Law & Order

Season 7 Episode 5


Aired Monday 10:00 PM Oct 30, 1996 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
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Episode Summary

Curtis, angered by the attitude of an old colleague of Briscoe's, looks beyond the findings of an IAB investigation and turns up evidence of police corruption that puts the DA's office into competition with an ambitious judge and Briscoe under investigation for stealing evidence from a police lockup.moreless

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  • The Thin Blue Line is crossed. Lennie Briscoe is placed between a rock and hard place by a fellow detective he used to work with, a man he thought was a good cop and a friend.moreless

    Throughout this episode we see the constant contrast of the acceptance of an older cop culture that Lennie and Flynn belong to, and the newer breed of cop represented by Curtis and Flynn's partner. Curtis would give no extra consideration to a cop but Lennie will, up to a point and then he too is ready to turn his old friend in for his collaoration with the enemy.

    In the episode we learn more about Lennie's past with the department, he worked 3 years in Queens in the 116 before coming to the 27. We hear more about his drinking days and get a picture of a Lennie Briscoe who is a bit more human and less admirable than any other we've seen before, a man who drinks too much, takes advantage of his co-workers charity to cover for his drinking, and has an affair with a married woman who also happens to work with him. Yet we also see him trying his best to protect his ex-lover. As always Lennie Briscoe comes off as a knight in rusty, dented armour.

    There are several scenes in this episode that I love; Lennie's threat to kick McCoy's ass from here to Hoboken, his verbal attack on Judge Hellman and something that Jerry Orbach was the king of, making a small gesture that speaks volumes. When Lennie's ex-lover wants to talk to him and suggests walking across the street, as he turns to go with her, he smoothes his hair. It's a tiny gesture, but exactly the kind of thing a guy might do when an ex comes to call, regardless of the reason.

    The actor playing Flynn was exceptionally convincing as the cynical good cop gone bad, at times I hated the character and at other times I pitied the character.

    There were a few things that bugged me in the episode. I couldn't imagine two guys in business suits buying a large quantity of drugs from a guy who looked like a street kid. And then there was the ending, Lennie turns down Rey's dinner invitation because he has to see a friend who is having family problems. Now Lennie did come right out and say he was seeing Betty Abrams, but ....

    I can imagine that Betty's testimony might not have gone over too well with her husband, after all she did admit, on TV apparently, that she'd had three affairs. So I've always wondered if her testimony was causing problems in her marriage, why on earth would she want to see her ex-lover? Wouldn't seeing him make things worse?

    Oh well, as far as I was concerned, a great episode and I didn't mind that it strayed from the strict Law & Order procedural format, change is good, once in a while.

  • Unusual episode with a couple of twists

    This is (to date) the only episode of this series that does not open with the traditional scene of someone we never see again finding a dead body - and does not portray a trial as such.

    Instead, we open on a stakeout which ends with an ex-colleague of Lenny Briscoe’s shooting a suspect, in a manner Rey Curtis is not entirely happy about from the start. As he begins to tentatively look into the incident and the detective in question, gradually an ongoing corruption is disclosed and Briscoe’s career teeters on the line.

    McCoy is hell-bent on pursuing the corrupt cop and is less than pleased when the officer wriggles out of the hole he’s put himself in - but McCoy manages to squeeze him back in.

    The traditional court scenes are replaced by scenes at the Hellman Commission on Police Corruption, an effective substitute which makes this episode an interesting twist on the format to which we are accustomed.

    The contrast between Briscoe and Curtis’ methods of operation are used well here with the main plot, Curtis being more eager than Briscoe to believe a cop can go bad and try to bring the fact to someone’s attention - but still, like Lenny, not wanting to believe it and not wanting to throw light on it until he’s reasonably sure.

    This is, overall, an interesting change of format that works.

Steven Hill

Steven Hill

DA Adam Schiff

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

Benjamin Bratt

Benjamin Bratt

Det. Reynaldo 'Rey' Curtis

Carey Lowell

Carey Lowell

ADA Jamie Ross

Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Lt. John Flynn

Guest Star

Caroline Kava

Caroline Kava

Betty Abrams

Guest Star

Don Billett

Don Billett

Attorney for Flynn

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • This is one of only a handful of episodes in which the district attorney (Adam Schiff) shares a scene with a cop (Lennie Briscoe).

    • Lennie Briscoe was originally from the 116th Precinct in Queens, where he worked for three years. This episode alludes to the theft of some drugs, which supposedly happened five years before this episode took place. Lennie Briscoe had been at the 27th Precinct for approximately five years, meaning he came directly from the 116 to the 27. There is no reference to AA, which Lennie was in at the time he originally came to the 27.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Lennie Briscoe: (to Rey Curtis) You know, you're turning into one of these conspiracy nuts. You ought to meet my cousin, he still thinks NASA faked the Moon landing.

    • Lennie Briscoe: Give me another club soda. And put it in a dirty glass.

    • John Flynn: What we strive for in these situations is uniform recollection of events. The rat squad wants to hear the exact same words coming out of everybody's mouth.

    • Lennie Briscoe: If you don't take her out of there right now, I'll kick your ass from here to Hoboken.

  • NOTES (2)


    • This episode appears to be ripped from the headlines of the 1967 through 1972 thefts of heroin from the Department Property Clerk's office of the New York City Police Department. Over the course of five years, over $70 million in heroin and cocaine were stolen from evidence, with the thieves using a variant of ID's, all based off of Detective Joseph Nunziata's information. Nunziata was found dead before the investigation could be concluded, and it could never be ascertained whether or not he was connected to the thefts.