Recap / Law And Order S 17 E 22 The Family Hour

A senator's ex-wife is found bludgeoned with a fire poker and a wooden spoon in her... You know where. Detectives Green and Cassidy discover that she abused both her kids. With a wooden spoon, usually. The evidence points to the daughter. They go to question the daughter, when they find that her father, the aforementioned senator, has stabbed her to death. The father then pokes at himself with the knife so he can claim self-defense, but only Cassidy sees this.

The judge at the pretrial is overly emotional and overly sympathetic and Jack asks him to recuse himself, but no such luck. During the trial, Rodgers testifies that the senator's "defense wounds" were most likely self inflicted, saying that he could have learned the trick from one of the crime novels in his collection, and cites an example. She later realizes she cited the wrong book, and Jack decides to cut the reference to it from his summation. Arthur takes him off the case and has Connie do the summation. The jury convicts.

  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: And how. Both parents have been abusing the children for decades, the daughter then abuses her younger brother, he develops a drug problem (yet still manages to be the most normal of the members), the father gets his daughter drunk as a preteen and lets his buddies take turns groping her, she ends up marrying an abuser...
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: Connie's summation.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rodgers, of course, as she is performing Nicole's autopsy:
    "The spoon was inserted only once, not in and out like in sexually-based homicides. (Beat) Which reminds me, I need to bake a cake for my nephew's birthday party."
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Sen. Bailey, as Cassady soon found out.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Based on aspects of Anna Nicole Smith's death, particularly the judge's behaviour during the trial.
    • Also has a bizarre meta-example - Elizabeth Rodgers' mistake is based on a case where a person was accused of stealing their alibi from a Law & Order episode, which was then revealed to not actually exist.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections! / Money / I Make Them: Senator Bailey has been abusing his family for years and only twenty-plus years later is he finally punished for his crimes.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: After Bailey is convicted, he starts yelling at Judge Dilwynn, a friend of his who he pulled some strings to get to reside over the case, calling him a hack and threatening to have his thrown off the bench.
  • Upper-Class Twit: In the beginning of the episode, Nicole threatens a waitress at the society party to get her a better seat where the paparazzi will be able to photograph her.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Both Nina Cassidy and Arthur Branch dissapear after this episode. Branch is revealed to have retired at the start of the next season - Cassidy's departure is given no explanation at all.note 
  • You Look Familiar: The actor who played Senator Bailey's lawyer went on to play Detective Lupo.