Law & Order: Season 5, Episode 6

Competence (2 Nov. 1994)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 91 users  
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Van Buren kills a retarded, unarmed teenager at an ATM. She claims it was a robbery attempt, and that there's a second, armed suspect on the loose. But not everyone believes her.

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Title: Competence (02 Nov 1994)

Competence (02 Nov 1994) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Jerome Osborn
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Captain Dennis Burnett
Omar Scroggins ...
Zack Rowland (as Omar Sharif Scroggins)
Lisa Louise Langford ...
Marjorie Gordon
Marcella Lowery ...
Van Buren's Attorney
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Jacklin Brooke Sanford ...
Guinivere Sheffield
Rochelle Oliver ...
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Tony 'G-Dog' Rowland
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Storyline

The police find themselves investigating one of their own when Lt. Van Buren shoots a young intellectually disabled boy at an ATM. She's certain that one of the boys had a gun and Capt. Dennis Burnett tells everyone to stay out of the investigation but Detectives Lenny Briscoe and Mike Logan can't help but look into the case. They find the second boy, Zack Rowland, and McCoy for his part takes the case to a grand jury who refuse to indict Van Buren. She's not happy however because a non-indictment isn't the same as being found innocent. When Logan and Briscoe find the gun Zack used, they have to find a way to prove he had it in his possession. Written by garykmcd

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2 November 1994 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lt. VanBuren states she has been on the NYPD for 12 years. The air date was November 1994. Since the title cards show Thursday September 10, this equates to the year 1992, so she began her NYPD career about 1980. See more »

Goofs

The title cards indicate Thursday September 10. Since the air date was November 1994, the closest year that had not passed for Thursday September 10 was 1992. When Briscoe and Logan read a kid's rap sheet, they learn he died in March 1993, about six months after the events shown, so he would have still been alive in September 1992. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Anita Van Buren: Were you born a smart-ass, or did it just come with the job?
Jack McCoy: I'm a pussycat. You should've met my old man.
Lt. Anita Van Buren: Lawyer?
Jack McCoy: Cop.
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User Reviews

 
Van Buren in the hot seat
26 January 2015 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

S. Eptha Merkerssen is the one getting grilled in this Law And Order episode. Lt. Van Buren while with her children is accosted by two young kids, one of them with a gun. Big mistake to hold up a police officer, she shoots one of them.

But this particular kid was slightly retarded and as the younger and more malevolent one Omar Scroggins says, he keeps him around because he looks menacing. I can understand that I had a friend who also was big and hulking and looked intimidating. Once he opened his mouth he spoke like Bullwinkle. But stay silent and you can get away with it.

Scroggins is a real punk, but he learned it from an older brother played by rapper Fredro Starr who's a career criminal. When his parole is threatened he has no hesitation in giving up his little brother and that leads to the his weapon.

Even though the Grand Jury clears Van Buren the DA wants to see some justice as far as the surviving perpetrator. But Scroggins has himself a civil rights attorney in the Alton Maddox/C.Vernon Mason tradition. Google those names if they're unfamiliar to you now. Samuel E. Wright is the attorney and he's trying this in the court of public opinion. Waterston will have to button this one down real tight.

Merkerssen is the dominant cast member, one of her best performances on Law And Order.


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