Law & Order: Los Angeles Review: "Big Rock Mesa"
This week Law & Order: Los Angeles centered around a very real fear for many Californians: Fires. In "Big Rock Mesa", two arsonist fires set the plot into action, causing confrontations between the perpetrators and the victims.
This episode brought balance to the show’s efforts to stay true to its location.
Forest fires, as well as the homeless, are issues citizens of the greater Los Angeles area have to contend with every day. While accurately portraying the setting, the plot dealt with everyday people protecting their homes; an idea most people can relate to.
This is an improvement from other episodes dealing exclusively with LA issues.
The detectives' part of the show makes up about half of the episode’s time it seemed to pass by fairly quickly. I have a feeling this came from the ease of the case.
Morales and T.J. did interrogate one suspect that turns out to be innocent of the murder, but aside from this one bump in the road, the case unfolded quite nicely.
The writers used a classic Law & Order form of ID; fortunately a victim had a knee replacement with a serial number. It is interesting the percentage of victims in the franchise that have such traceable implants, replacements, or other surgical procedures.
Once David Holloway was identified, the pathway to the perpetrators is fairly easy. It was interesting to note that T.J. seemed to have a larger role in the investigation than previous episodes furthering the equity of the police partnership and after T.J.’s proving ground in the past two episodes.
The prosecution of the neighbors seemed to occupy most of the episode, perhaps due to the number of scene changes, filing and refilling of charges, or the fact that the prosecutorial team did a fair amount of their own investigation to make up for the circumstantial evidence provided by the detectives; Dekker and Rubirosa did this through interviews of the other neighbors, wives, and professors.
Throughout this portion of the show I felt the team made it fairly clear that the defendant Patrick Denton shot David due to his involvement in a lawsuit against the homeowner and not due to his claim of fear from invading homeless threatening his life and the life of his wife.
It is rare that Law & Order will present its audience with such a strong case before actually proceeding to the courtroom scene. So, when the three defendants all but confessed to the alleged crimes it became clear there would be a surprise ending.
I was disappointed in the verdict the jurors came to at the end. I do think the loss was timed appropriately in the season in that the verdict was realistic and breaks the monotony of the good guys always winning, and they did not lose do to a mistake.
They made a strong case and lost despite their efforts. Although I watch this show to escape reality, this true to life verdict reminds me of how the homeless are viewed in American society despite the record number of home foreclosures in recent years.
At the end of the episode, Dekker claimed that he failed and Rubirosa corrects him, noting that the two of them failed. Which duo would you blame for the loss of this case: Morales and T.J., or Dekker and Rubirosa?
Which pairing do you feel has the best chemistry? Discuss below!