Law & Order

Season 1 Episode 5

Happily Ever After

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Oct 23, 1990 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • Without a doubt, this is still one of my favorite episodes of this series. Nothing is as you expect, even when it seems all too easy.

    Two people return from a party. Both are shot. One dies. The other does not. A suspect is uncovered, caught, and booked.

    End of story? Not a chance.

    For starters, it's too easy. Even I wasn't convinced when the "victim" (I'll explain the quotes in a bit) consistently got the story of events the same every time. As Greevey mentions, "There are cops I know involved in shooting cases that can't remember their badge numbers afterward. Her husband gets shot, she gets shot, victim of a horrible crime, and she remembers every second." Now, there's photographic memory, and then there's reahersal.

    Second, the supposed "assailant" does have his story straight--and consistent--every time he's asked to tell it. Sure, he was there, but he didn't shoot anyone--and never has.
    Plus, there's that pesky lightbulb with the victimized couple's business manager's prints all over it....

    All in all, this led up to a not-often used but still intreguing formula for the series---the case that becomes more interesting after it appears to be solved. After all, if the supposed "assailant" didn't kill one person and shoot another, who did? And why?

    As the story unfolds, lie after lie is uncovered and the seemingly traumatized wife and helpful business manager suddenly aren't so traumatized and helpful anymore....because they went from background players to prime suspects.

    What really stood out is the prosecution's tenacity in getting one of the two suspects to 'fess up to what the circumstancial evidence already told them---that the manager shot them at the wife's behest to collect millions in life insurance. Especially of note is when manslaughter one was auctioned off, and the least likely of the two finally bought it.

    The one to watch in this episode is the wife. She goes from sympathetic shooting victim to adulterous hussy to cold and collected murderer easier that we can read this review. The expression on her face when the jury delivers its verdict is one for the books.

    The moral? Money and love are incompatible. As Robinette points out, this case, short of a mob killing, "is the most dispassionate murder I ever heard of." Stone puts it more simply: "True love. (The suspects)'d sell each other for a nickel."