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In "Skate or Die," Cutter provokes the Bipolar Roller into attacking him so he can give him some anti-psychotics and get him to testify. Nobody calls him on how bad and unprofessional this is not even Olivet who was actually in this episode, despite the fact Elliot did something similar on SVU and was rightfully scolded and threatened for doing so by Huang.

  • Olivet calls McCoy and demands that Cutter be suspended. What I was more confused by is that him attacking Cutter was necessary to prove that he was a danger to himself or others. What about the nine murders he committed?
    • Those didn't prove that he was a danger while restrained at the mental institution. To be forced to take the drugs, Cutter had to prove that, even locked down as Applebaum was, he was still a danger without them.

"Judge Dread": Attempt on her life aside, how has no one brought forward a complaint regarding Judge Linda Karlin's always-maximum sentences even for minor felonies (often in the hundreds of years)? Her reputation with fifteen years on the bench is well known, but the episode never mentions any professional complaints from any other members of the judicial system (D.A.'s Office, appeals courts, etc.).
  • Fear of retaliation perhaps. In an SVU episode, Judge Taft, a biased judge, had retaliated against a defense lawyer after he asked Taft to recuse himself.
  • Another possibility is that most, if not all, of the defendants in question were not of means and felt that filing a complaint wouldn't help.
  • Yet another possibility is that her decisions on her lengthy prison sentences were reduced on appeal. Or that her reputation was exaggerated.
  • Another thing: This took place before social media existed. If Karlin was acting this way today, there'd be a lot more public attention/backlash.
    • I imagine after Karlin's outburst in the DA's office, her behavior in the courtroom is going to get a lot more attention.

In the season 5 episode “Seed” the cops investigate a fertility doctor, finding evidence he defrauded his patients with a treatment that didn’t work, telling them they were pregnant then staging fake miscarriages to explain the lack of a baby. On the way, they uncover a different fraud, that for other patients seeking in vitro fertilization, he’s used the same sperm donor dozens of times despite promising clients that a given donor is used only four times. After the lawyers take over and go through some difficulties, they find the donor was the doctor himself. At that point they say they can’t prosecute him for fraud because though it’s despicable, there’s nothing illegal about using his own sperm and all he promised the patients was the donor would be anonymous. They have to struggle to persuade one couple who wanted to use the husband’s sperm to come forward, because apparently they were the only ones defrauded. So here’s the problem: what about the promise each donor would be used only four times? Wasn’t that fraud? What about the fraudulent fertility treatment the cops found early on? Not as startling as the sperm donation, but it did lead to a woman’s death that opened the episode. Why can’t they prosecute him for any of that?
Here's what bugs me: Where is the 27th precinct LOCATED? They have shown the main characters in L&O investigating cases from Inwood to the Staten Island Ferry terminal (which to people who haven't been in New York are at opposite ends of Manhattan) and that's just not possible.
  • Police have a limited jurisdiction and VERY territorial about it. Investigating cases outside of your area unless you are invited is almost verboten and will usually end up starting a turf war.
  • Of course, in a meta-sense, the real reason it's kept vague is to allow the writers to send the detectives all over the city to investigate crimes and thus open up storytelling possibilities (so they can, say, go to an affluent neighbourhood one week after a run-down one, or look at mob dealings at the docks one week and then a high-society heist-gone-wrong the other) rather than having to limit themselves to a relatively small section of New York. It's just a leap of faith we have to make in order to watch the show.
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  • It should be on the Upper West Side, just north of Central Park. The real life 26th and 28th precincts are next to each other there. 27th was absorbed by those two as part of a consolidation following the widespread introduction of patrol cars; there were more, smaller precincts in the years when patrol was almost entirely by foot. Now, most of the crimes that the detectives on the mothership series actually investigate take place in that area. That's where the territorial aspect comes in; detectives are assigned a case because they're from the detective squad of the precinct where the crime took place. But once they begin investigating, they can actually go anywhere in the city to question suspects/witnesses as needed. The detectives on the case are THE detectives on the case, regardless of how far afield the investigation takes them; they don't hand off the entire case to another squad just because a witness lives in Brooklyn and saw something while visiting their cousin in Manhattan. That said, a) they do play a bit loose with the actual precinct boundaries (which makes sense considering the precinct doesn't actually exist) and b) Law & Order was (and SVU still is) filmed at a studio on Chelsea Piers further downtown. (As a side note, the SVU detectives are the sex crimes squad for all of Manhattan, even if they work out of the also-fictional 16th precinct on the show, and the Major Case Squad from Criminal Intent had city-wide jurisdiction for cases that fall under their special purview; they actually do work out of the main headquarters at 1 Police Plaza.)

Why did they never explore the issues that would have arisen when Van Buren lost her lawsuit?
  • It always struck me as almost impossible that the case would have been resolved in the manner that it was and that the brass would have acted in the manner that they did. Nobody likes whistleblowers or complainers,that's for sure. But having one of the few (if not the ONLY) black female police Lieutenants being passed over for promotion (and a non-minority given the position) and then treating her poorly as a result of her filing suit seemed to be a recipe for additional lawsuits and poor publicity. Those are things that no police department would need.

There was an episode where a guy was killed and strapped to his bed. This had sexual overtones all over it, so why didn't SVU get it?
  • Early episodes had some SVU-esque episodes before SVU was actually created.
  • Because he was found dead and homicide should always be called when somebody dies regardless of overtone. SVU is only supposed to handle rape, sexual assault and child abuse. They might be asked to consult on a case if they involved one of the above but they should not be the primary investigators. Only an ME as bad as Warner would have called them on a case like that, Rodgers knows better than to put someone like Stabler on a murder case, (why do you think she no longer calls SVU to her morgue)

In "Helpless" (s3-6), how the hell did Dr. Merritt keep his medical license? I understand how he ducked the criminal charges (at first), but when you cop to having sex with a patient, how are you not immediately getting a smackdown from the AMA (at the VERY least)?
  • He's re-arrested very soon after the trial for Olivet's rape, so it's possible that the disciplinary committee had simply not gotten around to reprimanding him as yet.

In "Killerz" (10-2) why did they charge both defendants with murder when the little girl confessed to being an accessory after the fact and explicitly stated she had no idea what her friend was up to? Her confession seemed fairly candid and they never explain why they're convinced she was guilty of murder.
  • First off they dropped the charges against her and she did not serve any jail time after she testified against her friend and claimed she had nothing to do with it. Secondly she was not an accomplice after the fact she was an accomplice during the murder, she stood lookout while her sadistic misandrist friend abducted the child, she helped take him to an isolated spot with her and she stood by and watched as she killed him. I do not think that the charges should have been dropped against her but she was based on Nora Bell (sidekick of Enfant Terrible Serial Killer Mary Bell) who also did not serve any time.
    • According to my recollection, they dropped the charges against Jenny (the actual killer) so they could get her put in a mental institution; her accomplice was just sentenced as a juvenile. Second, the accomplice never did anything illegal until Jenny ordered her to help put the boy's body in the pipe; her confession specifically stated she had no idea Jenny was intent on killing the boy and presumably thought they were going taking him out to play.

Did Briscoe really hire a hitman to kill the guy that killed his daughter as the final episode of season 8 suggests?
  • Season 9 tried to suggest the killer was offed in an unrelated criminal act, suggesting that Lenny never got the chance to do what he was thinking of doing. I didn't buy it in the least and thought Lenny had the guy whacked.
  • It's deliberately kept ambiguous for the viewer to make up their own minds. If you think Briscoe's the kind of guy who'd do that, then he got his revenge. If you think Briscoe would ultimately decide against it, then he managed to keep his integrity while still seeing the killer of his daughter receive some kind of punishment.

In the episode Release (17-8) the detectives and the DA office seemed to really push the boundaries of believability by charging a No Celebrities were harmed version of Girl’s Gone Wild founder Joe Francis with rape and murder. In the case they seemed to be targeting him even when He had an airtight alibi for when the murder went down. Later after they found the real killer she claimed he raped her turning it into a he said she said case, it later turned she signed a contract giving consent and there was no footage of her resisting him. They let her off with man 2 and charged him with murder because he sent his friend to sleep with a girl which he had written permutation to do. They later bring in the mother of another girl he slept with (both were in exchange for footage of the girls stripping despite the they fact they had signed consent forms) and killed herself. The main argument against him seemed to be that he was sleazy which might be true, but none of that is a very solid rape case and absolutely in no way is murder. The defendant’s attorney seemed to be the only one to relies it as the judge and jury sided with the DA.
  • Their argument was that he (Drake) raped her, and that the rape eventually led to the death of his friend Hudson (because the girl, Nicole, fought back when Hudson came in to rape her and ended up killing him). This would fall under the felony murder statute, which says that, if a person commits a felony (even if it isn't murder) and someone else dies as a result, the person can be charged with murder just as if he'd killed the victim himself. If he committed rape, and Hudson died because of it, Drake could be legally held responsible for the murder.
    • Even if he had written permission to sleep with her and to have other people sleep with her and even if she had known what she was signing all along, that wouldn't mean that she lost the right to change her mind and would legally be required to have sex with a man she did not want to have sex with or she'd be in breach of contract. It doesn't matter what she signed, she still didn't want to sleep with the first guy let alone the second and so it was rape.
    • In addition, Drake lied about when he started using consent forms; which put his credibility into doubt. Up until that point, the rape case was a he-said/she-said. Once he revealed the consent forms and lied about when he started using them, it in turn led the DA directly to another victim whose story was identical word-for-word. That proved that one, the rape did take place and two, that Drake's version of events was false.

Why are the police "Law" and the lawyers "Order"? The police keep order on the streets, while the lawyers do the legal stuff...
  • Because "Law and Order" is an established phrase, so calling the show "Order and Law," would sound silly. But, you can't very well show the DA prosecuting the criminal before the cops investigate the crime.
    • Also, cops are "the long arm of the law" and "law men". And in court, you say "Order!".
  • The police are the enforcement arm. They impose and execute the functional parts of the law; they represent the law in a very direct and inflexible way, and must. The lawyers, though, actually decide what the law means, and hence represent order in that they can refuse to prosecute, prosecute on a lesser charge, or deal down in the service of the greater good.
    • Both represent both aspects. The police enforce the law and maintain social order. The DAs interpret the law in order to proceed with the case in court and represent the order of the criminal justice system which enables disputes and transgressions to be resolved by an official process rather than through vigilante justice or blood feuds. The police are just identified with "law" because their part in the proceedings comes first, and it's a bit stylistically effective, dramatic and efficient to flash up "LAW" when identifying them and "ORDER" when identifying the DAs rather than flashing up "LAW AND ORDER" for both.

Why is it that a kid who was kidnapped as a child can snipe one person who may have screwed him and three random people for an unsympathetic reason and get away with it, but another kid, who is arguable more sympathetic, doesn't get away with killing one person on impulse?

  • Which episode are you talking about?
    • Sheltered and Captive. Both have a boy being kidnapped at a young age. The boy in Sheltered kills his "dad's" boss because he's afraid that his "dad" will get fired. He also kills three random others to throw off the cops. He explained that he knew the difference between right and wrong. But he still got off by reason of insanity. The boy in Captive kills a young boy that his kidnapper had kidnapped because he's afraid of being replaced. Later in the trial they find out that his old family life involved physical abuse at the hands of his step-father. He gets found guilty.
      • To quote a different show, "The courts are like dice. They have no memory." The results of a previous, unrelated case have absolutely no bearing on what happens in the case of the moment, especially when you consider that the chances of there being any overlap between the two juries is vanishingly small. This is convenient for dramatic purposes on the show, but it's also pretty much true.
      • Also, the ultimate issue isn't about how sympathetic the character is, it's about whether they had the mental capacity to form intent. The kid in "Sheltered" was literally brainwashed to the extent where he couldn't form rational thought; he got off on an insanity defense and was sent to a psychiatric hospital. The killer in "Captive" knew what he was doing and killed out of jealousy. The reason his previous trauma was even relevant was because the defense was trying to use the same brainwashing argument, using the fact that he didn't escape when he had a chance as proof; finding out that he simply didn't want to go home pretty much destroys the argument.

The last episode of Season 6 features the execution of a someone who raped and murdered a girl, then shows everyone's reactions to it. Problem: earlier in the season, a much more sympathetic murderer was convicted and given the death penalty; he was to be the first person executed under the new system. No mention of him is made here, and they act like this one is the first person to be executed under it. Did they seriously rewrite their own canon to make their political views more acceptable?
  • Maybe he was still in the appeals process or his appeal was successful and his sentence was commuted to life in prison. Having someone tried, convicted, and executed in a year stretches credibility anyway even if he had no interest in appealing. Back then, was it mandatory that death sentences be appealed even if the person sentenced didn't want to?
    • Then and now, all death sentences in the U.S. are subject to mandatory appeal.
  • Technically he was the first person to be sentenced to be executed under the new system. Even if he didn't appeal and it wasn't automatic (and I believe it was — at least, it is in several jurisdictions which have the death penalty), they'd still have to schedule him to actually be executed.

  • Two people had been sentenced to death at this point (Sandig, in the episode Savages, and Dobson, in Encore), but apparently no one had actually been executed before this episode, or at least the characters hadn't witnessed the executions. For Dobson in particular, the lawyers mentioned that it would take many years for him to exhaust his appeals and actually be executed.

The last episode ended...oddly, for a Law & Order episode. A normal episode would have cut to the credits at having Anita's phone ring. I'm not necessarily upset they didn't trolololol the viewers, it was simply strange in the context of how the show normally worked.
  • Probably along the lines of "People will never see any future exploits of these guys, so we might as well let people think they're well off."
  • We can also probably give the series finale a bit of slack in not being a 'normal' episode as well; since it's essentially closing off the entire show and by extension the entire story, it's not really a normal episode, and they probably didn't want to end proceedings on a cliffhanger note, at least with that storyline.
  • It was S. Epatha Merkerson's final episode, regardless of the show's overall fate. They wanted to send her out on an unambiguous high note.

"Right to Counsel" ends with the killer taking his own life. It looks as if he had a tape recorder by the bathtub, but they never reveal if it was or what he said in his suicide recording. Did he leave a recording behind?—-The franchise as a whole is incredibly inconsistent as to fingerprint matching and how many points of similarity it takes to establish a conclusive match. They notably prosecuted a fingerprint examiner after it was discovered she was testifying to false matches and using an extremely low scale to establish matches- six points. However, several episodes after this one use six as a conclusive number, and at least one episode of SVU used 3 as a conclusive. Granted, I'm not sure when the SVU episode aired in relation to the one with the crooked examiner, but still.
What happened at the end of American Jihad? I just happened to catch the episode on TV, and the ending is weird. Basically a radical Muslim kills someone, supposedly out of religious fanaticism. However, it turns out he was a convert and had problems with women. At the end, he says something like "You just laughed." but it isn't explained what she laughed at (obviously at him). Was their something dysfunctional about his genitals? I guess that's what's implied, but its all really ambiguous, and nothing is ever directly stated or really even implied that there's something wrong with his junk besides that one, single line at the very end of the episode. Does anyone know specifics? did i miss something?
  • I thought it was pretty clearly implied that he had trouble either getting or maintaining an erection.
  • This troper thought it tied into why he killed the professor in the first place. "We could have been together if she hadn't turned you again me!" The context seemed to be "I told you how I felt about you and YOU LAUGHED!" It didn't seem sexual in nature, but it is ambiguous.

How exactly did Jack McCoy end up as Manhattan DA, and how did he manage to retain the job, even through an election? Consider: he's been known to have sexual relationships with several of his subordinates, which can at best be considered improper. He's twisted, and nearly broken, the law on several occasions in order to get a conviction (including conspiring with a judge, and blackmailing a witness). He's stepped on the toes of many from the city, county, state and federal governments. He's frequently used his office to engage in personal vendettas outside of his normal duties. And he's gotten on the bad side of many big businesses and rich & powerful people (including the Mulroneys, the "Law & Order" equivalent of the Kennedys). With all this in mind, it's surprising McCoy managed to remain as Executive ADA, much less get a promotion.
  • In Doylist terms, it's so that they could keep around one of the most popular and long-lasting characters on the show as long as the actor was still willing to play him. In Watsonian terms... well, it's definitely very unlikely and probably wouldn't be very easy for him to win an election, but McCoy was good at his job and could be very convincing (as you'd expect a lawyer to be), and he became DA around about a time where big business and very rich people weren't incredibly popular due to the financial crash, meaning that the voters might have been willing to vote for someone seen as a bit of an iconoclast and relatively anti-establishment figure. Less likely figures have won elections. It also doesn't hurt that he initially became DA as an interim (probably because the person who appointed him decided he was the most qualified person at the time) and the one time we saw him contest an election his opponent ended up being kneecapped by a big scandal, making him look like the better option for the voters by default. All the money and powerful backers in the world won't save an obviously doomed candidate.
    • If anything his Cowboy District Attorney practices would endear him to a lot of people, sort of like Harvey Dent, someone not afraid to confront criminals as part of the Giuliani-era New York. It's not necessarily what he does so much as what the people see him do. He has a high number of convictions and makes some truly good cases, so its not inconceivable that, personal issues aside, he could be popular enough to stay on as long as he did.
  • The voters might have also been in the mood for an 'outsider' figure, someone not seen to be as part of the establishment system. As we saw in 2016, the candidate with the backing of the political establishment, the wealthy and the big-business community isn't always the candidate that's guaranteed to win the election, and for all his flaws McCoy certainly has more to recommend him on his side than You-Know-Who did.
  • As for his personal relationships, it's not like Jack ever hid them or that there was ever anything salacious or unethical about them implied; as he himself once said, he just found some of his coworkers more intellectually and more emotionally stimulating than the women he met at the gym. Sure, I've no doubt any of his opponents might have tried to make some hay out of his past, but I assume that Jack would done what he did when Claire confronted him about them that time — simply told the truth that those relationships were entirely above board, consensual and nothing to be ashamed of. If anything, the voters would probably have appreciated his honesty and frankness. An unmarried man dating his assistant(s) might not be the most proper thing to ever occur, but neither is it the worst sexual indiscretion ever performed by a politician (and to link to the point above, the current US President was elected in spite of video footage of him all but admitting to acts that are at very least sexual harassment, if not outright sexual assault).

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