Law & Order

Season 6 Episode 23


Aired Monday 10:00 PM May 22, 1996 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
92 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

After Briscoe, Curtis, McCoy, and Kincaid witness the execution of a criminal they brought to justice, their unique reactions to the event culminate in personal tragedies for each of them.

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  • Very srange episode. The team witnesses the execution of a criminal and each have devisting reactions. This episode strays from the L&O formula and deals exclusivly with the personal lives of the characters.moreless

    Aftershock, the sixth season finale, is regarded as a not-so-good, but emotionally compelling episode. Briscoe, Curtis, McCoy and Kincaid witness the execution of a criminal the arrested/prosecuted, then depicts the personal stories of how these characters deal with the experience. This episode strays from the L&O formula by going into the character drama, and it even eluded the timecards and the “boink boink” sound between scenes.

    As for the plotline: Rey has an affair with a jogger (future Alias star Jennifer Garner). Lennie, feeling guilty about neglecting his daughter falls off the wagon and gets drunk at a bar. Claire goes to see her stepfather (Len Cariou) and has an emotional scene with Van Buren. Then the unthinkable happens. When driving an intoxicated Lennie from the bar, the car is hit by a truck.

    Claire’s death isn’t announced until a ways into the seventh season, when Jill Hennessy refused any guest spots. The performances in this uncomfortably personal episode are all great. S. Epatha Merkerson’s is the one that really sticks in my mind (why doesn’t she have an Emmy yet?), but the whole cast is great, as always. The last scene is especially heartbreaking. I’m just glad that the show has yet to attempt to stray from the long on plot short on character formula after this episode.

  • This episode deciphers the lives of the main characters of the L&O cast as they witness a execution and deal with the personal traumas that surface after this event. The cast becomes a bit "six degrees",as they turn to outside world for valimoreless

    This episode furthered developed plotline and real lives of a the main four characters. Jack’s vulnerable confession in the bar allowed a look behind his hard exterior. Detective Curtis’ infidelity, with a college student (Jennifer Garner) erodes his credibility for his earlier denials, in which he stated the limited if not impossible chance he would ever stray.

    Briscoe's drinking reemerges as he laments over the miserable relationship with his daughter, creating an entirely new dimension to the cynical detective. Perhaps most prophetic was Kincaid’s desire to leave the practice of law leaves an open ended character the survives outside the realm of the slamming gavel. yet her apparent death left more questions than answers cut short a more revealing storyline, her meeting with her old law professor, and his relationship with her mother. All in all this was a well played card by the L&O producers.moreless
  • After watching an execution, each character deals with it in their own way.

    This is my favorite episode, but I say that a lot. Even though this is Jill Hennessy's last episdoe as Claire Kincaid, and she was my favorite character.

    Usually Law & Order is driven by the crime, not the personnel, but this one is the exception.

    Although they all deal with in their own way, the underlying reason is the same. Life is too short. Ray has an affair with a girl (Jennifer Gardner) he meets in the park. Lenny's daughter shows up and then falls off the wagon. Claire isn't sure she wants to be a prosecutor anymore seeking advice from her stepfather/law professor and Lt. Van Buren.

    Jack sitting at the bar, opens up about the family he never talks about. This turns out to be the same bar as Lenny. He is waiting we assume for Claire, but she doesn't get there in time for Jack, but she drives Lenny home, which is what gets her killed.

    Lt. Van Buren, even though she wasn't at the execution, still feels the effects and tries to express it in a letter to her mother.

    I like this episode so much because it does focus on the characters. This sets up future storylines. Ray and his wife separating, Lenny's daugher, Jack's crackdown on drunk drivers.moreless
  • A unique look into the background behind each of our favorite characters, with tragic consequences.

    A drastic departure from the normal formula of "Law and Order," this episode focuses on 5 of the leading roles and their reactions to the most misunderstood part of their jobs.

    Lennie, Rey, Claire and Jack attend the execution of a convicted rapist/murderer. From then on, things focus on how each one reacts to such a site.

    *Lennie and Rey are cheered as "heroes" among their fellow cops, which is basically the exact opposite of how they feel. Lt. Van Buren understands how they feel (even though she was not at the execution) and the two detectives take the rest of the day off to deal with things.

    *Jack also gives Claire a day off after seeing that she is shaken up by this. Claire visits her old law professor (who is also her stepfather) and discusses how today affected her viewpoint on the validity of the death penalty.

    It is from this point on that events play out with serious consequences-

    *Rey, shaken with uncertainty, has a one-night-stand with a young woman in the park (played by a relatively-unknown Jennifer Garner).

    *Jack drowns himself in Scotch and, in a moment almost completely unique for McCoy's character, opens up about his family history and relationship with his father.

    *Lennie, shaken even further by a visit from his estranged daughter, falls off the wagon and reverts to alcoholism.

    *Finally, Claire (with renewed faith) stops to help Lennie get home after drinking- only to be killed by another drunk on the way.

    I really liked how this episode managed to hold a somber tone throughout the entire thing. And, as usual, it still managed to include a few humorous moments (mostly supplied by Briscoe). Its a very unique episode and every Law & Order fan should see it.moreless
  • So they do have personal lives?

    So the characters on this show do have personal lives? How interesting...

    The show starts with a Condemned man strapped to a gurney and injected, then the curtain opens and we see the cast. Interesting reveal and opening for this show.

    Then we see what the cast does on their days off, Lennie goes to a bar for some club soda and then the horse track

    Claire goes running and listens to a lecture

    Jack goes to a bar for some scotch

    Rey has an affair with Jennifer Garner

    Then the show takes a wierd turn, Jack goes home drunk Lennie does some shots and then the Claire dies.

Steven Hill

Steven Hill

D.A. Adam Schiff

Jerry Orbach

Jerry Orbach

Det. Lennie Briscoe

S. Epatha Merkerson

S. Epatha Merkerson

Lt. Anita Van Buren

Sam Waterston

Sam Waterston

Exec. A.D.A. Jack McCoy

Benjamin Bratt

Benjamin Bratt

Det. Reynaldo 'Rey' Curtis

Jill Hennessy

Jill Hennessy

A.D.A. Claire Kincaid

Len Cariou

Len Cariou

Mac Geller

Guest Star

Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner


Guest Star

Jennifer Bill

Jennifer Bill

Cathy Briscoe

Guest Star

John Fiore

John Fiore

Tony Profaci

Recurring Role

Carolyn McCormick

Carolyn McCormick

Dr. Elizabeth Olivet

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Lennie Briscoe's real name is Leonard.

    • Briscoe has been a police officer for twenty-five years. Schiff wrote a legal brief protesting the death penalty twenty-five years ago.

    • The leather jacket Claire Kincaid is wearing when she goes to the law lecture is almost certainly the same one she bought at a motorcycle shop during the episode "Rebels".

    • Jack McCoy reveals more about his father in this episode than any other: he was a cop, had big hands, was proud of Jack when he graduated from law school, and he sometimes beat Jack's mom. He died of cancer.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • (The prison doctors prepare for the execution.)
      Doctor: Heard you did okay last night.
      Mickey Scott: Meatloaf and mash, couple Dr. Peppers.
      Doctor: I would've gone with the pizza. Sausage and pepper.
      Mickey Scott: Maybe I should start over.
      (The doctor places the needle in Mickey's arm.)
      Mickey Scott: I bet you get a real kick outta that.
      Doctor: Now's not a good time to go crybaby, Mickey.
      Mickey Scott: Yeah, right. In your dreams.

    • Lennie: (drinking in a bar) You know who kills me? The weather lady. The weather lady says, "It's 65 at the airport." Who gives a damn? Nobody lives at the airport.
      (Lennie lightly chuckles, as does the man he's talking to.)

    • Lennie Briscoe: How come California has the most lawyers, and New Jersey has the most toxic dumps?
      Claire Kincaid: Because New Jersey got first pick.

    • Lennie Briscoe: You know what club soda's good for? Cleaning the grill. Give me a vodka, straight up.

    • Jack McCoy: (about his father) And if anybody messed it up, he had those big thick hands. Sometimes my mother had to lock herself in the basement.
      Bar Patron: Son of a bitch hit her.
      Jack McCoy: Ten years, I'm still scared of those hands. He smoked like a chimney. Cancer. He lay there in that hospital bed with tubes coming out of his arms. They pumped him full of morphine so he wouldn't know how much he hurt. This big, tough ... he just lay there. He didn't know where he was. He was breathing ... and then he wasn't. (pauses) I don't know why I'm talking about this, I never talk about this.

    • Claire Kincaid: Why didn't you go up there today?
      Anita van Buren: It's not part of my job.
      Claire Kincaid: Why didn't I think of that?

    • Jack McCoy: If it's a choice between Scotch and nothing, I'll take Scotch. Someone said that once.
      Bar Patron: Someone with brains.
      Jack McCoy: Someone with an inadequate bar.

    • (Van Buren describes Mickey Scott's crime during Kincaid's car crash.)
      Lt. Van Buren: (voiceover) A crowd of people stood and cheered when he raped her. They were supposedly good people, and they did absolutely nothing. Then he beat her to death with a tire iron. And today, the state of New York got its revenge. It's not enough, and it's too much.

  • NOTES (3)