Law & Order

Season 16 Episode 20

Kingmaker

1
Aired Monday 10:00 PM May 03, 2006 on NBC
8.3
out of 10
User Rating
44 votes
5

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
After undercover cop Dana Baker is murdered, Fontana and Green learn that the man who killed her had discovered her identity after seeing a photograph of her in the paper revealing her as a police officer, not the undercover heroin dealer she was posing as. Investigating the story leads detectives to Eric Lund, one of the workers in Congressman Prescott's office, but Lund seems to have an ironclad alibi after an e-mail he sent comes to light.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Could it get more political?

    3.8
    This had to be the worst episode ever! The defendant was so smug it made me mute the sound every time he spoke. The slimey Senator made me want to throw something at the tv. And the whole reason behind the killing was stupid. If an undercover cop's father is well know do you really think that cop should be undercover?
  • I told you it got pre-empted for a third time, Kenny! ;-)

    10
    Seriously, though: this episode was well worth the wait. Because, at times, it had me--quite literally--at the edge of my seat!



    Who would have enough influence to ferret out a deep undercover cop's true identity? And, then, have nerve enough to deliberately leak it to the press? The plot twist involving a faked call from the Department of Homeland Security was brilliant, on the part of the episode writers. And, absolutely diabolical on the part of defendant Eric Lund.



    The man virtually targets the daughter of his employer's political arch-rival for murder. And, he has the nerve to compare the _latter_ to a Nazi? Talk about pots and kettles!



    And, with all due respect to Chief DA Branch? Democracy may not be the worst form of government, when compared to all the others. But, based on the real-life news I read/listen to, I cannot help but feel the American version of democracy is slowly starting to catch up to those others.moreless
  • When a leak leads to the death of an undercover cop, the detective trace it to a high level political campaign planner who fights dirty.

    8.9
    Ever watch the ending of "The Bridge on the River Kwai"? With that man staring and saying "Madness....Madness ....Madness!"



    Now imagine me staring at my television screen and saying

    "Genius....Genius.....Genius!"



    A wonderful episode. It really gives you an insight into the rat-race that the sub-humans we call politicians enter into.



    Behind a left-wing congressman's campaign a ruthless, clever, and fanatical campaigner named Lund. This guy is so ruthless that, even though he knew a cop was on a dangerous undercover job, he revealed the cops identity so that he could make the cop's right-wing congressmen dad look biased when he rallies against pro-criminal leftists.



    It is very interesting that Law and Order should make such a right-wing episode given the flavor of the industry.



    Also, Fontana shoots someone! I don't think I've ever seen that before, or since.moreless
  • Another gutsy episode that delivers.

    10
    Nine out of ten shows on television are slanted to the left in their political views, regardless of the politics of the "other half" of the country. This is one of the reasons I watch "Law & Order" -- because it is fair in its portrayal of justice. This is the only show you will ever watch where a liberal politician can turn out to be the bad guy. The episode is excellent for that very reason. Whoever is responsible for a crime, McCoy is going to prosecute them -- Republican or Democrat, Atheist or Christian, Jewish or Black, whether it's Politically Correct or Reputational Suicide.



    The longstanding argument over which way his politics tend to slide has also now come to an end. They never scream it from the rooftops but it's evident whose side he is on.



    The case revolves around a power-hungry senator and his corrupt chief of staff, who prompts the murder of a police officer by purposefully blowing her cover in retribution for a book her father wrote about the senator's negative influences in the state. There is a surprising sense of doom about many of the scenes that are not as noticeable in earlier season contributions, namely that the viewer gets the sense something is ultimately going to happen either to McCoy or Branch as a result of his unflinching search for justice at great political cost. The scene where the chief of staff comes in to bulldog him with threats that he will ruin McCoy's career if the investigation isn't dropped is ended with a smile and a wink as the prosecutor calmly picks up the phone and orders an arrest warrant -- just to prove who is actually in charge.



    Then too is the legal banter toward the end, when the defendant attempts to justify his numerous deceptions and underhanded dealing with the excuse that all people lie to each other. "Not to me," retorts McCoy dryly -- and that, in a nutshell, is the essence of his character. McCoy IS "Law & Order." Without him, the series would fold like a house of cards.



    In all respects, an excellent installment, with a unique approach in the second half -- that of planted evidence that could exonerate the defendant and implicate McCoy in withholding evidence. It's a double-edged sword that leaves the audience with the feeling that the notion of having his good name dragged through the mud doesn't bother the prosecutor nearly as much as having a murderer walk free. But then, isn't that what it's really all about?moreless
  • Simply intense, enthralling entertainment.

    10
    What a terrific episode. Much of the time, Law and Order suspense comes from the audience being unsure of who the villain is- whodunit. This episode was appealing for the complete opposite reason- the culprit was just so sleazy and evident that the only question was 'how do we take this guy down?' And indeed there were enough dramatic twists and turns along the way, even making us wonder if McCoy would be discredited... and yet the whole time the story was so clear and flowing. Some episodes can drag as they interview a plethora of people and change suspects, but 'Kingmaker' had smooth transitions- the investigation and plotline were HUGE but it was presented in a way that made it simple. The biggest kicker for me was finding out that weasel, Eric Lund's boss is actually more corrupt and sinister than him (perhaps his mentor?).



    While episodes similar to this have been done before, 'Kingmaker' set itself apart- good villain characterizations, good premise, and good writing made for a memorable episode.moreless
Annie Parisse

Annie Parisse

A.D.A. Alexandra Borgia

Dennis Farina

Dennis Farina

Det. Joe Fontana

Fred Dalton Thompson

Fred Dalton Thompson

D.A. Arthur Branch

Jesse L. Martin

Jesse L. Martin

Det. Ed Green

S. Epatha Merkerson

S. Epatha Merkerson

Lt. Anita Van Buren

Sam Waterston

Sam Waterston

Exec. A.D.A. Jack McCoy

Garret Dillahunt

Garret Dillahunt

Eric Lund

Guest Star

Sam Freed

Sam Freed

Tom Baker

Guest Star

John McMartin

John McMartin

Ron Grayson

Guest Star

Dylan Baker

Dylan Baker

Attorney Sanford Remz

Recurring Role

John E. Cariani

John E. Cariani

Julian Beck

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (3)

  • NOTES (1)

    • This episode has been pushed back three times. Originally scheduled to air on March 29, 2006, Kingmaker was replaced by Thinking Makes It So. It was then scheduled to air on April 5, 2006, but was replaced by Positive. The third time, it was scheduled to air on April 26, 2006, but was replaced with a repeat of Heart of Darkness.

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

    • Arthur Branch: Democracy's still the worst form of government there is, except for all the rest.

      This is an allusion to the statement made by Sir Winston Churchill in the British Parliament in November 1947: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

    • The title of this episode is a term used to describe a person that has influence in a political or royal succession, without being a viable candidate. It was originally used to describe Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, who helped to depose King Henry VI in favour of King Edward IV.

    • This episode appears to be ripped from the headlines of "Plamegate", the controversy encompassing exposed CIA covert operative Valerie Plame, her husband Joseph Wilson, White House staffer Lewis "Scooter" Libby, New York Times columnist Judith Miller, and columnist Robert Novak.

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