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"Law & Order" Rage (1995)

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The Smartest Guy Around

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
24 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This particular episode of Law And Order must have caught someone's attention because five years later Courtney B. Vance was cast in the spin off Criminal Intent as a good guy Assistant District Attorney, But here in Rage, Vance plays an up and coming young stockbroker who gets caught in a nasty scam by his boss and said boss winds up dead.

Vance has a great way with cool and controlled characters be they on either side of the law. It works when he played ADA Ron Carver in Criminal Intent and it works well here as Bud Greer a man who hit upon a really great scam and got caught at it. His attitude of smugness and assumption he's the smartest guy around make Jerry Orbach, Chris Noth and even S. Eptha Merkersen just want to smack him.

Vance's defense is that of black rage, tried most unsuccessfully by Colin Ferguson the perpetrator of the massacre on the Long Island Railroad.

This one is for fans of Courtney B. Vance.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Narcissism, Color Irrelevant.

Author: Robert J. Maxwell ( from Deming, New Mexico, USA
28 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I may get some of the terminology wrong here because, unlike the character played so admirably by Courtney Vance in this episode, I didn't graduate from Stanford, magna cum lauda, and then Harvard Business School, summa cum lauda. That may be why my bank account could crawl under a duck's belly, to borrow a trope.

A broker is found shot dead in his apartment, a murder staged to look like a suicide. Brisco and Logan track down the killer, Vance, a black man who lives in a crummy apartment, his millions of dollars of bonuses for performance notwithstanding.

It's a little complicated but Vance had made some "phantom trades" or something that made millions on the books but were stashed away because the traders had been fabricated by Vance. I hope I got that right. His boss found out about it and Vance shot him. Vance is in a position to hire the best defense team -- and he does. Their case? The boss and everybody else disliked Vance for his snobbery and Vance was driven to murder the man who was about to expose him because of "black rage." Viewers may recall that this was the excuse offered by the lawyers in the case of a very savvy and intelligent African-American who committed mass murder on a train somewhere in Queens.

I can't imagine that real trials consist of moral arguments back and forth between interrogators and witnesses, as happens in this episode. Yet, the issue is important enough. Does a life time of humiliation and coded insult qualify as an excuse for a final, violent hijacking by one's amygdala? Can you shoot somebody because you just can't take it anymore? How about if YOU'VE been treated with tolerance and acceptance but you just can't get the degradation of your ancestors out of your head? At what point does the violent act -- had it been the other way round -- become a "hate crime"? Unlike some episodes, this one doesn't pull any punches. Vance dislikes not just the whites he sees as so condescending, but the blacks who insult him for being what they see as a traitor to the race. He represent no one but himself. And he sticks smoothly and confidently with that egocentrism. Courtney B. Vance is the guy for the role too. Nobody does that unruffled poise better.

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