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Law & Order recap: Dixon gets personal on a case

Kate Dixon
Kate Dixon (Camryn Manheim) takes the stand on Law & Order Season 21. Pic credit: NBC

Kate Dixon finally got her spotlight on Law & Order.

After handling a case of a radio host inciting a political murder, the Law & Order team caught a case of a young body with a dangerous connection to a powerful man.

This had Dixon taking a more strident attitude than usual as Wicked Game showed her own grit on an investigation. 

A murder leads to a dangerous dance

Heading down the street, Dixon came across a pair of youths harassing a homeless man. She flashed her badge and threatened them both with arrest when they snapped at her. They ran off, scared as Dixon got a phone call.

Cosgrove and Bernard checked the scene of a male body found naked in a luggage trunk. It appeared to be a drug overdose with signs the victim had been restrained. 

A tattoo led to a dance academy where the victim was identified as Darien Wilson, but the academy teacher couldn’t believe he did drugs as he was an ace student and a great dancer.

Darien’s parents, Ray and Kim (Travan McCall and Shumerria Harris), revealed that they didn’t take it well when Darien came out and hadn’t talked to him in some time. But Bernard noticed the younger brother seemed to know something and gave him his card.

Cosgrove was amazed a black family could fight for rights but then toss out a child for being gay, with Bernard firing back, “don’t act like your people are much better.”

Darien’s brother supplied Darien’s address with folks there praising Darien as a good neighbor. They found texts of someone called TBN talking to Darien. The tox screen showed Darien had already been dead when shot up with the drugs.

Darien had attended a fundraiser by Kyle Swanson (Currie Graham) for Senator Jack Nathan (Jack Noseworthy). He claimed to not recognize Darien as most of the partygoers were older, and the security cameras were off to help the guests. 

A security video showed Darien getting into a car with Senator Nathan. The cops talked to Nathan, whose aide, Audrey White (Deborah Rennard), tried to have anything he said off the record. Nathan appeared shocked to hear of Darien being dead and was giving him a ride to a party at Swanson’s house. 

The fact Nathan was emphasizing not being “with” Darien was suspicious before revealing the party was filled with hookups. He claimed Darien was still alive when he left the party.

Swanson was upset about the cops showing up with a warrant but calling them “boys” didn’t help him. A search found the same kind of luggage Darien’s body had been found in. 

Dixon gets a personal stake

In interrogation, Swanson admitted he and Darien had been involved. When Swanson brushed them off, Dixon stormed in to rail at him for ignoring Darien’s death, with Swanson snapping it was Darien’s own fault.

The witnesses related Swanson and Darien were still together when the party broke up. Dixon mused that Swanson had done this, Cosgrove and Bernard both wondering how she could know that.

A bartender related Swanson had a “type” like Darien, pointing them to a man named Andre. Andre (Jarvis B. Manning Jr.) told them Swanson had done the same type of stuff, shooting him up with drugs, tying him up, and abusing him. He only put up with it because he needed the money for his family.Β 

Cosgrove asked Dixon why she was so fired up, bringing up their long friendship. Dixon explained she’d caught a case much like this two years earlier but couldn’t find enough evidence to pursue it. She was convinced Swanson was behind that one and “bullies like that need to pay.”

Dixon and the ADAs discussed the case with the lawyers pointing out it was tricky to prove Swanson meant to kill Darien. Dixon brought up how five other deaths with the same MO had popped up, meaning Swanson was a possible serial killer. 

McCoy was horrified yet wary if they could prove Swanson was behind all the deaths. Swanson also had lots of political connections, including backing McCoy’s last election opponent, so they needed the strongest case possible. 

While held on bail, Swanson arrogantly told Maraoun they would never convict him. Dixon brought up that all the victims were young, poor, and black, which meant this could be construed as a hate crime.Β 

Arguing hate and Dixon is fired up

Price argued the hate crime possibility to the judge, with Swanson’s lawyer, Brian Harris (Michael Beach), protesting, but the judge allowing it.Β 

Another witness, Jalen Brooks, came forward to share Swanson’s habits and was willing to testify. Price’s opening statement laid out Swanson as a killer, while Beach argued Darien had overdosed on his own and Swanson merely panicked to dispose of the body. 

Price’s case went right off the tracks when Brooks failed to show up to court and appeared to have fled town. McCoy realized Swanson targeted poor men because they were easy to disappear. That left the case on Andre’s testimony.

Andre visited Dixon as he was worried testifying about doing drugs while on parole could send him back to jail. Dixon pushed Price on it, worried about Andre going to jail, and yet Swanson wouldn’t be convicted.Β 

Dixon and Price argued about it, with Price actually sounding like he was blaming Andre for the drug use, which ticked Dixon off. “We need to win,” she hissed at him.

Andre testified on Swanson calling him “useless” and not deserving to live while shooting him up. Harris turned it on Andre to make him out as a “prostitute” taking money for sex, and this fell under his “deal” with Swanson.

The jury found Swanson guilty, him howling as he was taken out of the courtroom. Price invited Dixon for a drink, but she was going to meet Andre’s parole officer to try and help him out.Β 

The ending was a bit sudden, but it also showed the determination that made Dixon a tough boss, to begin with.

Law & Order Season 21 returns with new episodes Thursday April 28 at 8/7c on NBC.

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