Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Law & Order “Four Cops Shot” Recap & Review
This was another excellent episode for Law & Order. “Four Cops Shot” deals with the shooting of 4 police officers at a pizzeria, but becomes more than that for Lupo and Bernard, who are torn with protecting their own, yet at the same time, wanting justice the right way. Of course, wanting justice the right way required a little pushing and prodding from Cutter, Rubirosa, and Van Buren. It was a good thing that Van Buren knocked some sense into Lupo and Bernard; her advice helped them to turn over what may have seemed to be damning evidence against the police, but really turned out to be the nail in the killer’s own coffin.
I agreed with McCoy when he commented that he saw one execution and didn’t want to see another. After all, the execution he witnessed was covered in the episode “Aftershock” which ended up with Claire driving home a very drunk Lennie Briscoe and then Claire getting killed by a drunk driver. One can only wonder what really affected McCoy more – the execution, or Claire’s death.
Again, the writers seem to have made good use of the entire cast to create a story that provided just the right amount of tension and conflict between the characters. While the “police must protect their own” plot device is overused, it still worked well, especially with Bernard, who went from saving the killer’s life to then behaving as if he wanted him to be executed on the spot. Lupo was downright annoying with his spewing of legalese, something that I was glad to see Cutter call him on. Of course, Anita took the high road throughout the entire episode, first when the captain tried to use her illness against her, and also with the detectives when she tried to give them a lesson about their need to make saints of dead cops. Hopefully, we won't have to make a saint of Anita Van Buren any time soon.
Here is the recap:
Lt. Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) is at the doctor’s office, getting the news that her radiation treatments will be over in 4 weeks, and its affect on her tumor will be measured over the next few months before determining success of the treatment.
Two police officers are at a pizza place, and we see two others driving to the same location to pick up a slice to go. Sometime later, we see Detectives Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) as 3 of those 4 police officers are shot dead at the pizza place, one, Rebecca Ramos, still clinging to life. Ramos also managed to get off two shots. Van Buren is also on the scene, along with the officer’s Captain (Glenn Morshower). The detectives get a description of the victim and a car that was stolen near the scene. After minor wrangling over the case, Van Buren tells the Captain they will run with it and he demands to be kept up to date.
Soon afterwards the car in question is located and as Lupo moves to check out the car, he hears the tone that the car is unlocking, and sees a man walking towards the car. He and Bernard apprehend the suspect and bring him to the 2-7. But the witnesses are unable to pick him out of the lineup, and he also has no gunshot residue on his hands.
The detectives get a lead that indicates Ramos’ husband suspected her of having an affair. When they question him, they find he had come to the city to spy on his wife and took pictures of her when she was at a bar the night before with her work partner. In the photo is a man who matches the description of the shooter.
The bartender at the bar where Ramos had been identifies the man in the photo as a drug user who the cops seemed to know. Back at the 2-7, Van Buren wonders if this man was an informant the police were using to make drug busts. The detectives track down someone busted by those cops, who points them to a guy named “Hightop.” At Hightop’s apartment, it seems the shooter paid him a visit as the detectives see blood on a chair in the apartment. Hightop says that it belongs to Calvin Stokes who said he got bit by a dog. He also says Stokes gets his supply of prescription meds from someone by the name of Hooter or of Cooter.
Later, at the dental offices of Nancy Kooter, she doesn’t know Stokes but says that her office manager Dolores Martin (Adriane Lenox) is not in that day, and thinks she was married to someone named Stokes. Later, at Dolores’ home, the police and SWAT are checking out the house looking for evidence of Calvin and while doing so, Dolores approaches the house and the detectives stop her. He admits her son is there, and they enter the home to find Calvin Stokes (Julito McCullum) lying unconscious, bleeding but alive, on the floor. As Bernard administers CPR and yells for paramedics, Lupo hesitates and seems to be reluctant to make a move.
At the hospital, Lupo and Bernard try to question Stokes but his attorney suggests he keep silent, which he does. When Lupo and Bernard leave the hospital room, Lupo sarcastically tells the cop guarding Stokes to be sure to be vigilant.
Later at the DA’s office, DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston), EADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache), ADA Connie Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza), along with Van Buren and the Captain talk about the case. Stokes has a long record, including one murder sentence of 25 years that had been commuted to 3. The evidence in this case is very clear. The Captain wants to turn the case over to the US Attorney so the death penalty can be applied, but McCoy wants to follow New York rules. The Captain is not happy about this, and when he and Van Buren leave the office and meet up with Lupo and Bernard waiting, the Captain makes a dig at Van Buren’s recent illness as if it is affecting her judgment, to which she replies, “I certainly hope so.” Meanwhile, McCoy worries that Cutter will be facing a lynch mob in the courtroom, and Cutter asks if he can blame them, wondering if they should had the case off to the Feds. But McCoy reminds Cutter he witnessed one execution and doesn’t want to see another. Rubirosa tells McCoy that Stokes’ murder sentence was commuted at the recommendation of Mary Markson, when she was state attorney general. Cutter comments she is now running for senate now and this will bite her in the ass.
Later, McCoy meets Mary Markson (Margaret Colin) at a bistro and discusses Stokes. Markson believes she made the right call commuting his sentence based on the information she had at the time and Stokes' strong relationship with his mother. She suggests they talk with her.
Meanwhile, Lupo and Bernard search Hightop’s apartment and find prescription pads. Cutter and Rubirosa are at Dolores Martin’s home, and while they question her about Calvin, Lupo and Bernard come to arrest Dolores for dealing drugs. Later, at the DA’s office, they are not happy with the action that the detectives took, accusing them of trying to make this into a Federal case in order to get the death penalty applied. McCoy tells them to go talk to Hightop – and to do it together.
At the prison, they all converge on Hightop. He tells them that Calvin gave him the pills to stash and told him to burn the pads, but he didn’t burn them because the prescription pads had value. He also seemed to indicate Stokes’ mother was not even a part of this. As the group leaves the prison, they wonder if Stokes was giving the cops the “little fish” but protecting bigger fish and possibly even his own mother. Rubirosa decides she will talk with Dolores, but without the rest of the group.
Rubirosa talks with Dolores and finds that she stole the pads to help her son get off drugs, and that he wanted out of that life so he helped police go after drug dealers, But when the police wanted Stokes to help them to go after “dangerous people” but he said no, and they threatened to send her to jail and made him chose to risk his life so they would not arrest her. They forced him in to it.
Later, Rubirosa is telling this story to McCoy and Cutter, advising them she informed the police department. McCoy thinks Stokes killed the cops to protect his mother, and this made it part of a continuing criminal enterprise which makes the case eligible for federal charges and the death penalty. Cutter gets the notification that the US Attorney has said exactly that, as they files a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum – he wants to take over the prisoner and the prosecution. They find it was Mary Markson who filed the supporting briefs, saying on the state mishandled his case before and only the feds can do it right. Cutter thinks now that she is running for the senate she is trying to make up for her past mistake by killing Stokes. McCoy says dryly, “Politics and the death penalty. My favorite combination.”
In Federal Court, Markson and the US Attorney (Matt Servitto) present their arguments to take the case, but the judge sides with New York and Cutter gets the case. Meanwhile, back at the 2-7, the Captain apologizes to Van Buren about his comments about her illness, and she is gracious in her response, adding she doesn’t know what she would do or say if it was her people that were killed. He said whatever happens now he wants to thanks her and her detectives for their work. When she says she is sorry for his loss, he says it is “our loss.”
At the DA’s office, Rubirosa is prepping Bernard for the trial, and she tells him the defense may argue Stokes’ extreme emotional disturbance. But Bernard thinks Stokes does not deserve to live. But Rubirosa reminds Bernard that when Stoles was arrested, he was the one who gave him CPR, and why did he save his life if he wanted him dead? He says he is a cop, not an executioner, and Rubirosa adds, “Neither am I.”
In Supreme Court, Bernard is on the stand testifying about his arrest and ID of Stokes. Under cross, he is asked about if he knew about Stokes’ treatment by Officer Ramos and the alleged threats made by the police to go after his mother. Bernard claims he did not know, but said those where questions the officers could have answered had Stokes not murdered them. The defense attorney asks about the affidavit he helped prepare for the US attorney, and as Bernard starts to get a little testy and starts to gets defensive of the police action, and questions the source of some of the information they got from the bartender, Cutter begins to look uncomfortable.
Outside the courthouse, Cutter gets on Bernard’s case about him implying that the bartender’s information as unreliable because drugs are used in his establishment. Bernard doesn’t want to dirty dead cops, but Cutter wants his witnesses to testify truthfully. When Bernard gets testy and asks what’s his lie again, Cutter tells him he is pushing it and he risks screwing up the trial and the defense might get what it wants - manslaughter verdict and a slap on the wrist. Lupo gets all lawyerly on him citing what the US Attorney could do next, Cutter comments that Lupo is still staying awake in law school and asks him if he wouldn’t be thinking of deliberately sabotaging the trial in order to give the feds an opening. Lupo says no. As Cutter walks off. Ramos’s husband walks up and gives the detectives an envelope with something of Rebecca’s he thought they should see. It appears to be a log book.
Back in court, Stokes is on the stand testifying how the police wanted him to inform on dangerous people. He said they said the cops wanted to be detectives and he could go on salary once they got their gold shields. He told them he was done, and the found some pills and prescription pad and they threatened him and his mother with jail. He said the night before the shooting he met them at the bar and offered to keep working for them but not go after the crazy guys. They told him to do it or go to jail, or his mother. His choice was either die or have his mother go to prison. He walked out of there and could not sleep, he stayed up all night. He went to see them the next day and when they saw him coming, they smiled the “screw you” smile at him. He lost it. He never saw the other cops and never meant for this to happen, and he is really sorry.
At the 2-7, Van Buren finds Lupo and Bernard looking over the log book they got from Ramos’ husband. It is an informant log, every contact she had with Stokes. Van Buren asks them to hand it over, and Lupo admits that Ramos did push him about his mother, and Ramos crossed some lines. Lupo is reluctant to turn it over to the DA, saying that they don’t need to hear these things right now. Van Buren says, “Oh, so that’s what you’re worried about. Okay, well what about me? If I’m not ever around, you gonna turn me into a retroactive saint? Go through my office and clean out my nasty habits? Tell the world how sweet I was all the time? Look, she was a cop, she wanted to be a detective, she made some mistakes, honest good faith mistakes, but she made some mistakes. Get over it. ”
Back in Supreme Court, Cutter is using the log to cross Stokes. He asks him to read the information of his final meeting, and that Stokes demanded money. When Stokes objects that there is no mention of the threats against his mother, Cutter says they are there, but in weeks before and there is no mention of it night before the shooting. Cutter gets on Stokes that it was all about more money so he could by more drugs, and Stokes gets riled, saying drugs had nothing to do with it, he was taking chances for them and he wanted what was fair. He wanted what he was earning. Cutter reads back the section that said Stokes said they were cheating them and he would show them, and that’s what he did.
Later, the jury finds Stokes guilty for each one of the murders. As they all leave the courthouse, Rubirosa comments Stokes gets 4 life sentence and worse case he gets 4 consecutive 25s. Cutter says if the Feds still want him they can have him in 100 years. Bernard says if he is still around he will testify. Lupo gets a call from Van Buren that they “caught a fresh one” and he and Bernard walk off. As they do so, Cutter calls out to them and tells them to be safe. They nod and walk off as we fade to black.
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