Law & Order
Illegal

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Lauren S: A | 1 USERS: A+
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Illegal

It's a beautiful day in Central Park, and three women are amongst a crowd heading for an immigration rally. Two are Latina and one (gasp!) is white, from Toronto. She laughs as she tells them that her husband was concerned about her coming, while her friend responds that she got a lecture. A helpful family buying popsicles are the exposition fairies of the week (because the words "immigration rally" didn't clue us in) and after they leave, the vendor watches coverage on his tiny TV. Shots ring out, and he looks up to see panicked people all running out of the park. Next we see that the woman who got a lecture maybe should have listened, as she's now dead. Twenty-seven-year-old Maria Soriano got shot and crawled away near a dumpster to die, and our boys are there to figure things out. Green orders the cop to get his guys to canvas the area, and the cop helpfully complains that after "the riot" the day before, a bunch of his guys called in sick. So, the two points kind of clumsily presented are: this is the day after the rally, and the rally turned into a riot.

Maria's neighbors aren't much of a help, other than to offer that her top was low-cut and her ex-boyfriend had a tight butt, which I find rather hilariously realistic. Lupo's going through her paperwork and finds a letter from her mother in El Salvador -- turns out he can read Spanish. They also find a denied application for a work visa for Maria's younger sister Inez.

Anita asks if Maria's cell phone had a number for Inez, but Lupo tells her they didn't find a phone. On the TV, they pause to watch as Jack assigns ADA Josh Latham to the investigation of the riot, assuring the public that misconduct by civilians and cops alike will be dealt with. Anita thinks it was a police riot, and as they all banter a guy comes in conveniently to let them know Inez was picked up at the rally. She's at a holding center, and tells Lupo and Green how there were troublemakers who started throwing bottles at the cops. Maria was threatened by one of these guys once he saw that she was taping the incident with her cell phone. Then the girls were separated once tear gas was fired. Inez knows that after she helps them out she'll be shipped back to El Salvador, but begs them to keep Maria there since the U.S. was her home and she worked so hard to make it so.

The search for Maria's cell phone takes them to the lost and found, where the guy in charge is helpful and also asks them somewhat timidly not to beat anyone up. I've found that asking politely always is a good way to help avoid a beating -- this guy must have watched too much TV, where people can talk thugs out of killing them, or masterfully work suspects into giving spectacularly detailed accounts of how they committed a crime for which they hadn't even actually yet been found guilty. Hey, wait a second... Anyhow, they find the phone. They take the phone to the CITU Laboratory, where Green flirts with the technician. She's managed to salvage the video, which shows the three women dancing and having fun, and then chaos erupts. A guy threatens Maria to stop recording, the camera falls, and then two gunshots are heard. The boys are able to figure out who the man who threatened her is by the gang tattoos on his arm. You know, this is just like tagging -- I've never understood why, if you're going to do something illegal like paint all over a building, you'd do it by putting your name or some other calling card everywhere. But once again, this is just another reason that I'm not a hardened criminal, gangbanger, or the like. That, as well as my aversion to anything painful that would keep me from ever getting a tattoo. That's me -- being a scaredy wimp keeps me on the straight and narrow.

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