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Recap / Law And Order S 17 E 13 Talking Points

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During controversial right-wing pundit Judith Barlow's speech at a university, a student is shot and killed; it's believed that Barlow herself was the intended target. The detectives follow a trail to the victim's friend Malcolm Yates. He lost his job in stem cell research because repeated attacks in the media by Barlow forced a sponsor to cut funding. Bullet evidence links him to the shooting, and he's arrested. The defense gets all evidence from the sponsor suppressed; McCoy and Rubirosa struggle to prove motive until they learn that Yates has Parkinson's Disease. Barlow's efforts to shut down stem cell research threatened his only hope for a cure, so he tried to kill her.

Yates stops taking his medication and shows severe signs of Parkinson's Disease during the trial. On the stand, Barlow is forced to admit that she used slurs against the disabled in her speech on the night of the shooting. Yates claims he carries a gun for protection and fired accidentally due to the shaking caused by his condition. McCoy points out this can't be true, since at that time Yates' symptoms were kept under control by his medication. Yates yells that his life is worth more than those of the embryos harvested for stem cells; McCoy says that the same is true of both Barlow, and the student who was accidentally killed. The jury convicts and Connie later asks McCoy for his own views on stem cell research. He replies:

McCoy: If God created man in His image, than we've all degenerated from whatever's on that Petri dish.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Appeal to Pity: Referenced by Barlow, who thinks most arguments in favor of stem cell research amount to this.
  • Asshole Victim: The victim was anti-Semitic and violently beat another student at a rally for Palestine.
  • Blonde Republican Sex Kitten: This is Barlow's public image.
  • Femme Fatale: Barlow tries this on Branch to get him to allow her to testify. It doesn't work, although the defense later calls her anyway.
  • Foe Yay: invoked Cassady suspects this between Green and Barlow.
  • Ill Boy: Yates
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Barlow is an obvious stand-in for Ann Coulter.
  • Pet the Dog: Barlow disapproves of female police officers, but she'll concede she likes Van Buren.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Barlow has built her career around proclaiming this.
  • Pompous Political Pundit: Barlow is one, and Rubirosa gets in a little speech about the harm she thinks such people do.
  • Smug Snake: Judith Barlow.
  • Straw Character: The victim's professor is one of intolerant liberals, to the point of browbeating his students into protesting Barlow's speech if they want to pass his class.
  • Windmill Crusader: McCoy describes Yates' lawyer as one.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Miles' girlfriend was apparently having an affair with Yates and initially gives him a false alibi.