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I always like the shows with Lenny Briscoe (Jerry Orbach). He manages
to come up with the most sarcastic quips in his investigations.
There are two themes running through this episode.
First the diagnosis of schizophrenia and the fact that many with that disease do not take their medication regularly.
Secondly, the overwhelming amount of cases handles by a District Attorney's office and the necessity to plead out to keep the courts from being clogged. That is what led the defendant, James Smith, played admirably by Denis O'Hare (Michael Clayton, A Mighty Heart) to be on the streets.
Jack (Sam Waterston) and Claire (Jill Hennessy) manage to get justice done despite the efforts of the D.A. Adam Schiff (Steven Hill) to just make it all go away.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've watched all the Law & Order episodes multiple times over the
years, and this is one of the very best. Denis O'Hare's performance is
gut wrenching. One of the best character actors around.
He plays homeless schizophrenic who commits horrific crime while off his medications. Turns out he was once a talented attorney, so ends up defending himself, once he is back on medications. His performance is heartbreaking, and as all Law and Orders, deals with relevant societal and legal issues.
O'Hare can't be seen in numerous other episodes over the years. Always delivers outstanding and nuanced performances.
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