Law & Order: Season 8, Episode 5

Nullification (5 Nov. 1997)

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


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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Release Date:

5 November 1997 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »


Jack McCoy: This country began as an experiment in freedom. The foundation of that freedom is equality before the law. Everyone, whoever they are, whatever they may believe, must be equally accountable. Mr. Christie hopes you will ignore the evidence and nullify. A power, he says, derives from a higher law. I agree that such a higher law exists. And each of you, as members of the jury, bound yourselves to it when you swore, on your conscience, before God and as a citizen, that you would decide this case on...
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User Reviews

Nullification, that's the name of the game
14 February 2015 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

On an ordinary day at Off Track Betting now defunct there's a robbery that goes horribly wrong as three masked thugs try to rob an armored car taking in the proceeds. One guard is dead, one robber is dead and one wounded.

Here's the shock, these guys were solid suburban citizens from the Hudson Valley, the dead guy a teacher, the wounded one a cop from the Hastings- on-Hudson police force. And they've all got tattoos. How incredibly stupid for these mutts. Turns out they all went to the same tattoo parlor for these eagle tattoos with a Latin motto.

A little search by computer conscious Benjamin Bratt finds a web site for a militia group. Naturally these guys ain't talking, especially the wounded cop who they certainly have dead bang cold, so Sam Waterston charges the whole lot of them. If it wasn't for the tattoos probably the rest would never have been charged.

Denis O'Hare is the brother-in-law of the deceased and he's going to represent all of them pro bono. He gets a grand chance to spout his right wing conspiratorial theories. O'Hare is one scary dude and Steven Hill is quite right when he observes how this guy has really gotten under Waterston's skin.

The saddest case in this story is the deceased's son Jesse Tendler who is part of the militia having bought into all the conspiratorial garbage. One hopes he eventually sees the error of his ways.

It all rests with O'Hare trying for jury nullification or at best a hung jury. Just how determined is Waterston to get him and what will he do?

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