Law & Order

Season 19 Episode 8

Chattel

2
Aired Monday 10:00 PM Jan 07, 2009 on NBC
9.2
out of 10
User Rating
48 votes
4

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
A pair of divorce lawyers are murdered in their home and the investigation leads to a possible cover-up involving the abuse of adopted children.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Out of one prison into another

    6.0
    Poor old Patrick from Haiti is sold into child slavery in the US via an adoption racket. Next thing he knows, ADA Cutter has him in the dock on a double murder charge and he's remanded to gaol. Patrick's only hope for freedom is that Cutter prosecutes him and bogs up the case, as he seems to be doing just about every week!
  • Best they've done this season

    9.5
    Law & Order is finally back on track.



    While this season has been one of the best in recent years, last night's episode ranks high on my list of all-time favorites. The series traditionally exposes things that are difficult to swallow, but I've never seen an episode like this one.



    The episode begins with a couple in bed, discussing the possibility of getting disbarred (they're obviously lawyers). Two days later, their housekeeper discovers them dead. Through intense investigation, they uncover a ring of child slaves brought to New York from Haiti to do chores and act as servants. The Johnsons, a rich family who lived in Haiti for three years, try to pass it off as good will - their life there was so crappy, living as servants here is ten times better. But it's not. They live in broom closets, doing chores from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed. This child slave ring uncovers the motive for the Bellamys' murder - they were break attorney-client privilege and expose the Johnsons for what they were. In true L&O fashion, there's a fantastic twist at the end of the episode that I'll not go into.



    Jack McCoy sobers us with a remark he makes at the police station: "8 and 1/2 million children sold into slavery each year". And it's perfectly obvious that he's horrified to find them right in his own backyard. Who wouldn't be? Who isn't repulsed by child slavery? America is supposed to be the land of the free. We abolished slavery over a century ago. But it's by no means dead - even here in the United States. It's simply... unexposed.



    Now I don't cry in movies or TV shows, usually. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of movies I've cried in. But this episode even brought tears to my eyes when, at the end of the episode, Patrick (the Johnsons' child slave and a boy of just thirteen) says, "I want to be free." His sole desire was to be free. How many of us spend our time wishing to get more and more stuff? More cars, more music, more movies, more food, more money. But all this boy wanted was to be free. I think this should hold a lesson for us. We take our freedom for granted in the pursuit of stuff. The Johnsons sure did. They took their freedom for granted, and they forsook their humanity, for the sake of an "easier" lifestyle. How many of us do the same thing?



    8 and 1/2 million children sold into slavery every year. What can we do about it? What should we do about it? I encourage you to go to the NBC website under "Law and Order". They have a link where you can find out more information about slavery in the world and what you can do to stop it (at least they did earlier).



    I hope L&O continues to crank out more episodes like this one in the near future. Ones that not only entertain, but ones that make us examine ourselves and think outside our own comforts.moreless
  • First episode to make me want to write a review. L&O at its best!

    9.5
    This is so unusual a plot, it took me forever to figure out what was going on. I was waiting for the sexual abuse card to be played out, but it never came. There are different forms of abuse and the show hit the nail on this one.



    The story is built up flawlessly, the prosecutors' and cops' outrage in contrast to the criminals not even understanding a crime was committed and the child caught in the middle. Even now, I'm not sure how a person living in opulence can treat a child that way, day in and day out and have children of their own to take care of, but I guess that's why they're monsters.



    Best part: Jack McCoy surveying the damage and his face says it all; he's even speaking for the viewer. A very powerful episode and probably the first time I've ever felt compelled to imagine a happier ending after the screen's faded to black.moreless
  • A boy kills two people.

    7.8
    Eight and a half million kids are sold into slavery every year. That is an absolutely horrifying statistic.



    Law and Order is really going all out in what very well could be its final year on TV, what with Jay Leno taking over 10 PM and all. I'm not sure if the writers were planning to have Cyrus Lupo actually go to law school for four years and then become a lawyer on the show but I enjoy the little recurring gag of him inputting legal knowledge into his police work.



    This was a great episode that dealt with a very special issue. Strong acting from the entire cast and seeing Anthony Anderson running was good for a laugh.moreless
S. Epatha Merkerson

S. Epatha Merkerson

Lt. Anita van Buren

Jeremy Sisto

Jeremy Sisto

Det. Cyrus Lupo

Anthony Anderson

Anthony Anderson

Det. Kevin Bernard

Sam Waterston

Sam Waterston

D.A. Jack McCoy

Linus Roache

Linus Roache

Exec. A.D.A. Michael Cutter

Alana De La Garza

Alana De La Garza

A.D.A. Connie Rubirosa

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (2)

    • This episode marks three rare situations-
      1) the district attorney (Jack McCoy) appears in court,
      2) the district attorney (Jack McCoy) shares a scene with one or more cops (Anita van Buren and Kevin Bernard), and
      3) the district attorney (Jack McCoy) shares a scene with the accused (the handful of parents).

    • When the two policemen go to the Bellamy's law office, the introductory screen first shows:
      "LAW OFFICES OF BELLAMY & BELLAMY"
      then jumps to :
      "LAW OFFICES OF THE BELLAMY'S"
      while fading out.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Jack McCoy: Eight and a half million. The number of children sold into slavery every year.
      Anita van Buren: Well, this plantation is closed.

    • Michael Cutter: (referring to the Johnsons.) I wanna rip these people a new one.
      Anita van Buren: Take a number, counselor.

    • Anita van Buren: The State Department said they'll pressure the Haitians to keep looking for the girl.
      Cyrus Lupo: Good luck. That place could swallow this whole squad without breaking a sweat.

    • Kevin Bernard: We'll call Rubirosa for a subpoena.
      Cyrus Lupo: Well, actually, in law school, that's what we call not such a good idea.

    • Liz Bellamy: If we're wrong, we could get disbarred.
      Fred Bellamy: Like the world can't spare two lawyers?

    • Cyrus Lupo: (to Bernard) Lovable divorce lawyers. It's like killing an endangered species.

  • NOTES (2)

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • The opening scenes of this episode appear to be ripped from the headlines of the Mark Schwartz and Christina-Maria Petrowski-Schwartz murder case. The married couple, both lawyers, were found shot to death in their Marine Park home in July 2008. At the time this episode aired, the crime remained unsolved. The episode may also be partially ripped from the headlines of Marie and Willie Pompee who smuggled a Haitian girl into the United States as a "restavek."

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