Law & Order: Season 8, Episode 5

Nullification (5 Nov. 1997)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
8.0
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An attempted armored car heist leads to the prosecution of a suburban right-wing militia group that claims to be at war with the U.S. government.

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Title: Nullification (05 Nov 1997)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Phil Christie
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Thomas Robbins
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Kay Brant
Ted Kazanoff ...
Judge Daniel Scarletti
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Matthew Brant Jr. (as Jesse Tendler)
Walt MacPherson ...
Shelby
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Brinn Lehey
Timothy Kirkpatrick ...
Greg Kubie
Andy Fowle ...
Lewis Cray
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Storyline

Detectives Briscoe and Curtis investigate an armored car robbery at an off track betting parlor that the resulted in the deaths of two security guards. One of the robbers, Matthew Brant was also killed and another, Greg Kubie, is in hospital in a coma. The weapons they used were modified to allow full automatic fire. It turns out they were part of a self-styled militia called the New Sons of Liberty, a group of 20 men who were well-armed and seemingly prepared to go to war. Their leader, Phil Christie, refuses to recognize the government's authority and leads the defense for himself and his band. He's clearly out to get a hung jury. Written by garykmcd

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TV-14
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5 November 1997 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the second time Denis O'Hare played a defendant who represented himself in court. The other time was in "Pro Se", which was in the prior season. See more »

Quotes

A.D.A. Jamie Ross: [after the jury is hung and a mistrial is called] If he only knew. You could've sunk this trial and you didn't. You played it straight, Jack. That rates as a moral victory.
Jack McCoy: It could be a hollow one, if those clowns could find even one person who'd acquit them. What does that tell you about this country?
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User Reviews

Militias, oh my!
10 November 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Nullification" begins with a broad daylight armored car heist that is badly botched, resulting in the death of a guard and a robber. The detective story is pretty compelling as Lenny and Ray unexpectedly end up in the suburbs and quickly suspect a militia. We get to see techno-geek Ray in action using something called a "search engine" for the big break in the case.

The legal side is plenty dramatic, with militia members passionately defending their beliefs, sometimes through chaotic outbursts in court. The leader acts as his own attorney, and Jack McCoy's own beliefs on the will of the people and even apparently on jury nullification are unexpectedly used against him.

As compelling as some parts of this episode are, I thought the portrayal of the militia was a bit cartoonish and off-base at times. They gave them a bit too much credit, making them all respectable suburbanites who attended Militias 101 then committed the mandatory murder in Manhattan to get them on the show.

It's just a bit too uneven for me to consider one of L&O's better efforts.


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