Law & Order (1990–2010)
8.2/10
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House Counsel 

Briscoe and Logan learn that the murder of an unassuming Parks Department accountant may have actually been a mob hit when they discover that he was a juror in the trial of a crime boss.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
... Lennie Briscoe
... Mike Logan
... Anita Van Buren
... Jack McCoy
... Claire Kincaid
... Adam Schiff
... Mark Paul Kopell
... John Furini
Leslie Ayvazian ... Priscilla Lempert
... Murphy
... Anna Kopell
Claiborne Cary ... Judge Carol Bonelli
Fil Formicola ... Vincent Dosso
Lauren K. Woods ... Mitch Rosenblum
... Joe Williams
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Storyline

Detectives Briscoe and Logan investigate the shooting death of David Lempert, a city parks employee who was gunned down just as he was leaving his health club. They find little in Lempert's background to suggest he was targeted. He's divorced from his wife but that all seems amicable. He was paying hefty university tuition fees for his daughter and all in all lived a modest lifestyle. They get a break when they learn that he had been a member of a hung jury in the prosecution of mobster Vincent Dosso. The police arrest Dosso and the hit man, John Furini but ADA McCoy comes up against his old college classmate Mark Kopell who seems to out-lawyer him at every turn. When he learns that his old friend was present when the mobsters discussed hits, he charges him. Written by garykmcd

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4 January 1995 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Defense Attorney Mark Kopell says that the tape will "go the way of all flesh" meaning it will not be seen. The Way of All Flesh (1927) was at the time of this episode (and continues to be) considered a lost film. See more »

Quotes

A.D.A. Claire Kincaid: [middle of show] I'm sorry, but I don't put in fifteen hours a day just so I can flex my muscles.
ADA Jack McCoy: Well, you'd better start, Claire, or you'll wind up talking to yourself in elevators.
ADA Jack McCoy: [to Claire at end of show, after convicting his former friend] You'd better take the next elevator. I wouldn't be very good company.
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User Reviews

 
Ron Leibman vs. Jack McCoy; An Utterly Fantastic Episode with Brilliant Writing
11 May 2018 | by See all my reviews

L&O has a habit of taking plots that would be bland on any other show, and adding not just plot twists, but unique thematic layers, that make episodes stand out. This one begins innocuously enough, with a dead city worker and perhaps a link to the trial of an Italian mafioso. But it soon morphs into a character piece focused on the fascinating and electric personality of EADA Jack McCoy, played by Sam Waterston - truly one of the most compelling characters ever on American television.

McCoy faces a blast from the past when a friend/rival from law school, played by Ron Leibman in a ferociously brilliant performance, shows up defending the mafioso; the defendant, played by Fil Formicola, has almost no lines and gets very little screen time at all! There's a partial reason for that: the script is more interested in his enforcer, the magnetic Vincent Pastore of "Sopranos" fame, and there proves to be a second, more interesting defendant placed on trial before the hour is up...

As a reviewer before me noted, this one explores why McCoy does what he does: does he care about justice, or does he just care about winning? He's confronted with that question several times in this episode, by Leibman's character, by ADA Claire Kincaid (Jill Hennessy), and by Jessica Walter as Leibman's wife (both in the show and in real life, no less).

McCoy is smiling in early scene opposite Leibman, but there's not a smile to be found by the time this one's over with...


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