Law & Order recap: Price fights his ethics in a deadly shooting case

Hugh Dancy
Hugh Dancy as Nolan Price on Law & Order. Pic credit: NBC

Sometimes, justice requires letting go of your moral pride. 

After a rough case involving the overturning of Roe v Wade, Law & Order tackled another tricky subject involving a mass shooting.

This put Price right in the middle of the case, and his personal view had him more fired up for justice. 

But to do it, Price had to compromise one of his long-standing viewpoints and handle a clash with a former friend. 

This also led to some tricks in court, as Price had to pull a stunt to try and get the big win.

This made Camouflage a difficult case for Price and the cops for a darker episode than usual. 

A horrific subway run

Price was starting his morning by bidding farewell to a one-night stand. Suddenly, people began running out of a subway entrance as shots could be heard inside. 

Racing down, Price was horrified to see several people shot on the subway platform before a train. He tried to help one badly wounded woman, who babbled about someone just opening fire without warning. 

Price looked into the subway car to see over a half dozen bodies, including a child. McCoy called Price, who reported, “It’s an absolute nightmare.”

Price told Cosgrove that all the dead victims appeared to be Asian. The security cameras saw the shooter exiting through the crowd but didn’t leave, so he might still be in the station.

Cosgrove and Shaw followed a trail of blood down a tunnel to a ladder leading to the street and realized the shooter had escaped. A video camera caught the shooter ditching his coat as Dixon suspected he’d gone to a local gun shop.

The detectives talked to the owner, who admitted the man had tried selling his ammo, but he refused. Another customer confessed to agreeing to buy the guy’s ammo later.

The cops scoped out the buy, chasing the man down when he showed up. There were no guns but there was a photo of a little girl in the bag. The man explained he’d simply found the bag and tried to sell the ammo to score drugs. 

Violet Tee was talking about how she was “Sick of all the hate” as she had discovered the girl in the photo was Lacy Farrell (Savannah Dahan). They brought her in with Dixon using ALS to talk to Lacy. The girl didn’t seem to know much about her own father to avoid the questions.

Lacy’s mother, Jessica (Tru Collins) arrived and, as soon as she saw the photo of the shooter, asked for a lawyer. Dixon saw Jessica and Lacy talking via sign language about how they both knew “John was mean” and realized they were talking about Lacy’s father.

Price fights his own ethics

Price warned the cops that putting Jessica before a grand jury could backfire, with Cosgrove saying there could be another shooting. Price snapped that he knew firsthand what this was about.

Jessica’s attorney asked for protection for Jessica, with Price giving his word her name would be kept out of it. Jessica related the shooter was John Nelson (Ian Bell), a former transit worker fired for blaming Asian people for COVID-19 and joining a white supremacist group.

The cops raided Nelson’s home, with Nelson firing at them before trying to escape. Hemmed in by the cops, Nelson yelled he was doing the country a favor before Shaw tackled him down for the arrest.

Maroun was shocked to hear that the FBI had taken Nelson away as the U.S. Attorney’s office wanted to take charge. Price was ticked off as this was a New York crime and he wanted it handled in New York.

McCoy talked to U.S. Attorney Monica Simms (Kathy McCafferty), who said the Justice Department wanted to handle a high-profile case. McCoy managed to work out a deal where Price and Maroun were appointed special U.S. attorneys. That way, Price could win, the Justice Department could get a win and if he lost, Price was blamed.

There was one major catch: The Justice Department wanted the death penalty for Nelson. Price, a staunch anti-death penalty advocate, was obviously rocked but agreed. 

At a courthouse, Price met Nelson’s lawyer,  Andrea Rankin (Claire Coffee), an old classmate of his who mocked Price for being for the death penalty. She then demanded the name of Price’s confidential informant.

Rankin said without the informant’s identity, the entire case was shaky and the judge agreed. Thus, Price had to break his word to reveal Jessica’s name. 

Was it racism or madness?

Price was worried about the precedent of informants having to testify and putting Jessica in danger. The only other option was to offer Nelson a plea bargain, but Price hated that even more. 

Jessica was obviously upset about the media attention and Lacy knowing what her father had done and refused to testify. They broke it to her that she had no choice and that the lawyers could lie all they want “And say it’s the damn law.”

On the stand, Jessica refused to answer any of Price’s questions, with Rankin using it to suppress the weapons evidence, basically destroying the entire case. 

McCoy chastised Price, who gave his word he’d win. “I don’t care about your word. I care about the verdict.”

Price questioned one of the shooting victims Kimmi Hsu (Emily Randolph), who was the woman Price had helped at the subway. She cried about the close call and testified that Nelson had deliberately targeted anyone who appeared to be Asian. “This is what it’s like to live in America these days.” She admitted she never saw Nelson’s face but could recognize his eyes.

Price was thrown when Rankin not only didn’t question Kimmi but stated this was a hate crime. Price was right to be suspicious as Rankin was changing the plea to not guilty by reason of insanity.

Dr. Stanley Thibideau (Brad Heberlee) testified that Nelson suffered from delusions by his racism and was not truly responsible for his actions. Price retorted that Nelson was competent enough to plan this out and get the weapons. Rankin pressed that Nelson was mentally ill and didn’t belong in prison, let alone get lethal injection.

Price and Rankin confronted each other in an elevator as she brought up Price’s former opposition to the death penalty. She snapped that this wasn’t about the law, it was Price’s choice to do this. 

McCoy told Price the only way to beat Rankin was to “Put on a show of your own.” Price took the jury to the still-bloody subway car to show where each victim had been and this was no random act. 

Price summed up that it would be easier to accept Nelson was crazy, but “Some people are just evil.” The jury found Nelson guilty and sentenced him to death. 

Price tried to talk to Rankin, but she was still upset, saying, “You’ve changed.” She walked off, leaving Price to mull over her words.

It was a truly tough case for Price from beginning to end as he had to question how far he went to see justice done.

Law & Order Season 22 airs Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC.

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