Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Season 4 Episode 23

False-Hearted Judges

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 25, 2005 on USA
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Episode Summary

False-Hearted Judges
It's open season in New York when not one but two powerful judges are executed. At first they seem to have no connection; one was a family court judge whose entire family was attacked and the other is an appellate court judge. After investigating the judges more thoroughly, Goren and Eames realize their first set of suspects was simply a smokescreen, and there is a far more insidious threat. Their investigation leads them to a non-custodial father who has a beef with the court system.moreless

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  • Two judges are killed, and at first it's thought that there is a racist motivation and that all judges are targets, but Goren and Eames soon realize that there is something more sinister afoot.moreless

    Vigilante justice. Men's Rights. Custody interference. All of these themes appear in this episode, with a thin veneer of racist hatred. There also seems to be a eerie similarity to the sniper shootings in Maryland/Virginia/Washington with John Allen Muhammed and his foster son, Lee Boyd Malvo in 2002. It also seems to me to resemble the killing of a Chicago judge's family in 2005.

    Wilkes and his 'apprentice' have a preternaturally close relationship considering they aren't truly related. It almost seems close to brainwashing in some ways. The way the boy 'sirred' Goren was close to silent insolence, in a way that would be hard to fault but you knew was wrong.

    When the judges seem to close ranks to keep Wilkes in jail, thus denying him his constitutional right to habeas corpus, Carver goes off on the arraigning judge, declaring he would love to keep Wilkes in jail but he loves the constitution more.

    Wilkes is ultimately stopped by the boy he was training to be his own Army of One, when Goren and Eames tell the boy Wilkes' real son is still alive and Wilkes is going to leave to be with that real son. As Wilkes is led away after the boy confesses to helping shoot four judges, the boy says it was the best time of his life. How sad if true.moreless
  • A judge and teenage son are murdered in their home by "hunters" stowed away and quietly waiting for the right moment. But when a second jurist is shot down on a hand ball court in broad daylight , Captain Deakins surmises it is "open season" on judges.moreless

    The mother (and child) were actually, and unfortunately, staged killings to draw attention from the enemies of the second target. Goren and Eames realize this when an apparent race based motive falls astray...the actual motive is a father who felt his custody rights were abrogated by the legal system, and who derives a misguided and murderous attempt to right the perceived wrong. On his mission, the deranged dad converts, trains, and mentors a young man who 'may' be his son - and turns him into a fellow 'hunter'.

    "Custodial interference". A charge bound to get one's dander up, I guess.

    Some very interesting aspects to this storyline, including the hunting terminology used by the killers which Goren interprets (to my utter fascination), and Bobby's soothing to the first victims' young son that he had done what his mother wanted, 'by staying alive'. And loved the detective's heavy handed 'undercover' spiel. Can you lay it on any thicker, Bobby?

    Well, this about wraps up my summer mission to watch and review all 101 of the CI epis starring the marvelous Vincent D'Onofrio. 96 reviewed, (including 2 Noth epis). A handful of D'Onofrio's season five epis remain, which aren't into reruns yet, as well as a lingering season one story which will be shown in late August. A mere clean up detail. But this homage to VD'O and indirectly to OCD is pretty much became somewhat of a chore after about the first 50 epis, :) but at least there is the satisfaction of having 'caught up' on a VD'O performance too long left neglected.

    As I was told in early summer, Vincent indeed fashioned his "Bobby Goren" into a cultural icon, and missing 'the show' did qualify as 'inexcusable'. :)

    Knock us dead in season six, Vincent! I still think, entertaining and engaging as you made Detective Goren, that your talent for diversity is wasted on the small screen, but you're still the only actor who can get me watching network tv. :)moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Robert Goren: A world of justice without mercy, it's… that's no place to live.

    • Judge Freeman: Wilkes has declared war on the judiciary. Who knows how many others are in this conspiracy with him? We won't be sitting ducks!
      Ron Carver: So your answer is to conspire to suspend his right of habeas corpus?
      Judge Freeman: Get off your high-horse, Mr. Carver, even Lincoln suspended habeas corpus.
      Ron Carver: Am I supposed to fall to my knees at the mention of the "Great Emancipator?" Even great men go too far, your Honor.

    • Ron Carver: Mr. Brownfeld wants to meet... too bad my dashiki's at the dry cleaners.

    • (About a suspect's out-of-state license plates.)
      Alex Eames: So, for sure you don't have a permit to fix engines on a public street.
      Robert Goren: Yeah, you know, all this oil and junk that you dropped on the ground, here, that's gonna cost you another half-dozen violations. You're under arrest.
      Alex Eames: We take littering pretty seriously around here.

    • Detective Langdon: Judge Barton asked us to reevaluate her surveillance. We've been monitoring Brownfeld's group; there were no further threats, no chatter. We… we took a calculated risk.
      Ron Carver: You need a new calculator.

  • NOTES (0)


    • This episode appears to be ripped from the headlines of the Matt Hale case. Hale, the leader of a white separatist organization, the World Church of the Creator, was convicted in 2005 of hiring an undercover FBI operative to kill a federal judge, the Hon. Joan Lefkow. He is currently serving a 40-year term.