Law & Order

Season 12 Episode 11

The Collar

1
Aired Monday 10:00 PM Jan 09, 2002 on NBC
7.1
out of 10
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27 votes
1

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Episode Summary

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The Collar
AIRED:
The death of a cleric leads the detectives to a priest who was given information by a murder suspect outside of the church but insists that he can't discuss anything about it, bringing McCoy to question whether the confessional seal should apply.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • The Catholic religion is at the heart of another episode, where a priest is forced to choose between faith and justice.

    7.5
    Law & Order has always loved to look at matters of church and state, and featured here is one most connected to Jack McCoy--the Roman Catholic Church.



    A priest has been murdered, and the investigation leads to a suspect with a connection to another, earlier murder. Detectives Lenny and Ed learn the actual target of the most recent crime is Father Evans, a priest who is clearly unwilling to cooperate with the police. The question is whether or not Father Evans' counsel of the murder suspect should fall under the seal of confession, since the young man never actually asked for forgiveness. While the archdiocese calls this "splitting hairs," the D.A.'s office is forced to do just that to get at the truth. Serena, especially, is troubled by this, but she joins Jack in pushing at the persevering priest when it becomes clear that nothing else will win the day and secure the freedom of another suspect who was wrongly convicted of the first murder.



    For once the Church is treated with respect. While we do learn early on that the murdered priest might have been having an affair with one of the parishioner's wives, the story is not about clerical abuse. The Bishop is reasonable when he appeals to the D.A.'s office to lighten up on Father Evans. And we meet Jack's former confessor, who gives him good advice on the case and adds that he'll "put in a good word for him," evidently to the Ultimate Judge.



    The decision Father Evans makes to testify against the young man is especially poignant in the final scene, as Jack and Serena watch him remove his collar (alluding to the title of this episode). Overall, this 12th season story avoids some of the convoluted twists and turns of recent years and sticks to the central theme of faith versus justice. When one is served, will the other suffer?



    The answer seems to be, yes, sometimes it will.moreless
Elisabeth Rohm

Elisabeth Rohm

ADA Serena Southerlyn

Jerry Orbach

Jerry Orbach

Det. Lennie Briscoe

S. Epatha Merkerson

S. Epatha Merkerson

Lt. Anita Van Buren

Sam Waterston

Sam Waterston

Exec. ADA Jack McCoy

Jesse L. Martin

Jesse L. Martin

Det. Ed Green

Dianne Wiest

Dianne Wiest

Interim DA Nora Lewin

John Dossett

John Dossett

Fr. Evans

Guest Star

Peter Maloney

Peter Maloney

 

Guest Star

Joanna Going

Joanna Going

Dana Bauer

Guest Star

Dick Latessa

Dick Latessa

Bishop Durning

Recurring Role

Andrea Navedo

Andrea Navedo

Ana Cordova

Recurring Role

Bill Cwikowski

Bill Cwikowski

Allan Boswell

Recurring Role

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