter. He admits grabbing the camera and then Landy took off but he never hurt him. He lied about the camera because he knew how it would look as he is not the kind of person the government would usually give the benefit of the doubt. Lupo excuses himself and then pretends to make another phone call, saying “Sorry, wrong answer.” Bernard tells him to try again. Ganz says nothing.

Later, Van Buren says the lab examined his clothes and shoes and there was no blood or fluids and there is nothing linking him to Landy or the paint factory. Rubirosa adds there is nothing eliminating him, either. Cutter tells says that finding the camera complicates matters, they can kick cans but they still can’t charge him. Van Buren gets snappy and says, “Well, pardon my detectives for doing their job. And by the way, we already have two murder suspects. Good ones.” But Cutter says, “Not good enough.” She retorts, “Exactly what do you want from us?” and Cutter states, “Clarity.” Van Buren responds, “Clarity…Mr. Cutter, exactly how long have you been an ADA? (he looks perplexed at the question and she goes on) Since when do you get evidentiary clarity in a murder case handed to you on a silver platter. I think we’re done for today.” She opens the door for them to leave, and they both exit, looking a little surprised. Van Buren closes the door and walks to Lupo and Bernard, asking him to have the lab take another run at matching the footprints to Ganz’s. Lupo tells her she has to see something, and Bernard says they salvaged some data from the memory card from the night Landy was killed. There is a clip from 7:16 PM with Landy in his car, getting a phone call. It is Courtney, saying he already spoke with Marissa and he has one last area before heading home and he can talk to Arturo tomorrow. He then asks why tonight and what’s the big deal, and then says if she really wants him to, fine. He hangs up, and then says, “Morons. “ Bernard says Courtney said she never spoke to Landy that night, and here she is calling him. Lupo adds that she also sent him to meet Ramirez. Van Buren tells them to talk to Courtney’s family to see what she was up to that night and that she will fill out a 49 for Mike Cutter, She heads back to her office, and as she begins to fill out the report, she stops and looks back at the sticky note she put on her bulletin board the other day. She checks her watch, and takes the sticky note for Jericho off the board.

At Jericho cemetery, Van Buren approaches Rey Curtis, and quietly calls his name to get his attention. He is happy to see her, calling her “Lu” and hugs her. She offers her condolences on his wife Deborah. He tells her it means a lot her being there. She comments that his daughters are so beautiful, and asks how he is doing. Rey says, “A day at a time.” He asks about her, saying he heard she was sick. She nods her head, and he says it is just rotten luck all around. He pauses, then says he and his girls are going to his sister in law’s for a little reception, and asks if she wants to join them. She says she would love to but she needs to get back. He said if she can spare a few minutes, it would be a shame not to catch up, and she says sure, she would like that.

Inside the chapel, Rey says after 10 years, Deborah couldn’t fight it any more. The MS just completely overwhelmed her. He sighs, and says she died at home in his arms. Van Buren asks what is next, wondering if he is heading back to California. He says yes, the girls love it, and the job is good, but Deborah was from the island so it makes sense to bury her there with her folks. He says they are losing a lot of people, he talked to Lennie a few days before the end and he was still cracking jokes. Van Buren laughs, saying, “Good old Lennie.” Rey says that Deborah, in the end, tried to be brave, but it was bad. She puts her hand on him to console him and there is a long silence between them.

At Werner and Cox, Courtney’s husband says she did not get home until late. When Bernard asks that he used to work with her at RA, he worked in accounting for twelve years and the view is better in the private sector. He did no know Landy. He was asleep when his wife got home that night and they didn’t talk. Lupo comments the view IS better from there, and comments Owens went from accounting to PR and asks how he swung that. Owens plays dumb, and Lupo says it is just an interesting career change. Owens says that’s what it is, interesting, and now he needs to get back to work.

At Cutter’s office, Van Buren tells Cutter, Rubirosa, and McCoy that Courtney’s husband was a bookkeeper for RA then three weeks ago he was born again as a PR executive, which he has no background for. The PR firm has a $1 account with RA. Cutter thinks this is not unusual his wife was pulling strings, but she goes on to say that the month before he left RA, he started buying municipal bonds and in three weeks he bought over $500K. McCoy wants to know where the money came from. She shows them that over that three weeks, the RA special project fund shows an unexplained debit of $500K. Cutter concludes Owens was embezzling, and Rubirosa suspects Courtney found out and got him out the door before it was discovered. Cutter wonders if she is in on it. But McCoy says this is all fine and good but what about Landy’s murder? She says they found evidence Courtney called Landy the night of the murder, evidence that she sent him to meet Ramirez. Cutter said she was probably worried that the scandal that Landy’s video would not stop at the Pasta Plate extortion, that it would expose her husband’s embezzlement. McCoy says now they have another murder suspect, Courtney Owens, and then adds he hopes they have at least eliminated Jerry Ganz from the running. Van Buren says not quite. Cutter tells McCoy about the Landy’s camera being found at Ganz’s, and he had access to the murder scene. McCoy says, ‘So the list of suspects just keeps on growing and we have no definite proof of anything. (Silence from the group.) Somebody say something.“ Cutter answers, “This is not a simple murder, Jack. “ McCoy raises his voice, saying, “Then sort it out, all of you or find people who can.” McCoy walks out leaving them to all look at each other.

At the jail, Cuter and Rubirosa speak with Marissa, who said Borrow a flash drive from Landy’s desk and she found the video on it. She told Courtney about it and Courtney freaked saying that they had to get the video or they would go to jail. She told her to tell Landy to meet Arturo at the paint factory and tell him there were some squatters there who they needed to register. :Landy didn’t want to go so Courtney called him. Courtney told her to meet Arturo at Landy’s place. He called an told him how to get into Landy’s place and how to find the memory cards. He did not say he killed Landy and she did not know he was dead until the cops showed up. Cutter continues to press and Marissa gets very rattled. She insists she knows nothing about the murder.

Later, they speak with Arturo who is also in jail and he said he picketed that paint company 6 months ago. He says Marissa is lying about him calling her about Landy, he called her because he wanted to “hit that.” Cutter tells him either he rolls on Courtney or he gets it for everything, but Ramirez says Cutter has nothing, just saying he picked up some dead guy’s videos that he paid for and if they want to nail him for that, go crazy. He gets up and leaves.

Back at the 2-7, Bernard tells Van Buren that Ramirez dodged all the security cameras on all the ferries and bridges. Van Buren asks about his cell phone call to Marissa, but Lupo says he was already across the bridge in Brooklyn. He comments that Ramirez made 26 calls in the last 6 months from a location near JFK, always on Tuesdays and Thursday and always in the early evening. The calls were to different people but the pattern sticks out. She suggests they pinpoint the exact location at JFK and if it is inside, security cameras should have picked him up.

Back at Cutter’s office, Van Buren tells Cutter and Rubirosa that all the calls were made in proximity to the Vanguard airport hotel, and shows them photos of Ramirez there, and also with Davis Webb, and then Courtney Owens at the same location. The front desk told them Courtney and Webb have been regulars there, twice a week for the past 8 months. Cutter says, “An affair. Just what this case needed.” Van Buren adds that it appears to be over, the front desk said they stopped coming six weeks ago. Rubirosa notes that 6 weeks ago is when Courtney’s husband started taking money out of the RA. Van Buren suspects he wasn’t taking it, someone was paying him to keep his mouth shut. Cutter concludes Courtney’s husband found out about the affair and Webb paid off with the RA money and found him a cushy job. Rubirosa adds that Webb is married, the head of a national organization and has political ambitions, Van Buren adds this is the real scandal and they were afraid Landy’s video would expose them, so they killed him to cover up the cover up of their affair.

As McCoy is leaving his office, he asks Cutter and Rubirosa just how many layers does this onion have? Cutter says it all comes down to Davis Webb as he had the most to lose and Ramirez was is go-fer and if anyone gave the order to get rid of Landy it is Webb. McCoy asks him what is he waiting for, and if he has the evidence to charge him. When there is no answer, McCoy says, “I see” and then asks about Ganz. Rubirosa tells him Ganz is refusing to post bail claiming malicious prosecution Cutter adding despite the fact that he lied to police and destroyed evidence. McCoy says that is the problem , if he can argue at one point that Ganz is the killer then Webb the next, so can they and this can create reasonable doubt. Rubirosa gets a text message saying that Webb on behalf of the RA just hit them with a motion to suppress. McCoy looks at his watch and says, “Deal with it, I have to attend a panel on violent crime, it would be nice if we were solving it instead of just talking about it.”

At a town hall meeting, McCoy is on the stage talking about New York City being the safest city in the nation and says he has time for a few questions. The first questioner stands up and asks him to address his office’s naked contempt for the RA, saying they are being harassed. McCoy denies any contempt, he has worked with them in the past and hope to again. Some yells out “Lies!” and the crowd erupts. As the crowd gets more unruly, McCoy says he won’t comment on an ongoing investigating. The crowd continues to get more raucous. A woman yells he should be the one investigated, and McCoy leaves the stage, holing up his hands and thanking them for their time as he races off. People begin to yell to “free Jerry” and :no justice no peace.” McCoy exits quickly.

Back in his office with Cutter, Rubirosa, and Van Buren waiting, McCoy says, “I was like a corn cob in a pig sty, they all wanted a piece of me.” Cutter says to tell him he is not afraid of a little democracy in action. McCoy says he would not have minded it as much if it wasn’t their own damn fault. He adds they are twisting in the wind with multiple suspects and the police haven’t closed the loop on anyone. Van Buren objects, saying she doesn’t decide who to prosecute, he does. McCoy counters that she has to set the table for them , that’s how this work. Van Buren says coldly, “I’ll tell you exactly. how this works Mr. McCoy. You and your whole office…” She tales a breath and pauses, catching her words. As McCoy stands there waiting for her to finish, she just adds, “I have to get back” and she walks out. She walks out into the hall, and looks upset.

In the 2-7 interrogations, Courtney says she did not tell Marissa to call Landy, she didn’t tell her anything and she is lying. Lupo says they have the tape of her call to Landy, but she says it was to meet her in SoHo to drop off his forms and he never showed and that is why she sent Marissa to her apartment. Lupo reminds her she said she did not speak with Landy, but she says she remember the call after she spoke to them and didn’t think it mattered. She says she is not protecting Davis (I think he said Owens but he means Webb) and she denies that, saying she is back with her husband now and is not protecting Webb. As Van Buren watches from the observation area, she notices that as Courtney skirt raises a little, she is weaning a garter belt with her stockings. She enters and takes over the questioning, asking when the detectives picked her up from her office, had she come from some special occasion or going somewhere, and she says no, she was going home and her husband has dinner with clients. Van Buren notes the special hosiery and confronts her about it, saying they are not her everyday gear and that they are expensive and sexy, concluding she is still seeing Webb. But Courtney says it is over, it was nothing. Van Buren says Courtney is still in love with him and asks what kind of promises he made her, like leaving his wife. Courtney says Webb says he needs a little more time, and then tells Van Buren, “Don’t give me that look You don’t know how it is with us, OK?” Van Buren leans forward and says what she does know, when this is done, Courtney will be in jail and he will be with his wife. Courtney says no he wouldn’t, he loves her and will stand by her, she knows it. Van Buren tells her to prove it – prove it to herself.

In Courtney’s office at RA, Webb arrives and they kiss, and he tells her whatever he had to tell her it could have waited for the hotel. She says they can’t go on like this, and he reminds the RA Is covering Marissa and Arturo’s legal expenses and the case is garbage. He tries to reassure her, and says it will blow over. She asks when it does if they can finally get that place together? He says down the line, absolutely, , he just has to get the kids out of the house first. She pulls back a bit, and then starts to talk about what the police told her that Webb told Arturo to kill Landy and why did he do it? Webb says Arturo is a loose cannon and she says he must have told her something. He said he told him he had a problem that needed to be cleaned up and he had to do what was needed. Courtney asks, “What was needed?” and asks how he can say that to a guy like Arturo? He says Arturo knows how to keep his mouth shut. He tells her he will meet her at the hotel, and leaves.

Later in the 2-7 with Van Buren and Cutter, Webb is there with his attorney as they listen to the recording of his conversation with Courtney. After it is over, Van Buren tells him that her detectives and Rubirosa are with Arturo Ramirez and they will play him this tape especially the parts where Webb implicates him and that he won’t take it well. Cutter tells him whoever sings first gets the nicer cage. Webb complains that he spent 20 years trying to build the organization and what was his supposed to do, let a right wing hack…and his lawyer cuts him off.

In her office alone, Van Buren goes through her radiation pamphlet and hears a knock at the door. It is Jack McCoy. She asks what she can do for him and he says she already has done a lot, they have pleas from Webb, Ramirez, deals for Courtney Owens and Marissa Rumstead are in the works, and Ganz has agreed to 5 years probation on charges of robbery and obstruction, calling it a fair day’s work. She glares at him a bit and he says he is sorry he suggested that she and her detectives let him down in any way. He was wrong. She continues to give him a hard look, and then she smiles, saying, “Apology accepted.” He nods, and her phone rings, She takes the call, and tells the caller she will be right down. She tells McCoy that is her ride, and he nods his head and smiles, then turns to leave. He closes the door behind him.

Later, in Van Buren’s apartment, Frank (Ernie Hudson) is in bed and notices Van Buren is not there, and he looks to the clock, seeing it is 3:53 AM. He walks out of the bedroom and see Van Buren sitting at the kitchen table. She is crying. He tries to console her, but she says, “Frank, I don’t know if I’m gonna make it.” He says, “Shhh, it’s gonna be al; right. It’s gonna be all right.” She continues to cry, and he continues to console her, as we fade to black.

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Shelly said...

This was a great episode for S. Epatha Merkerson. She's an exceptional actress, but too often (and even this season, with her cancer storyline), she's reduced to saying things like, the ME's report said this, or go talk to so and so, etc... her scenes with Benjamin Bratt, despite their sadness, were wonderful. I too wish "Rey" had more to do, like somehow being involved in a case, but for those of us who have watched for years, his appearance brought back great memories... and I appreciate they mentioned Lenny.

Lupo's back and forth with Rodgers was similar to "Strike" when he questioned her about what kind of sand she had found on the body. She responded "sand sand" but offered to do a more detailed analysis. He told Bernard he had learned in the Middle East there were so many different types of sand, and I was half-waiting for him to say, in this episode, well, it could be this kind of crud or that kind of crud... lol...

I have no idea if L&O will be back next year, but I hope they resolve the Anita cancer storyline at the end of this season, just in case. And I'll be devastated if they have her lose her fight, so they had better resolve it positively. sigh...

Tony said...

I tuned in expecting to see good work between Epatha and Benjamin. They crafted a classic sequence complete with their fond recollections of Jerry/Lennie.

Note that Rey heard about Anita's illness through "Morris" ... LaMotte, that is. Detective LaMotte was created by Rene Balcer early in Season 9, first as Profaci's partner and then his replacement. The character was dropped after Season 10 when Balcer stopped writing for L&O.

Now Balcer is back; his presence is one of several factors which have boosted The Mothership. We may nitpick the show's political biases, overly complex cases, and occasional goofs, but with the current group of actors, directors and writers L&O never goes far wrong.


Shelly said...

Tony, thanks for clearing up who "Morris" was. When Rey said that, I couldn't place the name, but of course I remember LaMotte.

Anonymous said...

This episode was draining for me. To see Epatha as Anita emote so brilliantly just brought tears to my eyes. What a gifted actress she is. My husband is a Radiation Oncology Therapist and when she was looking at the pamphlet describing Radiation Therapy, he said aloud, "I'm glad they're exploring that option for Anita". These characters are like family and we definitely want Anita healthy and cancer free.

The writing this season has been exceptional. I truly believe that this show is not going anywhere. Bringing it back to break the record is a no brainer. But then again, we are talking about NBC so anything is possible.


John K. said...

Tony, good catch, as I also thought it was Lamotte. Incidentally, I need to re-check the Season 9 fare, but I don't believe Mo was Profaci's partner.

Ironically, in the Unofficial Companion, Profaci's actor had said about plans to return the character as a jailhouse snitch, post-Exiled. Sadly, it never materialized. I need to re-read my copy to recall why.

Anyway, as for the recap and the opening opining, I agree. And good recap, as always.

Judy G said...

When they show L&O Fed, for some reason, my local channel showed a documentary on St. Jude's. I was most unhappy to miss the episode. Does anyone know if and when and where it will be shown again? The recap is wonderful, but there's nothing like watching it in person.

All Things Law and Order said...

Judy G - right now it does not look like FED will be re-airing in December. All I can tell you is to watch the NBC schedule as sometimes they pop in a Law & Order rerun on Saturday or even Friday when there are no new episodes.

John K. said...

NBC is now rerunning Season 19 fare for the moment. Lord knows why.

Can I please have transcript about the "Morris" reference in Rey's opening remarks? (Didn't catch it in the recap.) Thanks, as always.

Anonymous said...

CI fans are going crazy now huh?!?!?!

All Things Law and Order said...

John, Rey said:

" How about you? Morris said that, uh, he heard you were sick. (Anita nods her head) Just rotten luck all around. Well, listen, uh, my girls and I are going to my sister in law’s in Hampstead for a little reception, you, you wanna join us? "

John K. said...

Perfect. Hugs.

If I don't post another comment in the next day or so, have a Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Terrible episode -- one of the worst. Ridiculous concept. I was looking forward to Bratt's appearance, but there wasn't much to it. Merkerson was excellent, as always. I fear the end is near for the flagship franchise.

Steven Crowell said...

The connection... between a guy who resented a proselytizing liberal, who didn't believe in voting ("don't vote - it only encourages them" was a bit of graffiti I once eyed spray painted on the Longfellow Bridge in Boston) and a voting bloc, the Tea Party is absurd.