Law & Order: Burn Card

NBC, Wednesdays at 10:00PM

Genre: Drama

Conceit: The CSI Of Procedural Shows.

Next to Jack McCoy and Lenny Briscoe, Jesse L. Martin’s Ed Green is probably the most recognizable face of the original Law and Order.  The producers must have recognized this in devoting an entire episode to his departure.  This was a courtesy that they didn’t extend to Jerry Orbach, or even Benjamin Bratt.  At the very least they didn’t “Borgia” him (kill him viciously in his last episode) or “Southerlyn” him (wait till his last 2 minutes on TV to drop a random revelation about his character).  Instead, the producer let Detective Green go out doing what he did best: be a hero.

The episode started innocuously enough.  A man was found dead, sitting in a desk chair on the street no less.  Green and Lupo followed the clues back until it lead them to a bookie that the victim may have been tied to.  Then Green took off for the night.  Though this was purposefully made to seem odd, it resulted in the even stranger notion, some hours later, when said bookie was dead and Green ended up being the killer.  

Anthony “K*Ville” Anderson shows up as Detective Bernard of Internal Affairs and, before you know it, Green has been indicted for murder.  Apparently he had a history of illegal gambling, involving violent incidents with the victim.  I applaud the producers for actually working within continuity for this.  If you go back to the very first episode that Martin was in, his gambling habit was clearly alluded to.  This made this turn even more plausible.  The producers even enhanced it by have Green explain that he picked the habit back up after Briscoe left, and eventually died.  But all was not as it seemed.

Lupo kept digging and found that there was more to this than meets the eye.  Even Bernard tagged along.  Now this was obviously the producers prepping us for the fact that Anderson would be stepping into Green’s shoes next week.  This was hard to swallow.  Its actually very similar to the way Jeremy Sisto’s Lupo became part of the show at the beginning of the season.  But its hard to believe that a man who essentially chased a hero out of the squad would be welcomed with open arms.  It probably would’ve been better to just introduce Anderson as a new detective.

Either way, Det. Green got a final episode that he deserved.  He came out better for it, and may have set a precedent (for however long the show is still on the air) of actually giving real farewells to leaving cast.  And, as a good show does from time to time, Det. Green has a very plausible way of return, if he ever gets the itch to put the badge back on again.

Final Grade: A-

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