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- Any and all instances of Lennie Briscoe's one liners and dry wit. It's revealed by Rey in a final season episode that he was still cracking jokes even in his final days.
- One scene where Briscoe's watching a bunch of crime-scene techs dumpster-dive in order to find some evidence.Tech: You know, last time we had to go through the trash, the investigating officers helped out.
Briscoe: (clearly with no intention of helping out) That's fascinating. I think you missed a spot.
- One episode involves Ben Stone attempting to negotiate a favourable plea agreement for a witness who is facing a lengthy federal prison term for serious drug smuggling charges, and the federal prosecutor is reluctant to allow a plea agreement. He eventually concedes to three years on each charge for a total of nine years. In the next scene, Stone meets with the witness and his lawyer, and cleverly offers him a deal of six years for each charge. As Stone had clearly hoped, the witness replies that he'll testify, but only if Stone gets him a deal of three years for each charge. Betraying absolutely nothing, Stone claims that he'll have to talk to the federal prosecutor and it won't be easy. Cut to Stone and Robinette... enjoying a coffee break and letting the witness sweat a bit. And then when they're done Stone walks back into his office with the most hilariously convincing and serious "I've just had to bust my balls and you better be grateful" look on his face.
- Whenever the Arraigning Judge is Morris Torledsky: a consummate Deadpan Snarker in judicial robes.
- 1x06, "Everybody's Favorite Bagman": A suspect is fleeing down an alleyway, with Greevey in pursuit. Logan is lying in wait around the corner, gun drawn, but reconsiders. He holsters the gun and clotheslines the suspect with a trash can lid instead.
- 1x10, "Prisoner of Love" involves BDSM. At one point in the episode, Ben Stone searches a suspect's home to find evidence she was involved, and comes across a chest at the foot of her bed.Elizabeth Hendrick: It's my hope chest.Stone opens it up and pulls out an assortment of kink gear.Ben Stone: (deadpan) What were you hoping for?
- 1x12, "Life Choice": The defendant, in her indignant defense of killing a woman over abortion in the name of God, basically brushes off the charges against her as a result. When her defense attorney asks her to clarify that, Stone stands up with his own retort that the judge agrees with.Ben Stone: Objection, this case is being judged on the temporal plane, your honor!
- 1x17, "The Secret Sharers":Shambala Green: I'm going for temporary insanity.Ben Stone: Yours or your client's?
- 1x21, "Sonata For a Solo Organ" has this gold-nugget dropped from Max: "The garbage has constitutional rights?"
- 2x08, "Out of Control" has a good one from a college student. Mike Logan asks a question which is quite offensive and the rebuttal of the student is simply brilliant: "Do they give you guys insensitivity-seminars?", before she continues to explain.
- 2x12, "Star-Struck": A judge gets one during the filing of an indictment.Robinette: The People request $200,000, cash only.
Judge: Do I strike you as particularly vindictive? Bond will be fine. $300,000! Where's my clerk?!
- 2x18, "Cradle to Grave", a slightly morbid example. A horrid landlady blames the rent laws for her pushing out tenants, leading to the death of a 10-month-old baby. She then starts heavily implying that an important witness will soon change his mind, to Stone's utter disbelief... with her lawyer trying to get her out of the room and shut her up while saying none of it counts. It's better watched.
- When getting evidence with Robinette, the undercover cop gets stuck in traffic. With time running short, Logan gets Robinette to change jackets with him (the man had already seen the cops and would recognize them) and step in. After Robinette gets the evidence, Logan immediately demands his jacket back.
- 3x10, "Consultation": Briscoe and Logan are questioning a Nigerian immigrant, who begs them not to "flog" him. Briscoe can see the guy is terrified and will tell them whatever they want to know, so he threateningly says, "Okay, we won't flog you... this time."
- 3x21, "Manhood": Briscoe and Logan are chewed out by Cragen after getting transcripts of the police radio tapes from a shooting without permission.Cragen: You did what?Briscoe: You're worried about the time, we'll dock ourselves a day.Cragen: I'm worried about you losin' your house and eatin' macaroni the next 20 years.Briscoe: I lost two houses already and I like macaroni.
- 4x01, "Sweeps": Ben Stone is arguing with the defense attorney; she is angry because he's trying to have information presented in the courtroom that she thinks is confidential.Attorney: This procedure is outrageous! I don't know how you can still look into a mirror.Ben Stone: I'm a Catholic; I can feel guilty about anything.
- 4x10, "The Pursuit of Happiness": Adam Schiff's pissed commentary about Ben's approach to the trial: "Quick, lock the doors! Someone might walk in with a case we could win!"
- 4x11, "Golden Years": About a case that includes a young woman starving her grandmother so as to inherit from her, this exchange takes place in the DA's office:Adam Schiff: Young people get impatient with old people. Especially cantankerous ones.Ben Stone: Oh yeah? Speaking from personal experience?Adam Schiff: (indignant) I'm a sweetheart. And I'm middle-aged.
- 4x12, "Snatched": After dealing with s string of witnesses who are completely unable to describe one suspect, Briscoe and Logan are questioning an old black couple. The wife also can't give much detail on either the suspect or the car, and both detectives are ready to give up when she apologetically says that all she can offer is the suspect's license plate number. Even though she's not sure on the last digit, that number is a lot more useful than any description and earns these parting words.Logan: (to the husband) You mind if I give her a hug?
Ben Stone: Mr. Bregman, in all my years of prosecution, you are possibly the stupidest criminal I've ever met.
- In the same episode, Jason Bregman's kidnappers reveal that Jason himself was in on it, and they have a audiotape to prove it. Jason Bregman was dumb enough to stage his own kidnapping.
- 4x16, "Big Bang": the murder has to do with theories in physics. When Schiff asks what they're talking about, Kincaid tells him it has to do with the idea that "protons eventually fall apart." Schiff looks at her and asks, "Is this something I need to be worried about?"
- 4x17, "Mayhem", has a scene where Mike Logan and Lennie Briscoe run from their current crime scene to the basement, following a woman's screams. In the basement laundry room they meet the very high Omar Cabases, who is brandishing an indeterminate object at them.Lennie: What the hell is that?Mike: Put the burrito down, señor.Omar: You, you, you dying!Mike: Only if I eat that thing.
- The arraignment sequence in this episode is something that must be seen to be believed as it stacks multiple defendants in sequence, with the judge's reactions and two of them staging their own hijinks.
- 6x05, "Hot Pursuit" has Briscoe and Curtis searching for a man and woman who killed several people in a short time frame. Upon being called to a corner store with two individuals resembling the couple, they find a couple...of frightened, Catholic school uniform-clad preteens who were detained by the cashier for stealing disposable cameras. The detectives were not pleased:Briscoe: The report clearly said two suspects post-puberty.(they turn to leave)Cashier: Well, are you going to take 'em in or what?Briscoe: (disgusted) Or what.
- 6x09, "Blood Libel" features Briscoe and Curtis wondering who would murder an art teacher.Curtis: An art teacher? Who'd she ever hurt?Briscoe: Yeah, an algebra teacher I could understand.
- 6x11, "Corpus Delicti": Jack deliberately disobeys a judge so as to provoke a mistrial. The case was highly circumstantial and he didn't want the suspect to walk. A few weeks later, physical evidence turns up, allowing Jack to try the case successfully. Of course, if the defense can prove he deliberately provoked a mistrial for this purpose, he could be disbarred. Deadpan, Jack says, "It wasn't like that at all. You know how emotional I get."
- From the same episode: Lennie's inspired impersonation of Mister Ed.
- 7x05, "Corruption", where Jamie Ross and a few other detectives investigate a cop's locker, Jamie finds a lingerie catalog, and correctly deduces that a certain code on the catalog means that the cop has ordered from the company multiple times. When the detective suspiciously remarks that Jamie knows so much about the catalog, she points to a certain page - presumably with a scantily dressed model - and says, "I'm wearing this right now." Cue detective's shocked expression.
McCoy: Not that bad.
- When McCoy and Ross learn about the cartel dealer they're after, Hector Garcia, being within their reach via extradition from Mexico but only if they give a corrupt cop a slap on the wrist plea bargain for his testimony to get a warrant for it. McCoy, both personally offended by said cop and damn determined to take him to court one way or another rather than let the bargain occur, is asked just how badly he wants Garcia. His tone of voice says it all.
- 7x07, "Deadbeat": Lennie getting hit on by an old woman. Curtis points out the woman's attraction as they leave. Lennie states that he should play his cards right.
- 7x19, "Double Down": A defendant tries to hide behind a deal he forced McCoy to take, but when McCoy found the deal was a trick the whole time, he tries to circumvent the deal while keeping the information the defendant gave him. During an evidentiary hearing, Curtis was asked why McCoy didn't realize that the defendant's partner was killed by the defendant, despite it being the logical explanation for a district attorney to come up with. Curtis's reply was "For a cop? Sure. For a DA? I've found sometimes they're not all that bright." Even McCoy was amused at this backhanded reply. When the hearing leads to allowing the defendant to be tried, Curtis asks McCoy, "What would have happened if I had told them you told us to shut up?" McCoy's reply: "It would have hurt. Hey, look at it this way. At least you got to duck the question by calling me an idiot." Curtis grinned. "Yeah. There is that."
Defence Attorney: What?!
- Earlier, at the arraignment, the defence attorney asserts that there is a plea agreement in place. McCoy, in light of the earlier trick, states that the people intend to seek the death penalty.
Judge: I gather the death penalty wasn't part of your arrangement?
- 7x23, "Terminal": A potential suspect in the murder of Jewish boat passengers asserts his innocence by saying, "If I wanted to kill Jews, I could just run a red light in my taxi. This is New York City."
- 8x01, "Thrill": A pair of teenagers kill a delivery driver, yet are covering themselves by pointing the finger at one another. The law seems to be protecting them, to Adam Schiff's frustration.DA Adam Schiff: Clarence Darrow had Leopold and Loeb, and who do we have?
ADA Jack McCoy: Beavis And Butthead.
ADA Jack McCoy: I'm playing legal tiddlywinks with these punks. What I'd really like to do is take them out to Battery Park and hang them by the scrotum.
- Of course, the legal dancing is rather amusing as well after a confession gets thrown away for one of the two suspects due to it being ruled a religious confession. It can be used against the other, while the first's fingerprints on the murder weapon are used to convict him.
- 8x08, "Shadows": When it appears that a random guy is about to make a call on a pay phone he and Curtis are staking out, Briscoe gets him off it by pretending to be a drunk who misidentifies and manhandles him.
- 8x11, "Under the Influence": Exchange between ADA Jamie Ross and the Defense attorney at the arraignment:Judge: Bail's set at a million dollars.Richard Billings: (to Jamie) A million bucks? He must like the cut of your skirt.Jamie: (deadpan) From what I hear, he'd prefer yours.
- 8x19, "Stalker": When a suspect keeps talking about how the police are violating his rights or arresting him with unconstitutional statutes:Briscoe: You probably know you have the right to remain silent. Why don't you use it?
- 8x23, "Tabloid," Upon learning that an Immoral Journalist was shot three times and killed, a group of bystanders break out into applause.Briscoe: Give the people what they want...
- 9x03, "Bait": When a teenage shooting victim's car turns up at the scene of a break-in, Briscoe and Curtis arrest the burglar. His pants have blood stains, so they are seized as evidence. The suspect says he just found the car abandoned, and indignantly asks for his pants back because "my Johnson's getting cold!"
- 9x09, "True North": Briscoe and Curtis confront a guy in his apartment and find about a half-kilo of coke. Later on, talking Carmichael and McCoy, the guy denies he's a drug dealer. Carmichael says, "Right, you just collect rare cocaine."
- 9X14 "Sideshow." Working with the Baltimore cops John Munch goes to the FBI and asks for his file. Given his lifelong talk of conspiracies and work with radicals in the 1960s, Munch is dead serious when he says he doesn't know if there's enough room in his car for what the FBI has on him. When an agent produces a single sheet of paper, Munch assumes it's a receipt for the file...only to learn this is his entire file.Munch: "He is considered a dilettante and is not taken seriously amongst the radical community?!"
- Season 10. Briscoe. "If I was kidding you, I'd be wearing a fez and no pants."
- 10x09, "Sundown":Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers: Right now, I've got to get a javelin out of somebody's chest.Lennie Briscoe: What made you go into this line of work?Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers: Free javelins.
- The case involves an older man who seduces older woman into being sugar mamas. One working-class older woman was clearly charmed by him, but could tell it was all just "window dressing". This isn't funny in itself. What is funny is the contrast with the parade of well-off woman who were fooled by him through the rest of the episode.
- 10x12, "Mother's Milk": Briscoe and Green want to enter an apartment to search for the missing mother and child. The owner refuses to let them in, so Green invokes exigent circumstances.Green: Did you just hear a baby cry?Briscoe: Clear as day. Exigent circumstances!
- 11x13, "Phobia": A man has been murdered, his baby kidnapped, a ransom demand phoned in. The cops follow a bike messenger and then rush in, grabbing the messenger and the man he's giving the ransom to. Turns out the ransomer had already left and it was just a random guy. His wife comes out of the coffee shop holding a pair of lattes and sees him handcuffed and surrounded by cops, guns drawn. "I told you not to double park."
- 13x23, "Couples": The entire episode is a marching band of black comedy moments:
Lenny: I've toyed with the notion.
- While investigating a murder, Briscoe and Green find a woman running over her cheating husband with her car. The woman's wild explanation involves quoting an obscure author, driving Green from the room.
- When Briscoe makes a crack about how the guy should have bought a smaller car, his girlfriend sobs "you think this is funny?"
- A witness asks if Briscoe is married.
Brother: She was married to Reynaldo and cheating on him.Green: With you!
- A man is accused of murdering his brother's wife but it turns out that the woman was his former wife who he was imprisoned for killing.Serena: Who's on first?
- He also says if they try him, they admit they wrongfully prosecuted him the first time, which opens the state up to lawsuits. He's just so wonderfully smug about it.
- The brother defends killing the woman.
Defense attorney: She ran him over four times with her car.Judge: I admire her restraint.Then:Woman: He's dead and I did it. I knew exactly what I was doing.Judge: I'm not supposed to give out personal opinions in the courtroom but I have to say, you make me proud to be an American.
- When the woman who ran over her husband is brought into court for arraignment, we get this gem of an exchange.
Woman: I'm not going under the knife for nobody! These were good enough for him when we got married!
- And then there's the reason she did it:
Briscoe: There's no law that says you have to answer that.
- She doesn't even try to defend herself, she just openly admits she murdered the guy, to her lawyer's chagrin.
- Having dealt with three murders, a kidnapping and a woman giving birth, Briscoe and Green are about to go home when the phone on their desk rings.
Green: We have a jumper.Briscoe: I may join him.
- Finding out a jogger died of poison, they check in on his husband who acts shocked for five seconds before confessing to the murder, assuming the detectives already knew. They didn't and are surprised as the guy groans over how the state won't recognize their gay marriage so he loses everything, dragged off as Lenny moans "You have the right to remain silent. Please."
- And the final lines:
- The sheer amount of random coincidences they keep running into. For example, taking a drunk perp to the station? He needs to puke. They stop at a gas station, and only the ladies' room is working. The guy pukes, flushes, walks out, Green touches him, gets puke on his hand, goes in the restroom, and notices a kidnap-victim message in lipstick the mirror, with a card nearby.
- Briscoe's repeated cracks about his marriage (in keeping with the episode's Central Theme), speaking from copious experience. Most of it bad.
- Briscoe and Green find a suspect working at an active car wash, and chase him down, with dramatic music playing. Briscoe pauses and grimaces before he goes through. Cut to the suspect slipping on a wet grate and pratfalling perfectly onto his back.
- The police finally track down a kidnap victim and her kidnapper to their location. They knock on the door, announce themselves as the police, and prepare for resistance... only for the kidnapper, on seeing them, to yell "Thank God! This way!" and run back into the house. Turns out the kidnap victim has gone into labor.
- 14x01, "Bodies": a legal aid defense attorney takes on a serial killer, and DA Branch has a... less than favorable opinion of him.DA Arthur Branch: Who is that stupid SOB anyway?ADA Serena Southerland: Ken Schwimmer, Legal Aid, and he isn't exactly stupid.Arthur: He listened when his client told him about fifteen other murders?Serena: Yes.Serena: ...Yes.Arthur: Ok, what's dumber than stupid?
- In the same episode, Briscoe and Green confront a dangerous murder suspect in his apartment. When he picks up a large knife and a block of cheese, Green tells him to "put it down"; the suspect asks if he's supposed to put down the knife or the cheese. He drops the knife, and when Green announces it's time to go to the police station, Briscoe leans forward and pointedly takes the cheese out of the suspect's hand.
- 14x06 "Identity": An elderly man is charged with murder, so his estranged son files to become his legal guardian. Against his father's wishes, the son appoints Shambala Green to defend him. The defendant tells his son to "take your next ex-wife (Shambala) and get out of here!" The son is shocked, while Shambala remains totally unfazed.
- 14x09 "Compassion": During a discussion with a laboratory doctor, he picks up a test rabbit and moves it to another cage. Ed Green then sticks his finger through the bars to try and pet the rabbit and the doctor slaps his hand to stop him while continuing to talk as though nothing is happening.
- 14x19, "Nowhere Man": A DA who was being blackmailed into clearing a pair of mobsters because he wasn't who he claimed to be was murdered, but left a work permit in the file. The permit was a clue to the murderers, whose alibi was that they were on a construction jobsite. A blend of Refuge in Audacity and Too Dumb to Live, because they hid the body of the victim the DA was investigating inside the concrete they were pouring for the job.Det. Green: Biscuits and Books. Those dumb bastards.
- 15x13, "Ain't No Love": A CD is one of the early pieces of evidence. Fontana and Green give it to CSU and CSU officer Beck classifies the music before playing it for them. The only thing funnier than Fontana's reaction to gangster rap is Green's reaction to his partner's obvious disdain.
- 18x8, "Illegal": Green and Lupo interview a couple who were a murder victim's neighbors. The wife is irritated when her husband mentions the victim wore a low-cut blouse the last time they saw her alive. When Green asks if they ever met the victim's boyfriend, the wife hits back that the guy had a nice butt.
- 18x11, "Betrayed": Fueled by a dose of Mood Whiplash. Ed 'reads' a suspect her medical record, causing her to freak out and confess to the murder. When confronted by Lt. Van Buren that reading her medical file was illegal, Ed reveals the 'file' to be a signup sheet for a blood drive, a sketch for the suspect of a peeping case and take-out menus.
- 19x14, "Rapture": Pretty much the entire first third of the episode, which involves Bernard, Lupo and Van Buren investigating a murder confession in an email supposedly triggered by the Rapture. Yeah, that rapture. Despite the fact that it's a homicide investigation, the detectives at some points visibly struggle to keep a straight face while dealing with a suspect who's bewildered the Rapture apparently hasn't happened. One exchange while Bernard interrogates one of the suspects:Van Buren: OK, what the hell are they talking about?Lupo: The rapture.Van Buren: The rapture? As in the last days, the Book of Revelation.Lupo: Right, when Jesus comes back and takes all good Christians to Heaven.Van Buren: Well, I'm planning on retiring before that happens.
- "Skate or Die" has two men that serve as skaters called the "Bi-polar Roller", who continuously dances throughout his interrogation, and eventually skates through the police headquarters when he leaves. He even skates away from Lupo when they try to arrest him AND IT WORKS.
- Half of the episode is the cast being baffled by the skating suspect, even McCoy having brevity in his confusion on the matter. No one seems to take the case all that seriously as a result. Until they find DNA on his knife linking him to a serial killer spree, because of his years of unabated schizophrenia.
- 20x04, "Reality Bites":Connie Rubirosa: What?Mike Cutter: Having fun?Connie Rubirosa: I am going to kill you, and then, I'm gonna kill McCoy.Mike Cutter: On camera?Connie Rubirosa: I don't care, I'd be better off in prison!
- 20x22: "Love Eternal": the cops find that a victim's body has been cremated and his ashes have been incorporated into an artificial gem. Desperately, they go to The Coroner and ask if there is anything she can tell from it. At that, she holds the gem and wryly notes, "The deceased was a man of many facets."