Well, this season was a make-or-break for L&O, and I'm delighted that, so far, it's definitely been a resounding Success.
In this episode, we get no heavy courtroom scenes in New York, which opens up the story for some great action and situations.
In particular, the "hick town" police threatening two of the regular characters, and then a puppet-judge fouling the NYPD and DA's pursuit of justice, bring a real tension to the episode.
Some of this episode follows in the series done by the NY Times recently about the abysmal quality of judges in these small towns in NY state, and some follows from corruption in the NY state Governor's office.
Truly a great episode!