Law & Order Season 22 Episode 21 Review: Appraisal

The legal system is in worse shape than I thought, at least on Law & Order.

On Law & Order Season 22 Episode 21, Cosgrove debated whether he wanted to remain a cop while McCoy encouraged Price to let a wealthy defendant buy his way out of trouble.

Not to mention the defense attorney’s ridiculous ideas about how to defend her client! Sheesh. No wonder people feel like justice is elusive.

Cosgrove doesn’t often get front-burner stories, but we got extra insight into his life for the second episode in a row.

Cosgrove: Look, if I let you jump this barrier, you’ll contaminate a crime scene. So I know it’s a pain in the ass, but you’ll have to go around.
Man: Defund the police!
Crowd: Yeah!
Cosgrove: So nice to be loved in this city.

Between feeling uncomfortable about turning 50, dealing with citizens whose response to being inconvenienced was to scream that they want the police defunded, and feeling like he risked his life for nothing, it’s unsurprising that he was considering early retirement.

The protesters at the crime scene were being ridiculous. Wanting more funds to go to programs that will prevent crime is one thing, but demanding police be stopped from protecting crime scenes because residents don’t like having to go down a side street is another.

That wasn’t the first time Cosgrove dealt with idiotic protesters, but it was the beginning of him reaching his breaking point.

I didn’t blame him for being annoyed with Price after Madison’s failure to testify appropriately put the case in jeopardy.

Cosgrove: When I first started, being a cop was something to be proud of. But now, half the city wants police defunded.
Price: I understand.
Cosgrove: Do you? Because I almost made my wife a widow the other day and now you’re telling me it was for nothing.

Cosgrove risked his life — something that he ought to have been praised for — but it seemed like Nelson was going to get away with murder anyway. It especially sucked that Nelson’s defense rested on Madison being too traumatized to testify when that was Nelson’s doing.

Nelson’s defense lawyer was a piece of work, and it was lucky for Price that he got a reasonable judge. Nelson had no viable defense, but that didn’t mean his lawyer couldn’t talk her way into an acquittal if she drew a sympathetic judge.

I don’t understand why the arraignment judge let her argue whether the case was winnable. She wasn’t filing a motion to dismiss; she just wanted bail to be predicated on how likely the defendant was to be acquitted.

That’s not a bail consideration, and you’re not supposed to argue the case’s merit at arraignment, which is a short hearing to enter a plea and set bail.

And Gates’ ridiculous idea of a defense got worse from there.

She tried to claim that Price mistakenly charging Nelson with Madison’s murder when she turned out to be alive proved Price’s presentation of evidence was entirely false — something which doesn’t follow logically.

She enthusiastically endorsed her client’s attempt to bribe the DA’s office (something McCoy had no right considering either!).

And she repeatedly objected to Cosgrove’s testimony after continually getting shot down by the judge.

Gates looked more and more desperate. By the time she got around to trying to claim that Cosgrove made up a story about hearing Madison say that Nelson killed Sarah, nobody would believe her claims.

Gates was betting that the defund-the-police crowd would automatically assume the worst of a cop. But usually, the same people who espouse anti-cop views also believe the worst of billionaires and were likely to think that if Cosgrove was lying, he was doing the right thing.

Gates wanted to give her client the best defense possible, but she made herself look bad. There was no viable defense, especially after Nelson attempted to take Madison hostage.

I’m unsure why Gates thought she had grounds for a hearsay objection. Cosgrove wasn’t testifying that Madison told him someone else told her that Nelson shot Sarah. He was testifying as to what he heard firsthand.

If Madison hadn’t run away and told Cosgrove at the scene that she saw Nelson shoot Sarah, that would be admissible — why would this be any different?

Since the judge overruled the objection the first time, renewing it was pointless.

Gates was clearly a shady defense attorney, but what was McCoy’s excuse?

As Manhattan DA, McCoy is concerned with winning cases, but since when does he think that it’s acceptable to allow a billionaire to provide millions to city employees in exchange for a reduced sentence?

McCoy said that the people who lost their retirement money thanks to Nelson’s scheme would be happy to get that money back. But was that worth allowing him t get away with murder?

Fortunately, Price got around Madison’s difficulty testifying, so it wasn’t an issue. But still.

Price also should have done a better job of protecting Madison from intimidation.

Nelson held her hostage and was the type of person who wouldn’t think twice about intimidating her on the stand.

So why didn’t Price ask the judge to allow her to testify via closed-circuit television?

That would have allowed her to say what she needed to say without being in the same room as Nelson.

If there was one weakness in the hour, it was that Cosgrove’s family remained off-screen.

With Cosgrove getting shot and considering retiring and moving to Florida, it didn’t make sense that he didn’t talk to his wife or daughter on-screen.

At the very least, Cosgrove’s wife should have been at the hospital when he got shot.

Her absence was far from a dealbreaker but would have added another layer to Cosgrove’s story.

Over to you, Law & Order fanatics. Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button to share your thoughts.

Don’t forget you can watch Law & Order online whenever you’d like.

Law & Order airs on NBC on Thursdays at 8 PM EST / PST.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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