Law & Order: Strike

NBC, Wednesdays at 10:00PM

Genre: Drama

Conceit: The CSI of Procedural Shows.

I figured I would give Anthony Anderson a week to settle in without review.  Everyone deserves at least that much when they’re replacing a favorite co-worker.  Well, for starters, he delivered quite possibly the worst “Boy, is it hot our here” line i’ve ever heard.  Other than that, Det. Bernard didn’t do much in terms of investigation.  However, he did find himself at odds with the district attorneys office.  Still, even then, it wasn’t much.

No, this episode was ADA Rubirosa’s time to shine.  The defendant, Ted Sanderson, was a county employee, who was recently exonerated of his wife’s murder.  Lups and Bernard were after him for having run over and killed a public defender who was on strike.  In classic L&O, the murder seems to have been a “wrong place wrong time” kind of thing. But, as always, things are not what they seem.  Turns out the victim had an affair with Sanderson’s wife right before she died.  As Legal Aid was on strike and he couldn’t afford a lawyer, the Judge asked Rubirosa to step across the aisle and handle only the bail hearing.  But of course it wouldn’t only be for the bail hearing.  Sanderson successfully moved to have Rubirosa made her attorney for the case.  It is sweeps after all (well, sweeps in this abbreviated season anyways).  Things go the way they should.  It turns out this guy is innocent.  The episode wouldn’t have worked if he wasn’t.  And in classic fashion, Rubirosa chars bridges trying to defend him.  Unfortunately, she tries to play both sides of the field, when she uses her district attorney badge to get evidence she wouldn’t have otherwise.  This completely backfires as the evidence not only implicates Sanderson, but it makes Rubirosa look bad.  No wait, Sanderson is guilty.  But apparently Rubirosa feels his wrongful conviction earns him a shot.  And so she returns to bridge charring.  And she gets him a deal.  But wait, he’s even more guilty than she thought.  Classic.  The one thing I didn’t like about this episode was, for the sake of making Rubirosa seem stronger, ADA Cutter was uncharacteristically inept.  This is usually how these episodes go.  To make a supporting cast member a star, the stars seem dumber.  And they have to constantly compliment the supporting cast member.

I’ll be honest: I never really thought anyone could take Sam Waterston’s place as executive ADA, but Linus Roache does a pretty good job of it.  He’s just a little more aggressive than Jack McCoy, but it works.  McCoy, meanwhile, finds comfort in getting to add a cynical quip here and there when he gets the chance.  Unfortunately, the producers make him grandstand for a scene, which is very not Jack McCoy.  He also wanders around the office more than Adam Schiff or even Arthur Branch ever would.  However, he does redeem himself with Adam Schiff advice at the end.  Its not the perfect formula, but its as good as it can be if we want Jack McCoy as Manhattan’s DA.  And we definitely want that.

Final Grade: B


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