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I have to disagree with the previous viewer. First of all at different
times in the judicial process on this show the DA's office discovers
they're trying the wrong person. Some of those times make for
interesting viewing and some of the best Law And Order episodes. But if
you take the ethics of the profession seriously if exculpatory evidence
comes your way you HAVE to share it with the defense. As an aside the
defense is NOT obligated to turn over evidence that would show the
client to be guilty.
To be sure many ADAs are interested in a conviction rate. But Richard Brooks is not one of them. When he left the show as a regular he became such a defense attorney. This episode truly belongs to him.
A 61 year old heiress is stabbed to death and evidence points to Richard Cox as the perpetrator. He's 41, her boyfriend, and a con artist in his own right. He looks real good and he's got a rap sheet in Connecticut.
So on the advice of the victim's lawyer whom he knew he retains a legal aid attorney Mary Mara who cops a plea. But then the doubts and exculpation come.
Whatever Brooks doesn't own in this episode belongs to Darrell Larson. This is the white shoe of white shoe lawyers, Harvard Law, the works. But the man has issues as you will see in this revealing episode.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A wealthy elderly woman is found stabbed to death in her apartment. The
police arrest a younger man who was her love and who had a record of
larceny for an incident in his youth. The man needs the money, no
question, and the will leaves him a good deal, but there's no real
evidence against him. His lawyer is a woman with a sort of store front
operation out of Brooklyn who has a history of dealing down pleas. The
suspect agrees to confess his guilt in exchange for a reduced sentence.
But when he "allocates" -- that's Latinistic legalese for describing
his crime in court -- his account is slightly discrepant with the
The suspect goes to the slams alright but Robinet feels there's something wrong. The detectives look more closely into the background of the suspect's counsel and find that the vast majority of her cases have been pleaded out. She's only tried three in court and lost them. That is to say, she's not a very good lawyer.
Further probing reveals that the suspect selected her on the advice of the rich old lady's executor, the guy supposed to interpret and administer her will. The executor needs money desperately too, and he get's as his fee a chunk of the twenty million dollar estate. Physical evidence turns up against him and the innocent man is quickly released, no doubt with a sympathetic shrug.
The episode doesn't raise any very general issues. The problem is specific to the legal profession. The executor sent the first suspect to an attorney that the executor knew would wind up with the equivalent of a guilty verdict.
As usual, the characters and images are convincingly New Yorkish. The cops make wisecracks and sling moues around with abandon. They show annoyance when they're informed that they've arrested the wrong man, but they're pleased when they're told they can now arrest an attorney. Logan smiles and comments, "With pleasure." (Pretty amusing.) What I found -- well -- not exactly "dubious" but something that heightened my skepticism was when Paul Robinet realizes that the suspect's allocation is not quite right and this prompts the DA's office to pursue further channels of investigation.
I mean, the case is all wrapped up. A rich old lady has been murdered and her younger boy friend needs money and kills her in order to get it. Q.E.D. The guy is now in jail. Would a real DA have threatened to screw up their own conviction? That conviction is another feather in their cap. Maybe they would have, if they were as idealistic as Stone and Robinet.
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