Law & Order

Season 17 Episode 3

Home Sweet

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Oct 06, 2006 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
54 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When eight-year-old Jenna Wechsler dies as a result of a building explosion, Green and Cassady follow the trail of evidence to Rosalie Schaffner, the owner's ex-wife. McCoy and Rubirosa pursue Rosalie Schaffner despite a lack of concrete evidence, but the case takes a turn when Rubirosa finds a piece of evidence that points them in a new direction.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • McCoy is pitted against his second wife's former attorney in a bloodbath battle between a bitter couple indirectly responsible for an innocent child's death.

    Everyone knows about the Brownstone that blew up not too long ago in order to prevent it from going to a significant other in a bitter divorce. And everyone guessed it wouldn't be too long before Law & Order put the spin on it. After all, that's what Wolf does best: take a story that seems familiar, and smack us in the gut with a severe twist or two toward the end. But unlike a lot of shows, he does it with style.

    The plot seems fairly straightforward, but has one of the most gut-wrenching opening scenes I have seen in a long time. A little girl parts from her mother to run back down the street and fetch a forgotten but beloved doll from the steps where she left her. Lifting up the doll, she beams a smile in the direction of her mother... seconds before the apartment building explodes, engulfing her in flames and debris. Investigation reveals a bitter divorce battle between an angry former couple, and a debate over whether or not to sell off his property to cover what he owes his wife in settlement payments.

    Because it's such a dark case, both of the detectives are emotionally involved, and it doesn't help that the ADA is breathing down their necks due to pressure from the mayor to solve this one to appease a horrified public. The strongest moments in the episode are actually those the most underplayed, because the cast has real dynamics this time around. The relationship between Connie Rabulrosa and Jack McCoy has a nice bite to it that hasn't been seen on the show since the Claire Kincaid died. There's nothing romantic between them, but there doesn't need to be. They play off one another like old friends.

    Feminism and the "sisterhood" were the central mark of this episode, underlining nicely the issues that can arise from feminism bias. As a working woman, I appreciate Connie's tell-it-like-it-is attitude. She's not as offensive and blatantly antagonistic as Jamie, but not as bold as Abbie. In short, she's got enough personality to make up for the weak character development of her last two predecessors. Many people have similarly complained about Nina Cassidy, but I like her. She brings a tough but feminine edge to the police force, and allows Ed Green to stand out, as he should. He's a fabulous character and having a female at his side gives him equal opportunity to impress (whereas Fontana kind of overshadowed him; it became too much a case of, "Okay, who is going to lose their temper first?").

    The best scene comes just at the very end, with a manipulation so powerful that it reminds one of the best psychological games of earlier seasons. Twist the knife deep enough and something is bound to bleed. In this case, it accumulates in a moment of triumph for the justice system... and, I might add, is a distinguishing indication of just why the show is as fabulous now as the day it was concieved.moreless
  • Problematic when legal professionals (yet again) seem determined to have intellect closer to the common man.

    Story aside (and the story is compelling, if not original), what bugs me more than anything about this particular episode is the conflict at about :30 with the arraignment judge who's loaded with conflict of interest. No judge with any sense would put that kind of threat on an Assistant District Attorney without expecting a beatdown, especially when their presumed moral high-ground positions are that tenuous.

    The final scenes were a little more painful than typical, and I ordinarily like Nora Dunn, but her harpy impersonation grated on me to the point of actual pain. This was George and Martha times about 50, and I couldn't see anything but cariactures, which is what I've come to expect more and more of from this show as it progresses.moreless
  • Case hits home when it involves children!

    The case hits home when it involves a small child

    Who was playng on the sidewalk after an explosion that kills the eight-year old and that McCoy goes against his second ex wife and the developers responsible for that explosion all due to insurance and money issues. Very great show once again. Too bad it is on Friday nights now.
  • powerful performances help this one stand out.

    This episode could have been forgetable, after all, they have done an episode which began with a similar explosion. However, 'Home Sweet' has some great acting on the part of the cast- Detective Green exhibited anger that is usually foreign to his gentle demeanor, the chemistry between McCoy and Rubirosa is some of the best in a long time, and even ADA Branch (who I normally don't care for) made me crack a smile. This coupled with a stunning opening sequence and an unforgettable bitter ex-wife / zealous lawyer duo, resulted in a truly surreal "ripped from the headlines" case. This season has given the show a lot of momentum and I, for one, am confident that the new time slot can't damage Law and Order's fan appeal.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Goof: They said later in the episode that Shaffner canceled his insurance policy September 18, 6 days before the explosion which would have made the explosion around September 24. On screen early in the episode they said it was June 18.

    • Alissa Goodwyn was the attorney who handled Jack's divorce from his second wife.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Jack McCoy: Are you in?
      Alissa Goodwin: It's crazy.
      Jack McCoy: Think about it this way, instead of making a giant step for womenkind, this time you'd actually be helping one of your clients.

    • Anita van Buren: When a guy gets divorced and someone tries to whack him, the first three people you talk to? The ex, the ex, and the ex.

    • Lisa Denton: Rosalie got a freebie.
      Connie Rubirosa: Goodwyn did this pro-bono?
      Lisa Denton: Her fees are being paid by the East Coast Women's Defense League. They track all cases that potentially involve women's issues. We just get her admitted on a case by case basis, kinda like her pimp.

    • Ed Green: Here's something new and different, Kaskell Electrical, $15,000.
      Nina Cassady: Is that what an arson for hire goes for these days?

    • Nina Cassady: When I was a kid, I used to be afraid of falling air conditioners.

    • Jack McCoy: How are you, Alissa?
      Alissa Goodwin: Better than you, Jack. I believe that's the same suit you were wearing last time I saw you.
      Jack McCoy: I like grey.

    • Connie Rubirosa: I'm glad you're planning to inject women's rights into this case.
      Alissa Goodwyn: She's a quick study, Jack.
      Connie Rubirosa: Because the victim here, Jenna Wechsler, she's never gonna get the chance to become one.

    • Connie Rubirosa: Why bring in a ringer from out of state?
      Jack McCoy: Does this ringer have a name?
      Connie Rubirosa: Allison Goodwyn from Miami.
      Jack McCoy: Alissa, and she's the Queen of Darkness.

  • NOTES (1)


    • Ideal-Mart seems to be based on real world corporation Wal-Mart. It is referred to as a anti-union, big box corporation which uses sweatshop labor. These are all practices that Wal-Mart has come under scrutiny for in recent years.

    • Max Emerson: … before you could say 'Mrs. O'Leary's cow'.

      It is believed that Mrs. O'Leary's cow started the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

    • Rosalie Schaffner calls her husband "Mr. Al Gore Save The Fishes" for giving land to the Green People. Former Vice President Al Gore is outspoken about environmental issues and he made the documentary An Inconvenient Truth to educate people about the dangers of global warming.

    • This episode appears to be ripped from the headlines of the July 2006 explosion of an Upper East Side brownstone owned by Dr. Nicolas Bartha. The building owner was killed and real estate and divorce issues have been cited as the motive.