'Law & Order' Season 21 Episode 4: Did DA's office fire Samantha for crossing the line?
The difficult case of a family judge's murder created some differences between Nolan and Samantha as she chose her own path to solve the case
In the previous episode of ‘Law & Order’ we saw NYPD and DA’s office tackling a case that had eerie similarities to Gabby Petito’s case. A young social media influencer who travels around the country in her van disappears after visiting New York City. The details of the entire case were leaked on social media, but precise investigation from the police managed to get the culprit. In the end, the DA office won the conviction yet lost the opportunity to know the whereabouts of the body.
Meanwhile, on the latest episode of the NBC series, Detectives Bernard (Anthony Anderson) and Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan) are called into a parking garage where a renowned family court judge was murdered. A judge’s life is always under the scanner and the detectives found out that there were almost a dozen people who threatened to kill him. Bernard and Cosgrove kept on getting leads, but they got to a situation where it wasn’t about who killed the judge, but why was he murdered.
The detectives talk to a woman who was seen in a video in which a man confronted the judge on court steps. She told them that the man was really angry over his custody loss. They find the man and decide to interrogate him. However, the man says that he didn’t kill the judge and only had an argument with him. The detectives went through his phone and saw that he was near the judge’s house when the crime happened. They take him in, but he shared that he was there with his son and has an alibi.
A few moments later, Bernard and Cosgrove found out that he loved to gamble and was in deep with a bookie. However, the bookie revealed that the judge paid him his money and didn’t hurt him. But he also told the police that there was a woman present in the garage as well.
The judge was bashed by a fire extinguisher on the back of his head and the DNA from the extinguisher led them to a man named Jessie. He told them about his girlfriend and a professional Tennis player, Lucy McDaniel. Detectives met her and asked for a DNA test, but she refused. In the end, Cosgrove got hold of a towel she used while practicing for the test.
Shockingly, her DNA matched and she was now taken into custody for murdering the family court judge.
The DA’s office was briefed about the case and although the prosecution had no motive, McCoy challenged them to try Lucy. But it was not easy for them because she was a renowned tennis player and was considered to be an icon. But everything changed when Lucy’s boyfriend took the stand and pleaded the 5th amendment. They got him to admit that he dropped his girlfriend at the crime scene.
Meanwhile, the defense team did a lot to save their client and even called Lucy’s physician who testified that she had bipolar disorder. The prosecution also learned that Lucy’s father, Tom McDaniel, had legal guardianship over her. Surprisingly, it was the judge who appointed Tom as the legal guardian.
The DA’s office spoke with the physician who treated her and she revealed that the guardianship was nothing but a tool for Tom to earn profit from the famous Tennis player. She even sent the judge a letter in which she wrote the same thing, but she was fired from her job for doing so.
They finally met her father and when he tried to work on a deal, Price got really upset and confronted him for using his daughter’s money and making a joke about her mental condition.
Nolan and Samantha argue over whether it is murder vs. manslaughter. Samantha was not happy where the case was going so she decided to take another path. Kevin meets with Lucy and explains what will happen to her and her future if she doesn’t tell the truth. The next day, Lucy pleads guilty to manslaughter and says she did it because the judge did not want her to marry Jessie. She snapped and hit him with the fire extinguisher.
The episode ended with Samantha confessing that she used Bernard for closing the case and Price told her that if she crosses him again, he will fire her.
'Law & Order' Season 21 returns to NBC with a new episode every Thursday at 8 pm EST.