One has to be careful that “martyr to the cause” isn’t taken literally.
The murder of a young woman led to a case addressing the United States Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade. This meant that abortion was no longer federally protected but came down to each state deciding laws on it.
With several states outright banning abortion, this led to a challenging case focusing on the debate.
Price and Maroun had their hands full with this trial, which led to a stunning conclusion.
Thus, Battle Lines lived up to its title, showing the tough debate on a complicated subject for millions of Americans.
A mugging gone wrong on Law & Order?
In Central Park, a young woman was nervous as she looked at her phone. When a group of men started hassling her, she ran off, freaked out by the people around her. She was checking a map on her phone when someone grabbed her.
Cosgrove and Shaw showed up at the woman’s murder scene, Shaw thanking Cosgrove for making him his new partner. Witnesses reported someone had grabbed the girl’s purse and pushed her off a bridge.
As it had happened only minutes earlier, the cops figured the perp was still around. The girl’s belongings indicated she was from Texas.
Shaw paused to chastise an officer checking out a Black man when the witnesses reported a white attacker. They were interrupted when a suspect matching the description ran past, and Cosgrove and Shaw were in pursuit to arrest him with the victim’s empty purse on him.
The witnesses said this was a different man than the girl’s attacker, and he just found the purse. The victim was Becca Carter, the daughter of the highly conservative governor of Texas, meaning the cops had just caught a political hand grenade.
A search matched Steven Cabrera (Marco Torriani), a petty thief shown on camera holding some clothing. Just as Cosgrove was bringing up Shaw’s actions at the crime scene, they saw Cabrera run off and quickly chased him to the roof. Cabrera nearly got away before Shaw caught him.
Cabrera denied killing Becca and had an alibi of running from one job to another. Texas Governor Ron Carter (Rick Reitz) was already holding a press conference at City Hall to blame New York’s high crime rate for his daughter’s death.
Carter was with his family and Becca’s boyfriend, Tyler (Liam Obergfoll). The cops talked to an administrator at a local college where Becca was supposedly touring. They learned Becca had blown off much of the tour and seemed to have been sick.
The truth behind the trip comes out
Becca had been set to meet with someone in secret at a cafe. They found footage of her with a woman Cosgrove and Shaw recognized as Drea Clark (Liza Bennett), the witness from the park.
The detectives caught Drea trying to catch a bus back to Texas. Drea confessed she belonged to “Project Circe,” a group that helped women trying to escape Texas’ anti-abortion laws. With Roe v Wade overturned, Becca couldn’t get an abortion on her own, so she needed help getting to New York, where it was still legal.
Drea confirmed that Becca (who was only six weeks along) had already undergone the procedure, leaving her sick. Drea was heartbroken at Becca’s death as Dixon chastised her for keeping this quiet.
Cosgrove thought Carter should have known about this, with Shaw talking of how it was Becca’s choice. They talked to Tyler, who had the alibi of being in Texas at the time with Carter present.
Needless to say, Carter wasn’t happy to discover Tyler knew Becca was getting an abortion or when they asked where he’d been at the time of the murder to throw the cops off.
Both Carter and Tyler had alibis, but Becca’s brother, Blake (Jim Schubin), matched the attacker’s description. They arrested him with Carter threatening the cops.
A political circus trial begins
Price and Maroun talked about the contents of Becca’s purse being in Blake’s room. Carter was already “circling the conservative media wagon” to say this was an attack on his family.
McCoy wasn’t happy Price wanted to put Barbara on the stand as she’d found evidence of Becca being pregnant and shared it with Bake. Price theorized that Bake killed his sister in anger at “disgracing” the family.
Price wanted to attack the hypocrisy of a pro-life family being okay with killing their own daughter. McCoy warned him to focus on the case as “the right to choose isn’t on trial here.”
Price questioned Barbara on the stand, claiming she was worried about Becca. He had her read texts between her and Blake where Blake openly threatened to kill Becca. Barbara got upset with Price before he ended the questioning.
A monkey wrench hit when Drea refused to testify as this would make her liable in Texas, and nothing would budge her. That left the other witness, Simone Richards (Allie Vazquez), to be the one to put Blake on the scene.
While Simone identified Blake, Blake’s lawyer had her admit she had an abortion to save her life two years earlier and used it to establish some bias Simone had with the Carters.
Blake testified he found Becca, who claimed to be sorry for her abortion, and was forced to do it by Drea, who then pushed Becca off the bridge. Price pointed out it was odd Blake never told any of this before, and it got heated before the judge cut them off.
Maroun was confident the jury would see through Blake’s lie, but Price wasn’t so sure. Maroun found Drea in a bar to warn her about Blake’s accusations. They talked about Drea joining Project Circe and just wanting to help women.
Maroun pointed out that Drea had to decide if her freedom was worth having Becca be used to “scare” other women into making the wrong choice. When Drea talked of “sacrificing” herself, Maroun replied, “Religion loves a martyr. It’s your choice. That’s the whole point.”
Drea testified to seeing Blake (who she thought was a mugger) and Becca fighting and how she tried to stop him before he pushed Becca. That had the jury finding Blake guilty.
Price and Maroun exited the courthouse to a wave of protestors, with Drea ready to return to Texas for her work. Just as she was walking down the steps, a woman ran out, calling her “murderer,” and shot her as Price and Maroun stared in horror.
As the ending showed, the battle over this issue continues and might end up claiming more victims.
Law & Order Season 22 airs Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC.