Law & Order: Season 7, Episode 5

Corruption (30 Oct. 1996)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 71 users  
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To avoid the consequences of a bad shooting, a corrupt police officer makes a deal to cooperate with a commission investigating police corruption. During his testimony, he accuses Briscoe of stealing drugs after an arrest.

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Title: Corruption (30 Oct 1996)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Lt. John Flynn
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Betty Abrams
Don Billett ...
Ed Richter - Attorney for Flynn
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Det. Andy Sullivan
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IAB Detective
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Club Bahia Hostess
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Richie Morales
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Lt. Kenny Edwards
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Judge Lawrence Hellman
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Storyline

An officer-involved shooting during a drug sting turns out to be a murder for hire ordered my a major drug trafficker. During his testimony in front of a corruption tribunal, the officer accuses Briscoe of stealing evidence in a case several years earlier. Written by Anonymous

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30 October 1996 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Remade as the Law & Order UK episode "Honour Bound" (Season 2, Episode 6). See more »

Quotes

Two-Tone: [after Briscoe has broken up his illegal dice game] Do I know you?
Detective Lennie Briscoe: [gesturing at Two-Tone's elaborate braids] Yeah - we got the same hairdresser.
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Connections

Remade as Law & Order: UK: Honour Bound (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

Allegiances.
28 August 2011 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

It follows the usual pattern of the series. One of the officers, Kevin Conway, an old friend of Brisco's, apparently shoots and kills a drug dealer in self defense during an attempted drug bust. Brisco was looking away at the time and the other officers saw nothing because the scene was dark, but a pistol is found on the dealer's body and everyone assumes the shooting was legitimate.

Everyone except Ray Curtis. He's urged by his fellow cops to say he saw the victim go for his gun, but he refuses. Curtis's skepticism leads him to pull Conway's records and he discovers that Conway had a personal motive for killing the dealer.

This upsets Brisco and ruins his friendship with Conway. On the stand before an investigative committee Conway accuses Brisco of participating in some criminal activity related to the shooting.

There is a particularly tense scene in a church, in which Brisco confronts Conway and asks him to say out loud that he, Brisco, never tampered with the evidence. Conway replies, "Yeah, where should I say it -- into your shoulder or your pocket?" We sense, without knowing for certain, that Brisco is wearing a wire. But he stands up defiantly and asks Conway to pat him down, resentful of the fact that an old friend would believe he was wired up. Conway, with chagrin, spills the beans and Brisco walks away. Each has betrayed the other -- Conway by openly accusing Brisco of something he didn't do, and Brisco by recording Conway's confidential confession, and in church too.

Allegiances are tricky things in some professions. That's what raises this episode a bit above average. It explores the conflict with some intelligence and sensitivity, without overplaying it. Doctors, airline pilots, police officers, and others who have the power of life and death over the rest of us, make mistakes and occasionally do illegal things, being human. But since a mistake can lead to grievous injury, it has to be covered up by others in the profession. That way they save each other from ruin -- real or potential.

This would have been a better episode if Conway had had no reason to plug the drug dealer except his dislike for dealers or for the individual. That is, if the shooting had taken place simply because Conway was personally offended in some way. As it is, Conway is revealed not only as a murderer but as a dirty cop. It sort of dulls the conflict inherent in the story because, as a dirty cop, Conway hasn't just made an impulsive error, the sort any cop might make, but has been instrumental in carrying out an illegal scheme. It gives Brisco a cheap way out of an ethical dilemma. If Conway had been guilty of no more than an ill-timed outburst of rage, it would really have put the screws on Brisco.


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