Recap / Law And Order S 14 E 11 Darwinian

A homeless man is found dead, and Briscoe and Green track down the hit-and-run driver who struck him; because she was under the influence when she hit him, she actually drove back to her home with him stuck on the hood of the car before dumping the body and trying to cover her tracks.

While that's a dreadful event in and of itself, in fact the victim was doomed before the accident, as his injuries reveal. He was brutally beaten by another homeless man because he wouldn't share an orange with him. The "true" killer's defense lawyer argues that he cannot be judged for what he did because, lacking the support of a society that sees him and his kind as subhuman, his crime was justified as the only way he could survive. McCoy convinces the jury that excusing the man for his actions further dehumanizes both him and more importantly his victim, and the killer is convicted.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Crapsack World: The defense attorney argues the world of the homeless, as opposed to the rest of society, is this.
  • Crazy Homeless People: When society turns its back on the homeless and some of them become these as a result, is it fair to judge them by the same standards as other people? The defense says no, McCoy says yes.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The opening act is inspired by the Chante Mallard case. The entry notes it had previously been used for the CSI episode "Anatomy of a Lye".