Law & Order

Season 15 Episode 1

Paradigm

1
Aired Monday 10:00 PM Sep 22, 2004 on NBC
7.4
out of 10
User Rating
45 votes
1

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Paradigm
AIRED:
An Iraqi immigrant who murders a former military policewoman in retaliation for torturing her brother at Abu Ghraib prison claims that she is covered as an enemy combatant under the terms of the Geneva Convention.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Not the best storyline. Saved by the introduction of Farina's character - Fontana.

    8.0
    A story that relies on possible repercussion from war. Specifically in this case the Iraqi war and events occuring around the torture of inmates in Abu Grab prison. So as you one would expect, this is an episode focus heavily on events around the Iraq war and would have touched a raw nerve when it was first shown. However, as mentioned in the NOTES section, the plot is far from perfect and thus the screenplay didnt work too fluidly, giving an overall sense that the plot was cobbled together to fit the events, rather than being written to stand on its own to feet. Despite this, the story is easy to follow and provide a platform for the real star of this episode, the new blood - Fontana.



    RIP Jerry Orbach, aka Lennie Briscoe. You shall be missed.



    Being always dubious of change, I must admit Faria is a class replacement. A favourite actor of mine, who I can remember from Miami Vice days. He fits in immediately like a well-worn glove. For me this is what this story is really about, introducing the wiley wise-guy-esque type character. In a number of key scenes it is Fontana who makes the breakthrough to the next lead, that keeps this plot moving forwards. The way in which he interprets a scene or clue or the way he manipulates a situation really adds to his reputation. Definitely made me feel at ease with the character. That was after a pretty frictional introduction between him and Green, where we immediately get a sense that these two cops don't have much in common and could have spelt trouble.



    However, because of the obvious issues with the plot, the story only provides a decent return on the drama stakes. Perhaps this was because it was being shown for the 1st time on UK TV, years after the associated events. Maybe though because the relevence of this and the attempted connection to the articles of the Geneva Convention just werent followed through in enough detail. Which brings me to my next final point about the drama. This lacked the intensity, even for an average L&O show. The introduction of possible alternate suspects was very low, almost railroading the story towards the Muslim candidate. It did incidents that provoked strong emotional response to the plight of normal Iraqi's and the consequences of getting things very wrong. The conflicts, what there was of them, were cast between new partners Fontana and Green, the Iraqi woman and both, the war and the judicial process. To be fair, the script was littered with some conflict by it never reaches an intense level. Yet overall, the episode preached more than entertained.



    For me this was really only one to watch for Farina's witty dialogue and to get to know his new character, which takes my score up to an eight.moreless
Elisabeth Rohm

Elisabeth Rohm

A.D.A. Serena Southerlyn

S. Epatha Merkerson

S. Epatha Merkerson

Lt. Anita Van Buren

Sam Waterston

Sam Waterston

Exec. A.D.A. Jack McCoy

Jesse L. Martin

Jesse L. Martin

Det. Ed Green

Dennis Farina

Dennis Farina

Det. Joe Fontana

Fred Dalton Thompson

Fred Dalton Thompson

D.A. Arthur Branch

Robert John Burke

Robert John Burke

Lt. Col. Milton Danbury

Guest Star

Sarita Choudhury

Sarita Choudhury

Nadira Harrington

Guest Star

Ron Silver

Ron Silver

Bernie Adler

Guest Star

Leslie Hendrix

Leslie Hendrix

Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers

Recurring Role

Peter McRobbie

Peter McRobbie

Judge Walter Bradley

Recurring Role

Helmar Augustus Cooper

Helmar Augustus Cooper

Arraignment Judge Lawrence McNeil

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (3)

    • This is one of the only episodes in which the district attorney (Arthur Branch) appears in court.

    • Goof: Nadira Harrington is an observant Muslim who wears a hijab (head scarf). Women wear the hijab to be modest in front of men who are not related to them. She should have been wearing the hijab when Green and Fontana came to the house.

    • Goof: An American soldier in this episode referred to Daniel Pearl as an example of how dangerous Iraqi insurgents were. Daniel Pearl was killed a few years before the Iraq war. This happened in Pakistan and Al Qaeda was alleged to be responsible, so it really had nothing to do with Iraqi insurgents.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Joe Fontana: (to Nadira Harrington) ... and what's a nice Muslim woman doing with pig's blood?

    • Bernie Adler (to Jack McCoy): You get to try my client, but now I get to try the war.

    • Nadira Harrington: You invade our country, but you don't give us safety? You protect our oil fields, but people are dying in the streets?

    • Joe Fontana: Lacerations on the inside of her lower lip.
      Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers: You know your way around a body.
      Joe Fontana: Yeah, so I've been told.

    • Arthur Branch: We deposed a mini-Stalin. A man who tortured and killed hundreds of his own people. Who attacked Kuwait and gassed the Kurds.
      Serena Southerlyn: So why didn't we go in years ago? And what about the genocides in Rwanda? And the Sudan?
      Jack McCoy: How many oil wells does Rwanda have?

    • Det. Ed Green: (About meeting Fontana.) I wasn't sure if he was a cop or a wise guy.

  • NOTES (7)

    • Dennis Farina is added to the opening titles with this episode. He is also part of the group walking at the end.

    • Jack McCoy refers to the case as, "Like the Yankees and the Red Sox; it's inevitable that the Red Sox won't be there when it counts." This obviously refers to the way the Boston Red Sox often did well in the beginning of the season, only to fail miserably at the end. This episode aired on September 22, 2004. Not even a month later, the Red Sox came back from an 0-3 record to beat the Yankees and went on to win the World Series.

    • Many of the scenes were filmed in downtown Brooklyn, including the scene where they said they were at a gas station in Queens. In actuality they were at the Mobil Station on Atlantic Avenue.

    • This is Dennis Farina's first contract appearance as Joe Fontana.

    • According to Dick Wolf, Det. Joe Fontana is named after Wolf's old friend, producer Tom Fontana.

    • Michael Bloomberg is the second New York City Mayor to appear as himself on the series. The first was Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in the episode "Endurance".

    • With the departure of Jerry Orbach from the series, S. Epatha Merkerson (Lt. Anita Van Buren) is now the cast member who has been with the series the longest in the 15th season. She joined the cast in season 4.

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

    • Nadira Harrington: I am a mujahedeen. A soldier of Islam.
      Arraignment Judge: And I'm Thurgood Marshall.

      Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) was the first African-American judge to serve on the Supreme Court. He was appointed in 1967.

    • This episode appears to be ripped from the headlines of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq.

    • The scene during the trial in which the military man is testifying about torture ("You want security, but you don't want to know what it takes to get it!") seems very similar to Jack Nicholson's famous "You can't handle the truth!" scene from the 1992 movie A Few Good Men.

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