In case you weren't aware, in the criminal justice system the people (that means you!) are represented by two separate but equally important groups: the police who investigate crime, and the district attorney who prosecutes the offenders. These are their stories. In today's family-friendly episode, two kids are shot on a playground. Green and Lupo are called to the scene. A woman runs away screaming and Green orders the area cleared because he is afraid "it" is going to hit the fan. I miss Lenny Briscoe. He would have known the perfect wittily poignant bon mot for the it-hitting-the-fan occasion.
Lieutenant Van Buren shows up and is heckled by the crowd, who think that the top brass came just because one of the dead kids is white; the neighborhood has been rapidly gentrifying, and now the cops are finally giving a hoot about gun violence. She shoots her trademark S. Epatha eye-roll and goes to talk to Green and Lupo. Two shell casings were found. It seems that the little girl (who is black) was the innocent bystander to the shots fired at the little boy (who is white). The neighborhood is not happy that their real estate prices have just plummeted.
At the ME's office, the ambitiously blonde ME asks Green to sniff the dead boy's hair. It is chlorinated. But not public-pool chlorinated, private-pool chlorinated. The detectives head out to the new high rises to tell the kid's parents he's been shot. The parents were out at the theater last night (like all good gentrifiers), which is why they hadn't noticed their son was missing. The parents direct the cops to their son's friends, the Steels, with whom he was supposedly hanging out. The door is opened by The Profiler. Or the woman who played The Profiler on the show that she probably thought was going to launch her career into superstar Jennifer Aniston-ness, but really left her just south of Lea Thompson. And like all good almost-Lea Thompsons, she is having a guest turn on Law & Order. Took her long enough, eh? Anyway. She says the dead boy was there, but left. Her sons were going to talk to the cops more, but she cuts off any more questions and herds the cops out the door with an airy "I heard the dead kid was experimenting with drugs. Off to carpool. Ta!"
The cops hit up someone in narcotics to get the 411 on the drug dealers in the neighborhood. The cops threaten a drug dealer, Patek, in order to get the information that all three boys came by yesterday, and two went home crying when the "ballers" at the playground stole their basketball. The cops grab the Steel boys off the street and get them to confess that they had been at the playground with David (the dead boy), and that their ball was stolen by some neighborhood toughs in Baltimore Bullets jerseys, who said they would "pop a cap" in their white patooties if they ever came back. The cops canvass the neighborhood trying to find the guys. The neighbors are unwilling to help. They won't snitch, not without the approval of the resident B-grade Jesse Jackson (or the poor man's Al Sharpton?). When the Lieutenant asks the Rev for help, she is told that the only way the neighbors will come forward is if the local church is designated an historical landmark so it can't be turned into condos for the incoming rich white folk.