Law and Order Friday

Today's Episode Under Review/ Recap is Season 19, Episode 18  "Promote This!" 

This episode covered  bigotry, hate crimes, and Jack’s political issues as he runs for re-election as District Attorney.
We learn a small amount about Jack McCoy's past learning that, after his divorce his wife hired an illegal immigrant. This episode is the perfect backdrop to kick up dirt on Jack because a avid viewer of Law and Order knows that Jack McCoy is bullet proof.

In this episode we start off with Detectives Lupo (below) and Bernard (right) being called to the scene of a apparent hit-and-run. The victim has no ID on him and auto glass in his pants leg. About 20ft back a trail of auto glass is seen. It is determined that the victim kicked the window out and either jumped or was kicked out of the car. At the hospital the detectives learn that the victim is in a coma and he is unlikely to come out. His personal affects include a soda and smoked sturgeon in a bag that was found with him. They think he works in the kitchen at Irv &Sons Deli, the name on the bag containing his food. The detectives learn, the victim is one Oswaldo Morales who had a wife and family in Honduras.

Oswaldo's friend, whom he works and lives with, said he last saw him in the morning. Oswaldo gave his friend the bed and got up to find some day work, he waited under Highway 155 and waits for the cars to come to give him a job.

Bernard and Lupo head over to that area with some food, and ask the waiting workers for help in finding who had hurt Oswaldo.(Detective Bernard speaks fluent and somewhat sexy Spanish) They were very reluctant to speak or even help. One worker warns the others not to listen and that it is a trick. After reassuring the workers, one person steps up and says he saw Oswaldo. He reports that Oswaldo went into a dark green Toyota with three white kids. The worker thought was odd because they only wanted on man for their job. One of the kids took a picture of them with his phone. (Now in this day and age we all know what that means!!) Bernard suspects the pictures may end up on the web.

Back at the 2-7, they talk to Lt. Van Buren (right) about their findings. The burn on Oswaldo’s face was some sort of branding. Bernard found a video online called “Beaner Hunt:Taking Back America One Street at a Time.” They can hear the voices of three boys, and the shooting of a unidentified male with a BB gun. They see a mail truck in the video and Van Buren suggests they check with the lab to see if ID the mail truck from its license plate to find out where the video had been shot.

At the Peconic Police Department, Lupo and Bernard tell them that the mail truck came from their town.The head policeman tells the detectives that there have been nine bias incidents in town in the last month. (Here we get our first look at this case actually getting under Detective Lupo's skin) Lupo asks for a list of local auto shops where a broken window can be repaired. After talking to a local auto glass dealer about someone who brought in a car for a window repair, he says he has no records as the person and that he didn't even do the work because the suspect didn't have the money to get his car fixed They ask if he could come down to the highschool to look at pictures; he happily obliges. When he asks what the teen did, The detectives reply that they put a illegal immigrant into a coma. The auto worker tries to back out but Detective Lupo won't let him.(This is the first sight of racism against illegal immigrants in this town.) They take the repair guy down to the high school  to see if he can ID the kid who brought the car in for repair. He identifies the boy as Tony Stratton.

The detectives head to the Stratton residence, and Lupo sees a green car in the garage with tape covering the window. They go to the house and a Hispanic woman answers the door and she seems to not speak much English and that Tony Stratton is not there. As they walk away,Detective Lupo notes that her shoes are open-toed pumps and that they don’t look like ones that a housekeeper would wear. Lupo gets information that the house is under a Juanita Stratton,and they infer that she must be Tony’s mother. (The detectives are having a hard time understanding why Tony would be apart of this hate crime, when his mother is Hispanic and he is also half Hispanic.) They wait in their car until she makes a move to leave. (During this scene Detective Bernard calls Lupo out on his frustration with the racism that  Hispanics are facing. He lets him know that he feels and knows the anger that his partner is feeling. This scene is just on of many that is shown in Law and Order to let us know that these detectives care about their cases with passion.) When she does so, they stop her and call her out. They tell her that interfering with a criminal investigation is a felony and she denies interfering with anything.When asked about her window she says the window got broken at the Hempstead Turnpike. Tony opens the front door and calls out to his mother and she tells him to go back inside. The detectives try their best to apprehend Tony but his mother puts the breaks on that and calls their lawyer.

The detectives head over to a local judge to get a warrant for the car, but he calls them out on the fact they picked him to get the warrant because he is Hispanic and that he won’t give them the warrant. He thinks the case is too important and he doesn’t want any perceived bias or impropriety to hurt it.
Back at the 2-7, Van Buren agreed what the judge did was the right thing She suggests that the detectives explore another angle. Lupo looks through the yearbook trying to identify anyone that could be friends of Tony Stratton, and they are able to pick out a blond basketball player on the same team as Tony, one Timothy Moore.

At the Moore residence, the detectives speak with Tim’s mother. He is not there, he is upstate visiting colleges with his father. They ask her about a BB gun that they heard he had owned but sold to someone else. She tries to cover for her son as far as his whereabouts the night of the crime. She tells them she and her husband were visiting friends in Maryland for the weekend, and she will write down his number and from now on they should talk to him. 

The detectives decide to head over to the high school because the have found out that the video had been uploaded from there.The video was deleted but there the AVI footprint shows that video was in fact on that computer. The coach says he does not tolerate any racial stuff and makes the kids do laps if they talk that way. He tells them that his team manager Kyle Chase also has access to the computer, he uses it to keep the player's stats.

At arraignment court, the three boys involved are arraigned and held on $150,000 bail each, the courtroom crowd/parents protesting. Afterwards, the defense attorney Mosley serves ADA Connie Rubirosa (left) with a motion to suppress the videos. Later, she breaks the bad news to the detectives that the video was suppressed because it would be prejudicial to the defendants. This hurt their hate crime charge, so they need better evidence. While she is talking to the detectives they both get a call. Another body has been found having similarities to Oswaldo Morales crime. This time, however, it is a Mexican- American man, an unemployed autoworker from Detroit, with a Hispanic background. He also has the same burn on his cheek, but Bernard has found the branding iron on the scene; a metal baseball bat with a Mexican Peso on the end.

At the District Attorney's Office, Jack McCoy, Rubirosa, and Assistant District Attorney Michael Cutter (left) are watching a new conference featuring Joe Chappell (right). McCoy’s opponent for the DA spot. Chappell goes on about how badly McCoy’s office is handling the case and that he has made the city a sanctuary for illegals. McCoy turns off the TV and asks for an update on “these deplorable events.” They tell him the out of work autoworker was living with his sister and found a job as a night watchman. He was killed 24 hours after Morales. The teens were upping their violence. There are no witnesses and no forensics. Cutter thinks they have a better case for the assault, but Jack wanted the to join the cases and prove the victims were burned by the same brand. But Cutter worries the murder case may tank the other and wants to proceed with the assault case and hold off on the murder and see what the police turn up. (McCoy gives his usual sarcastic remark, cause what is Law and Order withought Jack's sarcasm?) “I say we prosecute the assault of an illegal alien while we backburner the murder of an American citizen...I can write the editorials myself

When Cutter and Rubirosa try to get the cases joined, the judge shoots them down until they can show her that both cases involved the same branding device. Later, when Rubirosa, along with ME Rodgers (left)  try to get access to Morales in the hospital, they are told that the hospital medi-vacked Morales out of the hospital and back to Honduras.( This disturbs Connie and Rogers. They thought just because he was an illegal immigrant doesn't mean you move a man in a coma across the country.)

Back at McCoy’s office, Jack is amazed the hospital would just send Morales back in this way, but Rubirosa explains is was cheaper for the hospital to medi-vac him home than keep him on life support. (right) McCoy tells them to bring him back and they will cover the costs. Cutter thinks McCoy will take a political hit for paying for an illegal's medical bills while many American taxpayers can’t afford care, and McCoy asks “Since when are you worried about my political image?” Cutter tells him he wants him to win the election. (This shows that Jack McCoy is not the political jerk we all thought he was. He does have a heart and he cares solely about Justice.)

At the motion hearing, Rodgers testifies that the burns from both victims were created by the same tool and that an indentation on the coin lines up perfectly with both victims. The judge grants the people’s motion to join the cases of the assault of Morales and the murder of Mr. Alvarez.

On the courthouse steps, the parents of the defendants are talking to the press. As McCoy, Cutter, and Rubirosa leave the courthouse, a reporter confronts Jack and asks him about a complaint that was filed with the Attorney General about him using public funds to fly in an illegal. He tells them that Morales’ presence serves the defendants’ rights to confront his the witnesses against them (He tries to make a statement that this was for the defendant's welfare). The reporter makes and argument about the expense and most people in the city can’t afford that kind of medical care, and McCoy says that bothers him too and that he should report on that. (Jack is being a smart alec now. Ohhhh Jack! ) The reporter also asks him about a Ledger report which claims that McCoy hired an undocumented alien as a household worker for his children, and would he care to comment? McCoy responds he will comment after he reads the story, he is here to talk about the case. I intend to make justice available to everyone in his jurisdiction. If it is given to one, it does not mean it will be denied to another. But if it is denied to one, it is denied to all.(Awwwww Man!! That's whats up!! Jack knows that he just verbally slapped that reporter in the face!! It was a gorgeous response to a potentially hurting question.) As he walks off, Cutter compliments him on his answer, and then asks “What about this nanny?” McCoy looks at him and doesn’t answer, and Cutter says, “Oh great.”

Later, in his office, McCoy is watching a news report with Chappell talking about the report of McCoy’s undocumented worker, and Cutter walks in. McCoy tells him when he was going through his divorce in 1991, he and Ellen were separated and she hired a nanny. She was also very stressed out and overwhelmed by everything, she never thought to check the woman’s papers. They didn’t find out until a year later, they let the woman go and paid her taxes. When Cutter says someone is going through his divorce records, McCoy says his problems are his problems, the work here goes on regardless. Cutter gets a message saying that Kyle Chase, the kid that uploaded the video, wants to talk.

Later, Kyle Chase tells them he won’t go to prison for a murder he did not do. He tells Cutter and Rubirosa he did not want to go with the guys that night because they wanted to kill a man So he stayed home. His attorney says he will plead to the assault and testify against Moore and Stratton, if the offer is good. But Cutter says they only have his word,so he has to testify first before the sentence recommendation.

Chase testifies about the assault, and then implicates the other two for the murder. The defense attorney Mosley, however, picks his testimony apart, saying that he is just saying all these things for a lighter sentence.(Like all defense attorneies try to do.) But under redirect, Kyle confirms that he did tell the truth about what happened to Morales.

Later, they bring in another Hispanic witness who identifies the Moore and Stratton as people who had also attacked him, but the defense says that he is a liar because he is in the country illegally and not paying taxes.The witness refutes this with saying that Americans came to his country and took the citizens' jobs. As he leaves the stand, Immigration arrests him, and Cutter throws a fit!

Mosley calls his first witness, who is Juanita Stratton. She is from a wealthy family from Buenos Aires, Argentina. During the cross examination with Cutter, she uses a derogatory term “grancho” used by upper class people which refers to a poor, unemployed person. He tries to portray her also as a bigot who taught her son how to be a bigot.

Cutter enters and tells him the jury is still out, four hours and counting. Rubirosa arrives and says that the jurors where caught watching a Len Pewl special on illegal immigration,  on someone's iPhone. In the judges chambers, the judge watches the video, confronts the juror and dismisses him, refusing to allow a mistrial, saying the jurors swore to maintain their impartiality, despite what they heard from that “race-baiting gas bag.”

The verdict is later read – they are found not guilty of the murder of Alvarez, not guilty of attempted murder of Morales, but just guilty of assault on Morales. Cutter, along with Morales’ mother, are dismayed.

Later, at Morales beside, Cutter tells him the boys will only get 6 years. She is distraught, and Rubirosa suggests a possible a civil case. But she wants her son to wake up, not the money. Afterwards, in McCoy’s office, Cutter gets a call from someone who tells him that Morales was taken off life support by his mother and he died in 20 minutes. McCoy tells them to send Mrs. Morales their condolences, and they can recharge Stratton and Moore with first-degree bias murder. Cutter adds that since they were found guilty of his assault, they should convict him of his murder. Rubirosa asks if someone tipped off Oswaldo’s mother that his death gave them a new cause of action. McCoy says, “Why not? Everyone games the system.” As they all go back to work, we fade to black.



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