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Law & Order Crossover: Charm City

May 19, 2010


“Charm City” is the first part of a Law & Order/Homicide: Life on the Street crossover episode – there are three such crossovers – and this is probably the most provocative. It involves a gas attack in a Harlem subway, which mirrors a similar incident – killing six people – in Baltimore. Detectives Briscoe and Curtis arrive on the scene and walk away with very different impressions of the motivations of crime. Briscoe sees it as another crime, but Curtis believes it to be racially motivated given all of the victims were of color and the sub was coming from Harlem.

Pembleton and Bayliss arrive in New York and do not receive the welcome wagon from their New York counterparts or Lt. Van Buren. Instead of working together, each pair of partners pound the pavement, working off a sketch in search of a balding dude in an army jacket with a strong dislike of people of color and a love of chemistry.

Once a suspect is in custody the drama really begins. First Briscoe and Curtis take a crack at the suspect without so much a peep from him. Then Pembleton goes Charm City on the suspect, which ends disastrously for everyone involved. Pembleton’s antics do not sit well with Jack McCoy nor a judge who rules statements made during Pembleton’s round with the suspect were inadmissible. But that’s not the only bad news. The suspect’s lawyer decides New York is far too brown for the bigoted gas attacker to get a fair trial and Deal ‘Em Down McCoy agrees to have the trial relocated to Westchester County where things are whiter and less likely to care about twenty poor black people being gassed to death on a subway car. Thanks, McCoy!

Jurisdictional musical chairs, allusions to Rodney King aside and on a lighter note, it is these pair of episodes, which feature Munch discovering Briscoe slept with his ex-wife Gwen.

Continues on H:LOTS with the episode “For God and Country”.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Octavia permalink
    May 20, 2010 1:50 am

    So bringing the violent white man to justice in the black community he terrorised might hurt the violent white man’s precious fee-fees? Aww.
    Interesting definition of a “fair trial”. I’ve always found I mostly hate McCoy. He’s really into victim-blaming too.

  2. May 20, 2010 10:57 am

    So bringing the violent white man to justice in the black community he terrorised might hurt the violent white man’s precious fee-fees? Aww.
    Interesting definition of a “fair trial”. I’ve always found I mostly hate McCoy. He’s really into victim-blaming too.

    I agree. He pulled the same shit when a gunman shot up Central Park and took out like twenty medical students – all female.

  3. Octavia permalink
    May 23, 2010 9:18 pm

    I swear the gods of teevee have decreed that if I flick over to LaO, it WILL be a case involving sexual assault wherein McCoy is getting his victim blame on, or at the very least acts like he couldn’t give half a shit and is more peeved at the robbery/firearm component of the case. WTF, gods of teevee?

  4. May 26, 2010 1:02 am

    I swear the gods of teevee have decreed that if I flick over to LaO, it WILL be a case involving sexual assault wherein McCoy is getting his victim blame on, or at the very least acts like he couldn’t give half a shit and is more peeved at the robbery/firearm component of the case. WTF, gods of teevee?

    Seriously. Though it’s not as bad here as on SVU, the one L&O I won’t watch, despite having Joh Munch, who I adore.

  5. hsofia permalink
    July 20, 2010 7:52 pm

    I like Jack McCoy in general, even while disliking many of his choices – but apart from Briscoe and Robinette, that was the case with everyone from the L&O (original) series. Unfortunately, this episode wasn’t on my H:LoTS disc so I haven’t seen it since it originally aired, and I didn’t even remember there WAS a NY chapter to this episode till I read the summary here. Thanks for the wrap-up!

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