Law & Order

Season 14 Episode 14

City Hall

1
Aired Monday 10:00 PM Feb 11, 2004 on NBC
8.2
out of 10
User Rating
34 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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City Hall
AIRED:
A city employee's clerical error sets in motion a chain of events which culminates in a fatal shooting at City Hall and a secret Federal court proceeding with sinister implications.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Explores deeper issues

    8.2
    A complex plot unravels before our eyes as a high profile shooting at city hall, doesnt seem to be what it is. Then it does. Then it doesnt.



    The interesting use of a device to sow confusion among the entire cast works wonderfully well and is a wonderful "production grenade" exploding what is frankly a mundane episode. The FISA angle is another welcome layer providing drama.



    The whole first two acts seem to be a setup for a debate on the way FISA works, but it never really takes off. It and its effects are merely just touched upon and the issues highlighted.



    This results in an episode that threatens to take off, but doesnt! Its still worth a view, but there have been better episodes.moreless
  • Rather a banal beginning, but worth it in the end.

    8.9
    How much right does the government have to search your home without your knowledge?



    Like many of the series' episodes, the case starts out quite commonplace and takes an interesting twist in the second half that leads to legal wrangling between defense attorneys and prosecutors. After a shooting at City Hall leaves a councilman dead and a water inspector badly wounded, police follow a dead end of suspects relating to the councilman's recent affairs, then realize they have been barking up the wrong tree. The shooter was actually aiming at the water inspector, who made an error that jacked up a bill by sixty grand and placed the unfortunate business into financial straits. Just when the audience begins to wonder why such a commonplace crime would find its way into the lineup, the defense serves a repression notice for a weapon the prosecution doesn't have.



    This unearths a tangled web of governmental red tape that inevitably comes down to a recent terrorist act that grants a secret court the right to search and confiscate evidence in the homes of those suspected in aiding and abetting terrorists. The weapon used in the City Hall shooting is now in federal lock-up. Danielle Melnick is kicking herself for having clued in the prosecution on the gun, and McCoy is frustrated that the feds won't let him have it. This raises numerous questions about the legal rights of citizens in this country, as well as the government's latitude to circumvent "normal" law in order to round up terrorists. The audience never knows whether or not the man was involved in exporting dangerous electronics to criminals overseas; that's not the point. It's really an argument on the face value of secret warrants. No ultimate conclusions are drawn, but the audience is granted an uneasy feeling. We see the point, we certainly accept it if we have nothing to hide, but at the same time we question the validity of secret warrants.



    How much room should the government have in such matters, and where do the rights of its citizens come into play? Questions without answers, but at least "Law & Order" has the guts to ask them.moreless
Elisabeth Rohm

Elisabeth Rohm

ADA Serena Southerlyn

Jerry Orbach

Jerry Orbach

Det. Lennie Briscoe

S. Epatha Merkerson

S. Epatha Merkerson

Lt. Anita Van Buren

Sam Waterston

Sam Waterston

Exec. ADA Jack McCoy

Jesse L. Martin

Jesse L. Martin

Det. Ed Green

Fred Dalton Thompson

Fred Dalton Thompson

DA Arthur Branch

Alvin Epstein

Alvin Epstein

Stuart Rubin

Guest Star

Paul Austin

Paul Austin

Ron Tabachnik

Guest Star

Lance Reddick

Lance Reddick

Jamal Atkinson

Guest Star

Tovah Feldshuh

Tovah Feldshuh

Danielle Melnick

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Danielle Melnick (Tovah Feldshuh) complains about her client's previous counsel, saying, "That's what you get when you hire a probate lawyer for a murder trial". On Feldshuh's first L&O appearance in "Aria" (2x3), she played a probate lawyer.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Jack McCoy: So basically, we've been served a motion to suppress evidence we don't have.
      Serena Southerlyn: Well, look at the bright side, if we lose, we're no worse off.
      Jack McCoy: Still, there is a question, why the defense thinks we have found a gun.

    • Lennie Briscoe: We're looking for Sony Rodino.
      Secretary: (Polishing her nails) Who?
      Ed Green: Sony. Rodino.
      Secretary: Never heard of him.
      Ed Green: We were told that he works here.
      Secretary: I don't know who told you that or what the problem is, but there is no Sony Rodrigo here.

    • Serena Southerlyn: Did any officer find any type of weapon in Rubin's home?
      Lennie Briscoe: Not unless you count the world's most boring record collection.

    • Mr. Williamson: You've got the full weight of the administration behind you.
      Anita Van Buren: That's fine, just keep it off my back.

    • Ron Tabachnik (after Lennie suggests he was shot someone angry about a water bill): The city does the billing. I'm just the guy people see.
      Lennie Briscoe: Ever hear the expression shooting the messenger?
      Ron Tabachnik: Geez, you know I take so much crap I never thought.

    • Intern # 1: Oh God, Craig's at the desk.
      Craig: Hey, is one of those coffees for me?
      Intern # 2: We didn't know you were here, Craig.
      Craig: Wait, no ... Why did the fisherman cross the road?
      Intern # 1: These are getting cold, Craig.
      Craig: No ... Why did the fisherman cross the road?
      Intern # 2: To get away from you?
      Craig: Just for the halibut, don't you get it?Just for the hell of it -- halibut.

  • NOTES (1)

    • Danielle Melnick (Tovah Feldshuh) appears in this episode with a cane. This is because the character was gunned down in the episode "Open Season". This is very good attention to detail in regards to a character's past.

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

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